The LORD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. Exodus 15:2
He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:29-31
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about me.”
“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13a
20 “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. 22 If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. 23 My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. 24 Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. 25 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.
27 “I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. 28 I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. 29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.
31 “I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you. 32 Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods. 33 Do not let them live in your land or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you.”
The Lord has brought the Israelites out of Egypt, revealed His awesome power on their behalf, given the Tens Commandments and the civil laws, and now promises His presence as they move forward to claim the good and spacious land He promised.
Once again, we are privileged to see that the Lord is the promised-keeping God who does lie or forget what He has said. Years before He promised Abraham the land they are to enter and God has not forgotten.
“On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites,Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites (Genesis 15:18-19).”
The Lord remembers His covenant and in verse 20 He says to the Israelites, “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.” This angel must be the Angel of the Covenant, the pre-incarnate Christ. Who else is able to forgive rebellion and has “my Name” in Him than the One who is divine? His presence into history is revealed at other times in the Bible as well:
- “The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.” Genesis 16.7
- “In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.” Isaiah 63:9
- “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.” Malachi 3:1
- “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” 14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15
In verse 21, the Lord tells the Israelites that they are to pay attention to and listen to what this angel has to say. In verse 22, He literally repeats himself. He knows how slow we are listen and obey.
The Lord repeats, “If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say.” He then gives a list of “I wills.” Blessings contingent on obedience. It is a great blessing to read thru the Scripture to see what the Lord told the Israelites to do… and not do…and all the I will’s.
I am blessed as well that in His wisdom, the Lord told the Israelites, “But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”
I pray that these verses encourage you to see through the life of the Israelites the heart of God for His own. He is not moved by our being a “hurry-up, give it to me right now” people. The all-knowing God moves in His time to fulfill His plan and purposes in our lives. He know us, the circumstances we face, our maturity to handle both the blessings and the struggles, the enemies we face. He knows what is too much for us and places a barrier.
Little by little, the Lord uses the struggles, trials, suffering, and disappoints to increase and strengthen our relationship with Him…and all along He is driving out our enemies and so we are able to take possession of His blessings in this earthly realm.
So thankful that God was/is “an enemy to my enemies” of sin, guilt, rebellion and shame! Bless the High Name of Jesus who has all ready driven out and destroyed our last enemy, death (1 Corinthians 15).”
One day, those who have believed and trusted the completed, finished work of Jesus, the Lord has promised us a new land, the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21), where there will be no enemies and will live in His Presence forever. A prepared place for a prepared people- prepared by the blood of the Lamb! Hallelujah to His Holy Name!
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you His faithful people; praise His holy name.
5 For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
6 When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.”
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2
Just a few more days and the last of school will be here! In my mind, the last day of school is the official start of summer. While just the thought of summer is exciting, it also comes with a warning: don’t get so caught up in the activities and fun of summer that you leave Jesus behind.
You know how we are, we wear our busy badges with such pride…and the activities of summer give all the more reason why we need to not be busy but “set our minds on things above.” Otherwise, the pressing needs of the spouse, children, neighbors, friends and our busy pride will take over our lives…and hearts. With vacations to plan, cook-outs to host and attend, sports, day trip here, day trip there, Vacation Bible School, swimming lessons, family reunions, day camp, softball, exercise, and walks…and before we know it every minute is spent and there has been no worship, no time alone with God, every prayer is on the run, and I am oh so glad that I can still remember the 23rd Psalm from when I was a child.
Our loving Father gives us the key to a beautiful, wonderful summer, “SET your hearts on things above.” On purpose, deliberately, with determination point your mind and heart towards the things of heaven each and every day. Wake up giving Him praise and glory instead of mentally reviewing the many lists. Wake up declaring that this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and glad in it. Spend time alone in prayer and The Word and then talk with Jesus all day long. Be careful to make first things, first and allow the blessings flow from His Presence.!
For some of us just the thought of a cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day is pretty refreshing. But the Lord offers something better:
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…Acts 3:19.”
Times of refreshing…Times of refreshing…Times of refreshing!
First things first, what an absolutely beautiful summer it’s going to be!
SSSSssssooooo there was an article in our local paper that was posted to Facebook stating that several local nonprofit groups had unveiled a new “foodie” truck that will deliver 10,000 hot meals to children this summer. The truck will deliver 200 free lunches to students across the city five days a week this summer.
Plans call for the crew cab pickup truck with an attached 18-foot concession trailer to visit three locations daily every weekday for 10 weeks. Each child will choose one of two entrees and get a vegetable, fruit and milk with their meal. This allows for the children to receive fresh and nutritious meals.
There were many positive comments. Some even offering to contribute and volunteer. Praise God for hearts of compassion. Hearts that are like His, hearts like the Lord speaks in Isaiah 30:18, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you. He rises to show you compassion.” The compassion of the True and Living God who is gracious, merciful and loving to all He created.
Now, I know some see no need for compassion for various reasons that I will not use space to discuss. But I will say that this is the truth that I know, “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers (Psalm 24:1-2).”
Since this is true, I know that our every possession is a gift from God. 1 Corinthians 4:7, “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” I am reminded of God’s warning to the Israelites as He brought them out of Egypt into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
“10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness,that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today (Deuteronomy 8:10-18).”
SSSsssssooooo my heart was/is just sadden by a couple of the responses. One response that was so lacking any compassion for hungry children in need of a meal continues to saddens me. I went back to copy and paste it here, but it was gone…it kinda, sorta went like this, “This makes me so angry…why would you do this…if the children are home to get a meal that means their parents are home when they should be working…stop enabling these people.”
It wounds my heart. Really? Hungry CHILDREN being fed a nutritious meal and you are angry? Really? God commands us to “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience...(Colossians 3:12).” I guess that I am never surprised at how some social issues are so important to the body of Christ and some, oh well…
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
The Lord has compassion for those who are hungry, thirsty, homeless, without clothes, strangers, and in prison. Just saying…are not our new hearts to be like His? SELAH, pause and meditate on it.