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Scripture: Read Judges 13-16
With Valentine’s day only 4 days away, love is in the air. Everywhere you turn there are chocolates and flowers. Shelves are stocked with sappy romantic cards filled with poetry. Whether you are in a relationship or wishing that you were, this time of year is easy to feel lovesick.There’s something pretty amazing about being in love, isn’t there? The butterflies in your stomach. The dreamy gazes. No wonder so many of us are so in love with being in love.
Growing up, I was a typical young boy. My wardrobe consisted of sweatpants, t-shirts, and sneakers.I couldn’t care less about how my hair looked or even what I smelled like. All I could talk about was sports and video games. I hung out with my boys, mostly because I still thought girls had cooties. Then it happened! Seventh grade started and so did my attraction to girls. In my attempt to impress the ladies, I went through an extreme makeover. I bought an all new wardrobe consisting of jeans, polos, and button up shirts. I went from being 12 to an 18 year old over night. I’d wake up extra early before school so I could groom myself for the day. I would glob two handfuls of gel on my head and carefully style my hair until it was perfect. Then I’d douse myself with Calvin Klein Obsession cologne. I began to dress and look preppy. I attempted to be a cross between Zack Morris, from Saved by the Bell, and Leonardo DiCaprio. All of this because I was lovesick! I wasn’t interested in a particular girl, just all of them in general. I was in love with the idea of being in love.
I did what many of us do. Our culture has taken two basic inventions of God—human relationships and opposite-sex attraction—and twisted them beyond measure. We’ve gone from valuing to overvaluing relationships. And putting too much value on something is just as dangerous as not putting enough value on it. In my attempts to impress girls and satisfy my feelings of being lovesick, I lost the perspective of who I was and who God created me to be. My sense of worth was directly related to my relational status.
In the Bible, in the Old Testament, if you go way, way back in the history of the Israelite people, after the time when Moses led them through the wilderness and Joshua brought them into the Promised Land, but before the time when kings like David and Solomon governed, there was a time period we call the judges. It was called this because basically the Israelites were living in little groups, or clans, and they had leaders, called judges, who helped keep everything running smoothly.
One of those Judges was a man named Samson. He was called and anointed by God for a specific purpose.
you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines” (Judges 13:2-5 NIV).
Samson was created and set apart to God for the deliverance of His people. As we read on in chapters 13-16 of Judges, we learn of Samson’s greatest weakness-women. How many of you can relate? He struggled with feelings of being lovesick, and as a result he couldn’t control his urge to merge.
Although Samson is a member of the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11:32) and was used by God again at the end of his life, his poor relational decisions left him with severe consequences. They cost him his anointing, his eyes, and ultimately his life. Samson lost sight of who he was and who God created him to be.
You don’t have to be in a relationship to become lovesick or lose sight of who you are. It’s not that relationships are wrong, but when the idea of a romantic relationship or you being in one starts to define who you are as an individual, then things start getting dangerous.
Are you lovesick? Be brave enough to ask your friends, “Am I too into this relationship? Do I talk about dating way too much?” Don’t get so caught up in it all that you lose sight of who you are and who God made you to be.
Let me start this off this post by asking you a question: Do you have the character/integrity to not screw this life up?
Matthew 7:24-27 says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Jesus tells us that we better build our house on the right foundation or it will come crashing down. When you build your life on the sand, it’s easy to draw a line in the sand and then erase it and redraw it.
Another word for foundation is Integrity. Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral values and principles. It means to be of sound construction. To be whole and undivided.
Psalm 86:11 says, Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
Integrity isn’t about perfection (no one bats 1000), it’s about excellence. When we lack integrity we lack character. We have character flaws.
pride…selfishness…dishonest…out of control emotions…under report taxes…gossip about people… some of us are like the chinese proverb – He who has much lice, no longer feels the itch.
If you mislead others in public, you will mislead yourself in private.
