Tag Archives: Moses

Exodus 5-8; Luke 18

My friend for more than twenty-five years died the other week. I listened as his wife spoke in eulogy of his lifetime–told about this man I loved, and shared many things about him I never knew. He had delightful interests, so much talent, and his life story was full and generous and loving and adventurous. How I wished I’d had more time with him–he was truly like a father to me. His life, even in death, continues to inspire me: to live in purpose, on purpose.

The weight of grief, worry, strife and stress has felt oppressive in recent years–these things can take me off course, derail me from life and its purposes. I live in the woods, and find myself wishing I was deeper in the forest, averting my eyes and sometimes my heart from making contact—it feels an awful lot like despair.

I’m not sure if it’s circumstance or the things one tells himself or hears from others, but I hear it in Pharaoh’s voice as he tells Moses, “Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their tasks? Get back to work! Look, there are many of your people in the land, and you are stopping them from their work (Exodus 5:4-5, NLT).”

I can get caught up in the task (of work or routine or stress or grief) at hand, that my focus is redirected into a worldly (small) view instead of a deeper calling and purpose. And whether one places it upon himself, or it’s the voices of those in his life, Kingdom work and purpose can become muddled and muted. Moses and Aaron weren’t distracting the people from their tasks–they were pointing them to it. The world gets it so very backwards, and I fall for it too. Too many hoops, too many tasks, too much people pleasing and accommodating that I neglect the very One who gives me strength, neglect the passions He’s put in my heart and compromise my focus and time until I am weary and worn out. It feels an awful lot like despair.

“Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!’”

So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery (Exodus 6:6-9 NLT).

Lord, repeatedly I train myself to order my tasks but to keep my eyes on you. Again. Again. When my focus slips to what’s in front of me, I forget what’s inside of me and what’s ahead of me. The shrill of the ringtone, the chipping away at peace, when I lose sight of you, I become too discouraged too.

I set my thoughts on a Kingdom purpose, a Kingdom focus.

29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30 will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come (Luke 18:29-30, NLT).”

That rich man was disheartened because, perhaps, his (wealth/success/pride/ability) was his real focus, not the inheritance of eternal life he believed he wanted.

Lord, help me to do what I need to do, and let go of what needs to go. I want to walk in truth, and keep my eyes focused on you. Thank you for a friend like David, whose life spoke of intention and inclusion, generosity and love. Thank you for challenging me to see things in a new way, for revealing truths I didn’t see, and for reminding me to seek your Kingdom first.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament

Deuteronomy 6-9; Luke 7

This morning’s reading is ripe with implications for our families in the 21st century. And being a Christian Educator at heart these words below from Deuteronomy 6 resonate strongly with me.

1″Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
4″Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:1-9 [ESV]).

If Moses were writing this to us today he’d say something like the following. When you are with your children put your cell phones and tablets away and tell them about God. When you go on trips sing songs and share Bible stories about Jesus. Have reminders in your home that trigger conversations about Jesus. Read God’s Word at the dinner table which means you all need to eat together.

We are reading a short Lenten devotional every evening at our dinner table. It needs to be concise enough that our daughter with Down syndrome doesn’t lose interest and yet deep enough that she gets something out of it — and her parents do too.

What are you doing to engage your children or grand children on a regular basis in the things of the Lord. Why not start following the teaching of Moses!

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Genesis 16-18; Ephesians 4

Two very interesting passages of Scripture this morning, especially Genesis 18 and Ephesians 4. Both approach organization in different ways, but appropriate for the age in which these admonitions were given.

Jethro saw his son-in-law working way to hard to govern the people of Israel so gave Moses a plan by which the people would be well cared for and Moses would keep his sanity. Jethro states in chapter 18,

I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you (Genesis 18:19b-22 [ESV]).

Jethro gave Moses a plan that worked in that time and that situation. In a different age Paul gives the church in Ephesus and us all a way to organize the work of the church. He shares this,

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes (Ephesians 4:11-14 [ESV]).

Our leaders in the church have been given to us to equip us to carry out her work. We are all given tasks to do and ministries to lead and serve in. The Holy Spirit in this age gives us all Gifts that we can use in the service of the body. If you have crossed the line of faith you have at least one of those gifts, perhaps one in the list above.

