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An Average Man Who Accomplished Great Things
Strange and unusual statements are found in the inspired word of God. Students of God’s word may wonder why those statements appear in our Bible. Why did God say of Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada that, “He went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow.” We do learn of Benaiah that he was more honorable than the thirty men of David, yet he did not attain the honor of the first three of David’s mighty men. We read, “And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow: And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear. These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men. He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.” (2 Samuel 23:20-23) Possibly, God wanted us to understand that even average people can do great things for Him. In Ecclesiastes 9:11 Solomon wrote, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” There is hope that an average person like you or like me can accomplish great things for God, if we keep pressing. Intense faithfulness, deep love for God, a servant’s heart and a willingness to work makes it possible for us to achieve great things for God!
Benaiah slew a lion in a pit in time of snow. Why God chose the land of Canaan as the place where the Messiah would be born, I do not know. He is sovereign and had reasons for His choice. That small body of land has great variety in weather, animals and terrain. We normally would not think of a lion, and snow in the same sentence. On a snowy day, Benaiah slew a lion in a pit. Sometime in life we just have to go down and bravely fight against our lions. We need to go down and bravely fight for our marriages in Jesus’ name. (Ephesians 5:21-33) We need to go down and bravely fight for our children In Jesus’ name. (Ephesians 6:1-4) We need to go down and bravely fight for the one church in Jesus’ name. (Matthew 16:13-18) We need to go down and bravely fight for our country in Jesus’ name. (Romans 13) There is great power for God in an average person who will keep pressing for eternity. You may be just an average person, but it is time to stand up bravely for God.
Just some average men with a very large lion to deal with: These were men that our Lord had selected from among the disciples; He appointed them to a special work and gave them special power. These men were named “Apostles.” “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.” (Matthew 10:2-4) These men, though, just average men, faced a very large lion. There lion was the challenge of preaching the gospel to the entire world. Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, He said to them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16) Here were 12 men, average man, who would just keep pressing until the job of preaching the gospel to the world was completed. “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.” (Colossians 1:23) We must keep pressing to accomplish the same goal of preaching the gospel to every creature in our generation also.
Necessary qualities for the average man to defeat spiritual lions: In order for the average man to defeat spiritual lions, he must become a prayerful person. “Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” (1 Peter 4:7) Many problems could be solved, much strength could be gained in our spiritual journey, and many spiritual lions defeated if we would only take the time to pray. Just imagine what could happen if all Christians would keep pressing in prayer. Those who would defeat spiritual lions must have a servant’s heart. “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10) The life of a servant of God will be upheld and directed by the power of God. The servant of God is crucified with Christ. (Galatians 2:20) The way that we serve God is to keep pressing as we serve others. Those who defeat spiritual lions must learn to give like Jesus. The precious gift of Jesus for our salvation motivates our giving. "Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:18-19) God's wonderful gift stirs our heart to sincerity and cheerfulness in our giving and in our service to others. God has blessed us by giving His Son. Let us likewise give with gladness. (2 Corinthians 9:7). Those who defeat spiritual lions must be willing workers in the kingdom of God. The work that is to be done for God is to be done by all the brethren. "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58) These words were spoken to "the church of God which is at Corinth." (1 Corinthians 1:2) The work that is to be done for Christ is to be done by His children. God's children are those who have been baptized into Christ. "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27) The work that is to be done for Christ must be done by the brethren who keep pressing toward heaven.
God has blessed us with the great privilege of being a part of the God planned, heaven promised and blood bought church. You can be just a Christian! To become a Christian hear the word (John 6:44-45), believe in God and in Jesus (Hebrews 11:6), repent of sins (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus as Lord (Acts 8:37) and be baptized into Christ. (Romans 6:3-4) "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." (Deuteronomy 30:19)
---- Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: In Need of Prayer: Joan Barr, Douglas Butts, Terry Claunch, Johnny Cole, Camren Coleman, Lisa Cook, Tim Croley, John Curry, Nell Daughtry, Nelson Daughtry, Mary Goodwin, Agnes Hammonds, Richard Harrell, Michael Hartin, Devin Hawkins, Austin Herring, Sue Hunt, Allan Jackson, Charlie Jones, Katherine Myers, Barley Newton, Alice Padgett, Bill Perry, William Pierce, Elnora Ray, Linda Reynolds, Curtis Robinson, Peggy Scribner, Sharon & Sophia Shappley, Johnny Sims, Evelyn Smith, David Stallings, Andy Taylor, Dusty Taylor, Mary Lou Terrell, Jay Thomas, Alice Thompson, Leroy Waller, Barbara Woods, and Betty & Wayne Young. Crowne Health Care: Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coletrane, Ruth Davis, Betty Findley, Davis & Ruth Hester, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, and Annie Ruth Tetter. Pine Needle: Lydia Ann Raybon and Elizabeth Perdue
2. Requesting Our Prayers: Sister Jewel Cauthen said that she had repented of any sin in her life and she asked for the prayers of God’s people. Please remember her in your personal, private prayers.
