Samson’s whole ministry resulted from the Holy Spirit’s coming upon him in power (Judges 14:19). Without that power, he was weak and insignificant. Jesus’ ministry also began with the power He received from His baptism in the Holy Spirit (John 1:32). How dare we think that we can enter ministry and be effective for God without the same power released in us! If the Son of God never performed a miracle or preached a sermon without that power, we certainly should wait upon the Lord for it as well.
All ministry has its basis in the Person and power of the Holy Spirit as He enters our lives and brings us into a deeper dimension. The Holy Spirit stirred Samson. This stirring literally means “to agitate,” “to trouble,” and “to move.” Samson was moved from the normal pattern of life and into the role of delivering Israel from the Philistines. The inward stirring and agitation of God against the oppression of the enemy is where the power of God is released. Allow the Holy Spirit to come upon you now and stir you to fulfill your destiny!
Often we become so caught up in working for God that we fail to be refreshed by God. Samson killed a thousand men with a donkey’s jawbone. What a wonderful feat! However, in spite of this accomplishment, he cried out, “Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of these pagan people?” (v. 18). In other words, Samson had worked hard for God, but now he needed refreshing.
You may be mightily used of God in deliverance and yet be perishing from spiritual thirst. A burned-out minister is worthless to the Lord, regardless of his ministerial abilities. But God will hear your cry, like He did Samson’s, and open up a supernatural spring for you. Verse 19 says, “Samson was revived as he drank.” The psalmist said, “He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” (Psalm 103:5). Refreshing and renewal take place whenever you bless the Lord with all your soul.
Elijah killed the prophets of Baal and then was ready the next day to die and go to heaven. What is the secret of longevity in ministry and spiritual service? Lay down the “jawbone” every evening. Don’t pick it up again the next day until you have been to the refreshing fountain of worship!
How easily the flesh can concoct a religious scheme that appears to please God but in reality is a foolish spectacle! The Levite left the proper place of worship at the tabernacle and went out as a hired “priest” for an idol worshiper.
Religion drifts away from God and toward idolatry because of the love of power and money. The further religion deviates from God’s Word, the more accepted it is by society. Flesh gives birth to flesh, and soon a system of religion is developed that has nothing to do with the Word of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6 KJV).
Jesus taught Nicodemus that knowing God was as simple as the Holy Spirit’s giving him a new birth (v. 8). Yet Nicodemus, in his human mind, wanted to make it more complicated. Our minds long to do something religious to earn salvation. If earning salvation is hard, you can be sure it’s the plan of man. If it is simple, it’s the truth of God.
Everyone can easily receive God’s salvation, for it is available to all. Don’t try to find God with your natural mind. Instead, follow the way of the Spirit!
Is it possible to be doing the right thing and still seem to be losing the battle? The Lord himself had commissioned the men of Israel, saying, “Go out and fight against them” (Judges 20:23). The Israelites’ battle was in retaliation for Benjamin’s wickedness. You would think that God would have instantly given the Israelites victory. Instead, they were defeated twice before they finally prevailed!
How important it is not to interpret one lost battle as meaning that God is not with you! Satan may win a battle, but he won’t win the war. You are fighting the Lord’s battles, not your own. Casualties often occur in war, but victory is sure to come to the one who keeps inquiring of the Lord. Once, then twice, then a third time, the Israelites regrouped and sought the Lord. They knew their cause was just and that the war was not over until they had won.
Never doubt in the darkness what God told you in the light. If God told you to do something for Him, it will succeed. He knows the enemy’s strategy and will give you the victory in the end!
The truth of this verse is illustrated in the lives of two women, Naomi and Ruth, who were delivered from spiritual darkness. In spite of all her problems, Naomi directed Ruth toward following the true and living God (Ruth 1:22). Naomi was a real witness to Ruth, because a true witness is always kind to the outcasts.
