Archive for the ‘food and drink’ Category

You know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints–that you also submit to such, and to everyone who works and labors with us. 1 Corinthians 16:15-16

“They have ‘addicted’ themselves to the ministry,” is the Kings James rendering of this verse.

I like that.

Addiction is something I can relate to.  I excel at addiction.  When I was a cop, I was addicted to the job — I soaked it up like a Twinkie in milk. Simultaneously I was addicted to golf, playing an average of two to three times a week. And I’m sad to report there were other times in my life where my addictions were less respectable, involving drugs and alcohol and the like.

What about you? What are you addicted to?

The truth be told, we’re all addicted to something.

Swapping-out the word addiction, Bob Dylan, in prophetic manner, reminds us that we’re all going to serve somebody or something.

You may be an ambassador to England or France,
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls.

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

What an astute analysis.  Chilling actually.

Whether he realized it or not, Dylan stumbled upon the notion that we have been programmed, in advance, to behave this way.  Is this truly the case?  If so, who is responsible?

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11


God has put eternity in our hearts.

But what is this thing eternity?

From the get-go we’re clueless, but instinctively we know that it’s something satisfying and like pigs after truffles, we’ve been wired to track it down.

Eternity is in effect the wellspring of our addiction. However, outside of God we wonder and wander aimlessly, only occasionally stumbling upon things that bring temporary satisfaction and relief.

Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” John 7:37

Seriously Jesus?  If anyone thirsts?  Dude (will all due respect), we ALL thirst.

Yes.  That’s the Point

Jesus would answer,

“Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst…the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14

Eternity is satisfaction perfected.


Call it a God-sized hole, call it a thirst, call it an addiction; it matters not.  It is what it is.  All that remains is what are you going to do about it — with what or with whom will you fill the void?

Answer wisely.

The Problem With Philosophy

There is no problem with philosophy, unless of course you remove one of its components before you begin. That’s what secular philosophy has done — before commencing it proclaims, “We will accept all possible conclusions as long as one of them isn’t God.”  

That’s not philosophy, that’s stupidity.

Imagine a mathematician announcing,

I am about to undertake this incredibly difficult equation and I will accept any answer I come with, except of course the number seven.  I hate seven and I’m quite positive seven does not exist.”  

Insanity, right?

Once you’ve taken God out of the equation, you’ve lost all hope of arriving at the right answer.  A valid philosophy demands that all possible answers remain on the table, otherwise you spend your entire life trying to justify an error.

Case in point: evolution.  Identifying a deficiency (and while ignoring the obvious), theorists have conjured up a series of missing links, effectively replacing one void with several others.  That’s akin to filling a hole with another hole.

Excuse me, your emperor is naked.

Fear Not

Our natural reaction might be to reject rational thinking altogether.


Don’t fear philosophy, God doesn’t.  He knows that if someone is truly seeking the truth, to fill that void, to quench that thirst, they will ultimately arrive at the cross.

Check out this excerpt from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary on the word:

The objects of philosophy are to ascertain facts or truth, and the causes of things or their phenomena; to enlarge our views of God and his works, and to render our knowledge of both practically useful and subservient to human happiness. True religion and true philosophy must ultimately arrive at the same principle.

I love it.

True religion and true philosophy must ultimately arrive at the same standard.  God!

Experience is the Best Teacher

Practically every testimony I have ever heard shares this common theme: “My (bad) experiences led me to Jesus.”  

In other words, every attempt to fill a void or satisfy a craving ultimately failed. Why?  Because their addictive search for the truth omitted God.  However it was the pain associated with their failures that compelled them to put all possible answers back on the table.

I submit to you that this is a work of the Holy Spirit.  This is conviction in its finest hour!

My friends, experience is the best teacher, but it doesn’t have to be your experience. Learn from the mistakes of others and go directly to the Fountainhead–go directly to the Source eternal.  If you haven’t experienced a peace that surpasses all understanding, you haven’t considered all the answers.

