Martha, Martha, Martha

I don’t know about you, but I can identify with Martha more easily than I can identify with Mary.  I am a Martha by nature.  Because my spiritual gift is the gift of service, I see things that need to be done and feel compelled to do them.  My daughter is much more like Mary and I admire that quality in her.  Mary really understood what was important, so she sat at the feet of Jesus to soak up everything that He had to say.

In Luke 10, we find that Jesus stopped at the home of Martha as He was traveling.  Martha was concerned about the preparations to feed Jesus and those who were with Him.  She asked Jesus to get Mary to help her, but Jesus’ response was not what she expected as is recorded below.

But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.  Luke 10:41-42

 I don’t think our Lord meant that what Martha was doing didn’t have value; I think He wanted her to realize how important the spiritual part of her life was and that she needed to give it priority.  I get caught up in making sure that my house is clean, the laundry is done and that whatever I need to do to help others takes priority.  It is much harder for me to sit at the feet of Jesus and soak up what He is saying.

One scripture that the Lord keeps bringing me back to is the first part of Psalm 46:10.  I like the ESV translation best:

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 ESV

I’m not sure why it is so difficult for me to be still, but it is.

Martha was busy making sure that everyone was taken care of and that food was prepared for her guests.  Her focus was not much different from that of the disciples in the story of the woman at the well in John 4:31, we find the disciples urging Jesus to eat and His response to them was not what they expected.

I have food to eat that you do not know about. John 4:32

The disciples took this literally and thought that someone else had brought Him food while they were in town.  Jesus was not talking about physical food.  He was talking about spiritual food; His Father’s Word.  I think this was the same message He was speaking to Martha in John 10.

It is quite necessary for us to care for physical needs.  However, our Lord wants us to see that the spiritual needs are really more important; our physical bodies will die, but our spirits will live on for eternity.  We need to be sure we are adequately caring for our spiritual needs, and this requires stillness before God and a focus on His Word.  We need to be still so we can hear what He has to say to us.  If we are constantly busy with the cares of this world, we may miss something important that He wants us to hear.

About the Writer:
Anna is a mother to three grown children, Nana to four grandchildren and enjoys coordinating Prison Ministry for her church. Her desire is to finish this life well by pointing others to faith in Jesus Christ and to a deeper reliance on Him.

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Know Your Legacy, Leave a Legacy

Sometimes I get so caught up in the worry and angst of life that I forget to look up and see that God has a plan that not only includes me, but He intends to use the very problem I worry about to fulfill His plan. The story of Rahab in the Bible is a great example of how God uses our circumstances to fulfill His plan for us.

Hebrews 11: 31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

When we read the story of Rahab in Joshua 2, we find the city of Jericho in a state of panic.  Can’t you just visualize it?  Everyone from the King to the messengers of the city looking out over the wall to see the enemy Israel camped just a few steps outside the city gate. They know the mysterious success that the Israelites keep experiencing.  They scurry around, fearful, plotting and scheming, desperate to keep safe everything they have and everyone they love.

Rahab was in the midst of this chaos and panic.  She had a couple of choices to respond to this fearful time for herself and her family.  She could join the city in dreading the invasion or she could look at the history of this strange people and discover what they had that differed from her culture.  She chose the latter.  In verses 8-11 she tells the spies what she has discovered about their God and how he has delivered them time after time.  She looked at her own situation, one full of sin, struggle, and above all, fear.  What difference did she find in these two cultures? She found God!  Her beautiful expression of faith in the One who can deliver is found in Chapter 2:11-12. When she calls him Lord, she is expressing her personal belief in the One the two spies from Israel represented.

Rahab could never have guessed what God’s plan for her was once she took that leap of faith.  She only wanted to be saved, she and her household, and she requested a relationship built on loyal love, but God intended so much more!  If you look at the rest of her story in Joshua 6:17, 22-25, you discover that she was saved from Jericho, married a Jewish prince, and became the mother of Boaz, that great man of faith in the book of Ruth. Ultimately Ruth became the great-great-grandmother of none other than King David, and of course is named in the lineage of Jesus Christ himself (read Matthew 1:4-6).

