Please Send Someone Else

It’s true.

I’m reading Exodus and Moses – one of the major ancient Patriarchs of Faith – asks God to “Please send someone else.”

What?

God has heard the cries of his people and he chose Moses to lead the nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and Moses replies, “Send someone else?”  Moses went through the whole burning bush experience and he still says “Send someone else?”

Do I ever do this?

Do you?

I think one of the areas that many of us will ask God “Please send someone else” is when God gives us an opportunity to share our faith and share our story.  “Oh, I’m not sure what to say.”  “We might get into a complicated conversation and I won’t have the answers.”

“There is someone else who would be better at this than me.”

Any of those excuses come into your head when people around you start asking questions about God or church or religion or spirituality?

By the way, I love it when someone tells me they are into ‘organized religion’ because I tell them I’m not, either.  But I’m totally into having a personal relationship with God.  And God is very clear in his Word that part of having a relationship with him is also having relationships with other Christians – a spiritual family.  Many of those of those families meet in church buildings.

I love it when people around me start asking spiritual questions because that means God is moving in their lives.  He is opening their eyes and softening their heart – making them think about him.  Even if the person expresses their searching aggressively like, “How could you possibly believe this stuff?”, God is moving in their brain, stirring things up.

So when people around you or I show any type of interest in God or ask any kind of question, that is God inviting us to show his love to this person, be a witness to what God has done in our life and plant a seed.  We can be authentic when we don’t know all the answers and admit we’re on the journey of faith ourselves – seeking God and growing in our knowledge and love for him.  That’s where faith comes in – believing and trusting even when we don’t understand it all.

So the next time someone around one of us starts talking about ‘spirituality’ or God, let’s share a short, recent story about an experience we have had with God, trusting that the Holy Spirit will give us the right words and help us to be quiet and listen at the right times.

Let’s not say, “Please send someone else.”

Please help us be faithful witnesses to your power and grace and love, Abba Father.

The Pieces……

are falling into place.

He’s creating one piece, changing the shape of another and he is moving all in the pieces in the direction they need to go.  Gradually – piece by piece – they will fall into place.

God is the Master Conductor of the Orchestra of Life for those of us who have accepted salvation through Jesus Christ.  God has promised that he is working all things out for the good of those who love him.

His children.

Me.  Piece by piece.

God has been doing this since the beginning of time.  It’s interesting to read how he orchestrates his purpose all through the story of Moses.  When Moses was born, Pharoah had ordered that all Hebrew baby boys must be killed.  Pharoah thought there were too many Hebrew men already and was concerned they could rise up and overpower the Egyptians.

Moses’ parents were able to hide their infant son for 3 months.  When his mother could no longer hide him, she made a water-proof basket for him and placed him in the Nile River.

Very soon, Pharoah’s daughter came down to bathe in the Nile and she saw the basket.

Of course, she did.  God made sure of it.

When she opened the basket, she saw the baby and realized he was a Hebrew child who was very hungry.  Moses’ sister had been watching the basket so she came up to Pharoah’s daughter and asked her if she wanted her to “get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you.”  Pharoah’s daughter agreed and she said she would pay the girl for taking care of the baby.

Of course, she did.  God had this puzzle all figured out.  Only he could arrange a situation where Moses’ mother could publically take care of her son until he was older – and she got paid for it.

This was just the first puzzle piece for Moses.  As we read Exodus, we see God’s hand moving in every step of his life from them on.

This same God wants to be a part of everything that happens to us, too.

Looking back, I can see God orchestrating my life – moving mountains, parting rivers, putting the pieces of my life together in a unique way which only he can do.

As I start a new year, he has told me some of the things he has planned for me but I’m just going to need to trust him for the rest.  I know he loves me and wants the best for me so I am prepared to watch….

and see the puzzle pieces fall right into place.

Thank you, Abba Father.

A Long, Precious History

Since I was born –

from then to now –

God has been my Shepherd.

So Israel’s (formerly known as Isaac) words echo through my mind as I read in Genesis about how he describes God during his last days on earth, ” God who has been my Shepherd all my life to this day.”

Israel and I share the experience of having a long family legacy of faith.

In Genesis 48, Israel is blessing his grandsons – Joseph’s sons – before he breathes his last breath.  This was very serious business and Joseph isn’t happy when Israel switches hands and gives the younger son the greater blessing.

