“But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?” Then the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?” “A shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied. “Throw it down on the ground,” the Lord told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back. Then the Lord told him, “Reach out and grab its tail.” So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd’s staff in his hand. “Perform this sign,” the Lord told him. “Then they will believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—really has appeared to you.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out again, his hand was white as snow with a severe skin disease. “Now put your hand back into your cloak,” the Lord said. So Moses put his hand back in, and when he took it out again, it was as healthy as the rest of his body. The Lord said to Moses, “If they do not believe you and are not convinced by the first miraculous sign, they will be convinced by the second sign. And if they don’t believe you or listen to you even after these two signs, then take some water from the Nile River and pour it out on the dry ground. When you do, the water from the Nile will turn to blood on the ground.” But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.””
I ran across this story from Exodus about a fella named Moses. It’s a pretty popular story that I’m sure most of you have heard but took something away from it today that really helped me see this relationship I have with God and who He is even deeper. I pray this message can open you up to see God in the bigness and awesomeness that He’s in and it can be an encouragement for you also!
Reading over this Word, there is so much that can be taken from it! The context surrounding this conversation between Moses and God is that God’s calling Moses to go into Israel and ask the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. The Israelites who have been there for years now working as slaves, I don’t know about you but much like Moses I’d be afraid to go the king and ask this. Wouldn’t you?
In this conversation we can see so much into who we are but even more into who God is! Moses starts off these verses in doubt, “what if they don’t believe me?” Moses is obviously fearful and worried about how this will play out. Then God being who He is, gives Moses three different ways, “signs” which are completely AMAZING! Only miracles that God has the power to do. In that, God is giving Moses all the reasons why they will believe him, why they will believe that God has sent Him. But what lies deeper here isn’t just Moses’ worry and doubt over what the Pharaoh will think or say, Moses is in doubt that he can answer this call from God and walk out what God is calling him to do. Moses’ doubts root from himself. The first batch of doubts are more of excuses that unleash his real reason for being so afraid in the last verse, “what if I can’t say what you want me to say?” Basically what if I mess up?
Moses is revealing to God that his insecurities are about himself and his incapability to do this for God. So often, I know that throughout my day I focus on me, focus on what I can’t do, what I’m not good at or just my own weaknesses to live as God has called me to live. There are so many moments when I feel like I don’t have what it takes or don’t have the “skills” necessary to do what God wants me to do. Just like Moses, I focus on me and what I can’t do, then use that as an excuses why I won’t even try. We are just as human as Moses and can relate to him so much here, we have moments of doubt, where we feel inadequate or not equipped enough. But the same truth that God placed in front of Moses isn’t just signs to show us why we should be obedient, they are examples and moments where we see who God is, first off that God is saying, “don’t worry, I got you!” Even though you may not have what it takes I just want you to show up in obedience to what I’ve called you to and I’ll be with you, I’ll take care of the rest. How comforting is that? To know that God is with us and fights for us!!!
Then we see that God gives Moses every reason to change his focus from his doubts of what he’s got and we see a picture of every reason we should put all of our focus on God and what He can do which is ANYTHING!!! God’s signs may not look the same way as they do in this story for us but look around you, look at what all His power has created and all the amazing work He’s done in our lives. God gives us everything we need to trust and focus on who He is. When God calls us to live a certain way or do something for Him, although it’s out of our comfort zone, we may feel some initial doubt and worry about if we can do this but always go back to putting your eyes on God and what He can do, what He has done! If we focus on us and what we’ve got then of course we’ll live the rest of our lives making excuses and not ever moving forward into what God has called us to. WHY? Because we don’t have what it takes but we’ve got God and He has more than enough!
What’s really cool about this lesson of obedience, after God continues to show Moses more of Himself, Moses finally moves in obedience to God. Moses goes and eventually helps lead the Israelites out of Egypt where they were in slavery and into FREEDOM, into a place where they accepted God as their Savior! See what happens when we get ourselves out of the way and submit to God and His complete power in our lives? People are SAVED!!! If God calls you to something, it’s okay to feel some doubt in you but just remember that it’s not you that can be obedient or take that next step of faith, it’s God and who He is that moves us out of our self-doubt and into faith and trust in Him! Focus on God, who He is and what He can do!!! Moving, taking that next step of obedience becomes much easier knowing “I may not have enough, but I’m going to show up and God’s going to show out!!!!” It’s so awesome how God calls ordinary people to do extraordinary things!!! What separates ordinary from extraordinary is having God in it and the good thing is, He’s always in it, we just have to get ourselves out of it! It’s exciting and awesome to think of what God can and will do through people who are obedient to Him out of faith for who He is and what He can do!!!
“Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.”
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
I honestly feel like I’m beating on the same ole drum every time I send a message to you about “focusing on God” or “keeping your eyes on what is good.” I know I am beating on that same ole drum because it’s what I need and literally have to preach to myself daily. There’s a lot in this world that tries to get us down, a lot of negative poured into our lives, and a whole lot of terrible things going on around us. The easy thing to do is live in that negative, talk about it, and act in the same way that we complain about the word acting. I’ll be honest, I could list off a lot of things about my life I’d like to be different but how will that help me? None. If anything that complaining will make things much much worse.
I love looking at Paul’s situation as he writes to the church at Philippi, this whole book screams one HUGE lesson for you and me, be joyful. Paul is writing to encourage others to have joy while he is sitting in prison? Sounds crazy but Paul is living in what he’s preaching. No amount of complaining or negative talk is going to change his situation. Instead, having thanks for all the Lord has done and continues to do in his life, being joyful no matter what his situation, that changed everything! Because of Paul’s joy and complete faith that where He was is exactly where the Lord wanted him, his writing inspired by God’s Spirit is still encouraging people today! What an example from Paul!
His example and these words of truth God has given us don’t need to be taken lightly. We have so much pulling at us daily to go the opposite direction, away from God’s goodness and into the worlds, and our own badness.
To safeguard your faith, to keep you standing strongly before the Lord daily, rejoice in the Lord! Constantly, all the time, as much as you possibly can, focus on the good, the pure and honorable! Fix your thoughts on God and all that He has done in your life. And if you say, “I don’t have any of that good in my life.” Are you breathing? Do you have food to eat? People that love you? We have so much to be thankful for!!!! It’s so cool how when we begin to fix our thoughts on God and His goodness, our reactions to the bad of this world change drastically. I know for me, when I’m struggling in the worst ways, my thoughts are covered by the worst things. Even when things aren’t going the way you want them, or somebody says or does something to you that’s not that great, focus on God! Focus on all the good He has placed around you! God is never changing and neither is His goodness! When things aren’t going great, seek deeply the good in it! Seek God in it! You’ll be amazed at how God transforms your thoughts and actions into someone who is radically different compared to this world but so normal compared to God and His ways!
Be joyful today! No matter what you’re going through, focus on God and the good He’s set in your life! I’m praying for you that the Lord transforms your heart and minds to focus on Him and His good! That the Lord will lift our thoughts up to His way of looking at things! I pray the Lord will continue to transform us in this way daily so we will live as big GRINNING lights in this world! People will take notice and say, “that dudes in prison but he has so much joy??? What’s he smoking cause I want some of that!” Then we can tell them that the only thing smoking is the fire God has set in our hearts and minds to live in His goodness!” And if you want to know what this looks like, look at the fella in this picture! Goodness gracious he might not have any teeth but he’s got so much joy written all over his face!
“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
Lately, the biggest lesson God has given the blessing of revealing to me is simple but so so awesome! I know for me and you may feel this at times too. In this world we live in, constantly surrounded by so much negative, the busyness of our lives, and being influenced in all the worst ways. There are moments where we can feel so far from God. I know for me, there is a lot of times where I feel disconnected from Him and as I want to be closer to Him, sometimes it seems hard to see God’s presence in my life. My big problem through this is that I fail to seek God’s presence! God is literally all around us, His presence can be seen all over His beautiful creation, the birds, the bees, every animal, every tree and blade of grass. God made that happen!
We can see God’s beauty, His power and faithfulness all around us but first, we must stop to see it. God has given us every way possible to be close to Him. Although we can’t see Him physically, well we can because God is there! Look at your lives. From the first breathes you take when you wake up in the morning, the food you eat, the house you have, God made that happen! For me, what helped so much was taking more time to stop and see the way God’s working in my daily life. The smallest, easy to miss things we look over so often, I started to see how God is making Himself known to me.
