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

‘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

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

Guilty as charged. 

‭1 Samuel‬ ‭12:23 “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.”

In this chapter Samuel the prophet/judge of Israel is giving his farewell speech. By the tone and mood of it, he is hurt by the betrayal, and I cannot blame him. As a pastor, every time you lose a member or congregant it feels like a divorce, a betrayal. 

And to be brutally honest… It sucks!

I know religious people will probably not even bother to read on because I said that, but that’s how it feels. 

In my case, I could have been a better listener, leader and team player, But Samuel…

He didn’t let Gods Words fall to the ground, they didn’t have any charge of negligence, dereliction of duty, moral or ethical failure. NOTHING

I remember saying to folks in jest, “I’m taking you off my prayer list.” 

I never really thought about it much, but out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Deep down I really meant it. 

I remember one time in the early ’90’s the group I was in did a few shows in the Miami area. While we were out of the hotel goofing around afterwards. Someone broke into our room and ripped off our merch. CD’s, hats, T-shirts, stickers. And some of our DJ’s albums. I called down 🔥 on the perps. I prayed like David prayed against his enemies. (I told you David was my Bible hero!) I may have even prayed the plagues of Egypt down on those fools. Can you tell I was upset? My band mates would clown me every so often about that incident, and I wasn’t playing, I meant it!

Thank God that we don’t get everything we say. Or pray. 

…Ok back on track John, 

Samuel has to vocalize this to the people, “I will not take you off my prayer list, and I will not stop leading you in the way you need to go.” 

That’s hard! That’s love! That’s commitment!

He is essentially saying. Even though you have REJECTED the Lord as King, and me as your judge. I will NOT reject you!

I’m convicted! 

I knew it the minute I read this verse. 

I’m not going to lie, I wanted to pass this chapter over as well. Not because there is NOTHING to write about, but because there most definitely is! 

I have sinned! I have cut folks off my prayer list that have rejected God, and me. 

And here I confess my sin to the potential millions that could ever read this blog/post. I was wrong and I’m truly sorry

So what can we learn from this chapter? 

1. God is sovereign. 

2. God is just. 

3. God can fight His own battles. 

4. God loves people. 

5. We need to NOT let rejection and disappointment steer us off track from what we were called to do, and from whom we were called to minister to. 

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word. Today it cut deep. Thank you for revealing something to me that was sin. Help me not to take rejection personally. And help me to honor you in all I do, say and write. Love you-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