(2 Samuel 24:24
KJV) And the king said unto Araunah,
Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer
burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.
I read this scripture I am reminded that there is a lot more to ministry and
dedication than just standing behind a pulpit speaking to a captive audience. It
is almost as though the only recognized ministry today is “pulpit ministry” for
which one is being paid.
interpretation of ministry is totally different than what David was trying to
communicate. David could not bear the thought of giving God anything that did
not cost him something. His service and ministry was one of love, and the only price
tag was what it cost him. I wonder how many would actually be in the ministry
today if they had to pay for the privilege.
I meet someone who actually has the “David kind of love and philosophy” for ministry.
When I do meet such folks I always feel convicted and immediately begin
examining my own heart and motives.
I called to visit my little sister. Her family sort of adopted me into their
home when I was a kid. She has always been very loving and quick to compliment
what I do in the ministry. When I finished sharing some of the things that were
going on in my own ministry, she said “I have a little ministry too, but it is
small compared to yours.”
the next few minutes I quietly listened as she humbly told me of this
incredible heartwarming ministry that she and her husband are involved in. While
listening to her I realized that she and her husband surely had the David type
of anointing and philosophy for ministry.
has already made (stitched with love) a hundred and sixty blankets, and has given
them to different ones in her church. Her blankets are commonly known as “Shirley
Blankets” because they are warm blankets of love.
also buys Christian novels and gives them to those who love to read, but cannot
always afford to buy books. At this point she has bought and given away two
husband is also in the “love ministry” as well. He has honey bee hives and gives
away his honey as a love offering for his part of the ministry. How creative
can two people be?
may not be practical, but it would certainly seem fitting for all Bible school
and seminary students to be able to graduate only if they can pass this one
final test. That test would be to follow Shirley and Bob around for a year and
learn how to minister under the David type of anointing.
question is, “How many would leave the ministry if they had to pay for the privilege?”
Help us to always be sensitive in
serving You by serving others. Help us not to expect to be paid for everything
we do in the name of Christ. Teach us also to be creative in showing our love
for You like my little sister and her husband, Shirley and Bob.
(Ecclesiastes KJV) And also that every man should eat and
drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
what point does enjoying the good of one’s labor turn into self-centeredness?
It would seem that this is only possible when God is no longer the center of
one’s life. Spending all your time and money on making yourself happy is not
what this scripture is talking about. That would be self-centeredness.
the other hand I have actually known folks who have chosen not to enjoy any of
the good of their labor because they thought it was a sign of worldliness. Their
intentions may have been right, but their interpretation of God’s plan for
their happiness was wrong.
of those are extreme examples and neither is what the Lord intended in our
text. God does not desire for His children to live a dull cheerless life. Neither
does He intend for them to only think of themselves and what brings joy to them.
The fact is, God wants His children to enjoy life even in the simplest of
think one of the first lessons we should learn is to enjoy the simple things of
life, which then helps lay the right foundation for appreciating all things in
life. That simple principle has worked for me.
growing up on a farm in East Texas one of my
simple pleasures in life was to go coon hunting. I had an old “blue-tick” coon dog
I called Blue. Blue was a beautiful dog (if you can call a hound beautiful),
with long ears and drooping, slobbering jowls. Blue was the epitome of laziness
and spent most of his time lying on the front porch asleep. The only thing that
Blue liked as much as sleeping was going coon hunting.
a hard day of work on the farm I would come in and eat my supper and eventually
go to bed. Many times I would lay there in bed and look out my open bedroom window
(this was before air conditioning), and enjoy the bright moonlit night while listening
to the lowing of the cows and the typical sounds of night in the country. After
spending time thinking about enjoying the “good of my labor” I would get out of
bed, grab the shotgun and spotlight and walk out the back door hollering, “Come
on Blue.” Blue and I would head for the woods expecting to find a coon. By the
time I got through the barbed wire fence, Blue had usually treed a coon. I
would always come running and say, “Good boy Blue.”
was quite a dog…his bark was long and slow as if he was from the Deep South. As a matter of fact his bark sounded kinda lonesome.
