cropped-New-Logo-PPM.jpgThis past Wednesday I was blessed to have the opportunity to speak at an event that was focused on uniting the body of Christ and reminding us that the Lord has called His disciples to be one. As I prepared for this night I experienced spiritual warfare like I really never had before an event before. I look back now and realize the weight that had been on my shoulders and my mind as I studied… The burdens and concerns that kept being thrown into my mind. The fog that clouded my head as I tried to put all that I had studied in an understandable order of progression so that I might convey what the Lord had been teaching me. The fact that on the day of, I received texts from many letting me know that they were praying for me. My husband and children repeatedly asking me if I was okay and encouraging me and praying for me… all confirm that for some reason the enemy of our souls did not want this message heard.

I believe with all my heart that the very words of Jesus Himself in John 17 reveals to us why the enemy of our souls did not want this message heard…

13 But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

Here is a video of the night:

As we listen to that Remember the Titans clip there were three points I wanted to make through it, but time did not allow it Wednesday night.

In the clip Yoast tried to dismiss Boone’s exuberance in having the players out running at three in the morning by claiming they were a high school football team and not the marines.

Then in another part we see Julius encourage a teammate to not stop running and reminded him that there was no time to rest

Finally as it closes we hear Boone give his Gettysburg speech to hopefully get it through to his players that this challenge before them was about more than football…

(Remember the Titans video clip: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uiqdA1B3_Nc

As I watched this clip I see it as a picture of our challenges today in the body of Christ. We are all supposed to be on the same team. Our allegiance to the same Head Coach, and I believe we can take the three points seen in this clip and apply them to ourselves today… because after all the challenges that we face today in the church is about more than just our “church”. It’s about reaching the people that Christ died for us to reach.

It’s time church. It’s time. So therefore…

  1. No excuses (Luke 14:16-20, Romans 1:20, 2 Corinthians 9:8)
  2. No time to rest (Galatians 6:9, Revelation 2:3, Hebrews 12:1)
  3. No more fighting amongst ourselves (1 Corinthians 1:10-13, Ezekiel 33:6, 30-33)

There is a church sign that I pass almost daily coming to and from my house. It is six simple words, but they speak volumes…

Love God. Love People. Serve both. 

That’s it beloved. That’s it. The two commandments on which hang all the rest. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:34-40).

As I was preparing for this I watched a message by Ravi Zacharias based on the life of Jonah. As he closed out his message he asked these two questions:

What portion of human suffering and the world’s pain has the LORD called you to and are you willing to take it?

Are you bearing your burden for what God is calling you to bear?

So I close this post asking… Are you where I was, just “going to church” but not BEING the church? Do you know your message? Do you know the gospel and the God of the gospel? Do you know your purpose? Are you willing to lay aside the pursuit of your own kingdom in order to proclaim His kingdom?

Our main focus must not be our own kingdoms, our own lives, our own church… but our focus must be on being obedient to Christ and laying down our lives and following Him no matter the cost.

I am not in any way trying to patronize the importance of our denominational views or our personal convictions, compellings, and opinions concerning the Scriptures, but when the world and even non-christianese speaking sporadic church attenders see us debate and quarrel and finger point and name call about things… that are not key to salvation by grace through faith in Christ… then we lose them.

The simple fact of the matter is we can’t all fit into the same building anyway. Besides that, we were called from the beginning to scatter and multiply and cover the whole earth. In the book of Genesis, at Babel, when the people wanted to all stay together instead of going out and covering the earth the Lord came down and confused their languages so that they would scatter. Has it ever occurred to us that the Lord has given us different personalities and needs and thoughts on worship and organization all for the simple purpose of helping us scatter so that we can reach ALL people?

Think about it.

A Never Ending Subtle Attack

cropped-New-Logo-PPM.jpgThe Lord is good. He has a way of meeting us where we are at, always. He has a way of knowing when the spinning starts, and a “Stop, now look Me in the eyes”  is needed to settle our panicked hearts. I awoke yesterday morning after a fitful day before yesterday, my eyes were still unable to focus even after the usual letting the dog out and starting the coffee routine. As I sat down with my fresh brewed coffee and toast, I knew I could not dig in the Word for myself this morning, I needed to be fed. So to RZIM on youtube I went, and there the Lord gave my weary soul a drink.

I have a speaking engagement planned for May 3rd. Since the “yes” to this invitation, the spinning has come. The scatter brained, the lost feeling, the instability of uncertainty, all began clouding my mind. As a woman the enemy of my soul always gets me with things like, “You are a woman, how dare you think you have the right to teach. You don’t have a degree, who will honor your words? No one will come to hear you because you are a woman. You know you will be the ruin of their opportunity to share the gospel. You need to quit. Tell them to find another.

True story: When I was twelve years old is when I first understood the gospel and began going after God with all my heart to the best of my ignorant ability. At this time in my life I would have nightmares that would wake me up and I would be so terrified that I would go and crawl in the bed with my parents. There are two dreams that I have never been able to shake. Here almost thirty years later I still remember them.

In the first I was roller skating in some type of rink that was built in a huge tree. The skating lanes wound all up and down and around in the branches. As I was coming down a lane I was grabbed by the throat and lifted off my feet by a huge Goliath of a man dressed in red, also on skates. He lifted me by my throat up above his head and I couldn’t breath and the weight of the skates kept me from being able to kick my feet. Then I still remember clearly him telling me, “Christians like you should be dead!” and then I woke up.

