How Long Will You Mourn for Saul?

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

Background Story

After King Saul’s disobedience to God’s command to destroy everything and everyone from the Amalek Nation, his kingdom was torn from him. King Saul remained on the throne until he committed suicide, but the anointing was no longer on him. He did not care as much, because in his eyes, he was still “King.”

The Prophet Samuel mourned over this day and night until God spoke to him and asked, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning one Israel?” God told him to fill his horn with oil, and go to Jesse, the Bethlehemite; because a new king would be chosen from there.

Real World Connection

Are you mourning over something or someone that God has rejected? Could that be the reason you have not been given instructions for your next steps?

It is quite possible that your next steps will only be unlocked, after you have decided to stop mourning over something/someone that is no longer serving its correct purpose in your life. When I read a passage from the Book of I Samuel, Chapter 16 in the commentary; it pointed out that God would not allow the failure of a man to stop His work, He would appoint someone else in order to ensure that His purpose is carried out.

Takeaways

  1. Follow the example of the Prophet Samuel.
  2. Discern the time(s)There is definitely a time to mourn, the issue was that the Prophet Samuel mourned over someone God had rejected due to their constant disobedience.
  3. Follow instructions – The Prophet Samuel’s next instructions were contingent on his obedience to the command given to him.
  4. Do not be afraid to let go, there will be something better.

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

Launch Into the Deep and Cast Your Net

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

It is human nature for us to want to do things our own way because ultimately, we believe we know what is best for us. This is especially the case in our area of expertises. Did you know that sometimes, even an expert could still use some help?

This reminds me of Simon Peter. He was a Professional Fisherman, who had been doing it most of his life. He knew the proper weather conditions for fishing, and the proven techniques to use in order to catch fish. One day, he was out on his boat with Jesus, on the Lake of Gennesaret, also know as the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus had been teaching from his boat most of the day. After he finished teaching, he told Simon Peter to launch out into the deep, and cast his net.

Simon Peter was a little exasperated by the directive, and replied that he had already been working all night and caught nothing. He also could have been a little upset because he was a Professional Fisherman by trade, while Jesus was a Carpenter. Not to mention, there had been large crowds around most of the day, so the fish were probably scared away.

*Important Point* Have you ever been in this predicament? Felt as though you had been working diligently for, or towards something, only to receive nothing in return? If you have, then you understand how annoying it is for someone, who seemingly knows less than you about the subject, tells you to keep continue trying. If someone is telling you that right now, you have two choices. You can continue trying, or give up. Which one will you choose?

Choose one

Simon Peter decided to try again, and replied saying, “Nevertheless, at your word, I will let down the net.” Choosing to believe Jesus’s word, created an opportunity of abundance. Simon Peter ended up catching so many fish in the net, that it started to break! He had to solicit help from their partners in a neighboring boat. Each boat became so full, they almost began to sink!

Because Simon Peter chose to ignore the obvious and listen to Jesus’s word, he was rewarded with catching so many fish that he couldn’t contain it all. Simon Peter believed the word and not his circumstances.

*Take Away* We can work very hard, and for a long time without ever seeing results, but when Jesus directs our work, the results will be inevitable!

Wellness Tip: Eat and Drink more antioxidants, they protect your cells against free radicals, which may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food or when you’re exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation. Foods high in antioxidants.

The school bell has rung, class dismissed.

Hold on to your Pearls

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

Wisdom

I came across this scripture and it illuminated in my mind. I decided to read it in the commentary in order to gain a better understanding. It mentioned not to give holy things to the dogs, nor things you hold dear to pigs, because neither will appreciate them.

“If we take our wisdom (like precious pearls) and throw it all around without knowing whether it might fall before dogs (an impure or self-righteous heart) or swine (someone who is considered unclean), Jesus warns us that they will likely tear us to pieces. This means they will twist and distort what is said and then come after us!” Biblestudy.org

There is a time to share, and a time to be silent, lest what you say be misconstrued. Be wise as a serpent, and humble as a dove.

Are these truly my friends?

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

Hypocrite Meter

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

When you hear the word “hypocrite” many images may come to mind. A scheming actor on a soap opera, a politician, or world leader. What does not come to mind is probably the word theater. Yes, I said theater! I remember my surprise learning this information, first semester of my Freshman year in college. Would you believe my first (out of three) declared major in college was Theater? I was quite determined to be on broadway. Starting as a ten year old, I took ballet, tap, and jazz, and as a teenager acted in a few local productions. I got an agent, and I thought I was on my way, lol.

