Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mighty Men of Valor

These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite; he was chief of the three. He wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he killed at one time.
And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the Lord brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain. And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines. But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the Lord worked a great victory. And three of the thirty chief men went down and came about harvest time to David at the cave of Adullam, when a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. And David said longingly, "Oh, that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!" Then the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate and carried and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it. He poured it out to the Lord  and said, "Far be it from me, O Lord , that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?" Therefore he would not drink it. These things the three mighty men did.- 2 Samuel 23:8-17
This chapter of scripture might be easy to gloss over, mainly because of all the big long names we tend to just skip over. But just like the rest of scripture, every part is important. At the beginning of the chapter, we get David's last Oracle as king. Immediately following that, we are giving a list of his mightiest men. 30+ men who helped defeat the surrounding armies of Israel. These dudes were not guys you wanted to mess with either. Some of these men killed hundreds from the enemies army by themselves on more than one occasion. These guys were the generals of the day, yet we tend to gloss read over them like it is simply another chronological listing of this guy begat this guy who begat this guy, who had many sons and daughters. I'll admit, I have done this before. But maybe it is time to read the bible with new eyes. Read it like you would read a history textbook. Every one in there did something that impacted something else or someone else. The men in the bible did too. The whole second half of this chapter is full of history regarding Israel's past. Each man listed did something worth mentioning, but our eyes are almost trained to read it, but not necessarily comprehend it. The bible is full of amazing stories and people that you might always hear in church, but that doesn't change the importance of them. We have to realize that every story in the bible, major or minor, is significant otherwise it would not be there. "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching. Rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness"- 2 Timothy 3:16
Adam Semple- A Young Man on a Mission From God
Photo credit-

Friday, July 22, 2016

I'd Give My Right Hand to be Ambidextrous

We can get so familiar with the stories of the bible that are most common. David and Goliath, Noah and the ark, Moses and the burning bush. But what about the uncommon stories. The ones they don't talk about in Sunday school. Today's bible story is found in the book of Judges. As usual, Israel sins, God sends a judge, everything becomes honky dory for a little while and then, Boom, back into sin. This time, it is worse than before and all of Israel is sinning once again. Well there was this king see, and he may not have been Ahab bad, but he wasn't good either. His name was Eglon, and he was not a nice dude. God sends this judge, named Ehud. There is something different about Ehud that makes him useful for this purpose. He is left- handed. You may be thinking, so what, half the population is ambidextrous. But see, Ehud was not only a judge, but also a legal sword carrier. Because he was left handed, his sword was positioned on his right side, as opposed to right handers who would have had their sword on the left. It makes much more sense for sword wielders because they can access their weapons much smoother. Anyway, left hand judge is told to go to the king, and the kings guards are not used to dealing with left handers, so they check his left side for a weapon, upon which, they find nothing and they permit him to see Eglon. Ehud tells the king, "Hey, you want to hear a secret straight from God?" Eglon of course said yes and commands his servants to leave them for few minutes. Ehud gets nice a close, pulls out his sword, and stabs it right into Eglon's stomach. As much as Eglon loved a good secret, he also loved food, and was therefore a very large, fat dude. So large in fact, that Ehud's sword was swallowed up among the king's entails. Ehud excuses himself out of the kings window and leaves the king to die in his own fat. The king's  servants, after some time, think among themselves that it has been so long he must be relieving himself. After a little longer of embarrassing long wait, the servants rush into the room to find their beloved king dead surrounded by his intestines and insides, with the killer long gone. Wow, and we wonder why that story is  not popular in kids church. But that doesn't take away from the importance of it. When Ehud was born, he probably thought himself to be weird for not writing and fighting with the same hand as his friends did, but then he grows up and is given a command from God. His difference was by God's grand design to be used for his purpose. If he was the same as everyone else, he never would have gotten in to see the king. God has given all of us different features that we might see as flaws that are actually the things that make us unique and special. Embrace your flaws and be on the watch for what God is going to do through your "abnormalities". God has a plan for all of us. Flaws and all.
Adam Semple- A Young Man on a Mission
Photo credit-

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Stay Focused

Imagine with me the story of Adam and Eve. God creates the world in all its beauty. The waters are full of sea life, the land is full of majestic creatures. The stars and planets are in motion and the tide is crashing beautifully onto the shore. Then, God  makes man. Just one guy to watch over all of God's creation. Adam has been given a very important task. All these animals around you, it is your job to name them. From the smallest of bugs to the largest of mammals, give them whatever name you see fit. So Adam proceeds to name them all. I'll call you a hedgehog, and you a platypus and you, I'll call you a snow leopard. Not sure what snow is, but whatever lets go with it. As he is naming them, God realizes that the birds of the air and the fish of the sea all have a partner, and man shall not be alone. So God puts Adam into a deep sleep, pulls a rib out of his side and out of it, forms Eve. In the eyes of Adam, Eve is the most beautiful thing in God's creation. Together  they finish giving names to the animals. Unfortunately, not all the creatures are good mannered things.  The serpent is crafty and apparently able to communicate using words. He slithers over to Eve and begins twisting the words of God. In the garden, among all the others plants and trees, God made the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. He tells Adam and Eve, everything in the garden, you may eat from, except from these two trees. For if you eat of these, you will die. Alright, that sounds doable. The garden is filled with good plants and delectable fruits and vegetables. Why do we need to bother about 2 trees. We are not given a time-frame of how long they were in the garden, but I would like to think they were there a little while. They had a perfect life. No work, just them and God walking peacefully in the Garden that He made. Every animal on the earth living in harmony as your own pet. But, the serpent isn't happy with this arrangement. He uses his craftiness to get into the woman's head. "Did God really say you will die? No, you will not die. God doesn't  want you to eat it because when you do you will be like him. Go on. One bite won't hurt." So Eve takes a bite and out of everything in the garden, it is the best thing she has ever tasted. She proceeds to take it to Adam and tells him to taste it. He takes a bite and instantly they are filled with all knowledge and realize they are naked. So, out of fear and embarrassment, they hid. From the God who sees and hears all, they thought they could elude his sight behind some bushes. but of course, God is the master of hide and seek, and he found them. When they were asked what they were doing, it wasn't long before fingers were being pointed and the truth had come out. Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden of perfection into a desolate and barren land where they were forced to work the ground for food. Adam and Eve had everything they could have ever wanted, but they went after the one thing they could not and it cost them everything in return. To think their lives started out in life and ended because of one mistake. One mess-up that cost them their lives. The fact is, it wasn't hard to stay in the garden, because the garden had everything they needed. The hard part came when they got too curious about what they had no business in. Satan continues to use this strategy against God's people. He will twist the words of God and show them things they don't need, but show them in a way that looks enticing. Unfortunately, it doesn't take much for the average christian to stray. One look is all it takes to go down a path that is not good. We must prepare ourselves to be ready to look away from the things that are calling for our focus, and keep our eyes on God. For when our eyes are looking intentionally at the Father. nothing can redirect our focus unto something of evil intent. Keep focused, and God will protect you from the attacks of the enemy.
Adam Semple- a Young Man on a Mission From God

