Calling And Character – One Year Devotions for Men

One day . . . [Samson] noticed a certain Philistine woman. . . . “I want to marry a young Philistine woman I saw in Timnah.” . . . One day Samson went to the Philistine city of Gaza and spent the night with a prostitute. . . . Later Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the valley of Sorek. – Judges 14:1-2; 16:1, 4

When President William Jefferson Clinton was impeached, the United States was anything but united in its attitude toward what was happening. Apart from the obvious political maneuvers that were taking place, a great debate was going on regarding the nature of leadership. There were those who insisted that the president was clearly doing a fine job and his personal life was of no concern to anyone else. On the other hand, others argued that a major aspect of the president’s job description is to provide moral leadership to the nation, and this he had manifestly failed to do. Underlying this debate was a bigger question—what role does moral character play in the life of a leader?

The question could certainly have been asked of Samson, the gifted strong man of ancient Israel. God had called Samson to be a Nazirite, a man dedicated to God’s service from the womb. Samson’s mission was to overpower the enemies of God’s people. In order to fulfill his calling, he had been specially endowed with supernatural strength. The most obvious outward evidence of Samson’s Nazirite calling was his uncut hair. Because his supernatural gifting (his charisma) was directly related to his calling, his strength remained undiminished as long as his hair remained uncut. So there was no question about his calling or his charisma. But sadly, there were major questions about his moral character.

In particular, Samson’s relations with the fairer sex left much to be desired. His unsuccessful marriage to a Philistine woman (14:1-20), his dalliance with a Philistine prostitute (16:1-3), and his ill-fated love affair with Delilah, yet another Philistine (16:4 22), speak volumes about his character. The one thing more important than anything else in Samson’s life was the maintenance of his Nazirite vow. But as soon as he “fell in love” with Delilah (16:4), he disregarded the fact that her unusual interest in the secret of his strength was directly related to a Philistine plot to destroy him, and he recklessly played with her and his vow until he was defeated. Samson was careless about his character, he was casual about his calling, and inevitably, he was stripped of his charisma.

Whatever politicians and the public decide about the place of character in the life of a president, there is no question about its significance in the life of a spiritual leader. The words of Dr. Peter Kuzmic, the gifted and powerful Christian leader in the former Yugoslavia, should be heeded. He told a reporter at the height of the Bosnian crisis, “Charisma without character equals chaos.” Too bad Samson never met Peter Kuzmic!

For Further Study: Judges 14:1-20; 16:1-4

Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for MenCopyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

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Our Way Out

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Why do most of us who come to church and carry Bibles and pray still have so many problems? The Bible’s diagnosis is very straightforward, and it’s captured in one word: sin. Sin still flourishes on planet earth. We struggle not only with our actions, but with our thoughts and emotions and attitudes. The Bible says that even Jesus was tempted. Since Jesus was perfect, obedient, and sinless but still suffered with temptation, we should not be surprised when we are tempted. Jesus’ death on the cross made provision so that the consequences of sin no longer have a hold over our lives. Praise God that He has given us a remedy for the sin problem!


Heavenly Father, I come before You in humility, asking for Your forgiveness for the times my life has not brought glory to You. I pray that my life would reflect You so that others will see and wonder about Your power in my life. Thank You for the Holy Spirit who directs and convicts me. I praise You for the blood of Jesus. It is in His name that I pray, amen.

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August 24


Jeremiah 23:22 
If they [the prophets] had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds

Every true prophet of God in the Old Testament was an evangelist. His ministry drew people back to God and His Word. The call to righteousness was the standard which separated the genuine prophet from the imitation, as the prophet Jeremiah wrote. If you come across someone who claims to be a prophet, but who is not involved in calling people to a righteous walk with God, you may be dealing with a counterfeit.

In the New Testament, the gift of prophecy has one primary purpose: to reveal unrighteousness and bring conviction. Paul wrote that, as a result of prophecy, “The secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you” (1 Corinthians 14:25).

The Lord revealed through Jeremiah another criterion for distinguishing a true prophet from a false prophet: “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, ‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’ . . . The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?” (23:25, 28). God is warning His people against prophets who value their dreams above His Word.

God is not saying that dreams are unimportant. Indeed, He often spoke to people in the Bible through dreams before the full revelation of Scripture was complete. But in comparison to the nutritious grain of His Word, dreams are mere straw. If you feed straw to cattle, they’ll die. They will sleep on it, but they won’t eat it because it has no nutrients. Similarly, dreams may be of some value, but they are never to be equated with God’s Word as the basis for our faith or our walk.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the power of Your Word, which cuts through falsehood and brings to light everything hidden in darkness.

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The Four Spiritual Secrets – August 24

MBC Daily Devotional

Boldness in Judgment

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment…”(1 John 4:17)

How many of us can approach our day of judgment with boldness? If we loved perfectly we could approach the certainty of our judgment day with boldness and no fear.

Perhaps John is assuming we know the New Testament teaching that love is the fulfilling of the law. If we love our brother, sister, neighbor or even our enemies we will not cheat them, steal from them, or break any of the laws that govern our relationship with the people who intersect our life. If we love God and others the way Jesus showed us and taught us to love we would not fear judgment. In fact, John writes in the next verse that we would eliminate fear.

Some people have fear for which there is no basis in fact. We call that neurotic fear. Many have fear that is rooted in a fear of losing their possessions. If we really understand what it means to be holy, to be a faithful steward, or to love God and to love others with the love of Jesus, we will have surrendered all we have to God and we will therefore have nothing to fear losing.

This great apostle has now given us eight reasons we must love. If we love perfectly we will eliminate the fear of judgment that plagues many devout believers. We will also eliminate the fear of loss that robs many people of their peace. Are you willing to apply another motivation to love as that love is profiled in this love chapter written by the apostle who writes more of love than any other New Testament author?

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