God has also laid a passion on your heart. An unmet need that He wants to see met and he has placed that burden on you. Then he comes along through His Holy Spirit and equips you with a gift to see that unmet need met.

Do you know what your spiritual gift(s) would be? Are you using them to meet those unmet needs that are on God’s heart today. 

That’s how we are organized for fruitful service in this age.

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Exodus 18; Luke 21; Job 36; 2 Corinthians 6

When Moses’ father-in-law saw everything he was doing for them he asked, “What is this thing you’re doing for the people? …” (Ex 18:14)

“What you’re doing is not good, ” Moses’ father-in-law said to him.  “You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you, because the task is too heavy for you.  You can’t do it alone.  Now listen to me; I will give you some advice, and God be with you.” (Exodus 18:17-19)

One of the greatest decisions that I have made as a believer was to get a mentor, a fellow Christian, more seasoned in life experience and godly wisdom than myself.  As I scanned our church body, I carefully searched for an older woman who knew God’s Word and who possessed a lot of wisdom about life.  We both prayed about the potential match and decided that God was telling us to go for it!  I had no idea how my life would change because of this relationship.  Like Jethro did in this passage with Moses, my mentor has been able to gain a perspective on my life and interject wise nuggets to me.  This relationship has been invaluable; she has walked with me through some of my darkest moments, prayed incessantly for me, and rejoiced with me over the joys of God’s blessings. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” I love this! God places people in our lives to encourage us as we live, but also to challenge us, moving us to deeper and more intimate relationships with the Lord.  I know that the woman who I am today is largely because of the influence of a trusted mentor.

On the flip side of this, I often wondered if I could be a mentor.  Thoughts like:  Am I a strong enough Christian?  Do I know enough about the Bible?  What if I give incorrect information or advice?  Who would even want to have me as a mentor?  The lies of the enemy are so powerful.  Satan is so quick to plague our minds with doubt and defeat.  The truth is that I am capable of this because I have the Holy Spirit living in me to empower me!  Several years ago I began leading bible studies with some young women in their 20’s.  What a joy to have these young ladies in my life!  I have often joked with them that they have kept me young and cool!  But more importantly, they have trusted me and respected my opinion about issues in their lives.  It has been such a sweet journey for me as I have watched them grow in their faiths.  I have loved being a part of their engagements, weddings, and births of their babies.  I often think about what I would have missed had I said no to God about this.  And what truly amazes me is that I have learned so much more from these young women than I ever could have imagined.

Being sandwiched in between my seasoned mentor and my younger peeps, I have been able to experience such sweet, tangible moments where God feels so close.  What a blessing to be able to experience both sides of this sandwich! I have always loved bread….maybe I am on to something here!!!!  I love the reinforcement that I get from reading Titus 2 where the older generations are instructed to teach the younger ones.  How cool that God ordains these mentor / mentee relationships!  Maybe as believers we need to really pray, asking God how to be intentional in our relationships?

Dear Lord,

Thank you so much for the amazing friends whom you have placed in my life.  I can’t imagine where I would be today not having them.  God, I pray that I would always have an open heart and mind to discern how You want to use me.  And, God, I pray that I would possess a teachable spirit, longing to get to know You more.  Thank you so much for this example of the relationship between Moses and Jethro, and how Jethro keeps pointing Moses back to You.  Thank you, Jesus, that You are a God of relationship!

Amen

Suzie (suzielawyer)

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Filed under 66 Books, Exodus, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament

Exodus 14; Luke 17; Job 32; 2 Corinthians 2

Arrogance v. Stubbornness

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials change their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services! Exodus 14: 5

Amazing isn’t it.  The Pharaoh had lost his son, Egypt had witnessed plagues.  Enough! “Let them go” said Pharaoh. But regardless of all the suffering brought upon him and his people the Pharaoh was angry that no one would be there to serve him.  Is this not narcissism at its finest.  Can you imagine his anger…I envision and toddler throwing a temper tantrum because he didn’t get his way.  Pharaoh had issues with  natural consequences would you not agree. What was his answer to soothing his wounds?  Get angry and get even.