As you look at your current circumstances, where do you find yourself? How are you looking to find God’s plan for your future?  Is it in a way that you can control, or is it in a way that God has planned?   Today, let’s commit together to look and see where God is in your circumstances and have faith that He will use His loyal loving plan to see you through.

About the Writer:
Pam Brewer is Director of Women’s Ministry of First Baptist Dallas, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, and grateful to be included in this great team of Yada Yada bloggers.

Don’t Stay Under the Juniper Tree

“I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” (excerpt from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst)

Have you ever felt like Alexander?  I have, and so did Elijah.

Elijah served God faithfully during the days of wicked king Ahab and his sinister wife, Jezebel, who introduced pagan worship into Israel. In a contest on Mt. Carmel, Elijah was God’s instrument to prove His power and sovereignty. Afterwards, Jezebel said she would kill Elijah. Fearful and weary, Elijah sank into the depths of despair, went into the wilderness, sat down under a juniper tree, and asked God to take his life.

 

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers’.” (I Kings 19:4)

Elijah’s fear, fatigue, and frustration distorted his perspective of reality. He fell into an exhausted sleep, psychologically depleted and physically drained. God sent an angel to provide food and water.  Elijah ate, went back to sleep, then ate again.

Do you feel like sitting under a juniper tree? Acting on the following four words can help change your feelings from hopelessness to hopefulness.

Rest

Our minds need rest from thinking and our bodies need rest from motion. Sleep   renews and rejuvenates our bodies.  My pastor says, “Sometimes, one of the most spiritual things you can do is take a nap.” Turn off the television and put away your electronic devices.

Relax

No one can go full-throttle all the time. Listening to soft music, taking a hot bath,   or going on a walk are ways you can relax from the day-to-day grind. Crying can help release pent-up emotions. A friend recently said, “God wastes nothing – not even tears.”

Relate

Choose to be with people with whom you are comfortable, who make you laugh, who know how to listen, who will pray with you, and who speak the truth in love.  Don’t stay away from those who care about you. Seeing a professional therapist with whom you can express your thoughts and emotions can also be beneficial. God listened to Elijah and let him vent his frustrations. God knows what we are thinking and feeling so nothing we say will surprise Him. Pour out your hurts to Him. Pray, asking God to renew your strength, stabilize your emotions, and give you hope during your times of distress and discouragement.

Reflect

Reflect on God’s character and the things He has done for you, His provisions,    comfort, and love.  Remembering the times of God’s presence and power brings       renewed hope and strength.  Spend time in God’s word.  Read one Psalm or one chapter of Proverbs each day.  Underline verses that encourage you.  Memorize scripture.  Keep a journal and write down your thoughts.  Make a list of God’s promises or the names of God.  Choose to trust God even when you can’t see what He’s doing.

God knew Elijah needed to take a break from the emotional and physical challenges he was facing and lovingly helped Elijah transition from hopelessness to hopefulness. Elijah didn’t stay under the juniper tree and neither should we.

About the Writer:
Sherry enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, Bible study, and traveling.  She and her husband, David, are Directors of the Sonburst Class at First Baptist Dallas.

JAWS

“IF YOU WANT TO LIVE, THROW ME OVERBOARD!” cried Jonah, as each wave grew higher and higher, crashing against the vessel. With each wave, the ship groaned and creaked louder, signaling that it could not hold much longer. “Lord, forgive us of this man’s death!” the sailors shouted as they tossed him into the raging sea. Jonah surfaced; instantly the waves stopped and the water was still. But wait, what was that Jonah saw as he bobbed in the water?

Jonah saw a great fin breach the water for a second. It breached again, closer to him this time. Then again, even closer. Something bumped him from underneath the water. Another bump. Can you hear it? The sounds of “JAWS”: duunnn dunnn… duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun!