3. Birthdays: Celebrating a birthday this week: March 23rd Noah Bagents, March 28th Nancy Faulkenberry and Roxanne McNeil, and March 29th Lomax Owens.
4. Reorder of “Muscle & a Shovel”: The Muscle and a Shovel books are here. The price per book is $12.82. Pay when you receive your books. See Deborah Stallings to receive your order.
5. Prom Alternative: April 4th & 5th – “Prom Alternative.” If you would like to help in some way please see Ann Cauthen, Barbara Walker or Darrell Powell.
6. Parking Lot Restriped: Thanks to Kayla and Kristi Garlock our parking lot has been restriped. Josh Till also gave them a helping hand. Great Job! Thank you!
7. Religious Debate: The University of North Alabama Christian Student Center is hosting a religious debate April 4th at 6 PM. Bart Ehrman will affirm the proposition, “The pain and suffering in the world indicates that the Christian God does not exist.” Kyle Butt will deny. For details visit www.unacsc.com.
8. Vacation Bible School: Happy Ever After…The Salvation Story is the theme of this years’ VBS. We hope that you will see its potential and join with us in our excitement. We need your help; there are jobs for everyone! See the bulletin board in the foyer.
9. Thank You: (a) Dear Church Family, Thank you for all of the prayers for my sister Haley and her baby. She delivered a healthy baby girl on March 13th, and they are both doing well. In Christian Love, Dusty Bagents, (b) Dear Walnut Street Church of Christ Members, Thank you so much for all of your prayers, cards, and beautiful peace lily w/hydrangeas you sent in memory of William! He loved reading the cards you sent him while he was at Baptist South. The cards gave him such encouragement and strength! May God bless you all! The William Poole Family, and (c) Dear Walnut Street Church of Christ, Butler County Department of Human Resources is very blessed to have such great community support through giving people like you. Anytime we need a place to meet, food for a family, a van for transportation, etc. you are always willing to help us out. We especially now want to thank you for letting us use your fellowship hall for our Foster Children’s Christmas Party in December. The party was a great success and you were a vital part of that. Thank you for giving of yourself for these children and for your continued support all year round. We pray that you have a blessed 2014. Sincerely, Lisa C. Butts – Resource Coordinator Butler County DHR
10. Area Events: (a) March 22nd – Ladies Day – Lay Lake Church of Christ – Speaker Mallory Baker – Time 9:30 am, (b) March 23rd – 26th – Gospel Meeting – County Line Church of Christ –Time 7:30, and (c) March 23rd – 28th – Gospel Meeting – Georgia Road Church of Christ – Theme Evangelism –Time 7:00 pm.
"And winter slumbering in the open air, Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring! (Samuel Taylor Coleridge). I love the springtime, but my mother taught me long ago that contentment in every season makes a man great. So, you could say, we're leaving a lustrous winter and entering the grand wonderland of warmth and growth that is the spring of the year.
It's a time of renewal. Eli, our 5 year old, asked me yesterday "Why did God make winter?" Now, I'm no scientist, but I explained that the world needs some time to rest and recover from working so hard in the warmer months and it gets to do that in the winter. But in the Spring, the world wakes back up and things that seemed dead and lifeless burst forth with new vigor.
Maybe your faith is hibernating. Oh, you still "believe," but you haven't acted on your faith in some time. I pray that for you, Spring is just around the corner. See, your "faith" isn't really faith at all if it isn't a "working faith." James wrote that "faith without works is dead." (James 2:26) But God justifies us when we ACT on the convictions that His word has placed in our hearts. (James 2:24)
So, you're tired. You're overwhelmed and burdened. Jesus calls out "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) The world is renewed when Spring comes, and your soul can be renewed by the forgiveness and grace supplied by the blood of Jesus. "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." (II Corinthians 4:16)
IF you are going through a spiritual valley, KEEP PRESSING!