Samson ~ Derailed Part Two

Samson gave some to his parents, but he did not tell them where he had gotten it. As a side note, Joshua 9:22-23 says that when we plan to deceive we are cursed. Proverbs 11:3 says, “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.”

Samson’s heart was filled with pride. He went on in his own way with total disregard to God’s calling on his life. The story with Delilah is another example. I only want to pick up one part.

The leaders revealed their evil plan in Judges 16. Yet Samson was in the enemy’s camp. Verse 6 says, “…Entice him, and find out where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to afflict him…”

Every time I come to this passage in my daily reading, I pause and reflect. What has unknowingly enticed me to lead me away from my Strength? I do not want to be overpowered, bound, and afflicted because of hidden pride in my heart.

Samson ~ Derailed Part One

Though was set apart for God’s use, Samson got derailed because he disobeyed. Hmm. Think about this in your own life. Our disobedience is like the train that left its track.

Samson was to have no wine, not eat anything unclean, nor was a razor to be used on his head. We know also that no Hebrew was to marry one who was not a Hebrew. Note: the Philistines speak of our flesh.

First thing that Samson did was obtain a Philistine wife. On the way, a young lion came roaring against him. He tore the lion apart with his hands. Keep this in mind. 

He withheld information from his parents, he lied numerous times, and he disobeyed God’s commands for his life. In Judges 14:8-9 he discovered that in the carcass of the lion were a swarm of bees and honey. It says, “…He took some of it in his hands and went along, eating…” 

Wondrous ~ Supernatural Part Two

Now watch this carefully. Verse 19 says that the Angel did a wondrous thing while they watched. The offering was laid upon the rock. Verse 20 says, “It happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar—the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar!…”

I want to bring your attention to Strong’s definition of a wondrous thing. To perform a miracle, marvel, wonder, or supernatural deed, that is, something beyond the human ability to grasp, do, or achieve. Consider this in light of your situation. As I’ve been thinking about it for several days, I marvel at how the Bible is a wondrous thing.

Psalm 119:18 would be a good prayer for you (and for me). It says, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” May the Lord prosper our thoughts.

Wondrous ~ Supernatural Part One

The story of Samson’s birth was miraculous. Before he was born, he was called to be a Nazarite ~ set apart for God’s use. Let’s step into the scene between the Angel of the Lord and Manoah’s wife.

Judges 13:3 says, “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.” She was not to drink any wine or eat anything unclean.

In verse 5 He gave specific instructions, “…no razor shall come upon his head…” The Lord was going to use Samson to begin to deliver the Israelites out of the hand of the Philistines. The woman told her husband. 

In verse 8 Manoah asked the Lord to let the Man of God come back. When He came, Manoah prepared a meal. 

Our Body: His Sanctuary

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Right this minute, as I typed this, the Holy Spirit highlighted, ‘in your spirit.’ So I have paused. How do we glorify God in our spirit? Back to Romans 8:5. We set our minds on the things of the Spirit.

Those things would be the opposite of fleshly reactions. Let me review one verse that recorded how we grieve the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:31 says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.”

All words come from our thoughts. In order to glorify the Lord in our spirit, it will come first through our thoughts. Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

We build a heart sanctuary of humility by engrafting His word into the walls of our heart. His hidden word will purify our thoughts before we think them, and our words before we say them. Psalm 139:4 Amplified says, “For there is not a word in my tongue (still unuttered), but, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether).”

We engraft to strengthen our heart in the moment of temptation. Daniel purposed in his heart long before he was faced with the temptation. He set his heart to please the Lord. Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

Heart Sanctuary: Humility

I want to give you a paraphrased quote from my pastor’s message Sunday ~ humility is a right view of self. We focus on ourselves less often by considering others’ interests first.

Several devotionals ago, I wrote out James 4:6. Let’s go back to the last part, “…but gives grace to the humble.” Paul wrote that his thorn in the flesh kept him from being conceited.

Let’s continue with his words to the Philippians in 2:4. It says, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Verse  5 in the Amplified says, “Let this same attitude and purpose and (humble) mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: (Let Him be your example in humility:).”

There are so many passages that give us a visible view of Jesus’ humility. My mind immediately goes to when He was falsely accused. Matthew 27:12-13. He did not answer a word. 

