Powers and Principalities

A friend asked me a while ago what word spoke to me in my reading. It reminded me of something that I was pondering on as I worked my way through the book of Kings (I & II).

As you read through the chapters and the records of the Kings of Israel and Judah, you see a consistent phrase repeated when it comes to the wicked Kings

He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from them. 
2 Kings 13:2 

As I started to see this same phrase over and over, I started to think on what that means. Because I’ve been taught when there is a phrase in the Bible which is repeated, it usually has some underlying meaning. Why would the Bible not just refer to these Kings as wicked? Why does it specifically refer to “the sins of Jeroboam.. which he made Israel to sin”?

Could it be, that the Bible is not just referring to random wickedness, but a specific aspect? Remember that during this period of the history of God’s people, there was wickedness among the people and they had worshipped the gods of the Caananites. They had built high places and asheras and worshipped these gods there.

So I started to consider if the Bible is referring not just to singular acts of wickedness, but a spirit of wickedness that Jeroboam served.

You see, in the Bible we understand that Satan has his chiefs, princes of regions. These are spirits who are given charge over that whole region for the sake of the domain of darkness, the kingdom of darkness.

These spirits influence men and contend against the spirit of God, even though they cannot prevail and will ultimately be defeated..

But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 
Daniel 10:13

This is a description of an angel of God who was sent with a word to Daniel. However, the word faced resistance from the “prince of Persia” until the archangel Michael was sent to resolve this impasse. See the princes of darkness can contend but the word of God will prevail.

“But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Jude 1:9

Given all that, maybe the constant reference to “the sins of Jeroboam” is referring to this power of darkness that Jeroboam served.

But it is important, Christian, to know that there is a greater power, a greater Spirit, and unlike even with the archangels, we are blessed with God’s very presence in our hearts. The Holy Spirit motivates us into a close relationship with Him, and understand that even the greatest power of this world cannot stand against the presence of God.

See in Mark 9:29 Jesus says “29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”. In this passage, we see that the disciples could not cast out a demon, where Jesus commands the demon to leave, and it does so, because He is the creator of all things, and nothing can deny His Word. In our case, as Christians, we have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and as such we are not under the dominion of darkness.

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” - Colossians 1:13

So we need not fear this dominion of darkness, neither the princes of the air or this world, but to be wise, we ought to know of these things.

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 
2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience .. 
4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 
5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 
6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” Ephesians 2:1-5

So, we ought to know which Spirit we serve, for all men serve a master, we must only choose the master we serve. As the Bible says

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 
19 ..Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 
20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” 
Deuteronomy 30: 15-20

Let us remain in His presence today!

David numbers the people

1 Chronicles 21 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1 Chronicles 21&version=NIV)

It’s been a while since I last posted. Lately, I’ve been reading through 1 Chronicles and this one section has really made me pause with how intensely packed with learning it is.

In this passage (to paraphrase), Satan incites David to number the people. He fails his test unlike Job, and orders Joab to number all the people. This is the first takeaway. Not everything that seems like a good course of action, is. The motivation is key, because man looks on the outside, but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). The Israelites had been numbered before at the command of God (in the time of Moses – Numbers 1:3), but this time, it was for the pride of man.

The next lesson is around wise counsel. Joab knows this is not of God, and so he pushes back against David. He says,

“May the Lord multiply his troops a hundred times over.. but why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?” 

But David does not listen to Joab’s wise counsel and orders him to do so. Even so, Joab does not fully obey (and who knows, this may have something to do with God relenting later). Joab does not number the Levites or Benjaminites. This portion reminds us to listen to wise counsel as it may save us from harm. There is a reason God places counselors in our lives to speak in times of uncertainty. Also as leaders, our decisions affect those that we lead. David says

“I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.”

The next lesson is about the choice of punishment that God gives David. God sends Gad to David and offers him a choice – 3 years of famine, 3 months of being destroyed by his enemies, or 3 days of pestilence. Here David chooses wisely. He says, let me fall into the hands of God, and he may relent, but men will never do so. So he chooses the 3 days of pestilence and 70,000 men die as a result. And it so transpires that as the Angel of the Lord approaches Jerusalem (which was originally the city of Jebus), he stops at the threshing floor of Araunah (also called Ornan) the Jebusite.

Now we know in hindsight that this is the site of the temple mount. What an amazing parallel, and moment in history, because the temple represents Christ, and the wrath of God was held back by the sacrifice of Christ. It is at the Cross that the Angel of Death stopped, and all men could attain eternal life. Mount Moriah is also the mount where Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac and where the ram was found caught in a thicket. Again this points back to the person of Christ and His sacrifice.

So it is clear that God Almighty, when the angel approached this place remembered His covenant and relented in not destroying Jerusalem, even though He would have been justified in doing so for the sin of the people.

