The Voice of God

Today’s Passage – Numbers 7

(Second Milers also read – Acts 4 – 6; Proverbs 17; Psalms 81 – 85)

Scripture Memorization for February – Psalm 100

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read “The Humility Question” by Pastor Paul Chappell

“And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.” – (Numbers 7:89)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” – (John 10:27)

Chapter 7 of Numbers is certainly a long chapter, and not exactly what I would call great devotional reading. However, as with the rest of the Bible, this is a very important passage. Here we see the heads of the tribes of Israel all presenting to the Lord their offerings at the dedication of the Tabernacle. Each tribe had to offer the same thing which includes some gold and silver; incense and flour; and an assortment of animals. We certainly can see from this passage, and from many other recent chapters that the Israelite were certainly dedicated in the area of giving; but they not only gave what was required, they also gave over and above what was asked of them.

The last verse of this long chapters tells us that after the offering was made, Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with God, and he heard the voice of God coming out from between the cherubims on top of the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to hear the audible voice of God; to actually hear Him speak personally to my physical ears. I can, however, hear the voice of God today as much as I desire to because He speaks to me through His Word. The Bible is God’s voice. He spoke to me this morning about this dedication offering. He also gave me some wisdom from Proverbs 17. And then he motivated me and stirred me as I read about Peter and John and the other apostles and deacons from Acts 4 – 6. By the way, if you also read that passage from Acts you saw that there was a special offering given there as well. Unfortunately, two of the people giving offerings, Annanias and Saphira, decided to lie to God about their offering and as a result were put to death.

I digress. My intention is not to focus on offerings this morning, but talk about God’s voice. God speaks to me in other ways also besides the Bible. This morning as I was walking and praying God spoke to my heart about a few of the things that I was praying about. Now, we have to be careful about these “still small voices” that we hear in our heads and our hearts. We need to be sure that it is God that is talking to us. Sometimes our flesh and even the devil will put thoughts in our heads that are not of God. One way you can tell if it is actually God talking is if the thing that He tells you is in agreement with the Word of God. He never goes against His Word. It always disturbs me when people tell them that God had told them to do something that was a complete contradiction to His clear revelation from the Bible.

Have you listened for His voice today? Did you open up your Bible this morning, along with your heart and mind, and hear what God has to say to you? Have you waited on Him today in your prayer closet to hear Him speak to you about specific areas of your life? It is not that God is not still speaking today as much as it is that His children are not listening.


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The Ministry?

Today’s Passage – Numbers 3 – 4

(Second Milers also read – John 21; Proverbs 15; Psalms 71 – 75)

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

“Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him.” (Numbers 3:6)

In chapters 3 and 4 of the Book of Numbers we see God’s instructions to the families of the tribe of Levi. They were placed in charge of the ministry of the Tabernacle. Aaron and his sons were the priests, and they were put in charge of the service of the other families. The Gershonites were responsible for the setting up, taking down, and transportation of all of the curtains and coverings of the Tabernacle with the exception of the vail. Only Aaron and his sons were to remove the vail, and it was to be placed upon the Ark of the Covenant. The Kohathites were responsible to transport all of the furniture in the Tabernacle, though they were not permitted to touch any of the “holy things”, or even be present when they were being covered by Aaron and his sons. The Merarites were responsible to set up and transport all of the boards and bars that served as the framework of the Tabernacle. Each family had their responsibility; and each family had their place where they were to camp around the Tabernacle.

The thought I had this morning regarding this passage is this: what if one of the Merarites didn’t want to transport bars and boards? Maybe he wanted to transport coverings instead like the sons of Gershon. The point is that these people were not given the choice about what they wanted to do. They were assigned a task by God and were expected to do it. It is sort of like the military. They don’t really care about what you want to do; but they are going to assign you a duty, and you will be expected to do it.

