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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Wed, 1/30/2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Wed, 1/30/2013

Gooooooooooooood Morning Everyone!

Judges 16:4-21
THE STORIES OF SAMSON AND DELILAH, Lesson 23a

This passage presents us with a whole host of characters. Of course, there is Samson and Delilah; they are the stars of the show. The supporting characters include the “lords of the Philistines,” (v. 5), of which there were five, (Judges 3:3), and the men who hid in Delilah’s home waiting to capture Samson, (vv. 9, 12, 19-20). So, quite a few people figure into this sordid little tale.

The stars of this story, as I said, are Samson and Delilah. Their story is one of love, lies and loss. It is a tale for the ages. It is a story that should be read, studied and taken to heart. I want to spend some time here today because their story has much to teach us. Their story does not teach us lessons about genuine love and romance, but about the dangers of getting too close to the enemy. Their story is a story of deception, greed, lust and destruction.

Their story stands as a constant warning to those who would trifle with sin. Their story is a reminder to us all that sin is deceptive and that it is deadly. There may be “pleasure in sin for a season,” but the end of sin is never worth the pleasure it provides. Let’s take another dip in the cesspool of Samson’s life and consider “The Stories Of Samson And Delilah”.

v. 4-5 THEIRS IS A STORY OF LOVE
Samson Loved a Woman – We are told that Samson “loved a woman.” Over the course of his life, this is the third woman we have a record of Samson being with. First, there was the “woman of Timnath,” (Judges 14:1-2); then there was the “harlot” in Gaza, (Judges 16:1); now there is “Delilah”. There may have been others, but these are the ones the Bible mentions.

From the texts that mention these women, it seems that all three of them were Philistines. It appears that Samson has an attraction to women who should have been off limits to him as a man of God. It also appears that he had a problem with lust, which as a man of God, he should have fought against. It seems that Samson’s life was characterized by a series of illicit sexual relationships. There can be no doubt that this was a sin and a snare in his life, and that it hindered his ministry as a judge in Israel.

By the way, the same is true for people in our day. The Lord gave us our sexual desires, and they are good when they are exercised in the proper context. That is, within the framework of marriage. However, when we step outside the boundary of marriage and engage in any sexual expression, it crosses the line into sin. God wants His people to be sexually pure.

1 Cor. 6:18 – “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

Matt. 5:27-28 – “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

Heb. 13:4, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

1 Thes. 4:3-8, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.”

In this text, we are told that Samson “loved” Delilah. This was not said about the woman he took as his wife, nor was it said about the harlot from Gaza. In this case Delilah seems to have touched the heart of Samson and it appears that he truly loved her, and as the text suggests in verse 17, he trusted her with his most valuable secrets.

The fact that Samson loved Delilah does not excuse him in his sin. Samson sinned because he was guilty of fornication. Sadly, there is a lack of morality in our world, even among those who call themselves Christians. The rate of fornication and adultery in the church is at about the same level as it is in the world. That should not be! Those who know the Lord should be careful to keep themselves clean and unpolluted by this immoral, godless world. Young people, you can wait until you are married to become sexually active. Single adults, you can keep your bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Married couples, you can be faithful to your spouse both mentally and physically. May God help us to strive for that goal. If you have failed in this area, there is forgiveness and restoration. If you haven’t failed in this area, there is strength in the Lord to help you stay pure for the glory of God.

Delilah Loved Wealth – While Samson loved Delilah, she apparently did not love him. The “lords of the Philistines” come to Delilah and offer her 1,100 pieces of silver each to discover and tell them the secret to Samson’s power, (v. 5). They want her to “entice” him. The word “entice,” means “to be simple, or to be gullible.” It has the idea of “acting like an innocent person in order to deceive someone else.” These men want her to play dumb and do everything she can to extract from Samson the secret of his power.

The ancient Philistines were a very superstitious people. They probably assumed that Samson possessed some kind of amulet, or good luck charm, that gave him his power. They want to exploit his weakness for women to their advantage. They want to use her to find his secret.

Delilah is willing to go along with their plan because their offer of “1,100 pieces of silver each,” would make her a very wealthy woman. In today’s money it would be in the neighborhood of $750,000.00. She didn’t care about Samson; she only used him to get rich. He was her lottery ticket; her golden goose. All she had to do was play her part well and she would walk away with her reward.

What a picture of the ways of sin this woman turns out to be. She represents exactly how Satan works in our lives.

The Lord doesn’t want us falling into the traps laid by modern Delilah’s and by the devil. He will enable us to escape the devil’s traps, if we look to Him for deliverance. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry,” (1 Cor. 10:13-14).

TODAY’S VERSE!
Isaiah 54:14 (New King James Version (NKJV)

14 In righteousness you shall be established;
You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
And from terror, for it shall not come near you.


TODAY’S HYMN!
“Gracious Spirit, Dwell With Me” By: Thomas T. Lynch (1855)

Gracious Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would gracious be;
And with words that help and heal
Would Thy life in mine reveal;
And with actions bold and meek
Would for Christ my Savior speak.

Truthful Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would truthful be;
And with wisdom kind and clear
Let Thy life in mine appear;
And with actions brotherly
Speak my Lord’s sincerity.

Tender Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would tender be;
Shut my heart up like a flower
In temptation’s darksome hour,
Open it when shines the sun,
And his love by fragrance own.

