Monday, January 29, 2018

King David Series: Saul's Attempts to Kill David

Without God's anointing, Saul became a bitter, angry, paranoid and desperate man. A man with much to lose; not knowing he'd already lost what was most precious - his daughter, Michal, his beloved son, Jonathan, and God's protection.

All to David.

Saul made David his enemy. Saul even told his son, Jonathan, and all his attendants to kill David.
"When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, Saul become still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days." -- 1 Samuel 18:28-29

Even though Saul threw a spear at David twice before and missed, he wasn't beyond attempting to kill him again. Jonathan warned David that his father, Saul, was looking for a chance to kill David. Jonathan even tried intervening with his father on David's behalf.
"Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, 'Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he as done has benefited you greatly. He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The Lord won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?'" -- 1 Samuel 19:4-5
Saul swore to his son that David would not be put to death, but an evil spirit came over him in the form of depression and gloom. Saul felt hopeless, sending him into fits of rage. Saul tried to kill David because he was jealous of David's popularity, yet David continued to protect and comfort Saul.

While Saul's popularity made him proud and arrogant, David remained humble, even when the entire nation praised him. Although David succeeded in almost everything he tried and became famous throughout the land, he refused to use his popular support to his advantage against Saul.

Saul sent men to David's house to kill him. However, Michal, David's wife and Saul's daughter, warned him to run for his life, else he be killed. Michal even went as far as putting an idol with a goat's head in their bed in an attempt to fool the men; giving David more time to flee.

David fled to Ramah to Samuel; telling him everything Saul attempted. Word got back to Saul of David's whereabouts. Saul sent more men after David, and even went himself, but each time, the the evil spirit came over him, causing him to rave and babble; thus unable to kill David.

David went to Jonathan and asked him how he had wronged Saul and why Saul was trying to kill him. Jonathan assured David, that Saul did nothing without informing him, so he would know if and when Saul sought to kill David. Jonathan swore an oath to David.
"Then Jonathan said to David, 'I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you world and let you know? But if my father intends to harm you, may the Lord deal with Jonathan be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father. But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord's kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family -- not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David's enemies from the face of the earth.'" -- 1 Samuel 20:12-15
To Jonathan, truth always guided loyalty. Jonathan realized that the source of truth was God, who demanded his ultimate loyalty. It was his relationship with God that gave Jonathan the ability to deal effectively with the complicated situations in his life. He was loyal to Saul because Saul was his father and the king. He was loyal to David because David was his friend. His loyalty to God guided him through the conflicting demands of those relationships.

When David learned from Jonathan of Saul's plans to kill him he escaped to Nob, where he received food and a sword from the priest. He then fled to Gather in Philistine territory. When the Philistines became nervous about David's presence noting that David had slain thousands of their people, David acted insane to protect himself. and escaped to the cave of Adullam, where 400 men joined him. This group eventually became the core of David's military leadership.

Saul suspected a conspiracy among Johnathan, David, and the priests. His suspicion came from a report seeing David talking to the high priest and receiving food and a weapon. Saul destroyed everything in Nob; killing 85 priests and their families.

Why did God allow so many innocents to die? Their deaths served to dramatize to the nation how a king could become an evil tyrant. Where were Saul's advisers? Where were the elders of Israel? Sometimes God allows evil to develop to teach us not to let evil systems flourish. Serving God is not a ticket to wealth, success or health. God does not proves to protect good people from evil in this world, but he does promise that ultimately all evil will be abolished. Those who have remained faithful through their trials will experience great rewards in the age come.
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." -- Matthew 5:11-12
This begins the years of Saul's pursuit of David, and David's years in exile.

Next in the King David Series: Saul Pursues David.

Monday, January 22, 2018

King David Series: Saul Fears David

After David defeated Goliath, Saul's curiosity of David and his lineage grew. He sent Abner, the captain of Israel's army to investigate. This was not a routine request, as David was already in Saul's service. Scholars give an explanation that since, Saul planned on giving his daughter to David in marriage, it was appropriate to investigate David's background.

Saul did not expect David to become so popular with the people of his kingdom. Whatever Saul sent him to do, David did so successfully. -- 1 Samuel 18:5

Saul reward David handsomely by giving him a high rank in the army, which not only pleased the people but also the officers.

However, this popularity ate away at Saul's anger. Whenever the men returned from battle, the women would come out into the streets to meet King Saul with singing and dancing. (1 Samuel 18:6-8) The women sang this song:

"Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands."

Jealousy raged within Saul. How could the people credit David with more kills than him? King Saul feared David was after his kingdom. 

