Saul’s Sin

“And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.” – 1 Samuel 15:24

Pastor, it is not your job to please the people, it’s your job to please God. The shepherd is supposed to drive the flock, the flock is not suppose to drive the shepherd. When the sheep heard the shepherd you can rest assured that the whole lot of them will end up in dangerous territory chasing after greener pastures.

Saul, as King over the congregation of Israel got his instructions on how to lead this flock straight from God. He knew what needed to be done, but he didn’t do it. Instead he harkened unto the voice of the people and he lost the kingdom because of it.

Pastor, seek the Lord and obey His voice and leading, not the people’s. It is better to have God’s endorsement then the people’s for it is God who gives the anointing that breaks the yoke and sets the captive free.

Moses did what God said and his congregation hated him for it. They turned against him over and over agin, but every time God enforced His words and endorsed Moses for obeying it. No weapon formed against him was allowed to prosper. The weapons surely formed, many times his own congregation tried to kill him but every time God moved in miraculous ways to defend, deliver, and prove His approval of him. In this were the weapons against him not allowed to prosper.

Saul on the other hand, did not listen to the leading of the Lord and obeyed the voice of the people instead. In doing this was a weapon being formed against him that would prosper. Saul failed to destroy all of the Amalekites and keep Israel separate from them and their sins as the Lord had instructed. Because he failed to trust God and destroy the Amalekites, in the end the Amalekites destroyed him, as it was an Amalekite that struck his death blow.

God’s wisdom is greater then our wisdom and His far-sight is more encompassing then ours. It does not matter what we think, see, hear, or feel, we must trust what God says and do it. He sees the big picture. He sees the snare the devil is laying. He tells us how to avoid it. It’s up to us to trust His voice and obey unto deliverance or choose to listen to self or others and walk right into it. The choice is ours. As for me, I choose to obey God’s voice and trust Him to validate, prove, endorse and enforce it because I know that His plans for me are for good and not for harm (Jeremiah 29:11) but the devil’s plans are to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).

Trust God’s voice and no weapon formed against you will prosper. Trust the people’s voice in opposition to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the weapon formed against you has already prospered by your own allowance.

“The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” – Proverbs 4:19-22

“Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these (the excusing of sinful deeds). For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.” – Jeremiah 7:4-8

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The Holy Seed Have Mingled Themselves

47A33CF9-3EC4-4713-B7FA-6B72596D9834“Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonished. Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonished until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God, And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever. And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? O Lord God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.” – Ezra 9:1-15

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18  

When people read this they think of marriage or engagement, but did you know that this applies to much more?!

I once was convicted by GOD for even striking hands with the ungodly… a high-five or fist bump to some is a greeting, but in GOD’s eyes HE sees it as a sign of agreement and more than likely the ungodly (knowingly or unknowingly) do as well.

See once the sign of agreement happens the devil has access by right, fellowship with devils = relinquished authority over them!

These are dangers of agreement and fellowship of the ungodly.

What fellowship?

What communion?

What concord?

What part?

What agreement?

The answer is NONE! There should be no fellowship and agreement from the HOLY to the ungodly! The very word Holy means “set apart and sanctified”. We have all heard of the bad apple in the bag example of what happens to the whole bunch if the one rotten is allowed to remain. That which is unclean will definitely defile the clean, never will it work the other way around. Only AFTER the unclean has been made new by the cleansing power of the blood of Christ can they be received into fellowship with the Holy.

Remember:

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”- 1 Peter 2:9-10

The devil is well aware of the effect of this scheme and how well it works. This one thing, I believe, is the most common plot of the enemy! Infiltrate and infect, till that which desires to remain holy must separate. I look around and see this happening to almost every church I have attended. It is how the devil has destroyed the people of GOD all throughout history and is still actively doing so today. Whether corporately as a church body or individually in our daily relationships, the plot remains the same… because it works!

So no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it might be, choose the separation from the world and stay set apart unto GOD. I’d much rather have the whole world offended by my separation, than to be cut off by my GOD because I offended HIM!

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” – Psalms‬ ‭1:1-6‬


Submitted by Heather Wright

The Pastor And The Prophet

Living on a small farm with livestock such as sheep, we often have predators come to disrupt the herd and snatch away the little lambs. The best way to keep our territory safe for the flock to grow and flourish is for us to have a few dogs.

