Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Something We Need A Lot More Of

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Something We Need A Lot More Of

We have experienced unexpected and trying times this year that have evoked many feelings. It seems that one feeling that has been lacking is love. Love is the one thing we all need a lot more of right now. As Christians, we need to remember that the love of the Father is what we should be spreading. Some would say that love is the greatest feeling in the world but it is more than that; it is also the most powerful transforming force on human experience. The events happening in our country right now need a powerful transforming force! Brother Van always says that the right thing done the wrong way is the wrong thing. The most noble causes, devoid of love, are not noble at all. 

There is possibly no other word with more definitions and ideas surrounding it than the word “love.”  I Corinthians 13 is an uplifting, cleansing experience that describes what God intended love to be like. People love to have it read at their weddings and printed on parchments for display. But if you look at the context, these verses are meant to be applied, not just to marriages, but really to how we interact with one another as believers. The love spoken of in this passage is AGAPE love.

The Beauty of Agape

The reason why agape can soar above these is because it is based upon the commitment of a decision. It entails the decision to proactively seek someone's well-being.  Since it is not a knee jerk reaction or just a responsive feeling to how I've been treated, agape is capable of acting in a hostile environment where there are no warm fuzzy feelings. 

For example, in Luke 6:35 Jesus' teaching telling us that we should agape our enemies is intended to show the boundless nature of the Christian commitment toward seeking another's well-being.  The New Testament is full of examples and teachings illustrating the nature of agape as well as teachings designed to train the disciple's heart to be shaped by agape.

AGAPE love transcends all other forms and expression of love when connected to God and His nature and the Spirit of God in the believer.  What few realize is that it takes the indwelling and empowering of the Spirit of God in a life for anyone to know this kind of love in experience.  You must know God to know agape love. The unsaved man can no more experience this kind of love than can a marble statue!

The beauty and high calling of this passage in I Corinthians 13 is based in the very person of God. It helps me to remember that God IS love because it is the best thing to be.  Love is for our benefit, not just others.  At no time can this passage be read without conviction.  But just because we cannot live it in its entirety does not mean that we should disdain it in our lives.

This is the "more excellent way" - meaning that where it can be applied we can know benefit and blessing beyond any other response.  Remember that God redefined love and He did it for you and I. You and I are precious to God. We are surrounded by people who are also loved and precious to God.  Paul believes we should also love each other the same.

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Luke 6:35  

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Gospel of Change

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 Some material taken from Changes Part 1 by Sam Nobles

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

The Gospel of Change

Yesterday we talked about change and how we humans resist it rather than embrace it. For Christians, it is a great change that has brought us out of a life of sin and death into a life lived for God. The gospel is all about change. We are sinners and without Jesus Christ changing us we will never enter heaven and stand before God. Due to our sinfulness, we are not qualified to stand before a holy God who cannot look on sin. The change of salvation - the shed blood of Christ that covers our sin - qualifies us to enter the kingdom of heaven and sit at the foot of His throne. Without this change we are destined for eternal separation from God.

We are changed from an old creation into a new creation. We are changed from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light. We are changed from wretched to righteous. And when Christ returns to this earth, we will be changed physically in the twinkling of an eye and be glorified.
Sam Nobles

The good news of the gospel is that anyone can change! God so loved this world that He gave His only Son to give His life to pay for the sin of mankind. Now, everyone who believes that the death of Jesus paid the penalty for their sin and that His resurrection from the dead validates that claim, can have eternal life, forgiveness from sin, and become part of the family of God. 

God Brings Change For A Reason

Everything God does He does for a reason. He never desired for us to sit still and not change, because if you are growing in Him there will be change. He changed us and made us a new creation, but He expects us to keep making the necessary changes we need to so we can continue to grow. Without change there will be no growth. The changes in our lives that He allows serve His purpose and not ours. Remember this kingdom principle - it’s not about me and what I like, it is all about God and His desire. When what we desire does not match up with what God desires, we may change as we move away from God to get what we desire.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Embrace change. Watch and pray for how God is working His purpose in and through it. Fight the urge to resist what is different to how you have “always done it” and move forward with change. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

Staying or Going?

