Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Will You Make the Cut?

People of God,

The Lord has such an awesome task and assignment for many of us. I admit that I'm often overwhelmed at the things He shows me, the tasks that must be accomplished. Oftentimes, I have made excuses, somehow convincing myself that it's not mere disobedience. "Lord, who will listen? I'm not educated enough. My ministry isn't large enough. I don't have the funds and the money to complete the work." God is saying that He's not looking for those who are mighty in their own power. He is looking for those who can make the cut by His standards of holiness and obedience.

The Lord then took me to Judges 7, which describes one of Gideon's battle assignments. While I've read the story many times, this occasion was different. The Lord showed me this scenario in a prophetic light, describing the same shifting that is taking place today in the body of Christ.

Saints, I am sharing this to encourage you, as it encouraged me. The Lord is saying that many of us have been called to the front line of battle BECAUSE we don't have all the world and the organized religion of church says we must have. Many of us are being called due to the state of humility we are in...because we can't do it on our own...because GOD MUST GET THE GLORY!!!

1THEN JERUBBAAL, that is, Gideon, and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was north of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley.

The very first detail I notice in this scripture is the readiness of Gideon's army. Even before God called them into battle, they were in position, ready to attack the enemy. In the same manner, this is a day and time when we must always be prepared for battle - that is, spiritual warfare! We must be able to tap into God in an instance. The days of warming up are over. Our relationships with the Father must be sharp and strong enough that when we call Him, He answers. In the same manner, when He calls, we must be ready and willing to answer that call.

2The Lord said to Gideon, The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel boast about themselves against Me, saying, My own hand has delivered me.

What the Lord showed me here really blessed me. I see so many churches and ministries where people are leaving and separating themselves. I'm speaking specifically about those who have despised small beginnings. They become frustrated with being small. They wanted more publicity and more notoriety. They felt the leaders couldn't catapult them into success, so they sought those who could. If you are experiencing this, God says these people had to leave, because He couldn't allow you to prosper and be victorious with them there. If we have too many influential, too many rich, too many educated...the battle will be attributed to those men rather than God. When we are victorious through Christ, God must get the glory. So, don't be dismayed if the popular ones leave and fail to offer support. Count it all joy. God is just preparing you for victory!

3So now proclaim in the ears of the men, saying, Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him turn back and depart from Mount Gilead. And 22,000 of the men returned, but 10,000 remained.

So now we see the "first cut." God is literally moving those ministries out of the way who are afraid of true warfare. This is a time when 10,000 seat stadiums, nice cars and a prestigious name cannot offer deliverance. Instead, the Lord is looking for a remnant that will look a demon in the face and not flinch. This is a season where POWER is needed on the battlefield. I truly believe we are coming to a day when many of the mega-ministries who have been in the forefront will begin to retract into quietness. Why? Some of them have popularity, but no power. This is a day when we must be willing to lose our own lives (and names) all to the glory of God! Focus is required. And frankly, when the rubber hits the road, many of those whom we thought had power, will be exposed. We must, therefore, be sure of our foundations. We must be confident in the deliverance of our God.

4And the Lord said to Gideon, The men are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. And he of whom I say to you, This man shall go with you, shall go with you; and he of whom I say to you, This man shall not go with you, shall not go.

5So he brought the men down to the water, and the Lord said to Gideon, Everyone who laps up the water with his tongue as a dog laps it, you shall set by himself, likewise everyone who bows down on his knees to drink.

6And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.

Now, God has the "second cut." The interesting thing here is that all the men accomplished the goal - they all drank water. The difference is that only a handful obtained the prize in the manner God desired. They were not necessarily disobedient, because God never gave a distinct order. Yet, only a few did things in the manner He preferred. In the same manner, only a remnant are seeking to do things God's way in this season. So many are following the demands of the world in order to obtain success. Because the Word may not specifically address many issues, so many don't see there error. God showed me that many, while they may not yet be exposed, are trying to be fed by a way that is outside of His will. Those are being cut from the battlefield. Funding the church with bake sales and raffles...Sacrificing holiness for popularity...Defying God's people in order to drive a big car and buy a huge home...Writing books to bring in more income, without giving regard to the direction of God. So many things are going on that "look right" from the outside. It "looks like" some ministries just want to get large so more attention will be drawn to the Father, yet all the notoriety comes to the man who leads the BUSINESS. There is a way that seems right unto man, but the end thereof is death! We must stay in communication with God and be led by the Holy Spirit in order to know HIS HEART. The Word, alone, without RELATIONSHIP with the Father, is not sufficient for the battle ahead. Yes, in this season of true battle, those who take shortcuts around God's way will not be able to stand. We must do things according to the Spirit of God - NOT MAN's WAY, BUT GOD's WAY!

7And the Lord said to Gideon, With the 300 men who lapped I will deliver you, and give the Midianites into your hand. Let all the others return every man to his home.

