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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Wed, 1/9/2013

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, PLUS, Wed, 1/9/2013

Goooooooooooooooooood Morning Everyone!

Judges 13:1-25
A JUDGE IS BORN, Lesson 16b

THE ARRANGEMENTS OF SAMSON’S BIRTH
v. 3 It Involved A Miracle – God came to an unnamed barren woman and promised to open her womb. In that society barrenness was considered a curse. Barren women carried a shame and a stigma that we cannot begin to imagine. Barrenness was often seen as the judgment of God against a home.

In that culture, every young woman wanted the same thing. They all wanted to be a mother who would bear many sons for their husbands. And, they all wanted to be the woman through whom God would send the Messiah. To be barren crushed both those dreams.

To be barren in that culture meant that a woman was always exposed to the danger of being divorced by a husband who wanted sons. It meant that when her husband died, she would be alone and destined to a life of poverty. No man would willingly marry a woman who was known to be barren. It was a hard, harsh life.

Yet, God came to this unnamed woman and promised her that she would have a baby. He promised her that she would have a son. And, He promised her that her son would be a Judge in Israel. What a promise she received!

The fact that God would send a baby to be the leader of His people is amazing when you stop to think about it. Babies are weak. Babies are helpless. Babies are absolutely dependent upon adults for all their needs. Yet, when God has a great work to do, He often sends a baby into the world through which God will accomplish His work.

That is God’s way, (1 Cor. 1:26-28). When God chose to commence His wonderful plan of salvation, he sent Isaac to Abraham and Sarah, (Gen. 21:3). When He would deliver Israel from Egypt, He sent Moses to Amram and Jochebed, (Ex. 6:20). When God would revive a spiritually dead Israel, He sent Samuel to Hannah and Elkanah, (1 Sam. 1). When the time came to save the world from sin, God sent Jesus to Mary and Joseph, (Luke 2:7).

One more thought before we move along. This passage reminds us that God cares about people the world sees as nobodies. Manoah and his wife were just two unknown people living out their lives in Israel. God knew who they were and He knew what they needed and what they wanted.

He knows about you too! You may think no one cares about you and about what you face in life. That may be true from a human perspective, but there is a God in Heaven Who has His eye on your life. He is intimately aware of your circumstances and He cares about you. In His time, He will reveal His plans for you and your life. ( Matt. 10:29-31; Matt. 6:25-22; Heb. 4:15-16; 1 Pet. 5:7).

v. 4-5, 14 It Involved A Mandate – The woman is commanded to abstain from wine, strong drink and from anything unclean. She is then told that her son is to “be a Nazarite unto God from the womb”. This command is repeated to Manoah in verse 14.

The Nazarite vow can be found in Num. 6:1-8. This vow was a voluntary vow that could be made by a man or a woman. While this vow was in effect, they were wholly dedicated to the Lord. This vow was usually taken for a short period of time, typically 30 days, while they performed some sort of special service for the Lord. The Apostle Paul took part in the Nazarite vow on at least two occasions, (Acts 18:18; 21:23-24).
Some people were bound by the Nazarite vow for their whole lives. Among those were Samuel, (1 Sam. 1:11), and John the Baptist, (Luke 1:13-15; Matt. 3:1-4; 11:18).

Samson was to be a Nazarite from his mother’s womb. That is, his entire life was to be consecrated to the Lord. He was never to eat the fruit of the vine, drink wine or strong drink. He was never to touch a dead body. He was never to cut his hair or shave his beard.

As we will see, Samson violated nearly every part of his oath! Samson knew the code, but he never got the concept. Samson never got the idea that the Nazarite vow was not merely from some things, but it was “unto” the Lord. He was to separate himself from those forbidden things and “unto God” alone.

Let’s not be too hard on Samson. A lot of believers never get it either. We know the code, but we fail to grasp the concept.

When the Lord saved us, He purchased us unto Himself, (1 Cor. 6:19-20). We are His property. Essentially, we are His slaves to do with as He sees fit. We have no rights. We have no freedom. We have are to have no will but His will. We are to be separated “unto” the Lord.

Like Samson, we have trouble living that kind of life. Like Samson, we continually defile ourselves with the forbidden things of the world. And, like it was with Samson, there will be a price to pay for our wickedness!

v. 5 It Involved A Ministry – The baby that was coming into the family of Manoah and his wife would be the next Judge of Israel. We would have never thought about sending a baby to deliver a nation. We would have selected a full grown man, a military man, trained to fight and hardened by battle. That’s not what God did. He chose to send a baby to be a Judge.

