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Live Like

In the first chapter of the book of Matthew, scripture gives us the genealogy of Christ.  Genealogy is a look back at the line of descent from someone to find an ancestor.  It is usually a look back from you to someone in your past.

But the genealogy of Christ is not a look back. It is a look forward—from a man to a Savior.  The reason for that is simple.  Jesus and God are the same, so we cannot look back from Him because there was nothing before Him.  So, we look forward from a man to a Savior.

In Matthew 1:17, scripture says, “So, all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations.  From David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.”

Now these three time periods have an important meaning for us.  God wanted each of us to know that He has always had a plan in place for our salvation and our adoption into the family of Christ.  We were a part of His future genealogy.

Jesus looked forward to the day that we accepted that plan.  He is watching us daily to see if we are living like we know what the plan is for our lives.

God has always had plans for the Promise He wanted to make to us; He started this with His Promise to Abraham.  He has always had plans for a type of man to show us how to pursue Him; He did this with David.  And He always had a plan for a Deliverer for us after we were held captive because of our failures; He provided this with Jesus.

In the book of Proverbs 3:5-6 we are told, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  And lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”  

With Abraham and the generations that came after him, God was saying, like He says to us today, “I have a plan for you and for your family.  Will you accept it?”  If we live like we have accepted His plan for our lives, we will go where do not know.  We will stay where we have no home.  We will look at our lives through His eyes.  We will do all this because we Trust in the Lord with all our hearts.

With David and the generations after him, God was saying, as He says to us today, “I have a plan that includes not only your obedience but also a relationship between us.”  If we live like we have a relationship with Him, we will live the way we believe He wants us to live.  If we live like we have a relationship with Him, we will get our understanding about life and the things that concern us only from the relationship we have with Him.

With the generations that returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, God was saying to them, and He says to us today, “I have a plan to provide for you a Deliverer, a Redeemer, a King, and a Savior.  If we live like we are going home to Jerusalem, we will not live like we are in bondage to sin any longer.

If we live like we are going home to Christ, we will live like the most valuable thing that we have is the thing He promised that is yet to come.  If we live like we are going home to Christ, we will live like we acknowledge Him in everything such that He directs our paths and every step we take.  If we live like we are going home to Christ, we will proclaim there is nobody like our God.

He wants us to live like He is our God and that there is nothing that can compare to Him.

God is the only one who can show us what our futures will be.  He doesn’t ask us to look back where we started.  He wants our genealogy to be a look forward to what it will be in a life with Christ.  Let’s live like that.

So, let’s learn to live like we can see how our futures will be with the Lord.  Let’s live like we are not our own but His.  And let’s live like we are more than children of our parents; let’s live like we are also children of the Most High God.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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The Heart of Your Intentions

A young boy told his grandfather that it seemed like there was a fight going on between two people inside him.  One person wanted to do good, and the other person wanted to do everything that wasn’t good.  The young boy said he was tired of fighting.  

So, he asked his grandfather for help.  He knew he wanted the person who wanted to do good to win.  But why did he want that?  So, he asked his grandfather which person would win the fight for his life?

My life was transformed for better the day I realized that I too had this battle going on within me.  Two people were fighting to have control of my life.  One was whom God made me to be, into whose heart He put His Spirit.  The other one was destined to be a slave and servant to sin, always self-serving in actions.

I imagine this is probably the case for many of us.  But how can we live this way?  How can two people in one body fight for the same body?  Who will ultimately win? Well, perhaps like me, our victory cannot ultimately happen until we realize that we are in a battle with ourselves for ourselves.

I always thought my fight was against someone else.  You know, the person who hurt me, or the person who broke my trust or the person who was against me.  I thought it was easy to fight that person.  A fight them I did.  But this only led to my defeat in so many ways.

I learned that the ultimate battle against me was me.  When I realized this, I learned the only way to win the fight I fought against me was to change the intentions of my heart.  You’ve heard it said, actions speak louder than words.  Well, I was full of a lot of actions, and I had some very loud words directed at everyone else and at everything else before I changed my heart.

