This is the next in the series of messages about the deliverers that God gave to Israel. Every time they would fall back into sin, God would allow an enemy to overcome them. But when they cried out to Him, he sent a deliverer. That’s just what He does now, and that deliverer is Jesus. All the others point to Him.
This time we’ll talk about Gideon. You might remember that he is the one who defeated a huge army with just 300 men, but was extremely unsure of God’s message at the beginning. He repeatedly asked God to confirm his assignment with signs, the most famous being that of the fleece. Gideon hardly seems like the man for the job, hiding in a hole when God first calls him, but look at how the angel addresses him in Judges 6:12, “”The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.”
Sometimes there’s a big difference between what we see and what God sees when he looks at us. All we can see is the visible and the present. God sees what will be. Thus he looked at that man hiding from the enemy in a hole and saw a mighty man of valor. God sees you as you will be, and He has a mission for you! I hope you will be inspired by Gideon’s story to prepare your heart and be ready to accept it.
This was next up in the deliverer series. Some day I hope I get a chance to do it again a little better, but if you’ll bear with me as I learn how to deliver effectively I think you’ll find a blessing.
In this podcast you get two for one. We’re going to talk about two people once again delivered Israel after they had fallen into sin, been judged for it, and then called out to God. Deborah was a judge and a prophetess. Barack was the man she called to raise an army and defeat the king who was oppressing Israel. You’ll find the story in Judges 4. When we’re done, I hope we will all see that when God gives you a mission, it doesn’t matter who you are. He will provide the power to make the mission more than possible. It will be accomplished!
This is the second installment of a series I still haven’t finished. It pictures Jesus in the life of the men God used to deliver the nation of Israel and humanity itself from the time of Noah through the kingship of David. Along the way we also learn some valuable life lessons. In this podcast I talk aboutMoses.
In Exodus 3:7-10 God tells Moses what He wants him to do. Have you ever been asked to do something you didn’t think you could? Have you ever felt that what God wants from you is more than you can handle? Did you know that Moses felt that way too? When God spoke to him from the burning bush, Moses had a whole list of reasons why he wasn’t the man for the job. Yet God chose him anyway and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.
What made Moses special? Why did God choose an outcast, hot-tempered murderer who couldn’t speak well and lacked confidence to be the deliverer of Israel? If Moses had anything at all to do with it I think we can find some reasons why, and we’ll talk about them. But the indisputable fact is that God chose Moses. That makes everything else secondary.
I want you to see that if you belong to God, he has already chosen you! It may not be for such a grand task, though we should remember that God doesn’t measure things the way we do. Great will your reward in Heaven be if you will submit to Him and let Him work through you.
In this podcast, I continue exploring the picture of Jesus the savior presented by deliverers in the Old Testament. Last time we talked about Noah and saw how his obedience saved humanity because he found favor with God. Now we’ll move on to Joseph, who will show us how God is at work even when evil seems to triumph. Joseph’s story starts in Genesis 37 and goes through the end of the book. You may remember that God gave him some big dreams, and when he told his family about them, they weren’t too happy with him. He was the favorite of his father Jacob, and his brothers were so jealous of him that they sold him to be a slave in Egypt. His troubles didn’t end there, but in the end he would become a ruler in Egypt and God used him to save life. This is what he said to his brothers when they came begging mercy from him after Jacob died.
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Gen 50:20.)
Listen as we see what else we can learn from the life of Joseph.
This sermon grew from thoughts first expressed in this blog post. Whatever your challenge, I hope you will be inspired to pursue God’s purpose for your life.
I want to ask you a question that was asked of me once as a teenager. I had gone through a time of questioning, thinking that serving God was just more than I could handle, but I came back and repented at the altar. I told God and the man who was praying with me that I just wanted to hear His voice. I may never know whether the man truly spoke for God or not, but I think he did. He asked, “Are you ready to hear My voice?”
What a question! How many of us have said to the Lord, “Just tell me what You want and I will do it.” Would we? Are we truly ready to hear from Him? He said, “… From everyone who has been given much, much will be required…” (Luke 12:48) Are we ready for the cost, the responsibility and the reward that comes from that kind of relationship with Him? If we’re really followers of Him, do we have a choice?
27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
In this podcast, I talk to you from the book of Galatians. It’s not a long book, so I urge you to read it first. The truth is that we are all law breakers. If God had a police force, we’d all be in danger of being arrested! Not only that, but we’d be convicted and the penalty is death! But instead of sending a Heavenly hit squad, God sent His son, Jesus, to take it for us. The trouble is that we think we know better. We seem to think that if we do everything right, we’ll make the cut. Sometimes we’re so arrogant that we appoint ourselves God’s police force and try to make everyone else follow the law as we see it. Paul has some very harsh words for that kind of attitude. He also has some very encouraging words if we choose to walk with Jesus by His Holy Spirit. Listen and let’s explore them together.
In a prayer meeting this morning, someone related a conversation with a pastor who asked for prayer as he tries to lead his church away from its traditions. Coming from a background that eschews many of the traditions associated with a formal church setting, this is something I’ve often heard before. We say that tradition stifles the freedom that is supposed to be part of the worship experience. We say that tradition stands in opposition to God. We point to Jesus and His criticism of the Pharisees for putting their traditions in the place of truth and love.
Some would say that we merely excuse disorder. Their criticism is not without merit. Most of the time, all we’ve really done is given free reign to emotional incontinence and replaced the old traditions with an equally rigid set of new ones. They permit freeform expression, but deny the value of silent contemplation. There is a place for both.
Tradition has value when it helps us to remember things that are important. When Jesus came and fulfilled the law, he removed the need for the traditions written down in the law. They were there to point to Him. He left us with just two. The early disciples would hardly recognize what we have done with the breaking of bread together that we now call communion or The Lord’s Supper, but baptism seems to have remained what it was, at least for those who immerse. In sharing a meal together we celebrate the unity that comes by the body and blood of Jesus. In baptism we symbolize the death of the old self and the resurrection to new life available because of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection. We publicly proclaim that we now belong to Him.
Tradition only becomes a problem when it becomes the objective. We are to serve the Creator, not the creation. We should be especially wary of our own creations. Our traditions in whatever form they take can become our idols. That’s when it’s time to burn them.
So when I hear someone say that we need to jettison our traditions, I’m inclined to agree, but I also have to ask, “with what do you intend to replace them?” If it’s just another set of traditions, no thanks.
In this podcast I share some thoughts with you from Matthew 22:35-40. When Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is, he responds, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Have you heard someone take this passage and use it to show that we should love ourselves? I have, and I may have even used it that way myself. I think when we do that we’re turning this passage on its head. It isn’t about us. In fact, it’s about everyone but us. Jesus here acknowledges the reality that we do love ourselves and teaches us to give the same attention to God and to our neighbor.