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December 15, 2018

Read Judges 9


To read this text go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges+9&version=NLT


Scripture- ​​​​​​​Judges 9:6- Then all the leading citizens of Shechem and Beth-millo called a meeting under the oak beside the pillar at Shechem and made Abimelech their king.


Observations- Nowhere at this point in Israel’s history had God indicated He wanted the nation to have a King, which didn’t stop Abimelech from wanting to be one. He used his father, Gideon, and his good name and strong character as references as he applied for the job that belonged to God alone with a group of people that were preferred him to any of Gideon’s other children as the next judge. God was neither consulted nor honored by their decision to choose their own King. Abimelech was brilliant, brutal, and ruthless and he wanted to lead for selfish reasons as he had no desire to give God any of the glory he sought for himself. While his life ended tragically, it was conducted in a way that no other end was possible. He caused a great suffering and pain for the people he ruled over.


Application- There is much to be learned from those in the Bible (like Gideon) that God chooses to lead the people in a positive way versus those who force circumstances and choose for themselves to rule in a way (like Abimelech) that simply helps them get more power. Gideon got to be a judge in Israel, because God selected him, not because he sought the position for personal gain. Gideon lived into the angel's declaration that he was a "mighty hero" in God's power through his weakness. We always have to check out our motives in prayer. If it is truly to leverage our lives to positively make a difference with and for Christ in this world, then that is a very good thing. Does God continue to confirm that He wants us to keep moving forward to lead for Christ’s glory on behalf of others? If so,

we press on like Gideon did. If not, then things won't end well. 


Prayer- Dear God, I heard he first call me into ministry when I was 19. I finally heard that as a call to pastor and lead a church when I was 33. Take all of my weaknesses and use them in Your strength for Your glory. I submit myself to Your authority to be molded and shaped to honor You as a pastor, leader, and person who reflects Your great love for others. May all members and friends at New Hope listen carefully for You to speak into their lives each day. Amen. 


"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39)


Pastor Jamie


​​​​​​​To contact me: reply to this email...it only comes to me.


To connect with the New Hope website: www.findnewhope.com

Posted by Jamie Westlake with

December 14, 2018

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Read Judges 8


To read this text go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges+8&version=NLT


Scripture- ​​​​​​​Judges 8:28-31   28 That is the story of how the people of Israel defeated Midian, which never recovered. Throughout the rest of Gideon’s lifetime—about forty years—there was peace in the land.

29 Then Gideon[a] son of Joash returned home. 30 He had seventy sons born to him, for he had many wives. 31 He also had a concubine in Shechem, who gave birth to a son, whom he named Abimelech.


Observations- The relationship between Gideon and his concubine produced a son who tore apart Gideon's family and would cause tragedy for the nation. Gideon may have won a battle for his nation but he lost one with his family.


Application- Have you ever followed a sports team who was always in first place? There is an uneasy feeling, isn't there. Even though the team is doing fantastic. The old saying, "once you're at the top, there is nowhere to go but down." Gideon's story is a reminder of how we can be tempted even when we have a spiritual victory. We always need to stay alert and keep ourselves ready for temptation. What should we do to prepare ourselves? Think about what got you to that victory. I'm willing to think it was God. Keep your eyes focused as usual, your heart always in the right place, and always keep the conversation open with God on what it is that is tempting you. He knows. He sees. But it is you who must retain that victory. You must defend it and champion it!

If you follow Notre Dame or college football for that matter, you will know that in the Fighting Irish locker room there is a sign that indeed reads, "Play like a champion today." Well....go get 'em.


And I will definitely give you a half time locker room verse here:

"I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." Philippians 3:14


Prayer- God, thank you for allowing us to have the winning advantage in believing in you. It only seems right that sin would want to knock us out of this spot. But we move forward and we move past it to look for another victory, and yet another challenge. But with you by our side. Always, let us look to you and never to ourselves to beat sin. Amen.


The Youth Dude



​​​​​​​To contact me: reply to this email...it only comes to me. 


To connect with the New Hope website: www.findnewhope.com

Posted by Chris Temple with

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