When Our Arms Grow Tired

For Christmas this past year, Pie gifted Pilot and me with tickets to a Beach Boys’ concert which the three of us attended several months ago. We each thoroughly enjoyed the event. Especially Surfer Boy, Pilot.

Near the beginning of the concert Mike Love, one of the remaining original Beach Boys, asked everyone in the audience to take out their cell phones and turn on its light.

He then instructed us to wave our phones through the air while the band played one of my personal all-time Beach Boys’ favorites, Surfer Girl.

It was great. Arms waved back and forth in the audience in time with the song.

Well.

Pretty much.

Some folks were a little off beat.

Nevertheless, it was great.

Until …

I looked over the audience and noticed some arms no longer waved. They’d grown tired. They couldn’t keep up the pace. They fell in defeat.

After thinking about it, several things came to mind. One of those thoughts I’ll share with you today.

When we’re on the front lines for God, doing his work, fighting his battles, we can grow tired. Can we not?

Our arms can grow weak. We might want to fall on our knees in defeat to all the opposition thrown at us. It doesn’t matter our age one bit.

Just like Moses in the desert fighting the Amalekites, we need help.

As Joshua and his men fought the Amalekites, Moses stood on a hill overlooking them. As long as Moses kept his arms and staff in the air, the Israelites prevailed.

Whenever Moses’ arm dropped, the Amalekites prevailed.

Moses’ arms grew weary. He couldn’t help it. No matter how hard he tried to keep his arms in the air, he just couldn’t.

That’s when his brother, Aaron, and friend, Hur, stepped in. The two men found a large stone for Moses to sit on. Then they stood on either side of Moses, holding up his arms.

With the support of these two men, Moses was able to keep his arms and staff held high. Because of that, the Israelites were victorious over their enemy.

Don’t you think we need the support of those around us to fight our daily battles when our arms grow tired, too ?

Some days we’re Moses. Some days we’re Aaron and Hur.

When it’s our turn to hold up our friend’s arms, let’s not hesitate to step up. When we grow weak and need help, let’s not hesitate to ask.

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The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Pick out some men to go and fight the Amalekites tomorrow. I will stand on top of the hill holding the stick that God told me to carry.” Joshua did as Moses commanded him and went out to fight the Amalekites, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his arms, the Israelites won, but when he put his arms down, the Amalekites started winning. When Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. In this way Joshua totally defeated the Amalekites. Exodus 17:8-13 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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It’s A Sign

One of my fellow teachers often replied to unexpected occurrences with “It’s a sign.”

Sometimes I’ll jokingly say the same thing. I don’t know about you, but I like to have assurance I’m heading the right direction whether that means driving in downtown traffic, which I strongly resist, or following God.

Throughout the Bible people asked God for signs to know they understood him correctly. Gideon and his fleece come to mind, as does Moses. In Gideon’s case, God provided a sign – twice – before Gideon acted. In Moses’ case, God told Moses he’d see the sign when he brought the people up out of Egypt.

It’s been said the most compelling signs are revealed after faith is exercised, not before. Funny how things become clearer when we look back on a situation, and see all God did to get us on the other side of it.

When God addressed Moses from the burning bush, and tasked him with bringing the Israelites out of bondage, God believed in Moses even before Moses believed in himself. It’s the same with us today. We believe in our I CAN’Ts more than we believe in God’s YOU CANs.

Moses’ mission wasn’t all on his shoulders, although at times he sure thought it was. His mission was accomplished through God’s power every step of the way. Moses’ job was to trust God completely and absolutely, then act on that trust.

God led the Israelites through the wilderness. He didn’t simply give Moses a job, then disappear. He accompanied Moses every step of the way.

Moses had plenty of reasons to fear returning to Egypt. Plenty. There was great risk involved. There was also the issue of a former prince of Egypt returning as a humbled shepherd.

Like Moses, when we accept the mission God has for us, when we step out even while shaking with fear, we see God work, we see his sign, and our faith has a chance to grow stronger.

When have you seen God work in your life after accepting the mission he sends you on?

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God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” Exodus 3:12 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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I know I said I wouldn’t post videos due to the large amount of media space they take up on the blog, but after hearing a group play Take Your Shoes Off Moses last month at the Ozark Mountains Dulcimer Festival, I couldn’t resist. Hope you enjoy this song.

Blessings and Curses

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

At one of the schools where I taught in Florida, my classroom was a portable building. Across from our portable was another portable. One day at the height of college football season, the teacher in the other portable and I lined our students up the ramp leading to our respective portables, and shouted at each other.

No. We weren’t on opposing teams. Both teachers were University of Central Florida grads, (Go Knights!) and we were teaching our students one of UCF’s cheers.

Black! Gold!

Maybe you had to be there to appreciate the cheer, but for those few minutes, each class tried to out-scream the other with rounds of Black! Gold! Black! Gold!

It was great.

Remembering that day, I thought about a time near the end of Moses’ life when he told the twelve tribes of Israel to line up on opposite mountains from each other; reminding them of the blessings and curses that would come upon them depending on whether they obeyed the commandments of the LORD, or not.

