The Glory of the Lord

The Glory of the Lord

Today’s Passage – Exodus 39 – 40 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 21 – 22; Proverbs 2; Psalms 11 – 15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read the “0202 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” – (Exodus 40:34)

“And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.” – (Leviticus 9:24)

“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.” – (2 Chronicles 7:1)

“Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” – (1 Kings 18:38)

The first two verses referenced above deal with the event that is taking place in Exodus 40, the dedication of the Tabernacle. Moses and the people of Israel have completed all that God had asked them to do regarding the construction of the Tabernacle. They had followed God’s instructions perfectly, building everything precisely as God had showed Moses. They anointed Aaron and his sons, and now everything is ready for God to put His blessing upon it. Exodus 40:34 tells us that the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Leviticus tells us that a fire came down from Heaven. You will notice that 2 Chronicles tells us that later in Israel’s history, in the days of King Solomon, that the fire fell again when they dedicated the Temple. It also fell in the time of Elijah when God was showing the people of Israel His power on Mount Carmel.

I remember years ago when Pastor Rick Wedemeyer and a handful of people first started the Christian Bible Church in South Tom’s River. There is no better way to state it than to say that in those early days the church was “on fire”. It was new, and it was fulfilling the purposes of glorifying the Lord and winning souls for Christ. The people were committed wholly to the Lord and His will for their lives. And the fire fell. God put a zeal, a fervor in the hearts of those people; and within a very short time the church had grown as many people were saved; and converts were being discipled and getting involved  in the service of the Lord.

I also have seen the fire of the Lord fall upon our ministry here at Jersey Shore Baptist Church, but unfortunately it has only been at certain seasons, and for a limited time. There have been times when the people were revived, and very zealous for the work of the Lord. Then there have been other times when the church seemed very lethargic. I pray constantly for the Lord to revive me, and our people; that He will once again set us on fire for His work, and His glory. I believe if God’s people will separate themselves from the world, and then dedicate themselves to the Lord and His purposes, the fire will fall once again. It really is all about what we desire. In our passage, the people of Israel were wholly focused on the Lord. And the fire fell. And if we were to wholly focus on the Lord in our lives and ministries, we would also see the fire of God fall to bless His work. Remember when you first trusted Christ as your Saviour? You were probably more “on fire” than you are now. I don’t know why, but it just happens that Christians, as well as churches, cool off in their spiritual zeal. However, now that we recognize that the fire in our hearts is not blazing as it once was, let’s confess our apathy to the Lord, and then ask Him to stoke the embers of our hearts and revive us. And the fire will fall once again.


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Too Much?

3.3-Giving-1857345-Offering

Today’s Passage – Exodus 36 – 38 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 19 – 20; Proverbs 1; Psalms 6 – 10

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

“And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.” – (Exodus 36:5-7)

I am always amazed when I read this portion of Scripture. This seems to be the first building fund in the Bible, and it may even be the first special offering. God asks the congregation of Israel to give to Moses an offering of the necessary materials to build the Tabernacle and all of its furniture. The people gave generously, and gave more, and kept on giving; so much so that the workers were complaining that there was way too much stuff given. They didn’t know what to do with all of the gold, silver, brass, skins, wood, and fabric that the people were anxious to offer to the Lord to be used in this tent of worship.

I know that many of you have seen this passage before, and no doubt, you may even have heard messages from this text; but when was the last time that you heard a preacher get up and tell you to stop giving. Can you imagine me standing at the pulpit this Sunday morning and announcing to the congregation that we have more money than we know what to do with? Can you picture me saying, “please stop giving!”? I can’t either. Why is it that in the ministry today there seems to be such a shortage of the things that are necessary to do the work of God. We seem to always be “behind the eight ball”, so to speak. Why is that?

I believe that there could me many individual reasons; but I will offer some of my thoughts. One reason that I believe people are reluctant to give today is that they do not understand the clear teaching of Scripture. The Bible gives a lot of instruction regarding giving, both by way of commandment as well as encouragement. Many people just don’t know (or don’t want to know) what the Bible teaches about the subject.

Another reason that people may be reluctant to give is that they just don’t trust the stewardship of the local churches. There has been a lot of financial corruption and scandal in recent years involving church leadership and people wonder if their money is really going to the work of the Lord, or is it lining the pockets of the spiritual leaders. Maybe they feel that the church is spending too much money on facilities, etc. Even in our independent, fundamental churches we have gotten used to luxurious accommodations. Now, don’t misunderstand, I think the church house should be comfortable, and beautiful, but I think that it should also be very functional and practical. Church leaders need to be very conscious of the fact they have been given stewardship of the Lord’s money, and it should be spent very prayerfully and wisely.

I will offer one more thought regarding the lack of commitment on the part of the people of God in the area of giving. People today are just not as committed in general. Think about it. In Moses day, there was nothing else for the people but God. The Tabernacle would literally be at the very center of their lives. Today, the worship of God is hardly at the center. It may be a part, even a big part of some people’s lives; but to say it is the center would be a far stretch. We are very busy and very distracted today; and we have a lot more to spend our money on. What were the people going to do with that stuff anyway? Where were they going to spend it? They didn’t even have houses to live in. But we do, don’t we? And with them big mortgages and rents, and car payments, and phone bills, and cable bills. You get the idea. If we are ever going to get the people of God back to where they once were, we will have to help them realize that God needs to be at the very center of their lives. Putting God back at the very core of people’s lives will help them to remember what’s really important, helping them to prioritize their lives; not just in the area of finances, but in every other area of their lives.


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Beaming

darknesslight

Today’s Passage – Exodus 33 – 35 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 17 – 18; Proverbs 31; Psalms 1 – 5 (Jump start on February because it is a short month)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “0131 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from today’s reading passage – “Willing Servants

“And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.” – (Exodus 34:28-29)

In chapter 34 of the Book of Exodus, Moses is back up on Mount Horeb receiving the Law of God for the second time. You will recall that the first two tables of stones were broken by Moses upon his return from the first trip. The people had corrupted themselves by creating and worshipping the golden calf. At any rate, this time he comes back and finds that the people had behaved themselves. What a blessing it is to return home from a trip and find that there are no problems.

My thought this morning is not about what Moses saw when he returned from his 40 days with God; rather, I want to give you a few thoughts about what the people saw in their leader. They said that his face shone. I believe that these people actually saw some kind of physical radiance beaming from the face of Moses. I do not think that what they saw could actually be duplicated today, but I do believe that people should be able to see a difference on our countenance, and in our attitude, when we have spent time with the Lord. I remember when I first became a Christian, we went to a conference to see a particular preacher. When we arrived, the preacher, whom I had never seen before, was standing in the front of the auditorium, and fellowshipping with a few other people. For some reason, I was able to spot him out of the crowd. There was just something about him. His presence revealed that he had been with God. He literally had God all over him. I wonder if people can see the presence of God in my life? Can they see Him in you?

In our passage, we see that this radiance came about after Moses had spent 40 days in the presence of God. He didn’t eat or drink during that time. He didn’t have access to a television or the internet, or even his  iphone. There was no other people to share the experience with him. It was just him and God, alone, free from any type of distraction. I wonder what God could do in our lives if we had a similar experience. We may not be able to spend 40 days in His presence, but how about 40 minutes. What could God do in your life and mine if we just spent 40 minutes of time alone with Him. I bet it would show up on our faces as well. I bet people would say about us that we were “glowing”, or “beaming”, or “shining”. The presence of God will lighten up our lives, and through us, the lives of those around us. Why not peel yourself away from other people today; away from the cell phone, the television, and the computer; and get alone with the Lord. Let Him light your life up.


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Called of God, Filled with the Spirit, and Gifted with Abilities

blueprints

Today’s Passage – Exodus 30 – 32 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 15 – 16; Proverbs 30; Psalms 146 – 150

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 55:17

Read a previous post from this passage – “Who Is On The Lord’s Side?”

“See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, … And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;” – (Exodus 31:2-3, 6)

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – (Philippians 4:19)

“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:” – (Romans 12:4)

“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” – (1 Corinthians 12:18)

I just want to give a quick thought from chapter 31 of the passage in Exodus that we are reading together today. I was tempted to write something from chapter 32, but I decided that this thought was more appropriate for the people of Jersey Shore. I am thankful because this message is a little more encouraging than what I would have said about chapter 32.

