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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Wed, 12/12/2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

GIDEON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Wed, 12/12/2012

Judges 6:33-40
THE CHALLENGE OF GIDEON, Lesson 9a

God is in the process of training Gideon to be the next deliverer of Israel. As part of his training, God commanded Gideon to destroy an altar to Baal and to build an altar to Jehovah in its place. Gideon passed that test with flying colors. The people in his village were not pleased by Gideon’s actions. They wanted to kill him for what he had done. Gideon’s father stepped in and defended his son’s actions. It would appear that Gideon’s father was challenged by his son’s courage and convicted by his own compromise.

After that very public test came a time of private testing. This second test was not instigated by God, but by Gideon. He had demonstrated great bravery in his public testing, but he sows a clear lack of faith in this time of private testing. Someone has said that, “who you are in private is who you really are”. I suppose there is some truth to that statement.

Sometimes it is easier to put on a public face and appear to be one person when we are someone totally different in private. There have been times when that has been true in my life. In this passage, we will see that it is true in Gideon’s life as well.

When Gideon destroyed that altar to Baal, it was a step of great faith. And, even though Gideon did what he did at night because he feared his family and the members of his village, (v. 27), he still did what the Lord told him to do. In this passage, removed from the public eye, we will see that Gideon is still afraid and unsure. His family and those living in his village have witnessed his courage in public; God will witness his fear in private.

In our text today we will see the courageous public persona of Gideon, and we will see the fearful private persona of Gideon. We will see him challenge the people to follow him into battle, and then we will see him challenge the call of God in private. Before we are finished, we will see ourselves in Gideon.

Let’s watch Gideon as he wavers between faith and fear. I want to teach on “The Challenge of Gideon”. I want to share a few observations from this text that speak to us today. I want you to see, from this snapshot from the life of Gideon, that humble obedience honors the Lord more than questioning His call on our lives.

v. 33-34b GIDEON AND HIS FAITH
As this scene opens, we see a young Gideon energized and excited from his recent victory, calling Israel to prepare for war. This is the Gideon the Lord saw when He first commissioned Gideon for the task of delivering God’s people, (v. 12). Let’s consider this Gideon for a moment.

v. 33 Gideon’s Enemy – It is harvest time in Israel, (v. 11). The crops are being gathered in. For the past seven years, (v. 1), the Midianites and their allies have used Israel as their own private pantry. They would come in and take the harvest for themselves, leaving the people of Israel destitute and broken, (vv. 3-7). This is what is taking place in this verse. The invaders were significant in number. Judges 7:12 gives us some idea of the size of this vast army. According to Judges 8:10 their army numbered around 135,000 men.

We are told that the enemies of Israel made their camp in the “Valley of Jezreel”. This valley was the largest and most fertile valley in all of Israel. Many of the crops that sustained the nation were produced there. So, having the enemy invade and take the harvest from that area would have been a serious blow to the food supplies of the nation.

Just as a side note, the Valley of Jezreel is also know and the Valley of Megiddo. Many great battles have been fought on that piece of ground. It is here that the final battle will be waged. It is here, on this same battleground, that the Lord Jesus will defeat the Antichrist and his armies, (Rev 12 thru 14).

v. 34b Gideon’s Engagement – When the enemy comes, Gideon has the courage to do what no man has done in over seven years. From that period of time, the war trumpets of Israel had been silent. No one in the land had possessed the courage to pick up that trumpet and call the people to war. Gideon appears ready for the task he has been assigned. He places his hand on the trumpet, licks his lips and calls Israel to gather for battle.

v. 34a Gideon’s Energy – Where did get this kind of courage? We are told that “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon”. God took control of Gideon and caused him to sound the war call.

This man blowing the trumpet, calling Israel to war is not that same men we met back in Judges 6:11-24. That man was defeated, disillusioned, discouraged and filled with doubt. This man is decisive, daring, defiant and determined. Something has happened to Gideon and that something is the power of the Spirit of God.

Gideon had a personal encounter with God in verses 11-24. He made a decisive commitment to obey the Lord in verses 25-32. Now, he has come under the control of the Spirit of God,( v. 34). When those things take place in a person’s life, they will not be the same. Gideon met God and his life changed.

The same principle holds true in our lives today. If we want power to serve the Lord, that power comes only through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We are His temple, (1 Cor. 6:19; 3:16; Eph. 2:21-22). We are to yield control of our lives to His will, (Eph. 5:18).

While the Spirit of God still empowers people for service in these days, the way He operates is different now than the way He operated then.

