It’s his show

Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon ) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ – Judges 1:1-2

I remember the first big drama I directed at our church called Uncle Phil’s Diner. This was a huge production with sets, actors, costumes, and even dinner was served all with a 1950’s theme. We had two showings of the drama and both were well received by the public. I am so thankful for all the people who committed to this event. But it would never have been the experience it was without God. God made it happen. It was God who spoke to the hearts of the people who were a part of it, he called the people to come and watch it, he provided for all our needs … the show really was all his. He truly was the director.

God feels it is important for us to know that he is very involved in every aspect of our life. He orchestrates our day to reflect his glory. All we need to do is obey and follow.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for making so many great things happen in my life. I pray today that I watch for where you are working and join you. Amen

Faith Tip: God’s plan for you today is perfect. Trust him to make things happen in your life.

 

Staying on track

English: Jogging with dog at Carcavelos Beach ...

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. 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.”

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

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

Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied. – Joshua 24:19-22

There are times when I am very strong and focused on a goal such as healthy living. I am eating fruit and veggies, exercising, and doing whatever I can at the moment to be healthy. Then there are other times. I may have had a challenging day and all my focus goes down the tube and I want something that I perceive will satisfy my needs … usually having to do with ice cream and pizza.

The Israelites had a passion, just like we do, to worship and serve God. There are times when we have it all together and can be focused on the goal. Then there are other times. Our humanness takes over when life gets challenging and we lose our focal point of the way we were going. Somehow we get off-track in following God by going after distractions of the world.

God knows our weakness. Our creator has provided a way to get back on track and continue the journey. His name is Jesus.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for helping me get back on track when I journey down my own road. Your way is always better. Amen

Faith Tip: What road are you on today and who are you following? Do you need to be refocused? God will help you … just ask.

Drop the rock…

holding stone

holding stone (Photo credit: tamaki)

Then the Lord said to Moses: “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, select some towns to be your cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone accidentally may flee. They will be places of refuge from the avenger, so that anyone accused of murder may not die before they stand trial before the assembly. These six towns you give will be your cities of refuge. Give three on this side of the Jordan and three in Canaan as cities of refuge. These six towns will be a place of refuge for Israelites and for foreigners residing among them, so that anyone who has killed another accidentally can flee there. – Numbers 35:9-15

My friend had been hurt. Someone she trusted betrayed her. She was tricked into thinking that this person was unable to go to an event with her because of sickness. She later found out that the one she trusted went with somebody else.

Many of us have been hurt by similar situations. We want to pick up a big stone and throw it at them meaning to do harm. But remember Jesus with the woman caught in adultery in John 8.  All the Pharisees had the stones in their hands ready to kill the woman. As Jesus wrote in the dirt, perhaps words that reminded each of them of their own wrongdoings, the stones dropped one by one onto the ground … a testimony of their own guilt.

We are ready to avenge someone who has done wrong … especially against us. God knows all about what happened, so we don’t need to make a case. We can let him handle it, because he knows exactly what to do. Can we trust him in this?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for taking care of times I have been wronged and have wronged others.  I pray that I can let go and let you handle it. Amen

Faith Tip: Is there a situation that you are holding on to and still feeling the barbs of resentment. It’s time to let go and be free. Trust God in that he will handle it in a perfect manner.

There’s a reason to celebrate!

So Moses told the Israelites to celebrate the Passover, and they did so in the Desert of Sinai at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. The Israelites did everything just as the Lord commanded Moses. – Numbers 9:4-5

Celebration helps me remember important things in life. For example, this past weekend my aunt and I went to celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of her mother/my grandmother. We had a theme of doing things that she would have liked to do. So we went to Frankenmuth, Michigan, and looked in all the places of interest … especially Bronner’s, and ate the chicken dinner at the Bavarian Inn. We played rummy in the hotel with Looney Tunes cards, had birthday cake, ice cream, and just had a fun time.  At Bronner’s, we had personalized ornaments made to commemorate the day. We celebrated a life that was important to us.

God has done so many wonderful things for us that we could really celebrate every day. It’s important to remember what God has done because it encourages us to go on. Knowing the great love and power that God has makes us stronger on the inside to do what we are called to do. Celebrate that today.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the great things you have done in my life. I pray I may never forget them and continue to celebrate you. Amen

Faith Tip: Find a reason to celebrate God today.

Ridding your residence

Feather duster, dustpan and broom, and upright...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat.  He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task.  The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness. – Leviticus 16:20-22

When I clean house, it always feels good to get it done, but I always wonder about the dust. I would dust one week and the next week it would be back laying on the tables, picture frames and figurines. I just got rid of it! I wish there was a way it could permanently leave.

When we look into our own lives and “clean house” on ourselves, we find things that we thought we got rid of laying around our heart and soul. This kind of dust can be cleaned away permanently with Jesus. Those bad thoughts, harsh words, non-caring actions and other parts of us that do not honor God need to be cleaned out. Laying those things on the cross and allowing Jesus to carry them away is real. He will do it. Don’t allow the dust to take over your life.

Prayer: God, I thank you for providing a way that I can rid of sin in my life. Jesus is the way to clean it out of my house. I pray that your Spirit will show me where the dust is in my house and help me clean it out. Amen

Faith Tip: Check your temple for any cleaning that needs to be done. Allow God to do it.

Complaining again?

Photo of a typical refrigerator with its door ...

Photo of a typical refrigerator with its door open. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” – Exodus 16:1-3

“There’s nothing to eat.” How many times have we heard or thought that as we look for something to prepare for dinner? It’s not that the cupboards and refrigerator are bare, but just what we want to eat isn’t there, or perhaps the preparation feels like too much after a busy day. We complain about what we don’t have instead of seeing and appreciating what we do have.

I remember feeling like this a day before going grocery shopping. I felt like there was nothing to make for dinner, but when I really looked at what I had, I found rice, beans, frozen meat to be thawed and carrots and celery. It was plenty of items for a great meal using wonderful spices. It was a feast. I just needed to focus on what I had rather than didn’t have.

Our spiritual life can be like that, too. We journey through life thinking we don’t have enough and we need more to be happy and successful. That is not the message of God. He knows exactly what we need and provides it. If we concentrate on what we have in our life, we may be surprised of all the ways we are blessed.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, when I don’t acknowledge the blessings you have given me. I pray that I recognize them and keep focused on them so that I don’t fall into the complaining pit. Amen

Faith Tip: Make a list of the ways you are blessed and thank God for them.

The Power of Relationship

Moses holding up his arms during the battle, a...

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The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. – Exodus 17:8-13

This past weekend, I spent some quality time with God’s people. It was a pilgrimage. Together we journeyed in discovering more about God. What did we discover? God’s great love for us expressed through each other. We found out that we needed one another not only through the weekend, but perhaps more after the weekend.

Gathering together in God’s name is a call. We were never meant to travel life alone. Yes, we have the Holy Spirit inside of us and I praise God for that, but there is another element needed in those God puts in our life. Sometimes the relationship is life-long and sometime just for a season, but they are both crucial for our spiritual makeup.

The power of God’s love and grace is dynamic when people that follow Jesus gather together. It must be experienced for it can never be fully described in words. I encourage you to make plans to get together with some friends and family who know what this means, and be ready to show others who don’t know the great bond they are missing.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the relationships you have brought into my life, especially my relationship with you. I pray that I demonstrate the power of your love to those I come in contact with today. Amen

Faith Tip: Consider the people God has placed in your life. How do they uphold you? What part do you play in supporting another?