Your Choice: Rebellion or Humility?

“But when the assembly gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the tent of meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the Lord appeared. Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the tent of meeting, and the Lord said to Moses, ‘Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.’ And they fell facedown.” -Numbers 16:42-45(NLT)

Let’s begin with this:  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being ambitious.  The problem is in the motive and intention of that ambition especially when mixed with greed.
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram had seen for themselves the benefits of the Egyptian priesthood -Wealth, position, leadership, prestige, influence in politics, and the like.

Rather than understanding that God Himself chose the Levites, they decided to go against Moses as shown in the account in Numbers 16:1-3(NLT), “One day Korah son of Izhar, a descendant of Kohath son of Levi, conspired with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, from the tribe of Reuben. They incited a rebellion against Moses, along with 250 other leaders of the community, all prominent members of the assembly. They united against Moses and Aaron and said, ‘You have gone too far! The whole community of Israel has been set apart by the Lord, and he is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the Lord’s people?'”

Korah and his followers felt they should be upheld like the Levites.  They wanted the power.  They were greedy and wanted to appoint themselves.  Moses had done nothing wrong.  The Levites had done nothing wrong.  Moses and the Levites were doing the task God had called them to do.  They were doing what God had anointed them to do.  The Levites were responsible for the spiritual leadership and the teaching of God’s laws.  It wasn’t that the Levites and Moses were held above everyone else. They simply were set apart from the rest of the people and were consecrated to God for His service.  God raised them up to positions of leadership for the great nation of Israel.  Korah and his followers did not recognize that.  What they saw was what was in it for them.  They wanted what the Levites had.  They wanted the position Moses had.  They were greedy and failed to realize that God is the One who appoints people to leadership.  Korah and his followers’ greedy ambition was not godly; it was downright evil.

Moses’ ambition was to do what God wanted.  Moses’ ambition was to serve God.  Moses did not have the ambition to control people or lord his leadership over others.  Moses simply was a servant of God, that God called out in order to lead the children of Israel.  He was devoted to God.  Moses’ ambition was a good ambition.

There is no room for greed when you are aservant of the Most High God.

In this passage (Numbers 16:8-11NLT), Korah’s motives are exposed, “Then Moses spoke again to Korah: ‘Now listen, you Levites! Does it seem insignificant to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the community of Israel to be near him so you can serve in the Lord’s Tabernacle and stand before the people to minister to them? Korah, he has already given this special ministry to you and your fellow Levites. Are you now demanding the priesthood as well? The Lord is the one you and your followers are really revolting against! For who is Aaron that you are complaining about him?'”


God doesn’t play games, and His desire is that the Body of Christ understand that all parts are necessary.  We are called to use our gifts and talents.  God has anointed each of us for a particular position or place within the body.  It’s not about us.  It’s about God and where He has put us at this place in time.  We are not to be like Korah and his followers, trying to overthrow others out of their position because we are greedy for power or envy another’s position as leaders.  Leadership is ultimately about servanthood.  Each of God’s children are servants of the Most High God, and we are to conduct ourselves in accordance with the Word of God.

What are your motives for desiring a position of leadership? THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE YOU ARE MODELING FOR WHETHER YOU KNOW IT OR NOT. That point cannot be emphasized enough. What example are you setting for others around you?  You do not have to have the position of pastor or teacher, parent, or some other authoritative position.  There is someone always watching what you say and how you conduct yourself.  This is why it is so important to make sure we are right with God so that those we model for do not stumble because of us.  We must be living what we preach and teach.  We cannot live our lives in a state of rebellion.

Don’t be like Korah and those who followed his example of rebellion.  It didn’t end well for Korah and his followers as recorded in Numbers 16:28-35(NLT), “And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own. If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the Lord.’  He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers who were standing with them, and everything they owned.  So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel.  All the people around them fled when they heard their screams. ‘The earth will swallow us, too!’ they cried.  Then fire blazed forth from the Lord and burned up the 250 men who were offering incense.”


