Learning from Hannah’s Painful Transition Process Part 8 (Final Part)


“We Can’t Out give God”

18 But Samuel was ministering before the Lord—a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to[c] the Lord.” Then they would go home. 21 And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord. (First Samuel 2:18-21)

            Transitions are tough, among other reasons, because they take us away from our comfortable zones. Things get so bad at times that we actually feel that we are loosing. As you go back on this small series you can see that this was indeed a tough road for Hannah. She felt sad, depress, frustrated and perhaps angry many times, but thank God that we are not abandoned even as we feel we are! Thank God that He is faithful! As parents our greatest blessing is go know that our children are ok, doing well, doing the right thing and that they are happy. Well, Hannah had more than enough reasons to feel proud about her son, but God blessings did not stop there. The woman that could not have children now was blessed with three sons and two daughters. I believe that many of us are borderline to see this kind of blessing become a reality in our lives if we just wait a little longer, if we keep the faith, if we trust the Lord and if we don’t allow hope to escape us. It could be a rough season for you, you may be experiencing tough times, but even in the mix of all, deep in your heart you know where your salvation comes from, deep inside even when the pain becomes unbearable you know that God will never let you down. No matter what you done, no matter the magnitude of your giving, no matter, no matter the size of your sacrifice…we can never out give God! Beloved, hand in there and don’t give up!

 

 

 

 

Learning from Hannah’s Painful Transition Process Part 7


“Worship Even When You Can’t See What You Are Believing God For”

19 Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel,[e] saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:19-20)

 

In these verses we can see that Hannah has yet to receive what she wanted; but she resolved in her spirit to worship God anyway. In order for Hannah to have that baby she needed to have intimacy with her husband and she did. Many times we find ourselves so tired, so frustrated, so fed up, that we don’t even have the energy to do our obvious part. Worship has a way of renewing our strength beyond our own abilities and possibilities. Finally for Hannah, that amazing moment took place; the miracle she was praying for all this time became a reality. Finally, her son Samuel was born; a mighty man of God, a man of integrity and one of the most powerful prophets in the history of the world.

Many of us are carrying something amazing inside of us; something that will change us at last, something that will revolutionize the people around us, our communities, our countries and perhaps the world. No doubt that the moment when Hannah decided to give her child to the Lord was indeed significant. However, it was worship that brought her to the place of breakthrough. Worship gives us the strength to do our part in the matter we believe God for; in His presence we are overwhelmed by His beauty and filled with His love. In His presence our perspective changes, our priorities get fixed; it is the place where nothing else matters; it is the place where we can clearly see that it’s all about HIM and that everything belongs to HIM to start with. In His presence we stop looking at us and our circumstances and we fix our eyes on the Lord. In His presence getting or not getting what we want does not matter; for in the Lord we find everything our souls thirst and hunger for; it is the place where we can clearly see how blessed we truly are and how merciful our Lord is.

Nothing should ever stop us from worshipping the Lord; our worship cannot be subject to what we can and cannot have. He is amazing, He is the King, and He is Lord and the Lover of our souls. Beloved, I don’t know what you are crying out for today; I don’t know where you are at in your transition. What I do know is that God is worthy to be praised whether you get what you want or not. Beloved, right now, at this very moment, stop what you are doing and worship HIM. Do it before the breakthrough; do it in spite of the breakthrough; do it by faith, do it even if the breakthrough never visits you…He is still worthy!

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

 

 

 

Learning from Hannah’s Painful Transition Process Part 6


“The Power of Even an Obviously Imperfect Leader”

17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” 18 And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.”

(1 Samuel 1:17-18)

 

            It is an amazing thing that God will use such imperfect people to partner with Him to do the work of His Kingdom. How ridiculous we must look before heaven when we take ourselves so, seriously! When I look at the life of King David, when I look at the life of the Apostle Paul and the shocking statements he made about himself in Romans seven; when I look at some of the leaders God has placed in my life through the years and when I look at my own life, it is incomprehensible to me as to why God keeps using us to partner with Him.

