Devotional: The Samson Syndrome⁠⠀

November 24, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional No Comments

“The Philistine rulers held a great festival, offering sacrifices and praising their god, Dagon. They said, ‘Our god has given us victory over our enemy Samson!’ When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, ‘Our god has delivered our enemy to us! The one who killed so many of us is now in our power!’ Half drunk by now, the people demanded, ‘Bring out Samson so he can amuse us!’ So he was brought from the prison to amuse them, and they had him stand between the pillars supporting the roof.”⁠ – Judges 16:23-25⁠⠀
⁠⠀

Samson, a man who had been greatly blessed by God, here became entertainment for God’s enemies. While this passage shows the outcome of Samson’s failures, chapters 13-16 relate the whole story of his life. Over the centuries, Samson has been portrayed as both a hero and a tragic figure. His own failures and weaknesses made him prey to the people he had, in the past, so creatively defeated. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
The lesson of Samson is also a lesson for our times. When we identify ourselves with Christ yet consistently fail to exhibit ethical and moral purity, the scoffers have a field day. They are convinced that their gods (the things they value most) are more valid than the God of heaven. Without knowing it, many Christian men provide office entertainment for their unbelieving coworkers. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
We are all tempted, as Samson was, to compromise our Christian standards. For God’s sake and your own, ask God every day to keep you from the Samson syndrome. ⁠⠀

__

This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible. 

Free Printable: Thanksgiving Family Prayer Guide

November 16, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional
Thanksgiving is a time for gathering together with family, feasting, and thanking God for His provision. But when everyone is gathered together, it’s easy to focus only on the food and family—and forget to give thanks.
That’s why we’ve put together a Thanksgiving Family Prayer Guide—to help you lead your family in remembering the goodness of God. This free printable is meant for printing and bringing to the dinner table to stir conversation and provide points to pray over. It is also helpful for personal use, as a guide for meditating on God’s faithfulness.
This free printable is also free to share, so don’t hesitate to pass it on to a friend!

Devotional: Completely Free

November 14, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional
Some people simply refuse to believe in God if his existence can’t be proven by scientific, intellectual means. But God offers mankind a message that goes beyond the grasp of rational human intellect. While believers throughout the centuries have testified that faith in Jesus is reasonable, Paul reflects the fact that to most people, the message of salvation seems utterly foolish. Why? Because its only requirement is faith. Men don’t like that. Most men feel like they want or need to do something to earn God’s favor. ⁠
But for a believer, the gospel isn’t foolish. On the contrary, it demonstrates both the wisdom and power of God. It shows God’s wisdom by providing the only possible basis for forgiveness – a sinless sacrifice. It shows God’s power because Jesus secured something through his death and resurrection that man was unable to produce: namely, our salvation.⁠
One thing is clear, the gospel message came from God. Men would never have dreamed up something so amazing and wonderful—and so completely free.⁠

This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible. For more devotionals and encouraging resources, download the FREE Promise Keepers app. (Download for iOS or for Android.)

Devotional: What Happened After Joshua?

November 10, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional
“The people of Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him—those who had personally experienced all that the Lord had done for Israel.” – Joshua 24:31
This verse contains both encouragement and warning. A godly man can make a difference. Joshua and his team of elders had a positive influence on Israel. But the implied warning comes in the thoughtful reader’s question: ‘What happened after Joshua and the elders?’” It is important to model godliness and encourage others to live for Him. But it is equally important to teach the values and behaviors of godliness to those who will be left after you’ve passed on.
Live, model, encourage and cultivate godliness for the next generation.

This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible. For more devotionals and encouraging resources, download the FREE Promise Keepers app. (Download for iOS or for Android.)

Devotional: Peace, Hope, and Love

October 19, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

– Romans 5:1-5

 At one time or another, most men search for happiness in the wrong way. We try to find it in seeking money, power, pleasure and fame. But Paul tells us where we can find the most sought-after things in life. He lists three practical benefits of following Christ: peace with God (v. 1), hope in affliction (v. 3), and love that’s unconditional (v. 5).
Look over your life and identify the places, things or experiences you go to in search of happiness. Do they actually produce happiness? Does that happiness last? Now consider the three benefits of knowing Christ that Paul mentions. These benefits hold considerable power to change your whole outlook on life (and death). They go far beyond any search for temporary happiness.

This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible. For more devotionals and encouraging resources, download the FREE Promise Keepers app. (Download for iOS or for Android.)