The line has been drawn in the sand.  Will you choose to serve God or will you choose to live in opposition to God?  Might I suggest you choose to serve God and to do so wholeheartedly?  Complacency and indifference toward God is not acceptable nor pleasing in the sight of God.

Live your life to influence others for God.
Don’t let the world influence you.
 

For those who choose to serve God and continue to live for Him, they will live a life of blessing and enjoy true joy and peace that comes from God alone.

Rebellion will only cause you problems, and rebellion will only bring about the consequences of sin which is destruction.   Remember it is not a title or position that elevates you.  When you walk in a spirit of humility before God, God is the One Who will lift you up.  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time,” (1 Peter 5:6).  

PRAYER Heavenly Father, there is no one like You for You are the Eternal God who reigns in majesty.  My desire is to please You in all that I do and say so that I might be able to influence others for You.  Help me to always remember that there is nothing worth losing my soul for, and help me to stand firm that I don’t let the world influence me.  May I constantly be reminded that You require me to walk humbly before You, to love mercy, and to act justly because that is good.  Father, let me be a beacon of light for You in this dark world.  Teach me Your ways so I might not rebel like Korah and his followers, and let me be able to lead others to You.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Linda A. Knowles

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From the Quiet Place…

God wants to live among His people.  He wants to protect them.  That has always been His desire since the beginning of time.  He desires to commune and have that fellowship with His children.  However, His people have rejected Him as their Lord and their God.  Those who have claimed God as their own have defiled their own bodies and have exchanged the Most High God for other gods, the creation created by God Himself and the things created by man.

GNBThe Church has exchanged what is holy for what is evil and exchanged the truth of God for lies.  Rather than seeking the God Who Provides her with all her needs, she seeks after that which is temporal such as power, prestige, wealth, popularity, and the like.

God is not welcomed in most places of worship, and His Word has been dissected and chopped up to the point it is unrecognizable.  The Word has been made to suit the lifestyles of the people instead of the people seeing themselves in light of the Word of God, repenting, turning from their evil ways, and humbling themselves before God.

God desires a relationship with His people, but they have kicked Him out of their lives and their hearts.  They have kicked God out of their homes and places of worship.

ROMANSThe consequences of their sin are falling on their own heads, and they are blaming God for their suffering.  Their choices have them on the broad road to destruction.  They are headed to Hell.  Their consciences are seared and their hearts calloused.

The anger of God is set against all sinful and wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.  They know the truth about God because He has made it obvious to them.  The creation clearly shows the invisible qualities of God and so they have no excuse for not knowing God.

HEBREWSEverything is exposed before the eyes of God.  He sees all and yet His children don’t believe He sees all they do and hears all they say.  They are clever at doing wrong, but they are stupid when it comes to doing what is right.  They have chosen death instead of life.  They have chosen to be cursed rather than blessed.

To all those who have believed Him and accepted Him, to them, He gave the right to become children of God.  Those who do His will and walk uprightly before Him, they belong to Him.

“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?  Or who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor has sworn deceitfully.  He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.  This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who see Your face.”

 

One Act of Revenge



Later on, during the wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat as a present to his wife. He said, ‘I’m going into my wife’s room to sleep with her,’ but her father wouldn’t let him in.  ‘I truly thought you must hate her,’ her father explained, ‘so I gave her in marriage to your best man. But look, her younger sister is even more beautiful than she is. Marry her instead.’  Samson said, ‘This time I cannot be blamed for everything I am going to do to you Philistines.’ Then he went out and caught 300 foxes. He tied their tails together in pairs, and he fastened a torch to each pair of tails.  Then he lit the torches and let the foxes run through the grain fields of the Philistines.  He burned all their grain to the ground, including the sheaves and the uncut grain.  He also destroyed their vineyards and olive groves.   ‘Who did this?’ the Philistines demanded.   ‘Samson,’ was the reply, ‘because his father-in-law from Timnah gave Samson’s wife to be married to his best man.’  So the Philistines went and got the woman and her father and burned them to death.  ‘Because you did this,’ Samson vowed, ‘I won’t rest until I take my revenge on you!’  So he attacked the Philistines with great fury and killed many of them. Then he went to live in a cave in the rock of Etam.  The Philistines retaliated by setting up camp in Judah and spreading out near the town of Lehi.  The men of Judah asked the Philistines, ‘Why are you attacking us?’  The Philistines replied, ‘We’ve come to capture Samson. We’ve come to pay him back for what he did to us.'” Judges 15:1-11(NLT)



