Archive for June, 2019

The One and Only One (Exodus 20)

June 28, 2019

“You shall have no other gods before[a] me. Exodus 20:3

A couple of days ago over 20 of our kids responded to the gospel call at VBS.  I was so blessed to see kids respond in the same way that we see them respond in Malawi.  As I shared the gospel with them I wanted to make sure they knew exactly who they were committing their lives too.

In Exodus 20, God was making sure in the first four commandments that the Children of Israel knew who He was. He wanted to make sure they knew what He required of those in covenant with Him.

Lets be reminded together who God is:

  1. He is the one true God (There are no other Gods besides Him).
  2. He cannot possible be made into an idol or statue of any kind (Man cannot comprehend who He is).
  3. He is not to be taken lightly by using His name other than in honorable ways (We do not swear by His name).
  4. He asks us to set aside one day a week and give it to worship, rest, and refueling.

Is God your one and only God?  As I considered the first four commandments, I began to write down my prayer to God:

Yahweh, you are my God.  You are alone Lord in my life. I could never compare you to anything made by my mind, hand, or imagination.  As Lord, I worship you with honorable conversation about you. I will set aside one day each week to worship, rest, and refuel.  Thank you for revealing yourself to me.

Brothers and sisters, if God is your one God, you will find yourself treating others different.  You would never mistreat your parents.  You would never lie, steal, or murder others.  You would never take someone else’s spouse and you certainly would never covet what belonged to them.

This is the life we live when Christ is our Lord and Savior.  If you find yourself struggling with one of the commandments today, maybe it is an issue of Lordship?  Think through the commandments and come home to the One True God!!!

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Meeting God for the first time (Exodus 19)

June 27, 2019

17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain.  Exodus 19:17

I love meeting people and hearing their stories.  This week I have been meeting new people at VBS.  I love most how the children are honest about where they are and in particular they are honest about what they know or they don’t know about God.

Imagine the people of Israel coming out of Egypt.  God had carried them out (on Eagles wings) and He had provided for them for three months.  Now God is going to do something that I am totally amazed about.  He is going to come down and meet these people.

Now, you know where I am going with this.  2000 years ago Jesus came down and met with the world (John 1:1-18).  In Exodus 19 God came down covered in a thick cloud because they people could not see His glory and live.  In the New Testament Jesus clothed Himself in humanity to come down and become our redeemer.

In Exodus 19 the people were only seeing a shadow of who God was.  But it was their first meeting with God.

Question:  Have you ever meet God?  This morning I have the honor of telling people about God in hopes that they will allow me to introduce them to Jesus!!!!

Did you know that every person will at some point meet God?  It is true.  Think through this:

  • Many people meet God in salvation, Rom. 10:13.
  • Some people meet God through a miracle of others sharing the good news with them, Matt. 28:18-20.
  • Still others do not meet God until they die, Heb. 9:27.
  • Finally there will be those who will meet God when He returns, I Thess. 4:13-17.

Here is what Revelation one reveals:

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail[b] on account of him. Even so. Amen, Revelation 1:7

Here is the deal, if a person waits until he or she dies or they wait until He returns, it will be too late for them.  This is why the Bible speaks of the urgency of now (II Cor. 6:1-2).  This is why the Bible pleads with us to become ambassadors now (II Cor. 5:19-20).

As I sit here at my computer, I am praying for each of you.  I am praying for myself.  I am praying that God impresses upon each of us the urgency to tell people about God today.  I am praying that God would embolden and empower each of us to tell the story now and always.

Never let it be said that anyone in our circle did not have the invitation to meet God before death or His Second-Coming!

The Test of Leadership (Exodus 18)

June 26, 2019

17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. Exodus 18:17

In some form or shape every person is a leader. I noticed it yesterday in our VBS as many people were leaders of others.  Some led large groups, some led smaller groups, and some just lead one person.  Each were very important to God’s Kingdom Advance.

When I think of leadership, I often think about Moses leadership.  His entire days as a leader of his people were filled with long days, tough decisions, and a congregation that mostly were in rebellion against God.  But through it all Moses seemed to lead with distinction.

