Have you ever thought about those 40 years of the Jewish people wandering in the wilderness? I had this picture in my mind that families just woke up each day and followed the large group ahead of them, traveling first north and then south, now east, and then west. I thought they may have even found themselves back at a previous camping spot before the fire embers had died out in front of their relentless pulling up of stakes.
Yet, looking at a suggested map drawn from Moses’ written account (Numbers 33:1-49) of the starting points of their travels, I am impressed with a belief that in every step and every encampment, God was leading His chosen people to the Promised Land. And during this journey, the families were having babies, their children were growing, the warriors were fighting inhabitants of these foreign lands, the priests were serving God, and Moses was judging and instructing the people. Aaron and Miriam were buried along the way, and God raised up new leaders to take the place of Moses who died at the journey’s end. The Israelites may not have been able to see around the next huge rock formation, but they continued the journey, nevertheless.
Sometimes it is hard to see where God is leading me. I can look back at my own wanderings and wonder at the numerous places I’ve lived, the trials and tragedies, the miracles, and the remarkable blessings of God. Has my journey, thus far, just been meandering in the wilderness of sin (yes, I recognize the similarity to the Exodus), and so a purging and punishing walk? That is one perspective, and one that leaves me deflated with little joy in the Lord.
The bigger picture here, however, may be encapsulated in a short phrase found in Numbers 34:53. “…for I have given you the land to possess.” This is what God emphasized to Moses and how Moses was able to encourage the Israelites to keep moving. God gave them the Promised Land, and all the journeying and conquering along the way prepared His people to possess that land. Their faith refined; their obedience demonstrated; they learned reliance on Him.
What is the Promised Land to us today? Is it a place, a position, or an accumulation of material gain? Or is our journey leading us closer to “the letting go” of all that interferes with knowing Him? – With a real desire for intimacy with God, and reliance on Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit? Each starting point (His compassions fail not and are new every morning) can begin again the next step to being closer to His heart’s desire – that “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might,” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NASB) I pray to continuously follow Him. What a picture – we, hand in hand, walking with our Lord!
Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, Lamentations, Numbers, Old Testament, Uncategorized
Tagged as 66 books, Bible in a year, Old Testament, Promised Land, Wilderness
I admire David’s leadership skills – they were quite impressive and one of his trademarks was success in all that he did.
David led his men in battle and was successful in all he did, because the Lord was with him. – 1 Samuel 18:14 GNT
It is a prayer of mine that the Lord walk with me in whatever I am doing. Emotions and actions matter and I so I like responding in truth if I can. I would love if those around me would say that I treat them with respect and dignity even when they do not treat me the same. Meekness is a strength even though it looks like a weakness but it is there that I make good decisions. I need the Holy Spirit to be part of my life.
Wisdom is a key part of leadership skills I admire.
Everyone has heard of your loyalty to the gospel, and for this reason I am happy about you. I want you to be wise about what is good, but innocent in what is evil. And God, our source of peace, will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. – Romans 16:19-20 GNT
Maybe I should define that better – wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil. I see God as my God of peace and I trust that His grace will walk with me.
These short statements summarize my thoughts along these lines best.
The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue,
Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.
The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.
The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him,
So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us— Lamentations 3:22-26 GNT
In my life God has been gracious, loving and patient. When I have been influenced because I was looking at circumstances through my eyes and not through faith, God was still there. When I yielded to Him, His plans and purposes were perfect.
These days when I seem to be alone, I can be, but I am not lonely. I am aware of God’s unconditional love, and His goodness. In humble submission I wait for Him and submit to His Holy Spirit.
Father, I love praying in the Holy Spirit. Thank you for allowing me to be moved and guided in my prayer life. There is so much You want for me and I love how You guide my thoughts. Your Word is so important in learning how to walk with You – thank you for meeting me each day to reveal Your character to me. Amen.
Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Lamentations, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Romans
Tagged as admire, be alone, been gracious, best, better, continue, did, doing, Him, I have, in patience, praying in the Holy Spirit, skills, the morning, to the gospel
“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion and a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from it’s mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears , and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God!” The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from the Philistine!” 1 Samuel 17:32-37 NLT
I have pictured David’s time as a shepherd being fairly easy. I never thought of him rescuing lambs and killing lions and bears. He didn’t know at the time how God was preparing him to fight Goliath. David was ready. He didn’t let Saul’s lack of faith deter him from what God wanted him to do.
