Posts tagged ‘Elijah’

When Prophets FEARED: God’s Response

Hebrews 11:6-8 states: “BUT WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek himBy faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went”

All the great prophets of the bible had FAITH! No doubt about it! And I think alot of us tend to forget that. For when evil PREVAILS, many a Christian (myself included at times, I admit) can feel SO depressed and SO disheartened and discouraged that it’s hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel, sort’ve speak. Things can just FEEL so helpless, at times! (Believe me, I know!)

So what are we as Christians to do when it feels like the whole entire world and society as well as certain “life circumstances” are against us? Cause we KNOW from the bible that many of the Lord’s prophets (as listed above) had FAITH but were there ever any times when the Lord’s prophets were AFRAID? And the answer is YES! Let us examine:

1). Psalm 38 (written by David – likely before he was King and “on the run” from King Saul) declares:

O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.

My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off. They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long. But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.

Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs. For in thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me. For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.

For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin. But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied. They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is. Forsake me not, O Lord: O my God, be not far from me. Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation”. 

2). And then there is the case of Elijah, who was “on the run” from Jezebel (& King Ahab) after Jezebel had threatened his life! We read about this in 1 Kings 19: 1-4

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers”

3). And let us also not forget Jonah, who FLED from the presence of the Lord when the Lord commanded him to go to Nineveh, a totally EVIL city that had been founded by NIMROD (Noah’s great-grandson!)

This is recorded in Jonah 1: 1-3Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me’. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord”

4). Moses – He was AFRAID to go before the people of Israel to inform them that the Lord God told him that He was gonna try to “secure their permanent release from Egypt” by (gasp!) “going before Pharaoh”! Why? Because he was afraid the people wouldn’t believe him, etc.! 

Exodus 3:10 records the Lord’s decree unto Moses: “Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt”. So here, the Lord’s COMMANDING Moses to go to Pharaoh, one of THE MOST intimidating characters in Eygpt! So, understandably, Moses is a just a little bit “nervous” over this. 

Next verse (11): “And Moses said unto God, ‘Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?’

Verse 12: The Lord’s response to Moses: “And he said, ‘Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain”. 

Verse 13: Moses’s response back to the Lord: “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?”

Verse 14: Lord’s response to Moses once more: “And God said unto Moses, ‘I Am That I Am’: and he said, ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you'”.

Verse 15: Lord’s additional response to Moses: “And God said moreover unto Moses, ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations”.

So here we got FOUR separate instances in which the prophets of the Lord were either SCARED/AFRAID (David & Moses), FLEEING from ENEMIES of the Lord (Elijah) or FLEEING *FROM* the presence of the Lord (Jonah). And though there may be other instances in which prophets/followers of the Lord were afraid, those are the top three mentioned in the bible. But guess what, folks?

5). EVEN JESUS HIMSELF was AFRAID in the Garden of Gethsemane:

Matthew 26: 36-39Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt“.

 

So here in the above passage, we see that Jesus is (gasp!) AFRAID! This is the ONE and ONLY time throughout the entire New Testament when Jesus is TRULY afraid! Why? Because he KNOWS that soon, when he is crucified for the sins of mankind, that he’ll temporarily be OUTSIDE OF THE PRESENCE OF THE HEAVENLY FATHER (since the Heavenly Father is SO holy, that he can not “JOIN WITH/CONNECT TO” any “sin” – and so thus – when Jesus KNEW that he was to BECOME “SIN”/THE “SACRIFICIAL LAMB” FOR ALL OF MANKIND, He, the Holy Son of God, knew that he’d be temporarily separated from the Holy Divine presence of the Heavenly Father AS he, the Holy Son of God, “BECAME SIN for ALL”).

Not to mention that Jesus was likely afraid of dying! He was BORN into a human lifetime. He was fully God AND fully human. He knew all about living as a “human” and what all humans experience during their “lifetimes”. But what he likely did NOT yet know at this point in time was about the ACTUAL EXPERIENCE OF DEATH! He had been born and lived as a human but yet, he had never DIED as one! He was likely afraid, for this was something he had NEVER, EVER experienced before and likely really didn’t know WHAT all to expect, at that point in time.

Luke 22:44 records: “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground

 

So here in Luke 22:44, we can see that Jesus was SO deathly afraid and SO anguished, that BEADS OF SWEAT were POURING to the ground, AS he prayed IN ANGUISH and with GREAT, GREAT ANXIETY!