It is not at all like this in the local church today. We tell people that they can do whatever they want to do. We tell them that they have the liberty to choose where, why, and how they can serve the Lord. But should it really be that way? Shouldn’t we still be seeking to discover what the Lord’s will is regarding who will serve, and in what capacity. There are many guidelines given in the Bible regarding service within the local church, and that certainly is where we should start the process; but we also ought to be very careful that we are very prayerful about what each person is given to do within the body. We also need to be careful about just sticking people in positions simply because there is nobody else to do it. We see a perceived need, so we place anybody we can find in the position. I believe that if the need is genuine, God will supply the right person. Maybe we are creating needs and positions that are not of God. I remember at one church we were serving in years ago, I felt that it was my duty to fill every perceived need that was present. I was working with the youth, junior church, bus ministry, Sunday School, and much more. The problem was that it wasn’t God’s will for me to be doing all of those things, so I began doing them in the flesh, which profited nothing. And maybe somebody else was missing out on their true calling because I was doing too much.

I believe that God has got a job for everybody to do within the local church; and also believe that God has got the right person for every need within the body. Leaders need to be admonished to pray earnestly about finding the right, biblically qualified person to do the job; and the people need to be willing to fulfill God’s will for their lives, whether it be teaching people or cleaning toilets. Every task within the church is important, and every worker within the church is equal in the sight of God, as long as they are doing what God has called them to do. The ministry is much more than just preaching and teaching the Word of God. In order for ministry to take place in a local church there are a lot of tasks that need to be performed. God has gifted certain people to perform each of these duties. I believe that all ministers need to be willing to do whatever is necessary in order for the ministry to function; but we also need to be constantly on the lookout for people who will be willing and able to do all of the things that need to be done. Every duty is important, and every person that performs these tasks is also important to the cause of Christ. The janitor that does his job well is just as much in the center of God’s will as the preacher who prepares, prays, and preaches.

What is your job within the local body of believers? What has God equipped you to do? Find your niche within the church, and help your church fulfil the Great Commission.


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In the Midst of the Camp

Today’s Passages – Numbers 1 – 2

(Second Milers also read – John 19 – 20; Proverbs 14; Psalms 66 – 70)

Scripture Memory for February – Psalm 100

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

View “Making Marriage and Ministry Work” by Pastor Paul Chappell

Read “Twenty Reasons To Avoid Premarital Sex” by Cary Schmidt

“Then the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp: as they encamp, so shall they set forward, every man in his place by their standards.” – (Numbers 2:17)

In Numbers chapter 2, God gives us a description of what the camp of Israel looked like when they were not on the move. A careful reading of this chapter will reveal that the nation of Israel was divided into 13 different groups, which included 11 of the original 12 tribes; and also the two half-tribes of Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim). These groups were all strategically placed around the tabernacle. Immediately surrounding the tent on all four sides was the tribe of Levi. They were placed there as closely as possible to the tabernacle because that was their place of service. They were the ministers and priests of the Lord. Beyond the Levites the remaining twelve tribes and half-tribes were positioned by threes in each direction. For instance, on the east side of the tabernacle, beyond the Levites, were the tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulon. There were also three tribes on the west, south, and north. The thought that I am trying to develop here, however, is that the tabernacle was in the very center of the congregation. The tabernacle was the place where God dwelt, between the cherubims on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. God, and His designated place of worship, was the very center of the lives of the people of Israel.

Now let’s fast forward a few thousands years to the time of the local church. I realize that today God dwells in the hearts of His children, but the local church is God’s designated place for corporate worship, and it is the place where we are to be organized and mobilized for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” – (1 Timothy 3:15)

God should still be at the center of our lives; and the local church should be at the center of the life of our family. I have been a pastor now for over ten years, and I have been involved in God’s work for twenty-two. I have observed that the families who place a high value on the local church, recognizing it’s importance, tend to be stronger and happier than the families that do not. Don’t misunderstand, I do not think that the church has a higher priority than the home; but I do believe that successful homes are built around a strong, Bible believing, New Testament church. The churches’ role is critical to healthy marriages and to the spiritual development of our children.

Take a moment to consider the role that the local church plays in your life; and then consider the role that you play in your local church. We need to keep our local churches strong, and I believe that there are many ways that you can help:

1  Participate in the local church – attend the services and find something that you can do that will serve others. God has uniquely equipped you in certain areas that can be used in the local church.

