Hands Or Fins, He Is Able!

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But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. Jeremiah 17:7

Have you ever quoted Moses in Exodus 4:13? But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” Maybe for any number of reasons… lazy, selfish, feeling unqualified, ill-equipped, lacking resources, knowledge, experience, no time… Whether we think we have a valid reason or an excuse not to take that leap of faith, faith is the opposite of self confidence. You can see self, know self, make your own self plan with outcomes you can reason out. But faith requires you to step with out seeing, to place your confidence in what is out of your control. And with out faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6

As a young girl in my first swim lessons I was the one that every other parent was glad I wasn’t THEIR child, the one that every instructor (but the one I had) was SO grateful my name was NOT on their roster! You see I was terrified to let go of the wall. That presents a small problem when you are in SWIM lessons at a POOL! LONG story short I grew up to become a swim coach so somewhere along the way I made that leap of faith. However it’s probably no small miracle that I did not become a ward of the pool after all that, bless my moms heart!

Although reluctant Moses answers God’s question in Ex. 4:2 “What is that in your hand?” with, “A staff.” Ever felt like what you have in your hand is silly, insignificant? Like I’m a person not a fish, I breath air, not water there is NO way I can swim to the other side!! WHY are you asking ME? I only have hands not fins!!

Maybe we need to ask God to change our perspective… after all His ways are not our ways, His thoughts not our thoughts, in fact as the heavens are higher than the earth so are His ways higher than ours it says in Isaiah 55:8-9! You see something happened between Ex. 4:2 and Exodus 4:20 because as Moses is packing up his belongings to take the leap of faith the Lord had asked him to take, verse 20 states, And he took the staff of God in his hand. You see now it wasn’t just a staff, it was the staff of God!! A confidence shift. A transfer of confidence from self to God!

The LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. Ex. 4:21 Any leap of faith He has called you too will be done in His power, strength and with His energy, and like any good parent on the side of the pool, He will catch you 100 percent of the time. Things may not always turn out the way we think but again we ask Him to conform our perspective to His, which is so much higher than ours. He can understand things we don’t and knows things we can’t, so we choose to pray for ever increasing trust in the One who does. Because in fact we are people not fish, yet, we can do all things through Him who gives us strength. Phil. 4:13 And what He does is always immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine because HE IS ABLE. (Eph. 3:20)

He is able to get us to the other side if we are willing to trust and let go of the edge, to leap into His ever faithful arms. He will catch you every single time.

Independent Read: Romans 8:28, Psalm 18:27-32

Out of proportion maybe!?!

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Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.” Genesis 43:18

Now to personalize it a bit…. I was frightened and thought… they want to attack me and over power me and seize me and take my ———-! (Unless you own a donkey you can fill in that last blank with some other position or possession.) Now lets fast forward to verse 24… reality. The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys. Hmmm… can anyone else relate to worrying or fearing out of proportion?! In fact, I would do well to memorize verse 23, “It’s all right, ” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure…. The treasure of His presence, the great I AM for all you would ever, could ever need has promised to be with you ALWAYS!

This Sunday I attended church after a war with the curling iron. Now it’s not the first time I have attempted to wrestle with that beast (always hopeful for a win) and yes, it takes time and effort to complete the whole head of curls, so by the time I’m finished, and I realize my new look now resembles a severely aged and definitely not as cute Shirley Temple rather than the soft tussled beach curls the picture on the front of the curling iron box promised, I’m out of time and once again forced into public with this look!! However God brought about the sweetest message.

I was in the church kitchen and the pastors wife breezed by and in about 30 seconds sincerely complimented the curly helmet I was wearing and alluded to the time and effort it takes to produce curls in the morning. That’s when I thought I needed to get things into proportion. Taking eyes off self and sharing even a little of His love and kindness in just 30 seconds can really bring some perspective right! I was reminded to have eyes and a heart that look out and recognize and appreciate the time and effort someone puts in rather than just judge the product or outcome. Sometimes the bigger importance is the process… do I notice and appreciate others process, others time and efforts behind the end results that are so obvious to the world?

I believe the more we move into being “doers” of the Word rather than just hearers or even just being absently present, God creates in us a sensitivity to truly appreciate the efforts and process of others. To be salt and light to be encouragers of the process rather than just judgers of the final product.

This brings me to my second point or lesson I learned on Sunday (see how important it is not to miss a week!). Luke 5:1-11 starts with Jesus observation of not one but two boats at the waters edge. He got into the one belonging to Peter and ASKED him if he would be willing to push Him out into the water a bit. Now at that moment Peter had a choice to make as do we. It is possible to be present yet so absent that we do not hear Him ask us to join Him; anyone with children knows this is a real possibility… you KNOW they heard you but nothings happening right!! God is always on the move, if we are present and we do hear His call, how do we typically choose to respond? Do we blow excuses out of proportion, thinking of every reason why He can’t possibly be asking us? Thus cheating only ourselves out of the greatest adventure of life abundantly fulfilled in Him. OR do we respond, do we DO as He has asked? Peter did.

