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March 5, 2010–Moses Goes “Postal”

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Numbers 19:1 through Numbers 21:35

As I read verses 1 through 13 of chapter 19, I felt so bad for Moses.  It seemed like something snapped!  It began like all the other times:

  • The Israelites did not get what they wanted, when they wanted it
  • They complained to Moses and Aaron
  • Moses and Aaron fell face down in front of the Lord
  • The Lord God gloriously appeared to them and gave them instructions

It looked as if Moses and Aaron were  following God’s instructions to the letter, Moses took his staff, Aaron summoned the people and then everything changed…

“Listen you rebels!  Must we (who is we? Moses and Aaron) bring you water out of this rock?” And then instead of speaking to the rock, Moses struck the rock twice!

What caused Moses to take matters into his own hands?  It seemed as if he heard the Lord’s instructions, said okay and then “something” came over him and he just lost it!  I guess Moses reached his limit with these people.  The interesting thing is in previous times of frustration Moses talked to God about it and God calmed him down; this time he didn’t say a word.  He just went off!

There’s more to this story.  Even though Moses directly disobeyed God, God still caused the water to gush out.  Why didn’t God strike Moses dead as He had done with others who were disobedient?  Why didn’t He leave Moses to make his own miracle happen?

This is my opinion but I think God did not want the people to lose respect for Moses and Aaron.  It seemed like an act of mercy and grace on God’s part and God being true to His covenant with Abraham.  But there were still consequences (we’ve heard a lot about consequences this week).

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron privately and told them exactly what the problem was:  “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!” (20:12)

Wow!  Trusting God and demonstrating His holiness are a really big deal to our Heavenly Father.  What do these two phrases really mean?

  • Trusting God: Believing He knows what’s best
  • Demonstrating His Holiness:  Honoring God by showing our trust and respect for his decisions in the presence of other people

Friends, these 13 verses speak loudly to me:

  • Go to God with my frustrations with people
  • If I want to please God I must believe He knows what’s best and show that belief  by doing what He says
  • If I want to honor God in the presence of other people, my actions must publically display trust and respect for God’s decisions

Striving to Trust God More Everyday!

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This Week-end’s Scripture Reading:

Saturday:  Numbers 22:1 through Numbers 24:25

Sunday:  Numbers 25:1 through Numbers 26:65

March 4, 2010–Lesson from the Wilderness

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Numbers 16:1 through Numbers 18:32

What can we learn from the Israelites today?

  • There are corrupt spiritual leaders (16:1)
  • There are anointed/Led my God, spiritual leaders (16:4)
  • Rebellion spreads like a deadly virus (16:19)
  • Go to God first when you are falsely accused; He will fight your battles (16:22)
  • It is good to learn from someone else’s mistakes (I would much rather learn from the Israelites’ mistakes than make these kind of mistakes myself)
  • God is God and He can do anything He wants to do in any way He wants to do it
  • Sometimes the lesson is so great you need to make a warning memorial
    • Incense Burners (16:36)
    • Aaron’s staff (17:10)

What lessons have you learned that deserved a warning memorial?

 

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My daughter, my granddaughter and I have been in Gainesville since Sunday.  Ayla was admitted to Shands hospital for tests.  Krista has been staying with Ayla 24/7 and I have been staying in a hotel about 10 minutes from the hospital. Yesterday morning at 3:30 a.m. I received a call from Krista, “Mom, you need to pray; Ayla’s temperature is 92.9 and she is acting really weird.”  Of course, I began to pray and after a few minutes threw my clothes on and went to the hospital.  As I pulled out of the hotel the Tabernacle and our daily reading of the last month came to mind.  I prayed, “Dear Jesus, I am so thankful that I can come just as I am.  I don’t have to wash myself, find an animal, grind some grain and then go before the priest to have God hear my prayers.  Because of your ultimate sacrifice I can just say ‘Jesus’ and you hear me.”

