Day 125, 3rd January: Judges, John and Proverbs
Battles to Fight
There have been many times over the past few years where my friend Mike Pilavachi has challenged me to an arm wrestle. I think he does it because he’s intimidated by my masculinity and feels he needs to prove something. To my shame, (and this is painful to admit), more often than not he wins and I lose. When this happens he puffs up his chest, struts around like a peacock and texts me non-stop to remind me who is the current champ. At moments like these I feel God has brought him into my life to test me…
More seriously, God does have a habit of bringing people or situations into our lives to teach us things. As we read Judges today we see that God has deliberately left enemies in the land to test Israel. We’re told He did this “to teach warfare to the descendents of the Israelites who had not had any previous battle experience” (3:2). God is very practical and He loves to train and equip us.
More often than not we can ask God to remove from our lives difficult people or tough circumstances. Instead let’s be asking God to show us the lesson we can learn from having them in our lives. When someone treats us badly – it’s an opportunity to show grace. When things are stressful it’s an opportunity to practice trust. When our workplace or school seems far from God it’s an opportunity to pursue change.
My friends Jason and Rachel pointed out to me recently that God hasn’t just saved us from something; he’s saved us for something. We’re called to fight battles for God. Let’s not shy away from them. In John Jesus arrives at the well tired but by the time the disciples return he’s full of energy – he doesn’t want any food. All that’s happened in between is he’s shared the gospel, he’s won a soul for God’s kingdom. Read the words he says again (John 4:34-38) they are full of passion, life and excitement at the potential in the world around him.
Let’s not be surprised that God has given us battles to fight, whether it’s a person to love or a place to change. Let’s not walk away if they are hard. Instead let’s give them our all. I love what Teddy Roosevelt, former US president said:
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly… who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.”
Here’s a video summary of what we’ve read over the last 4 Months. We hope its useful to recap what you’ve read or to bring you up to speed so you can carry on in the New Year.
Today’s picture was taken by…
Dave Atkinson. Thanks Dave!
If you’d like to take your own picture to potentially be featured on the blog, then get your Soul Survivor Bible in One Year, and take a picture of yourself – and your Bible – at some interesting or colourful location. Then email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The pictures will need to be a pretty good resolution (we use 640px by 360 px so at least as big as that), landscape photos work best and if you include the day of the reading in the picture then make sure you send it to us a good few days before that reading, so we have time to include it in that day’s post! We’ll credit all photographers!