"When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” – Psalm 56:3-4
Although I’ve never set out to count it myself, I’ve heard it said that the Bible urges us to “fear not” a total of 365 times… once for every single day of the year. While this number may or may not be accurate, I do believe we all need this one reminder from God each and every day. And we all know exactly why… because there are so many mind-spinningly-jacked-up things on this planet capable of driving us totally crazy with fear, if we let them.
At the very second I write this there is a loony in North Korea with a nuc threatening our nation, while our nation is angry, divided and fighting itself. Innocent children are being stolen and trafficked, and shot inside their schools, while others are dying from contracting the flu virus there… or from intentionally and purposefully eating a Tide pod. And, the truth is, all these terrible and worrisome things are the equivalent of a single grain of sand on the seashore of life as we know it. These are trying times we are living in. And the direct result is a troubled society burdened by consistent worry, persistent anxiety, super-charged stress… and you guessed it, paralyzing fear.
So what do we do? We isolate, self-medicate or retaliate. We try to distract ourselves with consumerism or accomplishment or our own brand of obsessive behavior. We self-sabotage. We destructively break things…. sometimes ourselves… sometimes the hearts of others. We carry on. We try to stay calm. We buy more antibacterial soap, apply hand sanitizer three times an hour, and go Krogering with masks covering our faces (not that I’m saying precautions aren’t good and sometimes necessary). All the while we keep our eyes fixed on our TVs, computers, and smartphones and our ears tuned into news radio and podcasts, for yet another dose of dread that is wrapped in each enticing drop of bad news that trickles in like IV fluids to our veins.
Simply stated, if left free to roam within our hearts, minds, and spirits, fear can and will lead to a life of devastation and stagnancy, and is the one thing that most commonly prevents God’s children from living in the fullness of His grace, glory, and peace.
With all that said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that the command against fear is one of the most frequently communicated commands Jesus gave us during His time here on earth.
The fact that messages like “fear not”, “take heart” and “have courage” were so frequently repeated by Jesus does not mean these are the most important commands (because Jesus told us through His disciples that the most important commandment of all is to love). “He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” – Matthew 22:36-40
But, this repetition clearly does say something very significant about our predisposition and susceptibility to fear. We are born into this world hard-wired with all the makings of becoming tortured, fearful souls, and God Himself is the only way for us to avoid living that kind of painfully consumed life.
That’s why His command not to fear is an actual command, not just a recommendation or a very strong suggestion. God is known to be the Great Comforter, but the only way we humans are able to experience His perfect peace (which translates into a life without fear) is by developing that progressive relationship I mentioned in a previous blog… learning about Him and experiencing His presence working in our lives… while we journey through times of trial and wilderness with our eyes, ears and hearts fixed solely on Him, rather than the chaos of the world around us.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” – 2 Corinthians 3-4
To dig into this a little bit, I thought we could revisit the story of Gideon. An angel of the Lord gave Gideon the weighty instructions to tear down a Baal alter. And scripture tells us that Gideon was so frightened by the likelihood of retaliation by the people of the city, (lead by his own family none-the-less) that he fearfully accomplished his mission in full-on stealth mode.
“On that very night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull and a second bull seven years old. Then tear down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Build a well-constructed altar to the Lord your God on the top of this mound. Take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down.” So Gideon took ten of his male servants and did as the Lord had told him. But because he was too afraid of his father’s family and the men of the city to do it in the daytime, he did it at night.” – Judges 6:25-27
Now, up to this point Gideon had already received several divine signs and wonders from God, yet he was still afraid. Furthermore, God Himself had guaranteed Gideon supernatural protection while accomplishing His missions, and yet… even so, he was still afraid. In fact, he was so terrified that he was incapable of carrying out God’s wishes in the light of day. Why? Because at that time Gideon had had very little personal experience with God, therefore His relationship with God was in its young and immature phases. At this point in the story, it appears that Gideon still had training wheels on his faith… and God appeared to be neither surprised nor disappointed by his weakness. And the reason, I believe, is because God knew and understood Gideon’s heart just like he knows and understands ours today.
