Living the Gifts of Christmas – Salvation

Psalm 67: 1-7

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us—
so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.P1010413

May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples with equity
and guide the nations of the earth.
May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Living God’s Grace Day by Day

Don’t worry about tomorrow…

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

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28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? IMG_017831 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. P102039033 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.IMG_20110626_082102

Living the Gifts of Christmas – Salvation

Sometimes it’s hard to see salvation in the ugly reality of life and such is the case with Samson. He, like many of us, allowed his humanness and his desire to get in the way of the great work God was doing through him. Verse 20 tells us: “He did not know the Lord had left him.” Have you ever been in the place in your life where you felt like God had turned His back on you and where you thought that all was lost?

If you have, take heart in the story of Samson. Because although God may have left him that day in his sin, God didn’t leave Samson forever and neither will He leave us. He waits for us, as He did for Samson, to see the sin in our lives and when we cry out for forgiveness, He is there and although there may be consequences for our sin, there is reconciliation with our God because of our salvation and repentance.

If we pray for God to restore us as Samson did, Jesus, our intercessor, will hear us and will deliver us from the sin of our life.

That’s the gift of salvation and that’s the beauty of the story of Jesus’ gift to us. I hope you’ll hear the story of salvation in the story of Samson. Let me know what you think.

Lynn

 

Samson and Delilah

16 One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. The people of Gaza were told, “Samson is here!” So they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They made no move during the night, saying, “At dawn we’ll kill him.”

But Samson lay there only until the middle of the night. Then he got up and took hold of the doors of the city gate, together with the two posts, and tore them loose, bar and all. He lifted them to his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.

Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.”

So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”

Samson answered her, “If anyone ties me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”

Then the rulers of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him with them. With men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the bowstrings as easily as a piece of string snaps when it comes close to a flame. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.

10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.”

11 He said, “If anyone ties me securely with new ropes that have never been used, I’ll become as weak as any other man.”

12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him with them. Then, with men hidden in the room, she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” But he snapped the ropes off his arms as if they were threads.

13 Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.”

He replied, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric 14 and tightened it with the pin.

Again she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric.

15 Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” 16 With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.

17 So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”

18 When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. 19 After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him.[c] And his strength left him.

20 Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”

He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.

21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison. 22 But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

The Death of Samson

23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.”

24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying,

“Our god has delivered our enemy
into our hands,
the one who laid waste our land
and multiplied our slain.”

25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.

When they stood him among the pillars, 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

31 Then his brothers and his father’s whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led Israel twenty years. Judges 16:1-31

“Because salvat…

“Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands (see Revelation 7:9), I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me that she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last ‘trick’, whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school.

‘But how?’ we ask.

Then the voice says, ‘They have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’

There they are. There *we* are – the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life’s tribulations, but through it all clung to faith.

My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace.”
― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out

Grace For the Weekend

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

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May beauty and stillness surround you and may your know in the still quiet moments that He is God.

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“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation” Psalm 62:5-6a.

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Whether alone or with family and friends, find time to be still and hear God’s voice. Then, worship Him for He alone is worthy of our praise.

Happy weekend!

Lynn

 

Living the Gifts of Christmas – Salvation

While I know that my salvation comes from my relationship with God through Jesus Christ the son, I never feel that salvation more than when I am sitting at the edge of the ocean looking out at the vastness toward the horizon. It is here that I realize more than anywhere else how small a part of God’s magnificent plan I am and my perspective returns. I know that the God who keeps the tides and who controls the seas has got me in the palm of His hand and I am at peace.

What a feeling. 315076_159025474178366_7403005_n

It always makes me think about the story from Mark 4 where Jesus is sleeping through the storm that terrifies his disciples and causes them alarm. I love how Jesus rebukes the storm which quiets and then turns to his disciples and says “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:40

I hear him say that to me. And I know, that my faith like theirs, is easy when the sea is quiet but how shaky it is when the seas are stormy. I find myself like the disciples in verse 38 of this chapter saying “Teacher, don’t you care if we (I) drown?”

He cares. I know He does. But still I doubt and still my faith is shaken and every once in a while I question my salvation. Because like the disciples, I am afraid and I don’t understand how Jesus can be so calm. I understand their response to his question when they say to each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:41.

Who is this that hung the moon and the stars, created the Earth and all that is in it and yet still has time to hear my cries.

This is the God of salvation. The Jesus who loves me. The intercessor for my sins. It is “I AM WHO I AM.”Exodus 3:14.

And He is all that I need.

Lynn