Today’s reading is Numbers 20-21 and Colossians 4.

In our Old Testament reading of Numbers, we continue to follow the Israelites on their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land as they wander in the desert. Today we specifically read about some the grumbling and complaints they had.

Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.”

Numbers 20:4-5

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” 

Numbers 21:4-5

Isn’t this amazing how they would grumble and complain after God freed them from slavery exactly like they wanted and prayed for? We not only can assume they wanted to be free, but we know it from this verse in Exodus.

23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God.

Exodus 2:23

We also know that not only had God freed them, but he also provided manna and quail for them to eat so they would not starve and led them with a cloud during the day and fire by night, Yet, what did they do…complain!

As we judge them, we can start to look at our own lives and realize we complain about many of the things we have wanted, dreamed of, and even specifically asked God for. What are some examples of this?

  • The job we wanted which is now crazy stressful and busy
  • The children we always wanted and maybe even had trouble having that are now causing us headaches or maybe they are even really great children but we just complain about the busyness and that they are expensive
  • The house we wanted and prayed for that stuff is always breaking making it a money pit
  • The sports team we wanted our child to be on so badly and now we complain about the coach

I could go on and on, but you get the point. We now complain about not only things others who are less fortunate would love to have, but the things we specifically wanted and maybe even prayed for which we now have…just like the Israelites.

We know God does not like any sin, but I must believe us complaining, and even just not being grateful, for something we’ve wanted and prayed asking him for has to be particularly unpleasing to Him. Those of us who are parents can probably relate when our kids beg us for a certain food/meal and then don’t like it or they beg to stay up past their bedtime and you let them and they still get angry and complain when it is finally time to go to bed. We even see specifically God’s displeasure because we read he had snakes come into the camp which bit people.

Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel.

     Numbers 21:7

God quickly sent a way out though in allowing them to look at Moses’s bronze serpent on a pole and be healed. Thankfully for you and me he sent a perfect way out from our sin and a Savior in Jesus and there is now no condemnation for believers of Him (Romans 8:1).

What can we do to limit our grumbling and complaining to God?

  • Focus on things we are thankful for during prayer
  • Write down each morning 3 things you are grateful for
  • Start a prayer journal so you can even look back at all the prayers God has answered

Doing these things will not only be pleasing to God by limiting our complaints, but will also help us live life with joy and peace in gratitude for what we do have and what God has done and provided. And God receives the ultimate pleasure and joy when we believe in Jesus’ saving grace on the cross which will also in turn cause us to have the ultimate gratitude and joy and peace as well.

Youth Is No Excuse

Today’s reading on Thanksgiving is 2 Thessalonians 1-3 which is the entire, short book.

Paul is writing this letter to the church he founded in Thessalonica which is now part of northern Greece. In this letter Paul addresses how we must be ready for trouble and adversity from the Evil One before the Second Coming, as well as warning against idleness.  Since today is Thanksgiving, we will mostly focus on verses 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 where he gives thanks for them.


We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers,[a] as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.

Who do you think of when you read this? Today’s young people…we will say 15-25 year old’s get a bad reputation for being on their phones all the time, having everything given to them, and for being lazy. I have to laugh though because the same people that criticize youth for having everything given to them or always getting a trophy are the same ones that gave these things to them! A little ironic…don’t you think?

Although most would say our society is moving away from Christian and Biblical values as a whole, I have recently taken notice of a growing number in the 15-25 year old age group who are very convicted in their faith and living in a way that aligns with the Bible’s instruction. They read their Bible, attend church regularly, typically are involved in a Bible study or small group, listen to Christian music, and are also committed to keeping sex sacred to the marriage relationship. While I don’t have any specific numbers to back how many or the growth so to speak, it seems to me it is occurring. I don’t know whether a poll would say the number in this age group who believe are growing, but is my personal observation that the ones who are believers are actually living out their faith through their actions more so than previous generations who would have said they were believers, too. I’m not trying to start a debate or call one generation better than another, but rather pointing this out so we take notice. Not only should we give them credit and give thanks for them, but we can learn from them and their example even (1 Timothy 4:12).

