Monday, August 12, 2019

THE MYSTERIOUS FLOATING AXE HEAD


These are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, 
Even the deep things of God. 
(Corinthians 2:10 NIV)

God wants us to know the vast truths in His Word. And it is the Holy Spirit who reveals those marvelous mysteries that lie beneath the surface of His Word (I Corinthians 2:10). God's truths repeat throughout Scripture, making it necessary to refer to other scriptures for those deep revelations. 

The account of the floating axe head in 2 Kings 6:1-7 had always puzzled me, because we all know that iron cannot float, yet it did float. As He led me on a step-by-step jorney, revelation began to emerge. For better understanding, I segmented scriptures 1-7 to create a picture of what prophetically took place that day at the Jordan River.

1. "Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, 'See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log and let us make a place for us to dwell there'" (vs. 1-2).  
Elisha was the spiritual leader over young men who were faithfully devoted to God and His Word. They saw the necessity of each man participating in the building of a structure that would accommodate their growing numbers. This was a foretelling of the need for each person in the body of Christ to be a part of building God's Church and assembling together. "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:24-25).

2. And [Elisha] answered, "GO." Then one of them said, "Be pleased to go with your servants." And he answered, "I will go." So [Elisha] went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees (vs. 3-4).
Elisha has been called the precursor to Jesus, because both their lives and names mirrored each other, including the signs, wonders, and miracles they performed. Elisha means "God is salvation." Jesus means "Yahweh will save." 

Trees represent people (Psalm 92:12) The trees had been cut down in order to build something lasting. We are often brought low that He may build us up to become a lasting testament to His goodness and truth (Psalm 116:6).

3. "They came to the Jordan..." (vs. 4)
This was a foretelling of people coming to the River Jordan to repent and be baptized by John the Baptist. This would also be the same river in which John would baptize Jesus Christ.

4. "But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water" (vs. 5).
AXE represents Jesus, who is the incarnate Word (John 1:1). "And now also the axe (Word) is laid unto the root of the trees (man); therefore, if every tree (man) does not produce good fruit, it is cut down and cast into the fire" (Matthew 3:10; Isaiah 44:3-4). Are we carelessly mishandling the Word?

HEAD represents authority, God, and Christ. He put all things in subjection under His feet and gave (Jesus) as head over all things to the Church (Ephesians 1:22). For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet (the hope) of salvation upon His head...(Isaiah 59:17). Thus the axe head falling into the water represent Jesus, the incarnate Word, who carries all authority and hope for manking, being baptized in the River Jordan and receiving the Holy Spirit to begin His ministry.

5. ...and he cried out. "Alas, my master! It was borrowed" (vs. 5).
We cannot borrow God's authority from anyone. All authority is given through Christ. Repentance and baptism give us full access to the things of God.

6. Then the man of God said, "Where did it fall?" When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick (branch) and threw it into the water... (vs. 6).
BRANCH represents people: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me, you can do nothing (John 15:5). According to Acts 2:38, those who repent and are baptized become the Lord's branches. As His branches, we become engrafted into His vine as living testimonies to God's goodness and truth.

WATER represents the Spirit of God. "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3 ESV). Jesus spoke of the "streams of living water" that flow from within those who believe in Him and receive the Holy Spirit (John 4:13-26).

7. "...and made the iron float" (vs 6).
IRON represents human strength and confience in one's own power (Daniel 2:37-40). "Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:12 ESV). We can do nothing in and of our own strength. It was the Spirit of God who raised the iron axe head. It was the same power that raised Jesus frm the dead. And it is that same power through baptism that the "natural man with his sinful nature" is buried and then arises out of the water resurrected, "born again," and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Jude 19)

8. "And he said, 'Take it up.' So, he reached out his hand and took it" (vs. 7).
Have we taken up our cross by dying to self and surrendering all to Christ? Do we fully embrace, believe, and follow God's Word?

AXE HANDLE - we are the vehicle by which the axe (God's Word) is used to push back the darkness, revealing Satan's lies and distortions.  What good is the axe head without the handle to wield it. How can God's Word be known unless we share the Gospel? (Psalm 96:2-4; 2 Timothy 1:7-8).

In summary, this event at the River Jordan, was a foretelling of the call for repentance and baptism. It was also a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, who would, after His baptism, begin His ministry and teach His disciples how to build His Church and spread the Gospel's Good News to the masses, making many more disciples of men, women, and children.

A SIDE NOTE:  Jesus set a clear example to be followed. At age 30, He went to the River Jordan to be baptized by John, who tried to stop Him. But Jesus said, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us [all people] to fulfill all righteousness."