The most important thing (to God and to us) was that Gideon listened and followed through! Despite the fear, Gideon did it anyway, to the best of his ability. And, by boldly doing it afraid, Gideon gave God the opportunity to fulfill all of His promises. As a result, Gideon’s faith grew stronger after this and every single experience he had with God, leading up to the biggest battle of his life… after which God made him king of Israel.
Wait. Did you hear that? In the beginning, Gideon was an unremarkable young dude called to a higher mission (he knew he alone was incapable of accomplishing). Therefore, he was obviously shaking in his handmade sandals. But by taking fearful steps in faith he was able to receive God’s supernatural guidance, protection, and sovereignty… to the point where he was eventually made royalty and given a crown!?! This, my friends, is the glory, grace and power of our amazing God.
“Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much.” – Luke 16:10
After Gideon’s victorious battle, just as God had promised, the people of Israel came to him to make him their ruler. “Then the Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you as well as your sons and your grandsons, for you delivered us from the power of Midian.” (Pay attention here, this is where it gets good!) But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my sons will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.” – Judges 8:22-23
By doing it afraid, with the Lord leading his way, Gideon was able to grow out of his fear by trusting God so much so that he chose to surrender his entire life to Him.
“I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” – Psalm 34:4
Gideon knew it was not by his own might that Israel was saved, but instead by the power of the almighty God. And furthermore, he knew that he as a simple man was not capable of ruling over Israel without the same divine intervention that had restored his people from the hands of a powerful enemy. So Gideon was simply letting God do what only God could do. He laid all power, control, and his entire sense of “self” at the feet of God and elected to serve the Lord instead of his own agenda. And as a result, he opened himself up to God’s perfect will (i.e. power, control, and future), not only for the good of himself, but more importantly… for the good of all of Israel. This is how God, our Father, wants us to live. And, we can look to the life and words of Jesus for the perfect example of the selflessness God desires from all of us.
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." – Mark 10:45
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” – Philippians 2:5-8
One of my favorite quotes is one by Lao Tzu, when he stated, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” The Bible tells us that life is a journey… one that eventually leads to salvation and eternal life for all believers. But what is not certain is whether our lives will start with fearful moments that lead to increased faith, divine miracles, and end in absence of fear… or begin with fearful moments that lead to more and more destructively fearful moments, and end in a half-full life.
The difference, my friends, comes from doing it afraid. It comes from taking one step in faith, followed by another… and another… through fear, high water and sometimes even through the valley of the shadow of death.
Remember, Jesus said, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” – John 10 – 10
Fear originates in darkness and therefore is in direct opposition of God, who is the true essence of love, light and life. And just as the presence of light makes it impossible for darkness to remain, God is is equally capable of chasing out fear from our hearts and replacing it with love, peace and certainty. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” - 2 Timothy 1:7
This week and everyday I urge you to choose to focus your eyes, ears, and hearts on the words and life of Jesus. He is the only good news that can prevent us from drowning in all the bad that gushes over us every day. By choosing to look to Him, we are truly capable of living a life of abundance that conquers all… “yes, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want you to remember the Good News I told you. You received that Good News message, and you continue to base your life on it. That Good News, the message you heard from me, is God’s way to save you. But you must continue believing it. If you don’t, you believed for nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 1-2 ERV
For more juicy details relating to the story of Gideon, be sure to refer back to my blog, Thinking Outside Of The “I”, if you haven’t already read it. And, if you feel you are being called to do something that scares you… something you know you, yourself, are not humanly equipped to do, I have four words for you. Go. Saddle. Your. Donkey! Cast all your faith on your Father and move forward in trust and humble expectation of a miracle, because where human capabilities end, the Glorious otherwise impossible begins.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified: do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
"Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that He will lift you up in His own good time. Leave all your worries with Him, because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7
“’For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear: I will help you. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” – Isaiah 41:13-14
See, there’s that beautiful, comforting, and totally intentional repetition again… “Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you.” He tells us this twice in a row because He really wants us to know it, trust it, and expect it… because our Great and Gracious Father always keeps His promises. How unbelievably fortunate are we then, my friends? #livelikeachsah #onceforgiven #twiceblessed #thanksbetojesus #theend
Like all relationships, a personal relationship with God is a progressive thing. This simply means that over time it expands, deepens, and strengthens. This is the only way we can grow closer to (and through) the Lord. And I believe there are four key components that allow this evolution to take place within us.
