Make Your Mark: Getting Right What Samson Got Wrong

What You Thought About Samson Might be Wrong

I remember thinking while reading Judges that God was using Samson’s strength to conquer the Philistines. Brad Gray tells us we may be looking at Samson’s story wrong.

The stories of people in the Old Testament often showed how people’s lives were without endorsing all of the things they did.

In fact, the New Testament in Romans 15:4 (HCSB) teaches:

For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.

Mr. Gray reminds the readers (if they forgot) or tells them (if they don’t know) that Samson was a Nazarite from birth. He tells the significance of this:

Numbers 6 lists three restrictions a Nazarite must adhere to. First, a Nazarite must not consume anything from the grapevine, including wine, or any other alcoholic drink. Therefore, no grapes and definitely no wine. Second, a Nazarite must not cut their hair. Their long hair is a visible identifier of the vow taken before God. And third, a Nazarite is not allowed to be in the vicinity of a dead body. (Page 6 in paperback edition)

If you recall the stories if you went to Sunday School, it seemed that Samson was killing people – a lot. And the Bible mentions God’s Spirit coming over Samson a couple of times before he did it. So, I assumed it was God’s intention that he conquer the Philistines.

Mr. Gray says he believes that because of Samson’s calling, it was actually the Spirit warning him not to do it, and Samson refused to heed the warning.

In fact, the entire story of Samson in Judges tells one after another things that Samson does that breaks his Nazarite calling.

The book, though it focuses on Samson’s miserable failures, uses them as a jumping off point to teach how our lives should be instead. He talks about humility, what it is is and isn’t, and about revenge.

The book gives background information of word meanings in the original language, fascinating facts about the layout of the land, and the paperback version includes maps throughout the book. He uses these to show why some of the things Samson did were outrageous.

The author also explains the significance of letting the hair grow long in Nazarites, background history of the culture. It is a very researched book.

Mr. Gray points out that with all of the failures that Samson had in his life, he appears in a list of people who are used as an illustration of faith.

Perhaps this is why we can get hope and encouragement from the stories of people’s lives in the Old Testament. The Bible doesn’t leave out the sins of people who were great men of faith (or even those with little faith).

We can learn a lot from Samson’s life, and I learned a lot from Brad Gray.

Here is a link below to the book at Christian Book if you want to purchase the book. It is also available as an ebook:

Make Your Mark: Getting Right What Samson Got Wrong

Note: The above link is not an affiliate link.

What Can You Learn from Eve’s Decision?

The very first woman, Eve, was approached by a smooth salesman: Satan.

Satan promises Eve a lot of things that were really enticing:

  • Secret Knowledge
  • No Consequences to her behavior
  • Being a god

Secret Knowledge

Some ads use the word “secret” in them. We have this knowledge that is secret that is going to solve your problem. You can’t find it anywhere else. Only we have it.

The thing is, knowledge that is wonderful often it isn’t hidden at all. It just takes work. Losing weight is eating less calories and moving more. No secret to that. But it’s hard. So, instead, people sell you a pill, or a new diet plan that is going to work when the last one didn’t, or some easy exercise equipment that looks like it just helps you melt pounds off just by looking at it – ha!

Some religious groups do the same thing. They claim to have hidden knowledge of God, or will tell you the Bible has hidden codes in it.

However, God didn’t reveal himself in the Bible to make himself hidden.

The Gnostics who were around during the time John wrote his short letters in the Bible claimed to have knowledge about God that you could only get through them.

No Consequences

Many things that are bad for your body are “sold” to people without telling you there are severe consequences.

We are seeing this with the drug epidemic. “This drug will make you feel better.” What it really does is numb you to the reality that you aren’t facing. It doesn’t make you feel better in the long run. It hooks you, and many of the ones out there on the streets are killing people or hooking you severely – sometimes on the very first use.

The same thing is seen in drinking, smoking, etc. It is made to look cool, fit in with others, enjoying life, but often it leads down a very sad path with lots of bad consequences.

