Food, Water and Snakes

…and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!” So the lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died.
Numbers 21:5-6 (NLT)

Did you know, and maybe you didn’t, but our Father sometimes leads us through a place that may not be all that pleasing to our flesh? Some would tend to disagree with that statement. Consider His children, Israel. He lead them through areas that were sometimes, very difficult. All for HIS name sake.

His desire was to show them His provision and protection as well as setting them up to be a victorious nation shown to all other nations as one that belongs to The Lord. So, let’s take a look at Psalm 37:23-24.

The lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the lord holds them by the hand.

When we are fully under His direction and submitted fully to His ways, then like a gentle shepherd, He leads us through to destinations we never thought about, nor would we have ever considered. We need to continue to read further in Psalm 37:25-26

Once I was young, and now I am old.
Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
or their children begging for bread.
The godly always give generous loans to others,
and their children are a blessing.

We are assured we can TRUST HIM and that He will NEVER abandon us. Now, for the rest of the story. Let’s pick back up with the story we started with. Israel was following the Father through to destinations of promise. The food and water supply was not to their liking and so they started complaining. In essence, here is what they were saying. “Hey God and Moses, we don’t like the way you are providing for us. There is clearly not enough water, the food supply stinks and we are fed up with the Manna stuff” It is easy to critique Israel, we would never say that kind of thing. But we do…

God, don’t you see me down here…in my misery…in my pain…in my suffering…I don’t make enough money, my car is not new…my house needs to be updated…I don’t get to go out to eat at nice restaurants, et cetera, et cetera. We start complaining of where God has us in life ( assuming you didn’t put yourself there by stupid decisions). Watch out! When we start getting to this place of complaining, that is when the bite from venomous snakes begin to poison our hearts. If left untreated, spiritual death is around the corner.

I know how tough following the Father can be. My obedience to him has taken me into places I never thought possible. I have to remember that He is leading me into places for His name sake, to show HIS provision and protection. All so “ALL WILL SEE” that we belong to The Lord. Hold on my friend, be at peace with His direction…you will surely see His power through your situation.

Breathe of Life

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
~ Genesis 2:7

They had been working on the new playground over summer break. The last thing to be installed was the new “Jungle Gym”. Now to a third grader— IT WAS HUGE! A trip back to my old hometown proved that things are often times “larger-than-life” when you are younger. We couldn’t wait to play king of the hill and master the beast!

Eventually, the inevitable happened. Ricky and I had wasted no time in proving our mastery over the Jungle Gym and often times I found myself sitting on the top of the world. Somehow though, my footing was not of the mountain goat caliber that I had hoped and I found myself looking up at the sky, ringing in my ears and gasping for air!

If you have ever had the wind knocked out of your lungs, there is only one thought in your mind…I’m going die if I don’t get some air!

Life sometimes throws some pretty tough punches. At one point you are on the top of the jungle gym of life and the next, BAM, you’re looking up with a ringing in your ears gasping for air.

It is at that time you realize that if you don’t get the breathe of God in your life and lungs…you’re gonna die! You see, the same creator that gave man his breathe in the beginning, is the one that sustains you during your life. Or at least He should be. We get things going in auto pilot, mastering our hill of dominion and forget that He is the one that breathes into us the very essence of life.

Keep your face focused on the Father. Make sure that you are getting your daily breathe from the Father. For it is only when we breathe in His breathe, that we really begin to have life.

Let Peace Rule

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful!

Colossians 3:15 (NIV)

It’s easy, I know.  There are a lot of things that swirl around in our heads and hearts that give us cause for anxiety, fear, hopelessness, anger et cetera.  Have you ever thought of a situation or heard a comment and before you know it, you have created this whole scenario (that has not even happened) and you find yourself getting worked up?  You have conversations in your mind about topics that don’t exist, over situations that may or may not ever happen, with people that are not even in the room with you!  If left unchecked, your whole disposition and attitude changed, and you probably have spent hours (if not days) worked up over a situation.  The life that Christ intended for you to have, one filled with joy and peace, has been robbed, leaving you in a total mess.   If we don’t break this cycle with the truth, this type of lifestyle will keep you in a constant state of worry and concern.  

There are some very practical things you can do to keep this from happening.  One thing is to recognize that you are letting a spirit of fear, anxiety, worry or “insert name here” speak to you.  You have given that “stinking enemy”  a place of authority that Christ paid a price for you to have dominion over.  Next,  you have to CHOOSE to Let Peace Rule.  We would not have been told to let peace rule our heart if this occurred naturally.  You determine which spirit speaks to your heart and which one has authority over your life.  You must LET PEACE RULE over you.

Next time you see or hear a scenario that is unhealthy….STOP.  Ask the Spirit of Christ to give you victory and peace over the situation.  Tell the wrong thoughts to leave you alone!  Choose to cast down those thoughts that try to exalt themselves over the knowledge of Christ.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.  

