Our Peace

Our world has changed over the past few months. Currently, we are dealing with social and racial issues that are splitting the country apart. COVID-19 has changed the economic, physical, and emotional tides of the country. Each day, in the United States, we hear on the news about everything that is going wrong in the world around us.

Many of our families live in fear and dismay over the COVID-19 pandemic and all the other concerns going on. Each one of us is shaken and made to rely on something in their lives for hope and peace.

During all the uncertainty, I keep listening to Christians and Non-Christians’ uncertainty of what the future could be. Each one of us depends on some type of faith. I believe that during all this time, that Christians should portray a peace that passes understanding.

Ephesians 2:14 is our verse today. It says, “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility”. Paul is speaking to the Ephesian church and is addressing the disagreements within the church. He addresses this issue by saying that, Jesus is our only true peace, and He is the only thing that can solve all their issues going on. Also, in Christ Jesus, we are made brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, as brothers and sisters, we must represent the sacrifice that Christ has made for us and rally together around that.

How does this disagreement that the church in Ephesians helps us understand peace?

Dictionary.com defines peace as “a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations:”. As stated above, we can see that we are far from peace in this country and world. There is only one way to obtain true peace, by putting your hope and faith in Christ Jesus for your salvation. Jesus says in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you that in me you have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world”. Our peace is found in Jesus!

Each day we fight, disagree, backstab, and worry all out of the fear of the future. We are looking for some type of utopian society. Because of sin, that isn’t possible, but with Christ, we do have a peace that will surpass all understanding. See Jesus paid for our sin on a cross to provide us the peace in our hearts that we yearn for. The peace that Jesus provides, is the understanding that we have a Savior and God, who loves us so much that the Father sacrificed the Son to pay for all the sin in our lives so that we can live with Christ in eternity.

In the current season of life that we are all living, Christians need to unify under one banner, the cross of Jesus Christ. I encourage each of you to keep your hope in Jesus Christ. Life isn’t easy and there will always be some amount of uncertainty. However, when we are able to band together as believers, we gifted with the Holy Spirit that strengthens us. In Galatians 3:28, Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” There is no distinction that Jesus makes.

Our peace is stronger together as Christians. I encourage you, now is the time to reach out to Christians and Non-Christians, that you know you disagree with on topics. Pray with them, share the Gospel with non-Christians and Christians alike, share a meal together, and overall be together and unify under Christ Jesus, who provides a peace that passes all understanding.

In Jesus’ Name We Pray

Have you ever thought of prayers that close with “In Jesus’ Name We Pray, Amen”?  Maybe you close your own prayers that way.

I have to confess that sometimes thoughtful traditions become habits, and there are times that I miss the meaning in the moment of routine. When I stop and really think of these words at the end of my prayer, it’s an awesome reminder that:

          • God is in control
          • Jesus has the power, not us
          • To him be the glory
          • We want our heart and will to be aligned to the Father’s
          • Jesus is our intercessor
          • His name is above all names

When we truly believe in the power that Jesus’ name carries, we call on Him and know he is able. He is able to comfort. He is able to heal. He is able to meet us where we are. He is able to forgive. He is able to change us. He is all powerful, and his name is above all other names. Philippians 2:9-10 tells us:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.

So Jesus’ name is above any other name, and there is POWER in his name! The New Testament is filled with examples of disciples praying and doing miracles in Jesus’ name, with faith, and then times when they weren’t. The results were very different. John 14:14, John 16:23-24, 1 John 5:13-15, Acts 19:13-16

This is an awesome encouragement for me to slow down and think about what I’m saying and what’s truly in my heart. What am I really asking for? What are my motives? Do I believe God will answer my prayer? Am I requesting Jesus’ power, by calling on his name?

As we are called to be more Christ-like, studying who he is will help us identify areas of growth. These daily attributes and names of God are amazing!

Jesus was named with the Hebrew origin meaning Jehovah / Yahweh Saves, or God Rescues. This name, chosen by God, is over every other name. And we have access to his power by calling on his name – wow! And when we call on his name, we are declaring that the power is his. The glory is His. None of it is ours! 