Ruth was a Moabitess, and God had cursed her people for fighting against Moses. As a result, they could not enter the house of God until the tenth generation (Deuteronomy 23:3). Naomi’s witness to Ruth ultimately led to Ruth’s marriage into the ancestral line of Jesus. The “outcast” became a “princess”!
Jesus was a truthful witness in His discussion with the woman at the well. He told her that she needed to repent of her five marriages and present adulterous relationship (John 4:18). Others may have talked about her, but only Jesus was truthful with her. His simple statement of truth set her free, and she received the Living Water.
Let us spend our lives harvesting a spiritual crop for eternal life. There are endless fields of souls needing to hear the truth, and they are “ready now for the harvest” (John 4:35).
What would we do without the “handfuls of purpose,” which the Lord of the harvest intentionally leaves out for us? If Boaz had not instructed his men to drop some daily provision for Ruth, she and Naomi would have perished.
When our lives seem insignificant and full of drudgery and routine, we must remember that God has things working for us which we never imagined. Just when Ruth’s back felt like it was breaking and her bread bag was empty, she found a generous handful of purpose. Just when we think God has forgotten about us, He drops us a handful of purpose.
Joseph was languishing in an Egyptian prison. It seemed as though God had forgotten him and his life was destined to drudgery and misery. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, God dropped Joseph a handful of purpose in the dream of Pharaoh (Psalm 105:19).
God will drop little signs here and there to remind you of His sovereign direction and destiny for your life. Even in your struggles, all things are working together for good because you are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Never forget: “Boaz” has his eyes upon you!
When the Israelites came out of Egypt, they were all miraculously healed of their infirmities, diseases, and slavery-related injuries. All walked out under their own power, and not a one faltered. Imagine the scope of such a miracle! Just by eating the Passover lamb, a nation of beaten, bruised, malnourished slaves received total, perfect health.
This miracle was a type of the healing purchased at Calvary by the Passover Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. In His ministry, He healed all who desired to be well. Jesus asked the man at the pool of Bethesda, “Would you like to get well?” (John 5:6). The Lord’s healing power was flowing to whoever would reach out and receive it.
Can you see that healing is available to you if you will only receive it? God is no respecter of persons. What He did for Israel, He will do for you. Remember how Hannah’s womb was supernaturally opened to conceive a son because she “asked the Lord for him” (1 Samuel 1:20). Thank Him today, and ask for the healing you need. It belongs to you!
Eli had a hard time disciplining his sons because he was more concerned about their opinion of him than God’s opinion of him. So God asked him, “Why do you honor your sons more than me—for you and they have become fat from the best offerings of my people!” (1 Samuel 2:29).
Christians should value God’s Word and His opinion far more than they value the opinion of man. Jesus rebuked the Jews because they made no effort to obtain the true praise that comes only from God. Instead, they were more concerned about receiving praise from one another (John 5:44).
Someone once said, “Never be concerned about what others think about you, because they don’t think about you!” In reality, most people really think primarily about themselves, and their opinions will not count when you stand before almighty God. The day will come when all men will be silent, and you alone will give an account for your choices and convictions. Where will your fans or critics be then?
If you place God’s opinion above all else, it may cost you a friend. However, at the final judgment, all eternity will record your integrity before Him. Stand firm in the truth, and honor God above anyone else, even family.
Are you a disciple of Philip or a disciple of Andrew? There were obvious differences in their answers when Jesus asked both of them what they should do about the hungry multitude. His question was merely a test of their faith.
Philip saw the facts. His whole perspective was intellectual and negative, without any regard for spiritual vision. Anyone can rehearse the facts to God, but the facts aren’t important to Him—He made the facts! Like Philip, the Israelites tested God’s patience on their journey through the wilderness (Psalm 106:14). They could see only the facts: no food, no water, and no meat. But Jesus was there all the time, ready to provide for whatever needs they had.
Andrew, on the other hand, saw the vision. He had a spiritual and positive perspective that allowed God to work miracles. Jesus is with you in the wilderness, and you, like Andrew, can believe in Him for miracles. He already knows what wonders He wants to perform on your behalf.
