No more excuses!

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh….(Exodus 3:11)

Moses was having a pleasant time. He was relaxing while tending to his sheep in the quiet stillness of the night. However, for no apparent reason, a bush went up in flames, and didn’t burn up. Then the voice of God was heard. Moses was terrified and hid his face. Then it got worst.

God proceeded to give Moses directions to speak to the mightiest man on the planet. He had to tell the ruthless pharaoh of Egypt to let the enslaved Israelites go.

Moses came up with one excuse after another. First He said “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt? (Exodus 3:11) In other words I am not important enough to speak to pharaoh. Then Moses said, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” (Exodus 3:13) The implication was that he didn’t know what to tell the people who were supposed to follow him, the Israelites. God told Moses what to say, but Moses was not done giving excuses he said “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.”(Exodus 4:1). God performed several miracles before Moses to show him what he would do as proof. But Moses was still not satisfied and said “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” (Exodus 4:10)

Four excuses, Moses truly had self esteem issues. He was certain that he lacked the qualifications. He must have been thinking “Just let me take care of my sheep, that’s all I am good for.” But he was wrong.

Many of us have had these moments, when we doubted our abilities or capacity. Perhaps we thought “Lord I know you don’t make mistakes, but there must be someone better for this task, responsibility, or position.” But we are wrong also. If God calls us to do something or hold a position he will equip us. He will educate us and prepare us. If He wants us that means we are the best person for the job. It could be a talent or an expertise we have or perhaps a quality in our character that God sees. God can see the gifts he has placed in us, while we sometimes only see our failures and weaknesses.

With Moses the excuses finally stopped and he did go to pharaoh. Ten plagues later, and a disastrous defeat for pharaoh’s army and the Israelites were free. The whole time all Moses held in his hands was a staff, but the power of God was behind him every step of the way.

If we say yes to God’s calling in our lives His power will be behind us every step of the way, the enemy will be defeated and what awaits us will surely be the promise land.

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The finest work of art is you!

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. Psalm 139:14

How many of us enjoy a visit to an Art museum? It is filled with treasures, wonderful creations, to tickle the imagination, move the heart and inspire the weakest among us. We analyze, judge and discuss for hours and only hope for more creations at each corner as we walk through its halls. But the beauty of this world cannot be contained in an art museum. It only begins there. In truth there is art all around us. We see it in the city landscape, finely kept gardens, modern parks, buildings, bridges and countless other structures. Now for my taste there is beauty that is greater than all of these. I would happily choose the view of gentle waves crashing along the shore, or the endless array of colors scattered across a forest in the fall. I would stand in amazement before the greatest Mountains and I am easily humbled below the heavenly stars. For the greatest artist of all is God Himself.

What is His greatest work? Not the oceans, the moon or the sun. We are his greatest work! The complexity of man is beyond our imagination, some scientist estimate that a cell’s DNA contains about 4,000 books of 500 pages each of information. Consider how much data is actually stored within each cell and each human being. Consider the uniqueness of each person in appearance, in spirit and especially in imagination. We truly are a wonderful creation.

We should find joy and comfort in knowing that we are God’s greatest work. We are truly a treasure for our creator. He does not look away from us. He watches over us and hears our prayers. He works in our lives for our good and has our eternal future planned. He has no intention of being separated from us.

Paul wrote: 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39) Jesus himself said “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

How much value does our creator place in us. He paid for us with the blood of His son Jesus Christ. Therefore our value is priceless and cannot be measured. Any thought or word that would demean our value and worth is simply a lie. Do not be fooled, we are the greatest work from the greatest artist and our value cannot be measured!

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First they criticize, then they crucify

But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” Luke 11:15

This is dedicated to all the doers, past, present and future, the greatest one being Jesus Christ.

Who was likely the most criticized man on the planet? I can’t be sure. But Jesus sure got a lot of Criticism. It was His critics that wanted Him crucified. They said he was sinner because he healed people on the Sabbath. They said He was a blasphemer because he forgave people of their sins. Whenever he would cast out demons they said He did it with the help of the chief demon. They were even critical of his companions, the publicans; these were the hated tax collectors. Ah, nothing has changed. Sinners were always seeking Jesus out. They were in need. They accused Him of starting a rebellion, but His kingdom was not of this world. They finally decided they had enough and they demanded He be crucified.

If they criticized Jesus who did an immeasurable amount of Good in His short ministry, then what will they do with us? We cannot be surprised when we are criticized for anything good we do. Any attempts to help others or make lives better will be met with criticism. Such as “We were too late,” or “We rushed it”. Perhaps they’ll say “That was too long” or “that was too short” or “those words were too eloquent, no one understood” or “Those words were too simple, what do you think of us.” No way to please everybody. The sure fire way to not receive criticism is not to do anything. Well that may not be true. Then we’ll be accused of being Lazy.

We just need to go out and do what we have to do for the Lord. If some people don’t like what you did, no problem, tell them “Please show me how to do it better”. Most likely they won’t. Because their role in life is not to do something, just to criticize others who do something. More importantly remember we do not perform for the critics. We do it for God and the kingdom of Heaven.