Saul's fear of David caused him to slip into a deep depression. "The Spirit of the Lord had left Saul and the Lord sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear." -- 1 Samuel 16:14

On one hand, Saul orders David to take his place in Saul's kingdom, King Saul descends into a dark pit of jealously, anger and despair. He actually tried to kill David twice by throwing a spear at him. 

Saul understands that God has left him and blessed David. This strikes fear in King Saul's heart. Saul suspects David is after his kingdom which further sends him into a spiral of fear, paranoia and hatred. Saul rebels and attempts to destroy David. Without the Spirit of God within Saul, he's completely taken over by the influence of evil.

Saul slips into a decline. Once God's anointed, he becomes filled with jealousy, hate, anger, malice and fear. Although, still wealthy and powerful, Saul is miserable, empty, and unhappy.

Saul and David's relationship hangs in a delicate balance. Drawn to David, Saul knows he's blessed by God, and that strikes fear in Saul's heart.

Fearing that David is after his throne, Saul rebels. He sets out to David. He tries many things, including personally throwing spears at David, Sending him into battles hoping he'd die, and providing his daughter as a bride to snare David.

No longer seeking God, Saul seeks to destroy David, God's anointed, and defy God's will.

"Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days." -- 1 Samuel 18:29

Like a parasite, the fruit of God's Spirit is overtaken by evil by gradually allowing self-absorption and pride to overshadow the bereft Spirit in his life.

David exemplifies a Spirit-filled life. As God's anointed, he has great military victories, is adored by the people, and supported by member's of Saul's household. David humbly submits to Saul's authority.

Saul's choices provide us with a valuable lesson. we must closely guard our hearts. Spiritual growth takes effort. We must spend time alone with God, tuning our hearts to echo His, seeking to honor His will in our lives.

Next in the King David Series: Saul's Attempts to Kill David.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Traumatic Events Aside; My Faith Endured - Part 4

That was quite a list of traumatic events, right?

Yeah, even when I look at it, and having lived it, still can't believe how much has happened. And, those are the "MAJOR" events. God walked and does walk with me. I am certain of it.

I had always considered myself a conscientious person. Like Job, I felt that I was ethical, feared God, and avoided evil. Somehow, in the back of my mind, I knew that there was a reason I was born and a purpose for my being put here on earth.

Although, for the life of me, I couldn't figure it out. And, nothing used to trouble me more than not being able to figure something out.

Through it all, I've never, ever lost my faith in God. No matter what, even during suicide attempts, I prayed that something would intervene, as I wanted to live; yet I wanted to die. I know I have angels that protect me. 

I am a Child of God, through and through. His faithful servant, using his wonderful gifts to serve my family, friends, neighbors, community near and far, and church.

 I am not afraid of my future, my destiny, or God's plans. I go where He leads. He is my light. He is my Heavenly Father.

I know this is probably way more information than you'd ever want, but I really wanted you to understand how deep and how strong my faith has been through my life. No matter what anyone or anything has ever done to me, I knew I would survive. I knew God had plans for me. I knew that whoever traumatized my life, me, my children, would eventually have to face the only judge that mattered – God.
Although the wait for justice might seem unbearable, God one day will restore any one who may have suffered without cause.

Our suffering was a link to Jesus Christ. Because Jesus lived in our world and now lives within all believers, He shared the pains, the sorrows and the frustrations we feel. (Hebrews 4:15) He joins with us in our suffering and – even more encouraging – also offers us comfort.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:2-7, that as we comfort one another, our comfort abounds through Christ. At times we may have difficulty feeling Christ’s comfort, but others can encourage us with their physical presence, sharing our pain and offering comfort in tangible, practical ways. Their spiritual strength can flow into our lives not as off-hand answers, but as genuine grace. As part of our lives, their sympathy, confidence and hope in Christ lift us. Christians may go through some tough times, but they do not have to go through them alone.

Jesus Christ promised.

It wasn't my job to make sure that all the evil of the world was recognized and punished. My heart carried so much resentment and self-pity, that I wasn't able to see the good that I had in my life. I wasn't able to see the good I would have in the future. I just wasn't able to see the good in the real me.

I am content in knowing that I don't need an answer for every question right now. I understand that there isn't always going to be a reason that makes sense. Only the knowledge that there are answers and maybe in time, I will discover them. And, if I don't, then I have to trust God enough to understand that He knows.

Like Job, I no longer curse the day I was born. I don't demand that God tell me why I must go through what I have and will continue to experience in the future.

Now, I ask Him to be with me as I travel from day to day situations and provide me with guidance and wisdom to know Him. Like most lessons, I had to be broken before God could build me up. 

