Is There a Difference?

Do I act differently?  Do different words come out of my mouth?  Do I look different?

Is there an obvious difference in my life because I’m a Christ- follower?  More than just the fact that I go to church?

There should be a difference – right?  It should be all different – how I act and speak and look.  God is in the process of transforming me  – a big religious word for this is sanctification.  Believing in God, trusting in Jesus and obeying the Holy Spirit’s promptings and guidance should change my life from what it would be without God.

I’m reading in Exodus that Moses’ face was radiant after he met with God.  What would it take for my face to radiate after meeting with God?  What about your face?

I know Moses actually went inside the tent and ‘met’ with God but I also meeting-with-god‘meet’ with God every time I read and study his word.  I meet with him when I have a conversation with him in prayer.   And when I worship him.

Do my meetings with God change me?  Do I let him transform me from the inside out so that it’s obvious I have met with God?

What would it mean for us to genuinely radiate God’s love and mercy and truth in our lives?

Please open our eyes and our hearts, Abba Father.

Not a Democracy

We are blessed to be living in a country ruled by a democracy.   Never before in my lifetime has there been more attacks on our freedom and constitution, but it’s still a democracy.

Personally, I have chosen Jesus to be my Savior and King so I am living in a theocracy.  I pray for our country but my life is secured on my God, the Solid Rock.  He will not be moved or changed.

A theocracy means that it’s all about what God wants.  His desires.  His plans.  His will. His purposes.  In order for God to be the LORD of my life, I have to let go of my plans and desires and be dependent on him as I make decisions about my next steps.  I have to submit my will to his, trusting that his ways are right, his love is perfect and he wants the best for me.

As I read the book of Exodus, it’s amazing to watch God use Moses to transform the Israelites from a nation of slaves into a theocracy.  God himself led the Israelites with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. God fed them by sending manna from heaven.  When God gave them laws and commandments in order to teach them how to live as his people, they responded, “Everything the LORD has said we will do.”  Exodus 24:3

This is the same commitment I have made in order to live in line with God.  Everything God says, I will do.  For me to day that, I have to make the choice each day to take myself off the throne of my life and put God on it.

Each hour.

Of every day.

Please help me make my life a true theocracy, dear Father.

 

Bringing Order out of Chaos

Too much to do.

New things getting added to the list every hour.

It’s hard to focus.

I’m drowning!

Ever felt that way?  I used to feel that way pretty regularly – until I learned an important lesson about my Father God.  He is a God of order.  When I invite God into my chaos, he provides clear priorities and organization.

I love the historical account of Moses with his father-in-law, Jethro, in Exodus 18.   Jethro saw that Moses had large numbers of people coming to him all day every day to settle their disputes.  It was a great opportunity for Moses to teach them about God and direct them in the way God would want them to go.  The problem was that a crowd of people stood around Moses each day, waiting a long time to get help with their issues.  Moses was becoming tired and overwhelmed.

I know that feeling, Moses!

Seeing this, Jethro sat Moses down to share some of his experience and wisdom with him.  He told Moses, “What you are doing is not good.  You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out.”  There was a better way.  We would say today that the process Moses was using was not ‘sustainable’.  Moses was going to ‘burn out’.

Any of that sound familiar?

Jethro suggested that Moses pick some honest, capable men who feared God and ask them to take care of the smaller, more common issues.  Then these men could bring the more major cases to Moses.  So smart!  This way the men handling the smaller disputes would hear what Moses had to say about the more major concerns and they could gradually learn how to handle these more difficult issues as well.

Jethro also showed great wisdom when he told Moses to consult with God to make sure this is what God wanted him to do.  Super smart!  I have learned to always go to God for confirmation when I get Godly counsel from someone.   The people I am  talking to are just people with their own perspectives and bias’.   God always gives me confirmation if the advice I am hearing fits into his plan.

Moses asked and God confirmed, so Moses did what Jethro suggested.

Jethro and Moses were creating the process that we know today as our judicial system.  And it reveals to us that our God is a God of organization and structure.  He is not messy or forgetful.  He is not lazy or late.

God brings order to my thinking when I am confused.  He clarifies my priorities when I am overwhelmed.  He helps me focus on what he is asking me to do rather than all the other ‘good’ things I could do.  He shines a bright light on what is best, helping me make decisions and making it easier to say ‘no’ when something would distract me from the path he wants me to take.

Do you need God to create order in your life?  If so, ask him and listen.  Be ready to obey…..

and then blessed.

Thank you for bringing order out of my chaos, Abba Father.

