TRUST: Throw Away the Foreign gods

May 19, 2016

The notion of belief or TRUST continues to resonate in my spirit. As such, I want to take us back to a pivotal point in the history of the Israelites. They had been led out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea safely, wandered in the desert, collapsed the walls of Jericho and entered into the promised land. God had delivered them and delivered on the promise to take them to the land flowing with milk and honey, not literally. They had arrived. You would think that they would demonstrate their gratitude towards God through obedience, service and worship of Him. You would think that they’d be so grateful that they would follow God, but they did not. Joshua tells the people to TRUST: Throw Away the Foreign gods. 

 

Joshua 24

Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God.

Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his family went down to Egypt.

“‘Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I afflicted the Egyptians by what I did there, and I brought you out. When I brought your people out of Egypt, you came to the sea, and the Egyptians pursued them with chariots and horsemen[a] as far as the Red Sea.[b] But they cried to the Lord for help, and he put darkness between you and the Egyptians; he brought the sea over them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the wilderness for a long time.

“‘I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands. I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land. When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.

11 “‘Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. 12 I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. 13 So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’

14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! 17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”

19 Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God;he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.

21 But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”

22 Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosento serve the Lord.”

“Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied.

23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.

24 And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.”

25 On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he reaffirmed for them decrees and laws. 26 And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord.

27 “See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.”

28 Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to their own inheritance.

29 After these things, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 30 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Serah[c] in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

31 Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.

32 And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver[d] from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.

33 And Eleazar son of Aaron died and was buried at Gibeah, which had been allotted to his son Phinehas in the hill country of Ephraim.

In the post TRUST: God Creates Belief so You can Worship Him, it was submitted that God acts on our behalf or fulfills His promises because He desires us to worship Him. Fulfilling His promises shows that God is faithful and true. He desires man to be faithful and true to Him in their service or worship of Him. This has been and continues to be our problem. We are not faithful and true in service and worship of God. Just as He told the Israelites TRUST: Throw Away the Foreign gods, God is calling us to do the same.

The problem with the Israelites and us that we have not yielded our heart (v.23).  The NKJV says to “incline your heart to the Lord God of Israel.” In that verse, incline means to turn, extend, bend, or hold out. Whether yield or incline, the message is that God is calling us to offer our hearts to Him and Him alone. Heart being your inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding.

TRUST: Throw Away the Foreign gods is important because God wants you to seat Him in His rightful place in your hearts. What are they things that are most important in your life? What are the things or people that rival God? He calls them foreign because they do not belong in you. He does. TRUST: Throw Away the Foreign gods .

TRUST: God is Beyond the Hype

May 18, 2016

TRUST: God is Beyond the Hype. Hype in the vernacular means something that is advertised or promoted that draws attention to a thing, person or event. There have been many over-hyped books, movies, athletes, vehicles, teams, homes, concerts, etc. I am sure that you can think of something that was so highly anticipated, but once you experienced it, you were sorely let down. Proverbs 13:12 tells us that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

In regards to an over-hyped movie, Matthew Chernov of Variety.com wrote that the “The Matrix Revolutions” (2003) was one of the most over-hyped movies. “Four years after “The Matrix” wowed audiences with its dazzling effects and provocative story, the Wachowskis unveiled two much-hyped sequels, released a mere six months apart. Though not quite as groundbreaking, the second film, titled “The Matrix Reloaded,” expanded on the mind-bending themes and trippy visuals established in the original. Not so with the sloppy third entry, however, which ended the cyberpunk saga with a yawn rather than a cheer.”

Clearly those who shared Mr. Chernov’s opinion were disappointed at “The Matrix Revolutions”. There hearts may have been sick. I too have had my hope deferred trusting in some people and my used-to-be Atlanta Falcons. People and all created things will eventually let us down. They, in contrast to the Almighty God, are far from being perfect nor are the created designed for that. God alone is to have that TRUST reserved for Him. Why? TRUST: God is Beyond the Hype.

TRUST: God is Beyond the Hype is about contrasting our let downs in this world with God who is never a let down. In fact, there isn’t anything in the Word of God that fully captures who He is. That isn’t because God cannot describe Himself, but it our finite minds. One of the attributes of God is that He is incomprehensible. God cannot be fully comprehended by limited beings like mankind. As such, you need to TRUST: God is Beyond the Hype. 

