Category Archives: Spiritual Food

Practical Application of God’s Word; taking what you read and making it visible in your everyday life.

Anointed and Waiting

What Do You Do When You’re Anointed to be King, but left Waiting in the Field?? That is where we find David, tending his sheep before that faithful day came. The day that his Father Jesse called for him to the house after the Prophet Samuel had evaluated all his brothers to see if God had selected them Kin of Israel. The day he was anointed with oil and declared to be the next King. And immediately after that historic and magnificent day, David was back in the field waiting…with the sheep.

How about you? Have you ever found yourself in a fairly mediocre existence, desiring more yet not sure how it would happen? Then out of nowhere, God speaks to you, either directly, through a message or messenger, maybe even during your personal praise. A Word that declares your future or anointing of your God-given gifting. Wow, this is incredible; it is exactly what you’ve hoped for; it’s got to be a miracle….and then You find yourself back in the exact situation. Was that Word true; did I hear God right; was I mistaken? Yes, it’s true; God cannot lie (Titus 1:2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began).

Once God declared it; it’s up to Him to accomplish it. Isa 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. However, that means that we have to wait for His timing. Ouch, that four-letter word might as well be like those other curse words. Because if there is one thing that Christians (and everyone else for that matter) hates, it is waiting on anything. I hate waiting in traffic; waiting for my food at a drive-thru; waiting in the waiting room for an appointment that I was on time for. There are many other things that fit this list as well. So, imagine what it has to be like to wait on the Lord to fulfill His promise. And what David must have been thinking about the promise that was made, while scooping up some sheep dung?

It would be more than 15 years before David would become the King of Israel, but unlike most of us, David shows us why he is known as a Man After God’s Own Heart. It was actually pretty simple, yet very complex; while David waited…he served. David shows us in the book of 1 Samuel that when we are waiting on God’s word to come to pass, we will Serve in the following ways:

Flow in Your Gifting: (1 Sam 16:21 So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer).

Feed His Sheep: (1 Sam 17:20 Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp).

Fight For the King: (1 Sam 17:45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied).

We will treat this as a few blog posts from the past; we will dig into the three points below a little deeper over the next few posts.  Have a great Thanksgiving

Do the Right Thing 

So, if you google the definition for the word enemy, you’ll see this: “a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something & a thing that harms or weakens something else.”  So, hearing that, let me talk to the parents out there.  One person that we can agree would fit this definition of an enemy is someone that causes harm to your child.  I recently found myself doing just that, finding a coach that caused my child harm and I declared him (them) an enemy. 1 Pet 3:9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. Rom 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Pro 24:17-18 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, Antd He turn away His wrath from him. Now I hear your thoughts but let me make it clear, I’m tougher on my kids (sometimes to a fault) than anyone so this is not one of those things where I think my kid is the best and cannot do any wrong.  This is far from it, it is very clear that they are as talented and in most cases more talented than a majority of the players on their teams.  The coaches will tell you how hard they work, and practice and I stay on them about being good teammates.  Therefore, I’m confident in my assessment. Now whether I’m right or wrong is not the issue here.  The issue as a believer in Jesus, what actions do I take because of this enemy’s actions especially towards my child.  I found myself unable to enjoy a game even at times routing against my Son’s teams, even though my Son and his teammates did nothing to me and do not deserve that.  Just because the coaches had gone out of their way at times to cause harm to my kids the Bible reminds us that we are called to be blessing and vengeance is not on us but for Gods to do: not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing and Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him. Now I will tell you that my actions gave my Sons the right to follow my lead.  That is the problem with disregarding the Word, those watching you the closest will mirror your actions.  Now your causing them to stumble.  Rom 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.  I like this verse here because I can see that my judgement of the coaches, placed a stumbling block in front of my kids ultimately causing them to be as disgruntled as I was. I recently had to speak to my Sons about my actions being wrong and acknowledging my shortcoming and the struggle I will have changing my actions at their games.  As well as having them step up and be the best teammates that they can be and also take the responsibility for themselves to not allow someone to treat them a certain way; even if that means stepping away from something, they love in order to do it.  This will also take my hand off the judgement of others and now the Lord will no longer turn away His wrath from him (enemy).   All judgement belongs to God, when we move out of His position and just enjoy Him being God, He will keep our enemies at peace (Prov 16:7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him).