Now, there may be some that think that they are the best thing in the world since sliced bread. Their arrogance is indeed nauseating! Can you imagine if the whole world would be able to see on a giant TV screen all of the things we have done in our secret places? Can you imagine if God makes our thoughts open to the public? Can you imagine if God showcases our thinking? Without God we are destined to get what we truly deserve: eternal hell! However, in all and through all, we must remember that our leaders, even in their humanity, are leaders who carry certain authority on this earth.

Here we see Hannah being mightily blessed by Eli. The result of the man of God’s blessing lifted Hannah emotionally. It was indeed an emotional miracle. When the man of God, even in his mess, declared, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him,” depression and frustration were lifted out of Hannah and faith was activated. The Bible tells us here: “So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” I strongly believe that in the life of every believer God will raise a leader whose job is to bless us right into our destiny. The warning for us is to be cautious that we won’t be blindsided by our leader’s issues and miss the blessing that he/she carries for us. When we look at David and his dealings with Saul, who in an unjustly way wanted to kill him, we are able to see that same blessing taking place.

Beloved, there is a difference between a false Prophet or false Teacher and an Imperfect Godly Leader. God’s elect are human just like you and I. We must learn to discern the difference; it is essential for our growth in the process of transition.

TO BE CONTINUED!

 

Learning from Hannah’s Painful Transition Process Part 5


“Respecting, Honoring and Forgiving Our Leaders”

15 But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 “Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman,[a] for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.” (First Samuel 1:15-16)

 

            We must point out that Eli, just like many of our leaders today, was no way near pleasing to the Lord with his way of leadership. I understand that nobody is perfect, but Eli did not have the favor of the Lord. As a matter of fact, later, one of the first words God gave Samuel was against Eli. It is very tempting to see our leaders’ humanity and use that as an excuse to disrespect and dishonor them. However, that will, without a doubt, block our process of growth and we may find ourselves stuck in our transition process until we learn to respect, honor and forgive our leaders, even in their humanity.

We can learn much from Hannah by the humble answer she gave Eli. She did not get offended; she did not compromise the focus of her prayer and what she was striving for and she took the time to correct Eli in his ignorance and bad judgment.

In the Bible we see an extreme case of respecting, honoring and forgiving a leader who really was way off, to the point that God removed His Spirit from him. It is the story of David in his dealings with Soul. You know the story, Soul was so jealous of David that he literally wanted to kill him. Killing David, a faithful servant to him, became the focus of his administration. Twice David had an opportunity to kill Soul and twice he refuse. Like Hannah, David responded with humility, with respect and, in the process, intended to correct Soul in his error.

I know that these are days where we are indeed in a crisis of leadership in our nation and perhaps in the whole world. However, we must not allow the mess of our leaders, their issues and their bad judgments to move us away from the Lord and from the destiny that we have in HIM. You may be facing a situation where, just like David, for the sake of your own destiny in God, you may need to run away from that leader and ministry, but in the process of running, refuse to disrespect, dishonor and fill your heart with bitterness towards that leader. God is a God of justice; He adds and removes whomever He wants and surely He will do justice for you. Only one person can stop what God wants to do in your life and that person is you! One of the easiest ways to stop our progress in God is by allowing bitterness to dwell in our hearts. Beloved, guard your hearts as you move forward in your transition.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Learning From Hannah’s Painful Transition Process Part 3


“A Desire For Something More”

“Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8)

            Sometimes it seems like we have it all together; a beautiful family, a nice car, nice home, a good job and plenty of opportunities to minister by using God’s gifts in our lives. However, in the mix of all, there is a sense of sadness, dissatisfaction and a desire for something more. Have you ever felt like that?