By the way parents, that’s why raising your children is so important. You never know who God sent into your home! Give those children every spiritual advantage so they become the men and women God sent them here to be. Raise them for the glory of God! It’s the least you can do for them. It’s the least you can do for the Lord!

TODAY’S VERSE!
John 4:23 (New International Version (NIV)

23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.


TODAY’S HYMN!
“O Worship The King” By Robert Grant(1833)

1. O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing God's power and God's love;
our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

2. O tell of God's might, O sing of God's grace,
whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
whose chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
and dark is God's path on the wings of the storm.

3. The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, thy power hath founded of old;
hath stablished it fast by a changeless decree,
and round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.

4. Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
it streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

5. Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
in thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail;
thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.


TODAY’S PRAYER!
Most High Father, Most Holy God. Help us to forgive our earthly fathers for anything they did or did not do that was wrong. Show us if there is anything we have not forgiven that we are not seeing. As Your child, we long to make You proud. Help us to always do what is pleasing in your sight. We want to be separated from all that would keep us from You. Thank You that we have been predestined to be adopted as Your children because it gives You pleasure and it is Your will. We praise and honor You as our Father God. We thank You always for all things, but especially four Your great love, for Jesus, for the Holy Spirit, and for Your Word which is Truth. These thing we pray in the glorious name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen!

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ANHELIC 1/9/2013 9:27PM

    Thank you Vic for another great lesson, hymn and prayer. I am grateful that God allowed me to have one daughter. I was happy for her as she was raised in a Christian home. Thank you for the goodie and note. God bless you for teaching us new lessons every day.

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BABY_GIRL69 1/9/2013 3:45PM

    Thank you Brother Vic! Once again you have cut up our meat for us so that we can digest it perfectly....

God bless & keep you!

Dee

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TONYVAND1 1/9/2013 2:32PM

  Forgive as we have been forgiven.

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JLLOVETT 1/9/2013 11:31AM

    I am God's bond servant and serve Him willingly! Yes, Jesus!
I am proud I live in a country where that declaration can be made publicly!!!


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LOOKINGUP2012 1/9/2013 9:52AM

    emoticon Thank you. Waiting to do His will. emoticon

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LINDAMARIEZ1 1/9/2013 8:09AM

    not all better today but I am inging! daughters surgery went well! thank you for your teachings! emoticon

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RSSSLHB 1/9/2013 8:06AM

    emoticon Vic emoticon

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EDITOR 1/9/2013 6:56AM

    This is so good, Vic! Thank you, What every woman wanted is also what I wanted. I do have 2 daughters out of 4 pregnancies. I wanted 4 daughters. Came close. I praise God for His blessings! I do recall, with great silliness this morning, a Mick Jagger song, "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

Childbirth and losses taught me to worship the One who is worthy. It is interesting to see how you relate to women and men alike. May God continue to give you the ability to be, "All things to all men," as beloved Paul had to.



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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Tue, 1/8/2013

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, PLUS, Tue, 1/8/2013

Goooooooooooooooooood Morning Everyone!

Judges 13:1-25
A JUDGE IS BORN, Lesson 16a

Today we begin a study of the last major judge mentioned in the book of Judges. His name is Samson and he is a walking contradiction.

Samson was a man destined for greatness. As we will see in this message, before he was born Samson was chosen for a great mission by God. His life is marked by great victories and by even greater failures. He was a man used by the Holy Spirit, but utterly ruled by the flesh. Samson was the strongest man who ever lived, yet he was also the weakest. Samson was dedicated to God before his birth, but dedicated to himself until the day of his death. In the end, his weaknesses overcame all the strengths in his life.

Samson’s life is a sad tale of the consequences of demanding your own way. Samson had a weakness for ungodly women. He pursued that weakness with reckless abandon, until God abandoned him to the way he chose to live his life. Though the Lord worked in his life, Samson was determined to pursue his sin and he reaped the consequences of the decisions he made in life.

We can learn much from this puzzling man. In Heb. 11:32 Samson is mentioned as a man of faith. Yet his life clearly displays his unfaithfulness. Samson was undisciplined, undependable, and unpredictable. He is a good illustration of James 1:8, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Samson is a good example of what a believer should not be. Yet, I fear that he represents many of us in our own walk with the Lord.