Return to Your First Love

Rev 2:4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your
first love.

I was recently watching a podcast (sound weird because you listen to podcast, right?) and the podcaster mentioned a song by Israel Houghton, “Go Back” (to your First Love).  And he made a statement about remembering just how in love he was with God prior to marrying his wife.  It reminded me of this verse in Revelations.

I often long for the intensity of the Love I had for God when I first really got to know who He was and how powerful He was in my Life.  I will be honest; the intensity of my Love then is different now than it is now.  However, the magnitude is not, I believe it is because of the journey of our relationship.  OK because that sounds crazy let’s give an example, when I fell in love with my wife the intensity of our love for each other was extreme, but the magnitude was minimal because we were still figuring each other out, trying to learn who each other were.  However, now after 18 years together; the ups, the downs, the highs, and the lows.  The tenderness, the hurts, the joys, the pains; the intimacy and the frustration; it has all worked together to significantly increase magnitude but at times damage the intensity.  I love my wife way more now than I did then; because I know her, I know the sacrifices she’s made, the love she’s shown the joy she brings the forgiveness she’s given.  I also know the hurts she’s caused the painful words that were said and the actions that have caused anger; and I’ve done the same and more to her.  All this experience wrapped up together significantly strengthens the magnitude and appreciation of our love for each other but the intensity ebbs and flows.      

John reminds us as he pens what the Angel of the Lord spoke to the church in Ephesus.  They’ve done great overall, but the one thing against them, was “that you have left your first love ….” they’ve lost the intensity of their love, the focus, the complete surrender to Jesus Christ.  How  does this happen?  That’s easy the focus that was placed on Jesus was shifted somewhere else.  Like in a marriage, the focus of loving your spouse at some points selfishly shifts to yourself. The actions that use to be taken to ensure the other was loved sometimes shifts as a means of self-preservation, to take care of what you feel to be unmet needs.  Now the intensity in which you’ve loved in the past, diminishes and begins to ooze back unto you.  It is the same with Jesus, we often loose focus on Him and place it on ourselves whether it’s problems that arise,
desires we seek after, hurts/scars that we have not dealt with.  Whatever it is, causes the intensity to diminish.

When this happens, we cannot work to get it back because that would be our imperfect blood and sweat attempting to accomplish something only God can.  Instead, we must wholly trust and believe in the righteous of Jesus.  Focusing on His sweat and His Blood that was shed to cover all of our failures, short comings and lack of intensity.  We cannot read enough, pray enough or fast enough (although each can assist our areas of focus) to regain that intensity for our First Love.  However, as we change our focus away from ourselves and back to Jesus our faith will increase, we will experience the presence of God more and gain His peace that will surpass everything we understand on our own. 

I don’t know about you, but I miss my First Love and want to “Return.”  Just like the experiences my wife and I have shared requires renewed focus, engagement, and belief in one another to increase the intensity of the Love we share.  We also need to get help, seek wisdom and guidance from someone who understands restoration.  Counseling will definitely help in this and though I highly recommend it for everyone; I’m talking about going to the One who restored each of us to a righteous relationship with God our Father.  The One who took all of the focus off of Himself and went to the cross to deliver us from the Hell and destruction that we absolutely deserve.  Jesus has the answers we need!!  Therefore, I plan to focus on Jesus, His righteousness, His sacrifice and His Love for me.  As I do, the Bible reminds me that He will “make your way strait.”  That way or that road leads straight back to Our First Love; Jesus.  

David’s Ancestry

Ruth 4:16 16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

So last time we talked about David not falling to far from the tree; however, we only briefly dabbled in some of the impact of David’s lineage.  We’d like to dig a little deeper into the Ancestry of David.  We’ll look at how the lives lived by Boaz & Ruth played a significant role in who David would become. 

Finding Your Roots,” a PBS Documentary Series which started back in 2012 and is hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. sparked interest by many Americans who would look to search for information about their own history.  In 2019 MIT released a story which stated that more than 26 million people shared their DNA with to four leading commercial ancestry and health databases.  These people were willing to pass along their most confidential information through a shipping envelope to complete strangers.  Ancestry.com is the largest for-profit genealogy company in the world and back in 2018, the company claimed to provide access to approximately 10 billion historical records, to have 3 million paying subscribers, and to have sold 18 million DNA kits to customers.  These numbers are astronomical, and it is all because people want to know where they came from.  Who their ancestors are?  Who’s in their lineage?

