Whether it be, “I don’t believe in god”, “I believe in God. I go to church every week”, “I don’t know if there is a god”, “I believe in God, but serve Him in my own way”, or any other similiar stance, everyone of us is serving some god.
Even Carl Jung, the one credited with developing Analytical Psychology has said,
You can take away a man’s gods, but only to give him others.”Carl Jung 1957
Those who profess to not believe in god, or to not know if there is a god, surprisingly, may find that their god is actually themself. Their own ways, ideas, desires, feelings, and goals become not only their foundation for values, purpose, worth and direction but also their god. Self-serving wishes and desires permeate their every breath as they seek to make sacrifices for their personal will and choice.
Even those 58% of American’s who claim to believe in the God of the Bible, (according to Pew Research 10/21) find themselves wrestling with serving their own ideas/gods, or the God of the Bible and His ways. And add to this group, those 9 in 10 Americans who believe in “some higher power”- and there is no doubt that we as American’s are serving our own gods.
This is not a new phenomenon of course, but it is a relatively new one for America. America, as a nation was born from the seedbed of The Great Awakening and the preaching of the likes of Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, who preached to common people, slaves, Native Americans and even Benjamin Franklin, a religious skeptic. (1) Their whole purpose was to awaken the Christian faith of those in the colonies. The Second Great Awakening followed and so impacted our fledgling colonies that several religious colleges, seminaries and mission organizations were formed.
The climate in the colonies 1730-1790’s was definately religiously charged as all people were encouraged to have a personal connection with God and not just to rely on the church. From this, men and women of deep religious conviction were involved in The Revolutionary War, the writing of our founding documents, the formation of our national government and the leading of our states and nation. Embedded into our documents, memorials and monuments are expressions of thanks to and reliance upon “our benevelent God.”
And although she is not today, she once was a country whose laws, leaders and laymen sought to glorify God and even seek His counsel and wisdom.
We have turned to our own gods now. We have forgotten our roots.
Much like what we see in the history of Israel –
- One place of worship and one God was specified Deut. 12:8-11
- Yet, they served their own gods 2 Ki. 17:32
- They intermarried with pagans (compromising their own faith)
- And worshipped their idols
- They adopted their idolatrous religions
- Their idols involved prostitution
- Their idols involved sexual & pornographic activities
- Their idols involved child sacrifice
- Their idols involved offerings to Baal, Chemosh, Molech and Astoreth and others
- They worshipped nature, the heavenlies & beasts
Sadly, in America today, we too have turned to such gods. In fact, as we mentioned last week, the gods being worshipped today, are many of the gods of the past, pagan nations. They have infiltrated our nation, and been set up on high places for all to see, unashamed and unaware of the consequences of serving our own gods.
Could it be though, that there is a loving God, who knows man’s inclinations and still chooses to love him?
But knowing man’s inclinations just may be the very reason that this loving God’s first of ten commandments is –
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GOD’S BEFORE ME.” (Emphasis mine.)Exodus 20:2-3 ESV
A God who knows us, and loves us so much, that He does not want us to stay the same, searching for something to make sacrifices to, searching for something to offer our life for, to sacrifice to, searching for fulfillment, pleasure, reward or success.
Our own gods are man made and impotent. They cannot receive love nor are they capable of giving love. Our own gods are empty and temporary, incapable of lasting love, fulfillment and happiness.
But the God of the Bible is real, present, and powerful enough for anything you’ll ever face. He is full of love, grace and mercy to the one who turns toward Him, to the one who simply turns away from his own idols, and turns toward Him; who turns away from his own ways, and begins walking His.
Towards the end of the New Testament, we find this warning –
Keep yourselves from idols”1 John 5:21 ESV
May we become more aware of those things (idols) that might take God’s place in our hearts. May we learn to rid ourselves of the things that we look to for help, rather than looking to God.. May we divorce ourselves from fixating on anything more that the One true God. May we rid ourselves of our own idols..