The second is more foggy, but was more terrifying. This one I was asleep in my dream and the next thing I know I awake and am surrounded by small dark somethings that I can’t make out, but they are everywhere around me. Then they pounce on me, once again grabbing me by my throat and they are choking me. I mean choking me to where in my dream I cannot breathe. In my dream I began to mentally try to pray and ask the Lord to help and somehow I managed enough breath to get out “In the name of Jesus get off me” At that very moment as the words were coming out of my mouth, I passed from dream to awake and sat up in the bed as the words were still coming out of my mouth.  I was out of breath as if I really had been being choked. Needless to say, this one sent me to my parents bedroom and I crawled underneath the covers in between them for safety.

As I write this the Holy Spirit has quickened my heart and mind to the parable of the seed and the sower,

“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”

Luke 8:11-15

For at least twelve years of my life the enemy of my soul did all he could to try and choke the Word out of me. Yet, it was planted in good soil and took root despite his best attempts.

However, I have learned that the sneaky snake still sends his creatures of darkness to creep in and try to grab me by my throat and choke me to silence. He has no couth about him or limits to the tools of deceptions or persons of manipulations that he will use to stop the exaltation of Christ, the Word of God now in flesh appearing. He will twist what he can and distort what he must in his attempts to snuff out the truth. His subtle attacks are sometimes the worst and often work the best because we so many times we are clueless that it is him at work against us.

Last night, as I was picking up the house on my way to bed, after a week of worship, of teaching, of sharing the gospel, of praying, and feeling absolutely distracted and defeated afterwards, I simply could not shake the feeling that somehow I had screwed up royally. The uneasiness, the uncertainty, the spinning… and finally I cried out loud to my God and said, “Father, I cannot shake this feeling! I do not know if it is because I have said the wrong thing or the absolute right thing!” I continued to pray in my heart as I went up the stairs. Then I crawled underneath the covers and rested in the Lord.

Yesterday morning as I went to RZIM’s youtube channel and saw the title of one of the latest uploads, I recalled how earlier this month I had read a portion of a Bible study guide written by male pastor claiming that a woman has no right to be called a teacher… and I realized this was the arrow that the enemy had used to start my spinning.  I had asked the Lord for help… and I believe He gave me this video,

“Isn’t the Bible sexist?”

The video ends with Amy Orr-Ewing sharing this quote from Dorothy L. Sayers:
“Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man – there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!”; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything “funny” about woman’s nature.”
Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society

I grow weary so often of the battle between myself and the enemy of my soul. With this video, the Lord reminding me again of these dreams from my childhood, and the Holy Spirit’s quickening to the words of Christ recorded in the book of Luke, and the confirmation through a prayer request sent to a friend… I know that this past week has been another subtle attack trying to choke me, trying to silence my voice, trying to keep me from using the tools and gifts that the Lord has given me to serve Him and share His truth. If a door opens for the gospel I’m walking through it. If any opportunity arises for me to use my voice to proclaim the Word of life and scatter its seed then I must. As long as I have breath I will praise the Lord, I will serve the Lord, I will proclaim His excellencies.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

What Are You Doing?

cropped-New-Logo-PPM.jpgThere is a way that seems right to us but it is no where near right. There are times in life when we let our emotions get the best of us and our brains just flat out are not part of the equation.  Oh we claim we are thinking things through, but really we are not… we are thinking of ourselves. When we are only thinking of ourselves, then we definitely are not thinking any thing through.

If we take the time to walk trough the recorded life of David we see this acted out and laid out before us. We can choose to learn from it, or we can choose to ignore it and repeat it in our own lives. That is basically the steps of life. We either learn from the mistakes of others, the warnings of others, the wisdom of others, or we can learn from suffering the consequences of doing things our own way.

I went through a time in my life when I chose to learn everything the hard way… I would give anything to go back and learn from the mistakes, wisdom, and warnings of others. I know with all my heart that the Lord has a way of working all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, but I also believe that there are some things He wouldn’t have to “work out” if we were just listening and obeying to begin with. Suffering because life is hard is one thing. Suffering from the consequences of our rebellious heart is quite another.

There are four instances in the life of David that I want us to look at as we examine the thought of “What are you doing?” and learning from the mistakes, wisdom, and warning of others as opposed to learning from the suffering or our choices.

  • The mistakes of others

David was a young man, newly anointed by the Lord, to be the next King of Israel. He was chosen by God because he was a man after God’s own heart. The Lord anointed him and then orchestrated events to get him up close and personal to the current king, Saul (1 Samuel 16 – 31). David was able to see and learn from the mistakes of Saul’s reign. He was able to learn that you do not touch the Lord’s anointed and when the Lord gives you a command in battle… you obey it fully.