Mighty Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would mighty be;
Mighty so as to prevail,
Where unaided man must fail;
Ever, by a mighty hope,
Pressing on and bearing up.

Holy Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would holy be;
Separate from sin, I would
Choose and cherish all things good,
And whatever I can be
Give to Him Who gave me Thee!

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Mighty Father, God of Majesty, Mercy and Meekness! Help us to always recognize the ploys and tactics of the enemies of our soul so that we will not aid and abet him in his ways. Thank You that You are well able to deliver us from every evil work and keep us safe. Because he is under Your feet, wherever he tries to erect any strong hold in our life, You can reveal that to us so that we may separate ourselves far from his plans. Enable us from believing any lies of his. Fill us with Thy truth so we may stand on the truth of Your Word and be wise to our enemy’s tactics. Merge us fully in Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord. These things we ask in His name. Amen!

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

SWEETMAGNOLIA2 2/3/2013 11:48AM

    Thank you, Vic. Good Biblical counsel.

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NADINEL 1/31/2013 1:01AM

    Thank you, Vic.

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POETLKNG2LOSE 1/30/2013 9:59PM

    Thanks Vic for this lesson. It is a hard thing to learn in this age of just do what feels good to you. Hard for us to ask help from God before we go ahead and do something foolish.

Comment edited on: 1/30/2013 9:59:54 PM

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63KEEPONGOING 1/30/2013 9:23PM

  Great lesson. There is peace when it is followed. emoticon

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ANHELIC 1/30/2013 9:14PM

    Thank you Vic for a great lesson again. Samson was definitely a sinner that God kept helping him until his end. We should remember what Samson's sins did to his life. We should always remember to seek God before we do anything if it does not seem right with Him. Look to Him and pray for His wisdom to direct us in the right direction. Thank you for the goodie and note. God bless you for your teachings.
Joan

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JOANIE69 1/30/2013 12:09PM

    emoticon Yes indeed, we must always turn our eyes upon Jesus, and walk towards him even before we think or speak or act. It is when we are caught up in something, that we are caught unawares by the enemy. We must always take a deep breath and a step back, say a silent prayer, and speak less, pray more. A tough thing to do at times, but there are fewer regrets in correlation to the fewer hasty words and deeds we do or say! I speak from experience here...don't mean to preach. emoticon
emoticon Blessings, Joanie

Comment edited on: 1/30/2013 12:10:23 PM

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LOOKINGUP2012 1/30/2013 11:55AM

    Amen, Lord, help us recognize the ploys of satan in leading us astray. Help me walk in your strength.

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RSSSLHB 1/30/2013 8:15AM

    emoticon God bless

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ANIHAKA 1/30/2013 7:17AM

    There's nothing new under the sun. Materialistic people who take advantage of others who at the time maybe vulnerable - this bible story is still true of todays society. I recently watched a modern movie from which I took a few quotes one that impressed me .... "We keep on making the same mistakes over & over".
Although we have guidelines such as the bible for living we keep giving in to temptation which is not meant for us.

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AZMOMXTWO 1/30/2013 6:48AM

  thank you

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LINDAMARIEZ1 1/30/2013 6:48AM

    where is the did you know post?

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Tue, 1/29/2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Tue, 1/29/2013

Judges 16:1-3
SAMSON AND THE SHADY LADY, Lesson 22c

v. 3 SAMSON AND HIS DELIVERANCE
The Philistines have laid their trap for Samson. They are determined to capture him and kill him. If it were not for the intervention of the Lord, he would have been killed that night. Notice how the Lord delivered him from his enemies.

The Power Of His Deliverance – When Samson awoke, he got up, went out and took the gates of the city and carried them away to “the top of the hill that is before Hebron.” That is an astounding feat of strength.

Other men have turned in some amazing feats of strength over the years.

In 1798 William Carr carried a 1,120 lb. anchor one half mile.
In 1895 Joseph Blatt lifted 3,564 lbs.
In 1900 William Pagel carried a 1,000 lb. horse up a set of 12’ ladders.
In 1902 Lionel Strongfort became a human bridge supporting a 3,200 lb. carload of people on a platform.
In 1920 Frank Richards had a 104 lb. cannon ball fired into his chest from a 12’ cannon at close range.
In 1957 Paul Anderson lifted a table of lead loaded with auto parts that weighed 6,270 lbs.

Those feats of strength pale in comparison to what Samson did here. Samson ripped up the gates, the posts and the whole gate assembly out of the ground and carried them 38 miles to Hebron, a journey that was mostly uphill! The weight of all this would have been in the thousands of pounds. Yet, Samson carried it away as if it weighed nothing at all! While his amazing display of strength is impressive, it does not make up for the weakness of his morals.

Regardless of how we appear on the outside, it is the content of our heart that matters. Samson did not sin because he was physically strong. He sinned because he was morally weak. He sinned because sin was in his heart. He cherished it and allowed it to dominate his life. The same thing can happen to us. Remember, even the best among us are still sinners. Remember that even the best among us are still capable of the vilest sins imaginable. Our hearts can become fountains of evil that will poison the whole of our lives, (Matt. 12:34-35; Matt. 15:17-20).

The Pardon Of His Deliverance – Samson’s deliverance was the grace of God in action in Samson’s life. Samson deserved to be caught by his enemies. He deserved the judgment and chastisement that was coming his way for his actions. It was the grace of God that allowed him to become aware of their plot, to escape before they could spring their trap and allowed him to carry off the gates of the city. It was the grace of God that allowed him to get away from that sinful situation alive and in one piece.

