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SAMSON SERIES: BORN WITH PURPOSE – JUDGES 13

Chapter thirteen opens revealing the declining spiritual climate of Israel, “And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of God.” Consequently, for their actions God allows them to fall into Philistine captivity for forty years. It is during this time that the thirteenth judge is about to come on the scene.

An angel first announces Samson’s birth to his mother whom the scripture describes as being barren and the wife of Manoah of the tribe of Dan and resident of the secluded mountain village of Zorah.

She was instructed not to drink wine or any other strong drink and not to eat anything that was ceremonially unclean. Additionally, informed her son from birth would be a Nazarite unto God, during his lifetime no razor was to come on his head, and he would be used to begin delivering Israel out of the hands of the Philistines.

After giving these instructions to Samson’s mother the angel leaves and Samson’s mother went and found her husband and shared the good news told to her by the unknown man. She told Manoah about the unidentified man of God, the pregnancy, and the Nazarite restrictions that she received. Manoah wanted to hear the instructions from the unknown man; thus he prayed and asked God to send back the man which He graciously did.

Once again the angel appeared to the woman, and she ran and got her husband. When he saw the angel, Manoah inquired, “How shall we order the child and how shall we do unto him?” In response, the angel replied, “Of all that I said unto the women let her beware.”

Unbeknown that this was an angel of God and not a man, Manoah offers the angel a meal while unsuccessfully attempting to find out his name. Not wanting to receive the homage that belongs to God the angel declines the meal but tells Manoah to offer a burnt offering to God. As Manoah offered up a kid and meat offering the angel ascended in the flame causing Manoah and his wife in awe to fall prostrate on the ground. When the angel did not reappear Manoah became fearful and thought they were going to die; however, his wife was able to speak reassuring words to him concerning their future.

Chapter thirteen ends informing the readers of the birth of Samson, the child being blessed and the Spirit of the Lord moving on him at certain times.:

From this chapter I want to share the following thoughts:
1. God will permit the enemy to have access to your life.
2. Evil and sinful acts will lead to captivity.
3. God always has a remnant.
4. God is a healer; He can open a womb.
5. Despite challenges, you have been set apart from conception.
6. Your diet can affect your life.
7. Life begins in the womb.
8. Your birth had reason and purpose.
9. At the appointed time God can raise up something from nothing.
10. You can receive a prophetic word concerning your child’s destiny.
11. There is a benefit for living within God’s boundaries.
12. God’s plan for your life does not alter.
13. Your assignment may be to start something but not to complete it.
14. God will repeat His instruction when asked.
15. Pray for instructions and direction on raising your children.
16. Some questions never are answered.
17. Dead people cannot parent a child.

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SAMSON SERIES

During the time of Israel’s judges, the children of Israel were inhabiting the land promised to their forefather Abraham. This land was given to them with instructions by God, and they were told the key to continuing in God’s graces and living prosperously in the area was to adhere to His laws.

Unfortunately, there are two scriptures repeatedly found throughout the book of Judges that describe the spiritual climate of Israel and they are “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord” (Judges 2:11; 3:7,12; 4:1; 6:1; 10:6; 13:1) and “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which is right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 21:25). It was always God’s desire to be Israel’s king however they continually rejected Him. Hence, He was not pleased with His people, and He allowed them to go into captivity until they repented and sought Him.

During the several hundred years of tribal discord, apostasy and oppressive captivity that the book of Judges covered God raised up thirteen judges to give Israel His word and to lead them out of bondage. Thusly, these judges were deliverers and administrators of justice. It is during this age of disobedience and rebellion to the instructions of God that Samson was born.

The life of Samson is shared in four chapters in the book of Judges: Judges 13 -16. These chapters cover Samson’s birth to death, his triumphs and tragedies, his temper and lack of self-control, his love, his lust and his disobedience which resulted in his downfall.

Each week I plan to blog a chapter sharing the events and life lessons that I learned from it, and I invite you to come on this journey with me.

PLEASE GOD FIRST

Recently I have been talking to people concerning our relationship with God, the need to choose him above everything and to prioritize our actions as it pertains to our relationship with Him. I have been somewhat astonished and dismayed with the response of those with whom I engaged this conversation. Though we know that God is not pleased, that His Word instructs us and tells us what He is expecting from us, we do otherwise, and we expect God to accept us. We have been blinded and deceived. In this world, with its many distractions and attractions we believers must adhere to God’s Word first, and in so doing we are pleasing in His sight.

Understanding the war between our two worlds (spiritual and natural) is paramount to our success. The natural pulls us and delights our flesh, while the spiritual requires us to deny ourselves; however, this denial promotes relationship and causes the manifested presence of God in our lives.