No man can serve two masters”Matthew 6:24 ESV
Never has a word been truer. Never has this truth been more needed to be heeded.
I believe that God is calling for us to remove all the high places in our life where we have set up things, or people as idols. They are the things that get our full attention, energies, efforts and money. If God is not at the heart of those things then they have become idols to us. Shoot, last year I realized that I had made the Dodgers an idol in my life. They were getting more of my time than God was. I was definately serving my own god.
Those are the things that God is doing in our heart if we let Him. He is helping us to be His wholehearted followers and to have no other gods before Him. The days of honesty are upon us.
Won’t you allow Him to show you where you have idols in your life? Won’t you join so many of us who are no longer serving our own gods?
- TheHistoryChannel.com – The Great Awakening
#1 in the series
It’s hard for me not to see our progressive society of today (2023) and how closely it aligns with the pagan societies of days gone by. “Commonly accepted ideas – God does not exist, the Bible is not divinely inspired, all religions are equally valid, absolute values of right and wrong do not exist and there is no such thing as sin, were all expounded by pagan philosophers.” (1)
And don’t even get me going on the acceptablitiy of adultery, fornication, homosexuality, pornography, and infanticide – secular humanism dominates our society today my friend, and could also be called – neopaganism.
According to the Pagan Federation paganism: (4)
- is not dogmatic
- pursues their own vision of the divine as a personal experience
- represents a rich diversity
- refuses to judge others ways of life as wrong because they’re different
- respects all life
- follow a polytheistic or pantheistic nature
Paganism has become a god of our society and many have chosen to serve it, as their own god, not even knowing the full ramifications.
As people today serve their own gods, let’s define some of those beliefs-
- Monotheism – the belief that there is only one god
- Polytheism – the belief that there are many gods
- Atheism – the belief that there is no god
- Agnosticism – the belief that the existence or non existence of a god is unknowable or unknown
- Pantheism – the belief and worship of all gods
- Panentheism – the belief that god and the world are interconnceted – the world being in god and god being in the world
- Animism – the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena and the universe have souls
- Paganism – spiritual beliefs and practices other than those of Judiasm, Christianity or Islam
- Neopaganism – new paganism developed from preChristian or anti-Christian religions
It is clear today we see these beliefs mixed in and around us. We see and know of people who hold these beliefs and are serving their own gods. This mixture of beliefs about god is what alerts us to the seriousness of our standing as a society, and as a nation even.
In 2021, Pew research found that 58% of Americans describe God as the God of the Bible. Another 32% believe in a god or spiritual power – although not that of the Bible. (2) And, 43% of millennials don’t know, care or believe that God exists. (3)
I am going on record to say that what you believe about God matters. It is not an incidential issue for you to deliberate at some future date in your life when you are more prepared, older, wiser or facing death. The god that you chose to serve matters now, as well in the life that is to come.
And lest you say, “I don’t serve any god, really”, let’s all be reminded that where we spend our time, money and energies reveals what our god is and who we serve.
If we are being honest, we just may find in our own life a mixture, the same kind of mixture revealed in generations past. One in which –
we fear the Lord, but serve their (our) own gods…”2 Kings 17:33, 41 ESV
Throughout the Ancient writings we find that phrase – “feared the Lord, but served other gods“. In fact, over 40 times we find the phrase, “they served other gods”.There is a difference you know, between “fearing” and “serving” the Lord.
Because we are afraid or maybe even respect or revere the Lord, we “fear” Him. But it is more like a kid fears when Dad comes home, because he knows that is when he will be punished. We are fearful of the Lord and his judgments, so we do our best to appease Him, not because we love Him. We seek to appease Him but don’t bother serving Him.
At what point does that fear blossom into love? Should it? Can it?
That, my friend is the difference between monotheism and what all the other gods of this world have to offer.