Romans 7:21 summed up my situation this way:  “I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.”  There were those two people—evil and good.  I always thought that the evil I faced was the evil directed at me by others.  Then I realized the reason I could not do the good that I wanted to do was because evil was present in me, making me do what I didn’t want to do.

I had to learn to stop judging the actions of others against me and to start transforming the intents of myself within me.  Our actions will always be more easily seen and heard because they are visible to others.  But the intents of our hearts are a more accurate and truer representation of who is winning the battle for our lives.

Scripture also tells us that man looks at the outward appearance and actions of others, but God searches the heart.  God looks at the intents of our hearts.  Man is pretty good at finding a dirty man hiding behind what seems like a good act.  But we often get that wrong.

God is amazing at finding a good man in the middle of a dirty act.   He never gets that wrong.

So, lets start today to transform the intents of our hearts.  Let’s take our focus off what we believe people are doing to us and focus on what we can be for people.  Learn to guard your hearts and to shut your mouth.   When you transform your hearts intentions you can more accurately transform your actions.

We can all hear what we say but only by the heart can we discern the intent of what we meant to say.  We can see all the things we do but only from the heart can we discern the intent for what we meant to happen.

If you want to do good, change the intents of your heart so that you can become someone who is good at heart.  Lots of evil people want to do good things but their intents are for themselves.  If you want to win the battle for your life, let the intentions of your heart transform you to become the good that is missing in the lives of others.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Thanksgiving 2022

The holiday of Thanksgiving would probably not exist today if not for the work of Sarah Joseph Hale.  She began to advocate for Thanksgiving in the early 1800’s.  She saw it as a way to advance a sense of national pride.  She wanted to make Thanksgiving an American custom, an institution, and a holiday.

But it wasn’t until 1863 that President Lincoln finally declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. Seeing that the President did this in throws of the Civil War, Thanksgiving is considered by some to simply be an attempt by the President to bring some peace back to the country.

We must not forget real reasons behind the desire of Sarah Joseph Hale and President Lincoln for a day of Thanksgiving.  They wanted to take time to thank God for the wonders of His work and of His great love towards us.

Ms. Hale wanted us to remember we had God to thank for our sense of nationalism.  We are one people under one God, and we should express that openly.

President Lincoln wanted to take time to thank God for preserving the country as one nation of many people of different types.  He wanted us to know that God is the only One Who can take things that are different and unite them together with something that is the same to all.

So, as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day this year, let’s not forget the real reason for our joy.  We are a people chosen by God Himself to be His very own.  We may be different in many ways, but we are made the same by the same sacrifice of His Son Jesus Who died so that we could live as one people under one great and mighty God.

Psalm 100 is a short Psalm of five verses.  It says this:

Verse 1:  Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!  (Don’t let the next 364 days go by without daily expressing your joy at being a child of God).

Verse 2:  Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.  (Live out the year gladly serving Him as He is our provider of all things).

Verse 3:  Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.  (Remember that we are not our own, and we are not to live on our own.  Instead, we are His, and knowing this will enable us to live like we are His in the favor of His presence daily).

Verse 4:  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him and bless His name. (We all ask the Lord to come into our hearts to live.  But today let’s commit to move our lives into His heart.  Let’s then remember as we enter the gates of His heart, to do that giving thanks that He made room for us.  And as we enter the courts of His presence, we do that with praise because we are amazed at the wonders of His goodness).

Verse 5:  For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. (Let’s remember all things good come from Him because He is good.  His mercy is good for us.  His Truth good for us, just as it was at the start of man, just as it was at the fall of man, just as it was at the saving of man, and just as it is today.  He is always Good for us).

So, as we celebrate Thanksgiving 2022, let’s do that with the mind that we can celebrate this day because He made it possible for us come live in His heart.  There, we have all that we could ever want and all that we can ever be.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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But He Says

In Matthew 5:43, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”  Now this scripture makes no sense if we just stop here, but that’s not the end.  Jesus continues in Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute you.”  

But He says.  One of the most difficult things for me to do is to say to myself, But He says.

