Mighty Warrior

Mighty Warrior

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”(Judges 6:11)

Mighty Warrior – it’s what the angel of the Lord called Gideon.

What was Gideon doing at the time?

I asked the same question. So, I went back and looked. I thought for sure he was doing something great and courageous already, maybe a leader of men. It seems, though, that God doesn’t usually call men from such places.

He seems to choose the unlikely, the lowly, the un-expecting.

Think about Mary, David, Joseph, John the Baptist, Deborah. All of them not likely candidates for God to use in mighty and powerful ways, but used nonetheless.

Gideon was much the same.

When the angel of the Lord called him, he was threshing wheat. It was a process for farmers to separate the grain from the straw. Gideon was doing this on his own, not with oxen or other animals to walk over them. He was also doing it in an isolated place because of those Midianites. Here he was in relative obscurity, doing his job, when the angel came to him.

But, the angel called him “Mighty Warrior.” What is up with that?

I see something in that that encourages and strengthens me in my personal walk.

It could, no doubt, be for many reasons, but the reason that jumps out to me is that the Lord saw something in him before it came to be. God knew what he had created Gideon to do from the day he was born to the day he died. This was one of those days.

He saw the mighty warrior in Gideon. He called him to be more because God knew he was made for more.

This I love because if God saw more in Gideon, He sees more in me too. Gods knows what I was made to do. He knows what I can be and He calls me. Through the simple obedience of each day, He is preparing me for more. He knows the longing of my heart to impact the world for the kingdom, far beyond what I can see. I pray that He sees in me what He saw in Gideon.

I want to be a mighty warrior, too.

 

No Regrets

No Regrets

Life is a battle.

Sometimes the battle is more in my mind and heart than in the world where I live.

To do or not to do? Was I wrong or right? Could I have done it differently or better? These are questions I am tempted to ask myself all the time. And if I don’t watch it, I will camp here.

Not a good thing.

Praying and pondering is a good thing. Seeking the Lord’s guidance, well, what could be better? But at some point, we’re required to “do,” to move forward. If you’re like me, I do take action and then replay the entire scenario in my mind, question how I did something, wonder if I could have done better, and then sometimes even ponder forever over whether it was the right thing to do.

In the Army, they have something called an AAR (After Action Report). Following an event or exercise, they go back, make notes, and write feedback. These are helpful because if and when these things are required again they ideally do it better the second time—that is if folks actually read the AAR.

In real life, an AAR is helpful. Even as individuals we really desire to do things better the next time or help keep others from making the same mistakes we do. These are good things. But there is some line in there where it goes from being an AAR to being a list of regrets.

This is not good.

Last time I checked I was pretty human, making mistakes on a regular basis. I have yet to follow the Lord perfectly every time. I know you’re shocked.

Dwelling on those mistakes, replaying them over and over can take me from a life of abundance and grace to a heart of failure and fear. In about two seconds.

Fear then keeps me from wholeheartedly doing what God has called me to do. It’s a cycle none of us desires, but one in which we can easily get stuck.

But how do we go from the AAR to moving forward in faith, skipping the sinkhole of regret?

It comes down to one easy word that we have a hard time getting our brain around. It’s called grace. God extends it so freely to us on a regular basis. We extend it to others pretty regularly as well, but we don’t necessarily extend it to ourselves very well.

Today, let’s do that. Realizing that we are human and desiring to do better the next time than we did the last, let’s step forward in faith and hope, trusting that God can take even our worst day and do something good with it. We have to remember, too, that God is looking at our heart and not necessarily our actions.

King David is a great example of this. Dude messed up. Over and over and over. He didn’t just mess up in little things, he had some zingers! But God saw David’s heart. It tells us just that in Acts 13:22, “And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’”

Even in the midst of all of David’s failures, God took an ordinary life and created an extraordinary legacy.

Can you say Jesus?

If He can do that for David, He can do it for me. I don’t desire to mess up regularly, but I know that I will. Today, I am determined to live a life without regret. I want a life that learns from the past but still has courage and faith to step forward into the future, knowing He has called me to more.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

 

Themes

Themes

I think God works in themes.

Do you find that to be true? Surely you have had those moments when the same verse came up in your personal study, in the sermon at church on Sunday, and again in group Bible study later in the week. No doubt you have experienced it as well.

Sometimes I wonder about those themes, though. Like a few weeks ago when the story of Hosea and Gomer (if you need a refresher just read the book of Hosea) came up in my personal study, at church and again at Bible study. What’s up with that? I love the story of God’s redemption of us and the unconditional love He shows through Hosea. But in the real world, I really have no desire to be on either end of the Hosea and Gomer story. Really.

I love the themes when God gives reassurance to my heart, calms my fears, and builds my faith. The struggle comes when they are lessons of conviction, challenges to my understanding, and prodding beyond my comfort level.

