Monday, May 29, 2017

SINNING AGAINST GOD


I Sam. 2:25  “If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party.  But if someone sins against the LORD, who can intercede?  But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the LORD was already planning to put them to death.

        Our sins not only hurt us, but they cause damage to others.  We may be guilty of leading others into sin or we may hinder other people from worshiping the Lord.  We must weigh carefully how our sins will impact others.  It is a very serious matter when we lead others astray because of our sin.  It is a very serious matter when we damage the faith of others because of our sin.

        It’s bad enough when we sin against each other, but Eli’s sons sinned against God and there was nothing Eli or anyone else could do about it.  They had treated with contempt the things of God.  They had used God for their own advantage.  They had brashly treated in an unholy manner that which was holy before God.  They had continued in their sin to the point that there was no turning back God’s anger.  Their time was up.  They had to now face God and account for their sin.

      The Lord is not going to let us go on forever with our sin.  Once we understand that we have sinned, we are held accountable by God for it.  We may think we are getting away with it, but we’re not.  God is just and all sin will be dealt with in His time.  No one can stand in your place when you sin against God.  No one can help you when you stir up God’s wrath against you.

       The only way we can stave off God’s wrath when we sin against Him is to let Jesus intercede for us.  He alone is qualified to stand between us and God.  He alone has the right and authority to forgive sin.  He alone can take away our sins so that God will not condemn us to spiritual death.  He who refuses to acknowledge, confess and repent of their sins before Christ will surely die.  Do you have sins you need to take to Jesus today? 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

BEWARE OF PRETENDERS



I Sam. 2:12-15  Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the Lord or for their duties as priests.  Whenever anyone offered a sacrifice, Eli’s sons would send over a servant with a three-pronged fork.  While the meat of the sacrificed animal was still boiling, the servant would stick the fork into the pot and demand that whatever it brought up be given to Eli’s sons.  All the Israelites who came to worship at Shiloh were treated this way.  Sometimes the servants would come even before the animal’s fat had been burned on the altar.  He would demand raw meat before it had been boiled so that it could be used for roasting.

       Pretenders are everywhere.  Often they are disguised very cleverly.  They may stand out in the crowd as leaders.  They may have all the appearances of people who have it all together, but in reality they don’t.  They may have winsome personalities and are smooth talkers.  They may have great influence and are successes at what they do.

       Jesus called people like that wolves in sheep clothing.  Just because someone may have a title, position, or has authority does not meant they are speaking the truth.  There are many church leaders who are scoundrels.  They may have a lot of good things to say and may even do a lot of good things, but they are self-serving and not Christ-serving.  Be aware of those who have no respect for their role of leadership and take advantage of others.  Do not cater to their whims.  Do not follow them.

       Be wise and discerning.  Have some guts and reject those who have no respect for the Lord or their position of leadership in the church.  Speak out against them.  Silence is not acceptable; it just gives them a license to continue to do what they are doing.  There will always be those who will take advantage of others, even in the church.  We have no one to blame but ourselves if we don’t hold our leaders accountable for the lives they live.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

YOUR LIFE'S LEGACY



I Sam. 2:12-13a Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the LORD or for their duties as priests.

      How would you like history to record your life? Eli was a priest, a respected leader in the Temple. He served the Lord faithfully all his life, and yet, there were his sons. They too were serving the Lord, but not like their father was. Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they were taking advantage of people and committing all kinds of sin while in office. These men had no respect for the Lord or his house. They used both for their own advantage. They unlawfully took of the offerings people brought into the Temple for their own purposes. The Scriptures also tell us that they often took advantage of women as they came into the Temple and abused them.

        Scripture doesn’t tell us all the reasons why Eli’s sons turned out the way they did. We can only guess. They should have known better; their father was a priest who taught and lived the Word. Yet, they chose to ignore the Law and live for themselves and their pleasures. Given opportunity to serve the Lord, they abused their opportunity and rejected Him.  Living under the constant presence and influence of God does not guarantee one will live for God.

     We cannot control how our children ultimately will respond to the Lord. They have to decide for themselves whether or not they will live in Him and let Him guide their lives. But, we can influence their decision in a profound way by the way we live.