I love the way the Lord promises to deliver by the hands of just a few. Even more, a few who have no name, no popularity.

8So the people took provisions and their trumpets in their hands, and he sent all the rest of Israel every man to his home and retained those 300 men. And the host of Midian was below him in the valley.

My God! The people took enough to supply their needs AND THEIR TRUMPETS. They were preparing to fight with praise! Where are those who can praise God in a battle, even when the numbers are small and the enemy appears to be strong???!!! Where are those who will go to war with the enemy without extra financial backing, without a political arena, and without a best-selling book?

9That same night the Lord said to Gideon, Arise, go down against their camp, for I have given it into your hand.

10But if you fear to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp

11And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp. Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outposts of the camp of the armed men.

12And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the east lay along the valley like locusts for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand on the seashore for multitude.

This blesses me. The Lord allowed Gidoen and his servant to see the multitude of men in the enemy's army. They saw all the armor, the animals and all the resources at their disposal. In the same manner, the Lord has allowed us to see the face of the enemy. O, how it seems that the evil men of this world have all the riches. They're lives seem to be in perfect order. Yet, the Word still says the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous. Of course, our battle is not against the sinner, but satan uses these things to distract us from the battle at hand. Gideon has to look past the distraction and realize the prophesied outcome - God already gave the Midianites into His hand. So their appearance didn't matter. Their wealth didn't matter. Saints, we must get past the appearance of demons. We must get over our fears of standing up for God. When a demon stares us in the face, his car doesn't matter. His education doesn't matter. His position doesn't matter. God has given us power over every spirit and demonic force that is not like Him!

13When Gideon arrived, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.

14And his comrade replied, This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon son of Joash, a man of Israel. Into his hand God has given Midian and all the host.

I just love the way God will use anybody and anything to confirm victory in your life and ministry! Imagine a piece of break flattening a tent! Imagine a Prophetess Brown, a Prophetess Patterson, an Evangelist Smith prophesying to the nations, casting out demons in the White House, healing the sick in major hospitals, causing revivals in night clubs. What seems so little to the world can cause so much damage to the enemy's camp under the power of God!

15When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped and returned to the camp of Israel and said, Arise, for the Lord has given into your hand the host of Midian.

16And he divided the 300 men into three companies, and he put into the hands of all of them trumpets and empty pitchers, with torches inside the pitchers.

Even after the Lord pruned Gideon's army twice, he continued to divide the army into teams. Just as the body of Christ must be "specialized" today, Gideon's army had groups that worked together in order to get the job done. Saints, we must realize that while we may all be part of different teams, or systems of the body, we are all still part of the Body. We must work together. We can't get upset and jealous when God calls one to be a prophet and another to be a pastor. Walk in the calling wherein you were called, and watch the work of the Lord be done! We must support one another for a common cause - to bring glory to the Father!

17And he said to them, Look at me, then do likewise. When I come to the edge of their camp, do as I do.

18When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, For the Lord and for Gideon!

My God! If we could all just get on one accord! If you preach what I preach and I preach what you preach... If we all fought in the Spirit...if we all prayed...if we all fasted! Then, the enemy would know we are in this for the Lord and His glory!

19So Gideon and the 100 men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when the guards had just been changed, and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands.

20And the three companies blew the trumpets and shattered the pitchers, holding the torches in their left hands, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow [leaving no chance to use swords], and they cried, The sword for the Lord and Gideon!

The cried aloud, and EVERYONE DID THEIR PART! No sword was needed - only the obedience to the plan of God! Hmmm...I wonder how many battles we've lost simply because we didn't make any noise. How many times has the enemy defeated us just because we allowed him to?

21They stood every man in his place round about the camp, and all the [Midianite] army ran--they cried out and fled.

22When [Gideon's men] blew the 300 trumpets, the Lord set every [Midianite's] sword against his comrade and against all the army, and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah by Tabbath.

My God! The praise literally confused the enemy and caused the Midianite army to turn against itself. What a difference unified praise can make! If we could all just come together and give God glory, imagine the loss the enemy would suffer. Imagine the souls that would come running for an experience with the Father!

23And the men of Israel were called together out of Naphtali and Asher and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian.

24And Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites and take all the intervening fords as far as Beth-barah and also the Jordan. So all the men of Ephraim were gathered together and took all the fords as far as Beth-barah and also the Jordan.

25And [the men of Ephraim] took the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb, and they slew Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian; and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond the Jordan.

A sweet victory was given into the hands of Israel. It is my desire to be used of God, regardless of whether I ever have any popularity with men. I pray the Lord keeps us humble and malleable in His hands. I pray that we'll be found without fear and in perfect obedience to the will of the Father, working together unto victory, and bringing glory to the Lord! This is the question God asked of me, so I strive to make the cut. I pray that God will be able to use me victoriously in warfare. I pray that He'll be able to trust me with His glory, knowing that He will always be exalted. AMEN.

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