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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Fri, 12/28/2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This is my Prayer, Fri, 12/28/2012

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING EVERYONE!

Judges 10:1-5
UNKNOWN MEN WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE, Lesson 13b

v. 1-5 THE MINISTRY THEY PERFORMED
These two men may not have led any great military campaigns. They might not have commanded great armies. They may not have left a legacy of great spiritual achievements. But, what they did accomplish deserves consideration. What they did still challenges us today.

These men helped maintain peace for nearly 50 years in a nation split apart by war, rebellion and pagan worship. That in itself is no small feat. When there were no attacks from the outside, they helped prevent the nation from being ripped apart from the inside. Theirs was a ministry of peace in a time of turmoil.

These men also helped to preserve the heritage of their nation. They ministered to the faithful remnant in Israel in a time when that fading remnant needed consistent leadership.

Tola and Jair did in their day exactly what we are supposed to be doing in our day. They acted like salt.

Jesus said that His people are “the salt of the earth”, (Matt. 5:13). Salt, as you know, purifies, adds flavor to bland foods, and helps preserve meat. In Bible times, salt was more valuable than money. The ancient Romans used to give a soldier his pay in salt rather than money. The word “salary” comes to us from the Roman word “salarium”, which speaks of a soldier being paid in salt. The phrase “not worth his salt” comes from this practice.

When Jesus called His people “the salt of the earth”, He uses it as a metaphor that teaches about the influence His people in the world today:

Our Preserving Influence - Salt wards off rot and decay! It is rubbed into meat in an effort to preserve it. Sodom and Gomorrah in (Gen. 19) could have been saved by the preserving influence of just 10 righteous men. So it is in America today! I am convinced that the presence and the prayers of “salty” Christians has done more to preserve this nation than anything else we could name. It is the righteousness of God’s children that made America great and it is what keeps this country from being judged today, (Pro. 14:34).

Our Penetrating Influence – Salt will penetrate and infiltrate whatever it touches. It is an aggressive substance, like The early church – (Acts 8:1, 4; Acts 17:6). I believe that we have been called by the Lord to be an active force in the world around us. The church should be a militant army charging the very gates of Hell, ( Matt. 16:18).

Our Purifying Influence – Salt has remarkable cleansing ability. In 2 Kings 2:19-22 - Elisha cleansed the waters at Jericho with salt. In ancient times, newborn babies were washed in salt to cleanse their bodies and to give firmness to their skin,( Eze. 16:4). Salt in a wound can cleanse the area. Often, Christians have a purifying effect on the world around them. Others ought to behave differently when the child of God walks up. Don’t be offended if they stop talking when you come around. Just thank God that you are acting as a purifying force in the world around you. Every meat offering was to be made with salt – (Lev. 2:13). So it is with our lives. We are to offer our lives as an offering to the Lord, (Rom. 12:1-2). When we do, it proves that we are worth our salt!

Our Pleasing Influence – Bringing out the best. Salt blends and adds flavor to food. In fact, there are some foods that are better off not eaten, if there is no salt! So too, the Christian should flavor the world around him. As salt, we are to so live our lives that we bring out the best in those around us. That is what Jesus did time and again, and that what you and I are supposed to be doing for His glory! ( Phil. 1:27).

Our Poisoning Influence – Salt kills some things! Ever poured salt on a slug? Slugs and salt do not mix! Salt poured on a lawn will kill the grass. Too much salt is not good for your blood pressure. Abimelech, in Judges 9:45, took a city and then sowed the city with salt to prevent the ground from being used to grow crops. He killed the fields with salt. By the same token, when true Christianity is sowed into the lives, homes and communities of the world, some things will be put to death. We can make an impact on our world by the very fact that Christianity is pure poison to sin. When Jesus comes into a life, drinking, cussing, fighting, hating, killing, drugging, loose living, etcetera, all are put to death as we yield to Him in sanctification – (2 Cor. 5:17).