This wasn’t the first time God had spared the strong man in a time of wickedness. God is merciful and allows the opportunity us to repent and to turn from our sins.

Often, He will give us chance after chance to turn back to Him for forgiveness and restoration. Thank God for His enduring mercy, His patient grace and for the turning away of His wrath! However, with Samson, as is also often true of us, the grace of God was not seen as a warning to turn away from sin once for all, but the grace of God was seen as an encouragement for future sin. Having been spared so often in the past, Samson may have come to believe that he could live as he pleased, and that there would be no consequences for his actions. He was guilty of what Jude 4 calls “turning the grace of God into lasciviousness.”

God is merciful to us. He allows us to turn back to Him time and time again, but there will be a limit to His leniency with His children. Samson is about to find out that God will not always rescue him from the consequences of his sin. He is about to find out that chastisement will come and will bring with it cruel suffering and hardship.

When we treat God like a doormat; when we live like we please, thinking that He will never judge us, we are setting ourselves up for disaster. When we come to the place where we say, “Well, I’ve done it before and God let me repent and nothing happened. So, why can’t I do it again?” we are headed for trouble! When we start to think that we are getting away with sin with no consequences, we had better look out because chastisement is not far behind! We must not think that just because the hammer did not fall today, it will never fall. There will come a day when God’s patience will be exhausted and the full force of your choices will fall on your own head. There are always consequences attached sin, and do not for a minute think that God will not allow those consequences to be brought to pass in your life! (Heb. 12:6-11; Rev. 3:19).

Conc: If Samson teaches us anything, he teaches us the truth that we must guard our hearts. We must shield our lives from all the evil influences that would lead us away from God. Watch the places you go. Watch the things you give you attention to. Watch the people you associate with. If sin is allowed to sink its fangs in your life, it will coil itself around you until it has choked the life right out of you. It will not stop until it has destroyed you and everything you love. The time to kill the serpent of sin is right now. If the Lord has touched you about the way you have been living your life, or if you just need to come and pray for help and protection, the time to mind Him is now.

TODAY’S VERSE!
Romans 1:17 (New King James Version (NKJV)
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Living By Faith” By: James Wells (1918)

1. I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know ruleth o’er everything,
And all of my worries are vain.

Refrain:
Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I’m living by faith and feel no alarm.

2. Though tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise,
Obscuring the brightness of life,
I’m never alarmed at the overcast skies—
The Master looks on at the strife.
Refrain:

3. I know that He safely will carry me through,
No matter what evils betide;
Why should I then care though the tempest may blow,
If Jesus walks close to my side.
Refrain:

4. Our Lord will return for His loved ones some day,
Our troubles will then all be o’er;
The Master so gently will lead us away,
Beyond that blest heavenly shore.
Refrain:

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Abba Father, God and Creator of everything in this universe, both that which is visible and that which is not visible; that which has been revealed and that which is secret. We pray that we may not fall into sin but rather be strengthened to avoid it by the power of Your Word, our Savior and Your Spirit. Father we pray for lost souls, especially for those who are seeking You and calling on the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Save and bless them according to Your will and their need. Father, we pray for all the sick, whether it be, physical, mental, spiritual, social or financial. Heal and bless each one according to Your will and their need. Father, we pray for those who are bereaved. Comfort and bless them with Your peace according to Your will and their need. Father, we pray for those that are suffering with life’s issues and life’s storms. Deliver and bless them from their suffering according to Your will and their need. Father, since we all sin and fall short of the glory of our God, forgive us for those sins of commission and omission, and bless us also. Help us to walk the straight and narrow way by faith in our Lord. It is in His precious name that 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:

AMANDACOETZER 1/29/2013 11:34PM

    Thanks

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ANHELIC 1/29/2013 10:11PM

    Thank you Vic for your great message today. Yes, we must not try to get away with sin. We will be forgiven for our sins, but to keep sinning, God will eventually let us go our own way. I don't want to stray away; we all need to walk the straight and narrow path and obey God's commands. Thank you Vic for the goodie and note.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 1/29/2013 3:38PM

    wonderful ty!

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MSKRIS7 1/29/2013 10:57AM

    emoticon

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LOOKINGUP2012 1/29/2013 9:06AM

    Father, Strengthen us to do your will

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RSSSLHB 1/29/2013 8:13AM

    emoticon Vic emoticon

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JOANIE69 1/29/2013 7:54AM

    This is a great discourse on the old question of whether sin should ' yet abound' because of God's abundant grace and mercy. If we do think we can "get away with sin", and then we are NOT chastised, we ought to ask ourselves if we are truly saved. But for the grace of God...and in His love and mercy He chastises His children. While we ought not 'to sin and think we are getting away with it', on the other hand, we ought to be eternally and humbly thankful for the chastising hand of our loving Father.

emoticon Great food for thought, today. Thank you once again, Vic, and God bless you.

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SORTIZA99 1/29/2013 7:47AM

    We need to live by faith in our LORD JESUS CHRIST EVERYDAY indeed.
SHALOM.

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LEON2654 1/29/2013 7:34AM

  Thank you Mr Vic....I really needed those words this morning...

