But now… those aren’t your shoes!

chick cute shoes 2

1 Samuel 13:14

But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.

The handsome man that stood a head taller than the crowd had made it two years and then there came that fateful day, (a fate he set himself) when he decided he could fill Samuel’s shoes. After all, he’d lead men into battle, what was a worship service compared to that? I totally don’t know if that was Saul’s attitude, but it could have been. I feel a sense of arrogance in him in chapter 13.  When Samuel asked Saul in verse 11 “What hast thou done?”  Saul responded “Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.”

I can tell you one thing, I’m not going to speak in arrogance. I’ve been Saul. I’ve wanted those cute shoes that belonged to some other chick, and yes I thought I could do it myself!  After all, I’d done more complex things. Well let me just tell you; it worked about as well for me as it did for Saul.

Saul said that he “forced” himself to do it. Which meant obviously something, or Someone, (God) was convincing him otherwise. We know when something is not our job, but it’s human nature to think that we can do it better, especially if someone’s not doing it on our timeframe. Hello? Who am I preaching to besides me? Jeepers I’m an impatient person. And I have on more than one occasion, many more times than one, stepped into someone else’s shoes rather than obeying the Spirit of God Who said “wait.”

The end result for Saul was that he got himself kicked out of leadership. Fired by God! How sad is that? God had a plan, and it was great! In verse 13 Samuel says to Saul “Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.”

But now… not now. You’ve messed that up Saul. Those cute shoes have gotten me into trouble so many times!  You see, I’m a leadership junky!  I love it. I didn’t realize I loved it, I didn’t even start out desiring it. All of a sudden one day I awoke to the fact that people were watching me and following me; and a part of me was scared to death and the other side of me thought, “Wow… that’s pretty cool.” So when I saw something that needed done, I needed to do it. Because that’s what leadership does…. Uh oh.

No they don’t!

Leadership lets those whom God desires to use get used. And sometimes those who He desires to use take their time getting into place, and its leadership’s job to not get their knickers in a knot or their panties in a bunch and take over. Especially when it’s a God appointed position! Cute shoes or no, they’re not yours to wear.

That lesson took Saul and I both a while to learn… I hope it takes you less. I hope that because of this blog today you realized it before you stepped into the cute little pumps or espadrilles that didn’t belong to you. God’s anointed positions are serious business; and anointed positions are not just preaching and teaching. Take heed friend, lest we mess with the plan.

FROM THE STUDY “BUT NOW”

But now… He made us, so He’ll keep us

chick calm

1 Samuel 12:10

And they cried unto the Lord, and said, We have sinned, because we have forsaken the Lord, and have served Baalim and Ashtaroth: but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve thee.

Samuel had just done a roll call of sins and doubts of the people of Israel to remind them that although again and again they had failed God, but now and always He had delivered them. At this time they fail God again by asking Samuel to choose a King among them so that they would have a leader as the other nations around them did… as if God wasn’t enough. So God provided a king and another promise to His people; one that we too can cling to today.

12:20-25

And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart;  And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people. Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.

If you read this full chapter you’ll see that Samuel had called upon God for a light show just to remind Israel again Who it was that controlled the world; should they forget and get some vain notion that a man actually did. (Hello America!) So, his point was well proven and he goes on to tell them that even though that wasn’t God’s plan, God’s still going to take care of them. It had pleased God to make them, therefore He thought He’d keep them.

That struck a chord in my heart this morning. Oh! I am ever so glad that that promise is alive and well today through the blood of Jesus Christ for an unworthy sinner such as I. Even though I’ve failed Him, I’ve allowed other things in my life to rule and reign over my decision making, God will still send a lightning bolt from Heaven once in a while to remind me that He loves me still. I doubt, I question and I complain and God waits silently for me to shut up and then speaks peace back to my soul.

And as for Samuel the leader, there is a reminder for those of us who lead those who fail (just like us).  God forbid that we should sin in failing to pray and teach the good right way. As church leaders it’s so easy to get frustrated when the congregation of the Lord treats the sanctuary more like a library. That’s a place of praise and worship, lest we forget.

