The Lion of Judah Series – Between Two Kings Part 2A

12 Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life.” 1st Samuel 27:12 niv 2011

We have to be careful. When we flee unholy circumstances, such that have caused us inordinate amounts of pain, we run the risk of jumping right out of the frying pan and into the fire. Pretty soon we’re holed up with Achish and he’s fantasizing that we’ll be his servant for life. And we might get a few things done for the Lord, but remember what George Williams wrote on this account:

David could congratulate himself on the success of his plan, for he baffled Saul, he won Ziklag, he conquered Amalek, and he deceived Achish – but what would have been his experience had he sought to know and to follow God’s plan?

—George Williams, The Complete Bible Commentary

David had Achish so buffaloed. But deceitful flattery will bring you from bad to worse…right after Achish makes that declaration, he will be my servant for life, our Scriptures report that it goes like this:

In those days the Philistines gathered their forces to fight against Israel. Achish said to David, “You must understand that you and your men will accompany me in the army.” 1st Samuel 28:1 niv 2011

Whoa…David is the anointed and future king of Israel. If you think for a minute that God will allow him to strike down His peculiar treasure, think again – but Achish doesn’t know that. David has so flawlessly executed his deception over Achish that Achish actually believes David will strike down the Israelites.

David said, “Then you will see for yourself what your servant can do.”

Achish replied, “Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life.” 1st Samuel 28:2 niv 2011

David’s comment is ambiguous at best. Perhaps the young king-to-be is content to wait until he has the opportunity to rise up against the Philistines from within – or perhaps he’s toying with the idea that he will strike against Israel, the nation he’s been anointed to lead. It’s difficult to know for sure.

Achish’s reply, on the other hand, is as clear as a bell. David has won him heart and soul, so much so that Achish makes David his personal guardian for life.

And while David may or may not be mulling over an opportunity to strike Israel, Saul is extremely concerned about the Philistines setting up for an attack.

 When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.”

“There is one in Endor,” they said.

So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.” 1st Samuel 28:5-8 niv 2011

The Scripture reports that Saul inquired of the Lord, but that would be pretty difficult for Saul to do, considering that the ephod was with the priest, Abiathar, who was with David. (An ephod is a sacred vestment worn originally by the high priest—the breastplate, with the Urim and Thummim, was attached to the ephod and the high priest used these things to inquire of the Lord.)

Saul inquired of the Lord leads me to believe that Saul had constructed himself an ephod of his own. And something else is weird about that – who was doing the inquiring with this fake ephod? Saul himself had murdered the priests back at Nob (1st Samuel 22) – Abiathar was the only one who escaped and he was with David. Was Saul playing the part of priest again? Samuel had rebuked him for that atrocity before. (See 1st Samuel 13) Also, the Scriptures say, at verse 6, that the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. What prophets? Samuel was Saul’s prophet, and they parted ways when Saul built the monument to himself (See 1st Samuel 15), and no other prophet served Saul after that.

I think by this point, Saul was already really comfortable in his apostasy. He’d constructed his own ephod, he performed priestly duties, and he babbled assumed prophecies.  Saul had a form of godliness, but he was anything but a lover of God. God did not answer Saul because Saul’s communion with God was nonexistent, making it very easy for Saul to take this last step and outright counsel with evil itself.

But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?”

10 Saul swore to her by the Lord,[Hello? Is this the same Lord that Saul so egregiously disobeyed?] “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.” [Never mind that he’s already killed a whole town of priests for doing their God-given jobs.]

11 Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”

“Bring up Samuel,” he said.

12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”

13 The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”

The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth.”

14 “What does he look like?” he asked.

“An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said.

Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.

15 Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” 1st Samuel 28:9-15 niv 2011

Scholars are all over the place in their opinion of whether or not this was really an appearance of Samuel. After a lot of study, and many commentaries, my own opinion is that this really is Samuel. This woman, this medium or witch as she’s called in other translations, is used to dealing with the dark side. But she’s clearly alarmed when she sees the spirit of Samuel. I’d guess that he looks a lot different from the demons she’s accustomed to working with. Also, Samuel’s declaration that Saul would die the next day plays out as predicted.

Continuing in the narrative:

I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.” 1st Samuel 28:15 niv 2011

Samuel doesn’t have very good news for Saul. In fact, he repeats words he’s already had with Saul. (See 1st Samuel 15)

16 Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18 Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. 19 The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.” 1st Samuel 28:16-19 niv 2011

tomorrow you and your sons will be with me.

The question I have on that is this: What is Samuel talking about? Obviously the eternal life, but did Saul get to go to heaven?

We’ll take that discussion a little further next week. And don’t forget, David is guarding the life of the Philistine king, Achish, while troops amass for war against God’s peculiar treasure.

Join us for Part 2 B Between Two Kings.

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© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom

Posted in Achish, Between Two Kings, Bible Study, Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christianity, King David, King Saul, Old Testament, Philistines, The Lion of Judah, Warrior, Warrior | 1 Comment

The Lion of Judah Series – Between Two Kings Part 1C

David has been on the run from King Saul for a lengthy period of time. He’s worn out and his faith is faltering – which is what can happen when we endure an exceptionally extended time of trial and attack. And there is nothing more brutal than having to suffer that attack at the hands of our family – whether it be church family or biological family. This particular type of trial that David has suffered for years now is finally getting the best of him. Follow close as we continue the narration, David says to Saul:

 20 Now do not let my blood fall to the ground far from the presence of the Lord. The king of Israel has come out to look for a flea—as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”

21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have been terribly wrong.” 1st Samuel 26:20-21 niv 2011

Saul can’t handle it when he comes face-to-face with what’s he’s done. He full-out repents. He makes no excuses for himself, but promises not to do it again – and we won’t have the opportunity to see if he makes good on his promise because David’s getting ready to throw a 180 into the mix of the whole adventure.

