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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sun, 12/16/2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Sun, 12/16/2012

Judges 7:1-23
GOD HAS THE BEST PLAN, Lesson, 10b

THE REQUIREMENTS OF GOD’S PLAN
If a person or a church is going to walk in the plan God gives them, three steps are necessary.

God’s Plan Requires Surrender - Think about this: Gideon was a man with 32,000 followers! But, by following God’s plan, he saw his army reduced, his rank lowered and his pride crushed. He was reduced from general Gideon to Gideon the barley cake, (v. 13). He went from being considered a great leader of men to being called a dog biscuit!
That will do something for your ego! What Gideon learned was that this fight was not about Gideon, his army, or even the enemy. This battle was about the Lord! Gideon had to come to the place where he was willing to lay his plans, his goals, his dreams, his will aside so that he might surrender to the will of God!

That is what the Lord still requires of those who would walk in His perfect will! Those who see the reality of the fact that God has the best plan are those who turn from their plan to go with His plan. God’s plan is always the best plan! You can trust Him to look out for your best interests,(Rom. 8:28; Jer. 29:11).

By the way, life is not about our plans or even about us. Life is about the Lord and His perfect will!

God’s Plan Requires Submission - For God’s plan to succeed, Gideon and his army had to submit to God’s plan. Gideon had to watch as the first 22,000 men and then 9,700 men turned and went home, taking their weapons and their potential with them. Gideon and the 300 who remained had to walk in obedience to God’s plan for the battle or none of them had a chance of survival!

If you want to see the Lord’s best for your life, then it will require obedience to His plan on your part. You may not like that which the Lord is telling you to do, but you do it anyway. Obedience is important to the Lord, (1 Sam. 15:22)! It is His command for each of us, (Eph. 6:6). Obedience to His will proves our love for Him, (John 14:15).

God’s Plan Requires Steadfastness - If Gideon and his army was to experience the victory, they would have to humble themselves under God’s hand, surrender to His plan, obey His will and proceed in faith! It took great faith for 300 to go out against thousands! It took great faith for them to take no weapons! It took great faith for them to blow their trumpets, break those pitchers and shine those lights, but God answered their faith by giving them a resounding victory!

If you are going to see God’s best plan for your life, it too is going to require faith! God is going to ask you to take some steps along the path of life that will be difficult, and that you will be unsure of. But, the path to God’s best is always the path of faith! God always honors faith because faith always honors Him, (Heb. 11:6)! For example: 3 Hebrews and Daniel - God’s plan seemed bad, but faith secured the victory!
TODAY’S HYMN!
“He Leadeth Me” By: J. H. Gilmore (1862)

1.He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
Refrain:
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful foll’wer I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

2.Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me
Refrain:

3.Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.
Refrain:

4.And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.
Refrain:


THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Loving Father, God of Mercy, Forgiveness, and Grace! It is always Your will for us to be joyful, to pray often, and to give thanks to You in all circumstances. Help us to remember to do Your will in this regard, even when circumstances dictate otherwise. No matter what is happening in our life, we know You are GREATER than all of life we might face. Thank You for the peace we experience in Christ Jesus. Thank You for the gift of Your Son. It is in His blessed name that we pray and ask these things. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIMPY225 12/17/2012 12:25AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANHELIC 12/16/2012 9:27PM

    Thank you for your lesson, hymn which I love, and prayer. Being obedient to God in these trying times isn the only way we will see victory. God's plan for my life will never lead me in the wrong direction. Thank you God for guiding my steps. God bless you for sharing this wonderful lesson and thank you for the goodie and note.

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TONYVAND1 12/16/2012 3:26PM

  Trusting Him for my life plan He leads me all the way.

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/16/2012 1:50PM

    Amen. Thank you for praying.

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RSSSLHB 12/16/2012 11:46AM

    Amen emoticon emoticon

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AMANDACOETZER 12/16/2012 10:58AM

    Thanks!!

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/16/2012 10:43AM

    Amen!

