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Raising My Ebeneezer

  • 30 March 2013
  • Randy Wollf

Ebenezer - Stone of HelpI remember as a kid singing a verse from the old hymn, Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, that encouraged me to raise my Ebenezer. The only Ebenezer I knew was good old Scrooge from Dickens' Christmas Carol. I later learned that the hymn writer's Ebenezer call was part of a larger story in 1 Samuel 7. In this chapter, we see how Samuel led the Israelite army to victory, with the Lord's help, against their archenemies, the Philistines. After the battle, Samuel set up a stone to commemorate the victory; he named it "Ebenezer," which means "stone of help." He wanted the Israelites to remember God's faithfulness - "Thus far the Lord has helped us" (v. 12).

How has God helped you? How is He helping you today? Don't forget God's faithfulness. As we remember and share God's faithful acts in our lives, we will raise an Ebenezer that will encourage us and others to trust God with the challenges that come our way.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (second verse) by Robert Robinson, 1758



Leadership in the Home

  • 24 March 2013
  • Randy Wollf

Dad reading with daughter

I'm impressed by the example of Samuel’s parents, Elkanah and Hannah, in 1 Samuel 1. Year after year, Elkanah worshipped the Lord and made sacrifices to Him at the Tent of Meeting in Shiloh. During one of their visits to Shiloh, Hannah poured out her heart to the Lord because of her inability to have children. The priest, Eli, presumed she was drunk because of her obvious distress. The Lord heard the prayer of this praying woman and gave her a son. She named him, Samuel, which means, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

Of course, not all of the characters in 1 Samuel were outstanding parents. The Lord rebuked Eli for his inability to restrain his sons who were committing wicked acts as a part of their priestly service. Even though Eli was a religious leader, he apparently failed to lead his family well. This contrast between Samuel’s parents and Eli provides an important reminder that godly, servant leaders exercise good leadership in the home. Perhaps this is why one of the requirements of elders/overseers in the church is that they have believing children who are not wild and disobedient (Titus 1:6).

Intimacy with God

  • 22 March 2013
  • Randy Wollf

I love the analogy of the vine and branches in John 15. I'm an outdoors kind of guy and can readily picture what John is trying to communicate. It really is a picture of intimacy and connectedness. As a Christian leader, I want to be productive and bear fruit for the Lord. In the past, I had tended to view this passage as a call to simply be with Jesus - to spend time with him as I do in my human relationships. Yet, abiding in Jesus is more than being with him. As we read in verse 10, it requires obedience. "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love." The way to intimacy with Jesus is through obedience. As we lovingly obey him, we will draw close to him and bear much fruit.