Maybe you knew this but it was news to me, that fishermen typically went out in groups of two. Makes sense, two are better than one. So when God asked Peter to come along side Him it was because He had TWO boat fulls of fisherman to whom He wanted to display His glory! Once Peter agreed to help they ALL had to help. I’m sure there was a fair amount of grumbling and a few “accidental” elbow drops thrown Peter’s way on the way out to sea… AGAIN. God’s plan will never be thwarted and so if He had in mind to show two boat fulls of fishermen His glory that night it was going to happen. So if Peter bowed out I believe he would have asked the guy in charge of boat number two to lead the way. Now I’ve lived long enough to know that yes, immediate regret comes after trying and failing however long term, there is more regret experienced over risks not taken. So way to go Peter for not blowing things too out of proportion… he was exhausted, grumpy over the nights ill success yet he didn’t bow out he bowed in… because God said so (verse 5).

Jesus, I want to bow in every time, use my boat, send me! I want to know and hear and listen AND obey. Please give me a heart with eyes that don’t just wait for my big moment but treat every moment like its the big moment… who knows offering 30 seconds of encouragement just passing in the church kitchen just might mean the world to someone.

Independent Read: Isaiah 6:8

 

Not, I Was. But, I Am!

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But make up your mind not to worry beforehand… Luke 21:14

By standing firm you will gain life. Luke 21:19

Interesting that Luke 21:19 states that by standing firm you will gain life because if you are able to stand firm it would imply that you are already living yet Jesus says by standing firm you will GAIN life. This indicates to me there is more to life than what we who are living currently know or are experiencing.

I recently heard someone say that had been diagnosed with cancer and has since has recovered, (praise God) that when she initially got the word she commented that cancer would not kill her, life would kill her. One out of one people die in life. If there is one thing in life all humans are guaranteed its birth and death.

Matthew 22:23 states, …the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection… That must be why they call them Sadducees… anyone who doesn’t believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus… anyone who does not believe there has to be more to life than living and dying on this earth must be Sad-U-See! (A little biblical humor.)

If we truly believe Jesus to be all that He says He is in His Word we have NO reason to worry about anything. Luke 21:14 states, make up your mind not to worry.. It’s a mindset, an intentional effort in making up of the mind to not worry, to choose trust in its place. Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. This is not always easy, I believe its what Jesus was doing in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prayed so hard he sweat blood.

Jesus says to these Sadducees who did not believe in resurrection in Luke 22:29 that they were in error because they did not know the Scriptures or the power of God! Do we know Scripture? Do we anticipate the power of God? Jesus goes on NOT to say I WAS but to say I AM the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob! Luke 20:38 states, He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive. ALL ARE ALIVE! John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ETERNAL LIFE!

We tend to worry and fear what we do not know or understand. 1 Corinthians 2:9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him– WOW!

Jesus, You understand things I can’t and know things I don’t. Please replace my worry and fear with ever increasing trust and faith in You. Open my mind to Your Scripture as I anticipate Your mighty and powerful hand that You say in Romans 8:28 works all things together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose, so please renew my mind and fix my eyes on You as You conform my perspective to Yours. For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory FOREVER, Amen.

Independent Read: Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 32:8

 

Trump Card

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Remember, O king, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed. Daniel 6:15

I could not be more grateful that my God is bigger than my biggest mistakes past, present and future! As a mom I continually pray that God show Himself clearly to my children despite my shortcomings, so that they would know His perfect love. I found the following verses a comforting reminder that God is ultimately in control of all, even the human heart.

Ezra 1:1 …the LORD moved the heart…

Ezra 1:5 …whose hearts God had moved…

Nehemiah 7:5 So my God put it into my heart to…

1 Kings 18:39 …you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.

In Daniel 6 a king is enticed into making an unchangeable decree that much to his dismay lands Daniel, someone the king highly respected and honored, into a lions den! Verse 6 says the king was greatly distressed and was determined to find a way to rescue Daniel. However according to the law there was no way. Daniel is thrown into the den and verse 18 says the king is so distraught that he is unable to sleep that night. I’m sure to some degree we can all relate to how this king was feeling.

However Jesus can trump the worst of sins. There is no pit of sin that His grace is not deeper still. According to the law we were all destined for the pit of hell but by His grace and mercy He came to save us from ourselves! He took our place on the cross, sacrificed His life for ours! He is our rescue! Now if we believe in Him we have the free gift of eternal life!! Verse 23 says Daniel did just that; he put his trust in his God and was saved from the mouths of the lions! The kings was overjoyed! Aren’t we too when we experience His mercy, grace and forgiveness!!