Why is this occurring in this age group despite society trying to tell this age group they don’t need God  or biblical values and are free to live however they feel? I believe it is for a couple reasons. First, I believe God has planted it in our hearts and minds to know what’s truly right and wrong. Secondly, I believe there is so much confusion about what is the truth, young people (and all of us for that matter) are attracted to the one place we can go for all truth which is the Bible.

When you woke up this Thanksgiving and thought about what you were grateful for today, I doubt this group of young people was on your list. However, will you join me today in thanking God for them and also praying that will continue to stay convicted in their faith despite the adversity and ridicule they are likely to face now and throughout their lifetime? This generation will shape our future.

Nobody But Jesus

Today’s reading is Acts 10:1-11:18 as we focus on Cornelius.

The Bible tells us Cornelius was a centurion in the Roman army meaning he commanded at least one hundred men and held an important social status. Despite his non-jewish, Gentile background, we are told in Acts 10:2 that he was devout, feared God, and gave alms or money to the poor and needy. Being a believer, Cornelius likely thought he was already being used by God for a purpose with his favorable position of power. However, we serve a big God who has bigger vision for each one of us and the people of this world than we can see. Cornelius is visited by an angel telling him to send a few of his men to get Peter who he’s never met and doesn’t know. Not coincidentally when Cornelius’ men show up, Peter just had a vision from God (Acts 10:9-15) telling him that the Gospel was available to all nations. Peter then went with Cornelius men to Caesara helping bring the Gospel through the Holy Spirit to them and all the Gentiles.

As I read these verses, I could not help but think of and look back on my notes from a sermon Pastor Mike Baker from Eastview Church did a few years ago on Genesis 12 where Abram is called to leave his country. Pastor Mike said, “Faith is not a ‘stay’…it’s always a ‘go.’” If you ‘stay,’ you don’t need faith and you can’t grow to be all God’s called you to be. God doesn’t give us the details of the future even when we are in turmoil wanting to know His plans for two reasons. First, we would likely freak out if we knew everything that would happen. Second, we would try to take over and mess it up thinking we can do it better than God can. Cornelius could have just said, “Hey God..I’m doing good things here as a centurion. I’m giving to the needy and using my position for good, and I have 100 men here under me I can witness, too.” However, God called him for bigger bring the Good News of Jesus through the Holy Spirit to all the Gentiles and letting them know that His forgiveness through the cross was available to all people and all nations (Acts 10:34-35, Acts 10:44-48 Acts 11:18). He called Cornelius to “go” and do bigger things, he obeyed, and look what happened.

Today, on Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for Cornelius, the Holy Spirit, and the big God we serve that is always working on our behalf.  Sadly, I don’t know much about my genealogy, but likely similar to many reading this, I don’t think I have any Jewish roots. I’m thankful that Cornelius obeyed God’s command so we non-Jews know that we are also one of God’s people through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We can be thankful Romans 8:26-28 tells us the Holy Spirit is always working on our behalf and interceding (just like here to come to the Gentiles and make Jesus’ forgiveness available and known to everyone). Despite whatever challenges and changes in your life you may be going through today, you can be thankful that He working ALL things for His good. Be grateful you don’t know and can’t control the future because through His power within you, He can do more than you can ever ask or imagine, and He will be glorified (Ephesians 3:20-21), so that ultimately through you the world can see “nobody but Jesus.” How blessed are we that He uses us for His purpose.



Standing on the Promises

2 Samuel 7 and Psalm 39

With a gapped tooth grin from ear to ear, I handed my mom an egg carton jewelry box on Mother’s Day, over thirty years ago.  It was a soft yellow styrofoam carton, that was covered with paint, paper shapes and flower pipe cleaners.  It was BEAUTIFUL! I had worked so diligently on her special gift, and she proudly displayed it on her dresser and put all of her treasures in it… I was so proud to give her something so beautiful that she could see and use every day.

