Monday, January 15, 2018

BIG ASSIGNMENTS

The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children (Ex 12:37-38).

How does God prepare someone for big assignments? Consider the mission given to Moses. He was called to deliver an entire nation from slavery. The assignment was to bring six hundred thousand men, on foot, out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. In addition, there were the women and children. Talk about a big assignment! Imagine the logistics of such an endeavor.
God prepared Moses by allowing him to grow up from infancy under the ways of Egypt. He learned their customs, their idols, and was a favored son of Pharaoh until God revealed his birthright. He began to realize God had placed him in the court of Pharaoh but realized he was not one of them. He was being called back to his own people. He tried to deliver his people using the ways of Egypt. This was not God's way. So, God banished him to the land of Midian for additional training.
God guided Moses to Midian because the Midianites were of the seed of Abraham, and retained the worship of the true God among them. God allowed Moses to learn the trade of shepherding sheep for forty years. Moses learned while living in the arid dry land moving sheep around to places where water and grass could be found. The desert was a place of preparation for one of the greatest assignments given to one man. Did you hear what I just said? Yes, the desert was the place of preparation.
Moses was battle-trained in the same environment he would spend another forty years to bring a stubborn and willful people out of slavery.
What kind of assignment is God preparing you for? Does He have you in the desert of preparation? Learn well the lessons you are there to learn. You may find you are called to be a deliverer, just like Moses.

Friday, January 12, 2018

THE PURPOSE OF THE DESERT

Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. - Hosea 2:14

If you have an important message to convey to someone, what is the best means of getting the message
through? Have you ever tried to talk with someone who was so busy you could not get him to hear you? Distractions prevent us from giving our undivided attention to the messenger. So too, God has His way of taking us aside to get our undivided attention. For Paul, it was Arabia for three years; for Moses, it was 40 years in the desert; for Joseph, it was 13 years in Egypt; for David, it was many years of fleeing from King Saul.
God knows the stubborn human heart. He knows that if He is to accomplish His deepest work, He must take us into the desert in order to give us the privilege to be used in His Kingdom. In the desert God changes us and removes things that hinder us. He forces us to draw deep upon His grace. The desert is only a season in our life. When He has accomplished what He wants in our lives in the desert, He will bring us out. He has given us a mission to fulfill that can only be fulfilled after we have spent adequate time in preparation in the desert. Fear not the desert, for it is here you will hear God's voice like never before. It is here you become His bride. It is here you will have the idols of your life removed. It is here you begin to experience the reality of a living God like never before. Someone once said, "God uses enlarged trials to produce enlarged saints so He can put them in enlarged places!"
He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me (2 Samuel 22:20).

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

COMING OUT OF THE STRONGHOLD

..."Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah"... - 1 Samuel 22:5

David and his fighting men had been hiding in the cave of Adullam. He was fleeing Saul. Many of life's down-and-out had come and joined David's army. David was content to stay in the stronghold of safety. Then, God's prophet came to David and told him that he must leave the stronghold and go into the land of Judah.
When life beats down on us and we get to the place where we want to hide in a cave, God often places people around us who prod us into moving in the right direction. He does not want us to remain in the place of discouragement. He wants us to move into the land of "praise." Judah means "praise."
I recall when I went through a very difficult time. It seemed to drag on and on with no change until finally I wanted to retreat to a cave and forget pressing on. It was a great time of discouragement. A godly man came to me and said, "You must keep moving! There are too many who are depending on you in the Kingdom." I didn't totally understand what he meant at the time. Now I know he was saying that God is preparing each of us to be the vessel He wants to use in the life of another person, but we will never be that vessel if we give up and hide in our cave of discouragement. Not only must we keep moving, we must move into a new realm. Our attitude must move from discouragement to praise. It is when we move past discouragement to praise that we begin living above our problems. Make a decision today to go into the land of Judah.

Monday, January 8, 2018

THE QUESTION OF CALLING

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints? (Eph 1:18-19).

