Daily Devotions from The Word Of God… From the heart of Ed Algreen

Archive for February, 2011

In Support of our Spiritual Leaders

SCRIPTURE: Exodus 17.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

11 As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage.12 Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset.13 As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle. Ex 17:11-13 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

It seems like we have grown the church into a place of employment for a professional to use his college/theological degree in teaching/preaching all the fancy stuff learned in his years of schooling/college. Let me quickly say that I am thankful for all the education and tools that are available to our ministers today, but when God chose Moses to lead over 1 million people out of Egypt, he was so surprised because of his low opinion of himself and his abilities, that he seriously questioned God to the extent that he wondered if God had made a mistake. In these verses we see where God used Moses to perform some miraculous stuff to help in the safety and protection of his people. The kind of relationship Moses experienced with God enabled him to quickly obey, no matter how silly his actions may have appeared to the people. The thing that challenged me here is that just how Aaron and Hur ran to assist Moses, in fact they were keeping such a close eye on him that they realized he would soon get so tired of holding up his staff that he would need assistance. So they saw the need, and they followed through in meeting the need, and lending support to their leader, their shepherd, their pastor. This is no different to our spiritual leaders today, in that those who are fully dedicated to God’s work, they give of themselves to the extent that they become burned out in the ministry and often create a separation in the lives of their own personal family. I believe that God expects there to be an Aaron and Hur in every congregation. When God’s appointed man comes to pastor a church, he needs the tender, but yet strong and consistent support of the Aarons and Hurs. Let us take note that as long as Aaron and Hur helped Moses to keep his staff in the air, God did His work, however whenever Moses became weak and his hand dropped, his people were jeopardized. That’s much like today, we (the church) must invite a man of God to lead us, but we must also be in the forefront as his support so that God can freely do His work in our midst. We often hear that a divided church is a weak one. Conversely, the strength of a church is in a congregation that stands behind their leader and always sensitive to his needs and willing to support him in accomplishing the will and work of God. Are you an Aaron or Hur, or are you a part of the people like Moses also had who sat back and used every opportunity to grumble and complain when things were not going exactly as they thought they should?

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, I see so much of You in us, but unfortunately I see so much of the attitude and actions of the Israelites in our churches today rather than the humble, caring, supportive teamwork that I see evident in Aaron and Hur. Please help me to be more like this duo and do my part each and every day to listen carefully to You, to see and understand the needs of my pastor and then to do something about his needs so that Your work may be accomplished. I pray that You will not only bless our current interim pastor, but that You would also lead us to the man You have prepared to pastor our church next. I also pray that You will make our leaders, especially myself, extremely sensitive to the needs of the ministry and our pastor so that we can be the support and encouragement that he needs to accomplish all that You have called Him and us to do. Lord, may we find not just a man well educated by today’s standards, but more so, one whose heart is fixed on You and who is called by You into Your ministry for Your church here on planet earth.

Please Don’t Complain About God

SCRIPTURE: Exodus 16.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “By evening you will realize it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt. 7 In the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaints, which are against him, not against us. What have we done that you should complain about us?” Ex 16:6-7 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

So often we whine about each other, about the weather, about our jobs, about our finances, about the food or meals available to us, or even our own family at times. In fact, you name it and we probably complain about it at one time or another. When we come down off these tangents, we should stop and think about how we have been blessed by God to have each of these things in the first place. As we think about the ways that God has blessed us with great friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, people who care about us and love us, about the wonderful weather that we enjoy – especially compared to many other areas of the country and/or world that we read about, and we may be fortunate enough to have a job whereas many do not, we may be fortunate enough to have money to buy the necessities of life whereas many do not. Friends, I believe that, like me, you can understand what I garnered from this passage, I am, and no doubt many of you reading this are, indeed people blessed by God in many ways. So when we whine, what are we really doing? Unfortunately, and shamefully so, we are whining and complaining about how God has really messed up. Has He really? I hope that we will quickly realize that we are to be a thankful people, thankful in all things that God showers on us, His children that He loves so much that He gave up everything for. Let’s stop the belly-aching and instead be in a mode of constant praise, worship and thanksgiving to our loving God, and our provider of all good things.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father I am so ashamed for whining when really I have no reason to. Thank You for providing, thank You for blessing me in so many ways each and every day. I am truly blessed, and I am truly thankful for all that I have and all that You provide for me. Please help me to never whine or complain, and remind me when I do that it is against You.

