April 30

Judges 11:1-12:15; John 1:1-28; Psalm 101:1-8; Proverbs 14:13-14

Have you ever been rejected? It is never a good feeling. It is even worse when you are rejected by your family. Jephthah felt this. His father was a renowned man but his mother was a prostitute. He was discredited and his half-brothers exiled him once he became a man.

He went to a place called Tob. In the Hebrew, Tob means good. Jephthah went to a good land but what did he do? He hung out with worthless people. You see, rejection can eat away at your esteem in such a way that you will only find comfort around others of low self-worth.

Jephthah’s behavior was only a cover for a mighty warrior that lived within. How many mighty men and women of valor are languishing in squalor because no one believed in them? In the face of rejection, Jephthah choose a lesser path. Don’t let the rejection of others cause you to undervalue who you are in God’s eyes. As Jephthah proved, he could be a great leader if he only believed in himself. God always believes in us.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Judges 13:1-14:20; John 1:29-51; Psalm 102:1-28; Proverbs 14:15-16

April 29

Judges 9:22-10:18; Luke 24:13-53; Psalm 100:1-5; Proverbs 14:11-12

When you are fighting for right, it might not be easy or comfortable but it is necessary. Gaal had seen the atrocities of Abimelech. He arose to speak out against his brutality and illegitimate rule over Israel. Having taken a stand, he had a choice, do I shrink back or keep standing firm on what I believe.

Always remember that when you take a stand for right, it will be challenged. Zebul overhead Gaal boasting and informed Abimelech of his attempt to de-throne him. Abimelech assembled his army to destroy Gaal. Gaal saw Abimelech’s army approaching but Zebul tried to convince him that what he had seen was not real. Be careful when so-called friends try to get you to redefine what you clearly see.

Though it was not Gaal’s hand that slayed Abimelech, Gaal’s stand for what was right is what brought about Abimelech’s demise. In a culture where everything goes, God is looking for people who will stand for right. Though it is not popular, it is required of the people of God to stand for right even in a wrong world. Take courage from Gaal that you can stand for what is right even when it’s difficult. God will back you up!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Judges 11:1-12:15; John 1:1-28; Psalm 101:1-8; Proverbs 14:13-14

April 28

Judges 8:18-9:21; Luke 23:44-24:12; Psalm 99:1-9; Proverbs 14:9-10
There is something called muscle memory. It is the automatic reflex to do something out of habit or conditioning. Humans suffer from this condition. Throughout the Book of Judges, we see this repeatedly. Gideon had just died and his sons were given the honor of leading Israel.

One of Gideon’s other sons, from his concubine, tried to usurp the other brothers. He led a coup against the 70 brothers and killed all of them, except one. What an act of disrespect to the memory and legacy of Gideon. Their quick descent into lawlessness came as a result of their turning away from the God who delivered them.

Before his death, Gideon took the gold from the Ishmaelite’s and made an ephod. It was an item worn by the priest as He served before the Lord. The Israelites started worshipping the Ephod and not the God for whom it was made. They moved from the Ephod to worshipping foreign gods. Why? Because they could! Plain and simple!

There are many things that we can do, but it does not mean that we should. Are your actions today faithful to the God who has done so much for you? Are you living your life maintaining the honor of your God? Are you, by your actions, telling God that you reject His help?

Israel learned that even though they rejected God, they soon had to return to Him and ask for help. Why not stay connected to God so that He is always near and moving on your behalf? That’s the best way to live!

Tomorrow’s Reading: 
Judges 9:22-10:18; Luke 24:13-53; Psalm 100:1-5; Proverbs 14:11-12

April 27

Judges 7:1-8:17; Luke 23:13-43; Psalm 97:1-98:9; Proverbs 14:7-8

Gideon was ready to face the enemy and do everything God had commanded him to do! He assembled an impressive army of warriors that was strong enough to face the enemy and win. God challenges Gideon to shrink the number. For anyone who was afraid to fight, they received a release from military duty. Then anyone who did not use his hand to drink water was also released.

