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

One voice too many

When God calls you, He doesn’t necessarily call those around you. Often times you have to be sure you hear and recognize the Voice of God.

1 Samuel 26: 5 David slipped over to Saul’s camp one night to look around. Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of his army, were sleeping inside a ring formed by the slumbering warriors. 6 “Who will volunteer to go in there with me?” … “I’ll go with you,” Abishai replied. 7 So David and Abishai went right into Saul’s camp and found him asleep, with his spear stuck in the ground beside his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying asleep around him. 8 “God has surely handed your enemy over to you this time!” Abishai whispered to David. “Let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t need to strike twice!” 9 “No!” David said. “Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the Lord’s anointed one? 10 Surely the Lord will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle. 11 The Lord forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed!

At first glance I was going to write about how, for the second time in a few chapters, David has had an opportunity to finally put an end to this persistent pursuit led by a maniacal King who is hell-bent on his destruction. King Saul is the epitome of relentless; he could be the poster child for not letting things go. If there was a picture of “grudge” in the dictionary it would be of King Saul.

If we look deeper into the story this part of verse 6 sticks out; “Who will volunteer to go in there with me?” … “I’ll go with you,” Abishai replied.

The reason it jumped out at me is because, as a pastor I found out how difficult it was to get people to volunteer for anything; but especially for things like, children’s church, nursery, clean-up, and any type of set-up or tear-down. Here David asks for a volunteer for something that has a high probability of danger and perhaps even death. This dude, Abishai, volunteers without hesitation. Certainly it would garner favor with David. Perhaps it will even move him up the ranks to be named with” David’s Mighty Men”.

We do not know why Abishai volunteers without hesitation, but by reading the exploits of the men around David, it doesn’t surprise me. These guys were amazingly brave, fierce, loyal, and trustworthy.

But what comes to remembrance is what God tells the ones He calls over and over…

“Do Not Let My Words Depart From Your Mouth!”

Remember what I said!

Keep them close to your heart.

WHY?!!

I believe it’s because He knows that His “guys,” men and women of God, will face these kinds of scenarios. They will hear advice from people they trust, and people in whom they have invested time, energy and resources.

Men that they have poured into and developed.

Women that have potential.

What do you do when one of those types of people gives you advice?

When they actually tell you something that down deep inside you agree with?

David knows that pinning Saul to the ground with a spear will make his life easier, BUT the path of the called often is anything but easy.

I have heard, read, and experienced ministry as a lonely place. When God calls you, He doesn’t necessarily call those around you. Often times you have to be sure you hear and recognize the Voice of God especially when you are surrounded by other voices.

Friend, what has God spoken to you? What is it that is undeniably His direction for your life? What is it that has others worry that perhaps you may not have heard Him at all?

Are you willing to let chances of a lifetime slip away, because you know that you know the timing isn’t right?

How different would the story be if David gave into the temptation of ending Saul then and there? What would have come of the Branch of Jesse if he had allowed Abishai to pin Saul to the ground with a spear?

In what ways are you suffering because of bad advice?

Are there people in your life who you have given too much access?

Who in your inner circle has encroached into an area that belongs to Holy Spirit alone?

I believe there are faces right now, coming into focus, of people who you are going to have to have a hard talk with.

People who in the past you have had a hard time saying, “NO!” to.

I pray for boldness, courage, and an unwavering faith. I pray that every voice that isn’t in line with the Word of God over your life and ministry be quiet and silent in Jesus’ Name. I pray for a godly end to ungodly, unprovoked pursuits, and I speak to various storms in your lives to be STILL.

I pray this has in someway ministered to a need. You are loved, and you are NOT alone.

Peace,

-John

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

Cutting Corners

How many times have your words been twisted? How many texts, emails and other forms of communication have come across as harsh, brash or downright rude?

Cutting Corners

1 Samuel 24:4 ESV

“And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.'” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.”

According to Idioms.thefreedictionary.com, to “Cut Corners” means: To do something as easily or cheaply as possible, usually to the detriment of the finished product or end result.

It’s been years since David was anointed by the Prophet Samuel and he has patiently waited for his time to come, but as the days turned to months and the months to years David still isn’t King, and Saul is still in hot pursuit.

So when exactly is this day that David’s men say the Lord spoke about? Is that actually what was spoken? At best they may have been referencing the times on more than one occasion that the kingdom would be David’s, or that it would be torn from Saul.

How many times have your words been twisted? How many texts, emails and other forms of communication have come across as harsh, brash or downright rude?

How many times have you had to clean up the mess when you have actually misspoken?

Too many for me to count, but I will tell you this, when I know for a fact that when I have been misquoted or blatantly lied about, this man has a hard time keeping quiet about it. I will defend myself, and I don’t go away without a fight.

Now, if I am that doggedly persistent about protecting my reputation or character from slanderous lies, how much more should I be when it comes to the Living Word?

Genesis 3:1 ESV “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?””

Our whole issue with sin has its origins in a 4 word question… Did God actually say? Imagine trading away your future because of 4 words? Imagine losing paradise over 4 words!

Could the same thing have happened in that cave that happened in the Garden if David didn’t have a change of heart? How close was that corner he cut leading him to treat the promise of God as cheap? That cut corner could have been a detriment to the future of all of Israel and Judah.

It’s only a corner, what does it matter?

That corner meant everything! The next verse says that David’s heart smote him!

It’s only a corner, what does it matter?

David almost gave way to the temptation to handle things on his own, to give in to these 4 words… Do-As-You-DESIRE…

Perhaps Gods providence was cloaked in a test of patience, a test of faith and a test of obedience.

Remember this story next time you are tempted to cut corners.

