Monday, January 30, 2017

Secrets of the God With Us Life - Joseph

When a flood hit the valley, a boat came by to help get Mable off her roof. She was watching a hat move one way, then turn around and move back the other way. The rescuer said, “I’ve never seen anything like that.” She said, “Neither have I, but Ralph said, ‘Come hell or high water, I’m cutting the grass this Saturday.’”

In the center of Main Street in Enterprise, Alabama, is a statue of a lady holding a boll weevil.  In early plantation days almost everyone in the community raised cotton. But boll weevil infestation wiped out the crops and shut down the cotton production. George Washington Carver began studies to see if another crop could be grown in that part of the country. Peanuts were the answer. Soon, this region became known as the peanut capital of the world. They found out farmers could earn more raising peanuts than from their best cotton yield. What had been a poverty inducing disaster, instead brought them great prosperity.

When they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death. They said to one another, "Here comes this dreamer! Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, 'A wild beast devoured him.' Then let us see what will become of his dreams!" But Reuben heard this and rescued him out of their hands and said, "Let us not take his life." (Gen 37:18-21)

Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt. (Gen 37:28)

Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had taken him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the LORD was with him and how the LORD caused all that he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his charge. (Gen 39:1-4)

The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph's charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper. (Gen 39:23)

When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!" So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father charged before he died, saying, 'Thus you shall say to Joseph, "Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong."' And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, "Behold, we are your servants." But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. (Gen 50:15-20)

Let’s talk about trials. We know what a court trial is, so throw that out. That’s not what we’re talking about.

A Biblical Trial: is a test of the performance, quality, or suitability of someone or something. The ultimate goal of a trial is for success not failure unless failure helps achieve the ultimate success.

A trial is like a test: How much do you know, what you don’t know, are you ready to move on?

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (James 1:2-3)

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (1 Pet 1:6-7)

Trials have an objective – a purpose.

Joseph’s trials were so God could accomplish His plans for preserving His people.

Secret of a God With Us Life is God will give us purpose in our trials.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Rom 8:18)

Trials reveal something about the goodness and greatness of God we would otherwise miss.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort. (2 Cor 1:3-7)

If I never needed God’s comfort, I wouldn’t know it was available. And in receiving that comfort I have something to share with others who need God’s comfort.

The other day, I ran into a friend who had recently lost his mother. I told him losing a mother is one of the hardest losses, or at least it was for me. I saw in his eyes he knew I understood.

The loss is not the trial. The trial is how we relate to God because of the loss.

For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Cor 4:6-11)

Paul's imprisonment in Philippi. Could it have been for the salvation of one man and his family?

Could that story be for our benefit as well? God doesn’t waste His trials.

Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Cor 10:11)
Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! (2 Tim 3:10-11)

What happened at Lystra: But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. (Acts 14:19-20)

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Cor 12:7-9)

Paul's thorn wasn’t a punishment. It wasn’t the trial. The trial was: Now that you have this thorn, what are you going to do about it? The thorn produced the trial: a test of the performance, quality, or suitability of someone or something. Paul, you need to learn how to handle this thorn because much more is coming, and many more people need your example.

Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. (2 Cor 11:24-28)

Paul’s option: I quit. This is just too hard.

Joseph's options: You guys are toast. He could have become bitter, revengeful, punitive, hold a grudge, be small minded.

Look what you did to me, look what you caused to happen to me, look how I suffered—this is about me!

No, look what God did to prepare for this day. This is about something bigger than me.

Only the mature refuse to ask why. Instead they ask: how are You going to use this for your greater purposes?

Never discount a trial. What we go through has meaning for us. It also can have meaning for someone else.

God doesn't cause everything that happens but in everything that happens God has a plan.

When God does cause an event He is working toward a result. How can you tell the difference?  Can't, so we thank God in all things.

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess 5:16-18)

If in everything that happens God has a plan to work out His best, we can thank Him for what He is doing. We may not be able to thank Him for what happens, but we can thank Him for what He is going to do because it happened.


1.       Trials are designed for benefit not punishment.
2.      Through trials God can accomplish more in our lives in a shorter time period than He can work into our lives over a longer time period.
3.      Trials demonstrate God’s favor.

