Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Morning Cover to Cover


Did you come to read about the orphans and what God did? It's the next post, "Today Was the Big Day!"

Welcome to Cover to Cover. The Book of Exodus describes the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt and their journey to Mount Sinai. Jacob's descendants will grow from a family of seventy, Gen. 46:27, into a nation of about two million, Exodus 12:37. Their deliverance from bondage symbolizes God's redemption of mankind.

You are so welcome to take a look with us at the pages of Exodus that 24 of us have read together this week. For those of you who have completed the chronological readings of Exodus, leave a long or short comment here and link us up to your blog concerning what stirred in your heart as you read these chapters of centuries ago that apply to 2008. And if you are stopping by my blog to say hello and leave a comment about something else, please do! I'd love to hear from you, especially those who are coming to hear about what God did for the orphans in Thailand through Brooke and Britt. Click on the next post "Today Was the Big Day" to see smiling faces of little ones who have never owned anything of their own---and now they do, thanks to you. Whatever reason you dropped by this morning, I am humbled and honored and hope you leave a thought or two.

In the Book of Exodus, God continues to spend centuries hammering into their heads that there is only one God and He desires right living. Ever since Genesis and an "apple," people are looking to be "like God" and actually live apart from God to make them happy. God designed us to run on Himself and apart from Him, there is no peace, no rest, no joy, no happiness. Look for themes of idolatry and coveting as you read. We read the Bible but it reads us, even this very day.

Dan Allender writes on his website:
We befriend the world whenever we demand that others be what only God has promised to be: faithful and sure. All human relationships, even our most intimate alliances, are temporary and incomplete. When we demand that another person provide safety, certainty, and fulfillment of our deepest desires, we turn from God to an idol for the fulfillment of our needs.
When we turn from God, we inevitably demand of others the very things we miss in our relationship with God. If we don’t know his deep care and protection, then we will insist another human being provide what we lack. That demand is the genesis of lust and murder.


Written centuries ago, written for our present hearts, James 4:1-5 talks about those present desires that battle within us, just like the Israelites. "You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. Don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?" Are we befriending our world or befriending brokenness of tearing down the idols we've built to make our lives work. Here are some of the truths God was hammering into their heads and hearts, and still hammering centuries later.

USE THINGS NOT PEOPLE
1:14 They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.

DO WHAT GOD SAYS NOT WHAT PEOPLE SAY TO DO
1:17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.
Exodus 2: 6-10

GOD SHOWS UP IN EXODUS AND GOD SHOWS UP TODAY
2:8 Imagine being a slave, yet paid to nurse your own baby, then wean him, and bring him to Pharaoh’s daughter so he can become her son. Oooh! That was God's hand.

LIVING WITH THE REGRET OF PAST MISTAKES
2:12 “Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. Then Moses was afraid and thought, ‘what I did must have become known. Pharaoh heard and tried to kill Moses so he fled and was invited by his God at a well as he stood up for some women. And he received a wife out of the invitation. One of the first things Moses would do in response to God will be to hide his head out of regret. Moses will learn to live rightly with his regret.

GOD SHOWS UP THROUGH INVITATIONS - Invites Moses to have something to eat."
21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, "I have become an alien in a foreign land."

GOD SEES YOU EVEN THOUGH HE MAY BE SILENT…
3:7,8 The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey. And verse 14, I AM has sent me to you.

A SIGN THAT IT IS GOD WHO IS WITH YOU
1 Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'? Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?"
"A staff," he replied. The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground." God gave Moses a sign. What signs do we have in our life today that God is with us?

WHO DOES ALL THESE THINGS FOR YOU?
4:10-12 Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."
The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES and
DON’T LIVE FOR TOMORROW OR A BETTER DEAL
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush.

WHERE ARE YOU LOOKING FOR GOD TODAY? HERE I AM
When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am." "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

NO SHORTCUTS TO GODLINESS
In Chapter 13, it is God's mighty hand that is leading them out of slavery. 13:17 says God didn't lead them by the short way which was about a three-mile straight road, but He led them for forty years, lest they change their minds. He even went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud by day and by night.

