“A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)
Good morning. Happy Leap-year. There is no scheduled reading for February 29th, so Preacher said I could use any scripture I wanted. When my wife, Camille, found out, she put in a request to repeat this blog: The Rocking Horse. This was a few days after the death of our daughter, Melissa. (It was February 16, 2012, at 1:15 am Thursday morning. Some things you don’t forget.)
It’s been a long week. Monday was the funeral for my daughter, Melissa. The first two verses of Psalm 121 say, “ I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”
And all I can say is thank you. I have never seen an out-pouring of Christian love like that, ever. From the one who may have prayed once or twice, to those who helped with the cooking, to those who helped my family out financially, all I can say is thank you. My help cometh from the LORD, and He sent you. Thank you, also to the Wimberg Funeral Home. We went there the week before Melissa went home to be with the Lord. We went there nervous, confused, not knowing where to turn. We left there happy, having our burdens lifted, having a set direction in which way to go, and having new Christian friends. My help cometh from the LORD, and He sent us to the Wimberg Funeral Home. Thank you Loyd, Brian, and all the others there, and God bless them for allowing themselves to be used for His glory. And what can I say about all Melissa’s friends and relatives; the funeral home was packed. My help cometh from the LORD, and He sent you all. Thank you. Jimmy Dilley (Melissa’s father), and Diane his fiance made it there from Arkansas. The weirdest thing to happen was Jake. Jake was married to one of Camille’s friends, and she hadn’t seen him since Melissa was one. He came down from Lakewood. Only God could arrange something like that. Everything went great. Even Ed’s chili was great! My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
There were 104 families who signed the book at the funeral home. That’s probably around 200 people who filed past the coffin to say goodbye (not forever, but only for a season). I wonder if anybody noticed the little wooden rocking horse in the casket? Well, I put it there for a reason. I had dated another woman who had a 2 year old daughter. Me and my dad build her a rocking horse for Christmas. I had taken a picture of it and put it in a photo album. Melissa came across it one day, and since that day she would always bust on me saying, “How come you never built me a rocking horse?” The Saturday before the funeral, I knew what I had to do. I went to several stores to find a rocking horse the size of a Christmas tree ornament. Nothing. I know what happened: Melissa and the Lord were looking down at my situation. She was telling the Lord, “Don’t let him find one – he’s got to build me one!” So I picked up some Balsa wood, glue, and paint, and I built her one. Why? To say thank you for being my daughter for 30 years.
Life is short. Nobody knows how long or how short their lives will be. Maybe we should treat everyone we meet today as if they were not going to have a tomorrow.
“Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” (Mark 9:50)
“My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with no comments yet.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Micah 6:8
Read the “0227 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage – “Be Sure Your Sin Will Find You Out.“
“Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me: Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD.” (Numbers 32:11 – 13)
In this passage, it mentions that none of the Israelites were wholly following the Lord except for Caleb and Joshua. Because Caleb and Joshua wholly followed God, they were the only two of their generation who were able to see the promised land. As Christians, we need to wholly follow God. God doesn’t just want a part of us, He wants all of us.
Caleb and Joshua had to be different than the rest of the Israelites in order to wholly follow God. If we are going to wholly follow God, we have to be different than the rest of the world.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
I’m sure it was not easy for Caleb and Joshua to follow God when no one else was. Not only did they have to be different, but they also had to be unashamed. To wholly follow God, they had to go against the grain of what everyone else was doing. They had to be bold and they had to be unashamed.
According to my earnest expectation and [my] hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but [that] with all boldness, as always, [so] now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether [it be] by life, or by death. (Philippians 1:20)
In addition to being different and unashamed, they had to be focused. If Caleb and Joshua were not focused on God, they wouldn’t be able to wholly follow after Him. You can’t follow something if you are not focused on it. If you are not focused on God, you can’t wholly follow him because He doesn’t have all of you. We as Christians need to be fully focused on God, if the things of this world have our attention than we are not following the Lord “wholly.”
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
We can’t wholly follow God in our own strength. Caleb and Joshua were not able to be different, unashamed, and focused because of their own strength. In fact, if you turn back to Numbers 14:24, it says that Caleb “had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully.” The secret to wholly following after God is to have God. We can only wholly follow God if we are relying on God to help us.
Because Caleb and Joshua were wholly following God, they were able to enter the Promised Land. If we are different, bold, and focused, wholly following after God, He will bless us just like he blessed Caleb and Joshua with the Promised Land.