As we follow the life of Samson through all the victories and failures that marked it, let the Lord speak to your heart. It may just be that you will see some weakness that dominates your life. It may be that you will see yourself reflected in the mirror of Samson’s life.

Let’s begin by noticing the details surrounding the birth of Samson. I want to teach from this chapter on the subject “A Judge Is Born”.

THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF SAMSON’S BIRTH
v. 2-5 It Came As A Heavenly Announcement – A barren woman, the wife of a man named Manoah, was visited by the Angel of the Lord. She was told that she would give birth to a son. This promise was later confirmed to her husband, (vv. 8-14). Samson’s mother is told that he will be used of the Lord to deliver Israel from their enemies, (v. 5).

Who is this “Angel of the Lord”? We have every reason to believe that this is a pre-Bethlehem, pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 18, Manoah asks the Angel about His name. the Angel replies that His name is “secret”. This is the same word that is translated “wonderful” in Isa. 9:6! So, this is a “Christophany”. Jesus Christ steps out of eternity and into time to bring good news to a hopeless couple.
This is not the only time Jesus showed up in the Old Testament. A few more of His “Christophanies” are:

He appeared to Hagar, (Gen. 16:7-14, Gen. 21:16-20).
He appeared to Abraham, (Gen.18:10; Gen.18:17, Gen. 22:11).
He appeared to Jacob, (Gen. 28:12-15, Gen. 32:24-30).
He appeared to Moses, (Exod. 3:4-5, Exod. 23:20, Exod. 33:22).
He appeared to Joshua,(Josh. 5:13-15).
He appeared to Gideon, (Judg. 6:11-24).
He appeared to Samson's parents, (Judg. 13).
He appeared to Isaiah, (Isa. 6:1-13).
He appeared to the three Hebrews, (Dan. 3:24-25).
He appeared to Daniel, (Dan. 6:21-22, Dan. 7:13-14, Dan. 10:5-6).
He appeared to Zechariah, (Zech. 1:8-13; 2:8-11; 3:10; 6:12-15).

Samson’s birth notice was not the only one to come directly from Heaven. Abraham learned about Isaac through such an announcement, (Gen. 17:19). So did Zacharias, when the angel came and told him about the impending birth of John the Baptist, (Luke 1:13). Mary and Joseph learned that Jesus Christ was coming through a similar method, (Luke 1:31; Matt. 1:20-21). As Warren Weirsbe said, “When God wants to do something really great in His world, He doesn’t send an army but an angel.” I don’t know about you, but I am thankful that our God knows exactly what we need, and He knows just when to send it.

Another reason we know this angel was the Lord Himself is because He received the worship of Manoah and his wife, and He accepted the sacrifice they offered to God, (vv. 19-21). Manoah’s declaration in verse 22 is also revealing. That fact is the Lord Himself came and made the announcement of the impending birth of the next Judge of Israel!

By the way, I love the reaction of Manoah and his wife. When she hears what the angel has to say, the first thing she does is run to tell her husband, (v. 6-7). When he hears her story, he does not say, “Woman, you’ve lost your mind!” The first thing he does is call on the Lord and he asks the Lord to send the angel again, (v. 8).

This indicates to me that Manoah and his wife have a good, strong marriage. It is sad when couples allow heartache and bitterness to steal their love one for another. Your best friend in the world, outside God Almighty, should be your spouse!

It Came As A Hopeful Announcement – According to verse 1, Israel had once again turned their backs on the Lord. Because of their sins, God allowed them to be oppressed by their enemies. This sad situation has been going on for 40 years. The announcement of the birth of a deliverer, (v. 5), was a welcomed word for the nation of Israel. They were reminded that God had not forgotten His people. They were reminded that God had a plan to revive them and to restore them to His favor.

By the way, God always has a plan! It may look to us like the world is spinning out of control. But, that is just how things look. God has a plan and He is always busy accomplishing that plan for His glory. You can trust Him to what’s right and to do what’s best, (Rom. 8:28).