4.      When God is With Us the favor He grants spreads from us to bless others as well.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Secrets of the God With Us Life - Samuel

Life is full of obstacles.
Three men were hiking and came to large, raging river. They needed to get to the other side but didn’t know how. The first man prayed, "God, give me the STRENGTH to cross this river." Poof! God gave him big arms and strong legs, and he swam across the river. The second man prayed, "God, give me the TOOLS to cross this river." Poof! God gave him a rowboat, and he rowed across. Seeing this, the third man prayed, "God, give me the INTELLIGENCE to cross this river." And poof! God turned him into a woman. She looked at the map, hiked upstream for 50 yards, and then walked across the bridge!

Language can be an obstacle.
• Denmark: a sign for a Copenhagen airline: We take your bags and send them in all directions.
• When translated into Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin’ good" came out "eat your fingers off".
• In a pamphlet for English-speaking drivers renting a car in Tokyo: "When a passenger of the foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet at him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigor."

Some obstacles require tootling.
A man found a cocoon. A small opening had appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. When the butterfly seemed to stop making any progress, the man decided to help so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly came out easily but had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man expected, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and the body reduce. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly. The struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening forced fluid from its body into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once freed from the cocoon.

Obstacles are a necessary part of life. Without obstacles and the struggles they produce, we’d never realize how capable we are and how amazing God is to help us. We’d end up with fat bodies and puny wings. Like the butterfly, we’d never be able to fly.

Obstacles help affirm God’s presence in our lives.

Getting Home – You never know what’s going to transpire to get you home.

David’s obstacle was a giant. God gave him strength to face that giant.
Gideon’s obstacle was his fear. God gave him courage to face his fear.
Jehoshaphat’s obstacle was trouble. God gave him the ability to face his trouble.

Today, we’ll look at Samuel’s challenges and discover how, when we are a God With Us Person, God gives us support to face our obstacles.

Samuel’s Obstacles:

Mother couldn’t conceive – admittedly his biggest obstacle. Research has shown that reproduction is hereditary. If your biological mother didn’t have any children, you won’t either.

Samuel’s dad had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. (1 Sam 1:2)
He loved Hannah, but the LORD had closed her womb. Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. (1 Sam 1:5-6)

She sought a solution: Hannah, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. She made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life." (1 Sam 1:10-11)

Why would God close a womb and then open it later? Timing

Eli and his sons – the influence of his examples – imagine trying to learn how to be what you’re supposed to be from people who have no clue themselves.

Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the LORD (1 Sam 2:12)

Can you be religious and not know the Lord? Is there a difference in knowing about God and knowing God?

Thus the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for the men despised the offering of the LORD. (1 Sam 2:17) Saw no value in devotion to God.

'Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons above Me, by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of My people Israel?' "Therefore the LORD God of Israel declares, 'I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever'; but now the LORD declares, 'Far be it from Me—for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed. 'Behold, the days are coming when I will break your strength and the strength of your father's house so that there will not be an old man in your house. (1 Sam 2:29-31)            Asa: God is with you when you are with Him.

Instead of their struggles drawing them to God, the let their struggles become stumbling blocks.

These men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. (Ezek 14:3)

There was no word from the Lord in that day – God was silent

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. (1 Sam 3:1)

When God is silent, we think He’s absent, uninterested, incapable, uncaring. If, during this silence stuff happens we don’t want in our lives, we think God has forsaken us. We assume He is inactive.

Habakkuk’s struggle: Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days—you would not believe if you were told. (Hab 1:5)

Obstacles attempt to prevent, divert, detour, stop, discourage. They become a barrier, hurdle, stumbling
block, obstruction, impediment, hindrance, snag, catch, drawback, hitch, handicap, deterrent, 
complication, difficulty, problem, disadvantage.

But regardless of what we call it, when we let an obstacle interfere with what God wants to 
accomplish it becomes an excuse.

Ben Franklin: “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

If we are willing to make excuses, we are unwilling to change.