Posted in Devotions by Hannah Erickson with 6 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51
Read the “0225 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Then came the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph: and these are the names of his daughters; Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah. And they stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah; but died in his own sin, and had no sons. Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father. And Moses brought their cause before the LORD.” (Numbers 27:1-5)
Here the daughters of Zelophehad come to talk to Moses. They were making their case to Moses saying there father Zelophehad, was a good man who loved the Lord. They continued to explain that he had no sons, and that the daughters should be able to have his inheritance. In 2020 this may not seem like a crazy request, but in that time women never received an inheritance. The first born male would receive a double portion, then if there were more sons they would divide up the rest. As you may remember with Jacob And Esau in Genesis 25, Jacob stole Esau’s birthright which eventually led to Jacob stealing the blessing. So for the times, this request the daughters made was a very bold request. I want to focus on the reason why they made the request. They felt comfortable to make this request, because of their dad’s testimony. Their father with someone who walked with the Lord, and loved the Lord. They took that petition to Moses to tell him their father was a good man, therefore he should have an opportunity for his name to continue through this inheritance. This made me think: would someone be able to make a bold request and the premise of their argument be my walk with God? Now back to the text-Moses did not have an answer for their request, so he decided to go to the Lord, and ask him.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father’s brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter. And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren. And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father’s brethren. And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it: and it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment, as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Numbers 27:6-11)
The Lord’s response was that the daughters were right! They deserved the inheritance of their father. Not only were they able to receive an inheritance, but God made it where families in this situation or something similar would be able to receive an inheritance. God changed the law because of a request. Not just a request, but also because of the life their father lived by loving the Lord. Let this be a challenge to us. We need to love and serve the Lord not only for us, but for the people behind us.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel. And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered. For ye rebelled against my commandment in the desert of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the water before their eyes: that is the water of Meribah in Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin. And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying, Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd. And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation. And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.” (Numbers 27:12-23)
I don’t find it a Coincidence, but after God recognized the legacy of a man, He addresses Moses’ legacy. Moses unfortunately was not able to enter the promised land because of his disobedience:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. … And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” (Numbers 20:7-8, 11-12)
Moses loved the Lord, and his “inheritance” which would be the promised land is going to be passed on to Joshua. I thank God that even when we mess up God still will do His will, even if the person he chooses doesn’t cooperate. Jonah ran from Gods will, but God still made a way!
“Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17)
God now gives Moses’ “inheritance” to Joshua, and Joshua becomes one of the greatest leaders of all time! This is also a great reminder to make your past exactly that your past! Even though Moses fell he got back up, kept serving God, and also was a huge mentor to and influence on Joshua. The Devil would love to take your impact by reminding you of your past, don’t let him!!
Numbers 28 And 29 talked a lot about offerings. And you may not think that chapters 27, 28, and 29 should go together, but they go together perfectly. Chapter 27 talks about a good heritage- having a good godly role model or father or mother in your life. Chapters 28 and 29 talk about personal offerings and sacrificial giving. Some of us have a legacy that was left behind by a parent, grandparent, or maybe a spiritual parent in our lives. We need to be thankful for our goodly heritage (the inheritance), but we cannot rely on it. We have to make it personal through sacrificial living.
Posted in Devotions by Travis Clark with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song –Proverbs 27:15
“And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink. And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.” (Numbers 20:2-13)
Good morning. Here we have a situation where the children of Israel were thirsting and needed water for themselves and their livestock. So what did they do? They complained to their leader. What did their leader do? He fell on his face before the LORD. What did God do? He gave them water. Even though the people rebelled and Moses ruined the picture God was painting by striking the rock instead of just speaking to it, He still gave them water.
“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)
“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:12-13)
God was painting a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. And Moses smudge the painting. That happens many times when we step in and try to do God’s job on our own. As a result, Moses and Aaron were not allowed to cross over into the promised land. It is easy for us to get ahead of God. We want, we want, and try to get it on our own. Even when God has it already prepared for us.
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:1-3)
We have not because we ask not. God told Moses to speak to the rock. God said to pray.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
Pray like Elisha…
“And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.” (2Kings 2:11-14)
Pray like Jonah…
“Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” (Jonah 2:1-10)
Pray like King David…
“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.” (Psalm 51:1-19)
Pray like Job…
“And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job. And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:7-10)
And most of all pray like Jesus prayed…
“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” (Matthew 26:36-42)
Pray that whatever your need, it is God’s will. If it is, He will deliver either now or later.
