Steven Garofalo
Politics • Spirituality/Belief • Preparedness
THE MOST EXCITING THING YOU WILL EVER DO
By Steven Garofalo, February 16, 2023 (Copyright 2024)
February 16, 2024

Serving the Lord is the most exciting and rewarding thing in the world. At times, it can be a scary thing to do, but God gives us the confidence and courage to do it.

Today, I am going to show yout that in serving the Lord, it's the WHY behind  the THAT we serve that matters most. Serving the Lord should be done with a non-pious heart as one of the most selfless things we do in this life while serving our Lord.

Ministry seems to have slipped into some kind of "mission-drift" and has morphed more into "platform building" and "ministry branding" than misison-whereby we desire to consume content from those who trend closest to our feed as opposed to the best God and right content has for us according to His word and the leading of His Spirit for that moment and day.

It’s important for us to look at the fact that each one of us has a pronounced calling mission from God-albeit however large or small we perceive that to be. The important thing or each one of us to is to understand embrace the fact that Christian service to the Lord is not “sexy” (culturally speaking). In other words, it’s not about popularity, the most popular speakers, or about those who are most downloaded on the internet. That has nothing to do with the most biblically accurate or right message coming at us in the moment or how we are to live out our own mission. Interestingly, most of this populist-Christian service is fading away with the decline of cultural Christianity in America and around the world. The most downloaded content on the internet is more and more having to form to the regulating norms of online platforms which reward the least biblical messages and burry the feeds of more biblical messages that go against the will of the state. This is why I started our community. People more and more are demanding greater subsistence in their teaching. That being said, let’s get back to serving the Lord and what that means for you and I.

WHERE DOES SERVING THE LORD COME FROM?

For all of us, serving the Lord naturally flows from a humble Christ-centered servant-heart driven by God. God by the way is very opposite from us. What you and I perceive as desirable is often seen by God as a distraction and sometimes sinful.  If you question this assertion, I challenge you to pause and think about what you read in your Bible today-if you read your Bible today at all. What did or does it say? Was it a feel good message or a message of personal and corporate change, challenge, and calling? Such a message is encouraging by the way as it truly makes us better and brings us long-term joy. If you read God’s Word prayerfully today, you will see that it purifies you and makes you better if you take it seriously and apply it to your life.

Life is full of both good times and difficult ones. His ways are not our ways. You and I would never choose to put ourselves through trials, even if we know they will make us become better servants of God. We simply wouldn't do that in most all cases. We tend to read the Scriptures as if the Bible, the Word of God is something to read as opposed to lived out in real time. If we are being honest with ourselves, we will admit that we (including me) seek to avoid trials, pain and suffering. But it’s in between the pages of the Biblical Scriptures and through prayer-in fellowship with the Holy Spirit that God makes us better, prepares our hearts our minds for the day ahead of us, and calls us to action in His will for His purpose according to His plan for our lives.

SO WHAT!

Do you and I hear such a message very often? Sadly, most pastors and churches today preach according to our DESIRES as opposed to our NEEDS according to God. The reason for this is that they don’t want church members to leave and go to the church down the street (taking their tithe with them) in an effort to hear a more soothing message that makes them feel better. Simply put, in many cases, the modern church has succumbed to the culture as opposed to being salt and light to a lost world. As a result, the church is formed by culture as opposed to the church forming the culture. For you and I today, let's emember that being salt and light to the world often means going against the grain of contemporary culture. And this may (on occassion) entail our facing a bit of pain and suffering for that decision and direction in our lives. Do you thing this is boring? You can be assured that nothing is more exciting than serving the LORD in the present.

In closing, please allow me encourage you with two passages starting with Paul’s words in Romans:

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Who doesn’t want to be able to REJOICE in our modern age. While this will entail some suffering and trials (which we perceive as bad in and itself), these things can be good things in what they produce in us if we allow God to use them to and for His glory.

LASTLY, James tells us:

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (JAMES 1:12).

Who doesn’t want to run the good race and finish strong? In order to run a race well and finish strong we must condition our hearts, bodies and minds to do well daily and hit the finish line strong. This entails remaining STEADFAST UNDER the TRIALS of LIFE. For when we have done so, we will be ready to receive the crown of life. Let's remember that none of us are guarenteed tomorrow. None of us know the moment He will call us home to receive that crown, so we must be ready at the start and finish of each and every day; remaining steadfast in His spirit. So I ask you, WHAT IS MORE EXCITING THAN THIS?

