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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Wed, 1/23/2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Wed, 1/23/2013

Judges 15:9-17
SAMSON THE JILTED JUDGE, Lesson 20c

v. 14-17 SAMSON AND HIS ACCOMPLISHMENT
When Samson was delivered to the Philistines, they must have thought their troubles were over. When they saw him bound up, they “shouted against him”. This phrase probably means that they shouted in victory, and they launched their attack against him. These people intended to kill Samson. Of course, their excitement would be short lived.

v. 14b His Power – In spite of his failures, God continued to use Samson. The “spirit of God”, we are told, “came mightily upon him”. The new cords that bound him became as easy to break as burnt flax threads. The Bible says his bonds were “loosed”. This word means “to melt, or to dissolve”. Samson was free!

The path to liberty in this life is through the Spirit of God, (2 Cor. 3:17). We are often bound by our sins, our problems and our circumstances, but when we yield all to the Spirit of God, and walk in His power; the things that bind us lose their hold. We are set free to serve the Lord for His glory. The secret to liberty in the Christian life is to yield to the control of the Spirit of God every moment of every day, (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:16-18).

v. 15 His Performance – Samson picks up the “new jawbone of an ass” and killed 1,000 men with it. When the Bible calls is “new”, it has the idea that is was strong and not likely to break. If it had been lying in the sun for a long period of time, it would have been brittle and unusable for the task Samson had in mind.

A “jawbone” is a dangerous weapon. I suppose more damage has been done in lives, families and churches by this weapon that with any other. “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell,” (James 3:6).

Washington Erving said, “A sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.” In a short poem, William Norris said, “If your lips would keep from slips, Five things observe with care: To whom you speak; of whom you speak; And how, and when, and where.” The Greek philosopher Publius said, “I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.” That’s something to think about.

v. 16-17 His Problem – After Samson’s victory, he composes a short poem about it. He even renames the place “Ramath-Lehi”, which means “The height or hill of the jawbone”. It refers to the pile of bodies Samson made with this weapon.

Samson is pleased with his victory, but he seems untroubled by the fact that in accomplishing this victory, he has once again defiled himself. The donkey was an unclean animal and the Law did not allow a Jew to touch its carcass, (Lev. 11:8). Add to that the fact that a Nazarite was not to have any contact with a dead body, and it is easy to see that Samson has once again sinned against the Lord and violated his vows of separation.

This is just another reminder that God will accomplish His purposes in spite of us. Often churches and church people use ungodly means to achieve their goals. God, in His sovereignty, is able to bless in spite of our failure to walk in His will. I am glad that my sin will not derail God’s plans! I am glad that the wicked tactics of my enemies will not derail God’s plan. God will do what He is going to do either with, or without, our cooperation. Our foolishness will not even slow Him down! He has a plan, and He is working that plan day by day. “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased,”( Psa 115:3). No matter how things may appear, God will have the last word!

Did you notice that Samson is fighting the Philistines all alone? There are 3,000 Jewish men standing there watching, and Samson has to fight the enemy all by himself. When the battle was over, no one came to congratulate him on his victory. When he needed water in verse 18, no one came to offer any assistance whatsoever. They simply abandoned Samson, turned their backs and walked away.

This is just a reminder of a sad truth: if you are going to serve the Lord, you have better be ready to stand alone. It’s not always that way, but there will be times when you will find that you have been abandoned by the very people you thought would have stood with you. Many people have stood alone against family. Many have stood alone against the world. Many have stood alone in a church filled with people who should have stood with them.

If you find yourself in that situation, remember that Jesus said He would always stand with you, (Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20). It may appear that you are alone, but you never really are. The One Who matters the most if always there, ( Psa. 121:1-8)!

Conc: Roger Staubach who led the Dallas Cowboys to the World Championship in '71 admitted that his position as a quarterback who didn't call his own signals was a source of trial for him. Coach Landry sent in every play. He told Roger when to pass, when to run and only in emergency situations could he change the play (and he had better be right!). Even though Roger considered coach Landry to have a “genius mind” when it came to football strategy, pride said that he should be able to run his own team. Staubach later said, “I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory.”

If this passage is about anything, it is about obedience. Samson failed in his obedience and tragedy followed. Judah failed in their obedience and compromise followed. When we walk in obedience, we too will find “harmony, fulfillment and victory”. When we do not, we will find chaos, emptiness and failure.

Where does this message find you?

Are you’re a clear stand for truth, for the Lord and for the things of God?

Or, have you compromised and cooperated with the enemy in his efforts to attack the Lord’s work and His people?

Maybe like Samson, you have allowed yourself to become defiled, and you need to get clean.

Maybe you are discouraged because it seems like you are all alone in the battles of life.

Maybe today is the day when you would like to stand up and take your place with the Lord Jesus Christ and tell Him that you will stand with Him and for Him against the attacks of the enemies.

If He has spoken to your heart on any level, the time to obey Him is now.

TODAY’S VERSE!
Isaiah 30:21 (New King James Version (NKJV)
21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left.


TODAY’S HYMN!
“Follow Me” By: Ira F. Stamphill (1953)

I traveled down a lonely road and no one seemed to care,
The burden on my weary back had bowed me to despair,
I oft complained to Jesus how folks were treating me,
And then I heard Him so so tenderly,
"My feet were also weary upon the Calv'ry road,
The cross became so heavy I fell beneath the load,
Be faithful weary pilgrim, the morning I can see,
Just lift your cross and follow close to me."

