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

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

Final Chapter

If God promises you something, He will see it to fruition. In His time. We just need to trust that He has got it figured out.

Wow, this Book is finally over. It has been a challenge, especially since it seemed like the entire second half of the book we were reading about Saul chasing David.

It has been a long 18+ months since I first posted chapter one of 1st Samuel, “The Revolution of Days.” This Book starts with the birth of the prophet and ends with the death of the king. Righteousness is contrasted with rebellion; promise and hope are contrasted with pain and despair. It chronicles the rise and fall of one man, Saul, and the rise and wait of David. It started with Hannah travailing spiritually for a son and Israel wanting a king; and God gave both what they asked for. Hannah was faithful with her gift and gave him back to the Lord, and Israel got exactly what they asked for… a man, who went from sizzle to fizzle rather quickly. Israel traded the plan, promise, and provision of God for the taxes, trouble, and tyranny of a king.

This is how King Saul perished…

1 Samuel 31:1-2 ESV

“Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul.”

1 Samuel 31:3-4 ESV

“The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.”

The man who was head and shoulders above the rest of the men in Israel, full of promise and destined for greatness, is struck by a stray arrow shot by an unnamed archer. In just 4 verses, we see the predictions of the prophet come true as spoken by Samuel when Saul had called him up with help from the witch / medium of Endor. (1 Samuel 28:16-19)

He fell on his sword. He off’ed himself. He didn’t want to get tortured by the Philistines, so he took his own life. Rather disappointing way for David’s nemesis to go, right? Shouldn’t the archenemy of the story get blasted by the hero? Wouldn’t it have been better if David somehow had the last laugh. Isn’t that how good revenge stories end? No such luck for the reader because instead we get: Saul gets hit by a random arrow and chooses to kill himself. End of story.

Wow.

I guess God didn’t want David linked in anyway to the death of Saul. No, he’s off fighting the Amalekites trying to get back his family and stuff back. God in the meantime handles David’s “Saul problem”.

So what can we learn from this?

1. God is in control

2. Mind your own business

3. Let God handle the heavy lifting

4. The battle is not yours

If God promises you something, He will see it to fruition. In His time. We just need to trust that He has got it figured out. We have a tendency to jump the gun, think too much, and sometimes plain disqualify ourselves because of a lack of patience.

We will read of his mistakes soon enough, yeah he wasn’t perfect, and that too points to the love, patience, and providence of God.

I really enjoyed this book, and I am looking forward to the next part.

Thanks for following along!

-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

David Who?

Perhaps today I am your Abigail. Reminding you that there is a call, a plan, a purpose, and a grand design for your life.

The scene is set during sheep shearing season, something David as a shepherd would have naturally known. Like harvest time for the farmer, shearing season marked the end of long nights out in the elements for the shepherds. It was a time to shear the sheep and process the wool; it was a time to celebrate and be merry.

David doesn’t ever seem to be able to catch a break. He is constantly hounded by Saul and his army, and now when it appears that just when he is finally at a time of respite and peace from Saul’s pursuit, this man Nabal pushes David to his limit.

David would have known that the owner of the flock would be popping open the wine bottles, opening the storehouses, and getting the barbecue grill clean and ready.

David and his men have spent a good part of the season out in the fields near the place where Nabal’s shepherds were grazing the sheep. It most likely was throughout the colder season because the sheep would have been shorn to keep them from overheating as the weather gets warmer, and also because this would be just before any lambs would be born. It would give the sheep time to grow back their coats before the cold weather returned. So as a former shepherd, David realizes this is a festive time at the Nabal Ranch.

Scripture backs this up by stating that it is a time of festivity, a special occasion, and a day to celebrate. So Nabal was about to have a feast worthy of a king.

So here is what you missed in case you are not familiar with the story…

Nabal is throwing a party for the shepherds to celebrate this season and David is asking for a portion because as he sees it, he and his guys provided security for Nabals shepherds and sheep.

We cannot overlook the fact that David was a shepherd. He knew the dangers of being out in the open with sheep. Danger from marauders and danger from wild animals. David himself said he encountered bears and lions while tending sheep, so he knew what it meant to be secure and protected for an entire season.

