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EXODUS --- The Book of Departure

God Will Intervene
And when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. but when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. (Exodus 2:2-3)

 Have you ever reflected on how God makes His presence known in the most difficult situations? When there seems to be no way out, God places the right people at the right place at the right time to make everything turn out right. That's known as God's intervention. The prefix "inter" means "between." God comes BETWEEN you and your problem to change it. The Bible illustrates many situations where God's intervention took place in the nick of time to change lives and situations.
 
Because the Israelites were increasing so rapidly, Pharaoh feared they would take over. Therefore, he ordered that all male children born to the Israelites be thrown into the Nile. In an attempt to save her child, Moses' mother put him in a waterproofed papyrus basket and placed him among the papyrus reeds near where Pharaoh's daughter came to bathe. When she saw the child, she had compassion on him. She named him "Moses" because she "drew him out of the water." Moses was given back to his mother to be nursed, and he grew up in the palace of the one who had summoned him to die.
 
Can you imagine what would have happened if Moses' mother had allowed her baby to be thrown into the Nile like the other mothers did? Moses' mother did all she could do, and when she got to the end of what SHE could do, God intervened. God came BETWEEN her and her problem.

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The Baby in the Basket
When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. (Exodus 2:3)

 This is the story of the birth of Moses. Pharaoh feared that since there were so many Hebrews, they would attack Egypt. Therefore, Pharaoh made a decree to kill all the Hebrew boys to keep the nation from continuing to multiply at such a rapid pace. Moses was born to a Levite couple, Amram and Jochebed. The midwives feared God and did not kill the babies. Then Pharaoh made another decree that all male babies must be thrown into the Nile River.

After Moses' mother hid him for three months, she placed him in a small basket and set it along the bank of the Nile River. Pharaoh's daughter discovered the baby and had compassion for him. Moses' sister, Miriam, had been watching and suggested to her that a young Hebrew mother be found to nurse the baby. Pharaoh's daughter agreed, and Miriam got her mother so she can nurse her own child! Pharaoh's daughter named him Moses because "he was drawn out of the water."

Because Moses' mother was smart enough not to dump her baby into the Nile River, her son was spared. She did not give up but did what she could to save her son even though she didn't know how it would be done. Moses' mother was reunited with her baby because she was courageous enough to hide her baby and put him in a basket and trusted God to do the rest. Because the baby was in the basket, he survived. It was the baby in the basket who grew up to deliver his people out of bondage.
 
We need to put some things in the basket like the baby and trust God to bring them back to us at the right time. Would you have been creative enough to design a basket and then trust God to work things out for the best?
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In God's Eternal Purpose
During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and the cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. (Exodus 2:23-24)

Surely, by now most of you have read or been involved in group studies concerning Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life.  The book focused on one's own purpose as an individual while on earth. Did you know God includes us in His eternal purpose?

One of the main vehicles by which God includes us in His eternal purpose is through our prayers. God does control all things; however, He wants us to be a part of His plans. When we pray, we become included in His work in the earth. Our failure to pray affects how things turn out. Even though God's work is not contingent on whether we pray or not, some things will be received ONLY if we ask for them. (James 4:2)

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for 430 years. Why so long? It was only when they cried out that God raised up Moses to be a deliverer for them. In the New Testament, Jesus did not perform many miracles in His own hometown mainly because so few people had enough faith to ask. (Matthew 13:57-58) Things are probably not working out for you and those who concern you because you are not praying.

Do you want to be an intricate part of God's eternal purposes? Then PRAY. Prayer is the way inadequate people connect with an all-sufficient God. Cry out to God. Your prayer might be the one that changes your home, your job, your school, your church, your community and your world!
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In God's Eternal Purpose
During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and the cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. (Exodus 2:23-24)
Surely, by now most of you have read or been involved in group studies concerning Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life.  The book focused on one's own purpose as an individual while on earth. Did you know God includes us in His eternal purpose?

One of the main vehicles by which God includes us in His eternal purpose is through our prayers. God does control all things; however, He wants us to be a part of His plans. When we pray, we become included in His work in the earth. Our failure to pray affects how things turn out. Even though God's work is not contingent on whether we pray or not, some things will be received ONLY if we ask for them. (James 4:2)

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for 430 years. Why so long? It was only when they cried out that God raised up Moses to be a deliverer for them. In the New Testament, Jesus did not perform many miracles in His own hometown mainly because so few people had enough faith to ask. (Matthew 13:57-58) Things are probably not working out for you and those who concern you because you are not praying.

Do you want to be an intricate part of God's eternal purposes? Then PRAY. Prayer is the way inadequate people connect with an all-sufficient God. Cry out to God. Your prayer might be the one that changes your home, your job, your school, your church, your community and your world!
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When God Remembers
But God remembered Noah. . . (Genesis 8:1)
Then God remembered Rachel . . . (Genesis 30:22)
And God remembered His covenant with Abraham... (Exodus 2:24)

Does God ever forget? It is not that God ever forgets, we just think He does. To say, "God remembers" does not mean there is a lapse in God's memory, that He forgets and needs to recall something to mind as we do. Such is never the case with God. His knowledge is full and constant. God had not forgotten Noah or Rachel or the covenant with Abraham. And God will never forget YOU. When the Bible says, "God remembered" rather than meaning God had forgotten, it simply means God had a renewed interest in them as a remembering.

To say, "God remembers" does not mean that God has forgotten anything at all. He doesn't need to bring back to His divine consciousness certain things. To say, "God remembers" tells us that God had previous thoughts of us. And now He is ready to act towards us based on those thoughts.

To say, "God remembered ______" is the beginning of hope for the person's whose name is in the blank. If you think God has forgotten you, then fill in your own name. Remind God to remember you: "Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them." (Psalm 106:4)

After God remembers, expect Him to act on that remembrance!
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God's Timing
God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.  (Exodus 2:24-25)

 All God promises are "Yes" and "Amen" (2 Corinthians 1:20). God will do what He said He would do. God's promises don't always happen when we think they should. God had promised to bring the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt. The people had waited a long time for that promise to be kept, but God rescued them when he knew the right time had come. God knows the best time to act in everyone's life. When you feel that God has forgotten you, remember God has a time schedule unlike our own. God's time schedule is one we don't understand.

In fact, it is a time schedule we can't even see.
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A Burning Bush Experience
And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. (Exodus 3:2)

Moses had a burning bush experience while tending Jethro's sheep in Midian. Wanting to get closer to God, you might desire to have a burning bush experience similar to the one Moses had.
 
You cannot plan for a burning bush experience. You cannot pinpoint when a burning experience will come. However, you can prepare daily for a burning bush experience.
If you notice, Moses was minding his own business doing what he was supposed to be doing at the time. His burning bush experience actually caught him off guard. This is to say, God shows up in His own time; not ours. He approaches us after we have proven to Him that we can do our current job properly. Moses had perfected his skills at tending sheep in Midian before God called him to a higher level to deliver the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt.
 
If you want a burning bush experience or God's intervention, you must be in the position for it. Maintain an intimate relationship with God and go about doing God's business without complaining it. Complaining only sets you back instead of moving you forward.
 
May your burning bush experience be on the way!
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When Turning Aside Is Beneficial
And Moses said, "I will turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses," and he said, "Here am I." (Exodus 3:3-4)

Two major instances are in the Bible about people turning aside. One is in the Old Testament involving a man. One is in the New Testament involving a woman. In both cases, God was in an unusual setting. This proves we should turn aside to talk to God and to accept His divine call whenever and wherever He appears.

In the Exodus passage involving Moses, we learn that Moses first said to himself that he would turn aside TO SEE. In order for us to see what God is up to, we, too, must be intentional about turning aside. We will never see all God wants us to see unless we acknowledge God's presence in unusual settings. It was only after Moses turned aside on the backside of the mountain while he was herding sheep that God called him out of the burning bush. We, too, need to turn aside to see and hear instructions from God concerning what He wants us to do.

In John 20:14-16, Mary Magdalene went to the garden looking for Jesus on the third day after His crucifixion. But she found Him not. Instead, she found who she believed was a gardener . . . until she turned aside and SAW that it was Jesus Himself. It was after she turned aside that Jesus called her name and spoke to her as Jesus instead of as the gardener.

Moses and Mary Magdalene were both caught off guard because they did not expect to SEE or HEAR what took place, However, in both instances, the person was interested enough to turn aside. In both instances, the person's name was called. In both instances, when they turned aside, they SAW and HEARD.

