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

No More Tears!

This type of pain makes you want to run away; you don’t feel like seeing anyone, and wanna say, Just leave me alone!”. BUT David found strength in the Lord his God.

Based on 1 Samuel 30

Have you ever had one of those days? You know the kind; it starts encouraging and victorious and ends a deflated, disastrous disappointment.

One foolish day in Chicago, a little boy wanted to go to the carnival. Bright lights, the smell of caramel corn and cotton candy, the call of the carnie rousers yelling, “Step right up, or try your luck!”, cheap thrills, oddities…and well, for a 9 year old boy, acres and acres of fun. Let’s just say his parents didn’t see it that way; he was forbidden to go. So he did what any 9 year old boy who dreams of fun, candy, games of luck, and a chance to win a stuffed animal 1 ½ times his size would do. He took his allowance and decided to run away to the carnival, if only for the day.

Well, little Johnny’s parents didn’t know his intentions. He left them no note or other clue as to where he was going, just an empty room and a missing boy.

The carnival was a blast, I had… errr, I mean Johnny had the time of his life. No parents telling him, “No, you can’t eat that! No, you can’t ride that, No, you can’t play that! Blah, Blah, Blah!”. Freedom was as awesome as he pictured it to be. But we all know that a few bucks don’t last very long at such a great place, and eventually walking around watching everyone else having a blast gets boring. So he decided to un-run away. After all, that was his intention all along since he didn’t even pack a bag.

So at the end of a fun-filled, glorious, candy eating, carnival riding, game of luck playing day, he finds himself walking through the alleys back toward 3713 West Dickens St.

He had spotted it by the time he got somewhere near North Hamlin Ave; the family station wagon. His stomach sank. He could see dad was driving while his mom was in the passenger seat and it looked like they were happy to see him, yet very unhappy at the same time. The parental oxymoron, “ecstaticanger.”His mom had the “my little boy is safe, I’m going to kill him look”, and his dad just had the “I’m going to kill him look.” Long story short, they didn’t spare the rod that evening.

Nope!!! And Johnny never ran away again. He had experienced both the mountain top and the deepest darkest valley that day.

And that’s what David and his men are feeling.

They were just let off the hook by King Achish, and sent home from a potential battle against their own people. How awesome was that? They were in a major pickle; they had no clue about what would really happen when the fighting took place. Do they back up the man who has offered sanctuary and opportunity, or do they support Israel by default?

In God’s providence the choice to let them go back home was offered. That truly was a gift and if no one else knew it, David did.

A mountain top experience to be sure. How many of you can say there has been at least one time you were let off the hook, and given an “out” when there clearly was no “out”?

But the elation doesn’t last for them. In fact, the party comes to a screeching halt when they see from a distance, in the direction of what should be home, smoke rising from the rubble of what was supposed to be their place of rest.

1 Samuel 30: 3 & 6

“And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.”

“And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.ESVEMPHASIS ADDED

If you have never experienced tragedy, then you won’t be able to relate to this story. But all kidding aside, this is nothing like getting a spanking after disobeying your parents. How would you feel if you have been a good and faithful son, a passionate believer or a devout follower, and then all hell breaks loose in your life? Would you curse God? Would you assign blame, and want answers? Would you lose your faith?

David has been faithful, he has been honorable, and he has been a godly man. He has been tried, tested, provoked, chased, lied about, and lied to. He has been a target, and now when he is finally feeling peace in his life, he comes home to find everything that he has fought for is GONE.

His home, his family, and all his possessions are GONE. All that he has left are the few provisions he would have taken when he went off to battle. But that is not all that he has to worry about. His men, the guys that were depressed, discontented, and discouraged and in debt. Yes, those same guys that had joined David while he was on the run from King Saul, those very same guys that now have a purpose, a place, a plan and a future. THOSE GUYS are now talking about stoning David. You see they came to David as nobodies with nothing, and when it was just David’s head on the line, and David being the recipient of all the drama, life was good. Heck, they even made a life out of it. They had property, got married, had children…life was peachy. But tragedy has hit home! And it has not spared anyone. This time, everyone was affected, and the men do not know how to deal with it. Some versions read, “They cried until they had no more tears!”. These are mighty men, valiant soldiers and warriors, but they are also husbands and daddies too.

