Well, the gentleman I mentioned yesterday contacted me to let me know he had an interview for a new position. He asked for prayer. He then contacted me yesterday afternoon saying with much excitement that he had been given the job! Our God is truly one of much mercy and compassion. What a privilege we have to serve Him!
As the book of Joshua begins, Joshua is given opportunity to demonstrate his anointing as their leader replacing Moses. Joshua had served under Moses for the entire 40 years they’d spent in the wilderness. Now it was time for the people to transfer their trust in Moses to that of Joshua. It is fascinating that Joshua hears God speaking to him directly now, just as God had spoken directly to Moses. Joshua 3:7 says: “The Lord said to Joshua, ‘This day I will begin to magnify you in the sight of all Israel, so they may know that as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.'”
God did a lot of grooming getting Moses ready to be the leader. In the 40 years Joshua served under Moses, God was preparing him. Now that he is the leader God speaks directly to him. I don’t think this has changed in any way since that time. God does speak to us and Jesus even gave us the Gift of the Holy Spirit within us for this very purpose. God wants to groom us just as He did these saints of long ago. I want to be “groomable” (if that’s a word) for our Lord and Savior and hear the voice of His Spirit within me.
A newcomer was part of our group last night at Celebrate Recovery. It was my turn to take a newcomer through what is called “101”. It is an introduction to someone who has come for the first time. During the hour we talked deeply about what the ministry is and isn’t as well as why he had come and what got me started. As I reread yesterday’s blog entry I am quickly reminded that God’s Brilliant Light does shine through us if we allow it through our obedience.
Having been gone for the past two weeks I was looking forward to attending the small group time last night which reconnects me with the other men. The 101 time with a newcomer is at the same time as the small group. However, there is nothing more gratifying than having a chance to see the Light of Hope click on when someone sees and hears this HOPE promise of God is for them. This man had just lost his job due to his addiction. His wife knew of our CR so he came to “try it out”. His words were, “I can’t believe it is right here at my family’s church.” His wife and kids attended but he didn’t. He had come last Sunday for the first time and recommitted his life to God. Now He is ready to address his addiction with the overcoming strength only God can provide.
God is such a loving, caring God, far above what anyone can possibly imagine! How grateful I am to be His child.
Today Moses gave his final address to the Israelites. In chapter 32 of Deuteronomy he does this. However, as I began to read it I found the wording so different than all of his other ones. As I got to the end of it I found that it wasn’t a spoken speech, but words of a song which the people were to pass down to the generations which will follow them. I don’t know about you but I can easily recall the words of a song. The tune will always bring words out. It seems memory is more deeply rooted when the roots are nourished with a tune. God knows His creation well.
I am so impressed with this life of Moses. The word says he was as healthy at 120 as he had been throughout his life. God had mightily used him. When God had approached Moses 40 or so years earlier in the burning bush he knew of God, now he knew God and God had used him to lead an entire nation to its Promised Land.
I don’t know what God might be saying to you, but I do know He asks me to help lead His children out of their darkness of sin into His Brilliant Light. God has shown me His Light in so many restoring ways over the past few years. Sharing this Light with others is my heart’s desire.
Moses is coming to the end of his life and he is giving the final instructions to the Israelites. During the 40 years of their wanderings in the desert the entire population of these people have died with the exception of Moses, Joshua and Caleb. All others are the children of the disobedient. Moses is doing his best to let this new population know it is up to them to choose who they will serve. He gives them ample evidence for doing so. They know all the stories of why their parents couldn’t go into the land they are about to enter. All of this is clearly written in the latter chapters of Deuteronomy.
What really hits me personally about all of this is the stress of obedience. Obedience is what provides peace and actually freedom to live well. This is true in most situations of life. Obedience is much easier when you have a genuine love and respect for the one/s you are being obedient to. In this case the Israelites are to be obedient to the laws of God. What seems to be missing is their personal relationship with God. Their relationship was more with a man named Moses and soon to be given over to Joshua.
I’m challenged in reading this because I spent most of my life trying to obey a God I feared far more than I loved. I had a lot of pent up hurt I needed to process with Him but feared doing it. Thus, my relationship with God was hugely distorted. This journey of living out the past 12 years has given me not only an immense love for God, but it has also given me an intimate connection with Him through Jesus Christ. The importance of The Holy Spirit continues to grow within me too. Becoming obedient to this FATHER is so much different when I cherish Him rather than fear Him. He truly is worthy of all Praise!
The power of God’s Word is endless for the strength within it comes from the very core of where power resides–God Himself. As I was reading Deuteronomy 28 this morning I was overcome with this truth. God’s Word is just as genuine for today as it was predictive and true at the time Moses wrote it. One should never lose sight of this.
My sis was better yesterday and knows she needs to get to her doctor which she promises to do. I love her beyond words, but we all have our humanness which can get directly in the way of right thinking. I am no different.
Today I am challenged to surrender all “will” to God Almighty. This is not the “will” of a verb but the “will” of a noun. I will go to work today, but in so doing my will is going to be surrendered to do only God’s Will as He nudges me. Both of my devotionals were directly talking about this surrender and then my scripture reading in Deuteronomy 28 and 29 tell directly what happens when we obey God completely and also what happens when we don’t obey.
Our country and our world need each one of us to be on our knees in complete surrender of our will so that God’s Will will be done because of our obedience. His promises of blessing are true just as His promises of demise are true if we continue our disobedience. Now is the time for total surrender of our selfish will in every aspect of our lives. I stand at the front of the line in the need to do just this–“God, I surrender my will so Your Will will be accomplished. Amen”
Today I return to one of the schools for which I consult. I’m looking forward to this. I awoke to find a text message from my niece in California saying my sis just older than me had fallen yesterday and so my nephew had gone to help and spend the night with her. It makes my heart so sad to realize once again just how fragile we are. Instead of being a thousand miles away, I want to be next door. I’m so glad her two sons and daughter-in-laws are not too far away.