When we are hurt by something and feel justified to return the hurt, we must remember, But Jesus says, “Whoever slaps us on our cheek, to turn the other cheek to him also.”  Matthew 5:39.

When someone wants to make us pay for something we have done to them, and we want to fight back, we must remember, But Jesus says, “Let them have what they want and give them more too.”  Matthew 5:40.

So why doesn’t it make sense for us to love our neighbors and hate our enemies?  It could be because Jesus knows that we would not all know exactly what is an enemy.  It is far better for us to love everyone than to risk hating someone who we mistake as an enemy.

Jesus also knows that we can be more like Him when we learn to shine brightly into the lives of all people—those we love and those who may not love us.  God does this same thing.  He makes the light to shine on the just and the unjust all the same.  Matthew 5:45.

Where we go wrong is in this.  We come to believe that God does not want us to be persecuted by anyone.  And we would be right.  We believe God does not want us to be used by anyone.  And we would be right.  We believe God does not want people to take advantage of us.  And in this too we would be right.

No father—neither our heavenly Father nor our earthly father—would want harm to come to us in any way.  God is loving as our earthly fathers should be.

But He says to us, while He does not want hardships to come to us, hardships will come because they are part of life.  He says to us that even in our hardships He has made a way for us to get through them.  We must understand that God cares about how we get through things, and He cares about how others get through things too.

So, we must remember, if we have an adversary, God is concerned about us, and He is concerned about our adversary also.  If we have a broken relationship, God is concerned about us, and He is concerned about the other person also.

Remember then, we may say we will love only who loves us, and we may want to give to those who use us what man says is right for us to do.  But He says, we all have thorns in our flesh to deal with.  We can plead that God will remove our thorns.  But He may not.

You see, sometimes the thorns—even thorns in marriages, even thorns with children—are the devil’s way to get us to act like we are not God’s children but our own.

So, God may not remove our thorns in the way we would like them to be removed.  But He says, He will make a way for us to get on with the life He wants us to live, even with our thorns, because He gives us grace.  Grace is what takes us through tough things.  Seeing grace in us can help others—even those who may not live for us, even those who may not live for God—get through their owns thorns.  Grace can lead them to live for the Lord and to stop living against you.

But He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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From Unless To Because

I’m sure you know the phrase “Trust but Verify.”  It is used in important relationships when one person is expected to believe another.  There is one big problem with this phrase—it contains the word “but.”

When we use the word “but” in this way, it simply says what comes before the word is not to be believed until what comes after the word is complete.  When we say, “Trust but Verify” we are really saying, “Verify then Trust.”  In other words, “Seeing is Believing.”  It says, “I will believe and trust only when I can see.”

“Trust but Verify” has probably saved a lot of people from things they want to avoid.  “Trust but verify” or “Seeing is Believing” has also keeps people from accessing the vast riches of life which are more valuable than the little things they avoided.  We cannot enjoy life as it is meant to be if we must have proof before we believe.

Our relationship with the Lord cannot be built on a “Seeing is Believing” mindset.  With God, this “Seeing is Believing” mindset is demonstrated when we set a condition that must be satisfied before we believe what we don’t want to believe.  I call this the “Unless I Get What I Want, I Will Not Believe What Is Before Me” way of living.

In John chapter 20, Jesus is raised from the dead, and He appeared to the disciples that same day.  The scripture says He appeared to them in a house, but Thomas was not with them.  When the disciples told Thomas they had seen Jesus, Thomas responded in John 20:25 by saying to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Thomas was saying, “Unless these things happen to satisfy me, I will not believe.”  We cannot have a “Trust but Verify” relationship with the Lord, and neither can we have an “Seeing is Believing” relationship with the Lord.  With God, belief is what helps us learn all truths, even those we cannot see.

Later in John 20:27-29, Jesus appears again to the disciples about a week later.  This time Thomas was with them.  After allowing Thomas to see His hands and reach into His side, “Thomas said, ‘My Lord and my God.’  Jesus responded to him by saying, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed.  Blessed those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”

We must learn to move from a mindset that says, “Unless I See It, I Will Not Believe It,” to one that says, “Because I Believe It, I Can See It.”  With the Lord, there are more blessings in believing all the things of God, especially those things that your flesh tells you to verify.  Choose to believe what you cannot verify.

