January 22, 2011
“7 The LORD said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:7-10 (NIV)
Moses responded to the call of God just like many of us do today. In Moses’ responses, we see an obvious pattern that I am sure many of us can identify with. This pattern is the reason why so many people die without even starting the process of allowing their destiny to become a reality.
“11 But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11)
Many of us feel disqualified even before we start. We fail to understand that if it’s God who calls us, He will also equip us to do the work.
2. Fear of Failure:
“1 Moses answered, ‘What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you?” (Exodus 4:1)
Even as we are sure that God is calling us to do certain things, we still, many times, make this issue about us as we close our eyes to the fact that we are doing His business and not ours.
3. Fear of Speaking Up:
“10 Moses said to the LORD, ‘Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10)
The enemy does not have a problem expressing himself; however, many times, it is us as Christians who find a million excuses and reasons to remain quiet. We must lose that fear and allow God to speak through us.
4. Looking for a Way out by Recommending Others to do what it is for us to do:
“13 But Moses said, ‘Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:13)
This may sound like a humble action on Moses’ part, but for God it was not received that way.
“14 Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses…” (Exodus 4:14)
Again, Moses continued that path of making it look like it was all about him. However, God was exposing the killers of Moses’ destiny in preparation for the great assignment in his life.
“24 At a lodging place, on the way, the LORD met Moses and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah [Moses’ wife] took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it ‘Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,’ she said. 26 So the LORD let him alone.” Exodus 4:24-26
At that time, she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision. Moses knew about circumcision; however decided to take lightly what the Lord established as a covenant sign. God does not play with our character; He will take the time to brutally deal with our unresolved issues with Him. Beloved, be aware of your destiny killers.
January 21, 2011
“1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.”
(Exodus 3:1-2) NIV
Moses, who at one point was a mighty man in Egypt, was forced to go into the desert after killing an Egyptian man. Every mighty man of God will, for sure, go through the desert’s training. In the desert, Moses got married and in the desert, Moses was humbled! It is, indeed, significant to point out that when the moment came for Moses to receive the official call from the Lord to liberate the children of Israel out of the hands of the Egyptians, Moses was found “…tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law…” Moses learned the art of being faithful in the little things.
Many people I know have an unbelievable call in their lives in terms of what they are called to do. However, many will never even be able to start their ministries because they refuse to be faithful in the little things. I knew a man who had a call to minister in the nation of Cuba; I was able to see with my own eyes glimpses of the power of God in his life. However, at the moment, he was a part of a small prison ministry and the brother was extremely unfaithful. One day, as he expressed to me, once again, about his call to the nation of Cuba; I told him: “You will never even be able to visit Cuba until you learn to be faithful in the little things.” The Bible tells us in Matthew 25:20-21,
“20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
I don’t know in what stage or level of your life you find yourself in as it refers to your call; but what I do know is that faithfulness to God will always bring forth promotion. It does not matter how small or insignificance what you are doing seems to be; you will be able to do what God has called you to do if you embrace the art of being faithful in the little things.
“The Reason Why Many Die in The Desert of their Afflictions”
As we end this series, I must address something very important; I guess you can take it as a warning. Many are dying in the desert of their afflictions! Many will never understand why they are going through what they are going through. Many will chose to live their lives feeling sorry about themselves. Many will never understand God’s love and the reasons why we suffer. Many will find pleasure in seeing themselves as victims and walking around like the world owes them something. Many are using suffering and the injustices that our ancestors suffer as an excuse to allow the selfishness of the flesh to take over their way of thinking. Suffering is not a ticket for you to be able to do, say and treat people according to how you “feel;” suffering, as you saw in this series, has three ultimate purposes:
To break us so that we can arrive at the end of self.
For God to be able to share His holiness with us.
To be able to see God as we enjoy a deeper intimacy with Him.
Because suffering is so emotionally charged and at times overwhelming for our souls, we receive a very clear warning in Hebrews 12:14-15.
