October 29, 2013

Today you should read: Judges 10

Cultivating a “needy” heart…

“Needy” people…yeah, we all know ‘em.  You know the ones we consider to be “high maintenance?”  You’re thinking of them right now, aren’t you? J

But let’s not be too quick to judge, because to someone (or maybe to multiple people) we are the ones who are high maintenance.  We have our own expectations and judgments of people, and I hate to break it to you, but they have their own as well.  Neither is better and neither is worse.  So, in the end, we are all “needy” and “high maintenance.”

Now, if you can think about how needy we may seem to other people, think about how needy we must seem to God!  We are a high maintenance people!!  But the difference is, we get annoyed with needy people, and God desires needy people.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

Today in our passage, Israel has done it again…the same old song and dance.  They’ve left God to do what is right in their own eyes.  So what does God do?  He brings them to a point of distress.  Here’s the progression: they abandoned the Lord, so He turned them over to their enemies, they became distressed, and then they turned back to the Lord (verses 7-10).  The later verses tell us that God has done this numerous times.  Every time that they became distressed they cried out to God, and He rescued them.

It’s crazy how God’s choice method to direct a heart back to Him is to create a need.  When we feel like we have life under control, we’ve had a few victories, and we are capable on our own strength to handle life…God makes us needy.  If you’re anything like me, I hate being in a needy place, because it’s usually hard.  Being in a constant state of dependence on God is uncomfortable, and none of us like it.  But the truth is…that’s exactly where God wants us.

Lately, I’ve tried to be proactive about cultivating a needy heart…cultivating desperation, for God and His strength.  The truth is we do need Him, at all times, for every single task.  Everything we are allowed to do is only by His grace.  Every breath we breathe is an act of grace.

So, instead of going off into seasons of “independence” and having God bring us back by “making” us needy, let’s try to cultivate a needy heart.  Let’s try to remain in a constant state of truth that embraces the idea, with joy, that we are dependent on Him and His grace at all times.  This should make us desperate, in prayer, for all tasks that God puts in front of us.  Let’s become “needy” people.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione


October 28, 2013

Today you should read: Judges 9

Treachery…lies…treason…murder – great way to start a morning! J  All jokes aside, all of us have a wicked heart.

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.  Who really knows how bad it is?  Jeremiah 17:9

As you know, this is because of the sin that lives in it – we got that from Adam (Romans 5:12).  The only thing that can modify a heart is Jesus.  When we meet Him and allow Him to change us, His Spirit moves in and then our heart becomes new.

God knows our hearts – and He’s the One in charge of all things.  He’s the great Balancing Agent.

But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives.  I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.  Jeremiah 17:10

Revenge is an ugly green monster that will destroy families, friends, and even worse you!  Leave the revenge to God – He’s the One who can handle it.

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.  Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them.  If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. Romans 12:19-21

Have you allowed thought of revenge to dominate your thinking?  Are you scheming and planning how to get someone back for something they’ve done to you?  Stop it!  Let go of it and live in the peace that comes from knowing that God is in charge.  He’s got it and He’s able to take care of it.

Posted by: Tim Parsons

October 26, 2013

Today you should read: Judges 8:22-35

“Self-denial is the test and definition of self-government.”

G.K. Chesterton

If given praise and authority by others, would you respond the same way Gideon did in today’s Jumpstart reading? After striking down the kings of Midian and winning plenty of battles beforehand, the people of Israel are ready to give Gideon the authority to rule over them (v. 22). Most men would have taken it in a second. Gideon knew that they couldn’t handle it. They needed to be reminded that only God could be their ruler (v. 23). Sadly, they didn’t take heed to the reminder. Soon after Gideon died God’s people forgot who the true source of all their victories were because they started worshiping false gods like the people around them (vs. 33-34). To make matters worse, they also forgot everything Gideon did for them and didn’t honor and love his remaining family the way they should have (v. 35).

Here are a couple of things we should ask ourselves after reading this devotion.

  1. Do we give glory back to God when people praise us and want to give us more responsibilities? It’s not always bad to take these types of leadership positions and it could even be God opening up doors. But, do the people you are in authority over know that it’s God who is really doing the leading, and are you pointing back to Him every step of the way?
  2. When people that God used in our life go away, do we start turning away from God? As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites started worshiping false Gods again. It’s amazing how many churches, student ministries and para-church ministries start losing people when a strong leader leaves because, let’s be honest, those people were following a leader and not Jesus.
  3. Do we honor the families of those that God places in authority over us? It’s sad when pastor’s wives and children have more negative stereotypes than positive ones. Here’s a mainstream article on the stresses that pastor’s families go through.


We need to love, honor, and take care of the families who have to sacrifice so much for the ministry.

Posted by: Erik Koliser

October 25, 2013

Today you should read: Judges 8:1-21

In our passage today we begin to see Gideon go through a bit of a change. In chapter 6 we see a weak and scared Gideon. He lacked confidence and even chooses to destroy the altar of Baal at night because of his fear of the people. He even went as far as to test God, which we are not to do (Matthew 4:7), because of his lack of faith and fearfulness. Then in chapter 7 we begin to see Gideon grow in his confidence in the Lord. Gideon hears the interpretation of the dream in Judges 7:13-14, and worships God and takes his three hundred men to face the Midian army. Gideon is given victory over the army through a very unorthodox plan and begins the pursuit of the Kings of Midian.

However, in our passage today we begin to see a different side of Gideon. He becomes very aggressive, which is much different from what we’ve seen so far.  Also, Gideon makes things personal and lashes out at the people of Succoth and Penuel. Finally, the dialogue between himself and the two kings in v.18-21 was very personal. The biggest evidence to Gideon’s attitude change is the lack of mention of God in this passage. The very definition of a Holy War (ESV Study Bible Commentary) is “to be fought at God’s command for the protection of the whole people.” The actions in this passage do not display Gideon’s intention to glorify God or protect the people. On the contrary, his actions display personal vengeance.

So what can we learn from Gideon?

1.      Don’t lose sight of Whose you are.

• Gideon would not have had success against the Midianite army without God fighting on his behalf. As a matter of fact, if God did not show grace to Gideon and allow Gideon to test Him then Gideon probably would not have obeyed. Do you ever find yourself taking credit for success when it was God who did it?

2.      Don’t lose sight of why you are doing it.

• Gideon forgot that God’s glory was the purpose of the victory. Our lives have one purpose and that is to bring God glory. So, whose name are you out to make famous…yours or God’s?

Posted by: Chad Wiles