In the Old Testament the Spirit of God did not indwell every believer.

The Holy Spirit anointed people for special tasks.

The Spirit of God did not dwell on people permanently in those days. We are told that the Spirit departed from Saul, (1 Sam. 16:14) and from Samson, (Judges 16:20).
When the Spirit did move on a person in those days, they were given great strength and courage to accomplish God-sized feats through the power of the Spirit.

It is worth taking a few moments to consider the contrast between how to Spirit of God operated in Old Testament times and how He operates in our lives today.

In our day, every believer is indwelt by the Spirit of God, (Rom. 8:9; 2 Cor. 12:13).
He does not merely anoint us for specific tasks; He gives us His help for daily living, (Gal. 5:16-25; Rom. 8:14).

The Holy Spirit does not depart from God’s children, but He takes up permanent residence in our hearts, (John 14:16-17). His presence guarantees our eternal security in Jesus,( Eph. 1:13).

When the Spirit of God is in control of our lives, we are changed inwardly first. This inward change manifests itself outwardly in godly living and good works, (Gal. 5:16-25; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10; James 2:18).

TODAY’S HYMN!
“He Touched Me”, By: William J. Gaither (1963)

Shackled by a heavy burden
Neath a load of guilt and shame
Then the hand of jesus touched me
And now I am no longer the same

He touched me, oh he touched me
And oh the joy that floods my soul
Something happened and now I know
He touched me and made me whole

Since I met this blessed savior
Since he cleansed and made me whole
I will never cease to praise him
Ill shout it while eternity rolls

He touched me oh he touched me
And oh the joy that floods my soul
Something happened and now I know
He touched me and made me whole

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Most Holy Father, God of this universe! Help us not to be anxious or worried about anything. Help us to pray with humble spirits and grateful hearts. Enable us to lift up praises and worship in the face of whatever opposes us. Help us to bring every concern to You and leave them at Your feet. Help us to refuse to think “what if” thoughts. Fill us with Your peace that passes all understanding so that our hearts and minds will be protected and we may serve the God that loves us with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength. This we pray in the glorious name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 12/12/2012 11:14PM

    Thank you Vic for a great lesson, hymn which I love, and prayer. As long as we let the Holy Spirit guide our lives and follow God's laws, we will become strengthened and victorious in our daily challenges. You are a great inspiration for many of us. God bless you for your teaching.

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RSSSLHB 12/12/2012 2:20PM

    emoticon Vic let's pray for Israel emoticon

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MPETERSON2311 12/12/2012 2:20PM

    Amen. thanks

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SAINTBETH 12/12/2012 11:31AM

    Not in our strength, but in His might!

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TONYVAND1 12/12/2012 10:16AM

  He is touching me every day Thanks for sharing Vic. You are a good teacher.

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KIMPY225 12/12/2012 9:47AM

    emoticon

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IAM_HIS2 12/12/2012 9:46AM

    Thank you Vic. I am going to spend more time in the Word and in Prayer so I can prepare my heart & soul for the coming of the Christ Child, Jesus on Christmas. Your lesson pushed me to do that.

May you be abundantly blessed by God today Vic. You are a big blessing to me. I thank God for you and pray for you.

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LOSTLIME 12/12/2012 8:07AM

    Love the hymn. Thank you for the prayer and the lesson. God bless you,Vic!

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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/12/2012 7:04AM

    love today hymn! thank you for the lesson too Vic!

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AZMOMXTWO 12/12/2012 6:43AM

  emoticon

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Tue, 12/11/12

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

GIDEON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Tue, 12/11/2012

Judges 6:25-32
THE CULTIVATION OF GIDEON, Lesson 8c

v. 28-32 THE CONSEQUENCES GIDEON DEFEATS
Gideon’s actions caused uproar in the community. God was pleased by what Gideon did, but He was the only one! We need to be aware that there will be consequences for our actions. When we serve the Lord faithfully and obediently, He will be glorified, but those around us, who have not received the same call we have received, will not understand what we are doing. Let’s take a brief look at the consequences Gideon faced, knowing that we will face similar consequences when we faithfully serve God.

v. 28-30 THE ENMITY OF THE LOCALS – When the men of the village saw that the altar had been destroyed, they demanded to know who had done it. It wasn’t long until they knew that Gideon had destroyed the altar and the grove. When they found out that Gideon had done this, they went to Gideon’s father and demanded that Gideon be put to death for daring to defy Baal.

