I love the snow! Don’t hate on me for that. I grew up in Nebraska and Colorado. This past week for me has been a fun reminder of my childhood. We would build forts, have snowball fights and play king of the hill on the piles of snow that the snow plows pushed to the side.
Unlike Memphis, life had to go on. That’s not a knock on the South. We don’t get much snow here, so we aren’t equipped to deal with it on a regular basis. Where I grew up, if you didn’t learn to live in it, life would stop every October to March!
What I’ve loved about the snow this time, is it was enough to cover everything. All the ugly of winter is gone. I’ve always said, if it’s going to be cold, there might as well be snow on the ground! Not rainy and cold. Not muddy and lifeless. Snowy and beautiful. It makes everything seem to come alive. (cue Greatest Showman!)
The one who hates the snow with everything inside her is my dog. I’m pretty sure she has stopped eating and drinking so she doesn’t have to go outside. Even this morning, Amond got her out of the kennel and she went straight for her bed. She would barely look at me. She knew what was coming!
My kids think that it’s so much fun taking her outside. Her fur is white, so she blends in. She is also very small and all this snow is almost as deep as she is tall. Their favorite part is the yellow snow. I know, gross. I’m sure you’ve heard it before: don’t eat the yellow snow!
What our dog leaves behind does not look good with the beautiful snow. Amond was thankful when the second snowfall came and covered everything up again. All of our footprints, snow angels, and even what was left behind from our dog! Here’s the crazy part though. It’s still there. It hasn’t gone anywhere.
Once the snow melts away, all of the mess is still there. If we aren’t careful, this is how we live our lives. We put a nice fluffy layer of snow over everything! We try our best to cover our tracks and hide our ugliness inside.
Yes, God certainly forgives. In fact He says, “though your sin be like scarlet, I will make it white like snow!” For that to happen, we have to uncover what’s lying below. We have to admit our struggle and our weakness.
Here’s what I know: “Your sin will find you out.” At some point in your life, the snow will melt and everything will be exposed. I have seen so many pastors and leaders “fall” in this season. Covid may have brought out the best or the worst in humanity. It has been exposing to say the least.
At the end of the day, when the layers are pulled back, I want those closest to me to still think the best of me. I want to be tried and come out more beautiful than ever. I want to deal with what’s hiding now, rather than wait for it to drag me down later. My character will always be more important to me than my platform.
I hope you can echo the words of David in Psalm 51. He had blown it big time and tried to cover it up. Thankfully, he had a good friend in Nathan the prophet who was willing to call him out. David repented with these words, “Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.” His number one concern was his position before God, not his position before man.
When the snow melts away in our life, let’s be found worthy of the calling God has placed on our lives!
For a few years, while I was younger, I worked at Ruby Tuesday's waiting tables in Maryville, TN. I'm not sure if there is one in Memphis anymore, which is a shame. They have an incredible salad bar! I didn't work there long, maybe 4-5 months in all. Waiting tables can be a great way to make a little extra money, but for me, it was stressful. My wife waited tables through college and loved it. I, on the other hand, would get too worked up. I wanted orders to be right, food to be on time, and everything to be perfect. I would always think, how would I want to be served. Actually, if I'm being honest, I was thinking, "how can I make a better tip?!" This was the goal. Do whatever and say whatever, to make the customer happy and my wallet full!
We all know that this is not true service. I have not always been the best example of this! As you read God's Word, it becomes very clear that this is our purpose though. Jesus said in Matthew 20, that "He did not come to be served, but to serve." How much more should we serve, if we see God doing just that?! It's not always glamorous, and it doesn't always give us a "great tip." If that is what you are looking for, then it isn't service to begin with.
As we look at Scripture, some of my favorite servers are found in the book of Acts. In Chapter 6 we see seven men chosen to serve the church. "Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, 'It is not desirable that we should leave the word or God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.'"
As they prayed they chose the seven, two of which were Stephen and Philip. Did you catch the requirements for service? As we serve others we should do it full of the Holy Spirit while trying our best to have a good reputation among others. Obviously, we can't please everyone or have everyone like us at all times. Romans 8 does tell us though, "If it is possible on your part, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Stephen and Philip served faithfully in everything given to them. How do I know this? God would not have elevated them later in scripture if they were not faithful in serving the widows. Stephen did "great wonders and signs among the people," verse 8 tells us. In fact, he became the first martyr in the church because of the incredible way that God used him. God will not give you more if you are not faithful with what you have. Wherever you are, be faithful. With whatever you have, be faithful.
