Thursday, May 26, 2005

Mighty Warrior

"Sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?”
Judges 6:13

Have you asked that question? Most Christ followers would tell you that God is always with them. We can easily quote scripture that promises He will never leave us. But do we live as if the power of God is with us? Sadly to say, we seldom do.

The Israelites were God’s chosen people. In the time the above scripture was written, the Israelites had turned their backs on God and were living in fear of the oppressive power of their enemies. Gideon himself is hiding when the angel of the Lord appears and calls him a mighty warrior.

Gideon responds in a way most of us do. He was full of doubts, questions and fear. The angel reminds him that the Lord is with him. He instructs Gideon to go in the strength he already possesses. That strength comes from the Lord.

The Israelites have been living in fear for seven years. Gideon needs some proof before he acts on the angel’s directive. Have you been there? Someone recently told me they used to pray, “God, if this is really from you, make my arm hurt.”

Gideon’s fleece test is well known. Something happens here, before Gideon puts out his fleece, which may give us insight as to why God responded to Gideon’s fleece and does not always respond to ours.

In verses 17 through 21, Gideon asks God for a sign. But Gideon does not simply sit back and say “show me.” He presents an offering to God. This is more than placing a check in the offering plate or doing a good deed. This takes time and significant preparation to prepare an offering showing honor and respect for who God is. This act of worship is all about God, not about Gideon.

Gideon then followed the instructions of the angel in presenting the offering. With a touch of the angel’s staff, fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. At this, Gideon was convinced that the Lord was with him and he became more afraid of God than the enemy that had oppressed the Israelites for seven years. But God said “Peace. Do not be afraid.”

When you ask “if the Lord is with me, why has all this happened,” ask yourself a these questions. Are you responding to your circumstances as a mighty warrior with the power of God in you? Do you honor and respect the presence of God that you say is with you? Are your circumstances the consequences of turning your back on God? Do you need to present your offering to Him and restore your relationship and confidence in Him? Do you fear God more than your circumstances?

If you have accepted the truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died to pay the penalty for your attempts to live life your own way; you should also know that Christ came back to life and restored the relationship of mankind to God so that God’s power can now live in you. This is the Holy Spirit.

What you must remember is that the Holy Spirit does only the will of God. To live in the power of God’s will, we must fully submit to Him. He does not give us His power to do as we please.

What is happening to you that God cannot overpower? God is not against you. He created you to be in a loving relationship with him. He is for you more than you can imagine. Do you want to see him active in your life? Jeremiah 29:13 promises that you will find him when you seek him with all your heart.

The Lord is with you, mighty warrior. Look to Him and fear not.

"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things."
1 Chronicles 29:11 (NLT)

© 2005 Lisa Biggs Crum

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


“We are not responsible for our children’s behavior. They are. One of our jobs is to provide them with opportunities to learn that there are consequences for their actions.”
(Process Therapy Institute

A friend shared that thought with me a few years ago in the midst of extreme frustrations of parenting two pre-schoolers. It was the most freeing insight I have ever received as a parent.

God, as our Father, offers the perfect example of that parenting concept. He created us to have a choice on how we live our lives. All choices have consequences. Some choices have large impacts on our lives. Others are so minimal we may not see or acknowledge the consequence.

We are created in the image of God. God is love. Our children are created with a certain DNA which affects who they are primarily physically but also in personality preferences.

God does not force us to be Christ-like. Neither does he nag us or guilt trip us into acting like Christ. Did you notice the difference there? There is a difference in being Christ-like and acting like Christ.

As birth children of particular parents, we are naturally similar to them in our physical, emotional, and intellectual make up. So often, as parents, we attempt to train our children to act like us (or as we want them to act).

Proverbs 22:6 (NLT) says “Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.” That is easier for some parents for two reasons. One, the parent has discovered who they are according to God’s unique design for them. The other reason is that the child may be so like that parent, it is natural to encourage them in the right path. If a relationship of respect has been developed from early childhood, there are fewer bumps in the road.

