Archives For Exodus

I spent some time in the mountains recently and was once again awed by the beauty and creation of God.  There is something about getting away from our man-made surroundings and into the natural world God created that reminds you of His magnificence and beauty. In our busy and harried world, we spend too little time taking a break and getting quiet with our Creator. We were not created for the bombardment of impulses affecting us every day. We were not created to fill every minute of every day with (mostly) mindless activity.

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It’s okay to be still. In fact, the sons of Korah realized the wisdom in this and wrote what God had said to them: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). When the Israelites were preparing to take the land promised to them, God told them to be still and He would fight for them (Exodus 14:14).

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For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been haunted by an old Geoff More lyric. It’s from the song, “God Believes in You”, and says, “Everything matters if anything matters at all / No matter how big, no matter how small”.  The implications of the lyric torture me. I think we would all agree some things matter, particularly when it comes to knowing Christ. Knowing some things matter, I am compelled by Scripture to believe everything matters.

everything matters,commitment,discipleship,priorities,Matthew 5:48,be perfect,1 Peter 1:16,be holy,2 Corinthians 10:3-5,take every thought captive,James 3:5-8,tame tongue,Ephesians 4:29-32,no foul language,Matthew 7:1,love your neighbor,Mark 12:3,treat others how you want to be treated,Philippians 3:8,count everything lost,Exodus 20:3,no idols before me

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Every word I speak, every thought I think, everything at which my eyes look, every interaction I have with people, how I spend every moment – they all matter. They all will be either for the Kingdom or against it. They all will be either pleasing or displeasing to my Lord.

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St. Ignatius of Loyola said, “Teach us, Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to seek for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will.” Commenting on this statement, author Richard Foster summarized, “The Christian life is one of strength and endurance in the face of suffering.”

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How different this is from the experience of most who call themselves Christians in the Western world! Regardless of our modern culture and misunderstanding of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus, it cannot be denied our lives bear little resemblance to that of our Savior. If it is our true desire to love and honor Christ, we must examine our motives and activities.

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Matthew 25:1-13 tells the parable of the ten virgins. The story details how ten virgins were waiting for the bridegroom. Five of them were prepared to stick it out until the groom showed up, bringing extra oil to keep their lamps lit throughout the dark night. The other five didn’t come prepared. They brought their lamps, but no oil. When the groom didn’t show as early as they expected, they all fell asleep.

midnight is coming,Bible study,commitment,discipleship,commitment,prayer,faith,Matthew 24:36,no man knows the hour,Matthew 25:1-13,parable of the ten virgins,Exodus 34:29-30,moses face shone,shining face,2 Corinthians 4:6,Jesus shines in our life

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When the groom arrived at midnight unexpectedly, the ones who were prepared lit their lamps so the groom could see them. These were invited into the wedding banquet, but the unprepared were left outside, alone and in the dark. The moral of the story is to be prepared in case the Lord delays and doesn’t show up until midnight. My friends, midnight is coming.

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There are days, when I take the time to notice the blessings bestowed upon me, I cannot help but be overwhelmed. Looking around the world, it’s ridiculous how incredibly blessed I am. Chances are, if you are reading this blog, your circumstances are similar. We have much for which to be thankful. To our detriment, it seems we spend far more time complaining about what we don’t have than allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed with what we do.

overwhelmed,humility,blessings,generosity,unselfishness,I Kings 17:1-7,fed by ravens,Exodus 16:14-20,manna from Heaven,Proverbs 30:8,9,give me just enough for today,Matthew 6:26,God feeds birds,Matthew 25:31-46,seep and goats

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For starters, if we have Jesus, what else could we possibly need? Anything other than Christ is just a temporary salve for a temporary wound. We are made complete in Jesus. Yet, God didn’t stop with the most incredible blessing ever. He continues to pour out His goodness into our lives.

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As I write this, it is only a few days until Father’s Day will be celebrated here in the United States. This holiday affects people in different ways, depending on their situation or upbringing, but few are emotionless about it. For those whose fathers’ have passed away, this day probably brings mixed emotions of joyful memories and sorrowful realities. Some never knew their father, and for these there can be an ever-present emptiness.

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Unfortunately, there are those who have fathers who were abusive in one way or another and, as a result, Father’s Day is a day of bitterness. To those like myself who had good fathers who are still with them, it is a day of celebration of years past. But to all who profess Jesus as their Lord, we have something even more important to celebrate: the love of our Heavenly Father.

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Devoted followers of Christ hate when they sin. It’s maddening. We don’t understand why we continue to do things we know are not honoring to God (Romans 7:15). If you’re like me, you may have often pondered why we sin in the first place. It seems logical our love and devotion to God would keep us close to Him and far away from sin. It would be that simple if we did not have an enemy who was constantly seeking to trip us up and eventually destroy us (1 Peter 5:8).

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While we can’t blame Satan for our failures, we can blame him for planting the seeds of those failures. Ultimately though, the reason why we sin is because we choose to take our eyes off Jesus.

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John 5:44 reads “How can you believe? While accepting glory from one another, you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God.” Commenting on this verse, A.W. Tozer said, “If I understand this correctly, Christ taught here the alarming doctrine that the desire for honor among men made belief impossible.” Certainly there are a few ways one could read this verse, but Tozer presents an interpretation which is at best sobering and at worst terrifying.

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We spend much of our lives seeking and accepting honor from others. In our Western culture, life is all about moving up and getting ahead. Even a casual look at our Facebook and Instagram feeds proves people are consumed with presenting their best and brightest moments while seeking validation from others.

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I’ve been focused lately on living intentionally. My theme this year is “Devotion”, and I’ve already discovered increasing my devotion to Christ is nearly impossible without ordering my days in an intentional way.  Unless I am very specific about how I will choose to spend my time, my time will get spent in ways that in no way reflect my devotion to Christ. At least at this stage of my own walk with God, unstructured time rarely defaults to time spent with Him.

living intentionally,intentional living,John Maxwell,Francois Fenelon,Israelites,manna,Exodus 16:16-20,Exodus 33:9,Proverbs 30:8-9,provision,obedience,trust

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It’s been both an enlightening and frustrating realization. While I’ve been reading books on living intentionally, it was Francois Fenelon who helped me see how living intentionally is firmly rooted in the pages of God’s Word. Here’s how the Bible demonstrates intentional living through the practice of living in the moment, keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus, and being content with what you have…
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rest, mission,purpose,genesis 2:2,exodus 20:8-10,Philippians 4:13,simplify,bill hybelsPhoto Credit: JColon13 via Compfight cc

In his new book, “Simplify”, Bill Hybels states that being connected to God reminds him he doesn’t “need to fulfill someone else’s agenda, because I have my hand in the hand of the one whose plans and purposes my life is all about.” It’s easy to get so caught up in the expectations of others that we become overwhelmed, over-committed, and altogether out of control. We lose sight of what matters most in life. The world we live in today is moving faster than ever before. Attention spans are almost nonexistent; patience levels are low, frustrations are high, and the result is a world spinning out of control, plummeting into an abyss of evil that is difficult for us to even comprehend.  There is an answer to this madness. There is a way out of the darkness.

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