God is ALWAYS speaking to us. The problem is that we are not turning aside to SEE and to HEAR!
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Standing On Holy Ground
Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.  (Exodus 3:5)

At God's command, Moses removed his sandals and covered his face in front of the burning bush. God had to tell him to take off his shoes. Moses did not know he was on holy ground. Taking off his shoes was an act of reverence, conveying his own unworthiness before God. Wherever you approach God, you should come in the same manner. Come as though you were an invited guest before a king. It might be on your job, in your home, with your co-workers, friends and families. Every place you walk is, in a sense, holy ground. Therefore, adjust your attitude so it is suitable for approaching a holy God wherever you are.

Whether you are reading this from your home or office, when you stand up, whisper a prayer to God for you will be standing on holy ground.
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Help Is On The Way
The Lord said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:7-8)

 In the above scriptures, God is talking to Moses just before He commissioned Him to go to Egypt to set His people free. Notice God said . . .

  1. I have indeed SEEN the misery of my people.
  2. I have HEARD them crying.
  3. I am CONCERNED about their suffering.
  4. I have COME to rescue them.
  5. I will BRING them UP OUT of that land.

In other words, help was on the way.
 
If God did all of that for His people in Egypt, be assured that if we are faithful and serving Him, He will do the same for us. It is interesting to observe that God's people were suffering; yet help WAS on the way even though they didn't know it. The suffering Hebrews did not have a clue as to HOW they were going to be delivered, but they never gave up hope. They kept crying out to God. They did not have us as their example, but we can look back on what God did for them and believe with all our heart that whatever we are going through . . . "HELP IS ON THE WAY!"
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How to Handle Inadequacy
Now I am going to send you to Pharaoh, to demand that he let you lead my people out of Egypt. "But I'm not the person for a job like that!" Moses exclaimed. (Exodus 3:10-11)

When God commanded Moses to go to Egypt to ask Pharaoh to let His people go, Moses was quick to admit that he was inadequate for that big assignment. Moses was honest and admitted he didn't think he was able to do the job. Moses felt inadequate because he thought he had to do it alone. But God was not asking Moses to work alone.
 
God Himself would be with Moses directing him every step of the way. Also, God sent Aaron along with Moses to help him in the area in which Aaron was quite adequate.
 
God often calls us to assignments for which we view ourselves as being inadequate. So, how should you handle inadequacy?
 
#1. Be honest with yourself and with others. Admit that you feel inadequate. Don't pretend that you know it all and can do it all.
#2. Know that you don't have to handle any task alone. God will never leave you nor forsake you.
#3. Recognize God's resources. He never gives you anything to do without placing people in your path to help you. The person you are dismissing just might be the key to your success.
 
Knowing this should help anyone handle inadequacy.
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What's Wrong with Making Excuses?
But I'm not the person for a job like that!" Moses exclaimed. (Exodus 3:11)

What's wrong with making excuses? EVERYTHING! Sometimes we make excuses to avoid serving God. In the above scripture, Moses thought he would be exempt from doing what God wanted him to do by saying he was inadequate. Moses learned that God looks beyond inadequacies when He calls someone for a mission.
 
What wrong's with making excuses? EVERYTHING! Excuses will not turn away God's wrath. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of wickedness and excuses. Similarly, nations, cities, churches, and homes will be destroyed because God will accept no excuse on judgment day.
 
What's wrong with making excuses? EVERYTHING! Making excuses cannot be a substitute for confessing our sins. It is easy to blame others and make excuses for wrong actions, but confessing your own sin is a personal matter.

Excuses may include the following:

  1. It's the other person's fault;
  2. I couldn't help it;
  3. Everybody's doing it;
  4. It was just a mistake;
  5. Nobody's perfect;
  6. The devil made me do it;
  7. I was pressured into it;
  8. I didn't know it was wrong;
  9. (God will understand;
  10. It won't keep me out of heaven.

 What's wrong with making excuses? EVERYTHING!
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You Are Just Like Moses
Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt? (Exodus 3:11)

God called Moses to deliver the Hebrews out of bondage in Egypt. Why Moses? God could have delivered the people Himself. He could have chosen someone else. Instead, He chose to use an imperfect person to do a great task. But Moses wanted no part of this divine action. He made five (5) excuses while trying to weasel out of God's call.

"I'm not adequate. I'm a nobody" (Exodus 3:11). God ignored Moses' description of himself. Instead, God gave Moses a promise: "Certainly I will be with you" (Exodus 3:12). The solution to Moses' self-esteem problem was found in knowing who God was.

 "I don't know enough. What should I say to them?" (Exodus 3:13). God answers this objection by telling Moses that He is the great I AM. Literally this phrase means, "I exist because I exist." Moses can tell them that God, the self-existent One sent him.
 
I'll be rejected." (Exodus 4:1). God gives Moses three signs to silence his skeptics: his rod, his hand and turning water to blood in the Nile. In other words, Moses would use human objects, but it would be up to God to convince the people; not Moses himself.
 
"I don't have any natural talent. In fact, I stutter." (Exodus 3:10). God's reply is enough to silence anyone who thinks that his/her physical handicap is a limitation to God. God put Moses in his place when he asked, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?" (Exodus 3:11)
 
"I don't want to go; can't you find someone else?" (Exodus 3:13). Finally, Moses reveals his heart. He just doesn't want to go. And he tells God to send someone else. This excuse was the most serious one, and it revealed what was behind all his other excuses. He simply did not want to go. Then the anger of the Lord burned against Moses, and he sent Aaron to be Moses' spokesperson, but Moses was the one chosen to be the deliverer.
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God Would Have Failed the SOL's
But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"  And God said, "I will be with you"... I AM Who I Am" ... say to the Israelites, "I AM has sent me to you." (Exodus 3:11-12; 14)

There has been much talk about the Standards of Learning (SOL) in the school systems. God would have failed the English part of the SOL's or any other standardized test because He did not give direct answers to particular questions.  In the above verses, God did not answer Moses' question: "Who am I?"  Moses might have thought God beated around the bush  . . . the burning bush. God never answered his question. Instead, God told Moses who He was, and is and is to come. God is like that. When we speak negative about ourselves or question God about our identity, God tells us who He is. That's not answering the question. The answer we receive is much better than a "Standard of Learning" answer. God replaces it with a "Standard of Living" answer.

When we question God about who we are, He tells us who He is because He created us in His own image (Genesis 1:27). When we complain to God about what we have or don't have, God tells us what He has . . . cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). When we grieve over our circumstances and say what we cannot do, God says what He can and will do . . . make the crooked places straight, raise up every valley, make every mountain and hill low, make the rough places level and the rugged places a plain (Isaiah 40:3b-4).

No, God doesn't answer our questions directly. He does much more! He gives us "Standards of Living" so that we can deal with the "Standards of Learning" for our children and grandchildren.
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"I AM . . ."
And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." (Exodus 3:14)
Jesus answered, "I AM the way and the truth and the life." (John 14:6)

 
In the above scriptures God said who He was. Jesus also said who He was. Both of them used the state of being verb "AM." Whenever you say, "I AM . . ." you give power to whatever follows. Therefore, we should be extremely careful what follows our "I AM's." If you say, "I am stupid" that is extremely what you will become. If you say, "I am sick" then expect to become sick. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21). Be mindful of how you describe yourself. Jesus never said anything negative about Himself. He never described Himself. Whenever He was challenged about His identity, He said, "I AM the light of the world . . ., "I AM the one sent by My Father," "I AM the bread of life." etc. We should follow the example of Jesus and counteract any negative description about us by speaking a positive. What are you saying about yourself?

Make it a habit to say who you are and not who you are not.
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My Name is "I AM"
God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." He said further, "Thus you shall say to the Israelites, "I AM has sent me to you." (Exodus 3:14)

A couple of days ago, I received my first Christmas card of the season from my youngest sister, Evelyn Perry who lives in Germantown, Maryland. The card itself had a beautiful message because Evelyn always sends thought provoking cards for all occasions. However, the message that I particularly like was not on the Christmas card itself. Instead it was printed on a small "Pass It On" card that Evelyn enclosed. Since it is impossible to pass that one small card on to all of my subscribers, I am passing it on to you in this message.

This message was originally penned by Helen Mallicoat, but it expresses my thoughts and perhaps yours as well . . .
 
I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly my Lord was speaking: "My name is I AM." He paused. I waited. He continued, "When you live in the past with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not "I WAS."
 
When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not "I Will Be."
 
When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I am here. My name is "I AM.