Consider Jesus

The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. Philippians 6:5b-8

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And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ ” 1 Kings 17:13-14

Elijah the prophet was sent by God to a gentile land to be cared for by a gentile woman. Upon his arrival he discovered that the woman who God said would care for him was unable to care for herself; she and her child were in fact starving to death. Elijah, having taken this all in, incredibly asks the woman for some food. Some might say Elijah was being incredulously selfish, but I submit that we should see him as being extraordinarily faithful. Lesson one from the story is that extraordinarily faithful people are typically prone towards bolstering others in their faith.

Emboldened in and by the Lord, Elijah encouraged the woman that the time had arrived for her to take a leap of faith; for he saw (and she knew) she was at the bottom of her barrel. For many Christians (not all), it was in this dark and desperate place they first recognized their Savior. In that place we discovered that Jesus will not forcibly take our hand, but rather we must grasp the hand extended to us. In our story, the starving woman, in a leap-of-faith moment, would take the outstretched arm of the Lord—by faith she would give all that she had to Elijah.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33

Seeing is Believing

‘Seeing is believing,’ is the mantra of the faithless. The world is filled with would-be bighearted and compassionate people who proclaim their willingness to open their hands to those in need as soon as the Lord abundantly blesses them. These same folks would have likely proposed to Elijah, “Dude, I’ll give you all you want, just have your God first fill up my barrel.” That’s not how God operates.

Unbelievers cry foul not realizing that God is determined to make us men and women of faith. To that end; to be strong in faith, one must exercise the faith they have been given. Our Father works with empty and willing vessels. Anyone can give from their surplus, but only the faithful are able to give sacrificially. Each and every time this occurs, God gets the honor and the glory, and we grow stronger in our faith.

One Small Step For…God

And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.” Joshua 3:13

Can you picture the scene? The Ark of the Covenant, the most precious item of the Tabernacle of the Lord, the place where God Himself spoke to the people, was about to cross the Jordan River. God essentially says to the priests carrying the Ark, “Step into the raging waters, then I’ll part them so you can cross over.”

Surely some must have thought the Ark was too valuable to risk taking such a chance. These priests however knew that theirs was not a God of fate, but a God of faithfulness and in order to receive the promise they must move in the faith they had been given. God came through for them and He will come through for us!

Do you find yourself at the bottom of the barrel or are you at some other place where the Lord is calling you to step out in faith? Then go to the Lord and prayer, seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these the Lord has promised shall be added to you. God is faithful and true to His word.

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson

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So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. 1 Kings 17:5-7

It’s a common teaching in today’s church that if a ministry is drying up that it is a sign from the Lord to move on. There was a time I would have unconditionally believed that. However, if that were the case, as the Brook Cherith slowed to a trickle, Elijah might have uttered, “Oh well, I guess the Lord isn’t in this thing anymore, I better get going.” But that is not what Elijah did.

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath… 17:8-9

Elijah went to the brook because the Lord commanded him to and he didn’t leave, despite the parched conditions, until the Lord told him to. What’s the Lord told you to do and more importantly, has He rescinded the directive? Is it the ministry that’s bone-dry, or your faith?

Is God Still With Me?

How will you know if God is still in the thing He brought you to? How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego know? They knew because like Elijah, they were at peace in their hostile environment; they weren’t burned-out, nor were they freaking out. They were able to rest in the words that they heard.

…And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

I recently had an experience hosting a golf tournament to raise money for a Christian ministry; an event that I truly felt led by the Lord to undertake. I found the work associated with it to be unproblematic, but I did struggle with the lack of a response—many had said they would play, but few were actually signing up. I thought and shared with others, including my pastor, ‘is this thing drying up?’ and a few people suggested that I throw in the towel. I didn’t because I believed God led me to it and I hadn’t heard from Him to abandon the cause.

Long story short, the golf event was successful and I believe that the Lord allowed it to progress the way it did (at least in part) to reveal and teach me the lesson that is being conveyed here in 1 Kings 17—if God brings you to a thing, He will be faithful to bring you through it. Moving on is not an option until God says so.

