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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

God of Abundance

“for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.”
Psalm 50:10 NIV
http://bible.com/111/psa.50.10.niv

God speaks of his infinite abundance here. He doesn't need our sacrifices or anything else. As our Creator, he owns it all!

He is speaking to his people, Israel, in this Psalm of Asaph. He's not too happy with them either. It's like he's calling court and speaking to them as judge, jury and executioner (which only he can legitimately do).

Too often I think I forget that God is unlimited and that his resources are available to his people for his mission. 

"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED TO YOU." (Matthew 6:33, emphasis mine)

When we are on task and joining him in his holy search and rescue mission, God delights in resourcing us. We must remember this when we pray. We ask for his provision even as we ask for his vision and direction. 

Rarely is provision what limits us, by the way. The challenge is usually our willingness to surrender all and fully rely on him in this great work.

Lord, I confess that I forget that you, not only have the cattle on a thousand hills but that you, make your infinite resources available to your people when they share the good news that your kingdom is at hand. 

Help me remember you're a great and good God just waiting for me to join you fully and faithfully in your kingdom work. Cleanse me and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Make me usable then use me up for your glory and our good. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

We Are Immigrants

“They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.” “And where is he?” Reuel asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.” Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.””

Exodus 2:19-22 NIV
http://bible.com/111/exo.2.19-22.niv


Jethro's daughters explain to Jethro that Moses rescued them from the wicked shepherds and then served them by watering their flock. But they didn't invite him home. Jethro makes it clear that Moses' actions were certainly a good excuse to show him hospitality and welcome him. So they did.

With nowhere else to go, Jethro invites Moses to stay and serve him and his clan. Moses takes him up on his invitation and eventually is given Zipporah in marriage. 

Moses names his first son Gershom which in Hebrew sounds like "A foreigner here." Moses recognizes he's out of place in Midian. 

What's interesting is that he probably felt that way in Egypt as well. He was a Hebrew, living in Pharaoh's favored Egyptian court, while his Hebrew kin were enslaved to that very court. He easily could have felt disoriented thinking about all of that. 

Moses could have been experiencing a hunger for something that didn't exist yet--but would. Israel becoming free--becoming a free nation under God. 

God would lead him to lead them deliver Israel. 

So Moses was a foreigner. He was an immigrant both in Egypt and then later in Midian. A refugee.  He was valuable to Jethro's clan. He brought a lot to their family.

Application

This should move us to see immigrants and refugees in a better light. 

No one chooses to be a refugee or immigrant unless they are fleeing very difficult circumstances. It takes a lot to leave your family, culture, and all that is familiar, for a foreign culture with no real relationships. Desperation is a powerful motivation.

We must reach out to those in desperate need of a fresh start as they flee difficult circumstances. We must see past the fact that many far from Christ are a part of this group. Sure, our security is at risk. But so is theirs. Compassion calls us to consider more than ourselves.

God calls us to "Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God." (Micah 6:8) This is risky in one sense. But it's even riskier to not live and walk in step with the Holy Spirit who leads us to serve the least, last and lost with humility and love. 

At another level, we Christ-followers must also see ourselves as foreigners. We are not of this world. This is not our home. Yes, we were born here and have family here. Yes, we love and are very comfortable in our culture. Like a fish is comfortable in water, we are comfortable in our home country. Yet, we're only passing through. We're sojourners, travelers, journeymen, aliens and strangers in this world. And we must live like it. (See 1 & 2 Peter)

Prayer

Lord, transform our thinking to be more in sync with yours. Help us remember that this is not our home. We're here for a season to love and serve the least, the last and the lost In Jesus' name--those where we live, work and play. 

Help us humble ourselves and generously give of ourselves to those who are far from God but close to us. Cleanse us from our selfishness and fill us with your generous Holy Spirit. Transform us from the inside out and help us lead others to do the same. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Humbly Serve Others in Jesus' Name

“Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.”
Exodus 2:17 NIV http://bible.com/111/exo.2.17.niv

Moses has just arrived in Midian after fleeing Egypt and the consequences of his murdering an Egyptian. He rests at a well and Jethro's daughters arrive to water their father's flock. About that time, some unruly shepherds come along and look to make sport of these girls. 

In that day, it wasn't unusual for men to take advantage of women. Law enforcement was simply men of character standing up against more wicked men. Moses' sense of justice gave him resolve to do just that here.

What stood out to me was that Moses seems to regularly want to fight injustice. 

His killing the Egyptian earlier was because he was beating a Hebrew slave treating him like a worthless possession instead of a human being. He saw the injustice in this too.

His defending Jethro's daughters was to protect them from the shepherds who were wanting to harm them. 

Then we see a more humble side. Moses serves these girls beyond protecting them. He waters their flock. That was no easy job in the heat of the day.

Application

Moses, we later learn, is known for his humility. He is a man who learns to fully trust and obey the Lord. 

So how does he live? He humbly serves God and people.

And so must we. 

Jesus' version of this was most visible when he washed the disciples feet like a lowly, Gentile slave. The Jews wouldn't even ask their Jewish servants to wash feet. Yet Jesus chose to wash theirs on the night of his betrayal. Then he told them to go and do likewise. Humbly serve others in his name.

Humbly serve others in Jesus' name. That's our job. That's what we "get" to do!

Lord, forgive our spiritual arrogance. We talk about walking humbly with our God but resist actually serving others--especially the least, the last and the lost. 

Forgive us and fill us with your Spirit so that we'll more faithful live as Moses and Jesus did. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.