‘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

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

Better than Sacrifice 

‭‭1 ‬Samuel ‭15:30‬ ‭(AMP) “Saul said, I have sinned; yet honor me now, I pray you, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.”

This guy oozes pride and self-preservation like a jelly donut that has been squeezed too hard. 

This is how the chapter started. In case you hadn’t read it. Samuel is giving Saul a special mission, his next assignment, and he is spelling it out. He is leaving no room for misinterpretation…

“The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts…”

He is saying, “You were a relative nobody until God chose you and made you a somebody. Remember THAT! If you believed that I heard from the Lord then… then you better Listen up!

Well if you didn’t stop and go back and read the chapter, I’m sure you can figure out how this is going to go. 

Saul does NOT do exactly what the Lord commands, and when he is called out on it, he doesn’t take responsibility

As a leader the accolades usually fall to him, but so do the critiques. But unfortunately, Saul hasn’t led well at all, and he doesn’t take criticism well either. 

Saul has the audacity to run up on Samuel and greet him like everything is hunky dory. 

What is it about the word “PROPHET” that Saul doesn’t understand? Hello!!!! They KNOW things! Duh.

Saul doesn’t know that Samuel knows the following…

…But Saul and the people spared Agag (the Amalekite King) and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.
You see Saul decided to pick and choose what should be devoted and what should be kept. But the instructions were…Devote it ALL!

He blames the people. Yeah they did it! Samuel tells Saul to – STOP! I feel like he gave him a chance to own it, but once again he blames the people. 

Dude, leaders can be so stubborn sometimes. 

And things haven’t changed much since then. I believe it has gotten worse. We live in a culture where no one accepts responsibility for their actions…

  • It was my up bringing…
  • I’m the product of a bad environment…
  • My father left us when we were kids…
  • We were broke…
  • If I had the same shot as, so and so…
  • Mom was never there for me…

We assign blame, we deflect blame, we deny blame, but rarely do we TAKE the blame. 

The Bible says Samuel really struggled with this one. He cried all night. This was a hard talk and he really didn’t want to have to confront Saul. 

Perhaps he cried because he knew this is exactly what the people wanted. They wanted a king and that’s what they got. A prideful man, a sinful man, and a stubborn man. A man who cares more about how he looks in the eyes of the elders and the people than in the eyes of God. 

Perhaps he cried because he deeply cared for the nation of Israel and the direction they were heading. He knew once they rejected God as their king, things were going to be rough for his people. 

So, what can we learn?
1. Obedience is better than sacrifice. 

2. Own your mistakes. 

3. God already knows our dirty little secrets, so lying about them when confronted is futile. 

Heavenly Father, we all have fallen short of perfection. We all have cherry picked areas and levels of obedience as we saw fit to certain degrees. From the outside looking into our lives, we must look equally as pathetic as Saul did trying to lie to Samuel. God, I’m so sorry for my deceptive ways, and for my lack of total obedience. I repent of pride, and self-sufficiency. Grant me the boldness and courage I need to take You at your Word. I thank you for forgiveness and for second and third chances. Help me to be always teachable, and quick to repent. Love you! -John

The lost Ark

1 SAMUEL‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭AMP‬‬ “When the people (soldiers) came into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the LORD defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD here from Shiloh, so that He may come among us and save us from the hand of our enemies.””
4000 men just had lost their lives in battle, and the people want answers. Their question, “Why did we suffer loss?” It’s understandable, no one has a spare 4000 fighting men laying around. I said it was understandable, but was it reasonable to assume that by taking the Ark of the Covenant from its place and bringing it onto the battleground things would automatically change? The last chapter spoke of the Word of the Lord being RARE. So what changed? Samuel was now a man hearing from God, a position previously held by the High Priest Eli, who was still in office, but on Gods short list for replacement. 
Perhaps the people assume now that Samuel is hearing from God, everything is fair game. We don’t read that they consulted with either Eli or Samuel, but somehow the Ark was taken into battle with the assumption that God approved, and would fight for them. The result? Epic FAIL, literally on a biblical scale. 30,002 men died, and they even lost the Ark to the Philistines. WOW, makes my boo-boos/ dumb ideas look like child’s play. 
Why do we ever question the love of God when his Book, doesn’t attempt to make His guys (people) look good? They act shamelessly and foolishly and seemingly at every turn do something more asinine than those before them, yet He still patiently Loves and Guides and Cares for them (us).
So how do I flesh this out? How do I take what I just read and apply it to my everyday life?
1. God isn’t a genie in a bottle. I can’t summon Him to my beck and call, and He doesn’t mind making me eat crow when I forget my place. I always used to watch WWE and my favorite wrestler was the Rock, he would always say, “Know your role and shut your mouth!” God has a way of getting people’s attention, and losing men and the Ark got theirs, and mine! How many times have I done exactly just that? In ministry… Too many times to even want to admit.

2. Don’t assume you know anything! I believe that Christians fail at this point over and over, they assume that just because God did such and such, or just because they read that it happened like ________ (fill in the blank) somehow He is obligated to do it again. Moses made that assumption (Speak to the rock, or strike the rock) and it cost him a chance of seeing the Promised Land. There are plenty of instances where Jesus didn’t repeat a miracle, I believe it’s because this very fact. We concentrate on the HOW instead of the WHO.

3. We get casual and familiar with things that are HOLY. The Ark of the Covenant was Gods literal Presence/Glory, the Priests had to be ceremonially cleansed to even enter into the place where it was. God was absent not powerless, He wasn’t speaking, but it was NOT because He didn’t have anything to say, but because the sons of the High Priest were a couple of Dirt Bags and the H.P. knew it and wouldn’t reprimand/correct them. I believe they lost reverence, and a holy fear for the things that are Holy. And it cost all of them their lives. 
I don’t know about you, but I have a long way to go, and it’s a good time to pray…
Father God, I thank you for your patience with me, I thank you for the call, the plan, the purpose and the anointing on my life. I pray for every reader as well, Father forgive us if we have treated the Holy with irreverence and casualness. Thank you for the scriptures and for your Spirit and His revelation as the Word comes alive to us, and as we put it to work in our lives. We don’t ever want to be like the men in this story, but forgive us for the times which we have been totally like them. Speak your servants are humbled and listening!

 – John