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Why I’m here

First blog, not for the sensitive.

I’m looking forward to imparting some wisdom or shedding some light on my view of things. You may not agree, but hey. It’s my blog, you start your own! I can be sarcastic, brutally honest and sometimes I’ve been called brash. But it is mostly by those who have no sense of humor and have been given participation trophies all of their sheltered lives.

I’m trying to journal my way through the Bible. Not in any particular order, but once I choose a book it’s going to be chapter by chapter. I’ll be loosely using the S. O. A. P. Format; Scripture Observation Application Prayer. I hope in some way you are provoked to dig deeper into the scriptures.

Enjoy

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Careless Worship

Our ideal environment and greatest need is to be in the presence of God; before God gave Adam a wife, He gave him, HIMSELF!

If you are wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been on vacation. As we continue to journal through the book of 2nd Samuel this is where we left off; David was finally King over a unified Israel, and 2nd Samuel 6 tells us about how King David plans on getting the Ark of the Covenant back to its rightful place. You see, the Philistines had captured it after a battle (1 Samuel 5 & 6) and having it, brought nothing but trouble to them. So they carted it off to the nearest town they could find that worshiped the God of Israel.

It would be over 20 years before the Ark was returned to its rightful place. King Saul was too busy pursuing David to care about God’s presence; if you remember, Eli, the High Priest fell backwards off his seat, broke his neck and died when he heard that the Ark was taken in that battle. You would think that getting it back would be priority, but King Saul was wrestling with some pretty dark stuff to be trifled with the affairs of the priesthood. He just didn’t VALUE God’s Presence.

We place a value on everything that we have, and the things we do or do not do, are also prioritized by how we value them. We as human beings place or bestow honor to things.

I value my family; therefore I care for the needs of my family. They are important to me so I honor them by working hard. My kids know that I love them, and I care for them because I value them.

We value our favorite teams, musicians, politicians and actors. We treat them with the utmost respect and reverence. We are awestruck when we catch just a glimpse of them. We will wait for hours in bad weather to watch them walk down the red carpet at the award shows. Some people idolize their hero’s, they are fanatics, with posters and memorabilia, adorning their rooms.

My question today is…

• Where is our adoration for God?

• Where has our reverence gone?

• What value have we placed on that relationship?

Peter calls us to be; Holy as God is holy, and we are also called a holy nation, a royal priesthood. 1 Peter 2:9

Holy/Pure: not mixed with anything else!

Have the things of God become so commonplace in our lives, that we no longer honor or value Him?

Where is the fear of that Awesome God — the Master of the Universe?

Many would ask,

• God, where are you in my life?

• Don’t you see what’s going on?

• My family is in shambles, my finances gone, I’m at the end of the road, and I can’t take much more.

• Don’t you care?

God would say to you today, when will you honor ME, when will you revere ME? I am able to do more than you could ever ask or imagine, (Ephesians 3:20) but where is the honor due ME?

We all want to experience the God of INCREASE, the God of More than Enough, but some just need to Experienced God first!

You may have been saved for 20 or 30 years. BUT what in your life TODAY points to an Almighty God as your Lord and Savior? I know He used to move in your life, but what has HE done for you, or through you lately?

John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. (NIV)

You see the time has come for true worshipers to come together, yet there are some that refuse to be moved.

Think about this, If Jesus said, there were true worshipers, that must mean some worship is not “true worship”.

My prayer for you today is to experience God once again!

We have no problem cheering like maniacs at sports arenas, crying like sissies at the show, yet we come to church with the notion that somehow God has to stir you.

What do we have to do to have a visitation from the Almighty?

We were created for continual fellowship with God, but sin got in the way and since God is a HOLY God, He had to remove man from His presence.

The environment God created in Eden was ideal for this unique fellowship. It was Gods garden, and man had dominion over everything there. It was a perfect place where the Creator and all of creation lived in harmony. When Adam chose to eat the only forbidden thing in the garden, God DROVE man out of His presence and since then, man has been longing to fill that emptiness, and restore that connection with other things and other gods.

