The Parable of the Ten Virgins: convinced vs. converted

It is a paradox that men will gladly devote time every day for many years to learn a science or an art; yet will expect to win a knowledge of the gospel, which comprehends all sciences and arts, through perfunctory glances at books or occasional listening to sermons.  The gospel should be studied more intensively than any school or college subject.  They who pass opinion on the gospel without having given it intimate and careful study are not lovers of truth, and their opinions are worthless.  (John A. Widstoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 8.)

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” (Matt. 25:1)

The ten virgins were members of the church.  They weren’t just ten random people on the face of the earth.  All of them knew what would be expected of them in order to enter into the wedding.  All ten of them brought their lamps.  The five foolish virgins’ lamps looked just like the wise virgins’ lamps.  They looked like they were full of oil.  They looked good on the outside.  They LOOKED like good members of the church with strong testimonies, but they were empty on the inside.  “They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them.” (Matt 25:3)

When did the bridegroom come?  “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh.” (Matt 25:6).  We must have enough oil in our lamps to last us until midnight.  Only having enough oil to last us until 11 PM will not be enough.  Much like the ten virgins, we don’t know when the Savior will come again.  We need to make sure we are adding oil to our lamps every day.  We can’t afford to ever fool ourselves into thinking that we have enough, we’ve done enough, and don’t need to be actively adding oil anymore or we may end up like the five foolish virgins who realize, too late, that they do not have enough.

Panicking, the foolish virgins beg the wise virgins to let them borrow some oil.  Elder David A. Bednar counseled us to consider the oil to be the oil of conversion.  He asked,

Were the five wise virgins selfish and unwilling to share, or were they indicating correctly that the oil of conversion cannot be borrowed? Can the spiritual strength that results from consistent obedience to the commandments be given to another person? Can the knowledge obtained through diligent study and pondering of the scriptures be conveyed to one who is in need? Can the peace the gospel brings to a faithful Latter-day Saint be transferred to an individual experiencing adversity or great challenge? The clear answer to each of these questions is no (“Converted Unto the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 2012).

Did the wise virgins ignore the foolish ones?  Did they make fun of them?  Were they mean?  No.  They told them what they needed to do to go and get some oil.  “…but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.”  (Matt 25:9)

Now, in this parable, you could go and buy oil.  What if you could buy your testimony?  How much would you be willing to spend on it?  Would you run down to the nearest store and get the $5 testimony?  Or would you get the $10, $20, $100, or $100,000 testimony?  Even though you can’t buy a testimony, it does cost something.  There is a price to be paid.

I know that to gain knowledge of great worth requires extraordinary personal effort.  This is particularly true when our desire is to obtain spiritual knowledge.  President Kimball put it this way: The treasures of both secular and spiritual knowledge are hidden ones–but hidden from those who do not properly search and strive to find them . . . Spiritual knowledge is not available merely for the asking; even prayers are not enough.  It takes persistence and dedication of one’s life . . . Of all knowledge, the most vital is the knowledge of God (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 389-90).

Profound spiritual truth cannot simply be poured from one mind and heart to another.  It takes faith and diligent effort.  Precious truth comes a small piece at a time through faith, with great exertion, and at times wrenching struggles.  The Lord intends it be that way so that we can mature and progress.  (Richard G. Scott, Ensign, November 1993, p. 88.)

There are those who have made a casual, even an insincere effort to test the scriptures and have come away having received nothing, which is precisely what they have earned and what they deserve.  If you think it will yield to casual inquiry, to idle curiosity, or even to well-intentioned but temporary searching, you are mistaken.  (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1974, p. 95.)

I am grateful for emphasis on reading the scriptures.  I hope that for you this will become something far more enjoyable than a duty; that, rather, it will become a love affair with the word of God.  I promise you that as you read, your minds will be enlightened and your spirits will be lifted.  At first it may seem tedious, but that will change into a wondrous experience with thoughts and words of things divine.  (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1995, p. 99.)

