Going Deeper with the Message:
Struck Down, But Not Destroyed
by: Michelle Lemley
This week, Pastor Josh brought to us the story of David, whose incredible life can teach us so much about a relationship with the Lord. From his battle with Goliath to his crowning as king of Israel, his life had many shining moments. But what stands out most to me are the mentions of his failings, and his willingness to lament, repent, and turn it all over to God.
Several years ago, my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It was sudden and unexpected and it rocked my faith in a way I had never experienced. This beautiful, healthy, Godly woman couldn’t be allowed to suffer like that. I found myself turning away from God and everything else, retreating to a quiet place inside myself where I could deny what doctors and my own eyes were telling me.
But Mom took a different approach. Her faith seemed to multiply. She took every setback with a sigh, a moment of lament, and then she turned to the Lord. The example of her faith has brought me peace and awe, and after years and treatments and hair loss and pain, she is still a shining example to me in her relationship with the Lord.
I believe that a relationship with God begins to grow when we have a true relationship with ourselves. We must be willing to consider our own faults and failures and then turn them over to Him in order to allow peace and acceptance to replace guilt and pain. The first step is the willingness to accept your mistakes and to have a desire to change and grow. And that can be really, really hard. But it’s a growing pain that’s difficult in the moment, and necessary and worthwhile in the long run.
Another Biblical figure who has brought me comfort and inspiration is Paul. In II Corinthians 4:8-9 we read, “We are pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
If we recognize the example of David and Paul, who endured so much and yet were still able to turn it over to the Lord, we can recognize, accept, and use these challenging times to not only persevere in our relationship with God, but to grow in our faith and trust in Him.
Living out the Message:
The Proper Perspective
By Barb Barnhart
This week as Pastor Josh was sharing, I had the opportunity to be a part of opening up of the preschool area to the children. This is my happy place. Here is where God often reminds me of His goodness and power. I have learned that little ones have the ability to help adults put life in perspective.
We began our time discussing the power of God! Yep, it is an easy topic when you are young without all the things and people around you that obstruct your view of God. We did an activity where we talked about how God made everything out of nothing. The children closed their eyes and saw “nothing”. When they opened their eyes, immediately they began listing the things that the power of God created—the trees, the grass, the sky, the bug, my brother…
We are tainted by life. Life causes us to be discouraged. We become inwardly focused and unable to see the power of God at work within us and around us. I love how David was able to “sing” his way through the troubles in his life. He knew that his relationship with God grew stronger as he sought forgiveness from his sin and trusted the power of God to “create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me” as we read in Psalm 51:10
Like a preschooler who is able to focus on our good, gracious and powerful God, we should learn to do the same. My favorite way to focus on God is to sing songs of praise. Whether it is an old hymn like Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Because He Lives from the 1970’s, or the modern Death was Arrested, sing your song of Praise to God. As you sing from deep within your heart, your cares and concerns flow to a Heavenly Father who is powerful enough to put life back into proper perspective.