Created to Worship God Alone!

“That night the Lord said to Gideon, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one that is seven years old. Pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it. Then build an altar to the Lord your God here on this hilltop sanctuary, laying the stones carefully. Sacrifice the bull as a burnt offering on the altar, using as fuel the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down.” Judges 6:25-26

What God tells Gideon to do here is something that I believe many people tend to ignore. Whether it is because of fear or because of deception, we expect that because we have had an encounter with God during a difficult situation, that we are free from our “whinepress” and ready to move into doing great and mighty things for Him.

But there was a “reason” Gideon was in the winepress; there was an evil the Israelites had done, and God loved His people too much to allow their evil to continue.

“The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years.” Judges 6:1

What was the evil that brought the oppression, the fear, and the scarcity upon them?

When they finally cried out to God, He sent this reminder to them…

“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of slavery in Egypt. I rescued you from the Egyptians and from all who oppressed you. I drove out your enemies and gave you their land. “I told you, ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live.’ But you have not listened to me.” Judges 6:8-10

The truth was that God brought them out of slavery. God rescued them from their enemies. God drove out their enemies of the land He gave them. He was the Lord, their God.

While the Israelites thought that God had abandoned them and left them at the mercy of their enemies…

It was actually the Israelites that turned from God and went their own way. 

They exchanged their worship of God for the worship of the false gods of the people around them.

This was the evil that brought oppression of the enemy.

Before they could gain victory and freedom from their enemies they needed to turn from their false gods, and return to their worship of God alone.

False gods need to be cast down.

True worship needs to be restored.

I’m reminded of David, the man after God’s own heart, the worshipper of all worshippers when he prayed…

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24

The “reasons” we find ourselves in a “whinepress” and the things that the Lord points out that offend Him need to be cast down and confessed before we can walk fully in the freedom and the anointing God calls us to.

And that “reason,” or the things that offend God aren’t things that a friend, a web sight, or an expert can give an answer to.

It is a spiritual issue.

It is a matter of the heart.

It is a matter of worship.

When God comes into our “whinepress” we are comforted by His presence, and we are encouraged by His words of truth. Feeling relieved, we think we are fine, climb out of our “whinepress,” and go on with our lives. Our difficulty may have been relieved, but that “reason” we were in the “whinepress” to begin with, that “spiritual issue” God wanted to speak into, remains.   It’s only a matter of time that we find ourselves right back in the same “whinepress.”

“God, why am I going through this again!”

“I thought You set me free from this!”

We can go around this cycle for a long time without understanding there is something we need to do to break it.

We need to tear down our idols!

We need to restore our worship of God!

God is a jealous God and He won’t share His glory.

God demands all our praise, all our worship!

Pride is at the root of all sin. Pride was the evil that was in found in Lucifer, the angel of light. Lucifer was created to worship God, but his beauty and success caused pride to rise up within him and he no longer wanted to worship God, but to be worshipped.

He wanted to be “like God.”

As the serpent in the Garden of Eden, Satan said to Eve, “You will be like God.”

Pride is Satan’s trademark; his number one strategy to rob, kill, and destroy our worship of God.

Pride keeps idolatry alive in hearts. It is what turns our hearts away from worshipping God and puts self on the throne. We often think the idols of today are in the form of possessions and positions, but it is the idol of self that is at the very core.

When self is on the throne I live independent of God.

I make my own decisions.

I trust in my own understanding.

I solve my own problems.

I strive for praise.

I am motivated by others.

I am defined by others.

It’s all about me!

I am “like God.”

No wonder the middle letter in sin is “I”

“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” 1 John 2:15-17

Gideon was afraid to cut down the false gods; the  sacred objects of worship, that had been honored and reverenced for generations. What would the people think? What would happen to him?

It is hard to “cut down” the mindsets of pride. They become habits, they become comfortable. The worship of self pleases the flesh and conforms with the ways of the world.

