Sunday, June 30, 2013

Giving on a Fixed Income

Exodus 35:22 KJV
And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the LORD.

The Bible says that:
  • Though giving was to be willingly
  • Every man and woman gave of what they had and
  • All of them got involved in the work of the Tabernacle too

  • Those who had gold gave gold
  • Those who had silver gave silver
  • Those who has skins gave skins
  • Those who had dye gave dye
  • Those who had wood gave wood
Every person gave willingly of what they had. 

And that on a fixed income. They were in the wilderness. They had no way of replacing what they gave; they had no means of increasing their substance. As far as they knew, what they had was what they would have. They didn't even have a means of replacing their shoes and clothing except that God kept them from wearing out. 

Their only prospect of doing better than they were doing currently rested on the promise of God to give them Canaan

And it is that promise upon which we may freely and willingly give unto the Lord.
  • A person may feel like they have little to give
  • A person may believe that whatever they give to the Lord is given away, there is no means to replace it
That's ok. We give not on our own ability to replace our gift but on God's promise – “Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure pressed down shaken together and running over...”[1]




[1] Luke 6:38

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Misunderstood Purpose

Matthew 14:10 KJV
And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.

This is such a busy chapter, written in such a way as to give the understanding that these events are in sequel to one another. In it we find a contrast in the work of the Lord;  
  • Why didn't He save the life of John the Baptist? It is obvious that He could have. Instead, when He hears of His death, He departs to be alone with the Apostles. 
  • Why didn't He prevent the storm that jeopardized the Apostles ship in the first place? He calmed the storm, why put the Apostles through the tempest at all?
  • Why allow Peter to sink even a little? Peter walked on the water. Jesus saved him when he asked. Surely Jesus could have kept Him walking.
The power of the Lord is so clearly demonstrated
  • In multiplying the bread and fishes
  • In walking on the water
  • In allowing Peter to do the same
  • In calming the storm and
  • In healing as many as touched His garment
But it is clear that He did not and does not 
  • Save every innocent man's life
  • Feed every hungry person
  • Calm every dangerous storm
  • Keep every step of faith afloat or
  • Heal every sick person's body
We mistake the purpose and will of God to think He does. This world is a proving ground; a place for growth, testing and faith. Things happen on purpose but not every purpose is immediately apparent. What we can know is that :
  • God is always good, that 
  • The Bible s always true and that 
  • Heaven is the reward of the saved
Follow Christ. Trust Him. Expect that He will bless faithfulness in the best of ways.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Distinguishing Trait

Exodus 33:16 KJV
For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

That one thing that distinguished  the Jews from all of the other nations; that thing that testified God's grace and favor upon them was, that God went with them.
  • Not  that He performed miracles
  • Not that He answered every prayer
  • Not that they won every battle
  • Not that they had peace from enemies
That one thing which demonstrated that these people had found grace was that God went with them.

And it was this thing that Moses was most concerned about. 

I suggest that this must be the thing that concerns us as well.
  • We do not need a strong government
  • We do not need a healthy national economy
  • We do not need a reformed health care system
What we need is the presence of God going with us in our paths. It is for this thing we must pray. It is this we must cultivate. 

It is this thing that will restore our churches, our families and our country once again.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

There's More to See than Problems

Exodus 31:2 KJV
See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:

God spoke to Moses and said "See..."

The specific thing he was to see was that God had gifted men to construct what God had shown Moses in the Mount. 

Christians, pastors especially, ought to be an aware people. God has given us a task but He has not left us alone to accomplish it. God has gifted others to come alongside and help. It is up to us to open our eyes to see who the Lord has provided for those ministries. Moses was commanded to make these things according to Gods pattern but he was not commanded that he had to make them personally. Preachers are responsible for direction but not for the action of a particular work of God. 

See...

If we will only look we can spot not just the problems but the blessings that surround us. We can see where God has provided wonderful people to fill our lives with:
  • Fellowship
  • Companionship and
  • Camaraderie
in the work of the Lord.  


And what a joy and blessing those people are!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rest for Your Souls

Matthew 11:28-30 KJV
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I heard today that the Supreme Court of the United States just voted to change the definition of legal marriage to include same sex unions.[1] This travesty of judgment is only one of a long line of biblical rejections made by both state and federal governments as men become more and more bold in their stand against God and the Bible. 

