October 18, 2020
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings g o o d n e w s o f h a p p i n e s s , w h o publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”” (Isaiah 52:7, ESV)
Like most Americans, I am always looking for my next toy, not necessarily something to play with, but something that is the latest and the greatest. I have an item that still works, but the company’s ad describes a new invention or newest version of it to convince me that it is needful for their newly advertised item to replace my working item, none-the-less. Bigger, better, faster, you are familiar with the scenario.
When I come to Ukraine, I am humbled by how people live. Ava and I have a small, modest house, but here in Ukraine it would be very high end. We have three bed rooms and two full baths. The trend in our country is moving toward having four bed rooms with at least two and a half baths. Most homes in Ukraine are in apartment buildings that are only about three to five hundred square feet with a very small bath and what I call a backin- kitchen. What I mean by that is, the kitchen is so small that if you want to walk out of the kitchen forward, you have to walk in backwards.
I feel so blessed to be here. Just before I left on this trip, a friend sent me some cards that he calls CYBED this stands for Count Your Blessings Every Day. The cards list twelve blessings that anyone can appreciate. Being here makes me even more grateful that God has blessed me with many Ukrainian friends. Maybe I can share one of those cards with you sometime.
I have also been blessed today as I listened to a precious woman tell me the story of her conversion from being raised as an atheist in Ukraine. I began to shed tears as she spoke, she thought something was wrong but it was simply hearing how much her salvation means to her. Her joy reminded me of the joy that I felt the day I obeyed the gospel. Her story is the same story many people experience over years in many different countries. She sat here asking me to pray for her husband and asked how she could help teach him.
Tears seem to be a part of teaching the gospel not tears of sorrow but tears of joy as people come to realize what God can and will do for them.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16, ESV)
Thanks for listening and keep on shining.
The history of Gideon is fascinating. There is a reason why his story is so commonly shared with young people at Vacation Bible School, etc. But before he was smashing jars and blowing trumpets (Judges 7:19-21), he was wrestling with difficult questions.
And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where a re all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” (Judges 6:13).
Scott's Thoughts, previous issues
10/11/2020 "But be doers of the word...
10/4/2020 "Your way was through the...
9/27/2020 "The memory of the righteous...
9/20/2020 "And these words...
9/13/2020 "For the wages of sin...
Gideon knew what it was to feel as though he had been abandoned. He knew what it was to be confused. He knew what it was to be hurt and fearful.
What message does Gideon have for us when we have similar questions? What should we do when we struggle with painful things?
Cry out to the Lord for help (Judges 6:6-7). When we are hurt, crushed, confused, and tired, our first response must be to cry out to Him! This is not the time to turn away or hide, this is the time to plead for help and guidance!
Remember who God is (Judges 6:8-10). He is the One who sends prophets with messages of hope when the days are dark. He is the One who delivers freedom to the captives. He is the One who drives out enemies from their strongholds. He is the One who keeps His promises.
Believe in the sign (Judges 6:17, 21-23). Gideon asked for a sign of assurance that God was going to deliver His people from their pain. He received more than enough of a guarantee! As Christians living in the age of Jesus and His Church, we have been given more than enough of a guarantee as well: The Cross of Christ and the Empty Tomb! We know we are loved and that our future is secure (John 3:14-16; 12:32-33; Heb. 2:14).
I often need to be reminded of the biblical story of Gideon. I guessing you do too.
South Green Street church of Christ