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  1. #11
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    What love they had for David that they would be willing to risk their lives for his dream. Self-preservation was not their first instinct. When we hear Jesus tell us to love one another, and we see the example of these Mighty Men, willing to sacrifice themselves for David, and we see how Christ Jesus sacrificed Himself for us, does that change what we are willing to do for one another? Yes, it does! Husbands and wives put aside their own personal, selfish agendas for each other; parents sacrifice their time, emotion, resources, and, yes, even their lives for their children. And what about our fellow believers? You may not feel “love” for your fellow church member, but you are willing to sacrifice time and effort to strengthen their faith and to help them through tough times. As a practical example, you in the Ladies' Aid, how much time do you put into preparing for a funeral for someone you hardly knew? Organists, how much do you practice so that your fellow members have a quality worship experience? Church cleaners, how much effort do you put in so that people you rarely talk to are not distracted by a mess in their pew? The flowers in the flowerbeds outside, the sprinkler system, or lawn mowing. You say, “Well, I'm afraid I don't do anything like that.” How many prayers do you all offer up to God here in our service with sincere hearts for people you don't even know? Council members, building and grounds, ushers, VBS teachers and volunteers, your offerings for our overseas missions, your general offerings for whatever the church needs...and the list goes on and on of things you do, not because you feel love, but because you have love! You don't do it for some shallow, emotional connection. You see the needs of your fellow believers and you try to fill those needs!

    When my friends and I get together socially, one or more of us will, at some point, propose a toast to our friends who couldn't be with us for whatever reason. The person making the toast will then pour a beer onto the ground in honor of our absent friends. Well, when David's Mighty Men returned with the water bottle from the well of Bethlehem, David didn't chug it down. Instead, he did something that might surprise us, esp. after all the effort these men went to in order to bring it to him. David poured it out on the ground.

    At first blush we might say, “What? They went to all that trouble, and David dumped it out?” But David's friends weren't outraged. They were honored. “Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the LORD. And he said, `Far be it from me, O LORD, that I should do this! Is this not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?'Therefore he would not drink it.”

    The Mighty Men had honored David by fulfilling his innermost desire, and David honored the Mighty Men by giving their offering to the Lord. They put their blood on the line for David's seemingly whimsical desire, and David was so overwhelmed by their honor for him, that he honored them by giving their offering to the Lord.

    Since 9/11 one of the ways that we honor our veterans and war-fighters is to thank them. People will go up to complete strangers and thank them for their service. We honor one another for our sacrifices for the Lord and for one another in the same way. If you're an usher, you've likely received a handshake from me as your pastor and I say, “Thank you for your service!” The same for our offering counters and our organists, church cleaners, hostesses, church officers, teachers, whoever! Everything that we do for one another as Christians is done as a service to the Lord in response for all that He has done for us. By honoring one another for what we do for the Lord, we honor what has been done for the Lord. That act of honoring is, itself, a form of thanksgiving to God for giving us our fellow believers who are willing to quietly put themselves out there for the Lord's work.

    Have you ever been without hope? What restored your hope? Chances are that someone did something for you that restored your hope. David poured out the Bethlehem water as a libation to the Lord. If David had only been thirsty, certainly David's men could have simply brought him a cup of water from the well inside the stronghold. So what did these men really accomplish? To put it simply, they restored David's hope. He was in a dark place, and what these guys did for him was to lift him up and give him hope for the future!

    We do that for one another as well. You don't have to look any farther than our service this morning. Do you have some sin that's been weighing on your conscience? What happened to that sin in our service this morning when you heard me proclaim to you, from God's Word, that all of your sins have been paid for by the sacrifice of Christ Jesus? I hope that your hope was renewed. In the absolution of your sins, God promised you, not only forgiveness, but eternal life. Eternal life! For you sinners! That includes me, the chief of sinners!

    The Mighty Men could go fearlessly into battle because they trusted in God, their Savior from sin. They knew that if they died in Him, that they would wake up in heaven. David honored the sacrifice of his friends by honoring God, his Savior, who had promised that he would be the king of Israel, and further promised that David's Son, Jesus, would sit on the throne of Israel forever. Christ gave them hope, and, in so doing, gave them courage to sacrifice for the Lord and for each other. Without their Savior, their sacrifice and honor would have meant nothing beyond a very cool moment together in combat in this world.