       The issue before us today is: are you doing all you can to live a godly life so that those who watch you will be drawn to the Lord? How we live out what we teach has a huge impact on whether or not others will want to live the life we live. How about it? Are you doing all you can do to live a godly life, a life that is well-pleasing to the Lord? Your living will not guarantee that others will embrace your faith, but one thing is for sure, if you are not living what you profess and teach, it will give others an excuse to reject your faith. Live faithfully to the Lord and strive to obey His Word and you will be long remembered as an example worthy to be followed.

Friday, May 26, 2017

FUTILE RESISTANCE



I Sam. 2:10 Those who fight against the LORD will be broken. He thunders against them from heaven; the LORD judges throughout the earth. He gives mighty strength to his king; he increases the might of his anointed one.

        Fighting against the Lord is futile, but we do it all the time. There is a price to pay for resisting what God wants to do in your life. Those who refuse to humble themselves before Him for salvation, lose their soul to sin and its consequences. Those who refuse to obey Him and serve Him, live in misery. Those who refuse to follow Him into a deeper walk with Him, miss out on the abundant life He came to give us. Those who refuse to hear His warnings and follow after their own desires, plunge into sin. Those who refuse to sit down and wait on the Lord for renewed strength suffer the effects of burnout.

      It is futile to think that you can fight against the Lord and win. He won’t stop you from trying, but neither will He let you win. Jesus came to make us whole, to right the wrong in our lives. He came to heal and forgive, to lead us into the life God intended us to live when he first created Adam and Eve. Jesus opened up to us life at its best. Most of us don’t ever get to experience the best of the Christian life because we never give up the fight against His will for us.

      If you want to enjoy the abundant life that is ours in Christ, you must submit to His authority over you with your whole heart. Are you willing to stop fighting against the Lord and get on with living in Him? Why waste your energy on a battle you cannot win? It’s your choice, wholeness or brokenness.  You will never find peace in resisting the work that God wants to do in you.  You will never know peace while contending with the Lord. 

       The Lord will drive everyone to their knees before Him.  He breaks the spirit of all.  Either we will bow before Him willingly or we will bow by force.  Make it easy on yourself and humble yourself before Him now while you can.  Let Him have His way with you.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

PRAYING WITHOUT WORDS



I Sam. 1:15-16  “Oh no, sir!”  she replied.  “I’m not drunk!  But I am very sad, and I was pouring out my heart to the LORD.  Please don’t think I am a wicked woman!  For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”

      Hannah was childless.  She and her husband, Elkanah had gone to the Tabernacle to present themselves to the Lord, as was their custom.  Hannah was deep in prayer and her lips were moving but no words came out.  Eli, the priest, had noticed Hannah praying and assumed that she was drunk.

       There are times in which words just don’t cut it.  Our hearts become so heavy that we can’t even express the emotions that we are feeling inside.  During these times of life, no one can really help us, because no one really can understand how our circumstances are affecting our souls.  The load is so heavy that all we can do is pray.  Praying from the deep anguish of the soul is something that only God can hear and understand.

      Praying without words may seem to be not right, but it is so right.  The Lord listens to the heart.  The words we utter do not always tell the true story of what is going on in us.  The Lord reads the heart and is not swayed by what we say.  This is both good and bad news.

       The good news is that the Lord hears the prayers we can’t even pray.  He knows what we need whether we can express it or not.  The bad news is that we can’t fool God with our words.  No matter how eloquent our prayers may be, God is not impressed.  He listens to the heart.  If what we say matches up with what is in our hearts, great things happen.  If they don’t match, then our prayers don’t mean much.

        Pray much, and if it works, use words.  Words spoken are good if they come from the heart.  If words just aren’t adequate, pray without words.  Let your heart cry out to the Lord without words.  He hears and answers the prayers of the anguished heart.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

AGONY OF THE SOUL



I Sam. 1:10  Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the LORD.

      Maybe you understand what Hannah went through.  Either you have, or are now going through, something that defies words.  No words of comfort helps.  No well-meaning words can make it better.  The pain and anguish is so great that you feel like there is no hope, no help.  If so, I would encourage you to do whatever you need to do in order to see the Lord.  Zero in on Him. 

