Be Vulnerable

The Israelites had been under the hands of the Medians’ for seven years when the Angel of the Lord came to pay Gideon a visit. He said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.” (Judges 6:12) That is a statement birthed from a vision because Gideon was anything but valiant. He was hiding and shaking in his sandals. But God called him valiant.

When we think of a valiant warrior, we picture a big muscle bound man, maybe like Samson, or one filled with courage and who runs to the battle, like David. What we don’t picture is a man who has been put in a vulnerable position. In fact Gideon is so unsure, he asks God to give him a sign, twice.

When they finally go to battle, after God had weeded out the 32,000 warriors until there was only 300 men left. Talk about vulnerable! That still wasn’t enough for God. Let’s read about His plan for Gideon’s big battle.

Judges 7:16-19 (BSB), “He divided the 300 men into three companies, and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers. He said to them, “Look at me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet, then you also blow the trumpets all around the camp and say, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’”

Let me set the stage. It’s dark. Gideon’s men make a circle around the Midian camp held 135,000 trained soldiers. The Israelite soldiers each had a piece of pottery with a candle inside and a horn. When the signal was given they were to break the pottery, leaving themselves totally exposed and lit up. And just to make sure the enemy really took a good look, they blew their horns to attract their attention.

Ok, being honest here. I would probably told Gideon he was crazy when he wanted to fight with 300. When he outlined his big plan, I would have left. Good thing I wasn’t there that day because they won. Were they vulnerable? You bet they were. But God had gone before and placed a dream and the rumor mill in the Midian camp. They were already afraid of Gideon and had never even faced him. When they saw the lights and heard the trumpet blowing, the enemy turned on themselves and were totally destroyed. Gideon and his men never even lifted a weapon… other than the shout, “For the Lord and for Gideon!”

God wants us in a vulnerable place like Gideon with his candle and horn.

When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable we sometimes get broken. But God uses broken people in a magnificent way. For Glory needs an openness- light needs an openness. Unless there are some cracks in our pot how can the light come through?

He showed us how to be vulnerable, didn’t He?

For what’s more vulnerable than the God of the Universe clothed in humanity? What’s more vulnerable than the Word made flesh? What is more vulnerable than our Maker handing on a cross?

Can you trust Him like Gideon did?

“We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.” – Walter Anderson

Quit You Like Men

I Corinthians 16:13 (DBT), “Be vigilant; stand fast in the faith; quit yourselves like men; be strong.”

Ok, so I am not a guy, but this verse always gives me courage. Most of us can start out strong, standing in faith, and vigilantly protecting our territory, but how do we finish? Do we lose faith, sit down, back down, tuck tail and run, or get lazy and let the enemy run rough shod over us?

Quit like you started, quit like a man. Other versions of this verse says, “be manly”, “be courageous”, “be men”, and “do manfully”.

A Godly man knows who he is and Who’s he is. He keeps the faith, not letting his guard down. He eat, sleeps, and lives, with the battle ever in his mind. A true warrior. He will fight to the death, and if he perchance survives, he comes out stronger with his spirit and morals still intact.

Before we can quit like men, we have to be watchful, see the enemy’s attacks for what they are, stand ready for battle, then finish the job like a man.

Psalm 31:24 (NIV), “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!”

Lacking Faith?

58061-Stand-In-Faith[1]

Judges 6:11-16 (NIV), “The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

Gideon had a faith problem. He had no faith in himself, or in the fact that God could use him. Even though an Angel came to him, he still wanted some proof. Notice through the whole group of scriptures about Gideon God continues to call him a “Warrior.” God knew who Gideon was; the problem was that Gideon just couldn’t see it. He lists his lowly ancestry as one of the reasons he doubted, and the fact that the Lord had seemingly abandoned them. Gideon was looking in the natural at the natural. God sent an angel to show him the supernatural. Humbly, this mighty “warrior” asks for a sign. Patiently, God provided more than one. Isn’t God good? Bear in mind that this was before Jesus came to redeem us, we now have the Holy Spirit to lead us, so asking for a fleece instead of asking the Holy Spirit for conformation was reasonable for Gideon.

How do we fix a faith issue?

