God hears my whining….and isn’t pleased!

“Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.”  Numbers 11:1

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Numbers 10-11, Psalm 27, and Mark 1.

God doesn’t like whiners!

When I complain, I’m complaining at least indirectly about God’s treatment.

When I go there, I am minimizing God.  I may be saying that He couldn’t do something, or I could be blaming Him for not doing something I wanted.

In any case, God hears and isn’t pleased.

It is interesting to read in Numbers the interactions that Moses has with God.  Moses says this, and God says that.  God is not in some distant place oblivious to us.

When I am close to God, I am aware of His presence in my spirit.  I want to do something, and God asks why.  I don’t want to do something, and God asks why not.  If I’m long distance from God, then none of this happens.  Instead, I’m on self-control and good luck to me when I’m taking that route!

My relationship to God must be so close that I can sense His nearness.  This setup requires tremendous discipline and I am so lacking in this area.  I drift along in a day UNMINDFUL of Him.  And then later I wonder how I dared to trust myself rather than Him.

“O Lord, help me.  I want You running my life this day.  I want to be mindful of You throughout this day.  I want to be with You without ceasing.  Take me over right now Lord.”

Are you a whiner?

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Laryngitis

“He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ – with all boldness and without hindrance!” Acts 28:31.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Numbers 8-9 and Acts 28.

I have had laryngitis for several days.

Trying to teach teenagers to drive without a voice has been a large challenge.

Besides being a challenge, it has added my voice to my collection of things that God gives me.

How do I use my voice?  Now that it is limited, I have had some time to think about this.

I am not assured that I will always be able to speak.  Are there words that I want others to hear?  For sure there are.  But I am slow to speak, assuming that I will have time later.  That is Satan lying again!  I am terminal.  My voice is terminal.

I must make the Godly most of what I have been given.  My hearing works.  Am I listening to others?  My feet work.  Am I going where He wants me to go?

Today’s verse has Paul telling others about who Jesus is and what Jesus did and he’s under house arrest!  I am not confined anywhere.  How am I using that blessing to please Him?

So many questions have come into my head during this bout of laryngitis.  Can’t help but think that God was involved.

“Lord, I have been blessed by You.  Empower me to use what I have been given to rightly represent You in every detail of my life.  Prick my conscience when I’m messing up so that I can make the needed changes.  I love You, Father.”

How effectively do we use the many things that God has given us?

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The road ahead

“I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles.  I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Acts 26:17-18.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Numbers 5-6, Psalm 22, and Acts 26.

Paul learns what is ahead for him.

Paul’s mission will lead to the transformation of lives.  People won’t be the same again.

It is very clear in these verses that Satan is real.  Not something in red tights with a pitchfork!

Satan is the one keeping people unaware of God and their need to unite with Him.  He’s a force to be reckoned with.

I can never minimize Satan.  I continue to maintain that if I am not doing God’s bidding then I am doing Satan’s bidding.  There is no middle ground on this.

My life must be so overflowing with the Holy Spirit that I have a natural inclination to share Him with others.  Nothing contrived.  Nothing I’m shamed into.  “Just” an overflow.

“Lord, I want to please You in everything I do.  I want You running every part of me.  I surrender to You.  Peruse my life.  Reveal the areas to me where You are less considered than You should be.  I want to reveal light, not add to darkness.  You are my God.  Take me over now. I love You, God.”

I must be going where God wants me to go.  The road ahead must be His path.

 

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How’s this going to end?

“Then Paul made his defense: ‘I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.” Acts 25:8.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Numbers 3-4 and Acts 25.

A lot is made of Paul’s missionary journeys and there were several of them and they were important.

Today, however, we find Paul still being held in custody.  He hasn’t done anything wrong but those holding him won’t let him go.

Frustrating?  For sure and Paul’s future is uncertain. BUT Paul has been promised, by God, that he will get to Rome.

Rome is a long way from where Paul is, but he knows that he will get there.  Why? Because he trusts God.

I do not know my future on earth. Jesus may return, or I may die before He does return.  I do know that there is a Judgment Day in my future and when that happens I will stand before a holy and righteous God completely in the clear.  Hallelujah!

The uncertainties of my life will not prevent my eternity with God in heaven.  It’s going to happen.

How do I know this?  God sent Jesus to earth to wipe clean my sin record.  How did Jesus do that?  He died in my place for my sins.  I didn’t request it.  I didn’t deserve it, but He loved me enough to do it anyhow.  When God raised Jesus from the dead, death was conquered.  There will be an after-life.