Will you be a disciple of Philip or of Andrew?
God knows what rejection feels like because it happened to Him! An entire nation chose an earthly king over the privilege of having its government rest upon the shoulders of almighty God. Even in the New Testament, many who followed Jesus did so only for what He gave them to eat (John 6:34). They rejected His identity but wanted whatever benefits they could receive from Him. How that must have hurt Him! To be generous, loving, and giving to people and then be passed over as they choose someone else hurts deeply. The more love and resources we have given, the more it hurts.
Why would anyone embrace a human source and reject God? Jesus told those following Him, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). He is our source of acceptance and satisfaction forever. He knows exactly how it feels to be rejected. After a lifetime of love and giving, He was “despised and rejected” (Isaiah 53:3 KJV). When He was on the cross, the crowds mocked Him and turned their backs on Him.
Have you been rejected? Jesus knows the feeling of your infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). Run to Him and let His nail-pierced hands embrace you in perfect acceptance.
Samuel’s anointing of Saul provides insight into the nature of God’s anointing. The first thing that happened to Saul was that “God changed his heart” (v. 9). Samuel had told him, “You will be changed into a different person” (v. 6), and that is just what happened. The anointing of God upon your life changes you from “glory to glory” into the image of Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV). Normally, you may be timid, but under the anointing, you will find yourself very bold.
Second, the anointing caused Saul to prophesy and worship (1 Samuel 10:10). The Holy Spirit will help you to worship God with your spirit and not just with your mind. Under the anointing, you might prophesy, like Saul did. Such prophecy comes up out of your spirit and produces a stronger word from God than your intellect could produce.
Finally, the anointing brought Saul a holy anger and power against the works of darkness (1 Samuel 11:6). A righteous indignation rose up within him, and he suddenly challenged the people to follow him to destroy the Ammonites.
Open your spirit today for fresh anointing. Then get ready to move into a new level of change, worship, and power!
With these words, Jesus addressed His brothers who were pressuring Him to go to Jerusalem and perform miracles. They reasoned that anyone who wanted to be a public figure needed to go to the center of attention and promote himself. In their minds, Jesus had the greatest miracle show going and needed to advertise it!
Jesus countered His brothers’ demands with a reference to His time. He was committed to waiting upon the Lord for the right time with regard to doors of ministry. Many Christians, however, are more like Jesus’ brothers than like Him. They look at ministry like it’s a business, and they grow frustrated if they or anyone else misses an opportunity.
Saul, too, had no sense of divine timing (1 Samuel 13:11-12). Instead of waiting for Samuel to make the sacrifice, he forced himself to offer it before the people began to scatter. This mistake of timing cost him his throne.
The great eagle digs his claws into the top of the rock and waits for the thermal winds. When they are blowing too hard to resist, he releases his talons and soars. His wings do not flap with exertion, but he effortlessly soars high. Wait for the Lord and His winds of opportunity. He will exalt you when the timing is perfect.
How much can God do with one person? Very often we know that something should be done, but we are waiting on others to do it. Jonathan and his armor bearer were sitting in an impossible situation, between two steep, sharp, and rocky cliffs (1 Samuel 14:4). They were literally between a rock and a hard place!
While everyone waited on someone else to make a move, Jonathan believed that one plus God is a majority. In essence, He said, “Let’s go! The Lord can take care of us whether we face many or few.” In his impossible situation, Jonathan was confident of God’s saving power.
Verse 15 of 1 Samuel 14 says, “Suddenly, panic broke out in the Philistine army. . . . And just then an earthquake struck, and everyone was terrified.” Who do you think sent the panic and the earthquake in response to Jonathan’s faith? God, of course!
God is really looking for just one person who will step out in faith, and when He finds that person, He starts to move. What if you are that person? Take the first step, make your move, and watch God make His move!
To obey is better than sacrifice. This simple statement contains the secret to pleasing God. Rebellion began with the devil’s asserting his own will and making his own decisions. Saul’s problems started when he no longer was small in his own eyes but, in pride, began to make decisions apart from God’s will.
