Identifying Lies


I’ve been reading 1 Samuel and the interaction with Goliath has arrested me. Goliath was a giant bully who shouted lies so loud that the Israelites believed them. 

“Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me!” (1 Samuel 17:8 NLT)

The Israelites were frozen in fear. They had cowered at the battlefront for forty days and nights while their enemy grew larger and louder in their hearts and minds. All the while, every day, Goliath dominate the disputed field and taunt them with the same exact words. 

“As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out from the Philistine ranks. Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel.” (1 Samuel 17:23 NLT)

This entire scenario has played out repeatedly in my life, and I suspect maybe yours, also. See, Goliath is shouting lies. He calls them “people of Saul” – not “people of God.”

Too often, we freeze in the face of the enemy’s lies. 

This chapter, the one where where little David came around with lunch and enough God-confidence to put the enemy in his place, well, it has rearranged my heart completely.

David knows who he is! He has spent entire summers in the field with the sheep and had grown quite confident in his relationship with the Lord. He knows they are not Saul’s people, but God’s alone. He is uniquely unintimidated by Goliath’s baseless taunts because he is rock solid in his spiritual identity.

I read this four days ago and realized that my enemy also shouts the same lies over and over. He utilizes different people, circumstances and dialect, but when examined, it’s the same series of fabrications over and over again. Some of the heavy hitters include; You aren’t good enough. You haven’t enough faith. You are unseen. Things are never going to change. You deserve this. Can anyone relate?

This week I have been confronting the lies with truth. I’ve been disassembling them one at a time and carefully holding them up against scripture. It turns out that every one of them are untrue. Just like Goliath, the enemy of our soul thinks if he shouts loud enough and long enough, we’ll accept it as fact. I want to prove him wrong, don’t you?

I recently read a fictitious book on the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The author did a tremendous job of imagining what Mary’s thought life might have looked like as she raised Jesus and then followed Him to the cross. In the book, Satan attempted to pull her off course, over and over. Every time he’d whisper a lie in her head, I, the reader saw it in bold italics. I wish it were that easy to identify in my own heart and mind. This week, I have been praying that God would help me discern and disarm the lies of the devil on a daily basis, so that I too, can take the ground that has been promised to me.

“David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”” (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NLT)

Lord, today we see the enemy’s lies at work. The gig is up. We are no longer willing to cower in fear at the edge of the battlefront. Help us each to identify the fabrications and see them clearly in our own lives. Help us see the truth in scripture. Strengthen our understanding of our identity as Your people, that the lies of the enemy will no longer have any bearing on our actions or inaction. Give us strength and courage to take the field. Amen.



For God’s Glory


“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”” (John 9:1-2 NLT)

The disciples came across a blind man and they ask a hard question. It’s a question that we have all been at least tempted to ask when hard circumstances announce themselves in our lives. They ask “why?”

We look at this scripture and we come to correct conclusion that we can ask Jesus anything. No wondering of our heart is off limits to Him.

Our Savior’s answer is fantastic.

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.” (John 9:3 NLT)


If we are reading this right, we realize that the very worst places in our lives might be the precise spaces that God wants to display His glory! Our weakest moments are the exact minutes when His power pushes through. The result? He is made famous!

“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT)

Even dear Apostle Paul was burdened-blessed with a thorn: a hangup, a weakness, a heavy health concern, we don’t know. And even though he asked God three times to remove the offending barb, in His wisdom, God left it in place, burrowed in his flesh and keeping him humble. Why? Because apparently, God’s grace shown through Paul’s weakness. 

Paul’s thorn kept him from pride. Perhaps the blind man’s sightlessness had kept him from sin? The crippled man’s legs held him from walking in the way of mockers? We do not yet know the full extent of His sovereignty and grace, but we can trust that His ways are perfect.

Dearest Lord, even our infirmities are redeemed for Your glory! Thank You for giving us permission and proximity to ask the tough questions. May we yield the strong and the weak areas of our lives equally. Feel free to wield them at will for Your Kingdom. Amen.



A New Day

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79 NLT)

My dad passed away a year ago today.  To me, it’s special that we share a birthday; mine into this world and his into the next. That being said, today could be a very painful day. Anniversaries of loved ones going home tend to send us into a tailspin. This morning, God gave me a very special birthday gift. For the first time in many, many months, I’m not sad. I’m not overburdened. I’m only hopeful.

At dawn, I set out on a bike ride. It had been in my heart to begin year 39 fresh and new. A solo ride in the early spring air seemed just the way to do it. The sun was only just starting it’s daily ascent and the night mist was still rising from the fresh-turned field, like a holy, earthy offering. I rose with it; legs pumping, lungs filling, chasing the new day and maybe a new season.

This scripture is Zachariah’s prophecy about his new son, John and his on-the-way Messiah-cousin, Jesus. Zachariah was an old man, worn by years of waiting. He had waited to serve his time in the temple, he had waited for his wife’s womb to open, and he had waited for the hope of the world to dawn once more. I can relate to Zachariah this morning, worn down and wizened by my own long season of waiting. Worn smooth, like a pebble against wind and water. 

Zachariah held his son, and after many mute months of silent consideration, he had just the right words to say. A new day was all wrapped up in the tiny blessings of baby. The season for God’s people was poised to change. Hope was suddenly on the scene again.

Today, I receive his word also; the promise of climbing out of darkness and death’s long shadow. Instead, I am running into marvelous light. I believe my feet are finally free to fall on the path of peace once more.

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NLT)

Lord, thank You for the changing of seasons. A long winter makes spring all the more sweet. Thank You for choosing to dawn Your marvelous light in our lives. We are so grateful to be Your people. Amen.



Mid-life Crisis


“Those who are righteous will be long remembered.” (Psalms 112:7 NLT)

I’ve got another birthday on the horizon. Tomorrow morning I’ll wake up and begin my 39th trip around the sun. Thirty-eight has been one blurred blip of grief and duty, it’s hard to believe it’s already over. Last year, on my birthday, the estate lawyer issued a verdict: the legal matters would consume a full year of my life. He wasn’t wrong.

I would suppose the closer a person hedges to forty, the more they might consider the weight of their one life; the direction and value of their days. In the wake my past year, this consideration feels urgent. I must live twice as focused in the coming days, making up for the 365 I’ve lost. This morning, the psalmist reminds me how to make my one life count.

Righteousness is the longest legacy we can leave. Righteousness is what our children, our congregation and our community will remember when we’ve passed. It’s righteousness that will hold up under the unforgiving fire of time. 

Righteousness, at it’s purest form, is a life of love. It’s a life surrendered to the perfect sacrifice of Christ and an steady reflection of Him in our own world.

Many folks have a mid-life crisis right about now. I suppose it comes from gazing over the first half of living and finding it wanting. The typical response? Buy a sports car, get a tattoo or trade-in a decades-old marriage in for a new young thing.

My midlife crisis? I’m going to do something crazy. I’m going to smile more. I’m going to give my life away like I’ve never been hurt and people don’t die. I’m going to love the people in front of me with every breath I have left in me.

Sometimes the bravest thing we can do is offer the weary world another smile.

“A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:13 NLT)

Lord, make us brave as we face another day. Make us righteous as we continue to pursue You. Help us live as the psalmist declared; confident, fearless, generous, compassionate and right by You. May our mid-life crises remake us more into Your image. Amen.