TODAY’S VERSE!
Romans 8:26 (New International Version (NIV)

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Listen To Our Hearts” By Jeff Moore & Steven C, Chapman (1992)

Verse 1: How do you explain, How do you describe, A love that goes from east to west, And runs and deep as it is wide?
You know all our hopes Lord, you know all our fears And words cannot express the love we feel But we long for You to hear

Chorus:
So listen to our hearts (oh, Lord, please listen)Hear our spirits sing (and hear us sing)A song of praise that flows (a simple song of praise)From those You have redeemed (from those You have redeemed)We will use the words we know To tell You what an awesome God You are But words are not enough To tell You of our love So listen to our hearts

Verse 2: If words could fall like rain From these lips of mine And if I had a thousand years I would still run out of time
So if You listen to my heart Every beat would say, "Thank You for the Life, thank You for the Truth, thank You for the Way."

Chorus:


TODAY’S PRAYER!
Most Wonderful and Loving Father, thank You that You have given us the mind of Christ, and because of that, we can learn and know the things we need to understand Your Word and the Way of life. Thank You Jesus for the way, the truth and the life. Thank You Holy Spirit of truth, that You fill us with The God’s truth and grant us understanding. Without You we would not be able to see the truth. Keep us deceived and enable us to hear Your voice above all others so we can always distinguish truth from lies. Guide us with Your counsel and unto Your glory. Give us what we need in order to make right decisions and right choices. Lead us always in the way of truth. This we pray and ask in Jesus’ blessed name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 1/8/2013 10:50PM

    Thank you Vic for a great lesson, hymn and prayer. What an awesome God we serve knowing that this world, even though it is in termoil at times, God still has everything under control and we patiently await Jesus' return. God leads us in a direction that is best and we must listen to Him and follow. Thank you Vic for the goodie and note. Sending you God's richest blessing for your teachings.

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EDITOR 1/8/2013 3:03PM

    Firstly, Vic, thank you for the goodie and note.

I give thanks that you posted how Christ made appearances, pre-Bethlehem! Oh, that people could see Christ revealed from Genesis to Revelation! I also pray that people see themselves as God wills them to be used mightily with purpose. Sampson served a purpose, despite his weaknesses of the flesh, and his last words were to call to the Lord to remember him. Remember that someone is always praying to the Lord and He is ever listening to answer.



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RSSSLHB 1/8/2013 12:07PM

    emoticon emoticon

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TONYVAND1 1/8/2013 10:29AM

  Like Manoah my best friend is my wife. We serve The Lord together.

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LOOKINGUP2012 1/8/2013 8:37AM

    MAy God be glorified in every decision we make today! I loved how she ran for her husband with good news, the opposite of Eve bringing her husband to temptation. And the husband was wise to ask for conformation! Excellent story.

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FOLLOOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Mon, 1/7/2012

Monday, January 07, 2013

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, PLUS, Mon, 1/7/1213

A BLESSED MONDAY MORNING TO EVERYONE!

Judges 11:29-40
BE CAREFUL LITTLE MOUTH WHAT YOU SAY, Lesson 15d

v. 34-40 JEPHTHAH’S VIGILANCE

The battle is over and the victory is secured. Jephthah returns home as a conquering hero. I am sure the vow he made to the Lord was fresh in his mind. He fully intended to carry out his vow. Among other things, Jephthah was a man of his word and he would not fail to do all that he promised to the Lord. Let’s watch this man as he fulfills his promises to God.

v. 34-35a Jephthah’s Pain – When he arrives home, the first person who comes out to meet him is his daughter. She is his only child. She comes out to greet her father with songs of celebration because of the victory the Lord had given to His people. She is excited that her father has returned home safe, and that he is a hero. How appropriate that this young lady should be filled with pride and come out to greet her father.

When Jephthah sees her, his heart is broken. He has promised to give up “whatsoever cometh forth of the doors” of his house “to meet” him when he returned home, (v. 31).

He sees his only child coming to meet him, his precious daughter, and it breaks his heart because he knows what he has to do to her, and he fully intends to do it.

He tears his clothes in a sign of mourning and cries “Alas! My daughter…” the word “alas” is an expression of pain. It is the same as crying “Oh!” in the midst of a tragedy. Then he tells her that she has “brought” him “very low”. This phrase means “to bring one to his knees.” The thought of what he must do to his own daughter fills Jephthah with grief. The life is forced out of him. The thrill of his victory vanishes completely away and he is left with the searing pain of loss, and the overwhelming agony of loss. Imagine what you would feel like if it were you and your only child!
v. 35b Jephthah’s Problem – When Jephthah sees his daughter, he tells her that he has made a vow concerning her. Jephthah knows that vow made to the Lord must be fulfilled. Apparently, Jephthah is a man of his word.

