Gideon, an Example

The Israelites had a forty year rest after Barak and Deborah fought against the Canaanites in the book of Judges chapters 4-5. Deborah prayed – she fought by spiritual means.

Judges 6:1 says in the NKJV: Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord.

Throughout the book of Judges, the Israelites served God under a judge and then after the judge died, the people turned to the gods of their neighbors. God didn’t chase them down. He let them serve the false gods and their enemies began to treat them badly. Sometimes it was many years of hardship and then they’d realize they’d turned their backs on God and then they’d call out to Him and repent and ask for help.

Gideon said he was the least of the tribe of Manasseh, and the least of his family. He tried to thresh wheat in the wine press because the Midianites kept destroying their food as soon as they grew it.

The Angel of the Lord which I believe is the pre-incarnate Christ talked to Gideon about going to war against the Midianites. He told him to go in his strength because God is sending him. When Gideon realizes he’d seen God face to face and hadn’t died, he was terrified. Judges 6:23 says, “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.’”

Gideon was directed to tear down the altar of Baal and to present an offering to God with the wood of the image which he will cut to pieces. He was so afraid of the men in the area that he took ten servants of his father’s and destroyed the altar of Baal at night.

Gideon’s father was a Baal worshipper, but when the men arose to harm Gideon after he removed the idol, Gideon’s father said to let Baal contend for himself if he is a god. I’ll bet that encouraged Gideon. Maybe that’s why Gideon turned from God. Even though he saw God face to face and was able to destroy thousands of soldiers with only three hundred Israeli’s so God could get the glory, he still turned to idolatry. After the soldiers plundered their enemies Gideon asked for the gold earrings and he kept the pendants of gold from around the camel’s necks and made himself a golden idol.

Even though he got elevated in the eyes of the people, so that they asked him to rule over them, which he declined to do, and said that God is their ruler, he led the people astray by providing them an idol to bow down to.

It’s not easy to follow God some of the time, but not following God causes all sorts of problems. One of Gideon’s sons, a child of a concubine, decided he wanted to be the leader of the Israelis. Gideon had seventy other sons from his many wives and Abimelech went to his mother’s relatives and got help. He killed sixty-nine of his brothers. One hid himself to rise up against his half-brother as soon as he could. What a mess.

I don’t take my faith for granted. It says in 2 Timothy 2:15, (Webster): “Study to show thyself approved to God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

I continue reading the Word of God and praying for understanding even though it’s been many years since I first began. There is wisdom and direction and hope to name a few blessings in God’s Word that I keep finding. A Rhema word is a Scripture that practically jumps off the page at a believer which is God’s highlight and insight for the reader according to Pentecostal believers. I looked up Rhema online and found this link: http://www.biblestudy.org/beginner/definition-of-christian-terms/rhema.html

May God bless you.

 

 

 

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Barak and Deborah

Yesterday I read the story of Barak in the first half of the book of Judges. Deborah told him God said to take other warriors and go claim the land.

When the judge and prophetess, Deborah agreed to go with Barak to battle Israel’s enemies, she told him Sisera, the armies’ general for King Jabin of Canaan would die by the hand of a woman. He wouldn’t get the glory.

Barak was okay with that and had even told Deborah he wouldn’t go if she didn’t go with him.

In Judges 5, the song of Deborah and Barak, son of Abinoam records the greatness of God and the recent history of their victory over the Canaanites and more. I’ve heard it said that the Old Testament is written as an example for us, so we can emulate the right choices and avoid the bad ones.

When I think about the goodness of God to those who obey Him and even to those who don’t, I wonder why I don’t thank Him more often. I need to remind myself not to take Him for granted.

May God bless you.

God Loves You and Me

 

4 Keys to Staying Full of God: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Andrew+Wommack+four

This site showed up from my friend today, Part 1 of 4. Whenever I hear something, I try to “eat the meat and spit out the bones” as my husband suggests when there’s a good teaching but possibly a bit off. As I listened to this teaching, there was only one part I wasn’t sure about. Maybe you’ll get a chance to hear it and you’ll let me know what you think.

