THIS A TRUTH FOR THE YOUNG AND OLD…

Spiritual Blog - Timeless

Psalm 92:12-15 – “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Planted in the house of the LORD, They will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green, 15 To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”  NASU

             Have you ever longed for assurance and confidence that you matter?  Have you ever fallen prey to the devil’s deception and heard his assertions as to why others seem to be prospering and flourishing but you are not?  Have you ever experienced a tiny bit envy at others who seem to be flourishing in the things of God but you are going from difficulty to difficulty?  Have you experienced being up one day and down another?  Have you had success followed by failure or faced almost insurmountable obstacles that prevent you from steady progress and growth?  I’m sure that I’m the only one, but in case a few of you have experienced that I will continue.

In v.12 there is an incredible affirmation and promise.  It is a goal that every believer should desire.  The Psalmist said, “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, he will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”  The palm tree referred to appears to be one that can grow to 80 or 90 feet and withstand the incredible weather. They are flexible and will bend but not break in the storm. They grow tall and straight, are flexible and strong.  That is a beautiful picture of the believer who is rooted and grounded in God.  The Righteous are compared to this tree!  Those in “right standing” with God.  Then he says, they will grow like the cedar of Lebanon.  That tree is a cone producing tree that grows up to 120 feet in height spreading its branches out 20 to 50 feet from the trunk.  In that era, it was known as the King of Trees.  It produces great and desirable building material.  Remember that David & Solomon utilizing that specific tree in the buildings they built.  It grows year around, no matter the circumstances surrounding it.  What a beautiful picture of the believer.

But, I must ask, how do we become Palm trees or Cedars of Lebanon?  The next verse gives us the definitive method to achieve that desired end.  “Planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.”  Hallelujah!  I may be on dangerous ground in speaking of being PLANTED in the House of God because of our mobile mentality of this century.  Tragically, too often Christians do not recognize the Planting of the Lord in where we serve and uproot ourselves on whims and attempt to do what only the Holy Spirit can do, REPLANT OURSELVES.  Oh, we can move from church to church but we cannot plant ourselves, that is the work of the Spirit of God.  Therefore, if we are to flourish like the majestic palm or cedar of Lebanon we must be PLANTED and as we serve there we flourish in the Courts of God.  If you are not flourishing it might be wise to ask, “LORD, where do you desire to PLANT me?”  Once you determine that, allow the Holy Spirit to Plant you and watch the development of spiritual gifts and blessings in your life.

But there is something more in this passage found in verse 14, “They will still yield fruit in old age: they shall be full of sap and very green.”  THAT IS POWERFUL, EXCITING, and ENCOURAGING for me.  I’m no longer a spring chicken and some would consider me of the age to be put out to pasture and no longer qualified to serve as a congregational leader and some churches feel that due to age I am no longer relevant.  This passage tells us that IF we are PLANTED in the House of the Lord we will flourish like the Palm trees and grow like the cedar of Lebanon and in that planting, we will flourish.  But, it goes far beyond that and says that we will continue to Yield Fruit in Old Age.  That is enough but it gives even more and says that we will be FULL OF SAP and VERY GREEN.  We will still have vim, vigor, and vitality.  We will still be relevant. We will still be productive.  We will still walk in the anointing and see the hand of God move.   So, if you are a ‘seasoned citizen’ take heart.  As you are planted you will continue to produce for the Kingdom no matter your age.  Consider Moses who spent the first 40 years of his life being trained, the next 40 years being emptied of himself and the last 40 years in productive ministry for God.  God does not operate by chronology but commitment and planting.  He is GOD and can do whatever He chooses.  You are NEVER TOO OLD and NEVER TOO YOUNG.

God, bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

THE WORD OF GOD…

Spiritual Blog - God Speaking

John 1:1-5 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”  NKJV

             The Bible tells us that Faith comes by Hearing and Hearing comes by The Word of God.  There is the Logos or the written word and the Rhema the spoken word and both are indispensable and neither relegates the other to a previous dimension or era.  When we go to Genesis the first book of the Bible we find that God is a Speaking God.  It would be impossible to ignore that considering the number of times we read, “And God said.”  Not only that we find God coming to walk and talk with Adam in the Garden and throughout the Old and New Testaments we find the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit SPEAKING to people.  Some people get nervous when the term Rhema enters the conversation and argue, rightly, that any Rhema cannot and will not contradict the Logos Word of God.  The Bible is a clear evaluator of any Word we believe we have heard.