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"I AM" vs. "I am"
God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: "I AM has sent me to you." (Exodus 3:14 NIV)

"I AM" is the sacred and most holy name for God. It was so revered that the Jewish people refused to speak it. "I AM WHO I AM" contains every tense of the verb "to be." We can translate it "I was, I am, I shall always continue to be."

Have you ever said, "I am sick," "I am stupid," "I am a terrible person," or "I am a nobody"? Whenever you affirm "I am..." you are verbally linking yourself to the "I AM." In essence, you are asking God to agree with you. You are asking God to confirm what you are saying whether it is true or not. You are using the same name God called Himself to refer to yourself.

You say, "I am ______" to identify yourself just as God identified Himself. Ex. "I am John Doe."
You say, "I am ______" to describe your condition. Ex. "I am hot."
You say, "I am ______" to indicate your mood. Ex. "I am happy."
You say, "I am ______" to describe your status. Ex. "I am rich."
You say, "I am ______" to describe your health. Ex. "I am healthy."
You say, "I am ______" to describe your destiny. Ex. "I am successful."

Whenever you say, "I am..." you are framing your world and calling forth the events in your life. Not only that, but you are linking yourself to God. Why not make sure when the "I AM" and the "I am" come together, it is a good match? Make sure all your "I am's" are positive because in the back of your "I am" is the power of "I AM."
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Getting Personal
God said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you': This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.'" (Exodus 3:15) 

The Bible was written long before English became our receptor language. Most of the Bible refers to the Creator of the universe as God which is a general name that anyone of any religion might use. Throughout the Old Testament God is called "the LORD" (in all capital letters). This is a translation of the Hebrew word "Yahweh," the personal name God revealed to Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3:15). God got personal with Moses. He introduced Himself to Him by His first name. When we first meet people we are more formal until they give us permission to call them by their first names. Are you on a first name basis with "the LORD" or are you only permitted to call God what everyone in every age and culture calls Him? Do you have a personal relationship so that you can call God by His first name? Has "the LORD" ever gotten personal with you?
 
EXERCISE: Don't take my word for it. Flip through the pages of the Old Testament in any version of the Bible and see for yourself that every time God was personal, He was referred to as "the LORD."
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The Promised Land of the Soul
And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusits - a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:17)

You probably know that in the Bible the Promised Land was Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey. Did you also know that there is a Promised Land of the Soul? The Promised Land of the Soul is that place that can be entered only after you leave Egypt, the place of bondage. Release anything or anyone right now that is keeping you a slave. You are free from bondage because of Jesus' death on the cross. You cannot leave Egypt without going through the Red Sea to be cleansed from any wicked acts of the past. Even though Pharaoh's army is behind you and the sea is in front of you, you must have the faith to believe that once you step into the sea, it will open up until you are safely on the other side. Then you must spend time in the wilderness to be tested and refined. The length of time you are there depends on your obedience to God and your not complaining. After leaving the wilderness, you must cross the Jordan River and possess the land that has already been given to you. That means driving out the enemies who are living there. Command bitterness, jealousy, envy, greed, hatred, prayerlessness, etc. to leave your heart immediately.
 
When these events have taken place in that order, you will be able to enter the Promised Land of your Soul. Once there, you will discover that it does flow with milk and honey.
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Throw Down Your Rod
Then the Lord said to him, "What is that in your hand?" "A rod," he replied. The Lord said, "Throw it on the ground." (Exodus 4:2-3)

A shepherd's rod or staff is commonly a three to six foot wooden stick with a curved hook at the top. Shepherds use it for walking, guiding sheep, killing snakes, and many other tasks. Still, it is just a stick. But God used the simple shepherd's staff Moses carried as a sign to teach him an important lesson.  Forty years earlier, Moses was living in Pharaoh's palace wearing royal clothes and eating royal foods. Now he has been reduced to a shepherd with nothing in his hand but a shepherd's rod. God asked him to throw that down leaving him with nothing...absolutely nothing. Moses was left empty-handed for a purpose. Moses was now in a position to be used by God.

When Moses threw down his rod, it turned into a snake, symbolic of the satanic nature of his human ability. When Moses picked up the snake, it became a rod again, but this time it became the rod of God to be used in His service to (1) get water out of a rock for the Israelites in the wilderness; and (2) to part the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross over on dry land.

Whatever is in your hand needs to be thrown down to rid you of what you think you can do without God. It is only after you surrender everything to God and stand empty-handed before Him will God instruct you for His plans for you.

Be willing to throw down your rod!
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Your Limitations; Not God's
Moses said to the Lord, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." (Exodus 4:10)

It is so interesting that when someone asks us to do something for the Kingdom of God, we immediately cite our limitations. We magnify the things we cannot do instead of embracing and capitalizing on the things we can do.

The above scripture is not the first limitation Moses gave God. Moses recited reason after reason why he was not a good fit to lead the children out of Israel. Moses was not the only one in the Bible who cited their limitations. Gideon said, "But Lord, how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family! (Judges 6:15) Jeremiah said, "Ah, Sovereign Lord, I do not know how to speak, I am only a child." (Jeremiah 1:6) We, too, remind God of our limitations. However, God says "They are limitations to you but not to me!"

So what does God want us to do with our limitations?

1. God wants us to see our limitations as opportunities for Him to work through us. "I will be with you," God told Moses and Gideon. And He tells us the same thing.

2. Our limitations make us trust God when we admit we can't do it without God.

3. Our limitations are not God's limitations. We can't, but God can!

We all have limitations; however, our limitations can be used to glorify God. When others see us overcome limitations, they will be able to do the same. While we see our limitations as barriers and restrictions, God sees our weaknesses as a way for His glory to be displayed.

Got limitations? Got weaknesses? Then you are in the right place for God to say, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

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Things Might Get Worse Before They Get Better
That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people. "You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don't reduce the quota." (Exodus 5:6-8)

God called Moses from the burning bush and commissioned to go to Egypt to ask Pharaoh to let his people be delivered. Even with that divine call and commission, there were some natural things Moses was to do. One such thing was to get the blessing from his father-in-law, Jethro before he left Midian.

On the way to Egypt God was about to kill Moses (Exodus 4:24). Moses had committed the sin of omission. Moses had not circumcised one of his sons. Since circumcision is the seal of the Jewish covenant, before Moses could lead an entire Jewish nation, he first had to deal with this ritual within his own family. Zipporah, his wife circumcised the boy.

God arranged for Aaron to meet Moses at the mountain of God, and they both met with the elders when they arrived in Egypt. The people bowed down and worshipped. Pharaoh wasn't impressed. God Himself said He would harden Pharaoh's heart. He denied their request to go on a three-day journey into the desert to sacrifice to God. He told them they had to make the same quota of bricks but without straw. That being impossible, the Israelites had to find their own stubble. With this difficult task at hand, the Israelites concluded that things had gone from bad to worst.

But what about God's promise to deliver the Israelites after they had been in bondage for 400 years (Genesis 13:15)? What about God's promise to Moses that He would rescue God's people so that they could worship Him at Mount Sinai, the mountain of God (Exodus 3:12)? God's promises were still in effect. Things had gotten worse at this particular time. Having read the rest of the book of Exodus, we know things did get better and God did fulfill all His promises.

If you are dealing with a difficult situation today and things seem to be going from bad to worse, remember this story about God's chosen people. Know that things might get worse before they get better.
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Between the Problem and the Solution
You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don't reduce the quota. (Exodus 5:7-8)

Moses went to help the Israelites, but they received more work and greater suffering. Things went from bad to worst. They were already slaves making bricks with straws, but when Moses went to help, Pharaoh required them to make the same number of bricks without straw.
 
Have you ever tried to help people and their situation got worse? Has anyone ever tried to help you and there was no apparent change? Instead, you noticed a delay or a setback. There is a good reason for that. Between the problem and the solution must come obedience to God.  At the time of our greatest need, we must focus more on obeying God than on the thing we hope to achieve.
 
When you help others, encourage them to be obedient to God. Whatever gift you give them, let it be accompanied by the Word of God. If not, the help you provide will surely cause a delay or a setback in their circumstances. In other words, solutions in the future come after obedience in the present.

Your gift to others should always point them to God, the giver of every good and perfect gift. (James 1:17)  If not, your help is just help and not a blessing!
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God Reveals Himself in a New Way
I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. Therefore, say to the Israelites, "I am the Lord." (Exodus 6:3, 6)

Exodus 6 contains a great deal of information that helps  understand God's character as He speaks to Moses. This interim narrative links God's present deeds with His past covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God admits to Moses that through His new identity, His mighty hand will be upon Pharaoh, and His power will prevail.