This is the main lesson here – ultimately that Christ is the One that stands between us and the punishment we really deserve. God relented of destroying mankind because of His great mercy and remembering His faithful child, Abraham. Our faithfulness impacts not only our lifetimes, but generations to come, and maybe even humanity.

Bonus lesson: When David is instructed to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah, he approaches Araunah and offers to buy it. Araunah offers to give it to him for free (remember he is a Jebusite, a Caananite in Israel, so he likely has reverence for the King who allowed him to live in peace). David responds,

"No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” 

A sacrifice ultimately comes at a cost. We must not sacrifice to God that which costs us nothing. This is an indictment on those who choose to do evil and claim they are doing it “for God”, and give what is not theirs to give. God has no need for money or things. So what we give we give of what He has first given us!

Thanks for taking this journey with me today. See you next week!

Fruits of the Spirit

Long time no connect, friends. In the interim, life has been incredibly busy for us with business, life and faith. Fridays are still fasting fridays, we just haven’t had the opportunity to blog. Thanks for sticking with us :).

A little while ago, I was on a group morning prayer call from Faith Driven Entrepreneurs. The topic for prayer and discussion was the Fruits of the Spirit.

“the fruits of the spirit are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness (Generosity), Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control”

[Gal 5:22]

The Group also encourages self reflection. As such we take some time to measure ourselves against that standard, do our own lives reflect those fruits, those outcomes. I see that most often, I fall short in demonstrating those fruits. In fact what I thought of, was of Daniel 5:26 “Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin” which as Daniel translated, means “you have been weighed in the scales and been found wanting, and (as a consequence), your kingdom will be divided”. 

In reality, we are all weighed in the divine scales and been found wanting. There is no way for us to attain the perfection of the perfect yardstick, and so we (as Paul says), all fall short.

But there is good news – that what we are lacking is made up by Christ (“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness”). Therefore what we lack is perfected by Christ’s sufficiency. Think of it this way, we were at the checkout and didn’t have enough, but Christ gave us (as a free gift, not a loan!) enough so that we could purchase Eternal Life. 

That leads us to the question of if this state of affairs sufficient, do we continue forever in this state? As Paul asks in Romans 6, “Should we continue in sin that gracy may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”. Later in the chapter, Paul refers to sanctification, which IS a process! Sanctification is a process of becoming more Christ-like, of a constant refining and purifying our sinful nature to demonstrate and display the fruits of the Spirit, the life of Christ in us. 

So then, let us also spend some time in self reflection, to understand where we fall short. But then, instead of spending our lives in striving and trying (and failing!), let us ask the Holy Spirit for His strength in growing in those fruits.

We cannot do any thing on our own, but that which the Spirit empowers us to. As the father said to Jesus “I believe! Help my unbelief!”.

The journey matters – finding joy in doing good

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Yes, the title sounds very social-media-y, but the concept has been percolating with me for a while.

This whole thought process started with a talk I attended, where the speaker was the founder of Farmer’s Fridge. Farmer’s Fridge is a local (Chicago-based) innovative company that provides ready-to-eat salads and healthy food in jars, delivered in vending machines. If that sounds like a shark tank contestant, it turns out that the shark tank contestant was actually someone who was literally copying Farmer’s Fridge’s business model.

The difference, is that the founder had started Farmer’s Fridge as a response to his search for and ultimately inability to find good nutritious food choices. This was true especially in small cities while he was on the road as a traveling salesman. The company has a mission to provide nutritious, healthy, affordable food options in places where there typically are none (think of a hospital after the cafeteria has closed). Contrast this with the shark tank contestant, who appears to be just focused on making money.

I asked him about whether, along his journey, he had been forced to choose between the mission and success. His is that every founder must keep their vision front and center, so the choices are clear. This is the only way to differentiate yourself against copy-cats, because they will never have your passion, your mission. I’ve tried to do the same, writing a vision statement that should serve as our North Star for the business.

This conversation also got me thinking about the mission of this blog. I am aware that it seems like a bit of virtue signaling. It seems like a bit of “look at me, I’m fasting” (which is the exact opposite of the intent behind fasting!). However, the mission was to connect with others who want to make an impact, and together have a greater impact on the world around us. It’s the infamous “network effect”.

As people, we desire to do good, to make an impact. That is admirable, but it is important that we check our hearts in this. Too often, in the midst of the work of doing good, the intent gets lost in the doing. People who don’t remind themselves the why of doing good, will ultimately burn out.

Me and my wife have signed on to do a lot in this season of life. We got close to being overwhelmed and letting things drop, or doing good with a bad attitude. As I tell my children, attitude matters. It is better not to do the work, than to do it with a bad attitude.

