Monthly Archives: March 2011

Groaning For Our Hope!

Enduring life can become drudgery. We are often times so nearsighted in the present, that we are blinded to the hope of eternity. Paul has some encouraging words for us:

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened–not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5

Here he describes this present body as a tent. Certainly the idea Paul is trying describe is that of temporary, fleeting, and transient maybe.
Our present body was fashioned by God to be temporary for our good! The everyday aches and pains can serve us by reminding us that our present TENT is temporary. This does not, however, relieve us of our present responsibilities. In fact, it is a fuel for us to endure the present as we groan for the hope of a glorified body.
The temporal state of our tent was designed by God to cause us to groan for the eternal dwelling, for we were made for eternity. Paul declares that this is the source of his renewal:

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

May we endure as we groan for the hope of a building not made with hands, eternal in the heavens!

Fickle Hearts

Moses is delayed forty days on the mountain in Exodus 32. It appears the people endured several days before making a god to go before them. Does it not seem odd that if someone must make something to go before them then it is not a god? They just witnessed the amazing parting of the Red Sea, manna from heaven, and water from a ROCK! You would think that after seeing such amazing things they would never disbelieve. O how fickle the heart can be.
Well if you like to one-up everything the people in John 11 move much quicker. John 11:45-46 says, “Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.” Of course, this is the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Can you imagine walking away from this scene to tell someone–not how amazing it was–but to build your case against him? This was not even a matter of days but possibly minutes.
Now before we throw these fickle-hearted people under the bus, observe your behavior after reading the very story yourself–encountering the resurrecting power of God before your eyes in this text. Beware! The heart is fickle

The LORD Leads!

“Take courage church, our God fights for us!!!” This was my plea to the church last Sunday as we mused over Exodus 14. This was not the entire story because God is the One who led Israel to the place of needing God to fight for them.

Moses writes,

Exodus 13:17-18; 13:20 – 14:3 17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” 18 But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. And the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle…20 And they moved on from Succoth and encamped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. 21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22 The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people. 14:1 ¶ Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’

We can take courage, for our God leads His people. Therefore, I concluded that the LORD actively leads His people into impossible situations. Not only that, He displays His power in the impossible situations. And while we are there, He fights for us. There is so much more here in this text, but these are a few of the glorious truths we encountered. Finally, the LORD did this for His glory!!! As we see Israel praising His name in Exodus 15, so we too as we hear of these wonders of God.
One might say, “But we were not there to see the miracles.” I would submit to you that Jethro was not there either. But here is the result of Jethro hearing about these things:

Exodus 18:8-12 8 Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the LORD had delivered them. 9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the LORD had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. 10 ¶ Jethro said, “Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.” 12 And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God

Take courage church, the LORD leads!!!

Roland Allen on the Training of Candidates

This is a quote from his book Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?
Allen says:

The young men so educated are sometimes, by that very education, out of touch with their congregations. They return to their people with strange ideas and strange habits. They are lonely, and they have to struggle against the perils of loneliness. They are not even the best teachers of people from whose intellectual and spiritual life they have so long been absent. They do not know how to answer their difficulties or to supply their necessities. They know so much Christian doctrine and philosophy that they have fogotten the religion of their country. The congregation has not grown with them, nor they with the congregation. They come, as it were, from outside, and only a few exceptional men can learn to overcome that difficulty( page 106)

I fear that I may not be one of those exceptional men. It is lonely here. I am but a stranger in this place. I do not know which way to turn. I feel as though I am standing on the bank of the Red Sea with walls of water on my right and my left and the Egyptian army behind me. May the gift of faith send me running across the sea on dry land!