MOVE ON IN YOUR FEARS
14:10 The Israelites were TERRIFIED at Pharaoh and cried out, "Leave us alone, God." But in 14:13 Moses comes back to say: Stand firm, See deliverance. God fights for you. Be still. MOVE ON and divide the Red Sea.

OUR PROBLEM IS GOD, NOT MAN
In Chapter 16, God tells the Israelites you are not grumbling against Moses and Aaron, your leaders, but against Me, your God. I will rain down bread from heaven for you. Don't horde. Don't save life for yourself. In Chapter 17:7 is the real question: Is the Lord among us or not? They were testing God!

I can’t imagine being an Israelite and hearing that God wants me for His treasured possession. 19:4 He wants to bring me to Himself, just like He did for the Israelites. And He will drive out the enemies of my soul, 23:29, LITTLE BY LITTLE. It won't happen overnight but it will happen. For He says in the next verse that His Name is in us. How deeply encouraging is that to me in midst of some difficult times here. You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself…you will be my treasured possession if you obey me fully. Oooh, that so makes me want to obey and where do I start? Right in the present fray of my heart with what I am dealing with this present moment. Either I’m self absorbed or God absorbed. If it’s about self, repent. And the commandment I wanted to respond to was in Exodus 20:4– “you shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. That just about takes care of everything in my life, eveything I know about, everything, anything, even good things that take the place of our jealous God!

Exodus 23:20 - “Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.” We spend our lives preparing for the places we want to be with our good families, good life. But what about my good friend who sits kidnapped in Afghanistan tonight or Joseph stuck in a dark dungeon for 13 years or the Israelites wandering for 40 or the disciple dying upside down or the blindman estranged from his family and community or fill in the blank. Smooth safe lives? May we all long and live in the places You have prepared for us, o God. God has spent so much time in Genesis and Exodus outlining for this selected group of Jews what is right living with no other gods. Exodus 23:20 has meant so much to me this past year for my God has orchestrated my circumstances to get me to a better place with Him but it’s not where or how I thought I would spend the ending years of my life. It wasn’t what I wanted. But, now, I give up such idols, and want to go with the places He has prepared.

So, how will we live today? Befriending our world, demanding husbands and family and friends to come through for us? Or, moving into our world, broken before a beautiful God leading us all the way, little by little, with nothing more important in our lives than Him. Is your Lord among your life today?
Is the Lord among us or not? Exodus 17:7

19 comments:

Nise' 2/11/2008  

Exodus 14-17 - This was very convicting to me this week. So often I can be critical of these Israelites for behaving the way they do, but I behave too often like they did. Circumstances race at me quickly and I begin to grumble and complain or fear and doubt. I want the "high" of the previous deliverance to last rather than get back to the business (Move On!) of living by trust and following hard after Him through whatever circumstances may come my way. Moses told them that their grumbling is really against the Lord. (Ex.16:8) If I start out my day looking to God to satisfy my needs, and fill up the empty places, I will have no need to grumble and complain. Complaining only seems to raise feelings of stress and helplessness when being quiet and praying before the Lord brings feelings of peace and contentment. May I never forget who brings victory! The rest of my post on this week's reading is here.

I love what you said about being God absorbed or self-absorbed! So true.

Laura 2/11/2008  

Bev, You are amazing. Thank you for your heartfelt post on my blog, and for your encouragement during this time. The wounds we receive as a child are some of the most difficult to overcome, largely because we begin to identify them as part of who we are. It sounds like you have done some serious recovery work, and I am so proud of you. I have found revisiting those times to be very difficult. It would be much easier for me to keep pretending that I'm ok, go on with my life, and push it all under the rug. But until I learn to not be ashamed of who I am, God will not be able to use me the way He wants to. This is His doing. I thought I had victory over some of these issues, but He has been molding the clay in more and more beautiful detail lately.
You are beautiful, lady! (and so is your daughter, i just visited her blog--you must be so proud of her. See how we can break that cycle?)
Laura

Fran 2/11/2008  

"WHO DOES ALL THESE THINGS FOR YOU?
4:10-12 Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."
The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

This is significant one for me. I spent so many years and still can being caught up in the "I can't do that God" stage and I mean He is God and everything so why do I cut Him short?? HE can do it all. He can do what He says He can do. When I fail to believe Him, I have a pride issue, a belief issue, a trust issue.