Our Promoting Influence – Salt creates a thirst for water in those who are exposed to it! As salt, the Christian has the wonderful opportunity to promote a thirst for Jesus in the world. Remember what the Lord told us? He said that out of our bellies would flow rivers of living water , ( John 7:37-38). When we live as Christians should live; when we take the call of Jesus seriously and live right, look right, act right, talk right, worship right, dress right, etc., then we have the ability to create a thirst for Jesus in the hearts of those around us. When that happens, we can point men to Jesus and share with them the water of life. Sadly, most Christians do not promote thirst, but ridicule instead. Too often, we live substandard immoral lives and the world sees it and says, “Why should I receive Jesus? I live just as good as that crowd down at the church!” The sad truth is, they are often right! Let’s so live that we ever prove them wrong. Our lives must be above reproach if we are to create a thirst for God in the world around us!

We must never give anyone cause to say, “If that is a Christian, then I never want to be one.” Instead, our lives ought to motivate people to say, “That is what I want my life to be.”

Our Proven Influence – Salt changes nearly everything it touches. ( Food, ice, etc). We are called to be thermostats and not thermometers in the world around us. We are to be the instruments that God can use to implement change in a wicked world. When genuine, New Testament Christianity touches this sinful, wicked world, there will be change of some variety. We just need to be sure that we are changing the world and not the other way around! There is a modern mentality which says, “We have to be like the world to win the world.” We’ll see more people saved when we are like Jesus!
Tola and Jair carried out a very important ministry in Israel. God used them to touch a nation. God used them to maintain peace. God used them for His glory, and that is the mark of a successful ministry!

By the same token, if we can simply glorify God and hand down old-fashioned worship to the next generation, our lives and ministries have been successful. Let us pray that we will honor God throughout the days of our lives!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Oh, To Be Like Thee” By: T. O. Chisholm (1897)

O to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer;
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Refrain:
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

O to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wand’ring sinners to find.
Refrain:

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer, others to save.
Refrain:
O to be like Thee! Lord, I am coming,
Now to receive th’ anointing divine;
All that I am and have I am bringing;
Lord, from this moment all shall be Thine.
Refrain:

O to be like Thee! While I am pleading
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love.
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit for a life which Thou wouldst approve.
Refrain:

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Holy Father, we cannot come into your holy presence, for our walk is not blameless and we do not always speak the truth from our hearts. Sometimes we slander others and cast slurs on our fellow humans. We fail to keep our oaths. We are guilty of all of these transgressions. Speak to us a word of grace and assurance. As we open your precious and infallible Word, open also hearts ears, our minds and our hearts that we may hear, understand, believe and then put into practice what we hear. Send forth your Spirit in our hearts, dear Lord, so that we may indeed become what we already are, namely, the salt of the earth. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.


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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 12/28/2012 11:05PM

    Thank you Vic for the great lesson, hymn and prayer. Thank you for showing us how we need to live to shine for Jesus and let others see the real way Christians live and act. Today I learned more again from your lesson. May God richly bless you for your work.

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BABY_GIRL69 12/28/2012 5:12PM

    Thank you so much for sharing this blog! It is filled with so much that I will have to re read it again to pick up things I may have missed....

God bless & love you Brother Vic!!

Dee

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TONYVAND1 12/28/2012 1:08PM

  Great blog thank you for showing us that we need God for living uprightly

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JLLOVETT 12/28/2012 12:46PM

    He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

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FORMERFATGUY777 12/28/2012 10:59AM

    In the words of my Bible college instructor. That will Preach!

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/28/2012 9:39AM

    Wonderful blog! I pray I will be worth my salt today. emoticon

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RSSSLHB 12/28/2012 8:47AM

    emoticon blog emoticon for posting emoticon

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JSTETSER 12/28/2012 7:02AM

    I love the hymn!
Today I wrote about Best Things. Please read it!
http://www.sparkpeople.com/m
ypage_public_journal_individual
.asp?blog_id=5178444

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BIGDOG18 12/28/2012 7:01AM

  emoticon

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AZMOMXTWO 12/28/2012 6:45AM

  thank you

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Thu, 12/27/2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This is my Prayer, Thu, 12/27/2012

GOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING EVERYONE!