And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side…Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:18, 23-26

Don’t Forget the Word That You Heard

Why were the disciples fearful? Because they forgot. They had forgotten what Jesus had said to them at the start; that He had given the command to depart to the other side. Didn’t they know if Jesus said that they’re going over to the other side, that’s exactly where they’re going to end up? Don’t we know? Let us endeavor to stay in the boat God has placed us until He tells us to abandon the ship.

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson

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It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 11:1

While the combat zones may vary for each of us, the focus (Jesus) and mission (the Gospel message) are always the same. The born-again believer is [in one sense] the instrument God deploys within the enemy’s territory. However, despite being exposed to the enemy’s weaponry, we’re divinely sheltered. Therefore it stands to reason that the safest place for the Christian is on the front lines ~and~ fully engaged.

Blessed be the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle – my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge… Psalm 144:1-2a

David’s choice to stay off the battlefield illustrates the point and further demonstrates that we don’t fall into sin accidentally, but that we freely walk into it one step at a time. Have you heard it said that, ‘Idle hands are the devil’s workshop?’ Well that phrase is not from the Bible, but the standard surely is. Why should we be hands-on, clear-headed, and attentive?

…Because (our) adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8b

Does that mean we can never come in off the battle field, kick-back, and relax? Of course we can, as long as we never to lose our focus. The moment we lose sight of Jesus; the moment the ‘fear of the Lord’ takes a back seat to recreation, we willfully and knowingly take that first step toward sin. The good news is that God will warn us before every illicit step we take.

And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 2 Samuel 11:3b

“Umm David…she’s married,” someone said.

By the way, that someone was God, speaking through one of His instruments and David purposely and deliberately dismissed the good counsel he had received. God does the same thing with us. If we sin, we know it’s wrong because God told us so before we did it. The fact the God gave us the story of David and Bathsheba proves the fact.

Anyway, we know where the story goes from here and there’s no sense in recounting each of David’s perverse steps. The point I wanted to camp on is that our sin always begins with one seemingly innocent step which when examined reveals it was a step away from God.

But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23

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Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.” And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.” Ruth 3:3-5

Ask any mature Christian and they will rightly tell you that the book of Ruth, in addition to being an accurate account of a historical event, is a dramatic illustration of Christ’s redemptive work for His bride, the church. Ruth is of course a picture of the church and Boaz a picture of Jesus Christ – our Ga’al, or kinsmen redeemer. However, the spiritual similes do not stop there; each sentence of this glorious book provides application for the Christian towards the spirit-filled life found in Christ Jesus. Ruth 3:3-5 is in actuality a formula teaching us how to be in a position to receive from the Lord.. These are not legalistic steps that require completing, but rather a blueprint that should be embraced because the benefits outweigh the effort.

Wash Yourself

These words simply remind us that we should be in God’s word continually; every day if possible. It is both a reasonable and intelligent choice. We bathe daily if we are able; nobody has to make us do it–we want to. So should it be with our scripture reading. Come to realize the cleansing effect His word has as it washes over you. Becoming clean should never be seen as a chore, but a luxury we get to partake in. Do you see reading the Bible as the magnificent treat that it is?

He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word Ephesians 5:26

Anoint Yourself

Oil in the Bible speaks to the Holy Spirit. Have you prayed to receive the Holy Spirit for the purpose of empowerment; to be a witness for Jesus Christ? If you have not, you might be born-again, but you are not powered-up for service. Do you pray frequently to be re-filled with this anointing? If you don’t you’re like a fine automobile with an empty tank and a dead battery. When we’re told to anoint ourselves, it really means to pray to receive the blessings we need to function as Christians. If we have not it is because we asked not.