But praise God, I have a Heavenly Father who is for me and who comes to me when I cry out to Him, who loves me too much to leave me striving in my “whinepress.” I have a Good Father who searches my heart and shows me the things that I need to confess, the idols I need to tear down. I have a Mighty Savior who has dealt my pride a death blow on the cross, and by His blood I am forgiven and cleansed of all my sin. I have the Prince of Peace who is always praying for me who has restored my worship of God alone. And I have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of me that empowers me to live in the victory and freedom God has created me for.

I have been created to worship God, and God alone!!

Consumed by Fire

Gideon wanted to know for sure that the one who was standing in front of him was really an angel of the Lord. He wanted to be sure of the source of the words that were being spoken to him. So he decided to bring an offering, a meal, as a sacrifice. Gideon hurried home, killed and cooked a young goat, baked bread, packed it all in a basket, and brought it back to the angel of the Lord.

The meal Gideon prepared for the angel of the Lord was an offering, a sacrifice. The Midianites had stripped their land and reduced the Israelites to starvation.

This young goat and the baked bread weren’t from abundance, but from scarcity. It was food that Gideon needed for his own survival, food his flesh hungered for. Yet, this was the very thing Gideon chose to sacrifice to know for sure the truth, to discern the voice of God, the God of his ancestors.

When the angel touched the meat and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed the meal Gideon prepared, he was overwhelmed with the presence of the Lord, afraid he would die because he had seen an angel face to face.

God had Gideon’s full attention!

Gideon now believed it was really God who was speaking to him. And so God spoke to Gideon from heaven and reassured him that he wouldn’t die. God’s words brought comfort and hope to Gideon.

The God Gideon heard about from his fathers, the Almighty God who brought his people out of Egypt with signs and miracles, was now talking to him!

The God Gideon thought had forsaken him, the God he doubted even cared about him, was actually speaking to him! To him, the least of the least. God was speaking to him, personally, face to face!

An offering out of scarcity will bring immense revelation and produce a great harvest!

Gideon was undone!

He was brought to his knees!

He was moved to worship!

Gideon built an altar to the Lord and named it Yahweh-Shalom, which means…

“The Lord is Peace.”

Gideon, who hours before was alone, and afraid in his “whinepress” from the oppression of his enemies and striving to satisfy his needs, was now bowing down before the Lord of Peace!

Gideon’s circumstances didn’t change immediately. It was still true that his enemies were oppressing him. He was still without food. He was still of the weakest clan, and the least in his family, but

The fire of God consumed Gideon’s sacrifice…

It consumed Gideon’s fear.

It consumed his striving.

It consumed his insecurity.

Gideon’s true was exchanged with God’s truth…

God was with him!

God talked to him!

God was for him!

Gideon was set free!

Gideon had a new perspective!

We can draw confidence from Gideon to bring our fears, striving, insecurities, and our true, to God as a sacrifice, and allow His Fire to consume all that is not of Him.

As we have just celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus I’m reminded that we have an advantage that Gideon didn’t have…we live on this side of the Cross!

God sent His Son, Jesus, as the Perfect Sacrifice!

Jesus’ love for you demonstrated by surrendering His will to the will of His Father was the ultimate sacrifice! Jesus’ death on the cross consumed all the scarcity the enemy brought into your life because of sin. The shed blood of Jesus paid the price for all the fear, striving, and insecurities that sent you into hiding. Your cloak of guilt and shame has been removed, and you have been wrapped in a robe of righteousness!

This is the truth! – The resurrection of Jesus brought you freedom, victory, and everlasting life!   

As a beloved child of God, you are not meant to thresh wheat in a “whinepress.”

As a beloved child of God you’re not meant to hide in  fear, live in scarcity, or feel insecure. 

So if your true finds you there…remember the truth…

God’s love for you is unconditional and it compels Him to come to you even while in your “whinepress,” bringing words of comfort, peace, and hope.

God comes with a personal word just for you. He wants to talk with you to let you know that He is with you, that He loves you, and that He is for you!

So, get up out of your “winepress,” and prepare Him a sacrifice…

When you choose to offer God a sacrifice out of your scarcity He will consume it with His consuming Fire.