4. And last, but certainly not least, Sharing.
I’d like to talk a little about each of these four actions, and how they have a supernatural ability to unlock the kingdom of heavens, and all God’s power, to all who choose to do life with Him.
The Bible tells us in so many ways that the one way to unlock the abundant provision of God (sometimes referred to as the Universe) comes from the all-encompassing action of having unwavering faith (sometimes referred to as positive thinking). I am here to tell you right now... there is no grand or elusive Secret. There is only God… and His truth (that we are fortunate enough to have through His word) that demonstrates time and time again, the mysterious link between our thoughts and our reality.
Take the children of Israel for example. Even after God had broken them out of the bonds of slavery that had oppressed them for hundreds of years in Egypt (through a series of almost unbelievable miraculous events), they still lacked the one essential thing that they needed to open themselves up to receive all God’s wondrous generosity for their lives, and that one thing was faith as they followed Moses (who was lead by God, Himself) through the wilderness.
Not only did they grumble and complain profusely, but they also expressed grave distrust in God’s ability to fulfill His promise to deliver them into a land that was apparently so darned wonderful, it was described as “overflowing with milk and honey”. “So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.” – Exodus 3:8
Jesus once told an officer, whose servant was deathly ill, after he humbled himself before Him and asked for a miracle to save him, "Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you." And his servant was cured that very moment.” – Matthew 8:13
But unfortunately the Israelites did not possess and demonstrate this kind of necessary faith. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" - Exodus 14:11-12
As you might have guessed, Jesus’s words rang true here as well… and just as they believed, so it was done for them. They believed they were going to die wandering through the wilderness and sadly, that’s exactly what ended up happening. Not because it was God’s plan for them. Not because He had failed them… but because they failed to put their trust in Him. Because they failed to believe. Just to be clear, the trip from Egypt to Canaan should have (and could have) taken 11 days. Let me say that again… only 11 days. But because of their own mindset… their fear, ungratefulness, rebellion and general disbelief… it took them 40 years to arrive. 40 effing years! And as a result, most of the first and eldest generation died before they ever got there. But true to His nature, God still kept His promise by leading their children safely into the same land He had offered all of them. #thesecretisout
But what does this mean for us today? It means God is ALL POWERFUL and we have access to His power through our faith. Jesus said, "For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” - Matthew 17:20
Brothers and sisters, when Jesus says “nothing”, believe me when I say… He. Means. Nothing. So, the most important thing we can do during our time on this planet is to believe… and believe fiercely. We must believe in Jesus… that He was the Messiah… and that He died on the cross to save us with grace only He could extend. But we must also believe in the sovereignty of God… The Great I Am, who is not only the ruler of the heavens, but Who is also sovereign over our lives every minute of every day. He holds the entire earth in his loving hands, along with every other planet in our solar system, our galaxy and beyond… past, present, and future… to infinity. Forever and ever… True righteousness comes by faith alone, and with God’s righteousness comes unlimited possibility. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26
ASK & RECEIVE
The last couple of weeks we’ve been talking about Gideon, and I think it would be good to revisit his story again at this juncture because he was a man who did some serious asking and receiving from God. Just a little recap… Gideon received a divine encounter with an angel of the Lord, astonishing signs from God for the purpose of increasing his own faith, as well as supernatural protection and guidance during the biggest battle of his life, as well as during his entire reign as King of Israel.
Lucky guy, am I right? Well, brothers and sisters… hear me when I tell you luck had nothing at all to do with it… and everything to do with the gifts of love the sovereign God bestows on all His children. In God’s kingdom, divine encounters aren’t just reserved for the elite. And miracles the likes of what can be read about in the Bible, weren’t just performed by Him from the beginning of time, through the birth and resurrection of Jesus (and birth of His church)… they happen each and every day on this planet in the lives of His people.
