GOD IS RAISING UP An ARMY -by Tony Langton. Recently the Lord has impressed the story of Gideon on my heart in a profound way and I have been teaching from the lessons in Gideon's life that I have been storing in my heart. I was particularly impacted by noticing that when the Lord took the initiative to deliver His people, Gideon was hiding in the winepress threshing wheat, "ignoring" the Midianite enemy who was oppressing God's people. This is very similar to today in which the evil powers are stealing, killing and destroying those around us largely undetected or resisted as we are directed to do in James 4: 7. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. The enemy is largely underestimated today. Possibly his biggest battle was in tearing down his fathers' and townsmens' Baal altar which was a very costly step of faith. Interestingly, the Midianites were actually defeated (spiritually) at the very point of his courageous move to eradicate this false religion, even before ever engaging the enemy. Often the "idol removal" is the act of faith that opens a door in the heavenlies for power to deal with outside forces and the powers of darkness that are gripping many of those that we love and minister to. I have been pondering about how I can recognize idols in my life. Here is one warning sign of idolatry that I've noticed: it is when anyone attacks, threatens to remove, or shows disrespect for something that has become an idol, it provokes anger and stirs us up on the inside. In Gideons case, his neighbors were more than aroused, but wanted to kill him. In my observation of a modern-day Gideon or two, the murder is usually done with the tongue through slander and gossip. Probably Gideon could have preached against Baal worship a long time with only slight opposition, but it was when he decided to TAKE DECISIIVE ACTION and demolish false religion that his opposition arose becoming violent. The same will be true for the Gideon's of today when directed by God to take a stand against man-made traditions, unbiblical religious practices or any other idolatrous form of religion that substitutes for a personal communion with God. People who are involved in false religion will usually tolerate us holding a private position (conviction) of not bowing to man-made tradition and empty Baal-like rituals. Even some will allow a few of us to teach against religiosity without a major backlash. However, woe to the one who decides to ACTUALLY APPLY the clear teaching of the Bible found in Gideon's story and begin to dismantle and remove the idols that have flooded the church. THIS IS WHERE IT ALL BREAKS LOOSE! We desperately need some Gideons who will understand that we don't have a choice in whether or not to pull down idolatry in the church. True Gideon's recognize that they either destroy idols or the idols will come upon them. It's that simple. It's not optional. May God raise up a Gideon band of spiritual warriors annointed with boldness to live out the charge given to people like Gideon as well as Jeremiah who was appointed by God to "uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant." (Jer 1:10). Many today are attempting to build a proper kind of altar to the Lord without removing the old Baal altar first, which doesn't work. The BUILDING AND PLANTING comes after the tearing down.