There is a law of First Mention that many theologians and clergy use to comprehend certain aspects of the scripture.  The law of first mention says “that, to understand a particular word or doctrine, we must find the first place in Scripture that word or doctrine is revealed and study that passage.”  I believe this can also be used for David’s life in this instance.  The first time we see David’s discussed in the bible, he has not even been born yet.  The mention of David comes as the bible is showing David’s Ancestry; so, let’s see who they were.

Who Were They:  Boaz and Ruth are two of the central figures in the book of Ruth, and they were the background of David’s first mention; what do we know about them?  Boaz was the wealthy field owner from the clan of Elimelek and the distant relative of Ruth’s deceased husband.  His name Boaz means “strength is within him,” and inner strength is often more powerful than external strength.  We also see in the text that Boaz looked out for Ruth because he heard about how she had treated her mother-in-law Naomi.  He recognized the inner strength it took to lose your family and future; yet take great care of her hurting mother-in-law.  Ruth’s name actually means “Companion; friend and vision of beauty.”  That may explain why she was capable of focusing on Naomi’s loss rather than her own and befriended Naomi during a painful time in both of their lives. 

It is also fascinating to see how David demonstrated both of these characteristics (Strength and Friendship) in very impactful ways; like the inner strength (in the form of courage) to battle a bear and lion to protect the sheep that he shepherds as well as challenging the Philistine Giant Goliath.  He would also befriend Jonathan, the Son of Saul the King of Israel; a relationship that would benefit David’s escape from assassination and give an example to a level of friendship that is very difficult to find by many people even today.      

What Did They Symbolize: Ruth was known for her relationship with her mother-in-law Naomi and being redeemed by and married to Boaz.  However, one of the more interesting stories we find is now Ruth’s other mother-in-law is Rahab.  Rahab (also a Gentile) was the prostitute who was known for helping the Israelite spies prepare their army to take the City of Jericho.  Her assistance to Israel, saved her life and allowed her to follow the God of Israel and marry Salmon a Jew.  This would also explains why Boaz was not turned away by Ruth but drawn too, this Gentile woman who was a widow (a woman who has no means of financial support, and is therefore in need of special legal protection) and decided to serve God after being exposed to Him by Naomi, rather than going back to her native home after the death of her husband (Ruth 2:11 And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”). 

Boaz had a heart towards Ruth because she reminded him of his mother and honestly, he probably had a heart for many who needed redemption.  Boaz would become the Kinsman Redeemer, which “in the rabbinical tradition, is a person who, as the nearest relative of another, is charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs.”  This would be the very actions that decades later Jesus (who is also in this lineage) took to redeem humanity, His sacrifice on the Cross was “restoring the rights” for us all and “avenging our wrongs.” 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ can be told in the story of David’s Ancestry; the wealthy and esteemed Boaz loved Ruth, the gentile widow and he paid a great price so that she could be redeemed and have her life restored.  John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Too Far….

As I continue to dig into the life of David, I love finding little things that I hadn’t really noticed before.  Here I just wanted to see when David was first mentioned in the Bible.  David is first mentioned in the book of Ruth.  How, he was not even born yet?  I know, which caused me to dig into this a little deeper.  Why would David be mentioned in the book of Ruth?  I believe that it was so that we could see, “just what stock he came from,” what treed did David fall from.  The book of Ruth introduces this gentile woman who loved her mother-in-law (Naomi) so much that after the most painful experience in her life (death of her husband) she decided to stay connected to her when she could have abandoned her.  She not only stayed with Naomi, but she also followed her God (the God of Israel), even though Naomi tried to push her away.  Ruth 1:16 But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.  17 Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.  This woman demonstrated great character and unconditional love and as the book continues, we see how God steps in and changes her life forever.