Jephthah’s actions should speak to us today. We should also be a people of our word. When we tell someone we will do something, we should do it. When we tell someone we will be somewhere at a given time, we should be there. We should always do what we say we are going to do regardless of the personal cost or inconvenience.

There was a time in our nation when a person’s word was their bond. Business deals were made, livestock was traded, and crops were sold all on a good word and a handshake. There was a time when people said what they meant, meant what they said and did what they promised. Those days are passed!

No, you have to have a contract signed by both parties. That contract has to be notarized and filed with the courts. A person’s word is no longer taken at face value and people cover themselves so that they can sue when someone reneges on a deal.
That should never be true of a child of God! When we give our word, we ought to be a people of our word. We ought to say what we mean, mean what we say and stand by our promises. This is especially true when the Person to Whom we have made our vow is the Lord.

We are to be a people marked by truth! Eph 4:25 says, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.” Col 3:9 says, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.”
v. 36-40 Jephthah’s Performance – Jephthah’s daughter encourages her father to do all that he has promised the Lord he would do. She only asks for some time to mourn her virginity. This girl was willing to make a huge sacrifice to help her father honor his vow to the Lord. She willingly gave up the joy of becoming a wife and mother. She sacrificed the dream of every Israelite girl that was the dream of giving birth to the Messiah. She sacrificed her dreams to help her father fulfill his vow to God.

She goes away with her friends for two months and they “bewailed her virginity”. That is, they mourned with her that she would never be a wife or a mother. When she returned home, her father fulfilled his vow to the Lord and did with her the thing he promised to do. After that, v. 39 tells us that “she knew no man”. And her friends came every year for “four days” to “lament the daughter of Jephthah”, (v. 40).

Now, here is the question: did Jephthah really offer his daughter up as a burnt offering to the Lord? Or, is there some other explanation for these events? This has been a hotly debated issue among theologians for thousands of years. Many good men believe that Jephthah offered his daughter up as a burnt offering to the Lord. Of course, other equally great men teach that he fulfilled his vow by dedicating his daughter to serve in the Tabernacle for the rest of her life.

Personally, I do not believe that Jephthah offered his daughter as a burnt offering. I lean toward the second interpretation. I believe that he dedicated her to serve the Lord at the Tabernacle. I believe that she remained there all her days. I believe that she remained a virgin all her life and gave herself to the will of the Lord.

Here are the reasons why I believe this is the correct interpretation.

The language Jephthah uses in verse 31 is ambiguous. He says “Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” The word “whatsoever” suggests that he did not know who or what he would see first. So, it was a rash vow.

Then, when he says, “…shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” The word “and” can also be translated as “or”. This means that if it is a person he meets, he will dedicate that person to the Lord. If it is an animal that he sees first, he will offer that animal as a burnt offering.

God would never have approved of, or accepted, a burnt offering. Jephthah would have known about Abraham and Isaac,( Gen. 22), and how the Lord intervened and prevented Abraham from actually offering up Isaac as a burnt offering. He would have known the various teachings in the Law that prevented human sacrifice,( Lev. 18:21; Lev. 20:1-5; Deut. 12:30-31; Deut. 18:9-12). God would not have honored a human sacrifice, and it would be doubtful that a man guilty of such a despicable crime would be listed among the “Heroes of the Faith” in Heb. 11:32.

While the days of the judges were a lawless time, I cannot conceive of how the men of Israel would allow Jephthah sacrifice his own daughter. When Saul made a rash vow and threatened to kill Jonathon his son, his own soldiers intervened and stopped him from killing Jonathan, (1 Sam. 14:24-46).

Where would he have offered the sacrifice? God only accepted sacrifices offered at the Tabernacle, (Lev. 17:1-9). God only accepted sacrifices offered up by Levitical priests, (Deut. 16:2, 6, 11, 16). No priest would have participated in such a wicked sacrifice. Even if he had taken his daughter to Shiloh to sacrifice her, any priest there would have told him that he could spare his daughter by redeeming her for a sum of money, (Lev. 27:1-8).

I think it stands to reason that Jephthah gave his daughter to the Lord to serve in the Tabernacle with the other women who served there, (Ex. 38:8; 1 Sam. 2:22). She remained a virgin for the rest of her life, (v. 39). Every year, her friends came and spent four days with her helping her mourn for her unmarried, childless condition, (v. 40). The word “lament” has the idea of “recounting, of telling again; of celebrating”. It is doubtful that they would gather to celebrate a sinful act, which it would have been had she been offered as a burnt offering by Jephthah. If she was going to die, why would she spend two months prolonging that the agony of knowing that her death was coming?