Make no mistake, God is not mocked. A person will harvest what they plant. Those who plant only for their own benefit will harvest devastation from their selfishness, but those who plant for the benefit of the Spirit will harvest eternal life from the Spirit. (Galatians 6:7-8 CEB) Galatians 6: 7-8 (Bible Gateway)

There are consequences to behavior. Sometimes, the consequences are deadly as in the case with Eve. Her decision led to death. Not immediately, but eventually. This is the same way that consequences often work. Sometimes the results are not immediate, but they do come.

Being a god

This promise was very subtle. Eve was told that God was holding back on her, keeping her from enjoying life.

Being responsible is not “fun” sometimes. It may look like changing diapers, going to work every day, studying for an exam instead of going to a party. In other words, being an adult.

It seems that it would be more enjoyable to do what’s fun and use that as a criteria to making decisions. This is what being a god is really offering: Make your own decisions, live life the way you want to, and everything will work out anyway.

The consequences to that type of life may make it enjoyable for you, maybe even a lifetime, but it leaves behind scarred children, broken hearts, and a difficult world to live in and, eventually, eternal consequences.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. But all fun needs to have boundaries. So, the next day, you wake up with good memories and not a lousy-feeling body, or consequences that follow you or someone you love for the rest of your life.

God puts boundaries in place and tells us not to “eat from that tree,” because he made us, and he knows what’s good for us.

If you are looking for wisdom to live life, a great book of the Bible to read is the book of Proverbs. It has 31 chapters. So, you can read one chapter a day. It has advice for life in many categories.

I hope that the next time someone comes to you promising you one of the above things, you’ll take a closer look at their promises. Perhaps, they are offering you a piece of fruit that looks great, tastes great, but will leave a sour taste in your mouth in the long run.

Answering the Call, The Doctor Who Made Africa His Life

Ken Gire has written a very interesting book about the life of Albert Schweitzer.

The book tells of a man who was extremely intelligent, and would be considered a success in multiple areas. He had degrees and knowledge of philosophy, music, and medicine.

He used his knowledge to help those who did not have the health services they needed to survive in a rough environment: Africa.

Albert Schweitzer lived through World War 1 and World War 2. He was considered a prisoner of war during the First War and he had to leave his work at the hospital to be imprisoned.

He also had to leave his work to raise money to continue the hospital’s work several times.

In addition to working in establishing the hospital, playing concerts, lecturing at universities, he also was a writer.

Albert Schweitzer not only helped people during his lifetime, his life continues to inspire people today through foundations named for him, the hospital he established, and his influence on others that was profound.

This book can be purchased at: – at least at the time of this writing. It is not an affiliate link.

The Unfinished Playhouse

When I was a little girl, my dad was in the process of building me an outdoor playhouse. However, before it was ever built, he and my mom divorced, and he moved away.

The unfinished playhouse was later torn down.

Sometimes, we have things in our lives that are unfinished that hang around in the back of our minds. This is true, I think, especially for people who have a “completer” personality. Unfinished projects are things I just hate.

When I bring something home, like a plant, I have to put it in the ground the day I bring it home.

Jesus said:

Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also. (John 14: 1-3 CEB)

He is preparing a room for us.

We may sing about mansions on a hilltop, but it’s not there in the Bible. We won’t be living by ourselves in a big mansion. We will be living in the same place as Jesus. We will have a place with him.

There won’t be incomplete rooms, loneliness, unfulfilled things that just never got completed there.

There will be rooms there, and we can go there to be with Jesus in His Father’s house.

Did you notice that there are “many rooms?” So, there’s room for you, too.

And don’t be disappointed if you wanted a mansion. I’m sure a room in God’s house will be a lot fancier than some mansion on a hilltop.

If you would like to learn more about the Bible, sign up at Bible & English Lessons or you could go to World Bible School. The first link is for learning English using the Bible as text. The second one is based solely on the Bible.

