Monday, April 27, 2015

Your Red Sea Experience

Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again."  Exodus 14:13


We all at one time or another have experienced a Red Sea situation or circumstance.  We encounter circumstances in our life and we wonder how will we be able to get through this?   How will we come to the other side of this situation or circumstance unscathed?  We read in Exodus 14 that the Israelites are trapped between the mountains and the Red Sea with the Egyptians in hot pursuit.  The Egyptian army was upon them and the Israelites saw nothing but doom.  Their demise was near or so it seemed. 


What do we do when we encounter a situation such as this, a Red Sea experience?  We feel as if we are on the run.  We are trying to outrun or solve the situation or problem in our own power and our own strength.  We see no way how this situation can turn out for good.  All hope has been lost.  God tells us clearly, through the voice of Moses, what we need to do when we encounter our Red Sea experience. 


God tells us in Exodus 14:13 "do not fear."  How is that possible?  We can be fearless because Almighty God is always with us.  God tells us throughout Scripture that He is always with us and will never leave us, nor forsake us.  We are blessed with the indwelling Holy Spirit who will provide us with guidance, comfort, peace, and strength when we face our Red Sea experience.  Isaiah 41:11 tells us So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Often we overlook the hand of Almighty God because we are so focused on the difficult situation.  God is bigger than any situation or circumstance we will encounter here upon this earth.  Thank God for what He is doing and for what He will do in this situation, your Red Sea experience.


God tells us in Exodus 14:13 to "stand firm."  The Red Sea experience will often make us desire to turn and run or completely give up, but God is calling us to stand firm.  We are able to stand firm because Almighty God fights on behalf of His children.  Exodus 15:2-3 - The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.  He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.  The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.  God is working in the Heavenly realm on behalf of His children.  We can stand firm because God is working in all things, even this Red Sea experience, for the good of His children.  Romans 8:28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 


"Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today" - Exodus 14:13.  Be watchful as you go through your Red Sea experience.  Live in expectation of what Almighty God is doing and what He will do.  Place your eyes on your Savior and LORD.  Exodus 46:10 - He says, "Be still and know that I am God."


Dear Heavenly Father, we realize as we journey upon this earth we will encounter Red Sea situations and circumstances.  Help us LORD to be fearless, to stand firm, and to be watchful of what You are doing and what You will do.  In Jesus Name I Pray.....Amen.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Who Is This

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?"  Matthew 21:10


The day is Psalm Sunday, and Jesus arrives in Jerusalem.  Prophetic words had been spoken many, many years before about the coming Messiah entering Jerusalem riding a colt.  Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!  Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!  See your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey - Zechariah 9:9. Jesus boldly rode into Jerusalem as the King of peace, and the crowd gladly joined him spreading their cloaks and branches from the trees on the road.  Matthew 21:8 - A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  These same people who welcomed Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem as the Messiah, days later, would bow to political pressure and desert Him. 


The people praising God for giving them a king had the wrong idea about Jesus.  They expected Jesus to be a national leader that would restore the nation of Israel to its former glory.  Do you have the wrong idea about Jesus?  Do you believe that because He is your Savior and LORD you will live a life with no difficulties? 


Like those who witnessed Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem on this Palm Sunday, we have expectations for what we think God should do to make life better, safer, and more enjoyable.  Study the life of the disciples and you will see the many difficulties they faced.  Paul's life was difficult but he still continued to share the Gospel Message with the world.  Being a surrendered, committed follower of Christ does not mean that our life will be without hardship but the presence of God will always be with us enabling us to carry out His preordained purpose and plan for our life.  Philippians 4:13 - I can do all this through him who give me strength.  The power we receive in union with Jesus Christ enables us to do His will and face the challenges and hardships that we will encounter as we journey upon this earth.  We must be surrendered and committed to our Savior and LORD.  Prayerfully ask your LORD to reveal to you if you are truly surrendered and committed to your relationship with Him.   


Because of our relationship with our Savior and LORD, we can take courage when faced with struggles.  We are not alone because our Savior and LORD never will abandon His children.  We must remember that the ultimate victory has already been won.  We can claim the peace of Christ.  John 16:33 - I have told you these things, so you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world. 


