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Posts tagged ‘Eli’

Gain God’s Treasure.


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Many of us claim that God is first in our lives. But do we live out this reality in our everyday existence—or have we made something else preeminent?

Order, both in nature and in human life, depends upon right relationships; to achieve harmony each thing must be in its proper position relative to each other thing. That’s why it is so essential for God to have His proper place in our lives. When He does not, everything is out of order.

We are right when, and only when, we stand in a right position relative to God, and we are wrong so far and so long as we stand in any other position.

So let us begin with God. Back of all, above all, before all is God; first in sequential order, above in rank and station, exalted in dignity and honor. As the self-existent One He gave being to all things, and all things exist out of Him and for Him. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11, KJV).

Every soul belongs to God and exists by His pleasure. God being who and what He is, and we being who and what we are, the only thinkable relation between us is one of full lordship on His part and complete submission on ours. We owe Him every honor that is in our power to give Him. Our everlasting grief lies in giving Him anything less.

The pursuit of God will embrace the labor of bringing our total personality into conformity to His. I do not here refer to the act of justification by faith in Christ. I speak of a voluntary exalting of God to His proper station over us and a willing surrender of our whole being to the place of worshipful submission that the Creator creature circumstance makes proper.

The moment we make up our minds that we are going on with this determination to exalt God over all, we step out of the world’s parade. We shall find ourselves out of adjustment to the ways of the world and increasingly so as we make progress in the holy way. We shall acquire a new viewpoint; a new psychology will be formed within us; a new power will begin to surprise us by its upsurgings and its outgoings.

Our break with the world will be the direct outcome of our changed relation to God. For the world of fallen men does not honor God. Millions call themselves by His name, it is true, and pay some token respect to Him, but a simple test will show how little He is really honored among them.

Let the average man be put to the proof on the question of who or what is above, and his true position will be exposed. Let him be forced into making a choice between God and money, between God and man, between God and personal ambition, God and self, God and human love, and God will take second place every time. Those other things will be exalted above. However the man may protest, the proof is in the choices he makes day after day throughout his life.

“Be exalted, O Lord” (Ps. 21:13, NKJV) is the language of victorious spiritual experience. It is a little key to unlock the door to great treasures of grace. It is central in the life of God in the soul.

Let the seeking man reach a place where life and lips join to say continually “Be exalted, O Lord,” and a thousand minor problems will be solved at once. His Christian life ceases to be the complicated thing it had been before and becomes the very essence of simplicity. By the exercise of his will he has set his course, and on that course he will stay as if guided by an automatic pilot.

Let no one imagine that he will lose anything of human dignity by this voluntary sell-out of his all to God. His deep disgrace lay in his unnatural usurpation of the place of God. His honor will be proved by restoring again that stolen throne. In exalting God over all he finds his own highest honor upheld.

Anyone who might feel reluctant to surrender his will to the will of another should remember Jesus’ words, “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). We must of necessity be servant to someone, either to God or to sin.

The sinner prides himself on his independence, completely overlooking the fact that he is the weak slave of the sins that rule his members. The man who surrenders to Christ exchanges a cruel slave driver for a kind and gentle Master whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.

I hope it is clear that there is a logic behind God’s claim to preeminence. That place is His by every right in earth or heaven. While we take to ourselves the place that is His, the whole course of our lives is out of joint. Nothing will or can restore order till our hearts make the great decision: God shall be exalted above.

“Those who honor Me I will honor” (1 Sam. 2:30), God said once to a priest of Israel, and that ancient law of the kingdom stands today unchanged by the passing of time or the changes of dispensation. The whole Bible and every page of history proclaim the perpetuation of that law.

“If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor,” (John 12:26), Jesus said, tying in the old with the new and revealing the essential unity of His ways with men.

Sometimes the best way to see a thing is to look at its opposite. Eli and his sons are placed in the priesthood with the stipulation that they honor God in their lives and ministrations. They fail to do this, and God sends Samuel to announce the consequences.

Unknown to Eli, this law of reciprocal honor has been all the while secretly working, and now the time has come for judgment to fall. Hophni and Phineas, the degenerate priests, fall in battle; the wife of Hophni dies in childbirth; Israel flees before her enemies; the ark of God is captured by the Philistines; and the old man Eli falls backward and dies of a broken neck. Thus stark, utter tragedy followed upon Eli’s failure to honor God.

