He Still Leads…

StraightPath

Moses and the children of Israel had been brought out of their four hundred years of bondage from within the land of Egypt by God’s mighty hand.  “GOD led the people…And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night” (Exodus 13:18, 21, NKJV).

God led His people, gaining honor as Israel knew that He was the Lord their Great God.  The Egyptians AND all who heard knew as well that He was the Great God to whom none compare!  Moses sang:

“Who among the gods is like YOU, O LORD?  Who is like YOU— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?  …In YOUR unfailing love YOU will lead the people YOU have redeemed.  In YOUR strength YOU will guide them to YOUR holy dwelling.  The nations will hear and tremble” (Exodus 15:11-14, NIV84) [*SEE NOTE].

Even Jethro the priest of Midian heard and rejoiced, “Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods” (Exodus 18:11, NKJV)!

Soon thereafter, “there were thunderings and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain…[which] was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire…And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up” (Exodus 19:16-20, NKJV).  It was from this mountain that God met with Moses.  As Moses met with God, the people incorrectly assumed that Moses was delaying and that God was no longer present with them…they even questioned whether God even existed!  They had forgotten that the I AM had led them out from their bondage in Egypt!

I’ve always wondered how something so unforgettable as Israel’s exodus from Eqypt –with the signs and wonders, the plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea on dry ground– could be so readily forgotten.  But then again, is this something that we really must wonder?  Don’t we have a tendency to doubt in moments we incorrectly assume that God is silent?  Don’t we forget the unforgettable– that the same I AM who delivered the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt has led us out from our bondage in sin?

Friend, be reminded:  God still leads!  Do not think that He cannot lead you!

You may be someone who has experienced the glory of the Lord’s presence descending in your “camp” and you’re not sure when His leading will take you onward in your journeys.  Don’t assume that He is delaying or has forgotten about you…He still leads!  He will do so according to the pleasure of His good will.  He will gain honor as you and all who hear will know that it is the Lord your God who leads you!

Alternatively you may be someone who believes that God is not present, that He is not near you or perhaps does not exist.  Maybe you’re bound by sin– you can feel the heaviness of the chains, they are strangling you, but you assume that there is no way out, that you’ll never be free.  You need to know that He still leads!  There is a way out: His name is Jesus.  Jesus is able and wants to free you from the bondage of sin!  “[I]f the Son [Jesus] makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36, NASB95)!

 “You lead, I’ll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow,
Your grip, Your grace, You know the way, You guide me tenderly,
When You lead, I’ll follow, just light the way and I’ll go,
Cause I know what You got for me is more then I can see,
So lead me on…, just lead me on…!”  (You Lead, Jamie Grace)

Victoria

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*NOTE: “The emphasis of this verse is God’s uniqueness.  The mention of the gods should not be understood to suggest polytheism…The prose/poetry plural ʾĕlōhı̂m is, of course, routinely used to refer to “their [other people’s] gods,” “other gods,” “no gods,” “foreign gods,” and the like.  If we were to put words in their mouths, Moses and those who sang this song would have meant by “who among the gods is like you”: “You are infinitely superior to all real and false superhuman beings, including angels heavenly and fallen, and even to what the pagans think their nonexistent gods are.”” (Stuart, Douglas K., “The New American Commentary”, Broadman & Holman Publishers: Nashville, TN, 2006, pp. 354-55).

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Listening?

NotListening

I recently heard a recording of a remarkably interesting dialogue.  It was from a “radio show” piece in which the “host” (protagonist) conversed with an individual who was referred to as the “caller-inner” (antagonist).  The “caller-inner” was very blunt and stanch.  He had called in to the “radio show” because, and only because, he was bored and had nothing else to do with his time.

The “host”, however, firmly believed that it was because of God’s providence that he had called.  The discussion came to the topic of prayer with God.  Notwithstanding the persistent negativity of the “caller-inner”, the “host” remained calm and gently kept the conversation pointing back to God and His Word.

First, the “caller-inner” did not believe that he could talk to God.  “God doesn’t want to hear from me, I am nothing”, he said, “He doesn’t need to be bothered by me”.  And the “caller-inner” kept repeating these contentions, while ignoring the pleas of the “host” that God indeed wanted to hear from him, as He wants to hear from each one of us!  Second, the “caller-inner” did not believe that God talked, or would even want to talk, to him.  To this the “host” responded, “But HE is talking to you right now, you’re just not listening”.                          

This two-man “radio show” was recorded years ago with a Fisher Price cassette recorder by my brothers, who were then under ten years old!  Initially, I laughed when I heard it.  But then I thought seriously about the message.  How many people actually believe that they cannot talk to God?  How many believe that God does not talk to them?  And the kicker: How many people have we done a disservice to by keeping silent and letting them continue in their disbelief, not sharing the Message of Hope with them?