But I know that one of the biggest blessings these grandsons and all of Israel’s grandsons are receiving is the long family history of belief and faith they have been nurtured in since their birth.  It started with their Great, Great Grandfather Abraham and it is being passed down to them.

They have had years and years of role models in their lives of people who followed God and obeyed.  This is a precious blessing that will change their lives forever if they choose to follow in the steps of those who have gone before them.

I have received this blessing as I pursue a life of following God and being faithful to him….

as my mother did….

and my grandmothers…..

and my great grandmothers – on back through history.

If this isn’t true of your family, you have the awesome opportunity to get it started.

Thank you for giving me the blessing of having a long family history of faith, Abba Father.

He is With Me

All the time.

Blessing me.

Guiding me.

Loving me.

As I read the story of Joseph in Genesis, I notice that one phrase keeps repeating itself – over and over.

“The Lord was with Joseph.”

Joseph lived in Old Testament times so the Holy Spirit had not yet come to live inside of every believer.  God’s relationship with his people in the Old Testament was very different from now because sin was in the way.  It explains why the Old Testament is full of violence, bloody animal sacrifices and killing.  Our Righteous Father had to keep his distance.   Jesus had not yet given up his life on the cross to pay for all of the sins of the world.

Even so, as we read through the Old Testament, God’s Spirit did come to earth at special times to be  ‘with’ chosen people.

Joseph was one of them.  And Joseph prospered even when his circumstances were not good.

I am so thankful to be living on earth after Jesus came because now the Holy Spirit is ‘with’ everyone who has accepts the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus and puts their faith in him.  Everything good on earth comes from God – even when he doesn’t get the credit.

I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit is ‘with’ me every day – caring for me, counseling me and walking beside me.

And I prosper despite my circumstances….

because God is good, all the time.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

I Am One of Them

Tonight, let’s all go outside and look up at the stars.

Most of the stars we will see are the same stars Abram (God changes his name to Abraham later) saw when God took him outside and told him to ‘count the stars’.

Then God said to Abram, “So shall your offspring be.”

As we read the Old Testament, it appears like these stars represent the Israelites who became the Jewish nation.  In Galatians, Paul clarifies for us the identity of Abraham’s children.  “Understand, then, that those who have faith are Children of Abraham.”

I am a child of Abraham!

I am represented by one of those stars in the sky on that night over 2,000 years ago when Abram looked up…..

and believed.

Are you?

Thank you, Abba Father, for your faithfulness to Abraham and your faithfulness to me.

 

The Struggle

“Is not all of human life a struggle?”

Job tells it like it is.  I agree with him – do you?

Looking back, my childhood seems relatively struggle-free but I know that there were things I didn’t like and situations that were hard for me to deal with.

In my memories, it seemed like Jr. High was the worst time for relationship struggles.  Those years were strange and tough.

And then I got a taste of the adult struggles in High School as I started making plans for what my life would look like after graduation.

Life got more and more complicated after that.  Being a wife and a mother of two with a career was the epitome of the struggle.  It was a challenge just to get through each day.  I’m grateful to God for guiding me through that time, straightening out  my priorities and helping me focus on the important things.

Transitioning into the empty nest was a tough struggle for my husband and I.   Every day we missed the fun and craziness of having a house full of active teenagers.  Our priorities had to shift again.  One very positive thing is that we were able to give God more time and space in our lives.

Now that we are retired, the struggle is different but very real.  Priorities shift once again and there are still challenges.  The picture we had for our future exploded when our son was killed.  The hole his death has left in our lives is big and painful.  Rebuilding our plans for a future without him is extremely hard.

Job was right on – this whole life on earth is a struggle.

Thank you, Abba Father, for guiding me through the struggles.

The Accuser

I hear him.

Do you hear him?

The Accuser.  Satan is called the Accuser right in the beginning of the book of Job.  Satan is also called the Father of Lies in the Bible because he is a professional liar.

He whispers lies into my ears, accusing me of bad things I have done.  He accuses me of the wrong and hurtful things I have said.  Yes, I did those things and I said those things.

But  I know – and Satan knows – that all of these bad things I’ve done and said in the past, present and future are forgiven.  I was forgiven for everything when I accepted the free gift of grace offered by God through the death of Jesus on the Cross.  Jesus paid the price.  It’s done.

Why does Satan keep trying to make me forget that?  Why does he continually try to get me to live in guilt instead of the freedom that God gave me because I believe and trust in Jesus?

