Transformation from a Shepherd to a Warrior

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1 Samuel 17:47

“All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

Here we see David a man of profound faith in God!

When the whole army of Saul is stupefied by the sight of Goliath, a mere shepherd boy comes up and proclaims the power of God of Abraham to people of Israel and march against the enemy.

I want to turn our attention today to the transformation of David from a Shepherd to a Warrior.

Stage1: Forgotten by Man but Chosen by God

In 1 Samuel chapter 16, we see the portion where Samuel chooses the family of Jesse out of the tribes of Israel. Jesse calls all his sons except for the youngest one who was doing his job of tending the sheep (1 Samuel 16:11). Probably, Jesse didn’t think David significant enough to be present in that assembly because of his age as well as his occupation. Jesse would have had no clue as to, ‘Why Samuel wanted to see David when there are my other sons so sturdy and fit to fight in the army of Saul? Why does he need this shepherd boy?’.

You may be forgotten by everyone else but God knows you by name and heart.

Stage 2: Anointed by the spirit of God

But God who looks at the heart wanted to anoint David. Even though his own father didn’t bother to call him, God summons for David and anoints the little one. Bible tells us that the spirit of God came mightily upon David from that day forward (1 Samuel 16:13).

Even though no one considers you important, God has called you for his purpose and He shall anoint you if you have a sincere heart to serve him.

Stage 3: Remains Faithful in His duty

But the interesting thing is that David doesn’t just go and go declare himself to be the king immediately after this incident. Instead, he continues with his profession until the time of God. But practically, we still see him to be a faithful shepherd rearing His sheep. The faithfulness and confidence of David is clear as David explains to Saul about the incidents of how he saved his animals from the wild animals,

1 Samuel 17:34,35,36,

But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.

David remains faithful to his job of taking care of his father’s sheep. Even though he was called into service by the king to play the tambourine he didn’t use it as an excuse to stop caring for his sheep. It says that he rushed back and forth from Saul to tend to his father’s sheep. David was a very faithful man who did his duties with great responsibility and care. As soon as he was anointed, he could have left the sheep and a do a show-off of what he has got. But instead, he remains in the place where he is placed at the moment and diligently continues his work until the appointed time of God. Even though he used to stay in Saul’s palace, he used to go back to Bethlehem from time to time to take care of his father’s Sheep. Also, when he had to go to meet his brothers, he left someone else in charge of the sheep and He never forsakes them (1 Samuel 17: 14,15).

God has placed us in this place for a purpose. And He expects us to be faithful in the duties that we have been given which might be our academics, workplace or anything else as it may be. No matter what other things we do, let us not forsake the primary duties on us. A lot of times we might feel ‘too busy’ to focus on other things, but it is not so. We need to sincerely pursue the work given by God unless and until it is no longer needed.

Stage 4: Become a Blessing

And incidentally, the spirit-filled David is brought to soothe the mind of Saul (1 Samuel 16:23). I’m sure David had no other magical powers other than the spirit of God living in him. The young man in Saul’s court gave a testimony of David that ‘the Lord is with him’ (16:18).

It is such a blessed testimony and how many of us would really say that about us?? I really wonder!

Stage 5: Facing the Enemy

As we read further in 1 Samuel chapter 17, we see a huge man named Goliath defy the Israelites and he was asking for a man to fight against him. The word of God says that Saul and all the Israel were dismayed and greatly afraid at this instance. Some time ago, Saul and his men were camped in the valley and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines. But when they saw this huge man they were literally scared. When the city of Jabesh was held captive and threatened, Saul filled with the spirit of God went and rescued them (1 Samuel 11:11). But now the same Saul is terrified of fighting a giant.

At that moment they couldn’t think of God’s power nor had any courage to go against Goliath in the name of God.

So are we! We make big plans and go out to fight. But as we face the reality of the problems, many times we feel taken back and stand stupefied. And we don’t know what to do.