We see Philip given more in Acts 8 as he ministers to the Ethiopian. Listen to what Smith Wigglesworth has to say about Philip: "Man chose him to serve tables, but God chose him to win souls. O, if I could only stir you up to see that as you are faithful in performing the humblest office, God can fill you with His Spirit and make you a chosen vessel for Himself, and promote you to a place of mighty ministry in the salvation of souls and in the healing of the sick."
I love this statement. If you could only see that being faithful in the little, stirs the heart of God. Doing the best with what you have, causes God's head to turn your direction. "Whoever wants to become great among you," Jesus said in Matthew 20, "must be your servant."
This is the way of the Kingdom.
Being found faithful.
It’s the day before Christmas Eve. A day in our house we affectionately call, “Christmas Adam.” I’ll let you piece that together! For obvious reasons, I am a fan of this day.
For most of you, I would like to think it is a day of preparation and planning. There will be cooking, cooking and more cooking. Christmas presents are getting wrapped and put under the tree. So much to do and so little time. Christmas is only two days away!
What a day it will be! Nothing beats the look on my kids face as they open the presents they were given. It’s so much fun to sit around the table with family and friends as you eat the food that was prepared. As much as we would like every day to be Christmas, it just can’t be. And there can’t be a Christmas without a “Christmas Adam.” It has to start somewhere.
In the same manner, the Christmas story didn’t start with an empty tomb, or even a manger. It started with a young lady willing to say yes. She said yes to going about her life with added complications. It started with a young man willing to listen and not get a divorce. It started with shepherds being diligent in the fields and wise men willing to travel day after day, week after week.
We don’t often see this side of things. When you’re opening the presents you don’t see the time and money spent beforehand. When you eat the meal, you usually don’t think of the time it took to prepare it. We only see the surface, the tip of the iceberg you might say. We see the end result of something worked hard for.
In Zechariah 4:10 it says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” God has placed a dream in your heart. He has given you passions and talents, purpose and vision. Seeing the fruition of these is similar to Christmas. It’s what we want to live in, where we desire to end up. Just like every Christmas needs a Christmas Adam, so every dream needs a small beginning.
We must now and always be faithful with the little we have been given. The planning and preparing are needed. The time and money is essential. There is work to do in the here and now. It’s not always glamorous and it’s not always in the spotlight. But it is all necessary. Put in the effort. Pay it forward. Work hard in the mundane. Find the joy in the grind.
If you want to see your Christmas come to pass in your life, let’s start with your Christmas Adam!
Full. This is a word we are going to use frequently this season! At least I am. It is the time of feasting. Last night we gathered safely for our high school Christmas party at First Assembly. We had pizza (a youth ministry staple), wings, soda, cider, and more desserts than we were able to eat. Everyone should have left full.
It is said the be the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the time for Christmas cookies, pies, fudge, more Turkey and dressing and perhaps even a holiday ham! Everyone around the table should end the day full.
We don’t leave events like these or meals at this time full only in body. We also leave full in spirit. A gathering with close family and friends, at this time of the year, makes us leave full in our hearts. Even if you choose to downsize your Christmas a bit this year, you can walk away full and overflowing with joy and love. Paul, in his letter to the church in Philippi said, “there were times I had a lot and times I have had little. I have learned the secret to being content. I can do ALL things through Christ.” (My paraphrase) Let's learn that secret this year!
The enemy would like to destroy everything in our lives right now. Especially these times that are meant for great joy! In John 10:10 it states that he would love to ‘steal, kill and destroy’ our lives. I’m thankful that God doesn’t leave us with that. He says that Jesus came to this earth that we might have life, and life to the...full! This is not just surviving, but rather thriving. Even during this year! Whether you are surrounded by all your loved ones or not this year, God promises that you can be full. You will have more than enough.
I love that about the God we serve. He gives us what we need, and often we have something leftover. Think of the boy's lunch. It was able to feed five-thousand people, with twelve baskets to spare. When God fills us, this is what happens. We leave full and overflowing, ready to give of what we have. This is what fullness does. Like a balloon, ready to pop. What's on the inside shines through for all to see.
