Gideon, from Zero to a Hero

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How to conquer our fears and doubts

As a farmer , Gideon possessed zero credibility to act as a general in the army neither had he any training at all to be a soldier.  An ordinary man of no reputation yet he rose from zero to a hero of faith in Hebrews 11.   He  proved himself to be a brilliant military strategist when he led 300 warriors to fight legions of Midianites.

For 7 years, Israel faced numerous invasions from their enemies who ruined their crops, devastated their cattle and livelihood.

The invaders forced them to build shelters in mountain clefts, caves and strong holds.  Surely the  consequence of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God when they worship foreign gods and idols!

When the  Israelites hit rock bottom  they cried out to God for help.    Later God sent them a prophet reminding them how He rescued them from slavery in Egypt and how He commanded them not to worship idols in the Promised land.

How quickly they had forsaken and disobeyed God (Judges 6:8-10).   Yet He heard their lament by sending an angel to Gideon while he was threshing wheat in a winepress pit.  Gideon accepted the challenge after overcoming his doubts and fears. He recruited 32,000 men to defend Israel from invasion .

Against their enemies swarming like locusts, Israel was definitely outnumbered.   Gideon discharged those fearful ones leaving him 10,000 warriors.  But God  said “there are still many men” so a water drinking test was initiated.  The Lord eliminated those who kneel  at the river banks from those who lapped like a dog with their hand.

With the remaining 300 who laps water like a dog  it’s getting crazier because God told them to fight with just trumpets and jars.  When they blew the trumpets and shattered the jars with torches inside, their enemies turned to one another. They killed each other screaming and  running in all directions.  All hell break lose!!!  Chaos and confusion descended in the enemy camp.  And Israel wins.

Worship in Battle

The story sounds similar in 2 Chronicles 20 when King Jehoshaphat won the war  sending his Worship team.  Here in Judges 7 Gideon’s 300 seemed to worship God by blowing  trumpets and breaking jars.  Surely this is God’s size solution to this giant problem.

If God  allowed 32K or 10k man to fight the Midianites, the Israelites would have boasted that they won the battle by their own strength.  But with 300 man God would get the full credit.  Yes, God deserves all glory.  Here’s 3 lessons in Gideon’s  story:

Lesson 1: God sees the Best in You

Hiding in fear in a pit while threshing  wheat,  an angel  appeared to Gideon and addressed him as “mighty warrior”.  “Save Israel from the Midianites “!  and a quizzical response “Who,  why me?”

Gideon had a reality check.  “I am just a lowly farmer, my name means ‘cutter’ — it sucks. I belong to  the weakest and the least  clan of Manasseh. The lowest in the food chain.   So me against all our enemies who are skilled warriors countless as swarms of locusts in Judges 6:5, 7:12. “ Are you kidding me? “

Evidently, Gideon was terrified to face the enemy.  He doubted God 3x, despite the miracles in the burnt offering and the 2 fleece test.  But God was patient with Gideon.  Mighty warrior was a prophetic word, its Gideon’s future.

Okay maybe pathetic not prophetic – that’s how the enemy would taunt you!  However God declares what you could become, He sees the best in you.  You are not who you think and say you are.  You are not who people think and say you are.  YOU are WHO God think and says you are.

Lesson 2:When God gives vision, He gives the provision

Remember Nehemiah’s project of rebuilding the great wall in 52 days? Sometimes God gives us a gargantuan task, an impossible dream , in this case a rescue operation.

Our lack of training, education, money or resources would make us feel inadequate.  Being old, disabled  or  weak  would seem to be reasonable excuses not to go.

But look how 80 year old fugitive Moses,  Joseph the slave, and shepherd boy David have accomplished  great feats.  Let’s do what is humanly possible and God will do the impossible.

The Lord uses common people for HIs glory.  Now take note the kind of provision, equipping or assurance He’s saying in Judges  6:16  my presence will be with you”

See also passages such as;  I am with you always” Isa 40:10, Mt.28: 20,  

“I will never leave you nor forsake you  Hebrews 13:5

This promise sounds the  same in Genesis 39,  5x  – its says, “ the Lord was with Joseph”.  

Moses when told to lead Israel to the Promise Land  — “ If your presence is not with us, do not send us up from here”  Exodus 33:15

God’s way of empowering us to do the task is simply His Presence.  He will be with you,  “I will never leave you nor forsake you” Hebrews 13:5. 

Meaning—I will be with you,  I AM all you got,  …. I AM everything you NEED.   So be bold and courageous.  Courage is not the absence of fear but the presence of God.

Lesson 3:  Obedience results in success and victory.

With only 300 men, your odds in the battle would be one person versus one million.  That’s a scary thought.  Was Gideon afraid? Yes, indeed.  In fact, prior to the attack, God told Gideon that night if he’s afraid just sneak in at the enemy’s camp with his assistant  Pura, take a look and listen.

So when they arrived at the enemy’s camp, the divine assurance came as  they overheard someone who had just a bad dream.    One of them gave the interpretation that Gideon’s sword would attack and  wipe them all in  defeat .  That surely emboldened Gideon!  He therefore obeyed.  Then success and victory followed immediately!!  Amen.

Check out  Mark Batterson’s  book “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day”  (754 reviews to date)  for more edifying stories.