However, very few children are nearly a clone of one and certainly not both parents. When we consider the number of blended families – either by marriage or adoption – trying to help our children figure out who they are becomes even more difficult. Our media adds to the complexity by bombarding us from a very early age as to the “image” we should strive to be.

The consequences we set for our children should help them discover who they are naturally in the image of God. Then, they may not act like us but their behavior will be motivated by their natural likeness to Christ rather than a reaction to our desires.

Do you see the consequences in your adult life as guidance from your Heavenly Father to be who you were intended to be?

Be encouraged: Read Hebrews 12

© 2005 Lisa Biggs Crum

This blog was inspired by the “Writing Perc for Sunday, May 22, 2005”
Visit the Writing Perc at

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Wife's Primary Career

Based on 1 Timothy 5:14, Kay Arthur states that the wife’s primary career is to manage her home. Ouch! I don’t want that to be my primary career. I want all the good stuff of home and family to be just one of those things that happens in the midst of living the life I want to live.

Doesn’t work that way, does it? God whispered to me (a very loud, clear whisper) as Kay was speaking on “A Marriage without Regret.”

I love my husband. I love my kids. I like to have a clean house and feed my family healthy meals. As leader of women’s ministry, I always tell new leaders that ministry should benefit the family even though it takes away time. I haven’t been living what I speak. I have cheated my family with the mindset that family is a shared responsibility.

Yesterday, I tested out Kay’s comments. After school, I offered to let my kids have friends over to play before they asked. I set up the fun water stuff without them begging or even helping much. They had a blast and I experienced inner peace.

This morning, I did a few household chores before sitting down to write and work. Normally, I would put those things off until I’d had some time to do what I enjoy more. Now I can sit and do the things I enjoy with peace of mind.

Our society seems to place on women the need to prove that we are equal to men. There is no doubt that is true. We are all created in the image of God, male and female. If He intended for us to be the same, there would have been no need to create two genders.

Don’t get bent out of shape about this concept. I did not hear God whispering to me that I should quit everything I enjoy to manage my house, husband and kids. Manage does not mean do it all myself. A manager directs. Ha! I am a Director of our home. That's a powerful position in a large corporation. Many husbands would love to have that power. God gave that position to every wife.

I like Kay’s use of the word “primary.” When there is a primary, there is something else that follows. God began teaching me about Primary Concerns over a year ago. At that time, I wrote out some thoughts regarding the Enron Corporation. Everything we do should benefit our primary concern. Enron collapsed because individuals began looking to benefit themselves rather than the primary concern of the corporation.

My primary concern is to listen and obey God. He has created us, male and female, in his image. He tells us in His word how we can be equal and compliment each other rather than compete. Proverbs 3:5-6 promises that He will guide us if we trust Him rather than depending on our own understanding. His way is always perfect.

I don’t believe this to be true. I have experienced it.

Peace be with you!

© 2005 Lisa Biggs Crum

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Power in Prayer

A new friend recently asked me to join her and a few others to pray with a woman in difficult circumstances. I didn’t know the woman we would be praying for at all. I hardly knew any of the others I was joining in prayer. Let me tell you a bit about the experience.

Compassion overwhelmed me as the woman shared her situation. If you have read previous blogs, you know that compassion is new to me. Compassion, I’m learning, is feeling the hurt as if it is happening to me – not exactly an emotion I enjoy.

It is not a sense of "let me help you up out of your circumstances." It is more like "I'm right here with you in this smelly mud pit until we can both be lifted out by a power greater than either of our abilities." Why would God create that emotion? Because "though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12

After several minutes of her painfully sharing, we began to pray. Keep in mind, I had not prayed with this group before and I hardly knew them. I will admit, I was a little bit stressed thinking they were looking to me as the “Director of Women’s Ministry” to be the prayer leader. That pressure was quickly relieved. As soon as another person began to vocalize our prayers, we were united. The Holy Spirit brought us together as one. It was amazing.