Judges 10:1-5
UNKNOWN MEN WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE, Lesson 13a

Thus far in our study of the Judges, we have considered the ministries of Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah and Gideon. All of these, with the exception of Shamgar, led the people of Israel to outstanding military victories.

In the list I just mentioned, one man stands out as being different. I am referring to Shamgar. He is considered to be one of the Minor Judges. There are six Minor Judges in all. They are “Shamgar”, (Jud. 3:31) the two men mentioned in our text today, “Tola” (Jud. 10:1), and “Jair”, (Jud. 10:3-5);the others are: “Ibzan” (Jud. 12:8-10); “Elon”, (Jud. 12:11-12); and (Abdon”, (Jud. 12:13-15).

The reason these men are called Minor Judges is because they were no great military leaders like Deborah and Gideon; they were men who helped maintain the peace in the nation of Israel. While they might not have been mighty in military exploits, they were as important to the nation of Israel as those Judges that led the nation to great military victory.

Today, as we continue our study of the Judges of Israel, we are going to consider the lives and ministries of two of the Minor Judges. Today, we will examine the lives of Tola and Jair. While the Bible has very little to say about these two men, their lives and deeds have much to teach us.

I want us to learn the truth that you do not have to be well known to make a difference for the glory of God. I want you to see that God delights in using the unknown servant to help His people, glorify His name and build His kingdom. I want you to see that God can and will use you if you will make yourself available to Him.

As the Lord gives liberty today, let’s talk about a couple of “Unknown Men Who Made A Difference”. Consider with me the principles that are revealed in the lives of these unknown men.

v. 1 THE MESS THEY INHERITED

Verse 1 brings causes us to remember a man by the name of Abimelech. His story is found in Judges 9. Abimelech was the son of Gideon by his concubine, (Jud. 8:31). After the death of Gideon, Abimelech determines within himself that he will be the ruler of Israel. He convinces his mother’s people, the Shechemites to support him in his quest to become the king of Israel.

The men of Shechem confer among themselves and decide to help Abimelech. They give him seventy pieces of silver,( 9:4). Using this money, Abimelech hires a group of thugs to help him achieve his goal, (9:4).

Abimelech takes these men to his father’s house and kills 69 of his seventy half-brothers less one, (9:5). The youngest, a boy named Jotham escapes, (9:5). After this, the men of Shechem declare Abimelech to be their king, (9:6). After his anointing, Abimelech ruled as the king for three years, (9:22). In the end, the men of Shechem turned on Abimelech and there was war between them and the followers of Abimelech, (9:23-49). In the midst of an attack upon the walls of Thebez, Abimelech got too close to the wall and a woman threw a piece of a millstone from the wall and hit Abimelech in the head, (9:53). Knowing that he was dying, Abimelech commanded one of his men to kill him with a sword so that it would not be said that Abimelech had been killed by a woman, (9:54).

By the time Abimelech is dead, the nation of Israel is left in tatters from a vicious civil war. Military upheaval isn’t the only problem the nation faced. The Bible tells us that as soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned their backs on God and gave their worship to the Canaanite fertility god Baal, (8:33-34).

As a result of all these problems, the nation of Israel is in a mess. This was the nation inherited by Tola and Jair. I want to share a couple of principles with you right here.
God always has a remnant – In Israel, things were bad. The nation is at war with itself, and the majority of the people are worshiping idols. In the midst of all that, God still has a faithful remnant.

That fact has not changed! When Elijah entered the valley of depression, he came to believe that he was the only person in the country that was living for God and doing right. He soon found out that God has a remnant in Israel. Elijah is told that there still 7,000 that had not bowed their knees to Baal, (1 Kings 19:18).

