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Male Lion Caught Attempting To Cheat By Jealous Mate


"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

So funny!

There's No Reason To Fight For This World

"Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" - John 18:10-11

"Jesus said, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.'" - John 18:36

"Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" Matthew 26:53

This is one reason why Christians are not to fight this world, make war on this world or anyone else for God. There's no reason to! This world is going to pot and the Bible says it would. Peter tried to fight when Jesus was arrested and cut off the ear of a guard with a sword but he was rebuked by Jesus for doing that. Jesus also made very clear if he needed an army he could have one instantly...thousands of angels would be as his disposal to fight for him but he wasn't here the 1st time for a war

Our job is not to fight with others. We aren't called to "Christianize" this world. We're not of this world so why would be want to hang onto it? Christianization is never gonna happen anyway. That's pretty clear in the Bible. Anytime "Christians" have tried to do this is history it's always failed because that's not God's intent so of course it's not gonna succeed

God knows those He's chosen and once He has those He's's all over. Our job is to let as many people as possible know..."Dude you're playing on the wrong team!" We don't know who the elect is. The general call goes out to the whole world. God knows those who will come and those who won't and those who won't have heard the call and rejected it. It's on them now. It's a commandment for us to do that and when I think about those I know and love having to face Him as He's ruthlessly executing judgment it scares me! Look...God doesn't need our help to take what is His. When He decides to return and start a turkey shoot He will

He won't be showing up secretly and knocking on doors or having secret meetings with a special few. He's gonna kick the door down in front of everyone! We can't force anyone to be a Christian. That's up to God alone. All we can do is tell others and that's it. He doesn't even need us to do that. God doesn't need anything from us. He chooses to allow us to take part in His plan so it's not like all of God's plans will fall apart if we don't do it. He existed just fine and happy long before man. There's nothing He needs from us and if God wants to He can just blow this planet up. He still has the entire universe at His disposal and under his rule. The kingdom that does matter is Heaven and God is still enthroned there. Remember Heaven is the kingdom Satan tried to take first. That didn't work out so well. Everything else God can destroy and rebuild if it pleased Him without our help. Which one of us was there to help Him when he created everything?

*crickets chirping*


Let me tell you though who finds this world so important that he'll fight tooth and nail to keep it....

"the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:4

"Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out." John 12:31

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12

"in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient" Ephesians 2:2

Of course Satan uses any means and as many people as necessary to keep his dominion. When people wage war on others in this world "for God" they're not fighting for the true God. They're fighting for the god of this world to protect his feeble throne whether they do it in ignorance or not. Satan knew Messiah was gonna come. God told him in Genesis 3 He would and the Messiah would "crush his head". He fought against that happening but everything he did and everything he tried didn't work. Messiah comes and Satan tries to kill him while He's a baby. That didn't work. When Jesus hung on the cross Satan thought he won! He didn't...he was in fact defeated. His head was crushed. Like a snake will continue to snap when its head has been crushed so is Satan. He knows very well Messiah will come back and he's once again doing everything he can to prevent that

So of course Satan will wage war against anyone who's a threat to his "kingdom". This world is all he has. A little speck in the universe and he means to keep it! Just like a narcissist! It doesn't really even belong to him but he thinks it does and will kill, maim, harass, threaten, destroy anyone or anything that poses a threat. He has subdued earth at God's good pleasure. When God is ready to take it back He will and there's nothing anyone or anything can do about it. You may wonder "when is God going to do that?" Whenever He feels like it. God is not constricted by time like we are. He's sitting in eternity. There is no such thing as "time" for Him. We see things as yesterday, today and tomorrow. God sees everything all at once in front of Him. Satan's little running amok (though it seems ages for us) is not even a minute to God

"If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you" John 15:19

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8

I saw a program once on TV about lions. The male will patrol his territory from one end to another making sure no competition has stepped into it. This is exactly what Satan does and if he finds a threat to his territory he unleashes and tries to devour them...US. This is why Christians are persecuted and killed. We are the threat to his rule. Jesus never said we wouldn't be persecuted and killed. He said we WOULD be. The only way it's gonna end is by Satan being removed and he will be. His days are numbered

Pray for those in the world, do what you can to help those in the world but don't become attached and definitely don't fight for it

For info on Satan go HERE

Fox News: Thousands of Muslims Converting to Christianity In Iraq

Muslim conversion en mass is not western propaganda.

"Something is happening in the Middle East that the main stream media is not reporting, a Muslim conversion en mass to Christianity" Joel Rosenberg Fox News

From Al Jazeera...

Statistically 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity daily... almost 6 million every year throughout the Middle East and Africa. You can read more on this subject HERE

Be warned...

All other "religions" and "followings" have one thing in common...all those who started them were given special revelation that no one else was ever given and it always came from an "angel" who distorted, twisted, or just tossed out what was originally given by God. That person now had the "correct version" of what God really meant and everyone else before them (all the Prophets, Kings, Disciples, Apostles and many others over 1500 years and 66 books) had gotten it wrong. The new person coming on the scene is the only who has it right! Seriously that wouldn't even hold up in our own faulty courts.

Satan did this in Genesis 3 claiming to know better, understand better what God meant. Claiming they didn't hear what God said right, they got it all wrong and he knew the correct version so follow him. He's still doing it even today. He continues to masquerade as an angel of light. If anyone claims to speak for God but their teachings contradict, twist or if they just throw it out then the warning is "have nothing to do with them". Does God change His mind? Does He forget what He said already? Does He forget what He already did? Is He a man that He should lie?

They're false prophets masquerading as "servants of righteousness" and the one in control of them is not from God and many people will follow them. Satan knows the Bible better than most people. If he will distort and twist Scripture to Messiah Himself (Luke 4) who was the Word of God in the flesh (John 1) what makes us think he won't do it to us?

"for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." 2 Corinthians 11:14-15

"Even some men from among your own selves will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following." - Acts 20:30

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ." - Galatians 1:7

"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" - Galatians 1:8

"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people." - Romans 16:17-18

"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping." 2 Peter 2:1-3

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them." - 2 Timothy 3:1-5

"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." 2 Timothy 4:2-5

What is our defense? Know the Bible. Read it. Study it. All of it! If we don't know it then we'll fall for anything.

Hinn confronts Osteen?

Benny Hinn confronts Joel Osteen

Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black? For Hinn to point out Osteen's sins all the while doing the exact same things not only makes Hinn a hypocrite but he condemns himself. If he's able to recognize and point out everything Osteen is doing wrong and all his sins then Hinn has the ability to recognize them in himself thus bringing himself under judgment

Is Hinn actually seeing the light? No otherwise he would have openly repented first and he hasn't done that. So what's Hinn's problem? Osteen is stealing his thunder and frankly money. Followers of Hinn are moving onto another heretic that tells then exactly what they want to hear in a better way and taking their money with them

No one's the victim...not even the followers. They flock to these heretics....they can no longer put up with sound doctrine which doesn't line up with their own desires so they gather around them teachers like Hinn and Osteen who will tell them what their itching ears want to hear and it's not the truth. (2 Timothy 4:3) They've exchanged the truth for a lie (Romans 1:25) The followers all want what Hinn and Osteen want and Hinn and Osteen want what the followers want and it's not God. These corrupt teachers are simply God's judgment on stiff necked people

Confronting Error With Condemnation, not Conversation -by John MacArthur

LeCrae tearing it up!

