We have all been hurt, wronged, betrayed, mistreated, let down, disappointed. used and abused. It’s a part of life. Sometimes we feel we have been wronged when the other person of people actually meant no real harm. Sometimes we feel we were wronged when the other person or persons was actually doing something for our own good. Sometimes it’s us who was in the wrong.
In many situations we can’t change how we are treated, but we can always control how we react to when we are treated badly….ALWAYS.
So, I have a quick reminder for you. God expects to not only forgive, but have an attitude of forgiveness, even when the other person doesn’t seem as though they are sorry.
Have you ever had a person apologize to you and you weren’t ready to hear it? You want to remain angry…
YOU’RE HOLDING A GRUDGE, AND GOD AIN’T HAVING THAT!
Leviticus 19:18 (NKJV)
18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God inChrist forgave you.
Romans 12:17-21 (ESV)
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
GRUDGE (Oxford Online Dictionary)
Noun: A persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.‘she held a grudge against her former boss’.
Grudges birthed from pride. Grudges require huge amounts of mental, emotional and spiritual bandwidth. You can’t be grateful, thankful, forgiving, joyous, kind, or love the way God requires while holding a grudge. Grudges our a spiritual drain and they ruin your testimony. It is impossible to move forward while you hold a grudge. The fact is…
THAT GRUDGE THAT YOU ARE HOLDING IS ACTUALLY HOLDING YOU!
How many blessings is God trying to put into your hand, but He can’t because you’re holding tightly to a grudge?
I’ve found the most intimate refreshing place to pray at my home. I love sitting in my chair on my front porch and enjoying quality time with God in prayer. When I’m out there, it’s like it’s just Him and me. Yes I pray everywhere. But, that place is special.
And yes, I said sitting.
You see, it’s good to get on your knees in submission to God, but contrary to what many may have been taught it’s not mandatory. That is not the exclusively acceptable prayer posture.
Your proper prayer posture isn’t the position of your body, but of your heart and spirit…
To a humble spirit… it’s about humility.
Psalm 51:17 (NKJV)
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise
1- On Your Knees
Ephesians 3:14 (NKJV)
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,[a]
2 – In Your Bed
Psalm 4:4 (NKJV)
Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
3 – Out Loud
Psalm 34:6 (NKJV)
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
4 – Silently
1 Samuel 1:13 (NKJV)
13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk.
5 – Hands Lifted
1 Timothy 2:8 (NKJV)
I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;
6 – Eyes Open
John 17:1 (NKJV)
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,
7 – Head Bowed
Genesis 24:26 (NKJV)
26 Then the man bowed down his head and worshiped the Lord.
8 – Prostrate
Matthew 26:39 (NKJV)
39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
9 – Standing
Mark 11:25 (NKJV)
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
God just wants you to be humble. Many have even misunderstood “come boldly” in the book of Hebrews…
Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
It’s not about ‘telling God what to do’, but direct access to Him. We don’t have to go through a priest, or a preacher to talk to Him…just submit to Him humbly in prayer through our Lord and Savior Yeshua, Jesus Christ.
So, bow your head, lie in your bed, fall on your knees, lift up your hands, as long as you’re sincere…God will hear.
In His darkest moment, those closest to Him abandoned Him…
Matthew 26:31 (NKJV)
Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
But, I think that Jesus was cool with that. I know He wasn’t surprised. It was prophesied and He knew they would all scatter.
He knew Peter would follow, but far away. He knew he would deny Him three times to the point of cursing…
Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”
Many times, in the comfort and conveniences of our 21st Century lifestyles, we will read about or hear in a sermon about the disciples scattering and deserting Jesus just before He went to the cross. We may even think to ourselves, “What a shame”.
We may wonder what we would have done had we been in that situation. I can quickly and confidently answer that…we would have done the same thing.
How do I know that?
Because it was God’s will that they scatter.
What could they have done to prevent Jesus’ crucifixion? Nothing…because it was God’s will.
What good would it have done if they had died with Him, because that’s exactly what would have happened had they stood with Him.
Had they stood with Jesus at that time and were crucified with Him, how would we have gotten the Gospels? Who would have told us of what they experienced while they were with Him?
He was preparing them to spread the Gospel, not to die with Him.
He was preparing them to GO….not DIE….at least not yet.
Matthew 28:19 (NKJV)
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Think about it like this…
Jesus could have stayed here longer. He could have put off the cross until His disciples were stronger…but He didn’t.
Jesus left them while they were WEAK enough to scatter and desert Him, but STRONG enough to get it back together and continue.
I believe that Christ was glad they scattered.
So, stop worrying about those who have…
Stop and look for God in it.
The next time that someone leaves you…look for God in it.
And, remember, that sometimes we must share in His sufferings…
Romans 8:17 (NKJV)
And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Yes, they scattered and deserted Him, but that’s not how the story ended…And, that’s why I believe that Jesus was glad they left Him alone.
Has anyone ever embarrassed, hurt or insulted you openly in public? Have you ever done so? Have you ever made public some information about someone later to find out that information was wrong? Have you ever defamed or slandered someone?
For whatever reason, we all openly hurt one another from time to time. Sometimes we do it on purpose, and sometimes it’s unintentional. These ‘public displays of ‘non-affection’ can leave bad impressions and potentially ruin reputations of all parties involved.
Many times when we realize what we’ve done, truly feel sorry and want to apologize. We’ll pull the person or persons to the side and tell them, “I’m sorry… I was wrong”.
This is good but not good enough…
Acts 16:37 (NKJV)
37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”
Those who heard or witnessed the embarrassment may still think you were right. Those who heard or witnessed the insult may still be influenced by what you did or said…that public embarrassment deserves a public apology.
I remember growing up in church that sometimes in testimonies, people would stand before the church and proclaim, “If I’ve ever done anything to hurt anyone here today, I’m sorry”…if you know who you hurt and what you did, this also is not good enough.
If you know that you slapped someone in the face, simply saying, “I’m sorry IF I hurt you” isn’t enough. If you slandered someone, making a blanket statement to a group that, “If I hurt SOMEONE, I’m sorry” is just not enough.
If you know what you did and who you did it to, then you need to show enough respect to call out their name.
It’s good to apologize, but if we aren’t careful, we can take the easy way out and not fully respect the person or persons that we have hurt.
Matthew 5:23-24 (NKJV)
23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Never take for granted how clever the enemy is at trying to
come between us and the God of our salvation.
He has been busy at trying to influence the lives of God’s
children for thousands of years. The bible tells us that he disguises himself
as an angel of light…
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers,
transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan
himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no
great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of
righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
He is a deceiver and the father of all lies…
As you may already know, the very word devil comes from the
Greek word diablos meaning slanderer, accusing falsely, deceiver. Even Jesus
calls him out when rebuking the religious leaders…
44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires
of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does
not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie,
he speaks from his own resources,for he is a liar and the father of
One of his favorite methods is to use us (most of the time unintentionally)
against the one’s we love.