    All of our sacrifice for one another, all that we do to honor one another, would mean nothing without the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, who honored us with His presence in this world, in order that He might save us from our sins and, ultimately, give us hope.

    Why sacrifice for each other? Because Christ sacrificed for us. If it were not for Him, we wouldn't know what love is. We'd still be stuck on that stupid, emotional, infatuation that the world calls love. But, Scripture tells us, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” – 1 Jn 4:10f. Even more than that, Scripture says, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Rom 5:8. Did you get that? David's men sacrificed themselves because David loved them and they loved him. Christ's love is for those who didn't love Him! Christ honored us with His presence, coming down to earth, incidentally, coming to Bethlehem as a Baby in a manger, to pay for our sins and to give us the hope of everlasting life! God's Word tells us that, “We love Him because He first loved us.” – 1 Jn 4:19. His grace, His undeserved love, is why we stand before God forgiven, and it is why we have the guaranteed hope of eternal life. His love is the reason why we know true, Christ-love. Without Him we would have no hope beyond this world!

    So? What are we going to do with that love? We're going to show it! We're going to live it! We will bust through the enemy lines of sin and death to bring to one another the Living Water, viz., the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins, of which Christ says, “...whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life...” – Jn 4:14. We have water, not from the well of Bethlehem, but from the Child of Bethlehem! With that water we are refreshed, not just for this world, but we have the refreshing Water of life everlasting! By that Water, i.e., Christ our Savior, we know true love, the love of God. Through His sacrifice we have hope.

    “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Cor 13:13. It's worth noting that Christian love includes faith and hope. But without the love of Christ, faith and hope mean nothing.
    In Jesus' name,
    Amen.
    Joel F.
    Soo Foo, SoDak

    "I've…seen things you people wouldn't believe…Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those…moments…will be lost in time, like...tears…in…rain…"

  2. #12
    Join Date
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    The latest in the Mighty Man series:

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    Second Samuel 23:9f
    Text: Second Samuel 23:9f And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated.He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder.
    *****
    In the name of Jesus, who fought to the death for us, Dear Fellow Redeemed,
    A professional boxing round lasts three minutes. And there's a reason for this. After one minute of intense exertion, the body is not able to deliver enough oxygen to the muscles. In order to fuel the muscles, the body begins to supply the muscles with lactic acid to break down the glucose that the body uses for fuel. After three minutes of continuous exertion, the lactic acid buildup causes the body to slow down. This is by design. Because the body slows down, oxygen begins to build in the blood stream again, and it becomes available to fuel the muscles. So, after three minutes, the fighters sit down for a one minute rest, and their bodies are rested enough to go another three minutes. While three minutes doesn't sound like a long time, hand-to-hand fighting uses almost all of the muscles in your body. Set the timer on your microwave at home, then try punching your couch cushion for three minutes. I guarantee that you'll feel your muscles burning when the timer goes off.


    Our text is a small part of a portion of Scripture that details the exploits of soldiers who served with King David, individuals whom Scripture labels as, “Mighty Men of Valor.” These thirty-seven men were David's closest brothers-in-arms, warriors who, no matter what the odds, accomplished the mission. Eleazar was one of the three, top Mighty Men of Valor, the other two being Josheb, number one of the Mighty Men. He killed over three-hundred Philistines in one action. The other, number three, was Shammah, of whom we heard a couple of weeks ago as he defended the lentil field single handedly. Eleazar was number two. During a battle with the Philistines, the entire Israelite army retreated, leaving only David and the three mightiest of the Mighty Men, as we are told, “...they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated.” Four men against the entire Philistine army. But Eleazar didn't care about the odds. He knew that the Lord was at his side, and the Lord is mightier than any army. We're not told how many Philistines Eleazar killed that day, only that, “He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword.