There is a great passage of scripture in Galatians 4:4-5, "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." I love this great Christmas passage. When the fullness of time had come. Think of the imagery here. Heaven, like the full balloon, is waiting in anticipation each and every day since the fall in the garden. It has grown with excitement until this moment in history. And then everything happened at once. The heavens burst open. Gabriel came with the message to Mary and Joseph. The star appeared in the sky. The angels sang like no choir had ever sung. The shepherds, full and overflowing themselves, went everywhere sharing the news of the newborn King. Mary and Joseph, in a lowly stable, deeming with pride and joy as they as they held the babe. God Himself, came down from heaven to redeem humankind!
How amazing is the Christmas story?! What's even more incredible to me, is that you and I get to participate in it all. We can be made full, through Christ, to overflowing. We can partake in "the fullness of time," by allowing God to be with us and use us, no matter the situation we find ourselves in. We can be so full of the fruits of the Spirit, that everywhere we go, we are spilling over with the Love of Christ!
As we fill ourselves with the great food of this great season, let's not neglect allowing God to fill us to overflowing with His Spirit as well. So all the world may know that Jesus has come, so that we may have life. And that very life to the full!
Last night my family decided to build and decorate a gingerbread house. Let me rephrase that, we decided to decorate a gingerbread house! In years past we have bought the kits that you have to put together. They usually end up a disaster. The moment you put the first candy on the roof, the whole thing collapses. It can be frustrating. You have to put more frosting on to keep it together, which only makes it looks worse. The more we tried, the more we failed! Seems like 2020! This year, we bought a pre-made kit. It’s the way to go!
I don’t know about you, but I sure hope 2021 looks a little more like the pre-made gingerbread house! But as we near Christmas and New Years, it becomes more and more real to me that everything “2020,” is not going to just disappear. There isn’t going to be a reset button pushed when the clock strikes midnight. For all intents and purposes, 2020 has almost become a curse word! It feels like Psalm 77:10, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” I guess this is the way it is going to be.
I won’t take you down memory lane, but when all this started, I saw so many saying things like, “I can’t wait for this year to be over!” I did to. And I’m sure you did as well. There can be many reasons for you to have had a difficult year. I don’t want to be dismissive of any of it. But, here we are. For better or worse the year is about to be over, but “2020” isn’t. What do we do and how do we live heading into 2021? My advice: “walk into the house.” Let me explain.
You are all very familiar with the story of the prodigal son. I like to say that they are both prodigals to a certain extent. If you have not read this parable Jesus shared, you can find it starting in Luke 15:11. The quick version is that the younger demands his inheritance, and squanders it. He realizes that home wasn’t so bad. He returns and his father throws a party! The older son has been busy working in the fields. When he returns for the day, he hears commotion at the house. Instead of going in, he pulls his servant aside and asks what is going on. In verse 28 it says, “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.”
I get the frustration on his end. I’ve been there. Here is the problem that I have found in my own life. If you aren’t checking your attitude as the faithful, you will become the prodigal. So why doesn’t he walk into the house?
He doesn’t trust the father. And quite honestly, neither do we. Trust only comes from proximity and knowledge. Therefore, we have a warped perspective of our Father. We end up serving something or someone other than God.
Let me say it this way:
Is God good?
Is He faithful?
Does He want what’s best for you?
Does He always care?
Does He know you?
Does He know what you need?
Does He love you?
If you answered yes to these questions, then why not walk into the house? I’m not trying to throw guilt, but I do hope this convicts. God wants you to enjoy this time. To find the good through it. He wants you to celebrate going into 2021, and not dread it.
How do we accomplish this?
One of the best ways that I know how, is to finish Psalm 77. I quoted verse 10 earlier. Here is what verse 11 says, “But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.” Don’t forget all that God has done for you. Don’t forget His mercies and His grace. Don’t forget His provision and His love.
Don’t forget that Jesus walked into the house. For Him it looked like a manger and a cross. Those weren’t pleasant years on earth. Now we celebrate those days and call them Christmas and Good Friday. Our bad Fridays can become Good Friday’s too. All you have to do is trust the Father as He welcomes you inside.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, let the Christmas music begin! Shame on all of you who listen early! We don’t want to overdo it and make it lose it’s magic. The reality is, there is something magical (I’m using that term lightly) about this time of year. I’m sure that is why so many start the music up early. We can’t wait for it to all begin!
