Stella’s thought process was to keep the real reason for what she wanted hidden, concealed because she thought that would be better than being honest. Okay, the plan was already in place for someone else. How could she overcome that? Keep the real reason for what she needed hidden. That way, the other person would not think less of her or to be honest enough with herself, she needed what she needed at anyone’s expense. She could use her current situation, being a new mom, as a reason to win the favor she needed to get out of this bad situation.
Crying, tears coming at random moments. The guilt was consuming her and she knew that the reason she was feeling this way was because she didn’t handle the situation above board. “Oh my!” She wasn’t prepared for the emotion that would come from being dishonest. She thought concealing her real motives would be easier. She didn’t plan on being this way but the plan was in motion now so she couldn’t change the current of the tide at this point, could she?
Continue reading about Stella…!
…Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Today’s reflection is about what’s going on and being grateful that I know who God is and that His plans and purpose for my life are in His hands. This week has had some disappointments, feeling sick and revising things. When disappointments come, we must get quiet and seek the Lord for clarity and/or peace. Sometimes He may not give us clarity right away and waiting is very difficult for us, as we all know. However, I will worship while I am waiting.
As I have been reading through Numbers, it is revealed that the anxiety and impatience of the Israelites caused dire consequences. I am reminded that trusting God is so important. He will give us what we need because He is Jehovah Jireh, our provider. And, while waiting can be so uncomfortable, it is comforting to know that no matter the circumstances, God has my back.
Grateful for His mercy, His unlimited grace.
Grateful that He sees me and I can see His face.
In all that He has done and continues to do
Simply because He says, “I love you.”
Numbers 21 through Numbers 24 tells the story of Balaam and King Balak. Balak called for Balaam to curse the people of Israel. He was afraid of them because of their numbers and wanted to curse them so that he could conquer them. Balaam sought God on the matter and God told him to only say what He told him to say. The children of Israel were blessed and there was nothing King Balak could do about. There were a number of attempts by Balak to get Balaam, the man of God, to curse the Israelites. What I love about this story is the fact that God does not lie nor does He change His mind. He blessed the Israelites and Balak, try as he would, couldn’t change that. In his attempts to do so, he tried bribing Balaam with his riches. How many of us are asked to turn our backs on God for fame and fortune?
Devotion today from Numbers 20. Chapter 20 begins with the cause of Moses missing out on entering the Promised Land because of His response to the Israelites in yet another session of complaining. These challenges caused Moses to go against God and react in the flesh. The Israelites had moved forward to the wilderness of Zin and they had no water. God said He would draw water from a rock for them to drink and all Moses had to do was speak to the rock. Now, in support of Moses, it can be very difficult to continue dealing with people who, no matter what you give them, are never satisfied. It is a reminder that we are all human and because of Jesus, we are considered righteous before God in spite of our human nature.
- Moses and Aaron turned away from the people and went to the entrance of the Tabernacle, where they fell face down on the ground. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to them,
- and the Lord said to Moses,
- ”You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock.
- So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the Lord.
- Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. “Listen, you rebels!” he shouted. “Must we bring you water from this rock?”
- Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill.
- But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!”
- This place was known as the waters of Meribah (which means “arguing”) because there the people of Israel argued with the Lord, and there He demonstrated His holiness among them.
Moses was told to speak to the rock and yet, he struck the rock twice in his anger against the Israelites. He did not do as God commanded but Moses was a great servant for God. He trusted God even when his flesh got in the way. He was committed to God and God trusted Moses. God said this Himself.
Because God knows man [He created him] it was still necessary for the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus Christ, to come, die on the Cross and resurrect in order for Holy Spirit to be in us and help us in this nature thing. God is so in the very intricate details of our lives. This is a great reminder that He sees all. How great it is that in His omnipotence, He knew we would need the ever-present intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ when we miss the mark. We cannot remain holy even a little bit without Christ. Jesus’ resurrection is such an integral part of our lives and this story proves how much we so need it. When we consider the significance of the Resurrection in respect to the Old Testament, it should certainly motivate us to fall to our knees in praise and worship for what He has done for us and how much God truly does love us.