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EDITOR 12/16/2012 7:04AM

    Thanks for the prayer, hymn and lesson regarding, thanking Him for the peace we experience in Christ Jesus. There is no other! Thank you for the note and goodie too, Vic.
And during these trying times, Jesus still holds the children in His lap. May those experiencing deepest gloom today, seek His beautiful face.

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AZTLAN777 12/16/2012 6:53AM

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sat, 12/15/2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Sat, 12/15/2012

Judges 7:1-23
GOD HAS THE BEST PLAN, Lesson, 10a

Read James 4:13-17. In these verses, James councils men against the foolishness of making plans without consideration for the will of God in the matter. All James is saying is that you and I can make any plans we wish to make, but God always has the final say in any matter. Then, when we learn His plans for the situation, and we make our plans based on His plans, we find out that He had the best plan all along!

We humans like to make our plans, don’t we? We want things to go the way we want them to go. But, have you ever thought that God might have a better plan?

When Peter and the others had fished all night without catching a fish, Jesus told them to put out into the deep water and they would catch fish, (Luke 5:4-8). Peter’s plan was to forget fishing for that day and go home. But, when he obeyed the Lord, he found out that God had the best plan!

When Jesus told His disciples that He was going to die, Peter rebuked the Lord, (Matt. 16:21-23). Peter thought he had a good plan, but when Jesus went to the cross and paid for sins forever, Peter found out that God had the best plan.

When Goliath saw David coming to meet him for battle, he had plans to kill David and feed his carcass to the scavengers of the field, (2 Sam. 17). But, when that stone sank deep into his forehead and he fell to the earth dead, he found out that God had the best plan!

When Israel sent spies into Canaan and saw the giants that lived there, (Num 13-14), they made plans to find themselves a new leader to go back to Egypt. But, over the next forty years, as they died one by one in the wilderness, they learned that God has the best plan.

Now, I could go on giving you example after example from the pages of God’s Word, but this truth is fleshed out really well in this passage we have read from Judges. When Gideon and his army went into battle, they must have had a plan, but before the battle was joined and the victory was won, they found out that God had the best plan.

I would like for us to consider that thought today: “God Has The Best Plan”. As we do, let’s learn the lesson that God’s plan may not be the easiest plan; it may not be the most popular plan; it may not even seem like the smartest plan; but God always has the best plan!

THE REALITIES OF GOD’S PLAN
v. 2-7 God’s Plan Is A Different Plan - Gideon planned to march into battle with 32,000 soldiers, but God had a different plan! Look at the Context and how God whittled down the army of Gideon.

When we make our plans for our lives, we always try to stack the deck in our favor. That is human nature! However, God will usually have a different plan for your life than you do!

David was just a shepherd, but God had a different plan.

Job was a wealthy man who just wanted to worship his God, love his family and enjoy his wealth, but God had a different plan.

Joseph and Mary were a young couple who wanted to get married and raise a family, but God had a different plan.

Saul of Tarsus just wanted to destroy Christianity, but God had a different plan!
The test of a truly consecrated life is that it is willing to submit to the plans of God, (Luke 22:42), even when His plan contradicts our plan. In Acts 16:6-9. Paul had one plan, but God had a different plan!

v. 9-14 God’s Plan Is A Declared Plan– Here is Gideon, he has seen his 32,000-man army reduced to just 300 men. He is getting ready to attack a force that is many times larger than his own, (verse 12). God is not asking for a leap in the dark, he is asking for a clear step of faith. God knew Gideon’s fears and concerns. Gideon heard what the enemy said, (v. 13-14).

When it comes to you and me, the Lord expects us to walk in obedience to His will, but He never asks for a blind leap in the dark. He always asks His children to respond to His plans by them taking a clear step of faith.

God uses many means to speak to His children!

He speaks through His Word, (Rom. 10:17; Heb 1:1-2).
He speaks through the Spirit, (Acts 13:2; 16:6-8).
He speaks through other believers, (Acts 9:17-18).
He even speaks through the circumstances of life, (Gen. 24:12-16).