(NOTE BENNE) We live in very difficult times. I want encourage you to push through! Always keep in mind that what goes up must come down. And what is down will eventually go up. This is how God works. God opposes the proud but raises up the humble (James 4:6-7). Our current downward slide will one day (nationally and internationally) will bottom out at some point. At that point our nation (and all nations) will have two choices; to authentically turn back up to God or continue to turn away from God to their demise. This is where SERVING THE LORD comes in. We are called to serve the Lord TODAY for what He has called us to this day and for all the Lord calls us to later today and in the future. In other words, we must prepare the fields for what is coming next as well as the present. If we pre-position ourselves for and in our families, communities, government, at the university and in the work place, we will one day take back our culture and the world for Christ. What will our nation, our life, and the world be like after this next turning? The answer lies with us in light of God's plan. It all boils down to if and how we CHOOSE TO SERVE THE LORD.

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WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR POWER?
By Steven Garofalo, April 17, 2024 (Copyright 2024)

As I read through God’s timeless Word through the biblical Scriptures, I am reminded over and over that through all our modern technology-nothing has changed in that people are people and sin is sin. And this goes with the sinful, human desire to control other human beings and amass wealth beyond what they can use, spend or take with them into the presence of God.

Today, I am going to show you through 1 Kings 1, the degree to which even biblical characters went to amass authority, control, power, and wealth. In the end, as I just stated, nothing has changed in thousands of years. When Christians and non-Christians alike fail to live according to God’s ways, moral ethical values, and his basic laws, sin abounds, people get hurt, societies deteriorate, and God is not honored. The good news is that mankind is always sinning but always allows for U-Turns back to Him! Let’s get started by looking at the Book of 1 Kings.

THE STRUGGLE FOR THE SUCCESSION OF THE KING

The Book of 1 Kings opens with the struggle for the success of the king of Israel. Verse one tells us that King David so old and advanced in years to the point that he was unable to get warm. 

David’s condition left him as the king to be in no condition to affectively rule the kingdom any longer. As a result of King David’s failure to enact a succession plan up until this point almost cost the death of Solomon in that David’s son Adonijah tried to take the kingdom by deception and force. Scriptures tell us that Adonijah, “…exalted himself, saying “I will be king…And he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen and fifty men to run before him” (v.3). He did this without speaking to David in an effort to take advantage of David’s old age through a form of what might be considered “elder abuse”. Had he succeeded, he would have to have Solomon, the rightful successor of throne killed in order to squelch all legal challenges to the throne.

ONCE AGAIN-THE SIN OF PEOPLE WANTING A HANDSOME CHARISMATIC LEADER

I want to pause here to point out that Adonijah was “a handsome man” (vs. 6). This goes back to a previous episode whereby I addressed the fact that humans, including God’s people, tend to want and often demand “handsome-good looking-charismatic-statesman like” leaders over those of character and who speak the truth and who follow God’s word and ways as best they can. It’s a human sickness that has always plagued God’s people, even to this day. That being said, let’s move on.

In a nutshell, in an effort to claim the throne for himself, Adonijah sacrificed sheep and held a feast to proclaim himself king among many of the kingdom’s officials, He would have gotten away with it had it not been for Nathan the faithful prophet and Bathsheba, Solomons’ mother. What happened is that Nathan and Bathsheba met with king David to inform him of Adonijah’s actions to take the throne by force. This resulted in David’s instructing them to immediately do the following which they did. And their counter actions went into action right while Adonijah was holding a feast with many of the kings officials. Verses 38-40 describes the scene as follows:

“So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and the Pelethites went down and had SOLOMON ride on King David’s mule and brought him to Gihon. There Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, “”Long live King Solomon! And all the people went up after him, playing on the pipes, and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth was split by their noise” (1 Kings 1:38-40).

Then all the guests of  Adonijah trembled and rose, and each went his own way” (v.49).

Why did they do this? Because those associated with Adonijah would be considered co-conspirators. They were caught red handed playing politics in an effort to gain favor and/or a favorable position with Adonijah who they thought would be successful in his efforts to illegally and unethically take the throne by force. They knew they had sinned and that if caught, it might very well cost them their own life and or freedom, so they quietly dismissed themselves in an effort fall back in line with Solomon and rightfully abandon Adonijah as a false king.

SO WHAT HAPPENED TO ADONIJAH?

Verse 51 tells us that Adonijah himself “TREMBLED…and he feared Solomon. So he arose and went and took hold of the horns of the alter” (v.51).

