This week for our study let me turn your attention to first Samuel chapter 4 vs 1-17 and I beg that you would indulge me to get that old AV1611 your great grandparents loved and read it with me. There isn’t space for me to quote it for you or I would – but notice that the “Children of Israel” are in yet another battle in the same old war. The war with the Philistines, {the Philistines are, by all historical and Biblical evidence, the original “Palestinian” (a term derived from “Philistinian”); who have been enemies of Israel from old}. Palestine, by the way, belongs to Israel lock, stock and barrel as well as all of Syria, all of Lebanon, ½ of modern Iraq, part of Egypt, part of Turkey, and the northern half of Jordan [Genesis 15:18-21]. So, here we are – {Palestinians} [aka Philistines] on that side, Israel on this side and Israel, because of their wickedness toward God, is getting a ‘beat down’. Suddenly Israel remembers that they have the “Ark of the Covenant of the Lord” and they send for it to be brought to the camp – like a good luck charm or a rabbit’s foot. The problem is they’ve been blowing God off and disregarding His covenants and the whipping they are taking is the result of turning their back on God in the first place. So, by bringing the Ark out, they figure even if they’re getting what they’ve asked for – surely the Ark will swing the balance of power back into their favor. Cute huh?! What a contemptuous and blatant disregard for the glorious presence of God! So, since they regard something so incredible and precious with such pathetic disrespect, God let them lose it [vs 11]. And there’s our Lesson from this past Sunday evening at Calvary Baptist Church: The presence of God, the Blessing of God, The Fellowship of God! The Unity of the Saints, The Praises of God, The Gift of Church Fellowship with the Saints, The Closeness of God – these are ALL precious things in the Household of Faith. I want to give you a caution Christian friends: These precious things are far too valuable and miraculous to be mishandled like the Children of Israel mishandled the Ark of God. God recorded this event for our admonition. A warning to tell the backslider that something precious has been taken! A warning to tell the lukewarm to get hot or get cold! A warning to tell those who have lost their joy and their song – have you forgotten why you asked Christ to forgive you?! Oh Christian, what happened? When did you get so casual about God’s unspeakable gift that you haven’t truly spent an hour in prayer in months, years? How did that Bible that once set your heart to leaping and shouting become so boring you haven’t picked it up in days? Weeks? Months?  Have you forgotten how your heart leapt for joy reading Isaiah 6:1 …I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  My dear Christian friend, has your Ark been taken? Did you get too casual about God’s precious gifts and lose them?  Wouldn’t you like to get your heart set on fire again? Wouldn’t you like to recover what has been lost? Isn’t it time you got serious about your Lord?  Calvary Baptist Church 703 E Gillespie St on the Loop. 903-729-5924   I am looking forward to seeing you soon.