      Consider His love that moved Him to die on a cruel cross for our sins.  Consider how though He was rejected by the world and deserted by His closest friends, He refused to not die for our sins.  Think about our Savior who had to endure utter loneliness as He fought the battle for our souls.  He had never in all eternity past known suffering or what it was like to be all alone, unable to reach out and touch our Father.  The pain and anguish of His soul was so great that He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

      Thinking about our Lord won’t make your pain go away or change your circumstances, but it does help change our perspective.  When we know that the Lord loves us more than life itself, that He willingly endured the physical and spiritual agony of the cross, it gets our minds off of ourselves and onto Him.  No matter what may be agonizing your soul today, Jesus understands what you are going through and can help you.

      He wants you to share your concerns, your burdens with Him.  He wants you to put them on Him so that He can lighten your load.  He wants you to see Him instead of focusing on your circumstances.  He wants you to know today, that things are not as bad as they may seem.  He is faithful to His children and will see you through the worst of what life may bring you.  Your momentary struggles are not eternal.  They will pass.  The provisions and promises of God are sufficient for whatever you may be dealing with.  Trust in the Lord.  He will give you the strength you need and He will show you the way through your trials if you will let Him.

       Tell Him how you are feeling.  Tell Him about all you are going through.  Tell Him everything that agonizes your soul today.  He hears the heart cry of all who cry out to Him and gives peace and comfort.  Jesus will help you if you will let Him.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A LOVE STORY



Ruth 4:13  So Boaz married Ruth and took her home to live with him.  When he slept with her, the LORD enabled her to become pregnant, and she gave birth to a son.

       The book of Ruth is a love story.  It portrays the account of Ruth’s life as she learned to first love God and then Boaz.  We discover how Ruth showed love and respect for her mother-in-law, Naomi.  We learn how a godly woman acts in a strange land.  We learn how God showed His love for Ruth by protecting her from unwelcome advances and blessed her for her strong work ethic. 

        Ruth reminds us of God’s sovereignty as He brought Ruth and Boaz together in the most unlikely of circumstances.  We see God at work in both of their lives and because God was in control of their lives, great and unexpected things happened.  Boaz and Ruth were married and had a son.  Their son became the grandfather of King David.  God had a plan and worked it out behind the scenes in the lives of two humble, submissive, godly people.

        We don’t know what God is up to in our lives.  We don’t know what difference our lives will make for all of eternity in someone else’s life.  Live humbly and submissively before God and strive to be holy in all you do, and God will bless you and many others because you do.  Great is the reward in heaven for those who let Jesus be lord of their lives.

Monday, May 22, 2017

BLESS, DON'T JUDGE OTHERS



Ruth 2:12  “May the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully.”

       Ruth had made a life choice.  She chose to put her trust in the Lord.  It was a deliberate act of leaving her childhood roots behind her and align herself up with God and His children.  It was not a decision that she took lightly and it was noticed by all who came to know her.

        Boaz was a godly man and he noticed.  He knew that Ruth had counted the cost carefully before she took the Lord as her own and he respected her greatly for her decision.

       We too should respect and honor those who turn away from sin and the life they knew and put their faith in God.  We should encourage them in their walk of faith and come alongside of them to help them in any way we can.  We should lovingly support them with our friendship and prayers.  We should ask the Lord to bless them with a full and abundant walk with Him.

       Instead of quickly finding fault with those who give their lives to the Lord, we should take the high road and strive to spur them on to greater faith.  We should lovingly teach them how to live a godly life and be patient with them when they mess up.  And mess up they will, just like you and I do as we live by faith.

       Be quick to bless and slow to judge those of the household of faith.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A GOOD STANDING



Ruth 2:4  While she was there, Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters.  “The LORD be with you!” he said.  “The LORD bless you!” the harvesters replied. 

       Boaz was a landowner in Israel who was highly respected amongst the locals.  He was a man of integrity and treated people well.  He was known for his trustworthiness and integrity of heart.  Daily when he went out to meet the harvesters in his fields, he would greet them with the Lord’s blessings on their day.