In the past God appeared to the patriarchs as God Almighty. That was His covenant name. Now in Exodus 6, God reveals Himself in a new way and refers to Himself five times as "I am the Lord." Seven times He said what He will do. He said He will take on the Israelites as His own people indicating a covenant relationship as He had done with the forefathers. He said He will bring His people out from under the yoke, free them from being slaves, redeem them, and bring them into the land of Canaan.

God also summarizes what He has done since He appeared before the patriarchs and established His covenant. He remembered His covenant, and after hearing the groaning of the Israelites, He tells Moses what to say to Pharaoh.

The Bible interrupts the narrative with a genealogy to offer credibility and authority to Moses and Aaron as priestly leaders. Since God is such an orderly God, he tells Moses to bring the people out by their divisions...tribe by tribe, clan by clan, family by family as indicated by the genealogy of the Levites.

There are many names for God, and He chooses to reveal Himself to us depending on our need . . . whether it is Jehovah, Yahweh, El Shaddai, I Am, or God Almighty.
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A Command or Promise?
Thy shall not steal. (Exodus 20:15  COMMAND)
I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. (Exodus 6:6-7 PROMISES)

Do you know the difference between a command in the Bible and a promise? If you said "No," then this message is for you.

A command is from God and is something man should do. 
A promise is from God and is something God will do.

A command must be obeyed.
A promise must be believed.

When God gives a command He says, "Thou shall" or "Thou shall not."
When God gives a promise He says, "I will..."

God will ALWAYS keep His promises provided man obeys His commands.

Now that you know the difference, do the command but believe the promise.

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Fulfilling Your Highest Purpose
But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show my power in you, and that my name may be declared in all the earth. (Exodus 9:16)

God has created every person to fulfill a unique purpose. He has planted a seed in each of us that will germinate and grow only after we recognize that it is within us. Many of us have identified, nurtured, and nourished the seed to grow, develop and produce a bountiful harvest. However, some are allowing this seed to remain dormant.

Why are so many people struggling to fulfill their purpose? The number one reason is that they haven't recognized what their strongest desire is. They think their purpose is lurking someplace out there, when actually their purpose is within them wrapped up in their inmost desires and dreams. So often people look to others to tell them their purpose. God has imprinted the purpose on every heart. And only God can confirm each person's unique purpose and supply the resources to fulfill that purpose.

Often we hear about doctors and lawyers and other professionals who have walked away from their lucrative practices to answer God's call on their lives. Their careers, the money, the power and the prestige could not satisfy them because they were not fulfilling their highest purpose.

How do you know if you are fulfilling your highest purpose? You know you are fulfilling your highest purpose when your desire is in sync with God's desire. Your work brings you joy whenever and wherever you do it. You are able to work with princes and paupers and treat them both the same. You don't complain about what you do. Instead of getting tired when you work, you gain strength and are energized.

A good way to determine if you are fulfilling your highest purpose is to see the fruit of your labor. Whose life have you touched? Who is a better person because of your assistance? Whose life would become void if you didn't do what you do? If you are not helping others or being a good example for them, then perhaps you are not fulfilling your highest purpose.

God's highest purpose for all of us is to change lives. Therefore, if you are changing things and not lives, then you are not fulfilling your highest purpose.
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When You Have Had Enough
Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer. (Exodus 9:28)

The above words came from Pharaoh, a man who didn’t know the One and Only True Living God. Pharaoh thought he had had enough at that point. Therefore, he was willing to release what was causing him problems. What do you do when you have had enough? What do you do when you have had enough sickness, pain and suffering? What do you do when you have had enough of what’s holding you back? If Pharaoh who didn’t believe in our God said to pray, how much more should we realize that we should pray or ask someone to pray for us when we have had enough?

Having enough of anything simply means you are tired of the way things are going without seeing any results. It means being ready to change your present situation in order to reap future dividends. When you have had enough you will accept the fact that if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten. When you recognize that you have had enough, you are in the right position to allow God to help you make changes in your life. You will see growth in those dormant areas when you admit, “I have had enough.” You will begin to experience hope. New and wonderful things will be manifested in the fullness of time...but only after you have admitted to yourself that you have had enough.

Go ahead...cry out, “I have had enough!” Release whatever is causing you problems. Then watch for God to send the right people and the right resources to help you out of your current situation and into a brand new life.
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Pharaoh's Hardened Heart
So Pharaoh's heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses (Exodus 10:1)

What is a hardened heart? A hardened heart is one that belongs to a person who does not listen to reasons. People with hardened hearts are those who are self-centered with their minds so made up that nothing fazes them. The heart is so cold and hard that it will not yield. A hardened heart is an insensitive heart. It is made of stone (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26). Sure, Pharaoh had a hardened heart. However, hardened hearts did not go out of existence with the death of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. There are plenty of hardened hearts still around today.

Pharaoh's heart was hardened in three distinct ways. (1) In a neutral sense. "Yet Pharaoh's heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said." (Exodus 7:13-14) (2) As an act of Pharaoh's own choice. "But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said." (Exodus 8:15) (3) As an act of God.  "But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said." (Exodus 9:12)

Several passages describe God as the one who hardened Pharaoh's heart, nine other references indicate that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. With careful reading, one will see that it was not until the sixth plague that God explicitly hardened Pharaoh's heart (Exodus 9:12).

Did God intentionally hardened Pharaoh's heart and override Pharaoh's free will? No, God simply worked with what was already in Pharaoh's heart...rebellion and resistance. Whenever there was a break in the plagues, Pharaoh hardened his own heart. It had happened so often that God merely confirmed the condition of Pharaoh's own heart and gave him over to his own choices; "to his own depraved mind to do what ought not to be done" (Romans 1:24, 26, 28).

Our hearts can become hardened when we consistently resist God (Hebrews 3:15). If we refuse to listen when God speaks to us, He will take away our ability to listen at all. Our hearts will become so hardened that we will no longer be able to turn to Him.

Why does God harden some people's hearts? Knowing the answer might help us to deal with our hardhearted family members and friends. According to Romans 9:18, "God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden."
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Blood on Your Doorposts
 . . . and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. (Exodus 12:23)
 
How many of you pray daily for the safety of your dwelling place and for all who enter? Is your house protected because you have prayed for you, your family and your house or apartment? Even when you are away and staying in a hotel, do you pray over the room when you first arrive? It is good to pray over the room, the entire hotel, the other guests, and the staff as soon as you arrive. You have no idea what happened in the room before it became yours. You have no idea what evil spirits were left behind. I make it a practice to do several things when I stay in hotels. I pray the evil spirits would leave, and I invite the presence of God to dwell in that room. In the spirit, I put blood on the doorposts by pleading the blood of Jesus. When I depart I pray for the next guests who will arrive and occupy the same room.

 This might be a helpful thing to consider the next time you travel. Who knows . . . you just might be the only one who has ever prayed in that room or used that "Gideon Bible." Be like the Israelites on the night of that tenth plague. Always put blood on your doorposts so that the destroyer will pass over your dwelling place.
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Mixed Multitude
The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. (Exodus 12:37-38)

Did you know that when the Israelites left Egypt, many other people left with them?  Why would Egyptians escape along with the Israelites? After the trauma of the plagues, many Egyptians were no doubt eager to leave the disaster area. Some were probably moved to faith by God's mighty acts on behalf of His own people. Others had become friends to the Israelites. Therefore, many Egyptians and other foreigners left Egypt and wandered in the wilderness along with the Israelites. Could it account for some of the problems the Israelites encountered for 40 years? Scripture does record that this uncommitted "mixed multitude" first complained about lack of provisions and provoked the Israelites to rebellion.

This "mixed multitude" who tagged along with the Israelites held to a different set of values and beliefs even though they wanted the blessings that God was bestowing upon His own people. This "mixed multitude" went along for the ride; yet they continued to cling to their own pagan gods. Hopefully, you are not part of this "mixed multitude" who expects God's blessings without a commitment to God. Also, hopefully you are able to recognize and do something about the "mixed multitude" in your own circle.
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Mixed Multitude
The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. (Exodus 12:37-38)


Did you know that when the Israelites left Egypt, many other people left with them? Why would the Egyptians and other pagans escape along with the Israelites? After the trauma of the plagues, many people were no doubt eager to leave the disaster area. Some were probably moved to faith by God’s mighty acts on behalf of His own people. Others had become friends to the Israelites. Therefore, many Egyptians and other foreigners left Egypt and wandered in the wilderness along with the Israelites. Could it account for some of the problems the Israelites encountered for 40 years? Scripture does record that this uncommitted “mixed multitude” first complained about lack of provisions and provoked the Israelites to rebellion.