We are deceiving ourselves if we think that everyone is pleased when we obediently serve the Lord. There will be people all around us who will not understand. Family will feel left out. Unspiritual people will feel threatened. Lost people will accuse us promoting ourselves.

David faced opposition, (1 Sam. 17:28, 33). Jesus faced opposition, (John 7:3-5). Paul faced this kind of opposition, (Acts 9:26). It stands to reason that we can expect it too.
Instead of giving in to those who oppose us, we must obediently follow the Lord in spite of all that some would do to stop us. Let us determine that we will be found faithful, regardless of what others think or do!

v. 31-32 THE ENSLAVEMENT OF HIS LOVED ONES – Gideon’s father responds to the attack against his son. I love his response to these men. He basically says, “Will you intercede for Baal? Will you be his savior? If you are still foolish enough to serve Baal, you should be stoned to death as the Law commands! If Baal is really a god, let him come to his own defense. If Baal is real, he shouldn’t need you to help him.”

When Gideon took his obedient stand and honored the Lord’s will in his life, God used it to touch his family. The altar of Baal was on Gideon’s father’s land. It was his idol! When Joash saw the faith of his own son, and the inability of Baal to protect himself, he was converted. He was done with idolatry and he was ready to follow the true and living God. In other words, Gideon’s faith was used to deliver his family from spiritual bondage!

The results of your obedience may not be so dramatic, but will use your obedient life to get glory. He could use your obedience to change your family, your church, or your community. As He has in the past, He might use the obedience of a single individual to change the world!

I have seen the salvation of one soul in a family change that entire family. I have witnessed as one after another of the members in that family came to faith in Jesus. I have seen God take small acts of obedience, like an offering or some act of kindness, and use it to change someone’s life. Who knows what He might do if you and I were totally obedient to His will for our lives!

v. 27-32 THE EXPERIENCE HE LACKED – One of the greatest benefits of this entire event was in the life of Gideon. All Gideon knew was that the Lord was calling him to do a great work. He was afraid and he was unsure how things would work out. As Gideon followed the Lord in this matter, he learned that God would walk with him, protect him and give him victory. That information would serve him well as the tasks he would be called to do grew larger.

Gideon learned on that day that God was able. He learned that God was more powerful that the false gods of the pagans. He learned that God was greater than the enemy. He learned that God would keep His Word and that He would protect His servants. That was valuable information for a future deliverer like Gideon.

When we first start to follow the Lord by faith, we are a lot like Gideon. We are filled with doubts and we’re filled with fears. As God leads us along, step by step, and we see Him give victory after victory, we are developed in our faith and we come to trust Him for even greater things in our lives. That is His plan for us, and it is a plan that works!

Some of you are much farther along than you used to be. You are willing to trust the Lord for more than you could have at the first. You are able to believe Him for big things that you could not have trusted Him for when you were first saved. Where did this faith come from? It came from God. It came from seeing Him move the mountains, meet the needs, answer the prayers and lift the burdens. It came from seeing His power at work in and around you. It came because He developed you step-by-step, day-by-day, and event-by-event. He hasn’t finished with you yet! There is more training ahead for you. God still has some altars He wants to see torn down. He still has some work He wants you to do. He still has a plan and He has made you a part of that plan.

Everything that God allows into our lives is a teaching experience. He uses all the events of our lives to teach us about His grace and His power. He uses the valleys and the mountains to train us for greater things. If we learn the lessons and walk in faith, He will use us in ways we never imagined.

Conc: God worked in Gideon’s life to train him for a huge task. God cultivated Gideon so that God could use Gideon for His glory.

Did you know that He is working in your life also? Did you know that everything that comes your way is part of the training process? How are you coping with your training?
Is there some idol in your life that needs to be torn down before God can use you like He wants to? Is there some fear that holds you back? Are you willing and available to the Lord for His use? Is He speaking to you about His plan for your life? If He is, come to Him today. Place your will, your life, your all on the altar and watch God use you in a great way!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Let Him Have His Way With Thee” By: Cyrus S. Nusbaum (1898)

1. Would you live for Jesus, and be always pure and good?
Would you walk with Him within the narrow road?
Would you have Him bear your burden, carry all your load?
Let Him have His way with thee.
Refrain:
His pow’r can make you what you ought to be;
His blood can cleanse your heart and make you free;
His love can fill your soul, and you will see
’Twas best for Him to have His way with thee.

