1 Let's Just Go With God
"And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." Exodus 33:12-15
God told Moses, "My presence shall go with thee..." and Moses replied, "If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." God spoke to Moses from a burning bush on the backside of the desert in Exodus 3. Moses had excuses. He said the people would not believe that God sent him. "And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee." (Exodus 4:1) Another excuse is in verse 10, "And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." Moses had been brought up in the palace of Egypt. He may have not been fluent in the Hebrew language. But God said, "Go..." and Moses went. "And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life. And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand." (Exodus 4:19-20) By faith, Moses chose to go with God. "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:24-27) Let's put away the excuses and Go With God!
2 "Lo, I Am With You Alway"
"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unot the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:20
I once heard a man say that Jesus said, "Lo, I am with you alway" so he stayed low and would not fly. My husband, daughter, and I just flew almost a thousand miles to visit with our son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. When we started planning the trip to welcome a new baby to the family, I started praying for a safe trip. As I sat on the plane, waiting for the pilot to head down the runway, I prayed. Moments lingered as a crew sprayed the plane apparenlty to clear away the ice, and I prayed. I was not afraid to fly, for I know that Jesus is with me always, high or low. He goes with us daily, through our highs and our lows. He is there in the valleys, just as He is with us on the mountains. Over the next few weeks we will try to look at verses on a new theme, "Go With God". the lord is always with us, but there are times in our lives when we don't follow Him. When I trafvelled from North Carolina to Minnesota I wanted to invite the Lord to go with me, so I prayed. I asked Him to be with us and keep us safe. As our plane landed safely back home, I thanked Him for going with us and keeping us safe all the way. I prasie the Lord and thank Him that we can walk with Him and talk with Him anytime, and anyplace.
3 Jesus Calls, "Follow Me"
"And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him." Matthew 4:18-20
As we begin our devotions on going with God, let's look at the beginning of Jesus' ministry on earth. As He walked along the shores of Galilee, He called to two fishermen, "Follow me..." and they left all and followed him. If we want to go with God through life's journey, we must first make the decision to follow Christ. We must recognize that we are lost in our sinful state and we can only reach heaven by repenting and trusting in the Lord to save us and give us eternal life. As we confess our sin to God, the burden is lifted and we can rejoice in the Lord's free gift of salvation. We trun to God, and trun away from the things of the world, as we begin our journey following Him. Then we too, can become firshers of men, just as these two disciples.
4 Have You Left Him Behind?
"Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him." Luke 2: 41-45
When my first son was small, I remember dreaming once that I lost him. I woke up in a cold sweat and my heart was racing. It must have been an awful feeling for Mary and Joseph when they realized that they lost their son, Jesus. They fainlly found Him in the temple after three days. Let's look back to the beginning of this story. Verses 43 and 44 tell us, "And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance." Jesus tarried in Jerusalem, in the temple, and Joseph and Mary didn't realize that He was not with them. You go to church and worship on Sunday, but do you leave Jesus at church? Do you talk with Him in prayer daily? Do you read His Word and let Him speak to you during the week? It is sad that many people who claim to love the Lord, don't realize that they leave Him behind at church on Sunday, just "supposing" that He is with them.
5 The Lord Was Departed From Him
"And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him." Judges 16:20
The story of Samson is one of the saddest stories in the Bible. God began preparing Samson to serve Him even before he was born. "And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." (Judges 13: 2-5) "And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol." (Judges 13: 24, 25) Samson was given 3 laws of the Nazarite vow and he broke each one. After Delilah called the Philistines to cut off his hair we read in Judges 16: 20, "And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him." Notice the last sentence of that verse, "And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him." God is the source of our strength. Jesus said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee," and of that we can be sure. He also said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." If we want God's power and blessings on our lives, we need to follow Him and do His will.
6 Give Thanks
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:18
This is a good verse to remember and practice as we go through life's journey. This morning I awoke and it was pouring rain, I lost a button that popped off my rain coat, and I was ten minutes late for work because of a wreck. I could have let these small annoyances become clouds over my head to dampen my spirit all day, but God gave me reason to be thankful in each instance. It was actually a blessing to wake up to the sound of rain, because that meant the temperature was warmer than predicted and I didn't have to drive to work in snow or ice. I was backing out of the driveway when I heard my seatbelt pop the button off my raincoat and it flew against the window. I turned and looked over my shoulder to see where it went, and I saw that in backing around an extra car in my driveway I was about to hit a tree. I thanked God for making me take that extra look that put me back on the right path. I also thanked God that I got to work safely, and prayed for the ones who were in the wreck that slowed me down. Remember this verse as you go with God day by day, and thank Him for the little things He sends your way.