Our ideal environment and greatest need is to be in the presence of God; before God gave Adam a wife, He gave him, HIMSELF!

It was never Gods plan for us to have to WORK to get into His presence. Every part of our lives was to be done in the presence of God. His plan was for us never to have to function without HIM!

Praise and Worship doesn’t put us back into Gods presence, it brings His presence to us.

You might say, “Dude, I just don’t know how to praise! It’s awkward, and it’s weird!” That is because Praise that isn’t practiced privately can’t be displayed publically!

Psalm 22:22 (NLT) I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people.

During King Saul’s reign, the Ark of the Covenant was not among Israel. The Philistines had removed it. The Ark of the Covenant was the literal presence of God tabernacling with His people. (Exodus 25:8 paraphrased… “Make a place for me to dwell among my people”)

God had given Moses detailed instructions of how the tent/tabernacle was to be built. He had set it up in such a way that you just couldn’t stumble into His presence, because if you did… you would die! It was curtained off, with inner and outer veils. There were altars that continually burned sacrifices, lavers for cleansing and special clothes for the priests to wear.

God had to be approached clean, and in a prescribed manner.

So after King Saul died, King David wanted Gods Glory and presence in the city of David. Something was missing in Israel and it was God. King David knew that he couldn’t rule without God so he got a plan to get back the ARK.

2 Samuel 6:1-7 David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God. (NIV)

There is a right way and a wrong way to come to God, Again I ask, where is the reverence and honor due HIM?

John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (NIV)

His grace is sufficient, I know. And the blood and sacrifice of Jesus is a game changer, but has God changed? The Bible states that He doesn’t change, He is the same today yesterday and forever. He still is HOLY; He still is awesome in Word and Deed.

Psalm 56:4 (Amp) By [the help of] God I will praise His word; on God I lean, rely, and confidently put my trust; I will not fear. What can man, who is flesh, do to me?

Praise is a CONSCIENCE choice.

I have made a choice to commend, approve, and glorify Him. It isn’t an emotional decision. It is a choice.

THEREFORE, it doesn’t matter how I feel, I will praise Him in the STORM, I’ll praise Him in the valley of the shadow of death, I’ll praise Him in the good times and the bad, because it is a conscience choice and not based on emotions! I can praise because I KNOW that He is the ANSWER to all my problems.

Psalm 145:2 (Amp) Every day [with its new reasons] will I bless You [affectionately and gratefully praise You]; yes, I will praise Your name forever and ever.

Hebrews 13:15 (Amp) let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.

All farmers know that in order to produce fruit there has to be a time of sowing.

Sowing isn’t easy, it comes with a cost.

Praise sometimes takes everything within you. Giving God your sacrifice of praise means that you choose to dwell on Him instead of yourself, your issues, your roadblocks, your problems, and your circumstance.

Praise is an EXPRESSION of Faith, So Praise must be expressed.

James 2:17 says, So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Praise expressed in faith holds on to a promise that is not yet seen. It is Praising God even when the circumstances say otherwise; it is Praising God when the outcome isn’t visible. It is Praising God while the walls are still round about your promise.

A sacrifice of praise says, “I don’t know what You are doing or why You are doing it, but I’m going to trust You because You have never failed me.

I don’t understand it, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me… YET I WILL PRAISE.

Psalm 34: 1 I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

In 2 Samuel 6:1-7 Uzzah’s careless act cost him his life, perhaps he was used to the Ark, since it was at his house for 20 years, I don’t know perhaps he took peeks at it wherever it was stored. We could all speculate the “WHY” of this act of carelessness, but one thing is certain… the Ark still had power.

That had to be demoralizing to David. Here he brings a 30,000 piece marching band and choir to bring back the Ark, and during one of the songs God shows up and kills a guy.