The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.  The Egyptians – all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops – pursued the Israelites and overtook them as the camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon. Exdodus 14:8-9

I suppose when we read about God hardening someones heart that also means all reasoning has left them.  Now why Pharaoh and his men could not figure out by this time that they were fighting a losing battle; I’m not quite sure.  To say Pharaoh was blinded by pride is a slight understatement.  I mean seriously…plagues of giant locusts, raining frogs, the death of the first born sons.

On the other hand…

God had instructed Moses to tell the Israelites to tun back and where to set up camp.  He was very specific and even gave a detailed account as to what he was about to do in order to reveal his glory.  So there they were, following Moses, receiving instructions from God through Moses…let’s not forget that the Israelites had witnessed all of God’s wrath on Pharaoh, I would imagine they were very aware of his reach.

As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them.  They were terrified and cried out to the Lord.  They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?  Didn’t we say to you in Egypt. ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Exodus 14: 10-12

Really?  They said that?  They would rather be under the hand of Pharaoh as a slave than to be free and follow God? Was it so comfortable in slavery that the cost of freedom was too great? Whine, whine, whine!    I really don’t know anyone like that, do you?

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  Exodus 14:12-14

Do you imagine by now that Moses is thinking why did I bother?  Do you ever feel that way…why do I bother trying to be a witness when no one cares?   They would rather wallow in their misery than to hear about a way to freedom.

So on one side you have the prideful Pharaoh whose heart is so hardened that all he sees is anger and revenge. Then on the other side you see the Israelites who are so comfortable as slaves they think freedom is too uncomfortable and not worth risking their lives for.  Neither side seeing what was right before them.  Even though the signs were all around them.  I’m thinking a pillar of smoke and fire would clue me in there was a greater power at work here.

But that’s just it isn’t it? We are so enslaved by our sin and it blinds us to the fact the freedom is worth the cost of our false comfort.  And how many times have you thought you were cheated out of something, someone had wronged you and all you could think of was getting even?  Taking back what was rightfully yours?  Well that plan didn’t work out so well for Pharaoh and I’m pretty sure it won’t work for us either.

And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. Exodus 14:31

Wow…it only took the parting of a massive body of water by a man and his stick to convince them to put their trust in the Lord.

Please know that my sarcasm is directed towards myself as I laugh at how many times God has shown himself in magnificent ways and I still question or doubt or I’m too comfortable to change my habits.   How many times have I taken it upon myself to show someone I’m right or that they won’t have the last laugh at my expense? Do I really wish to stay enslaved to sin?

No…I really wish to run toward my Abba with my hands lifted high, surrender all unto Him and bask in His glory.

Will I be uncomfortable at times?  Yes, but God will comfort me.

Will I feel the urge to get even?  Yes, but God will fight for me.

Will I ever be blinded by pride? Yes, but God will soften my heart and set me straight.

And He will be glorified!

Cindi

 

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Exodus 9, Luke 12, Job 27, 1 Corinthians 13

Lordship or Not?

 “I tell you, whoever acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.  But he who disowns Me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. Luke 12:8-9

Found at Bible Gateway –  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ex.%209;%20Luke%2012;%20Job%2027;%20I%20Cor.%2013&version=NIV1984 

Exodus 9          God’s Wrath is real. There is no escape route except One. God will have His Way whether I am on His side or not.

            Pharaoh refused to comply. God sent natural disasters to Egypt with explicit instructions, “Let my people go, so that they may worship Me.” This is always God’s command for me: Worship Me in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23-24). The plague on livestock, of boils and hail did not move Pharaoh’s stubborn heart against the LORD, the God of the Hebrews.

            What is my reaction to God’s commands? Am I hardening my heart against God to my own demise? What pain am I suffering because I refuse to acknowledge God as my Lord and Master? How am I “plagued” because I disregard and do not submit to the Truth of God’s Word and the power of His Holy Spirit?

Luke 12, Job 27, 1 Cor. 13             Jesus, You warn me not to be false. I am never allowed to lie. I am God’s child, not the devil’s (John 8:44). You will disclose everything about me – please do this to me, so I may see my blind spots and live for you more purely! Lord Jesus, engender a passion for Your Truth, Your Word, that my mind filters everything through It. (Psalm 1, 2 Corinthians 10:5) That I speak, live, and love the Word of God, which is You, Lord Jesus. May my mouth be pleasing to You.

