Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Rock travels with us in the Desert of our Days

After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. ‘I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look more closely. I have certainly seen the suffering of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. Now come, I will send you to Egypt.’ — Acts 7:30, 32, 34 NET

Dr. Jowett comments:

That was a long wait in preparation for a great mission. When God delays, He is not inactive. He is getting ready His instruments, He is ripening our powers; and at the appointed moment we shall arise equal to our task. Even Jesus of Nazareth was thirty years in privacy, growing in wisdom before He began His work.


It is interesting that God took 40 years of preparation time for Moses, and 400 years of preparation time for Israel + 40 years in the wilderness. So, for Moses, called to be the Man of God for the People of God, this added up to 80 years in the wilderness: 40 tending unruly sheep and 40 leading a rebellious Flock. Oh, how Moses must have tired of seeing rocks and sand and scrub brush! But God was not mistaken in the calling of Moses' life. Nor was He forgetful of Israel. It's just so hard, sometimes, to see the good purpose of God in the long hours of burning sand and sun, and petty battles that must be fought (again and again) in the wilderness, surrounded by the chosen, peculiar People of God!

Is it any wonder that Moses struck the Rock twice, in frustration?

Thinking about Moses striking the rock twice, I was recently meditating on 1 Cor. 10:3-4, "And all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ." For the first time, I realized that Moses penalty of striking the rock twice was not just in flashing anger and misrepresenting God, it was also a mistreatment of the real Rock of Israel, and a false prophetic type of the saving life of Christ. A wow moment! Hebrews 10:10 tells us that anyone who has been made holy has been made so through the "once and for all sacrifice" of Jesus Christ. Likewise Hebrews 7:27 tells us that the sacrifice that Jesus offers in himself is SINGULAR, "once for all" and is not repeated. And in Hebrews 9:28, 10:12 and 10:14, this is emphasized, again and again: ONCE AND FOR ALL, not to be repeated. If we seek to repeat the striking of the Rock for our sins, we only put Him to open shame, treating the blood of the covenant as an unholy thing (10:29).

This should send shivers down the spine of anyone who claims to actually sacrifice Jesus again and again, at mass, etc. And it gives amazing insight into the offense of Moses against his Holy God -- a God who called him friend, and revealed himself in higher categories to him than to the people around him. God's punishment of Moses was at once just and merciful: He kept Moses from the Promised Land, and took him to the real Land of Promise. And He kept Moses from seeing the failure of the people in the Land. So God strictly punished Moses for mistreating and misrepresenting the Rock, but in His judgment He also extended mercy to His loved son of the wilderness.


Long story short: We must simply trust God in the desert of our days. He has not abandoned us. Jesus the True Rock travels with us, and gives us living water. And so we are sustained, until the land of promise.

God is never too late, and doesn't waste the fires of the forge nor the heat of the wilderness. He's working out His purpose.

Often, the hardest ingredient in suffering is TIME. Waiting. But God is PRESENT with us, all the while. Sharp, instant pains are easily borne, but those constant, enduring ones? A lot more difficult. Thankfully, God understands, and works and and through them all. He is with us: Immanuel, the Rock, from whom we can drink on our hottest, darkest, longest days. Alleluia!

Good is on the way, and IN the way, in the Rock. Let us not strike Him in our frustration, but rather drink deeply, smile and live -- and journey on to the Promise.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

The battle is the Lord's (so fight with whatever He places in your hands)

And all this assembly will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves! For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will deliver you into our hand. — 1 Sam 17:47 NET

by C.H. Spurgeon

Let this point be settled, that the battle is the Lord’s, and we may be quite sure of the victory, and of the victory in such a way as will best of all display the power of God. The Lord is too much forgotten by all men, yea, even by the assemblies of Israel; and when there is an opportunity to make men see that the great First Cause can achieve His purposes without the power of man, it is a priceless occasion which should be well employed. Even Israel looks too much to sword and spear. It is a grand thing to have no sword in the hand of David, and yet for David to know that his God will overthrow a whole army of aliens.

If we are indeed contending for truth and righteousness, let us not tarry till we have talent, or wealth, or any other form of visible power at our disposal; but with such stones as we find in the brook, and with our own usual sling, let us run to meet the enemy. If it were our own battle we might not be confident; but if we are standing up for Jesus and warring in His strength alone, who can withstand us? Without a trace of hesitancy let us face the Philistines; for the Lord of hosts is with us, and who can be against us?



Wow. This is a powerful truth, and one that God has been teaching me recently. We can't wait until we have the right resources to advance against the enemy, in the various areas of our lives and ministries. For truly, if God is with us, He will cause even the stones of the brooks and sticks of the fields to win the day for us. Today I will follow in His train, fighting in and contending for faith, even though all that I hold are smooth stones, compared to the finest weapons that others wield.


