II Samuel 15:22
But Ittai answered the king and said, “As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely in whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be.”
Ittai and his family left his own country and had come to live in Jerusalem the day before Absalom’s rebellion against David. Ittai was a stranger and foreigner to David. When David, along with his army, decided to flee Jerusalem for safety, Ittai insisted on going with David, even though David encouraged Ittai to go back home.
“Whether in death or life…”
It is interesting that I read this passage this morning. Lately I have been contemplating the concepts of death and life; heaven and hell.
Would I willingly fight for a stranger if, in doing so, death was a possibility?
Would I lay down my life for my friend, much less a stranger?
Do I really believe heaven and a hell are real?
How differently would I live my life if I
thought Jesus was coming to gather His bride tonight?
Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
Every time I read this story in 1 Samuel 24, I am amazed at David. Saul hated David. Saul knew David would be king and was hunting David down to kill him. In verse 4, Saul has found David in a dark cave. Saul is so close to David that David cuts a corner off of Saul’s robe. David had the opportunity, but he did not kill Saul. David knew Saul was trying to kill him, but he chose not to lay a hand against Saul because Saul was the “Lord’s anointed.”
In the first two verses of Romans 13, Paul says that all authority comes form God. It also says, if we resist the authority, we resist God.
So, what about today? Do we have the right to “stretch out [our] hand against the Lord’s anointed?” Say what you will, but if all authority comes from God, we need to pray for our leaders, not tear them down. It does not mean that you cannot disagree with them. But, we know the difference between “agreeing to disagree” and coming against or attacking those in leadership when we disagree—even if it is just with our words.
I don’t know about you, but I am going to pray for our country’s leaders, my employers, and my church leaders. It’s time to bring them to Jesus, not to our neighbor!
Genesis 6:5-6 “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”
Genesis 6:8 “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”
Genesis 6:14 “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.”
In Noah’s time, when God looked on the earth, He saw was the wickedness of man. Man was continually thinking about doing evil things. So much so, that God was sorry He had created man and was grieved in His heart.
But… Noah had found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God told Noah to make an ark, which would take years to build and no rain had ever fallen on the earth. How silly Noah must have looked to everyone else. Probably even to his own family. There must have been much ridicule and disdain.
Today, our world thinks of evil continually. Everyday, it seems, there is another incident of hate and evil, be it on a national level or in our own backyard. Recently I witnessed a “road rage” situation where two cars completely stopped in the middle of a busy freeway just to yell at each other. And, if we turn on the news, there are multiple stories of murder and terroristic activity.
If God wanted to raise up a Noah, would I be one with whom He would find grace and favor?
Would I have the courage to step up and say, “Yes, Lord.”?
“And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.”
This past Sunday, we sang a beautiful song: ”Alpha and Omega.” I can’t seem to get it out of my head.
You are Alpha and Omega.
We worship You, our Lord.
You are worthy to be praised.
We give You all the glory.
We worship You, our Lord,
You are worthy to be praised.
Alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet, means beginning. Omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet, means ending. God is EVERYTHING! And, according to Revelation 21:6, He is ready to give freely of the water of life to anyone who thirsts. WOW! Everything I need is there just for the asking. How many times do I forget to ask? How many times do I doubt? How long will I continue to be like the Israelites in my fear and unbelief?
It is so easy to just let life happen–staying in rush hour, moving with the world. God wants us to wake up and savor the journey, all the while blessing us along the way. Psalm 68:19 says, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!” God wants to give us His benefits. He wants to bless us and “give us life more abundantly.” (John 10:10) In receiving His benefits, not only does it bless us, but it is a witness to those people God places in your path for ministry by you!
Update: No Coke again today! Two days and counting! That may seem insignificant to you, but I don’t know if I mentioned or not: I LOVE COKE!!!! But He is my beginning and my end and will help me make these lifestyle change!
Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
Recently, my son told me that he wanted to follow a certain career path. He also said that in order to follow that career path, he would have to make some drastic changes in his life. My response was, “What is it worth to you?” (It wasn’t the first time he had heard that! LOL)
Funny thing: Immediately after asking my son the “What is it worth to you?” question, I had to ask myself the same. I have been trying to shed about 20-25 pounds that I have gained in the past 3 years, but I have not been successful. What is it worth to me to lose those 20-25 pounds?
