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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sat, 12/22/2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Sat, 12/22/2012

Judges 8:22-35
THE TEMPTATIONS OF GIDEON’S FINAL DAYS, Lesson 12b

v. 24-27 HE FACED SPIRITUAL TEMPTATION

v. 24 There Is A Request – This time, the request comes from Gideon. He has just weathered a great temptation, but in the very next breath, he betrays his words by his actions. As one fellow said, “The people want Gideon to have dominion, but he wants a donation.” He asks them for the golden earrings that they had collected from the corpses of the slain enemy soldiers.

Gideon is a study in contrasts. On the one hand, he exalts God and refuses to usurp the Lord’s place as sovereign over the nation. On the other hand, Gideon gives in to the temptation for wealth. He turns down one temptation only to yield to another. In the end, this one will turn out just as bad as the other one would have turned out.

v. 25-26 There Is A Response – The people do not even hesitate. They spread out a blanket and cough up over 1,700 shekels of gold, plus garments and other ornaments. 1,700 shekels equals about 57 pounds of gold. In today’s money that comes to over 1 million dollars. These people simply hand it over to Gideon, just because he asks for it.Consider this however; they refused to give when they were faced with doing something right, (8:6, 8). Now, they give, without question to this questionable request from Gideon. What a fickle bunch the children of Israel were.

Of course, we ought not to be too hard on them. How often have we found ourselves caught up in something that ultimately dishonors God just because we just jumped on somebody’s bandwagon? We need to make sure that any cause we embraced in our lives has the backing of the Word and will of God! Failing to do that will lead to embarrassment and chastisement from the Lord.

v. 27 There Were Results – Gideon took the gold he was given and made and “ephod” out of it. An ephod was a garment used in the ministry of the high priest. It was a sleeveless outer vest that came down to the hips. The high priest of Israel wore a linen ephod that had twelve stones on the front which represented the twelve tribes of Israel. There was a pouch on the front that contained the “Urim and the Thumim”, which were stones used to discern the will of God.

So, Gideon made an ephod, a high priests prayer garment from gold, and then he took this ephod and placed it in Orphah.

What is so bad about what Gideon did? We are told that “all Israel” went “whoring after it”. The word “whoring” means “to commit fornication”. The people of God went after this ephod and worshiped it because it represented victory over their enemies to them. The people were drawn away from the Tabernacle in Shiloh and they went to Orphah to worship at the ephod Gideon built.

Beware of anything that draws you away from the Lord and His worship. Anything that hinders you from worshiping Him His way is dangerous and will lead you into idolatry and apostasy. No matter how right it seems, if it isn’t according to His plan, it is not of the Lord. No matter how many people may be doing it!

There Were Reasons – Why did Gideon do such a thing? We are not told, but I would like to make a guess, if you will allow me to. It may just be that Gideon, while he did not want to be the king of Israel, wanted to be the spiritual leader of the nation. The High Priest was not fulfilling his office consistently or properly. It may be that Gideon thought he could do a better job.

After all, Gideon had seen God face to face. The Lord has called him and spoken to him. The Lord has used him in a miraculous fashion. He may have assumed that he was now qualified to lead the nation in their worship of the Lord.

If that was what Gideon’s intention, he was in clear violation of the Word of God. Gideon was not from the family of Aaron. Gideon was not a priest. He actually drew the people away from the tabernacle in Shiloh to worship his ephod in Ophrah. If that was Gideon’s intention, he was flat wrong!

Let’s give Gideon the benefit of the doubt for a moment. He was probably seeking the glory of God. He may have had pure motives. He might have wanted to prepare a memorial to glorify God for His great victory. That may have been in heart! Is it never wrong to do right?

We are told that the “ephod” became a “snare unto Gideon, and to his house”. The word “snare” has the idea of “a trap”. That ephod was what Satan used to destroy the testimony of an otherwise great man.

I said earlier that Gideon was a study in contrasts. I would also say that Gideon is a study in confusion! Here is a man who claims to know the Lord, and from all accounts he did. Here is a man who turned down personal glory to promote the glory of the Lord. Yet, here is a man who allowed himself to be caught in a trap that was so obviously wrong that it would be laughable, if the results were not so terrible.

Be careful what you do in your life. There are plenty of things that come our way that appear so innocent on the surface. Often, we fail to understand that those seemingly innocent things can be the tools and traps of the devil to destroy our influence and testimony. Before you embrace anyone’s cause, before you jump on the latest bandwagon, before you act on the latest “good idea”; ask yourself a few important questions.

