Today's reading: Judges 6:36-40

To fleece or not to fleece--that's the question on my mind after reading Gideon's requests of God in verses 36-40. The time has come for Israel to go to battle against the Midianites and Amalekites. Gideon has rallied the troops, but he's still fearful and uncertain about taking the action God has tasked him with. So, using a fleece of wool (a sheep skin), he asks God for two very specific signs to let him know if God is serious about using him to rescue Israel. Both times, God responds just as Gideon requested.

Now here's the thing--God is God. He's in control, and He certainly doesn't answer to us. Yet, He answers Gideon's specific requests for signs. I'm a little torn on this one because, on the one hand, it doesn't seem right to me to put a fleece before God. But then, maybe it's not the request itself that's problematic but the attitude with which the request is made. There's certainly a big different between whether the request is a demand on our part or a sincere appeal for confirmation because we need guidance.

So let's hear it. What are your thoughts on "to fleece or not to fleece," and why? Tami

Hindering Fears

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Today's reading: Judges 6:19-35

Have you ever been afraid to take action and do what God is impressing on your heart to do? I've found myself in this situation more than a few times over the years. And while I'd like to tell you that I'm always immediately obedient to God's call, sometimes fear wins out and either it takes me a while to get moving or I don't move forward at all. Here are a couple of examples of where fear has impeded (or can impede) my taking action for God: when God has challenged my husband and I to give more financially, which means letting go of money and possessions; when an opportunity has arisen on an airplane or when I'm out shopping to tell someone about Jesus but I don't reach out to the person; or when I've chosen to remain silent instead of taking a stand on what I know is right because speaking the truth won't be received well.

Fear often functions to hinder or cripple us when it comes to taking action, and it's one of Satan's greatest weapons to keep us from experiencing God's best for us. But God doesn't want us to fear. He wants us to trust Him in all things, and when we do, He will not abandon us. Every time I've chosen to push fear aside to actively respond to God's prompting, God's been right there with me, giving me the strength and courage to stand strong for Him. And each time I respond with obedience makes the next time a little bit easier.

What's one example of how God has walked alongside you when you responded to His prompting by choosing to take action outside of your comfort zone? What encouraged most from what we've read of Gideon's story thus far? Tami

Today's reading: Judges 6:11-18

"All things are possible with God" is the phrase that came to my mind as I read the account of Gideon. The Israelites are being severely oppressed by the Midianites, and the people are distressed and fearful. When we meet Gideon, we find him hiding in a winepress beating out wheat for a little bit of food. As he works, the angel of the Lord appears and addresses him as "O mighty man of valor" (vs. 12). Gideon doesn't acknowledge this title of "mighty" but instead questions why these bad things are happening to God's people. The Lord responds with, "Go in this might of yours and save Israel" (vs. 14). Well, Gideon isn't buying that he's mighty, and he's not convinced he's going to be able to save Israel. But God knows otherwise. Verse 16 says,

"And the LORD said to him, 'But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.'"

What does this passage reveal about our God's ways versus our human way of thinking? What does it show us about how God uses and works through ordinary people? What's one example of how God has used you in a way that initially seemed impossible to you (in other words, what's an example of where you were "mighty" with God's help)? Tami

Front Burner

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Today's reading: Judges 6:1-10

After the defeat of the Canaanite army, there are forty years of rest for Israel. But with the passing of time and generations, we see these familiar words to start Judges 6: "The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD." So even after the Israelites were freed from the oppression of King Jabin, they began putting God on the back burner again as time passed and eventually turned completely away from God. As a result, God "gave them into the hand of Midian" (vs. 1). What's described is nothing short of awful--the Midianites, like locusts, would descend and devour the land, leaving nothing for the Israelites to eat and survive on. This situation drags on for seven years, and when the people cry out to God for help, God sends a prophet to remind them of His words prior to their turning away and to tell them that the situation they are in is because they have turned away from Him.

"And I said to you, 'I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.' But you have not obeyed my voice." (vs. 10)

The fact of the matter is, we are all prone to wander. Although this passage may seem a bit harsh, it's a good reminder for us that God needs to be front and center for us at all times--the good, the bad and everything in between.

In what type of circumstances are you most prone to take your eyes off of God and do what you want instead? What are some things that help you keep your focus on God and following after and serving Him (keeping Him on the front burner)? Tami

Savior Needed

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Today's reading: Psalm 14:1-7

If I didn't know better, I might think that David was living in the twenty-first century when he wrote Psalm 14. Why? Because what David is describing is pretty much the same as the ungodly thinking that is rampant in the world right now. David's words serve as a good reminder that there are many, many spiritually lost people all around us who are in desperate need of a saving relationship with Christ.

How bold are you when it comes to letting the people around you know that there is a God who loves and cares for them? Who do you know that doesn't yet have a relationship with Jesus? Will you introduce them to Him this week? Tami

About Me

Hi, my name is Tami Weissert, the P4 facilitator and the "voice" behind the blogs. I'm passionate about helping people grow spiritually and actively encourage Bible engagement through conference speaking and writing. I also served as co-host of the Back to the Bible radio program for over 8 years. A little about me. I'm married to Jeff, and we love scuba diving, playing with our 3 dachshunds and going to Husker football games. I also love growing orchids, singing and Diet Pepsi. I hope you'll join in the conversation as we read the Bible and grow together.

About My Blog

I'm passionate about engaging God's Word! And my blog is about just that--giving you opportunities to receive, reflect on and respond to Scripture. Each day you'll find a short passage as well as thoughts, challenges and application questions for you to think about and respond to. I look forward to interacting with you and learning together, so post comments as often as you'd like. You can even sign up to get the blogs delivered to your inbox each day!

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