The plagues God used to convince Pharaoh to “Let His people go!” amazed both Egyptians and Israelites. The Egyptians, because they felt the brunt of God’s might. And the Israelites, because they received protection from the horrible plagues.
God parted the water ahead of the Israelites when their escape route dead-ended at a huge sea. They walked across the seabed on dry land with two large sea-walls beside them. The Egyptian army barreled in behind them. And the Israelites watched as God crashed the sea waters overtop their enemies.
Wow! Whoever saw such things could never doubt God’s power or provision for “His people.” Except, these very people.
They were thirsty. Several days had passed without water. They told Moses they would rather die in Egypt (as slaves) than suffer through God’s plan (Exodus 14:11-12).
What? How could they not see that God is good, that He is for them? He had freed them from slavery. He had turned a raging sea into a dry pathway. He had done the impossible FOR THEM. But, they were thirsty.
Their present circumstances caused them to forget how much God had done for them in the past. Their human nature provoked them to doubt God’s goodness.
Sound like you and me sometimes?
Oh, how wonderful it would be to have unwavering faith — always certain of God’s goodness. No matter what our current situation.
But life brings a mixed bag of experiences. Our childlike faith in those we trust dwindles. And so it is with our faith in God. We prayed for financial help and ended up losing a house. We asked for healing and the person died. We don’t understand and we lose faith. We become doubters.
Deuteronomy 6:5 says,
“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” (NLT)
Jesus says it is the most important commandment (Mark 12:29-30).
Loving God with all our heart, soul, and strength is key to overcoming doubt. It cements our faith and abolishes doubt.
Isaiah 55:8 says,
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” (NLT)
Trying to understand God with our human logic wastes time. It’s not a faith-builder. When we walk the dry seabed with water-walls one day and question God’s goodness the next, it shows our faith depends on our circumstances. They change. God does not.
Instead, through faith, when the foreclosure happens, we choose to love God. When our friend dies, we love God. We accept His answer to our prayers and use all that heart, soul and strength to love Him. Especially when we don’t understand.
We must remember it is not this life on earth we live for. Our time here is brief compared to eternity.
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.” Luke 17:33 (NLT)
What are you clinging to today? Can you put your trust in God and let it go?
Heavenly Father, thank you for your promises. Thank you that we have yesterday, today, tomorrow, and eternity with you. Thank you for loving us despite our fickle hearts. Please teach us to love you like little children, trusting you in all things and with each moment.
Jesus’ Encouragement to Our Troubled World
By Debbie McDaniel, crosswalk.com
In John 16 we find Jesus speaking to his disciples of events that would soon unfold. They needed to hear His words of encouragement and Truth more than ever, for He knew the darkness of the hour still to come. He taught them about the power of praying in His name. He told them how they would soon be scattered, but that those who belong to Him would never be alone. For God is always there, close. He reminded them that they should not be surprised at the tension they would feel in an unbelieving world.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace (security, safety, undisturbed, blessed state). In the world you have tribulation (trouble, oppression, pressure, affliction), but take courage (be of good cheer, take heart), I have overcome (carried off the victory, conquered) the world.” John 16:33
Words that have such meaning, that hold such power still today. These were some of the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples before his journey to the cross.
Last words always contain rich meaning. These are important for us to hold onto today.
He reminds us that only in Him can true peace be found.
He reminds us that in spite of the struggles we will face in this life, we never walk alone, for He is with us. He will never abandon us in our trials or leave us to work it all out on our own.
He reminds us to take courage.
He reminds us He has overcome. He has won the victory, and through Christ, we too are more than conquerors.
Jesus never called us to embrace the world and all it offers. But He calls us to follow Him, to be salt and light, and to walk in love.
It’s a whole new day ahead. And He has plans for you, for me, to make a difference in these days, in the life of another soul, for His purposes.
To be a friend.
To offer care and show compassion in a world that is broken.
Praying that His huge grace, wisdom, and strength cover us today. And that in Him, we will find freedom from worry, letting go of the stress that clings too tightly, the pressing needs of tomorrow, and struggles we battle today, and fully embrace His peace.
Take courage my friends…
For He’s the Overcomer. And we are never alone.
Looking For Fruit
Scripture Reading — Mark 11:12-25
Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. — Mark 11:13
This story is baffling, isn’t it? It seems that Jesus, who is known for showing love and compassion, gets upset and just destroys an innocent fig tree. And this happens just before Jesus turns over the tables of corrupt moneychangers in the temple. There must be a connection.
In the Old Testament, the imagery of people being able to sit in the shade of their own fig tree was a common symbol of peace (1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10). Fruit-bearing fig trees were also a symbol of blessing for God’s people.
But when the people ignored God, the prophets compared them to fig trees that were not bearing good fruit. God’s people were supposed to be reaching out, caring for others, and helping with others’ needs, but instead they were being selfish, growing rich off the work of others, and taking advantage of systems that were intended to help others.
When a fig tree was in leaf, that usually meant it had fruit already. But Jesus found none. So he cursed it as a sign that God would also bring judgment on his corrupt people. The leaders of God’s people had let corruption creep in. They charged high exchange rates and outrageous prices for travelers and needy people who were at the temple to celebrate the Passover holiday.
Jesus was saying to the leaders, “You are only putting on a show. You are nothing but leaves, and you have no fruit!” He wanted the people to provide not only shady leaves but also the sweet, abundant fruit of compassion and justice.
Lord, call us to account when our lives don’t bear the fruit of your Spirit. Guide us to live in step with Jesus. Amen.