It sounded more like the sounds of a far off freight train blowing its whistle
than it did a dog barking at a coon.
though those were simple days I learned the principle of enjoying the labor of
my work as the Lord intended in our text. The fact is God wants all of His
children to enjoy life as much as I did while hunting coons with old Blue.
one to engage in either of the two extremes that I pointed out would be a form
of idolatry. To spend all of one’s time seeking pleasure or rejecting pleasure
would result in the same thing. The first would be that of personal worship and
the second would be that of a sacrificed joy that is not required by the Lord.
Help each of us to be ministers of
encouragement. There is so much sadness and need in the world today Lord that
we really want to be Your hands extended. We understand that there is nothing
that brings more joy to a natural parent’s heart than seeing their children
happy. We also know that there is nothing that brings pleasure to You like
seeing Your children happy as well. We want to help.
KJV) And it came to
pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's
bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
The study of angels has to be one
of the most intriguing studies. Everyone wants to know if angels are real and
if so, then what do they look like. Are they little fat cherubs with harps or
are they nine foot beings with wings and white feathers?When it comes to picturing angels, it seems
as though our imagination knows no bounds.
The answer is, “Yes, angels are
real.”Not only are they real, but they
are present with us every day. As a matter of fact, it is writtenthat“...he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all
thy ways” (Psalm 91:11 KJV).Just
because you do not always see them does not mean that they are not there
keeping watch over you.
I also find it interesting that
in Luke 16:22 there is a distinction between being buried and carried when
we die. The rich man was buried by
other men when he died, whereas the poor man was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom when he died. That being the
case, then one could conclude that the difference between being buried and carried would depend strictly on one’s relationship with God.
The writer of Hebrews says, “Are
they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be
heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews
KJV). I realize that this could either be talking about angels or ministers of
the gospel, but I do not really think that it makes any difference. The fact is
that angels do minister to us one way or the other. I find it extremely
comforting to think that God loves us so much that He would actually send His
angels down to encourage us.
Another interesting scripture on
angels is in Matthew where he gives a stern warning concerning how we treat the
“little ones.”He said“Take heed that ye despise not one of these
little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven theirangels do
always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10 KJV).This scripture definitely gives a new
perspective on how Jesus feels about the little ones.
I have personally had a number of
experiences with angels over the years. For some reason most of my experiences
have either been on an airplane or in my own home. I am sure there have been
many other times, but they would probably fit into the category of
“entertaining angels unaware.”
I recall this one time when I was
flying to Kentucky. The airplane was completely full except for one seat
between me and another passenger on the three seat side of the plane all the
way in the back. We were about an hour from landing when I had this unusual
experience. I looked up and saw a man coming down the aisle. I was not sure
where he came from because all the seats were still occupied except the one
next to me. He walked up and said, “May I sit next to you?” I begrudgingly said
yes and let him in. He kept trying to engage me in conversation, but I would
not talk to him. As a matter of fact I was even a little rude to him as I did
not want him to sit next to me because I was crowded enough without him being
After a time of me ignoring his
many attempts to engage me in conversation, he finally got up and stepped out
into the aisle...and literally vanished. At that point I knew I had
“entertained an angel unaware.”
I spent the rest of the trip
repenting for my arrogant attitude and asking God to forgive me and give me
another chance. God answered my prayer and forgave my sin and gave me other
such spiritual opportunities.
Yes, angels are real and they are
sent by God to help us. I do not believe that it is the will of God for us to
seek angels, but to seek Him. We see angels at Jesus’ birth, at His baptism, in
the Garden of Gethsemane, at Jesus’ resurrection, and at His ascension. Angels
are real and we should expect to experience more and more sightings of them in
thank You for sending angels to intercede for us, protect us and even carry us
home to be with You when we die. Father, help our attention not to be on the
created but on the creator.