Surely these types of events spell the end of the America as I was blessed to know it as a younger person. We watch as daily our nation turns farther away from God and we have little else we may do but weep. 

The believer must grieve as a witness to this betrayal against God. 

But at the same time we grieve we may also have rest for the soul. Christians need, more that ever to take the yoke of the Lord and learn of Him. “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God. A place where fear can not molest near to the heart if God.”

  • Mourn for America
  • Grieve for the souls of the lost as they step further into the way that leads to destruction
But find rest for your soul as your place more faith in our blessed Saviour. 




[1] That isn’t exactly what they voted about but it has this effect.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Called and Sent

Matthew 10:5 KJV
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

Jesus had no sooner called the twelve than He commissioned them on their first expedition into the cities and villages of Israel. His orientation lesson to them would have left them with little doubt as to what life as a follower of Christ would be. 

While everyone needs time to grow and learn, it is inconsistent with our faith to hide from people the general thrust of what life as a Christian will be about. The practice of organizations such as the Seventh Day Adventists of mailing campaigns to invite people to prophecy lectures but conceal from people who it is who will be teaching those lectures is as dishonest and unchristlike as their organization.  

Jesus said He would reveal to the disciples things in the dark. I believe He is referring to their prayer closet. He would speak to them in the quiet moments of life but they were to them reveal those things to everyone. 


We ought to have substantial visits with the Lord in the quiet moments. But our faith must be public and on display the rest of the time. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Prayer

Matthew 9:36-38 KJV
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Jesus was moved with compassion. But instead of assigning a shepherd to these poor people right then, instead of meeting the need immediately, He called on His disciples to pray. 

The best and most important thing we can do is pray. We need to do so much more than talk about praying; we need to pray. 
I recall a message preached by Jack Hyles on prayer. It is to this day one of the most significant sermons I believe I have heard, not because it was that dynamic but because he described a prayer life. He didn't just tell people to pray, he spent a massive amount of time just telling how he prayed. 
  • It was personal
  • It was passionate and
  • It was impressive
not because I was impressed with his prayer life but because it impressed me concerning the practical down, to earth, actually spend time praying, aspect of it. 

Most would consider that type an
  • Active
  • Daily
  • Time consuming

prayer life impractical. I believe it is the most fundamental thing Christianity is missing today. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Fierce, Fearful and "Would Be" Followers

Matthew 8:21 KJV
And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Matthew 8:26 KJV
And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

Matthew 8:28 KJV
And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

This chapter contains the sketches of three sorts of people that approach the Lord
The fierce
Vs 28
The key to these men is that, though they seemed fierce, they were in fact in need. Sometimes those we made be most afraid of might be the ones who are most in need of our ministry. 

The fearful
Vs 26
The Lord often places His people in situations that seem impossible.  The fact is that He is capable of blessing through the worst storms of life. 

The “would be followers”
Vs 21
There are many would be followers of the Lord but there is always something they must do first. Though they might sincerely wish to be faithful to Christ it never happens. Other things always seem to crop up and always seem to demand the attention before they can be faithful. As long as anything can demand your attention before God you will never be faithful. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

God's Wisdom in the Law

Exodus 21:18-20 KJV
And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed:
If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.
And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.

I am struck with the practical application of the civil laws handed down from God to Moses. I wonder why more of them are not used in courts of law today. 

The laws concerning
·         Manslaughter
·         Premeditated murder and
·         The punishments thereof
seem to follow the wisdom of the Law fairly closely even today.

·         Why should not those arguing cases before courts research God's law before they begin digging into court precedent?
·         Why wouldn't judges study the Law as their first instruction concerning the sorts of sentences they hand down?
·         Certainly Christians would be wise to consult these laws whenever called upon to judge between brethren.[1]

The Law's wisdom in day to day circumstances is marvelous as no doubt it would be given it is from the mind of God. Though specific situations have changed, (not many people are burdened with one man's Ox pushing another) the principles they teach may be applied to almost any situation. 

And, though salvation does not come from the keeping of the Law, the wisdom of the Law still stands as a reasonable guide in settling the disputes people invariably have. 




[1] A Biblical instruction which ought to be more frequently practiced. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Up and Down Christianity

Exodus 19:20 KJV
And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.

The Lord came down” and “called Moses up.”