Giant slayer

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17: 45-47

For many days the giant stood before the mightiest warriors of Israel. He shouted insults and challenges. Surely one of these brave soldiers would be willing to stand up to the giant. But in the Israelite camp there was nothing but silence except for the sound of beating hearts, racing from fear. But this day would be different because a young lad, not a soldier, happened to be in camp delivering food, and he would decide to take a leap of Faith.

Trusting and waiting on God is necessary and often a good practice but sometimes a decision or a challenge stands before us and we must take action in faith, especially if others are at risk. An entire nation was in danger of being enslaved, someone had to take action.

David gathered a few stones and came before the giant trusting in his God. It was not exactly blind faith, since David had fought a lion and a bear. Still this man was a renowned warrior, who also happened to be over 9 feet tall. David could not even carry his armor. But David with much courage challenged Goliath and warned him that he would fight him in the name of The Lord the God of Israel and that He would give him the victory. David ran towards Goliath and with his sling flung a stone. Goliath fell to the ground and David acting quickly cuts the giant’s head.

David like everyone else could have easily given into fear. It is easy to be frozen when facing dangers or challenges. However David was a man of faith. When it is time to take action, we must act, and demonstrate the faith we have in God, believing He will give us the victory.

 

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Calling all thrill seekers

And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. Matthew 14:29

There are so many exciting things to do in this world: where to begin, mountain climbing, skydiving, hang gliding, bull fighting, surfing, and of course walking on water? Wait there is something different about the last one. Well it certainly seems impossible, but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

How exciting it must have been for Peter to be out there on the water, the waves splashing against his legs, the winds pushing his body and the fish swimming below. He must have felt super human. What a thrill. No man had done this before, except for Jesus. If you could call him a man, he definitely was not just a man. Speaking of Jesus, he was the reason Peter was walking on water. Jesus had given Peter the authority and the permission to walk on water. No telling what we can do when Jesus gives us the authority and the permission. All Peter did was asked!

All was going well but then Peter got a little distracted. The wind must have been coming in pretty strong. You thinking at home, “no big deal just a little wind”. But that was enough to cause some doubt. Peter took his look away from Jesus and lost faith. Before he knew it, he was sinking.

A little distraction is all it takes. Some of us have dealt with pretty big distractions in our lives. They can all cause us to loose faith. Sickness, death, job loss, personal problems, attacks of the enemy that comes in so many different forms. They all take our eyes away from our source of strength and hope, Jesus. They can cause us all to doubt. Then we are not so invincible. Moving mountains become a little difficult and we fail. Well there is a solution.

Peter called out for Jesus. When walking on water is no longer possible in our lives, call on Jesus. He can pull you out of the water. He can get you out of trouble and get you back on track doing all the exciting things you need to be doing for God, yourself and all the love ones in your life.

The bible does not record Peter walking on water again, but he did do other incredible things. Peter broke out of prison with an Angel (Acts 12:5-10), healed the sick with his shadow (Acts 5:12-16), and when he preached, thousands would be saved. (Acts 2:14-41) If you have found it difficult to do great things of late call on Jesus, put your faith in Him and do not let the struggles in life get you down or distract you. Soon enough you’ll be walking on water again and going on other exciting adventures!

You are not an afterthought

Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” 1Samuel 16:10, 11

You ever felt like an afterthought? Like no one believes you are capable, right for the job or worth much? I got just the story for you, pull up a chair and enjoy.  Oh, by the way, it’s a true story.

All of Jesse’s boys were lined up, except for the youngest, David. One of them would be anointed to be the next King of Israel. The father knew David was just not the sort to be the next King; the thought was ridiculous!  He was only a shepherd boy and he was the youngest in the family.  He was not daddy’s pride and joy.  He would not inherit the mantle of leadership for the family.  He was meant to be a follower and therefore his presence was unnecessary.

The prophet came.  He was no ordinary man.  He had been the sole source of leadership and power in Israel for many years. He was the judge, high Priest of Israel and he was a king maker. He was God’s man and therefore one could argue still the true source of power in all of Israel.  For all of Samuel’s glory Jesse did not think it important for David to be present.  If you left it up to Jesse, his youngest son would miss perhaps one of the greatest events in Bethlehem’s history. Samuel, the prophet had come to town.

The present King had fallen out of favor with God and soon the kingdom would be taken away and given to another man.  But who would be that man?  This was the purpose for which Samuel found himself in this small town.  He was looking for a king.

One by one Jesse’s son came before Samuel, and each time, they were rejected by God. Soon Samuel and Jesse were out of Boys.  The great prophet turns to Jesse and says “Do you have another son.” Jesse responds that he is the youngest and that he is tending the sheep. Samuel is not dissuaded and demands the young boy’s presence. When David arrives immediately God tells Samuel, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” (1Samuel 16:12) This afterthought, unlikely candidate, became the greatest King in Israelite history; easily Israel’s greatest hero.

When self-doubt sets in and others would have you believe you’re not good enough, I think it’s best to remember that it’s not up to them or you, to decide who is not good enough. That’s God’s decision: the God who looks at the heart and sees the true nature of a person. He alone knows your true potential. Chances are it is greater than what you think!

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