2 Corinthians 10:4-6

Next time, before things get out of hand, choose to LET PEACE RULE YOU…You will be better off and you will be on your way to having peace and joy…

~ Jeffrey Gillum

 

Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/search/peace?photo=gb5VDzCIVbA

 

Ephesians 6:13 …to Stand

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.
Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)

Let’s be honest here. Understanding the whole “Armor of God” thing is difficult for us. First, we don’t really see, in practical use, people walking around in “Armor.” It is like an “Out of Sight – Out of Mind” kind of thing. Secondly, we aren’t involved in so much of a physical battle, as we are fighting a Spiritual battle. I know there are people suffering battles in the flesh, but for Christians, the actual battle begins long before the physical battle comes into existence.

We MUST understand that our battle is not against the “PERSON” involved, but the “Spirit” at work behind the scenes. The time for us to figure this out, is not when we are in the middle of the battle. It is a little late then…

So, let us pick this verse up at the end, AFTER you have done all of the things mentioned in Ephesians 6:10-17. 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….STAND.

You need to understand, there IS a battle, you Will be involved in it, there are things you can do to mitigate the consequences of the battle, and finally, when you have done ALL of these things, you will be required to KEEP STANDING.

I know life gets hard, I understand that you have the feeling like “When is this thing going to let up?” Rest assured, the battle will change to another front, victory is at hand and you will learn, after putting on the Armor God gave you….TO STAND. Keep the good fight of faith my friend!

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. Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV)

~Jeffrey Gillum

 

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/search/armor?photo=j_Ch0mwBNds

Luke 16:24 – Just a Drop

So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.
Luke 16:24

“Sometimes, it doesn’t take that much” I looked puzzled as I heard this coming from my friends mouth. We were talking about the dark and desperate place people find themselves and the overwhelming need there is in society. I began telling him how absolutely helpless and empty handed I felt in comparison to the need. “What do you mean it doesn’t take that much”? “Have you not seen how desperate these people are”?

Just look at the verse above. The rich man was in a place of complete separation and agony. All he asked for was a drip of water coming from a poverty stricken homeless man. Seems like he could have asked for a whole lot more than just a drop. But, that drop was like Niagara Falls compared to the torment he was in. It wasn’t going to take much to satisfy. “Sometimes, it doesn’t take that much”

And let’s not forget about the woman who had exhausted all of her resources for a cure to the issue of blood coming from her ravished body. As she worked her way through a crowd, (which was defiling everyone in her path) all she could think of was “If I could only touch the hem of His robe” “Sometimes, it doesn’t take much”

Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe. Matthew 9:20
And what about Saul’s’ son Jonathan, after fighting long and hard, (not knowing the command that his father had given not to eat anything until victory was had) and near complete exhaustion, he dipped the end of his staff into a honeycomb and ate some honey. His eyes were brightened, the scripture says. “Sometimes, it doesn’t take that much.

But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened. 1 Samuel 14:27

Remember the feeding of the five thousand with five loaves of bread, or the four thousand fed with seven loaves of bread. “Sometimes, it doesn’t take that much”

Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? 10 Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up? Matthew 16:9-10

You may think that you don’t have much to offer when it comes to helping someone. You may feel unqualified, lacking the necessary funds or maybe you just don’t know what to say. Everything you have, given over to God through Jesus Christ and the power of His Spirit, can turn into more than enough.
Go ahead, entrust the little you have into the hands of the one that can take the little things and bring about much change.

Remember, “Sometimes, it doesn’t take that much”

John 5:39-40 – Not by the Book


“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.”
~ John 5:39-40

When God the Father created absolutely everything out of absolutely nothing, and then placed mankind in the middle of His creation, the rules were pretty simple. Watch over the garden and take care of it. You can eat of the trees in the garden except for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Genesis 2:15-17.

It would have been ok for them to eat of the Tree of Life if they had wanted to. Just don’t eat of the other tree. It wasn’t that the Father did not want us to have knowledge or understanding, He just wanted them to know him by the Life He gave them, not by some intellectual ascent. The plan all along was for mankind to walk in fellowship with Father God through the source of “LIFE, not KNOWLEDGE.

There are many scholars out there that know more scriptures and things about eschatological views, apologetics, hermeneutics and a whole host of other spiritual things that I am clueless about. But that does not mean that they know the giver of Life.

This is what Jesus was telling the Jewish leaders of the day. “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.” John 5:39-40.

In John 10:10, Jesus told everyone that he came to give them “Life more abundantly”

How are you trying to get to know the Father of Life? He can only be found through the one that came to give it to you abundantly. Jesus. Do you really know him, or just know a lot of facts about him? Don’t just know the facts, know the savior.

Ephesians 1:18- Our Confident Hope

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
(Ephesians 1:18 NLT)

Several years back I, along with my wife and son, were going through what I call, “The Dark Night of the Soul.” It was such a difficult time and things looked….well, pretty dark and hopeless. This didn’t last a few days, but several months – 18 to be more precise.

We were serving as college pastors as well as working professionally. We had more irons in more fires than those found at the Boy Scouts National Jamboree. Then, everything came crashing in. Things well beyond our control (and very little to do with anything we had done right or wrong, for that matter) had broken us down to a point where we could really see no way out.