He disguises himself inside of sincere love and good
intentions. Remember how Yeshua, Christ Jesus, responded to Peter when he spoke
up in what he thought was support of Jesus…
21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must
go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and
scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, [a]“Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not
happen to You!”
23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You
are [b]an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of
the things of God, but the things of men.”
Jesus didn’t even address Peter. He addressed the enemy
Think of the fact that the enemy used Eve to get to Adam and
Adam quickly shifted the blame to his wife…
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with
me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this
you have done?”
said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Wow! So, how many times has that happened to us in our
How many times has the enemy used husbands, wives, sons and daughters
to distract their loved ones from their focus on God’s word?
How many times have you seen a loved one being misused and
instead of telling them to turn the other cheek, you told them to retaliate?
How many times has someone been ready to speak up against
sin, wrong or injustice and because of the certain backlash a loved one said, “You
better leave that alone”.
How many times have we held a love one back who was maturing
and growing in Christ because of the changes it would force us to make?
How many times has a loved one wanted to give help to someone
in need and we discouraged them…for whatever reason?
How many times have we hurt or hated someone because they
hurt or hated someone we love?
How many times has a loved one given bad advice contrary to
the word of God from their flesh?
How many traditions that God has forbidden have we allowed
to continue through thousands of generations because we felt we were letting
our children miss out on something?
Once when I spoke up against the sin of homosexuality, a
family member told me (just for the record, it was not my wife), “You better leave
that subject alone because if might make some people angry and prevent your
music and your ministry from being accepted”
This relative didn’t mean any harm. They made that statement
out of genuine concern for me, but they were being just like Peter. God wants
me to trust Him with my ministry and music despite what people may say or do.
Can you think of a time when the devil used a loved one
against you? Can you think of a time you have do so?
The good news is that God has given us discernment, so the
enemy doesn’t catch us by surprise…
2 Corinthians 2:11
11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his
Be very careful of your ‘Peter’ moments. Don’t let the enemy
use you against the people in your life.
It’s been said that “hurt people, hurt people”. How many times has someone hurt you…disrespected you…betrayed you…embarrassed you…abused you, or hurt, disrespected, betrayed, embarrassed, or abused someone you love — and you wanted to see them hurt too?
You want to see them experience the same pain that they caused. You want them to know how you feel, and regret how they treated you or your loved one. This is wrong, but this is natural and one of the burdens of our sinful nature.
There is a classic example of this in the bible. Easu, Isaac’s first born twin, was enraged at is brother Jacob for taking his birthright and stealing his blessing…
Genesis 25:29-34 (NKJV)
29 Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called [a]Edom.
31 But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.”
32 And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?”
33 Then Jacob said, [b]“Swear to me as of this day.”
So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
Genesis 27:1-29 (NKJV)
27 Now it came to pass, when Isaac was old and his eyes were so dim thathe could not see, that he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.”
And he answered him, “Here I am.”
2 Then he said, “Behold now, I am old. I do not know the day of my death. 3 Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me. 4 And make me [a]savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.”
5 Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt game and to bring it.6 So Rebekah spoke to Jacob her son, saying, “Indeed I heard your father speak to Esau your brother, saying, 7 ‘Bring me game and make [b]savory food for me, that I may eat it and bless you in the presence of the Lord before my death.’ 8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you. 9 Go now to the flock and bring me from there two choice kids of the goats, and I will make savory food from them for your father, such as he loves. 10 Then you shall take it to your father, that he may eat it, and that he may bless you before his death.”
11And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned man. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be a deceiver to him; and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a blessing.”
13 But his mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me.” 14 And he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and his mother made [c]savory food, such as his father loved. 15 Then Rebekah took the choice clothes of her elder son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17 Then she gave the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
18 So he went to his father and said, “My father.”
And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?”
19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.”
20 But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?”
And he said, “Because the Lord your God brought it to me.”
21 Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.” 22 So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him.
24 Then he said, “Are you really my son Esau?”
He said, “I am.”
25 He said, “Bring it nearto me, and I will eat of my son’s game, so that my soul may bless you.” So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near now and kiss me, my son.” 27 And he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him and said:
“Surely, the smell of my son Is like the smell of a field Which the Lord has blessed. 28 Therefore may God give you Of the dew of heaven, Of the fatness of the earth, And plenty of grain and wine. 29 Let peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, And let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, And blessed be those who bless you!”
So, because of this, Esau comforted himself daydreaming about killing his brother…
Genesis 27:42 (NKJV)
42 And the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, “Surely your brother Esau comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you.
Even if you didn’t want to see them killed, how many times have you comforted yourself with the thought of seeing someone else hurt?
Be careful! When you judge in your heart that someone else deserves pain because of the pain they caused…that’s condemnation and judgement. And, we all know what the bible says about when we judge (condemn) someone else…
Matthew 7:1-2 (NKJV)
7 “Judge[a] not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what [b]judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
You are pronouncing that judgment on yourself!
Remember, we have all hurt, disrespected, betrayed, embarrassed, or abused someone. Even if we didn’t intend to do so, their pain was real.
When those thoughts enter your head, immediately ask God to forgive you, then pray and ask God to forgive them and touch their hearts with His love. Bless them…
Luke 6:28-36 (NKJV)
28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, [a]hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
Please allow me to sub-title this piece, “JUST LIKE JUDAS”, since I couldn’t make up my mind.
Many of us shake our heads in self-righteous shame at Judas betraying our Lord and Savior for 30 pieces of silver.
But, if we think back on our lives, sometimes we don’t have to think very far back, we will realize that we have betrayed Him for what was many times much less.
Each time we sin… Each time we know right from wrong…Each time that we know His holy standard…Each time we have a clear choice and think, “No I should not do this”, and then choose to do it anyway, we betray Him just like Judas did.
Those seeking to put Jesus to open shame and kill Him presented Judas was with a transaction, and he agreed to a price to accept the transaction.
Matthew 26:15 (NKJV)
15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.
The enemy daily presents us with transactions (usually through our desires) seeking to hurt…to discredit…to put to open shame our Savior Jesus, and daily we accept them – and consequently betray Him.
James 1:14 (NKJV)
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
So, how much have you accepted to betray Jesus?
What transaction does the enemy prevent to you to convince you to sin?
What level of attention?
What level of affection?
What level of influence?
What level of affluence?
What level of pleasure?
What level of revenge?
Who was it?
What was it?
Was it only a kiss?
Was it only a promotion?
Was it only a glance?
Was it only a taste?
Was it only a touch?
Was it a laugh?
Was it a whisper?
Or, did you do it for free because you were angry at Him?
Did the enemy use you as the ‘middle man’ to provoke someone else to betray Him?