Instead of living an “Unless I See It” life, start living a “Because I Believe It” life.  Often, we destroy relationships with others because we take on an “Unless You Prove It” mindset.  Your trust of others is of no value to others unless you give it to them.  Trust that must be earned is not trust at all; it is only verification.

Your love of others is of no real value to others unless you love them without the need for something in return.  Love that must be earned is not love at all; it is only verification of payment for work others are doing.  Love is not payment.

If you want to change things about your life that have been difficult to change, perhaps you may need to learn to go from “Unless” to “Because.”  Because God loved us, He loves us.  If we will not love Him unless He loves us first, if we will not love others unless others love us first, then we create a life that has no real love or trust or honor or faith or belief.

Let today be the day you start living a “Because I Do, I Will See It and Have It and Enjoy It” life.  When you do, you will be blessed beyond your imagination.  With God, “Because You Believe” is how He verifies the strength of your belief.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Grace Will Find You

Most of us know Psalms 23, or as many will say, the 23rd Psalm.  There are six verses in this Psalm.  Verse six says “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Stop and let Grace find you.  That is my message today.

With this Psalm, we are told that for those who choose the Lord as their shepherd, His goodness—His grace—will follow them forever.  God wants believers to have His goodness and grace because He wants others to experience His goodness and grace through us.

Scripture tells us in 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.”

So, the Lord’s eyes look for those whose hearts are loyal to Him.  Because we are willing to make Him our shepherd, we know that goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives.

So, what does it mean that goodness and mercy shall follow us?  I believe most of us think this verse is saying the Lord’s goodness will be on our lives for all our lives.  That is probably a good way to view it.  But if goodness and mercy are in our lives, we must give it to others to bless their lives.

Goodness and mercy are of no use if they are not given.  They must be used towards others.  If goodness and mercy are following us, it means we have stopped long enough to allow it to catch us.  Because it has caught us, we share it wherever we are, in all things we do.  Goodness and mercy will be the indication of where we have gone, no matter where we are at the moment.

I had a conversation like this with a good friend just recently.  We found that when we extend grace towards others, goodness and mercy have followed our presence.  Grace is God’s way of saying, “I will give you what you don’t deserve from Me so that you can give others what they don’t deserve from you.”

Grace teaches us that goodness and mercy are for others and never for ourselves.  Grace teaches us that life is about helping more than being helped.  Grace teaches us that forgiveness cannot be achieved when grace is not given.  Grace teaches us that we cannot be selfish and receive goodness and mercy.

I could go on with this, but here is the simple truth.  God gives us grace because He doesn’t want to punish us for every transgression against Him.  He wants us to give grace because when we withhold grace we act selfishly.  Grace is the way believers and nonbelievers can agree on at least one thing that is the same, and here it is.

So long as we live, we need the restorative healing and power of grace in our lives.  Grace received says we should be thankful and perhaps change our ways.  Grace given says we are thankful and have changed our ways.

So, stop running and let the goodness and mercy of God catch you so you learn the miraculous power of Grace.  And let goodness and mercy follow you into the lives of others, especially into the lives of those who stand between your desire to live selfishly for yourself and selflessly for others.

When goodness and mercy follow you, the grace of God will find you and enrich your life.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Make Me Careful

What is the most important thing that you have?  I am not asking what the most important thing in life to you is.  Instead, I am asking what is the most important thing that you have in life?  When you have considered your answer then I have this question.  Is there anything in life that is more important to you than the most important thing that you have?

How important is your family to you?  How important is your health to you?  How important is your work to you?  How important are relationships to you?  How careful you are with the things you value reveals just how important anything is to you.  

Being careful doesn’t mean what you might think.  Careful means we are full of care about who we are and what we mean to life and in the world around us.

Being careful means living as if we cannot be replaced in the lives of others who hold us important to them.  It means living as if we are the lifeline to a better life for others.  Being careful means knowing that life is less about us and more about someone or something else. 

