God Riddence

     1 Samuel 7:1-2 (AMP) So the men of Kiriath-Jearim came and took the Ark of the Lord and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill and consecrated Eleazar his son to have charge of the Ark of the Lord. And the Ark remained in Kiriath-Jearim a very long time [nearly 100 years, through Samuel’s entire judgeship, Saul’s reign, and well into David’s, when it was brought to Jerusalem]. For it was twenty years before all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

 

     If you have been following the story… The Israelites take the Ark to battle, they lose the Ark to the Philistines. The Philistines place the Ark in Dagons temple, Dagon gets decapitated, un-“arm”ed and de-“feet”ed, The Philistines get rid of the ark, and send along parting gifts 🎁 of cows and gold. The Israelites cheer! They sacrifice the cows somehow forget that this thing has POWER. People die and they send the Ark away…
     How long does it take for a people to recognize their sin and turn back to God? I guess they figure as long as they have someone to go to God on their behalf; the presence of God (the Ark) was optional. Every time God shows his awesome power against his enemies the people rejoice, but in their sin when He shows the same fierceness the people recoil as if it is altogether unfair or unwarranted. 

 

     It’s crazy to think that instead of inquiring about how to get things right and make the necessary changes, they instead choose to push God away altogether. If they cared so much about His presence and Holiness that they would go as far as consecrating Eleazar, why didn’t they just consecrate themselves instead? If we are to believe 2 Timothy 3:16 and put its claims into practice. How are these 2 verses profitable to me? It usually comes to me in the form of questions. 
1. At what points in my life do I act like a spoiled child when I receive a rebuke? 

2. When I know I am wrong how long does it take for me to make amends? 

3. At what time(s) have I pushed God away when I do not agree with His correction? 

4. Am I as petty as the men in this story?

 

     Father God, It must be awful to have to deal with the losers you have to deal with day in and day out. In business, we would fire people with those kinds of attributes. I know I have a very low threshold of patience when it comes to whiney-cry babies. So I repent for the times either in word or in deed that I have refused your correction and pushed you away. Contempt and dissatisfaction are contagious so enable me to rid myself of those character traits that I may not start an epidemic of wandering away from You. -John

 

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​CURIOSITY KILLED THOSE CATS

 1 Samuel 6: 19 God struck some of the men of Beth Shemesh who, out of curiosity, irreverently peeked into the Chest of God. Seventy died. The whole town was in mourning, reeling under the hard blow from God, 20 and questioning, “Who can stand before God, this holy God? And who can we get to take this Chest off our hands?”

 What kind of fool sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong? This is a classic example of: Mind your own business. Maybe they thought the Philistines loaded the Ark with gold as well? They didn’t know just how dangerous that Ark could be. In my life I have personally been shocked working with, and goofing around with electricity. I have learned the hard way that it doesn’t feel too good getting shocked. I have learned the hard way a reverence and a respect of electricity, which causes me to pause and to triple check an outlet before starting any work. I suppose those nuts thought that because the Ark was not it its proper place; it could be handled in any ordinary way. Perhaps it was the carelessness of Eli and his two sons, and their lack of reverence that cause a trickle down effect within the people. Nevertheless, they learned in a hurry that this thing still has some Power! Yeah, Curiosity killed those cats!
 Again, instead of Repentance and learning how to do it right, the People banish God from their presence, as if saying, “We will teach God a lesson!” I’m pretty sure we do the same thing, when we get a spiritual whoopin’. I’ll show Him! I won’t go to church! I won’t participate, I won’t give! That will teach Him! When we go thru trial, and testing, we blame God. When we suffer loss or tragedy, harm or peril, again He’s at fault. Unfortunately we cast away the only One that really matters, and the only One who can actually rescue us. 
 Father God, Forgive me for the times when I have been carelessly irreverent. You are a Holy God, and I have made you at times my BFF. I repent from the reckless familiarity I have shown on occasion. I know you still love me, and have great plans for my life. 
Heavenly Father, I also pray for the reader, for the times they have been careless and casual with You. For the times in which You were pushed away in protest. God show up mightily, move on their behalf. I pray for a fresh wind of Your Spirit to blow on sails that have hung limp and in turn caused times of stagnation. Bring purpose, and destiny back into their lives. Lord, as we repent and commit to change our attitudes and our behaviors, give us the strength needed to get past those times where we seem to get stuck. Give us the patience to allow each test and trial to teach us what we do desperately need to learn. And enable us to live more holy and pure lives in this dark and rebellious time. -John

Intensity in 3 cities. 