Ayla’s okay, “Thank you Lord!”  She was actually discharged last night around 8:30.  If you  would like to read the details click here to visit Krista’s blog.  Yes, the fear of that moment is gone but the awe of our ability to have a personal relationship with the God of the Universe is still at the forefront of my mind. 

Lord, if it wasn’t for Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers I wouldn’t appreciate the gift you have given me.  Thank you for everything!  In Jesus Name!  Amen and Amen!

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Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Numbers 19:1 through Numbers 21:35

March 3, 2010—Just Like the Israelites

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Numbers 14:1 through Numbers 13:33

After the Israelites heard the report from the twelve spies the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night…Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt.” (14:1-4)

When I read today’s passage I thought, “How stupid can you get?”  My hindsight vision was a perfect 20/20 as I critiqued the Israelites’ many mistakes.  But what if I change the name, situation, and outcome and insert my story…

How many times have I heard a report and immediately began to cry, bawl, kick, and scream and THEN take matters into my own hands and craft a plan with my limited information?

…Too, too many times I’m sad to say.

The first mistake that comes to my mind is about 15 years ago, I felt the Lord speak to me to resign as a Mary Kay Sales Director and wait on Him for the next step.  At first I was obedient but when a major life change came along I thought, “surely God doesn’t want me to resign NOW”, so I changed my mind and retained my status as a Senior Sales Director.  After two years of struggling in areas that had always been so easy, having no passion for my job, and getting myself into serious debt; I finally realized I had to resign.  Things would have worked a lot better if I had just listened to the God who parted the Red Sea! 

Thanks to Moses’ intervention the Lord pardoned (forgave) the Israelites.  This is huge!  God was ready to disown and destroy them (14:12).  This is a picture of God’s forgiveness of our sins today…Jesus is in heaven interceding to God on our behalf!  I love that!  Let’s face it; we mess up and need God’s forgiveness just as bad as the Israelites.  And just like the Israelites there are consequences (not one of those people entered the Promised Land) to our disobedience.

Thankfully God forgave my disobedience just like He did the Israelites.  And just like the Israelites I had to deal with the consequences.  It took years from me to recover from that time both emotionally and financially, but I did recover.  I think too many times we ask and expect God to get us out of places we got ourselves into.  Sometimes He does but many times, especially in the area of finances we have to grow our way out of it!

Thank you Lord for your forgiveness!

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Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Numbers 16:1 through Numbers 18:32

March 2, 2010—What NOT to Do!

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Numbers 11:1 through Numbers 13:33

Wow!  Today’s reading is a gold mind of lessons in “what not to do!” 

  • God doesn’t like complaining (Lord help me!)
  • People who are just going along for the ride can get you in trouble.  The foreign rabble (11:4) were probably Gentiles who thought a trip to the Promised Land would be great, but when the going got tough, they began to complain and caused the Israelites to do the same.  We should probably take this lesson very seriously, “step away from the complainers!” (and don’t be one!)
  • Leaders hate complainers.  Moses asked God why he deserved “the burden of all these people, since he didn’t give birth to them.” (11:10)
  • God hears the concerns of leaders and helps them WHEN they ask.  He devised a plan to take some of the load off Moses. (11:16)
  • There’s something God doesn’t like more than complaining— being rejected and doubted.  Basically, when the Israelites said they would have been better off in Egypt, God took it personally. (11:18)  And, when Moses gave an assessment of the impossibility of feeding the 600,000 foot soldiers  God took it as an insult and came back with a hearty, “Now you’ll see whether or not my word comes true!” (11:23)
  • Moses had a character trait all really great leaders have—humility.  He didn’t care who got the credit:
    • But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake?  I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them all.” (11:29)
  • Sometimes the Lord gives us what we ask for and it isn’t what we need.  “But while they were gorging themselves on the meat—while it was still in their mouths—the anger of the Lord blazed against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.  So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, which means graves of gluttony. (11:33-34) I’m sure there are many spiritual lessons in this scripture, but I can’t get past the words gorging and gluttony (Lord help me again!)
  • Jealousy can get you in trouble.  Aaron and Miriam “thought” they were on the same level with God as Moses.  Let’s just say that God set them straight.  I love the Lord’s response to them in Numbers 12:6-8, that began with “Now listen to what I say:”
  • If we think like a grasshopper we’ll be treated like one.  These people saw the power of God like no other people in the human race, yet they said, “We can’t go up against them.” (13:31)
  • Caleb was the only one who scouted out the new land who said, “We can certainly conquer it!” (Numbers 13:30)