The bottom line is this; God will always direct your feet plainly! He will not leave you in doubt. His plan is a declared plan!

Knowing His plan takes requires prayer, holiness and patience, but be sure, in His time, He will reveal His plan. When He does, you will see that it is a different plan, a declared plan and that it is the best plan! The surest path to knowing His plan is to practice it every day (Rom. 12:1-2).

v. 15-23 God’s Plan Is A Distinct Plan - Gideon’s men were to surround the enemy, 300 hundred against thousands! They were to sounds their trumpets, shout for the battle and break a little clay pitcher containing an oil lamp. God said that this would give them the victory, and it did! What a distinct plan! No man would ever have come up with a plan like that!

Had Gideon and his men not been willing to follow God’s plan, they would have missed out on God’s best for their lives! So it is with the plans of God. There are times when the Lord will lead you in directions you never imagined. He can come up with plans for our lives that are very distinct! Yet, when we go His way, we find out that He always has the best plan!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Have Thine Own Way” By: Adelaide Pollard (1902)

1. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.

2. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Search me and try me, Savior today!
Wash me just now, Lord, wash me just now,
as in thy presence humbly I bow.

3. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

4. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway.
Fill with thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Loving Father, Forgiving God! You are worthy of all praises, glory, honor, riches, power and blessings. Teach us to always inquire of You first before we take any action. Help us not assume that because You instruct us in certain ways before, that You want us to use the same way each time we face a new situation. Grant us to understand we do not have all the answers to life, but we know You do. You have all the answers of life and to victory. Enable us to use Your wisdom and knowledge so we may live a life to Your glory. This we pray in Jesus’ blessed name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 12/15/2012 10:43PM

    Thank you Vic for your great lesson, hymn which I love, and prayer. Yes, we have to let God have His way in our lives. When we follow His path, we will be obedient and He will be happy. Being disobedient to God will only harm our lives and displease God. Thank you for sharing God's word with us and thank you for the goodie and note.

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TONYVAND1 12/15/2012 8:29AM

  Have Thine own Way Lord. That needs to be our prayer and our attitude to life

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/15/2012 8:28AM

    Thanking God that He had a better plan for me than my rebellious ways! emoticon

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RSSSLHB 12/15/2012 7:34AM

    emoticon Vic emoticon

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CASTIRONLADY 12/15/2012 7:14AM

    Hiding in God's Word is the only place to go when horrors occur. Prayer is the only action we can take when immediately faced with such horrors.

Keep spreading the Word until He comes again. Come, LORD Jesus!

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EDITOR 12/15/2012 6:52AM

    Can you imagine rebuking the Lord? Can you imagine denying the Lord? Can you imagine such foolishness as taking a wide path when He has plainly said to take the straight and narrow path? Oh my, people, we have all gone astray by word , thought and deed.

He does have the best plan, and when we tell Him, "UH UH", we have thrown grace back in His face.

Thanks for today's lesson, Vic, and of course, for you goodie and note. Christ seems so urgent this year, to me, and it most likely is that everyday!

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Fri, 12/14/2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

GIDEON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Fri, 12/14/2012

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

v. 36-40 GIDEON AND HIS FLEECE
Gideon has displayed great courage in calling the people to war and gathering together his army. That was the public Gideon. In private, Gideon is still filled with doubts concerning what the Lord is calling him to do. In these verses we will see the doubt of Gideon on display. Let’s look at what he did and learn why we need to avoid doing the same.

v. 36 Gideon’s Doubts – The key word in this verse is the word “if”. God had already told Gideon repeatedly what He wanted him to do, (vv. 12, 14, 16). Gideon is not content to simply trust the Lord and take him at his word. Gideon wants some kind of tangible proof that he can see with his own eyes that this is God’s will. In other words, Gideon is not willing to walk by faith; he wants to walk by sight too.

