66 in 52 Challenge, Bekah's Heart, Devotional

Reflections on 1 Samuel

At the end of this week in 1 Samuel it was actually something in the most widely known story of this book that stood out to me and is where I’m centering my heart. Despite reading and hearing the story of David and Goliath more times than I can count in my life, God still brought new application for my life from these timeless truths. This time it came in reading a different version than I’m used to reading. In the CEV translation a contrast between Saul and David arose.

Later on in the book we see David and Saul as enemies but none of that has come to the surface back in chapter 17. As David prepares to fight Goliath with Saul’s permission the CEV translation captures a subtle but perhaps huge difference about each man’s focus heading into battle and dependence on the Lord.

In verse 36 Saul tells David: “… I hope the Lord will help you.”

While a few verses later as David stands face-to-face with Goliath he declares: “Today, the Lord will help me!”

Saul was hopeful.

David was convinced.

As I went back and looked at other translations and even the original language unfortunately I can’t point with clarity that different words were used, however the context and the story itself seem to support this difference in their attitudes.

  • Saul gets all worried about dressing David up in armor to protect him. David takes it off and trusts what he knows: “The battle is the Lord’s”
  • Saul is the King, the mighty warrior leading an entire army who is afraid of the giant. They’ve heard the taunts of Goliath day after day and have only let fear increase. David, the shepherd boy, too young to be in the army, hears the taunts once and is determined to risk his life to quiet the insults.
  • Saul is focused on victory for human gain. David only cares about honoring God’s name.

So whether the original language shows a difference in these two men’s words or not, I think we can clearly see behind the words their hearts were indeed in different places. I wonder if their attitude back even at this point had anything to do with the trajectory of each of their lives. On the surface they were similar. Both were king. Both led battles. Both sinned and walked away from God… big time. Yet how they recovered from those defeats was drastically different.

David was humbled when called out. Saul got defensive.

David repented. Saul acted out.

David is remembered as “a man after God’s own heart”. Saul died falling on his own sword after being wounded in a battle with the Philistines, the same group of people David declared victory over back in chapter 17.

I can’t help but wonder if many of these difference can be traced back to that one key difference… Saul HOPED God would come through, David KNEW he would.

It brings me to a reflection of my own heart. Am I fearlessly confident in my amazing, all-powerful, victorious God or simply optimistically hopeful? Am I convinced or wavering? Am I centered on the things of this world or the name and glory of Jesus? It could make all the difference.


Giving Up Fear in Loneliness

If you’ve ever taken a Myers Briggs personality test, you know that one of the spectrums that you are rated on is I and E … Introvert and Extrovert.  We often think of extroverts as loud and outgoing and introverts as more isolated.  While that is part of it, this is also measuring how someone gets recharged.  Do you prefer to be alone or have a few close friends?  Or is heading out to a big party where you don’t really know anyone more thrilling to you?  Do you get energy from being around people or does it drain you?  Most of us need both but tend to lean one way or the other.  Over the years I’ve taken this personality test 3-4 times and every time I end up EXACTLY in the middle of “I” and “E”.  I see this as true in my everyday life too.  I NEED both to be with other people as well as to be alone.  Too much of one or the other can be draining to me.

All that to say, even the most introvert of us doesn’t want to be alone ALL the time.  God created us to be in relationship with each other and when we don’t have enough of that (what ever “enough” is for each individual person), we crave it. I might even go so far to say that we perhaps fear that loneliness.  We all love to be alone from time to time, but no one wants to feel lonely.

Just like the other fears I’ve mentioned so far this week, I see this fear creep into my life and lie to me, paralyzing me from things.  When fear and loneliness get together, Satan has a heyday bringing a million “what ifs” to mind and when you’re alone, there’s no one to remind you how ridiculous some of them are?  What if something bad happens to you and no one knows about it?  What if some of the dreams you have for marriage and family never come to fruition?  What if you make the wrong decision about this major purchase because you had to make it on your own?  What if someone breaks into your house?

What if?

What if?

What if?

When I force myself to step back and think about all of these what if questions, I begin to see how unnecessary (and unhelpful) these fears are.  If something bad happened to me, Kathy Figini would know within 5 minutes and have help on the way.  I have friends and family around me to help me make decisions and if I still make a wrong one, they’ll be there to figure out the next steps.  And no matter what any given day or the future in general holds, even if it ends up being bad, it’s not worth my times to live in fear.

