Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

Godly, righteous people weigh their answers; those who are wicked do not think before speaking because they don’t care about the effects of their words. When you have something to say, think about it first. Do you carefully plan your words, or do you pour out your thoughts without concern for their impact?

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 18:13,15,17 – 13) He who answers before listening-that is his folly and his shame
15) The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.
17) The first to present his case seems right , till another comes forward and questions him

In these concise statements, there are three basic principles for making sound decisions:

(1) get the facts before answering;
(2) be open to new ideas;
(3) make sure you hear both sides of the story before judging.

All three principles center around seeking additional information. This is difficult work, but the only alternative is prejudice-judging before getting the facts.

Under Gods Command

(Samuel’s birth and childhood)

1 Samuel 1:12 -17As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
     15“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. 16Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
     17Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

Eli was a Priest, and miss judged this woman at first. But instead of just walking away with that believe of her being drunk with wine, he spoke to her and told her to put away your wine. Then he found out he miss judge her, and listened to her story.

Lets Bring Home: How many times do we miss judge a situation, and walk away with the thought of what we think we saw? When at times if we speak to him or her, we also can find the truth in someone’s situation, and give him or her a word of encouragement that just might change his or her life. How many people have we walked by or came to us and we did not have time which later ended up in a bad situation or Suicide?

Under Gods Command

(Samuel’s birth and childhood)

1 Samuel 1:10-11 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Al mighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” 

Be careful what you promise in prayer because God may take you up on it. Hannah so desperately wanted a child that she was willing to strike a bargain with God. God took her up on her promise, and to Hannah’s credit, she did her part, even though it was painful (1:27-28).     Although we are not in a position to negotiate with God, he may still choose to answer a prayer that has an attached promise.

Lets Bring it Home: When you pray, ask yourself, “Will I follow through on any promises I make to God if he grants my request?” It is dishonest and dangerous to ignore a promise, especially to God. God keeps his promises, and he expects you to keep yours.

Under Gods Command

(Samuel’s birth and childhood)

1 Samuel 1:8-10 Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
     9Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the LORD’s house. 10In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly.

Hannah knew her husband loved her, but even his encouragement could not comfort her. She could not keep from listening to Peninnah’s jeers and letting Peninnah’s words erode her self-confidence. Although we cannot keep others from unjustly criticizing us, we can choose how we will react to their hurtful words.

Hannah had good reason to feel discouraged and bitter. She was unable to bear children; she shared her husband with a woman who ridiculed her (1:7); her loving husband could not solve her problem (1:8); and even the high priest misunderstood her motives (1:14). But instead of retaliating or giving up hope, Hannah prayed. She brought her problem honestly before God.

Lets Bring it Home: Each of us may face times of barrenness when nothing “comes to birth” in our work, service, or relationships. It is difficult to pray in faith when we feel so ineffective. But, as Hannah discovered, prayer opens the way for God to work Rather than dwelling upon our problems, we can enjoy the loving relationships God has given us. By so doing, we can exchange self-pity for hope.

Under Gods Command

    1There was a certain man from Ramathaim, Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.    
3Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD. 4Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb. 6Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat.

The book of 1 Samuel begins in the days when the judges still ruled Israel, possibly during the closing years of Samson’s life. Samuel was Israel’s last judge and the first priest and prophet to serve during the time of a king. He was the best example of what a good judge should be, governing the people by God’s Word and not by his own impulses. Samuel was the man who anointed Saul as Israel’s first king.

Although many great Old Testament leaders (such as Abraham, Jacob, and David) had more than one wife, this was not God’s original intention for marriage. Genesis 2:24 states that in marriage, two people become one flesh. Why then did polygamy exist among God’s people? First, it was to produce more offspring to help in the man’s work and to assure the continuation of the man’s family line. Numerous children were a symbol of status and wealth. Second, in societies where many young men were killed in battle, polygamy became an accepted way of supporting women who otherwise would have remained unmarried and, very likely, destitute. Nevertheless, polygamy often caused serious family problems, as we see in this story of Hannah and Peninnah.

The tabernacle (Tent of Meeting) was located at Shiloh, the religious center of the nation (see Joshua 18:1). Three times a year all Israelite men were required to attend a religious festival held at the tabernacle: the Passover with the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16). Elkanah made this pilgrimage regularly to fulfill God’s commands. (See Exodus 23:14-17 for the regulations concerning the pilgrimage, and see the note on Exodus 40:34 for more on the tabernacle.)

Hannah had been unable to conceive children, and in Old Testament times, a childless woman was considered a failure. Her barrenness was a social embarrassment for her husband. Children were a very important part of the society’s economic structure. They were a source of labor for the family, and it was their duty to care for their parents in their old age. If a wife could not bear children, she was often obligated by ancient Middle Eastern custom to give one of her servant girls to her husband to bear children for her. Although Elkanah could have left Hannah (a husband was permitted to divorce a barren wife), he remained lovingly devoted to her despite social criticism and his rights under civil law.

Part of God’s plan for Hannah involved postponing her years of childbearing. While Peninnah and Elkanah looked at Hannah’s outward circumstances, God was moving ahead with his plan.

Lets Bring it Home: Think of those in your world who are struggling with God’s timing in answering their prayers and who need your love and help. By supporting those who are struggling, you may help them remain steadfast in their faith and confident in his timing to bring fulfillment to their lives.

Under Gods Command

1 Timothy 3:16 Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:

He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angles, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

In this short hymn, Paul affirms the humanity and divinity of Christ. By so doing he reveals the heart of the gospel, “the mystery from which true godliness springs” (the secret of how we become godly). “Appeared in the flesh”—Jesus was a man; Jesus’ incarnation is the basis of our being right with God. “Was vindicated by the Spirit”—Jesus’ resurrection showed that the Holy Spirit’s power was in him (Romans 8:11). “Was seen by angels” and “was taken up in glory”—Jesus is divine.