Now over against this set almost any Bible character who honestly tried to glorify God in his earthly walk. See how God winked at weakness and overlooked failures as He poured upon His servants grace and blessing untold. Let it be Abraham, Jacob, David, Daniel, Elijah or whom you will; honor followed honor as harvest the seed.

The man of God set his heart to exalt God above all; God accepted his intention as fact and acted accordingly. Not perfection, but holy intention made the difference.

In our Lord Jesus Christ this law was seen in simple perfection. In His lowly manhood He humbled Himself and gladly gave all glory to His Father in heaven. He sought not His own honor but the honor of God who sent Him.

“If I honor Myself,” He said on one occasion, “My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me” (John 8:54). So far had the Pharisees departed from this law that they could not understand one who honored God at his own expense. “I honor My Father,” Jesus said to them, “and you dishonor Me” (v. 49).

Another saying of Jesus, and a most disturbing one, was put in the form of a question. “How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44). If I understand this correctly, Christ taught here the alarming doctrine that the desire for honor among men made belief impossible.

Is this sin at the root of religious unbelief? I believe it may be. The whole course of life is upset by failure to put God where He belongs. We exalt ourselves instead of God, and the curse follows.

In our desire after God let us keep always in mind that God also has desire, and His desire is toward the sons of men, and more particularly toward those sons of men who will make the once-for-all decision to exalt Him over all. Such as these are precious to God above all treasures of earth or sea.

In them God finds a theater where He can display His exceeding kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. With them God can walk unhindered; toward them He can act like the God He is.

In speaking thus I have one fear: that I may convince the mind before God can win the heart. For this God-above-all position is one not easy to take. The mind may approve it while not having the consent of the will to put it into effect.

Though the imagination races ahead to honor God, the will may lag behind, and the man must make the decision before the heart can know any real satisfaction. God wants the whole person, and He will not rest till He gets us in entirety.

Let us pray over this in detail, throwing ourselves at God’s feet and meaning everything we say. Let’s ask God today to be exalted over our possessions, our friendships, our comforts, our reputations. Let’s ask Him to take His proper place of honor above our ambitions, our likes and dislikes, our family, our health and even life itself.

No one who prays thus in sincerity need wait long for tokens of divine acceptance. God will unveil His glory before His servant’s eyes, and He will place all His treasures at the disposal of such a one, for He knows that His honor is safe in consecrated hands.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

A.W. Tozer (1897-1963) was pastor of Southside Alliance Church in Chicago for 31 years. He also was the author of more than 40 books, including Faith Beyond Reason; Man: The Dwelling Place of God andThe Knowledge of the Holy.

 

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Where Is the Samuel Generation of Prophetic Voices?.


prophetic voices
(iStock Photos/AaronAmat )

There was a time in Israel that parallels our current cultural climate. That time is described in 1 Samuel 15. It was a time when the lamp of God went out, the ark of the covenant was lost, and the presence of God departed the land. The priesthood of the nation, under Eli and his sons Hophni and Phineas, was corrupt and morally weak and soon came under God’s judgment. The future appeared dismal.

The spiritual and cultural outlook in our own nation appears much the same today. Our nation’s leaders are either corrupt or standing idly by while others lead us down a morally compromised path. Our religious institutions have allowed their light to dim. Our churches are without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. We have scarcely noticed that God’s presence is departing the land.

I cannot express the gravity of our current state strongly enough. There is a warning sounding within my spirit to prepare for the days ahead. But as I wrote in my previous article, even as God prepared to bring judgment to the house of Eli, He was putting into place His redemptive plan. And I believe that same redemptive plan is at work today.

Restoring Covenant
God always has a thread of redemption. Even when He is in the middle of correcting His people, He has a plan of redemption and restoration. We see this in 1 Samuel 1-4, as well as in Jeremiah 33.

Most of us are familiar with Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (NASB). What some may not know is that this was spoken during a time of judgment on the nation of Israel. Israel and Judah had broken ties with the Lord and had been taken into captivity as punishment for their sins. And yet in the midst of judgment upon the nation, God had something “great and mighty” to tell Jeremiah—the reconfirming of His covenant and the restoration of a nation.

The rest of Jeremiah 33 shares God’s intentions toward this wayward nation if they would return to Him. His promises included health, healing, an abundance of peace and truth, restoration of their fortunes, cleansing from their iniquity, joy and gladness, fame throughout the nations, and safety from their enemies. All of this was promised if only they would return to the Lord and reconfirm their covenant with Him!

