Their Name

I Samuel 4:21-22, “And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.  And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.”

We live in a day that is capitalized by “professional christians”.  It is sad.  Entire churches are dedicated to these who quite possibly have never established a relationship with Jesus Christ.  One of our former Pastors always said, “Not everybody that talks about heaven is going there.”  This is so sad to me.

It is heartbreaking to think that if Jesus came back for His children today that next Sunday some churches would continue to meet no worse for wear.  This is tragic.  God would inscribe the word “Ichabod” on the front door of the building.  “Ichabod” means:  Where is the glory? or, There is no glory.  This breaks my heart.  The Church is the bride of Christ.  Jesus gave Himself for the Church.  One day He will present the Church spotless to the Father as Jesus’ bride without spot or wrinkle.

Sadly, this holds no meaning for a certain faction of people.  I saw a spot on television a while back where a “church” had a Subway restaurant inside their building.  It had an entrance on the street and from inside the building.  To some this might be a great idea.  To me it just symbolizes how they are trying to have one foot in the world and one foot in the spiritual.  God forgive us for cheapening Your house, the Church.

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  I Samuel 2, 3, 4; Psalm 22, 52, 82, 112, 142; Proverbs 22

Today’s prayer:  “Lord Jesus I pray for my Church.  I ask You to keep a lighthouse in our community until You come back to take us to heaven.  I pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

I Did What?

I Samuel 1:12-13, “And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.  Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.”

I remember many years ago while I was teaching a young adult Sunday School class that I had brought a lesson on the walls of Jericho falling down flat before the children of Israel.  One of the men in my class complained to the Pastor that I had copied it from a television Preacher.  In fact I had not done that at all.  I had not even saw the television show.

I will say this, as soon as I could I ordered a cassette tape of the program (this was way before DVD’s).  It was a fantastic message adn was in fact far better than mine.  I explained that I had not seen the show and it sufficed the Pastor.  This man would a little later become a very good friend too.  We shared many happy times together with him playing his 12 stringed guitar and all of us singing along.  Precious memories.

You know I could have gotten bitter about that.  It would not have accomplished anything.  It would have only held me in bondage and thwarted a future friendship.  Maybe you have been misunderstood by a fellow believer.  Go to them and get it worked out because life is too short to be mad at one another.  Keep short account with the LORD.  It is better that way.

Look at poor Hannah.  She was mistaken for a drunkard.  I would have been so angry that  I would have probably lost my Christian testimony for a long time after that with such an accusation.  Thank God Hannah responded in a godly manner and God vindicated her.  Are you mistaken by someone?  Take it to the Lord and leave it there as the song states.  Easily said, I know and not so easily done too.  I know.

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Ruth 3, 4; I Samuel 1: Psalm 21, 51, 81, 111, 141; Proverbs 21

Today’s prayer:  “Lord Jesus, I ask You to help me when I am misunderstood to continue to trust You and to follow You with all of my heart.  Lord, may all who come behind me, find me faithful.  For Your glory, I pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

Anyone Missing?

Judges 21:3, “And said, O LORD God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to day one tribe lacking in Israel?”

In our Scripture passage today I was caught by the phrase “that there should be to day on tribe lacking in Israel?”  Why, you might ask did this come to my mind.  One simple reason.  If someone misses Church do I notice it?  I usually get so busy with the music ministry that I do not focus well on who is there and who is not.  Also, I still don’t know everyone’s name.  I am sorry; but, this is true.  I don’t like it either.  Every Sunday morning as I teach Sunday School I can hardly remember who is in my class.  I know if their face is missing; but, their name escapes me.

The other tribes were concerned for the tribe of Dan.  They did not want any single tribe to simply vanish from the family.  As you and I go about our “rounds” at Church today let’s be challenged to talk with someone that we do not normally talk with.  Get to know them and pray for them.  You might be suprised what might happen.  You might gain a new best friend.  Maybe this new friendship would turn out to be like Naomi and Ruth.  Look at the words of Ruth 1:16-17, “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:  Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”  I hope to be this committed to my Church family and to the circle of people that call me friend.  God help me.

The Church is where we get help and many other things.  Look at Psalm 20:2, “Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;”.  So many people shy away from Church when trials come; but, just the opposite should be happening.

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Judges 21; Ruth 1, 2; Psalm 20, 50, 80, 110, 140; Proverbs 20

Today’s prayer:  “Lord Jesus, help me to see who is present and absent.  If someone is absent help me to send them a card or call them on the phone and encourage them.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.”

Friend or Wayfaring Stranger

Judges 18:28, “And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Bethrehob. And they built a city, and dwelt therein.”

As I was reading today’s Scripture I could not help thinking about all the times that others have helped me.  There have been many times in my life that I did not know how to accomplish some goal and so I would call someone that had experience in that area for help.  There are not many areas that I have expertise in.  Well, I have some; but, where my expertise lies there is not much call for assistance.