v. 37, 39 Gideon’s Demand – Gideon comes up with a test to determine God’s will. In verse 37, he places a piece of sheepskin on the ground and asks the Lord to make the fleece wet and the ground around it dry. God does exactly what Gideon asks him to do, (v. 38).

v. 38 Gideon’s Disobedience – However, this does not satisfy the mind of Gideon, because he knows that a piece of sheepskin is like a sponge. It will soak up all the available moisture in the air around it. So, even though he was able to wring a bowl full of water from the fleece, he is still not convinced. The next night he asks God to reverse the conditions of the test. Make the ground wet and the fleece dry. God does this too.

v. 40 Gideon’s Direction – Apparently, this satisfies Gideon because he does not question God’s call again. Of course, he could have just taken God at His Word and he would have arrived at the same place two days earlier. Gideon wasted two precious days playing this fleece game with the Lord.

I think it would be worth our time to talk about this matter of “putting out a fleece”. I am sure that many people today have done just that. You have set up a test to prove the Lord. You have dictated your terms to Him and you have expected Him to do exactly what you have told Him to do. I want you to see that our practice of “putting out a fleece” is not something that pleases the Lord. Let me show you the problems with the fleece. We will use Gideon as our example.

Gideon faced the same problem we all face in life. He simply lacked the faith to take God at His Word. God told Gideon what He wanted him to do, (vv. 12, 14, 16), but Gideon was not willing to simply trust the Lord by faith.

God expects His people to walk with Him in humble faith in His Word and His promises, (Rom. 1:17). When we seek a tangible sign to determine God’s will, instead of taking Him at His Word, it displeases God, (Heb. 11:6), and it causes us to fall into sin, (Rom. 14:23). We can trust His Word because He has promised to lead us, (Psa. 32:8; 37:23-24).

Another problem I see in Gideon’s fleece is that Gideon dictated the terms to God. Gideon’s responsibility was not to tell the Lord how things would be. His responsibility was to simply obey the will of God for his life.

Our duty is the same. We are not called to tell the Lord how He should answer our prayers. We are commanded to obey His Word and His will for our lives without question, (Rom. 12:1-2).

Gideon learned that seeking a sign does not solve the problem. He got a wet fleece the first time, but he still wasn’t sure it was the Lord’s work. Did God cause the fleece to be wet, or did the fleece simply draw moisture from the air? Gideon was not better off after the first fleece than he was before. He still had the same promises from the Lord, but he still also possessed the same problem of doubt.

When we set to throw out our fleece before the Lord, and we set the conditions, we are setting ourselves up for doubt. For instance, you are trying to find God’s will in a matter so you pray something like this: “Lord, if this is your will let so and so call me by 7:00 PM today.”

Well, what if so and so calls at 7:01? Does that mean God is telling you no? Or, does it mean you clock is just a minute fast? What if so and so calls at 6:59? Does that mean God is saying yes. Or, does it mean that Satan is trying to make you doubt? Or does it mean that your clock is just a minute slow? Do you see the problem? “If the next car I see is like the one I want, then I will know it’s your will to trade.” Even when things go almost like we ask for them to go, we are still prone to doubt. If you can’t take God at His Word, you will not be able to trust a fleece either. Gideon learned that truth and so have many of you. There is no peace in the fleece!

The real problem with “putting out a fleece” is that a fleece is always placed out of doubt and not faith. “Putting out a fleece” is not the biblical method for determining the will of God. It is a method used by people like Gideon who lack the faith to simply trust the Word of God.

How does God guide His people? The Bible tells us exactly how God leads us to know His will for our lives.

God guides through His Spirit – (John 16:13).
God guides through His Word – (Psalm 119:105).
God guides through His peace – (Col. 3:15).
God guides through the desires He gives us – (Psalm 34:3-4).
God also guides through the godly counsel of His people – (Pro. 11:14).

