“They Broke the Jaws of Lions” – Hebrews 11: 33   Samson and Hercules, names that have become synonymous with physical power and prowess, each had to face hard choices because of the very aspect which set them apart from other men; their strength. With each of them, it is written that their first act was to slay a lion, showing that they are ready to undertake their missions. It was also the first decision which they had to make regarding their strength. Samson did not have to engage the lion in the vineyards of Timnah nor did Hercules have to fight the Cithaeron Lion, who was terrorizing the region. But, they chose to engage these beasts, not out of masculine bravado but out of a choice to use the gifts which were given to them. This type of choice followed them throughout their lives. They could have avoided conflict, lived in peace, and let other men handle the problems. They did not- they embraced the challenges set before them. Continue reading »

“the ropes around his arms. . . melted” – Judges 15:14   Like the powerful Samson, we often find ourselves in positions where we are overwhelmed- bound and restrained by life’s demands and every way we turn we are halted or obstructed. We are limited by the knots, sometimes endless snarls of complications, in our lives. Samson was given the power by God and through the Spirit to burst any bond or rope that was put upon him. Samson’s power and gifts were matchless throughout history. However, we are not without resources and gifts. The power of God is always stronger than the tangles of life. It does not matter the size or gravity of the knots, for as the prayer says- “in your hands there is no knot which can not be undone”

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” said my neighbor. He had spoken to me about his recent troubles and I had gently suggested that God could help him, if he would look to Him for help. „There’s nothing you get for free in this life. You’ve got to work for it. And God’s not going to do it for you.” Of course God does expect us to be faithful and do what we can do, but there are limits. There are things you cannot possibly work for. Things that can only be received and God specializes in those things. *** I once walked past a little shop on the edge of town and saw a man who was trying to wash the shop window. That was certainly a good idea, for the whole window seemed caked with dirt, but whatever he did, the window stayed dirty. He scratched behind his ears. He didn’t understand. Maybe some new cleaning products and hot water would help. He furiously scrubbed andContinue reading »

We don’t always seem to listen to the right voices and because of that, it does happen that we get ourselves stuck in the brambles, just like the stubborn, lost sheep that Jesus talked about in the Bible. There you are. Stuck, lonely and surrounded by thorns. Is there a way out? With Jesus, there is always hope. *** A father and a son were once running a very successful company. The father was just and wise and had organized his business with great skill and had gotten rich. He trained his son in all the ways of the business and had great hopes that his son would take over the company when he retired. And although the father and the son were very close, still the son sometimes resisted his father’s oversight. Now it so happened that the father had a very mean competitor. This man was shrewd and selfish and he would grab any opportunity to further his own cause, no matter how much pain and hardship itContinue reading »

Living for Christ Colossians 3:2-4 (NKJV) “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Before you came to Christ you were living the way the world lives. You did things as the world did things. It was not until you came to Christ that your life made a complete change. Before becoming Christians we all came from different backgrounds. Some of us were at our worst end, and didn’t know where to turn. Some of us like the apostle Paul were drawn In by God. Some of us grew up in the church knowing Christ. But, it makes no difference how we came into the Kingdom of God. But it makes all the difference in the world that we start growing in Christ because we have begun a new transform life when we accepted Christ in our lives.Continue reading »

Ed is packing his tweed overnight bag for his regular weekend trip to Atlantic City, New Jersey to play his favorite game, black jack, at the Bravo casino. Sylvia stands in the door with her bed head hair donned in plaid robe and well-worn slippers. Deep disappointment is etched on her plump face. “Not again, Ed,” she whimpers. Sylvia knows he’s headed to gamble, a “hobby” that has almost ruined their once stable union. It has put a huge dent in their budget, as well. Sheepishly, Ed responds, “I’ve got to win back my losses from the last few times that I played, Sylvia. Don’t you remember, babe, that I sometimes win?” “Actually, I remember the odds and they stack up to — mostly, you lose, which adds up to — we lose, Ed.” Ed winks. “But when I win, I win big, don’t I — don’t we?” Sylvia responds with disgust. “In the WHOLE of the matter, Ed, you’re not even breaking even. You know it, and I knowContinue reading »