Devotional: Find Peace Amid Panic

October 2, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?
    Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
    speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
Those who refuse to gossip
    or harm their neighbors
    or speak evil of their friends.
Those who despise flagrant sinners,
    and honor the faithful followers of the Lord,
    and keep their promises even when it hurts.
Those who lend money without charging interest,
    and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent.
Such people will stand firm forever.

– Psalm 15:1-5

David attracted pressure like a magnet. Most powerful leaders do. He regularly made life-and-death decisions that affected thousands of people. He was surrounded with temptations. Every day was like running the gauntlet. Imagine David in the rush and crush of life, asking, ‘How can I dwell in the serenity of your presence, O God?’” Many men today know they can’t escape life’s pressure, but they can find a calm place in the midst of it. 

‘Who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?’ Verses 2-5 give ten specific conditions for living in God’s presence no matter where you are. Any man would do well to memorize this psalm as a reminder of what kind of man feels welcome in God’s holy presence. Note especially that this man ‘keeps his oath even when it hurts…lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.’ (vv.4-5). God entertains the man whose promise stands regardless of what it costs. What does it take for a man to renege on his promises? How generous is a man when there is no pay back? How strongly will a man stand against making money off the innocence of the naive? In the pressure of life, God offers his sanctuary to those who feel at home there because their life is consistent with his holiness. ‘He who does these things will never be shaken.’

This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible. For more devotionals and encouraging resources, download the FREE Promise Keepers app. (Download for iOS or for Android.)

Devotional: Diamonds at Your Feet

October 1, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?’

‘Who are you, lord?’ Saul asked.

And the voice replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’

The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one! Saul picked himself up off the ground, but when he opened his eyes he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. He remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink.

Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, ‘Ananias!’

‘Yes, Lord!’ he replied.

The Lord said, ‘Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.'”

– Acts 9:3-11

 

Russell H. Conwell, in a speech entitled, ‘Acres of Diamonds,’ told a story about a Persian farmer named Al Hafed whose ambition reached far beyond the plot of ground he tilled. Although this farmer possessed a productive plot of land and enjoyed great wealth, he dreamed of owning a diamond mine. So one day, he sold his farm, gathered his belongings, and set off on a worldwide search for diamonds. But the drive and determination with which he began his quest faded over the months and years. Eventually Hafed died–dejected, alone, and penniless–in a far-away land. This one-prosperous farmer had thrown away his life in search of an elusive dream.

As Al Hafed searched for diamonds in foreign countries, a man from Al Hafed’s home territory watered a camel in one of the clear pools on his property. In the brightness of the midday sun, he noticed a shimmer in the white sand. What this fortunate man discovered that day turned out to be the backbone of the world’s richest diamond mine, located in the Persian region of Golconda–on the back side of Al Hafed’s old farm.

Like Al Hafed, it’s easy for people to overlook the diamonds that are directly at their feet. And Saul of Tarsus was no exception. Convinced that Jesus was a false Messiah, he rejected the spiritual treasure that Jesus offered. Saul not only refused to consider Jesus’ claims, but he also refused to allow others to look in the right place. He doggedly hunted down Christians and had them thrown in jail. But God had a different plan for Saul. He forced this man to look at the truth. Several points about Saul’s conversion are impressive.

First, after Saul met Jesus, his beliefs about him were radically transformed. He began to see Jesus as the true Messiah, the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy. Before his encounter with Jesus Christ, Saul was sincere and moral and deeply religious—and also deeply wrong. In the burst of light that surrounded him, Saul, the religious zealot, learned he was a sinner in need of a Savior.

Second an obscure Jewish believer had the privilege of helping move Saul along the path to faith in Jesus. Ananias was understandably reluctant to meet with Saul. After all, he had heard about this Jewish zealot’s treatment of Christians. But, in obedience to Jesus, Ananias spoke the words that Saul so desperately needed to hear. In a wonderfully symbolic moment, Saul’s blindness was removed and he received the Holy Spirit. 

Finally, Saul’s confession of faith in Jesus was immediate and bold. He wasted no time in telling others that he had been looking for spiritual truth in the wrong places. And when he finally recognized the spiritual treasure that Jesus offered, he didn’t horde what he had found. He shared it with others. If you already know Jesus, contemplate the fact that you’re surrounded by men who are looking for life in the wrong places. Also realize that you are the keeper of an immense spiritual treasure that grows when it’s given away. Like Ananias, be available for God to use you to lead others to his Son. If that idea frightens you, that’s okay. But don’t let your fear control you. Go ahead and tell others what God has done for you. Show them the diamonds at their feet. And the same Lord who prepared the way for Ananias to serve him will prepare the way for you.

