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Ep. 2 - Losing Your Fire WTDT S2

Under the Enemy’s Banner

I often catch myself feeling like the great men and women of the Bible are a special subgroup of superhero-like humans. When I compare my life to theirs, I can’t help but feel discouraged. More often than I wish, I find my character is more like Martha’s rather than Mary’s, more like the Laodicean church or the Children of Israel than the righteous saints that “keep the commandments of God and faith of Jesus.” The deep, self-sacrificing love my Biblical heroes have for God, their genuine faith and heart for aggressive service, often seem like another reality that I haven’t entered into yet. I must be a dud disciple right? One-hundred percent yes. But it doesn’t stop there. The Bible is full of very human experiences that share the struggles and failures, of average people like me, and the hope of change and victory that come from living a life fully entrusted to a loving God.

In episode two, Losing Your Fire, Dean and Adam unwrap the humanness of King David, once again highlighting the humanity, relatability, practicality, beauty and hope found throughout the Bible. Sure I am no king and I cannot relate to everything David experienced or struggled with, but I can relate to his inner heart-conflict described in 1 Samuel 27. The King of Israel doubted God’s ability to protect him from his enemy stating “in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul” (1 Samuel 27:1). Wait, what? Yep, David apparently struggled to believe in God. Except his unbelief wasn’t about believing in Gods existence but rather about believing in who He claimed to be. 

Back in chapter 17, David stood boldly before Goliath and unashamedly fought to protect the reputation of his Lord, acting on his belief in God’s protection and power to accomplish an impossible task. In chapter 27 however, David appears to have doubts about God’s ability to provide for his basic safety needs. It certainly wasn’t because of a lack of evidence regarding God’s trustworthiness as he had personal experience with the faithfulness of His character. Instead of continuing entrust his life to God, David chose to doubt and took his eyes off Jesus and found himself devising solutions to his own problems. The rest of the story in Samuel 27 gives us a panoramic view of the end result of David’s choice. In an attempt to preserve his own life, David ends up under the enemy’s banner going to war against the Israelites, a traitor to his own kingdom. The root cause? Unbelief. 

I don’t know about you but, ashamedly, I find David’s struggle is my struggle. One moment I happily put my trust in God and the next moment I relinquish my trust and find myself doubting and resisting His leading. Like David, I think I know what is best and seek to organize my life according to how I see fit. How often I focus on preserving my comfort or defending my reputation instead of considering how my choices impact the reputation and the heart of the One I claim to love and represent. 

Do I trust His character? With my lips I say I do but I have come to the painful realization that my actions tell a different story…the tale of an unbelieving, wavering, half-converted heart. And, like David, when I choose to distrust who God is, I find myself standing under enemy’s banner…fighting against God instead of working with Him. Even though David chose to doubt, God in His loving kindness did not forsake the treacherous king and provided a way out of the results of his doubt (1 Samuel 29). The same is true for us today. Even though I waiver in my trust in God, He stands at my side, patiently saving me from my own undoing and faithfully calling me to stand under His banner again (James 4:7-10).  

One of my favorite passages beautifully captures this inner faith struggle we see in David’s heart: “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:23,24). The battle boils down to a conflict over the identity of God. Who God is lies at the heart of this faith battle, David’s struggle and the Great Controversy. God declares He is love and Satan argues that He is not. Adam and Eve in very first book of the Bible had to choose between belief and unbelief. Would they trust that God loved them and had their best interests in mind or would they believe their own senses, experiences and the words of an intelligent snake? This age old question comes to us everyday. To each comes an opportunity to choose. Whom will you believe? 

“Just believe in His love, and take Him at His word. No suspicion or distrust is to take possession of our minds. No apprehension of the greatness of God is to confuse our faith. May God help us to humble ourselves in meekness and lowliness. Christ laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, that He might associate with humanity, and show that human beings may be perfect. Clad in the garments of mercy He lived in our world a perfect life, to give us evidence of His love. He has done that which should make unbelief in Him impossible. From His high command in the heavenly courts He stooped to take human nature upon Him. His life is an example of what our lives may be. That no apprehension of God’s greatness should come in to efface our belief in God’s love, Christ became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. The human heart, given up to Him, will become a sacred harp, sending forth sacred music.” —Letter 365, 1904

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Ep. 1 - Running From God WTDT S2

Smelling the Nudge

I have an insanely strong smell recognition mechanism. You know what I’m talking about? Have you ever smelled ‘Grandma’s house’ somewhere other than at Grandma’s house and then all of these memories come flooding back? One day my friend tried to sneak into my dorm room on my birthday to hide a present under my covers. Let me tell you, it’s a weird feeling to smell that your friend had been in your room knowing she wasn’t when you left. Okay, maybe I’m the only one…annnyway, hold that thought. Let’s go back to the belly of the…..whale, let’s start a little before that (see what I did there? 🙂 ).