All of these will be in agreement. For example, God will never tell you to abandon your mate for another. I have heard people who have done that very thing say, “Well, I have peace about it.” I have known preachers who left a church or took a church saying, “I have peace about my decision”. Then I have watched as God shelved them or allowed them to endure a time of terrible testing at the church they took. That peace did not come from God.

When God guides, the leadership of the Spirit will line up with the Word of God. These two assurances will produce peace in your heart. The Spirit of God, the Word of God and the Peace of God will combine to give you a desire to do what the Lord is leading you to do. Others around you will see that hand of God in your decision.

You do not need a fleece to determine God’s will for your life. You merely need to listen to the Lord. He will speak to you through His Word, by His Spirit, giving you a desire for His will and He will provide peace about doing it. Forget the fleece and just walk by faith!

Some will surely argue that God honored Gideon’s fleece. Some would even say that God has honored their fleece too. God did honor Gideon’s fleece. He did it because He was still developing Gideon’s faith in the Lord. He did it because He understands our human weaknesses, (Psa. 78:38-39; Psa. 103:14).

While God honored Gideon’s fleece, it is not His will that we should determine the direction of our lives by seeking signs from the Lord. Even Gideon knew that what he was doing was wrong, (v. 39). We have something Gideon did not possess. We have the completed Word of God. God’s will is that we take His Word, saturate our lives with its truth and trust Him to take us where He will for His glory. In my opinion, God gets far more glory from one of His children simply obeying His Word than He does from someone who seeks a sign. If you will remember, Jesus condemned those who always had to have a sign, (Matt. 12:39).

Conc: When a traveler in the early days of the west, came to the Mississippi, he discovered there was no bridge. Fortunately it was winter and the great river was sheeted over with ice. But the traveler was afraid to trust himself to it, not knowing how thick it was.

Finally with infinite caution, he crept on his hands and knees and managed to get halfway over. And then he heard--yes he heard singing from behind. Cautiously he turned, and there, out of the dusk, came another traveler, driving a four-horse load of coal over the ice, singing as he went!

Gideon, and us, are just like that traveler. We are afraid to take a step of faith and obediently serve the Lord. Have you ever stopped to think about what could be accomplished for the glory of God in this world if every believer simply did what God wanted him or her to do? There would be more power and glory in the church. There would be more souls saved. There would be more of the miraculous manifestations of God’s presence and power in the world. Far more would be accomplished than we could ever imagine, if God’s people would merely take Him at His Word and step out on faith!

Where does this message find you? Are you faithfully doing what the Lord has called you to do? Or, do you hold back out of a lack of faith in Him? Are you guilty of looking for signs instead of simply taking God at His Word? If He has spoken to you about your faith life, you need to get before Him and let Him have His way in you. Follow His will and you will never be sorry. Fail to do that and you will ever be sorry!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“The Love of God” By: Laurene Highfield (1916)

1.Since the love of God has shed
priceless blessings on my head,
I have made it my own;
(I have made it my own,)
I will hide it in my heart,
that it may never depart,
It shall rule there alone.
(It shall rule there alone.)
Refrain:
The love of God, within the heart,
(The love of God, within the heart,)
Will kindliness and warmth impart,
(Will kindliness and warmth impart,)
The soul will glow like Jesus in His tender mercy,
If the heart is made
His dwelling place; (His dwelling place;)
The love of God glows like a flame,
(The love of God glows like a flame,)
Thru endless years it is the same,
(Thru endless years it is the same,)
The love of God will never fail nor lose its glory
Till we see Him face to face.