The price you have to pay is the price that all righteous men and women pay – a life totally dedicated to Christ and His cause.  A life of keeping the commandments every day and enduring to the end.  A life of doing the thousand little acts of goodness and kindness that change us and make our faces show who we really are – divine children of our Heavenly Father.  Harold B. Lee said the gods we worship write their names on our faces (Elder Alexander B. Morrison, Friend, Nov. 1997)

Christ paid such an enormous, enabling price for us!  Will we not apply His Atonement in order to pay the much smaller price required for personal progress?  Being valiant in our testimony of Jesus, therefore, includes being valiant in our efforts to live more as He lived.  (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, Nov. 1997)

This touching story shows that the price we pay is not really a sacrifice.  It is never a sacrifice to live the gospel of Jesus Christ because you get back so much more than you give.

A teacher, conducting a class, said it was unwise ever to attempt, even to permit them [the Martin handcart company] to come across the plains under such conditions.”

Then President McKay quoted an observer who was present in that class: “Some sharp criticism of the Church and its leaders was being indulged in for permitting any company of converts to venture across the plains with no more supplies or protection than a handcart caravan afforded.

“An old man in the corner … sat silent and listened as long as he could stand it, then he arose and said things that no person who heard him will ever forget. His face was white with emotion, yet he spoke calmly, deliberately, but with great earnestness and sincerity.

“In substance [he] said, ‘I ask you to stop this criticism. You are discussing a matter you know nothing about. Cold historic facts mean nothing here, for they give no proper interpretation of the questions involved. Mistake to send the Handcart Company out so late in the season? Yes. But I was in that company and my wife was in it and Sister Nellie Unthank whom you have cited was there, too. We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? …

“ ‘I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it.’ ”

He continues: “ ‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.

“ ‘Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.’ ” (David O. McKay, “Pioneer Women,” The Relief Society Magazine, Jan. 1948)

How much is a testimony worth?  Can you put a price on it?

Your personal security and happiness depend upon the strength of your testimony, for it will guide your actions in times of trial or uncertainty.

A strong testimony is the sustaining power of a successful life.

It is the very essence of character woven from threads born of countless correct decisions.

A strong testimony gives peace, comfort, and assurance. It generates the conviction that as the teachings of the Savior are consistently obeyed, life will be beautiful, the future secure, and there will be capacity to overcome the challenges that cross our path.

As you fortify your own personal testimony, you will have power to make correct choices so that you can stand unwaveringly against the pressures of an increasingly vicious world.

…fundamental truths must become part of the very fiber of your character. They must be an essential part of your being, more treasured than life itself (Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Power of a Strong Testimony,” Ensign, Nov. 2001).

Those who know Christ best are those who have paid the price to know Him.

“The only measure of true greatness is how close a man can become like Jesus.  That man is greatest who is most like Christ, and those who love Him most will be most like Him.  How, then, does a man imitate God, follow His steps, and walk as He walked, which we are commanded to do? (3 Nephi 27:27, 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6).  We must study the life of Christ, learn His commandments, and do them.  God has promised that to follow this course will lead a man to an abundant life, a fulness of joy, and the peace and rest for which those who are heavy burdened long (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, [1988], 327-328)

The five foolish women were convinced the church was true.  It made logical sense in their minds and they went through the motions of being good members.  The five wise women had become truly converted to the gospel.  They had experienced that mighty change of heart that King Benjamin’s people experienced where “the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent…has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”  (Mosiah 5:2)

The essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ entails a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature made possible through the Savior’s Atonement. True conversion brings a change in one’s beliefs, heart, and life to accept and conform to the will of God (see Acts 3:19, 3 Nephi 9:20) and includes a conscious commitment to become a disciple of Christ (David A. Bednar, “Converted Unto the Lord, Ensign, Nov. 2012)

There is great concern to make sure our children aren’t just convinced the gospel is true, but that they become fully converted to it.

Harold B. Lee talked about the young people of the Church and about the challenges they face in growing up in this world in which we live.  He expressed his deep concern about the fact that some of them could go through Primary, Sunday School, Mutual, priesthood quorums, and Seminary and come out the other end without testimonies.  He said: “Do you know why I think it is?  Because our young people have grown up spectators.” (Harold B. Lee: Prophet and Seer, 1985, 505.)