I want to be like Moses and Caleb, but sometimes I act like the foreign rabble and the Israelites!  Holy Spirit show me the things in my life that aren’t pleasing to you!

Pressing on towards our Promised Land!

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Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Numbers 14:1 through Numbers 15:41

March 1, 2010—The Power of the Blessing

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Numbers 6:1 through Numbers 6:27, Numbers 10:1 through Numbers 10:36

It’s a new month.  It has to be one month closer to spring right?  It’s been a long cold winter that seems as if it will never end…and I live in Florida!  I wonder if the Israelites thought their season at Mount Sinai would never end.  It was hard just reading about it, but at least they weren’t slaves in Egypt.  In today’s reading, after just less than a year of being camped on Mount Sinai, the Israelites are finally moving toward their Promised Land.  They must have been so excited!  As they made preparations to leave, the Lord to Moses to have Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with a special blessing:

  • May the Lord bless you and protect you.
  • May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
  • May the Lord show you his favor and give you His Peace. (6:24-26)

I love verse 27:  “Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.” 

If you have been in church for any length of time you may have heard your pastor “bless” you at the conclusion of the service.  We’ve only read three books of the Bible so far, but we’ve heard much about “the blessing.”  The first time the word bless (ed-ing) was used by in Genesis 1:22:

Then God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.” 

 It was used 508 times throughout the Bible.  God, our heavenly Father blessed his children and taught his children to bless their children and others.  508 times–it must be important!!!

Words are powerful!  With each word that comes out of our mouth we are either blessing or cursing.  Just yesterday I was speaking to someone I love and used my words to curse them.  No, I didn’t speak curse words; it was really worse that curse words it was words that tear down rather than lift up. 

I pray that we learn how to speak beautiful blessings to others like the one the read about today, but I also pray we think about the everyday words we speak to the ones we love the most and make sure we’re blessing not cursing; speaking life not death. 

Have a great week!

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Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Numbers 11:1 through Numbers 13:33

February 27-28–Open Blog Week-end

This Week-end’s Scripture Reading:
Saturday:  Numbers 2:1 through Numbers 3:51
Sunday:  Numbers 4:1 through Numbers 5:31

Happy Week-end!  I hope your week-end is exactly what you need, whether it’s lots of  fun, family, and friends or just rest and relaxation!   I’m looking forward to some quality time with my husband who has been traveling all week. 

Once again I’m asking for you to remember my granddaughter Ayla in your prayers.  She will be admitted to Shands Hospital in Gainesville on Monday.  They will be running some tests, with a possible surgery to remove a portion of her small intestine that is more narrow than normal.  We are so thankful for all God has done for Ayla and we are expecting to see His Hand once again!  He is her Great Physican and oversees every detail of  her care!  Thank you in advance for your prayers.

Today I was running some errands and listening to Christian Radio.  I heard this song by Addison Road and it made me think of Leviticus, the book of holiness.  The title of the song is “What do I know of Holy?”  After reading about our magnificent God from Genesis through Leviticus, I realize that I know little of His holiness.  I talk about it, maybe even sound it I know something, but I know nothing…what do I know of Holy? 

I hope you enjoy this song!  “See” you on Monday!

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Love and prayers!

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February 26, 2010—Let Your “Yes be Yes!”