I strongly encourage those who have made a decision for Christ, but have not been baptized, to prayerfully consider obeying God's command. Peter said, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38 NIV)(Infants are not able to acknowledge Christ or repent.)

PRAYER: FATHER, I don't really understand everything about baptism, but I do want to obey You in all things. Lead me to those who can further my understanding of baptism that I may follow in obedience what You require of me as a Christian and as Your child. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

FEAR NOT

Those who follow my blogs know that each blog I write was birthed from a lesson that I learned in my daily journey with God. Sunday night, God allowed me to take yet another journey, giving further proof that no matter what the enemy throws at us, our God is always there for us, and He is faithful to His Word.
It was around 11:30 p.m. when I turned in for the night only to feel a sudden pounding in my head and a weird vibration throughout my body. Initially, I attributed it to being tired, but then it became so intense that I decided to take my blood pressure. The dangerously high reading shocked me, because I had never experienced pressure that high.
Fear immediately took ahold of me as all kinds of horrible thoughts coursed through my mind. Should I rush to the hospital? Then I heard God gently speak into my spirit, “This is an attack from the enemy. Pray and take the authority that I have given you, for Satan is a defeated foe.”
Oh, the joy that comes in trusting God. For when we dwell in the shelter of the Most High, we abide in the shadow of the Almighty. For He is our refuge and our fortress, our God, in whom we trust. He will deliver us from the snare of the fowler. He covers us with His pinions, and under His wings we find refuge. His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. We need not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow sent by day, because when we make the Lord our refuge and dwelling place, no evil shall overtake us (Psalm 91:1-10).
I prayed until 5:30 a.m. and fell asleep until I awoke at 7:30 a.m. God then gave me explicit instructions which included more prayer and a day of fasting. Around 10:30 a.m. I noticed the symptoms were gone, so I took my blood pressure and found it completely normal. As a result of my many hours in prayer and seeking God, I saw the fruit of my travail (Isaiah 53:11). And it was during prayer and fasting, that the Holy Spirit revealed an important truth about fear.
Satan uses fear to manipulate, terrorize, and defeat God’s people. But more importantly, fear can hit us suddenly and unexpectedly like a freight train. That is why we are told to be sober and vigilant, because our adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8).
We live in uncertain times, requiring even more vigilance. Our government is not functioning as it should. We are hyper-vigilant because of continual acts of home-grown and global terrorism. Concerns and fears grow each day over a warming earth, unparalleled destructive weather, rumors of wars, healthcare, our children and grandchildren’s futures, finances, job security, and the security of our Constitutional rights and our nation.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines fear as anxiety caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous. However, the Word of God indicates two types of fear.
The first type of fear is a reverential respect and awe of God that recognizes and honors His power and glory. “Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears (honors) the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments (Psalm 112). He will bless those who fear (honor) the LORD, the small together with the great (Psalm 115:13).
The second type of fear is the fear that Satan brings to our lives to torment and create doubt and unbelief. But the LORD tells us, “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, fear not; behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; He will come and save you’” (Isaiah 35:4). Hallelujah!
Our response to fear begins in the brain, which then causes bodily changes that prepare us to fight or flee. The brain becomes hyperalert. The pupils and bronchi dilate and breathing accelerates. Heart rate and blood pressure rise. This reaction is normal and expected if we are truly facing danger. But if it is a perceived danger or threat that does not exist, our body will still react in the same way.
According to “Medical News Today,” "anxiety is snowballing in the United States.” Research shows that anti-anxiety medication is on the rise. More than one in five American adults take medications for anxiety and depression. And 1 in 10 children suffer from anxiety or depression, as stated in the April 2018 report by “Science Daily.”
If we are living in a constant state of fear and anxiety, that reaction that should help us in a moment of danger will instead cause harm to our bodies. For fear and anxiety have the potential to weaken the immune system and cause cardiovascular damage, hypertension, gastrointestinal problems, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and even decreased fertility, just to name a few. That is why God’s Word warns us that what we fear will come upon us and that is exactly what the enemy of our soul wants to accomplish.
Satan’s goal is to destroy us with fear. I can attest to having made some wrong decisions that were life-altering and not for the good, because fear was the driving force. I had failed to prayerfully consult with God before making those decisions.
God’s Word states 365 admonitions not to fear, one for each day of the year. Therefore, we know that tormenting fear is not of God but is of Satan. “So, we cast all our anxieties on Him, because He cares for us.” For we did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but we have received the Spirit of adoption as sons and daughters who cry “Abba! Father!” (I Peter 5:7; Romans 8:15).
Did you catch that? There is a spirit of slavery that wants us to live in constant fear. And what is slavery? Slavery is bondage. What does the Word tell us about bondage? Christ set us free from bondage; therefore, we are to stand firm and not submit again to a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).
We must never forget the power and authority that was given to us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and remember that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV). Therefore, when we submit to God and resist the devil, he will flee from us (James 4:7).
PRAYER: FATHER,Your Word tells me, “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; surely, I will help you. Surely, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). Help me to always pray for discernment to know the difference between fear that is of the enemy and fear that gives a warning to flee or take appropriate action. Help me to obey your command to “fear not,” because my security and future rest in Your hands. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Monday, July 22, 2019