In the beginning of chapter 12 Samuel asked the congregation a rhetorical question as to whether or not he had defrauded or oppressed them as a leader. They said no. So he began to give them a list of other leaders who God had used to deliver them, yet were not harkened to either until the children got in trouble; then they were willing to listen. Sure enough this congregation would regret having Saul as king. But now…Samuel must still pray and lead. And that’s what we’re called to do. Pray and lead by example.

I cannot make the congregation of the Lord shout! But I can shout. I cannot make them listen, but I can listen. I cannot make anyone else get excited, but I can cause that excitement to bubble up from within their soul when they feel the Holy Spirit blessing me. And He will… if I stay faithful.

But now… He’ll keep us.

But Now…a Trip to the Wood Shed for this Chick

chick woodshed2

1 Samuel 2:30

Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

Eli the Priest had two sons that would have followed in his footsteps, but the scripture is clear on who they had become in 1 Samuel 2:12 “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord.”  They were unsaved, idolatrous men that certainly knew better. They and Eli were aware of what the responsibilities of leadership was, and yet the sons took their disrespect of the house of God to the furthest extreme and because of it they had caused the congregation of the Lord to sin. Eli knew of this and confronted them in verse 24 when he said Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress.” But that’s as far as Eli took it. He continued to allow his sons to be in a position of authority and influence until finally God had had enough and killed them both. But now…judgment had come and Eli had lost his sons. God’s point was made, and the punishment was doled out. For the sons it was death, for Eli it living with the fact that he contributed to their demise by treating his sons’ sins too lightly. It’s a harsh lesson in leadership this morning for me because I too have been guilty of taking the righteousness of God too lightly and not wanting to offend someone.

A lesson in the teen class this week had us examining the question of whether or not our relationships with our earthly father influenced our attitude with our Heavenly Father. I believe whole heartedly that it does. My earthly father was one of the sweetest men you’d ever know, and a pretty passive fellow. He stood his ground on what he believed but he was not a strong disciplinarian nor was he very confrontational. I’m pretty sure I’ve viewed God much the same. I don’t take Him nearly as serious as I should. Please don’t misunderstand… I’m not blaming my Dad for my transgressions, I am without excuse. But I do believe as leaders we have to be careful about imputing our ideas of Who God is from our earthly role models.

My Dad as wonderful as he was, did not have the power of life and death in his hands. He could not change a man’s fate for the better or worse. He did not have the power to elevate someone or lower their estate. But God does! He’ll honor those who honor Him, and those who don’t… well…. You might be in trouble.

But now, the Lord saith and we should listen. Call sin, sin; in your life and those you lead. Don’t justify it, deny it or overlook it. That’s not honoring God. The “But Now” study has once again hit pretty close home for me which is why I write. It’s therapeutic and cleansing. I just take you along with me like a kid in trouble going to the wood shed; hoping their father won’t embarrass them by tannin’ their hide in front of their friends. That never works for me; it didn’t work for Eli either.

But Now… are you willing?

chick content

Judges 6:13

And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.

Far be it from me to be disobedient to God and then wonder why I feel forsaken. (…yeah right) And I have on more than one occasion claimed the latter part of Hebrews 13:5: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” ignoring the prefix of that statement where it says  “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have” and then it says “I will never thee, nor forsake thee.” I for certain want God not to forsake me, but I don’t want to have to do without stuff! That was a side bar on the Gideon story, but the truth of the matter is, God had allowed Israel to get into bondage again with the Midianites because they had traded Him for the gods of the world. Tell me that doesn’t ring familiarity to the church today and in our individual lives.

We want God in a crisis, “but now” that’s it’s over we’ll see what we can do about penciling Him in. We don’t have to ask ourselves why the circumstances of America are playing out as they are; it’s because the nation as a whole has turned their back on God. Gideon hadn’t turned his back on God, because God called him a “mighty man of valour.” So why then was Gideon the mighty man of valour hiding in the wine press to thresh wheat? The logical answer for me is, because he was human. Even those of us who desire to stand up and fight against the wickedness of the world find ourselves cowering down somewhere because the enemy seems too much and we seem so insignificant by comparison.

