Friday, January 31, 2014

Philexodus

The Word of God is amazing from start to finish.  The closer you look into its pages, the more amazing it becomes! God's word is the truth! When the principles of the Word pop up in your mind at just the right time to apply to everyday life, it is an experience that is very exciting.

I was recently thinking through Moses's life and reactions and I saw some great connections to many of the concepts in Philippians. In the Old Testament, God spoke to certain individuals. God's relationship made Moses more than adequate to deal with helping the children of Israel get out from under Pharaoh's control. Moses had lived a unique life of ups and downs. His life speaks out to us because through Christ we too have a spiritual connection with God. Paul said about his own life:
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I used to think that these verses involved the gritting of teeth and bearing down. Paul says he 'learned' and 'was instructed in', that no matter what happened to him, he could be content. What part of gritting your teeth exemplifies contentment? I think there is a deeper lesson here other than our own performance. It is about believing what God has done for us. We've been given the gift of holy spirit and the truth.  Our spirit changes us from the inside out, not the outside in. Real, true contentment comes from knowing we are loved by God and resting in that love and in the truth. Then whatever (involving abasing and abounding) comes our way can be held out to God and we can count on entering into His rest. We have so much to be thankful for:
Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Faith, Hope and Obligation? Not!


What a great point  is made in Philippians!
Philippians 2:12b,13 .....work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
In my King James version of the Bible a subtitle is written above it. It reads: 'Obligations of Christians'. Needless to say, subtitles are added by man. Often it is better just to ignore them.
I guess if you translate a verse and use 'fear and trembling' instead of 'respect and awe' our minds think 'obligation'.

It is interesting to look at all the words in this section. 'Work out' is 'katergazomai'  in Greek ( like zero in on, put your energy on). Salvation is 'safety, preservation from danger or destruction'. We are to zero in on our preservation, without getting all wrapped up in making our own works. We have respect and awe for God and His word and realize that it is God that both wills (yes he wants to!) and does of His good pleasure! Each of us has to do this individually and uniquely.  We don't get validation from other people nor do we validate another's walk. This is not about what others think we should do, but about focusing in a loving God that wants to work (energeo) in us.

I'm still working my way through Exodus and am seeing this quality in Moses' life. He had a very unique calling. His upbringing, heart and personality were unique. There is so much about how he dealt with life written about him for all to see. God worked with Him! Each of us has the spirit of God working in us today. It is exciting and certainly not obligatory! In I Corinthians 13 the bible talks about faith, hope and love, not faith, hope and obligation. When you really find out who God is and what He has done, the only response is love.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Magic Wand

The 10th plague was significant for so many reasons. The Passover Lamb in Exodus 12 is a great foreshadowing of the New Testament Passover Lamb Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 5:7). God's desire for His people is so evident in His faithfulness to His Word throughout the ages.

It is amazing reading through all of Moses's communications with God and with Pharaoh during all those plagues. There is so much there. Moses had his 'work' cut out for him. The thing to see in all this is that even though he had the 'rod' he couldn't just wave it and make it all go away. He couldn't wave the rod and immediately set the Israelites down in the promised land. He probably wished he could. Wouldn't you just love to be able to do something like that? Getting over a million people out of one land into another is an amazing feat. Those million people had free will and their enemies had free will. There were many opposing forces. The logistics must have been mind boggling!

Walking with God through this world, is a moment by moment event. Prayer is not a 'push notification'. Prayer is continuous and a faithful mindset. It is a big deal and a two-way system involving listening and responding.  Perhaps that is what is behind Paul's exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
17 Pray without ceasing. (Link)
Moses took on the big deliverance task by staying on it step by step. He continued to go to God for each stage of the plan. This is a great lesson. Most times things of God take time and consistent looking to God. Often people have short attention spans and quit. They either blame themselves or God and then 'cease' from believing and sticking with Him to see the deliverance.

It is one thing to go to a big revival meeting or fellowship, hear a nice sermon and feel blessed. It is quite another thing to wake up the next day and grab life by its tail and truly walk with the power of God. Moses was a great example of putting one foot in front of the other and taking the walk with God.