Now turning to David, he is not even a bit afraid of Goliath, the gigantic Philistine taunting the armies of the living God. He says that he has even killed a lion and a bear and why not Goliath? It’s interesting to see His faith in God and He is so sure that God will accomplish it for Him. His brother tries to put him down but he is so sure of what he wants to do and what he trusts in that he doesn’t quit his talk easily.

We also should have a spirit that is not put down easily. And we can achieve that only if we can believe in God just like this young man David. We should be assured of His grace and then we can rest in His confidence.

Stage 6: Simple Humble but Lifted High

David makes up his mind to against Goliath by himself and the news reached the ears of Saul. Saul tries to give David his own military dress with all protection but David doesn’t feel comfortable in it and he immediately disagrees to wear it. He follows his own simple and humble style of killing as he chooses the smooth stones from the brook (1 Samuel 17:37-47).

Many times, we try to randomly copy other people’s lifestyles even within spiritual circles instead of seeking God and understanding His will about us. And we may end up being not satisfied with life. It’s important to ask and understand from God what he really wants each of us to do and he wants us to be used.

Indeed, it is impressive to see the confidence with which David runs to the battle line and shot the sling. He is indeed a spirit filled man anointed by God! He conquers the Philistine with just a sling and a stone (1 Samuel 48-58).

What would I have done? Would I run away when I see the Philistine approaching me? Most of the time, we try to run away from the situations we are not comfortable in and we forget that we serve a living God.

Stage 7: To a Warrior

David was a young shepherd tending his father’s sheep but God chooses him to be the king and places a much greater purpose in his life. God uses Saul himself (who would otherwise have killed him if he knew Samuel anointed David as King) to place him as the head of the men of war.

James 4:10

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

1 Peter 5:6

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

 

David is humble and faithful in the places allotted to him and God raises him to be a leader at the right time. David achieved all this because he was a man of God anointed by the spirit of God and nothing else. Let us not trust in ourselves but on God! Goliath thought that he was the best, and nothing in the world could defeat him, that’s the reason why he challenged the nation of Israel. If he was wise, he should know that there must be always someone stronger than him. God looks at our heart, He knows all our desires and intentions. So, no matter what the world would think about you, God knows who you are, all our strengths and weaknesses. We need to seek God for His direction and trust Him. Let’s make an attempt to move ahead in life and fight for Christ!

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Credits : Aashish Prateek, Karen Nimmy Stephen, Imrong Ikr, Feba Varghese

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If He has promised, He will fulfill it!

God works differently in the life of each person and he has a unique purpose for each of us. And some things that God does in our lives are beyond our understanding and we can only stand in awe of His wonders. In life, we might sometimes take some small decisions for God, but the leading of God is so amazing that He takes the tiny steps to a different level of honour in our life.

A recent experience in my life goes along the same lines. In my school days, in one of the youth camps, I took a decision to serve God as he calls me even if he sends to the deepest corner of the world. Probably, I couldn’t comprehend at that time the gravity of the decision that I made in the camp. The youth leader asked a simple question, “Who would go out to serve God if He calls you?” I had nothing much to think that day and with tears in my eyes, I committed myself to the will of God. And even years later, God still remembered my decision and gave me many opportunities, even though I forgot about it many times. Recently, God gave me the privilege to be in a remote village in Sikkim for 2-months as part of the research work of my M.Tech curriculum in IIT Bombay and surprisingly it was again a reminder of the decision I made as a school girl.


Sanghanath Village in South Sikkim district is a very remote village located on a hilly terrain in Sikkim with lots of hardship. The village faces a lot of mobility issues and road connectivity in the area is very poor. The households were very sparsely populated up and down the hill and visiting households for the survey was a hard task. The food habits of the people were so different as they consumed only breakfast and dinner. It was a difficult task to adjust with the new food timings but eventually, we managed with small snacks. Communicating with the tribal community in Nepali was a challenge but we could manage with Hindi with some of the people and some of the local people supported us as interpreters. But beyond all these facts, the most beautiful thing in the village was that there were churches in that very remote village. I was so surprised and happy to find that gospel is spreading even into the remote regions of the country. The experience was totally new to me but at the same time, I could experience the caring hand of God upon me all throughout the two-month stay. I also got opportunities to share my testimony with them and speak the word of God and I could literally stand in awe at the ways God was leading me in such a strange place.