            I am NOT to act out of fear of man nor for worldly desires, for that is distrust and disrespect of the One Who Loves me best. Instead I am to acknowledge Him and learn from His Holy Spirit. I am to be rich toward God, for He is my heart’s priceless Treasure. Lord, I dedicate my mind and heart to be faithful to You, my Rock, so that I will not be tossed to and fro according to the fickleness of man. I get so hurt when I do not live by faith in You.

            Because the Lord Jesus has given and entrusted me with much, He demands much from me. Besides giving me food, clothing, shelter, You have given me an able mind, a new heart, Your Son, Your Word, Your Spirit. What more can I need! Nothing! So I am honored and yearn to always be Your faithful bond slave, actively engaged in Your “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Jesus, You are coming unexpectedly – yet may I live consciously aware that You are in me, that You are watching me right now. So I may always think, act and speak for your purposes and glory! Awaken Your tools and gifts within me that I would use each of the under Your skillful Hand and without ceasing. Bring Yourself much glory, please! I delight to see Your Glory!

            I will not deny my integrity because of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ’s shed blood on the cross for my multitude of sins (Romans 8:1-2). I will teach the godless about the power of God; the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal (Job 27:11). Jesus warns me that He has brought adversity within my family: those for and against Jesus. (Luke 12:51-53) I know this full well.

            So I will choose to love with God’s wisdom and compassion. God, Who IS Love, never fails. I will drink heavily from His Word and Holy Spirit. I will feed my emotion and mind on the Word of God so He will heal me and pour through me for His good purposes and glory. I will trust the Lord unashamedly. I am to live out of His Agape Love for me.

            My Father, thank You for teaching me in these verses what You expect from me and how You enable me. Thank You for giving me more than I could ask for: Freedom from guilt, shame and condemnation; Freedom to read Your Word and to Worship in my country, anywhere and anytime; Fellowship with true believers; Freedom to hear Your word on the airwaves, TV, and internet. God, You are SO Gracious!! I am so grateful that You are sovereign!! I am indebted to You for all You pour into me!! Thank You!! Your gifts of the Holy Spirit, Your fullness in me, Your chastening me, Thank you!! Your Joy is my strength from the enemy of my soul!! Holy Spirit regenerate me. I seek to follow Your command to “Let go” of whatever is keeping me from truly worshiping You with my life. I rejoice in praise and worship of You Lord Jesus Christ! Amen.

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Numbers 20, Psalm 58 & 59, Isaiah 9:8-10:4, James 3

I started off today’s reading in the wilderness, with grumbly mumbly Israel.

Moses and Aaron are thrown on their faces in the presence of Glory. The Lord spoke,

Take the staff… tell the rock…”
but instead, Moses told the people, and struck the rock, twice!

Then God said,

“Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy… therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” Num.20:12

At that moment surely Moses was wishing he’d stayed on his face a little longer where the Glory was. I’m like Moses, often. I say too much. It was natural for Moses to be frustrated with those obstinate, whining, forgetful people… but the only appropriate place for retching frustration is while face down, before the LORD.

God, I get tired of boiling over, scalding the people around me…”

For wickedness burns like a fire;
it consumes…
it kindles…
rolls upward in a column of smoke. Is.9:18

…how great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!
And the tongue is a fire…full of deadly poison. James 3:5-6,8

David sings denouncing his enemies and demanding justice (aka: complaining). In the very last part of his song I learn a secret. While waiting for the Lord to act…

“I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.” Ps.59:16

When things get tough and I’m about to leak out verbal vengeance onto these precious rebel children who daily surround me… In meekness of wisdom, I must fall down on my face in the presence of Glory, hand over control and uphold holiness by exchanging pain inflicting words for songs of praise to God.

“…the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:17-18

Lord, I need You desperately.
You are holy.  I am a sinner. You know me well.

I fall face down in the presence of Your glory.

Thank you for sanctifying this sputtering spring.
I long to overflow purely fresh and sincere praise.

amy in peru

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