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AZMOMXTWO 1/29/2013 6:49AM

  thank you

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WENDYSPARKS 1/29/2013 6:47AM

    emoticon

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Mon, 1/28/2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Mon, 1/28/2013

Judges 16:1-3
SAMSON AND THE SHADY LADY, Lesson 22b

v. 2 SAMSON AND HIS DISCOVERY
While Samson is in the company of the harlot, his enemies discover that he is in town. They set a trap to capture him. Samson thought he would turn aside for a few moments of pleasure in illicit sexual relationship. He thought he would have his fun and just leave town. He never thought he would get caught.

Then again, neither do we! The truth is, Satan uses our sins to set us up for a fall. This passage demonstrates the way sin works in our lives to attack us and bring us down.

Something About Sin’s Surrounding Work – The Philistines “compassed him in”. That means that his enemies surrounded him. They laid a trap for his capture.

That is the way sin works as well. Some people criticize Christianity and say that it is too restrictive. They complain that the way of God is no fun; that it leaves no freedom; that it allows no wiggle room. What the critics fail to see is that the way of God, that is, a life lived according to the Word, is a life of true freedom, while sin is a life of captivity.

Sin is like a boa constrictor. It encircles the lives of its victims and slowly squeezes the life right out of them. The freedom of the sinner is stolen away by the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual toll of sin. Diseases, addictions, trauma, financial losses, ruined relationships, destroyed families, shattered trust, depression, and for some, incarceration, limit the freedom of living and bring destruction and pain. The life of sin is not a life of freedom and reckless abandon; it is a life of profound bondage and dark slavery, (Eph. 2:2-3).

Something About Sin’s Steady Work – The Philistines also “laid wait for him all night”. They were patient as they waited for him to leave the harlot’s house. They were in no hurry because time was on their side.

Sin is also patient in the way it works. It will play its cards close to the vest until the sinner is hopelessly entangled in its web. The sinner doesn’t always feel the trap closing around them when they are living out their life of pleasure, but sin is patient, and when the time is right, it will spring the trap and destroy the life of its victim.

Most of the time, by the time the results of sin are known, it is too late to escape the trap. Ask the chronic alcoholic if there is a sting in the liquor bottle. Ask the AIDS victim if he feels the sting associated with his lifestyle. Ask the promiscuous girl who will never know the joy of motherhood if she feels pain of her sin because she has been rendered sterile by a venereal disease. Ask the criminal sitting behind bars if there is a price to pay for sin. All these people would have laughed in your face if you had tried to warn them on the dangers they faced when they were in the grip of their pleasure! Now, it may be too late, but they all know the truth!

It may take a while, but eventually, sin will play its hand, spring its trap and the sinner will pay terrible price for falling into sin’s trap, (Gal. 6:7). The time to repent is now. The time to escape sin’s bondage is now while there still may be time to escape the worst horrors of sin in your life. You will always bear some scars in your body, your mind or your spirit, but you might just escape with your life and your soul intact. Get out now while there is time!

Something About Sin’s Silent Work – The Bible says the Philistines “were quiet all the night”. They did not let Samson know they were there and lying in wait to capture him.

Such is the subtle nature of sin. It does not tell the truth. It leads the sinner to believe that there can be pleasure with no consequences. Advertisers tell us that alcohol use is tremendous fun. Birth control commercials tell us how to commit fornication without the nasty side effects of an unwanted pregnancy. The lottery, and other forms of gambling, is exalted as a way to get rich quick. The facts are somewhat different. Sin never tells the truth!

Sin never tells you about the ruined health, the empty wallet, the destroyed lives, the ruined marriages, the broken homes, the shattered dreams, and the wasted years it leaves in its wake. Sin is deceitful and we must take whatever steps are necessary to avoid it. If the sinner knew what was waiting on them at the end of a life of sin, they would never take the first step of that journey! ( Pro. 16:25; Matt. 7:13-14).

Something About Sin’s Slaying Work – The Philistines said “when it is day, we shall kill him”. Death was the plan for Samson. The Philistines laid their trap and they planned to capture and kill Samson.

Death is the end of sin, (Rom. 6:23; James 1:15). Sin is destructive! If the sinner does not escape, he will experience death in Hell, separated from God. Even if he does escape by the grace of God, he will discover that many things around him will have already died. Sin kills joy, peace, relationships, marriages, hope, churches, and even the human spirit. Sin is a killer! It kills everything it touches. No one escapes unscathed!

I praise God there is victory in Jesus, (1 Cor. 15:55-57). I am glad that He can deliver us from a life of sin and give a new life in Him. I am thankful that He will forgive all those who turn to Him, (1 John 1:9). Instead, of clinging to the hope that God will forgive, you should seek His power to avoid sin altogether. I will tell you again, if we would live out ( Rom. 6:11-14), we would not need (1 John 1:9) as much as we do.

TODAY’S VERSE!
Proverbs 8:33-35 (New King James Version (NKJV)
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
And do not disdain it.
34 Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord;

TODAY’S HYMN!
“At Calvary” By Wm. R. Newell (1895)

1.Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary.

Refrain:
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty
At Calvary.