We’re going to read through 1st Samuel 26:22 – 1st Samuel 27:1-4, because there shouldn’t be a chapter-break in there. The whole narrative belongs together.

22 “Here is the king’s spear,” David answered. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. 23 The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness. The Lord delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. 24 As surely as I valued your life today, so may the Lord value my life and deliver me from all trouble.”

25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.”

So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.

1But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.”

So David and the six hundred men with him left and went over to Achish son of Maok king of Gath. David and his men settled in Gath with Achish. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, the widow of Nabal. When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him. 1st Samuel 26:22 – 1st Samuel 27:1-4 niv 2011

David has spoken of his deep faith out loud, evoked the Name of God in battle, and has even written an instructive poem on the matter – yet, David’s first thought after leaving Saul is a doubt: One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul.

David caved to the pressure – and during an intense trial such as the one David suffered is when we are most at risk to caving in on our beliefs, all that we have gained in the Lord, and falling back on our “old man.” The next thing you know, we’re allied with a Philistine.

George Williams made this observation about the Philistines, and I thought it was really interesting:

The Philistine was a domestic, not a foreign enemy. He illustrates the power of the enemy inside the professing Christian church, and is more to be dreaded than any enemy who stands outside.

—George Williams, The Complete Bible Commentary

The Ziphites (See Parts 1a and 1b) represent the disobedient believers within the Church. The Philistine represents the unbelievers within the Church. And when we have a good row with a believer, it’s easy to sidle up to the relaxed, un-condemning, nonjudgmental Philistine. They will always give you an ear, and they will always encourage you. Perhaps we even leave the Church. We flat out throw in with a sinful world and its ways…and what happened to David will happen to us: When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him. Nobody’s gonna come after us, especially if there’s a Saul at the helm.

So, David’s thrown in with the Philistines, and they’re all getting along pretty well. Continuing in the narrative:

Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be assigned to me in one of the country towns, that I may live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?” 1st Samuel 27:5 niv 2011

There are a couple of things in play in verse 5. First of all, this Achish may or may not be the same Achish David went to when he pretended to be crazy the first time he fled from Saul into Philistine territory. I tend to be in the theological camp that says this is the same Achish. As such, he’s more than willing to receive David this time, probably because David now has the reputation for being Saul’s enemy and Achish wants to invade Israel.

Secondly, David sort of uses some flattery on Achish: Why should your servant live in the royal city with you? As if to say, “I’m just not worthy to live in the same city as you.” But I think David does this in order to remove himself from any controversy within royal circles. After all, David’s gained the reputation of a usurper and he doesn’t want anybody near Achish to get the wrong idea. He already has one king hot on his tail. Why tempt another? As well, if we look at an enlarged portion of the area map regarding this situation we find that Ziklag is reasonably close to Carmel and Maon – David’s favorite hangout.

6 So on that day Achish gave him Ziklag, and it has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since. Ziklag was originally allotted to Judah, but then allotted to Simeon, which has a smaller allotment within Judah.

 David lived in Philistine territory a year and four months.

Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.) Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish.

10 When Achish asked, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah” or “Against the Negev of Jerahmeel” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.” 11 He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. 12 Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life.” 1st Samuel 27:6-12 niv 2011

While David is living with the Philistines, he becomes deceptive and destructive – and he’s operating under the guise of “God’s work.” These people that he’s raiding and killing are enemies of Israel, but David has to lie in order pull off this façade.  And the Philistine leader says he will be my servant for life.

We have to be careful. When we flee unholy circumstances, such that have caused us inordinate amounts of pain, we run the risk of jumping right out of the frying pan and into the fire. Pretty soon we’re holed up with Achish and he’s fantasizing that we’ll be his servant for life. And we might get a few things done for the Lord, but note what George Williams writes on this account:

David could congratulate himself on the success of his plan, for he baffled Saul, he won Ziklag, he conquered Amalek, and he deceived Achish – but what would have been his experience had he sought to know and to follow God’s plan?

—George Williams, The Complete Bible Commentary

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17 niv 2011

His good, pleasing and perfect will…and it can only be discerned from Him, and for His glory. If you have to break a command or precept, or act counter to a Biblical principal in order to serve God, then you’re not serving God.

 

Join us next week as we continue with Part 2A, Between Two Kings.

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If you’re interested in my fiction, please visit www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com for a free download of the first 4 chapters of The Pretender.

 

© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom

Posted in Between Two Kings, Bible Study, Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christianity, King David, King Saul, Old Testament, The Lion of Judah, Warrior, Warrior, Ziphites | 4 Comments

The Lion of Judah – Between Two Kings – Part 1B

The first few lessons of this unit will explore the situation Israel found herself as she waited in limbo between her two kings: Saul and David. Both were anointed by God, but one had the gift of faith – and it was his most precious gift.

Last week we left off with David and Saul parting ways on good terms. Then David went to a familiar place of shelter…near the Ziphites. And if you’ll recall, the Ziphites excelled at stirring up trouble – and I think they had greedy motives. They re-stirred the pot, so-to-speak, by going to Saul and telling him where David and his men were sheltered because they wanted Abigail’s stuff.

