Get Up

God tells Joshua twice in chapter seven to “Get up”, or some versions say “Rise up.” What was Joshua doing? Lying prostrate and asking God “Why?” They had just lost a battle that they thought was going to be an easy one, in fact all of their fighting men hadn’t even gone along to the battle. Even worse, it was the very first battle after they saw the walls of Jericho fall down.

Joshua was perplexed, he was doing what most of us do…lie down and cry out “Why didn’t you come through for us, are you just going to let me die?”

So God patiently explained Himself- Nope, He told Joshua to “Get Up!” He had already given them something to do with very clear instructions. Yet they hadn’t obeyed. God told Joshua they had sinned. When we disregard God’s instructions there are consequences. They hadn’t won the battle at Jericho because of their strength and courage, but because God’s strength! When we obey, He always has our backs.

Are things tough, maybe it wasn’t your fault, maybe it was sin, no matter what, don’t lie and cry. Get up! Repent if you need to, and then get back to the battle. Have you left something unfinished? Get up and do it!

James 1:22 (NIV), “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Book Review for “The Return of the Guardian King” Series- Christian/fantasy

About the books: “Book 1 of Legends of the Guardian King which follows the life of Abramm Kalladorne in his turbulent search for truth and self–a search that will transform him from a sickly, head-in-the-clouds youth to a legendary hero of strength and courage. Set in a world of swords and cloaks, of glittering palaces and mystical temples, of galley ships and ancient, mist-bound cities, his journey illustrates how God pursues and how He uses suffering to mold His children into something greater than was ever thought possible.”

My review: The whole series is great! “Light of Edion”, the first book, I read years ago. I don’t remember thinking it was so great, but I had just read Hancock’s  “Arena” and it was a totally different genre (Sci-fi, which I loved). So I re-read the first one again, and just loved it. I borrowed the next two from the library and ended up purchasing the forth from Amazon, because I had to know the end! Great writing, and it goes to prove that an author isn’t stuck in one genre. Hancock has written two Sci-fi (Arena and Enclave), both were great, and this epic fantasy of four books, Light of Edion, Shadow Within, Shadow Over Kiriath, and Return of the Guardian King. I hate to say good bye to the characters. However, like Lord of the Rings, or the Narnia series, I will probably be reading these again. My rating is 5/5 stars. There is no swearing, implied sexual content, between married couples, there is some violence. I can recommend for teens and up.

 

 

 

 

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

What’s Holding You Hostage?

Nehemiah 9:17 (Net Bible), “They refused to obey and did not recall your miracles that you had performed among them. Instead, they rebelled and appointed a leader to return to their bondage in Egypt. But you are a God of forgiveness, merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and unfailing in your loyal love. You did not abandon them,”

We are all aware of the term “hostage”: when someone is taken against their will and held hostage usually for a ransom, or when a terrorist hold a person to either protect themselves or again to force negotiations. Each one of us was born a hostage. Satan, the ultimate terrorist, held us against our will. Jesus paid the ransom. We are now free to go. If we are still under the rule of Satan, it is purely by choice. We can choose to surrender to Jesus, who only ever asks us to come willingly and never forces us to do anything. Or we can allow things, or the enemy, or our flesh to hold us hostage.

I Timothy 26:5-6 (BSB), “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all — the testimony that was given at just the right time”

What is keeping you from walking free? What is keeping you from surrender to God? Is it your habits, addictions, or lusts? Is it greed, selfishness, or pride? Maybe you feel unworthy, unclean, and unloved and can’t seem to get a grasp on the fact that God loves you, wants you in His life, and made a way for you to live free from every bondage.

Maybe you chose God and somewhere along the way wondered off, like the dog that returns to its own vomit. You have placed yourself back in bondage after tasting freedom. Don’t despair, God has not abandoned you! Turn from that life and turn back to God. He is waiting with arms outstretched.

What’s holding you hostage? The ransom has already been paid. Walk free, walk tall, you are a child of the King.

Ever Onward- Originally Posted March 26th

Philippians 3:12-14 (BSB), “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been perfected, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.”

Life can be tough, struggles long and hard, but as long as we don’t sit down or back up, we are constantly moving through these situations. Going through is the key. Pressing toward the goal is what Paul calls it. Something we always have to remember to do is to forget the past. Forgetting the old struggles, pain, hurts, failures, bad choices, mistakes, and sin. Forget about it. It’s ok to remember God’s goodness, deliverance, and love through those things, but don’t dwell on the ugliness, but on the beauty. He loves you!

We never get to say, in this life anyway, “I did it. I am perfect.” Paul had it right. We haven’t yet obtained perfection. However, instead of saying, “I never will” he pressed on. Ever onward. Forward march. Wagon’s hoe. Forget that your best friend just buried an ax in your back, that your spouse gambled away the house payment, that you fell off the wagon, again. Remember God will give you the strength to take that next step forward. Sure your knees might be knocking louder than a drum solo on a cyberpunk song, but so what! Take that first step toward better, toward sanity, toward, provision, health, deliverance, toward Him! It gets better, this too shall pass.

Grab your boot straps, quite like a man, stand firm in your faith, if you feel lacking in the faith department, ask God to help your unbelief. He is faithful even when we aren’t. There is always hope and help! Stop complaining, blaming, and making excuses. You choose to live different. You choose to let God mess with your life. He will work for you! He is able!

Take that first step and when you are weary take the next one. When you want to sit down, stand up. When you want to give up, give in to Him. Move forward. Walk on!

Ever onward. Let this be your mantra.

I Am Not Confined

II Corinthians 6:1-10 (MSG), “Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us, I heard your call in the nick of time; The day you needed me, I was there to help. Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing. Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.”

Paul reminds the church at Corinth that even though they had some issues, those issues and circumstances including jail, work, beatings, slander, while they were ignored and distrusted, they still did what they were called to do. We can always say, “I can’t because…” of work, or sickness, or family, or friends, or because they might think this about me, or it is dangerous, or scary, or takes too much effort, whatever excuse you can manufacture. Yet, Paul says even when he was in prison he was not confined to his circumstances. We can let anything be bondage, a jail, a prison. We can let many things stop us from doing God’s will. It is all a matter of choice. Do we choose to answer the call no matter what, or do we say we aren’t able and then point the blame as someone or something.

Let’s get practical here, so you don’t have the money to bail your friend out of financial problems. You can cook them a meal, work on their car for free, pray for them, encourage them, and not judge their situation. Maybe you are still fighting the fight of faith and aren’t able to walk door to door to witness, or visit the elderly. You can call those who are shut in, you can witness on social media (not preach, witness, i.e. “God is so good, he is providing all I need.”). So maybe you don’t stand behind a pulpit, but you work, or go to school around people. Share His love.

Get the picture.

Our circumstances can’t confine us. Only we can decide to squander the life God has given us.

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!”