Ziklag

“Pursue; for thou shalt surely overtake them!”

Recently, in my devotions, I have been studying in first Samuel about a place called Ziklag.  Metaphorically, Ziklag is a place in your life where as you are fighting one fight, there is another on the other side you are battling, parallel to the  present.  Ziklag is a place where you are hounded by adversity, hounded by troubles, and pushed to your breaking point.  This is the condition King David was in when he was in this place called “Ziklag.”   He barely came out of one battle —  just to come home to face another.

Nothing comes without struggle.  Nothing comes without conflict.  If you can make it through Ziklag, God’s glory will come.  Fighting is exhausting.  Even if you win it is exhausting and you acquire some damage.  Victory isn’t easy as you draw close to God in time of hardship.

We get an insight into how David did it in Psalm 103.  We need to reassure ourselves of the goodness and faithfulness of God before we are able to hear from him and receive counsel for the way out.  First, work on your heart before looking to God for guidance.  This is what David did (verse 6).   When King David came back from battle and saw that they took his wives and children, he had no one to believe in him.  The Bible states that he encouraged himself.

Have you ever looked for comfort and ran into conflict?  If  you are not careful, you will stop looking for comfort because you don’t ever expect anything to get better.  BUT  again,  the Bible states, “King David encouraged himself!”

There is one truth I have come to realize:  “weeping may endure for a night but JOY comes in the morning.

Ziklag is a place where no one wants to go.   Ziklag is a place where you have to encourage yourself.  Ziklag is a place where you want to die.  Everything is about to break and you feel like giving up.

But I am confident that when the Lord takes me to this place called Ziklag in my life, it is where I learn the most.  It is a place where I have to encourage myself.  I am forced to find my strength in the Lord.  I hurt so very much that I scream out to God, “Please, God, take me out of this place!  Don’t you see how much I am hurting?  Can’t you see that there is no joy in this place?”

My Ziklag taught me that I cannot run from this place.   I have learned that I must  learn how to deal with my pain.  Not only deal with it, but learn from it.

The scripture (I Samuel) goes on to say that David encouraged himself in the Lord. I could never understand how David encouraged himself with all of his people blaming him and wanting to stone him for what happened. What could David ever think about that would encourage and strengthen him to go and take back what the enemy had stolen?  A seemingly impossible mission!  I personally believe one scripture that David remembered was: “This is the day that the Lord has made.” And then it dawned on him. It’s the third day!  Three always means divine; and anything that’s divine has supernatural power within it.  If this is God’s timing for the enemy to come against us to steal, then it must be God’s timing to take back what the enemy has stolen!  A parallel event.  Ziklag!  David went on to recover all that the enemy had taken from them and destroyed the enemy!

I sense the Lord saying. “The worst day of your life always falls on the third day on my calendar! I am always one step ahead of the enemy. That’s why I tell you, do not look back for I go before you to make the crooked things straight!”

“Encourage yourself! It’s the third day! A day of power when all things are possible! Don’t wait for someone else to encourage you for everyone is fighting their own battle. The battle on the field is won in the prayer closet. I will meet you there and speak to you, and you will no longer hear the voice of strangers or the enemy taunting you.”

It was the “third day” when the stone was rolled away and Jesus himself was raised from the dead.  If God can raise the dead . . . what else can’t he do?  The “third day” Jesus led the captives out of hell, taking back what the enemy thought he had stolen.  On the third day, Jesus made our enemy our footstool.  Take a break from your worst day and rest your feet on the devil’s neck!  The devil is really not that big, he fits underneath your feet!  You will recover all that the enemy has taken from you. The longer the devil keeps what belongs to you, the more interest he has to pay when you take back what he has stolen!

I hear the Lord saying: “Pursue; for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail, recover all!”

Blessings,

Erme

(photo source: freedigitalphotos.net, markuso)

The Prince of Hearts

source: Prince Of Persia movie trailer

A favorite movie of mine is The Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time (2010).  The storyline is similar to many fairy tales where the prince rescues the princess from evil.  The prince is handsome, dashing, strong and eventually wins the heart of the princess.  This type of movie is always a win with women.

I think women look for this type of character in men from early childhood, as young as ten years of age.  We look for Prince Charming or Valiant to come riding up on his white horse, sweep us off our feet and carry us to his castle.  As we begin to seek out relationships we compare men to the image of a storybook prince.  Not a bad guideline, but is it realistic?

What should we look for in a man?  What are the values and characteristics that make him a true prince?  Here are some of the values women cherish in a man:

  • Chivalry
  • Friendship
  • Honesty
  • Truthfulness
  •  Humor
  •  Manners

I would also add respect and cleanliness to this list.  We expect total perfection and nothing less from the man of our dreams.

