October 24, 2013

Today you should read: Judges 7

This chapter contains the familiar story of Gideon.  He is the one who gathered 300 men to fight against a great many Amalekites and Midianites.  It’s a classic story of the underdog being victorious and good overcoming evil.  This battle is an Appalachian State University vs. Michigan football game.  It’s a karate fight featuring Daniel LaRusso vs. Johnny Lawrence, the leader of the Cobra Kai gang (surely you’ve seen “The Karate Kid”).  It’s a Joshua and the Israelites vs. Jericho situation.

Appalachian State had no chance of beating Michigan, but they did.  Daniel wasn’t supposed to whip-up on ole Johnny Lawrence, but he surely did and ended up with the girl as well.  Joshua faced sure defeat against Jericho, but we all know the outcome of that “battle.”  Gideon and his 300 men seemed to be up against insurmountable odds, but this chapter proved Gideon victorious.

I believe verses 2 and 4 of this chapter are key verses of this whole story about Gideon.  The summary of those two verses goes something like this: “There are too many people with you, Gideon.  Israel will think they won this battle on their own out of their own strength and power.  Therefore, let’s cut the number of people down to 300.  Then, there will be no doubt Who will get the glory once the battle is won.”

I’m reminded today that God is going to do what brings Him the most glory.  If that means allowing me, you, our church, or whoever to face seemingly insurmountable odds in order to show that He is all-powerful, completely faithful, utterly dependable, and all-knowing, then that’s what He will allow to happen.  God isn’t interested in my abilities to lead a church or lead my family.  He isn’t interested in my ability to share my faith and minister to others.  He isn’t interested in my ability to fight through a tough situation.  He isn’t interested in my ability to maneuver through the up and downs of life.  He’s not interested in your abilities either.  He’s interested in HIS ability to lead me through EVERY aspect of my life so that HE gets ALL the glory.  We have the privilege of being His “glory-bringing” vessels.

My prayer today is that God will do whatever He wants in order to bring Himself the most glory.  In my life, in His church, and in all we do, may God pull off the seemingly insurmountable, so that He receives all the glory.

Posted by: Rich Duffield


October 23, 2013

Today you should read: Judges 6:33-40

Like many of you, I am a big fan of Gideon. He was, in strict theological terms, “bad to the bone.” Yesterday, we read of his audacious courage as he tore down the altar of Baal. Tomorrow’s reading reveals this courage — his mettle — again alongside his confidence in God’s plan as he and his 300 men do battle against Midian.

Don’t miss today’s reading though. Just a few verses, yet they pack quite a punch! And they reveal some things about Gideon that are worth emulating.

1) God’s Spirit was upon him. This was a huge deal in the Old Testament. See, we as New Covenant believers have the Spirit in us from the day we came to faith in Christ (“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14). But in the old days (B.C.), the Spirit indwelled people for specific times and purposes.

2) Gideon was ready to be used by God. God’s Spirit was upon him for a reason: he was obedient. He was upright. He wanted what was right in the eyes of His King.

3) He had DANGEROUSLY BIG faith. In these verses, we see Gideon do what very few people did: he tested God. While I don’t recommend this (Deuteronomy 6:16, Luke 4:12), Gideon didn’t have the finished work of Scripture that we have the privilege of owning in most of our homes. He wanted God’s blessing. He needed God’s power to be with Him. The Lord granted His request.

How can we apply these brief verses to our lives today?

With #1, live with a fresh understanding that God’s Spirit is with you wherever you go! With #2, ask the Lord to give you a ready heart that is just itching for the opportunity to obey. And with #3, step out in bold faith today! Do something that you know God has put on your heart. Share Christ with a friend you’ve wanted to see come to Him. Pray for spiritual/physical/emotional healing of those around you that may be suffering right now. Go make that damaged family relationship right! Whatever it is you do, trust the sovereign hand of God to see you through.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

October 22, 2013

Today you should read: Judges 6:1-32

Finding confidence in the Lord can cause you and I to think and do some pretty amazing things. One man’s story of how confidence in God radically changed him is our passage for today, the story of Gideon.

Gideon was a timid, cowardly man who saw himself as worthless and useless. But when he meets with God he is instantly transformed and does some pretty amazing things. Right off the bat he builds an altar to the Lord and names it Yahweh-Shalom (The Lord is peace).  Gideon then takes down an altar to a false god and almost gets himself in big trouble. He does some other amazing things we will see later on but here is the lesson:

Time with the Lord=confidence in the Lord 

The opposite is also true. Time away from God will many times result in timidity in our lives and relationships. So, here is the take away: You want confidence to do great things for God? Spend time with Him. You want strength and boldness to share Jesus? Spend time with Him. You want to have godly, healthy relationships? Spend time with the one who made you and knows you best. Time with God will bring you to a place of peace just like Gideon. Who wants that?

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

October 21, 2013

Today you should read: Judges 5

Economics vs. God…

A camel through the eye of a needle??  Pretty improbable… Jesus said, in Matthew 19:24, that it is easier for it to happen than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom.  What in the world was Jesus saying?  Well, He was saying that it is indeed hard for a rich man to have a desperate need, a need for Jesus, since his “needs” are always met.  It is more difficult, because his riches are His treasure… and to give up that treasure in exchange for treasuring Jesus and awaiting a treasure in heaven, is not something that many rich folk want to do.  But…

Jesus still wants the rich people.  He wants the wealthy, the poor, and everything in between to praise Him and live for Him.  He wants the whole world…all of creation to make Himself their ultimate treasure.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

In our lengthy passage, today, we see a song of victory.  Much like the song of Moses, this is a song of praise for God conquering His enemies.  Here, the Israelites had just defeated the more powerful Canaanites.  And in this song of victory and praise, we see a wide-scoped insight.  In verses 11-12 it says;

“Consider this, you who ride on fine donkeys,
 you who sit on fancy saddle blankets,
 and you who walk along the road.

Listen to the village musicians gathered at the watering holes. They recount the righteous victories of the Lord
 and the victories of his villagers in Israel…”

The song says that the rich (those who sit on fine donkeys) and the poor (those who walk along the road) alike should all listen and recount the victories of the Lord.  All people, no matter class, should give their attention to the one true God.

This made me think and ask 2 questions:

1.  Is my economic status inhibiting me from giving my attention to the Lord?  Whether it’s abundant wealth or it’s a constant struggle.  Does it inhibit me from recounting the victories of the Lord?

2.  Who is there in my life whose economic status is clouding their view of God?  Again, wealth or poverty.  And what am I doing to reach them.  Because remember, God wants the donkey riders and the walkers to give him praise.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione