Learn How to Live a Victorious Christian Life and Seek the Heart of God
Victorious Christian Living Newsletter – June 2014
This issue includes:
1 Article From Me
Something to Think About
Interesting Bible Facts
A Powerful Story
Favorite Article from My Blog
Links to My Other Sites
Disobedience To God Can Be An Awful Thing
I encourage you to read the whole chapter of I Samuel 15, but for the sake of having a shorter post I will summarize much of it and just give you key verses.
15 1-2 Samuel said to Saul, “God sent me to anoint you king over his people, Israel. Now, listen again to what God says. This is the God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaking:
2-3 “‘I’m about to get even with Amalek for ambushing Israel when Israel came up out of Egypt. Here’s what you are to do: Go to war against Amalek. Put everything connected with Amalek under a holy ban. And no exceptions! This is to be total destruction—men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys—the works.’”
Samuel, the Priest, was told by God to anoint Saul to be the first king over Israel.
But he was given specific instructions about what he was to do. God told him that He would utterly destroy the nation of Amalek because they had come against Israel and tried to destroy them. Now they would pay the ultimate price for what they had done.
BUT… Saul was given specific instructions: he was to totally destroy everything, with no exceptions.
God helped them win the huge battle against the Amalekites; now they were to do as He commanded and utterly destroy everything the Amalekites owned. But… they didn’t.
7-9 Then Saul went after Amalek, from the canyon all the way to Shur near the Egyptian border. He captured Agag, king of Amalek, alive. Everyone else was killed under the terms of the holy ban. Saul and the army made an exception for Agag, and for the choice sheep and cattle. They didn’t include them under the terms of the holy ban. But all the rest, which nobody wanted anyway, they destroyed as decreed by the holy ban.
It seems that Saul felt he knew what was best because he was the king, and he only did part of what God had told him to do. He saved back the best animals for a sacrifice to God for helping them utterly destroy Amalek.
Even though Saul had greatly disobeyed God, when Samuel confronted him, he tried to justify his actions. His story was that he had only saved the choicest of the animals to sacrifice to God to thank Him for giving them victory.
I’m sure it didn’t seem like a big deal to him at the time, but when God gives instructions, He expects you to carry them out fully.
God was so upset with Saul that he took his kingship away from him. From that day on, his life went radically downhill until he totally lost the respect of those who had once loved and honored him as King.
He had lost sight of the One True God and had made him a ritualistic god who would be pleased with a sacrifice over obedience.
1 Samuel 15:22, 23 MSG
“Then Samuel said, Do you think all God wants are sacrifices— empty rituals just for show? He wants you to listen to him! Plain listening is the thing, not staging a lavish religious production. Not doing what God tells you is far worse than fooling around in the occult. Getting self-important around God is far worse than making deals with your dead ancestors. Because you said No to God’s command, he says No to your kingship.”
From the Wesley Commentary
… obedience to God is a moral duty, constantly and indispensably necessary; but sacrifice is but a ceremonial institution, sometimes unnecessary, as it was in the wilderness: and sometimes sinful, when it is offered by a polluted hand, or in an irregular manner. Therefore his (Saul’s) gross disobedience to God’s express command, was not to be compensated with sacrifice.
Those are unworthy to rule over men, who are not willing that God should rule over them.
When God tells you to do something, it is extremely important that you do it even though you might not understand the significance of it. Sometimes God is testing you to see if you will be obedient. What He told you to do might seem very insignificant and mundane to you, but the God of the Universe has told you to do it.
How insignificant can it be if God Himself has told you to do it?
You never know when God might be testing you to obey in a very small thing because He desires to use you for something much larger in the future.
Since we humans desire to find logic in everything, it is easy to dismiss something we think is small as being insignificant.
Saul ignored what he thought was a small thing and decided to do things his own way, and it ultimately cost him his kingship.
Not only that, but he spent years being jealous of David; he was so obsessed with jealousy that he tried to kill him several times. By disobeying God, he lost his integrity and honor with the people he ruled, and they quickly turned to David as their leader because he had the integrity that Saul had lost.
Saul’s disobedience cost him dearly. Instead of dying as a beloved king who ruled well, he died in shame by being ruled by jealousy and obsessed with the fact that the people had lost confidence in him. He died in disgrace because he disregarded the word of God spoken by Samuel during that one important time.