2.By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
To Calvary.
Refrain:

3.Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
Of Calvary!
Refrain:

4.Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary!
Refrain:

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Loving Father, God of Love, Light and Life! Help us to be separated from the world and yet still be an effective way to do your will. Show us how to live in this world and be Your light extended without being drawn into or influenced by all the darkness and danger. Strengthen us to reject all peer pressure to be anything other than who You want us to be. Show us our weakness where we have given in to practices that are not pleasing to Thee. Enable us to shut off or shut down anything that will pollute our hearts and our minds. Open our eyes to Your Love and light so we can become accustomed to living life Your way. Receive us so we may glorify the Lord of Lords, and the King of kings. It is in His name that 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:

SWEETMAGNOLIA2 2/2/2013 7:42PM

    God has always given us the freedom to choose. Satan uses force and deceit. I thank God for His character of Truth and for His perfect Law of Liberty.

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MNABOY 1/29/2013 12:16AM

    Amen. Some say we can't love the sinner if we hate the sin and thus suggest the sin is okay. I do not follow that rationalization.

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ANHELIC 1/28/2013 11:12PM

    Thank you Vic for your great lesson, hymn and prayer. When we allow sin to enter our lives, we will never walk the path with God. He will always love us, but we may not hear his still small voice speaking to us and leading us in the right direction away from our troubles. Thank you for the goodie and note. I belive we are contantly learning from Sampson's life and the trials he went through.

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RDGISME 1/28/2013 5:42PM

    He gives us the benefits of forgiveness every day..the temptations put before us each day are clearly not tests of His but of the Dark One's...When we allow sin to enter our daily lives, encompassing our souls, beliefs and behaviors, He gives us each a silent whisper that He is the Truth, the Way and the Life!

Thank you Vic, once again!

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RSSSLHB 1/28/2013 4:13PM

    emoticon emoticon for posting Vic

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MARYBETH4884 1/28/2013 3:19PM

    Thank you Lord for your ability to forgive all those who ask for forgiveness! Thank you for being present in the lives of your children, keeping us strong to resist falling back into sinning! Amen

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DETERMINEDBABE 1/28/2013 1:14PM

    Words of truth....Amen!

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KALLIE1958AR 1/28/2013 12:34PM

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JOANIE69 1/28/2013 10:30AM

    emoticon What a wonderful lesson and old hymn and prayer today!
emoticon for your faithfulness, Vic...
I so appreciate your daily devotionals! emoticon

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MSKRIS7 1/28/2013 10:11AM

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AMANDACOETZER 1/28/2013 7:22AM

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EDITOR 1/28/2013 7:12AM

    When one says Christianity is so restrictive, they still walk by law and not by grace or perhaps they do not know Him who does conquer all on our behalf. When one says grace permits then to do anything they choose, they have not met the One who says," Come Follow Me, the path is narrow and straight."
Sin says much, but the love of Christ says more.
Thank you for today's lesson Vic, and thank you for the goodie and note.

On a P.S., I'll be thrilled when the lessons of Sampson are over with!
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LINDAMARIEZ1 1/28/2013 6:59AM

    Love the hymn today Vic! thank you!

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sun, 1/27/2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sun, 1/27/2013

A BLESSED MORNING TO EVERYONE!

Judges 16:1-3
SAMSON AND THE SHADY LADY, Lesson 22a

The last glimpse we had of Samson was of a man who seemed to have gotten his act together. As the previous chapter closed, we saw Samson calling on the Lord in humility. He prayed to the Lord and God delivered him from death through a great miracle. That story ends with Samson judging Israel for 20 years.

After a period of peace and steadfast service, Samson falls once again into his old ways. His old passions rise to the surface and Samson once again finds himself entangled in a web of sin. Samson may have been a powerful man physically, but he was a moral weakling. He may have demonstrated his power time and again over the enemies of the Lord, but he was helpless against the power of his flesh.

Samson reminds me of Achilles. In Greek Mythology, Achilles was the son of a human king named Peleus and a sea goddess named Thetis. Achilles was the greatest, bravest, strongest and most handsome soldier in his father’s army. The legend goes that Thetis held her infant son by the heel and dipped him in the waters of the River Styx. The magical powers of the river rendered Achilles invulnerable in every part of his body, except his heel, which had not been dipped in the river. That small, little part of his flesh was vulnerable to attack. Later, in the heat of battle, Achilles was struck in the heel by an arrow and was killed. That myth has become a proverb by which each of us live our lives.

We all have our Achilles’ Heel. We all possess those areas of life in which we are vulnerable to attack. We all possess that area of our walk with God in which we are prone to fail. The writer of Hebrews calls it “the sin which doth so easily beset us”,( Heb. 12:1). That sin varies from person to person, but whatever that sin is in your life, it is your Achilles’ Heel.

For Samson, his Achilles’ Heel was women and illicit sexual relationships. For others it might be the quest for money, fame, popularity, position, ambition, or power. For some it might be pride, lust, selfishness, gossip, anger, malice, or a host of other sins. Whatever that “besetting sin” might be for you, if you are not able to conquer it through the power of the Holy Spirit, it will be your downfall.

Oscar Wilde, a British writer known for his decadent lifestyle and taste for the ungodly wrote, “I can resist anything but temptation. The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” That seems to be the motto that Samson embraced in his life, and I am sad to say, it seems to be the motto embraced by many in the modern church.

This passage is a reminder of the great power sin holds over us. It is a reminder that we never really defeat sin. It is always there, in the depths of our fallen natures, waiting like a cobra to strike us and fill us with its deadly venom. This is a reminder that we must be ever vigilant and aware of sin’s presence and power in our lives. This is a reminder that one moment of weakness can cause us to fall back into old, sinful habits we thought were long dead, (1 Pet. 5:8). This passage is sad, because it is a terrible way for Samson to conclude 20 years of successful ministry. But, it is a reminder that we are never beyond the allure and pull of our sinful affections. Satan only needs an inch in order to become your ruler, (Eph. 4:27).

