Sunday, August 26, 2012
I wanted to touch on something from my last post about the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. When Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh to tell them what the Lord had said, Pharaoh replied, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go ? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go" (Exodus 5: 2 KJV).
Those words are significant. I know not the Lord. Do you know the Lord? Here are some ways you can tell if you know the Lord.
1. You listen and obey His voice. You might say you do not hear God's voice. God may not speak to you audibly the way He spoke to Moses, but He may speak to you in so many other ways: through His word, through another person, through a sermon or even through an incident. Moses first saw a burning bush before he heard the voice of the Lord.
2. You fear the Lord. Some say we should not fear God because God is love, and since He loves us we have nothing to fear. Proverbs 1 : 7 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge" People who know the Lord fear His punishment, His judgement, His wrath. Most of all they fear being separated from Him as a result of sin. Jesus said, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10: 28 KJV).
3. You love the Lord. To know the Lord is to love Him with an all-encompassing love. A love that goes beyond anything you can feel for your spouse, parents or even your children. It is a love that makes you almost impatient to be with Him. Paul said, "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart , and to be with Christ; which is far better" (Philippians 1: 23 KJV).
4. You trust the Lord. Moses and other great men and women of the Bible knew the Lord and trusted in His goodness. He is the God who says, "And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me" (Psalms 50: 15 KJV). It is what made Paul say, "Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver : in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us" (2 Corinthians 1 : 10 KJV). And when the children of Israel grumbled against Moses he was able to say with confidence, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD" (Exodus 14: 13).
Pharaoh was right. He did not know the Lord, therefore he did not listen, he did not fear, he did not love and he did not trust the Lord. He didn't know there was a King far greater than he who would defend the Israelites and give them the victory. Do you know the Lord? If you do, fine. If you are not sure, examine yourself in light of the above. If you don't know Him, ask Him to come into your heart today. He will teach you everything you need to know.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
I have been reading the story of Moses and how he tried to get Pharaoh to let the Israelites go by working all the miracles God commanded him to do. It's a story I have loved ever since I was a child, as it conjures up for me memories of The Ten Commandments, one of the greatest movies of all times.
If you read the story, you may recall that God sent ten plagues on the Egyptians before Pharaoh gave in and released the people. Actually, God had hardened Pharaoh's heart so he would not let the people go. And God knew exactly what had to happen and at what time Pharaoh would cave in. But something struck me as I read the chapter this morning. Exodus 12 : 40 - 41 says, "Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD's divisions left Egypt." NIV
God could have made Pharaoh release the people long before then, but He had a perfect timing arranged for the Israelites to leave. 430 years to the very day. Not a day sooner, nor a day later. Is God a God of order? Is He a God of precision? Over and over God uses expressions like "appointed time", "set time", "at that time", "in the fullness of time." God does nothing by chance. Although it may appear that way to us, He has "an appointed time" for everything. Ecclesiastes 3 : 1 says: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" And verse 11 says, "He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."
Have you been praying and waiting for God to do something in your life and it seems like nothing is happening? Don't despair. If it is His will, He will do it. He may have hardened Satan's heart against you in order to fulfill His purpose. But at "the set time" Satan will have to release you, your son, your daughter, your finances, your marriage. Whatever he is keeping in bondage, he will have to let it go in God's perfect timing. So, don't cease to pray or to praise. Just wait on the Lord.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
As the curtain comes down on the 2012 Olympic Games, there are many events that I, and I daresay, the world will remember for a long time to come. But the ones that stand out the most in my mind are the track and field events. Maybe it's because I grew up watching track and field competitions and sometimes taking part just for the fun of it, not minding at all bringing up the rear. Or maybe it's because so many of the winning athletes hail from the Caribbean where I am from. Whatever the reason, I thoroughly enjoyed the track and field events.
But as I watched in awe and delight as "Bolts of lightning" shot to the winning line and one runner with no legs made it into winners row, I was reminded that the Olympics were first held in Greece and the Bible has some comments on running races. Here's what it says in Hebrews 12 : 1 - 2. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..."
And in 1 Corinthians 9: "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all , but one receiveth the prize? So run , that ye may obtain . And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things . Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run , not as uncertainly; so fight I , not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection : lest that by any means , when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" ( 24 - 27).
The Olympics are over, but the lessons they taught us will live on forever.
Saturday, August 04, 2012
It's a sad day when a person is ostracized for voicing his opinion in America. No, I take that back. It's a dangerous day. Whatever happened to freedom of speech? This past week Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A came under fire from gay rights groups for expressing his opinion on same-sex marriage. To counter this, anti-gay groups turned out in large numbers - 500, 000, according to one post - on Wednesday to eat at Chick-fil-A restaurants.
I support Mr. Cathy's statement that marriage, as instituted by God, is between one man and one woman. But even if I didn't, I think the man has a right to express his opinion without fear of reprisals from those who share opposing views. According to Mike Huckabee who whipped up support for Chick-fil-A via his radio show, "every American -- has a right to an opinion. You don't have to agree with it. You don't have to like it. But you ought to respect that people have that wonderful right. You don't have that in North Korea. You don't have it in Iran."
This morning I read part of the story of the Exodus where the children of Israel were made to suffer great hardship just because they said they wanted to go and worship God in the desert. Pharaoh piled on the pressure, ordering his foremen to require the slaves to gather their own straw and produce the same amount of bricks as they had previously. The enemy's tactic has always been to frustrate God's people to the point that they either forget about worshiping Him or they bow to the enemy.
The Israelites, to their discredit, became angry at Moses and Aaron and accused them of bringing trouble upon them. Moses, in turn, confronted God. Listen to him: "Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all" (Exodus 5 : 23). Sounds familiar? Blame God when the enemy persecutes us.
The Chick-fil-A president's troubles began the minute he declared his position for God. So far, government officials from Chicago and Boston have pledged to keep the fast-food chain out of their cities and one of their outlets was vandalized. As if that wasn't enough, gay activists decided to stage a kiss-in outside of Chick-fil-A restaurants. But Mr. Cathy has reacted to all of this in a Christlike manner. He told the LA Times, "...I feel God's going to be with us through this and he'll be with the opposer as well. He doesn't hate anybody."
The Bible says, "Blessed are ye , when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely , for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad : for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" (Matthew 5 : 11-12). Mr. Cathy, you are in good company. Thousands have already demonstrated their support for you, but more importantly, God supports you. Stay up!