This “mixed multitude” who tagged along with the Israelites held to a different set of values and beliefs even though they wanted the blessings that God was bestowing upon His own people. This “mixed multitude” went along for the ride; yet they continued to cling to their own pagan gods.

Hopefully, you are not part of this “mixed multitude” who expect God’s blessings without a commitment to God. Also, hopefully you are able to recognize and do something about the “mixed multitude” in your own circle who are provoking you to whine, complain and rebel.

Look around at those in your midst. Do they all have the same moral values as you do? If not, do what Paul suggests in 2 Corinthians 6:17a. (Be diligent to look up this scripture for yourself.)
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What Does MapQuest Have in Common With God?
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. (Exodus 13:17)

If you have even gone to MapQuest.com for driving directions, you have probably noticed that MapQuest takes you in a round about way to reach your destination. MapQuest will give you driving directions to get you where you are going, but unnecessary steps are included. If you follow MapQuest's driving direction, you could be on one street and their directions tell you to get off that street, drive around the block and send you right back on the same street you were on originally. (Can I get a witness?) I don't know why MapQuest does that. Your guess is as good as mine. However, I do know why God led the Israelites in a round about way after that left Egypt.

When Pharaoh let the people go, the Israelites were not prepared for war. God did not lead them on the road through Philistine country, though that way was shorter and nearer to where they were going. Why wouldn't God lead them directly to where they were going? God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. (Exodus 13:17-18)

God can see the danger down the road and the trouble around the curve. God leads us in a round about way to get us prepared for the long journey ahead with the least amount of trouble. If God has circumvented or thwarted your directions causing you to go the long way around, surely it's for a good reason. As far as MapQuest is concerned, well that's another story.

Have a great weekend, and if you are traveling, may God provide His pillar of cloud by day and His pillar of fire by night to guide you safely to your destination.
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The Best Route
So at last Pharaoh let the people go. God did not lead them through the land of the Philistines, although that was the most direct route from Egypt to the Promised Land. (Exodus 13:17)

God does not always guide us in the most direct route. Instead of guiding the Israelites along the direct route from Egypt to the Promised Land, He took them by a longer route to avoid fighting with the Philistines. If God does not lead you along the shortest past to your goal, don't complain or resist. Follow him willingly, and trust Him to lead you safely around unseen obstacles. He can see the end of your journey from the beginning, and He knows the safest and best route.
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Blessed Assurance
By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night." (Exodus 13:21)

God gave the Hebrews a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire so they would know day and night that God was with them on their journey to the promised land. What has God given us so that we can have the same assurance? God gave us the Bible, something the Israelites did not have. We are to look to God's word for assurance of God's presence with us helping us on our journey. This assurance will give us the courage and hope to stand firm no matter how difficult the situation.
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Faith and Action: A Good Combination
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward, march!" (Exodus 14:15, TLB)

How do faith and action fit together to make a good combination? Action means little without underlying faith. Faith means nothing without the corresponding action. When God told Abram to leave his own country, Abram combined faith with action and "departed as the Lord had spoken to him" (Genesis 12:4).
 
The proper faith leads to action. Faith without works is dead according to James 2:17. Following Jesus means more than just saying the words. It means acting on what His words say to do.
 
Genuine faith must be behind your actions. God judges our hearts as well as our deeds, for the heart determines our real allegiance. Be just as concerned about your attitudes, which people don't see, as your actions, which are seen by all. Then you will know that your deep faith and your righteous actions do indeed make a good combination!
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Crossing Your Own Red Sea
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen." (Exodus 14:15-18)

When the Israelites left Egypt where they had been enslaved, they did not have an easy escape. Making the decision to cross the Red Sea was hard enough, but when they looked back and saw the Egyptian army behind them, they seemed to have been trapped. They cried out to the Lord. Then the Lord asked Moses why was he crying out to Him. In other words, God told Moses to stop praying and get moving! There is a time for praying, and there is a time for acting on that for which we have prayed. Sometimes we know what the Lord has told us to do, but we keep praying for guidance to have an excuse for postponing it. If we know for sure what God has told us to do, we need to get moving even when the enemy is behind us. In fact, sometimes God allows the enemy to be behind us so that we will be more diligent about doing that which we should be doing.

God hardened Pharaoh's heart to go after Moses and the Israelites.  He used the enemy to help get Moses moving. God gained glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians finally knew that the Lord was who He said He was when the Israelites walked through on dry land.

We need to remember this when crossing our own Red Sea. The enemy might be behind us to get us going, but God will open up a way for us so that He will get the glory, and all our enemies will see that God is God!
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Expect A Miracle!
Meanwhile, Moses stretched his rod over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the sea, with walls of water on each side. So the people of Israel walked through the sea on dry ground! (Exodus 14:21-22) 

Would you say the above scripture illustrates a miracle? What exactly is a miracle? A miracle is a mighty work beyond the normal functioning of human beings, which evokes wonder and in which we hear God speaking of his personal involvement with and care for people. Miracles are natural phenomena which appear to violate natural laws but which reveal God to people through faith. Nothing is a miracle to God. God knows what He can and will do. It is a miracle to us because it is a mighty work beyond our comprehension. Miracles are prevalent all the way through the Bible. They are expressions of God's salvation and glory. They draw our attention to God's care. Miracles are an unavoidable part of the Christian faith.
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Moses Covered Up One Dead Egyptian!
Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. (Exodus 2:12) Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. (Exodus 14:27-28)

One day Moses saw an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite. To avenge the Israelite, Moses killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand. Strong winds blew the sand away from the grave. The body was uncovered, and Moses fled to save his own life.

Forty years later, God called Moses to return to the scene of the crime to deliver the Israelites from slavery. Why would God send Moses back to where he had buried a man in the sand? By now Moses was a changed man, and God intended to use him.  Moses had been humbled working on the backside of a mountain tending sheep. God promised to be with Moses.

When Moses tried to save one Israelite on his own, he ended up burying a man in the sand. He couldn't even do that right! And now with God's help, Moses is able to bury the whole army of Pharaoh in the Red Sea.

Without God we can do nothing. With God everything is possible!
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Two Crossings
But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. (Exodus 14:29)

We come to many crossings in life. Either we can turn back or take the risk and cross over. The choice we make depends on how determined we are to reach a higher level to achieve more or to remain complacent with the status quo.
 
In the Old Testament, the Israelites encounters two crossings. Each one involved risks. The Red Sea was a barrier between their freedom and slavery. The determination to be free provoked them to cross over. Forty years later they crossed over the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Again, it was a barrier between the wilderness and a better life into a land flowing with milk and honey. "While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan" (Joshua 3:17).
 
When you come to your crossings and have to make a decision, let the anticipation of the promises that lie ahead outweigh the bondage that lies behind.
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Our God: A Sovereign God
The Lord shall reign forever and ever." (Exodus 15:18)

God is a sovereign God. That means He rules and reigns. Even though we do not always see the sovereignty of God, He is still on the throne. In our human, fleshly mind we ask "Why?" and we feel as though God has left us. God is still omnipotence (all powerful), omnipresence (everywhere), and omniscience (all knowing).
 
It is at times like these that we have to believe by faith that God is still in control. His power is unlimited, and He is working out His sovereign plan of redemption for the world and the end is victorious.
 
Now is the time to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior if you have not already done so. Now is the time to establish a MORE personal intimate relationship with God so that you too can say like David, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4)
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America's Got Talent
Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. (Exodus 15:20)

There is a show on television called "America's Got Talent." It is amazing to see what some people call talent.  Many of the acts are booed off stage because the audience doesn't think the person has talent. What, then, is a talent? A talent is a special and often creative or artistic ability usually different from the norm. Everybody professes to have a talent. Have you identified yours?

A story has been told about a man who died and no one could think of anything good to say about him at his funeral.  A relative agreed to make remarks because he was sure he could come up with something that the dead man did well. Everybody at the funeral waited with bated breath to hear what the dead man could do. To take the audience out of its suspense, the speaker said, "The man lying in the coffin was no different from anybody else when it comes to having a talent. This man had a talent. This man could whistle!"


God has given us all a unique talent. Maybe it is singing, dancing, acting, swimming, playing a musical instrument, writing, or whistling. Let's use our talent to bring glory to God and pleasure to others.
 