Let God use each of us when we are feeling afraid, insecure, not capable,etc.

Blessings Bev! I absolutely adore the book of Exodus and there are 101 things I could comment on but this jumped right out at me with God and Moses.

Don't miss Him today. I pray for the strength to take on whatever our sweet Father has me to do.

Love to all~
Fran

Karen H TX 2/11/2008  

Dear Bev, I received a prayer request email for cyd from shonda. My prayers will be with her and her family, praying for her safe return. I will try to keep updated on her situation and that of her driver. Thank you for making us aware of what has happened, the more spiritual warriors that are praying the better. In Him Karen

Julie 2/11/2008  

I loved your observations.

Exodus is a book that has spoken alot to me through the years.

One of the most significant things that I see out of it is how often the Israelites forgot what God had done for them. He would deliver them time and time again to find them grumbling, questioning, forgetting HIM.

How many times in my life has God delivered me to find me questioning Him the next time? Too often I too have forgotten His faithfulness to me.

The book of Exodus, in my opinion, shows the great patience and relentless love of God. No matter how much they forgot and questioned He
continued to pursue them with His relentless love.

May we remember this day all that God has done for us. May we bask in His relentless love. It's not that we pursue Him, but that HE pursues US!

Have a blessed day,
Julie

Carolina Mama 2/11/2008  

Hi Bev, yes I was born in NOLA! :) And grew up on the Northshore! :) Love LSU until they play Tulane. My Tulane ties are bigger. :) The Tigers are my twin sons! :) But of course LSU counts, maybe that did inspire it. What about those Champs!! Anyway, we have many connections, my husbands family is Fort Worth, many of the cousins, etc. :)I popped by your daughter's blog - her ministry is awesome!

Karen 2/11/2008  

I loved your comment about God seeing me even though He may be silent. It touched my heart in just the right spot. Less comfortable was the comment on being self aborbed or God absorbed. Since that goes along with my daily devotion, I will have to ponder it a little and discern (more like admit) what God is trying to tell me.

helenw13 2/11/2008  

Oh Bev,
Your comments speak to me so deeply this morning...I love the quote from Dan Allender...how often I have wanted to get all my needs met in others and not in the One who delights to meet all my needs and more.
I can't believe that I left out the idols in my post...maybe it was subconscious...I too want to give up all idols that would block me from entering the place God has for me...

Bless you Bev...I continue to pray for Cyd...

You can read more of my thoughts here:
A Work of Heart!

Patty 2/11/2008  

Good Morning to everyone! Bev, you speak truth and get right to the meat of each verse! I learn so much by being here and reading your thoughts and everyone else's thoughts on our Bible readings!
I wrote a long post on my blog but I will share a little of what God spoke to me:
Ex. 17:7, Is God Among Us or not?
This is very convicting to me. How many times has God delivered me and provided for me and my family and then another trial comes and I have asked this in times past, where are you God? God showed Himself through the pillar of cloud and fire and they knew God was with them, they had the visual, but as time goes on God chose to show himself to them in different ways and here they are again in the desert tired and weak and no water and yet complaining and turning on Moses, again. They are out of water and they are getting ready to be attacked by an enemy. We get in those same places, tired of the trial, weak and worn out, discouraged and that is the prime time the enemy will come and attack us. But God...He not only steps in and delivers us, He chooses to deliver us in many different ways and sometimes we just don't see Him working it out for us and we get discouraged. Joshua was on the battlefield but so was Moses and Aaron and Hur but so is God! Jehovah Nissi, He is the one who is our divine Warrior and gives us the victory!! Even when we don't feel His presence in a situation doesn't mean that God isn't there, He promises us, I will never leave you or forsake you! May we never have to ask again, Is the Lord Among Us or Not? He is not only here, in our present day but he was here before we were!
Have a blessed week!!
Love,
Patty

