“God Has a Plan and It includes You

God has a plan

Numbers 1-2 It has been two full years and still, the people are no closer to the Promised Land than the last experience of the Passover night or their exodus from Egypt. Yet, God’s plan is to bring the Israelites to the Promised Land. As part of that plan, He has Moses begin numbering the men twenty years and older to be His servants in peacetime and in war. What we lack in comprehension, the Holy Spirit reveals to us in our understanding. God wants us to know that He is a God of details. He knows when a sparrow falls; He knows each hair on your head. God has a plan, and your name was on it from eternity past.

God knew that Moses needed others to serve, and God devised a plan for His people. From every tribe, men were to be ready to serve in whatever capacity God had planned. That was then, and it is the same today. God cares for you, and He has chosen you for His kingdom’s work. He calls you His servant. A servant serves others even when inconvenient, whether he or she dislikes the duty.  The circumstances are unimportant. God is looking at our heart’s attitude towards His work.

 In eternity past, He chose you and me for His work, and God did all of that so men who are in spiritual darkness will hear the good news. He uses people like you and me. Amazingly God wants to be glorified through us. Stop and think about that today and praise God for His lovingkindness that He chose you for His work. It is called evangelism.

What work are you doing today that will glorify Him?

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Is Holiness a Puzzle? And If so, what is the missing piece?

Jesus is the missing piece to be holy

Leviticus 21 What does it mean to be holy in an unholy world? It means that we stand apart from that which is profane. It means that we see ourselves as saved by His grace and cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. It means we are to ask ourselves if we are partnering with those who do not believe. It means we are to come out from among them and be pure, which seems like a strict order as we move and live in a godless society, but so did Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Esther, Ruth, and Jesus.

So back to our question: what does it mean to be holy?  It means that we are to remember that we are part of the priesthood of believers only because of the gift of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It means what God gave Aaron and the High Priest as a standard applies to us in our present age. We do it when we present Christ as His ambassadors and implore them to be reconciled to God in the same way we were. It means that we mirror Christ in our walk and talk, and we can only do that when we know God. We know His character, His motives for our holiness, His standards of purity and righteousness.

God has said over and over: you should be holy because I am holy. You are my people, and thus you stand before an unholy world. The question before us is; are we a holy separated people?  Only through Jesus can we have the missing puzzle pieces of purity, righteousness, and honor.

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The Gift that Keeps on Giving

God gifts men/women to do the work of the ministry

Exodus 36 to 38 That phrase was coined in the early ’20s to sell Victor Radios, but, in reality, chapter 36 shows us the gift that keeps on giving. God is the one who gifts each person. He gifted the artisans to build the Tabernacle, but He also gifted the people with a willing heart to give to the work. No matter where God has placed you, you have been equipped to do the work of the ministry.

Thinking through all that the supervisor Bezalel had on his plate, he must have learned quite a bit in Egypt. We wonder what his “job” was there. In Exodus 5, we read “The Israelite foremen.” Was Bezalel one of those who learned how to direct a crew that would be under him to build? Where did he learn the working in gold? Did he learn it back in Egypt and now wondered how God was going to use him? That’s how I think. God and I have a conversation: I tell God, “don’t waste this,” use me in your work with the skills you have given to me. What do you say to God?

My father-in-law, was one who could “see” how something was made. If something broke, he would always say, if someone built it, then someone can fix it. He could study a broken piece and could see beneath the outer to the inner and then repair it or rebuild it into a new piece. He passed that on to DA, and he is always saying to me: if someone designed it, then someone can fix it. Both my father-in-law and my husband were/are amazing.

My own Dad didn’t live long enough for me to really understand his gifts, or for me to appreciate them, but he had an inner gift of tenderness that he passed on to me. He could see where a heart was hurting, and he could reach out to fix that broken heart. Unfortunately, his gift was short-lived, and the one person he needed to reach most, he was not able to. I can’t wait to get to heaven and talk to Bezalel and Oholiab and rekindle that relationship with “Grandpa Floyd.”

The people gave willingly and had to be restrained finally. Do I give voluntarily, or do I hold back and wait? God has blessed us. Are we giving willingly and without thinking about the amount or the gift but only that it is being used for God’s kingdom work?

Perhaps you don’t see yourself as a Bezalel or a Oholiab, but only see yourself as a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord.[Ps 84:10] God can use your talents wherever He has chosen.  All He asks is for a willing heart.

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Is Your Heart Soft or Hard?

Soft hearts can see God in creation

Exodus 7  to 9   Pride goeth before a fall, and Pharaoh will learn how true that is. God sent the brothers Aaron and Moses to speak to Pharaoh: “Let My people go.” In return, Pharaoh responded, “Do a miracle,” and so they did.  Unimpressed, Pharaoh has his magicians work their magic to turn rods into serpents, but surprise, surprise; the rod of Aaron ate up the magician’s serpents. Pharaoh’s response? He hardened his heart just as God said he would. It was not until the third miracle that even the magicians realized that God’s finger was in it, but Pharaoh hardened his heart.  God provides the evidence, but man must make the decision.

We are living the pandemic life, and the world is searching for answers, and like Pharaoh, the hearts of the world remain hardened. As Paul noted in Romans 1:20; they see the invisible attributes of God in the sunsets and sunrises, the path of the sun and moon, and still, they say: “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice? …I do not know the LORD.”[Ex 5:2] It is because of these prideful statements that we must carry the gospel message to them, EVEN IF they respond like Pharaoh. We must do this because “God is not willing any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” [2Pet 3:9] Moses and Aaron were God’s servants. Are we?  