 

[] 1 Samuel 5: 12 Those who didn’t die were hit with tumors. All over the city cries of pain and lament filled the air. (MSG)

[] Yesterday we read the Ark of the Covenent was lost. The Philistine army brought it back to Ashdod and set it in The Temple of Dagon. The Philistines occupied the five cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath. God, without the help of a single Israelite (literally) dismantled Dagon from his lofty place and put the “Fear of God” in three of the five Philistine cities. But despite the tumors, rats and mass destruction of life, the Philistines continued to worship their inferior false god Dagon.

[] There are two things we can take from this.

     1) God doesn’t need swords, and men to defeat our enemies. He can work behind the scenes and destroy them or bring them to their knees without our input or our help. 

     2) Human nature to rebel against God is just astounding. Instead of falling to their knees and acknowledging the absolute power and holiness of the God of Israel, they foolishly lift up their god, and the only change they make is avoiding stepping on the threshold on which he was found laying in pieces.

[] Father God, the Lord God mighty in battle. King of Glory. Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent. Who is like you? NO ONE! None can compare, no one even comes close! God, I know you are at work behind the scenes, doing what you do best even though I’m yet to see the effects of it. In my foolish attempts to fight my battles, I only seem to dig myself deeper into trouble. There have been times when I foolishly set things back in place that You were trying to tear down in my life. Forgive me for those times when I chose other gods over You. 

Lord, as we enter in a new year and as we commit/resolve to make changes, give us the strength to see them through. And as those habits, hobbies, homies, and hankerings begin to fall, we cry, Arise oh God as a mighty man of war! And let Cries of Pain and Lament be the only things coming out of the enemy’s big mouth.

The lost Ark

1 SAMUEL‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭AMP‬‬ “When the people (soldiers) came into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the LORD defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD here from Shiloh, so that He may come among us and save us from the hand of our enemies.””
4000 men just had lost their lives in battle, and the people want answers. Their question, “Why did we suffer loss?” It’s understandable, no one has a spare 4000 fighting men laying around. I said it was understandable, but was it reasonable to assume that by taking the Ark of the Covenant from its place and bringing it onto the battleground things would automatically change? The last chapter spoke of the Word of the Lord being RARE. So what changed? Samuel was now a man hearing from God, a position previously held by the High Priest Eli, who was still in office, but on Gods short list for replacement. 
Perhaps the people assume now that Samuel is hearing from God, everything is fair game. We don’t read that they consulted with either Eli or Samuel, but somehow the Ark was taken into battle with the assumption that God approved, and would fight for them. The result? Epic FAIL, literally on a biblical scale. 30,002 men died, and they even lost the Ark to the Philistines. WOW, makes my boo-boos/ dumb ideas look like child’s play. 
Why do we ever question the love of God when his Book, doesn’t attempt to make His guys (people) look good? They act shamelessly and foolishly and seemingly at every turn do something more asinine than those before them, yet He still patiently Loves and Guides and Cares for them (us).
So how do I flesh this out? How do I take what I just read and apply it to my everyday life?
1. God isn’t a genie in a bottle. I can’t summon Him to my beck and call, and He doesn’t mind making me eat crow when I forget my place. I always used to watch WWE and my favorite wrestler was the Rock, he would always say, “Know your role and shut your mouth!” God has a way of getting people’s attention, and losing men and the Ark got theirs, and mine! How many times have I done exactly just that? In ministry… Too many times to even want to admit.

2. Don’t assume you know anything! I believe that Christians fail at this point over and over, they assume that just because God did such and such, or just because they read that it happened like ________ (fill in the blank) somehow He is obligated to do it again. Moses made that assumption (Speak to the rock, or strike the rock) and it cost him a chance of seeing the Promised Land. There are plenty of instances where Jesus didn’t repeat a miracle, I believe it’s because this very fact. We concentrate on the HOW instead of the WHO.

3. We get casual and familiar with things that are HOLY. The Ark of the Covenant was Gods literal Presence/Glory, the Priests had to be ceremonially cleansed to even enter into the place where it was. God was absent not powerless, He wasn’t speaking, but it was NOT because He didn’t have anything to say, but because the sons of the High Priest were a couple of Dirt Bags and the H.P. knew it and wouldn’t reprimand/correct them. I believe they lost reverence, and a holy fear for the things that are Holy. And it cost all of them their lives. 
I don’t know about you, but I have a long way to go, and it’s a good time to pray…
Father God, I thank you for your patience with me, I thank you for the call, the plan, the purpose and the anointing on my life. I pray for every reader as well, Father forgive us if we have treated the Holy with irreverence and casualness. Thank you for the scriptures and for your Spirit and His revelation as the Word comes alive to us, and as we put it to work in our lives. We don’t ever want to be like the men in this story, but forgive us for the times which we have been totally like them. Speak your servants are humbled and listening!

