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DON’T ACCEPT IT 

God created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden, filled with every tree that was pleasant to the sight and good for food. Also in the midst of this garden was the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God instructed Adam, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:16-17). According to Genesis 2, it is after this that God made Eve.

The scriptures do not reveal how long Adam and Eve lived in the garden of Eden before the information shared in Genesis 3. In this chapter, the record of a conversation between the serpent and Eve is revealed. In their conversation, the serpent questions and lies to Eve concerning the instructions given to Adam. Eve’s response after this conversation was stated in verse, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Whether Adam was present during the conversation between the serpent and Eve was not stated, but when she took the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and ate it, he was there because she gave some to him, and he also ate of it.

1 Timothy 2:14 says, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” The dictionary defines deceived as a person causing someone to believe something that is not true, typically to gain some personal advantage. I understand in the case of the serpent and Eve; the serpent was the one that gained a personal advantage for through deception, he caused Eve to open the door to unbelief and disobedience. These acts caused man to lose dominion, and sin entered the world.

Additionally, Adam, the head of the household, the person given authority by God to subdue and have dominion, knew Eve’s action was not right, yet he was cooperative. Adam had the opportunity to speak the truth and subdue the serpent, but he did not. It is each of our responsibility not to accept the lies, insinuations, and promptings of the enemy.

We have the Holy Spirit that leads and guides us. We have the Spirit of Might and the Spirit of Counsel to assist us further. Allowing these attributes to have preeminence in our lives and sharing truth with those in error can cause great spiritual success when needed. Therefore, with boldness at the appropriate time, say these words, “Don’t accept it.”

THE CONSEQUENCE OF LAYING YOUR HEAD ON DELIAH’S LAP

Portions of the words that God told Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5,10 can also be seen in the life of Samson, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. Instead of a prophet, God chose Samson to be a Nazarite and judge in Israel, and he was to pull down the Philistine nation by delivering Israel out of their hands.

Samson’s parents followed God’s instructions on how to raise Samson; however, when Samson became an adult, he was driven by the lust of the eye and flesh. When he saw honey in the carcass of a lion that he had killed, he ate some of it and gave some to his parents. He did not share the fact with his parents that he was doing something forbidden by the laws of God.

When he saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines, he coerced his parents to arrange for her to be his wife and when his parents voiced their concern, he insisted that they make the arrangements. Regrettably, this arrangement ended in the death of the intended bride and her father.

Years later, Samson became intimate with a Gaza harlot, again putting his life in danger, but he escaped his enemies due to his strength.

His final, fatal act was with Delilah from Sorek. When the Philistines found out Samsom was regularly visiting her, they arranged with her to betray him for eleven hundred pieces of silver. In Judges 16:6, Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.” Three times Samson lied to her about this, and he was able to escape the trap to ensnare him. Unfortunately, after being continually pestered by Delilah, Samson told her the secret of his strength. She was able to lull him to sleep as he laid his head on her lap, and while asleep, she had the seven locks shaved off of his head. When she prompted him to wake up and said, “The Philistines be upon thee, Samson,” he did not realize his hair and strength were gone. Consequently, the Philistines finally captured him, put out his eyes, and made him their slave.

In his lifetime, Samson made costly mistakes, and despite his mistakes, God still used him to kill the Philistines. However, I believe if he had followed God’s laws, God’s purpose for his life would have still been fulfilled without the tragic end.

Samson’s life warns us of the following:

  • Lusting after the wrong thing eventually imprisons you.
  • You are deceived when thinking violations of God’s laws are permissible.
  • The enemy will find out your vulnerabilities and attack them.
  • The enemy will strip you of your strength and take your vision.
  • Compromising God’s plan for your life leads to consequences.
  • Feeling comfortable laying your head in the lap of a temptress reveals your naivety.

PRAYING AMISS

Matthew 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

James 4:3a Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss

There are times when I am praying and when I am listening to others pray that the above two scriptures come to my mind. In my prayers and the prayers of others, I realize that we ask for things God has already given us. Not understanding our inheritance as believers, we are praying prayers of petition when we should be praying prayers of thanksgiving.