I believe David could find strength in the LORD his God, because when King Saul would have evil spirits, and mood shifts, he would call on David, and David was able to play, and praise him through those stressful and trying times. You see David had already had private worship services; he already had all night prayer meetings. He already knew how to intercede on someone else’s behalf, so praying for himself was normal. I didn’t say easy; I mean it wasn’t foreign. He saw God come through for Saul, so he knew God could come through for him. I’m pretty sure he didn’t know how God would, but he knew God could. David has faced, lions, bears, and actual giants; now he is facing another type of giant. ”Bitterness in Soul.” That’s a whole different level of pain. A pain way down deep in your innermost being. There is a grieving in that pain. This isn’t a hit my thumb with a hammer pain, this is a; my wife and my baby are missing and I’m a mess pain. This is a WHAT IF I…? A whoulda shoulda pain. The kind that racks your mind so you can’t sleep. The kind that just won’t shut off or go away. A distress in your soul.

This type of pain makes you want to run away; you don’t feel like seeing anyone, and wanna say, Just leave me alone!”. BUT David found strength in the Lord his God.

I’ve been there! I know how debilitating tragedy can be. I know how it can tear a family apart and I know how close to the edge I personally came. I know the doubts, the regrets, the excuses, the fear, and the relentless agony of spirit.

But I also know… if NOT for GOD.

Father God, we know all Scripture is God breathed and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in how to live upright. And we know that this section is there to help those who like David and his men, have lost everything precious to them. God, we don’t always know the why of things, but we do know that when we are going through those times, we can find strength and peace in You. Help us to be strong enough to resist the temptation to throw in the towel and give up, blaming You for not saving us from hurt, and accusing You of being the cause of it. We know you are a good Father, sometimes only when things are going great. Help us to realize you are a good Father in all things good and bad. Help us to place our trust and confidence in You, and enable us to heal from false teaching, bad counsel and our moments when we are faithless.

Amen

Keep Pressing!

-soulKANDY

‘fran(t)ik

Friend, perhaps you have been crossing lines you shouldn’t cross, venturing just far enough to always come back when in a pinch. Eventually there will come a time when you too will call out and it will be eternally too late.

’fran (t) ik

1 Samuel 28:4-5 NLT

“The Philistines set up their camp at Shunem, and Saul gathered all the army of Israel and camped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, he became frantic with fear.”

The stage is set for all out war, once again these familiar enemies encamp against each other; King Achish and the Philistines on one side and King Saul and Israel on the other.

But something is different, something changed. There is a sense of confidence on the Philistine front that wasn’t there since Goliath, the champion from Gath, had hurled insults towards the Armies of God for 40 days and nights so long ago. There was a palatable air of sureness coming from the other side that Saul hadn’t felt in years. A slow tremor begins to run from Saul’s fingertips all the way up his arm. His voice is shaking, as well as his heart. He is stricken in fear. Fear has overtaken him. He wonders if his trusted advisors can tell… surely they can see that this once confident man who stood head and shoulders over Israel was reduced to a frantic mess. Saul was in deep trouble.

Are you wondering what happened? What has changed in one chapter? One minute King Saul is chasing David all over the territory with 3000 of Israel’s Special Forces, and the next minute King Saul is frantic with fear!

Here is what I see…

1. David took himself out of the equation.

Proverbs 26:20 says, where there is no wood the fire goes out.

With David out of the picture, Saul now has to deal with the fact that he has been neglecting his duty as King and leader of God’s people/nation.

Who knows, perhaps with all his focus and attention on killing David, other areas were not being taken care of. He was hell-bent on one thing alone and that was David.

But David in the last chapter removed himself from Israelite territory, and Saul mistakenly took David’s absence as a sense of security.

Ask yourself… In what area(s) do I need to remove myself from the equation?

To what person or group of people is my presence a fuel to the fire?

How does my absence affect the outcome?

2. The Prophet Samuel died.

The spiritual leader is dead, and the one who could sooth Saul (David) is nowhere to be found.

King Saul has come to the harsh realization that God has also removed himself from him.

Now he is truly alone!

Imagine calling out to God and hearing NOTHING! Not a comforting whisper that says, “Son, I’m right here.” Not even the reassuring feeling of your conscience that lets you know, “you got this!”…nothing! Absolute silence!