I want to teach about “Samson And The Shady Lady”. I want you to notice some lessons that present themselves to us in this text. These lessons will help us when we face our battles with our own “besetting sins”.

v. 1 SAMSON AND HIS DEFILEMEN
The reasons for Samson’s fall back into sin are given to us in this first verse. Several elements are involved in his fall.

Involved The Wrong Address – The Bible says, “Then Samson went to Gaza.” Gaza was a Philistine city located near the Mediterranean Sea. It was situated on the main road that allowed travel between Egypt, Babylon and Assyria. It was a commercial and military crossroads. The name “Gaza” means “strength” and it was a Philistine stronghold. It was a place known for its wickedness and idolatry. It was no place for a man of God.

It does matter where you spend your time. If you consistently find yourself in places where you are surrounded by sin, or even in a place where you can be tempted, you are setting yourself up for a fall. The Bible warns us to avoid places where we might be tempted to sin. Proverbs 4:14-15 says, “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”
Some people will question your refusal to go where they go and do what they do, but you have a duty to the God Who saved you. You have a responsibility to your own soul to protect it from temptation. It is better to bear the scorn of sinners than it is to be scarred by sin!

If you are an alcoholic, you should avoid the beer and liquor stores. If you are a drug addict, you should avoid the places where such things are available. Falling into this type of sin does not always require a change of physical address. For instance, if you have problems with lust, be careful where you go on the Internet and what you watch on TV. If you have problems with gossip, be careful to whom you talk on the phone.
The lesson we learn from Lot’s example is priceless! 2 Pet. 2:8 says, “For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”. Lot placed himself and his family directly in the crosshairs of sin by moving them to Sodom. He paid a terribly high price for his sins!

Involved The Wrong Attractions – We are told that in Gaza, Samson “saw there an harlot”. Samson has always had “eye trouble” and it seems that he still does. He casts his gaze on the wrong things and it led him into sin.

If we do not guard the “eye gate” we will allow things into our minds that will cause us to be tempted. It is possible to be defiled by the things we see, (Matt. 5:28). In the Bible, men like Samson, Judah, David and Solomon were all led off into sin by the things they looked at with their eyes. We must take steps to guard our eyes from the things that would defile us, (1 John 2:16)!

As you might expect, the Bible offers some very good advice in this important area:

“Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way,”( Psa. 119:37). We should seek the Lord’s help in guarding ourselves in this vital area.

“I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”( Job 31:1).

“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil,” (Pro. 4:25-27).

When the wrong images are allowed in through the eyes, it will not be long until they find their way to the heart. It will not be long from there until you find yourself tempted and falling into sin. That is why we must guard our eyes at all times!

Involved The Wrong Alliances – We are told that Samson “went in unto her”. Samson’s sin was not an accident. He was not merely a man overtaken by some snare of the devil. Samson was in the wrong place, looking at the wrong things. In this instance, he was his own worst enemy. He contributed to his own fall.

When we play around with sin and tempt ourselves, we become the reason for our own failures. It isn’t God’s fault that we fail. We can’t even blame Satan for all our failures. We sin because we give in to our own lusts. We sin because we allow ourselves to go to the wrong places and look at the wrong things. That is what the Bible teaches, (James 1:13-15).

Samson got into trouble because he was overconfident. He thought he could handle the pull of his flesh. He learned the hard way that he was helpless against his flesh and the lusts that lived there. When we get to the place where we think we have arrived, we too are headed for a fall, (Pro. 16:18; 1 Cor. 10:12)!

Let’s not overlook the fact that Samson sinned because he allowed himself to be with the wrong people. He would have never committed this sin had he been around the people of God at the house of God. Because he was in the wrong place, looking at the wrong things with the wrong people he fell into sin! The same will happen to us, if we are not careful! You cannot keep company with defiled people without defiling yourself! The people you surround yourself with will influence your thinking and your actions. That is why the Bible warns us about being friendly with the wicked.

Proverbs 22:24-25 says, “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” Also, 1 Cor. 15:33 says, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”

We can blame no one but ourselves when we set ourselves up to sin. The fact is, some people get so far away from the Lord that they do not need to be tempted; all they really need is an opportunity. That is why we must ever guard ourselves. Where we go, what we do and whom we congregate with had a lot to do with how our lives will turn out!

TODAY’S VERSE!
John 14:1 (New King James Version (NKJV)
The Way, the Truth, and the Life
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” By: Helen H. Lemmel (1922)
1. O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Refrain:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

2. Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conqu’rors we are!
Refrain:

3. His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
Refrain:

TODAY’S Prayer!
Heavenly Father, God of Kindness, Kingdom and Knowledge! Help us to separate ourselves from all sin. Lead us away from sin so we can always stay focus on Your Word and in the Way. Grant us a strong conviction in our soul to do that which is right according to Your Word. Keep us from being around those things which may even appear to be sinful. Enable us to crucify any unholy desires we may have. Let there be no wall of separation between us and the God that loves us. May there never be an attitude in us of disregard for Your Will and Your Ways. May our hearts be filled with joy always and our lips sing praises to our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. This we ask and pray in His blessed name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEETMAGNOLIA2 2/2/2013 7:26PM

    I'm going back to the days I missed the past week. I am enjoying this series on Samson. Thank you, Vic.

