Blessed

Aaronic Benediction, 2018

“The Lord bless you and keep you,”

I desire your blessing, Father.  Please keep me close to your side.  Draw me even closer when the waves of trials and the unknown try to overwhelm me.  Hold me tightly when the struggles seem too difficult to endure.

“The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you,”

Shine the light of your love and truth in my life each day, Father.  Help me push back the darkness that is all around me.  May your grace overflow in my life to others so they want to know you.

“The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Yes, Father.  I want to know you better and see you more clearly as you move in my life.  Grow my trust in you, Father.  I know that it’s through my trust in you that you will give me peace.

Please give me peace, Abba Father.

Little by Little

One step at a time.

Deciding to trust God’s direction with my next decision even though I have no idea how this is going to work out.

Persevering through each struggle, not losing sight of the Light.

“Little by little”.  Moses uses these words as he is speaking to the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land.  “The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little.”

Then Moses said, “You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once or the wild animals will multiply around you.”

I’m on my 7th year of reading the entire Bible and God has never bolded these words (figuratively) and stopped me here before. God did not give the Israelites victory over all of their adversaries all at once because the wild animals would have taken over the empty land.

I would love it if God would just take my trials and problems away – all of them – all at once.  Take them all away, Father!

But God doesn’t do that.  Little by little, step by step, he leads me through the struggles.  He draws me closer as together we move through the confusing and dark times.  God does not eliminate all of my issues because then I would be very tempted to count on myself and not on him.  I need to remain dependent on him or wild animals (bad choices and wrong thinking) will also multiply around me.

But little by little is so hard, Father!  Not knowing how it all turns out is very difficult.

Except –

when I’m trusting God.  When I’m breathing and moving in line with my Father God, I only need to keep my eyes on him and take the next step.

Because God’s got the rest.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Gathered to my People

He died.

She passed away.

He was killed.

God tells us in Numbers 20 that Aaron was ‘gathered to his people”.

I like that.  It makes great sense when someone is a believer.  His people are in heaven.  His Father is in heaven.  And his Savior is in heaven.

So – where are my people?

God has blessed me by giving me a family with a very long lineage of Christ-followers.   Many generations of my people are in heaven.

The people I identify with here on earth are also Christ-followers.  These are my people.  They will be with me when I am gathered to my Father – when I am gathered to my people.

I’m tempted to start using that phrase with believers instead of ‘died’ or ‘passed away’.  Some people wouldn’t get it but that’s ok – some people don’t get a lot of things.

How about you?  Are your people in heaven?  Is your Savior in Heaven?  If so, then he has prepared a place for you.

Will you be with me when all believers are gathered to our Father in Heaven?

I hope and pray that you will.

Thank you for always keeping your promises, Abba Father.

Different

Obviously different.

Not rolling with the mainstream of culture.

Not just going a slightly different way on the same road as everyone else – actually travelling an entirely separate road.

A different spirit.

In Numbers, God tells us ‘my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly.”

What an awesome tribute to Caleb!

Can God say that about me today?  What about you?

Have I been transformed deep inside of my soul where my spirit lives?  Have I been significantly changed by experiencing the mercy of God?   Has my thinking radically changed since I let God into my head?  Has my love for God and love for others taken over my calendar and my bank account – does God own my heart?  Are my eyes focused on God or on other people?

If not, I’m not very different from everyone else around me.  Going to church and reading the Bible doesn’t give me a different spirit.  Letting God and his truth rule in my heart and mind changes me.

Please help us have a different spirit which follows you wholeheartedly,  Abba Father.

We Can’t

We can’t – it’s too hard.

We can’t – it’s too much.

We can’t – we don’t know how.

We can find a lot of reasons why we think we can’t do something that’s going to be difficult.  But – if God wants it done – there is no “we can’t”.  “We can’t’ just doesn’t apply when the Creator of the Universe wants to do something through us.

Have we learned that yet?

Have I learned that yet?

The Israelites obviously hadn’t figured that out yet when the spies came back from the Promised Land and said, “We can’t attack those people, they are stronger than we are.”  They didn’t get it.  God had said he was going to give them the land, he was going to give them victory.  “We can’t” was true but God could.  And he promised that he would.

Joshua and Caleb got it.  Caleb said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

Yeah, Caleb!  He was so right!  Yes, they could certainly do it because God had promised and he always keeps his promises.

It’s all about putting feet to our faith, not about having enough strength or enough money or enough time.  God enables us to do the things he wants us to do.  Do you believe that?

So I have to ask myself – are there any ‘I can’ts’ in my life that I need to change to ‘I can’s” because God wants to do it through me?

What about you?  Any ‘I can’ts’ that God wants you to change?

Thank you for being our God of the Impossible, Abba Father.

 

Never Too Short

There are times when I am tired and discouraged,

and other days when I am confused and fearful.

And then I have hours of impatience and frustration.

When is God going to do something about this problem?

When is he going to take care of this struggle?

How can God possibly work this out for my good?  I just don’t see how he’s going to do that.  Or if he’s going to do that.  Maybe it’s not going to happen.

Then God responds to me like he did to Moses thousands of years ago, ” Is the LORD’S arm too short?”

I just have to smile.  This really sets me back in my place.  Because – of course, God’s arm is not too short.  He is the Creator of the Universe, the Great I AM.  He sees and knows everything.  Nothing is impossible for him.

When God said this to Moses, Moses was doubting that God could provide meat for all of the Israelites for a month.  They had started grumbling about eating manna everyday and God responded by saying, “Tomorrow you will eat meat.”

