Careless Worship

Our ideal environment and greatest need is to be in the presence of God; before God gave Adam a wife, He gave him, HIMSELF!

If you are wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been on vacation. As we continue to journal through the book of 2nd Samuel this is where we left off; David was finally King over a unified Israel, and 2nd Samuel 6 tells us about how King David plans on getting the Ark of the Covenant back to its rightful place. You see, the Philistines had captured it after a battle (1 Samuel 5 & 6) and having it, brought nothing but trouble to them. So they carted it off to the nearest town they could find that worshiped the God of Israel.

It would be over 20 years before the Ark was returned to its rightful place. King Saul was too busy pursuing David to care about God’s presence; if you remember, Eli, the High Priest fell backwards off his seat, broke his neck and died when he heard that the Ark was taken in that battle. You would think that getting it back would be priority, but King Saul was wrestling with some pretty dark stuff to be trifled with the affairs of the priesthood. He just didn’t VALUE God’s Presence.

We place a value on everything that we have, and the things we do or do not do, are also prioritized by how we value them. We as human beings place or bestow honor to things.

I value my family; therefore I care for the needs of my family. They are important to me so I honor them by working hard. My kids know that I love them, and I care for them because I value them.

We value our favorite teams, musicians, politicians and actors. We treat them with the utmost respect and reverence. We are awestruck when we catch just a glimpse of them. We will wait for hours in bad weather to watch them walk down the red carpet at the award shows. Some people idolize their hero’s, they are fanatics, with posters and memorabilia, adorning their rooms.

My question today is…

• Where is our adoration for God?

• Where has our reverence gone?

• What value have we placed on that relationship?

Peter calls us to be; Holy as God is holy, and we are also called a holy nation, a royal priesthood. 1 Peter 2:9

Holy/Pure: not mixed with anything else!

Have the things of God become so commonplace in our lives, that we no longer honor or value Him?

Where is the fear of that Awesome God — the Master of the Universe?

Many would ask,

• God, where are you in my life?

• Don’t you see what’s going on?

• My family is in shambles, my finances gone, I’m at the end of the road, and I can’t take much more.

• Don’t you care?

God would say to you today, when will you honor ME, when will you revere ME? I am able to do more than you could ever ask or imagine, (Ephesians 3:20) but where is the honor due ME?

We all want to experience the God of INCREASE, the God of More than Enough, but some just need to Experienced God first!

You may have been saved for 20 or 30 years. BUT what in your life TODAY points to an Almighty God as your Lord and Savior? I know He used to move in your life, but what has HE done for you, or through you lately?

John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. (NIV)

You see the time has come for true worshipers to come together, yet there are some that refuse to be moved.

Think about this, If Jesus said, there were true worshipers, that must mean some worship is not “true worship”.

My prayer for you today is to experience God once again!

We have no problem cheering like maniacs at sports arenas, crying like sissies at the show, yet we come to church with the notion that somehow God has to stir you.

What do we have to do to have a visitation from the Almighty?

We were created for continual fellowship with God, but sin got in the way and since God is a HOLY God, He had to remove man from His presence.

The environment God created in Eden was ideal for this unique fellowship. It was Gods garden, and man had dominion over everything there. It was a perfect place where the Creator and all of creation lived in harmony. When Adam chose to eat the only forbidden thing in the garden, God DROVE man out of His presence and since then, man has been longing to fill that emptiness, and restore that connection with other things and other gods.

Our ideal environment and greatest need is to be in the presence of God; before God gave Adam a wife, He gave him, HIMSELF!

It was never Gods plan for us to have to WORK to get into His presence. Every part of our lives was to be done in the presence of God. His plan was for us never to have to function without HIM!

Praise and Worship doesn’t put us back into Gods presence, it brings His presence to us.

You might say, “Dude, I just don’t know how to praise! It’s awkward, and it’s weird!” That is because Praise that isn’t practiced privately can’t be displayed publically!

Psalm 22:22 (NLT) I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people.

During King Saul’s reign, the Ark of the Covenant was not among Israel. The Philistines had removed it. The Ark of the Covenant was the literal presence of God tabernacling with His people. (Exodus 25:8 paraphrased… “Make a place for me to dwell among my people”)

God had given Moses detailed instructions of how the tent/tabernacle was to be built. He had set it up in such a way that you just couldn’t stumble into His presence, because if you did… you would die! It was curtained off, with inner and outer veils. There were altars that continually burned sacrifices, lavers for cleansing and special clothes for the priests to wear.

God had to be approached clean, and in a prescribed manner.

So after King Saul died, King David wanted Gods Glory and presence in the city of David. Something was missing in Israel and it was God. King David knew that he couldn’t rule without God so he got a plan to get back the ARK.

