January 22, 2018

He could have been more

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Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other.
And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it.  So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.
Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father.  He had judged Israel twenty years.

Judges 16:28-31

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If you went to Sunday School as a child, you have probably heard this story. Maybe even got to put the characters on the purple felt board.  I do remember thinking that it was tragic.  How could someone who said that they loved someone, hurt them and betray them?  Now that I have lived a few 24 hours since then…I see that it happens.  Do you wonder what we could possibly learn from this story?  God always has a lesson, right? And this story is no different….

There’s Samson: his birth was announced to his parents by the angel of God, just like Jesus and John the Baptist.  He was chosen and set apart for big things.  He would grow up strong and would defeat many.  But he had a weakness…women.  And he had a secret—he could never cut his hair.  God had big plans for him to begin saving the children of Israel but his love for the things of this world kept him from doing the will of God.

Then there is Delilah: she was in love with him but chose greed and power over her husband.  She asked him many times what his weaknesses were and he lied.  She got angry and threatened to leave until he finally told her the truth—that he can never cut his hair.  You can guess what happened next (if you don’t already know)…she sets him up for failure and has his head shaved. But God gives him one more chance to show his strength; and Samson grew his hair back once more.  At their wedding, he gets his revenge and kills all who are there by pushing the main pillars that hold the roof.  Over 1,000 died that night.

This world is so full of temptation and things that can take us so far from God and His will.  If we don’t stay so close to Him and constantly remain in the Word, we just might stray from Him.  This world is our temporary home. Heaven is our forever place!  When our eyes look at the things of this world, and we start to place value here on things like big houses and nice cars, we can lose our strength, too, and become weak.  But all we have to do is look up and we find grace.  God forgives us and gives us chance after chance.  He never gives up on us.

We all are sinners and we all fall short.  Instead of judging each other, let us pray for one another.  Let us love each other like Jesus has told us to.  That is the best way to show our love for Him.

What are you putting value in today?  I challenge you to really think about it. It is never too late…God is always waiting!

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Let us pray: Dear Father, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your only Son to die in our place.  Thank You for forgiveness and grace.  Lord, I pray for those today who are hurting, and for those who desperately need provision, and for those who need healing.  You are the One Who can do all things.  Nothing is too hard for You.  Comfort Your children today, Lord.  Give them hope and let them feel Your arms around them today!  We praise You and worship You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

CHRISTLife — Chapter 15: Knowing My Need

CLfridaygraphicBefore Christ, I was “spiritually dead, defiled, disobedient, and deceived.” I was “empty, enslaved, and self-willed.” Then at the age of six, I knelt at an altar of prayer, and those things were washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ. Yes, it’s true, I was all those ugly things. Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Romans 3:10, “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one;” No matter at what age you got saved, I know you are saying with me, “Praise God, He saved me from all of that and so much more!”

However, I am still needy. How about you? In our flesh we are still prone toward “doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21, ESV). As humans we still have our limitations, and we still sin. So we must continually “acknowledge our deep need for God and cast away our self-centered pride.” God can only work in us when we admit that we are His child, and as a child we are dependent on Him to care for us and help us in our weaknesses. Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” Even though we have many wonderful qualities, we can’t take personal credit and think too highly of ourselves. Instead, we must see that it is not by our works but by His mercy that we do anything good.

He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:5 NLT

If we never had any needs—emotionally, physically, psychologically, or spiritually—we would never realize just how needy we are for God. He created us for Himself. Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness….’”

Adam and Eve spent time in God’s presence. But as I think about them, I’m not sure they truly understood their need for Him until they had sinned and realized they weren’t “presentable” anymore.

When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He (Adam) replied, “I heard You walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”
Genesis 3:8-10 NLT

After God told Adam and Eve how their sin would affect their lives from then on, He forgave them and, through the sacrifice of animals (Genesis 3:21), He provided for their need. Life wasn’t easy (verses 22-24), but the good news is that it kept them humble and in relationship with Him.

For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise His own people.
Psalm 69:33 ESV

He stands beside the needy, ready to save them.
Psalm 109:31 NLT

The more we study God’s Word and spend time with Him, the more we will recognize our shortcomings and our great need for Him to reign in our lives. We will find our help is in the Lord, as God tells us in Isaiah 41:17-20, “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the Lord, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.”

As pride is gotten under control, God doesn’t want us to think too lowly of ourselves either. David said (Psalm 40:17 NLT) that even though he was needy—God was thinking about him! Please meditate on this Scripture because it shows us just how significant we actually are to our Father God. He is thinking about you and me!

Yes, we are needy. I know I personally need more love, more patience, more self-control, more—you name it. As I grow in God’s Word, I will see how He is providing for me, protecting me, guiding and guarding me. I will see more clearly how much He loves me. How about you? Have you taken time to see your needs? Have you looked into God’s Word to see how much He wants to help you? Do you know today that God loves you, my friend, and He wants only His best for you? That’s His message to you right now. Our Lord is saying to you, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).

May these Scriptures be your heart cry today:

The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord.
The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 29:19 NLT

Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to Your truth!
Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor You.
With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to Your name forever, for Your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.
Psalms 86:11-13 NLT

Whom have I in Heaven but You? I desire You more than anything on earth.
Psalm 73:25 NLT

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Dear Lord and Savior of our souls, thank You for loving us beyond our comprehension. Thank You for loving us enough to save us. Thank You for continuing to show us Your love by revealing to us our areas of weakness so we will repent, be forgiven, and become more like You. We acknowledge our need for You. May we always hunger and thirst for You, Lord, for You promise to answer us and never abandon us. We love You, Lord. In Jesus’ Precious and Holy Name, Amen.