       It causes me to wonder how others think of me.  Am I known and respected for my devotion to the Lord and the way I treat others?  As children of God, we should be recognized by those who know us as people who can be trusted to be fair and respectful to all.  Others should know us by our integrity and devotion to the Lord.  In order for us to have a good standing in our churches and communities, we must first of all be totally committed to the Lord.  We must seek Him daily in our lives and spend time alone in fellowship with Him as often as we can. 

     We must make our relationship with the Lord our first priority and then we will naturally be the kind of people who reflect His righteousness and goodness in all we do.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A BITTER LIFE



Ruth 1:20  “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them.  “Instead call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me.  I went away full, but the LORD has brought me home empty.  Why should you call me Naomi when the LORD has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy?”

       Naomi went through some rough years of her life.  She had left her home in Israel with her family to go to Moab because of a severe famine in the land, she lived in Moab several years amongst a people who did not know or serve God, and she had to bury her husband and two sons.  She knew what it was to suffer greatly.  She had come to a point where seemingly all hope of enjoying the rest of her life was gone.  Her life was indeed bleak.

       Perhaps you can identify with how Naomi felt.  She could only see how bad things were at the moment, not how good things might get in the future.  She had lost all joy of living and her hope was nearly gone.  She had no one who could hold her hand and help her through her sufferings.  The only thing she knew to do was to go back to her home in Israel and try to live out the rest of her days.

       Like so many whose lives are characterized by suffering, she blamed God for what was wrong with her life.  It’s so easy to do, isn’t it?  We don’t like suffering and when we do, we blame God.  After all, He is supposed to love us and spare us from sufferings, isn’t He?

       We must never forget that our sufferings serve a very important role in life.  James tells us they help to mold and shape our faith.  Jesus often spoke of the difficulty of living the life of faith.  He never once promised us a life of comfort and ease.  Paul reminds us that God is in control and everything He does is for our good, that He is working things out for us if we will but trust Him and let Him be in control.

      God never promised us an easy road to heaven in this life.  But, He does promise to walk with us each step we take.  He promises us all we need to endure our sufferings.  He promises us that it will be worth it all when we leave this life and see Jesus face-to-face. 

       Don’t let your circumstances determine your faith or confidence in God.  Don’t let your heart become bitter because of how your life is.  Fix your eyes upon Jesus, trust Him to walk with you and you will be able to live above your circumstances instead of underneath them.

Friday, May 19, 2017

CHOOSE WHOM YOU WILL SERVE



Ruth 1:16  But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back.  I will go wherever you go and live wherever you live.  Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.”

       This verse has a special place in my heart.  It was the foundation of the song my wife sang to me at our wedding.  She sang it from her heart and has lived it for the over 40 years of our marriage.

        Naomi was on her way back to her home in Israel after spending many years in Moab because of a drought.  Her two daughters-in-law were walking with her until Naomi stopped and encouraged them to go back to their native home in Moab.  Ruth would have none of it.  She insisted on going with Naomi and declared that she was adopting Naomi and her family as her own as well as the God of Israel as her own.

        Ruth had discovered that God was real and only worth embracing as her own.  In Moab there were many gods that people turned to and worshiped, but Ruth knew they were not real and chose to align herself with God and His chosen people.

       We also must choose.  We must choose between the gods of this world or God.  We can’t have it both ways.  We either are aligned with God and His children or we’re not.  Choose today whom you will live for and serve.  If you do not choose to live in Christ, you are choosing to live for Satan. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

RETURN HOME



Ruth 1:6  Then Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD had blessed his people in Judah by giving them good crops again.  So Naomi and her daughters-in-law got ready to leave Moab to return to her homeland.

         Naomi and her husband, Elimelech, had gone to Moab with their family because there was a severe famine in Israel.  They settled there and raised their family.  Their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, married local girls.  Over the course of time, Elimelech and his two sons died.

        When Naomi heard that the famine was over, she headed home with her two daughters-in-law.  She had wandered away from home, and now it was time to return.

