Judges 10:17 – 11:11 – The Best Option

Read Judges 10:17-11:11

lots of little papers with the word OPTION on it in different colors and fonts

It was about to get real. The Israelites were going to be attacked, and they had to feel a bit exposed. From our last reading, it would seem that God has left them to fend for themselves. But, the “leaders of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever attacks the Ammonites first will become ruler over all the people of Gilead.” Were they sensing God’s intervention was yet to come, or were they simply looking for the best option for success?

They knew they needed a strong leader. Who would it be? Sometimes our best candidates are those who we have overlooked. Certainly, the individual the leaders chose to recruit was even one who had been shown no favor in the past. How fitting that God would use even the son of a prostitute to rescue his people. He was a mighty warrior after all and well-equipped for the mission.

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2 Corinthians 12:1-10 – Grace

Read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

One of my favorite verses comes up in today’s reading. In recent days we’ve talked about boasting and struggles. While most of us don’t want to boast about the things that have caused us harm, sadness, misfortune, or weakness, Paul is giving us the nod to go ahead. It is especially powerful when we can see God working amidst our pain.

Have you ever cried out to God to take away a limitation, a struggle, a sickness, or some other challenge? Paul did, too. And here’s the promise from verse 9, “Each time he [God] said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” God is speaking that into our hearts today as well.

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2 Corinthians 4:7-12 – Jars of Clay

Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

When I read this text, two things stand out to me. I think of a Christian band called Jars of Clay, and I recognize the lyrics of song “Trading My Sorrows” by Darrell Evans are taken from this text. I love when I find lyrics in Scripture. But what I want to focus on today is how fragile we all are, even if we don’t realize it.

Have you ever dropped a clay pot? What happens? It shatters and dirt goes everywhere, not to mention the plant you are trying to grow. At least the clay pots I’ve encountered are fragile–just like we are. In this passage, Paul is being real with his friends in Corinth. Paul hasn’t had an easy go of it. He has endured exactly what he describes. Paul has seen it all, being pressed, perplexed, hunted down, and knocked down. Just like us.

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Proverbs 31:10-31 – Is it Super Woman or Wonder Woman?

Read Proverbs 31:10-31

I have always loved this passage. It empowers women, yet we can feel treasured all at the same time. I remember the first time I read it. I wasn’t feeling particularly glamorous or smart. My energy was low, and I doubted every move I made. I was recovering from a broken marriage, and the scars of abuse were still raging red. I felt as if God’s message here was for just for me. It was encouraging. It was a healing moment. Could I ever be that woman?

I hope you haven’t gone through something horrific like that, and whether you are a woman or man, these verses should speak to you. There is such beauty in the images that come to mind. The style of writing and depth of meaning seem totally out of character with what we have been reading in the rest of the book of Proverbs. Yet this is wisdom, pure gold. That much is the same. How are you relating to yourself or to the women in your life?

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Proverbs 24:1-16 – Be Strong When You Feel Weak

Read Proverbs 24:1-16

Have you ever failed at something you were good at? I think of gymnasts who train and train and train some more. Then at a meet, with medals on the line something goes wrong and their move just doesn’t happen they way they’ve always executed it. I had an experience just this week during an interview for a podcast appearance. I froze. The words weren’t there. I know my material, but you’d never know it. I was crushed.

So, you can imagine the counsel today spoke to me in a big way. Verse 10 says, “If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.” I need to be strong and not let this set back get in my way. You have probably had similar situations. You just want to curl up and hide. But failure will happen. We will stumble. The Christian life is not a road without bumps. Great men and women do not quit. They overcome.

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