Ultimately it is the small indiscretions that will lead to a great compromise. I don’t believe most people wake up in the morning and say, I’m going to screw up my life today. Dear Diary, today I plan to commit fraud. But who you are will be determined not by your talents, brains, or resources. It will be determined by the decisions you make when no one is watching.
Many of us walk as though we are blind. Isaiah 59:10 Says, Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead. When we fail to Identify our Blind Spots our lives are an accident waiting to happen.
One day I was at the WAWA backing out of a spot and I thought I had covered my bases and looked at all my mirrors but then all of a sudden, crash!! I hadn’t looked at my blind spots.
Blind Spots are the areas in your life that you ignore and cause you to crash someday. Here is a list of some of the areas we may have Blind Spots
BLIND SPOTS are areas of the road that cannot be seen while looking forward or through either the rear-view or side mirrors in an automobile.
Blind Spots are created when we simply do not take the time to investigate our lives and the things around us. There is danger lurking in the darkness. Psalm 139:23,24. And believe me what you can’t see or don’t know CAN and WILL hurt you.
Many of us are a lot like Isaiah, until we take a long hard look at God we really can’t see the reality of who we are. We tend to not see our own blind spots. Truth is, we do a better job as identifying the blind spots of others. Matthew 7:1-6. We become the pot calling the kettle black. You know what I call these people, spectators! Very rarely do they in involve themselves in real, get your hands dirty, roll up your sleeves for the kingdom of God work.
Jesus says. get the log out of your eye. Take a look at yourself before you go out and decide to be the judge and jury… James 1:22-25
When you look away from the mirror, don’t forget what you saw. When you look into the mirror, take time to memorize what you see.
Hey Shore Fellowship Church…unfortunately due to the storm and a state of emergency in Egg Harbor Township church is CANCELLED this weekend. However there are some important things to keep in mind.
The momentum of knowing that Something’s About to Happen combined with an exciting new series means there are great days ahead for Shore Fellowship and our community. Can’t wait to worship with you again. Invite Someone out next week!!
Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
In Mark Batterson’s new book, Primal, he states; “We can’t afford to be merely good at the Great Commandment, we must be great at the Great Commandment”. If you want to be great, you need to strive for the Heart of God. There is very little scripturally that speaks of Gods heart.
However the idea of compassion is something that we all could use instruction and application of in each of our lives and in our church community. Compassion by actual meaning is for us to be willing to suffer with and for our brothers and sisters as well as the lost because the meaning of compassion is suffering along side or together. Another reference and related word is the word companion which in its literal form encourages us to share bread. Interesting that these words both point us to the one who is both the passion and the bread, Jesus Christ, the suffering savior who is also the bread of life. He is the one who demonstrates what we are to become and what we are to do with our Christian walk . If we realize these truths and begin them in our lives we will understand and know the heart of God who is Jesus Christ, the eternal God who came from the bosom of the father. He is the heart of God. He is love made manifest. He is God with a face for us to see and know. This is the story of compassion. To live like that we need a Heart Transplant.
An old heart exchanged for a new one. When you give your heart to Christ, Christ gives His heart to you. That new heart gives you a new appreciation for life. You humbly acknowledge your responsibility to honor the donor. You feel different, why, because you feel what Christ feels. And at the top of the list of His emotions is COMPASSION. Your heart begins to break for the things that break God’s heart. And this is what it means to love God with all your heart. We need to beg God to give us his heart!!
Edwin Thomas – master of the stage/Performed Hamlet 100 straight days in New York/he had two brothers, John and Junius/they did the play Julius Caesar together in 1863/John played the part of Brutus the assassin/2 yrs later in another theater John Wilkes Booth the brother of Edwin Thomas Booth murdered Abraham Lincoln/Edwin quit theater/svaed Robert Todd Lincoln from being hit by a train/
What Causes one brother to kill the president the other saved his son’s life. Same mother, same father, profession, and passion, yet one chooses life and the other death.
What causes one to choose God and the other to go in the opposite direction?