"I work so hard for Jesus" I often boast and say,
"I've sacrificed a lot of things to walk the narrow way,
I gave up fame and fortune; I'm worth a lot to thee,"
And then I heard Him gently say to me,
"I left the throne of glory and counted it but loss,
My hands were nailed in anger upon a cruel cross,
But now we'll make the journey with your hand safe in mine,
So lift your cross and follow close to me."

Oh Jesus if I die upon a foreign field someday
'Twould be no more than love demands, no less could I repay,
"No greater love hath mortal man than for a friend to die,"
These are the words he gently spoke to me,
"If just a cup of water I place within your hand
Then just a cup of water is all that I demand,"
But if by death to living they can thy glory see,
I'll take my cross and follow close to thee.

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Holy Father, God of Heaven, Harvest and Healing! We thank You for the truth of Your Word that shows us how to live and not live. Help us to learn from it how to worship You in the way You have prescribed, how to reach out and help one another with the love with which You have loved us, and how to stand for Your Truth and Your Word. We praise You Father, not only for the Truth of the Word, but also for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which helps us with the knowledge, understanding, wisdom and insight to that Truth. Enable us then to enter Your gates with thanksgiving and into Your courts with praise, and the way of life we have in our Savior Jesus Christ. It is in His precious name that we pray. Amen!


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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOOKINGUP2012 1/24/2013 7:36AM

    Thank you for the Bible lesson and the song! emoticon

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FLEMIDG 1/24/2013 12:14AM

    Another wonderful blog. Thanks, Vic. God bless you.

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REALITYSHOWGIRL 1/23/2013 5:02PM

  Thank you for the great lesson.

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EDITOR 1/23/2013 3:26PM

    Loved how you tied in the jawbone to the tongue! Great lesson today, as always, Vic.

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ANHELIC 1/23/2013 2:22PM

    Thank you Vic for your great lesson, hymn and prayer. Yes, the world all around us is self destructing. Not a day goes by where I don't hear about murders, etc. We stand firm with God and He leads us into safety and holds comfortablely in His arms when we are hurting. Praise His holy name. Thank you Vic for the goodie and note.

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EAGLES_WINGS 1/23/2013 1:46PM

    I stand with a few faithful and the world seems like a vast region of sorrow. I do not understand why the world is the way it is. Is it because of the unfaithfulness?

Thank you for the lesson.

Hugs, Karen

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RSSSLHB 1/23/2013 9:06AM

    Amen emoticon for praying emoticon

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JOANIE69 1/23/2013 8:44AM

    emoticon emoticon
Not only is this a GREAT lesson, but you posted a hymn I had not heard or seen the words for, for at least 25 years! (I sing it at times and now I have all the words! I love that hymn and its message.) emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/23/2013 8:45:02 AM

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SPARKLISE 1/23/2013 8:33AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 1/23/2013 8:28AM

    Jesus said that if all else were silent even the stones would cry out if God willed. Nothing will stop His plan. There's great peace in knowing no matter what is happening all around God is in complete control. Thank you again, Vic.

Comment edited on: 1/23/2013 8:29:23 AM

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DIANER2014 1/23/2013 8:08AM

    Thank you Vic! emoticon

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DIANER2014 1/23/2013 8:08AM

    Thank you Vic! emoticon

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LINDAMARIEZ1 1/23/2013 7:23AM

    Good Morning Vic! God is my leader today! emoticon

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AZMOMXTWO 1/23/2013 6:43AM

  thank you

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LIFETIMER54 1/23/2013 6:43AM

  emoticon

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Tue, 1/22/2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Tue, 1/22/2013

Judges 15:9-17
SAMSON THE JILTED JUDGE, Lesson 20b

v. 10-13 JUDAH AND THEIR ARRANGEMENT
v. 10 Their Concern – When the Philistines attack, the elders of Judah panic. They go to their enemy at ask why they are being attacked. They are told that Samson and his actions against the Philistines is the catalyst for the invasion.

These “men of Judah” do not seem to care that they are under Philistine bondage. All that concerns them is that things stay the same; that nobody rocks the boat. Evidently, they didn’t even know what Samson had been up to. They had no knowledge of his exploits.

This is amazing! The one man they should have been following; they didn’t even seem to know about. The one man, who deliver them from the oppression if their enemies, wasn’t even on their radar!

v. 11-12 Their Compromise – These “men of Judah”, an army of 3,000, goes to Samson to take him into custody. They confront him about his activities, and he tells them that he is just giving back what he got. You will notice that neither he nor they mention God, the oppression of Israel, or throwing off the Philistine yoke. Samson is only concerned with Samson. The “men of Judah”, on the other hand, have given up. They are reconciled to the notion that they will never be anything more than the slaves of the Philistines.

Samson does not want to fight his people, so after receiving their promise that they will not kill him, he allows them to bind him with “new cords”. These were ropes that had never been used. They would still be green and very strong. A man bound in ropes like these would have no chance of breaking free.