So who is Jesus to you?  Is He your Savior and LORD?  Jesus is the "way."  Jesus is our path to God.  John 14:6 - Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your saving grace.  I pray that those who do not know You as Savior and LORD calls upon You to save their souls.  I pray they recognize You Jesus as the way.  In Jesus Name I pray.....Amen.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ministry of Presence

Actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.

 George Washington


The ministry of presence is a gift.  It is a quiet gift.  No words are needed or should be offered because often they are not helpful.  Often when illness occurs or tragedy strikes, the ministry of presence is all that is needed. 


When we study the Book of Job, we see a man who was a model of trust an obedience to God.  He was considered blameless and upright in the eyes of God.  Job 1:8 - Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job?  There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."  Even though Job was considered blameless and upright in the eyes of God, he still encountered suffering.  Job lost his possessions, his children, and ultimately his health.  Tragedy, one right after another occurred in the life of Job.  Nothing could be done or said to alleviate Job's grief or his pain.


Jobs friends heard of his suffering and went to offer him comfort.  Job 2:11 - When Job's three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.  These three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, were not only Job's friends but were also known for their wisdom.  In the end however, their wisdom provided no comfort for Job.  He needed the ministry of presence.  The words they delivered were often insensitive and provided no comfort.  We too must be careful when we reach out and attempt to comfort others with our words.  During grief and suffering just the presence of a friend provides more comfort than words ever could. 


For seven days and nights the three friends provided Job with the ministry of presence.  They sat with him.  No words were spoken.  They recognized how great his suffering was and offered their quiet presence as comfort.  They cried along with Job as he grieved the loss of his children and his health.  Job 2:12-13 - When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.  Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights.  No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.  Often the best response to another person's suffering and grief is silence.  When a person is emerged in the depths of pain and grief, words do not provide comfort.  Jobs pain was too deep to be healed with mere words. 


Often we feel like we must say something spiritual or insightful to a hurting friend when all they truly need is our presence.  Continuing to read through the Book of Job, we see that Job's friends did eventually speak but their presence in the first seven days provided more comfort than their words.  We need to remember that pat answers and trite quotations say much less than empathetic silence and loving companionship. 


Dear Heavenly Father, help us to offer the ministry of presence to those who are hurting.  I pray we will keep a tight rein on our tongues.  LORD enable us to be a comfort to our friends when they encounter times of suffering.  In Jesus Name I Pray.....Amen.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Feeling Invisible

From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind.  Psalm 33:13


Has there been a time when you have experienced feeling invisible?  You may feel you are unnoticed by others and even unnoticed by God.  Your heart aches and you ask questions such as, do others know who I am?  Does anyone know the real me?   Know today that you are not invisible to Almighty God.  You were created by God and blessed with unique gifts so that you can fulfill the wonderful calling He has placed upon your life.  For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well - Psalm 139:13-14. 


Often when we feel invisible, we begin to compare ourselves to others.  We also begin striving in our own strengths and abilities.  We must settle in our very souls that we are called to live our lives to bring honor and glory to our Savior and LORD.  When we begin to truly live our lives for God, we are able to stop the comparison game.  We seek God and His will and allow Him to direct our path.  We are able to live in peace and know that God sees.  We are not invisible.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.....Matthew 6:33. 


Hurts and disappointments will at times cause us to feel invisible.  We may draw away from family, friends, and even God.  Know that these feelings are a lie from the father of lies - Satan.  God is with us.  He is always with us, desiring us to reach out and seek Him.  You are seen by Almighty God.  Know you walk under His glorious gaze.  The LORD watches over you.....Psalm 121:5.  The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore - Psalm 121:8.  Wherever you are, no matter your situation or circumstances, Almighty God sees you.


Trust in God's presence.  He sees every tear you cry.  He sees your broken heart.  The pain of grief, sorrow, loss, and failure will often make us soul weary and cause us to feel invisible.  God promises His children that He is close to the broken hearted and He will be our source of power, courage, and strength.  The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit - Psalm 34:18.


Almighty God sees us and goes with us.  He directs our earthly journey.  And Almighty God always keeps His promises.  We can rest in knowing that we are always seen by our Savior and LORD.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your presence in our lives.  Help us to know that we are always in Your sight.  We are never invisible to You.  In Jesus Name I Pray.....Amen.