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Monday, January 10, 2011

Yellowstone National Park (Photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Yellowstone National Park
Photo taken by our friend Howard Blichfeldt

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"So You Want To Go Back To Egypt?"

"Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?" So they said to one another, "Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt" (Numbers 14:3b,4). "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward" (Hebrews 11:24-26).

Keith Green
Keith Green was one of my favorite musicians when I was a young Christian in the late seventies and early eighties.  He had been an up and coming rock musician in the early seventies when he made a 180-degree turn to follow Christ.  His ministry called the church, especially young believers, to solid commitment to Christ.

One of his albums was titled, "So you wanna go back to Egypt?" Egypt for those knowledgeable in the Bible was where Moses lead the people out of but where some of them wanted to return
(see Numbers 14:3b,4).  Egypt represents the old way of life and is a type of the world seeking to draw the believer back to this old way of life.

The second daily Scripture portion is found in the "Faith Chapter" and describes Moses.  Talk about treasures; he was raised in the palace as Pharaoh's son and was in line to be Prime Minister of Egypt with all the prestige and perks of the most powerful kingdom of that age. 

About 3,500 years ago, when Moses was 40 years of age, he made a critical decision to identify with God and His people. He correctly realized that the pleasures of sin and the treasures of Egypt paled in comparison to the eternal pleasures and indescribable treasures given by God.  Likewise today, and in every generation, all the pleasures and treasures this world has to offer just can't compare with the real deal.

Yet so much of man's behavior is driven by the pursuit of earthly pleasures and monetary treasures. The pleasures of sin and treasures of "Egypt" remain a great obstacle to faith for the unbeliever and a constant source of temptation for people of faith in all generations.

But Moses "regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt."  What a powerful verse!  It's an equation that bluntly makes no earthly sense; disgrace being of greater value than treasure.

Note that the writer of Hebrews uses the title "Christ" even though Moses lived some 1,400 years before the incarnation and the designation of the title "Christ" to the second person of the Trinity!  Of course Christ was alive and always has been in His preincarnate state.  He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, who always has been, who is, and who always will be.

Indeed Egypt offered great treasures for Moses much like the world offers great treasures, especially to those who live in the affluent regions.  Oh for the perspective of Moses who "was looking ahead to his reward." That's where I want my focus and energy to be directed also as I serve the same great Christ that Moses served 3,500 years ago.  How about you?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer:  Father, when I am in earnest fellowship with You my affections for the temporal pleasures from the world decrease and my attention to spiritual blessings increase.  Lord, my greatest desire in this life is to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  There is nothing in this world that could replace such a lifelong goal.  Even as a horse wears blinders so that he is not distracted by noises and sights that would lead him astray would You place spiritual blinders on my eyes so that my focus is continually upward and I am not led astray by the sights, smells and noises from the world.  In Your Name Jesus I pray, Amen.

Ester's health update: A few of our readers are aware that Ester's heart matter worsened after Thursday's adjustment to her pacemaker. Her heart rate soared to over 200 BPM on Saturday and she required medical intervention. Doctors in the ER were unable to bring down her heart rate with medication so they had to apply electroshock with the paddles and her heart responded. She continues to be in the hospital today as they are doing testing, giving her new meds and will confer today regarding treatment to help prevent this in the future.  Though Ester has ongoing atrial flutter her pacemaker generally brings her pace back into normal range, at least it has over the past four years since she's had her present model. We're uncertain as to what caused her to go back into the very high and dangerous heart rate of the 200's. We sure don't want to go there again and ask for your prayers that the medical team will have the wisdom needed to guide them regarding her ongoing medical challenges.

Ester with Pastor and Wendy Gambini 1/8/11
Jim Gambini, our former Pastor and wife, stopped by to see Ester in the emergency room Saturday night following here shock treatment.
That visit cheered her up!

Ester with friends 1/9/11
Yesterday afternoon Stan and Deb Miller, Ester's youth leaders,
 and her friends Jenny and Chelsea dropped by for a visit.

I receives this note from Paul, a friend in Maryland regarding Friday's message: Thanks brother for your parallel teaching regarding the pacemaker. I've had a Medtronics pacemaker/defibrillator since January 2007. It saved my life in July 2007 when the defib restored my normal heart rate after an episode. Now it is pacing my lower chamber 100%. I see it as that unique partnership God gives man in His creation. My cardiologist is a committed Christian who knows he is the lesser partner in caring for my heart! It is still an amazing feeling when they check my pacemaker and I feel my pulse rate change in response to the computer!!!   On the spiritual side, the Holy Spirit is the pacer for my spiritual heart, my spiritual pacemaker.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt?"  Video  Keith Green

"My Eyes Are Dry"  Video  Keith Green

"Grace By Which I Stand"  Video  Keith Green

"Knowing You Jesus" Video (Singer not identified but I sure like this version.)

All I once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres, and wars to own,
All I once thought gain I have counted loss;
Spent and worthless now, compared to this:

Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You,
There is no greater thing.
You're my all, You're the best,
You're my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You, Lord.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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