The man had been crippled since birth. Everyone knew him as the one that sat at the Temple and begged for money. Peter, through Jesus’ name, healed him. The man stood up, ran, jumped around and praised God. People noticed. They were curious as to how he was moving around with no problem and why he was praising God. Peter gave them the answer: Jesus. Five thousand men came to Jesus for salvation.
We may not be able to comprehend what’s going on now but we can know that Jesus is in control. We need to trust that He is working all things for good. Because the Lord can use one person’s crippled condition to bring five thousand souls to redemption.
“The Israelites are going to destroy the enemy. You have been chosen to lead them into battle.”
God’s message told Barak that He would be with him and that He would win the battle. Barak took that information and chose not to act on it.
Instead he begged Deborah, the judge who had delivered the message, to go to war with him. He said he wouldn’t go without her.
Deborah told him that her presence would keep him from claiming the victory and that another person would receive the honor. To Barak, having Deborah by his side was worth the loss.
The country went to battle. They won. But Barak missed out on what had been given to him.
He missed out on an opportunity to serve God unwavering. His faith in God could’ve been strengthened, instead he relied on man. He could’ve accomplished the task he had been given but another person would have to step in and take over.
Barak’s reliance on others, instead of God, affected his life and the way we remember him. He could’ve been known as a man of great faith. Instead we see him as a person that was weak and unsure.
You are in complete control of the decisions you make to the opportunities that God gives you. Will you rely on others to cover for you or will you rely on God? Your reputation and legacy are on the line. Be bold in following Jesus.
Joshua witnessed Moses lead the Israelites out of captivity, stretch his hand over the sea to part the waters and receive the Ten Commandments.
Then Moses died.
Joshua’s mentor and friend was no longer with him. Joshua could claim that without Moses leading him he could do nothing. He could have said that he wasn’t prepared to be the leader of a nation without Moses to turn to for guidance.
But he didn’t. Joshua realized that Moses was a blessing from God, not God. He knew that God would be the one to continue to provide for him.
It is good to learn from the people that God places in your life, but remember that God should always be the source of your strength and confidence.
Samson had found love. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with this woman. She made him feel so happy. What could be so wrong with acting on those feelings of love?
It went directly against the Word of God.
Samson had been set aside since birth to do the work of The Lord. He knew the laws. He knew that Jews were to only marry Jews. Yet he fell in love with a Philistine woman. Then he followed his heart and took her as his wife. She would eventually betray him.
As Christians we can get into trouble when we base our decisions on our feelings and not on the Truth. We have to be willing to seek God’s way and then apply it to our lives. Even if it doesn’t make us feel good.
Just because we want something to be found acceptable by The Lord doesn’t mean that it will be.
Judges Chapters 14:1-7
He wasn’t raised in a prestigious home. He didn’t have any background as a warrior. His family was poor.
His name: Gideon.
Gideon, the man that God chose to destroy Israel’s worship of false gods single handily. The man that led three hundred men to victory over thousands without drawing a sword. The man that Israel wanted for their king.
God may be calling you to do something that you are certain can’t be accomplished. If you were left to succeed on your own you’d be right. But God is with you. Just as He was with Gideon. Don’t put your trust in yourself. Place all your faith in Him.
God chooses the unlikely to do extraordinary things.
Judges 6 & 7
Thief. Liar. Zacchaeus. He was known as a man that preyed upon the poor. He took money from whomever he could under the pretense of being a lawful man. He was supposed to be an upstanding citizen. He was viewed as the worst of the worst.
Then he sought out Jesus. The reputation he had earned couldn’t affect Christ’s redeeming grace. Zacchaeus was offered a relationship with Him. The world still looked upon Zacchaeus as a sinner. In their eyes he would never be good enough to be a follower of Jesus. But from Jesus’ point of view he was worthy of salvation. He had become a child of His.
The opinion of people doesn’t affect the judgment of Jesus.
