As we embark on another trip around the sun, I will be taking these first 2 weeks to prayerfully consider our direction for 2023.
Therefore, I have selected to share the number 1, most viewed video that I have posted, in hopes that it will encourage you (again) as you set out in this fresh new year. It’s topic is timeless and powerful.
There are many types of debt, aren’t there? In this video, we will address what I consdier to be the most important debt we have – the debt of forgiveness. So, here again is, “The Power of Forgiveness”.
May we all walk this year debt free and abounding in mercy, compassion and forgiveness.
or Shakespeare’s “___ is the winter of our discontent”
The missing word of course is NOW. Not the National Organization for Women, but the adverb meaning, “at the present time or moment. At this point in the series of events.” (The Free Dictionary)
This small, powerful word, “now”, has the potential to drastically change the immediate situation. Consider a fully pregnant woman who says to her spouse, “It’s time to go to the hospital, now.” Or a father who has given instructions for his child to follow, who loudly and emphatically, says, “NOW!
“Now”, being an adverb modifies (limits or restricts) the meaning of a verb. Remember what they taught us in school, it answers the question when, where, how, how much or how long.
When will you release your people from Egypt, God? Now.
How much longer will we be enslaved? Now.
After Moses and the people experienced things getting worse instead of better, they had reached their last straw, And in fact, God, too, had reached His last straw. Geesh, after 430 years, I guess you could say, “Now, was the time”. Check it out –
And the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh…”
Exodus 6:1 ESV
You’ll remember, in the previous 4 lessons of this series, we saw:
Part 1 – God Sees
Part 2 – God Shows Up
Part 3 – God’s Signs
Part 4 – God’s Last Straw
And now, finally, after five chapters of prepping the Israelites and their leadership, God says, “NOW“. “Now” is the time for you to see what I will do. “Now” is the time for you to see what Pharaoh will do. “Now” is the time for you to leave Egypt. “Now” is the time for you to step out of slavery and into freedom. “Now”.
That short, little adverb was about to drastically change Moses’, Aaron’s, and Israel’s immdediate situation.
For generation after generation they had been in bondage to Egypt. That’s all they had known and what they had learned to live with for 430 years! Growing within Egypt from 70 people in the days of Joseph to anywhere from 200,000 – 2 million in Moses’ day.
NOW YOU WILL SEE WHAT I WILL DO, God says. What a powerful statement, and what a long awaited one, too.
My friend, I don’t care how long you have struggled with family issues that have enslaved your mind, will or emotions, and ancestral ties that have bound up your Spirit. God is speaking into your heart right now, “Now, you will see what I will do.” Now is the time of your exodus. Now is the time God wants to totally deliver YOU from your own personal Egypt, from your own years of personal bondage and compromise and set you totally free.
He has heard your cries, and is showing up on your behalf with powerful signs for you to see and be encouraged by. Your last straw is His last straw and today, He says to you, “Now you shall see…”.
After Noah built the ark, the day finally came when God said to the rain, “Now“.
After Abraham was given a miracle son, God said to Abraham, now, give him back to me.
After Sarah, and Rebekah failed to conceive, God released the seeds to meet one another and said to them, “Now“.
After Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and abandoned in prison, God said, “Now, go interpret Pharaoh’s dream.”
We could name others, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, David, Elisha and the prophets all were told at their appointed time, “Now”.
John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, and Paul, each came on the scene at their appointed time and brought deliverance to thousands, when God gave the word, “now”.
