A Holy Discontent and a Grateful Heart

Read: 2 Samuel 7

A good reputation. Victories, here and there. Earthly treasures. God’s favor.  Name it, and most likely, David had any good king would ask for.  Now, it’s an opportune time to experience rest from Israel’s battles.  Yet there’s something inexplicable that David could not just shake off from his heart and mind.  What could it be?  Perhaps, a burden? Well, you can say that it’s a holy kind of burden.  It’s what some aptly call a “holy discontent”.

Now when the king lived in his house and the LORD had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you.” (2 Sam. 7:1-3)

What keeps you wide awake at night? What sort of vision totally exhilarates you?  In this text, David had one – to build a house (temple) for the God he loves so dearly.  What a gargantuan vision this shepherd-turned-king had!

Now, let’s read further.  Did God honor David’s desire? Well… Yes, but God’s reply had a some twist in it. To build the temple was left for his son to do; not in David’s reign. The Lord honored the humble king’s desire, but He had plans beyond what the king could think of.

Nonetheless, David was floored by God’s answer.  Then, this was the king’s response to God in his prayer:

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?  And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord GOD. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord GOD! (2 Sam. 7:18-19)

A holy discontent coupled with a grateful heart.  This is a powerful combination of humility made manifest in David’s life.

With all the great things that have happened to King David, he could have chosen to be a little lax.  But he was committed to do more for the Lord!  With God’s unlikely response to such desire, he could have chosen to react rebelliously.  Yet, he submitted… and his heart could not contain the joy he found in God!

At times, life’s victories can easily put our guards down.  For some people, they become complacent.  Others, they even forget to acknowledge God.  With all the good intent fused in every prayer that we hope the Lord would grant, we can subliminally bear a grudge when things don’t turn as anticipated.  But in this passage, David’s attitude was both noteworthy and praiseworthy.

An amazing concoction of holy discontentment and gratefulness were found in David, the man after God’s own heart.  Thus, by God’s grace, I pray that the same elements of humility could be found in your heart and mine too.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Based on this text, what can you say about David’s attitude towards God?
  2. Now, what was his attitude towards victory?
  3. How do you respond whenever God answers your prayers in an unexpected manner?
  4. Drawing from David’s example, how can you cultivate a grateful heart?
  5. What are the “baby steps” that you can take to act on the vision that God has placed in your heart to do?

A Unique Kind of Lens

Read:  1 Samuel 16:1-13

Saul just got rejected from being king, and Samuel was commissioned by God to search for his replacement. The Lord sent specific instructions to find Jesse the Bethlehemite for, surely, the Lord’s anointed was to be found in his family. Now, here’s something that God said, which I found so interesting and somehow perplexing:

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7 ESV)

On the basis of our humanly perspective, a shepherd boy was never fit to be king. The eldest was commonly favored in the family, particularly in the Jewish tradition, so the youngest of the clan was never the top choice. However, God wore a unique kind of “lens” when looking at His creation. He did not focus on one’s status, credentials, nor anything outward. The Lord was so focused on the condition of one’s heart.  He is looking at your heart. And, David had what God was looking for.

Today’s culture has created a strong sense of competition.  People want to be better than anybody else!  Employers want the most impressive curriculum vitae.  In short, they are “hunting” for the best of the best… of the best.  Whenever we fall short of the world’s standards, our lives seem to stop and crumble.  We end up looking down on ourselves and begin having a wrong self-image.  We likewise become critical towards others, by fault-finding and falling into the “comparison trap”.  Let’s be honest.  All these can be true of us, isn’t it?

But, is performance God’s measure of one’s character? Certainly not!  For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

Lift up your head, my friend.  Take heart, and be totally secure in God’s unconditional love.  Invest in cultivating your own heart, go to God’s Word, and pursue what He desires for you to do.

As we take a closer look at the life of David and discover how he chased God’s own heart despite his imperfections, I hope you’d prayerfully consider reflecting on the following questions:

  1. Have you ever fallen into the traps of comparison and performance?  How did you feel, and what where the results of such feelings?
  2. How’s your heart right now? Are you chasing God’s heart, or something less?
  3. God looks at our inmost being.  What are things that keep you from pursuing God fully and joyfully? Have an honest evaluation.  Then, I urge you to write them on your journal or on a piece of paper and fervently ask the Lord to live a surrendered life.

“Thankful” by Jill Duco-Miller

This is a note that my sister, Jill, wrote just recently. I wish to share it with you, as it talks about the brevity of life, reality, having a grateful heart, and the importance of living according to God’s purpose. I hope it moves your heart, like how it moved mine.

To my dear sister, we love you so much. I’m so glad that you are all well. Everyday, I thank the Lord for His faithfulness and the love He pours out to our family. Indeed, all praises belong to Him and Him alone!