How will this affect my life?
How will this affect the lives of others?
Will others be hurt by this idea?
Will people be left out by this idea?
Does what I am thinking of doing honor God?
Does what I am thinking of doing display true Christlikeness?
Does what I am doing allow me to do what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
How will this idea affect the church?
How will this idea affect the impression the community has concerning the Lord’s church?
How will this idea affect my testimony?
How will this idea affect how people feel about the Lord Jesus Christ?

You see, there are a lot of people who call themselves Christians. These same people do a lot of mean things to others. These same people stand in opposition to the things of the Lord. These same people find themselves on the wrong side of the Lord and His will. These same people commit a lot of sin in the name of self-will and self-worship. That is confusing to me.

Gideon lost his testimony because he failed to keep God first in his life. The same thing can happen to any person today. We must be sure that God, His will, His Word and His worship are what motivates us as we pass through this life!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Silent Night, Holy Night” By: Joseph Mohr, (Translated by) John F. Young

1. Silent night, holy night,
all is calm, all is bright
round yon virgin
mother and child.
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.

2. Silent night, holy night,
shepherds quake at the sight;
glories stream from heaven afar,
heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!

3. Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love's pure light;
radiant beams from thy holy face
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

4. Silent night, holy night,
wondrous star, lend thy light;
with the angels let us sing,
Alleluia to our King;
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!


THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.

SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!

Ps: My Wife and I will be taking 3 days off to celebrate Christmas with the family in Mathis, Tx. We will be gone Dec 24 thru 26. We will continue our daily lessons, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, on Dec 27. Hope to see you all again then!
From our family to YOURS!
HAVE A HAPPY and BLESSED MERRY CHRISTMAS! Vic and Mary Lou.



  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

W8WHITTILER 12/26/2012 8:17PM

    Silent Night is my all time favorite hymn.
It brings tears to my eyes each Christmas Eve during candlelight service, to know that God loved me so much that he gave such and awesome present, in the form of a tiny baby, A Savior!

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ANHELIC 12/23/2012 12:10AM

    Thank you Vic for your lesson, my favorite Christmas hymn and prayer. You have really made us think about what we are planning to do and how it will affect others around us but most importantly God. God bless you for the work you do in God's ministry.
Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year. May you enjoy your time and come back. Drive safely. We will be all here patiently waiting for you.

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LADYFROMTHEWOOD 12/22/2012 9:36AM

    emoticon

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/22/2012 9:26AM

    Thank you Vic for shedding light on this story and giving important questions for us to ask ourselves. may your Christmas be blessed. emoticon

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RSSSLHB 12/22/2012 8:01AM

    emoticon blog Vic Merry Christmas

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EDITOR 12/22/2012 7:36AM

    Just LOVED this from today's lesson about Gideon: He refused to usurp the Lord.
Grab your dictionaries, thesaurus' , as well as the Bible, and learn of Him.

Thanks you for the goodie and note, Vic. I am grateful you are taking a few family days off, while you can. May traveling mercies be upon you and may you come home refreshed to continue on the path of faith. God bless.

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TONYVAND1 12/22/2012 7:32AM

  Great questions to ask before you do any thing. Have a wonderful Christmas celebration with your family Vic.

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BIGDOG18 12/22/2012 7:23AM

  emoticon

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Fri, 12/21/2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Fri, 12/21/2012

Judges 8:22-35
THE TEMPTATIONS OF GIDEON’S FINAL DAYS, Lesson 12a

This text showcases both the nest and worst aspects of Gideon’s life. This special man had just led the nation to victory over their enemies, the Amalekites and the Midianites. This victory was amazing! 300 hundred men defeated an army that numbered over 135,000 men. When the battle was concluded only 15,000 members of the enemy’s army escaped, ( Judges 7:7; 8:10). It was a great victory, and it was carried out in such a way that it left no doubt that God has performed it.

After the victory was won, Gideon even took the time to deal with a couple of Israelite villages that refused to help his army carry out the will of the Lord,( Judges 8:4-16). It is a dangerous thing to be found on the wrong side of the Lord, regardless of your motives.

Now that the battle is over and victory has been secured, Gideon is forced to face the greatest trial of his life. Surely, this peaceful farmer, who had been called by God to be a warrior, thought that his greatest battles were behind him. Little did Gideon know that the greatest battles he would face were still in front of him.

