When Losers Are Loved

Before the bush, He calls to us

“Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.”

1 Corinthians 1:27, NLT

God has particular preferences when it comes to peculiar people.  He selectively chooses.  These choices are made up in his mind and heart.  For us to criticize them, is by association, faulting God. It just happens to be that He likes losers. He choses uneven performers over the gifted and learned, (1 Cor. 1:26).

There have been very many men and women tossed out on the trash heap of humanity.  They are often regarded as useless and irrelevant. But God loves the outcast and forgotten.

We who are the disabled know weakness intimately. We must deal with it 24/7; and it never takes a holiday, We are broken believers who are in love with Jesus and still we are broken. Talk about having faith for healing? What about the faith to be sick?

People who have experienced dealings so harsh– most likely— there is little pride or arrogance left. These are usually the marginalized, the losers. People like Moses,

“Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

Exodus 3:11

Someone once said, “When God intends to use a man or woman He takes them and crushes them.”  The inevitable breaking is followed by a release of the Holy Spirit from their lives.  Moses is proof of God’s renovating presence.  You want the presence? Prepare for years of roughness, and misunderstanding. Prepare for the crushing.

At the burning bush, Moses was given the assignment of returning, confronting Pharaoh, and leading all the captives to the Promised Land of Canaan.  He had just spent 40 years as a refugee/shepherd.  In spite of a good education he had received while in Egypt as a prince, that wasn’t why he had been selected.

Moses has definite feelings of inadequacy and failure.  And his time in the desert did nothing to relieve this.  But a 40 year “prison” term will do that.  In chapter 4 of Exodus we read “the back and forth” conversation between Moses and the Lord God.  All of Moses’ objections were consistently volleyed back with comfort and promise.

As you read this, you may be aware of God’s presence.  He has called you to do something for him.  You have wandered off the path, gotten lost and suffered much.  The “desert” will do that.  But it all can be forgiven.  His alert grace is a velvet battering ram of grace and love.  He will (and does) discipline you–but only because he is passionately in love with your soul, and His glory.

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So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?

 

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God has always wanted to lead His people. I think that He is almost catatonic with joy when we allow Him to do this. Throughout the ages, and all through Israel’s history, we see Him reaching out to people,  who are stubborn and selfish in their choices. But He reaches out to them anyway.

Israel had been sovereignly led out of Egypt. Miracle after miracle had made this happen. A dramatic exodus from slavery would make the front page that day. People from every generation would know that God was setting His people free.

God didn’t tell them the way, but rather showed them the path Himself. He led them with “a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night” (Exodus 13:20-22). The people, however, repeatedly refused to trust their Deliverer-Shepherd. They hardened their hearts and rebelled against Him.

“Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us; for this Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt—we do not know what happened to him.’”

Acts 7:39-40, NASB

They made the choice themselves, they would turn around. They would go back in slavery to Egypt. (Actually in their hearts, they had already done so!) They were rejecting and renouncing God, and turning their backs on Him.

But we are given what we want. Even if it takes us into bondage again.

When we begin to follow, God starts to lead. He takes an active role to guide and direct us, and to bring us into victory. When we try to go back to Egypt, we will experience His discipline.

“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery…” 

Galatians 5:1, NLT

“Because of their unbelief they were not able to enter His rest” (Hebrews 3:19). Then the author draws a clear distinction: “They didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter His rest” (Hebrews 4:2-3).

There is a wonderful and real rest. But I am tempted to turn back. Will I decide to let God lead me?

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They Are Bread for Us! [Challenges]

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Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” 10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.”

Numbers 14:9-10

Exactly, how do we see our challenges? During the time of Moses and Joshua, and when the land of Canaan [still out there] had yet to be conquered, was still waiting, this happened. But there were many [most] who wanted out. In their limited experience, they saw some serious problems– disaster, becoming a slaughter. They were terrified.

An attempt to stall this insurgency, a few speak up. They call it what it is– rebellion. The people [enmass] begin to organize. More a mob than a crowd, things get nasty. Moses stands up, and speaks loud enough to be heard. [He is not a public speaker.] And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”

Many times we have to choose. The decision to follow Him is almost always dangerous. It requires daring ideas, and is against much of we label common sense. People will always speak doubtful things, and we find little support for our faith to launch out.

Bread is there to build us up. It is good food that might strengthen us. It becomes the metaphor for strength that increases. I grew up with “Popeye” eating spinach out of a can. He found lots of energy, with amazing new abilities. [It almost persuaded me to eat it.] The enemies in the land may seem to be formidable, and without the presence of God they were.

But we are really strengthened by our foes. That which did not weaken us, but only made us stronger. What is bread? Why it is “the staff of life.” In 1 Corinthians 16:9, “There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me.”

Victory is never easy. It would be easy if it is always found in a can of spinach. But it is not. It is exclusive to the “presence” of God. Our foes will only fortify us. And that’s a promise for you.

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Touching Isn’t the Same as Plunging

” A man is only as holy as he wants to be.”A.W. Tozer

Our will is always a significant issue.  Our heavenly Father never diminishes it, but it seems our will is inviolable and considered untouchable.  The Lord brings us, but He will never make us, or drive us.  There is a deep kindness in His mercy.  (And I think I love Him more because of this.)

There is a personal burden on us; it isn’t too popular or widely accepted.  But it deals with free choice choosing a life of remarkable awareness.  He shares His holiness with us.  It is one of those deep and certain principles– You can have as much of God as you want.  It seems there are no limits here.

One of our personal issues is how we see life.  Often we have gone with a “pie chart” mentality.  We cut our life into sections, some are bigger and others are just a sliver.  As Christians we feel noble when we give God a cut.  But this mentality only accentuates the reality that His presence isn’t as significant as it should be.  Really, if we are honest, the whole pie is His.

Moses is a profound example for us.  He decides that he can’t live out an illusion anymore.  He starts separating himself from Egypt.  He escapes and becomes a shepherd.  Many years pass, and the presence of God deeply overshadows him.  He is led into an encounter with God.  He embraces this, and we see God taking up this humble man as a confidante and a close friend.

Every person is as holy as they want to be.  Will you set your heart under the stream that flows continually?  Will you see yourself to be “set apart” for His purposes?  He intends that you will be different.  Set apart (holiness) for Him.  Like Moses, we need to act on this idea, that we are quite different.  We must understand this– we will never, ever mesh with the world around us.  And you need to make this decision yourself.