Archive for August, 2016
Moses was tired and angry. In Numbers 20 8-11, we are told about Moses really losing it. His own people, the Israelites, were quite a bunch of complainers and he really had enough of them. Look at all he had done for them and now they wanted water, not unreasonable I suppose, but they chose to whine and complain to Moses and it was the last straw. God told him to speak to the rock and water would come out, but Moses wasn’t going to let it go at that. You can just imagine Moses ranting on his way to the rock, sick of the heat, dust and the burden that God placed on him. When he got to that rock, he exposed his weakness.
” Listen you rebels, must we bring water out of this rock?”
We?!!! Ugh, that was the last straw for God too. God had given Moses a huge responsibility, perhaps even greater than Noah had, but he failed. He didn’t fail in the task, he failed to remember who was the power source. Moses included himself in bringing out the water and he didn’t do it the way God commanded. I’ll bet when he hit that rock twice, he was really letting it fly. Nothing gentle or dignified about it.
Moses greatest job was to obey, God did all the work. Moses didn’t cause any of the plagues or perform any miracles through any power that he had, he was to be a willing servant for God. It worked mind-blowingly well till Moses included himself in the Trinity. Moses felt he was a source of power and was directing the outcome. He was getting some pride in his role and losing his servant mindset.
How many of us are guilty of that same bit of pride? We help someone and it turns out well, we participate in successful event, perhaps even hear others speaking highly of us. We begin to think we’re pretty good and doing great things. We’ve really got the water flowing from that rock! God sure is lucky to have us on His team! Then a few failures start showing up. People that you’ve been ministering to have walked away, an event flops, and now people are stabbing you in the back. The Israelites are really coming down on you. Now you’ve become angry, frustrated, and disillusioned with the whole God/Church thing and are ready to walk away yourself.
How can this be? We have forgotten that we are only very loved servants. We are not responsible for those successes that occurred. When we obey, God will often use us for great things, but when we start filling up with pride and thinking that we’re pretty hot excrement, God needs to bring us back down. We can’t really do much on our own. When we give ourselves credit for success, we also have to give ourselves credit for failures. The truth is that it has never been about us the whole time. I wish Moses wouldn’t have lost sight of that, he could have seen the promised land on this side of death.
Don’t ever let yourself be filled with the pride of accomplishment. God raises kings and destroys them to serve His purpose. Don’t settle for being great in the worlds eyes, when being a humble servant is a greater accomplishment. I wonder what “promised land” God has waiting for you? Don’t cheat yourself out of it, fight pride and obey. It’s not about you.
Stay humble friends
OK, I’ll admit it, I’m a hardcore dog guy. Not those little purse dogs that women use to emasculate their husbands, but big dogs. If your canine isn’t at least 50 pounds, its a feline. They say little dogs are smarter, maybe, but I don’t need one to fix my lawnmower or do my taxes, so I’m alright with that. They do try to lie sometimes though. They’ll always try to blame the cat for everything. Still, trying to blame the cat for a extremely rare accident in the house never works. Mainly because the mess weighs more than the cat. Nor did the cat pee on the truck tire 2 feet high. I can even tell which dog did it, they are the worst liars. The look of guilt is so obvious that Ray Charles could tell the guilty party!
One thing about big dogs is that they are 100% dedicated to you. They live on every word that comes out of your mouth. They always have had plenty(!) of good food and water, so they lack nothing physical, but a stern word will ruin their day and if you simply smile at them, it rocks their world! I can read their faces and they know everything about me and trust me in every way. That’s a very tight and solid relationship, and we are all committed to each other to and through death. To say that they are passionate is an understatement!
In Revelation 3:15-16, God sends His last message to the little town of Laodicea.
” I know all your ways; you are neither hot nor cold. How I wish you were either hot or cold,! But because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
Laodicea was a pretty wealthy town. Life was pretty easy for them and while they were not an apostate church, they really weren’t on fire for Jesus. They didn’t really need Him, they were fine on their own and Jesus was just something they did also. We would call them churchgoers.Yes, there were posers in the early Christian days just like now in our post Christian America. Not bad people, just fakes. Those folks were not passionately committed and God was not pleased. His people did not know Him enough to have that incessant passion that even a dog has for his master.
How many of us have that doglike passion to study and know our Master? It reminds me of Mary at His feet, mesmerized with every word He spoke. Does His smile make our day bright and His discipline curl our tail under? Are we more like the uncommitted Laodiceans, sufficient in our own comforts, only needing Him when there is a glitch in the flow of worldly pleasures? God has already promised that He is all in for us, to and through death (Thank you Jesus!), we just need to decide if we are hot, cold, or spit out. He can tell when you’re lying too, so don’t even bother with some lame excuse, the cat didn’t keep you from studying your Bible. Although if it were possible, it would be a cat that would do it!