There is one action that tips the scales toward a downward slide, but there is a heart issue that always precedes it. Tweet This
Pride does terrible things to a person. It causes them to think they are indispensible and have power they ultimately do not have. It totally destroys their ability to think rationally and leaves them ultimately disgraced and sometimes destroyed.
If you absolutely know for certain that God has told you to do something, PLEASE! PLEASE! Be obedient to do it. Disobedience can cost you much more than you ever imagined.
Something To Think About
The Knife And The Scalpel
The knife sliced through the man’s shirt like a razor, entering his back at the shoulder and cutting diagonally toward the spine. Skin and muscle melted like mutton before a cleaver. The shock paralyzed him, and searing pain tore through his body like currents of fire.
He tried to scream, but the knife had punctured a lung. Being withdrawn, it was plunged in again. And again. The third plunge was most cruel, stabbing, carving, nicking spinal cord and puncturing heart.
The victim twisted toward his attacker, seeing through anguished eyes the face of his betrayer.
Three times the scalpel lacerated the man’s chest, scoring the skin, cutting along carefully drawn lines. Its surgical steel grew red. Flesh and fat separated, the chest opened. Soon the heart was bared.
Two knives – One in the hand of a killer, the other in the hand of a healer. One cut into the back, the other into the chest. Three stabs for the betrayal; three for the surgery. The surgeon, being healed, was operating on the man who had attacked him.
This is the story found in Luke 22 and John 21.
Three times Peter stabbed Jesus in the back. And three times, Jesus cut Peter to the heart. The Lord knew that Peter’s guilt and his sense of shame were blacker than coal.
But he also knew that Peter would never become the bold and brilliant leader of the early church if he spent his days groping in the coal mines of guilt and moping in his mineshafts of shame.
So he told him, in effect, to get over it, to put it behind him, to renew his love for his Master, and to get busy feeding the sheep.
Interesting Bible Facts
A word employed in the English Bible in two senses:
- Generally, to distinguish those of the fighting men who went on foot from those who were on horseback or in chariots;
- In a more special sense, in 1 Samuel 22:17 only, and as the translation of a different term from the above –a body of swift runners in attendance on the king. This body appears to have been afterwards kept up, and to have been distinct from the body-guard –the six hundred and thirty– who were originated by David. In each of these cases the word is the same as the above, and is rendered “guard,” with “runners” in the margin in two instances – 1 Kings 14:27; 2 Kings 11:13
Frontlets, or Phylacteries
These “frontlets” or “phylacteries” were strips of parchment, on which were written four passages of Scripture, (Exodus 13:2-10;Exodus 13:11-17; Deuteronomy 6:4-9;Deuteronomy 6:13-23) in an ink prepared for the purpose. They were then rolled up in a case of black calfskin, which was attached to a stiffer piece of leather, having a thong one finger broad and one and a half cubits long.
They were placed at the bend of the left arm. Those worn on the forehead were written on four strips of parchment, and put into four little cells within a square case on which the letter was written. The square had two thongs, on which Hebrew letters were inscribed. That phylacteries were used as amulets is certain, and was very natural.
The expression “they make broad their phylacteries,” (Matthew 23:5) refers not so much to the phylactery itself, which seems to have been of a prescribed breadth, as to the case in which the parchment was kept, which the Pharisees, among their other pretentious customs, (Mark 7:3-4; Luke 5:33) etc., made as conspicuous as they could. It is said that the Pharisees wore them always, whereas the common people only used them at prayers.
a well-known plant with yellowish stem and bright-blue flowers. Its fibres are employed in the manufacture of linen. The root contains an oil, and after the oil is expressed it is issued as a food for cattle. Egypt was celebrated for the culture of flax and the manufacture of linen. The spinning was anciently done by women of noble birth.
It seems probable that the cultivation of flax for the purpose of the manufacture of linen was by no means confined to Egypt, but that, originating in India, it spread over Asia at a very early period of antiquity. That it was grown in Palestine even before the conquest of that country by the Israelites appears from Joshua 2:6.
The various processes employed in preparing the flax for manufacture into cloth are indicated:
- The drying process.
- The peeling of the stalks and separation of the fibres.
- The hackling. ( Isaiah 19:9 ) That flax was one of the most important crops in Palestine appears from (Hosea 2:5;9)
(Taken from Smith’s Bible Dictionary)
A Powerful Story
Keep On Singing
Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3 year old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling.
They find out that the new baby is going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sings to his sister in Mommy’s tummy. The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee.