Jephthah’s daughter joins Isaac as a picture of the submissive, obedient child. She sacrificed family and motherhood to honor her father. By the way, Jephthah’s daughter proves that it is harder to live for the Lord than to die for Him,( Rom. 12:1).
Jephthah sacrificed too. Jephthah saw his line come to an end. There would be no grandchildren because he gave his daughter to serve the Lord all her days.

Of course, there is the possibility that I could be wrong. He might have offered his daughter as a burnt offering! Here is Martin Luther’s blunt statement, “One would like to think that he did not sacrifice her, but the text clearly says that he did.”

Conc: The fact is, we will never settle the issue of what actually happened to Jephthah’s daughter until we arrive home in glory. So then, what can we take away from this passage? There are a few lessons here that we need to take to heart today.

We must be a people characterized by the truth. Let it never be said that any child of God every failed to keep his or her word.

Vows made to God are sacred. They must be kept. Be careful what you promise God. He will expect you to fulfill every promise to the letter, (Deut. 23:21-23; Num. 30:2; Psalm 34:13; Eccl. 5:4-6). Be aware that you will pay every vow you make to God! Be very careful not to make rash promises to God. You will be called on to fulfill those vows.
It is always evil to fulfill an evil vow. While God expects us to do what we say, He does not expect us to violate His Law in the process. It is a sinful thing to make a vow that involves evil, and it would be even more evil to actually carry it out. If Jephthah had promised to sacrifice his daughter, God would not have accepted that vow, and he would have never expected him to fulfill it.

Never try to strike a bargain with God. Your plan will not change His plan. Regardless of what you offer Him it will not change His mind about what He plans to do. Our God is sovereign and He will not be coerced into anything that is not part of His perfect plan! We are to walk by faith and trust the Lord to do with us as He pleases. Don’t bargain, simply obey!

If the Lord has spoken to you about your honesty and about the vows you have made to Him, you ought to come before Him and deal with that today. Remember that vow to love Him, serve Him and obey Him forever? How’s that going for you? Remember that vow to honor Him with your life and income? How’s that coming along? Listen to Him and do what He is telling you to do today.

TODAY’S VERSE!
Hebrews 10:23-24 (New International Version (NIV)

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,

TODAY’S HYMN!
“In His Presence” By Dick and Melodie Tunney (1988)

In His presence there is comfort,
In His presence there is peace.
When we seek the Father's heart
We will find such blessed assurance,
In the presence of the Lord.
(Repeat)

Cover me, Lord, with Your presence.

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Heavenly Father, Beloved God! We worship You each day with all our hearts, mind, soul and strength. You are closer to us than our earthly fathers. Thank You for caring so much for us, for what happens to us. You provide for us, You teach us, You plan for us our future, You supply all our needs and You love us in spite of our failures. You never let us get away with disobedience and chastise us. Thank You for giving us the inheritance for loving You and following Jesus. You alone, O God, are our inheritance and our cup of blessings. We love You because You are our God and we give You all praise, glory and honor. It is Jesus’ blessed name the we pray. Amen!

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ANHELIC 1/8/2013 12:09AM

    Thank you Vic for a great lesson, hymn and prayer. I too believe that the daughter was offered up as a servent, not a sacrifice. I love your prayer, it covered everything God is to us and I feel so secure knowing His love for us.

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SUNSETBREEZE05 1/7/2013 10:45AM

    I love "Today's Prayer". Thanks Vic you are the best!!

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TONYVAND1 1/7/2013 9:22AM

  We know from other Scriptures that God detested the sacrafising of children and so I agree with you Vic that she was offered as a servant of the Lord in the tabernacle for the rest of her life. Thanks or sharing this morning.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 1/7/2013 8:53AM

    I love how he comforts us all! amen!

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RSSSLHB 1/7/2013 8:25AM

    emoticon for praying Vic emoticon

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sun, 1/6/2013

Sunday, January 06, 2013

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, PLUS, Sun, 1/6/1213

A B:LESSED MORNING EVERYONE!