jennyhope 2/11/2008  

Bev, Brooke looks just like you. Rea l quick this is off the subject but I was reading about the account of Rachel and Leah again this morning. I always love how Leah names her children in hopes of her husband loving her and finally comes to the realization in naming that this time I will praise the Lord. We see that Leah was unloved (which is an awful feeling) and yet Rachel was loved and then had kids and then that is still not enough she steals the household gods of Laban. It just goes to show that nothing really can satisfy us like Christ. What He has for us does not cost money.

I look at sweet morgan and how we are wired to want to fill ourselves up with something from infancy. That child wants more thomas the train. One thomas isn't enough...more more more she cries! The last one just didn't do it for her. So you last few sentences of this post really reminded me of that! If we would truly just believe Him and obey Him...He will satisfy us. We forfeit so much when we seek to satisfy our own wants and it is never enough. We are not content apart from Him.
And there have been times I was not content in Him because I was really half hearted.
Ok I need to stop rambling

annie's eyes 2/11/2008  

I learn so much from each of you and am so thankful to be on this journey through the Word with you. Bev, your thoughts are always so powerful to my heart. Thanks for making my life richer this year bathed in the Scriptures.

Again, the Scriptures this week focus on so many things, so many lessons, so much testimony of His power. Imagine the awe the Israelites must have felt to stand right in the middle of it as He allowed them to walk across a mighty Red Sea and sustain them for forty years. He alone was their provision. He alone is ours. Hope you had a blessed week as you let His Word minister to you. Mine was a catch up week, here at the last, but my heart overflows with meeting God on every page. He is our manna, with new mercies each morning, our Blood of righteousness, and our mighty healer of every hurt or weakness. As we begin Lent this week, it is appropriate to take this walk through the desert with our mighty and sustaining Lord. If you want to read more about our amazing God in Exodus, you are welcome to join me at annie's eyes.

Ang baylis 2/11/2008  

Hey, Girlfriends!
I hope you are all well and that God is showing Himself in your lives this week. I am not prepared to do a post this week but wanted to tell you what lingers... There is SO much that I couldn't possible touch on all of it. I have been thinking about how the LORD continued to harden Pharoh's heart through all of the plagues and how often I can get stubborn and have a hardened heart and not obey Him. My life would be much easier if I just plain obeyed Him. I loved reading about The Passover because I never really understood it until now. I loved reading about how He parted the Red Sea... I also loved when Moses and the Israelites sang the song, especially Exodus 15:2 "The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him." I like the reminder about the Manna and how it represents how important it is to get a daily dose of His Word! I have to admit to all of you that I have NEVER read the Ten Commandments in the Bible. I am so grateful for these readings and I can't believe I am as old as I am and have never read this until this week. I've always heard them, but never read it for myself. I am amazed at how specific the Lord was to Moses and all of His requests! Thanks for taking this ride with me!
Much love to you all,
Angie xoxo

Josh 2/11/2008  

Hey, it's been forever since I've posted, but I'm back and better than ever. Good to see you again. Take care!