2  Pray for your church and your pastors and leaders. The ministry can be very discouraging, but you can be an encouragement to the people that minister to you simply by lifting them up in prayer. It wouldn’t hurt for you to let them know on occassion that you are praying for them.

3  Support your church with your tithes and offerings. The work of God cannot go forward without the tithes of God’s people. When you don’t give you are telling God and the church that they have no place of value in your life. You can also support the church by not bashing it. Let people know where you stand. If you are for the ministry, speak out for it, and don’t let others run it down in your presence. Negativity and complaining are like cancers inside the church that will destroy it from within.

Is the local church important to you, or isn’t it? God says that it should be. Remember, He died for the church. It’s His body. He places a great value on it, and so should we.


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Christ – Our City of Refuge

Today’s Passage – Numbers 34 – 36; Proverbs 28

(Second Milers also read – Romans 9 – 12; Revelation 22:17)

“Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares.” – (Numbers 35:11)

I must confess, I was not sure if I was going to post anything this week on this website. Our church started a week long “media fast” this week. We have been fasting for the past several weeks: each week the type of fast was different. However, this week, many of us at Jersey Shore Baptist Church are giving up some of our media entertainments for the week. Included are “Facebook”, television, videos and DVD’s, video games, unimportant phone calls and texting, and unnecessary internet usage. I wasn’t sure if this blog qualified as “unnecessary” or not. After some prayer, I have decided that because this is spiritual activity on my part, as well as yours, God would not be displeased with my writing it, and your reading it. You have to decide whether or not it is right for you. By the way, the reason for the fast is that we are praying for God to do a great work in our church in a new series we are starting this Sunday. We are sending out 2500 invitations, and we are expecting God to something big. We have already seen Him work. This past Sunday, we saw 18 first-time visitors come to the church. Praise the Lord. You pray with us that God will continue bless, and if you want to, you can join us as we fast this week.

In our passage this morning in Numbers 35, we read about the Cities of Refuge. These were six cities of the 48 Levitical cities that were strategically placed throughout the land of Israel. I believe there were three on one side of the Jordan River, and three on the other. Anyway, these cities were places that a person could flee to if he were “on the run”. Let’s say that a two men got into a fight, and one of the men unintentionally kills the other man. Even though in this case, this was not considered to be murder, the family of the man killed could legally exact vengeance upon the “slayer”, unless the slayer escaped into one of the six cities of refuge. Inside the city, the man could not be touched.

There is a great example of this in 2 Samuel 3. It is a long story, but in it a man named Joab kills a man named Abner because Abner had killed Joab’s brother in a battle. But in order to to kill him, Joab has to lure him out of the city, because they were in Hebron, which was one of the six cities of refuge. It really is a fascinating story and a great example of how this system worked.

We have a city of refuge today in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, we also have an avenger and an accuser coming after us. The devil is seeking our souls, and if he can’t get that he wants to sift our lives like wheat. But Christ offers us refuge. As far as our eternal destiny is concerned, Christ is our city of refuge, and even as far as our earthly lives are concerned, the will of Christ is our place of protection. We are all guilty. We could all be destroyed by the avenger of blood, but praise God, we have a Place to run to, a Person to run to, who not only wants to save us, but also wants to protect and provide for us, and give us a purpose in this life.


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Today’s Passage – Numbers 32 – 33; Proverbs 27

(Second Milers also read – Romans 6 – 8; memorize Revelation 22:17)


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Bring Your Cause Before The Lord

Today’s Passage – Numbers 27 – 29; Proverbs 25

(Second Milers also read Acts 28 – Romans 2; memorize Romans 10:9 – 10; 13)

“And Moses brought their cause before the LORD.” – (Numbers 27:5)

In Numbers chapter 27, we have the story of the daughters of Zelophehad. The land of Canaan was about to be divided among all of the tribes of Israel; and within each of the tribes portion, the land would be divided among the families of that tribe. Zelophehad’s family was entitled to a portion of the land, but because he had no sons, there was nobody to give the land to. The five daughters of Zelophehad boldly come to Moses and ask him to authorize that Zelophehad’s portion of land be given them, because their was no son to receive the inheritance. Moses didn’t know what to do. The law up until this point read that only a son could receive the inheritance. There was no previous case to use for precedence in this matter. Moses then goes to God, and asks Him what they should do. God settles the question in favor of the daughters, and establishes new law that would cover unique cases like this.