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! Luke 11:13

Put on Your Best

Ruth and Naomi came back to Bethlehem in their mourning clothes, but Naomi wisely realized it was time for a change. By God’s grace and mercy we have been saved, therefore what kind of testimony is it when we bemoan our past by outwardly appearing as we once were. Are we not new creations in Christ? We most certainly are and our countenance should always reflect that fact. Our attire, metaphorically speaking should be garments of praise and not pity.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness Psalms 30:11

Go Down to the Threshing Floor

This part is huge. The threshing floor is a place of separation and refinement, and willingly going there speaks to both submission and sacrifice. This is not something that someone else can do for us. There is a price to be paid by every believer and the cost is reflected in our desire to submit ourselves to the sanctification process. Sadly, this is the place where many a Christian turn away. What we need to realize is that the threshing floor is where we get to shine for Jesus and where He tweaks us in order that we might perform our best.

Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 2 Samuel 24:24

Do Not Make Yourself Known

We’re talking humility here folks. There is no place for pride before the Throne of God. The reality is that the Bible teaches that self-importance always comes before destruction and must be shunned. The suggestion therefore would be that when we change our garments, we all leave pride in the pocket.

Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of the great; For it is better that he say to you, “Come up here,” Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen. Proverbs 25:6-7

Notice the Place Where He Lies

To me this speaks to Holy Communion; the act of remembering our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and what He did for us. Personally, I choose to remember His sacrifice and resurrection each time I eat a meal in addition to at church where we partake of the elements corporately. Whenever we go to see where He lies we cannot help but notice He is not there! For the Christian we notice for the purpose of sharing. “He is risen,” should not be something we keep to ourselves.

He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” Matthew 28:6-7

Go in

Have you ever heard it said that Christianity is not about a religion, but a relationship with Jesus Christ? Well the truth be told, it is both. Jesus desires nothing more than an intimate relationship with His brothers and sisters. God has given us the religious components of our faith that enable us to go deeper with the One who gave His life to make this possible. The elements of our religion don’t save us, they just aid us in knowing Jesus better.

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

Uncover His Feet and Lie Down

These words bring me back to the cross. As we uncover the feet of our Savior, the thing that will be most evident is the piercing place. Even as I write these words it is a sobering vision that leads me to worship. Because it is to easy for us to be consumed by the events of the day, we need to often reexamine the scars of His sacrifice. From this place we can both worship and listen.

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. Luke 10:38-39

He Will Tell You What You Should Do

“I don’t hear God speaking to me,” is a commonly heard amongst Christians. The managing of that affliction has not changed and is recorded throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments. If we regularly wash ourselves in the Word, we will better recognize His voice. If we ask and receive His Holy Spirit, we will comprehend what He is saying. If we come rejoicing rather than mourning, we won’t obscure the outpouring of His love. If we come humbly, we won’t stumble. If we submit to the process of sanctification, we will be changed. Our Lord said His yoke is easy and His burden is light, the question for us is do we believe Him.

All that you say to me I will do. Ruth 3:5

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Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. Ruth 1:1

If God is your King, then the notion of leaving the safe haven He provides for another location should seem ridiculous to you. Sadly, this is precisely what Elimelech does in this opening passage from the Book of Ruth. Elimelech is Naomi’s husband and his name just happens to mean ‘My God is King.’. What makes this ugly situation even worse is that in his search for a worldly solution to a physical problem, he opts for the worst possible place imaginable and as a result becomes the picture of the prodigal son who never makes it home.

Moab is My washpot Psalms 108:9

Does it really matter why Moab is so bad? Not really, but I found it interesting to recall that the Moabitish people are the result of a drunken, incestuous relationship between Lot and his eldest daughter, after fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:31-38). Lot’s son was named Moab and the Moabites are his direct descendants. Scripture goes on to tell us that they worshipped many false gods, that they were prideful, reproachful, arrogant and would ultimately suffer the same fate as Sodom (Zephaniah 2:9-11). Obviously, Elimelech should have known better and was not in touch with the Lord when he made this dreadful decision.