Seven tribes stood on one side of Mount Gerizim to proclaim blessings, and five tribes stood across the valley on Mount Ebal to proclaim curses. No. I don’t know why it wasn’t an even six and six.

The priestly tribe of Levites stood in the valley between them.

As Moses recited what would bring a curse from God to fall upon them: idol worship, taking advantage of a blind person, injustice toward a foreigner, orphan, or widow … all the people shouted Amen. So be it.

Next Moses listed the blessings which would come if they obeyed the Lord’s commands: blessings in the field, city crops, children, flocks and herds …

It was important to Moses the people understood what he set before them before he died. Life or death. Blessing or curse. He wanted so much for them to choose life by following God.

You know, we have the same choice to make. Life or death. Blessing or curse.

Follow Jesus and be blessed.

Follow the world and be cursed.

As it was up to the individual to decide during the time of Moses, it is up to the individual to decide in our current time.

This isn’t a simple matter of standing in front of one portable and shouting to the other.

Its a matter of blessings and curses. Life or death.

It’s a matter of choosing this day whom we will follow. Amen?

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 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Step Aside

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Watching the Winter Olympic Games got me thinking about how the Olympic Torch is handed off. After each person does their job, they step aside, much like runners in a relay race.

That thought took me to look at Moses and David. Near the end of both their lives, one thing they pursued was not theirs to complete. God chose another to fulfill what these two dreamed would be there’s.

For forty years Moses led the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan, which the Lord promised his people. But as Moses stood at the entrance to the land, God told Moses he would not lead the people in. Joshua would.

From the time David was king, maybe even before, he dreamed of building a temple for the Lord his God. He had magnificent plans for a building that would surpass all others. One fit for the presence of Jehovah God.

But God had other plans.

God did not let David build the temple. Instead, God chose David’s son, Solomon, to build it.

I imagine both of these men were crushed at the outcome of their service and work for God. We see no grumbling or complaining to the fact, however. What we do see is these two men of God accepted his decision, and stepped aside for the one who came after them.

They didn’t selfishly insist on fulfilling the own ambitions. They didn’t get in the way of the one God chose to complete the task. They simple handed off the baton, and stepped aside so someone else, a person of God’s choosing, would complete the race they began.

Maybe we’ve come right to the gate of our long-held dreams, only to have God hand the baton to someone else to complete the race.

How do we respond when that happens? Do we, like Moses and David, step aside, or do we cling to what we believe is our right and refuse to yield the project to someone else when it’s their turn?

Finishing well does not always mean seeing a project through to completion. Sometimes it means we step aside so others can share in the glory of the task God called us to begin.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plant, but it was God who made the plant grow. The one who plants and the one who waters really do not matter. It is God who matters, because he makes the plant grow. There is no difference between the one who plants and the one who waters; God will reward each one according to the work each has done. 1 Corinthians 3:6-8 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures Moses God’s Leader

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Moses. Leader of God’s people. How would you describe the man God chose to lead God’s people out of Egypt?

Even though Moses resisted God’s call on his life the day God spoke from the bush that burned but never consumed, the record of the Israelites’ Exodus from slavery in Egypt shows Moses was a true leader. Do you think God would have called Moses if he wasn’t?

The more I read about Moses’ life, the more I admire the man. What patience he exhibited when time after time the ungrateful Israelites complained against God and Moses during their forty year trek through the desert. Moses showed compassion and a willingness to sacrifice himself for the people he led. Moses also showed strength in the face of rebellion.

Numbers 12:3 tells us Moses was the humblest man on earth and Deuteronomy 34:10-12 says there has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses.

Even so, Moses told God he was not the man for the job. Moses said his speech was slow and halting, and that right there should disqualify him. God disagreed. Because we know the end of the story, we know Moses did go, he did what God told him to do, and he did lead the Israelites to the Promised Land God prepared for them.

During the martyr Stephen’s words just prior to being stoned to death, Stephen said of Moses, “Pharaoh’s daughter found him and adopted him as her own son, and taught him all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he became a mighty prince and orator.” (Acts 7:21-22)

Moses became a mighty prince and orator. Doesn’t sound like a man whose speech was slow and halting to me.

I believe sometimes we judge ourselves the way Moses did. We discount our abilities and shrink back from using them. God put those abilities in us to accomplish great things for him. One thing I heard years ago, which I firmly believe, is God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.

So if God has tapped us on the shoulder to step out of our comfort zone to do a mighty work for him, we shouldn’t start writing a list of our shortcomings. Each of us has shortcomings a plenty after all. Instead, let’s put God at the top of our list of strengths, leave it at that, and perform the work God’s called us to through the Holy Spirit’s mighty power living in us.

Where in your life have you seen God’s power at work?

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There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. The Lord sent him to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, and all his servants, and his entire land. With mighty power, Moses performed terrifying acts in the sight of all Israel. Deuteronomy 34:10-12 (NLV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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