Rebellion and arrogance tell us that we know more than God does and that our ways are above His ways. The Lord, however, doesn’t need us to think for Him, but only to carry out what He commands. He found this trait in David, a young shepherd boy who possessed a heart to obey Him fully (1 Samuel 16:7). Because of David’s pure heart, God took the kingdom from Saul and awarded it to David.
Jesus’ life was powerful because He never once asserted His own will. In the wilderness, during His ministry, at Gethsemane, and on the cross, Jesus perfectly obeyed. So, too, does our power with God rest in our obedience to Him. We must always remember this: The important thing is not that we have done something for God, but that we have done what God wanted us to do!
No greater work of the Lord is recorded in the Bible than David’s slaying of Goliath. More than nine feet tall, Goliath presented the most imposing stature of any human being in history. The image of a little stripling boy walking and then running toward such a giant stirs the courage of all who read the tale. Let’s note three of this story’s many lessons.
The first lesson deals with the boldness of a person who is anointed by God. Saul and all his men were scared to death of Goliath, but the young man who had been anointed by God had no sense of fear. He had no concern or worry because his trust was in the God who had always helped him. He boldly proclaimed, “The Lord who saved me from the claws of the lion and the bear will save me from this Philistine!” (1 Samuel 17:37).
The second lesson concerns the methods of God. David refused Saul’s bulky armor, saying only that he felt more comfortable without it. He was choosing God’s methods over the methods of the world. Trust in the things of this world rather than the things of God will never bring success when facing an overwhelming battle.
The third lesson illustrates the works of the Lord. God can take the smallest human weapons and warriors and demolish the mightiest foes. Who would have thought that five stones in the hand of a boy could bring down the mighty Goliath?
Psalm 111:2 reminds us, “How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them.” Run boldly toward your “Goliath.” He must come down in the name of the Lord!
Jesus described the devil as a murderer from the beginning of time, and this description also serves to illustrate the life of King Saul. When an evil spirit came upon Saul to possess him, he was overwhelmed with thoughts of envy and murder toward David. Time after time he tried to destroy David, even attempting to pin him to the wall with a spear (1 Samuel 18:10-11).
Satan is envious of believers because they have replaced him as worshipers and sons of God. His hatred for humankind knows no bounds. He always seeks “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10), and He wants to destroy you!
Jesus said that the devil is a liar and the father of lies. Saul lied to David and told him he wanted to give his older daughter Merab in marriage to him. In fact, he wanted David killed by the Philistines (1 Samuel 18:17). David’s innocence, however, was his protection. The Lord sent the Holy Spirit to knock to the ground the soldiers who chased David. Even Saul himself was knocked to the ground (19:23-24).
Let us rejoice that even though Satan attacks with lies and murderous intents, the Holy Spirit can render our enemies harmless. We will fulfill our purposes in God!
Envy blinds us to the truth. Jonathan pleaded with his father to spare David’s life, reminding him that David had done him nothing but good. Totally persuaded that David stood in the way of his son’s ruling Israel, however, Saul cursed and insulted Jonathan.
The Pharisees also were blinded by envy to the reality of the blind man’s healing. They refused to believe that he had ever been blind and then refused to believe that Jesus had performed the miracle. They stubbornly refused to acknowledge that Jesus was anything but a sinner, even if He had performed the miracle (John 9:24). Jesus answered, saying, “I have come to judge the world. I have come to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind” (John 9:39).
You will never convince those who are envious of the work of God that your motives are genuine or that God has truly performed a miracle. They will reason it away, insult you, and may even throw you out (John 9:34). They may remain blind, but one thing you will know: “I was blind, and now I can see!” (v. 25).
Jesus taught us that the ultimate act of love is to lay down our lives for others. In fact, Jesus stated, “The Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may have it back again” (John 10:17).
People who consider the needs of others ahead of their own are true shepherds in the spirit of Jesus. On the other hand, people with hireling spirits are concerned only for what relates to their own well-being.