Sunday, January 12, 2014

Trust

Exodus 6:9 And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
The children of Israel just seemed to be keeping 'their heads above water' so to speak. They did not want anymore grief. God had heard their cries for help, but they weren't so quick to jump on the Moses bandwagon. Moses's wife was not all that excited about things either. On top of that Moses really irritated Pharaoh. Three different words are used to describe his hardness reactions (Link). In addition to all these elements, we can read in the records that Moses was not even gung ho about his suitability for extricating the Israelites out of their dilemma. It seems like it all was one big no-win situation with no solution.

It is one thing to hear about God, it is another thing to understand about Him. It is in the understanding of God's desire for His children that trust and relationship multiplies. Trust is built by getting to know who God is. God makes that very easy when we let him by trusting Him.

I have always loved the verse:
James 1:5-6
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
God gives liberally, simply, frankly, generously to all who ask. He doesn't upbraid (cast blame, guilt or shame) us. Moses was able to carry out what God wanted him to do as he trusted and relied on Him. If he had an anguish or fear, he took it to God and that is why he could help Israel get out from under.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Bit About Idolatry

Several years ago, I tried to follow a 'read through the Bible in a year' plan. In fact, I've tried it several times. For me it was like eating a juicy piece of steak and swallowing it whole. The enjoyment of savoring its taste is in the 'chewing'. We have taste buds for that very purpose.  We need to allow our spiritual 'taste buds' to savor the words of God.

I loved 'chewing' on Genesis last year.  I learned so much about God's grace and His incredibly unmatched love for us. Genesis really lays the groundwork for the whole Bible. We not only learn about God and His dealings with people; we also learn about His competition, the devil. The devil seems to disappear after Genesis 3 following Adam and Eve accepting his suggestions. He became the god of this world. We discover in the same chapter in Genesis that because they listened to him things would not be easy. There would be 'thorns and thistles' in life as a result. The devil hides and eludes out and out exposure throughout the rest of the Old Testament to the point that people get mixed up and attribute the evil that occurred as God's doing. Lucifer was a spirit being and it takes spiritual eyes to recognize his actions.
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2 Corinthians 4:4
I have stalled a little in writing about the events in Exodus involving the plagues of Egypt. I am humbled by the God/Moses connections and the great detail of deliverance that is exhibited in these pages of Exodus. There is so much in this section and I am really still 'chewing' little by little, but I am in awe about how this section is loaded with lessons of deliverance for God's people. 

In order to get the full truth of this record, it is absolutely imperative to start with an important principle of God's love:
I John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
Physical light has wonderful lessons for us.  The fact that visible light breaks up into the colors of the rainbow is amazing! Light contains healing properties and is a disinfectant. Just google 'properties of light' and see the awesome complexity of the properties of light! The greatest thing about light is that it 'dispels darkness'. Jesus Christ is the light of the world. He was foreshadowed in Genesis 3:15. His purpose was to expose the secret ploys of the devil (I John 3:8b).

Moses was a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ. God made known His ways to Moses and the children of Israel saw His acts (Psalm 103:7). Moses was aware of the idolatry that existed. Ancient Egypt had many gods. The Nile River, because of its abundant supply to the people of Egypt, became an object of worship through a multi-god system of dependence. As the 'light' of God focused on the Nile River, it was the idolatry that was the ultimate cause of calamity. Only God could remove the calamity as was the case of the second plague when frogs (another object of idolatry) overran the area. The magicians couldn't remove the frogs, only God could and God did it!

Moses represented God because the spirit of God was upon him. The spirit of God was upon certain men and women in the Old Testament. The rest of the people could just see God's acts and learn. Moses got some great tutoring in God's ways. The 'burning bush' incident lays it all out. Today, the spirit of God is available to anyone (Romans 10:9-10). It is God who can light up the dark crevasses of idolatry and clean 'em out. Moses was the meekest man on the earth. He is a lesson for us to not allow heaviness, condemnation, hardness, guilt, feeling of unworthiness and ultimately fear to deprive us from basking in the light of a wonderful God.

Happy New Year and may it be filled with many 'burning bush' moments!













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