         Spiritually, we are prone to wander away from home, away from the love, safety and security of the Lord.  Some wander far, far, away and immerse themselves in the life of sin.  Some wander away just far enough so that they lose touch with the Lord.  No matter how long it has been, nor how far you have wandered, it’s always a good time to return home.

      Dear friend, have you wandered away from the Lord?  Maybe you didn’t even realize you had wandered, but now you know you did.  The Lord just isn’t near.  You no longer sense His love.  You no longer hear His voice drawing you to Him.  You perhaps have even lost your interest in Him.   Perhaps the pleasures of sin have captivated you, yet you are not happy, you do not have peace in your soul.

       Return home.  Return to the lover of your soul, Jesus Christ the Lord.  He has open arms waiting for you.  He loves you and longs to welcome you home.  No matter what you may have done, it’s not too late.  Return to the Lord, confess your sins to Him, and ask Him to forgive you.  He promises to draw near to you and give you His peace. 

     Return home.  Jesus tells us in the story of the Prodigal Son that there was a great celebration when he returned home.  He had left home and squandered away all that he had been given.  He had partied until it was all gone.  When he hit rock bottom, he returned home not knowing how he would be received.  His father saw him coming at a distance and held a huge feast to celebrate.  All heaven is waiting for you to come home.  Great will be the joy in heaven when you do. 

       What are you waiting for?  Return to Christ today and He will take the heavy burden of your sin from you, wash you clean with His shed blood, make you whiter than snow, and give you something worth living for.   Today is your day of salvation.  Don’t delay.  Tomorrow may be too late.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

WHO NEEDS GOD?



Judges 17:6  In those days Israel had no king, so the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

       There was no one to hold them accountable, guide them, instruct them, etc.  The Biblical record records what happened.  People chased after the gods of the pagan nations.  They practiced all kinds of evil.  They treated God with little or no respect.  They ignored God’s instructions and did not seek Him at all unless they were under great distress.  They often ridiculed and even killed God’s prophets.  Life was a mess and made for miserable living.  They shut God out and had no one to turn to for help.

      Left to ourselves we will do what seems right in our own eyes.  Considering that we were born into the darkness of sin and without God’s intervention can only see darkness, is it any wonder that we get into all kinds of trouble with God?  What seems right to us is usually far from what is right to God.  We reap what we sow.  When we do what we want and not what God wants for us, we make a royal mess of life.  The absence of God is fertile soil for evil to grow and flourish.

      The Lord has not left us without a witness.  He has clearly shown us a way to live that is not of our own making.  God is all around us showing us a better way to live.  He declares loudly for all to hear, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”  He reminds us over and over again that when we do what is right in our own eyes, we will self-destruct.  We are not capable of living righteously on our own.  We need a Savior and a Lord. 

      Who needs God?  We all do!!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

IN OUR OWN EYES



Judges 17:6 In those days Israel had no king, so the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

     The people did what was right in their own eyes. What a sobering thought. People had wandered so far from God that He simply left them alone to do what they wanted to do. Since their hearts were sinful, they lived sinful lives. They did not care about God, let alone strive to live by His rules. They did not value the things God does. They considered discussions about God as being irrelevant to their living.

      A reading of the Old Testament reveals just how bad they were. Time after time we are told that they were on the verge of destruction. If it weren’t for God’s promise to Abraham, He would surely have destroyed them. Instead, He raised up prophets to warn them and turn their hearts back to Him. Sadly, this scenario had to be repeated over and over again, because the people did whatever what seemed right in their own eyes instead of what is right in God’s eyes.

       Not much has changed. We today often do what is right in our eyes instead of what is right in God’s eyes. We don’t pay as much attention to God’s Word as we should. We often listen more to the voice of others and our own voices. We don’t take the time to examine what God says before we plow ahead. We become hearers of the Word, but not doers of it.

      Let us be very careful about this. Let us resolve to make sure we know what is right in God’s eyes before we act. Let us take a serious look at ourselves to see if we might be doing what is right in our own eyes instead of what is right in God’s eyes. If we are doing anything contrary to what we know God approves of, it is sin and we need to repent of it today.

