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A Little Walk With God

A daily devotional through the Bible narrated as if walking through the garden east of Eden with God. Scriptures come from a daily reading plan that take you through the Bible in one year, generally coming from The Voice. Our website is http://alittlewalkwithgod.com or http://richardagee.com
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Now displaying: August, 2018

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Richard

Aug 27, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.

Samson walked away from God in small steps, but he left nonetheless. He walked away slowly enough that he didn’t even know that God was gone.

We’re in Judges 16 now.Samson’s downfall continues. He goes to see a prostitute. The Philistines find out he is there and wait at the city gate throughout the night to seize him at sunrise. Only Samson lifts up the gates, the posts, and the metal rods that lock the gates in place and carries them away in the middle of the night.

Later he falls in love with another prostitute named Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines offer Delilah a pretty good sum of money to find out the secret of Samson’s strength and money is much more important to her than Samson. He keeps his secret for a while and every time he tells her something, the Philistines lie in wait for him, but are defeated by this incredibly strong warrior.

After a while, though, Samson gets tired of Delilah’s nagging and tells her his secret. I find it interesting that Samson keeps telling her these things that might take away his strength when immediately after Delilah’s house is filled with Philistines who have done exactly what Samson told her would defeat him. It seems Samson is either extremely dense or so extraordinarily arrogant that he thinks absolutely nothing can hurt him.

He’s wrong. Remember his three Nazarite rules? Don’t drink alcohol. Already broke that one. Don’t touch anything dead. Already broke that one. Don’t cut your hair. He let that secret out and again let his arrogance think the rules didn’t apply and Delilah brought in a barber while Samson was in a drunken stupor. Three rules. Three strikes. God was gone. Samson didn’t even know it.

You might look at these chapters and think they were big steps. Samson should have known. But I have a feeling it started with little little things. Maybe as a young teenager he broke curfew a few times and got away with it. Maybe he skipped his synagogue lessons and his parents let him off the hook. Maybe he bullied some of the other kids at school or on the playground and no one corrected him.

Little by little, Samson decided he could do whatever he wanted. He lost his morals. He lost his sense of right and wrong. Samson decided he was incharge of himself and could do whatever without any repercussion. We are left with a few snippets of Samson’s life that show us just how corrupt his life had become consorting with the enemy. Violating his vows. Disobeying God’s ordinances. Bowing to his every base desire without thinking of the consequences of his actions.

We can do the same if we are not careful. It can start the same way. We try to get away with the little things. The little things start turning into bigger things. The bigger things turn into things that from the beginning we would never have dreamed we would do.

And parents, Samson’s life is also a lesson to us. Remember what Solomon said in his proverbs? Raise up a child in the way he should go and he won’t depart from it. That means we need to teach our kids to do the right thing. We need to help them understand there are consequences that go along with every action they take. Good action reap good consequences. Bad actions reap bad consequences. It’s just the laws of nature.

If we don’t pay attention to God’s leading, if we don’t listen to his voice and do what he calls us to do, if we fail to obey his commands, we can find ourselves doing exactly what Samson did and then find that God is no longer providing strength, answers, resources. He is gone and you don’t know it. The enemy defeats you, maims you, imprisons you and it all began with little steps that you just never stopped to think would have any consequences.

Learn from Samson.

You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.

Aug 20, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.

We are still looking at Samson to help us discover some of the characteristic we need to have to succeed in battle against our greatest enemy, the devil. We have learned a lot of what not to do from him and today’s lesson is no different. Let’s look at another example of his poor behavior first from Judges 15.

Samson said to them [the Philistines who killed his wife and her father], “Is that how you act? Then I won’t stop until I pay you back.” He struck them down with heavy blows. He killed many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave. It was in the rock of Etam.

The Philistines went up and camped in Judah. They spread out near Lehi. The men of Judah asked, “Why have you come to fight against us?”

“We’ve come to take Samson as our prisoner,” they answered. “We want to do to him what he did to us.”

then 3,000 men from Judah went to get Samson. They went down to the cave that was in the rock of Team. They said to Samson, “Don’t you realize the Philistines are ruling over us? What have you done to us?”