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 119:105
Read the “0220 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from today’s reading: “Obstacles.”
“The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.” (Numbers 14:18)
Like many of us, I read the verses in Numbers that tell of all the complaining of the congregation, and what seems to be a lack of trust in God and / or their leaders; and I wonder how in the world all those people could so quickly forget how God had saved them from slavery and blessed them and protected them… and I think My Goodness how could they so quickly forget the miracles they had seen and experienced??..
BUT THEN, I realize that I can’t be so high & mighty because in fact, aren’t we the same way? I know I am.. They complained and whined but don’t we do that too? I know I do… And they had no self-control.. but I struggle with self-control sometimes too..
Perhaps the root of their doubt and disappointment was really that way down deep they thought; “I’m not really worthy that God would do all this for me?” I’m not qualified; I’m not capable; I’m fearful of change; Can anyone else relate or is it just me? I even struggled with trying to contribute to this Blog and I lack confidence in having enough wisdom and knowledge and ability to place the right words on paper to make a good thought. Doesn’t the Devil know exactly how to scare us and frustrate us; cause us to doubt and worry, and complain and whine?? He can certainly get into my head and cause me to self-doubt, to tell me that I’m in that other part of Gideon’s army that he sent back to their tents; not the final chosen 300 to fight the good fight (Judges 7:8).
Thank you, Lord, for your forgiveness; to the Israelites of old and to us today. Thank you for your longsuffering and patience; your love even though we also complain and whine and doubt, just way too often.
Remember He is Our God.. Numbers 15:41
Fear not..Num 14:8-9
II Tim 1:7
Listen to Steve Green sing: “Find Us Faithful“
Posted in Devotions by Debbie Leatherman with 4 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 92:1 – 4
Read the “0219 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“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)
Boy, I hope that you enjoyed today’s reading as much as I did! Sometimes when we read these Old Testament passages, especially the chapters containing the genealogies, they can be less interesting and lacking of action, but that was certainly not the case for Numbers 11 – 13.
In Numbers 11, we have an account of the people of God murmuring and complaining, which is something they did often, and God hated it. Anyway, here in chapter eleven they are complaining about the manna that God provided for them everyday. Imagine not having to work for your food, but simply going out every morning and gathering it up from off of the ground. We do not know exactly what manna tasted like, but I’d bet it was good; and since it came directly from God as bread from Heaven, I can guarantee that it provided perfect nutrition. Yet, the people were tired of manna every day. Keith Green wrote a great song that described the frustration of the Israelites with their day to day wander in the wilderness, and their lack of desire for manna. Here is a portion of “So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt:”
Well there’s nothing do but travel
And we sure travel a lot
‘Cause it’s hard to keep your feet from moving
When the sand gets so hot
And in the morning it’s manna hotcakes
We snack on manna all day
And we sure had a winner last night for dinner
Flaming manna souffle
Well we once complained for something new to munch
The ground opened up and had some of us for lunch
Ooh, such fire and smoke
Can’t God even take a joke? Huh? NO!
Oh, Moses, put down your pen!
What? Oh no, manna again?
Oh, manna waffles
Fillet of manna
I think the main reason that the people complained was because they were on a different timetable than God. I know I am. I want what I want, when I want it, which is usually immediately. The people liked the manna at first, but they got tired of it. I am sure that God knew that they needed a little more variety in their diet, but He wasn’t providing it as fast as the people wanted. So what did they do? They griped and complained. They wanted MEAT! And, they wanted it NOW! They more than desired it, they lusted after it. So, what did God do? He gave it to them in the form of quails. So many of them that they were piled up three feet deep in a large area surrounding the camp. They ate so much of it that it came out of their nostrils. They loved the quail that God provided at first, but they would soon tire of it as well.
Why is it that God’s people get tired of the good things that He provides for them. Why is it that we always want more; we are never satisfied, never content.
In chapter twelve, we see that the complaints were not limited to just the lay people. Apparently Aaron and Miriam were upset about the fact that Moses had chosen an African wife. God was not pleased with their criticism either, and Miriam was stricken (at least temporarily) with leprosy.