Whether it’s Mariah Carey’s, All I Want For Christmas is You, or Andy Williams, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, these songs take us to a special place. For me it is a simpler time. Everything seemed brighter and tasted a bit sweeter. That is the way memories work. We tend to forget the difficult days. And if we don’t forget them, somehow they were transformed into not-so-bad days in our minds.
Any song off of A Charlie Brown’s Christmas will get me nostalgic instantly. There’s just something about those piano scores mixed with Linus saying, “that’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.”
I feel like our Christianity tends to operate in the same way. Everything used to be magical. I hear people say, “remember how exciting it once was?” And they aren’t wrong. Just like these Christmas songs reminding us of the wonderful yesteryears, there is something special about how our walk with Christ all began. It was fun and exciting. God did move in amazing ways. Prayer times at the altar seemed to be more special, and God’s voice seemed much clearer.
It is good for us to remember and look back. We can’t live there anymore, but we certainly don’t have to forget it all. Even in the letter to the church in Ephesus, Jesus said, “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!” God is telling us to take cues from what once was so we can create new memories from what will be.
This can be difficult to do. We lose heart, life happens, and 2020 hits us hard. But, in everything that happens and in all the ups and downs that we experience, let us not forget that salvation is and will always be the greatest miracle. David went through some major changes in life. Some because of circumstances and others of his own doing. He wrote Psalm 51 and asked God to restore to him the joy of salvation.
At this time of year, while listening to music that brings us back to some wonderful childhood memory, we need to ask for the same thing that David did. Let’s not forget to look back to where this all started. We must remember the reason we celebrate this time of year to begin with. It all started with a baby in a manger. C. S. Lewis said, “Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” Jesus. He is our hope and our joy.
Let’s finish off what has been a crazy year, by celebrating and remembering all that Christ has done for us!
For this post to make complete sense, it will benefit you to read 1 Chronicles 4:1-15. I understand that it is a genealogy. Honestly, there are quite a few of these in the Bible. I forget sometimes that this is a historical book as well, written to a different people in a different place at a different time.
Have you read the passage yet?! If not, go ahead, pause and do so. If you have, read on.
If you are anything like me, these passages tend to drag on. I can’t even pronounce any of the names. A few of them sound like bad words, so be careful! It feels a bit like life.
Today is Monday, and some of you may hate that. You wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, watch Netflix and go to bed. Only to get up, and do it all over again the next day. If you aren’t careful, the days can start to blend together. They drone on and on like verses 1-8 in this passage.
I am going through a “Read Through the Bible” plan on my phone. Let’s all be honest with ourselves for a moment. We come to a passage like this and we read a verse or two and then scroll to the bottom of the chapter and click next. There is one problem with this:
God wants to work in the middle.
If you didn’t make it past verse 8, then you missed out on two incredible verses in the middle. A passage that shares how we can approach God in our prayers and what He responds to.
v. 9-10 “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to you in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let you hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.”
If you want to find riches in the rags of life, you need to look for opportunity in the mundane.
I’m sure you have all heard of the Prayer of Jabez before. Some author or pastor was willing to gut out the chapter with eyes open, searching for riches in the middle of rags. Our life can feel like verses 1-8. If we aren’t intentional to keep going, we may very well miss out on verses 9-10.
This is how we are to live our lives. Everyday doesn’t have to be Monday. Yes, we live in the valley, not the mountaintops. That is not an excuse to ignore the Holy Spirits prompting in an ordinary moment on an ordinary day. He has riches waiting for us. He has opportunities we could only dream of, if we would open our eyes.
To take this one step further, we often do the same to people. I wonder how the story of The Good Samaritan turns out if the man beaten and robbed was someone of importance? Would the priest or scribe stopped to help? We dismiss people in the same way that we dismiss days. Boring, nothing to offer, no value to me, etc.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
There is a treasure in this jar of clay. Another translation calls us earthen vessels. Don’t discount the treasure because of the vessel. Don’t discount the riches because of the rags. Don’t miss out on verse 9 and 10 in life because of verses 1-8.
Even if nothing glamorous comes to you today, God is developing a treasure, riches, inside of you. Let these insignificant moments build you and shape you into something beautiful. Be found faithful in the little that is here and now. Do your mundane work with diligence, all for the glory of God. See what riches He will pour out because of it. Look for the opportunities that arise in the middle of it.