7 Going In Circles
"And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day;..." Joshua 14:10-12
Susanna has a new hamster. It is of the dwarf variety and is not much bigger than my thumb. I enjoyed watching it get acclimated to its new cage. I watched as he ran on his wheel for a minute or two, then he jumped off and looked around to see where he was. He got back on the wheel for a minute and jumped off and sat there looking first to the right, then to the left and back to the right. He went through this ritual for a long time and after each trip on the wheel he looked at his surroundings as if he expected to be in a new place. I thought of my evening ritual of running for half an hour and ending in the same place I began. This is ok for our physical bodies, because we are pumping blood to our hearts. This should not be the case in our spiritual lives. The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness and Caleb did not get to go in and possess the land when he searched it out at 40, but he had to wander with the children of Israel and he finally claimed his mountain at 85. Are you going forward in your spiritual life, or are you wandering in circles? You may be putting forth a lot of time and energy, just as Susanna's new pet, just to wake up each morning in the same condition. Let's go with God and be like Caleb and claim our spiritual mountain. Caleb was 85. I don't think it's too late for you and me.
8 Walk Humbly With Thy God
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:10
My supervisor sent out an email today praising me for some work I did last year. I thought that was really nice of him, but it went to my head, literally. I opened the upper cabinet in my cubicle and a plaque fell off the top shelf onto my head. My co-workers had given it to me for Christmas and I put it on the shelf but opening and closing the door must have jarred it too close to the edge. It is several inches wide and about seven inches high and quite heavy. A large piece broke off the corner when it hit the floor after bouncing off my head, but the verse was not marred. The plaque reads, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." (James 4:10) This reminds me of the verse that held this spot last week. "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8) If we want to Go With God, then we must humble ourselves in His sight. Don't let compliments and praise go to your head.
9 Jonah Tried To Run From God
“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” Jonah 1:1-3
Susanna's hamster ran away. She was holding him and trying to let him get used to being in her hands when suddenly he sprang from her fingers and darted across the floor. We tried to keep a watch on where he was going, to the corner, behind the chair, around the piano, down the hall, and into her bedroom. I had him under the palm of my hand twice, and he squeezed between my fingers. She almost had him several times, but he kept getting away again. After about an hour she finally caught him. There was a short time when we couldn't find him and we even wondered if we would ever see him again. He is so small that he could hide anywhere. We are talking this week about "Going with God", but sometimes I think we are like Susanna's hamster and like Jonah in our verses above and we run. Jonah tried to run "from the presence of the LORD". Jonah crawled down in the sides of the ship and went to sleep. But God knew where he was. God sent a storm into his life that didn't end until he decided to "Go with God". God knows what's best for our lives and we would do well to follow Him.
10 Will You Go For God?
“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims:... And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” Isaiah 6:1-3
We can read of Uzziah in II Chronicles 26:3-5. "Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did. And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper." Uzziah was a good king. He wasn't perfect, but he sought to follow God, and he prospered. When a Godly leader comes out of office, we don't always know what to expect with the next leader. We can follow Isaiah's example and look up. He looked up and saw the Lord. Once he saw the Lord, he saw his own low estate. "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." (Isaiah 6:5) He also saw that the people needed God. "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." (Isaiah 6:8) And he was willing to go. People need the Lord. Will you go for God?
11 Are You Ready?
"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." Matthew 25:1-13
As I was going to work this morning I noticed that the driver in front of me was brushing her hair. At the next stop light I used my rear view mirror to put on my lipstick. We have an old tape of Red Skelton performing a comedy routine of a woman driver who uses the rear view mirror to put on make-up and fix her hair. That was recorded back in 1966, and I guess it hasn't changed much. We do this because we leave the house before we are ready. Our lives are so busy we rush here, and rush there, sometimes before we are really ready to go. The Lord told about 10 who were invited to a wedding. Five were ready, and they went in to the marriage, while the other five were too late and the door was shut. Chapter 19 of the book of Revelations tells us about the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. "And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Revelation 19:9) The Word of God is true. Christ is coming back for His Bride, those who have believed His Word and are saved. Are you ready?
