Examining Choices

Examining Choices

[Note: With Carl getting married tomorrow, we are pinch-hitting for him this week.]

davesteeves

Dave Steeves

Choices. We all make them, some good, some bad, and if you’re anything like me, it seems sometimes we make  more bad than good.

In the book of Judges, we see some of the choices Samson made. It is clearly understood that Samson was set-apart by God before he was even conceived. You see, God had plans for Sampson. He was to be a Nazirite, meaning he would not drink wine or any other fermented drink. He could not make himself ceremonially unclean by coming in contact with a dead body. His head was also not to be touched by a razor.

Not only did Samson touch a dead animal but he ate honey from the lion’s carcass. Not long after that he threw a feast in a vineyard of all places. And to top it all off, he tells his wife the secret to his great strength is in his hair so she has his head shaved, breaking yet another Nazarite Vow.

Clearly, these are all bad choices that should’ve been evident to him. But, even though Sampson had broken these vows and would end up in chains because of them, God was able to use him. Samson delivered a mighty blow when he brought down the temple killing the Philistine rulers and himself.

You see, Samson was set aside by God but was still just a sinful human, not perfect by anyone’s standards. We too are sinful and set aside by God for a purpose. That purpose is to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). Matthew 28:19 tells us,  “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.”
This instruction is given to all believers. If you are a Christian, this responsibility is yours, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Our responsibility as Christians never stops. As long as we have breath in us we are to spread the good news. I am sure that some will say that God cannot use them, that they consider ourselves unworthy or unqualified.
Well guess what? God can and will use us in ways we can’t imagine. God will use each and everyone of us to further his kingdom if we just allow his will to be done in our lives. If we rely on our own strength we will fail, but if we trust in God and his strength we can’t fail. His promises are steadfast and never ceasing. All we have to do is trust in him and we can all do great things.

We read in Isaiah 41:10:  “So do not fear, for I am with you: do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you: I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God‘s strength is available to all of us right now. I urge all of us  to take a look inside ourselves. Are we committed to the work of being a Christian? And if we aren’t, why not?
God is with us, ready and willing.  Won’t you let your loving father use you today? Allow Him to work through you to complete His good work. I can think of any no greater honor than to have God‘s will done in my life. Let’s make the choice!

steeves



 

 

Tearing Lions And Toeing Lines

Tearing Lions And Toeing Lines

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

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Dale Pollard

He wore a name we know well but accomplished the will of a Name we know better. Samson the judge was the man who dropped a thousand Philistines with a jawbone while dropping the jaws of those who would read these accounts years later.
In Judges 13 through 16 we find the awesome, yet tragic life of the strongest man who ever walked the earth. From the moment of his miraculous conception to those dramatic moments between the pillars, he captivates our imagination. Some tend to idolize his prowess as a warrior and rebel, but the real lessons we can learn from Samson can be appreciated by everyone. What if a mortal human could act in place of God? While impossible, let’s just humor this thought. In a way we get a glimpse of how miserable life would be if we didn’t serve a righteous Lord. When Samson lost his temper, became annoyed, bored, or defiant he would always choose to act in his own self interest. He was empowered by a God he didn’t serve and that is seen time and again in these three chapters. His final act of killing over three thousand Philistines who mocked him in their pagan temple were slain out of revenge (Judges 16:28) and hatred. His eyes had been gauged out and he is led by a servant through a crowd of people who were not even supposed to be living in the same land as the Israelites (Numbers 31:17). In other words, the Philistines were a hole dug by God’s children in the first place. Samson was a tool in God’s hand to relieve His people from the oppression of these ruthless “fish people.”

I’m sure you know many of the accounts from the life of Samson so here are a few things that God intended for us to learn from him.

1. God is infinitely more powerful than His creation (including Samson) and is infinitely more loving and patient than His creation. If Samson had the power of God, his own humanity would provoke him to destroy anyone who irritated or upset him. How many times has God forgiven us and then placed those sins out of His sight? Too many times to count, I’d imagine.
2. God can use the self-seeking people in the world to accomplish His own will. He never lost control of Samson and God hasn’t lost control in the world today.
3. Nothing could make us serve God, even if He paid us a supernatural visit (see Jesus). Samson’s abilities were given to him by the Lord, and yet that wasn’t enough to convince him to dedicate his life to Him. Consider Solomon that was given wisdom in a miraculous way— yet still fell. In the end it comes down to the individual heart, the desire, and the determination to commit ourselves to His service.
4. God’s desire to protect His people is great and His methods are creative. The Israelites could have never dreamed that their savior would be a man like Samson. They were plagued by a race of wicked warriors, but God used one man to turn the tables. When we look at our country today we may think there’s no way that things could be different but let’s not forget how powerful and how creative God is. It doesn’t matter whether or not WE can see a path forward when God has proven that He is more than capable and willing to see us through.

You could ponder over the life of Samson and come up with more great lessons to build your faith. Why not read through Judges 13-16 to remind yourself of God’s control in this world? As a bonus, you’d be treating yourself to one of the most fascinating sections in the Old Testament.

 
So You Have A Sinful Past? (POEM)

So You Have A Sinful Past? (POEM)

 

Neal Pollard

Moses was a murderer, Rahab was a liar,
David was an adulterer and to murder he did conspire,
Gideon and Timothy were timid, Peter a confirmed denier,
Paul wrecked havoc on the church, so full of hate and ire.

God, from time immemorial, has used the earthen vessel,
Sons of thunder or deceivers– like Jacob, who an angel did wrestle.
Just like Abraham and Isaac, very human if chosen and special
Barak, Samson, Jephthah, who with flaws their faith did nestle

From cover to cover, Scripture shows that God works through sinners
Preachers, prophets, kings and elders, saints and great soul-winners
It helps us who would serve today, to be better enders than beginners
To not let sin defeat us, to go from offenders to God defenders

Perhaps you have a sinful past or there’s guilt here in your today
A habit, sin, or weakness, crimes of deeds, thoughts, or what you say
Look back to men and women of old, they willed for they knew The Way
Conquer through Christ your old man, get busy, trust in God and obey!

Peter denying Jesus
Peter denying Christ