Below are a couple of passages from the Psalms. They outline some of the reasons for us to TRUST: God is Beyond the Hype. 

Psalm 145[a]

A psalm of praise. Of David.

I will exalt you, my God the King;
    I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
    and extol your name for ever and ever.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
    they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
    and I will meditate on your wonderful works.[b]
They tell of the power of your awesome works—
    and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
    and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
    slow to anger and rich in love.

The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, Lord;
    your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures through all generations.

The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
    and faithful in all he does.[c]
14 The Lord upholds all who fall
    and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
    and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
    he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.

21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
    Let every creature praise his holy name
    for ever and ever.

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.[a]

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

I can attest to some of God’s acts of power, fulfilling promises, displaying compassion, hearing my cry and saving me. I could spend a number of hours talking about them, but what is most important for you is that you recount how you can say TRUST: God is Beyond the Hype. You, if you call yourself a follower of Christ, should have your own accounts of how God exceeds expectations or is superlative.

Take some time today to reflect on TRUST: God is Beyond the Hype in your lifeIf you cannot say that, ask God to give you the privilege to be able to experience Him in a personal way, so you can know Him personally where He makes TRUST: God is Beyond the Hype a normal part of your existence here on earth. He loves you and desires for you to know and experience Him.

There are so many verses in the bible that show TRUST: God is Beyond the Hype. Here are just a few other verses that give reason to see God is beyond the hype. He lives us to it every time.

TRUST: Believe in the Light

May 16, 2016

We are asked to TRUST or believe in a lot of things or people on a daily basis. Presently, I am sitting on a stool. I had to trust that it would hold me up and not crumble. I am also warming up some breakfast food that was in the refrigerator. I had to trust or believe that the food is still safe to eat. I had to trust or believe that the stove was safe and would not combust because of too much gas. I could go on and on about the trust, belief or faith that we evidence everyday in the most mundane things.

In the purest of biblical sense, TRUST or believe means “to believe,” also “to be persuaded of,” and hence, “to place confidence in, to trust,” signifies, in this sense of the word, reliance upon, not mere credence according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. The distinction is not on a mere consciousness but on a reliance or dependence upon because one is persuaded or convinced that God is who He says He is and is able to do what He said He will do.

In John 1, we find out about God in the flesh, incarnate. The passage below is in reference to Jesus Christ, God incarnate. TRUST: Believe in the Light.

John 1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

Again, the passage refers to Jesus coming into this world to His own, the Jews. The Jews did not recognize Jesus as God or the Messiah. Jesus offers Himself to all who would receive Him and believe in His name – TRUST: Believe in the Light. For those who are persuaded that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, He gives the right to become children of God.

TRUST: Believe in the Light affords anyone the right to become children of God. People are fighting to belong, fighting for rights all over this world. In Jesus, we have God, the creator of all things, conveying to us that we have rights as children of God by being persuaded or putting our confidence in Jesus as Savior and Lord.

TRUST: Believe in the Light. Do you believe that Jesus is the light? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came into this world to atone for the sins of man? Do you believe Jesus when He says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 Do you believe the Word of God in Acts where God says “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 10:43 informs us again about Jesus where the Word says, “43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”” 1 Timothy 2:5 tells us “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,”

Jesus is the only way for us to have true fellowship with the Almighty God; therefore, TRUST: Believe in the Light.

TRUST: God Creates Belief so You can Worship Him

May 14, 2016

In the post TRUST: God Acts For You To Believe, I shared with you how God acted to help Moses and the people believe in Him through performing signs. As a people, our deficit is a lack of faith or belief. We fail the TRUST God despite His perfect record. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 Since the signs and His death was not enough for many of us, God continues to prove to us His worth. Imagine that, the Almighty God caring enough for us that He would go to those lengths to create TRUST: God Creates Belief so You can Worship Him.

TRUST: God Creates Belief so You can Worship Him is about God working in our lives to create our devotion and worship of Him as the one true God. For the past few days, we have been in Exodus 4. We see God creating circumstances that result in man worshipping God. This is God’s ultimate goal in the works of His hands – TRUST: God Creates Belief so You can Worship Him.

Exodus 4

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘TheLord did not appear to you’?”

Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.“This,” said the Lord, “is so that they maybelieve that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous[a]—it had become as white as snow.

“Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign,they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”

10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”…

29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites,30 and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

In John 9, Jesus has the classic interaction with the man blind at birth about true worship. Jesus gave an account how belief in Him leads to worship which is God’s ultimate goal of our faith. The account shows TRUST: God Creates Belief so You can Worship Him.

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

The blind man exemplified the proper response to Jesus’ work in our lives whether opening physical eyes or spiritual eyes. We are supposed to worship the triune God for the work He has done in our lives both the physical and spiritual. TRUST: God Creates Belief so You can Worship Him.

Will you worship Him today for what He has done in your life?

TRUST: God Acts For You To Believe

May 13, 2016

In the post TRUST: God Reassures Those Whom He Has Commissioned, I focused on God repeatedly assuring Moses for that which He had commissioned Moses. That focus was on the messenger. Today, the focus will be on those to whom God sent the message. I want all of us to know TRUST: God Acts For You To Believe.

Exodus 4

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘TheLord did not appear to you’?”

Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.“This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous[a]—it had become as white as snow.

“Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign,they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”

10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”…

29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

One facet of bible study is to consider the number of times a specific word or concept is mentioned in a passage. The number of times a word is used reveals the significance of that concept. In Exodus 4, the word believe is used six times. Five times in the first nine verses.

Moses’ concern was whether the people would believe that God had sent him. God took measures to help Moses believe that God could and would do what He said He would do. He changed the staff to a snake then back to the staff. He made Moses hand leprous but restored it back to its original state. God gave Aaron to speak the Word that God gave to Moses for the people and for Pharaoh. The whole purpose of God sending Moses was so that the Israelites would believe.  From that, one should see and know TRUST: God Acts For You To Believe.

This portion of text concludes with the people believing. After they believed, “they bowed down and worshiped.” This was the precursor to God proving to Moses the sign he asked for. In Exodus 3:12, we hear “12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.”” God wants us to believe but not for the sake of just believing. He wants us to worship Him and ultimately expressing our worship by being conformed to the image of His Son.

TRUST: God Reassures Those Whom He Has Commissioned

May 12, 2016

The issue of TRUST, belief or faith is the most important perspective that a human can have especially as it relates to God. Why? It is the most important position because God has said so. Consider Hebrews 11:6 which says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Furthermore, Hebrews 3:6 says, “But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.” Lastly in this short account, James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” God expects us to belief, have faith or TRUST Him because we gain access to a relationship with Him and His blessings through our TRUST. If that isn’t enough of a reason, I do not know what is. God wants a relationship with us. How truly awesome is that?

In TRUST: Means to Believe, we see that Abram experienced God engaging him to TRUST, believe or have faith in Him. Now today in Exodus 3, we see Moses experiencing God engaging Moses to put his TRUST in God. We learn to TRUST: God Reassures Those Whom He Has Commissioned.

Exodus 3

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
    the name you shall call me
    from generation to generation.

16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’

18 “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lordour God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.

21 “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”

Exodus 4

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘TheLord did not appear to you’?”

Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.“This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous[a]—it had become as white as snow.

“Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign,they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”

10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”

I know that was a lot of text, but after all, it is the Word of God which is the best thing we can read by far. There is so much in the passage above. It really would take days even weeks to expound on it and digest it; however, I want you to focus on how God engaged Moses in efforts to get him to believe, have faith, to TRUST: God Reassures Those Whom He Has Commissioned. 

From the text, we clearly see God chooses Moses to speak to and to involve in freeing His people from Egypt. Moses gives God all kinds of excuses, but God reassures Moses every step of the way just as He does with anyone whom He has commissioned to be conformed to the image of His Son.

Hear me, I am not sure if you get this. God continually reassured Moses. Starting in verse 11 of chapter 3 all the way through verse 17 of chapter 4, we see TRUST: God Reassures Those Whom He Has Commissioned. 

What has God called you to do? More importantly, what excuses or reasons have you given God that you cannot do what He has called you to do? God wants us to see TRUST: God Reassures Those Whom He Has Commissioned. Ultimately, God’s goal for His people is to conform us to the image of His Son; therefore, our belief, faith or TRUST is the most important aspect of our existence because it allows us to experience God and for God to use us as examples of His commitment to His people. He did this with Moses in this passage, but He is writing a book about you too. Make sure that it reads that you TRUST God and follow Him because you do.