When we are not careful, we open the door to carelessness.  Carelessness abounds when carefulness is missing.  Being careless simply means we place more importance on our lives than on the lives around us.  When we are careless, we are more concerned about where we walk than we are about where we take others.

One of the reasons we find it difficult to become careful is because we are selfish.  A selfish person is the most important person to that person.  A selfish person is the most important thing to a selfish person.  A selfish person is the most important desire to a selfish person.  A selfish person does not have to be careful; a selfish person simply lives careless of other things.

Knowing that carefulness is important to living our best, we must learn to become careful.  But how do we do this when we don’t know how to get ourselves out of our way?  Psalms 119: 33-40 has this answer, “Teach me, O Lord the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end.  Give me understanding and I shall keep Your law. Incline my heart to Your testimonies.”

Here scripture is saying that there is something more important in life than ourselves.  It is saying there is something more important in life than the way we are living our lives.  We should not just be concerned to do what we want to do.  We need to be careful about what our lives means to all life.  It is as if the Lord is asking us to ask Him, “Please make me careful about how I live this life.”  

If we did that, He would show us:

  • How to be careful about the things that should be the most important things we have in life outside of a relationship with Him.  We would learn we cannot be at the center of what is important to us.
  • How to be careful about the things that should be the most important things we desire in life outside of what we want from Him.  The desires we have for ourselves should be balanced by the desires we should have for others.
  • How to be careful in those times when we are the most important things in life to people and things outside of ourselves. We learn we may be the center of someone else’s life.

Learning to be careful about life is learning to ponder everything you do and all that you are just in case you are the object of what is important to someone else.

Let this prayer be yours: “Lord, Make Me Careful so that I may please You in all things, and so that I may be the right things for others who pray to You looking for something or someone to be an important part of their lives.  Lord, Make Me Careful to be careful!”

Live a Delivered Life.  Love You.

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I Want to See You

Hi everyone, this this is Allen Forte

My message today is the third of a three-part message taken from chapter 33 of the book of Exodus.

Part 3 is learning to have an “I Want to See You” spirit.  

In the early verses of this chapter of Exodus, Moses made it known that he didn’t want to go anywhere without God going with him.  He also wanted to know God’s ways before going the ways of the people.

Now, Moses was conflicted in one more area.  The people of Israel had lived very difficult lives up to then.  The people had been in Egypt for over 400 years.  All they really knew was bondage, hard work and hard lives.  They had cried out to God for help all those years.  And now here they were, in the middle of a desert.

The people had grown accustomed to seeing more of the Egyptian gods than the God of Abraham, at least in their minds.  The Egyptians created images of their gods.  Their gods seemed to be more present and seemed to work more in their lives.

This made the Israelites wonder about the God of the people of Abraham, a God they had not seen yet.  They had no image of their God.  They had no sense of His presence.  They prayed and cried out to someone they could not know or see.

I have struggled with this myself.  In times past it has been hard for me to see God in the middle of some of the difficult things in life.  Many people are like me.  When our marriages are not working out, we ask, God are You here?  When we lose our jobs we ask, God are You here?  When we are sick unto death we ask, God are You here?

Like the Israelites, we may find it difficult to see the hand of God in the middle of difficult things that do not seem to change.  We say 400 years is a long time—a long time to look for God in the middle of many difficulties and many struggles.

I have learned that God does not have to make our lives hard just so that we can be brought to a place of seeing His hand at work for us.

He does not need to make us look bad in order to clean us up and make us look better.  He does not need to break our marriages in order to make our marriages great.  The Lord is always with us no matter our circumstances.

Moses and the Israelites had to deal with feelings like this.  So, in Exodus 33:17-18, the Lord says this in response to Moses’ prayer request that God would be with them.  Scripture says, “So the Lord said to Moses I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”  

In verse 18 Moses responds by asking the Lord this one last thing.  “And he said, Please, show me Your glory.”  In other words, please let me see You Lord, and it will be sufficient for me.

Moses had seen enough adversity.  He had seen enough challenges.  He had seen many times over and again that the people were seemingly left on their own in their struggles.  Moses knew that if the people of Israel didn’t know how to recognize when God was at work, neither would the people who were their adversaries recognize His work.

