strength

Come to Me

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Come to Me.

Talk to Me.

You have My ears.

Tell me what concerns you. Tell Me what bothers you. Tell Me what hurts you.

I told you that I would do it. I will bless you. I will restore you. I will heal you. I will fix it, but you are trying to do it on your own and now it has become a burden to you.

You have carried this burden long enough.

Give it to Me.

Put on My yoke and let us walk together and as you walk with Me, you will find strength and the help you need.

You need Me.

You have talked to everyone else about it.

Now, talk to Me.

Come to me, all of you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls (Matthew 11:28-29).

You Haven’t Lost

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lost: cannot be recovered; beyond your reach

I think at one time or another we have either taught or believed that Samson lost, but when you study the story of his life, this man of God didn’t have a sad ending (as some might think).

Samson married a woman from Timnath.  Then, he slept with a prostitute from Gaza.  Neither one of their names is mentioned, but we will never forget the name of the third woman from the valley of Sorek whom he joined himself to – Delilah.  He loved this woman (Judges 16:4).  With the exception of his marriage (which according to Judges 14:4 was a part of God’s plan), Samson didn’t do a very good job of choosing the right women.  Another area where he tripped up in was in his conversation.  There was a time when the Pharisees got together and plotted how they might entangle Jesus in his talk (Matthew 22:15).  Samson’s enemies, the Philistines, did the same thing.  Unfortunately, Samson failed the test.  He told Delilah all his heart (Judges 16:17).  Sometimes, we talk too much and become ensnared by our own words.

The Philistines paid Delilah to find out where Samson’s great strength lied.  He had no idea that the woman he loved made friends with his enemies.  It was all fun and games at first.  He lied and teased Delilah three times.  Each time he broke free before his enemies could capture him, but the fourth time he got caught and it was going to be difficult to break free this time.  Not only did they bind him, but they afflicted him also (put his eyes out).

Samson was at his lowest point. He couldn’t see and he was forced to grind grain in prison. He was working for his enemies when his enemies should have been working for him. He lost some things – his sight, his strength, and not to mention, the Lord departed from him (Judges 16:20).  Now to me, that’s a great loss, but it wasn’t over for him.  Just like the woman caught in the act of adultery, Samson was getting another chance.  His hair was growing – again (Judges 16:22).

The consequences of his actions didn’t feel good, but it humbled him.  No chastening seems joyous at the time.  Instead, it seems sad, uncomfortable and painful, but in the end it produces fruit (Hebrews 12:11).  I don’t know how many years Samson was in prison.  I don’t know how many years it took for his hair to grow back, but what I do know is that his hair wasn’t the only thing that was growing.  If you refuse to complain or despise the Lord’s correction – if you will endure what you must  go through – you will grow from it.  It will make you better.

Samson’s enemies thought they won.  Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us  (Judges 16:24).  Samson was no longer a threat to them, but little did they know that God was restoring what Samson lost.

One day, the Philistines called for Samson out of the prison house.  They celebrated this man’s fall.  They tormented him. They laughed at him. They made fun of him. They humiliated him, but Samson won in the end.  They called on their god, but Samson humbled himself and called upon his God. O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee  (Judges 16:28).  God had never forgotten Samson, but the moment Samson remembered God, God used Samson again – and even greater than before.

You may have lost some things, but you didn’t lose. Your enemies are not going to rejoice over you anymore (Judges 16:23).  The only reason why Samson died was because he requested to die with his enemies (Judges 16:30), but he didn’t lose. He defeated more enemies in the end than he did in the twenty years he ruled Israel.  He was even listed as one of the heroes of faith (Hebrews 11:32).

You are going to rejoice again.  You are going to laugh again.  God is going to restore you and every year that was stolen. You may have failed in some area(s) of your life, but you are not a failure.  For a just man falls seven times and rises up again  (Proverbs 24:16).

You will rise again.

It is not the end for you.  There is still hope for you.  Your enemies are expecting you to fail, they are expecting you to give up, they are expecting you to lose, but their expectation shall be cut off.  It may feel more like pain than joy right now, but it is making you stronger and mightier.  And soon, you will no longer remember the pain because of the joy that shall come.

You haven’t lost. 