This Ruth was the great grandmother of David and if she was this principled, what would his great grandfather be like.  Boaz was a relative of Naomi and the text lets us know that he was a wealthy man, but the most interesting thing to me was his first words “Ruth 2:4 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered him, “The Lord bless you!  The first word Boaz spoke was a blessing over his employees; he was shining God’s light in the workplace.  This was obviously the way Boaz carried himself on a regular basis, therefore it is not surprising that he spoke a blessing over Ruth during their first encounter (Ruth 2:12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”) then he would become a provider for her (Ruth 2:15 And when she rose up to [b]glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not [c]reproach her. 16 Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”) and in the end, Boaz would become Ruth’s kinsman redeemer (Ruth 4:10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from [e]his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day).    

So here is the thing; Ruth was one of of the few gentiles that would become followers of God. Just as we are all gentiles (unless you happen to be a Jew) and now are able to follow Jesus Christ. Speaking of Jesus Christ; He was our Kinsman Redeemer, we he like Boaz paid to price for us on the Cross. So not only were those in David’s bloodline were powerful men and women of God.  The were also powerful examples of what would flow from their bloodline; yes David of course but also Jesus (Matt 1:1-12).

The character, Godliness and humility that David’s great grandparents demonstrated had to be passed down over the years.  Now I’m not saying that you have to have a Godly upbringing to become a King.  But I am saying that when you lay down that foundation for your family, your great grandchild may just become the King, because we all need to remember that “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Too Far From the Tree!!!

Fire Alarm 

A fire alarm is a standalone device or a complete network of devices, installed in a building or an area, which gives audible and/or visible warning of an outbreak of fire in that building or area.  Therefore, does the fire alarm really do what it is supposed to do?  I ask that question because just the other day I was in a hotel room working on the computer when the Fire Alarm went off.  When it started going off, my immediate thought was is this a test, do I smell smoke, do I need to go downstairs, why is this disrupting my day?  At no point did I ever really think that the very function of the alarm was even a possibility, a fire.  So, while the fire alarm is to inform you of the dangerous fire, to this day it is universally disregarded.  Unfortunately, once you’ve been engulfed by the flames it becomes too late.  

I see that the Bible is often seen with the same universal disregard.  The Bible is God’s love letter to His children, and it is just as important to ensure that people do not die without the knowing just how much God Loves them through the ultimate act by Jesus Christ. 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

God did not just love the world but “God so loved the world.” This is greater than what we consider love; so now makes this love mean “going beyond the ordinary.”  It’s not just a physical love but a sacrificial love.  God would later take that word sacrifice to a never before seen level, when He placed all of His cards on the table by giving His only begotten Son for the lives of everyone else (including you and me).  Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  We cannot disregard the Love that God has shown each of us like we disregard a Fire Alarm when we initially hear it.  Because just like an ignored fire alarm, not realizing God’s love for you becomes dangerous when you realize it too late; at death (Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord).  Do not wait until you’re engulfed in flames to realized just how much God loves you!!

The Inside Man 

1 Sam 19:1-2 Now Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David; but Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted greatly in David. So Jonathan told David, saying, “My father Saul seeks to kill you. Therefore please be on your guard until morning, and stay in a secret place and hide. And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you. Then what I observe, I will tell you.

Back in 2006 Denzel Washington stared in a thrilling movie about a bank heist. The plot of this movie revolved around the incredible and somewhat noble plan to conduct a bank robbery. The key to this heist was that someone on the “inside” who was very familiar with the bank, its operations and its contents, was the key member of the team planning the robbery. Now what does this movie have to do with this scripture?? Absolutely Nothing, it was just the perfect title for this message, and I owed it to you, to let you know where I got it.

In the text we find Saul the King of Israel, on the war path attempting to capture one of his newest valets, David (the warrior that had just defeated Goliath). Saul here in this text speaking to his son Jonathan and all of his servants, informing them of his desire to kill David. Jonathan was not only his son, but his #1 military leader, next in line to become King; therefore, nobody was closer to the King than Jonathan. 

Meanwhile David was running for his life to escape the sword of Saul, but he had an inside man. Let’s look at how having somebody on the inside benefited David and how it can benefit us:1. 