In the preceding chapters God has been instructing Moses regarding the Tabernacle. God gave him a complete set of blueprints, with detailed instructions about how to go about building it. The problem was that Moses was not necessarily gifted in the area of construction. He was a great leader, but he certainly did not possess all of the skills necessary to do all that needed to be done; nor would he have the time to do it all himself. God understood this, so He raised up men who were gifted in construction, at least the type of construction required for the Tabernacle and all of the furniture and coverings involved with it. They were going to oversee the building of the tabernacle so that Moses could do what he needed to do.

I remember when we were building our little addition to the church building. It was only a 900 square foot addition to the auditorium, but honestly I knew very little about what was needed to complete it. God raised up a man in our church to oversee the construction. The project was completed on time and under budget. Everybody congratulated me on what a wonderful job I did with the building, but truthfully I had very little to do with it. And, because I didn’t have to focus on the construction, I was able to fulfill, without distraction, my primary duties of ministry. Thank God for Don Price who was gifted and used of the Lord in a great way to fulfil this particular task.

God equips the local church with what it needs to do what God wants it to do. Part of my job as a pastor is to try to figure out what the gifts and talents are in the people, and put them to use. People who are not being used are unhappy people, and unhappy people will not stay long and their talents will be wasted. God also equips each and every one of us with what we need so that we can fulfil His will. He will never ask us to do something without providing the tools and materials that are necessary in order to get the job done.

Have you discovered what talents and abilities that God has equipped you with? What gifts has God entrusted to your life? Are you allowing Him to use all of those things for His honor and glory? Why not find a place to serve in the local church where your talents can be used to the fullest? God wants to bear fruit in your life. Allow Him to use you.


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Interceding on Behalf of God’s People

Interceding

Today’s Passage – Exodus 28 – 29 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 13 – 14; Proverbs 29; Psalms 141 – 145)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “0129 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth. With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold. And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial. (Exodus 28:9-12)

” And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it. Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof. And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes. (Exodus 28:15-21)

Exodus 28 gives us a description of the garments that Aaron the high priest was to wear when he went into the presence of the Lord. You will notice from the verses above that he was to wear the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel both on his shoulders and in the breastplate upon his heart. These names reminded him that he represented the people to their God.

There are two thoughts that I would like for us to consider from this passage:

1  The Lord Jesus Christ also carries His children upon His shoulders and in His heart. He bears our burdens for us and He thinks about us continuously. He intercedes on our behalf before His Father. What an awesome comfort it is to know that our Lord loves us and watches over us. I reminded of the story Jesus told in Luke 15 of the shepherd who found his lost sheep and when he found it he carried it upon his shoulders. I know there have been many times in my life that my spiritual strength was so weak that the Lord had to carry me. What a wonderful Lord that loves and cares for us!

2  God’s ministers today are also supposed to shoulder the burdens of the people they minister to by interceding for them through prayer, and they should also keep the people close to their hearts. The Apostle Paul told the church at Philippi that he had them “in his heart”. (Philippians 1:7) When someone in our congregation is experiencing a trial I find myself thinking about them constantly, almost brooding over them, which causes me to pray for them. I want to fix their problem for them and remove the trial, but I am most often powerless to do so. But, I can pray for them, and I can love them and let them know that they are close to my my heart.

It is amazing how these Old Testament descriptions of the Tabernacle and its ministers paint a wonderful picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, and also provide practical principles for us today as we minister in the New Testament Church.

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;” (1 Timothy 2:1)


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Pattern What You Preach

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Today’s Passage – Exodus 25 – 27 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 11 – 12; Proverbs 28; Psalms 136 – 140

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 48:1 & 2

Read the “0128 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. … And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.” – (Exodus 25:8-9, 40)

In chapters 25 – 27, God is instructing Moses regarding the construction of the Tabernacle. He first tells him that he must take up an offering from the people, collecting all of the materials that would be needed in order to construct it. This was no small undertaking as the tabernacle with all of its curtains and coverings and with all of its gold, silver, and brass, not to mention the wood that would be required, was a masterpiece of magnificent beauty and elaborate detail. Yet, it is interesting to note, as we will learn later in future passages, that Moses had to eventually stop the people from giving because they had given much more than was necessary to construct the Tabernacle. We don’t see that very often today, do we. Can you imagine what could be done in our churches today if God’s people were this excited about the work of God?

God then shows Moses a pattern; a picture of what the tabernacle was to look like. He no doubt also showed him blueprints of each element of the tabernacle, including all of the pieces of furniture. Moses had a clear picture in his mind of what it all would look like when he was finished. Then, God goes on for several chapters giving Moses detailed instructions outlining precisely how the tabernacle was to be built. So, in review, we see that God showed Moses an example, and then he gave him clear instructions, or exhortation.

I got to thinking how that this is how the ministry is supposed to work. God commands those of us who minister to His people to be a good example (or pattern) of what He expects in a finished product, and then He wants us to give clear instructions of how the people are to go about it. If the picture we are presenting is not consistent with the instructions we are giving, we will not be able to clearly help the people do and be what God expects of them. I know that none of us is perfect, but it is imperitive that we keep this thought in mind as we go about our business of serving the Lord. People will sometimes learn more from what they see, than from what we tell them. Both our example and our exhortation must be right, if we are going to effectively be used of God in building the lives of people for His glory.

By the way, this does not only apply to pastors and teachers. It applies to every believer. Your life (pattern, example) must back up what you are trying to instruct people. Parents, you need to be the right examlple to your children. They will not listen to your exhortation if your example is not what it should be. And to those of you that are concerned about winning people to Christ, which should be all of us; make sure your life backs up your profession. We have an awesome obligation to show people Christ with our lives as well as to tell them with our words. Think about it? Have you given much thought to your example; your pattern? Is it sending the right message to the people around you? Do the things that you do and say point people to the Lord, or do they send a conflicting message? Just a thought.


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Come As You Are?

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Today’s Passage – Exodus 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 7 – 8; Proverbs 26; Psalms 126 – 130)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0126 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.” – (Exodus 19:14-17)

Notice in chapter 19 the reverence the people had when they were entering into the presence of God. They washed their clothes, they abstained from physical intimacy, and they trembled. I bet there was not one person from the congregation that was not present. I bet the children were silent, being kept under very close watch by their parents. The people understood that they were meeting with the omnipotent Creator of the universe. He is holy and He was not to be approached by the people of Israel in a flippant and carefree manner. They came with a reverent attitude of worship.

Fast forward now to today. Many of God’s people show up late, if they show up at all. They arrive wearing shorts and ripped tee shirts. The children are running all over the sanctuary while their parents are obliviously engaging in their own conversations about anything and everything except the worship of God. We have certainly come a long way down as far as our  reverence to God is concerned. We sing half heartedly, talk during prayer and special music; and then sleep when the Word of God is being preached: all the while wondering how long is this going to take. We’ve got more important things, like football, to worry about today. Do I exaggerate or is this an accurate description of the attitudes of many in our churches today? God help us!

Now, I wish to be very clear about this: I do not consider myself to be pharisaical or legalistic at all. I understand completely that salvation comes solely through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, beginning with faith in His shed blood at the cross of Calvary. I know that God is not impressed when we show up at the church with our white shirts and ties, or our long, modest dresses. I get that. I know that God dwelleth not in temples made with men’s hands, and that the believer’s heart is the temple of God. And, I realize that God looks upon the heart; and if a man shows up at church in shorts and a ripped tee shirt because that is all he has or perhaps because he doesn’t know better, I think God is pleased. I know that I am. Believe me, I am thrilled that people just show up, and I am not the least bit concerned about the way they are dressed. I am, however, very concerned about the heart attitude of God’s people today when they come to worship the infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, and all-powerful God. It’s not a ball game. We are not gathering together simply to meet with friends, or to hear a man speak. We are corporately entering into the presence of God. We have become way too casual and careless. People give more thought when they are meeting with earthly dignitaries. God help us to remember that worship is a holy undertaking. Let’s give God our very best attention. I want people to come as they are, but I want them also to realize Who it is they are coming to worship, and I also want to see them leave a little more conformed to His image. I think this “seeker sensitive” thing has gotten way out of hand. Should we not be a little more “Saviour sensitive”?


