Against all Odds

Judges 7:1-8

The story of Gideon offers scriptural guidance for times when the odds are overwhelming and defeat seems imminent. No matter what your challenges are, the Lord is able to demonstrate His awesome power and deliver you.

God uses difficulty to build faith. Gideon was willing to believe God and go up against an army four times larger than his own. Trusting the Lord is a process that must be learned through experience. At times God takes the people He plans to use and places them in impossible situations—in that way, they discover He is faithful. We may prefer to acquire faith by reading a book, but the Lord knows the best classroom is a place of utter helplessness.

God may require us to do what seems unreasonable. The Israelites were already outnumbered, but the Lord instructed Gideon to reduce the army to a mere 300 men. That made the odds 450 to one! Although God’s ways may seem illogical to us, His wisdom and power are far greater than ours, and His plan can be trusted.

God leads us to do that which brings Him glory. Gideon’s army was so small that its men could in no way take credit for the victory. The Lord delights in demonstrating His awesome power and glory through our weakness and inadequacy.

Think of life’s challenges as opportunities for the Lord to build your faith and prepare you for ministry. He uses those who are willing to obey Him even when the task seems illogical or impossible. And He takes pleasure in showing His faithfulness to those who trust in Him regardless of the situation.


The Final Word

1 Corinthians 10:13 (WEB)
No temptation has taken you except what is common to man.
God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able,
but will with the temptation also make the way of escape,
that you may be able to endure it.

Promise: I will not let you be tested beyond what you can endure.

Jesus told us in John 16:33 that in the world we will have trouble. Sadly, bad things do happen to good people. We all experience heartache, loss and pain as a result of the fallen world we live in. But Jesus goes on to encourage us that we can be glad because He has overcome the world!

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul tells us that we will not be tested with any temptation or trial more than we are able to endure. There may be circumstances in our life that rage against this promise, but hold onto the promise that God’s grace is sufficient in every trial. He will give you the grace to endure and He promises to provide you with a way of escape when the load gets beyond what you can deal with.

If you are in the midst of great trials and challenges in your life today, my prayer is that our God and Father would comfort you and strengthen you with the promise that you will not be tested beyond what you can endure. And I also pray that He will provide you with a way of escape for every trial that you face knowing that God has the last word and nothing happens that is out of HIS divine will. He has the final word.

Surrendering to God’s Plans

Promise: My plan for your future is filled with hope.

When you think of your own future, how do you feel? Are you excited to think of what is ahead or does the thought of the future cause you to be anxious? With an uncertain economy, wars and rumors of wars, etc., it is easy to feel anxious and uncertain about what lies ahead. Yet in today’s promise, God says that your future is filled with hope.

My favorite Bible translation of this verse comes from the NIV Bible… For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)

I find it very reassuring to know that God has a plan for my future that is filled with hope. I don’t have to dread what’s coming because my Heavenly Dad already has a plan for me. And of course we know that the ultimate hope is living in the light of God’s love forever!

May the reality of today’s promise fill you with peace. May you know that while the future may be uncertain to you, it is not to God. He has a father’s heart toward you and has determined to fill your future with hope. Does this mean that there will be no bumps in the road? Certainly not.

But we do know that all things will ultimately work together for our good as Paul declared in Romans 8:28… We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. (WEB)


When Bad Things Happen to Good People

1 Peter 2:18-25

One of the hardest situations to bear is unjust suffering. We can expect to reap pain and trouble if we sow sin, but what if we haven’t done anything wrong? Even trials that seem to come for no reason are easier to bear than those resulting from someone’s mistreatment of us.

This is what Peter had in mind when he wrote today’s passage. Slaves in the Roman Empire had few rights if any, and abuse wasn’t uncommon. Becoming a Christian didn’t change the circumstances, but it did require a different response. Peter told them to respectfully submit to their masters and endure mistreatment because such a response finds favor with God.

Whoever has been saved by Christ is also called to follow in His footsteps. Although the Lord committed no sin, He suffered death on a cross for us. Jesus not only paid the penalty for our sins, but He also made it possible for us to respond to mistreatment as He did.

Christ’s responses are noteworthy, first because Jesus didn’t revile or threaten those who hurt Him. His silence was fueled by forgiveness rather than anger or thoughts of revenge. Even as He was being nailed to the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). Second,
Jesus entrusted Himself to the Father, who judges righteously. The Lord had no need to fight for His rights, because He was doing exactly what God had called Him to do.

Our job is to make sure we’re following Christ and living in God’s will. Then if others mistreat us, we can simply hand the situation over to our Father, knowing that He will judge it rightly in His time.


Psalm 32:7 (WEB)

You are my hiding place. You will preserve me from trouble.
You will surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Waiting On God

Genesis 16:1-16

God answers prayer in one of three ways: “yes,” “no,” or “yes, but not yet.” This last reply seems to be the most dreaded— sometimes even more than an outright “no.” However, patience is an important trait for the Christian, as Scripture stresses repeatedly in stories, psalms, and epistles.

Waiting on the Lord to unlock a door is always wiser than attempting to pry it open ourselves, even when the delay has been long. After God promised him descendants (Gen. 12:2), Abraham lived for 25 years with an answer of “not yet.” After that quarter-century, the answer finally became “yes.” But meanwhile, Abraham and Sarah came up with their own plan to get an heir—Sarah’s servant Hagar bore Ishmael. The couple may have convinced themselves they were “helping” God live up to His prophecy, but really they were disobeying. The consequences were disastrous. Bitterness and blame affected every member of the family (Gen. 16:4-6; Gen. 21:9-10). What’s more, Ishmael’s people lived in enmity with their neighbors, and that hostility persists in the Middle East today (Gen. 21:9-14; Gen. 25:18).

Our patience gives God time to prepare the opportunity on the other side of a closed door. Even if we could force our way by manipulating circumstances, we would not be happy with what we find there. No one in Abraham’s camp was satisfied with the situation they created! We can have contentment and joy only when we access the Lord’s will at the very moment He ordained. The blessings we find on the other side of an open door are always worth the wait.

The Power of Prayer

The Power of Prayer

Colossians 1:9-10

Philippians 4:6 says that it’s good to bring requests to the Lord, and we do often ask Him for certain blessings, desired outcomes, and healing for loved ones. But there are times when, in God’s omniscience, He determines that a “no” would ultimately result in greater good.

So, what supplications can you be sure are in accordance with His will? Paul recorded specific petitions he made on behalf of the Colossians, and you can offer these life-changing prayers for people in your own life as well.

First, request that they “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9). In this way, you are asking God to give them direction and the ability to see life from His viewpoint.

Second, ask that they “will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (v. 10). The only way to succeed in this is through the control of the Holy Spirit—He fills hearts with a longing for God and creates the desire to please Him through obedience.

Third, pray that their life would count (v. 10). There is a difference between being busy and being fruitful. Many Christians assume that to have an impact for God, they must volunteer in numerous ministries at church or become a missionary or pastor. But the truth is, effectiveness in God’s work depends on what He calls each person to do.

Too often, Christians pray for others only during hardships. But Paul continuously lifted up the Colossians to our Father (v. 9). As you mention others by name to the Lord, consider the areas that the apostle addressed.