Don’t be like Samson.  He began with one act of revenge and one act of revenge after another occurred.  Letting any emotion control you is dangerous, but in Ephesians 4:26-27(NLT), the Scripture states, And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you.’  Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” 

Anger, when left unchecked, will play on every other emotion.

One act of revenge done out of anger, spite, and jealousy can cause a ripple effect.  If you get revenge, then the person may retaliate against you due to that person being angry.  Then you will want to seek revenge again if you don’t deal with issues of anger, spite, and jealousy that had the best of you when you initiated the first act of revenge.  Be careful not to sin in your anger.

First, those who have a short fuse make for bad company. Second, jealousy’s apparel doesn’t look good on anyone, and thirdly, why are you acting like you are a child on the playground misbehaving and hurting others out of spite?  

Stop the nonsense, and grow up.



Linda A. Knowles

Are You Weak or Strong In Obedience?

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“Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. ‘Look,’ they told him, ‘you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have,'” (1 Samuel 8:4-5NLT).


Israel was never meant to be like the other nations.  Israel had a set of laws from the hands of God and God had chosen them as His very own, specifically set aside to do the work had for them to do, set apart as a holy nation.  Israel was not to be like the other nations, and we can see this throughout the entirety of the Old Testament.
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In this passage, Samuel is getting counsel from the Lord.  The Lord God was to be their King, but they pushed God aside and wanted a mortal man as their king so they could be like all the other nations.  So God had this to say (1 Samuel 8:7-9NLT), “‘Do everything they say to you,’ the Lord replied, ‘for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.'” 
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Israel’s sin can be put into one word:  DISOBEDIENCE.
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Understand Saul had already been chosen by God to be their king.  God knew what they were going to do, that they were going to insist on getting their way, and Samuel did tell them what having a human king would be like.  Saul ended up being their king.  However, their problems still continued just under a human king.  What was Israel’s sin that the problems still continued only under another administration?  DISOBEDIENCE.  They were defiant towards God.  They continually disobeyed, and they had no regard for God or His laws.  Because of their disobedience, their problem worsened, and they ended up getting paid the wages of the sins they had committed.
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Who is your king?  Are you serving God or yourself?
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If you are not obeying God and you are defiant towards God continually, you are weak because you are relying on self and dependent on your own will.  God will not force Himself on you.  If you love God, you will obey Him.


REFLECTION: “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man loves me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him,” (John 14:23KJV).  
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As a child of God, you are made holy, set apart, and to live by the standards God has set.  As a child of God, you do not live as the world does, and you are not to live as the world dictates.  Remember there is hope for those who choose to repent and turn from their wicked ways.  When you are obeying God and truly loving Him, blessings will follow as you enjoy a right relationship with the Father.  If you want God to rule and reign in your life and you want God to guide your family and your personal life but are living by the world’s standards, then you are not truly obeying God nor are you honoring Him.  Honoring and obeying God must be a part of every area of your life, not just in the areas you want.  Are you truly obeying God, honoring Him in all you do? If you are not truly obeying God and honoring Him in all you do, what is holding you back?  


PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, You are the God of faithfulness, and You expect no less from those who are Your children.  Father, help me not to be like Israel.  I am sorry for disobeying You.  Please forgive me, and renew a right spirit within me.  I surrender myself into Your hands. I ask that You teach me how to honor You and ask You to instruct me in Your ways.  Discipline me, O Lord, when I sin.  Lead me on Your paths of righteousness that I may become more like You. Show me Your ways, and reveal Yourself to me that I might know You more and more.  In Jesus’s Name, Amen.