44:20 KJV) He feedeth on ashes; a deceived heart hath turned him aside; and he
cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?
the years I have actually known a few folks who were so persuasive that they could
make you believe a lie even when you knew it was a lie. A person with that kind
of persuasive power did not get it from God.
is not only the author of lies, but he was persuasive enough in the Garden of Eden
to deceive Eve into believing his lie. God made Eve perfect and put her in a
perfect environment, yet due to Satan’s persuasiveness she believed his lie. Satan
is not only the father of deception, but he also seems to have the ability to
give that same persuasive power to anyone who will yield to him. When one has
that kind of power it seems to propel them into committing idolatry, which is a
idolater is one who delights in his idol, or in this case his ability to persuade
others to do his will. The fact is that some people just have the ability to
weaken others and make them yield to their deception. Jeremiah was right when
he said, “The heart is
deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 KJV).
When one finds out that they have
been deceived by another, there is a tendency for them to hold a grudge against
the deceiver. The downfall of holding a grudge is that it allows the deceiver to
live rent free in your head.
As strong a man as I am, I know a
man who seems to have the ability to weaken me every time I am around him. What
is even worse is that I cannot seem to do anything about it. Therefore I try to
stay away from him even though I really care for the man. He not only has this effect
on me, but on everyone in his congregation. I do not believe that spirit is
from the Lord, even though he does not try to persuade me to do anything wrong.
It is not good for anyone to have that kind of persuasive power over another.
The only one we should be consumed by is the Lord, because there is no true knowledge
apart from God and the crucified Christ.
Satan does not care if one has
religion as long as they do not follow Christ’s teaching...which produces real holiness
and a righteous heart. Religion on the other hand makes a man believe that he is
holy and righteous when he is in fact far from God. This kind of religion is the
result of being persuaded to believe a lie.
each of us not to be deceived as Eve was. Lord if we have been deceived in the
past then help us not to hold a grudge against that person—which allows them to
live rent free in our head. Our desire is to live righteously by following Your
(Song of Solomon
KJV) O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places
of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is
thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.
This has to be one of the tenderest scriptures in the entire
Bible. When reading this scripture one actually feels as if they are eavesdropping
on a very private conversation between two lovers. I also find it interesting
that Solomon referred to his lover as a dove. For Solomon, the term dove was as
much of an endearing term as the word darling would be to someone else.
The Lord often teaches me as He did with His disciples...by
using natural examples. It was not until a few years ago while dove hunting that
the Lord began giving me revelation on why Solomon used the term dove.
I had enjoyed dove hunting for many years when the Lord
chose this one particular time to reveal our text to me in a way that I would
never forget. It was through that experience that I began using the term dove-love
Even though I had never heard
the term dove-love before, when I experienced it I knew exactly what it meant—as
well as why Solomon referred to his darling as a dove. I realize that the term
dove-love in not in the Bible nor probably anywhere else for that matter, but
when you experience it you know it is real.
At this particular time I owned a small ranch in South Texas that had some of the best dove hunting in the
state. One day while hunting I shot a dove, and when I reached down to pick it
up I discovered it was not dead but only wounded. As I picked up the wounded dove
it turned its head toward me and gave me the most yielding look one could imagine.
It was at that point, while looking into the eyes of the
dove that I began to understand why Solomon referred to his lover as a dove. There
is no look like the look of love, and there was no better way for Solomon to express
his deep feeling for his lover than by using the term “dove.”
There is a gentleness in the term dove and there is a
gentleness in the term dove-love that is very descriptive of a deeper type of
love. I am sure there are no natural examples of love that could come close to
describing the Jesus type of love, but maybe Solomon’s description comes a
How does one describe the impossible? Trying to describe love
will certainly fall into the category of the impossible, particularly when it
comes to describing Jesus’ love for us. Even though I enjoy Solomon’s attempt in
describing love (or should I say dove-love), it still falls short.
Perhaps what the Lord was trying to teach me that day while
dove hunting was the mystery of love. Solomon may have already understood the
principle that the Lord was trying to teach me.
After dove hunting that day I am not sure that I left with
any more answers than when I started, but I am sure I left a lot wiser.
I thank You that Your love for us is truly
indescribable. I also thank You Father for the example of Solomon as he
referred to his lover as a dove. His wonderful term is a term of tenderness which
is what You feel for each of us.