Through God’s counsel Gideon and Israel had victory but there were a few steps in between.

He questioned God’s judgment on using him.

Vs 15 – behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.

To country quote it, “I ain’t got any money, and I don’t have the strength to fight that battle Lord.” God doesn’t’ need our money or our muscle! He wants a man willing to use what He’s equipped with. That’s why in Hebrew 13:5 Jesus tells us to be content with what we have, because that’s what God needs. What we have.

Gideon didn’t have much, but what he had he was willing to give to the Lord. In verse 18-19 of Judges 6 Gideon said. “Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again. And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.”

 In reading chapter 6 we discover that he sacrificed what he had, sought God’s counsel, and followed His instruction. The very same thing that we too have to offer God.

  • What we’ve been given… a little, or a lot doesn’t matter.
  • Time in His presence (costs nothing)
  • And obedience to His instruction (and He’ll equip us with the rest)

But now… America is here. But with a few Mighty folks of Valour, willing to be content with what we have, and listen to God, we could be a far better nation. Are you willing?

But Now… an awkward alliance turns awesome!

broken chick

Joshua 9

12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:

These were the words spoken to Joshua and the children of Israel by the Gibeonites in order to deceive them into believing they were from a far country; yet instead they were neighbors to Israel for whom God had instructed Israel to make no treaty with. Joshua knew enough to talk to God before he went into battle, but what’s the harm in a peace treaty? God loves us to be buddies, right? Ummm… not always. It wasn’t long before Joshua had figured out that he’d been duped, but they had already sworn peace in the name of the Lord, and that’s serious business. So instead of killing the Gibeonites, the Gibeonites became Israel’s servants.

All sounds innocent enough, but Israel had still sinned in that they had failed to seek counsel of God. God may continue to use you, He may continue to bless you, but not to the degree that He would have if obedience had been factored in. But it’s the rest of the story that I love about the Israelites and the Gibeonites. They were not supposed to be mingled in with the children of God, and deceitfully got there. But God’s got a plan and as human as we are we can’t mess it up. God used the humility of Gibeon as a life lesson. They were humbly willing to be servants to the house of God if their life was spared and because of their willingness to serve Him He continued to use them.

After Joshua 9

  • The Gibeonites became servants at the tabernacle, just as Joshua had commanded.
  • Gibeon becomes a priestly city; the Ark of the Covenant stayed at Gibeon often in the days of David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 16:39-40 and 21:29).
  • At least one of David’s mighty men was a Gibeonite (1 Chronicles 12:4).
  • God spoke to Solomon at Gibeon (1 Kings 3:4).
  • Gibeonites were among those who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem with Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:7 and 7:25)

Isn’t it great what God can do with us when we come to Him in humility and love, willing to be used where ever it is that He sees fit. As Gentiles we were not God’s chosen people, but in His great mercy He allows us to be a part of the family of God, grafted in, adopted in as one of His own. It was an awkward alliance that Joshua made, but because of it Gibeon was saved. Stop kicking yourself because of your past mistakes and rather see if God can turn awkward into awesome!

But Now… a 2015 kick in the pants

 

chick kick

G. Wodehouse (Reader’s Digest[July, 1984], ) told about a member of the British Parliament who was once standing in the lobby of the House when a tall, distinguished looking old gentleman came up and begged for a moment of his time. He had a sad story to tell.

By hard work and thrift he had amassed a large fortune, and now his relatives had robbed him of it and, not content with that, had placed him in a mental home. This was his day out. “I have put the facts down in this document,” he concluded. “Study it and communicate with me at your leisure. Thank you, sir, thank you. Good day.”

Much moved by the man’s exquisite courtesy, the Member of Parliament took the paper, shook hands, promised that he would do everything in his power and turned to go back to the debate. As he did so, he received a kick in the seat of the pants that nearly sent his spine shooting through his hat.

“Don’t forget!” said the old gentleman.

I smiled when I read that story, mainly because I too tend to forget important commitments that I make. Oh the world gets so busy and I am in such demand and yada, yada, yada… it still doesn’t excuse it. I’m a compassionate person, often hurt by others insensitivity, frustrated by a dried up generation of Christians who forgot what God did for them and yes… I’m taking my frustration out in this blog but it still doesn’t excuse the fact that I too forget.