Linda A. Knowles



“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4(ESV)

Don’t Forfeit Your Blessing By Grudgingly Obeying God.

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Having God’s favor upon your life is priceless.  You cannot put a price on His favor because it is so costly, and yet God lavishes His favor upon His true children because He is the God of Goodness.  He gives good things to His children, but did you know that if you grudgingly obey you can forfeit the blessings/rewards He has for you?  Let me explain this way:  The Word of God states, in Deuteronomy 6:7, “Love the LORD Your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength.”  Note the words ALL of your heart and ALL of your soul, and ALL of your strength.  ALL of your being must desire to do the task you are doing for God.  ALL of your being must be upright and pure before God while you are obeying Him.


IT REALLY IS A MATTER OF THE HEART.


“Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly.”

2 Chronicles 25:2(NLT)


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Amaziah did what was pleasing to God, but he did so reluctantly.  He had paid for troops to come from Israel to help him go up against Edom when a man of God came to Amaziah and told him God would not give him victory if Amaziah used the troops from Israel no matter how well he did at fighting.  Amaziah’s heart attitude was not blameless.  He complained about the money he had paid, “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?”  God had sent him a warning through the man of God in order to let Amaziah know God was not with the troops of Israel, and instead of giving thanks to God for the warning or thanking the man of God for giving him the message God had for him, Amaziah complained and said, “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?”  The man of God told him, “The LORD is able to give you much more than this.”  He reluctantly obeyed God, taking the warning the man of God had just given him, and he discharged the Israeli troops

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Amaziah may have done what was right and obeyed, but in his heart, he was grudgingly compliant.  By the way, Amaziah did go into battle and win. After having the victory in the battle, he had taken the idols of the people of Seir and he set the idols up as his own gods and bowed down before them, offering sacrifices to them.  By worshiping these idols, Amaziah angered God.  When you are obeying God halfheartedly, you are opening the door to other sins.  Amaziah may have done what was right, but in obeying God halfheartedly, it was a slippery slope and his heart led him right into idolatry.  
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Are you obeying God with ALL your heart?  Have you ever done something God told you to do and you did it reluctantly simply because God told you to?  When we do not put our whole heart into obeying God and doing His Will, then we will find ourselves exhibiting ungodly behavior such as complaining about having to do His Will or complaining about His perfect timing.  We can find ourselves exhibiting anger because when we do God’s will halfheartedly, we resent having to obey Him.
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Obeying God is not just about doing what is right.  It’s about loving God.  How you obey God and how you do what He tells you to do matters.  Do you truly love Him with your WHOLE heart?  Will you love Him with your WHOLE heart as you obey Him and do His will?
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Don’t Forfeit Your Blessing By Grudgingly Obeying God.



PRAYER Sovereign LORD and KING, You are worthy of my best, not my leftovers.  You, O God, have been very good to me.  Thank You for all You have done in my life, for providing for me, and for being my protection.  I’m sorry for obeying You halfheartedly and for being reluctant in carrying out the tasks You have set before me.  Forgive me for these sinful attitudes of the heart.  Forgive me, Father, for offending You, and I ask that You cleanse me of these sins as only You can do.  I bow my heart in surrender to You and ask that You take control, giving me new desires and attitudes pleasing to You.  I ask that You, O God, rule and reign in me.  Show me what I need to change in my life and what I need to get rid of.  Take me along Your paths of righteous because what You approve of and have to say is the only thing that matters.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



Linda A. Knowles


“Love the LORD Your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength.” -Deuteronomy 6:7(NLT)

It Will Cost You Everything

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“‘I have not troubled Israel,’ Elijah replied, ‘but you and your father’s house have, for you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals.'” 1 Kings 18:18(BSB)



Will serving and loving God cost you anything?  Yes, it will cost you everything (Luke 14:25-34), but the results are so worth it.  It is not enough to call yourself a believer.  It is not enough to be exposed to the Word of God.  You must be loving the Lord Your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.  You must be applying His Word to your life and obeying God and His Word out of that love for Him.  It really does come down to choosing whom you will serve.

