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“Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request.

Allow me one more test with the fleece.” - Judges 6:39

Gideon defeated an army of thousands with 300 men (Judges 6-7). That is impressive. Is his story an example for us in our spiritual battles? Yes, and no. He was courageous when he was fully convinced. That’s good. But what about asking God for a sign? Is that good? Obviously Gideon knew he was on shaky ground when he asked (Judges 6:39). God had already spoken to Gideon AND performed a miraculous sign (Judges 6:21) BEFORE Gideon again asked for a sign two more times.

 

Jesus said this twice: "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!” (Matt. 12:39; 16:4). Jesus told Satan during his wilderness temptation, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (Matt 4:7).

 

What does it take for you to be fully convinced enough to be spiritually courageous? Do you put out the fleece? Or is the Word of God enough for you? Is the written testimony of the crucified and resurrected Christ enough for you to actively work to expand his Kingdom? If it’s not, what does God need to do for you?                                                         - Mike

 

 

In Genesis 19 we read the story of Lot’s wife.  She was turned into a pillar of salt because she disobeyed God.  God was going to destroy Sodom, where she was living.  He sent angels to lead her out of the city, but her heart was still in Sodom.  She is the Monument to the Divided Heart.  In Luke 17:32 Jesus said, “Remember Lot’s wife!”   What a sad monument!

I visited a sad monument in Magadan, Russia 20 years ago.  About 250,000 people died in the prison camps in that area.  It is called the “Mask of Sorrow.” I climbed the stairs into the monument and looked out of the eyes, which have tears flowing in the shape of human faces.

What kind of a monument is your life?  Is it a sad one, one of what could have been?  Or is it an inspiring one, one of faith, love, and service?

We remember Lot’s wife because:

  1. God tried to redeem her. The angels said, “Hurry!” 
  2. God protected her from her own lingering.  The angels grasped her hands to take her out of the city. They practically dragged her out of Sodom.
  3. She died of a divided heart.  She was told not to look back.  But she did. Her heart was divided between God and Sodom.

James wrote, “Purify your heart, you double-minded!” (4:8)  We remember so we will purify our hearts.                                  — Mike

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27

A couple of years ago the book, “Humans are not from Earth,” was published.  The author believes aliens from another planet came here. Evidence? Sunburn. We sunburn. If had evolved here over hundreds of thousands of years, we would not sunburn. And bad backs. Aliens who came here came from a planet with lower gravity and that’s why so many of us suffer with bad backs.

As the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth:

“Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20).  Whether you believe you were planted here from another planet and evolved or evolved right here, the Bible says it is all foolishness.

We are created in God’s image, and that means at least these three things:

  • We were made to be productive. God works - He creates, sustains, answers prayer, etc. Life is not about winning the Lotto and sitting back and just enjoying yourself. You need to be productive. You need to do something. That’s the way you were created.
  • We were made to be righteous. God is righteous. What does it mean to be righteous? A simple definition is: Be willing to accept the consequences of your actions. Example: Want to live without obeying the Word of God? Then accept the consequences.
  • We were made to be loving. God is love. The Apostle John said it plainly: “For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).

You are created in God’s image. Live like it.          

It is interesting to consider questions Jesus asked. For example, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3) He asked that after he condemned a judgmental attitude: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2) Do you have a judgmental spirit or attitude?

I have a judgmental spirit if someone’s failure:

  • Improves the opinion I have of myself.
  • Decreases my concern for my own faults.
  • Makes me eager to tell others.
  • Causes me to feel I cannot forgive them.

 Is it time to throw away your personal tape measure, the one producing your judgmental spirit?  Otherwise God will use your standard of judgment on you, and do you really want that? For example, you condemn someone who commits a publicly known sin. You want nothing to do with them - you won’t try to reach them and you have no interest in forgiving them. So God will use your standard on you: have you ever sinned in front of others? If so, then God will not reach out to you or forgive you. Why? Because that is your standard of judgment.

Jesus could not be any clearer: “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)  And Jesus meant it.

Time to throw away your tape measure? Heaven’s in the balance.     

 

 

Philippians 2:10-11

 

The Apostle Paul quoted Isaiah 45:23 when he wrote these words to the church in Philippi:

 

...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

One day every person will admit that Jesus is Lord.  Some who have submitted and confessed him as Lord on this earth will do so with joy.  Those who have been rebels, who did not submit to his authority on earth, will begrudgingly submit before him at the Judgment Seat of God and admit they were wrong.  Yes, even rebels, for all their posturing and rationalizing, will bow before Jesus.  They will condemn themselves.  It   will be too late.  The Bible solemnly states: “If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15). 

 

We need to reach rebels before they reach the Judgment Seat.  Some rebels responded to the Gospel, were even baptized, but they are still rebels.  They just got wet.  They were buried alive.  They were not saved.  They no longer care about assembling with the saints, which makes you wonder.  If they do not want to be in the assembly of the saints here, do they really want to spend eternity with them there?  We need to reach those rebels too, before they reach the Judgment Seat of God.  We, too, were rebels before we responded to the Gospel.  Someone brought the Gospel to us.  We have work to do.           

 

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