How many pastors would have quit after that service? David was hot with God, he had his moment of frustration but he realized, perhaps I don’t know what I’m doing here. We better figure out the prescribed way of carrying this thing.

Were the 30,000 genuinely worshipping? YES!

Was there an acceptable way that was pleasing to God? YES!

It took David 3 months to get over that disastrous worship failure, so when he finally decided to give it another try. They carried it by hand the next time the prescribed way.

I believe with every step they took and as the Ark got closer to the place it was supposed to be, the glory surrounding it increased, and I also believe there are folks that will read this that also have to take steps back towards your rightful place.

• There are some that have wandered off… come back!

• There are some that have been led astray… come back!

• There are some that have given up hope… come back!

• And there are some who have nothing to lose and nowhere else to turn… come back!

Father God, We need your presence in our lives, our families, our work places, our communities and in our churches. We have grown accustomed to the busyness of our everyday lives and our worship has become common. Forgive us for thinking we can habitually come into your presence in a manner that is less than reverent and holy. We have gone too far, too long without You and we repent and ask for forgiveness. We need You like we need the air we breathe. We desire You like a thirsty man in the desert. May our worship be a blessing to You and may our sacrifice be an acceptable sweet smelling fragrance in your nostrils. We love and appreciate your grace, kindness and mercy towards us. You are Holy and Worthy to be PRAISED.

AMEN!

soulKANDY

Taunted

If David had never dealt with Goliath, or the taunts of one man, how could he have ever dealt with the taunts of an entire city?

About a year ago I posted this message, and it happened to fall on the week I am journaling thru 2nd Samuel Chapter 5. I didn’t change much except for a few thoughts and the prayer. I didn’t feel like there was much to add. As I read through the Scriptures I look for something that will minister to me, these few verses still stood out as what I needed to continue to marinate on. Perhaps it is because I feel inadequate sometimes? Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older and in the process of having to compete with younger people at the Department of Transportation for job opportunities? Nevertheless the taunts of the enemy are sometimes overwhelming. It’s always good to hear what God has to say about it.

So if you are saying to yourself, “I already read this a year ago why bother?” I say to you, “perhaps you need to hear it again!”

2 Samuel 5:3-6 (Amp) So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them [there] before the Lord, and they anointed [him] king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began his forty-year reign. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah. And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, You shall not enter here, for the blind and the lame will prevent (stop) you; they thought, David cannot come in here…

If David had never dealt with Goliath, or the taunts of one man, how could he have ever dealt with the taunts of an entire city?

1) How have you dealt with opposition in your life? (Taunts)

Proverbs 21:22 (Amp) A wise man scales the city walls of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.

A wise man sees the obstacle in front of him, a wise man considers the strategy of the enemy, and he plans the engagement carefully. The enemy trusts in his walls, the same walls that supposedly are keeping you out, are holding him in. He’s trapped in what he thinks is his salvation. While hiding behind deaf, dumb, lame and blind gods.  If you are always trying to accomplish things on your own, and using your own means, power and provision, then the enemy sees you as easy pickings. In fact he sees you as such an easy opponent that the blind and the lame, could keep you from getting that which has been promised to you.

Judges 1:21(NKJ) But the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem; so the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.

At one time Jerusalem had been a conquest of the tribe of Benjamin, but they allowed the Jebusites to dwell among them, and eventually the Jebusites took over the city. How many times in our attempts to manage our troubles do we eventually get to the point where our troubles overtake us? Little problems and sins that we fail to completely surrender, now taunt us every time we perceive to confront them.

Strongs: 2982  Yebuwc (yeb-oos’); from 947; trodden, i.e. Threshing-place;  947 buwc (boos); a primitive root; to trample (literally or figuratively):  KJV– loath, tread (down, under [foot]), be polluted.

