The Perfections of God: Understanding God’s Characteristics (The Bible Teacher’s Guide)


I am currently reviewing a work by Gregory Brown titled The Perfections of God:

The Perfections of God is an excerpt and an adaptation from the larger work BTG Theology Proper. It is a study of God’s characteristics including his love, goodness, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, eternality, wrath, sovereignty, and much more. It can be used as a seven to fifteen-week small-group curriculum depending on how the leader chooses to divide the introduction and the fourteen characteristics.

Most every chapter of this book discussing the attributes (or perfections) of God is divided up into three parts. Brown discusses and teaches on the particular attribute and then he usually follows with a section of questions for application and then another set of questions for personal reflection. The final reflective thought of each chapter is an opportunity for the reader to enter into the presence of God in prayer.

The entire book is only 146 pages long so this is a very manageable study for anyone, regardless for how busy they believe themselves to be. This book would be a great tool in the hands of a someone who was teaching a class of new believers. It would also be a wonderful book for personal devotion time.

It is vital for a Christian to understand the attributes and character of God because in this knowledge we can better interpret the Scriptures and we will be able to walk through the trials of life with confidence in our God. Yes, this book will be beneficial in the hands of the newest believer, but it will also be helpful to someone who has been walking with the Lord for many years and simply needs to be reminded of who He is in all His glorious perfections.

Many times in the Scriptures our God calls us to remember…

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:1-8

If you are at a place in life where you need to remember… then this book will be a great place to start.

If you are at a place where you are just now getting to know… then this book will be a great tool to have alongside you as you open the pages of His Word in the Bible and begin the beautiful journey into the intimate knowledge of our God.

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It…


As I scroll through my newsfeed and listen to and watch the news I can’t help but have the lyrics of this song go off in my head…

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine

Whew! All I can say at this point is that I am glad that God did not call me to save the world… that’s His Son’s job. I’m just here, as in the words of Forrest Gump, “to do what ever He tells me to.” He has told me to love Him and love my neighbor. He has told me to seek first His Kingdom and He would take care of the rest.

The world, like the song above, is overwhelming. There are floods, earthquakes, sink holes, refugees, terrorist, sex traffickers, murders, police brutality, child abandonment, political unrest, corrupt governments, rebellion to authorities, cancer, homeless, domestic abuse, drug addiction, porn addiction, divorce, bombs, school shootings, and the list goes on and on. I can easily become discouraged, disheartened, and even worse… desensitized.

The latest in the news is the Syrian refugees. This has been a topic of discussion in my last precept class as we dug into the Sermon on the Mount. The back and forth on what to do concerning the refugees can go on forever. It’s really a sticky situation.

In my Chapel time with my babies at my preschool I have been teaching the children 1 Thessalonians 5:18,

in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

When our middle daughter was around three years old and we sat down to the dinner table to eat and she would ask the blessing she would thank God for each individual item on her plate… except the items she didn’t like. We would say, “Shelby you didn’t thank God for your peas?” She would reply, “I don’t like peas.” Sadly, I think we too easily become thirty, forty, fifty year olds that still only thank God for the things on our plate that we like.

God didn’t say His will for us was to thank Him when He did something we liked. He said in everything give thanks. Everything.

The verses preceding this charge to us help us to set the context of this everything.

See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing;  in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

That in everything follows a section of Scripture that seems to be dealing with experiencing evil from another person. So it seems pretty clear to me that this in everything means everything, good or bad.

This is hard isn’t it?

Give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. This. This current circumstance. This present situation. This time. This place. This person. These people. This is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. He then commands in 1 Thessalonians 5:19,

Do not quench the Holy Spirit. 

The Spirit helps us in our weaknesses (Romans 8:26). The Spirit helps us to discern truth (John 16:13). The Spirit helps us to see all things, all experiences, through the eyes of God (1 Corinthians 2:14). The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

We, as believers, are not to suppress His leading or His fruit bearing in us in any way in any situation. Once we discern that we are acting outside of the fruit of the Spirit, we have quenched Him. We are no longer listening to His discerning voice, but are acting out in our own ignorant, childish, fearful, sinful flesh. In this state we will choose wrong. 

Are these refugees truly people seeking asylum and freedom? Are they islamic terrorist seeking to come in and get a toe hold in the heart of our nation? Will they come in and attack us in the dark while we are distracted by what appears to be light like my Daddy’s cancer did in his body and destroy us as cancer did my Daddy? I don’t know. They might.