  •   The wisdom of others

While David was on the run from King Saul he and his men were close to Carmel. There was a man there named Nabal who had significant means. David sent his men to ask for provisions from Nabal and he not only refused, but did so quite snottingly. David was irate when his men returned with the news and so he gathered his men and was off to kill Nabal and every man associated with him. When Nabal’s wife, Abigail, heard of the exchange between Nabal and David’s men, she gathered up provisions and rushed to intercept David. She made it to him before he attacked and she offered great wisdom to him. David chose to listen. (1 Samuel 24). David was acting on tired emotion and utter frustration and not according to the will of God. Abigail stuck her neck out to there and she brought a word of wisdom from the Lord Himself and David received her words as such and he was saved from making a very huge mistake.

  • The warnings of others

While David was in flight from Saul he went to the cave of Abdullah. His family met him there and many others also came to find him and so he was no longer alone in his flight. David went to Moab to ask the king if he would protect his parents and he left them with the and then returned to his hiding place. Then the prophet, Gad, came to him and warned him that he could not stay there any longer and needed to flee into the land of Judah. David heeded this warning and was able to escape Saul’s pursuit (1 Samuel 22).

These are the times that we have seen David choose to learn from the mistakes, wisdom, and warnings of others. Yet there times that he did not… and he had to learn through the sufferings of the consequences of his own choices. Lessons that I have no doubt that he would have given anything to not have to learn this way.

After David was well established as King of all Israel there came a time when he got off course. He was home when he should have been off to battle with his men. During the night he saw a woman bathing and well he wanted her. We see through the scriptures that David’s largest struggle was apparently his sexual appetite. At this point he already had at least seven wives that we know by name and no telling how many concubines.

However, this was not enough. He wanted this woman as well. He sent to inquire of her and the one sent offered a word of wisdom and warning to David, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” David would ignore the words of wisdom and warning and the downward spiral of sin would spin to depths that David never imagined he was capable (2 Samuel 11).

After David ignored this man’s warning, committed his sin, and made his best attempt to cover it by murdering her husband, the Lord sent someone else to him with a word. The prophet Nathan comes to David with a problem with two men and a lamb. One man owned a single treasured lamb and the other man had lambs out the wazoo, but the man with the lambs out the wazoo took the one treasured lamb of the other. David hears the scenario and in self-righteous anger pronounces a judgment to only have Nathan turn this judgment on him, for he was the man (2 Samuel 12).

David would spend the rest of his days wishing he had just listened to the warning, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Yes, the Lord would forgive him. Yes, the Lord still loved him. Yes, life would go on… but the consequences would come.

So beloved of God here is the crux of the matter…

When someone comes to us and asks, “What are you doing?” Will we be one who is willing to learn from others mistakes, wisdom, and warnings?

When we see someone and ask ourselves, “What are they doing?” Will we be willing to be used by God to deliver those words of wisdom and warning?

Will we be willing even if the person we are being impressed to address might be in authority over us? Or a stranger to us? Or a friend to us?

And if we do, let us not forget HOW these words of wisdom and warning were delivered… Take the time to really read these accounts in the life of David and let us learn from him, and those associated with him. God gave us His Word so that we don’t have to always learn things the hard way.

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Galatians 6:1




While We Rant About The Weather Man

New Logo PPMIn my home state of Alabama we recently had a state of emergency weather alert. Schools were canceled all over our area and surrounding counties in order to keep our children safe. As our local meteorologist studied satellite images and made their best predictions as to what dangerous storms appeared to be heading our way, as our state government took the necessary steps needed to not burden our school administrators with  “make-up days” placed on them by other government entities, as businesses, churches, and parents focused on what we needed to do to make sure everyone was as SAFE as possible… a nation across the water was under a chemical attack.

Yesterday as we learned that the storms did NOT hit our area my social media newsfeed became filled with rants of those condemning our meteorologist and condemning those who condemned our meteorologist.

Such outrage over an attempt to keep our children and the people of our area as safe as possible… and no outrage… none over a chemical attack in Syria. Why? Because most were glued to the weather man because we have lost the ability to be able to walk outside and look out of our own windows and discern the signs of danger for ourselves.

But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?

Matthew 16:2-3

If we have become a people that cannot discern the approaching of a storm… how can we even come close to discerning the work of God in our midst? Do we really understand the times in which we live? Are we aware of the day? Are we so concerned with being SAFE that we cannot see those in danger?

Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand,
Or in his disaster therefore cry out for help?
Have I not wept for the one whose life is hard?
Was not my soul grieved for the needy?
When I expected good, then evil came;
When I waited for light, then darkness came.
I am seething within and cannot relax;
Days of affliction confront me.
I go about mourning without comfort;
I stand up in the assembly and cry out for help.
I have become a brother to jackals
And a companion of ostriches.

Job 30:24-29

We know that Job was in a place of great suffering. In the last verse of this passage he says that he has become a brother to jackals and a companion of ostriches. What could he mean by this?

Jackals mate in pairs and are territorial. Both the female and the male mark and defend the boundaries of their territory. Yipping calls are made when the family gathers. Here is the kicker: members only respond to their own family’s calls and ignore those of other individuals.

Ostriches, when threatened, run although their powerful, long legs can be formidable weapons, capable of killing a human or a potential predator like a lion with a forward kick. At the approach of trouble, ostriches will lie low and press their long necks to the ground in an attempt to become less visible. Their plumage blends well with sandy soil and, from a distance, gives the appearance that they have buried their heads in the sand.