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image … you shall not bow down to them or serve them… for I the Lord your God am a jealous God…”Exodus 20:3-5 ESV
The Jehovah God, Almighty, Creator of all things, revealed in the Messiah – Jesus Christ is a personal, loving and relational God. Desiring to have personal, intimate conversation and exchange. This wonderful God, pursues us, longs for us, and is ever-present in our affairs, steps and amusements. He never leaves us, never slumbers in His watch over us, and is fearfully powerful, He could wipe us out in an instant. Yet, because He is love, His mercy is everlasting and His forgiveness endless. His ear is ever bent toward our cry and always listening for our hearts desire. He is jealous in His love for and toward us. Oh what wondrous love!
THIS God, is the great “I AM”, who is, who was, and who always will be. THIS God is Jesus Christ, He who said, “I Am He.” THIS is the God who you and I must must chose to serve – not just fear.
In these days, every man must choose the god he will serve. Fearing is not enough. Whom do you serve? Your self, your job? Money? Status? Prestige? God? Pleasure? Freedom?
We are living in days when men (women and children) are serving “their own gods”. What god are you serving?
I am not interested in serving my own, man-made god. Lord, please help me, remove my idols.
- Tomorrow’s World, Douglass S. Winnail; 11.2019
- B. Mark Anderson.com
- Cultural Research Center @ Arizona Christian University
- The Pagan Federation – Prudence Jones
One of the goals for me in 2023 in regards to my teaching videos is for them to be wise and easy to swallow, inspirational words. (Proverbs 13:2 TPT) Translation – short, easy to follow, revelation-knowledge posts.
These will be shared on other social media sites in their required formatting, but will also be shared here for you to glean from. Again, I trust that you will find inspiration and refreshment here Under Debra’s Palm.
Here’s our first video for the year –
Trusting Him through another year together,
Part 5 – God Says Now
Complete these famous phrases:
- Here and ___
- Anytime ___
- ____ what?
- ____ hear this
- ___ or never
- All together ___
- Don’t look ___
- For ___
- or from Queen, “don’t stop me __”
- 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 time is now,
1 – Bibleask.com
Part 4 – God’s Last Straw
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.”John Trapp
“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.
Submitting to His fashioning,
Part 3 – God’s Signs
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.
Joining you in following His voice,
See you Next week for #4 God’s Last Straw
I have been facinated with the not so patriarch, Jacob.
This guy was a hustler from the womb. Not willing to allow anyone ahead of him, even in the womb. Upon delivery with his twin brother, he grabbed the heal of his brother when he arrived and kept on grabbing after things his whole life.
You may remember these, his greatest hustles:
- He bargained for his brother’s birthright
- He deceived for his brother’s firstborn blessing
- Schemed for more of his uncle’s herds
- sent bribes to his brother hoping for acceptance
To those familiar with how his story ends and him becoming one of the Partiarch’s of the Faith (in Judiasm & Christianity) these hustles are well known. But his proclivity for scheming, deception and cheating puzzles me. His swindling, or as one could say, the art of his deals amaze me.
This guy had to run away from his family because of his dishonest dealings with his brother and dad. He hid out with his uncle for 20 years! That is some serious time to allow family anger to subside. And all the while God blessed him! In spite of and on top of who he was inside, a cheater, God still promises to bless him for generations to come.
But there came a time in Jacob’s life, where he was left alone with who he was. In his account in Genesis, we read:
During the night, Jacob arose, woke up his wives, his maidservants, and eleven sons, and had them cross the ford of the Jabbok River. He sent them across along with everything he had, and Jacob was left all alone. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a man appeared and wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he was not winning the match, he struck Jacob’s hip and knocked it out of joint, leaving it wrenched as he continued to wrestle with him. Eventually, the man said to him, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob refused. “No! Not until you bless me!” “What is your name?” asked the man. “Jacob,” he replied. “Not anymore.” the man said to him. “Your new name is Israel, for you have struggled both with God and with people and have overcome.”Genesis 32:22-29 TPT
There is so much in this passage, so let’s unpack it.