Do you have a situation that needs the power of Jesus to intervene? Approach God in faith, knowing and believing that Jesus’ name is above all. Say his name out loud!

My Deliverer

David spent seven years running from Saul. He was literally hiding in caves and trying to elude his enemies night after night. He had lost his wife and best friend, and yet he continued to have faith in the Lord. Even when he had opportunities to end the discord with Saul and could have stopped all the fighting, he didn’t. He showed grace and restraint, knowing that God would deliver him, in his time and in his way.

Do you have relationships that are adversarial? Maybe you know you need rescued from the chaos, and delivered from the strain? How does David’s example of patience and grace sit with you? It’s pretty humbling and leaves me wondering… if I were in David’s shoes and had the opportunity to “have the last word” and end the back and forth in difficult relationships, would I take it? Or would I follow David’s example and let God work how and when he will?

We can learn so much from David’s long suffering in his relationship with Saul, starting at the very beginning. 1 Samuel 18 outlines the jealousy that grew in Saul: David being praised by the people as a stronger warrior than Saul, and also David’s relationship with Jonathon. Saul got caught in the comparison trap that so many do, and his jealousy spiraled out of control. Jealousy turned to scheming and plotting, trying to get David killed and not able to threaten Saul’s position as king.

I’m sure there were many cold nights on the run where David didn’t know how it would end. He was afraid and wasn’t sure what to do next. Psalm 57 describes on of these nights, where he is equally pleading with the Lord for mercy, and also declaring God’s faithfulness, love and glory. What a testimony to the faith of David!

2 Samuel begins the reign of David after Saul’s death. David worships his Deliverer, and his words are perfect:

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold and my refuge,
my savior; you save me from violence.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.  2 Samuel 22

I love both of these passages, to pray through when I’m in the middle of a storm and need delivering. He IS faithful, He loves us so.  And then praising God for his deliverance. His ways and timing are perfect!

Today’s focus challenged me to make a list of my own rescue stories of deliverance. Long list. And it got me thinking, what’s NOT on my list? What rescue missions did He deliver me from that I’m not even aware of? Maybe something that I consider a closed door, or a failure, He used as a deliverance. Or situations I am oblivious to, He orchestrated a rescue mission. He’s so so good to us.

Do You Believe In Miracles?

One of the great things about Christmas, if we take step back and reflect, is that it reminds us that Jesus was human like you and me. He came into this world the same way we did and experienced the same emotions and temptations. Yes, Jesus came for the ultimate purpose to pay the price which should have been ours for our sins, but I believe one of His purposes was also to allow us to truly see the heart of God in a way we could not fully comprehend if there was only God the Father up in Heaven. One of the places where we get great insight into his heart is through the death of Lazarus in John 11:1-43.

I don’t know what 2019 has brought you and what 2020 and beyond will bring you, but I know this past year has brought my family and I some challenges with 2 spine surgeries in my neck and some loss of functionality in my hand, as well as other changes, I thought I would never see. However, it has also brought blessings and what I would call miracles in the midst which we would not have experienced without these challenges. Yes, I am still praying for an additional miracle for my hand to fully come back, but these experiences brought me closer to God with more gratitude for His blessings and my main prayers have been that my experience helps others in some way (at least 2 people so far are seeing the same surgeon) and that God be glorified through it.

In these verses in John, we see Mary and Martha first react in a way that most of do through challenges.. questioning why He let this happen and even why He wasn’t there (John 11:21, John 11:32). After He sees Martha and the other Jews crying it says in John 11:33 that He was “deeply moved in His Spirit and greatly troubled.” It then says right after in John 11:35, “He wept.” In my humble opinion, He is not weeping because His friend, Lazarus, died…for He knew what was going to happen and says so at least 4 times before this (John 11:3, John 11:11, John 11:14, John 11:23). I believe He is weeping because He sees the pain of Mary and Martha and the other Jews. How blessed are we that we have a God who cares about our pains and showed us that in the physical person of Jesus? Our feelings matter to Him. He cares.