12 In Times Of Trouble
"In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me." Psalm 86:7
I was going to work one morning and the car in front of me hit a deer. There were no deer crossing signs, and it came from a driveway of someone's house. The car slammed on brakes, but could not stop quickly enough to avoid hitting the deer. The injured animal got up and went off bearing his weight on three legs to a field on the other side on the road. I drove more slowly and carefully the rest of the way to work that morning. Sometimes as we travel on life's highway things come up completely unexpected and we stop with a jolt. Sometimes we just slow down and proceed cautiously. At other times we may get injured by the impact. How many times have you heard someone say, "I never saw it coming," when they looked back at the train wrecks in their lives? We all have times of trouble. We all know the story of David and Goliath. David put his trust in God and used a sling and a stone to defeat the giant. He had victory. We don't think about the trouble that followed. King Saul became jealous and tried to kill David. David faced the giant -- but the trouble from King Saul came unexpectedly and he had to flee. Some problems come as giants in our lives, and we see them and can prepare for them. Other troubles come when we least expect it. Put your trust in God like David. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;" (Psalm 46:1-2)
13 "To Go" Or "To Eat Here"
"How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Psalm 119:103
Way back in my high school days I worked in a fast food restaurant. We daily greeted our customers with, "Is that to go or to eat here"? That was a long time ago, but that question is still as common as, "Do you want fries with that?" As Christians, we feed on the Word of the Lord. In our verse above the Psalmist said, "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" We don't even have to choose "to go" or "to eat here". We can go to church and be fed during the preaching of the Word, and we can take it with us as we meditate on what we heard. We can read our Bible in the morning, and remember what we read throughout the day. There are verses we memorized as children, and we have carried them in our hearts for years. After we get saved, God gives us a special appetite for His Word. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." (I Peter 2:2-3) Don't spoil your appetite for God's Word by filling up on the junk food of the world. And remember, as you "Go with God" you can take the Word with you.
14 Walking With The Lord On The Road To Emmaus
"And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him... And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village... And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" Portions of Luke 24:13-32
Jesus appeared to these disciples as they walked on the road to Emmaus, and talked to them of the prophecies concerning Himself. They did not know Him until they had fellowship with Him and He blessed the bread and broke it, and gave it to them. Then they said, "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" The disciples did not recognize that the Lord was walking with them. When we are saved and we choose to go with God, He is always there, even when we don't "feel" His presence. Keep on walking with the Lord. Stay in His Word and your eyes will be opened as He speaks to your heart.
15 When We Don't Understand
“Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?” Proverbs 20:24
From time to time God wakes me up and puts a special person on my heart and I quietly pray for God to give that person the help he or she needs. At other times God wakes me up early and impresses me to read my Bible. As I read in Proverbs this morning I prayed that God would show me what He wanted me to see from His Word. Then I came to this verse. “Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?” (Proverbs 20:24) I have often heard people say, "I just don't know what's going on." Many times things happen that we don't understand. Our verse shows us that this is a normal feeling. God is in control and He sees what is best for our lives. He sees the "now" and the "future". He hears what we say, and He knows our heart. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6) Let's make the choice to "Go with God" and keep trusting Him to lead us, even when we don't understand what's going on.
16 Going To Church
"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." Psalm 122:1
One way to "go with God" is by going to church. I enjoy going to church. I like the fellowship with Christian brothers and sisters. I enjoy the singing and learn from the preaching and teaching of God's Word. God gives me spiritual help, comfort, peace, and blessings. I can truly say with David, "I was glad when they said unot me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." He also ended the 23rd Psalm, "...I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." We gain so much from being faithful to the house of God, but don't forget our primary reason for going. That is to worship the Lord our God. Worship. Worship in your singing. Worship in your praise. Worship in your giving. Worship with love toward other Chrisitan believers. If you are looking for a church home and you live in central North Carolina, let me invite you to visit with us at Pine Grove Baptsit, where Interstate 85 and Highway 62 meet. You can also visit our church website at www.pinegrovebapt.net.