However, WHEN Jesus added the Nevertheless, not as I wilt but as thou wilt to his highly anguished prayer, he was more or less saying that he ONLY wanted the cup of suffering to pass from him IF it was God the Heavenly Father’s will. Otherwise, he more or less said that he was WILLING to go through all the suffering he was about to endure (even AS terrifyingly AFRAID as he was, at that time), IF it was the Heavenly Father’s will, which it WAS! That is what’s known as “having faith in times of fear!” And it’s no doubt something that we ALL need to know and learn how to do!

So there you have it, folks! EVEN JESUS HIMSELF was greatly afraid at ONE point during his time on Earth! So what does that tell ya, people? It tells us that no matter HOW afraid you are, now matter HOW terrified or full of “anguish” that you feel over life/certain life circumstances, and/or no matter HOW disheartened you feel over something/someone, JESUS UNDERSTANDS! The PROPHETS OF OLD understand! JESUS’S DISCIPLES understand! For they THEMSELVES were once in YOUR shoes! So remember that, folks!

[[Let us not ALSO forget that Matthew 26:56 records “But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and FLED“. Translation? EVEN Jesus’s own DISCIPLES were afraid, at one point!]]

But now that we know HOW and WHY the following four biblical characters were afraid (Jesus being one of them), how did God (the Heavenly Father) respond to each of the four? Let us turn to the bible for the answer:

1). DAVID:

1 Samuel 31: 3-4 records: “And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. Then said Saul unto his armour-bearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armour-bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it”. 

Translation? Saul was punished seven-fold for trying to pursue and kill David (the “future king of Israel”). Saul had his “kingdom” stripped from him and given to another (which was David), and fell upon his own sword (dying a most disgraceful death), not to mention many other things.

In fact, in 2 Samuel 3, we read: “Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker“. Translation? There was a long “permanent conflict” between those who were loyal to King Saul and those who were loyal to David. And in the end, those loyal to Saul became fewer & fewer in number, while those loyal to David increased by “leaps and bounds”.

And David, when he REPENTED of his sins, (namely, the sin of “adultery” with Uriah’s wife Bethsheba, and then later having Uriah killed), he is later rewarded with yet ANOTHER son by Bethsheba (which was Solomon), among many other things.

In fact, 2 Samuel 12:8 records THIS: “And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things”.

Translation? When King David REPENTED of his sins and told the Lord point-blank ABOUT his fear & his anxiety, and had FAITH in the Lord’s forgiveness, the Lord rewarded him seven-fold with long life, a lasting kingdom and “over-abundance”.

Translation? God is there telling David that if what David attained had NOT been enough for him, that the Lord would’ve given onto him MUCH, MUCH MORE! Wow! What a statement! But then again, we only have to flip through the books of the bible to see HOW the Lord God BLESSES THOSE WHO REPENT OF THEIR FEAR(S) AND COME CLEAN ABOUT THEIR FEAR(S) AND/OR THEIR SINFUL ACTIONS!

2). ELIJAH:

1 Kings 19: 5-9 records:And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eatAnd he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of GodAnd he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, ‘What doest thou here, Elijah’?”

In 1 Kings 19:14, Elijah responds AGAIN and says to the Lord: “…..’I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away'”.

And the response from the Lord is found in 1 Kings 19: 15-18: “And the Lord said unto him, ‘Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. 

And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him‘”. 

In other words, the Lord here is informing Elijah that he’s not the ONLY ONE who adheres to the Lord’s decrees……..that there are SEVEN THOUSAND Israelites who had NOT bowed down unto Baal, nor had kissed him (as if to imply that those who worshiped Baal actually KISSED his idol/image or something?)

Therefore, the Lord here is letting Elijah know that he’s NOT ALONE! This must’ve been a very, very comforting confirmation for Elijah while he lived out the rest of his days. That no doubt BOOSTED Elijah’s faith in the Lord. And when Elijah knew he was about to be taken from the Earth, he informed his “apprentice”, EliSHAH that he would soon be taken from him. And as he and EliSHAH were on the River Jordan…….

2 Kings 11 records:As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind

Conclusion? Even though this “highly powerful prophet of God” fled for his LIFE from Jezebel, God REWARDED him for “listening to the angel” and “coming back to service for the Lord”. God was SO pleased with Elijah and his faith after that, that he took him up to Heaven (much like Enoch!)