Jesus also tells us multiple times here in these verses the purpose of our pain..

“..This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”          

John 11:4

“Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to Him.’”

John 11:14-15

“Jesus said, ’Did I not tell you that if you believed you will see the glory of God?’”

John 11:40

“’…..but I said this on account of the people standing around that they may believe that you sent me.’”

John 11:42

We must know and trust that nothing happens “to us”…only “for us”…or better yet…”for Him.” This is hard. We don’t like pain and problems. I mentioned earlier Martha was upset and took a jab so to speak saying to Jesus that this wouldn’t have happened if He was there (John 11:21), but she also says in John 11:22, “But even now I know whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” It’s okay to be human and be upset for a moment..that’s normal..but she gives us a great example of going back to believing and trusting in Him. Jesus says we must fully believe in the glory of God and His ability to do miracles in John 11:40 when He says, ….”Did I not tell you if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

Through my health challenges in 2019, I’ve tried to do my best to share my faith in God and His plan and will for my life, and most importantly, share the miracles/blessings that have still come in the midst of it. What could have been could have been way worse. It was a miracle to find my doctor in Pittsburgh who performed a procedure no one else is doing with the least long term effects..even my doctors at Mayo didn’t know about it. I only found him because my sister-in-law’s sister had the same condition and found him. Or worse yet, if I was born in a different time in history when no treatment was available, I would have become paralyzed in time.

One of the biggest miracles in this situation did not happen this year though, it happened in 2002. I can vividly remember sitting in front of the computer at home and trying to decide if I was going to choose a major of biology on my University of Illinois application and pursue my dream to be an orthodontist, or switch to a business major at the 11th hour. I decided to switch to business. Why? I didn’t fully know at time…maybe less time in school (haha)..it was my dream though. Now, 18 years later, I can see God’s plan for that change. I would not be able to practice as an orthodontist today with the loss of functionality of my hand, and I would not have been able to purchase insurance to protect my income for my family due to pre-existing conditions before I would have even started my dental training. However, because of that click of a button and God’s plan..not mine…I can still continue my career as a financial advisor and have multi-generational impact and provide for my family through the work I do. Praise God.

We can find God’s blessings and miracles through every situation, even death, when we just reflect and search. Will you join me in praying for wisdom to do our absolute best in 2020 and beyond to look for them…and most importantly to glorify Him through them…no matter how hard it is? God cares, and He has a plan…even when it seems impossible to see. Let us trust in and remember that.

 

 

Jesus and Zacchaeus

Jesus and Zacchaeus, Luke 19

1He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

What is the Holy Spirit stirring in your heart after reading this living passage?  Here are some questions that came to my mind:

      • Am I allowing my shortcomings (perceived or real) to keep me at arms length from Christ?
      • Do I need to take a step of faith and climb up out of the crowds and get closer to the Lord?
      • Is Jesus calling me by name for salvation or greater sanctification?
      • Am I jealous and questioning Jesus’s focus on someone or something I’ve judged as less than worthy?

Most of all, I’m challenged to be postured to hear the voice of the Lord. I need to reserve more time for listening and yielding. I’ve been in a season of transition, with my younger kids both in school, praying for guidance.  What’s next, where can I best serve, and asking for direction. In between all of the prayers is continued busyness. Noise. Activity.  And while most of it may be deemed “good”, what’s been lacking is stillness to hear what God has for me.

Zacchaeus took a day away from his work to seek out the Lord. In return, Jesus called him by name, joined him in his home, and led him to salvation and sanctification.

Does anyone feel called to step away? If you want to join me, I love partnership and accountability. Get in touch! I’m choosing Tuesday, November 12th, as a day to yield, listen, and sabbath.

 

Photo: Wikipedia, Zacchaeus and the sycamore tree he climbed. 

Embracing God’s Ways: Habakkuk

Through his back and forth dialogue with the Lord, the prophet Habakkuk gives us so many lessons in just three chapters. As he tries to understand God’s ways, he learns to embrace them, which is the very definition of his name.