So here’s the picture Job is painting for us. He needs help. He is crying out for help. He is in the midst of suffering. He is hurting. He has experienced great loss. He has spent his life helping others and now that he needs help… he finds himself among jackals and ostriches.

He realizes he is surrounded by those who only care if it’s their own and those who run from him and lie low so that they might claim they did not know of his pain or of his trouble.

We have a world full of Job’s…

And we have church buildings full of jackals and ostriches.

Church let us lift up our eyes and see. Let us learn again how to discern the signs of our times. Let us step out and hear the howls of those that are not our own and run to them in their pain and NOT away from them. Stop laying low and playing ignorant… when we know that we know someone needs the grace and mercy of God and the hands and feet and words and love of Jesus.

For the love of Christ and the call of His heart let us be willing to leave the safe ninety-nine and go after the one that is lost.

What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

Luke 15:4

Crawling To Mount Zion


As I completed my study in 1 Samuel I thought of the main things that I learned through this historical book that contained the end of an era and the beginning of another in the nation of Israel. There were three main topics that the Lord focused in on me as I studied each week:

  1. The character of God
  2. Prayer
  3. Obedience

The three are all related to one another and depend on one another. When we begin to understand the character of God we will see our lives change in the area of prayer and obedience. We will go through seasons in this life that are flat out difficult and we might find it hard to pray… even feel it is a vain pursuit, but that is a lie. When we understand the character of God it makes it a lie easier to defeat.

We might go through times when we are being instructed in a way that doesn’t make sense to us, and God will call us to trust and obey. There will come times in life when we will question our “need” for obedience and what exactly obeying looks like in our present situation. Knowing the character of God will help us make the right decision.

As I thought on all that the Lord has been teaching me and reminding me of through this time in His Word, I wrote this poem:

Crawling To Mount Zion

My God You are good

My soul knows this very well

At times my heart deceives me

Tries to make me doubt that You are there

Yet only so far will You allow the lie to go

You never cease to reach and touch me through Your Word

Your truth never fails to open blinded eyes

Your light penetrates the places where darkness tries to hide

When this world makes us weary

When this life makes us weep

Your grace never fails completely sufficient to be

Your mercies new each morning do renew our strength

Your everlasting lovingkindness help us when we’re deplete

My eyes lift up and look to the glory that I know

If I have to crawl on bloody hands and bleeding knees

To Mount Zion I will go

To Your cross my sweet Jesus

To my Savior and my Lord

You endured great hate and persevered until death

So I shall keep crawling until I breathe my last breathe

Though the world thought it over in truth it just began

For the grave could not hold You, death was not the end

What looked like defeat was victory finally won

Hope is fulfilled for those that trust in the Son

It was finished and begun all in one event

Though this world bring me trouble

Though fallen mankind bring me pain

Though the prince of darkness bid me, come his way

Though this flesh try and tempt me to deny Your sweet name

No weapon formed against me can prosper

For I am hidden in Your grace

My soul in despair might fall from time to time

Yet hope in You my Father will always see I rise

To God be the glory for You are good indeed

I will trust in Your Word and by it let You lead

Not to the left nor to the right shall I ever turn

For Your truth lights my path and I will not be detoured

I am looking for Your promise to my home away from here

And while I travel onward I will trust You through my fear

My prayers I will offer as Your face I do seek

Knowing that You hear me and Your arms are not too short to reach

Whether I stand tall and strong or am crawling small and weak

I know that You are with me and my purpose You will see complete



Youth Choir and Spain Mission Trips

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Here is a small clip of the Messenger’s Choir singing. This group of kids has been given the open door to sing of the gospel and glory of God at Disney! Thousands from around the world frequent this park, therefore please remember them in prayer that the gospel being proclaimed through music would bear fruit in the lives of those who are there. May all who walk by their way have ears to hear!


cropped-New-Logo-PPM.jpgI just finished doing a little Google search on this word, leadership. The word came into use around the mid-19th century and appears to have had its peak around the 1970’s and then began to decline again until at least around 2008 (That’s as far as my Google search would take me.) This information is pulled from the use of the word in books, specifically book titles I believe. Leadership is the combination of the words leader and ship. Ship is a native English suffix that denotes a nouns condition, character, skill, office, etc.

What makes someone a leader? It’s really quite simply. Stop and look around you. Do you have anyone that you lead, guide, or inspire?  Are you a coach? A teacher? A parent? A pastor? An office manager? A supervisor? An upper class-men in your school? An older sibling? An aunt or uncle? Etc. You quite possibly are someone that never considered yourself to be in a position of leadership, but now that you have looked around you… you have just realized that yes, you indeed are one who leads, guides, and/or inspires others.

Now that you have looked around and realized who you are leading and when you are leading them, the next questions are:

  1. What kind of leader do you want to be for them?
  2. How are you leading them?
  3. Why are you leading them?
  4.  Where are you leading them?

The Word of God is filled with examples of leadership. The Lord leaves nothing out. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly of leaders recorded in the Scriptures. As I have just finished a study in 1 Samuel and am currently working through a leadership study with my family in our home, I have discovered that the leader I most aspire to be like is Samuel.

