The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. (Exodus 14:15 ESV)
Moses was leading the people of Israel out of Egypt. God had just performed mighty works and shown his power on their behalf. He called Moses to lead these people, the Israelites, but, Pharaoh and his army were pressing down on them, just as God had told Moses they would (Exodus 14:1-4). At this point, Moses had a choice: move forward or stop and pray.
Often times we face these same choices in life. We feel as though God has called us to do something for Him and as we begin that journey, we encounter roadblocks just as the Red Sea was for the Israelites. But as witnessed here, when we come against barriers and opposition, we can stop and question what God has called us to do. We often mask this in more prayer rather than following God’s calling in our lives. Who knew the very sea that appeared to be their death sentence would actually be God’s instrument of victory? Our scope and perception is limited. Fortunately, we are called, guided, and equipped by a God without limitations. Remember that His ways are not our ways and that this is a good thing (Isaiah 55:8-9)!
Is God calling you to stop asking and start moving forward?
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:13 ESV
To be laid bare is a terrifying thought to many.
For someone to know every detail of our lives, from our darkest actions to our most depraved thoughts, is unsettling to say the least.
There are people who project an image and work for years to construct a positive reputation only to have that carefully constructed facade come crashing down around them, usually making a mess in the lives of those surrounding them as well.
In fact, Jesus named the scribes and Pharisees to be people just like this, saying they were like “whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones” (Matthew 23:27).
Now here is an interesting conundrum: the religious men of any day, such as the scribes and Pharisees, would undoubtedly profess that they lived a life of “holiness” to please God and fulfill his great designs for human living, yet interestingly when these religious men met God, he came to quite an opposite conclusion.
We, being 2000 years removed from this scene, can quietly scoff and sneer at their hypocrisy while enjoying our modern authenticity. But ironically, this seems highly hypocritical of us!
Understand this once and for all, genuinely dwell on this, that God knows everything. When we read that “all are naked and exposed” to his eyes, the text really means that “all are naked and exposed”!
With that in mind, is our Christianity lived out as a theatrical performance for our friends, family, and fellow pew warmers?
This is a deep question.
Remember, if our Christianity isn’t lived in honest expression privately as well as publicly, there is no point. God sees, God knows, and he, unlike people, can’t be fooled.
Are you an actor? Do you realize an Oscar isn’t the Christian’s eternal reward?
For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. – James 1:16 (NLT) Being jealous of others and comparing yourself to others is such an easy habit to fall into. Maybe you see a friend getting promoted at their job and you feel no one notices your hard work. Perhaps you see everyone around you in a relationship and you feel like you’ll never meet someone special to date. When you compare yourself with others and become jealous, you can’t be content. Comparision is one of the quickest ways to unhappiness. If you spend all your time thinking about how your life doesn’t measure up to the lives of others you’ll never be truly happy. If you want to do great things for God, choose to stop being jealous of the lives of others. Instead, find ways to be happy with who you are in Christ Jesus. Ask God to show you your strengths and choose to focus on using those strengths to help others. Contentment comes from focusing on who you are in Jesus.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. – Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)
Have you noticed that often when you look at what others are doing you get discouraged? You might be comparing your summer vacation plans to another person’s and feel like you’re not doing anything great on your summer break. Or perhaps you just feel like you don’t measure up to those people around you. If you spend all your time comparing yourself to others you won’t be able to accomplish the race that God has for you. The race that God has for you to run will look different for you than it looks for others. If you’re going to make it to the finish line you’ll have to draw close to God and lay aside the things that try to trip you up, like comparing yourself to others. Challenge yourself to run with endurance today. Don’t give up when it looks like others are doing better things or getting promoted faster than you. Stay the course and be encouraged knowing that others are in heaven cheering you on.
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. – Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
It’s really easy to get discouraged. Maybe you’ve been believing God for something and you haven’t seen results yet. Perhaps you’ve been doing the right thing for a long time and no one has noticed or acted like they cared. In these situations, it’s really easy to want to be discouraged or quit. However, today’s Bible verse tells us to not get tired of doing good. How do you keep yourself from being discouraged? Many times it helps to remind yourself of the good things God has done for you. You can remember the times He’s brought you out or has been faithful. Sometimes the reward for doing the right thing doesn’t always show up when you think it should or when you expect it. The good news is that God always rewards faithfulness. If you stick with it and don’t give up, you’ll be rewarded. So challenge yourself to stick with it. Don’t give up when it gets hard or you feel like no one notices. If you stick with it, God will see that you are rewarded.
He got up and gave orders to the wind, and he said to the lake, “Silence! Be still!” The wind settled down and there was a great calm. – Mark 4:39 (CEB)
Can you relate to the disciples on the lake? Have you ever faced a situation that was scary and you didn’t know if you could make it? The disciples were overcome with fear and thought they were going to die. They also thought that Jesus didn’t care because He was sleeping in the back of their boat during this treacherous storm. Yet, in one call for help, Jesus got up and told the storm what to do. He said, “Silence! Be still! The wind actually obeyed Jesus. You might be trying to handle the storm that’s going on in your life all on your own. You might also be wondering if Jesus is there and if He cares? Well, He does. Ask for His help and believe that He will stop what He is doing to help you. Jesus wants to walk you through every storm you face. So don’t try to handle things in your own strength. Look to Jesus and lean on Him to be your strength.
But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31
Can you remember a time when you stayed up all night? One time after a missions trip I stayed up all night before heading home. I wanted to spend every minute I could with all my new friends. After being up all night I was exhausted. The next day, I drank a lot of Mountain Dew to stay awake. Mountain Dew, coffee or energy drinks can help you stay awake when you’ve not gotten enough sleep. The problem with these drinks is that they don’t last. They wake you up for awhile, but their effects eventually fade. In life, there are often lots of situations that can make us weary. It’s easy to focus on our problems and the cares of life to the point that we’re ready to give up. However, if you’ll place your trust in God, you’ll find that the problems of life can’t keep you down. Choose to trust in God. When you do, you’ll find that you have the strength to face difficulties.
The men of Israel looked them over and accepted the evidence. But they didn’t ask God about it. – Joshua 9:14 (Message) Its easy to get wrapped up in all the things going on around us. If you’re like most people, you’ve got tons of things in your life screaming for your attention. In all the busyness it’s pretty easy to leave God out of our lives. Most of the time, we don’t intentionally leave God out, it just happens in the midst of our business. We simply forget to include God in our decision making. That’s a lot like what today’s Bible verse is talking about. In this verse, the leaders of Israel made a really bad decision because they didn’t ask God about it. God was willing to give them information to help them make a good decision. However, they never even asked God. As a result, a really bad decision was made. Decide to learn from the mistake the leaders of Israel made. Determine to get God’s advice when making decisions and follow His leading. When you get God involved in your decision making, everything else will fall into place!