All he was asking for was a share in the festivities. Just a little bit. But David’s messengers come back with this response from Nabal…

1 Samuel 25:10 NLT

“‘Who is this fellow David?’ Nabal sneered to the young men. ‘Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters.’”

Who is David? To David it probably sounded more like-

WHO IS DAVID!?

I don’t know what was actually going through David’s head, but if it was me I’d be saying,

“Ask Goliath’s brothers!- they know who David is…

“In fact, ask any Philistine! They’ll know who David is.

“Why don’t you ask your King? He knows who David is.

“Saul Killed thousands – I killed ten thousands.

“What kind of stupid question is, ‘Who is David?’

I’ll show you who David is!!!!!”

Yep, I’m sure it went just like that, or very close. Because what comes next is the sound of David sharpening his sword and strapping on his armor. Nabal and his household are about to find out exactly who David is.

1 Samuel 25:21-22 ESV “Now David had said, “Surely in vain have I guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him, and he has returned me evil for good. God do so to the enemies of David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.””

Who is going to protect Nabal now? Nabal was the original guy who kicked the hornets’ nest.

It’s ironic that a few decades later David’s own son would write about this type of knee-jerk reaction and response in Proverbs 26:4 MSG, “Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool; you’ll only look foolish yourself.”

David would have been perfect for a Snickers commercial. He isn’t very happy when he’s hungry.

But is this response warranted?

How do we respond when we are embarrassed?

How do we respond to those who have offended us?

Are the words of a foolish person enough to get you to forget who you are?

The anointing oil that Samuel poured over David’s head has long vanished; the words spoken over his life are a distant memory. The plan of God and his purpose grow dimmer with each passing day.

The one who believed in him, his friend the Prince, hasn’t kept in touch. And the ones who are with him depend so much on him that the burden of responsibility is wearing him thin.

This is the same David that writes the following in Psalms 139:16-17 ESV, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”

You see, God knew that one day David would feel disrespected and respond irrationally. Even while knowing that David was eventually going to get to a tipping point, He called him still and anointed him.

It doesn’t really matter what men think of you or how they size you up.

If God be for us…

Word on the street was that David was running like an escaped slave.

But..

The truth is that David was nothing but loyal to King Saul.

And God sent Abigail to remind him.

Remember who you are, David! You will be the Leader of Israel and you will have a lasting dynasty, God Himself is your protector and He will remember His promise concerning you.

David relented from his folly; from taking action against a very foolish man. And he was spared the guilt and shame that this rash decision would have brought him.

What is it that you need to rethink?

Perhaps today I am your Abigail. Reminding you that there is a call, a plan, a purpose, and a grand design for your life.

Remember who God says you are.

-John

The are already two “I’s” in ministry

Who is making your agenda?

1 Samuel 2:35 (NKJV) Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever. 
 If we look at this passage without trying to get too deep and wax theological what do we see in an instant? I see the recipe for God’s kind of priest. FAITHFULNESS is mentioned 1st; OBEDIENCE 2nd; and HUMILITY 3rd. God is looking for someone who will ALWAYS (Faithfulness) DO (Obedience), what is in HIS HEART, and HIS MIND (Humility). That person will sure to have his future set, because it’s not his own will being done, but God’s. 
 God is saying John, I need you not ONLY to be 1st Faithful, 2nd Obedient, but the plans, schedules, program, agenda and outline, need to be MINE! 3ly Humble yourself. Not your heart and passion for people, but MINE, not your mind will and desire for direction, but MINE. Keep SELF out of it! There’s already two I’s in ministry! 
 Father, I have been consistent and faithful, and I believe I have even been obedient most of the time, but in the everlasting words of Christ, “This one thing you (I) lack…” I know there have been times when I have done my will and the plan that was in my heart and called it YOURS. It may have even been with righteous motives and a godly passion. Nevertheless, not my will but yours! No matter how right it seems. I must DECREASE. Father you have shown me something that will help my Life, My Family, and YOUR Church! Love you!  Your Favorite son