courage and valour!
2 Chronicles 22:11-12
"But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not. And he was with them hid in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land."
There's a lot that can be said about this portion in Scripture. I love the way Jehoshabeath carried herself. She was the daughter of a king and the wife of a priest. She was a woman with status and position, yet, she was humble and spiritual minded. That's says a lot all by itself.
Those two things, 'Status' and 'Position', can go to a woman's head, making her to think that she is something she's not. Some women who have come by such, have failed to use their status and position for good. Instead, they have abused the privilege and lost the spiritual effect they were to have.
Jehoshabeath lives up to the privilege of what she had. She was neither arrogant, nor conceited. She cared about God and His people. She knew the covenant God had made with the house of David and she paid close attention to the events happening around her. The minute she saw the threat against that promise, she acted!
Jehoshabeath knew that Athaliah was an evil force, annihilating everything that got in her path, so she quietly and secretly made her escape with the young lad. What better place to flee to than the 'House of God'. The house of God was the place where peace and guidance were to be found. It was the place of worship. It was the place where God could be found.
In times of trouble, where do you flee? Peace and safety can always be found in God.
Jehoshabeath is a woman of courage! She is wise and discerning. She knew she had to protect the last of the royal seed from the wicked, Athaliah. Athaliah was a vicious, cruel, evil woman, who wanted prominence and influence. She didn't care how she got it. She was a murderer! She had jealous rage with a heart full of envy. She knew that if someone else sat on that throne, there would be a queen as well. She wanted to be queen! She also was retaliating for the vengeance on Ahab's house that wiped out his seed. Athaliah was just like her mother, Jezebel. Like mother, like daughter.
Jehoshabeath's desire was to preserve what was for God! Just like Gideon who was found thrashing wheat in the winepress, because of the oppression of the Amalekites, Jehoshabeath finds a way to preserve something for God. Sometimes in order to serve God in the midst of opposition and oppression, we have to remove ourselves from the present environment. God forced her to move to a new location in order to fulfill His will and promise to the house of David.
God can allow circumstances to come into our lives that will bring change and perhaps a new start. When we have done what we were to do, in a given position or place, God moves us to a new locale. Sometimes it's a new job, a new department, a new neighborhood or church. If we stay beyond the time, we will miss the blessing He has for us and we rob others of what God has for them.
Are you sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading? Are you willing to make a change when He calls for it, or are you comfortable where you've been with no thought of ever leaving? Have you told God what your future holds, and where you belong, or are you open to His plan for your life. It takes faith and courage to remain open minded and follow where He leads.
Six years in hiding proved to pay off! It didn't take God six years to act, He orchestrated events that would run over the course of those years for His purposes. God can do things in a microcosm of a second if He wants to, but often, there are a string of events that must take place and besides, Josh was still too young to take the throne.
At the 'Proper Time', Jehoiada, the priest, brings Joash out of hiding, and at age seven, he is anointed to be Judah's eighth king! Some of the Lord's people are forced to be in obscurity, until the proper time. He exalts them at the proper time. Have you felt hindered by the work of the enemy and had to serve behind the scenes, as it were? Be encouraged! God will exalt you at the proper time. Have you been passed over for something that should have been yours? Be encouraged, trust in God, He will exalt you at the proper time. You see, no hindrance, be it satan, or any human, can keep you from fulfilling God's divine purpose for your life. God gave you the skills you have, the spiritual gift you have, and He decides how and when it will be used or displayed. If He allows you to be hindered or passed over, it's all for divine purposes. He has a reason for all He allows us to experience. You are still within His will. Be observant, and look to see what God is doing in your life. Perhaps He is preparing you for something greater and that may require you to be re-positioned.
God is looking for men and women who are courageous and full of faith! He is looking for representatives who can and will stand up for what is right! Are you a crowd pleaser or are you willing to stand alone if need be. Do you become faint at heart when there's opposition against you? Are you more concerned about what others think and say about you? God gives courage. He understands that some challenges can be hard for us and may bring fear and trepidation, but if God puts you in a situation, He will give you what you need to carry it forth. I know this from personal experience. There is no sin in being afraid. If we give in to our fears, that is the sin. Courage is acting in the face of fear to accomplish what needs to be done.
