Posts tagged ‘Israelites’

Gideon

I found this among my things and thought it was worth sharing. be blessed and have a great weekend!

 

In my reading over the weekend, I read about Gideon. I’ve heard about him before, mainly him testing God with the whole fleece deal. But, what I didn’t know was how many times he had God proved Himself and that He was calling Gideon to be a hero for Israel. He practically made God jump through hoops, and God jumped through each and every one of them. He encountered the Angel of the Lord underneath the tree and had him wait while he ran back to his house to get some meat and bread so that the Angel could perform a miracle. All my life, I’ve heard people say that we shouldn’t test God or ask for fleeces because that shows a lack of faith, but this morning I was thinking about Gideon and a question came to mind.

I asked God why HE allowed Gideon to put Him through all of those paces. The whole fleece deal to me seemed like Gideon was stalling while trying to find a way out of that responsibility on one hand, but then God reminded me of something. Gideon was a part of that next generation of Israelites who no longer remembered the great miracles that God had performed for Joshua’s and Moses’ people. He couldn’t relate to the sun staying in the sky or the Red Sea parting, or even the conquest of Canaan. I can only imagine Gideon sitting in an environment of idol worship all around him, even in his own household, then hearing the voice of God coming through loud and clear calling him a man of great valor. When God spoke those words to him, it spoke volumes to me. God spoke to Gideon as HE saw him, not as Gideon saw Himself. It’s apparent that Gideon had a very low opinion of himself, or else he might not have been so hesitant to obey, but God saw beyond the present state towards the created state. So, it’s only right that God spoke to Gideon in the light of what he had been created to be in order to shake him from the stupor of what he was! But, I digress. When I asked God why He allowed Gideon to put Him through all of these tests, God answered me. He told me that because of Gideon’s environment, it required actions outside of the way that He was choosing to move at that point in time. Gideon was not used to living a life of faith the way his forefathers had, so in order to get his attention, God moved in a way that Gideon could perceive with his natural eyes that strengthened his spiritual awareness. Each time that Gideon had an encounter with God; it moved him further and further along in his faith to the point where he moved with fervor to accomplish God’s plans.

I’ve always heard that God meets us where we are and seeks to bring us up to His level. God has shown me this so clearly in the life of Gideon. He used whatever means were at His disposal to raise up a new Judge for Israel.

How great is a God who is willing to exhaust His inexhaustible resources to reach a people who have turned their backs wholeheartedly on Him. As unworthy as we are, His grace and mercy still seek to reach into our hearts and grip us; never letting go.

There is a purpose for you that goes beyond what you can see with your physical eyes. God has placed a mantle of greatness on your life. An ordinary life will not do for one of God’s chosen. This world needs extraordinary, and that’s what God’s grace will enable us to do if we will listen to His voice and be willing to step out in the knowledge that God will never leave us, and that God will never lead us wrong. Have faith in God.

I pray that God will continue moving among us. Lord, wake us up from our drunkenness. Awaken us to who we are in You and what you have predestined us to accomplish in Your name. Your mercy is great, but Your love is greater still, and if you have chosen us for a purpose, Lord please love us with such intensity that our hearts burn within us to accomplish the will of our Father, which is in heaven. Amen.

I’m a Survivor: are You Ready to get in the Faith Fight

Numbers 13:25-33- and they returned from spying out the land after 40 days. Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation…..then Caleb said,” let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it. But the men who had come up with him said, “we are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”

Even though your faith fight might seem like a one on one fight, it’s really a team effort. God’s agenda is not an individual agenda. His agenda is a corporate one.

God doesn’t just want to bless one. He wants to bless all. We get so focused on singular thinking that we lose focus that God is not just for me, rather he is for all. We are the Body of Christ, not merely a limb. We all have a role, an important role.

We are a household of faith.

John 10:16- “I have other sheep too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. ”

The singular mindset is against the Kingdom of God. It is an infestation of selfishness.

God wants to strengthen your faith individually, so that your corporate faith will be strengthened. When our individual faith rises, the entire Body is elevated.