Here’s a breakdown of the three chapters:Chapter Dialogue Outline

I love that Habakkuk has boldness to ask the Lord what’s on his heart. He doesn’t shy away from the tough questions of why, when, how, (and then more ‘why’ questions).  He’s asking similar questions I find myself pondering today:

Why do you allow evil, God? Why do awful things happen to Christ-followers? The helpless? The unborn?

Why are you allowing the wicked to prosper?  When will they be judged? This world is a hot mess – hurry! 

As you read through this dialogue, do you notice how Habakkuk verbalizes to God his character in verse twelve? It seems as though he is reminding himself who God is, right as he is asking God his second round of ‘why’ questions.

He knows that God is holy, everlasting, eternal, a mighty rock, an establisher, and faithful. He even says We will not die. He knows that God will not let them die, and will continue to fulfill his promise to his people (Abrahamic covenant).

As Habakkuk continues with his questions – WHY use THEM? I have to admit I’ve had similar thoughts. And then I also can’t help but wonder WHY God uses ME. Or any of us. While the world wants to live in the comparison game, we know that only God’s judgement is righteous and fair. He isn’t looking at me compared to anyone else. On judgement day I will be standing solo. The Chaldeans may have made the people of Judah look less awful… but God saw wickedness across the board. And He uses it all as He sees fit. And judges it when and how He sees fit.

I can see where God has used sin committed against me, to sanctify me. Draw me closer to him. Cry out to him. And the sins I have committed against others, He also uses. It’s pretty humbling to think of how He can use even my biggest messes.

In the final chapter, we see Habakkuk embracing God’s plan. He praises God for who he is and what he has done and what we will do. Do you see the three Selah pauses in this chapter? I always think of those as a dramatic call to silence and meditation in that moment of the passage.

And then at the end of verse 16 we see him waiting. Waiting on the Lord’s timing. Waiting on the Lord’s plan. Quietly waiting, all the while he is trembling. What a beautiful picture of faith – it doesn’t mean that we are without worry or fear, but that with the trembling, we obey. We quietly wait for the Lord. Not only does he quietly wait – verse 18 shows us that he also rejoices! So he has gone from questioning, to embracing, to rejoicing!

Can you apply Habakkuk’s approach to any questions or problems you’re facing today?

I get lost in the confusion of our political climate and ask a lot of why, when and how questions about world issues. I’m going to try to process those in light of Habakkuk’s example. What do I know about God and how can I more fully trust in his eternal and perfect plan?

I have challenging relationships that need this wisdom, and the reminder to not get stuck in the comparison trap. God uses each of us in different ways, that are far beyond my understanding.

Can I rejoice and find true joy in the Lord, even when I  _______ his plan?

        • am worried about
        • don’t like
        • am confused by
        • am trembling about
        • don’t want to wait for

God, thanks for giving us this amazing true account of your relationship with your prophet, Habakkuk! It teaches us so much about who you are and to have faith in you. You are Holy, Eternal, Almighty, and Faithful!

Elisha

Today’s reading is 2 Kings 2, 4, and 6 as we focus on the prophet Elisha.

A famous movie line many know from the movie Top Gun is, “I’m not leaving my wingman.” Maverick, the movie’s main character, learned his lesson after leaving his wingman earlier in the movie for selfish ambition which led to a bad outcome. When he made the decision later to stay and protect his wingman, putting others’ needs above his, good things happened, and he ultimately became the hero. Elisha was the long-time servant of the prophet Elijah. As we read here in 2 Kings 2, Elijah tells Elisha to leave him 3 separate times because Elijah must travel further. However, Elisha stays true to his master, his mission, and purpose by staying with Elijah to the very end. And what happens, but he receives a double-portion of the same prophetic gifts Elijah had. As we read on, not only does God help Elisha perform many miracles in the Lord’s name, but we see God protect him with horses and chariots of fire, who we can assume to be angels, in 2 Kings 6:15-17 when the king of Syria sends his men to kill Elisha. A few weeks ago, we read about how God rewarded Ruth for her steadfast loyalty to her mother-in-law Naomi which led her to not only receiving gifts at the end of her life, but also naming a book after her and becoming part of the genealogy of Jesus. We also know about the prostitute Rahab who showed courage to protect the prophets of Israel and as a result is referenced throughout the Bible and who also became part of the lineage of Jesus. The people we just mentioned showed an unfailing courage and trust in God for their lives. Over the past weeks we have also read in the Old Testament about many kings and rulers who abandoned God and things didn’t go so well for them.