Jacob came to a place of emptying out himself of everything, his spouse, children, and servants. He released all he had only to be left with all he was. Alone, in that place, he wrestled with a mysterously appearing man (many believe the man to be God, some say it was the guardian angel of Esau and still others say it was satan.) What matters here for me is that Jacob, all by himself is wrestling with his identity, his walk, and his very his name.
And isn’t it interseting that his wrestling happens at Jabbok, which means “emptying”. The Jabbok River emptied into the Jordan River above the Dead Sea. Here, is where Jacob emptied himself and wrestled with God for His blessing. It was at daybreak that Jacob’s breakthrough came. Having prevailed as he did in the womb, he did not relent and grabbed his blessing – a new walk and a new name.
At Penuel, having first emptied himself, he wrestled with who he was and he actually saw the face of God, and lived to tell about it. This encounter marked him for life, his name and his walk.
This is Jacob’s story, but what puzzles, amazes, and facinates me is this:
- God fearfully and wonderfully made each of us Ps. 139:13-14
- He made us in His image GEn. 1:27
- He thinks innumerable thoughts of love and blessing for us Ps. 139:17-18
- He has chosen us & helps us Is. 44:2
- He named us Is. 49:1
- He redeemed us Jn. 3:17
- He calls us His children Jn. 1:12
- He accepts and empowers us as we wrestle with our own weakness & shor comings 2 Cor. 12:9
- We have this divine treasure in our earthen vessels 2 Cor. 4:7
How can it be that the very God who made me in His likeness still loves, accepts and uses me, the one who is so prone to sin, manipulation, dishonesty, judgment, compromise, selfishness, pride and arrogance? How can it be that Jacob’s story is really mine? I too have personality traits far from godly.
His whole life he was known for certain traits, by his family, associates and city. Jacob, the deceiver. And yet, Jacob emptied himself in that moment, and stood alone before God, wrestling for a bigger blessing upon his life. From that place he emerged as a Prince with God, his true destiny as our Partiarch.
And so it is with me, with you. Those very traits, designed into our personality by God, He refines and uses them for His will. He sands off our prickly, rough edges and causes us to hold the weight of His presence. He sharpens our iron sharp wills and galvanizes us with His will, unshakable, unmoveable. We hold this treasure in earthen, weak, vessels, that His power can show forth in spite of our weaknesses. In fact, His power is made perfect in our weakness.
When I look within, I cry with the prophet of old, “O, wretched man that I am!”. I am wrestling with who I am. I am wrestling with who I want to become. I, like Jacob, will not let God go until He blesses me, and changes my walk and empowers my new name.
Emptying myself of those “warts and all”, I see His face and what I want to become. I want more! More of Him.
If you too, have wrestled or are wrestling with who you are, please know that you are not alone. Remember Jacob. Remember me. Join us in the match of a lifetime and be confident that in the end, you will walk away changed, and very much alive, having seen the face of God.
Won’t you join us as we wrestle with who we are and who we are becoming.
It seems that we are fairly familiar with the causes and even the symptoms of the anxiety that we experience. But are we as familiar with and open to the coping secrets that Jesus provides us? Are we anxious enough to finally yield to His solution for human anxiety?
Sit for a spell and give it some thought, won’t you?
Cheers to your new found peace.
Today’s title is a summary of some overwhelming thoughts that I was recently wrestling with. I couldn’t hear what I needed to hear because of all the other noise that was coming at and overcoming me.
Hearing is essential to all animals and we humans can distinguish 400,000 different sounds. All of these sounds are actually frequencies between 20 and 20,000 Hertz, but we are most sensitive to sounds between 500 & 4,000 Hertz and we are most sensitive to frequencies that are crucial to speech recognition. (So, most of us really do hear what they are saying. Ha ha)
The loudness of these sounds is important too, and is expressed in decibels, dB. Prolonged exposure to louder than 85dB will damage our ear and cause hearing loss. Just for your reference, a gas powered lawn mower loudness is 85-90 dB!
“In 1999, the World Health Organization determined in a 24 hour period, exposure to 70 dB would produce minimal hearing loss in 95% of people.” (1) For clarity, that means that if you were exposed to 70 dB of noise for 24 hours straight, 95% of people would experience minimal hearing loss.