A friend of mine re-posted the following story from twitter.


It is worth a read. I hate forwards for the most part, but this story teaches us that every so often, we need to be reminded of why we are living the life that we live. We’ve made choices in career and life in order that we could have an impact. But let’s re-discover that reason, so that we can have joy in the every day, even in the difficult and overwhelming parts of those choices.

People look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7b

So my friends, lets check out our motives, lets remind ourselves of why we are doing the things we do, and let’s find joy in doing good.

A Way Forward

Today, for our Fasting Friday reading and meditation, we have a guest blog from the writer of throughdeepwaters.com. Our first collaboration! I hope this meditation is a blessing to you..

Earlier this month I had a chance to take part in the Global Leadership Summit 2021, held in Chicago. I was truly blessed to hear from several incredible leaders and changemakers from around the globe.

In between sessions, the organizers shared the various network of partners they made the Summit available to. In particular, was a group of women who are survivors of human trafficking. One survivor, Rebecca, was transparent and shared her story and her face. For years, she was unable to break free from the soul-destroying control the ring leaders had on her life. One incredible day, the ring was raided and charged with money laundering and tax evasion and she was able to start life over.

As I listened to her be fully transparent in sharing the horrors of this deceptive and evil industry, I couldn’t help but think how often this happens in modern day America. A young girl or woman is lured into thinking there’s safety in the invitation from a stranger. That’s just the start of a string of lies and deception that starts to break down a life, from the inside out. Eventually, it convinces a person that she’s of no value, if she ever tries to leave this lifestyle. Rebecca shared how she began to rebuild her life. After a few years, she found the strength to connect with other survivors to show them healing and restoration is possible. I was so inspired by these women who found strength to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. Despite horrendous circumstances, they were determined to find a path forward.

It made me pause and think that people can view themselves as a victim or a survivor. Both can be true but it’s your perspective that frames your response. This allows you to either move forward or be frozen in your circumstances. I’m reminded of the story of Hagar from the scriptures, who was treated harshly by Sarai, her mistress.

Genesis 16 lays out the story for us and gives us insight into Hagar’s initial response, which was to run away from the problem. She responded as a hurt victim although we don’t know the exact way she was mistreated. Like many of us, she chose to listen to her emotions and respond accordingly. She ran away into a desert setting and there, the angel of the Lord found her and helped her reframe her perspective on the situation. This must have been difficult and I’m sure required her to do some deep soul searching, but moved her from a victim to a survivor mentality.

We can see that because she did, she was able to think with clarity and not with emotions first. Her obedience and trust in God’s provision for her came with a promise that generations would follow after her. Also, the angel acknowledged her current situation. This is so important to point out because many times we react from a place of emotion because we think no one sees our pain and frustration. The passage continues to share that Hagar found comfort in knowing that God sees her circumstances and honors him with her lips. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to guide our emotions and interactions and trust that God sees us and will provide a way forward.

I’ve included some resources below on Rebecca’s work.

Rebecca’s website : rebeccabender.org

Elevate Academy : https://elevate-academy.org/

You can learn more about how to fight human trafficking with Rebecca’s e-course called Trafficking Truths. You can find it at : https://rebecca-bender.mykajabi.com/trafficking-truths

Compassion – It’s not easy

A day late and a dollar short. I’ve been struggling with trying to get my life together recently. It feels like I’m running faster than my legs will allow and still falling short. But I realize that there will never be a perfect time to spend on the worthwhile things, so we just have to make the time.

It’s now around lunch time on Friday, and as usual, the hunger pangs hit around this time. It’s a good time to think about the world around us. This week (and last week), I’ve been pondering compassion. It seems like it should be easy or a no-brainer but compassion and empathy are hard. I was reminded of this as I saw an SCMP article about slavery in fisheries.


My mind went to : what can I do about it? Which without prompting led my mind to want to file it away and not care about this specifically.

Compassion is hard because there is so much to care about. The Bible talks about the widow and orphan but honestly that is just the tip of the iceberg. The stranger, the poor, the destitute, the homeless, the list of needs are never ending. Faced with a world full of need, it is easy to wall ourselves off, to ignore the alarms and sirens going off in this world, and just focus on our own little patch.

Whats wrong with mowing my lawn?

I live out in the ‘burbs. One of the features of my neighborhood are the manicured lawns and the perfectly proportioned shrubbery. I often feel like the black sheep of the neighborhood. I strive for a nice lawn but mine is forever just less green and lush than my neighbors. So I spend ever more time on my lawn.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting your lawn to be nice, in pursuing excellence even in the care of the things you have been entrusted. But to the extent we use these daily needs and struggles as a way to shut off the pain of the world, it becomes escapism. Burying our heads in the metaphorical sand.