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Leviticus 27:1 through Leviticus 27:34; Numbers 1:1 through Numbers 1:54

As we approach the final chapter of Leviticus, the book filled with the laws of holiness, we see a warning against making vows to God and not keeping them. This is definitely something we can “take a-away” from this book of TMI (too much information)!  I’m just joking about TMI, but I’m glad we weren’t reading this out loud in a group! I probably would have been red-faced for most of the time.  😉   Anyway, back to making vows to God and not keeping them.  This is such an important lesson for today’s world; having your “yes be yes” and your “no be no” is a rarity in the 21st century.  This wasn’t just an Old Testament concept.  Here’s the Apostle Paul’s take on being a person of your word:

2 Corinthians 1:19-21 (Read this out loud.  It’s powerful!)

For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says.  For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.  It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ.

YES!!!!!  Isn’t that an amazing scripture?

One of the problems we have with making promises is not counting the costs.  I have always thought I could do more that I really could.  I can’t tell you how many nights I have sacrificed sleep to honor a commitment, because I didn’t count the costs.  Pastor Phil, the senior Pastor at Niceville Assembly said something in a leadership class a few years ago that I have not forgotten.  “There are a lot of things we can do but the question is should we do it.”  Jesus had words of wisdom for us on counting the costs.

Luke 14:28-30

But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?  Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.  They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’

We can really bring today’s scripture close to home.  January 1, 2010, we made a commitment to read the Bible through.  Our only promise was to start and not quit—we’re doing it!  Don’t you dare feel guilty for skimming or skipping some of these “TMI” details; as long as we’re opening the Word of God we are moving forward!  If we have read one more word than we did last year we are G-R-O-W-I-N-G! 

Just remember:  Even if today’s your first day, you’ve started.  Now Don’t Stop!!!!

I’m so proud of you!

Have a great Friday!  Sending Blessings your way!

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This Week-end’s Scripture Reading:

Saturday:  Numbers 2:1 through Numbers 3:51

Sunday:  Numbers 4:1 through Numbers 5:31

February 25, 2010—Evidence of Our Relationship

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Leviticus 25:24 through Leviticus 26:46

“These are the decrees, regulations, and instructions that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai as evidence of the relationship between himself and the Israelites.”  Leviticus 26:46

Decrees, regulations, and instructions are evidence of the relationship?  Doesn’t this sound just like a parent?  “Sweetheart, I know you don’t like the decrees, regulations and instructions that come with being my child, but this is evidence of my love for you!”  I have certainly said something similar to my children.  Again, is this surprising since we are made in the image of God?  We parent like our Heavenly father!

In the Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary a pattern was mentioned that will be seen many times throughout the children of Israel’s journey to the Promised Land:

  • Obedience brings blessings
  • Disobedience brings Discipline
  • Repentance brings Restoration

As we move into Numbers and Deuteronomy the Israelites will always be in one of these three places.  Here’s the interesting thing, God made provision for the Israelites disobedience in Leviticus 26…He knew.  The best news is– God made a way to be restored.  God said, “I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out, for I am the Lord their God.”   Back in chapter 25, verse 38, God reminds the Israelites why he brought them out of the land of Egypt—to give them the land of Canaan AND to be their God.  These two can’t be separated.  I’m sure when my kids were teenagers they had times when they wanted to separate my gifts and provisions from me being their parent.  They didn’t want to sit and talk, go and do things with their Mom, or clean their room; they just wanted the cash and car so they could go on their merry way.  I wanted to provide for them but I also wanted to be with them!  God feels the same way.  He doesn’t just want to be our tour guide and benefactor to the Promised Land, He wants to be our God and have a relationship with us as we make the trip!

Dear Father, I’m proud to be your child!  Thank you for making a way through your Word for me to know you more!  Amen and Amen!