God still has a remnant! In this day of increasing immorality and rampant wickedness, God still has a faithful people who love Him, serve Him and live for Him. There are still people who have a prayer closet. There are still people who believe the Bible is the Word of God. There are still people who love the church. There are still people who will tell a lost world about Jesus. There are still people who sing, shout, testify and honor God. While this remnant might not be in the majority, they are still here for the glory of God.

Serving God is not always easy, but it is always right – It must have been difficult for Tola and Jair as they dealt with the problems left behind by Abimelech and as they dealt with the idolatry of the nation. It was not an easy day to ministry, but they ministered anyway. We could learn a lot from their example.

It’s not always easy to walk in the old paths when everyone around us is looking for something new, but it is right! It isn’t always easy to live for the Lord when others around you are living for the world, the flesh and the devil, but it is right! It isn’t always easy to do the right thing when others around you are acting in bad ways, but it is always right! The fact, we can make a choice to live for God, even when everyone else seems to be going their own way and living for self. Our duty is not to look to them, but to Him Who perfectly ran His Own race and will enable us to runs ours as well, (Heb. 12:1-3; Phil. 4:13; John 15:4-5).

Our world is in a mess. No one would argue with that. We can lay the blame for that anywhere we like. We can blame Washington, we can blame the modern, contemporary churches, and we can blame one another. But, at the end of the day, the blame rests right here. The people of God are partially to blame for the condition of the world around us. We have ceased to do right, and we have stood by silently while the world has embraced evil! It’s time for the remnant of the Lord to stand up and fight for the things we have left, (Rom. 13:11-14). It’s time to fight for the family, the home, the church and the community. If we fail to stand for what is important today, we should not complain when it is taken from us tomorrow!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus” By: George Duffield (1858)

1. Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
ye soldiers of the cross;
lift high his royal banner,
it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory
his army shall he lead,
till every foe is vanquished,
and Christ is Lord indeed.

2. Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
the trumpet call obey;
forth to the mighty conflict,
in this his glorious day.
Ye that are brave now serve him
against unnumbered foes;
let courage rise with danger,
and strength to strength oppose.

3. Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
stand in his strength alone;
the arm of flesh will fail you,
ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the gospel armor,
each piece put on with prayer;
where duty calls or danger,
be never wanting there.

4. Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
the strife will not be long;
this day the noise of battle,
the next the victor's song.
To those who vanquish evil
a crown of life shall be;
they with the King of Glory
shall reign eternally.


THIS IS MY PRAYER!
O Almighty and Everlasting God, Creator of Heaven, Earth, and the Universe, help us to be, to think, to act what is right, because it is right. Make us truthful, honest, and honorable in all things; make us intellectually honest for the sake of right and honor and without thought of reward to us. Give us the ability to be charitable, forgiving, and patient with our fellow men. Help us to understand their motives and their shortcomings, even as You understand ours! This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!


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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 12/27/2012 10:46PM

    Welcome back Vic. Thank you for this awesome lesson, hymn which I love, and prayer. We certainly must look to God and worship Him and not the world. He is the only one who can make a difference in the world when He returns. I know that without God's guidance I would not be able to handle my life as I do. Worshiping Him is the most important part of my day. God bless you.

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TONYVAND1 12/27/2012 5:07PM

  Welcome back Vic. Trust you had a great Christmas. I want to make a difference for Christ every day.

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WINNIE-POOH 12/27/2012 11:05AM

    Good word. I can do all things through CHRIST who gives me strength. Happy New Year! emoticon emoticon

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/27/2012 10:09AM

    Amen, Vic. Thank you for sharing this lesson. I am called to serve right here at home. I pray I may be forgiving, patient and kind every moment of the day.

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FORMERFATGUY777 12/27/2012 9:08AM

    I enjoy your blogs. Its nice to know ordinary people can do extraordinary thing when they surrender to Christ.

