"When the Lord's hand is in your mouth you're fed generously." That ancient saying from the Middle East is wonderfully true. When we are hungry, we grumble. We gripe even if we think we might miss a single meal. We are not the only ones who get spoiled. The "whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled . . . in the wilderness" (Exodus 16:2). Two million people were grumbling at Moses and Aaron because they were afraid they would miss a meal. Grumbling is a serious business and has dire consequences. It is found six times in the next few verses. "Your grumblings are not against us but against the LORD" (v. 8). What they really missed were their "pots of meat" (v. 3). They were so attached to their pots of flesh that they haggled Moses saying, "Would that we had died by the LORD'S hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." The LORD wanted the people to trust Him. All they had to do was trust Him and walk in obedience. We think that it is so much easier and wiser to walk by sight. Then the Lord has an amazing way of knocking our false securities out from under us so we are made to trust Him. He makes us see that He alone provides our every need.
Thoughts: There are times when we make mistakes and have to pay the price. We might fail to look both ways when we are backing out of the driveway and cause an accident, or we might be too engrossed in our cell phone that we walk into a post. At other times we cannot foresee or prevent an accident, but we are still adversely affected by it. An accident on the highway ties up traffic making us late and we have to face an employer who is angry at our tardiness.
The Israelites had done nothing wrong. They were obeying God and following their appointed leader, Moses. Still, they were cornered; the Red Sea lay before them and the Egyptian Army was closing in. It looked hopeless; it looked like they would be annihilated. They could only complain, which they did frequently, or turn to the Lord and trust in their God.
There are times when we come to the end of our rope—for whatever reason. We can’t hold on forever. When we finally let go we
How many times do you have to hear something before you realize it’s true? Pharaoh had a hard time listening to the words God spoke through Moses and Aaron. Time after time, they explained God’s desire for the Israelites to be freed from slavery. Pharaoh repeatedly responded with pride and rebellion against God. Because of his disobedience, plagues hit the land of Egypt and caused people around Pharaoh to suffer. Pharaoh didn’t want to admit it, but even his advisers urged him, “Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?” (Exodus 10:7) . Sometimes we’re blind to how things really are, even when the people around us can see it clearly. Our foolish choices often hurt the people we love. Maybe our unforgiving relationship with our parents unintentionally causes us to be harsh with our own children. Perhaps our frustration at work is spilling over into frustration in our marriage. When we fail to deal with the circumstances that challenge our faith, it gets easier and easier to say “no” to the better ways God for us. But no matter how we’ve rebelled against God in the past, He gives us new chances to say “yes” to Him. Sometimes it takes the people around us to point something out so we can get back on track. We don’t have to make all the decisions of life alone. By humbly trusting the perspective of people who care about us, we take a step closer to being who God’s made us to be.
Thoughts: You know the story. Moses is out on the “far side of the wilderness” (v.1) God lights up the bush to get his attention (v.3 – 4). God gives Moses a job (v. 7 -10) and Moses wonders “Why Me?” (v. 11). It can be challenging to glean a fresh word from a familiar story. As I was reading today, it occurred to me that because I relate easily to how Moses felt, I often stop at his question. God, you want me to do what? Are you sure you have the right person? Not only did God tell Moses to go back to the place he ran away from, but that he was going to lead out an entire nation. Talk about not feeling equipped! Notice God’s first response, “I will be with you” (v.12a) immediately follows Moses’ question. Moses wanted to focus on his shortcomings. God wanted Moses to focus on Him. It’s human nature. We want to know how God will do it. We like to know in advance so that we can avoid being embarrassed by our weaknesses. At times, we question God because our faith is weak. But when we face overwhelming circumstances or know that we are not equipped for a task – He is with us. You see, the divine purpose we were created for is eternally linked to God’s divine presence. So consider this: “I will be with you.” Isn’t that enough for you to trust God for today?
Discussion: Why is our first response so often doubting God and that thinking He has chosen the wrong person when He chooses us?
Activity: Step into one thing God is calling you to do this week, whether it is big or small.
Devotional Thoughts from Cornerstone Church, June 2014 Pastor's Blog
Thoughts: In Exodus chapter 2, we read of the beginning of life for one of the most influential men in the Bible. During Moses’ birth, all Israelite newborn boys were to be killed and thrown into the Nile River. Well, God had a bigger plan for Moses and designed it so that he would be placed in the river and discovered by a woman whose father would be the open door to the Israelites freedom. Just as God had a plan for Moses, He also has a plan for you and me. When our situations seem dim and we can’t seem to find our way, remember Jeremiah 29:11. His desire is to do us good and no harm. We can look to the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ. Those things that seemed to have been destined for gloom and doom in our lives, He can turn them around and work it out for our good. What a mighty God we serve! Our setbacks can be used as setups for His greatness. Although we may not understand it at the moment, our setbacks and setups can be a bridge to bring us to our destiny in Him. What the devil meant for evil, God uses it for His glory. He has made a way of escape for us, releasing us into our destiny! Dear Jesus, help us not to look at situations the way they are, but to recognize the greater calling you have for us and to see our situations and circumstances as you see them. Help us to trust you with our lives and not what we think we see; you have a greater plan.
Discussion: What struggles/difficulties are you facing that you can trust God with right now?