Note: I’m one of the volunteer teachers at World English Institute, but I do not currently teach with World Bible School, although I have in the past.

Joseph’s Story: Riches to Rags, Rags to Riches, Rinse and Repeat

Joseph’s story was not the typical rags to riches story.

Joseph’s story in the Bible tells of a young man who went from being the favorite son, to being a slave, rising again to become the person in charge of his master’s entire estate, to being thrown into prison, and then being removed from prison to become second in command in the country where he had arrived as a slave.

It is the ultimate riches to rags, to riches, to rags, to riches story. (Is that confusing or what?)

It seems to follow along with an old joke, that has been told multiple ways, of a person who goes through events in his life which seem at one point to be good, then turn out to be bad, then turn out to be good….

Joseph’s life was like that.

Joseph summed up his life later to tell his brothers (those who began the process by selling him into slavery) that what they intended for bad, God used for good.

Joseph’s life story was not just his story. He was part of something bigger, a lot bigger! God used his pain to bring about the salvation of his entire family during a famine. This family became a nation from which a savior would come.

You may be going through something really tough right now. It may not make any sense at all why you are having these problems.

It might be something you did, and you are getting the results of bad decisions (Galatians 6:7; Hosea 8:7).

It could be something that someone has done to you, and you are having to live with the consequences (Proverbs 13:23).

However these things have come, God can use them to work for good in your life and the lives of others:

We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 CEB)

Sometimes, like Joseph, it may take some time before we can see where the events in our life are leading for the good; but if we love God, God promises to use all things for good – not that all things will be good.

You can read about Joseph in Genesis 37 and the following chapters.

The Tower of Babel, Language Confusion, and Solutions

God wanted the people of the earth to spread out across the world, multiply, and fill the earth with people (Genesis 1:28), but they didn’t want to do it.

So, he confused their language. (Genesis 11:1ff)

When the church began in Acts 2, everyone was able to hear Peter’s message in their own language. The gospel message brought people back together again under the Holy Spirit.

Learning languages, however, is still very difficult.

I enjoy studying them, though. I have found similarities in many of them the more I learn them. Some languages have different letters than English, and that makes them more difficult.

Of those that use different letters, I’ve found Russia to be easier than I thought, although I’ve just started to learn it. So, I may change my mind later.

One program I like to use to learn languages is Duolingo. It is a free program. It has ads in it, but they are not intrusive. You can pay to have them removed if that type of thing bothers you.

If you are learning a language that uses a different keyboard, then I would suggest the Website: Gate2Home. Note: This is a keyboard that you use on their site. Don’t download anything that they suggest unless it is a program that you want to use. I have not tested anything out for their veracity.  It is unnecessary to use the online keyboard. Those are ads for other things.

You can pull up multiple language keyboards by choosing which language you wish to use. You have to copy and paste the results into whatever you are using it for (at least that’s the way I’ve been using it).

It is also helpful if you want to type a message in another language but do not want to install an entire new alphabet.

So far I’ve found these two sites to be helpful. If you find a problem with either one, let me know. I don’t get anything for recommending either one.

Perhaps these two places will help you to communicate with others better, and I’ll try to add some places to study the Bible in your own language as I develop my blog again. Those should appear on the sidebar when I get to that point (Lord willing). So, be sure to check back.

Note: Neither link is an endorsement of this Website, and I do not have an affiliation with either.

Evening Prayer

Father in heaven,

Thank you for giving us a time each day to stop and rest, sleeping, to help give us a new start for the next day, a break from one day to the next.

We don’t have to wait until a new year to start over. After all:

Lamentations 3:22-23 (CEB)

Certainly, the faithful love of the LORD hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through!

They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness.

Thank you for a new perspective with the new morning.

Help us to see your love in each new day.

We wait expectantly.

Through Jesus,

who was so tired once he fell asleep in a storm!