We are given a look into the leadership of this man of God in the first twenty-five chapters of 1 Samuel. I encourage you sit down and read through these chapters and make a list of all that you learn about the condition, character, skill, and office of Samuel. You will indeed be inspired and encouraged by this man’s example. For the purpose of this post we are going to look at one particular chapter to answer our four questions, 1 Samuel 12.

In this chapter Samuel is giving the people the king they asked for and in this he is, in a sense, stepping down as the leader of the people. In the first five verses he asks the people to answer, “How did I lead?”.

And I have walked before you from my youth even to this day. Here I am; bear witness against me before the Lord and His anointed. Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? I will restore it to you.” They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.”

1 Samuel 12:2-4

In the next five verses (1 Samuel 12:6-11) Samuel reminds the people why he was leading them…

When Jacob went into Egypt and your fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. But they forgot the Lord their God, so He sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the army of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. 10 They cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned because we have forsaken the Lord and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 Then the Lord sent Jerubbaal and Bedan and Jephthah and Samuel, and delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around, so that you lived in security.

1 Samuel 12:8-11

Then in 1 Samuel 12-18 he reminds the people where he was leading them.

13 Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked for, and behold, the Lord has set a king over you. 14 If you will fear the Lord and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the Lord, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God. 15 If you will not listen to the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the command of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.

1 Samuel 12:13-15

Finally in the last verses of this chapter (1 Samuel 12:19-25) we see what kind of leader Samuel desired to remain to be whether it be in an official position of leadership or not…

23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.

1 Samuel 12:23

Some use their position of leadership as an opportunity to take advantage of others, as an opportunity to lord power over others, as an opportunity to push their own agenda, as an opportunity to do nothing while forcing others to do everything, and as an opportunity for their own personal gain. This is not how Samuel led. The Lord and the people could bear witness to this truth.

Samuel led with integrity. Samuel led in order to lead the people to the Lord. He wasn’t leading so that the people would follow him. No, his leadership was for the sole purpose of leading the people to follow the Lord. Even when those he led rejected him, he remained steadfast in his devotion to be a man of integrity. He would not allow the actions of others to change his character or life’s purpose.

As we walked through our study as a family last night my husband shared a piece of advice that a friend gave him once, “It’s hard to be mad at someone you are praying for...” Our daughter Shelby chimed in and said, “I have never forgotten you telling me that! I couldn’t remember who told you that, but I remembered the advice, and have never forgotten it!” My husband went on to say, “It’s hard to pray for someone your mad at, but it’s also hard to be mad at someone you are praying for… it works both ways.” So the bottom line is, will you choose to pray? Will you choose to take the situation to the Lord or not?

This is the kind of leader that I want to be… one that leads with integrity and one that leads other to follow the Lord… not me. One that takes all things to the Lord in prayer before I step out to lead so that I can make sure that I, myself, am indeed following the Lord and not leaning on my own understanding. When we read the first twenty-five chapters of the book of 1 Samuel we see that Samuel prayed about everything and then he waited for an answer from the Lord before he moved forward in action. His first desire was to be faithful and obedient to the Lord his God. May that be our first desire as well.

…the Lord declares, …for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.

1 Samuel 2:30

Share and Share Alike

Design_PNGThis past week our precept class at Central completed our last week of study in the book of 1 Samuel. It has indeed been a rich study full of truth for the reality of situations that come with life on this earth. As we walk through the recorded history of the events of David’s life we are able to see that being a man or woman after God’s own heart does not exempt us from trouble and it does not exempt us from struggling with doubts and discouragements. However, being a man or woman after God’s own heart means that in the midst of our trouble, our doubts, our discouragements we have a Living God there with us to give us help, hope, encouragement… and wisdom.

As I studied in 1 Samuel 30 I saw where the Lord recorded a very wise call through the mouth of David. Wisdom in dealing with others is vital for those in leadership. When we compare David’s leadership with that of Saul’s through the book of 1 Samuel we see exactly how vital it is, not just for themselves, but for all those they are leading.

In 1 Samuel 30 David has returned to his current home at Ziklag with his 600 men as they were rejected by the commanders of the Philistines and not allowed to fight with them against Israel (that’s a whole other lesson in itself on how God uses what we may think is rejection as our character preservation).  David and his men return to find that the Amalekites have raided their town and taken everything including their wives and children. The men are absolutely distraught and they are flat out exhausted.

The men turn on David and threaten his life, but David turns to the Lord and strengthens himself in the Lord… possibly for the first time in  while. David inquires of the Lord and the Lord tells him to pursue the Amalekites and all will be restored. David and his 600 turn to pursue the raiders, but 200 of them are simply too weary to cross the waters that divided them and those they pursued. These 200 stay and camp while David the other 400 cross over and continue the pursuit.

The Lord gives them victory just as He said He would and not only do David and the 400 men gain their own people and possessions back but also all the other possessions that these raiders have taken from others. Then they turn to return home…

21 When David came to the two hundred men who were too exhausted to follow David, who had also been left at the brook Besor, and they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him, then David approached the people and greeted them. 22 Then all the wicked and worthless men among those who went with David said, “Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away and depart.” 23 Then David said, “You must not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us, who has kept us and delivered into our hand the band that came against us. 24 And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.”

1 Samuel 30:21-24

How does the word of God describe the men who did not want to share the spoil with those who had to stay behind? They are described as wicked and worthless.