A Better Choice

The truth of the matter is that life in Bethlehem for Elimelech was not that bad. We know this to be true because Naomi would later in this same chapter bitterly lament, “I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty,” acknowledging that life with God as King was satiating and life without Him was hollow. It’s true. What the world offers is temporary at best and if you show me a Christian who doesn’t recognize this, I’ll show you a person who is headed for ruin.

I’m not minimizing famine; it’s a big deal. But while the difficulty seemed colossal, the reality was that the solution was only eighteen inches away; the average distance between a man’s knees and the floor. Do you believe that God is bigger than the problems we face? Then also believe that His remedy to these problems has not changed through the centuries.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

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My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5

To discern and learn the wisdom of God requires effort. This is of course is not a work unto salvation (that was completed on the cross by Jesus), but a work towards the practical application of knowledge gained in and of the Lord. King Solomon allegorically compared the hunt for wisdom as an enterprise a prospector might pursue in order to discover precious metal or gemstones, implying that much effort is reasonable if you desire such a prize. Most would agree, but I’m kind of fond of Socrates’ straight-forward approach on the topic.

The story is told of a young man who came to the Greek philosopher in his quest for wisdom. Socrates supposedly said, “Follow me,” and he walked down to the ocean. He waded out into waist-deep water and the young man remained at his side. Socrates suddenly grabbed the lad and thrust him beneath the water. The terrified boy struggled vehemently against his strong grip. The great thinker finally released him and said, “You will find wisdom when you crave it as much as you did a breath of air.”

Do we hunger so greatly after godly wisdom? We should. This type of pursuit leads us to better understand what it means to fear the Lord, which will in turn lead us to a prosperous walk in the Lord and a walk that is pleasing to God.

For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding…in (Him) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Proverbs 2:6 and Colossians 2:3

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So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united together as one man. Judges 20:11

An Incensed Israel

What got Israel so fired up? In the previous chapter, a woman was horribly abused and killed at the hands of the Benjamites, a tribe of Israel—the account is one of the most bizarre stories in the Old Testament. It was seen as an act of terrorism against the nation of Israel as a whole; a wake-up call of sorts. The men of Israel mobilized in order that they could mete-out revenge for the travesty. And a travesty it was; in the first battle Israel would lose twenty-two thousand men; in the second battle, eighteen thousand—a full ten percent of their righteous army was wiped out by these Benjamite terrorists. How could this be?

God is on Our Side!

God unquestionably was on Israel’s side; the problem was that Israel was not on His side. The very last sentence of the Book of Judges sums up precisely where Israel’s priorities were, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes,” Judges 21:25. What seemed right to Israel (in those days) was revenge; fueled by hatred and they chose to rally around vengeance rather than God.

Israel Figures it Out

Then all the children of Israel, that is, all the people, went up and came to the house of God and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening; and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. So the children of Israel inquired of the Lord (the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days), saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of my brother Benjamin, or shall I cease?” And the Lord said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand.” Judges 20:26-28

Israel repents. Her sin was having become united in a cause, a mission, and a ministry, rather then being submitted to the God who guides us in all these things. Why is it so tragic and sinful to rally around a cause? Because when a cause is our motivator, after it is realized, any harmony that had developed as a result of it will ultimately break down. Don’t believe that to be true? Consider where the United States of America was as a nation in the days, weeks, and months subsequent to September 11 and where we are now almost ten years later.

A Look Back

As a nation our zeal was for retaliation and rightly so! We gathered together as ancient Israel did before the Lord and asked Him not of His plans, but that He would bless our plans as we sought our vengeance. I submit to you that when we proceeded with our agenda, God was indeed on our side, but we were not on His. Consider when was ancient Israel given the victory–after they fully humbled themselves and repented of their wicked ways. That godly principle has not changed one iota. Terrorism, earthquakes, tsunamis all serve to awake and unify nations, but when they do we would be well to remember to rally around the King and not the cause.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