Trample: to tread heavily, or to tread heavily on something or somebody so as to cause damage or injury. Trample: to behave in an insulting contemptuous way or to treat somebody in a hurtful insulting way

Pollute: Corrupt or Defile: to make somebody morally or spiritually impure. Pollute: Desecrate; to violate the sacred nature of a holy place. (Encarta Dictionary)

Those very people whom the tribe of Benjamin allowed to live and dwell among them ended up taking over, they became a reproach. The possession of peace became a threshing place. The promise of God became polluted, desecrated, this strategic location, this central city, this city on a hill, became a place where its inhabitants worshipped blind and lame gods, (idols) and they didn’t even dispute that. They didn’t hide that fact they trusted in their walls.

2) If you were David, what would you be prepared to do?

• Turn back and come another time?

• Be so twisted by the taunts that you lose your cool and make a mistake?

• Question God?

Or Would You…

• Prepare to take your city!

• Prepare to get what’s promised!

• Prepare to fight with valor.

The Jebusites have taken the city and have fortified themselves in it, and if you weren’t a threat they wouldn’t be looking for you to come.

They glory in their walled fortress, but the Bible says:

Proverbs 18:10 (NKJ) The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

The very name of our Lord should be a fortress to you.

Romans 10:13 (NKJ) For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

They glory in their advantage, but the Bible says:

Hebrews 13:6 (Amp) So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?

Psalm 27:1 (Amp) The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 118:6 (Amp) The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

They glory in their pride and strength. But the Bible says:

Psalm 56:9 (ESV) Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.

Romans 8:31 (ESV) then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

• You are not taking that city alone

• You are not facing this difficulty alone

• You are not dealing with this obstacle alone

3) Who is your fortress, pride and strength?

Psalm 71:4-8 (AMP) Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the grasp of the unrighteous and ruthless man. For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence. Upon You have I leaned (stability) and relied from birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb and You have been my benefactor from that day. My praise is continually of You. I am as a wonder and surprise to many, but You are my strong refuge. My mouth shall be filled with Your praise and with Your honor all the day.

Psalm 121:1, 2 (MSG) I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

4) Have you considered who you surround yourself with?

Because even the blind and the lame could keep you out if you let them, if you surround yourself with people of no vision, and no spiritual walk! Ah ha! There’s the catch! Who are your companions? My grandma used to always say, “Show me who you walk with and I’ll show you who you are.” I never really paid that much attention, because I always felt my crowd was ok. But don’t we all think that the crowd we are running with are different than those hooligans down the street. I mean we never really did anything too bad. Or were we just better at getting away with dirt than them? Who are we really surrounded by?

• Do my companions have vision? Do they have a call, purpose and destiny that they are striving for?

• Do my companions walk uprightly? Do they make good decisions, and do they hold me to a godly standard in my spiritual walk?

• Do my companions enable me to realize my destiny? Or are they foolish and a hindrance?

Maybe that’s you, surrounded by foolish companions. It’s not too late to pray with me…

Father God,

I’ve been a companion with fools, I have made bad choices, silly decisions and nearly forfeited my future for what is temporary and nonsensical. I’ve let those with no vision and walk steer me to places I never should have gone towards, but only by Your Grace have I’ve made it through all the mess. Heavenly Father, I know it’s not too late to realize the destiny, promise and purpose for my life for as long as I have breath, there is still hope. Thank you for not giving up on me, enable me to make new friends, with like minded people of purpose and destiny, and give me a courage to stand for the things that are righteous even when it not popular to do so. Knowing I am not standing alone. Help me to get past the taunts of those who would keep me from what You have for me, and tune in on Your Word and Your voice. Amen.

So what did David do? He and his guys took the city!

2 Samuel 5:7,10 Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the City of David… David became greater and greater, for the Lord God of hosts was with him.

-soulKANDY

I Die

We have the tendency to overlook the weasel and the snake, because we are looking for the roaring lion and the wolf in sheeps clothing. And all the while the weasel and snake are undermining the plan, purpose, and potential in our lives and ministries.

