“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 »

Pressing on and going forward Philippians 3:13-14 ( NKJV ) “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Forgiving and forgetting is the prerequisite to going forward. As we follow the example of the apostle Paul and echo his words of “this one thing I do,” let’s not miss the truth that in order to reach ahead and press forward it is at times necessary to forgive and forget the things of our past. Looking back keeps us from looking upward to God for help. Forgiving and forgetting are keys to true freedom in the Christian life. The hardest thing about being a Christian is keeping your eyes on God. We get so easily distracted in this fallen world. We need to have our mind set on the things that will glorifyContinue 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 »

The Bible is for you. It is a mirror into which we must gaze – to peer into our weaknesses and examine our flaws, turning the glass this way and that, so as to see every imperfection as God sees them. It will take courage; the journey will be long and the path very rocky, yet we must go on, lest we find ourselves mired hopelessly in quicksand and sinking farther every moment. And while we sink, we point our fingers at the travelers around us, and loudly proclaim that they too are sinking. We are desperate to escape notice as we sink ever lower. Do we even see the hand being held out to us, to raise us from the mire? Not many do; although the hand is held out to all who struggle. How many times do we read God’s Word, only to slam it shut after a few verses because we can’t take the heat – the guilty feeling that we are in no way worthy ofContinue 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 »

“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 »

“This time I will be blameless regarding the Philistines” – Judges 15: 3 With these words, Samson began a war with the powerful enemies of Israel- the Philistines. While we were told through his birth account (Judges 13) of the special mission Samson was to have, that of beginning the deliverance of Israel from Philistine domination, and the unusual explanation of his outburst to father (Judges 14: 4), wherein we are told that God works through the actions of Samson, that his actions are part of the Divine plan of salvation this declaration of innocence still seems curiously ill-fitting to the events. In Judges 14 we read of Samson’s wedding feast, a proposed riddle and wager, and how the men of Timnah cheated on the wager. After settling accounts, Samson storms off to his home without his bride. This prompts her father to give her away to the “best man” of the wedding to avoid the shame of a broken marriage contract. In Judges 15:1-2, we read how Samson isContinue reading »

“He hoisted them and carried them to the top of the ridge. . .” Judges 16:3   In a famous account, Samson visits a harlot of the city of Gaza. The Philistines, his enemies, plan to attack him when he is finished with his “business”. But, while the guards are sleeping in their chambers, secure in the knowledge that Samson will be “busy” all night, Samson awakens and leaves the girl. He approaches one of the city gates and lifts the doors out of their sockets and carries them toward Hebron, the city where David was first crowned King of Israel. A fantastic bit of folklore? Not hardly. Archaeology and biomechanics have shown that this feat could have been performed by a powerfully built man like Samson. But, what is the significance of this short notice? It gives us an insight to what kind of man Samson truly was. People through the ages have remembered him in glorious battles with the Philistines; at the blood-soaked fields of Ramath-Lehi or pulling down theContinue reading »

Truth is eternal. It never dies; no — truth lives on and channels with solid motions in free flow, fluid movements. Precise motions are its signature style. How many ages have folks sought to stop truth? Have they succeeded? No. It’s impossible to stop truth. Hinder it — yes. Distort it — yes. Hide it — yes. Stop it — never! Hunger and thirst for pure truth. Certainly it can fill. The pursuit of truth is forever a worthy exercise. Satisfying beyond any and all — yes, that is truth. Embrace it — possess it — cleave to it and witness the rewards that stream marvelously from stands of truth. It’s not a weakling. Love is contained in truth. Power is contained in truth. Freedom is contained in truth. Yet, truth itself cannot be contained. It overflows from the fountain of living waters, God Almighty. Jeremiah 17:13 – KJV, “. . . the fountain of living waters.” Truth springs up with its appearances of splendor and magnificence. It’s stunning toContinue reading »

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2 34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25: 34-36 A few months ago I took my car to get new tires. While we waited for the car to be ready, my husband and I walked next door the Burger King to have lunch. There were no other customers eating in at the time, as it was about 2 pm on a Friday afternoon. As we were finishing up, aContinue reading »

“For God shows no partiality” -Romans 2:11 Have any of you heard this phrase? “I don’t have to outrun the bear-just outrun you”. It’s a funny saying, but yet it means much more than we realize. We don’t have to outrun the ultimate means of our demise-sin-we just have to be faster than the person next to us. I propose that this is how many people view morality today. We don’t have to outrun evil. We just have to be better, faster, more good, more pious, than the next person. We all can sigh with relief because we aren’t Dahmers or bin Ladens or the like, even if we do dabble around in sin a bit. We are decent people just trying to good for ourselves. If I am being as good as I can be, that’s enough-right? The road map that is Romans takes us down the path we wander as humans in chapters 2 and 3. He brings to light an issue that nobody gives much voice to;Continue reading »