You might have lived a life full of corruption. Jesus’ blood can cover any sin. You might be falsely accused but in Jesus you can be blameless. Jesus knows you for who you really are. He sees you as no one else can. And He loves you. He desires to have a relationship with you. A pure relationship in which you don’t allow the opinions of others or the opinion of yourself dictate who you are in Him. A relationship in which you just give yourself to Him completely, hiding nothing.
The angel of The Lord led Philip into the desert. He waited. Soon a chariot traveled toward him. The Spirit told Philip to go to the chariot.
Meanwhile, in the chariot was the treasurer of Queen Candace. He had been reading the scriptures and was intrigued by a prophecy of Isaiah’s about Jesus’ crucifixion. He was unable to comprehend it. He needed someone to explain it to him.
And that’s when Philip and the Ethiopian treasurer met. At the exact time when the treasurer needed teaching Philip was there to teach him. When the treasurer decided that he wanted to live his life for Jesus, Philip was there to lead him to The Lord. After he accepted Jesus as his savior they looked out the window and saw water and the treasurer was baptized.
Timing was key. It was no coincidence that Philip arrived as soon as the treasurer began dwelling on the scripture about Jesus’ sacrifice. It also wasn’t a coincidence that after he was saved they passed by water, in the middle of a desert, to be baptized.
The Spirit had told Philip to go to the chariot at just the right time. Philip didn’t argue that the people within the chariot would refuse him. He didn’t worry that he wouldn’t know what to say. He wasn’t concerned with his surroundings. The Spirit said go and he went. He ran to the chariot.
Philip’s immediate obedience to the Spirit allowed him to be a part of the biggest blessing in a person’s life: coming to Christ.
I Kings 17:8-16
A widowed woman was facing a trying time. She was the sole provider for herself and her son. And she was living in a drought. She was down to the end of her supply. She had gathered two sticks and was going home to make the last meal.
On her way home she met Elijah, the man of God who had prophesied the drought. He asked her for some water. As she turned to go get it he also asked her to make him some food. She argued that she and her son were on the brink of death and that she had only enough ingredients for one last meal.
There was no way that the three of them could be sustained with the amount of food that was left. Elijah’s response: Don’t worry. Go on and make the meal. Just let me eat first then you and your son can eat. God will bless you for taking care of me. You’ll have enough ingredients to get you through the drought.
She did it. She went and made the meal and served Elijah first. And The Lord blessed her just as Elijah said He would.
Have you ever been in that place where the situation didn’t seem like it could get any worse just find out that it could? You had been asked to do the impossible and if you accepted the challenge you would be blessed. But everything in you was telling you to just go find your own way and you’d figure out the details later.
God sees the situations we are in. He knows how difficult they are for us. But, He, in His infinite wisdom, also sees an opportunity to strengthen us, to grow us. If we are willing to go along with His plan, no matter how outlandish it may seem, the blessings will flow.
II Kings 6:8-23
The servant of Elisha thought the Israelites were doomed. The entire camp of Israel was surrounded by the Syrian army. Worried, he went to Elisha and explained the situation as he saw it. Elisha prayed to God, asking Him to open the eyes of the servant. The servant’s eyes were opened and he saw the army of The Lord surrounding them.
When the servant of Elisha received his spiritual vision he was comforted. He knew the power of God was on their side. He also probably thought he knew how The Lord would give them the victory, through a battle.
But The Lord didn’t give the victory to the Israelites through a battle with Syria. Instead he blinded the Syrians and had the Israelites to take them captive and lead them into Samaria. Instead of destroying them there, the Israelites fed them. The Syrians realized the power of the Israelites and their God. They went back home peaceably. The Israelites had obtained victory.
Rarely do we get the details in the plans that God has for us. We make plans of our own to try and line up with what we think God might want. This isn’t a bad thing as long as we are flexible to when God shows us a different path. Because spiritual vision isn’t seeing every detail of the outcome in a situation. Spiritual vision is focusing on the fact that God is with you and then allowing Him to lead.