15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:15-16 niv 2011

The Ziphites’ wisdom (or their knowledge of where David was living) was earthly, unspiritual and demonic. They came to Saul knowing full well that it would stir him up against David again. Telling Saul of David’s whereabouts will no doubt cause disorder. Their selfish ambition plunged them head-long into a coalition of premeditated attempted murder. At this point, their personal desires negated obedience to their own Law. They’re Israelites, of the tribe of Judah. What happened to thou shalt not kill? And they know that Saul wants to kill David. Their ambition appears very much to be getting rid of David so that they could have easy access to Abigail’s possessions. With David out of the way they could overcome her household of servants and take whatever they wanted.

But let’s read the rest of the account:

Saul made his camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilah facing Jeshimon, but David stayed in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul had followed him there, he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had definitely arrived.

Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him.

David then asked Ahimelek the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, “Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?”

“I’ll go with you,” said Abishai.

So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him.

Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.”

But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.” 1st Samuel 26:3-11 niv 2011

Abishai, one of the 3 sons of David’s sister, Zeruiah, is a determined and gifted warrior – but void of compassion, and apparently hard-hearted to the things of God. David reminds him, as he did the men at En Gedi, that they cannot lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. Whatever unrighteousness Saul has displayed, David is confident that God will take care of it. This is a statement of faith on David’s part.

When we are under intense attack – especially the attacks of family and/or friends – it’s hard to hold back on the destruction of the offending party. And if you wind up with the upper hand against the offending party it’s nearly impossible to keep from pinning them to the ground.

Years ago my husband Jim and I were involved in an altercation with people with whom we were very close to. They said and did some very deceitful, and, resultantly, painful things. Jim and I sort of retreated to our corner, praying and contemplating this situation. We didn’t know how to react, or what to respond with so we “went dark” so to speak. As the months passed, horrible truths came to light about these people who’d offended us. Now we had the upper hand and could retaliate. We could really do some damage, and boy did we ever want that. The problem was, we knew good and well that one of the offenders was anointed. God, in His Divine Wisdom and Grace, would not allow us to destroy this character. Was it easy to walk away from the opportunity? Some yes, but a lot no. God did make a way out of the temptation to destroy this joker, just as He’s promised in His Word: 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1st Corinthians 10:13 niv 2011

Continuing with David,

12 So David took the spear and water jug near Saul’s head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping, because the Lord had put them into a deep sleep.

13 Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away; there was a wide space between them. 14 He called out to the army and to Abner son of Ner, “Aren’t you going to answer me, Abner?”

Abner replied, “Who are you who calls to the king?”

15 David said, “You’re a man, aren’t you? And who is like you in Israel? Why didn’t you guard your lord the king? Someone came to destroy your lord the king. 16 What you have done is not good. As surely as the Lord lives, you and your men must die, because you did not guard your master, the Lord’s anointed. Look around you. Where are the king’s spear and water jug that were near his head?”

17 Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is that your voice, David my son?” 1st Samuel 26:12-17 niv 2011

Amazingly, Saul’s cold heart melts at the sound of David’s voice! I think it’s because David’s mouth is full of truth. He’s not just hurling back insults at Saul – he’s telling it flat out like it is.

David replied, “Yes it is, my lord the king.” 18 And he added, “Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done, and what wrong am I guilty of? 19 Now let my lord the king listen to his servant’s words. If the Lord has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering. If, however, people have done it, may they be cursed before the Lord! 1st Samuel 26:17-19 niv 2011

David knew it was the Ziphites who’d roiled Saul up against him – and he reveals his thoughts in one of the few psalms that we can place in a particular time period. Remember, the Ziphites have ratted out David twice now.

Psalm 54 niv 2011 Pay particular attention to what David notes in the subscript:

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil of David. [maskil means instructive poem] When the Ziphites had gone to Saul and said, “Is not David hiding among us?”

Save me, O God, by your name;
vindicate me by your might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
listen to the words of my mouth.

Arrogant foes are attacking me;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
people without regard for God.

Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.

Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
in your faithfulness destroy them.

I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;
I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good.
You have delivered me from all my troubles,
and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.

These are the words of a faithful man. He knows where his protection and blessing is coming from. He’s so certain of God’s power in his life that he says to Saul: If … people have [incited you against me], may they be cursed before the Lord! (See 1st Samuel 26:19) David writes in his psalm, at verse 5: Let evil recoil on those who slander me; in your faithfulness destroy them.

But, then David says to Saul:

They have driven me today from my share in the Lord’s inheritance and have said, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 1st Samuel 26:19 niv 2011

In his passion, David reveals a slight crack in his armor. He’s blaming the Ziphites for driving him out of Judah, so we know he’s getting ready to bale. When David says: ‘Go, serve other gods,’ he’s talking about living in Philistine territory,

David’s faith suddenly falters – which is what can happen when we endure an exceptionally extended time of trial and attack. And there is nothing more brutal than having to suffer that attack at the hands of our family – whether it be church family or biological family. This particular type of trial that David has suffered for years now is finally getting the best of him.

Join us next week as we continue the account of Saul’s new pursuit of David, Between Two Kings Part 1C.

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If you’re interested in my fiction, please visit www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com for a free download of the first 4 chapters of The Pretender.

© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom

Posted in Between Two Kings, Bible Study, Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christianity, King David, King Saul, Old Testament, The Lion of Judah, Uncategorized, Warrior, Warrior, Ziphites | 2 Comments

The Lion of Judah Series – # 1 Between Two Kings Part 1A

“Active opposition to Christ and His Kingdom quickly follows upon the establishment of a rival kingdom.”

George Williams

And before you know it, we’re between two kings, and we’ve got some choices to make.

The first few lessons of this unit will explore the situation Israel found herself as she waited in limbo between her two kings: Saul and David. Both were anointed by God, but one had the gift of faith – and it was his most precious gift.

Also, in this unit, we’ll look at the significant parallels between Jesus Christ our King, and David, who was a “type” of Christ.

I can’t remember where I found this definition, but here is what I’m talking about when I say, “Type” or “Typology”: in Christian theology and Biblical exegesis, is a doctrine or theory concerning the predictive relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament. Events, persons or statements in the Old Testament are seen as types prefiguring or superseded by antitypes, events or aspects of Christ or His revelation described in the New Testament.

I like typology because I think it proves the continuity of our Scriptures—God is the same today as He was yesterday, as He will be tomorrow.

And in certain situations with King David, I believe, that it will give us a much deeper understanding of the Gospel of Christ – as well as His future reign in our Eternity.

Our first lesson leans more toward what it looks like for us to be between these two rival kingdoms – one is the Kingdom of God, and the other is the kingdom of the world.

In the Scripture below, David has spared Saul’s life (unbeknownst to Saul) and calls after him to let him know. David and Saul had been quite close at one time so David uses the opportunity to confront him.

14 “Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? 15 May the Lord be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”

16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the Lord delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.”

22 So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold. 1st Samuel 24:14-22 niv 2011

Saul appears truly sickened by his actions against David – and I believe that he was. For a moment the Spirit of God convicted him of his horrible behavior and he wept. Even more than that, Saul admits that he knows that David is on his way to the throne.

Because of Saul’s actions – he’s really beat the relationship to a pulp – David cannot return to a close association with him…and he and his men went up to the stronghold.

Now the stronghold here is one of David’s old haunts—amongst the Ziphites. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary notes:

From [the ruins of] Ziph a panorama of the whole surrounding district [can] be seen. [The] Ziphites saw David and his men passing to and fro in the mountains of [this area of] wilderness. Spying him at a distance when he ventured to show himself on the hill of Hachilah…

—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

David had had a run-in with the Ziphites before. He knew they were trouble-makers because they’d informed Saul about David’s whereabouts on a prior occasion. (1st Samuel 23)

The Ziphites are also of the tribe of Judah, and they’re located near the area of Carmel and Maon, where David has been coming and going frequently. Very recently David has been in the area guarding Nabal’s flocks and shepherds. Nabal’s shepherds said that David and his men “were a wall around [them],” (1st Samuel 25:16 niv 1984). Why did Nabal’s shepherds need a wall around them? Had David and his men been guarding those flocks and shepherds from the Ziphites?  As well, Nabal’s widow, Abigail, has a hefty inheritance in this area, and David has now taken her for his wife. The Ziphites probably watched that whole thing unfold and think perhaps they have a stake to claim. (See…A Warrior and Her King Part 3)

David comes back into this same area, I think for two reasons. First of all, he’s fully convinced (at the end of 1st Samuel 24) that all is now well and the situation resolved between him and Saul. He will be safe. And, secondly, perhaps, David thought it was important to be near Abigail’s flocks and shepherds in order to keep them from harm. But, read on,

The Ziphites went to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Is not David hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which faces Jeshimon?1st Samuel 26:1 niv 2011

Saul is at home in Gibeah – presumably minding his own business. All appearances indicate that Saul had decided to stop his relentless and wicked pursuit of Israel’s future king—until those Ziphites showed up.

So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand select Israelite troops, to search there for David. 1st Samuel 26:2 niv 2011

Instantly, Saul is stirred up against David again. Things were quiet between them, and then a third party inserted themselves, opening Saul’s perceived old wounds, his jealousies, grudges and trouble.

It’s way too easy to stir up wickedness. Saul had never succeeded in the taking off of his old man. He struggled with it every day that he lived so it was easy for the Ziphites to insert themselves into a situation that had been resolved and bring it back to the place where Saul wanted to kill David again.

David and Saul were never enemies. At one time they’d fought together against their true enemy, the Philistines, keeping the community of Israel a safe place.

This is a powerful lesson for us right here in the present-day Church. Oftentimes, a couple of us will get into it, go our separate ways, but still continue to work on the common goal of bringing the Truth of Christ to a lost community. Then, the Ziphites come along, insert themselves and stir up trouble again.

The Ziphites here represent those folks who have an agenda other than winning souls for Christ. They may say that that’s their agenda, but winning souls for Christ is merely a disguise. Their true desires are for themselves. The Ziphites are the ones who are experts at taking selfies and posting them on every social media outlet they can find. Their concern revolves around how much attention they can get and they won’t hesitate to stir up a hornet’s nest if they’re given the opportunity.

