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Posts Tagged ‘Red Sea’

Obstacles and Opportunities, Part 1

January 29th, 2016

“This is the day of the Lord’s victory. Let us celebrate.” Psalm 118:24 TEV.

The impossible is what God does best.

My comments today are about “obstacles and opportunities.”

I have observed that life presents both obstacles and opportunities. It is unrealistic to presume you will have either without the other. Every opportunity presents an obstacle; every obstacle presents an opportunity. The bigger the opportunity, the greater the obstacles. The greater the obstacle, the bigger the opportunities will be.

You learn a lot about your own character when you experience obstacles. And in every obstacle, God offers an opportunity to learn about His character as well. “This is the day of the Lord’s victory. Let us be happy. Let us celebrate.” Psalm 118:24 TEV. Any day is a good day when you are offered the opportunity to walk and live in His victory.

Take a few minutes to read Joshua 1:1-10 and Joshua 3:1-17 NIV. Joshua and Israel faced serious obstacles; an uncrossable Jordan and an invulnerable Jericho were both impediments to entering Canaan, the land of God’s promise and plenty. Why would the armies in Jericho neither offer opposition to Israel crossing Jordan nor demonstrate any active resistance as they marched around Jericho seven days? I suggest, with such flooded dimensions and depth of the Jordan, they must have assumed it unimaginably impossible for two million people to navigate such a crossing, just as they believed the capture of their city to be impossible. The impossible is what God does best.

Under the cover of darkness, Joshua sent two men went into Jericho to assess the situation ahead. What they heard was that Jericho was more afraid of them than they were of Jericho. Fear creates battles that God has already fought and won. A Canaanite woman in Jericho said, “I know the Lord has given you the land . . all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea when you came out of Egypt . . our hearts melted . . no courage remained in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God is God in Heaven and in earth.” Read Joshua 2:9-11 NIV. Imagine! Canaan’s current and continuing fear began more than forty years earlier, when God drowned the Egyptian army and divided the Red Sea for Moses to lead newly liberated people across on dry land.

Upon return to Joshua, their report was with assurance and certainty, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.” Joshua 2:24 NIV. But first they still had to cross the treacherous currents of a flooding Jordan. God always makes a way where there seems to be no way. With divine authority, Jesus said, “The things that are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NKJV. But be prepared, God’s way will be what you least expect and never imagined. God said, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV.

Maybe you face an obstacle, feeling uncertain of the path forward. Sometimes the past feels difficult to overcome; sometimes the future seems unsure and concerning. “This is the day of the Lord’s victory. Let us be happy. Let us celebrate.” Psalm 118:24 TEV. Let me remind you that the God Who makes a way where there seems to be no way knows where you are and what you need, and He is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 NIV. Today can be your day of victory. Celebrate!

Today, I pray for you that you will believe God for the impossible.

To be continued . .

I spoke last weekend at the Cathedral of Faith in San Jose, CA. They have posted the video of the teaching, “Seize the Day.” My comments today originate from that teaching. I hope you will take the time to listen . . . https://vimeo.com/153012760

ARR and Screen COF 1-24-16

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Stops and Starts

November 23rd, 2011

“Tell the people to move forward.” Exodus 14:15 NIV

“Life requires leadership for the success of your journey.”

My thoughts today are about “stops and starts.”

Life is a journey, and on any journey there is a place from which you begin and a place where you hope to arrive; in between are a sequence of stops and starts along the way. The problem comes when you are stopped when you should be starting, or starting when you should be stopped. Wisdom is to know when you should do which. There is a rhythm to your life that is unique; timing is everything. The right thing at the wrong time isn’t right and the wrong thing at the right time doesn’t work.

Israel seemed to have bad timing. They were stuck in Egypt and Moses, with God’s help, could barely dislodge them. It took a miraculous deliverance to get them started and on their way out of Egypt. Then they were stuck at the Red Sea, with an impassable obstacle ahead and a pursuing army behind them. They wanted to go anywhere, but there seemed no where to run. That’s when God spoke through Moses, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today . . the Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14 NKJV. Stand still? When they were ready to be anywhere except where they were, God said for them to stay put. Ever happened to you? Sometimes God allows life to have you where you are because there is something you need to learn about God in that place and situation.

I find it interesting that the very next instruction from God through Moses was this, “Tell the children to go forward . . (they) shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” Exodus 14:15-18 NKJV. Stand still; go forward; it’s confusing. Go forward? How? Obedience in the moment releases the miracle that is just ahead for you. Your willingness to obey even when you do not fully understand allows God to work in ways you could not foresee. See Ephesians 3:20.

How is a person to know what to do and when to do or not do it? Life requires leadership for the success of your journey and that comes from those who have been where you have not yet been and know what you do not yet know – people who care and share – caring about your progress and sharing from life experience. Leaders are not smarter, just more experienced from their mistakes and successes; with the benefit of their experience you can be smarter, exceeding their success and being spared their mistakes while you gain experience and wisdom to share with others who will follow you. Moses had to learn to listen and obey God; Israel had to learn to trust God to speak through Moses. It is my opinion that an individual does not fully develop a sensitivity to hear and obey God well, until learning to recognize the voice of God spoken in the words of others.