Personally, as one who only gets about ankle-deep in the ocean, I cannot imagine a more terrifying scenario. After reading Jonah 1-2, I saw that the Lord powerfully pointed out that His purpose will be accomplished, with our obedience or without. The last part of Jonah 1:3 says, “After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.” Take a look at the beginning of that sentence again: “After paying the fare . . . .”  it cost Jonah to disobey, and he paid greatly for his disobedience. Let’s dive into (see what I did there :)) a few of the details chapters 1 and 2 give us regarding how Jonah paid for his disobedience:

  • actual money (Jonah 1:3b)
  • the humiliation of having to confess to his fellow sailors what he had done that put their lives in danger (Jonah 1: 4-11)
  • being swallowed alive (Jonah 1:17)
  • the unimaginable experience of surviving in the fish’s stomach for 3 whole days. We can only guess at what that must have done to his body. I would assume that it included ruptured eardrums as the fish dove down into the depths of the ocean. (Jonah 2:3-6)  The motion sickness coupled with the smell of partially digested marine contents probably induced vomiting. Lastly, can you imagine the intense, oppressive darkness and overwhelming claustrophobia? He probably couldn’t breathe due to the intense fear.
  • Did I mention being swallowed alive? Just making sure.

This had me thinking, what in my life am I making more difficult than it has to be? What am I not being obedient in, causing extra hardships that wouldn’t be there if I would just obey?

Another sobering thought is that God didn’t have to save Jonah from those terrors. He very easily could have let Jonah die, several times, and instructed someone else to preach His word. How much disobedience is too much before God decides not to use us as His disciples anymore?

After Jonah prayed a prayer of repentance, God commanded the fish to vomit him up on dry land. (Jonah 2:10) Then our loving Father allowed Jonah a “do-over.” Jonah 3 starts with the Lord again commanding Jonah to go to Nineveh to tell the people their city will be destroyed unless they repent.

Join with me in confessing sin and disobedience to the Lord.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness.  Psalms 103:8

Let’s make it easier on ourselves and stop fighting Him with our disobedience, while we still have a chance.

About the Writer:
Natalie is a stay at home mom to two young boys. Additionally, she occasionally works as an emergency room nurse and is studying to become a Nurse Practitioner. She and her husband have been called into the medical mission field and are excited to see what the Lord has in store for their lives.

In this Upside Down World, How Can I have Comfort?

Look up comfort in a dictionary and you’ll find a definition like “something that promotes a state of ease or provides freedom from pain and anxiety.”  Is comfort something we try to obtain through materialistic means – anything from new clothes, to drugs, drinking, sex, luxurious homes, cars, etc.?  Today’s culture would lead us to believe this is true.

Note this excerpt from a recent devotional by Dr. Charles Stanley:

“According to God’s Word, when consolation or comforting is needed, the only true solution is the indwelling Holy Spirit. In Greek, He is called paraklētos, which means ‘he who stands at one’s side; he who comes to one’s aid.’  Believers don’t have to rely on outward remedies or distractions to ease their mind, because help is available from the ultimate Comforter.  Even before the Holy Spirit was sent to indwell believers. (John 14:26),(Ephesians 3:16) Scripture identified God as the one who comforts His people. (Isaiah 40:1)(Isaiah 49:13).  The Lord personally provides consolation and reassurance because no one knows our hurts the way He does.”

“I like this anonymous quotation: ‘When we have gone into the furnace of affliction, His hand is on the thermostat and His eye is on the clock.” God allows hardship, and as a result, we become stronger believers, wiser servants, and more humble people. But He stays by our side through the entire experience, sustaining us and limiting the intensity and duration of our distress. The Spirit’s reassuring whisper to our heart gives more comfort than the solace of family or the encouragement of friends.”

In the life of David in the Old Testament, we find numerous times that he sought out the Lord for comfort, reassurance, and instruction. A few of those instances were:  when fighting with Goliath (I Samuel 17) and running from Saul (I Samuel 19-22).  He wrote the Psalm below describing how our Lord provided comfort and reassurance.

Ps. 16:8-11  I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Notice in this Psalm the steps he took:

  1. Kept his focus on the Lord – “set the Lord continually before me”
  2. Demonstrated faith, peace, and security in the Lord – “I will not be shaken”
  3. Recognized his joy was from the Lord – “my heart is glad”
  4. Knew he would never be left alone – “You will not abandon”
  5. Recognized where his joy and pleasures came from – “in Your presence  . . . In Your right hand”

Sometimes on this side of heaven, we may not know the purpose for trials and tribulations, but we can be sure that our God is Sovereign, and will provide true comfort, peace, hope, and reassurance through His Holy Spirit.  Lean on Him, let go, and let God.