Pastor Wommack makes a point of remembering that God loves him and has his best interests at heart. Since God is all powerful, that helps him to keep his peace and his joy. I got a lot out of this sermon and I hope to hear the other three parts soon.

The more I read the Bible, the more I realize that God loves people more than I can understand.

May God bless you!

 

What Really Happened?

I intended to write some true stories of how God intervened in the lives of people we’re getting to know. We drove with them to a Celebrate Recovery meeting on Friday night.

It occurred to me that she is a writer and she just got some things published. So I’ll ask her first before I write stories that belong to her family.

Years ago, my youngest sister used to tell me why she believed in God. One of the reasons was because she experienced Him keeping her safe. I’ll tell one time here.

One Sunday afternoon after a family meal, she pulled me aside. “Guess what God did for me?”

“I don’t know, what?”

“Sue and I were driving down the road and it had that black ice on it that’s hard to see. Our car started spinning out of control!”

I thought, Uh oh!

“Somehow the car ended up in the other lane facing oncoming traffic!”

“Oh, man! What happened?”

“We couldn’t do anything so I started calling out, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!’ ”

She took a deep breath, her brown eyes sparkled. “Connie, I can hardly believe this, but it was like a big hand lifted our car into the other lane and turned us in the right direction.”

“What did Sue think about it?”

She looked at me with sad eyes and said, “She doesn’t believe it.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know,” she spoke softly. Then her voice rose, “but I’ll never forget it for as long as I live. One minute our car is out of control on the ice and we stop facing traffic. The next second we’re out of the path of danger and our car is heading west instead of east. You explain it.”

I shrugged my shoulders. She shook her head decisively. “It was Jesus. I called on His name and He saved us.”

I smiled and she smiled. Then she strode out of the room. I thought about my sister-in-law, Sue, two people in the same situation reaching opposite conclusions. I never got to ask Sue about it. I don’t think she heard much about God as she grew up. She might have been 20 years old at the time.

I wonder what she would say now.

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend. May God bless you!

 

Celebrate!

My husband and I went for an hour drive to attend a Celebrate Recovery meeting so we could understand how it works. I’ve been telling people we’re going to start a group on May 5, and he’s been telling me that’s too soon. “How can we possibly be ready?”

After we experienced the gathering, it seemed it will take a year maybe. We’ll keep preparing and praying and see where it goes.

Part of the procedure tonight was a celebration of people for resisting whatever is plaguing them – addiction or a bad habit from a hurt received in life. When someone was thirty days free of their addiction or life controlling habit, they received a coin with an imprint and a big shout of encouragement from the crowd. Sixty days, a leader called out? Another recipient, another cheer and on it went until there were no more claimants.

There was such excitement for staying the course and fighting the battle. I didn’t expect it. It was great. I hope we can do this ministry.

I hope you are well! May God bless you!

Am I Not Enough?

I have a friend at our church who has said to me, “I thought when my children grew up I would stop worrying about them.”

I tell her it’s because she’s a mom. She tries not to worry and prays for them often.

Sometimes I pray about things and other times I picture events happening. I anticipate how I’ll react and at that point I forget to pray. Occasionally I’ll think God is saying, “Am I not enough?”

I tell Him He is more than enough.

I was in one of these, if this happens, then I’ll do that, frames of mind when my oldest daughter called.

The last time I headed north to help out two weeks in a row with six days at home in-between, I got thinking something had to change.

As I left her house I asked if she knew of anyone in her vicinity that might babysit for her children when they got sick and she had to work. With both adults working, it makes it hard.

Our ladies’ Bible study group even prayed with me for her benefit. Yesterday she called me to say a youngish grandmother from her church told her she’d be glad to babysit when the kids are sick. “I rarely catch anything, it’s no problem,” she said.

