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Spare Change - November 2021

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David’s first assignment out of the pasture is as a personal musician to Saul.  This moves David away from his family into Saul’s court.  Ever since the Spirit of God left Saul because of his sin; Saul has been tormented by an evil spirit from the Lord.  This should not be interpreted as God using an evil demon, rather this can also be interpreted as sad or depressed.  This is probably a messenger of God used to torment Saul with sadness and discontentedness as a form of punishment for his disobedience.  Regardless of how you interpret the words, Saul was greatly distressed which caused his servants to look for relief.  They thought a musician could be used to soothe Saul.  The servants suggest David, as he could play the lyre and it seems was a renowned musician. 

When David went to Saul’s court and played his songs, they did in fact soothe Saul.  This was a good thing but not the best thing for Saul.  Of course, David did nothing wrong, he was doing exactly as he was commanded.  He played for the glory of God in service of his king, Saul.  Saul was the one that we can really learn a lesson from here. Remember Saul had disobeyed God.  He did seemingly try to repent but God’s mind was made up, the Lord would no longer be with Saul.  I wonder if Saul was truly repented or if it was a “I am sorry I got caught” sort of situation.  Saul became notorious for making quick apologies that were ultimately empty. His character was found lacking when it came to repenting in a way that brought gospel change to his life.  I have to believe that if he truly was repentant God would have delivered him from this tormentous spirit.  But Saul did not go to the Lord, instead he sought the relief brought on by music. 

Music can be a great way to soothe your spirit.  I love putting on a good song and letting it minister to my soul.  It is always therapeutic to sing at the top of your lungs in your car on the way home after a hard day.  I really love music; it is one of the greatest joys of my life.  In fact, as I  write these articles familiar music is blaring in my ear buds to get to what I call the writing flow. Even though I love music and I am sure you love music it can never be a substitute for the presence of the Lord. 

This goes for any sort of therapeutic thing we can think about in our lives.  I also find working out to be therapeutic, but if I put my hope in working out to deliver me from my problems then I am in trouble.  These things are short term solutions to problems in my life.  The only real solution, the only real place to find peace and hope is the Lord.  David knows this fact and records this view in Psalm 62.  Take a moment and give it a read. The first two verses are especially poignant, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.  Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”  Can you see the contrasting viewpoints?  Saul put his faith in a short-term solution like music therapy and David in the long-term solution of trusting the Lord.  

I understand there is a place for therapy and therapeutic actions, but they can never replace the presence of the Lord.  We must keep our focus on our Lord Jesus and let him comfort us in times of trouble.  That is the only place we will really find hope and peace.  Remember Paul tells us that in Jesus we will experience a peace that surpasses human understanding.  I can tell you from my own experience that this is true.  So if you are hurting today, if your spirit is troubled, whatever you are going through, turn to the Lord and find peace in Jesus!

(This article is from a series of articles on the life of David that I have been writing.  You can read more at
bryangotcher.wordpress.com)

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

Spare Change - October 2021

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It seems like everyone is offended about something today.  People are more sensitive about what is said to them and at the same time less sensitive about what they say.  Christians have had to think about the issue of offense for a long time because it is addressed in the scriptures.  In fact, the scriptures are clear on what is expected from the followers of Jesus.  Nevertheless, we find ourselves at odds often.  What can be done?  How should we deal with offenses from brothers and sisters in Christ? 

The issue with offense is first an issue with intention.  It has been called the bait of Satan because when we take the bait of offense, we spring a trap in our lives.  In this way Satan has a field day with our relationships.  If he can get us sideways with each other then his work is done.  He can sit back and watch us as we sin with hateful thoughts and actions.  The issue of offense is paramount to the health and success of the church on its mission.  That is why God spoke about this in the scriptures and put a plan in place to deal with offenses. 

The first thing we must address is our heart.  We are told in Philippians 2:1-11 that we are to have a humble attitude.  We are encouraged to share the “mind of Christ”.  Meaning that we think like Christ, especially in how we treat others.  We are to think about others, placing their needs over our own.  Jesus is our supreme example in how He humbled Himself by coming to earth to be our sacrifice on the cross.  This is our model of humility; we are to sacrificially care for others. 

This type of attitude means trying to think the best of others or another way of saying it is we give them the benefit of the doubt.  This is often the basis of most conflict.  We assume intentions or we think of people in the worst way.  The Christian's first move should always be to assume the best of someone else.  It is kind of like being innocent until proven guilty. How many conflicts would be solved if we just did this?  I guarantee it would eliminate a large chunk of them. 

What about the conflict of intentional offenses?  In Matthew 18:15-20 Jesus lays out a plan of reconciliation when an offense is given.  The key to this plan is seeking reconciliation.  Often when people try to resolve conflict they are seeking to “win” or get their pound of flesh.  This is never Jesus' attitude.  Jesus wants us to care for the other person in a way that will restore the relationship.  Jesus tells us to first seek the person that has given the offense; this can go either way, as evidenced by other scriptures.  Someone needs to go and initiate the process.  If the one-on-one meeting does not work, then the person is instructed to follow the plan of getting others involved, up to the point of involving the church in the process.  The hope is it never gets to this point but that is the ultimate authority in this situation.  Why don’t we follow this plan more often?  I have seen many Christians simply refuse to interact with someone because of an offense.  That is not what Jesus tells us to do. 

There are two possible reactions to an offense.  Either the offense is small and possibly unintentional, so you just overlook it.  You love that person and know they were having a bad day or mistakenly did something, just let it go.  If it is something that cannot be overlooked or it was intentional or is an issue of sin, then YOU MUST BEGIN THE RESTORATION PROCESS! Do not wait until they come to you, you start the process.  Jesus gave us this instruction because He knew we would experience conflict.  We are sinful people, albeit redeemed, but still struggling with the flesh and because of that we experience conflict any time there is a group of people together in a church, family, workplace, neighborhood, etc.  We cannot avoid it, the only thing we have control over is how we deal with it.  Dealing with offenses in love and grace will separate mature believers from immature ones.  In fact, Jesus says in John 13:35 the world will know we belong to Him by how we love one another! 

This has been, and still is, a struggle for me.  I would love to say I handle all offenses correctly, but I still need to be reminded of this truth.  I do have the opportunity to be offended or to offend others often.  I have found if I start to get offended, I need to remove myself from that situation for a short time to pray.  When I pray for help and wisdom, the Lord is always faithful to help me deal with situations in a Christ-like manner.  The key is to actually go and deal with the situation and when I do, do it in a loving way that is always seeking reconciliation.  Is there an offense you have given recently or has someone offended you?  Start by reading the scriptures from this article, praying, and then seeking reconciliation.  God will help you to get it right!

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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