Figure 1: Sanghanath Village captured in the morning 

I felt it was really amazing that God brought me from a faraway land to be in the midst of saints and testify His holy name. And I praise God for all the apostles and missionaries reaching out to the unreached to share the gospel and I think we should be really thankful to all the workers of God because of whom we are in Christ. It is only the grace of God that leads us amazingly every day!

Romans 8:28 says,
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”


Video 1: An evening in Sanghanath singing songs of joy

Sometimes, we don’t even understand what is happening around us. And in such desperate situations, we might ask God a lot of questions. Everyone would have one such low point in life where we would ask God a lot of questions. But in His perfect time, God answers all our questions. And even if any answer is still in ‘pending’ status, we don’t need to be worried about it because the perfect time is also in ‘pending’ status.
The life of Joseph is a perfect example of this context. Joseph was a faithful man and God gave him a big and amazing dream. It was God who gave him the vision that his father and brothers would bow down before him as we read in Genesis chapter 37.

Genesis 37: 9-12

“9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.”

 

But the immediate events in his life after the dream were a stark opposite to the vision he got from God. Following are the events that took place in his life:

• The brothers stripped him of his beautiful tunic (Genesis 37:23)

• He was sold by his brothers to Midianite merchants (Genesis 37:23)

• The Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar (Genesis 37:36)

• Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison (Genesis 39:20)

• The chief cupbearer whom Joseph helped forgot him (Genesis 40:23)


Figure 2: Life line of Joseph (Source: https://goo.gl/images/nmbn26 )

At this point of time, Joseph might have had a lot of questions because his dreams didn’t much match with the reality of incidents happening in his life. But looking closely at all these portions in the bible, one thing is very clear, ‘God was with Joseph wherever he was…”. Genesis 39:2,3 says, “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favour in his eyes and became his attendant.” He was sent to jail but wherever he was Joseph found favour in the eyes of jail warden. The warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did (Genesis 39:20-22). So basically it was not as if God left Joseph to suffer alone but God was in control of whatever was happening in Joseph’s life. And eventually, as time unveiled the mystery God led Joseph to be in charge of the whole of Egypt and God literally fulfilled the vision he gave to Joseph Genesis 41: 41-44).

 

God knows what he is doing with each of our lives and sometimes the immediate events of our life may not go hand in hand with the promises we have got from God. But in these circumstances, we shouldn’t fear anything because He is still in control. However low the situation might be, God can still raise us to be in control over the things as He is by our side. Let us trust God blindly!
The one who gave the promise is powerful enough to fulfill it!


Figure 2: A beautiful evening view from Sanghanath 

Have a blessed Sunday! 
Author : Feba Varghese 

Sickness of Comparison 

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:41, 57-58‬ 
41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

The universe consists of different heavenly bodies and each of them are defined by their own spectral signatures making each of them unique. Spectral signature is the variation of reflectance or emittance of a material with respect to wavelengths (i.e.,reflectance/emittance as a function of wavelength). The spectral signature of stars indicates the composition of the stellar atmosphere. The spectral signature of an object is a function of the incidental EM wavelengthand material interaction with that section of the electromagnetic spectrum. No star is similar to another nor is one moon similar to another. We often listen to statements like “earth-like” planet is discovered by scientists. But the scientists and all the readers would understand that it is merely “like” and not equivalent to earth! Because earth is only one and the other planets have their own signatures that defines their specific properties. 

