Our Secret Source of Power

This is adapted from a sermon based on Judges 16

In every legend, the story of every hero or villain, there is always a source of power that can be discovered and exploited. For Superman, it’s kryptonite. For Zurg (Toy Story), it was the double AA battery (or so Buzz thought).

I believe that for the believer, our secret source of power has to do with our inner walk with God. Deep in the recesses of the heart and soul, where we walk and talk with Him, where we have our conversations with Him, in the closet of prayer and intimacy, there is our secret source of power.

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God Likes Wild Men

Back in September, I mentioned that I was beginning a wild goose chase, meaning that I was beginning to read the book Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. I haven’t written an official review, but the short version is that I’ve been challenged since reading the book to break out of some cages in my life to keep pace with the Holy Spirit.

Now we’re studying Samson, one of the Bible’s wildest heroes. He messes up constantly. He takes a wife from the Philistines, touches a dead animal, sleeps with a prostitute, and gives away the secret of his power with God. Yet God chose him even before conception to “begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines.”

David lived a rough life too, and he was a man after God’s own heart. Peter put his foot in his mouth continually, but God chose him to be the lead Pastor of the first church of Jerusalem. God likes wild men.

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Now Is the Time for Courageous Parents

This is adapted from a sermon based on Judges 13

I really don’t have to belabor the point of how morally confusing these times are, do I? We hear the news. We read the stats. And we know how tough it is to be growing up in this present culture. That’s how things were for Israel when Samson was born.

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The Intriguing Story of Jephthah

Nestled in the middle of the book of Judges is an intriguing story of an intriguing man – Jephthah. Though not specifically called a “judge” he certainly bears all the marks of the others. He rose up to lead Israel to freedom from oppression when it was desperately needed. But his story offers some interesting twists and turns.

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The Worst Thing That Can Happen to Anyone

What’s the worst thing that can happen to anyone? Ask most people, and the answer will have something to do with loss, illness, or death. Perhaps someone might answer that the worst thing would be for a person to die without a relationship with Christ and spend eternity in hell. Yes, but I actually think the answer is slightly more complex. Here’s my assertion:

The worst thing that can happen to anyone is to follow their own desire, refusing God’s intervention.

I know this may sound confusing, but think about it. Scripture teaches plainly (in Romans 3:10-23) that nobody naturally desires the things God would have in mind for us. We, instead, desire things that seem good to us at the time, but are really counterfeits for the best thing – an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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Big Lessons from Big Toes

“And they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek:… and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes. And Adoni-bezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.” (Judges 1:5-7)

The Buddhist idea of karma teaches that “what goes around comes around” and that all is equitable in the universe. Christianity agrees that all is equitable in God’s economy. However, what ought to come around to us has come around to the cross that we might be forgiven, spared, and spoiled by God’s mercy and grace. There is, however, still much truth in the old adage, as King Adoni-bezek learned the hard way.

He had spent his days in cruel and tyrannical oppression over his people. He confessed at the end of his life that he once maimed seventy kings and humiliated them in front of his own dinner guests as a sign of his pride and power. Now, through the advancing nation of Israel, God was exacting revenge for his crime. Not only was God delivering the promised land to Israel, He was in the meantime using them as His instrument of judgment against the wicked and idolatrous Canaanites.

Because Adoni-bezek lost his thumbs and his big toes, we can learn the big lesson that cruelty has a way of coming back to us. God always remains righteous as He judges sin and though we may not always understand His ways, we can trust that He is a just and fair judge. He is displeased with unecessary cruelty toward others and He handles vengeance in such matters. If you can’t learn this lesson then perhaps God will someday say to you, “I ‘toed’ you so!”