Saul Tries to Kill David and How We Should Be Like Him

In 1 Samuel 19, King Saul is trying to kill David. After David’s home is raided, he escapes to Naioth to spend time with Samuel.  Saul finds out that they are there, so Saul sends soldiers to kill David.  When the messengers of Saul show up to take David, God has other plans.

In fact, instead of capturing or killing David, they see Samuel and other prophets prophesying and proclaiming the glories of God, and at that point, they start to prophesy as well. Saul is so wicked, he doesn’t see God directly frustrating his plans.

He wants David dead.  He doesn’t want his men prophesying.  So, he sends a second set of messengers to capture David, and they start prophesying as well.  Then he sent a third set, and they start prophesying.

God will not be frustrated here.  Saul will be, but God won’t.

Saul is so resolute on capturing and killing David, he just takes things into his own hands.  He personally is planning on going to Naioth, capturing David and killing him himself.  It is like Saul is saying, “I know I won’t get distracted and prophesy.  I’ve got some killing to do.”

But sure enough, Saul shows up to Naioth, and he is completely undone.  Saul is so undone, he strips off his clothes, lies prostrate day and night in the nude, and declares the glories of God. This is so shocking and so out of place for Saul that folks begin to ask, “Is Saul a prophet now?”

David is so protected by the hand of God, that every time Saul tries to kill him, the accusers are turned away – not just turned away but speaking of the glory of God. Every sinful plan is turned and transformed to give God glory. Saul thought it couldn’t happen to him, but it did. 

Murderous letch to prophet of God.

One small note:  Wouldn’t it be great if the next time you planned on sinning, you did this?

You go online, and you are about to click on a link that you know you shouldn’t, and all of a sudden, you sing, “Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost…”

About to slander someone, and you break out into praises.

Tempted to be jealous?  Start singing your favorite hymn.

We might be transformed if we prayed that way.  “Dear God, next time I’m tempted, help me to sing your praises. Move me from my most selfish intent to glories in your name. Would I find that praising Jesus is all I can think of the next time I’m so tempted?”

And perhaps, you will be transformed in the process even more so than Saul was. 

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

 

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Podcast Interview with Dr. Ligon Duncan about the Church & the #metoo Movement

While at the Presbyterian Church of America’s (PCA) General Assembly, it was my privilege to interview Dr. Ligon Duncan.  If you don’t know who he is, Dr. Duncan is the Chancellor/CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology.

During our conversation, we discussed the #metoo movement, focusing on two areas:  how the movement can inform the church and how the church can inform the movement.  His insight was helpful, as one might imagine, and his starting point of the conversation was poignant.

Dr. Duncan emphasized that the beginning place of any conversation must be the church’s admittance of failure in protecting those who have been abused and also the church’s failure of calling out our its who are guilty.

He also feels that once that conversation begins and honest admittance of wrong is made, the church would then have an opportunity to speak about moral absolutes – meaning, how does the declaration of the wrongs of abuse speak to a higher authority of holiness.

Additionaly, he goes on to give advice to those who are starting new churches, and he also speaks to what he would say if he got to interact with #metoo leaders like Rose McGowan. 

If you want to explore more of this conversation, you can find the podcast link at https://anchor.fm/thisisgonnahurt/episodes/Episode-15—Interview-w-Ligon-Duncan–the-church–metoo-e1lvot.

Thanks go out to Dr. Duncan for taking the time to speak about these important topics.  Hopefully, his honesty will create more conversations between both the leaders of the #metoo movement and the church. 

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

“I am so done.” Jesus Knows Exactly How You Feel

Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t go on anymore?

Have you felt like your circumstances were too great to bear?

Have you ever prayed that God would just simply make things better?

You are not alone, and you are in good company. 

Right after Jesus gave His disciples the Lord’s Supper, and right before He was arrested, Jesus got away in order to spend time with His Father.  He spent the night in prayer.  This was a prayer of anguish and a prayer of pain.  

Luke 22 tells us that His prayers were in such earnest that He literally sweat drops of blood.  In fact, Luke 22 tells us that great drops of blood fell to the ground, and we are privileged to hear a few of the words that Jesus prayed that night. 

Now before I tell them to you, ask yourself what you would be praying.  If you had been betrayed by one of your best friends and you knew that you were about to be executed for a crime for which you were innocent, what would you be praying? 

I might be angry, bitter, depressed, or all of the above. 

I might pray for revenge.

Who knows?  Everything would be on the table.

Well here is what Jesus prays.

Jesus says, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 

Jesus, in one of His most human of moments, cries out to His Father.  He, in essence, says, “If there is any other plan for me other than my excruciating death on a cross, then please do that, but what I really want, Father, is your will and not mine. 

I don’t know how much comfort this brings you, but this passage should be one of the most fundamentally comforting passages in all of the scriptures. 

Jesus, our Savior, knows what it is like to anguish over a difficult set of circumstances and Jesus, our Savior, knows what it is like to wrestle with God’s will. 