And then God makes me laugh…

Numbers 11:6

But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.

Those whining Israelites have nothing on me. How many times do I find myself whining that something isn’t how it should be? And then God kicks me in the seat of the pants and says, “Do you remember where you came from?”

And then I hear myself say “But now God…” Like it’s an excusable whine. When truthfully my but now is crazier than theirs. They at least were in the wilderness, I’m crying about my manna in the U.S. of A. Israel frustrated God, frustrated Moses and I’m sure at times frustrated themselves.

But our soul is dried away… meaning that they were disappointed and withering away like the water from a brook in the hot sun. The manna was the same ol’, same ol’ every day and every day. I have a feeling that’s what God thinks about our gratitude and attitudes. I see it everywhere I go and I see it in the mirror every morning. For 2015 it’s my goal to start the year looking at the 56 “But now’s” in the Bible and learning the lesson behind each one. It’s my proverbial kick in the pants. I’ve been whining because God’s manna wasn’t enough, I wanted everyone else to enjoy the manna too. Well, the truth is, I’m only responsible for my manna. I can’t collect anyone else’s or deliver it for them and I certainly shouldn’t allow that to affect my enjoyment of the manna God has for me, but it has been.

God’s manna is new every day, just as it was for the children of Israel. It’s new and a miracle of grace and my gratitude needed and attitude check. But now, I’m grateful… tomorrow I’ll probably whine again.

If my words stirred your heart, share it with your friends. Blessings! from the Jesus Chick.

 

 

Willingly or Dragged… it’s a choice

Go Willingly

Genesis 37:28

Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

It is said that Joseph’s journey into Egypt was a 30 day march for which he likely would have been bound by chains. While his brothers in all their “kindness” opted not to kill him, they certainly would have had his blood on their hands if something had happened to him. In their anger about Joseph’s arrogance (in that he bragged about one day being ruler over them) they sold him to be a slave with total disregard for his safety or the brokenness of their father’s heart. Along that thought line this morning I have to wonder how many times have I sold the Father’s Son out for a piece of the world and the privilege of not being governed.

Joseph who is an example of Christ, though far from Christ’s perfectness, must have done a lot of self-examination along that 30 day journey. Perhaps that is why, when he got to Potiphar’s house he was ready to be obedient to the will of God. Perhaps he had seen that his boasting had been his demise.

I can understand Joseph, though I’m not nearly as good a person as he. It’s easy to get into that mode when you’re a child of the living God and you know you’re right; but knowing you’re right doesn’t give you the right to sit in self-righteous judgment of other people. I’ve done some self-examination of my own lately.

Self-righteous of the sinner

I can be. It’s not usually my way but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. I often forget who I was called to minister to in my frustrations with idiot behaviors.

Self-righteous of the self-righteous.

Oh yeah… that’s me. I can’t stand’em. It’s the one thing that will grate on my nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard. Those high horse Christian’s that are above reproach in their mind and will cut to the core a child of God who has fallen. Don’t get me started…

And then I realize that God didn’t make me their keeper either and my self-righteousness of their self-righteousness puts me in their league. And although I don’t play on their team, when we all stand before God and answer for what we’ve done for Him and against Him, that’s going to be one of those things that have people behind me in line wishing they’d packed a lunch, because we’re going to be there a while.

I need to walk away and find me a sinner and tell them about Jesus. That is where my rewards are and that is where my joy is so why am I wasting valuable time in frustration over judgmental saints.

2015 has me desiring to walk:

  • Walk Closer
  • Walk Confident
  • Walk Content
  • Walk Concerned
  • Walk Compassionate

I do not want to be on a 30 day trek of regret before I get to the part where I still must say, “It’s Your will and way Lord.” Because it is. I can go willingly or I can go in chains, but God’s still going to have His way in my life. Yours too. Let’s walk together, Okay? Please join with me by following this blog and sharing me with your friends. Not that I’m anybody, but that I might be used by God to stir souls for the service of God.