I am here to testify that each and every human being that walks the earth is capable of having mind-blowing experiences with the Creator of all things, the first of which is spiritual salvation, which is freely given to all those who believe in Jesus and ask to be saved by Him through the washing away of sin. All we have to do, just like Achsah, is ask boldly… and wait with a spirit of humble expectation to receive. Just as Jesus tells us, "Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8
Okay, so now we fully believe in the miracle of Jesus. We’ve asked for forgiveness and received salvation as well as full access to God, His kingdom and all His power though the Spirit. But then what? The Bible tells us that all who truly believe are to share the good news of Christ.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.'” – Mark 16-15
“Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.” – Psalms 96:3
“Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
As we’ve discussed, the Bible provides us with a history of God’s consistent and reliable, albeit unpredictable, reign over the world. It highlights all the #amazing things He has done since the beginning of time. But also, it reflects the limitless way God can work in our lives today. This is the way God wants us to know Him and remember Him… but also, the way He wants others to come to know Him through our shared stories and testimonies about our experiences with Him. And that’s the beauty of it. Something that God did specifically for you… can forever change the world and the lives of others… as long as your story continues to be told.
“Hear this, you elders; listen, all you inhabitants of the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your ancestors? Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation.” – Joel 1:2-3
Why? Because sharing is caring, my friends… and caring is how we spread the love of Jesus and answer His most important call to us. “He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-40
With that, I would like to tell you about an upcoming addition coming to www.achsahliving.com that I am super excited about called Achsah Stories. Achsah Stories is where I will feature you and all your miraculous encounters with God. “For I want very much to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is, to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” – Romans 1:11-12
While all of us may not be natural born writers, this is a gift I believe God has given to me. And, it is my greatest hope to use this gift to help you and others fulfill God’s call to the glorious kingdom gift of sharing Him.
I am as certain as I am breathing, that there are some of you out there with amazing stories that are just waiting to be told… and that need to be shared… so they can go to work for the kingdom of God.
So, if you find yourself reading this right now, and that unbelievable story “of how He” just jumps right out of your heart… great. Email me about that! But some of your wheels are still spinning, let me impart some further clarification that may trigger a breakthrough….
How about that time He parted some kind of impossible Red Sea for you…? Or, like in Achsah's case, when He turned a life-threatening lack into an overflowing of abundance? Or that time something wonderful and unforeseen happened, that had His miraculous fingerprints all over it? Or, that time He supernaturally guided you with a sign… or by an occurrence too flipping fantastic to be chalked up to coincidence? Or… that time when He clearly answered a question you desperately need answering? When some kind of clarity He imparted to you yielded an audible “Holy-WOW!”. Or, that time that when you clearly heard Him speak to you… or HE revealed Himself to you… or loved you in a way that would have otherwise been impossible?
If God has rallied and shown-up for you, whether in a small (but miraculous) part of your day or in a large (and big picture) way, and you’d like to proclaim the tale of His loving-kindness to the world, to be a light and hope for others… won’t you please walk those beautiful feet of yours up to the nearest mountaintop or computer desk and email me? And tell me… what’s your story, my friend?
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the herald, who proclaims peace, who brings news of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”” – Isaiah 52:7
As you might have guessed from the title of this blog, today we are going to explore the concept and occurrence of spiritual signs from God. The Old Testament is chock-full of them, but what does that mean for us? Does God still perform them in our modern-day world? And, if so, is it okay to ask Him point-blank for one? To answer these questions, we need to explore what the Bible has to say on the subject.
Before I go any further, I want to interject that this topic can be very controversial among Christians today. I’ve heard pastors that I dearly love and deeply respect speak very strongly against this or any kind of “questioning of God”. Many advise that asking for a sign is dangerous territory and should be avoided at all costs. But in my personal experience, and through my own study of God’s word, I have to say I kindly disagree. Why? Because I believe God has given His people permission to ask for exactly this type of supernatural communication from Him, as reflected in His word.
This is what God told His people about the relationship He wanted to have with them: “The Lord who made the earth, the Lord who forms it to establish it, Yahweh is His name, says this: ‘Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know.’” – Jeremiah 33:2-3
I think it might be worth our time to break this down a little bit.
“Call to Me”. I understand this to mean; call out to Me by name, and present yourself and all your needs to Me. Just like our earthly Fathers, God wants His children to come to Him to speak our hearts and minds, but most importantly, to ask for help and guidance (for our own good and safety).