She also offered to help when she gets overwhelmed and told her to let her know.

I felt tears prickle my eyes as she shared her good news. I couldn’t help think of the kindness of God to answer our prayers. Then I immediately thought, why do I worry about her? God is so good to her.

This relieved my mind and enabled me to quit figuring out plans for future events that may never come to pass.

I know there are kind and compassionate people around, but not everyone has the flexible schedule and the ability to act on their desire to help others. I appreciate her and I don’t even know her. 🙂

I realize that God doesn’t want us to worry. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6, (KJV):  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Php 4:7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Php 4:8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Php 4:9  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Jesus said in John 14: 1, (KJV): “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”

I also love Matthew, chapter six. Near the end of the chapter Jesus says to seek God and His righteousness first and all these things will be added to you. He’d been talking about food and clothing and how God provides for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field and that we are much more precious to God than those.    Make Ree's Barbecue Meatballs ahead of time for the perfect stress-free, game-day dish.

(photo from https://www.pinterest.com/explore/church-picnic-games/ )

 

My dad worried that my mom would spend or give away any money he’d saved for their retirement when he died. Then she died first and he was totally shocked and unprepared.

My mom knew blindness ran in her family so she learned to read braille and typed on a special braille machine to make books for those without vision. She never lost her sight even into old age.

So I learned that worrying doesn’t do any good and it’s harmful to our health. Also, it’s a lack of faith in God which is insulting to the great “I Am.”

So when I worry, I stop and tell God I’m sorry. Then I pray about the situation.

Jesus spoke about making plans in Luke 14:28-32, (KJV):

Luke 14:28: “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

Luk 14:29  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,

Luk 14:30  saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

Luk 14:31  Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

Luk 14:32  And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.”

What He’s saying here as He continues to speak in the following verses is that if you decide to become His disciple, there is a cost. You’ll have to give things up that you used to find pleasurable. You may be called to give up your life or your goods.

God wants us to use our minds and think and plan. He wants us to rest in His care for us and He doesn’t want us fretting. I hope He’ll never have to ask me again, “Am I not enough?”

May God be your strength and your portion in whatever comes your way. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Makes the World Go ‘Round

Love Makes the World Go ‘Round” is a popular song written by Bob Merrill for the 1961 Broadway musical Carnival! (This is a quote from Wikipedia.)

This morning early in my day, I thought about life. Back in my childhood a saying got repeated, “Love makes the world go ’round.”

I didn’t know until a few moments ago that it was a song title. 🙂

My brother and sister-in-law uprooted themselves to help take care of her parents in their latter years. Love is not easy at times. They’re sacrificing for others, and yet they’re enjoying this precious time with family.

As a young mom, I learned to discipline my children in a consistent manner even when it broke my heart to see them cry. When they got older I wouldn’t let them watch violent movies or see R-rated or worse films. Sometimes my husband and I were too restrictive over other matters and we needed to learn to see things from their point of view.

Our children heard us say we’re sorry but I think they understood we were looking out for their best interests.

Love means saying no to the bad. My parents wouldn’t let us go see the 1961 movie, “West Side Story” when it came out in the theaters. I was maybe nine years old. Lots of the kids went. I stomped my foot and complained. “You’re too young,” my mom replied and that was that.West Side Story(photo from Wikipedia)

After more thoughts this morning, this came to mind, what shall I do today?

Part of the Scripture from Proverbs 6:6-8 (NASB), took root:

Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Which having no chief, Officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer, And gathers her provision in the harvest.

I, too, have no one barking commands at me. My husband gives suggestions occasionally and then he gets on with his day.

It’s not that I don’t like housework. I get bored. After lots of hours alone, I want to see people.

The point of cleaning and organizing beyond the removal of germs and bad smells and nerve-wracking messes is love. Love for others sharing the home, love of self, love for others stopping over, even love or respect for the neighbors shows up with a tidy place.

