Hero to Zero and Back!

28 And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. 29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. 30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

Judges 16:28-30

The story of Samson in Judges 13-16 is one of the interesting and colorful stories in the Bible. Chosen by God before birth to begin Israel’s deliverance from Philistine control. Born to parents well past the child bearing age (that seems to be a pattern of God in the Old Testament), he was to be a Nazirite all of his life, abstaining from wine and grape. He was also never to cut his hair.

Samson had a physical strength that no one could match. He tore a lion in two with his bare hands. He slew 1,000 Philistines with the jaw bone of a donkey. He judged Israel for 20 years in the days of the Philistines.

But Sampson had a weakness for a pretty face. Just like Moses, Abraham, David, and everyone else in the Bible, except One, Sampson was not perfect. Yet during his faltering, God continued to use him in His Plan. Samson was still being used to free Israel from Philistine domination.

Samson’s impressive strength and his weakness for the ladies caused him to eventually rely on his own strength instead of God’s. He became prideful. There was a spiritual blindness that came over him. He forgot from where his strength really came.

Finally, things caught up with him. Delilah seduced him into telling her that his strength came from his long hair. So while Samson was asleep, they shaved his hair. No longer the strong one, the Philistines subdued him, gouged out his eyes, and made sport of him.

Samson finally realized the truth. His strength was not in his hair. That was just a sign of his obedience to God. Yet, despite his stumbling, he returns to God’s Plan for Israel’s deliverance. Weak, unable to see, being mocked by his captures, he calls out to God. God is still with him, answers the prayer, and, with the strength he knew before his fall, Samson takes out more Philistines at that moment than all other times put together.

Samson was chosen by God to be His leader of His people. Yet he didn’t do everything right. But God didn’t abandon him. When Samson understood where his real strength came from, and his focus returned to God, his strength was restored and he continued in his calling. Once a hero, he had, in his eyes, become nothing. Then in one final moment, he was once again the “hero” God meant for him to be.

God has a call for you, since before you were born. And just like everyone else, you haven’t done everything God has called you to do, and you’ve done some things you weren’t supposed to do. You may think you have completely failed God, yourself, and others. But God is still with you. He is still calling you to return to where He has always planned for you to be. He still has work for you to do for Him. He still believes in you, even when you don’t.

But the point to remember is – your strength is not in your hair, or your wit, or your intelligence, or what you can do. Who you are, and what you can do, comes from God. Your strength comes from God. It’s what we do to bring Him the glory and honor that makes us who we are; who we were meant to be.

Don’t let a spiritual blindness keep you from seeing the truth about who you are in God’s eyes. Your strength comes from God, and Him alone.

 

© 2016 Charles A. Kalkomey

February 21, 2016

Whose Banner Are You Flying?

14 And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. 15 And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi: 16 For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

Exodus 17:14-16

 Israel was in another battle; this time against Amalek. Moses sent Joshua out to the battle while he stood on top of a hill. Moses still had his rod, and he lifted it up to the heavens. As long as he did that, Israel was winning. When he got tired and lowered his arms, Amalek prevailed. So Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms, and Israel won the battle.

To memorialize the victory, Moses built an altar. He named the altar “Jehovah-nissi” which is translated “the Lord is my banner.” This represented Moses holding up his arms as a banner. It can also be appropriately applied to Jesus Christ, who is both altar and sacrifice, and He is our priest who is lifted up as a banner, a standard, or ensign in the everlasting Gospel. It is Jesus who gathers souls unto Him, enlists them under Him to prepare for battle, and encourages them against this world’s spiritual enemies.

Standards, banners, or flags are used to represent many things. In the Queen’s palace in London, the Queen’s standard is flown to show that she is indeed in the palace. When a passer-by does not see her standard, it is known that the Queen is not in.

When someone sees or hears you, whose standard or banner are you “flying?” Can others see Jesus at “home in your heart” by the banner you lift up? Are you following Jesus into spiritual battle and showing others the way to go? The Lord must be the banner we raise that shows that we follow the one and only true God, and we are a part of His army.

One more point. Prior to 1964, Kenya was a colony of England. The British flag flew over Kenya. On December 12, 1964, the Republic of Kenya was recognized. The British flag came down, and the Kenyan flag was raised. Both flags could not fly over this new independent nation.

Similarly, we can’t raise up two different banners. We cannot raise up the Lord’s banner one day, and then the world’s banner the next. We either show one or the other. At one time or another, we all “flew” the fleshly banner of this world. But when Jesus touches our heart, that banner comes down, and His goes up!

So whose banner are you flying?

© 2015 Charles A. Kalkomey

October 4, 2015

What’s Your “Jericho?”