I believe that I am a sinner.  I believe that Jesus died to erase my sin record.  I believe that I will stand completely in the clear on Judgment Day.  Life’s uncertainties can take none of that away.

“Lord, thank You for the stories in the Bible.  Thank You for Paul’s trust in You despite the obstacles that came his way.  Enable me to see beyond uncertainties and rest in the assurance that You will be there at the end of life ready to welcome me into an eternity with You.  What a Savior!”

There is a happy ending for those with an erased sin record.  Is your’s erased?

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Do what He says

“He said: ‘Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one.’”  Numbers 1:2.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Numbers 1-2 and Acts 24.

Why did God want a census taken of the Israelites? God knew how many there were.  It may have been to organize them for the marching/fighting He knew was in their days ahead.

God is God.  His reasons may not always be evident to us.  Recall Jesus asking His disciples how they were going to feed the large gathering that had followed them.  We learn that Jesus was testing His disciples in that instance.

The lesson in here for me may well be the Israelites’ response to the census request given in Numbers 1:54: “The Israelites did all this just as the Lord commanded Moses.”

I will not understand why things happen in every instance.  I do know that God is in charge and therefore “all things work together for good to them that love God.” The catch in there is “that love God.” If I have a casual relationship with God I will be on His bandwagon in good times and elsewhere when things get hard.

I must be fully committed to Him.  “Thick or thin” could well be part of that commitment.  But we win in the end!

“Lord, forgive me for evaluating You based on what happens.  You are in charge.  My task is to love You and trust You.  Intensify my awareness of what You want me doing and not doing.  I want to get it right.  Fill me with You.  Toss out the sludge that weakens my ability to rightly represent You in my midst.  You are my God.”

He is in charge.  I must act accordingly.

 

 

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Paul gets confirmation

“The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, ‘Take courage!  As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” Acts 23:11.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Leviticus 26-27, and Acts 23.

Paul wasn’t assured of a happy ending.  He’s in jail and there are folks plotting to kill him.

Because the Lord comes and encourages Paul, I will assume that Paul was discouraged.

The Lord’s encouragement assured Paul that his plan to go to Rome would be carried out.  The days ahead would suggest otherwise but Paul knew where he would end up.

We live in a world of turmoil.  Just turn on the news!

For the believer, the evil in our midst is overwhelming.  We get discouraged.  Why?  Because we forget that we win in the end.

There will be a happy ending for those of us who have trusted that Jesus has removed sin’s consequence (eternal separation from God) from our record.  Before a holy and righteous God, we stand completely in the clear!

When I am overwhelmed by evil it is because I have lost sight of what He has ahead for me.  This does not mean that I pretend evil is non-existent.  I have to resist it by clinging to God for direction in every step of my life.

“Lord, I thank You that You love me.  I thank You that You and I will be together forever after Judgment Day because of what You did for me on the cross.  Help me to live in a way that always pleases You. Direct my path, I beg.  You are my God.”

Believers win in the end no matter what things look like today.

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Godly zeal

“I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.”  Acts 22:3.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Leviticus 25, Psalm 25-26, and Acts 22.

Paul’s audience did not like him.  They wanted to shut him up and maybe worse.  He had hit a nerve!

This is the even-keeled Paul that we don’t read too much about.  He is often portrayed as a strident know-it-all.  Not on this occasion.

The passion and zeal that Paul is facing reminds him of his own past.  In this instance, Paul goes back to his own background to connect himself to the hostile crowd in front of him.

Paul knows all about passion and zeal for God.  He lived it and was good at it.  Now, still armed with that same passion and zeal, he has corrected his path and taken those qualities in a different direction.

If I am an active witness, I will come across, or read about, those who violently disagree with me.  How to respond?  I must be knowledgeable and passionate about what I believe.  The casual, semi-trained believer can do more harm than good.  I must recognize the passion and knowledge of the one I disagree with and commend it.

A soft answer turns away wrath.  Those in disagreement may not change their view but at least one participant in the conversation is avoiding anger.  That needs to be the Godly one.

“Lord, Your Ways are not always my ways.  I want them to be that, however.  I need You running every part of me.  Forgive me for being a passive believer.  How can I so underrate what You have done for me!  You have taken a miserable sinner and made him acceptable to You.  That is the most amazing of amazing graces.  I love You, Lord.”

Do you have Godly zeal?

 

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