Fear turns best of friends against each other. Fear limits the possibilities for one to achieve greater things in life. Fear changes who we are, what we are about and what we do. And, when someone prays, the responses God gives induce in us a bravery like no other. When the Apostles were threaten and harassed, the bible teaches us that after they had prayed; the earth shook, and they were filled with boldness (Acts 4:31). Prayer is a key component to defeating our enemies, it releases in us powers that for many they have never experienced before; such as boldness( Heb13:6), strength, trust, faith (Mk11:25). In Genesis Chapter 20 we find Abraham because of fear of Abimelech allowing the same to taking his wife Sarah away, and God shutting the wombs of every women in that town as a result. So, after Abimelech returns Sara Abraham prays for the women’s wombs to be reopen, and God does just that (Ge20:17-18). It is through prayer that we see results in life.
1 Samuel 23: 2-4
2 Therefore David enquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the Lord said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah. 3 And David’s men said unto him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? 4 Then David enquired of the Lord yet again. And the Lord answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand.
Now, the city of Keilah was being attacked by the philistines and it was being looted, and while David was trying to stay away from king Saul; who was after him to slay him. It came to David’s ear that this city of Keilah was being rampaged. David prayed unto God to grant him passage to go and defend this city; of which he did. When David brought this to his men fear was their response; they were soar afraid. In fact, the fear was such that David had to go and inquire from God again to make sure that God was going to deliver the enemy unto him. Fear will cause us to not trust God and question his judgement. But, when we pray we find assurance in God’s response (v4). God does answer prayer (ps65:5).
A key component of fear is that it will cause us to go against the very people that help us (1Sam23:10-12). David’s intuition said to him that he was going to be betrayed by the very people he had helped, because he understood that that is how fear works. But, he knew that God knows all things, and that if he prayed he; God, was going to reveal the response to his fear. In God there is no fear (1Jhn4:18). David was able to do what God had put in his heart because he prayed and to conquered fear. How many times have we shied away from something that God has put into our hearts because of fear?
Waking in the shadow of death is having the idea that you will die and that your time is getting closer. A terrible feeling that comes with the idea that we are going to die; your going to leave your family and they will stay alone, comes while one is walking under the shadow(ps18:4-5). This feeling progresses advancing with hopelessness to further deteriorating the soul. David said why are you so down casted oh my soul(ps42:5). Waking in the shadow signifies that something is trailing you wherever you go; especially in times when you are supposed to happy like in the morning. The bible tells us that dark times come when one walks in the night but that our joy comes in the morning (ps30:5). And, the other meaning of the shadow is being mentored it following someone else’s footsteps.
For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.
18 He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.
The Shadow of death influences anyone who adheres to it; those who either willfully are committed to it, or are targeted by the enemy with illnesses or infirmities. Job spoke of this place or state of mind and said that the light of it is as dark as darkness itself (jb 10:22); a place without order. This state of mind of the shadow of death is one that entails depression and fear. Job’s ordeal landed him in this valley of the shadow of death which he felt to his face (Jb16:16). David said in Psalms 23:4 that he was not going to fear even though he was going to go through this valley of death. At one point or another in our lives we will encounter this valley, and fear will be a key component that will induce terror in us, but we must not forget which God we have believed in. David understood that he was going to go through the valley of death, but was going to come out of it, because his faith in God gave him that assurance. God is in the business of leading his people out of the valley of the shadow of death (ps107:14). God with his marvelous light of his Son leads his people out of this valley (Is9:2).
Being a halfway Christian has its limitations. Sure, we have some knowledge; we know a couple of verses, a thing or two of eschatology, but we are not complete. Paul tells us that we need to come to the fullness of Christ and that is by those of us He has called to exercise our calling (Eph. 4:11-14). It has become a way of Christianity, settling for a faith that is service delivered or when we attend church. And, to many it is what it is because of what the church is offering, a limited knowledge, a limited faith, a limited gospel a service driven life style. Attending service is essential to the building of ones faith, but it has its limitations these days because of what we are teaching and living. Today, we are teaching a doctrine that is half way nurturing and many are taking part and becoming settled. Jesus spoke of this type of people in Matthew 13:15 where he states “For this people’s heart has grown callous; their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn back- and I would cure them.” But, the gospel is full of power (Mt.22:28-30), the religious people in Jesus’ time tried to entrap Jesus with the topic of resurrection. They presented a situation where a woman married seven brothers and at the resurrection wanted to know whose wife
4 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
Now, Apollos became a born again Christian who was powerful with the scriptures, especially with the Old testament and with Christ. He was of fervent spirit and, he came in the picture of the bible arguing and debating Christ with the religious people, but he had a limitation. He only knew the baptism of John and he did not know the power of Christ with us. He could have settled and continued with what he knew, but he did not. Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and laid out the complete gospel and he became more equipped. Throughout the bible we are encouraged to grow in the knowledge of Christ (2Pt3:18, Ro2:12), because that is what fuels the fire in us; growth. And, we need to desire growth in order for God to use us the way he wants to (1Pt2:2). Apollos became this mighty man of God whom helped the apostles and the church press forward.