It’s not hard to identify how the enemy manipulates and provokes us to betray Him. The bible makes it clear. It’s usually…
1 John 2:16 (NKJV)
16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
Always remember that Judas realized the 30 pieces of silver weren’t worth it, and wanted to give it back. It’s the same for us today the enemy pays you to hurt our Lord, but the ultimate wage is horrible…
Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So, at the end of each day, thank God for His grace and mercy to forgive us when we repent. Then think about the choices that you’ve made and ask yourself a powerful question to help you refine your walk and relationship with Christ. Think about the spiritual transactions you’ve made and ask yourself…
Do you ever have days that you truly feel like giving up? Not necessarily suicidal, but just giving up on everything and everyone.
Do you have days or seasons when it seems that nothing you do works out?
When no one understands you or what you’re doing?
Days when your feel you’re fighting for your physical, emotional and psychological health?
You’re not just trying to hold it together. You’re fighting for your very life.
Seasons when you truly wonder if God has forsaken you?
Think about Jesus hanging on the cross.
Those closest to Him had all scattered…
Matthew 26:31 (NKJV)
31 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be [a]made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:
‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
Even His own brothers did not believe in Him at the time…
John 7:5 (NKJV)
5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him.
He had one last human moment expressing that His Father had forsaken Him…
Matthew 27:46 (NKJV)
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
But, Yeshua suffered that shame and disgrace for us. And, it’s only fair that sometimes we share in His suffering…
Philippians 1:29 (NKJV)
29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
Not just suffering FOR Christ, but suffering WITH Christ is a part of our calling.
1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
The truth is that we will sometimes unfairly suffer. Sometimes it comes straight out of nowhere! On those days and in those seasons remember this…
SOMETIMES WE ALL HAVE TO TAKE OUR TURN ON THE CROSS
In the words of the old hymnal written by Thomas Shepherd, “Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone”: “Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free? There’s a cross for everyone, and there’s a cross for me.”
There is an account in the bible (2 Kings Chapter 7) of 4 men with leprosy who were at the entrance to the gate of the city of Samaria waiting to die. The city was being besieged by the Syrians, so there was famine within the gates. These men were diseased and rejected, the enemy was on the outside and there was no help or resources on the inside. They reasoned that rather than just sit and die, that they would go and surrender themselves to the enemy.
What they didn’t know is that God had caused the Syrians to think they heard a great army attacking them and fled leaving EVERYTHING in their camp behind. They left EVERYTHING. They left their tents, their horses, their food, their drinks, their silver, their gold, their clothes…they left EVERYTHING.
When the lepers arrived at the enemy camp, they had a wonderful surprise from the LORD.
Those rejected lepers who thought their situation was helpless and hopeless, once they stepped out on faith, suddenly found themselves with more than they needed.
2 Kings 7:3-8 (NKJV)
3 Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.” 5 And they rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there. 6 For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses—the noise of a great army; so they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!” 7 Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact—their tents, their horses, and their donkeys—and they fled for their lives. 8 And when these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried from it silver and gold and clothing, and went and hid them; then they came back and entered another tent, and carried some from there also, and went and hid it.
Throughout history when a victorious army was able to freely help themselves to what a defeated enemy left behind it has been referred to as…THE SPOIL, THE BOUNTY, THE BOOTY!
In fact, Merriam Webster defines booty as:
Definition of Booty
(Entry 1 of 2)
1: plunder taken (as in war) especially: plunder taken on land as distinguished from prizes taken at sea
2: a rich gain or prize
TO THE VICTOR GO THE SPOILS…OR BOOTY!
In 2 Kings Chapter 7, God provided the BOOTY!
When you feel overwhelmed in your life. When you feel there’s no one to help you. When you feel your situation is hopeless. When you feel like you have no good options…all you have left is your faith in God.
You have to do what those four lepers did. You have to step out on your faith and let God fight for you just as He did Judah when they were overwhelmed by enemies in 2 Chronicles Chapter 20.
The same God that blessed those lepers and blessed Judah is the same God who can confuse your enemies and provide for you from their resources.
Psalm 111:6 (NKJV)
6 He has declared to His people the power of His works, In giving them the [a]heritage of the nations.
Has God ever provided for you through those who meant to hurt you?
How many times have you started your day without saying, “Good Morning”?
How many meals or snacks have you eaten without saying, “Thank you”?
Have you gone a day without ‘calling’?
Have often do you check what He’s ‘posted’ in His ‘HOLY MEDIA’?
How many times has He tried to get your attention and you responded, “Not Now!”
How many times have you asked Him to leave ‘your house’ and invited the devil in?
Even when you’re diligently seeking Him, He sometimes may seem far away… because no matter how close you may THINK you are to Him, you can still be closer.
No matter how much faith you THINK you have…we all still have some unbelief.
Every person used by God in the bible at some time felt forsaken…including His Son.
Matthew 27:46 (NKJV)
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
If you feel God has forsaken or forgotten you, read Psalm 13. Notice how it begins in sorrow, but ends in an affirmation of trust and praise…That’s why He seems far away sometimes. So we can follow even closer behind Him.
Psalm 13 (NKJV)
13 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me? 2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death; 4 Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
5 But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 6 I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Most of us get angry at those we love the most…it’s just a part of relationships. All children, both small and adult children, get angry at their parents at some point and time…it’s just a part of the relationship.
Most of us who believe in God also claim to love Him and be in relationship with Him…We are His children.
Soooo, it’s doesn’t seem outside of reason to assume that those of us who are in relationship with God, have gotten angry with him at sometimes or another…if we are willing to admit it.
God’s children get angry at their Heavenly Father.
Have you gotten angry at God because…
You thought He ignored your prayer…
You thought He said no…
You thought He was being unfair to you…
You thought He should have intervened…
You thought He was being too harsh…
You thought He favored someone who didn’t deserve it…
You thought those who are evil continue to win…
Well, I could go over possible reasons all day, but you know why you were angry with Him…if you’re willing to admit it.
King David, a man after God’s own heart became angry with God. As he was having the Ark of the Covenant (which represented God’s presence) brought back, the oxen pulling the cart stumbled and as Uzza reached out to hold the ark steady, God became angry at him for touching it, (because no one was to touch the ark), and struck him dead. This made David angry and afraid of God…
1 Chronicles 13:10 (NKJV)
10 Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzza, and He struck him because he put his hand to the ark; and he died there before God.
Throughout the book of Psalms, there are hints of frustration with God…
Psalm 13:1 (NKJV)
“How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”
Psalm 77:3 (NKJV)
“I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.”
Psalm 94:3 (NKJV)
“How long will the wicked, Lord, how long will the wicked continue to triumph.”
Habukkuk cries out…
Habakkuk 1:2 (NKJV)
O Lord, how long shall I cry,
And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. 3 Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. 4 Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.
Jeremiah 12:1-4 (NKJV)
Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You;
Yet let me talk with You about Your judgments.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? 2 You have planted them, yes, they have taken root;
They grow, yes, they bear fruit.