 – John

Out of tune

 1 Samuel 3: 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him. 
 Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice.”  Now since the Word of the Lord was rare in those days, and since there was no open, frequent, or widespread vision/ revelation, Samuel did not realize who was doing the calling. Romans 10: 13 says, “So then, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”14But how can people call on him if they have not believed in him? How can they believe in him if they have not heard his message? How can they hear if no one tells the Good News?” 

That begs for the question … How important is it for us to be… that voice, that teacher, that preacher? If the one who was consecrated to God could miss that call, and mistake it as a call from his mentor, how careful or sensitive must we be to the sound of His voice?
 Samuel needed someone who knew what was happening to tell him what to do when it happened again. Sometimes we get jealous to the fact that God is speaking to the younger generation. We may dismiss it as baby talk or babbling, but the fact was that Eli’s family trouble caused a break in communication. The man obviously wasn’t in tune to the complaints of the people against the sin and wrongdoing of his sons, nor was he receptive to restrain his sons. So God chose another Man of God to speak to, and go to Eli and Prophesy 8 judgments against him. No wonder God’s word was rare!
 Father God, I don’t ever want to get to the point in my life where I can’t hear your voice, or when you refuse to talk to me because of disobedience, rebellion & neglect. Show me the areas in my life that mess with my ability to keep tuned in on your frequency. May you always have someone you speak to, as one speaks with a friend. I want to be that man. Love You. John

The are already two “I’s” in ministry

Who is making your agenda?

1 Samuel 2:35 (NKJV) Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever. 
 If we look at this passage without trying to get too deep and wax theological what do we see in an instant? I see the recipe for God’s kind of priest. FAITHFULNESS is mentioned 1st; OBEDIENCE 2nd; and HUMILITY 3rd. God is looking for someone who will ALWAYS (Faithfulness) DO (Obedience), what is in HIS HEART, and HIS MIND (Humility). That person will sure to have his future set, because it’s not his own will being done, but God’s. 
 God is saying John, I need you not ONLY to be 1st Faithful, 2nd Obedient, but the plans, schedules, program, agenda and outline, need to be MINE! 3ly Humble yourself. Not your heart and passion for people, but MINE, not your mind will and desire for direction, but MINE. Keep SELF out of it! There’s already two I’s in ministry! 
 Father, I have been consistent and faithful, and I believe I have even been obedient most of the time, but in the everlasting words of Christ, “This one thing you (I) lack…” I know there have been times when I have done my will and the plan that was in my heart and called it YOURS. It may have even been with righteous motives and a godly passion. Nevertheless, not my will but yours! No matter how right it seems. I must DECREASE. Father you have shown me something that will help my Life, My Family, and YOUR Church! Love you!  Your Favorite son

The revolution of days 

As the world turns. Things change.

A.K.A. As the World Turns!

1st Samuel 1:20a So it came to pass in the process of time… (NKJV) In the (YLT) Young’s Literal Translation it reads, (and it cometh to pass, at the revolution of the days, that Hannah conceiveth, and beareth a son, and calleth his name Samuel, ‘for, from Jehovah I have asked him.’)

It had been years of torment, years of frustration, vexed and sorrowful years. Hannah miserably provoked with a constant reminder of her lack, and her barrenness. She couldn’t even bear the pain. Her tears were all but cried out, yet she came to the conclusion; as abundant the pain and suffering was which she found herself in, so abundant her complaint and petition of the LORD would be.
There was a song we used to sing long ago; “In His Time” He makes all things beautiful in His time. I wonder if after years of trying to conceive and failing, Hannah gave up hope. I wonder if all the pain that was inflicted upon her by Peninnah’s taunts and flaunts gave a poor image of herself. Is it possible after that misery she altogether sequestered herself from any intimacy with her husband? It would be hard to feel beautiful when you look in the mirror and failure stares back. But in the Revolution of days, in the process of time, in the season that was due, Samuel was conceived because Hannah did not reserve herself to be afflicted and barren forever.
 Father God, when things seem like they will never change, when seasons of suffering and misery drag on for too long. Help me to answer the abundance of that sorrow, with an Abundance of Praise. Love you! John