This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible. For more devotionals and encouraging resources, download the FREE Promise Keepers app. (Download for iOS or for Android.)

Devotional: Respect for God’s Anointed

September 28, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the Lord’s anointed one.’ Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me.

“May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you. Who is the king of Israel trying to catch anyway? Should he spend his time chasing one who is as worthless as a dead dog or a single flea? May the Lord therefore judge which of us is right and punish the guilty one. He is my advocate, and he will rescue me from your power!”

When David had finished speaking, Saul called back, “Is that really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry. And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it. Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today. And now I realize that you are surely going to be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will flourish under your rule. Now swear to me by the Lord that when that happens you will not kill my family and destroy my line of descendants!”

1 Samuel 24:10-21

This is one of two opportunities David had to free himself from Saul’s pursuit (see ch. 26 for the other story). In his jealous rage, Saul had tried to kill David many times. David had every right to fight back and to protect his own life, but refused to do it. 

David gave two reasons for not retaliating. First, Saul was God’s anointed—David would not harm Saul because God had made him king. Second, judgment belongs to God, and David trusted him to deal with Saul (vv. 12-15). What a model David provides for us to follow when people wrong us! The David who killed Goliath, God’s enemy, refused to harm Saul, God’s anointed. After reading these accounts, read David’s response to Saul’s death in 2 Samuel 1. Then ask God to help you frame a proper response to the next person who treads on your “rights.”

This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible. For more devotionals and encouraging resources, download the FREE Promise Keepers app. (Download for iOS or for Android.)

Devotional: Jesus Looked Beyond Appearances

September 25, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!’

Then Jesus answered his thoughts. ‘Simon,’ he said to the Pharisee, ‘I have something to say to you.’

‘Go ahead, Teacher,’ Simon replied.

Then Jesus told him this story: ‘A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?’

Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.’

‘That’s right,’ Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.

‘I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.’ Then Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’

The men at the table said among themselves, ‘Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?’

And Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’

– Luke 7:36-50

 
It’s easy to reject someone because they appear different from us. To the Pharisee who hosted Jesus in this story, the woman who anointed the Lord’s feet was a sinner… Her reputation in the town had been sullied; her past was littered with one-night stands. Nobody of high reputation, especially not this religious leader, would want to be seen with her. Yet Jesus allowed her to anoint his feet with perfume, cover them with tears and wipe them with her hair.
 
Why did Jesus do this? Because he looked beyond this woman’s past and saw her future. He knew she ‘loved much’ because she had been forgiven much. His parable and his sharp rebuke of the Pharisee (vv.41-47) bring his actions—and the lessons we’re to learn through them—into razor-sharp focus.
 
How would you have responded if you had been present that evening? Or, to be more pointed, who do you respond to people who are different from yourself–people with lighter or darker skin, people who speak with a different accent, people whose bad reputation precedes them? Remember, Jesus loved and accepted love from someone just like that. And today he wants those who follow him to show the same kind of love. Jesus looked beyond appearances. He shunned stereotypes. Just as Jesus did, look beyond such a person’s past or his or her differences. Look toward that person’s bright potential future–complete forgiveness of sins and eternity with Jesus Christ.
 

This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible. For more devotionals and encouraging resources, download the FREE Promise Keepers app. (Download for iOS or for Android.)

Devotional: Jacob & Laban

September 23, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

“…for he said, ‘The Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight.'” – Genesis 31:49

The relationship between Jacob and Laban is tragic—and all too familiar. This verse essentially says, ‘I can’t watch you all the time, so may God watch you when I can’t.” While many people mistakenly read this statement as a blessing, it is actually filled with skepticism and veiled accusation.

How sad that men’s behavior breeds antagonism and mistrust. So many things drive us apart that we have to work overtime to build bridges. Although the suspicion and antagonism between these men had more than enough basis in behavior, the end result was still tragic. How much more tragic are the divisions between us that are based on tradition, race and other things. Only the power of God at work in men who love him can overcome the barriers that separate us. Do something today that actively builds a bridge to someone to whom you may not otherwise relate.

This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible. For more devotionals and encouraging resources, download the FREE Promise Keepers app. (Download for iOS or for Android.)