What nugget of wisdom does the Lord deliver through the mouth of David? “For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.”

Let this principle sink in beloved. Think on how it applies in our day and think of how many wicked and worthless we have spouting off the same reasoning today.

Dear stay-at-home wife and/or mom yes, when your husband goes to work and you remain to care for the home and children… his wages ARE equally yours.

Dear church member whose current place in life does not allow you to teach, go on mission trips, or freely serve as you so desire, but you faithfully live out the Word of God in your daily life, pray, tithe, and support those who can go… every soul that is saved IS a part of your fruits as well.

We are supposed to all be in this together. If we are indeed in Christ then we are all part of His body. Sometimes the feet rest while the hands work and the hands rest while the eyes work. Yet, they share in the spoil of the battle, in the fruit of the labor, because they are striving together for the same purpose with the same mind united in spirit.

Don’t confuse rest with laziness and those who lead undisciplined lives being busybodies that stir up strife (2 Thessalonians 3:6-13). No, we must also remember where those 200 men had been prior to their rest on the other side of the brook of Besor. They had been right there fighting and traveling and serving alongside all the others. They did not stop because they were lazy, but simply because their bodies could go no further.

This past Sunday our church celebrated its 125th Anniversary as a church body. At the beginning of this celebration service one of our pastors acknowledged everyone who had ever served on ministerial staff (pastor, financial secretary, admin assistant, etc), anyone who had every served as support staff (buildings and ground, library, director, etc), and anyone who was a direct descendent of a charter member. Our church acknowledged that no matter the service, no matter how long the service, they shared in the fruit of all that the Lord has done, is doing, and will do through our church.

Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

Deuteronomy 7:9


The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.

Psalm 33:11

David made clear to his men that the spoil didn’t belong to any of them. It was in their hands only because the Lord gave them victory. David did not just command that these 400 share this victory with the 200 waiting on the other side of the brook, but he took these spoils and he shared them throughout Israel. What the enemy had taken away, the Lord restored, and David was not going to take credit for something that God alone accomplished.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

James 1:17

Dear God, I’m Stressed!

cropped-New-Logo-PPM.jpgThe Word of God truly is a beautiful and amazing tool at our fingertips if we are willing to learn it and apply it. This past week as I studied and taught through 1 Samuel 21-23 the focus of the week was, how do we live as men and women after God’s own heart when we are under unrelenting stress. Some Christians will claim that if you have enough faith you won’t be stressed… and well I am here to tell you that is a load of crock. If David, a young man who had enough faith to stand before Goliath with just a sling and a stone, lived under unrelenting stress… then why on earth would I expect to go through this life stress free? No, instead of denying the reality of stress let us rather acknowledge it so that we can gain the knowledge to persevere and overcome.

There are many things in our day that can cause us to be stressed and the reality is, stress effects our health: Stress Effects. Sometimes stress is put on us by others and by circumstances out of our control. We have not caused it or asked for it. However sometimes stress is a result of dealing with our own choices and the consequences that come with them. When we follow the life of David through the Scriptures we see him walk through all these various causes of stress.

In 1 Samuel 21-23 the focus is on stress that is not of our making, so today, that’s what this post will be focusing on.

A little background: In 1 Samuel 15 King Saul disobeys God for the last time that the Lord is going to allow him to remain king. In this chapter the Lord tells King Saul through the prophet Samuel that his kingdom will be ripped from his hands. Then in 1 Samuel 16 the Lord sends the prophet Samuel to anoint David as the next king of Israel. David was the youngest son of his father and was out with the sheep playing his harp for the Lord. This anointing was not something he was seeking, it was placed upon him by God.

The Lord then orchestrates events so that David ends up in King Saul’s presence playing his harp for him in order to calm his disobedient selfish self down, and David does so with great honor and respect. He would go back and forth between playing for Saul and tending sheep for his father. Then in 1 Samuel 17 Goliath shows up and David slays the giant and becomes quite popular with the ladies and everyone else in Israel.

This leads to King Saul becoming pretty darn jealous of this young handsome harp playing warrior. He becomes so jealous that in 1 Samuel 18 he actually tries to spear David to the wall TWICE while David is playing the harp for him. Then he sends David out as a soldier hoping he will get killed in battle, but David just succeeds. King Saul gives his daughter to David to be his wife, in the hopes that she will be a distraction when he is in battle, but that doesn’t work either. King Saul, now David’s father-in-law, grows even more jealous of this young man, to the point that David has to run for his life. I would say this is a stressful situation. Now the question is, how does David handle it?

In 1 Samuel 21 David flees for his life and he stops to visit with Ahimelech the priest in order to inquire of the Lord and get some food and a sword. While there, one of Saul’s servants sees him, but at this time no one but Jonathan (Saul’s son) knows that David has fled. David with his bread and sword now heads into Philistine territory hoping to hide from Saul. He was, however, unaware of his popularity in the land and is quickly seized and taken before the king of Gath (1 Samuel 21:10-14).

Stress #1: I’ve done nothing wrong and yet those that I call family and have faithfully served want to kill me. I have just decided to leave and run for my life and just when I think I am safe I am now captured by enemies of my people. I mean this is a Hatfield and McCoy’s moment. This is an, I grew up a Hindu and my family disowned me because I became a Christian and I had to leave and now I just got kidnapped by ISIS moment. Hello! MAJOR stress!