Activity: Dear Jesus, help us not to look at situations the way they are, but to recognize the greater calling you have for us and to see our situations and circumstances as you see them. Help us to trust you with our lives and not what we think we see; you have a greater plan. Amen
Devotional from Cornerstone Church, June 2014
Thoughts: In the immediately preceding verses, Jesus has praised Peter warmly. He blessed him, pronounced him to be the rock on which he would build his church, and promised to give him the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
Then Jesus told his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem where he would suffer; he would be killed; he would rise on the third day. Always impetuously eager to talk, Peter may have felt especially emboldened by Jesus’ recent praise. He pulled Jesus aside, and we can almost hear him whispering urgently, “You mustn’t say that! That can’t happen! You don’t want the others to hear this!”
Jesus’ rebuke to Peter was harsh. “Get behind me, Satan. You are a stumbling block (or, worse, an offense) to me.”
Perhaps Jesus didn’t dare take comfort from Peter’s protests. Was he tempted to agree? “You’re probably right, Peter. God would never let this happen. Forget I said anything.”
In verse 28, Jesus told his listeners, “Some of you standing here will not taste of death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” We know this was not literally true, unless – did Jesus mean the time he was on earth after his resurrection? Or did he mean that all of us can see Jesus manifest in the pure goodness of people? Their service? Their selflessness? Glimpses of the kingdom of heaven?
“There are flashes struck from midnights,
There are fire-flames noon days kindle…
When the spirit’s true endowments
Stand out plainly from its false ones….”
Discussion: When do your spirit’s rue endowments stand out plainly from its false ones?
Activity: When you hear of a friend’s or a neighbor’s emergency or tragedy, do you offer to help in any practical way? Can you fix a meal, meet someone at the airport, help with child care?
Devotional from Word at Home August 2011
People in our home town seemed determined not to pronounce our last name correctly. Perhaps its nine letters looked threatening. I remember hearing my father explain patiently, over and over –
“It’s phonetic – you pronounce it exactly the way it’s spelled. Chen – o – weth.”
“Oh,” the listener would not. “Chinnyworth.”
My father would permit himself a brief frown. “Think of it this way. ‘Chen’ rhymes with ‘when’ – then ‘o’ – then ‘weth’ rhymes with ‘Seth’.”
“Okay, I got it. Chinnyworth.”
So I grew up, known as Wilson Chinnyworth’s little girl Susan. In college I was known as Susie. And now, for many years, I have been a sedate and matronly Sue or Mrs. Olesen. This six-letter last name has continued to baffle my relatives, after nearly 60 years. They continue to experiment with Olsen, Oleson, or Olson. Apparently, two e’s are too much to expect.
Do you suppose the people in Nazareth had trouble pronouncing Jesus? Did he have a nickname? Did his brothers and sisters call him the Aramaic equivalent of Bro? Did Mary have a pet name for her precious first born?
Discussion: What do you like best to be called?
Activity:Learn the name of someone in our church whom you have not yet met. This person will be pleased, and our church family will seem warmer and more welcoming.
Devotional from Word at Home August 2017
Thoughts: William Wordsworth’s poetry tended to be lengthy and sometimes verbose. Detractors gave him an unkind nickname. They called him Wordswords.
Most people could not quote a line of Wordsworth’s poetry. Most people could quote a line – or many – of Emily Dickinson’s poetry. She used words sparingly and exquisitely.
“I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.”
Discussion: What careless remark that you heard years ago do you still remember?
Activity: Remember that some words you say today could warm someone’s heart.
Devotional from Word at Home August 2017
Thoughts:Jesus told his disciples to take a ship to the other side of the lake. He wanted – he needed to be alone. So he went up into a mountain to pray and rest. He was understandably tired of begging, clamoring, clutching people.
But his time alone did not last long. The disciples’ ship had sailed only to the middle of the lake before a storm came. The frightened disciples were even more terrified when they saw what they thought was a spirit walking toward them on the water.
Knowing is disciples’ danger and fear, Jesus came to them, reassuring them, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
Discussion: Why did Peter sink when he tried to walk on water?
Activity: Think of someone who needs to know that he/she is not alone. We can’t walk on water, but we can call, write a note, pay a visit.
Devotional from Word at Home Augst 2017
Devotional: Peter is catching on, isn't he? He knows that if Jesus demands something of us, he also empowers us to do it! But like us, Peter gets distracted with all the problems in doing what Jesus asks, all the things that can go wrong in his dream of faith, and he becomes afraid.
I've heard repeatedly that the command for God's people not to be afraid is the most often found command in Scripture. While I can't verify that this is true, I know Jesus does have to say it over and over again: "Have courage; don't be afraid!" But this time, fear gets the better of faith and Peter sinks. This lapse doesn't ruin Peter because he knows where salvation is found. But Jesus does let Peter know that it's getting time for him to have a bigger faith.
Discussion: So what about you today? Where do you need help? Not fearing? Launching out in faith? Calling on Jesus for help? Developing a stronger faith? Keeping your eyes and faith on Christ and not the problems all around?
Activity: This is one of those days where there are both rebuke and encouragement for each of us no matter where we are on the journey! So let's hear Jesus' call to us and respond!
Devotional from Heartlight.org "What Jesus Did", July 2017
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