 Monday, September 28, 2020 Some material taken from Changes Part 1 by Sam Nobles

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.  Psalm 37:5

Staying or Going?
Change is a part of life. There are changes we want and changes we don’t want. There are changes that make our world a better place and changes that are not for the better. This year we have been through so many changes and, even if some good came from it, we never would have picked these changes on purpose. Changes we don’t pick are a major part of life. No one chooses to grow old, and personally that is a change that I am not embracing! There are certain aspects of this stage of life that are appealing, but not the physical changes that come with age. We never pick the change of losing those we love. We never choose terminal or long-term, debilitating illness. As hard as it all may be, change will bring sanctification into our lives if we let it, bitterness if we don’t. 

It is natural to be cautious, and even afraid, in the face of change. The changes that make our whole lives completely different can send us reeling, much like 2020 has. But we cannot let change keep us from living and following God’s lead. We have the stories in the Bible of those whose lives were changed by the actions of others, and God used it for good. He can do the same for us if we are willing. If we are not willing, we can sit in our bitterness over what has happened and lose the rest of our lives. We miss the blessing of what God has around the corner because we freeze right where we are. I think this line from Sam’s sermon yesterday perfectly sums up how a lot of people react to change. We want to have faith, but we let caution call the shots.

Consulting caution. Ignoring faith. Never taking the plunge. Happy to experience life vicariously through others. Preferring to take no risk rather than any risk. 

For fear of the worst, they never enjoy life at its best.  - Sam Nobles

One of the reasons we are resistant to change is because we like to be comfortable. Change is uncomfortable, inconvenient, and sometimes painful for a while until we adjust, on top of being scary. We can either choose to endure the uncomfortable in exchange for something better or choose to stay the same allowing no growth. God did not create us to live safe, happy, and risk-free lives. We will have all those things but they will only come on the other side of change. 

We think that staying the same is easiest, but it is not. Staying the same and resisting the changes that God has planned for us will only make our lives more difficult and without His full blessing and abundance. Accepting the changes in our lives, easy and hard, and stepping out in obedience to Him, will bring us closer to Him because He loves us so much. He cares about us and wants the very best for us. Following in obedience to God is never just about God. Our lives will always be blessed beautifully by obedience.

Lara Cook

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Changes Part 1

 Changes Part 1 - Acts 10

Why is it that so many of us have difficulty in dealing with change? Change comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and flavors. I have come to realize that change is not the problem; how we choose to look at change and deal with it makes all the difference. 

·      Small changes prepare us for the larger ones we will face throughout life.

·      Positive change is never meant to hinder you, but to free you.

     I.  Most People Are Resistant to Change

·      People resist change because it involves risk, uncertainty, and fear

Our fears and concerns have always been God’s possibilities.

Change may seem uncertain, but God’s character is not.

·         People resist change because it involves pain.

We are all wired to want to do what is easiest because we think that it hurts less, but that is not true.

      II.  The Unchanging Message of our Unchanging God is “Change

·      Change is at the heart of the Gospel.

·      God initiates change for a purpose.

  • The changes that God brings about serve the purpose of God, not man.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Pray for Jenny Jenkins

Friday, September 25, 2020

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. Psalm 119:33

Jenny Jenkins  
Jenny Jenkins is a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving through medical and relational ministries in Grand Goâve, Haiti, where she felt the call to live and minister full-time in 2008 and began working on the relief effort in the aftermath of the earthquake in 2010.