    While most of us will never get into a championship ring, much less, get into a prolonged sword fight, you can appreciate the hand cramp that Eleazar experienced if you've ever raked your lawn. Raking with determination and vigor, the muscles of the hand begin to cramp and burn, so that when you stop, you have to almost pry your hand off of the rake. Now, imagine that your life depended on you finishing the job. If you stop, you will die. Eleazar couldn't take a break. He didn't get a three minute round. He had to keep on fighting as long as the Philistines kept coming. How could he do it? Adrenaline helps. Determination helps. But, sooner or later, those things won't matter. The body can only take so much. So, how could he do it? The key is in his name.


    The name Eleazar is a Hebrew word that means, God has helped, and so we will see this morning that because:
    GOD HELPS
    we can: I. Keep Fighting and:
    II. God Will Bring About Victory
    III. Through Jesus Christ
    In June of 1940, at the beginning of the Battle of Britain, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” The odds were not good. The German Luftwaffe had enough aircraft that they were able to bomb London almost around the clock. The Nazis, and, indeed, the world, were convinced that the Luftwaffe would be able to overwhelm the small Royal Air Force in short time. The odds were against the British defending their island. But, in spite of the odds, the British fighter pilots flew mission after mission, against overwhelming odds, so that the Germans were finally forced to abandon the Blitz. After the Battle of Britain, Churchill rehearsed the speech in the car on the way to the House of Commons on August 20, 1940. Originally, Churchill planned to say, “Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to so few,” referring to the handful of British pilots who beat back the German assault. But his aid said “What about Jesus and his disciples?” Churchill immediately changed the wording to “Never in the field of human conflict...


    We could add Eleazar to the concern voiced by Churchill's aid. In Eleazar's case, the entire nation of Israel owed their existence to one man's refusal to give up the fight. But what if he had quit? After all, if there is safety in numbers, Eleazar should have joined the thousands of Israelites who had run away. That would have made sense. Yes, what if he had said, “There are too many Philistines! I'm tired. Everyone else has run away. I might as well quit too.” The Philistines would have won the battle. But Eleazar didn't quit. He kept on fighting until victory.


    We might well feel the same way. We look around us and we think, “I'm all by myself!” We used to have eighty or more in church on Sunday. Our confirmation classes used to have a dozen confirmands or more. Now, look. How many have run away? If we want to be with the larger number of people, then we should run away too. If there's safety in numbers, then we should quit the fight, and join the ELCA, or the Catholics, or, the unbelievers. There are a lot more of them than us! Why not give up the fight for God's Word and join them?


    Or, let's make it more personal. We sin everyday. It's a battle not just to avoid temptation. No, we daily see ourselves give in to temptation. Why not just give and quit fighting? Wouldn't it just be easier to just stop fighting our sins and just let sin overrun us? We see a lot of people living that way, and they seem to be having a good time.


    The problem with that is, if we quit fighting, if we let sin win the fight, or, we give up our stand on God's Word, what we are really doing is giving up on God. We're giving up our faith. If we're fighting, if we're uncomfortable, we know that we're still alive! We're not just holding our position. We're moving forward. Paul writes, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Phil 3:13f. You've been a believer for how long? Decades?
    Joel F.
    Soo Foo, SoDak

    "I've…seen things you people wouldn't believe…Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those…moments…will be lost in time, like...tears…in…rain…"

  3. #13
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    We may feel like the battle will never end. We may look around and think that the fight is hopeless. But we'd be wrong. Paul reminds us that, “...now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” – Rom 13:11 – 14. The victory is guaranteed! Not only does God help...God gives the victory! He guarantees it!



    A couple of months ago, I replaced the rear axle in my 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I mean, I took the old axle out from under the vehicle, and replaced it with a rebuilt axle. Every bolt that attached the axle to the Jeep had to removed. Because of the rust on a fifteen year old vehicle, even with air tools, this was an impossibility. Fortunately, I didn't have to do it by myself. I called someone who had an oxy-acetylene torch, he heated the bolts, and the air wrench took them right off. Had it not been for that torch, I would probably still be trying to take off those bolts. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't have done it myself. Not quitting was not the problem. I could have kept at it, but it would not have done any good. Only when someone else stepped in and helped, did I make any headway.