Living your life to how you were purposed to is important and something that needs to be considered. When someone lives a life purposed nothing else in life matters, but is included and has equal importance. Purpose driven life by Rick Warren is a powerful book and has essentials for one to enjoy living to the fullest in God. There some who live a life somewhat purpose, but have not experienced the fullness of Christ as Paul mentions in Ephesians 4:13. Living a purposed driven life includes a worry free life style. There is no thought for religious activities, personal interest, because with a purpose driven life style a natural perspective takes precedence. David said that in this path of purposed driven life there is fullness of joy (ps.16:11). It is a state of rest the purpose driven life it was called the Sabbath. And, God commanded Moses to write it on the Ten Commandments and it numbered number 4(ex20:8). God thought it important for his people to walk in a state of rest that was continual.
23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. 24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? 25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? 26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? 27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28 therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
But, at times some things come to light of which we purpose ourselves too; a relationship, a job, a career, a place, and instead the things that are around us being purposed for us we become their purpose. Jesus was confronted by these people whom when they saw his disciples chopping corn from the stalk and eating, became offended. Their idea was that man was created to practice the Sabbath, because it was the 4th commandment. During the Sabbath no one is supposed to work except for the priests. The bible class us a royal priest-hood(1pt2:9) and that we should show forth the praises of him that called us out of darkness. So, Jesus brings to their memory the time when David, after he was being chased by king Saul that he and his men went to the house of God and ate of the holy bread. Now, the only condition for which the priest gave the bread to David was if the men were separate or holy, and David affirmed. When we are separated from this world we can participate of the Lord’s rest(he4:1-3).
Not everyone is a friend of God, many people are just acquaintances. In order to establish a relationships of friends with God that is progressive, it has to pass that of acquaintance. Abraham was known as the friend of God he established this relationship he believed God he called him. Believing God is a principal for establishing a friends relationship, like in any relationship. Friendships are established securely with trust.
man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Friends; Greek texts and some literal English translations of the Bible differentiate between the two: philo (friend, loved or dear); hetairos (comrade, associate, companion, partner).
A friend is one for whom we have affection (phile). This type of friendly affection as “feeling” or “sentiment”.
Therefore a friend (philos) is one whom we love (phile); hence, a friend is one whom we do good toward from an affectionate conviction.
4 Levels of Friendship
Acquaintance- This stage is all about getting to know one another better, but not divulging a lot of personal information or intimate details
- Examples-sharing some feelings and thoughts but only “positive” ones about non-controversial topics. You’re there to have fun, share a task or coffee together and you should keep conversation light and friendly.
- Other examples- coworker, some church members, even family members.
Casual Friendship- discover common interests, activities, and concerns, you may be given freedom to ask more personal questions.
- discuss negative things as long as you spend more time talking about positive ones and leave on an upbeat, emotionally supportive role.
- Examples-spending face-to-face time at least once a week, willing share personal information,
- Other categories would be romantic friends and romantic lovers; wives and husbands.
Close Friendship (Fellowship)-true fellowship requires that both persons share the same life goals. This third level of friendship carries with it the responsibility to picture true achievement for one another, exhorting.
Matthew 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
- Members are- friends, family, husbands, wives.
Is based in fellowship
1 John 1:5-7
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
This type of relationship strives to exempt lies from the relationship. It is based on truth.
- Walking with and in God is the basis of this relationship; because it requires one to walk in the light in order to have fellowship with each other.
Intimate Friendship- The fourth, and deepest, level of friendship should be based on a commitment to generously invest in one another’s lives with the goal of helping each other mature in Godly character. Honesty, humility, and discretion are requirements of an intimate friendship.
