Tag Archives: Egypt

God’s trump card… His presence!

God has big plans for His new nation, Israel, but there’s a problem; they’re enslaved in Egypt! So before God can lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey (i.e. – prime real estate), He has to first rescue them.

Maybe God will bring down lightning or send in the S.W.A.T. team or better yet… send a past-his-prime shepherd. Sure, I’ll take curtain #3… NOT!

God speaks to Moses from a burning bush that doesn’t burn up and recruits him to go confront Pharaoh. Moses is flattered, but not interested. Can’t really blame him. He did have three strikes against him.

  1. He was already 80 years old. (No disrespect intended)
  2. He was a poor communicator. (Notice that God doesn’t disagree)
  3. He had skeletons in his closet. (Wanted for murder of an Egyptian)

So what does God offer as a confidence boost? His very presence. I’m sure that Moses appreciated the offer, but since he didn’t know God very well it didn’t much help. God eventually conceded to a couple of traveling companions for Moses. (Exodus 3)

Now, fast forward to the part of the story where Moses and the people are at Mt. Sinai. While Moses is up on the mountain with God the people down below give in to all kinds of nasty idol worship – a real slap in the face to God.

God tells Moses that they can still go to the promised land but without His presence. God isn’t going to go with them because He’s concerned about getting angry enough to wipe them all out. (Exodus 33)

But Moses states very clearly that if the Lord’s presence is not going to be with them then he doesn’t want to go. Moses’ experience with God in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and on the mountain was enough to convince him that all he really needed was God’s presence.

How about you? What is it you’re facing? What is it you need in order to deal with it? Is God’s presence enough?
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If you’re on our journey through The Story then read chapter(s) 4 this week. If you’re not familiar with The Story you can check it out at the tab above or click here.

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Filed under Divine presence, Faith, intimacy with the Lord, The Story, Trusting God

When troubles come…

Notice that I didn’t title this blog entry “IF troubles come…” If you’re breathing, trouble will NOT be a stranger to you!

The notion that following Jesus equals an easy, comfortable, pain-free journey through life is one of the BIGGEST, oldest and most dangerous of misperceptions. False expectations, in general, set us up for disappointment; but this one can crush our spirit and even our faith if we’re not careful.

Often when a hard time hits, when a crisis hits, when a tragedy hits, we want out. We ask God for an airlift out of our problems. But many times God wants us to learn in the midst of those difficulties—and to learn especially about His love for us:

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (Romans 8:35, 37 NLT)

Notice that phrase “all these things.” This passage isn’t saying we won’t face some of these struggles, but that in them we’re “more than conquerors.”

If you’re seeking to obey the Lord, expect opposition. Expect obstacles. Expect difficulties. But also expect God to see you through.
~ Excerpted from Beyond by Greg Laurie

Joseph is a prime example! (Genesis 37, 39-50) Betrayed and sold into slavery by his brothers! Falsely accused by his employer’s wife and tossed into prison. Forgotten about by a friend after helping him understand a dream.

From our Lower Story, earthly perspective we could easily conclude that God had forsaken Joseph. But twice – when he arrives in Egypt as a slave and when he is thrown in prison, it clearly states that “the LORD was with Joseph.” (Genesis 39:2, 21)

God sustains Joseph and we eventually learn that all of this was used by God to further His Upper Story, kingdom agenda.

How can we prepare our hearts to trust God when troubles come?

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If you’re reading The Story with us then read chapter(s) 4 this week. If you’re unfamiliar with The Story then check it out on the page tab above!

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Filed under Divine presence, Faith, God, Hope, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Love of God, The Story, Trusting God

A secret too good to keep!

Ever have a secret so good, so big, so special that you just couldn’t help but tell someone about it?

It’s fun to have something extra special planned for someone you love. In fact, the more you love them the harder it can be to keep it a secret. I think that’s what God must have been feeling when he orchestrated the events surrounding the life of Joseph.

Joseph was the great-grandson of Abraham and the favorite son of Jacob. Beyond all the lessons or insights that we can glean from Joseph’s difficult and unusual journey the biggest is that God was foretelling the gospel story of rescuing mankind.

Thank about it…

In short, the story of Joseph goes like this…

He was the favored son of his father. His father sent him to his brothers who rejected him. He was taken to Egypt to avoid being killed. He was sold for the price of a slave and then was falsely accused. He was condemned between two prisoners. His suffering eventually led him to a place of prominence and honor, and his brothers bowed their knees to him at last. In the end, he had suffered much but knew that all he’d endured was to save the lives of those he loved.

Now, the story of Jesus…

He was the favored son of his father. His father sent him to his brothers who rejected him. He was taken to Egypt to avoid being killed. He was sold for the price of a slave and then was falsely accused. He was condemned between two prisoners. His suffering eventually led him to a place of prominence and honor, and his brothers bowed their knees to him at last. In the end, he had suffered much but knew that all he’d endured was to save the lives of those he loved.