17 Walking With God
"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Amos 3:3
Many people are "into" walking now. It is said to be great exercise. A friend and I used to walk during our lunch hour when we worked in the same building. After she left I stopped walking because there was no one else who wanted to walk, no one was in agreement with the idea of walking. If you are going to walk with someone you need to be in agreement with them. It would not be very fun to walk with someone and argue the whole time. We can also look at walking together as a way of life with someone. A husband and wife need to be in agreement on major issues in order to "walk together" in unity. Business partners also need to be in agreement to carry on a partnership successfully. How about our walk with God? We know the story of Enoch. "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (Genesis 5:24) His fellowship with God was so great that one day as they walked together, God just let Enoch walk on to heaven. To walk with God we need to be in agreement with God. We can read of the sin of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden." (Genesis 3:8) When Adam and Eve sinned they broke their communion with God and they could no longer walk in the garden with God. There are many verses that tell us how to walk with God. "(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)" (II Corinthians 5:7) "...walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1) We can walk with God, and we can also walk with our brothers and sisters in Christ. "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (I John 1:7) One last thought... when we walk with God through life, He will walk with us through death. "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)
18 Noah Walked With God By Faith
"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. these are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." Genesis 6:8-9
We saw yesterday that Enoch walked with God all the way to heaven. Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden of Eden until they sinned. We saw in the book of Amos that we must be agreed to walk with someone. Today we see that "Noah walked with God." "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (Hebrews 11:7) Noah walked with God by faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtrained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." (Hebrews 11:1-3) If we want to "Go with God", we must have faith. Just as Noah built the ark before he had ever seen rain, God sometimes asks us to do things for purposes that we can't see. He may lead us to do something today to prepare us for the future. We walk by faith. Last week we looked at Proverbs 20:24, “Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?” Paul states it very clearly in II Corinthians 5:7, "(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)" Let's exercise our faith and keep walking with God.
19 Run The Race
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2
The 11th chapter of Hebrews names some of the great men and women of faith. We read of Abel and a more excellent sacrifice, Enoch who pleased God, Noah who prepared an ark to the saving of his house. Abraham and Sara "looked for a city... whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11:10) Moses, "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." (Hebrews 11:25) These men and women, and many more, kept the faith. They didn't quit when things got tough. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." There are times in our lives when we feel like quitting. We think that the things we do for our Lord are so small and that nobody really cares what we do. In II Peter 2:5 we read that Noah was a preacher of righteousness, and he may have felt discouraged when people didn't listen, but his family was saved. Don't get discouraged if people laugh at you. Don't quit when you feel like giving up. Run your race. Jesus didn't quit when He faced the cruel death on the cross. He finished his course. Keep on keeping on.
20 Hindered Along The Way
"Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?" Galatians 5:7
Sunday night as we drove home from church it looked as though we were zooming through space at incredible speeds as the snowflakes hit against the windshield. In a short while the trees and ground glistened in the night with the cover of new fallen snow. Several inches had fallen by morning and I decided to stay home. The snow was beautiful, but it hindered me from driving to work. Paul asked the Galatian believers, "Ye did run well; who did hinder you...?" As we go along our Christian journey things come along that hinder us. Sometimes we are hindered by sin in our lives, or carelessness on our part. Other times we have no control over the problems. Back in Genesis 37:3-4 we read, "Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him." The jealousy of Joseph's brothers became a huge stumbling block and hindrance in his life. If you read more of the story of Joseph in the next few chapters of Genesis you will find that several circumstances beyond his control kept pushing him down. But God was still with him and in the end he could say, "Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life... And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now is was not you that sent me hither, but God..." (Genesis 45:5-8) When we make the choice to Go With God, that does not mean that we will have no problems. Sometimes things happen in our lives that seem to hinder us, but remember that God is still in control.