Identify your talent and use it. After all, America's Got Talent.
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 From Bitterness to Blessings
When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter. Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of waters and seventy palm trees and they camped there by the water. (Exodus 15:23, 27)

When Moses led the Israelites into the wilderness, they went three days and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter. The people complained and grumbled against Moses. When Moses cried out to the Lord, the Lord showed him a piece of wood, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water . . . an entire spring for each tribe. They also found seventy palm trees representing the seventy members of Jacob's family who originally went to Egypt.

Marah, which means bitter, speaks of the bitter experiences of life. The tree suggests the cross of Calvary, which changes bitterness into sweetness. Elim is in contrast to Marah. It represents rest and refreshment which are also ours after we have been to the cross.
 
Blessings do follow bitterness when we trust God with all our heart. So, if you are going through a bitter experience right now at Marah . . . get ready . . . your blessing is right around the corner at Elim.
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Physical Healing Is Part of Salvation
God said, "If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you." (Exodus 15:26)

Physical healing is a promised gift from God. God promised to heal His people and keep them free from sickness and disease if they obeyed Him. God wants us to be free from afflictions. Physical healing is not outside of our covenant-relationship with God. It is part of the old covenant as well as part of the new covenant that came about when Jesus died on the cross.
 
Healing is part of God's message of salvation. God is interested in the total person and not just the spiritual part. Although the saving of the human soul is important in the salvation process, physical healing is also included. When Jesus said, "Your faith has made you whole," He meant whole, all, total, complete, encompassing, 100%, entire, everything, exclusively, wholly . . .
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Why Do We Complain?
In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. (Exodus 16:2) 

After escaping from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron because they were encountering danger, shortages, and inconveniences. They complained bitterly and said they would rather have stayed in Egypt. Just why did the Israelites complain so bitterly? They complained for the same reasons that we do. Their complaining was a habitual response to stress due to (1) Danger; (2) Shortages; and (3) Inconveniences. If you would example your own complaints, you too will be able to see that each complaint involves at least one of these three things.
 
DANGER: Lack of trust in God made the Israelites fear enemies in the wilderness. Because they couldn't complain to their enemies, they complained to Moses and Aaron as a result of that fear. How often do we complain to the wrong people? Take your complaints to God who can do something about them.
 
SHORTAGES: Don't we complain the most when we have unfulfilled desires? Dissatisfaction comes when our attention shifts from what we have to what we don't have. When we don't notice what God is doing for us, we complain about what He is withholding from us. We might not have everything we want, but we have everything we need: the gift of life, God's protection and His provisions.
 
INCONVENIENCES: When we stay home all day waiting for a package and it is not delivered, we complain. We complain because we did what we were supposed to do, and through no fault of our own, somebody inconvenient us; somebody controlled our time. While this is a legitimate complaint, we sometimes make matters worse by taking our complaints to the extreme. Those bitter feelings and that complaining spirit linger long after the package has been opened and its contents used.
 
The next time you are ready to complain, determine if the root of your complaint is Danger, Shortages, or Inconveniences. Eliminate the cause of the stress in order to eliminate the complaint.
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Jehovah-Nissi
Moses built an altar and called it Jehovah-Nissi, meaning "The Lord is my Banner." Exodus 17:15
 
What is so significant about a banner? Banners are used for many different reasons, and they serve various purposes. Banners indicate the coming of a band or a float in a parade. Banners symbolize our identity such as those worn in a beauty pageant to indicate the country the woman is representing, or those hung on walls to indicate the school you attended. Banners are waved to express victory as in political rallies. At the end of a race, there is a banner that runners race through indicating that they are winners. Our national hymn is "The Star Spangled Banner."

All these banners are good, and they do serve meaningful purposes. But for us, Jesus is our blood-stained banner who goes before us paving the way and making our path straight. Moses built an altar and called it Jehovah-Nissi in honor of God's defeat of the Amalekites who were enemies of the people of Israel.

"The Lord is my Banner" means we will no longer be defeated by the enemy. Another word for "banner" is "standard." "When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him" (Isaiah 59:19b). Let God go before you announcing your coming, giving you identity and victory because the enemy has already been defeated. God is our Jevohah-Nissi.
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 Too Many Irons In the Fire
Moses' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. . . Make your load lighter . . . and all will be satisfied. (Exodus 18:18-26) 

Have you ever heard people say, "I have several (or many) irons in the fire"? Have you ever made that statement yourself? Having too many irons in the fire is NOT a good thing, and it certainly is NOT a godly thing! If you know anything about making a fire in a pot belly stove, heater, fireplace or even a campfire, you know that a fire goes out quickly if (1) there are two few logs on it and (2) if there are too many logs on it. One case is just as extreme as the other.
 
Having too many irons in the fire will smother the fire. Fire (like one's life) needs to breathe. It needs room to be effective. Too many logs or irons in the fire means that no particular one has space to burn properly. So it is with us with our many projects, appointments, committee meetings and long list of things to do. We have made commitments to do than we should; therefore, nothing is done effectively. Suggestion: Eliminate some of your irons in the fire in order for others to burn. Then when they have finished or almost finished burning, put in others a few at a time so that you will have a healthy perpetual flame.
 
Case in Point: Look forward to tomorrow's E-Message #800. This was possible because I put one iron in the fire each weekday. Had I sent all 800 at once, admit it...you probably would not have read any of them. There is nothing wrong with bite-size portions.
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WWJD = What Would Jethro Do?
Moses' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you." (Exodus 18:17-19)

Jethro was a priest of Midian and the father-in-law of Moses.  After killing an Egyptian and fleeing to Midian, Moses married Jethro's daughter, Zipporah. Moses' family joined him in the wilderness during the exodus. What would Jethro do?

Jethro is noted for teaching Moses to delegate responsibilities to prevent him from growing weary as a result of handling all the cases all the time. Jethro advised Moses to handle only the difficult cases and allow able men to make decisions in lesser matters (Exodus 18:13-23).

Some people in responsible positions think they are the only ones who can handle necessary tasks. They don't believe others are often capable of helping with part of the load. Delegation helped Moses, and it will help us as well. Surely there is someone in your midst who can help you with your tasks.

Proper delegation serves a twofold purpose. It can often multiply your effectiveness while giving others a chance to grow.
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Face To Face With God at Mount Sinai
In the third month after the Israelites left Egypt...on the very day...they came to the Desert of Sinai. Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, and said, "I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you. (Exodus 19:1; 3; 9)

Mount Sinai is one of the most sacred locations in Israel's history. After three months of traveling in the wilderness, the Israelites came to Mount Sinai. The rest of the book of Exodus, the entire book of Leviticus, and the first nine chapters of Numbers record events that took place at Mount Sinai. 

We often only associate Mount Sinai with the place where Moses received the tablets, but Moses received more than the laws. He received something special from God at Mount Sinai. Unlike the other prophets, Moses did not receive God's instruction in a vision, in a dream, or in dark speech. God said of Moses, "With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles: he sees the form of the Lord" (Numbers 12:7-8).

We, too, need to stop by Mount Sinai, not to get the laws telling us what to do or what not to do. The laws are in the Bible. We can read them there. We need to stop by Mount Sinai to have a face-to-face encounter with God. We need to see God face to face and get personal instructions from Him . . . not in a vision or in a dream or in dark speeches or in riddles . . . but face to face.
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Hear and Obey
Come and HEAR, all you who fear God, and I will declare what he has done for my soul" (Psalm 66:16).
"Now therefore, if you will indeed OBEY my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to me above all people; for all the earth is mine. (Exodus 19:5).

 
Do you yearn for a deep relationship with God? Do you long to constantly be in God's presence? Are you willing to fulfill the two requirements for God to manifest Himself mightily in your life? If your answer is "Yes" to any of the above questions, then continue to read.

God insists on two basic requirements in order for you to have a deep personal intimate relationship with Him. #1 HEAR and #2 OBEY. You must hear what God has said. You do that by reading and studying the Bible. You listen to Bible teachers and preachers to know what "thus said the Lord." Hearing what God has said is only 50% of the covenant relationship with God. You must OBEY what you have heard. When you HEAR and OBEY "it will be well with you, and your soul shall live" (Jeremiah 38:20).
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Idolatry In Its Worst Form
Thy shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)

Idolatry is serving someone or something else other than God. God admits there are other gods, but He warns us not to serve them in His place. Since we can't get to God on our own, He sent His only begotten Son to give us direct access. Jesus Himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one come unto the Father except by me." (John 14:6)
 
Unfortunately, some do not use the direct access to God through Jesus Christ. They insert an extra path. The extra path usually comes in the form of an authority figure such as a pastor, a parent, a teacher, a boss, a dominate spouse, an overbearing relative or a role model. They believe in order to be a follower of Jesus they must  follow the aforementioned who follow Jesus. That's idolatry in the worst form.
 
