The King’s Advisors

Whose counsel do you seek in protecting your life’s castle? (source: wikimedia.com)

The King bellowed the command, “Bring me a flask of wine and call my counsellors to the throne room!”  The messengers scattered speedily throughout the corridors and into the courtyards beckoning the advisors to heed the king’s command.  Within minutes, the royal court was filled with counsellors brimming with excitement, awaiting the king’s bidding. 

The king arose from his throne and spoke one phrase:  Should I make war or peace with Kauldron?

The advisors immediately began to converse with one another over the proposition presented to them.  They argued for a good part of the morning, many of them refusing to alter their opinion.  The king leaned over and spoke to his chief scholar, asking for his perception of the court proceedings.  The scholar retorted, “I believe they lack clear vision.”

Proverbs 15:22 states, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.”   A king depended upon the advise of his counsellors to help him make important decisions such as policy, war and judgment.  Counsellors were selected depending upon their character, wisdom and experience.  Often, a matter of life and death weighed heavily upon the counsel of these consultants.  At times, they lacked clear vision or direction on how to advise the king.

Today, we do not have the personal privilege of a king’s counsel to guide and inform us when life’s difficult problems present themselves.   However, we can seek advice from those we know who demonstrate a Godly life, success based upon character, and righteous living.  We call them mentors.

Seeking those who would consider our cause, pray over it and help guide us to a good decision is valuable and priceless.  A good counsellor will not tell us what to do, but advise us as to the pros and cons of the situation.  Ultimately, we make the decision based upon what we hear and consider to be the best option.

There are those of us who tend to make decisions based upon our emotional status, upon the word of casual acquaintance, even the advice of a stranger rather than to seek out someone with proven wisdom in life matters.  Based upon the former advisors mentioned, we head down the wrong path to a dismal ending.

“But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?”  (Job 28;12)  Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?  (Job 38:36)  No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. (Job 28:18)  Yes, where do we get priceless wisdom to help us understand our problem completely?  How can we truly trust any man with such intricate matters of heart?

Daniel, a man of God and counsellor to King Nebuchadnezzar, knew where to find wisdom to guide him in life,  ” . . . blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. . . O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.”  (Daniel 2: 20-23)

When we seek advice, it would greatly benefit us to seek out the Lord’s counsel before making any final decision.  In fact, we should pray to him first, prior to sharing our concerns with and asking the advice of mentors.  Men (and women) will give us good counsel, but if not coupled with God’s  — we may be headed down the wrong path.

God is able to see what you cannot, he knows what lies ahead.  He also knows your strengths and weaknesses.  Who better to advise you on how to proceed?  He desires the best for you.  “I know what I’m doing.  I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.  when you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.. . I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed. ” (Jer. 29:11-14, MSG)

Seek God’s counsel first, your counsellors/mentors second, and your decisions will be wise and successful.

Blessings,

Dee

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

Who Do You Think You Are?

What a man thinks reveals his inner man’s heart. Source: freedigitalphotos.net

Summer’s activities has put a hiccup in our blog posts.   Erme and I are sorry for the gap in posts, and plan to  make up for it over the coming weeks.  Also, we hope that many of you have experienced some much needed relaxation and rest during the past couple of months.  Please feel free to share with us your news, accomplishments and prayer requests in the comment section following the post.  It is always refreshing to join you in rejoicing and it is our honor to approach God’s throne with your prayer request.

I was speaking with one of our summer visitors about how we can realize our potential in life.  Not only that, but how we can become the person of faith that God intends for us to be.  If you are like me, I think about how I want things to happen in my life.  And, I imagine the type of person I want to become.  The Bible says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he . . ”  (Proverbs 23:7).   This short reference speaks volumes on the power of thinking becoming a reality.  In other words, we become what we believe.   Take note, this can be a good thing, but it can also be self-defeating. 

