Trusting God In The Wilderness

As the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, God tested them to see if they would lay down their desires and obey him. Once they learned to trust God, their pride was replaced with humility.

At the moment we believe in our ability more than God’s ability, pride can prevent us from trusting God through our wilderness journeys as well.

God laid out the rules for gathering the manna he provided. Gather only enough for the day’s needs every morning. Gather more than that, you’ll end up with a basketful of moldy maggot-filled manna.

The Israelites had to trust God would keep his word and provide for their daily needs. Their provision was not dependent on how hard they worked, or how efficiently they gathered and stored the manna. It had nothing to do with them other than obedience and trust.

If the Israelites wouldn’t trust God in the simple act of gathering manna each morning, it was doubtful they would trust God to deliver them from the wilderness to the land of Canaan. Their refusal to believe Joshua and Caleb’s report after the two men spied on the land proved that point. (Numbers 13 & 14)

The Israelites grumbled and complained about the manna. They wanted to go back to Egypt where they could eat the foods they were accustomed to. Even if that meant a return to slavery.

God tested the Israelites to see what was in their hearts. He tested them to prepare them for the greater things he planned. He tested them to move them from a place of pride in their own accomplishments to humble trust in his sovereignty.

God had big plans in store for the Israelites. Plans which included bringing his Son into this world as a sacrifice for our sins. Manna in the wilderness was a starting point of obedience to prepare the Israelites to trust God with bigger things.

God tests us in similar ways. He wants to see what is in our hearts. He wants to see if we will lay down our pride and humbly trust him. He wants to see how well we trust him with the small things, before moving us to a place of bigger possibilities.

Is there a wilderness area God is asking you to trust him in?

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Do you remember how the Lord led you through the wilderness for all those forty years, humbling you and testing you to find out how you would respond, and whether or not you would really obey him? Deuteronomy 8:2 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God’s Grace Is Sufficient

When we are weak, God’s grace, provision, is sufficient. God’s power inside us becomes stronger when we face problems and troubles we can’t handle on our own. Have you experienced that in your life? I sure have. The key, I believe, is to acknowledge we are not as strong as we think we are. To borrow a line from Rich Mullins.

In our world weakness is not something we go around boasting about. Our world strives for self-sufficiency. But Jesus tells us to bring our burdens and cares to him for he cares for us. He promises to help us carry the weight of the things which weigh us down.

Often we buy into the lie it’s all on us to fix, solve, restore, provide…forgetting those are things God in his grace promises to do for us when we trust him. God’s power shows up in our weakness. Our job is to humbly admit we’re weak and accept what he offers. He gives grace for each day to complete what needs completed in his power and strength.

The apostle Paul begged God to take away his “thorn in the flesh.” We aren’t told what the thorn was, but God didn’t remove it. What God did was enable Paul to carry the burden through God’s power working in Paul.

Because of that, Paul cheerfully made up his mind to boast in his weakness so others would know anything he accomplished was through the power of God.

How have you experienced God’s grace in your weakness?

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Three times I begged the Lord for it to leave me, but his reply has been, “My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, my power is shown the more completely.” Therefore, I have cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (Phillips)

Or as the Hawai‘i Pidgin says: “I do plenny good tings fo you, an dass all you need. My power mo strong inside you wen you no can handle trouble yoa own self.”

I wish you well.

Sandy

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On The Prowl

A large gray cat has been on the prowl in our backyard looking for some unsuspecting bird or squirrel to devour. Whenever I see the intruder, I rush outside and tell it to scat. I wish the cat wore a collar with a bell attached to warn its prey of its approach.

Reminds me of Satan.

He is constantly on the prowl looking for some unsuspecting individual to devour. If he wore a bell, better still a loud gong to announce his approach, perhaps we’d put up our guard and not fall prey to his attacks.

In the old television series, Lost in Space, a robot often walked around waving his arms through the air shouting, “Warning Will Robinson! Warning!” in an attempt to keep young Will from danger.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had such a robot?

Just think how something like that might have shut Eve’s ears to the serpent’s lies. Or kept Abraham from passing Sarah off as his sister. Twice. Or Moses from losing his temper, Miriam from bad-mouthing Moses’ wife, and Jacob from stealing Esau’s blessing.