When leaders choose to worship other gods, it causes problems for the nation or church or organization or households.  Why?  Because whatever the leader’s spirit is will be what the leader will be ministering with.  Don’t get me wrong.  God used a donkey to get His point across to Balaam the prophet in Numbers 22:28.  After all, nothing is too difficult for God. 

Either a leader will lead with the guidance of the Holy Spirit or a leader will be leading by the flesh.  When one leads with his/her flesh, there will always be major issues and problems.

With that being said…

There is one God, but Ahab and Jezebel worshiped Baal (most popular of the Canaanite gods).  However, Elijah was in the midst of the people, and eventually, Elijah challenged the people to take a stand. Either they would choose God or remain Baal worshipers.

When people have to give up their sinful pleasures in order to serve God, you can see their reluctance and walking away because they are not willing to surrender to God.  Their actions will make it quite clear whether they served God or not.  If you take a stand for God, you cannot live the way you want to.

You may be thinking, “I’m not a leader.”  Yes, you are.  All of us lead someone at some point.  Even if you think you are not a leader, you are being watched by someone (children, spouse, professors, teachers, supervisors, co-workers, list goes on).  How you act, what you say, and whether or not you stand for truth matters to whoever watches how you are living your life.  There are those who will watch to see if your walk and your talk line up with each other.  Make sure you keep yourself in right relationship with God, keeping Him first in all things.



 

Just like Elijah had challenged the people so did Joshua.  The Word of God gives this account in Joshua 24:24-27(BSB):  

“Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; cast aside the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if it is unpleasing in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!”

The people replied, ‘Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods!  For the LORD our God brought us and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and performed these great signs before our eyes. He also protected us all throughout our journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. And the LORD drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites who lived in the land. We too will serve the LORD, because He is our God!’

But Joshua said to the people, ‘You are not able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your rebellion or your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, He will turn and bring disaster on you and consume you, even after He has been good to you.’

‘No!’ replied the people. ‘We will serve the LORD!’

Then Joshua told them, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the LORD.’

‘We are witnesses!’ they said.

‘Now, therefore,’ he said, ‘get rid of the foreign gods among you and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.’

So the people said to Joshua, ‘We will serve the LORD our God and obey His voice.’

On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem, he established for them a statute and ordinance. Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was near the sanctuary of the LORD.  And Joshua said to all the people, ‘You see this stone. It will be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words the LORD has spoken to us, and it will be a witness against you if you ever deny your God.'”

 



Taking a stand is never easy.  However, either you will choose to serve God and live for Him, or you will reject Him.  When it comes to living for God, there is NO neutral ground.  This is not the time to be backing down.  It is time to rise up and move forward doing whatever task God has called you to do.  You may be in this world, but you are not of this world.  Be a godly influence in this world, but do NOT let the world influence you. 



Linda A. Knowles



“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.  Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will.  And I know that I will not be put to shame.” –Isaiah 50:7(NLT)

 

 

 

BEFORE You Turn Your Life Into A Mess



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“Then all of Adonijah’s guests jumped up in panic from the banquet table and quickly scattered. Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar.  Word soon reached Solomon that Adonijah had seized the horns of the altar in fear, and that he was pleading, ‘Let King Solomon swear today that he will not kill me!'” -1 Kings 1:49-51