A Redemptive Thread
I remember when my mother became a naturalized citizen, she was given a little flag that had the pledge of allegiance. For years, she kept it on the TV and no one was allowed to touch it! She loved this country, as do I. That’s why I grieve for the tragic and dangerous state our culture is in. But at the same time, I still have hope in God’s redemptive power.

We have been the beneficiaries of the blessings of God in the United States of America. Our nation was founded on godly principles, with a strong Judeo-Christian ethic, and as a result we have known God’s blessings. Even those who are not Christians have become beneficiaries of these blessings. And God’s intention for us, just as with Abraham’s promise, was that we would in turn be a blessing to other nations.

Throughout our history, we have been a blessing to other nations. And it is my belief that from a benevolent standpoint, the church in America has made America great. No matter what difficulties we have gone through, we have always been a generous people. We give to those who are suffering from disasters or hard times, both in our own country and in other nations.

I believe this generosity allows us to hold onto God’s redemptive thread as a nation. By caring for those in need, the church has given the nation access to God’s promise in Isaiah 58:8, that in our time of need for healing, our “recovery would speedily spring forth.”

A Samuel Generation
Samuel was instrumental to the reconfirming of God’s covenant with Israel following Hophni and Phineas’ destructive leadership tenure. Samuel represented a new generation—a righteous priesthood to replace that which was profaned. He was an uncompromised, prophetic voice of courage used by God to call the people back to His ways.

I believe in our own nation, God is going to raise up a new, prophetic voice of courage, one that will call our nation back to God. This Samuel generation will challenge the unjust judiciaries and corrupt politicians. They will refill the lamp of God with the oil of the Spirit and restore His light within the church.

Our restoration as a nation, however, requires that we take an honest look at our true state. We cannot continue on as we have been and expect different results. To remain on the same path will only mean a further moral decline.

God used Samuel to show Israel their true state. His predecessor, Eli, had lost his eyesight. Eli had allowed the evil his sons were committing to continue. He maintained the status quo. As a result, the Lord had to raise up Samuel to expose the true state of Israel’s leadership.

I believe God wants to empower a generation in our land who will serve this same purpose. They are unwilling to allow the evil that is being committed to continue unchecked. They are not interested in maintaining the status quo. Their concern is for the true state of the church and of the nation, and they will be courageous in speaking forth God’s truth.

Who Will Save America?
My question to you is, “Will you be a Samuel in your generation?” Will you be one whose life is dedicated and set apart to the Lord? Will you be one who listens to hear the voice of God and who answers in obedience? Will you be a voice of courage to a wayward generation?

I recently had a dream in which I awoke with the following words echoing in my spirit, over and over. “Save America! Save America! Save America!” Who will save America? Who will answer the cry?

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only hope for our wayward nation. He alone is Savior and it is only by His blood that our redemption and restoration comes. But God is looking for a generation to partner with Him in his restorative work. He is looking for a people who will be part of his redemptive work to save America.

The Lord is looking for Samuels in this generation. Our nation needs their voice, now more than ever.

Doug Stringer is founder and president of Turning Point Ministries International, which birthed an international movement known as Somebody Cares. He is also a sought-after speaker at religious, political, educational and civic gatherings.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Where Is the Samuel Generation of Prophetic Voices?.


prophetic voices
(iStock/AaronAmat )

There was a time in Israel that parallels our current cultural climate. That time is described in 1 Samuel 15. It was a time when the lamp of God went out, the ark of the covenant was lost, and the presence of God departed the land. The priesthood of the nation, under Eli and his sons Hophni and Phineas, was corrupt and morally weak and soon came under God’s judgment. The future appeared dismal.

The spiritual and cultural outlook in our own nation appears much the same today. Our nation’s leaders are either corrupt or standing idly by while others lead us down a morally compromised path. Our religious institutions have allowed their light to dim. Our churches are without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. We have scarcely noticed that God’s presence is departing the land.

I cannot express the gravity of our current state strongly enough. There is a warning sounding within my spirit to prepare for the days ahead. But as I wrote in my previous article, even as God prepared to bring judgment to the house of Eli, He was putting into place His redemptive plan. And I believe that same redemptive plan is at work today.

Restoring Covenant
God always has a thread of redemption. Even when He is in the middle of correcting His people, He has a plan of redemption and restoration. We see this in 1 Samuel 1-4, as well as in Jeremiah 33.