Paul said, “I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare” (Philippians 2:20). The true love of Christ is defined in 1 John 3:16: “We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters.”
Just as David abandoned his own safety and went to rescue Keilah (1 Samuel 23:2), we must abandon our own self-interests and begin to lay down our lives for others. We will not lose our lives; we will take them up again!
One of the hardest lessons you may face in life is learning not to avenge yourself. In two separate instances with two different enemies, David demonstrated the importance of not taking revenge. In the cave at En-gedi, David could have killed Saul and been finished with running from him day and night. Instead, David opted against avenging Saul’s evil attempts to destroy him and swore that his hand would never touch Saul.
In another instance in the Old Testament, Abigail intercepted David and persuaded him not to avenge himself upon Nabal. David thanked her for keeping him from shedding blood that day and preventing him from taking revenge with his own hands (1 Samuel 25:33).
How easy it is to take matters into your own hands, even though God has said, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19 KJV). The devil may have sent someone who is encouraging you to take matters into your own hands, but leave your vengeance in God’s hands. One day you will look up and the “Sauls” and “Nabals” in your life “will disappear like stones shot from a sling!” (1 Samuel 25:29).
The world is fascinated with life after death. People spend thousands of dollars consulting psychics, trying to get a message from someone who has died. In 1 Samuel 28 and John 11, two men came back from the dead and had a great impact on those around them. In the first passage, Samuel gave Saul a verdict of judgment and eternal death, reminding us of the reality of eternal punishment. In the second passage, Lazarus’s resurrection gave glory to Jesus, reminding us of the believer’s glorious future.
Every one of us will face the reality of death. We will hear either a final judgment of condemnation for our sin or a message of joy and resurrection life from the Author of Life. Although the world is fascinated with spiritism and contacting the dead, we know that the end of such pursuit is eternal death and judgment. As Christians, however, we understand that Jesus has conquered death, for John 11:25 says,
“Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again.”
Rest secure today in your future after the grave, for He who is the Resurrection and the Life will be waiting for you on the other side!
Just when things looked the darkest for David, God was actually giving him the breakthrough. At Ziklag, David faced the lowest point in his life, for he lost his entire family in one day. After this tragedy, even his best friends were ready to stone him. Because he found strength in the Lord, however, God turned the whole situation around. “David got back everything the Amalekites had taken, and he rescued his two wives. Nothing was missing: small or great, son or daughter, nor anything else that had been taken. David brought everything back” (1 Samuel 30:18-19).
Someone has pointed out that at Ziklag David was only seventy-two hours away from a miracle. Unknown to him, all the years of his running from Saul were about to come to an end. The test was almost over, but the final part of the test was the hardest. But afterward, not only did David recover everything, but he also gained a tremendous amount of wealth. He used that wealth to spread goodwill throughout Judah, and this initiated the process of his becoming king of Judah. What a turnabout from the deep depression of Ziklag!
You may think you have waited forever, but you may be only sev-enty-two hours from your miracle. “When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before” (Job 42:10). Wait for God to turn your darkness into glorious light!
Satan may try to delay, hinder, sift, oppose, and confuse, but the moment of your breakthrough must come. Although the hands of a clock move almost imperceptibly, the moment inevitably arrives when the clock strikes the hour. The poet Friedrich von Logau expressed it this way: “Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.”
Jesus’ thirty-three years of preparation and ministry culminated in the glory of His death and resurrection. In that moment, the prince of this world was cast out (John 12:31). David also experienced tremendous pressure in his years of preparation, but suddenly his hour came, Saul died unexpectedly, and the path to the throne was opened (2 Samuel 2:4).
This is the payoff of years of faithful service to a vision: one day the hour will come. Never try to get ahead of your time, for God knows when the circumstances are ripe and you have been thoroughly prepared. All your trials and difficulties are only the stepping-stones to your glorious destiny: to reign forever with Jesus Christ!
Weekend Sermon Discussion
- Do you struggle with admitting when you have deep feelings, maybe painful ones?