You are near in their mouth
But far from their mind.
3 But You, O Lord, know me;
You have seen me,
And You have tested my heart toward You.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
And prepare them for the day of slaughter. 4 How long will the land mourn,
And the herbs of every field wither?
The beasts and birds are consumed,
For the wickedness of those who dwell there,
Because they said, “He will not see our final end.”
Jeremiah even cursed the day he was born…
Jeremiah 20: 14 (KNJV)
Cursed be the day in which I was born! Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me.
Remember this…Men and women of God are merely, MEN and WOMEN of God. Only human.
God remembers that we are only human…
Psalm 103:14 (NKJV)
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 78:39 (NKJV)
39 For He remembered that they were but flesh,
A breath that passes away and does not come again.
Matthew 26:41 (NKJV)
41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Even Jesus, Yeshua, Himself cried out…
Matthew 27:46 (NKJV)
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
God allows us to have human moments, but He expects us to ‘come to ourselves’, trust Him and honor Him. He allows us the opportunity to express our humanity in reverence and respect.
When you read the bible, after these men and women of God were angry…after they lamented…after their frustration….THEY TRUSTED GOD!
In the midst of their ‘complaint’ was PRAISE. Each of the Psalms mentioned above ended in PRAISE for God.
Jeremiah 20: 11-13 (NKJV)
But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One.
Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper. Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten. 12 But, O Lord of hosts, You who test the righteous, And see the mind and heart, Let me see Your vengeance on them; For I have pleaded my cause before You.
13 Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord! For He has delivered the life of the poor From the hand of evildoers.
They praised God in their pain to activate their faith….They continued to press in to the purpose that God had for their lives.
Anger is one of the ways we were created in God’s image. God becomes angry sometimes, but His anger doesn’t last.
It’s human and natural to become angry at God and doubt, but He told us…
1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
…So it’s superhuman and spiritual to overcome our anger and trust Him.
God knows we will have PITY PARTIES, but He expects us to turn them into PRAISE PARTIES.
Colossians 1:28 “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”
“Nobody’s perfect! Even though we are Christians, we can never be without fault. We were born in sin and shaped iniquity (Psalm 51:5). No matter how hard we try we will make mistakes, we will fall short of God’s expectations. We will have weak moments. We will commit sins both unknowingly and willingly (sins of commission), and of course there will always be some things that we should be doing, that we aren’t (sins of omission). James 4:17 even explains that it’s a sin when we know to do good but don’t. Yet, God tells in His word that He expects us to be perfect. Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Colossians 1:28, “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”
If we are born in sin, if our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak, then how can we ever be perfect before Jesus returns? Why even try?
Let me tell you that YES, you can be perfect, but we have to understand what God means when He tells us to be perfect. The Greek word used here is teleios, which according to Strong’s Concordance implies mature, complete, consummated by going through the necessary stages to reach a goal. If a child is completes the 4th grade, and has mastered the expectations for the 4th grade, then that child is considered perfect for his or her particular level of learning, but not yet perfect by 5th grade standards.
Perfect in the bible simply means mature.
If you are a new convert in Christ, God doesn’t expect you to be as mature as a more seasoned Christian. God expects us to always be growing faith, wisdom, knowledge, virtue and grace. If you have been walking with Christ for years, you shouldn’t have the same struggles that you did in the beginning. That’s why people who have been married for years drift apart. If a couple married in their early twenties…neither of them are the same people when they reach their thirties, forties, fifties and so on. People grow and mature at different levels. That’s why God told us to avoid being unevenly yoked, to promote growing and maturing together, because growing apart isn’t an excuse for divorce.
God encourages us to grow and mature…
1 Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”
We as Christians need to strive for spiritual maturity (perfection). The book of Hebrews Chapter 5:12-14 teaches that some should be teachers, but instead need to be taught the first principles of God. That some should have matured to solid food, but instead, still require milk. Hebrews 6:1-3 goes on to say that God expects us to move beyond the elementary teachings in Christ to maturity. Please read these powerful scriptures in context for yourself. When we are growing…WE ARE NEVER WHO WE WERE, AND SHOULD NEVER BE WHO WE WILL BE. Are you satisfied with your level of spiritual maturity? Are you still struggling with the same issues from years ago? Are you making disciples or still a babe in Christ? We all have some growing up to do. Remember, it’s a life long process for all of us. Just make sure your are always in your correct spiritual ‘grade’.
We’ve all been there in marriage, family, with friends or with an enemy…
You’re in a heated exchange…
An extremely contentious argument…
You’re going back and forth…
You walk away, or hang up, or get interrupted, or…
They make a point that leaves you speechless, or…
Your response, your ‘come back’ is just weak…
Then, 5, 10, 15 minutes or maybe even a day later the most awesome response pops up in your mind! “WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT THEN” you think to yourself.
The moment is gone. It’s like a ruined punch line. You can’t go back, call back, or snap back, “Yeah, and another thing!” It’s too late! How can you bring it back up? Do you try to get the argument started again?
Maybe it’s God’s will that you couldn’t think of that response at the time.
Maybe it was God allowing you both the time to cool down…or just let it go.
Once words are released, they are impossible to take back, and can cause permanent damage to a marriage, relationship, friendship, employment, or in the case of enemies, could lead to retaliation.
Maybe God helped you hold it in. Maybe His Holy Spirit restrained you.
Pray about it.
If it’s a point that REALLY DOES need to be made, wait and talk about it when neither of you are angry.
Wait until it can be both said and received in love.
The cross of Calvary was shameful, humiliating and excruciatingly painful for our Lord and Savior Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
It was ugly.
It was disgusting.
It was public.
It was as real!
Imagine the nails digging into His flesh as He tries to adjust Himself on the cross.
Imagine blood, sweat dripping into His eyes…Birds trying to peck His face and eyes and He couldn’t wipe or swat.
Imagine all His enemies thinking they had won.
All this takes place on a stake of execution.
Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)
2 looking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
He shared in the punishment reserved for the worst criminals. He suffered ‘a curse’ on our behalf. He allowed those who antagonized Him to think they won as He shamefully hung from a Roman cross…
Galatians 3:13 (NKJV)
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),
The ‘execution stake’ was the equivalent to the electric chair, lethal injection needle…hangman’s noose.
Matthew 27:38 (CJB)
38 Then two robbers were placed on execution-stakes with him, one on the right and one on the left.
So, what if?
What if Jesus views Christians, disciples, believers, members of the Messianic community wearing crosses around their necks, hanging from their ears, on their t-shirts and on top of their churches…
What if Jesus views that the same…
As you would view someone wearing a noose if your only son had been lynched in front of an evil, angry mob who claimed God supported their foolishness.
He told us to take up our cross and follow Him, not celebrate the instrument of His temporary death.
