The Worst That Could Happen (Diet for Dreamers)


A while back, during the television show Hour of Power, host Bobby Schuller asked his guest, an entrepreneur, to share a few details about his journey to success. The young man related how he’d mailed out 250 letters asking different people who’d made it big, if they could help him to realize his own dream. Out of those 250 requests, he received only a single response! Not very encouraging, but nevertheless the enterprising young man should be applauded for doing something few of us seem to have the courage to do these days: he needed help, so he asked for a helping hand.

Somehow, during the journey from childhood to mature adult, most people lose the confidence or the boldness or the freedom to ask anyone for anything. Adults actually hate asking. Most assume the answer will be a “no” anyway, so why waste the time. At work, there’s even an old expression, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission”!

Nobody likes to face rejection, and a “NO” leaves us out in the cold, standing there with our hat in our hand, looking stupid — or so we think. At worst, a “no” is simply a “no” and often only means “not now” or “not here”; but at best, a “no” is just one of the tiniest words in the English language that means “keep on knocking, keep on trying”! And yet, adults fear the word. In fact, the thought of getting a NO paralyzes them to the point where they’d rather be drawn and quartered than ask for something, especially help.

Pride may also play into their stubbornness, as well as the idea they might be inconveniencing someone. If only we could recapture the freedom and fearlessness of childhood. Kids don’t worry about silly stuff, and they don’t hesitate to ask for anything. If a child’s friend has only one cookie, most assuredly the child will ask if he can have half of it. An ice cream cone? “Can I have a lick or two?” True, most kids have no sense of propriety, but they also aren’t limited by the fear of a “NO”!

Sons and daughters know it never hurts to ask mom and dad for a new bike or, a few years later, if they can borrow the car. Why should they? The worst that could happen is they hear the tiny word NO. But to a child the sky’s the limit: the answer just might be a glorious, filled-with-possibilities YES!! God wants us to have that same childlike faith. He wants us to view life as filled with possibilities. God also wants us to ask Him for the things we need and even some of the things we simply want. After all, He’s our Heavenly Father, and it never hurts to ask. Sometimes His answer is “NO”; but when it is a “No” God has His reasons — and they’re always good reasons. Perhaps we’ll discuss a few of these reasons in a future post.

Nevertheless, God expects us to be confident and make our requests known to Him. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NLT) Now, if we can ask the God of the Universe, then why can’t we ask each other for things.

We’ve asked store managers to honor their sales beyond the deadline — and received a YES. One of us once asked to be considered for a job that required far more experience — and got both a YES and the job! Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained! So ASK already! Want a raise, or time off? Want a date with someone you think is special? Want to marry that special person? Want a loan? Want a customer to buy your new product or service? Want a publisher to buy your book?

Want the kids to help out at home? Want your spouse to change a bad habit? Have you asked? Again, the worst that can happen is you hear a “NO.” But imagine a YES, instead. Remember: “You do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2 NASB)

Do you need a “Barnabas” to help you reach a goal or fulfill a dream? Then open your mouth and ask! You just might make the connection you need to get to the next level. That’s the power of asking! Remember that young entrepreneur we mentioned? The one who asked 250 people for help. He didn’t even get the courtesy of a response from 249 of them. But none of that mattered, because the single response he did get was a “yes” from Donald Trump — years before he became the 45th president of the United States.

So yes, it definitely pays to ask.


Stay Encouraged (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers 20)


We can’t state this enough: we creators and dreamers need to stay encouraged. If we fail to do so, the odds of realizing our hopes and aspirations will be stacked against us. Chances are, if we lack encouragement, we’ll give up on the bright future God has planned for each of us.

But staying encouraged isn’t easy. Actually, it’s downright difficult. The long, winding path that leads to our goals and aspirations is often littered with obstacles and pitfalls; life has a way of throwing us a curve when we least expect it; and sometimes, our good intentions and best efforts can end in complete failure and utter disaster. At times like these, it can feel as though your whole world has crumbled around you.

Israel’s first true king, the poet and warrior David, faced just such a crisis, when it felt as though the ground had collapsed beneath his feet. What kept the Psalmist from toppling headlong into the pit of despair? Read on.

Close to a thousand years before the Lord Jesus Christ walked the earth in the form of a man, God anointed the Shepard David to be the King of His people Israel. But a big obstacle remained between David and the throne: a pain in David’s neck, whose name was Saul.

Saul had been chosen — not by God, but by the Hebrews — to be the king of the Jews. This might have worked out if Saul hadn’t disobeyed God’s will in a few key areas (and afterwards made up some really lame excuses for his disobedience).