About the Writer:
Beverly is former educator, administrator, and Sunday school teacher, who is a wife, mother, and grandmother with a passion for sharing God’s love.

Should I stay or should I Go?

Moses was a good and faithful servant and while reading about him in the Bible, the Lord brought to my attention 3 key steps along his journey in becoming one of God’s good and faithful servants.

1) God allowed circumstances that created a change in Moses’s life. This life change resulted in the removal of obstacles that were hindering him from following the call of the Lord.  Moses killed an Egyptian after watching him beat on one of his fellow Hebrew kinsman which forced him to run away from his home and live as a shepherd (Exodus 2). He went from living as a worldly Egyptian prince, surrounded by idols and the pursuit of self-pleasures, to a shepherd in the wilderness. He had nothing out there with him but God’s unfiltered creation, and I would imagine not many distracting luxuries. Has God allowed circumstances to create a life change in order to remove hindrances in your life? How did you respond?

2) God revealed to Moses who He was. Moses did not have a Bible. All he had was the Hebrew oral tradition, which basically means that he was told stories about God from many generations before him. In Exodus 3: 1-6 we read that God appeared in a burning bush which did not get consumed by the fire despite its flames. After God speaks to Moses, immediately Moses realized that God was so holy (set apart) from anything he had ever known. So much so that Moses could not even look at Him out of fear. God is so holy and perfect that if we as imperfect creatures were allowed to fully see Him in all His glory we would be destroyed. Let that sink in. That’s the God we serve.

3) God told Moses exactly what He was going to do. God graciously gave Moses some of the details of how He was going to accomplish His plan; He does not always do that. The remainder of Exodus 3 details the conversation between Moses and the Lord. It mostly reads as God telling Moses a detail and then Moses arguing with Him about it; then God doing a miraculous sign and Moses continuing to argue with Him about it. Does this sound a little familiar in your own journey? I know it does in mine! In fact, Moses argued so much that God got angry with Him for his lack of trust in the Lord to do all that He said He would, or more specifically to be able to use someone like Moses. Paraphrasing Exodus 4:11-12 God told Moses, “I created you! Of course, I know what you can and cannot do! But never mind what you can do, I am going to do it through you!”

Despite His anger, God still used Moses to do miraculous things for His kingdom. God created us with the freedom to make our own choices, and if we choose not to fully trust in Him we might miss out on exciting opportunities. God allows us to partner with Him to accomplish His will. Reflect back on your own life. What opportunities do you think you missed out on? What opportunities are you in danger of missing out on now? Remember, we only get one life, one shot at being a good and faithful servant. Don’t waste it!

 Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say. Exodus 4:12

About the Writer:
Natalie is a stay at home mom to two young boys. Additionally, she occasionally works as an emergency room nurse and is studying to become a Nurse Practitioner. She and her husband have been called into the medical mission field and are excited to see what the Lord has in store for their lives.

You Want me to do What?

I was dreading the trip.  Work has been very stressful and tense for some time, and there has been a lot of conflict. There was one person in particular I did not want to see, but my team was counting on me. My attitude was not good, and I needed to find the motivation to get out of bed. After hitting the snooze once, I read my devotional and prayed something like this: Lord, I know I am working for you and not for man, and so I am going. I also know you are in everything and you have plans for this trip. Help me be open to your whisper in every moment and use this time for your glory.

In Genesis 22, Abraham was faced with a much more difficult task. God was only asking me to take a trip.  He asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son.  Abraham did not whine or complain.  He obeyed.  He trusted God completely.  When Isaac asked him about the animal to be sacrificed, Abraham responded:

God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son. Genesis 22:8 

Abraham spoke those words in faith, without knowing how God would provide. Can you imagine? I doubt I would have obeyed at all, but I certainly could not hold it together enough to speak words like that to my son.  And then Abraham tied up his son, laid him on the wood, and prepared the knife.  He was really prepared to let God have his child.  He took obedience to a level I cannot imagine.  But God stopped him and did EXACTLY as Abraham said to Isaac.  God provided the sacrifice, and then God blessed Abraham and made him the father of all nations.