The silence is deafening to Saul! And he is scared out of his wits. He is frantic with fear. He either has never felt this alone in his life, or at the very least, has never felt so alone in a very long time.

Looking across the battlefield and seeing the enemy, has him in a panic.

Before, as long as David or Samuel or the prophets were around, they had the words that brought assurance and comfort.

Saul didn’t have much of a relationship with God, God was an afterthought since he knew how much God loved His people Israel and figured he could do as he pleased and God would swoop in and save the day.

But there comes a time when even God says… ENOUGH!!!

Friend, perhaps you have been crossing lines you shouldn’t cross, venturing just far enough to always come back when in a pinch. Eventually there will come a time when you too will call out and it will be eternally too late.

King Saul got to that point in his life.

1 Samuel 28:6 says, “He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lots or by the prophets.

And when God refuses to answer, he consults a witch to summon the spirit of Samuel and this is what that spirit says to him…

Verse 16 …the Lord has left you and has become your enemy. The Lord has done just as he said he would. He has torn the kingdom from you and given it to your rival, David.” NLT

Two things we can take away from this story.

A. There is a God timing to a God calling, and you are just going to have to wait like David sometimes. It most likely won’t be easy, but it is worth the wait so WAIT!

B. God is long suffering and abiding in love, but he doesn’t reward rebellion and pride. If that’s you, repent and humble yourself.

Father God,

I know, like Saul, I have been prideful and rebellious. I repent of that wickedness right now in the name of Jesus. Forgive me for the times I have done things my own way, when I have neglected godly counsel and common sense. Thank you for watching over me even when I have strayed from the path and crossed lines I shouldn’t have crossed. Enable me to listen to correction, heed your instructions, and press forward towards things that are righteous. I never want to be in a place in my life when you don’t respond to my cries for help, because you have turned me over to my evil desires. Thank you for your Word, may it accomplish what you purpose for it to accomplish in my life. Father God, for the times when I’m like David, inpatient or frustrated, help me to develop a trust, and a confidence knowing that your calling and anointing is sure. Enable me to learn to wait on your timing and not to force my agenda and plan. Help me to remove myself from people, places and programs that are not part of your plan and purpose for my life. Amen

Love ya!

-soulKANDY

Enough is Enough

How do we even begin to wrestle with the fact that our definition and God’s definition of sanctification and separation are two very different things?

1 Samuel 27:1-3 NLT

“But David kept thinking to himself, “Someday Saul is going to get me. The best thing I can do is escape to the Philistines. Then Saul will stop hunting for me in Israelite territory, and I will finally be safe.” So David took his 600 men and went over and joined Achish son of Maoch, the king of Gath. David and his men and their families settled there with Achish at Gath…”

It looks like David has finally had enough; he is tired of constantly being on the run and having to uproot his family every time King Saul got the itch to pursue him.

Everybody has their breaking point.

Everybody eventually will say, “Enough is enough!”

Everyone has their proverbial “end of the rope.”

David has called it quits. He escapes to Philistine territory again. (See Chapter 21) And once again he goes to Achish King of Gath.

How bad do things have to get to run to the enemy for peace? Isn’t that the most ridiculous thing ever?

Yet David isn’t welcome home in Israel.

But what about the “call?”

What about the “anointing?”

Is David being faithless by running away?

Or is he just…tired?

What would we do if we were in that predicament?

Would we have lasted any longer?

He gave it a valiant effort, he tried to do what he considered to be the righteous and godly thing by sparing Saul from a sure death, not once but twice, and yet somehow he is still considered a traitor and an outlaw.

Putting space between your enemy and assailant isn’t necessarily an act of cowardice. Sometimes you need to regroup and assess the situation. And sometimes you just need to REST.

Even Jesus had to get away from the crowd to rest and eat. Mark 6:31

The time that David and his men spent in Philistine territory proved to be fruitful, they amassed for themselves flocks, land and even had time to work on their families.

Being in enemy territory wasn’t safe by any means, but at least they weren’t running from a enemy that David didn’t allow them to fight against.

It is at this time that some of the men built reputations of being “mighty” men of renown. From their position in Philistine territory, they were able to go out on quick raids, virtually undetected. Then by leaving no survivors, there was no one who could point back to them as the culprits.

