We've been firing some pottery over the last few days. What's the difference between the pot in my hand and the vessels still in the kiln? What went wrong? The one in my hand wasn't willing to go through the fire ...it didn't stand the test that would make it usable. The others did! They were pure - without any impurities that could cause them to break or even explode in the firing and they were willing to endure to the end! See where I'm going? If I take them out too quickly before they cool slowly, they can't take the thermal shock and they shatter... they have to endure to the end.
God's got a plan for you in the furnace, where life's trials try you by fire and purify you and change you...even when it seems to take forever. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 Remember this when it gets hard. You can't get out when it heats up either or you'll break - His timing for you is perfect and for your well being! I Peter 5:10 says, And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. Don't give up in the middle of fiery trials - endure to the end where you'll find the Potter lovingly and excitedly pulling you out at the perfect time with great joy on His face!
Jason Denning. St.Cloud Church of God.
The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord:
“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor donkey. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord.”
Judges 6:1-6 KJV
Those mean Midianites.... Always causing problems. People are always blaming others for the problems they got themselves into. When Israel turned away from God, thighs would get bad. The enemy would ravage their land.
Great men have been humbled because of sin.
Ministries have fallen because of sin.
Marriages have been ruined because of sin.
Friendships have been lost because of sin.
Do you see the pattern? The wages of sin is death.
Sin brings oppression in people's life.
Sin will take you where you don't want to go.
Q: Why do we wait till we are in trouble before we turn to God.
Don't blame the devil, you probably brought trouble on yourself.
If you keep poking a bee nest you probably will get stung.
If you window shop for things you should not have you will eventually buy something that will cost you more then you can afford. That’s the way of the world. God expects us to live different then the world. We are supposed to live holy. Maybe you’re in the mess you’re in because you are living in sin.
The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
“And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abi–ezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?
But now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house. And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.”
Judges 6:11-16 KJV
Gideon was threshing the wheat in the wrong place. He was hiding from the enemy.
Gideon felt that the Lord had abandoned them, God was still there, Israel was the one who turned away from God. Gideon felt unworthy to be the one God was going to use.
NEWS FLASH! We are all unworthy.
God sees what we can do. God HAS plans for our life to accomplish things for him.
The Lord said... "Surely I will be with thee." You may be weak, but God is strong.
God will use the foolish things to confound the wise. Remember the flash cards we had as kids. Banana, Apple, orange, and a truck. Which one does not belong? That's how Gideon felt. He was feeling weak and not worthy, like he did not belong. How many people feel like we are alone and weak? It might be time to stop threshing wheat in the winepress. Just remember God often uses the weak people. Read the Bible and you will find story after story about the weak people being called to do great things for God. God has a calling for you, do you know what it is?
Take some time and pray that God would show you what he wants for your life.
Go in the strength you have and God will make up the difference.
"Surely I will be with thee."
The people that are with thee are too many.
“Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead.
And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand. And the Lord said unto Gideon,
The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were
three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.”
Judges 7:1-7 KJV
TRUST IN JESUS.
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:10 KJV
The action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration.
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 25:1-13 KJV
There is a feeling of uncertainty in the air when a hurricane approaches Florida. Getting ready for a hurricane? Here is a check list: Generator, gas, food, water, batteries, flashlights, medication, some cash, just to name a few. But when a hurricane comes people wait till the last few days and then rush the stores to get supplies. At the local hardware and grocery store are hordes of people acting like a zombie apocalypse is coming. Better get the Twinkies. Randy got Nutty Buddy Bars, got to have them, If only people were prepared. The illustration Jesus told was about people who were not ready for a bride groom. The marriage was an event that gave ample time to get supplies for.
People are always putting things off till the need is urgent.
People often don’t plan ahead for problems.
People often don't seek God until trouble strikes their life.
THREE THINGS TO LEARN:
THE OIL OF GOD IS THE HOLY SPIRIT.
When a Christian trust in God for salvation, the Holy Ghost that Jesus spoke about comes to live within them. It is called being filled with the sprit. In the book of acts there were many things that were signs of when someone was filled with the spirit. They spoke in other tongues, spoke the word of God with boldness, people were healed. The spirit is what brings conviction and comfort in a Christian’s life. When God convicts, then you should turn away.
FAITH COMES BY HEARING THE WORD.
The people looked like they are ready on the outside, but on the inside the lamps are empty. Only half of the people in this story were really ready. The word of God is a lamp to your feet; it is a light to your path. Q: Do you keep your lamp full?
Q: Do you stay in the word? God has many promises found in the Bible. Don't be a just a person who hears the truth of the scripture and forgets, you should live it.
Have you prepared for your service to God. There are those that plan, and those that prepare. When we plan we don't always see what events may cause our plans to fail. If we are prepared for uncertain circumstance then we have a better chance of success. Is there air in your spare tire? We can prepare our hearts by studying the Bible. The Word is a light to our path, if we have it. If we don’t know what the bible says, then we are walking around in the dark. You can't trust in a promise from God if you don't know, or never heard it. Read the bible, hide Gods word in your heart. Meditate on it. Pray about it. If we ask any thing and know it's God's will, then we can have this confidence that God not only hears us but will also grant us the things we ask. We can know his will through His words.
1- BE READY.
Be actively doing what God would have you do for Him.
Q: Are you serving God, or living for self?
A key to Christian readiness is a constant filling of the Holy Spirit.
Don't be motivated by fear, but by love.
Procrastinators rush around in fear trying to get ready when it's late. This often results in a mess.
Q: Jesus is coming are you ready?
2- STAY READY.
Don't wait till you are out of gas to get filed up. If you always drove your car out of gas, you better have a gas can handy. Sometimes you have to stop and fill up. It would be a dumb thing to wait till your out of gas to fill up. Christians need to fill up on the bible so they have enough fuel to make it through life.
Find a church and go regularly, be a part or worship, and study the word, fellowship with other believers. This will keep your spiritual motor running and you can be prepared for what life throws your way.
Message by: Jason Denning.
Notes by: Matthew Law
Graphic Art and Blog content by Matthew Law, inspired by Pastors and visiting speakers messages.