October 10, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 6

You have just won 1 million dollars!!!!!

Now pretend that you have very little money and barely have enough to eat, let alone pay bills. Every day creditors are calling and threatening to take you to court. You have a one bedroom apartment and you are two months behind on rent. Your landlord is threatening to evict you and your family if you don’t pay for your two months, plus interest on the top. So, on hearing this news you would be absolutly thrilled. If it were me, I would probably be spinning on my head in excitement. How crazy would it be if you did not except it? What if your excuse was, “I am not sure how to handle the money so I don’t want it.”

Ridiculous, right?

Exodus 6, begins with a promise of deliverance from God Himself. The Israelites had been taking abuse and oppression from Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Moses has been going to Pharaoh and demanding in the name of the Lord that he let Israel go but Pharaoh just makes things worse. God tells Moses that He is going to deliever His people because He has heard their groanings (v. 5). He lets Moses know that He would soon do this because of the covenant that He made with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob (v. 3). In other words, God is showing Moses the essence of His very character, that He is a God of kept promises. He always keeps his word.

Finally, God came to save the day. Israel is going to be delivered, and all that Moses had to do was go and tell Pharaoh to let Israel go. It is a done deal, but Moses doesn’t respond with excitement and confidence. How did he respond?

But Moses said to the LORD, “Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?”

He basically says, “God, I can’t do it. I know that you are promising to deliver us but I am not the man for the job.”

Why did he respond this way? Simple: Moses was focused on himself and not God. He was not trusting in God’s promises but instead He was fixated on his inabilities to do such a task.

However, before we start looking at Moses with judgement, we must first recognize that God was asking Him to do a seemingly impossible task. Moses was afraid, and by all humans standards, rightfully so. Would you or I have responded differently? You may say, “I am not sure. I have never been put in that kind of situation.” You are likely correct, but the truth is that most of us respond just like Moses when we are faced with mediocre tasks on the fear scale.

For example, God has called us to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20) and many of us will not even talk with our friends and family about Jesus. How about (2 Timothy 3: 14-16), we are promised that scripture is suffient for training us up in righteousness and living a faithful Christ-honoring life. Most of us do not read our Bible. Even if we do, it is not very consistant. Instead we are trusting in something other than God’s word whether it be money, relationships, food, drugs, kids, success, and the list goes on. As a result, Many of us are finding ourselves in the list preceding this promise in 2 Timothy 3:1-13:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Questions for application:

(1) What do you trust in?
(2) Who do you believe in?

Posted by: Chad Wiles

October 8, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 5

“What is God thinking? This isn’t how it is supposed to be.”

Have you ever thought that before? Have you ever been in a situation in life and you felt like you had sought the Lord and felt confident you were following His leading and then “Wham”, you are hit right between the eyes with something you never would have thought was coming. I know I have and many of us reading this have. For most of us our reaction would be similar to Moses and Aaron in this passage, “O’ Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me?” God had promised Moses that He would be with him and use him to rescue the people of Israel. So Moses, already scared and hesitant to follow God, brings Aaron with him and confronts the Pharaoh and asks for the people of Israel to be given 3 days to go and hold a festival in the desert for God. Now Moses has kept his end of the deal so far and has done what God asked him to do.

So theoretically, Pharaoh’s response should have been “Okay, sure. Have a good time. See you in 3 days” right? But instead he gets angry and forces more had labor onto the Israelites, making them get their own straw for bricks. Why didn’t God come through on his end of the deal? Where was God when Moses confronted Pharaoh? Romans chapter 9 gives us a very interesting perspective on this matter. In verse 17, which is actually taken from Exodus 9:16, God reveals his plan behind all this to us. He explains that He has raised up Pharaoh for the purpose of showing His power and for proclaiming His name to all the world. You see, we, like Moses, often times have this idea that if we just say yes to God and follow Him then everything will work out exactly like we plan and be very easy for us. Our problem, like Moses in this passage, is a problem of perspective.