Many of us right now are wrestling with God’s will as we know it, meaning we are struggling to be joyful and content in situations that we do not enjoy, and the rest of us are struggling with God’s unknown will.  We ask questions about school, marriage, jobs, children, finances, and the like. 

And here we see Jesus doing it in Godliness.  He cries to God asking for any change that is possible but resting ultimately in whatever God thinks is best. 

Our Savior knows our pain.  Our Savior secures for us, not only an example, but a hope through His death on the cross.  And our Savior gives us yet another reason to love Him.  He gets us.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

 

Deepen Your Faith Through a Devotional Commentary

What is a devotional commentary? 

A devotional commentary is a brief (25 pages or less) devotion that is based on the line by line interpretation of a text, and Gospel Rich Books has dozens of them on Amazon. 

Culled from sermon notes, some of them do contain typo’s but the central meaning of most remains intact.  If you search Amazon for “Gordon Duncan” and the following books (Ephesians, Joel, and Galatians), you will find them.

Each is only $.99.  To help you get started, we’ve included the links to every devotional commentary from the book of Joel.  Taken together, these make the foundation of a book one day, but right now, enjoy them one by one. 

Happy Reading!

Joel 1:1-12

Joel 1:13-20  

Joel 2:1-11

Joel 2:12-17  

Joel 2:18-27

Joel 2:28-32

Joel 3:1-8

Joel 3:9-16

Joel 3:17-21

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

 

Gospel Rich Books Wants To Help Pastors Publish Their Books

I love writing and publishing books, and what I’ve learned over the past few years is that lots of pastors would like to publish a book or two themselves. 

Helping Pastors Publish Their Books

Here is an interesting stat.  Most pastors write the equivalent of a novel every year in just their sermon’s alone, and I think the church would benefit greatly if they could read their pastor’s books.

But the challenge for most pastors is not the writing.  It is the formatting and publishing. 

Where I want to help.  My passion for writing and publishing is now turning into a passion to help others publish as well, so towards that end, I have created the Pastor Publishing Pack

Everything a pastor needs to find inspiration and information to begin publishing books is right here (and a few bonuses thrown in as well).  It only costs $29.99.

Here is what you will receive for $29.99

First: “5 Steps to Publishing Your Own Books” is a step by step guide to formatting, publishing, and even advertising your book.  You can read this in less than an hour, and you will be on your way toward publishing your first book.

Second: “BestSeller Template” is the essential tool you need to get your books “Amazon-Ready”.  Once you are finished writing, all you have to do is cut and paste your book into this re-usable word document, and it will be ready to submit to Amazon.  There is even information in this book about how to get professional covers designed.

Third: “Simple Sermon Solution” is a great book to help you write, organize, and deliver your sermons.  For most pastors, their books come from their sermons, and this book helps you create sermons with depth and clarity.

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth: “Simple Sermon Solution:  Micah, Christmas, and Easter” are three books that were written directly from sermon notes.  What these books do (aside from being kickbutt devotionals) is demonstrate the simplicity of taking a sermon from notes and turning them into books.  This is how I write the majority of my books.

These e-books would typically cost $60 or more if you bought them individually, but we have put them in the Pastor Publishing Pack for $29.99 just for you.

Maybe you aren’t a pastor, but you know your pastor would like to publish a book.  Just purchase these books, and then email them over to your pastor as a gift.  Maybe it is just thing he needs to get that book on Amazon.

I hope this will help lots of pastors publish books in the next year or so. 

If you would like help beyond these books, just email me at gordon@jgordonduncan.com.  I plan on launching a Pastor Publishing Academy soon to help pastors close the gap between idea and publication. 

I can’t wait to read all of those newly published books.  Let me know when they go live.

Gordon Duncan

Editor, Gospel Rich Books

www.gospelrichbooks.com

https://gumroad.com/l/pastorpubpack

 

“The Hold Fast” Makes a 150 Year Sermon a BestSeller

Recently, Gospel Rich Books released the first of a series of books in our “Pocket Spurgeon” series.  This series takes the sermons of Spurgeon and edits them into readable and carriable editions for the intention of enabling more people to read Christian classics. 

For far too long, these classics have been locked away in dusty, overly large tomes that are both intimidating and hard to find.  “Pocket Spurgeon” hopes to remedy that.

Our first edition, entitled “The Hold Fast” comes from Proverbs 4, and wonderfully, has become a bestseller on Amazon (reaching #10 on the Old Testament Wisdom Literature chart this past weekend).  I’ve included another snippet from it for your encouragement.

“Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.”—-Proverbs 4:13.