In Luke 12 Jesus speaking to an innumerable multitude of people shares the parable of a rich man that was obsessed with accumulating wealth. This man built large barns to store his stuff thinking that things would last; nevertheless, at the completion of his building project he dies, and another inherits his wealth. Jesus ends this parable with this statement, “Thou fool, tis night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

When we eliminate God from of our daily activities, when we make worldly things our priority and minimize our relationship with God thinking we will eventually get around to building our relationship with Him, we will end up like the man in the parable.

While you are yet alive, it is never too late to make the necessary corrections enabling you to please God first. God will not push Himself on you; He allows you to decide true servanthood. Thusly, in your heart and mind it would be good if you could conclude like Joshua, “As for me, I will serve God” (Joshua 24:15).

While writing this blog, this simple prayer came to my mind; therefore I am going to end this blog with it. “God help us to start my day with you, end our day with you and fit you in the in-between. Help us always to keep you in our mind.”

STRATEGIES FOR THE WALL

Recently while in prayer God ministered to my spirit concerning the need to build a wall and He reminded me of the events that took place in the blogs I wrote on the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. As I reviewed those blogs strategies for the wall became evident to me.

Additionally, the Holy Spirit ministered to me that our churches are similar to the temple built by Ezra. Our churches are erected, but the wall needed for its protection is missing. I have come to understand that we believers build walls around our churches and selves with our prayers.

A wall has numerous functions. It is a device that is used to set boundaries; it marks the limit of an area, and it makes a dividing line. It is used as a protection device, a defense and a barrier that prevents movement and access. It is intended to block passage and keep the undesired out.

If a wall is not strongly erected or has a breach, then the enemy has free access, and the blame for his admittance rest on me. Therefore, it is encumbered on me to pray without ceasing and have strategies for the wall for the enemy is consistently on the watch looking for a way to intervene in the lives of people.

There is a saying, “Without man, God will not, and without God man cannot.” When God created man, He gave the man the responsibility to subdue and have dominion over the earth. Thus, our prayers invite God into the activities of this earth, and our prayers are not just for us, for our prayers can alter people’s lives in distant lands.

It is said that prayer service is the least attended service in churches and this service unfortunately usually does not have men in attendance. The sad fact is that believers fail to realize that prayer is the key to our success; therefore, the prayer service should have the highest participation and men should be the primary supporters of this service.

This is not a new problem for we find this same issue in the bible dated thousands of years ago. God said, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22: 30). Things have not changed; the problem of old remains the same. The question then is, “What are we going to do?” Plus, if we are going to do something we need to have a strategy that will help us be successful in our endeavor.
Before I give you my strategies for the wall, let me give a short review of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. After seventy years of captivity the Israelites returned to Jerusalem, and under the leadership of Ezra, they rebuilt the temple but not the walls that were destroyed during the Babylonian invasion. After the building of the temple some of the Israelites remained in that city; however, a significant portion of them moved out due to harassment from their enemies, not having able-bodied persons to protect the temple and city, and the broken down walls enabled the enemy easy access. Years later Nehemiah comes to Jerusalem and rebuilds the walls. First, he had to encourage the people in this effort and then he had to implement a strategy to keep the enemy from attacking while they rebuilt the walls. (You can find more details on these books in my archive blogs).

So here are my simple but effective strategies:
1. Remember a wall (prayer) denies access to intruders.
2. Regardless of age, all believers can participate in building the wall.
3. Have a plan.
4. Be specific in your request.
5. Don’t allow distractions to deter you from building.
6. Be armed with your spiritual weapons.
7. Be ready to stand guard for extended periods if needed.
8. Watch, hear and pray.
9. Remain faithful and committed.

A DOUBLE PORTION

In many sermons and conversations, I have heard people talk about a double portion/anointing, and today I also want to share my thoughts on this subject. The concept of the double portion comes from following scripture which will be the foundation for this blog, “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me” (2 Kings 2:9), and it centers around the relationship of Elijah and his successor Elisha who lived during the ninth century B.C.

In 1 Kings 19:16 God informed Elijah that he should anoint Elisha, the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah to succeed him as a prophet to the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. In verses 19-21 we see him finding Elisha the son of Shaphat in northern Israel plowing his father’s field near the ancient town of Abelmeholah, and passing by him Elijah cast his mantle upon him.

Elisha responded by slewing a yoke of oxen and used the yoke as firewood to cook the oxen. He then gave the flesh of the oxen to the people to eat, arose, went after Elijah, and ministered unto him. Though the scriptures do not reveal much about the time Elisha was with Elijah, scholars believed that for ten to twelve years Elisha was Elijah’s close attendant, waiting on him, pouring water on his hands, learning, receiving mentorship and guidance until Elijah was taken up into heaven.by a whirlwind in a fiery chariot.