When we realize that it is about God displaying His power and proclaiming His name, then we can better understand why things don’t always work out to plan. When our perspective stops with us then we question God when it our plan falls apart. So where is your perspective? What is your life about? Is it about God? Is it about His power being proclaimed in our lives and the situations we find ourselves in each day? Or is about our own convenience and comfort? Is it about God’s name being made famous in all the world? Or is it about our name and our kingdom? So today let’s start by adjusting the lenses of our perspective.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

October 7, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 4

What holds you back? Back from seeing miracles in your life? Back from God using you in an unbelievable way in the lives of others? Back from God’s richest blessings on you and through you?

For many of us it’s the same as it was for Moses in the chapter: fear. We’re afraid of what may happen, afraid of what others may think or say, maybe even afraid of the consequences of stepping up to God’s calling on our lives.

Moses allowed fear to rob him of the blessing of being the one God would use completely on his own, empowered by God’s hand. God told Moses to go to the people of Israel and to Pharaoh and God would use him to lead the people out of the land. Moses’ fear got in the way.

Moses protested to God…

1) What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? (v.1a)
2) What if they say, ‘The LORD never appeared to you’? (v.1b)

GOD RESPONDS: By turning his staff into a snake, his hand leprous, and water into blood.

3) 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.” (v.10)

GOD RESPONDS: 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, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD? (v.11)

4) But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else. (v.13)

Then the LORD became angry with Moses. “Alright,” He said. And God uses Aaron to do what He called Moses to do.

I wonder what blessing Moses missed because of his spirit of fear and disobedience through it. But what about you and me? What opportunities does fear rob from us? Opportunities to share Jesus? To take a faith step? To see God do unbelievable things in and through us?

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And, don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. 2 Timothy 1:7-8

What are you afraid of? Confess that fear to God today and follow Him.

It makes me think of an old Steven Curtis Chapman’s song…

Saddle up your horses we’ve got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace
Let’s follow our leader into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other – this is The Great Adventure

Come on get ready for the ride of your life
Gonna leave long faced religion in a cloud of dust behind
And discover all the new horizons just waiting to be explored
This is what we were created for

We’ll travel over, over mountains so high
We’ll go through valleys below
Still through it all we’ll find that
This is the greatest journey that the human heart will ever see
The love of God will take us far beyond our wildest dreams

Church, let’s get the saddles out and leave the fear behind today.

Posted by: Tim Parsons

October 6, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 3

I’ve seen some out-of-the-ordinary things in my life. I’m sure you have too, but in case you haven’t, I encourage you to “people-watch” at an amusement park one day. Kings Island or Cedar Point will suffice, and I bet that what you’ll experience will carry some serious shock value.

Regardless (or irregardless — our beloved pastor’s favorite word) of what you’ve seen or experienced, you’ve probably got nothing on Moses’ experience in Exodus 3… the burning bush.

Only it wasn’t on fire.

Wait — it was.

But it wasn’t affected by the fire.

Oh yeah — the bush is talking too.

“What’s wrong with me? Am I hallucinating? What did I eat last night? Did someone slip something into my Matzo loaf?” These are the questions that must have been going through his head. Then, the Lord reveals Himself and let’s him know that this encounter is so serious that the ground he’s standing on is even holy. While that can be a puzzling part of the story for us, check out this note on “holy ground” that helped make sense of this for me:

The instructions to Moses are followed by a reason that emphasizes the place where he is standing. The very ordinariness of the location helps make the point that it is holy ground, not because of any special properties of the place but only because of God’s presence. This is representative of a theme in Exodus: God is holy, and he is the one who makes or declares places and people to be holy—and each is properly understood or treated as holy only in its relation to God. The instructions given to Moses here at the burning bush are also given to his successor Joshua when he meets the “commander of the army of the Lord” as Israel is preparing to take Jericho. ESV Study Bible

This encounter with God was powerful. It was one of the defining moments in the life of Moses. Many of us have had powerful moments in our walk with Christ that have defined us and maybe even governed the trajectory of our life and our goals. Since we as believers have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, these moments may happen with some regularity.

Today, as a response to our reading, I want our comments section below to be dedicated to sharing some of our powerful encounters with the Lord. We may not be Moses, but the God of the universe has met with us just like He met with Moses. If you can’t think of something recently, tell us about your salvation testimony. Wherever you were on that day, and whatever you were doing in that moment, I am pretty sure you were standing on the holy ground of Christ’s cross.

Posted by: Todd Thomas