LIFESTYLE REALLY MATTERS

JUDGES 16

Samson’s dramatic story today continues with his disastrous marriage arrangements.  It has been, and continues to be a racy and tragic narrative ……….what will happen next?

This Nazarite ruled Israel for 20 years.  Though chosen and blessed by God he is hardly an example for us to follow!  He has known God’s power in the presence of His Spirit even from his birth  (Judges 13:5 ) but also in adult life (Chapter 15:14), yet he continues to seek love from forbidden Philistine women, even though in previous chapters he has been responsible for the destruction of  these  people.  Delilah, his current Philistine wife, is willing to betray him for money ( a similar situation we will recall as we come to Good Friday – remembering Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, also for money).  She cajoles, nags and pesters Samson until he finally gives in and reveals the source of his God-given strength.  She, of course uses this against him, calls in the waiting Philistines and he is shaved, thus losing his astonishing strength.  He is then blinded, taken to prison and forced into manual labour often carried out by animals!  His brutalisation and humiliation also demonstrated a mocking of God and continued untill his hair began to regrow.  This gave him the opportunity for revenge.   ‘Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.’ V30

It is interesting that at the end of his life Samson cries to God – ‘ Sovereign Lord, remember me’ v 28  (we are alerted to the similarity of the thief’s cry of repentance to JESUS from the cross.)   Samson however asks for strength before he dies, ‘Please God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes’. 

This is a story worth reading through in one sitting and contemplating what we will pray to God for when our life here is about to end.

 

COLOSSIANS 4:1-6

This part of Paul’s letter holds for us two striking commands for our everyday living.

1 devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. V2

2 let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. V6

Prayer is an extraordinary gift that God has given us to be grasped and enjoyed  We are afraid we too often neglect it or take it for granted.

I wonder why other things crowd out prayer when wisdom and insight, guidance and …………….. are ours when we seek them in prayer from our Father. 

Paul, the prisoner, asks this church for prayer for himself V3&4, so that he will ‘proclaim the mystery of Christ clearly’.  What an aspiration for us all!

 Of course our behaviour at all times needs to reflect the truth of the God of love as we live with and meet up with others.

Lord help us to be people of prayer.

Peter and Elizabeth 

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One thought on “LIFESTYLE REALLY MATTERS

  1. Thank you Peter and Elizabeth. I remember the first book I read on Prayer was called, What Happens when Women Pray, by Evelyn Christenson. Its been around for a while and one of the things that stood out for me and that has impacted me was that before we pray we need to deal with sin. When Evelyn and these these women decided to pray the Holy Spirit showed then all the ” sin ” whether in deed, or thought, attitude or a lack of action that needed to be brought to the Cross of Christ. Then and only then did they see God move in ways that was powerful. Its a very rare prayer meeting where for the first 30 mins or forever how long it takes people are willing to be open and confess their sins. But things really happen when this is done. I don’t think that we can assume that everyone has come to any meeting or in private prayer with a cleansed heart, but that would be ideal. God makes it clear in His word that He does not hear us if there is sin in our lives that we are not willing to bring to Him or not willing to give up. Psalm 66:18. We are called to be a holy people and part of that process is getting real by dealing with the sin in our lives. It actually brings you very close together as a group of people because your eyes are only on Jesus and not on each other. But this can only be done where there is unconditional AGAPE love for one another. Its really only about being REAL with one another, no masks, no hypocrisy. Sometimes it only takes one person to start and the Spirit of God so moves that others soon follow. Its quite beautiful.

    Throughout the Bible God uses imperfect people to get things done. Something that brings me great encouragement. And yes we shouldn’t look to these imperfect people as role models only let our eyes fall on Christ the only one who has it all together.

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