But if Faith comes by Hearing the Word and the Word is God (Jesus) then it becomes imperative that we learn to Hear His Voice both in the Logos and Rhema.  It is imperative that we become sensitive to the speaking voice of God.  I do not suggest that you will hear God audibly.  You may, but likely you will hear God like most of us, in our spirit, mind, and heart.  It may be an impression.  It may be a clear word where you hear detailed declaration.  It may be a conversation through the Holy Spirit.  I don’t know exactly how you HEAR GOD but I know that we can HEAR GOD and must HEAR GOD if we are to become the fullness of what He desires for our lives.

The development of Faith both for salvation or miracles requires a Relationship with The Word of God.  We would never contemplate developing a relationship with another human being without actual communication.  That may come through the written word via Social Media, Text, Email or Letters. It may also, and likely will involve oral interaction.  We believe that God is alive and that if we call upon Him he hears us and yet many do not believe we can HEAR GOD personally or have a dialogue with Him.  Some believe that God stopped speaking in the 1st Century with the establishment of the New Testament Church.  Yet, the Bible encourages prayer and obedience to God’s Word.  The Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit coming as a guide and helper to lead us into all truth and teach us the words of Jesus.  It also speaks of building ourselves up in our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.  If God quit speaking to humans that would be a needless directive and request.  If God is, as the Bible declares Him, the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever then how can we not expect Him to Speak to Us?  Oh, I know the argument that He does through the Bible and that is valid to a degree.

Let me ask it this way.  If you were sick or shut in and desired me to visit you I could visit you in two ways.  I could come and drop off my letter to you at the Nurses’ Desk and let you read it yourself? Maybe I brought you the books I had written and dropped them off for you to read my words.  Another way would be for me to come into your room and talk with you for a time. Which would be more beneficial and desirable?  Before you argue that this is comparing apples and oranges, I ask, Is It?  Who is better equipped to explain the Logos of God than the Word of God Himself?  How many times have you realized that you had misinterpreted a particular passage and when the revelation of the truth came you rejoiced and it empowered you?  If you could visit with the LORD Himself and HEAR HIM speak to your personally would that not likely strengthen your faith.  You would be HEARING the WORD.  The Word is Truth and Truth is liberating.

What I want to convey if I convey nothing else is that THE WORD is HE, not just words on a printed page preserved over the centuries.  THE WORD of GOD is a Person and that Person is our Creator and Giver of Life.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is the Door of access to God.  He is our Hope and Coming King.  My daily prayer is, “LORD, create in me a clean heart, renew in me a right spirit, please do not take your Holy Spirit from me, and restore unto me the Joy of Your Salvation.  LORD, enable me to HEAR YOU with clarity so that as I HEAR YOU I can respond to you in Faith and Obedience.” 

May the LORD bless you richly as you enjoy this wonderful day in Jesus!

HOW MUCH DOES GOD CARE???

Spiritual Blog - Love

Psalm 56:8 – “You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?”  NASU

             I don’t know about you but I’ve experienced times when I wondered if God cared about my situation or even heard my prayers.  I know that makes me less than Superman spiritually but that’s who I am.  I have long realized that I am a flawed vessel and battle human weakness.  I learned long ago that I cannot walk this walk or live this Christian life without God’s help.  It is a constant cry of my heart for the Holy Spirit to guide me into all truth, teach me to pray, pray through me, and for the LORD to give me the strength I need.  “Give us this day our daily bread…”

I remember once when there was an attack on my family that involved people who had the power in the natural to do us great harm.  There was a false accusation and although the Holy Spirit enabled us to get affidavits from about 14 people affirming our side of the story and refuting the false charges I grew weary.  I should have been on cloud nine and my faith should have gone through the roof but like Elijah, after the battle with Jezebel and the Prophets of Baal I found myself in a wilderness spiritually and moaning.  Even though we were going to defeat the false accusations things transpired to move us to take actions that robbed me of the closeness and fellowship I longed for in the natural.  Because of the power the people making the charges had in our city we deemed it advisable that our son should go out of town to college rather than being subjected to the possible fabrication of other accusations and it broke my heart.  Yes, I was feeling sorry for myself that my son would be away and I would not see him or enjoy his company every day. Yes, I wept and made my bed float with tears as we battled this. 