Challenges are God's way of making me trust Him. 

 I am grateful for God, thankful for His presence, and trust Him. That is enough for me. I am truly blessed.

And, in return, my promise to God is that I will try to listen more and complain less so that I can hear His gentle prompts and be prepared to let go of what I can't control.

I welcome God's tests because I know that He is proud of me and wants to show others how proud He is of me.

God's will, not my will. A mantra I say daily, as well as, 

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

So, I tell you, don't think you are alone. God is with you always. Others have been through the same traumas you have. Don't be ashamed. Don't hide away. Speak up. I'll listen.

I know not if tomorrow’s way be steep or rough; but when Christ’s hand is guiding me, that is enough. - unknown

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Traumatic Events Aside; My Faith Endured - Part 3

What was is it between God and Job? 

God loved Job very much. He was proud of Job for being such a faithful believer. 

How do I explain that I think Job and I were separated at birth by a few thousand years?

Did God stop loving Job? Not in the least. If it were possible, God loved Job even more. and He wanted to prove how much Job loved Him. So, in a way God was showing off.

More to the point, God was showing Job off. 

Just like any parent who was proud of their child's accomplishments. Like any parent who wanted to tell anyone who would listen. You know the kind of parent; they especially want to show off if they think it'll impress the other person.

If you are a parent, you understand this concept very well. What parent could pass up a perfect opportunity to show off how proud they were of their child?

And, just like most children who don't understand what their parents were doing, Job was confused and didn't understand why God would do this to him. He was a good man. Even so, God picked Job to be tested.

"Was it unfair for God to allow Job to suffer over what was basically an argument between God and Satan?"

From Got Answers:  
"A surface reading of the book of Job usually evokes a reaction such as “Why is God making a ‘bet’ with the devil? God is being unfair to Job!” If we are honest and not just trying to defend God, He seems at first like some kind of cosmic ogre. God not only wagered Satan over the outcome of Job’s trials, but He actually provoked the bet (Job 1–2). To make matters worse, Job never finds out why he was afflicted in the first place. This is very disturbing for those who hope to see God as just, gracious and loving and not just “playing” with us as if we were pawns on a chessboard. So, in a way, the story of Job puts God on trial. To really understand what is going on in Job, we need to evaluate how this “trial” is litigated in the book’s argument." 
For further information, please click here.

Job’s friends and wife all told Job to curse God for the calamities that had fallen on him.

“His wife said to him, “are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2:9
“He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 2:10

Job trusted in God, he concluded that trouble from God was better than comfort and ease without God. He was confident that God has his best interest at heart, even though he count not understand how that could be true in his present situation.

The Lord Himself said, “I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.” Isaiah 45:7

So where does that leave us in our current time? And, how does this fit in with my thinking Job and I were separated at birth? 

Well, let me tell you that God must be so proud me. That has to be the reason why my life has gone the way it has. Otherwise, what I learned about Job doesn't matter. And I don't believe that. I believe that God loves me and is proud of me.

Challenges and Trials of Suffering are God's way of building our Trust in Him.

I believe that it's absolutely true that bad things happen to good people. I also believe that God never gives you more than He thinks you can handle.

I just never realized I could handle so much in my life at one time. 

I know God has a plan for me. I continue to pray for guidance and direction to follow it, patience to wait for it, and knowledge to know when it comes.

God is working on me. I'm unfinished. As in the song by Mandisa.

God wants His voice to be the only voice I hear. I must listen for Him to speak to me.

God's timing is perfect; never early, never late. I must have patience, I must wait, I must trust.

When God permits suffering, He also provides comfort. I believe in Him, and I have faith that He will be my victory.

He is in control. The adage, "Let Go and Let God" is not something people "parrot" to give you comfort. It's guidance of faith.

"As long as you know that God is for you, it doesn't matter who is against you." -- Romans 8:31

One of my favorite verses is:

"I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength." -- Philippians 4:13

I swear to you, don't lose sight of God's guidance. It may be subtle as the soft flutter of a ladybug's wing, or as wild as a massive storm in the middle of the ocean. Regardless, pay attention!

I sure wish I did.

Too bad I wasn't looking when he was showing me. It would have made things so much easier. But, then, this isn't about making things easy, is it?

Was it coincidence that I learned, almost too late, that I should have been focusing on my faith in God to set a path for me to follow?

I don't think so. I think, like Job, I had to experience all that I did to become the person I am now.

I needed to learn patience.

True justice requires patience. A lot of patience.

Do you remember this quote?