Monday, May 15, 2017

I WILL BE WITH YOU



Judges 6:16 The LORD said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”

        Never underestimate what you can do when the Lord is in control of your heart. The Lord can move any mountain that may stand in your way. He can silence your loudest skeptics. He can disarm your strongest foes. When the Lord is with you, there is nothing you cannot do and there is no one who can stop you.

      Our problem is that we are more prone to look at the size of the task than we are the size of our God. We forget just how great our God is. We stop focusing on Him and become victims of our world.

       The next time you begin to doubt what you can do through Christ, take a walk and observe what He has created by the mere utterance of His word. Not only did He speak it into existence, but He holds it altogether and will continue to do so for as long as He desires to do so. This same Christ who created what you see, lives within you.

       He is the same as He always has been and always will be. He who created you and the world you live in is able to create a way for you to stand up and fight your worst and strongest enemy. He is able to remove every obstacle in your way and help you overcome whatever you are up against. Spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical, He is able to go with you and destroy all your enemies. He is able to break the power they may have over you. He is able to help you rise above them all live in peace.

Let the words of our Lord penetrate deep into your soul today, “I will be with you.” It is enough. The victory is ours.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

WHAT IS YOUR PRICE?



Judges 16:4-5  Later Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the valley of Sorek.  The leaders of the Philistines went to her and said, “Find out from Samson what makes him so strong and how he can be overpowered and tied up securely.  Then each of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.”

 

      What is your price?  What does it take for you to compromise your convictions and turn away from the Lord?  Is there a bottom line that you are willing to accept?  Or, are you committed enough to the Lord that there is nothing that would keep you from staying true to the Lord?

 

       Think about it for a moment.  Can you honestly say that you are as committed to the Lord today as you were when you first believed?  If you can’t, then in reality you have indeed sold out.  You have failed the Lord and fallen away from Him.  It sounds harsh, but isn’t it true?  The Lord demands our total loyalty to Him.  He is jealous of our love and will not share it with anyone or anything.  We are to love Him passionately and completely.

 

      There are many reasons why we lose our sense of devotion for the Lord.  We become so entangled with the things of the world that we crowd out the Lord.  We get so caught up in the busyness of life that we don’t spend the time we need with Him.  We allow others to influence us to the point where we lose our sense of devotion to Him.  We get comfortable with where we are at spiritually and no longer pursue a deeper walk with Him.  We get the idea that we know all that we need to know and can’t be taught anything new.  Regardless of how it may happen, we are prone to lose our sense of devotion to the Lord and expose ourselves to the reality of neglecting our salvation and wandering away from Him.

 

      If you find yourself not being as devoted to the Lord as you once were, you need to recommit yourself to Him today.  You need to bow before Him and confess your sin and determine in your heart to return to your first love.  You need to readjust your life and practices so that you allow the time you need to stay in close communion with Him.  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU



Judges 13:5  “You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut.  For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazarite from birth.  He will rescue Israel from the Philistines.”

       Several things jump out at me from this passage.  God sent an angel to Manoah’s wife with a message about her becoming pregnant and having a son.  Up until this time she was unable to have any children.  We can only speculate as to why, but perhaps it was because God had a plan.  Her son was to be a very special servant of God; his name was Samson.  God knew the right time for Samson to be born, to whom he was to be born, and why he was going to have life.

       God chose Manoah and his wife to be the guardians and caretakers of Samson.  He knew they would be up to the task.  He knew that they would take seriously their role in Samson’s life.  He knew they would follow His instructions on how to raise Samson. 

      God had a very specific plan for Samson’s life.  He did not tell his mother all that Samson would go through in his life, but He did tell her that he would deliver the Israelites from the hand of the Philistines.  I suspect that if Samson’s mother had known all that was going to happen to her son she might have had second thoughts about the whole process.  Samson had some mighty big victories in his life, but he also made some poor decisions that ultimately cost him his sight and then his life.

        Samson was set apart by God to play a prominent role in Israel’s history.  I believe no life is an accident.  God has a plan for each of us.  Some will rise up to greatness and some will live their lives barely noticed by others.  No life is without purpose.  God has a job for all of us to do.  Regardless of what our job may be, our main role is to be faithful in what He gives us to do. 

