Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In the Middle of the Mundane, God Shows Up! Gideon - Week 2

Whack! Whack! Whack!

Threshing wheat all day long in the winepress. Hidden from the enemy, the Midianites, Gideon removes the useless and salvages the good. How plain. How boring. How mundane.

Whack! Whack! Whack!

This particular, ordinary day, though, will not stay so ordinary. This day is going to be extraordinary! Why? Because God's presence is going to be acknowledged, His voice heard, and His call accepted!

Gideon will never be the same!

Gideon had no idea when he got up to go to work that day that the Angel of the LORD would make an appearance.  He didn't know that he would hear the voice of God.  He didn't come in to work knowing he would be called to do something extraordinary to bring God glory.  He just came to work like he did every day.  No expectations. No hope of escaping the enemy's grip. Just another day.

Labeled the least in his family, Gideon is unaware that the Angel is even in the room.  It's not until the angel appears and then speaks to Gideon that he realizes someone is there. 

Read Judges 6:11-27.

The last place anyone expects God to make Himself known is in the ordinary, mundane, routine of the daily. But this is where God wants to meet with us - in our daily, mundane, ordinary lives.

Most times, when God has made His presence known to heroes and heroines of the faith, He has done so in ordinary places as they were doing ordinary things.

  • God called Moses while he was tending the flock of Jethro. (Exodus 3)
  • God called Samuel while he was sleeping. (1 Samuel 3)
  • God called Mary after she came in from her daily chores. (Luke 1:26-38)
  • God called Joseph (Jesus' earthly father) while he was sleeping. (Matthew 1:18-25)
  • The angels announced Christ's birth to the shepherds in the field while they were watching their flocks. (Luke 2:18-20)
  • Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman while she was drawing water from the well. (John 4:5-25)

Being aware of God's presence is what 
takes the ordinary to extraordinary!
 
Many have been called right in the middle of their mundane.

What are you doing today that's routine? The laundry, work, feeding the dog, school, homework, cooking, cleaning, sitting at the same desk in the same office, performing the same tasks?

Stay alert! God is with you and wants to turn your ordinary into something extraordinary. He wants to meet with you.  He desires your full, devoted attention. With your spiritual eyes open and your spiritual ears perked, look for Him and listen to His voice. He has something especially designed just for you to do. Don't miss Him!

My Pleasure,
Melanie


Friday, September 20, 2013

Just Getting Started...Gideon - Week 1

Distractions.

When we should be watching the road, we fumble for our cell phone.  When we should be watching a pot on the stove, we move into the other room to see something on television.  When we should be listening to our spouse or child, we're answering a text. 

Consequences? A wreck, the water boils over, a huge argument breaks out, or our children don't come around as often when they need to talk, or much worse.

If our attention turns away from what is most important for even a short time, tragedy can strike.

I'm just getting started with a new Bible study, Gideon, written by Priscilla Shirer.  Once again, the Israelites have been distracted and their hearts are not focused on God. 

Their distractionSin. Specifically, idol worship and prostituting their hearts.

God has called His people to worship Him and Him alone.  He desires their heart's full attention. He has given instructions on when and how to conquer the enemies of His people.  His people have heard but they have not obeyed - they're distracted

Consequences? Struggles and suffering as the enemy is allowed back on the scene.

The consequences of even partial obedience can be catastrophic; destruction of an individual, a family, even a generation. God is serious when He lays out specific instructions, and He expects us to obey.

So why do we, today, not follow through and allow distractions to lure us away from what's most important - our love for God?

Our hearts are lured away by faux satisfactions; selfish desires that require just a moment of immediate pleasure.  When we are focused on self, we sin

God has our best interest at heart just like He has always had the best interest of the Israelites at heart.
It was in their best interest to completely wipe out the enemy.  Gideon's story is told in the book of Judges, chapters 6-8.  The people of God were given specific instructions from the Lord to completely wipe out the enemy, the Midianites. Instead, they chose to edit the instructions by keeping some of the women and children, and the spoil from the camp for their own pleasure. In doing so, they were setting themselves up for another battle or war.  If they had destroyed everything of the enemy's the first time, then the enemy could not have rebuilt.  There wouldn't be any of the enemy left to rebuild.

But because of their partial obedience, the enemy continues to come back and reek havoc on the children of Israel.

Time, after time, after time, God's people were distracted causing a portion of their hearts to slip away and attach to something other than Yahweh - their Protector, Provider, Defender, Healer, ever present Help.  Prostituting themselves with the Baals (foreign gods, idols), they chose to turn and go their own way, forgetting the LORD, their God, and doing evil in His sight.

We, the Church, God's people, are no different today.  We've turned to our own ways but still claim to love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds.  We obey the parts of God's instruction that we want to and change the parts or ignore what we don't like. We put on airs of spirituality to impress our co-workers, neighbors, family and friends, and even people in the church. 

Well... guess what.  God is not fooled and neither are they.

I believe the Church's main distraction is the same as the Israelites. We're not dealing with our own personal sin. As we disobey, we're toying with the Enemy and allowing him back into the camp. We think no one is watching while we sweep things under the rug. You know. "Out of sight, out of mind." "What they don't know won't hurt them." We think if we just ignore it then it won't affect anybody else.

Wrong! Nothing could be further from the truth. 

My personal sin can produce serious consequences not only in my life, but in my family, and cripple the effectiveness of the Church.  Sin produces a domino effect if not dealt with immediately.  My sin can even affect the next generation and the next.  That's how serious it is. The distractions have got to go or we will continue to lose the battle for the hearts of those that come after us.

All of the reasons given as to why the Church is not thriving today, in my opinion, seem to dismiss this diagnosis.  Personal sin is the culprit of why we are not being effective today in our local bodies of Christ.  We've become distracted with the things we've given our hearts to other than Jesus.

Until Christians get serious with a very serious God about personal sin, and stop tweaking His instructions to produce selfish outcomes, then we will continue the downward spiral of our partial obedience, experience severe consequences, and continue to be ineffective for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. 

So what do we do? We put our eyes back on what is most important; our love relationship with Jesus Christ.

Turning the tide begins with me!

God is calling for His people to repent, return and be restored to a right relationship with Him.

How?  By asking Christ to examine our hearts; giving Him the freedom to shine His search light deep under the surface and illuminating any sin buried there.

An examination passage to pray through is Psalm 51.  But we cannot just flippantly pray and ignore what Christ brings to light.  We have to repent of it and let Christ remove it less it settles again to the bottom, takes root, and affects everything we seek to do for Christ.

Once we deal with our own sin, THEN we can move forward for Christ. When sin creeps back in, deal with it immediately.  Don't wait for the consequences to show up.

I don't want to be the one to hold the Church back.  I want to be the one to help move it forward in the name of Jesus Christ!

Want to see God's people thrive again?  Want to make a difference in this world for Christ? Want to live with passion like you've never lived before?  I know I do.

And we're just getting started!  Stay tuned!

My Pleasure,
Melanie