Grand Goâve is a rural community approximately 60 miles southwest of Haiti’s capital. Situated on the bay of La Gonâve, a large portion of the area is mountainous. Many of the 125,000 people of Grand Goâve are farmers, tradesmen, small business owners and educators. Ninety percent of the population lives in the mountains and countryside with limited access to medical care and other services including electricity. A lack of literacy, education and business skills plagues the community and there is an overwhelming need for full-time work, but God’s presence is strong and the local churches are active in discipleship, education and other efforts to transform the community.

Jenny partners with local churches and individuals, and her work in Grand Goâve centers on developing relationships in the community through medical, educational and outreach ministries.

Some ways Jenny serves are:

  • Medical Clinics – mobile medical clinics serve four remote locations with limited access to medical care through providing basic family medicine on a regular basis and visits to each site monthly for follow-up on chronic issues like hypertension and diabetes.
  • Grand Goâve Education Initiative – involves tutoring, Christian mentoring and meal fellowship, literacy classes, educational seminars and other opportunities like Vacation Bible School, youth sports and Bible study.
  • Outreach to widows – serving this often-forgotten group through food kits, worship, medical care, visitation and home repair. 

Jenny seeks to be obedient to what God puts in front of her and aims to meet the needs of her community in a sustainable way while considering those most marginalized and forgotten.

One of the mandates of Jenny's call is to go to places with limited access to care. Magandou, the village where the Mt. Sinai Church and one of the sites of our mobile clinics is such a place. We believe God has called us to build a free standing health center in this village. This outpatient facility will serve the over 15,000 in this community and even more in the surrounding area. With your help this can become a reality. Please pray for the Mountain clinic project # 86153.  You can note this project number alongside your donation if you wish to give in this way. 

Remember Jenny in your prayers. Imagine being in Haiti right now, in the middle of this year, serving in medical and relational ministries. People like Jenny are dedicated and faithful to serve no matter what - even in a pandemic. 

You can follow Jenny on Facebook - her page is Jenny's Haiti Days and she can also be found on the Corporative Baptist Fellowship website - 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Unconventional Miracles from an Unconventional God

 Thursday, September 24, 2020   Submitted by Lara Cook

And he divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars. And he said to them, Look at me, and do likewise. When I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’ Judges 7:16-18

Unconventional Miracles from an Unconventional God

This past Sunday Brother Van wrapped up his sermons on Gideon, and this devotional will be the last one about Gideon for now.  The story of Gideon is so powerful and there are so many lessons we can have taken away from it, and we have just barely scratched the surface.  One very distinct and unusual twist in the story of Gideon is the battle scene itself, which Brother Van didn’t have time to talk about last week.  There are two specific points about the battle scene that really stand out: the strategy and the weapons. 

So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!”
2 Judges 7:19-20

The Strategy
The bible says that Gideon’s army approached the outskirts of the enemy’s camp at the beginning of the middle watch.  There were three night watches.  The first was from 8:00 pm to midnight, the second or “middle” watch was from midnight to 4:00 am and the last watch was from 4:00 am to 8:00 am.  This makes midnight the beginning of the second watch, which was when Gideon and his men surprised their enemies.  This is the middle of the night, the darkest part of the night and the beginning of the new shift.  Gideon divided his 300 men into three groups of 100 men in each group.  Then he told them to circle all around the camp – the very large camp housing literally thousands of enemy soldiers.  He wanted them to be heard and seen from every direction around the camp.  This is a great idea, but when you take 300 men and stretch them out all the way around a camp that big, in the darkest part of the night, it was almost as it they were all sent out to fight alone.  Some scholars believe they were probably so far apart that they couldn’t even see the person next to them, especially given the darkness. It would feel much like fighting a battle literally all alone.  Not to mention the weapons they were given.

The Weapons
This may be the most unbelievable part.  Here was Gideon’s little army of three hundred going up against this army of thousands and I am sure all of their jaws dropped when Gideon told them what their weapon would be.  After he divided the men into three groups, he gave them each a trumpet, an empty pitcher, and a torch to go inside the pitcher.  He did not even give a “normal” weapon, not a sword or even a shield to hide behind. 