Our young people are very good at showing up to things.  They show up to church, young women and young men activities, seminary, devotionals, etc, but showing up is not enough.  Two people can show up to the same meeting and one of them can come away with tremendous insights and goals to make personal improvements while the other person may have thought the meeting was boring and a complete waste of time.  The meeting was the same.  The difference lay in the people.  We must be actively engaged in learning and living the gospel.  It is not enough to just go through the motions.

Sometimes in our homes, we successfully teach the dance steps but are not as successful in helping our family members to hear the music….

…We learn the dance steps with our minds, but we hear the music with our hearts. The dance steps of the gospel are the things we do; the music of the gospel is the joyful spiritual feeling that comes from the Holy Ghost. It brings a change of heart and is the source of all righteous desires. The dance steps require discipline, but the joy of the dance will be experienced only when we come to hear the music.

…If our children learn the dance steps without learning to hear and to feel the beautiful music of the gospel, they will over time become uncomfortable with the dance and will either quit dancing or, almost as bad, keep dancing only because of the pressure they feel from others who are dancing around them (Elder Wilford W. Andersen, “The Music of the Gospel,” Ensign, May 2015).

So how do we help our youth (and ourselves) HEAR the music?

Sometimes we become so anxious to help and teach our students that we simply disseminate to them the principles that we have learned or been taught.  We have all felt the power, excitement and motivation of personal discovery through the Holy Ghost.  The greater good for our students might accrue if we lead them in such a way that they become able to begin making discoveries for themselves (Harold B. Lee, Address given to seminary students, 24 Feb. 1973.)

The prophetic efforts of Joseph Smith did not center in sharing his spiritual experiences but rather in the effort to qualify us to have our own spiritual experiences.  The emphasis was not on what he had seen but on what we could see… Joseph invited us to check him by having our own Sacred Grove experience. (Joseph Fielding McConkie , Regional Studies in LDS Church History, 206-207.)

For the gospel to be written in your heart, you need to know what it is and grow to understand it more fully…sometimes reading a few verses, stopping to ponder them, carefully reading the verses again, and as you think about what they mean, praying for understanding, asking questions in your mind, waiting for spiritual impressions, and writing down the impressions and insights that come so you can remember and learn more.  Studying in this way, you may not read a lot of chapters or verses in a half hour, but you will be giving place in your heart for the word of God, and He will be speaking to you (D. Todd Christofferson, “When Thou Art Converted,” Ensign, May 2004, 11.)

True faith has enormous power, but there are principles that must be followed to unleash that power…. you must practice the truth or principle you have faith in. As you live it consistently, there will come a witness of its truthfulness through the power of the Holy Ghost….He will confirm the certainty that His laws will produce the promised results when obeyed willingly and consistently (Richard G. Scott, “The Power of a Strong Testimony,” Ensign, Nov. 2001).

The Lord will hear your prayers in time of need. He will invariably answer them. However, His answers will generally not come while you are on your knees praying, even when you may plead for an immediate response. There is a pattern that must be followed. You are asked to look for an answer to your prayers, then confirm that it is correct. Obey His counsel to “study it out in your mind.” Often you will think of a solution. Then seek confirmation that your answer is right. This help can come from prayer and from pondering the scriptures, at times by the intervention of others, or from your own capacity, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

At times the Lord will want you to proceed with trust before you receive a confirming answer. His answer generally comes as packets of help. As each piece is followed in faith, it will unite with others to give you the whole answer. This pattern requires the exercise of faith. While sometimes very hard, it results in significant personal growth (Richard G. Scott, “The Power of a Strong Testimony,” Ensign, Nov. 2001).

I know that true happiness comes from having a lamp that is full of oil.  When our lamps are low, we feel empty.  We feel lonely, discouraged, sad, and dissatisfied.  People roam the world looking for happiness, but all the “fun” things the world has to offer leaves them feeling even more empty than before.  The truth is that the happiest people on earth are those who are living the most like Christ.  The more Christ-like we are, the more forgiving, patient, compassionate, generous, optimistic, not easily offended, resilient, determined, joyous, unselfish, peaceful, loving, and courageous we are.  And how could life not be beautiful if we are all of those things?