My wife and I are journaling the book of 2nd Samuel together and she made a statement last week as we were discussing chapter 4. She said, “There sure is a lot of killing in this book!”

So as I am meditating on what I read, her statement keeps coming to mind. There is a lot of killing in this book, 1st Samuel ended with the death of King Saul and Prince Jonathan, and 2nd Samuel picks right up with the killing of the Amalekite messenger, a battle between Joab and Abner with a total of 379 men dead, the murder of Abner at the hands of Joab, the assassination of Ish-bosheth at the hands of Baanah and Recab, and the killing of Baanah and Recab for what they have done.What’s the deal?!

And as I am thinking about that, this is what comes to my spirit: when a Kingdom is established, something has to die. That is the brutal fact of war and kingdoms.

Look at history and tell me if you agree. Kingdoms require subjects, and Kings demand loyalty.

Is the Kingdom of Heaven any different? Do we not have to die to self? Doesn’t the Lord’s Prayer say, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? That means MY kingdom and MY will must die.

I remember talking to a Pastor in Rialto, California in the early 90’s. I used to be in the Christian Rap group Private Boiz and we ministered all around SoCal and the neighboring southwest United States. At that time, a lot of pastors were trying to reach the inner city kids and the best way to do that was through music. Rap just happened to be the primary genre that the Inland Empire youth were listening to at that time. He said he had booked his 1st youth outreach with a rap group, he served hot dogs, hamburgers, and refreshments, and a crowd was gathering near the outdoor stage and tent they had set-up. He had drove away for a few minutes to get more ice at the local Stater Bros. Market and when he came back he was shocked to hear a crowd of kids all yelling, “KILL THE OLD MAN! KILL THE OLD MAN! KILL THE OLD MAN! KILL THE OLD MAN!”. He said, “I left the bags in the trunk and ran towards the stage worrying and expecting to see someone getting beat to death.” But the kids were just repeating the hook of the song about a new life in Christ requiring someone to die to their old ways, habits, and lifestyle.

Isn’t that what baptism symbolizes? The death, burial, and resurrection of a believer?

I like how The Message translation puts it.

Colossians 2:11-15 “…Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ…” MSG

2 Corinthians 5:17 “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” NLT

Also take the time to read:

Romans 6: 1-14

If God is going to establish His kingdom in your life, things need a drastic change; there is going to have to be a funeral.

So as we look at the book of 2nd Samuel in this light, yeah, there is a lot of killing that comes with a new kingdom. The Amalekite messenger tried to weasel his way into favor with the king and it cost him! Abner, Baanah, and Recab tried to scheme their way, and it cost them as well. They all found out the hard way, that the new king can’t be bought or won over with favors. His appointment and anointing was God-planned, and he (David) is letting God do His thing in His time.

If we know anything about David so far, it’s that he is a very patient man and he isn’t easily swayed.

How many pastors (leaders/bosses) do you know that would have given the Amalekite messenger, Abner, Baanah and Recab, seats on their board(s) or advisory committee(s)?

How many pastors (leaders/bosses) have the Amalekite messenger, Abner, Baanah and Recab on their boards right now?

We have the tendency to overlook the weasel and the snake, because we are looking for the roaring lion and the wolf in sheeps clothing. And all the while the weasel and snake are undermining the plan, purpose, and potential in our lives and ministries.

When I was a youth pastor, I told the teens to notice that the middle letter in obedience is “I” and the middle three are ”DIE.” If you are going to be totally committed and connected with God, and His call, purpose, and destiny for your life, “I” must die! We must decrease so that He may increase, we must become less so that He may be greater still.

Lord, I surrender; every bit, every part, every habit, every thought, every friend, and every idea. I want your plan, will, purpose for my life and I know that things that I’m afraid to lose must die. Lord, I know you will never owe anyone, and there is nothing that I surrender that you cannot possibly replace with something better. I’m done being lord and king, I’ve tried and failed miserably. Take your rightful place in my heart and life, as Savior and Lord. Amen.