Samson, for the first time, acts in wisdom. Had he resisted, there would have been bloodshed and the people of Israel would have never followed him as their Judge. Also, allowing the “men of Judah” to take him to the Philistines with his hands bound gave Samson an advantage. The Philistines would be more likely to let their guard down if Samson was brought to them bound up.

v. 13 Their Choice – The “men of Judah” chose bondage over liberty. They chose the status quo over God’s will for their lives. In effect, they chose the Philistines over the very man God had chosen to lead them to victory. Instead of being willing to take a stand against their oppressors, they chose to sacrifice one of their own.

In the actions of these men, we can see a portrait of how many in the church respond to the attacks of the enemy. Far too many in the church have adopted the motto, “You have to go along to get along”. They are afraid to take a stand for the truth because they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. They are afraid to say anything, do anything, or take any position that might “rock the boat.” Let someone dare to “rock the boat”, and that person will often find themselves standing alone, while the very people who ought to stand with them make deals with the enemy to protect their own hides.

The “men of Judah” are guilty on two fronts. For one thing, they are as guilty as if they had taken Samson’s life themselves. They didn’t kill him, but they delivered him to be killed. An accomplice in a crime is as guilty as the perpetrator of the crime. “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them,” (Rom. 1:32).

Whether your participation in the attack of the enemy is implicit or explicit you are still guilty. When your participation is explicit, it means you carry it out. When your participation is implicit, it means that you allow the attack to go on by your silence, by failing to take a stand against it, or by looking the other way.

Then, they are guilty of seeking to maintain peace by betraying one of their own. When the enemy is after one of God’s children, or one of God’s churches, the rest of the body of Christ needs to take a stand with the one who is being attacked. God will judge us when we throw a fellow believer under the bus just to keep from rocking the boat, or to maintain the status quo. I know how that feels. So do some of you! Let me just encourage you my friends, there will be a reckoning day!

Matthew Henry said this: “Justly is their misery prolonged, who to oblige their worst enemies, thus abuse their best friend.” Israel stayed in bondage longer than they had to because they refused to stand with Samson. At some point, we must decide whose side we are on. Either we will fight with the Lord’s army, or else we will fight against it. Jesus said it this way, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad,”( Matt. 12:30).

TODAY’S VERSE!
Matthew 5:12 (New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Sing On, Ye Joyful Pilgrims” By Carrie M. Wilson (1886)

1.Sing on, ye joyful pilgrims,
Nor think the moments long;
My faith is heav’nward rising
With every tuneful song;
Lo! on the mount of blessing,
The glorious mount, I stand;
And looking over Jordan,
I see the promised land.

Refrain:
Sing on, O blissful music!
With every note you raise,
My heart is filled with rapture,
My soul is lost in praise;
Sing on, O blissful music!
With every note you raise,
My heart is filled with rapture,
My soul is lost in praise.

2.Sing on, ye joyful pilgrims,
While here on earth we stay;
Let songs of home and Jesus
Beguile each fleeting day;
Sing on the grand old story
Of His redeeming love,
The everlasting chorus
That fills the realms above.
Refrain:

3. Sing on, ye joyful pilgrims,
The time will not be long,
Till in our Father’s kingdom
We swell a nobler song;
Where angels there are waiting
To greet us on the shore,
We’ll meet beyond the river,
Where surges roll no more.
Refrain:


TODAY’S PRAYER!
Father of Heaven and Earth, God of Glory, Gladness and Grace! We thank You that You are continually willing to forgive us and mold us into a whole person in our Lord, Christ Jesus. Thank You for convicting us of our sins, for allowing us to come humbly before Your throne of grace and confess our sins, our thoughts, our concerns, and our hearts. Teach us to repent and to cry out to You for not just forgiveness, but also for guidance and directions on the way to live. Enable us to keep our sins away from ourselves so that we may draw closer to You through the gift of the Spirit and Your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Cleanse us of all that is not of YOU as we lift the Savior of the World for all to see. In His Precious name we pray! Amen!


BE SURE TO READ MY DAILY “DID YOU KNOW” POST!
SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKLISE 1/23/2013 8:38AM

    Great lesson.
I knew this,but you made me rethink this and how it explains a lot of what happened in my life and why.
emoticon

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FLEMIDG 1/23/2013 12:41AM

    Thanks so much for your wonderful teachings. Now that I have found your blog, I will look for it every day. God bless you.

Darlene

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EAGLES_WINGS 1/22/2013 9:29PM

    Thank you for the lesson and the invitation to come and read. I had difficulty getting to it earlier but I appreciate your steadfastness and friendship in the Lord. I do not get online as much due to arthritis in my hands. Though, I truly do thank you and I am glad to be reminded of the Truth.

Have a blessed Wednesday,

With love in Christ, Karen

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BABY_GIRL69 1/22/2013 1:18PM

    Thank you Brother Vic! Well put God bless, Dee

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 1/22/2013 1:14PM

    Amen! Thank you, Vic. I look forward to your blog each day. Like being at camp meeting with the inspiring Word, hymn and prayer.

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PINKSPARKLE1965 1/22/2013 10:45AM

    Thank you so much needed this one and uplifting tha:)nks for the goodie and message have a blessed day

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RSSSLHB 1/22/2013 9:50AM

    emoticon Vic emoticon

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JOANIE69 1/22/2013 8:55AM

   
I plan to print this one off....thanks Vic.
emoticonBlessings.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 1/22/2013 7:34AM

    God isn't thru with me yet!