This reminds me of the incarnation. God made the first move in coming down to dwell as a man among men. Then, in coming down He calls men to go up. 
  • Up to the mount Calvary where Christ gave His life
  • Up in relationship to hear more fully from God
  • Up in character to put off the sins of the old man and put on newness in Jesus Christ

I notice that Moses was then called immediately to go back down where he would speak to the people. Christianity is a mobile thing; it is a walk. We go to God for
  • Growth
  • Nourishment and
  • Faith
then we go to men to share with them our treasures from heaven. 

It is not an easy walk as it requires we climb up and down.
  • Up is always a physical (and in this case, spiritual) challenge
  • Down is always an emotional one

But it is a rewarding walk. Who would not consider Moses blessed, his final son notwithstanding?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Grandparenting

Exodus 18:1-3 KJV
When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt;
Then Jethro, Moses' father in law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back,
And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land:

When Jethro heard that Moses was in the wilderness, he came to meet him and to bring to him his wife and children. I see in this an example for the father in law and grandparent. 
He brought Moses' family to him 
  • To identify with Moses’ people
  • To submit to Moses’ plan
 He supported Moses
  • He supported Moses despite the differences in faith
  • He supported Moses despite the hostile circumstances
 He left Moses with his family
Jethro cared for them at a time in their relationship that it was needed but returned them to Moses’ authority as soon as possible. Grandparents and in-laws are a huge advantage to a parenting couple and God has created the extended family. But the leadership of the home belongs to the head of the house.


Jethro honored that.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What Price, Liberty!

Exodus 15:24 KJV
And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?

Israel had no sooner celebrated Gods deliverance from the Egyptians than they found themselves in need of God once again; first for fresh water and then for food. Their response in each of these tests was to blame Moses and wish again for Egypt

God’s man very often finds himself leading a people who like the idea of liberty in Christ so long as there is no price to pay. Convictions belong to the very few. 

These are people who had cried unto the Lord for this very deliverance but were not happy with the deliverance God gave them.  And so it is with the multitude. They may be held together sometimes for almost inexplicable reasons. The pastor has a vision but the congregation often only sees the price. 

Eventually God prunes out that multitude of murmurers but I notice that God always did it and not Moses. 

  • As a preacher I want to seek the Lord and encourage people to trust Him but I want to leave the pruning to the hands of God
  • As Christians we ought to pay very careful heed to our motives of faith. Gods people are blessed indeed but God does not long tolerate murmuring

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Strong Traditions

Exodus 13:19 KJV
And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.

It is amazing how strong were the traditions of the Jews after these four hundred years if slavery. 
  • They had no government
  • They had no organized priesthood
  • They has no national identity

Besides all of that, they had been severely oppressed for four hundred years. But when it came time to leave Egypt, they remembered the promise their forefathers has made to carry the bones of Joseph out of that place. 

America is just over 200 years old the history of white settlers in our land barely extends to four hundred years. And yet with all of our heritage, with all of the pride we place in our country's history, still we have wandered away from our earliest traditions, arguing over what it means to be an American.

Truly the nation of Israel is a miraculous one. God has had His hand on those people since Abraham. 


How has God has His hand in your life?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Everything Changed

Exodus 12:2 KJV
This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

When Israel left Egypt everything changed. 
  • They would have new leadership
  • They would have new homes
  • They would have new life habits
  • They would have a new yearly feast (national holiday)
  • They would even have a new first month of the year

Christians need to think of their relationship with God as one that makes everything new and different than the world around them. We are not the same because of the Lord.
  • Our culture is a different culture than the rest of the world
  • Our holidays are different holidays than the rest of the world
  • Our lifestyles are different than the rest of the world
The only way for Christians to remain in this world and not be if this world is to live differently than this world. 

When an American assumes the role of ambassador to a foreign land he goes to that land but remains American in his lifestyle and culture. It is true that there are Americans who move to foreign lands and become engulfed in those cultures, but it is seldom considered a healthy thing. Christians have a tougher spot because we must first embrace the culture of the cross and come out of the culture of the world before we take care not to become again engulfed in it. 

God has made the Christian a new creature. We are different than the world

  • Different in our culture and even
  • Different than we once were

Sunday, June 16, 2013

All In

Exodus 10:25-26 KJV
And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God.
Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither.