-soulKANDY

Selective Righteousness

You see this happens all too often, when self-righteous people get accused of something. They start waxing philosophical, quoting Scripture, and deflecting.

Continuing the chapter by chapter look at 2nd Samuel.

2 Samuel 3: 8-10 Then Abner was very angry over the words of Ish-bosheth and said, “Am I a dog’s head of Judah? To this day I keep showing steadfast love to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not given you into the hand of David. And yet you charge me today with a fault concerning a woman. 9 God do so to Abner and more also, if I do not accomplish for David what the LORD has sworn to him, 10 to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan to Beersheba.”

As Saul’s General, Abner was on the Elite Squad that hunted David and his men down for years. Abner who is growing in influence and power, as most military commanders do when there is not strong leadership, is being accused of sleeping with one of King Saul’s concubines; an offense punishable by death.

But instead of being humble and contrite, Abner goes on this tirade; he is indignant and his statements to Ish-bosheth reek of pride and contempt. He is literally saying, “Am I a filthy, vile creature that doesn’t care where he lays?” You see in those days, dogs to eastern cultures are NOT the man’s best friend of present day western civilization. They were pack animals that rummaged through garbage, ate dead things, and most likely ran amok on the roads, alleys, and trails where people had to walk. Most of us know how disgusting dogs running free about a neighborhood can be, so there is nothing cute and cuddly about wild dogs in that culture, in those days.

He then states he has really been a loyal protector of Saul’s family and friends. He never denies nor confirms the charge against him. He more so diminishes it as a trifling thing that should have been overlooked. And perhaps it would have been to Ish-bosheth’s best interest to do so. But that’s NOT what I want to talk about.

You see this happens all too often, when self-righteous people get accused of something. They start waxing philosophical, quoting Scripture, and deflecting.

That is what stood out to me.

Look at verse 9. God do so to Abner and more also, if I do not accomplish for David what the LORD has sworn to him,

All of a sudden, Abner confesses that he knew all along that the kingdom he is so diligently backing was rightfully, and more importantly, DIVINELY sworn to and promised to David. How convenient! It wasn’t until he is in hot-water with Saul’s family for being a nasty dog, that Abner NOW decides to do the LORD’S work and help David get what’s rightfully his.

Would this be his stance if Ish-bosheth had never confronted him with the issue with Rizpah?

Nevertheless, he is now set on doing the right thing and that is exactly what he does. He turns his back on the family which he so passionately defended and served, and proceeded to carry out his kingdom transfer plot with King David of Judah.

There is more to this story than the 3 verses I chose to reflect on: at first it seems that things go exactly as Abner has planned, but then we see that he didn’t account for the “Blood Feud” that Joab, David’s General, had with him, so the story takes a violent turn rather quickly.

Call it karma, comeuppance, or the law of sowing and reaping, but evil or deceitful people will eventually get what’s coming to them. We just need to wait patiently, and let God have His say.

Father God, Forgive me for the times when I have picked and chosen when to act righteously. Help me to be a man of integrity and of good character always, regardless of the situation or how things may, or may not benefit me. Holy Spirit, keep checking my spirit when I may be going in a way contrary to the plan of God for my life, and soften me to accept when others call me out for doing wrong, and give me the courage and humility to change my behavior.

Love

-John

The thrill of the CHASE.

What possesses someone to go chasing after an ill-advised thing, something forbidden, something out of reach?

