Is Your Pitcher Cracked?

Judges 7:16 And he divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars.

The jars represent us — our lives.  We are just as fragile as a clay pot.  Our lives are empty until we fill them with something or until we crack under pressure.  

But some people fill themselves with whatever.  Money, porn, hate, foolishness, pain, you name it.  

Some people try to hold the torch in one hand (that's Jesus) and the pitcher in the other.  You cannot serve to masters, and besides, you can't get anything done with both hands full.  

Soe people hide Jesus in their hearts.  They let Jesus in, but they don't allow their lives to reflect His presence.  They accept Him as the Savior of their sin, but they refuse to allow Him to be Lord of their lives.  

Some people let their identity be broken and replaced by Jesus.  Instead of being someone who is like Christ, they choose to allow the Holy Spirit to change them into the image of Him.  

So which one are you?  Allowing Christ to make you a new creation (2 Cor 5:17)  requires the "old you" to go away.  But what God does with your life will be more satisfying and rewarding than you can imagine. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, change my heart and let people see You in me.  AMEN  

P.S. Easter Sunday is tomorrow (or today if you are reading this by email).  Go to church!  Find a place that believes that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life - then worship Him, thank Him and praise Him for all He had done, is doing and will do in your life.  

Toot Your Own Horn

Judges 7:16 And he divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars.

Why trumpets? 

Trumpets or Shofars were used frequently in Jewish culture.  They were used at the Temple and in warfare.  

Neh 4:20 says,  In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”

Gideon and our 300 warriors knew this.  But even more importantly, the Midianites didn't.  They had no idea what Gideon had unleashed on them.  

What is your trumpet today?  

In the Old Testament trumpets were used to proclaim the Word and the will of God. 

Today we proclaim, with our faith, the truth of His presence and power in our lives. Jesus said in Matthew 12:34 ...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Proclaim your faith today.  Proclaim your praises unto Him. Proclaim the promises of God? 

No, this isn't a selfish gospel message that makes God do everything you say.  

It is declaring, by faith, what God has already promised.  Gideon did, and God delivered the nation of Israel.  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I'll say it!  You are my salvation; you are my healer; you are my deliver.  AMEN  

Timing Is Everything.

Judges 7:16 And he divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars.

Here's the plan. 

Three companies of 100. 
Torches inside jars

Now we know that Gideon has the high ground. 
We know that he has the element of surprise. 
We know that the enemy is scared of him. 

But what does Gideon know?  God's timing!

He gets it.  It isn't about force; it's about timing.  Gideon was looking for an army big enough that could rout the Midianites out.  Instead, he discovers that God is ready to rout the Midianites out right now and it's time to go. 

Now our timing and God's timings have always been an issue.  We want everything now, and God says wait.  

Now there are some things in life that God says, NOW too!  Such as when someone asks Jesus into their life as their Lord and Savior. 

There are times when God says, WAIT too!  A vision could be birthing in your heart right now, but it isn't time.  Ask Abraham about that one.  How long did he wait for Issac?

Following God's timing takes faith and trust.  Some might say nerves of steel.  But if God has given you His promise, then He will keep it.  But we need to pay attention to His timing more than His solution.  If we bias our faith with what we think God ought to be doing, we will often miss His timing and thus miss the fulfillment of His promises. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, please encourage my faith to follow your timing, not my desires.  AMEN  

The New And Improved Gideon

Judges 7:15 As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.” 

What happened?

Gideon hears the dream and its interpretation and all of a sudden we are off to the races. 

A timid man of faith returns with a confidant of a warrior with faith in the blink of an eye.  

I imagine that the 300 were wondering, "What happened! Not that they were complaining, but the man that went down to the enemy camp isn't the same man who came back? 

Could something like this be possible for you?  Of course, it can.  It's called faith.

1 Cor 12:9 "to another faith by the same Spirit?"  

God gives us a gift of faith that can rise to any occasion.  It encourages us and empowers us to do what we never knew we could do.  Gideon experienced this while listening to the dreams of his enemies fears.  