After first semester, I decided to give up on my broadway dreams, be content on the cheer and dance team in college, and change my major again, lol.

I digress, back to the topic at hand, hypocrites. The word hypocrite, simply stands for actor or stage player.

The Greek word itself is a compound noun: it’s made up of two Greek words that literally translate as “an interpreter from underneath.” That bizarre compound makes more sense when you know that the actors in ancient Greek theater wore large masks to mark which character they were playing, and so they interpreted the story from underneath their masks. (merriam-webster.com)

In the past, this word stood for pretense on the stage because ultimately actors were behaving as different characters. It did not gain a negative connotation until the early 1700s, 500 years after its’ original use. When it is heard now, we see it as a person who acts contrary to their beliefs and feelings depending on who they are around.

Anyone who says peer pressure is only a K-12 situation, needs to think again. Peer pressure still exist among adults as well.

Four Examples of Adult Peer Pressure

Friendship – You have a person who you consider a friend or decent individual, but if the group or certain person does not like that person, you feel pressured to start disliking them as well.

Praying over your meal – You have always said grace over your food, but when with certain people, you feel pressured not to do so.

Lifestyle Choices – You uphold certain values that may be perceived as primitive, but when around certain people you feel ashamed of those values and do not want to talk about them in fear of what others would think.

Hobbies – You like doing certain things, but when around certain people you clam up about it, because of being teased before.

These things actually happen in adulthood, and can produce hypocrites if not careful.

Solution

The solution to these issues is to be content.

Be Content

Be content in your choices of friendship – If you are friends with a person, it is for reasons that others may not understand and is between you and that person. If the friendship is true, do not allow other opinions to sway yours.

Be content with your values – If you have conservative values, be proud of that. The people around you will understand if they truly respect you. If made to feel uncomfortable because of your values, consider changing your surroundings.

Be content with lifestyle choices – If you have decided to live according to a certain creed, it was probably for a reason. Do not compromise that for anyone.

Be content with your hobbies – If certain activities bring you happiness, enjoy it! People may not understand why you enjoy it, but our differences are what makes things interesting.

Reflection

Where are you on the Hypocrite Meter?

We have the ability to reflect on our lives, see flaws, and change our behavior. We do not have to behave contrary to our belief system and feelings. We can become people of integrity which is the opposite of a hypocrite.

Being a person of integrity means we reflect on the outside, what is on the inside. Like an integer, we can be whole and complete. We are not perfect, but as the scripture says:

The Challenge

I would like to issue a challenge to myself and others.

Going forward, stop entertaining people that make you feel the need to wear a mask, in order to appease them.

Be yourself. If they do not like it, it is ok. God can and will place like-minded people in your life. Bad company corrupt good character. ~1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not become a hypocrite at the pressure of so-called associates or friends. If they do not like who you are without the mask, they certainly will not care for you with the mask.

Be content. Life is too short to continue worrying about how others feel about you. Spend more energy and time helping those who appreciate it. Do not cast your pearls before swine. This will be the topic of my next post.

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

No Fishing in the Sea of Forgetfulness

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

Over a year ago, I wrote a post about the Spirit of Anti-Progress. If you would like to read it, there will be a link at the end of this post.

Another enemy of progress that I would like to focus on is self-condemnation. The root word of condemnation is condemn. The definition is below:

Key words that stood out from the definition are:

Disapproval

Punishment

Criticize

Castigate

These are severe words that have a negative connotation attached to them. Imagine if you constantly subjected yourself to self-disapproval, self-punishment, self-criticism and self-castigation. How far would you go physically, mentally or spiritually?

Progression IS

Progression is seeing a goal in front of you, kicking the ball into the direction of the goal, and scoring! Progression is seeing the goal, missing sometimes, but doing your best to win the game. Progression is also taking the strategies learned from your losses, and using them to play better the next time.

Progression IS NOT

Progression is not entertaining self-loathing thoughts on a regular basis. Progression is not telling yourself that you are incompetent every other second because you made a mistake. Progression is not perfection.

The failures of yesterday happened either by accident, or on purpose. The failures may have been the result of something out of your control. The good news is that it does not have to define who you are today, or what you will do from this point on. Everyone has made mistakes in their past, even done or said things they were ashamed of; the key is to not allow the feeling to carry on into the next day.