 LESSONS TO LIVE BY



The story of David and Goliath contains many lessons. However, I have pointed out six lessons to demonstrate God's power and the power of having faith and trust in the sovereignty of God, who always brings victory to the faithful and obedient. 

LESSON ONE: David was the unlikely candidate selected out of seven brothers to be anointed king of Israel. God had sent the Prophet Samuel to the family of Jesse to anoint the one whom God had chosen to be king. Samuel judged by outward appearance and selected Jesse's oldest and strongest son. But God corrected Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (I Samuel 16:6-7). We are not to look on what our physical eyes tells us; we are to act on what God's Word tells us. 

LESSON TWO: Not long after, the Philistines had gathered their armies together to battle against Israel. They sent Goliath to taunt the armies of Israel, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine and you the servants of Saul?” “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words, they were dismayed and greatly afraid (I Samuel 17:8-11).

Where was Israel’s faith in God? He had delivered them from their enemies on numerous occasions. Yet they focused on the vast army before them and not God who had miraculously led their ancestors through the Red Sea and crushed their enemies.

How many Goliath’s have we faced and will face in our lives? The list is endless of challenges that test our faith. Are we prepared to face our fears and trials head on, while maintaining faith that God is going before us? God has not called us to run from the enemy.

LESSON THREE: David heard of the threat against Israel and told Saul that he would fight Goliath. Picture a boy who was most likely not much more than 5 feet tall, 97-130 pounds going against a ferocious and intimidating 9’ 9” giant, guesstimated to have weighted close to 900 pounds. Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him..." (I Samuel 17:33)But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God" (Samuel 17:34-36 NIV).

When God instructs us to do something difficult, be wary of those who voice their doubts and fears. If we entertain their fears and doubts, we will fail to follow through with what God wants us to accomplish, thereby, forfeiting our blessing. David refused to take on Saul’s fears, because He had complete trust in God whom he served. 

LESSON FOUR: Saul then offered David his armor, but David rejected Sau's armor, because he had not tested it. He knew what would work for him. So he took his staff (representing God's power that was with him), went to the brook, selected five smooth stones, and placed them in his pouch. With sling in hand, he approached Goliath.

Although we may have prayerful support from others, they cannot fight our battles, nor can they walk out our trials. Thus, we must be prepared, knowing that it is God's Spirit that goes before us and with us. For the battle is not with flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places. Therefore, each day, we dress in the full armor of God, which is truth, righteousness, peace, faith that destroys the fiery darts of the wicked, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer (Ephesians 6:11). We would never consider leaving the house half dressed, so why would we not put on the full armor of God before we start our day?

LESSON FIVE: David stood before Goliath and said, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head” (I Samuel 17:45-46).

As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet Goliath. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground (I Samuel 17: 48-49). Though Goliath refused to honor God in life, God would see to it that Goliath honored Him in death as he lay face down in the dirt.

God chooses what is foolish to shame the wise; He chooses what is weak to shame the strong; God chooses what is low and despised, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). 

God chose a mere boy who had faith that God would defeat the enemy. For that reason, David was not afraid; instead, he ran towards the enemy and declared victory before there was victory. Thus, God honored David’s faith and obedience and it was the power of God that carried that stone to its mark, killing the giant. When we step out in faith and trust God, He will do the rest; He will fight our battles.

LESSON SIX: David then took Goliath's sword from its sheath and cut off his head. For David to wield a sword as large and heavy as it must have been, with enough power to cut off the giant's head, he had to have supernatural strength from the LORD.

We are to do things, not of our own strength, but under the power of God. We move forward in faith, knowing that He will provide all that we need to accomplish the task (Philippians 4:13). For God is the ultimate power and all power is subject to Him. “He gives strength to the weary and gives power to the weak” (Isaiah 40:29). That power does not come from us; it comes through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Therefore, we walk in faith and not by sight.

PRAYER: Father, thank you, that Your way is perfect; Your word is proven. You are my shield when I trust You (Psalm 18:30). Increase my faith that I may always follow Your lead, no matter how difficult the journey. In Jesus’ name, amen.