This short piece isn’t a debate on the validity of calling crime in the Black community ‘Black on Black crime’.
It’s simply coming from a Black man with a wife, a daughter, two sons and a granddaughter.
Every time I hear a headline about someone who looks like me senselessly killing someone else who looks like me, it pisses me off!
Does poverty breed violence? Yes.
Are there some residual affects of decades of institutional racism that contributes to violence? Yes.
No matter what’s going on externally, it’s time for an INTERNAL SPIRITUAL and CULTURAL REVOLUTION!
There is absolutely no excuse. Every culture has to address its internal threats as well as external. While some communities must face their own pride and arrogance, others must address the violence within their subcultures.
God demands excellence from all of His children no matter what situation they are in. Look at what He told Israel and Judah when they were exiled in Babylon…
Jeremiah 29:4-14 (NKJV)
4Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon:
5 Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens andeat their fruit. 6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. 9 For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord.
10 For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
They were exiles in a foreign land who had lost their freedom. But, God still expected them to thrive and live up to His standards. He expected them to pray for the peace of the city in which they lived, not contribute to it’s destruction.
I encourage everyone who hates racism, don’t give ammunition to a racist’s argument or hatred with the bullets that come from YOUR gun.
Matthew 26:52 (NKJV)
52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will [a]perish by the sword.
Let me preface this piece by stating that I’m not saying this is ‘the mark of the beast’, but I am pointing out how easily the devil (I’m not capitalizing devil on purpose) is a great deceiver. I’m illustrating how even the greatest so-called theologians can take the word of God, which is so eloquently delivered in figurative language literally — especially in The Revelation and Daniel.
So many people are looking for microchips, tattoos, even the COVID-19 vaccinations as the mark of the beast from The Revelation
Revelation 13:16-18 (NKJV)
16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has [a]the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
As people through the centuries have speculated as to what that mark may be, let me remind you that when God told us that He would write His word on our hearts, there are no literal words written on our hearts.
In the same manner, we could easily assume that having the ‘mark’ on our hand or forehead isn’t literal either. On our right hand could very well mean in the way we do things and on our forehead could mean the way we think.
Keeping that in mind think about the fact that the world has accepted the Gregorian calendar names months of the year and the names for days of the week. The months of the Roman calendar are named to honor a mix of gods, goddesses and rulers. The days of the week our named to honor Greek gods — idols.
No one can make a purchase, execute a contract without a date. Each time a date is written or printed on a receipt, contract or even a school assignment it is acknowledging an idol god, goddess or ruler other than the Lord God of Israel through our Savior Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
It is impossible to legally by or sell without accepting the ‘mark’ that was left behind by those who created the Gregorian and Julian calendars.
Remember that God warned us through Daniel…
Daniel 7:25 (NKJV)
25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute[a] the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.
Changing the calendar and days of the week could be a fulfillment of that prophecy.
Again, I’m not saying this is the actual mark of the beast, but illustrating how easily the enemy can convince the world to conform to his thinking and way of doing things.
God has made it clear in His word that our Adversary the Devil, and those that the bible describes as his ‘ministers’ disguise themselves as ‘light’…
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NKJV)
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
Notice that God tells us through the Apostle Paul that his followers are ‘deceitful’ workers. The devil can’t deceive the people of God by doing evil. The term ‘ministers’ isn’t limited to ‘preachers’, but those who are serving the devil’s agenda rather than God’s.
Some people’s sins are very overt and obvious. There’s no deceit in that…
1 Timothy 5:24-25 (NLT)
24 Remember, the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later.25 In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light.
However, too many Christians are being deceived by ‘ministers’… preachers, politicians and leaders who disguise themselves in ‘good works’. That’s why God teaches us that ‘good works’ can’t save or justify us…
Ephesians 2:9-11 (NKJV)
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) also taught us that the false messiahs, (false deliverers) would try and deceive the ‘very elect’…
Matthew 24:24 (NKJV)
24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
This won’t be done by acts of overt sin and evil, but by pretending to care about the concerns of true disciples. It’s too often that believers are putting their hope or trust in a man or woman to ‘deliver’ rather than God. That’s elevating that man or woman to the level of messiah.
So, how can you tell the difference? God makes it clear.
“BY THEIR FRUITS YOU SHALL KNOW THEM.”
Matthew 7:15-20 (NKJV)
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
“BY THEIR CHARACTER”
No matter what ‘good’ they may claim to support or even champion, if they do not display the Fruit of the Spirit —
If they don’t display the behavior, attitudes and character that God gives as EVIDENCE that He lives in them — If they refuse to repent or be accountable for the wrong they’ve done —
If they constantly cast blame and accuse, which is evidence of the Accuser of the saints —
If they take pride in never giving in, apologizing or being willing to yield —
If they don’t clearly display God’s love—
Then they are not of God.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [a]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
James 3:17 (NKJV)
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
John 13:34-35 (NKJV)
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Don’t be deceived. Yes, people can change, but a person who has never been know for their character, integrity and faith, and has not publicly repented of that reputation can never lead disciples of Christ…politically or spiritually. WHEN ‘CHRISTIANS’ CHEAT ON JESUS WITH ANOTHER ‘MESSIAH’…
It was King David’s heart of repentance that made him a man after God’s own heart.
You cannot determine if someone is a ‘Laborer for the Harvest’ by the ‘good they do’.
During the COVID-19 pandemic many well-deserving workers have been recognized as heroes and essential. From medical professionals to shipping and logistics to retail workers and educators — many workers have consistently receive recognition and honor.
However, one group of essential professionals are consistently forgotten or ignored. — Sanitation Professionals . ( I made it a proper noun on purpose). In most cases, these hard-working professionals are Black.
One of the reasons the bubonic plague was so devastating is because of waste. It doesn’t take long for our waste to accumulate in our homes and on our streets if it isn’t quickly and properly disposed of.
As much as many people missed their sports, favorite restaurants and entertainment during shut-down days, Sanitation Professionals have continued working through the pandemic and many of them got sick. Hardly no one talks about that. What would you have missed first? March Madness? The NBA Finals? The Super Bowl? or your garbage being taken away?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down while in Memphis TN as he came to fight for the rights, and dignity of Sanitation Professionals. The fact that these heroes have been ignored proves some things never change. The workers pictured above are in a suburb of Memphis.
If you happen to be around when your Sanitation Professionals are doing their job, tell them they are appreciated. Shout them out on social media. Show them some love.
And please thank God for them and mention them in your prayers…
Ephesians 1:16 (NKJV)
16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
Years ago I used to do nursing home ministry. I would visit two nursing homes, once each month. As I walked down through the halls I would see the same faces. There were some residents who had regular visits from family and friends, but unfortunately, there too many who never got a visitor…ever.