I even said to God, in prayer, “Lord, you are a Father and we are your children.  I would not treat my kids the way you are allowing us to be treated if I could do anything about it.”  Before you cast me aside and call me what I deserve to be called for that attitude, understand that I always try, to be honest with God.  He already knows what I was thinking and by expressing it I open the door, as Job, for Him to deal with the fallacy of my thinking and bring healing.  I never pretend with God and try not to pretend with anyone. 

I read this passage during that time and it brought comfort and confrontation.  David, in a very difficult time, under constant attack by those who wanted to bring about his destruction was continually praying.  In other Psalms, we find that he lamented from time to time that God was not hearing his prayers. Here he encouraged himself in the Lord and reminded himself that God knew what he was going through.  He emphasized that by saying, “You…put my tears in Your bottle.  Are they not in your book?”  Each time I read that I am brought face to face with the reality and truth that GOD KNOWS EVERYTHING.  If my tears are so valuable to Him that he would bottle them up and record them in His Eternal Record Book that means I AM IMPORTANT TO HIM.  If he knows the number of hairs on my head and how many tears I have cried, His love is beyond anything I can fathom as a human being.  If He takes the time to bottle up my tears and record them, then HE IS HEARING MY CRIES.  He has not forgotten me and since I know that He is Omnipotent He is not incapable of handling my request.  Since I know that He is LOVE, I know that His promise that if I will call upon Him He will receive me and give me that which I need.  That brings me to one of my favorite verses and a constant in my life.  1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the request which we have asked from Him.”  HALLELUJAH! 

God hears our prayers, bottles our tears up in His bottle as a continual reminder of our plight and even records them in His book.  No wonder, the Bible says that in Heaven He will wipe away all our tears.  Your tears are precious to Him because you are precious to Him.  How Much Does He Care?  Enough to Die for Us on the Cross!

            God, bless you as you rest in the Peace of God’s Promises and Person!

BACKING UP OUR FAITH DECLARATION…

Spiritual Blog - Faith

Acts 3:1-10 – “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. 2 And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. 4 But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” 5 And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene–walk!” 7 And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. 8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God; 10 and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”  NASU

 

I like making Faith Declarations and embrace the truth of Scripture where we call those things that are not as though they were as seen in Romans 4:17.  If we read the context of that passage we quickly realize a couple of important points that are germane to our discussion.  First, it is addressing Abraham and God’s Promise that he would become the father of many nations even though he was old and Sarah was beyond childbearing years.  That promise was not a reality in the natural and could not be but by faith, Abraham could call them real.  But, if you examine it closely you will also note that verse 17, God tells Abraham I HAVE MADE YOU the father of many nations.  He was not, in the natural but God says it is already done, past tense.  It reminds us that it is God who gives life to the dead and that clearly includes a dead womb.  It reveals that it is God who calls into being that which does not exist.  But, it does exist in God for He is the creator of all things.  The issue in our attempting to call things that do not exist into being is that our Faith Declaration must align itself with what God has said and we are Agreeing with God.  We are not creating we are proclaiming our confidence in what He has promised.

That brings me to the text passage where Peter meets the lame man at the Gate Beautiful.  This man was expectant and dependent on others for his livelihood and even his transportation.  He was NEEDY and unable to provide for himself so he was relegated to a life of Dependency.  When Peter saw him and the Holy Spirit quickened Peter’s heart that day, he said to the lame man, “Look at or on us!”  That would be somewhat of an unusual demand because most people giving alms would simply toss a coin in the cup and move on paying little attention to the man or his need.  Peter’s surprising demand got the man’s attention and the Bible says that his expectation grew for he was “expecting to receive something from them.”  Then, Peter made a disheartening statement that sounds almost cruel in view of the man’s condition and situation. Peter said, “I’m broke!”  He said, “I do not have that which you are expecting, money, but I have something that is far better and more valuable, in the name of Jesus get up and walk!”  That was a Faith Declaration, something I’ve heard many times from people praying for the sick.  Sometimes the sick were healed and sometimes they were not but I have seldom seen the Action that accompanied the Declaration.  Peter made his Faith Declaration and then did something that could have been incredibly dangerous had it not been an act of obedience and faith.  He grabbed the man by the hand and pulled him up.  Had the Power of God not flowed in his feet and ankles he would have fallen down and Peter would have been attacked by the onlookers and those passing by.  It would have been an act of cruelty that would not have been tolerated.  He backed up his Faith Declaration with action accompanied by faith that achieved results.  I heard an Evangelist pray for a woman that was taking medication that kept her alive.  This Evangelist told her, “Now throw away your pills.”  She did and went to the emergency room and barely survived.  He said, “Well, she just didn’t have enough faith.”  NO!  Peter did not depend on that man’s faith for his action, he raised him up based on the faith in his heart and God honored that faith and the stripes of Jesus once again provided healing.