How so?  Think about a time when you failed at something.  Before the failure, what were you thinking?  Were you thinking positively?  Were you allowing your fears to set in and influence your thoughts?  Did you envision yourself victorious?  I would venture to say that your thinking became an active voice when you spoke to others about it.  Your words proved what was in your heart.

Let’s take a look in the book of Genesis at what happened when Jacob  put fresh branches of poplar, almond and plane trees in front of the flock.  He peeled the branches, leaving white stripes on them.  He then stuck the peeled branches in front of the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink.  When the flocks mated in front of the streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked or spotted or speckled.  (Genesis 30: 37-42, MSG)   What happened?  The sheep visually saw the streaked branches, it manifested in their minds (their thinking) and produced young with the same designs. 

What we imagine, think or visualize will also become a reality if we dwell upon it.  Thinking good thoughts will produce a healthy heart.  Imagining the possibilities of what could be in a positive light will create a heart of joy.  You will speak it out as such to others.  As a believer in Jesus, if you think about good things then you will become the personification of it in life.  Philippians 4: 8 states, “meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — the best, not the worst, the beautiful, not the ugly, things to praise, not things to curse.  Put into practice what you learned … do that, and God, wo makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”  You will have well-balanced, peaceful life. 

Thom Gardner talks about our thinking being a gateway to the heart.  Our internal thinking gate opens and closes on thoughts.  He discusses how the gate may have allowed past fears, hurts, cultural things, prejudice, etc. to influence our thinking. 

James Allen, author of As A Man Thinketh, states:

  • Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruit. 
  • Happiness is mental harmony and unhappiness is mental inharmony.
  • The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.
  • All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.

You control what you become by your thinking.  Follow the Biblical path to knowledge and wisdom and your thinking will be based upon a strong foundation of truth.  Knowing what scripture says will help you to weed out impure thoughts, thoughts that harm you and that will destroy your character and destiny in life.  By doing this, you will improve your thinking and your outer man will also improve.  Open your thoughts to what is good, think upon it and know peace as Christ intended.

The King’s Table

Always keep fresh Bread of the Presence on the table before me.  Exodus 25:30 (MSG)

The King’s Table serves fresh bread that strengthens the spirit. (source: whowillyouserve.blogspot.com)

I love fresh bread.  When we were younger, my husband would make loaves of fresh bread almost every weekend.  The smell of the bread baking in the oven was intolerable for me.  I could hardly wait to enjoy a slice with just a pat of butter and some tea.  We would often enjoy a slice while sitting in front of our fireplace during a cold winter evening.  Somehow the fresh warm bread and the long chats into the night helped us to bond and grow together as a couple. 

If you have ever read a book from the series The Lord of The Rings you know the quaint habits of the dear little hobbits.  They ate quite frequently throughout the day, but mostly enjoyed a fresh loaf of bread, some cheese and a cup of tea.  In the same respect, the Bible mentions meals that make your mouth water.  For example, Abigail prepared a grand meal for David and his men as follows: “She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep dressed out and ready for cooking, a bushel of roasted grain, a hundred raisin cakes and two hundred fig cakes.”   This was a feast! 

When you dine with companions, it is a time to enjoy each other’s company.  The feast is well prepared and the table set in preparation of good fellowship.  Usually, people will tell stories, have some great laughs and may even share some sorrows. 

Have you ever had stale, crusty, old bread?  It leaves your mouth dry and stomach empty.  It is hard to swallow, in fact you may choke on the crumbs.  Better to toss it out than to continue to digest it.  Yet, some people eat crusty old bread when they dine with their companions.  It is served at every feast. 

Lady Wisdom has built and furnished her home . . . The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted, wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers.. . Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me!  I’ve prepared a wonderful spread – fresh-baked bread, roast lamb, carefully selected wines.  Leave your impoverished confusion and live!  Walk up the street to a life with meaning.” Proverbs 9: 1-6 (MSG)

Doesn’t this sound like a table set for a king?  It is a table set by The King in this excerpt.  It is Wisdom’s home and it is He that is actually inviting us to come and dine with  him.  He invites us; come eat fresh bread and learn of me.  You will not go away hungry, but full and satisfied.  Your mind will be renewed.