Survival sometimes is ruthless. Sometimes I read about these exploits and see that very little pity is shown to the enemy of Israel. I know they were godless, child sacrificing, heathen nations, but I guess we see war from a very U.N. perspective, or in my case through a set of American rose-colored glasses. A perspective where there are rules of engagement and a code of conduct and compassion.

But when you read the Scriptures, the Word of God was very clear about sanctification and separation. God knew even one survivor could corrupt a whole nation. There was no room for compromise.

Jesus himself lived with that kind of discipline. His cross to bear was ruthless. No compassion was shown towards Him; his punishment was executed by the world’s most expert terrorists in his day. There was no equal when it came to torture; the Roman soldier was the epitome of terror. Mercy and compassion were not extended. The cross was meant to be a visual warning and a deterrent to all those who had the unpleasant opportunity to have to walk along a rode where one was erected.

So how do we even begin to wrestle with the fact that our definition and God’s definition of sanctification and separation are two very different things?

David is fighting hard to live out his call and purpose, but it wasn’t until David put distance between himself and his destiny that God blesses and multiplied him.

Abraham put distance between him and his nephew Lot and God multiplied him.

Joseph is sold into slavery, far from anything familiar, and God blesses him and multiplies him.

Naomi and Ruth leave Moab…

Jesus leaves heaven…

Perhaps we need to be stretched to leave the familiar. Perhaps we need to place some distance between ourselves and some people who are hindering our enlargement?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not developing some kind of doctrine, I’m just making an observation. Perhaps there are some habits, hobbies and homeboys/girls in your life that you need to be separated from. Some ties you need to destroy, or some entanglement you need to let go of.

I pray that you get to the heart of the issue, and deal with it in order to make room for the God-sized dream and anointing on your life.

Keep pressing!

-John

Soiled

It never fails! It seems like every time I cut my lawn I’m wearing a white tank top or T-shirt, and in the middle of my lawnmowing activities I reach down grab the hem of my shirt and wipe the sweat off my face with my shirt resulting in a dirty, sweaty, grass stained T-shirt.

After I am done I will grab the whites throw them in the washer on the highest heat setting we have, I put extra detergent and plenty of bleach and the shirts come out relatively white.

Compared to a dirty shirt, clean shirts are white, but compared to a brand-new shirt the clean shirts are not quite White at all.

Our lives are a lot like the T-shirt… Circumstances, trials, troubles, tribulations , and suffering has reached out grabbing the hem of our shirts and left a messy stain.

Isaiah 64:6a “We are all infected and impure with sin. (Life is messy) When we display our righteous deeds (when we try to wash off the mess), they are nothing but filthy rags…” NLT (Emphasis added)

King David wrote the following words after one of the most troublesome time in his life “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.”
Psalms 51:10 NLT

He discovered as king, even with all his power, a cover up was the best he could hope for. He needed a new created clean heart. He needed his heart RE-NEWED (new again). You see there is no amount of scrubbing, cleaning, bleach or detergent that could take a soiled shirt and make it brand-new!

So we try to live pure lives, and we try to be holy, or if you are not religious you are trying to be good or you try to be moral, and since the very best of our human examples are clean or relatively clean, when we raise our shirts compared to them, we think that we are all right.

Because when I compare my shirt (life) to those of pimps, prostitutes, politicians, actors, athletes and rockstars my shirt (life) seems pretty clean, BUT unfortunately that is not the standard of white that I am going to be held up against eternally.

Jesus Christ lived the standard, and if I continue to try to act like my right doing is the standard I’m going to be in for a rude awakening.

I was listening to Ravi Zacharias’ Podcast today and he said this, “The closer you get to the holiness of God the more you feel the weight of how unholy you and I are.”

There is a young man at work that wears white T-shirts all the time. They have got to be at least 10 years old, they are worn for the wear and they are off-white at the very best. If I stood next to him my shirts would glow in comparison. BUT he isn’t the standard! I will NOT eternally be measured against him. Christ is the standard and against him I’m dingy and tattered, and it’s terrifying.

All my scrubbing is of no value!

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 NLT

It’s a good thing I don’t have to stand against Him, he can take my tired, tattered, worn-out mess of a life and STAND in my place.

Make me new Lord, make me NEW.