Rule Over Your Own Spirit

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rule: to manage, conduct, control; exercise power and authority over

When a bird sees a trap being set, it stays away (Proverbs 1:17, TLB), but at one time or another we have played around the trap thinking that we would never fall or we have played around the net thinking that we would never get caught.

He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls  (Proverbs 25:28).  Although temperance is listed as the last fruit of the Spirit, it is just as important as the first fruit (love) mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.  It is what helps the other fruit to mature.  Another word for temperance is self-control.  Self-control is when you stop yourself from doing things you want to do, but shouldn’t do.  Everything is permissible, allowable and lawful for me, but not all things are helpful, good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things  (1 Corinthians 6:12).  It is when you manage your feelings and emotions well.  A person who lacks self-control opens himself up for attacks and danger.  If there are no walls, there is no protection.  The enemy at anytime can take you away captive.  Anything and anyone can enter in to steal, kill and destroy.  A good example of this is Jericho.  Jericho was securely shut up to keep the Israelites out.  None went out and none came in, but when the wall fell down flat, the Israelites entered and destroyed all that was in the city.

Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not partake of anything that would defile him (1:8).  He made a decision and he was determined to obey God’s laws no matter what.  He was serious about God.  He wasn’t playing nor was he sleeping. When you’re sleeping in the natural, you are not alert or aware of your surroundings and it’s the same when you are spiritually sleeping.

In Judges 13, we see that God had a plan. His plan was to use Samson to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. The Lord blessed him (vs 24).  One time, the Spirit of the Lord came so mightily upon him that he tore apart a young lion.  He also killed one thousand men with the jawbone of an ass.  Just like the devil hates you, the Philistines hated Samson. To them, he was the enemy and the destroyer of their country (16:24).  One day, the rulers of the Philistines came up with a plan to bring this mighty man of God down and they used what he liked to fulfill that plan – a harlot. They may not have known his strength, but they knew his weakness and just in case the harlot refused their proposal, they were already prepared to give her what she liked – money.  Her assignment was to seduce him so that she could find out where his great strength lied.  Until the rulers learned of his secret, they could not bind him, afflict him and prevail against him (16:5).

Delilah didn’t succeed the first or the second time, but she was persistent.  She pressed him daily with her words and urged him  (16:16).  Samson did not rule over his own spirit well.  Instead of him guarding his heart, he told her all his heart and before you know it, he was sleeping – upon Delilah’s knees. A man later came in and shaved off the seven locks of Samson’s head and his strength left him. I know the things that the devil are tempting you with looks good and it may even feel good, but they only came to make you lose your strength.

Wake up!  Let us not sleep like the others do.  Let us watch and be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6).  Be mindful of your brothers and sisters in the Lord.  Pray for your pastors.  Don’t rejoice, gossip or laugh when they fall, but instead pray that they rise up again.  For a just man falls seven times and rises up again  (Proverbs 24:16).  Watch, but also pray that we enter not into temptation.  If you know someone who has been taken captive by the devil, pray that they recover themselves out of the snare of the devil (2 Timothy 2:26).  Make up the hedge and stand in the gap before the Lord for them. Jonah chose to sleep rather than to obey God, but even in his disobedience, God spared him and used a shipmaster who didn’t even serve Him to wake Jonah up.  So the shipmaster came to him and said unto him, What do you mean, O sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish  (Jonah 1:6).

Get up!  If you messed up, don’t lie down in regret, shame, guilt and condemnation.  Before David’s child died, he fasted and wept, but once his child died, he got up, washed, anointed himself, changed his clothes, went to the house of the Lord and worshipped.  His servants thought he was crazy, but David knew he couldn’t bring his child back.  He couldn’t change what had happened and neither can you. The past has passed.  Learn from the mistakes you made. No longer will we be fools that keep repeating the same foolishness nor will we tempt God, but we will learn how to rule our own spirit so we can stop living a defeated life and instead live a victorious life.

God wants to make you ruler over many things, but He can’t trust those who can’t first rule over their own spirit.

Prayer:  Forgive us for obeying our flesh, its lusts, desires and affections.  Lord, teach us how to rule over our own spirit. Your Son made us free. Now help us to stay free and not to entangle ourselves again with the yoke of bondage. I pray that we make up our minds and purpose in our hearts to not defile ourselves any longer. Keep us from falling and keep our feet from slipping.  May the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead also raise up every person who is spiritually dead and spiritually sleeping, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.