In his march to victory, Gideon overcame the stinging criticism of his opponents, the brutal enemies of his nation, and great but unfounded opposition. When you read Gideon’s story, you see that he was able, by God’s help, to overcome every external enemy he faced, but you will also see that he failed when he had to fight the inner men. He was victor on the field of battle, but he was a failure in the battle for his own heart.
What I see in the life of Gideon in these verses bothers me deeply. Gideon, to us, is the truth that it is possible to live a good life, accomplish much for the Lord, but still end up a failure.

How we finish the race is just as important, if not more so, than how we run the race. You can live a good life and then undo all your good by one or two foolish decisions. That is what Gideon teaches us today.

I want point out some areas of Gideon’s life in which he displays both sides of his character. He faced temptations in all three areas of his life. He succeeded in one area, but he failed in the other 2. Let’s take a few minutes today to examine these areas of Gideon’s life and we consider “The Temptations Of Gideon’s Final Days”.

v. 22-23 HE FACED SECULAR TEMPTATION

v. 22 There Is A Request – The Israelites are so impressed with Gideon’s victory that they come to him to ask his to become their king. The word “rule” has to idea of “dominion”. They are offering Gideon and his family a perpetual kingdom. They say the offer is for him, his sons and his son’s sons.

The people of Israel are just like people in every age. The man that can give them what they want, peace, security, success, and wealth, is the man they was to rule over them. You see this during the life of Jesus; you see it in our life today.

In John 6:1-15, Jesus fed a great multitude. He took five small loaves and two tiny fish and He fed somewhere around 20,000 people! The miracle our Lord performed that day was a miracle that could only be performed by deity. In fact, that was the whole point of the miracle. Jesus wanted His disciples and the people in the crowd to know that He was God. He wanted them to recognize Him for Who He is.

What the crowd saw was a man who could feed them. So, in verse 15, they tried to make Him their King by force. Jesus slipped away from them, because while He was a King, He would not wear the crown until He had paid for sin at the cross.

All Israel cares about is the fact that Gideon is a great warrior and that he can offer them safety and security. Thus, they come to him to offer Gideon the crown.

In 1 Samuel 8:19-20 the nation of Israel will repeat their request for a human king. Their reason is that they want to be like the other nations. They would rather be like the rest of the nations around them than had to be the special people of God.

That same trend can be seen in our world today. Churches and Christians alike are falling all over one another in an effort to be like everyone else. Where are the people who have the backbone to stand against for the things of God, even if they have to stand alone?

v. 23 There Is A Refusal – Gideon sees their request for what it is. The people of Israel should have been thanking God for the victory. Gideon knows that He did not defeat their enemies; he knows it was the power of God that gave the victory. The people should have been worshiping God and thanking Him for the victory they had just witnessed. They failed to see that while Gideon was the instrument, God was the One that wielded the weapon. God is the source of these lessons you are reading; I am merely the messenger or delivery boy.

Gideon does exactly what he should have done. He refused their offer and reminded them that their allegiance was to the Lord alone.

By the way, that will still work today! Did you know that the majority is not always right? It was the majority that cried “Crucify Him!” the day Jesus died. It was the majority that tried to throw Jesus down a cliff in Nazareth when He preached in the synagogue. The majority of the people refused to enter Canaan at God’s command and caused the rest of the nation to die in the wilderness.

Beware of falling into the mentality that “if everyone is doing it, then it must be all right.” Just because people everywhere are involved in drugs, alcohol, adultery, pornography, lying, stealing, and other forms of wickedness, does not make it right. We need to remember that, if we are saved, God expects us to yield to His will for our lives. After all, He bought us and He demands control over our lives, (1 Cor. 6:19-20). He expects us to live like we are a saved people, and when we don’t, there will be a price to pay for our rebellion!

One more thought before we move along in the message. Did you notice when this temptation came, it came on the heels of great success. You are never more vulnerable to falling into sin than you are just after you have experienced a great victory. That is the wisest man who ever lived cautioned us with these words, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall,” (Pro. 16:18).