The point of my thought this morning is not about land distribution, and inheritances, however. I wanted to point out that Moses did not take matters into his own hands: he went to God when he wasn’t sure what to do. This question wasn’t clearly covered in the Bible up until this point; and Moses wanted to be sure that he would give the right answer, God’s answer, to these ladies.

I think there is an important lesson that we can all learn from this. There are many situations in life that will come up today that are not clearly dealt with in the Scripture. There may be Bible principle that deals with it generally, or partially; but often questions arise that are not specifically covered by God in His Word. That’s when we need to do two things: First we need to go to God in prayer, just like Moses did. Second, we need to seek some godly counsel from others who may have dealt with this situation before. Parents can find out from other more experienced Christian parents about what to do in certain situations regarding their children. Young pastors can go to the older pastors. We can benefit from the godly wisdom of others.

Now I want to emphasize again that most of our questions can be answered from the principles found in the Bible; but in those unique situations where there seems to be no Scriptural answer, seek God through prayer; and seek counsel from some godly influences in your life. Remember, in the multitude of counselors there is safety.


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A Tale of Two Jackasses

Today’s passage – Numbers 22 – 24; Proverbs 23

(Second Milers also read Acts 22 – 24; memorize Romans 10:9 – 10; 13)

“And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.” (Numbers 22:12)

“And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?” – (Numbers 22:28)

“Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.” – (2 Peter 2:15 – 16)

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” – (Jude 1:11)

Chapter 22 of the Book of Numbers presents a very interesting story and familiar story of a mule that was given by God the ability to speak audibly to her owner, Balaam. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to carefully read the passage in order to get the most out of what I am about to say. Besides, what God says in His Word is far more important that what I will say in this blog, so don’t skip the reading.

Anyway, in this passage we have the prophet Balaam, who is living in the land of the Moabites. Why he lived there and not with the people of God is a mystery. The king of the Moabites is watching very closely the nation of Israel as they are sojourning very close to his border. He wants them out, so he goes to the man of God and asks him to place a curse upon Israel. He doesn’t go himself, however, he sends some of his princes to do his bidding. After hearing their request, Balaam inquires of the Lord, and the Lord tells him not to go with these men, and not to speak anything against Israel because they are a nation blessed by God. Balaam the prophet goes to the men and gives them God’s answer. The men return a short while later and press him to reconsider. Now this is where Balaam begins to err. He already asked God, and God has already said no; but the princes promise him if that he would go with him, their king would give him great honor and a lot of money. Now, he should have just repeated what God had already told him; but instead he tells them that he will go back and ask God again. He wanted God to give him what he had already been told that he wasn’t going to get. Balaam’s problem is that he really wants God to curse the Israelites, because it would meany that he would receive great riches from this Moabite king. God is ot at all pleased with Balaam, but he allows him to go. He permits him to do what is in his heart. He was not permitted to curse Israel, but he was permitted to cozy up with the enemies of Israel, and receive the rewards that came with it.

This is not the only time in the Bible that God has permitted things that were against His will. He gave Israel a king because they kept asking for one, even though He knew that it wasn’t what was best for them. Notice another example of God granting the continual request of a complaining people when the Israelites complained to God as they wandered in the wilderness:

“They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Psalm 106:13-15)

I know many people today who keep asking God for things that are clearly against His will. Why don’t we just take no for an answer. God knows what is best for us. Don’t keep pestering him to give you what He has already closed the door on. Too many Christians are practically breaking doors down that God has chosen to keep closed.


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Look and Live

Today’s Passage – Numbers 19 – 21; Proverbs 22

(Second Milers also read – Acts 19 – 21; Romans 10:9 – 10; 13)

    “And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.” – (Numbers 21:8)
    I’ve a message from the Lord, hallelujah!
    The message unto you I’ll give,
    ’Tis recorded in His word, hallelujah!
    It is only that you “look and live.”

Look and live, my brother, live!

Look to Jesus now, and live;

’Tis recorded in His word, hallelujah!