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ANHELIC 1/22/2013 7:26AM

    Thank you Vic for your lesson, ymn and prayer. Yes, we do have to make a choice to be either on the Lord's side or on another side that satan will have reign over us. I only want to be on God's side and know He will be with me through my trials and never forsake me or leave me. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. I choose God. Thank you Vic for the goodie and note.

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CASTIRONLADY 1/22/2013 7:07AM

    Yes, "He that is not for me is against me" Luke 11-23. Who is on the Lord's side?

Amen, preach on!


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LEANJEAN6 1/22/2013 7:00AM

    Have a great day--Lynda emoticon

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Mon, 1/21/2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Mon, 1/21/2013

Judges 15:9-17
SAMSON THE JILTED JUDGE, Lesson 20a

Over 200 years ago, the great hymn writer William Cowper, penned the following words:

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Cowper wanted to remind his readers that our God is ever working behind the scenes of our lives to accomplish His perfect will. This is a truth we see played out in the life of Samson time and time again.

As we have already discussed, Samson is a study in contradictions.
He was chosen by God to be the deliverer of Israel before he was even born, yet he seemed to live every moment of his life for himself.

He was to be a man separated unto the Lord in holiness and purity, yet he lived his life seeking the embrace of ungodly women.

He was to be a Nazarite all the days of his life, yet he violated his vows on many occasions.

Samson was sinful. Samson was selfish. Samson was devoted to himself, yet he was used of the Lord in spite of his failures and his shortcomings. That may be the greatest contradiction of them all. It certainly is the most amazing aspect of Samson’s life to me.

In the passage before us, the events following the failed wedding of Samson continue to escalate out of control. The Philistines deceived him at his wedding. Samson killed thirty Philistines to settle a gambling debt. Samson’s bride is given to another man.

Samson retaliates by burning the Philistines crops. The Philistines respond by burning Samson’s bride and her father to death. Samson retaliates by killing many Philistines.
In this text, we will see the continuing escalation of hostilities between Samson and the Philistines. We will also see the response of Samson’s own people. We will see them turn their back on the man God sent to lead them to victory. We will see that while Samson may not have been perfect, he was surrounded by a people who had grown accustomed to the dark.

In this passage, we will see Samson as The Jilted Judge. We will see a man rejected by the very people he came to save. We will also see a man used by the Lord to accomplish the will of God who was only out to serve himself. There are several lessons that present themselves to us in our text. Let’s be sure we do not miss them. Let’s take a sometime to examine these lessons as we think about “Samson The Jilted Judge”.

v. 9 THE PHILISTINES AND THEIR ATTACK
The Purpose Of The Attack – The first word of verse 9 is “then”. The Philistines began their attack after the slaughter carried out by Samson in verse 8. Up until this time, they had paid Samson little attention. Now, apparently, they see him as a force to be reckoned with. Up until now, Samson’s activities have seemed to be related to personal issues only. Now, they indicate to the Philistines that they have a problem on their hands.

Here is one man who is capable of singlehandedly killing a whole bunch of Philistines. So, the Philistines launch their attack into Judah to remind the Israelites about just who is in charge. They have come to put Israel back in its place before things get out of hand.

The Program Of The Attack – The Philistines are after Samson, v. 10. He has attacked them, and they are determined to bring him into custody.

The Plan Of The Attack – They come into Judah and begin a campaign of terror. The phrase “spread themselves in Lehi”, means they began to spread out and attack the village of Lehi. This is a campaign of organized terror. Their goal is to make Israel cower before them in fear, and that is just what they do.

The Place Of The Attack – Verse 8 tells us that Samson went to “the top of the rock Etam”. This area was located in Judah, and that is where the Philistines press their attack. They have their sights set on Samson, and they are determined to get him.
In this attack by the Philistines, we can see a vivid picture of how Satan and his forces attack the people of God. The Philistines are representative of the enemies of the Lord. They attack in retaliation for what Samson did to them.

You need to be aware that when you attack Satan’s territory, he will not sit idly by and take it. He will swiftly launch a counterattack against you. When you begin to give your time to the things of God, you can be sure that Satan will attack you. He will send distractions into your life that will hinder you from the Bible, from prayer and from serving the Lord. He will tie you up so that you do not have time to serve the Lord.

Just let a church begin to grow and reach people for Jesus, then the enemy will come. He will bind that church with disruption from within and by attacks from without. His goal is to undermine the work of the church so that it becomes ineffective in the cause of Christ. Far too often, Satan succeeds in this goal.

When Satan makes his attack, like the Philistines, he will “spread” his influence around. He will attempt to affect as many areas of a life and of a church as he can. This “spreading” gives the impression that his power is greater than it is. When he attacks a life, he will multiply his attacks so that the believer feels hemmed in on every side. When he attacks a church, he will set loose many tongues against it, within and without, to give the appearance that his way is the right way.

If he can, he will bluff you into believing that you need to change sides and join his cause. If he can, he will cause you to become discouraged and to lose hope in the fight of faith. It nearly worked with Elijah – (1 Kings 19:1-18). We need to be real careful that we are not taken in by the tricks and traps of the devil and his followers.

Notice where the enemy attacked; they attacked the very place where the opposition resided, (v. 9). Samson was in Judah, and the enemy attacked in Judah. The devil works the same way. He is not a coward! When he is attacked by an individual or by a church, he will attack back.

