Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Three Lessons to Live By

We invested a year and a half going through the first 10 chapters of the book of Judges. Then I felt it was a time for a break. Now I want us to enter back into this                                            wonderful book.

Remember, during this time there was no “standard” or “Objective” Truth. Truth was “relative” based on what each individual decided for himself or herself.

Let’s remember the theme:

·      Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

We have seen God’s people go into bondage, then be delivered by a Judge sent from God, to only reject God again…ending up back in bondage. This has happened 8 times thus far in this book, and now we will meet the ninth Judge that God sends.

Judges 10:15-11:11 Then the sons of Ammon were summoned and they camped in Gilead. And the sons of Israel gathered together and camped in Mizpah. The people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the sons of Ammon? He shall become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior, but he was the son of a harlot. And Gilead was the father of Jephthah. Gilead’s wife bore him sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” 
So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob; and worthless fellows gathered themselves about Jephthah, and they went out with him. It came about after a while that the sons of Ammon fought against Israel. When the sons of Ammon fought against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob; and they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our chief that we may fight against the sons of Ammon.” Then Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me and drive me from my father’s house? So why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?” The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “For this reason we have now returned to you, that you may go with us and fight with the sons of Ammon and become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back to fight against the sons of Ammon and the Lord gives them up to me, will I become your head?” The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The Lord is witness between us; surely we will do as you have said.” Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord at Mizpah.

As we end chapter 10 we see the issue that made the men of Gilead look for a champion, but then at the beginning of chapter 11, the Scripture takes a step backwards to give us the history between Jephthah and his people. There are some important lessons that we can learn from the Scriptures here.

Lesson 1. Remember that God does not see as we see! Jephthah was born of a harlot, yet that did not disqualify him in God’s eyes! We need to be very careful what we count as worthless. The very men that considered Jephthah nothing in the beginning are now begging for his help!

God reminded Samuel of this as He led the prophet to David. Samuel would have picked David’s brother to anoint based on outward appearance.

1 Samuel 16:6–7 When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Lesson 2. Do not under estimate the wilderness times that you have in your life. While Jephthah was banished to the land of Tob, he learned how to be a great warrior. Most likely the men that accompanied him were mercenary types. This is also the time he learned to depend upon the Lord; notice when he agrees to fight for Gilead, he does not depend on his abilities, but God’s power.

 v.9 So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back to fight against the sons of Ammon and the Lord gives them up to me will I become your head?

God uses every trip into the wilderness to produce qualities in our character that do not seem to be produced when we are in the comfort of the mountaintop. I, like anyone, love when life is going great and I feel as though nothing is wrong, however, reality of life can not always be that way and when we find ourselves in the wilderness again, we can discover important opportunities that can take place there. After one of my wilderness times I wrote in my journal:

·      It does appear as though I'm learning Grace the hard way. Even so, I am slowly learning - and from what I've discovered the price is worth it. Good education, but the tuition is high! During this time, I learned the trade of painting, an ability that always will be there. This skill paid for Bible College and allowed me to support my family as we planted a church. It taught me self-discipline, and tenacity. I dreaded certain jobs but did not quit, instead I learned to focus on doing the job unto the Lord. Through this time I was able to grow in my faith and re-evaluate every area of my life. There have been times when I was in the wilderness and spent my time whining and making statements like this: "Why is this happening to me, I was doing everything right!"…I learned nothing! The wilderness is no fun, but can be most profitable!

Lesson 3. When you make agreements, make sure everyone is on the same page. Lack of communication has caused a lot of suffering in agreements that people enter into. Make sure you know what the commitment of the other person is before you commit yourself. Jephthah left no question.

The Quay County Sun ran this advertisement in 1978:

Farmer with 160 irrigated acres wants marriage-minded woman with tractor. When replying, please show a picture of the tractor!

Do not enter into agreements that leave lots of unanswered questions, you will regret it!

Meditation questions: Do you see things through your eyes, or do you ask the Holy Spirit for His view? When you hit a time in the wilderness, what is your focus? Deliverance? Pity party? Spiritual maturing? When was your last trip into the wilderness? Do you know why it happened? What did you learn?  Have you ever regretted an agreement you entered into? Why? What would you do different? 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Probing Proverbs 10:29-30: Holding my Dad's hand!

Proverbs 10:29-30 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to those with integrity, but it destroys the wicked. The godly will never be disturbed, but the wicked will be removed                                                              from the land.

I have a very vivid memory when I was seven years old. I was living in Germany on a Military Intelligence Base. My dad and I used to bowl in a “father and son” league once a week. We were about to walk over to the lanes when my mother asked if she could speak to my father. They went into the kitchen but I could still hear them talking. Mom was concerned that my Pop would have to go to Vietnam. She began to cry and I heard him comfort her. We then left the apartment and while we were walking over to the bowling lanes, I was looking up at him. He looked down at me and said, “What’s up buddy?” 
I said, “Daddy are you going to have to go to war and leave us?” He grabbed my hand and smiled and said, “Your daddy will always be here for you!” As I walked holding his hand to go bowl…I had never felt safer in my life!

I realize that many fathers have made that promise, but due to an evil world they were unable to keep that promise. However, that does not change the absolute peace that filled me at that moment of being so secure.

There is a Father that makes that promise, and nothing can break that promise…because He is Lord of all!

In this proverb we see two aspects of our security. Those that follow the way of the Lord are safe in two ways.

First, we find that His way will become a “stronghold” for us. What does that mean?

In the original this word is מָעוֹז (māʿôz). It means a place or means of safety, protection; a fortress [1]

While the world takes refuge in their wealth, fame, power, etc.  God’s people find their protection in Him. This “safe place” is not only when we are in danger, but when we suffer through sorrow and grief. God alone can produce His joy and give hope in times of deep suffering. 
The only time we are in danger of losing this security is when we seek refuge anywhere else. If we anchor our lives in God, we will always be holding our Daddy’s hand…the hand that holds and sustains the universe…through every circumstance of life.

Second, we will not be “disturbed.” This is an interesting word used here.

The original is מוֹט - (môṭ) and means to totter, shake, slip or be removed[2]

The picture is clear: No matter how much turmoil there is in our life, or how slippery the terrain is, we will not be moved when we are standing on the rock our God. This speaks directly to our eternal security. When we know deep inside that our eternity is secure because of Him, even catastrophe cannot move us. We may have emotional struggles, but our core beliefs and inner peace remain because He is the one that makes us stand firm! Scripture states it so well:

Isaiah 54:10 “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the Lord who has compassion on you.

The security is there…but we must decide where we will build our life. Jesus spoke about this:

Matthew 7:24–27 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

Consider: Where is your trust invested…Temporal things or Eternal? When tough times hit, where do you turn? Are you secure because of a bank account, a career, a position, or worldly power? Do you find peace because of your comfort or status? What have you built your life on…the Word of God or the Philosophies of this world?

[1] Schultz, C. (1999). 1578 עוּז. (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke, Eds.)Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press.
[2] Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.