James gave an apt warning about listening to those who appear to have wise information among us:

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:13-16 niv 2011

The Ziphites were tattle-tales – and I think they had greedy motives. They wanted Abigail’s stuff. Their wisdom (or their knowledge of where David was living) was earthly, unspiritual and demonic. They came to Saul knowing full well that it would stir him up against David again. Telling Saul of David’s whereabouts will no doubt cause disorder. Their selfish ambition plunged them head-long into a coalition of premeditated attempted murder. At this point, their personal desires negated obedience to their own Law. They’re Israelites, of the tribe of Judah. What happened to thou shalt not kill? And they know that Saul wants to kill David. Their ambition appears very much to be getting rid of David so that they could have easy access to Abigail’s possessions. With David out of the way they could overcome her household of servants and take whatever they wanted.

Join us next week as we continue the account of Saul’s new pursuit of David, Between Two Kings Part 1B.

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If you’re interested in my fiction, please visit www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com for a free download of the first 4 chapters of The Pretender.

© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom

Posted in Between Two Kings, Bible Study, Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christianity, King David, King Saul, Old Testament, The Lion of Judah, Warrior, Ziphites | 4 Comments

Special Post

I was asked recently why I wrote the Caselli Family Series. I sat at my computer for a long time trying to find the reason “why” I wrote the series, but I couldn’t come up with a single answer. I think that’s because I really didn’t have a “why” for writing the series, it was just something God put on my heart. And since the story’s inception (1996) I have not lost one bit of the intense desire to share it with the rest of the world.

It’s been a fairly difficult project, and there are several reasons for that. Firstly, the base of the series The Pretender had to be written from a young adult perspective. I was thirty-two years old at the time and reaching back into my “coming of age” years wasn’t easy. We see things differently as we mature so it was hard sometimes to relate to the antics of my teenaged characters. It was hard as well putting that on the paper in such a way that reflected the immature actions and feelings of young adults. However, in drawing on the experiences of my past, I was able to put a lot of authenticity into the story’s plot. Many a reviewer has remarked that it’s simply “unrealistic,” and to that I say: pay attention to your kids. They’re doing some risky things out there—even the good ones.

The next difficulty was attempting to mature my young adult characters, ever so slightly, as I began Book 2 Pit of Ambition. There were older characters to anchor the story, with mature development lines, but I had to figure out a way to age the character of Angel/Tillie in such a way that it revealed growth and wisdom. At one point, long after her marriage to Alex, she’s thinking of Noah and recalling what a wonderful man Noah had appeared to be at the time she met him. She finally draws a defining conclusion: Noah was ordinary, so unlike Alex who seemed as extraordinary as a flashy star. Angel/Tillie is growing out of her immature naivety. And it was important for her growth to begin, whether in realizations, or later in Pit of Ambition, to be able to forgive without exemption.

The growth and maturity that begins in Pit of Ambition sets the stage for Book 3, A Blackguard’s Redemption.  The earlier young adult feel of the series will quickly fade as very adult issues are faced once Tillie and Noah realize what has transpired. And though Noah has taken far greater strides forward in the maturity department, he will have setbacks like none other. In fact, one of my earlier readers told me once that while she was praying she lifted up Noah, and then had to laugh at herself. Noah’s struggles will become that painfully real in A Blackguard’s Redemption, and he will draw Tillie into the suffering with him.

What I would like most of all is for my readers to seek out and understand the power of prayer when combined with God’s will in a matter. And while we may not like the way God’s will appears to be playing out, we must resist the urge to force our own will into any situation. In the fictional setting of the Caselli Family, we see the ramifications of someone having the ability to change the circumstances just enough so that he doesn’t have to deal with a difficult situation. In doing so, Giuseppe changes the life of his daughter, but he also, unknowingly, derails the lifelong work of his son, Marquette. Now, please don’t take that to mean that I believe that we can thwart the will of God, because I don’t believe that one bit. However, we can delay His blessing because of our own disobedience, and we can drag others down with us in the process. Rest assured, God’s will will be done, even if we make the choice to use deception in order to “fix” things. No matter how long we try to put it off, God will have His way. He makes certain that all things are made right in His time, His sovereignty trumping all of our efforts.

Though there will be Book 4, The Gift, and Book 5, The Truth, that is all that I can say about the series at this time. Those books will be released in 2019.

I pray that each and every one of you will read this series and delight in it the same way that I have. I pray for each reader as well that God will give you a holy craving to explore His Word and His ways to the greatest possible depths. That you would not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 esv

Thank you and bless you for taking this journey with me. It means the world to me.

~Ta`Mara

If you think you might be interested in my Christian fiction, get the first 4 chapters free here: www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com

Posted in Bible Study, Book Reviews, Christian, Christian Bloggers, Christian Fiction, Christian Fiction, Christianity, Family Secrets, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Snatch Others From The Fire

“It was a place of tremendous uncertainty,” Marquette was saying. He looked more glamorous than ever, dressed in a double-breasted, pin-striped navy suit with a silk scarf folded into his breast pocket. He wore no hat in the church, exposing his elegant ponytail.

“I remember wondering to myself many times,” Marquette continued in his soft accent, “why did God make me a citizen in a new country, only to have me leave it and fight for another? Andy and I have spoken of this many times. I thought God had fallen asleep and forgot about those of us who believed in Him. We would be hiding in the jungle, and our new best friend would suddenly be dead before our very eyes. We went days without food and without sleep, and I wondered what had happened to the Lord.

“My purpose became clear, as I struggled each day between somehow trying to survive the battles, or simply ending my own life. I realized we were in this place of sin and destruction, but God was still with me in my heart. I called upon Him, and He convinced me to survive so I might serve whatever task He had chosen for me.