Like Moses and the Israelites, sometimes it’s hard for us to see God in the middle of our circumstances, be they good or not so good.  And like Moses we must remain believing and hopeful no matter what we face, no matter how difficult or how long we may be challenged.

Moses was saying if we cannot see Your works in our lives, let us see Your face for our lives.  How will people know You if we Your people cannot recognize Your work?  Please show us Your Glory Lord.

I know it’s hard for people to see the thing in me that I have not myself seen in me.

So, let this mind be in you; that no matter your circumstance, you will be able to see His face upon your life.  Have an “I want to see You” spirit.

Learn to ask that the Lord is seen in you when others look to see the things the Lord does.  Learn to ask that the Lord’s ways are visible in you when others see more of man’s ways around you.

Learn to ask this one thing of the Lord instead of asking for another blessing from the Lord.  “Lord, show me Your glory and that will be sufficient for me to make it another day.  Show me Your glory that by my actions and by the way I live, others will see You and know that You are as You say You are.  No matter if things are hard or easy for me, I want to see You Lord so that others will have an image of You in the things around their lives.”

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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I Want to Meet You

Hi everyone, this this is Allen Forte

My message today is the second of a three-part message taken from chapter 33 of the book of Exodus.

Part 2 is learning to have a “I Want to Know Your Way” spirit.  

Although Moses and the people of Israel knew that God was with them daily, in Exodus 33:8-11 Moses realizes something was still missing about this relationship.  Moses wanted to personalize something among himself, the Israelites, and God.  Moses wanted more than to know what God was saying to them, he wanted to know God’s Ways with them. 

Moses was accustomed to God telling him what to do.  God always provided what the Israelites needed, and He was good to them.  But that wasn’t enough to make it a relationship.  Knowing what God does is great but knowing how He operates makes Him personal.

In verse 12, Moses says to the Lord, “See, You say to me, bring up this people.  But you have not let me know whom You will send with me.  Yet, You have said, I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.  Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You, and that I may find grace in Your sight.  And remember, this nation is Your people.”

Thank God for Moses.  In a way he was saying we know that you are God, but we are struggling to know you as our God.  We need to meet You so we can know more about You beyond Your commands.  Moses didn’t want to just be aware of God via the internet.  He didn’t just want to be a Facebook friend with God.  He wanted to meet the Person he talked about each day.  He wanted to relate to the Person the people obeyed each day.

Moses’s heart wanted to meet the Lord, but do our hearts today?  Moses wanted to meet God so he could know God’s Ways.  I often find that I don’t want to change my ways, so I am ok with the knowledge I have about God.  But I learned, a knowledge relationship is not the same as a personal relationship with God.

Remember, the people had only been out of Egypt for a short while before they started to behave in ways that displeased the Lord.  We cannot serve well the Person we do not know well.  Moses knew this about the people.  God was angry with them and with their ways, but they didn’t know God well enough to know His Way.

Knowing about the Lord and about His ways is not the same as knowing that you have been changed by His knowledge to His ways.  Knowledge of God by itself will not change our ways to God’s Ways.  Moses knew the people needed to meet God as much as they needed to know that God was with them.

I have learned that I couldn’t really know the Lord and His Way until I learned what it was about me and my way that stood in His Way.  Sadly, I believe there was a time where I was simply happy with giving lip service to trying to obey Him.  Then I learned I couldn’t even obey Who I did not know because I did not know Him or His Way.  I needed a spirit of wanting to know Him.

There is a specific meaning to the word Exodus.  It is more than just an account of the deliverance of the people from bondage. Exodus means this is the Way.  It’s like God says to us “Follow Me, I am the Way for you.” It means this Way should be your way.

Like Moses did for himself and the people, I came to understand that I needed to meet Him so that I could get to know Him and His Way personally.  My ways stood between me and God’s.  Even as I tried to obey Him and His Way, I failed often because I made knowing and obeying Him a series of events more than it is a Way of Life. 