2. Since the Son of God came down
with His love our lives to crown,
He with us would remain;
(He with us would remain;)
Greater love there could not be,
Jesus died for you and me,
In our hearts, He would reign.
(In our hearts, He would reign.)
Refrain:

3.While His love burns true and bight,
we are walking in the light,
He has shown us the road;
(He has shown us the road;)
We His glory must reflect,
lest our dimness and neglect
Keep some soul from it’s God.
(Keep some soul from it’s God.)
Refrain:

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Merciful Father, God of Grace! Help us to get over any inhibitions we have about sharing our faith with unbelievers. There is no greater gift than to give someone Your love and the good news of salvation that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Enable us to be sensitive to Your leading so that we do not come off as insensitive to the needs of others. Grant us to have a perfect sense of timing and the right words to say. Thank You for giving us a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. This we pray in His blessed name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 12/14/2012 10:38PM

    Thank you for a great lesson, hymn and prayer Vic. I think we have all thrown out the fleece. After reading about Gideon, some time ago, I realized what I had done in the past. Now I try to obey when God speaks to my spirit. I spent this evening with my friend and her family. Lori passed away from cancer and I was glad I obeyed God and went to the hospital. They are a Christian family and we prayed and even though Lori was in a coma, the nurse said she could hear, just didn't respond.

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/14/2012 2:40PM

    I loved your story! Sorry thing that Christian's have peace too easily some times.

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COOP9002 12/14/2012 11:49AM

    Gideon is a lot like many of us. We like for God to spell everything out for us in detail, before we will submit. Of course, our Lord doesn't always work that way. Blessings upon you today.

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KIMPY225 12/14/2012 10:37AM

    emoticon emoticon

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NDTEACHER1 12/14/2012 9:11AM

    I always feel uplifted when I read your blogs, perfect start to the day! Thank you.

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TONYVAND1 12/14/2012 9:09AM

  Great teaching on the fleece I agree with you for the most part I do believe there is room for a fleece in certain instances as long as it is a fleece of faith and not doubt.Having said that it should be used very sparingly.

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RSSSLHB 12/14/2012 8:14AM

    emoticon Vic for all the time you put in doing this God bless

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WELLNESSME09 12/14/2012 7:37AM

    emoticon for sharing! emoticon

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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/14/2012 7:28AM

    Praise God! emoticon

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EDITOR 12/14/2012 7:22AM

    Great commands need great courage! Some well-known modern leaders need to stop mailing, for a donation, a fleece or prayer cloth. Let us hear and read the Word of God and quit dictating the way we want to react, instead embracing Him fully. Love God and keep on following in His footsteps.

Thanks for the lesson and thanks for your goodie and note, Vic.

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AZMOMXTWO 12/14/2012 7:06AM

  thank you

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Thu, 12/13/2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

GIDEON, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Thu, 12/13/2012

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

v. 34c-35 GIDEON AND HIS FOLLOWING
When Gideon sounds the war trumpet the people begin to rally around him. Let’s take a moment to consider the people who responded to Gideon’s call.

v. 34c A Close Following – We are told that “Abi-ezer” came to stand with Gideon. This is a reference to Gideon’s own clan. These are the very people who wanted to kill him in verse 30. There had been a change in their attitude toward Gideon.
Evidently, his family and those who lived around him adopted Gideon’s reforms. They are a changed people. Instead of wanting him dead, they are ready to follow his leadership.

You never know what a step of obedient faith in your life will accomplish in the lives of those who live around you. It is my conviction that you cannot live for God without positively impacting your family and other close associates. It is my conviction that when you demonstrate a bold commitment to follow God’s will for your life, others will be challenged to follow suit. We should never underestimate how God can use our lives to touch others for His glory. ( Matt. 15:31); Asa – (2 Chron. 15:1-15). Even your enemies will have to acknowledge that God is with you, ( Acts 4:13).

We ought to thank God for the people around us who possess a bold faith. God is still using that kind of individual to change the world for His glory. We should all pray that God will make us into that kind of people for His glory!

v. 35 A Committed Following – Gideon calls the other tribes living around them to come to the battle. Several of the tribes respond to Gideon’s call. (Judges 7:3) tells us that Gideon now has an army of 32,000 men. This seems like a small number when it is compared to the 135,000-man army of their enemies, but as we will see later, God doesn’t even need that many to defeat the enemies of His people. Before the dust settles and the enemy is defeated, God will use just 300 men to rout the vast army of the Midianites.