God was so eager to tell us about the final rescue plan involving Jesus that He gives us a glimpse of it in the life and story of Joseph.

God loves us that much!

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Remember what awaits us!

Moses enjoyed all the wealth and privileges of living in pharaoh’s court but gave it all up and eventually was used by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Can you imagine giving up the lifestyle of living as an Egyptian king? What would motivate Moses do that?

“It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.” ~ Hebrews 11:24-26

Moses was looking ahead to his great reward!

Jesus gave up all of heaven to live among us as a man. His brutal death on a cross redeemed us and make a way for us to be brought back into God’s family. Can you imagine a greatest act of love? What would motivate Jesus to do that?

“Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” ~ Hebrews 11:2

Jesus did this “because of the joy awaiting him…”

Jesus was looking ahead to His great reward!

It’s difficult at times to say no to the pleasures of life as Moses did. And it’s even more difficult at times to sacrificially love others as Jesus did. But God has promised us a place with Him in eternity when we dwell with Him in the here and now living a life as He intended. When we’re feeling bogged down in the moment, we need to…

…remember what awaits us!

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Filed under Determination, Encouragement, Faith, Heaven, Joy, Life in General, Loving others, Sin

Only nobodies need apply!

This past weekend I watched a message by Louie Giglio about Exodus 3 where God speaks to Moses through a burning bush that doesn’t burn up. He had a variety of great insights about the whole encounter but one especially stood out.

Moses was 80 years old when God sent him to Egypt as His messenger to lead the Israelites out of slavery. Moses questioned God’s choice of him and with good reason. He wasn’t on anybody’s A-list. He was over-the-hill. On the downside of life. Literally, out to pasture tending his father-in-law’s herds.

When Moses expressed concern about being the right man for the task God didn’t reassure him by building up his confidence but by simply stating that He, God Himself, was going to be with Moses. God was the assurance factor in all of this; Moses was merely the human mouth piece.

But maybe God chose Moses exactly because he wasn’t qualified for such a monumental endeavor. That way no one would argue about who deserved the credit and the glory. And maybe God doesn’t call those who think they should be called because He doesn’t want the hassle of people debating who deserves the attention; it should always go to God.

When Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth about the ministry they had been given of sharing the Gospel of Jesus he referred to it as a treasure and that they were mere jars of clay. Notice why Paul uses that analogy.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7

Reread that last part. Paul said it happens this way so show that the “all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

If God puts some task in front of you today or this week that seems too big for you to handle, consider it an open invitation to be part of God’s unfolding and amazing story. He is working all around us in some pretty amazing ways and he needs a few more nobodies to share in the adventure.

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“Wait” is a four-letter word!

I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it but technically “wait” is a four-letter word! Maybe that’s why waiting is one of our least favorite things to do! Whether it’s a red light, a check-out line, our turn in the bathroom or sitting in a doctor’s office – we detest and complain about waiting.

Given the amount of time that we spend waiting it could be considered the biggest time waster of life… or it could be a key element in God’s kingdom agenda. Consider the following:

  • Abraham waited twenty-five years for his wife Sarah gave birth to their first child.
  • Joseph trudged through thirteen years of abandonment, betrayal, and false imprisonment before assuming the leadership of Egypt.
  • Moses spent forty years learning in Egypt and then forty more years tending sheep before God called him as a deliverer of His people.
  • David spent fourteen years running for his life before the throne of Israel became his.
  • And in Jesus’s own ministry, He often told those around Him, “My hour has not yet come.”

“Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.” ~Habakkuk 1:5 (NLT)

Just because we can’t see what God is doing behind the circumstances of life doesn’t mean He isn’t busy. Waiting can be one of the most grueling aspects of life, but with the proper perspective, it can become one of the most formative parts of our journey with God.

Waiting stretches our faith, teaches us to trust God and reminds us that life revolves around God’s agenda, not ours!

How will you handle waiting?

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Filed under Encouragement, Kingdom of God, Life in General, Trusting God

What’s in a name?

I have always been a fan of unique children’s names though it can be taken too far. I know of a preacher in Michigan named Ivan Odor who had a sister named Ima Odor – no kidding! But how far is too far?

The Israeli news source Galgalatz reports that Lior and Vardit Adler are the proud parents of a bouncing baby one-year-old girl named after the Facebook Like button.

Apparently, the parents were looking to call their daughter something unique. The moniker is not meant to be a gimmick; they just like (pun intended) the meaning behind the name.

The Adlers are hardly the first people to saddle their kid with a suspect name.

One man offered to name his son Batman if he could get 500,000 people to become fans of his Facebook Page, and another couple named their child Facebook in honor of the role the social network played in the recent revolution in Egypt.

Names are special to God as well but for a different reason.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. ~ Revelation 2:17

How cool is that! God has a name just for you and me. He’s preparing to write it on a white stone and present it to us for having stayed faithful to Him in this journey of life!

What do you think your name will be?

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