Could this be an opportunity for the church to rise up and take in whole families and share the gospel with them and then Christ take root in their hearts and they go out and share the gospel with the other refugees and salvation come to a whole nation as in the days of the repentance of Nineveh? Sure. It could. Yes, they might. I don’t know.

Perhaps both could be happening at the same time…   

All I know is that the leaders of our nation will stand before God for their call on this situation and whatever repercussions come with whatever choice they make. I suggest we choose to bow our heads before the Father and pray that He would turn their hearts according to His will.

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Proverbs 21:1

Then in everything give thanks to God and trust Him to remain on the throne and sovereignly rule the world as He continues to carry out His predetermined purposed plan. It’s just too easy to spout out our could’ve, should’ve, would’ves if it were me’s when it’s NOT.  Grace goes all ways.

Climbing With Abraham


I am in the midst of reading through a new book, Climbing with Abraham written by David Ramos. This is a thirty day devotional focused on the life of the patriarch used by God to begin a nation.  The nation of Israel was brought forth from a man who never thought that he would have a child until the voice of God called him out.

Ramos’s devotional picks up in the end of Genesis 11. His first devotional caught me as he pointed out how Abraham’s story began before Abraham even was. Abraham’s story was and is bigger than him and so is ours. Ramos points out in this first devotion how God did not bless Abraham just for Abraham’s sake, but for the world’s. This was a perfect beginning for this thirty day devotional because it turns your heart away from “what can I get out this devotional” to “what can I learn through this devotional.”

Each devotional focuses on a specific point in Abraham’s journey. Ramos carries us through the life of Abraham from Genesis 11 to Genesis 25. The book’s final devotional takes us to the beautiful truths in Romans 4 concerning grace, faith, and salvation taught to us through the example of Abraham’s recorded life.  This last devotional brings full circle the insightful take away point made in the first devotional, “My story is part of a much bigger story” (page 7).

This book is a short easy read from devotional to devotional. No more than five to ten minutes a day to cover each devotional and that’s if you choose to take the extra step to read the cited Scriptures that are used to write the chapter (which I highly recommend by the way). Not to mention it’s only $0.99  on Kindle and less than $5.00 for the paperback! The paperback would be a great stocking stuffer or dirty santa gift for this coming Christmas season.


A Quiet Life


and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you

1 Thessalonians 4:11

We are approaching the Christmas season again and with it comes the protesting. The protesting of companies that have never claimed to be Christian removing the term “Merry Christmas” from their apparel and products or supposedly not allowing their employees to say “Merry Christmas” to customers. I wish we could see how utterly stupid and childish this makes Christendom look. Satan has an army and its called “let’s get our panties in a wad about things that don’t amount to a hill of beans and ignore the lost and hurting because reaching the lost and hurting requires effort and little acknowledgment while ranting like an idiot about coffee cups and leggings gets me on Fox News

Joshua Feuerstein is a false prophet and a hypocrite.

Really can you imagine Jesus walking through the streets of Jerusalem and demanding that Happy Passover be on the clay cups passed out at the local tavern?  I believe He probably would have responded in the exact opposite of this supposed “evangelist”.

Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius.  And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”  They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

Matthew 22:17-21

If you want to say Merry Christmas by all means do it, but do it with gentleness and kindness and humility. The arrogance and tone that this Feuerstein man and others like him promote is insulting to the true Gospel of Christ. He is not seeking to make followers of Jesus, he is seeking followers of himself. So please just stop. Stop sharing his rants and others like him. Please for the love of God and the lost world He is trying to use those of us who truly want to see the sinner saved, stop sharing his rants.

“Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) was never meant to be interpreted as “Go and trick Starbucks into writing Merry Christmas on their cups!”

There are people in your community who will spend Christmas this year alone. Go to there house and write Merry Christmas on their cups. There are people in your church who won’t be able to make it to church any this season because they are too sick to attend because they are fighting for every breathe they take. Go to their house and write Merry Christmas on their cups. There are kids who have just been ripped out of their homes because their moms and dads chose drugs over them. Find out where they are and go and write Merry Christmas on their cups.

Jesus never ranted. Jesus never tricked. Jesus rebuked his disciples for the very attitude this man and those like him promote.

 When the days were approaching for His ascension, He  was determined to go to Jerusalem; and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him.  But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.  When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of;  for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” 

Luke 9:51-56

 So please, this season, let us be real. Let us love. Let us be kind. Let us be gentle. Let us lead a good and quiet life that causes those that are desperate for the peace of God in their lives to see His light in us. Let us be approachable not boastful. For we might be the only Jesus that many get to see… so let them see Him.