I can call my F150 Truck a Hummer and it will never perform like a Hummer or look like one. It is one thing to call things that are not as though they were but quite another to call those things that are as though they are not.  You may disagree with me on this point but let’s allow the Holy Spirit to quicken our hearts with God’s Promises and Word and as we know that we have heard God we can Declare what He has said and has the confidence to Act upon it as well.  If we are only saying it but do not have the faith or confidence to act on it, it may just be a wish.  I am not trying to be negative but hope to inspire confidence in God’s Promises and help us to achieve balance in our lives that enables us to receive and realize the fulfillment of God’s Promises.

God, bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!

PROVISION AND PROTECTION…

Spiritual Blog - Protection

Luke 22:35-36 – “And He said to them, ” When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” 36 And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.”  NASU

 

I will attempt to resist being overly political and arguing for Gun Rights in this devotional but the idea of personal responsibility is clear in the word of our Lord.  In His training and development of the disciples and His followers, He had instructed them to go out in ministry with no provision or forethought of their needs. He was teaching the trust and helping them to establish a relationship with the Holy Spirit and the Father they would have missed had He sent them out well prepared financially.

Jesus was coming to the time of His Suffering and preparing them for ministry once He has paid the price for sin, gone into the grave, stripped the devil of his power, arisen, and ascended to the Father.  They acknowledged that when He sent them out with nothing there was no lack. That is the place God wants us to live.  He wants us to live with no sense of lack or live with total confidence in Him and His provision, purpose, and promise.  He now seeks to bring them face to face with the reality of life that each of us has a responsibility to provide for ourselves where and when we can.  There are many factors in what He is teaching and doing that I do not have time to address, even if I could so let me focus on that which is in my heart.  Personal Responsibility.

Jesus told them to take their ‘money belt’ (checkbook, debit card, wallet), take their ‘bag’ or the material things they needed including food, and personal protection (sword).  He even told them that if they did not have one it was important enough that they sell their coat to buy one.  There is a time when it is not only right but necessary to engage in self-protection.  Yes, I am totally confident that God can protect us.  God can and does place angelic hosts around us to guard us against peril.  If that is your position and faith, then, by all means, go for it.  But, please never feel that you are being faithless if you provide for yourself in money, retirement, investments, and daily needs including the ability to protect yourself, your family, and your property.  The very fact that you have a sword may deter that perpetrator from attempting to steal, kill, or destroy, which is what the devil desires to do.

In life, the matter of personal responsibility is very important and something that too many do not understand or address.  My parents and grandparents taught us in word and by example that reality.  They never sought charity, even when they could have qualified for government sustenance or in today’s vernacular “an entitlement.”  They believed that if you bought it you paid for it and if you could not pay for it, you did not buy it.  They believed that you gave more than a good day’s work for a day’s wage.  We grew and sold peas on our small farm and Dad sold them by the bushel to individuals.  There were a few occasions we took a pickup load to a nearby town to sell them in bulk but mostly it was individuals who came by or requested peas.  If the people picked their own the price was one thing and if we picked them he added 50 cents to the price.  However, if we picked them and brought in a bushel basket brimming full, he would insist that we pressed them down and added more until it was virtually a bushel and a half for the price of a bushel.  He believed in giving more that was expected or requested.  He taught us that it was part of life to WORK for what you got and instilled in us that there was no free ride through farm chores we did without pay.  Without pay is somewhat of a misnomer because he provided for us in a home to live in, family transportation, clothes and shoes to wear, and food to eat.  Beyond that, he and mother gave us Love which is priceless.

