October 13, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 9

IS GOD TRYING TO GET YOUR ATTENTION?

Maybe He is. Or maybe He already has your full attention. I won’t presume upon your life, but I know that at times in my life, He’s had to shake my world up so that I would stop and recognize that He is the Sovereign God of the universe.

But what if He is trying to get your attention, right now, today, through the reading of Exodus 9? God is a jealous God, and He is serious about having your undivided attention.

In today’s reading, God shows us the side that many of us don’t like to talk about: His jealous wrath. God loved His people, the Israelites, and He loved His servant Moses. He wanted them to be free. He had a plan and purpose for them. Moses challenged Pharaoh face-to-face and told Him about the Lord. He even warned him of the consequences of disobeying the Lord. Pharaoh, whose heart was hardened, chose not to obey and thus came the onslaught of plagues. In chapter 9, we encounter the death of the Egyptian livestock, the plague of boils, and the plague of hail. Pharaoh, confident in his own power and believing in his own divinity, refused to let the Israelites go. The vicious cycle of disobedience led to more and more pain and reproof.

The crux of what I want to drive home is this:
Even when God turned up the heat, Pharaoh refused to give Him his full attention and compliance.

Has this statement characterized your life at times? Is it true now?

Today, my challenge to you is simple: stop. Tell the Lord that you are 100% focused on Him. Give him your undivided attention. Give Him total devotion. Should you choose not to, know that God may turn the heat up in your life to bring you back to Him.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

October 12, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 8

“That they may know He is Lord…”

We have another great passage today. God is glorifying Himself through these chapters, and He wants you to read this in awe of who He is. There is a very important principle in today’s lesson. I will attempt to be faithful to the text by remaining true to the author’s intended meaning and ultimately God’s meaning in this chapter.

Today, we read how God continues to inflict plagues on Pharaoh and the land of Egypt because of the hard heart of Pharaoh. In this chapter alone we see three plagues: frogs (v.1-15), gnats (v.16-19), and flies (v.20-32). Each of these plagues was caused by God because Pharaoh would not let the Israelites leave Egypt. After each plague, Pharaoh goes back on his word and refuses to let the people go. This chapter is just part of the whole story of God freeing His people from Egypt, but it has so many important principles. I will just name some:

1. God is fighting for His people. He is showing persistence in freeing His people from the bondage of their slavery. He won’t stop until they are free.
2. God is showing His justice. God heard the cry of His people and He will not let evil prevail forever. Pharaoh is going down.
3. God is establishing a mediator. God speaks to Moses to carry out the plan and spread message. God is establishing Moses as the mediator between Himself and the world. This will be evident in the years when Israel is in the wilderness. As the mediator, Moses is foreshadowing Christ, who will be the one to ultimately free God’s people from their slavery and who will live as the permanent mediator between God and His people.
4. God is showing His power. Even the magicians can’t replicate the plagues. The Lord is able to do what He wants.
5. Even unbelievers know the truth about the existence of God! Pharaoh says in verse 8, “Plead with the LORD to take away the frogs”. He knows that God exists. He knows God is behind all of this and that God has the power to take away the plagues, yet he does not let the people go! People can believe in God and still have hard hearts.
6. God’s purpose is to glorify Himself. I propose that God has done all of this to reveal His glory. Verses 10 and 22 show that all of this is so they might know that, 1) He is the Lord and 2) There is no one like Him. To accomplish this, God will use anything and everything: a hard heart, the cry of His people, creation itself (the animals and insects), etc. But most of all, we see that He uses a faithful man who is committed to God.

Today’s “Walk-Away”

I’m just going to shoot it straight with you: the purpose of your life is…

1) To intimately know God
2) To glorify God

I know you’ve heard it before, maybe so much that it has begun to take on a false meaning. So pause to take it in: You exist to make the God of the universe known, true to His character as revealed in scripture. Your decisions, your time, your marriage, your work, and your ministry should all point to this great God. Any prayers for success in these areas should be for His sake. Check your heart to see whether you’re praying for success for your own sake or for the Lord.

John 14:13 says to ask anything of God and He will answer, so that the Father may be glorified through the Son.

Look at verse 10 in today’s passage: “Be it as you say, so that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.” God did what Moses asked and was faithful to Him because God had a plan to glorify Himself, and Moses was committed to that plan. Are you committed to God’s glory? Is the motive behind all you ask of Him to make the God of the universe known?

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

October 11, 2011

Today you should read: Exodus 7

Good morning Jumpstarters! Thank you so much for making the reading of God’s Word a priority in your life; it is life-changing! Exodus 7 is packed with great ideas. I want to draw your attention to a couple of them which I hope will encourage you.

1. God’s glory is always the priority (verses 2-5)

This is so interesting to me: God made Pharaoh’s heart stubborn so that He could multiply His miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt.

Verse 5 says, “When I raise my powerful hand and bring out the Israelites, the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” Everything is about bringing God glory!

2. God can use us, whatever our station in life, if we’re obedient (verses 6-7)

Moses was 80 and Aaron was 83 and they were just getting started on this adventure! How often we think we’re too old or too young or not smart enough or not gifted. God doesn’t care how old or smart we are – He just wants our obedience. Verse 6 says, “So Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded them.”

3. Satan is deceptive. Be careful! (verse 11)

After God instructed Moses and Aaron on what to do with his staff, it turned into a snake. How cool is that? But Pharaoh’s magicians did the same trick through the power of Satan. Satan is very powerful; we shouldn’t underestimate him. He can work through psychics, fortunetellers, horoscopes, the Ouija board and more. Do not get involved with these things. They will hurt you.

Satan is an Angel of Light seeking to deceive us – 2 Corinthians 11:14
Satan is a Liar seeking to lie to us – John 8:44
Satan is the Prince & Power of the Air seeking to control us – Eph 2:2
Satan is a Roaring Lion seeking to devour us – 1 Peter 5:8

Questions to think about today:

– How am I living my life to give God the glory? What do I need to change today to do that more effectively?

– How is God using me? How does He want to use me greater? What inhibitions or fears have been holding me back from being used?

– How is Satan at work around me? How does he try to trick me, control me, and destroy me?

Remember 1 John 4:4 that says, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world!”

Posted by: Tim Parsons

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