2. Would you have Him make you free, and follow at His call?
Would you know the peace that comes by giving all?
Would you have Him save you, so that you need never fall?
Let Him have His way with thee.
Refrain:

3. Would you in His kingdom find a place of constant rest?
Would you prove Him true in providential test?
Would you in His service labor always at your best?
Let Him have His way with thee.
Refrain:

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Father of Grace, God of Love! We know it is always Your will for us to be joyful, to pray often and to give thanks to You in all of our circumstances. Help us to remember to do Your will in this regard, even when we do not see answers to our prayers as we would like them. We know You are greater than anything we can face in life, no matter what is happening in our life. Fill us with Your wisdom, love, understanding and knowledge, and guide us in our daily life to Your glory. This we ask and pray in Jesus’ blessed name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EDITOR 12/12/2012 6:42AM

    Loved the simplicity of the prayer-"Help us to remember to do Your will." emoticon
Thanks for the note and goodie yesterday. May He continue to grace you with words that feed the many that need the Lord's direction. Amen

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AMANDACOETZER 12/12/2012 4:57AM

    Thanks!

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ANHELIC 12/11/2012 11:46PM

    Thank you Vic for another great lesson, hymn and prayer. I am learning more each day and my faith is getting stronger and I am listening to God's voice leading me in His direction. I am always ready to try to be obedient when God speaks. Thank you for your teaching and thank you for the goodie and note.

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DIANER2014 12/11/2012 11:20PM

    Thanks Vic for the beautiful prayer! emoticon

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FEMISLIM 12/11/2012 4:23PM

    May you continually be blessed as you daily sow into our lives.

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TONYVAND1 12/11/2012 10:02AM

  He is teaching me more and more each day. Thanks for your part in that Vic.

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LOSTLIME 12/11/2012 9:31AM

    Thank you for the lesson and the prayer.

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/11/2012 8:44AM

    Thank you for the beautiful prayer!

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RSSSLHB 12/11/2012 8:21AM

    emoticon Vic for praying

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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/11/2012 7:54AM

    I trust in the Lord!

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EDITOR 12/11/2012 7:05AM

    Yes, expect anything but enslavement!

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CASTIRONLADY 12/11/2012 7:04AM

    Amen, God has a purpose and a plan for our good and His glory.

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AZMOMXTWO 12/11/2012 6:56AM

  thank you

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Mon, 12/10/2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

GIDEON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Mon, 12/10/2012

Judges 6:25-32
THE CULTIVATION OF GIDEON, Lesson 8b

v. 27 THE COMPLIANCE GIDEON DISPLAYS
Gideon’s Faith On Display – Without hesitation, Gideon did just as he was told to do. He got ten of his servants to help him and he tore down the altar to Baal and he cut down the grove. It was swift and complete obedience to the command of the Lord.
Would to God we were that willing and ready to do the Lord’s will. Would to God that we would jump when He calls and do exactly what He tells us to do without hesitation.

That’s not how we typically respond is it? Usually, like Moses, we make excuses why we can’t do it. Or, also like Moses, we will suggest that the Lord find someone else to do it. Or, Like Jonah, we run from the call of God, knowing full well that our disobedience dishonors Him, and that He will have His way in the end. May the Lord help us to develop a heart like Isaiah’s. When the Lord issued His call in Isaiah’s hearing, Isaiah responded by saying, “Here am I; send me,”( Isaiah 6:8). I can’t testify for you, but that is where I want to be!

Gideon’s Fear On Display – While Gideon demonstrated faith in doing what the Lord commanded; he demonstrated fear in that he did what he did at night. He tried to hide his obedience to the Lord under the cover of darkness. Verse 26 says “he could do it by day”. Gideon knew that his father, his brothers and the rest of the village would be angry with him for tearing down the altar to Baal. He knew they would probably try to kill him for it. Gideon had faith, but it was small. He allowed fear to control his actions.

I am sure that most of us would be honest enough to say that While Gideon demonstrated faith in doing what the Lord commanded; he demonstrated fear in that he did what he did at night. He tried to hide his obedience to the Lord under the cover of darkness. It is good that we have a realistic opinion of our own abilities, but we must never forget that success in the Lord’s work is not our responsibility. Like David told Goliath, “the battle is the Lord’s”, (1 Sam. 17:47). Success in the Lord’s work is the Lord’s business. Our duty is to submit to Him, allow Him to work through us, and He will accomplish His purposes, (John 15:5; Phil. 4:13) through us.