Today’s post is a revealing story of the heart. With the upcoming Sunday being Easter and all about the resurrection of Christ, it is perfect timing to check our hearts. Numbers 16 is about Korah and his 250 followers who rebelled against God. There was jealousy and conspiracy from Korah and his 250 followers (incense burners) against Moses and Aaron because they were discontent with what God had given them. They had a special ministry to minster to the people of Israel given by God as their service to Him. Yet, they were jealous of Aaron and the priesthood. Moses had to remind them that they were rebelling against God, not him and Aaron.
Numbers 16:8-11 – “8Then Moses spoke again to Korah: “Now listen, you Levites! 9Does it seem insignificant to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the community of Israel to be near Him so you can serve in the Lord’s Tabernacle and stand before the people to minister to them?10Korah, He has already given this special ministry to you and your fellow Levites. Are you now demanding the priesthood as well? 11The Lord is the one you and your followers are really revolting against. For who is Aaron that you are complaining about him?”
We do have to choose carefully who and what we follow. We will be held accountable for our choices. When Moses asked Dothan and Abiram to come to him during the confrontation, they refused. They were still stuck on being removed from Egypt, the land flowing with milk and honey. They were not content with God’s timing for entering the Promised Land and as seen, their hearts were revealed in the rebellion of Korah. They looked back and desired what they used to have (check Lot’s wife, the pillar of salt). They showed contempt for what God had for them and their future.
Numbers 16:12-14 – “12Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they replied. “We refuse to come before you! 13Isn’t it enough that you brought us out of Egypt, a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us here in this wilderness, and that you now treat us like your subjects? 14What’s more, you haven’t brought us into another land flowing with milk and honey. You haven’t given us a new homeland with fields and vineyards. Are you trying to fool these men? We will not come.”
Take note, we may be willing to follow something or someone but your heart will be revealed in the matter. Check your motivation for the things you do. Are you following truth? Or, are you following someone or something to justify your own ulterior motives. Remember, God knows the heart and He has not stopped revealing the truth so we can truly know ourselves.
In that, Moses was a human being, though called and anointed by God for his service to Him. Moses was angry with the Kohathites but unlike times before, he did not intercede for them before God this time. Korah and his followers were then told to present themselves before God the following morning with the appropriate preparation. In coming before the Lord, God’s anger toward the people was major and He was prepared to kill them all. This time, Moses and Aaron interceded again for the people. This confrontation was the Lord confirming Korah’s (and his followers) contempt for Him by doing something new; the ground opening up and swallowing the entire clans of Korah, Dothan and Abiram because He had mercy on the other Israelites who were not a part of this rebellion. The initial 250 followers, the incense burners, were burned up in the fire that followed the ground opening up because they had sinned with Korah in rebellion against the Lord. Because they were holy to the Lord as incense burners, their remains were used as a reminder to the other Israelites.
Check this. Can you believe after such a day, the Israelites were still complaining the following morning? Yet again, Moses and Aaron interceded before God’s anger was released in full force but not before another 14,700 Israelites were killed by a plague. Listen, this was the Old Testament and since then, God has shown His love for us by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, reconciling us to Himself. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t still want your love and devotion to Him. We are still accountable to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He will reveal your hearts to you. What does your heart to say to God? Do you make Him jealous?
Fight … Surely the fight of faith is a fight worth having.
I believe all of us know what the word fight means. It is to contend or struggle in war, battle, single combat. It is a conflict or struggle. It is a vigorous effort in the face of difficulty. Holding our own in this world is a daunting task. However, God knew that we couldn’t do this alone or without Him, and because He loves us so much, He sent Jesus to die for us and Jesus left us His Holy Spirit to arm us. Let us fight the good fight of faith! God gave us all that we need including the descriptive details of what this looks like in Ephesians 6. There are no excuses other than we just don’t want to. I believe that equipping ourselves daily-yes, daily-with the Word of God is one of the first and very critical steps in fighting this fight.