God Didn’t Answer My Prayers


Wednesday night during my Sermon on the Mount Precept study as I sat and watched the accompanying Kay Arthur video with the rest of the class the Lord spoke to my heart. He has a way of doing that in His still small voice. When He thundered from the top of Mount Sinai from His cloud of glory the people shook with fear, so today in and through Christ by His Holy Spirit He chooses the still small voice… which means only those who have ears to hear will hear. So beloved, make sure your ears are open when you are asking.

This past Wednesday Kay was teaching us from Matthew 6:1-18 and the majority of this passage of Scripture is on prayer. As Kay covered the index sentences of the Lord’s Prayer I was writing my allegiance is to Your Kingdom, Your will be done… and in that moment the Lord spoke and I wrote His words to me, “I did answer your prayer, just not with your will”

What I have learned clearly this past year is how often we say, “God didn’t answer my prayers” when what we really mean is “God didn’t give me what I asked for.” The two simply are not synonymous.

Just because I didn’t get what I asked for does not mean that God didn’t answer my prayers. God did. I asked him to heal my Daddy, and He answered, “I have” (from Psalm 30:2)

I asked God to let them see Ashleigh get married and He answered, “No… in My book were all written the days that were ordained for them, when as yet there was not one of them” (from Psalm 139:16).

Just because God didn’t do my will, does not mean that He was deaf to my prayer or that He didn’t answer.

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.

Hebrews 5:7

Jesus WAS heard, but He STILL went to the cross.

saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

Luke 22:42

Prayer is about open communication with the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe. Prayer is having the freedom to sit down and chat with the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Prayer is the opportunity to be first in line, every time, and with all the time needed to meet face to face and one on one with the Wonderful Counselor and the Great Physician.

Prayer is not the fast food window where I put in my order my way and get exactly what I asked for in 30 minutes or less or the next meal is free.

He is God and we are not.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?

Psalm 8:3-4


Ready Yourself


Last night I gathered with some of my fellow sisters in Christ and watched the webcast of the beginning of Kay Arthur’s Fall Conference. The theme of the conference is about being ready today for what will come tomorrow. I am also in the midst of facilitating a Precept study through the Sermon on the Mount. This week we are in the midst of digging into Matthew 6:19-7:5 which so happens to be discussing about how we are not to worry about tomorrow.

Beloved, since we have no way of knowing what tomorrow might bring the only way we can prepare for the unknown of tomorrow is by immersing ourselves today in the Known.

Our God has left 66 books of hard core truth and promises that have been designed from their delivery to prepare our hearts and minds to trust in Him and Him alone. We live in a world that is always changing and we here in the United States live in a nation that has become unrecognizable from the nation we knew even twenty years ago. Yet one thing has not changed. One thing will always remain. This one thing is what we MUST set our eyes on and rest our hearts and minds in.

But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42

Sitting at the feet of Jesus. Soaking in the Word of God. Seeing life through His eyes. This no one, absolutely no one, can take away from you. It can’t be lost, raped, stolen, or destroyed. Truth is truth. No matter who tries to change it or ignore it.

Jesus is plain when He says, “…blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11:28)

Many in our nation today hear the Word of God and then they try to adapt it to say what it doesn’t say in order to make them more comfortable. God did not call His people to comfort, but to a cross.

If the Word of God has never cut you to the bone, then I dare say you have never truly received it.

If the Word of God never comes in to play outside your Sunday theatre chair or pew, then I dare say you have never truly observed it.

If the Word of God has never been used to decide the course of your choices concerning your own life and the life of those you hold authority over or have the opportunity to influence by association, then I dare say you have never truly believed it.

We never, I repeat NEVER, have to wring our hands in utter desperation and say “I don’t know what to do” if we belong to the ONE TRUE and KNOWN GOD… because He has given us His Word to guide us. It’s there. He’s there. We just have to choose to love Him, believe Him, and obey Him.

That is what faith is…

Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Genesis 15:6


By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.

Hebrews 11:8

Faith is stepping into the unknown because of what is known. If you are reading this today and you stand paralyzed in fear of tomorrow could it be that you have simply not trusted in the Hope of today?

Remember the word to Your servant, In which You have made me hope.

Psalm 119:49


I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope.

