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WHEN THINGS WENT BAD

2 Samuel 6 records the account of when that which was meant for good turned out bad, and here is what happened.

Moses had the Ark created according to God’s design, and after being placed in the tabernacle, it represented God’s presence with Israel (Exodus 25:10-22; 37:1-9; 40:16-21, 34-38). It traveled with them during their years in the wilderness, during the conquest of Canaan, their settling in the promise land, and into the time of Eli, the priest, when the Ark was set up in Shiloh (Joshua 18).

Unfortunately, Israel became rebellious and rejected God, who consequently rejected them. Therefore, when a battle with the Philistines occurred, and Israel took the Ark into the battle mistakenly thinking this would bring them victory, they were sorely defeated (1 Samuel 4:3-11).

The Philistines captured the Ark and took it to Ashdod, where God allowed a series of calamities to occur. When they placed the Ark in their temple with their idol god, the idol god Dagon was broken into pieces, and plagues struck the inhabitants of Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron while the officials were deciding what to do with the Ark (1 Samuel 5). After seven disastrous months, the Philistines sent the Ark back to Israel on a cart drawn by two milch kine.  

When the kine stopped in Bethshemesh, the people mishandled the Ark by looking in it, resulting in God slaying numerous men. Next, the Ark was taken to the house of Abinadab in KIrjaathjeaaarim, where it remained for twenty years (1Samuel 6-7:2). Finally, during King David’s reign, he decided to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 6:3 states, “And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart,” and this is when things went bad. 2 Samuel 6:6-7 states “And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the Ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the Ark of God.”

Bringing the Ark to Jerusalem was the right and honorable thing to do but not following the specific instructions of God for transporting the Ark was a grave mistake. According to God’s direction, the Ark was to be covered and carried on the Kohathites’ shoulders using staves placed through rings attached to its’ corners (Exodus 25:13-14; Numbers 4:15). The mistake of not finding out how the Ark was to be transported rested on David. David thought God would be pleased with his actions, and Uzzah thought he was helping prevent the Ark from suffering damage. The sad thing is Uzzah died because he was misplaced by his leader.   

The greatest lesson for all to learn from this experience which happened to David and Israel on such a grand occasion is that tragedy can ensue when we don’t follow the instructions. Our lives and possibly others depend on our obedience. So, it behooves us to find in the Word what God had to say before we make a move and not wait until after things go wrong.   

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER

                                

Many of us make mistakes in this life because we did not know the right thing to do, which stems back to our early childhood experiences. As children, our homes became our first schoolroom, and it is here that we learned practices and traditions that we display throughout our lives. Our parents were our first role models, and being young and impressionable, we adopted whatever we saw. At that time, we weren’t able to discern that something was not good or right.

This reminds me of a story that shows how we can do something that does not fit our situation, but we do it because that is what we learned. The story is about a lady who learned how to roast a piece of meat from her mother. She did everything her mom did in the recipe, even cutting a chunk of the meat off as she placed it in the pan. One day she got curious about why her mom cut the meat, and when she inquired, her mom told her she needed to ask her great grandmother because that is what she had seen her mom do. When she finally reached her great grandmother, she told her she cut the meat because the pan she used was too small. For generations, even though their pans were big enough, the ladies were cutting off and discarding good meat simply because that is what they had seen and thought was needed to make the roast taste good. How often have we done things because we followed what we saw in the past without understanding why the action was implemented?

When I reflect on this, it reminds me of the scriptures, which speak about God visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation (Exodus 20:5-6; 34:7; Deuteronomy 5:9). Just like our sins move from one generation to the succeeding and family illnesses can be traced in our bloodline, the same holds true for learned negative behaviors being replicated from one generation to the next.

Rather than blame my parents for my mistakes, I now understand that they were repeating what they learned from their parents. So, now that I know better, I had to apologize to my children about some harmful and even detrimental practices that I learned from my parents that I instituted in my life and my children’s life when they were growing up. Why did I do this, you may ask? Well, I am striving to follow the saying of Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better.” I am breaking generational curses of wrongdoing, and I am admitting errors existed in my life that surely needed to be rectified. God is helping me expose mistakes, and with His help, people are receiving this word and doing as I did, for we know better.