To this end we have two very different dogs with very different gifts, skills, and builds. First we have a small beagle named Hanna. Beagles have the strongest nose of any of the dog breeds. So much so that it’s practically an extrasensory perception. Beagles see more with their nose then with their eyes. They can pick up when a predator is lurking when no one else knows anything is happening. They know when it is approaching before it even gets their. Once the foe is there the beagle knows its paths, tactics, and tricks and can track it down when others (judging by sight and limited smell) still think that all is well.

However, for all her discernment, tenacity, devotion, and bravery, she would get herself killed without some help. So while Hanna is the hunter and “point dog”, our second dog, Theophilus, is the guard dog. He is a huge dog, being a mix between the lion hunting Rhodesian Ridgeback and the very protective Louisiana Catahoula Cur. Living in Louisiana we have a lot of different large predators here and while our little beagle is great at picking up on dangers, sounding the alarm, and tracking it down, when she finds it, there’s not a whole lot she can do, so this is where Theophilus’ role steps in.

The scene usually unfolds something like this. The sheep are in the pasture oblivious to any threat, but a predator has begun to plot and stalk in the unseen. Hanna picks it up! Nothing out of the ordinary can be seen but she sees what can’t be seen and trust her nose. She takes off running at full speed yelping and baying and sounding the alarm. Theophilus, trusting in her nose, runs behind her, covering her, and protecting her as she tracks the threat down. Eventually they find the threat and though she continues to bark, she falls back and Theophilus steps up to take care of business, remove the threat, reclaim their territory, and return peace and safety to the flock. Then they return to wait for the next enemy that try’s to come and steal, kill, and destroy within their territory.

Believe it or not, this is exactly the relationship and the importance of the pastor and the prophet within a congregation. One without the other is severely handicapped leaving themselves, their flock, and their territory open to the enemy. They can each do something’s well but only together can they truly keep the flock safe, healthy, and growing.

Through out biblical history, when the shepherds over the congregation of the people stopped listening to the voice of the prophet sounding the alarm of approaching danger, they all fell into the enemies hands and the flock was scattered. It’s no different today, but likewise, the prophets words and warnings are of no use if there is no pastor that will trust them, defend them, and act upon them, and enforce them to the safeguarding of the flock.

Understand this, a prophet is not a pastor anymore then my beagle is a guard dog. Neither can a pastor assume to pick up on the unseen in time as well as the prophet can anymore then my Cur could ever hope to out trail my beagle. God has designed it this way on purpose, to keep us dependent on Him by keeping us dependent on His gifts in others. No one person can effectively lead a church body other then Christ Himself, because we are all part of the body ourselves. Each part has its part and no one part can do it all. They all must learn to trust in and be led of the head (which is Christ/the Holy Spirit) who works through all the different parts of the body as it functions together as a whole to achieve the will of God (the head).

All the parts are important, all the parts have their strengths and weakness, all the parts have their place and their purpose. Therefor, it is important for us to learn when to step up into our role, and possibly even more important to learn when to fall back and let those who have been built for this fight, step up and take their place in theirs.

The number one thing that prevents this from happening the way it should is pride and that is why pride always comes before a fall. Pride will cause you to be overtaken by your foes, pride will cost you your flock, pride will cost you the territory. Learn when to step up and when to fall back and you will function in the fullness of how God created you to. A body of different members all being led in different ways using different gifts by one Spirit to achieve one will, the Father’s will; all of it in all it’s scope and perfection, hinging upon these few things, humility, obedience, unity, selflessness, love, and faith.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” – 1 Peter 5:8

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” – Ephesians 4:11-16

Christian, Stop Debating and Start Demonstrating

“He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” – Proverbs‬ ‭9:7-10‬ ‭

How often do we see believers getting caught up in debates with unbelievers? Is there any fruit in that? According to scripture, the answer is “no”. Unless a person has the fear of the Lord, which equates to an understanding of, and a belief in God’s just judgment and hell, and a reverence for His omnipotent wisdom, then they themselves have no wisdom. 

The truth is that non of us have any wisdom of ourselves, our world view is so limited and our minds, will’s, and emotions, are so easily manipulated, twisted, and confounded by the enemy who was by God’s own admittance, “the wisest creature God had created.” That means the devil is wiser then you, he is a lier, and a master deceiver. The devil will outsmart you every time, but he will never outsmart God. Therefore, to fear God will cause you to obey God, which will cause you to walk in His wisdom, which is the only wisdom that is wisdom because it’s the only wisdom that can outsmart the devil’s wisdom.