It is only that you “look and live.”

In today’s passage we read the very wonderful story of the brazen serpent. The people of Israel were tired: tired of travelling, tired of the mannah; and frankly they were tired of Moses. The Bible tells us that they began to speak against Moses, and against God. Bad move. God sent fiery serpents among them, and many were bitten, and some died. The people quickly realized their sin, and they confessed it to God, and asked Moses to pray for God to do something. The last part of verse 7 is one of the sweetest sentences in the Bible. It reads: “And Moses prayed for the people”. How wonderful it is to know that someone is praying for you. Anyway, God tells Moses to make a serpant out of brass and attach it to a pole. Moses was then to lift up the pole and cause the people to look upon it, and whoever looked upon the brasen serpent was healed of the sickness caused by the snake bite.

There is a wonderful parallel to this passage in the New Testament that references this story:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” – (John 3:14-15)

Jesus tells us there that all we have to do in order to be saved is to look to Him. There is nobody else to look to.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” – (Acts 4:12 )

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – (John 14:6)

Faith is simply looking away from everything else, and looking toward the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is simple. You must first recognize your need. You are a hell-deserving sinner, and you are helpless to save yourelf. Then you must turn to the one who was lifted up on the cross of Calvary for your sin. He offers salvation to you as a free gift. Receive Him today. Look and Live!

For more information on salvation, read the “Are You Saved?” page on this website.


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Rebellion in the Camp

Today’s Passage – Numbers 16 – 18; Proverbs 21

(Second Milers also read Acts 16 – 18; memorize Romans 10 9 – 10; 13)

“Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?” – (Numbers 16:9)

In chapter 16, we see a group within the congregation of the children of Israel who were rebelling against the God ordained leadership. One of the leaders of this insurrection was Korah, who was a Kohathite. The Kohathites were part of the tribe of Levi, but their specific responsibility involved transporting the ark and the other pieces of furniture and instruments that were used in the service of the Tabernacle. They were not priests, but they were servants for the Lord in the Tabernacle. In the verse above, Moses rebukes Korah for not being content with the job that the Lord had given him. Korah wanted more. He wanted to grab some of the glory that he saw Moses and Aaron getting. It reminds us of Lucifer, who was not content guarding the holiness of God. He wanted more too. This rebellion resulted in the death of Korah, along with the other men involved and their families. Further, many more people from the congregation perished the next day after they complained about the death Korah and his bunch.

We see this same type of behavior today in our local churches. God puts in place a leader for the congregation, but there will always be some Korah’s within the congregation who will attempt to gain control. The process usually begins with murmuring and complaining about the job that the pastor is doing. They will often grab the ears of other disgruntled people and try to bring them in with him. Before you know it, there is a group of people within the congregation who are gaining power, working against what the pastor is trying to do. It won’t be long before it comes to a head. Somebody will have to go. Sometimes it’s the pastor. Sometimes it will be Korah; but when he leaves, he usually pulls a bunch of people out with him.

Why can’t we just trust the leadership system that God has set up. He calls a man to a ministry. That calling is then confirmed by a vote by the congregation. The congregation still has the power to remove the man if there are serious enough issues in his ministry. But unless there is something immoral, heretical, or seriously unethical, the congregation should rally behind the pastor, and work with him as he leads the congregation in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Don’t be a Korah. Support your pastor, and the other leaders that God has placed in your life. Work with him. Help him as he tries to win souls and train the converts. Pray for him and his family. Love him.

By the way, the picture above is of a sinkhole tha swallowed up a good chunk of a neighborhood. I wonder if a Korah lived there.


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Obstacles

Today’s Passage – Numbers 14 – 15; Proverbs 20

(Second Milers also read Acts 13 – 15; memorize – Romans 10:9 – 10; 13)

“If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” – (Numbers 14:8-9)

What do see when problems or trials come your way? Do see the trial, or do you see the God Who is much bigger than your trial. How about obstacles? Is your God bigger than your obstacles? In Numbers 13 and 14 we see the twelve spies going into the land of promise to check it out. It is amazing how that all twelve witnesssed the same things, but only two of them saw that God was bigger than the obstacles. Ten of the spies came back with nothing but negativity. It is too difficult; the giants are too big. We can’t do it. Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand, didn’t pay too much attention to the giants, because their God made the giants look like little children in comparison. They saw nothing but victory, and the goodness of God in the land that they were to receive.