So, why the rambling today?  Well, it is simple really.  No matter how self-sufficient we believe we are, the fact remains that we cannot do it alone.  We all need one another.  I know in my case that is painfully true.  With a vehicle that needs brakes and tires I am helpless.  Yet, someone who has expertise in this area says to bring it over to their place and it will get repaired.

As the Scripture today says, “they had no business with any man”.  These people did not associate with those around them.  They were not close to Zidon so there would be no help from them in this their hour of need.  These men were like the subject of Judges 19:17, “And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city: and the old man said, Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou?”.  This man like the people were strangers to others.  Maybe we need to be more friendly with others?  Maybe we need to get out of our shell and associate with others.  If we do not then we will not have a godly influence on them.  We will be better equipped to win them if they know us and we have a good testimony.  Think about it.

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Judges 18, 19, 20; Psalm 19, 49, 79, 109, 139; Proverbs 19

Today’s prayer:  “Lord Jesus, help me to be a friend like you are a friend.  When others are being attacked help me to be a true friend to them and come to their aid no matter if they are guilty or not.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

Relentlessness of Sin

Judges 16:15-17, “And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.  And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”

As I was reading this passage of Scripture today I was deeply perplexed.  Why did Samson not see Delilah’s underlying motive we do not know.  The only thing I can figure is that the ravages of sin had so dulled his discernment that he was totally oblivious.  Repeatedly she pushed him to reveal to her the source of his strength.  Personally, I would wonder why she wanted to know.  Also, I believe if Samson had been living for God it would have been obvious where his great strength lie.  I guess this is another thing that will be unanswered until we reach heaven.

I cannot help seeing a parallel here.  To me Delilah represents the devil.  No, I did not say that she was, just for the record.  She enlists the same tactics or “wiles”.  She battered Sampson until he gave in to her request.  He yielded to sin so to speak.  Then there are the tragic results.  Read Judges 16:20-21, “And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him.  But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.”

Sin cannot be in our lives without serious consequences.  Sampson lost his strength, eyesight and his freedom to start with.  It is sad.  These enemies of God’s people partied and laughed at Sampson because of his moral failure.  Don’t let the world laugh at you for a moral failure.

How are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Judges 15, 16, 17; Psalm 18, 48, 78, 108, 138; Proverbs 18

Today’s prayer:  “Lord Jesus, I need your convicting power in my life.  Show me where I have sinned against You and help me to confess it, forsake it and move on.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”


Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

My dearest friend Dr. Larry Lilly has written a fantastic book, “Lasting Friendships in 30 Days” and I agree with his mother that this is one of the best books written.  It is a daily devotional type of book.  It is an easy read that challenges the reader to be a friend that God would be proud of.  This is a friend that will love at all times no matter how good or how bad those times get.

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a dear saint of God.  Her grandson was my best friend from the third grade through high school.  We soon lost track or one another or outgrew one another.  At the lunch table we picked up and began to tell about our classmates from third grade and where they were if we knew.  Even after all these years my friend of old (notice I did not call him an old friend) and I could sit down and talk.  Such precious memories.  I am glad that God has brought him back into my life.

Now comes the responsibility.  What?  Yes, the responsibility on my part to be a friend like Jesus.  You see this family is in their hour of need and God has allowed me to be the man of the hour (I do not say this in bragging).  He has allowed me to be there at the point of this family’s need and I hope He used me to bring comfort even though I was not the messenger for the celebration of life it was my goal to comfort with the words of Christ and His Holy Word.

The interesting part of our Scripture is that “a brother is born for adversity.”  I always thought this referred to sibling rivalry.  No it does not.  It is referring to a brother being there in the midst of trials, temptations and pain.  If someone is a true friend/brother then they will stand by in the middle of the worst of the worst.  When you turn around, there they are standing beside you.  This is the kind of friend that I want to be.  May God help me to be there for my friends when they need me.  May I never turn my back on them as some have turned their backs on me.

So, how are you doing, friend?

Today’s reading:  Judges 12, 13, 14; Psalm 17, 47, 77, 107, 137; Proverbs 17

Today’s prayer:  “Father God, I ask You today to help me be a friend like Jesus.  Help me to stick closer than a brother to those I call friend.  May they all see Jesus in me.  I pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

Not So Fast

Judges 11:30-31, “And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.”

Judges 11:34-35, “And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.  And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.”

I have a friend that has made a vow with God that he works very hard to keep.  It is something he does not talk about; but, I know from conversations that I have had with him that it is something that he struggles to keep.  I honor home for working so hard to keep his vow.

On the other hand I have two cousins that at last contact I had with them they had fought and the police called and charges filed.  Now the sister will not press charges against her brother and is preparing to spend 15 days in prison for her contempt of court as she refuses to testify against her brother.  The last time we spoke on the phone she was pretty happy he had gone to jail.