There were also varying levels of mental health. One lady in particular at one of the nursing homes would say the same thing during every visit. She would sit in her wheelchair in the entrance to her room as I walked by…smile and say, “I’m going home today”. No, she wasn’t going home. She was one of the residents who never had visitors, and her family had moved on with their lives. At first I felt sorry for her because her situation seemed so hopeless…but then God gave me an awesome revelation.
In her hopeless situation…her dementia was a blessing!
Blessing? How was her dementia a blessing?
In reality, she woke up every morning WITHOUT hope of going home.
But through her dementia, she woke up every morning WITH hope of going home.
God gave her a reason to smile EVERY DAY.
God gave her something to look forward to EVERY DAY.
God gave her HOPE in a HOPELESS situation.
She spent her last days with HOPE.
What many may think of as a CURSE, was actually a BLESSING to her.
God’s wisdom is amazing!
He can can pull HOPE out of HOPEless…
FORTUNE our of unFORTUNALTE…
Stop and give God praise for His unfathomable wisdom. Paul was right in Romans 11…
Romans 11: 33-36 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” 35 “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” 36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
Sex is a gift from God. Even though it’s the means He intended for us to be fruitful and multiply, it is also meant to be enjoyed within the bonds of holy matrimony between a man and a woman.
Our bodies with their various curves, shapes, textures, contrast of colors, smells etc., are meant to provoke sexual arousal. It’s up to us to control these urges so that they are only fulfilled within marriage.
One of those divine combinations of curves, shapes, textures, and contrast of colors is the female breast.
Yes, these were created for mothers to make sure their children are nourished, but that’s not all.
They were also created for the mutual pleasure of the husband and the wife. Breasts were created:
As a means of seducing her husband…
For her pleasure during times of intimacy…
To be aesthetically pleasing to entice her husband…
For his enjoyment during times of intimacy…
The fact is that even though God created female breasts to nurse their children, that boobs aren’t just for the babies. Check out these bible verses about female breasts and intimacy within marriage.
Proverbs 5:18-19 (NKJV)
18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be [a]enraptured with her love.
Song of Solomon 1:12-13 (NKJV)
12 While the king is at his table, My [a]spikenard sends forth its fragrance. 13 A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me, That lies all night between my breasts.
Song of Solomon 4:4-5 (NKJV)
4 Your neck is like the tower of David, Built for an armory, On which hang a thousand [a]bucklers, All shields of mighty men. 5 Your two breasts are like two fawns, Twins of a gazelle, Which feed among the lilies
Song of Solomon 7:2-3, 8(NKJV)
2 Your navel is a rounded goblet; It lacks no [a]blended beverage. Your waist is a heap of wheat Set about with lilies. 3 Your two breasts are like two fawns, Twins of a gazelle.
Song of Solomon 7:8 (NKJV)
8 I said, “I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of its branches.” Let now your breasts be like clusters of the vine, The fragrance of your [a]breath like apples,
Song of Solomon 8:10 (NKJV)
10 I am a wall, And my breasts like towers; Then I became in his eyes As one who found peace.
Hebrews 13:4 (NKJV)
4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
1 Corinthians 7:2-5 (NLT)
2 But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.
3 The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. 4 The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.
5 Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
So, couples enjoy one another, and may your marriages…
You may also enjoy these BE BLESSTIFIED articles on Godly marriage…
God teaches us in His word that wise counsel is priceless…
Proverbs 19:20-21 (NKJV)
20 Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days.
21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.
It’s good to get the benefit from the experience of others. But do you know anyone whose advice you really don’t want? Why? How do people feel about taking advice from you? Why?
Do people make any of these statements about you?
Is _____________ going to be there?
Is______________ going with us?
Are you inviting _________________?
Oh no! Here comes _______________?
HERE ARE 5 REASONS WHY PEOPLE MAY NOT WANT TO TAKE YOUR ADVICE…
1. YOU CAN’T HAVE A CONVERSATION WITHOUT GIVING ADVICE…
Some people don’t know how to have a conversation without giving advice. I know I young man who didn’t have his father around when he grew up. All the men in his life felt they had to mentor him. That’s fine, but not all the time. They would never just laugh and talk. Never could just tell jokes. And, if jokes were told, it was about how the young man wasn’t doing something right. “If I were you I would…”, “When are you going to…”, “Ha, Ha, Ha, that’s not how you do that, here let me show you…” He got to the point that he dreaded when they came around. “Oh know, here comes Uncle ________” he thought. Remember this, every moment doesn’t have to be a teaching moment. Every situation doesn’t have to be a lesson. And, people don’t learn by making fun of what they do wrong.
2. YOU AREN’T A GOOD EXAMPLE…
I had a barber once who loved to give advice about healthy eating. That was fine be he couldn’t cut my hair without his stomach rubbing against me. I also have an acquaintance who is always full of financial advice, but he is not doing very well financially himself. And, most parents get frustrated when people who have never had children try to advice them how to raise their children. I’m not saying people with children can’t give advice, or that you can’t learn from someone else’s financial mistakes, or that someone overweight can’t advice someone else on how to lose weight. But, I am saying that
3. YOU ARE ARROGANT & CONDESCENDING…
Yes, we see your level of success. Yes, we see that you’ve made great decisions. But, know we aren’t looking for advice every time you come around. Because when you give that advice you act as though everyone else is so stupid. When you give advice you belittle what they have done well. When you give advice, your tone is so mean that your advice goes unheard.
4. YOU USE IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BRAG ABOUT YOURSELF & FEED YOUR OWN EGO…
These people really aren’t concerned about helping you, they just want an opportunity to glorify themselves. No, we are not interested in how well you planned, how smart you were, or how hard you worked. Because guess what, we planned carefully too. We made intelligent decisions too. We worked very hard too, but sometimes things just don’t work out. Ask any entrepreneur who had a strong business plan, researched their market, sacrificed for their business, put in ‘blood, sweat, and tears’ and because of factors beyond their control, things didn’t work out.
I’m not saying that unsolicited isn’t good sometimes, but most of the time, if people want your advice, they will ask you. If you notice that someone needs some help and aren’t willing to ask, find a way to BE an example of the behavior that you feel could benefit from their experience. Be creative. Pray and ask God for wisdom, or even let the know you’re available if needed, but blurting out unsolicited advice can be so insulting that it goes unheard.
Remember, advice is only good if it received, so stop, think, and pray before you speak into someone’s life.
The next time you get some unwanted advice, come back to this list to see how many reasons apply.
Those of us who have faith in God through Yeshua the Messiah, with confidence, look forward to the promise of eternal life…
John 3:16 (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
However, Christians, even though some may not admit it, can still experience anxiety and fear from the fact that none of us have ever died before. Even though we are eternal, spiritual beings who are simply occupying our current temporary bodies, its difficult to see beyond what our consciousness has allowed us to experience.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 (NKJV)
7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
We are only ‘aware’ of when God allowed us to step into the continuum of ‘time’ and the physical world when we were born.