For example, yesterday, I was sent this beautiful picture above the title today of the sunrise on Easter morning by a God Gold friend! God has his fingerprint all over that! WOW!!!! And today, a man who I had helped with some groceries when he comes in the store, a man I had recently avoided so I didn’t have to help him. Just wanted to put that in perspective so you see how easily we can miss out on witnessing and experiencing God work in such awesome ways in our lives. The man knew I was in school and studying to work in ministry for God, my dad came up to me and handed me a $20 bill. The man had looked for me this morning and couldn’t find me, so he gave the money to my dad and said he felt the need to help me with my education and everything I have going on. In a season of life where $20 is a lot, what a blessing of God’s hand at work in a random man’s life that reached out to help mine! It’s moments like that that show God’s faithfulness and love all over our lives! I am beyond thankful for this blessing but even more thankful to have a relationship with such a loving, faithful and close God who is always working for our good!
I guess the main point of this lesson for me, that I pray will be an encouragement to you and move you closer in your daily walk with the Lord is that first, God is present always, He’s all around us working all of the time in our lives, He has made Himself known to us and He continues to make Himself more known to us daily. Secondly, we have no excuse not to be close to God, to not see Him, see His work, His love and constant faithfulness in our lives. The only thing stopping us from experiencing God in the fullest of ways, the loving closeness that He so desires to have with us. The only thing stopping us is us. Step back today and seek God, seek Him in His creation, seek to see the way He is always at work in your lives, seek Him through coming to Him and just talking, and seek Him through His Word where you can find His heart and His awesome love for us all so clearly! It’s like playing hide and seek, except God’s not hiding at all, but sometimes we aren’t seeking so as He is present, embrace and open yourselves up to His awesome presence by seeking Him out! If it’s hide and seek you’ll always win because you’ll always find God and even better, you’ll find LIFE through Him and with Him!
Hope everybody had an awesome Easter!!! Such an awesome day filled with the Good News that our Savior has RISEN!! HE IS ALIVE!!! And in His resurrection came victory and FREEDOM for us!!! Heard some awesome news from my uncle today that during his time ministering with some other guys sharing God’s truth with men in prison, in his words;
“Angels rejoiced over the jail this morning….an inmate wept and cried, then called upon the name of the Lord . He prayed and received Christ…..Glory!!!”
How awesome is that!!! I can’t imagine how many men and women heard the Good News of Jesus Christ today and how many of them accepted Jesus as their Savior! This man may still be an inmate in prison, locked up. But in this NEW LIFE he now has with Jesus, he is FREE!! Despite the prison bars that surround him, he can rest in peace knowing that the victory has been won and his home is now with Jesus for eternity! This day of Easter is a special holiday where we celebrate Christ rising from the grave and giving us freedom to walk in daily and forever! The good thing about this GOOD NEWS is we don’t get to be free just for today or celebrate what Christ has done today, we get to celebrate Jesus and the freedom and victory He has died and rose again to give us EVERY DAY!!!! As we begin our weeks, I pray we don’t forget this FREEDOM we have in Christ! Even though jobs, crazy busy schedules and work to do may seem like a burden, burdens that make us feel like we too are locked up in chains. But just continually remind yourself of the FREEDOM in these verses, the complete FREEDOM that you have in Christ Jesus!!! Nothing or nobody can hold you back, nothing of this world is too great for Jesus to handle!!! All the sins and worries of yesterday are washed away by the blood of Christ and like He rose from the grave, shall we continue to rise out of our beds daily to walk in and live life in this glorious FREEDOM we have with Jesus!!! Focus today on Jesus and what He has done instead of all the negative around you or the worries of today’s tasks. Focusing and believing on the FREEDOM you have will have you walking as a FREE child of God!!! Stay close to Him and take a look around at God’s reminders of who He is and how in control, how beautiful and loving He is by His creation which He makes known all across this earth and our lives!!! Enjoy the FREEDOM today, the next day, the next day, the next day………EVERY DAY!!!!! Thank God for sending His Son and setting us FREE!!!
Galatians 5:1/“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
2 Corinthians 3:17/“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
Happy Easter everyone but more importantly if you haven’t heard already, JESUS HAS RISEN, HE IS ALIVE!!!!! Hope you find some powerful Gospel truth in these verses from God’s Word and this video adding some color not just to today, but EVERYDAY!! The truth of Jesus being our RISEN SAVIOR is an everyday, life-changing, hope-filled, powerful truth!!! WHOOOOO!!!!!
Isaiah 25.8: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.”
Isaiah 53:5: “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; on him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and by his stripes we are healed.”
Romans 6.4: “…just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
1 Peter 1.3: “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”