What does David do?

He takes it to the Lord: Psalm 56

For they are many who fight proudly against me.
When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me?

Psalm 56:2-4

As David cries out to the Lord in his fear and recalls who his God is and commands himself not to be afraid even in the midst of his fear the Lord gives him an idea of deliverance. David acts like a madman before the king of Gath and the king sends him out of his presence (1 Samuel 21:15) and then David praises the Lord. We are privileged to his praise in Psalm 34.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul will make its boast in the Lord;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 34:1-4

Oh beloved, read through Psalm 34, all of it. As you read pay attention to the word ALL. David praised the Lord for his deliverance from the king of Gath, but as he did he recalled ALL that the Lord had delivered him from. He went back to the lion, the bear, Goliath, Saul’s spear, and the countless times on the battlefield. The Lord gave David this Psalm to remember all that He had done so that he could remember all that He could do because the stresses in David’s life were not over, there were many more to come.

Stress #2: I’m thankful that the Lord has delivered me and protected me thus far, but I am alone and I am afraid. I need some Jesus with skin on. God, is there anyone out there on our side that will help me and walk through this pain, this time, this trial with me?

When David escapes the Philistines he hides in a cave in Adullam. We see the emotional roller coaster that David is on during this time through the words of  Psalm 142.

We see him go from praising the Lord in Psalm 34 to once again crying out to God for help as he is alone and hiding in cave and fearing for his life. So guess what the Lord does… He sends his family to him and he begins building him an army (1 Samuel 22:1-2, 1 Chronicles 12:8-18).  When we need Jesus with skin on, when we need the fellowship and friendship of other believers, the Lord has a way of sending them to us.

Stress #3: I simply did what I believed to be the right thing and now innocent people have been hurt and it’s my fault. Someone took my words and my actions and twisted them and used them to hurt someone else. My actions, whatever they were, have caused even the death of someone else.

Do you remember that servant of Saul that saw David talking with the priest? Well this little tattle tail hears Saul offering land and vineyards to anyone who will turn in David. You see Saul’s soldiers love David and they are not to quick to offer up any knowledge of his whereabouts, but this servant, Doeg the Edomite, he is more than willing. He tells Saul about the meeting with the priest and Saul calls not just that priest, but all in the town, to him for questioning. Then he wants them killed. None of Saul’s soldiers will move, but Doeg kills eighty-five of them. One escapes to tell David what has happened.

22 Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have brought about the death of every person in your father’s household. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life, for you are safe with me.” (1 Samuel 22:20-23)

Can you even imagine?

What does David do? Does he fall apart under the weight of the guilt? No he doesn’t. Once again he takes it to the Lord. We see this in Psalm 52.

I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.
I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it,
And I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.

Psalm 52:8-9

Lovingkindness is a covenant term. David recalls that He serves a good God. He serves a sovereign God. He may not understand why God allowed this to happen. He might feel that evil is winning, but he knows that somehow God is going to make it right. He has to choose to trust Him. He has to choose to wait one His name. He has to choose to remember that the Lord is good. The Lord acts in love always. The Lord is kind in all His ways. The Lord will not allow the wicked to prosper.

Stress #4: I did everything in my power to help them. I protected them. I cared for them. I fought for them. I have never in any way hurt them or been a burden to them, and yet they betray me. When I need their help they leave me stranded and do not help me. They even have gone so far as to purposely cause me pain.

While David and his men are hiding from Saul a band of Philistines attacks the area he is in. David asks the Lord if he should help the people and fight the Philistines and the Lord tells him yes. So David and his men defeat the Philistines and deliver the people of Keilah from their hands. The people of Keilah repay him by telling Saul they know where he is so David flees to Ziph and well the people of Ziph do the same thing. (1 Samuel 23).

So what does David do? He leans into the Lord. Through Psalm 54 we see how David cried out to the Lord.

People have a way of using their tongues to try and bring destruction, but as David has also says in Psalm 27:3,

Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.

David begins crying out to the Lord in Psalm 54 as Saul and his army are closing in on him, and the Lord sends in the Philistines as a diversion. Saul’s army has to retract their attack on David and go and defend the nation of Israel from this Philistine army and David and his men flee to a new hiding place from Saul. Once again the Lord proves Psalm 34 and delivers David.

Yes, there is this thought that passes through christian circles claiming that if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and are living righteously and keeping His Word then your life will be stress free… but through the life of David we see that is simply not true, nope, not so much. We live in a fallen world with fallen people that is filled with spiritual forces of darkness that hate the Light. How on earth would we think that in the midst of this we could ever be completely stress free?

We can’t.


Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

When we cry, “Dear God, I’m stressed!” Let us do as David did and lean into the Lord we cry to. He will sustain us if we will just trust Him. Beloved there is nothing that we will walk through that is new and the Lord has recorded through the lives of His people how we can make it day by day through whatever this life might throw at us. We can remain to be women and men after God’s own heart even while living under unrelenting stress, if we will keep ourselves humble under His hand knowing who our God is and remembering that He is for us, not against us, and He is with us,.. ALWAYS.