Many people think about the thousands of years that occurred before we lived and the fact that we have no consciousness of those years.
Many may sometimes wonder if we will return to the ‘nothingness’ of before the moment when God ‘quickened’ us into consciousness or gave life to our spirits and we stepped onto the stage of the world.
But, think about this…
None of us can remember the day we were born or even our first birthday, but we were all most certainly aware, conscious and ALIVE.
None of us can remember when we were in our mother’s womb, but we were most certainly aware, conscious and ALIVE.
So, our existence can’t be limited to what we can remember experiencing. The fact that eternity is something we can’t currently comprehend is confirmed in the word of God…
1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV)
9 But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him
Now consider this…
How many times have you gone to sleep and slept for hours and when you woke up, you didn’t even realize how long you had slept? You couldn’t even remember what you dreamed.
Have you ever been ‘put to sleep’ with anesthesia? If so, all you remember is possibly counting backwards and waking up. You remember nothing about the surgery and activity going on around you while you were ‘out’.
Because in both instances, just like God, your temporarily existing outside the continuum of time. You have no concept of seconds, minutes or hours. You have no concept of time or the physical world around you.
Our consciousness while we sleep is a partially spiritual consciousness.
Notice what the bible says about what will take place when Yeshua returns…
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NKJV)
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen [a]asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who [b]sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are [c]asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Those who are dead in Christ will be resurrected first. So, it’s very possible that just as when we go into a DEEP SLEEP and don’t notice how much time has passed, it’s very possible that when the Lord returns, those who died 2000 years ago will be no more aware of the time they were ‘sleeping’ than someone who died 20 minutes ago.
It’s very possible that as soon as you ‘die’ you immediately experience waking up to Christ’s return even if it’s 1000 years from now. You’ve just simply stepped out of ‘time’ and the ‘physical’ world.
God is preparing us for death each time we go to sleep.
So, if you feel some anxiety or fear of when you experience your last moment in this body, don’t be too hard on yourself. God knows that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).
Not only that, but you were hurt by someone who loves you. Someone who is close to you. Someone who instead of having your back, instead of scratching your back…stabbed you in it…talked about you behind it…didn’t watch it.
But, you know what the word of God says…
Matthew 18:21-22 (NKJV)
21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Plus, the relationship you have with them is important to you. It’s bigger than the betrayal. It’s bigger than the denial. It’s bigger than the pain they caused you, so you make up your mind to forgive them. And, the fact is that you know that as much as people say that you can forgive and not be in relationship anymore, the truth is that no matter how bad we hurt God, He is always willing to forgive us and remain in relationship with us.
Yep, you’re not just saying you forgive them to be SC (Spiritually Correct instead of Politically Correct). You’re aren’t just saying it because it’s the right thing to say. You aren’t even saying it to manipulate God into forgiving you for your sins because you know His forgiving you is based on you forgiving others.
You really forgive them….so why do you still feel ‘some type of way’ about them?
And, the truth is that the pain is not as bad as it once was, but it’s till there. You have to admit to yourself that…
YOU’RE STILL BITTER, BUT BETTER THAN YOU WERE…
Is it because looking at them, places, people, songs, smells…things periodically, when you’re mind is not even on what they did brings it all back? Or, is it because you find yourself trying to think about it sometimes?
You really forgive them. You want to. You are consciously trying to. Forgiveness is in your heart. You want to move on as if it never happened…why does it still bother you sometimes?
The fact is that the decision to forgive and proclaiming forgiveness is the easiest, first step. The act of true forgiveness is a process that takes time. Just as much as God is working in you to get over it, the enemy is trying to find ways to make you hold on.
One of the most powerful revelations to obtaining forgiveness and remaining in relationship is when you realize, accept and rejoice in the fact that…
One of the reasons people remain bitter is when they keep comparing their present relationship to what it was before. Make up your mind that “All things have become new! (sound familiar?)” When you set your mind on building a better relationship on what you have…learned lessons and all, it can actually be better.
When you think about it, this is what God does with us when we accept Yeshua, Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior. He knows that the relationship He had with us before will never be the same, but all things are new and it will be better because His Spirit now works in us to convict us of our sins…
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
It takes just as much love to truly repent, humble oneself and ask for forgiveness as it does to forgive.
Come on now, you know how hard it is to say “I’m sorry” sometimes!
So, if you are in the process of getting over something. If you are hurt, but not as hurt. If you are thinking about it less and less… Keep praying, fasting if necessary, and keep nurturing the relationship just as God does you when you ask Him for forgiveness.
And, if you are seeking forgiveness, but it seems they aren’t quite over it. If it’s not quite as bad as it used to be, but they still have their moments… be thankful that it’s getting better. Pray for God to continue to heal their heart, and respect the pain you caused them. Don’t become bitter over their bitterness.
Bitter but better is still progress. Celebrate the progress, you can go from BITTER TO BETTER, TO BETTER THAN EVER.
Or, do you really mean it when you say…
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
13 I can do ALL things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.
In the early to mid 1990’s a little girl bounced, pigtails swinging, into her first day of kindergarten. She insisted on going in alone. As her young parents watched her disappear in the door, both their eyes welled up with tears. This bittersweet day that they, both looked forward to and dreaded had finally come – and it was more bitter than sweet.
You see, this little girl had courageously overcome at least one surgery every year to correct birth defects. The doctors said she would be both blind and brain-damaged to her devastated, but faithful parents at birth. Each year, she would desperately reach back for her parents as staff took her from ‘The Bunny Room’ (where children could choose a toy before surgery) off to the operating room. God honored their faith and through the expert staff at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis TN., she was neither blind nor brain damaged – God worked a miracle in her life.
Her mind was sharp, and God blessed her with sight in one eye and a prosthesis that fit perfectly over the other eye that both looked and moved perfectly.
However, as beautiful as she was, there were still some minor, subtle features that made her feel uncomfortable…and we all know how cruel children can be in school.
This little girl walked in with the excitement and hope of all children to have the friends and normal school experience that all children deserve…and yes she did make good friends. But, there are always those children and some adults who love to amuse themselves and affirm themselves at the expense of others.
This sweet little girl was BULLIED.
This sweet little girl would have her expectations of a happy school year ripped from under her EACH year by a few other children who felt she didn’t deserve to be happy at school.
They weren’t there at the ‘Bunny Room’ before surgery…
They weren’t there for the pain as the scars healed…
They weren’t there as she looked in the mirror desperately wanting to just feel normal…
They weren’t there when she begged morning after morning to stay home from school…
They weren’t there when she looked her parents though tears asking “why don’t they like me?”
This constant emotional, physical and psychological abuse slowly chipped away at her self-esteem as her parents did everything they could to help their sweet child. There are few things worse than sending your child to a hostile environment…with little to no power to change it.