    Eleazar could have swung his sword until he couldn't swing it anymore. He could have stayed in the fight until the Philistines overran him. But it wouldn't have done any good if he had not had help. One man standing against hundreds or thousands, armed only with a sword, and prevailing only happens in the movies. It's not reality. Unless it's God's reality. Our text reveals that Eleazar experienced victory only because of his faith in God. Not because of the strength of his arm or the edge of his sword. We read that, “He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day...


    You have the same faith that Eleazar had. He trusted in the Savior-God of Israel. He trusted in Jesus. And so do you. Where did his faith come from? Where does your faith come from? “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” – Rom 10:17. Eleazar had faith in God's Promises of Ultimate Victory through His Son. And so do you. We win the victory with the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God! Again, Paul writes, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Phil 4:8f. When we feel the fight is hopeless, when we feel we are losing, when we worry that our faith will not hold, God directs us to His Word! Do you feel lost? Go to God's Word and see there that, “The Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” – Mt 18:11. Do you feel that you're losing the battle against your sin? Go to God's Word and see that, “The blood of Jesus Christ [God's] Son cleanses us from all sin.” – 1 Jn 1:7. Do you feel hopeless because you've lost someone to death? Go to God's Word and see that, “if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” – 1 Thess 4:14. Do you fear that you'll lose the final battle for your soul at your death? Go to God's Word and know that you don't face it alone. God stands with you, and God has guaranteed you the victory! “God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” – 1 Cor 15:57.

    That's the key. Christ is the proof and the guarantee of our victory. Faced with overwhelming odds, Christ Jesus went to the cross to win the victory over sin, death, and the devil. Lactic acid didn't cause His hand to curl in pain. His hands curled around nails fastened to the cross. His fight brought us the forgiveness of sins. When the battle was finished, His people, you and I, returned, not to fight, but only to reap the plunder of His single handed victory, viz., eternal life. God has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:31).


    Christ has already won the victory for you. God helps us with our sin battle, He helps us with our death battle, and, He helps us in every single one of our life battles. So, stay in the fight. Don't quit, for God has given you the victory.


    When God gave Eleazar the victory, the Israelites came back to plunder. Likewise, stay in the fight. Fight for yourself, for the Truth, and for your fellow believers, and they will see that God has given you the victory. And they'll come back to enjoy that victory with you. They'll come back to experience that victory in their own lives.


    God doesn't need our help. He can, and does, do it without us. But we can't do it without Him. God helps. He's helped us in the past and He'll continue to help us until our dying day, and beyond, helping us into eternal life through Jesus Christ.


    Adlai Stevenson wrote, “On the plains of hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who at the dawn of victory, lay down to rest, and in resting died.” Are you going to fight for all of those years, fighting against sin and false teaching, fighting your sinful flesh, investing years of battle and discomfort, only to say, “I'm too tired. I quit!”? If you quit now, you'll never finish! And you're so close to the goal. Look at the field of battle and say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” – 2 Tim 4:7f.

    In Jesus' name,
    Amen.
    Joel F.
    Soo Foo, SoDak

    "I've…seen things you people wouldn't believe…Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those…moments…will be lost in time, like...tears…in…rain…"

  4. #14
    Resurrecting an ancient Warrior talk thread. The link is to a TED talk. The speaker is Malcom Gladwell, somebody I can't see ever joining this forum! But he wrote a couple of massive best sellers such as Blink, Tipping Point and Outliers. He guy gives a fascinating analysis of David and Goliath, two fearsome warriors who probably would be on this forum! He focuses on it NOT spiritually but historically, medically (he's 100% accurate) strategically, ballistically and factually, and it is fascinating. You can speed it up and watch it pretty quickly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziGD7vQOwl8


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziGD7vQOwl8

  5. #15
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    950
    I haven't read this yet, but I'm
    going to read all of it, and I'm
    using this as a tag.

    Thanks!
    "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes" Alan Temby
    "Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth"- Oscar Wilde.

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