So, basically every creation of God has a very special and specific role as designed by God. The moon cannot decide on one day that my glory should be like the sun because it by itself cannot produce any light and it merely reflects the light from Sun. Now this basic truth is applicable to humans as well. No two humans are completely equal. Even if they look alike, their characters, talents, personality, and what more, even physical features like finger print and cornea signatures will be different! 

But man is often crippled by the “sickness of Comparison”. We feel sad looking at someone else when we realise he is doing something in a better way than us. We forget that our call and signature of life is different from the person with whom we are comparing ourselves. No ‘sickness of comparison’ needs to hold us back from doing something if God is backing us on it. You may not become as famous as A.R Rahman but if God has given you a talent to sing however big or small, use it for the glory of God! You may not become a best seller like J K Rowling but if God has blessed you with a talent to write, use it for the glory of God! Even if one person gets touched by what you write/sing/etc, then it is certainly an achievement before God. Jesus Christ is the good Shepherd who goes in search for a single lost sheep leaving the rest ninety-nine sheeps in the open pasture (Luke 15:1-7). So he values even the little things that we give for His kingdom in love.

God has created each of us uniquely and specially with important roles in life but we ought to do them well. Imagine what would happen if the Earth decided to take rest for a week and it stops revolving? Probably that’s enough to topple the whole solar system. We humans who are created in the likeness and image of God have even more greater roles to play for the kingdom of God.

But we are often slack or lazy in the works allotted to us and we do things in the way that we want to do it rather than what God expects of us. The non-living heavenly bodies are following the same motion and not even their path-line has shifted from the way God designed it for them. But we exercise our free wills and often move away from God. 

The question for us today is are we faithful in building God’s kingdom? Paul in verse 58 tells the believers of Corinth to “give yourselves full to the work of the Lord”. Yes! The day of the Lord is getting nearer and we have lesser time. We need to love God beyond everything…

Yes, we are weak! And we often get tired and frustrated in life. Sometimes when our questions go unanswered we lose all hope and even feel like giving up on life. But again Paul gives a good reminder here, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

I am weak but He is strong! 

And He will carry me forever…

Author: Feba Varghese
 

Stepping out in His love

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:19, 2219 “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.

22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”

Change is inevitable in life but accepting it is one of the hardest things in life. It is always easy to continue with whatever we are right now than to step out of the comfort zone and venture into new things. And for most of us, it is a too difficult task to push ourselves out into experiencing new things that we are not used to in life. It also requires us to humble down and to discipline our attitudes towards life.

Paul here says that to win the souls he tried to be like them. He says that he has become all things to all people so that by all possible means he might save some. And it is God’s love that was prompting strongly and helping him to humble so much before the people. 

It is quite easy to stand out and make a statement but it is also necessary to stand in the shoes of others to understand them. And that is exactly what Jesus did for the mankind. In heaven, He was all in glory and honour but He humbled Himself to be like on of us. No man can point a finger at Jesus and say that he (the man) has faced more difficulty than Jesus. Because the way Jesus Christ humbled itself is so amazing and He suffered till the cross to give us eternal life.

Probably, each of us needs to pray to God that He will give us the courage to humble down and embrace the people and win souls for Christ. It isn’t an easy task to put down what you love the most but it is worth giving up for the one who loves the most. Jesus Christ loved us to the point of shedding His last drop of blood for our sins. But many more needs to know it… And some specific experiences which we found as the hardest in our life could be the way that God might use us in future/present to share to people about the love of Jesus Christ.

May God give us the courage and strength to endure whatever God has kept in store for us.
God bless you…

Wait Till God’s Time

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭4:5, 115 

“So you should not pass judgement on anyone before the right time comes. Final judgement must wait until the Lord comes; he will bring to light the dark secrets and expose the hidden purposes of people’s minds. And then all will receive from God the praise they deserve.
11 To this very moment we go hungry and thirsty; we are clothed in rags; we are beaten; we wander from place to place;”

Most of the time we are quick to pass judgments on people and we easily condemn the works by neither realising the real motives nor by understanding the circumstances. But Paul here gives an interesting instruction to the believers of Corinth. He tells them that they have to wait until the Lord comes to pass a judgment! Now that is too long in our eyes (Although it can occur even at this very moment). 