Gideon overcame this temptation with a very firm “No!” He denied himself the glory and the honor and he delighted in bringing glory and honor to the Lord. Sometimes, you just have to say “No!” That’s what Joseph did when Potipher’s wife tempted him, (Gen. 39:8-9, 12). Sometimes, you need to say it to your friend. Sometimes, you need to say it to your family. Sometimes, you need to say it to yourself. There are times when you just need to say, “No!” God help us to have the backbone to do it!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder” By: James L. Black (1893)

1.When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.
Refrain:
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

2.On that bright and *sabbath morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.
Refrain:

3.Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.
Refrain:

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Most Holy and Wonderful Father! You know the temptations that we are facing today. But your Word promises that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear. We ask for your strength to stand up under the temptation whenever we encounter it. Your Word also tells us you will provide a way out of the temptation. Please, Lord, grant us the wisdom to walk away when we are tempted, and the clarity to see the way out that you will provide. Thank you, God, that you are a faithful deliverer and that we can count on your help in our time of need. These things we pray in Jesus’ blessed name. Amen!

SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!
PS: My Wife and I will be taking 3 days off to celebrate Christmas with the family in Mathis, Tx. We will be gone Dec 24 thru 26. We will continue our daily lessons, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, on Dec 27. Hope to see you all again then!
From our family to YOURS!
HAVE A HAPPY and BLESSED MERRY CHRISTMAS! Vic and Mary Lou.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 12/21/2012 10:53PM

    Thank you Vic for a great lesson, hymn and prayer. We are temped by the devil every day and with God's help we can overcome this. He will carry us through it and we will be victorious on the other side. Wishing you, your wife and family a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. Thank you for the goodie and note.

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KIMPY225 12/21/2012 11:27AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HAGIN2010 12/21/2012 11:25AM

    Yes Vic

May i not be led into temptation, with Gods help.

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/21/2012 9:14AM

    I am agreeing with you Vic for clarity for myself and other Christians to avoid every snare of the devil.

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TONYVAND1 12/21/2012 9:00AM

  I desire to finish the race well. I can only do that with the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells me. Keep me Lord from making foolish decisions.

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RSSSLHB 12/21/2012 8:26AM

    emoticon Vic

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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/21/2012 7:45AM

    I am walking away a lot these days.....with a smile on my face!

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EDITOR 12/21/2012 7:34AM

    The miracle of His birth, once we know the Truth, affects us to this very day. The battles that we fight may still be before us, but I have confidence, that with Christ, on our death bed, we can say with Christ, "It is finished."
Like you, Vic, " I’ll be there. "
Thanks for the goodie and note.

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Thu, 12/20/2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Thu, 12/20/2012

Judges 8:1-21
PRIDE, POLITICS, AND PERSISTENCE, Lesson 11c

v. 4, 10-21 SOME WERE PERSISTENT
While some people walked in their pride and others allowed personal political agendas to determine their allegiance, Gideon and his men simply persevered in their work for the Lord. In their persistence, they set a good example for those of us who desire to be found faithful in the Lord’s work.

v. 4 How They Continued – Instead of being discouraged and defeated by the criticism of Ephraim and by the callousness of the two cities from which he requested help, Gideon and his army pressed on in pursuit of the Midianites. I love the phrase in verse 4, which says, “faint, yet pursuing them”. These men were tired and weary from the battle. They are hungry and in great need of rest, yet they carry on! I love that attitude, don’t you?

Where did we ever get the idea that there was a place to sit down on the Lord? Where did we ever get the idea that it was OK to sit back while others did all the work? Where did we every get the idea that we could back off, slow down and take it easy in our spiritual walk? Where do some people get the idea that they can join a church and never do anything? Wherever those ideas come from, they certainly did not come from the Lord. I would suggest that it is an idea planted in our minds by the enemy to try and get us to quit on the Lord.

I would recommend that we be like Gideon and his men. I would suggest that even when we get weary; we press on for the glory of God, (Eph. 6:6; 1 Cor. 15:58)!
We all grow weary from time to time in the battle. When we do, we need to look to Jesus and learn from His example, (Heb. 12:1-3). We will only be in the world a short time, and then we will fly off to glory to be with Him. While we are here, let us determine to do all we can for His glory!

v. 10-12 How They Conquered – Gideon and his men defeated their enemies and captured the Midianite kings. They persevered in the face of opposition and criticism and they enjoyed a great victory. Because they would not be stopped short of victory, they saw God move in great power.

Those who refuse to quit and persist in following the Lord’s will for their lives, will see Him use them in great ways. That is His promise, (Gal. 6:9; 2 Cor. 4:8-9; Isa. 40:31). Those who persevere will enjoy the best of God’s blessings. Those who quit will see God do nothing!

v. 13-21 How They Concluded – Gideon came back with the Midianite kings. When he came to Succoth, he took their 75 elders and put them to death by dragging them through thorns and briars until they died, (vv. 15-16). When he came to Penuel, he tore down their tower and killed their elders, (v. 17). Then, Gideon slew the Midianite kings, (vv. 18-21). In other words, because he was obedient to the Lord and to His will for his life, Gideon enjoyed absolute victory over all his enemies. In the end, Gideon had the last laugh!