In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice. Genesis 22:18

I was still tired when I walked out the door at 4a.m., but I had hope and knew that my obedience was a tiny sacrifice. God gave me a lot of unexpected answers in those few days, but the biggest blessing came from the most unlikely place. We were placed into teams for a 3 hour exercise, and that one person I was not wanting to see was on my list.  I laughed out loud when I saw it and could clearly see His hand.  By the end of the 3 hours, she and I were hugging and crying about our divine appointment that night. I now have a sister in Christ who can relate exactly to where I am, and tension has melted into friendship. The one thing I needed most, God brought to me in an unexpected way.

I am stubborn.  I know His way is always better, and when I struggle He is there to help if I just ask, but obedience to His calling must come first.  Father, thank you for the reminder that your plans are always perfect, and my obedience to you will always lead to blessing. 

About the Writer:
Wendy is a wife and mother who works full time in Risk Management.  Here at First Dallas she serves in Sunday school, helps coordinate Angel tree, and teaches at Discipleship University.  Her greatest joy comes from discovering how following Jesus can greatly impact her daily life and the lives of those she cares about in innumerable, practical ways.

Abigail’s Explosive Situation

Do you have a situation that has exploded around you?

Has a friend misinterpreted your Facebook post and unfriended you?  Has a coworker snubbed you after you and another coworker went to lunch without her?  Has your sister refused to see you again because your mother gave you the family china cabinet?

We learn of Abigail’s explosive situation in I Samuel 25.

Abigail was married to Nabal, whom the Bible calls “surly and mean”.  (I Samuel 25:3 NIV)  David and his men had been protecting Nabals’ property, and David requested provisions as payment for their service. Nabal hurled insults at David and refused his request. David overreacted and immediately ordered his soldiers to prepare to kill Nabal and his men.

Abigail learned of the explosive situation, collected a large amount of food, and quickly intercepted David and his men. Her words and demeanor were humble as she endeavored to defuse the explosive situation.  Abigail apologized to David on Nabal’s behalf and proclaimed God’s sovereignty.

What was the result of Abigail’s action?  “Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, ‘Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.’” (I Samuel 25:35NIV)

Although your explosive situation might not involve the threat of physical death, even the death of a relationship is troubling.  God calls His children to be peacemakers.  How should we defuse an explosive situation?

Defuse means to neutralize or deactivate.  Bomb disposal experts wear heavy body armor and are trained to defuse explosive devices.  In a spiritual sense, God trains His children to defuse explosive situations that might threaten to explode.

How can we defuse an explosive situation?

H         Humility  

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

Bomb disposal experts don’t activate another bomb to get rid of the first bomb.  They work carefully to remove the fuse. We can respond to an angry person in either pleasant or retaliatory ways.

Abigail chose to be humble. “When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground.  She fell at his feet and said: ‘Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say.” (I Samuel 25:23-24NIV)

O         Obedience

Be of the same mind toward one another.  Romans 12:18

Bomb disposal experts quickly obey their training and bring the necessary tools  with them.  God’s word tells us what to do.

Abigail acted quickly.” When she learned of the problem, she generously collected “ . . . a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs”. (I Samuel 25:18NIV)

By the way, were these the first fruitcakes?!

W        Wisdom

 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5

Bomb disposal experts don’t seek advice from non-professionals, and neither should we.  We must go to God, not just other people, with our problem. The God of the universe is waiting for us to come to Him for wisdom and guidance.

Abigail discussed her situation with no one before she went to David (I Samuel 25:19NIV) and God blessed her efforts. “David said to Abigail, ‘Praise be to the Lord, who sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment. Go home in peace’.”  (I Samuel 25:32NIV).

Peace isn’t always the result when we endeavor to defuse an explosive situation.  But when we have sought God’s wisdom and humbly obeyed His commands, we can leave our situation in God’s sovereign hands.