Let me ask you he question again. What do you see. Do you see the Christan life as something too big or too difficult? Do you see God’s will for your life as impossible for God to do through you. Let me share some verses with you:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” – (Philippians 4:13)

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” – (Luke 1:37)

“And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” – (Mark 10:27)

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – (Hebrews 11:6)

God was well pleased with the faith of Joshua and Caleb. They were the only ones that got to go into the Promised Land. Will God be well pleased with your faith?


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The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Reading: Numbers 11-13, Acts 10-12, and Proverbs 19

Today’s Passage: Numbers 11

What Are You Lusting After?

See that car behind me? It is a 1968 Shelby Mustang convertible, complete with padded roll bar. I have loved this car since I first saw a picture of it in a Hot Rod magazine over 40 years ago. With a price tag today of $175,000; I don’t think I will get one. It is a nice car, but I could get a restored show-winning 1972 AMC Gremlin for around $7,000. I owned 2 Gremlins and 2 Mustangs. There is no real comparison. One day both will become ash as this world and everything in it will pass away in fervent heat (2Pet 3:10).

What are you lusting after?

In our passage we find the results of Israel’s lusting. They were not satisfied with what the Lord had given them. They began to complain about the manna God was feeding them with. Manna was miracle. God sent it down from heaven especially for the children of Israel. I’m sure that, coming from God, the manna had all the nutrients they needed to sustain them. But they wanted more. In verses 4-6 of Numbers chapter 11, they start lusting.

And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.” Numbers 11: 4-6.

They remembered the fish, but did they remember their taskmaster’s whip? They remembered the fruits and vegetables of Egypt, but did they remember the mighty hand that God used to get them out of bondage? They wanted what the world had to offer. And God, who is able to supply us with anything we need, gave the nation of Israel quail. And you know what happened next…

And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.” (vs 33-34)

It’s the same story of lust found in James 1:13-15, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

What are you lusting after? The simple solution to lust is found in 1John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

Don’t fall in love with the things of this world, you may not be able to get them. If you can get them, the results may not be what you expect as those who lusted after the quail found out. Be satisfied with what God has given you, and obey God. If you are going to lust after anything, lust after God. Jesus said in Matthew chapter 6, verses 24 thru 33, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Peace. (John 14:27)


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Don’t Move Until God Tells You To

Today’s Reading – Numbers 8 – 10; Proverbs 18

(Second Milers also read Acts 7 – 9; memorize John 3:36)

“At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.” – (Numbers 9:23)

In Numbers 9, the Bible tells us that the children of Israel only moved when God moved. They followed the cloud by day, and the fire by night. If the cloud rested, they stayed in one spot; if the the cloud moved, they followed it. This kept life pretty simple for them. They did not have to make a decision about where they were going to go, they just followed God.

We can do the same thing today when deciding where we are going to go, or what we are going to do. We can simply follow God. Determining the will of God in this time is just as easy as it was then. God guides us through his Word through prayer, and through counsel. Say you are contemplating a move to a new geographic location. You need to check out what the Bible says abou that place. Is there a good, Bible believing church for your family? The Bible says a lot about people moving. Abraham moved into Egypt after being told that Canaan was the place of God’s blessing. He had some problems in his life as a result of this move. There are many other examples and principles in the Bible that will help you to make a decision. One thing is for sure, you do not want to move simply for financial reasons, or because you think the grass will be greener somewhere else. Lot moved because the grass near Sodom looked good, but he ended up losing everything, including most of his family.

Prayer and counsel are also important steps in determining a desicion. All three need to be in agreement, however; and you know what the Bible says about a three-fold chord, right? It’s not easily broken, is it? Pray about your decision, but be aware that God will never reveal in prayer something that goes against the principles found in the Word of God. Then you need to get counsel. Have some people in your life that you can go to for advice. People who will be honest with you. People that won’t tell you just want you want to hear. Don’t “shop” for counsel, either. People often will go from person to person until they find someone who will agree with them. That’s not counsel. Ask your pastor; ask your parents; ask some godly person in your life who will tell you the truth.