Our God lives beyond time and functions on an eternal clock that we hope to one day understand and experience. But He works by design and intentionality according to His time. His appointed time, His set time, and it is often called suddenly. (Although it had been in the works for thousands of years…)
2 Cor. 6:2 – now is the set time…
Rom. 13:11 – now is the set time…
Gal. 4:4-7 – in the fullness of time
John 13:1 – Jesus knew that His hour had come
2 Chron. 29:36 – God had provided for the people, for the thing came about suddenly
Gen. 18:14 – at the appointed time next year
Psa. 75:2 – when I select an appointed time
Acts 7:17 – as the time of promise was approaching
Eph. 1:10 – in the fulness of time
Mark 1:15 – the time is fulfilled
Hab. 2:3 – the vision is for an appointed time
Ecc. 3 – there is a time and season for everything under heaven
If God plans it, it happens on time. His time. “He makes everything beautiful in it’s time.” Ecc. 3:11
God had been preparing His people for over 430 years for their great escape from Egypt, and now their time had come. It was the fullness of time, their set time for freedom. They were as ready as they were going to be. It was show time.
In Moses’ days, like in Jesus’ days, transgression and sin had degraded people to the lowest level of morality. People were given wholly over to the dominion of the devil and his violent works. The social and political conditions were ripe for God to make Himself known. Ripe for God’s powerful arm and acts of judgment. Exodus 6:6 (1)
Is our day really any different?
Sin and depravity are rampant. Violent and destructive demonic actions have been released upon our generations, including the youngest of the young. Social norms are no more. Wrong is touted as right and right derided as wrong, Political conditions have simmered and are now boiling over with deception, shame, harrassment, cancelling, and lies.
Dare I say it again, NOW is the time for God to show up and display His powerful hand. Now is the time for Him to lead His people from bondage to freedom. Now. Now. Now.
When God says, “Now”, look for Him to drastically change your immediate situation.
I believe this coming year, 2023, will be a year when our hearts and minds fill with those proverbial questions of when, where, how, how much, how long. And God will give instructions to His children, emphatically stating, “NOW!”.
Now hear this – God has been preparing you for your exodus, NOW get ready to move out, my friend. It’s now or never. All together now. Here and now. You are now free to move about the country.
The Beatitudes, or Sermon on the Mount conclude with Jesus giving us four warnings. We spoke last week about the first two: 2 Gates: Choosing either the narrow gate or wide gate and 2 Prophets: Choosing either fales teachers or truth teachers.
Here are the last two warnings: 2 kinds of disciples and 2 foundations. Check it out and spend some time in self-evaluation.
I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas, this 2022.
During this wonderful season of Christmas I’d like to encourage you with three thoughts from that very first Christmas.
#1 Mary and Joseph lived in the days of Herod the Great. He was a cruel puppet king over Judea who brutally killed family, friends and foes indiscriminately. The land feared his edicts, and were severly oppressed by his unfair taxes and decrees. It was not “Happy Days” living during this time.
#2 Zechariah and Elizabeth, childless priests, were told they would give birth to John the Baptist – the voice. Thinking that they were beyond the age of being birthing parents, nevertheless, they bore a son named John, who grew as a prophet and became the voice pointing to Jesus.
#3 Mary, the young, favored and overshadowed virgin, was chosen to bring forth the Savior of the world. With questions in her troubled heart and mind, her response to the angel was to allow the Holy Spirit to empower her to bring forth what had been planted within her.
What this means to you, today:
#1 These days that we live in are wrought with fear, oppression, increased taxes and ungodly decrees. And if we were to look only at the rulers in the political arenas it would be easy to grow weary and become discouraged. But like Mary & Joesph’s days, this is the exact time that God will bring forth good from evil, light from darkness, a voice and the Savior.
#2 Alive right now, are many godly believers/priests who have yet to see the fulfillment of the promises that God has spoken to them. They are ripe now and ready to bring forth their promised VOICE to the world. The roaring voice from deep within them, that of a lion, pointing to Jesus – the way. This is a season of the release of the VOICE of the people of God.
#3 The seemingly impossible circumstanes you face, the troubled heart and questioning mind within you will all be overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit. That power will ignite to life the seed of the Heavenly Father within you and produce the Savior – Jesus. YOU, will burst forth, with the life of Jesus and you will share that life with those in your world.
You see, Christmas time is the season of darkness and oppression that produces a voice in that wilderness that points to Jesus, the only Savior of the world.