But though we allow our obstacles to hinder us, God is not hindered by our obstacles.
'But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always. (1 Sam 2:35)

“But God, don’t You realize what he has working against him?”  These are serious obstacles. He has obstacles.

Number one question every therapist is asked following knee replacement surgery: “Don’t you know I’ve just had surgery?”

An artist in Mexico lost his right hand while working on a statue. But he didn’t give up. He learned to carve with his left hand and eventually finished the work which he named: In Spite Of.

What was David’s challenge – giant.
What was Gideon’s challenge – fear.
What was Jehoshaphat’s challenge – trouble.
What are Samuel’s challenges – obstacles.

Look at what God did through them in spite of these obstacles.

Secret of a God With us Life – God provides whatever it takes for us to rise above whatever we face.

Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail. All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD. And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, because the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD. (1 Sam 3:19-21)

Confirmed – to build up or support

“Whatever it takes for Samuel to be My prophet, I will provide!”

People say Christianity is just a crutch for weak people. I broke my foot years ago and needed crutches to walk. I welcomed the crutches because I needed help getting around. And I welcome whatever God wants to do to help me walk with Him.

You have delivered my soul from death, indeed my feet from stumbling, so that I may walk before God in the light of the living. (Ps 56:13)

The LORD will accomplish what concerns me. (Ps 138:8)

What’s going to stop that? What’s going to make “God accomplishing what concerns me” impossible? What obstacles do I have that are bigger than God’s promises?
Andrew Murry: God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.

Either we value God and seek His help, or, because of our pride, we are left to struggle alone.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling. (Prov 16:18)

1.       Facing obstacles is a natural part of life.
2.      Obstacles are not the problem.
3.      Allowing those obstacles to interfere with what God wants to accomplish in us is the problem.
4.      If we use an obstacle as an excuse to being With God we will lose out on many of the benefits of God Being With Us.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Secrets of a God With Us Life - Jehoshaphat

Ever been between a rock and a hard place? It’s a place where circumstances have squeezed you to the point you seem to have no options. And what choice you do have is a hard one.

In the Psalms, David calls it trouble—the word means: pressing in, pressure, squeezing. It’s that time when our circumstances are squeezing us from all directions.

We’re not well equipped for trouble. We can take a hit – recoil and rebound, but squeezing is a constant strain.

Trouble is like a diver going straight down. There’s a point where the pressure of the water becomes more than the body can bear.

Everything’s fine until we reach the unbearable point. From then on all bets are off.

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Cor 10:13)

Enduring is not giving in or giving up.

Temptation is pressure to give in or give up. Giving in to a desire. Giving up on staying faithful and trusting God.

He didn’t say: we’d only have as much pressure as we think we are able to handle, or prefer to handle. He said: we’d not be tempted beyond what we are able to handle. How so? Because He will make us able to endure.

We have limits to the squeezing. He has none. David said: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Ps 46:1)

·         When trouble has pressed in so I no longer know where to go, God is my refuge—the direction I turn.
·         When trouble has squeezed the very life out of me, God is my strength—He sustains me.
·         When trouble has pushed out my hope, God is my help—He restores my heart.

Why didn’t God make us super people, superior to all we faced—Become a Christian and you’ll be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, go faster than a speeding bullet, be more powerful than a locomotive.

Instead, we have breakable limbs, we’re susceptible to disease, we’re not immune to the attitudes and actions of other.
To show His love, rather than make us superior, He said: I will be superior to whatever you face.

Why would He make us what would make Him obsolete or unnecessary in our lives?

Within The Secrets of the God is With Us Life, we’ve discovered:
1.       As He was with David, God will give us strength to face our giants.
2.      As He was with Gideon, God will give us courage to face our fears.

Today, as God was with Jehoshaphat, God will give us ability to face our troubles.

If you grew up during the time I did, you probably heard the same words from your dad I heard: Don’t do as I do, do as I say. Sounds good but, that isn’t how a kid learns stuff. Kids copy behavior. Whether it’s good or bad.

Jude came up to his mom with his shirt unbuttoned and said, “Does this make me look like a rock star?”