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David and Goliath: When the time for performance has come, the time for preparation has passed

David didn’t wait for the Lord to call him to kill Goliath.  He tells King Saul, “Let no man’s heart fall because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” (1 Same 17:32).  Other men had to be called and they were scared to death (Moses, Jonah, Gideon, etc).  David saw a problem and immediately jumped in! He was already so courageous that he was able to persuade the king to let him, a shepherd with no military experience, battle a man that would decide the fate of his entire nation.

Have we prepared today to fight our Goliaths of tomorrow?  When David woke up that morning, he didn’t know that he would have to fight a giant, nine foot-tall warrior!  But it didn’t matter because he was ready!  We need to have a testimony so strong that it doesn’t matter what trial comes our way because we are strong enough, determined enough, and courageous enough to tackle anything!  Then we can be at peace because we know that whatever comes, with the Lord’s help, we will come off conquerors.  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  (Philippians 4:13)

Another reason Daniel was fearless is that he had past spiritual experiences to sustain him.  David didn’t know that he would someday have to fight off a terrifying monster of an enemy, but God did.  So God sent him experiences to prepare him.  As David was tending the sheep, a lion and a bear (see 1 Sam 17:34-37) came and he, with the help of the Lord, was able to kill them.  These past spiritual experiences let him KNOW that the Lord was with him and would help him.

We all have a Goliath of a problem to face (depression, divorce, abuse, grades, contention, low self esteem, friends, homework, poor health, eating disorder, loneliness, sickness, addiction, rejection, discouragement).  What would be the saddest tale of all is WHEN (not if) our Goliaths come, we are unprepared for the challenge!

To every man there comes… that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a special thing unique to him and fitted to his talent. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour. -Winston Churchill

5 Characteristics of “Goliaths” in 1 Samuel chapter 17

  1. vs 4 – they seem bigger than life – insurmountable
  2. vs 5-7 they are tough to fight (well protected)
  3. vs 9 desires to make us its servant
  4. vs 16 feels it never goes away (constant nagging)
  5. Vs 11 makes us afraid (takes away faith)

HOW TO OVERCOME A GOLIATH  – Have students read through verses 26-51 and find how to overcome Goliaths.  Have them pick their favorite one and then share it with a neighbor.  Share it with the class.  Journal:  How have you overcome big problems in your life?  What do you do when you’re going through a hard trial?  Think of a time when you or someone you know, overcame a tremendous obstacle

  1. Vs 26 see the problem for what it truly is
  2. Vs 32 be willing to fight it
  3. Vs 33 don’t let others discourage you or tell you it can’t be done
  4. Vs 36 know your strengths
  5. Vs 37 have faith
  6. Vs 39 be yourself
  7. Vs 40 realize it may take several tries (David didn’t collect ONE stone; he took five)
  8. Vs 47 realize God will help you (you are not alone)
  9. Vs 50 do the little things (small and simple)
  10. Vs 51 completely kill it,

“There are Goliaths all around you, hulking giants with evil intent to destroy you. These are not nine-foot tall men, but they are men and institutions that control attractive but evil things that may challenge and weaken and destroy you. Included in these are beer and other liquors and tobacco. Those who market these products would like to enslave you  into their use. There are drugs of various kinds. . . . There is pornography, seductive and interesting and inviting. It has become a giant industry, producing magazines, films, and other materials designed to take your money and lead you toward activities that would destroy you.

The giants who are behind these efforts are formidable and skillful. They have gained vast experience in the war they are carrying on. They would like to ensnare you.

It is almost impossible to entirely avoid exposure to their products. You see these materials on all sides. But you need not fear if you have the slingshot of truth in your hands. You have been counseled and taught and advised. You have the stones of virtue and honor and integrity to use against these enemies who would like to conquer you. . . . You can triumph over them by disciplining yourselves to avoid them. . . .

Victory will be yours. There is not a [person] within the sound of my voice who needs to succumb to any of these forces. . . . You have His power within you to sustain you” (Gordon B. Hinckly, Ensign, May 1983, 46, 51).