Samson answered, “I only did to them what they did to me.”

The men of Judah said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up. We’re going to hand yo over to the Philistines.”

Samson said, “Take an oath and promise me you won’t kill me yourselves.”

“We agree,” they answered. “We’ll only tie you up and hand you over to them. We won’t kill you.” So they tied him up with two new ropes. They led him up from the rock.

Samson approached Lehi. The Philistines came toward him shouting. Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Samson with power. The ropes on his arms became like burned thread. They dropped off his hands. He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey. He grabbed hold of it and struck down 1,000 men.

Then Samson said, “By using a donkey’s jawbone

I’ve made them look like donkeys.

By using a donkey’s jawbone

I’ve struck down 1,000 men.”

Samson finished speaking. Then he threw the jawbone away. That’s why the place was called Ramath Lehi.

So what’s so bad about these events, you might ask. Why would I pick out these verses and look at this event to show some of the flaws in Samson’s life?

Remember what is happening to Samson as we move along in the story of his life? First, he went places he wasn’t supposed to go. Then he courted a young woman he wasn’t supposed to court. He because engaged to that woman and planned his marriage knowing he was to have nothing to do with her or her people. Then, Samson fooled around with the carcass of a dead lion that he wasn’t supposed to touch. He was supposed to stay clear of dead stuff, but instead made a mockery of his vows. He was supposed to stay away from alcohol, dead things and alcohol. But what does he do? He eats honey from the carcass of that dead lion, makes a riddle from it for 30 companions the Philistines picked for him and had a bachelor’s party with those 30 pagan men the city of Timnah picked for him.

On top of that, Samson’s anger drives him to kill 30 innocent men to pay the foolish debt he brought on himself and then he runs away from his wife and her family. After abandoning his wife, he returns to find her given to another and takes revenge by destroying the Philistines’ crops. Now he lives in a cave at Etam hiding from those who wish him dead.

Each step along the way, he gets further from the things God would have him do. And worse, he takes credit for the few good things he does. He has managed to devastate some of the enemy through his actions, but he takes credit for it. He doesn’t even acknowledge that God had some part in his success. In this scene, Samson picks up a jawbone and kills 1,000 men. We don’t know how many had the good sense to turn and run away, but Samson was ready to take them on as well, or so he thought. Samson took credit. I’ve killed… I’ve taken revenge… I’ve turned an eye for an eye… I’ve made a mockery of the Philistine strength. Samson’s “I” statements are getting a little monotonous.

He forgot his strength came from the Lord. He forgot he was chosen as a lad to live the vows of the Nazarite. He forgot he was to be an example to the nations around him. Samson forgot he was to lead, not plunder and pillage. Samson forgot Jehovah was God, not him. With each passage we have read, Samson slips a little deeper into the pits of arrogance and self aggrandizement that dooms him.

What about you and me?

How often do we take credit when the credit should really go to our creator? How often to we look at what has been accomplished and assume it is because of our skill and not at the hand of the almighty? How often do we forget to give God the glory and honor for the things he helps us accomplish through his use of us as his instruments of divine intervention? Do we recognize that our strength, our knowledge, our talents and abilities, everything we have and everything we are comes directly from our Father in heaven? Do we stop and consider that all things made in heaven and on earth originate from the creative work of God and that without him there would still be darkness and a vast void? Have we forgotten that in the beginning God created and from that nothingness everything else has blossomed?

Once again, we can learn from Samson things we of which we must beware. We must remember God provides the strength, wisdom, resources, everything we might use to accomplish the tasks we complete. We are nothing without him. He is God. We are not.

You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.

Aug 13, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.

How bad do you have to be for your own to turn you over to the enemy?

Today we’ll look at what happens to Samson after he killed 30 Philistines to pay his debt to his bachelor party companions after they gave him the answer to his riddle. Last week we so how Samson let his emotions get out of control even though it was really his fault all these things were happening to him in the first place. We talked about his anger at everyone but himself, the real culprit in his string of failures.

Today we see the consequences of his actions in Judges 15.

Later on, Samson went to visit his wife. He took a young goat with him. He went at the time the wheat was being gathered. He said, “I’m going to my wife’s room.” But her father wouldn’t let him go in.

