He did not know the Lord had departed

THE PHILISTINES are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. That is the situation Samson found himself in after he allowed Delilah to cut his hair in Judges 16:20.

That’s the worst place to be if you knew…. (Which would be far better). Not knowing is dangerous and even spiritually deadly. You can and should repent

Sampson was not the only one, there were so many others…

David hid his sin and didn’t know until Nathan told him. And Nathan said to David, “Thou art the man” [2Sa 12:7]. David had committed sin, but as he tried to hide it is when things got so much worse, leading to lying, conspiracy, murder and ultimately giving occasion for the enemies of God to blaspheme.

We can do our best to hide sin, but shall never hide them from God. I’ve heard that certain practitioners of Islam build walls in their homes facing Mecca and allah is unable to see the sin they commit if done behind that wall. The one true God doesn’t have that limitation, He sees everything! David learned this the hard way and wrote a Psalm about it, “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance” [Ps 90:8]. The writer of Hebrews said, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” [Heb 4:13].

Simon the sorcerer tried to bypass authority and didn’t realize The LORD had departed until Peter told him. “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money” [Acts 8:20]. We see this one all the time, folks thinking they can bypass the Authority of Christ [Mat 28:18].  None of us think we can buy the power of the Holy Spirit, but some do believe they can have power over the church through their contribution, dissensions or threats. This sin, sedition, is included with the list of the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-20. We must follow the instructions of Christ in all things, the church is not a democracy and we don’t vote on the doctrines of Christ.

Peter played the hypocrate until Paul told him – “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? [Ga 2:14]”

We decieve our friends and family in our own hypocrisy. In our attempts to “fit in” with the world, they see our double minded actions toward God. We do this so as not to lose any friends. When we act in such a duplicitous way, are we really being a friend?

Annanias when he tried to outsmart God. “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? [Acts 5:3 ]” It’s impossible to outsmart God, but many attempt to do it all the time. W.C. Fields, when asked why he was reading the bible said, “Loopholes, looking for loopholes!” Can you ever out smart God? Amazingly, Christians believe they can fool God. And what’s worse, they believe they can outsmart Him! Minimal attendance or removing your “membership” without going to another congregation so as to avoid withdrawal. Building a team to “out vote” the leadership. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.

Sapphira ignored her chance but didn’t take it. “And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much” [Ac 5:8]. At least David siezed on his opportunity to repent. Peter gave her opportunity but she had her story and was sticking to it. Learn from Sapphira and repent before it’s too late.

Nadab & Abihu wouldn’t heed the instructions of the Lord. “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not” [Lev 10:1]. The commandments are clear, and their not burdensome [1John 5:3], but we think that our way is better. We say things like, “the Bible doesn’t say we can’t.” Look again at Lev 10:1, it says, “the LORD commanded them not.” Silence is prohibitive, we have permission ONLY when we have a command.

Lot’s wife didn’t know when she ignored God’s command. “And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” [Ge 19:17-20]. Perhaps she had grown so used to sin that she didn’t believe God’s command. This seems to be the prevailing view among some. “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” [Ecc 8:11]. Folks, just because God is delaying punishment doesn’t mean He will never punish it.

We can know if God is with us, by learning and keeping His word. Read 1John and learn about a wonderful hope for the Christian who loves God. It’s a book of hope and assurance for our faith. Eleven times John writes about what “we know.”

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 1John 3:18

Under the Influence

As the New Year fast approaches, I know that many will be celebrating the new year, often while drinking adult alcoholic beverages. You’ve heard about driving under the influence? That is when a person decides to drink alcohol unto intoxication, or imbibing in some other mind altering drug, and then decides to get behind the wheel of their vehicle. In a recent news story, a woman driving while under the influence, ran a red light plowing through a crosswalk, killing 3 people including a child and his mother.

Here in Borger, Texas, it’s listed as DWI; Driving While Intoxicated. According to the Texas DoT website, a first offense DWI charge can get you; “A fine of up to $2,000, Three days to 180 days in jail, Loss of driver license up to a year and an Annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license.”

Just the first offense penalty would be enough for me to avoid DWI. When you consider the human costs with the possibility of causing someone’s death or even my own, then without a doubt I would never drive under the influence of alcohol.

But that is the secular human side of me. As a Christian, I abstain from alcohol use. I don’t drink. As I pondered this thing called DUI or being under the influence, I was reminded of a passage I had recently studied in Ephesians;

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,” — Eph 5:18

            This verse instructs us to NOT get drunk, but rather to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Some would suppose that we should be under the control of the Holy Spirit, losing our own control and free will. But this just doesn’t fit with the rest of the scriptures. Paul had just written in Chapter 3 of the same book:

“…if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,  4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),”– Eph 3:2-4

            When you consider these verses from the same letter together, what you will see is that we need to read and to study our Bibles, allowing those teachings to influence us. To “BE FILLED” with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the Helper promised by Christ;

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”– Joh 16:13

We have the Bible, the scriptures, because holy men of God were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write down the things of God. [2Pet 1:20-21] It’s through the study of the scriptures that we can know the will of God for our lives, to know how to live on this earth and how to get to heaven.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”– 2Ti 3:16

            Jesus charged the Apostles to teach the people “all things that I have commanded you,” and this they did as they traveled, speaking to people, and also as they, with others, wrote these commands down for us today.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. — Mt 28:19

Knowing all of this, let us not be drunk with alcohol or drugs, rather, let us be filled with the Holy Spirit by studying our Bibles, learning what is the will of the Lord.