Tuesday, March 4, 2014

God's Son vs. a Muscle-Bound Jerk?

Meet Author Becky Lyles: A Gal Who Writes Westerns



Rebecca Carey Lyles grew up in Wyoming, the setting for her Kate Neilson novels. She currently lives in Idaho, where she serves as an editor and a mentor for aspiring authors and as a coach for women transitioning from prison to life on “the outside.” Winds of Freedom is the sequel to the award-winning first book in the Kate Neilson series, Winds of Wyoming.


We can do anything through Christ
By Becky Lyles

My Bible study group is currently studying Samson’s life in Judges (chapters 13-16), and I’ve been thinking about his similarity to Christ. I know—how irreverent to compare the two! Jesus was the perfect Son of God. Samson was a musclebound jerk fueled by hormones and temper. Yet, some aspects of his life remind me of Jesus’ life. Here are a few similarities followed by dissimilarities.

Similar:

-          Their mothers were both chosen by God.
-          Both women were visited by angels.
-          Both earthly fathers had conversations with angels.
-          Their moms were promised unique sons with God-ordained destinies.
-          Their births were supernatural: Samson born to a barren woman; Jesus born to a virgin.
-          They were set apart by God from birth and called to rescue their people.
-          They received power from the Holy Spirit.
-          They had enemies who hated them and tortured them.
-          They triumphed over their enemies through death.

Dissimilar:

-          Samson broke his Nazirite vow again and again; Jesus lived a sinless life.
-          Samson lived for himself and his lusts; Jesus lived to obey God and serve others.
-          Samson used women; Jesus elevated women.
-          Samson gave in to sin; Jesus conquered sin.
-          Samson prayed when he was desperate; Jesus prayed to commune with his Father.
-          Samson was occasionally poetic, yet he lived a violent life; Jesus sometimes spoke harsh words, yet he lived a peaceful life.
-          Samson’s vengeful anger was aimed at those who dared oppose him; Jesus focused his anger at those who dishonored his Father.
-          Samson judged Israel 20 years and died; Jesus lives and acts as our Advocate/Defender before the Father.
-          Samson died to avenge his eyesight loss and took thousands to the grave with him; Jesus died to provide eternal life for humankind and took a thief to heaven with him.

Does Samson’s life have meaning for you and me? Why did God include him in the Bible’s “hall of faith”? I don’t know the answer to the last question, but according to Hebrews 11, Samson’s weakness was turned to strength. Like him and like the Apostle Paul, “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). God’s “power is made perfect in weakness” (12:9). Jesus, too, became weak, but then God “exalted him to the highest place” (Phil. 2:7-8).

Believers are exalted and empowered when we join God’s family. We’re sanctified—made holy and set apart for a sacred purpose (John 17:17-19) (I Thess. 5:23). Do we, like Samson, ignore our unique status and live for ourselves? Do we give in to sin and pray only when we’re desperate? Are we pugnacious, vengeful people—or peacemakers? Do we live by the Holy Spirit’s power or our own? Do we judge people or defend them? Are we sharing the gospel so we can take others to heaven with us?


“I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).


BECKY'S LATEST BOOK

Winds of Freedom


Winter storms blast across the Whispering Pines Guest Ranch, and a cold wind blows through Kate Neilson’s soul. Despite her pain, Kate’s well-being takes a backseat to the needs of loved ones: her best friend, who’s been ensnared by evil; her failing great-aunt, whose dementia care keeps Kate guessing; and Laura and Mike Duncan, whose ranch and livelihood are threatened by a land-grabbing neighbor.

Winds of Freedom Amazon link:  https://tinyurl.com/puj6afj

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