- Freedom to correct, and admonish is evident.
- David and Jonathan reached this level. Jonathan made a soul covenant with David 1Sam. 18:3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.
Friendship with God as well as every other relationship follows these four stages.
Leaving the things which pertain to the kingdom of God as secondary or for the last minute is a condition of which the church of God today is becoming accustom. We are aware that our inner man needs enriching. We understand that day after day we need satisfaction of life; family, friends, and work, and that there are things that we need to do to achieve such. Some things in life can wait, but not too long and there those things that cannot wait. That if we wait a little too long they; those things we procrastinate on, can have some detrimental effects on our lives. Take for instance the sloth; the slowest animal, and by nature he is a procrastinator unlike humans. We are not meant to be procrastinators. The bible tells us the a slothful person is related to a waster (prov. 18:9). Doing things, especially those things that are not of interest becomes a drag and a pain in the neck, and a slothful person will have troubles making hast (Prov. 19:24, 26:15). A slothful person acquires penalties in life of which some one cannot recuperate (Prov. 10:4).
Matthew 25: 6-8
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
Jesus spoke of these ten virgin whose characteristics were equally divided between the diligent and the slothful. The rewards for the diligent are secure. Prosperity comes to one who is diligent. God’s favor is with those who press to faithfulness and he calls them “good and faithful servants” (Mt.25:21). But, what makes a last minute Christian? The five slothful virgins were not all that willing to building on their oil reservoirs. Building your oil reservoir takes some work and effort. For example, one has to practice exercising their faith in God when life unwanted moments come. Also, one has to engage in prayer, fasting and reading of the word when tired or discouraged. Now, it is easier to sloth it out then to build your oil reservoir. Risking that your light turns off has become a way of today’s Christianity. Many do not understand the effects of walking in this dark world with ones light off. In the parable of the five, two and one talents the person with the one became an unprofitable servant, because of his slothfulness (Mt. 25:24-25). God calls us to be fervent in spirit (Ro. 12:11).
In a moment of turmoil and of hardship; when every hope seems to be at a lost, God always has a way to shine through. No matter how dark the circumstance or how sticky things are turning out, the Lord always makes his entrance known. Take or instance when Jesus died at the cross his disciples found themselves in a room filled with sadness, hopelessness and confusion. All the promises Jesus had made to them were as if they never had been spoken. But, all hope was not yet lost it so happens that after Jesus rose from the dead he appeared to several people include two who were on their way to Emmaus and he opened the scriptures to them (Lk24:32). The bible tells us that God is near to the broken hearted (Ps.37:14-20). Hopelessness is a state of despair where a remedy seems to be out of sight and out of mind, kind of like what job felt (Job 7:6). In order for one to come out of hopelessness there needs to happen signs of what one is expecting beyond a reasonable doubt something that will take ones faith to an escalated level as Luke describes in Hebrews 11:1; that faith is evidence of that which is not seen. God’s hand is not shortened, he still saves (Is. 59:1).
36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
When Jesus appeared to his disciples that upper room it was as if they had seen a ghost; there hopelessness messed with their minds, and made them confuse the glory of God for something from the spirit world. And, the first thing Jesus says to the disciples is peace, now peace is the introductory agent to defeating hopelessness. Jesus appeared to the disciples as himself not as an angel or some other figure, so the disciples had no reason to think that he was a ghost. Despair allows us to see things not the way they are intended. Jesus gave his disciples that circumstantial evidence that they needed to get out of hopelessness; he had them touch his wounds and he ate in front of them (Lk24:39-43). Such demonstration crushed that spirit of hopelessness, Jesus’ resurrection power from the dead caused his disciples to regain their faith. But, to secure his disciples from ever feeling hopeless Jesus opened their understanding to the scriptures (Lk24:45).
In order to participate in the wedding of the lamb once they have accepted the invitation they must dress accordingly; these are signs of the chosen. There are the called and then there are the chosen. The called are those that are invited like everyone to come to be a part of His church. The chosen are those who accept the invitation and come and dress to the occasion. God’s expectation is due everyone who is invited to come, so he prepares everything for them; Jesus said in my father’s house there’s are many mansions I go to prepare one for you. It is that hope that God has for man to want to participate in a kingdom like his, that forbids him to stop extending the invitation to man. A few are chosen are a time, some times because of how man comes; not dressed to the occasion without a valid excuse forfeits the chosen.