Most of us are familiar with Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (NASB). What some may not know is that this was spoken during a time of judgment on the nation of Israel. Israel and Judah had broken ties with the Lord and had been taken into captivity as punishment for their sins. And yet in the midst of judgment upon the nation, God had something “great and mighty” to tell Jeremiah—the reconfirming of His covenant and the restoration of a nation.

The rest of Jeremiah 33 shares God’s intentions toward this wayward nation if they would return to Him. His promises included health, healing, an abundance of peace and truth, restoration of their fortunes, cleansing from their iniquity, joy and gladness, fame throughout the nations, and safety from their enemies. All of this was promised if only they would return to the Lord and reconfirm their covenant with Him!

A Redemptive Thread
I remember when my mother became a naturalized citizen, she was given a little flag that had the pledge of allegiance. For years, she kept it on the TV and no one was allowed to touch it! She loved this country, as do I. That’s why I grieve for the tragic and dangerous state our culture is in. But at the same time, I still have hope in God’s redemptive power.

We have been the beneficiaries of the blessings of God in the United States of America. Our nation was founded on godly principles, with a strong Judeo-Christian ethic, and as a result we have known God’s blessings. Even those who are not Christians have become beneficiaries of these blessings. And God’s intention for us, just as with Abraham’s promise, was that we would in turn be a blessing to other nations.

Throughout our history, we have been a blessing to other nations. And it is my belief that from a benevolent standpoint, the church in America has made America great. No matter what difficulties we have gone through, we have always been a generous people. We give to those who are suffering from disasters or hard times, both in our own country and in other nations.

I believe this generosity allows us to hold onto God’s redemptive thread as a nation. By caring for those in need, the church has given the nation access to God’s promise in Isaiah 58:8, that in our time of need for healing, our “recovery would speedily spring forth.”

A Samuel Generation
Samuel was instrumental to the reconfirming of God’s covenant with Israel following Hophni and Phineas’ destructive leadership tenure. Samuel represented a new generation—a righteous priesthood to replace that which was profaned. He was an uncompromised,prophetic voice of courage used by God to call the people back to His ways.

I believe in our own nation, God is going to raise up a new, prophetic voice of courage, one that will call our nation back to God. This Samuel generation will challenge the unjust judiciaries and corrupt politicians. They will refill the lamp of God with the oil of the Spirit and restore His light within the church.

Our restoration as a nation, however, requires that we take an honest look at our true state. We cannot continue on as we have been and expect different results. To remain on the same path will only mean a further moral decline.

God used Samuel to show Israel their true state. His predecessor, Eli, had lost his eyesight. Eli had allowed the evil his sons were committing to continue. He maintained the status quo. As a result, the Lord had to raise up Samuel to expose the true state of Israel’s leadership.

I believe God wants to empower a generation in our land who will serve this same purpose. They are unwilling to allow the evil that is being committed to continue unchecked. They are not interested in maintaining the status quo. Their concern is for the true state of the church and of the nation, and they will be courageous in speaking forth God’s truth.

Who Will Save America?
My question to you is, “Will you be a Samuel in your generation?” Will you be one whose life is dedicated and set apart to the Lord? Will you be one who listens to hear the voice of God and who answers in obedience? Will you be a voice of courage to a wayward generation?

I recently had a dream in which I awoke with the following words echoing in my spirit, over and over. “Save America! Save America! Save America!” Who will save America? Who will answer the cry?

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only hope for our wayward nation. He alone is Savior and it is only by His blood that our redemption and restoration comes. But God is looking for a generation to partner with Him in his restorative work. He is looking for a people who will be part of his redemptive work to save America.

The Lord is looking for Samuels in this generation. Our nation needs their voice, now more than ever.

By DOUG STRINGER

Doug Stringer is founder and president of Turning Point Ministries International, which birthed an international movement known as Somebody Cares. He is also a sought-after speaker at religious, political, educational and civic gatherings.

How to Look Beyond Romance to Love as Jesus Does.


Editor’s note: The following is a report on the practical application of Clare and Eli‘s book,Altared: The True Story of a She, a He, and How They Both Got Too Worked Up About We(WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, 2012).

Many Christians focus intently on finding someone to marry and then trying to live happily ever after in those marriages. They place such importance on romantic love that they may come to think of it as the pinnacle of their spiritual pursuits.

God doesn’t place nearly so much importance on marriage, though. Yes, God did create marriage to fulfill good purposes in people’s lives on Earth (there’s no marriage in heaven). But romantic love is just one expression of love, and Jesus wants those who follow Him to learn how to love as He does.

