Monday, August 29, 2011

Elisha Foundation: Disability Ministry

Here is the Website of the Elisha Foundation for more information

The Elisha Foundation from Moonshine Park on Vimeo.
This is a new friend that I met at a conference.  We became instant friends because of our commonality in the Down Syndrome community, but we also have a deeper connection in Christ, and I love their ministry.  Check this video out and love and pray for their ministry with me.  Here is their Website Elisha Foundation

Fearless: Samson Judges 13-16

Fearless: Samson
Judges 13-16
Samson was altogether a pretty rebellious person. We have started to see some rebellion in our 5 year old daughter Ana.  We have started to count to three.  If you are a parent you have done the same thing.  Just the other day I was asking Ana to come to me she got the idea that I don't want to come to you Daddy.  So I proceeded to count to three.  I said "1...2..." and when I got to three she plopped herself down on the ground and cried out "3" in defiance!  I almost had to laugh, but it was pretty serious rebellion nonetheless. Samson seemed to do the same thing by rebelling against what the Lord had asked him to do, but to his credit he turned to the Lord when it counted.  Samson grew in fearlessness by overcoming three areas of weakness where he learned to lean on the strength of Jesus Christ

Weakness Area #1 Women
First wife was a philistine which was prohibited by God.  He visited  prostitutes, and the worst wife in the bible (maybe besides Job's wife and Jezebel) was Delilah. How could this guy be such a dummy when it came to women? I am a one woman man I don't even look at other women. I have never even had friends who are women that are not also the friends of my wife Simone.  This is the only way to go.  I just make sure that there is no other way.  Not even the opportunity or possibility to be tempted in this area.  This is how I lean on the strength of Christ.  I make my wife my main accountability.   
Judges 14:3-4
Then his father and his mother said to him, "Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?" But Samson said to his father, "Get her for me, for she looks good to me." However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.
God was at work even in Samson's terrible weakness to do His righteous plan. Even though Samson may have never recognized it.

Weakness Area#2 Discretion:
Discretion is the the trait of judging wisely and objectively: this guy had hardly any discretion. He hung out constantly with the enemy. There was a wedding feast where he told them a riddle and told his wife the answer to it. After they figured out the answer to the riddle, by asking his wife, he got so angry that he burned their crops down with three hundred foxes. His biggest failure in discretion was that gave up the secret to his strength after being asked three times.  You would think on the second time being asked he would get the picture that they want to capture him, but no he tells them anyway.  
Judges 14:4
However, his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.
Judges 15:3
Samson then said to them, "This time I shall be blameless in regard to the Philistines when I do them harm."
He was growing in discretion here. He basically says I'm gonna kick major butt and I'm gonna do it with discretion and blamelessness! I'm gonna take care of business this time!

Weakness Area #3 Loss of physical strength
after he killed 1,000 Philistines Judges 15:18 Then he became very thirsty, and he called to the Lord and said, "You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant, and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?"  God Delivered him and gave him something to drink.  After he was blinded and captured Judges 16:28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, "O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes."
In his greatest weaknesses he called on God.  My area of weakness now is patience with my family.  It is becoming so hard to have patience with a two year old and a five year old getting into so much mischief.  Last week my youngest daughter decided to bring the sandbox into our house bucket by bucket and pour each bucket into our easy chairs and onto our carpet.  It is hard to be patient, but I am asking God to turn this area of weakness into an opportunity for an "occasion against the Philistines", or better put an "occasion against my flesh", What is one area of weakness in your life right now? And how can you lean on the power of Jesus in that weakness?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fearless: Gideon Courage for Wimps

Fearless: Gideon  Courage for Wimps

Do you remember sissy tests growing up?  We used to do the stupidest stuff like rubbing the back of your hand with an eraser until it bleeds, knuckle fighting, hand slaps, shooting bottle rocket fireworks at each other.  As I look back at things it seemed pretty stupid to do those things.  Abe Kuhn even told me about a guy who his mother helped in the hospital that she worked in who was drunk and was dared to put a fire work in his mouth and it exploded adn he lost almost half of his face.  We do some pretty dumb stuff and call them "sissy tests".  In the Bible Gideon a man who God really used started off as a wimpy sissy.  How do I know Gideon this man of God started off as a wimp? The angel of the Lord met him in a winepress where he was sifting wheat. You are supposed to press grapes in a winepress not sift wheat. The bible even says he was hiding from the Midianites Israel's oppressors (Judges 6:11-12)

Gideon the wimp became courageous and fearless by asking God to reveal himself by passing three sissy tests Gideon asked God to pass.  He became courageous not because He was a courageous guy, but because He saw God was a great God!

Sissy test #1:
Is this really you God? (Judges 6:16-17 angel of the Lord burns up an offering, fleece: Judges 6:36-40)
  • The angel of the Lord revealed His power to Gideon by burning His sacrifice
  •  The Lord showed Gideon it was really him in making the fleece dry and wet
  • Gideon's confidence in God started to grow
Sissy test #2
Are you really gonna use me God? (cutting down the Asherah pole at night judges 6:27)
  • Gideon was scared to follow God's directions to cut down the Asherah pole so He did it a night
  • Later on His father had to come to His defense. Gideon Hardly stood up for Himself
Sissy test #3
Are you sure you only need 300 God?
  • God delivering Midian into their hands with rams horns and torches 
  • They started out with 32,000 men they went down to 10,000 men and finally down to 300 men
  • These seemed like good odds for God 300 men with torches vs. an army as many as a swarm of locusts or as many as the sand on the seashore (Judges7:2)
How is God showing you his greatness and overcoming your fear.  If you are honest you and I are really wimps at heart, and are totally afraid in so many ways.  We need to put God to the test and see how great and big he is, and our fear will slowly disappear.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fearless: Deborah and Jael

Fearless: Deborah and Jael (Judges 4-5)
Two women who delivered Israel were fearless because they were zealous (marked by active interest and enthusiasm) for God in three actions

1. Deborah listened to God
  • Under the palm tree of Ramah she listened to God and judged the people with what God was saying to them (Judges 4:5) As helpful as technology is sometimes I have to turn my phone off to hear from God.  
  • Have you ever had to just turn everything off and listen.  Silence is a spiritual discipline, and we should practice it more often
2. Jael acted on behalf of God
  • Jael invited Sisera (an evil King) into her tent and killed him with a tent peg!  She took the tent peg and a hammer and drove the tent peg through his temple and into the ground, OOOWWWWW! (Judges4:17-24)
  • I think of Jael and I think of maybe a modern day Jael in the famous missionary Gladys Aylward.  She lived from 1902-1970 saving children in China.  She traveled from London to Peking which is 5,000 miles on the trans Siberian railroad, adopted nearly 200 children and fled to the mountains to protect them when the Japanese invaded China.  What is God making you zealous for like Jael was for the deliverance of Israel.  What if we were as serious about our sin as Jael was about delivering Israel from a wicked King?  Would we take a tent peg through the head of our sin and kill it?
3. Deborah worshipped God (when he acted)
  • Deborah wrote a song about how God acted (Judges 5:1-end) She gave credit to God as being the sole mover in this deliverance (5:2-5)
  • Worship: sometimes we don't worship God because we don't really believe that God is the prime mover in our deliverance from sin. We think that we have a part in our own deliverance. Worship demands we believe that that God has wrought a miracle in our deliverance from sin!  These two awesome women of the Bible believed God had delivered Israel and they worshiped Him for it.