The principle is this: Those who walk with the Lord and do His will enjoy victory in their lives. If you want the Lord’s blessings, His power and His victory to be manifested in your life, the only path you should follow is His path. When you walk with the Lord, obedience to Him always results in victory! When you walk against Him, you can expect nothing but defeat!

Conc: If you had to sum up your life today, how would you do it? Would you say that you are walking in pride? Would you say everything in your life is about political advantage? Or, can you honestly say that you are doing your best to be persistent in your walk with Him? God is looking for people in this day that will take their stand for Him and say, “We will not back down.” He is looking for those who will get involved in His work and help those who are trying to serve Him. Are you one of those?

If the Lord has spoken to you about your heart, your life and your service, the place to talk to Him about it right here. Come to Him. Recommit your life to His will. Surrender yourself to all that He wants you to be and do, and get busy for His glory.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Trust and Obey” By: J. H. Sammis (1877)

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Refrain:
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Refrain:

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
Refrain:

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Refrain:

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
Refrain:

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Merciful Father, Redeeming God! Use us to bring the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to others. Equip us the knowledge of Thy word, and the love of Christ. Empower us with Thy Spirit and the courage to stand fast in Christ and be the servants we can be. Open the hearts of those who need to hear the good news. Teach us to be devoted in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Unify our effort and bless our effort to Your glory, praise and honor. This we pray and ask in Jesus’ name. Amen!

SHARE THIS LESSON WITH FRIENDS AND INVITE THEM TO JOIN THE TEAM!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 12/20/2012 11:57PM

    Thank you Vic for your lesson, Hymn and prayer. I think your hymn says it for me. I try to trust God and obey Him. I will do my best to follow His path and go where he commands me to go. Thank you for your awesome teaching. Thank you also the goodie and note.

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BUFFEDSTUFF-- 12/20/2012 5:52PM

  amen emoticon Pray that I grow in obedience, as I slay the flesh and submit to the instruction of the Creator of my soul.


mercy and grace obedience and submission


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FORMERFATGUY777 12/20/2012 2:23PM

    I love the book of Judges. I find it describes our society in a nutshell. There is no king in the land so everyone did as they saw fit. In America we have taken Jesus off the throne of our heart. Therefore; there is no king in the land and you can see the results.

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IAM_HIS2 12/20/2012 1:43PM

    Well, Vic, it is interesting that it appears we are not answering your question. I feel my honest answer would have to be I am not pressing one. I sat down because of being tired. So, now I am going to stand up and keep pushing on. Thank you for the reminder.

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DIANER2014 12/20/2012 12:05PM

    Amen! Thank you Vic!

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SAINTBETH 12/20/2012 10:55AM

    Amen!

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TONYVAND1 12/20/2012 9:56AM

  Walking in Faith. Believing and knowing the victory has been won.

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CASTIRONLADY 12/20/2012 8:45AM

    May we all trust and obey as Abraham did, not questioning but going as the Lord instructed. Yes, he made major mistakes but the Lord was faithful to Abraham and continues to bless us through Him.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/20/2012 8:29AM

    walking with the Lord! Trying to do his following!

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/20/2012 8:27AM

    And the next two verses -
2 Cor 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

Very little is said about difficult persisting. Thank you for your message.

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EDITOR 12/20/2012 8:10AM

    Very nice, Vic. I can honestly say, I trust and obey. Easy to say and sometime with difficulty, but we let our yes be yes and amen. Thank you for your note and goodie. Thank You, Lord Jesus, that all that gather here today has heard Your sweet voice calling, "Follow Me."


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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Wed, 12/19/2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Wed, 12/19/2012

Judges 8:1-21
PRIDE, POLITICS, AND PERSISTENCE, Lesson 11b

v. 4-9 SOME WERE POLITICAL

v. 4-5 A Simple Request – As Gideon and his men continue in their pursuit of the Midianites, Gideon becomes concerned about the welfare of his men. They pass two towns, first they came to Succoth, and then they came to Penuel. At each town Gideon made a simple and very reasonable request of his fellow Israelites. He asked them for bread to feed his weary men. This was a request that should have been granted without hesitation.

v. 6, 8 A Shameful Refusal – Instead of coming to the aid of God’s chosen deliverer, the elders of both towns refused to get involved in Gideon’s fight.