TRUST: Means to Believe

May 11, 2016

Since January, I have been posting about TRUST. Now that I have exhausted most of the applicable verses that use TRUST, I want to extend that thinking to reform our hearts and minds. Today, I submit TRUST: Means to Believe.

TRUST: Means to Believe. When we TRUST, we open our minds to accept what God has communicated to us about our circumstance, issue, or problem. According to Strong’s Concordance, the word for believe in Genesis 15:6 is ‘aman which means to figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain;

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.
    I am your shield,[a]
    your very great reward.[b]

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.”

He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[a] be.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”

If you have ever explored anything about the Christian faith, you know it has its origins in Judaism. Abram or Abraham as he later was named is the patriarch of the Christian faith. The promise God made Him was ultimately fulfilled through Jesus Christ. More immediately, it referred to his son Isaac that was born to he and Sarah years after God made the promise to give him an heir of his own flesh. It is a true story of TRUST: Means to Believe.

TRUST: Means to Believe. In every situation where we are to believe, we must overcome some natural or physical barrier to belief. One does not have to TRUST or believe if they are not stretched beyond what they can see or know can be done by man. True belief requires us to have faith in the promise God has made to us even if we cannot see how it will be done or accomplished.

Abram, at the time the promise was made, was well past the age at that time for conception to occur. It seemed impossible. It was beyond what was natural or physically plausible, but that is what it means to believe. We see this passage expounded upon in Romans 4 where Paul explains the importance of what it means to believe.

18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”[d] 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

To believe means that we are fully persuaded that God has the power to do what He has promised. The challenge many of us face is that we misappropriate what God has promised. Then when God does not do what we think He should do, we defame or discredit Him. The promise only applies to those who belong to God. One who has not expressed faith in God through surrendering his/her life to Christ as Savior and Lord has no share or right in the promise of God other than for him/her to be saved. Once one becomes a child of God , God obligates Himself to that person. Then, the promises of God become not a hope but a right as extended by God.

TRUST: Means to Believe. God wants us to TRUST or believe in Him, so He can use us to build His kingdom, bring glory to Himself and to conform us to the image of His Son which is the purpose for every believer. The question is do you believe. The question is have you put your confidence or trust in Jesus. If you have, then you know that TRUST: Means to Believe. If you have not, I, along with the Father, invite you to believe in Jesus because you are persuaded that He has the power to do what He has promised.

TRUST: In Him at All Times

May 7, 2016

For nearly six months now, I have been posting about TRUST. God directed me down this road because I am sure we all could use reinforcement of His expectation for us to put our faith in Him. He is worthy of our trust. He has never failed in keeping His promises. He does not lie nor does He change. God is able.

Since we know those things, I am submitting to you and to myself TRUST: In Him at All Times. Since we are social beings, the experiences where we will be thrusted into TRUSTing God is in deal with people. That could be relationship with a spouse or significant other, a child, a relative or a work relationship. God has communicated to us what He expects in terms of TRUST.

In Psalm 62:8, God says,

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

God, Jehovah, is talking to those who are His people. Everyone who is created by God does not equate being His people. God’s people are those who TRUST in Him. God’s people are those who believe in Christ as Son, Lord and Savior. God’s people are those who obey/follow God. Now that we have that understanding, we see God’s expectation as it relates to TRUST – TRUST: In Him at All Times. 

TRUST is means to have our confidence in Him. When does God say for us to have confidence in Him? At all times  We have no excuse to fail to TRUST God. Here we have an invitation, an urging, a command to TRUST in Him at all times.

Furthermore, God tells us to pour out our hearts to Him. He wants to know all of our thoughts, hearts, fears, pains, cares, etc. God is our refuge. A refuge is a shelter or protection from danger. Typically, we think of a refuge in a storm. We are seeking shelter or protection from the storm. Similarly, the storms of life assail us. On that point, we can all agree. God knows that and invites even commands us to pour out our hearts to Him. God wants us to pray about the dangers of the storms of life and TRUST Him with the results. God expects us to TRUST: In Him at All Times. 