As the leader of these complainers, Moses thought he had to ‘help God’ by figuring out how to get this done.  But he just didn’t see a way to make this happen.  There were not enough animals on land or fish in the sea to feed all of the Israelites meat for a month.  It was impossible!

Yes, it was impossible for human hands.  But there are no limits for God.  His arm is never too short – it reaches across universes that we don’t even know about yet.

So we should not be surprise that the Israelites ate meat – they ate meat until they were sick of it.

God’s arm is not too short but sometimes our faith can be too small.  My faith can be too limited.

Do I really believe that God’s arm is never too short?

Does my life show it?

Please grow our faith, Abba Father.

Looking For Shade

Shade is an important issue in the desert.  I live in Phoenix so I have become an expert at looking for shade.

At my grandson’s flag-football game just this week, we were all huddled under canopies and sun umbrellas.  It might be cold where you live, but our winter – especially this year – is hot and sunny.  It was really hot at his game with the sun beating down on us.  Some of the grocery stores in our city are starting to cover their parking lots with solar panels – getting some extra revenue and providing shade for their customers and their customer’s cars.  It’s a great idea!  There are a lot of us who would drive several extra miles to get covered parking while we shop.

Shade.

In their journey to the Promised Land, the Israelites spent many years walking through the desert.  In Numbers, we are told that ‘the cloud of the LORD was over them by day when they set out from the camp.”  I have read that many times but I just realized that God was not only guiding them.  He is providing shade for them.  Much-needed shade.

At night, God’s cloud would settle over the tabernacle and look like fire.  This made it possible for everyone to still see it in the dark – a constant reminder of God’s presence and care for them.

When God wanted the Israelites to move, the cloud would lift off of the tabernacle and become a shady guide for their journey.

How great it would be to have my own cloud!  It would show me the way – telling me when to go and when to stay.  I have air conditioning, covered parking and sun umbrellas so I don’t need the shade but I could really use his clear guidance.

Oh, yeah.  I have my own cloud.  God has given me his Word and the Holy Spirit.  He has promised to light my path as I read and listen carefully and obey.  He constantly reminds me through his Word how he is with me and he cares for me.

I’ve got all the guidance I need.

Thank you for still being our cloud, Abba Father.

I WIll See It

Standing firm – what does that mean to you?

When I think of standing firm, I see this picture of a lighthouse in my mind.  The lighthouse is being beaten by enormous waves but it can’t give up, it has a job to do – especially in the middle of a dark, dangerous storm.  This lighthouse is built on a rock, its foundation is solid.  So it is able to keep shining it’s light no matter how high and how strong the waves get.  And, yes, the lighthouse is more worn when the waves stop.  It is scraped and bruised from the ravages of the storm.  But it stands firm, ready for the sunshine or the next storm – whatever comes.

That’s how firm I want to be as I stand on my Rock, my Father God.

In Exodus 4, Moses told the Israelites to “Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.”

God is telling me this same thing today as I read and meditate on his Word.

I need to do my part of standing firm – trusting him, obeying him and loving him  first.  Then, as I watch, God will fight my battles.  I will see my Father fit the puzzle pieces of my life together to fulfill his purposes.  I will experience his blessings as his plans unfolds.

I will see it.

So I’m going to stand firm.

Thank you, Abba Father.

So Undeserved

I have worked hard.

I have more than paid my dues.

I’ve planned and struggled and persevered.

I can feel like I’ve earned it – everything.  I deserve it.

But what I have really earned from our perfect and holy God is eternal separation from him.  My rebellion, sins and lack of so-underservedconsistency deserve condemnation by my Father God.  And you aren’t off the hook, either.  We share this tendency to sin and rebel, don’t we.

A re-enactment of Sodom and Gomorrah – that’s what we deserve.

But that’s not what God offers us.  He offers us salvation through this son, Jesus.  He offers us an unwarranted gift of grace and mercy.  He offers us unconditional love for today and unconditional love for all of eternity.

As I trust in Jesus to lead me through my life here on earth, I receive peace and joy and strength and purpose.  I am so undeserving of all of this.

In Deuteronomy 6, we read the list of things God was planning to give to the Israelites –

cities they did not build,

homes filled with good things they did not provide,

wells they had not dug,

vineyards they did not plant.

The list was long.

And Moses went on to tell the Israelites ‘when you eat and are satisfied, be careful you do not forget the Lord.’

I have a very long list of things that God has given me.  I know you also have a long list.

Let us be humbled by how undeserving we are.

Let us not forget our Father God who gives us everything we have.

The best and most important thing he gave us was Jesus – our salvation and our role-model for life here on earth.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Keep Watching…..

Every morning,

looking….

What’s in store for me today?

Do I move?  Do I stay?bike-path

I’m imagining what it was like for the Israelites as they began their journey through the desert.  When the Cloud of Guidance covered the tabernacle, they stayed.  When the cloud lifted above the tent, the Israelites packed up and moved on.

There were times they stayed in the same place for months and other times when they were moving again the next morning.

Every morning, they would look to the tabernacle to determine their direction for that day.  Everybody could see it – not just the priests and the leaders.  God made this visible to each person – he wanted all of them to be able to see that he was the one leading them.

What would our lives be like if we had that clear guidance for each day?

I think God still wants us to look to him each day just like he asked the Israelites to do.

He wants me to look to him before I stay or go….

Before I agree to something….

When I’m trying to choose what words to say in a conversation about a difficult subject….

As I take steps forward on my journey.

Because I have to keep moving forward.  We all do.

And we’ll find what we’re looking for when we move forward with our eyes focused on God.

We’re watching you, Abba Father.