My dad didn’t show me much about relying on God, so, as an adult, I had to make some choices. In light of what I saw or didn’t see, and what I now know, how am I going to live my life? I remember the day I realized I don’t want to be like that. I want God to be a bigger deal in my life.

Jehoshaphat surely had one of those days. His dad, Asa, was the King of Judah. Jehoshaphat would follow him on the throne. Like most sons, Jehoshaphat would learn how to be a king by watching his dad. Then he would shape his life from what he saw.

During Jehoshaphat’s formative years, his dad was strong and godly. He watched his dad’s success grow then saw him become self-reliant and self-absorbed. What at first was about God helping him, was now about his ability and leadership skills. (2 Chron 15)

At the beginning of Asa’s reign a prophet came and gave a promise and prediction: Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the LORD is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. (2 Chron 15:1-2)

Selective hearing: Easy to hear what we want to hear and remember what we want to remember. He heard God was with him. He didn’t make note of the rest of the promise.

At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, "Because you have relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on the LORD your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim an immense army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars." (2 Chron 16:7-9)
In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians. (2 Chron 16:12)

Asa started strong but finished poorly. Why? He forgot the promise had two parts. The Lord being with Him required Him to be with the Lord.

How do you know if you are with the Lord?
·         You walk with Him. You talk to Him.
·         You rely on Him. You acknowledge your need for Him.
·         You follow Him. You invite Him into the trouble of your life.
·         You expect Him to come through when you’ve prayed.
·         Your pleasure is in the delight of the Lord, wanting to please Him in all you do.

Asa expected God to uphold His side of the promise, but didn’t realize it was contingent on him holding up his side.

We can’t start with what we expect from God without considering what God expects from us.

So, Asa died and is now gone, Jehoshaphat is king. He inherited both the kingdom and the promise: the Lord is with you when you are with Him. Would Jehoshaphat follow his dad’s example or live by the promise?

The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father David's earlier days [I chose a better example to pattern my life after] and did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, followed His commandments, and did not act as Israel did. So the LORD established the kingdom in his control, and all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor. He took great pride in the ways of the LORD. (2 Chron 17:3-6)

Jehoshaphat saw the failure in his dad. I don’t want God to forsake me. I want God with me, so I’ll be a God is With Me Man. Meaning: He chose to be with God.

2 Chron 20:1-12

Jahaziel: You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you." Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. (2 Chron 20:17-18)

The Secrets of the God is With Us Life
·         God will give us strength to face our giants.
·         God will give us courage to face our fears.

·         God will give us ability to face our troubles

     The key to each of these is relying on Him. He will be with us. Our part is to be with Him.

On May 23, during the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in 1960, missionaries Matt and Lora Higgens were returning one night to Nairobi through the heart of Mau Mau territory, where Kenyans and missionaries alike had been killed and dismembered. Seventeen miles outside of Nairobi their Land Rover stopped. Matt tried to repair the car in the dark, but couldn’t get it started. They spent the night in the car, and claimed Psalm 4:8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. In the morning they got the car running made it back to their compound.

A few weeks later they were getting ready to return to America on furlough. The night before they left Nairobi, they found out a member of the Mau Mau gang had confessed that he and three other men went toward the car to kill them, but when they saw the sixteen men surrounding the car, the men left in fear. Matt Higgens said they were alone, there were no men with them.

While on furlough a friend, Clay Brent, asked them if they have been in any danger recently. Matt asked, "Why?" Then Clay said, on March 23rd, God had placed a heavy prayer burden on his heart. He called the men of the church, and they met together and prayed until the burden lifted. Matt asked how many men prayed. Sixteen.

When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Pr 16:7)

Here’s the promise: When you are with Him, He is with you.

A God is With Me Person will experience the ability to face the pressure of his troubles.

1.       God with us is a guaranteed promise to His children.
2.      The effect of His presence can be conditional, according to whether we are with Him.
3.      To be with Him, we must value the relationship to where we include Him in all areas of our lives.
4.      To expect God’s favor with no regard for the relationship devalues His presence in our lives. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Secrets of the God is With Us Life - Gideon

May the Force be with you! Captured the concept that there is more than what we bring to the fight. Without defining this force we understand it to be: an energy, insight, direction—reliance on a higher power.