DON’T CHARGE GOD FOOLISHLY

We all know the story of Job how God told Satan about Job’s outstanding qualities, which caused Satan, with God’s permission, to target him with calamities. In one day, Job’s ten children were killed in a wind storm, the raiding Sabeans killed his servants and took the oxen and the assess they were watching, a firestorm killed his sheep and the servants watching them, and the Chaldeans captured his camels, and slew the servants that were watching them.

What was Job’s response, he tore his mantle and shaved his head which both were a sign of mourning, and then bowed down and worshipped God. Job did not sin nor charged God foolishly. Job uttered this statement, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Job went from being prosperous and having his quiver filled to poverty and no living children in one day. Nevertheless, without the help of a Bible, commentaries, or a spiritual leader, Job understood the nature of God; thus, he would not fault God for the turmoil and suffering in his life.  Later, neither did he sin with his mouth when God allowed Satan to attack his body and his wife suggested he curse God and die.

Yes, as you continue to read the book of Job, you will find Job questioned why these calamities occurred; however, when God finally responded to him, He did not tell Job why. While we are yet alive, for those of us that have the why question, we may not get an answer, and when we get to heaven, the answer may no longer be important enough for us to seek one.

Presently, our world is in crisis. Every nation is experiencing problems, and its’ citizens are feeling despair. People, young and old, are dying unexpectantly and families are grievously mourning, and the spirit of depression lingers in the air. Consequently, many who experienced trauma have begun to slander and talk negatively about God. They can not understand how a loving God could allow misfortune to happen. Questioning believers have thrown out all the scriptures that acknowledge that everyone will experience pain and heartbreaks in their lifetime. They have forgotten our only answer is that God is with us and will sustain us in every situation.

So, as I come to a close of this blog, I encourage you to follow Job’s example and don’t charge God foolishly but remember in the end, all things worked together for his good, God blessed him doubly, and God can do the same for you.

KILL THEM WEEDS

                                      

Recently, I was engaged in doing some lawn care, specifically, pulling out weeds, and in so doing, it gave me the topic for this weeks’ blog, “KILL THEM WEEDS.” Also, handling the weeds made me compare them to demonic spirits, which made me recall the instructions God gave Israel before they went into the Promise Land.

First, God spoke to Moses and told him about the fruitful land that Israel would inherit. Then He said that Israel was to drive out by utterly destroying all the inhabitants, comprised of seven nations greater and mightier than them (Exodus 3:17; 23:23-24; 34:10-17; Deuteronomy 7:1-5). Furthermore, God told him that if Israel failed to follow his instructions, these nations would become a snare to them, yielding undesirable results (Numbers 33: 50-53, 55).

Years after Israel was in the Promise Land and prior to the death of Joshua God, told him to warn Israel that mingling with the seven nations would be detrimental to their existence (Joshua 23:9-13). Unfortunately, the scriptures revealed Israel’s failure and disobedience to God’s instruction. They left remnants of these nations in the land and eventually suffered consequences for their actions (Judges1:19-36; Judges 2:1-3).

Just as allowing weeds to grow freely causes unwanted damage, much more unrestrained demons cause havoc in people’s lives. To help you understand what I am saying, let me share some pertinent information on weeds and demons:

  • There are all kinds of weeds, and there are all kinds of demons.
  • Weeds can be perennial, biennial, or annual. Demonic spirits can take residence in people’s lives over a varied time frame, and some linger longer than others.
  • Weeds germinate, develop and propagate rapidly. Once a demon gains entrance and settles in, they invite other demons to join them (Matthew 12:43-45).
  • Some people characterize weeds as the bully of the plant world. Demons seek to intimidate and dominate people’s lives (Matthew 8:28).
  • You will find various weeds grow geographically. Demons are assigned not only to people but also places (Ephesians 6:12).
  • Weeds will grow anywhere and migrate in different directions. Demons are everywhere, and they will take you in whatever direction necessary to accomplish their goal (Luke 8:31-32).
  • When you pull out weeds, new weeds will grow up in that exact spot. The believer must engage in daily warfare, for the enemy will attempt to re-enter if given the opportunity.
  • If there is a crack in your pavement, a weed will begin to grow there. Entertaining sinful thoughts can crack open the door for demonic activity.
  • Some weeds have thistles on them, and to pull them out, gloves are needed. Some demons seek to hurt you as they are exorcised (Mark 1:26; 9:18-26).
  • Some weeds can travel up a fence and cause the fence to be damaged as their vine thickens. Stop demonic activity from destroying those they encounter and enlarging their territory.
  • Weeds can hinder the proper growth of needed vegetation. Demons hinder the plans God has for our lives
  • Some weeds cause allergies, others are poisonous, and others can cause blisters. According to their classification, demonic spirits can cause infirmities.
  • Some weeds have become resistant to weed killer. Sometimes, that which was once effective in expelling a demon no longer works (Mark 9:28-29)