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Sound Advice

delegate

Today’s Passage – Exodus 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 5 – 6; Proverbs 25; Psalms 121 – 125

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read a previous post from this passage – “Remember Sunday

Read the “0125 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? … Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. … If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.” – (Exodus 18:13-14, 18, 23-24)

In our passage today, we see that Moses gets a visit from his father-in-law, who is not an Israelite, but apparently had placed his faith in the Lord. (see 18:11 – 12) While visiting, Jethro got a chance to observe the day to day ministry of his son-in-law, and determined that Moses was doing way more than any man could handle by himself. Moses was judging and advising the large congregation of Israel all by himself from early in the morning until late at night. Moses, like many leaders, apparently felt that he was the only one who could do the job right, so he did it alone. However, Jethro knew that if Moses kept up that pace, without getting any help, he would wear down physically, and eventually would become less effective at what God had called him to do.

Jethro advised Moses to allow other godly men within the congregation to share in the burden that Moses was carrying. Moses would still be in charge, and he would handle all of the really important matters, but others would be assisting him in dealing with the day to day decisions within the congregation. This advice given by Jethro helped in several ways:

1  Moses got the help that he needed, which freed him up to dedicate more time and do a better job in the important matters.

2  Moses was probably less stressed and better rested than before.

3  The congregation was served better. Even though Moses may have been able to do a better job than most of his helpers, he certainly could not get as much accomplished as all of them together. More was getting done.

4  Leaders were being developed within the congregation. People need to be given opportunities to serve if they are going to be able to grow.

If our ministries are going to get all of the help that they need today to fulfil the will of God, more people than just the pastor are going to have to be involved. The pastor must work at developing leaders, and delegating responsibility.

A secondary thought from this passage is that Moses was willing to listen to advice, even from a guy that was not an Israelite and had not even been a believer very long. Pride will sometimes keep us from listening to sound wisdom. God will often use people to teach us things. We should be ready to listen. We may not always heed the advice of others, and we certainly need to check with God to see if the advice given is in fact His will, but we can still listen.


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Quit Griping!

quit-your-belly-aching

Today’s Passage – Exodus 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 3 – 4; Proverbs 24; Psalms 116 – 120)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0124 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.” – (Exodus 15:1)

“And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?” – (Exodus 15:24)

Exodus 15 is an amazing chapter of Scripture, which demonstrates the fickle nature of God’s children. The first 21 verses, which comprises more that three-fourths of the chapter is the record of God’s people singing, dancing, and praising Him for the great miracle that He had done in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians. Specifically, they are praising God and thanking Him for parting the Red Sea so that they could pass through on dry ground. You will remember, the Egyptians tried to follow them and that same sea closed up upon them and drowned them. The people of God were thrilled that God took away the water so that they could travel to other side. Now, at the end of the chapter, they are complaining that there is no water. First they want the water to go away, and then they want it back again. You just can’t make these Israelites happy, can you? I am kidding, of course; but I do want to point out the tendency that Israel had (and we have today) to forget about all of God’s past blessings by griping about some apparent injustice that seemed to be taking place in the present. Here, they begin to think that God delivered them from Egypt only to kill them with dehydration in the wilderness. Absurd! That big God that they were worshipping in the beginning of the chapter all of sudden got smaller when the people got a little thirsty.

I find that we are no different today. We sometimes see God do wonderful things in our lives, and from that mountaintop we offer up to Him praise and worship. But then when God allows a little testing to come our way, our attitude changes completely. Our view of God seems to be based solely upon what He does for us. When we are getting popcorn, bubble gum, and ice cream, God is good; but when God says that we should eat a little broccoli because it’s what we need at the time, God becomes some mean ogre. We act like little children in the nursery, don’t we? Let’s grow up! Let’s mature in our faith to the point where we trust God completely. God is good when the circumstances in life are great; but God is also good when things are not going as we would like them to. God is always good. He loves us. He says He will never leave us; never forsake us. He has our very best interests at heart. Trust Him even when you don’t understand; and whatever you do, don’t gripe. Griping is perhaps the most predominant cause of death in the Old Testament. I am not saying that you should not bring your concerns and burdens to Him. There is a big difference between a prayer request and a complaint. Let’s get to the point in our Christian walk where we can praise Him even in the dark days. Remember, there are others out there that have it worse than you. God is not just good, He is awesome. Learn to wait on Him. He will deliver you if you will simply trust Him, obey, and be patient.

Look, we are all really good at spotting problems, but instead of murmuring, why don’t we try becoming part of a solution. We can pray, and we can work to make the situation better. Anybody can complain, and they often do; but it takes a person of true character to actually make a difference.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” – (Philippians 2:14)


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Did Pharaoh Have a Choice?

Pharaoh

Today’s Passage – Exodus 7 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 15 – 16; Proverbs 22; Psalms 106 – 110)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0122 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.” (Exodus 3:19)

And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 7:3)

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” (Romans 9:14-18)

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

I have listed a lot of verses above that are important for our discussion this morning regarding whether or nor Pharaoh had a choice or not when he refused to let the children of Israel go out of the land of Egypt. There are many more verses that could be used by either side of the argument, but I will use these just to start the discussion. It is my firm belief that Pharaoh acted according to his own free will when his heart was hardened, whether or not the Scripture states that it was hardened by God, or that he himself hardened his heart. Theologians on the other side of this argument would almost have us to believe that Pharaoh’s personal desire was to convert to Judaism, but God forced him against his will to oppose Moses and the Nation of Israel. Please do not misunderstand, I am not saying that God did not work in Pharaoh’s heart in order to achieve His goal of glorifying Himself in the sight of both His people and in the eyes of the Egyptians. However, God had a very willing participant. Pharaoh had already rejected God:

“And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:2)

I firmly believe that God wants all men to be saved, and he desires all men to serve and glorify Him, but He also has given man the free will to make his own choice about that. God did not create a bunch of robots that do exactly what He wants at all times. It wasn’t God that caused Satan to rebel against Him, and it wasn’t God’s manipulation that forced Adam and Eve’s choice either. Does God know who will be saved? Absolutely. But, He doesn’t make that choice for them. Pharaoh had already made his mind up about God and His people, Israel; and God knew that there was nothing that would change Pharaoh’s will about that, so God used Pharaoh to help Him achieve His (God’s) goal. God is big enough and sovereign enough to use both the saved and the lost in order to achieve His purposes.

God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and He has chosen to have mercy on “whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord.” In my view, this makes God infinitely bigger and more powerful. He runs His creation, and will achieve all of His purposes, even though the people He created are acting according to their own will. He is absolutely awesome!


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Excuses

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Today’s Passage – Exodus 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 13 – 14; Proverbs 21; Psalms 101 – 105

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read a previous post from this passage – “Expect Opposition

Read the “0121 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.” (Exodus 4:1)

“And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but Iam slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” (Exodus 4:10)

“And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.” (Exodus 4:13)

It has always amazed me how our human nature kicks in when we are asked to do something, even when we are asked by God. There is something inside of us that immediately begins to reason that it cannot be done, or should not be done. We begin to figure out ways to get out of doing it. We don’t come right out and say that we don’t want to do it, at least not initially. We just say that it can’t be done, or shouldn’t be done, or that it will be way too difficult. Most projects get shut done by negativity before they even get off the ground.

Moses did the same thing here in Exodus 4. The first excuse that he gives is that the people will not listen. Basically he is telling God that it can’t be done. This is really nothing more than unbelief when it comes to things that God calls us to do. If it is truly of God, He will bring it to pass. All we need to do is obey Him. The results are up to Him. God does not need advisers, He needs obeyers.

The second excuse that Moses offers is really the root of the problem. I know that it is the same thing that often keeps me from fulfilling God’s will. Moses says that he is not the man for the job, that he is not able to do it. Now he is no longer doubting God’s ability or anybody else, he is merely doubting his ability to do what God asks him to do. This is not necesarily bad. We need to realize that we can’t do the work of God in our own power or ability. It can only be done through the power of God. What Moses needed to do (and what we need to do) is believe that if God asks us to do something, He will also equip us to do it. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) We truly can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us.