Focusing too much on marriage can distract you from Jesus’ greater call on your life: to learn how to wholeheartedly love God and other people. Whether you’re single (as Jesus chose to be on Earth) or married, you can learn to love the best when you shift your focus away from romance and toward Jesus’ example. Here’s how:

Realize that singleness and marriage are equally valuable states. Although people in many church cultures unfortunately often make single people feel inferior to married people, God values single people just as much as He values married people. While many churches are oriented around nuclear families headed by married couples, from God’s perspective, the worldwide family of believers is what matters most. So if you’re single, don’t feel as if you have to get married to be complete or fully loved, or that you have to settle for a potential spouse whom you don’t truly sense God calling you to marry, simply to get married by a certain age. If you’re married, don’t pressure the single people you know to get married, but give them the freedom to follow God’s plans for them, in His timing. Rest assured that God loves you and wants to work powerfully through your life, no matter what your current marital status.

Love your neighbors. Expand your list of people to love to include many more than just the people who are closest to you, such as your spouse (if you’re married), other family members and friends. God’s call for you to love your neighbors means loving everyone you encounter in life – all the people around you now, plus all the people you happen to meet. If you spend so much time and energy focusing on finding or attending to a spouse that your life becomes myopically centered around marriage, you can’t faithfully love your neighbors as God intends. Decide to make it a high priority to reach out in love to the people you meet every day – especially people in need (such as those who are poor, sick, imprisoned, or outcasts in society). Spend time daily in prayer and meditating on Jesus’ words in the Bible about loving your neighbors. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you start seeing people as God sees them, and to give the compassion you need to treat them with real love.

Love your enemies. Ask God to help you love those difficult people you know – the ones who won’t return your love. Rather than holding grudges against them, ask the Holy Spirit to guide and empower you through the process of forgiving them. Instead of avoiding your enemies are even just putting up with them peaceably, Jesus calls you to pray for them and express real love when interacting with them. So keep in mind that all people are worthy of dignity and respect because God has made them, and ask God to help you relate to your enemies through the power of His love working through you.

Surrender your personal desires to Jesus so you can pursue what’s best for you. Be willing to surrender your desire for a husband or wife (if you’re single) or for a happy marriage (if you’re married) so those desires don’t dominate your life and prevent you from experiencing the full range of what God intends for you. View your deepest desires as opportunities to give what’s dear to your heart to Jesus so He can give you what’s best for you (which may or may not include your personal desires). Letting go of what you want frees you up to receive what God wants for you, which is beyond what you could imagine for yourself. It also frees you up to follow Jesus’ example of denying yourself so you can fully love others, giving generously however God may call you to do so. Be ready to say “yes” to God when He calls you to sacrifice your time, money, energy, emotions, or expectations in order to fully love Him and other people. Build your entire life around a commitment to serve God, even when it’s costly. Doing so invites God to fill your life with true love.

Seek God first, before all else. Set your priorities so that you’re giving God more attention than anyone or anything else in your life, including your husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend. Recognize that God, who is the source of all love, is worthy of your highest devotion. Keep in mind that when you give God your undivided attention, He will empower you to love others in ways that you couldn’t otherwise.

Evaluate Christian commitment by love, not just morality. Rather than looking at sexual purity and morality alone to gauge how close to Jesus you or others are, consider instead how much you and other Christians you know are truly expressing love like Jesus does. Sexual morality is important, but it’s just part of the whole scope of being obedient to how Jesus calls His followers to live.

Open the gift of solitude. When you’re alone with God, you can express your thoughts and feelings to Him fully and listen to His responses without distractions. So spend time praying in solitude regularly. If you feel lonely, let your loneliness motivate you to seek God more. Turn to God – not a romantic partner – to fulfill your deepest needs, because God alone can truly fulfill you, and His love is more than enough to satisfy you.

Adapted from Altared: The True Story of a She, a He, and How They Both Got Too Worked Up About We, copyright 2012 by Claire and Eli. Published by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., Colorado Springs, Co.,www.waterbrookmultnomah.com.

Claire is an editor and writer. She has worked at Christianity Today, The New York Times, Penguin Classics, and Penguin Books. She is a contributor to First Things, Books & Culture,and The Gospel Coalition.

Eli earned a law degree from The University of Chicago Law School and now practices law at an international firm. Prior to law school, Eli worked in the music industry on teams working with a variety of recording artists, including Jeremy Camp, Underoath, and Starflyer 59.