Judges 11:29-40
BE CAREFUL LITTLE MOUTH WHAT YOU SAY, Lesson 15c

v. 32-33 JEPHTHAH’S VICTORY

When the children of Israel faced the Ammonites on the field of battle, Israel carried the day. They defeated their enemy and won a great victory. A couple of thoughts regarding that victory are in order here.

v. 32 It Was A Divine Victory – The battle was waged and the victory was won. The children of Ammon were defeated because the Lord “delivered” them up to the Israelites. It was a divine victory and God was given all the glory.

v. 33 It Was A Decisive Victory – The language of this verse tells us how complete this victory was. We are told that Jephthah “smote” the Ammonites. This word means “to strike, smite, hit, beat, slay, kill”. We are told that Jephthah “smote” them with “a great slaughter”. This phrase refers to “a great blow, wound, beating, or conquest.” It has the idea of being “overcome with a plague”. The children of Israel swept down on the Ammonites and cut them down like a plague. It was an astounding and complete victory.

Just as reminder let me say that our God can still give His people great and decisive victories in this life. He is still defeating enemies and overcoming all foes so that we can experience his power and deliverance in our lives. Regardless of what you might be facing today, the Lord can give you victory over it for His glory!

I would encourage you to remember that any victories we might enjoy in this life are divine in origin. They come to us through God because of our relationship with His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Cor. 15:57).

When there is victory over some sin, over some enemy, over some difficult period of life, we should always be quick to praise the Lord and thank Him for the victory. If victory came our way, it came to us through Him, and He deserves all the glory for it! We should never take any credit for any of the victories in our lives. ( Rom. 8:37; 2 Cor. 2:14).

TODAY’S VERSE!
John 6:33 (New International Version (NIV)
33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Jesus The Bread of Life” By (me) Victor Leon, Jr. (1985)

1.Near the Sea of Galilee, a great crowd of people came,
To see the Son of Good, and His glorious fame;
With thirsty hungering souls, in search of truth and life,
The people gathered ‘round Jesus the Bread of Life.
The people gathered ‘round Jesus the Bread of Life.

2.With just five barley loaves, and only two small fish;
And a great love for them, He served a wondrous dish;
Five thousand ate that day, till all had their fill,
Fed by the Bread of God, and His amazing will.
Fed by the Bread of God, and His amazing will.

3.A bread more precious than, all the silver and gold,
Is the gracious gift of God, to all hungering souls;
For the true Bread of God, to all was heaven sent,
To give life to all men, who would eat and repent;
To give life to all men, who would eat and repent.

4.Across the Sea of Galilee, they follow Him to learn,
About the Bread of Life, to have their fill they yearned;
“I am the Bread of Life, come down to You on earth,
Believe in me and see what eternal life is worth”.
Believe in me and see what eternal life is worth.

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Life Giving Father, Creator and God of mankind. Thank You for creating us and giving us life. You formed our inward parts and covered us in our mother’s womb. We praise You for we are fearfully and wonderfully made in Your image; marvelous; marvelous are all Your works, that our soul know so well. We praise You for You created us for good things. Help us to be renewed in Your image, the image of our Creator. Enable us to understand that You made us to be much more than we are now and that with Your help we can become all for which You created us to be. Thank You Jesus that You are the image of the Invisible God, the Firstborn over all creation. It is in Jesus’ precious name that we pray. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 1/6/2013 8:46PM

    Thank you Vic for another great lesson, We know that the battle is the Lord's and He has won it for us. Praise His Holy Name for our victories. Without Him, we would be still on the battlefield, not knowing where to turn to. Thank You Lord. Thank you Vic for the goodie and note. Sending you God's richest blessings for sharing His word.

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RSSSLHB 1/6/2013 8:30PM

    emoticon

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BABY_GIRL69 1/6/2013 6:35PM

    Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more.......thank you for this word which tells me that the battle has been fought & won! Hallelujah!

God bless Brother Vic & you bringing it once again even in the new year!

Dee

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LINDAMARIEZ1 1/6/2013 12:11PM

    God is Great! He gets all the glory!

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DIANER2014 1/6/2013 10:39AM

    Without HIM I am nothing!

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LOOKINGUP2012 1/6/2013 8:04AM

    Praising God today for the victories He has given me through Christ.

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TONYVAND1 1/6/2013 7:31AM

  Victory in Jesus. He is the one who fights and wins our battles

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sat, 1/5/2013

Saturday, January 05, 2013

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, PLUS, Sat, 1/5/1213

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING EVERYONE!

