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Just Stay Calm

Exodus 14 gives the account of the Israelites leaving Egypt and getting to the Red Sea. In verse 8, it says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he chased after “the people of Israel, who left with fists raised in defiance” (NLT). As they walked out of town, they had their fists up in celebration and in victory. For 430 years they had been there. God had finally heard their cries and came to their rescue.

That victory stance suddenly changed when they saw Pharaoh and his army bearing down on them. They went from a victory mindset to a victim mindset in an instant. They quit celebrating and started bellyaching. They complained to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness?” They are like so many of us who forget what God has already done for us. We lose sight of the past in light of the present. We are all guilty of doing this at times.

Moses spoke to them words that we need to hear when our faith turns into fear. Verses 13 and 14 say, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Great words spoken by God to us in whatever we are facing. Don’t be afraid. Watch the Lord rescue you. The Lord will fight for you. Just stay calm. I believe God is trying to tell us the same thing.

I don’t know what you’re up against today, but it’s no match for what God can do. I don’t know how trapped you feel, or how much your back is up against a wall, but if God can part the Red Sea, He can make a way where there seems to be no way. Your situation only seems big because you’re looking at it from the wrong perspective. Yes, it’s huge compared to you, but next to God, it’s pretty small and not that complex. Don’t be afraid. Just stay calm. God is already working on your behalf. Trust Him to do what only He can do.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other 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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Panic Prayer

Sometimes when I get into a situation that doesn’t look like anything like what God promised, I panic. I then pray and remind God what He told me. “God, you said that if I did this, then you would do that. So why am I in this situation? Where are you? Why aren’t you being true to your promise?” Have you ever prayed a panic prayer like that? You heard God, did what He said, and the results weren’t what you expected.

When that happens, we trend to freak out a bit. We hear God and then our imagination creates what the outcome should look like. When it doesn’t turn out that way, we ask God why He isn’t holding up His end of the bargain. We think our obedience should be rewarded. We even think our act of faith should be broadcast to all of creation, but we end up in a situation that requires more faith.

Jacob was in this same boat in Genesis 32. God told him to return to the land of his father Isaac. On the way, he sent servants to his brother, whom he had double crossed, to tell him that he was coming. The servants came back with the news that his brother was coming and that he had 400 men with him. Jacob’s mind went to work. He thought of the worst possible scenario. In verses 11 and 12 he prayed, “Save me, please, from the violence of my brother, my angry brother! I’m afraid he’ll come and attack us all, me, the mothers and the children. You yourself said, ‘I will treat you well; I’ll make your descendants like the sands of the sea, far too many to count’” (MSG).

He didn’t know if his brother was still angry 20 years later. He didn’t know if his brother was coming to kill all of them. He saw a small piece of the puzzle, made assumptions, panicked, and prayed. He’s not that different than we are. He saw a situation snd thought of the worst outcome. He didn’t trust God, so he reminded God of what He had said. I wonder how that makes God feel. I wonder if He does a face palm with some of our panic prayers and says, “Will you just trust me?”

It’s one thing to pray a promise of God so you can build your faith and another to use it to remind God in case He forgot. Jacobs situation wasn’t anything like what he had imagined. In fact, his brother was coming to bless him. The same is true of our situations. If God has promised you something, and you’ve acted in faith, don’t look at the circumstances. Trust God to do what He said He will do. There’s no need to panic pray. God keeps His promises and is true to His word.

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Don’t Worry

Whenever I get overwhelmed by my circumstances, I search the Bible for God’s promises. I try to find people who were overwhelmed too. Some of the greatest leaders of the Bible needed encouragement as much as I do. They looked at their circumstances as well as what God called them to do and I can imagine their panic. We don’t always read that they were panicked, but we see what God said to them and can tell that they were. Joshua is a great example of this.

He had been to the Promised Land, seen the giants and declared that they could defeat them. In Deuteronomy 31 when Moses passes the torch to Joshua, the reality of that prediction fell on his shoulders. He said they could be victorious so God said, “Ok, then you get to lead the charge.” As Moses was passing the torch of leadership to him, he said, “Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated… He (God) is right there with you. He won’t let you down; He won’t leave you…Don’t worry.”

Those words weren’t recorded just for Joshua’s sake. They were written to remind you and me that whatever we face in this life, God is with us. We can be strong and courageous. We can be assured that God won’t let us down so we don’t have to worry. There may be an impassible river in front of us today, but God will part it. There may be giants in the land ahead of us, but God will give us the victory. We may see all the impossibilities that stand in our way, but we don’t have to be intimidated.

You and I aren’t the first ones to be lead into the unknown. We aren’t the first ones to have to face giants. What God has done for others in the past, He will do for us. The Bible says that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change. We can fully trust that He will part the waters, knock down the walls, defeat the giants in our life and give us victory. What He requires of us is to have the courage to walk to the waters edge, circle the walls in our lives and face the giants that stand in our path.

When we do our part, He will do His. Our step of faith preceded His provision. He encourages us to be strong and courageous because we need that in order to step out in faith. Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t be intimidated by what you see in the physical realm. Our God makes things happen in the spiritual realm that affect the physical realm. We have to trust Him completely and act in accordance with His Word and He will give the victory today. God won’t let you down or leave you, so don’t worry just believe.

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