An early warning system might have kept Joseph’s brothers from selling him into slavery, Samson from being Samson, and David from sleeping with Bathsheba.

Or kept Judas from betraying Jesus, and Peter from denying Christ.

I’m sure you can think of other accounts.

Then of course, there is us.

What about when we’re tempted to gossip, tell that little white lie, be critical, judgmental, prideful, jealous?

Or when we strike out in anger, are unkind, betray another, look with lust, spew vile hatred, do something we know is wrong to save face?

But you know what? We aren’t defenseless. Far from it.

Although we don’t have a robot warning us when the Tempter lurks, and he for sure doesn’t wear a bell around his neck, we have something much greater.

Those of us who belong to Jesus have the Holy Spirit living in us. He prompts us to do good. To turn from evil, and tells us which direction we should go.

We also have the Armor of God.

As with anything which warns when danger is on the prowl, it does no good if we choose to ignore it.

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Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan.  For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.

 So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing up.

But to do this, you will need the strong belt of truth and the breastplate of God’s approval.  Wear shoes that are able to speed you on as you preach the Good News of peace with God.  In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.   And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the Word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Our Declaration of Independence

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4th in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read, voted on, and approved. With that declaration, the Continental Congress announced the thirteen American colonies were no longer part of the British Empire.

Although July 4, 1776 was the day of America’s declaration of independence, those all over the world who claim Jesus as Lord of our lives celebrate Resurrection Day as our declaration of independence from the chains of sin.

The Declaration of Independence penned by Thomas Jefferson, and approved by committee, justified the independence of the United States by listing colonial grievances against King George III. It asserted America had certain natural and legal rights.

Among the most famous words of the Declaration are:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

My dad was a member of the US Navy when I was born in Morocco on the USAF base near Rabat. Although I was born in Africa, I have a birth certificate issued by the US State Department which proves I am an American citizen born to American parents on a US military base.

While my earthly citizenship is in the United States of America, my eternal citizenship is in Heaven courtesy of Jesus Christ. I am a joint heir with the King. That’s where my first allegiance lies.

America’s freedom from tyranny was purchased at the price of many lives on both sides of the battlefields that spread out across the thirteen colonies.

Freedom from the tyranny of sin was purchased at the price of one life, God’s only Son, on the cross of Calvary.

Jesus Christ is the true Declaration of Independence.

As those of us in the United States of America reflect on the continued sacrifice and cost of our freedom from the chains of tyrannical leaders, let’s not forget what it cost our Savior to purchase our freedom from the chains of sin.

If you live in the States, any special way you celebrate Independence Day?

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But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him. Philippians 3:20 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Cut Loose the Anchors

 

In a previous post I mentioned the Apostle Paul’s shipwreck. This past week as I revisited this story, I concentrated on what the Bible says those men did.

They cut loose the anchors which kept them from moving forward; abandoning them in the sea. They untied the ropes that held the rudders immobile. They hoisted the foresail to the wind, hung on, and made it to shore.

Thinking about this, I compared it to times in our lives when we’ve thrown out the anchors and refused to move forward in God’s will.

Our anchors, whatever our individual anchors may be, keep us in one place. Stuck. Static. Immobile. We see the shore up ahead, but are paralyzed.

Our frozen rudders render steering impossible.

Our sail does us no good furled.

When we allow our faith to beat out our fears, however, we’re willing to cut loose the anchors, untie the rudders, hoist the sail, and hang on.

At this point we’re committed.

We’ve released our life into the All-Powerful hand of the One who controls the winds and the seas to carry us safely to shore.

Cutting the anchors, releasing the rudders, and hoisting the sail can be frightening. Don’t I know it. We believe it’s safer to stay put.

We know what to expect where we are. The unknown is altogether different.

Our fears can cause us to think of worst-case scenarios, can they not?

Although my fears probably look different from yours, I’ve allowed fear to freeze me in my tracks far too many times. I’ve allowed fear to replace faith in God. I’ve allowed fear to keep me from moving forward in the path God calls me to.

Perhaps you’ve done the same.

The only way Paul and the others on his ship reached the safety of land was to cut loose their anchors, untie the rudders, hoist the sail, and let God direct their path.

Any anchors you need to cut loose?

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Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. Acts 27:40 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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