How is God leading you to defuse your explosive situation?

About the writer:
Sherry enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, Bible study, and traveling.  She and her husband, David, are Directors of the Sonburst Class at First Baptist Dallas.

 

Faith Done Well

Who doesn’t wish to throw her hands up to heaven and with jubilant praises cry out as Hannah did:

 My heart rejoices in the Lord! Oh, how the Lord has blessed me!  Now I have an answer for my enemies,  As I delight in your deliverance.  No one is holy like the Lord;  There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:1-2)

This is a victory song. This is a song of faith and hope rewarded by an Almighty God. Hannah was a woman longing for, but unable to conceive, a child. Her story of barrenness does not stand alone in the Bible. We can also read about Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel — all of whose wombs the Lord opened to bring forth life. Sarah tried to fulfill God’s promise of a child in her own way and time. Rebekah questioned the Lord when faced with difficulties during her pregnancy. Rachel became jealous that God wasn’t performing for her as He did for Leah. I see myself in all of these women. Their struggles are my struggles.

For some, as was the story with these ladies, the desires of the heart might become a stumbling block.

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

 Even when God had promised to fulfill their desires or He had already made a way for a miracle baby, the ladies above were still heavy- laden with fear, strife, and insecurity.

Contrast that to the triumph and joy that Hannah experienced. Her change in demeanor did not come from lack of struggle or opposition. Hannah faced great sadness, taunting and deep anguish of spirit. However, in her great sorrow, she prayed. She prayed from the depth of her soul. She prayed with a sacrificial heart, willing to give back what she longed to receive. She believed the Word of the Lord to her. Then came these powerful words found in 1 Samuel 1.

Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.”  She said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.  I Samuel 1:17-18

 Hannah’s change of heart preceded her change of circumstances.

God was faithful to His Word in Hannah’s life just as He is faithful to His Word in our lives. What desire can you leave with the Lord today? What is it about God’s character you are depending on as you wait for Him to work?

let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith . . . Hebrews 10:22

Will you praise the Lord, like Hannah when, or even before, He answers your prayers?

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to loving her amazing husband and raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

Mighty Warrior From Fear to Faith

Have you ever been so gripped by fear for yourself or your family that you simply could not move?  I was recently in a wreck on a the freeway bridge over a lake.  The cars were coming over the hill so fast that I was afraid to move.  I’m not one to give in easily to fear, but that day I was afraid for my life.

Gideon was a man who was very familiar with fear.  The Israelites had been terrorized by the Midianites for seven years.  In the sixth chapter of Judges, we find Gideon hiding inside of a wine press beating out wheat where the Midianites could not see what he was doing.  It was at this point that the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and called him a valiant warrior.

 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.’ Judges 6:12

I am quite sure that Gideon did not feel like a valiant warrior, but the angel said he was.

God called Gideon to lead the men of Israel against the Midianites to defeat them.  Gideon started with an army of 32,000 men, and God instructed Gideon to get rid of most of his army.  Only when Gideon’s army was a mere 300 men does God instruct him to go against the enemy. God wanted to be certain that the Israelites could not say that they defeated the Midianites in their own strength. With odds of 450 to 1, it would be obvious that the Lord had given them the victory.

Gideon had difficulty overcoming his fear, but the Lord gave him assurance.  He allowed Gideon to overhear discussion of a dream of one of the men in the Midianite camp, a dream which indicated that the Lord had already given Gideon the victory. You can read Judges 6-8 for the full account of how Gideon went from hiding in a wine press to becoming the valiant warrior that the Angel of the Lord said he was.

One of my life verses states:

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

There are many times when I am not able to do in my own strength what the Lord has called me to do.  This verse is the one that I go to in those times and it is the one that helped me get off the bridge and to safety the day of my wreck.  I challenge you to find a verse that will move you from fear to faith and to memorize it so you can draw strength from it when you face fear. You, too, can be a valiant warrior like Gideon.

About the Writer:
Anna is a mother to three grown children, Nana to four grandchildren and enjoys coordinating Prison Ministry for her church. Her desire is to finish this life well by pointing others to faith in Jesus Christ and to a deeper reliance on Him.