These men are playing politics with the things of God. They ask Gideon, “Do you have their kings in custody?” In other words, they are saying, “If you don’t have their kings, you haven’t really won the battle. If we help you and you are defeated, those kings will come after us and we will pay a terrible price for our decision to help you. No, you are not getting any bread from us!”

Both these cities are part of the tribe of Gad. The name Gad means “a troop”. Specifically, the name refers to “a troop that crushes through the enemy.” The fact is, these people were no living up to their name or their heritage. They would not even help the man God chose to deliver them from their enemies in his fight for deliverance.
They were like the politicians of our day who have to see which way the wind is blowing before they will make a decision. They were afraid to take a stand for God.

When the people of Succoth and Penuel refused to support God’s work, they were clearly demonstrating the fact that they were against God’s work. When they refused to help Gideon and his army, they were actually guilty of giving aid to the enemy. These people were not thankful for what God had already done. Like the Ephraimites, they only wanted to find fault with Gideon and to protect their own little kingdoms. They failed to realize that by giving Gideon bread, they would be guaranteeing future blessings for their people. All they cared about was maintaining the status quo.

There are still people around who do the same things these cities did. There are some who play politics with the things of God. You see there are no gray areas when it comes to the work of the Lord. You cannot be neutral when it comes to serving Him. Jesus put it this way, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad,”( Matt. 12:30).

Those who refuse to support God’s work will not support those who do serve Him. Those who do not respect the work of God will not respect the workers of God. When we refuse to give to the work of the Lord; when we refuse to participate in the work of the Lord; and when we refuse to respect the work of the Lord, just because we are looking out for our own interests first, we are guilty of aiding the enemy in his work.

v. 7, 9 A Solemn Response – Because these two cities refused to help him, Gideon tells them that they will face judgment when he returns the victor over the Midianites. He reminds them that there is a price to pay for standing against the Lord and His work.
We would do well to remember that truth today. One day we will all stand before the Lord to give an account of our service to Him. Better that we should give account for doing His work, even when we fail, than for opposing those who are actively trying to serve the Lord, ( Rom. 14:12; Heb. 13:17).

God saved us to work, (James 2:18). God has placed us in His work, (Eph. 2:10). God expects us to be involved to the best of our ability! Are you a preacher? Get out there and preach! Are you a singer? Stand up and sing! Do you have a testimony? Share it for the glory of God! Do you have a dollar? Give it to Jesus and watch Him bless it for His glory! All I am saying is get up and get active in the work of the Lord, and never, ever be found hindering, opposing or standing in the way of what God is doing in the world! May we never, like these people, be guilty of refusing to serve the Lord out of fear!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“To The Work” By: Frances J. Crosby (1869)

To the work! To the work! We are servants of God;
Let us follow the path that our Master has trod;
With the balm of His counsel our strength to renew,
Let us do with our might what our hands find to do.
Refrain
Toiling on, toiling on,
Toiling on, toiling on,
Let us hope and trust,
Let us watch and pray,
And labor till the Master comes.

To the work! To the work! Let the hungry be fed;
To the fountain of life let the weary be led;
In the cross and its banner our glory shall be,
While we herald the tidings, u0093Salvation is free!u0094
Refrain

To the work! To the work! There is labor for all;
For the kingdom of darkness and error shall fall;
And the love of our Father exalted shall be,
In the loud swelling chorus, u0093Salvation is free!u0094
Refrain

To the work! To the work! In the strength of the Lord,
And a robe and a crown shall our labor reward,
When the home of the faithful our dwelling shall be,
And we shout with the ransomed, u0093Salvation is free!u0094
Refrain

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Heavenly Father, Almighty God! Help us to find other believers who will stand with us in prayer. Bring godly prayer partners into our lives with whom we can pray in power. Help us to be devoted to You that we may maintain a oneness of the Spirit, and grow daily in our spirituality. Unify our belief in Christ Jesus so that the world may see Jesus Christ, our Lord, living in us, and through us. Let not our hearts be troubled. Strengthen us by Thy Word and Thy Spirit as we lift the precious Savior up for the world to see. It is in His name that we pray. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOOKINGUP2012 12/20/2012 7:29AM

    emoticon for making the applications so clear!