  1. Jonathan Knew the King’s Heart: vs Now Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. There is something to be said about having an Inside Man. Here Jonathan is hearing directly from the King and based on their relationship, the King will share things with him that he would not share with just anyone. Now in this case, Saul shared with all of the servants his desire to kill David, but Jonathan had also heard all the other conversations which led to this declaration. He was close enough to his father the King to be there when Saul “took to David” and would not let him return to his home anymore; as well as when the Israelites sang about David’s victories and angered Saul. Jonathan, because of his closeness to the King, knew when and why Saul’s heart towards David changed and it was because of this knowledge that he would seek to aid David. 
  2. Jonathan Loved David: vs but Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted greatly in David. Although Jonathan loved his father the King and stood to be the next King should something happen to Saul, Jonathan had every reason to be on board with killing David. However, he loved David; the Bible said, “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David and Jonathan loved him as his own soul (1 Sam 18:1-2).” Jonathan knew there was something different about David, he could see God’s hand on his life and even though the King desired David dead, Jonathan would not let that happen; he even took off his own Robe, Armor, Sword, Bow and belt, giving them all to David (literally the cloths off his back).
  3. Jonathan Knew David’s Location: vs So Jonathan told David, saying, “My father Saul seeks to kill you. Once Jonathan heard what Saul was planning for David, he sought out David. Because their souls were tied, they knew one another’s every move. Jonathan went directly to David, because he knew exactly where he was, to let him know it was no longer safe for him to return. 
  4. Jonathan Had a Strategy to Escape Death: vs Therefore please be on your guard until morning, and stay in a secret place and hide. And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are. Not only did he know his location, but he also knew a plan to help David escape Saul’s murder attempt. Jonathan warned David, then gave him directions to hide and watch for a signal of what to do next. Jonathan knew what the King wanted to do and where David would be, he had all the information to give David the best plan of escape, but the key to David’s safety was his trust Jonathan and believe what he said. If David didn’t listen to him, Saul might have had any of his other servants kill David. Jonathan gave David a strategy, but David had to trust & believe in it.
  5. Jonathan Spoke to the King on David’s Behalf: vs and I will speak with my father about you. After preparing David for any potential attacks, Jonathan took his fight for David to the next level. He appealed to the King on David’s behalf. Because of everything we’ve already discussed, Jonathan knew the best way to speak to the King. He could pull on Saul’s heart strings and know exactly what aspects of David that drew him to Saul’ good graces initially. In verse 4 we see. Thus Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you. For he took his life in his hands and killed the Philistine, and the LORD brought about a great deliverance for all Israel. You saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood, to kill David without a cause?” Think about it, the first thing he says is don’t sin against David. Why that? Well, Saul had just recently been told by Samuel that because he sinned, he would lose his entire kingdom; so that correlation would trigger an immediate self-evaluation. Secondly, he reminded Saul of David potentially sacrificing his life for King’s sake. Then he reminded Saul of the Joy the LORD brought him by using David. This appeal was well crafted and very effective because in verse 6 we see Saul’s response “So Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, ”As the Lord lives, he shall not be killed.

So, I mentioned earlier that we would see how it could help us as well. I’m sure several of you have an idea of where I’m headed but ride along anyway. We all have an Inside Man. This Person knows the heart of the King very well, their relationship is so close there is no space (literally) between them. This Person Loves me and you tremendously as if we were His only Son. He knows exactly where we are all the time, whether we are at our highest heights or our lowest lows. He knows our location and just how to get to us. He has a strategy to help us escape death and He learned it directly from the King’s mouth. This Person speaks to the King on our behalf daily, hourly and every minute of the day. Our Inside Man is the Holy Spirit; He is our Comforter and Friend. He lives inside (the hearts) those of us who have believed that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and for those of us that have not yet believed, the strategy is simple: God sent Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for all of our (Mine & Yours) sin.   Because of His sacrifice we have only to believe;“Romans 10:9-11 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.

The Inside Man is now Inside of You and He desires to help you in every area of your life.

Praise Through the Shaking

Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were loosed

OK so imagine this; You are living out your purpose and following God’s will for you then suddenly you find yourself in the darkest period of your life.  Here we find Paul, traveling with his friend Silas and they are doing what they love, preaching the Gospel of Christ, declaring His great works, and casting out daemons (you know, having so much fun).  Only not everyone was happy with Paul’s lifestyle, (when people are changed not everyone is OK with that).  In this case it cut into some people’s wallet.  That caused Paul to find himself behind bars; locked up at midnight.  Many people would break down, lash out in anger or crumble under the disappointment.  Not Paul, he and Silas started praying and singing to God.  Let me clarify that; they were already praying and singing (that is a message in itself).  Now what happened after that was an absolute miracle and honestly, it’s a miracle that is rather famous and well know by many.