I thought, if that doesn’t motivate me to continue on with this organizing quest I’m on, nothing will.

When I start my day in God’s Word and in prayer, I’m centered and reminded that His love goes with me and upholds me.

When I feel I have too much to do I break it down to smaller steps. I’m trying to remember that I have time to continue and if people interrupt, people are more important.

Too much self-centeredness does not make the world go ‘round. When it’s all about me, joy and love get sucked away. I know. I’ve been there and done that and missed out on simple pleasures of life because of complaining and a stinking attitude.

God help me; I don’t want to go there.

May God bless you!

Listening Skills, II

Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Have you ever noticed that before you say something if you start meditating on God and His ways, you may change your mind and your words? I asked my husband to go to a store 50 minutes away from home because he was going to be nearby.

He agreed but didn’t want to because I needed one and a half yards of 45 inch wide fabric to make a curtain for a door. I wrote out the size needed, cut off a swatch of the remnant and told him he could ask the saleslady. Usually he calls me, but my note told him to ask for advice. My mistake was forgetting she was a SALESlady. They didn’t have 45 inch wide fabric – it was 44 inch wide fabric. I would have said, “Fine.”

She said, “Let’s go to 92 inch wide fabric or somewhere near that width. As she measured for the yard and a half, they came to the end of the bolt. “Would you like the extra yard at the end for half price?”

“Okay,” he said.

When he got home with a large plastic bag with lots of folded fabric inside, my eyebrows lifted. “Here’s your fabric. I don’t like shopping in a store mostly for women.”

“Why didn’t you call me?” I asked after he explained his purchase. He might have said, “Be glad I got it for you.”

I don’t remember.

I told my daughter. From my peripheral vision I saw him standing there, listening. I snuck into another room and called my other daughter. Now I’m telling her that I’ll certainly have enough fabric and there he was to get something and he’s listening.

So, I prayed about it and thought about it. Just because I’m trying to eliminate clutter, it’s not that big of a deal. I did thank him for going out of his way a bit and taking the time on a busy day.

The next day I’m telling a friend at church but now I’m saying, “Maybe there’s a reason for the extra material,” and he comes into the room and this time he joins the conversation and we’re laughing.

I did buy fabric for curtains for another room and I told the young girl I needed more than the bolt held. She assured me that there was plenty. I bought it at a store an hour from home and sure enough, the length was off. I called some fabric stores and got online to find there wasn’t any available. This extra material may allow me to add some length.

The thing I realized is how often my husband listens to me when I’m unaware.

Occasionally I’ve started to relay something and he’ll say, “I know, I heard you on the phone.”

This got me thinking of verses Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in Matthew 12:34, (ESV): “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Mat 12:35  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.

Mat 12:36  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

Mat 12:37  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Being an extrovert, words come easily to me at times, and one day I got worried. My spouse said if I spoke in a way that offended God, repented and asked forgiveness, I wouldn’t need to be concerned on judgment day. Big sigh of relief!

Not only have I found out that my husband listens to me when I’m not sure he is, but I realized that he’s good at reading non-verbal communication. If I’m mad about something but I’m not sure if it’s a good time to bring it up, he’ll see me avoiding eye contact, biting my lower lip and being extraordinarily quiet, possibly tapping my foot or doing other restless gestures. Then he’ll ask, “What’s the matter?”

I got online today to see what Focus on the Family’s website had to say about communicating. I read two articles out of many, and here’s the link to one of them: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/communication-and-conflict/effectively-communicating-with-your-husband

I enjoyed what I read, but it just helped me to springboard to this idea for this blog. Although I couldn’t find the reference, one comment about communicating being hard work struck a chord with me. When I’m tired, I have to force myself to pay attention to the other person and to try and decipher what they mean.

Hope you’re communicating effectively. May God bless you!