*photo credit-

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Daniel and Dangerous Dudes

The story of Daniel is one of those stories in the bible where the hero triumphs over evil. Of course the Bible is full of stories like this one, but I want to dive in to that one today. Daniel and his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, (or as they are more commonly known, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego), had been taken as captives along with several other young men into the city of Babylon. The young men had been given food from the king' s table. The finest delicacies to ensure these men could become strong and workable young men. Right from the beginning, we see that Daniel is different from the others. He decides that he does not want to defile his body with the king's food and instead, he proposes to the servants that for the next 10 days to just eat veggies and drink nothing but water. The servant consented with the idea and after the test period, Daniel and his friends were healthy and stronger then the other men. This came to be known as the Daniel Fast and many churches and individuals continue to do it to this day. Anyway, back to Daniel. Daniel and his friends grew in wisdom and knowledge in literature and in God and Daniel was given the gift of dream interpreting. Over the course of Daniel life, this gift came in very handy. After being in Babylon only a year, the king had a terrifying dream. He went to his advisers and asked them to translate it for him. They were unable to, and so Daniel was brought in and he explained the dream to Nebuchadnezzer. This happened twice while Nebbie K was king. Years later, King Beltshazzar was having a party and a hand appeared on the wall and wrote words in an unknown language. Daniel was called in and he told him that his kingdom was going to fall and be divided and given to the Medes and Persians. Now we come to the part of the story that is more well known than the rest. During the reign of King Darius, Daniel was appointed as one of his governors. Again the king had a dream and again Daniel interpreted it. This made the king very happy and he made Daniel second in the kingdom only to him. Naturally, the other governors did not like this Israelite coming in a ruling over them. So they devised a plot to get rid of him. They found out that Daniel prayed to God every day, at least 3 times a day. So they made a law that everyone should worship the king only. If anyone worships any one else, they shall be thrown in a den of lions. Of course, Daniel knew that what God says is more important than what man says, so he continues to pray to God. Then the other governors catch him in the act and they bring him before the king. Although the king is devastated about losing Daniel, he has to follow his own rules that he set in stone. So Daniel is thrown into the lion's den. King Darius is heartbroken. He is anxious all night completely unable to sleep. As soon as the sun is up, the king rushes to the pit and cries into the pit, "Daniel, are  you there? Did you survive the night with the beasts?" "Hello, your highness. It was the coolest thing. My God closed the mouth of the lions and we all slept in peace. It was awesome." King Darius decree that everyone should now worship Daniel's God. In addition, the governors who proposed the law were thrown into the pit and tore apart before they even hit the ground. Daniel went on to serve under one more king and he never stopped trusting in God to take care of him. Let us all be like Daniel, and trust that when he says something, if we fully trust him, he will protect us.
Adam Semple- a young man on a mission.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Push the Stone

You have probably heard the story of  the man who was told to go out into his field and push a stone. He is not told why or for how long, yet because God told him to, he does. Day after day, night after night he goes out and pushes against the rock. Years go by and he has pushed hard on this rock, yet it has yet to move. Like any normal human being, after a long day of pushing, he begins to get discouraged. He begins to question what he is doing wrong. Of course, in his time of weakness, Satan decides it is now the time to speak doubt into the man's heart. "Why are you wasting your life pushing that dumb rock when you could be making a living doing anything else? It's not like it is going anywhere. Why don't you just push it on occasion, you know, fit it around your timeclock." Naturally the man lets these thoughts take deep root in his heart and he goes out less and less to push the rock. After some time, he asks God,"Why did you have me push a rock for my whole life and not let it budge an inch? Have I done something wrong?" Then, in His still small voice, He says,"My son, I merely told you to go out and push. I did not tell you to move it. Because you have obeyed and stayed with the pushing, you have become strong and  calloused and ready to take on anything. Leave the moving to me."
How often has this happened to us? God tells us to do one thing, yet we get discouraged when something we think should happen, doesn't. Sometimes, we quit or only put in the smallest effort. We slack on the one thing we were instructed to do because we see it going differently in our heads. Sometimes, God gives us a simple task to see if we will be faithful in the small things while He prepares us for the big things coming our way. God will move the stone when the time is right. Push the Stone with everything you've got until that happens.
Adam Semple- A Young Man on a Mission From God