The enemy is not trying to destroy your life because of you alone, but he fears what we can do together,

In the key verses, 10 spies saw obstacles. 2 saw opportunity.

The difference in those who obtain the promise and those who don’t…can be found in how you handle the opposition. We have to fight to obtain every promise that God has set aside for us.

Caleb and Joshua had a different spirit. They were ready to deal with the adversity and believe in God’s promise to them. They were ready to go all in with God.

There is a false doctrine that if it is God’s will, then it will automatically happen. We engage God’s will by faith. He has an agenda for us all, but we must actively engage it by faith in order to accomplish it.

2 kings 18:1-6- Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, began to rule over Judah……he remained faithful to the Lord in everything and carefully obeyed all the commands The Lord had given Moses.

When you fight for God’s agenda, God will fight for your agenda.

Dead Zone? No More!!

Yesterday in church we were debuting a new song, “Break Every Chain”. The version that we did was performed by Jesus Culture, but there is also another version by Tosha Cobb that I absolutely LOVE to DEATH!!! Regardless, this song has such a powerful message to it. It seems to me that God speaks to me more and more Sundays during church worship. I can’t recall a time EVER where it feels like I hear God speaking to me directly as we worship. Please don’t think that I am bragging, or that I think that I’m special. I don’t think that at all. Usually I’m just worshiping along with the rest of the congregation when God “pulls me aside”. It just feels like it is happening more and more frequently these days. I almost put this up on Facebook, but decided to do it here, since not many people will see this post.

 

Anyway, here is the deal. One of the verses of the song simply says “There’s an army rising up.” It repeats several times. As we sang it, I found myself standing within the pages of the Bible at the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37. It was so crazy. I’m hearing the music around me, but I’m staring out into this valley covered with death and decay. Bones that have been baking in the sun for a long time. Then, as we continue singing, I see these bones begin to move and come together. And seemingly in the blink of an eye, there stood before me an exceedingly large army. This morning, I went back and found Ezekiel 37, and this verse stuck out to me,

 

“So I spoke the message as He commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet- an exceedingly large army. “ Ezekiel 37:10

 

I didn’t tell anyone about this vision yesterday. I kept it to myself and kept trying to figure out what it meant. Even as the service carried on, I found myself re-running this vision over and over again in my head, asking God what it meant. I’m starting to realize it.

 

I feel like God was telling me that as we worshiped and praised Him, we were declaring His purpose. We were “speaking as He commanded us”. We were allowing Him to release His will. As this happened, He was raising dead things and dead people. He was raising dead dreams, dead hopes, dead missions. He was reviving dead visions, and dead callings. The things that we have all laid to rest within ourselves, as we worshiped, God was raising them. He was speaking life into those things and us. And as we stood there worshiping, God was raising an army…exceedingly large, and exceedingly powerful! Then God showed me something else. He is drawing dead things. People who are half dead, half alive, He is drawing them. They don’t know why they are coming to our churches. They don’t know what is even placing the thoughts to try church in their minds. Some have not even sniffed a church in years, but for some reason, now they are trying it out. God is drawing the dead things that we might speak life into them. Ezekiel obeyed God, then watched in amazement as God raised the bones to life, symbolizing what He was going to do with the nation of Israel.

 

I get the feeling that what we have seen so far in my church is not even scratching the surface of what God has planned. I get the feeling that what the Body of Christ has seen so far is not even scratching the surface of what He is wanting to show the earth. If the dead can’t come into our churches, or encounter Christians, and walk away living, breathing disciples of Christ, then what are we doing? Everyday, Christ walked among zombies and restored life to them through His words and actions. What are we doing then? If we are truly imitating Christ, there should be an aura of life around us as we walk and talk among those who don’t know Him. We shouldn’t shrink from the moment, but trust God to revive all that we come into contact with.

 

I believe that we are really about to see dead things raised to life. There’s an army rising up., and it will consist of every soul that we have spoken life into.

 

Maybe this makes sense to you, maybe it doesn’t. maybe it resonates with what God has spoken in your spirit. Maybe it doesn’t. All I know is that I’m excited. I’m expecting. I’m ready. Let’s get to work!