The Song of the Stormy Wind

So Moses extended his staff over the land of Egypt, and then the Lord brought an east wind on the land all that day and all night. The morning came, and the east wind had brought up the locusts! and the Lord turned a very strong west wind, and it picked up the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea. Not one locust remained in all the territory of Egypt. — Exod. 10:13,19 NET
by Mark Guy Pearse

See how in the olden times, when the Lord fought for Israel against the cruel Pharaoh, the stormy winds wrought out their deliverance; and yet again, in that grandest display of power—the last blow that God struck at the proud defiance of Egypt. A strange, almost cruel thing it must have seemed to Israel to be hemmed in by such a host of dangers—in front the wild sea defying them, on either hand the rocky heights cutting off all hope of escape, the night of hurricane gathering over them. It was as if that first deliverance had come only to hand them over to more certain death. Completing the terror there rang out the cry: “The Egyptians are upon us!”

When it seemed they were trapped for the foe, then came the glorious triumph. Forth swept the stormy wind and beat back the waves, and the hosts of Israel marched forward, down into the path of the great deep—a way arched over with God’s protecting love.

On either hand were the crystal walls glowing in the light of the glory of the Lord; and high above them swept the thunder of the storm. So on through all that night; and when, at dawn of the next day, the last of Israel’s host set foot upon the other shore, the work of the stormy wind was done.
Then sang Israel unto the Lord the song of the “stormy wind fulfilling his word.”

“The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil…Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.”

One day, by God’s great mercy, we, too, shall stand upon the sea of glass, having the harps of God. Then we shall sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” We shall know then how the stormy winds have wrought out our deliverance.

Now you see only the mystery of this great sorrow; then you shall see how the threatening enemy was swept away in the wild night of fear and grief.

Now you look only at the loss; then you shall see how it struck at the evil that had begun to rivet its fetters upon you.

Now you shrink from the howling winds and muttering thunders; then you shall see how they beat back the waters of destruction, and opened up your way to the goodly land of promise.


“Though winds are wild,
And the gale unleashed,
My trusting heart still sings:
I know that they mean
No harm to me,
He rideth on their wings.”

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

His Mysterious Ways: A Plane Crash and Message from Heaven


by Barbara Walker

The door creaked and my eyes snapped open. I sat bolt upright in bed. An old woman in a floor-length white nightgown with lace trim hovered in the doorway, her wispy gray hair piled on top of her head in a bun, her pale blue eyes full of life. Granny?

My favorite grandmother. The one who lulled me to sleep when I was young with tales of her childhood in Ireland, told in her soft brogue. Back then, Ireland was a far-off, magical land to me, a girl who hadn’t seen much more than rural Pennsylvania. I never dreamed I’d find myself married to a military man, living halfway across the world on a U.S. Army base in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. What was Granny doing here in my bedroom at two o’clock in the morning? She’d died 15 years earlier.

I shook my head. Rubbed my eyes. Next to me, my husband, Frank, was out like a light. It must be a dream. I’d tossed and turned all night. Frank and I had moved to Germany three days after we were married. A year later, I gave birth to our son, Christopher. Now Frank’s three-year assignment was nearing its end, and in a few hours I’d be on a plane back home to the States. Frank was to follow us in six months. The thought of flying alone, just me and the baby, made me a nervous wreck. Now I was seeing things!

Granny tiptoed toward the foot of my bed. I clutched my blankets tighter.

“Everything’s going to be all right, dear,” she said. Her brogue made the words sound musical, like a lullaby. “Everything’s going to be all right. . . .”

Next thing I knew, it was morning. Only two hours to get Christopher ready and head to the airport in Frankfurt. I pushed the strange experience out of my mind.

The plane was a small four-engine model, military dependents only. Nine hours on a flight full of Army wives and crying kids. That would be interesting. But I was so tired from lack of sleep, I laid Christopher across my lap on a pillow and dozed off.

The cabin was dark when I reopened my eyes. Everyone was either sleeping or playing cards. Christopher snuggled in my lap. Such a good boy. I looked out the window. All at once an orange flash jumped from the right-side engine, the one closest to me.

That’s not right. I glanced across the aisle at the other window. Another flash! What was going on?
A flight attendant passed by with an empty tray. I tugged on the sleeve of her uniform. “I think the engines are on fire,” I whispered.

I pointed out the windows on either side. Her eyes widened. She put a finger to her lips. “Shhhh!”
She raced to the front of the plane. I could see flames now, on both sides. Finally a voice came over the PA.

“Attention all passengers, this is your captain speaking. We are experiencing some mechanical difficulties. Please stay seated and put your heads between your legs. If your child is on your lap, place your body over them.”

The plane dipped. My stomach lurched. My seatmate made the sign of the cross. I held on to Christopher and did what the captain instructed. We were descending. Fast. I could feel the velocity.
“We will be making an emergency water landing,” the captain announced. “Please remain calm.”
Remain calm? What were the chances we’d even survive?

Then I heard it. The familiar Irish brogue spoken to me in those early-morning hours. Everything’s going to be all right. I relaxed. Closed my eyes. Took a deep breath. I believed those words. Believed God had sent them in a vision of my Irish granny.

The plane landed with a violent jolt. It bounced and skidded across the water and came to a stop. The flight attendant ushered us out of our seats to the emergency exit, where an inflatable slide and raft were waiting. I took off my shoes and slid down with Christopher securely in my lap. The cold ocean air hit me full force. I couldn’t see a thing. All I could hear was the sound of choppy waves thrashing against the raft and the downed plane...

Read the rest of the story here.

His Mysterious Ways! Pretty amazing.