My Name Is Delilah

My Name Is Delilah

Delilah was devoted to a life of deception. Her greatest “accomplishment” was the destruction of a man who loved her—a man named Samson. Samson was an easy target for her trickery, since women were this strong man’s greatest weakness. Delilah’s con was paid for by the Philistine rulers in the staggering amount of “eleven hundred shekels of silver” (about 28 pounds) each (see Judges 16:5).

Isn’t it amazing the degree to which living a lie makes us susceptible to the lies of others? Three times Samson misled this wily woman, and each time she complained, “You have made a fool of me” (vv. 10, 13, 15).

In reality, Delilah needed no help in the area of foolishness. She prostituted herself to land a fortune in silver, a ruse that included lying to a man who was in love with her. After her successful betrayal of Samson, Delilah disappears from the biblical account. Her inheritance: the knowledge that the man who loved her was maimed, humiliated, and enslaved by her deception and greed. By the time Samson awakened to his blindness to the truth, his eyes had been physically gouged out (see v. 21).

How often do deception and addiction go hand in hand? Like Delilah, the addict will weave a web of deception in order to continue feeding his insatiable habit. And, sadly, it’s often easiest to go on deceiving those who love us, over and over again. The end product is a life wasted—our own—and all too frequently other lives are devastated—those we love, or at least those who love us.

The only escape from a life of dishonesty is an encounter with the truth—his name is Jesus. He’s the one who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). If we’ve wasted our lives in self-deception and in the manipulation and betrayal of those who love us, there’s still a way back to God. He can break the pattern of deception. Recovery forces us to face the truth in order to end the insanity that has taken over our life. David voiced a simple prayer that we may wish to make our own: “Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God” (Psalm 31:5).

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My Name Is Samson

My Name Is Samson

Samson’s story presents the irony of a powerful and yet absolutely powerless man. God gave Samson incredible physical strength. But neither physical strength nor strength of will can overcome our sinful addictions. Samson’s particular addiction was sexual, and his obsession led him to squander his God-given strength. Addictions are often attempts to meet personal needs through physical pleasures. Each human being comes into this world equipped with a nearly insatiable, lifelong need for love. Only God is big enough to satisfy that demand. In fact, we’re created to love, and to be loved, by God. Sex can seem to be a powerful substitute for love. That shouldn’t be surprising, since sexual love is designed by God to be enjoyed by a husband and wife with such intensity that their intimacy reflects the love Jesus has for his church (see Ephesians 5:28-32).

What was Samson’s overriding failure? He failed to enjoy and share God’s love and the love of others. In addition, he didn’t care enough about his own people to use his strength to set them free. This strongest of men settled for the substitute and sacrificed his God-given asset.

Samson never fulfilled his purpose in life, even though he frequently demonstrated evidence of his amazing power. Regularly in his story we’re told that “the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him” (e.g., see Judges 14:19). If we’ve worked through the first seven principles on the road to recovery, we’ve both experienced and displayed God’s power. However, if we fail to continuously practice Principle Eight, we’re in danger. Recovery includes sharing our experience of change with others. Real recovery will make the needs of others more important to us than our own: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Samson, like the rest of the judges God empowered, was born to deliver others from bondage. Instead, Samson squandered his gifts on personal gratification. Sobriety doesn’t equal recovery. It’s the beginning point of a process that will help us to fulfill God’s purposes in our lives. Those purposes include using our pain as a platform for proclaiming God’s power to heal broken lives and set captives free.

Jealousy in the Kingdom?

Jealousy in the Kingdom?

Day 3
31 Reasons To Praise by Melanie can be purchase at www.itsmelanielee.com

I have ALL the Spiritual Blessings
-Ephesians 1:3

As I read the devotion there was one thing that JUMPED out at me. “EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING” – then I remembered something that I questioned; why is there so much competition in the church? Why is there jealousy in the church, God? And in an instant the answer was clear!!

People are seeking the same “Spiritual Blessing” – but I think there is a lack of WISDOM in knowing that we are all on the same level playing field. None of us is so special to be more worthy than another. Not one of us is “UNWORTHY” of any blessing – but we are given this “GIFT” because of the precious blood that was shed by the Lamb of God who died so that we ALL have the right to “EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING”

If you read further Ephesians 4:11 – 13 MSG
..He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

We each have our own calling. When we each focus on what God has called us to do – which is clearly listed in the above scripture, we will have no need to envy another. Unless we are guilt-ridden because we are not running our own race and desire the race of another. The other rational is a person is comparing “temporal blessings” – which are not guaranteed…and for me, that is were I would say; FAVOR AIN’T FAIR.