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ANHELIC 12/20/2012 12:19AM

    Thank you Vic for an awesome lesson, hymn and prayer. I am standing up for God and each day try to give a testimony of what He has done in my life. My friend keeps calling God a Higher Power. Today, I read Genesis 1 to her and she didn't realize it stated that God created the earth. I feel she is getting more interested to learn more. I just hope I can help her in the right direction and answer her questions . I am going to get her a Devotion book and Bible this week. Thank you for sharing God's word and for the goodie and note yesterday.

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KIMPY225 12/19/2012 11:50AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TONYVAND1 12/19/2012 9:02AM

  I will stand with you in united prayer Lets be devoted to Him and know that there is power in prayer.

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EDITOR 12/19/2012 8:43AM

    Vic, the words of the lesson, "refused" and "guilty", really stick out as a sore thumb!

We really need, if one is not in Christ, to heed these words today.

If we abide in Him, and He in us, this admonition is a foreign language to us now. I adored your words spoken to us today. Thank you so much, and thanks for the goodie and note yesterday. I live for Him, and He died for me. I love the prayer word today, "Unify our belief in Christ Jesus." Amen





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RSSSLHB 12/19/2012 8:27AM

    emoticon Vic for praying, I live your blogs emoticon

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Tue, 12/18/2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Tue, 12/18/2012

Judges 8:1-21
PRIDE, POLITICS, AND PERSISTENCE, Lesson 11a

For some time now we have been looking at the lives of the Judges of Israel. For the last few days, our attention has been focused on Gideon the Reluctant Judge.

As you may remember, Gideon was a fearful young man when the Lord selected him to lead the nation of Israel into battle against their enemies, the Midianites. While Gideon was reluctant to obey the Lord’s call on his life at first, eventually he did as the Lord commanded. Gideon led a tiny force of just 300 men into battle against an overwhelming army of 135,000. God intervened and gave Gideon and his men an astounding victory. The Midianites were put to flight and suffered terrible losses. Only 15,000 men were left of the originally 135,000 men that began the battle, (Judges 8:10).
This chapter records the events that occurred in the immediate aftermath of the conflict.

Apparently, not everyone in Israel was excited about the great victory God had given Gideon and His men. It seems that some of the people in Israel were more concerned about their personal profit and pride than they were about what God had done for their nation. They failed to grasp the big picture. They were too focused on their own interests.

This passage allows us a glimpse at both sides of human character. On the one hand we can see the pride of those who cared for nothing but personal pride and glory. On the other hand we see those who are motivated by the glory of God. We see some who cared for nothing but themselves, and we see some who persisted in the face of opposition, criticism and overwhelming odds.

I want to examine this text and teach about “Pride, Politics, and Persistence”. I want to point out the types of people that present themselves in this text. As we consider these different types of people, let us also consider ourselves. As we do, may we find ourselves on the right side of the issue.

v. 1-3 SOME WERE PRIDEFUL

v. 1 The Criticism Of Ephraim – After the Midianites were defeated and were on the run, Gideon sent messengers to the men of Ephraim to pursue after them. They did this and they killed two of the princes of the Midianites and brought their heads to Gideon, (Judges 7:24-25).

When they met up with Gideon, they began to criticize him. They want to know why they weren’t asked to join the battle. The Bible says they “chided with him sharply”. The word “chided” has the idea of “bitter, strong and cutting words”. They attacked Gideon because he had not called them to the battle.

It might be helpful to take a minute to talk about the tribe of Ephraim. Ephraim was the largest of all the tribes. At this time, the Tabernacle was located in Shiloh, which was in Ephraim. The Ephraimites descended from Joseph and his Egyptian wife. They were a tribe that was proud of its heritage, proud of its influence and proud of its power. They wanted the respect of the rest of the tribes.

Ephraim was often on the wrong side of spiritual matters. Later, during the reign of the judge Jephthah, of the tribe of Ephraim, would again complain that they had been left out of a battle, (Judges 12:1-4). In Hosea 7:8, God says that Ephraim is “a cake not turned”. That is, they were overcooked on the bottom and raw on the top. They were hot toward the world and cold toward God. Ephraim was a tribe marked by trouble, pride and selfishness. Another powerful rebuke to the pride of Ephraim is found in Psalm 78:9, which says, “The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.”

In this case, they are jealous of Gideon’s victory. They are sorry that they missed out on the spoils of war. They are angry because they were not the object of glory, so they turned on Gideon.

