Category: Judges

A Tent Peg to a Sword Fight

Our official Stanglin family photographer, Hannah McNeill, did a terrific job on Valerie and David’s engagement portraits. I’ll share some here so you can see our beautiful middle daughter and the OU and Arizona Cardinals football fan who’s joining our family on May 15. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the pictures.





In the very first battle of Armageddon, the enemy commander was killed with camping equipment. The Canaanite commander was a guy named Sisera. And he had his head crushed by a woman named Jael. Sisera was running away from the fight when he came across Jael’s tent. She invited him inside, gave him a cup of milk, and he fell asleep. Then she took a tent peg and a hammer and drove the peg right through his temple and into the ground.

That’s a pretty unforgettable story. What are the odds? You bring a tent peg to a sword fight and win!

But that’s a recurring pattern in the Bible . God’s people win God’s battles in really unconventional ways. Gideon destroyed the Midianites at Armageddon with jars and torches. Another Israelite judge, Shamgar, defeated the Philistines with a cattle prod. The Philistine King Abimelek is killed when a woman throws a millstone over the wall and crushes his head. Jericho was leveled by trumpets. Moses defeated the Egyptians with a stick used for steering sheep.

The strangeness of the weapons seems to be the main point: nobody could win with that unless God was involved!

If the Astros are down in the bottom of the 9th andJose Altuve walks to home plate carrying a soup ladle, it’s not going to happen. He’s not going to win the game with a kitchen utensil. The only way that works is if God Almighty steps in and makes it happen. And when it comes to God’s people fighting God’s battles, it always happens. It always happens in ways that only God gets the glory.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a tent peg or a cattle prod or a jawbone or a smooth pebble or an altar soaked in water. Whatever the means of victory, it rams home the point that, as God’s people, our safety and security and salvation does not come from our numbers or our strength or our weapons or our abilities. Our salvation and assurance and victory comes from the power of God fighting on our behalf.

“Not by might or by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty! ~Zechariah 4:6



Just Like Us

The apostle Paul tells us in Romans four that Abraham never wavered in his faith regarding the promise of a son and countless descendents. He never wavered. Yet, I seem to recall a situation or two with laughter. And Hagar. And Ishmael. Never wavered?

Scripture makes it clear that King David was a man after God’s own heart. Really? What about Bathsheba? Didn’t David go out of his way to premeditate and plan to break six or seven of the ten commandments in one weekend? Didn’t he lie and cheat and steal with his band of strong men in the wilderness? A man after God’s own heart?

We tell our little kids the story of Samson. We use flannelgraph and puppets and color sheets to tell them all about this hero of the faith. But when’s the last time you really read his whole story? You don’t tell the kids about the women and the sex and the lying and the breaking of his holy vows and his selfish pride and lust for violence and revenge.

Why not?

Because that’s the bad stuff.


The heroes in the Bible are more like us than we think. In a lot of ways, they are exactly like you. And me. A mixture of good and evil. A mess of noble intentions and horrible choices. A fluid cocktail of loyalty and rebellion. A patchwork of ultimate highs and miserable lows.

Our God has always chosen to do his greatest work through people exactly like you. And me. People just like the ones in your church. “Elijah was a man just like us…” Yeah, he was. So was Peter and Jacob and John and Joshua and Mary and Ruth.

Just like us.


For Legacy members only!!!

It’s crazy — absolutely crazy — that Carrie-Anne and I are the only ones from our congregation who make the trip north of the border to the Tulsa Workshop. Crazy! Next year, if I must, I’m planning our Legacy church trip to Tulsa. I’ll handle the hotel reservations, plan the caravan, and pick out all the restaurants. You’ll be encouraged, uplifted, inspired, equipped, empowered, enlightened, and educated. You’ll sing at the top of your lungs, you’ll ‘amen’ some of the greatest preachers in the faith, and you’ll be transformed. You’ll grow. God will change you.

And you will thank me.

Hold me to it.


