And so it begins...the sin cycle takes shape as the people are disobedient and then disciplined by a foreign king. In despair, the people cry out to God for deliverance. God raises up judges to lead the people out of captivity and to bring peace to the land for several generations. Sadly, once the judge dies, the people return to their wickedness and the cycle begins again. Each judge is unique in his/her own way. Othniel was a warrior and filled with God's Spirit and more than ready to lead the charge against his captors. Ehud was left-handed and intelligent. He knew exactly how to handle the king that ruled over Israel at the time. He used what some considered a handicap to his advantage and won the day. Shamgar was clearly brave and willing to take on a whole company of Philistines. He attacks them with an ox goad and defeats six hundred trained soldiers. While different, these men had one common denominator: they were surrendered fully to the God of the Bible and committed to following His lead. That one characteristic made a major difference in their ability to deliver their people from their captors. Have you accepted the fact that your greatest need in life is a relationship with God? Without that relationship, we wander around helplessly and hopelessly following our flesh and missing God's plan. God did not put you on this earth for that. He created you to change the world, but it will never happen without a relationship with Him.

Help me, Lord, to find new and exciting ways to build a stronger relationship with You. Help me to stop depending upon my abilities and to start depending fully on what You can do through me.