Guest Post – I Am Gideon

Today’s guest post, I Am Gideon, written by Dave Peever first appeared on Live 4 Him.

I Am Gideon

Oh how I love this name! When you say it, it just rolls off the tongue without effort and yet it seems to be less poetic and more powerful. Okay enough of my silly musings about the name Gideon. As much as I like it I am not changing my name to Gideon nor am I asking that my grandchildren bear this awesome name that I have fallen in love with. If the name was Bob, a name so simple it can be spelt backward and still be the same (sorry to all the Bobs out there) I would say I am Bob just as I have said in past posts, I am Paul, Mary, Thomas, Samuel, Peter, Adam, Judas, The Rich Young Ruler and  Coca- Cola™ because a part of me is just like Bob, I mean Gideon.

I have been called to fulfill God’s plan.

The call was unmistakable and my response, well, let’s just say it was more like Gideon’s.

Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me… Judges 6:17(NIV)

I heard God’s call, or at least what I thought was God’s call. It wasn’t as much that I was afraid to live out the call or to step out in faith. My fear stemmed from my understanding of me. I was afraid that I would jump at any chance to do ministry especially one that included music and theatre because I love doing music and theatre and now I could be doing it for God who I also love! Mix what I want to happen with a perceived call from God and I am all over it. To avoid godizing my dreams I asked for a sign. I am Gideon.

If this is what you want me to do…

I have questioned God and I continue to do it to this day. I have heard that it is wrong and I guess you could, in a perfect world, with perfect people, argue that once God has spoken there is no room for questioning. I am not in a perfect world and I am far from perfect. There have been times that God has spoken and I have acted without question. In these cases it was clear that my personal desires were not creating the appearance of God instructing me to pursue an action and my fears and the reality of the situation were not calling into question what I thought I heard. Outside of this situation, I am Gideon.

I think Gideon gets a bad rap.

It isn’t because I think I am like Gideon. I am not trying to defend him and therefore defend me. I believe that Gideon had it right even if he took a long time to come around. If you put yourself in his shoes maybe you would have trouble believing that you had a call from God and a visit from one of his angels.

Gideon, just as the rest of the Israelites, had a deep desire to be rescued from captivity.

Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help. Judges 6:6 (NIV)

Gideon couldn’t fathom God using him in a mighty way.

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Judges 6:14-15 (NIV)

Gideon fought his own doubts and needed God’s assurance.

 Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.

Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew. Judges 6:36-40 (NIV)

I am Gideon and before you judge me hear me out.

I am imperfect and weak, capable of acting or not acting based on my own desires and fears. I’d rather question God over and over again because I am not sure I have heard Him right than wrongly assume I have heard Him correctly because I don’t want to question Him over and over again.

Who is Dave Peever? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. My specific call is to creatively present various aspects of life as a Christ follower and as a member of a collective of Christ followers I use my background as an actor, director and playwright/writer as well as my music, preaching and leadership skills to assist churches in transition (between pastors) with their desire to be more effective. I have been married for 31 years. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren all who currently reside in central Ontario Canada. I have been in ministry for 22 years.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Our Choice

Whatever the circumstance, each of us chooses how we will respond. We can respond in anger or we can respond in humility. Our response can inflame a tense situation or it can restore calm. We can use our words to bring peace or bring chaos. We can make excuses or face the truth of our part in the situation.

It’s our choice.

Too many times I haven’t taken the time to consider the best way to respond in each circumstance that presented itself. I’ve excused my behavior often with words like, “It’s his fault. He’s just a big dodo bird.” “If she wasn’t so annoying I wouldn’t get mad.” “It isn’t fair. Why do I have to say I’m sorry first?” And no. These are not just phrases  from my younger days. Unfortunately.

I’ve been hurt by harsh words and intentional slights, as I’m sure most of you have. And that’s where we go back to the fact how we respond is our choice. We can respond in kind, inflicting as much or more pain as was inflicted upon us, or respond as Scripture points out we should respond. In love, patience, kindness, gentleness…

Today I’m looking at the relationship between Saul and David to see what we can learn from how David choose to respond.

After King Saul threw a spear at David’s head one too many times, David fled into the night to escape the madness. For over ten years, David ran and Saul pursued. Saul’s men and resources certainly could have been used in better ways. Like fighting the Philistines instead of spending energy chasing a loyal subject all around Israel and slaughtering innocent priests.

Many of David’s psalms were written during this time of pursuit. Even though David called upon God to deal swiftly with his enemies, when it came to Saul, David himself never lifted his hand against the man. He mourned deeply when Saul died and instructed the nation to mourn as well.