Overcoming the ‘gods’ in our lives

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 19.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matt 19:21 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

In response to a question posed to Jesus by a rich young man about what he must do to have eternal life, Jesus first told him of 6 key commandments that he must obey. Interestingly enough, each of these six commandments referred to the man’s relationship with others, so this re-emphasizes that we must love our brother as much as we love ourselves, and also points to another teaching that we show our love for God by how well we show love to others. However, the young man responded that he was already obeying each of those commandments. To an all knowing God though, Jesus knew that there were other distractions in this man’s life that hindered him from total obedience, humility and the mind to totally follow Christ. In other words, Jesus knew that there was another ‘god’ that was hindering this young man – his wealth. Many of us that read this passage may automatically pass over this because we automatically exclude ourselves as we may not be wealthy, by the world’s standards today. The point that got my attention is: I wonder what Jesus might say to me if such a question was asked of me? What are the ‘gods’ that stand in the way of my relationship with Him? What are the ‘gods’ that prevent me from being effective for Him in my ministry efforts? Jesus told the rich man to go and get rid of the interference, the little ‘god’, the interference, the distraction that was preventing him from being totally committed to Him. Being involved in church leadership, I wonder what God may be saying to us as a church? What should we rid ourselves of in order to see His mighty hand at work – at work accomplishing kingdom work through us? God is holy, forgiving, humble and loving to all of His children, plus endless other top qualities. If we are to be like Him/Christ-like/Christians, then we need to examine ourselves for the same qualities that we see in Christ. Let’s pass control to Him and see Him perform a great work in and through us!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, I realize that I am not rich monetarily, but I feel rich because of the many blessings that You have bestowed on me. Please help me to not let anything/any ‘god’ interfere in my commitment to You. Please help me to stay focused on the ministry that You want to accomplish through me. Please help me to stay focused, and depending solely on You to help me live a life that would example You in every way, so that others may see Jesus in all that I say or do. Please forgive me when I have let self interfere so much before, but today I ask that you give me added strength, boldness and the faith that will not be easily penetrated by this world and Your opposers. You are God alone, so I must look to You to help me daily to overcome and be a successful witness for You in my personal life, and in the ministry areas in which I am involved.

God’s Wonderful Protection

SCRIPTURE: Exodus 15.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

The power of your arm makes them lifeless as stone until your people pass by, O Lord, until the people you purchased pass by. Ex 15:16 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

So often we look at the trials and temptations around us that seem impossible to overcome. Child of God, we must remember that the same God that saved the Israelites, the same God that they sang about making the Egyptians lifeless as stone, the same God that opened up the waters so His people could march through, this is the God we serve, this is the God that we can depend on to see us through each and every day and all that comes along our way. We are victorious as children of the King of kings, for He is our Protector and He has a proven track record to back that up!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, please help me to keep focused on You regardless of the ‘walls’ that may seem to surround me at times. Thank You for being my ‘Protector’ at all times, even those times when I don’t see imminent danger ahead. You are my God, and I thank You for accepting me as Your child, and watching over me and protecting me, even as You did with the Israelites. Whom then shall I fear?

Then We Will Know He is God

SCRIPTURE: Exodus 5 and 6.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

7 I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. Ex 6:7 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

So often we set out to follow God’s will and obey His every command, then we start listening to self or others and wonder, are we really following God’s will? Things got worse at the camp that Moses was in charge of, when he followed God’s commands and spoke to Pharaoh. However, in this verse God told Moses that He really was in charge of this release and that soon he and his people would be able to look back and acknowledge Him as the God who released them from their oppression. I would imagine that it must get pretty upsetting to God when He sees us being so impatient and so untrusting when we try to follow His orders. Moses had great faith, yet he questioned God when he saw things getting worse instead of better. However, the thing that we have to our advantage is that we can read from the Word that God came through on His promises and did everything He had promised, plus some. My God loves me too much to promise me something then back off on His promise. However, I must learn that His ways are not my ways, and he will accomplish His work in ways that I may not understand. My job is to be the obedient servant and do what He says, and then I will know that His is God.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Thanks be to God for being loving and patient enough to accomplish His work through me. God You are awesome, and as proven throughout the parts of Your word, You are all powerful and could accomplish Your work through those that may seem most unlikely by us. Thank You for seeing the best in the worst of us and thank You for assuring us that those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, they will see You accomplish the work You have promised, no matter how impossible it may seem to us. Then as this verse says, we will know that You are the Lord our God who accomplished the work. Please help me to be faithful to Your instructions, especially when You choose to use me to accomplish a work in me, or through me to others.