The Problem Wasn’t Obama And It Isn’t Trump Today

cropped-New-Logo-PPM.jpgI am currently teaching through the book of 1 Samuel and as I was digging into the treasures it contained the Lord highlighted a particular verse. This verse caught my attention, but I wasn’t clear why as to why as I was looking for particular key words at the time. Then as I read through this particular chapter again I felt His Spirit teach me.

If you will fear the Lord and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the Lord, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God.

1 Samuel 12:14

At this point in time in Israel’s history they are in the midst of a major transition as a nation.  The children of Israel were led out of Egypt by Moses and carried into the promise land by Joshua and then after the death of Joshua and the elders that ruled under him, the people went through a time known as the Judges. Sadly, even though the people had been led by faithful men of God for hundreds of years, it did not take long for them to fall away from their devotion to God without them.  By the time of the birth of Samuel Israel was really in an idolatrous mess.

From what I can gather the book of Judges and Ruth coincides in time with the first twelve chapters of the book of 1 Samuel. When you read through the book of 1 Samuel with this in mind you get a much clearer picture of how far away the people and priests had strayed from their foot of the mountain devotion to the Lord their God. The covenant they had made to the Lord at Sinai and their promises for undivided devotion to Him had long since been forgotten, however they still expected Him to keep His end when they needed Him too.

We see this when in battle with the Philistines in 1 Samuel 4, the people have the  serving priests Hophni and Phineas grab the Ark of the Covenant and bring it on the battlefield expecting its presence to deliver them from their enemies. However, the god of Gods, the Lord of lords, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and our every breath will not be used as a good luck charm. He instead allows the Ark to be captured by the enemy, Hophni and Phineas are killed, and Israel is defeated in the battle.

The Lord allows the Ark to remain in enemy hands for seven months (at the enemies expense of course, just read 1 Samuel 5-6 to see what I mean), but the Lord our God is faithful even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13). The Philistines place the Ark of God on a cart pulled by some milch cows to see if these cows will be led away from their nursing calf in order to be led by God to return the Ark to Israel, and well them two momma cows carry the Ark straight back to Israel and never check up on their bellowing calves. At this point and time Israel is hit in the face with their depravity and they realize their sin against their God who loves them and is willing to return to them to keep His covenant with them. The children of Israel put away all their false gods and they turn their hearts back to God as they are led by Samuel, the prophet and judge.

However, years pass… and now Samuel is getting a little gray in his hair and they are not to happy with his two sons and so the elders come to Samuel and ask him to ask God for a king to rule them. They wanted a king like all the other nations. They wanted someone else to fight their battles for them.  Samuel is crushed and takes their request to the Lord, and the Lord tells him that they have not rejected Samuel, but they have in fact rejected God who has been their king and has been the One who has fought for them since the day He brought them out of Egypt. Nevertheless, if they wanted a king, they could have one… and all that comes with him (1 Samuel 8:10-22).

Not much has changed about the nature of people since the days of the Judges… or from the day of the fall really. We think we are in a new day with new thinking and new revelation and new wisdom and ideas… all people ever do is repeat history over and over again. It’s actually quite exhausting when you sit back and watch and see it for what it is… there is NOTHING new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). This is why the children of God should not wring our hands in worry and get distraught over politics and policy and laws, we just need to be obedient to the Lord and trust Him with the consequences of that obedience.

Let’s look at 1 Samuel 12:14 again,

If you will fear the Lord and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the Lord, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God.

Judgment begins with the household of God (1 Peter 4:17). If we, as the church, will simply be obedient to our God then He will cause the one who rules over us to be obedient as well. However, when we loose focus, He will use the heart of our earthly ruler to redirect us back to Him and His purpose for us.

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Proverbs 21:1

You see we can blame Obama and we can protest Trump, but it’s not about them… it’s about us church. God commanded Noah and his sons to be fruitful and multiply and when they chose instead to build a tower and city for their own name He came down and scattered them Himself (Genesis 11). Jesus commanded the church to preach the gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, and when they wanted to stay holed up in Jerusalem, He allowed persecution to run them out to do what He had commanded them to do (Acts 8:1). When our churches become community country clubs, entertainment centers, prisons of judgment and condemnation, or places of promoted licentiousness that mock the grace of God then our Lord will do what He has to do to tear down these walls.

He summons the heavens above, And the earth, to judge His people…

Psalm 50:4

He has called us to seek and save the lost. He called us to make known the magnificent promise and to glorify the name above all names, Jesus Christ our Lord. He expects us to do it. It’s kind of hard to see the Light when it’s locked in behind closed doors. It’s kind of hard to sow seed into concrete parking lots. Scattering more salt on already salted food simply begins to make it inedible and unpalatable… and well you just can’t help but want to snarl your nose at it, and spit it out, and trample it underfoot.

Perhaps it’s time that we stop blaming our elected officials and we simply begin by choosing to submit ourselves under the authority of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Let the church be reminded that we are ambassadors for Christ in a foreign land. Israel asked for a king and the Lord gave them one… because what they really needed to know was that it didn’t matter what earthly form of government they were under. It didn’t matter whether they were led by a judge, a prophet, or a king as long as their hearts and wills were submitted to the One who ruled over the heavens and the earth.

The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;

Acts 17:24

The writing and teachings of Nicole Love Halbrooks Vaughn