Friday, October 23, 2020

Viewing Problems from God's Perspective

There comes a time in everyone's life when a particular problem evolves into a crisis, much to the dismay of all involved. A crisis is usually comprised of issues that were ignored over an extended period of time. Insight indicates the crisis could have been avoided had the initial problem been taken seriously.

Samson’s reactions to his failed marriage resulted in just one in a series of crises he encountered as an adult. Wisdom for living was not a virtue that Samson seemed to have possessed. He relied on his physical strength to cope with problems that evolved into full-blown crises. Common sense and social skills were not available to him for managing problems.

God's word indicates that wisdom has a spiritual quality ingrained in its fiber as well as intellectual and moral components. Wisdom enables a person to view life’s issues from God’s perspective. Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, wisdom directs a person to select the most productive means for reaching solutions to problems of life. 

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I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance.

~Ephesians 1:17-18 Christian Standard Bible

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Pathway to Patience

God's word describes patience as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. A Fruit of the Spirit is a character trait or a virtue at work in us to produce good works. When we determine to walk with God, to know and love him, then the Holy Spirit produces in us patience as well as other godly virtues.

It appears that Samson lacked the virtue of patience, so changing his response to problems created by his passions and pride seemed unlikely. Patience builds up character and stifles anger, while subduing pride. Samson did not desire to wait on the Lord for guidance and direction but acted impulsively, plunging headlong into behaviors prompted by his passions.

Passion and pride have little tolerance for patience, which is indicative of a reluctance to permit the Holy Spirit to change us. Wisdom is required for insight, and God is willing give us wisdom when we sincerely seek it. Wisdom is the pathway to patience, so ask God to give you wisdom which provides tolerance for controlling impulsivity.  

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We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding…We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy.

~Colossians 1:9,11 New Living Translation

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Monday, October 19, 2020

Walk with God, not Evil

It’s important to realize that passion exists in partnership with pride. While it’s not entirely wrong to be proud of our achievements or those of our loved ones, it's important to acknowledge the role the Lord God plays in making achievements possible. God is consistently at work in our lives to bring to fulfillment his good purpose for us.

Samson often expressed passionate anger along with overwhelming tenacity to get revenge on those he blamed for his failures. Genesis 5 portrays Enoch, however, as a man who "walked with God", indicating he lived with an awareness of God's presence in every aspect of his life. In contrast to Enoch, Samson lived to satisfy his passions and pride.

Enoch's values derived from his walk with God, but Samson’s values were attributed to his ambitions and unbridled emotions. Be sure your ambitions and values are in alignment with God’s purpose and the way the Lord Jesus Christ would have you live. You will be blessed knowing you are secure in his care.

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O people, the Lord has told you what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

~Micah 6:8 New Living Translation

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Friday, October 16, 2020

Mercy – Not Revenge – Is Sweet

When Samson lost his new wife, he immediately responded by seeking revenge. Revenge for him was to burn every field of grain, all vineyards and olive groves of those who were the object of his rage. Revenge was not justice, but an act of violence meant to satisfy rage.   

In this state, Samson was driven to do what his brain instructed, no matter how destructive. In these moments of rage nothing can dissuade a person to change their mind. Only after the adrenaline subsides is it possible to make a limited analysis of what transpired.

When that moment arrives, fear creates the compulsion to hide, but Psalm 139 explains there is no escaping God's presence. "Where can I go from your Spirit Lord? You know all I do. You’re around me on every side; your powerful arm protects me." What God did to redeem and give us a new beginning and to free us from the bondage of sin, he did out of great love and mercy. Praise God for the love and mercy of Christ Jesus. 

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God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you.

~Ephesians 2:4-5 Contemporary English Version

 

Let us therefore approach the throne of God with greatest confidence, that we may receive mercy for our failures and grace to help in the hour of need.

~Hebrews 4:16 Phillips – New Testament in Modern English

 

For if you forgive other people their failures, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you will not forgive other people, neither will your Father forgive you your failures.

~Matthew 5:14-15 Phillips – New Testament in Modern English

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Arrogant Pride and Passionate Anger

I'm sure Samson's parents were proud of him for several reasons. He was chosen by God to be a judge over the Israelites. What his parents’ guidelines and boundaries were for him as a child and adolescent can’t be known, but Samson’s lifestyle as an adult did not correspond with the lifestyle of one called to serve God with his gifts and talent.


Samson seemed unwilling to place boundaries on his angry impulses driven by violent thoughts. He was prideful and incapable of recognizing his complicity in the tragedies he experienced. He resorted to blaming others indiscriminately for his personal losses.

Unhealthy pride and passion victimized Samson by cutting him off from the potential God initially planned for him. Listen to Ephesians 4:31. "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander along with every form of malice. Instead be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as God in Christ forgave you.” What may seem impossible becomes possible with God’s help.  

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What do you think the Scripture means when it says the Holy Spirit, whom God has placed within us, watches over us with tender jealousy? But he gives us more and more strength to stand against all such evil longings. As the Scripture says, God gives strength to the humble, but sets himself against the proud and haughty.

~James 4:5-6 The Living Bible

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Monday, October 12, 2020

Amazing! Grace Can Transform Rage

On the surface it's often difficult to distinguish between pride that is helpful and beneficial and pride that reflects moral weakness. I'm proud to be an American, and I take pride in our democracy. I love to sing God Bless America and The Star Spangle Banner. However, there’s a dark side of pride that’s considered a deadly sin along with lust, anger, laziness, covetousness, envy, and gluttony.

Samson was not only prideful, but also afflicted with passionate anger that progressed into violence and rage. Rage is an altered state of consciousness that controls the person and is absent of consideration for consequences. When the deed is done and rage subsides, normal thinking may resume. Only at that point did Samson fear retaliation, but still he had no feelings of remorse or regret.


Perhaps that's why anger that has transformed into rage is considered a deadly sin. However, the redemptive powers of Christ Jesus can change the heart, mind and will of the vilest offender when there is submission to God’s amazing grace.  

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Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to.

~James 4:1-3 The Message


For God has revealed his grace for the salvation of all people. That grace instructs us to give up ungodly living and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this world.

~Titus 2:11-12 Good News Bible

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Friday, October 9, 2020

Playing the Blame Game

One of the most important features of maturity is the quality of character that accepts personal failure instead of blaming others or some inanimate object. When a marriage fails, a predictable response is to blame a former spouse, relatives or anyone who interfered with the peace and stability of the marriage.

 
 

Each person must ask, "What did I fail to do or deliberately do that caused the relationship to fail?" When Samson’s marriage failed, his response was to seek revenge. Sorrows overshadowed by rage prevented him from taking responsibility for the failed marriage. Passion for revenge and false pride concealed his immaturity.  

Getting even with those he blamed for his humiliation clearly defined his mental and spiritual state. When anger reaches this intensity, listening to rational voices from God and others is essential. Should this be your experience, go to God's word or perhaps a Christian counselor for understanding and wisdom. Force yourself to apply the alternatives to anger and hate that you will discover.  

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For we are each responsible for our own conduct.

~Galatians 6:5 New Living Translation

 

If you don’t confess your sins, you will be a failure. But God will be merciful if you confess your sins and give them up. The Lord blesses everyone who is afraid to do evil, but if you are cruel, you will end up in trouble.

~Proverbs 28:13-14 Contemporary English Version


For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, inspired by the devil. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others.

~James 3:15,17 The Living Bible

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