When the process ended, Gideon had 300 people! This seemed like a sure path to failure. But here is a truth that you should embrace today: everyone who is around you may not be with you and be a part of the victory that God has planned for you. So often we want more for people around us than they want for themselves. Gideon would have had a lot of people to fight but God was clear that when they won, they would say to God, we did this without your help.

God always wants to get all the glory! He wanted a decisive victory over the Midianites and He wanted every nation to know that it was the hand of God that brought the victory. God could bring about a clear victory with 300 and everyone would know that God did it.

God is willing to do the work so that He gets the glory! So why not let Him? God plus you is a majority that will lead to victory.

Tomorrow’s Reading:  Judges 8:18-9:21; Luke 23:44-24:12; Psalm 99:1-9; Proverbs 14:9-10

April 26

Judges 6:1-40; Luke 22:54-23:12; Psalm 95:1-96:13; Proverbs 14:5-6

How does God produce the necessary boldness that you need to succeed in life? When God approached Gideon, he lacked boldness in God’s ability to change his people’s situation. God meets with Gideon through an Angel. He bestows upon Gideon a powerful name, “Mighty Hero”. He had never been called this before. But this is how God saw him. Gideon saw himself as a conquered person living under the domination of Midianites.

Gideon’s challenge was this (and it is ours too): He let his circumstance define who he was and who God is. Because they had been attacked, Gideon questioned if God was with him. Know this truth: God is always with you as a Believer! God has made an irrevocable commitment to be with you regardless of where you go and what happens to you.

What did it take to get Gideon to see himself as God saw him? He first gets Gideon to remember what God had done. Next, He told Gideon that God was not requiring more than he had. What Gideon had was enough to get him where God wanted him to go.

Don’t ever discount what you have. You have enough strength, stamina and faith to get you to the next level if you’ll just use what you have. You are not in a deficit at all. You have what you need to get where God wants you to go!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Judges 7:1-8:17; Luke 23:13-43; Psalm 97:1-98:9; Proverbs 14:7-8

April 25

Judges 4:1-5:31; Luke 22:35-53; Psalm 94:1-23; Proverbs 14:3-4

God loves us so much that He will not leave us in our mess alone. It is a foregone conclusion that if we are persecuted and tormented that God will deliver us. But, what about when through our own bad decisions, rebellion, and missteps, we end up in trouble? How does God respond?

God responds like any loving parent would. While we are heading into trouble, His heart is breaking because He knows where our decisions will lead us. He is also sending warnings through situations and people. But, when we get in trouble, He is in great expectation that you will come to yourself and call on Him. Because it is our freewill that gets us into trouble, God knows that our freewill decision is required before He can get involved to bring us out.

But, in the middle of our situation, when we call out to God for help, He will not ignore us! He will respond by sending us a deliverer! We see this in the book of Judges, repeatedly! They did what was right in their own eyes and then they ended up in bondage! The moment they called out to God, He sent help! He will do that for you as well.

Don’t spend your time beating up on yourself about the wrong decisions you’ve made. Just call out to God for help. He will help you today get out of whatever you are in!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Judges 6:1-40; Luke 22:54-23:12; Psalm 95:1-96:13; Proverbs 14:5-6

April 24

Judges 2:10-3:31; Luke 22:14-34; Psalm 92:1-93:5; Proverbs 14:1-2

There is a slippery slope into sin. As Israel demonstrates, it all starts when we stop acknowledging God! To acknowledge means to accept or admit the existence of Truth. We all have a compass that we follow. The only question is, “Does it point True North?” If we establish our own set of rules for how we will live our lives, then that is the beginning of our demise.

How often do we hear people say, or we’ve been guilty of saying it ourselves, “I know the Bible says, But…” Since the Bible is the Truth, how can it be negated by our opinion? My Spiritual Father says it like this, “Our opinion matters only when we can make a world!” That is so true! How can our finite thoughts, exceed God’s infinite thoughts? Of course they can’t.

At each point in our lives, we have to determine if God’s truth will win out! If our truth wins, we have taken the first step into lawlessness. I heard a story of a young man who was taking his maiden voyage as captain of a small vessel. The seasoned captain told him, that the port from which he was sailing was always due north from his destination. The old captain went on to say that even if you feel like going in another direction, don’t do it. Set your compass due north and you will make it back to the harbor.