Judges 11:29-40
BE CAREFUL LITTLE MOUTH WHAT YOU SAY, Lesson 15b

v. 29-31 JEPHTHAH’S VOW

Jephthah’s attempts at peace are rebuffed by the Ammonites. The stage is set for war. As Jephthah leads the armies of Gilead to battle, he makes a “vow” to the Lord. A “vow” is not something the Lord requires. To not make a vow is not a sin, but to make a vow and not keep it is a serious thing before the Lord. A “vow’ is “a binding promise that involves a gift or sacrifice.” Vows in the Bible are never made to men, but always to God. I will talk more about what the Bible teaches about making vows to the Lord in a moment. Let’s consider Jephthah’s vow.

29-30a The Context of His Vow – Jephthah made his vow to the Lord and he and his men were headed out to do battle with the Ammonites. Apparently, Jephthah wants to be certain of victory, so he tried to make a contract with the Lord. It’s one of those “if you will do this for me, then I will do something for you.”

Have you ever done that? Have you ever tried to bargain with the Lord? I think we all have at times, but I think we all fail to recognize the serious nature of the vows we make to the Lord. Again, I will say more about it in a few minutes, but God expects you to fulfill every vow you make to Him!

v. 30b-31 The Content of His Vow – In this vow, Jephthah promises to offer up to God “whatsoever” comes out of his house first when he returns home in victory. Just a simple glance at this vow tells us how rash and foolish this vow rally is. This is a truth that Jephthah will learn the hard way when he returns home.

That’s the problem with most of the promises we make to the Lord. We don’t take the time to think them through before we make them. Then, when things do not go exactly like we want them to, we will go back on our vows to Him. That is a dangerous state of affairs!

The Character Of His Vow – Jephthah’s vow was totally unnecessary! In verse 29 we are told that “the Spirit of God was upon Jephthah”. God was not going to give Jephthah and his army the victory just because he made the Lord a bunch of promises. Victory was assured anyway just because the Lord wanted to give it!

When Jephthah made the vow, even though it was unnecessary, it was also binding. The Lord gave Israel some very specific instructions for the use of vows,( Deut. 23:21-25; Lev. 27; Num. 30; Num. 30:2). While vows were absolutely voluntary, once a vow had been made to the Lord; God expected that vow to be paid in full, ( Eccl. 5:1-6).
So, when you make a vow to the Lord, He will hold you to the keeping of that vow. It is far better not to promise the Lord something than to make a promise to Him and to fail to carry out that promise. Have you made any vows that you have failed to pay?

TODAY’S VERSE!

Psalm 50:15 (New International Version (NIV)
15 and call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

TODAY’S HYMN!

“He Is Able To Deliver Thee” By W. A. Ogden (1887)

1.’Tis the grandest theme through the ages rung;
’Tis the grandest theme for a mortal tongue;
’Tis the grandest theme that the world e’er sung,
“Our God is able to deliver thee.”

Refrain:
He is able to deliver thee,
He is able to deliver thee;
Though by sin oppressed, go to Him for rest;
“Our God is able to deliver thee.”

2.’Tis the grandest theme in the earth or main;
’Tis the grandest theme for a mortal strain;
’Tis the grandest theme, tell the world again,
“Our God is able to deliver thee.”
Refrain:

3.’Tis the grandest theme, let the tidings roll,
To the guilty heart, to the sinful soul;
Look to God in faith, He will make thee whole,
“Our God is able to deliver thee.”
Refrain:

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Mighty Father, Awesome God! Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit in us. Show us how to never restrict the Spirit’s flow moving in and through us, changing us into Your likeness and touching others for Your kingdom. We pray for a fresh filling of Your Spirit now. Make it greater than we have ever known before, for Your power to grow and expand in us, and become a fountain of water springing up in us unto everlasting life. Grant us access to Your power for Your purpose and to Your glory. We understand it is not by our strength but by the power of Your Spirit that we can do great things for You. Bless us now and forever more in Christ Jesus our Lord. In His name we pray. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 1/5/2013 10:15PM

    In the past I have tried to bargain with God, then realized, I can't follow through. Now I ask God to help me through a situation and thank Him for it. It's only through God we can conquer troubles. Thank you Vic for the goodie and note.

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LOOKINGUP2012 1/5/2013 6:39PM

    Abiding in his strength and love now without any silly promises. emoticon

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RSSSLHB 1/5/2013 6:07PM

    emoticon Vic

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TONYVAND1 1/5/2013 7:51AM

  Not by our strength but by the power of the Holy Spirit

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