Finally, Moses is exasperated. He just doesn’t want to do it. He tells the Lord to send somebody else. God finally convinces him to do it, but he certainly was not a willing servant initially. If we refuse to be obedient to the calling of God He may just choose somebody else, but we will miss out on the blessing of being used of God. Know this, though, that if God asks you, you are the man (or woman) for the job. Don’t refuse Him. Stretch your faith. Allow Him to show you what you can do in His strength when you are yielded to His will.


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Living in Canaan

Canaan

Today’s Passage – Exodus 22 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 8 – 9; Proverbs 27; Psalms 126 – 130)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0127 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.” – (Exodus 23:27)

In Exodus 23, we see the nation of Israel travelling in the wilderness on their way out of Egypt and into Canaan, the land of promise. The verse cited above is one of those promises that were associated with the land. A careful reading of the chapter will reveal that God promised his people prosperity, which included abundant provision and divine protection if they were to obey Him. God promised that the inhabitants of the land would be driven out, and all of the enemies of Israel would flee from them. Again, these promises were contigent upon the nation’s obedience in wholly following the Lord.

In this passage we see a picture of the Christian life today. God has also delivered us out of Egypt when He saved us. He wants to bring us into the spiritual land of Canaan, which is the Spirit-filled, Christ-centered life. Canaan of the Old Testament is not a picture of Heaven. You will remember the people still had battles to fight there, and there will be no more battles to fight once we get to Heaven; but Canaan is a picture of spiritual victory. Entering Canaan today for the believer is also contigent upon our submission to the will of God. Too many believers today are content to wander in the wilderness of their own reasoning and understanding. They are doing their thing instead of God’s thing. What’s worse is that there are also many genuine believers who live with their backs turned from Canaan and their focus still on Egypt (the world).

It is my desire to live in Canaan. I want to have the victories that God promises those who are surrendered to Him. I am tired of wandering in the spiritual barreness of the wilderness. How about you? God has an abundant life prepared for you which also includes provision, protection, power, and a wonderful purpose; but you cannot do it your way. You must surrender your will to the perfect will of God. Let the Holy Spirit of God control you and guide you, and you will experience the wonderful blessing and abundant life that God desires for you in your spiritual Canaan.


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Now Do I Have Your Attention?

Today’s Passage – Exodus 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 1 – 2; Proverbs 23; Psalms 111 – 115)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Isaiah 40:31

Read the “0123 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s passage in Exodus – “Your Free To Go” and “What Can Wash Away My Sin?

“And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.” – (Exodus 12:30-33)

Flies, frogs, locusts, darkness, hail. All of these and more sent by the hand of God in order that the Egyptians, as well as the Israelites, would know that there is an awesome and powerful God in Heaven. God’s command to the king of Egypt was simple: “let my people go”. However, Pharaoh was not too willing to heed the request of God. He seemed to be more willing to endure all of the plagues that God was sending his way. That is, all until his first born son was taken from him at the hand of God. God finally got his attention. He was finally ready to yield his stubborn will to the will of God.

There was a lot to think about in the passages of Scripture that we read this morning and I understand that there are deeper theological truths behind the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, but I couldn’t get past the thought that sometimes God has to allow some especially painful things in our lives in order to get our attention. We are sometimes like that hard clay that the potter must soften before he can use it. I’m just wondering this morning, is there something that the Lord has been trying to do in your life that you have been resisting. Have you hardened yourself to the point where, in order for God to accomplish His will, He will have to break you. What will God have to do to get your attention?  I suppose this thought applies just as much to the Christian that is fighting against God’s perfect will as it does to the lost person that is resisting salvation. Whichever your case is, the remedy is the same. Soften your heart, and yield to God’s will. Is there some sin that you are holding on to? God will do what He has to do in order to get you to repent of it and forsake it. Whatever it takes, God will accomplish His will for your life. You cannot win in a battle with God.


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Growing Through Affliction

plant-growing-through-crack-in-concrete

Today’s Passage – Exodus 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 11 – 12; Proverbs 20; Psalms 96 – 100)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 121

Read the “0120 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” – (Exodus 1:12)

In our passage of Scripture this morning we read about the nation of Israel after they had been in Egypt for 400 years. When we last left the family of Jacob at the close of the Book of Genesis, the people of God were prospering, but after many generations have passed in this foreign land, they are now being persecuted. It seems that the Egyptians had recognized the hand and blessing of God upon His people, and became afraid that the Hebrews would take them over. So, they enslaved them, and made their lives bitter. However, the more the people of God were persecuted, the more they were grew. On a natural level, this doesn’t make any sense, but then again, the principles of God often go against human reasoning. These Egyptians simply couldn’t keep God’s people down, no matter how hard they tried.

There are two observations that I would like to make from this passage:

1  Throughout the history of the Christian churches, there have been periods of intense persecution. Persecution is a tool of the devil to defeat the people of God. However, again we have observed through history that some of the greatest times of growth in Christian history have come about as a result of persecution. Notice what happened to the church at Jerusalem after the death of Stephen:

“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. … Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” – (Acts 8:1, 4)

“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:12)

The devil attacked the church at Jerusalem, and it resulted in the spreading of the gospel throughout the rest of the world. Persecution actually caused the church to grow. Paul was persecuted throughout his ministry, but he states that the things that happened to him caused the gospel to go further. In America today, we are experiencing the greatest prosperity and freedom that we have possibly ever had in Christian history. However, are the churches growing? Are we seeing more people converted to Christ? Most Christians today are not even aware of what our true mission is in this life. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not asking for persecution, and I certainly don’t look forward to it, but I am convinced that a revival of true church growth will only take place if God allows things to heat up a bit.

2  The second observation that I would like to make has to do with the personal walk of the individual believer. We also tend to grow more during times of trial and testing than we do during those mountaintop times. Consider these passages:

“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” – (1 Peter 1:6-7)

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” – (1 Peter 4:12-13)

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” – (James 1:2-4)

I know that when I look back in my own life I can clearly see that more growth came during those difficult days rather than the days that I was “at ease in Zion”. Again, I do not enjoy the hard times, but I have learned to embrace them, and also embrace the God who loves me enough to mature me and, with the trials he brings me through, conform me into the very image of Christ.


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I’ll Meet You There

Reading the bible

Today’s Passage – Exodus 28 – 29 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 13 – 14; Proverbs 29; Psalms 141 – 145)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “0129 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.” (Exodus 29:42-43)

Did you notice the phrase, “where I will meet you”, in Exodus 29:42, and the phrase, “there I will meet with the children of Israel”, in v. 43. God had a specific place that He chose to meet with His people. My first thought this morning is that it is amazing that a holy God wants to meet with people like us at all. Why does God even want to commune with creatures that are laden with sin. Isn’t it amazing that God can choose to love us and want to be with us at all? I know that there are certain people that I don’t like to be around, but God desires fellowship with all of His children.

My second thought concerns the place where God meets with us. During the time of the Wilderness wandering, God carefully designed the place and set the conditions for the Nation of Israel to enter into His presence, and it was quite an elaborate process for the people to go through in order for them to commune with God. By the way, we know that God is now and has always been omnipresent, so there is never a time when we are not in His presence, but still God set up special conditions for corporate worship.

Today, God has changed some things. The veil that once separated most men (except the High Priest – once per year) from entering into God’s immediate presence has been removed through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which means that all men and women who are saved can enter directly into His presence:

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

God encourages us to come into His presence, and to also recognize that there is never a time that He is not with us:

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:20)

Still, today there are also special places and times that God wants to meet with us. God wants us to meet with Him as we set aside a specific time and place to read the Bible, where He can feed our souls with nourishment and strength, and give us the wisdom that we need in order for us to serve as His ambassadors. He also invites us to come meet with Him in the prayer closet, where we can confess our sins to Him, petition Him for our needs, and praise and worship Him. Of course, He still has a special place for corporate worship, the local church. This is the place where all believers can enter together into His presence for preaching, prayer, and praise. He promises to be “in the midst” of us when two or more are gathered in His name.

God wants to meet with you and me. Don’t forsake any of God’s invitations.


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Who Is On The Lord’s Side?