“And I will answer you and tell you.” While God is not promising a specific outcome here (like a loop-hole for landing a quick couple of mil on your next trip to Vegas), He is promising something far greater… a very real and personal response from Him. Get a load of this. The almighty God, the same One who sits on His throne in heaven this very instant, desires to interact and communicate directly with you... Yes, you understood that right. It’s tremendously outrageous, but absolute fact that God wants to have a one-on-one relationship with us. And, how do we get to know someone we don’t already know very well? (Well, other than cyber stalking them on the Internet?) Why, by spending lots and lots of time with them, of course… and by asking lots and lots of good… you guessed it… questions. By doing life with God, and seeking His “answers” or input on the decisions we make (both big and small) we are able to maximize our earthly efforts and potential.
“Great and incomprehensible things you do not know.” Wow. Seriously? Is it possible that the same God who orchestrates every aspect of life on our planet (from mitochondria to mankind) is promising you and me access to His supernatural intelligence…? Is he really offering us, mere mortals, His mind-blowing spiritual council, guidance and wisdom? And the answer… is a resounding yes my friends! This truth speaks to both the heart the splendor of our awesomely loving God. Oh, how great He is… “When I observe your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place, what is a human being that you remember him, a son of man that you look after him?” - Psalms 8:3-4
But… how do we know that these scriptures are still valid? And, how do we know they specifically apply you and me today? The answer is simple… because God is equally transcendent and consistent.
Some of my most cherished verses from the Bible are the ones that portray God’s character. And of those verses, there are tons that focus on the amazing truth that God does not change. He is the same today as He was even before the time of the creation. He said of Himself: “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” – Malachi 3:6
Additionally, it is written:
"Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind." – Samuel 15-29
“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” – James 1:17
It’s important for us to know that God is not like us. He is perfect. He is whole. He is complete. He needs nothing… because he already is, was, and will be everything for all of eternity. But still, He created the imperfect man to be catalysts, conductors, and generators of His love. All that said, He knows us and loves us and he wants us to know and love Him in return.
Second only to life itself (both present day and eternal through the gift of Jesus), God’s greatest gift to humanity is a collection of stories about Him and His people, given so that we can get to know Him. The Bible is a God-breathed account, meaning; He supernaturally spoke through mortal men (who acted merely as scribes) to accomplish writing the greatest (true) love story this world has ever seen. For this reason, we can trust that every single word written within it is true. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” - 2 Samuel 3:16
So let’s review. Now we know that God wants us to know Him, and wants us to call out to Him for answers to the incomprehensible things about life we do not know. And… that all scripture is inspired by God and therefore is both eternally true and suited for our learning. But does all this mean that God gives us the green light on asking for a sign? Well, not exactly. But that’s where our guy Gideon comes back into play.
To briefly recap for those who may be new to the blog; the last couple of weeks I’ve been discussing the story of Gideon. After being visited by an angel of the Lord, Gideon was sent on a mind-numbingly-terrifying mission. First, to destroy an alter (which he probably suspected would put his own life in jeopardy). Second, to lead an army of men to save Israel from the Midianites, which would require a battle he was in no way qualified to fight (which he knew would definitely put his life, and many others, in jeopardy). To learn more about how God made Gideon and his men more than conquerers in this battle, be sure to check out my last post, Thinking Outside Of The “I”.
One of my favorite songs of all times is one by the Mamas and Papas entitled, This Is Dedicated To The One I Love. There’s one line in that song… “The darkest hour is just before dawn” that rang true for me even as a small child sitting in the back of my mother’s cherry red Malibu. And, I believe this was definitely true in Gideon’s case in those moments leading up to the biggest battle of his life. Can you imagine the onslaught of fear that must have overtaken him? But, in his fear he did the one thing God wants all His children to do… he turned to Him for help through the act of prayer. But what is unique about Gideon’s story is that he asked God for something very specific in his prayer. And what he asked for was a sign… in the form of a very unusual wondrous work for the purpose of increasing his own faith. And then what happened? The great and glorious Lord rose to the occasion for Gideon not once, but twice, displaying His crazy-amazing supernatural abilities.