Hannah was highly favored by her husband, but her desire to have a son and to leave a legacy was deep within her soul. That’s what happens; is an indescribable destiny that is far greater than us, knocking at the door of our dreams and challenging our imagination. Oh we know; there is indeed something more! Nobody understands the pain, the frustration, the uncomfortable feeling, the irritation…While others go about living their lives and they seem so happy, your heart burns for that something more. Perhaps your are weeping for a particular nation, for the homeless, for the drug addicts, for the condition of the church, for the hungry, for the fatherless or for whatever else.

Beloved, what our hearts break for is the greatest indication of what our ministry should be. Having good people around us, good family, a good local church, good friends and good things does not matter. Nothing will do; we are indeed grateful, but nowhere near satisfied in terms of what we are able to do for the glory of God and for the service of His people. Lord, give us that something more!

TO BE CONTINUED…

Learning From Hannah’s Painful Transition Process Part 2


“Provoked as We Wait for the Breakthrough”

“And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.” (I Samuel 1:6-7)

What was Hannah’s issue? What was the big deal? Hannah wanted to have a baby; that was the reason for her misery. The misery of not having what we desire in terms of ministry, gets even more painful before we begin to see doors opening up. Perhaps you desire to minister to a particular nation; perhaps you desire to sing to the Lord, to write a book, to pastor, etc. Whatever the situation may be; in the process of going after our dreams, you will always find a season of great irritation.

God is always in the business of taking us from glory to glory, from level to level and from revelation to revelation. He is always in the business of preparing us for something greater, to take us higher and to take us deeper. But the reality is that if we are comfortable where we are at, it is human nature for us to want to stay in that same place.

Hannah had a rival whose job was to irritate her. We will never embrace change until we are fed up with our condition. What is irritating you right now? Whatever it is, thank God for it; it is the very thing He will use to move you higher in your transition process!

TO BE CONTINUED!

Learning From Hannah’s Painful Transition Process Part 1


“Favor in the Mix of Our Frustrated Dreams”

“Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu,[a] the son of Tohu,[b] the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb.” (I Samuel 1:1-5)

 

Hannah was to become the mother of one of the greatest prophets in the history of humanity; the great prophet Samuel. During the next few days we are going to take a closer look at Hannah and her painful transition process.

 

Notice that even as the Lord had close her womb, Hannah still enjoyed a great deal of favor as her husband demonstrated his great love for her by always giving her a double portion of his offering for the Lord. Hannah was greatly love by her husband Elkanah. We must remember that we are greatly loved by our Heavenly Father even in the mix of our uncomfortable transition process.

 

Many times we fail to see God’s favor in the mix of a transition that will forever marked our destiny. The enemy will do his best to try to make us think that we are abandoned, but we are not, God is positioning us for something great! We have the tendency to focus on the wrong thing as we want immediate results; especially in our current microwave society.  We may not have what we want at the time, but our eyes should always be opened to see what God is doing as we wait for our breakthrough. Our eyes should also be open to see how bless we are to have love ones that love us regardless of what we have or don’t have.

 

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

From Shame to Glory Part 2


“God Can Turn It Around”

“Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. And she said, ‘Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.’ But Ruth said:

      ‘Entreat me not to leave you,
      Or to turn back from following after you;
      For wherever you go, I will go;
      And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
      Your people shall be my people,
      And your God, my God.’ (Ruth 1:14-16)

 

            As we can clearly see, the Moabites carried a very shameful past. A past that even today (2011) could destroy your possibilities of prospering forever. Basically, you have two seemly young ladies who felt that the way to keep their family’s existence going was by getting their father drunk and having sex with him. Genesis 19:31-36 tells us the story:

“Now the firstborn said to the younger, ‘Our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.’ So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
 It happened on the next day that the firstborn said to the younger, ‘Indeed I lay with my father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.’ Then they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father.’

 

            The bottom line is that the Moabites serve other gods; even as they were descendants of Abraham, also. Lot was actually Abraham’s nephew, but not a part of the promise given to Abraham. The amazing fact about this story is how God can take a shameful situation and turn it around for good. Ruth was to become the great king David’s grandmother, but also, she carried the amazing privilege of being a part of our Saviors genealogy.