If Ephraim had been truly concerned about the oppression of the Midianites, they could have gone to war by themselves. Or, they could have volunteered for Gideon’s army. But that never would have worked! When Gideon asked for the fearful to leave the battlefield, or for those who bowed to drink to leave, their pride would have kept them from submitting to the will of the Lord. In this case, all they are concerned with is the wealth and glory they think they missed out on.

The Ephraimites are typical of those who are full of self. Like prideful peacocks they strut around calling attention to themselves, but when trouble comes, they are the first to flee. Like peacocks, they won’t do anything, but they are quick to lift their voice and squawk and criticize those who do. They won’t make a decision, take a risk, or join in with others as they seek to follow the will of God, but they do not hesitate to find fault with the actions of those who are attempting to do something for God. There are plenty of people still around who think and act just like the them, but that is an attitude the church could do without!

v. 2-3 The Control Of Gideon – Instead of reacting in anger to their criticism, Gideon responds very graciously. In verse 2 Gideon reminds them that the Lord has blessed them. They already possess more than those around them. Gideon says, “The leftovers from your harvest is greater than what we get in our harvest!”

Gideon then reminds them that God gave them the Midianite princes. He turns away their wrath because he swallowed his pride and thought about what was best for the nation. Gideon was not motivated by his own feelings; he was motivated by submission to the will of God. Also, Gideon gave them the glory they wanted, and they were satisfied!

When you are doing something for the Lord, you can expect to be criticized by those who do nothing. When they attack you, your motives and your efforts, it is easy to get sidetracked and allow anger to rule in your heart. It is easy to lash out and tell them off or put them in their place. When the attacks come, and they will, we should do like Gideon and exercise control over our emotions, (Pro. 15:1; 16:32).

Instead of getting sidetracked by our critics, we must keep our eyes on the task we have been assigned by God, ( Heb. 12:2; Eph. 6:6). When all the battles are over and we face the Judgment Seat of Christ, we will not give an account to those who challenge us. We will give account to the Lord. It is vital that we do His work regardless of what the proud peacocks or the cruel critics do.

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Sweet Will of God” By: C. H. Morris (1900)

1 My stubborn will at last hath yielded;
I would be Thine, and Thine alone;
And this the prayer my lips are bringing,
Lord, let in me Thy will be done.
Refrain:
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer,
Till I am wholly lost in Thee.

2 I’m tired of sin, footsore and weary,
The darksome path hath dreary grown;
But now a light has ris’n to cheer me;
I find in Thee my Star, my Sun.
Refrain

3 Thy precious will, O conqu’ring Savior,
Doth now embrace and compass me;
All discords hushed, my peace a river,
My soul, a prisoned bird set free.
Refrain

4 Shut in with Thee, O Lord, forever,
My wayward feet no more to roam;
What pow’r from Thee my soul can sever?
The center of God’s will my home.
Refrain

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Heavenly Father, God of Mercy, Forgiveness and Grace! We thank You that You listen to our prayers and that You answer, not according to our own goodness, but according to Yours. Help us to not let anything discourage us from coming to You in prayer, especially not of our own sense that we are deserving of Your attention and blessings. We come before Your throne of grace because You are full of grace and mercy. We seek Your Favor and Your will. These things we ask in Jesus’ Holy name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 12/18/2012 11:18PM

    Thank you Vic for a great lesson, hymn and prayer. I am keeping my eyes on God and trying to follow His will. I agree there are people who would criticize us for what we are doing for God. It's like something I read and heard, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. That would apply working for God and obeying Him as well. God bless you and thank you for the goodie and note.

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TONYVAND1 12/18/2012 5:42PM

  Keeping my eyes and focus on God for the tasks that He gives me.

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KIMPY225 12/18/2012 12:02PM

    emoticon emoticon

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/18/2012 9:34AM

    Thank you so much for helping us understand the book of Judges and today why God did not call Ephraim and Gideon's answer to their criticism. emoticon

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ALEXSGIRL1 12/18/2012 9:08AM

    i love the prayer at the end thank you

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RSSSLHB 12/18/2012 8:58AM

    emoticon Vic, I am reading Judges emoticon

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EDITOR 12/18/2012 7:43AM

    Vic, I do remember what being a fearful young woman was. God saw me through, praise His holy name.

You give us hope on following through. It is so worth it!

Gideon responded with grace and it is so worthy of mention.

His favor and His will, as you mentioned, is gone once that stubborn pride is.

Thank you for a delightful lesson, et al, and for your goodie and kind words.



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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/18/2012 7:36AM

    thy will be done your way not mine!

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