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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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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS Of FAITH, Mon, 12/17/2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Mon, 12/17/2012

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

THE RESULTS OF GOD’S PLAN
When God’s people submit to God’s plan and carry it out for His glory, there are certain results they can expect!

v. 21-22 God’s Enemies Are Vanquished - The Midianites and the Amalekites turned on one another in fear and fled the scene. Israel saw their enemies defeated because Israel followed God’s plan!

God has a plan for your life. Don’t you think that His enemy, Satan, may also have a plan for your life? The enemy wants you to be defeated, unhappy and miserable! But, you choose to walk in the Lord’s plan, you can be confident that it is the best plan and that it gives you and Him victory over Satan!

v. 23 God’s People Are Victorious - Israel enjoyed a great victory because they chose the best plan!

By the way, they already had the victory before the battle was ever engaged, (v. 7-8)!
God’s plan for your life and mine is that we be able to walk in victory, (Rom. 8:37; 2 Cor. 2:14; 1 Cor. 15:57). But, victory will only truly be our experience when we walk in His plan and not our own! If you walk in His plan, which is the best plan, you will never walk in defeat! Paul – (2 Cor. 4:7-10; 2 Cor. 12:7-10)! How could he say what He did? He knew that he was walking in the will of God and that even though it might be hard, God always has the best plan!

v. 2, 15-23 God’s Name Is Venerated - Because the victory was won without a great army and without a fierce battle, God got all the glory for the victory! Neither Gideon nor his army could go home and brag about what they did on the field of battle.

When we turn away from our plan and embrace His, we are assured of the victory and we are assured that He will receive all the glory for all that happens in our lives. After all, that’s what life as a believer is all about anyway! ( 1 Cor. 10:31; Matt. 5:16)! Our lives, our obedience, ought to point me to Him and not to ourselves!

Conc: Is God messing around with your plans? The best thing you could ever do is submit to His plan, because His plan is the best plan!

1. He has the best plan for living - His will, when followed, always produces victory in the life of the believer!

2. He has the best plan for leaving - His plan is for you to receive Jesus as your personal Savior. If you do, then you need never fear the fires of Hell, ( John 14:6; Acts 4:12)!
Do you need to come before Him and talk to Him about His plans for you?

TODAY’S HYMN!
“I’d Rather Have Jesus” By: Rhea F. Miller (1922)

1.I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand
Refrain:
Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

2.I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name
Refrain:

3.He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead
Refrain:

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Loving Father, Awesome God! It is awesome that you listen to the prayers of a righteous person. Nothing can separate us from Your Love because there is no other love like Yours. We marvel at your great love and praise Your name. We marvel at the beauty of your love that surrounds us, the joy and gladness it brings into our lives, even peace. It doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor, nor whether we are slaves or free, for in Christ Jesus, our Lord, we are all made ONE in Him. You are in deed our heavenly Father and Mighty God, and we will never understand the depth, the width, the length, or the height of Your Love, but we are grateful that You Love us. Blessed be our God! This we pray in Jesus glorious name. Amen!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 12/18/2012 12:02AM

    Thank you for your awesome lesson and your hymn says it all for me. I would rather follow Jesus and be victorious than go my own way and fail all the way. Satan may try, but we must cling to Jesus. God bless you for your lesson and the goodie and note.

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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/17/2012 5:31PM

    Jesus is my riches! Don't always understand him but love him soooooooo!

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TONYVAND1 12/17/2012 12:43PM

  Submitting to His plan for me.

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SAINTBETH 12/17/2012 11:21AM

    Amen!

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COOP9002 12/17/2012 10:43AM

    He is all that we need. thanks for sharing.

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RSSSLHB 12/17/2012 9:02AM

    emoticon Vic, God Bless you emoticon emoticon

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EDITOR 12/17/2012 9:00AM

    This was an extremely powerful lesson as we delve into the Word of God, cover to cover, for answers. Thank you and thanks for the goodie and note. May your readers today understand what victory means, in the midst of what they perceive as defeat.

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KIMPY225 12/17/2012 8:59AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MR.NET1 12/17/2012 8:32AM

    emoticon

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WILSON1926 12/17/2012 8:21AM

    IN LIGHT OF THE LITTLES SOULS TAKEN FROM ALL OF US, I'M SO SAD TODAY.
emoticon

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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

    emoticon

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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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