To the Victor Go the Spoils

Man, I love it when God provides in ways that demonstrate He’s in control! The context in which I write is how God has blessed our church in the last two weeks as we were faithful to do what He commanded. Specifically, it was to take our two services and combine into one, thereby bringing two very different generations together in one place to worship.

Now, there is no doubt I did it with some measure of fear and trembling, but I knew that God was in it and He assured me in my spirit that if I would simply lead the people in the direction in which He directed, He would take care of the rest.

In these past two weeks, we have had more new members join than we have experienced in the past six months! We’ve had people coming in from who knows where interested in becoming a part of the church. We’ve seen people responding at the end of services desiring to get their lives in tune with what God wants to do in them. It is absolutely amazing. Strangely, too, is the fact that some of the ones that have put up some of the biggest roadblocks in the past have decided to leave. I say, praise be to God!

There is something to obedience that leads to God’s provision. Yes, I know, that sounds a bit strange to say…should be somewhat obvious…yet I think we often fail to move because we fail to believe God will provide. We see His provision over and over in the delivery of the Children of Israel in Scripture, yet, like them, we often fail to see how God will deliver this time.

In the case of the Exodus, God started right off in the beginning with amazing provision. In Exodus 3, God told Moses that as he explained to the elders what God was going to do for them, he would be heard and believed, regardless of how skeptical Moses might have been about such a prospect. After all, it did sound a bit outlandish, I’m sure.

That’s not the really good one, though. In verse 21, God said that He would “give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

I love that! God is so cool, isn’t He? I mean, wouldn’t you just have to laugh to see 2 million people walking out of Egypt wearing jewelry they had just “plundered” from the Egyptians simply by asking for it, only to look back and see a bunch of people watching them leave with all their stuff while they gleafully wish them bon voyage? It’s great! And that’s how God is! We miss that so often. We fail to trust Him that if we are obedient, He is faithful. Often He delivers even when we’re not, but we miss tremendous blessings that way.

I am encouraged to see how God has been moving in our life and can’t wait to see how He provides even more “spoils” in the future! I hope you will determine to live faithfully in order to receive all of the loot (blessings) of the Victorious One!

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. ~James 1:17

The Power of Perspective

I was reading in Exodus this morning (chapter 1) of how God dealt with two Hebrew midwives as they demonstrated their fear of and commitment to the one, true God. Pharaoh had commanded the midwives to kill every Israelite child born who was a male. Instead, because of their fear of God, they let the male children live.

I thought of the great risk these women took in defying the absolute rule of a king. Yet, because of their fear of God, they maintained absolute integrity in doing what was right, regardless of the price they might have to pay. Could pharaoh have them killed? Yes. Could he torture them to the point of making them wish they were dead?

So, what would make these women defy this ruler and risk such horrible consequences? Perspective. They understood that nothing this man could do to them could compare with they fury of a holy and absolute sovereign God. They knew that God had the power and compassion to protect them if He so chose, but that they would rather be in the hands of an irate earthly dictator than the hands of a jealous God. As we see, they demonstrated great wisdom as God “dealt with the midwives.” Either way, God would have dealt with the midwives, but because of their faithfulness to God, He not only protected them from Pharaoh, He blessed them with families of their own.

Why do we miss so many blessings in our lives? Often, it’s because we fear man more than God in our dealings? Is there a tough ethical or moral decision to make at work? How do we respond? Often, we see the immediate results and compromise in order to stay out of trouble with the boss or the IRS or whomever. After all, God is a forgiving God. You know, it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission. However, we forget that God is holy and just and will often either directly punish us or, perhaps even worse, simply grow silent and quietly remove His hand of blessing. That, above all else, is reason for great fear.

We struggle every day with decisions of faithfulness…crises of belief. Well, hold on and stay faithful. God is big enough, compassionate enough, and strong enough to carry you. He’ll deal with the issues you’re facing and the reward for obedience far exceeds the potential cost you may face.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'” ~Psalm 91: 1-2

A New Day

Welcome to my new journal. You perhaps know that I operated a blog called Espresso Roast for several years that is still up and running but put on ice, so to speak. All of the posts there will be preserved and accessible, but will not be added to anytime soon (at least, as far as I can see). I think part of the reason I burned out on that blog was that I focused too much on news, current events and the like and felt the need to always put something “of substance” on there. They ended up being more along the lines of articles than a journal.

The reality is, I want this new space to be of substance as well, but more pastoral and meditative in nature. I prefer to have a place where I can reflect on what God is doing in my own spirit and, hopefully, God may speak to you as well. I think I need a taste of the simple approach…a blog without all the bells and whistles.

I make no promises or predictions about what this will be like. I don’t expect it to become a must-see attraction. I do hope to visit God here and stumble upon some great insights as I take the time to listen to Him. As my background is in worldview studies, I suspect I will make some semi-regular comments on culture and how that does/does not reflect the nature of God, but I doubt that will become the focus. Much of my reflections may be centered around my church, Memorial Baptist, and what God is doing there. Whatever it is, I hope it is a blessing.

So, I hope you will keep Espresso Roast on your subscription list in case we fire it up again, but I invite you to look in on what God is doing in my life and I’d love for you to give your own insights so that maybe we can learn from each other.

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