From the only two chapters (1 Kings 19 and 2 Kings 2) that shares the story of Elijah and Elisha being together, I have drawn some conclusions concerning the transference of a double portion/anointing. These are:
1.God uses people who are workers. When Elijah found Elisha, he was busy working in the field.
2.To ascertain whether you would want a similar anointing that is on a person you must spend time with that person. You need to get to know them. This may require you leaving your family, friends, and way of life. This may require you going from the familiar to the unknown, and all of this needs to be done willingly.
3.Do whatever labor is necessary. For years Elisha was the errand boy and servant of Elijah. He no doubt did menial tasks, those things that people do not enjoy doing, however, being a servant made him eligible to be a leader.
4.Get as much teaching as you can while the person is with you. Elisha knew that Elijah was going to leave him and he determined to be with him as long as he was able.
5.Don’t permit the words of others to distract or divert you from your assignment. As Elijah and Elisha journeyed from Gilgal to Jordan, they met with several companies of prophets who said these discouraging words to Elisha, “Knowest thou that the Lord will take thy master from thy head today?” Elisha answered, “Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.” Sometimes you have to shut out the chatter of others and keep moving
6.Don’t expect others to join you. This is your assignment. The company of prophets did not join Elisha while he traveled along with Elijah.
7.On their last day together at three different locations (Gilgal, Bethel, and Jericho) Elijah told Elisha, “Tarry, here, I pray thee.” In the Hebrew “tarry” means to sit down and consider, or to sit down in judgment. Elijah did not take Elisha’s companionship for granted he wanted him to sit down and make a conscious decision whether or not he should continue with him. You must count the cost and decide to commit to the end.
8.Know what you want. When asked Elisha told Elijah, “I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.”
9.After you received the double portion/anointing, it is time to do the work. Elisha did not spend time grieving over Elijah’s departure, but he immediately went back to Jericho and there addressed a problem of the water and barren land, and he continued for the next sixty-five years in the work of the ministry prophesizing to kings and people and performing miracles throughout the nation.

I pray that this blog encourages you on today and give you food for thought concerning how to receive a double portion/anointing.

IS HE YOUR GOD

Genesis 28:13 And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.

On last week I used the above scripture in my blog, “FAITHFUL TO THE FAITHLESS” and on this week I am going to use this scripture again.
As I said on last week in this scripture God talked to Jacob for the first time and acknowledged He had a relationship with his father and grandfather but not with Jacob. He told Jacob He was going to bless him but Jacob’s told God He had to prove himself to him prior to him making a commitment and it took over twenty years for Jacob to do so.

Also, as I said in my last blog God is faithful to us even when we don’t respond to Him positively. God waited on Jacob but He may not wait that long for others. I personally knew people who said they would give their lives to God when they became older but their lives were cut short without them ever making that commitment. Many have been deceived into thinking their lives without God is alright, they don’t understand that having a relationship with God is profitable and brings a lasting reward.

For those that take the salvation message lightly I suggest reading the words of Jesus found in Luke 13: 24-28. Jesus cautioned the crowd with these words, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.”

This is the period of grace that has been extended with an invitation for whosoever will. However, this period will one day be over and those that have not accepted and committed their life to God will find the door shut. A denial of access will be given to anyone attempting to enter the kingdom of God illegitimately.

As we celebrated the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ this Easter Sunday, let’s not let His suffering and dying be for naught. If you haven’t given your life to God, and if you haven’t made the commitment to serve Him wholeheartedly how about doing so right now. Let it be said if the question is asked, “Is He your God” you can say, “Yes, He is my God too.”

FAITHFUL TO THE FAITHLESS

God is merciful, gracious and kind to us. He is loving and He invites everyone to be part of His kingdom. He allows us the opportunity to choose and serve Him and even when we resist Him, He still lovingly takes care and watch over us.

A good example of His love can be seen in the life of Jacob who was a twin born to Isaac and Rebekah. In Jacob’s early years he was known to be a trickster, a liar and a manipulator. The bible records his first encounter with God in Genesis 28 when he is on his way Padanaram. God said to him “I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” Please note that God tells Jacob He is the God of his father and grandfather; Jacob was not included in this connection for he did not have a relationship with God. Despite the lack of relationship God talks to Jacob and tells him about his future and the divine protection that he will receive. Jacob’s response was not the kind I expected but rather he responded giving God a contingency. He said, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.”

Between Genesis 29 and 31 twenty years goes by, Jacob gets married, has 11 sons and 1 daughter and has lived these years in Pandanaram working for his father-in-law Laban. During these years God blesses Jacob and remains faithful to him despite the minimal interaction Jacob has with Him.

In Genesis 31 God told Jacob, “Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee,” and in Genesis 35 Jacob has returned home and God says to him, “Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.” When Jacob gets to Bethel God once again appears to him, blesses him, reiterates those things that he told him twenty years ago and He changes Jacob’s name to Israel.

