Month: May 2014
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6 NIV)
For when you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are an integral and most valued part of the family of God, the company of the redeemed and it matters not what background, race, culture, or station in life, that you come from, for it doesn’t have any relative worth or significance. The one and only thing that matters or has any meaning at all; for it is superior to any and all other things and nothing else will work or have the desired effect, so is therefore absolutely meaningless, is our belief in and our walk with God, showing by our overt and caring actions towards others, that we are walking in His love by loving others and giving His love away unconditionally! (Galatians 5:6 PDCP)
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4, 5 NIV)
Listen up, people of The One True and only Lord God Almighty, this is something that should be brought to the forefront and attention of everyone, children included! Love, holding nothing back or in reserve, The Lord your God with the most inward part of your being, the very essence of who you are, allow Him and only Him to occupy and have your heart, put Him at the center of your thoughts, make Him the desire of your soul and mind, and always give your ultimate effort to, honor completely, The Lord your God with all the strength and might of your body, in actions and deeds. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 PDCP)
HARASSED BY THE PERSISTENT HUNTER OF OUR SOULS!
Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 GNT)
Recently, at a weekly meeting that I have with a group of young men, one of them asked me if I had ever heard of “exhaustion hunting,” also referred to as “persistence hunting.” Check out this site. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_hunting) I had, but didn’t immediately connect it to the stories I’d heard years ago about the Kalahari bushmen of Botswana in the Southern African region. As he began to share, relating the details of what was involved in this type of hunting and how it is carried out, a powerful thought started to form and come together in my minds eye, an illustration of what can and does take place in the spiritual realm, but is carried out in the physical realm of our everyday experiences in life.
Briefly, the tactics of the hunters is to carve out, isolate and separate from the herd the biggest antelope, (kudu) with the largest horns, in other words the one carrying the most weight, usually the leader of the herd. The hunters then begin to harass and chase their prey down by running and tracking them, without giving the antelope an opportunity to rest or catch their breath, which they are required to do once they start overheating from being pursued in 100 F plus degree temps. The only way they have to cool down, because they do not have the ability, as humans do, to sweat, is to slow down to a gallop so they can pant and find a place of shade to rest and recover; before being able to resume at full speed. The hunters keep constant pressure on the animal by co-ordinating the attack from all sides, surrounding them while leaving few options, other than to keep running for their very life.
Once exhaustion finally sets in, the animal collapses and is easily overcome with the hunters quickly putting them out of their misery.
Until the very end, when the animal is stabbed with a spear, at close range, no weapons are used against the animal except for the intense pressure of the harassing chase. This hunting technique has been used effectively even against the fastest animal in the animal kingdom, the cheetah. No matter the type, size or kind of animal, all of them are no match for those who are experienced in “exhaustion or persistence hunting.”
I’ve seen, up close and personal, how the enemy of our souls utilizes this very same tactic against individual leaders who carry a huge weight of responsibility within the ministry and with the people they are called to care for and serve.
Between a combination of stress, watching a spouse endure excruciating abject suffering, with her at times, feeling so overwhelmed, that she suggests that if you really love her, you’ll end it all for her, by simply taking her pain and suffering away, by putting her out of her misery with a pillow over her face until it was over; an overloaded schedule, too many duties, sleep deprivation, (weekly being up and awake for stretches in excess of 90 plus hours) unrealistic expectations, constant challenges, irritating, infuriating problems, issues that continue to arise, such as, with a spouses health and then the ensuing financial pressures that begin to mount, as well as, having to deal with health care providers related to the health of family members and the increased workload of the ministry, to eventually feeling overwhelmed and isolated, hopeless, helpless and quite inept without any ability to affect a respite or give any relief to the situation. It becomes a real grind and ordeal just to survive.
Through it all, though, God uses these things to perfect and perform His ultimate purpose in us and for our benefit. For some of us, it seems to be the only way that works, so, because of God’s great love for us, He’ll do whatever it takes to break us, so as, to accomplish His will for our lives, for only when we are broken can we fulfill His perfect will.
We also can see that this scenario has been played out in the lives of biblical characters in history past, as well. There was Esau, who was taken advantage of by his twin brother Jacob, when he was so exhausted and tired, even to the point of being hungry and thirsty unto death, that he gave up his birthright for something to eat and drink. (Genesis 25)
King David was utterly crushed when confronted with his failures. This can clearly be seen by the content of his prayer in Psalm 51, but he cried out in an appropriate manner, a humble and contrite heart and he cried out to the One True God, the only one who could grant him mercy with restoration and healing.