Before I go further, let me say, yes, in my thoughts, I have taken these scriptures out of their original context for Matthew 22:29 is a response by Jesus to the Sadducees about the resurrection, and James 4:3 was addressing why the early Christian believers were not getting their prayers answered because of their lustful misbehavior. However, like so many of us, I have taken liberties with the scripture and applied these two verses to correlate with my thinking.

If we were applying the Word to our lives, I believe most of our praying would have a different tone because God has already promised us most of the things we request from Him. I wonder if he is thinking, “Why are they asking for this? Don’t they know I have already given it to them? Apparently, they are one of the ones that do not apply the Word appropriately to their lives.” Consequently, one of the meanings of amiss, which is incorrect, is what we are doing, praying inaccurately.

So, for all of you reading this blog, I recommend you take a moment before you make your request known to God and see if He has already provided what you are requesting. Secondly, remember when we pray, if we believe the words of Jesus, as stated in Mark 11:24, our prayers will come to fruition. So, it is not necessary to repeatedly pray amiss but instead substitute petition prayers with thankful prayers.

THE GIFT YOU WON’T OUTGROW

I recently heard a presentation by a minister who talked about the celebration of Christmas that the world does with giving gifts, and when he said, “Jesus is a gift you won’t outgrow,” I was stirred.”

In our world, some celebrate Christmas December 25 as the day Jesus Christ was born; however, some biblical scholars believe Christ was born in the spring while others believe His birth took place in the fall. For those who believe He is our savior and redeemer, the date of His birth does not matter. What is important to us is that he was born and came to earth with a purpose.

God gave us a great gift by sending his son to earth to be born of a woman, and this son fulfilled the promise He made to the serpent in Genesis 3. Jesus came and defeated the works of our enemy and provided sozo for all that would accept Him. Besides sozo, a few more things that Jesus does for us are: He loves us, forgives us, restores us, helps us, intercedes for us, reconciles us back to the Father, teaches us, and blesses us. This list could go on and on, for Jesus is our complete package.

In this life, we outgrow many things, such as friends, jobs, clothes, shoes, and childhood games, but we can never outgrow Jesus. He meets all our needs at every stage of our life. So, at this time, though some may not recognize the gift they will not outgrow, I do and I am grateful for HIM.

NO EXCUSES

God, our creator, knows us even better than we know ourselves, and He does not accept our excuses. When He calls us to do a job, He knows we can do it, and unlike us, He does not question our ability.

There were three individuals in the Bible who God called that presented excuses in an attempt to disqualify themselves, but it did not work. These individuals were Moses, Gideon, and Jeremiah. Let me share a bit of their story with you.

Moses was born into the tribe of Levi; however, he spent his first forty years in the household of Pharoah’s daughter, being raised as her son. After killing an Egyptian, Moses spent the next forty years as a runaway living in the land of Midian. While there, Moses became a shepherd and married Zipporah, the daughter of Reuel.

According to Exodus 3, while attending his father-in-law’s flock on mount Horeb God appeared to Moses in a flame of fire in a bush. God informed Moses that He was sending him back to Egypt as a deliverer, and he would speak to Pharoah. Moses responded, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” God shared with him the events that would happen before the children of Israel left Israel and assured him He would be with him. Still not convinced he would be received by his countrymen and Pharoah Moses offered reasons why he felt disqualified. Becoming angry with Moses, God finally told him, “Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.” Finally, having this information, Moses went to Egypt to do God’s bidding.

Judges 6 shares the story of Gideon, the son of Joash the Abiezrite, who, while threshing wheat by the winepress and hiding from the Midianites, was approached by an angel. Addressed as a mighty man of valor, Gideon was told to go and save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Gideon responded, “Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” As He did with Moses, the Lord assured Gideon He would be with him and cause him to be victorious. After being given a sign by the angel, Gideon, with three hundred men, defeated the Midianites.

Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, was around seventeen years old when God called him to the office of a prophet to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and other nations. After hearing God’s plan for his life, Jeremiah responded, “Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” In turn, God rebuked him with these words, “Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee.” Furthermore, God told him he would speak to kings, princes, priests, and fellow countrymen, and they would reject him; however, God would deliver and protect him.