3). JONAH:

In Jonah 3:10, we read:And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not”. 

Okay, so in above passage, Jonah (albeit reluctantly), goes into the city of Nineveh and preaches the Lord’s message to the people! And as a result, THEY REPENT! All of them, EVEN THE KING! Wow!

But yet, Jonah was still a little “perturbed” at that point in time as Jonah 4:1-6 records:

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live”.

Then said the Lord, ‘Doest thou well to be angry?’ So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd

Translation? Jonah kind’ve sort’ve takes a “chill pill”, realizes he shouldn’t be so angry and goes to “chill out” while he awaits to see what becomes of the city (if anything) of Nineveh. And the Lord God is SO PLEASED with Jonah for “taking a breather” that he decides to help Jonah stay cool in the hot, humid climate by placing a shadow gourd over his head to help him stay cool. And when Jonah saw this, the bible records that he was EXCEEDINGLY GLAD!

But again, only by FAITH did Jonah go into that dreadfully evil city, in the first place! Even if it was somewhat of a reluctant faith, it was faith nonetheless!

4). MOSES:

Exodus 10:28-29And Pharaoh said unto him, ‘Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die’. And Moses said, ‘Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more’“. 

Exodus 14:8 “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand”

Exodus 14:10And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were SORE AFRAID: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord

Exodus 14: 13-14And Moses said unto the people, ‘Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever, The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace

Exodus 14: 26-31 “And the Lord said unto Moses, ‘Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen‘. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of themBut the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 

Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses”

5). JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF:

In Luke 22:42, Jesus is SO afraid, that he starts praying the following: Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done”

So how does God respond, you might wonder? The answer comes one verse later, in Luke 22:43! “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him”.

Therefore, the Lord God Heavenly Father SAW Jesus’s anxiety, HEARD his highly anguished prayer and sent one of the angels from heaven to strengthen him.

In Mark 16:6, we read: “And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him“. So here, we see that Jesus had resurrected from the dead (thus, ending the so-called time of “temporary separation” from God, the Heavenly Father!)

And later on in Mark, we read in Mark 16:19 “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God”

Therefore, Jesus was blessed with ETERNAL GLORY for all the “submissive” fear and suffering he had endured the night BEFORE his crucifixion, as well as the day OF his crucifixion, as well as the time right AFTER his crucifixion and right BEFORE his resurrection. And the time between his resurrection and ascension up to Heaven, was not only to PROVE his words that testified of God the Heavenly Father but also (I think) for the Lord God to give him some time once more to spend with his “friends”, his disciples.

5). As for Jesus’s disciples, they were no doubt “rewarded” by God for their FAITH by increasing the Lord’s kingdom “by leaps & bounds”. And not only that but their names will be recorded ON THE WALLS of the heavenly city called “New Jerusalem” today! How COOL is that? 😉

FINAL CONCLUSION: ALL prophets of the Lord had times when they fell short of the mark of righteousness. But the preceding 5 biblical characters up above (including the 6th group, the disciples) ALL feared at one point! However, when they REPENTED of that fear (in their hearts) and SUBMITTED to the Lord’s will INSTEAD, they were ALL BLESSED!

David’s kingdom was determined to be eternal by God, Moses successfully lead the ENTIRE nation of Israel out of Egypt, the city of Nineveh was spared God’s Wrath at the preaching of Jonah, Elijah restored people to the Lord and was taken up to heaven, plus Jesus successfully carried out God’s will on Earth by being crucified, etc.! Now just think for a minute if any of those biblical characters, after initially hesitating at the first, had instead acted on their FEAR, instead of their FAITH? Can you IMAGINE? 

So what can get gather from all this? Whenever one FEARS, HAVE FAITH! And remember the prophets that were before you! Even THEY were scared, sometimes! But yet, WHEN they submitted to God/the Lord’s will, they came to find that FEAR IS UNNECESSARY! It serves NO PURPOSE! Plus it actually TAKES ONE *AWAY* FROM GOD!

I close with the following biblical quote in the hopes that it will enlighten you and STRENGTHEN your faith and your spiritual walk in Christ:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up

 

 

 

 

Dealing With Frustration/Fear/Discouragement

Frustration. Fear. Anger. Discouragement. It’s something we’ve ALL felt in our lives, from time to time. And looking through the pages of Holy Writ (Old AND New Testaments but ESPECIALLY the Old Testament), one might come to falsely believe that the Old Testament kings/prophets never had their fair share of anger/fear/frustration/disappointment. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth! 