No matter what, God’s promise over and over and over in Scripture that He is always with us and we are never alone.  We have no reason to fear when God is on our side.  So, in those moments where fear and loneliness meet, may we give up the fear and cling to these beautiful promises of God:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.(Isaiah 41:10)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”(Joshua 1:9)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.  (John 14:16-17)

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)


Bekah's Heart, Devotional

Resting in Grace

Bloggers Note:
Yes. It’s been too long since I wrote a blog post.
No, I’m not promising to get back on to a regular posting schedule, but I sure hope that happens!

I’m currently reading through the book of Hebrews (which happens to be one of my favorite books of the Bible). I always especially love when I get to about chapter 4 because it gives such beautiful pictures of what it means to draw near to God and rest in His presence.

This week as I read through that chapter again, this passage struck me in a new way:

“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:9-10)

Because of my perfectionistic tendencies, one of my biggest temptations in life is to try to do things in my own strength or wisdom, (which are not really strength nor wisdom at all) instead of trusting God. As I read this verse, that is referring to God resting on the 7th day of creation and inviting us into that rest, I was reminded of God’s call to give up striving. As it talks about the one who has “entered God’s rest” it goes on to say that those are the people who have rested from their works.

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing,; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9

And here we are back to grace.

We truly enter the rest of God when we give up the works and trust the grace. It seems easier to try on my own. Easier to keep on striving and mark off all the check boxes and try to do things my own way. But how beautiful the peace when we simply stand in GRACE and let Christ’s works be enough, because unlike mine, they actually are!

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace…” (Hebrews 4:16)


First Trinity, Random

God’s Word is Strong!

One of the most common reasons some people struggle to believe Christianity and/or Jesus is true comes down to a simple game of “telephone”.

You’ve all played the game before: One person starts with a phrase and whispers it to the next person. That person whispers it to another and so on, until it gets to the last person. What makes this “telephone” game fun is the fact that by the time the last person receives the message, “The cow jumped over the moon” somehow mysteriously turns into “My cat escaped from the zoo.” We see this in real life too, right? We called it gossip or the rumor mill. The truth gets twisted in 16 different ways as it moves from person to person.

Because much of the Bible was passed on orally for many years before it was written down, people just assume that somehow the message must have changed along the way. If “The cow jumped over the moon” can’t pass through 6 people accurately sitting in the same room, how can we trust that whole Biblical accounts could be passed on from generation to generation to generation and still be 100% without fault?

Well, the answer is quite simple:

I got to see this in action this past Sunday when I had a chance to play an extreme game of “telephone” while leading the children’s message in worship. I started out sharing a message with a few of the kids and then asked them to go share it 3-4 other people out in the congregation. Then, each of the people who heard the message were to pass it along until everyone in the sanctuary had heard the message. Here’s where the risk came in: I then asked the whole congregation, on the count of 3, to say what they heard.

The possibility for disaster was great and I was dreading trying to make the connection with the theme that needed to be made if the message came back all mixed up. But it was time to see the results and when “3” came around, the message echoed clearly through the sanctuary:

“Jesus is alive and He loves you!”

At first I was amazed that it actually worked! (Especially since some of my first messengers where only a few years old!). Then it was relief that I could finish my message as planned. But as I walked back from up front, I remembered:

God’s Word is strong!

It has power unlike anything else! It’s indestructible. In Matthew 24:35 we read:

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away”

And we see these verses in Isaiah:

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (40:8)

“[My Word] will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (55:11)

I’m so thankful for things like “risky” children’s messages that God can use to remind me of simple, but POWERFUL truths about who He is and the beautiful gift He’s given us in His Word!

So whatever joy or struggle you’re in the midst of, remember this: God’s Word is strong and powerful and God longs for that strength and power to be unleashed in our lives each and every day!

(Oh and P.S. Jesus is alive and He LOVES you! … Now go tell a friend!)


God-Sighting Saturday

Reminders {God-Sighting Saturday}

This week I saw God every day in a friend who constantly points me to a HIM, the One who is bigger than anything I could face this week… Even if that means leaving a reminder on my microwave….


“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy. He will be quiet in His love. He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17