Adonijah went to the alter and took hold of the horns as a legal claim to protection  which was, not automatically granted otherwise (Exodus 21:14; 1 Kings 2:28-34). David allowed Adonijah to let go of the horns and then he allowed him to come out of the alter without being killed. At least for the moment. And this ends chapter 1 of 1 Kings. The point of today’s episode is to highlight just how far people will go to amass and maintain their power. It’s a human sin to use power for one’s personal gain which is temporal,and an eternal blessing which lasts forever if used for God’s glory and the good of others while on earth.

IN SUMMARY: This illustrates vividly through another biblical story, “WHAT PEOPLE WILL DO TO OBTAIN POWER”. As we have seen, sinful humans will steel, cheat, lie, and even commit murder to obtain and maintain their power and all of the perks that come with that. And for what? A few years of temporal power amassed “against God’s will” most likely end up hurting them in the temporal and certainly in eternity. It most likely will as well land them in hell as opposed to heaven for eternity. What people will do now for temporal pleasure is very short sited. We as followers of God through Jesus Christ should inventory how we are living our lives daily in an effort to avoid the pitfalls of falling into such temptations in our own lives.

This is not just a story about kings, presidents and leaders, but about you and I and all of us as parents, managers and community leaders. We should be careful to act rightly, fairly, and biblical at our job in how we treat other family members with financial matters, inheritances, and other resources. God knows all, sees all, and deals with all. Nobody, not even the earthly kings get away with evil and sin. And neither will we. The great news is that we can lead rightly wherever God’s calls us to with moral, ethical and biblical direction. And this is the great news and the hope we have in our temporal time here on earth we call life and how we can use whatever power, influence and affluence God lends us for the blink of an eye we call life.

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THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF ANY KING & NATION DEPENDS ON THEIR ALLEGIANCE TO GOD’S WORD
By Steven Garofalo, April 15, 2024

“THE SUCCESS OF ANY PRESIDENT AND NATION DEPENDS ON IT’S ALLEGIANCE TO GOD’S LAW”

With the upcoming-November 2024 elections in the United States and 65% of all nations across the globe, the future of the U.S. and world will be defined by those results.

Today, I am going to show you through the Book of 1 Kings, that the success of any leader and nation depends on their commitment to God’s law as laid out in the biblical record. And that failure to adhere to God’s law results in decline and captivity of that nation. Let’s get started.

As we move out of the Book of Samuel, we will now move into 1 Kings. 1 Kings, author uncertain. 1 Kings was written circa 550 A.D. by a person who most likely  was one of the exiles who lived in Babylon, perhaps on unknown one, Ezra or Ezekiel or Jeremiah (through someone other than Jeremiah would have had to write the last chapter of 2 Kings, since Jeremiah apparently died in Egypt, not Babylon: (Jeremiah 43:6-7).

1 Kings opens with the struggle for Accession of Solomon in (1:1-3) to the final charge of David to Solomon in 2:1-12. The wisdom of Solomon in 3:2-4:34, the Temple of Solomon to the rise of fame of Solomon, the DOWNFALL of Solomon for failing to keep God’s ways and law (11:1-43) to finally, the DIVIDED KINGDOM in (12:1-22:53). It’s within this context that I would like to give a general, Birdseye view of our journey into 1 Kings in light of the fact that the success of any king, president or nation depends on their allegiance to God’s Word.

BASIC FOUNDATION

1 Kings is a historical narrative of Israel and a Judah and includes interaction with the surrounding nations, the disasters of following false prophets, and the tragic Babylonian captivity. The historical narrative of Kings records the 19 kings of Israel (all bad) and 20 kings of Judah, (only eight of which were good). 1 Kings was written FIRST, for the Jewish people in Babylon in 560 B.C., later for the Jewish community, and lastly, for you and I today, as reading of 1 and 2 Kings would provide insight into their circumstances, explaining the cause of the Babylonian conquest. It’s important to note that the nation was taken into captivity for their wicked practice of idolatry: setting up a corrupted worship of the Lord with the Golden calves in the north kingdom, worshipping the gods of the pagan nations around them on high places and in Jerusalem, and even sacrifice their children to Moloch, SIMILIAR to today’s abortion epidemic. Please note that after the return from exile, Israel would never again practice idolatry.