King David was known (at times) to be in GREAT DESPAIR (over his sins!) This is evidenced in Psalm 69:

Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my GodThey that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away” (Psalm 69: 1-4)

And then there was also Jeremiah (also known as “The Weeping Prophet”):

“For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed” (Lamentations 1:16)

Behold, O Lord; for I am in distress: my bowels are troubled; mine heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: abroad the sword bereaveth, at home there is as death. They have heard that I sigh: there is none to comfort me: all mine enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that thou hast done it: thou wilt bring the day that thou hast called, and they shall be like unto me” (Lamentations 1:20-21)

And let us also not forget Elijah, who FLED FOR HIS LIFE!

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time

And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers” (1 Kings 19: 1-4)

Therefore, David DESPAIRED, Jeremiah WEEPED and Elijah FEARED! They were all HUMAN, just like you and me! And truth be told, NONE of the Lord’s Old/New Testament prophets and/or Old Testament kings were perfect, for even THEY made mistakes! They FEARED, they WEEPED, they felt HIGHLY DISCOURAGED at times, like I said! However, nearly ALL of them (with the exception of King Saul & a few others) repented and came back to the Lord! This is evidence of how the Lord “restored” each of them:

David: Psalm 71 and 72 seem to answer Psalms 69 and 70

Jeremiah: Jeremiah 15: 19-21 was God’s response TO Jeremiah, concerning Jeremiah’s “discouragement”

Elijah: 1 Kings 19: 9-18 is the Lord’s “response” TO Elijah’s “fear”/”discouragement”

But if that STILL don’t help you, then let me tell you of my OWN experiences with fear/anger/discouragement:

1). I’m the only Messianic Jewish-Christian in my family and they all think I’m “crazy” for believing in Jesus Christ and “the bible”, etc.

2). I’m one of the only “open believers” at my workplace (a place where many like to “mock Christ” and “mock the bible”, because they think it’s so much FUN/ENTERTAINING/EMPOWERING to do so!)

3). While all of my old High-School and college friends are now pretty much all married with kids, there’s a very good chance that marriage & kids is not in the cards for ME, as far as THE LORD’S WILL seems to go (thus, making ME feel like a sort’ve “modern-day Jeremiah”)

4). Just like Jeremiah in the OT times, it seems the more I try to preach the gospel of Christ, the more people DON’T listen to me, which is HIGHLY DISCOURAGING, to say the least!

5). People in my family, my workplace/etc. make ME feel like the “bad guy” for not believing in “gay marriage”, “abortion”, “gay rights”, etc.

6). I have a couple of “Christian” friends who find absolutely nothing wrong with abortion, gay marriage and Catholic Church “theology” and of whom seem to think I’m such an “awful person” for trying to say that women shouldn’t have abortions for any reason, and that gay marriage and the Catholic Church are NOT of God!

7). I more or less feel like I’m being forced to celebrate “Dec25th” against my will (just to keep the peace in the family), even though I know in my heart and soul what a GODLESS, DISGUSTING holiday December 25th is! My “Christian” friends think I’m the Devil for even doing so much as “suggesting” that “Dec25th” has MAJOR PAGAN ORIGINS and has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH CHRIST! But in fact, THE WORLD makes me feel like such a “you-know-what” for NOT wanting to celebrate it!

But what is the crime, there? Just because EVERYONE does something doesn’t make it “right”, biblically-speaking! If the world worshiped Baal, would THAT make it “right”, biblically speaking? Anyways, I hate myself for being complacent on this one and for not putting my foot down. Not to mention I’m also probably being a a bit “hypocritical” here as well, as in previous posts, I stated that Christians celebrating “Dec.25th”, KNOWING its true connotations were in possible danger of judgement. 

8). Related to #3 above, any time I even “try” to date someone who’s even “remotely” Christian, it NEVER WORKS OUT. EVER. And when I inquired to the Lord about it, the Lord’s response more or less seemed to be: I don’t call EVERYONE to date/get married, ya know? (Hinting that my heavenly “calling” IS to be likened unto a “modern-day Jeremiah”?)

9). A couple of sins I struggle with (hoarding and/or food addiction) are SO HARD to overcome. I go through periods of time where I can “seem” to overcome it for awhile. But then…..I oftentimes seem to subtly go right back to it (nevermind the fact that I’ve tried to pray and cry out to the Lord about it LOTS of times……maybe I just need more faith?)

