Unsuspected Places

Judges 6:1-2; 7; 11-14 NASB  Then the sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD gave them into the hands of Midian seven years.  (2)  The power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens which were in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. (7) NASB  Now it came about when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD on account of Midian, Judges (11) NASB  Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites.  (12)  The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.”  (13)  Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”  (14)  The LORD looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”

Israel is in real trouble because of their disobedience and the Midianites have come against them. Israel is so hard pressed that they are living in caves in the mountains and Gideon is preparing his wheat in the winepress so that the Midianites will not take it from him. Gideon does not see himself as anything special; however, God views him differently. Gideon’s questioning Israel and his current status is looking to the promises of God given to Israel. Gideon asks, (My rendition) “Did you not bring us out of Egypt? However, it seems as if we are abandoned now because if our God was leading us once again then we would not be in this predicament.” God used Gideon mightily to illustrate His mighty power through Gideon. I truly believe that God desires this once again. Dwight Moody once said, “The world has yet to see what God can do through a man and with God’s grace I will be that man.” Do you know how big your God is? Do you know what mighty things He can do in our present world? Are you willing to allow Him to use you to illustrate His mighty power in a sinful world? If our answer is yes then as God spoke to Gideon He will speak to us, “Go in this your strength and deliver your community, state, nation, and the world from the hand of the enemy!” All God needs is a willing vessel to use and He will do great and mighty things so that His name is glorified.

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs

Advertisements

Knowing the truth

Luke 20:1-8 NASB  On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him,  (2)  and they spoke, saying to Him, “Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?”  (3)  Jesus answered and said to them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell Me:  (4)  “Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?” (5)  They reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’  (6)  “But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.”  (7)  So they answered that they did not know where it came from.  (8)  And Jesus said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Have you ever been in a discussion (argument) and you really did not know if you were totally right.  Maybe you continued to discuss the issue because you wanted to appear right or you just wanted to prove the other person wrong.  I read this passage today and the chief priest and the scribes astounded me in their relationship to the truth.  They knew that John the Baptist was a prophet because of his message, actions, and influence upon the people.  They may have been envious or jealous of him; however, they knew the truth.  The truth was undeniable; however, they chose to ignore it in favor of arrogance and pride.  Do you know the truth? What has that Truth done in your life?  Jesus tells us the affects of truth in John 8:31-32 NASB “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; (32)  and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’”  The following thought pattern assists me in working through the unknowns of the world.  First, it is obvious there is a Creator who has orchestrated the universe.  Secondly, He has revealed His plan to man through His written Word that leads us back to His heart.  I see His truth and my life has shifted accordingly.  To ignore or hide the truth would be the equivalent of denying the Lord. I read a story the other day about a Christian family in North Korea who were under heavy persecution. They were preaching Jesus and now their lives were threatened. They took the man’s son and said that they would kill him if the parents didn’t renounce Jesus as their Savior. The family understood the dangers of standing for Jesus but they could not deny the truth. Where do you stand with truth?  Have you been transformed by God’s truth? Know the truth, stand for it and it will set you free!

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs

A crucial tool

Luke 19:45-47 NASB  Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling,  (46)  saying to them, “It is written, ‘AND MY HOUSE SHALL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER,’ but you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”  (47) And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him,

Have you ever attempted to complete a job with the wrong tool? I have tried to work on a phillips head screw with a flat head screw driver. If you do not have the appropriate tool then you attempt to locate a close neighbor of the tool and give it all that you’ve got. However, I have learned that things go much better when you have the right tool. I have made a bad situation worse when I attempt it with the wrong tool. There is such a contrast between Jesus and the establishment of religious leaders. Jesus is attempting to set things right; however, the religious establishment is arranging to have Jesus destroyed. Jesus is entering the Temple right before He is to be crucified and He is acting with righteous indignation as He is driving out those who have made the Temple a spiritual mockery and just a shell of “religion”. How important is prayer? It must be pretty important for Jesus to call the house of worship a “House of prayer.” I think that the worst thing for you and me to do is to make Christianity into just a mere structure of an organization. What is prayer all about? What is God’s house all about? It is about relationship. God does not want His children to be a “form” of Christianity but in a powerful relationship with Him. Prayer literally will change the very face of our “religion” and bring it to a powerful relationship. I think that it is a beautiful thing when we can pray one for another as we ask God to bless someone else’s situation. We have just started this at Halifax Linen in that we have a prayer board for employees to put up prayer needs and we can pray for one another. This allows us to turn our “religion” into a powerful relationship through prayer. This is what James is telling us in James 5:16 (NASB) “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” Is your house a house of prayer?

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs

Give me a shout!

Joshua 6:1-5 & 15-16 NASB  Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in.  (2)  The LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors. (3)  “You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days.  (4)  “Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.  (5)  “It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead.” (15) Then on the seventh day they rose early at the dawning of the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times; only on that day they marched around the city seven times.  (16)  At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city.