Listening Skills

Eph_4:29 , (ESV) from the New Testament of the Bible says: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

I was going to start with some listening techniques I learned when I volunteered for an organization some years back. But, I wanted to be sure and mention us being kind to one another as we try to communicate.

Anyway this organization hired a lady with social work training. One I remember is reflective listening. An example: I hear my husband say, “I’m not thrilled with the idea of going to the Ida May Americana Restaurant.”

I say, “You’re not thrilled about going to the Ida May Americana Restaurant?”

I’m mirroring back what I heard him say. Then I bite my lip and wait for his response.

“They serve greasy and flavorless foods. I wanted to try that new international place that opened, overlooking the Falls.”

If I can keep quiet, he may tell me, “I really don’t want to go out to dinner with your cousin George and his wife, Lulu. He never shuts up and she wears that awful perfume and they don’t like spicy food – it’s perfect.”

I don’t have a cousin George with a wife Lulu and all of the above is made up. The first time I tried this it felt awkward, but it does help real communication evolve.

I hope you’re well. May God bless you.

 

Hey, I’m Talking to You

 

I’ve been blogging about marriage lately. This blog will relate to marriage partners and anyone else who chooses to communicate.

Reading the NKJV Bible entitled Jesus Calling Devotional Bible today, I read the Self-Control entry on page 921, copyrighted in 2011 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

The devotionals have three verses suggested on the bottom of the page. I didn’t expect the piece to be on controlling one’s tongue.

My favorite verse was James 1:19, “So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;”

Yesterday, I spoke to my son on the phone and I noticed I interrupted him but he kept talking. Sometimes I feel like if I don’t chime in on the subject, I’ll forget what I had to say. It’s not a good excuse for being impolite, but that’s what I concluded when I thought about it.

Anyway, he kept talking, and then I started to call his name to tell him I couldn’t hear him. He didn’t seem to hear me, so I pressed a button on my husband’s cell which I’m not familiar with. It was a picture of a phone with a plus sign, so I figured it makes the volume go up. Wrong. It may have caused the phone to mute.

If we had a split screen with him on one side, me on the other, he’d be talking away and I’d be raising my voice so he could hear me over his conversation, and it might look comical. Then I start asking my husband how do you turn up the sound on this thing and my son is saying, “Can you hear me, are you there?”

He hung up and my husband fixed the phone and we started over again and then I apologized for interrupting him.

I have a relative I haven’t spent a ton of time with over the last few years and when we got together she was talking to me and I’d add my two cents (as my mom used to say), and finally she looked at me and said, “Would you please just listen to me?”

I was so embarrassed. She was very polite about it and then I clammed up and listened with no comments until she got quiet and then I responded to her comments.

Today, I decided to memorize that Scripture. So, I’m repeating “So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;” James 1:19.

I’m aware that words are very important. I try to remember to pray that I’ll say the right things and keep quiet if I’m about to say something I’ll regret or that others will regret hearing. Today, after reading the devotional, I prayed that I’d say only the things I should say when I see my hairdresser. If I forget to pray that before I see her, I prayed that prayer would be set up for all time. I’m not sure what God thinks about that. I know I’ve moved places and realized that twenty or thirty years prior, I’d be thinking I wanted to live in a certain location. Then after moving there, I’d remember really wanting to live there.

If there are times you’ve suffered from communicating in a way that caused problems, as I have, unfortunately, with my spouse and children especially, I found that asking their forgiveness and saying sorry helped a lot. Then, I tried to refrain from the same behavior. Trying to make amends without having any intention of changing is a total waste of breath. After a while, the person can rightly say, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Whoever said, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me” lived in a delusional world. We can choose to forgive words that hurt us and only remember it enough to avoid being the target in the future if at all possible, if we want. We can forgive and keep away forever if possible, as well.

I’m still learning about speech and about choosing quiet. The book of James is a big help to me, too.

God bless!