When are you going to move; and where? Who are you going to marry; and when? Where will you go to college? Which church will you attend? Where will you work? These are all important decisions. You don’t have to decide these for yourself. Follow God. He will direct you path; He will light the way. I promise if you follow God all the way, you will be pleased with what He does with your life.


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Have You Heard His Voice Today?

Today’s Passage – Numbers 7; Proverbs 17

(Second Milers also read Acts 4 – 6; memorize John 3:36)

“And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.” – (Numbers 7:89)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” – (John 10:27)

Chapter 7 of Numbers is certainly a long chapter, and not exactly what I would call great devotional reading. However, as with the rest of the Bible, this is a very important passage. Here we see the heads of the tribes of Israel all presenting to the Lord their offerings at the dedication of the Tabernacle. Each tribe had to offer the same thing which includes some gold and silver; incense and flour; and an assortment of animals. We certainly can see from this passage, and from many other recent chapters that the Israelite were certainly dedicated in the area of giving; but they not only gave what was require, they also gave over and above what was asked of them.

The last verse of this long chapters tells us that after the offering was made, Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with God, and he heard the voice of God coming out from between the cherubims on top of the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to hear the audible voice of God; to actually hear Him speak personally to my physical ears. I can, however, hear the voice of God today as much as I desire to because He speaks to me through His Word. The Bible is God’s voice. He spoke to me this morning about this dedication offering. He also gave me some wisdom from Proverbs 17. And then he motivated me and stirred me as I read about Peter and John and the other apostles and deacons from Acts 4 – 6. By the way, if you also read that passage from Acts you saw that there was a special offering given in that passage as well. Unfortunately, two of the people giving offerings, Annanias and Saphira, decided to lie to God about their offering and as a result were put to death.

I digress. My intention is not to focus on offerings this morning, but talk about God’s voice. God speaks to me in other ways also besides the Bible. This morning as I was walking and praying God spoke to my heart about a few of the things that I was praying about. Now, we have to be careful about these “still small voices” that we hear in our heads and our hearts. We need to be sure that it is God that is talking to us. Sometimes our flesh and even the devil will put thoughts in our heads that are not of God. One way you can tell if it is actually God that is talking is if the thing that He tells you is in agreement with the Word of God. He never goes against His Word. It always disturbs me when people tell them that God had told them to do something that was a complete contradiction to His clear revelation from the Bible.

Have you listened for His voice today? Did you open up your Bible this morning, along with your heart and mind, and hear what God has to say to you? Have you waited on Him today in your prayer closet to hear Him speak to you about specific areas of your life? It is not that God is not still speaking today as much as it is that His children are not listening.


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The Lord Truly Wants To Bless You

Today’s Passage – Numbers 5 – 6; Proverbs 16

(Second Milers also read Acts 1 – 3; memorize John 3:36)

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”  (Numbers 6:24-26)

In chapters 5 of the Book of Numbers, God is instructing the children of Israel about what they should do if a man suspects that his wife has been unfaithful to him. The Bible talks about “the spirit of jealousy” that comes upon a man if there is something going on behind his back. I believe the same holds true for the wife. I know that today we don’t often think of jealousy as being a good thing; but interestingly, the Bible records that God is very jealous over his children. I do not think it is wrong either for their to be a healthy dose of jealousy within the marriage either. A man should love his wife to the extent that he cannot bear the thought of her being with anyone else. The same applies to the wife. Jealousy is, I believe, a God-given emotion. Now it must be controlled, just as all of our other emotions; and we cannot let it cause us to sin, but I believe it to be a good thing nonetheless.

Chapter 6 primarily deals with the rules concerning the vow of the Nazarite. When a person took this special vow of consecration in Old Testament days, he would not cut his hair or his beard, and he was not permitted to touch any alcohol, or come near anything (or anybody) that was dead. This vow was a vow of “separation unto the Lord”. The person that took this vow was declaring that his or her life was wholly dedicated to God. Usually, a person would be under this oath of separation for a period of time, not for his entire life. By the way, don’t confuse a Nazarite with a Nazarene, which is a person that comes from the city of Nazareth. Jesus was a Nazarene.