There are two encouraging scriptures I would like to share: The first passage points out that when God forgives sin, He no longer remembers it, and the second passage says that God cast all of our sins into the depths of the sea. This occurs whenever we repent of our wrong-doing. The Sea of Forgetfulness is a metaphor relating to these two passages of scripture.

Hebrews 8:12 (KJV) 
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 

Micah 7:19 (KJV) 
19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. 

These passages should bring us comfort because if God forgets our transgressions after we repent to him, why should we continue to condemn ourselves over them?

It is toxic to repeatedly play negative thoughts about your past, yourself and others.

Toxic Thoughts

Allowing negativity in your mind will eventually brew an environment of anti-progress. Why? Because in order to progress, you have to be in the mind frame of goal setting, and developing steps towards those goals. Continuous thoughts about things that have gone wrong yesterday, is an enemy to progress.

Takeaways

Get out of your head. (Stop letting your imagination run away from you, not everyone is against you. Sometimes you may be wrong about your conclusions of another person. Do not let your negative self-talk, conversations rule your mind so much that you lose sight of what is happening in the world around you.)

Monitor what you put in your ear and eye gate. (In the age of Social Media, we have to be aware that most of what is displayed is negative, or meant to invoke a negative response. Be mindful of what you read, listen to and watch. If it does not add to you, it may be taking away something valuable.)

Do not dwell on past failures. (Learn from them, and carry on.)

Surround yourself with people who support/build, instead of tearing down. (You have heard of the ole English Proverb, Birds of a feather flock together. It is only ok to keep people in your close friend circle if you all are planning to fly in the same direction. Otherwise, politely keep them in the outer courts.)

We all have failed at something, but that does not mean we have to remain at Camp Failure. Stop the self-condemnation, you have too much to accomplish in your life to focus on yesterday. It is time to start thinking about your next steps right now!

When I was a teacher, I remember having students compare and contrast SMART Goals vs the Regular Goals, and it was a game changer for them. Try using it towards your next goal, it will make a huge difference.

SMART Goals

The school bell has rung, class dismissed.

Wellness Tip:

Get enough sleep (and wake up with water)

The body restores itself and regenerates naturally when we sleep. Wake up with water. Your liver works hard at night! Rehydrate in the morning (before having coffee) with one to two glasses of warm lemon water.

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. “ ~Pele

Relevant Post

Hope Deferred: The Butler and The Baker

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

When Joseph was in prison after being falsely accused, much time had passed. Eventually, new occupants arrived from the royal court to the prison, the Butler, and the Baker. Both gentlemen had done something terribly wrong to offend the King of Egypt (Pharoah) and were thrown into prison.

Joseph was given the title, Captain of the Guards because of his moral reputation and trustworthiness. This may sound like an oxymoron for a prisoner, but if you knew the history of Joseph, you would certainly understand. To learn more about him check out the overview of his story at the end of the post.

One morning, both the Butler and the Baker woke up feeling troubled. Joseph noticed and asked them what was wrong. They told him that they both had dreams that disturbed them and wanted to know what it meant. In those times, dreams where considered divine messages and needed interpretation. Being in prison, they did not have access to any of the professional pagan dream interpreters that were normally assigned, so they were vexed about it.

Joseph told them it was God who gave the interpretation of dreams and that God will interpret their dreams. By sharing this, Joseph is showing his humility, belief in God and that God is fully in control.

The Dream

Joseph asked the Butler to share his dream first and the Baker second. After the Butler shared his dream, Joseph said, “The three branches represent three days. Within three days, Pharaoh will summon you to the palace. Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer.” Joseph went on to ask the Butler to please remember him to Pharaoh. Three days later, the Butler was restored to his job in Pharaoh’s court.

After the Baker shared his dream, Joseph said, “The three baskets also represent three days. In three days, you will be summoned to Pharaoh’s court. Pharaoh will lift up your head to be hanged and your body will be impaled on a pole and the birds will eat away at your flesh.” The dream interpretation came to pass for both men. One was restored and the other was hanged.

The Butler forgot to mention Joseph to Pharoah.

Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years since Joseph had been in prison. It appeared that all he could count on to happen were setbacks. It started when he was younger, after deciding to share his dreams with his brothers. The dreams made them so jealous and upset that they alienated him, threw him in a pit, and eventually sold him into slavery to Egypt.

God’s favor was still on Joseph’s life. His godly, moral character and intelligence caught the eye of his employer and he was promoted in the House of Potiphar. After resisting Potiphar’s wife’s advances, he was thrown into prison because of her false accusations. (Genesis 39, 40) While in prison, he was elevated to the title Captain of the Guards, but after helping the Butler, he was still forgotten yet again.