Love ya, -John

End of your rope 

1 Samuel 19:1 (AMP) “Now Saul told Jonathan his son and all his servants that they must kill David.”

So Saul finally finds himself at the end of his rope concerning David. 

All the previous times he is going round about trying to have him killed in battle, but it backfires, and David comes home victorious to the cheers of the crowds, and that only enrages Saul all the more. 

He even multiple times tries to do the job himself by chucking spears at David, but every time David dodges the spear and escapes harm. 

So this is where he (Saul) is at… All else failed so he resorts to go as far as commanding his son, whom he knows loves David with all his heart; and also commanding his attendants (which could mean body guards / palace guards or his elite squad of fighters) to kill David!

No more pussy-footing around the issue any longer… I WANT HIM DEAD!!!

Jonathan successfully talks his dad the Lunatic King from doing it! Reasoning with Saul that David has only had the kings best interest at heart. It (the talk) works and David is spared. 

War comes once again, and once again David brings home the win. Once again, Saul loses his mind, Once again, while David is ministering to Saul with music, Saul chucks another spear at David! 

David finally has enough! He is at the end of his rope as well! His wife tells him in a few words, “Babe, you better bounce! Daddy isn’t ever going to quit trying to kill you.”

David escapes to crash at the Prophets house. While there, someone rats him out, and Saul sends a hit squad to take him out. 

What happens next is comical. The assassins end up prophesying with the prophets. This exact thing happens twice more, can you imagine three death squads hanging out with the prophets? Saul, fed-up royally by now finally goes himself and ends up doing the same. 

So what can we learn? 

1. If God has a plan for you, there is no devil in hell that is going to ruin, frustrate or nullify His plan.

2. Just because you have a call on your life doesn’t mean that all hell won’t break loose around you. 

3. Just because all hell seems to be breaking loose around you, doesn’t mean that God is oblivious to your plight. Sometimes your trials and testing are character checks. 

4. Sometimes you need to get out of the palace and run to the house of God. 

Ask yourself… Why did David run to Samuel?

Sometimes you need the Man of God to speak a Word of encouragement

Sometimes you need Gods representatives to reiterate the call, purpose, and anointing on your life. 

Sometimes you just need to go to a place of peace to get rest. 

Someone needed to hear this! 

Someone is at the end of their rope, you have been messed with too long and you are starting to question your call, and purpose. 

Someone has been faithful to a very abusive leader and you have questioned if you even belong. You have kept quiet and bit your tongue, you have learned patience, perseverance and kept your integrity intact. 

Someone is getting a Word of release from that situation. 

Someone is being re-invigorated, you are getting a fresh wind in your sails. You have been faithfully serving and you have felt it was all for naught. But I tell you today you have been found faithful, you have passed the character test, and you are about to be launched into the ministry you have been anointed for. 

Heavenly Father, this is one of those times when Your plan doesn’t always make sense. When it seems evil doers are being allowed to run roughshod over us and You remain quiet. Help us to persevere in those situations. Help us to remain faithful and to serve those you have placed us under even if and when we don’t agree with them or You. Help us to keep our composure and our integrity as we move forward in our calling, plan and purpose. And Father help us to remain true to You throughout our trials and tests. We love You and we believe You have a perfect plan for us… help our unbelief. -Love John

To the woodshed with the lot of ’em!”

‭1 Samuel‬ ‭8:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬ “Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.””
-The Ark is in good hands, but not in its rightful place (the Temple).

-Israel is back to business as usual. 

-Time passes.

-Samuel is getting older, his sons are taking a more visible role in ministry. – -Much like Eli’s sons, these guys are corrupt. 

-The people are tired of corruption in leadership (spiritual leaders). 

-So they cry for a king.
It seems like God is done, could it be that there is a time when the One who is slow to anger and abounding in love just throws His hands up? Is God quitting? Is God giving in? Is God like the terrible parent(s) that can’t control their little monsters while out in public? 
As I read this, I’m like… “God, with all due respect… from my armchair, they don’t need a timeout buddy, they need a good ole fashioned spanking… To the woodshed with the lot of ’em!”
Now I know YOU don’t ever second guess someone’s parenting decisions, especially NOT Gods, but sometimes when I read the Bible, I do. I’m not even going to lie. If that’s your way (of parenting), I have a wooden paddle I made from 5/8″ plywood you desperately need to borrow.
But looking carefully at verse 9, He tells Samuel, “Give ’em what they want (a king), but explain what that actually is going to look like. (It’s gonna suck!)
Could God just be so loving, that He allows his people to have to experience all that a monarchy is going to demand from them? 
He gave them an out! But they refused it. By asking for a KING it meant… They would rather be TAXED, have their children and servants TAKEN, and succumb to future TYRANNY. Than to humbly take their concerns to a Prophet/Judge. 
SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT WHAT WE JUST READ?
1. Do I really want the things I moan and complain about?

2. What would my life really look like if I had “My Way?”

3. What areas can I look back on and say, “God HANDED me over to…” Romans 1:28

4. Is “King John” (ME) really a better alternative than King Jesus?

5. What “OUT” has been given to me? What “godly warnings” have I failed to hear/ heed?

6. Am I a spoiled Little Brat who chooses COMFORT over COUNSEL?  
Father God, I know you are slow to anger and I have repetitively tried your patience. I also know that there have been godly men and women, that have tried to warn me about some things (I was doing, and the direction I was heading) that were totally out of your perfect will for my life. I’ve wasted, time, years, and trampled on your grace. Yet you have remained steady, faithful and gracious still. Thank you for being what some call a God of a second chance (for me 4th and 5th chance). Father thank you for your forgiveness and restoration. I’ve learned the hard way, but I know there may be readers that are on the brink of disaster. May the words they read, somehow-someway, avert pain and misery. May you use this short study to change a life. LOVE -John