I’ve been teaching and preaching for 40 years and I still get uneasy when I first start. I have never gotten used to doing what I am doing right now. However, I have reached the place where I think I understand my own limitations. I am not capable of doing this thing. He has called me to you, but if I will yield to Him, rest in His power, and allow Him to live through me, the task of teaching or preaching is accomplished. I think this was what Paul was talking about in Gal. 2:20, when he said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” That is the ultimate secret to success in spiritual service.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Great Is Thy Faithfulness” By: Thomas O. Chisholm (1923)

1. "Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Refrain:
"Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!

2. Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Refrain:

3. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Refrain:

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Almighty Father, Almighty God! Because we aligned ourselves with You, the enemy wages war against us. Help us to put on the full armor You have provided for us. Teach us what that is so we comprehend how to maintain it. Enable us to fully understand the depth of Your truth, Your righteousness, Your salvation, Your power and Your commands, that we may use them to glorify the God we love and serve. This we pray in Jesus precious name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 12/11/2012 12:03AM

    Thank you Vic for a great lesson, hymn, one of my favorites and prayer. Before I start my day, I read Ephesians 6:10 -18, putting on the full armor of God. I feel safe and without fear to face my day, knowing God is with me. I try each day to be obedient to God and do what He is telling me to do. Thank you for teaching is lesson to us. God bless you Vic and thank you for the goodie and note.

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AMANDACOETZER 12/10/2012 4:07PM

    Thank you, I needed to hear that tonight!

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TONYVAND1 12/10/2012 12:52PM

  Great is His faithfulness. Put on the whole armor of God so that you can withstand the forces of evil.

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LOSTLIME 12/10/2012 10:47AM

    Thank you for this lesson.

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RSSSLHB 12/10/2012 9:12AM

    emoticon for praying Vic emoticon

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NDTEACHER1 12/10/2012 7:47AM

    Thank you for helping start my day out right and one of my FAVORITE songs!!!

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CASTIRONLADY 12/10/2012 7:35AM

    Obedient to His commands and expect Him to work it to His glory in His own good time. I think sometimes we want to see the results of obedience before we agree fall in step with Him. We may never see the purpose or the fruit of our obedience today. But Praise the Lord, we will someday.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/10/2012 6:53AM

    My day will be spent on thoughts to glorify God!
thank you Vic!

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EDITOR 12/10/2012 6:49AM

    Obedient and yielding. Let us be that. Thanks for the goodie, Vic and the lesson that we can pick out a verse, a hymn, a prayer, a word to dwell on.

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AZMOMXTWO 12/10/2012 6:40AM

  thank you

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sun, 12/9/2012

Sunday, December 09, 2012

GIDEON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Sun, 12/9/2012

Judges 6:25-32
THE CULTIVATION OF GIDEON, Lesson 8a

In our last study, we met a man named Gideon. He was the man God chose to deliver Israel from the bondage of their enemies.
Gideon does not appear to be a likely candidate to be the deliverer of the nation. When Gideon appears, he is hiding from the Midianites to prevent them from taking the small amount of grain he possesses.

When the Lord comes to Gideon, He tells him that he is to be the deliverer of Israel. Gideon, like most people, immediately tells God why He is wrong. After losing the argument with the Lord, Gideon finds himself worshiping the Lord and waiting for his orders.

As we continue to look at the story of Gideon, we will watch as the Lord prepares him for the mission that lies ahead. God brings Gideon along in a series of small, specific steps that will lead to Gideon achieving big things for the glory of God.

In this passage we will watch Gideon take his first step of faith. We will watch him take a stand against the false religion that held his village and his family in spiritual bondage.

As we consider how God develops Gideon, we need to take a moment to consider our own lives. The Lord is in the business of developing us as well. In fact, the Lord’s intention in our lives is to transform us from lost sinners into the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is what the Bible teaches us about that truth.

Ephesians 4:13, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”

Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Let’s join Gideon as he enters boot camp. What we learn from observing him can help us successfully navigate our own times of spiritual development. As the Lord gives liberty, I want to teach on “The Cultivation Of Gideon”. Notice with me the thoughts revealed in these verses.

I. v. 25-26 THE COMMAND GOD DELIVERS
It Was A Specific Command – When God speaks to Gideon, it is in the same night that He called him. When God’s puts His hand on a life, He does not waste valuable time. He calls people for specific tasks at specific times. When God calls, He commissions and He sends the called ones out to do His will.

The Lord’s command to Gideon is very specific. He is told to take his father’s “second bullock”. Evidently, the first bullock had been dedicated to Baal, so the second one is the only one still clean. Gideon is to take that young bull and he is to use it pull down his father’s altar to Baal. He is also to cut down the “grove” that stands by the altar.

