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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's a God Thing

Numbers 2-3
Magazines highlight it.  Stores were created just for it.  Blogs are written everyday concerning it.  And I am a big fan of it.
What is the it I am talking about??
And after reading our chapters for today you see God is a fan of it too!!
Many of us fight organization for various reasons: it may not come natural to you, it is time-consuming, you don’t see the value in it, etc.
I am most definitely not the poster child for organization, but I do try to keep things as organized as I can. My shoes are all in the same kind of clear container with labels identifying the shoes within it. All the manuals for every appliance and electronic in my home are located in one binder.  All my important papers are properly filed away.
Why do I do these things?  Because it makes life easier!  If I have a problem with my blender, I know where to go to find my manual.  I don’t have to wonder what shoes I have to wear or where they are.
Organization just makes life better for me!  Again, I am NOT nearly as organized as I would like to be and if I were I think my husband would leave me.  He already thinks I’m a little OCD. I don’t want to prove him right.  :)
But I am so glad I have a God that LOVES organization too!  God does not organize because He is OCD; He knows it makes our life better!
Here is how God had Israel organize their camp.
I hope you notice what is at the center; the tabernacle.
The place of God’s presence.
God is at the center.  Why?  Because when God was at the center of Israel’s life and existence, everything was… BETTER!
1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us, For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…
My home is so much more peaceful when I feel like everything is in its proper place.
And my life is so much more peaceful when God is in His proper place.
I know you have tossed a rock into a pond at some point in your life and watched the ripple effect it caused.
Imagine that rock is God.  When He is in his proper place (the center of our lives) He will effect everything else that emanates from our lives for our good.
So my prayer for you today is that you would ask God to be the center of your life if He’s not already.  And let Him effect everything in your life… for your good.
Organization… It’s a God thing!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oh Glory!

Leviticus 9:1-11:47
One of my most moving and fondest memories growing up was of my grandmother who we lovingly called Ma.
I was blessed to grow up living next to her, my grandfather and many other family members.  And I was also blessed to have spent many nights at my grandparent's home.
We would always watch Hee Haw, The Bugs Bunny Show, and many other great oldies. And the next morning Ma would fix me the best breakfast and instant coffee this little girl had ever had!
All those memories are great, but the greatest and most impactful of all is of me lying in my bed at night and hearing my grandmother on the other side of the house praying.  I don’t mean praying a Now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep kind of prayer either.
She would call out and pray over every last one of our family members, every night.  And she would thank God for His faithfulness and when she got to really feeling it and feeling God she would start saying, Oh Glory! Glory! Glory!
I don’t know if my grandmother ever saw the glory of God like Moses, Aaron and the Children of Israel did in our reading today, but I know she sure felt it!!
When the Children of Israel saw the glory of God and the fire that blazed forth from His presence, verse 24 of chapter 9 said they responded by shouting for joy and falling to the ground.
According to The MacArthur Study Bible, "God’s glory represents His righteousness, holiness, truth, wisdom and grace- the sum of all He is..."
Yesterday and today the CCA staff and I are at a church planters conference and before the last two speakers took the stage last night we worshiped God as the band led us in a few songs.  The last song was Great I Am that has some powerful words of praise to God.  This was our response...
Hands went up, shouts went out, and our voices were raised as we celebrated the glory of God, the great I Am, the sum of who He is.
So my question to you today is, how do you respond to the glory of God?  Because his glory demands a response.  Oh you may not be comfortable with raising a hand, or a shout, or falling to the ground.  Maybe you respond to God's glory and goodness by doing good unto others.  It does not matter how you do it, but that you do it.
You may have never seen the glory of God either but here is what The MacArthur Study Bible continues to say about God's glory- "...However, nowhere has God’s glory been more perfectly expressed than in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:14). And it will be seen on earth again when He returns."
And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matt 24:30
When we see Christ in all His glory, like the Children of Israel we too will shout for joy but we will not fall to the ground, instead we will be caught up in the air to forever be with the Lord! 1 Thessalonians 4:17
And I will see my Jesus, my Lord and my Ma once again!
Oh Glory! Glory! Glory!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Going too far

