Lets talk about the strongest man in the world! Judges 16:16 tells us the story of Samson and Delilah. The Lord anointed Samson to be the strongest man in the world before he was even born but their were some stipulations; he couldn’t eat certain things, he couldn’t drink wine and he couldn’t cut his hair. He was a Nazarite, which is someone who dedicates themselves to God to he did all of these things in honor of God. God gave him his super natural strength, but Samson also had a weakness which was women. Delilah was not the first bad girl Samson had been with, she was just the last. Delilah made Samson feel like they were in love, but not everything that feels like love is love. Delilah asked Samson where his strength came from in order to deceive him and help take his strength. Although he lied to her three times, he eventually told her the true secret to his strength, his hair. As soon as he told her, Delilah told him to go to sleep on her lap and called the closest barber to cut his hair off. When he awoke, his hair and power were gone. Not only did they strip him of his power, they took his eyes out and made him a source of entertainment, likened to animals. God gives us chance after chance after chance but He does not have to give us unlimited chances. He can leave you just like He left Samson after so many chances. Once Samson’s hair started to grow back, they took him to the coliseum to provide entertainment. Samson asked where the pillars were that hold up the coliseum. He called on the name of the Lord and asked for God to provide him strength one last time. He pulled down the pillars and killed everyone in the coliseum. We learn three things from this story; 1) Watch who you let get close to you, 2) Keep God’s word, and 3) watch who you go to bed with!
Good communication forms and sustains relationships while poor communication can lead to all kinds of misunderstandings! To be all that God created us to be and accomplish all that God created us to accomplish, we have to learn how to communicate well. Communication is not just about words. The actual words that you speak only account for 7% of communication, your voice tone is 38% and the rest is body language and expression. The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue which means that what you say affects other people. Sometimes we turn people away from God and the Church with our mouths! This is why it is so important to think before you speak so that you don’t say something you didn’t mean to say. I challenge you to count to 10 before you speak, especially when you’re angry, and see if that changes what you say. How we communicate not only affects our relationships with others but our relationships with God as well. There are five levels of communication. The first level is a shallow level of communication which includes small talk and greetings. These have no meaning at all so relationships cannot be built on this level of communication. Next is informational communication where you are just giving information. Gossip falls under this level of communication. The third is inspirational. At this level shows interest in the conversation which brings in some feeling. Fourth is motivational. At this point, you want to do something more out of communication. You want to really get to know that person. Finally is the transformational level of communication. At this level, you are willing to change for the relationship. What level are you communicating on with Christ?
The battle is not yours, it is the Lords, but you still have a part to play! The Bible says that God is coming back for His bride, not His girlfriend, which means you have to be 100% in! See, before you get married your covering is your daddy but once you get married your husband takes full responsibility for you. God is responsible for His bride! You! Therefore, you have nothing to worry about, but you got to put a little work in. The weapons of our warfare are NOT CARNAL! We’re supposed to let the Lord fight our battles. Some of the saints act like they don’t know how to praise, but we all know how to praise. If you can cheer on your favorite football team, you know how to praise. We need to be as passionate about Christ as we are for those football teams. Praise translated in English is praise but in Hebrew, there are about 50 different words for praise which each signify a different type of praise. These different types of praise set up your spiritual warfare, your spiritual weapons. God delights in our praise toward Him! That’s how He knows we really love Him!
Everyone, at some point in their lives, has been afraid of something. There is nothing wrong with being afraid. It is natural to respond with fear so that we have sense enough to get out of the way when danger is coming. God instilled that in us. Now, he did not give us the “spirit” of fear. That is different than the basic instinct that protects us from danger. Fear is a product of the mind, just like faith is. Sometimes we usher things in our life through fear and worry that could have been avoided by meditation on God’s Word. Change your mind and it will change your life! You cannot listen to and watch negative things and expect to have a sound mind. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real…most of the time, things that you fear NEVER happen! All it does is give you a spirit of fear. We forget that God is the creator of all things and fear our giants more than we fear God. The devil uses fear to stop us from fulfilling our God-given destiny. We have to learn to use the Word to defeat the enemy and combat fear.