Baal was the Canaanite god of fertility. The Canaanites believed that Baal was responsible for the success or failure of their crops and herds. They did everything in their power to worship Baal and ensure his blessings. The “grove” was a pole called the “Asherah pole”. Asherah was Baal’s female consort. Worshippers practiced vile sexual acts near the groves. They believed these acts would bring Baal’s favor upon them and their families.

God’s command was very specific. He was to tear down the altar and then he was to build a new altar on top of the rock mentioned in verses 20-21. Gideon was to build an altar to Jehovah and he was to offer the young bull as a burnt offering to the Lord.
Since altars to Baal were built on top of prominent hills, this was an act that could not be hidden. Everyone would know what Gideon had done. If they didn’t miss the altar to Baal, they would see the smoke from the altar on top of the rock.

By the way, God’s commands for our lives are not hidden in mystery. His commands for us are just as specific as the commands He gave to Gideon. To find His will, we simply need to read and follow His Word, abide with Him in prayers and walk humbly with Him in His will, (Rom. 12:1-2). In fact, knowing the will of God is as simple as this: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8).

There are times when God will place a specific call on your life. When He does, He will let you know. He will speak through His Word, through His Spirit and through His church to reveal His will for you. Until He does that, just keep walking with Him, worshiping Him, talking to Him, listening to Him, following Him, and telling others about Him. When He wants more, He will show you!

Gideon was to build his altar and make his sacrifice on top of a hill, because God did not want what He was about to do to be hidden away. In the same way, God wants our worship of Him and our service to Him to be done out in the open for all to see. We must never be ashamed of Him and of what He calls us to do, (Rom 1:16). Very few are vocal and visible in the worship and work for the Lord. We all should be! May He help us to honor Him by the way we worship and by the way we work.

It Was A Spiritual Command – God had two purposes in issuing this command to Gideon. First, God intended to demonstrate His superiority over Baal. Gideon would topple Baal’s altar and Baal would be powerless to stop it from happening. Second, God wanted Gideon to know that God would be with him, regardless of the opposition he faced. This was a small step for Gideon, but it proved to him that God would never forsake him when he was doing the Lord’s will.

God is still accomplishing those same two objectives in our lives. Every time He gives us a command to obey, and we carry it out for His glory, He shows a lost world that He is God and that He is worthy to be worshiped. And, every time He uses us to accomplish His will, He reminds us afresh that we are not alone. He reminds us that His hand is on our lives for His glory! That is what makes serving Him so special. I don’t have to know what I am doing I just have to do what He tells me and He takes care of the rest. When that happens, He is glorified and I am encouraged!

The main reason that altar had to be torn down was that it was a hindrance to God’s work being done in Gideon’s family, in his community and in his life. Until that pagan altar was destroyed and the people delivered from the power of Baal, God could not and would not move in power and glory.

The same is true in our lives. Until we take the initiative to rid ourselves of the things that hinder our walk with the Lord we will never see God use us like He wants to, (Heb. 12:1). By extension, that same principle holds true for the church. If we want God’s blessing and power to be upon us and what we do here, we must be clean and free from evil influences.

It Was A Simple Command – This was a command for Gideon to do something that he could do. This was a baby step to prepare him for what he could not do. Gideon had everything he needed to do what God was telling him to do; he merely had to do it. All he had to do was follow God by faith. God was using this simple command to prepare Gideon for something far more difficult. God was preparing Gideon to do things that were impossible. Gideon would have never believed God for the impossible, had he not seen the Lord first work in the possible.

God uses the same strategy with us. When we are first saved, God gives us small tasks that we can accomplish.

David – Before he was called on to face Goliath, he first faced a lion and a bear, (1 Sam. 17:32-37). Those small victories helped to prepare David for the big battle that was just ahead!

Abraham – He was taught obedience by first leaving home to follow God. After a while, he was ready to believe God for a baby when he was 100, (Gen. 21:1-3). In just a few more years, Abraham would believe God for a miracle when he was commanded to offer Isaac as a burnt offering, (Gen. 22:5; Heb. 11:17-19).

Peter - He denied the Lord the first time he was tested, but he learned to stand in faith and preach the Gospel in Holy Ghost power, (Acts 2). Years later when it came time for Peter to die, he was ready to be crucified upside down.