I hope that as you conclude reading this blog, you see the correlation I’ve made between weeds and demons, and as you kill them weeds, you will aggressively and systematically destroy them demons.

TRUST IN THE LORD

We hear so many voices, and everyone has their own slant on a subject that, for many, it is hard to know who to believe. That is why I recommend that everyone incorporate these scripture verses found in Proverbs 3:5-6 into their daily routine.

Before I share my thoughts on these verses, I want to include several translations of them in this blog, and they are:

(KJV) Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord

(TLB) Trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success. Don’t be conceited, sure of your own wisdom. Instead, trust and reverence the Lord.

(MSG) Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God.

(TPT) Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make.
Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.[b]
Don’t think for a moment that you know it all.

King Solomon, who was known to be the wisest man living at his time, told his son in whom he needed to place his confidence. He said to him that he should not waver and do this placement half-heartedly but do it whole-heartedly. Solomon expressed that his son should not put any stock in his ability but incorporate God into all of his affairs. Thus, with God involved in His choices and decisions, he would be successful.

Most importantly for all of us, I believe if we take the instructions of Solomon seriously, we will not start our day without seeking Divine intervention. If I am neglectful, it is an indication that I think my day will go well without His help. Furthermore, I believe the haughty spirit that wants to control our lives desires us to overlook God, but we must take authority over that spirit and humble ourselves to seek and trust God. Though many voices are speaking into our ears, causing us to question who is telling the truth, I thank God that I know and have a relationship with Him, the Truth Giver, and I am daily learning to trust and obey.

HE HUNG NAKED

On that momentous day, He surrendered to the will of the Father, and His enemies hung Him naked. He took the abuse, pain, and humiliation and made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. He could have stopped His crucifixion, but He chose to suffer the excruciating pain and the embarrassment. He was innocent of all the charges against Him, yet He accepted the abuse placed on Him.

Like many of you, I visualized Jesus on the cross as depicted in the many displayed portrays of His crucifixion. I saw His arms stretched out on a wooden cross with spikes driven through the palm of his hands.  One foot was placed upon the other with a spike piercing and tacking them on the wood. Additionally, I saw whip marks across His chest and a small piece of material covering his loins. Unfortunately, after the hours of inquisition, what is portrayed is not an accurate picture of how Jesus looked.

The account of Jesus’s crucifixion experience is written in Psalms 22:1-22; Isaiah 50:6; Isaiah 52:14; Isaiah 53:3-12; Matthew 26-27; Mark 14-15; Luke 22-23; and John 18-19. If you want more insight, I recommend that you do as I did and research the Roman practice of crucifixion to reveal a more vivid account of what transpired.

The scripture revealed while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane with His disciples and awaiting His captors, Jesus experienced hematidrosis, which resulted in Him sweating blood from the thought of what He was about to experience. It is here in the middle of the night Jesus is arrested and taken to Caiaphas, the high priest and the Sanhedrin where he was questioned, and because they thought He had blasphemed God, they plucked out His beard. Additionally, He was blindfolded, punched, slapped, and spat in the face by the guards.

In the early morning, He was taken to Pontus Pilate, the governor, to answer the charge of blasphemy, and when he refused to defend himself, Pilate sentenced Jesus to death. However, prior to His crucifixion, the Roman soldiers scourged Him, pressed a crown of thrones on His head, and struck it with a scepter.

With His body bleeding, marred beyond that of any human being, He was made to carry His cross through the streets to Golgotha until Simon the Cyrene was enlisted to help carry the cross.  The week before the people had spread their garments in the streets as Jesus rode through Jerusalem while they cried, “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highes,” but now some of the people jeered and mocked Him as He passed by.

