VIDEO Where He leads…follow

Israel's_Escape_from_Egypt

Exodus 13:17-18
When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”
  So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.”

Years ago, I was having some trouble with my foot and went to see a podiatrist. I did the sole inserts, took the meds and did the exercise. Oh my goodness, the injections as well. None of these things was getting the job done and the next step was going to physical therapy. Since nothing was working, I asked my doctor if I was headed to surgery…because if I was, my preference was to ‘cut to the chase’ and just do it. We did!

I would have to admit that I am a person who would prefer to ‘cut to the chase’ in most cases. The Lord has taught me that He is the potter and I am clay and He does not always see it that way. I would not even begin to count the times that He has held me in His hands and said “wait, my child, Psalm_18:30wait.”

Today’s verses help us to understand that God’s ways are not always our ways and His way is always perfect. Faith reminds us that God is always at work And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).”

Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world but God never leads us to any place or circumstance that will be more than we can handle in Christ. In fact, He promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13, that “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

The Lord does not take the short route because He is protecting the Israelites from battles, conflict, fear, and the unwise decision of returning to Egypt. God is in fact, protecting them from themselves. The Lord created and knows the hearts of the Israelites and He knows my heart along with yours. I am sure had He asked the Israelites, they would have said, ‘let’s take the direct route, we are are equal to it.’ God knew He needed to protect them and He knows that we so need His wisdom and protection as well. Whatever route He chooses is always best and whatever route that is we are never alone. He has promised to be with us always, never to leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)!

2 Corinthians 3:18 declares “We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” Shout now Hallelujah! This is our experience as the precious children of God. Just know that there is no ‘cut to the chase’ with God. Trust Him and follow His lead! As Jesus said in 2 Corinthians 12:9,“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

We can trust God every step of the way! His is always a great and glorious plan not to harm, but to prosper and give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

I will follow

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Where He leads…follow

Baptism: Identifying With Christ

Matthew 3:1-17

Christ began his public ministry with baptism. At the time, John the Baptist was calling people to confess their sins and demonstrate repentance through immersion in the river. So why did Jesus, the sinless One, ask to be baptized?

At first, John actually refused, knowing that Jesus Christ was the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). But Jesus wasn’t just demonstrating repentance; He was sacrificially identifying with sinful humankind.

As Christians, we’re called to follow His example in all things, becoming more like Him as we grow in our faith. That’s why baptism is so important in following Jesus. As He was willing to identify Himself with us, we publicly identify with Him when we are baptized, which is a symbolic way of declaring, “I have trusted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and believe that the debt of my sin is fully paid through His sacrificial death on the cross. I believe that as He rose from the dead, I will also be resurrected through Him. I look forward to walking in accordance with the Lord’s will while I’m on the earth and living with Him throughout eternity. Since He loved me enough to identify Himself with me in my sin, I will show my love for Him by following His example right now, and for the rest of my days.”

Baptism demonstrates our connection not only with the Lord but also with our spiritual brothers and sisters—past, present, and future. Joining everyone who’s walked before us in faith, we are saying that we’re members of one body, redeemed and brought to life by the same Lord.

Getting to Know Him

That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection. Philippians 3:10

In The King and I, Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote a toe-tapping little song for Anna to sing about striking up a friendship with the King of Siam and his family. “Haven’t you noticed,” sang Anna, “suddenly I’m bright and breezy? Because of all the beautiful and new things I’m learning about you.” The chorus keeps repeating the thought: “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.”

If that’s true about the King of Siam, it’s much truer about the King of Kings!

As we mature in our walk with the Lord, we’ll learn more about His goodness with every step we take. Our Christian faith isn’t a religion but a relationship. Prayer and Bible study aren’t simply rituals, but conversations. Our God isn’t just a distant force; He’s an ever-present friend. The focus of our faith is getting to know Him better.

The Amplified Bible Classic Edition renders Philippians 3:10 like this: “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly].”