Lets Bring it Home We can’t please God on our own; we must depend on Christ. As a man, Jesus lived a perfect life, and so he is a perfect example of how to live. As God, Jesus gives us the power to do what is right. It is possible to live a godly life—through following Christ.

Under Gods Command

 Proverbs 9:5 Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. 

The world’s most desirable woman invites you to dinner. Lady Wisdom offers a feast in her house for your pleasure and prosperity. She wants your fellowship and friendship. Choose your companion for life – Lady Wisdom (Pr 9:5) or Folly herself (Pr 9:13-18).

Wisdom is easy. Consider the invitation again. God and Solomon offer wisdom this openly to any simpletons who want to be wise. Only pride and stubbornness hinder you. Will you accept the generous offer, or will you rebel and hold to your own foolish ways?

Solomon’s personification of wisdom continues (Pr 8:1 – 9:12). Here he contrasted the invitation of Lady Wisdom (Pr 9:1-6) to that of Folly, a whorish woman (Pr 9:13-18). Both have a house (Pr 9:1,14); both call loudly to men (Pr 9:3,14); both use the same invitation (Pr 9:4,16). While Lady Wisdom offers life, Folly brings death (Pr 9:6,11,18)!

Look at the fare offered at each house. Lady Wisdom has killed her beasts for wonderful steaks, mingled her precious vintages of wine, and gloriously furnished her table (Pr 9:2). She has baked wonderful bread, which she offers with her wine. Her feast is substantial, pleasant, and a combination of the best components for fine dining. Will you accept?

Folly offers prison fare – bread and water (Pr 9:17). Why even consider such a horrible offer? Because she is a whore and suggests that water drunk illegally is sweet and bread eaten in a secret rendezvous is pleasant. Though her meal has no substance, she seduces many men by the superficial and short-term appeal of sinful eating. Will you accept?

Both women call each man throughout his life. Reader, the competition for your soul is intense. The consequences are severe. What will you do? Are you settled to reject every overture by a strange woman, no matter how enticing the temptation? Have you committed your life to Lady Wisdom? Have you asked her to help you despise Folly?

Many Christians miss good eating. Many reject wine, which cheers the heart of God and man (Deut 14:26; Judges 9:13; Ps 104:14-15). A salad of grass with grape juice to drink is hardly a meal! Let Lady Wisdom guide your diet. Both Melchizedek and Jesus chose fellowship with bread and wine (Gen 14:18; Luke 7:33-34). Grab hot French or Italian bread from the oven with a glass of good wine, and enjoy your filet mignon (Pr 9:2)!

If you want a substantial meal that enhances health and is a wonderful dining experience, there is only one choice – Lady Wisdom. Her meal is filling, nutritious, and most pleasant. How do you accept her invitation and eat at her table? Humble yourself before God and His word and choose wisdom as your way of life (Pr 1:7; 9:10; Ps 19:7; 119:98-100). “Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding” (Pr 9:6).

Marriage to a virtuous woman who fears God is as good as it gets on this earth, even for a king (Pr 18:22; 19:14; 31:1-31; Eccl 9:9). Choose to love and delight in her body and lovemaking, while despising, rejecting, and avoiding any other woman for emotional or physical pleasure (Pr 5:19; 6:25). Choose to have a large and happy family legitimately, which is a unique and wonderful blessing of marriage (Pr 5:15-18; Ps 127:3-5; 128:1-6).

Stay as far from Folly as possible, lest her enticing and lying invitation deceives you to consider the prison fare, death, and hell she is hiding behind her skirts and in her warm embrace. She can approach you anywhere, calling out to the lusts of your flesh and eyes. You may see or hear her on television, at school, in a magazine, at work, through a song, in a chat room, at church, on vacation at the beach, or shopping at the mall. Run away!

There is a war for your soul (I Pet 2:11). Folly, your choice by nature, wants to destroy you – a woman lying about bread and water, which is the most adultery and fornication can offer. Death and hell are the actual results! Wisdom, which God offers by His word, will prosper your life. Nothing can be compared to it (Pr 8:11). She is like a queen offering perpetual peace and pleasure in her house (Pr 9:1-6). Accept her offer today!

Under Gods Command

1 Timothy 2:8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.  

Besides displeasing God, anger and strife make prayer difficult.  That is why Jesus said that we should interrupt our prayers, if necessary, to make peace with others (Matthew 5:23,24).  God wants us to obey him immediately and thoroughly.

Lets Bring it Home:  Our goal should be to have a right relationship with God and also with others.

Under Gods Command

1 Timothy 1:15-17 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst.  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen

Here Paul summarizes the Good News: Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and no sinner is beyond his saving power.  Jesus didn’t come merely to show us how to live better lives or challenge us to be better people.  He came to offer us salvation that leads to eternal life.  Have you accepted his offer?

Paul was not nearly as interested in creating an image as he was in being an example.  He did not hesitate to share his past, because he knows his failures would allow others to have hope.

Lets Bring it Home: At times we hesitate to share our past struggles with others because we are afraid it will tarnish our image.  Paul demonstrated that lowing our guard can be an important step in communicating the gospel.  People will not believe the gospel is important if they can’t see that it is crucial in your life.  How has Christ shown patience with you?  Did he stay with you when you doubted and rebelled? Did he remain faithful when you ignored his prior claim on your life?  Did he love you when you disregarded his Word and his church?  Remember that his patience is unlimited for those who love him.  Don’t be afraid to let others know what Christ has done for you.