“14 Pursue peace with all people…
15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled…”
1. Pursue Peace with Everyone: We must make sure that we pursue peace with everyone. Because God uses circumstances and people to reveal what is in our hearts; there is a tendency for us to get upset at the very people God is using to expose our mess and bring it to the light. We personalize our pain; look at it from a worldly point of view and not from a Biblical point of view. That is why the warning is clear; we must pursue being at peace with everyone; it is not about them, it is about you; it is not about their faults, it is about yours. Let God deal with them; you make sure that you allow God to deal with you.
2. Be Careful that you Don’t Fall Short of God’s Grace: It is very normal for people to associate falling from grace to the scandals of many pastors or Christians in general that are caught in despicable acts. However, we pay little or no attention to the fact that many of us have indeed, fallen from God’s grace by allowing “root[s] of bitterness” to spring up in our hearts. Bitterness is associated with hard bondage and misery. The word “bitterness” is defined as: “Angry and resentful.” When we are bitter, we are angry at people and even at God. We resent all that we are facing.
3. Be Careful that you don’t End-Up Becoming Defiled: To be Defiled is: “To corrupt or ruin something.” When we are purposely, as it depends on us, in conflict with one another and falling short of God’s grace we run the risk of ruining everything that God has for us.
I acknowledge that the pain that you are feeling is real; that your emotions have been affected by the traumas of life. However, I beg you, do not allow bitterness to set in your heart; if you do, you will surely die in the desert of your afflictions. Out of about three million people that came out of Egypt, only two actually entered the Promise Land; that is an alarming statistic! God is preparing you to have or not to have; God is preparing you to do or not to do…however, these things are secondary. God is preparing you, for sure, to see His face.
Where Are You?
I don’t think that there is one person on this planet that will truly say “no” to the opportunity to see God. There is something in our hearts that cries out for that “something” that can fully satisfy our souls. People spend their entire lives looking for that satisfaction through jobs, careers, money, fame, relationships, etc. But in the end, in their secret place, they are fully aware of their emptiness.
We have become experts in putting on masks, but God can see beyond our masks. The reality is that without Christ in our lives we are empty. Even if you are born again; until you totally surrender every aspect of your life to Christ, you will be full of empty spots in your soul. We need the fullness of Christ in order to be able to enjoy that peace that goes beyond circumstances and that joy that can’t be explained.
God is not hiding from us! Even after Adam and Eve introduced sin into the humanity, God still went out looking for them in the cool of the day. It was Adam and Eve who hid from Him. Genesis 3:8 tells us:
“8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?”
Many of us are still hiding from God; we pick and choose those areas where He is welcomed and those areas where He is not. I can here the Lord calling us from our shameful places: “Where are you?” The Lord wants to make us free! Jesus is waiting to release that abundant life that He came to give us according to John 10:10, but we are still hiding behind the trees of disappointments, betrayals, mistrusts, mistakes, failures, embarrassments and sins.
“The Main Reason Why we Suffer”
There is a song written by Don Porter that illustrates our desire to see God’s face better than any other song I know.
“14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord…” (Hebrews 12:14)
Beloved, the main reason why we suffer is because God wants us to be able to see Him. God is not hiding from us; but our sin and the evil conditions of our hearts stand in the way of the fulness of our intimacy with God.
Without holiness, we will not see the Lord. That is the reason why God allows us to go astray, He allows us to do it our way, to try our empty destructive ways of doing things; that is the reason why He manifests His love by disciplining us with great hardship, so that we may experience brokenness and find ourselves at the end of ourselves, so that we may have a heart of surrendering to Him, so that we may share in His holiness, so that we may see Him.
This whole thing is about God’s desire to bring us out from behind the trees of shame and into the place of walking with Him in the cool of the day. So then, who cares if I catch the bus, ride a bicycle, drive an old car or even drive a Mercedes or have my own plane…it is all about Jesus! Who cares then, if I suffer my whole life on this earth and dimension of life? What a small price to pay if at the end I can start my life for all eternity walking in the cool of the day with my heavenly Daddy.
Now suffering makes sense; now I can thank God for those that hurt me, for those that reject me, for those that discriminated against me just because of the color of my skin. What an amazing honor that God loved me so much that he manifested His love in such a way to get me to this point where now I can echo the words of the Psalmist when he said:
“It was good for me to be afflicted