He will consume your true that says, “God has forsaken me.” “If God was with me, He would answer my prayer.”

He will consume your true that says, “I don’t have enough.” “I need to take care of myself.”

He will consume your true that says, “I”m not worth anything.” “I’m not good enough.”

No matter what your true is, God wants you to offer it to Him as a sacrifice and allow Him to consume it and to replace it with His truth…

“For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

“Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29






Jesus is the Way out of your “Whinepress”

I find it encouraging that God didn’t expect Gideon to get his act together before He called him out of his “whinepress.” God met him right where he was.

Though Gideon may have forgotten God, God hadn’t forgotten him.

God’s heart has always been to Rescue and to Save! 

As we celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday this week I find there are some similarities between Gideon’s encounter with the angel of God, and the encounter of Jesus with all man-kind.

When God came and spoke to Gideon He didn’t consider what was true in Gideon’s life. He looked past the true and focused on the truth.

God wasn’t moved by Gideon’s past. His sin and rebellion didn’t disqualify Gideon from having an encounter with God.

God didn’t discuss Gideon’s present fear or question why he was threshing wheat in a winepress.

God looked past Gideon’s insecurity and the reasons why he thought he couldn’t be the one God should choose to save His people.

Gideon and the Israelites were at the mercy of their enemies with no hope.

It was their cry for help that moved the heart of God to come to them.

God sent His angel…

God chose a man…

Gideon was chosen to rescue God’s people from the oppression of their enemies. He was chosen to bring victory and salvation to many. But the victory that was won through Gideon and the salvation it accomplished lasted only for that generation.

Man-kind needed a permanent solution. It needed a Rescuer and a Savior that would be for all people, and last for all generations.

God sent His Son…

God chose all mankind…

As God sent His angel to encounter Gideon, God sent His Son, Jesus, to have an encounter here on earth so that all His creation may be moved from our past, out of our present, and into the destiny God has created us for!

Jesus’ encounter here on earth changed everything!

The fear, scarcity, and insecurity that the enemy meant for harm has been dealt a death blow.

Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life has come into our true, and has made a way out of our “whinepress.”

God sent Jesus as your Rescuer, your Savior!!

God has chosen you…

So I encourage you to consider…

What is true of you?

  • Maybe your true is that you have never entered into a relationship with God through belief in His Son, Jesus. If you have never received the forgiveness God has provided through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus you are living separated from God by your sin and rebellion, oppressed by the enemy of your soul.

This true; the fear, scarcity, and insecurity that sin and rebellion bring are intended to be the the very things that bring you to the end of yourself. They are the very things intended to break you, humble you, and bring you to your knees. These are the things intended for you to cry out to God for rescue and salvation! When you cry out to God, admit your sin, ask for His forgiveness through the blood of His Son, Jesus, and embrace the truth, you begin living forever in relationship with your Heavenly Father!

  • Maybe your true is that you are a child of God. You have  a relationship with God through belief in Jesus and all He accomplished on the cross, but you have allowed those things that are true in your life to trump the truth of God.

What has happened to cause your true to say that God doesn’t care about you?

Who has disappointed you so that your true says that God can’t be trusted?

What unanswered prayer tells you that God doesn’t answer when you cry out to Him?

When weren’t your needs met so that your true has caused you to take things into your own hands?

Who have you allowed to define who you are so that your true says you aren’t valuable, worthy, loved by God?

We have a choice of what we will do with those things that are true of us. We can’t avoid the true that comes from difficult situations. We will all experience the true of disappointment from the broken promises of others. Not all of our prayers will be answered in the way and the time we expect. While God promises to supply all our needs, there are times He will stretch our faith as we learn the true of waiting on Him. We are all surrounded by those, who because of their own hurts, insecurities, and jealousies will label us with words that aren’t according to the way God sees us and how He loves us.

Jesus couldn’t avoid the true in his life.

Jesus knew the true that was about to happen to Him; the whipping, the scourging, and the death on a cross caused Him to cry out three times to His Heavenly Father in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The true caused Jesus to sweat drops of blood as He pleaded the cup be taken from Him.

