“But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?” Then the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?” “A shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied. “Throw it down on the ground, “The Lord told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back. Then the Lord told him, “Reach out and grab its tail.” So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd’s staff in his hand. “Perform this sign,” the Lord told him. “Then they will believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob-really has appeared to you.” Exodus 4:1-5 NLT
So many of my doubts sound like Moses’s “What If’s?”
I am misunderstood.
The words don’t come.
I forget something important.
“But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Exodus 4:10 NLT
Oh, how I can relate to Moses. I focus on all the reasons why I can’t. Instead of trusting in a powerful God who wants to do the impossible through me. I start to think of other people who can do it better. But, maybe God just wants a willing heart. I recently sat down for coffee with a struggling friend. As I listened, I felt the Holy Spirit prodding me to share with her. I found all those “What if” questions surfacing in my mind. But, God used me despite myself and showed up in a powerful way. My friend was infused with hope, and so was I. I came to realize that it isn’t about me, but God’s glory.
“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are fooling yourself. You are not that important. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare your self to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” Galatians 6:2-5 NLT
God wanted to use Moses, even though he knew that his brother was a better speaker. No matter how many times the Lord showed Moses he was with him, he gave in to fear and insecurity. How often has this been me?
Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear? Is it I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” Then the Lord became angry with Moses. “All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. “ Exodus 4:11-14 NLT
Dear Father, Help me to be obedient to what you ask of me. Without comparing myself to others. Knowing that you are with me always. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who guides me. Amen.
We come to two juxtaposed passages of Scripture this morning. We have Moses not acting out of love or having a close relationship with God and then the Apostle Paul giving us the fruit of a loving relationship with the God of the universe. Paul writes:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:22-24 [ESV])
God has a plan that reaches across the ages and we don’t fully understand it all, but what if Moses instead of being a person who tried in his own strength to free God’s people was a person of love and peace? Perhaps the Jewish Nation would have been relieved of their suffering 40 years earlier.
The fruit of the Spirit that Paul lists are not something we strive for, but what we bear because of our loving relationship with the Father.
What kind of fruit are you producing? Is this fruit coming from a loving relationship with God? Just think of the things God can do through you and the people you can affect through the overflow of your relationship with the Father.
What does your fruit look like this morning? How can you grow closer to God so that you can produce more of it in changing your life and those around you?
I heard the story of Benaiah in my first class at Ontario Bible College now known as Tyndale University. Howard Hendricks told the story of how he was the best of the thirty mighty men of David. Wow – to be like him – what faith.
Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightest warriors – 2 Samuel 23:22 NLT
Stories like these though can mess me up. Sometimes I think it’s all about me and forget that even when I am not told that God was with him in battle, He was. That is why I get mad at myself for not remembering that my walk with God is only made possible through the power of the Holy Spirit not by anything I have done.
I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. – Galatians 3:5 NLT
One thing I keep learning – nothing happens by chance. God will direct the affairs of earth and in doing so receives all the glory and honour – I need to learn to stand out of the way.
Then they will know that I am the Lord. – Ezekiel 30:26b NLT
So my day is not filled with exploits, I am thrilled from time to time when the Holy Spirit sees fit to use me, but if I could say what the psalmist says —
He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands. – Psalm 78:72 NLT
— then I would be thrilled to follow Jesus.
Lord, fill me everyday with Your Holy Spirit. I want to be used by You, cannot serve without You. Be glorified even in the small matters of my life – Amen!
“Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law…For when I tried to keep the law it condemned me. So I died to the law-I stopped trying to meet all its requirements-so that I might live for God.” Galatians 2:16-19 NLT
So often I lose my focus and take my eyes off of Jesus. I become more concerned about what I think I should be doing, than I am about loving and trusting him. My thoughts turn inward on myself and away from God. It leaves me empty and uncertain. Sometimes he uses seemingly small things to draw me back to himself. This past Sunday my daughter lost the car keys before church. It woke me up to the reality that I was more concerned about getting to church than the state of my heart. My obedience needs to stem from a heart that is only satisfied in him. Otherwise I will continue striving and end up nowhere.
“You rescue the humble, but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them. O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall. “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.” 2 Samuel 22:28-33 NLT
In the midst of the mundane, I can forget that my obedience is affecting generations to come. Which reminds me of my constant need for him. I pray that my kids would see me seeking Jesus…growing into their own faith with a deep desire for him.
“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded his ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them- even the children not yet born- and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.” Psalms 78:4-7 NLT
Thank you Father that your love for me does not depend on what I do. Help me to follow you with a humble heart who yearns for you. Thank you for your faithfulness. Help me to be intentional with the time you give me. Amen.
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
John 8:1-11 (NLT)
The compassion and forgiveness that Jesus displays here always surprises me, but it shouldn’t. That is his character: one of unconditional love and forgiveness. I wonder how often I am quick to assume that Jesus would shun me or punish me for the way I behave when in reality his reaction would be one of grace and forgiveness. Jesus, help me to fully dwell in and understand your character. Forgive me for being quick to superimpose my misconceptions about you in my life.
In the end you will groan in anguish
when disease consumes your body.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
and now I must face public disgrace.”
Proverbs 5:11-14 (NLT)
There are often mornings I wake up for work, too tired to do anything but drag myself out of bed 15 minutes before I have to go and get myself ready. On those days, I get to work on time, but I miss out on the valuable time I can have with the Lord if I get out of bed even 30 minutes early. God wants to meet with me on those first quiet and precious hours of my morning and if I miss them, I am less aware of God’s presence throughout my day. Waking up early takes discipline, but, oh, it is so worth it in the long run. Lord, teach me discipline so that I might grow in you and feel your presence in a deeper way in my daily life.
4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
Galations 4:4-7 (NLT)
I. LOVE. THIS. PASSAGE. There is so much freedom and joy in it! God sent his son to face the pain and the anguish of death and that bears much deep sorrow, but there is incredible hope in it also! God did this for a reason; he did so to adopt me as his own child. I am part of God’s family and because of that I never again have to worry about being captured and controlled by sin. I am an heir to the throne of THE king and that is something to sing and dance about (cue dance party music)! Lord, thank you so much that you have not only saved me from sin but you have adopted me as your own child. Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your treasured family. Teach me to truly know and believe that I am yours everyday forever, especially in the deepest depths of my darkest day.