Today’s Passage – Exodus 30 – 32 

(Second Milers also read – Luke 15 – 16;  Proverbs 30; Psalms 146 – 150)

“And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.” – (Exodus 32:11-14)

“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. … And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” – (Exodus 32:19-20, 25-26)

“And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” – (Exodus 32:31-32)

As I was reading chapter 32 this morning, I was reminded of just how great a leader Moses was; and I, unfortunately, was also reminded of the fact that there is a serious famine of strong leadership in our culture today. In our story, we learn that Moses was up on Mt. Sinai with the Lord receiving the Word of God. Moses was gone for a long time, and because the people thought that he possibly wasn’t ever coming back, they began to put the pressure on Aaron (Moses’ brother) to lead them in Moses’ absence. The problem was that Aaron was not the strong leader that Moses was, and he gave in to all of the whims and wishes of the people. The people literally “heaped to themselves” a leader that would give them what they wanted rather than what was right. So, in just a few short weeks after Moses left them to meet with God, we see the congregation of Israel abandoning all of the principles that they had learned from God through Moses, and they were now creating their own god – a golden calf. We have a lot of golden calves in our culture today as well, but that’s another message.

When God reveals to Moses what is going on with the people down in the valley, Moses immediately begins to intercede on behalf of the people. He begins to beg God not to destroy the people. It would have been very easy for Moses to irrationally desire that God get rid of the people and start over again; but Moses loved the people that God had entrusted to his care, and Moses did not want to see any harm come to them. However, when Moses finally gets down to the people, he literally throws a fit of righteous indignation; and he takes the hard steps that were necessary to root the evil out of the congregation. Ultimately, 3000 men were put to death. I am sure that Moses had some friends and maybe even family members among the group that were killed as a result of his order, but he did what he had to do in order to save the entire congregation. That is leadership. Leaders are not always popular, but they are willing to do what is right at the risk of offending some people.

Notice in vv 31 – 32, after Moses dealt with the people, that he is back with God interceding for the people he loved. He even goes as far as to tell God that if He wouldn’t forgive the people then God should blot Moses out of “thy book that thou hast written”.  That is love, and that is leadership.

We need more of this type of strong leadership in our country today; we need it in our churches, and we need it in our families. Too many of the leaders today are politicians like Aaron that only want to score points with people. They don’t want to risk their popularity by standing on principle. God, give us some men and women that will be willing to make the hard decisions that need to be made in order to do what is right. Give us men that will fight evil and will stand on the principles of the Word of God. God, give us some strong leaders.


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Expect Opposition

Today’s Passage – Exodus 4 – 6 

(Second Milers also read – Mark 13 – 14; Proverbs 21; Psalms 101 – 105

“And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.” – (Exodus 5:20-23)

Moses did exactly what God had told him to do. He went unto the people, and convinced them that God had called him to deliver them out from under the bondage of the Egyptians. He then went to Pharaoh, and demanded on behalf of God to let the people of God go. However, things did not work out exactly the way Moses thought they would. Instead of things getting better, things actually took a turn for the worse. Not only did Pharaoh refuse to let the people go, he also made their jobs harder by making them gather their own straw for the bricks that they had to make for their labor. Pharaoh was mad at the people; the people were mad at Moses; and Moses was mad at God.

Notice the opposition that Moses faced in the will of God:

1  He had opposition from without the congregation. I guess Pharaoh could be symbolic of the devil. The devil will vehemently oppose anyone that seeks to do the will of God.

2  He also faced opposition from within the congregation of Israel. They were all for God’s plan until their life got uncomfortable, then they wanted to go back. Many Christians today are the same way. They claim to love the Lord, and want to do His will, but when it begins to cost them something, they will often quit.

3  Notice also that Moses faced opposition from within himself. When the pressure was on him, he began to second guess the will of God.

Nobody ever said that the road was going to always be easy. You can take to the bank the fact that opposition will come to those who are doing the will of God. But you can also take to the bank the fact that God will always bring His victory, if we will just stick with the plan, and not quit.


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Following Through With Revival Decisions

Today’s Passage – Exodus 22 – 24 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 9 – 10;  Proverbs 27Psalms 131 – 135)

Scripture Memorization for January – Joy in Serving Jesus

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “0127 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Living in Canaan

“And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.” (Exodus 24:3)

In chapter 24 of our reading today in the Book of Exodus, we see Moses telling the people the words that God had given Him, which included the Ten Commandments. (See Exodus 20 – 23 for Moses account of what God told him to tell the people.) God had given many laws for the people to live by, and the people were very pleased with what the Lord had said, and at the time they committed to cheerfully obey what God had commanded them. However, we will soon discover that when Moses goes back up to meet with God, and is gone for a long period of time, the people will completely forsake God, and create their own idol to worship. (If you want to read ahead, you can see the story in Exodus 32.) The point is that when God was with them and all the excitement of smoke and thunder and lightning was in front of them, they were perfectly willing to follow God, but after 40 days of Moses’ absence, and none of the excitement they had previously experienced, they decided that they would try to create some excitement of their own, but they abandoned God.

Right now at our church, we are experiencing some wonderful days. People are getting saved, and many lives are changing. It certainly is exciting to see and experience what God is doing. His presence has been felt in our services, and I am looking forward to what God is going to do in the days ahead. Right now, it seems that everybody at our church wants to do right and live for the Lord. However, I know that there will come a day when the excitement will recede, and we will have days when the crowds will be smaller and the zeal will not be as strong. My question is this: will the people still want to follow through with the decisions that they made in the exciting times when the excitement goes away?

Our kids just came back from camp and they are excited. God spoke to them in wonderful ways and they made decisions to do right. But, will they follow through with those decisions when the excitement of snow camp is a distant memory?

My point is that we need to develop our Christian character to the extent that we follow through with what God wants for us regardless of the emotional temperature of any given day. We need to do right and continue to follow the Lord’s will for our lives, even when the crowd is not with us, cheering us on, and regardless of how we feel. I hope and pray the spirit of revival continues and increases in the days ahead. I love living on the mountaintop, but I also pray that if I have to go through a valley that I will remain faithful to the decisions I made back on the mountain.


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The Glory of the Lord

Today’s Passage – Exodus 39 – 40 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –Luke 21 – 22; Proverbs 2Psalms 11 – 15

Scripture Memorization for January – Philippians 3

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” – (Exodus 40:34)

“And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.” – (Leviticus 9:24)

“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.” – (2 Chronicles 7:1)

“Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” – (1 Kings 18:38)

The first two verses referenced above deal with the event that is taking place in Exodus 40: the dedication of the Tabernacle. Moses and the people of Israel have completed all that God had asked them to do regarding the construction of the Tabernacle. They had followed God’s instructions perfectly, building everything precisely as God had showed Moses. They anointed Aaron and his sons, and now everything is ready for God to put His blessing upon it. Exodus 40:34 tells us that the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Leviticus tells us that a fire came down from Heaven. You will notice that 2 Chronicles tells us that later in Israel’s history, in the days of King Solomon, that the fire fell again when they dedicated the Temple. It also fell in the time of Elijah when God was showing the people of Israel His power on Mount Carmel.

I remember years ago when Pastor Rick Wedemeyer and a handful of people first started the Christian Bible Church in South Tom’s River. There is no better way to say it than to say that in those early days the church was “on fire”. It was new, and it was fulfilling the purposes of glorifying the Lord and winning souls for Christ. The people were committed wholly to the Lord and His will for their lives. And the fire fell. God put a zeal, a fervor in the hearts of those people; and within a very short time the church had grown as many people were saved; and converts were being discipled and getting involved  in the service of the Lord.

I also have seen the fire of the Lord fall upon our ministry here at Jersey Shore Baptist Church; but unfortunately it has only been at certain seasons, and for a limited time. There have been times when the people were revived, and very zealous for the work of the Lord. Then there have been other times when the church seemed very lethargic. I pray constantly for the Lord to revive me, and our people; that He will once again set us on fire for His work, and His glory. I believe if God’s people will separate themselves from the world, and then dedicate themselves to the Lord and His purposes, the fire will fall once again. It really is all about what we desire. In our passage, the people of Israel were wholly focused on the Lord. And the fire fell. And if we were to wholly focus on the Lord in our lives and ministries, we would also see the fire of God fall to bless His work. Remember when you first trusted Christ as your Saviour? You were probably more “on fire” than you are now. I don’t know why, but it just happens that Christians, as well as churches, cool off in their spiritual zeal. However, now that we recognize that the fire in our hearts is not blazing as it once was, let’s confess our apathy to the Lord, and then ask Him to stoke the embers of our hearts and revive us. And the fire will fall once again.