I say to you that our lives ought to be the kind of lives that Satan hates, but loves to attacks. Our church ought to be the kind of church that Satan hates, but loves to attack. He ought to hate us because we are serving the Lord without fear. He ought to hate us because we are fearless in our living and in our testimony. He ought to hate us because we are not afraid to take a stand for the truth. He ought to hate us. But, if he does, we must know that he will attack our lives. He will attack our church.

The only way to avoid his attacks is for us to never do anything for the Lord or against the devil. As long as we do nothing, Satan will not attack. When we take our stand for truth, righteousness and Jesus Christ, he draws a bull’s-eye on our backs!

That was Peter’s experience –( Luke 22:31). That was Paul’s experience – (2 Cor. 12:7). It will be our experience as well when we take a stand for the Lord.

Today’s Verse!
Isaiah 40:28 (New King James Version (NKJV)
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.

Today’s Hymn!
“Stand By Me” By C. A. Tindley (1923)

When the storms of life are raging,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When the storms of life are raging,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When the world is tossing me
Like a ship upon the sea
Thou Who rulest wind and water,
Stand by me (stand by me).

2.
In the midst of tribulation,
Stand by me (stand by me);
In the midst of tribulation,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When the hosts of hell assail,
And my strength begins to fail,
Thou Who never lost a battle,
Stand by me (stand by me).

3.
In the midst of faults and failures,
Stand by me (stand by me);
In the midst of faults and failures,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When I do the best I can,
And my friends misunderstand,
Thou Who knowest all about me,
Stand by me (stand by me).

4.
In the midst of persecution,
Stand by me (stand by me);
In the midst of persecution,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When my foes in battle array
Undertake to stop my way,
Thou Who savèd Paul and Silas,
Stand by me (stand by me).

5.
When I’m growing old and feeble,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When I’m growing old and feeble,
Stand by me (stand by me);
When my life becomes a burden,
And I’m nearing chilly Jordan,
O Thou “Lily of the Valley,”
Stand by me (stand by me).

Today’s Prayer!
Heavenly Father, God of Faithfulness, Fellowship and Forgiveness! Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior and Redeemer. We praise You Jesus for the price You paid, the sacrifice You made, and the unthinkable suffering and death You willingly endured on the cross for us. Thank You for the peace and forgiveness we received by Your unselfish act of love. Thank You for the new birth we received in You unto a life of eternal new hope through Your resurrection. Thank You for the shield You have provided, the shield of Your salvation. Enlarge the path beneath our feet so we may walk by faith in You without slipping or falling. Thank You for reconciling us Jesus to our True God. In His name we pray and give thanks and praises. Amen!

BE SURE TO READ MY DAILY “DID YOU KNOW” POST!
SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!



  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EDITOR 1/22/2013 3:09AM

    Thank you for the goodie, Vic.

If we really think about it with the mind of Christ and what He endured, if the devil does not attack us or someone/something we care for, then we are not a threat to him and are not stirring up the Kingdom of God and the gifts we possess.

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat." Christ Jesus intercedes for us!



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RUTHEY01 1/21/2013 4:24PM

    emoticon emoticon Vic. These messages you post are really needed in these "end times". It doesn't matter if we are new to the faith or seasoned "veterans" the attacks come. I have been blessed to be allowed to "mentor" new Christians at various times in the past. I always tell them that they have joined the greatest Army ever and to put on the Armor of God and keep it in place. It there are any gaps in our armor, the darts of the enemy can get through.

I feel blessed to be able to read these inspiring messages from God through you. Have a Blessed Day, my brother!

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 1/21/2013 1:50PM

    Thank you so much for posting this. It is truly inspired. I feel strengthened from reading the message here. God bless you in your ministry.

Comment edited on: 1/21/2013 1:52:08 PM

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TINJEN 1/21/2013 10:48AM

    Wonderful message! Thank you for taking the time to share with us.

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LOOKINGUP2012 1/21/2013 8:36AM

    Very timely! emoticon

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TXGRANDMA 1/21/2013 8:29AM

    Lots of research went into this blog, Vic! You would make an awesome preacher if you aren't one already! I totally understand about the devil attacking us and our churches when they are a threat, and going against his evil plans. The thing is, he knows that he loses in the end anyway, but wants to take as many of us with him as possible into that eternal furnace! The road to the Devil is smooth and wide.......
The road to God is rough, and we must battle our way! BUT! We have God's help, so how can we lose?

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RSSSLHB 1/21/2013 8:03AM

    You put a lot of work in to your blogs Viv, God bless you for doing it emoticon

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LINDAMARIEZ1 1/21/2013 7:59AM

    Thank you for being with us thru hard times!

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ANHELIC 1/21/2013 7:49AM

    Thank you Vic for this great message. I can relate to Satan attacking both the church and me presently. I am so grately knowing that God is already where I am going and I know where I am coming from. When God walks alongside us we can be assured Satan will not win us over. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. Praise God. Thank you for sharing this great lesson just when it applies to me presently. emoticon emoticon

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JOANIE69 1/21/2013 7:34AM

    emoticon Vic. emoticon
I could relate to it all, and especially liked this comment:
"...our God is ever working behind the scenes of our lives to accomplish His perfect will." emoticon
It is reassuring to know God is before and beside and behind and under and above and within and all around us- omnipresent and always working all things for our good. Romans 8:28 and 29 (Blessed assurance! ) emoticon

Hope you have a great day in the Lord.

