I have now completed the Gideon Bible Study and have 2 sets of notes to record. The notes from October 2012 as a live audience member that were the stand alone sermons and the notes recently written in November 2013 (over a year later) from the book study.
P.S. I encourage you to keep your own sermon journals and notes. As the pastor or teacher speaks, I write down what they say but also write down what I feel the Holy Spirit impress upon me individually. To me, that’s the most important part. What did I personally hear from God by situating myself in that study or at that church service? I can easily look back through 10 years of journals and see everything that God has sustained me through, prayers He answered and how He answered them (sometimes with a big fat “no”), and how He has been ever present over this past decade even when it did not feel like it.
The November 2013 highlights from the Gideon book itself are:
People get caught up in the blessings of God and begin to disregard the Blessor Himself. (My note: like selfish children do. They don’t want the parent’s advice, love and relationship so much but what the parent can give them or they feel owes them – ex. money, car, cell phone, clothes, college, etc.) (p10) Keep Him first…Pursue Him above His benefits with all your might.
Modern day Psalm 20:7 “Some people boast in their wealth and extravagant cars and houses but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God”. (p 12)
Today’s difficulties are often the result of yesterday’s disobedience. Ugh that is so true right? I hate it when I make mistakes. (Remember that and work to begin to make wise and obedient choices tomorrow.) (p18)
Is there anything God is asking you to “annihilate” in your life that may have once been healthy but is now unhealthy? (p 19)
During this time, divine judgment was warranted. One look at the people’s inconsistency, their forgetfulness and ingratitude, their reckless disobedience, and their rejection of God reveals that they fully deserved the oppression and punishment that was coming to them. Yet… because of God’s covenant, mercy prevailed. He judged his people only to restore and reconcile them, so the cycle of redemption could continue and His story could be told. (Wow… I cannot believe God did that for them and then again for me personally through Jesus. p24)
Israel’s culture during the time of the judges is not much different from our own. Sin runs rampant and morality continues to decline. He is still searching, not for perfect people, but for individuals who are passionate about Him and committed to His call on their lives. (p 26)
Scripture makes no attempt to hide the frailty of the leaders allowing us to clearly recognize the strengthening effect God’s spirit can have on anyone to accomplish God’s task (p27-29). (Gideon, weak & nervous; Jair, vain; Jephthan, illegitimate son; Abdon, vain; Samson, morally weak). God handpicked people for the job who were terribly flawed, then empowered them to fulfill these roles in spite of their shortcomings. He chose them from circles that would have seemed inappropriate to observers. Such is God’s way of selecting “what is foolish in the world to shame the wise and … what is weak in the world to shame the strong” 1 Cor 1:27. (My note: God selects differently than man selects).
Victory requires constant effort to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Preserving unity: Israel was weakened both spiritually and militarily. One sign was their isolation from each other. They now lived separate, disconnected lives. Fighting the enemy successfully required a joint effort among the tribes. How do you think the church fares today in being one body of believers? Think of examples to support evidence. Unity does not mean sameness. It means oneness of purpose. (My notes: very poorly. Ex. strange fire debates. Life group question was “what do you think of prosperity preachers”. Instead of hearing from God what they are to be doing and doing it well, church leaders seem more focused on putting other ministries down and focusing on what they believe other ministries are doing wrong. As if putting others down raises them up. Like the Midianites, denominations are all fighting among themselves against each other and the enemy doesn’t have to do much. They are all distracted by this preacher who preachers this or that ministry who falsely teaches that. Quit looking at others. What are YOU supposed to be doing? Now, do it. Leaders? Lead!
My thoughts: The LGBT has done an excellent job unifying and are a small percentage of the total population as a whole yet there are allegedly millions of believers who cannot get anything done together as a group. When will they see that unity is POWER? It’s ridiculous. Each church needs to go “back to the basics”. What is salvation? How do you pray. How to read the Bible, how to lead others to Christ, etc and stop chiming in with their individual theology like they are the only people on earth who hold all of the correct answers. Sure discuss it, but don’t let the small differences break the unity of the overall truth. Jesus is the answer. The ONLY answer. Likewise, quit complaining about politics all the time and DO something. You can’t change anything complaining. Aka Texas girl style – put up or shut up hehe.
When we see spiritual apathy growing in ourselves and other’s it’s time to figure out why (I’m seeing this a lot. Many lukewarm believers, many are bored with “church”, etc.)
Humanism is a man-centered religion running rampant in our world today… there is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12.
God’s word has already answered so many of the questions we keep asking about. No need to ask Him about some things. He’s written down His response in eternal ink. I might as well stop asking… and start reading. (p52)
Overwhelming situations are often God’s way of doing business. Their eyes lingered on their scarce resources and looming problem… a change in focus changes everything. (p 71). Don’t concentrate on the disparity between the problem and your resources. Look to Jesus, and watch five loaves plus two fish equal more than enough. (p72)
Is there any particular thing or relationship contributing to a sense of insecurity or fear in you? To maintain a sense of encouragement and optimism God told the Hebrews to send home anyone fearful (p 79). The Fearful Got Sent Home. The way into their blessing, discovery, deliverance, or victory could not be accompanied by fear. Neither could Gideon’s. Neither can yours. (p80)
Retrieving and walking in the power you’ve been given is a daily requirement for victorious Christian living. (p90) Remember the unseen supply within you instead of being distracted by what’s around you (p 91).
Pinpoint something that most often distracts you from remembering and using your unseen supply (my notes: teenagers haha).