Friday, March 24, 2017

March 25 "They Did What's Right in their Own Eyes" Judges 19-21

What if we didn't follow the law? The last 3 chapters are the saddest narrative of the story since Caleb died. Judges 21:25 "In those days, there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." Joshua was dead.  No judge in Israel.  No restraints.  No punishment.  Idolatry. Concubines.  Killings.  Rape.  Lawlessness.  No king.

The individual became king and culture re-oriented around individuals.  No faith community.  No ultimate holy Authority over their lives.  Goodness and evil both are dictated by what is pleasing and useful to the individual.  Either Jesus is our King or we hold the crown.  Will I live today in awe and repentance before my King?  

PHOTO:  33,000 feet in the air.  What do we do with all this majesty?  What is actually going on in the unseen world?  How can I justify living by doing what I think is right in my own eyes.  How do I know I am walking in truth?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March 24 "Shut Out By Lowliness of Position" Judges 16-18

Brian MacLaren in his commentary talks about: The light on Moses' face and the strength in Samson's arm represent the most noble of character. Present in Moses and deserted in Samson because we either hold on tight in the wilderness or lose hold of God. And, He lets us go. And these two poles of perfection, beauty and strength, are given by Only One. It wasn't really about Samson's hair in these verses---that was just a symbol of God's strength let slip through his lofty fingers. MacClaren goes on to say: "There have been in the past, and there are today, thousands of simple souls, shut out by lowliness of position and other circumstances from all the refining and ennobling influences of which the world makes so much, who yet in character and bearing, ay, and sometimes in the very look of their meek faces, are living witnesses how mighty to transform a nature is the power of loving gazing upon Jesus Christ....There is no influence to refine and beautify men like that of living near Jesus Christ, and walking in the light of that Beauty which is the effulgence of the divine glory and the express image of His Person." This whole thing gives me much peace as I've been shut out, at times, throughout my life---but it is not my job to seek beauty and strength in this celebrity world of ours. My utmost goal and privilege is to live near Jesus Christ, the One I love. Judges 16:20 - may it never be of any of us. Samson did not know the Lord had left him. He just didn't know. Moses did not know that his face shone like the sun, either. So, what's the point here? It's our calling to live near and trust. The nearness of God is our only good.

NOTE: I just have to write this down and document it somewhere---and it fits here... When the Great Divide happened in my life, a beautiful world began responding to me in the most unexpected way and it happens day-in, day-out.  Ask me about it sometime.

PHOTO:  Place where I work: our high school campus where I've found the nearness of God in ways I never imagined.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March 23 "Loosed By His Power by a sorry jaw-bone" Judges 13-15

Matthew Henry wrote: "Sin dispirits men; it hides from their eyes the things that belong to their peace." When the Spirit of God came upon Samson, his cords were loosed. Some say it is a foreshadowing of Christ in the grave, loosed by the chains of death, set free, triumph over darkness. The victory for Samson was common means---the jawbone of an animal slew a thousand. And God confounds the wicked through the foolish things of this world. "If you see a poor Christian who is enabled to overcome a temptation by weak, feeble counsel, there is the Philistine vanquished by a sorry jaw-bone." M. Henry. Tonight my body is engulfed in a battle for my health. Four days of fever. Can't keep anything down. Bacterial infection wracks havoc on my body. May I overcome the temptations that face me, the sin that dispirits me in the midst of even this small haunting thing. We are loosed by His power not by plan or cleverness or our own might. By His Power. How many times do I ask? How did this just happen? "A sorry jaw-bone."

March 22 "Save Me From Myself" Judges 10-12

Judges 10:1 - Abimilech debauched Isreal with evil, disquieted Israel with ambition, disturbed Israel's very peace.  Then, God raises up a good man to reform the abuses, stop the idolatry, and heal the wounds.  This new judge saved them from themselves.  And it should be our very hope, too.  May God save us from ourselves---from wanting ambition in this celebrity world; from wanting ministry success in this storied mission; from wanting to live in this present life more than dealing with daily repentance; from wanting more than God and what He has planned and offered to each of us.  Save us from oursleves.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 21 "Steadfast Love to All " Judges 8-9

Gideon died. And they did not show steadfast love to the family of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel. Judges 8:35. They didn't remember the Lord. Is our trust in strong, mighty men? God never intended for us to be attached to any man. Only to Him. But they forgot. How do you forget your true love? 

PHOTO: I remember standing on this spit praying for God's Steadfast Love to show up for those who were doing so much good but had decided not to be my friend anymore. May I love them to the end. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

March 20 "The Eternal Word of God Speaks" Judges 5-6

God knew Gideon had courage.  Gideon had stood tall tens of times before. Yet, not this time. Gideon was beside himself over the scenario.  And his countrymen didn’t know him to be that way either. But, Gideon never stopped talking to God, meditating while he was threshing, over the horrific situation and how he could work out the deliverance of these heartless people.  Are we grieving over those who have stiff-armed our Lord?  This Presence comes to Gideon to say that it is None Other than Jehovah, the Eternal Word of God, Who was present with Gideon and with you and with me, right where we sit tonight in our rooms in 2017.  God’s Word is our help!!! And is ever Present! And that gives me so much hope! So, go to work tomorrow, teaching school, writing books, serving corporate America, taking care of the sick, and raising courageous children---and while you are there, remember, the Eternal Word of God will appear to you as He did to Moses and David herding sheep; Gideon threshing the fields; Elijah plowing the land; and the disciples dutifully catching fish and mending nets. The Eternal Word speaks in the present moment.  And that changes everything for me where I sit this night.    

PHOTO: A non-descript walk back in time.  The place where I met the Eternal Word of God in a powerful way that set my fearful face like a flint. The place where my life fell apart.  And where the Eternal Word of God stood me back on my feet and said:  I am with you, o mighty warrior. Fort Worth.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017

March 19 "Rise And Shine Like The Sun: Judges 3-5

"May all who love you be like the sun
                                          when it rises in its strength.” Judges 5:31.

The true friends of God shine as glorious and bright and shimmering as the sun in all its might.  In the middle of the day when the heat and light of the sun burn brightest.  In the middle of our hardships and confusion.  In the summer solstice when the sun is hottest ever.  In the middle of every relationship, let us rise with the Light and Glory of the midday sun to be there in power and love.  May no man stop us from shining bright in all this darkness.