Don’t miss the riches God has for you on this average, ordinary Monday!
One of my favorite books of all time is entitled, "Run With Horses," by Eugene Peterson. If you have ever read the Message paraphrase, then you are familiar with Eugene Peterson. The book outlines the entire book of Jeremiah, but lands on one passage of scripture out of Jeremiah 12:5. "If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses?" This passage has changed my today more than any other. It has made me more intentional in the moment as a husband, father and Christ-follower. Let me explain:
One of my favorite characters in the Bible is pre-king David. I am not a big fan of King David, although he has a lot going for him as well. David is just a kid watching his father's sheep. He is minding his own business and before you know it he is being summoned by a servant. "There is a prophet at your father's house waiting on you!" I can only imagine what was going on in his mind. David shows up and Samuel anoints him king. What an incredible moment! What an honor! The very next day, David sits on the throne as king. End of story. Unfortunately, that is not what happened. And that is certainly not how life works. In fact, do you know what David did the very next day? He went back out in the field to watch his sheep!
See, David was now anointed, but he was not yet appointed. He was given a calling, but is not yet ready to step into that calling. This is where we often find ourselves in life. We have been called, or we have a dream of becoming something great. Joseph was here. We read his story in the book of Genesis. He is a dreamer if there ever was one. His brothers hated him for it and sold him to Egypt. God had anointed him for a task, but he finds himself in Potipher's house. It took him years to find himself appointed. Had Joseph not gone through this process, what kind of ruler would he have been? Had David not gone through this process, what kind of King would he have been?
So here we are? Jeremiah, in the first four verses of chapter 12, is complaining to God. Have you been there? "God, don't you see or hear me?" "God, when is it my turn to show the world what I'm made of?" I'm thankful that God is big enough to handle our complaints, doubts and frustrations! Jeremiah is pouring his heart out to God, and then in verse 5 we see God's response: "If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses?"
Here is the Adam Steinbach paraphrase:
If you are growing weary with smallness, what in the world are you going to do with greatness?!
Listen carefully. If you can't get up when your alarm clock goes off for school or work, what makes you think you are capable of running a small business. If you can't finish your homework on time, what makes you think you can handle turning in a project on time. A project that people are depending on. If you can't handle serving your pastor and being willing to take out the trash and sweep the floors, what makes you think you can handle a microphone and a platform.
YES, God has a calling on your life!
YES, God has anointed you for greatness!
YES, God has said that you will be able to run with horses!
YES, you need to be faithful in little before you can be entrusted with much!
YES, you must cultivate your character to maintain and sustain a platform!
YES, you must protect your integrity and learn to walk in humility!
If I'm honest, there are days that I miss the anonymity of the small town that I came from. The church wasn't well known and I wasn't either. It was just me in a field with some sheep. I think of Joshua hanging out in the Tent of Meeting after Moses left. He had no agenda, just time in God's presence. I pray constantly that the time I spent in those moments, were enough for me to handle the time I'm in now. I also pray that the time I am spending now, is enough for the time that is to come.
You don't know what is coming tomorrow. If you are going to make the most of it, you must be faithful with your today. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the paper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Gal. 6:9)
Some of my favorite days and some of my worst days happened in middle school. Let’s be honest, it was tough. You are not a kid anymore, but not in high school yet. This is how life is, trying to find your place. Even as a man, now in his thirties, I can struggle with this. I thought thirty would change everything, but I’m realizing that it’s a process just like middle school!
Moments can define you during these years in middle school. You are impressionable and needing to fit somewhere. I was a good pastors kid, but if I’m honest, I leaned more on sports than God for help through this time. Basketball and football were my king. My coaches suggested that I run track in the off season to stay in shape, so I did.
We put together a relay team that I was a part of. Four of us running the 4 x 100, 4 x 200, and 4 x 400. I remember our first track meet like it was yesterday. We all lined up in our respective spots as we awaited the start of the race. The gun fired and the first leg of the race began.
If you haven’t seen a relay before, here is how it works. The first runner starts, he has a certain length on the track that he is able to hand a baton off to the second runner. The same goes for the third and fourth runners. The last crosses the finish line. The challenge of this race is in the handoff.