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King David was very old, unable to keep warm, and Abishag was taking care of him.  It was also around this time, Adonijah had taken it upon himself to begin boasting, “I will make myself king!”  Making a claim to the throne was an act of treason and was never taken lightly.  Adonijah got greedy, craving the power and wealth, and Kingship, and he made himself king when it was not his place to do so nor did he have the authority to do so.  Adonijah gathered together chariots, charioteers, and recruited 50 men to run in front of him (1 Kings 1:5). Adonijah then went further by having the best animals sacrificed, inviting his brothers, the other sons of King David, and all of the royal officials throughout Judah.  Adonijah had two people helping him become king as shown in 1 Kings 1:7-8(NLT), “Adonijah took Joab son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest into his confidence, and they agreed to help him become king. But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s personal bodyguard refused to support Adonijah.”
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Adonijah did things HIS way, not God’s way.
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Can you understand the magnitude of the disaster Adonijah’s life was about to become? He commits an act of treason by claiming the throne which did not belong to him, betraying his own father.  He then proclaims and declares himself as king, going against King David who was still on the throne, appointing himself.  Then he finalizes it with a celebration.  However, Adonijah’s evil schemes were exposed, and it would cost him his life unless the King decided to have mercy on him.
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Nathan the Prophet went before King David when Bathsheba told him what was going on.  Adonijah’s act of treason had been found out and reported to King David who then immediately made his decree (1 Kings 1:33-35), “the king said to them, ‘Take Solomon and my officials down to Gihon Spring. Solomon is to ride on my own mule. There Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet are to anoint him king over Israel. Blow the ram’s horn and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ Then escort him back here, and he will sit on my throne. He will succeed me as king, for I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.”
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Treason was punishable by death.  Simply put, by Adonijah’s foolishness in having to do things his way because his heart was not pure before God, he could now be put to death for treason.  He may have been King David’s son, but being King David’s son did not exempt him from the death penalty for the act of treason. 
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Had Adonijah sought God’s counsel before acting out and speaking prematurely, he could have avoided the disaster he made out of his life.
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REFLECTION:  We, at times, do things that we think we will not be caught doing, but that’s not the case. God sees everything we do and hears everything we say. There is no escaping His presence. Eventually, what is done in the dark comes into the light. He is the God who sees all, and everything is exposed before Him.

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“Then all of Adonijah’s guests jumped up in panic from the banquet table and quickly scattered. Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar. Word soon reached Solomon that Adonijah had seized the horns of the altar in fear, and that he was pleading, ‘Let King Solomon swear today that he will not kill me!’ Solomon replied, ‘If he proves himself to be loyal, not a hair on his head will be touched. But if he makes trouble, he will die.’ So King Solomon summoned Adonijah, and they brought him down from the altar. He came and bowed respectfully before King Solomon, who dismissed him, saying, ‘Go on home,'” (1 Kings 1:49-53NLT).
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Solomon had granted mercy by allowing Adonijah, giving him a reprieve by saying, “If he proves himself to be loyal, not a hair on his head will be touched.  But if he makes trouble, he will die.” Adonijah was given a chance to make things right.  Unfortunately, Adonijah fashioned another evil plot.  He committed another act of treason by requesting to have Abishag as his wife.  To ask for the King’s concubine was the equivalent to making claims to the throne (1 Kings 2:19-22).
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Adonijah had not learned his lesson the first time, and his sin made him pay far more than he ever expected to pay, “Then King Solomon made a vow before the Lord: ‘May God strike me and even kill me if Adonijah has not sealed his fate with this request. The Lord has confirmed me and placed me on the throne of my father, David; he has established my dynasty as he promised. So as surely as the Lord lives, Adonijah will die this very day!’ So King Solomon ordered Benaiah son of Jehoiada to execute him, and Adonijah was put to death,” (1 Kings 2:23-25).
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Grab on to the horns of the altar before going forward with your plans before you turn your life into a mess.  Seek God and consult God first.  Get His counsel.  Take a lesson from Adonijah’s evil scheme.  He didn’t grab on to the horns of the altar UNTIL he knew he had been caught.  Sometimes, a person has to get caught in the act before he/she gives up his/her sin.  Sometimes, a person has to get caught before he/she comes clean.  Just go before God and seek His face where you can find mercy.  Seek out God’s perfect will, His ways, and His counsel.  Consider what God wants rather than what you want.  When you do things your way, you will not succeed.  When you do things God’s way, you will be blessed, successful in your ways, and you will have peace of mind.  Before you go off on your own and do things your way, ask God what He wants you to do and how to do it.  Do not wait until after you’ve done things your way and created a disaster.
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PRAYER Heavenly Father, You are the God of All Wisdom and the God of All Truth.  I ask that You always help me to think before I act and speak.  Give me the understanding and insight to always look at the long-term consequences of my actions.  Empower me with the Spirit of the Living God to walk uprightly before You with a pure heart that I might bring honor to Your name.  Let me seek You out for Your counsel and give me your words to devour, guiding me in Your righteousness.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Linda A. Knowles