Then in chapter thirteen, God sent twelve spies in to check out the land of Canaan. He didn’t want them to figure out how God was going to bring them in to defeat the Canaanites, He just wanted them to see how beautiful and abundant the land was so they could get a vision for what God had in store for them. Instead of coming back excited, they came back scared. They did not believe that their God was able to defeat the Canaanites, and they, too, griped and complained.
When are we going to learn? Why can’t God’s people see that their cups are overflowing with blessings, instead of viewing them as half-empty. Is this the way you see things? Do you tend to see the negative side of everything? Learn from all of these examples from Numbers 11 – 13. God is good, and He is very good to His children. He has dealt with us far better than we could ever deserve.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8
Read the “0218 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from today’s reading – “Don’t Move“
“So it was always: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.” (Numbers 9:15)
There are times in our lives we end up in a spiritual wilderness. We feel alone, forsaken, unloved, unforgiveable, and longing for God’s presence. Reading the passage today, we see that the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, which they did for 40 years. It was due to sin and this was the consequence, yet in the midst of them God made His presence known! The cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night was God’s presence with them during those wilderness years. He used the cloud and the pillar of fire to guide them. What a comfort to know that even when we are in the “wilderness” GOD IS THERE! He is with us! As He guided the Israelites by taking up the cloud and moving it to where He wanted them to go and the pillar of fire by night to light their way, so God’s presence in our darkness will light the way and guide us through the difficult times of our lives. He is our guide and He is our light! A great verse to commit to memory is Hebrews 13:5b “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
“Guide Me Thou, O Great Jehovah” is an old hymn that was written in 1745 by William Williams after going through many difficulties. It is one of my favorite hymns. Notice that verse two refers to the cloud and the fire. May these words be a blessing to you today.
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand.
Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliv’rer, strong Deliv’rer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.
Posted in Devotions by Sarah Camillo with 4 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 61:1 – 3
Read the “0216 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
In chapters 5 of the Book of Numbers, God is instructing the children of Israel about what they should do if a man suspects that his wife has been unfaithful to him. The Bible talks about “the spirit of jealousy” that comes upon a man if there is something going on behind his back. I believe the same holds true for the wife. I know that today we don’t often think of jealousy as being a good thing; but interestingly, the Bible records that God is very jealous over his children. I do not think it is wrong either for there to be a healthy dose of jealousy within the marriage either. A man should love his wife to the extent that he cannot bear the thought of her being with anyone else. The same applies to the wife. Jealousy is, I believe, a God-given emotion. Now it must be controlled, just as all of our other emotions; and we cannot let it cause us to sin, but I believe it to be a good thing nonetheless.
Chapter 6 primarily deals with the rules concerning the vow of the Nazarite. When a person took this special vow of consecration in Old Testament days, he would not cut his hair or his beard, and he was not permitted to touch any alcohol, or come near anything (or anybody) that was dead. This vow was a vow of “separation unto the Lord”. The person that took this vow was declaring that his or her life was wholly dedicated to God. Usually, a person would be under this oath of separation for a period of time, not for his entire life. By the way, don’t confuse a Nazarite with a Nazarene, which is a person that comes from the city of Nazareth. Jesus was a Nazarene.
I was captivated this morning by the prayer of blessing found at the end of chapter 6. It seemed almost strange for this beautiful prayer to be place in this particular place. I mean, we have been reading a lot here lately about a bunch of commandments, sacrifices, rules, etc. Here, God tells Aaron that he wants him to pronounce this prayer of blessing over the people. I think God just wanted to remind the people that he loved them and that He was for them. I think we can learn a couple of lessons from this as well. First, we need to be reminded that God loves us and wants nothing but the best for us. We often will think about God as this angry, cold dictator that is ready to pounce upon us when we do wrong. That is not God. He loves us and He wants to give us the richest blessings, and a life full of abundance.