May the Lord help us in these last and closing days, to preserve what we can for His honor and His glory!
John 17: 15, 17, 24
"I pray not that they shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from evil."
"Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth."
"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou loved me before the foundation of the world."
YOU WERE DESIGNED FOR SPIRITUAL SUCCESS!
Did you know that Jesus prays for you? He prays for His own. Just before He ascended to His father He prayed for us and His prayer consisted of three things:
1. That we would be kept from evil
2. That we would be sanctified (holy) separated unto Him for His service
3. That we would make it safely to heaven and join Him there
This is an interesting prayer. There is no mention of any worldly success on earth or becoming famous.
I was encouraged by this prayer because Jesus said, in so many words, that I would succeed at what He gave me to do on the earth! If you know Him as your own personal Lord and Savior, it was meant for you to succeed at 'Your Life Purpose', which was given to you by God!
God expects us to be effective and useful using the Spiritual Gift, and abilities He has given us! There should be no excuses as to why we are not thriving and accomplishing things for God. We should be using them for Him and not for this world!
He prayed that we would have the strength to carry out our 'Duty', which is our 'Calling'. He expects us to fulfill HIS will for our lives. This involves separating from the world, and its ideology, way of thinking, and its way of doing things.
Jesus prayed concerning this, and He gives the divine ability for us to achieve the answer to His prayers, but you and I must do our part.
WE MUST Be Obedient! That's the challenge! It's an everyday challenge for me. Its not always easy, but it starts with desire. Where there is desire, obedience will soon follow.
I don't know about you, but I want to be successful here on this earth. I've been here for more than half a century and I have no excuse for not achieving spiritual success. Note, I said, 'Spiritual Success'. This does not involve doing things of my own choosing, but God's.
We can succeed, We can achieve, We must succeed, We must achieve, according to God. Don't waste time with any aspirations that God hasn't given you or sanctioned for you to do. You will not achieve His definition of success. That's the only success God is interested in, where you and I are concerned. Pursue His Interests, Pursue His Will!
Do you know what God's Will is? Do you know what pleases Him the most? What are His interests? You need to know the answers to those questions in order to be Spiritually Successful.
You may be facing challenges right now, and feeling like it's an uphill battle, be encouraged, Jesus has and is praying for you. He has given you everything you need to succeed.
Always remember this, as a believer, you are hated in this world. Things won't be easy. There will always be challenges, trials, heart aches and pain, it's par for the course. ALL WHO LIVE GODLY WILL SUFFER SOME FORM OF PERSECUTION, NOT MIGHT, WILL!
Keep your eyes on Jesus! Satan will always try to trip you, but He won't succeed if you stay obedient to God and His word because YOU WERE DESIGNED FOR SPIRITUAL SUCCESS!
creating dis-unity among brethren!
CREATING DIS-UNITY AMONG BRETHREN
"These six things doth the Lord hate:
yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations,
feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies,
and he that soweth discord among brethren."
HATE- Strong dislike, loathe, detest, abhor.
ABOMINATION- Vile, vicious and terrible.
TO SOW DISCORD- To bring disunity between brethren, to cause conflict, dissension, contention and discord.
So....this is nothing new, yet, Satan keeps using it among Christians simply because it works! We keep falling into his trap over and over and over again!
I get it, we don't always agree or get along. We are different and we bring our differences to the table. That's human nature. God planned it that way. No two people are or should be alike. I believe the issue God has with our differences isn't that we are uniquely different. His issue is that we fail to be unified within those differences. We fail to respect one another, esteem one another, which shows a lack of love.
God sees all the people who create dis-harmony among His people. He's watching! He views this act as VILE, VICIOUS and TERRIBLE! We have all (at some point in our lives) been the recipient of either gossip, lies, and evil speaking. It is one of the very things that is destroying the church!!!!!
God always gives us the remedy for conflicts with one another. In Matthew 18:15, He tells us to go to the person with whom we are in a conflict, dispute, or an offense. Go in the spirit of humility and honesty and tell them that they've either hurt you, offended you, or angered you. Work it out between you and them alone!!!! OPERATIVE WORD....THEM ALONE!!! For the life of me, why won't we get this? WHY???? Why does Sister X or Brother X know that there's a problem existing between you and them? If someone has legitimately done something against you, you have every right to approach them (in love) about it!