Here is my question…what is God asking you to do in your life to serve Him, your family, and others in His name that is not an easy decision and choice to make requiring great faith and trust in Him? It could be helping a friend or stranger in need, a financial change or commitment, dedication of more of your time to person or a cause or even your own family, or could be a change in career direction. Whatever it is, I can assume it’s not easy. It may put your time or money at risk which are two things I know I hold far too tightly far to often because wrongly I see them as 2 of my most valuable resources which in my mind are also scarce. However, God sees our spiritual gifts to serve others in His name as being way more valuable and has no limitations on what He can do if He sees fit financially…and His timeline is also eternity. I have seen it time after time, and we can also see in the Bible, where it may not come for a very long time, but God rewards this faithfulness to Him and his purpose in ways we could never imagine. Yet, it is still very hard to completely trust and follow Him and His will for our lives. No, these choices will not get us to Heaven, only belief in Jesus’ loving sacrifice on the cross will (Ephesians 2:8-9), but scripture does tell us we will be rewarded when we get there (Revelation 22:12, Revelation 2:23). In what way, I’m not sure…but isn’t hearing Him say to you, “Well done my good and faithful servant” enough?

See His Vision.

Work His Mission.

Live His Values.

 

 

 

 

Gideon

Judges 6-8

Do you know a lot about Gideon? I have to admit, I couldn’t put my finger on the right biography for this man of God. Different scenarios and stories were coming to my mind but I wasn’t quite sure which one went with Gideon. What did cross my mind were the bibles found in hotels, “placed by the Gideons”.

Curious, I did some digging on why they are called Gideon bibles and where they come from.

Two traveling salesman, one paper and one aluminum, happen to stop at the same hotel for overnight accommodations in Boscobel, Wisconsin in 1898. It was a crowded night and the hotel manager bunked them up in the same room, commenting that they were the only two sober minded men around.

As the story goes, John Nicholson asked Samuel Hill if he minded if he kept the light on so he could read his devotion. A simple question that went on to have a profound impact. Samuel Hill asked him to read aloud for both of them. And they had a discussion about salesman needing a Christian network and support while traveling. The two cross paths again the following spring in a different town in a different hotel. It was at this second encounter that they felt God‘s leading for them to start some sort of Christian organization to support traveling salesman in their faith. They didn’t know how, when, where, or even what, but they knew they were supposed to join together and start something. The original group was called the Gideon’s Commercial Travelers Association of America, in recognition of the faith of Gideon. One hundred and twenty years later, this group has evolved into Gideon’s International, with the mission of supporting both believers and non-believers by making the gospel available. The first bible was placed in a hotel in 1908, and since then, they have distributed over two billion bibles worldwide! It’s crazy to think about and wonder how many lives have been impacted by the scriptures made readily available to people across the globe.

So what was it about Gideon’s faith that was so inspiring to them? He’s even called out in Hebrews 11 in the Faith Hall of Fame.