The prayers of the individuals flowed as if we were continuing the previously spoken prayer – we were praying in one accord.

The situation was desperate. There was a battle in that room against the powers of this dark world. The victory was proclaimed and celebrated. We were not asking as timid children wanting our way but with the power of the Spirit within us. It was awesome.

I am convinced that just as science has determined that we use only a small percentage of our brain capacity, we also use a very small percentage of the power of prayer available to us through the Holy Spirit.

John 14:12 (NLV)
"The truth is, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”

I do not believe that to be true – I know it is true because I have seen it and experienced it. How about you? If you only believe it, find someone to experience it with. Ask someone to sit quietly with you as you both wait on the power of the Holy Spirit within you. Spend more time listening than talking in your prayer time and see what happens. My experience tells me that you will end up vocalizing the will of God with boldness rather than whining for your wishes to come true.

Jude 1:20 (The Message)
“Dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit.”

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I No Longer Believe

“I no longer believe but I see and experience.”
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

Have you heard people say, “I believe that is true?” I know I’ve said that many times. What does that mean? Well, it usually means there is some question as to whether it really is true or not.

We often ask people what they believe about certain aspects of their faith. Perhaps the better question would be to ask what they have seen and experienced in regard to their spiritual life. That would be a much more exciting answer. It also is not open for debate as the “I believe” statement is.

Do you want to “share your faith” as we often say in the Christianese? Then tell what you have seen and experienced. They may not fully understand but they cannot prove you wrong.

You haven’t experienced anything? Then go ask someone who has seen and experienced why they believe.

1 Peter 3:15 “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

© 2005 Lisa Biggs Crum


Matthew 18:19 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”

Is this instructions on how to get God to do what you and a friend want? This has always been an interesting scripture to me. It seems so often our prayers are more like wish lists to Santa or, even worse, our instructions or “honey-do” list to God. We are the bride, right?

A friend recently enlightened me on this scripture. Three of us were truly experiencing the presence of God as we prayed. I vocalized a few words that were on my heart and she responded with “hallelujah.” Later she stated that she feels “agreeing in prayer” is not an act on our part but a condition in which the Holy Spirit is speaking the same thing in the hearts of two or more people.

That was an “ah-ha” moment for me. I have often experienced what she described but her explanation brought clarity.

Years ago I began to understand that to “ask in the name of Jesus” was to ask according to God’s will. But not until my friend shared her perspective of “agreeing in prayer” did I realize that it is not up to my efforts/abilities to figure out what God’s will is. The Holy Spirit speaks it to us as we pray, listening for his input into our conversations.

My friend was agreeing with me in prayer as she also heard from God what I spoke out loud. It really wasn’t our thoughts, it was our being united by the Spirit.

Sharing what God places inside us with others in community is invigorating. We really do need each other.

© 2005 Lisa Biggs Crum

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Comfort Zone

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears, and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call ... THE TWILIGHT ZONE." Rod Serling

I like Sci-Fi. The original Twilight Zone is older than I am but I like the reruns. The opening narration by Rod Serling quoted above is fascinating as I think of this spiritual formation stuff that's going on in me.

There is a lot of talk today about the "authentic self" versus the "false self." I suppose the false self can be what used to be called our comfort zone. It's a strange concept that we would be comfortable in not being who we really are.

I am currently in the Twilight Zone. Just as Rod Serling stated, I'm in the middle ground between the shadow I thought was me and the light of who I really am; between human understanding and God's perspective; between fears that look for affirmation of man and the summit of truth. Unlike Serling, it is not the dimension of imagination. It is very real. More real than the comfort zone I'm departing from. But it is very much a twilight zone.

It is a place where I can see the beauty of the light in the horizon but it is not yet fully exposed. A place where the comfort zone I once clung to is forever behind me and the truth of who I am is yet to be fully known.