I began meeting with one of the staff pastors on a regular basis (every morning to be exact) for coffee, prayer and….hope. Every core belief was being challenged by the gates of hell, and it looked like they were winning. I remember telling Pastor Sam, “I just don’t think I can go on another minute”. That wasn’t being melodramatic, it was really how I felt. Sickness, financial despair, mental anguish, spiritual death and anything else you could imagine was hitting me.

My friend began reading to me from Ephesians 1. I knew the passage, heck, by that time in my life I had read the Bible through completely countless times. You see, the word was in my head, some had even made it into the caverns of my heart, but for the most part, they felt like empty phrases to me.

Pastor Sam asked me a very simple question, “I realize you don’t feel like you can make it through the day, but can you make it another few minutes?”. Hey wait a minute, I know what you are trying to pull…. He prayed that the eyes of my heart would be opened so I could see the HOPE of my calling.

He and I sat there in silence for several minutes and then he exclaimed “Yeah!, you did it!” That’s hope at work in you! Something inside snapped. It seemed like a light came on and I started to feel the power of what Ephesians 1 was talking about.

….my heart flooded with LIGHT, so that I could UNDERSTAND the CONFIDENT HOPE he HAS given to those he called. Not hope that he WILL GIVE me, but hope that he HAS GIVEN me. I had wrestled greatly with the disconnection between my head, my heart and the circumstances around me.

Long story short(er). From that day onward, my heart (and head) began to grow in strength and hope. I began to understand the hope he HAS ALREADY GIVEN TO ME!

Are you in the “Dark night of the soul”? Maybe you don’t think you can go on. Let me pray this over you right now…

Father, In the name of Jesus…
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.” (Ephesians 1:18 NLT)

~ Jeffrey Gillum

Matthew 25:8 – Oil For My Lamp


…‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
~ Matthew 25:8

It’s easy, I know. Life comes at us a hundred miles an hour. Our intentions are good, we wanted to start that new reading plan, study that “special passage” from the Bible, read that latest Christian book that our pastor recommended….but

“At that time, the Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.” Matthew 25:1-8 (NIV)

We often get so busy, that we fail to take time to be alone with Father God. We rarely spend time reading and meditating on the Word and asking the Holy Spirit to speak something fresh and new to our hearts. In fact, the last time we heard anything of Spiritual value was last Sunday when we were drifting in and out while the preacher rambled on about tithing or something like that. Our mind and heart was anywhere but where we were, in the presence of God surrounded by believers.

Life rocks on and then….BOOM, out of nowhere, crisis comes! QUICK, call the pastor, call the elder, call someone spiritual to pray that “special prayer” and get me out of this mess! Sad but true. Often times we rely upon others for our spiritual OIL and have nothing to draw from. All we have is a lamp that doesn’t put out any light for the situation we are in. We want to draw from the oil out of someone else’s lamp, someone else’s supply, calling on someone more spiritual to help us out of the jam we are in. Now, don’t get me wrong, we need to bear one anothers burdens and get help from each other. But when we don’t take the necessary time to keep our own lamps filled and wicks trimmed through discipline, we will find ourselves in a place that is not very fun….in the dark!

Take the time to begin maturing in the Lord. Stop relying on the preacher to get the job done. Get alone with the Father and ask him to fill you up today…fresh with his presence. Ask him to renew a right spirit in you and fill your heart fresh with his anointing. Let the river of God burst through your belly, the breath of God flow through your heart and let the light of God shine through your life.

It’s time to get your own supply of oil!

~ Jeffrey Gillum

John 11:38-39 – Open it up!

38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.”
John 11:38-39

“I know you could have healed him….if you would have showed up in time”

Let’s face it. We know Jesus as the Lord and Christ. We can agree that He is the Son of God and could list the many attributes of His divine character. Mary and Martha knew them as well. They had seen Jesus heal many people and perform what would be considered by any normal person as “miraculous signs and wonders”. Why? They walked alongside of him and witnessed many of these signs and wonders first hand.

It seemed like the only logical thing to do when Lazarus had fallen ill, and eventually to the point of death, but to call upon the one they knew could solve the problem. JESUS. They knew him as the healer! Martha even pointed this out when Jesus showed up to the scene a few days late.

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. ~ John 11:21

You probably know Christ as well. You have seen Him in action and witnessed Him doing the impossible through the lives of the ordinary. What happens when you call upon the one that you know could help, and he delays, doesn’t show up, is silent?

They knew him as the healer, but He wanted to show them something about His nature that they did not know. He wanted to show them the He was the Resurrection as well.

Quite possibly, Jesus is wanting to show you something about His nature that you are not aware of. Maybe what seems like a delay is actually setting you up for the perfect timing to see Him in a way you have never seen before!

Let Him walk up to the tomb of hidden things in your life, yes it is going to stink a little, probably a whole lot! Be willing to let him confront the dead parts of past wounds and such. Let the healer show you something about His power that moves us into the realm of seeing a side of Him we did not know was there.

Open up the dead parts my friend. It may stink…but let Him have access to the parts that look beyond hope and bring life where death has set up residence.