Faith may be well described as taking hold upon divine instruction. God has condescended to teach us, and it is ours to hear with attention and receive his words; and while we are hearing faith comes, even that faith which saves the soul. To take “fast hold” is an exhortation which concerns the strength, the reality, the heartiness, and the truthfulness of faith, and the more of these the better. If to take hold is good, to take fast hold is better. Even a touch of the hem of Christ’s garment causeth healing to come to us, but if we want the full riches which are treasured up in Christ we must not only touch but take hold; and if we would know from day to day to the very uttermost all the fullness of his grace, we must take fast hold, and so maintain a constant and close connection between our souls and the eternal fountain of life. It were well to give such a grip as a man gives to a plank when he seizes hold upon it for his very life– that is a fast hold indeed.

We are to take fast hold of instruction, and the best of instruction is that which comes from God; the truest wisdom is the revelation of God in Christ Jesus: of that therefore we are to take fast hold. The best understanding is obedience to the will of God and a diligent learning of those saving truths which God has set before us in his word: so that in effect we are exhorted to take hold of Christ Jesus our Lord, the incarnate wisdom in whom dwelleth all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. We are not to let him go but to keep him and hold him, for he is our life. Does not John in his gospel tell us that the Word is our light for instruction and at the same time our life? “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” The more we abide in the Lord Jesus and the more firmly we take hold upon him, the better will it be for us in a thousand ways. I intend at this time to speak as the Holy Spirit shall enable me upon this fast-hold; and I reckon that the subject is one of the most important which can occupy your attention at this particular crisis in the history of the church. Many there be around us who believe in Christ, but it is with a very trembling faith and their hold is unsteady; we need to have among us men of tighter grip, who really believe what they profess to believe, who know the truth in its living power, and are persuaded of its certainty, so that they cannot by any means be moved from their steadfastness. Among the vacillating crowd we long to see fast-holders who are pillars in the house of our God, whose grasp of divine truth is not that of babes or boys, but of men full grown and vigorous.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready.

If you want to follow more of what’s going on with Gordon, check out the website www.jgordonduncan.com and his recently launched podcast at

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/this-is-gonna-hurt-the-podcast-of-j-gordon-duncan/id1356352968

 

 

God Works Behind the Scenes

God works behinds the scenes. 

Having chosen teaching as my major late in my college career, I graduated in December.  That created a problem.  The prime season for finding a job in academics is the spring semester, so I was behind the eight ball a bit. 

I had several job interviews in the fall while student teaching, but they were primarily for teachers going on maternity leave.  None of them panned out.  As a result, graduation and the Christmas season were depressing, and moving home was not an option.  I refused to go backwards and become a “failure to launch”.

Fortunately, in that day, East Carolina University had a program where teachers could fill out a generic application to be kept on file.  That way, if schools contacted the education department, they would have plenty of candidates along with their contact information.

After a despairing 48 hours post-graduation, the future principal of Tar River Learning Center contacted me.  He informed me that Rocky Mount, NC was opening a training school for students who had been previously expelled.  The school was the system’s effort to reduce the dropout rate.  He wanted to know if I was interested in an interview.

I immediately said, “Yes.”  My interview was the next day. 

Rocky Mount is about an hour away from both ECU and my parent’s home.  It is a small town with an amazingly high crime rate.  It is known for its drug trade, being exactly half way between New York and Florida on I-95.  It is also traditionally one of the worst school systems in NC.

In my interview, the principal let me know that he was temporary as the school launched.  Also, the school wouldn’t have enough books for every student, and the teachers were required to teach multiple subjects at the same time, even if they didn’t have training in that subject.  The upside was that classes would have no more than 15 or so students. 

I jumped at the opportunity despite multiple friends telling me that I was crazy to even consider it.  Yes, it was the only job offer I had, but that wasn’t it.  Since attending Urbana 90 (a mission minded, college conference held every three years), this was my goal and my target job:  working with at-risk students in an urban environment.

Tar River taught me, perhaps more than seminary, how to communicate and how to get to the basics of any subject.  My classrooms were full of unwilling, and seemingly, unteachable children.  There were bright spots of course, and now, 20 years later through social media, I’ve learned that a few went on to be nurses, graphic artists, and the like. 

Additionally, without taking the job, I would not have met my wife, wouldn’t have been mentored by her father, and I can’t realistically figure out how I would have gone into ministry. 

In graduating late, taking a job that everyone thought was a bad idea, working in a rough environment in difficult conditions, God led me down paths I couldn’t have imagined.  There were many stresses along the way, but I can look back now and see God’s hand in every step.

While we may not always know or trust God is at work, we should assure our hearts that He is. 

Isaiah 45: “Turn to me and be saved,

    all the ends of the earth!

    For I am God, and there is no other.

23 By myself I have sworn;

    from my mouth has gone out in righteousness

    a word that shall not return:

‘To me every knee shall bow,

    every tongue shall swear allegiance

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready. 

If you want to follow more of what’s going on with Gordon, check out the website www.jgordonduncan.com and his recently launched podcast at

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/this-is-gonna-hurt-the-podcast-of-j-gordon-duncan/id13563529