15 February 2016

Our God looks forward, not back.

S: “Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”” ~Judges 6:11-16 NKJV

O: As I read this, I expected the Lord to answer Gideon's question of "Why?" with a detailed list of Israel's wrongs and how to make them right. But He didn't. He did answer Gideon with clear instructions, but instead of looking into the past to fix things in a penance-based salvation, He offered Gideon an opportunity to correct course in one simple, forward-looking step: choosing to obey the word of the Lord in that moment.

A: I don't need to go over my history in detail, to ferret out things to fix, things to repent of. I'm mortal, and can focus on one thing at a time. And so, when I am focused on Christ, seeking Him, following Him, firmly believing His word and trusting Him, none of that stuff matters. As Todd White often says, "Jesus cancelled my subscription to issues". Yes, sometimes there are things that need to be dealt with--but I've found that Jesus is the one to bring those right in front of my nose, giving me the chance to choose Him. I don't have to be always looking backward and doing penance. And that's what happened with Gideon. Instead of detailing past sins, God gave Gideon the chance to choose faith and diligence before Him.

P: Lord, keep my eye single to You. I only want to look to You, think of You, see You before my face. I want to behold more and more of Your heart, Your perspective, Your ways. I've long been utterly done with believing the enemy's perspective, with allowing his lies to define my reality. Keep unveiling the enemy's tactics so I can grow more and more able to resist him as I submit to you. Keep showing me where I still hold unbelief, and be with me, Papa God; keep me company as I continue to step into the unknown, choosing what You offer even though it often terrifies my flesh and takes tremendous labor to release the pockets of fleshly thinking that still hide so I can exist in the reality You define. I recognize this may very well be a lifelong process, but I willingly throw myself into it wholeheartedly, because the peace and healing and love You offer are the only way I ever want to live. Ever. Thank You for giving me a name to call you--a name that holds deep meaning to me, anchored securely in the Holy of Holies that exists in the very center of everything that I am. Thank you for the words of encouragement and exhortation and comfort I've heard in the last five days. I'm just amazed at the work You continue in my life, and don't know what I'd do without You. Love you so, so much, God. In Jesus' name, amen.

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!