“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand , and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength and character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:2-4 NLT
Like David, I usually can’t see how my faith was strengthened by a trial until God brings me into another one. I can look back and draw strength from how God brought me through in the past. It can be hard for me to find joy in the midst of my pain. I want to scream, cry, run or avoid it at times. I am thankful for a God who understands my emotions. I can run to him and find comfort in knowing that he with me and doesn’t leave my side.
“For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does. He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth. The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people he has chosen as his inheritance. But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone” Psalms 33 NLT
Dear Father, Thank you for your unfailing love. I rely on your strength when I am weak. Thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit. I praise you for who you are. Amen.
Filed under 1 Samuel, Lamentations, Psalms, Romans, Uncategorized
Tagged as Faith, hope, joy, power, Praise, prayer, suffering, trust
I am amazed watching young people in their spiritual growth and at the same time I can cringe at what they can come up with to do or say that would put into question if there is any spirituality in them at all.
One thing for certain, especially with my children, I tried to put into them the importance of walking with Jesus everyday.
It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth. – Lamentation 3:27 ESV
When I walk with Jesus the outcome of my salvation is not in question. I do not lack in desire to live a life according to the call before me. Unfortunately, if I walk in the faith only because of my profession of faith I miss out on the fact that Christianity is life in God. There is only one way the world can know that I am Christ’s – it is not in how I handle grief, it is not how passionate I am to confess my sin, it is not the thrill of first love or of glad emotions – it is because I obey Jesus. This is the true outcome of salvation – I walk with Jesus.
Should I walk away from Him and disobey Him, then God will step in to get my attention and I pray that He always will.
You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors. – Haggai 1:9-11 ESV
Getting my attention through my finances is quick and painful. For my hope is not there, it is in Jesus and sometimes I need a wake up call to remember that.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV
That is where my confidence is – the future is strong and sure. It motivates me and will equip me to be the disciple who engages in good works with the foundation of such being love. It takes away my doubt, even in some very tough times. My hope is a living hope.
Father, I thank You that in my youth You shaped me and formed me to be Yours. Amen.
Filed under 1 Peter, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Lamentations, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized
Tagged as blessed, disobey, everyday, Haggai, much, my confidence, painful, question, spirituality, youth
“All the majesty of beautiful Jerusalem has been stripped away. Her princes are like starving deer searching for pasture. They are too weak to run from pursuing the enemy. In the midst of her sadness and wondering, Jerusalem remembers her ancient splendor. But now she has fallen to her enemy, and there is no one to help her. Her enemy struck her down and laughed as she fell. Jerusalem has sinned greatly, so she has been tossed away like a filthy rag. All who once honored her now despise her, for they have seen her stripped naked and humiliated. All she can do is groan and hide her face. ” Lamentations 1:6-8 NLT
I feel the hopelessness in these verses. Having the wind knocked out of me and blindsided by attacks of the enemy. Times when I want to run and hide, instead of remembering the goodness of God. I am thankful for a God who rescues and pursues me. Who heals the innermost parts of my soul. Who tells me what to pray when I don’t know what to pray anymore. Who hears and answers my prayers in his timing not mine. James urges me to keep praying when I don’t see the miracle yet.
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield crops. My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about forgiveness of many sins.” James 5:16-19 NLT
What if Elijah thought his prayers didn’t matter, like I sometimes do?
“But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance. The people of Israel will be a raging fire, and Edom a field of dry stubble. The descendants of Joseph will be a flame roaring across the field, devouring everything. There will be no survivors in Edom. I, the Lord, have spoken! The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath. The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev. Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to rule over the mountains of Edom. And the Lord himself will be king!” Obadiah 1:17-21 NLT
My prayers are effecting future generations.
Strongholds and generational bondage breaking.
Hearts turning back to him.
Dear Father, help me to trust you when I can’t see. Give me eyes to see your goodness. Help me not to hide in fear. But to live with a knowledge and hope in you. Thank you for your patience with me. Give me rest when I am weary. Thank you for your faithfulness. Amen.