Tag Archives: Big Picture

Exodus 13-15; Psalm 114; Ephesians 3

It’s easy to want to chalk a hardship up to an enemy’s plans (and perhaps less easy to one’s own poor choices or inaction). But what if it’s God’s divine hand? Maybe it’s happening just so you know.

Then the Lord gave these instructions to Moses: “Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord!” So the Israelites camped there as they were told. (Exodus 14:1-4, NLT, emphasis added)

The things that are out of my control, and the things within my control that are hard to control, can I submit them to the Lord? I think of Erin’s post on Monday, how Moses gave excuses to get out of God’s task–and God, whose plan would further demonstrate who He is. Lord, can I accept what is and seek you in the midst of it?

In Exodus I read as the Israelites complained that they were better off slaves, that they were thirsty–this after they had just witnessed the waters parting and were singing of God’s power. Father God, help me. Help me to remember Your goodness and sovereignty. Fear, dread, even basic needs like thirst can knock the feet from under one. Maybe when I’m undone, I’m relying on my own power rather than remembering and relying on yours.

Paul writes several books of the Bible from prison, and I’d post all of Ephesians 3 here because it is so rich. But I land briefly here:

Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.

10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. 13 So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored. (Ephesians 3:8-13, NLT, emphasis added)

Paul sees God’s plan even in prison, and accepts that imprisonment is part of the plan. Paul operates from this perspective and truth. He does what God has appointed him to do. That’s some serious kingdom focus.

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21, NLT, emphasis added)

Courtney (66books365)

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Ezekiel 31-33; John 11

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

10 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because Egypt became proud and arrogant, and because it set itself so high above the others, with its top reaching to the clouds, 11 I will hand it over to a mighty nation that will destroy it as its wickedness deserves. I have already discarded it. 12 A foreign army—the terror of the nations—has cut it down and left it fallen on the ground. Its branches are scattered across the mountains and valleys and ravines of the land. All those who lived in its shadow have gone away and left it lying there. Ezekiel 31:10-12, NLT.

A message of repentance.

The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. Ezekiel 33:12, NLT.

The fakers and phonies.

30 “Son of man, your people talk about you in their houses and whisper about you at the doors. They say to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go hear the prophet tell us what the Lord is saying!’ 31 So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. 32 You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it! 33 But when all these terrible things happen to them—as they certainly will—then they will know a prophet has been among them.” Ezekiel 33:30-33, NLT.

A bigger picture. A way bigger picture.

47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. 48 If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”

49 Caiaphas, who was high priest at that time, said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! 50 You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”

51 He did not say this on his own; as high priest at that time he was led to prophesy that Jesus would die for the entire nation. 52 And not only for that nation, but to bring together and unite all the children of God scattered around the world. John 11:47-52, NLT.

An ongoing message to turn from sin and turn to life. Thankful for a Savior who would dare to walk into a waiting fate.

56 They kept looking for Jesus, but as they stood around in the Temple, they said to each other, “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will he?” John 11:56, NLT.

Thankful for forgiveness of sins, a constant call to turn to life, an unrelenting teacher who tells me there is a way bigger picture than the one I see. Lord, help me to keep my eyes on you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 23, John 2, Job 41, 2 Corinthians 11

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you to do.” John 2:5 (NCV)

God gave me freedom and He gave me free will. Because His desire is for love and relationship, He opened His hands, wrote my name on His palm, and relinquished control over my life. I can choose to live according to my own plan, following self, aligning myself with sin; or I can choose to be showered by His love, enveloped in His grace.

Because of the New Covenant made real by the sacrifice of Christ, I no longer have to follow the long lists of “you musts…” recorded in Exodus. I am no longer bound by Mosaic Law.

There were so many things that were supposed to be done or not supposed to be done; I can’t even keep them all straight. I acknowledge that it is completely impossible to live by the letter of the law. Even the priests, who were the only ones who knew the whole of the law, were hard pressed to be obedient to every dotted ‘i’ and every crossed ‘t’.

However, His sacrifice of death to life means I no longer need to fear the enemy, a leviathan of evil. My past sin is forever forgiven at the cross and buried in the tomb never to rise again. Though I may be tempted, His Spirit which dwells within me gives me the strength to stand separated from sin. Though I may fall into sin, rather than condemnation, I receive mercy and absolution; and I receive liberation once more.

I am given liberty to make my own choices. And, as a believer in Christ, I choose to honor God’s will and obey His Word. I make a choice to do my best to “do whatever He tells me to.”

My hope is in Him, the Only True Living God who is above all. There is no one greater in all of the universe and no one who sees the big picture, the whole picture of His Kingdom Come more than the Creator.

He is the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is to be praised forever. 2 Corinthians 11:31b (NCV)

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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