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

Go Out Fighting

Ephesians 6:10-18 (HCSB), “Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”

We are in a war. Sure maybe not with other people, but that doesn’t make it less evident. In fact it is even more important that we understand what we are fighting and who our enemy really is. Satan loses. God is very clear in His word. And he knows that his ultimate dwelling place will be hell. However, he won’t give up and if he has to go to hell, he wants to take as many of us with him as he can. Why? Because God loves us and he hates God. He wants to hurt Him by hurting us. If the old serpent can’t get us to hell, due to the applied blood of Jesus, then he will do everything he can to delay, distract, and discourage us. He wants us to think that we have to wait until we die to see heaven. He wants us to live sick, worn out, lives filled with anxiety and poverty. Or he wants things to look so good in the world that we choose to walk away from God and His path and plans for us.

Pretty simple. God is good and He is for us. He knows and wants what’s best for us. He already did everything needful to give us a blessed life. Satan is evil and is against us. He wants our lives to get smaller and smaller. He will try anything to get us to lose heart.

So what do we do? We find out who God is, who we are, what He says about us, how He wants us to live from heaven right now, and we STAND. We can’t just stand there in our undies. We have to put some things on.

Isaiah 61:3, 10 (NIV), “and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendorI delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

Ephesians 4:24 (NLT), “Put on your new nature, created to be like God–truly righteous and holy.”

Romans 13:14 (NASB), “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

We need to clothe ourselves with garments of salvation, robes of righteousness (clothing He made), and we “put on” the new nature (the nature of God), and we have to “put on” Christ! We are in Him, and He is in us. And finally over all of those glorious garments, we put on the armor of God from Ephesians 6.

Clearly we are living in the last days. It’s the final round. Let’s go out fighting! “Occupy until he comes.” Occupy means to work, gain ground, keep what you have, dig in, etc. Jesus already won the victory. We just have to keep fighting and STAND against everything the enemy throws our way and we don’t fight alone! We have mighty warring angels fighting for us, and the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us. Pretty encouraging, yes?

Book Review

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I received a copy of “The Designed” by Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review. This book is part of a series. I really enjoyed this book. This is one of my favorite genres. Think of “The Giver” or “Divergent”. The characters are interesting, and the plot line is fast moving. There is no swearing, there is some sexual references, nothing explicit. For my Christian followers there is talk of an alternative lifestyle. I can recommend for ages 17 and up due to content. Now I have to pretend to be patient until the next book is out.

Book Review for “Water & Storm Country”- YA Fiction/Post Apocalyptic

http://www.amazon.com/Water-Storm-Country-Saga-ebook/dp/B00D6ODNVK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1392604391&sr=1-1&keywords=david+estes+the+country+saga

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Let me start off by saying I begged the author for this book! I have read the others in this series (some I paid for and some I was given) as well as book one in the “Dweller” series. I loved them all. Easy to read, fast paced, full of different cultures and slang. The stories can be read alone, but are part of a growing story line. One more in the series and I am looking forward to reading it. YA fantasy, post apocalyptic at it’s greatest. I can recommend for Jr. High and up. Does contain violence and fighting. Nothing too graphic. No swearing (at least not words used in our world) and no sex. The characters are so likable, flawed and realistic. David has a great understanding of the young mind. I give “Water & Storm Country” 5 solid stars. Only now, having finished this book, I realize you should read the “Dweller” series first as they all cumulate in the final book “Earth Dwellers.”

Book Review for “Voices of Hope” – Science Fiction

http://www.amazon.com/Voices-Hope-Seafort-David-Feintuch-ebook/dp/B00AQAD204/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

I picked this Sci Fi book up for .25 from the library and didn’t know it was the last one of a series of several books. So at first the “trannie” language really confused me. By about midway I was catching on to almost all of it. It is told from the viewpoint of about 5 people so you really have to pay attention to the chapter headings that let you know who’s in charge. A great book about the differences in financial status in a future society. Has some military aspects but I am guessing not as much as the first few books. Great morals, a small amount of swearing and some of that is in a futuristic slang. There is also a lot of violence, and it’s pretty vivid, so I can’t recommend for younger than high school. I give it 4 stars and will be reading the first books as well.

Book Review for “Martyr’s Moon” Fiction/Allegory

I was given a copy of this book by the author, J.E. Lowder, in exchange for an honest review. I thought I like the first book, but this one is even better! They both were long reads and you have to pay attention, not a light weekend read. I will now have to finish up the “War of the Whispers’ series to find out what happens to our unlikely heroes. This is a wonderful allegory that reminds me of “Lord of the Rings” and “Narnia.” I find myself rooting for the characters. The story is told from many angles following several key players who’s parts take them in different directions, thus the Tolkien feel. I highly recommend this book. I give it five solid stars.

http://www.amazon.com/Martyrs-Moon-War-Whispers-ebook/dp/B00BIAJ3NG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

Book Review for “The Hollowmen” -Dystopian

“The Hollowmen” Book 2 in the Hollows Series continues on with Remy, the strong female character. These are your typical zombie apocalypse dystopian books, and the first one didn’t have a lot of the zombie stuff in it. This one did. I am still enjoying the storyline, but this one had way more gore, swearing and added some sexual contents, including an almost rape. So for me, that was a little much. I wouldn’t recommend for readers under the age of 17. Its action packed, easy reading, not too deep and there is a small element of romance. I am giving this second book three stars. If you love all things zombie, this one’s for you.

http://www.amazon.com/Hollowmen-The-Hollows-2-ebook/dp/B006520VDS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1376486042&sr=1-1&keywords=hollowmen+book+3