It’s a Plague

“Let my people go.” God told Moses to say these words to Pharaoh several times throughout the book of Exodus.  But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he did not listen to God.  As a result, Pharaoh’s people experienced multiple plagues which built up to the painful and tragic deaths of all of their firstborn.

Looking at our culture, I can see a lot of hard hearts that are turned away from God.  I can see several modern-day plagues as well.

The Plague of Broken Families – the divorce rate just keeps rising and now large numbers of kids are being raised by single parents.  Many of these parents are trying their hardest but how much better it would be if they had a  loving partner to share the responsibilities so that their kids could experience all of the blessings of growing up in an unbroken family.

The Plague of ‘It’s All OK’ – it’s all ok as long as you don’t get caught.  Integrity is a lost value in our culture – we lost it at the same time we lost a correct sense of right and wrong.  Morality is a scary word to use these days.

The Plague of Emptiness – people are working harder and longer to pay off a mountain of debt that just keeps growing as they buy things they think will make them happy.  After buying the next thing and the initial happiness wears off, they start to look for the next thing that will make them happy, never really addressing the God-sized emptiness in their soul.  It’s not surprising that the list of things we can legally use to try to fill this hole is growing.

 The Plague of Fear – I have been truly amazed this last year by the level of constant fear I see in some people’s lives.  Yes, a worldwide pandemic can be a scary thing but God is in control.  He is good and perfect. He wants the best for those who have put their faith in him and he is working all things out for our good.  Yes, be careful.  Yes, be wise.  But those who trust in God don’t need to be afraid.

The answer to saving our families, bringing back the value of integrity, being whole and not living in fear is God.  The answer has always been God and will always be God.

Please soften our hearts towards you, Abba Father.

Do You Feel It?

In Exodus, we are witness to an epic battle between Moses and Pharaoh – actually God and Pharaoh – and Pharaoh is losing badly.

By chapter 10, God had sent 8 plagues causing wide-spread disease and hardship for the people, death and destruction for livestock and crops.  But Pharaoh continued to refuse to let God’s people go.  And the intensity of the plagues continued to grow.  It’s significant to read that the 9th plague – worse than the other 8 –  was darkness.  Darkness spread across Egypt for 3 days.  It was so dark, they couldn’t see anyone else around them.

Pitch black for 3 days.

Can you imagine the depression, anxiety and fear?  This plague affected their minds – it was worse than the rest.  Because we can’t go somewhere else to get away from our minds.   We can’t avoid thinking.  They couldn’t stop feeling the oppressive darkness – the void where light and warmth used to be.

Pitch black for 3 days.

I love the fact that during these three days God provided light where the Israelites lived.  I visualize a huge spotlight shining down from heaven onto the Israelites.my-people-live-in-the-light

The light of God’s love.

God’s care.

Light for God’s favorite people.

Bright, warm, good.

Those of us who trust in Jesus know how this feels because we live in this light every day.  It’s the light of God’s love and care for his favorite people – those who have accepted salvation through Jesus.  Through my relationship with God, I have watched him faithfully turn any darkness in my life into light.

He  wants to transform your darkness into light as well. He wants to fill any void in your life with warmth and goodness.

His spotlight of grace, strength and wholeness shines down on me everyday, filling my mind and heart with his love.  I feel it.

Do you feel it?

Thank you for your light, Abba Father.

What’s Next?

Reading.

Studying.

Listening.

Memorizing.

God has been seriously re-shaping my heart since I became a committed believer about 30 years ago.  When I was young, I had a close relationship with Jesus but it got lost in a season of rebellion and confusion about the truth in my young adulthood.  Six years of that messy time taught me how empty my life was without God.  I discovered that all the ‘fun’ and partying and working extra hard for ‘stuff’ was meaningless and a dead end.

So I re-committed my whole heart to God over 30 years ago and I’ve been on this Journey toward the truth ever since.

God tells us in Deuteronomy, “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.”  Looking back, I see evidence that God working on my heart, circumcising the parts that needed to change –

  • He cut out the rebellious part of my heart.  No matter what happens, my heart now submits to God’s will.  He knows best.
  • God cut out the stubborn part.  I translate “stiff-necked” as being stubborn and God has softened my heart towards everything that is about him and comes from him.
  • God cut out any parts of my heart that were unbelieving.  I don’t have to understand it all to believe.  If God says it, it’s true.  God has taught my eyes to look beyond what is in front of me.
  • God is working on the parts of my heart where I want to control things around me.  Sometimes I still get anxious and worried because it’s not all going according to my plan.  Isn’t that crazy?  I know who is in total control and it’s not me.  I continue to have to remind myself to ‘let go and let God’.  I know he’s working on this part of my heart because it’s gradually becoming easier for me to recognize my lack of control early in a situation and step back – trusting God as he orchestrates everything for my good.
  • My heart was shattered into a million broken, mangled pieces when my son was killed in the line of duty.  I can feel God molding a new heart inside of me out of the debris.  It a heart that is stronger with a better focus on my forever home.