Comment edited on: 1/21/2013 7:35:10 AM

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CASTIRONLADY 1/21/2013 6:53AM

    I hope you don't mind that I sent your words to my pastor. We are a small church that is beginning to grow and the attacks have started. Thank for encouraging me to be mindful in the attacks, keep serving Him and praise God through it all!

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sun, 1/20/2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, PLUS, Sun, 1/20/2013

Judges 15:1-8
THE BITTER TASTE OF SWEET REVENGE, Lesson 19c

v. 7-8 SAMSON’S RAMPAGE
When Samson hears about the death of his wife and her family, he takes things to the next level. The violence just continues to escalate. Let’s take a look at Samson’s rampage.

v. 8 His Retaliation – This verses says that “he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter”. This refers to “total and absolute” slaughter. Samson killed them all. He did not stop until they were all dead. He got the ultimate revenge against his enemies: he took their lives!

Often this world seeks retaliation in the same way. Someone attacks a family, and they are in turn murdered because of what they have done. When we hear about such actions we sometimes respond by saying, “I don’t blame them one bit. I would have done the same thing.” When we think that way, we are revealing that revenge is a part of our makeup. We are revealing the truth that we are not above a little getting even ourselves.

I can’t tell you what I would do if members of my family were attacked physically. I can’t promise you that I would not seek revenge. I can handle it when people say mean things about me, but I have a hard time when they talk about my family, just because they are upset with me. A part of me wants my “pound of flesh”. It’s just the grace of God that keeps me from acting on those desires!

Did you know that scientists have determined that there is a part of the brain that produces feelings of pleasure and satisfaction that is stimulated when we act in revenge? That’s right; we find pleasure and satisfaction in getting even. It’s part of our human nature. It is hard wired into us and we have a hard time walking away and simply letting things go.

A lady was sick, so she went to the doctor. He examined her, did a number of tests and told her the bad news. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but I’m afraid you’ve contracted rabies.” The doctor left the room for a minute, and when he returned the woman was busy writing on a piece of paper. He asked, “What are you doing, writing your will?” She said, “No, I’m making a list of all the people I’m going to bite.” That’s just the way most people think about revenge.

v. 7 His Reasons – Samson’s reasons for seeking revenge are purely selfish. Look at the language of verse 7. He does not mention the Lord. He does not mention the nation. He does not mention the injustices of the Philistines toward the people of God. There is no mention of the Lord’s will, the Lord’s glory or the Lord’s name. All Samson can think of is himself. He says, “I will be avenged of you.”

Here is the main problem with revenge: it has nothing to do with the Lord, it is all about us. Our pride is hurt. Our feelings are wounded. We feel the need to get even. It is all about us and how we feel about what has been done to us. That is Samson’s problem, and it is the problem of every person who seeks to get even.
God has a better way!

Instead of taking matters into our own hands, we are to leave them in His hands, (Rom. 12:17-21).

Instead of attacking those who attack us, pray for them, love them and be good to them, (Matt. 5:44-48). Avoid Old Testament praying! Imprecatory prayer might have been the rule of thumb in the Old Testament, but Jesus Christ wants His children to act and react in love. We need to pray for them because they are going to face the Lord one day with their evil deeds. So, we should pray for their salvation if they are lost or for their repentance if they are saved. His judgment or His chastisement, as the case may be, will be far harsher than any revenge we might dish out!

Instead of seeking revenge, we should thank the Lord that we have been counted worthy to suffer with Him, (Matt. 5:10-12; 1 Pet. 4:12-19; Acts 5:41).
Instead of attacking others, we should do what we have been commanded by the Lord to do. We should practice full and free forgiveness,( Eph. 4:32; Matt. 18:21-35; Luke 17:1-5).

Conc: As a hundred thousand fans watched, Richard Petty ended a 45 race losing streak and picked up, what was at the time, stock-car racing’s biggest purse, $73,500. It all happened at the 1979 Daytona 500.

Petty’s win, however, was a complete surprise. Going into the last lap, he was in third place, running half a lap and 30 seconds behind the two leaders. All at once Cale Yarborough, the driver of the car in second place tried to pass Donnie Allison in the lead car on the final stretch. This caused the first placed Allison to drift inside and he forced Yarborough onto the infield grass. What happened next was incredible.

Yarborough pulled his car back onto the track, caught up with Allison, and forced him into the outside wall. Both vehicles came to a screeching halt. The two drivers jumped out and quickly got into an old-fashioned slugging match. In the meantime, third-place Petty cruised by for the win.

The Donnie Allison, who was leading that race, got his revenge, but in the end, it was bitter and not sweet. We will experience the same results when we seek to “get even” with others for the things they do to us and say about us.

If this episode from Samson’s teaches us anything, it teaches us that revenge is a game played by fools. Wise men know when to walk away and leave matters in the hands of a sovereign God Who will one day settle all accounts and balance all the books.

You never get even when you seek revenge. All you will do is make the problem worse for you and everyone involved. How much better it is to be like Jesus than like Samson. Here is what the Bible says about our Lord. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth,” (Isa. 53:7).