Jesus taught His disciples and everyone who can hear and receive that we have a responsibility to provide for our own and ourselves.  As we take a position that allows us to prepare and plan, God provides in a most wonderful way.  We are told to “cast our care on Him because He cares for us.”  We are told that “God can and will make a way where there seems to be no way.”  We know from the Bible that Our God will meet all our needs according to His riches in Glory and He owns it all.  Therefore, if you follow the directive of the Bible and our Lord you are not faithless or weak in your spiritual walk, if you make provision, plan, and prepare you are being obedient and good stewards.  If your conviction and assignment from Him are to wing it on “faith and a prayer” I would never condemn you and would encourage you to be obedient.  If you receive His directive in this passage then stand tall in faith, confidence, and hope knowing that as you follow His directive He will be there and never leave you nor forsake you.

God, bless you richly is my desire and prayer!

DISCERNING THE TIMES by Watching People…

Spiritual Blog - People Watching

2 Timothy 3:1-9 – “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.”  NKJV

 

There is a song from the late 50’s, “Standing on the Corner” released by the Four Lads where the guy was standing on the corner watching all the girls go by and deemed it to be the best occupation possible.  In Matthew 7, Jesus spoke of identifying people by their fruit and that is impossible without observation.  Some people are self-appointed fruit inspectors and watch others in order to judge and by comparing themselves with others they feel elevated in their spiritual walk.  The apostle Paul warned of that approach and said if we compare ourselves to others we are not wise.  However, the Bible does tell us to watch and we are to know those who labor among us and that is not possible without observation.  Much can be discerned about a person by watching and listening.

Paul gives Timothy an easy method of identifying the Last Days and the Perilous Times that would come.  He does that through identifying the characteristics exhibited by people and I believe it would be worthwhile for us to consider those characteristics and determine the Times in which we are now living.  Without attempting to be exhaustive or exegete each characteristic let’s list them and you can dig a little deeper separately.

What are the characteristics of people in the Last Days that lead us to Perilous or Dangerous Times?

  • Men will be Lovers of Self – – They will be self-centered, self-absorbed, interested in pursuing their own interests regardless of how it affects or impacts others. They will be more than narcissists, they will be selfish and idolize self.
  • Lovers of Money – – A simple understanding is covetous and absorbed with the power and influence it affords. Driven by the dollar and captivated by possessions.
  • Boasters – – Filled with vainglory and have an inflated view of their own worth and ability.
  • Proud – – Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall and these people are full of themselves and their pedigree the standard by which they judge others.
  • Blasphemers – – Rejecting the knowledge and authority of God, booing him at their political conventions, banning him from the public arena, and unafraid to speak impiously of God.
  • Disobedient to Parents – – Can we not see this is a present problem? I’ve observed head-strong children tell their parents what to do when to do it, and how to do it.  I’m talking about underage children using profanity toward their parents and demanding their way or threatening a tantrum.  I can tell you how that would be been received by my parents and my children can tell you how I would have responded.
  • Unthankful – – I am often shocked at how few people express any gratitude and how seldom I hear ‘thank you’ or ‘please.’ I’ve watched people receive the blessings of the Lord or a gift from someone and demonstrate no thankfulness whatsoever but rather look askance at the giver and gift.
  • Unholy – – Morality is absent, anything goes is the mindset, and they live without any semblance of piety or reverence for God and the things of God.

Time won’t permit me to list each one and reflect on them so shall we list them and you contemplate if they are present realities in our society.  Unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  I’m sure that each of you can identify numerous of those traits and characteristics in encounters you had just yesterday.

Paul’s warning was TURN AWAY FROM THEM and realize that a little leaven leavens the entire lump.  Bad company corrupts good morals and taints the life and darkens the testimony.  It leads to deception.  We are seeing each of those traits or characteristics becoming more and more pronounced and prevalent in today’s society.  We need a revival of God to bring us back to our moral foundation.  As these characteristics grow darker the world becomes more dangerous.  These are reasons to watch people and the pray, pray, pray.  God will have a harvest and if we will be on the alert we can be used of the Spirit of God to pluck some as brands from the burning and rescue them from the very gates of hell.

God, bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

SOMETHING I’VE NOTICED ABOUT GOD…

Spiritual Blog - Possible

1 Kings 18:17-19 – “17 Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him,”Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” 18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals. 19 Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”  NKJV

 

I’ve noticed that He has a propensity to not do things the easy way, at least from our perspective.  In this situation, Elijah was being set up against 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah.  If my mathematical calculations are correct that is 850 to 1 odds.  Truthfully, that is no worse than some of God’s warriors had to face.  Remember Gideon?   He had 32,000 warriors with him as he went to face the Midianites.  God said, “Hold on fella, you’ve got too many with you.”  WHAT?  I’m sure that Gideon wondered what God was up to because even with 32,000 he was outmanned and outgunned by the Midianites but God said, ‘TOO MANY.’  The instruction found in Judges 7:2 was whoever, is fearful and afraid send him home and 22,000 hit the road.  WOW!  So much for those who said, as did Peter, “I will go with you to death, Lord.”  Nope, I’ll go home at the first chance if I can do so without incredible shame.  Gideon and God gave them an out and he was left with 10,000.  You’d think that would be okay for they were still heavily outnumbered but God said, “Sorry, Gideon still TOO MANY.”  I can imagine what Gideon and the 10,000 must have been thinking.  God had Gideon take them to the brook and said, “everyone, who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog drinks, set him apart and everyone who gets down on his knees and drinks.”  Hang on to your hats, “THREE HUNDRED lapped like a dog.”  God said, “Send the rest home, you don’t need them.”  I don’t what?  I needed the 32,000 so what am I going to do with 300?  We know from a later reference that there were about 120,000 Midianite warriors.  At the first Gideon’s band was outnumbered about 4:1. After the 22,000 went home leaving 10,000 it was about 12:1 and with 300 it was a paltry 400:1.  How do you like those odds?    Signing up for God’s Army will play havoc with your human reason and will demand you operate in faith or fail.

Although they did not face the same imposing odds of man against man the Three Hebrew Children in Babylon faced impossible odds.  They refused to bow before the king knowing they were faced with the fiery furnace.  That was more than an imposing problem it was an Impossible problem.  They could not survive this ordeal, at least not from a natural perspective.  The King, upon their refusal and declaring to him that the God of Heaven was going to protect them, became infuriated and commanded the furnace to be heated 7 times hotter than normal.  It was so hot that the men who threw them in the fire were killed by the heat.  How do you like their odds of survival?  In each case, God won victory through his people.  Elijah defeated the false prophets. Gideon defeated the Midianites and the Three Hebrew Children had the fourth man in the fire and were saved.

We are told in several places in Scripture that One Man united with God can put the enemy to flight, namely one can chase a thousand and two ten thousand.  With that in mind, 400:1 is no step for a stepper, hill for a climber, or jump for a jumper.  What about Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20 when the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir were set in battle array against him.  He was outnumbered, outgunned, and facing certain defeat.  He and the people went to God and prayed and God sent forth a prophet with incredible instructions.  He said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus, says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”  Jehoshaphat did an amazing thing and no military strategist would concur with his actions.  He took the Choir and set them in front of the Army and they began to sing praises.  They sang, “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.”  Imagine those enemies hearing that and the wonder that would be in their hearts.  God took the praises of His people and confused the enemy causing them to turn on each other.  Israel did not have to fight the battle God did and He used Praise to launch His power against them.  Remember what we are told in the New Testament, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” 

God delights in insurmountable odds, impossible conditions, and situations because when He moves in those, NO MAN can take credit or glory for it.  It is unmistakably God.  He has promised to never leave or forsake us.  He has promised that we can do all things through Him.  He has promised that the works He has done we will do and even greater works.  He has commissioned us saying, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” and then told us that we would have POWER and AUTHORITY over all the Power of the enemy.  We are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Jesus.  So, if God is on our side who can be against us or what difference does it make who is.  WE ARE A MAJORITY with Him.

If you are facing the impossible or seemingly insurmountable odds take a deep breath and allow the peace of God to flood your heart, mind, soul, and spirit and rest easy because that is exactly the situation God enjoys working in.  He has never failed and He is not going to fail now!

God, bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!