Check out this blog post from a theology professor at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. The man’s name is Ted Campbell. He’s a Methodist — a “heart-core Methodist, — who recently attended a Sunday worship assembly at Preston Road Church of Christ in Dallas. And in his review of the experience , Campbell concludes that “the Churches of Christ were right after all.” It’s a good read from an outsider’s perspective. And I only mean “outsider” as not an official member of our little stream of the Christian faith. Click here to read his article.



The Lord Is With You

“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!” ~Luke 1:28

The Lord is with you!The angel isn’t telling Mary, hey, the Lord is in the next room or the Lord is watching you from heaven. Gabriel’s not even telling the future mother of the Messiah that God is living in her heart. “The Lord is with you” is a biblical formula that means so much more.

“The Lord is with you” is what the angel told Gideon in Judges 6. Gideon balks at the divine instructions to fight so God himself jumps in to say, “Go in the strength you have! Am I not sending you?” The Lord is with Gideon and a great victory is won for God’s people and Yahweh is glorified.

“The Lord is with you” is a statement of promise. It’s a guarantee of God’s help in the assignment he’s about to give you. “The Lord is with you” means God is intervening in your life in a special way to fulfill his promises to you and his holy purposes through you.

In Genesis 39, the writer makes it clear that the Lord was with Joseph. The Lord was with Joseph in Potiphar’s house and blessed Potiphar because of Joseph. The Lord was with Joseph in prison and blessed the warden and the cupbearer. The Lord was with Joseph in Pharaoh’s palace and blessed all of Egypt and the rest of the known world because of Joseph.

The angel tells Mary, “The Lord is with you,” and God works with her and through her to bring the prophesied Messiah to save the world.

Our problem is that we never get to hear the whole story today. The truth is that “the Lord is with you” today at work. And he’s blessing all the people around you, because of you. “The Lord is with you” today in your home. And he’s blessing your spouse and your kids because of you. You must understand that “the Lord is with you” when you preach on Sundays and he’s blessing all the people in your church because of you. “The Lord is with you” today at the grocery store and the post office and the soccer game. And he’s blessing everybody you contact. 

Our God is calling you to live for him in everything you do and say and think. And he’s promising to use you to fulfill his salvation will for the world.

“The Lord is with you” is a personal guarantee you can take to the bank.


Almost there…Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have donated $870 in bail money in advance of my arrest and imprisonment at noon tomorrow. It’s all part of a fundraising event for MDA. I need to raise a total of $1,480 in order to get out of jail. We’re almost there. You have been hilarious in your comments via email and blog. And you’ve been overly generous in your contributions to the cause. Click here for more information, a clever little video, and to donate. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


If nothing else, the Rangers are fun to watch. Last night was another one of those games that dripped with drama on every pitch. Four lead changes and men on base in almost every inning. Twice the Rangers got down to their final strike and delivered the key hit to re-tie the game. There was a bullpen meltdown and some shaky defense in a couple of critical moments but, man, they just keep coming back. With guys we’ve never heard of before. Wash

My regret is that, with a one-run lead heading into the 9th, Ron Washington decided to leave his well-rested ace closer in the bullpen for Darren Oliver. Big mistake. He admitted as much after the game. I’m still not sure Wash is a qualified good-decision maker. Period.

And all Rangers fans are concerned about the financial state of the team. It’s never been good. Ever. But it’s never been this bad. Not even close. By the end of the week, it looks like Bud Selig and MLB are going to take it over. It looks like there are going to be lots of lawsuits and hearings. And if Texas is still within a game or two of first place by the trading deadline, they still won’t be able to make a move. It’s frustrating. Again.

I can’t imagine they’d ever contract or re-locate the Rangers. That’ll never happen. This is a major media market. It’s impossible. MLB has to have a team here. But the last time Selig took over the day-to-day operations of a team, they moved the Expos to DC. I hope it’s just a coincidence that the Expos and Rangers logos look exactly the same.

Expos  Rangers