There were extenuating circumstances with Moses' demand to take everything with him when they left Egypt. They had no intention of returning. But there is a principle from which I believe we may learn; when we come to serve The Lord we must leave nothing behind. 
  • In teaching a Sunday School class
  • In leading a youth ministry
  • In working at a bus route
  • In singing in the choir
  • In pastoring or in missions work 
It needs to be an “all in” arrangement. It's not all or nothing because God only deserves all. It is nothing between my Lord and my Saviour. He will not take all we possess and leave us empty but we must have no reserves. Nothing should mean so much to us that we would not give it should that be what the Lord requires. 
  • Life
  • Relationships
  • Reputation
  • Occupation
  • Pleasures
  • Hobbies
  • Dreams
  • Ideas
None are terrible in their own place and the Lord will not take them all. But all of them must be with us and ready to be offered if that is what the Lord requires. 
  • All in
  • Nothing left 

When we go to serve God that's the way to go. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

One Time it Killed Him

Exodus 8:15 KJV
But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

I believe I have met a number of people just like Pharaoh;
  • They will repent briefly, make expressions of turning around and of changing their minds toward God
  • They will seek prayer
  • They may even worship the Lord in some manner
But when they have a bit of a break in their lives they return to their old self. Nothing had ever really changed. Theirs was a forced compliance. The fact was that they were always
  • Ready
  • Willing and
  • Waiting
for the respite that allowed them to go back to the old things. 

Pharaoh kept up this “see-saw” type mentality to the very end.
  • Time after time Moses gave the request
  • Time after time God showed him His power
  • Time after time Pharaoh complied but
  • Time after time he changed his mind the moment he thought he could

Until one time it killed him. 


God grant that some of those with the Pharaoh spirit be truly converted. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Better Introduction to God

Exodus 5:2 KJV
And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.

Exodus begins with a world confused about God. Within a few chapters from here, God will give them a better introduction. 

  • Moses learned He is the God of the personal call in chapter four
  • Pharaoh was about to learn He is the God over worldly governments beginning in chapter Five
  • Israel learned He is the God who had heard their cries in chapter six

Even so our world needs to know God. 
  • That He uses men
  • That He is sovereign over the world 
  • That He is personal and hears our prayer


May God so lead us that we may know Him and make Him known.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

An Ordinary Bush

Exodus 3:1 KJV
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

Moses led the flock
Not to the front side of the plains but to the back side of the dessert.  The mountain of God was there. 

Moses saw from there an ordinary bush
  • One of many
  • But on fire for God
That is our great need today. Not great men of renown but ordinary men who are filled with the fire of God.

Not men who are in the limelight where everyone can see, but men on the back side of the dessert where just the right one will see.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Already There

Exodus 1:5 KJV
And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already.

God sent someone ahead. Joseph was in Egypt already.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
“Literally, a state of complete preparation; but, by an easy deflection, the sense is, at this time, or at a specified time.”

  • When Jacob returned to meet his brother Esau, fearing Esau's anger he learned that God had prepared Esau and pacified his anger already
  • When he led his family to Egypt for provision and protection during the famine God had sent Joseph there already
  • When the children of Israel entered the Promised Land Joseph found that God had His angel there already
  • When Pharaoh enslaved the Jews with hard bondage, God had put Moses in a place of deliverance already
  • When Haman desired to exterminate the Jews from Babylon, God had placed Esther in the palace to save them already

  • When a perishing soul finds there is no help of salvation outside of he finds that God has sent Jesus before him already


God has His plan in a state of complete preparation. Everything is worked out already.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Reconciliation Did Happen

Genesis 50:17 KJV
So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.

I see this passage as the place where Joseph and the other brothers are finally and truly reconciled together.

There had been twenty years while Joseph was in Egypt and they did not know what had become of him - guilt of selling him. Then there were about another twenty years that Joseph and his brothers were reunited while Jacob was still alive. It was not until after Jacob died that His brothers earnestly approached him about forgiveness.

But reconciliation did happen.

I see a generation of grief right here.
  • I see brothers who lived half their lives in brokeness and anxiety
  • I see children who spent their youth under the burden of parents who are at odds with others
  • I see a world around them who witnessed the consequences of unresolved conflict

But I also see that reconciliation did happen.
And so there is always hope.
  • Always hope that one will repent
  • Always hope that those who have wronged will confess
  • Always hope that those who have been wronged will forgive

As long as there is breath there is hope for reconciliation.
·      Between brothers

·      With God