Are you a voice pointing to Jesus or are you a carrier of Jesus? Both are birthed at Christmas time.
Although my head tells me this should be a Christmas blog, (I am writing this Dec. 20 after all), my heart knows we need this very important part 4, and next week’s conclusion, before the new year is upon us. All of this, is a very firm Word in my Spirit for this next year.
So, where are we?
We’ve been looking at the setting for the great Exodus from Egypt led by Moses, as found in the book of Exodus chapters 1-6 and understanding the many similiarities between what happened to them then, and what is happening and about to happen to us in these days. Please catch up, as you wish by reading the previous 3 blogs:
#1 – God Sees
#2 – God Shows Up
#3 – God’s Signs
As we pick up today’s portion we find Moses and Aaron going before the Pharaoh of Egypt-
Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.”” But Pharaoh said, ” Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”
Exodus 5:1-2 ESV
Notice, God wanted freedom for His people. That is His desire for all of us, to be free from slavery. But Pharaoh didn’t know God, so he refused. In fact, in Egypt, it was he who was considered a god, a child of the Sun and friend of the gods.
Moses and Aaron came before Pharaoh in the authority they had been given by the Lord God of Israel. They spoke those words as a reminder to themselves and all listeners that their words would be acted on by that very God.
Pharaoh’s refusal was an attempt at exerting his own authority over God’s. But God’s response was, these things will happen so that you will know me, the God of Israel and you, too, will obey my word. You don’t know me now, Pharaoh, but you soon will, because I will set my people free.
With this dueling authority, the gauntlet is laid.
I must insert here, there is no authority greater in your life than the Lord’s. Whether you know Him or not, His desire is to see you freed from sin’s slavery and make His power and name fully known to you and the world. He will be known as the Omnipotent Creator.
Things from here on out get worse for the Israelites. In fact, things got much worse before they got better. They were expected to keep making their daily quota of bricks but now, because of Pharaoh’s fury, they were to do it without being given straw. If they wanted straw, they had to get it themselves.
Finding straw of course, took more time, which prohibited them from producing the same amount of bricks. And so, because straw makes for stronger bricks and because of it’s acid content helps the mortar stick together better, they went off to find straw, roots, and other things to mix in for their bricks.
Archaeology confirms that bricks of all kinds have been found in Egypt. Some have chopped straw, rough roots and other odd things. Some have been found that have no straw at all.
The results of Moses first visit were defiance and further hardship. The trouble that came upon the Israelites seemed like evil. The immediate effect was to make it worse. What God allowed made it seem even worse. The Israelites couldn’t believe making things worse could be part of God’s plan.
There are times in our life and in the life of our society that is seems things are getting worse and not better. Trouble increases. Authority duels are obvious in many areas of life. Our workload is unfairly increased and our God seems absent.
Things commonly go backward with the saints before they come forward, so the corn groweth downward ere it grow upward.”
“It is the darkest before the dawn.”
The Israelite leaders blamed Moses.”You’ve put a sword in their hand to kill us”. The people, in their trouble called out to Pharaoh for help- not God, or even Moses. Pharaoh seemed like a friend when they were his slaves. In the previous chapter, they believed God was with them, but now their excitement was gone.
But Pharaoh was cruel and did not care about them. He called them names, insulted them, commanded more work and allowed no time for religious duty to God. He punished them for it and for even wanting it.
Even Moses, with his insecurities ressurfacing, asked God,
O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?… You have not delivered your people at all.”
Exodus 5:22-23 ESV
From their perspective, their world was topsy-turvy.
God, however, does not see as man, nor are His ways like man’s.
God is interested in way more than just freeing Israel. He knows they need transformation to become His people, fit for the Promised land. He knew they needed to learn endurance, patience, and complete trust in Him. He knew defeating Egypt’s evil would not come quickly or easily. And He knew their faith & trust would come with countless opportunities for surrender and obedience.