"Paul said if Christ ain't resurrected then we wasted our lives. That implies our life's built around Jesus being alive...we're created for Him. Out of the dust He raised us for Him. Elects us and He saves us for Him. Jesus comes and He raises us. So magnify the Father. Why bother with something lesser? He made us so we could bless Him and to the world we confess Him.."

Enjoy! on the stage with him is Sho Baraka (in the blue), Trip Lee (shorty in white) Grammy Nominee Flame (in black with cross necklace) and Tedashii (heavier guy in black) = 116 Clique

A few things I love about these guys are they're humble, sincere, earnest and they don't fall into the trap of wearing expensive jewelry, clothes and living extravagantly. Despite their success and high educations they still live in the ghetto and spend their lives and money ministering, helping others with whatever they need and being an example to those around them. They practice what they preach. They're the real thing...

Persecution Is What Makes Things Grow

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" Matthew 24:14

Did you know that the underground church in Muslim countries is growing so rapidly that odds are (if you're a Muslim in the east) you know someone that you are convinced is a Muslim but is actually a Christian who's forced to hide it because of persecution? (In the pic is a small group of Iranian Christians who are former Muslims meeting secretly to study, encourage and pray for each other). Many governments and people of these closed nations have no idea the underground church even exists in its borders. Because Christianity is illegal and closed in these countries, God's doing the proselytizing Himself through dreams and visions which is responsible for many conversions.

Did you know that the underground church in China and North Korea is growing so rapidly that it's likely (if you're an atheist communist) that you know someone who you think is just like you but is really a Christian?

Did you know that the underground church is spreading so rapidly all over the Middle East and Africa that even people you work with may be the same people who spend their free time smuggling Bibles into the country. The same people you think you know and are sure are like you are the same ones copying the Bible in long hand a book at a time and giving it to others who also copy them and pass them along because Bibles are illegal.

Did you know in countries where "churches" are allowed (and a certain amount of Bibles are allowed but both are closely monitored and under the control of the government) most Christians don't even attend them? They have been forced underground because a vast majority have converted from Islam or Hinduism. This is especially true in countries like Iran, Iraq, India and Turkey. You may live in one of these countries and think "but we have churches here!" Ya and they face persecution all the time and most of those who attend have been raised Christian. But for those who are converting from Islam it's dangerous and they can't openly attend a church so they meet in homes or in remote areas like the desert, woods and even in caves.

Did you know persecution is on the rise in South America?

It's even true here in the States for Muslims. I attend services on Friday nights where the building is so packed with Muslims there's not even standing room. They freely come but they have to sneak away from their families and neighbors. It's interesting to see the reactions of some who run into their neighbors also attending. There's a tense silent agreement..."you don't tell on me and I won't tell on you." If you want a chair you gotta get there early. They come freely to hear the Gospel. Some bring pastries, tea and coffee from a local Middle Eastern bakery and everyone hangs out together afterwards for hours. Later they go home with their secret and return the next week.

"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me." Matthew 24:9

"but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." Matthew 24:13

Persecution does 2 things deepens the commitment of true Christians thus spreading it and forces the "religious Christians" to desert. It helps separate the wheat from the tares (weeds) and just like pulling weeds from a garden...the roots of the wheat now have room to spread their roots and the garden takes off.

This is happening all over the world. Persecution of Christians has picked up. Even in the States where we've been relatively free from serious persecution it's increasing and getting worse. Our own government is now calling Christians "terroritsts" and calling for a "Christian solution". Sound familiar? Ya they did that to the Jews in Germany.

Will we ever be tossed to lions in a stadium here? Who knows! Will they bring back burning Christians at the stake again? It's possible. Will we be thrown into prison for preaching, executed, raped, starved, beaten, beheaded, tortured etc? It's happening in many other countries so to think it'll never touch us in the States is unrealistic. It could. When I read and see news pictures of Christians being beheaded in Indonesia...Christians being raped, beaten, executed, imprisoned and tortured in the Middle East and Africa it's a sober reminder that though I'm in the States I'm not safe. The Bible gives very clear predictions how things will go from bad to worse for us everywhere even those who thought they were safe. During the last days it will become full blown and spread all over the world.

Historically Christians have been savagely persecuted by pagans, Catholics even Jews. Nowadays it's coming from the Muslims, Atheist Communists and Hindus. But we gotta remember Christianity is the only faith that has spread like wildfire under persecution. Persecution never stopped it. Like a fire spreads by wind so has Christianity under the severest opposition. When Christians are persecuted they don't cower and hide...they've always rejoiced in it and always picked up their witness under it. This has been a huge factor in it spreading. That is a huge testimony to God and His power and often times has led to the persecutors themselves repenting! Even today despite government efforts and persecution in China, North Korea, India, Indonesia, Eastern Europe, the entire Middle East and Africa, Christianity is spreading, the underground church is growing at a rapid rate and they can't stop it. When the underground church is growing under such conditions weeds don't take root.

If it hadn't been for severe persecution Christianity would have never spread throughout what is modern day Turkey thus pushing it to the West. We aren't to see it as a set back or be afraid of it...we're to be ready for it.When modern day theologians and prominent teachers were asked if we would ever see such harsh treatment here in the West...there basic answer was "'s coming". That's not their opinion...that's entirely biblical.

"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

If we let our attitudes reflect our surroundings we're in sin and not doing what we're supposed to be doing. If we begin to lose virtue because of where we live then we need to pray that God will reverse it. We "counted the cost" (Luke 14:28) of being a Christian before coming one. We knew what we could face, what could happen and we knew it could cost us our lives. Never become complacent but remain vigilant, self controlled and faithful even to death.

In the meantime, while we in the West are not facing persecution YET as harsh as those in the East we are to remember "those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering" (Hebrews 13:3) pray for them daily, help them and their families where ever and however you can and take an example from them.

Video on Richard Wurmbrand founder of Voice of the Martyrs and writer of "Tortured for Christ" and former Jew who was severely tortured and beaten during his 14 years in solitary confinement  in a Romanian prison after being convicted of preaching. He continued preaching in prison at every opportunity he got with the guards most of which were his torturers and many of them converted. His life and steadfastness in the faith in spite of continuous torture and beatings was the testimony that convinced some prison officials and led to their conversion. All of them also had to hide their faith. Once he was released he went right back to preaching on the streets where he was arrested again.

The video says "Armenia" that is a mistake. It was Romania...

Uploaded by allanrich. - Explore more family videos.

Jehoash "The Lord Has Given" Secret King of Judah

"and I will establish the throne of his (David) kingdom forever." 2 Samuel 7:13

God promised David that his throne would endure forever. David would never fail to have a man on the throne before God. From David came a long line of kings. Some godly, some bad and some really bad. During the time that the kingdom was split (Israel in the north and Judah in the south) Ahaziah was on the throne of Judah, the throne of his forefather David. David had moved the capital from Hebron to Jerusalem in the territory of the tribe of Judah when he conquered the Jebusites. When the kingdom was split later under King Rehoboam, son of Solomon, Jerusalem remained the capital of Judah and Israel's capital became Samaria.