Breaking New Ground: Let’s Talk About ‘Fight Club’

At our church, the new series is entitled “Breaking New Ground”. It is a series that I believe is a good jump start for the year, and could be a harbinger of things to come in our lives if we pay attention. God IS wanting us to break new ground. Doing the same old things and hoping for different results is crazy. Thing is, breaking new ground can be a very difficult thing for us to do. I was thinking about this while watching a movie and hearing a bible verse quote last  night. The verse referenced Jacob and how he fought with God and left with a blessing and a dislocated hip.  Here is the scripture from Genesis 32:24-27

“After about midnight A Man appeared out of nowhere as if to attach Jacob. Jacob fought Him off because HE did not want to die in his sins before making peace with his brother. The two of them wrestled and fought for hours until just before daybreak. When the Stranger saw that Jacob would not let Him go, He reached out and touched Jacob’s hip, and instantly it was out of joint. Then Jacob knew that he had been contending with Someone with more than human power. So Jacob clung to Him and pleaded for mercy. The Stranger said, ‘Let me go, because it will soon be daybreak.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let go until you assure me of forgiveness for what I have done to my brother and promise to bless me when I meet him, so he’ll forgive me too.’ The Man asked, ‘What is your name?’ He answered, ‘Jacob!’ The Man declared, ‘I’m changing your name. You’ll no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, because you have wrestled with me, and I will give you the assurance of forgiveness and the blessing for which you have struggled.’

You’ve heard this story before. You’ve heard it preached before. I know you have, cause I have too! While it’s not been numerous, I have heard the story. Usually it comes from the slant of holding on to God until He blesses us, but now I think there is something new to me that God is trying to show me. And Pastor Gene, if you’re reading this, I hope I’m not taking one of your sermon topics for the new series!

Breaking new ground can be really difficult. We are creatures of habit, and as such, we tend to repeat the same things in the same way. As a result, we find ourselves in ruts without the vision to see our way out. Jacob was no different. His very name meant “One who deceives”. I think he lived up to that name, even as he tried to change. I think that God had been dealing with Jacob as he lived with Laban for all of those years, so that leading up to this time, Jacob was ready for something new to happen in his life. He realized that his newness of life could not truly begin until Esau forgave him for his taking the birthright that was Esau’s by law. Jacob had been in isolation, basically, for years. And this brings us to this chapter in Genesis. As I’m understanding it now, I believe that in breaking new ground in our lives, sometimes we will have to fight for the ground that we intend to conquer. Joshua and the Israelites had to overcome the land of Canaan, before they could begin to settle in it and break new ground for their own crops and lives. Moses had to fight with his own insecurities before God could move him to Egypt to bring the Israelites out. There is this element of fighting that we see throughout scripture. Whether it is physical fighting or spiritual fighting, we must contend.

And so, when God appears and Jacob begins to fight with Him, this is Jacob taking ownership of his life, and fighting for his destiny. Can you imagine this scene? Jacob wrestling with God? Holding on for dear life? Perhaps even getting some punches in over the course of the encounter? I can imagine Go being pleased. He could see a man who was willing to go beyond and do anything in his human power to change, and be a new creation. I suspect that this is one of the reasons why God changed His name, and gave him a new future. He was willing to fight for the right to break new ground in his life.

See, the newness in our lives is not always easy to come by. There will often be obstacles that we will have to overcome to truly see the new things. The comforting thing here is that we have God on our side, and He has promised to never leave us. He won’t forsake us. Even more, He will give us the strength to fight. In many instances, God even fought and won the battle  without the Israelites lifting a finger except to praise Him after everything was over. We should be prepared and willing to do whatever it takes to allow the change in us that God desires to bring about.

So, I guess the questions is, “are you ready? Are you willing? Will you fight?” I’m learning more and more that the Kingdom of God is no place for wimps, those who are unwilling to take a stand, unwilling to pick up a sword, unwilling to fight. If  you are willing to fight as Jacob fought, with the same desperation and determination, then prepare yourself. You are about to break new ground!

Until next time, be blessed!