Grace


“On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.”‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭1:4-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I was going to make this blog about Hannah and her godly traits. But, as I was journaling and inwardly rolling my eyes because of Penninah. I was reminded of grace.

I read these stories in the Bible, and I bring myself into context. I would be Hannah, and I imagine Penninah to be some popular girl in school; who I secretly admired, but yet openly was rejected by. So, I found myself inwardly doing what Hannah wouldn’t do at that table, every year. Then, the Holy Spirit tapped me on my shoulder and whispered ‘grace’.

Penninah was an unloved woman, it (v.5) doesn’t read that Elkanah loved Hannah more than Penninah; it reads ‘he loved her’. So, we can assume that though he had two wives, his love was devout and not divided.

I’m sure that much like Leah (Gen 29:32), Penninah assumed that having multiple sons and daughters would make Elkanah divide his devotion. But, to no avail. The Holy Spirit had to remind me that there are two hurting women at that table. Hannah had her husband’s love but wanted a child. Penninah had the children but wanted the love of her husband.

And, while Penninah was no angel, and did what was unpleasing in the sight of the Lord; she too was a woman troubled in spirit. Penninah should have followed Hannah and poured her soul out to the Lord. Instead, she looked forward to inflicting her hurt on another woman.

Prayer: Lord, may we be people who show grace towards the hurting who in return hurt us. May we as your vessels empty ourselves at your feet. Lord, we thank you that you are a God who hears unheard prayers. We thank you that we can always come to you, and in the solace of your Presence will you change our countenance. I thank you for loving the accused and the accuser.I pray that as you are making us into the image of your own Son, we will love like He does. I pray that we wouldn’t hold on to old wounds but allow you to heal them. For we know there is still balm in Gilead. I say this prayer in Jesus name. Amen

Good-Bye Fear

 

I’ve lived most of my life in fear. Fear of the known, unknown and the eventual. I feared what was there, and what was never there. Fear crippled and paralyzed, and made me anxious about what didn’t even exist. Before I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, fear was my lord. And, sometimes the habits I’ve had for 30 years plus, creep back in. The thing that fear is really good at, is preventing me from obeying God. And, I just can’t have that; so good-bye fear.

The enemy really had his fun with me before Christ (B.C.). There are some nights where he’d bring up some news clip I had seen earlier in the day about a break-in, rape or murder; just before I went to bed. I’d lay in bed (I lived alone, at that time) waiting for the sun to rise. Even driving to a place I’d never been to, and had to rely on Google Maps; induced anxiety. This is only a few examples, there are many more.

And, apart from my enemy; I allowed fear to keep me from experiencing so many things. I didn’t attend high school dances or prom; because of fear. I allowed fear (of socialization) to keep me from meeting and getting to know people. I allowed fear to keep me from too many experiences to count.

While I’m not regretful in a sense; because God is more than faithful. And, I know I will have more chances and opportunities to do most of the things I missed out on.

I allowed fear to have dominion over my life, and I’m willing to accept my fault for that very thing. But, with that said, I’m no longer going to give a willing ear to fear. I’m not going to listen to the enemy’s ‘what if’s’ anymore. I’m not going to allow fear to move me aside from the path of my destiny. I’m not allowing fear to keep me from sharing the Gospel (offline). I’m not allowing fear to keep me from meeting my brethren, and allowing them to pour into me, and me to pour into them.

The point of this post is to solidify my departure from fea and to rest in God’s power. I pray for myself, and anyone who has given power to fear; that every day we will say ‘even if I’m afraid, God is with me’.

I love you, but God loves you more!

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The Thing About Idols + 6 Clues You May Be Dealing with Idolatry.


Idol: a picture or an object that is worshiped as a god.

“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.”  Leviticus 26:1 ESV

The Israelites made idols NOT because of their disbelief in God, but because of pride and control. After all, God had delivered them from oppression in Egypt and performed many great things in their sight. Yet they continually formed gods who would only secure war victories and riches; and who had no disapproval about their decisions or choices. The silence of their gods approved of their reckless lives.

The Israelites knew God, but had no control, or hopes of manipulating  God; so they formed gods. Gods that weren’t so seemingly hard to please; gods that couldn’t chide, discipline or CORRECT them. Gods that inwardly they could boast they formed. It all points to pride. So, they could boast of their own riches, victories, and give no one else the glory. That is why God hates pride. Pride gives self-glory; and robs God of the glory, and credit He is due.

Even today we make idols, but unlike Biblical times; our idols aren’t wooden statues, but live in our hearts. An idol is something that in your mind or heart de-thrones the living King. The thing about idols is that the shift from a desire to an idol is quite a sneaky one. Sometimes our desire turned idol, is not in essence unholy. But, the focus we give it, is.To the extent that we ignore all that God does for us, to focus on the one thing He hasn’t yet done. The other thing about idols is it can be dangerous; if we aren’t awakened and recommit ourselves back to God.

So here are 5 clues that you may be harboring an idol: 

1.When you experience ingratitude for an extent of time.

Now we all go through a spell of ingratitude, for whatever reasons. But in this example, this sort of ungratefulness is actual disappointment in God. And, sometimes bursts of anger or resentment.

2.When your mind is filled with same thoughts of wanting, daily.

When you can only think about how much you want this one thing. What life will be like when you have this one thing? Why isn’t God giving me this one thing?

3. When your conversations with God or prayers are based on one topic.

Sometimes certain urgent situations require constant communication. However, in this example, you can’t shut up about this one thing. Over, and over harping on an endless loop.

4.When your faith dwindles because God hasn’t given you this one thing.

You began to think God hasn’t given you this one thing because He isn’t able. Not, because it’s an idol. Or, not because your focus on it is unhealthy.

5.When you want that one thing more than you want God.

Before all you wanted was to develop a closer relationship with God. Your desires were all correctly aligned with God in mind. Nowadays, God’s a little further away.Because, your heart isn’t set on Him, anymore.

6. When our natural inclinations to praise and worship aren’t towards God.

This one thing takes all your time, attention, and fills your mind. You now worship that one thing. In your heart, you lift it up and behold it.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 ESV

Conclusion

If any of these clues rang true for you; go in prayer, and ask God to reveal it to you. I went through a spell of making marriage an idol. I thought about it all the time. I dealt with lots of discontentment issues because of it. I told God ‘He was enough for me’, but in reality, He wasn’t. I wanted validation from a man. I wanted a prince charming to rescue me while ignoring my Savior. After tears and prayers, God worked it out for me. And, I know He will do the same for you.

I love you, but God loves you more!