Israel entered the Promise Land in order to fulfill the promise of God to Abraham. Can you imagine being told that you were going to walk around the city for six days and then seven times on the seventh day in order to defeat the city? Can you imagine that on the seventh day you were to shout for the Lord and the walls were going to come down? I must say that Isaiah had it right in Isaiah 55:8-9 NASB  “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  (9) “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” We must understand that God does not have to work in the way and manner that we would approve. God is God and He can do anything and everything that He so desires. I think that the Lord simply desires obedience unto His Word and plan. Thankfully, Joshua chose to serve the Lord and follow Him with his life and actions. It seems to me that God will work in places that follow Him, desire Him to work, and need Him to work because that person’s trust and faith is in the resurrected Lord. We also must know that God still speaks today through His Word and the moving of the Holy Spirit. Are you listening for His commands? Will you follow them even if they go against logic and common sense? God desires that we listen and follow Him because He still desires to give us the Land (His promises). Can you be like Israel this morning and shout God praises as we see desire to see the walls of opposition, strife, discord, etc. come down. Shout and glorify His wonderful name! For the Lord has given you the city!

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs

Thankful!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thankful!

Luke 17:11-19 NASB  While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee.  (12)  As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him;  (13)  and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”  (14)  When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed.  (15)  Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice,  (16)  and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan.  (17)  Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine–where are they?  (18)  “Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?”  (19)  And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”

Can you imagine being ostracized from your friends, family, and society as a whole? Life was not easy for someone who had leprosy as the world literally turned its back upon that person. Leprosy was a disease that would turn one’s skin white as it ate away the flesh. It was not unusual to see a person who had leprosy to be without fingers, toes, or even an arm or leg because of this dreaded disease that was contracted through a person’s touch. This is why a person with leprosy had to stay outside of the city and yell “unclean, unclean!” whenever they came close to another person. Can you imagine how these ten lepers felt after meeting Jesus? They were once outcast; however, now they can go back home to their families. They can go to the market to buy food. They can go back to the Temple for worship. In a split moment their lives have been changed. They must have been ecstatic with the situation. This is why leprosy is a type of sin because it will steal, kill, and destroy the participant. The trouble that Jesus had with the situation is that only one returned to give thanks to the one who cleansed them. I know that some people will not say thank you when you hold open the door for them; however, this is so much more deeper than that. Can you remember that you were lost in sin? Can you remember that it was destroying your life? The question that remains for us today is a tell-tale sign of where we stand spiritually. Are we of the nine or the one? I wonder how different our attitudes would be with the people and situations we encounter on a daily basis if we were more thankful in what God has done in our life. Will you allow a thankful heart to change your atmosphere?

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs

Take the land!

Joshua 1:1-3 &5-9 NASB  Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying,  (2)  “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.  (3)  “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses (5)  “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.  (6)  “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.  (7)  “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.  (8)  “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. (9)  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

God’s promises are for every day and every situation. I am sure that Joshua felt apprehensive about leading the children of Israel into the Promise Land. Joshua could not lean upon Moses any longer because he was dead and gone. Was Joshua going to trust God as His predecessor did? Given the difficult situation, what was Joshua to do in order to walk in victory? First, He was to take God’s promises as real because the land had been promised to his father Abraham. The promises of God are like fruit ready to be picked. Secondly, Joshua needed to understand just who was leading Him. God states that NO MAN will be able to stand before you. With God ALL things are possible!!! The last point is very important as God instructed Joshua to not depart from God’s Word. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God’s Word is sharper than any two-edged sword. There is nothing that can stand up to God’s written Word. It is the truth that leads our lives in every situation. How victorious are we in our daily life? We will be victorious if we will understand God’s promises, that He walks with us, and we continue to feed upon His Word for strength and encouragement. Are you walking in victory? If not then review Joshua’s testimony here and after it was all said and done in Joshua 24:15. Also, review this list to make sure that you are following God’s prescription for Joshua because it is for you and me as well.

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs

I once was lost….

I once was lost…

Luke 15:11-13 & 20-23 NASB  And He said, “A man had two sons.  (12)  “The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them.  (13)  “And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. (17) But when he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my Father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!” (20) “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.  (21)  “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  (22)  “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;  (23)  and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate;

Notice that the young man went his own way that lead him away from his loving Father. No one forced him to live in this selfish manner as he had everything that he would ever need right at home. He seemed as if he was going to do it his own way in spite of his Father’s love. The son soon became aware that he was totally helpless without his Father’s love and protecting hand as he squandered his living on loose living. He was lost and on his own. Then the son remembered his loving Father. This reminds me of the power of the Holy Spirit knocking on the heart of one who has lost his or her way and needs to come home. Notice the reaction of the Father when He sees His son over the horizon. The son’s Father embraces the son and kisses him. The Father replaces the son to his previous status with a robe to cover his filth. This is the blood of Christ that justifies the sinner. The son did nothing as this is the Father’s doing. The Father puts a ring on his finger, which is a place of wealth and prosperity. The Father places shoes upon his feet, which speaks of position because slaves did not wear shoes but only as a part of the family, a son. I do not know about you but I was this son. I wanted things my way for far too long. It literally took an almost tragic situation to get me to see life, the Father, and His love for me. I came home broken because I realized that I was dead on my own. The Father’s love drew me to His heart, which changed everything as I once was blind but now I see. I once was lost but now I am found. Dear God, there are one’s who are lost and for some reason they do not see it. Please touch hearts so that they might know of Your love…and come home. May the church never stop praying for the lost sons and daughters so that they might come home? Are you praying?

Blessings,

Marcus Riggs