However, there is a little nugget that I found in this familiar text which really pricked my heart today.  Paul and Silas were lifting praises to the Lord in their time of suffering, then the text says Suddenly there was a great earthquake.  So, let me get this straight.  Paul and Silas were preaching Jesus and teaching numerous cities with great impact.  So much so verse 5 says So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.  The then found a possessed young girl and Paul cast out the demon in her and they were imprisoned.  With all of that happening to them their first action is to pray and sing to God.  Then, a great earthquake.

My problem here is the realization that we often skip over the fact there was an earthquake.  Now I’m not a Californian, and even though I lived there for a few years, I have never experienced a significant earthquake.  But if you can imagine the entire earth below your feet violently shaking, so much so that the foundation that you are counting on to hold you and everything around you up begins to physically break before your eyes.  The rumbling on its own has to be absolutely terrifying; a shaking ground so much so that you are unable to keep your balance and you literally hold on for dear life. 

Now I know that Paul was probably praying and singing out of habit because “Praise is what he do.”  But there had to be some of him that was taking this action because he believed that God would step in and save, he and Silas from this Jail (bondage experience).  Yet instead, he had to hold on literally for his life.  This tells me that when we are trusting God to move on our behalf, we must be able to praise Him through the shaking.  Just when we believe that we are at our wits end, when we think it cannot get any worse….here comes the shaking (there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken).  The earthquake that destroys, it tears down walls; it crumbles worldly foundations, and it impacts not just you but many of the people closest to you.  But it was the earthquake that also brought forth the breakthrough, literally opening closed doors and breaking chains of bondage (and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were loosed). 

Praise on through the great shaking in your life.  Paul had already experienced God’s Love and Favor many times; remember he had been beaten, stoned and even run out of town (for the Gospel’s sake).  He believed in God and knew that regardless of what was coming, the Lord would deliver he and Silas.  He was not afraid, nor was he panicking; he was trusting. 

That trust allowed him to remain focused, and at peace (Isa 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You).  The trust was in the precious work of Jesus on the Cross.  He knew that because God gave His only Son so that we could have all our sins forgiven, that his future was solid, even if Jesus didn’t deliver him.  Our deliverance comes with a little shaking; Jesus died on the cross so that we could all be delivered with His salvation (Jesus’ entire life was vigorously shaken).  From all of the this, I just want you to remember, after the shaking, you WILL walk through open doors and be FREE from your chains.

Return to The King

1 Sam 17:57
Then, as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand

I was listening (yes I said listening) to this text recently and this verse really jumped out at me. David had just gone through a virtually impossible battle and yet came out victorious. When I say impossible; the entire Israeli Army were not willing to take on this battle, they wanted no part of it. However, this young teenager (David) would step up and do what even the King’s top Generals weren’t willing to do, go against the Philistines Giant.  What can we take from that?  David’s Courage, we need to be courageous and attack those giants in our lives that seem impossible.

However, that is not what jumped off the virtual page for me.  The actions David took following his victory.  You know there are a lot of times when we are in the midst of a battle, we become so consumed with figuring our way out or what it will take to win. So much so that the minute we’re done we drop everything and celebrate.  While we go directly to God with our desires to fight our giant or overcome the challenging situation; how often do we forget to return to God after the victory.  David in this text, goes from victory to honor to evangelism.  Let’s see how his actions after the greatest breakthrough can help us to respond to the blessings in our own lives.    

  1. David Routed His Enemy: vs Then, as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine. The text says that David slaughtered the Philistine (Goliath). If you’re a sports guy like myself the term “rout” is often used when talking about dominating your opponent. A rout is when you jump on top of the other team and then relentlessly don’t let up until the game is over. So much so the other team eventually just gives in. David did just that, He jumped at the chance to attack Goliath, the text says “that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.” The little shepherd boy annihilated this great warrior and just as David told Goliath, he “came in the name of the LORD.” Just as David took on His giant with God as his source of power, we can and should do the same. 
  2. David Returned to the King: vs Abner took him and brought him before Saul. What was David’s first stop after defeating Goliath? The King. After his biggest victory, David made a b-line for the Throne. When God gives us the victory, we should return to the King of Glory and acknowledge His favor and power. Don’t believe me, then let’s check with Jesus: after cleansing 10 Lepers He said this when one of those healed returned to worship: So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” The Samaritan returned and worshiped Jesus who’d given him the victory over leprosy. 
  3. David Rendered the Evidence: vs brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. When David returned to the King, he showed up with the head of the Giant. He came back with the evidence of his victory. The word render actually means to “provide or give (a service).”  David was giving confirmation to King Saul that the task was indeed completed.  It became his visual testimony. Testimonies are powerful and the book of Revelations reminds us of that fact in chapter 12 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Our testimonies can give hope to others going through similar personal battles, increase the faith of other believers, and may draw non-believers to Christ. 