       No matter how insignificant our role may be, if we are faithful to the Lord He will give our lives great honor.  Samson was the one whom we notice, but his parents are the ones that listened to the Lord, believed Him, and prepared him for the role he was to play.

       Don’t ever believe the lie of Satan that your life is insignificant and will never amount to much.  A life lived faithfully in Christ is highly favored by God.

Friday, May 12, 2017

LET THE LORD HANDLE IT


Judges 7:7  The LORD told Gideon, “With these three hundred men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites.  Send all the others home.”

      Sometimes we face situations in life that really throw us for a loop.  We find ourselves in over our heads.  Sometimes we are responsible for the messes we get into and sometimes they are just there through no fault of our own.  When we come up against those times of life we often wonder what in the world we are to do.  We see the size of the task and that is all that we can see.

      The Lord is not concerned by the size of the problem before us.  He is not concerned with the impossibility of the task.  He is not bothered by the things that often bother us.  There is nothing that is beyond God’s ability to handle.  The only thing that limits God’s ability is us.  When we are overwhelmed or overpowered by life, we have no one to blame but ourselves.  The Lord helps those who let Him help them. 

      We have two choices to make and which one we make will determine how we will live.  We can try to handle things ourselves and hope for the best, or we can let the Lord handle things for us and know that the outcome is the best.  When we handle things ourselves we will usually make a bigger mess of things.  If we happen to successfully overcome our difficulties, it will usually be with great suffering.  When we let the Lord handle things He takes the burden off of our shoulders and shows us a better way to handle things.

      When we deal with life resting in the Lord, life becomes far less complicated and intimidating.  In Christ, all things are possible when we trust in Him.  The Lord gives us all the resources we need to live on the victory side of things.  There is no defeatism in those who simply live in a trusting relationship with Him.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

LOOK IN GOD'S MIRROR



Judges 6:15   “But LORD,”   Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”

       Gideon knew who he was---too well. He understood what the Lord wanted him to do and how little he could do. Gideon saw himself in the mirror and saw his limitations, not his possibilities. God looks in his mirror and sees our possibilities and not our limitations. We must understand the difference. What are we going to believe, what we see or what God sees? How we answer this question determines whether or not we will live in victory or defeat.

       If you are not able to look through the mirror of the Lord rather than your mirror, ask the Lord to change your mirror. It is time you replace the old with the new. The old distorts who you are. It is cloudy and cannot give you a true image of who you are. We are created in the image of God. We are not our old selves in Him. We are new creations; created in Christ to do good works. The works we are given to do are things we cannot do on our own. They stretch us and help us to trust the Lord more as we learn that we can do all things through Him who gives us the strength and ability to do them.

        Be careful what mirror you look into when the Lord moves you to act. You can do it. Yes, you can!  You can do it because the Lord never moves us to do anything we can’t do through Him.  Don’t let your fears and self-doubt keep you from being whom God wants you to be and doing what He wants you to do.  Trust God, not yourself.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

AT LEAST TRY



Judges 6:14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”

      The Israelites were under great oppression.  The Midianites were controlling them and making life difficult for them.  God called Gideon to rescue the Israelites from the Midianites.  Gideon was a farmer working on the family farm.  He wasn’t sure about this.  He did not believe he was the right man for the job.  He felt so inadequate. 

       I like that phrase, ‘Go with the strength you have.”  The Lord does not expect us to do more than we are capable of doing. He doesn’t ask us to first become someone we’re not before we enter into His service. He simply says to, “Go with the strength you have.”  The road to God’s blessings begins with just getting up and doing. We must do what we can do, and nothing more. We will never experience victory by not trying. No matter the task, it is doable if we but tackle it with the strength we have. When we strive to obey the Lord to the best of our ability, He supplies whatever we may lack. He knows what needs to be done and what it will take to get it done. He never gives us a task to do that is beyond our ability to do it.

      Some things may be challenging, but challenge is good for us. It helps us to gain confidence and learn to trust in God’s willingness to help us. If the challenge seems too much for you to handle, it’s not. The Lord knows what you are capable of better than you do. He will never ask you to do what you can’t do through Him.