Matthew 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
As the change for the choosing occurs because of some negligent factors in this parable about the king inviting his friends over to the wedding, we note that besides accepting the invitation the factor of coming prepare plays a major role. The parable is about two people both called but one was chosen. Revelations 17:14 John writes that the chosen and the called will be with the Lamb of God (Rev. 17:14). It is a joyous thing to become a chosen one (Ps. 105:43). To be called an invitation has to go out and once the invitee response to the invitation RSVP then he/she will be considered a chosen one. Now, there are some of us who will wait to the very last minute to send their RSVP for whatever reason, it is similar for the kingdom of God. Yet, God has made a covenant with his chosen (Ps.89:3) with the promise of eternity as the backbone. Making a conscientious decision to chose to respond yes to the invitation is one of the better decisions anyone can make and Mary did so (Lk.10:42). In this parable the king sent for his chosen people but since they rejected he sent out for the unwanted, the ones no one wanted, prostitutes, drug dealers, murderers, gamblers,liers(1cor. 1:27)
Thomas Obadiah Chisolm (1866-1960) was a normal man but with several illnesses that prevented him to enjoy life to the fullest. He was a poet with every day struggles. At the age of 27 he came to Christ and was comforted with God’s faithfulness. It is what happens to every broken person that comes to Christ a comfort beyond the imagination that no matter what happens in your life he comforts you. The Armenian Christians have been under heavy persecution for many years. During WWI a young lady escaped a convoy that was on its way to a prison camp and as she made her way she came across 14 young girls that were crucified
. The girls were naked on the crosses. They were crucified for their faith in Jesus Christ.
22It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
23They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
24The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
25The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
26It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
Jeremiah was the known as the weeping prophet and he wrote the book of lamentations for how God felt about his people. It is a book of poems depicting God’s faithfulness. Chapter three uses the Jewish alphabet with Israel’s sinful actions in every aspect from A-Z. Now, the way humanity has been moving from worst to worst one would wonder how long God will tolerate us, but his mercies are ever lasting; they do not fail. His mercies are new every morning. Throughout the live people have made God their portion like David (Ps.16:5). Great is his faithfullness
, the psalmist described God’s faithfulness to reaching the skie (ps.36:5)so he said that God’s faithfulness protects him (ps.40:11). God’s faithfulness is part of his essence (gal. 5:22) it is that concept and hope that keeps us strong and moving forward. Our outer being, we know is deteriorating (2 Cor. 4:16), but the inner is growing and moving closer to Christ.
Satan’s influences are always active towards us. All his energies are directed towards God’s people to destroy us and make us fall. The price for repentance we pay determines how are relationship with God is. Just saying I’m sorry is not sufficient in repentance we need to; like the proverbs says, forsake the sin for the repentance to count. David was confronted with a decision of whether to receive a gift and offer to God after he had sinned or to purchase that which was offered to him and offer it to the Lord. Araunah: a Jebusite whom David went to purchase his land for an offering to God, on the other hand was willing to give not only the land for the sacrifice but the wheat, bullocks, and the wood, because of his experience with the angel and the king. Our experiences with the Lord determines the what we are willing to offer to him whenever we are called too.
1 Chronicles 21:18-24
18 Then the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord.20 While Araunah was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 Then David approached, and when Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground.22 David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.”23 Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.”24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”
After David sinned and began his quest of repentance the angel of the Lord shows him a place to build an alter for the Lord’s sacrifice. It was a place where the wheat was being collected; a symbolic place for the harvest. The chosen man/women of God is considered the wheat in biblical terms (Mat. 3:12). Now, David had to decide if he was going to pay the price for the land or take it for free as it was being offered. He portrayed a symbolic action as that of Christ’s, that he (Christ) was willing to pay the price of life for our redemption and this we see when he said ” I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing”(1Chr.21:24). Paul said that we were bought with a price (1Cor. 6:20). Now, Aranuah a Jebusite and an insignificant person who was about his daily chore and was not aware of the prophetic happenings that was going to transpire from God, encountered and experience with God. His experience changed his entire way of giving like the widow who gave all she had in Jesus’ time (Lk.21:3). His sons hid when they saw the angel as many of our children who have not had encounters with God. Aranuah’s wheat gathering was a symbolic time segment of the collection of God’s people (Mat. 9:37).