10). I try to find time each and every single day to “spend time with the Lord” and/or to “read his written word”. But it seems like every single time I try to open up the bible, I get sleepy…….really, really sleepy……or I become SO afraid of accidentally getting a WRONG interpretation from the bible that I’m almost too afraid to read it, sometimes (I know how ridiculous that must sound to some!) 

11). No matter HOW HARD I try to keep my patience at ALL times and in ALL situations, there’s things in my family and ESPECIALLY at my workplace that test my patience TO THE HILT! Working with the general “public” on any given day’s gonna come with customer “complaints”, naturally. And oftentimes, it’s complaints that either I can’t do anything about (as I don’t make the rules there) OR that I consider not even “complainable”.  

For example, if I try to bag a customer’s food in a special way where the hot stuff isn’t touching the cold stuff or if I want to wrap up some small tubs of sauces in a small bag WITHIN the plastic bag so the sauce doesn’t move around in the plastic sack and spill everywhere, it seems like 8 times out of 10, the customer will either COMPLAIN or give me this STRANGE LOOK like “ugh, you’re being WAY TOO nice to me, you’re WAY over-doing it, ugh!” And it REALLY tests my patience, sometimes! Here I am, trying to provide EXEMPLARY customer service TO the customer, and yet, there they are, complaining about EVERY. SINGLE. LITTLE. THING! It’s NUTS! In fact, this is often what I have to deal with on a daily basis!

I kid you not. I’ve had days where ONE customer complained about 5 or more small little things, one right after another, boom, boom, boom! And then, they’d have the gall to complain to ME if MY face looked even just a “little” minorly frustrated at the end of their “spiel”. Or I’ll have customers that won’t complain but they’ll wait until I have everything all bagged up for them, with a long line behind them and then, they’ll ADD things to their “order”. AGGRAVATING! But I have to try to remember to have the PATIENCE OF CHRIST! That’s not always easy in my line of work, folks! In fact, I’ve even had customers complain that I’m TOO nice at times. Well, in MY opinion, being “too nice” is FAR much better than being “rude”, am I right?

What IS it about human nature, that the MORE someone gives to us, the LESS AND LESS we appreciate it? Now I sort’ve know how Jesus Christ must’ve felt on the cross. And even before and after. During the times of the ancient Israelites, The Lord did A TON of stuff for the Israelites: He brought them out of Egypt, he parted the Red Sea for them, he gave them manna to eat from heaven, he miraculously brought forth water from rocks/desert, he oftentimes helped them defeat their enemies and blessed their crops, etc. etc. But it seemed like no matter HOW MUCH he did for ancient Israel, the Israelites STILL turned on Him and were UNGRATEFUL to Him! In fact, it seemed that THE MORE He DID for ancient Israel, the more and MORE they hated Him and turned on Him! HOW SAD! 😦

Honestly, there’ve been days at work when I’ve felt like: “Ok, if the customers want to complain, LET THEM, I’m sick and tired of trying to provide them exemplary service if they’re just going to walk all over me like that!” But ya want to know what the Lord taught me on those days?Treat ALL customers the way the RUDE customers treat YOU, guess what? YOU are then NO BETTER THAN THEY ARE!” Ouch! A hard lesson learned, but learned, nonethess!

Oftentimes, WHEN we are feeling discouraged, it’s because we’re spiritually lacking in something! Do we lack faith? Obedience? Patience? What IS it that we lack, first of all? And secondly, how do we overcome whatever’s LACKING? Answer: Through the Almighty Power & Glory of our Lord, Yeshua Hama’shiach (Jesus Christ Almighty!) His ways are NOT our ways and His divine understanding is NOT our human understanding! Our human nature is to want to get even with those who discourage us! But it’s Jesus’s nature to HUMBLE US!

lt’s not all bunnies and rainbows, folks! There’s going to be times in our lives when we feel MAJORLY DISCOURAGED and feel like throwing in the towel! But we MUST remember:

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” [Matthew 24:13]

The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all” [Psalms 34: 17-19]

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” [Isaiah 41:10]

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” [John 16:33]

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” [Psalms 55:22]

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” [Jeremiah 29:11]

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” [Matthew 11:28]

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” [Galatians 6:9]

It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him” [Lamentations 3: 22-24]

