In between. It is not a place most of us like to be. We are not where we were but we are not where we are going either. However, how we handle this place in between can directly impact our destiny. It is this place of in between that our choice to either believe God or bow to fear comes into play. It is here that we in faith reach forward and receive or in doubt stop short and never see God’s desired end.
The Children of Israel are quite the picture of this “in between” scenario. For more than a few decades they had been the captive guest of Pharoah and the Egyptian society. They were subjected to brutal forced labor from barbaric taskmasters. Young and old alike were often the recipient of the venomous sting of the foreman’s whip across their back when they were judged to be unruly or unproductive. Through the years, they had raised their voice to God, crying out for deliverance from their terrible plight. When the time was right, God sent that deliverance by the hand of his servant Moses. In a historic display of Divine power, God forcefully loosened Egypt’s tight-fisted grip upon his people, breaking their shackles and leaving Egypt in shambles. What they had prayed so hard for was finally a reality. For the first time in what seemed like an eternity, the children of Israel were free. Continue reading
Elijah is in the aftermath of his successful showdown with the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. Jezebel is not a happy camper and is on his trail with the intention to destroy him. God puts him immediately in His witness protection plan andsends him to a secluded place east of the Jordan river where there is a brook to supply him water and ravens commissioned to feed him. After a time, God sends him on to Zarephath, where he has prepared a widow to feed him. Scripture tells it like this:
So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” “As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” (1 Kings 17:10-12)
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth. (Gen 11:1-9)
It seems from the narrative in Genesis that this tower being built on the plain in Shinar must have been something of magnificence. There is no reliable record of how many people actually inhabited this area, but the number must have been more than just a few. It is also quite obvious that this people group must have possessed skills in architectural design and construction. Now, it might be tempting to draw the conclusion that numbers and knowledge were the key to this society’s accomplishments. However, while those things were certainly a secondary advantage, they really were not the “secret of their success.” Continue reading
It was a beautiful day. The sun splashed its glorious spotlight upon the water, bringing to life the delightful choreographic movements of the ocean waves. Michael walked up and down the dock, making a careful inspection of his boat. Everything on the outside appeared sound, and he did a final check inside the boat to make sure all was in place, including the soda, snacks, sunscreen, first aid supplies and life preservers. He and several friends were headed out for a day of fishing and some much-needed rest and relaxation.
As they launched out into the waters, their craft moved easily atop the waves, escorted in graceful manner by the soft ocean breezes. For the first several hours all was well, and the shipmates were having a wonderful time. Then, without warning, the wind took a sudden shift and the waves that once gently propelled the boat began pounding it without mercy. Continue reading
Jesus is getting ready to return to heaven. He spends his last few minutes with his disciples encouraging them and laying down instructions for them to follow once he leaves their sight. In Luke 24:49, his last words to his disciples were these:
“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as My Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
What was the last thing that Jesus said to his disciples? WAIT.
What did Jesus NOT tell them? Continue reading
According to financial advisor, Dave Ramsey, one of the most important things a person can do financially is to develop an emergency fund. This is sometimes referred to as a rainy day fund, a cushion, or an umbrella. Simply put, this is an undertaking where over years, months, and days you deliberately store up a supply of cash a little at a time so that when life surprises you with a big expense you will have the resources to deal successfully with it. This means that when the transmission goes out in your car you won’t have to walk to work, more than once anyway; or when your central air conditioning unit gives up the ghost in 100-degree weather you can keep a cool head; or maybe like me, when the dentist one day suddenly decides your son needs braces, you can skip having to sell a kidney to make the down payment. In most cases, this fund is something that starts small and may seem insignificant initially, but with discipline and time it will grow into a financial safety net that will be well worth the effort it took to develop it.
Solomon, the wisest man to ever live on the earth outside of Jesus Christ, also spoke about this principle of storing up for the future but in regard to something far greater and longer lasting than money, that being the Word of God.
My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 7:1-3 (emphasis mine)
My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying. Proverbs 3:1-2 (emphasis mine) Continue reading
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong. Psalm 37:1
Guess what…… there will be evil men in this world. There will be those who do wrong and enjoy doing it. However, God says don’t fret about it. Don’t worry. Don’t fear. Don’t panic.
Furthermore, God also says don’t be envious of the wicked when it appears that they are momentarily on an upswing and prospering in their ways. God is not surprised or shaken, and He instructs us not to be either. He tells us that evil men will have their season but to not let our faith be shaken by this or fear the ship is going down and bail out. God has forewarned us that this will happen. However, this is not the end of the story by any means.
You see, although God details for us that the unrighteous will have their day in the sun, He continues on to declare there will come a time when they will be done.
“Mom, I want to play the drums.” The first time my son said those words to me I thought he was just having indigestion or some other momentary malady affecting his thinking, and secretly I hoped he was. My sister and I used to joke about buying drum sets for each other’s children for Christmas, but we never really considered the possibility of actually having percussion instruments in the house. However, as several weeks went by, my son just kept bringing the subject to the surface, washing away my notion that perhaps he was suffering a temporary affliction of mind. So, after a thorough discussion about the cost and commitment involved in playing a musical instrument, I conceded and enrolled him in drum lessons.
Max is our dog. He hasn’t always been our dog. He was somebody else’s dogs until one day he was anonymously donated to us. In a moment of weakness, we broke the iron-clad rule and gave the poor dog some food. To no one’s surprise, Max never left. After nearly 2 years, this canine character has grown to be of fair size and stature. He also has become quite spoiled. Contrary to his belief, Max really isn’t a house dog per se. Nevertheless, he does find his way in on occasion when someone happens to leave the door open or he barks at the back door until some spongy-spined family member lets him in.
The Fine Print
It comes with tools. It comes with watches. It comes with mattresses. In fact, it comes with most everything you purchase anymore that is of a non-edible nature. What is it? The warranty.
I must admit I am struggling to remember the last time I actually read the fine print of a warranty. However, from what I recall, this microscopic text usually consists of legal jargon that baffles the mind or, maybe with a stroke of luck, puts one to sleep. One concept routinely found within this jungle of wee little words is a list of situations in which this warranty would be rendered null and void.
Among other reasons, manufacturers often consider themselves removed from responsibility should the consumer use the product in a way other than it was designed to be used. In other words, if you use your hedge trimmer to try and cut down that tree in your yard that you can barely wrap your arms around and the hedge trimmer catches on fire in the process, the manufacturer strangely is not going to be replacing that hedge trimmer for you. They rightly refuse to be held responsible for a failure resulting from misuse of the product. It wasn’t a mishap on the manufacturer’s side but rather a misapplication by the user that caused the problem. Continue reading