The prophet Elijah, after his great victory on Mount Carmel, was overcome with fear and terror and as a result, ran away and hid, filled with the shame of being fearful of an evil queen. (1Kings 18)
In the New Testament, Peter was surprised and greatly disappointed in himself, filled with remorse and shame, even to the point of giving up and going back to being a fisherman, not a fisher of men, any longer, because he had succumbed to the pressure and stress and found that he didn’t measure up. (John 18)
A couple of observations that perhaps will help alleviate or at least ameliorate the situation, when being harassed by our enemy, although, sometimes there is just no escaping it. It is absolutely vitally imperative to have a strong prayer covering, a spiritual covering, a peer/accountability group covering, a healthy body, a place to go and get rest and to be refreshed, the proper amount of sleep (very important, because when sleep deprived one does not make good decisions), make sure that you are not only giving, but you are also receiving, so that, you will continue to have something to give, do not become isolated or cut off form others, stay connected, this will be difficult, but absolutely necessary. And finally, accept that, we are our brothers keepers, no one is an island, we all need each other. So, continue to pray, feed, give, receive, fellowship and worship, always being forever grateful that we serve a loving, merciful, gracious, ever faithful Savior, who is The God of Resurrection, Restoration and New Life and has overcome the harassing enemy of our souls, whereby, even if we are overcome by the enemy, if we will cry out to Him, with a humble and contrite heart, He, our God, in His love, mercy and grace, will Restore us….again and again…
Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars. (Proverbs 9:1 NIV) And here, I believe, they are! Enjoy, be blessed…
(1.) FEAR OF THE LORD-it is the foundation and the beginning of WISDOM. Honor, respect, give glory to, worship, obey and serve with your whole heart. (Proverbs 9:10)
(2.) KNOWLEDGE- is understanding and applying what you know and have learned in appropriate, good, and beneficial ways. (Proverbs 9:10) Also, KNOWLEDGE-brings wealth. (Proverbs 24:4)
(3.)DISCRETION/DISCERNMENT-having good counsel, advice, insight and sound judgement. (Proverbs 8:12,14, 15:22)
(4.) PRUDENCE-being wise to overlook insults, do what is right, honorable and pleasing to The Lord. (Proverbs 8:12, 12:16b, 21:3,33)
(5.) INTEGRITY-an upright heart in all dealings in life. (Proverbs 11:1,3, 13:6, 20:10,23)
(6.) CORRECTION-discipline, don’t despise it, yield to it, don’t ignore it, heed it and be honored! Hate it and die! Listen to instruction and live! (Proverbs 12:1, 13:18, 15:10, 15:32, 8:33)
(7.) HUMILITY-walk, clothed in it! Power, wealth and honor comes through humility. We all have a choice…we can choose HUMILITY or choose to be humiliated…we make the choice! (Proverbs 11:2, 22:4, Micah 6:8, 1st Peter 5:6)
READ QUESTIONS AND ACROSTICS!!!
(1.) Are you well READ? Poetry, American and English Literature, The Classics…The Tale of Two Cities-(Charles Dickens),To Kill a Mockingbird-(Harper Lee), The Call of the Wild-(Jack London), Moby Dick-(Herman Melville), The Count of Monte Cristo-(Alexander Dumas), Fahrenheit 451-(Ray Bradbury), 1984-(George Orwell), just to mention a few of the all time Classics…
(2.) What do you READ? Wall Street Journal, Daily Newspaper, Fashion mags, Sports, Scify, Fiction, Inspirational, Motivational, Biographies, History, Romance, Biblical Literature…
(3.) How do you READ? Hardcover First Editions, Paperbacks, E-Books on some kind of device, like a Kindle, Smart Phone, Tablet, or on the Internet…
(4.) Do you READ well? Do you have a hard time with reading? Are you able to comprehend and retain what you read?
(5.) Who do you allow to READ you? Friends, Spouse, family, co-workers, a spiritual advisor, God’s Word…
Here are some benefits derived from READing The Book of Books, The Bible, which pretty much covers all of the elements asked in the questions, if we will allow it to effect a change in our lives, by applying the principles and truth therein…
READ-Real Encouragement, Absolute Deliverance! (Job 12:13 CEVUKOO, 2 Cor.7:6 GNT, Rom.4:21 GNT, PSA.35:9 AMP)
READ-Righteousness, Enjoyment, Armor, Delight! Armed&Dangerous…
(Psa.119:142 GW, 1st Jn.2:25 NLT, Eph.6:11 GNT, Psa.37:4 AMP)
READ-Rebellion Erased, Abolishes Doubt! (Joel 2:7 NET, Psa.51:9 ERV, Ja.5:15 CPDV, Jude1:22 ERV)
READ-Redemption, Eternity, Adoption, Destiny! (Col.1:14 NIV, Titus 1:2 ASV, Gal.4:5 NIV, Psa.73:24 NLT)
READ-Rejoice, Enlarged, Altered, Diligent! ( Phil.4:4 GNT, Psa.119:32 ISR98, 1st Cor. 15:52 NIV, Josh.23:11 HCSB)
ATONEMENT-Reconciliation of man back to God through the death of of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, upon The Cross. Reparations of wrongs done, by man’s violation of God’s Law and the complete satisfaction and fulfillment of the righteous requirement of God’s Law all brought to a conclusion through the act of appeasement, by our Savior’s willing sacrificial offering of His life upon The Cross. He, with gladness and joy, took our place!
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 NIV)
He, Jesus, became The Atonement for all mankind, by being pierced for our violations of God’s Law, becoming the propitious expiation (the extinguishing of sin and guilt, through suffering); thereby, clearing a path and making The Way back to God possible by an efficacious appeasement of satisfying completely the righteous requirement of God’s Holy Commands. He was humiliated, defaced, deformed and oppressed grievously, because of our wickedness and sin. He endured a punishment that inflicted excruciating pain, which produced horrible suffering, enduring it all just so He could bring us His peace; (a cessation from all toil, turmoil and strife). The wounds He received in His body, now produces and provides healing in ours. (Isa.53:5 PDCP)