and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Wisdom upon Returning

       A boy I knew became a man and is now going back and forth to India spreading the love and gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in very tangible ways.  It has been good to hear the news of how the work is going over there.  I just finally got around to reading his last email upon his return from India and the people he has come to love.  The closing of his letter resonated with me and I think it is one of the wisest statements I’ve ever read.

       I’m leaving his statement to stand on its own.  Take time to really consider all that it’s saying.  If you are reading this today, then God intended for you to read it.  Consider what it communicates, what it means to you, what it signifies in your journey, and what it represents to life.

Ethan writes…
“…it was an experience that - as all experiences do - is shaping who I am today. It was real life and real people; people whom I will never forget – I am a part of their lives and they are a part of mine. As far as “what next?” same as always! I don’t know, but I know who does know and so I will continue to seek His direction – knowing that it will be the best life, because it’s the life He has given me and what could be better than that?”

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Challenge

       A while back, on a lazy afternoon, I had some rare, unexpected time to myself and I was just strolling through the Zellers on the way into the mall when I saw her coming towards me.  There was something engaging about her that caught my eye.  She just looked so beautiful that it surprised me when I glanced into her eyes and saw some sadness and wariness there.  It was then I noticed the port stains on her right cheek and I wondered if maybe she didn’t feel like she was attractive or expected a negative reaction.  Without thinking I smiled as she was passing by and I noticed she smiled back and some of the sadness was gone.

       All at once I remembered times where a smile had picked me up, an encouraging word has kept me going, a friend wanting a hug from me made me feel loved, a touch reminded me someone cared, a note telling me I am special made me cry, and even a compassionate look has held me up.  One of the things that makes humanity unique is our ability to touch each other at times even without making physical contact.

       Jesus touched people all the time, to heal, deliver, and set them free from physical, mental and spiritual suffering.  At times He physically touched them and other times it was His compassion or words that brought healing.  And even though I wasn’t there 2000 years ago to experience His touch then, I have felt and continue to feel His touch daily.  Still, no man is an island, and the Lord wanted us to be like Him.

       We live in a difficult and sometimes cruel life and the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy that which is good.*  He would just love to stop us from positively touching the lives of the people around us, that way he can bring more misery, poverty (not just financially), death (not just physically), loneliness, heartbreak, grief, pain, and suffering, etc.  But we all can show God’s love and compassion through that natural part of ourselves God made when He created man in His image. 

       Today I started out sensing the general sadness and loneliness of the numerous people passing by me.  Later as I sat with a new friend sharing, learning about her and laughing, it replaced those feelings with this thought.  Reaching out, and touching the lives of those around us helps to make this journey more endurable.

So I issue this challenge to myself. 

Smile at one person today.
Speak encouraging words to somebody today.
At least once today, tell someone I really want a hug from them.

There must be a bazillion ways I can touch someone.  I will utilize as many of them as possible...

*John 10:10- The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  NKJV

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Meeting Place- Part 3

       Ex. 33:11- Inside the tent the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.  Afterwards Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua (son of Nun), stayed behind in the Tabernacle.

       Short recap:  This tent, probably used for Moses to decide on cases and commune with God, was far outside the camp due to Israelis idolatrous sin (Ex. 32) which was a sign God’s presence had left the camp but He was still available for them to seek Him there.

       I have always loved this section of Exodus since I first read it (hence the 3 part series), but verse eleven is my favorite.  Who wouldn’t love to know that Moses saw God face to face and they spoke as friends?  After all, God is no respecter of persons (Acts ) and He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8) therefore, logically it follows I can do the same as Moses
          little ‘ol me!!

       The part I find most interesting though is that Joshua did not leave (literal translation) God’s presence while Moses went back to work.  Was this a selfish act on his part or was it like the story of Mary and Martha where Jesus said of Mary who sat at His feet, “but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better…” (Luke NIV)  My belief is that being in God’s presence is exactly what Joshua (who was soon to be the next leader of Israel) was supposed to do.  Before taking on such a big responsibility as fulfilling God’s purpose for his life, he needed to spend time getting to know the One directing him.  Joshua needed his own personal relationship with Jehovah.  Shouldn’t we all follow Joshua’s example in fulfilling God’s purpose for us?