IN CONCLUSION: 1 and 2 Kings:

  1. Reveal that each king failed, even the good kings of Judah, to be the ultimate heir to the Davidic throne promised by God in the Davidic convent (2 Samuel 7:8-17).
  2. In the end, 1 Kings was provided by God as an understanding of Kings to give the Jewish people, and all readers up to date, renewed opportunity to fear God, live in devotion to Him.
  3. For us to look for the messianic King.
  4. So, let’s pray people awaken to the true God of the Scriptures, as the success of any president or king (any of the nation as a whole)depends on the measure of his/their allegiance to God’s law. And failure results in decline and captivity.

In the end, the fate of our country and freedom rests in how we as the Christian community and world at large embraces the true God of the universe and our allegiance to His Law.

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WHY NUMBERS ALONE DON’T DEFINE SUCCESS
By Steven Garofalo, (Copyright April 12, 2024)

Business is about the numbers but character is about success. And success is all about how you get to those numbers, right or wrong.

Today, I am going to show you that while numbers are necessary for running a sales organization, or any organization for that matter, including our family budget and personal lives-the lack of good character in achieving those numbers is false success. It also leads to a heartless soul organizationally and personally speaking through wrongly, ill-gained profit. On the other hand, godly character leads to God-dependent success. That success must be coupled with our obedience to work hard, smart and ethically-moral.

I was in outside sales for many years and can attest to the fact that marketplace success is based on numbers.  In sales, success is measured and driven by the NUMBER of cold calls, appointments, presentations and closed deals. In the end, the value of a sales-person is based on how much money a salesperson bring as defined by closed sales at the end of each month.

To be blunt, compensating people on performance is the best way to reward sales people, but selling based on one’s character is the right and best model. If a person is honest, hard working, driven, fair, thinks of the other person first, that salesperson will in most cases perform more highly than if strictly driven by numbers. To be fair, there are many lazy and dishonest sales people (and people in general) in the marketplace and world in general. Laziness is slothfulness, and that goes back to character. If doing business and closing sales with a foundation of good character sounds like a pipe dream, it’s not. It’s the way that Americans business used operate and in some cases, still is. While character driven business has never been perfectly executed in America or in any culture, it was executed with a high level of success up until the 1990’s.

When a company judges a person strictly by their sales numbers, they create an environment based on a lack of character and a lack of moral values. More specifically, a lack of Christian values which used to be the values of the United States in particular. It’s important to understand that nothing acts or operates in a vacuum. If Christian values such as “do not steal, murder, lie, honor other people as you would want to be honored”, etc. are no longer the cultural foundation of business ethics, what is? The two main choices are as follows: ATHEISM: (Communism or Socialism-every man and woman for him or herself with the government running the economy). Or ISLAM: (which is communism under a theocracy). These two worldviews have already taken over much of the world’s economic philosophies, but Christian values based on character still exist and can make a come back! Indonesia has the highest number of Muslims in the world of any country. They never sent a missionary or religious people to accomplish that. They sent business people to start businesses.

GOALS:

Sales is not for everybody, but everybody sells and should have goals. We should all have goals, including stay at home moms, teenagers, the president of companies and the president and leaders of countries, as well as sales managers, sales people and sales teams. But one’s value system ought never be attached to a number, and one’s character ought never be judged by their numerical success. I agree that if your numbers aren’t met after a specific time, perhaps that person ought to look for another job-probably outside of sales. This goes back to character and ego. I

In our next episode, I am going to tie this into the Bible through 2 Samuel whereby we read about David’s taking a CENSUS in numbering of the people, which was usually done for the purposes of taxation or military draft. David’s sin was in putting his faith in NUMBERS rather than in God. This is the danger of measuring  success strictly by numbers without biblical character. To be fair, numbers are necessary in living out our lives, including how organizations run their sales organization. With that in mind, God is today with out us today as He was with king David in 2 Samuel that there are occasions whereby we are not to use numbers. In David’s case, he was not to measure the numbers of citizens due to the fact that it would puff up David’s ego and give him a false sense of his own worth, power and success as opposed to depending on God and giving him the glory, honor and credit. This will be the subject of part two!

CONCLUSION:

In the end, building a business and a successful sales team must be by numbers. That being said, they must also be driven by character and personal development and understanding, based on biblical character. The final determiner of true success in God’s eyes boils down to how the person, manager or organization gets to those numbers. While numbers are necessary for running an organization, our family budgets and personal lives, the lack of good character in achieving those numbers leads only to a heartless organization and wrongly driven profits. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In our next episode we are going to look at what happens through the biblical story of king David’s ordering of a numerical census for personal ego and trying to achieve numbers apart from God.

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