Does not every child of God long… to know just as much about his heavenly Father as he can learn?
J. I. Packer, in Knowing God

The Leviathan

“Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? . . . None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?” (Job 41:1, 10)

Leviathan was a large and fierce marine animal and may be the source for the dragon stories. God uses a whole chapter to describe this creature! It had limbs, power, and graceful proportions. It also had teeth in the “doors of his face” that were “terrible round about.” The leviathan had scales fitted so close together “that no air can come between them.”

We might compare the leviathan to an ichthyosaur or a mosasaur, or maybe a pliosaur. It is also possible that this enormous animal could have been a Spinosaurus. But when God speaks of “neesings” that cause “sparks of fire [to] leap out,” with smoke coming out of its nose like “a seething pot or caldron,” we get the impression that this creature was something very unusual!

There are, of course, many legends and stories about fire-breathing dragons of the sea and land—all of which contain references to fire that comes from the mouth or nostrils of these ancient animals. Whatever this creature may have been, God Himself uses it as an example of a real animal that Job would have known either from his own personal experience or from current accounts of active commerce that plied the waters of the ancient world.

It is interesting to note that Job understood the need to learn that “the beasts . . . and the fowls of the air . . . and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?” (Job 12:7-9). Perhaps God wanted him to understand something of His implacable justice and punishment. HMM III

The Work of God in Redemption

I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee. —Luke 15:18

God formed us for His pleasure, and so formed us that we, as well as He, can, in divine communion, enjoy the sweet and mysterious mingling of kindred personalities. He meant us to see Him and live with Him and draw our life from His smile. But we have been guilty of the “foul revolt” of which Milton speaks when describing the rebellion of Satan and his hosts. We have broken with God. We have ceased to obey Him or love Him, and in guilt and fear have fled as far as possible from His presence….

The whole work of God in redemption is to undo the tragic effects of that foul revolt, and to bring us back again into right and eternal relationship with Himself. This requires that our sins be disposed of satisfactorily, that a full reconciliation be effected and the way opened for us to return again into conscious communion with God and to live again in the Presence as before. Then by His prevenient working within us He moves us to return. This first comes to our notice when our restless hearts feel a yearning for the presence of God and we say within ourselves, “I will arise and go to my Father.” That is the first step, and as the Chinese sage Lao-tze has said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step.”

Lord, we all know people who have yet to take that first step back to You. May I today be an instrument the Holy Spirit can use to draw others to You. Amen.

Have “Frozen” Unbelief?

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief (Hebrews 3:12)

Study the life of faithful Noah and you will know what he would say if he could come and counsel you today: “Whenever you hear God’s truth,” he would say, “you will go either in the direction you are moved, or you will just wait.

“If you wait, you will find that the next time you hear the truth, it will not move you quite as much. The next time, it will move you less—and the time will come when that truth will not move you at all!”

We need that message in our generation, for there is a distressing kind of “frozen” unbelief all around us. Men and women are paying little heed to any of God’s warning signals.

As a farm boy, I learned the lesson of little chicks—an easy prey for hawks overhead. The mother hen heard the high-pitched cry of the soaring hawk and gave her own special “cluckcluck” of warning. Her chicks scampered to her side and soon she had them all tucked safely under her feathers.

Thank God, there is a true faith that is not ashamed to move in the direction of the Ark of Safety!

The lives of some of God’s people

The lives of some of God’s people fill us with holy astonishment. Strange and marvelous are the ways which God used in their case to find his own. Blessed be his name, he never relinquishes the search until the chosen are sought out effectually. They are not a people sought today and cast away tomorrow. Almightiness and wisdom combined will make no failures; they shall be called “Sought out!” That any should be sought out, is matchless grace, but that we should be sought out is grace beyond degree! We can find no reason for it but God’s own sovereign love, and can only lift up our heart in wonder, and praise the Lord that this day we wear the name of “Sought out.”