The Lord is with you, strengthening you…
Realizing and Revealing…
The Lord is With Us..Strengthening Us!
† HIS †
As you dwell in the grace and mercy of God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, may you realize how He strengthens you, just by being there…with you!
The Lenten/Gideon Journey
Am I in the winepress, or just in MIdian’s Hands
As I look at our world, and just Southern California over these weeks since I have returned from China, I think I understand more than ever, the attitude of Gideon, hiding in the winepress.
As the injustice, in and evil in the world floods our lives, I can be easily saddened as the people of God and their leaders are often looking more to other gods, or as St Paul talks about – we make idols of our appetites. Either we dismiss the impact of sin, or we go to the opposite extreme, demanding perfection and condemning where we see others failing to be perfect. We are more focused on how things “look” here, than on bringing people into the presence of God, to be cleansed by His flood of love.
My instinct, as I see this world, and consider my role in it, our role in being the ones reflecting this light in the darkness is so close to Gideon’s words, as he hides in the winepress and is greeted by the Lord.
“Lord, if you are with us, then why? Where are Your Miracles Lord? Why aren’t you rescuing this people from their sin and the oppression of evil and temptation?” Why Lord? What are You going to do about all this, Lord?”
The answer we hear, when we take the time to listen, is even more staggering…
“Why, I am sending you, of course!”
Uhm – Lord – have you looked at us recently? Don’t you know we are not one of the big mega churches; we don’t have hardly any young people, and we don’t have a lot of resources, how are we supposed to save the world….”
Call to remember the promise!
If you carefully at this passage, there is something odd to consider. Gideon recounts easily the miracles of the past, the times where God rescues His people. But what isn’t remembered are the promises, the contractual obligation that God enters into, to be with us, to be with His people, to protect them, to deliver them, and yes, even to chasten them.
As Gideon wavers at the command to go with the strength you have, as he questions the wisdom and knowledge of God, there is a reminder about that strength.
“I will be with you!”
That assurance, “I will be with you”, is the bottom line of every covenantal promise of God, of everything God does in our lives. It is what not only what those who walked with God before us realized; it is what the people of God whom Gideon mentioned realized. He is with us! He will save us.. He has come, to deliver and restore and heal us!
Still sometimes, we don’t get it… and he asks for a sign, even as he goes and gets an appropriate offering. He trusts enough for the offering, but not yet enough to take on the challenge of being the one who God will use to rescue His people. Sound familiar? Yes Lord, I trust you enough to go to church on Sunday, and even a few Wednesday nights a year, but show me a sign that you are going to send me to…that you want me to invite “them” to church, that you want me to reach out and show you love to..
I sometimes think we determine that it isn’t God we don’t trust in, but ourselves. Yet didn’t He choose us… to be His kingdom of priests?
I need something to overcome my fear, my anxiety, my doubts about, “why me”, or at least I think I do….
What I need to really here, what I really need to see revealed in my life… is the truth of “I will be with you!”
The Promise fulfilled
We aren’t doomed when we encounter Christ’s glory
Each week, along with Gideon, we get to hear John’s incredible first chapter and especially verse 14.
14 The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son.
When we realize that Matthew tells us that Jesus, the Word Made Flesh and living with us” promised He would never leave us, even until the end of the age, this means that we to live with Him, and He is still full of grace and truth.
He is here, as we hear His word, as we feast on His body and blood. He is meeting our needs to know His presence, for that is our own strength. Even as Gideon strength, and Moses for that matter was found in their realization that it was God directing their steps, we need to realize that as well. We desperately need to realize that, for then, our strength is enough to do whatever it takes.
We aren’t alone, He is here!
That is where our hope lies, that is how life is different, that is what we need to realize, not just as we approach the altar, but the breakfast table, our workplace’s front door, the restaurant, or gas station, or when we turn on our computer to check email’s, or read or watch the news.
I will be with you! – and with us, He is our strength…..
As we take on the impossible, as we confront the evil that would oppress us, as we deal with our own sin, let us find our strength… in the One Who creates, redemption and sanctifies His people.
For His is with us!