These three examples show that God is not concerned with man’s ability to be articulate, a person of means, or an adult. What God told Jeremiah goes for all of us. Before we were formed in our mother’s belly, He knew us and had an assigned purpose for our lives despite our human frailties. Hence, before we try to offer God excuses for not doing what he has called us to do, we should remember the words of Paul in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Notably, the word strengtheneth in Greek means to empower, enable, and make strong; therefore, we are equipped and have no excuses.

IMMEASURABLE VERSATILITY

Immeasurable = too large, extensive, or extreme to measure, incalculable, inestimable, innumerable, unfathomable, indeterminable, measureless, limitless, boundless, unlimited, endless.

Versatility = ability to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities, having many different skills or qualities.

As the year 2022 comes to an end, I was trying to think about what God meant to me this year, and the words that described how I felt about Him were “immeasurable versatility.” Above I included the dictionary meaning for these words so that if you only thought of God in a minuscule manner, you now grasp how complex and wonderful He is.

Throughout this year, many challenges presented themselves, but God came to my rescue and did what only He could. I have learned not to limit Him or try to figure His ways out. I just trust and totally depend on Him to assist me.

I can speak for myself, but as I get older, I realize more and more that I need God’s assistance, even in the minute things. He has directed me to areas that I realized after arriving there that my steps were God orchestrated. He brings back things to my memory that was trying to escape. He exposed swindlers that were trying to deceive me. He kept me sane in this crazy world. He kept me out of debt and provided the money I needed when needed. He favored me and caused others to follow suit. Ha has touched me in every area of my life and continues to do so.

As this year closes, I can genuinely say I am ecstatic that God is in my life, operating with immeasurable versatility, and I also pray that He is in yours doing the same.

WHERE I AM

Jesus knew that it was in the plan of God that His disciples be separated from him for a time, but in the future, they would be reunited, and from that time, they would forever be with Him. So knowing His earthly ministry was coming to an end and He was going to leave them, Jesus sought to give a word of comfort about their future. In John 12:26b Jesus said, “Where I am, there shall also my servant be, “and in John 14:3, He said, “And iI go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may also be.” In these verses, Jesus was alluding to the events that would occur after the rapture when believers are caught up to meet Him in the air and taken to heaven as Paul reiterates in1 Thessalonians 4:17, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

While believers are in heaven on earth, the tribulation will take place. And at the conclusion of it, Jesus will return to the earth for Jude 1:14 recorded, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,” and John in Revelation19:14 saw believers as an army clothed in fine clean white linen following the Faithful and True Jesus back to earth to establish His millennial kingdom.

After the millennial reign, the battle of Gog and Magog, and the White Throne Judgment, this earth with its’ heaven will pass away, and there will be a new heaven and earth. John in Revelation 21:2 recorded, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” It is in this new city on the new earth that Jesus will continue to rule as Lord and King and believers will be there with Him forever as He promised.

In closing, according to Isaiah 45:18, God created the earth with a purpose: to inhabit it with His kingdom citizens. As stated in Psalm 115:16, the heavens are His domain, but the earth He gave to the children of men. Finally, Jesus, as ordained before the earth’s foundation, will rule on a pure, lasting earth with all of His citizens fulfilling his words, “Where I Am.”

KINGDOM EMPLOYMENT

The late Reverend Myles Munroe gave this definition for the kingdom, “Kingdom is the sovereign rulership and governing influence of a king over his territory impacting it with his will, intent, power, principles, laws, and values producing a community of citizens that reflect the culture and lifestyle of the king.” Unquestionably, we know one thing about God and His kingdom: He is always working for He never slumbers nor sleeps. So, if believers who are His kingdom citizens reflect Him, they are to be workers.

From the beginning of time, God designed man with the ability to be employed. As seen in Genesis 2, when God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden before He gave him a wife, He gave him employment (Genesis 2;15). After Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s instructions and ate of the tree of knowledge, they were expelled from the garden and were told work would no longer be easy for henceforth, the ground would be cursed, and they would sweat as they worked. Work did not cease with the fall; it just became back-breaking.