Ahaziah was the son of King Jehoram who was not a popular king in the least. In fact in 2 Chronicles 21:20 it says "Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one's regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings."

He also had a not so popular mother named Athaliah. Athaliah was the daughter of King Ahab of Israel and his wife Jezebel. Athaliah was just like her mother. Israel and Judah battled many years, but Jehoram and Ahab tried to bring peace by Jehoram marrying Ahab's daughter as many alliances were formed in monarchies.

Ahaziah becomes king 841/840 BC and his mother was a huge influence on him. She was Jezebel #2 and she influenced him to follow the god Baal like her mother did in Israel to the north. Ahaziah was not a good king. A year after reigning Ahaziah went to visit Joram King of Israel and things went down hill. There were problems brewing in Israel at that time. By God's instruction the prophet Elisha (Elijah's predecessor) sends a young, unnamed prophet to Ramoth Gilead to anoint a new king (Jehu) and bolt out. It was just that fast.

"the prophet poured the oil on Jehu's head and declared, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'I anoint you king over the Lord's people Israel. You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the Lord's servants shed by Jezebel. The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel -- slave or free. I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah. As for Jezebel, dogs will devour her on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and no one will bury her.' Then he opened the door and ran!" 2 Kings 9:6-12

 Jezebel was notorious for having the prophets slaughtered. He didn't want to be next in line.
However in the process of executing Joram, Ahaziah was also struck down by Jehu. God didn't tell Jehu to kill Ahaziah, but he did and literally all hell broke loose in Judah because their king was now dead too.

As soon as Athaliah heard about her son's death she had every one of Ahaziah's sons, her own grandchildren, put to death. She was taking over the throne. Ahaziah may not have been a good king, but he was a seed of David as were his sons. The impact of Ahaziah's sons being put to death was devastating to the people of Judah. They always believed and were promised that God would always have one of David's on the throne. Suddenly, it all seemed lost and God's promise seemed to be broken. They were crushed, shocked and totally bewildered.

But God is always faithful to a promise...

"But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Jehoash (aka Joash or Joas) son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Because Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada, was Ahaziah's sister, she hid the child from Athaliah so she could not kill him. He remained hidden with them at the temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled the land." 2 Chromicles 22:11-12

This princess took one of Ahaziah's sons, a baby, and hid him in the temple for six years while his grandmother ruled. The temple in Jerusalem was right next to the palace. David left instructions for Solomon to build the temple that close to keep his sons close to God. Athaliah ruled Judah with one of her grandsons right next door and she didn't know it.

Why wouldn't she know it? She worshipped Baal like her mother not God. She never went near the temple let alone inside of it. Nevertheless, Jehoash was kept there and brought up under the priest Jehoiada who was Jehosheba's husband. Jehoiada was a righteous priest and served God. So while the little boy was there in the temple he raised Jehoash under his teaching and direction. Jehoash was fully trained in the Law, in scripture and in righteousness.

When Jehoash was six years Jehoiada was ready to crown him king (2 Chronicles 23) A six year old was vastly better than that woman that sat on throne. Inside the Temple a storm was brewing. Can you imagine the call going out across Judah that in fact all of David's seed had not been killed? There was one, a little boy that had been hidden away from everyone and they were ready to crown him king. Soldiers filled up that temple in a big hurry surrounding their new king to protect him. Jehoiada brought out all the weapons that were King David's kept in storerooms in the temple because not just any weapons were gonna do. They were making a statement by using those that belonged to David. The statement being "Jehoash was the rightful ruler...seed of David.

And they had their weapons in their hands. Not over their shoulder...not holstered or sheathed. They were in hand and ready to fight to the last man standing to put that kid on the throne. Surrounding the new king ...a mere little boy who was probably scared and confused, weapons in hand, ready for a war, all the soldiers, all the commanders, all the priests and all the Levites waited as Jehoiada put the crown on his little head and gave him a copy of the covenant to serve God only. Once he was crowned everyone began to shout at the top of their lungs "LONG LIVE THE KING!" 2 Chronicles 23:11

Athaliah heard the loud chanting coming from the temple coming as a complete surprise. She went running out of the palace and into the temple to face the coup and when she saw a surviving grandson now crowned king in her place she had a total meltdown. She tore her robes and screamed "Treason! Treason!"

That's an interesting reaction isn't it? The second she laid eyes on that kid she knew without a doubt that boy was one of her grandsons, a son of Ahaziah that should have been killed. She knew immediately on seeing Jehoash that he was a rightful heir...there was no mistake. I love how Jehoiada handles it. So fed up with Athaliah and her wickedness, so fed up with her idolatry and leading Judah into idolatry.....
"Jehoiada the priest sent out the commanders of units of a hundred, who were in charge of the troops, and said to them: "Bring her out between the ranks and put to the sword anyone who follows her." For the priest had said, "Do not put her to death at the temple of the LORD." So they seized her as she reached the entrance of the Horse Gate on the palace grounds, and there they put her to death." 2 Chronicles 23:14-15

Not only was she to be put to death, but also anyone who followed her...or rather anyone who sided with her or showed any kind of allegiance. I can imagine any friends she had in the kingdom suddenly faded into the shadows. In essence he was saying "That's enough with this woman!" Following this they went about through Judah and tore down Baal's temples, shrines and anything else that was idolatrous. They made a covenant to serve God and be faithful to Him. Then taking commanders, rulers, priests, nobles and all the people with him, they marched the new king down to the palace and seated him on the throne "and all the people of the land rejoiced. And the city was quiet, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword." 2 Chronicles 23:21

What an amazing story! Jehoash truly was given by the Lord as his name means. God being faithful to His promise to David kept one boy alive and put him on the throne in Judah. The story doesn't exactly end here but it'll be worth getting into later. He's still faithful to this very day through Messiah the son of David (Matthew 1:1), Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5) who now is enthroned before God eternally and will one day return, subdue His kingdom (earth) under Him and take the throne in Jerusalem where He will rule for 1,000 years. God is so good!

Make War!

Self help is a massive business these days. You can find it everywhere from TV to books. Everyone has advice on how to self evaluate and techniques to "heal" yourself or find a better you. I've come across so many Christians (including myself) flocking to Bible studies, seminars, churches and spending money on self help books, CDs, DVDs, conventions. We figure because the one whose teaching on it is a "Pastor" or "Teacher" then it must be good. I've heard a lot of testimonies from others about how this person helped them understand their life and put things into perspective. How so and so gave them understanding about what happened to them. How this or that person helped them look inward and find strength, wisdom, courageand understanding.

Sounds really good on the surface. Who doesn't want to understand themselves better and overcome hurdles from pain or abandonment, abuse, drug addiction etc.? Coming from a rough background myself, I too started getting into it.

I began reading books written by Christians that claimed to help get me out of the rut. My mind was still stuck in everything I'd been through. I constantly asked God "why"? Why had I gone through all of that? In addition to the books, I began going to Bible studies that were centered around healing from the past. No matter what I did, what I learned, how I applied it nothing really worked. I became really good at self evaluating, coming up with reasons why I did things I did and acted the way I acted and behaved the way I behaved. Of course it all went back to everything I'd been through.