“Andy’s purpose became clear as he struggled in battle as well, but his purpose was far different from my own. Andy left his comfortable and safe home in America to fight an unseen enemy, an enemy he did not know, only to return and continue another great battle. The battle of good and evil. Now he will combat the tremendous uncertainties of how many shall follow and how many shall fight him for what he believes in, choosing either their death and destruction or complete freedom in Christ.”

Marquette smiled at Andy. “God blessed us in America, but he gave us our purpose on foreign soil.”

 —Excerpt from Marquette Caselli’s address at Reverend Andy Engleson’s ordination, from The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise,
Book 1 of The Caselli Family Series

Marquette Caselli came from Italy to America in 1956, where he signed on for the draft as part of his citizenship requirements. He became a citizen of the United States on June 1, 1962. In 1965 he was drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam. In the above excerpt, Marquette speaks about Vietnam and how it changed not only him and his beliefs, but the neighbor boy as well.

Andy Engleson could hardly wait to turn eighteen. His whole life he’d wanted to be a soldier. In 1968, shortly before his eighteenth birthday, he volunteered for the Army and went to Vietnam. As Marquette appropriately pointed out, “Andy left his comfortable and safe home in America…” and he did that voluntarily.

When Andy returned he signed on for another war, but this one would be far different than fighting in the jungles of Vietnam — and for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Like Rev. Engleson, we fight an unseen enemy every day. Unfortunately, we know him only too well. Our enemy manipulates our friends, family, ministry partners, and our very mission field itself. We live with the realization that many will fight us for what we believe, “choosing either their death and destruction, or complete freedom in Christ.”

Jesus warned the disciples, “All men will hate you because of Me…” Matthew 10:22.

To be clear, Jesus didn’t say just some of them – He said all of them. A steadfast belief in Christ and His ways turns many people off — including fellow Christians. Sure, they all like salvation and sign up as soon as they realize that all they have to do is accept Jesus as their personal Savior and ask His forgiveness. And our holy, faithful God keeps His word, because He cannot lie, and he draws them into the fold of His heavenly kingdom.

But there’s so much more that God wants for us. He wants us to know Him deeply. He even calls us “friends.” John 15:14-15

Many have asked me the question, “How do I get to know God?” And I answer honestly, “There’s only one way, and that’s God’s way. We must read our Bibles if we want to know our Savior, Ruler and holy King.”

Trials and troubles will most certainly come to people, and if we’re not deeply connected to our Savior through His Word the enemy will be able to steal, kill and destroy. And the enemy is all about the destruction of holy, godly relationships. But with Christ and His Word, we are promised life, and that we will have it to the full. Mark 4:17; John 10:10

Beloved, are you having trouble in your relationships? I do every day, and there’s no doubt in my mind what the problem is. Christ warns me, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” Matthew 10:34-36

Sounds like war to me, and an ugly one at that.

I’ve chosen Christ and His ways, above all else. It matters not in the slightest what my friends, family, children or even my husband think…and let me tell you what, it’s the toughest gig of my life. Over the years I’ve watched the Lord bring a sword into relationship after relationship. I have less than a handful of friends who accept me for what I believe and who I am in Christ.

I love this portion of Psalm 19:

8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

Those are promises I just can’t live without.

Jesus said, “If you love Me you will obey what I command.” John 14:15

Chapter 15 in the Book of John describes where we’re supposed to be in our relationship with Jesus, (I’m not making this up — check for yourselves) and that’s a daily walk with Him and His Word. If you can’t find time for Him, you only short change yourself — and the gate of your life swings open wide for the thief to come on in, kill, steal and destroy.

Jude, the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ, wrote a short but profound letter to the early church. In part he said, “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

“Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” Jude 20-23

I wish that I was as brave as Andy Engleson, and that I would have volunteered for this battle. But the truth is that I’m more like Marquette Caselli. I attained membership as a citizen of Heaven, and then I was drafted into His service.

But I do love the service, and I’m proud to serve a holy Commander.

Sometimes the cost to my personal life is tremendous. However I’ll snatch as many from the fires as I can. I’ll fulfill my calling from a holy God and rest in His promises.

© 2018, Ta`Mara Hanscom

If you want to know more about my books, please visit my website at www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com

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A New Headdress

Bridal Veil Falls – Spearfish Canyon – Black Hills, SD

 “Those falls weren’t always there. It all started when an Indian warrior became engaged to a girl who had a white mother and a Sioux Indian chief for her father. One day the warrior had to leave to fight a great battle. When he returned to his tribe his betrothed had taken ill and was dying from a fever. Her parents took the only thing of value they had, which was the bridal veil worn by the chief’s wife on their wedding day. They gave it to the warrior and sent him to buy medicine with it. Doing as he was told, the warrior took the veil to the nearest settlement, bought medicine, and returned as quickly as he could to his dying bride. She took the medicine and soon was well again.

“Now the bride had nothing to wear on her head because it had been sold for medicine, but they went ahead with the wedding anyway, right here, on this very spot. And when the warrior kissed his bride, God broke open the rocks above and let a veil run through for her. The old chief said it was God’s affirmation of the warrior’s noble and pure heart and that the waters would flow here forever.”

—excerpt, The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise

 That story is told by the character of Noah Hansen to his new love, Tillie Caselli (Angel), at the base of Bridal Veil Falls in Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota.

It’s really a non-existent story I made up and inserted into the series about eleven years ago.