But it was the truth that enabled Jesus to say, “Not My will, but Your’s be done.” It was the truth that enabled Jesus to look beyond His true, and see the pleasure and the joy it would bring His Heavenly Father and all His creation!

And it is God’s truth that will enable you to move beyond your true, surrender your will, and bring you out of your “whinepress” into the destiny God has called you to.

As you celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday this week remember that…

Jesus understands the anticipation and the agony of the true

He knows the pain of dying to self and the surrender of His will in the Garden of Gethsemane,

but, He also remembers the truth, the joy set before Him, that enabled Him to endure the true,

and as He sits at the right hand of God, He is interceding for you, asking the Father that your faith won’t fail and that you will boldly and courageously live out the destiny He has created you for!

“O Mighty Warrior! The Lord is with you! Come out of your “whinepress” for I am sending you to rescue and to save!”

The Story of the Passion Play…

This time of year, celebrating Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, I’m reminded of a time when I heard the Lord speak something to me. It was in December right after we held the Living Nativity. I heard the Lord say, “That was the beginning of My story, now I want you to complete it with a Passion Play.” I was like Gideon with all kinds of reasons and things that were true to me of why I could ‘t do that. I had no idea of where to begin. The Nativity Story is relatively easy, but the Passion is a whole different Story! But, God wouldn’t let it go. The Holy Spirit kept prompting me till I finally agreed to lay aside my fears, my excuses of what was true to me, and trusted that if was of Him He would provide everything needed.

I planned a meeting and invited all my friends who had been part of the Living Nativity, shared this calling of God, and asked them to help with casting a vision. I was so encouraged by their response and enthusiasm to join in this new adventure.

I was amazed and overwhelmed by the specific ways God provided all our needs!

The Holy Spirit guided me as I put together the script which was scripture and songs that were so fitting.

All the acting parts were filled, including the role as Jesus, a man who just became a leader in the Bible study Mark and I are involved with. The Holy Spirit prompted me one evening at Bible study to ask him if he would consider playing the part of Jesus in a Passion Play. To my amazement he replied that he had played that role before and that, “Yes” he would love to do it!!

My next question of God was, “Where should we have this play?” The Lord took me out to our field and I saw the large flat rock in the middle and began to envision a theater in the round. The rock could serve as the stage with the audience seated all around. I began to become excited. Everything was actually coming together!

Lord, what about props and costumes? These were found in storage at a local church which wasn’t using them that year. We had available to us; chairs, costumes, and even a huge wooden cross!! Along with our horse, used as the donkey for Jesus to ride into Jerusalem, and the tomb which friends built, God provided every thing needed!

But even exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond…every Sunday from February until the beginning of April it was warm and dry so we could have practice outside!

The dream of a Passion Play God put in my heart back in December became a reality because I chose to exchange my true, my fears, scarcity, and insecurities with God’s truth.

I chose to let go of my fears and fear God so that His will would be accomplished.

My friend, as a beloved child of God, you have been created with a destiny that God wants to accomplish through you. Joseph had his pit and prison experiences on his way to the fulfillment of his dream. Gideon had his “whinepress” experience on his way to fulfilling the destiny God had for him. So you too, may be facing fears, scarcity, and insecurity, but don’t allow them to define you. Look into the perfect word of God, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth and allow Him to exchange your true with His truth. Let go of your fear, and fear the Lord.

There is nothing God calls you to do that He won’t also equip and provide for you. 

Always remember…

As a beloved child of God…

He sees you as a “Mighty Warrior,” who has the Living God dwelling within you, destined to carry out great victories for His glory! 

The Lord is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed!

True vs Truth

I was reading verses of “Who I am in Christ” over Kayla as I was driving her to school the other day when I found myself thinking, “I know these are God’s truths about who I am in Christ, but I certainly don’t feel as though they are true of me.  Verses like…

you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.

you have the peace of God that passes understanding

you have power over all the power of the enemy and nothing will harm you

you are raised with Christ in heavenly places

you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you

Some days what I know to be true is that I’m not feeling  chosen or acting very royal, or holy.