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made…”- Geneses‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” – Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-7‬ ‭

So understanding this we can see that it is utterly pointless to try to instruct someone who does not fear the Lord and therefor honor His wisdom above their own. So believers, stop debating with unbelievers, they cannot know the truth until they have first come to know Him that is the truth. Don’t debate moral issues with people who do not have God who is the only moral standard. Don’t debate the deep truths of the bible with people who do not have the Holy Spirit of God, it is not yet open to them. Just give them the gospel, give them the good news, give them Jesus! 

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:1-2‬ ‭

Only once a person has truly had a real life changing, new creation, rebirth experience can they then walk in the humility to be instructed in the truth. Only after they have been made new and impossibly changed from what they thought they knew will the revelation of the reality that God’s ways are truly higher then their ways allow them to open up to the deeper wisdom of the way, the truth, and the life. Until then, you’re fighting a loosing fight. Trust God, He knows better. 

Stop debating and start demonstrating. You’re not demonstrating Jesus when you are debating Jesus. Show forth the good news and demonstrate the power of the the kingdom of God to set the captive free, transform lives, and do what cannot be explained or understood by the limited wisdom of man. No one can argue with your testimony, so stop debating Jesus and start demonstrating Jesus and you’ll see that the gospel  works on others when you show that it worked on you.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” – ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭

“But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭4:19-20‬ ‭

“Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” – Jeremiah‬ ‭17:5-10‬ 

“Remembering our Frame”

“This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not .” – John 8:6

For me, this is probably one of the most intriguing verses to find in the Bible.

Quick Background:

If you’re familiar with the verse and/or passage, you’ll know it involves a pretty unfortunate, embarrassing, public-shaming scene for a woman caught in an adulterous act. If you pay pretty close attention to the exact wording, scripture says that this exposure happened IN the temple where Jesus was sitting teaching the people (8:2), as well as the woman was literally caught in the very act of adultery. (8:2)

For the record, I write this, not for shock value, but for a clear picture of the Biblical account of the unfailing mercy, immeasurable love, and forgiveness of our God. Not only were the religious leaders shaming her in front of “the congregation,” but they were actually ready to kill her.

The writer, John, points out their malicious attempt to catch Jesus in a controversial stance for which to accuse Him, but Jesus begins His huge winning response by first stooping down, ignoring the accusers, then “doodling in the dirt.” It was the doodling part that had me stuck at, “Why?” Then all of a sudden, the Lord graciously reminds me of a single attribute of Himself, easily overlooked, but relieving & profound all at the same time:

“[14] For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” – Psalm 103:14

Personally, having studied the scriptures since childhood, I can say that today, I am totally convinced that Jesus shut out the world around Him, and had a momental and monumental inward reflection of remembrance that we quite literally are dust, as he was passing his fingers through it reinforcing the need for a merciful reply, as opposed to a wrathful one.

Now I obviously cannot, nor am I attempting to say that this is in-fact exactly what He was thinking, or answer why He wrote in the dirt; it is subjective, but I can’t help seeing anything else. When you consider the full context of the scenario, Jesus’ dirt drawing, the. blunt-profound & humbling response to the Pharisees, added with the merciful hand of forgiveness stretched to the woman literally lifting her up out of the dust, it connects perfectly. It’s as if it reinforced His stance of a merciful reply. It can also sound something like, “He who is not ‘dirt,’ cast the first stone.”

To be fully understood, Jesus’ merciful act was to position her in His grace to, “go and sin no more.” (8:11), but if God brings to His remembrance that we are frail and destitute humans that aren’t much more than breathing dirt of the ground, how much more should we take that to account when we might become frustrated or angry or unforgiving to the “dirt piles” around us. We ourself are one. I’m reminded of a portion of the most memorized, (yet seemingly least taken to application) prayer: “…Forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US…”

It’s time we remember too…

We need to humble ourselves,

Have patience with others,

And forgive 70 x 7 (indefinitely)

(For Full Passage)

John 8:1-11

An Instrument of Worship

imageHow many of us saved and born again believers want to be used for God? I would hope that to be the desire of us all, but the LORD revealed to me why only a few of us actually walk out His perfect plans for our lives.

God showed me a valuable lesson, He showed me an instrument… (for me it’s a guitar). He said, “How awkward would it be if when you went to pick up your guitar and tune it to play, that it would un tune itself; or if when you picked it up to play a song, it would decide to play something else. Would you be able to use it?

