Highlights In Today's Reading:
Samson attacks the Philistines two more times and then serves as Israel's 13th judge for 20 years. We see the downfall of Samson as he yields to sin, teaching us to flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart (II Timothy 2:22).
The Israelites ignored their calling as a holy nation and their loyalty to God, the real King of Israel, and they soon fell into idol-worship. Four times we read: In those days there was no king in Israel (17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). Then twice we read: Every man did that which was right in his own eyes (17:6; 21:25). It is not surprising to see Israel being defeated by enemy nations. How easy it is for people who fail to let the One True God guide their lives and live to satisfy their lusts while assuming they can worship Jehovah as well.
It is popular today to say: "It's alright what you believe, as long as you're sincere." The fact is that you can be sincerely wrong. We need to study to shew ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (II Timothy 2:15). Others say: "Let your conscience be your guide." But God has warned: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
Perhaps the greatest heresy today is the growing trend to believe that all religions have the same god but merely use various names. But, Jesus of Nazareth, who was born in Bethlehem, said: I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me (John 14:6) and: There is but One God, the Father . . . and One Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 8:6). When Jesus Christ our Creator is Savior and Lord and the King of our lives, our chief concern will be: "How will this particular situation affect my relationship with my Savior and Lord? How will His new life within me react to my thoughts and actions?" Some like those of the tribe of Dan foolishly conform only to what would be right in his own eyes or acceptable to their friends, forgetting that every one of us shall give account of himself to God (Romans 14:12).
The God of our Bible narrows acceptable worship down to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (I John 5:7). It's all recorded in just one book. Believers are commissioned to preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the Truth, and shall be turned unto fables (II Timothy 4:2-4).
Thought for Today:
Religious activities do not make us Christians, only the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse us from sin. We are warned by Paul: In the last days . . . men shall be . . . lovers of pleasures . . . having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away (II Timothy 3:1-5).
Through the strength God gave to Samson for his last victory over the Philistines (Judges 16:28-30). I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Phil. 4:13).
15:4 firebrands =b> torches of flax on fire; 16:7 green withs =b> small new ropes; 16:11 fast =b> securely; never . . . occupied =b> never used; 16:25 make us sport =b> entertain us; 16:26 Suffer me =b> Allow me; 17:4 founder =b> metal worker.
Pray for Arabic International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in honor of Dr. John A. Hash • Staff: Bernice Rathbone • Government Official: Sec. Henry Paulson (Dept. of the Treasury) • Country: Indonesia (211.8 million) five large and 13,662 lesser islands in Southeast Asia • Major languages: Bahasa Indonesian (modified form of Malay) and English • Growing pressure from Muslim leaders to limit advances of Christianity by not renewing many of the missionaries' permits to stay in the country • 83% Muslim; 9% Protestant; 4% Catholic; 2% Hindu; 1% Buddhist • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for (not against) your enemies (Luke 6:28).
Optional Reading: John 19
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 1:22