Gideon

Steve Arterburn

Regardless of your humble beginnings, God can lead you to a glorious future. But there’s a catch.  You need to be transformed according to his perfect plan.  And you’ll need both faith and courage as you allow him to make the most of your weaknesses, to transform your deficiencies into strength, and to turn your misery into mission.  

Take for example another man’a man named Gideon.  When you first meet Gideon in the book of Judges, he’s discouraged.  He’s a young man with little self-respect.  His clan was the weakest in his whole tribe, and he was the least in his family.  He’s first seen threshing wheat in a winepress, hiding the little food he has from his Midianite oppressors.  An angel appeared and called to him, ‘Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!’  Gideon certainly didn’t look or feel like a mighty hero, but God knew his potential.  By the end of the story, Gideon had become the deliverer of his people.  His first step toward success was to see himself as God saw him’a ‘mighty hero.’  Then Gideon was able to hope in the possibility of freedom.

No matter how weak or unworthy you are, God is able to transform you into a mighty hero of faith.  Just as Gideon was changed when he trusted God to make him into a powerful man of God, you too will be changed when you allow God’s strength to empower you in your areas of weakness.

Praying for Others

Steve Arterburn

Here’s a great principle of prayer: You can do a great deal for people after you pray for them but little of lasting value until you pray for them.  

I don’t think I need to argue about the value of praying for your spouse, kids, and friends.  But sometimes in our busy culture it’s tough to clear your mind and get started.  So let’s look to a man who knew the value of prayer.  The apostle Paul begins many of his letters with a helpful pattern.  

If you look at his letter to the Philippians, for instance, you’ll see it begins with a blessing of grace and peace.  Grace is the reason for our salvation and peace is the result.  Paul then gives thanks for the Philippian believers.  Cherish the work that God’s doing in and through others.  Next Paul makes requests to aid the spiritual growth of his friends.  He wants them to grow in their love, knowledge, and understanding of Christ.  Last, Paul prays that they’d behave in a manner that honors God in light of coming judgment.  This isn’t a fear tactic but a reminder to live for the ultimate goal of heaven, not the short-term rewards of comfort and pleasure.  

God loves it when we come to him in prayer.  Will you select one person that God has placed on your heart, and write a prayer for them?  For help, look to Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

The Business World

Steve Arterburn

The ‘rules’ practiced in today’s business world aren’t always the same as God’s rules, are they?  Are you getting caught up in the game, trying to get as much as you can’are you tempted to cheat others or not give them their fair share?  God will hold his men’you and I’accountable for this.  We must take responsibility if we’ve sinned this way.

Take for example a man in the Bible named Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus’s hunger for riches drove him to take more than his fair share while he was collecting taxes from the Jews for the Roman government.  He was hated by his own people as an extortioner and a traitor.  But when Jesus reached out to him he changed dramatically. The book of Luke says,  ‘Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘I will give half of my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’ Jesus responded, ‘Salvation has come to his home today” (Luke 19:8-9).

When you honestly reflect on your life, you should be careful to consider whether you have taken more than your fair share in your dealings’business or personal. If so, it’s your responsibility to face the greed, the fear, the anger, and the pride that led you to behave dishonestly.  Like Zacchaeus, true spiritual growth will be evidenced in practical ways.  I hope you’ll take those courageous steps today.