Saturday, March 30, 2013

Watching the tomb...

 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

(Matthew 27:61-66 ESV)
Today is the day of watching... watching the tomb of Jesus.  Some, like the women, are watching in hopeful anticipation.  Maybe they really did not expect Him to rise again, but they did anticipate having something more to do with Jesus.  The leaders were watching for another reason. They wanted NOTHING MORE to do with Jesus.  Rather than watching the tomb in hope, they were watching with every negative emotion possible: fear, hate, and whether they chose to admit it or not, guilt.  Take time today to think about the tomb on that day, what has happened to this point, what is happening even now as Jesus fights against death and the sin that brings it, and what our response should be tomorrow when we celebrate its emptiness.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A fitting memorial...

John 19:39-42 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. 
Like Joseph, Nidodemus was a silent follower of Jesus.  But when he came forward, he did so big time.  This was no mere reactionary activity - both men were very serious about what they were doing - honoring one in Whom they had faith, and they were very detailed in making sure it was done right.  And they still did it in a way that would not bring offense to those around them - making sure it was done to not violate the holy day, and being culturally sensitive.  As we commemorate what Christ has done for us today, may we do so the same way - quietly, seriously, worshipfully, and in a way that brings Glory to the One Who died for me, while at the same time not offending those around us.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quite a guy...

 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. (John 19:38 ESV)
One cannot fully appreciate the man Joseph, without surveying all four gospels.  Matthew describes him as a rich man AND a disciple.  From what Jesus had said about the rich, this alone makes Joseph an extraordinary man!  Mark adds that he was a prominent member of the Sanhedrin, who was looking for the kingdom of God, and he patiently waited permission while Jesus' death was confirmed by the centurion on duty.(That meant he was awkwardly conspicuous as people would see him waiting there and wonder why he was there.)  Luke describes him as good and righteous, and that he had not voted with the rest in condemning Jesus to death.  The one "negative" here in John's account is that he was a "secret" disciple, becuase he feared the Jew.  Before we jump on Joseph for that, let's keep in mind that this phrase was used to describe the disciples hiding in the room behind closed doors after the resurrection!   Joseph loved and followed Jesus, seeking to serve Him in any way possible.  Let us not snub him for being a snobbish rich man; let us not point the accusing finger calling him a coward; let us follow his example of what it means to follow and serve Jesus. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Stand back and see...

John 19:31-37 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath for that Sabbath was a high day, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
The onlookers gave their perspective as they watched Jesus die.  Now John, who is bearing witness of what he saw, chimes in.  He saw the fulfillment of God's promises in every detail - the unbroken bones, the piercing of the Lamb, the overall picture that "God is doing something here."  May The Lord help us stand back and take it all in as we look at what Christ has done for us.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Luke 23:47-49 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.
Luke summarizes well the responses of those who witnessed Christ's death.  This centurion, who had witnessed everything from the trials of Jesus on, attests to Jesus' inncence, and in the other Gospels, to His being the Son of God.  It was a brief, but intense time with Jesus that convinced Him of this.  The crowds, rather than being relieved that some criminal would bother them no more, were now realizing this was just not right.  And those who followed Him, even if from a distance, were in a daze.  Maybe in a sense we should have a mix of all these emotional responses as we look back on Christ's suffering and sacrifice - it was unjust, unthinkable, but so true to Who He is as the Son of God.  Amazing Grace indeed.

Monday, March 25, 2013

In good hands...

Luke 23:44-46 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.
This was indeed the darkest day ever - not only had the Jewish leaders rejected the Messiah; God the Father was turning His back on Him as He carried our sin.  It was an ugly picture indeed - one you would want the lights to be out for.  But in the midst of that deep darkness God's love shone through -  the Son knew He was still there, fully aware, ready to receive Him.  He could release His live into His hands, knowing He was safe there.  So can we.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Big Question

 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.  (Matthew 27:45-50 ESV)
In all the struggles of life, the big question is always this: "Why? Why is this happening to me?" As Christ cried out this question, the answer was very clear to Him.  I truly beleive He cried out these words on our behalf.  Why did He have to experience such separation from the Father?  And the answer is very clear.  We need only look in the mirror.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Extended family...

 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:25-27 ESV)
What a privilege!  As Jesus entrusted the care of His mother to John, he was bestowing on him a great blessing indeed.  Jesus still had brothers living, who still were not able to grasp Who He was; they indeed would watch over His mother.  But through His Word and actions on our behalf, Jesus has made us His extended family. And we are to care for one another with love and compassion.  Let us appreciate this great privilege and exercise it to the full!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Facing the future...