There are two incidences during David’s time on the run where he had the opportunity to kill Saul and didn’t. One involved a piece of cloth cut from the corner of Saul’s robe. (1 Samuel 24) The other a spear and water jug. (1 Samuel 26) Both times David showed restraint. He had the upper hand but refused to take advantage of the situation. He could have pressed his advantage, proven himself superior, and scored points with his men. Still, he took the higher ground and responded in humility and love.

Although we may not be presented with opportunities to physically harm our enemy, I believe it’s safe to say we’ve been presented with times to choose whether or not we harm someone just as surely with our careless words. As with David, just because we have the opportunity to do harm doesn’t mean we should.

It’s easy to take offense and seek revenge when others attack us. Are you kidding me? That’s usually our primary desire. Instead of striking out, we can pause, keep our eyes focused on Jesus, and pray for the strength to respond in humility and love. It’s our choice.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

But then a black mood from God settled over Saul and took control of him. He was sitting at home, his spear in his hand, while David was playing music. Suddenly, Saul tried to skewer David with his spear, but David ducked. The spear stuck in the wall and David got away. It was night.

1 Samuel 19:9-10 (MSG)

You can find my July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.

Pause for Poetry – At Eventime

At Eventime

James Arnold Blaisdell

Riches of Grace a Collection of New Songs and Standard Hymns‎ page 105

Tonight, my soul, be still and sleep;

The storms are raging on God’s deep–

God’s deep, not yours; be still and sleep.

Tonight, my soul, be still and sleep;

God’s hands shall still the Tempter’s sweep–

God’s hands, not yours; be still and sleep.

Tonight, my soul, be still and sleep;

God’s love is strong while night hours creep–

God’s love, not yours; be still and sleep.

Tonight, my soul, be still and sleep;

God’s heaven will comfort those who weep–

God’s heaven, not yours; be still and sleep.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

An Appalachian Summer Book Review

An Appalachian Summer by Ann H. Gabhart, set in Appalachian Kentucky during the Depression of 1933, is a wonderful book filled with relatable characters who face challenges without giving up.

Piper Danson is faced with deciding whether she should go along with her father’s decision she marry a man she’s not met before to secure her financial future, or marry the man she has loved since they were children with little prospect of financial support.

To give herself time and space to think without either of the men around, Piper leaves her home with all its comforts in Louisville to volunteer as a Frontier Nursing horseback courier in the mountains where comforts as she’s known them are replaced with an awareness of God’s beauty and presence.

An Appalachian Summer skillfully draws readers into the world of the Frontier Nurses, the couriers, and the people of the mountains, presenting each as an individual with hopes, dreams, needs, and resilience.

I highly recommend this book for those who want to read a heartfelt story well told.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

You can find my July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.

Why Do You Worry?

Why do you worry? What possible use does your worrying serve?

Those two questions caught my attention as I read Charles H. Spurgeon’s words in the devotional book, Streams in the Desert.

Why do I worry? As the famed poet once wrote, let me count the ways. I find I worry about way too many things. Most of which I have absolutely no control over. Eliminate COVID-19? Not my specialty, but I can take necessary precautions to keep from catching and spreading it. Peace on earth? Again, my ability is limited. As the song says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

Mr. Spurgeon went on to say, “You are aboard such a large ship that you would be unable to steer even if your Captain placed you at the helm. Do you think all the commotion and the uproar of this life is evidence that God has left His throne? He has not! His mighty steeds rush furiously ahead, and His chariots are the storms themselves. But the horses have bridles, and it is God who holds the reins, guiding the chariots as He wills!”

I love that. The horses have bridles to which God himself holds the reins and guides as He wills. God remains on his throne. He alone is the One in charge.

In the same devotion Madame Guyon states, “I implore you to not give in to despair. It is a dangerous temptation, because our Adversary has refined it to the point that it is quite subtle. Hopelessness constricts and withers the heart, rendering it unable to sense God’s blessings and grace. It also causes you to exaggerate the adversities of life and makes your burdens seem too heavy for you to bear.”

In times of distress and trouble it is tempting to fall into despair and hopelessness. There are times we are to act. There are times we are to wait on the LORD to act. In either situation, we are called to pray. And as we pray, we seek discernment and strive to sense God’s blessings and grace which surround us, even in times of adversary.

If, like me, you are a worrier, why do you worry? What possible use does our worrying serve? Perhaps it’s time we step away from the helm and hand the reins back over to God.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

God said to them, “Here is a place of rest; let the tired people come and rest. This is the place of peace.” But the people would not listen. Isaiah 28:12 (NCV)

You can find my July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.