Ways to Make Enticing FB Posts

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After my church talk on “what invites the enemy  to attack us” I was asked  about people posting selfies, bikinis and toys on FaceBook.  What spirit does it attracts or invites?   My response –I can’t really read minds  but there’s a chance it might become viral and catapults you to instant celebrity.   I’ll be sad though if its my sister, daughter or wife posting their photos showing way too much skin… don’t ask if its grandma.  That’s gross and she’s dead.

Anyway, this is a democratic country so you can flaunt your body, Bentley or Audi, your 4M$ house, your child’s Montessori school, your Apple picking job in Canada, I mean your job at Apple or Google, your whereabouts, your work out or jogging, your hobbies, your travel and even your health status -diarrhea, dialysis, everything, my golly, its your FB account!

THINK WHAT YOU DO

So are you really that bored and lacking excitement in your life?  You maybe inviting some serious problem here.  Think, what if its your child posting info such as   – “Home Alone, sick”, “ family going on a trip/holiday”, or seductive photos of your  loved ones.  Some felons maybe studying your pattern and waiting for an opportunity to commit crime.

Here’s a few scenarios to make you think:

1. Home invasion.   Sick, weak and alone.  Someone knocks at your door , a pizza delivery or UPS, and when you open they push hard and force entry. A wedge can be placed in between your door if your door has a security latch.

2. Halloween Trick or treat.   Masked (and armed) villain knocks and barges in, zaps you with a taser then holds your family hostage.

3. Going on Holiday,  weekend trip or cruise. No one at home. Thief pretends to be your guest, parks their car inside your garage and steals your valuables.

4.  Filing Up of  mails, magazines or packages  on your mailbox or patio.  You forgot to ask neighbor friend to collect them for you. Good opportunity for thief to invade home.

5. Child’s School, home alone, lonely,   Trusted friends can be fiends given the opportunity…

6. Service van (say a cable or plumbing company,) parks beside your car’s driver side. When you’re about to enter your car, someone grabs you and zaps you with taser and drags you to that van.

7. Privacy settings Check.  Revealing your personal ID- information… contact number, email or bank info.  Someone pretending to be an authority – police, doctor, etc,  calling you about an accident of your  loved ones asking you to bring emergency money.    How about an email from the Prince of Nigeria saying you inherit million $’s ?  As Michael Scott say, “ you don’t ignore email from the Prince of Nigeria”. (The Office)

My late father used to tell me , “its weakness, not strength that invites aggression”. When you are vulnerable, weak that’s the time when the enemy can  attack you. So how about posting photos of your gun collections, samurais and MMA trophies.  Well, where’s your element of surprise?

Is there a crack on your wall?

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In ancient times walls are built for protection against enemy invasion.  A crack or a rupture on the wall is a sign of imminent danger.  When there is a crack in our own wall, the enemy can enter and have control over areas of our life.  That crack does not happen in a day but after an intermittent force or a  regular pounding on our wall.

There’s nothing wrong in watching TV.   Slumped in the couch after a long day of work was my norm until I fall into sleep.  I was tired so I deserve to relax.  It’s cheap  but it cost my dwindling relationship with my family.   I was taught when God is  number one  everything will fall into place.  If the Bride of Christ is the church so my bride is my wife, then how is my relationship with her?

 So I computed 3 hours a day  watching TV,   15 minutes  praying and reading the Bible then Sundays,  1- 1/2  hours church.   In a year,  that  is 1095 hrs (12.5%)  TV,  169.25 hrs(1.93%) God,  2920 hrs(33.33%) sleep, 4368 hrs(50%%) work plus 3 hr prep/travel.   Does 1.93% shows God is top priority? Where is my time for family?  I think I found the crack.

STEAL, KILL AND DESTROY

Indeed, the enemy comes to steal, to kill and to destroy, (John 10:10).   The devil can seep into those cracks to wreak havoc into our life by stealing our joy, our health, our sanity, destroying us and our family.  I lost my discipline.

The adversary is always looking for an opportunity to devour us (I Peter 5:8) and  to get a foothold in our life.   The moment a Christian harbors sin in his life and fails to seek God’s forgiveness the door opens up for the enemy.   Remember the “accuser of the brethren ” (Rev 12:10)  is also a master of deception, he can masquerade himself  as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14)

When we continue to live in sin and disregard the prompting of the Holy Spirit  it can become a willful disobedience (Hebrew 10:26).   When sin builds up, our conscience becomes callous (I Tim 4:2) and it can lead to  addiction and bondage.  Everyday we sin one way or the other,  in word or in deed.  We say something we don’t mean, we lie, we steal,  we lust and we do not honor our word.  Guilty as charged.

“For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do–living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry ” (1 Peter 4:3).  Some Christians still live in sin–  drinking, gambling, committing adultery and fornication  (unmarried people having sexual relations)

BODY TEMPLE OF GOD
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:15, 19-20).

“Sexual sin and neglecting the laws of purity in the body of Christ can potentially bring weakness, sickness, and even premature death to many in the Church. It is one forgotten aspect of not discerning the Lord’s body (1 Cor. 11:29-31)”— Bert M.Farias, Charisma News.   Only the power of Jesus can set us free from the bondage of sin.   We can always turn to God, trust in Him to give us freedom and victory.