We are living in a time when it appears that the enemies outnumber the people of God. It seems that way because it is true. Satan has far more servants at his disposal that the Lord does. We should not be disturbed by that fact. We simply need to remember that when God’s Spirit is in control of God’s people, He enables them to accomplish amazing victories: like Samson – (Judges 15:14-15). We must not fear the power of the enemy.

We must rest in the power of our Great God! The many ways He has proven His power – 3 Hebrews, Daniel, Widow of Zarephath, stilling storms, multiplying loaves and fish, walking on water, rising from the dead, etc. With a God of such great power leading us and living in us, we are well able to do everything He calls on us to do like the attitude of Caleb and Joshua –( Num. 14:6-9). Don’t fear the enemies we face in this world! Rest in the power of Almighty God, (Luke 1:38; Job 42:2; Jer. 32:17, 27; Eph. 3:20).

TODAY’S HYMN!
“How Majestic Is Your Name” By: Michael W. Smith (1981)

O Lord, our Lord
How majestic is Your name in all the earth.
O Lord, our Lord
How majestic is Your name in all the earth.


O Lord, we praise Your name!
O Lord, we magnify Your name;
Prince of Peace, Mighty God,
O Lord God Almighty

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Loving Father, Awesome God! Use us to bring the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to others. Just as You have used others powerfully in our lives, equip us with the right words at the right time so that those whose hearts are ready to hear will be drawn to You. We pray for all men and women who need to hear the good news, that their hearts will be open to receive all that You have for them: Your Word, Your Truth, The Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is in His name that we pray. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 12/13/2012 10:51PM

    Thank you Vic for a great lesson, hymn, one I really love and prayer. Every morning I read Ephesions 6:10-18. I put on the full armor of God and then start my day with prayer. Finally, I start me work. I feel safe and secure knowing that the Holy Spirit within me is guiding me along. I don't fear enemies around me. In this world we live in, it would be so easy to be caught up in worldy things. Thank you for sharing God's word with us and explaining everything like you do. You care a man of God. Thank you for the goodie and note.

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IAM_HIS2 12/13/2012 7:19PM

    Thank you for this beautiful blog...gets you to think about how much our actions affect our personal lives, our loved ones, as well as others we don't know. When we keep God first and follow His will for us, we spread what is good as well as reap what is good.

Today, we need to be very careful, for the ways of worldly and all the lies that go with the world tempts us. We have to keep armored in the Word and in the company of Godly people. And remember where there is evil, goodness is working double.

Lord, I pray that each day I grow closer to you and be obedient to your will.

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AMANDACOETZER 12/13/2012 3:15PM

    Thanks again!

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AVANELL 12/13/2012 9:18AM

    If every one of God's people would realize that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world it would not seem like the devil has more servants than God. We must realize and operate through the power of the Spirit of God within us rather than cowering down at the thought that the devil has more workers than God. Nothing is impossible with God! We are the ARMY of God! An army is a large group of military people gathered together versus a troop that is a limited number. We have 2/3 of heaven's angels at our disposal whereas Satan only has one third that are demons to do his bidding. We are the majority and many will come to salvation through our faithful witness!

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TONYVAND1 12/13/2012 9:13AM

  Listenting intently requires that we obey His call. Make us bold for you O lOrd.

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RSSSLHB 12/13/2012 8:45AM

    emoticon for posting God's words Vic emoticon

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LOSTLIME 12/13/2012 8:09AM

    Alot of us don't listen very well. I didn't for a long time. But I am trying. Thanks for
the goodie yesterday.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/13/2012 7:43AM

    If you don't listen for God's message; you won't hear him when he talks to you! Spreading the word!!!!

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EDITOR 12/13/2012 7:06AM

    Is the trumpet sounding? Listen intently! Thanks for your lesson and yesterday's goodie and note. We listen closely, or do we?

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AZMOMXTWO 12/13/2012 6:58AM

  thank you

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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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