21 Sometimes We March, Sometimes We Wait
"Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days." Joshua 6:1-3
Moses has died. Joshua is the new leader and the eyes of all the people are on him. After wandering in the wilderness for forty years, they are finally going in to possess the Promised Land. Day 1. The men of war are ready. The leader speaks. March around the city once and don't make a sound, then return to camp. The army marches toward Jericho. The walls reach higher as they near the city. They march on around the back. There is no way to go over the walls of this great city. They march back to camp in silence. Day 2. Look towards the ground. Is there any soft earth to dig under the walls? Not on this side. Not on the back. No, there is no way to dig under the great walls. Day 3. The army marches again. Eyes searching. Are there any weak spots in the walls? Are there cracks in the foundation? Is the gate solid? For 6 days Joshua leads the army around the city in silence. Around the city, and back to camp. We talked about walking with the Lord. We talked about running our race. Today I thought of the verse in Isaiah 40:31, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." I remembered the story of Jericho. The army marched, and then they waited. For six days they focused on their problem and for six days they saw that there was no way to overcome. We often have problems in our lives and we march all around them, searching for a way to overcome. The walls may be uncrossable and we can't break through. The magnitude may even leave us speechless. We pray and we wait. We wait and we pray. Then, just as the walls of Jericho fell on the seventh day, the walls of our problems begin to tumble. The Lord gives the victory. We realize that there was no human way possible for us to overcome, and that God, and God alone gave us the victory. I believe that God let the army of Israel march around those walls for six days, then seven times on the seventh day, so that they could see that there was no way they could win this battle on their own. They marched and they waited. And they trusted in the Lord God Almighty to give them the victory. Let's Go With God. March when God says, "March". Wait when God says, "Wait". And trust in Him to give the victory.
22 The Road To Sodom
"And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly." Genesis 13:10-13
Which way are you going? Abram and Lot had great riches and much cattle and their herdmen argued over the land, so Abram let Lot choose which way he would go, and Abram said he would go in the other direction. Lot chose the grassy plains of Jordan. He went toward Sodom, the wicked city. Let's compare the move of Lot with Psalm 1:1, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." Lot went toward Sodom, and then he pitched his tent toward Sodom. He walked, he stood, and in Genesis 19:1 we see him sitting. "And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;" Lot went to Sodom because it looked good. When we start walking in the way of the world, we will soon be standing in the wrong places, and we will eventually sit in the wrong places. Lot thought he could prosper, but he ended up losing everything he had, except for two unmarried daughters. Look at Genesis 19:14-17. "And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place: for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." Lot lost his testimony. When he tried to get his sons in law to come with them "he seemed as one that mocked". They just laughed at him. When we pitch our tents too close to the sin of the world, we lose our testimony. We are no longer a witness to the world. Lot's wife looked back at all she was losing; her home, her family, her friends, her worldly possessions, and she turned into a pillar of salt. God was merciful to Lot, but what a price he paid!
23 The Path Of Life
"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalm 16:11
"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:1-3) Nicodemus looked for the path of life. Many of us know John 3:16 which Jesus told Nicodemus, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Did Nicodemus choose the path of everlasting life? If we turn a few pages to John 19:39 & 40 we see Nicodemus at the death of Jesus. "And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury." Nicodemus was a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews. He may have depended on his religion to give him life, but Jesus told him, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." (John 3:7) Nicodemus learned that religion couldn't give him eternal life. There is only one way to have everlasting life in heaven above. You must be born again. It is as easy as A, B, C. Admit that you are a sinner. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) Believe in your heart that Jesus died to save you from your sin. Confess with your mouth. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him for the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9 & 10) You may go to church, but that won't get you to heaven. You may give tithes to the Lord, but you can't buy your way to heaven. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) Won't you follow this path of life?
24 They Followed The Cloud
"And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the LORD the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the LORD they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents." Numbers 9:15-18
When I have had big decisions to make I have often said that I wish God would guide me like He led the children of Israel in the wilderness. It would be easy if God showed us a big cloud that would lead us to the college He wanted us to attend. And when we are ready to go to work, how great it would seem if we could follow the cloud to just the right place and they would have just the right job opening at just the right time. I often thought the children of Israel had it so easy, because the Bible says, "So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night." All they had to do was look out and know when to travel and when to rest. They never had to worry that they were going in the wrong direction. But I am reminded of the words of my Lord in Matthew 28:20, "...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Also in John 14:26-27, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us to lead us and guide us. And God gives us faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) We don't have a cloud leading us in the way we should go, but we have the Holy Ghost and we have the Word of the Lord, and God gives us faith.
25 Give The Lord Your Basket
"After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples... And Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip. Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?" John 6:1-9
As we continue our verses on Going With God, we see that there were many that followed the Lord as He walked along the shores of Galilee. In this familiar story 5,000 men followed Jesus, plus the women and children. When the people were hungry, Andrew brought a young boy to the Lord who had a small lunch. I wonder if this was the only one in that great multitude who had some food. He was small, yet he was the one mentioned who was willing to give what he had to the Lord. As we choose to Go With God, we need to give Him our basket. Whether it is our talents, our time, or our tithes, we should give all we have to God to use for His glory. Don't follow God just for the miracles, but give your all to Him and Go With God!