Ephesians 6:10-18 – “(10)A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. (11) Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. (12)For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (13)Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will be standing firm. (14)Stand your ground putting on the belt of truth and the body of armor of God’s righteousness. (15)For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. (16)In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. (17) Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (18)Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
It is imperative that we get this. God is so detailed in how He gives us His Word that we should be excited. He has covered all the bases. Are you wearing your full armor in this battle? Fighting the good fight of faith is about the unseen. It is not necessary to have faith in what you already see because you see it. The unseen world, or the heavenly realm is just as real as the natural. The enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy by any means necessary and he certainly will use the supernatural realm to try to stop us from walking by faith. You have no ammunition that can fight the enemy when you do not have God’s armor. Those negative thoughts will come and those testy situations from the enemy are used to wear us down. However, we are not to be weary in well-doing. If you don’t put on the armor, you get weaker the more you get hit. Ask any veteran about the true art of war. To fight the battle, you have to be prepared. God is so gracious to us because He has given us explicit instructions on how to fight this thing. The battle is truly not ours anyway but the Lord’s. We are His soldiers. Make no mistake because Jesus has given us the victory in His death and resurrection. The requirement from us is to fight in faith here on earth. The extent of His love is so phenomenal because He still gives us free will to say yes. God gave us Christ to save us, gave us His Holy Spirit for power in the resurrection and the Word of God to arm us. How much more can we ask for? The enemy certainly has a clue of the value of you standing in faith for your purpose in the kingdom of God. I now ask again, “Are you wearing your full armor in this battle? Is not this a fight worth fighting for? ” Our eternity is based on the answer.
Envy…a very dangerous place to be
Envy is a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by another’s better fortune. This definition includes jealousy, bitterness, animosity or covetousness. Of course, I have to go here and give you several of the Scriptures that speak to this because it is one of the Ten Commandments. “Thou shall not covet.” Envy is a condition of the heart and I do believe that God, in His infinite wisdom, had to put it in writing for us. Because it is a condition of the heart, it is a danger zone. It is part of the things that defile you. And, according to the Bible, it is a sin.
Romans 1:29 – “Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.”
Galatians 5:19-21 – “(19)When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, (20) idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, (21) envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort life will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The operative word here is living. It is necessary that we confront the uncomfortable areas of our sinful nature. God is love and His love for us is what changes us from these harmful ways. Now, of course, the following Scripture contrasts the way we should be living as believers.
Galatians 5:22-23 – “ (22)But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23)gentleness and self control. There is no law against these things.”
There are quite a few Scriptures that address envy. It is a good thing to be familiar with them and when it’s time to evaluate where your heart is, you know the standard by which to do so. From a Biblical perspective, it is taken very seriously. We should also. It is an evil and destructive force that when it becomes uncontrollable will not only destroy your very life but the lives of others. It is very important to recognize the undercurrent of jealously. It doesn’t just rear its ugly head at first. Most times it can be a very subtle adversary and before you know it, it’s out of control.
Envy leads to a multitude of other sins such as hatred. Titus speaks to this. Titus 3:3 – “Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our livers were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.” We are called to drop these things; to separate ourselves from whatever separates us from Christ. We are called to examine ourselves and most of us know when we have crossed boundaries in our personal hearts. If we are walking the Word, of course, there is a check in our spirits. Once we have that check, we need to decide what we are going to do. Be obedient to Christ or continue in our own way? The choice is ours. God gave us free will and in that, desires that we give our hearts to Him.
It is not easy to accept when we experience such things. However, when we look to the Cross and know that Jesus died for just this reason, we will be overcomers in these situations. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. God has something special for each of us and jealousy, envy as well as other such emotions need to be checked at the door, the door to our hearts.
Drop…Anything that takes you away from Christ
There are quite a few definitions for this word. However, for the purpose of this post, the definition used means to release, let go of as well as discard, get rid of, and forsake, relinquish. This may seem like a daunting challenge. In speaking of his lineage, education, etc., Paul says that he counts everything as loss except for knowing Christ.
Philippians 3:7-8 – “ (7)I once thought these things were valuable, but now consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. (8)Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.”
We have so much distracting us from the cause of Christ these days. I am surely a fan of social media for the good that can be accomplished through its use. However, staying focused for the purpose of bringing others to Christ is challenging none-the-less. Dropping anything that doesn’t draw yourself and others closer to Christ is certainly a work in process. It does require that you become very aware of what this looks like in your life. What can it look like? Too busy to pray, too busy to answer the call of helping your neighbor, too busy to read the Word just in case God has a word for you to share with another, and any number of other things that pop us to distract from the call of Christ on our lives. Continue reading…!