My devotional time this morning awoke once again my need to trust. I wrote about it yesterday but in the moment I so easily forget. I don’t want to trust, I want to be where the hurt, problem, strife is as though my presence makes the difference. Then, I take a breath and realize it is God’s presence that makes all the difference in the world. Yes, for the physical side of life, it is nice to have physical presence. Yet, in the spiritual side of life it is God’s presence which makes all the difference. God’s peace is eternal. Our presence only brings very momentary peace if any at all. Today I’m reminded again to trust and respond to God’s nudges through His Holy Spirit.
We made it home without even a single hitch. I had wondered with all of the current impacts of Covid what we may encounter. However, in all three legs of the trip, every flight was on time and the sailing was smooth. As we got home I had a couple hours of daylight left. It was to freeze hard last night so I quickly picked the tomatoes ready, mowed the lawn, and harvested the winter squash. These were the last of the produce I wanted for winter. There was just enough time to get this done.
Today’s devotional time reestablished every reason to be back home– TRUST. I wouldn’t have thought this pandemic’s impact on me personally would be as it is. However, this morning as I began to journal I found myself fearing what I’d find with the consulting work, our church’s ministries, etc. It just seemed there was darkness. As I continued with my devotions God was speaking clearly. His Light is for today. Today there is Light. I can see what I am to do today. Tomorrow there will be God’s Light provided at that time. TRUST is the Light of tomorrow for man (me). I can only see it when I look to God. When I look at this present darkness I don’t see any light until I look up. My devotional time was a wonderful reminder to look up!
As I entered into my adult years I knew I couldn’t do so if I were human as man is. Somehow I had to be better than that. The sexual abuse to my body had left me unable to be clean. The verbal and physical abuse had left me believing it for I was unworthy of anything but this. I worked endlessly to be good so I wouldn’t be this man I thought I was. Of course I failed always because I always looked just like man to the world around me. God has taught me that I am ok simply being a man. He created me as man. He redeemed me through His Son Jesus just as He redeemed all mankind who receive the redemption of Christ’s Work on the Cross. It was never going to be my work, I finally have learned that the work was done so long ago. How glorious our GREAT GOD IS!
Fourteen days have come and gone and it is now time to return home which we will do at noon today. I don’t care how long I’m gone from home, I have always had a sincere sense of return in me which starts a day or so before hand. This trip however, I have not had that happen until this morning. Even then it is not strong. As I prayed over my prayer list I see all the reasons to be going home. I continue to pray for our family here, but there are also others God has placed in my life. He wants me to continue my time there. It is obviously not done. In fact, I go home with a clearer vision in my head than when we left only 2 weeks ago.
Today’s devotional reading talks directly about what saves us. For so long I wanted all the “good things” I did to hopefully save me. Actually I didn’t question so much that I would be saved, but that God would somehow begin to like this person (me) He saved through His Son’s sacrifice on the Cross. Now I know beyond a shadow of doubt that God was never the one not liking me. I didn’t like myself thinking so wrongly about about past sin and its effect.
I go home today with the reminder that so many others I work with in our ministry of restoration have this same struggle. As we face the giants in their lives I want to remind them of God’s faithfulness and His gentle love He has for them even during this grueling time in their lives. Yes, it is time to go home and I do so with a clear next step. God is always the answer!
I was jolted yesterday afternoon with a text message asking me if I were attending the zoom meeting taking place right then and actually starting 20 minutes prior to this? I had completely forgotten it and even had a reminder for it on my phone. I just was lost in what we had been doing with my daughter and her church. I quickly got on line for the meeting and soon thereafter learned that the consulting work may have to go back to virtual. I was not only sickened to hear this, but I quickly found it was true for many of us (a total of 9). I kept telling myself that I need to sit this angst aside and trust God. In the night I awoke several times with different dreams. All of them representing my pent up emotions.
This morning as I began to journal I found myself asking God what He wanted me to know. His instant reminder was that He is not only God, He IS GOD. There is nothing fragile about Him, His Love, His Guidance, His Leadership. He wants me to not only trust Him, but to completely lean on Him. Because nothing He does is fragile, I don’t need to fret as though it is. All of man’s thinking and Satan’s influences may want me to see fragility, but God instead, wants me to look up and see HIM. There is no weakness in this at all. He is not only my GOD, His Son is my Savior and Lord, His Spirit lives within me. What more confidence and strength do I need?
With all of that, the message is the same–we may need to go virtual. I step into this message trusting!
It is amazing to watch over the years how roles shift for which we play. It has been almost 25 years now that we helped move our daughter to Oklahoma City to finish her college degree, marry her husband, start a career and so forth. Over these years they found their church fit and have been devoted to serving God there. However, over the 25 years they have shifted from being the newcomers who were appreciated for making this church their home, to now being the ones ministering to others and helping them find a home in their church. Not only is this true for them, but their own children are integral in doing their part and their kids enjoy it.
We all struggle at times to find our niche in all of life. Church service and doing God’s bidding of our lives is sometimes a struggle. However, it is easier to see God’s overall work when you observe someone else’s life than it is doing this for your own self. It is nice to help others define their purpose and help them recognize that within the drama Satan wants to create in our lives doesn’t stop God’s use of the service we do from His inspiration within us.
Satan always wants to inhibit any good work done for The Master. So, we never want to take our eyes off of Him for it is there we find our daily focus and the Light for moving forward.