As we prove faithful in the small things, God assigns us greater tasks. When we do those things by His grace, He leads us to do even greater things. That is how He works in each of our lives. Luke 16:10, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”

Our problem is often that we do not do the small things He asks us to do, so we are never used by the Lord to do the greater things. When we will not pray, read the Bible, go to church faithfully, tithe, witness, or serve Him in all the many ways that are available, why should we expect Him to use us in great ways for His glory? He will never use us in great ways, until we first prove trustworthy in the small things of life.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“The Ninety and Nine” By: Elizabeth C. Clephane (1868)

1. There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold.
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare.
Away from the tender Shepherd's care.
Away from the tender Shepherd's care.

2. "Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?"
But the Shepherd made answer: "This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me;
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep."

3. But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry,
Sick and helpless and ready to die;
Sick and helpless and ready to die.

4. "Lord, whence are those blood drops all the way
That mark out the mountain's track?"
"They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back."
"Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?"
"They are pierced tonight by many a thorn;
They are pierced tonight by many a thorn."

5. And all through the mountains, thunder riven
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of Heaven,
"Rejoice! I have found My sheep!"
And the angels echoed around the throne,
"Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!
Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!"

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Holy Father, Gracious and Loving God! What good would it do us if we gain the whole world and forfeit our own soul. Enable us to have “blank looks” to respond to Satan’s offer of “self-pity, jealousy, gossip, stealing ,and greed”; we do not need these. You alone, God, provide all of our true needs. Thank You for all our provisions for our spiritual sustenance, for our emotional and physical needs. Help us to see what You give us daily, and not to try to provide for our own needs. Take all our will, our self and pride, as we now surrender it all to You. Thank You, Lord and Spirit, for abiding in us. This we pray and ask in the faithful name of Jesus our Savior. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMANDACOETZER 12/10/2012 4:57AM

    Thanks!!

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ANHELIC 12/9/2012 11:48PM

    Thank you Vic for a great lesson, hymn and prayer. We know that God only gives us what we can handle. I am prepared to do the little things God asks me to do, and I pray that my tasks will become bigger as time goes on. God bless you Vic for the teaching and for the goodie and notes.

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/9/2012 3:01PM

    Thank you for this powerful lesson and prayer!

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LOSTLIME 12/9/2012 11:07AM

    Thank you for this lesson. I personally have much to learn.

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ALEXSGIRL1 12/9/2012 10:15AM

    thank you for the lesson

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DIANER2014 12/9/2012 9:38AM

    Thank you Vic! I feel Gods love and presence every day and every where. emoticon

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TONYVAND1 12/9/2012 7:37AM

  Being faithful in the tasks that He gives. Training for Him every day


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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/9/2012 6:32AM

    Thank you Jesus for all that you provide for me! I pray Iwill always be aware of your love!

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EDITOR 12/9/2012 6:30AM

    We learned that God prepares! I know that you share. Thank you for the note and goodie, Vic; more important the lesson for this day. Waiting until we all come to the perfect unity in faith.

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, sAT, 12/8/2012

Saturday, December 08, 2012

GIDEON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Sat, 12/8/2012

Judges 6:11-24
THE CALL OF GIDEON, Lesson 7d

v. 16-24 GIDEON’S CONFIRMATION
In verse 16, the Lord reaffirms His call of Gideon. He tells Gideon that he will be able to destroy the Midianites as if they were just a single man. In other words, the Lord is going to use Gideon in a powerful, wonderful, amazing fashion. All he has to do go with God.

Gideon is still not ready to simply follow the Lord. He wants some proof that it is really God Who is talking with him. Gideon asks for a sign. This will not be the last time he does so!

Thank God we serve a patient Lord. Gideon should have just done what the Lord told him to do. Of course, so should we! God graciously gave Gideon the sign he requested. The following verses talk about it!

v. 18-21 He Is Confirmed By A Presentation – Gideon wants to make an offering the Lord, which is what the word “present” means. The Lord promises to wait until Gideon returns. So, Gideon prepares a goat, cakes made from 35 pounds of flour, and a pot of broth. This was a sacrificial offering from a man whose family lived in poverty.