Sure enough, as it was time to return home, the skies darkened and a heavy fog covered the water. They could not see any landmarks and they had to trust the compass. That compass guided them right back to their home port! The same will happen for us if we acknowledge God before we do anything! His Truth will take us to all our purpose and fulfill all our dreams! It will also keep us from sliding into disobedience.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Judges 4:1-5:31; Luke 22:35-53; Psalm 94:1-23; Proverbs 14:3-4

 

April 23

Judges 1:1-2:9; Luke 21:29-22:13; Psalm 90:1-91:16; Proverbs 13:24-25

God promises to be a shield and protector for those who are faithful to Him. What happens when we, through our disobedience, turn away from Him? Think of it like this: Walking in the favor of God is like being under an umbrella. As long as we stay under the umbrella, we stay dry. As the umbrella moves, we move with it. But, if through our disobedience, we walk away from the umbrella then we will get wet.

Joshua had given Israel very clear instructions about how they were to handle the Promised Land. He laid out the consequences for their disobedience and the rewards for their obedience. In light of all this, they vow to remain true to God. It did not take long for them to disregard the instructions of the Lord and go their own way.

After you made a decision to follow Jesus, the next crucial decision will be who will lead your life. If you give Jesus permission to lead your life, you will walk in the fullness of God’s promises. If not, then you will get wet repeatedly. Israel’s disobedience caused a strong reaction from God: “So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.” (Judges 2:3)

They lost God’s help! How sad it is to go through life in our own strength when we have access to supernatural power. Remember this: “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Stay under His covering through your obedience.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Judges 2:10-3:31; Luke 22:14-34; Psalm 92:1-93:5; Proverbs 14:1-2

April 21

Joshua 22:21-23:16; Luke 20:27-47; Psalm 89:14-37; Proverbs 13:17-19

Israel finally had rest from all their wars. Reuben, Gad and Manasseh had returned home and built an altar. It caused a great conflict because the rest of Israel thought they had committed a serious sin. All the other tribes assembled together to go to war. Thankfully, the tribes on the East of the Jordan explained that their altar was only a memorial so that future generations would know that even though they did not live in Canaan, they still had a claim to the promises of God!

You see, these 3 tribes knew something very powerful. The further we get from the miraculous works of God, the more prone we are to forget all that God has done. They neither wanted their descendants to forget nor the other Israelites to forget the role that God played in using them to help secure the Promised Land.

A season of rest is important for all of us! It is in the time of rest that we reconnect to God, remind ourselves of His goodness and restore ourselves. If you have been in battles, you have to know that a time of rest must follow the battle. Even our trained military gets time off after a tour of duty.

Put together a journal of all that God has done so that when you get tired and feel like quitting, you can remind yourself of all that God has done!!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Joshua 24:1-33; Luke 21:1-28; Psalm 89:38-52; Proverbs 13:20-23

April 20

Joshua 21:1-22:20; Luke 20:1-26; Psalm 89:1-13; Proverbs 13:15-16

We serve a God who really does keep His promises. When everyone was settled in their land, the Bible says, “ Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything He had spoken came true.” (Joshua 21:45)

God remains true to His promises. He will not let even one of His promises go unfulfilled. In fact, God will do whatever is necessary to keep His Word to His people. When opposition arose against Israel, they could rest in God’s promises. When it looked like they were outnumbered, they knew God would not go back on His promises.

How about this one: Even when they rebelled and went against God’s plan, He never revoked the promises He made to Israel. He planned to get them to the Promised Land and He did. When Israel repented, God moved them one step closer to receiving the promise.

So, why have you given up on your dreams and plans? God hasn’t changed His mind at all. His promises are “yes and amen.” Since God made you a promise, He will not back away from it. He is standing ready to make it happen for you. Trust His promises because God is thoroughly reliable!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Joshua 22:21-23:16; Luke 20:27-47; Psalm 89:14-37; Proverbs 13:17-19