 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
(Luke 23:39-43 ESV)
In this encounter that only Luke records we have two men from the same background take two totally different paths toward the future.  One refuses tof ace it, while the other puts together his past and his present Company and realizes that only here, only now will he be able to make a change in direction.  God provides us all with those same moments in time, where we get a glimpse of our past and our future, and what is to be done now.  How we respond in those moments makes all the difference.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bad Company

Mark 15:25-27, 29-32 And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.
It was only 9am and Jesus was already on the cross.  And He was surrounded by bad company, and not just the criminals - the religious leaders led the assault on Him; the robbers just followed along after them - part of what got them there in the first place.  In short, we are all bad company unless we put Christ where He belongs and allow Him to change us.

Monday, March 18, 2013

And they...

Mark 15: 21-24. And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place called Golgotha which means Place of a Skull. And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.
We have seen the continuous mistreatment of Jesus - the nonstop questioning, ridicule and abuse.  Now the rapidity increases as Mark quickly summarizes the events that led up to Christ hanging on the cross.  Now time will seem to slow abruptly as we look at every detail and personality.  Now is the time for us to slow down and look to Christ on the cross for me.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mock worship...

 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor's headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.  (Mark 15:16-20 ESV)
The Roman Soldiers were pretending to bow before their king - the purple, the wreath, the salute, were all things one would associate with Caesar.  But the Roman Emporer was much more than a king - he was worshipped as a god.  The ultimate disprespect was when they de-robed Him, representing that they dethroned Him, as if they decided when He was King and God, and when He was not.  Let us beware that we do not mock Him in worship - that today as we come and sing His praises and bow in worship, that we do not derobe Him after the service and spit on Him by failing to live before Him as our King and our God.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The silence treatment...

Mark 15:12-15 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Having chosen to substitute the Son of God for a scoundrel, the question then became "What do we do with Him." Here the fore drawn plan is exposed -silence Him in any way possible.  His very life is too convicting of our own to let Him live. What will we do with Him today?  Seek Him or shut Him out?

Friday, March 15, 2013

The perfect Substitute?

 Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. (Mark 15:6-11 ESV)
The Jewish leaders were bent of finding a crime worthy of death, so they twisted the facts to make Jesus look like a rebel against Rome.  They now use Pilate's loophole against him and chose a true rebel as a substitute to be released instead of Jesus.  What poor substitutes do we make in our lives for Him?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shotgun approach

Mark 15:1-5 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
The Jewish leaders "accused Jesus of many things."  Keep slinging mud, and maybe something will stick.  Many today play by the same rule; let us not be like that.  Let us be like Christ; His lack of self-defensiveness impacted Pilate greatly.  He was not only convinced of Christ's innocence, but challenged by His spirit.  Let us do all possible to impact those around us for Christ.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Agreeing with the truth...

 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.(Mark 14:59-65 ESV)
Jesus remained silent through all of the false accusations.  Finally, in desperation, the high priest used the truth.  Then, and only then, did Christ speak.  And He not only answered, He added additional truth.  But this court could not handle the truth, falsely accused Him, and condemned Him to death.  Jesus once again chose to be silent when the wrong treatment began.  What a strong statement to us when we are falsely accused:  speak only truth; entrust ourselves to the Righteous Judge.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


 And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” (Mark 14:53-58 ESV)
As much as the Jewish leaders tried to arrange testimony and evidence against Jesus, they could not. He was blameless, sinless, perfect.  But they did not give up.  They twisted the truth to make up their own story.  Because if there is someone perfect we have to compare to, then we are exposed for the sinner we really are.  Let us not fall into the same trap in making accusations against God.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Leaving all behind to not follow Jesus...

Mark 14:51-52 And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.
After everyone else abandoned Jesus in the garden, this young man continued to follow at first.  But soon he too gave up the pursuit to follow Him.  Not only did he lose the shirt off His back, he lost the privileges that go with faithfulness.  How much have I missed for doing the same?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Progressive Abandonment...