As we see David’s actions going into his biggest challenge and after his greatest victory; I believe we can see his heart (A Man After God’s Own Heart) towards Authority.  As well as the roadmap he gives us to show our gratitude to the Lord for the many victories He’s given us.  The Truth is, God will continue to bless us because He loves us; He has made it possible for all our sins to be forgiven (if we will believe in Him and His loving sacrifice).  Whether we give Him praise or not He will bless us, however when we make it a lifestyle of honoring Him, His Mercy and Grace extended towards us, just like the one Leper who returned to worship Jesus; we will also be made whole.   

Is This The End?

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for [a]all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, [b]pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

When I was growing up as a young 10-year-old, one of my favorite groups was New Edition.  One song in particular that I used to sing in my mirror was “Is This The End?”  It was the teenaged romantic asking his “girlfriend” if their relationship was over.  I was so into the song that I used to try to figure out who I would sing it to (because I was 10).  However, now that I am nearly 5 times that age, that same question, “Is This The End,” sparks a much different thought.  With everything that is going on in the world today; Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Flooding, Tornadoes, Uncontrollable Wildfires, Countries being overtaken; not to mention a widespread Virus that continues to linger and morph itself into a stronger version.  Could this be the end coming closer or as I told a friend earlier today “Is Jesus walking up that Cloud?” (He’s coming back in a Cloud-Revelations)   

Jesus’ Disciples asked a similar question about the end; the book of Matthew records a conversation where Jesus answered this question of when the end would be.  The wanted to know when their Savior would return for them.  In His response, Jesus begins by reminding them not to be deceived by those who claim to come in His Name.  There is only one Jesus and One way to God the Father.  Don’t be swept away by the latest trend, Ted Talk or the smoothest speechmaker; they are frauds.  After this great insight, Jesus then begins to give a plethora of things which will mark the signs of His return to earth. 

  1. Wars and Battles:  vs 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  Unfortunately, war has become all but too common and rumors of wars are spoken on a daily basis.  Well I guess we can check that box. 
  2. Pestilences and Earthquake:  vs 7 And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.  In case anyone was unaware, the word Pestilence is defined as “a fatal epidemic disease.”  We all know this way too well.  Since 2020 we’ve been living this nightmare.  Result, another checked box.  Interestingly enough, Jesus said that these would only be the beginning of sorrows.
  3. All Sorts of Chaos:  vs 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  People are killed if they are Christians in some countries; here in America we might get talked about, disrespected, maybe even “trolled on Twitter,” but hated none the less.  The other items like lawlessness everywhere, our love growing cold, and hate being shown for one another; we’ve certainly seen that in abundance in the last couple of years.  Unfortunately, another box checked. 

I don’t share this text with you as some sort of “Scare Tactic,” but as a reminder of why we’re planted here on this planet.  Verse 13 & 14 says “13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  We need to tell people about Jesus.  Many will endure all of this and they will be saved, but only if someone is willing to share Jesus with them.  The above truth is that we are in the latter days and according to scripture Jesus could return at any-time.  However, those that have not accepted Christ as their Savior are in the final countdown.  Don’t let that be because they’ve never be offered Jesus Christ.  When we tell them, He will do the knocking at their heart. 

Make sure that you tell someone that Jesus Loves Them.  Regardless of what they’ve done or what they’ve been through, Jesus knows and desires a relationship with them so that He can lead them to their destiny.  Romans 10:9 gives us instructions on how to begin this relationship with Jesus; vs 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  Ask Jesus into your heart, then believe He is who He says He is.  He’ll do all the rest.

I Love You With The Love of Christ!!!