Have you ever had one of those “blow-me-away” moments? Something happened and you knew that God was speaking directly to you? The above story has done this to me.

Let me say here that when I wrote the above story about Bridal Veil Falls, I was NOT a scholar of the Old Testament. Sure, I read my Psalms and Proverbs every day, and maybe a page or two from one of the prophets. I didn’t start studying my Old Testament until about seven years ago. I wrote the story about Bridal Veil Falls, thinking it was a really “sweet story”, stuck it in the drafts, and pretty much forgot about it.

And then in Church, the praise team recited this Scripture:

…proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. 
Isaiah 61:2-3 esv

What’s happening here in this little snippet of Scripture from Isaiah, is a promise coming from God, through Isaiah, that the affliction and ailments of God’s people, Israel, will be healed. The nation of Israel had suffered terribly at the hands of their enemies, and were eventually carried off into exile by the Babylonians. But God promises that the ashes of her mourning will be removed, and that she will be given a new headdress.

“…but the bride had nothing to wear on her head…”

So, back to Bridal Veil Falls…the Warrior has returned from a great battle to find his bride sick and dying. Her father gives him something of value to sell for medicine.

We are sick and dying in our transgressions, beloved, but our Father has provided something of value that will make us well again! He sent His own Warrior in our place so that “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him gory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” Revelation 19:7-8(a) God provided for the holy headdress we need in His sanctifying Presence through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

I noticed in my original drafts of the Bridal Veil Falls’ story I had capitalized Warrior throughout. Beloved, I submit to you, that this story came from God. He used my hands and my head to complete His work so that He could show me His awesome perfection in all that He does. And I share that with you—not to boast in myself, but to boast “in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

“And when the Warrior kissed His Bride, God broke open the rocks above and let a veil run through for her. The old Chief said that it was God’s affirmation of the Warrior’s noble and pure heart and that the waters would flow here forever.”

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1

Beloved, it is written on our hearts! When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord of our lives, He kisses us with His glory, adorning us with fine linen, a new headdress if you will, making us presentable before the Father. Only Jesus’ heart was noble and pure enough to establish our eternity.

Jesus said, “They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.Matthew 24:30-31

He’s coming for us. Praise His holy Name! He chose not to leave us here to die in our sickness, but, instead, to save our lives so that we might live with Him forever. We must take the medicine Christ offers, which is the forgiveness of our sin. God will then break open the rock, remove our transgressions, and give us a new headdress of fine linen, white and clean.

Take your medicine! Our pure and noble Warrior awaits your decision. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.Revelation 3:20 He loves you and He wants you with him always. Open the door and take your medicine.

If you’d like to know more about my books, please visit my website at TaMaraHanscomBooks.com.

 

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The Advocate

I had the privilege a couple of years ago to address my childhood hometown of Tea, SD. The Tea Historical Society contacted me and said they were interested in hearing about my childhood in Tea, and how I became a writer. I said ‘yes’ that I’d like to do that, and then I got together with my parents for a good long talk about those days.

You know, we had the craziest neighbors in that little town, so crazy in fact that we had to call the county sheriff on them many, many times—we got to know that sheriff pretty well—and, incidentally, a few years after we’d moved from Tea, South Dakota, into Sioux Falls, I met the sheriff’s sister-in-law’s step-brother—and I married him. BUT, that’s not the story I’m here to tell you today.

Visiting with my parents that day about my childhood home, brought back a lot of wonderful memories, but what I remember most is what I learned while I lived in that tiny little town. And as it turned out, when I went to speak to the Historical Society, they are located inside my childhood church! The congregation grew too large for the old church, and when they moved out of it into their new building, they donated the old one to the Tea Historical Society. Part of the church is now a really neat little museum, and the other part is still a fellowship hall where gatherings are held on a regular basis.

That church was only about 1 ½ blocks down the road from where lived. We moved there in the early seventies, when gas was super expensive, like 95 cents a gallon or something. Dad decided that we could walk to church instead of drive. And we walked to that church every Sunday and I learned to love the Lord. If it wasn’t for my parents planting those seeds within me, I know I wouldn’t be writing this today—telling you one of my favorite stories—it’s about an advocate.

Have you ever read Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers? The Three Musketeers is a fabulous story. Easily my favorite. I love the drama, the religious overtones and the politics of the crooked shadow government of France in the early 1600’s. Disney made an excellent movie in 1993, and there is a scene in that movie that depicts exactly what an advocate is NOT.

The musketeer, Athos, (and Athos is played by Keifer Sutherland—this is, of course, before Keifer became Jack Bauer) but he relates a poignant story about “The Good Count.”

When the good Count was [young], he fell in love with a visitor from Paris. [Her name was Sabine.] A breathtaking girl…and …he married her. The Count took her to his castle and made her the first lady of the province. They were happy… Then one day, while riding in the woods, the girl was thrown from her horse, and knocked unconscious. The Count hurried to help her. Her dress was torn.

On her arm, the woman wore a gold band in the shape of a serpent. It was the only article of clothing she refused to remove. The Count’s curiosity got the best of him. He reached over and slid down the gold band. He saw something on her arm… something she’d kept hidden ’til then…The fleur d’lis. She’d been branded…The Count’s angel [appeared] to be a murderess who’d escaped the Executioner’s blade. She swore that she loved him. [Swore that she’d been misaccused.] And if he would just keep her secret, they would live a long life together.