I especially blamed my parents. It was their fault. They and God did this to me. Why would He allow this to happen? Why did He let me be born into a family that was going to disappear so fast only to damage me? The more I questioned and blamed, the more a certain scripture kept popping up...

'The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'?" - Ezekiel 18:2

I had no idea what that meant, but I kept seeing it. I decided to look into it. That proverb refers to the Jews who were blaming their fathers for their captivity in Babylon. In essence, it was those before them that sinned and brought God's harsh discipline. It wasn't their fault and they were blame shifting. That's exactly what I was doing. In reality, when we are raised with a lot of turmoil and sadness then what comes later is just a natural consequence to sin. God doesn't actively bring about damage in us. It's a part of nature. God isn't punishing us because of those before us. We're just seeing the law of sowing and reaping. They will give an account for what they did and we will too.

I began to learn more and question the whole "self help" thing. All the inward searching I was doing and ending up complaining and crying to God about almost daily was doing even more damage. He certainly cares about and loves us. He's concerned when we've been hurt, but I began to see that the last thing He wanted was for us to dwell on it. What He wants is for us to throw it off and keep going...

"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead," Philippians 3:13

We have to forget about the past. All the past injustices, all the defeats, all the failures and even all the gains and keep running the race marked out for us by God. We can't run that race if we're still standing over our pasts, crying over them, digging through the wreckage and trying to make sense. Who runs a race constantly looking behind them?

"If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have past away and behold, all things have become new" 2 Corinthians 5:17

If we're new creatures in Christ then why are we still looking back to the old man?

"and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth." Ephesians 4:24

When we're sifting through the rubble of our past how are we putting on the new self? We're not, we're still trying to make the old man fit

"Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life" Romans 6:4

If we've been buried why are we continuing to dig up the old self? That's just morbid and completely self centered. The world tells us to look in, but God tells us to look up. All "self help" is doing is keeping us centered on ourselves and stuck. If therapy is so productive why do people spend years in it and spend thousands on it?

"Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past" Isaiah 43:18

But this is exactly what we're doing by flocking to seminars, conventions, churches, books, CDs, DVDs, teachers and preachers that advocate some form of self help. You may say, "but I need to understand where I came from to know where I'm going?"

My answer to that is: we came from sin. While we were in it we were heading for destruction. We're no longer in it therefore, we know where we're going. If it's patterns of behavior, lifestyle and thinking that concerns you that is a direct result of how you grew up then the first thing we should all be doing is transforming our minds with the Bible and prayer.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

You may say "I'm not happy". How is going back to your old life gonna make that better? If we were so happy in sin then there's no way we'd recognize how sinful we were to begin with and in need of reconciliation with God. Our joy is not dependent on the world, circumstances or our pasts. It's in God and God alone. That's what makes Christians so peculiar to everyone. We keep our eyes on something greater and not on what's around us. Joy comes from nothing other than God...

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-25

You may say "I'm so weak from everything! How can I do anything for God like this?"

"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." - 1 Corinthians 1:26-27

"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10

"'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.'" Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

In that scripture Paul had the "thorn in the flesh" and begged God 3 times for Him to remove it and God told Him "no" that His grace was sufficient for him and while Paul was weak with that thorn God was able to show His strength through him. It's interesting to note what the "thorn" was. It was slander. Paul was being slandered by false teachers. They were trashing him left and right to not only the churches the Paul himself planted, but anyone that would listen.

Have you been slandered? As painful and damaging as it is, Satan is preempting...he's using a shock an awe tactic. He's trying to destroy you before you do damage to him. So when dealing with a slanderer or any bad situation and pride rears itself, when we become angry, bitter, vengeful, shamed, humiliated etc...this is what we need to make war against. Not the persecutor. It's the sin in us that wants to lash out at them or turn in on ourselves.

"so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God." 1 Corinthians 2:5

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5

In a nut glorifies God to take someone who is weak, beaten down, tired, uneducated, dark or sordid past and lift them up by His power, by His might and make a spectacle out of them in a powerful way. When God uses those who the world deems useless it is a testament to His greatness. I made it through everything, but I didn't do it on my own. He upheld me the entire time as He did for you. A Pastor told me a few months ago..."it is truly a testament to God that you went through that and it hasn't crushed you".  Like Paul, we need to glory in our weaknesses because when we are weak we aren't dependent on ourselves,we throw ourselves on Him and He works through us. It makes God conspicuous to the world.

I know how oppressive these things can be in our lives. I've lived it. I know what it is to be attacked, drug through the mud, humiliated, beaten down and it coming from those closest to me.  And it won't get better at all. We are the enemy to the world and they will treat us as such. Attacks will come from behind, in front and will blind side us.

But it's not up to us to break the hold of the oppressing things. That's God's job and any help we try to give Him will make a mess of things. He is the Redeemer and that means He redeems us from all things including our pasts. Only He can break the hold of the enemy and since we know Satan is the father of those who disobey God then we know all the pain, all the struggles, all the abuse we've gone through at the hands of others ultimately came from him.

God is faithful and will make a way out for us and will break the hold of what binds us. It's important to note that Satan doesn't send anyone to hell. He's not that powerful. He is the tempter, he knows our weaknesses, he knows exactly where to hit us to bring us down, he'll ruthlessly and savagely attack us, but in the end we make the choice to give in or not therefore, we end up holding the bag for that choice and responsibility not Satan.

If we continue to hang onto the past no matter what our excuse it for doing it then we are not fit for serving God...

Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

We do get instructions on what we should be doing...

"let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" -Hebrews 12: 1

Ever notice when someone runs a marathon they wear special clothing? It doesn't bind up, doesn't catch wind to slow them down, it doesn't weight them down. Many even shave their bodies! They remove everything that will hinder them. We are to do the same!

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2

If we're so fixated on our pasts then our eyes on not fixated on Jesus who is the author and perfector of our faith. Self help isn't the author and perfecter of our faith nor is any teacher, preacher, author etc. Only God is and He will perfect it without us "helping ourselves" We can't do it anyway.

"No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:27

Make war! Not on other people or the world but on ourselves. We are our greatest enemies. It doesn't matter if your behavior now is a result of your past. It's still sin and must be beaten into submission. That means declaring all out war on any sin, tendencies, sinful behavior, patterns and habits no matter how we came to have them. No amount of crying, murmuring or whining over the past is going to change anything. No amount of looking back and mourning will change anything unless we want to stay in the rut. It'll just keep you and me unproductive, forfeiting the race and totally defeated. But if we make war on these things and force them to submit to God and to truth we are snatching the foothold back from Satan and running that race allowing nothing to hold us past failures, successes, pain, abuse, addictions, hurts, defeats, humiliations...nothing.

Does the Bible ever give an example of someone self examining their pasts before moving on? No. God has no intentions of allowing us to stay in the mire defeated. It's what he pulled us from in the first place. Can you imagine Mary Magdalene after being caught in adultery sitting down for 10 years to figure our what made her choose adultery? Adultery was her mire and she almost received the full penalty of it, but she was snatched from it. Why would God now want her to hang around for several years trying to figure it out. Jesus never told anyone "examine your past, come up with a reason and solution then follow Me". He came in, snatched from the fire and ordered "Pick up your cross and Follow Me".

He doesn't want to hear whining from the back..."Lord I've had a hard life! I don't want to carry anymore!" Or "I'm already so tired! Can't someone else carry this thing for a while?"