Mary Lou 2/11/2008  

Bev, again your discernment blows me away and enriches my life. Some things that spoke to me this week were for one, the groanings that the Israelites kept doing and how God heard them EACH time and remembered them and then He would answer them. It struck me that the people didn't alwsys listen to Moses tell them of God's promises because they were having such a huge pity party. We do the same thing at times in our lives. We can't hear Him or see Him because we are so wrapped up in ourselves.However, He is faithful and keeps coming to us when we come to Him. Your statement about are we God absorbed or "me absorbed pretty much says it all. God saw to thier every need. Thier clothes and shoes did not wear out for the entire forty years... Just as His grace is sufficient for the day, they were to only collect enough manna for the day. If they hoarded it, it would spoil and not be any good. Also, His mercies are new every morning and they were for them too.
Another thing that spoke to my heart was how He went before them and prepared the way and was already there when they got to the next point on thier journey. He guided them with the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night....it was never total darkness for them. Just as it's not total darkness for us when we look to Him and He gives us enough light to see to take the next step. Also, to me the pillar of fire and the cloud were like shields for them...He hems us in, He goes before us and He comes behind us. God showed them over and over again that He was LORD. He has shown Himself over and over again to me also and that blesses my heart. Oh, how He loves us. I am so grateful to be grafted into the family of God. They could have had a much shorter route to the promised land, but God had plans that He had to work out in thier lives, just as He has plans He has to work out in our lives and sometimes the way is short and sometimes it's long.However, His way is always the best way even though we can't see it at the time. It may be dark right now in some of our lives, but I know that God sees and hears us and is working all things for our good, just as He did for them so long ago. One of my favorite Bible teachers says over and over what they experienced physically was an example for us spiritually. I am so grateful for all I am learning from all of you. Blessings.

CrownLaidDown 2/11/2008  

The Lord spoke a few somethings to me...one was that on the way to the Red Sea, they had to take the long way. Isn't that how it happens sometimes? It seems we are always taking the long way around. Then after crossing the sea (a miracle!), they celebrated, only to complain three days later about no water. Isn't that just like ME? When will I ever learn to trust Him beyond what I can see? Finally, I really love the specifications that the Lord gives and the details and care. He is into the details of my life...each little and big thing. I love His design and order--creativity and yet still in line with distinct order. He thrills my life...and oh I need Him to be exactly who He is in my life. So I watch for Him to work out the details, even if I'm taking the long way around :)

Love you,
holly

Fran 2/11/2008  

I've just come back to read some of everyones comments and I just LOVE doing this with y'all!! This weeks reading was just so awesome. I fell in love with God all over again and it sounds like you did too. He is truly awesome.

Keep on sisters, keep on!

Josh 2/12/2008  

Hey, thanks for stopping by Gabbatha. My book is about God's grace, and times in my life when God connected His grace with me. Take care!

Kristin 2/13/2008  

Hi Bev. I loved reading your comments on these verses. I so fell in love with these verses when I did a study on the life of Moses in BSF several years ago. It was a great reminder to see all of your insights. I loved the quote from Allender. I do this so much in my life, expecting people to fill me up the way only God can. I miss my time on the blog, but my time has not permitted me to spend us much time keeping up with everyone as much as I would like. Jan- April is busy for me as I work from home doing taxes. I have checked in here, but have not had the time to leave a comment. I loved hearing how God met your needs through the anonymous checks. And I loved reading about Brooke's time delivering the gifts to the orphans. Haven't had time to show my kids yet, but that was one thing I was looking forward to in giving to these sweet children is that there would be pictures for my kids to see the joy that our small gift provided. Thank you to Britt and Brooke for all of your efforts to do this for these kids. Sorry for the long comment, and any typos (you know how I hate them :)) No time to go back through and read. Just wanted to let you know that I love you and think of you often!
~Kristin

Alana 2/13/2008  

I'm up to Exodus 18 now. Still catching up. Loving every minute of it!

Praying for Our Friend Joanne Psalm 131:3 Waiting on God. Hope Now. Hope Always.

House of Blessing Tribal Childrens Home

House of Blessing Tribal Childrens Home
"Whoever welcomes a little child in My Name, welcomes Me." Matthew 18:5 We have posted pictures of the orphans receiving their gifts from you. Scroll down to the post entitled "Today Was the Big Day." Many orphans didn't own anything of their own, but now do, because of you.

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Britt, Blair, Bev, Bob, Brooke, Barrett

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I've met some amazing women through blogging. I would love to hear from you. My personal e-mail is:
sixbrandons@gmail.com
I have another blog where I blog daily as a small group of us read through the New Testament this year. It's called A String of Pearls. We carry each other on mats (when we just can't walk anymore) to Jesus and sweet things like that.

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