The life of Samson is recorded in Judges 13-16 . God revealed to Samson’s parents that they would have a son. They were not to cut his hair and he would begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines. He would begin the job but King David would be the one who completed it. Samson is famous for his strength but his parents were never told anything about this. The discovery of how strong he was likely came as a surprise both to him and to his parents.
Here is the first incident recorded after he became an adult.
Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.”
But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?”
But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.” (Joshua 14:1-3)
Christians disagree about how involved we should be in government. Some believe we should not be involved at all and not even vote in elections. Others think we should use the government as a way to promote Christianity. Most Christians adopt a position somewhere between these two extremes. We need to look at what the Bible says about this subject.
We are commanded to pray for our government leaders.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1,2)
The command is found in the Old Testament as well as the New.
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:7)
This was what Jeremiah told the exiles in Babylon to do. Since Christians are citizens of Heaven we are in the same position as those exiles; we are exiled from our native land and living in a foreign country. This is true even if we are living in the country in which we were born. Read the rest of this entry
God commanded Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land and take possession of it. He began by destroying Jericho and Ai. Most of the other kings banded together to resist, but one group took a different approach.
But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.” (Joshua 9:3-6)
The Israelites believed the Gibeonites and made a covenant without asking God for guidance. Afterward they learned the Gibeonites lived nearby. Read the rest of this entry
If you are familiar with Calvinism you probably know of the acronym TULIP which stands for the five points that Calvinists believe in.
Perseverance of the saints
There is another TULIP acronym which isn’t as well known.
T — Total Humility
U — Unconditional Kindness
L — Limited Criticism
I — Irresistible Graciousness
P — Perseverance in Patience
I learned about the second TULIP from this article: The Doctrines of Graciousness I recommend this for every Calvinist reading this post. Anyone believing the first five points also needs the second five. And if you are a Christian who isn’t a Calvinist you need the second TULIP even if you don’t believe the first.
I learned of the article from a link in this blog post: Your theological crisis was preordained…
While Jesus was on earth he encountered a lot of people who were demon possessed. In every case he commanded the demon to leave the person and it obeyed. Today many people don’t believe in the existence of demons and claim that those “demon possessed” people were actually mentally ill. If they are right, then the Bible reveals a new method for treating mental illness.
Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs.
When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.)
Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss.
Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission.Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned. (Luke 8:26-33)
Recently I published a post called Transgender – the other side of the story in which I listed some sites of organizations that opposed society’s support of people who wish to change their genders. Since then I have learned about another such site. It is called help4families.com.
Help4Families acknowledges that the struggles gender-confused people endure are more than psychosomatic; they are real and they need to be addressed seriously, with godly compassion. But God’s compassion cannot—must not—be divorced from His perfection and His sovereign, righteous rule. Just as Jesus concurrently displayed God’s compassion and righteousness (John 8:2-11), so must His followers (Galatians 6:1-2; Ephesians 4:15; Jude 1:22–23).
Adam’s sin brought death to the whole human race. There are a few exceptions to this. Enoch and Elijah never experienced death and all believers who are alive when the rapture takes place will never die, but for most who have ever lived life ends with death.
Everyone who has died or who will die in the future will be resurrected.
Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voiceand come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28-29)
But what will it be like between death and resurrection? Most Christians believe the dead will continue to exist in a state of consciousness but some believe they are be in a state of soul sleep and not aware of anything that is going on. Read the rest of this entry
There is a lot of news about transgender people in the media today. Most of the stories support the belief that some people are really of the opposite gender of the bodies they are born in and we need to support their decision to live as their “real” gender. Among other things this means they should be allowed to use the restrooms and dressing rooms of their choice and not be be limited to using the ones assigned to their physical gender. Anyone who objects is condemned as being transphobic.
Although we live in a culture which believes we should affirm transgenders by allowing them to live as they choose there are still some who disagree with this. Here are some sites that reject the popular views. Read the rest of this entry
I have learned that June is Gay Pride Month. I am sure that those responsible for this designation care about gay people and want to help them, but I wonder if they know what the Bible says about pride.
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:6-10)
They are actually advocating that gays adopt a course of action that will lead to their being opposed by God. If they do this, nothing they try to do will be successful. On the other hand God will show his grace to them if they are humble.
The rest of this passage describes how a person practices humility. A humble person submits to God and draws near to him. He cleanses his life of all sin, both in action and in thought. He mourns the sinfulness of his past life. Anyone who does these things will receive God’s grace and be exalted by him.
If you care about gays it would be better to promote the adoption of a Gay Humility Month, when gays are encouraged to do those things which will enable them to receive God’s blessings. And it wouldn’t hurt to have a Straight Humilty Month too. Straight people are just as guilty of pride as gay people are.
Shortly before his arrest Jesus spent time by himself in prayer.
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”
And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” (Mark 14:32-42)
This incident was also recorded by Matthew and Luke. Read the rest of this entry
God told Abraham that he was going to judge Sodom for its sins. Lot, Abraham’s nephew, lived in Sodom and this fact prompted Abraham to intercede for the city.
Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”
And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
. . . . .
Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.”
He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” (Genesis 18:23-26,32)
Most of you are familiar with the story of Job. He was a man who feared God and he was very wealthy.
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. (Job 1:1-3)
Satan claimed that Job served God not out of sincerity but because God had made him wealthy. God allowed Satan to test Job by taking away his wealth. Job lost his wealth, his children, and his health. His wife urged him to curse God and die. He was also afflicted with three “friends” who claimed that Job had brought his misfortunes on himself by sinning.
Job insisted he was innocent and wanted God to explain the reason for his suffering, but his faith in God never wavered. In the end God did appear to him but rather than explaining the reason for what had happened he asked Job a series of questions that revealed his superiority to Job. As a result Job came to know God better than he had before. Read the rest of this entry
King Herod began to persecute the church.
About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. (Acts 12:1-5)
The church prayed for Peter and their prayers were answered.
Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. (Acts 12:6,7)
When a believer is imprisoned because of his faith we should pray for him. The church prayed for Peter and he was freed in response to their prayers. But should we just pray that the imprisoned believer be released? Paul might have held a different opinion. Read the rest of this entry
God chose Paul to carry the gospel to the gentiles. Wherever Paul went he preached to the gentiles but he also preached to his own people, the Jews. Acts contains two detailed accounts of his preaching the gospel, once to the Jews and once to the gentiles.
During his first missionary journey Paul and Barnabas came to Antioch in Pisidia and attended the synagogue on the Sabbath. They were invited to speak to the congregation and Paul gave this message. Read the rest of this entry
Many people believe that science and the Bible contradict each other and that we must choose to believe one or the other. William T. Pelletier, also known as The Bible-Science Guy, has a blog that proves that this isn’t true. He discusses science from a Biblical point of view.
Here is his introduction.
Here is the table of contents for the blog.
The author of the blog doesn’t do his job alone. He has a Jack Russell terrier named Kepler who sometimes who sometimes contributes articles. (I suspect that he has some help from his master.) Here is Kepler’s latest post.
A lot is said about God’s love. It is the topic of the most well-known verse in the Bible.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
But how often have you heard anyone say anything about God’s hatred? Some people believe that God never hates anyone or anything because they believe all hatred is wrong and God never sins. Here is what the Bible says about that.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . a time to love, and a time to hate. (Ecclesiastes 3:1,8)
When we hate our hatred is usually sinful because we seldom know when hatred is called for. (Our love can also be sinful. We love something that God has told us we shouldn’t love or we love one thing more than another when we should love the second thing more.) God always knows when it is the proper time to love or hate. Read the rest of this entry