Review these three chapters and what stands out to you? Here are some things that stuck in my mind:

  • The Israelites turned away (again) from God and had been under oppression for seven years from the Midianites. Then they pray and cry out to God for deliverance. Wonder what their strategy was the first seven years? Maybe one from my own play book… “I got this”…anyone else use that play too often and for too long?
  • God answers their prayer through the youngest son of an idol worshipper, appearing to Gideon and instructing him and encouraging him each step of the way. God sought him when he was at his lowest, beating wheat while in hiding from the Midianites. He didn’t feel equipped or worthy for the work God planned for him. We may not always know (or believe) how God wants to use us!
  • God gave Gideon multiple signs to show him he was the true God, he could be trusted to conquer the Midianites. Even in the midst of these miracles and signs, Gideon had doubts and asked for more signs. God didn’t respond to Gideon in anger, but met him where he was at and provided the comfort Gideon needed. Step by step he continued to trust and obey the Lord, even when Gideon didn’t know the plan or how the Israelites could ever defeat the Midianites. We can take our doubts, fears, and questions to God!
  • God wanted the victory to be very clear – it’s wasn’t a victory due to the army size – so he stacked the deck in favor of the Midianites. Instead of Israelites 32,000 vs. Midianites 135,000, he reduced Gideon’s Israelite army to 300. God wanted his people to return to him, and he wanted this landslide victory to humble their hearts toward him.  How do I get in the way of God’s power, victory, or glory shining to draw people back to him?
  • Gideon and his men return to a hero’s hometown welcome and have to ward off all the royal treatment, glory, fame, and requests for Gideon to lead them as king. The gold collected from the slain Midianites he used to make a golden ephod (a garment worn under the high priest’s breast plate) which he put on display. We don’t know Gideon’s motives for the ephod, but I’d like to think he did that as a symbol of God’s victory and for the people to remember that they are a nation of priests led directly by God (as opposed to placing Gideon as king). Like many traditions and symbols that start with good intentions, this one falters over time. The Israelites eventually go back to idol worship, beginning with this ephod, and eventually turn back to worshipped Baal (40 years later after Gideon dies). What God-focused traditions are getting elevated above God today?

I love this real hero of faith that we can learn from and be inspired by. Just like God mapped out Gideon’s path, he also planned Nicholson and Price to be roommates. Can you look back at steps you felt led to take, when they didn’t make sense at the time, and now you can see how God was using it for a future plan? What a neat testimony that we can take with us into the next step of faith we need to take.

Six years ago, our small group wanted to spend a few months as a group going through a specific biblical financial study (hint: white envelopes). I was dragging my feet… coming up with every reason why we should do something else. There’s more important topics right now. We’re already pretty frugal. The couples in our group are all in really different financial places. And many other great “points” (excuses?). I lost the vote and so the small group went forward. During the study, my husband and I came away with a renewed passion for giving, oh, and one other little nugget that later proved to be miraculous for us. The majority of our emergency type savings was tied up in retirement accounts and places that weren’t easily available (penalties, time constraints, etc). We took the program’s advice and made a lot of changes to where & how much we keep separate for emergencies (never truly believing we would have that big of an emergency, but hey, follow the program). No big surprise, six months later, we hit a very unexpected season and had it not been for these changes, we would have been under a much larger amount of financial strain and stress. God went before us and led us to these changes, knowing exactly what was coming.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

Rahab

Today we get the opportunity to read about another person who put their faith into action.  That in this faith they trusted God to fulfill His promise. These men and women of Hebrews 11 tell how by our faith, God is pleased.  Hebrews 11:6.

Hebrews 11:1-2 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation.

Today’s Readings is from Joshua 2 and Joshua 6.  The story of Rahab is shared. As I have reflected on the story of Rahab and her faith I’m reminded of a few points we can apply to our lives today.