Is it worth me giving up Coke?
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love Coke. Each day, I consume anywhere from 60-120 ounces of Coke. That is not good. Of course, I’m addicted to caffeine because I drink so much Coke. Being addicted to caffeine is not why I drink it, and I have mastered the art of giving up Coke many times successfully. I drink Coke because it is my favorite thing to drink! I absolutely love the taste of Coke!
“The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not want…” Coke. Okay, well maybe it will take a little longer than one day without Coke to really believe that. But, I have started this journey. I really do want to shed these extra pounds, and I also know that this Coke culprit is terrible for my body. And, how can my body be a good Temple if I am abusing it?
So here’s my plan. About 2 weeks ago, I started going to the pool at my apartment complex about 4-5 times a week for about 30-45 minutes of exercise. And, today I did not have a Coke and tried to make better food choices. I am starting a lifestyle change, not a diet, by trying to make healthier choices each day. And, I am going to trust God that He is my Shepherd and I will not want!
I’ll keep you posted! One day down, the rest of my life to go!
“For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.”
This passage is a beautiful comparison of a vine and the family of God. Even though the Church must continue to find ways to be relevant, we should never look at our foundations or forerunners as no longer important or useful. Although their methods may seem antiquated, they forged pathways of the Gospel through their culture.
If John, Peter, or Paul walked into our church on a Sunday morning with the same clothing and style of the 1st century, I feel sure we would find their methods and language different from ours. However, I also think that we would not dismiss them because we know their contribution to the Kingdom. They are part of the root system that was begun by Jesus.
Many of the senior adult Christians I know have so much to offer us. Their heart for Jesus and His Kingdom is unmatched. I am grateful to them and want to learn as much as I can from them. I invite you to hang out with your senior Christians and learn from them!
5 O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot.
6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.
7 I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
8 I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.
In my adult life, I have moved well over 20 times. My recent move to California has been one of the biggest moves of all. Moving from the East Coast to the West Coast (over 2600 miles) by myself was exciting, even if daunting at times, because I knew that God had spoken to me.
The interview for my new position was on October 29, 2014, and I received the offer of employment on November 25, 2014. So I basically had a month to decide if this is what I thought should happen. You would think that was enough! LOL However, not enough for me; I asked for another week to pray. I needed to hear from GOD!
On Monday night before I was to give my answer, I got ready for bed. I still was searching. In those moments before I fell asleep, I prayed,
God I need to know. I have wanted to live in California my whole life, but is this what you want? This is a huge step of faith for me. I will be leaving family and friends. This leap of faith has to be grounded in Your will and direction for my life. When I wake up in the morning, please give me something that will make me know that this is what You want for me.
And, I turned over and went to sleep. There was no wrestling to find sleep; I slept like a baby!
When I awoke on Tuesday morning (December 2, 2014), the song in my head was “Living By Faith,” an old hymn of the church. I walked around for about 20 minutes singing, and finally stopped in my tracks and said out loud, “Why am I singing this song?” The Lord so clearly spoke to my spirit and said, “You asked for confirmation; I want you to live by faith.”
From that moment on, I have not doubted my decision. When traveling those 2600+ miles and doubt tried to creep in, I had the Word of the Lord to stand on and stop those doubts in their tracks. As Psalm 16 says, God is our inheritance and portion. He will take care of us if we just let Him. “He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” (Psalm 16:8)
“So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”
All those years ago, Joseph’s brothers were angry with him. They spilled animal’s blood on his coat, threw him into a well, decided they could not let him die, sold him into slavery, and lied to their father about it all. The brothers lived with the result of their actions until they came face to face with Joseph many years later. As they sat in front of Joseph, disbelief, fear, bewilderment, and who know what other emotions, crashed in on their hearts and minds.
They were scared! But, Joseph loved them!
