'One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father —the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.'
Most have heard of the burning bush and how God used this to show Moses great things. One of the most thrilling things about this passage to me is that God points out He is the God of Jacob. He says He is the God of the deceiver (Jacob means deceiver and he certainly lived up to his name). God loves us even in our failures. He loves us in the parts that aren’t all that redeeming or admirable. Keep this in mind if you begin to feel down on yourself. Remember God is on your side and He has chosen you - He is the God of _____ (add your name). How awesome is that?
*originally published October 2020
You know, I've prayed for peace....a lot. This particular morning I read something new about the difference between peace and Shalom. Peace is something that we can look at someone and say they have internally, but Shalom can translate to external things. Some of the words that were mentioned that may indicate Shalom were “wellness,” “completeness,” “perfection,” “safety,” “soundness,” “success,” “wholeness,” "health".
Peace does come only from God, and of course only God can grant Shalom, but it looks like for Shalom to occur we also have to participate.... It's something that we have some responsibility in.
Just some thoughts that I've had this morning after my devotions.
The Importance of Mission/Vision
I have a confession: I am not much of a baker. To me, the process is intimidating. I try to do it periodically, but I always wind up getting stressed out. Baking for me is too precise. It requires a lot of *specific* ingredients that need to be done in a *specific* way. However, I always try to be *that girl* who bakes….and enjoys it...sometimes that works.
It got me thinking about how the precision of it parallels what Pastor Don talked about this past week.
When we have a vision for something we know the end result and what we want that to look like. Somewhat like a cake and how that process goes. Stick with me here...I think it may eventually make sense.
When I think of a baked cake and how it relates to vision, I think of the ingredients and their origins. If I were to plan to bake and serve a three layer chocolate cake, I would start with flour, eggs and milk amongst other things. To ensure I have these ingredients, I have to go to the store. Prior to that, however, the flour, eggs and milk have various points of production that I have nothing to do with, but without them, my cake would not exist.
A lot goes into the prep work for me to be able to bake a cake! A lot of it has nothing to do with me, but my family benefits from me baking this cake (if I do it right).
The same can be discussed with mission/vision. We know what we want the end result to look like and we do the work surrounding it, but we do rely on others to do what is necessary to get the expected end result. In ways, we work with the farmers that provide as well as the truck drivers who deliver and the store staff who make it available.
When we are on mission together for a vision (in our case, loving God and one another in order to serve the world), we rely on each other to do our part. The Bible talks about how we all have gifts that are necessary for the forward-movement of the kingdom, but they are all different. While we are endeavoring in this season to begin reaching in bigger and better ways, begin to think about how you fit into the process of “baking the cake”. Whether you are the baker or the farmer; the truck driver or the store manager, you are bringing a vital part into the mission. WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS….TOGETHER!
'We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose, '
We need to care for those who are desperate and easily taken advantage of, who don't have anyone to represent them. The Bible has made it clear that God is on their side.
God is a God that shows beauty in everything. I wish we could get another season of summer in before going to our fall, but in this season we may see things dying all around us. But is it truly dying or is it just taking time to replenish itself? As the Earth changes and goes through each season, fall is the one where we see things turning brown and dry. And we tend to think that Winter is that of which stuff is dying all around. But it isn't truly about death and dying, it's about replenishment. Everything that we think is done for now, everything that loses its leaves and color and looks dead in the fall is just saving itself and letting itself rebuild for Spring. Look at all our deciduous trees in the area, we have the most gorgeous colors in the fall. But those trees are preparing and replenishing themselves in this time to get ready for Spring with the vibrant greens that we see.
As we go into this changing season I believe we need to take a minute to remember that in these coming seasons we need to take time to replenish ourselves and not just let winter depress us and think negatively. But let it fulfill us and show us that we too need to slow down and take time to rebuild ourselves.
Identifying the battlefield
Do you know that there is a real daily battlefield going on in your life? It is a battlefield of good versus evil. Some days it is totally obvious but other days it is subtle or not even noticeable. The Word says that we are in a battle. It may not be one that we can see, but none-the-less, it is real. The Bible also tells us how to arm ourselves to win the battle.
There are many fronts to the battlefield. Most of us engage in emotional battles especially dealing with love, pain or disappointment. Then there are the intellectual battles of the mind. Also consider the physical battles of what to eat, how to eat and how to stay healthy in such an unhealthy world. Clearly the most significant is the spiritual battlefield. Ultimately this is an eternal life or death battle. Christians find their security in Christ; however, there is a real, day-to-day battle of flesh versus spirit which affects our peace of mind.
Half the battle is the awareness OF THE battle. This is not a “one and done” fight. It is an ongoing daily fight. We don’t get to “get it and set it”. It is imperative that we become aware of the impact of the daily voices and the daily choices!
You are in a battle but you are not alone–for all of God’s people fight this same fight. Make up your mind not to give up! Set your mind on things above and keep it set!
Question to Ponder:
How are you aware of this daily battlefield of voices and choices?
Oh Lord, I want to hear Your voice above all of the noise. Help me make a quiet choice to do so.
*Printed with author permission
God is NEVER CHANGING, but we are CONSTANTLY CHANGING. In a day and age where everything feels very uncertain, it’s comforting to know that though we may be varied in our reactions and our abilities, HE never does.
The beautiful thing about how God interacts with us and fellow human beings is that He made us all so unique and He considers that lovely. In Revelation, it speaks of our diversity and how that impacts the Heavenly realm:
After this, I saw a large crowd with more people than could be counted. They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands
I’m so GRATEFUL that God has given us the gift of our differences. It’s what makes this world such a beautiful place.
This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:15-16 NLT
I promise you God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth, but God will not allow anything you don't allow.