Then the labor pains come, every 5 minutes… every minute. But complications arise during delivery. Hours of labor. Would a C-Section be required?
Finally, Michael’s little sister is born. But she is in serious condition. With sirens howling in the night, the ambulance rushes the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee.
The days inch by. The little girl gets worse. The pediatric specialist tells the parents, “There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst.”
Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their home for the new baby, but now they plan a funeral. Michael keeps begging his parents to let him see his sister, “I want to sing to her,” he says.
Week 2 in intensive care: Things don’t look good. Michael keeps nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. Karen makes up her mind. She will take Michael whether they like it or not.
If he doesn’t see his sister now, he may never see her alive. She dresses him in an oversized scrub suit and marches him into ICU. He looks like a walking laundry basket, but the head nurse recognizes him as a child and bellows, “Get that kid out of here now! No children are allowed in ICU.”
The mother rises up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered Lady glares steel-eyed into the head nurse’s face, her lips a firm line. “He is not leaving until he sings to his sister!”
Karen tows Michael to his sister’s bedside. He gazes at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. And he begins to sing. In the pure-hearted voice of a 3 year old, Michael sings: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine; you make me happy when skies are gray…”
Instantly the girl responds. The pulse rate becomes calm and steady.
“Keep on singing, Michael.” “You never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away…”
The ragged strained breathing becomes as smooth as a kitten’s purr. “Keep on singing, Michael.” “The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms…”
Michael’s little sister relaxes as rest, healing rest, seems to sweep over her. Tears conquer the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glows. “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”
The baby is well enough to go home! Women’s Day Magazine called it “The Miracle of a Brother’s Song.” The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God’s love. A few weeks later Michael’s little sister was baptized at the Panther Creek Church.
My Favorite Blog Post For The Month
Do You Have Enough Faith To Dig Ditches?
2Ki 3:16 And he (Elisha) said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches.
2Ki 3:17 For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.
2Ki 3:18 And thisis but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.
2Ki 3:20 And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.
2Ki 3:21 And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armour, and upward, and stood in the border.
2Ki 3:22 And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood:
2Ki 3:23 And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil.
2Ki 3:24 And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country.
To try their faith and obedience, Elisha bids them make the valley full of pits to receive water. Those who expect God’s blessings, must dig pools for the rain to fill, as in the valley of Baca, and thus make even that a well, Psalm 84: 6. We need not inquire whence the water came. God is not tied to second causes. They that sincerely seek for the dew of God’s grace, shall have it, and by it be made more than conquerors. –from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary-
What we think of as being extremely hard is very easy for God. Tweet This
The people were in a huge bind. They might have been mighty warriors, but no matter how strong they were, they were brought to a screeching halt because there was no water to drink.
So many times we think we can take care of ourselves and do it on our own, but just like in this passage, we can be brought to a complete halt because of one large or even tiny circumstance that is beyond our control. Things can change very quickly for the worse and many times we can do nothing about it.
But God already knows how he will handle every problem and He has a blueprint for you to follow that will always result in His Best for your life. That is why it is so important for you to read the Bible, pray, and ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit to know and understand His plan, and in what direction you should go to follow it.
God does things totally different than we do when it comes to problem solving. He told the people that it would not rain, but the ditches would be filled, and He kept His Word.
When you have read the Bible enough to start to know and understand how God works, you will begin to have a much bolder faith; you know He will always keep His word if He has told you He will do something.
If you cling to that Word, when Satan tries to tell you that what you are believing God for will never happen, you can tell him very boldly to “go away and leave you alone in the Name of Jesus Christ.” The good thing is that he will have to do it if he knows you are walking in and acting upon the truth.
Cling to the promises of God, and don’t let anything or anyone make you change your mind. God WILL do what He says even though it might take longer than you would like. He always does everything right on time – never early or never late.
If you know that God has told you to do something, do it with all your heart, mind and strength, and don’t listen to anyone else who might try to convince you otherwise. After all, they are not the ones who heard God – YOU ARE.
We need Christians who will stand up and claim God’s promises BEFORE they see them happen. God will always honor His Word, and He wants you to have the radical faith to believe it no matter what the circumstances are like around you.
First, make absolutely sure that you heard God correctly; then believe that what He said will come to pass with all your heart.
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That’s it for this newsletter. May God bless you as you strive to live for Him and walk in obedience to what He desires!