Spiritual Growth & Development

Wise In Conflict: A Study On Abigail

These are Zemi’s notes from the teaching on May 5th. Unfortunately, we forgot to record the session for external posting, but it is available in the Facebook group.

Our Focus of the Month is Conflict Resolution and our scripture for the month is Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Throughout the month of May we will focus on different types of conflict, conflict resolution strategies and conflict resolution examples found in everyday life and in the Bible.

This post will focus on a biblical example: Abigail’s handling of conflict. But first let’s define conflict and more specifically, interpersonal conflict.

conflict (n.): discord of action, feeling, or effect; antagonism or opposition, as of interests or principles

conflict (v.): to fight or content; to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition; clash

interpersonal conflict (n.): conflict that involves two or more people; interpersonal conflict may be expressed verbally or non-verbally from rolling the eyes and giving the “cold shoulder” to the more obvious blowout

Note, that interpersonal conflict differs from interpersonal violence, which goes beyond communication to include abuse.

No one should put their hands on you during conflict.

Note also that conflict is not always negative or unproductive. In fact, research has shown that the quantity of conflicts (i.e. the number of times you butt heads) is not as important as how the conflict is handled.

When properly managed, conflict has the potential to lead to more rewarding and satisfactory relationships.

Now that we have a general understanding of conflict, let’s jump into today’s message.

Today’s reading is 1 Samuel 25:2-42. The opposing parties in this narrative are David and his men (angry and hungry) and Nabal (foolish and arrogant).

David’s men seek provisions from Nabal. Source:

I have pulled out an excerpt for you to reflect on, but please do read the entire chapter.

4b When David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep, 5 David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. 6 And thus you shall say to him who lives in prosperity: ‘Peace be to you, peace to your house, and peace to all that you have! 7 Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds were with us, and we did not hurt them, nor was there anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore [a]let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever comes to your hand to your servants and to your son David.’ ”

9 So when David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in the name of David, and waited.

10 Then Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, “Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master. 11 Shall I then take my bread and my water and my [b]meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?”

12 So David’s young men turned on their heels and went back; and they came and told him all these words. 13 Then David said to his men, “Every man gird on his sword.” So every man girded on his sword, and David also girded on his sword. And about four hundred men went with David, and two hundred stayed with the supplies.

14 Now one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master; and he [c]reviled them. 15 But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, nor did we miss anything as long as we accompanied them, when we were in the fields. 16 They were a wall to us both by night and day, all the time we were with them keeping the sheep. 17 Now therefore, know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his household. For he is such a scoundrel[d] that one cannot speak to him.”

18 Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 And she said to her servants, “Go on before me; see, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

How did Abigail handle the situation?

Abigail acted as a mediator. Verse 18 says, “Abigail acted quickly!” She took provisions and immediately went to see about the problem because this was a matter of life or death!

What do we see here?

  1. She acted swiftly. She knew it was a life or death situation
  2. She showed honor with gifts
  3. She met a need
  4. She solved the original problem which was the hunger
  5. She used wisdom!

Abigail & David

Now let’s move to her interaction with David, party number one.

23 Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground. 24 So she fell at his feet and said: “On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be! And please let your maidservant [e]speak in your ears, and hear the words of your maidservant. 25 Please, let not my lord [f]regard this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he: [g]Nabal is his name, and folly is with him! But I, your maidservant, did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent. 26 Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, since the Lord has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging[h] yourself with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal. 27 And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For the Lord will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the Lord, and evil is not found in you throughout your days. 29 Yet a man has risen to pursue you and seek your life, but the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God; and the lives of your enemies He shall sling out, as from the pocket of a sling. 30 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord has done for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel, 31 that this will be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. But when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”

What do we see here?

  1. She acknowledged the problem/root cause
  2. She offered the gifts/showed honor and respect
  3. She offered praise and affirmation to calm the situation

And what was the result? Her words were heard and her gifts were accepted. Problem solved! And…best part?! No one died…well not yet anyway…spoiler alert!

Abigail & Nabal

Now let’s move to Abigail’s interaction with her husband Nabal, party number two.

36 Now Abigail went to Nabal, and there he was, holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; therefore she told him nothing, little or much, until morning light. 37 So it was, in the morning, when the wine had gone from Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became like a stone. 38 Then it happened, after about ten days, that the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.

Abigail’s actions here also required wisdom. She waited until her husband was sober to tell him what had taken place as, in his drunken state, he may have been incoherent or forgotten/dismissed her words.

