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Paranoia – a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself (e.g. “Everyone is out to get me“).

paranoia1Paranoia is doing its best to try to sneak back in and and take a hold. The other day, I woke up just flat out perterbed and out of sorts and I’m still not sure why. Maybe it’s because I doubt myself. Maybe it’s because we are all stretched so thin and the front line is daunting, especially in this rugged heat. Is the heat making me crazy? Probably not. I know it’s all in my mind. The past week has been a struggle to say the least. I feel as if I am working all alone, even though every single person has a part. I keep irritating people, but like Asa said, “That isn’t new!” The good news is I don’t irritate near as many people as I used to. I am better today than I was yesterday. God keeps speaking to me and saying that His opinion is the only one that matters. So am I driving myself insane worried about what others think? Strong possibility. Here is the thing. I feel like running and I’m not even going through that tough of a time. What in the world is really going on?

paranoia2It’s so crazy that after one victory comes another fight that is even harder than the first. I even spoke out of my own mouth to someone the other day that I was so grateful for the mountain top that I was standing on but that I better get a pretty good look at the valley below that I was about to be pulled through by my hair. It never fails.

Paranoia is a beast. It stayed on me for years and I refuse to let it have control over my mind again. I’m reminded of a beautiful story in Judges about Gideon. He was hiding his daily work in a winepress from the encroaching, oppressive enemy, the Midianites.

Judges 6:12-14 (NIV) – When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” 13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and saveIsrael out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

He then acted in obedience, even to the point of nearly being murdered, in order to dispel of all the idols in his village that were not honoring the One True God. Pause for a moment. So, what idols, what nastiness in my life, what things do I have that are keeping me from honoring God? What idols are in MY village?

paranoia3The battle then ensued:

Judges 7:1-22 (MSG) – Jerub-Baal (Gideon) got up early the next morning, all his troops right there with him. They set up camp at Harod’s Spring. The camp of Midian was in the plain, north of them near the Hill of Moreh.

2-3 God said to Gideon, “You have too large an army with you. I can’t turn Midian over to them like this—they’ll take all the credit, saying, ‘I did it all myself,’ and forget about me. Make a public announcement: ‘Anyone afraid, anyone who has any qualms at all, may leave Mount Gilead now and go home.’” Twenty-two companies headed for home. Ten companies were left.

4-5 God said to Gideon: “There are still too many. Take them down to the stream and I’ll make a final cut. When I say, ‘This one goes with you,’ he’ll go. When I say, ‘This one doesn’t go,’ he won’t go.” So Gideon took the troops down to the stream.

5-6 God said to Gideon: “Everyone who laps with his tongue, the way a dog laps, set on one side. And everyone who kneels to drink, drinking with his face to the water, set to the other side.” Three hundred lapped with their tongues from their cupped hands. All the rest knelt to drink.

7 God said to Gideon: “I’ll use the three hundred men who lapped at the stream to save you and give Midian into your hands. All the rest may go home.”

8 After Gideon took all their provisions and trumpets, he sent all the Israelites home. He took up his position with the three hundred. The camp of Midian stretched out below him in the valley.

9-12 That night, God told Gideon: “Get up and go down to the camp. I’ve given it to you. If you have any doubts about going down, go down with Purah your armor bearer; when you hear what they’re saying, you’ll be bold and confident.” He and his armor bearer Purah went down near the place where sentries were posted. Midian and Amalek, all the easterners, were spread out on the plain like a swarm of locusts. And their camels! Past counting, like grains of sand on the seashore!

13 Gideon arrived just in time to hear a man tell his friend a dream. He said, “I had this dream: A loaf of barley bread tumbled into the Midianite camp. It came to the tent and hit it so hard it collapsed. The tent fell!”

14 His friend said, “This has to be the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite! God has turned Midian—the whole camp!—over to him.”

15 When Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he went to his knees before God in prayer. Then he went back to the Israelite camp and said, “Get up and get going! God has just given us the Midianite army!”

16-18 He divided the three hundred men into three companies. He gave each man a trumpet and an empty jar, with a torch in the jar. He said, “Watch me and do what I do. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly what I do. When I and those with me blow the trumpets, you also, all around the camp, blow your trumpets and shout, ‘For God and for Gideon!’”

19-22 Gideon and his hundred men got to the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after the sentries had been posted. They blew the trumpets, at the same time smashing the jars they carried. All three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands, ready to blow, and shouted, “A sword forGod and for Gideon!” They were stationed all around the camp, each man at his post. The whole Midianite camp jumped to its feet. They yelled and fled. When the three hundred blew the trumpets, God aimed each Midianite’s sword against his companion, all over the camp. 

paranoia4I am my own worst enemy and I cannot do this in my own strength. I cannot fight this oppression alone. I don’t need everyone in the world to fight with me, I only need God and His army. I don’t need everyone patting me on the back saying, “Good job!” I only need to turn to God with ALL of it. Sometimes it is best just to lay my burdens down and step out in confidence that I am doing what God called me to do. I am not self-sufficient, but He is Mighty and Powerful.  I am so grateful for the armor bearers in my life who fight with me. 

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 (NIV) – Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

It’s all about the LOVE. Love others, remain calm and peaceful, mind your own affairs, what others think about you is none of your business, so press on. This portion of the show is now OVER!!!