“Then Gideon said to God, ‘If You will deliver Israel by my hand, as You said, I will put a fleece of wool here on the threshing floor. If dew is only on the fleece, and all the ground is dry, I will know that You will deliver Israel by my strength, as You said.’ And that is what happened. When he got up early in the morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung dew out of it, filling a bowl with water. Gideon then said to God, “Don’t be angry with me; let me speak one more time. Please allow me to make one more test with the fleece. Let it remain dry, and the dew be all over the ground.’ That night God did as Gideon requested: only the fleece was dry and the dew was all over the ground.” – Judges 6:36-40
As I mentioned, this part of Gideon’s story is one of my absolute favorites because it shows how compassionate, understanding, and patient God is when it comes to His people. I mean really, how spectacular is it that in Gideon’s weakness, God was willing to show Gideon His limitless power not once, but twice? But even more amazing is what God was able to accomplish through Gideon by doing so… and additionally what He continues to do today.
First, God wanted Gideon to know and trust him, and through this amazing act of assurance and love He no-doubt accomplished this by instantly increasing his faith.
But it wasn’t just about Gideon. Sure, his faith was elevated high enough to help him accomplish the mission at hand and he probably felt a heck of a lot better about life in the moment. But to God, it wasn’t just about gaining Gideon’s trust. It was about gaining Israel’s trust… it was about saving Israel (His chosen people) both physically and spiritually. But also… it was about gaining your trust and my trust, today, as we read about Gideon’s amazing experience with God through a story that has been passed down for generations.
As we learned in my last post, this impending battle that frightened Gideon to the point of prayer was already won before it ever began. So God’s decision to reveal Himself in this way had no affect on the outcome of the battle at all. He revealed Himself in this way to be remembered this way (by all of us… as the wondrous God who loved Israel despite their straying ways, and loves us equally today) so that they would (and we will) return to Him… and cast all their (our) future hope, faith, and love onto Him alone.
There are many things we can learn from Gideon’s story. And I believe one of them is God’s response to our requests for a sign. Since God understood (and entertained) both of Gideon’s requests, I have to believe He is willing to give us the same consideration today. Not that everyone’s outcome will be the same. I believe that God communicates with all His children in their own unique way. But I do believe that when His people come to Him with a pure heart, asking for some kind of a sign for direction… or even for a glimpse of His shadow when they are in need of the assurance of His presence, I believe God can and God will.
The reason I believe this so strongly is because over the years I have asked for and received many miraculous signs from God. And each and every time it’s happened, I have been truly thankful for the answered question, but astonished and grateful beyond words by the feeling of limitless love that has come along with the divine gesture.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been sharing an almost impossible situation our family was in when we discovered the house we purchased and extensively renovated was uninhabitable. For more on how God honored my request for a sign with two unmistakable wondrous works indicating that this home was His choice for us prior to purchase, be sure to check out the first blog in this series entitled My Journey Into Achsah Living.
In closing, the most important thing to consider before asking for a sign is the sincerity of the request. The why. So before you go asking, I suggest first knowing the specific intentions of your heart… because therein, I believe, lies the key to unlocking the limitless power of God. “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.” – Jeremiah 17:10
While no one should ever expect to manipulate or control God in any way, I believe waiting with a heart full of humble expectation to receive a divine sign from God is not only portrayed in the Old Testament, but is also completely within the rights given to us by Jesus (portrayed in the New Testament). He died on the cross to provide us entry into the heavens after this life, but also, to grant each of us access to the power of God through the Holy Spirit in this life. So this week and every day for the rest of yours… I challenge you to claim it. Speak it. Believe it. There are many amazing benefits that come along with being the child of a King. So take your seat beside Him who empowers you. Ask boldly and wait humbly, to receive His every good and perfect gift. Both in this life, and beyond… “He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:6-7
Please join me back here next week, where I will elaborate more on what God intends us to do with all these revelations. In the meantime, if you’ve had a supernatural experience with God, please feel free to share and post a praise in the comment section so that, just as with Gideon, the ripple effect of God’s loving kindness will keep flowing far beyond you as you glorify Him. As the psalmist David writes... “I will tell of Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the Lord, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, All you descendants of Israel. For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him for help, He heard.” – Psalm 22:22-24