What He was interested in was them trusting Him in their trouble so He could use it for their good and His glory.
No Israelite was exempt from this. Not Aaron, and not Moses. Moses’ fears of inferiority came rushing back when things got worse not better. He still doubted that he was the right guy – Why did you ever send me? He hoped the liberation would be easy and now that is wasn’t he doubted who he was and whether God could really use him. (he’s not anything like us, right? ha ha )
God was working through the trouble, hardship, and worsening conditions to produce a people who would trust Him and His ability to use them for good and His glory. 2 Peter 4:12-14, 19; 3:8-9, 14-15
There was blame enough to go around, but God deserved none of it.
He was seeing beyond the immediate, to the long term victory. To the wandering and complaining years, To the warring and possessing years. To the reigning and prosperous years. To the years it would take for these people to be His people. To you and I. To our struggles. To this day. To our times. And to eternity, when His son would have for Himself a spotless Bride, fully devoted to Jesus.
The the Israelites and their leaders believed that God had done evil to His people by allowing such trouble. They believed because it was getting worse and not better, it could not possibly be God’s will.
But these events in Egypt were demonstrating God’s last straw. The straw that would set in motion a massive exodus. For them, then and I believe for you now.
God is at work in our nation, and although it appears things are getting worse and not better, let’s let Israel remind us that He is at work in the now and for the long term. He is preparing us, transforming us and equipping us.
We are facing the days of God’s last straw in our lifetime. The days of His preparation for our exodus from slavery into complete liberty. But first, we must learn to trust Him and be wholly confident in Him and obedient to His voice.
Don’t lose heart as things get worse. He’s working on us in the midst of things getting worse, preparing us for our exodus.
We are living in serious days, spiritually and this video lesson does not pull any punches in calling out compromise. I trust because you are reading this, you will follow through and hear it all. Click play and prepare for self reflection.
In this third of our five part series, you will see how God chooses to use you in bringing deliverance to others and helping them to believe. But first He will give you signs that will scare you, encourage you, and teach you to listen to and obey His voice.
These thoughts are based on Moses and the Exodus account you will find in Exodus chapter 4.
After “God shows up” (in Exodus chapter 3 & our previous lesson), we find Him telling Moses that he has been selected to be the comissioned leader and carry His name to lead His people out of Egypt into the land God promised to give to the Partiarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Moses is given a project, one of seeming impossibilities, with ridiculous odds of failure, and that required 100% faith and focus on God. Moses questions whether he is up to the task and responded to God with a series of questions all of which revealed his doubt in God’s decision.
Moses first said to God,
BUT they won’t believe me or listen to me…”
Exodus 4:1 ESV
I love the BUTS of the Bible, they reveal so much about humanity and God’s amazing dealings with us. Moses doubted that anyone would listen to him. Who was he afterall? Here he was just a shepherd going before the King of Egypt with all of his powerful magicians and political advisors.
God answered Moses, “What’s in your hand?” The same thing that God asks of us, “What’s in your hand, Debbie?” “What’s in your hand _________ (your name)?” Moses was holding his shepherds staff.
“Throw it down” Moses was told. And when he did, it turned into a snake and scared Moses away. Then God spoke again to Moses and told Him to pick up the snake by the tail. Which Moses did, and the snake turned back into Moses’ staff.
“What’s in your hand?” is how God uses people. He uses what people have. The years of sheep tending were not wasted for Moses. He didn’t need a scepter to go before the King, he needed his staff. He needed what God had put in his hand, because God uses what is in our hand. (Check out Shamgar, David, Sampson, and the little boy with fish and bread.)
The staff turning to a snake was not part of Moses everyday experience, and so it was a sign given as confirmation to Moses of God’s power to use what God had given him, but it was also a sign that the people would believe.
After running away from the snake, Moses learned to listen to God’s directions and to take it by the tail – the most dangerous place. Moses learned how to do what God told him to do even if it was dangerous and uncomfortable. Moses learned that God could transform something good into evil and back again, IF Moses would trust and obey the voice of God.