"Ours is not to reason why, ours is to do or die." 

It was by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

The same can be applied to Jesus when he said, "You don't understand what I'm doing now, but someday you will" -- John 13:7

Paul tells us in Romans, 
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” -- Romans 12:12

My life-long walk with Christ, as I trusted God and believed in His protective angels, put me through the following major traumatic situations. Through it all, Jesus was my ROCK. :

   A sexually abusive adopted father from 
childhood to 13 years old – concluding in my first suicide attempt

   After joining the USMC and transferred to Twenty-Nine Palms Marine Corps Base in California, I was drugged and repeatedly gang-raped by male marines (I refuse to use the capital ‘M’; they don’t deserve it.)

   Surviving a cross over to death during my third and last childbirth - a son - in which I was on bed rest for the entire pregnancy. My son and I both nearly died. 

   A car accident, in which I should never have survived - extracted, sent to the ER, with a compound compression fracture of the lower lumbar. Discovering Congenital Spinal Stenosis with no treatment option. Eventually the spinal canal will narrow to the point my spinal cord will be crushed and I will no longer walk.

   An emotionally, physically abusive first husband whose last actions and words to me before I left, was a violent rape, him placing a loaded .357 handgun on the headboard of our bed and the words “Don’t close your eyes tonight, you might not wake up.”

   A rear-ending by a Phoenix city bus that sent my three children and me to the hospital. We were crushed between the bus from behind and the car it pushed us into.

   A hypnotherapist’s sexual abuse under treatment.

   An unfortunate 2nd marriage, which I regretted as soon as it happened.

   An emergency hysterectomy to remove a pre-cancerous cervix and uterus.

   Stalking and threats from 1st husband and the Mexican Mafia - resulting in a judge and sheriff advising me to take my children and pack up, don’t tell anyone when or where, leave no forwarding information and get away in the middle of the night and go somewhere that my ex-husband and his connections to the Mexican Mafia could not find us. They eventually did and took my children away from me for nearly 6 years.

   A life-changing, move across the country to Florida, discovering my soul’s mate - the water. A parade of unsuitable lovers in a desperate attempt to fill the void in my heart for someone to love. Another suicide attempt, after a particularly close relationship with a man 11 years my junior. 

   Discovering my other half and the only man I could ever truly love in a twist of circumstances, where neither of us expected it. He helped me discover my real self, build my self-esteem, and grow with an adventurous spirit that rode a Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle. He saw who I was way before I ever knew myself! I love him for that.

    A brush with death again when I discovered a lump in my breast. The surgeon removed it to do a biopsy and only then determined it was benign. A golf-ball size benign tumor.

   A life-threatening Thyroid Storm, resulting in Grave’s Disease and medically ordered bed rest in which I could no longer return to work.

   Running my successful Technical Writing Consulting Firm for three years.

   Another emergency surgery to remove infected ovaries, which threw me into premature menopause.

   Beginning my successful career as a published author fulfilling a dream I had since high school.

   Co-founding the Florida Writers Association.

   Depression. Wrongly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Medication Resistant Depression, Social Anxiety. Generalized Anxiety. OCD. PTSD. BED.

   Many attempted suicides

   Many hospitalizations

   Two long term hospitalizations

   Many ECT Treatments (one session was the focus of a local ABC news program during Sweeps Week)

   Years long battle with lawyers to gain PTSD and disability due to being drugged and raped by 2 marines (Eventually, the final decision was MST (Military Sexual Trauma) PTSD with Major Depressive Disorder, 100% disabled and unemployable)

   Chronic sleep issues (Insomnia & Narcolepsy) From childhood traumas, rapes, abuses, I knew if I closed my eyes at night bad things would happen, so my mind refused to let my body relax enough to sleep. Severe Narcolepsy episodes of Cataplexy, Sleep Paralysis, Hallucinations

   Most recently diagnosed with SIADH (Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone) after over a year of low sodium, hyponatremia, hospitalizations for critically dangerous low sodium, many falls with fractures of hip, elbow, shoulder, etc.

   Grieving the loss of 25 years of writing after a "perfect storm" of events caused my thumb drive, back up, and back up to the back up, to all be lost at the same time. This gave me an opportunity to have long talks with God about my future, what His plans were, where He wanted me to go, and how. This resulted in studying Christian Counseling and doing pro bono counseling, Find Your Heart's Joy Christian Counseling / Coaching was born.

   I already have shown some signs of dementia, although nothing to cause concern, but we all know where it's heading.

   Losing my best friend, soul mate, protector, and Emotional Therapy dog for PTSD & Anxiety after 14 years to cancer.