Rearrange deck chairs or try to launch the liferafts?

It’s not easy to launch the liferafts. It seems an impossible task. But when each of the passengers put their hand to the work, it is possible. In an emergency, it is not only the responsibility of the staff to take action. Passengers need to be active. One of us alone, can’t achieve a whole lot (typically!). But a few of us together? We could change the world.

The point is, find a cohort. Start a group, you can use meetup, nextdoor or any raft of different platforms to find folks with an interest to address a need locally. Find a food pantry and volunteer. Each of these are liferafts, and you can put your hand to good work.

We are trying to start a little bible study in our neighborhood, just a way for folks to connect and gather to discuss how we can have an impact on our little corner of the world, and pray for those we can’t directly reach. It’s not much but we look forward to meeting with like minded people.

Exhaustion and Refreshing

In the doing, also dont forget the need for refreshing. One of the things about caring is that it takes energy, it is not free! So don’t run until you are running on empty. The concept of sabbath rest, taking time to refresh yourself is critical. This is especially true for those in service, the volunteers and the leaders.

Empathy is like a battery, it needs recharging. You expend empathy as you do good work. Then you need a time of refreshing, through rest and connection to faith to restore that store of empathy before you can be of use again. We always ask how people like caregivers (e.g. doctors and nurses, parents) who are tasked with the safety of others can turn cruel to the very ones they are tasked with protecting. The answer I think lies in the exhaustion of empathy.

So remember to take a break also, refresh yourself over the weekend, and get ready to go again. Then get out there and make a difference!


Lord, I pray that You refresh us in compassion today. Remind us of Your love for us, and how we ought to love others. Break our heart for what breaks Yours, Lord.

Help us to be a blessing to our neighborhoods, our communities and all those around us. Build us up to build up others, Lord.

When your energy is flagging..

Today has been the capstone to a rough week. Its been stressful and crazy and frankly a bit over the top. So much so that earlier this week, I had to just sit in my car and breathe after another round of things going wrong. Before I go on with my sob story, let me just say things got better at the end of the week, and I feel much better.

But perhaps because of that stress, I feel like I literally ran out of energy towards the mid day mark. I kept it going, into an AMA session hosted by a well known investor, and then, I just crashed. I had to go have a short lie-down. I felt my eyes were closing on me, and my brain felt like molasses. It’s like walking in the water, you feel like something is dragging you back.

As I went off to have my lie-down (only about 15 minutes, and one of the perks of being an entrepreneur), I started thinking about hunger. Specifically hunger in kids, specifically hunger as it affects school age kids.

Children who are malnourished are statistically more likely to underperform at schools. There are numerous studies that prove this correlation (NIH study : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6230243/). The Borgen project breaks it down into plain English :

Children experiencing hunger are more likely to have problems with memory and concentration because they do not have the energy to carry out these functions. Malnutrition can tamper with sleeping patterns as well, making a child too tired to get anything out of a full day of school. Additionally, the brain develops rapidly at a young age. Without the right nutrients, the brain cannot develop properly, resulting in long term effects on learning abilities.

The Borgen Project

When we think about the cycle of poverty, we can understand that poor circumstances in childhood lead to malnutrition, which leads to reduced performance in schools, which leads to social and behavioral issues. This leads ultimately to unstable employment, and ultimately passes this cycle on to the next generation.

Not addressing malnutrition among the youngest and most vulnerable in society is dooming them to continue the cycles of injustice and poverty, and let’s be honest, disproportionately affects black and brown communities (not exclusively but disproportionately). Especially within the context of the pandemic, these cycles have been exacerbated by the twin impacts of economic loss and school closures (which are often the one place where a child is reliably able to obtain nutritious food).

Meals and snacks from schools or child care centers fulfill up to two thirds of children’s daily nutritional needs and are generally healthier than those brought from home. The short-term health effects of missed meals include fatigue and reduced immune response, which increase the risk of contracting communicable diseases. Even brief periods of food insecurity can cause long-term developmental, psychological, physical, and emotional harms. Children from low-income households, who are already at higher risk for poorer health and academic performance than children from high-income households, may be further disadvantaged by nutrition shortfalls.


So as we spend some time in reflection and prayer, consider the weakest and most vulnerable among us, and let us think of ways we can address this need. Hunger is a world wide problem, but is especially inexcusable in the context of our developed and affluent society! My prayer is that in my time, I would see people stretch their hands and resources to eradicating this issue and I pray I would see us make a real dent, and feed the hungry.


Welcome to the blog

Thanks for reading this far. We don’t have an agenda, we don’t really know where this will go, but we pray and start.

As with most things in life, that’s a way to get going. We’ll figure it out as we go along.

Walk with me :).