Os Hillman shared these; "I walked up to the man and said, "Hello, my name is Os. What's yours?" His name was also Os - Os Guinness. It was the first time he had ever had such an experience. We chuckled about our unique names.
Os Guinness was named after Oswald Chambers. He has become a well-known contemporary writer and has a real interest in the subject of "calling" just as I do. He has written a masterful work entitled, "The Call." In it he shares some important truths about "calling".
"What do I mean by 'calling'? For the moment, let me say simply that "calling" is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.
There is a distinction between a later, special calling and our original, ordinary calling. Selfishness prefers the first, but stewardship respects both. A special calling refers those tasks and missions laid on individuals through a direct, specific, supernatural communication from God. Ordinary calling, on the other hand, is the believer's sense of life-purpose and life-task in response to God's primary call, 'follow me,' even when there is no direct, specific, supernatural communication from God about a secondary calling.
In other words, ordinary calling can be seen in our responsibility to exercise a high degree of 'capitalist-style' enterprise about how we live our lives. For example, the servants in Jesus' parable for the talents and pounds were assessed according to how they 'got on with it' when the master was away. In this sense no follower of Christ is without a calling, for we all have an original calling even if we do not all have a later, special calling. And, of course, some people have both."*
We are all called to Someone first, then something. As we grow in our knowledge and obedience to Christ, God fulfills our calling in life.

*Os Guinness, The Call, Word Books, Nasvhille, TN p. 4, 48 1998

Friday, January 5, 2018

THE PURPOSE OF ELEVATION

"And the Lord said to Joshua, 'This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.'" (Josh 3:7-8).
Joshua had been a faithful number two man under Moses for 40 years. Can you imagine serving one man for 40 years? Now that is faithfulness!
Even so, when the time came to pass the mantel to Joshua, God knew he needed to be elevated in the eyes of the people in order for Joshua to accomplish his purpose. That is the purpose for elevation - so that you and I can fulfill our purpose and our mission.
We are not called to elevate ourselves. If we elevate ourselves before our time we will short circuit God's plans for our lives. We will not have the same level of grace as we would have if it were in God's perfect timing. Jesus refused to let others elevate Him or make Him into something contrary to His purpose. Moving into a job or responsibility before we are ready is a formula for failure. We may not be mature enough. We may not have the proper skill set.
Let God elevate you in His timing and you will be successful in the thing He created you to be and do.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

MANAGEMENT BY FORCE

"Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink." - Numbers 20:8

Moses and the people had been traveling for days without water. The people were thirsty. They were complaining and grumbling about their plight, and Moses became the object of their complaining. Moses sought the Lord for wisdom on how to handle the situation. The Lord instructed him to speak to the rock and water would flow. This would be a sign that God was still in control, that Moses was still the leader, and that God was their provider.
When it came time to speak to the rock, Moses' disgust with the people became so great that instead of speaking to the rock, he angrily addressed the people and then struck the rock twice. The water came out, in spite of Moses' disobedience. But the Lord was not pleased with Moses.
This was a time for Moses to operate at a higher level. No longer was he called to touch things with his staff to perform miracles; it was a time for him to speak to the problem. His very words would have changed the situation. Moses' staff represented two things-his physical work as a shepherd of sheep and his spiritual work as a shepherd of the people. God was calling him to move into a new dimension of using his staff. Up to now, Moses had always been commanded by God to touch something to perform the miracle. Now it was time to speak God's word to the problem.
However, Moses made the mistake many of us make. He used his instrument with force to accomplish something for God. He took something God wanted to be used in a righteous manner and used it in an unrighteous manner. He used force to solve the problem. This disobedience cost Moses his right to see the Promised Land.
Have you ever been tempted to use your power, skill, and ability to force a situation to happen, perhaps even out of anger? God is calling us to use prayer to move the face of mountains. The force of our ability is not satisfactory. God is calling each of us to a new dimension of walking with Him. Pray that God will give you the grace to wait on Him and not take matters into your own hands. Then you will not be in jeopardy of failing to move into the Promised Land in your life.

Monday, January 1, 2018

THE FINAL BATTLE

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war (Rev 19:11-12).
I used to love old western movies growing up. So often the main characters would get into trouble and just in the nick of time the cavalry would show up blowing their trumpet and riding their horses to announce their arrival to save those in trouble.
Throughout our lives a battle is waged between Satan and God's Kingdom. There is a final battle coming that will see Jesus and His army invade the enemies of His kingdom. It is the great climax to thousands of years of warfare.
"He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (Rev 19:12-16).
We are all moving toward a day in which we will be judged: "The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books" (Rev 20:12-13). Ultimately, we will all reign with Christ in a new heaven and earth (Rev 21). How you live your life now will determine your role in the new heaven and earth.
Your life on earth is a mere blink on the scale of time. Whatever hardships you've faced on earth will pale in comparison to the glory that is to be revealed when the marriage of the Bride of Christ takes place on that final day.
Be faithful. Stand firm. And see the glory of the Lord. Amen.