2 Samuel 6:1-7 David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God. (NIV)

There is a right way and a wrong way to come to God, Again I ask, where is the reverence and honor due HIM?

John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (NIV)

His grace is sufficient, I know. And the blood and sacrifice of Jesus is a game changer, but has God changed? The Bible states that He doesn’t change, He is the same today yesterday and forever. He still is HOLY; He still is awesome in Word and Deed.

Psalm 56:4 (Amp) By [the help of] God I will praise His word; on God I lean, rely, and confidently put my trust; I will not fear. What can man, who is flesh, do to me?

Praise is a CONSCIENCE choice.

I have made a choice to commend, approve, and glorify Him. It isn’t an emotional decision. It is a choice.

THEREFORE, it doesn’t matter how I feel, I will praise Him in the STORM, I’ll praise Him in the valley of the shadow of death, I’ll praise Him in the good times and the bad, because it is a conscience choice and not based on emotions! I can praise because I KNOW that He is the ANSWER to all my problems.

Psalm 145:2 (Amp) Every day [with its new reasons] will I bless You [affectionately and gratefully praise You]; yes, I will praise Your name forever and ever.

Hebrews 13:15 (Amp) let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.

All farmers know that in order to produce fruit there has to be a time of sowing.

Sowing isn’t easy, it comes with a cost.

Praise sometimes takes everything within you. Giving God your sacrifice of praise means that you choose to dwell on Him instead of yourself, your issues, your roadblocks, your problems, and your circumstance.

Praise is an EXPRESSION of Faith, So Praise must be expressed.

James 2:17 says, So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Praise expressed in faith holds on to a promise that is not yet seen. It is Praising God even when the circumstances say otherwise; it is Praising God when the outcome isn’t visible. It is Praising God while the walls are still round about your promise.

A sacrifice of praise says, “I don’t know what You are doing or why You are doing it, but I’m going to trust You because You have never failed me.

I don’t understand it, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me… YET I WILL PRAISE.

Psalm 34: 1 I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

In 2 Samuel 6:1-7 Uzzah’s careless act cost him his life, perhaps he was used to the Ark, since it was at his house for 20 years, I don’t know perhaps he took peeks at it wherever it was stored. We could all speculate the “WHY” of this act of carelessness, but one thing is certain… the Ark still had power.

That had to be demoralizing to David. Here he brings a 30,000 piece marching band and choir to bring back the Ark, and during one of the songs God shows up and kills a guy.

How many pastors would have quit after that service? David was hot with God, he had his moment of frustration but he realized, perhaps I don’t know what I’m doing here. We better figure out the prescribed way of carrying this thing.

Were the 30,000 genuinely worshipping? YES!

Was there an acceptable way that was pleasing to God? YES!

It took David 3 months to get over that disastrous worship failure, so when he finally decided to give it another try. They carried it by hand the next time the prescribed way.

I believe with every step they took and as the Ark got closer to the place it was supposed to be, the glory surrounding it increased, and I also believe there are folks that will read this that also have to take steps back towards your rightful place.

• There are some that have wandered off… come back!

• There are some that have been led astray… come back!

• There are some that have given up hope… come back!

• And there are some who have nothing to lose and nowhere else to turn… come back!

Father God, We need your presence in our lives, our families, our work places, our communities and in our churches. We have grown accustomed to the busyness of our everyday lives and our worship has become common. Forgive us for thinking we can habitually come into your presence in a manner that is less than reverent and holy. We have gone too far, too long without You and we repent and ask for forgiveness. We need You like we need the air we breathe. We desire You like a thirsty man in the desert. May our worship be a blessing to You and may our sacrifice be an acceptable sweet smelling fragrance in your nostrils. We love and appreciate your grace, kindness and mercy towards us. You are Holy and Worthy to be PRAISED.

AMEN!

soulKANDY

‘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

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

Anointed

‭1 Samuel‬ ‭16:10-13‬ ‭(NIV) “Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David…”‭

So we end the last chapter with Saul being rejected by the Lord, and this chapter starts with the Prophet Samuel once again looking for the person that’s going to lead God’s people as king.

 

There are some interesting things to look at in this chapter.

 

Saul is a young man head and shoulders above the rest. He was a fine specimen of a man. He’s tall and he looks the part. If we were to look up the features & qualities necessary to be king, Saul met the qualifications, he passed the eye test. 

David on the other hand was the little brother everyone forgot. No one bothered to even call him in from the fields for this special visit from the Man of God. He was fine looking, handsome, a good complexion and some versions say he had pretty eyes. Not a very kingly description to be sure.

Saul was out looking for his dads lost donkeys when he was chosen. David was tending and protecting his father’s sheep, tasked with their wellbeing.

