We’re into Week 9, but before we finish, here are my notes on Week 8. This is the week that just didn’t go quite as planned; yet, it was divinely planned. He always has a plan! I remember Angie Smith saying that a week before coming to Denver to speak for Women of Faith she had woken up in the night to find her husband praying at the foot of the bed three times. The ladies just felt it – thick, spiritual warfare. I had also felt it…known it…saw it in the faces and lives of just my 25 ladies. Then, walking through the arena doors, something I had done with Women of Faith many times before, something just wasn’t as “light.” We were going to be at war that weekend, and it wouldn’t end then. Our Church Family was also experiencing such warfare and our minister was feeling the heaviness of it. It was during that week and weekend that we were studying Judges. The Judges weren’t leaders like Moses and Joshua. They weren’t Kings like Saul, David, and Solomon. They were each given a small piece of time to try and get Israel to turn their faces back to God – to feel and carry the burden of God’s people. Some of these judges were seen as wise, as warriors, as strong…and some were just as fickle as the Israelites they were supposed to be leading. Satan had such a foothold at that time in history. Has much really changed?
Chapter 8…Sunday and Wednesday of week 8:
Sunday’s message did not come from the notes on the Judges; it came from a burdened shepherd needing to share with his sheep how things had turned and twisted. (In many aspects that day, though, we were Israelites hearing our own Judge.)
Sometimes we spend more time (as ministers…seasoned Christians) trying to get Christians to be Christians than we do helping them fulfill their mission.
The Israelites were becoming Canaanized…God gave them Judges…(we, ourselves, have a choice everyday – do we choose to look like Kingdom citizens or Worldly ones?)
Every day the Church is becoming more like the world it seeks to change.
But, the Holy Spirit does enable us to fight this!
Most who say they’re Christians do not think or act like it…sometimes we need to be shaken…(need to be convicted!)
18 Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,
“He traps the wise
in the snare of their own cleverness.”
20 And again,
“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise;
he knows they are worthless.”
I Corinthians 3:18-20
We need to evaluate our lives in light of God’s Truth not the world’s standards
Judges 21:25 Guard yourself against relativism…commit to being faithful not successful
Am I truly being transformed? (Or am I just settling in to conformity?) Romans 12:2
I need to look more different than my culture…(do they know Who’s I am?)
Entertainment, the checkbook, my actions will reveal my God or god…
In Matthew 6:19-21 we are told by Jesus to give more, be satisfied more, even if it means giving some of your wants away? (Maybe it means seeing if you could even live if you gave what you thought was a need away.)
(What if we started with just $1? For those who have been giving nothing, something – anything – is better. The reason is always “we have no extra,” and I know that scenario! B0logna sandwiches and fried Spam at Grandma’s house were my young years. Beaten up cars and living in the Projects – I get that! But what if we chose to just try and give a $1 or a $1 more? What if we chose the off-brand of cheese this week, and gave the savings to God? What if we chose a cup of hot water in our homes over another $1.60 cup of coffee at the local coffee shop? What if we chose to spend more time in the outdoor fall decor rather than purchasing more half-off items at the craft store? Could we give just that $1 away? Could I?)
My actions reveal my real beliefs. James 2:18 – take your “noun” life and make it a “verb” (“A verb is a word that shows an action!”)
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
I MUST be more different this year than last!
(Here’s the HOPE and GRACE) God is faithful to forgive and restore! I John 1:8-9
Every time Israel realized they had wandered too far from God, they repented (Judges)
God’s Grace should compel me to live righteously!
Consciously refuse to be Canaanized!
Israel was a Theocracy not a democracy (God was their King)
The people were given this great opportunity to Be the Difference – to serve God alone! And they bucked and whined and sinned and rebelled against Him.
As Christians we are supposed to be living as having a Personal Theocracy – God as King!
The Israelites had drowned in the Lower Story – Canaanized. We do too.
Judges were sent to rescue them…
Finally, Samuel -Judge and Prophet…here is when the Israelites voice what their lives had been saying all along, “God, we don’t want to live in the Upper Story. Give us a Lower Story King!”
I Samuel 12: they were rejecting God not Samuel…Samuel reminds them of God’s faithfulness…tells them to remember where they came from! But they (and we) forgot what God had done because of their immediate problems.
They (we) started thinking they could live without Him…
For years God chose to discipline them with captivity – all as a means to draw them back to the realization of their need for Him.
Corrie Ten Boom’s story of the lice was told – how she hated it most about the Concentration Camps. Yet, it was the burden of lice that kept the guards away and made a way for her to have Bible Studies with the Jews in her barracks.
Sometimes – a lot of times – slavery is the way to our rescue.
Good News! Israel did survive because of our Faithful God!
When we repent, He rescues!
The Hope of Eternal Life
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.
12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
A Call to Holy Living
13 So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.
21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.
22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.
23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say,
“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.
2 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
I Peter 1:2-2:3 NLT