What was his secret?  The key to his success was in that he loved God and he listened when God placed direction before him.  In Exodus 18 we find one of those moments when God places direction before him.

God send’s Moses father-in-law with a message. Here is the message: “your leadership is not good.”  Now this must have been humbling for Moses.  Brothers and sisters such a message could be a test for some who would reject such wisdom.

I find leadership to be hard when pride and self get in the mix of leadership.  We see humility in Moses.  Immediately Moses makes the adjustments in his leadership.  Now Moses can go from good to great because he has shared leadership with people who have the following characteristics:

21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe,

Yesterday I sat in VBS as others lead.  Yesterday I walked around and loved on people as others led. Yesterday I rejoiced as God did great things through our people.  I believe this is the scene in Exodus 18.

Question:  is this the same scene where you lead?  Brothers and sisters, here is the deal, if God leads people will be drawn to Him.  If you lead people will be drawn to you.  Which one do you desire?

Is the Lord among us or not? (Exodus 17)

June 25, 2019

And he called the name of the place Massah[a] and Meribah,[b] because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” Exodus 17:7

Wait one minute here!  Is it true?  Have we not already read this story before?  Yes, we have.  Now, I am not referring to water coming from the rock.   I am referring to Israel complaining against God’s servant Moses.

It seems with every trial (adversity) the people complain.  By now Moses is getting weary.  Moses cries out to God, “What shall I do with these people?”  

Question:  If you were Moses what would you do?

For me, I have two responses:

  • In my flesh I would have said, I am done with you, die of thirst.
  • In my new nature I would say, Father forgive them for they know not what they do.

Maybe you ask, where did you get your new nature response?  It comes from God Himself.  Here in Exodus 17 the Lord simply tells Moses to strike the rock and water will come out.  This is the mercy of God.  But this also is a picture of the one who was coming to be our rock and to be the water of life for us.

Jesus said in Mark 14:27 “They will strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.”  Jesus went to the cross for us.  He was struck by God so that we could go free.

Jesus said in John 4:14 “The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”   Jesus is the living water we need.

What do I take away from this chapter:

  • In my humanity I sometimes fail to trust our all-sufficient God.
  • In my humanity I sometimes fail to be thankful for all God does in each and every day of our lives.
  • In my humanity I need to submit to the Spirit of God which is greater than my humanity.

Is the Lord among us or not?  Not only is he among us, He is for us!!!  Praise be to our God alone.

Our Daily Bread (Exodus 16)

June 24, 2019

 15 When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?”[a] For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. Exodus 16:15

“Is this all you have?”  These words came from a spoiled person who was used to always having anything they desired to eat.  But, these words could also have come from the lips of a starving child or from someone who failed to understand the provision of a Holy God.

The people of Israel were 45 days into their journey.  I would like to be able to say, they were satisfied and very thankful for God’s daily bread, but they were not.  3 days after the Red Sea miracle the people began to complain and they would complain for the next 40 years.

As I paused before the Lord to consider this truth, I was reminded by God  who often says, first look within your own life before consider others lives (Matt. 7:1-5; Psalm 139:23-24).  I can be honest and say, there have been times when I have complained against God and there have been times when I failed to use wisely the blessings of the Lord.

Centuries later Stephen stood before his would be judges and jury and delivered a powerful message about Israel’s history (Acts 7).  At one point Stephen said:

51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

Stephen said, you are proud and self-absorbed.  You have not submitted to God in any way.  No matter what He says or who He sends you will not listen.  Ultimately this led to their rejection of Jesus.

The truth is, God provided for all of Israel’s needs on the journey and he provides for all of ours.  Each day we are instructed, Luke 11:3, to pray for our daily bread.  In this days study I have learned to add to my prayer the following:

  • Lord help me to be faithful with what you have provided, Matt. 25:21.
  • Lord prepare me to be faithful with what you are going to provide, Matt. 25:21-24.
  • Lord in everything may I be faithful to honor you with giving my best effort.

If it seems that our daily bread is not enough, let us look within before we look to heaven.  It might be that we are the one’s who are destroying our bread.  Something to not only think about but something to do something about.

