Thursday, July 9, 2015

Guest Author Lori Stanley Roeleveld

My guest author today is Lori Stanley Roeleveld. She is the author of the devotional book Running from a Crazy Man. I think Jerry Jenkins explains it best with:

So you were hoping for a cheery devotional that would warm your heart, put a grin on your face, and remind you to count your blessings as you climb, climb up sunshine mountain as heavenly breezes blow?

Guess what?

You picked up the wrong book.

On the other hand, I’ll bet you can’t read just one of Lori’s bite-sized reflections. There’s plenty of sugar to help the medicine go down. As soon as you peek ahead and think, I’m not sure I want to face this particular truth, you remember that the last time you thought that, Lori made it palatable with the right dash of humor, pathos or ah-ha.

Then you’ll find yourself saying, as I said: “All right, just one more. And one more. And one more.”

Jerry B. Jenkins

Here is an excerpt from her book. Click on the cover to purchase a copy.

Following Jesus When It Doesn’t Make Sense

This is nuts.

That’s what I’m thinking about my life sometimes and the lives of people I love.

Something is seriously messed up because life doesn’t make sense.

Have you noticed?

There are people who love and obey the Lord and they thrive.

There are people who rebel against God and they suffer.

But sometimes, people who rebel against God enjoy great happiness, wealth, and all the best the world has to offer, seeming to prosper at every turn.

Sometimes people who love and obey the Lord face trials, losses, and failures that make others shake their heads and turn away in confusion.

On some days, we know exactly what God is about and what He’s doing in our lives. On other days, we feel as though all we’re doing is running from a crazy man.

Like David.

As a young shepherd, David spent years getting to know God. I imagine at night, he contemplated the stars, wrote songs to the Lord, and saw the staggering works of God in nature as he defended his flock against lions and bears. He probably dreamed about the day when he would become a true warrior.

Then, David was called in from tending the sheep. The prophet Samuel anointed him king—an exhilarating moment for a young man, brimming with promise and yet laden with fear too. The nation of Israel already had a king who was quite comfortable on his throne.

But David’s immediate prospects improved even more when he took a place of honor within King Saul’s household, developed a camaraderie with the prince, Jonathan, and became the only person who could soothe the king with his songs. The power of God was strong within him. It emboldened him to oppose the giant warrior Goliath and defeat him with inferior weapons.

This young man was heading somewhere. Nothing could stop him. He knew the Lord’s blessing and favor were upon him. He looked forward with confidence.

Until a spear came flying at his head.

And not just any spear, the king’s spear. Neither was it a slip of the hand. One look at Saul’s face, and David knew he had become the king’s enemy.

Why? David hadn’t sought an enemy. David knew his place and was faithful to God, patiently waiting his turn on the throne. Yet, the following years of his life would find David doing nothing more than running from a crazy man.

David fled, seeking refuge where he could, never staying in one place for long. He gathered outcasts around him he never dreamed would become his fellows, and they ran with him, always evading an
unpredictable spear-wielding monarch.

This is nuts, he must have thought some nights. We have a real enemy to fight, the Philistines. We should be combining forces not battling one another. What is this accomplishing? How can it be God’s plan for me to spend my days and nights running from a mad king? How is this good for me or for Israel?

And yet, it’s clear from the biblical record all that running sorted David out.

He could have been arrogant. David had numerous reasons to believe in himself and trust his own skills, but spending years off kilter, relying on God alone, helped to sober him before the throne became his.

As a fugitive, David also learned that while his fortune could turn on the point of a spinning javelin, God would never leave him nor forsake him whether he encountered crowns or caves.

Others, too, recognized what David was made of in the years he ran from Saul. Time and again, when other men would have sliced Saul down or chosen to escape from the entire situation and never look back,

David acted with honor, with faith in God, and with loyalty to king and country. As others witnessed this, he bore testimony to the faithfulness of God in the midst of trials and inspired people to trust his leadershipwhen it came his time to rule.

To David, it must have seemed a terrible waste of time, all that running, hiding, and fighting.

It came out of nowhere, just when David thought he was headed somewhere. He felt God had plans for him, but suddenly, life was all about the running.

Is there a crazy man chasing you? Do you feel as though someone or something else has grabbed the reins of your life and you’ve lost control of your days and nights?

Maybe your crazy man is a disease or the aftermath of a disaster.

Maybe you’re reeling from betrayal or loss. Perhaps someone close to you has been stricken with a mental illness or an addiction, and you’re in a battle for his or her life. Or a series of events have lined up to knock you down again and again and again, just when you thought you were getting somewhere.

Remember David. He was a man after God’s own heart, but for a long time all he did was hide out in caves dodging a spear with his name on it. Survival seemed to be his only accomplishment.

But God was with him. God accomplished much during that time—in and through David. He can accomplish much in and through you during your time on the run.

God will never leave you nor forsake you. While you’re running from the crazy man, God is waiting for you in every cave, in every hideout, in every stronghold. The crazy man doesn’t win in the end.

God wins. Those who remain with God share His victory.

Ponder the Perplexities:

Need help coming to terms with your “crazy man?” Who doesn’t? I know I did.

David’s story is told in 1 Samuel 15-2 Samuel 1. If you’re visual, sketch a simple timeline of David’s life, then sketch one of your own.

What can you learn from those timelines?

If you run out of words to pray, use Bible verses as prayers such as Psalm 31:14-16: But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!

If your days of running are behind you, can you see how God used that time? What did He do in you or through you as a result? How can you encourage others with your story?

Remember: While our fortunes can turn on the point of a spinning javelin, God will never leave us nor forsake us whether we encounter crowns or caves.

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