Gluten-free Pistachio Torte Recipe

This super simple Gluten-free Pistachio Torte recipe has been adapted from The Ultimate Kids’ Baking Book by Tiffany Dahle. It is absolutely delicious!

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 boxes (3.3 oz each) pistachio pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, use two forks to combine flour and butter until dough resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans.

Pour into 13X9 inch baking dish. Press crumbs into a smooth crust along the bottom of the dish.

Bake 18-20 minutes, or until lightly toasted. (It took longer in my oven.)

Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until well combined. Fold in 1 cup whipped topping.

Carefully spread cream cheese mixture over prepared crust and smooth with a spatula.

In medium bowl, beat together pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes on high speed.

Spread pudding mixture evenly over cream cheese layer. Spread remaining whipped topping evenly over pudding.

Chill in the refrigerator 1 hour before serving.

Enjoy!

You can find my July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

God Works During the Darkness

Even when we can’t see, God works during the darkness of our lives to make a way for us to pass through the challenges. Challenges which mount before us and hem us in.

God works during the darkness of pandemics and death. He works during the darkness of job loss, uncertainty, unrest, and chaos. God does not sleep. He has no need. He is an ever-present help in times of trouble.

One familiar example from the Bible, which shows God works during the darkness, is recorded in Exodus 14. The Israelites fled Egypt on foot. The Egyptian army pursued in iron chariots. The People of God came to the Red Sea and stopped. Sea before them. Chariots behind them.

We remember the sea parted. The Israelites crossed on a dry seabed, as walls of water heaped on either side. We also remember their Egyptian pursuers perished when the God who worked during the darkness of night to part the waters, released the sea upon the Egyptian army.

The waters didn’t part as soon as the Israelites reached the sea. The waters parted after the Lord worked during the darkness of night, sent a strong east wind, and drove back the sea.

Right now many of us are facing hard challenges. A seemingly impassable sea stands before us. An army of chariots pursues from behind. But God is working in the darkness.

The Israelites didn’t see evidence of God’s work until the next day. We may not see a way out of the darkness surrounding us until the next day. One thing, however, remains true. We can trust God works during the darkness of night nonetheless.

“All that night” the Lord was working,

Working in the tempest blast,

Working with the swelling current,

Flooding, flowing, free and fast.

“All that night” God’s children waited-

Hearts, perhaps in agony-

With the enemy behind them,

And, in front, the cruel sea.

“All that night” seemed blacker darkness

Than they ever saw before,

Though the light of God’s own presence

Near them was, and sheltered 0’er.

“All that night” that weary vigil

Passed; the day at last did break,

And they saw that God was working

“All that night” a path to make.

“All that night,” O child of sorrow,

Can you not your heartbreak stay?

Know your God in darkest midnight

Works, as well as in the day.

Unknown

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. Exodus 14:21-23 (NIV)

You can find my July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

On July 4th Remember Not All the Heroes Come Home

Near the end of America’s involvement in the Viet Nam conflict; (which in my mind, whether named war or not was indeed a war) I was in high school and worked part-time in the Navy Exchange store at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C. You might not think of a hospital as a place full of heroes, but let me tell you, NNMC and other military hospitals like it was.

While I worked at the Exchange during the war, the thump-thump-thump of rotary blades atop approaching military hospital transports was a sound I heard on a regular basis.

Incoming.

By the time the helicopter landed on the heli-pad, several of us waited outside on the pad’s perimeter. Our silent presence welcoming the wounded to the hospital. We watched doctors and nurses hustle gurneys to the helicopter, load the wounded, and rush them inside.

I seriously doubt those wounded warriors knew anyone cared enough to be present when they arrived, praying for them, thanking them, appreciating their sacrifice. To those of us keeping vigil, it matter little if the soldiers knew we were there. For me what mattered was the fact I wanted to show my appreciation for their sacrifice.

Among other things available to military personnel and their dependents, of which I was one, thanks to my father’s military service, the Medical Center housed a theater where for twenty-five cents you could watch some really awful movies. What a deal. Definitely not first-run, that’s for sure. Nevertheless, that didn’t keep Sissy, my girlfriends, and me from showing up.

To get to the theater we walked the hospital corridors. I’m sure you’ve walked through a hospital, so you get the idea. These corridors were filled with wounded personnel on stretchers, in wheelchairs, or walking the halls. Bandaged from one part of their body to the next, they made their way to the theater.

These men paid a heavy price for the freedom I enjoyed. That freedom included the privilege of walking down the same corridors they traveled to watch really awful movies for twenty-five cents. It also included the freedom to walk back down those same corridors and out that hospital at the end of the movie while the wounded made their way back to hospital rooms that became their new normal.