Psalm 130:5


For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Romans 15:4

The enemy of my soul has tried to use the Lord’s taking of my Daddy and my Sister-in-Love home as a weapon against me. The enemy has tried to use the failure of other believers to be what He has called them to be as a weapon against me. The enemy has tried to take what the Lord could use to strengthen and grow me as an opportunity to cause me to shake my fist in the face of my God and my faith in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but the enemy has failed.

No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.

Isaiah 54:17

I will be about my Father’s business until the day He calls me home. I will ready myself today, through the study of and consistent application of His Word, in and throughout every aspect of my life, so that when tomorrow comes I shall not fear. I might stumble at times, but I shall never fall for my God holds me.

He will hold you too beloved. Will you ready yourself?

The Battle Plan For Prayer


This past Monday morning as I listened to my Bible study lesson with Phil Waldrep he made the statement that demons can assess our spiritual condition as they can tell when we have not been praying. I know this to be true. The spiritual forces of darkness are not ignorant of our weaknesses and the enemy of our soul is always lurking about seeking whom he may devour.

Evil is always looking for the open door.

Usually when I review books I try to bend them as little as possible and keep them as new as I can because I usually give them away to someone else to be blessed by them. However, when I opened up The Battle Plan for Prayer I grabbed my pen… this one was staying with me.

Prayer has been difficult for me for a while. I have shared that before here on my blog. It was during a forty day fast as I was trying to find my footing with my God again after a very rough couple of years that He chose to bring both my Daddy and my Sister-in-Law home to Him. I cannot begin to explain to you the storm that blew across my soul during that time and has been waging since… yet my roots have held.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
and whose trust is the Lord.

For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

Beloved if you are going to be able to stand firm through times of drought and still be able to bear fruit you must be a man or woman of prayer. You must know how to pray according to the will of God and not your own whims. Had I not been firmly rooted in the Word yesterday, I know that I would have not been able to stand in the storms of today.

I haven’t seen the movie War Room yet, but I have read several of the books affiliated with it and I must say that thus far this one has been my favorite.

688669: The Battle Plan for Prayer: From Basic Training to Targeted Strategies The Battle Plan for Prayer: From Basic Training to Targeted Strategies
By Stephen Kendrick & Alex Kendrick


The Kendrick brothers take the topic or prayer and look at it through the headings of: Enlistment, Basic Training, Conditioning, Strategies, Targets, Ammunition, and Reinforcements. Whether you are a seasoned prayer warrior or a brand new baby believer, this book is an excellent tool to revive, enhance, or begin your prayer life.

The book is meant to be gone through slowly and purposely. The goal is to read a chapter a day. Each chapter is just a few pages long. Read, meditate on the Scriptures shared, and by all means pray. Really pray.

Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak

Matthew 26:41

Even if it feels like your prayers are just bouncing off the ceiling… pray anyway. Pray in faith. Pray in faith that the God who promised to hear and answer is able and faithful. His ears are not deaf and He gathers the prayers of His saints… every single one.

Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.

Revelation 8:3

I received this book free for an honest review… and I am so very grateful that I did. Do I recommend it? Yes, yes indeed I do.

It’s Just An Ordinary Day


What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun? A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; and hastening to its place it rises there again. Blowing toward the south, then turning toward the north, the wind continues swirling along; and on its circular courses the wind returns. All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again. All things are wearisome;

Ecclesiastes 1:3-8

Sitting with my family the other night watching the premier of “The Voice” I was reminded of this post that I began several days before. Sometimes the Lord will simply place a thought in my heart and then will build on it before He ever gives me the sit down and be still time to write it out. This thought pulls all the way back to an overnight trip that my husband and I took back in August.

I had been scrolling through colleges and looking at seminary degrees and researching and on our way to our destination I asked him what he thought about me going back to school and getting a degree in Biblical counseling. He then said, “why is just being a wife and mother not enough?

As we sat down and watched “The Voice” there were at least two contestants that had abandoned their families to pursue their “musical dreams” and they claimed to be doing so for their kids, so they could show them that it was okay to go after their dreams.

After the second one my husband and I both looked at each other and then asked our girls which they thought the children of these two would have preferred… Watching their parents forsake those they claimed to love in order to pursue a personal dream or to have them forsake a personal dream in order to be there for the one’s they claimed to love. It didn’t take a second for our girls to answer. They knew that those kids would rather have had their family together.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends

John 15:13

How easily we have allowed Satan to destroy our families and our faith through the shallow promises of fame and mountaintop highs. When did being a faithful spouse, a loving parent, a loyal employer and/or employee stop being enough? 