Each person has a direct path to God through Jesus Christ. And no one should go through someone else to get to Jesus to get to God. Let's cut out the middle man or woman. When Jesus died on the cross, He broke down all barriers that prevented direct access to get to the Father.
 
No one has a monopoly on getting to God. We all get to Him the same way. All who confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that Jesus died and God raised Him from the dead shall be saved. (Romans 10:9)
 
Idolatry in its worst form is to believe that you have to go through another person to get to God. You have the same access to God as that person who prays longer and louder. You have the same privileges as those who appear to be so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.
 
To get to God is to go through His Son and only through His Son. (John 14:6) To try entering through any other way is idolatry in its worst form.
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The Real Thing
You shall have no other gods before me.  (Exodus 20:3)

"Is it real or is it Memorex?" the commercial asks. "This is so real you can't tell the difference!" another would suggest. Foods come with artificial flavoring. Instead of using real sugar in our coffee or tea, we use a substitute. Some people wear fake furs, replicas of designer clothing, and imitations and copies of the real thing. It is all right to do counterfeits, fakes, replicas, copies, and imitations with our foods, clothing and other worldly things, but when it comes to serving God, we much accept no substitutes.
 
The First Commandments says, "There should have no other gods before me." God was serious. He meant it when He said we should make Him first and serve Him only. When the Israelites came out of slavery from Egypt, they entered a land with many gods. Because each god represented a different aspect of life, it was common to worship many gods in order to get the maximum number of blessings. When God told his people to worship and believe in Him, that wasn't so hard for them to do. He was just one more god to add to their list. But when He said, "You shall have no other gods before me," that was difficult to do. God wants us to get rid of our counterfeits and fake gods. He wants us to "Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only!" (Matthew 4:10).
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Choosing Preference Over Principle
You should have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)

The world is crying, "I want it! And I want it now! I don't care how I get it as long as I get it!" The "it" could be fame, fortune, a love affair, or whatever the person prefers at that particular time. There is great danger in choosing preference over principle. It is harmful to our spiritual well being when we do what we prefer instead of doing what God requires. It is idolatry to choose anything over God.

Here is a short list of our preferences over God's principles:
  1. We read trashy novels and watch soap operas instead of reading God's word.
  2. We spend time thinking about things of the flesh instead of meditating on God and things of the spirit.
  3. We embrace what the world is doing instead of storing up treasures in heaven.
  4. We do everything we are big and bad enough to do instead of following God's commandments.
  5. We sing and dance in the nightclubs on Saturday night and refuse to praise God in church on Sunday.
  6. We smoke on the way to church and get choked trying to lead a song in the choir. Then we yell out, "The devil is a liar. He's trying to stop me from singing this song."
  7. We seek everything else first, get into trouble and then invite God to bless our mess without having sought Him first.

So you see how easy it is to choose our own preferences over God's principles. We should always choose God's principles over our preferences. This will not only please God, but we will soon discover that it is also more rewarding to live according to God's principles.
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When Is Sex a Sin?
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body. (I Corinthians 6:18) You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14)
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness . . . (Galatians 5:19)

God created sex. God ordained sex. The question is: "When is sex a sin?" Two prepositions should be kept in mind when answering this question: "BEFORE" and "OUTSIDE." Sex is immoral and a sin against God BEFORE marriage. That's call fornication. It is premarital sex.  Sex is immoral and a sin against God OUTSIDE of marriage. That's call adultery. It is extramarital sex. The technical difference is that fornication involves those who are unmarried, and adultery involves those who are married. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus teaches that both fornication and adultery cause harm and separate us from a right relationship with God. (Matthew 6:27-28)

Of the seven lists of sins found in the writings of Paul, the word fornication is found in five of them and is first on the list each time. (1 Corinthians 5:11, Colossians 3:5) In 1 Corinthians 6:18, Paul did not beat around the bush. He did not give us anything to exegete or interpret. He came right out and said, "Flee fornication." That should be self-explanatory. The only safety from such temptations is to take flight just as Joseph fled from Potiphar's wife when she tried to seduce him. (Genesis 39:12)

Adultery is willful sexual relations with someone other than with one's own spouse. In the Ten Commandments, God did not beat around the bush. He did not give us anything to exegete or interpret. He came right out and said, "You shall not commit adultery." (Exodus 20:14) Under the Mosaic Law, when a man and woman were caught in the act of adultery, both parties were to be killed. (Deuteronomy 22:22) If that was the case today, there wouldn't be many people left in our churches or on our jobs.

When you have a physical relationship WITHOUT a covenant (premarital), you go against our covenant-relational God. When you have a physical relationship with one OTHER THAN the one whom you have made a covenant (extramarital), you break your covenant with God and your covenant with your spouse. You sin when you break these covenants outlined in God's word. Since God is the one who created sex and blessed it, shouldn't He be the one to give us laws concerning it?

"It is God's will that you should be sanctified; that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God...The Lord will punish men [and women] for all such sins." (I Thessalonians 4:3-6)

God says marriage [sex] is honorable, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. (Hebrews 13:4)
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A Command or Promise?
Thy shall not steal. (Exodus 20:15  COMMAND)
I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. (Exodus 6:6-7 PROMISES)

Do you know the difference between a command in the Bible and a promise? If you said "No," then this message is for you.

A command is from God and is something man should do. 
A promise is from God and is something God will do.

A command must be obeyed.
A promise must be believed.

When God gives a command He says, "Thou shall" or "Thou shall not."
When God gives a promise He says, "I will..."

God will ALWAYS keep His promises provided man obeys His commands.

Now that you know the difference, do the command but believe the promise.

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Are You A Player Hater?
Do not covet. (Exodus 20:17)

Are you a player hater? Before you can honestly answer that, you need to know exactly what a "player hater" is. With sports so common with people of every age group, it really is a simple concept to understand.  First of all, don't try to find "player hater" in Webster's Dictionary. However, you can find it in the Rap Dictionary. A player hater is one who despises or speaks ill of another because he does not have any game of his own.

You need not be involved in sports to be a player hater. A player hater is a person who sees someone else with something and makes derogatory comments about that person merely because of jealousy. Actually, the player hater wants it himself, but because of obstacles in that person's way, he is like the fox who said the grapes were sour only because he could not get them.

A player haters show up on every circuit. A friend might get angry with you because you have lost a few pounds. He might even go so far as to say, "Man, you sure look weird now that you have lost 20 pounds. I wouldn't have done it."  Player Hater! Someone who has been single for so long finally sets a wedding date. Another single friend says, "Marriage will ruin everything for you." Player Hater! Have you ever gotten that long awaited house, car, promotion and someone bursts your bubble by saying something negative about it? If so, consider that person a player hater.

What would the Bible say about player haters? The tenth commandment says, "Do not covet" (Exodus 20:17). What would Jesus do about player haters? Jesus would tell a parable about player haters missing out on the game of life and never receiving what God has for them because they do not participate. Instead, they sit back and grumble about those who are doing well. Jesus would illustrate by an ordinary thing such as a baseball bat how a person's life can be adversely affected when he takes up his bat and leaves the game. Then Jesus would not give the audience the answer to His parable. He would leave them with one thought-provoking question, "Are you a player hater?"

There is no need to be a player hater. What God has for you is for you in God's own time when you follow His commandments and trust Him with your whole heart.
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Peer Pressure Is Not Just For Kids
Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd . . . (Exodus 23:2)

Peer pressure is not just for kids. Parents, grandparents, presidents of company, bank executives, office workers and all other people sometimes fall under the spirit of peer pressure. A peer is someone in your own category whether it is according to age, sex, religion, race, or job. Pressure is what causes you stress. Do you now see why peer pressure is not just for kids?
 
Even biblical people were involved in peer pressure. The people of Israel were surrounded by pagan people who worshipped idols. They often gave in to worldly pressures which brought God's judgment on them. The Bible warns of the consequences of succumbing to peer pressure.
 
We can resist peer pressure by avoiding the people and things that tempt us to compete and sin. Stay away from those who live in idleness and don't follow God. (2 Thessalonians 3:6-7). Do not side with those who are wrong even though they might be in the majority.
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God in the Details
Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell [tabernacle] among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you. (Exodus 25:8-9)

Have you ever thought how awesome God is in the details when He gives instructions? When He instructed Moses to build the tabernacle, He left nothing to chance. He was very specific in every area of its design.