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Mathew 11:28-29

We were already tired, burdened and loaded down with sin when we went to Him. He removed it. Why do we insist on picking it up again and trying to carry it? His yoke is easy and light. He doesn't see our past anymore yet we insist on dragging it to Him ourselves and putting it on display. A holy God who hates sin and we want to keep showing it to Him. We're making Satan's job so obsolete. We're beating him to the throne with all our filth that God already forgave us for. We need to concentrate on what's happening now. Now is when we want to beat him to throne. He's already accusing us for what we did in the past. Satan doesn't need our help. What God wants is....

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:10-18

Be strong in who? Beth Moore? Rick Warren? Benny Hinn? In ourselves? No the LORD. The above is someone getting ready for war, to do battle yet we want to throw ourselves back into the mire to make sense out of it. God doesn't want us caught up in the past. It doesn't matter anyway. We're dead to it. It's over and long gone. None of that is going to change anything about us. Only God will and He's the one we should be looking too. No digging through the ruins of our past is going to help in our future. The past and its sin did nothing to help us anyway except speed up our descent into eternal destruction. Why do we think it'll help us as a new creature with a new future? I don't know about you, but I'm sick of falling back into the rut. I'm throwing off all that hinders, declaring all out war on all that is sin, putting on the armor against the enemy who will use my sin and others against me, and running the race. I'll trust God to take care of the rest. Make war!

Plowmen have plowed my back and long were the wounds they made - Psalm 129:3

Yes they have and we may be badly scarred,  but we're not dead and it should be driving us to deeper holiness by making war on ourselves.

My new place and I have a squatter

I spent my first night in my new place last night. The cable guy was late yesterday, but at least I have cable now. So I was excited and nervous all at once I could hardly sleep, but around 3 am I was tired enough to try. I laid down in my bed and turned on "Coraline" and I eventually fell asleep. Then I woke up to Squiggy my cat standing on my chest. He's a big boy and weighs almost 20 pounds. He was staring at something and crouched down on me. I looked back toward the wall and there was a huge centipede on my headboard.
I freaked! I jumped up so fast Squiggy fell on the floor. I turned on the light and stared at it like it was gonna do a trick or something. Half asleep, not really knowing what to do, I grabbed my flip flop and hit it. It was huge though and didn't squash like a little bug. I heard it! I was so grossed out at this point, my skin was crawling, Squiggy ran under the bed to check out the remains that fell, I ran into the living room brushing myself off like a crazy person making a weird "disgusted" sound and stood there not knowing what to do.

I had no Raid or anything so I grabbed my hair spray from the bathroom, ran back in my room, got down on my hands and knees and scooted it out into the open with my flip flop. It was still twitching and Squiggy was still stalking it. I screamed and sprayed it with hairspray. I swear I must've used half a can. I stopped, stared at it all curled up. It twitched again, I screamed again and hit it again with my flip flop. It was finally dead. I was too weirded out to pick it up even with tissue and there was no way I was sleeping in my bed. For all I know that thing made several treks across my face before ending up on the headboard. I grabbed my blanket and went into the living room where I shook out the blanket so much that I even thought it was excessive. I laid down on the sofa and turned on the small TV. "Drag Me to Hell" was on and I started watching it.

After the centipede and that crazy old battle axe in the movie I couldn't go back to sleep. Around 7:30 am I got dressed and drove to Walmart where I bought a gallon spray jug of Raid. I set it on the counter and the lady goes "Man that's a big jug." And I need every bit of it. I went home, sprayed the crap out of my room. I have a perimeter marked off all the way around my bed. No insect is now gonna get within 6 feet of my bed. I even sprayed the legs, the headboard and the walls. Nothing's crossing that line! I figure if I keep it sprayed at least once every 4-5 days I should be good

So my first night in my new place and things didn't go so well, but I did get rid of one boarder who I'm sure had no plans to contribute to the household expenses. If the next one has a job we'll talk...

Tamar : Judah's Thorn, God's Grace

Tamar was a Canaanite woman in Genesis 38 and daughter-in-law to Judah. She's not to be confused with David's daughter. Tamar married Judah's oldest son Er and never conceived a baby by him. The first problem here is Tamar was Canaanite. She wasn't a Hebrew raised under the Abrahamic covenant. Judah also married a Canaanite woman and she bore him Er and Onan (Genesis 38:2-4). Judah knew by the example and order of his father Jacob, (son of Isaac, son of Abraham) he was to marry a Hebrew woman. He chose not to and found a wife for Er as well from among the Canaanites. Right away there's disobedience here. What Judah and Er didn't know (and how could they) was the Messiah would come through Judah so God was keeping a special eye on Judah's blood line.

Now the Bible says Er was wicked in the sight of the Lord (Genesis 38:7) and God slew him. When you consider the coming Messiah centuries later this is understandable. No man is perfect, but obviously Er repulsed God by his life and He wasn't going to use him to carry a bag of dirty socks let alone the blood line of Messiah. Not having had a son to carry on Er's lineage and according to the customs of that time, Er's brother was to carry on his line for him by impregnating his widowed wife until she bore a son. This job fell on Onan, Judah's second son.

Onan wasn't a pinnacle of honor himself either. Knowing that the first son his brother's wife may have wouldn't be considered his heir "he wasted his seed on the ground, in order not to give offspring to his brother." Genesis 38:9

This truly is a strange custom, but necessary at the time. The first son born to Tamar by her husband's brother would be considered her husband's and raised as such. The offspring would eventually be able to care for the mother, more people would populate the area and those kids born would raise their children under the name and family of the dead husband. Onan was fully aware of the custom and instead of honoring his brother and being obedient to his father, he chose to be selfish and not perform his duty at all.

This brought a heavy price for Onan. "What he did was wicked in the LORD's sight; so He put him to death also." Genesis 38:10. It was wicked because even though Onan had no idea about the Messiah to come, his selfishness was a wicked affront to God and His plans to provide mankind with a Savior. At that time Judah was wondering what in the world was wrong with Tamar. Two sons lost to one woman! The next in line for Tamar would be Judah's son Shelah. He was too young at the time to take on this duty for his dead brother. Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar "Live as a widow in your father's house until my son Shelah grows up.' For he thought, 'He may die too, just like his brothers.' So Tamar went to live in her father's house." Genesis 38:11

Judah pawned her off. She should have remained in Judah's household and family, but instead he cast her aside afraid Shelah would die too. He sent her to live with her father and was hoping over time she may forget about Shelah and find another husband. Obviously Judah had no intentions of fulfilling the duty for Er either. Tamar became an outcast, tossed out from her husband's family.

This was a huge blemish on her to be returned to her father widowed and with no children like a broken toy returned to the manufacturer stamped DEFECTIVE. Society looked down on childless women and who would care for her when her father was gone? Who would marry her after having two dead husbands? She had become an outcast through no fault of her own. This had to be devastating to Tamar. Tamar may not have said much or if she did it wasn't recorded, but judging by the customs of the time she probably kept things to herself and was obedient to those in authority over her.