Sometimes as she put her head in her hands to escape to herself for a few moments, children would still poke her in the back of the head. WHAT IF, in a temporary moment of rage she raised her head and blindly lashed out with a pencil striking one of the bullies in the temple with a pencil…who would be made to look the villain in this situation.
She wasn’t the villain, and didn’t ask to be the victim.
As much as violence has no place in our schools, we must ask ourselves WHY when some students lash out.
When I watch some tragic news stories, I sometimes wonder what led to that point. It isn’t always violent video games and music that lead to such behavior…they sometimes provide the fuel for emotions that have been created through bullying.
Yes, some people come out on top after years of bullying, but everyone isn’t blessed with the same coping mechanisms…some just can’t handle it.
This young lady made it through school allowing herself to continue being hurt, without hurting someone else…but if she had, the last thing she deserved was to be portrayed as a villain and possibly imprisoned because she couldn’t take it any more.
I am in no way defending those children who violently attack their fellow students and teachers, but we must be honest enough with ourselves to realize that SOMETIMES…there is more to the story.
Unfortunately, bullying doesn’t stop in school. Adults do the same thing once they begin working. There are bullies in our offices, stores, factories…anywhere people can work. One of my greatest disappointments in ‘growing up’ in realizing how many of us don’t.
When someone is born with challenges that most of us don’t have to endure, let us not allow bullies to ruin their lives. Too many time our culture not only allows, but sometimes supports this behavior. Let us be sensitive to them, Let us embrace them, nurture them…they deserve to enjoy life as everyone else.
This young lady turned out to be a beautiful person both inside and out – to God be the Glory!
Just as the man born blind in John Chapter 9, many times God has special purpose to get glory out of their lives. Their lives are meant for PURPOSE and not PAIN.
John 9:1-3 (NKJV)
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.
We have all done this. The one and only interaction that you had with someone was a bad one. You left a bad impression. Someone caught you on your worst behavior. Someone caught you on your worst day. Someone caught you in the heat of your anger and frustration. You were rude. You were mean. You were short. You were arrogant. You were proud. You were jealous. You were horny. You were apathetic. You were unholy. You were in your flesh.
It was the one and only time he, she or they interacted with you on a personal level, and you were at your worst behavior.
You were out of your character, but they didn’t know that. It was a lapse in your character, but they were left thinking…that’s just how you are.
Even though we are commanded to love one another, you gave them a good reason to not like you.
That person or those people were left thinking you weren’t a very good person.
Has this happened to you?
How can you fix it? What can you do?
Well who in the bible left a horrible first impression ? Let’s look at one well know example…the Apostle Paul.
We all know that Paul was passionate in his persecution of the church. His first impression was negative to countless Christians whom he persecuted, and his reputation preceded him.
Acts 8:3 (NKJV)
3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
Galatians 1:13-14 (NKJV)
13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
But, once Paul was converted, he began to build a new reputation, which took time. He was even more passionate and more zealous for sharing the word of God than he was when he persecuted the church.
1 Corinthians 15:9-10 (NKJV)
9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Through his labor and his sincere effort to share God’s word and God’s love, Paul built a new reputation, and many of those who knew him to be a persecutor of the church recognized him as a devout preacher whom they didn’t fear, but respected.
Galatians 1:23 (NKJV)
23 But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.”
So, what can you do about the bad impressions that you have left behind? What can you do about the bad seeds that you have planted? It’s nothing deep, and really quite simple…
You may never get an opportunity to see those people again, but if you do, make sure they see the real you, no matter how they act.
You have to work hard just as Paul did to leave behind enough new good impressions to outweigh the bad. You have to continue to prove that those bad impressions were not your true character.
You have to establish your reputation so that if any of those people who you hurt, snapped at, provoked to sin, left a bad impression can’t help but think… “That wasn’t him or her”.
Of course, there will be some people who will always be convinced you are the bad person that you introduced to them, but overall, just like Paul, you will be known for who your are.
God has promised that your good character and integrity will protect and preserve you…
Psalm 25:21 (NKJV)
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.
What? What are you talking about Aldtric? When God causes division in your relationship?
Well check this out…
Matthew 10:34-36 (NKJV)
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’[a]
Wow! Why would Jesus say this? I thought Jesus was all about peace…harmony…agreement. I have to admit that years ago I used to let this scripture trouble me.
Let’s read one more verse that brings it all home…
Matthew 10:37 (NKJV)
37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
God demands that we love Him first and that we always put Him first, even when it comes to family. He knows how much we love our parents. He knows how much we love our spouses. He knows how much we love our children…especially our children.
God wants to make sure that we don’t allow our love for those closest to us to become worship…the idolatry of putting them first.
He knows that sometimes the love we have for those closest to us will cause a spiritual conflict and dilemma.
God knows sometimes we will have disagreements in our homes over spiritual things. Because of the verses above, I believe that sometimes God Himself presents these situations.
It could be over where to go to church, when to go to church, how much to give, what changes we will make in our household.
We all know that even when both people in the relationship are believers, they aren’t always on the same page. Couples don’t always mature spiritually in harmony. They don’t always receive and respond to the word the same.
Have you ever had a disagreement in your family over something spiritual?
Sometimes, God will present to you an opportunity to choose between you and your loved one. He will give you the opportunity to assert to those closest to you that you will put Him first, and will not compromise…even then it comes to them. And, when you choose Him and His will, you then have to trust God to bring peace.
There are also some situations where there may be a married couple who does not believe in God. One of the two may come to believe before the other…here God did not bring peace, but division, just as the scripture said. This most likely happened very often in the early days of the church, and perfect provision was made for this situation in 1 Corinthians Chapter 7.
You may have a child who wants to participate in an activity that will prevent them from attending worship service. If do what we are supposed to do as parents and assert that nothing comes before worship, it will cause division.
How about this one, your child wants to listen to music that is inappropriate…this can cause division.
Sometimes the person who’s closest to you may want you to go somewhere, do something, read something or watch something that you feel may be displeasing to God… this will cause division.
But, when this takes place, God is still working it out for the good of everyone involved. When you find yourself being put in the position to put God’s desires before you loved one’s desires…
Stand your ground based on the bible and not how you feel.
Go and pray that God soften your loved one’s heart to submit to His will.
This is a big one! Regularly pray for His spirit of agreement in your relationship, just as He is one with our Lord and Savior, Yeshua Christ Jesus. (Read John 17:20-23)
Trust God to THEN bring peace into your relationship.
One more thing…
The next time you are frustrated with God, or feel He is being unfair to you. Be careful that you DO NOT share how you feel with your loved one. You don’t want their love your you to cause them to be upset with go too. Trust God! He will eventually resolve the situation that’s troubling you, and when He does, you don’t want to have been a stumbling block their relationship with Him.
Whether it’s a marriage, parent child relationship, close friends or whatever…
When God causes division in your relationship, it isn’t to tear you apart, it’s to bring both of you closer to Him.
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