I suspect many people are this way, and they don’t even know it.  God is not looking for us to have a Sunday morning event of worship and obedience with Him.  He is looking for someone who will cry out as Moses did and say, “I want to meet You so that I can know You and Your Way.”

It is in meeting Him and learning His Way that we can recognize and know who it is about us that stands in the way of who it is that God wants us to be.

Let this be your prayer cry today, “Lord, show me Your Way, that I may know You; I want to personally meet the Person I have been trying to obey.”  Then you will find grace in His sight.  He will come to know you by name because of your cry to meet Him in person.

Knowing God is not a series of events.  He is not looking for you to simply keep from eating from the tree of life.  He is looking for you to live your life the Way He wants all life to be lived.  Knowing Him is life.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.

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Not Without You

My message today is the first of a three-part message taken from chapter 33 of the book of Exodus.

Part 1 is learning to have a “Not Without You” spirit.  

Often, I think about times I would like the Lord to speak directly and clearly to me like He did many time to people in the Bible.  For example, God spoke to Abraham to tell him to go.  God spoke to Jacob to tell him to return to his home. Then the Lord spoke to Paul to tell him to stop and then to go.  By their actions each of these three men said to the Lord, “I will go, but not without You.”

Now, I often wish for those times.  I wish He would simply speak plainly to me and say what He wants to say.  But then I wonder, do I really want that?  I ask myself, “Do I really want what the Lord wants of me, or do I want the Lord to want what I want for myself?”

Here is what I have concluded.  I don’t want a life that is without Him in any way, so I say to Him, “Not Without You, Lord.”  I want to live in no way and in no place without Him.  I want a “Not Without You” spirit.  For me, I believe it is the only way I can overcome powerful desires I have to live for me rather than to allow Him to live within and through me.

In Exodus 33, the Israelites had been in the desert only a few months after being delivered from Egypt.  God had been with them daily in the form of a cloud by day and a fire by night.  But the people were hard-headed.  They had already fallen into worshiping idols, quickly building a golden calf to worship while they waited for Moses to return from Mt Sinai.

They were out of Egypt, but they did not leave their old ways of Egypt behind.  They had God in their presence daily, but they did not allow Him to be present in their lives. God saw that it wasn’t good for them to stay where they were.  So, He commanded the Israelites to leave Mt Sinai and go to the promised land.

In verses 1-3 scripture says God told Moses to “Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”  Stiff-necked means you are unwilling to turn from the direction you are heading.  Instead of a “Not Without You” spirit, the people had a “just as I am” spirit.

If we are going to remain just as we are, the Lord may well just leave us just where we are.  This is the reason I wonder sometimes if I really want to hear Him or if I just want Him to hear me.  I’m stubborn and stiff-necked in my ways.  But God is loving.  And even though they were stubborn, He was going to send an angel before them in His stead.  The angel would fight and clear the way for them so they could take the promised land.

It’s important for us to understand, we cannot have a “Not Without You” spirit about what God asks us to do when we want to stay just where we are with a “just as I am” spirit.

It is very difficult for us to hear Him clearly when we listen more to ourselves for what we want for ourselves.

It is very difficult for us to feel His presence with us when we live more to be present in the things around us.

It is very difficult for us to change our direction to His path when we believe more of our lives should be lived on the paths we have chosen.

I could go on, but I hope that you see that it is very difficult for us to want His best for us when we really want Him to want what we believe is best for us.

The Israelites indeed feared going forward without God’s presence, but more than that, they feared leaving behind the things they knew best.  We cannot have a “Not Without You” spirit when we know the things of the world better than we know the God who made the world.

The way to get more of what the world has to offer is to give up more of what the world is offering you now.

The way to have more of what God wants to give you is to give up more of what God wants you to leave behind.

When you have a “Not Without You” spirit, you can have a Godly marriage more than a worldly marriage; you can have Godly children more than worldly children; you can have a Godly job and Godly work more than those that are worldly.

If you strip yourselves of all your desires for what the world has, if you strip yourselves of all the things that you want for you, then you will be able to say with confidence, “Lord, Not Without You” will I want for anything.

Live a Delivered Life.  Love you.