And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.

Luke 4:5-6

In this same week we watched an episode of “The Waltons”. In this episode Olivia had taken a job as a seamstress and she was amazing at her trade. So much so that the owner of the business wanted her to run that store while she opened another one in another town. This coming with week long trips to fashion shows in New York. Olivia flattered struggled with many sleepless nights as to what she should do… deciding that her first priority was to her family she declined the opportunity. That’s quite the opposite of the stories of many today. 

I believe it so often has boiled down to the fact that we have forgotten the sacredness of the ordinary. This is not immune to the church or even to my own heart. Perhaps we just might have set ourselves up to live as Phil Waldrep stated earlier this week “from mountaintop experience to mountaintop experience“. We drag ourselves through the daily routine simply to get us through to the next big thing. Whether it be the end of our school or work week living Friday night to Friday night or in our spiritual walk living Sunday morning to Sunday morning or conference to conference but,

Discipleship isn’t about running from mountain-top experience to mountain-top experience. It is about denying yourself, taking up the cross and following Jesus.
~ Phil Waldrep

Our lives are scheduled from schools start to Fall Break to Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Years to Valentines to Easter to Spring Break to Summer Vacation. Our church life seldom looks any different than our kids school schedule or the Wal-Mart seasonal decoration aisles.

While the calendar may seem to set us up to live from one major holiday to the next, what if there is far more to expect from the rest of our days? While holy days mark events that dramatically shape both religious and secular worldviews, our ordinary days give us the space to live these events out. In the repetitive rhythm of the church calendar, human hearts are invited to beat expectantly of a greater kingdom. Ordinary time is never ordinary, for God’s presence always involves the unexpected.

~ Jill Carattini

I am sure you have heard the saying about the dash. When these bodies have breathed their last and our spirit returns to the One who gave it to us, we are down to two mountaintop experiences. The day of our birth and the day of our death. Yet these two mountaintop experiences are not what define us… but it is instead the valley of the dash.

Strangers from the time of the laying of the stone until the day of the destruction of the earth will walk by and see the mountaintops, but only those that were a part of your ordinary everyday life will have a clue about that dash.

So we can live our lives so that people who never met us or really knew us can quote the dates of our mountaintops to mountaintops as we hop from one to the next or we can instead choose to dwell long and purposeful in the valley of the dash. Working not for fame, but from faith. Faith that the Lord is there in the ordinary. After all He laid aside the glory of heaven and became ordinary for us…

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

Isaiah 53:2

Just an ordinary Baby from an ordinary girl who married an ordinary man who would teach Him the way he had been commanded by their Heavenly Father in and through ordinary life. An ordinary Baby who would grow to become an ordinary Kid with questions, who would become an ordinary Man who would teach other ordinary men to do extraordinary things for the Extraordinary God in the midst of ordinary days. Who would die on a cross with ordinary thieves so that ordinary girls like me might be saved.

The information in that dash is reserved only for those who were there for the ordinary. The ordinary matters. It’s easy to claim to live for Jesus up there on that mountaintop, and sometimes instead of living Jesus out in the valley of the shadow of death we just want to throw up a tabernacle right there up top, but Jesus brought Peter, James, and John down from the mountain (Mark 9).

Live for Him in the ordinary. It’s never just another ordinary day.

This Is A Test

PPM-3.jpg David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off.

1 Samuel 17:39

The past couple of weeks I have been teaching my preschoolers about doing the right thing simply because it’s the right thing, about how wisdom comes from being willing to listen, and about how not giving up because something is hard produces perseverance. Perseverance is a big word for preschoolers… and well it’s a big word for adults too. And walking it out is a big undertaking for me these days.

My preschoolers have been working on learning Colossians 3:17 “whatever I do and whatever I say should be for Jesus and give Him praise” (paraphrased), Proverbs 1:5wise people listen, wise people learn” (paraphrased), and James 1:2-3consider it all joy when you face trials and hard things knowing that this testing of your faith is being used by God to produce perseverance” (paraphrased). These are tough verses to swallow. Easy to memorize and quote (especially the paraphrased version), but a different story in the actual living it out process. In our chapel time we have been learning from David.