Notably, throughout the Bible, except for sick individuals, those highlighted people were usually working. When Jesus chose his disciples, they were all employed. Additionally, many of the parables that Jesus shared center around the theme of working and the rewards for doing so. Such is the parable quoted in Matthew 25 of the man traveling to a far country that gave his servants talents. When the man returned home, these servants had to give an account of how they worked their talents. The reward for multiplying what they received was not to go and rest but to receive a promotion with greater responsibility and employment. And yes, this parable reveals the plan of God for our future, where all believers will be involved in kingdom employment.

Understanding that our time in heaven can be viewed as a honeymoon with our Lord and Savior, it may be the only time believers are not required to work. However, like every honeymoon, it ends, and the participants must return home and return to work. Thusly, after returning to earth with Jesus, all capable believers will have kingdom employment.

FOR THIS, I AM THANKFUL

Last week we celebrated our annual day of Thanksgiving, which is usually when family and friends gather to eat and fellowship with each other. This day also causes people to take time to think and talk about the things for which they are thankful. I, like most, was grateful to be alive, healthy, and have the opportunity to spend time with my loved ones.

However, today I was reading Revelation 16:8-11, and these verses made me stop and ponder over that which I am most thankful. They read as, “And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”

The book of Revelation basically shares information concerning events that will occur after the rapture of the church. It reveals to the readers the twenty-one judgments that will happen on earth. In the past, the world experienced local tragic events; however, catastrophic events will occur globally during the tribulation.

Revelation sixteen explicitly addresses those things that happen during the last seven series of judgments, and they are known as “the bowl judgments.” In verse eight, the sun causes the earth’s inhabitants to be scorched with fire; in verse ten, darkness, pain, and sores plague the individuals in the kingdom of the Antichrist. What struck me most was that despite the sufferings that the people experienced, they refused to repent and acknowledge God. These people were so deceived, haughty and stubborn that they rather suffer than submit to God. Their actions made me know that I am most thankful for my relationship with God. I recognize Him as my Sovereign God, and He chose me and adopted me into His royal family; I will live eternally in His kingdom in the future, and for this, I am thankful.

ELISHA SERIES: ANOINTED AND POWERFUL REMAINS

In 2 Kings 13, after ministering for approximately sixty-five years, performing miracles, and prophesying, Elisha’s time on earth and ministry was coming to a close. For the last forty-five years of his life, the scriptures did not record any events; however, as a prophet and head of the school of prophets, we can assume he was actively teaching, mentoring, and functioning in his prophetic office.

Notably, as recorded in the scripture, he successfully served as a prophet during the reign of four kings of Israel, and the last king whom he gave a Word was Israel’s, King Joash. This happened when out of respect, King Joash came to visit the ill prophet, and during this visit, Elisha shared a word concerning the future of Israel.

Upon arrival at Elisha’s home, King Joash became emotional and wept over the prophet. However, ill Elisha continued to minister in his prophetic office. He placed his hand on the king’s hand and had the king shoot an arrow eastward through an open window. He told the king, “Shoot, The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.” Furthermore, he instructed the king to take the other arrows and strike the ground to which the king struck it three times. The king’s action made Elisha angry and he said to the king, “Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.” Apparently, these two acts were symbolic and reflected the future of Israel’s success and limited victories over the Syrians.

Shortly after that, Elisha died and was buried in a sepulcher. Within that year, a man who also died was cast into Elisha’s sepulcher, and when his body touched Elisha’s bones, he returned to life and stood on his feet. In this last mention of Elisha, we see Elisha, who was anointed and powerful in life, remained powerful in death.

This is the last blog in the Elisha Series. I blogged events from his initial meeting with Elijah until his death. It is said that he did twice as many supernatural acts as Elijah, and just in case you think this is all he did, there may have been acts that he did that were not recorded in the scripture.

At the conclusion of each blog in this series, I ended with my thoughts and nuggets, so I conclude this series with the following:

Reach out to those that are sick.

Paying your respects to a person is an honorable deed.

There will be times in ministry when the world will know you are active, and then there are times you are active behind the scene of which the world is unaware.

Being active in ministry even when you are sick displays commitment and dedication.

Serve others respectfully.

When fighting the enemy, perseverance is always needed.

Live a life that is anointed and powerful so that even after your death, you are affecting the lives of others.