This article is a great resource for teaching the importance of spiritual preparation.

At a recent stake conference, a returned missionary spoke on the subject of preparing for missionary service. He used the analogy of a father saying to his son, “I will be happy when you play in your first basketball game so you can learn to dribble and shoot the basketball.” He compared that example to a father saying to his son, “I will be happy when you go on your mission so you can learn to be a good person and teach the gospel.” This analogy had a significant impact on me as I reflected on my life.

When I was a young boy, my greatest desire was to play basketball. Fortunately, I had a father who was anxious to see that his son’s desire was met. Dad and I would practice the basics of passing and dribbling the basketball hour after hour in our small kitchen. I would listen to college basketball games on the radio and dream of playing college ball someday. Serving a mission was far from my mind at that time; consequently, I spent very little effort in missionary preparation. In an attempt to ensure some balance in my life, my dad—who had not held a Church calling in many years—accepted the call to serve as my Scoutmaster. He operated by the book, and due to his diligence, some of my friends and I became Eagle Scouts. I realize now that Scouting is great preparation for a mission.

My boyhood dream came true when I made the basketball team at Utah State University. During my second year at Utah State, a returned missionary befriended me. Because of his example I began looking at my associates at school, including those on the basketball team, and realized that the people I most wanted to be like were those who had served missions. With the kind and loving mentoring of my good friend—and, I am sure, as a result of my mother’s prayers and good example—my desires changed. After my second year at Utah State, I was called to serve in the Western Canadian Mission.

Three months into my mission, a new missionary from Idaho was assigned to be my companion. We had been together only a few days when I realized something very significant: my new companion knew the gospel, while I only knew the discussions. How I wished that I had prepared to be a missionary as hard as I had prepared to be a basketball player. My companion had prepared for his mission throughout his life and was immediately a valuable member of the team. How important it is for fathers and sons to work together on the basics in preparing for a mission.

I believe it is appropriate to compare the game of basketball to missionary work. The game of basketball includes not only the time you compete with another team on the court but also the hours of proper training and practice. The great work of saving souls is not limited to the two years that you serve a mission but, rather, requires years of righteous living and preparation in order to meet the standard for full-time missionary service. (Daryl H. Garn, “Preparing for Missionary Service,”  Ensign, May 2003, 46)

We love all our missionaries who are serving the Lord full-time in the mission field.  But there is a difference in missionaries.  Some are better prepared to serve the Lord the first month in the mission field than some who are returning home after twenty-four months.  We want young men entering the mission field who can enter the mission field “on the run,” who have the faith, born of personal righteousness and clean living, that they can have a great and productive mission (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, [1988], 192).

THE POWER OF PRAYER TO FORTIFY AN INDIVIDUAL AND CHANGE THE FATE OF A NATION

Daniel was a man of power and influence during the reign of King Darius.  The King had 120 princes and 3 presidents who ruled over these 120 princes.  What was Daniel’s role?  He was the FIRST of the three presidents.  The only man more powerful in all of the kingdom was the king himself.

The other presidents and princes conspired against Daniel to get rid of him, but “they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him” (Daniel 6:4).  They came up with a clever idea – since they couldn’t find anything wrong that he was doing, they would simply find something right that he was doing and get him in trouble for it!

It is interesting to me that, out of all the myriad of things they could have chosen, they chose prayer.  These men KNEW that Daniel would be willing to die for the privilege to pray.  How did they know that?  What must Daniel’s prayers have been like?  How did he pray?  What did he say?  How long and how often did he pray?

These wicked men convinced King Darius to sign a decree that no man could ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days except the king or they would be cast into a den of lions.  How does Daniel respond to this decree?  “Now when Daniel KNEW that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime”  (Daniel 6:10).  Daniel prays!  He could have simply waited 30 days to pray, but he didn’t.  He couldn’t go for 30 days without prayer and these wicked men knew he couldn’t.  I’m sure Daniel wouldn’t have been able to go without prayer for 20 days or 10 days or even one day.  If that decree had only been in effect for ONE day, Daniel would have still ended up in that lions’ den.  For Daniel, life wasn’t worth living if he couldn’t pray.

