by Susan Sampson

Demas deserted Paul.  Why?  Scripture tells us he was in love with this present world.  His focus was the world.  His heart treasured the temporal.  His mind was consumed with what he could see.  He was all about SELF.  He chose to please himself instead of the Lord.  He chose to serve self.  He gave into his flesh.  Lord have mercy.  There but by the grace of God go I.  I don’t want to be Demas.  Do you?  I think we would all say “no.”  We would say we want to be like Paul.  But how is that possible?  Is it even possible?  “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” (Mat. 19:26)

So what do we do?  We fix our eyes on Christ.  How?  Let us look carefully at God’s truth.  Lord give us ears to hear you speaking to us.  Soften our hard hearts to receive your word and believe it by faith and submit our wills to it in order to obey it that you would bring forth the fruit of righteousness!!

Philippains 4:4-9

  • Rejoice in the Lord always”
  • “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”
  • think about these things”
  • practice these things”

God is so good!  He is telling us what we are to do!  Will we “turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths?” (2 Timothy 4:4)  Or will we believe God’s word by FAITH?  Faith is the KEY!!

When we feel all those horrible feelings we listed on the white board, the Lord is telling us to rejoice and “offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving” (Psalm 50:14).  This means we must die to self.  We must come out from under our circumstances and come up under God and His word.  But this goes against our nature.  Our flesh doesn’t feel like doing this.  Which is exactly why we must be in God’s word every day!!  To be filled with truth.  To counteract lies.  To be sanctified by truth.  To be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  To be reminded daily that His banner over us is love!!!!

I confess this seems almost too simple to me.  My flesh thinks there has to be something more.  Something to do.  Something better.  Naaman thought that.  He was a commander of the army of the king of Syria and he was a leper.  A servant girl told him there was a prophet in Samaria who could cure him.  So Naaman went with all his entourage.  Elisha, the man of God, sent a messenger to him and told him to “wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean” (2 Kings 5:10).  But this wasn’t good enough for Naaman.  Our pride is so blinding.  We think we know better.  “But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, ‘Behold, I thoughtthat he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.  Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?  Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in a rage.” (2 Kings 5:11-12)

I confess I just want God to “wave his hand over the place and cure” me.  Many times I don’t want to do what the Lord is clearly telling me in His word to do.  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Phil. 4:4).  “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving.” (Psalm 50:14).  This is clear.

The Lord had mercy on Naaman.  He gave Naaman ears to hear His word and a heart to obey.  “But his servants came near and said to him, ‘My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it?  Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?'” (2 Kings 5:13)

What happened?  Naaman humbled himself and came up under the word of the Lord.  “So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” (2 Kings 5:14).  This is so amazing.  Naaman was an adult, but the Lord didn’t just restore his flesh to regular adult flesh.  He did more than Naaman could have asked or imagined.  He restored his flesh to that of a “little child!!”  Soft and sweet:)  Our God is so GOOD!!

So will we not do it?  The key is FAITH!!!  Lord grant us the faith to believe your word.  Grant us the faith to humble ourselves and come up under your word.  Grant us faith to obey your word.  And grant us faith to rejoice in you and your word and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving!

Grant us the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen so that we can by this gift of FAITH lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross for us!


by Susan Sampson

The Lord charged Paul, then Timothy and now He is charging each one of us.  There are just 2 weeks remaining in this study.  We are being given an opportunity from the Lord to take the time and think through everything we have been taught.  We do not want to “turn away from listening to the truth and wander off”.  The Lord has chosen us and appointed us as His ambassadors for Christ.  We have a charge to keep.  Our first charge is to the Lord.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5).  And our second charge is to our husbands if we are married.  “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22).  And Jesus said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mat. 22:39). 

Do you hear the call?  Oh Father, please give us ears to hear your voice speaking to our hearts!  What is holding you back?  Where have you wandered?  I confess to you all that I wander into the valley of fear often and get entangled so easily.  Praise God for our tender and loving shepherd, His rod and staff comfort us.  The Great Shepherd is calling us back to Himself. The King is telling us to come home.  “COME TO ME, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mat. 11:28-30).

And “My beloved speaks and says to me:  ‘Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone'”(Song of Solomon 2:10-11).

The King has paid the ultimate penalty of death for the offenses against Himself!  Is there any greater love?  Our sin has been abolished, washed clean by the blood of Christ.  We have been chosen to be His daughters, set free to serve Him as His ambassadors.  He has lifted us out of the pit of destruction, brought us out of the valley of fear and set our feet upon the Rock.  We are His treasured possession!  We live in the kingdom of God here and now!  We are not to live in the dungeon any more!  Our Father has a place for us at His table.  He prepares His table for us in the presence of our enemies.

NOW we must be ready in season and out of season to speak for our King and to serve our King.  Lord, please lead us by your kindness to repentance.  Instead of wandering and turning away from listening to the truth, help us turn in repentance back in FAITH by grace to you!  Even though we are at your table, our hearts are still hard.  You have given us your word as food for our souls.  And yet we turn away from your table and go after so many cheap substitutes.  Help us to take your word  and eat it and digest it that it may nourish our souls and transform our hearts so that we are more like Christ.

How are we going to spend our time?  The enemy is tempting us. Our flesh is weak.  Our Christmas list is tempting us to go to the mall.  The phone is ringing.  The laundry is piling up.  Homework is never ending.  What are we going to do?  Remember, “for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4b). 

“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:5).

  • Be sober-minded.  Don’t give in to fear and your feelings.  Take every thought captive.  Take the truth to heart & submit to God’s word.
  • Endure suffering.  Put our flesh to death remembering the gospel that Christ died because of our sin and for our sin!
  • Do the work of an evangelist.  Be in the world, but not of the world.
  • Fulfill your ministry.  Don’t give up!  Don’t give in!  Fight the fight of faith!

The charge really is worth everything we’ve got.  Let us confess our fear and unbelief and receive His blessed forgiveness to walk forward by faith in grace!  “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Mat. 6:33).

We all need Jesus.  We must keep our eyes on Jesus.  In him all things hold together (Col. 1:17).  We cannot hold our lives together.  I act like I can, but that is absolutely not true!!  But Jesus can.  He wants to.  He will.  He is the Sovereign Lord.  This means He is in total control of all things at all times.  He is good and His love endures forever!  He is working ALL things together for our good and for His glory!

SO today, step by step, moment by moment, decision by decision, looking to Christ, let us go forward by FAITH and “run with endurance the race that is set before us”! (Heb. 12:1).  To God be the glory, great things He has done and is doing!