I thought the comfort zone was comfortable. The idea of stepping out of it masqueraded itself as fear of leaving comfort. In reality, it was fear of the Twilight Zone - that area that we must grow through but not intended to be a place of lasting comfort. The lasting comfort comes at the other side of the Twilight Zone - where we will know fully even as we are fully known.

We can choose to stay in the comfort zone of today or move on closer to the horizon. Each step brings a bit of fear but also the ever changing hues that add indescribable beauty to the backdrop of life as we move toward the source of light.

Step into The Twilight Zone. It's better than you imagine.

© 2005 Lisa Biggs Crum

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Power of Love

Some time ago, I attended a seminar at church where I was asked to classify myself as seeker, new believer, maturing believer or fully devoted Christ follower. Even though I felt I strived to be fully devoted, it seemed somewhat boastful to mark that category. I marked “maturing believer.”

Since that time I have often wondered if a person can be fully devoted in this life. If so, when do they know they are fully devoted. Where is the line between maturing believer and fully devoted?

Most anyone who has studied the Bible would agree that Paul was a fully devoted Christ follower. He says in Philippians 3:10-12 (NIV):

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

This past weekend, I participated in a retreat at Country Lake Christian Retreat in Underwood, Indiana. The experience was far more than I had anticipated. It was cool and wet but I headed for the trails as soon as possible. It is a walk I will never forget.

This retreat center is perfect for those who are refreshed by being outdoors but like the conveniences of a nice lodge. The lake is beautiful and surrounded by gazebos and hammocks (in warmer weather). The trail is perfect – easy to follow and cleared just enough to comfortably enjoy the sense of being in nature.

Being my first time on this trail, I wasn’t sure what I would find. What I found was beyond physical description. There are prayer stops along this trail. At one point there is a cross that stands 15-20 feet high in a small cleared spot right by the water. There are three very large rocks that allow the visitor to sit in front of the cross with the lake in view behind the cross.

Now, I am not typically real emotional about things like this. I always enjoy the beauty and feel refreshed but this experience was different. As I approached the cross, something was happening inside of me that I had no control over. As I looked up at the cross, it was as though I was there nearly 2000 years ago when Christ was crucified. The emotions within me were overwhelming.

I noticed another cross on the ground at the edge of the water. As I walked past the standing cross, there was a power greater than anything I have ever experienced. I wasn’t sure whether to pause or run. I hesitated. “What is that?” I asked. The response was as clear in my mind as if Christ was standing there speaking to me, “this is the power of love.”

I continued on to the small cross where others had placed small rocks, perhaps as a symbol of laying their concerns on the One that has victory over everything in our life.

The power of love overwhelmed me again as I passed back by the standing cross. I sat on the large rock and wept. It was as though God was cleansing me of all the self-reliant, self-seeking, control-desiring actions in my life. At that moment, I embraced the desire Paul expressed in scripture above.

Like Paul, I do not claim to have already obtained all this, but I can now say with assurance that I am a fully devoted Christ follower. That assurance does not come from my striving or doing. It is not a confidence in my abilities or even my desires. It is an assurance in Christ and Christ alone. His love has and continues to change me. I am fully devoted not because of what I’ve done, but because of what He is doing in me.

I desire to never go against His good, pleasing and perfect will with a new determination. Will I mess up again? Yes, I most definitely will. But my sorrow will be forever different. My gratitude of his grace, mercy and forgiveness will go beyond simple words of “thank you.” My understanding of striving in relation to his abilities has become a little clearer.

Seeing the power of love on the cross, knowing the power of the resurrection (which I don’t claim to fully know yet) and being offered the life of the Spirit makes all the“concerns” of this world seem minor. I can’t change the world or even one person. Only the power of God’s love can do that. It’s not my job to strive to “be good” or even “do good”. All I need to do is participate in the very nature of God by keeping my eyes focused on Him so that His Spirit can change the world through those who make up the body of Christ on earth today.

Oh God, thank you for the power of your pure love.

© 2005 Lisa Biggs Crum

the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
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