These two aspects are so very typical of how God works. He is a miracle worker and wants His power to be evident to all. I believe His power was quite evident to Gideon and his men since the enemy scattered as fast as they could when they started blowing trumpets and smashing pitchers in the dark of the night. I am sure the Midianites were confused and terrified as they were startled out of their sleep by these loud noises coming from all sides of their camp. I would imagine this made 300 men sound more like 300 thousand!

Our God fights our battles using the most unconventional weapons and strategy. If He did things the way we think He should, what would distinguish Him as God? He will not be predictable or conventional. His ways are not our ways – thankfully! When despair takes over, we need a God who can work above and beyond what we can comprehend. It is the limits we put on Him, because of the limits of our human comprehension, that cause us to despair. He is a miracle worker and miracles are only miracles because there is no way in the human mind that we can work it out. If we could figure it out, we would think we can do it in our own power and where would be the miracle in that? Thank Him today for His limitless and boundless power to work unconventional miracles in our lives – power that He never withholds - even when we don’t deserve it.

But Jesus looked at them and said, With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.  Matthew 19:26

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

STILL My Favorite Day Of The Year!!

 Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.  Matthew 18:19-20

Still My Favorite Day of the Year – SYATP 2020

Motherhood is such a bittersweet dance of give and take. If we do our job right, our kids move on and live successful lives. The bittersweet part is the letting go. We are happy they have launched out into the world, yet our heart aches for all the time that is now gone. One of my favorite days of the year as a mother was always See You At The Pole – a day designated for students all over the world to gather at their school flagpoles and pray together. Twenty-Twenty has sure given them some good content to pray over!

SYATP is my favorite day for two reasons:

·   It is my favorite day because I love that my kids always wanted to be at school at 6:00 am on those days so they could participate in prayer at the flagpoles with other kids. They were always involved in some way – leading or providing music – so they had to be there early to set up and get prepared. Seeing all the kids gathered around the flagpoles and in groups praying together is an awesome sight.

·   The other reason it was always my favorite day is because I love to worship. Corporate worship is the best in a worship center full of kids who love the Lord, singing their hearts out, and excited about exalting Him. On the night of SYATP there is always a big worship rally where all the kids in the area come together and share a time of praise and worship followed by a speaker. All in all it is a great day.

You may not have kids, or your kids may be grown, and you are far removed from what your grandkids are involved in, but as the body of Christ we should rejoice at this display of this generation stepping out in faith and standing up for what they believe in. They are making the commitment to be there early because it is important to them.  This is a real time of prayer – not a social event for them. We are all entering a time in history when it is more important than ever to take a stand.

Pray for the youth and young adults of our nation today. Pray for Holy boldness for them and for protection and safety. Thank God for the ones that are faithful and committed and ask that He use them to lead the way for the others. Prayer is a powerful tool against the enemy. You may not be around a flagpole today, but we can still all raise our voices in prayer to Him for our communities, our church, our children and their future, and for God to use us for His glory during this tense time in our history.


And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we
have the requests that we have asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

An Ordinary Test

 Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Then the LORD said to Gideon, The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, This one shall go with you, he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, This one shall not go with you, he shall not go. So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink. Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water. The LORD said to Gideon, I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.  Judges 7:4-7

We never know when God is testing us in some ordinary experience of life. Testing, even unexpected, reveals our priorities both to God and ourselves. Challenges in life only make our faith stronger, and what God wants to happen in our times of testing is to see genuine faith on display. In the face of fear, as in a battle against an army of 135,000 men, this genuine faith in our very real and capable God is what we need to propel us forward. 

The Second Sifting
In our study of Gideon, yesterday we read about how God reduced the chosen army to fight the Midianites by two-thirds, God put Gideon’s surviving 10,000 men through a second test by asking them all to take a drink down at the river. Here we have a test from the Almighty wrapped in an ordinary task. As the unsuspecting soldiers went to the water to take a drink, they never knew they were being sorted out.