I believe that God’s plan for you is to enjoy fresh bread in his presence.  He made food (bread) to sustain you through life’s daily walk.  With each meal your body and spirit is revived, strengthened and able to accomplish your task.  If you spend your time at the King’s table, chatting about frivolous concerns and meaningless stories, your bread (heart) will harden right before you.  Do now allow Darkness a place at the table nor share any of the fresh bread that strengthens the soul. 

The next time you enjoy a meal with friends or family, take a slice of fresh bread with a little butter or honey and enjoy the presence of  The King.  He’s has set the table and expects you to walk away a much stronger person!

Blessings,

Dee

Limitations

Definition of Restriction (Limitation): 

1)   The act of limiting or the state of being limited

2)   a shortcoming or defect

God wants us to enlarge ALL our territories. For me, I feel it is time to have an enlargement that pertains to life and goodness.  Have you ever had a season where you felt you couldn’t  fully enter into all God has for you because of limitations?  “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fullest.” God has made a way for us to walk in the fullness of all He has released to us. He also made a way for us to walk in complete freedom of limitations.

John 8:36   So if the Son of Man sets you  free, you will be free.

We must not allow wrong thinking and mindsets to govern what we perceive to be effective.  If we do, we lose sight of the living reality that is before us.

I know in my case, I have read the Bible in bits and pieces all my life.  I never thought for a minute that the limitation I was allowing to take root in my life for so many years was because of my ignorance and lack of  motivation (I choose to call it laziness).  I always felt like just hearing the word from different speakers or my minister was supposed to somehow give me the security and protection I needed to protect me from others and myself. 

But I now realize that this was a very dangerous position for any child of God to be in. 

As you would guess, my limitations were always that God cannot, but I can!  Always wanting and expecting that God should do it, and being so angry with him when results were not delivered. Never allowing God to put his limitations on my life because they meant bondage to me.  Only going so far with him, and only as long as God did not demand anything I did not want to freely give him. 

These were some of my limitations in Christ.  But I finally realized, through the constant parade of  failures and heartaches which were in my life,  that this was a path to destruction.  So many times we accept mediocre living complete with limitations because we don’t want to plow a new path leading us to complete freedom in Christ. 

But freeing ourselves from limitations that have kept us in bondage takes commitment to his word and faith.  Christ tells us in his word that he came to set us free. What does that mean to us?  How do we apply this truth in our lives to achieve the knowledge and ability to practice it every minute, every second we are called to live as his children here on this earth?

To me this means simply what it states, “He has given us everything we need to live this life without limitations through Him.”   This means that I dig way down deep inside to understand this is reality.  It means the Christ who died for me is either Christ or he is nothing at all.

I have learned that if I am to live this life, I must acquire this ability to live without limitations which keep me from seeing the reality of this God I serve.  What ability am I given through him?  And how will I ever know this unless I become a student and learner of the Bible?

I now absorb and value the time I am able to sit and read my Bible.  Because it has become so many things in my life.  It is my history book, but it is also my manual in mastering life.   It is my book to discover how to be that woman of God to my husband.  It is my book to learn about my dysfunctional ways and how God delivers me from them.  It is my book that has delivered me from my terrifying fears.

I can go on and on but then I would take away from the journey that is now yours to take. 

I can promise you that the journey and the “free-falling” in Christ is a life that no words can express.  You want to experience life in its fullest, a life that you have dreamed and searched for all your life?  It is right in front of you. 

John 10:10:  God has made a way for us to walk in the fullness of all the has released to us.  He also made a way for us to walk in complete freedom of limitations.  Now, you become that excavator in Christ and search for the truth yourself.  If you are not walking and living in the abundant life, you need to find out why.

 Blessings

Erme