Find Claire and Eli online at www.claireandeli.com or www.twitter.com/#!/Claire_and_Eli

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer. 

Publication date: September 19, 2012

By Whitney Hopler

Is the Glory of God Departing From US?.


glory of god
(FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

First Samuel 4 tells the story of one of Israel’s darkest hours. Israel had been defeated by the Philistines. The priests of God were dead. The ark of the covenant had been captured. After hearing the news of the ark and the death of her father-in-law and husband, Eli’s daughter-in-law (and wife of Phineas, the priest) named her newborn son Ichabod, meaning “the glory of God has departed.”

What was it that led to this dark hour? How did it come to be that the presence of God departed the land? And what can we in the church today learn from this sobering time in Israel’s history?

The Tabernacle at Shiloh Recently, my wife and I were in Israel as guests of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During our time there we visited an excavation site where the tabernacle once stood in Shiloh, as told in 1 Samuel chapters 1-4. While standing in the very location where Hannah would have cried out to God, Lisa and I began to pray from the depths of our hearts. As I prayed, the Lord gave me a renewed perspective of the significance of what happened there.

There were two significant events unfolding in the days leading up to Israel’s defeat and the loss of the ark—the first of which should serve as a sober warning to the church today, and the other as a message of hope in a dark time. The first thing was the dimming of the lamp of God due to the disobedience and compromise of the nation’s leadership. Specifically, it was the wickedness of the priests Hophni and Phineas, and the apathy of their father, Eli, who did nothing to correct his sons, which led to “Ichabod” and the glory of God departing from the nation.

Scripture tells us that Hophni and Phineas “had no regard for the Lord.” They engaged in temple prostitution and took advantage of the worshippers who came to sacrifice at Shiloh. Moreover, they neglected their priestly duties, one of which was to keep the lamp in the Holy Place filled with oil so that the flame would not burn out.

As this tragedy was unfolding, however, there was another part of the story developing, which serves as a message of hope. Despite the wickedness of the priests, God was still working his plan of redemption. In 1 Samuel 1, a barren woman cried out to God for a son, pledging to dedicate his life to the Lord if her request was granted. The Lord answered her cry and Hannah’s son, Samuel, came to Shiloh as a young child to serve in the house of God. Out of a humanly impossible situation, the Lord brought forth a new generation, a righteous prophet and judge.

First Samuel 3:3 tells us that “the lamp of God had not yet gone out” (NIV) when the Lord first called to Samuel. Though the Lord intended to bring judgment to Hophni and Phineas, he also promised to raise up “a faithful priest” who would follow His commands.

Private Disobedience and Public Powerlessness As I reflected on all that had happened in Shiloh, I was struck with this sobering truth: Private disobedience causes public powerlessness. Hophni and Phineas were engaged in private disobedience. They were profaning the holy things of God, neglecting their responsibilities to steward that which was entrusted to them. They abused their priestly authority and took advantage of the people. It is likely these sons of Eli thought they could continue in their sin with no repercussions.

Though what they did in secret may not have been known or spoken of in public, God saw it. And the repercussions of their private sin impacted the entire nation. In 1 Samuel 4:1-3, the Israelites suffered a defeat at the hands of the Philistines. As a result, they decided to call for the ark of the covenant to go with them into their next battle, thinking it would save them. They didn’t realize God’s presence had already left them and the ark would not bring them the victory they sought. Sadly, they were defeated again, the ark was captured, and Hophni and Phineas died on the day of battle.

Like Israel, many in the church are just going through the motions, relying on traditions and practicing an institutional Christianity. But God’s presence is no longer there and our institutions are powerless. We have been fooled into thinking our private sin goes unnoticed, but what we do in private has a public, corporate effect. The enemy continues to win battles and take ground in our nation, largely while the church goes about our business as usual. We blame our losses on the government, politicians or those who disagree with us, with little understanding of the role we’ve played in our own defeat.

The key to victory is not the ark, nor our Christian institutions, but obedience. Disobedience causes the lamp to go out and the presence of God to depart. Without His presence, there can be no victory.

In Search of the Faithful Ezekiel 22 describes a disobedient Israel that reminds me of much of what I see in our culture today. It describes five kinds of people—the five Ps, I call them—who had turned from the ways of the Lord. The Lord calls out the Princes, the Politicians, the Prophets, the Priests (pastors), and the People for turning from the Lord and allowing the shedding of innocent blood in the land, allowing corruption and unrighteousness to prevail. Many overlooking what was going on around them for personal preference and profit.

