Summary: A look at the life of Hannah and how her devotion resulted in God blessing her with her most inward desires. This is a new year with new hope.

The Possibilities are Limitless

1 Samuel 1.1-16

This past week Barack Obama depending on who you listen to did the expected or did the unexpected. The community that believes he did the expected build the argument on the basis that he won a neighboring state to his home state of Illinois and no one should be surprised or consider it an upset based on him winning Iowa. Those who call it unexpected believes that although senator Obama made a splash on the national scene at the 2004 democratic national convention, that transforming the mindset of America to vote for a young African American candidate with an African name is most unlikely. Yet with all of that on this past Thursday against conventional wisdom in the most unlikely of places and with the state having a record turnout Barack Obama won the Iowa primary. We acknowledge that there is a long way to go before the democratic convention and much to be resolved. However we have in Senator Obama one who was able to bring people together crossing lines of race, age, and economics to raise a unified voice. Listening to Senator Obama’s speeches and to that of the political analyst they all agree that he was able to sway voters on the idea that the time for change is now. Senator Clinton is more of a household name, senator Edwards has more experience in national elections but it was the message for change and the appeal of Senator Obama that won the day in Iowa. A message that got though to the voters in Iowa was the need for change, the need for a change in direction in Washington and a change in the persons leading our nation. Maybe the issues of Iraq and other pressing national and local issues created a gulf by which the idea of change could be the central theme to a presidential campaign but it took someone to galvanize the people to promote and generate a change in the way people looked at political candidates and the way they would vote. In a state where the African American population only consisted of two percent of the states total how would he do? Well history has been recorded and the answer is that he did the unimaginable he won Iowa. 2008 a year of new beginning, I see in Senator Obama’s an opportunity for all of us to evaluate, to embrace and to engage a climate of change. A time to break down old stereotypes, tear down old racial barriers, eliminate fragmented cultures and move toward a common goal of effective change for a better today and a better tomorrow. The reality is the only way that Senator Obama or any of the other candidates for president create change is via the actions that others must take to create the possibility of change. It will rest with the voters to create change, those who choose to vote initiate change, those that voter their political conscience initiate change, those that rally their neighbors initiate change. This idea of change and if not change maturing to new levels ought to appeal to us all. We are all challenged to see the potential and to move toward that potential, to understand that the possibilities are limitless and if we embrace the possibilities then great things can happen. Regardless of your political choices the power of possibility exists for you as well, the possibility of change and or maturation is within your grasp. There is no better time for such a process to begin in and with you than in the beginning of this year of new beginnings. I know the spirit of doubt that can be so overwhelming that crates pessimism, that crates uncertainty, that makes so say here we go again with another hurrah sermon. But I want to share with you by the aide of the holy spirit a method that can create the change you are looking for or bringing you to a greater place of maturity in an area where it is much needed. I believe that is what our text offers for us this morning, a process and a method that can bring us to maturation and that can create change within us.

The children of Israel were not under bondage at this time. They were not wondering in the wilderness. They were not worshipping idols; they did not have to worry about Pharaoh or his army. They were worshipping the one and only true God. They were offering up sacrifices to the Lord, they were living theirs lives the way God required them to live and doing the things God required them to do. In that essence it was the best of times. Eli, the High Priest, had two sons by the name of Hophni and Phinas, and these men were wicked men that caused a lot of distress and confusion among the people. The name Hophni means (Pugilist) boxer if you will and the name Phinehas means (Serpents mouth). We have a lot of fighters and liars in church today. The Bible says these men were the sons of “Belial”, which is another name for the Satan, it means worthlessness, wickedness, and ungodly. Hophni and Phinehas refused to obey God, they didn’t hold to the custom of the priest; they stole the offering of the people that was a sacrifice to the Lord. They threatened the people with bodily harm, they caused the women, who had dedicated their lives to the Lord in the temple (Nuns if you will) to commit adultery. They defiled the temple and when confronted of their atrocities the failed to repent. At a time when things should have been the best of times for the Children of Israel, these men made it the worst of times, they caused confusion and fear and because of their power and position they were Temple Tormentors.

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