After a long while Judah's wife died also. When Judah recovered from grieving he went to Timnah to see the men who were shearing his sheep for him. Tamar had continued living with her father waiting patiently for Shelah who was now old enough. She heard Judah was going to Timnah. At this point she realized Judah wasn't going to honor Er or his duty and give her to Shelah as his wife. She decided if Judah wasn't going to send Shelah then she'd go to Judah. So she put a veil over her head to disguise herself, changed her clothes and went to sit on the road leading to Timnah to put herself right in Judah's path (Gensis38:14)

"When Judah saw her he mistook her for a prostitute because her face was covered. Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, 'Come now, let me sleep with you.'

'And what will you give me to sleep with you?' she asked.

'I'll send you a young goat from my flock,' he said.

'Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?' she asked.

'What pledge should I give you?'

'Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand,' she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him." Genesis 38:16-18

Once she left Judah she changed her clothes and went back to her father's house. After awhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend Hirah and Hirah was to get his seal, cord and staff back from the prostitute. Only problem was Hirah couldn't find her. He asked around town for the prostitute and everyone told him there was no prostitute around. So Hirah reported back to Judah that he couldn't find her. Judah didn't want to be a laughingstock by having went to a prostitute so he told Hirah it was ok. She could keep what he'd given her and he did try to send her the young goat (Genesis 38:23) thus honoring his word. How embarrassing for Hirah. I'm sure he was trying to be secretive about this goat he had to deliver to a prostitute. The people he's asking, Hirah's assuming would be familiar with the prostitute, but they weren't. They were probably looking at him like "prostitute huh? There is no prostitute probably because we wouldn't be using her if there was one you perv." And Hirah was doing it for his friend. Try telling those people that. "I didn't see the friend did" ya right!

3 months later Judah hears that Tamar is pregnant and guilty of prostitution. After all, she's widowed, but is suddenly pregnant. Instantly he wants her burned for it. In the eyes of the law she was Shelah's wife and this was bringing shame on his family. Of course Judah didn't stop to think that he didn't want Shelah with Tamar and was trying to avoid it. He went instantly selfish and hypocritical and only worried that it was making him and his family look bad. She was drug from her father's house on Judah's orders to be burned on the forehead or cheek as a lable to everyone she was a harlot. She then has a desperate message sent to Judah saying "'I am pregnant by the man who owns these,' And she added, 'See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are.'" Genesis 38:25

Judah was the adulterer not Tamar. She acted in accordance with the law by going to Judah when he failed to send Shelah as he should have. He was the criminal not her. How embarrassing for Judah! Everyone now knows she wasn't a prostitute. Judah was the harlot. After all he'd done so he and his family wouldn't look bad, he and his family now looked really bad because of him.

She shouldn't have deceived him and that was her sin, but Judah should have done what was right by her. Judah was shocked, but he did confess his sin "'She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn't give her to my son Shelah.'" Genesis 38:2. He owned his sin rather than dodge it. He couldn't deny it to protect himself. He openly looked silly.

Months later Tamar gave birth to twin boys. "As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, 'This one came out first.' But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, 'So this is how you have broken out!' And he was named Perez. Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out and he was given the name Zerah." Genesis 38:28-30

The babies seemed to be already struggling for the birthrate before they were born and Perez won the struggle. Through the line of Perez came the Messiah. Judah sure wasn't cast into a good light in this story and Tamar, a gentile, did act more righteous than Judah the Hebrew, she still obtained her rights deceitfully. God still showed grace however, in that through them the Messiah came. There are no great men and women of God. Only a great God. Despite man's sinfulness God still shows grace and mercy. He still brings about His will and purposes in spite of us for us.

Absalom's Tragic Life

Absalom (Avshalom in Hebrew) was the 3rd son born to King David in Hebron during the early years of David's reign. Judging by Absalom's character later in life, he was a typical spoiled prince. He seemed to be a favorite of David's and didn't get much discipline growing up.

2 Samuel 14 describes Absalom as being a  beautiful man. From the top of his head to the soles of his feet there, wasn't a single fault with him and not a single person in Israel who could compare. Tall, strong, beautiful, with a head of long hair that would make most girls today despise him. He cut it yearly and the cuttings weighed about 5 pounds. 2 Samuel 14:26. He was extremely proud of it too. As per custom of the day...he probably used scented oils on it and laced jewels and gold dust in it.

 It wasn't until Absalom's young sister Tamar Tamar's Rape was raped by their half brother Amnon, who was heir to the throne, do we see Absalom's true character emerging. He took Tamar into his own home following the rape and cared for her as per custom of that day, but he never stopped stewing over what Amnon had done. It's quite possible David heard of the rape through Absalom himself, who was the first to find out about it from Tamar. If that's the case, Absalom may have demanded justice. After 2 years went by and David failed to take action, Absalom began to plot his own revenge with an eye on the throne as well.

David should have acted, but he didn't. Amnon was his 1st born, the heir to the throne. David's motives for not acting were entirely selfish. He was really protecting himself and not Amnon or Tamar. His own son had done a wicked thing and would be a huge blemish on the country and his family. It would look to everyone as if David failed as a father by not disciplining his sons. If he couldn't govern his own house how could the people expect him to govern their nation? The scandal would have rocked the entire middle east if it got out.

There's a lot of speculation people can make concerning the family dynamics in David's house. He had many wives and concubines which went against God's warning. It looks as if this created a lot of rivalry among siblings, jealousy, resentment, anger especially when a throne is tossed into the mix. After Tamar was raped, Absalom seemed to go off the deep end. When nothing was done about his sister this may have been the straw that broke the camel's back.

David was well aware of Absalom's animosity toward Amnon even though Absalom never said anything to Amnon about what happen good or bad. In 2 Samuel 13:24 Absalom invited David, all of his officials and all of his brothers to a banquet. King David declined in 13:25 by telling him it would be a huge burden to Absalom (probably financially, security wise, room for them, etc.) if he came bringing all of his officials with him. Absalom pressed his father to come anyway and still David declined, but gave his blessing. In v. 26. Absalom then tells David he wants Amnon to come.

David immediately asks "why". He was instantly suspicious of Absalom's motives. Absalom pressed him though so David gave in and sent Amnon and the rest of his sons.

Absalom then instructed his servants that when Amnon was good and drunk they were to kill him. They carried it out just as he said. His brothers then jumped up and ran for their lives thinking Absalom was picking them off for the throne. A report got to David before his sons did that Absalom had murdered all of his sons.

Grief stricken David tore his clothes and fell face down until his brother Shimeah told him "only Amnon is dead! This has been Absalom's intention ever since Amnon raped his sister!" 2 Samuel 13:32.

Absalom ran too. He not only had the future king and his brother murdered, but it was premeditated murder and the penalty was death. So he fled to his grandfather, Talmai the King of Geshur, where he took refuge for the next 3 years leaving David to mourn for Amnon day after day. Eventually time healed his wounds and he began to "long to see Absalom" 13:39

Joab knew David missed Absalom so he cooked up a scheme to get Absalom to come back to Israel. It eventually worked and after 3 years Absalom returned. But David told Joab "he must go to his own house and not see my face" 14:24. David worried if he allowed Absalom to see him he would think David condoned his sin and hoped it would draw his son into deeper repentance and humble him. Absalom didn't see David for 2 years after returning to Israel.