 While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled. (Matthew 26:47-56 ESV)
In this chapter we have seen the Disciples abandoning Jesus, step by step.  It began by their refusal to beleive what He was telling them about  themselves - their denial.  They abandoned Him in prayer. And now they are abandoning His plan by trying to intervene, and abandoning Him physically, turning their backs on Him. Our road to walking away from Jesus is the same: refusing to believe His Word, prayerlessness, taking matters into our own hands, and walking away from where we know He is - in the presence of His people.  Like the disciples, we don't just walk away, we flee. It's time to turn back.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Another Fail

 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” (Matthew 26:36-46 ESV)
In the upper room the disciples failed Jesus in a number of ways: arguing with one another over who was the greatest, failing to beleive the prophecies that He gave, only half listening to the things He was telling them.  But now He was at His greatest point of need. It was the point of no turning back. It was a once-in-a-lifetime struggle of the human soul.  And they let Him down, as we often let Him down.  As a result, He was ready for what was about to happen; they were not.  That's the thing about prayer; it is not just a reaction; it is a preparation for what we do not know is about to happen.  Let's get ready; let's pray.

Friday, March 8, 2013

You will... but I will

 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.(Matthew 26:30-35 ESV)
We always focus on the negative.  When Jesus tells of the impending future, He tells them not only that they will run scared, but that He will rise again.  Their response?  Tell Jesus what they will do.  It's not about what we do, but what He does. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Fruit of Forgiveness

 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26-29 ESV)
As the disciples gathered in the upper room with Jesus to celebrate the Passover, one theme was on their minds: Freedom, the freedom of Israel from Egypt, as God passed over them in Judgment and forced Pharoah's hand into setting them free.  But Jesus puts a new thought and theme into their hearts and minds, and ours: Forgiveness.  As we celebrate Christ's deliverance, it is one made through the forgiveness of our sins through His sacrifice and shed blood.  Whenever we partake of it, forgiveness should be on our minds.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Call for self-examination

 When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.” (Matthew 26:20-25)
When Jesus announced the presence of a betrayer among the faithful, one by one the disciples came to Him asking for a verdict on their hearts.  Jesus' "hint" did not do a whole lot to ease their minds, as they had all shared in the meal.  The tell-tale sign, in retrospect, was the address of Judas to Jesus as "Rabbi" and not as "Lord."  So, the question for us to ask Him today is "Am I allowing you to be Lord of every part of my life?"

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Unnamed, but not unkown...

 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.(Matthew 26:17-19 ESV)
There are many people in the Gospel story whose names are never mentioned.  They are shown to ask some key question, carry out some simple task, or provide some profound answer.  Such is this "certain man" here. The word designates one who was known to Jesus and His disciples.  For whatever reason, God does not include His name, but shows him to be a willing participant, one who will obey the Lord's command without question.  Rather than vying to be the center of attention, or have our names in lights, may we be that certain person today.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fully aware....

 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. (Exodus 2:23-25 ESV)
As the people of Israel cried out to God in Egypt, He was fully aware of their pain.  He heard their groans and cried. He remembered their relationship. He saw what they were experiencing, and He knew - He fully knew their pain; He hurt.  That last statement says so much: He knew what was going on; He knew how they felt; He knew what to do.  The same is true with us.  Let us cry out to Him.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Point of No Return???

 And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, “We have sinned against you, because we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals.” And the LORD said to the people of Israel, “Did I not save you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites, from the Ammonites and from the Philistines? The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, and you cried out to me, and I saved you out of their hand. Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” And the people of Israel said to the LORD, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day.” So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD, and he became impatient over the misery of Israel.(Judges 10:10-16 ESV)
As we progress through the judges, we find that the people of Israel appear to have sunken lower and lower in turning their backs on God.  This time when they call out to Him, God has some strong words: "I have had enough; go call out to your idols."  But the people persist, proclaim the righteousness of God to just as He sees fit, and they act - even if it is "too late."   They then proceed to prepare to defend themselves against the enemy, waiting to see who, and if, God will provide.  Often we hear people ask: "Is it too late for us? Have we gone to far from God?"  It doesn't matter. What matters is to call out to God, obey His voice now, submit to His justice, and wait on Him.  And perhaps He will again "become impatient" and send the deliverance we need.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

You, yes you...

 When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD on account of the Midianites, the LORD sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery. And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. And I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.”
 Now the angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 
(Judges 6:7-14 ESV)
As the people of Israel once again repeated their cycle of sin, suffering, supplication, and salvation, they again cried out to God after a long time of ignoring Him. His response to answer their prayer was to approach Gideon, who was one of those crying out to God, as he in fear was trying to hide his wheat from the Midianites.  Yet, it does not compute that God is answering his prayer and those of his people. When we cry out to God, do we trust His answer when he says "you are part of the answer"? Gideon began to make excuses, totally ignoring God's one piercing question: "Do not I send you?" The question is: "Do I trust in the God who is answering our prayer?"  Do I believe He can use even me?"