The second lesson that we should learn from this is that when we are trying to teach our children, we need to remember to let them know often that we love them. Yes, we need to give them all of the rules, commandments, and instructions; and yes, we ought to discipline them when they do wrong; but we also need to make sure that they know that we (and especially God) are in their corner, and that we want nothing but the richest blessings for their lives. This would be a good lesson for preachers and other mentors to learn as well. In our zeal to instruct, we sometimes come across as being uncaring and unloving. You have heard the old saying: “People do not care about what you know, until they know that you really care.” Well, we ought to really care, and we ought also to express that love and care often to the people that we are trying to help.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Read the “0215 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“All those that were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the chief of Israel numbered, after their families, and after the house of their fathers, From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that came to do the service of the ministry, and the service of the burden in the tabernacle of the congregation, Even those that were numbered of them, were eight thousand and five hundred and fourscore. According to the commandment of the LORD they were numbered by the hand of Moses, every one according to his service, and according to his burden: thus were they numbered of him, as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Numbers 4:46-49)
Good morning. I am 66 years, and 4 days old today. I like it that way: each day brings me closer to my going to be with the Lord. In our text, God told Moses that those from thirty years old to fifty years old are to do the service of the ministry. Does this mean I can retire? No. I’ll retire when the Lord takes me home. There are dangers to quitting. Here are a few verses to consider…
“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29)
Since the gifts God gives us are to edify others, we both suffer if you quit. And if God’s calling is without repentance (He will not change His mind), well, just look at Jonah and watch out for great fishes…
“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. (Jonah 1:1-4)
“And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:7-17)
1) Quitting not only affects you, but others also.
“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (John 15:8)
“There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.” (John 21:2-3)
Peter, and those who followed him, went fishing and caught nothing…
2) Quitting does not glorify God.
“And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” (1Kings 19:1-4)
“And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.” (2Kings 2:9-14)
3) Quitting could end in an untimely demise.
What if? Let me give you this ‘what if’ here. What if Elijah would have kept going, and the Lord performed a few more miracles through Elijah, say five more. Elisha saw Elijah depart, and Elisha did get his request granted and performed twice as many miracles as Elijah. This would mean that there would have been ten more miracles done by Elisha. Considering quitting? Consider the consequences it will have on you and on others.
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 2 comments.
Today’s Passage – Numbers 1 – 2 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 51
Read the “0214 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Then the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp: as they encamp, so shall they set forward, every man in his place by their standards.” – (Numbers 2:17)
In Numbers chapter 2, God gives us a description of what the camp of Israel looked like when they were not on the move. A careful reading of this chapter will reveal that the nation of Israel was divided into 13 different groups, which included 11 of the original 12 tribes; and also the two half-tribes of Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim). These groups were all strategically placed around the tabernacle. Immediately surrounding the tent on all four sides was the tribe of Levi. They were placed there as closely as possible to the tabernacle because that was their place of service. They were the ministers and priests of the Lord. Beyond the Levites the remaining twelve tribes and half-tribes were positioned by threes in each direction. For instance, on the east side of the tabernacle, beyond the Levites, were the tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulon. There were also three tribes on the west, south, and north. The thought that I am trying to develop here, however, is that the tabernacle was in the very center of the congregation. The tabernacle was the place where God dwelt, between the cherubims on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. God, and His chosen place of worship was the very center of the lives of the people of Israel.
Now let’s fast forward a few thousands years to the time of the local church. I realize that today God dwells in the hearts of His children, but the local church is God’s chosen place for corporate worship, and it is the place where we are to be organized in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” – (1 Timothy 3:15)
God should still be at the center of our lives; and the local church should be at the center of the life of our families. I have been a pastor now for many years, and I have been involved in God’s work as a layman even longer. I have observed that the families who place a high value on the local church, recognizing it’s importance, tend to be stronger and happier than the families that do not. Don’t misunderstand, I do not think that the church has a higher priority than the home but I do believe that successful homes are built around a strong, Bible believing, New Testament church. The church’s role is critical to healthy marriages and to the spiritual development of our children.
Take a moment to consider the role that the local church plays in your life; and then consider the role that you play in your local church. We need to keep our local churches strong, and I believe that there are many ways that you can help:
1 Participate in the local church – attend the services and find something that you can do that will serve others. God has uniquely equipped you in certain areas that can be used in the local church.
2 Pray for your church and your pastors and leaders. The ministry can be very discouraging, but you can be an encouragement to the people that minister to you simply by lifting them up in prayer. It wouldn’t hurt for you to let them know on occassion that you are praying for them.
3 Support your church with your tithes and offerings. The work of God cannot go forward without the tithes of God’s people. When you don’t give you are telling God and the church that they have no place of value in your life. You can also support the church by not bashing it. Let people know where you stand. If you are for the ministry, speak out for it, and don’t let others run it down in your presence. Negativity and complaining are like cancers inside the church that will destroy it from within.
Is the local church important to you, or isn’t it? God says that it should be. Remember, He died for the church. It’s His body. He places a great value on it, and so should we.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.