  1. God loves us, He uses the most unlikely people to build His kingdom.  Rahab was a prostitute who lived in part of the city wall. Joshua 2:1.  What sin has held you back? Do you know anyone who thinks that God couldn’t love them because of choice they made? Let today be the day that you tell them for the first time or remind them that Jesus was sent to Earth to die for their sins and ours. Yes, just like Romans 3:23 says, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  still God takes us wherever we are at. Whatever sins we have made, and washes us clean.  Hebrews 10:22 says let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 
  2. Rahab risked her life for the Lord. The king of Jericho could of easily had her killed if he knew she was lying or would of got caught.  Still she had faith.  Maybe, our lives may not be in danger in America but there are many places where that is still real.  Today, we are blessed with the opportunity to show our faith freely, will you take that opportunity.  You may not need to hide people in your attic, but could you share your faith with someone? After all, you never know if the courageous conversation will plant a seed to change the eternal destination for them. 1 John 5: 11-13 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
  3. Rahab feared the Lord, that their hearts melted in fear.  She says that the Lord our God is God in heaven and on the earth below. Joshua 2:11.  God wants us to fear Him.  A fear that reminds us through the day that He is in control.  A fear that provides us with the trust and faith that He does reign in heaven and here on earth. In Ecclesiastes 5 and 12  I’m reminded that there are so many meaningless things that we pursue and make part of our lives.  Solomon says, Fear God and keep his commandments. 
  4. Rahab was given a new life. Her faith and fear of the Lord saved her and allowed her and her family to live.  We have been given an new life.  Our faith in God takes our past, washes us clean, and leaves us with the opportunity to share this new life with others until the day comes where He comes to bring us home.  Will you have the opportunity to share this new life with someone?  1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 

Dear Almighty Father,

Thank you for sharing this story of truth with people of faith like Rahab.  Knowing that our sinful past is washed clean through our faith, love, and the relationship we have with you. Thank you for this new life.  We pray that we can be a testimony and witness to others today.  We love you. Amen 

Let It Go

Today’s reading is Exodus 1:1-2:10 with the focus being on Moses’ parents.

We don’t know much about Moses father other than that he was from the tribe of Levi from the 12 tribes of Israel (Jacob), so we will focus on his Israelite mother which we will call his birth mother and his Egyptian mother which we will call his adopted mother.

To set the context for our discussion we want to quickly review that Joseph has passed and the current Egyptian Pharaoh was fearful of the Israelites due to the number of them and thought they may side with another enemy of Egypt in the future, so out of fear he enslaved them. He also ordered that any male babies be killed at birth. Moses’ mom hid him for three months until she could hide him no more, then she let him go on the Nile in a basket. Although we don’t know Moses’ mom’s name, we know how highly God thought of the bravery of her actions and her trust in God to protect him because her actions are referenced in what some call the chapter of faith all-stars in Hebrews 11 which mentions some of the Bible’s biggest heroes who exhibited great trust in God through their actions.

“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”  

Hebrews 11:23

Moses’ sister followed her baby brother Moses down the Nile and saw that he was found by Pharaoh’s daughter. She took a very brave step as well to follow him and then approach Pharoah’s daughter and ask her if she wanted her to find an Israelite mother to nurse the baby to which she agreed. Unbeknownst to the Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses’ sister directed her to Moses’ birthmother who nursed him and stayed with him for a period of time. Although she could have maybe tried to escape with him wanting to keep him, and who could blame her being his true mother, she likely realized his opportunity to have the best life possible was to give him back to Pharaoh’s daughter to become his adopted mom. She put her son’s needs in front of her own, and most importantly, trusted that if she gave him away God would take care of and provide for him. She was willing to let go of that which she loved so greatly, her son, and give Him to God, not so different than the way Abraham was willing to let go of and sacrifice Isaac.

How often do we hold too tight to the people, circumstances, and things in our life, instead of giving them to God with faith, fully trusting Him?

Hebrews 11, which we referenced earlier, starts with the following….

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1

We must ask and trust in God without doubting…

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

James 1:6-8

This also defines faith has having no doubt whatsoever.

By the outcome of Moses’ life being protected, and with God doing amazing things with him similar to God doing big things with Isaac after Abraham let go, I would have to be lead to believe that his mom asked God with big faith and full trust to protect him and to do big things with him for God’s glory. That is exactly what God did.

Take some time to reflect today, what do you need to let loose of and fully give to God with faith and without doubting? My guess is that when you do let go, your desires will come true. But even if not, one thing is certain…you will have a peace that passes understanding by trusting in Him and His perfect plan for your life and circumstances….whatever the outcome is.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for the good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:28