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Tuesday, November 5, 2013
The burning bushes are in full crimson array in our area.
"Lessons From The Burning Bush"
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"Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You will lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt... 'But who am I to appear before Pharaoh?' Moses asked God. 'How can you expect me to lead the Israelites out of Egypt?' Then God told him, 'I will be with you. And this will serve as proof that I have sent you...'" (Exodus 3:10-12a).
We enjoy the season of bright fall foliage. We still have plenty of beauty in our area but likely the next time we get a cold, windy rain most of the leaves will drop. Among the bright sights we see is the burning bush, which is in fiery abundance all through our region. Through most of the growing season it's a rather ordinary looking green shrub, but in the autumn it turns into a crimson ball of color. Perhaps the name comes from the burning bush written about in the Bible.
This story is recorded in Exodus 3 & 4. It reveals the call of a reluctant Moses to be a deliverer for God's people to be brought out of Egypt. It's a long exchange but today we will seek to glean a truth and application from God's conversation with Moses assuring him that He could use him, weaknesses and all. That's really a lesson for each of us and we'll share more examples of that tomorrow.
This last weekend we had Mike and Kathy Matangelo, friends up from North Carolina, whom we have fellowshipped with for 36 years. During our visit they shared a Youtube message from Craig Dietz (pictured on right). He was born without arms and legs and attended school with their son, Doug. I vaguely recall seeing Craig as a small boy. He is now an attorney in his late 30's, and demonstrates a joyful, overcoming spirit. We link to his video below and encourage you to watch it.
His parents instilled in him a "can do" attitude and in the video he honors God. He focused on the things he could do rather than those which he couldn't. That's the way most of us are wired, but God may have different plans than those which we'd expect or even want.
That's the way it was with Moses. His adventuresome life had lots of twists and turns. It started in his infancy when his family hid him from the Egyptians who were slaying all male Hebrew babies. Another twist came when he was found by the princess of Egypt who adopted him and raised as him as Egyptian royalty. Still another twist was that his own mother nursed him through his younger years and likely instilled in him his identity as a descendant of Abraham. Moses had a privileged upbringing in the royal palace with all the wealth, prestige and power anyone could want, especially an Israelite.
But Moses was born a Jew and would remain loyal to the Jewish people. And therein lies the opportunity for God to use Moses to free the Israelites from 400 years of captivity. In his fortieth year, yet another major turn came when Moses who had lived and eaten at Pharaoh's table was now being hunted down by him for killing an Egyptian. He left Egypt fleeing for his life since "WANTED" posters were hung in every building and posted throughout the land. Exodus 2:14b describes Moses as "badly frightened."
Fear can absolutely paralyze one's giftings, vision, and courage to accomplish anything for the kingdom of God. Is there any wonder that Moses took to the wilderness for 40 years content to tend sheep and live an ordinary, comfortable shepherd's life?
But God had bigger plans and told Moses about it on the far side of the desert at the mountain of God. The angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire in a burning bush and gave Moses this commission: "I am sending you to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt" (3:10).
It's one thing to tend needy sheep, quite another to tend needy people. (All pastors would agree with that statement.) So Moses naturally spoke back to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"
And therein lies the question most all whom God calls to service must settle once for all. There was much conversation between God and His servant, Moses, to ascertain that God was truly calling him to this gigantic task. Moses kept looking to his own abilities or lack thereof and felt he had nothing to offer.
God was not looking upon Moses' abilities - He would provide that. Instead He looked for his availability and willingness to say, "Yes" to God's calling. After all, God wasn't sending him to Egypt to represent Moses. Instead he was being sent to represent "the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob..." "Tell them, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
The same powerful God of our ancestors will "be used from generation to generation" (3:15) to equip us with extraordinary ability when we're inclined to question Him or decline His calling because we're badly frightened. God gives us courage to conquer that which would otherwise hinder us from experiencing God's greatest blessings in our lives and the blessings He has for others who benefit from our obedience.
Don't run and hide, make excuses, delay, or tremble in fear. Let us trust God that He will equip us when He calls us to make a difference in His kingdom. Are you listening to His voice today? What is your answer?
"Just ordinary people, God uses ordinary people.
He chooses people just like me and you,
Who are willing to do as He commands.
God uses people that will give Him all.
No matter how small your all may seem to you.
Because little becomes much,
As you place it in the Master's hand."
Be encouraged today!
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, those whom You call You also equip to do that which we cannot do in ourselves. Some of us come up against extremely difficult odds, whether it's due to our family history, physical limitations from birth, an accident, disease or aging. Any or all of these negatives have a way of consuming us and can contribute to a victim's outlook. But You don't victimize us, Father, You make us Victors as You give us helps along the way, provide caregivers who support and cheer us on. You perform small and big miracles within us to accomplish Your intended will for our lives. You assured a frightened Moses with these words, "I will be with you" and You assure our spirits with the very same message, "I will be with you" no matter how hard the test, how long it endures, or the timing of its appearance. Faithful God, You never change, but are always the same and we're assured the victory just like Abraham, Moses, Job, Daniel and all the other common, ordinary people of the Bible who became heroes in our eyes. We walk in victory because You are the great I AM and You are with us. We love You and look to You in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Craig Dietz, is the man born without arms and legs we referred to in our message today. Video He tells a powerful story about how God's blessings come in unexpected ways.
"Life Is Hard But God Is Good" Video Pam Thum
"Bless The Broken Road" Video Selah
"Ordinary People" Video Danniebelle Hall
Based upon the map on this page we suppose most all of our US readers are near where you can see a burning bush plant!
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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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