What significance was there in the two different ways the men drank from the river?  Since the Scriptures don’t tell us, we’d be wise not to read into the text some weighty spiritual lesson that God never put there.  Some say the men who bowed down to drink were making themselves vulnerable to the enemy, while the 300 who lapped water from their hands stayed alert. But the enemy was four miles away (v.1), waiting to see what the Jews would do; and Gideon wouldn’t have led his men into a dangerous situation like that.

One well-known preacher claims that the 300 men drank as they did so they could keep their eyes on Gideon, but the text doesn’t say that either. My assumption is that God chose this method of sifting the army because it was simple, unassuming (no soldier knew he was being tested), and easy to apply.  Since the men undoubtedly came to the water by groups, Gideon was able to watch them and identify the 300. It wasn’t until after the event that the men discovered they had been tested.

Sheer numbers oftentimes strike fear in us in the midst of our battles. A number that is too great in our mind and cause fear as well as a number that is way too small in our minds, like a bank account balance. Some churches today are mesmerized by statistics and think they’re strong because they’re big and wealthy, but numbers are no guarantee of God’s blessing.  Moses assured the Jews that if they would obey the Lord, one soldier could chase a thousand and two would “put ten thousand to flight” (Deut. 32:30). All Gideon needed was 27 soldiers to defeat the whole Midianite army of 135,000 men (Judges 8:10), but God gave him 300.

God graciously gave Gideon one more promise of victory: I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; (v. 7).  By claiming this promise and obeying the Lord’s directions, Gideon defeated the enemy and brought peace to the land for forty years. 

It may have seemed to Gideon that 300 men would never be enough to save them from 135,000 men. Not only did God drastically reduce the sheer number of men in the army, but He also gave them some very unconventional and different weapons. Despite these things, God did as He said and delivered them. Gideon trusted God and the soldiers trusted Gideon and followed the orders. In what seemed like a no-win situation, God won the battle just as He said. The amount of men and the types of weapons did not seem like enough. The greatest lesson we can take away from Gideon's story is that any time God provides something, it will always be enough. Whatever your impossible, no-win situations are, God is enough. Trust Him and have faith that He will provide what you need - just enough - and He can win all battles because His strength is perfect. 

J.G. Stipe said Faith is like a toothbrush: Everybody should have one and use it regularly, but it isn’t safe to use somebody else’s.  We can follow men and women of faith and share in their exploits, but we can’t succeed in our own personal lives by depending on somebody else’s faith.  There is no doubt God has given us enough for every battle we face…for He is enough.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Impossible Battles

Monday, September 21, 2020 Some Material taken from God's Warrior From Manasseh 

The LORD said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, 'My own power has delivered me.' "Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, 'Whoever is afraid and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.'" So 22,000 people returned, but 10,000 remained.  Judges 7:2-3

We have been learning a lot about faith, calling, and obedience in the face of doubt the past few weeks as we have been focusing on Gideon. He thought he was incapable of obeying God in rescuing Israel from the Midianites. He asked God for signs - including two different signs with the fleece as a way of proving that God was really going to do what He said. 

The First Sifting

God brings Gideon and a vast army up, then proceeds to strip Gideon of absolutely anything that could be considered confidence in order to show the only confidence we need is in God.  Here we see the creation of that humility in Gideon, and lessons for us as we attempt to obey God’s voice.  God is going to do a series of things here that are totally counterintuitive to military strategy or even common sense - to prove that He doesn’t need anyone to accomplish His will.

Christians are either overcome by of their unbelief or overcomers through their faith.

The familiar and exciting account of Gideon’s wonderful victory over the Midianites is really a story of faith in action.  You see, a faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted. “We’re simply going to have to step out by faith!” leads to the question, “Whose faith?”  Here are two reasons God tests our faith:

  1. To show us whether our faith is real or counterfeit, and
  2. To strengthen our faith for the tasks He’s set before us. 