Circumcising my heart sounds painful but it has actually set me free from the lies and worries that the world around us tries to impose on us.

And the transformation continues…..

Thank you, Abba Father.

It’s Supernatural

Have you experienced the supernatural movement of God in your life?

If you have put your faith in Jesus, you have.  You may not have recognized it.  Have you ever watched while something just ‘works out’?  That’s God.  You may have called it a coincidence but it’s really a ‘God-incidence’. 

We read in Deuteronomy that the clothes of Israelites did not wear out in the 40 years they wandered in the desert.  What?

And their feet did not swell for 40 years.  No way!

40 years and their clothes were still good.  40 years of walking thousands of miles in the hot, dirty desert and no swelling!

Only God could do something like this!

The Israelites were slaves before going into the desert so I’m sure they didn’t have a lot of clothes to start with.  They regularly had to pack up everything they owned and move it across the desert so I’m sure they didn’t own much at all.  And our very practical God realized that their clothes not wearing out would help simplify their journey.  Keeping their feet healthy also kept them moving.

So God took care of it – just like he takes care of you and me.  God is always right beside us taking care of the details.  Here are a few recent examples of how he has taken care of me in very practical ways –

  • Not too long ago we sold a car for 2 1/2 times what we planned on selling it for.  God took us to the right people at the right time.
  • Almost every day God brings people into my life to encourage me and urge me on – one step at a time.
  • God has been leading the foundation we started to continue the legacy of my son who was a police officer killed in the line of duty.  He brings just the right people at just the right time.
  • I am in the middle of a big change in direction and I’m watching God orchestrate it – piece by piece.

Supernatural.

It’s really amazing to watch my all-powerful Father move and work out the details on my behalf.

Thank you, Abba.

What Came First?

Did I love God first?

Or did he love me first?

God’s Word is very clear that he loved me first.  When I was a tiny newly-fertilized egg inside of mother, God knew me and loved me. 

As I read the words Moses said to the Israelites in one of his last addresses to them before his death, I am challenged to evaluate how well I love God.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your strength.”

What would it feel like if I loved God with all my heart?  What do I need to change so I can love God with all my soul?  What would my life be like if I loved God with all my strength?

How can I ignore the distractions of this world and the strong desire to do what I want to do so I can love God first?

I am God’s child and he is my Perfect Father.  I know he wants me to love him more and love him better than I do now.  As long as I seek him first, he will show me the way.

I’m following you, Abba Father.  Thank you.

Bigger…

and stronger.

As the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land, Moses tells them that God is going to “drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you.”

The Israelites were going to be fighting against enemies with huge armies of men who had built tall walls around their cities.  And God was going to give them victory.  He was headed into battle with them – there was nothing to fear.

God is saying this same thing to me today –

and to you.

You and I have some big battles coming our way.  If we aren’t in the middle of them now, we probably don’t have long to wait.  That’s just how it is on this broken planet.

God promises us that he will go with us and guide us through.  In some situations we will see a clear victory and other times it’s what we learn and how we grow through the battle that makes us a winner.

Because God, our Father, has already won the war.  Jesus defeated sin and death for us.

As a believer, I know how this story ends for me.

Happily Ever After.

Thank you, Abba Father.

I Have to Believe

I have to trust.

Otherwise I’ll act like the Israelites as they wandered around in the desert.  Whining. Stubborn.  Forgetting all the things God had already done for them.  Showing no gratitude for how God was currently leading them and providing for them.

I don’t want to be like them.

It’s a fact that I have even less excuse for this kind of bad behavior than they did because, as a believer living under the New Covenant, I have the Spirit of God living in me.  They didn’t have the Holy Spirit.

Yes, I have the Holy Spirit, but if I don’t trust in the love and grace of God, I will be just like them.  If I don’t let God lead me and fight my battles for me, I will cut myself off from his blessings just like they did.

If I forget how faithful God has been to me all of my life, I will become a bitter grumbler just like them.

I’m not going to do that.  I choose to believe, trust and put my faith in the One True God, Creator of the Universe.

What do you choose?

I love you, Abba Father.