Eventually Absalom became impatient and sent for Joab repeatedly, but Joab ignored him. IN frustration, Absalom had his servants set fire to Joab's ripe wheat fields to force Joab to see him. That got Joab's attention. When Joab went to Absalom in a rage Absalom told him "Look, I sent word to you and said, 'Come here so I can send you to the king to ask, "Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there!"' Now then, I want to see the king's face, and if I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death." 14:32

Hardly a humble, repentant man at all. Joab went to the king and was able to get David to see Absalom. When Absalom got there he bowed down before David and David showed his forgiveness of his son by kissing him. Over time, Absalom settled back into life in Israel, but began gathering men, chariots and horses. He also began inserting himself at the gate to hear complaints from the people meant for the king. Absalom would listen and settle their matters for them all the while gaining favor from the people. Whenever the people would come and bow down, he would offer his hand, pull them up and kiss them charming the pants off even the poorest.

He then would tell them "If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice." 2 Samuel 15:4. Not only was he gorgeous (a characteristic important to people in a leader), but he was kind to them, treating them with the highest respect, kissing them even and promising them swift justice if only he had some power. I wonder if he promised a chicken in every pot too?

"And so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel." 15:6. Four years later after systematically gaining widespread favor throughout the kingdom and suckering them thoroughly, he lied to David and said he needed to go to Hebron to fulfill a vow to the Lord. David let him go not knowing Absalom took 200 men with him, who had no idea what he was up to, then sent secret messengers throughout Israel instructing them that when they heard the trumpets to loudly proclaim Absalom was king. At this point, David was old and they were probably assuming David would make Absalom King instead of Solomon since Absalom now wielded so much authority as a sort of "judge" in Israel. Let's not forget, at this point, the people loved Absalom.

While in Hebron, Absalom sent for one of David's closest counselors, Ahithophel who was now conspiring with Absalom and whose following kept growing. A messenger told David the people were following Absalom now. David packed up, gathered his officials and they ran for the hills. A revolt was coming and he was the target. With his entire household following him, David fled Israel but left 10 concubines behind to take care of the palace. Absalom returned to Jerusalem with Ahtithophel and Absalom asked his advice on what to do next. Ahtithophel said "lie with your father's concubines whom he left to take care of the palace" 16:21

Per custom, whoever had the King's harem had the throne. Absalom wasn't just happy sleeping with the women. He made a public spectacle of it by erecting a tent on the palace roof and laying with the women in full view of the people in Jerusalem. 16:22 Atithophel then instructed Absalom to send 12,000 men to go after David and kill only him. Why in the world would this man who was a trusted counselor to David for decades turn on him so viciously? Ahtithophel was the grandfather of Bathsheba 2 Samuel 11:3, 23:34 and his son Eliam (Bathsheba's father) was a close friend with Uriah her husband 1 Chronicles 3:5. Ahtithophel had a bone to pick with David and he meant to do it.

Instead, Absalom follows the advice of Hushai, another of David's trusted counselors, and decides to go with an vast army to slaughter David and his men. But Hushai secretly sent David a message telling him what Ahtithophel had advised, his own advice and what Absalom was planning to do. David and his men crossed the Jordan after getting the message to avoid Absalom. When Antithophel heard his advice had not been followed he went home, put his house in order then hung himself 17:23. He knew Absalom would fail and David would return. Though old, David was still a fierce warrior, military genius and his loyal men, though outnumbered, were just as vicious and fierce as the King. Absalom stood no chance and Antithophel knew his own life would be taken for treason.

Absalom had his father on the run and he chased with Israel to kill his father, but David was escaping because of Hushai. Then David sent out the thousands of men who went with him and Joab was leading them. But David gave an express command to Joab before he left "Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake." And all the troops heard the king giving orders concerning Absalom to each of the commanders." 18:5

Even after all of this David was still seeing Absalom as a young rebellious man who could be forgiven. Absalom was his son and David did love him, but still David was not handling business as he should be. David's men eventually defeated Israel's army and killed 20,000 men. Absalom ran into David's men. Riding a mule, he tried to get under thick branches of an oak tree to get away, but his long hair got caught in the branches and he was pulled from his mule.

"He was left hanging in midair while the mule he was riding on kept going. When one of the men saw this, he told Joab, 'I just saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree!' Joab said to the man who had told him this, "What! You saw him? Why didn't you strike him to the ground right there? Then I would have had to give you ten shekels of silver and a warrior's belt.' But the man replied, 'Even if a thousand shekels were weighed out into my hands, I would not lift my hand against the king's son. In our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, 'Protect the young man Absalom for my sake. And if I had betrayed the king by killing his son--and the king would certainly find out who did it--you yourself would be the first to abandon me!'" 18:9-13

So Joab took his javelin, went to Absalom and plunged it into his heart while he hung in the tree. Then 10 of Joab's armor bearers surrounded him and struck him to make sure he was dead. Now that Absalom was dead Joab sounded the trumpet so the men would stop pursuing Israel. They then took Absalom's body and threw it into a pit where they piled stones on top of him.

"During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King's Valley as a monument to himself, for he thought, "I have no son to carry on the memory of my name." He named the pillar after himself, and it is called Absalom's Monument to this day." 18:18

Absalom's did in fact have 3 sons, but they died and this monument in the photo is the actual monument. Now David had to be told the news that his son was dead and his orders had not been obeyed. When the messengers reached David he asked instantly "Is the young man Absalom safe?"18:29

Absalom was dead. "The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: 'O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you--O Absalom, my son, my son!'" 18:33. Even when Joab arrived and told David he needed to go speak to his men and commend them on such a great victory David "covered his face and cried aloud, 'O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!'" 19:4.

Joab was not happy with this reaction and told David "'Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the LORD that if you don't go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come upon you from your youth till now.' So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, 'The king is sitting in the gateway,' they all came before him. Meanwhile, the Israelites had fled to their homes." 19:5-8

 Those men just saved his neck, throne and family and he was worried about his son who revolted and managed to turn most of his country against him. David returned to the palace and took the throne once more. Eventually Solomon was named successor. Despite Absalom's responsibility in the whole matter, the sin ultimately returned in David's lap. By not acting on Amnon's or Absalom's gross wickedness, by not reigning in his kids and disciplining them, David enabled their behavior and helped create monsters. By not doing what was right and handing out justice, David also condoned their wickedness. He tried to protect them and himself from the consequences, but "Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that he shall also reap." Galatians 6:7-9

David was the first authority figure in his kids lives. If they couldn't respect his authority as a father and a ruler they would never respect anyone else, especially God's. By Absalom's rebellion, he was actually rebelling against God, thus the fight was with Him. The sin of such blatant disobedience to parents, authority figures and to God is never taken lightly and the end is always far from what we hope ends in our own destruction.

Tamar's Rape

2 Samuel 13

Tamar was the daughter of King David and Absalom's full sister born to Maacah who was the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur (2 Samuel 3:3, 13:1). Absalom was the third eldest son of David. Amnon was the oldest whose mother was Ahinoam of Jezreel (1 Chronicles 3:1, 2 Samuel 3:2). Daniel was second born to Abigail.