Cain chose God and Abel chose murder
Abraham pursued God while Lot pursued the world
David was a man after God’s heart and Saul was all about satisfying his own heart
Peter and Judas – both deny the Lord but one seeks mercy and the other takes his life.
I don’t know if I know the answer to that but, I know that what we are choosing can be clearly defined.
In Luke 23 we see two theives on the cross. These 2 criminals define the choice that we all have to make. One on the right of Jesus and the other on the left. We see in them two kinds of responses to our own personal suffering: 1) We can rail against God and say, “If you are such a great and powerful and loving God, why am I in this hellish mess?” 2) Or we can acknowledge that we are sinners and don’t deserve any good thing, and cry out for mercy and help in our time of desperation. Calvary’s trio – Why were there 2 crosses next to Jesus and not 10?Why was Jesus in the center? Could it be that these crosses symbolize the concept of choices? Notice how similar they are. Both are suffering the pain of crucifixion. Both are guilty of crime (“We are receiving the due reward of our deeds,” v. 41). Both see Jesus, the sign over his head (“King of the Jews,” v. 38); they hear the words from his mouth (“Father forgive them,” v. 34). And both of these thieves want desperately to be saved from death. But they made completely different choices.
Most of us have all these things in common with these two thieves: there has been, is, or will be suffering in our lives. And none of us will be able to say: “I do not deserve this.” Most of us have seen Jesus on the cross and have heard his claim to kingship and his gracious words of forgiveness. And all of us want to be saved from death one way or the other. On one side Of Jesus are those who chose to believe and stand with Him on the other side those who trust in themselves, determined to stand before God on their own record.
Although I may not know what causes each and every person to make the decisions they do I know this, 1 good choice for eternity offsets a thousand bad ones. One thing I do know is that there is more grace in God’s heart than there is sin in our past. Whose side are you leaning on? Both thieves had the same opportunity, Both heard the words of Christ. But only one called Him Lord!!
Are you the same person that you were 10 years ago? 5 years ago? 1 year ago? I doubt it , because things change. People change.
We live in a time of change. The winds of change are blowing. Change is inevitable. Something that isn’t changing isn’t alive. In fact, you might say that (life is about change). That change is the very nature of life, – welcome it. No glass ever became sand again; No bread ever became wheat; No ripened fruit ever became a flower. Welcome change, and choose what kind of glass you create, what kind of bread you bake, what kind of fruit you harvest. We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.
And yet there are those who are not willing to let go of the past. They are deeply rooted in the meaning that these things once held. They are stuck in the systems that these former “innovations” have created, unable to embrace what is now. Right or Wrong. Good or Bad. There are things that matter(ed) to our parents. But they simply DON’T to us anymore. They have been replaced by innovation that itself will be replaced in a matter of time. Did you know that change is good!! It keeps you from becoming a Grace Potato Christian your Blessed Assurance! Change helps you learn to adapt to new situations and to grow inside.
Jan Glidewell: Quotations on Change
You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! Continually being made new!
What am I holding on to that God is in the process of changing?
Proverbs 26: 11, tells us that a fool returns to his folly like a dog does his vomit.
The biblical definition of a fool is – someone who does something foolish and then continues to repeat it. All of us, from time to time, do things that would qualify us for the bone-head hall of fame;
In Seattle, when a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the motor home’s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he’d ever had.
We all do DUMB things, however, the question is whether or not we learn from it or continue in our folly. I want to submit to you that one of the dumbest things that a Christian can ever do is sling mud on the bride of Christ!
How it must break the Father’s heart when we thoughtlessly cause blemishes on the one for whom He gave His life?
THREE DEVASTATING AFFECTS OF MUDSLINGING:
1. Lucifer is handed an opportunity
2. The lost are handed an excuse
3. The Lord is handed a heartache
Questions to ask yourself:
1. When you have a problem with your church, do you approach your leaders or do you just start blabbing it to anyone who will listen?
2. Do you have any habits or activities that you wouldn’t want your Church leaders to find out about?
3. How long has it been since you bragged about your church?