This happens in an area called the changeover box. It is 20 meters in length. 10 meters behind the start of the leg and 10 meters in front of the leg. The baton has to be handed off in this space or you and your team are disqualified.
The changeover box of life is where we fail more often than we like to admit. I view it through life and through scripture as the relationship between generations. Whether it’s an older boss hiring a younger employee or a parent and their child’s relationship as the child is coming into their own. This “changeover” is so important.
The first race that my team ran, I was the third runner. I remember seeing my friend receive the baton and start heading my way. I was so excited and nervous for my leg of the race that I started faster than we practiced. Typically, the runner handing the baton off had given everything they had by the time the “changeover” happens. The new runner, me, hasn’t run his race yet and is excited too! They are slowing down, we are ready to sprint. You can see how this handoff can end terribly. And it did for my team. I ran too fast and stepped outside the box before the baton was given to me. Disqualified.
We begin to throw blame around. The older generation should have sprinted out to the end. They should be excited to hand things over. The younger generation should slow down, calm down and be patient for the exchange. Wait your turn and don’t get frustrated during that time.
As I read in Hebrews 11, the great heroes of faith chapter, I see that these amazing men and women didn’t even accomplish what God had for them. It says, “All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.” (Hebrews 11:39-40 NLT)
Only together can we achieve what God has purposed. Did you catch that?! We are only complete as a church, as Christ-followers, as believers in the One True God, if we handle the changeover correctly. If we work together for something better.
Many are praying for revival in this nation. I believe that it is going to take people willing to stand in the gap as bridges between generations, for this to take place. For old men and young men to hold hands; to fight and pray together. For women who have been there to lean on younger women just starting and vice versa.
Both sides must work together, showing care, respect, and love for one another. We must each run our race with humility, endurance and an understanding that this is not a sprint, but a relay. There are those who have gone before and those that are coming behind. Let’s be faithful in the changeover box and with the race God has for us to run.
“Measure twice, cut once!”
I heard this a lot growing up. My dad would tell me to make sure it’s right before you make the final cut. Do things right the first time so you don’t have to go back and start again. When I met Amond, I heard this same thing from her father. He is a general contractor. Take your time and do it right. If you don’t know something, ask for help. It’s better to do that, than to spend more time and more money starting over.
I have been married for over fourteen years now, and guess what I still hear in my head?! That’s right, “measure twice, cut once!” Every time I want to do a job quickly, the voice of my father and father-in-law chime in and give me a reminder. Slow down and do it right.
We are not only called to do the right thing, but also to do things right. Both are important as we journey through life. Especially now, as things are unclear and uncertain.
If we think we are the only ones going through a difficult time, we are mistaken. As I read scripture, I am shown many who have lived through uncertainty. One passage in Deuteronomy has stood out to me during this time, and I pray it ministers to you as well.
Deuteronomy 1:2 ““Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir.” (NLT)
Before we jump in to where I’d like to land, let’s review a few places that are referenced. Remember, to understand the words of the Bible, you must understand the world of the Bible.
Mount Sinai - this is the location the Israelites stopped at to receive instruction from God. Moses went up the mountain for forty days and returned with the Ten Commandments. This is also the location that the Israelites formed a golden calf to worship.
Kadesh - this is the last stop before entering the Promised Land. The Israelites had been here before. In Numbers 13 and 14 we see Moses sending the twelve spies into the land. They returned with a bad report and then chose not to enter.
So here we are again. Standing before the entrance to what God has for us. A journey that only takes eleven days! Did you catch that? Eleven days! This thought should sober even the greatest among us. Moses reminded the people that what took them forty years to accomplish could have taken eleven days.
Measure twice, cut once!
It didnt take take this long because of the number of people involved. It didn’t take this long because of the difficult terrain. It took this long because of the disobedience and doubt in their lives. The Israelites did not do well in the difficult times of life. They faltered in a moment that should have been victorious. They let these moments define them in a way that we still talk about to this day.
We are on an eleven day journey in 2020, and if I’m honest, it feels more like forty years! How we respond during this time could determine how you live the next several years. We cannot take lightly the moments that God gives to us. They can either define us, or refine us.
Don’t put the plans God has for your life on hold because you have walked in disobedience and doubt during this year. We are potentially standing at the gate to our Promised Land, and I for one do not want to miss out. Let’s not only do the right things, let’s also do things right this year!