What do we see here?

Abigail tailored her response to each individual. She actively listened to the man who told her about the issue, calmed and met the needs of David and his men, and carefully timed her communication with her spouse.

She actively listened to the man who told her about the issue, calmed and met the needs of David and his men, and carefully timed her communication with her spouse.

Every situation and each individual will require changes in approach. The exact strategy implemented is dependent upon person, timing, environment, etc.

How did Nabal handle conflict?

Nabal had a hand to play in the threat that was coming for him and even in his eventual death. Proverbs 18:6 says, “The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite beating.” Nabal’s name literally means “fool”. Let’s read the verse again, with Nabal’s name inserted for emphasis, “The lips of Nabal brought him strife and his mouth invited a beating.”

If only Nabal had accepted David’s proclamation of long life and had provided the men with an offering of thanksgiving for watching over his flock. If only!

Ladies, Nabal’s life is a warning to use your words with care and to show honor and respect where it is due.

Nabal’s life is a warning to use your words with care and to show honor and respect where it is due.

The Takeaways

There are several key takeaways from this example of conflict management and resolution.

  1. Use wisdom. Pray to be Holy Spirit led, not self or flesh led. The flesh can ignite a conflict while the Spirit will give you wisdom to avoid a conflict.
  2. Act swiftly. The word says, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:25). As far as possible, swiftly resolve conflicts. Do not allow them to fester.
  3. Acknowledge the problem/root cause. Do not ignore or avoid the underlying issue as you try to put out fires (i.e. what I call addressing “fruit issues”). It is possible to address both the root and fruit issues.
  4. Solve the problem(s). Abigail used praise and affirmation to calm David and his men and to avoid a blood bath. She solved the fruit issue. She also solved the root issue by providing them with gifts and food, which met their original request for provisions.
  5. Consider timing. In some instances you must act swiftly, and in others you must apply patience.
  6. Adjust approach as necessary. Each person and situation is unique. Do not use one standard method or approach. Tailor to the party and their needs, personality, etc.
  7. Show honor. Do not be thankless. Give cheerfully out of the abundance God has blessed you with.

Earlier this year we learned another key verse in Proverbs, “A wise woman builds…” (Proverbs 14:1). I pray that you will be wise women who build!

Prayer Points

Lord, we pray that:

  • Conflict may draw together families, spouses, friends, work families, churches, etc.
  • We would be equipped with strategies for handling conflict
  • We would use the wisdom of Solomon when handling disputes
  • We may be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19)

Lord, we pray for:

  • self control (Proverbs 16:32)
  • softened heart (Ezekiel 36:26 & Ezekiel 11:19)
  • wisdom in matters of communication (written, spoken, and non-verbal)

Additional Scriptures

For further reading, see the below scriptures:

  • 1 John 3:18
  • 1 Timothy 4:12
  • Psalm 34:1
  • Proverbs 16:23
  • Proverbs 20:15
  • Proverbs 13:2
  • Proverbs 27:2
  • Ecclesiastes 10:2

May God bless you and keep you!

Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!

1 Samuel 25:6 NIV
Spiritual Growth & Development

Call Forth Your Samuel #SermonNotes

On Sunday, as part of Sundays with Zemi, I released this word to the Hannah’s. These are my notes. I pray this word blesses you.

Call forth your Samuel; Samuel meaning your answered prayer.

During FOCUSFAST, as some of you may recall, I asked for all of the Ann’s to speak up. The Lord dropped the name Ann in my spirit so I requested everyone with a derivative of the name Ann to speak: DeAndra, Joanna, etc. I thought it ended there. As days passed the Holy Spirit revealed to me that just as we were talking about Jael and Deborah for the 2021 FOCUSFAST, we would be talking about Prophetess Anna in 2022.

In Luke 2, we read that Anna, in her old age, saw the Messiah and declared to all how He would redeem Jerusalem. I therefore titled the year “The Year of Anna” and declared the theme for the 2022 FOCUSFAST, “Witnessing the Promise.”

Jesus is God’s promise fulfilled.

We will spend a lot of time in Luke 2 in December so today I want to tell you what God has been saying to the Hannahs.

The Year Of Anna

The Biblical meaning of Anna is ‘gracious; one who gives’.

Anna is also the Latin version of the Hebrew name Hannah.

Anna we encounter in the New Testament, and Hannah we encounter in the Old Testament.

Hannah stems from the Hebrew name Channah (shout out to our Singles Team Lead who has the same name) and it means: ‘favor; grace’.