Do you feel as though you are in a dark prison right now in your life, or that God has forgotten you? I have good news, if you are a Disciple of Christ, and are faithful to Him, He has not forgotten you.

Joseph remained faithful to God throughout all of his hard times. He had many ups and downs, setbacks and false accusations. He continued to live according to the commandments in the Bible and because of his steadfastness; God’s hand remained on him, even when he felt alone. God’s hand is also on you. Whenever you feel that you have made one step forward, but three steps back, remember Joseph.

Years later, Pharoah had a dream that none of his professional pagan-dream interpreters could understand. Pharaoh was quite troubled and threaten to execute his sorcerers if they did not provide the interpretation he needed to hear, by a certain time.

The Butler remembered Joseph.

Joseph was summoned to Pharaoh and asked to interpret his dream. Joseph told Pharoah it was God who gave the interpretation and went on to interpret the dream. (Be sure to give all glory to God) To see what Pharoah’s dream was about this click here.

After Joseph was able, through God, to interpret the dream, he ended up being promoted as second in charge in Egypt. Pharoah also recognized Joseph’s God as all-knowing. When you are feeling forgotten, know that is all a part of the process.

The school bell has rung, class dismissed.

Overview of Joseph’s Story

Two Eagles and a Vine: A Riddle and a Parable

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

I have been studying the Book of Ezekiel and decided to park in chapter 17.

I came across a really interesting riddle and parable. Let me preface this by defining the two. A riddle is usually a statement, question or phrase containing a double or veiled meaning; presented as a puzzle to be solved. A parable is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. Jesus was really good at using these. Let’s begin!

This is the beginning of the parable of the Two Eagles and a Vine. Before the Book of Ezekiel, it was prophesied that the Children of Israel would fall into the hands of their enemies, due to their disobedience and lack of loyalty. The first eagle represented King Nebuchadnezzar, and the twigs on the top, represented the nobility of the Children of Israel. He came, uprooted and deposited them in the city of merchants (Babylon). The King made an oath with the Children of Israel and their leader, King Zedekiah. The oath basically stated that they would remain in submission to him, and would be well cared for. He even allowed them to live freely. Think about your life right now. Have you ever felt uprooted and taken out of your comfort zone? Have you felt like you have been given over to the hands of your enemies? Have you felt powerless to stop what was happening? What if I told you that this COULD possibly be the Will of God for your life?

The twigs (Children of Israel) were placed in a fruitful field, by great waters and a tree. They were provided for by God, even though they were in captivity. This captivity was a part of God’s judgement on their disobedience, but through His mercy, He still provided a comfortable living for them. Consider this, the Children of Israel were taken and placed in a fruitful place, the only thing they had to do was pay taxes and be under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar. I know in hindsight it sounds easy, but how many times have you felt forsaken, or wondered why you were going through a certain situation? This is how King Zedekiah felt for himself and his people. Over time, the twigs began to grow and with them came forth new generations. As they began to grow, another eagle came onto the scene.

The second eagle represented Egypt. King Zedekiah began to despise the oath he made with King Nebuchadnezzar, and plotted on how to overturn him. He began to conspire with the King of Egypt and the more they talked about joining against the King of Babylon, the more King Zedekiah’s judgement became cloudy. The parable went on to describe how the branches (Children of Israel), began to divide between each eagle. God was sorely displeased about King Zedekiah’s plan to break his oath with King Nebuchadnezzar, because it was ultimately God’s plan for the Children of Israel at that time. This part of the book was profound because essentially, King Zedekiah thought that by seeking assistance from the King of Egypt, that he was in the will of God. He was dead wrong and God judged him for it. How often does this happen in our lives? When we use our human intellect to reason what is right or wrong, only to realize afterwards our huge mistake. This chapter caused me to reflect because I know I have made decisions in my life that I thought were God ideas, but turned out to be only good ideas. Going forward in this new year, take your eyes away from what is seen on the surface, those things can be deceiving. If King Zedekiah had been paying attention, and remembering what God had originally said; he would not have ended up dying before his time.

*Take away* Hide God’s word in your heart. He is one with His Word. You cannot know one, without the other.

The last lesson that can be learned, according to the Matthew Henry Commentary is “Those who depart from God, only multiply their wrongdoing by changing one (humanistic) confidence for another, and will never prosper.”

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