I think we can find some men who almost fit this image but I would dare say that any one man could fill this description totally.   However, there is one man who walked the earth that did fit all of the requirements of a prince.  Jesus.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.  For those who lived in a land of deep shadows – light!  …. He’ll take over the running of the world, His names will be Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness.  His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.  .. He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing and keep it going with fair dealing and right living, beginning now and lasting always. Isaiah 9: 2

And Jesus is still reigning from his throne in heaven:

God set him on high at his side, prince and Savior, to give Israel the gift of a changed life and sins forgiven. Acts 5:29-32

It isn’t fair to hold any man up to this standard of perfection, but it is admirable for a man to want to live according to the standards set by Christ Jesus.  Christ protects, provides, comforts, nurtures, listens, is loyal, has  a great sense of humor, is truth, chivalrous, a friend, very pure (clean), and respectful.  A man who follows the examples of Jesus will become a reflection of wholeness that is attractive to women.   The old saying goes, “no man is perfect.”, it is true.; but, a man who looks to Jesus as his guide in life will mature spiritually to encompass the essence of what really counts in life:  love.

What is love? 

I Corinthians 13 states that love is long-suffering, kind, doesn’t envy, not prideful, is chivalrous, unselfish, controlled, loves truth, is strong and never fails.  This is what we value, as women, in men.  It is the heart of a prince.

It doesn’t matter if a man is wealthy, wise and attractive if he fails to demonstrate these traits in his life.  His heart is empty.  And, if his heart is empty there is coldness within his soul.  Women cannot find warmth from his being to kindle the fires of her romantic heart leading to a happily ever after.

There are men who do not own mansions, who do not hold prominent roles in society and who are not built like Mr. Universe, but nevertheless, they are a prince at heart.  They understand what is truly recognized as manhood and strive to live it out before others.

I don’t know who I am speaking to regarding this message, but I believe that there are still men out there whose heart’s desire is to become the image of the true Prince.  Looking for Prince Charming is fruitless, he doesn’t really exist.  But, there are men out there who have the heart of a prince and waiting for him is truly worth it all.

Blessings,

Dee

A Princess Tattered and Torn

A princess battles outside the Kingdom. (source: photobucket.com)

Most of the fairy tales I enjoy have princess characters who are beautiful heroines.  Cinderella and Snow White are two that endured hardships, but found new hope and friends along their journey.  I admire the princesses of Lord Of The Rings movies for their stamina and bravery in fighting battles and standing for justice.  A princess in a fairy tale story always has a happy ending to her plight, but does a real life princess ? 

What is a princess? Freedictionary.com defines a princess as a woman having sovereign power, born into royalty, a woman having the status or qualities of a princess. 

Did you know that as a female believer in Christ, you are a princess? I refer to the following verse as proof:

Now I confer on you the royal authority my Father conferred on me so you can eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and be strengthened as you take up responsibilities among the congregations of God’s people. (Luke 22: 28-30, MSG)

Note the phrase at the end, “as you take up responsibilities among the congregations…” What does that mean?  A princess has duties and obligations within her role.  The title is given, but with it comes training on how to carry it with respect, honor and strength to rule.  It also means that you must experience how the people think and live in order to rule with wisdom.  The King will set a plan for your growth and set a path for your journey.  Jer 29:11 states, “I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”

You cannot train for life sitting on fluffy pillows while drinking tea and eating bonbons.  That is a pleasure indeed, but real life lessons are acquired during times of battle and that usually means leaving the safety of the kingdom.  It means arming yourself in full battle gear, fighting dragons and suffering.  You will be tattered and torn.  Only through this experience will you know how to help those around you.  You will relate to what they are thinking and how to calm them, to show them peace.  When you return to the castle, you will dance a victory dance for all to see and rejoice with you.  

Dance, dance, dear Shulammite, Angel-Princess!  Dance, and we’ll feast our eyes on your grace! Everyone wants to see the Shulammite dance her victory dances of love and peace.  (Song of Solomon: 6: 13, MSG)

Sometimes it feels like we are constantly out in the vallies fighting enemies.  Many are unseen to us.  Not only do we experience pain, but we see the hurts and pain of the people who look to us for help.  We smell and know fear.   Evil surrounds us, tears at us and waits for us to fall. 

She was wearing a long-sleeved gown. (That’s how virgin princesses used to dress from early adolescence on.)  Tamar poured ashes on her head, then she ripped the long-sleeved gown, held her head in her hands, and walked away, sobbing as she went. (2 Samuel: 13:19, MSG)

Princess, you will always hear the voice of the King guiding you, encouraging you and strengthening you on this path.  He will send a special troop of soldiers to defend you when needed.  You will never be totally alone.  Your training period will only last long enough to make you a true princess.  One who can reign with wisdom and power, but yet know how to love and show compassion.  When you return to the King’s castle, you will receive a royal welcome and be clothed with beauty. 

“Her wedding dress is dazzling, lined with gold by the weavers; all her dresses and robes are woven with gold.  She is led to the king, followed by her virgin companions.  A procession of joy and laughter! A grand entrance to the King’s palace! (Psalm 45: 13-15, MSG)

The fairytale princess has her happy ending, and the real life princess does too!

Blessings,

Dee