Sunday, May 7, 2017

A to Z reflections

This was the fifth A to Z challenge I have participated in and I wish I could claim I made a lot of new friends, visited a lot of new blogs, expanded my thinking and all such things one hopes to glean from this activity.

If I may be frank, up until the end of February I really hadn't put a lot of thought, let alone prayer, into what I may write about if I participated this year.  The days between the 2016 challenge and the days during the 2017 challenge were rough on many levels.  Blessings abounded, but the political atmosphere in 2016, the personal professional challenges, and the new changes my husband and I are once again finding ourselves in left little motivation to come up with a twenty six item list of things to write about, let alone find a theme for.

But, silly girl that I am, I forget what God can do.

I was challenged not only by my theme - a bunch of war ready boys - but I was challenged to put myself in David's shoes and Joab's sandals and even Benaiah's.  No, I wasn't facing what they faced, but the more I studied them, the more I gleaned for practical application personally.

I didn't hold an opinion as to the changes with the linky list vs. posting on Facebook, except I will say that is one of the reasons I didn't visit other blogs.  Since the election I have tried to limit my Facebook time, so I did not spend any time visiting blogs through that route.  This is not to say that I won't in the months ahead, but I did find the linky list convenient for getting to and seeing where I've been.  I never had expectations of visiting all of them, but I did like the layout of the previous method.

All that being said, I had one faithful visitor and commentator of my blog who gave me a personal shout out on her blog, so I will return the compliment.  Barbara was a great encourager this year.  Just when I thought I was going off into no man's land with my topics, she was there with an encouraging word to spur me on to keep plowing in unfamiliar territory.  Thank you, Barbara!

All this being said, I truly do find this writing challenge personally rewarding and encouraging.  I love, love, love to dig in God's word.  This becomes truer each year I have participated.  The answers to the problems of God's people lies in the ancient words.  Please search, please hunger and thirst, please dig.  This is our time.  This is your time.  No one is expecting you to have all the answers immediately or ever, but you won't have any answers if you don't ask!

Dig, Church, Dig!


Peace,

Ronda

p.s.  I do have my 2018 theme picked already!  Isn't God good?  :)






Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ziklag

Ziglag had been given to David by Achish, king of Gath (a Philistine city) while Saul was king. Ziglag was a place of refuge for David.

In the 1 Chronicles account of David and his mighty men, this is said about the place called Ziglag:

"These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished from the presence of Saul son of Kish (they were among the warriors who helped him in battle; they were armed with bows and were able to shot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed; they were kinsmen of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin)."

Two significant events unfolded in Ziglag at the beginning of David's pre king and early kingship days.

The first being it was at Ziglag David heard Saul and his son Jonathon were dead.  (2 Samuel 2:1).

The second event, occurring before Saul died, was a a moment in David's life where the rubber met the road.  If there were going to be followers following his lead they would be tested right then and there.

And they were.

"When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.  So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.  David's two wives had been captured - Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel.  David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters.  But David found strength in the LORD."

Ziglag was the place where the true and loyal followers of David rose to the top.  It was at Ziglag where those men becoming Mighty had to make a choice.  A hard choice.

While in bitter grief and despair.

They could blame David for the destruction and kidnapping of their wives and children.  Or they could fight the real enemy.

It was at Ziglag where the would be Mighty Men walked the tightrope line of resentment and character.

Young David, having been pursued and harassed by Saul over and over and over again, was in the beginning stages of forming a mighty army.  It could have all fallen apart right then and there at Ziglag.  But David.....

"found strength in the LORD his God."

While David went from hero to potential dead man walking, he "found strength in the LORD his God."

Not in his weapons or his logistical warfare abilities or his popularity.

No, he found his strength in the LORD his God.

When all those around him were battling grief and despair and living in the crisis of the moment, their thoughts not clear, their reasoning clouded by pain, David found a way to not take the pain of his men personally, but instead he found his strength in the LORD.

Another bite of humble pie the LORD needed to feed him was fed at Ziklag.  Those who were committed to David and his cause were sifted out, the cream rose to the top and in the end six hundred of those grieving and plotting mighty men, came back to David's side and fought next to him.  David "recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives.  Nothing was missing; young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken, David brought everything back."

David would not be officially anointed as king of Judah in Ziglag (it would be Hebron where the physical anointing would take place (2 Samuel 2)), but I can't help but think that the invisible king clothes were put on David in Ziglag.  A city of the enemy may have been the invisible birthplace of the king after God's heart.

Z is for Ziglag.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Youngest

David, the would be king with a heart after God's was the youngest boy in a family of seven boys.  The youngest.

Not the oldest.  Not the middle child.  Not the second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth.

The youngest.

The baby of the family.

God seems to find it beneficial to use the least likely of families to do mighty work.  Remember Joseph?

What about the youngest in your family?  Are you the baby?  Are you annoyed by the baby of your family?  Do you see yourself with the potential to be a leader coming from a life of following in the footsteps of your older siblings?

What made David different than his brothers was only one thing.

The Spirit of the LORD upon David in power.

The Mighty Men devoted their lives to following a baby of a family.  The baby who grew up to slay a giant and become king started out as the youngest in a houseful of boys.

Hebrews says this about David:

"And what more shall I say?  I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.  Women received back their dead, raised to life again.  Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.  Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.  They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.  They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them.  They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground."

David, leader of the Mighty Men whose sufferings, no doubt because they followed David, were also part of this list, was born the youngest.  His brothers, if they were like any big brothers today, would have never believed their little pimply faced, lazy, daydreaming, musical brother would ever be listed in the great hall of Hebrews wall of Faith.

But he was.  The youngest, leader of the Mighty Men, fought in a world not worthy of him.

Y is for youngest.

Hebrews 11

Friday, April 28, 2017

Xylograph

Xylography - the art of making engravings on wood especially for printing.



This is all I have for X

X is for Xylography

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Weapons of Warriors

When the LORD rejected naughty Saul as king he used the prophet Samuel to find his replacement.  The Lord sent Samuel to Jesse of Bethlehem because he had "chosen one of his sons to be king."

Samuel had preconceived notions of what a king should look like and when the first son of Jesse, Eliab, was brought to him Samuel thought, "Surely the LORD's anointed stands here before the LORD."

Brother after brother after brother after brother after brother was rejected.

It came down to the youngest boy of seven boys - David.

When David was brought to Samuel, the LORD said, "Rise and anoint him, he is the one.  So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power."

He was anointed, but David wasn't officially king yet.  And there is so much more intrigue to the story.

King Saul was being tormented by an evil spirit sent from the Lord when the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul.  (Check it out for yourself and read Saul's relationship with the LORD and why the LORD rejected him).

A king without the Spirit of the LORD.

Rejected by the LORD.  The rejection wasn't just a turning away, but the LORD sent an evil spirit to torment Saul.

God left.  Evil entered.

David's first weapon, the one before the slingshot and five stones......was a harp.

A harp was the weapon that caused the evil spirit to leave Saul.

One of Saul's servants said,
"I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp.  He is a brave man and a warrior.  He speaks well and is a fine-looking man.  And the Lord is with him."

The weapon was placed in David's hands, the strumming would begin...

"Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play.  Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him."

A young son with a harp and a sling and five stones would become a leader of hundreds of thousands whose weapons would bring death and destruction to all who God allowed.  The Mighty Men were trained, their weapons ready.

Oh that a harp would be the only weapon needed.

W is for Weapons of Warriors


1 Samuel 8-31