God tested Gideon’s faith by sifting his army of 32,000 volunteers until only 300 men were left.  I wonder if Gideon is thinking - "Hold the phone, Lord - of course the people are fearful - we’re going to war after all!"  It would be like saying, "There’s a chance that you might die so if that makes you frightened then beat feet and get out of here!"  Perhaps he was secretly hoping that great courage had been instilled in the people or something - but it was not the case and in the first sifting two thirds of his fighting force turned and left. What a blow to the flesh! God told Gideon why He was decreasing the size of the army: He didn’t want the soldiers to boast that they had won the victory over the Midianites. 

God loves to show up in our impossible battles so that there is absolutely no doubt as to where the victory came from. He is all about giving us victory in our lives. It makes Him happy and because He loves us so much, He has already fought those battles for us. We just have to trust Him and have faith. People who live by faith know their own weakness more and more as they depend on God’s strength. 

When we allow the enemy to sabotage us with fear, our faith takes the biggest hit. Fear has a way of spreading, and one timid soldier can do more damage than a whole company of enemy soldiers. But we can't live in fear and have faith at the same time. Either fear will conquer faith and we’ll quit, or faith will conquer fear and we’ll triumph.  John Wesley may have been thinking of Gideon’s army when he said, “Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but sin and love nothing but God, and I will shake the gates of hell!” But God wasn’t done yet as we shall see.

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4, NKJV

Sunday, September 20, 2020

 God’s Warrior from Manasseh Part 4  Judges 6-7

Christianity is under attack both globally and nationally and believers are struggling with fear of reprisals if they share their beliefs. God is looking for a Gideon for this generation. 

      I.  A Sinful People 6:1-2;7-10

    II.  A Defeated People 6:3-5

   III.  The Extraordinary in the Midst of the Ordinary 6:11

  IV.   A Coward or a Conqueror? 6:12

    V.   Doubts from Despair 6:13

  VI.  Weakness Turns to Worship  6:14-24

 VII.  Real Worship Leads to Repentance 6:25-27

VIII.  The Impact of One Man’s Commitment  6:28-34

  IX.  Confirming God’s Direction  6:36-40

   X.  Following God’s Orders  Judges 7:1-8

·      Christians are either overcome because of their unbelief or overcomers because of their faith

·      When God gives us a vision of the solution to a life problem, we want to know the how and why so we can be in control.

·      A faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted.

God tests our faith for at least two reasons:

·      To show us whether our faith is real or counterfeit

·      To strengthen our faith for tasks He’s set before us

The First Sifting Judges 7:1-3

·      Victories won because of faith bring glory to God because nobody can explain how they happened.

·      Pride after the battle robs God of glory, while fear during the battle robs God’s soldiers of courage and power.

·      One individual can stop the movement of God by declaring, What if…?”

·      Fear and faith can’t live together very long in the same heart.

The second sifting Judges 7:4-8

·      We never know when God may be testing us in some ordinary experience of life.

·      The real test of an individual may not be how they handle the stage, but the street.

·      You can get a crowd with popular Christian entertainment, but it will probably dissolve when called to sacrifice or service.

    XI.  An Unsolicited Sign  Judges 7:9–15a

·      Gideon wanted signs and God was willing to give them, even knowing He would be giving him assurance if he would just keep obeying.

·      Testimonies that are powerful speak of a fulfilled promise of God, not just an act of God.

·      What is significant here is the fact that God works in places we know nothing about bringing about His victory for His people and His glory.

·      Before we can be successful warriors, we must first become sincere worshipers.

  XII.  God Gives the Victory Judges 7:15b–25

How did God reward Gideon’s faith?

·         God gave him wisdom to prepare the army. 7:15b–18

·         God gave him courage to lead the army. 7:19–22

·         God gave him opportunity to enlarge the army. 7:23–25

·         The story of Gideon began with a man hiding in a winepress, but it ended with the enemy prince being slain at a winepress.