Sound familiar? In verse 30, the Lord says, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one” (NKJV). God was looking for a faithful priest, prophet and judge who, like Samuel, who would follow His commands.

I believe God is issuing this same warning to us today. Like Israel before us, we are unaware that the lamp of God is growing dim, the oil is about to run out and the presence of the Almighty is departing the land. God is looking for a righteous remnant who will follow His commands and honor His word. Our politicians and princes are corrupt. Our prophets and priests lack moral clarity. The people are drowning in a sea of iniquity and perversion. What can we do?

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare For those who will heed God’s warning, there is a call to prepare for the days ahead. There is a three-fold call—to prepare the Bride, to prepare the Ark, and to prepare the way of the Lord.

One man who heeded God’s warning and prepared was Noah. Hebrews 11:7 tells us that “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear [and] prepared an ark for the saving of his household.” Noah lived in dark days full of corruption and immorality. But he heeded God’s warning that judgment was coming and prepared accordingly. As a result, his household was saved, as were all the living things that came with him on the ark.

Likewise, God wants His church to prepare for the days ahead and be an ark of refuge in times of trouble. By preparing and getting in alignment to God’s kingdom principles, both individually and corporately, we can be ready to be a help to others. When disaster strikes, we will have an opportunity for our testimony (Luke 21:13).

Trimming Our Lamps with Oil Revelation 19:7 says, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready” (NIV). As those awaiting the coming of the Bridegroom, we must prepare and make ourselves ready.

How can the bride prepare herself? One clue we have in Scripture is the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25. The parable says that there were five wise virgins and five foolish virgins. The wise virgins were prepared for the arrival of the bridegroom by having their lamps filled with oil. The foolish virgins had allowed their oil to run out, and when the bridegroom came they had no light by which to see. Like Hophni and Phineas, these foolish virgins neglected to keep the lamp filled with oil, and as a result they were left behind when the bridegroom arrived.

Sadly, much of the church today is like the five foolish virgins. We have become apathetic in our approach toward the things of God. We have not kept the oil—representing the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit—in our lamps. We have grown accustomed to the darkness around us and are unprepared for the days ahead.

God is calling His people to wake up and shake loose from their apathy and lethargy. He is calling us to hear the divine warning about the days to come and to prepare, prepare, prepare. We must prepare ourselves for His coming by trimming our lamps with oil. We must prepare the church as an ark of refuge for those who are perishing. We must prepare the way of the Lord!

Hope in Dark Times The times we are facing are truly difficult times. Everything around us is being shaken, so that only that which cannot be shaken will remain (Hebrews 12:27). Many foresee a great economic collapse. Fires, floods, earthquakes and natural disasters abound. The moral failure of our leaders and decline of our culture continues.

These challenging times should cause us to heed the warnings of a God who loves us and wants to save us from the day of trouble. But they should also cause us to rejoice in the hope that remains. God desires to redeem and restore us. He is looking for the faithful with whom he can change a nation.

In the midst of Hophni and Phineas’ private disobedience, God was already preparing to raise up Samuel out of what seemed to be an impossible situation. Hannah cried out to God in desperation for a miraculous fulfillment of promise. God had not forsaken Hannah, nor had he forgotten Israel. He had a perfect plan and perfect timing. Samuel represented a new, prophetic voice that would rise in the land. He represented a righteous generation to replace that which was profaned.

A Samuel Generation I believe that in America, God is going to raise up a new, prophetic voice of courage. I believe He will replace the unjust judiciaries and raise up righteous judges. But it is critical that we realize the true state we are living in instead of engaging in business as usual. If the oil runs dry and the lamp goes out in the church, it’s possible to continue going through the motions of institutional Christianity, but in reality it’s just cosmetic.

Cosmetic Christianity is much like costume jewelry: lots of luster and shine without real substance. One of my spiritual fathers, the late Dr. Edwin Louis Cole called it “High Gloss—cheap merchandise.” We must not be content with a compensatory facade—compensating on the outside for a lack on the inside. Because without the presence of God, our public celebrations and display are powerless.

When the time comes to go to another depth of spiritual battle, the very soul of our nation will crumble if the church does not take its rightful place. Our lamp must be full with the oil of the Holy Spirit. We can speak the Christian lingo and make public declarations but without the presence and the power of God, there is no Upper Room experience.