We don't know Tamar's age, but considering she was still living in David's house and was a virgin locked away from any men other than family we can safely assume she was a young teenager. Amnon, the oldest of David's sons and Tamar's half brother, became infatuated with Tamar. Over time he began making himself  physically sick and lost a lot of weight. The problem for Amnon was Tamar wasn't only his half sister (and according to the Law he could never have her), but she was also a virgin. So even if he did try with Tamar he was well aware that both their lives would be ruined. She could never marry and would be considered unclean even if she never gave her consent and Amnon would be considered scum by all Israel and would be stoned to death.

When he became so obsessed with Tamar that he became sick, his cousin Jonadab noticed and inquired of his illness. Amnon confided in Jonadab about Tamar. Instead of rebuking his cousin, who was also the successor to the throne of Israel, Jonadab makes a suggestion to get Tamar. It's apparent Jonadab was being selfish as well. Considering Amnon was to be the next King, Jonadab was only looking out for his own best interests in the future.

"Jonadab said to him, 'Lie down on your bed, and pretend to be ill; and when your father comes to see you, say to him, 'Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it from her hand.'" (2 Samuel 13:5)

This was a believable lie since Amnon looked physically ill. So Amnon did as Jonadab said and when David came to see his son on hearing he was sick, Amnon said  "Let my sister Tamar come and make me cakes in my sight that I may eat from her hand." (2Samuel 13:6)

Not thinking anything was wrong with that, when David got home he told Tamar to go to her brother's house and cook for him to help him feel better. As a King, David was certainly concerned about his heir to the throne. As a dad, he worried over his son's health. Being obedient, Tamar went to Amnon's house and did as she was told. When she finished, she took the tray to her brother, who was in bed, and offered it to him. He refused the tray and instead ordered his servants to leave the room. Once alone with Tamar he called her closer to feed him.

There's not much detail about the relationship between Amnon and Tamar, but it appears at this point Tamar was becoming alarmed. Amnon ordered everyone out of his room to leave them flag #1. The next red flag had to be the impropriety of a young virgin princess being alone with a man even a brother. Red flag #3...he wanted her to feed him. She didn't have time to respond or even twitch when Amnon grabbed her arm and said "Come, lie with me, my sister". (2 Samuel 13:11)

It seems Tamar had at least a suspicion by her quick response to him...

"'Don't, my brother!' she said to him. 'Don't force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don't do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.'" (2 Samuel 13:12-13)

It's interesting to look at her argument. She was horrified, but it also shows her purity and wisdom. First she tries to reason with him theologically and immediately follows it with an argument of  morals he was violating communally in the worst way. Next she adds an argument for guilt. Guilt for her and her lost future and his...the implications socially for his evil. Next is the vengence he would face from a King and father. As if by mentioning "king" it would snap Amnon out of it. Lastly, she simply was desperate and trying to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. There's no way David would have given permission for Amnon to marry his sister. She knew this and was making a last ditch effort to get free.

Amnon didn't want to hear any of it and at that point he didn't care. He over powered Tamar and raped her. What happened next is disgustingly shocking to say the least.

"Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, 'Get up and get out!'" (2 Samuel 13:15)

Once the act was done a few things happened to Amnon. He had finally satisfied his pent up lust for his sister. The drive and obsession that had made him literally sick was no longer there. Then came revulsion. He suddenly realized what he'd done and the atrocity of it. Overwhelmed with guilt, fear of being punished and shame, he threw Tamar out as if she was nothing than a prostitute. The sight of her only increased the horror for him.

Poor Tamar at this point was so horrified that she began begging Amnon...

"No, my brother; for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other which you did to me."

Throwing her out was even crueler than raping her. It was now exposing her to public shame, testing God and bringing shame and dishonor on the royal family. Amnon could possibly go on with his life with no one knowing, but she couldn't. Now she could never marry or have children. Not only would the King find out she was no longer pure, but so would all of Israel. Suddenly a tragedy in private was being forced on the public. The level of Amnon's selfishness and self centeredness is shocking. Amnon wouldn't listen to her and had his servant throw her out of his house with the order "bolt the door after her".

Sobbing hysterically, her life ruined, Tamar ripped the colorful coat the King's virgin daughters wore as an expression of her violation, put ashes on her head (a symbol of deep mourning), put her hand on her head as a sign of death and wailed loudly as she left. Absalom found her coming from Amnon's and by looking at her, seeing the gestures of her mourning and hearing her wailing, he figured it our pretty fast and asked if Amnon raped her. His question was soon answered.

Calmly, and rather indifferently, he told Tamar to calm down and not take it personally. This seems odd at first, but maybe Absalom knew what his half brother was like. Did he already know Amnon was often given over to the lewdest behavior? As the heir, who would refuse him? Amnon may have done something of this order before. In any case, there was no way Tamar could be calm. There was no way she couldn't take it to heart and I think Absalom's immediate behavior was a cruel injury to her as well. He then took her to his own home where she lived out the rest of her life unmarried, childless and in her brother's care.

The next injury came to Tamar from her father, King David. 2 Samuel 13:21 says David was absolutely furious when he found out and rightly so. But ultimately David did nothing to right the severe wrong done to his daughter. As King, he should have been the first to kick in the Law and as a father he should have demanded justice for his daughter even if his son was the perpetrator, but he did neither. Because he did nothing it started the brewing of Absalom who hated Amnon for what he'd done and spent two years stewing over it until it culminated in Absolom tricking Amnon to a banquet where Absalom's servants killed him.

It was also the beginning of Absalom's rebellion against David. Having so many sons from so many different women caused nothing but strife, jealousy, favoritism and feelings of injustice. 2 Samuel 14:27 tells us that Absalom had three sons and a daughter and the daughter he named Tamar. I have no doubt Absalom loved Tamar and was protective of her. He cared for her for the rest of his life. He gave it two years before taking vengeance on Amnon himself. I'm sure he was already cooking up a scheme to kill his brother, but David had two years to seek justice for his daughter and nothing was done. This was further victimizing Tamar and pinning one son against another.

This type of situation would be extremely difficult. It was David's successor to the throne. His first born son. His beautiful little girl. How do you seek justice against your child for another child and not be affected by it? But the right thing is usually the hardest thing to do and David failed. Had he taken action, as God commanded and as morality demanded, he may not have had to deal with Absalom trying to usurp him later. He may not have been running for his life later from Absalom and Absalom may not have been killed. Not to mention the awful emotional and mental damage this heaped onto an already withering Tamar.

The greatest injustices and severest injuries come from those closest to us. Those we trusted and loved. Those who, by nature and instinct, are supposed to love and protect us. When even that is missing how does someone recover? How can we ever trust anyone when we can't even trust our own family? Tamar was not only used up and thrown out like trash by her brother, whom she obviously loved and trusted, but was further victimized by those she should have been able to run to and get immediate protection and comfort from. The worst part is not that she was ruined for any future marriage by a selfish, lascivious was the betrayal, lack of concern and lack of justice by the rest that probably caused the most emotional and mental damage. How utterly and deeply tragic.

Had David acted as King and did what was right it would have softened the blow not only for his daughter, but also for himself and his sons later. The sin found him out and his lack of concern for justice that one time brought shattering consequences for the House of David.
Disclaimer: I do not condone the teaching of men by women nor am I trying to exercise authority over men by using this blog as a method of teaching men. All posts are for the edification of women. For more on what I believe concerning this issue please see: Women - No Dominion Over Men
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