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“On the morning of April 2, I was reading on a family life devotional and it said ‘…we should speak our words of love and gratitude to family members when they are alive. No regrets.’ It also reminded me of the verse Romans 13:8 – ‘Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.’

A few hours after that at around 1:05PM, I had a car accident. I praise the Lord for His protection and just overwhelmed by His goodness. Soon after I got hit, my car got dragged to the side of the feeder where I could have hit a fire hydrant, a post, or a tree. But God protected me and the other driver from that. No one was hurt and I have been pain-free since the accident.

Despite the circumstance, I know that I can trust in God’s plan and hold on to His Truth. I thank Him that He has kept me and the other driver safe, and that He has blessed me with a loving family and husband. That evening Edwin took me to Chick-Fil-A for what he called our “Thank YOU dinner” (that God kept me safe).

Psalm 16:11 has been encouraging – ‘You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’
I don’t know what will happen to me today, but I know that I have an all-knowing and all-powerful God whom I can trust. And to Him, I am very,very thankful!”

Written by Jill Duco-Miller

“Do Not Fear!”

People close to me know that I am currently within a “waiting season” in my faith journey.  I am waiting on the Lord for  quite a number of personal reasons and in many aspects.

“It’s tough” as a response, in case you’d ask about how I am now may sound a cliche.  But indeed it is — it’s tough.  But similar to any tunnel, it will end at some point.  The Lord will shed light on the things I’ve been inquiring of Him about, and I’m quite ecstatic about where all these will lead to.

On top of my circumstances, God proves Himself to be in control.  I just adore how He reassures me through His Word, His Spirit and through the love (and corrections) from people that surround me.  And I’m utterly awestruck by how He moves.

In relation to my current situation, God used this article to encourage me to press on with boldness and with rock solid faith in Christ Jesus.  It was sent by a good friend and mother of one of my students.  In addition, it was written by one of my loved ministers, Pastor Chuck Swindoll.

I would like to share this to you, and I do pray that you’d delight in the blessed hope that we have in the Lord, regardless where you may be in your life journey.

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“Do Not Fear!”

by Charles R. Swindoll

Read:  Exodus 12:31–14:14

Humanly speaking, predicaments are terrible experiences. If you stay in one long enough, you will begin to question the very roots of your faith. By and by you’ll begin to look for someone to blame; usually it’ll be somebody in leadership.

That’s why I am extremely impressed with Moses’ response. He didn’t say, as most are prone to say, “God helps those who help themselves.”  People think that familiar saying comes from the Bible. It doesn’t.  It’s from the pit. No, God helps the helpless!

Note Moses’ more biblical response in verse 13: “Do not fear!” What strange counsel. Can’t you hear his fellow Israelites? “Hey, Moses, the Egyptians are around the corner. They’ve got chariots and bows and arrows and pointy spears. And you’re saying, ‘Don’t fear’? What’s the matter with you, man? Do you need a change in your eyeglass prescription? Can’t you see they’re coming? God, save us from this near-sighted shepherd!”

“Oh, I see them fine,” Moses replied. “But I’m still saying to you, ‘Don’t fear!’ ”

But Moses isn’t done. After telling them not to be afraid, he has a second piece of counsel for his followers: “Stand still.” And a third: “Watch.” And a fourth: “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”

Now, there’s a prescription for people in an inescapable predicament!  Don’t be afraid, stand still, watch God come through, quit talking.  The hardest is the fourth, because we just have to complain or tell somebody what a predicament we’re in. But God doesn’t need to be informed. He knows the predicament. He is simply waiting for us to calm down and keep silent.

When you are in a cul-de-sac, led by God to that tight place, it is there you will discover some phenomenal surprises designed just for you. That’s why Moses said, “Look, let’s stand still. There’s a great blessing here for us that we’ll miss if we turn tail and run.”

You know the common response to panic? First, we become afraid. Second, we run. Third, we fight. Fourth, we tell everybody.

God’s counsel is just the opposite. Don’t be afraid. Stand still. Watch Him work. Keep quiet. It’s then that He does His best work on our behalf. He takes over! He then handles our predicament opposite the way we’d do it. The Lord is tapping His foot, waiting for us to wait.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives

(Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles

R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Backstory of “Everlasting God”

Hi guys, I just wanted to share what  my friend posted on Facebook. Great testimony!  I likewise attached the lyrics of  his composition.  Search Youtube for this worshipful song. I highly recommended it =)

Everlasting God

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon you Lord

Our God, you reign forever
Our hope, our strong deliverer…

You are the everlasting God, the everlasting God
You do not faint, you won’t grow weary
You’re the defender of the weak, you comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles…

ccli # 4556538
Brenton Brown/Ken Riley, Copyright © 2008 Thankyou Music (PRS) (adm. worldwide by EMI CMG Publishing, excluding Europe, which is adm. by kingswaysongs.com)