- Do you hide or suppress it when you’re hurting?
- What prayer do you need God to answer? What is He asking you to do in pursuit of the solution?
Challenge: Always look at people through eyes of faith. Instead of measuring others by what they’re going through in life right now, find their potential and encourage them in it. People feed off the faith you have in them and how you see them.
Betrayal is one of the worst things that can happen to you. To take someone into your inner circle of confidence and then to have him turn upon you hurts worse than any enemy’s attack. Jesus knew intimately this pain of betrayal as He watched Judas walk out into the night to fulfill his wicked plan (John 13:30). David also faced betrayal when his commander-in-chief Joab secretly murdered Abner (2 Samuel 3:27).
When a trusted ally treats you with contempt, you may want to retaliate in anger. David refused to exact revenge upon Joab. He knew Joab would eventually reap the fruit of his betrayal and thus pronounced Joab cursed in all his generations. Jesus turned Judas over to Satan so that Judas would reap the terror of betraying the innocent. Instead of retaliating, Jesus even washed Judas’s feet before Judas left to betray Him! On the cross, Jesus epitomized the essence of true forgiveness when He said, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Forgive and release your betrayer to God so that He may deal with him. If God is for you, who can ever be against you (Romans 8:31)?
Worship tests our hearts. Nothing is so sacred or special to God as worship, for it is the continual activity around God’s throne.
In 2 Samuel 6, we are confronted with two individuals who came under judgment for worshiping in the wrong way. The lesson of Uzzah
(v. 7) is to maintain reverence in our worship. Flippant, halfhearted, presumptuous worship can result in the judgment of God coming upon our lives. God is long-suffering, but He will not be mocked by open disregard for His honor during our worship.
The lesson of Michal (v. 20) is not to be prideful in our worship. Michal despised David’s true worship, and God’s judgment caused her to remain childless throughout her life. David, however, was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14) in the way he expressed worship. He was serious and careful in bringing up the ark, yet childlike and undignified in his rejoicing.
Personal dignity is not an issue in heaven where all fall down before the throne in ceaseless praise and worship. One day we will join the angels in heaven in unashamed worship and praise to our God. As you worship Him now on the earth, remember His holiness and His happiness. Go ahead and worship in order and in ardor. God is watching your worship!
There is in the heart of all people a desire for a permanent relationship with God and a desire to dwell with Him forever. In this life, we are forever beset with a sense of impermanence, of being absent from the Lord.
Those who love God are running to Him, not from Him! They are looking for a way to dwell with Him. David’s desire to build a house for God reflected his wish to have a permanent home with God. David had such a love for God’s presence that he longed for God to have a permanent residence right next door to his palace. God responded to David’s yearning by saying that He would provide a place for His people and plant them so they could have a home of their own. He also told David that He would build a house for him.
To meet someone is a temporary experience, but to live together with that person implies a permanent relationship. Jesus told His disciples, “All those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and live with them” (John 14:23).
Settle in today in God’s presence. His desire is to dwell with you forever!
In this verse, we can see an example of the three main roots of sin that tempt all men: “the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions” (1 John 2:16).
Most sin begins with the eyes, just as the first sin entered the world when Eve saw the fruit. Genesis 3:6 says, “The fruit looked so fresh and delicious.” David’s eyes caused him to lust, starting a cycle of violence and anarchy in his kingdom. His lustful eyes brought forth sin, and it cost him many years and much heartache to extricate himself from that sin. David finally said, “I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar” (Psalm 101:3). Job, too, echoed this thought when he said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman” (Job 31:1).
Sinful living comes with a high price tag. A line from a famous sermon conveys it well: “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” Be ruthless against lustful thoughts and imaginations. You may think the pleasure is great, but the payoff will only bring heartache.
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of guilt in regard to sin. Conviction arises from confrontation with evidence. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, and He holds before your conscience the evidence of your sin, leaving you no room for escape.