       And… while I would like to stay with God in the Meeting Place (greedy little girl that I am J ), I realize that, post Jesus, it doesn’t mean I stay in the tent the whole time but I walk out and accomplish the tasks He would have me to do remembering that He is always with me* and I may communicate with Him anytime or anywhere I want.  The Meeting Place (private time alone with Him) is just to prepare me for the journey ahead.

Lord, help me always to seek Your face, to not just ‘watch’ but DO spend time with You as a friend,
and then…
              ...kick me in the pants so I go out and do the work You have called me to do.

Thanks, ‘cause You know I need it  J

*Ps. 16:8- I know the Lord is always with me.  I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
Rom. 8:9- But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)  NLT

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Meeting Place- Part 2

       Ex. 33:8 to 10- Whenever Moses went to the Tabernacle, all the people would rise and stand in their tent doors watching until he reached its entrance.  As he entered, the pillar of cloud would come down and stand at the door while the Lord spoke with Moses.  Then all the people worshiped from their tent doors, bowing low to the pillar of cloud.  TLB

       This tent was not the tabernacle God detailed for the people to build for Him, but was probably the tent Moses used to sit in judgment of cases and to commune with God.  Placed outside the camp due to the Israelis idolatrous sin (Ex. 32) it indicated God’s presence had left the camp but He was still available for them to seek there.

       I find it very interesting that the people would stand to watch Moses on his walk to the far off tent, continue to watch as he went in and the pillar came down.  Notice, they were in their tent doorways.  The people then humbled themselves to the pillar.  It brings some thoughts to mind:
-Why didn’t they go themselves as my last post talked about their ability to do so?
-They were still staying in the comfort zone of their own tents.
-They were willing to give Jehovah honour, but only at a distance- to the far away God?

       It is peculiar that the people were always after Moses to have the relationship with Jehovah while they were content to stay at a distance*.  Why is that?  Do we the same way, always want our pastors and church leaders to have the relationship while we keep a comfortable distance?  Perhaps we find it easier having a connection to our idols just like the Israelis.**

       Where is my heart in all of this?  Do I stay in the comfort zone of where my relationship with Jehovah is here and now, or do I run out to the Meeting Place to be with Him, pressing through the crowds and not worry about what others think, all to try to know Him better?  The Israelis seemed to like God better at a distance: are we that way, or do we seek every opportunity to be with Him?

How often do we watch as other Christians press in to God’s presence, and we feel something is lacking but DO nothing to change it?

I have to ask myself, do I want to be a ‘watcher’ or a ‘doer’?

*Ex. 20:18,19 And all the people are seeing the voices, and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mount smoking; and the people see, and move, and stand afar off, and say unto Moses, `Speak thou with us, and we hear, and let not God speak with us, lest we die.'
Ex 33:8 to 10 see above

**Ex 32:1 to 6

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Meeting Place- Part 1

       Ex. 33:7- Moses always erected the sacred tent (the “Tent for Meeting with God,” he called it) far outside the camp, and everyone who wanted to consult with Jehovah went out there.  TLB

       This tent was not the tabernacle which God described in detail for the people to build, but was a different tent which Moses likely used to sit in judgment of cases in and to commune with God.  It was placed outside the camp because Moses had returned to find the Israelis in idolatry (Ex. 32) and so he considered the camp too polluted for the tent.  It symbolized that God’s presence had left the camp, yet look at the provision God made for His people.  Everyone who sought Jehovah could find Him there.

       What I like the most about this verse is that everyone who was ‘seeking’ (literal translation) Jehovah was able to go there.  A few things stand out to me:
-Anyone could go: young or old, male or female, the lowly or highly esteemed.
-If they wanted God, God was willing to be there for them.
-The ‘seekers’ had to leave the comfort of their camp.
-Everyone else could be watching as the ‘seeker’ walked there. V.8

       It makes me think about my heart.  Am I truly a ‘seeker’?  Do I go out of my way to leave my comfort zone to meet with Him?  Do I let others watching me hold me back from a better relationship with Him, from doing the work He wants me to do, saying the words He wants me to speak, or worshipping Him the way my heart really desires?

I wonder how many Israelis took Jehovah up on His offer.

I wonder how many of us do.

Is. 55:6- Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Am. 5:4- For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:
Ps. 105:4- Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.  KJV

Acts 17:27- (God created man) His purpose in all of this is that they should seek after God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him- though he is not far from any one of us.  TLB