You know, it’s not by accident that I recently heard this “radio show”…. and it’s certainly not by accident that you are reading this post right now.  I am compelled to tell you that…

–  God is not some-far-off-maybe-existent-force.

–  He is the Eternal God Jehovah who made everything and continues to sustain everything that we would seek Him and reach out for Him and find Him, for He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:24-27).

–  He is not an unknowable God, He can be known.

–  If we seek Him, He will let us find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).

–  He does not forsake those who seek Him (Psalm 9:10).

–  God is the One who hears prayers (Psalm 65:2).

There is no God like the Lord, the God of Israel in heaven above or on earth beneath.  Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Him.  Yet He regards the prayer of His servant and His servant’s supplication (1 Kings 8:23,27-28, paraphrased).

You can talk to God.  He desires to hear from you!  God speaks to you.  Are you listening?

Victoria

“Arch Enemies”

ArchEnemies

Holding grudges and being angry are things we all struggle with.  In a sense, each one of us has an “arch enemy” or “arch enemies” at some time or another.  You know that person who no matter what he or she says or does just makes your blood boil?

How many times have we become hateful?  How many grudges have we held?  How many times have we let the sun go down on our anger (Ephesians 4:26)?

It’s easy for each of us to justify ourselves by saying, “But that person hurt me, so he or she was deserving of such emotions and treatment”!  Today our world is filled with so much hatred and anger.  It’s sad to say that our schools, workplaces, homes, and even our churches are among the very locations in which such emotions and treatments transpire.

Why are we contributing to the fulfillment of Matthew 24:12, “And because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of the many shall wax cold” (ASV1901)?  What happened to forgiveness?  Have we forgotten Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:14-15, “if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (NKJV82)?

Jesus set the perfect example of forgiveness for us to emulate — “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son (Romans 5:8&10, NASB95)!  As Jesus was being beaten and hung on a cruel cross, He endured it for us that our sins may be forgiven!  As the whip and the thorns and the nails penetrated His flesh, He was thinking of YOU in love and grace and mercy!  Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (NASB95).

God does not want us to remain His enemies and unforgiven, neither does He want us to remain unforgiving toward those we consider to be our enemies.  Remember that we wronged God -and more severely than any person has or could wrong us- yet He lavished the riches of His grace on us, making His forgiveness accessible to us!

Just as Christ forgave us, we must also forgive others.  Not begrudgingly, but with love- the love Christ showed us.  “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God…We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:7&19, NIV84).

Eph.4.31-32

Mtt.5.43-44

Nicholas, Vincent, and Victoria

True Hope Ministry Team

From Obscurity To Clarity

Hello friends!  I hope that your beginning to this new year is going exceptionally well!  I’m sitting here attempting to write this post with this little guy (pictured below) staring at me and barking for my attention, “I’m-here-I’m-here-I’m-here”!

Gus (aka Guster Mythbuster)

Gus (aka Guster Mythbuster)

Anyway…I would like to share with you a little bit about my beginning to this new year.  Each year for the past few years I have adopted a sort of “theme verse for the year”.  For 2011, mine was: “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV84).  For 2012, mine was: “Draw me after You and let us run together” (Song of Solomon 1:4, NASB95).   And this year’s is… “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NASB95).

Last week, I picked up the Heroes of the Faith book, “Amy Carmichael: A Life Abandoned to God”.  I came to chapter thirteen and was cut to the heart with these words:

“No charge of idleness can be made against us, as a whole.  But how is it that so much of our busy energy appears to be expanded in vain?  Holy Scripture, personal experience, the voice of conscience, all these alike suggest one answer– we have neglected largely the means which God Himself has ordained for anointing from on High…Prayer!” 1

OUCH!  How much of my busy energy has been in vain?  Am I guilty of largely neglecting the means which God Himself has ordained for anointing from on High?  Have I spent more time guessing or praying?

Is not it better to beseech God for clarity, listen and obey, than attempt to obscurely peek in “doors” and “windows”, misapplying the assertion that such obscure peeks are “steps of faith”?       

It is my prayer this year that I would not neglect the means which God Himself has ordained for anointing from on High!  Instead, I want to pray as I should, coming to God believing that “He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV).  Maybe I could even learn a lesson from little Gus, who quite obviously knows how to diligently and devotedly “seek”.

Here I am!  Here I am!  Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening (1 Samuel 3:10, paraphrased).

 Victoria

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          1. Wellman, S., (1998), ” Amy Carmichael: A Life Abandoned to God”, p. 177, Qtd. Carmichael, A., (1950), “This One Thing”, pp. 79-83.