“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” –Proverbs 4:23

Tempting Someone Is Not Good

LUKE 12VS2

“And he said to his disciples, ‘Temptations to sin are sure to come, BUT WOE TO THE ONE THROUGH WHOM THEY COME!’ It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.'” -Luke 17:1-2 (ESV) 

 

Do NOT be foolish to tempt someone to do what he/she knows is evil in the eyes of GOD, and do NOT be foolish to tempt someone to do what you know is evil in the eyes of GOD. Just like someone does not escape the consequences of their choice to give into temptation and sin, you won’t escape the consequences of tempting him/her and causing him/her to stumble or fall.

God looks to the intents and motives of your heart, and He will not be mocked.

 

“Live as free people, but don’t hide behind your freedom when you do evil. Instead, use your freedom to serve God.” -1 Peter 2:16 (GW)

The Problem With Masks & Costumes

MASK 3Every Halloween, it’s a mad dash to get out of the house as fast as possible by exactly 4:30 p.m. to avoid Trick or Treaters.  I am one who absolutely loathes Halloween as does my husband.  We don’t celebrate Halloween, and the idea of passing out candy every two minutes for four and a half hours doesn’t sound appealing at all… EVER.

The first year we were at our current residence, we were leaving the house, and I caught a glimpse of a parent with his child in his arms.  Something about seeing a child dressed as a vampire was highly disturbing, and the fake blood on the fangs just made it worse until I saw a newborn dressed as an ax murderer and found myself shuddering.

Figuratively speaking, people wear masks and costumes all the time.  The masks conceal what the person’s face actually looks like versus how the person shows him/herself to others.  For instance, when someone is wearing a mask/costume, he can portray himself as if he is an angel.   When in actuality, he lacks compassion, has the intrusive nature of a cockroach, and has the character of a shark and alligator combined.  If someone is shy, she may not be shy when wearing a mask.  She can feel free to be outgoing and speak her mind because no one knows it’s her, allowing her not to fear rejection, and being able to share her thoughts and ideas without anyone trying to stop her from talking, and there’s no one to stop her from meeting other people who are wearing masks and costumes just like her.

WOLF 2HOWEVER, THE PROBLEM WITH MASKS AND COSTUMES is eventually they have to be taken off.  When masks and costumes are stripped off, be careful because you may find the person was a wolf for the entire time you knew them.  At that point, you have to decide what you will do.  You will either stick around and be devoured by the wolf until there is nothing left of you except a skeleton, or you will run and get away from the ravenous wolf who is staring at you like you are dinner with its fangs exposed and ready to pounce on you.

If you choose the second option, you, at least, have a chance of survival.

 

Linda A. Knowles

 

 

 

Huldah & King Josiah

HULDAHShe inspired King Josiah and a nation to repent.  Her name?  Huldah, a prophetess who lived in the 2nd District of Jerusalem during the time of King Josiah’s reign.  Not a lot is said about her.  However, her role in the nation of Judah was one of great significance.

Here is their story:  King Josiah, eight years old, had become king and reigned for 31 years.  He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s eyes, followed the example of his ancestor King David, and continued doing what was right.  (Reference 2 Kings 22:1-7)

Fast forward to the 18th year of his reign,

“Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple!’  Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it.  Shaphan went to the king and reported, ‘Your officials have turned over the money collected at the Temple of the Lord to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.’  Shaphan also told the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.’  So Shaphan read it to the king.   When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair.   Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: ‘Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah.  Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found.  For the Lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll.  We have not been doing everything it says we must do.’” -2 Kings 22:8-11

Josiah’s response was a fitting response given the fact He had heard the Words of the Lord.  He listened to the Book of the Law which was now found, filled with despair, he tears in clothes in act of remorse.  The king was not dignified in that moment of despair.  Even Josiah himself took note, “We have not been doing everything it says we must do.”  King Josiah wanted to know what they should do.  As a result, he sent Hilkiah, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah to go to the temple, speak to the Lord for him (King Josiah), the people, and Judah.  King Josiah had recognized God was angry at them because of their ancestors’ disobedience to the Words written on the scroll.