I was captivated this morning by the prayer of blessing found at the end of chapter 6. It seemed almost strange for this beautiful prayer to be place in this particular place. I mean, we have been reading a lot here lately about a bunch of commandments, sacrifices, rules, etc. Here, God tells Aaron that he wants him to pronounce this prayer  of blessing over the people. I think God just wanted to remind the people that he loved them and that He was for them. I think we can learn a couple of lessons from this as well. First, we need to be reminded that God loves us and wants nothing but the best for us. We often will think about God as this angry, cold dictator that is ready to pounce upon us when we do wrong. That is not God. He loves us and He wants to give us the richest blessings, and a life full of abundance.

The second lesson that we should learn from this is that when we are trying to teach our children, we need to remember to let them know often that we love them. Yes, we need to give them all of the rules, commandments, and instructions; and yes we ought to discipline them when they do wrong; but we also need to make sure that they know that we (and especially God) are in their corner, and that we want nothing but the richest blessings for their lives. This would be a good lesson for preachers and other mentors to learn as well. In our zeal to instruct, we sometimes come across as being uncaring and unloving. You have heard the old saying: “People do not care about what you know, until they know that you really care.” Well, we ought to really care, and we ought also to express that love and care often to the people that we are trying to help.


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What Is Your Asssignment?

Today’s Reading – Numbers 3 & 4; Proverbs 15

(Second Milers also read John 21; memorize John 3:36)

“Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him.” (Numbers 3:6)

In chapters 3 and 4 of the Book of Numbers we see God’s instructions to the families of the tribe of Levi. They were placed in charge of the ministry of the Tabernacle. Aaron and his sons were the priests, and they were put in charge of the service of the other families. The Gershonites were responsible for the setting up, taking down, and transportation of all of the curtains and coverings of the Tabernacle with the exception of the vail. Only Aaron and his sons were to remove the vail, and it was to be placed upon the Ark of the Covenant. The Kohathites were responsible to transport all of the furniture in the Tabernacle, though they were not permitted to touch any of the “holy things”, or even be present when they were being covered by Aaron and his sons. The Merarites were responsible to set up and transport all of the boards and bars that served as the framework of the Tabernacle. Each family had their responsibility; and each family had their place where they were to camp around the Tabernacle.

The thought I had this morning regarding this passage is this: what if one of the Merarites didn’t want to transport bars and boards? Maybe he wanted to transport coverings instead like the sons of Gershon. The point is that these people were not given the choice about what they wanted to do. They were assigned a task by God and were expected to do it. It is sort of like the military. They don’t really care about what you want to do; but they are going to assign you a duty, and you will be expected to do it.

It is not at all like this in the local church today. We tell people that they can do whatever they want to do. We tell them that they have the liberty to choose where, why, and how they can serve the Lord. But should it really be that way? Shouldn’t we still be seeking to discover what the Lord’s will is regarding who will serve, and in what capacity. There are many guidelines given in the Bible regarding service within the local church, and that certainly is where we should start the process; but we also ought to be very careful that we are very prayerful about what each person is given to do within the body. We also need to be careful about just sticking people in positions simply because there is nobody else to do it. We see a perceived need, so we place anybody we can find in the position. I believe that if the need is genuine, God will supply the right person. Maybe we are creating needs and positions that are not of God. I remember at one church we were serving in years ago, I felt that it was my duty to fill every perceived need that was present. I was working with the youth, junior church, bus ministry, Sunday School, and much more. The problem was that it wasn’t God’s will for me to be doing all of those things, so I began doing them in the flesh, which profited nothing. And maybe somebody else was missing out on their true calling because I was doing too much.

I believe that God has got a job for everybody to do within the local church; and also believe that God has got the right person for every need within the body. Leaders need to be admonished to pray earnestly about finding the right, biblically qualified person to do the job; and the people need to be willing to fulfill God’s will for their lives, whether it be teaching people or cleaning toilets. Every task within the church is important, and every worker within the church is equal in the sight of God, as long as they are doing what God has called them to do.


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