Follow along as I journal through the book of 2nd Samuel, if you haven’t been keeping up, go back and read 1st Samuel. -John

2 Samuel 2: 18-24

“Joab, Abishai, and Asahel—the three sons of Zeruiah—were among David’s forces that day. Asahel could run like a gazelle, and he began chasing Abner. He pursued him relentlessly, not stopping for anything. When Abner looked back and saw him coming, he called out, “Is that you, Asahel?” “Yes, it is,” he replied. “Go fight someone else!” Abner warned. “Take on one of the younger men, and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel kept right on chasing Abner. Again Abner shouted to him, “Get away from here! I don’t want to kill you. How could I ever face your brother Joab again?” But Asahel refused to turn back, so Abner thrusted the butt end of his spear through Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He stumbled to the ground and died there. And everyone who came by that spot stopped and stood still when they saw Asahel lying there.”

Reading this, I would love to ask that kid, “What in the world are you chasing? Have you even thought about what you are going to do if you catch up?”

It wasn’t a foot race; if it was Asahel would have won. Unfortunately, it was a battle, and Asahel was not ready for a battle.

What possesses someone to go chasing after an ill-advised thing, something forbidden, something out of reach?

We could speculate but we will never know for sure. Was it that Asahel was always in Big Brother Joab’s shadow?

The local news rag would read: Joab the mighty warrior! Asahel the…quick.

Or, Joab the formidable opponent. Asahel the Gazelle.

Yeah, nope. Doesnt have the same ring to it. For real, how many kids have pictures of track stars on their walls? Some I’m sure, but compared to boxers, wrestlers and MMA guys, the numbers don’t even compare.

So it could have been that Asahel was having to deal with older brother comparisons, or maybe it’s just as simple as, he got caught up in the excitement of the fight?

How many times do we do the exact same thing? Chase after something without an intelligible reason for doing so. How many instances can you recall in your life that have figuratively knocked you to the ground by some “Abner” you were blindly chasing?

Perhaps it was a career path? Perhaps the opposite sex?

Maybe an illicit affair, a hobby, a drink, a drug, a dream or an idea?

Reality can knock the wind out of you; for Asahel, it took his life. I know for me, there have been a few instances where I can look back and say that the warnings signs were there, though I relentlessly blew right past them, the guardrails, and headed perilously towards the cliff. I can’t say what I was thinking. I don’t fully understand that part. I know there was an inner struggle, but the flesh man got the upper hand.

The enemy knows our weaknesses even better than we do ourselves. So we get on this deadly pursuit led by our evil desires that have us blindly racing toward treacherous territory. Not everybody gets second chances, and most end up a spectacle on the side of life road like Asahel, while people gather around wondering, “why didn’t he stop when he had the chance?”

Why didn’t Asahel heed the warnings? Why didn’t he humbly submit to what turned out to be some “spot on” counsel? We may never know. Perhaps pride got the best of him? It’s not easy to admit you are being reckless. It’s even harder to look a person or people in the eye and ask them to forgive you.

But this I do know, if you happen to receive the gift of grace. Don’t squander it! Ask for forgiveness and work towards reconciliation. Then maybe, just maybe, you can rebuild or reestablish trust.

Father God, thank you for second and third chances as I (we) ask for forgiveness, and thank you for your gift of grace and mercy. Jesus, thank you for saving and redeeming this wretched sinner, and Holy Spirit you are welcome to prompt, prod and penetrate this heart of mine, enable me (us) to be Spirit-attentive to your warnings. Thank you Heavenly Father for this Word, it struck some very raw areas, but I (we) know it doesn’t return to you empty or void, but it accomplishes what you purpose it to accomplish in my (our) lives. Thank you for never giving up on us, for remaining faithful even when we are faithless. Love – John

soulKANDY

Critical Condition

Well today I posted something about how dangerous it is to work on the roads, and this morning I find out one of my contractors was hit while mowing. Y’all that pray, please pray for the tractor operator, and the driver of the vehicle that struck him. I’m sure they both didn’t plan on being transported to the ER this morning in Critical Condition.

I cannot stress enough the importance of being aware of those that work on the highways. It’s totally avoidable, slow down, leave earlier, don’t answer that phone, and its carelessly reckless to text and drive or otherwise drive while distracted. That text can wait. Our lives depend on it.

-soulKANDY