Hey there! Steph Raquel here again.
Oh, sweet sisters, what a week we’ve had, as we tackled some very difficult issues through A Confident Heart. Congrats to you who have persevered! Today, we choose to keep #movingforward out of the shadows of doubt, and step into the light of truth.
First, you’ll be encouraged by author Renee Swope as she shares her thoughts. Click HERE for the DVD excerpt to see what she has to say from Chapters 4 & 5 (scroll down on the page to view it) and you’ll also catch a glimpse of her ADORABLE little girl, Aster! =)
Some of my favorite quotes from Renee included:
“When we allow Jesus to search our hearts and bring His perspective into our pain, redemption comes.”
“God’s love is not only unfailing, it redeems and restores. His truth cuts to the core of our struggles, bringing purpose to our pain, redemption from our past, and hope for our future.”
Isn’t that comforting? As I remember from surgery recoveries, as well as giving birth, pain with a purpose is far more easy to endure!
Secondly, Renee addresses Jeremiah 29:11-14. When I first heard this passage, I was in East Asia on a missions trip in college. It completely resonated with my young soul. My own kids have also loved that it’s a major verse in the movie, Soul Surfer.
In recent years, however, I’ve learned more about the context of this verse. We have to step back and also examine verse 10. These words weren’t originally written to an enthusiastic young woman whose whole life was ahead of her. No, they were written to the remnant faithful of the entire nation of Israel, following 70 years of painful captivity — all caused by their ancestors’ brutal disobedience.
So for those of us who’ve “lived in exile” for years, or have endured consequences from the “sins of our fathers” in previous generations, be encouraged! The enlightening truth is, God is still in the business of setting the captives free. Thank you, Father God, for that!
Finally, we couldn’t do our discussion on Chapter 5 justice without talking about our friend, Gideon. When we meet him in Judges 6:12 (p.88), he was an ordinary guy, performing an ordinary, mundane task. But he was afraid of his enemies. So afraid, in fact, that he was literally HIDING IN A WINEPRESS — staying indoors, for a menial outdoor task of threshing wheat. But what happens? An angel of the Lord showed up and said, “Hello, MIGHTY WARRIOR!” To me, it’s pretty remarkable the angel didn’t show up saying, “Hello, Mr. Doubt? Paging Mr. Insecurities!” Because Gideon sure had them!
So after some serious bargaining, God then gives him the task or removing his father’s idols to the false god Baal and the Asherah pole. And what does Gideon do? He removed them, sure, but he did it at night — in the shadows — because once again, he was afraid.
And then there’s this whole business with the dew and the fleece. Gideon asked for some definite PROOF of God’s instructions before he went and fought a battle. (Which, apparently is okay with God sometimes. Who knew?!) Indeed at that point, God took Gideon’s strength completely out of the picture. Gideon’s lowly army went from battling with an intimidating ratio of 45 to 1, down to the impossible 450 to 1! (Thank you, Priscilla Schirer, for that insight!) And what happened? God used “ordinary” Gideon to defeat the Midianites and bring peace to the land for 40 years.
Alright, so what does Gideon have to do with you and me? As Renee writes on page 91:
“Gideon’s first steps out of the shadow of doubt would require he focus on God’s promise and power, not himself. Eventually, with God’s help, Gideon defeated his enemies and his doubts.”
Every day, you and I each face our shares of doubts. In Gideon’s story, we see an incredible example of how God uses the ordinary to extract the extraordinary. How? When we step out of the shadows of doubt, and step into the light of truth.
- If you haven’t already, finish reading Chapters 4 and 5 of A Confident Heart and answer the questions on pp. 82-83 and 94-95.
- Bonus … Take out your Bible and read Judges chapter 6-8. Ask God to give you fresh insights behind the story of Gideon.
YOUR TURN Share your thoughts in the comments below!
- What were your favorite quotes, or “aha” moments from Chapter 5?
- What stood out to you from the DVD excerpt by Renee Swope?
- Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse of hope toward our future, despite a painful past. How can you apply that in your own world today?
- How does Gideon’s story encourage you? What battles are you facing with impossible odds? What doubts do you sense God wants you to conquer with Him and depend on His strength to overcome?