Together: one who gives favor and grace.

We declared 2022 as The Year of Anna – the year to witness the promise -so, by extension, it is also The Year of Hannah – the year of the answered prayer.

We declared 2022 as The Year of Anna: the year to witness the promise. So, by extension, it is also The Year of Hannah: the year of the answered prayer.

Hannah’s Story

We encounter Hannah in 1 Samuel. We know that Hannah was barren and married to a man with two wives, the second wife being Peninnah who taunted Hannah for being unable to conceive.

Hannah was so overcome with grief and despair that she wept and refused to eat. She was in deep anguish – so much so that when she went to the temple to pray, she couldn’t even get the worlds out fully. Eli, the priest, thought she was drunk.

“Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard.”

1 Samuel 1:13

After Hannah explained herself to Eli, he said to her, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.”

She replied, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.”

Afterwards, she went home, ate and no longer looked downcast. She worshipped the next day, went home to Ramah and made love to her husband. In the course of time, she became pregnant with Samuel.

Step 1: Lift Up Your Countenance

This past week as I was praying for someone who was approaching 40 without a child, the Lord gave an instruction, “Lift up your countenance!” As I recited it I could literally feel my chest lift and back straighten as I adjusted my posture.

It wasn’t until FOCUSFAST 2021 that I learned how much God cares about our posture and our countenance. These are outward manifestations of our emotions. Our posture and facial expressions express to others what our emotional state is.

Our posture and facial expressions express to others what our emotional state is.

When you are sad, you may hunch over, be sullen, frown.

When you are embarrassed, you blush, you may duck or hide your face.

When you are scared, it shows in your face, you may cower or look shocked and afraid.

Posture and countenance – the look of our face – say a lot about our emotional state.

…God cares about your posture and your facial expressions. He cares about them because He cares about your heart and your mind and your soul.

And I want you to know that God cares about your posture and your facial expressions. He cares about them because He cares about your heart and your mind and your soul.

Psalms 42:5, Psalms 42:11 and Psalms 43:5 are similar: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” 

Proverbs 15:13: “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”

When we are fasting we are told to wash our faces and anoint our heads so that we don’t appear outwardly to be fasting but so that the Lord who sees in secret will take record. Countenance matters to God because it is an outward expression of the heart.

In Nehemiah 2:2, the King was able to tell Nehemiah was sad because of his countenance. In Genesis 4:5 Cain saw that his offering was rejected and his countenance fell, because he was ashamed/embarrassed.

Now back to Hannah. In 1 Samuel 1:18 it reads, “So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.”

The very same thing that first changed for Hannah must be the first thing that changes for you: your countenance. Lift up your countenance Hannah! Be no longer downcast. Be no longer disquieted / disturbed in your soul. Lift up your countenance!

Bahamians will get this right away because our national anthem says, “Lift up your head to the rising sun.” Lift up your head my sisters.

Numbers 6:26 says, “ The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Lifting up your countenance is a sign of favor. Hannah’s name means what? Favor.

It’s time to lift up your head.

A hymnist writes,  

“Lift up your countenance

All ye saints of God

Lift up your countenance

for the victory is won

Lift up your countenance

Ang give the glory to the Holy one”

We don’t do it much anymore – though we should – but people would literally bow and lay on their faces in the presence of God. (Genesis 17:3: “Abram fell on his face and God talked with him.”) Again I say, posture matters to God.

Lift up your countenance, change your facial expression and adjust your posture.

Victory is won.

Step 2: Call Them Forth

Later during the week, I was praying for another woman and the Lord said to call the children forth. I am also in the wait for children and I have never done this myself, but the Lord’s instruction was to call the children forth. Petition for the release of your promise.

Hannah petitioned the Lord and just as Eli said to her I say it to you, “Go in peace and may God grant you what you have asked of Him.”

Go in peace and may God grant you what you have asked of Him.

May the Lord remember you.

1 Samuel 1:19-20: “And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.”

Genesis 30: 22-23: “And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach”

In the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

Samuel means GOD HAS HEARD. Call your children forth. Call, that God may hear you.

Step 3: Prepare for the Promise

As God has confirmed the promise is on the way, get ready. Take your prenatal vitamins – not all make you feel sick,  find one that works for you. Get your finances together. If you don’t have healthcare, seek out an insurance plan. Watch your diet. Discuss parenting styles with your husband. Prepare. 