The Bible says, “The steps of the Godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Proverbs 37:23 NLT. Someone once suggested that both the “steps and the stops” of the Godly are directed by the Lord! I find the latter – the stops – the harder of the two to hear and heed. When God says to stop, it is wise to stop. When God signals you to start, it is a mistake to stay. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV. Your best success will always be found in the center of God’s will.

My prayer for you today is that you learn to recognize and follow God’s rhythm for your life.

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Drowning Your Sorrows

June 30th, 2011

“Pharaoh’s chariots and his army God has cast into the sea.” Exodus 15:4 NKJV

“Your obstacle can be the dividing line between your past and future.”

My thoughts today are about “drowning your sorrows.”

An exhausting dream fairly common to people is one of being chased and no matter how hard you try, you can’t escape. I think such a recurring dream is an expression of a person’s subconscious acting out what life feels like for them. There are times you feel like something is after you. It seems that you run hard, but life keeps gaining on you.

Old bills add up with new ones piled on top; aches and pains worry you about tomorrow; old problems are lingering problems today; you pull people toward you, but they push you away; the past you try to forget is a sorrow you cannot escape. Life is not very pleasant lived on the run, always looking over your shoulder for calamity.

Israel had just been released from horrendous bondage and servitude under Egypt’s rule. Read Exodus 12:37-42 NKJV. Then they faced an impassable obstacle, the Red Sea. Worse yet, Pharaoh’s fiercest fighters were in hot pursuit. While they briefly rejoiced in their freedom, an old enemy haunted their trail. Read Exodus 14:3-14 NKJV. Ahead was an uncrossable obstacle; behind and closing fast, was their worst nightmare! Little did they imagine God would make their obstacle become the dividing line between their past and future. Do you need a clear separation from your past?

You know the story; God opens the Red Sea for Israel to cross on dry land, but their enemy still pursued until the waters collapsed and, “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army God . . cast into the sea . . the depths have covered them; they sank to the bottom like a stone.” Exodus 15:4-5 NKJV. Now, the very obstacle that previously blocked their way forward was the instrument God used to separate them from everything they were running from. See Exodus 14:27-28 NIV. They were drowning in their fear of the past and their desperation of the moment until God used the Red Sea to drown their pursuers.

The application is this: God can take the things that repeatedly bring you sorrow and regret to show you His almightiness. Read 1 Peter 1:3-9 NKJV. The thing that relentlessly pursues you, threatening to drag you back into your past, can be what God uses to drown your sorrows triumphantly. “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring to you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:13-14 NIV. What are you running from? Stop running; stand still and see what God will do to give you peace and safety permanently, not temporarily!

My prayer for you today is that you will see God’s victory in the midst of every trial.

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Life’s Dilemmas

May 2nd, 2011

“Fear not . . (God) will work for you today.” Exodus 14:13

“Be certain of this; God is the solution to every situation.”

My thoughts today are about “life’s dilemmas.”

There are situations that seem to have no solution, times when you find yourself “betwixt and between.” You see no way back and no safe way forward, just stuck in one of life’s dilemmas. You will have many questions and few if any answers. Out of your uncertainty doubt comes, and out of those doubts fear rises. At such times, though you do not have the answer, God does.

God’s word for you today is the same as it was to a newly-birthed nation of Israel, “Fear not; stand still and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today.” Exodus 14:13 Amplified Bible. Exactly when you need to know what to do next, God is there with perfect knowledge, complete wisdom, and clear direction. He may not tell you everything about what is ahead nor explain all that is bewildering to you right now, but He will faithfully provide the next step you are to take.

Israel found themselves in just such a place. From their Egyptian masters, they had suffered unjust servitude for generations. Read Exodus 1-5.They had no options; the future looked darker than the present. And then it went from bad to worse. But God sent a shepherd/deliverer, Moses. What followed was miraculous; a nation was released to unimagined freedom, generations of oppressive captivity was turned around in a single night.

Joy reigned; despair gave way to hope until . . rumors became bad news and news bred fear. Pharaoh and his army were in pursuit. Their new freedom seemed a cruel illusion; their fate appeared worse than before. They faced a dilemma of incalculable estimation – the Red Sea, an impassable natural barrier they could not cross, and a vengeful army whose strength they could not resist. Do you think it strange how quickly they forgot the sovereign, miraculous deliverance God had given them just days before? They allowed the present moment to dismiss the previous experience of God’s might and power on their behalf. This mere road block was nothing compared to what they had already seen God do.

Have you found yourself in such a place? When you do not know what to do, here is Godly advice for life’s dilemmas: (1) “Fear not!” Resist the terror of imagining the worst. Fear predicts the likely; faith believes God for the impossible. (2) “Stand Still!” Stop running from problems and face your fears. When you see nowhere to turn, turn in God’s direction. (3) “See the salvation of the Lord!” Look for what God is doing in your situation. He may be behind the scenes, but He is there. (4) “He will work for you!” Be certain of this; God is the solution to every situation. There are many things you will not know and much you may not understand, but God is at work for you.

“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose . .  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:28/31-32 NKJV. The correct answers to those questions are obvious.

My prayer for you today is that in every situation, you place your confidence in God.

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