Gideon always questioned himself.  He didn't question God or his plan.  When he hears the dream that in essence says, "Gideon is coming!"  When he hears his name strike fear in the hearts of his enemy.  He knew it was time.  He knew He was the man for the job.  But that wasn't in the natural.  God was doing something supernatural in his heart.  

You may know God's plan.  But you doubt that you're His leader.  Listen to your enemy.  Don't believe a word he says.  But listen to his bullying, his the threats to terrorize you.  If he is telling you that you are worthless and unqualified?  If he is telling you that you are too stupid, that you don't have enough faith?  You're too young, too old.  If he is telling you to back down or go away?  It's good news.  

That's all he can do.  If Satan could have destroyed you, he would have done it already.  The fact that he is threatening you means you are the man or woman for the job.  

Your name, your presence strikes fear in the heart of your enemy.  Your enemy knows that God in on your side and that His plan will become a reality.  They know that you are leading the charge and that there is nothing that they can do about it.  

PRAY:  Dear Jesus,  give me supernatural faith!  AMEN  

Your Enemy Is Afraid.

Judges 7: 13 - 14 When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” 14 And his comrade answered, “This is no other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp.”

So Gideon sneaks down to the camp and overhears a Midianite tell his friend about his dream.  In that dream, a loaf of barley bread tumbles into the camp and flattens a tent. 

A loaf of barley bread is so bad; no one wants to eat it. It's hard and bitter. The tent was probably the tent of the leader of the Midianites — the most important tent in the army. 

Then the friend interprets the dream.  The barley loaf is Gideon, Son of Joash, a man of Israel.  

Word had got out. Gideon is coming, and the Midianites were afraid. 

To recap:

Israel has been idolatrous.  So God allows the Midianites to invade because of their idolatry.  The people begin to cry out to God for help.  So God visits Gideon and calls him to lead Isreal.   But before he can do that, God tells Gideon to destroy the altar of Baal.  He does, and that sends a message throughout the land.  

Gideon then puts a fleece out to confirm what he already knows.   Once he has his confirmation, he calls for an army.   He tells those that are too afraid to fight to go home, 20,000 are now gone.   God has him submit the rest to a test which shows that 9,700 of the remaining troops cannot get the job done. 300 is all that is left. 

All the while:

God has put fear in the hearts of the Midianites.   

We don't know what God is doing on our behalf.  Too often we think that He is doing nothing, when in fact, God is always doing something on your behalf. 

You need to believe it.

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, I don't know what You are doing for me right now, but thank you.  AMEN  

I Don't Like Bullies!

I was terrorized in middle and high school.  I had the honor of being the smallest, shortest then lankest kid.  I would say that I had a target painted on my chest.  But to be honest, it wasn't big enough.  It was more of a small dot.  

I thought that when I grew up, that would end but I discovered that in life bullies come in all shapes and sizes.  

Isreal is dealing with an army of bullies.  Just like the ones I had to deal with growing up.  They looked mean and terrifying.  

Judges 7:12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance.

The bible doesn't say how big the Midianite army was.  Some theologians put estimates at 125 - 135 thousand.  I don't know if their right, but wow.  

What I do know is that Israel's army was positioned in a place where they could see them. 

Someone up there was going, "one camel, two camels, three camels, oh forget it!  I'll be here all day."  

It was the armies size that probably what scared the 22,000 away. 

When you see you enemy remember they are your enemy.  They are not supposed to look friendly or kind.  They are supposed to look and sound intimidating.  Words like cancer, divorce, terminal, depression will do what they can to look and sound horrible to us.  

But don't let what you see scare you. 

Hebrews 11: 1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

What is intimidating you right now?  Look at it.  It's ugly.  It growls like it is going to eat you.  

Now see your faith rise to the occasion.  Let your faith growl back.  "No, I will not be intimidated.  No, I will not allow you to defeat me.  I don't need to count your camels.  You're all going down because greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world." 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, arise within my heart and life and be bigger than my enemies.  AMEN