What has the Lord said to you through this message?
Is there someone you need to forgive?
Are their some things you need to let go?
Do you need to repent of seeking to harm others by your actions or your words?
Do you need to turn away from vengeance?
God sent this text for a purpose. I needed to hear it, and I suspect that you did too. Let’s obey Him as He speaks today!

TODAY’S VERSE!
Philippians 4:13 (New International Version (NIV)
13 I can do all this through him (Christ) who gives me strength.


TODAY’S HYMN!
“The Love of God” By: Laurene Highfield (1916)

Since the love of God has shed
priceless blessings on my head
I have made it my own
I will hide it in my heart
that it never may depart
It shall rule there alone
CHORUS
(men echo)
The love of God
within the heart
Will kindliness
and warmth impart
(together)
The soul will glow like Jesus
in His tender mercy
If the heart is made His dwelling place
(men echo)
The love of God
glows like a flame
Through endless years
it is the same
(together)
The love of God will never
fail nor lose its glory
Till we see Him face to face

VERSE 2
Since the Son of God came down
with His love our lives to crown
He with us would remain
Greater love there could not be
Jesus died for you and me
In our hearts, He would reign
Chorus:

VERSE 3
He who gave His love to me
that I might from sin be free
Bids me share it today
"As I love you," He has said
"you must serve men in my stead
As you go on your way."
Chorus:

VERSE 4
While His love burns true and bright
we are walking in the light
He has shown us the road
We His glory must reflect
lest our dimness and neglect
Keep some soul from its God
Chorus:

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Loving Father, God of Encouragement, Excellences, and Eternity! We your children do not want to be weak, ineffective, or half-hearted in our worship to You or in the life we live for You. You, O God, are everything to us. We do not want to be like those who hear Your Word and then lose it because their hearts are far from You. Teach us to worship You in Spirit and in truth. Teach us to live according to Your Will and Way. Forgive us when we fall short of Your glory for us, and guide us in the way we shall go. This we pray in the blessed name of Jesus our Lord. Amen!

BE SURE TO READ MY DAILY “DID YOU KNOW” POST!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALLIE1958AR 1/20/2013 2:54PM

    emoticon

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ANHELIC 1/20/2013 2:00PM

    Thank you for your great lesson, hymn and prayer. Strangly enough, I am a great Nascar fan and actually saw that race. There was another instance last year the same happened between Jeff Gordon and Clint Boyer. They are bitter at each other over their incident. I have learned in the past to pray for people who have done wrong to me, and not look for retaliation. I also put the past behind and let God deal with it. I appreciate what God is doing in my life and I love Him so much and praise His Holy Name. Thank you Vic for the goodie and note.

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SAINTBETH 1/20/2013 10:45AM

    Amen!

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 1/20/2013 9:28AM

    I am learning to pray for my "enemies". It is hard to pray for someone and keep feelings of retaliation. I know now the prayers are meant for MY good as much as anyone's. Praise God, He can rewire the human brain! Thank you, Vic.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 1/20/2013 8:57AM

    Life is short! No time for revenge! In Gods time!

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RSSSLHB 1/20/2013 7:53AM

    emoticon for posting Vic, The NIV bible is JUNK

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CASTIRONLADY 1/20/2013 7:49AM

    Never can figure out no matter how early I am up, you are up earlier. I am glad you are up before the sun. That makes two that are watching over us, and proclaiming the word of the Lord. Thanks for being an early risee.

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EDITOR 1/20/2013 7:03AM

    Thank you for the goodie and note, Vic. And thank you for knowing the God, whom sometimes we wait upon, to hear the words: Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

While we wait upon Him, dear believers, let it be for His empending return instead!

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sat, 1/19/2012

Saturday, January 19, 2013

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, PLUS, Sat, 1/19/2013

Judges 15:1-8
THE BITTER TASTE OF SWEET REVENGE, Lesson 19b

v. 3-6 SAMSON’S REVENGE
Instead of taking his defeat like a man and going home to regroup and seek God’s will for his life, Samson plans to get even. The problem with getting even is that it is impossible. Samson is about to find out that revenge always escalates out of control. He is about to learn the truth that violence always begets violence.

v. 3 His Motivation – Look at Samson’s language in this verse. He is concerned about himself. He is concerned about what they have done to him. He is motivated in his revenge by vanity. Notice how he even seeks to justify his actions by claiming that they had done worse to him.

Samson’s motivation for attacking the Philistines is all wrong. He should have been attacking them because they were oppressing the people of Israel. He should have been attacking them because it was what God had raised him up to do. He should have been attacking them to help deliver his people from Philistine bondage. Instead, Samson attacks the Philistines because he is mad about how he has been treated. He is doing what God called him to do, but he is doing it for the wrong reasons, and out of the wrong motivation. Can you see that?

This is a good place for us to stop and take a look at our own motivations. Our motives for serving the Lord will determine our faithfulness to Him and will regulate our service to Him.

When we serve God because we receive some benefit in return, we will be shallow in our devotion to Him. When the perceived benefit is no longer there, there will be a drop off in our faithfulness and service.

For instance, someone comes to church out of a sense of obligation or out of a desire to be a part of a social outlet. Then, they join a club or a lodge. That new outlet meets the same need and they stop coming to church.