What did you learn? (Exodus 15)

June 21, 2019

26 saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”Exodus 15:26

Yesterday one of our college students, having just returned from Malawi, wrote the following:  “These last two weeks have been the greatest experience of my life.”  As I thought about this students post I thought, I cannot wait to her what she has learned.

As the nation of Israel came out of the Red Sea experience, Moses begins to sing a song that teaches us about what he had learned about God.  The words of his song teach us much about His power and His love.

The question I must ask is this: what did the congregation learn from their experience?  We do not have to wait long to get our answer.  Verses 23-25 give us our answer.  Instead of praying to God, Israel complain’s against Moses. Instead of trusting God they terrorize Moses.

Question: What have you and I learned in the days of our lives?  To be boldly honest, here is what I have learned in the last 7 days:

  • I am not as strong as I thought I was.  I need the Lord every hour.
  • I stand in need of God’s wisdom and discernment.
  • I am desperate for God’s leadership in my life.

The closer you walk with God the lesser you become in your own eyes.  The clearer you hear God’s voice the clearer your path in life will be.

Moses outlines the path of success in Vs: 26:

  1. Listen to the voice of the Lord.
  2. Obey what is right in His sight.
  3. Submit to what He says is right.
  4. Live out His commands.

Here is a big deal:  When we follow this path, the learning never ceases in our lives.

It is my prayer that you would slow down and listen to God’s voice.  It is my prayer that you would pull up your boot straps and obey God.  It is my prayer that you would submit to living out all His commandments.

When we do these things we can say with that college student:  “This was the best experience of my life.

 

 

Lack of Experience (Exodus 14)

June 20, 2019

 13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:13-14

Have you ever been turned down for a job because of a lack of experience?  Many of us have and when it happens one of two things usually happen.  Either we become bitter (and say what is the use) or we become better (because we go and get the experience).

When Israel came to the Red Sea, she was lacking in experience with God and faith.  It had been Moses who had led the people during the fight with Pharaoh and his gods.  It was Moses who was gaining experience.

As the people turned and saw the Egyptians coming, it was a lack of experience that led to their responses.  Notice the words of the man of experience speaking up.  Here is what he said:

  • Fear not-Moses had experience with the “Great I Am,” Ex. 3:14.
  • Stand firm-Moses knew God had their backs.  10 plagues proved this.
  • See the salvation of the Lord-God was their deliverer.  He was and is our Passover Lamb.

Question:  What experience do you and I have with God?

All Israel had to do was in silence listen and obey the voice of God.  God would part the waters, God would make the pathway dry, and God would destroy their enemies.  Their only task was to walk by faith.

 for we walk by faith, not by sight. II Corinthians 5:7

Brothers and sisters, God is calling you to gain experience in all you are facing this day and in tomorrow!!!

Here was my prayer for Sherry and I this morning:

“Father, we want to grow in faith so that we might experience more and more of who you are.  Father, we want to share with others what we are experiencing with You.  Father, we want to live out our faith before a watching world. Father may people say, that family has experience with God!!!

Letting Others Know (Exodus 13)

June 19, 2019

 You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’  Exodus 13:8

I picture them filled with anticipation getting on the plane and heading out to a place where they have never been.  Their one unified desire was to go where others have never heard to tell them of the good news of Jesus Christ.  When they arrive two days later, one would expect them to be ready to crash, but no, this group had their minds set to let others know.

When Moses led 2 million people out of Egypt, did they know what God intended for them?  They had been taught since the days of Abraham, God was going to take them to the Promised Land.  But there was more, God intended for them to be a light to the other people groups of the world.

One of the ways the nation would do this was in keeping the Feasts. These feast were reminders of what God had done and opportunities to let others know who God was and what He had done and what He was doing.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was a week long celebration of what had just happened in Exodus 6-12.  As they held the feast, they would tell the story of God’s deliverance and God’s being their Passover Lamb.

Question:  Do you have built in daily reminders of who God is and do you have built in daily processes that place you in front of others so that they will know about your God?