            I am sure you have some shameful situation where you were directly or indirectly involved in something you hope the world will never know! I am sure that many have a past that is constantly hunting your present and stealing the wings of your future. I don’t know what it is! However, if, like Ruth, we abandon our gods and our worthless ways and go wholeheartedly after Jehovah He will turn things around for good. God wants to take us from shame to glory!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Shame to Glory Part 1


“God Can Turn It Around”

“Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. And she said, ‘Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.’ But Ruth said:

      ‘Entreat me not to leave you,
      Or to turn back from following after you;
      For wherever you go, I will go;
      And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
      Your people shall be my people,
      And your God, my God.’ (Ruth 1:14-16)

It always amazes me how God can take a completely horrible situation and turn it around with a redemptive “off the wall” purpose. It is without a doubt that Ruth is one amazing character! 

            There are many reasons why we decide to move from one city, town or country to another; perhaps because of the loss of a job, high crime in an area, searching for better education for the children, etc. Elimelech and his wife Naomi left Bethlehem to go to the country of Moab in search for the “better life” that many of us search for. At the time, things were pretty difficult in Judah as they were experiencing hunger. Elimelech and Naomi had two sons. After Elimelech died, their two sons married two Moabites, Orpah and Ruth. In an unspecified time frame, these two sons died also.

            Naomi was left alone with her two daughters-in-law and she then decided to move back to Israel. In the process, Naomi strongly encouraged both of them to return to their land after both followed her. It really made no sense for an old woman to go back to her land as a Jewish lady with two Moabites. Naomi also encouraged them to go back to their gods and find husbands there. Orpah finally decided to go back; however, we see clearly in these verses that, that was not the case with Ruth!

            We can’t even begin to comprehend the greatness of this story without doing a basic study on who were the Moabites. Genesis 19:31-36 gives us the shameful pass of the Moabites:

“Now the firstborn said to the younger, ‘Our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.’ So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
 It happened on the next day that the firstborn said to the younger, ‘Indeed I lay with my father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.’ Then they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father.”

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

Three Reasons for War


 

“These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses.” (Judges 3:1-4)

 

            God is so amazing! He is able to use our shortcomings and turn them around for a useful teaching and eventually, a positive end-result. How does He do it? That is why He is God and we are not!

 

Everything could have been very simple. The instructions were certainly simple:  “Take the land and kill everyone in it.” The people in these countries, for the most part, had no hope of turning to God or repenting; they were evil. But, just like us, the children of Israel did not follow the instructions; they started reasoning their own ways of utilizing the enemy; their own little ways of doing things apart from the clear instructions of the Lord. It is there that we start getting into deep trouble. The amazing thing about the reality of these verses is that even when the children of Israel clearly disobey God, God is able to work a useful plan in the midst of our stupidity. 

Many of us wish that we never have to go through temptations, suffering, wars and all of those uncomfortable emotions; however, as many of us already know, Biblically speaking, they are inevitable. In these verses, we see, basically, three powerful reasons why God allowed these nations to stay among the Israelites:

1.      So that the new generation would be able to experience war.

2.      So that the older generation would teach the new generation about warfare.

3.      To test them, in order to be able to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands.

War is necessary! God actually allowed these nations to be around for the purpose of them experiencing war. We are also able to see how war gave one of many connections between the older generation and the new. The old generation was to teach the new generation on how to fight these wars. A key element in this teaching was for them to learn to rely on God. We must learn to trust God. The older generation needed to desperately teach the young fellows how to property fight. Lastly, nothing will test our obedience to God like a bloody war.

 As we continue on our journey; we must realize the only Victor of our battles. The overwhelming reason printed in the history of Israel, and perhaps in our own, is that we must learn that it is God who fights our battles. How can we know the majestic powers of our God if we never see Him moving like a Mighty Warrior against the giants of our lives? He shows Himself strong against Egypt to show the Israelites what He’s able to do. Today, He wants to show Himself strong, on your behalf, in the midst of great wars to show you what He can do.