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Beware the DSPV!

Dave shared the following as part of a testimony slot on Sunday 31 May 2020.

The best testimonies come from the biggest fights. The darker the hour, the bigger the miracle, the more there is to praise God for.

I’m finding that God is hitting the reset button on my head knowledge and the scripture that I’m using to encourage myself when I’m scared, stressed, feeling down and all those negative emotions. Maybe you’re like me and you’ve got scriptures that you know off by heart, or through a song and you recite them when you feel the need to do so.

However, I had become accustomed to reading the DSPV of the Bible, ie the Dave’s Self Pity Version. It’s the version my head recites when I’m feeling sorry for myself. But the DSPV doesn’t tell me the truth and it enables my feelings to decide my actions, not my faith.

Let me give you an example. Last year some time, I was mowing the lawn. I can’t remember the specifics but I was going through a rough patch, and I was living in faith that the outcome was going to be positive. So, I had my phone in my pocket, headphones plugged in and on repeat was the song “This is how I fight my battles” by Michael W Smith. It’s a really basic song. Do you know it?

The first part goes: This is how I fight my battles.

And the second part is: It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.

And the song repeats those two sections. It encouraged me to praise during the tough time I was going through because God deserves our praise even when everything is against us. The version I was listening to builds up and I was really getting into the song. I spent the whole time mowing the lawn singing these two sections over and over again. After I finished the lawn and got back into the house, Lore commented that she could hear me over the mower. I was fighting my battle through praise.

But recently, I’ve been allowing myself to be influenced by how I feel and not by my faith. Life has been really demanding since lockdown, adapting to working from home, with the family in close proximity. The amount of work has significantly increased and the work / life balance had been found wanting, so I got myself into a situation of feeling overwhelmed and I wasn’t coping with it.

I never want or intend to get myself into these situations, but looking back, it gives God an opportunity and He uses them. So, the verse that I had translated into the DSPV of the Bible was Psalm 150:6 which says: When you’re in the mood, praise the Lord.

The rendition actually found in the Bible states: Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

The Biblical version doesn’t mention anything about how I feel, but simply asks the question, ‘Am I alive?’ And if the answer is ‘yes’ (which it always has been so far!) then now is the time to praise the Lord. So, I wake up in the morning, I take a breath and I praise the Lord! He’s given me another day. Does it matter that I’m tired and in over my head? Or that I feel as if I have all the problems of the world on my shoulders? Not at all. As long as I have breath in my lungs, I will continue to praise the Lord.

To wrap it up, God is reminding me that I need to live by faith and not by sight, feeling, circumstance or the DSPV. Faith is not a feeling. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that: Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

So, no matter what we are going through right now, let’s praise the Lord and let’s live by faith.

Amen.

Covid 19 thoughts

Tuesday 5 May 2020 – Dave McSween writes:

I thought we would look at what everyone is going through right now.

Firstly, I want it on record that I don’t know if God made this pandemic happen, or if He allowed this to happen. He didn’t consult me on the subject.  But I do know that God is in control.

In Job, God encourages Satan to test Job, but God tells Satan that he can’t kill Job. I believe that Satan wanted to kill Job. That’s his role in all this. In John 10:10 it states: The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.

So, I believe that Satan wanted to kill Job. But God had already spoken. In Job 1, we find Satan in the presence of God. God asks Satan, “Where have you been?” As if God didn’t know already. He just needed a conversation starter. Satan replies, “You know, I’ve been doing what I do.” God then says, “Well, why don’t you try your thing on my servant?” And God allows Satan to have the power over Job’s possessions. But in Job 1:12 it reads: The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

So, I believe Satan wanted to kill Job, but the word of God had been spoken over Job’s life.

Anyway, regarding the virus it makes no difference whether God spoke this and it happened, or whether He gave Satan the power to do what he wanted and this is the result. Either way, we’re going through this together.

It makes me wonder how God is going to turn all this situation for our good and for His glory! That’s what has to happen. It says as much in Romans 8:28: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God.

But it gets even better – the second half of the verse states: …And are called according to his purpose for them.

So, it is for our good and because of the purpose God has for our lives. We are all going to be learning different things during the same situation.

It’s like we’re all stuck on the M25 on a sunny day and we’re all in different cars. Some of us are in limos, with the air conditioning on, keeping it cool. Others of us are in an old school mini without enough space to move around. We’re all stuck in the situation, but with completely different contexts and experiences.

I’ve heard loads of people say, “I can’t wait to get back to normal!” I’ve even said it myself. Get back to normal. But God isn’t the God of going back, or normal. God likes doing new things. I don’t think God wants us to go back to ‘normal’. I think He wants to start a new thing. Isaiah 43:19 says as much: For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

I want to see the pathway God has for me and my family through this wilderness.

The wilderness. It sounds similar to the time God had performed 10 ‘un normal’ miracles and freed His people from Egyptian slavery. Pharaoh changed his mind and wanted his workforce back, but God had other plans. God parted the Red Sea, as you do, and the whole nation of Israel walked through on dry land.

This was easy for God. All He has to do is say the words and it happens. God spoke and light was created. It is as simple as that for Him. Freeing the Israelites from Egypt was easy for God. He spoke and the frogs swarmed. He spoke and the locusts had a feast. He spoke and water turned into blood. He spoke and His angel killed the first born of every Egyptian family.

I believe God is using this time to shake His people out of a slumber; free people from addiction; break chains that have been holding people back for too long; perhaps just take us out of our comfort zones. I believe it is about seeing the opportunity that is being presented to us. Praying that God reveals that opportunity. Is it that as a Church we are able to offer hope to families, that is one step closer to them coming to Christ, one seed sown that will bear fruit? In our house we have taken the opportunity to worship as a family at lunch times. It’s not much different from the setup of a Sunday morning – five songs – we all choose a song and we worship as a family.

But the Israelites hearts took longer to change. In Exodus 16:3: If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”

The Israelites would have rather been slaves for the rest of their lives, than go on the adventure with God. It was easier for God to get the Israelites out of Egypt, than to get Egypt out of the Israelites.

God has already rescued you from Egypt, perhaps He is using this scenario to get Egypt out of you?

Maybe He isn’t. But I urge us to seek the opportunities that God has for us during these times and trust that it will all come together for our good and His eternal glory!