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Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Leviticus 27:1 through 27:34; Numbers 1:1 through 1:54

February 24, 2010—Be Assured

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Leviticus 23:1 through Leviticus 25:23

“Show your fear of God by not taking advantage of each other.  I am the Lord your God.”   Leviticus 25:17

What is the fear of God?  In this scripture the word fear is translated from the Hebrew word yare’ (yaw-ray) which means to fear, revere, be afraid; to stand in awe of, be awed; to fear, reverence, honour, respect; to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe. (H3372, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

Can you imagine a world where Christians never take advantage of other people?   I think God is telling us, if and when we really, really revere, honor and respect Him, we will be different.  How many times have we heard God tell the Israelites they were to be different?  It goes back to Leviticus 19:18 “Love your neighbor as yourself.  I am the Lord.”  I’m with Annette (comment Feb 22); I never realized this was in the Old Testament! 

How important is respect to you?   I think for most of us, it’s a pretty big deal.  It makes sense since we were made in the image of God and respect is huge for Him, so it stands to reason that it’s important to us.  In relationships, respect in key. We could rephrase Leviticus 19:18 and say, ‘respect your neighbor as yourself.’ For God, lack of respect from his children is a deal breaker. It ties his hands.

It took a lot of respect to purposely “not” plant crops during the seventh year (25:8).  God told the Israelites that if they did what He commanded (give the land a Sabbath rest) then they could be assured that He will send blessings in the sixth year, so that the land will produce a crop large enough for three years.

This reminds me of the only thing I remember from my college math class.  If, then conditional statements… They’re used every day in mathematical word problems; they’re a huge part of computer programs but most importantly there are hundreds of these statements in the Bible.  As parents we make these statements all the time but we don’t always follow thru; “be assured” God always follows through.

The more I think about it, I think this reverential fear/awe/respect is the foundation of a deeper walk with God.  If we really believe God is who he says He is, and He will do what He says He will do, then belief, trust, commitment and discipline will follow.

I love the phrase, be assured!  Friends this is just one more reason to be combing through every Word of the Living God.  If He said it, then be assured it will happen!

Can you make a personal if-then conditional statement using the Word of God to keep you in focus this week?

 

Be Assured, what God has promised will come to pass!

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Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Leviticus 25:24 through Leviticus 26:46

February 23, 2010–What is Spiritual Prostitution?

Today’s Scripture Reading:  Leviticus 20:1 through Leviticus 22:33

When I first saw the phrase “spiritual prostitution,” I thought it meant being unfaithful to God.  But the more I thought about it, spiritual prostitution is much bigger because a spiritual prostitute isn’t just unfaithful, they actually sell their affection in exchange for something.

We have two examples of spiritual prostitution in Leviticus 20.   God warned through Moses that these sins would be punished by death:

  • Sacrificing their children to a pagan God
  • Putting their trust in mediums or in those who consult the spirits of the dead

Our God is a jealous God. 

  1. Exodus 20:5
    You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.
  2. Exodus 34:14
    You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.

 

Our church is completing Focus on the Family’s, Truth Project on Wednesday nights.  Del Tackett is the facilitator throughout the 12 week tour. Dell talks about his own journey of increasing knowledge of God through study of God’s various names. One example that he gives is El Qanna, the Hebrew word for “a jealous God.” God’s jealousy is not the same as our jealousy. God’s jealousy is a zeal that arises when sin threatens His covenant relationship with us.  I love this explanation! 

We may not sacrifice our children to pagan gods or consult mediums and spirits of the dead but do we “do” or “not do” things that threaten God’s covenant relationship with us?

Here are just a few pagan gods that I deal with:

  • Time
  • Order
  • Control
  • Comfort

Too many times I would rather focus on, enjoy and give my affection to these needs or pleasures than to pursue God the way He wants me to.  Is this “spiritual prostitution” that God was talking about? 

Dear Heavenly Father, I want to be as jealous and protective of our relationship as You are! Reveal the areas in my life that I’m allowing to be more important than you.  Amen and Amen!

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Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading:  Leviticus 23:1 through Leviticus 25:23

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