God ultimately rejected Saul’s kingship, and chose David to replace him. Saul, however, wasn’t ready to step down, so he devoted all his time and energy to chasing David across the desert, in the hopes of capturing his successor — and executing him! (Life can be complicated.)

David was already an accomplished leader and warrior. He could have easily met Saul in battle and ended all his problems. But David didn’t want to kill the people’s “King”; so instead, he simply continued to elude Saul.

Just hanging out in the wilderness and trying to stay out of Saul’s way.

At one point, though, David grew tired of running. He and his army of 600 men, along with their families, sought refuge in the land of King Saul’s enemies, the Philistines. It was a good idea: Saul soon lost interest in David, believing he’d never again see his rival; and David found favor with a Philistine leader named Achish.

Achish gave David and his men the city of Ziklag, where they could live in peace and raise their families. Who knows, they might have remained their, had Achish not given David an ultimatum. For over a year David maintained the appearance that he was serving the interests of the Philistines, by defeating several of the tribes that opposed them. But these warring tribes also opposed the Hebrews — so defeating them was actually in the best interests of God’s people.

David’s exploits on the battlefield are legendary. Here  he defeats Goliath.

Again, David was enjoying the best of both worlds, until Achish announced that the Philistines were about to attack King Saul and Israel; and he expected David and his men to join him in the battle — against David’s own people.

David probably broke out in a cold sweat. The time had come to “either put up or shut up,” and it looked as though he was going to be forced into a battle against his own people. Fortunately for David, Achish’s military leaders didn’t trust the allegiance of their Hebrew Ally. (Apparently at least some of the Philistines had discernment.)

David was ordered to take his army and go home to Ziklag. They would NOT be fighting in this battle. David was filled with relief, joy, and probably the satisfaction of having pulled a fast one on Achish. And then the bottom fell out of his world.

Ziklag today: all that remains.

When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found the city deserted and in ruins. While they were away, the Amalekites (who hated the Philistines, the Hebrews, and just about everybody else) had taken captive all the women and children before burning the city to the ground.

The Bible states that in unison this band of tough, seasoned warriors suffered an emotional meltdown: “David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep.” (1 Samuel 30:4 ESV) They were strangers in a strange land, cut off from the greater part of their people, and now they’d lost everything they had, their wives, their sons and daughters, even their homes.

David’s grief was manifold. He, too, was suffering, having lost not one but two wives; but he also realized he’d failed the men who’d trusted him, who’d followed him across the desert into the land of their enemies. David’s men were disillusioned and in deep despair. Their future seemed dim, and their great cause lost and buried in the ashes of Ziklag.

As if this were not enough, David then faced yet another devastating blow. The mighty men who had always trusted him, whom he had always relied upon, were ready to turn against him: “the men were thinking of stoning him; each man grieved bitterly over his sons and daughters.” (1 Samuel 30:6 NET)

Sooner or later we all face situations similar to what happened at Ziklag. Our “Ziklag”s may come in the form of demoralizing disappointments, setbacks, or false starts; unexpected obstacles, opposition, or challenges in life, particularly in the pursuit of our dreams. How do we endure our Ziklags? Well, what did David do?

“David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved … but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. (1 Samuel 30:6 AKJV)

The word encourage means to give support, hope, confidence. David gave himself these things. He found in God what was necessary to keep from falling apart, to keep going and not give up. Other translations correctly render the word “encouraged” as strengthened: “David was very upset, for the men were thinking of stoning him; each man grieved bitterly over his sons and daughters. But David drew strength from the LORD his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6 NET)

We can learn from David’s example. What do we do when even our closest friends and relatives, our loved ones, abandon us and tell us to give up on our hopes and dreams?

What do we do when we get yet another rejection; another “No!”; another door slammed in our faces? When we think we’ve finally found the right person or door of opportunity, or taken the right steps in the pursuit of a dream — only to learn later, after expending considerable time, energy, resources, and prayer, that we’ve reached just another dead end?

Do we throw in the towel and walk away in disgust? Or, worse, do we sink into depression?

When we face our “Ziklag,” we sincerely hope that instead of giving up, we can stay encouraged, finding strength and courage in the Lord — just as David did! And speaking of David — the giant killer — what ever happened to the poor fellow? Did his men stone him? Did he flee? Did he find another wife? Did he get angry at God? Will we ever know? Of course we will!

Join us next session for David’s Daring Decision.