Before you start reading this blog post, recite this prayer, “Lord give me a forgiving heart”. Forgiveness is one of the most important and hardest subjects we can deal with. Jesus was viciously abused without fault and the first words he uttered from the cross were “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Many people think that offense is the problem but in reality, being offended is not the problem. You will be offended and you will get hurt, even in the church! We are all in a place where Jesus needs to work on us and He does it through our brothers and our sisters. And, He is going to keep working on you until He perfects you. Many times, offended people do not realize that they are offended, but the sooner you deal with that offense, the easier it will be to get rid of it. When you can take things that happen to you and let it go, it will help you more than the person you are forgiving. Ultimately, that unforgiveness will keep you out of heaven and send you straight to hell. You know what keeps us from acknowledging that there is a problem, PRIDE! Pride is what got Lucifer kicked out of heaven. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces in the universe and it is connected to love which is the most powerful force in the universe. A little boy once defined forgiveness as the odor that flowers breathe when they are trampled upon…what do you breathe when you are trampled upon?
We left off, on the last sermon, talking about the ministry of encouragement. I ask you to continue to think about if you are an encourager or a critic as we continue on this week. Have you ever had somebody try to put something on you that is not supposed to go on you? Some people will try to put worldly things on you that don’t belong on you. God’s way is the best way, not the way of the world. This happened to David when they tried to put Saul’s armor on him to fight Goliath. David didn’t need all of that. After defeating Goliath, David became Saul’s armor-bearer. David found 600 men who were also outcast by Saul and recruited them to go against him. But David became more popular that King Saul so he decided he would do everything in his power to kill David. David then burned down their safe haven and all of the families and homes were gone. They blamed David for that, so then they were after David. Instead of sulking or retaliating, David encouraged himself in the Lord. He worshipped! When you worship you encourage yourself because you find your courage in the Lord. We need to learn how to worship in our darkest hours like Paul and Silas did. Not only did David encourage himself, but he sought the Lord! Most of the time, we seek our own vengeance and follow our own plans instead of seeking God and asking what His plan is. When you seek Him, He will guide you. He will do for you what He did for David, but you need to be an encourager, not a critic!
Are you an encourager or are you a critic? To encourage means to inspire with confidence, while to criticize means to find fault with, point out flaws, and express disapproval. It’s easy to tear someone or something down but it’s so much harder to build someone up! You don’t need any skill to tear someone down. Let’s talk about David. Most of us learned the story of David and Goliath when we were just little kids in Sunday School class. But slaying Goliath was just one of his many test and trials that lead to him becoming King David. David was the youngest of 8 sons and he was far from the favorite son. He was looked down upon by both his father and brothers, even though he was the son God had picked to be the King of Israel. Man looks at the physical, God looks at the heart. Before he could have the throne, he had to go through a process. Many times, when you go through tests and trials it is to prepare you for the next thing, the next level!
It is important that we, as Christians, are able to discern the voice of God. God speaks, the devil speaks, and your spirit speaks. You have to listen to one of those voices and make decisions for yourself. The devil can’t make you do anything and God won’t make you do anything. Hearing God’s voice is all about prayer and a relationship with Him. Prayer is a two-way conversation that helps build your relationship with Christ. The more you talk to someone, the more you discern their voice. God’ voice is a gentle voice, a voice of encouragement. If you have already build that relationship with Christ and know His voice, are you listening to Him and obeying Him? When God saves us, our lifestyle changes. We don’t just give up the things we used to do, we start doing things that we are supposed to do. Maybe we don’t pray because we don’t know how to pray. It is as simple as just doing it. The more you talk to God the easier it becomes.
Today I want to talk about having the faith to pursue your calling. Some of us do not even know what our calling is. Your calling may be different now than the calling you had ten years ago. You have to keep your ear tuned to God to know your calling. “Many are called but few are chosen” because many of us do not accept the call! You have to determine what your calling is and God has to impact that on you, no one else can. A lot of times, your calling is something that you can do really well that others may not be able to do as well. There are some specific callings and general callings. We are all called to be saved, to pray, to worship, etc., but we also have specific callings. For example, someone may be called to clean the church while someone else may be called to be an usher in the church. Sometimes we have to overcome fear to walk I our calling. All you need to do is have a willing spirit. It is not about what is in it for you, it’s for the glory of God!
Last week, we started talking about the Fruit of the Spirit, specifically the greatest one of all, Love. I have heard it been said that love and hate are both very strong emotions but the opposite of love is not hate but apathy, which is where you don’t even care at all. Agape love, which is the love Christ has for us and wants us to have for others is the self-sacrificing and unconditional love. As we talked about before, there is no law in love, meaning you can never achieve too much love, there are no limits to love. There is always more growth ahead. The Bible says, in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” What is in your heart will eventually reveal itself. If you love God, you will show it.