Category: Devotional

Lion Chasers & Giant Slayers

You find yourself in a pit with a lion. And it is snowing. What do you do? Benaiah found himself in this situation. He chased the lion down and eliminated the threat. As far as I can tell, he was either crazy or an incredible warrior. Or maybe a little (a lot?) of both. 

We find ourselves in tough situations all the time. Maybe not “in a pit with a lion on a snowy day” tough, but tough all the same. How do we know what to do? How do we learn what steps to take? Personally, I make a habit of learning from characters described in the Bible. Benaiah is one of those guys that I look at, especially when I need encouragement during a difficult time. Benaiah reminds me that we are to be leaders of character and leaders in the battle. We were designed to take on significant challenges.

Benaiah was an incredible warrior and one of King David’s Thirty Mighty Men. He was the kind of guy that people would tell stories about around the campfire. He was an honorable man and a distinguished leader. He defeated the strongest and most imposing enemies by hand. And he once chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day and killed it. Who does that? 

The story of Benaiah is a story of character as much as incredible feats of strength. While we don’t have many details, Scripture says he was more honored than his counterparts. King David recognized his trustworthiness when he made Benaiah captain of the king’s bodyguard. King Saul recognized his loyalty when he made Benaiah the commander-in-chief of the entire army. Benaiah demonstrated self-sacrifice as he attacked the fiercest foes while clearly being the underdog. 

And yet, I keep coming back to the story of the lion. Why did he pursue that fight? Why did he pick a terrible weather day? Why did he fight the lion in the pit? We’ll likely never know the details of that day, but I speculate that this was simply Benaiah’s lion to deal with. Just as in the battles when he defeated the giants, this was his battle to fight.

We have battles of a different sort today. Our enemy is not flesh-and-blood, but evil and darkness (Ephesians 6:12). 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” The probability is extremely high that you have had encounters with this lion. Maybe you’ve been attacked already. Maybe you’ve heard the roar. Maybe you’ve seen the evidence of him hiding the grassland around you. 

And yet there is no reason to fear. The enemy may roar, but don’t pay attention to that. He’s already been defeated. Be ready. Stay alert. Be on the lookout. And when he shows up, don’t be afraid of the fight. Instead, fix your gaze on the Victorious One, the one who defeated the enemy through the cross, the one who saw the beginning and the end, the one who calls us to follow him.

Stand firm and stay alert. This means living with Godly character and teaching the next generation to do the same. 

Engage your giants. Don’t be afraid of the fight if it is the right fight. These are your lions to chase and these are your giants to defeat.  

Fight the right fights. There are so many things competing for our attention and so many distractions to lead us off course. We must learn to stay focused so we can do what matters most. 

You are a conqueror. 

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 (NIV)

Tuesday Morning Coffee & Word

In the second video of this new Tuesday project I offer five tips to help us walk out the promises Jesus made in Matthew 11:28-30.

What are your go to practices? How do you stay confident and strong during any uncertain times?

Also, what do you think about these videos? I’d love to get your feedback!

Habits, Cathedrals, and Stories

Habits really need to be driven by a higher purpose, something more than to “be better.”  Too often, habits both good and bad determine the identity and the story. The successful person identifies the dream and the plan and then establishes habits to achieve that result. That dream or plan may be concrete or conceptual, yet fulfillment is the result of small habits over time.  

Habits are the means by which we reach our goals.  Here’s an example: retirement funds are never the result of a single investment.  Instead, the retirement investment is a long series of small deposits over a very long time.  That is why it is critical to start early, even if it is only a few dollars at a time. What is your dream or vision? What is the desired result?  What habits will move you in that direction?

The first foundation stone of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany was placed in 1248.  It had been dreamed of years earlier to honor the Three Kings (or Three Wise Men, depending on your background) that brought gifts to Jesus shortly after his birth.  Work continued until 1473. The original plans were rediscovered in the early 1800s and a renewed passion in the community inspired an effort to complete the massive project.  In 1880, 632 years after the first foundation stone was placed, the cathedral was completed and celebrated.   

The old gothic cathedrals were dreamed of by people who would never see the finished masterpiece.  That didn’t stop the dreamers from dreaming. They dreamed. They planned. And then they implemented.  The dreamers took the first small steps and placed the cornerstones. They passed along the vision to the next generation.  They worked and worked. And then they pass along the vision to the next generation. Today, we enjoy the work of multiple generations.  What is the modern equivalent? Trains, highways, democracy, a family recipe. What else?  

It seems as though we have forgotten how to honor past generations and to leave something of value for the next generation.  Let’s change this. There are stories worth repeating. Let’s identify the inheritance that is ours. Let’s put effort into leaving a worthwhile inheritance for our children’s children.

Here are two verses for reflection on the subject:

Proverbs 13:22a (NIV) “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children…”

Joel 1:3 (NLT) “Tell your children about it in the years to come, and let your children tell their children. Pass the story down from generation to generation.”

What old stories do we need to tell?  What stories are forming today that we need to pass down?  Perhaps equally important, what story are you writing today?