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RSSSLHB 12/27/2012 9:02AM

    emoticon back Vic emoticon for posting emoticon

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ANNIE924 12/27/2012 8:57AM

    Hi Vic:

I liked reading this blog - it is good to be reminded that we don't need to be well known to make a difference for God. I pray God takes my willing heart and guides me to what he wants me to do.

Thank you and praying that you will have a blessed 2013. emoticon

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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/27/2012 8:42AM

    Practicing to always be honest! Love todays hymn!

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Mon, 12/24/2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! We will be back on Dec 27th. In His Love! Vic.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANHELIC 12/26/2012 12:29AM

    Hope you are having a wonderful time. See you when you return. Be safe and travel with God.

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NADINEL 12/24/2012 4:51PM

    Merry Christmas to you both!!!

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POETLKNG2LOSE 12/24/2012 4:10PM

    Merry christmas VIc to you and your family. emoticon emoticon

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FORMERFATGUY777 12/24/2012 2:30PM

    Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year.

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SAINTBETH 12/24/2012 12:19PM

    God bless you in your travels.

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TONYVAND1 12/24/2012 9:48AM

  Thanks Vic for you great posts

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/24/2012 6:41AM

    Thanking God for the gift of Christ and the celebration of His birth!

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WENDYSPARKS 12/24/2012 6:41AM

    Merry Christmas!!! HUGS!

Wendy emoticon mmm emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MARINEMAMA 12/24/2012 6:36AM

    Be blessed!

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LINDAMARIEZ1 12/24/2012 6:34AM

    CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS!

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Sun, 12/23/2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

JUDGES, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, Today’s Hymn, This Is My Prayer, Sun, 12/23/2012

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

v. 28-35 HE FACED SOCIAL TEMPTATION
Gideon weathered one temptation successfully; he failed miserably in another. There is one final temptation Gideon faced, and he failed this one gloriously too. He failed in the area of social temptation.

Gideon Was A Celebrity – I will just touch this, because it has already been dealt with earlier. Gideon was a celebrity in Israel. As a result, there were certain temptations that came his way. There were temptations to wealth, power and glory. Gideon allowed his success to go to his head! Sometimes great success can lead to great defeat.

This truth is seen in the life of Elijah. The prophet stood on top of Mt. Carmel in the power of God and saw God give a great victory, (1 Kings 18:20-40). Then, he outran King Ahab back to Samaria, even though Elijah was on foot and the king was in a chariot, (vv. 41-46). Then, when Elijah is threatened by that wicked woman Jezebel, (1 Kings 19:1-3), he ran away in fear! Elijah’s greatest failure came on the heels of his greatest success. Be careful, the same can prove true in your life and mine as well.

v. 30-32 Gideon Was A Compromiser – We are told that Gideon took to himself “many wives”. We do not know how many wives Gideon had, but it was enough to allow him to produce 70 sons. Apparently, such a large number of women were not enough, because Gideon even had a concubine, or mistress.

Polygamy was tolerated in Israel, but never authorized by God. In fact, in the beginning, marriage was always one women and one man for one lifetime, (Gen. 2:18-25). The first polygamist was a man named Lamech, (Gen. 4:19). He was from the line of Cain, and has no regard for the will of God. In Deut. 17:17, the rulers of Israel were forbidden to take multiple wives. God knew that many wives would divide the hearts of the kings and pull them away from God. This was clearly seen in the life of King Solomon, (1 Kings 11:3). In fact, anywhere you find polygamy in the Bible, you find problems. ( Abraham, David, Jacob, Solomon, Etc.)

Gideon apparently believed that the Law no longer applied to him. He seemed to have the idea that he could do as he pleased and there would be no consequences for his actions. He paid a high price for his rebellion. So will we!

When we come to the place where we believe that we can do as we please, regardless of the cost to God and others, we are deceiving ourselves. There is always a price to pay for disobedience, and that price is high!