In this country we have days set aside to remember the sacrifices our military and their families make so we can enjoy our hamburgers, watermelon, and pool parties. Sometimes we might pause and remember service personnel. We might even say thank you on those set-aside holidays. But what if we made it a habit to remember, honor, pray for, and thank our military every day, fully understanding not all the heroes come home?

On this July 4th, Independence Day here in the States, will you join me in honoring those who give their all so the rest of us don’t have to?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

When your people go out to fight their enemies along some road on which you send them, your people will pray to you, facing this city which you have chosen and the Temple I have built for you. Then hear in heaven their prayers, and do what is right. 2 Chronicles 6:34-35 (NCV)

You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

Guest Post – I Am Jesus

Perhaps when you read the title of today’s I Am guest post by Dave Peever, which first appeared on Live 4 Him, you thought, oh my. Before hitting delete, I hope you’ll read the entire post as Dave builds a case for Christ-followers to live in such a way when people look at us, they see Jesus.

I Am Jesus

If there ever was a line that should not be crossed I think it is one I just crossed. Proclaiming that I am Jesus invites everything from mocking and laughter to concern and planned intervention. Before I am made fun of and publicly ridiculed, before I am hurried off to the closest psych ward and sedated, I must warn you, not only am I Jesus but you are too!

I may be Jesus but I am not the Messiah.

There is a difference between claiming to be someone and actually believing you are them. I do not have the positon that Jesus had nor do I maintain that I am perfect like He was and is. I did not die for anyone’s sins nor would my death bring redemption to the world. I may be given the opportunity to perform miracles but my power in no way measures up to His power. I am not the Messiah but I am Jesus and so are you.

I may be Jesus but I am not God’s Only Son.

My adoption as a son of God gives me an inheritance that was not originally mine. I am a child of the Most High, a son of my heavenly father. He treats me as if I am His child and yet I am not. God has only one son, one true son who came into the world as a man and yet was fully God. I am not him, you are not him. I am not the Only Son of God but I am Jesus and so are you.

I may be Jesus but I am not worthy of such a name.

I should not even mention His name in the same sentence as me. There is nothing about who I am that can measure up to who He was and is. He faced all types of temptations and yet was without sin. I get up in the morning and often I don’t make it an hour without sinning. I face opposition and I desire their demise. He faced opposition and He sought only the best for them. I face insult and seek to insult those who have offended me. He faced insult and he turned the other cheek. I am not worthy of such a name but I am Jesus and so are you.

I may be Jesus but I have a long way to go to live this out.

My attempts to deny myself, to pick up my cross, to venture outside of my comfort zone all have been partial if not complete failures. My love for the people of this world is often hampered by my sinfulness and my dislike for their sinfulness. My need for worldly recognition and approval often interferes with my willingness to stand up for what is righteous and Godly. I fail and I fail and just when I think I have it all figured out I fail again. How can I be Jesus, how can you be Jesus, when we can’t come close to what He was and who He is? And yet I am Jesus and so are you.

I may be the only glimpse of Jesus people get.

In no way can I be Jesus. In no way can you be Jesus. And yet, in every way we must be transformed to be like Him so that we can be Jesus to a world without Him. Jesus being in nature God is powerful enough to reveal Himself without us but He did not do this. Instead, we are called to be like Jesus so much that we are to bear of his image. The only way we can do this is if we become like Him in our actions and attitude. In a world that does not know Jesus I am Jesus in action and attitude so that others will be introduced to the real Messiah… and so are you.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV)

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

Who is Dave Peever? I am a follower of Jesus the Christ. My specific call is to creatively present various aspects of life as a Christ follower and as a member of a collective of Christ followers I use my background as an actor, director and playwright/writer as well as my music, preaching and leadership skills to assist churches in transition (between pastors) with their desire to be more effective. I have been married for 31 years. We have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren all who currently reside in central Ontario Canada. I have been in ministry for 22 years.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

What Momma Left Behind Book Review

With the authentic voice of an Appalachian storyteller, Cindy Sproles’ novel, What Momma Left Behind, takes you to 1877 Tennessee with all its heartache and promise. With that said, if you are unfamiliar with Appalachian expressions and dialect, you may find What Momma Left Behind somewhat confusing to get through.

This is a story of loss, love, sacrifice, and eventually, forgiveness, as we journey with seventeen-year-old Worie Dressar following the death of her mother at a time when disease spreads through her mountain community, killing parents and leaving orphans to fend for themselves.

While there is much to like about this book, I came away with unanswered questions I wish the author answered.

If you enjoy reading Christian historical fiction written in an authentic Appalachian voice, What Momma Left Behind just might be the book for you.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.