Samson

Steve Arterburn

The New Testament describes Samson as a man of faith.  It mentions neither his failures nor his great strength.  Though he possessed great physical strength, he was a moral weakling who followed his own selfish desires and ignored God.  Do you remember his story?  He was the man who foolishly loved Delilah?  

It seems that after the first three episodes of betrayal, Samson would’ve known not to trust Delilah.  But like many of us, Samson thought that giving into manipulation was an expression of love.  He chose to please Delilah and to get what he wanted from her, rather than to obey God and deliver his people.  Delilah chose to use her relationship with Samson for her own gain.  Most of us have experienced the pain of being used, and we have undoubtedly used others.  We’ve also known the searing agony of being betrayed.

It will accomplish nothing to look at Samson and think about what he didn’t accomplish.  Likewise, it does little good for us to become depressed over what might have been.  Samson shows us that as long as we have life, we have hope.  It’s never to late to surrender your life to God and allow him to redeem you and restore what you’ve lost.  In spite of his failures, Samson is listed as a champion of faith in Hebrews 11.  In spite of your failures, you, too, can be a champion of faith as God continues to transform your life.

Malachi’s Message

Steve Arterburn

The prophet Malachi brought a message of hope to a nation that knew repeated failure.  After being restored to their homeland, the Jews had forgotten the one who had delivered them.  We often make the same kind of mistake.  As soon as we overcome our pressing problems, we forget the one who delivered us from them’God.  Without a continued relationship with God, our hope of sustaining spiritual growth is slim at best.  You and I need to keep our eyes on God, the source and means for our continued spiritual growth.

God’s love to the people of Jerusalem and to us cannot be explained.  God knows the depth of your sin; he knows how weak you are; yet he still loves you.  There is nothing that you can do to lose this love that you never deserved in the first place.  God’s love has the power to heal all the broken places in your life.  Your failures, setbacks, and defenses cannot stop God from wanting to heal you.  This fact should give you hope, no matter how terrible your failures in the past.  He already knows about the anger, betrayal, addiction, lies’you’re not going to surprise him.  But it’s time you confess and seek his will for your life.

Are you willing to turn to him for healing and forgiveness?  He was patient with the people of Israel for hundreds of years, in spite of their sin.  In his grace, God patiently waits for you as well.  

The Business World

Steve Arterburn

The ‘rules’ practiced in today’s business world aren’t always the same as God’s rules, are they?  Are you getting caught up in the game, trying to get as much as you can’are you tempted to cheat others or not give them their fair share?  God will hold his men’you and I’accountable for this.  We must take responsibility if we’ve sinned this way.

Take for example a man in the Bible named Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus’s hunger for riches drove him to take more than his fair share while he was collecting taxes from the Jews for the Roman government.  He was hated by his own people as an extortioner and a traitor.  But when Jesus reached out to him he changed dramatically. The book of Luke says,  ‘Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘I will give half of my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’ Jesus responded, ‘Salvation has come to his home today” (Luke 19:8-9).

When you honestly reflect on your life, you should be careful to consider whether you have taken more than your fair share in your dealings’business or personal. If so, it’s your responsibility to face the greed, the fear, the anger, and the pride that led you to behave dishonestly.  Like Zacchaeus, true spiritual growth will be evidenced in practical ways.  I hope you’ll take those courageous steps today.