During all the years Jacob was away, God remained faithful to the faithless. In the many perilous situations in which Jacob found himself, God delivered him. Additionally, God prospered him and blessed him even without any acknowledgement or gratitude from Jacob.

On today I don’t want to be found in the category that Jacob was in: faithless. Neither do I want my interaction with God to be one-sided. I want to bless Him and love Him as He loves me. I want to communicate with Him daily and receive His guidance. I want Him to consider me a faithful servant and I want Him to be pleased with me and as I close this blog I pray that you feel the same as I do.

A LITTLE SPACE IN TIME

On this week I was listening to a video by Pastor Joshua Kuteesa from Shiloh City Church, Mukuno, Uganda on “Numbering Your Days” and it reminded me that I needed to be diligently working for the Kingdom of God and it inspired me to write this blog.

Many of us take life for granted and we assume that when we leave our homes and families in the morning that we will safely return home at the end of the day with all being well. Unfortunately, as we listen to the news reports at the end of the day we can see this is not the case for many. Unexpected accidents and medical issues resulting in death daily adds names to the dearly departed. Also, many of us feel that thinking or talking about death is morbid; therefore, we avoid all thoughts and conversation on this topic. However, one thing in this life of which we all can be assured, whether we are fearful of death or not, we will all one-day die. Hopefully, knowing this believers are wise in how they spend their time on earth.

It is a fact that God dwells in eternity and man starts his life in time before he transitions into eternity. Also, while on earth God gives humans an opportunity to decide where they will reside in eternity. Understanding these facts and scriptures found throughout the bible such as James 4:14 which states, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away,” it behooves us to spend the time we have on earth with purpose.

In John 9:4 Jesus informed his disciples “The night cometh, when no man can work,” which again informs us that there will be a time when we become unproductive. So, I encourage you on today in the little space in time that you have on earth to act wisely and serve God with all of your heart, soul and strength.

THE FULFILLMENT OF THE WORD

Recently, I found myself scripture praying 2 Timothy 3:16-17 prior to ministering the Word and at the conclusion of the prayer asking God to let the Word work in the heart and the minds of the hearers. And now I once again feel an urging to write about the the Word. Since I knew I had written on this topic before, I reviewed past blogs and decided though I may say some of the things I blogged on in the past, it is worth repeating.

This well-known scripture penned by the Apostle Paul to his spiritual son Timothy states, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). I also love the way the Message Bible interprets these verses. It states, “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.”

God moved on the writers of the Old and New testament to record events and information that He felt was pertinent for humanity. Additionally, no matter the age or time in which an individual may live this Word would provide them with the answers and direction that was needed for their lives.

If we allow it the Word will accomplish five things in our lives and these things are:
1. The Word gives us the laws, rules, and principles that when applied to our lives guarantees success.
2. When we are out of order and doing wrong the Word will reprimand us, check us, and get on us. We will feel convicted.
3. When we persist in doing the wrong thing, we will be punished. Prayerfully this punishment will lead to our rehabilitation.
4. The Word will give us the direction and answers to questions that effect our lives and world.
5. The Word builds us, equips us and makes us spiritual champions.

Today, I am so grateful that I have a God in my life that is always with me, provides me with the tools that I need to navigate through this world, corrects me when I need it and wants me to be successful. If you have not utilized the Word in your everyday life I encourage you to do so, for you are missing out on one of the greatest bestowal that God has given to mankind.

 

SELF-EXAMINATION

I watch a series on the television about a group that is involved in a competitive sport. The coach for this group always leads the group in prayer prior to a competition and often talks about their belief and trust in God on the show; however, the coach’s behavior on the show sometimes is not reflective of a person that acknowledges and trust God. This week as I pondered over what I saw it made me begin to examine my life to make sure I was measuring up to God’s desire and standards for my life.

Also, as I pondered and examined my life the words of Solomon found in Proverbs 3:5-8 came to my mind. This scripture states in the King James version, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones,” and in the Amplified Bible it reads, “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord [with reverent awe and obedience] and turn [entirely] away from evil. It will be health to your body [your marrow, your nerves, your sinews, your muscles—all your inner parts] And refreshment (physical well-being) to your bones.”

As you can see I highlighted the portion in the scriptures that stuck out in my mind and below you will find a few of the words I looked up in my Strong’s concordance. The Hebrew definitions of them are:
acknowledge = know, recognize, regard, respect, understand, be aware
way = a course of life, journey, mode of action, manner, conversation

I realized when I show regard and truly respect God I cannot pick and choose which scriptures I will follow but in every aspect of my life, God must be the focal point. My words and actions should be in alignment, they should be saying the same thing and those things that are questionable and would place a stain on my Christian lifestyle, I must avoid. Furthermore, doing these things will prove to be beneficial for my total being.

In closing, my prayer for you is that you also will take time to digest the words of Solomon and then heartily apply them to your life.