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Willing Servants

Today’s Passage – Exodus 33 – 35 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –Luke 17 – 18Proverbs 31; Psalms 1 – 5 (Jump start on February because it is a short month)

Scripture Memorization for January – Philippians 3

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 61:1 – 3

“And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying, Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass, … And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the LORD hath commanded; … And they came, every one whose heart stirred him upand every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD’S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments. And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the LORD. … The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the LORD had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.” – (Exodus 35:4-5, 10, 21-22, 29)

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” – (Philippians 1:27)

Notice in our passage today, in chapter 35, how many times the word willing is used. There is nothing sweeter than to see the people of God doing what God has called them to do with a willing heart. Preachers love it when the people all want to pitch in to do the work of the Lord. Unfortunately, there is often not always this type of spirit within the church, which tempts us to use “methods of persuation” in order to accomplish the work that needs to be done. I must admit that there have been times that I have tried to “guilt” people into serving, and I may have even been successfulat getting them to do things, at least for a short while. However, if God’s work is going to be done the way God wants it done, it will have to be done by willing servants who are excited about serving and who are absolutely convinced that they are doing what God wants them to do.

Notice from this passage:

1  God gave the congregation a job to do – building the tabernacle

2  God gave them instructions as to how the tabernacle was to be built, and how they were to acquire the necessary materials for building.

3  God equipped them – He gave specific people specific skill in order for the work to get done.

4  The people willingly offered to give. In fact, we will soon learn that they gave too much.

5  The people willingly offered to work. They gave themselves to the task that God had given them.

God has a job for us to do today as well. The task is different from what the Israelites had to do, but the process for completing the task is the same. God told us what to – fulfill His Great Commission; He equips us to fulfill the task, giving each participant the gifts that they need to their part. Now, it is up to us to willingly give ourselves to the task that God has given us. Let’s do it. Get excited about serving God!


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Come As You Are?

Today’s Passage – Exodus 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 7 – 8Proverbs 26Psalms 126 – 130

Scripture Memorization for January – Philippians 3

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6

“And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.” – (Exodus 19:14-17)

Notice in chapter 19 the reverence the people had when they were entering into the presence of God. They washed their clothes; they abstained from physical intimacy; and they trembled. I bet that there was not one person from the congregation that was not present. I bet the children were silent; being kept under very close watch of their parents. The people understood that they meeting with the omnipotent Creator of the universe. He is holy and He was not to be approached by the people of Israel in a flippant and carefree manner. They came with a reverent attitude of worship.

Fast forward now to today. Many of God’s people show up late, if they show up at all. They arrive wearing shorts and ripped tee shirts. The children are running all over the sanctuary while their parent are obliviously engaging in their own conversations about anything and everything except the worship of God. We have certainly come a long way down as far as our  reverence to God is concerned. We sing half heartedly; talk during prayer and special music; and then sleep when the Word of God is being preached: all the while wondering how long is this going to take. We’ve got more important things like football to worry about today. Do I exaggerate, or is this an accurate description of the attitudes of many in our churches today? God help us!

Now, I wish to be very clear about this: I do not consider myself to be a legalist at all. I understand completely that salvation comes solely through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, beginning with faith in His shed blood at the cross of Calvary. I know that God is not impressed when we show up at the church with our white shirts and ties, or our long, modest dresses.  I get that. I know that God dwelleth not in temples made with men’s hands; and that the believer’s heart is the temple of God. And I realize that God looks upon the heart; and if a man shows up at church in shorts and a ripped tee shirt because that is all he has, or perhaps because he doesn’t know better, I think God is pleased. I know that I am. Believe me, I am thrilled that people just show up, and I am not the least bit concerned about the way they are dressed. I am, however, very concerned about the heart attitude of God’s people today when they come to worship the infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, and all-powerful God. It’s not a ball game. We are not gathering together simply to meet with friends, or to hear a man speak. We are corporately entering into the presence of God. We have become way to casual and careless. People give more thought when they are meeting with earthly dignitaries. God help us to remember that worship is a holy undertaking. Let’s give God our very best attention.  I want people to come as they are, but I want them also to realize Who it is they are coming to worship, and I also want to see them leave a little more conformed to His image. I think this “seeker sensitive” thing has gotten way out of hand. Should we not be a little more “Saviour sensitive”.


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Quit Griping!

Today’s Passage – Exodus 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 3 – 4Proverbs 24Psalms 116 – 120

Scripture Memorization for January – Philippians 3

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.” – (Exodus 15:1)

“And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?” – (Exodus 15:24)

Exodus 15 is an amazing chapter of Scripture, which demonstrates the fickle nature of God’s children. The first 21 verses, which comprises more that three-fourths of the chapter is the record of God’s people singing, dancing, and praising Him for the great miracle that He had done in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians. Specifically, they are praising God and thanking Him for parting the Red Sea so that they could pass through on dry ground. You will remember, the Egyptians tried to follow them and that same sea closed up upon them and drowned them. The people of God were thrilled that God took away the water so that they could travel to other side. Now, at the end of the chapter, they are complaining that there is no water. First they want the water to go away, and then they want it back again. You just can’t make these Israelites happy, can you? I am kidding, of course; but I do want to point out the tendency that Israel had (and we have today) to forget about all of God’s past blessings by griping about some apparent injustice that seemed to be taking place in the present. Here, they begin to think that God delivered them from Egypt only to kill them with dehydration in the wilderness. Absurd! That big God that they were worshipping in the beginning of the chapter all of sudden got smaller when the people got a little thirsty.

I find that we are no different today. We sometimes see God do wonderful things in our lives, and from that mountaintop we offer up to Him praise and worship. But then when God allows a little testing to come our way, our attitude changes completely. Our view of God seems to be based solely upon what He does for us. When we are getting popcorn, bubble gum, and ice cream, God is good; but when God says that we should eat a little broccoli because it’s what we need at the time, God becomes some mean ogre. We act like little children in the nursery, don’t we? Let’s grow up! Let’s mature in our faith to the point where we trust God completely. God is good when the circumstances in life are great; but God is also good when things are not going as we would like them to. God is always good. He loves us. He says He will never leave us; never forsake us. He has our very best interests at heart. Trust Him even when you don’t understand; and whatever you do, don’t gripe. Griping is perhaps the most predominant cause of death in the Old Testament. I am not saying that you should not bring your concerns and burdens to Him. There is a big difference between a prayer request and a complaint. Let’s get to the point in our Christian walk where we can praise Him even in the dark days. Remember, there are others out there that have it worse than you. God is not just good, He is awesome. Learn to wait on Him. He will deliver you if you will simply trust Him, obey, and be patient.

Look, we are all really good at spotting problems, but instead of murmuring, why don’t we try becoming part of a solution. We can pray, and we can work to make the situation better. Anybody can complain, and they often do; but it takes a person of true character to actually make a difference.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” – (Philippians 2:14)


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You’re Free To Go

Today’s Passage – Exodus 10 – 12 

“And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.” – (Exodus 10:3)

“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:” – (2 Thessalonians 3:1)

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” – (Mark 16:15)

Moses made the demand to Pharaoh that the people of God must be let go, but notice that the reason that God wanted them free was so that they could serve their Lord. Why is it that free people so often neglect the freedom that they have been given by God and use in the service of the King of Kings. We live in America, and here we are free here to preach the Bible openly to whoever will listen, but for the most part we keep silent. Peter wrote that we are to use our freedom as the servants of God. (1 Peter 2:16)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States)

Take full advantage of the freedom that you have been granted by God and use it to spread the good news of salvation to the people around you. It is my fear that the day is coming soon that this liberty that we enjoy today may be taken away, and then we will want to serve God, but we will be banned from doing so. Assemble now with God’s people in the church house; serve the Lord with gladness; testify of His goodness and glory; win souls – do it now, while you are still free to do so!