Some days what I know to be true is that I’m everything but at peace.

Some days the strategies of the enemy are so strong and all I know to be true is that I yielded to temptation and now am regretting the words I spoke, the judgements I made.

It may be truth that I’m am raised with Christ in the heavenliness, but right now I am surrounded with cleaning, errands, and laundry; none of which seem very heavenly.

Really God? I know You said You will give me the strength to do what You tell me to do, but what I know to be true is that I don’t have the ability to do it, I’ve tried that before and failed.

Can there actually be true and truth?

What do I do when I find what I believe to be true is different than God’s truth?

I have a choice to make.

This is a profound revelation for me!

One that I have found changes how I look at situations, how I respond towards others, and what I choose to believe; and even how I pray!

It is a revelation that takes me beyond the physical, into the spiritual.

This was Gideon’s experience when he was visited by an angel while hiding in a winepress threshing wheat.

“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6:12-16

What was true to Gideon…

He and his people were being oppressed and starved by the Midianites.

He hadn’t seen any miracles of God like he heard happened long ago.

The Lord had forsaken them and had given them into the hands of their enemies.

There was no way he could save his people because his clan was the weakest of all the clans, and he was the least of his family.

These things were true in the physical realm. These were Gideon’s perspectives based on what he was experiencing, what he could see, and what he understood.

Gideon felt afraid, abandoned, and sorry for himself.

Sounds familiar, kind of like a pity party down in the “whinepress“!

But God had a different perspective; one from the spiritual realm.

“The Lord is with you” 

“You mighty man of valor!”

“Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”

“Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”

Gideon spoke what was true.

God spoke truth!

It’s clear God didn’t send His angel to have a discussion with Gideon about the reasons why they were being oppressed, the causes for the lack of miracles, or the root of Gideon’s low self-esteem.

Not that God doesn’t care about the things that concern us, but I find if I focus on my difficulties, when I doubt God and question where He has been lately, and when I think negatively and feel sorry for myself, it keeps me down in the winepress, having pity parties, and doing things I shouldn’t.

Truth trumps what is true!

So, back to the verses I speak over Kayla each morning.

If I look at them in light of this revelation, that truth trumps what is true; rather than being discouraged when I don’t feel like these are true about me, or when I have excuses as to why they can’t be true based on what I see or understand, I can thank God for His truth and choose to believe Him, no matter what.

It’s up to me to lay aside what I believe to be true about myself based on my circumstances or how I have defined myself. I can choose to see myself as God sees me, as His chosen daughter, royal, and holy, set apart for His purposes and glory.

In the midst of chaos I can get caught up in it and become overwhelmed by the turmoil and stress. Or I can choose to believe the truth that when I choose to rejoice always, don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything with thanksgiving, I will experience His surpassing peace!

When I take hold of the truth that the Holy Spirit within me is greater than any strategy of the enemy and that when I choose to resist the devil and draw near to God I will be able to resist temptation. Then I will have no regrets of harsh words or judgmental attitudes.

Seated in heavenly places? This is a truth I don’t fully understand, but I can choose to believe it, and then ask God to explain it to me. “So, Lord, I believe I have been raised with You in the heavenly places, please show me the authority I have as one seated with You, and how to live in that truth here on earth.”

When faced with a decision of what to do I have the choice of how to respond. Often I look at the choices through my eyes, examine them through my understanding, and base my decision on my ability, on my experience. When I choose independently of God’s truth it opens me up to wrong decisions and failure. When I choose to believe God’s truth that says, “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you,” I will seek Him to guide me in making my choice and trust that in choosing His will He will give me the strength to accomplish it.

The story of Gideon doesn’t end here. God called him to “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” God promised to be with him and to give him the victory.

I believe this call from oppression and scarcity is for today just as it was in Gideon’s day… so, look up from your winepress and see that…

God is with you, O mighty warrior, calling you to go in your might and save those around you from the oppression of the enemy. He promises to go with you and to give you the victory!

But it begins with an encounter with God that will require you to exchange your true, with God’s truth!