1 Peter 2:23 says, “Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” Revile means to abuse, and attack with evil words. Our flesh rises to defend, whereas, when we are walking in the Spirit, we will abide in our sanctuary of humility.

Romans 12:16 says, “Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set  your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.” Do you hang out with folks who exemplify the Lord’s character of humility?

Pride: Heart Idol Part Three

I have a new mentee that is really shy. She hates her looks and covers her mirror. I have another mentee that is struggling with eating disorders. She believes that she is selfish and disgusting. In both cases, they are rebelling against the way God created them to be. Why? Their hearts have an idol of pride that controls them.

What controls us is a definitive statement of what we have allowed through our thoughts because of pride. Whew! What controls us rules our motives. Hebrews 4:12 says that God’s word discerns our thoughts and intentions.

1 Chronicles 28:9 Amplified says, “…For the Lord searches all hearts and minds and understands all the wanderings of the thoughts…” Have you ever allowed your mind to wander aimlessly, or in a direction that you desired a specific outcome? That was exactly what I did in 1983 when I wanted someone to notice me.

I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to help you resist all temptations to let your mind wander. It is futile, which means: fruitless, empty, hollow, unproductive, lacking substance, ineffectual, void of results, and worthless. The moment He sets a check in our spirit, that is the moment to stop. We quench Him when we continually resist through pride.

Pride lusts. It is driven by our flesh, which defiantly resists the Holy Spirit’s leading. Romans 8:5 says, “For those who live according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”

Pride Is A Heart Idol Part Two

James 4:6 says, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Verse 10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” As the Holy Spirit was speaking these things into my heart, He reminded me of something.

In 1983 I was still really a mess from falling into the ravine. I was crying out inside for someone to notice me and help me. I would dialogue about this in my heart. When I had a certain person in my mind, I would ask the Lord to have them call me. If they didn’t I would get angry. Immature? Yes, but did you recognize the pride of my heart?  No one knows what we are thinking unless we tell them.

Pride blocks grace. Paul recognized that his thorn-trial was keeping him from conceit. The Lord will use any instrument He needs to in order to conform us to His will and ways. We must guard our heart from despising His means to do it.

Think about one who sculptures stone. It might be the 100th blow with their chisel, before they can release what their intended shape is to be. I know that the Lord has used my multiple brain injuries as His tool to shape my character to be more like Him.

Read these words carefully to pick out the pride. Romans 20-21 says, “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, Why have you made me like this?”

Heart Idol: Pride Part One

Pride lifts us up through self-esteem. I know, there are books and more books that are geared to help us gain self-esteem. Paul wrote about it in Philippians 2:3. It says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

I view Romans 12:9-21 as a Christian magna carta. It is a great template for living in holy conduct. Verse 10 says, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”

We see a clear picture of what pride did in satan’s case. Remember the serpent in the garden? Isaiah 14:12-15 says, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened  the nations!

For you have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.”

You can read this account for yourself Ezekiel 28:12-15. Verse 15 says,”You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”

Every trap that the enemy of our soul sets, will be through a lure of pride. What is disobedience? God says to do something, but in our pride we think that we can ignore His words. Our trial is long and we may complain, because in our pride we think we know what we need. See how insidious pride is?

Gideon’s Idol

How could Gideon set up an idol at the end of his life? You can read about it in Judges 8:22-35. He had won a great victory. I want to jump to the account of Paul’s thorn. 2 Corinthians 12:7 in the ESV says, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.”

I was used to the way I memorized this verse as a child. I was startled when it was brought to my attention. Ask yourself this question: Could my trial be a purposeful thorn to keep me from being conceited? It puts another spin on it for me. It helped me offer a sacrifice of genuine praise.

Our victories are from God. They honor Him and lift His name up through praise and thanksgiving. We can only imagine how much satan hates our victories. He will do whatever he can to derail us through them ~ through conceit.

After Gideon’s death, one son said this about him. Abimelech had killed all of Gideon’s sons except one who escaped. In Judges 9:17 he said, “For my father  fought for you, risked his life,  and delivered you out of the hand of Midian.”

Here is our instruction. When the Lord gives us a great victory, we need to humble ourselves. A humble heart will be empowered through grace to resist the pull from satan’s snares to entrap us through conceit.