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The Call of God

Today’s Passage – Exodus 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 11 – 12Proverbs 20Psalms 96 – 100

Scripture Memorization for January – Philippians 3

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1

Read – “Make Your Priorities a Priority – Be a Clutter Buster, part 3“, by Pastor Chappell

Read a previous post from this passage – “Growing Through Affliction

“And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.”(Exodus 3:4)

Forgive me for reminiscing a little this morning, but when I read this passage of Scripture dealing with the call of God to Moses, I can’t help but remember the times that I heard clearly the voice of God as He was directing my life. The times that I will share with you happened after I had already trusted Christ as my Saviour, and after I was also already serving Him and growing in Him the best I knew how through my local church. Notice in the passage that Moses also had to get close to God in order for him to hear God’s call.

The first time in my life that I felt God call me was when I was attending a evening service back at Ocean County Baptist Church nearly 20 years ago. I was probably 25 years old at the time and had only been a Christian at that  point for a short while. Anyway, we had a guest missionary speaker that night. I must confess that I do not remember the preacher’s name, or  the place where he was a missionary. I don’t even remember his message title or text. What I do remember, however, was his invitation. It went something like this: “If God were to call you to do something, and He were to make it clear to you that it was His will, would you surrender?” To me, that was a no brainer. The man was not asking me to surrender to some specific place or ministry at that moment; he was merely posing the possibility of a call, and asking what my response would be. I went forward, and frankly I thought the entire congregation would have walked the aisle with me; but when I got up after praying, I was shocked to see that there was only two of us up at the front. At that time in my life, I had no idea what God might do with me; but I told Him that night that I was willing to go “if” He were to call me. I often think back on that moment as the beginning point of God directing me to where I am today.

The second time, I heard God’s call clearly was when He called me to go to Bible College. I had already been to college once, and I was perfectly content with just serving with my pastor at my home church while I learned what I needed to know there. I remember my pastor and I agreeing that I should take some correspondance classes so that I would not have to uproot my family and go off to school. God, however, had other plans. While I was attending a conference down in Longview, Texas, God revealed clearly to me that He wanted me to be trained at Texas Baptist College. I do not regret that move for one minute. God taught me much there; but the main thing that He taught me was how to trust Him.

The third time I heard the voice of God in my life was when God called me to be the pastor of Jersey Shore Baptist Church. I never candidated at any other church. I really didn’t even candidate here. God, through a very miraculous set of circumstances, placed me here. That was almost ten years ago now and one thing is for sure, knowing that I was genuinely “called of God” has been the thing that has kept me going for this past decade. There have been many blessings along the way; and there have also been some difficult days; but I know that I am exactly where God wants me. The certainty of God’s call is what helps keep me going.


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The Glory of the Lord Filled The House

Today’s Passages – Exodus 39 – 40

(Second Milers also read – Luke 20 – 21; Proverbs 2; Psalms 6 – 10)

Scripture Memorization for February – Psalm 100

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” – (Exodus 40:34)

“And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.” – (Leviticus 9:24)

“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.” – (2 Chronicles 7:1)

“Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” – (1 Kings 18:38)

The first two verses referenced above deal with the event that is taking place in Exodus 40: the dedication of the Tabernacle. Moses and the people of Israel have completed all that God had asked them to do regarding the construction of the Tabernacle. They had followed God’s instructions perfectly, building everything precisely as God had showed Moses. They anointed Aaron and his sons, and now everything is ready for God to put His blessing upon it. Exodus 40:34 tells us that the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Leviticus tells us that a fire came down from Heaven. You will notice that 2 Chronicles tells us that later in Israel’s history, in the days of King Solomon, that the fire fell again when they dedicated the Temple. It also fell in the time of Elijah when God was showing the people of Israel His power on Mount Carmel.

I remember years ago when Pastor Rick Wedemeyer and a handful of people first started the Christian Bible Church in South Tom’s River. There is no better way to say it than to say that in those early days the church was “on fire”. It was new, and it was fulfilling the purposes of glorifying the Lord and winning souls for Christ. The people were committed wholly to the Lord and His will for their lives. And the fire fell. God put a zeal, a fervor in the hearts of those people; and within a very short time the church had grown as many people were saved; and converts were being discipled and getting involved  in the service of the Lord.

I also have seen the fire of the Lord fall upon our ministry here at Jersey Shore Baptist Church; but unfortunately it has only been at certain seasons, and for a limited time. There have been times when the people were revived, and very zealous for the work of the Lord. Then there have been other times when the church seemed very lethargic. I pray constantly for the Lord to revive me, and our people; that He will once again set us on fire for His work, and His glory. I believe if God’s people will separate themselves from the world, and then dedicate themselves to the Lord and His purposes, the fire will fall once again. It really is all about what we desire. In our passage, the people of Israel were wholly focused on the Lord. And the fire fell. And if we were to wholly focus on the Lord in our lives and ministries, we would also see the fire of God fall to bless His work. Remember when you first trusted Christ as your Saviour? You were probably more “on fire” than you are now. I don’t know why, but it just happens that Christians, as well as churches, cool off in their spiritual zeal. However, now that we recognize that the fire in our hearts is not blazing as it once was, let’s confess our apathy to the Lord, and then ask Him to stoke the embers of our hearts and revive us. And the fire will fall once again.


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Too Much???

Today’s Passage – Exodus 36 – 38

Second Milers also read – Luke 18 – 19; Proverbs 1; Psalms 1 – 5

Scripture Memory for February – Psalm 100

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

“And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.” – (Exodus 36:5-7)

I am always amazed when I read this portion of Scripture. This seems to be the first building fund in the Bible, and it may even be the first special offering. God asks the congregation of Israel to give to Moses an offering of the necessary materials to build the Tabernacle and all of its furniture. The people gave generously, and gave more, and kept on giving; so much so that the workers were complaining that there was way too much stuff given. They didn’t know what to do with all of the gold, silver, brass, skins, wood, and fabric that the people were anxious to offer to the Lord to be used in this tent of worship.

I know that many of you have seen this passage before, and no doubt, you may even have heard messages from this text; but when was the last time that you heard a preacher get up and tell you to stop giving. Can you imagine me standing at the pulpit this Sunday morning and announcing to the congregation that we have more money than we know what to do with? Can you picture me saying, “please stop giving!”? I can’t either. Why is it that in the ministry today there seems to be such a shortage of the things that are necessary to do the work of God. We seem to always be “behind the eight ball”, so to speak. Why is that?

I believe that there could me many individual reasons; but I will offer some of my thoughts. One reason that I believe people are reluctant to give today is that they do not understand the clear teaching of Scripture. The Bible gives a lot of instruction regarding giving, both by way of commandment as well as encouragement. Many people just don’t know (or don’t want to know) what the Bible teaches about the subject.

Another reason that people may be reluctant to give is that they just don’t trust the stewardship of the local churches. There has been a lot of financial corruption and scandal in recent days involving church leadership; and people wonder if their money is really going to the work of the Lord, or is it lining the pockets of the spiritual leaders. Maybe they feel that the church is spending too much money on facilities, etc. Even in our independent, fundamental churches we have gotten used to luxurious accommodations. Now, don’t misunderstand, I think the church house should be comfortable, and beautiful; but I think that it should also be very functional and practical. Church leaders need to be very conscious of the fact they have been given stewardship of the Lord’s money, and it should be spent very prayerfully and wisely.

I will offer one more thought regarding the lack of commitment on the part of the people of God in the area of giving. People today are just not as committed in general. Think about it. In Moses day, there was nothing else for the people but God. The Tabernacle would literally be at the very center of their lives. Today, the worship of God is hardly at the center. It may be a part, even a big part of some people’s lives; but to say it is the center would be a far stretch. We are very busy and very distracted today; and we have a lot more to spend our money on. What were the people going to do with that stuff anyway? Where were they going to spend it? They didn’t even have houses to live in. But we do, don’t we? And with them big mortgages and rents; and car payments; and phone bills; and cable bills. You get the idea. If we are ever going to get the people of God back to where they once were, we will have to help them realize that God needs to be at the very center of their lives. Putting God back at the very core of people’s lives will help them to remember what’s really important, helping them to prioritize their lives; not just in the area of finances, but in every other area of their lives.