On Mount Sinai, after God had given Moses the commandments, He instructed Moses to build a tabernacle. The tabernacle was to be the center of worship and a place where people could focus upon the presence of the Lord. This tabernacle was to replace the temporary tent that had been pitched outside the camp. God began the description of the tabernacle by giving His people the opportunity to participate in its construction. God specified in minute details the pattern for the tabernacle.
 
God is still "tabernacling" among us and He wants to be included in the details of our lives, no matter how small we think the situation is. Just as God gave Moses instructions to build the tabernacle, He also has given us instructions how to live our lives. The details are found in the Bible. Read it for God's instructions that He will show you.
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Where the Heart Is
And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel. (Exodus 25:22)

Juanita Bynum uses each piece of furniture in the tabernacle to take us from the outer court into the Holy of Holies in her best selling book, The Threshing Floor. This is a must read for those who want to enter into a deeper more intimate relationship with God.

Prophetess Bynum makes many profound and breathtaking statements concerning the tabernacle and its furnishings. She states: "The measurements between the cherubim on the mercy seat on top of the ark of the covenant are similar to the measurements of the human chest cavity. Your heart, the head of the temple, can hold tremendous power, which is imparted directly from heaven in third dimensional, threshing floor prayer. The heart is the only organ in our body that doesn't have to obey the brain. In fact, the heart keeps beating long after the brain is dead. " (page 172)

In other words, since God was enthroned on the mercy seat in a small space between two cherubim, He also can be enthroned within the chest cavity where our heart is.

There is the right amount of space in our heart for God to reside. There is no such thing as needing a big heart for God to enter. Our heart becomes big after God enters it; not before
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Chosen or Appointed?
See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts. (Exodus 31:2) Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. (Exodus 31:6)

Is there a difference between being chosen and being appointed? God thinks so. In the above scripture, He chose one and appointed another.

Moses had been on Mount Sinai for forty days while God gave him specific instructions for the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 25-31). Before Moses descends, God tells Moses that God Himself chose Bezalel from the tribe of Judah and appointed Oholiab from the tribe of Dan.

God did not leave this major task up to Moses to do the choosing. Moses might have chosen family members or friends and those he considered to be the best. Therefore, God chose one from the honorable tribe of Judah and appointed one from the lesser tribe of Dan.

So, what's the difference between being chosen and appointed? Bezalel was selected from among many choices to be the chief architect and designer of the tabernacle. He was preferred above others. He was picked out by preference. He was to be the leader of this project, and God filled him with the Spirit of God for this specific task. However, Oholiab was appointed to be his helper. He was not in charge, and he wasn't given the same authority and power.

Whether we have been chosen or appointed, we need to learn to stay in our designated role. If we have been chosen by God, we need to use the authority and power God has given us. We need to stay in the role of leader and stay out of the lesser position. On the other hand, if we have been appointed, we should stay in the helper's position. To do otherwise is to go against God. And God knows best.

God fills His chosen ones with the Spirit of God. He doesn't give as much power and authority to the ones He appoints to help. Therefore, if you have wiggled your way into a chosen position without the Spirit of God, woe unto you!

Chosen or Appointed? Know the difference and work in the Kingdom of God accordingly,
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Preaching That Kills; Preaching That Saves
The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand people died. (Exodus 32:28)
Those who heard Peter's message were saved and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (Acts 2:41)

When Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the tablets from God, Aaron and the people below were "carrying on their sensual, idolatrous feast." In righteous anger, Moses broke the tablets of the law as a witness of what the people had already done (broken the law). Some of the people never stopped carrying on in Moses' presence as he related to them what God said. The Bible says they were "out of control." God commanded Moses to have loyal followers slay those who refused to stop partying. The tribe of Levi responded and slayed the party animals with swords. Even close relatives were not spared. Here the Law brought death to three thousand people.
 
The first time the Law was preached 3,000 people were killed (Ex. 32:28). The first sermon preached after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit 3,000 were saved (Acts 2:41). At Sinai, 3,000 people died. At Pentecost the gospel of grace brought salvation to 3,000 people. What a contrast!
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Why Bow Your Head to God?
Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. (Exodus 34:8)

When you pray you should offer your whole self to God. The whole self seeks to be united with God. Although prayer comes from the heart, it is often expressed through our bodies. There are many forms of giving reverence to God. So, why bow your head?
 
Bowing one's head is done in respect, agreement, worship, recognition and prayer. It is yielding or submitting to authority. Bowing is a gesture of subordination because lowering the head leaves the bower vulnerable.

When you pray you should come before God with humility; not with pride and arrogance. When you bow your head, you express humility, reverence and adoration to God. Additionally, you are expressing holy submission to God while giving way to His will and not your own.  

To "bow down" is to recognize God as the Sovereign King and you as His subject.

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A Sure Way to Know You Are Gifted
Come, all of you who are gifted craftsmen. Construct everything that the LORD has commanded. (Exodus 35:10)

Many people profess to have certain gifts; yet they complain about what they do. One sure way to know you are gifted is to be able to do what you do with ease and with pleasure. The work is never too hard for someone whose strength comes from the Holy Spirit. Gifted people don't whine about what they have to do. They don't murmur about having to learn certain things. They don't complain about the blood, sweat and tears they experience.

When the directive is from God, a person can carry out the work without grumbling about how long it takes, how costly or how difficult it is. A sure way to know you are gifted is to be able to do what you do and not consider it laborious. Here are some questions to consider when evaluating whether you are gifted for a specific job or ministry.

  1. Would you do what you do if you were not compensated for doing it? 
  2. Would you do what you do if you never received any recognition for it?
  3. Would you be able to continue doing what you do in the face of adversity?
  4. Could you say concerning your gift that "my mind is made up, my heart is fixed and I will do it no matter what"?
If you answered "No" to any one of these questions, then maybe you are operating in your own strength and not in the power of the Holy Spirit. Maybe, just maybe, you are trying to do something God has not ordained.
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After Spending Time with God

Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. (Exodus 35:29)

Something happens when we spend time with God. Something wonderful happens when we spend time with God. And it shows in our face. Our face become radiant with pleasant facial expressions. Our countenance reveals the secret. No amount of cold cream or after shave lotion can make our faces glow like they do after spending a considerable amount of time with God. Some Christians' faces look like they have just been baptized in lemon juice. This couldn't be the result of spending time with God. 

In the above scripture, Moses had just spent 40 days and 40 nights on Mount Sinai with God. Moses' face shone so brightly that in order for him to talk to the people he had to wear a veil. And whenever Moses went before God, he would take the veil off, but when he spoke to the people he had to put the veil on because "the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining" (Exodus 34:35).
 
Spend time with God and notice how your face will shine.
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When Criticisms Become Compliments
Set up the tabernacle...place the ark of the testimony...bring in the lampstand...place the gold altar of incense...put the curtains at the entrance...place the altar of burnt offerings in front of the entrance...place the basin between...set up the courtyard...take the anointing oil . . . (Exodus 40:1-9)

Has anyone ever criticized you, and you felt it was actually a compliment? When we live for God, others' criticisms of us can be a compliment according to God's standards. When we live in the spirit, a worldly criticism can be a spiritual compliment.

Case in point: In yesterday's Sunday School lesson from Exodus 40, God gave Moses specific instructions on how to place the furniture in the tabernacle. God's planning and design of the tabernacle covered 12 chapters in Exodus (Exodus 25-31; 35-39). Even though the laity helped build the tabernacle, it was Moses whom God commanded to put the furniture in its proper place. In Exodus 40:1-9, God used at least 12 verbs to instruct Moses . . ."set, put, place, bring, take, etc." Then He used just as many prepositions and prepositional phrases . . . "on, in front of, at the entrance to, between, around, etc." I asked the question: "Why was God being so specific and so detailed? The discussion pointed to the fact that God is a God of order. God is a God of structure. God is a God of details.

I have been criticized many times for having the same qualities that describe God...orderly, structured, detailed. Wow! What a compliment! So, you see criticisms in the natural are really compliments in the spirit.

Usually people recognize a specific trait in a person and say, "You must have taken after your father, mother, aunt, or some other relative." I guess it is safe to say, "I have taken after my Father. I have inherited the traits of being orderly, structured, and detailed from my Father...my Heavenly Father." What others say as criticisms, God accepts as compliments. And I am honored to have people recognize that I have inherited those traits from my Father.

What noticeable traits have you inherited from your Father...your Heavenly Father?
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