Probably, the instruction may sound a bit weird to us. The instruction is almost equivalent to telling us not to pass judgment over anything. Paul also gives the reason for his instruction. He says that when the Lord comes, he will bring to light the dark secrets and expose the hidden purposes of people’s minds. And then all will receive from God the praise they deserve. So what more can we need? And why should we condemn someone else because God will do it at the right time! And I can never understand the hidden things until God himself reveals it to me.

Matthew 7:1-2

1 ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Jesus also gives instruction to the people on similar lines. Jesus strictly tells us not to judge others because we also will be judged with the same measure.

After Paul tells all these instruction, he goes on to tell them something very touching in verse 11, “To this very moment we go hungry and thirsty; we are clothed in rags; we are beaten; we wander from place to place;”. Paul was a learned man and was proficient in His subject. He has no reason to go hungry and thirsty or to be clothed in rags. And we can be sure many people may have mocked and condemned Paul for his new decision to serve God. He was beaten and had to run away from places. He would have suffered a lot of judgment from people who may have thought that God has punished Paul for his new decision. But Paul rightly believes and as he shares, “then each man’s praise will come to him from God”


Yes! That is our hope in Christ. Whatever difficulty that we may face in life today because of standing for His word may be condemned, judged and mocked by people. But a day will come when Christ will reward us…😊

And let us also make sure that we also don’t condemn or judge others!
God bless you….

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Trusting God’s Power in Life

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:3-5“I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”

It is natural for all of us to wish that things were smooth and simple for us. We would all wish at least one time for life to be just like a dream, where all things fell into its correct places in a glimpse. The greatest flaw of such a case probably is that in such a circumstance we may not truly seek God or we may not experience the depth of God’s love in those very smooth transitions.

It is easier for us to trust something to happen if we feel we are capable of doing it. For example, imagine that i am asked to lift a cup and place it somewhere else. My brain knows that I am capable of doing it and it is easy for me to trust that I can complete the task. But what if i am asked to move a mountain and keep it else where? Then I know that I am not capable enough to do it and I may not move an inch from my position even to try!

So, the point is that we find it difficult to trust the completion of tasks beyond our capabilities. And that is exactly where the role of ‘faith’ comes in life. Hebrew 11:1 says, “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.”


Looking around us, things may seem very difficult and disappointing but if we can still place our faith on Jesus then He will certainly pull us out of all our problems.

Now, Paul here says an interesting phrase in 1 Corinthians 2:4, “so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power”. If I move a cup from one place to another there is very little chance for me to give glory to God for that task. But with God’s mercy even if I partially transfer some sand from the mountain to elsewhere I will be very thankful to God. Because I know that I was never capable of it but it is the faith in God that helped me to even try the task. God doesn’t want us to trust in our humanly wisdom/capability but he wants us to place our faith on God’s power in our life. 

Today you may be weak and disappointed in life. You may be approaching life with much trembling and fear than Paul but place your trust on God. He is the one who will equip us in our journey. He will provide for us and will never ever leave hold of us. 

Jesus lives and He loves you…

God bless you…

Contributor: Feba Varghese 

Beautiful Creations

How much more beautiful will heaven be….! 
#The beauty of God’s creativity and charm is so amazing that you can’t help admiring it. Lush greenness and blue sky along the flow of sparkling green river…. #

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#Unfortunately, the strife, pain, wrath and selfishness tries to meddle with the beautiful creation… #

#Be good, Love others 

#manimalayar #mallappally

Look beyond the Horizon


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The waves may lash back and forth,

Keep calm and quander,

Switch the perceptions,

And see beyond the horizon… #

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#ThinkOutOfBox #GirlsOnTheBowOfShip 

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When Jesus is in your boat you need not fear the winds and waves…Keep calm…😊

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