Hang with me here, we’ll tie some things together shortly.
Our very mechanism of hearing is a complicated and marvelous design. Here’s a quick review:
- 2 identical units – right and left ear
- external ear – the pinna, ear canal and eardrum
- middle ear – malleus, hammer, incus, anvil, stapes, stirrup
- inner ear – oval window, cochlea
- auditory nerve
- the brain – not part of the hearing mechanism but the power that turns what we hear into a sound that we recognize and understand
The pinna acts as a funnel, collecting all those sound waves, and sending them along the 2-3 cm ear canal where they will bounce off the ear drum and onto those 3 tiny bones in the middle ear. Those lil’ guys amplify those “good vibrations” and send them on to that snail shaped cochlea that has fluid inside. That fluid stimulates tiny hair cells causing them to move. When they do move, these pore-like channels open up and chemicals rush in creating an electrical signal. The auditory nerve then carries this electrical signal to the brain and voila, our brain decipers what we are hearing.
The fact that we can hear at all is a very complicated process we ought not take it for granted.
But here’s the deal. Because we can hear, we are hearing all sorts of noise, facts, issues, voices, and news. Sometimes, like I experienced last week, there is so much noise, we can’t seem to hear with any clarity what is really important. We have trouble filtering through all the noise. (Is it just me?)
If we continue to expose ourself to loud and frequent noise it should come as no surprise that we would experience hearing loss. We become dull in our hearing first and then our heart even grows dull, heavy burdened. Then, sensitivity is lost, All because of the noise constantly bombarding our ears and taking root in our heart.
From the early first century, we have writings speaking to this very issue.
“Your heart has grown dull of hearing and your ears can barely hear.” Matthew 13:15 ESV
“You have become dull of hearing…” Hebrews 5:11 ESV
“Dull” in the original languages in the Hebrews text means, “sluggish, lazy; stupid, dull & slothful.” “Dull” in the Matthew text means, “heavy, weighty, burdensome, grave. Grievous, heavy.” And it is taken from a word meaning, “going down; a load. Abundance, authority – burdensome, weight.”(3)
The writers here, in the first century are speaking of people’s hearing becoming weighed down, burdensome, and even stupid with an abundance of authority loading on weights. Humph, sounds very familiar…
Here’s a look at how another first century writer describes the things that dull people’s hearing.
In the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV
No wonder my hearing had become dull. The noise coming at me was alot of this garbage! It was loud. It was constant. It was burdensome, heavy and stupid! It had found it’s way into my hearing mechanism and further complicated my hearing process. (Just what I needed… NOT!)
I did as the audiologists (2) suggest – “If you have normal hearing and want to keep it that way…
- avoid loud & constant noise
- use healthy practices when listening to music
- avoid substances that harm your ears
- don’t let stuff (ear wax) build up
- be aware of infections
- check your heart condition
So I: turned off my 1 hour a day news show, the radio and canceled certain streaming. I choose to listen to only things, videos, and podcasts that would build up my faith. I avoided all things negative or harmful to my hearing and faith. I got rid of stuff building up inside of me, perhaps causing infections by having more serious prayer time. I asked the Lord to heal my heart and remove all hardness and infection.
I realized that my faith, personal convictions and reliance on Christ was dependent on my hearing. “Faith comes from hearing…” Romans 10:17 ESV
I couldn’t hear because of all the noise, so I cut the noise and increased those things that would build my faith. I listened to uplifting, encouraging, and spiritually nutritional things cuz I wanted by faith and reliance on Jesus renewed, and cleaned up.
My hearing has improved but only because I never again want to say or experience, “I can’t hear for all the noise.”
How’s your hearing?
- Centers for Disease Control cdc.gov
- Audiologynow.org – Sandra WIlliams 10.25.22; New Hampshire Hearing Institute, NHHI, nhhearinginstitute.com
- The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, James Strong, LLD. STD.