Brothers and sisters, God has put in daily reminders.  All we have to do is to build them into our daily lives:

  • God has given us the Word to study each and every day.  Build it into your daily life, II Tim. 2:15.
  • God has given us prayer so that we can communicate with God every day.  Build it into your daily life, Matt. 6:6-9.
  • God has given you a voice so that you can share Him every day.  Build it into you daily life, I Peter 3:15.
  • God has given you His church so that you can weekly gather with other people to remember. Build it into your daily life, Hebrews 10:25.

Brothers and sisters, without these things being built into our lives we will find ourselves at a drift from our purpose and we will find ourselves dead in the water of urgency.

The reason we exist is to love God and to make disciples of all people.

A life that counts (Exodus 12)

June 18, 2019

 “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.  Exodus 12:2

As I sit here looking at an empty screen that needs to be filled with words, I find myself filled with both emotion and truth.  I have been back from Malawi for two days and 8 more members of our team leave today (Please pray for them) and two remain (pray for their summer of making a difference.

As I sit here I truly want to live a life that counts.  This is not just an emotion filled statement, it is a truth filled statement.

Think back to Egypt in the days of Moses.  Here are my emotional attachments to chapter 12:

  • I have the emotion of praise and thanks for God’s deliverance of His people (12:13). “The blood of the lamb protected Israel from the destroyer.”
  • I have the emotion of sorrow as I hear the screams all over Egypt coming from the homes of all who lost family members (12:30).  My greatest sorrow is in knowing, it did not have to be this way.
  • I have the emotion of joy when I think of the new life God gave Israel all those years ago (12:21).

Brothers and sisters, don’t linger in your emotions too long for their day.  Fast forward to our day.  I sit here praising God for deliverance in my own life (II Corinthians 5:17).  My heart sorrows for the multitudes who are dying without Christ all over the world.  I sit here with joy in knowing that for me and all who love Him, His mercies are new every day.

As I see the day-light coming, I cry out to God, I want to make a difference today.  Do not let me live a life on a merry-go-round where all I do is the routine.  Yes, it is true that God has delivered me from the Kingdom of Darkness and transferred me into the Kingdom of Light.  Yes, it is true the Lord has called me to share with the world what is coming.  And yes, it is true the Lord is still working in my life and He is still working in your life (Philippians 2:12-13).

The question is:  what will truth direct our emotions to be engaged with today?  Oh that we each would want to make a difference now!!!

The Great Deliver (Malawi 2019) Exodus 13

June 17, 2019

This is our last full day in Malawi. Thinking back to the first day we left to come here until now, I am moved to know that God has touched each team members heart. We have seen salvation come to people for the first time, believers in churches strengthened, local pastors trained, children loved on and feed. We have seen a Muslim women come to saving faith in Jesus Christ and we have been loved on by Ovi and Litas team member here. But above all we have seen God.

As we board the plane tomorrow to come back to what we have always known, I cant help but think about this mornings reading in Exodus 13. You see, the people of Israel have seen God doing some amazing miracles in their midst and the time for them to leave Egypt is right before them. God has executed His final judgment on Pharaoh due to his hard heart against God and his people. For the people of God, it is time for them to leave what they have always know for the past 400 years and trust God!

As you read verse 3 this morning let the weight of what God has done in the previous chapters for His people. He is delivering them from the slavery and bondage of the Egyptians. All they have to do now is walk in faith! This leads me to a few question,

1. Have you seen the “strong hand of the Lord” deliver you from your sin through Jesus Christ?

We see the people of God, leaving Egypt and told to consecrate the firstborn to be a reminder to the people of God and for the generations to come that God made a distinction between the People of God and the Egyptians! By faith through the blood God passed over each firstborn and their families.

Lastly, we see the tender care of God to his people. God knows that his people could not handle going through the Land of the Philistines. “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” See if you can relate to this,

2. Have you ever been tempted to return to where you came from in the middle of God’s deliverance due to the intensity of the battle?

See the goodness and faithfulness of God to not only deliver His people, but we see in this chapter that God LEADS his people each step of the way! As we leave the people of Malawi tomorrow, I wonder if we will remember the God who brought us here will lead us as we come home. Christian reach out your hand to the God would desires to lead you through each moment of your day, in His power and with His presence!