You see this is the reason why so few are actually being used by GOD. We think we know better about what we should do than GOD does, or we are simply not willing to be tuned to HIS PERFECTION, but what it all really is, is that we want to do it ourselves, our way. We have free will and the ability to do what we want to do, so in order to let GOD use us we have to surrender and remain surrendered, allowing the HOLY SPIRIT to have control of the strings of our hearts and play out that which pleases HIM. We must be always in a place of Worship surrendered unto HIM for all HE desires to do with us.

For many of us, we think of images of those like Billy Gram, but that’s not necessarily what GOD has in mind. It’s the simple place where when GOD speaks, we say yes and do just as HE says. When GOD says, “Don’t go anywhere today, stay still be with only ME.” Do we? When He speaks again and says, “I want you to go tell your brother, “that little secret sin in your heart, GOD sees and is asking you to lay it down.” Do we? Do we obey HIM when it’s difficult and unpleasant to our flesh? Do we? Do we fast and pray seeking to be turned to HIS PERFECTION? Do we? Will we weep over our sins and those of our brothers and sisters in Christ? Will we ask HIM what we should do to be of use to HIS KINGDOM, for HIS GLORY to be displayed in our lives and those we are around? And when HE answers, will we trust and obey? All of those things are necessary components of an instrument of worship unto the LORD. You see, what I’m about to share with you is the rest of the revelation GOD showed me… when you are doing what you want to do, and refuse what HE wants you to do… we actually are instrumental in doing harm to HIS KINGDOM, and become instruments used by satan for distraction and destruction.

You see it’s vital that we remain surrendered unto HIM, only then can He pick us up and use us! Not all of us are called to be Billy Grams, but all of us are called to WORSHIP HIM, and by doing so (this surrendered life) will be even more valuable to GOD!

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans‬ ‭12:1-2‬

No one wants to suffer, yet it is this very state of a “living sacrifice” that pleases HIM, allowing GOD to transform us into the perfect image of HIS SON JESUS CHRIST of whom GOD says: THIS IS MY BELOVED SON IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED!

Submitted by Heather Wright

Be Faithful in That Which is Least

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” – Luke‬ ‭16:10-11‬ ‭

This parable expresses a great biblical truth that no one really wants to hear. Before God will ever trust you with the most precious gifts in His kingdom, you must first prove yourself faithful in the simple things of this one. This parable uses two things to relay this, the first is money, and the second is stewardship.

Money is an easy one, simply stated, if we are faithful with the little that He gives us, to use it wisely, unwastefully, and charitably then He will trust to give us more that we might use the more for His Glory also. This principal is echoed in the promises of tithes and offerings given in Malachi chapter 2.  

However, this goes way deeper then just money. The second element in this parable is that of “stewardship” and that is quite encompassing. When we look up the word translated to “steward” in the original Greek, we find it to have a very interesting and profound meaning. The word is “oikonómos” in the Greek, and it means “manager“, it also means “pastor“. This is derived from the fact that the word “pastor” actually came from the Old Testament word “pasturer“, or someone who managed a flock in a particular pasture for it’s true Shepherd. Therefor, since Christ is the true Shepherd, pastor’s (or pasturers) are merely managers under Him, over His flocks of which they have been given stewardship in their perspective pastures. 

Yet the definition goes even deeper still. The word oikonómos encompasses within it the understanding that this person was once a slave, who had been freed, and given this position of authority to whom the Master entrusted the managing of the affairs of His house. Therefor is it a perfect picture of the minister of the Gospel! 

I see the greatest downfall of many ministers is their refusal to be faithful stewards over the little, that they might prove to God that He can trust them with the more precious gifts of His kingdom. So often I see men and women called, they answer the call, then the Master gives them stewardship over the little and watches. Yet soon they begin to set their eyes on their neighbors pasture or vineyard and a seed of envy takes root and they want more then what they have been entrusted with. So they ask the master for more and He says, “no“, still waiting for them to prove themselves faithful in the little. So then the Spirit of Jezebel comes and says, “you want your neighbors vineyard? I’ll get it for you“. So they give place to this evil counterfeit to work in their stead and seal or unauthorized decisions with the Kings ring. Taking matters into her own hands she makes it happen and makes it look like it was a decree from the king, but it wasn’t and it only brought death and left this desiring envious steward with blood on his hands.

Oh if more men and women called and positioned of God would just be faithful in the little, then God would in time make them ruler over more and intrust them with the real gifts of the Kingdom that break the yokes and bring life! Of all the great and powerful men and women of Faith who have truly walked in the yoke breaking power of the anointing of God backed up by the life giving authority of deliverance, the power of healing, and the validation of the gospel through signs, wonders, and miracles, every single one had small beginings. They chose the lowest seat, humbled themselves before the mighty hand of God, and made themselves an obedient servant being faithful in the little things so that God saw that He could trust them with the real treasures of heaven. Therefor, being tested, tried, and purified in the fires of humility, did He exalt them in due time. 