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ANHELIC 1/27/2013 7:22PM

    Thank you Vic. Because we are all sinners, it is easy to be tempted and I agree, we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus. He will carry us over our temptations or take us out of it. I am learning to avoid things that will challenge me to the point I can't resist. Thank you for the note and goodie. Thank you also the the great lesson, hymn and prayer. You are a great minister of God's word.

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RSSSLHB 1/27/2013 3:56PM

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ANIHAKA 1/27/2013 1:20PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon Will be looking up all those passages you've quoted. Your blog makes such sense!

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LOOKINGUP2012 1/27/2013 12:34PM

    Thank you for making our way plain before us every day!

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MSKRIS7 1/27/2013 9:01AM

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LINDAMARIEZ1 1/27/2013 7:36AM

    thank you vic! good lesson!

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EDITOR 1/27/2013 6:47AM

    Terrific, Vic and thank you for the goodie and note. On a word of caution for us, if you are an overeater, refuse grocery stores, restaurants, and those feel good friends that insist we eat to enjoy life. Indulgence in any form is sin and we dieters pray," Give us our daily bread, and no more than that." We are all sinners and fall short of the grace of God. May God strengthen and comfort us in that area where we are blinded!

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GHOSTFLAMES 1/27/2013 6:42AM

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sat, 1/26/2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

SAMSON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sat, 1/26/2013

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING EVERYONE!

Judges 15:18–20
SAMSON’S FINEST HOUR, Lesson 21c

V19. SAMSON’S CONSOLATION
God’s Response – When Samson prayed, God heard him, and God answered his prayer. Our text says, “God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came the water thereout”. That has always bothered me. We already learned as we have studied the life of Samson that donkeys were unclean animals. It seemed strange to me that God would take the bone of an unclean animal and use it to provide water for his servant. It also struck me as strange that God would cause Samson to drink from the jawbone of a dead animal when Nazarites were forbidden from touching the dead.

Then, when I studied the text, I discovered that the word “jaw” and the word “Lehi” translate the same word. Thus, it could mean that God caused a spring to flow up from the ground near where Samson was. Of course, God is God and if he decided to give Samson water from a jawbone that is His business. In Acts 10:15 and 28, a voice reminds Peter that what God has cleaned is neither common nor unclean. What really matters here is that God heard the cry of his man, and God answered his prayers.

This is just a reminder to us that we serve a God who hears and answers prayer. God invites us to pray, (Jer. 33:3), He promises to hear us when we pray,( Isa. 65:24), and He promises to answer our prayers, (Matt. 7:7-11). No prayer is too small, and no prayer is too large. We are invited to come and Him, (Heb. 4:16), and the cast our “cares” upon Him, (1 Pet. 5:7). God has made great promises to His people regarding prayer. When we pray, we will see Him work in power for His glory. If we refuse to pray, we will see nothing, (James 4:2).

Samson’s Revival – When Samson prayed, God heard him. God answered Samson through the great miracle; by giving Samson what he needed at the weakest moment of his life. When Samson took what God gave them, his strength revived. Samson experienced a physical revival, and he was able to continue living.

Like Samson, we are often in need of a revival. There are two basic times in life when God’s people need revival. The first is in times of wickedness, and the second is in times of weakness. During both those times, we need for the Lord to miraculously open His word and give us the resources we need to have our strength restored. If we could ever drink deeply of the word of God, we would seek God’s deliverance from our times of wickedness and from our times of weakness. We would see him revive our weary souls. We would see him use us in greater ways.

This is a call for all of God’s children to heed the word of God, to embrace its message, and to live out its dictates day by day. I would remind you of what James says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves”, (James 1:22). There is much benefit in hearing, heeding, and honoring the word of God, but there is only defeat in ignoring what God has to say. God has given us a well filled with refreshing water. We call that water the Bible. May we drink deeply of its refreshing streams, so that we may be revived in our spirits to live for him for his glory?

v. 20 SAMSON’S CHANGE
After the events at Lehi, Samson appears to change his ways. We are told “he judged Israel in the days before listings 20 years”. We have no record of what Samson did during those 20 years. None of his exploits are recorded for us. But there are two quick observations I would make from this verse that would let us know what kind of the time it was.

It Was A Time Of Obedience – Up to this time, Samson has lived his life in disobedience. Now, it appears that he settles down and obediently serves the Lord for 20 years. That reflects a tremendous change in Samson’s attitudes and actions.

This is the kind of obedience God is looking for the lives of His people. He wants us to honor his will, (John 14:15). He wants us to yield to his authority (Rom. 12:1-2). He wants us to be a people who are standing for him all the time in the midst of a wicked world, (Rom. 13:11-14).

It Was A Time Of Order – Our text seems to suggest that this 20-year period was a time of peace for the people of Israel. Samson was able to subdue the Philistines, and he was able to faithfully lead the people of God. For 20 years, Samson and the people of Israel, submitted themselves to the will of God, as a result, they experienced His peace in their lives.

The lesson for us ought to be clear. If we want to enjoy the peace and blessings of God; if we want to experience tranquility in our lives; if we would have the best God has to offer to us, then we must learn to submit to his will, at all times, in all things, and in all ways.

