“By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” Exodus 13:21
Did you ever notice how God becomes just what we need from Him in any given moment?
Perhaps you haven’t noticed. Maybe, like the Israelites, you reap the benefit of His presence without ever giving it much thought. They were often so preoccupied by what they lacked, they didn’t appreciate what they were given. Instead of thanking God for His rich provision, they grumbled.
In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Exodus 16:2-3
Really? They spent their time in Egypt sitting around pots of meat? Isn’t it amazing how quickly the human mind forgets and distorts. Perhaps you’d like to see what caused God to send Moses to get them out of Egypt in the first place.
The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. Exodus 2:23-25
God added these words when He called Moses from the burning bush.
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying […]
Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” John 13:7 ESV
I need to be honest with you. The last few weeks have been hard. People I love are hurting. Amid the usual struggles of life’s joys and hardships, loss and heartache have descended in a torrent.
A friend and sister servant in ministry at my church received a call recently that shattered her world. Her beautiful 23-year-old daughter had gone to sleep the night before like she did every other night. Only this time, she never woke up—at least not here. She closed her eyes to the blackness of this earth and opened them to the splendor of heaven and the beautiful face of Jesus.
Unimaginably wonderful for her. Devastatingly sorrowful for those left to grieve her.
Two other families close to me have lost loved ones to the ravages of cancer. And I recently received word that the disease has come calling on one of my dear family members for a second time.
Our human nature begs the answer to a desperate question: Why? Why must the body of Christ endure such pain? How do we reconcile God’s love with so much suffering?
I don’t have an answer, dear one, at least not one that will satisfy. If I did not know my God so well, I might be tempted to question Him myself.
But I do know Him well. I know the tenderness of His love. I know His comfort in my own brokenness. I know He is faithful, and I know His Word remains true.
I also know He wastes nothing and intends to bring a good work from every pain.
I recently read this quote from Christian philosopher Dallas […]
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
On Friday we celebrate freedom from oppression, liberty purchased for us by the blood of those who came before. I am so thankful for their sacrifice, and for their part in establishing this great country where we can live in the freedom of democracy.
As we pause to reflect on our liberty, may we also remember another who bled for our freedom: the precious Son who gave His life as a ransom for many. Jesus suffered the cross so that you and I could live free.
Are you free, dear one? Have you left behind the shackles of past hurts? Are you still locked in the bondage of controlling sin? Beloved, Jesus shed His blood to purchase your release.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” Isaiah 61:1
We live in uncertain times. The face of liberty has changed in the United States of America. Perhaps you share concern over the direction our once great nation appears to be headed. Take heart! Hope looms on the horizon. Its power rests within hearts of the redeemed.
Consider God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14,
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
What if we celebrated this […]
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Matthew 16:18 ESV
I’d love to see Christ’s church prevail against the gates of hell. Wouldn’t you?
In days when we see evil advancing—where atrocities set before us in the news turn our stomachs and vulgarities have become commonplace—this promise from Jesus to His eager, bungling disciple offers hope.
But do we actually expect to see it? Do we view this promise as a present hope? Or have we relegated Jesus’ words to a future assurance we won’t see realized until His return?
Beloved, what if you and I could see that prevailing church advancing in our day? What if we really did have the power to set the kingdom of evil on its heels and smash its gates?
Jesus spoke those words to Peter on a pivotal day in history, the day he first proclaimed Jesus to be, “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (verse 16).
Well done, Peter. That day, at least, he got it right. Stumbling, precocious Peter boldly proclaimed what he knew in his heart to be true. Jesus was the Promised One heralded in the Old Testament. The Christ had come. The Kingdom had come. And things would change forever.
Indeed, they did, just not exactly in the way they had expected. The army of the Kingdom of God advanced, but not against the reigning Roman government as the people had hoped. Instead, Jesus loosed His army to victoriously trample an unseen spiritual foe, the force behind the present evils they suffered.
Dear one, Jesus offers that same invitation to us today. But like the majority of Jews in Jesus’ […]
I am a friend of God.
You’ve probably heard songs making that bold claim. You may have even sung them in worship on Sunday morning. It’s a wonderful concept, and I love the reminder that God is approachable and seeking relationship. But I wonder if God’s definition of friendship matches ours.
Are you really living as God’s friend?
Only a handful of people received the distinction of being called God’s friend in Scripture. Abraham earned the recognition first, followed by Moses. You’ll notice that God used both in mighty ways to bring about His plan for this earth.
Through Abraham God created a nation, a people group He called out from the world to become His own. Through Moses, God delivered that people from slavery in Egypt and led them to the banks of their promised inheritance. God revealed His miraculous power through each of them, their faith in what God told them becoming a catalyst to release His glory.
And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. James 2:23 NIV
Along with their amazing exploits of faith, both of them share the distinction of having direct communication with God. Exodus 33:11 tells us, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” God consistently spoke to both of them, and they each responded to what they heard with faithful obedience.
I have to ask, dear one. How does the description fit so far? Are you allowing God to use you in mighty ways to further His Kingdom? Do you speak with Him face to face and allow Him to whisper direction into your life? When you hear […]
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Matthew 5:14-15
Jesus called you and me the light of the world. It only makes sense, really, since He is the “the true light that gives light to every man” (John 1:9) and now He dwells within us. As His body, saved and redeemed by His blood, He asks us to shine His light. And according to Matthew 5, that light should never remain hidden. Instead, it should light up the sky like a city on a hill.
Do you shine, dear one? Are you giving Jesus what He asked for?
I can’t help thinking of the song I used to sing as a little girl in Sunday school. We’d proudly hold up our hands with fingers pointing toward the heavens and proclaim, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.”
But it didn’t shine. I never let it out.
We often make the mistake of trying to act like Jesus. We think we shine His light by imitating what He would do. Only we don’t have the strength to act like Him all the time, so that inner “self” we try to hide through our good behavior reveals itself more often than we’d like it to. And the watching world looks at our version of Christianity and calls it hypocrisy.
Can we really blame them?
You and I aren’t supposed to act like light, dear one. Jesus intends for us to become light.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so […]