We may not fully understand His plans, but we can fully trust His promises; and it’s faith in Him that gives the victory.

Friday, September 18, 2020


Friday, September 18, 2020

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. Hebrews 1:1-2


If you ever take a tour of the Holy Land one of the places you’ll visit is the ancient ruins of the city Capernaum. It is the fishing town that Jesus made his headquarters while he was in Galilee. Why did he make this his home? For one very good reason: It was Peter’s hometown.  What is remarkable is that you can go there today and see the erect walls of a small first century home. The home has been identified since the time of Constantine as Peter’s house.

100 feet from the front door of Peter’s home are the remains of the synagogue of Jesus. Standing there with the winds of the Sea of Galilee blowing through the ruins you can picture Jesus and Peter waking up on the Sabbath, walking across the street with the rest of the disciples, and attending services.  This being Peter’s home synagogue he probably had something to do with Jesus being asked to teach. It is a place where Jesus taught regularly. For a period of time he was there every week in the synagogue teaching as a visiting Rabbi. And as he began to teach, Mark tells us, the people were amazed...astonished at His teaching.

What amazed them is that when Jesus stood up to teach he didn’t say, “Moses has taught us”, or “the exodus teaches us”, or “the prophet Isaiah reminds us”, or “Rabbi so-and-so has said.”  No, when he stood up in the synagogue, he said, “I say to you.” All the other Rabbis told the people to offer a sacrifice at the temple for the remission of sins but Jesus said to people directly, “Your sins are forgiven.” The Rabbis all encouraged the people to believe in God. Along comes Jesus and he tells them, “Believe in God, believe also in me.”  The difference was astonishing.

All the other Rabbis got their authority from quoting the Scriptures and talking about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They referenced the Rabbis before them to support their positions.

But Jesus!  Here was something new. He was the authority. “I am the door; I am the vine; I am the gate; I am the Good Shepherd; I am the light of the world. His teachings echoed with something new, something astonishing. God was no longer in the past. God was in the present in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.  The astonishing thing about Jesus’ teaching was that he broke through the fog that the scribes had created and he spoke with the bright clear beam of heavenly light. He spoke straight from God, with a voice that penetrates the heart.

As believers we sometimes forget that other religions follow truths passed down from history or the minds of men.  Other men claim their prophets, gurus or shamans.  We follow the Son of God who gave spoke from the authority of God Himself. 

It is this same Jesus who followed up His words with action as we will see tomorrow.  His greatest actions however were reserved for His great sacrifice on Calvary followed by His powerful resurrection.  It is these acts which forged His words into eternal truth and empowered every promise He ever made.  Every word we read from the teachings of Christ should be read through the lens of the resurrection.  His authority is validated in these words…Jesus is alive!

Don’t be casual about reading His words as some great orator or spiritualist.  These are the words of the Son of God and His promises are for us who believe.  Jesus is Alive!

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. "We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God." John 6:68-69

Thursday, September 17, 2020

God's Work, God's Way, in God's Power

 Thursday, September 17, 2020

Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Joshua 1:7-8

God's Work, God's Way, in God's Power

We have all seen it far too often. When we attempt to perform the works of God in our own power, we can easily find ourselves consumed with spiritual pride, but doing the work of God in the power of God will glorify God. The beginning of courage is the deep understanding that we are doing God's work - in God's power.

When stepping out to accomplish a great work for God. we need to prayerfully and carefully determine that this is His will.  Fear may often be the result of not truly discerning whether or not we are doing God's will.  Fear, in this instance, may be of God and not of our weakness.  Next, we must remember that to do the right thing in the wrong way is to do the wrong thing. Our courage and confidence increases as we do God's work, in God's way, and in God's power. 