Then, what Moses held in his hand was called the rod of God! And with the rod of God, Moses would eventually part the sea, strike the rock and defeat the enemy in the valley.
Sign #1 – Staff to snake – Watch what God will do with what’s in your hand
God uses what you have in your hand. Your years of doing it, your experience, your skills, your heart and your dreams. Nothing is wasted. You need nothing more than faith in what He has given you. Faith that will trust Him with uncomfortable encounters, maybe even dangerous ones, but faith that you are doing what you have heard Him say to you.
When you decide that in your heart, and take action, you begin to move in a new freedom but so do those that God has sent you to. The signs are for you and for them too, to believe!
You would think that one sign was enough to boost Moses’ confidence in God. But God gave Moses another sign in which his healthy hand became leprous and then was restored to full health again. This sign was again to reassure Moses of God’s total and unstoppable power to restore even the most disgraceful, shameful, and horrible sin and disease in his life. God was saying, trust me Moses, to use ALL that you are – even the diseased and broken parts.
Sign #2 – The leprous hand restored – God will restore and use even our diseased and broken parts
There is no sin or shame God will not forgive or restore you from and use for His glory. He will do it as a sign for you to believe in and fully trust Him, and He will use you to share it with others so that their hope can be restored and they will believe in the power of the Almighty God.
But God is not through giving Moses (or you) signs.
He next tells Moses to take some water from the Nile and pour it on the ground and it will become blood. Guess what happens? Yup. He does and it does.
Blood always represents judgment. God’s message here was that if transformation didn’t work (staff to snake and hand to leprosy) then perhaps judgment would convince them to believe.
Sign #3 – Water to blood – God will bring judgment to the land
Our land, like ancient Egypt will face judgement. Our lives will face judgment and the Blood of the Lamb will cover and protect us during this time if we believe. The purpose of the blood is to make believers.
After these three persuassive signs, Moses still objects by saying –
I am not eloquent… I am slow of speech…”
Exodus 4:10 ESV
Let’s be real here, Moses had spent the first 40 years of his life being trained in all the wisdom of Egypt. Acts 7:22 The real issue for Moses was his confidence was gone! That was way back then and now, he only spoke sheep talk. And while we’re being real, he’s not really complaining about his speaking ability but his inability to be a leader to God’s people.
Even though God had promised to be with him, and teach him what to do and say, Moses was comparing himself to those smart guys in Pharaoh’s court and coming up on the short end. Which is all we need to understand that Moses’ focus was in the wrong place, on himself and not on God. God provided Aaron, to be the speaker for Moses and promised to teach them both.
Sign #4 – God provides us the support we need – because He sees more in us than we do
Who of us has not dealt with a lack of confidence? Especially when we see a task before us with seemingly impossible odds of failure and requiring more faith than we think that we have? And yet, God, who hears the groans of the needy around you and the cries from the lonley, broken and lost who you come in contact with – provides for you all you need to bring them to faith, by means of your faith.
Lastly, here’s the bottom line of this long story.
After these 4 signs, and Moses listing disqualifications, doubts, and lack of confidence, he reveals the real issue in his heart. Without anymore excuses cuz God has dashed them all to pieces, Moses says to God –
Please send someone else…”
Exodus 4:13 ESV
This made God angry. (v. 14). You know why? He was angry at Moses’ unwillingness not his questions or doubts. Moses revealed, by this request, that he was unwilling not unable.
Sign #5 – God reveals what’s really in our heart – He uses the willing heart
Whatever it takes, God will whittle all of our excuses down to reveal our willingness to obey His voice. When all is stripped away, are we willing to do what He has called and equipped us for?
God has demonstrated by these signs that He can and will work with what He has created. He will first deal with our own doubts and insecurities showing Himself strong on our behalf so that WE believe. Then, he uses us to affect other people’s beliefs.