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When Bad Things Happen to Good People

God cares for his own

Gen 41 and 42 Jacob had 12 sons; one was sold, the other remains at home. Christ had 12 disciples, one sold the Savior, and one lied to save his skin. The family dynamics continue. Yet, God in His providence guided each family group to lead others into His saving grace even though they would traverse the hard paths of life until God refined them until they shone like gold.

If we only see Joseph in prison, we have failed to see the hand of God’s providential care for him. God raised Joseph that he might be a savior in times of famine. In a similar way, we can see God’s providential care for the disciples through thick and thin that they might be prepared to share the good news of the gospel to a lost and dying world.

As you look back over your life, can you name the times God providentially protected you and then used you in the lives of others? Do you give God the praise when you can see His hand at work? “You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now, but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with indescribable and glorious joy” [1Pet 1:8]

Job understood that truth: “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” [Job 23:10]

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Molded for His purpose

Do I see myself on the potter's wheel?

Genesis 30 and 31 Integrity

Neither Jacob nor Laban are considered to be faithful and men of integrity. Their words and actions reveal their hearts, but when Jacob remarks, “my integrity will testify for me later on,” we want to add our yes and amen. How often do we echo words such as those and then wonder where did that thought come from? We want to ask Jacob; Do you really believe that truth, or is this how you want to be known? 

Did Jacob really think he was a righteous man? No one is righteous apart from the saving grace of our Lord. [Rom 3:10] God wants us to know this truth: “He/God guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” [Psalm 23] It isn’t for us but for God. He is the master potter, and He molds the clay for His purposes. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand,” [Jer 18:1-6]

We are a sinful people and in need of His righteousness so He can guide us step by step. That is why God has put those words in that psalm. God has given us examples to ask: how is God guiding them; is God guiding me? In the case of Jacob, we can say yes— even though he hasn’t yet come to grips with his deceptive ways, God is at work in his life molding him just as He is in yours and mine. 

 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” [Eph 2:10]

Your thoughts? Love to hear what you think.

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HALLELUJAH!

Praise the Lord !

Revelation 19 “Hallelujah to the King of Kings”

We have walked through the Tribulation and seen the horrors that only the evil enemy could devise, and yet in the midst of these chapters, we have found the glory of the Lord and have stopped to praise Him for His mercy, His lovingkindness, and His grace. Now with all of heaven, we can shout “Hallelujah.”

The word hallelujah is only found in the book of the Revelation in the NT but is often found in the Psalms (see examples below) as Hallelujah or Praise the Lord. “Hallelujah is an English transliteration of hallalouia, which is a Greek transliteration (not translation) of a Hebrew term, which means, “Praise Jehovah.” [sola scriptura]

Psa 113:1 Praise the Lord! Praise, you servants of the Lord, praises the name of the Lord!

Psa 146:1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!

Psa 149:1 Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song! Praise Him in the assembly of the godly!

Take time today to meditate upon that word. Give the Lord Praise! Hallelujah! Then compose a prayer to Him, for He alone is glorious, righteous, and deserving of praise.

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“Is Your Faithfulness True?”

Faithfulness: like a morning mist or like the noonday sun?

Hosea 5 to 7 Hosea reminds the Israelites that God sees their unfaithfulness just like the morning mist which disappears with the sun. He reminded them that instead of seeking God they sought Assyria.  Their sacrifices lay upon the altars but are not consumed because of their broken relationship.  God is calling them, and us, to delight in Him alone!  He delights in our faithfulness to Him that He might sanctify us. He is not interested in sacrifices. Instead He delights in our acknowledgment of Him.

The world is saying: God is archaic! God’s words do not bring hope!  Hebrews reminds us that because God is omniscient we should be careful not to “be carried away by all sorts of strange teachings.” Instead, cling to this truth: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” [Heb 13] because even if “Heaven and earth pass away, His words will never pass away.” [Mark 13]

Beloved, where have you fallen for the mantra of the idols of wood, stone, and that which perishes?  God is saying I delight in faithfulness, not simply sacrifice. God says “return to me, and I will return to you.” [Mal 3]

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Seeing God’s Glory

God's glory is all about us

Ezekiel 43 Pray for eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to understand.

More than any other OT prophet, Ezekiel gives us a front-row seat to see God’s action amongst his people regarding the Temple. He begins in chapter one with the vision of God’s glory and His voice telling him to “go and tell.” In chapter 10, we reencountered it, but this time the glory of the Lord is leaving the Temple. Now in chapter 43, Ezekiel is privileged to see the glory of the Lord, but this time he is seeing the Lord returning to the Temple.

What must it have been like to encounter the glory of the Lord? When the Shekinah glory overshadowed the Temple, all the people prostrated themselves. Then, Isaiah seeing God’s glory fell on his face. The three disciples, James, John, and Peter, saw Christ transfigured, and they too prostrated themselves. There on the Isle of Patmos, the Apostle John prostrated himself as well. So, you ask, what is the point? The point is that when we come face to face with God and His glory, we should bow in humble adoration and reverence His presence.

If you ever find yourself saying I wish I could be like those listed here who have seen—stop and consider God’s creation, a newborn baby or a new born again believer.

God’s glory is all about us.

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