-John

God Riddence

     1 Samuel 7:1-2 (AMP) So the men of Kiriath-Jearim came and took the Ark of the Lord and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to have charge of the Ark of the Lord. And the Ark remained in Kiriath-Jearim a very long time [nearly 100 years, through Samuel’s entire judgeship, Saul’s reign, and well into David’s, when it was brought to Jerusalem]. For it was twenty years before all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

 

     If you have been following the story… The Israelites take the Ark to battle, they lose the Ark to the Philistines. The Philistines place the Ark in Dagons temple, Dagon gets decapitated, un-“arm”ed and de-“feet”ed, The Philistines get rid of the ark, and send along parting gifts 🎁 of cows and gold. The Israelites cheer! They sacrifice the cows somehow forget that this thing has POWER. People die and they send the Ark away…
     How long does it take for a people to recognize their sin and turn back to God? I guess they figure as long as they have someone to go to God on their behalf; the presence of God (the Ark) was optional. Every time God shows his awesome power against his enemies the people rejoice, but in their sin when He shows the same fierceness the people recoil as if it is altogether unfair or unwarranted. 

 

     It’s crazy to think that instead of inquiring about how to get things right and make the necessary changes, they instead choose to push God away altogether. If they cared so much about His presence and Holiness that they would go as far as consecrating Eleazar, why didn’t they just consecrate themselves instead? If we are to believe 2 Timothy 3:16 and put its claims into practice. How are these 2 verses profitable to me? It usually comes to me in the form of questions. 
1. At what points in my life do I act like a spoiled child when I receive a rebuke? 

2. When I know I am wrong how long does it take for me to make amends? 

3. At what time(s) have I pushed God away when I do not agree with His correction? 

4. Am I as petty as the men in this story?

 

     Father God, It must be awful to have to deal with the losers you have to deal with day in and day out. In business, we would fire people with those kinds of attributes. I know I have a very low threshold of patience when it comes to whiney-cry babies. So I repent for the times either in word or in deed that I have refused your correction and pushed you away. Contempt and dissatisfaction are contagious so enable me to rid myself of those character traits that I may not start an epidemic of wandering away from You. -John

 

​CURIOSITY KILLED THOSE CATS

 1 Samuel 6: 19 God struck some of the men of Beth Shemesh who, out of curiosity, irreverently peeked into the Chest of God. Seventy died. The whole town was in mourning, reeling under the hard blow from God, 20 and questioning, “Who can stand before God, this holy God? And who can we get to take this Chest off our hands?”

 What kind of fool sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong? This is a classic example of: Mind your own business. Maybe they thought the Philistines loaded the Ark with gold as well? They didn’t know just how dangerous that Ark could be. In my life I have personally been shocked working with, and goofing around with electricity. I have learned the hard way that it doesn’t feel too good getting shocked. I have learned the hard way a reverence and a respect of electricity, which causes me to pause and to triple check an outlet before starting any work. I suppose those nuts thought that because the Ark was not it its proper place; it could be handled in any ordinary way. Perhaps it was the carelessness of Eli and his two sons, and their lack of reverence that cause a trickle down effect within the people. Nevertheless, they learned in a hurry that this thing still has some Power! Yeah, Curiosity killed those cats!
 Again, instead of Repentance and learning how to do it right, the People banish God from their presence, as if saying, “We will teach God a lesson!” I’m pretty sure we do the same thing, when we get a spiritual whoopin’. I’ll show Him! I won’t go to church! I won’t participate, I won’t give! That will teach Him! When we go thru trial, and testing, we blame God. When we suffer loss or tragedy, harm or peril, again He’s at fault. Unfortunately we cast away the only One that really matters, and the only One who can actually rescue us. 
 Father God, Forgive me for the times when I have been carelessly irreverent. You are a Holy God, and I have made you at times my BFF. I repent from the reckless familiarity I have shown on occasion. I know you still love me, and have great plans for my life. 
Heavenly Father, I also pray for the reader, for the times they have been careless and casual with You. For the times in which You were pushed away in protest. God show up mightily, move on their behalf. I pray for a fresh wind of Your Spirit to blow on sails that have hung limp and in turn caused times of stagnation. Bring purpose, and destiny back into their lives. Lord, as we repent and commit to change our attitudes and our behaviors, give us the strength needed to get past those times where we seem to get stuck. Give us the patience to allow each test and trial to teach us what we do desperately need to learn. And enable us to live more holy and pure lives in this dark and rebellious time. -John