Her father said, “I was sure you really lated her. So I gave her to your friend. Isn’t her younger sister more beautiful? Take her instead.”

Samson said to them, “This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines. I’m going to hurt them badly.”

So he went out and caught 300 foxes. He tied them in pairs by their tails. Then he tied a torch to each pair of tails. He lit the torches. He let the foxes loose in the fields of grain that belonged to the Philistines. He burned up the grain that had been cut and stacked. He burned up the grain that was still growing. He also burned up the vineyards and olive trees.

The Philistines asked, “Who did this?” They were told, “Samson did. He’s the son-in-law of the man from Timnah. Samson did it because his wife was given to his friend.”

So the Philistines went up and burned the woman and her father to death.

Samson said to them, “Is that how you act? Then I won’t stop until I pay you back.” He struck them down with heavy blows. He killed many of them. Then he went down and stayed in a cave. It was in the rock of Etam.

The Philistines went up and camped in Judah. They spread out near Lehi. The men of Judah asked, “Why have you come to fight against us?”

“We’ve come to take Samson as our prisoner,” they answered. “We want to do to him what he did to us.”

Then 3,000 men from Judah went to get Samson. They went down to the cave that was in the rock of Etam. They said to Samson, “Don’t you realize the Philistines are ruling over us? What have you done to us?”

Samson answered, “I only did to them what they did to me.”

The men of Judah said to him, “We’ve come to tie you up. We’re going to hand you over to the Philistines.”

There it is. Once again Samson goes where he isn’t supposed to go. He does what he isn’t supposed to do. Then wonders why the Philistines want to take him prisoner. Of course the reason is Samson is a criminal. Sure the Philistines did bad stuff, too, but Samson was one of God’s chosen people and a Nazarite to boot. He was to live better a more noble life. He was to keep higher moral standards that the pagans God displaced when he told Joshua to possess the land. He didn’t. Little that Samson did portrayed the kind of behavior God wanted his people to share with the rest of the world.

Samson strayed so far from the moral compass God set for his people, though, that 3,000 men from Judah came to turn him over to the Philistines. Can you imagine that number arriving at your doorstep to tell you that you’re no longer welcome in your own country. You’ve done so much to alienate yourself from your family and friends that 3,000 of your neighbors come to tie you up and make you disappear.

Samson moved further and further from God and didn’t even know it. How could he think it was right to destroy the Philistine crops? How could he think it was right to kill those 30 innocent men to take their clothes from them? How could he think it right to abandon his wife and then go back to reclaim her and expect her father to have done nothing about it in that culture? How could Samson live the way he lived and not expect consequences?

How about you and me? Do we do the same? Do we live apart from God’s will and expect his blessings? Do we live however we choose and expect no retaliation from those we leave in our wake of destruction? Do we think we can act with no consequences?

I’m afraid too often that’s exactly what we do. We buy into the mantra that God is love without also understanding that God is just. He set in place these rules that govern the universe. We understand them in physics and chemistry and math. For instance, we believe that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. We believe that 2 + 2 will always equal 4. But we have a hard time believing that our actions have consequences, whether good or bad, there are consequences.

Learn from Samson’s mistakes. Understand that life is full of cause and effect rules. When you do something, good or bad, something else will happen that affects you and others around you. Don’t be like Samson.  

You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved. In accordance with the requirements for FTC full disclosure, I may have affiliate relationships with some or all of the producers of the items mentioned in this post who may provide a small commission to me when purchased through this site.

Aug 6, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.