The enemy to the force is the cunning, bold and vicious activity of superior military power intent on destroying everything not submitted to its control.

We’ve probably got a little of both in us. A desire to rely on God and the overwhelming urge to rule our own lives.

If it’s going to be, it’s up to me. What man can conceive, man can achieve.

But then I ask:
·         Who am I?
·         What am I bringing to the table?
·         What is my contribution?
·         What if my training, gifts, talents, experience don’t cover what I need to do?

David: Then one of the young men said, "Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the LORD is with him." (1 Sam 16:18)

Series: The Secrets of a God is With Us Life

Gideon – Judges 6:1-16

Repeating scenario: In movies or novels they speak of the formula.

·        Self-reliant
·         Rejection of God’s right to rule
·         An oppressor
·         Oppressive actions
·         Depressive conditions
·         Inadequacy to change what’s going on
·         Hopelessness
·         Cry out to God
·         God intervenes
·         He raises up a champion
·         By God’s provision the battle is won and peace returns

That’s where you want the movie to end.

Denouement: the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are tied together and matters are resolved. Which then leads to the conclusion: And they lived happily ever after.

·         People get comfortable
·         Become self-reliant

We have a tendency to forget Him unless we need Him.

When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Deut 8:10-14)

Secret of a God is With Us life is reliance.
Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with firebrands, walk in the light of your fire and among the brands you have set ablaze. This you will have…you will lie down in torment. (Isa 50:10-11)

Torments: severe mental or physical suffering
Physical: the misery of pain and anguish of discomfort
Mental: no peace, no hope, no anticipation, no rest, distress of mind and heart

Hearts melting away: Where can we go up? Our brethren have made our hearts melt, saying, "The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified to heaven. And besides, we saw the sons of the Anakim there. Then I said to you, 'Do not be shocked, nor fear them. 'The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.' "But for all this, you did not trust the LORD your God, who goes before you on your way, to seek out a place for you to encamp, in fire by night and cloud by day, to show you the way in which you should go. (Deut 1:28-33)

I hear you, I just don’t see it.

When we can only trust in what we can see; can only defeat what we believe we are bigger than; can only win against what we know we can beat, then we’d better not face any really big problems.

Assyria was a really big problem. A larger army, led by a more successful campaign strategist, their king a more successful conqueror, they came against Judah to take them captive as they had Israel.

Then Rabshakeh [spokesman for the King] stood and cried with a loud voice in Judean, saying, "Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria, "Thus says the king, 'Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you from my hand; nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, "The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria." (2 Kings 18:28-30)

The message of the enemy: reliance on faith is a false hope.

How did Hitler demoralize his enemy? He took away their reliance from what was their source of hope.

Options when hope is gone:
·         Give in and give up.
·         Trust in yourself. Fight in your own strength and be defeated.
·         Trust in your God.

For I will not trust in my bow, nor will my sword save me. But You have saved us from our adversaries, and You have put to shame those who hate us. (Ps 44:6-7)

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. (Ps 56:3) When, not if!

Gideon’s lesson: what did it mean to be a man God is with?
Means that as doubt is crumbling away your hope, you refuse to let it remove your reliance on Him.
And with ultimate assurance you know that when you call out to Him, He will respond.
How do you demoralize someone? Take away what they trust in or take away their confidence in what they trust.

How do you keep from becoming disheartened? Keep your hope alive.

Secret of a God is With Us life – TAKEAWAYS:
·         Outcome is not as important as the income
o   The means out-values the end.
o   The plans God wants to accomplish exceed the answer we believe we need.
o   The insight we gain is precious to the process.
o   The usefulness we acquire adds value to what we have experienced.
·         The playing field of life is level to all who trust in God.
o   He accomplishes all that concerns all of us.
o   He works all things toward what He declares as good for all of us.
o   He fulfills in us what can only be defined as abundant life.
o   In Him all the promises of God are yes for all of us!
·         The burden of life rests on Him not us.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30)