Or, someone serves in the church because they receive the thanks and gratitude of the congregation. If that thanks and gratitude dries up, so does their service. The same is true for those who serve simply for monetary gain. When the money is gone, so are they.
This is a warning about seeking to attract people using gimmicks. Someone said, “If you get them in with a hot dog, you will have to keep them with a hamburger.” That is exactly right! A lot of the churches that have resorted to worldly methods and gimmicks to draw their crowds will see a falling away when they run out of gimmicks to keep them there.

That is why we need to examine our motives. Why do we serve the Lord? Why do we come to church? Why do we do the things we do? If we are motivated by love for the Savior; if we are stirred by the thoughts of all He did for us in dying for us, saving us, keeping us and blessings us; if we realize that everything we have is merely the product of His grace; then we will have proper motivation for our service to Him. That kind of motivation will enable us to flesh out 1 Cor. 15:58, which says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” What motivates you?

v. 4-5 His Methods – Samson is determined to exact his revenge against the Philistines. He catches three hundred foxes. These animals are probably a kind of jackal that used to roam Israel in large packs. He ties them tail to tail, making 150 pairs of these animals. He ties a burning torch between their tails and sets them free. These terrified animals run through the wheat fields, the olive groves and the vineyards and burn them all to the ground. This would have been a devastating blow to the economy. After all, verse 1 tells us that it was the “time of wheat harvest”.

The fire of revenge burned within Samson’s heart. He is upset about losing his wife, but he still smarts from what the Philistines did to him at his wedding feast. He cannot let it go; he just has to have his “pound of flesh”.

v. 6 His Miscalculation – Samson has his revenge. He probably thinks that will be the end of the matter. If he thinks this, it is a terrible miscalculation.

The Philistines are upset by the loss of their crops, their olives and their vineyards. They ask around to see who did this and they are told that Samson is responsible. Being wicked, selfish men themselves, they are instantly filled with thoughts of vengeance. However, they do not attack Samson to his face, they act like the cowards they are and try to attack Samson through others. They take the woman he married and her father and they burn them alive. Probably, they shut them up inside the family home and burned them to death.

This is a terrible scene, but it showcases the truth that revenge has the tendency to escalate. Someone does or says something about us. We respond back in either actions or words. They respond back to us with even harsher actions and words. And, so it goes until lives are ruined, reputations are stained and relationships are forever shattered.

It is never God’s will for us to seek revenge against those who hurt us. Most people think they have to “defend their honor”. If they are attacked, they think it shows weakness on their part to just take it and let it go. Samson thought this way. Most people are quick to rise up against those who attack them and attack back with an extra measure of violence and vengeance. That, my friends, is not God’s plan for His children!

When we are attacked, we must never attack back. To do so puts us on the same level as those who attack us. Those who attack others, those who spread rumors and gossip, those who try to ruin reputations, are the lowest of the low. To do so tarnishes our testimony and reveals that the love of Jesus Christ is not a powerful force in our lives.

Those who attack others do not love them, but are walking in hatred. To do so reveals pride in our hearts. Those who attack think they are right and everyone else is wrong. They are walking in pride. When we attack them back, we are no better than they are. We are also walking in pride because; we are saying that life is about us, and not about the will of God for our lives.

How are we supposed to respond when we are attacked? I will say more about this in a moment. I think I will be able to show you that God has a better way of responding to our attackers than for us to attack back.

TODAY’S VERSE!
Galatians 6:9 (New International Version (NIV)
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“God Will Make A Way” By Don Moen (1990)

God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength
For each new day
He will make a way
He will make a way

By a roadway in the wilderness
He'll lead me
And rivers in the desert will I see
Heaven and earth will fade
But His Word will still remain
He will do something new today

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Divine Father, God of Declaration, Dedication and Destiny! Help us to be aware of Your presence always and help us to seek You for the right reasons always. Teach us to be blameless and upright, to seek Your justification for all our problems, especially when calamities come our way. Enable us to focus inward where we can find You and not outward. Comfort us by the power of Your Word and Spirit. Direct and guide us in the way we need to go. Be our light and lead us less we fall. These things we ask in Jesus’ glorious name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 1/19/2013 7:36PM

    Beautiful prayer. Thank you for the lesson.

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ANHELIC 1/19/2013 7:27PM

    Thank you Vic for a great lesson, hymn and prayer. Just as the hymn goes, God will find a way and it's up to us to let Him revenge instead of us trying to do it. I have found in the past and now that I don't strike back and I feel like I'm the victor because the other person does not know what more to say or do. Thank you Vic for the goodie and note. This lesson emphasises how our actions should be.

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SUEZQMD 1/19/2013 6:33PM

    Thank you, Vic. emoticon

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MOWINELADY 1/19/2013 2:41PM

    Amen

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 1/19/2013 8:58AM

    Thank you, Vic, for this devotional. It is human nature to want to retaliate, to have the last word. I thank God He Has made a Way and will continue to make a way for His children in every trial and temptation.


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ANNIE924 1/19/2013 8:33AM

    Motivation is the key isn't it Vic. We must examine if what we are doing is to serve God or to serve our own selfish motives.

I love "God will Make a Way" - so much truth in this simple song.

Thank you,

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RSSSLHB 1/19/2013 8:06AM

    emoticon emoticon

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EDITOR 1/19/2013 7:43AM

    May we never seek our own revenge! Amen. May we recall, VENGEANCE IS MINE SAITH THE LORD. What is He saying to you today? You said it spectacular today, Vic: " When we are attacked, we must never attack back."

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