5  It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”

Joshua 6:5

Moses had led God’s people through the wilderness 40 years.  With Joshua now leading them, they crossed over the Jordan and began their journey to occupy the land God had promised them.

The first challenge that faced them was the city of Jericho.  Joshua was waiting for God to tell him how to attack the walled city.  The city was shut up tight because of the Israelites.  Would they attack the east wall?  Would God send fire down on the city?  The city would not fall easily.

But the word of God came down to Joshua.  They were to march around the city, once a day, for six days.  But on the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times.  On that seventh time, the trumpets would sound, the people would shout, and the walls would fall down.

Only God could make that happen.  But God didn’t need His people to march around the city and shout to make the walls come down.  He could have done that Himself.

Come to think of it, when Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding, He really didn’t need for the people to find the jars and fill them with water.  He could have made the jars appear with the wine already in them.  And what about when Jesus told the people to roll away the stone where Lazarus was buried so He could call Lazarus back to life?  If Jesus could raise Lazarus back to life from the dead, He could have rolled the stone away by His Word.

So why did the Israelites have to march around the City?  Why did Jesus call for the jars filled with water?  And why did he ask to have the stone rolled away?  God needed to show the people they had to do their part.  They had to believe in God and show their obedience to what God asked them to do.

What is your “Jericho” that you are asking God to handle?  Are you looking for physical healing?  Perhaps a healing of a relationship?  Maybe you are praying for guidance in your finances.  Or are you trying to decide what God is calling you to do next?

Whatever your “Jericho” might be, first you must hear God’s Word about the situation, and then you have to obey.  We have to do our part and do what God asks of us.  Just sitting around waiting for God to act for us won’t work.  Whether its marching around a city or taking care of those in need, it’s all a matter of being obedient to the calling God has placed on you. 

So do your part.  Then watch the walls of your “Jericho” fall.

Charles A. Kalkomey

Be Content in Where You Are!

43a And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had;

Genesis 41:43a

Life today is all about getting to the top.  The salesman wants to be the head of sales.  The CPA wants to have his own business.  We want to drive that luxury car, or that decked out pick-up truck.  No more dining at McDonald’s for us; we strive to eat only at five-star restaurants.  When we speak, we want people to listen; and not just 4 or 5 people, but hundreds of people.  It’s all about the push to get to the top.

While we try to climb that mountain, we are seldom happy or content.  Where we are is not as important as where we are trying to go.  We don’t have the time to look at what’s around us; or who is around us.

Paul said he was content in any circumstance he was in.  Whether he was in prison, being beaten, or shipwrecked, he was content.  Not “content” meaning he was glad for his situation; not “content” in that he didn’t want to improve his situation; but “content” in that he knew that God was with him regardless of what the situation might be.

Joseph was always pushed down when it looked like he was headed for the top.  His coat of many colors got him thrown into a pit, and then sold into slavery.  He had the complete trust of Potiphar, but wound up in prison.  He helped the butler and the baker, but was forgotten about for two years.  When Joseph found favor with Pharaoh, he didn’t make it all the way to the top.  He had to settle for riding “in the second chariot.” 

Joseph was able to go through the problems he faced because he knew that God was with him.  The same was true for Paul.  They both knew that God was always going to be with them, regardless of their circumstances.  And knowing that, God was able to use them where they were. 

So whether you are in the “second chariot” or the “last chariot,” be “content” in knowing that God is with you.  He wants you to prosper; He wants to promote you; He wants you to have everything you are supposed to have.  But He needs to be able to use you where you are at the time.  There is something that only you can do because of where you are.  But if you’re too busy trying to get to the top, you’ll never notice what God has for you, right where you are at that moment.

~Charles A. Kalkomey

 

Jesus is the Bridegroom

2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

John 14:2-3

 

The things that Jesus said always had a “connection” to the lives of the people during that time.  That “connection” is sometimes difficult for us to understand today.  When Jesus said that He would “go and prepare a place for you” the people could relate to something that happened often during their life time.

Marriages were arranged by the parents.  Once the “deal” was made, the man and woman were officially betrothed. 

The future bridegroom would then return to his father’s home.  There, he would begin to build a room for his wife, adding on to his father’s house.  The marriage could not happen until the room was ready.  At that time, the bridegroom would go to get his wife, and bring her to their new home, the place he had prepared for his bride.

Whenever someone would ask the groom about the date of the marriage, the answer was always, “You have to ask my father.”  Only he would know when the room would be finished.

Jesus is our bridegroom, and one day He will return for the Church, His bride.  When will that be?  Only the Father knows the answer to that question.  And just like the bridesmaids who had to always be ready as they waited for the bridegroom, we too must always be ready for the return of our Bridegroom, Jesus.  He will have our room ready.  Will you be ready?

 ~Charles A. Kalkomey