Earlier this week as I read again the story of David and Goliath the Lord caused a verse to jump out to me that He had not before. In teaching the children about perseverance I pulled a “suppose this” out of 1 Samuel 17. I said, Suppose that when David was a boy out with his sheep and he picked up that sling and tried to use it, suppose he missed his target on the first try or couldn’t even get the rock to stay in the sling? Suppose that when that happened he would have thrown that sling down  and stomped away and quit. Would he have ever been able to defeat Goliath that day that he stood before him or would he have joined all the others who were shaking in their boots in fear?

David was able to stand in confidence before this enemy with just a sling because he had practiced with it and tested it. God had helped him use it to defeat animals that were coming to kill, steal, and destroy his sheep and therefore David knew he could trust God to help him use it to defeat Goliath as well. This sling had proven to be a faithful tool in the hands of David as he faced lesser foes which allowed David to confidently step before this greater enemy. Through the testing of this sling in the pasture defending sheep David had learned to trust God and this sling and was ready to use it on the battlefield defending all of Israel.

It was 1 Samuel 17:39 and the word tested that jumped out at me as never before as I read it in light of James 1:2-3.

David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off.

David refused to use Saul’s armor, not just because it did not fit, but because he personally had not tested it. David would not stand before the enemy and trust in anything that he had not yet proven to be faithful through lesser circumstances.

In James 1:2-3 the word for perseverance in the Greek is hupomoné and it means properly, remaining under, endurance; steadfastness, especially as God enables the believer to “remain (endure) under” the challenges He allots in life.

Precious one are you under some challenges? Are you willing to stay under those challenges until God removes them or changes them?

We can look at 1 Samuel 17:39 in light of James 1:2-3 in at least two ways…

  • We are tools in the hands of our God. If He is to use us to fight the powers of darkness and deliver others from the taunting threats of Satan He has to test us. He has to work us against lesser circumstances in order to prepare us for greater ones. We must be proven.

In Romans 5:3-5 we read, “we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (underline mine). In order for God to use us for the glory of His Son, His name, and His kingdom we must be tested and proven. The only way to be tested is by facing trials. It sucks, I get it. But we have a choice. We can say throw me down and walk away, I don’t want to be used by You God. Or we can say, alright, Your will be done. Get me ready.

  • David had a sling. We have a sword, (“and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:17).  David had to learn how to use that sling. We have to learn how to use our sword.

In order for David to be able to trust in his sling. He had to have opportunities to use it. He might have started out with just aiming at trees and bushes and rocks, but that’s not the same as facing an enemy that is out for blood.  It’s one thing to win Bible drills and ace that Seminary exam on hermeneutics, but it’s another thing to trust in the Word of God when it comes to quoting it in the face of hurt and disappointment. David had to learn to hit a bush before he could learn to hit a bear and he had to be prepared to stand before a bear before he could be prepared to stand before Goliath.

So I ask again… Precious one are you under some challenges? Are you willing to stay under those challenges until God removes them or changes them?

Teaching Your Preschooler To Pray

PPM-3.jpgIt happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray…”

Luke 11:1 

I am continuing my reviews of books on prayer based by the new movie release War Room. This week I am sharing about a book written by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick, the producers, writers, and directors for the movie War Room.  This book is written to help teach preschool age children about prayer.

The book is

Peter’s Perfect Prayer Place is a book containing a cute story of a little boy searching for his perfect place to pray after he realizes that he sees his mother talk to God in a specific place every day.  After he struggles to the find the just right place, his parents talk with him about how he doesn’t need a “perfect place” for God to hear him because God hears his prayers any time and every place.

The treasure of this book is the prayer poster and stickers in the back. This  poster can be hung in your child’s room or on the refrigerator for all to see.  You can use this poster to teach your child to pray specifically and purposefully. My favorite part is the “God answered” stickers. This can help you to teach your child to not just pray specifically and purposefully, but also expectantly.

It’s important to help our children see how and when God answers our prayers. If we don’t do this, then they might become adults who throw words up to God, but never give Him credit for the answers. God isn’t our psychologist that sits quietly and listens while we talk it out. He is our very present help in our time of need.

How often do we give credit to answered prayers to “luck” or to another person, or to our own ability to “figure it out”? How many times have we completely missed that God answered a prayer because He did it so smoothly and gradually? Perhaps this is a book not just for our preschoolers… but for we grown-ups as well.

688683: Peter"s Perfect Prayer Place Peter’s Perfect Prayer Place
By Stephen Kendrick & Alex Kendrick


More War Room inspired book reviews to come!

The writing and teachings of Nicole Love Halbrooks Vaughn