Themes have their purpose, though. How many times have we had to tell our children the same thing a hundred times and they are still learning. Some “short people” I know still chew with their mouths open sometimes, talk with their mouth full, and even randomly make belching noises (periodically even at the table). I look at those children in shock as I sit there listening to the smacking going on at the table . . . and don’t get me started on the gum.

Then God reminds me that figuratively speaking in my spiritual walk, I frequently still chew with my mouth open, talk with my mouth full, and even belch. You get what I’m saying. He has taught me so many lessons so many times you would think that He would get tired of repeating Himself.

And then He reminds me of Hosea.

I wonder what in the world this has to do with me, till He graciously tells me of His unconditional love even when I’m belching at the spiritual table.

Themes. I need them because they not only mold me in ways I desperately need to become more like Him, they also are a sweet reminder of His patience and grace.

What themes do you see in your life right now? How has God used them in the past?

signature line

 

 

 

Monday Minute Linkup

 

One Line

One Line

“All these were descendants of Asher—heads of families, choice men, brave warriors and outstanding leaders. The number of men ready for battle, as listed in their genealogy, was 26,000” (1 Chronicles 7:40).

I read this during my reading time last week. I know, you’re thinking, “Chronicles? Really?” It was a surprise to me too. I was just reading genealogies, which I will admit are not the most exciting to me.

Then I ran across this verse.

Here it is again: “All these were descendants of Asher—heads of families, choice men, brave warriors and outstanding leaders. The number of men ready for battle, as listed in their genealogy, was 26,000” (1 Chronicles 7:40).

one line 2

First Chronicles starts talking about the genealogies of the people of Israel. It lists over and over–so and so was the son or father of whoever. This verse is different and it caught my eye.

I obviously have never met Asher, but I do know one thing about him–if I had a sentence in Scripture, this would be a great legacy to leave. Now, if you read about Asher’s descendants down the road, they did not always do well. Some of his descendants made poor choices. But in his immediate descendants, this is what he left.

It makes a list that would be an amazing legacy.

1. Heads of families
2. Choice men
3. Brave warriors
4. Outstanding leaders

If this is what I left behind in my children and others God placed in my path–not so bad, right?

I do love the thought of leaving a legacy like this. But even further than that, it makes me wonder. If I had one line that told the legacy I left behind, what would it say? What would I want it to say?

How about you? What would you like your one line to be?

signature line

Not Alone

“In a group all by myself.” That’s what she said.

She went to a women’s conference, sat in a huge arena . . . and felt lonely. How does that happen?

It happens all the time. Talking to ladies, especially those associated with the military, they have gotten good at this very thing. Learn to interact, chat with folks, and get involved in stuff, they still never actually connect with anybody.

It’s really not so hard to do. Introvert or extrovert, we get caught up in the doing, the expectation of involvement, and never really open our hearts and lives to those around us.

Reasons for this vary from busy-ness to fear, but the bottom line is that God made us for community.

I just had a conversation with my kids today about this very thing. Lately, they have gotten frustrated with each other more frequently. The words of “he’s annoying” or “she’s not being nice” have entered our vocabulary much too often.

In our family, life has been a bit crazy lately, which explains the added frustration and the more frequent happening of tears, but I will not give in. I refuse to cower to the expectation of grief, fear and uncertainty when God’s plan is so much better.

Sitting on the floor of the living room today, I looked in the faces of my children and told them, “If God had wanted you to tackle the world alone, He would not have made you part of our family.” It is no accident He gave me these children, no accident He gave me my spouse, and no accident He planted me here in Kansas.

God made us for community.

He made us to join together, seeking after Him with our whole heart, and reaching a world (our world) for Christ. He didn’t choose one disciple and send him on his way. He gave them each other, but He also gave himself.

Building community is important, but it comes second to building relationship with our Savior.

Regardless of where we are, what we are walking through, or how our heart feels, we are never alone. Never ever. God said so:

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Moses is handing over the mantle of leadership to Joshua here in Deuteronomy. I cannot imagine the weight of such an assignment. Assuring Joshua of God’s presence, Moses told him not to give way to fear and discouragement.

We face intimidating tasks as well, mountains standing in front of us we are not so sure we can conquer, but the words of Moses still ring true today. The Lord himself goes before us, will never leave us and will never forsake us. Our job is to remain in pursuit of Him.

Face this mountain called “today” and simply do what He has asked of you this day, taking the time to continuously develop a relationship with Him. He is our strength. He is our vision. He is our hope.

He is.

Today I’ll close with a song that has played in my heart frequently lately.

He has given us community, those in life we can walk with through many things, but He has also given us himself. A gift we could never replicate. Take hold of both.

What mountain are you facing? Do you feel alone? How do you connect with others? How do you connect with God?

signature line