And if that STILL doesn’t encourage you or provide hope, then think of it THIS WAY: Satan and his demons are THE ONES who are making you FEEL the way you do right now! And it’s their JOB to make you feel that way! HOWEVER, Revelation 20 and Matthew 25 state that they’ve ALREADY BEEN DEFEATED! They are nothing more than DEFEATED FOES:

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” [Matthew 25:41]

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” [Revelation 20:10]

So just remember THIS, folks……When Satan and his demons get you down, just remind Satan of his future! (Revelation 20:10)

So……in conclusion? ANGER NOT, FEAR NOT, BE DISCOURAGED NOT! Why? Because God/Jesus Christ is IN CONTROL! And may you and I never, EVER forget that folks, for the rest of our existence! Amen! 😉

 

The Spirit of FEAR: Satan’s Attack On The Soul

Some days, our walk with Jesus Christ/Yeshua is really, really strong and we’re bold and confident in our faith. But then over time, if we’re not careful, fear and doubt begin to grip our souls as Satan and his demons work OVERTIME to make sure that happens in our lives! Many “Christians” out there today think that: “There’s NO NEED to spiritually battle Satan and his demons, Jesus ALREADY won the victory over Satan at the cross”. And my, oh MY, how those poor folks are DECEIVED! For 1 Peter 5:8 states: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour“.

Now, mentally picture this for just a moment. Imagine you are in a forest, and you’re lost and aren’t sure what direction to take. There’s a violent animal in that forest, hiding behind trees and tall brushes of grass, seeking whom he may devour. And that animal’s like a dog: he can smell doubt/fear from a MILE away! And as you’re slowly walking through this “forest”, (the forest of your SOUL, that is), are you going to have faith and call upon the name of the Lord to guide you through safely and “accurately” or are you gonna doubt and start to freak out at the VERY first audible sound of the evil animal (Satan) roaring?

Remember that story in the Old Testament when King Nebuchadnezzar threw Daniel (one of the Lord’s prophets) into the LIONS DEN for his refusal to abandon praying to the Lord ONLY (the only TRUE God of the universe, the creator and maker of all things?) Did Daniel feel fearful at all when placed into the LIONS DEN as punishment? It doesn’t look like it, from how the biblical narrative reads. And what happened as a result of Daniel NOT doubting and having faith that the Lord would protect him? The Lord closed the lions mouth so that they couldn’t even hurt Daniel!

And maybe perhaps the lions lay at Daniel’s feet and Daniel even got to pet the lions (as though they were “pets”) but we’ll never know. The point is, Daniel FEARED NOT! [Daniel, chapter 6 in the Old Testament tells the whole story, while Daniel 6: 16-21 focuses on the main parts of how Daniel was thrown into the Lions Den and then overcame. And that is particularly MIRACULOUS since most people (if they were to be completely honest) would probably cover their eyes and cower in fear. 

I think it was Daniel’s FAITH and TRUST IN THE LORD that saved him! For if Daniel had doubted, those lions probably would’ve been allowed to tear him to bits! There’s many cases in the bible where God wasn’t pleased when prophets doubted during the times of the Old Testament. However, when God returned as Jesus in the New Testament, he was a bit more patient. Still not pleased about the lack of faith but gently telling the disciples how to get MORE of it! 

But in fact, just 3 chapters earlier in Daniel 3 in the Old Testament, we also read about how Daniel’s 3 friends (fellow servants of the Lord of the bible) were THROWN INTO A FIERY FURNACE and didn’t have one single MARK on them! All because they wouldn’t bow down to an IDOL that the King of Babylon had set up for “worship”. The narrative can be read at Daniel 3: 13-24! There, we read how Daniel’s 3 friends WEREN’T BURNT BY THE FIRE ***DUE*** to their faith in the Lord of the bible!  

However, some of the OTHER Old Testament prophets weren’t so lucky. My heart breaks for Elijah when we read the Old Testament narrative of how he FEARED JEZEBEL AND FLEED FOR HIS **LIFE**! Because BEFORE he started to fear, he had VERY strong faith and was doing pretty much everything the Lord had asked him to do. But AFTER Jezebel made a threat on his life, HE FLED! And the arrogant part of me is always thinking: “Why didn’t he just face that old witch HEAD ON and tell her what a piece of sinful filth/affliction she was with the bold declaration to her face ‘ain’t nothing you can do to me, outside of the Lord’s power!” My heart absolutely breaks for Elijah every single time I read that passage [1 Kings 19 in the Old Testament].    