26 Turn Again To The Lord
"Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens." Lamentations 3:40-41
How many Christians have made the decision to Go With God, and somewhere along the way they lost their focus and direction? I am reminded of the story that Jesus told of the prodigal son. "And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want... And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." (Luke 15:12-20) Have you spent all? Are you "in want" and in need? Listen to the words of Jeremiah, "Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens." Just as the father watched for his son to come back home, God is waiting for us to turn back to Him again. The prodigal son sank really low before "he came to himself". Don't keep veering farther off course. Turn again to the Lord. Bow your head to God and lift up your heart and hands to God in the heavens.
27 Going The Wrong Way
"And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with thee? And Balaam said unto God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying, Behold, there is a people come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come now, curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out. And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed." Numbers 22:9-12
When my son was taking driver's ed the instructor told him to go the wrong way on a one-way street, and he did. The teacher then fussed at him for going the wrong way, telling him that he should have been more observant. Balak sent messengers to Balaam to ask him to curse the children of Israel, and God told him not to go with them. The king sent more honorable men and promised to promote him with a very great honor, so Balaam asked God again if he could go. God told him that he could go, but only say what God told him to say. "And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him..." (Numbers 22:22) The donkey he was riding saw the angel of the LORD with his sword drawn in his hand and the donkey turned out of the way and went into a field. Balaam hit the donkey and sent him on, but when he saw the angel of the LORD again, he crushed Balaam's foot against the wall, and Balaam hit her again. When they came to a narrow place the donkey fell down under Balaam and Balaam got mad and hit the donkey with his staff. Then God opened the donkey's mouth and the donkey said, "What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?" (Numbers 22:28) Then God opened the eyes of Balaam and he saw the angel of the LORD. "And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again. And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak." (Numbers 22:34-35) How many times have we been like Balaam? We ask God if we should go to a certain place, and God tells us "no". But we see all the gold and silver, or popularity we might gain if we go, so we ask God again if we should go. God wants us to follow Him, but He allows us to choose our own way, even though He knows it is the wrong direction. We take our eyes off God and can't see danger in our path. Peter tells of those who follow in the paths of unrighteousness in II Peter 2:15-16, "Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet." Don't go the wrong way down the paths of unrighteousness. Follow the Lord in the paths of righteousness.
28 Back To Bethel
"And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went." Genesis 35:1-3
Do you remember the story of Jacob's dream of the ladder reaching to heaven and the angels of God ascending and descending on it? He had tricked his brother Esau and was running away to save his life. "And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on. So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee." (Genesis 28:19-22) Many times people get into trouble and they make promises to God. They pray, "God, if you will help me out of this situation, I will go back to church, I will live right, I will tithe, etc." God does deliver them, and they soon forget their vows. Through the years I have seen many church members who only come when someone in their family dies, or they have a special prayer request. They seem to only remember God when they need something from Him. We should be faithful to God all the time, and not just when we are in trouble. God called Jacob back to Bethel. Is He calling you back to His house? Think back over your life and remember the vows you made to God. Have you kept your promises to God? It's time to go back to Bethel. Go back to the house of God and make good on your promises to Him.
29 A Path Of Deceit
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:7-9
There are many scriptures in the Bible about sowing and reaping. Jesus told a parable about a sower that sowed seed and some fell on stony ground and some fell on good ground. He told another about an enemy who sowed tares among the wheat. We also remember how the ravens don't sow or reap but our heavenly Father feeds them. Our verse above is a strong warning, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Satan will try everything in his power to deceive you and me. He makes sin look enticing. He will try to lead us down the path of deceit just as he tempted Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree in the garden of Eden. Don't ever feel that you have reached a level above temptation. Satan even tempted our Lord Jesus Christ, but praise His holy name He is without sin. Don't let Satan lead you down the path of deceit. Don't let your friends tell you that you need to sow your wild oats while you are young and turn to Jesus when you are old. "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Live for God and sow good seed. If you want to reap corn, you have to plant corn. You can't plant pumpkins and reap watermelons. If you want to reap Spiritual things, you must plant Spiritual things. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." (Psalms 126:5)