Friends, we have a very kind and gracious Master, who promised to provide us with everything we need (not want). He has greater things planned for us than we can even imagine. We just need to truly dedicate ourselves to get to know Him. He requires that commitment from you. There is no substitute, your earnest commitment. No posers allowed.
Where are you on that today friends? Has the glitter of the world caught your eye. There is a time coming that will really separate the real from the fake. Are committed enough to die for Jesus or only enough to give Him an hour on Sunday and some pocket change? Will you take the abuse for being a Christian or accept false doctrine just to get along? Will you simply leave your Master when the world offers you a Scooby snack?
Wag hard, Friends
John 6:66-68; At this point many of His disciples turned away and deserted Him. Then Jesus turned to the twelve and asked, ” Are you also going to leave?” Simon Peter replied, ” Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.”
That scripture is very personal to me. A large part of my becoming a serious Christian is hung on those very words Peter spoke. Peter recognized that there was no other source for truth and that there was no other option. An honest truth seeker always lands in Jesus’ corner.
Part of my long journey of faith was that I just wanted to know what was true. I started out in a good Catholic family, but church was more of what we did on Sunday and that made us Catholic. In no way am I going to belittle the Catholic folks, but we didn’t read the Bible and didn’t really know anything about it. That was the priests job. I didn’t own my faith.
As soon as I was out of my mothers sight, I was done with church. Eventually I started reading “Out on a Limb” by Shirley Maclaine and started to get into the whole New Age thing. Still the more that I read about New Age beliefs, the cornier it got. I was not God and I was not going to keep getting regurgitated until I figured out that I was God. Crystals are neat, but diamonds got a lot more fun in my world. Something more sensible was needed. Next came “Dianetics” by L Ron Hubbard. Again, it seemed pretty logical in the beginning. Some of it made sense and it appealed to the logical side of me, but the further I dug into it, Scientology really fell apart. It really doesn’t answer the hard questions and is really incomplete. Next in the loser lineup was a series of books by Stephen Hawking. Again, kind of made sense in the beginning, but it really made no sense in the end. Neat theories but they just don’t hold up to any objective scrutiny. They just get mad and call you names and look down on you if you point out the obvious flaws in their ideas. Atheism was a waste. Still, I kept part of it, because when you’re a young energetic lad, sin is fun and Stephen Hawking sure won’t bust me for behaving badly. No sin in Stephens world!
Fortunately I was blessed with a persistent mother. She wasn’t one bit concerned with hurting my feelings when it came to my behavior. Finally in an effort to convince her that the Bible wasn’t true ( and so I could stay out of church), I embarked on a journey that has never ended. I was going to show Ma all the stuff that was wrong with the Bible. Well, I didn’t really know what it said, but everyone else said it was all wrong. 3 months later after intense and honest research, I had nowhere else to turn. Like Simon Peter, I had recognized that Jesus had the words to eternal life. His word was true in the strictest sense of the word. I’ve been researching insatiably for the last 30 years. The Bible is Gods truth, the only source of truth, and its His message to me. The answer to every struggle and every expression of joy are in there.
I will admit it, there have been times that my heart has wanted to turn back to sin. Sin is so easy short term, but it will always leave you wanting more until it consumes you. The thing is, that when you realize the source of truth, you can’t really go very far. There is no way out. New Age, Scientology, and Atheism don’t hold any truth, there is no lure to go back. Jesus always calls me back and He isn’t afraid to discipline me either. He’s taken me to the woodshed plenty of times! Never punish, only discipline.
If you find yourself wandering or doubting, first check yourself for sin. Get that under control and repent. Then get back into studying Gods message for you. Let me assure you, any sincere doubt that you may have, has an answer. The Bible is a historically accurate book, written by 40 authors that God chose, to speak to you. If you hear or read something that causes you to doubt, look it up yourself. Don’t trust anyone, test Him, He can take it! If you will honestly study, you will find that you have no where else to turn either. You aren’t trapped, just safe in His arms. Still having some desire to be naughty, no doubt, but you just cant rationalize turning your back on truth. You will likely find that you become closer to your creator than you ever thought possible. Study(not just read) your Bible and find out what that really means.
Jesus loves you friends! Those words come so cheap to us, but cost Him dearly. I’ll be praying for all you doubters, to whom will you go?