It is curious to note later in the chapter, that David was also given the task of soothing Saul on the occasions when an evil spirit would torment him. David was also an armor bearer to the king. Much like Moses and Joseph; God had placed David exactly in the right place He needed him to be until the proper time of His choosing.

 

Most sermons based on this chapter are about how man looks at the outside and God looks at the heart. That point is obvious, but what stuck out to me this time are the contrasts. 

Is it possible that God was trying to make a point? 

This is what you get when you do the choosing! He (Saul) may have passed the EYE test, but he didn’t pass the HEART test. 

When you got Saul you got an impulsive, impatient, man-pleaser; a rebellious man who the Lord regretted ever choosing and whom the Lord rejected as king over Israel. 

God went so far as pulling His Spirit from the man! 

How much of a mess do you have to be to get to that place with a God whose very character is LONGSUFFERING and ABIDING in LOVE?

But if God is so displeased with Saul, why allow him to continue to lead for a period of time?

I believe this time was used to develop Davids character, and to refine him. 

How would we preform under the same circumstances? 

  • If we were David would we be able to play a tune that calmed the very man we were anointed to replace? 
  • If we were David would we be able to carry a shield and protect this mans back in difficult and dangerous situations? 
  • If we were David would we be able to sit still and calmly wait for God’s appointed time?

I can only speak for myself, but I would bet that the same holds true for you… I don’t think I would !

I tend to be impatient, I have a propensity for speaking my mind, I don’t think I could hold it together knowing the seat that Saul is occupying will shortly be mine…. Oh wretched man that I am!

But then again…

I am using the Scriptures to lead and guide me, and I am acknowledging my faults as a fallible man. I am NOT able! But if that same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in me, He can quicken this mortal body by His Spirit. So therefore I can do all things thru Christ which strengthens me! 

Oh Heavenly Father, once again thank you for your Word. It doesn’t return to you empty but it accomplishes that which you have purposed in your heart for it to accomplish….In me!!!! Cut away the filthiness of this flesh, soften the hardness in this heart. Empower and embolden me to walk out my Salvation with fear and trembling. Help me to serve others even those who seem like they are far from you. Give me the patience I need to wait on your perfect timing. And lastly… thank you for choosing me. -Love John

What a RUSH!

1 Samuel‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬ “And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled.”

Wait a minute! What? The Spirit of God caused Saul to get ANGRY?

Could it be the same Spirit that caused Jesus to break out the whip at the Temple here causes Saul to get righteously indignant?

Heck yes! And then some. 

Isn’t it peculiar how the sound of the people in lament would stir up some to action, but cause others to just join in on the wailing?

Upon hearing the news that the people of Jabesh-Gilead were about to surrender to the Ammonites. Saul was stirred to action. The people of Jabesh-Gilead upon surrender were about to have their eyes gouged out. This action would render them useless as soldiers, and as archers. It was a form of humiliation and utter disgrace. Why would a people submit themselves to this painful debilitating mutalation?

…They had NO HOPE!

Why would the enemy give them 7 days respite in order for them to find someone to help their cause?

…The Ammonite King allowed it because he believed they were helpless, and hopeless.

But GOD!

Had a plan, and a man. 

You see, there is nothing worse than a leader who doesn’t act. How many of us have had supervisors who didn’t like confrontation so they let terrible employees run amok in the workplace. Ugh! That’s so frustrating!

How many of us want to spank those “Little Darlings” that terrorize their parents at the grocery store? And why does it bother us so? I believe it’s because they refuse to act when it’s absolutely evident to everyone else that it’s the proper thing to do.

But Saul was not yet tested, he may have been anointed before God, but he hadn’t been inaugurated before the people. They never had a King before, and he didn’t know know how to be one.

Something about the heart change that Saul experienced in the previous chapter transformed him from spectator to participant. Something about the anointing, something about the calling on his life. The same boy who was worried about finding his fathers donkeys was now concerned with the well being of a nation.

How did that happen? The verse says, …And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul… He came upon him mightily and his actions united 330,000 men to come to his side.

So what can we learn from this chapter?

1. Your TITLE means nothing without assuming the responsibilities it requires.

2. Your inadequacy might just be linked to your failure to act.

3. Righteous indignation isn’t the same as doing something for shock value.

4. People will follow a Spirit attentive leader.

5. God doesn’t NEED us to rout the enemy, He gives us front row seats.

Heavenly Father, we never want to go into battle without You, but at the same time we don’t like to sit back doing nothing. Help us to be content with plowing the fields until the time comes for us to act. We want to be so attentive to your call, that the things that break your heart also breaks ours. Give us the discernment to know when that time is. Enable us to act when others cower in fear, knowing the battle is not ours but Yours. Let our actions draw likeminded people to our sides, changing spectators into participants, and wailers into mighty men and women of valor. Love you – John