Today’s scripture from Judges 14 gives us a peek at how power and arrogance can warp a person’s emotions until wrong seems right. It happened to Samson and if we look around, it is everywhere today. So let’s first look at what God’s word says in Judges 14 starting at verse 11.
When the people saw Samson, they gave him 30 companions.
“Let me tell you a riddle,” Samson said to the companions. “The dinner will last for seven days. Give me the answer to the riddle before the dinner ends. If you do, I’ll give you 30 linen shirts. I’ll also give you 30 sets of clothes. But suppose you can’t give me the answer. Then you must give me 30 linen shirts. You must also give me 30 sets of clothes.”
“Tell us your riddle,” they said. “Let’s hear it.”
Samson replied, “Out of the eater came something to eat. Out of the strong came something sweet.” For three days they couldn’t give him the answer.
On the fourth day they spoke to Samson’s wife. “Get your husband to explain the riddle for us,” they said. “If you don’t, we’ll burn you to death. We’ll burn up everyone in your family. Did you invite us here to rob us?”
Then Samson’s wife threw herself on him. She sobbed, “You hate me! You don’t really love me. You have given my people a riddle. But you haven’t told me the answer.”
“I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother,” he replied. “So why should I explain it to you?”
She cried during the whole seven days the dinner was going on. So on the seventh day he finally told her the answer to the riddle. That’s because she kept on asking him to tell her. Then she explained the riddle to her people.
Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town spoke to Samson. They said, “What is sweeter than honey?”
“What is strong than a lion?” Samson said to them, “You have plowed with my young cow.
If you hadn’t, you wouldn’t have known the answer to my riddle.
Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Samson with power. He went down to Ashkelon. He struck down 30 of their men. He took everything they had with them. And he gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Samson was burning with anger as he went up to his father’s house.
What were Samson’s rules? Don’t drink alcohol. He went on a seven day binge with 30 companions the town gave him for his bachelor party and he partied every day of those seven days. Don’t touch anything dead. He ate honey from that dead lion carcass, then made a riddle  of it when he was to have nothing to do with dead stuff. Only his third rule was intact, but we know that would not be intact for much longer.
Samson broke the rules and then was angry with everyone else when things went wrong. Just like we do. We think the rules apply to the other guy and then get mad at the world when things don’t work out the way we think they should.
We skimp on our work, just getting by with what we’re told to do and wonder why we are part of the crowd that gets a pink slip when the company downsizes. We gossip and bad mouth authority and leadership in general on our facebook page and wonder why the HR department didn’t even consider our resume. We fudge on our income tax filing and wonder why we pay heavily when we’re caught up in an audit. We pass through a really, really orange light at the intersection and wonder why the police stop us for running a red light. We travel along with a string of cars doing 70 in a 55 zone and wonder why we’re the one that gets the ticket.
What do we do? We get angry at the boss. We get angry at the government. We get angry at the HR department of that inhumane business. We get angry at the IRS. We get angry at that policeman. We get angry at the world and its unfair practices.
Well, the world isn’t fair. It’s full of sin and evil and corruption. But sometimes we bring on problems on ourselves. That’s what Samson did. He wasn’t supposed to be in Timnah in the first place. He wasn’t supposed to be engage to a Philistine woman. He wasn’t supposed to touch that dead lion after he killed it. He wasn’t supposed to get drunk with a bunch of enemy companions the city put at that bachelor’s party. He wasn’t supposed to murder 30 innocent men to pay a stupid debt he created by his inability to control his emotions.
Emotions are fickle things. We all have them, but if Samson’s parents had begun to teach Samson how to control his emotions at an early age, this might not have happened. If Samson had listened to the teachings of his elders and obeyed the laws God put in place to protect his chosen people from the idolatry and bending to every sensual pleasure Satan put in from of him, this might not have happened. If the Samson had the personal integrity to pay his debt, regardless where those companions got the answer, this would not have happened. And by the way, they got the answer from him because he could not resist his nagging wife. Who, by the way, again, was only trying to save her life and her family’s lives.
So, do you blow up at the wrong things? Do you participate in things you know you shouldn’t and then blame someone else when things go all wrong? Do you get angry at everyone but yourself? Is your life like it is because someone else made it that way and it would be so much better if only…”
That is where Samson was in his head and in his heart. It cost him everything. His integrity, his morals, his vows, his faith, his family. Ultimately it cost him is life. Learn from Samson. No one can make you feel the way you do except you. Do others have influence? Sure. But only you can emote anger or joy or peace or turmoil or calm or chaos or any emotion you can name. You are responsible for your emotions and no one else. So if you want to blame someone for the way you feel today, be sure to have a mirror handy.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
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