Welcome back! At least that is what I am saying to myself right now. I feel like I have been really busy lately.
Oh wait, I have. Being a school teacher, this is a crazy part of the year. So yes, I have been busy but now I am ready to write!
I started a series back in August. Here is the first post, and also the second. These can help give you context.
You have probably figured out by now that this series will all have Monopoly titles. While these titles may not be specifically related to the content, they will be directly drawn from the game.
Hence, Free Parking.
In the rules of Monopoly, Free Parking is just a space. It is a free space on which to land. You don’t get anything or pay anything. There are house rules that are certainly different from the original though!
On my road trip, we had one day in which we took a mini trip to Philadelphia.
Even though I had never been to Philly before, I had some places on my wish list that I needed to visit.
Liberty Bell, check.
Liberty Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was signed), check.
See the steps where Rocky ascended in the movie, check.
Eat a Philly cheese steak sandwich, check.
These were places (or food items) that I knew about. We also discovered a few more hidden gems along the way.
So in order to keep this to two minutes, I will have multiple posts regarding Philadelphia.
Here is the first connection from Philly that I would like to share.
It involves the Declaration of Independence, more accurately, the signing of the Declaration.
I am not concerned with how many signers there were.
It doesn’t matter where they were.
The signatures are of differing sizes, so what.
I am intrigued by the timing of the signing.
When these men laid ink to parchment, they were not free men. They were still under British rule.
The founding fathers chose to identify with the spiritual King, not their earthly king.
They were acting on their future freedom in America, not their present prison from England.
For me, the connection came to me when we were standing in Liberty Hall.
It hit me about the timing.
Technically, British rule still applied. But these men did not want that fact to determine the outcome of their life.
They were free. They said it, signed it, and sealed it!
This post is a continuation of some Old Testament people. Click on Abraham or Joseph to read the other two Old Testament posts.
Gideon. As with most of these people, their stories are filled with crazy, supernatural stuff. Angels visiting, people testing God, battles begin fought. It all seems unreal to me. But yet it is real. And that is what strikes me. These people, especially Gideon, are normal people. And by normal, I mean normal-every-day-average-unremarkable people.
Just like me.
But before we get to the angel visit, the testing, or the fighting, we find Gideon hiding.
He was hiding from the enemy. Why? So they would not take his wheat. The enemy of Israel was oppressing Gideon and all of Israel. For seven years this was happening. The first 11 verses of Judges 6 give us the account. It was all the Israelites could do to stay alive. They hid in caves. Their crops and livestock were under constant attack. It was bad.
But that is what happens when, “Again, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord,”. God let the enemy invade and oppress.
Is the enemy of your soul invading and oppressing you? Are you doing evil in the eyes of the Lord? Just a thought.
Back to Gideon. He was in a winepress threshing some wheat. This picture shows an ancient winepress. The next one shows a threshing floor.
Note the difference. The threshing floor is an open area where the wind can blow easier (perhaps like the Holy Spirit?) . Gideon was in a winepress. He was trying to thresh the wheat in a secret place. Only fearful people do such things. Wheat was meant to be tossed into the air out in the open. This way, the wind could separate the wheat from the chaff. It is much more difficult if you are hiding in an enclosed space.
But that is what happens when doing evil in the eyes of the Lord. We are meant for one thing but we are doing another. Our actions are secret or hidden instead of being lived out. But if you are discouraged about that, the story is not over.
Verse 12 shows how God feels about Gideon. Here is the verse, “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
Boom! Gideon was not a warrior, he was in a winepress! However, God feels differently.
Your surroundings should not dictate your status. Your circumstances do not negate your christianity. Your foes can’t take away your faith.
Gideon needed a supernatural reminder of his position. I think that you and I could use reminders now and again, don’t you?
Well consider this your reminder. God created you. You are a mighty warrior! Get out of your winepress and get to the business of God.