Rather than believe the love that she professed for him, rather than believe the beautiful life they must have shared up to that point, and despite their marital intimacy, the Count couldn’t bring himself to believe her, and he turned her over to the authorities.

Please read this account from the gospel of John:

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:2-8:11

Wow…this woman is literally caught in the act—and yet Jesus stood up for her. Do you know what that’s called? It’s called being an “advocate.”

Advocate—defined by Miriam Webster’s: one that pleads the cause of another; 2 : one that defends or maintains a cause or proposal 3 : one that supports or promotes the interests of another

John, the same apostle who wrote the account (and I say account because John was an eye-witness to the event—John 1:14 “we have seen His glory…”) about the adulteress, writes another letter later on to the church and says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the Righteous One.”

Though we are free to choose a sinful lifestyle and ignore the forgiveness and advocacy of Jesus Christ, He still freely offers it to anyone.

As The Three Musketeers plays out, it turns out that Athos is actually The Good Count who turned his beloved over to authorities, and he gets the opportunity to talk to her about it. By this time it’s been many years, and her name has been changed to Lady D’Winter.

Lady D’Winter confronts Athos, “You were too proud to listen to the truth. I learned the value of lies soon after. There was a time when I would’ve given my life for a kind word.”

Athos was a count, and in the 1600’s in France, he would have been a wealthy man. He could have easily been an advocate for his wife, pleading her cause before an unrighteous court—and she would have given him her very life for that kind word.

Copyright held by the Disney Corporation, 1993

And Athos admits, “I could not give it, Sabine. I was a fool.”

And while Athos didn’t think his own wife was worthwhile to put up his kingdom and all of his wealth in order to defend her honor, there is an Advocate who thought we were worthwhile, even before He created us, to do just that—and our Advocate is far more powerful than an apathetic, judgmental French Count.

John, wrote this about Jesus Christ, “to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

When we repent of our sins and ask Jesus for forgiveness, Jesus takes all those sins and “removes them” from us. Psalm 103:12As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” And not only does he remove our sin from us, but He forgets it as well. Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

He is a forgetful, as well as a forgiving God, when it comes to our sin.

Through His forgiveness, Jesus wipes the slate clean, so to speak. We become children of God—co-heirs with Christ Himself, and will receive an inheritance on Judgment Day.

Unlike Athos, who’d hung his wife out to dry, Jesus stands up for us and pleads our cause.  Like the woman caught in adultery, or Mary Magdalene, who had 7 demons, Jesus comes to our side and says, “Neither do I condemn you—now go from this place and sin no more.”

But remember, if you do sin, we have an advocate.

Beloved, that’s grace.

© 2017, Ta`Mara Hanscom

Read an excerpt from my books at TaMaraHanscomBooks.com

 

 

 

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First Dates

Today is the thirty-seventh anniversary of my very first date with my husband Jim. I was only sixteen years old and was pretty certain that I knew everything. He was almost twenty, and in 1980 that was practically a scandal.

Jim and I talked about that first date this morning over our coffee, and I had to laugh at him. He’s still amazed that there was a second date—and so am I. He remembers thinking he’d impress me by taking me to a French film. It was horrible, and that’s all I’ll say about it. After the movie, he took me out for pizza, and one of his friends showed up at our table. The friend ate most of our pizza, and then asked for a ride home!

There almost wasn’t a second date, but then he asked if I liked to roller skate, and I said ‘yes’ and we went skating for our second date. It was fun, and he was so cute. How could I resist?

Thirty-seven years later we look back not only with smiles, but with a few grimaces as well at all that we’ve shared: three children, many pets, lots of old cars, a few new cars, a fancy car, a couple of houses, bills we couldn’t pay, bills we didn’t want, getting into debt, getting out of debt, family troubles, marriage troubles, health troubles, kid troubles, trouble with the neighbors, three restaurants…the list goes on and on.

But through all that one thing remains certain, and that is the love of a good and gracious Savior. His outpouring of comfort and care on us and our family amazes me on a daily basis. I can’t look out my office window without thanking God for His faithfulness in our lives. The view of the country farms surrounding me reminds me of when I couldn’t pay to live in my own home, but what a plan He had in store for us when He led us to where we live now.

When I open my freezer or my cupboards and see the abundance of good things to eat, I remember when I couldn’t buy groceries.

When I look in my closet and see the great clothes He’s so graciously provided, I remember when the only thing I had to wear were the clothes my fashionable mother-in-law had tired of and thoughtfully gave to me.

When I look at Jim, I remember his brush with cancer and how my Savior healed him and handed him back to me so that I could continue this fabulous adventure we began thirty-seven years ago.

A couple of years ago my little sister gave me this tag. I love it and I keep it in my office because it reminds me of one thing: Sometimes a great story does start with a salad. Jim and I had the salad bar before our pizza came, and what a great story we’ve shared.

I thank my God each and every day for such a great friend, lover, comrade, adventurer, comedian and husband. He wasn’t all those things in the beginning, but then none of us are. We all need time, and maybe a second date!

© 2017, Ta`Mara Hanscom

TaMaraHanscomBooks.com

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Italian Cooking Anyone?

The Caselli Family loves to cook!

If you love to cook, here’s a giveaway that you might be interested in:

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes. https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/85dece129d3fc8ee NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Dec 9, 2017 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

And if you want some of the Caselli’s authentic Italian recipes from the series, visit my website.  Each recipe shared on the website is from the Caselli Family Series and comes with an original interview with one of the characters. You’ll love ’em!

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