Are the winds of life blowing on you now? Where has lighting struck in your life? How have the waves of despair assaulted you over the past few weeks? No matter where you are God expects you to TRUST: In Him at All Times. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRUST: God is the Better Choice

May 5, 2016

We are bombarded with choices at every turn. Whether on billboards while driving, on television commercials or ads on the internet, we are confronted with choices at every turn. Someone is always trying to sale you something. Something to buy or something to believe or trust in. God recognized that and often admonished and chastised His people for it. See, we often look at God as a commodity that can be bought and traded over and over again. There are some things or people in our lives that we never view that way. Why? We do not exchange things or people that have extremely high value to us. It is a function of TRUST: God is the Better Choice.

TRUST: God is the Better Choice conveys that we so highly value God that we do not exchange Him for anything or anyone else. In fact, that represents what God demands and commands in Exodus 20 where He said, “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.” Ultimately, God demands this because He demands that TRUST in Him or believe in Him as the all sufficient God that He is.

We see TRUST: God is the Better Choice in 1 Peter where he quotes Isaiah 28 who God uses to address this notion of us forsaking Him and trusting in other things and so called gods. We have a penchant for failing to trust wholly in God. God desires and deserves to have our entire heart, mind and soul.

In TRUST: God is the Better Choice, Peter reiterates God’s message to us by quoting Isaiah. The prophet tells us that God continues to be rejected by man. We see it now in the rejection of Jesus, His Son. In the passage, God is saying that Jesus will either be a Church Rock or Stumbling Block for man. It all depends on what you believe. Do you TRUST God is the better choice. Let’s hear God through Peter.

1 Peter 2

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.”[b]

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”[c]

and,

“A stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall.”[d]

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Obviously, Peter is addressing believers in the passage, so it is clear to the believer that TRUST: God is the Better Choice. Despite that, we all are confronted daily with choices to TRUST in God or to doubt and fear. When we feel anxiety, worry or fear, that is a clear sign for us to tell when we are doubting TRUST: God is the Better Choice. For all of our lives, the most vital choice we will make is whether we believe TRUST: God is the Better Choice.

Where are you today? Take your TRUST temperature today. Note or mark moments of anxiety or fear. When you realize it, immediately confess to God that you are failing to TRUST Him. Repent or turn from that failing to TRUSTing God in that circumstance. When you do so, you will illustrate TRUST: God is the Better Choice.

TRUST: Filled with Joy and Peace

May 3, 2016

When reading the Word of God, there are times that resemble reading a good mystery that is unraveling before your eyes. This is what happened to me this morning as I read Romans 15. I was amazed at the myriad of connections that I saw as I read. My mind was filled with thoughts of other scriptures. My mind was at ease as I read about the hope that we have in Christ. Make no mistake about that hope is a theme in this passage, but like honey in a hive, there is a process one must follow to enjoy the sweetness of hope. This hope is aimed not at any good fortune but at the greatest – salvation. Hope (ἐλπίς – elpis) here is the joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation which begins with TRUST: Filled with Joy and Peace.

The road to joy and peace, as well as salvation, begins with TRUST. God wants our faith to be rooted in our understanding of who God is, His character, what God has said, His Word, and what God has done, His power shown in His wonderful works. We all are looking for and desire joy and peace. Today’s Word gives us great insight into obtaining joy and peace but as a by-product of salvation. That is the true meaning of TRUST: Filled with Joy and Peace.

Romans 15:1-13

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”[a] For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews[b] on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;
    I will sing the praises of your name.”[c]

10 Again, it says,

“Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”[d]

11 And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
    let all the peoples extol him.”[e]

12 And again, Isaiah says,

“The Root of Jesse will spring up,
    one who will arise to rule over the nations;
    in him the Gentiles will hope.”[f]

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our goal should not solely be joy and peace as we see in verse 13 above. The goal is that we are filled with the power power of the Holy Spirit. In filling us, the Holy Spirit provides us joy and peace as a means to give us endurance and encouragement. After salvation, which is being united with God in Spirit, God’s goal is for us to be united with one another through the same mind, “so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (v.6) TRUST: Filled with Joy and Peace.

Clearly the scripture teaches that joy and peace are a result of trusting in Him. It is ongoing as the verse says “as you trust in him” or “in believing”. We must actively give ourselves to trusting or believing in the Lord God Almighty. We must trust or believe that He is who He says He is and will do what He said He would do.  When we do, we are filled with joy and peace because we are convinced that God will be and do what He has said. TRUST: Filled with Joy and Peace.

Do you want TRUST: Filled with Joy and Peace? If you do, put your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Then, follow Him.


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