Oftentimes, I believe, we don't work out our differences because they simply aren't legitimate. Sometimes behind these verbal assaults or gossip, is jealousy, resentment, fear of some form of influence we feel someone is having on others, personal inadequacies, and a lack of affirmation. Satan loves to use these things to get the ball rolling to cause dis-unity among believers.
The local church cannot survive this type of behavior. Things are bad enough in these last and closing days. We are in desperate need of unity among ourselves. The local church should be a place we can't wait to go to each time the doors are open, but sometimes, instead, it's the last place some of us want to be. This is sad and so unfortunate! This goes against everything God intended.
Dis-unity causes the hand of God to be hindered towards His people. He can't do the work He wants to do in the midst. His power is kept back. Ministry areas suffer, the saints suffer and the visitors won't stay once they get wind of 'In-house' strife. And, let me tell you, outsiders see everything!!!
Always remember this, turning against another, and devouring another, will come back to bite you in the butt in ways you can't even imagine! Be very careful, very careful!
Let's stop hurting one another! Let's stop disobeying what God has asked of us! Let us handle our issues in a spiritual manner! Let us simply BEHAVE!
1 Peter 3:12 (NIV)
"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
Do we ever think of the consequences of our actions beforehand? Every act has consequences attached! As humans, we seem to get a clearer mind after the fact, after the deed is done, and we see the fall out, be it bad or good.
Some make a habit of not thinking ahead to assess every possible angle of a situation before embarking upon it. One single act could spill out in a variety of ways.
In Genesis 27, there is an account of 135 year old Isaac who wants to bless his eldest son before he dies. You also have Rebekah, his wife, who eves drops on the conversation between her husband and his eldest son, Essau. Next we have Jacob who is influenced by Rebekah to deceive his father into thinking that he is the eldest son, thereby, taking the blessing away from his brother, Essau. What a combination for sad results!
These twin boys, Jacob and Essau, struggled from the time they were in the womb together. It was already divinely decided that the younger would rule the older one. So, why would God allow the deception and lies to prevail?
God always has His purposes in view and even though He allowed the deception of Jacob to gain the blessing, there was going to be consequences as a result. God never approves of unrighteous acts to accomplish anything spiritual. Never! All of this could have been avoided, had Isaac chosen to go with what was divinely revealed from the beginning, but his own wants and desires sparked a deadly cocktail between his two sons.
The consequences were that Essau would hate his brother for robbing him, not only once, but twice, of something that was rightfully his. He wanted to kill his brother. Their mother, Rebekah, was also responsible for putting the thought in Jacob to deceive his father. She didn't even think about the fall out of that act; had she thought twice, perhaps she would have seen how it would divide the family permanently. She would have seen that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren would never have relationships with each other.
We have other similar examples of evil acts, lies and conspiracies that ended horribly. Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brothers, Naboth and Jezebel. The list goes on and on. Some of these acts ended in someone's demise while others ended with great regrets and loss. But in every case, the person who did the evil, dastardly deed, suffered the consequences; and to think, these were the Lord's very own people acting like this!
God will use lies, deceptions, and evil to fulfill His purposes, but his judgement will be seen in the consequences upon all who were the participants. Never equate what God allows with what He approves of! He allows a lot of afflictions, hardships and pain from the hands of those whose hearts harbor evil. To the innocent, He works it for their good and His glory!
God is not a respecter of persons! Any evil or sinful acts done by 'Unbelievers and Believers' will result in terrible consequences! None are exempt from God's judgement against unrighteousness!
Always DO THE RIGHT THING! It will always result in consequences that will make you happy, joyous, blessed, and not ashamed!
when you don't know what to do!
1 Samuel 16:12-13
"And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward."
WHEN YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!
How well do we know God's word? We have the tendency to forget what it says. Often, we have to be reminded.
God's word is the only way we will know what to do and how to do it. He gives guidelines and perimeters with boundaries drawn to keep us safe.