Jesus is Our Guide

SCRIPTURE: Exodus 13.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

21 The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night.22 And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people. Ex 13:21-22 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

One of the more popular tours anyone can take is a guided tour, because the guide is well versed in the history of the area and the guide has a personal stake in preserving and forever celebrating the area. This sounds much like God with the Israelites, and it also reminds me of God, through His Son Jesus, today. God had brought the Israelites through a lot, and He held the hands of Moses and Aaron for a long time while He worked on Pharaoh. He has also brought us through a lot in our lifetime, and we should never be so silly as to brush that aside as good luck, good fortune or even think that it was a natural course of action. I love that saying that “if He brings us to it, He will bring us through it”. I am convinced that just as we could see in our past how God has worked through the miracles that He performed in our lives and the lives of our relatives, He still has a purpose in our lives today. In fact, He wants to guide us through paths that will impact unbelievers, so that He can deal in their lives towards the hope that is theirs in knowing Jesus as Lord. Although so unfortunate, I have seen over recent days how people who once attended church for the wrong reasons, are now out of touch with the Master of this universe, and with His people. There is still much work to be done, and I believe that God is looking for humble, dedicated, willing servants to carry the gospel into the highways and byways, to our family, friends and our neighbors, through our example and witness to the fact that Jesus is Lord in our life. Friends, I believe that this is as urgent as the command to the Israelites, we need to ‘place the sacrificed blood on our doorposts’ so that others will know that Jesus reigns in our hearts and lives, and also as a constant reminder of our dedication to Christ. Only what’s done for Jesus will last friend, but we have to do it – do something, to be God’s instruments in witnessing to, and winning, the lost.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father thank You for the reminder of the urgency of the hour in which we live. Thank You for being my Deliverer, my Friend and my Guide. Please continue to work in my life so that I may represent You well before a lost and dying world. Please make me constantly aware of the lost around me, and the boldness to share the gospel with them in ways that You can open their hearts into making decisions to accept Your gracious Son, Jesus. There are many obstacles in this life that will lead me astray, but thank You for guiding me into heaven, Your home eternal, as You did in guiding the Israelites into the promised land,

Forgive as Christ Forgave Us

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 18.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

“That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” Matt 18:35 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

One day when we were deep in sin, in fact even to the degree that we protested before the king that Jesus should die just because He ‘rubbed’ us the wrong way, just because He showed us up with all of His humbleness and good works, yet His Father allowed Him to die on a cruel cross at Calvary just to ease the path to heaven for us. If we, as Christians, are then to be like Jesus, who are we to turn our noses up, harden our hearts and be unwilling to forgive our brother or sister, just because they may have hurt our little feelings? God is a God of love, so as His followers we are to be a people of that kind of love. God is a forgiving God, so as followers of His we too are to be a forgiving people. God sent His Son to display the attitudes we should have here on this earth. Unless we read the Book of Instructions (the Bible), we may often think that WE have everything under control and may even think that we have no sin in our lives. Friends, we have a lot to be desired, should we try to compare ourselves to the King of all times, the Creator of this universe. We have a long way to go, compared to the love, forgiveness, humility and understanding we read about in Jesus. But let’s not wait any longer to start our journey, let’s recommit ourselves today to try and parallel our lives to the one exampled by Jesus, the only perfect One that ever walked this earth. Others need your forgiveness so that they can go on to be victorious in Jesus. You may need forgiveness so that you can go on to victory in Jesus, this same chapter gives guidance on how to go about seeking forgiveness when your offender may feel no guilt at all. Live daily in the Word, so that you can live daily for Jesus!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father this has been an eye-opening chapter today, for it is filled with Your instructions on how we are to live our lives worthy of, and following Your example. Please give me grace, power and a humble heart to forgive others just as You have forgiven me. Help me to live a daily life being an example of You and sharing Your love with everyone that I come in contact with. Oh that others will see Jesus walking this earth through the lives of Your believers, and especially in me, what a difference this would make towards fulfilling the Kingdom message!

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