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Striving Together – Willingly

Today’s Passage – Exodus 33 – 35

(Second Milers also read – Luke 16 – 17; Proverbs 31; Psalms 146 – 150)

Scripture Memory for January – Isaiah 53

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Check Out “Growth Points 007 – Helping People Become Rooted” by Dr. Paul Chappell

Read last year’s post from this passage – “Beaming”

“And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying, Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass, … And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the LORD hath commanded; … And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD’S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments. And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the LORD. … The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the LORD had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses.” – (Exodus 35:4-5, 10, 21-22, 29)

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” – (Philippians 1:27)

Notice in our passage today, in chapter 35, how many times the word willing is used. There is nothing sweeter than to see the people of God doing what God has called them to do with a willing heart. Preachers love it when the people all want to pitch in to do the work of the Lord. Unfortunately, there is often not always this type of spirit within the church, which tempts us to use “methods of persuation” in order to accomplish the work that needs to be done. I must admit that there have been times that I have tried to “guilt” people into serving, and I may have even been successfulat getting them to do things, at least for a short while. However, if God’s work is going to be done the way God wants it done, it will have to be done by willing servants who are excited about serving and who are absolutely convinced that they are doing what God wants them to do.

Notice from this passage:

1  God gave the congregation a job to do – building the tabernacle

2  God gave them instructions as to how the tabernacle was to be built, and how they were to acquire the necessary materials for building.

3  God equipped them – He gave specific people specific skill in order for the work to get done.

4  The people willingly offered to give. In fact, we will soon learn that they gave too much.

5  The people willingly offered to work. They gave themselves to the task that God had given them.

God has a job for us to do today as well. The task is different from what the Israelites had to do, but the process for completing the task is the same. God told us what to – fulfill His Great Commission; He equips us to fulfill the task, giving each participant the gifts that they need to their part. Now, it is up to us to willingly give ourselves to the task that God has given us. Let’s do it. Get excited about serving God!


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Who Is On The Lord’s Side?

Today’s Passage – Exodus 30 – 32

(Second Milers also read – Luke 14 – 15; Proverbs 30; Psalms 141 – 145)

Scripture Memory – Isaiah 53

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

“And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.” – (Exodus 32:11-14)

“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. … And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” – (Exodus 32:19-20, 25-26)

“And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” – (Exodus 32:31-32)

As I was reading chapter 32 this morning, I was reminded of just how great a leader Moses was; and I, unfortunately, was also reminded of the fact that there is a serious famine of strong leadership in our culture today. In our story, we learn that Moses was up on Mt. Sinai with the Lord receiving the Word of God. Moses was gone for a long time, and because the people thought that he possibly wasn’t ever coming back, they began to put the pressure on Aaron (Moses’ brother) to lead them in Moses’ absence. The problem was that Aaron was not the strong leader that Moses was, and he gave in to all of the whims and wishes of the people. The people literally “heaped to themselves” a leader that would give them what they wanted rather than what was right. So, in just a few short weeks after Moses left them to meet with God, we see the congregation of Israel abandoning all of the principles that they had learned from God through Moses, and they were now creating their own god – a golden calf. We have a lot of golden calves in our culture today as well, but that’s another message.

When God reveals to Moses what is going on with the people down in the valley, Moses immediately begins to intercede on behalf of the people. He begins to beg God not to destroy the people. It would have been very easy for Moses to irrationally desire that God get rid of the people and start over again; but Moses loved the people that God had entrusted to his care, and Moses did not want to see any harm come to them. However, when Moses finally gets down to the people, he literally throws a fit of righteous indignation; and he takes the hard steps that were necessary to root the evil out of the congregation. Ultimately, 3000 men were put to death. I am sure that Moses had some friends and maybe even family members among the group that were killed as a result of his order, but he did what he had to do in order to save the entire congregation. That is leadership. Leaders are not always popular, but they are willing to do what is right at the risk of offending some people.

Notice in vv 31 – 32, after Moses dealt with the people, that he is back with God interceding for the people he loved. He even goes as far as to tell God that if He wouldn’t forgive the people then God should blot Moses out of “thy book that thou hast written”.  That is love, and that is leadership.

We need more of this type of strong leadership in our country today; we need it in our churches, and we need it in our families. Too many of the leaders today are politicians like Aaron that only want to score points with people. They don’t want to risk their popularity by standing on principle. God, give us some men and women that will be willing to make the hard decisions that need to be made in order to do what is right. Give us men that will fight evil and will stand on the principles of the Word of God. God, give us some strong leaders.


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What Are You Waiting For? by Melissa Dilley

Today’s Passage – Exodus 28 – 29

(Second Milers also read – Luke 12 – 13; Proverbs 29; Psalms 136 – 140)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

“And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.” – (Exodus 2:23-25)

The children of Israel were under heavy bondage at the hand of the Egyptians. They had hit the bottom of the barrel and had nowhere else to go but to God. He heard them suffering and crying out to him to be delivered. God, in His infinite mercy, remembered His covenant with Abraham. He had already prepared a man (Moses) to fill their need of a leader to bring them into the Promised Land. Moses knew the desert; he knew Egypt, and he witnessed the sufferings of the Israelites firsthand. He knew there was a need, he had the ability to help, and he had a call from God to go. He was God’s perfect need-filler for this situation. But he hesitated. He argued with God all the reasons he couldn’t go. And how much suffering could have been avoided if he would have just said, “Yes, Lord, yes – to your will and to your way.”

Who do you know that has a need and is begging God to be delivered? What position has God placed you in to ease someone else’s burden? God will send someone to fill the need. Will it be you? A beaten man was once in need of help and God sent a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. Only one of them helped – the Samaritan. Would it have been you?

If you are crying out to God for deliverance then hang on – someone is coming. But, if you are the one that God has called and prepared to meet that need – then get going. What are you waiting for?


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Come As You Are?

Today’s Passages – Exodus 19 – 21

(Second Milers also read – Luke 6 – 7; Proverbs 26; Psalms 120 – 125)

Scripture Memorization for January – Isaiah 53

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

“And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.” – (Exodus 19:14-17)

Notice in chapter 19 the reverence the people had when they were entering into the presence of God. They washed their clothes; they abstained from physical intimacy; and they trembled. I bet that there was not one person from the congregation that was not present. I bet the children were silent; being kept under very close watch of their parents. The people understood that they meeting with the omnipotent Creator of the universe. He is holy and He was not to be approached by the people of Israel in a flippant and carefree manner. They came with a reverent attitude of worship.

Fast forward now to today. Many of God’s people show up late, if they show up at all. They arrive wearing shorts and ripped tee shirts. The children are running all over the sanctuary while their parent are obliviously engaging in their own conversations about anything and everything except the worship of God. We have certainly come a long way down as far as our  reverence to God is concerned. We sing half heartedly; talk during prayer and special music; and then sleep when the Word of God is being preached: all the while wondering how long is this going to take. We’ve got more important things like football to worry about today. Do I exaggerate, or is this an accurate description of the attitudes of many in our churches today? God help us!

Now, I wish to be very clear about this: I do not consider myself to be a legalist at all. I understand completely that salvation comes solely through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, beginning with faith in His shed blood at the cross of Calvary. I know that God is not impressed when we show up at the church with our white shirts and ties, or our long, modest dresses.  I get that. I know that God dwelleth not in temples made with men’s hands; and that the believer’s heart is the temple of God. And I realize that God looks upon the heart; and if a man shows up at church in shorts and a ripped tee shirt because that is all he has, or perhaps because he doesn’t know better, I think God is pleased. I know that I am. Believe me, I am thrilled that people just show up, and I am not the least bit concerned about the way they are dressed. I am, however, very concerned about the heart attitude of God’s people today when they come to worship the infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, and all-powerful God. It’s not a ball game. We are not gathering together simply to meet with friends, or to hear a man speak. We are corporately entering into the presence of God. We have become way to casual and careless. People give more thought when they are meeting with earthly dignitaries. God help us to remember that worship is a holy undertaking. Let’s give God our very best attention.  I want people to come as they are, but I want them also to realize Who it is they are coming to worship, and I also want to see them leave a little more conformed to His image. I think this “seeker sensitive” thing has gotten way out of hand. Should we not be a little more “Saviour sensitive”.


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