There are so many amazing lessons we can learn from Joseph. Here are just three:
- Forgiveness: At one point, he had to leave them to weep because he was so overcome with love and longing for these brothers who had mistreated him. Do I forgive like that? Forgiveness that overrides bitterness and turns into love?
- Steadfastness: Never does the Bible say that Joseph used his anger against his brothers towards anyone or anything. He stood on his belief in God and remained faithful to Him.
- Blessing: Joseph and his family were welcomed in Egypt. Verse 32 of chapter 43 states it was unacceptable for Egyptians to eat and sit at the table with Hebrews. But, Genesis 45:16 states that Pharaoh and his servants were pleased that Joseph had found his family.
I have always been fascinated by Joseph. According to the account of his life in Genesis, he was always faithful to his relationship with God. He believed that sin was against God, not man. (Genesis 39:9)
What would our lives look like if we lived like Joseph’s example?
PINCH ME! I have moved to California! You may not think that is a big deal, but to me it is a really big deal. Here’s why.
When I was a very young girl, there were three places that I wanted to live when I grew up. One of those places was Florida because Florida was where my Aunt Jo lived. Aunt Jo, my mom’s sister, actually seemed closer to my age than she did my mom. When we would visit Aunt Jo, she was always very sweet and attentive to us kids, and she included us in everything. We were not relegated to another room during dinner or when conversation was happening. She was always teaching and loving us. You could just tell.
Another place I wanted to live was Nashville, Tennessee, better known as Music City. I was born into a musical family and was seemingly born singing. When I was about five or six years old, my older brother, Vernon showed me how to create chords on the piano, and I immediately starting playing by ear. With my musical heritage, I knew it would be really cool to live in Nashville.
Then there was California. My Aunt Ellen lived in California. At a very early age, maybe four or five, I remember her visiting us. She flew on an airplane, which in and of itself was amazing to my young brain. As soon as she would get to our home, she would get her nail polish and paint my nails. This was unusual in our home because I grew up in a very conservative and fundamental home. We did not paint our nails! But, my dad would allow my Aunt Ellen to paint them. Because of this, I thought my Aunt Ellen was the most glamorous person I had ever met. So surely, California was as fabulous as she was! (By the way, Aunt Ellen is probably the reason I am so obsessed with pretty nails today! LOL)
In November, I was while driving on Route 29 in Kannapolis, North Carolina in front of Big Lots when I realized that God was granting me my “little girl” dreams. From 1989 to 2001, I lived in Florida. From, 2006 to 2011, I lived in Nashville. And, as of 12-29-2014, I have moved and am living in California.
God cares about a little girl’s desires and dreams. He cares about your desires and dreams. If you are delighting yourself in Him, it is more than probable that He put your desires and dreams in your heart. So…
Delight yourself in the Lord.
Dare to watch Him bring those desires and dreams to pass!
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
Recently, I met a new friend named Cyndi. During our visit, we were talked about being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s voice and our reluctance at times to be obedient. Cyndi shared one such instance with me.
Her assignment that day was to get balloons for a birthday celebration at work. As she was leaving the office to run the errand, she saw an ambulance across the street. In her heart, Cyndi felt as if the Holy Spirit told her to go pray with the person who was being placed in the ambulance. Cyndi said, “But God, by the time I cross the road, he will be gone.” Again, she felt the familiar, “Go pray for the person in that ambulance.” She replied, “But God, the EMTs will not let me get close to the person.” Again, that familiar voice said, “Go pray for the personal in that ambulance.” Cyndi’s reply, “But God, he will think I’m crazy.”
At the third “but,” Cyndi said she realized she needed to get her “but” out of the way and do what God, through His Holy Spirit, was asking her to do. So, she crossed the road and got to the ambulance just after they had loaded the person in the back. She stepped up to the driver and told him she felt she was supposed to pray with the person who was in the back of the ambulance. Much to her surprise, the EMT said she could. She stepped up into the back of the ambulance and prayed with the man. He was so happy that she had listened and obeyed the voice.
Although Cyndi did not know the outcome of her prayer, she did feel a great sense of peace because she had gotten her “but” out of the way and followed the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Do you need to get your “but” out of the way and go ahead and do what God is calling you to do?