At Golgotha, they offered Jesus wine mixed with myrrh which would have numb some of His pain, but He refused to drink it. So, He experienced added pain as the soldiers mercilessly nailed Him naked to the cross.

Medical science believed on the cross, Jesus probably experienced cramps, spasms, dehydration, dislocation of shoulders, lungs collapse, and heart failure. Altogether He experienced these five kinds of wounds: contusion, laceration, penetration. perforation and the last incision when a soldier thrust a spear into His side. However, in the midst of His pain and humiliation, Jesus continued to show concern for the people, for He prays for their forgiveness, and He connects His mother with His beloved disciple. 

Everyone on Golgotha saw His horrendous physical wounds; however, few could imagine the mental and emotional pain He suffered. First, Jesus suffered the rejection of His disciples after He was arrested. Then while on the cross, He felt alone, rejected, and separated from His Father for the first time in His existence; so, He cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Nevertheless, in the final hour of earthly life, Jesus knowing He had fulfilled His purpose and God was in control He was heard saying, “It is finished” and “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

As a result of what I now know, Jesus’ crucifixion has added meaning to me. God allowed the people to see Him naked; nothing was hidden from their eyes. Jesus’ body fully exhibited the mistreatment and abuse He bore due to lies and jealousy. He hung naked as an example for us, for many of us have experienced pain and suffering at the hands of others. We have been ashamed and embarrassed to let people know what happened, but Jesus showed us what to say and do as He hung naked, completely exposed for all to witness. His experience served a greater good, and possibly our exposure could do the same.

IT NEVER ENDS

This blog is the result of a conversation I had with a fellow believer this week. After our conversation, I knew I had to do this blog. What did we discuss, you may ask?  We discussed spending eternity in the lake of fire. We talked about the unending pain that unbelievers will experience, their desire for the experience to be a dream, and the awaking realization that their situation will never change; it never ends. Why did this happen; because their names were not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and unfortunately, there is no do-over after the White Throne judgment.

This is the definition of eternity: infinite or unending time, a state to which time has no application, timelessness, endless life after death, a period of time that seems very long, especially on account of being tedious or annoying. Eternity is where everyone will exist when all is said and done. Some will be spending their time living peacefully on the new earth with Jesus, and others will be weeping and gnashing their teeth in the lake of fire.

There will be no comfort offered for those in the lake of fire, and no extended sympathy for everyone will be experiencing the same horror. Furthermore, the Bible reveals in the lake of fire, you are tormented day and night forever (Revelation 20:10). This means severe physical or mental suffering never ends.

As I look around, I see many people who grew up attending church, and I know that they were taught the Word while there. They were introduced to God and His son Jesus; however, from their current lifestyle, I know that they do not have a relationship with either. Truthfully, I can’t fathom what they are thinking, especially in the times in which we are living. If ever we need an anchor, a hope, and a hiding place, we sure need it now, especially knowing and seeing this world is not getting better.

Therefore, I must take this time to extend an invitation to anyone that is reading this blog who has not accepted Jesus as their Savior to do so now. Please don’t put this critical decision off, and don’t think you have time to do it later. God sent His son to earth to redeem us and to provide us with the opportunity to become part of His family. Most of all, He wants you to spend eternity which never ends with Him, and not in the lake of fire.

THE BELIEVER’S INDEPENDENCE DAY

On tomorrow July 4, 2021, the United States will celebrate its’ 245 Independence Day. It is the day we celebrate our Declaration of Independence from Britain, which took place on July 4, 1776. There will be parades, picnics, family outings, concerts, and fireworks on this day throughout America. Additionally, the world will see the many forms of celebration via the various media platforms.

Americans celebrate Independence Day once a year, but believers can daily commemorate our spiritual Independence Day. We were liberated from sin, Satan, and death on two important days.  First was the day that Jesus died, and then on the day, He rose from the grave.

Way back in the Garden of Eden, God declared our future independence to the serpent in the presence of Adam and Eve when He said. “I’m declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers. He’ll wound your head, you’ll wound his heel” (MSG). It took the passing of 76 generations for this prophetic word to come to fruition, and when it did, humanity was truly set free.