The men made their way over to consult Huldah about what they had found.  For them to go to her, it was obvious she was respected, and she had a message from the Lord for them,

“She said to them, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people.  All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done.  My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched.  But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people—that this land would be cursed and become desolate.  You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance.  And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord.  So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace.  You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city.  So they took her message back to the king.’” -2 Kings 22:15-20

Huldah spoke boldly and confidently.  She gave the men the message the Lord had her to give without hesitation.  The message the Lord gave her was clear, and she had the courage to tell them exactly what God wanted.  Huldah was willing to be used.

King Josiah’s response to the message God gave Huldah to give him is remarkable:

“Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord’s Temple. 3 The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.”  -2 Kings 23:1-3 

He took the warning Huldah gave and he acted on the Word of the Lord.  King Josiah took the lead, called everyone together in one place for the reading of the Word of God, and they pledged themselves to the Covenant.  The King vowed to keep the commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul in the presence of God.  King Josiah gave himself over to the ways of God.  He removed the idolatrous priests who offered sacrifices to pagan gods, removed pagan worship and shrines of prostitution from the Temple of the Lord, idolatrous priests were not allowed to eat of the unleavened bread with the other priests, destroyed altars on the palace roof and the upper room of the palace and any other altar for worship to other gods, and the list goes on of the actions King Josiah made.  He took drastic action.  (Reference 2 Kings 23)

Like Huldah, are you willing to be used by the Lord to carry out the task He has given you?

Are you willing to be shaped and molded by the Lord like King Josiah was?

Will you, like Josiah, set your face like stone determined to do the will of God?

Will you push aside God’s Word, or will you draw close to Him and take immediate action on what needs to change in your life?

Is there anything you have to do so your life falls in line with God’s Word?

Remember our God never fails.  He is the One who strengthens you and delivers you. You need only to go to Him and call out to Him.  But if you go to the Lord for counsel and He tells you what to do, then be prepared to jump into action and follow every instruction He gives you.

“And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” -1 Samuel 15:22

 

L.A. Knowles

I Choose His Joy My Strength

JOY 1

 

CHOOSE JOY.

I choose joy because I know the GOD who created me has EVERYTHING under HIS control and because the joy of the LORD is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). I choose joy because the GOD of Heaven and Earth is mindful of me (Psalm 8) and has told me I can trust in HIM (Psalm 33:4-6); and because HE is the GOD of the Impossible (Luke 18:27), HIS arm is not shortened (Isaiah 59:1).

Count your blessings and learn to praise HIM. It’s amazing how praising GOD and giving glory to GOD can lift your faith and your countenance and fill you with joy as you readjust your focus to set your sight on GOD. Let the Holy Spirit bring to your remembrance the promises of GOD and all that GOD has done for you.

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with an inexpressible and glorious joy, now that you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

1 Peter 1:8-9 (Berean Study Bible)

Set Your Face Like Flint Determined To Do His Will!

Romans 8.31NEVER apologize for obeying what God has told you to do (“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” -Galatians 1:10 and “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” -Micah 6:8).

Always take your complaints and problems to the Lord because He is the one who can guide your steps and give your soul rest (“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'” -Matthew 11:28-30 and “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”).

Keep your mind fixed on the things of God because He keeps you in perfect peace (“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” -Isaiah 26:3-4).

It doesn’t matter what any man or woman says about you, what matters is what God has to say about what you do and say, and it’s more important for you to know God (“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'” -Isaiah 55:8-9 and “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” -Hosea 6:6).

WHAT MATTERS MOST is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5) and “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14).