The late Leonard Ravenhill, who embraced me like a spiritual grandson, used to say, “Many want an Upper Room experience like on the day of Pentecost, but they’re unwilling to humble themselves on their knees at the cross of Christ.” You see, many want the presence and power of God, yet forget that we cannot circumvent the place of humility, holiness and honesty that comes on our knees.

We need a fresh revelation of the work of the cross and the power of the Resurrection in a place of authentic humility—dying to self. One of the highest forms of worship is simple obedience to God. He provides for us public power rather than public powerlessness. Our prayerlessness in private has become powerlessness in public.

We need courageous voices of prophetic clarity to resound from the pulpits of America as well as righteousness to permeate through the halls of politics. We have a renegade judiciary and need a new generation of righteous judges raised up in the land.

We need princes, politicians, priests (pastors), prophets and people who love God and others more than they love themselves. From preachers to politicians, from pulpits to political offices … and all in between, we need A REVIVAL OF CHARACTER!

We need a new generation of Samuel to arise! God wants to reconfirm His covenant promise and commitment, so that He can restore the Nation … before the lamp of the Lord goes out and the glory of God departs in the land.

By Doug Stringer

Doug Stringer is the founder and president of Somebody Cares America/International. You can find him online at DougStringer.com.

Dear Moms: Hannah.


Then [Hannah] made a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life…”  1 Samuel 1:11
Recommended Reading 1 Samuel 1:1-2:21 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel%201:1-2:21&version=NKJV )

It is not unusual today, in the case of an unplanned pregnancy, for a mother to honor the life of the child by carrying it to term and then giving it up for adoption.

But the bond between mother and child is so powerful that it is sometimes difficult for the mother to let her child go–understandably so.
Watch This Week’s TV Broadcast ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/television.aspx?tid=email_watchedevo )

Hannah was a Hebrew mother who faced that difficult choice.

Childless throughout her marriage, she pleaded with the Lord to grant fruitfulness to her womb by giving her a son.

She promised that she would give up that son to serve the Lord all his days.

The Lord heard her prayer and allowed her to conceive and bear a son whom she named Samuel–the child who would become the great and faithful prophet in Israel.

It was no doubt difficult for Hannah to give her son to Eli, the priest, but she kept her vow to the Lord.

Give thanks to God today for mothers whose love for God is even deeper and stronger than their love for their own children.
You have omitted to mention the greatest of my teachers–my mother. Winston Churchill
Read-Thru-the-Bible Ezra 3:1–9:15.

By David Jeremiah.

The Influence of a Godly Mother.


I Samuel 1:1-28; 3:19-21

As you are turning to 1 Samuel 1 .. let me say that on May 9, 1941 … the United States Congress under the leadership of President Woodrow Wilson did a good thing!

They proclaimed the second Sunday in May as “Mother’s Day” for “public expression of our love and reverence for the Mothers of our country.”

Thank God for our Mothers!  For without them, we wouldn’t be here today!  It’s true .. a Mother’s job is never done!  How wonderful it would be for Mothers if they could collect time-and-a-half for overtime.

And especially for single Mom’s.  I believe they have the hardest job in America.  It’s hard enough where there is a Father and Mother raising children ..  I was reminded of that this past Monday night while up in Cedertown preaching a revival service for Pastor Patrick Latham.

Patrick once served here at Roswell Street on our staff and a few years ago Second Baptist Church of Cedartown called him as their pastor.  Well .. before the service .. Patrick and his wife Laura and their two children met us for supper.

For over an hour .. while Patrick and I had preacher talk .. Laura was trying to maintain control over their 3 month old son and 2 year old daughter.  The daughter was tossing her cup and food on the floor and against the wall and in between in her hair and by the time we were through .. that section of the restraunt looked like a war zone.

As we were getting ready to leave … their 2 year old daughter was sitting on Laura’s leg and suddenly Laura had a strange look on her face and said, “Does anybody have any napkins, I just got wet on and it’s running down my leg.”  Oh .. the joys of Motherhood!

Well … today from 1 Samuel 1 .. I want you to meet a woman who understood the joys of Motherhood.  In fact .. she is going to remind us of the old adage that “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”  Her name was Hannah and her story is found beginning in 1 Samuel 1.

This first chapter begins by telling us that Hannah was one of the two wives of Elkanah.  And we read beginning in the last part of verse 2 that “Peninnah (Pih NIN uh) had children, but Hannah had no children.”

3 This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. Also the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.

4 And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters.

5 But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the LORD had closed her womb.

6 And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb.

7 So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.  8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you  …

By Dr. Ernest L. Easley.

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