And in general, the fear in our minds, hearts, bodies and spirits starts out so small. “There’s alot of lay-offs going around. What if I get layed off and can no longer support my family?” Or “I feel like I’ve done alot for the Lord lately but what if I haven’t done nearly enough and the Lord’s angry with me?” Or “What if the Lord’s angry with me or has given up on me? What if the Lord hates me, now?” and so and so forth.

It starts out SO SMALL and then over time, those fears can simply become OVERPOWERING, if one does not call upon the name of the Lord to control those thoughts…..It’s that knotted feeling in the stomach, the feeling that something isn’t quite right. It’s that fear that makes us wake up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. For some, it’s the Lord’s way of drawing that person to a state of repentance for their sins. But for others, it’s Satan’s blatant attack upon their mind, heart, body and spirit.

And in fact, in Luke 21:26, it says: “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken”.

Truth be told, Satan (as well as all his demons) HATES humans (as well as the entire section of the “heavenly congregation” in heaven that did NOT rebel or “see things Satan’s way”). And he knows he can’t destroy the RIGHTEOUS ANGELS of the Lord, so now, he AND his demons are wrecking havoc upon this Earth to try to destroy as many humans FROM WITHIN as they possibly can!

Many Christians today think that “demons no longer exist” and were only around during the time of the New Testament! HA! DON’T BE FOOLED! I submit to you today that they’re real, and “thriving” in today’s fallen world! Many famous celebrities even become POSSESSED by them (as Satan and his demonoids are NO respector of persons, even those who claim to “worship them”!) Check it out! The “bass playing” in and of itself, right off the bat, sounds HELLISH, as though demons were playing it! The **4:05-4:26** and **6:15-6:25** marks where TORI AMOS IS **CLEARLY DEMONICALLY POSSESSED** SAYS IT ALL!!!

Rather we are a believer in Almighty Yeshua/Jesus Christ or we aren’t, we’ve ALL felt “fearful” at times in our lives. And lets face it, Satan and his demons are NOTORIOUS for getting Christians and Jews to FEAR! We’ve worried about terrorist attacks, our finances, our taxes, the future of this country, etc. And while it’s perfectly normal/common for humans to worry about those things, the bible has a slightly DIFFERENT approach when it comes to FEAR:

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”

Psalm 118:6 (KJV) The LORD is on my side; I will not fear : what can man do unto me?”

Deuteronomy 31:6 (KJV) Be strong and of a good courage , fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee”

Isaiah 41:10 (KJV) Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed ; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” 

Matthew 6:30 (KJV) “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”

Matthew 6:26 (KJV) “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”

Jeremiah 1:8 (KJV)Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD” (I honestly think this one’s talking about **demonic manifestations** of Satan and/or his demons!!! And remember, saints: With 100% faith in Jesus Christ Almighty, we have the 100% power to cast out demons for Jesus has said so!!!!!)

And that’s just a mere “sample”. There’s SO MANY MORE passages on FEAR and controlling/overcoming it in the bible. But for the sake of time & space, I just focused on those particular passages. I hope they will help you in your spiritual walk with God, today!

But the question remains. Do you fear something today? Do you fear a person? A thing? A cancer diagnosis? A lack of faith? A circumstance? Rebuke that fear right now this very second in the name of Jesus Christ Almighty! He CAN and he DOES have the power to wipe that fear AWAY! You just have to let Him!

“LORD JESUS, ANYONE THAT READS THIS POST, I REBUKE THE SPIRIT OF FEAR OUT OF THEIR MINDS, HEARTS, BODIES, AND SPIRITS. PLEASE CLEANSE THEM AND SET THEM FREE **AND** GIVE THEM A NEW MIND, HEART, BODY AND SPIRIT IN **YOU**, LORD! PLEASE GIVE THEM A FAITH NOW THAT’S **SO STRONG**, **NOT EVEN** THE THREAT OF DEATH OR TORTURE CAN TAKE IT AWAY! PLEASE GIVE THEM A FAITH THAT’S **SO STRONG**, THEY’D BE ABLE TO LAUGH IN SATAN’S AND THE DEMON’S FACES WHENEVER THEY MAKE BLATANT THREATS AGAINST THEM! PLEASE PROTECT THEM, BLESS THEM AND KEEP THEM FOR ALL ETERNITY! AMEN!”