Our nation was freed from Britain in 1776, but in 33 A.D.Jesus freed the world forever. He gave each one of us the opportunity to take advantage of His sacrifice and the ability to confess, declare and experience our greatest Independence Day.

DEFEATING THE SPIRIT OF PRAYERLESSNESS

As this week progressed, I felt like I would not post a blog; however, while in the gym the other morning, I was praying about prayerlessness and decided I would post a blog about it this week.

There are those that are trustworthy intercessors, and they spend large portions of their day in prayer. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. Truthfully, I am the kind of believer that must disciple themselves to pray, and sometimes I struggle with doing so. I pray because I am a mature believer, and I understand the ramifications of a prayerless life. Additionally, I am comfortable with my struggle because I know that as a teacher of the Word, I can teach others about the struggle to pray because of my personal experiences.

In prayer, believers can fellowship with God, and they can get needed directions; therefore, this is the main reason the enemy wants prayerlessness to prevail. Satan at one time had a prestigious position in God’s kingdom; however, since his removal from that position, he does not want anyone else to become close to God. He is happy about the Spirit of Deception and pride that clouds our minds into thinking we are self-sufficient and have the ability to be successful without the assistance of our Creator. He is pleased believers don’t realize prayerlessness defeats and hinders the purpose, plan, pleasure, promises, and power of God.

There is so much for which to pray: God’s will on earth, the top news report, Israel. Countries in the world, governmental official, hospitals and their workers, law enforcement, charitable organizations, corruption, abuse, sickness, all levels of education and educators, businesses, religious organizations, parents and children, family members, and marriages. This is just a short list; I am sure you could add to this list. The Bible instructs us to pray without ceasing, and I guess as we see and hear things throughout the day, we would be praying without ceasing if we said a little prayer.

Our flesh wants to rule us, but we must bring it under subjection; we must rule over it.  When struggling to pray, cast out the Spirit of Prayerlessness, Spirit of Jezebel, and Antichrist and bind the Spirit of Prayer, Grace, and Intercession to yourself. Don’t allow the enemy to defeat you. God is calling us to be a co-laborer with Him on the earth. He intervenes on our behalf when we pray;  so, let’s untie His hands and defeat prayerlessness by praying.

THE CONSEQUENCE OF THE DUE SEASON

Last week I posted a blog titled, “YOUR DUE SEASON IS CONDITIONAL,” and this week, I am going to share information on what to expect when you follow God’s instruction on receiving your due season.

Let me start by reminding you that God’s ways are not our ways, and He definitely does not think like us. As seen in my blog last week, I believe many of His actions are to foster our dependence on Him. He puts us in highs and lows and in a land where we must trust and rely on Him for our well-being and productivity.

From the two scriptures given in last week’s blog, we learned the prerequisite for the due season is walking, keeping, doing, listening, loving, and serving. All of these actions cause the rain to come to water the land; however, there must be clouds for the rain to come, and here lies our dilemma.

To help you understand what I am saying, let me share some of the definitions of a cloud:

  1. A visible collection of particles of water or ice suspended in the air, usually at an elevation above the earth’s surface.
  2. Anything that obscures or darkens something or causes gloom, trouble, suspicion, disgrace, etc.

When I read the second definition, I thought of the things Paul described in Romans 8:35, 38-39: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, death, principalities, powers, things present, things to come, heights, and depths. To me, these things could be included in the second definition. So, while I welcome the clouds that will produce the rain for my due season, I will also experience hardships.

To help me endure the hardships, God gives benefits, as seen throughout the Bible. First, in the cloud direction was received (Exodus 13:21; Deuteronomy 1:32- 33). Second, in the cloud, the glory of God was revealed (Exodus 16:10; Exodus 24:16 -17), and in the cloud, God communicated with His people (Exodus 19:9; Numbers 11:25; Psalms 99:7; Luke 9:34 -35). Thus, God does not exempt us from the issues of life, but as we trust in Him, He gives us benefits to help us successfully navigate the terrain.

Knowing these things in our mind and heart should provide comfort and assurance that God is for us, He is with us, and He won’t leave us alone as we wait on our due season and eventually experience it.