“If your people Israel. . .return to you” – I Kings 8:33 These are among the words Solomon used to dedicate the new Temple in Jerusalem. A recurring theme in the powerful prayer is that YHWH, God of Israel, will always accept those who return to Him in faith. This is part of the constant and steadfast love God has for His people. It is always there, always ready to protect and save. He rejects no one who comes to Him in faith or “repentance”. Repentance, it does occur easily for people. Literally, it means to turn around. However, this Latin understanding does not present the true connotations which Solomon knew and what he knew of his people, over whom he reigned. The Israelites were often called a “stiff-necked” people throughout the Bible. One must remember, the Hebrew language is very image oriented, it is concrete and graphic. This description depicted the Israelites as people who would not or could not make the effort to turn to God and completely renounce theContinue reading »

2 Corinthians 2:10 – 11 (NKJV) “10Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” The devil will take advantage of anyone who refuses to forgive someone. Holding on to unforgiveness makes us vulnerable to his attacks. The devil uses the unforgiveness that we have for others as a pathway to his right to work in our lives. We cannot receive forgiveness from God unless we forgive others. By not holding on to unforgiveness, some of the worries and pressure of life are gone. When you retain unforgiveness you are in bondage. Only when you get rid of the unforgiveness in your life that you can have that genuine peace that you get from only Jesus. When you deal with your unforgiveness God’s blessings are more abundant and your struggles in life are much easier. YouContinue reading »

We live in a material world. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, there’s nothing we can do about it. However, living in the world is not the same as letting the world live in us. John tells us: “The world and the lust thereof passeth away, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” This world as it is today is not our final resting place. *** The other day, when I was laden with care and anxiety, I fled into a beautiful forest to find rest and repose, and sat down at a babbling brook. “Lord, sometimes it gets too much,” I prayed. But while I was sitting there, I noticed these little flies that hovered over the water. They caught my interest. They seemed to be happily playing and dancing over the waters, blissfully unaware of the weightier matters of this world. Then, I noticed that some of them dove into the moving stream and took a refreshing bath, but all the while they keptContinue reading »

“the Kingdom of God will be . . . given to a nation that will yield a rich harvest” – Matthew 21:43 The entire ministry of Jesus was to establish the Kingdom of God. While many thought that this meant some sort of earthly kingdom in which their oppressors will be overthrown, Jesus was bringing about a new Kingdom with His Resurrection. Jesus was bringing about a Kingdom the entry of which was not based on culture, birthright, or geography- but on FAITH. The Kingdom to which Jesus referred was the abode of God, His Father’s house. However, there is more to His phrase, “Kingdom of God”. Through the development of the Aramaic Biblical texts the term “kingdom” was used to translate a cluster of words; power, dominion, authority, and other similar terms. Therefore, Jesus was teaching us that our entry into the Kingdom was, in reality, our acceptance of the Sovereign authority of God. This is why Jesus would say things like, “the Kingdom of God is at hand”,Continue reading »

“And wrestled with him until the break of dawn” – Genesis 32:25 As the Bible narrates how the family of Abraham came to establish Israel, we read an unusual story of Jacob, father of the 12 men that would become the progenitors of the 12 Tribes of Israel, wrestling with an angel or a Divine messenger. The “man” engaged Jacob and, although sent by God, Jacob struggled and was not defeated. For this Jacob was renamed “Israel”, meaning “one who contends with God”. This short narrative has long puzzled interpreters of the Bible. However, it is very consistent with God’s overall relationship with His people. Could the Divine messenger have defeated the human Jacob? It would seem certain. However, the text seems to suggest a greater purpose than just matching power. The encounter occurs in a border area, Penuel. Therefore, Jacob had to overcome Divine resistance, a test of worthiness, before he could enter the Promised Land. The Lord testing the faith of His people, in the wilderness or withContinue reading »