Daniel wasn’t a 90% Saint. He didn’t just keep the commandments when it was convenient for him.  He didn’t care what people thought. He didn’t stop keeping the commandments to please his boss (the king), his co-workers, his friends, or anybody else. He only cared about what God thought of Him.

When Daniel was thrown in the lions’ den, King Darius fasted all night and RAN to the lions’ den at first light crying, “O Daniel…is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?”  Daniel told him of his miraculous protection and the King rejoiced.

I have often wondered what would have happened had Daniel chosen to simply pray silently for 30 days.  What if he had just closed his windows and prayed in his closet?  That way he could have still kept the commandment of God to pray while avoiding the lions’ den entirely.  But Daniel was a man of integrity.  The decree was a wicked decree.  It specifically forbade anyone from praying to God.  Daniel wasn’t going to stay silent and let evil win.  He refused to sit around and just wait until a wicked law was changed.  Instead of privately protesting the law, he actively, publicly fought against evil.  He let EVERYONE know he was not going to comply with this wicked law.  Because Daniel boldly made a stand, his righteous example led the King to believe in the true God of heaven.  Darius sent out a decree that the entire nation was to worship Daniel’s God.  Daniel’s religion became the new state religion!  His standing up for what was right not only wrought miracles for him, but for the King, and opened up the way for the entire kingdom to be converted to the true and living God.  If Daniel had been too scared to stand up for what was right, King Darius may never have been converted.

Daniel’s need to communicate with his Father in Heaven was as strong as his need to breathe.  Daniel knew he could never have real joy and peace in his heart if he turned his back on what he knew to be true and refused to make his convictions known. And so, in spite of worldly pressures and trying circumstances, he chose to stand up for what was right.

World’s Worst Battle Plan

This is a true story of going from zero to hero.  Gideon viewed himself as a nobody (he states “my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house [Judges 6:15]), but an angel of God calls him to save Israel from the Midianites.  I love how THE first thing the angel said to Gideon was, “The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.” The angel could have said, “Well, Gideon, you’re not worth much now, but you could be if you listen to me.” The Lord knew Gideon was a hero. He knew Gideon was capable of performing miracles. The Lord needed Gideon to know that Gideon could perform miracles. This is Gideon’s story of learning how important he is to the Lord, learning how much the Lord loves him, and learning he could accomplish things he never dreamed he could do.

Gideon amasses an army of 32,000 men, but the Lord reduces it to only 300.  Gideon’s men must have been thinking, “Gideon had better have the world’s best battle plan and some high tech weapons!”  But Gideon simply hands them a pitcher, a lamp, and a trumpet.  It’s amazing the next verse doesn’t read, “And behold, 298 men returned home confused and disheartened.”  These men did not go into battle with weapons.  They went into battle with their testimonies that Gideon was a prophet and that God was leading them.  The weapons are symbolic of the weapons we need to bring into battle against the evil influences of the world.  We are the clay pitcher and God is the potter.  He can mold us into the child of God that we are meant to become.  We need to radiate the Lord’s light and use our voice (our trumpets) to declare our convictions to the world.

Gideon’s army defeated the Midianites by surrounding them at night, breaking the pitchers, blowing the trumpets, waving the lamps and shouting, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.”  The Midianites, who had been sleeping in the valley, awoke and must have thought a huge army was upon them!  In their confusion, they end up fighting each other and then fleeing.

The Lord did not pick a war hero to lead His army.  He didn’t need a warrior.  He just needed someone who would obey him and Gideon was probably THE only person on the planet that would take pitchers, lamps, and trumpets into battle. The Lord knew that Gideon would obey him. The Lord knew that Gideon was a mighty man of valor. Gideon needed to know that Gideon was a mighty man of valor.  Gideon learned that the Lord can make a lot more out of us than we can make of ourselves.  If He calls us to do something, He will give us the ability to accomplish what He has asked.  We don’t have to be the most talented men and women on earth to do His work.  God can teach us what we need to know.  ALL we need is to humbly obey and trust Him.