Broken Crayons Still Color On Purpose – All of us come to God with a zero. And God comes to us with a ten, and He gives us everything we could ever possibly dream of in His Son Jesus Christ.

Day 3 of 31 Reasons to Praise

Thank you, Melanie N. Lee

In Christ There is Freedom

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

Imagine this scene: A broken man awakens one morning with no options.
Hopeless, owning nothing but an empty stomach, he stands starkly upon the auctioneer’s block as a slave. Shoulders slumped, pride stripped away, gaunt eyes staring aimlessly into the distance, his ashen face conveys only shame.

Suddenly, a man with gentle eyes appears, and this man sees value and potential in this broken man. “Did I see a spark of something in that man’s eyes?” the slave wonders. It couldn’t be, but his hope rises as the gentle man pays the price, brings him home, clothes him, and feeds him richly. His master does love him!

Do you recognize this picture? I hope so. It’s a picture of your life in Christ. You and I were once slaves on the auction block of sin. We stood broken by sin. Yet our loving and gentle Master—for reasons we may never know, and for reasons not found in us—saw value in us. And He paid for our freedom with His own blood, on a cross.

Through Jesus Christ, we’ve been freed from bondage. But that’s not the end, only the beginning. We must move on and ask the question, “What have we been freed for?” The answer: for Jesus Christ!

We’ve been freed by Christ, for Christ. That is, so we might serve Him, praise Him, and give Him glory.

God’s purpose in redeeming men from sin is not to give them freedom to do as they please but freedom to do as He pleases, which is to live righteously.

– Steve Arterburn

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father God, I thank you that in you I am free, no longer bound by the chains of my sin. I surrender my life to you, Lord and pray your will be done in and through my life. Amen.

Adapted from Fearless for Life by Stephen Arterburn, Paul Meier and Robert L.Wise

Surviving the Storm
But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid”. – Matthew 14:26-27

Every day we are confronted by events that strike fear in our hearts. Headlines shout disaster, violence, crime, poverty and depravity—we live in such turbulent times. How do we stay afloat as the waters swirl out of control around us?

The Bible is filled with God’s pledges of divine intervention, but nothing is clearer than the Apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Tim. 1-7 NIV). Christians have the tools to turn back fear!

Rather than using these tools, we often want to live in a world free of fearful situations. When we don’t find this, we give up and exist in hopeless desperation. We may even turn away from God because we expected Him to keep us from harm’s way – something God never told us He would do.

Remember the story of the disciples in the fierce storm in Matthew, chapter 14. They watched him feed five thousand people with a few fish and five loaves of bread. They witnessed Him heal blind men and yet, when it came to facing their first crisis in the midst of the storm, they raised the bar of cowardly behavior to a new level. The bottom line of this story is this, Jesus knew of the pending storm and the struggle they would face, but He allowed them to get into the boat and into turbulent waters.

Here’s what we can learn from this. Sometimes there are valuable lessons that God wants to teach us in our difficult times – before He calms the storm and quiets our fears. God never promised us a trouble free life. He did promise to be there with us in the dark times and the stormy seas, to give us hope in spite of fear. This knowledge becomes the foundation for living free of fear’s chains.

Facing your fear is not based on the abstract idea of simply believing. It is not based on the nebulous commitment to positive thinking. It is based on the concrete promise that He will be there, in the midst of our storm. Whether He carries us through the storm or whether He simply calms it down, we have the guarantee of His word that He will be there. As believers, we cannot simply say no to apprehension. We must say yes to the Master of the storm.

There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil. No matter what storms are raging all around, you’ll stand firm if you stand on His love. – Charles Stanley

TODAY’S PRAYER:
Lord, I acknowledge that I have the truth of your Word which promises me that You will be with me in the midst of my storm. I stand firm in the truth that You will never leave me or forsake me. No matter how violent my storm might be, You are the Master of my storm. I will not fear. Amen.

Adapted from Fearless for Life by Stephen Arterburn, Paul Meier and Robert L.Wise

Dangers of Isolation

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2

You hear it from almost every corner: American culture is becoming increasingly marked by loneliness and isolation. In one way it’s understandable. There is a sense of safety and control in isolation and disconnection, but it’s a false sense of safety. In fact, living lonely is anything but safe. It’s a dangerous lifestyle because it allows a person to overlook real life, real people, and all the benefits and rewards that go with growing relationships.

And probably more important, our character has little chance to grow when we live life in isolation from others. It allows our thinking to go unchallenged and allows damaging issues we may struggle with to grow and thrive in the fertile soil isolation provides.

If you’re feeling isolated, do what an old commercial on television used to say, ‘Reach out and touch someone.’

– Steve Arterburn

You can make more friends in two months by becoming more interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you. – Dale Carnegie