Why?  Because Satan doesn’t like my freedom in Christ.  He doesn’t like the fact that the Holy Spirit helps me ignore him.

So Satan whispers his lies….

hoping that I will listen and put myself in chains of regret, bitterness, unforgiveness and guilt.  Jesus died to release me from those chains.  That’s the truth.  So I’m not listening to the Accuser.

I am committed to listening to the words of my Father whose voice, when I listen, overpowers the whispers of the evil one.  My Father speaks to me with love…

and patience,

and grace.

I listen to him and I know the truth.  When I know the truth, I can live in the truth.

The Accuser can just go somewhere else with his lies.  No one is listening here.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

Guaranteed Success

Always.

Joseph’s story in Genesis is filled with words like, “The Lord was with Joseph so he succeeded in everything he did.”  Everywhere he went, every job he did, Joseph did it well because God was with him.

Having God with him made Joseph special and unusual.  This was thousands of years ago before Jesus came to earth and changed everything.  Now God sends his Spirit to live inside every one who has accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus and has put their trust in him.

God made me special when I accepted salvation and he sent his Spirit to live inside of my soul.  He adopted me and I became the daughter of the King.   As I read the historical account of Joseph, I can tell that Joseph was a good listener and he also knew how to obey.  He heard God’s directions and did them.  This is where his success came from.

When I listen to God and obey,  I also succeed.

The same is true for you.

Let’s not miss it.  Success in God’s eyes often looks different from what we expect success to look like….

but his eyes are the important ones, right?

Please help me listen and obey, Abba Father.

Standing Against the Flow

It’s hard to stand against the pull of popular opinion.

It’s difficult to say ‘no’ when so many people around me are saying ‘yes’.

It’s no fun to stand up for what I know is right when the majority of my culture thinks it’s all ‘ok’.

But there are times and there are situations where I need to stand, even when it’s hard and difficult and definitely no fun.  I need to stand.

You need to stand.

Genesis 27 gives us a good example of what happens when people who want to do the right thing don’t stand up against the crowd.  Reuben was Jacob’s oldest son.  He should have stopped the whole nonsense when his brothers started talking about killing Joseph.  The discussion was bad enough but then Reuben actually let the rest of his brothers throw Joseph in the cistern, leaving him there to die.  The Bible tells us that Reuben was ‘secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father’.

Too little, too late, Reuben!

While Reuben was distracted with something else, the rest of his brothers sold Joseph to some slave traders passing by.  When Reuben got back, Joseph was gone.

Should have, could have, would have…….but Reuben didn’t.  He didn’t stop his brothers right at the beginning so he missed his chance to do what was right.  He had an opportunity to stand up to his brothers and help teach them what is right.  But he didn’t.

I can miss my chance to do what is right, too, if I follow the crowd when they are going down a crooked path.

Reuben didn’t do or say anything to stop them so he became part of the group that did this despicable thing.

He became part of the problem.

How often to do I miss my chance to stand up for what is right?

How often do you?

Please give us courage to stand up for what is right, Abba Father.

Tunnel Vision

I’ve had it.  Have you?

I think it happens to all of us at times – especially when our emotions are running high.  Then I see only what I want to see.  I notice only what I’m expecting, not what is actually happening.  When my perception clouds the facts, I can go down a path of thinking that is not right, it is not helpful, and it is not true.

If I don’t realize what I’m doing, I can go to a dangerous place which creates havoc in my life.

So I can relate with Hagar as I read her story in Genesis.  Abraham banished her and their son, Ismael, out into the desert with food and a container of water.  Because she was focused on this one container of water, she felt that all hope was gone when it was empty.

She prepared to die.

She forgot all about reaching out to the Creator of all Things – who created water.  His angel had spoken to her and guided her before but Hagar was in the tunnel – not looking for any way out except for death.

God heard Ishmael’s cries.  “Then God opened Hagar’s eyes and she saw a well full of water.”

What?  Was the well there all along and she just wasn’t seeing it?  Was she so lost in despair and discouragement that she didn’t even look around?  Or did God create the well for her?

We don’t know – either way, God provided for her.

And he provides for me constantly.  I need to remember that because, like Hagar, there are situations where I get tunnel vision, especially when emotions are involved.  When I’m lost in my incorrect thinking, I need to remember to reach out to the One who has all the answers.

Please open my eyes to your plans and provision, Abba Father.