God is intending a tremendous exodus of people from bondage into freedom and fulfilling of His promises. He has been preparing you for this exodus by hearing your desires, showing up in your life, and revealing signs like these to you, verifying His desire to use YOU!
What’s is your hand? Allow Him to restore the broken parts of your heart and judge you in His love and mercy. He has provided all you need for victory and deliverance if only you are willing.
It is time for you to leave your personal constraints, captivity, and drudgery, because God is preparing you for your exodus.
Events, people, issues, and governments have all been part of God’s plan to prepare for a mass exodus and freeing of people to walk in His promises. He is preparing all things for His set time of favor and release., for the rising up of His people and the showing off of His great and powerful name. Nothing has been wasted, useless, unseen or ignored. He has seen it all (as we taught last time) and is moving on your behalf.
Today’s post is part 2 of a 5 part series – Preparing For Your Exodus. And our topic today is God Shows Up.
Last time we saw that God sees, and hears, and remembers all we have faced. The battles, hurts, oppression, and unjust dealings. We encouraged ourselves knowing that He knows and has not left us alone.
In fact, in the book of Exodus after we are told that God sees (our situation), it follows next that God shows up. We read it in Exodus chapter 3, and from there I will glean these points.
The story goes that Moses was at work, keepng his flock when an angel appears to him in a bush filled with fire. The text tells us –
He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.”
Exodus 3:2-3 ESV
This is interesting and has two very important points that have ramifications for us.
First, let me say that in these days, the Lord is showing up in our lives in unusual ways. The signs are there of His showing up in our life, but we have to notice them. Here are the two points for us to chew on.
Moses looked– Moses stopped what he was doing and actually noticed the sign – the bush on fire. The sign was there, but Moses had to look at it, notice it. So too, must we. There are signs in our life that we need to stop and look at closely, notice what is happening and ask why. We must also look.
Moses turned aside – noticing was not enough for Moses. Just looking at the firey sign in his life was not sufficient. Moses actually changed his position, direction and focus – he turned toward the sign. He turned toward what he saw God doing. He asked questions, pondered, sought explanations. His action was altered by what he saw and he turned toward it, not away from it. If we are to experience a release and an exodus, so too must we turn toward what God is doing and the signs we see from Him in our life. May we join Moses in saying, “I will turn aside and see this great thing that the Lord is doing.”
It is interesting to note that when Moses noticed and turned then,
When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses.”
Exodus 3:4 ESV
When we not only notice what God is doing in our life but turn aside to see and question God’s signs, God shows up.
These are days of NOTICING and TURNING. The signs are all over. Do we notice them? That is the start of our change, the starting point for things to happen for you. Your deliverence, setting free, your release, your total utilization in God’s plan.
It is in the turning towards what God is doing and towards His signs that God speaks to us with direction and encouragement. God shows up!
When God shows up – here’s what Moses experienced and what we can experience too: (from Exodus 3)
He calls you by name v. 4
He establishes His holiness v. 5
He reaffirms His covenant v. 6
We fear v. 6
He assures us He sees v. 7-9
He reaffirms His love and promises v. 8
He calls us out v. 10
He remembers (crying people and fearful followers) v. 7, 17
He promises to give us a sign as we move out v. 12 This doesn’t come tho’ until after we have obeyed and so it requires faith.
He reveals His name- I AM WHO I AM v. 14 Yahweh. This is His name forever.
I AM will set you free v. 20
When God shows up, things change. We change. And we begin our exodus.
God sees your situation. He hears your conversations and knows your thoughts. He is preparing you for a great release and a life of living in His promises. His desire is to show up and reveal Himself to you. Whether you have walked with Him or are part of the crowd that sees signs and wonder what’s happening.
Moses’ encounter at the burning bush is for you and me and is for today.
There is something grandiose burning for those who will NOTICE and TURN to God. He will show up for you in ways you never imagined and release you from years of personal chains so you can enter into the fulness of His promises for you.
Notice and turn and watch God show up in you life and lead you in your exodus.