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Recovery programs in my city require a one-year court-ordered commitment, the individual’s progress is monitored by a probation officer. For over a decade, I’ve volunteered at The Mission at Kern County, a one-year discipleship program for women and children. The program is structured and safe, the women sign off on smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and taking drugs for a year. The women choose to re-learn how to live without dependence on chemicals, substances and illegal or immoral habits to support themselves. Through Bible classes in a discipleship program, the women learn how to say “no” to the flesh and “yes” to the Spirit. They are taught how to live with a “less is more” attitude, especially when it comes to relying on themselves. They learn how to walk close to God and rely on His power.

One day, I arrived to teach my weekly women’s class and I sensed the women were very discouraged. I found out three of their fellow residents, all within a mere month of graduation, had tested dirty on their weekly drug test. All three had made the choice to leave the safety and security of the women’s home and had gone back onto the streets.

We were all disappointed, we prayed for them. I’d prepared the teaching for the day from Judges 7, when God minimized Gideon’s army. Through a few tests, God reduced Gideon’s army of 32,000 men to a mere 300 soldiers who would go to battle. God said to Gideon in Judges 7:2 (ESV), “The people who are with you are too many, lest Israel become boastful saying, My own power has delivered me.”  God told Gideon, “I will deliver you with only 300 men.” Gideon believed God and went forward into battle with a much smaller army than he had planned. Instead of relying on manpower by way of the number of soldiers he would send to do battle, he was forced to depend only on God’s power.

After we studied what God said to Gideon, we saw how God might reduce or minimize the women’s numbers so the remainder would recommit to fighting their battle only with God’s strength. That day, the remaining women made a renewed commitment to stand firm on God’s promises, experience success in personal recovery from drugs and alcohol, and gain spiritual strength for graduation only though His supernatural power.

Let’s pray, “Father, thank You for opportunities to watch You win a battle. Help us to be renewed, revived, and reduced so everyone knows the victor is only through Your power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

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