David, he sure loved His God. In a similar way, we read in 2 Samuel 7, how he wanted to build something special for the Lord to dwell. It sure made sense to me – David’s living in a beautiful cedar home, and he wanted something even better for God. We know God cares about details, order, reverence, and respect, and this seemed right in line.  But God’s ways are always above our ways, and while I believe David’s heart was in the right place, the Lord used it as an opportunity to reveal his future plans and make a covenant with him.  Instead of David building a house for the Lord, the Lord outlines the eternal house (kingdom) that He will build through David and his heirs.

God later refers to this in Psalms 89:3 as:

“I have made a covenant

with my chosen one.”

God promises to raise up David’s offspring, establish their kingdom forever, and they will build a house for the Lord’s name. This promise, the foretelling of Jesus, is an early picture of God’s future plans for the Messiah.

God makes this covenant, with full knowledge of the future. He knows what David’s choices will be in the years to come.  From times of obedience, to times of sin, God’s perfect ability to bring discipline and steadfast love is unmatched on this earth.

The second half of this chapter is David’s bewildered response to God’s promise to Him. He has been forgiven, protected, guided, changed, and God just told him He will do even MORE than that for David and his offspring! The soft heart of David, full of humility and love for the Lord, is one I want to emulate more consistently.

Thinking back to times when my heart was softest and focused on closeness with God, several instances come to mind:

  • the ‘first love” feelings of Jesus overwhelmed me when I first became a Christian
  • seasons of deep repentance, forgiveness, and gratitude
  • God answered prayers with my newborn daughter’s spina bifida and surgeries
  • discovering a new truth or lesson in the Word

I can go back to those moments and feelings that nothing else in the world mattered – God was with me and would be with me in the future, and I was firmly standing on that promise.

When I stumble across an old journal entry or something written down during those time, it is so faith affirming to see God’s work in my life. The book of Psalms often reads like David’s own journal entries of God’s promises, God’s deliverances, God’s protection. David loved proclaiming what God has done and will do in his life. He believed it, and he stood firm on those truths.

Are you standing firm in the promise God has given you? A promise of a life with him forever, filled with love and joy, where there will be no more tears and death. He is the perfect promise keeper.  When the world around you fails, His promises never fail.

I’m bored Mommy

Today’s reading: Numbers 11; Psalm 48; Isaiah 1; Hebrews 9

May 4th, 2016

im bored mommy

And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. – Numbers 11:1

This is a good reminder to how God responds to complainers. God’s anger is kindled when His people complain. Does this seem a bit extreme to you?

A housewife was overheard correcting her daughter. The daughter slipped and complained. “I’m bored.” she said. “We do not say such things my child.”, the housewife’s tone changed as if to keep the child from running into the street. She explained to the child, “Such things are offensive to the Creator. His creation is more than enough for us to enjoy.” Hearing the conversation the goodman of the house reinforced the truth, “He has given us everything my daughter.” The goodman and the housewife and the daughter went off to explore God’s creation in all its glory; the intricacies, the details, and the vastness of wisdom contained in single view kept them in awe until the thought of boredom had been chased far, far away, never to return in the presence of the truth.

The eyes of all wait upon thee; And thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, And satisfiest the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways,

And holy in all his works. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, To all that call upon him in truth. – Psalm 145:15–18

May we all be in awe and may our children always be captivated by Your creation. May we all have trust in You.

Extra credit:

  • Consider Psalm 23:1, “The LORD is my Shephard, I shall not want.” Is this a statement about a a Santa Clause in the sky who is always ready with shinny things? Or could this be a statement about our trust in God? Sheep are an interesting sort, consistently going astray to seek out greener pastures.
  • Some commands to consider as we trust in the LORD with thankfulness:
    • In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
    • And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. – Colossians 3:17
    • Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, And into his courts with praise: Be thankful unto him, and bless his name. – Psalm 100:4
    • This is the day which the Lord hath made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24
    • Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, – Romans 1:21–23