“And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all..” – Mark‬ ‭9:35‬ ‭

“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” – Matthew‬ ‭23:12‬ ‭

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” – 1 Peter‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭

“The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” – Zechariah‬ ‭4:9-10‬ ‭

“Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.” – Job‬ ‭8:7‬ ‭

Shining The Light Of Love

“Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” – Philemon‬ ‭1:5-6‬ ‭

In this, our opening passage, we see what makes ministry effective. That being, to love God first with all your heart. Jesus said, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” A true love for God that supersedes a love for self will cause you to do that which is pleasing to the Lord by nature. The love nature over powers the sin nature in the same way that all people have a sexual nature that is fleshly and sinful, yet the love for their spouse over powers that sin nature that when they truly love their spouse more then self, they will not fulfill the lust of the flesh into adultery out of love. In this we see why we are so often referred to in scripture as the bride of Christ. To fulfill the lust of the flesh once becoming the bride of Christ is cheating on God (spiritual adultery) and it breaks his heart for he is a jealous God. Yet if we truly love him, then honoring, serving, and obeying him will be a desire, a joy, and a natural thing just as it is for a bride to her groom. Others seeing this and desiring a love like this will then likewise be inspired to be good and faithful brides also. They will see that you have something different and many will seek out how to obtain it themselves. 

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭11:2‬ ‭

The next thing our opening passage identifies is a love for others. All effective ministry is rooted in love. Love for God first and love for others second. Even correction or rebuke must always be rooted in love or it will be of no effect at best and of ill effect at worse. Pride, arrogance, pomp, wrath, preeminence, flattery, fluffery, and the like will minister only death to the hearer, but love covers a multitude of sin. Love will not flatter, it will encourage. Love will not condemn it will correct. Love will not gossip, love prays. Love does not limit, love believes. Love sacrifices, love labors, love endures, love hopes, love fights, and love never gives up. When you truly love others you will minister with the heart of Christ, be it in tender mercies or loving reproof, all will be done in humble loving selfless brokenness. This alone will bring men to Christ for it is love itself that is the witness that turns the hearts of the children back toward the Father and the Father to the children.

“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:17‬ ‭

Lastly, don’t be afraid to let the light of love shine through you for all to see. Show forth charity in the sight of others because not only is love contagious, but it glorifies God who is love. The absence of heat is cold, the absence of light is dark, the absence of God leaves a void for Satan to fill and since God is love, we can conclude that the absence of love is evil. So herein lies the answer to the age old question of why there is so much evil in the world. It is there only because we have given it place through an absence of love manifested, love for God and love for others. So if you really want to see the darkness flee, then ask the Holy Spirit of God to light His flame of love in your heart and bring the light of it to the darkest places. Let love manifest through you in word, deed, and action in the sight of men that faith in the love of God might arise in them. In this alone will you effectively be able to set the hearts of men ablaze and go light the world with the gospel, the good news, the witness of Jesus Christ proven by a testimony of love that nothing can stop.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” – Hebrews‬ ‭10:24‬ ‭

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” – Revelation‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭

Being A Godly Leader

prayerdfsdf“And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Beth–el in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.” – Judges‬ ‭4:4-5‬ ‭

In the time before Kings, Israel was ruled by Judges. These judges acted as decision makers for the people, as head general over the armies, as protectors and deliverers, and as a proxy King. They were not like the judicial judges of today, but were more akin to Chieftains, tribal leaders of the fledgling nation.

A quick read through the book of judges will reveal two things. The first thing you might notice is a cycle of sin, which led to God removing His favor and protection, which led to the Israelite’s being conquered and oppressed, which led to them repenting and crying out, which led to God returning to them and raising up a deliverer (a judge), which led to deliverance and blessings, which led to them going back to sin, which started the cycle over again.

The second thing you might notice is that as things got progressively more wicked among the Israelite’s, so did it among the judges. Though God, in His faithfulness, still worked to bring about His promises with what He had available, nearly all the judges were wicked, corrupt, ungodly people themselves. Showing forth the very sad state of God’s people and the depths of God’s power to see His promises fulfilled.