God tells us that we have all been given the “measure of faith,” and that faith comes by hearing His word. If you know me at all, you know that I encourage everyone to read their Bible. It is not a coffee table decoration or one for the back windshield of your car either. It won’t do you a bit of good under your bed, or in your closet. If you are in the habit of leaving it at Church so that you don’t forget it on Sunday, buy another one! Then, when you read it, read it out loud as much as possible. I learned a few things in school that I applied as a teacher. If we hear something we remember 25% of the information. If we hear something and read it also, we retain 50% of that information. If we hear it, read it, and write it, we remember 75% of that information. Now I know that is very general, and that we all have different learning styles, but this has proven true for me and many of my students. So read your bible at home, then listen to sound teaching and preaching that backs itself up with scripture, while at Church, take notes. Even if they are sloppy and you will never read them again! It will help you retain what you are learning, and sometimes God speaks to your heart and you need to jot something down (while still paying attention to the message).

Gideon had an identity issue that led to a faith issue. If we are confident in who God is and how He sees us, our faith grows by leaps and bounds!

Another way our faith is strengthened is by going through some tough stuff. I know, it’s the school of hard knocks and every one of us wants to “play hooky” that day and skip class. The key is to go through. Don’t set up camp, don’t stop to have a pity party, and don’t pause to whine and complain. Allow God’s Holy Spirit to lead you out. There is always light at the end of the tunnel when you serve God. Always. We grow from faith to faith this way, if we allow our hearts to be humble and teachable. The next time we are faced with a similar situation, our knees wont knock as much, and our hearts will not do that Irish jig. We will be able to calmly say, “this too shall pass.”

Gideon did find some courage; he obeyed God and against all odds, including being vastly outnumbered by the enemy, won the victory.

He will do the same for you.

I Peter 2:9 (KJB), “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”

Encourage Yourself

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Ever had one of those spells where everything seems to be against you? Things just can’t seem to go right? God seems far way, your flesh is strong and your spirit is weak? Maybe you feel like every demon in hell is on your case?

We all have. Thankfully some only last hours. Regretfully, we can get stuck there if we don’t do something about it. We can’t control every circumstance in our lives, but we can control how we think and act. We can control what comes out of our mouth and what goes into our hearts.

David went through some stuff. Read the Psalms or I and II Samuel. What did David do when things looked bad? He gave God the praise and recognition He deserved. He chose not to be cast down.
Psalm 42:5 (NIV), “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

He also encouraged himself in the Lord. Notice he didn’t wait around for someone else to do this. Encouragement from others is so beneficial. It can change a bad day into a good one. However, we have to be able to remind ourselves of where our refuge is. Of who our Salvation comes from.

Psalm 27:1-4 (NIV), “Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.”

David remembered that the Lord was his light and his salvation. God had proven himself with the lion, the bear, and with Goliath. Saul, the King of Israel, may be trying to kill him, but he was going to trust in the Lord. How many times do we make “mountains out of molehills?” David said even if an army arrived, even if war was at his doorstep, he would be confident in God.

Verses 5-14 (AMP) read, “For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; He will set me high upon a rock. And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me; in His tent I will offer sacrifices and shouting of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; have mercy and be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word]. Hide not Your face from me; turn not Your servant away in anger, You Who have been my help! Cast me not off, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation! Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child]. Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain and even path because of my enemies [those who lie in wait for me]. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me; they breathe out cruelty and violence. [What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.”
Be encouraged!

For additional reading: Psalms 31, 34, 54, 91

Lover of My Soul
Lover of my soul,
what mortal man can compare to thee?
Thou who has shed
thy life’s blood for me.
Leave not my side,
nor hide thy face from me.
Stay, evermore,
by my side for eternity.
Take this corruptible flesh,
and clothe me in immortality.
Oh, lover of my soul,
What mortal man can compare to thee?

Copy write: Jodi Woody

Book Review for “Trinity: War Dog” – Christian Fiction

http://www.amazon.com/Trinity-Military-War-Breed-Apart-ebook/dp/B0082HEKKY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386679627&sr=1-1&keywords=trinity+military+war+dog+a+breed+apart

Ronie Kendig is a new author for me. I saw this book for free on a Christian book website and hat to give it a try. I love a good military movie or story. This one was great. Set mostly in Afghanistan, it’s a great story of courage, weakness and loyalty. Throw in a touch of romance and some struggles with faith and you have a perfect mix. Oh, and I almost forgot the best part, the war dog Trinity and her love for her master. Can recommend for teens and up. There is some talk of torture, nothing too graphic. I have already put the rest of the series, as well as her other books on my ‘to read’ list. I give “Trinity” 5 stars. HOOAH.