Sometimes we don't know what to do. I've been there. There were times when I was unsure about a situation. I had to get my compass out (Bible) and find the Scriptures pertaining to my challenge. After getting a sense of direction, I prayed for wisdom and discernment in going about what I needed to do. Without taking those measures, I would have made big blunders and mistakes with negative consequences.
The detriment of not knowing what God says in His word will work against us and cause us much grief. God wants us to avoid problems that we don't need to have.
When David was a young lad, he was anointed to be Israel's next king. King Saul had disappointed God and was going to be replaced. Samuel is commanded by God to anoint David. David's life changed from that moment.
David had to flee Saul's presence because of Saul's jealousy and envy which led to hatred. David was on the run from the death threats of King Saul. In the process, David found himself lying, deceiving others and caving in to his fears. He actually thought that one day he would die at the hands of Saul.
David had forgotten about God during those times of great challenge. Why hadn't he remembered the anointing over him? Why hadn't he paid attention to the elevation from watching sheep to being in Saul's palace as his private musician? Why hadn't he connected to the power of God that hovered upon him when he was anointed? Why would he think that God brought him that far to allow him to be killed?
We are no different to David! We have fears, challenges and problems too! The first instinct of a 'Human' is to run from anything that makes him/her afraid. The first instinct for some of us Christians is to take matters into our own hands. It's a tough call, but God gives us directives and suggestions along with commands in His word. It is always best to follow them.
David's running from King Saul only resulted in more running, more fear, and wasted time because Saul died in battle, never killing David. David committed sin while running and all of that could have been prevented had he ran to God and simply asked, "What should I do? How should I handle being hunted by the king?"
There are some situations that I still don't know what to do about, so I keep praying and waiting on God to direct me. His word has set some boundaries for me, so I know that I can't act just yet, but when the needle on that compass changes, that's when God says move! Waiting is a challenge, but it's necessary.
So, if you're desirous of that special 'Someone', particular school, job, house, car, situation or whatever, look into God's word for the portions of Scripture that are applicable and see what He is telling you. Pray for His wisdom and guidance in going about things. Don't act until He says so. It is also good to seek out the advice from those who are 'Spiritual' and obedient to God. They have good experience and know God.
May we take the time to search out God's word and find contentment and joy in the outcome.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
This ‘Vision’ speaks to the instruction in God’s truth which was by prophets through visions ( 1 Sam. 3:1). They were God’s representatives.
Where there is no instruction in God’s word, the people perish. There’s no hope for them. Without vision (instruction of God’s word), there is no restraining of the people and the people at large cannot be controlled (in a local church). There is chaos and people running wild, doing as they please. There is confusion, disorder and rebellion. Eventually, the people will fall into egregious sin. We see classic examples of this in the Old Testament when there were bad kings ruling over the people. Israel went about sinning, and committing all manner of ills against their own brethren.
Some churches give feel good messages, but not good instruction from God’s word. Some preach their own sermon while others, tell the people what they want to hear.
Some leaders today, equate ‘Vision’, mainly, with the ability to see all the possibilities of a ministry and plan in advance for what future needs might suggest. So they set up all the activities and ministry persons to help in carrying forth that ‘Vision’.
Vision is more than putting activities and ministry groups in place i.e. :
1. Singles ministry
2. Men’s ministry
3. Single parenting ministry
4. Music ministry
5. Widows ministry
6. Sick and shut in ministry
7. Homeless ministry
8. Leadership ministry
These are definitely good areas to hone in on, but if the ‘Instruction’ or teaching from the word of God is not the foundation or basis for the people in attendance, the people will perish. All of these ministry areas will suffer loss and eventually disappear. They will fizzle out. They will ultimately die.
We cannot take this verse out of its context, and run with our ideas on ‘Vision’, and build from there. There must be a biblical understanding from God’s word which will instruct leaders on all the things that are needed for God's people. If they adhere to His instructions, they (the leaders), will have a good sense as to what ministry areas are needed for their particular local and for all the people God has sent there.
When God gives wisdom and discernment to leaders concerning ministry areas in the church, there will always be a need for adjustments and changes, over time, because of the changing needs that become apparent in the community, or within the church itself, but these changes should never go against God’s word or HIs instructions.
It is important for the local church to not become an activity center, but a gathering place that is strong in ‘Instruction’ from God’s word with opportunities provided for the entire body of Christ to participate in, without exclusion, to function in their gifted areas.
Strong instruction (Vision) from God’s word, is what will bring fruit and provide good food for the spiritual growth of the believers in attendance.
In these times of spiritual dearth, decline and declension, many gatherings have been reduced to smaller numbers. This is nothing to be greatly concerned about. The mega church's numbers fluctuate as well. It’s a sign of the times. The present culture at large, and the work of the enemy on the souls of people, is having its affect upon local churches. But, God already gave us warning about these things in His word.
Those who are desirous to know God and His word will gravitate to the places that have 'Sound Teaching'. Those who want to be entertained with a plethora of activities will find those local churches that cater to their wants. Some will always be ‘Church Hoppers’, always looking for what they know not. The carnal will always experience leaness in their souls.
Having ‘Vision’ is more than a list of activities and ministry areas. It means having the solid instruction from God’s word on all matters pertaining to godly living. God can then give leaders the discernment that is needed for ministry areas that are conducive for their local gathering. The people will flourish and grow despite the times, and let’s not forget that there must always be the true Gospel preached at all times, and in different forms. This can definitely add to the local body of Christ.
Those who keep the law, or the instruction, from the mouth of those who represent God, will be happy!
"So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man."
Everyone has one, but not everyone responds to it. Your conscience and my conscience has been placed within us by God. It's that voice that acts as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of our behavior.
For the Christian, there are two things ever present within us and they are 'THE HOLY SPIRIT' and 'CONSCIENCE'. The Holy Spirit convicts us when there is the presence of something wrong on our part. The Holy Spirit works along with our conscience to bring us to the understanding that there is a matter that needs to be addressed and set right before God and possibly before man.
In Matt. 14:1 It says, " At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him." This verse gives proof that Herod's conscience was getting the best of him. He definitely wanted to be done with John the baptist for telling him that it was wrong for him to mess with his brother's wife. Oh how he hated that rebuke! So when he gave card blanc for his niece to ask what she wished from him, and it was for the head of John the baptist, he didn't even try to get her to ask for something else. He now had the chance to punish John and exact revenge on him.
What Herod didn't count on was that his conscience would condemn him and not let the matter go. That's the work of the conscience. So now he thinks that John the baptist has resurrected himself in Jesus. How sad.
Joseph's brothers thought the same thing. They thought that their problem would be solved in getting rid of Joseph. Well, that proved to be wrong when they found that cup in their sack and the first thing out of one of their mouths was, "This is happening to us because of what we did to our brother, Joseph." Now what they did was done years before, so how is it that's the first thing that comes to mind? It was 'Conscience'! It doesn't matter how long ago you or I committed that sin against God or wronged our brother or sister, our consciences will never rest within us until we make things right!!
When King David sinned that sin with Bathsheba, and had her husband, Uriah, killed, he too put his dastardly deed way to the back of his mind and forgot all about it. God had to send Nathan, the prophet, to address the matter with David. Nathan gives a scenario and David makes a judgement about what should be done to a man who would do such a thing, only to be told, "Thou Art The Man!" Then King David folds and gives in to the conviction of his conscience.
We can never run from our consciences. Either it will convict us of wrong or give us peace when we're right. It is best if you and I answer to the conscience God has placed within us. When we don't, the Holy Spirit will make us take responsibility and force us to do what we should have done earlier. God will never let it ride or let us go free when we are in the wrong.
Years could go by and we could deceive ourselves into thinking that we are okay, but God won't leave us that way. If we really belong to Him, He will force our hand one way or the other.
Let us do what is right. If in the wrong, go and set it right with God and your brother or sister (if the wrong involves them). God's desire is that we walk in this scene free minded and free to be led by His Spirit without hinderance. God wants us to be open to hearing Him at all times. If we hide sin, He will not hear us.
You might be saying, "But I have already confessed it to God." Yes, you did well, but if the wrong involves others, God says to go a step further and confess it to your brother or sister so that healing and mending in the relationship can take place. You're not off the hook just yet. Many of us fail to do that part.
May the Lord help you and I to avoid sinning, avoid problems with one another, in the first place, and may He help us to respond obediently to His tug on our hearts.