This also reminds us that God is leading us to a place of stable performance. His desire for us is that we simply walk for Him. This implies simple, consistent, daily walking with God. It is a way of life in which we simply walk with Him, yield to Him and honor Him in all things day by day. It is a walk of life in which we are not up and down, in and out, and hot and cold. We are just faithful as we walk with Him moment by moment, (1 Cor. 15:580. God is looking for that kind of faithful obedience to His will, (1 Cor. 4:2). ( Like Enoch – (Gen. 5:22).

Conc: Samson made a lot of mistakes in his life, but when he humbled himself under the hand of God and submitted to the will of God, he achieved victory in his life.
What is the take away for us today? For me, I am reminded that I can be very stubborn at time. I can be want to go my own way, instead of going God’s way. If I am not careful, I can be a lot like Samson.

What I need to remember is that God is “a very present help in a time of trouble”. If I will humble myself before Him, walk in His will and do what He has called me to do, I can experience His victory in my life.

What about you?

Has God brought you to a place of weakness? Is He seeking to humble you before Him?

Are there areas of your life that are not yielded to Him today?

Do you have some need that you need to bring before the Lord today?

Do you need a revival from a time of wickedness or weakness?

Has He spoken to you about some need in your life?

If He is reaching out to you, please respond to Him and let Him have His way!

TODAY’S VERSE!
Psalm 13:6 (New King James Version (NKJV)
6 I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.


TODAY’S HYMN!
“Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary” By: John M. Moore (1952)

Days are filled with sorrow and care (sorrow and care)
Hearts are lonely and drear
Burdens are Lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Chorus:
Burdens are lifted at calvary (lifted at Calvary)
Calvary (lifted at Calvary), Calvary (lifted at Calvary)
Burdens are lifted at calvary (lifted at Calvary)
Jesus is very near

Cast your care on Jesus today
Leave your worry and fear (worry and fear)
Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary
Jesus is very near

Repeat Chorus

Troubled soul, the Savior can see (Savior can see)
Every heartache and tear (heartache and tear)
Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary
Jesus is very near (is very near)

Repeat Chorus

Jesus is very near
Jesus is very near

TODAY’S PRAYER!
Holy Father, God of Joy, Judgment and Justice! Fill us with Your Spirit today. We let go of all else and open our lives to You. Enable us to resist the temptations of the flesh that would cause us to stray from the path You have created for us. Help us not to minimize all that You want us to do; help us to be ever mindful of Your presence and Your power in our lives; help us to show our love for You by embracing You and Your commandments; help us to touch You with our worship and obedience. Teach us all we need to know about walking and living by faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is in His name that we pray and approach Your throne of grace. Amen!


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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMANDACOETZER 1/28/2013 7:21AM

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ANIHAKA 1/27/2013 1:35PM

    emoticon My new years resolution for 2012 was to allow God to guide me but I failed a lot of time. It's so easy to be distracted. I will allow this to be the foundation of getting my health(mind,body and spirit)in order. I decided not to have any new years resolutions for 2013. emoticon for the very gentle reminder to allow God to guide me.

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MNABOY 1/26/2013 10:21PM

    Thanks for sharing a blessing

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DOROTHYAKERMAN 1/26/2013 7:46PM

    Thank you great message.

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 1/26/2013 4:25PM

    Good afternoon! I'm late getting here today. I appreciate the message and comments very much. I had to get 2 different Bible versions to read about what Samson drank water from. The Clear Word, which is a paraphrase, says in verse 19 "The Lord heard Samson's prayer and carved out a low spot in the rocks right there at Lehi and filled it with water from a spring..." The New International says "Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived. So the spring was called En Hakkore, and is still there in Lehi". Since I know God would not have commanded Samson's parents to be careful in their diet and expected Samson to follow His health laws I believe God provided for Samson just as he did the Israelites in the wilderness. He brought water from the ground or rock.

As you stated, Vic, what really matters is that God heard Samson's cry and answered his prayer. It is so comforting to me to know we serve a God who longs for us to talk to Him. Nothing is too small for Him and nothing is too large for Him to handle. He knows the cry of our hearts even when we can't find the words.

I especially like the song and prayer today. Thank you for this thought provoking and faith building blog.



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FALLENSHORT 1/26/2013 2:06PM

    Your message has hit home for me, today, as I am also going through the same humbling process....my life is a mess and my family's life is a mess. I have a question, however, I do believe it matters whether God gave water to Samson from a jawbone or a spring. God is consistent. True, God doesn't have to follow his own laws if he doesn't want to, but that he does speaks to unbelievers. In talking with my daughter, who is an unbeliever, it makes a difference. It also teaches us to follow up on these 'inconsistencies' we find in the Bible. What do you think?

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SANDRALEET 1/26/2013 11:09AM

    When God puts us down When we are to examine our self Now we have to examine all our beliefs What even from our parents beliefs we to belief is not with God.God only corrects his own Those he loves he corrects

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LOOKINGUP2012 1/26/2013 10:19AM

    Thank you for sharing your insights into the meaning of these passages. emoticon

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JOANIE69 1/26/2013 9:31AM

    The lesson for us ought to be clear.
emoticon emoticon emoticon
If we want to enjoy the peace and blessings of God; if we want to experience tranquility in our lives; if we would have the best God has to offer to us, then we must learn to submit to his will, at all times, in all things, and in all ways.

(bears repeating and repeating - and memorizing)


Comment edited on: 1/26/2013 9:32:59 AM

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RSSSLHB 1/26/2013 9:19AM

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