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The man Micah had a shrine, and made an ephod and household idols; and he consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest . In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes…Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since I have a Levite as priest!” …And the priest said to them, “Go in peace. The presence of the Lord be with you on your way.” Judges 17:5-6, 13; Judges 18:6

In the book of Judges we have been provided a prophetic illustration of what Christ’s church is not supposed to look like. Micah, our main character has created for himself a place of worship; one that has a semblance of authenticity, but in reality is a sham of what God desires or allows. Micah gets an ‘A’ for fleshly creativity, flexibility, pleasantry, and holisticism, but fails miserably in every area that is of divine worth. Simply said, Micah took what was holy, perverted it, and then bought into the lie that it was somehow real. In the end when all his religious stuff was stolen Micah discovered that his hand-built faith was indeed hollow.


The warning for us is to not repeat Micah’s error. Why is it then that we see churches like Micah’s popping up all around us? We do not have to look very far to find churches that espouse creative approaches to worship emphasizing feel good sermons where self worth and prosperity are stressed and where sin and hell are two themes rarely if ever spoken of. Where there is a flexible approach to theology where individual beliefs and moralities are tolerated and oft times celebrated. And finally, where there is a desire to analyze the Bible beyond the scope of its Divine authorship, omitting and inserting text as the body deems appropriate. These have the appearance of Christianity, but in reality are impure and tainted.

But They’re Preaching Jesus?

That’s true, but when ungodly things are allowed in, the entire batch is polluted. And it really doesn’t matter how small the contaminate—it still pollutes. Imagine your Mom made two beautiful cakes. “What’s in them,” you ask.

“Well,” your mom says,“for this cake I went into the backyard, scooped up a big pile of dog poo, and put it in; about a cup’s worth.”

“Umm, ok Mom, whatever, what about the other one?”

“Oh, this one has hardly any poo in it at all, maybe a small piece the size of a pumpkin seed.”

Which cake are you going to eat? A wise person realizes that any amount of contamination is too much. The same principle should hold true for the churches we attend and the preachers we listen to.

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The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart– These, O God, You will not despise. Psalms 51:17

God works within the realm of man’s impossibilities so that He will get all the glory, but don’t think for a moment that our Lord is a glory-monger. The reality is that God knows if we get any credit, any fame, any honor, others will tend to follow us and that in time we will stumble and consequently trip up our followers. In His holy simplicity our Father says, “Just follow me and there will be no mishaps.”

The story of Gideon exemplifies this principle. Gideon’s army is one-fourth the size of the enemies one hundred and thirty-five thousand. The Lord ultimately narrows the field to just three hundred until the Israelis are out numbered four hundred and fifty to one. Historically, it’s the not the first time drew upon this ratio; God’s prophet Elijah faced the same odds.

I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 1 Kings 18:22

Back to Gideon

As directed by the Lord, Gideon gives these three hundred men a trumpet, a torch, and a jar, and says…

“Look at me and do likewise; watch, and when I come to the edge of the camp you shall do as I do: When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, ‘The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!’ ” So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers–they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing–and they cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” Judges 7:17-20

A Leader Leads

The Apostle Paul made a similar declaration when he proclaimed, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ,” in 1 Corinthians 11:1. The fact of the matter is true leaders lead by example and as directed by the Father through His Holy Spirit. But what I really like about this passage of scripture is the Biblical illustration it provides; a formula, if you will, regarding how a Christian dynamically lives out his or her faith. Believers can easily envelop themselves within the symbolism represented in the verse. Read the Judges passage again and consider these three New Testament references:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us…The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 2 Corinthians 4:7; Psalms 51:17a; Matthew 5:16

We are these earthen vessels, being formed by God from the very dust of the earth, having His own breath blown into us. We have not formed ourselves, we have been formed as a jar upon the Potter’s wheel, only to be broken; born again as it were, so the Master’s light; our light that we willing have received, might shine forth into a darkened world. Humbly, we obediently submit ourselves to the process and in so doing are abundantly blessed. Is that your testimony?

No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. Luke 11:33

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