The story of Jonah is a familiar one to most of us—too familiar perhaps. Obviously Jonah’s first mistake was not listening to the voice of God—and that’s the moral of most Jonah-themed talks. That’s great, and it’s a super important topic to discuss and cultivate in our lives. However, for me, the saying “listening to the voice of God” has become a bit cliche—a powerful phrase or lesson that has somewhat lost it’s meaning in the overuse. This year God has been continually giving me something I didn’t know I needed but am so grateful for now—meaning in the cliches. So, in order to really grasp this, I replaced ‘hear’ with ‘smell’ and ‘voice’ with ‘nudge’ because it interrupts the cliche brain wave that capsizes the message. It also puts a little twist on the meaning. Hearing the voice of God reminds me a lot of recognizing scents. It’s cultivated. It’s subtle. And it’s based on experience. I think that sometimes talking about hearing the voice of God can be downright discouraging. If you’re anything like me, you’ve read the story of Jonah and thought: “I’d love to obey God! I’m ready! Tell me what you want, God! Just *tell* me! If only I could hear what God wanted me to do and know for sure that it was Him saying it, I’d do it! Likety split.” And a lot of times, it’s not necessarily that we don’t want to *do* what God is telling us (sometimes it is and that’s an entirely other conversation), but we’re just trying to figure out *what* he’s telling us and how to make decisions that glorify Him. It’s difficult. Because while some people have testimonies about hearing the audible voice of God, and we read stories like Jonah’s in the bible—I’ve never experienced that before and I know many others who haven’t either. How do you hear the voice of God? Or rather, how do you smell the nudge? One word: trust.

Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Isn’t that so encouraging? This verse represents the loving responsibility that God takes. Notice He said “I know them”. There is something fundamentally beautiful about the relationship that God wants to cultivate with you. Often times, we stress and worry over making sure that we are exactly where God wants us. That part—the ‘exactly where God wants us’ isn’t a bad desire; it’s the other part—‘stress and worry’. Quote book time: “Worry is like a rocking chair—it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere.” These fears and worries often lead to a stand-still life out of concern that we will choose the ‘wrong’ option. My friend, let me tell you something that has changed my life and my relationship with God forever: you cannot mess up God’s plan for your life while seeking Him. You are not that powerful. Jesus says “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” It’s a freedom relationship, a trusting, peaceful, secure relationship. Believe me, He wants the best for you even more than you do. If you remember nothing else from here, hold onto that one sentence. Just think about that for a moment. It’s not a matter of Him sitting back and watching you trying your level best to navigate life. Oh no! He’s in the thick of it with you. Do you trust Him to stop you when you might take a wrong turn? Do you believe Him when He says “I know the plans I have for you” and do you trust that He is working to fulfill those just as much as you desire them? “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Just like I can recognize my childhood library or know the owner of that jacket because of the scent, the same subtle recognition can come when God nudges. Oh and the more I experience those little nudges, the more my scent recognition mechanism picks up. 

This isn’t a ‘how-to’ blog post where I tell you how to hear the voice of God and how to follow it. It’s an ‘If you resonate with this—I feel you, I hear you, and God does too. Be encouraged with this:’ kinda thing. One: Trying to “hear the voice of God” is a burden we often place on ourselves unnecessarily when He has already promised to guide us and lead us. Take steps towards the opportunities He has brought to you that promise to glorify Him. He wants the best for us even more than we want it for ourselves and He will do whatever it takes to get us there. Two: Realize that recognizing those nudges from God is a cultivated experience. Give yourself grace and be patient as you learn to discern His voice. Pause and take time to recognize it. “He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

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Blog Master Notes Greetings

Welcome

Hi there! Welcome to the Why They Did That blog! I’m so excited about this. The possibilities are endless—the sky is the limit on the conversations, adventures, studies, insights, and wonders that this page will host and it has me happy-dancing all over. But oh my, where are my manners? Let me introduce myself—my name is Savannah and I’m very pleased to meet you.  I’m sure glad we ran into each other like this. I’d love to get to know you a little more so make sure to subscribe, leave a comment and tell us a bit about where you’re from, what you would like to see on the blog, and what you love about the Podcast! I guess they call me the blog master, but that’s just a shorter way of saying I’ll be hopping on here every now and then to share with you all— as well as introducing you to some of my friends who enjoy writing as well!

I love the casual conversation and the free-flowing thoughts that blogs breed. And that’s exactly what we’re going for here. We’ll be posting a blog entry that corresponds with each episode one week after it’s been released (this way you get a little bit of WTDT every week instead of every other!). One more thing. It’s really important to me that we keep things friendly on the blog forum. The internet has enough negativity as it is and platforms like this often house conversations of debate and strife—there is no place for that here. We have a noble plan—to speak of all the best we can—and we trust you do too. Our dream is that this becomes a safe place to go even deeper into God’s word and take it a step further. Everyone has a testimony, everyone listens to the stories and reads the bible with different ears and eyes. I love experiencing new perspectives and am so looking forward to that happening right here on a regular basis.