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Partnering With God

The Story of Moses leading the Children of israel out of Egypt is one we’ve heard since we were children. It’s such a familiar passage that we are often tempted to just skim through it when we read it in the Bible. One of the verses that pops out at me when reading it comes from Exodus 2:25. It says, “He (God) looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act” (NLT). I love this verse because it reminds me that God is not unaware of things going on in my life even though He isn’t doing anything about them. There also comes a time when He decides to step in and do something about it at just the right time.

As you know in the story, Moses was in the wilderness running from Pharaoh because he had killed an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite. While there, he meets Jethro, marries one of his daughters and becomes a shepherd. While watching his flock, God appears to him in a burning bush that isn’t being consumed by the fire. In Exodus 3:10 God says, “Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” I think this verse is important, especially as it relates to the verse above. When God sees a need here on earth and decides go do something about it, He looks to participate with us in that process.

God could have easily sent angels to deliver the Children of Israel out of Egypt, but he chose a person to do it. I believe God is wanting to act on injustices in the world today and He’s looking for people, like us to partner with. If we’ll hear His voice and trust Him to do the impossible, we can be the people He uses. Moses didn’t feel like he was ready or able either, but when he agreed, God did some amazing things through him. What God partners with you on may not be that large. It may be helping a stranger in a time of need or a person you know going through a terrible time. Be sure to say yes to whatever God is wanting to partner with you on today. Pray and ask Him to show you how He wants to use you today.

Photo by Woradanue Nakdee on Unsplash

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Hidden Paths

Whenever I think about the plans God has for me and where I am, I don’t see how I can get there from here. I can see how the things I’m doing now are preparing me for that calling, but I can’t find the way to get there. I’m constantly looking for the path that takes me from this road to that one. I know I’m not alone in this. I talk to many people who tell me the plans that God has shown them scares them. Those plans are too big for them or me to accomplish on our own. So how do we get there from here?

As I was reading in Psalms recently, I came across a verse that helped me. David was faced with a similar situation and he couldn’t find the way out. He remembered how the Israelites were trapped at the Red Sea and had no way to get to where God was calling them to. They had Pharaoh bearing down on them, they were at a dead end, and had no where else to go. In that moment, God parted the sea and showed them the path.

Psalm 77:19 says, “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there!” (NLT) The path God has for you to get to your calling maybe hidden in a sea. You may not know where it is, but God does. You can rest assured that when the time comes, God will part the waters and show you the path. Until that time, stay faithful where He has you. What you’re doing now is preparation for what’s to come.

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Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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God’s Peace On Earth

Peaceful. That’s not a word I would use to describe the Christmas season. Hectic is the word I would use. Going store to store to buy presents, looking for parking everywhere you go, going to the kid’s Christmas plays, attending Christmas parties, cleaning house for family that’s coming and so much more. Our schedule is full this time of year, and sometimes we accidentally double book.

When Jesus was born, Bethlehem was just as busy. It was over crowded because of the census. Families that hadn’t seen each other in ages were getting together. There were lines everywhere you went, and the locals were hard at work. Jesus was born into chaos, but the message to the shepherds (and us) is that He came to bring us peace no matter what time of year it is. Just like it did for the shepherds, let God’s peace draw you away from the hustle and bustle, and move you closer to Jesus.

Here are some Bible verses on the peace that God gives.

1. At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

Luke 2:13-14 MSG

2. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

PHILIPPIANS 4:7 AMP

3. May the Lord himself, who is our source of peace, give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 GNB

4. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Isaiah 26:3 NLT

5. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

John 14:27 NLT

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Each year, I take a one week sabbatical from writing to refresh and to spend time with my family. Each devotion this week will be a past favorite. Enjoy and I’ll see you in a week.

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Comfort and Hope

Christmas time and the overall holiday season can be a difficult time for those who have ever lost a loved one. When families come together, it’s another reminder of the gapping hole that person once filled. Many times families won’t decorate or truly celebrate the season if they lost that loved one that year. It’s understandable and we have to remember that each person grieves in their own way. There are no rules or timelines on how a person is to grieve or how long. I understand their are stages of grief, but each person follows them in their own way.

As Christians, it’s ok for us to grieve as well, but we do so with the hope of seeing that person again one day. For us, it’s not goodbye. It’s see you later. The pain is still there. We still go through the stages of grief, but we have hope. We can be comforted in knowing that death is not the end because we serve a savior who holds the keys to death, hell, and the grave. As I Corinthians 15:55 put it, “Where, Death, is your victory? Where, Death, is your power to hurt?” (GNT)

For those who have accepted Jesus as their savior, death is no longer defeat. Death is not the end of life, but rather the beginning of eternal life. With that knowledge, Paul wrote this in I Thessalonians 4:13, “Our friends, we want you to know the truth about those who have died, so that you will not be sad, as are those who have no hope.” Death doesn’t make us grieve uncontrollably and hopelessly because it is not final for a believer. We can still grieve and we can still feel the loss because of their absence though.

In the final verse of that chapter, Paul wrote, “Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.” He knew that we would need encouragement and comfort in our time of grief. So, if you’re grieving and hurting this holiday season over your loved one, it’s ok to do it in your own way, but don’t do it as one who is hopeless. Take comfort in knowing that the same reason we celebrate Christmas is the same reason we have hope.

Photo by Tom Skarbek-Wazynski on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Foolish Arguments

I used to love listening to talk radio. There was a local guy that I enjoyed listening to, but one day he switched his format. Instead of merely discussing news events, he decided to bring divisive topics each day and just let people argue. His show began to be about stirring up a hornets nest where no one could win, and it caused people to dig their heels into their position. It was no longer a place for dialogue and the show became something I no longer wanted to listen to. I’m guessing I wasn’t alone because it was canceled not long after that.

As Christians, we need to be careful that we don’t fall into that same trap. We don’t want to be known as people who argue over every little thing, especially to the point where we refuse to listen. At times, it feels like our goal is to win the argument rather than to win the lost. It’s one thing to have a dialogue with someone about why you believe what you believe, but another thing entirely to look for divisive arguments with others. We’re to be known for our love rather than our debating skills.

Paul warned Timothy about this in 2 Timothy 2:23-24. He said, “Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people” (NLT). That’s a challenge for you and me in today’s world. Everyone seems to be divided on everything, even in the Church. We’re not to go around and start fights, but to find a way to teach people the truth in a way that they’ll listen. What good is it if we win the argument, but lose the war for their soul? When we start from a place of love rather than trying to be right, we’ll find more open doors to share our faith.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

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