      Don’t look at the size of the task. Instead look at the size of your God. And, if your task seems bigger than your God, you need to dig deeper into His Word and discover just how great our God is.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

YOU CAN DO IT


Judges 6:12 The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!”

      Gideon was a nobody, both in the eyes of society and in his own eyes. Like most people, Gideon didn’t see himself as anybody other than a common, every day, hardworking, and loyal part of his family. He was a farmer and he was okay with that.

      However, the Lord saw something in Gideon that he didn’t see in himself. The Lord knew what he was capable of doing and becoming. The Lord had a job for Gideon to do that did not fit into his experience, a job that would require more out of Gideon than anyone would think possible, including himself.

      When God called Gideon into His service, He spoke to Gideon’s potential. He knew what Gideon could do. Don’t ever second guess what the Lord calls you to do. He knows what He is doing when He gives you a job to do. He doesn’t ever ask us to do something beyond our ability. No one else may believe in us and we may not believe in ourselves, but we can do all things through Christ our Savior. If you simply cannot believe that you are up to the task, trust in Him who calls you into service.

      In the early stages of my ministry life, I was told that I would never make it, that I would not be a pastor. However, I knew what God had called me to be and do. Over forty years later, I am still preaching and teaching. The Lord saw in me what that pastor did not see. The Lord knew what I could do and because I believed in Him and not man, I did it.

      Dear friend, there is no calling of God that is beyond our doing. Don’t deprive yourself of the joy of serving because of your fears and doubts. Don’t listen to those who say you can’t do it. Don’t deprive others of the blessings that you can bring to their lives. Don’t make the Lord use someone else do your job because of your lack of faith in Him. Don’t miss out on the blessings that come from fulfilling God’s will for your life.

      The Lord never asks us to do something beyond our ability. Don’t ever forget it or doubt it.

Monday, May 8, 2017

PASS IT ON!


Judges 2:10-12  After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.  Then the Israelites did what was evil in the LORD’s sight and worshiped the images of Baal.  They abandoned the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt.  They chased after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them.  And they angered the LORD.

      What happened and why did it happen?  A whole generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the things He had done for them????  How is that possible?

     The only thing that could have happened was that those who knew the Lord did not pass on to their children their knowledge of Him.  How tragic!  Here we have a generation of people who missed out on the things the Lord wanted to do for them because they were not taught to love the Lord, trust Him, and serve Him.

      The greatest gift that we can leave our children and grandchildren is our faith.  The responsibility for the spiritual lives of this generation falls on us.  We must live a positive and victorious Christian life for them to imitate.  We must instill within them a hunger for God’s Word by reading and talking about it before them.  We must instill within them a desire for life in the church by our attendance and involvement.  We must instill within them a desire to serve the Lord by our involvement in serving Him.  How we live out our faith is seen by those who share our lives.  No one can blame this generation for not embracing the faith if we don’t inspire them to do so by being examples worthy to be followed.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

ACCOUNTABILITY BEFORE GOD



Josh. 24:22  “You are accountable for this decision,” Joshua said.  “You have chosen to serve the LORD.”

     You are accountable for your decision to follow the Lord; with salvation comes responsibility. We must be more than talkers of faith; we must be doers of it as well. Anyone can claim to be a child of God, but not everyone who does is saved. Salvation requires of us a life of change. We must strive to not sin and we must strive to seek after the Lord. Our desire must always be to please the Lord. We must want to live up to His standards. We must embrace His character. We must be willing to be different from the world and be more concerned about what the Lord thinks than what others think.

      God knows what is going on. He is watching you and will hold you accountable for how you live and not just what you believe about Him. It is easy to hide behind grace and not take faith seriously. Faith is not just a shield that protects us from hell. It changes who we are. We no longer are in bondage to sin and its desires. We become bound by Christ’s righteousness and its desires. It does not mean we won’t sin, because we do. But, it does mean that we desire not to sin. Our sin troubles us and we seek the Lord’s forgiveness when we do. We think and feel differently about sin than do those who are not in Christ.

      A true child of God thinks like it, feels like it, and acts like it. He is accountable for his behavior before God.