Exodus 32:1 thru Exodus 34:35
Over the weekend we read about God's instructions for His dwelling place and how Aaron and his sons were to be clothed as the priests of Israel.
Something that is very interesting to me is the fact that God spends only one chapter (Genesis 1) of the Bible speaking about Creation; the creation of heaven, earth, day, night, land, sea, plants, animals and man.  Only ONE CHAPTER.
But when it came to the creation of His dwelling place, the place where He would live among His people, 50 chapters of the Bible are dedicated to it.
I believe this shows how important we are to God because His Word puts more emphasis on His living among us than on His creation for us.
God so desires to be a part of your daily life.  He really does want to do life with you.
And He wanted to do life with the Children of Israel, but as we read today they did something that made God want to wipe them out all together and start anew with Moses.
And it was the fourth word in our reading today that really struck me…
When the people saw how long it was taking Moses… Exodus 32:1
The people of Israel had their eyes on the wrong person, Moses. They were looking at Moses and when they could no longer see him they assumed he was lost. And seeing how he (their only connection to God) was lost, then God too was lost.
So we see Aaron compromise and appease the people by giving them what they asked for… another ‘god’ that could lead them.
Just a few days back we read where Pharaoh was in talks with Moses, and he too was trying to get them to compromise. He told Moses, Ok, go worship your God. Just don’t go too far into the wilderness. Exodus 8:28
See, the Enemy does not mind if you come to church, just don’t go too far and Love God, Love People and especially don’t Serve Others.
He does not mind if you take Jesus to work, just don’t go too far and share Him.
He does not mind if you put a little in the offering, just don’t go too far and give your 10 percent plus your offering.
He does not mind if you give God your heart, just don’t go too far and give Him your whole heart.
But, you will never get all of God until you go too far and give Him all of you.
Another thing I thought was quite interesting was that while God was giving Moses instructions about setting Aaron apart to be a Priest, Aaron was making another god for Israel to worship.
Makes me wonder how many times God was preparing something for me and I too took my eyes off Him and worshiped something else.
So my prayer today is this…
You are the only true and living God who loves me even when I make mistakes or replace you with my own manufactured golden calf.  Help me to always keep my eyes on you and when I can't see you, help me to trust you even more.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Marching Orders

Exodus 1:1-4:17  1 Chronicles 6:1-3a
YAY!!! We have made it through the book of Job!!  Although the beginning and ending were an easy read, the middle, now that was some tough stuff.
But Job held on, and God came through!  That might just be a word for you today.  Keep holding on and God will come through for you too!
So if you can remember when we departed Genesis on January 18th, Joseph had moved his father and all his brothers and their families to Egypt. As we found out today, many years pass and the children of Jacob became so vast the Egyptians began to fear them, which led to enslaving them.
But one is about to arise from among them and will deliver them from their bondage. (Another typology.)
That deliver was Moses. We read about his birth, his miraculous salvation as a baby (aren’t all salvations miraculous), his murdering an Egyptian, then fleeing to Midian, and becoming a husband, father and shepherd.
And in chapter 3 he gets a call, a call to rescue God’s people.
God heard their groaning and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and with Jacob. And God saw the people of Israel and knew it was time to set His people free. Exodus 2:24-25
The children of Israel will no longer be defined by their years of slavery, but by their covenant relationship with God who has heard their cries and remembered His promises.
Moses, though, the one whom God asked to go before Pharaoh is not too excited about his new marching orders and begins a protest and debate with God.
Moses: Who am I?
God: I will be with you.
Moses: Whom shall I say has sent me?
God: I Am Who I Am. The footnote said, I Will Be What I Will Be.
What is it that God will be? Anything Moses needed Him to be.
And God will be the same for you and for me.
If you are sick, He will be your healer. If you are tired, He will be your strength. If you are bound, He will be your deliverer. If you are sad, He will be your joy. If you are worried, He will be your peace.
I am is the present tense of the active form to be. As God’s name it means that He is constant, unchanging, always present, always God.
So when God said I Am he was letting Moses know I Am is in control. I Am the creator and sustainer of life. I Am here. I Am more than enough. I Am God.
God was all Moses needed to complete the mission.
But even though God is more than enough, Moses was still scared, uncertain, and questioning.
Have you ever been there, standing before a burning bush, having God call you to something greater and bigger than yourself?
Yeah, its scary.  So I don’t blame Moses, I get Moses.
I have never been asked to stand before a king and demand the freedom of a few million people, but the things I felt God call me to sure at times felt that intimidating.
But because my confidence and faith was not in Tina, but in the great I Am, I did those things I was called to do.
And sometimes I did them even scared to death!!
I used to pray for God to take my doubting, fear and uncertainty away and give me complete Holy Confidence.  But I quit praying that prayer.  Not because God delivered on the request, but because I knew that the doubting and fear was what kept me relying on God and not myself to complete the calling.
And in the end I could give all the Glory to Him because I knew if it had not been for the Lord on my side… I would have been swallowed alive. (Psalm 124:2-3)
God wants to call you to something bigger than yourself.  And when you receive your marching orders, even if you have to do it afraid, do it anyway!
You may be terrified, but in the end God will be glorified!!
It’s not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit. (Zechariah 4:6)
Amen. And AMEN!!
Happy Marching,