To KNOW the will of God is man's highest knowledge.  Discovering God's method, or plan, requires prayer and time with God. But just to know what God wants done is not enough.  God reveals Himself and brings glory to Himself in the WAY that He does things.  Satan loves to confuse our message by infiltrating our method. It is just as important to know God's method as it is God's purpose.  God's message will never change, but God's method's do.  We lose relevance with the world, and they will ignore us if we cling to methods that are outdated. Many churches have lost their relevance because they have been unwilling to change their method.  While they understand the message, it remains clouded to the world around them.  God's method will never contradict His Word. So, He commands us to meditate upon it.  It is always relevant.  

Proper Meditation is: 

  • The Word of God, not the writings of men.
  • Performed day and night, not spasmodically.
  • Receiving God's blessing requires obedience.

To DO the will of God is man's greatest task.    We may test the value of our meditation by the obedience that results.  God's Word will bear fruit.  Prosperity and victory are the results of TOTAL OBEDIENCE.  "be careful to do according to all the law" says that God's will is not a cafeteria line.

The courage of the Christian increases as he finds confidence in God's method as much as God's message.  Pray for your church leadership, especially this year.  This is the hardest task for the staff of any church, to discern the method of attack that will create confidence in the people.  Many a church today has been stilled because they refuse to be courageous in their method, and now confidence and courage among God's people is needed more than ever. 

They answered Joshua, saying, All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD
your God be with you as He was with Moses.  Joshua 1:16-17

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

When God Speaks to You...

 Wednesday, September 16, 2020 Material taken from God’s Warrior From Manasseh Part 4

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Psalm 37:4-6

Sometimes God asks us or calls us to do something and we want to be very certain we are hearing Him correctly. However, this past Sunday Brother Van gave us some very important reasons not to ask God for a sign.

Reasons for Not Asking God for a Sign:

To take a shortcut - We need to make sure that we are not turning the discovery of God’s will into a scheme by which we can put all the responsibility and all the work in God’s hands.

To ignore God’s revealed will - A new believer, for example, could be introduced to the doctrine of tithes and offerings, and disliking the idea, pray, “Lord, if you truly want me to pay my tithes, then make my boss give me a 15 per cent pay rise.”

To validate a decision you have already made - How often do we choose a job or a date or an investment based on our decisions of what we want? After that, we get on our knees and pray, “God, please bless this project.” 

To avoid waiting -Tempted to look for a quick answer we may ask for a sign and it puts us back in control. Suddenly, God needs to answer according to our schedule. We have done something about it—we fixed it. And because we pretended to be submissive to God all the way, we do not have to feel guilty!

Just as there are reasons not to ask God for a sign, we also need to carefully consider these guidelines to determine if it is God speaking to us:


1. Is this idea consistent with my gifting? Does this idea line up with your gifting, passions, and experiences, but beyond my abilities? God’s ideas will not waste our gifts, passions, and our experiences. If we are supposed to be good stewards of these things, then we know for sure that God’s intent is to be a good steward of them.

2. Will the execution of this idea cost me anything? God’s instructions are wrapped in the envelope of sacrifice. There may or may not be some personal benefit in what you are led to do from God, but if it is all about personal benefit, then you should proceed with extreme caution if at all. 

3. Will following this plan ultimately invest in people? One thing is for sure about Jesus, he was in the people business. His primary concern was showing & extending love, grace, and mercy to people. 

4. As I draw closer does this seem to look like a mirage or an oasis?  A mirage fades from reality, an oasis does not.  This is the birth of a vision.

5. Is there an excitement stirred in me as well as close fellow believers?

In 2020, the body of Christ is the Lord’s warriors and He is with us. We have spent a lot of time asking why all these things are happening to us, but the Lord wants us to have faith in Him and go and do His work. There are a lot of hurting, confused, and angry people out there (and a lot in here too) that need to know, or be reminded, of the love, grace, mercy, and security of our God. 

When you hear His calling on your life, take it seriously. Go in His power and believe that He will do great things in our church, in the community, and beyond Weatherford. 


And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, 
Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.  Psalm 9:10

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