It is amazing to see this transformation in Gideon. When the angel of the Lord found him, he was hiding, trying to protect a small amount of grain, now he willingly gives away a huge meal! Gideon has at least reached a place where he is willing to yield the things he cherishes.
When Gideon presents his offering, he is instructed to place it on a rock. He does so, and when he does, the Lord touches the offering with the end of His staff. When he does, fire rises out of the rock and consumes the sacrifice.
In receiving the sacrifice as He did, the Lord was teaching Gideon that everything was going to be all right. The Lord used a staff to work this miracle. The staff was an instrument used by a shepherd. The staff was used to comfort, control, protect and lead the sheep. The Lord is telling Gideon that He will be with him to comfort, control, protect and lead him as well. It was a way of teaching Gideon that he need not fear where the Lord would lead him. For where God guides, God provides!
This was also a sign that the Lord had accepted Gideon. God had come to Gideon, called him, commissioned him and accepted his sacrifice. All of this was the Lord’s way of telling Gideon that he was going to use him in a great way!
If you want to be used of the Lord, just present yourself to Him and He will use you. His will is that we make an offering like Gideon did. God is not interested in our goats, our cakes and our broth. God is interested in us. He wants us to place everything we are on the altar. He wants us to yield ourselves totally to His will. When we do that, He will use us in ways we can only imagine,( Rom. 12:1-2). Those verses teach us that by completely yielding ourselves to the Lord, we will be able to recognize His will, which is good, acceptable and perfect.
In other words, knowing the will of the Lord for our lives is as simple as yielding our lives to the Lord. As we give up and we have and all we are, and as we walk with Him, He guides us into His perfect will day by day, just like a shepherd leads his sheep.
v. 22-24 He Is Confirmed By A Promise – Gideon now recognizes just Who he is dealing with. When he does, he is filled with fear and he cries out to the Lord. God responds by speaking peace to Gideon’s heart. He promises Gideon that he will not die! Gideon then builds an altar and worships the Lord. He calls that altar “Jehovah-Shalom”, or “The Lord Our Peace”.
Gideon found peace in submission and worship. When he submitted to the Lord’s will for his life and when he fell before the Lord in humble worship, Gideon found a place of comfort.
That will still work today! If you want turmoil in your soul, just walk a different path than the one God has planned for your life. If you want sleepless nights and dreary days, just refuse to do what He wants you to do. But, if you want peace, joy and true happiness, you will only find it in surrounding your life to the will of God. Until you do what the Lord wants you to do, you will never know true peace and you will never experience genuine worship. You might as well do what He is telling you to do; He isn’t going to change His mind, (Rom. 11:28).
Conc: Just looking from the outside, it doesn’t look like Gideon will amount to much in the Lord’s work. He is fearful. He is timid. He is filled with self-doubt. He has more questions than he has answers. However, Gideon is being brought to a place of service. The Lord is willing to take Gideon just like he is and shape him into what He wants him to be. As we will see over the next few lessons that is just what the Lord will do.
What about you? Are you doing what the Lord wants you to do? Have you found that place of service that He saved you to fill, (Eph. 2:10)? Are you content to stand back while others do all the work and you watch? Are you fearful? Has He been calling you to do something, but you hold back, making your excuses as to why you can’t do what He wants? Is today the day when you will throw up the white flag of surrender and trust the Lord to do His perfect will in your life?
Are you even saved? Today would be a good day to come to Jesus if you are not!
If He is drawing you, on any level, I invite you to be obedient to His voice. Come and let the Lord have his way in your life!
TODAY’S HYMN!
“Take My Life, and Let It Be” By Frances R. Havergal (1874)
1. Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
*Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
2. Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
3. Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
4. Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
5. Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
6. Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Father of Love, God of Love! Help us to walk in obedience to Your commands. Teach us to walk in the light and to walk in Love just as Jesus did. Thwart our efforts if they do not follow Your will. Enable us to seek Your guidance and see Your blessings manifested in our lives to Your honor, glory and power. We know that our God is at work for Your eternal purpose and for our good. Blessed be the God we love who blesses us with blessings from the heavenly realm. This we pray in Jesus’ glorious name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 12/8/2012 10:43PM

    Thanks for your great lesson, hymn and prayer Vic. Now is the perfect time to submit ourselves to God and let him guide our feet in His direction. We need to listen to His voice and allow Him to tell us what He wants us to do in His honor. Thank you again for sharing this lesson. God bless you Vic and thank you for the goodie and note.

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TONYVAND1 12/8/2012 4:59PM

  Delight yourselves in The Lord and He will lead you. He will make a straight path for us to follow

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SANDRALEET 12/8/2012 10:44AM

    We are sinners who do our best.

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/8/2012 8:46AM

    Wonderful lesson and prayer.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/8/2012 6:40AM

    thank you for today lesson, Vic!

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EDITOR 12/8/2012 6:34AM

    I have yielded the things that I have cherished. Sometimes more than once. What a wonderful season to go to the altar and present ourselves as a living sacrifice. Thanks for your lesson today, Vic, and for the goodie and note.

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