Reading further I wonder if God allowed this as a means of turning the kings heart toward Himself. Verses 26-27 the king wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language through out the land: “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” Wow! No man can thwart the purposes of God! Amen!

I praise Him that He can trump my worst but also I ask that He would put good things into my heart.  Things that would bring Him glory, honor and praise! I would like Him to say to me what He did to David in 1 Kings 8:18 …you did well to have this in your heart. Thank you Jesus that you have already trumped the worst for us so that we can live free to extend the same mercy, grace and forgiveness on others that You lavish on us daily. Praise the mighty name of Jesus! The One who trumps all!

Independent Read: Job 42:2Isaiah 14:27, John 3:16, Jeremiah 32:27

 

Entrusted

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But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous signs that had occurred in the land… 2 Chronicles 32:31

2 Kings 18:5-7 tells us Hezekiah trusted in the LORD and there was no one like him among the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. The LORD was with him and Hezekiah held fast to Him.  – Hezekiah was a good man which goes to show us none of us are exempt and should always be on guard against the devils schemes….

Hezekiah fell deathly ill and prayed that God heal and extend his life. God answers favorably yet Hezekiah would like a sign to be sure of God’s gracious answer. God gives Hezekiah a sign and makes the shadow caused by the sun to go backwards 15 steps on his front porch! (2 Kings 20)

Now Hezekiah was a man of great wealth and when envoys were sent by rulers of Babylon seeking to know this God of Hezekiah’s that had saved and prolonged his life, what did Hezekiah do?! He showed off all he had in his kingdom he left nothing out (2 Kings 20:15). He showed off himself rather than his God.

Can you think of something you have been entrusted with in order to echo Jesus louder or reflect Him brighter? Hezekiah was given more life yet he used it to show off more of himself. How might we be intentional about entrusting Him to guard that which we have been entrusted with?

That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. (14) Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 2 Timothy 1:12, 14

Independent read: Matthew 5:16

Seize The Moment

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But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Because Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada, was Ahaziah’s sister, she hid the child from Athaliah so she could not kill him. 2 Chronicles 22:11

This verse sounds similar to the story of young brave Miriam who saved her own baby brother Moses, from Pharaoh’s decree to kill all baby boys. (Exodus 1:22-2:10) Miriam watched as her baby brother floated down the Nile in a basket. Heart sick she kept watch over him until she saw his tiny basket float right up to Pharaoh’s daughter!! Worst case scenario right!

Can you imagine the desperate prayers Miriam sent up in that moment?! “God please send a big wave to move his basket far away from here!!” but she opened her eyes to find, not a wave, and not a raving mad princess but rather a woman enraptured by her brothers baby sweetness! Hows that for a God surprise!

That answered prayer must have been the faith boost Miriam needed to jump out of the reeds that very moment and offer to go find a nurse (her mother) for the baby! Long story short Moses was saved and cared for by his very own mother! Later to lead the rescue of God’s people out of slavery in Egypt!! Sometimes what seems like the worst case scenario to us is just God setting the stage for a mind blowing miracle!

We see the same bravery, quick-thinking and willingness to step up in the right moment in Jehosheba as she rescues baby Joash; who would later grow to be king of Judah at seven years old and one that would do right in the eyes of the Lord (2 Chronicles 24:1-2).

Jesus, help me to trust you with “worse case scenarios” and to be brave, quick-thinking and willing to step up in the right moment with Your wisdom and discernment just like Miriam and Jehosheba.

Independent read:  Luke 12:11-12, John 14:26

Birds Of Prey

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Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. Genesis 15:11

How often do we want to ask God straight out, “But God… HOW can I know?!” We know His promises and that He is faithful and true always, and we still say, “Yes God, BUT…” When Abram in Gen. 15:8 asked God the same question, the Lord responds in verse 9, “Bring me…” What is it we are clinging to instead of bringing it to God? We want to know before we step out, before we stay, BEFORE…. But maybe God wants us to bring it to Him first. That’s a sacrifice, that’s humbling, that’s scary, that’s trust.

Abram brought to God all that He asked for… then there was a waiting period, sure enough true to life, that’s when those birds of prey come down! Discouragement takes MANY forms but we can chose who’s voice we listen to, we can choose to stand firm and drive those pesky birds away like Abram did. After all, it’s not their audience we seek, its God’s.

If you stand firm, “know for certain…” just like the Lord said to Abram in Gen. 15:13-14, fulfilling His calling on your life most likely will not be easy, actually down right hard because it will be way beyond you. You will have to rely on Him and His energy every step of the way (Colossians 1:29). But afterward, it says in verse 14, “afterward they will come out with great possessions.” Those possession, the most valuable ones anyway, will be in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy (Matt. 6:20).

So when faced with birds of prey, pray. James 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Independent read: Ephesians 2:10