God Wants to Use You…Not Your Imitation of Someone Else

This is a photo of me sitting on a bench in Boone, North Carolina with the statue of Doc Watson. Doc was an accomplished bluegrass guitarist from the mountains near by. He earned international acclaim through his music. Although he was blind. he did not let his disability keep him from achieving greatness with his ability. My favorite quote from him is …”You have to be yourself, otherwise people won’t know who you are.” There is a lot truth in that simple statement.

There is a great example of this too in the Bible. David had to realize that when he faced Goliath. King Saul who advised David to change his approach. Saul told David: ” All right, go ahead,” he said.”and may the Lord be with you!” Then Saul gave David his own armor- a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. “I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them in his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine. – 1 Samuel 17:37- 40 (NLB)

GOD WANTS TO USE YOU. NOT YOUR IMITATION OF SOMEONE ELSE. David was small and Saul was tall, so Saul ‘s armor did not fit David. Sometimes in our effort to please and serve God we try to copy someone else too much and it just doesn’t work for us the same way it does for them. That is ok because God wants to use us in our ” own armor” or what we are most comfortable with in sharing the gospel, encouraging someone, or how we face the giants in our lives. David as a shepherd aleeady knew how to use a sling and some stones in protecting the sheep. Before we try to use some one else’s approach, we should look at how God has equipped us in the past and see if that is the best approach for us now.

GOD DOES NOT WASTE OUR PAST EXPERIENCES. David’s past experiences as a shepherd prepared him for his battle with Goliath. We see examples reoccurring in the lives of our heroes in the Bible, Abraham, Jospeh, Moses, Esther, Paul and many others were prepared for their finest hour by the experiences in their past as they trusted God and lived by faith following Him. Paul put it this way, ” He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” ( 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLB) If we will committ our past, present, and future to Him, He can do great things through our lives, even when we face giant issues or problems and God often uses our experiences to encourage others.

BE THE VERY BEST WE CAN BE BY LETTING GOD BE OUR SOURCE OF CONFIDENCE. Our personal relationship with the Lord should be our foundation. When God is the center of our life, it frees us up to be who we were created to be in the first place…and a great opportunity to share our faith connect and relate to others in a genuine way.

Facing the Unknown Future with our Faith

Who would have ever thought we would be wearing masks (even at the grocery store) and staying six feet apart from each other in public… but here we are doing those things we never expected or experienced before. There is also a lot of speculation and concern about the future for the days and months ahead. There are so many different scenarios being discussed about health, the economy and other current issues, it is overwhelming to try to comprehend and make sense of it all. Where does our faith in God fit into this chaotic time in our lives?

We sometimes have the problem of trying to squeeze, fit and also limit God into our plans and our own perspective instead of simply following His path for our lives. We don’t need to let our difficult circumstances blur our faith. We need to remind ourselves that He is the Shepherd and we are his sheep. In the Bible, Psalm 100:3 reminds us “Know that the Lord is God, He made us and we are not our own, but we belong to Him. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

This should give us great peace and comfort. Phillip Keller, the author of the popular book, A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm stated this… “ In the Christian’s life there is no substitute for the keen awareness that your Shepherd is near by.There is nothing like Christ’s presence to dispel the fear and panic of the unknown future.”

Our peace of mind comes from trusting and following God’s leadership even when don’t feel like it. He is the Good Shepherd and we can trust in Him when we don’t understand everything. That is what real genuine faith is like when we follow His guidance now and into the future. Our perceived expectations give way to simply following Him, which is the best path for us to get where we need to be in His plan for our lives.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” – Corrie Ten Boom

Looking Ahead…How do we go from here?

Now that we are beginning the process of returning gradually to a new and different normal, here are some things we should think about…

LOOKING BACK: LESSONS LEARNED. A more simple lifestyle is good for us and our relationships with family and friends. More is not always better. Being thankful for what we have and not taking basic things and relationships for granted.


Because of the necessary health risk precautions, this will be a gradual return to the things we are use to going to and doing. This is also a time to lower our expectations of things we would like to do or even purchase at a store. Things will get better but it will take a while longer. Showing understanding, patience and kindness toward others is essential.


Being grateful for God’s presence in our lives. Continue looking to Him for strength, wisdom and guidance in the days ahead. Keep a good attitude. Focus on what is good in your life. Don’t be obsessed with bad stuff. Be realistic but not pessimistic.


Being careful for our health and the well being of others. Think through your options and consider consequences in making big decisions. Do what you can each day.


Don’t Panic but Pray as you Plan ahead. Recalibrate and adjust your goals and priorities where necessary.

A “Once in a Lifetime” Experience…22 Years Ago

Twenty Two years ago, I got to see Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls play in the 1998 NBA Playoffs in Charlotte NC. I decided to go on a whim, drove my pickup truck there from Tennessee. I stopped by Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC on the way for a late lunch. There is something special of being in the Carolinas and eating good BBQ before a ballgame. I got to the Charlotte Coliseum early to try to find a ticket to the game. I stood beside the ticket scalpers for about an hour, they were selling tickets at a very high price which I wasn’t prepared to pay. I think they got tired of having a old boy from Tennessee who drove a pick up truck, hanging out with them. So, finally one of them asked me what was it going to take for me to leave, but I wasn’t going to leave until I had a game ticket. I offered about 20% of what he wanted and he gave me the ticket and told me not to tell anybody near where I would be seating in the arena about how much I paid.

I got into the arena when they first open the doors to see the teams do their pregame warm ups. Michael Jordan was the very first one out there. He went to the foul line and immediately hit over twenty perfect practice shots in a row, nothing but net! My seat was high up in the stands, but I didn’t care, I was just wanted to see the game. By the time the game actually started, the place was packed. I didn’t see an empty seat anywhere. Michael Jordan and the Bulls put on a show that night and won 103 to 89. I usually rooted for the Charlotte Hornets but that night, I was just a basketball fan.The Bulls went on to win their last of 6 NBA Championships which is now called “The Last Dance” and Michael was also named the Most Valuable Player Award winner.

I stayed until most of the arena was almost emptied, just taking it all in what I had experienced that night. By the way, the people sitting around me were bragging that they had paid several hundred dollars for their seats. I didn’t say anything to them, I just sat there and grinned. I am thankful for fun experiences from the past that we can still enjoy. Twenty two years later, I am still smiling, and Michael Jordan is doing okay too. He now owns the Charlotte Hornets… the NBA team he beat that night.

Learning how God speaks to us…in so many ways

I discovered another little painted rock that someone placed at our mailbox. The verse reference is “ Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46: I0). This is a reminder and key description of what we need more of in our lives. Just to be still for a few moments in the presence of the Lord can be one of the most rewarding experiences we can have as a Christian. This is a time to stop and turn our cares into prayers and our fears into faith. Unfortunately, we usually do most of all the talking when we pray and spend time alone with God. I am thankful that He listens to us and hears us when we pray. He listens to us, but do we seek to listen to Him?

So, how do we listen to Him speak to us?

When we are quiet and still, it gives us an opportunity to hear God speak to us through reading and meditating on the Bible. Also listening to the thoughts of your heart, considering how the Lord may be leading you in making decisions prayerfully. This gives some much needed time to unplug and clear our head from all the clutter that we have been preoccupied with recently. It gives us time to reflect on specific situations where God has blessed us or been with us in so many ways. Sometimes He affirms and confirms something important to us through other people by their words or by their actions. This experience will recharge your spiritual batteries and give you some needed peace, confidence and strength.

This week or weekend, take some time to be still; and get to know God better and let Him speak to you in a personal way, that will be time well spent.

“Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.” – Psalm 37:7