So many times we say things or do things in a rash manner and then later we regret them.  In our Scripture for today we see a man who sacrificed (literally) his daughter because of a rash vow.  We need to be very careful before we make vows that we might not be able to keep.  I know in my life I have made countless vows that were unrealistic and all.  I hope and pray that now I am older that I use a lot more common sense about things like this.

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Judges 9, 10, 11; Psalm 16, 46, 76, 106, 136; Proverbs 16

Today’s prayer:  “Almighty God and Father, I ask You to help me not to make rash vows.  I want to be a person of my word like You.  Help me Lord.  I pray in Jesus’ name.  amen.”

The LORD Is With Thee

Judges 6:12, “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.”

I don’t know any of us who have not been afraid at one time or another.  Stepping out into the unknown can be a fearful thing.  There are many different situations in life that can be frightening if we look at them the wrong way.

I remember being afraid of the dark as I was growing up.  Even when I was first married I was still a little bit afraid of the dark.  I began to finally realize that it was silly to be afraid of the dark.  Then one day I came to the realization that God is with me and I did not have to be afraid.

I hope that you receive great comfort in our passage of Scripture today.  Especially the phrase, “The LORD is with thee”.  No matter what you are experiencing as God’s child you can say, “The LORD is with thee” (me).  As you walk through the valley of loosing a spouse or loved one to death you can rest in the truth that “The LORD is with thee”.  We should find great strength in this truth.  I know that I do.  I am thankful for the presence of God in my life.  Do you know God’s presence in your life?  I hope so.

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Judges 6, 7, 8; Psalm 15, 45, 75, 105, 135; Proverbs 15

Today’s prayer:  “Lord Jesus Christ, I need You today.  I need You to be near me and let me know that You are there with me.  I pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”


Judges 3:9, “And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.”

Today I attended a wonderful Pastor’s fellowship meeting.  My Pastor was asked to bring the message and he did a super fantastic job.  I know he talked with me about his topic and how he wanted to encourage these battle weary soldiers.  My wife attended with me and sang a wonderful song, “Another Soldier’s Coming Home”.  I was so overwhelmed I just wept through the entire message.

You see we will say goodbye to another of God’s children.  A dear lady named Wilma Carlisle went home to be with her Lord late last week.  She had been such a blessing to me and my family for many long years.  I still remember how she would make me a German Choclate cake for my birthday.  It weighed several pounds.  We often cut it in half and froze one half for later in the year.  This dear saint of God was a well of refreshing water to this Preacher and his family.  We will miss our sister in Christ; but, we will be reunited some day soon.  Glory to God!

Pastor did not even know the ache of my heart; but, such comfort came once again from the words of Psalm 23.  As he proclaimed the unsearchable riches of Christ I was overwhelmed like you cannot imagine.  I thank God for using others to meet the very need of our soul.  Praise His name.

As I thought about that “deliverer” which is the word for saviour I again was overwhelmed with God’s love.  I hope today that you know Christ as your Saviour and that you have been delivered.  I know Wilma was one who was delivered because her life demonstrated it time after time.

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Judges 3, 4, 5; Psalm 14, 44, 74, 104, 134; Proverbs 14

Today’s prayer:  “Lord Jesus I praise You and thank You for the consistent, Christian testimony of people like Wilma Carlisle.  Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You and that will draw others to you to be delivered from their sin.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.”

Me And My House

Joshua 24:15, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Joshua 24:16, “And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;”

There are some people in life that you just want to be around.  There are many people like that in our Church.  I love attending worship services each week.  The devil tries to drag me down with the responsibilities that I call privileges; but, I just reminding myself how important every individual ministry is to the whole of the Church and that changes it all for me.

I hope that today as you wake up you will be getting ready to attend worship services in your Church.  It is so vital that we go to Church.  It is the place that we get our spiritual battery recharged.  We get our spiritual stomach filled.  We get encouraged by our spiritual family.  I don’t know of any other place on earth that you can get what you get at Church.

In order for our experience at Church to be all that God wants it to be there are some people that have to make sacrifices.  Some play instruments.  Some lead the worship services with music.  Some preach the sermon.  Some teach Sunday School which leads up to the worship service.

The most important participant in the services is God the Holy Spirit.  If He does not show up and teach us and convict us of sin, righteousness and judgment to come then we might as well stay in bed.  He is the most important guest.  It does take others to sacrifice of their time, talent and treasure to bring it all together.  How will you serve the Lord this week?

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Joshua 24; Judges 1, 2; Psalm 13, 43, 73, 103, 133; Proverbs 13

Today’s prayer:  “Lord Jesus, help me to find ways to serve You this week.  You alone are worthy of my praise and my service.  Give us Your grace was we serve you.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.”