Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div. - Visionary Strategist  Faithful Innovator  Inspirational Essayist
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It’sthe End of the Year, but it’s NOT Too Late: GO FORTH!!!

It’sthe End of the Year, but it’s NOT Too Late: GO FORTH!!!
Judges 6:11-14a
BlogFam,there are exactly 27 days left in 2012. And while the year is quickly coming to an end, IT IS NOT OVER YET!!!  I know that most of us will be adding our 2012 new year’s Resolutions/Goals/Dreams to the 2013 list but before you do so and give up on a year that has NOT yet passed, take a minute and check yourself!!!  Friends, what GREAT strides can you make over the next 27 days? There is still HOPE!
I know that it can be quite discouraging when you come to an end of a certain time frame and you realize that you have fallen short of what you set out to accomplish.  I have been there and I am there now, BUT there are 27 more days in 2012 and I really want to make the best of the rest of this year.  BlogFam,will you join me?
Over the last few weeks I have been reading and re-reading Judges 6-8, the story of Gideon and for the next few days or so, I would like to infuse his story with our reflections on VISION.  I encourage you to take the time to read Judges 6-8. I will lead you through select verses in this space but it’s always a good thing for you to read and meditate on the Word for yourself.  Leave a comment to let me know what strikes you about Gideon’s story.
On today, we will introduce Gideon by focusing on Judges 6:11-14a but first, allow me to briefly set the stage.  The chapter opens by giving us a picture of the “State of the Nation,” if you will.  The Israelites were walking in disobedience and as a result, the Lord allowed the Midianites to oppress them.  It was a really bad situation. 
Judges 6:1-5
The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.
Well,the Lord, sent a prophet to speak a word from the Lord.  The prophet recounted the ways that the Lord had delivered the nation out of Egypt and out of slavery and had given them the land of their enemies.  BUT, the Israelites did not obey the command of the Lord to NOT worship other gods.   In other words, the Israelites were crying out to the Lord for help and the Lord sends a word through a prophet to remind them why they are in the predicament they are in. 
Friends,some of the trouble we find ourselves in is because we were disobedient.  Period. There are times when the enemy will appear to triumph in our lives, just like the Midianites in the lives of the Israelites and we will cry out for help.  Then the Lord will remind us of the choices WE made.  Choices made that were contrary to the word and will of the Almighty.  Choices that yield consequences of heartache and hard times that cause us to feel oppressed, overwhelmed, invaded, and impoverished.    Then, we will cry out to the Lord and BEFORE our deliverance, the Lord will remind us of the choices we made that led us to our own state. 
Disobedience has this way of twisting everything around. We know what we are supposed to do BUT it feels so much better to do that which the Lord has commanded us NOT to do. In this instance, the Lord commanded the Israelites to NOT worship other gods.  BlogFam, what “other” gods have you been worshiping lately?  Yes, we all want to avoid the consequences of disobedience but we must face the reality of our disobedience before the Lord is able to alleviate those consequences.  And one of our downfalls just might be our allegiance to “other” gods.  And the“other” god may not be a golden calf or a rabbit’s foot or your lucky socks.  The other god might be facing you in the mirror or a deep desire within yourself to be popular, to be seen, to be heard, to be – dare I say, worshiped!!!
The Israelites worshiped the gods of the land that the Lord had given to them and their worship of other gods, led to their oppressed, overwhelmed, invaded, and impoverished state.  Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.
And the Lord heard their cry.  The Lord spoke a word of correction through the prophet and then -
The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us,why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
In the midst of a bad situation, Gideon is called to lead his people to VICTORY!  Gideon obviously felt like the Lord had abandoned them because of all that his people were going through which is exactly how some of us might feel.  It’slike he is asking – why in the world would the Lord call me a mighty warrior when the Lord has allowed us to feel oppressed and abandoned? 
It is not unusual for any of us to be called to serve or to speak at the most awkward times.  Sometimes the WHAT and the WHEN of our assignment does NOT make sense when you look at what is happening all around you.  But for some reason[s]the Lord is calling YOUR name and calling forth something that was placed inside of you at the moment you were conceived, something that has not yet been made manifest in your life. 
THE LORD IS WITH YOU MIGHTY WARRIOR!!!  And there is no excuse you can give that will be good enough and no question that you can ask that will deter the Lord from following through on your next assignment. So…
The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.”
BlogFam,in the final days of 2012, what is the Lord calling for YOU to do and to be?  And how have you answered that call?  It might seem as though the Lord has allowed your oppressive situation to go on far too long and it might feel like the Lord has abandoned you in the midst but I challenge you on today to do a Self-Inspection.  Is your heart right with God?  Has your disobedience caused you to walk in the situation that you now find yourself?  If so, Repent.  And GO IN STRENGTH! 
Ladies and Gentlemen, YOU are MIGHTY WARRIORS so GO FORTH in the strength and the power of the Lord!  GO FORTH and make God’s name GREAT in the earth!  GO FORTH and know that your assignment in the Kingdom of God will be made clear and any part of yourself that you have chosen to suppress or ignore, well, it is time for the greatness inside of you to COME FORTH so that you can GO FORTH in the strength and the power of the Lord!!!
YES, it is near the end of the year BUT it is NOT TOO LATE!!!
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