Gideon Was A Casualty – In the end, this great man lost his testimony, his influence, and his family. After he died, the people continued their downward slide into idolatry, (v. 33-34). When Gideon died, he was relegated to the past. He was forgotten by the very people he delivered, (v. 35). In chapter 9 we are told that one of his sons, a man by the name of Abimelech, who was the son of Gideon’s concubine, decided that he should be the king of Israel. Through a series of events, he killed all 69 of his brothers and was declared king. So, Gideon lost his family and everything he ever worked for.

The lesson here is this: When we walk in ways that are not God’s ways that are not His paths, there is a terrible price to pray for our disobedience. Our foolish decisions can put a bad taste in the mouths of those around us for the things of God. The way we act toward God, His people, His Word and His will speaks more loudly to those around us than the words we say. Therefore, be careful how you act, what you say, and what you involve yourself with, what you do will affect those around you! Don’t be a casualty of some foolish decision that seems right at the moment. Don’t be a Gideon!

Conc: What a shame it would be to live your life in victory and power, to the glory of God, just to see it all come to nothing because of a foolish decision. The landscape of human history is littered with such tragic stories. So many people have done so well only to see everything taken from them in the end.

It does not have to be that way in our lives. We can live well, and we can leave well. We can finish our course in a way that glorifies the Lord and leaves behind a good testimony. We do not have to end up like Gideon! I pray that none of us will!

If the Lord has spoken to you about some area of your life that needs to be brought back under His control, the time to obey Him is right now. If He has shown you that you have embarked on a fool’s errand, you can come back to Him today. If He has shown you that others are leading you into error like Gideon led Israel, the time to make a break from that situation is right now.

Is He speaking to YOU? Listen to His voice so you can finish well and avoid the temptations that felled Gideon!

TODAY’S HYMN!
“O Come, All Ye Faithful” By: John Francis Wade (1751)

1.O come all ye faithful joyful and triumphant Oh come ye O come ye to Bethlehem; come and behold him born the King of angels;
Refrain:
O come let us adore him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

2.Sing choirs of angels sing in exultation sing all ye citizens of heaven above; glory to God in the highest:
Refrain

3. Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be glory given; word of the Father, now in flesh appearing:
Refrain:

THIS IS MY PRAYER!
Most Precious Father, Gentle and Wonderful Jesus, Truly Awesome and Ever-present Holy Spirit, we love you. In your love and grace, may we use every failure in our life to glorify your name. Whenever we experience any kind of failure in our life, may we be able to use the failure to see your special mission and purpose for our life. As we commit our whole life to you, make our failures be a time when we can overcome being down, discouraged, or depressed. As we commit our whole life to you, in your love and grace, may we be able to discover your hidden wisdom in every failure. When we fail, may we always resolve to move forward for you rather than letting our life be mired down because we made a mistake. When I encounter failure, may we be able to use failure to be more and do more for your glory. All these things we humbly pray in the name of our most Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, our Mighty God, and our Ever-Present Holy Spirit upon whom we can rely. Amen

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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:

NADINEL 12/23/2012 5:50PM

    Have a safe and Merry Christmas, Vic & Mary Lou emoticon

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AVANELL 12/23/2012 2:53PM

    I am so glad that Jesus lived a perfect life so He could be qualified to die for my iniquities! It is because of Him that I can experience God's grace and forgiveness when I mess up. As a human being I am imperfect, but through God's grace I am forgiven and by His Spirit I am empowered to live above the temptations that come into my life. May I always surrender myself to His ways and not mine so that I can overcome the temptation to sin! Lord Jesus, have Your way in me!

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TONYVAND1 12/23/2012 2:47PM

  Committing my life to Christ reven when I fail ,He loves me and lifts me up. Enjoy your days away Vic.

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DIANER2014 12/23/2012 9:09AM

    Thanks for the lesson Vic! Merry Christmas to you and Mary Lou! emoticon

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LOOKINGUP2012 12/23/2012 8:24AM

    I commit today! Moving forward : )

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SUNSET09 12/23/2012 7:48AM

  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Enjoy your holiday with the family! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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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

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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

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