The reason for this cycle of wickedness and corruption is expressed in the final verse of the book of judges which states: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” You see, Israel was never meant to have a fleshly King, God was meant to be King over Israel and the judges His prophets and generals. However, though the people acknowledged God, they did not acknowledge Him as King, they did not seek Him, and they did not obey Him. Therefore, relying on their own wisdom (or lack thereof), sin abounded because God was not acknowledged as King and decision maker over the people’s lives in Israel, they all did what was right in their own eyes. Laying aside God’s righteousness (what God says is right) for their own righteousness (what they thought was right), wickedness and sin waxed worse and worse. For though they claimed to believe in God, they did not take the time to get to know who He really was. Because of this, they did not know His character nor did they seek, believe, or obey His words. So that many times they ended up in sin, idolatry, and even devil worship thinking they were still serving God.

“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” – Romans‬ ‭10:2-3‬ ‭

“Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.” – Proverbs‬ ‭19:2‬ ‭

“And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.” – 2 Chronicles‬ ‭12:14‬ ‭

However, during this time, a rare exception to this trend arose and her name was Debra. Debra was a good judge, a Godly ruler, a great general, and above all, a woman of prayer. She did not go out trying to make her way in the world, or force her will on the people. Instead she sat on her mountain under a tree and prayed, and as she met with the Lord there, the people came to meet with her. Not to hear her wisdom, but to hear the Lord’s.

You see, scripture records that Debra was a prophet. This means that she sought and heard from the Lord daily. Therefor, her wisdom was not her own and the people knew it, her judgments were not her own and the people knew it, her rule was not of her own hand and the people knew it, it was God’s through her. Therefore, when the people sought God’s wisdom, judgments, words, and decisions, they sought her.

We see this in the following verses where Barak, a great general comes to her for orders and then refuses to go to battle unless she goes with them. She was a woman of great faith and prayer, talking with God and ministering His words to the people of Israel, however, though Barak had faith in her and in her faith, he showed a lack of faith in God. He believed that God was with Debra but doubted that God was with Israel. He believed in God but doubted what He said. Because of this lack of faith, he lost his chance of honor though the victory was still assured.

“And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh–naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.” – Judges‬ ‭4:6-9‬ ‭

So what made Debra so different from Barak, the Israelites, and even the other judges? She sought the Lord and believed what He said. It really is that simple. Though all Israel believed in God at that time, only Debra actually believed God. She had enough faith in who He was to also have faith in what He said. Therefore, she found favor in His sight and He met with her and talked with her as she sat under that tree on that hill, an archetype of the cross of Calvary. So the moral of the story is this. God is no respecter of persons but He is a respecter of faith, not just in who He is, but also in what He says. In short, God chooses to trust those who choose to trust Him.

“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” – John‬ ‭5:30‬ ‭

A Peculiar Glory

girl-dancing-rainAren’t we so quick to despise the “ways” God chooses to supply us with the patience and those things that we so earnestly pray for that we lack? We pray “Lord give me patience”. “Lord give me wisdom.” “Lord sanctify me. I hate this flesh! Lord Give me a balance of emotional strength but give me compassion. Enable me to do your service. Make me like you Lord.” All of the things we pray for, because they really are important, and we do lack them.

It is God Himself who urges us to pray for these things. But, with every stripping away process, new mountain top, or multiple aggravations brought on by the things of this world, they make us weary. They make us cringe at the thought of what tomorrow’s means of learning will bring, we tend to shrug our shoulders, forgetting the whole reason. The beauty of every flat tire. The beauty of every moment we realized we really are so helpless without him. Without all of these planned out, as we see them “disasters” how could He teach us to wait, to smile, to love, to believe, to climb?

Can’t we see He is answering our prayers? He’s giving us every thing we lacked, all of which we prayed for. He is so faithful to us. We don’t appreciate His methods because we are so sickeningly greedy. We want the patience and wisdom and courage right now. We want faith that moves mountains but we’re too lazy to climb more than one stride. We forget that the process/es are very much a part of those fruits that we pray for. They are literally supplying the necessary ingredients that make up the perfect dish. Every single one matters as much as the other. That’s kinda encouraging right?

I pray that whoever is reading this knows, truly knows, that this trial or trials your experiencing are not permanent, but the fruit God gives you from them will be exactly what He chose for you. To bring Him glory in them, to praise Him in them, and most importantly, to make you more like Him.

…And He “will” perfect his work.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher then the earth, so are my ways higher then your ways, and my thoughts then your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many rebound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15-18

“And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Submitted by @ Amelia Barr