The prophet Nathan confronted David with a parable that illustrated David’s guilt with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:7). The simple parable smote his conscience, and David truly repented from his heart. Although his sin was great, he received forgiveness because his repentance was genuine.
When God confronts you with the truth of your sin, He is showing mercy. As Jesus said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Never run from the evidence. The Holy Spirit will bring certain scriptures to you as a mirror to show you your true self. If you respond to His mercy and grace, you will be set free from whatever sin has plagued you.
Invite the Holy Spirit to shine the light on the truth of your life and actions. Then honestly accept and admit His evidence, and confess with David, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13). Then, and only then, will you hear Him say, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you” (v. 13).
Satan is a master at dangling lustful sin in front of us and making it look incredibly enticing. Then, after we reach out and take it, the reality of that sin is a miserable disappointment. How quickly our eyes despise what we have attained through lust!
Satan tempts us with a picture of sin that looks like an oasis in the desert. He makes it seem as though a lust fulfilled will bring the ultimate happiness. Amnon fantasized for a long time about having relations with Tamar. However, the moment he acted upon his fantasy, the imagined sweet taste of it turned to bitterness. Amnon eventually despised what he had conquered (2 Samuel 13:15).
In any temptation, ask God to show you the reality of how disappointing the sin will be. Any move you make because of lust will turn to mock you and will lead you toward even more sin. Ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to break through any fantasy in your mind and to see its backside: anger, disrespect, and even death.
“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Proverbs 14:12). Don’t fall for Satan’s bait!
Meditation is not the process of clearing your mind, but of filling your mind with truth. It is like a rock displacing water in a vessel. Your mind is exposed continually to the doubt, atrocities, filth, and strife of the world around you. Trying to clear out those thoughts is very difficult, but there is a remedy: meditation upon God’s Word.
It takes a conscious effort to focus your mind and heart upon the truth of God’s Word. Once you do, however, you will reap the benefits. Joshua 1:8 says, “Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed.”
Reading the Bible is good, but meditation is life changing, for it involves thinking about a verse until it drops from your mind into your heart. The root word meditate means “to mutter,” or “to utter.” The more you speak the Word, the more it drops into your spirit. As you go about your daily business, speak the Word to yourself. Continually “mutter” it, mulling it over in your mind.
Whatever your area of need, select several promises that apply to your situation and memorize them. Then meditate on them all day long (Psalm 119:97). When doubt, fear, discouragement, and strife enter your mind, “think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). Your faith will grow, your mind will change, and your way will become successful!
The psalmist declares a holy revulsion that must dwell in your heart against anything that challenges the law of God. If you consistently struggle to conquer an area of sin in your life, it may be that you do not hate that sin.
One sin God hates is divorce (Malachi 2:16), not because He wants to be legalistic but because He knows the terrible consequences you will suffer from it. Satan’s deception concerning this sin and all sin is so devious and the consequences of disobedience so eternal that you must develop a passion against all sin, for it destroys people’s souls.
Double-minded or undecided people (Psalm 119:113) are those who mix God’s law with their own reasoning, listening to the voice of personal opinion rather than the voice of truth. Such compromisers lead the godly astray and are unstable in all their ways (James 1:8). If you are double-minded, rid yourself of lukewarmness, and purify your heart.
If you don’t hate sin, you will fall into it. Love God and hate sin, and you will always walk in the path of righteousness.
It seems that God in His foreknowledge was determined to leave Jesus with nothing as He finished the work on the cross. Jesus’ clothes were His last physical possessions upon the earth. As was customary, the soldiers received those for themselves.
Paul said, “You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus Christ was. Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus completely emptied Himself of all earthly riches and glory in order to pay the full price for our redemption. How opposite His attitude was from that of a world that struggles to amass wealth and fortune!
Let us live to give. In the short time we are on earth, let us use our worldly possessions as tools to reach the lost. At the moment of death, we will discard all earthly goods, like an animal shedding a worn-out skin. Let’s take a fresh look at our possessions and ask how they can serve to further the Gospel before God calls us home to glory!