Now you may not be in the wait for a baby but this message still applies to you. No matter what you may be in the wait for: lift up your head, adjust your countenance, call it forth in prayer, trust that God has heard you and prepare for your promise.

No matter what you may be in the wait for: lift up your head, adjust your countenance, call it forth in prayer, trust that God has heard you and prepare for your promise.

God bless you,


Spiritual Growth & Development

3 Steps: A Beginners Guide to Developing a Relationship with God

Developing your relationship with God can be pretty challenging, especially if you’re the first in your family to embark on such an amazing journey. I want you to know that you are not alone in your struggles and experiences. All of us have faced challenges in this area, and we are willing to help you. I gave my life to Christ at the age of thirteen and that journey came with its highs and lows because I didn’t have any relatives within my immediate family that could help me grow spiritually. You don’t have to walk alone. Here are three effective tips that helped with my spiritual development. I pray they help you too.

1. Set a specific time to spend with Him.

Spending time with God is sometimes overlooked in the lives of many Christians, but this is where we draw all of our strength from as believers. Remember, ‘We cannot draw from an empty well’. John 4: 4-26 describes Jesus’ meeting with a Samaritan woman at a famous well in Sychar, a well known town in Samaria. The specific verses I want you to pay attention to are John 4:13-14 (NIV). It reads: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life”. This special water that Jesus was referring to is made available to us each time we spend a moment in God’s presence. This special water is what you need to develop your relationship with God; it also helps you when you are struggling academically, spiritually, emotionally, romantically or when you are facing trials in your very own home.

When can I find time to spend with God?

This depends on how much you are willing to make it a priority. You must be realistic with yourself. If you know that you have trouble completing tasks at night after a long day with your children, or after completing assignments for work or school, don’t plan to spend time in God’s presence at night. If you’re a morning person and you’re able to seek God early in the morning, do that. If for some reason, during the middle of the day, you’re truly able to have a moment with God, do it. Do what works best for you!

Honestly look at your schedule and plan accordingly. Determine if you are spending too much time in an area of your life that truthfully does not really deserve all of that focus. Have you been spending too much time on social media, for example? The special time that you’re having with just you and God can include praying, reading your Bible, journaling and/or listening to worship music. How you choose to spend the time can vary; the key is to make time to do it.

2. Be mindful of what you consume socially and for entertainment purposes.

Be aware of what takes place in your social environments. Are you in an environment that is conducive for your spiritual growth? Are you in an environment that will weaken your spiritual development? Sometimes we tell ourselves: “Hey I’m a big girl, nothing going on around me is going to hinder my walk with God.” But we both know that isn’t true. Make a list of the places you frequent regularly, both in cyber space and back when outside was open, and truthfully decide if you need to step back from a few of your favourite spots. You may need to change direction, literally, in order to align yourself with all that God has for you; one of those special things being a sincere, pure and genuine relationship with Him.

Just like places you may go, what you watch can have an influence on you.

In terms of entertainment, we all know that we lovveee a new series on Netflix. I know that I do! Netflix, has some really good shows, but sometimes the shows or movies have far too much obscene language and too many sex scenes. Last semester, I started watching a few Spanish series on Netflix. Spaniards tend to be very passionate so the episodes had some intense sex scenes. I didn’t want to skip through them too much, because I was afraid that I would miss various parts of the episode. What I should have been afraid of was what those sex scenes were about to do to my spiritual well-being. After completing a few of those series, lust began to rage within me strongly. The feelings were stronger than I’ve ever felt before, and I had to diligently seek God to put out that fire! I’m a single woman so out of the ordinary, extra sexual desires were not going to cut it for me. Now, if I’m watching any series, as soon as it looks like a sex scene is about to start, I start skipping, and maybe you should too.

Back to obscene language. Words that we hear frequently can easily become a part of our daily speech. That’s how babies learn to talk: they begin to reiterate words that they hear. Similarly, we are prone to repeat words that we hear often without even noticing it. Try to avoid shows and movies (and even people!) that use excessive profanity or that influence you in a negative way.

3. Do not condemn yourself.

Do not condemn yourself after you make a mistake. You’re learning. Back to the example with babies. When they’re learning how to walk they make several missteps before they’re able to walk on their own, and even after they grow and mature a bit, they still trip sometimes. Be patient with yourself, enjoy each step of your journey as you grow and become a better servant of God. Remember Romans 8:1 (NIV): “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”, and Proverbs 24:16 “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again”.

Be patient with yourself, enjoy each step of your journey as you grow and become a better servant of God.

Love, Andrell