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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 33:7,….And it came about, that everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp.

Tent of meeting. Open to all who sought the Lord. Not just Moses or the leaders or the priests. Everyone. Even with the residue of idolatry and sin still clinging to Israel.

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart.”

Outside the camp. God waited there. For His people to come. To seek fellowship. To seek reconciliation. He had done everything else for them; freed them, fed them, forgave them. Only requirement now was to walk those few steps outside the camp, into the tent of meeting.

Timid thoughts flutter through my mind. Am I ready to leave the safety and security of the camp? I suspect that entering the tent could transform me, thrust me into new truths. Am I willing to expose my need, to search for God with everyone watching? There is a stretch of open space between the camp and the tent. Will I be walking it alone or will others come too?

Offering Himself, Christ carried His cross outside the camp to the place called Golgotha, to be crucified, to cross over to God. To hold out His hand to us. To walk us across with His love.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 27:8

When Thou didst say, “seek My face,” my heart said to Thee,

“Thy face , O Lord, I shall seek.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 33:6, So the sons of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments from Mount Horeb onward.

Stripped. Their outer ornaments that signified their position, their wealth, their status. Whether they wore their ornaments as a right, or to command respect and admiration, now they were ready to wear nothing. To be seen simply as God’s people.

How comfortable am I/are we to have all our outer props removed? Race, color, social status, family credentials, education and finances. To simply be known for myself/ourselves. Do I even know who I am apart from my props?

Scripture puts us on equal footing: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Jesus Christ.”

Help me, Lord, to be stripped of anything that takes precedence over my following you. Remove any pretentiousness in me. Clear my sight also to look at each person in my life as Your child, a fellow traveler, a potential friend.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 73:25

Whom have I in heaven but Thee?

And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 32:33, And the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.”

Cain cried, O Lord it is too harsh a punishment to be driven from Your Presence.

O the terror Lord to be returned to the darkness without You!

O Lord, as I learn to walk with You in Your path to redemption, I overflow with gratitude at Your mercy and Your love. And I conveniently forget Your judgment. But in Your love, You do not Lord, and You call me to be accountable for my thoughts and my actions.

Out of Your love, too You provide for my restoration. Christ on the cross, dying for all our sins, dying that we might live. Paying my penalty.

O Lord, forgive me I pray, and restore me to live to righteousness. Turn me from sin and let me walk again with You.

Cover me Lord, I pray, that there is no part of my life where You are not present. O the peace, Lord, to walk in the countenance of Your light.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 51:4

Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned,

And done what is evil in Thy sight,

So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak,

And blameless when Thou dost judge.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 32:25, Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control-for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies-…

Once a witness. Now a derision. Once proclaimers of God’s power. Now a subject for mockery.

Whether by choice, by accident, by coercion; our actions reflect upon ourselves, our families, our countries and our God. Emissaries of excess or emissaries of the Spirit.

“It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles,” Paul said, “Flee immorality.”

Out of control. Flaunting moral laws for self-indulgence. “We can’t help it. It’s in our nature,” we say disassociating ourselves from responsibility. Natural inclinations are not an excuse. Even the world of nature follows a code of rules.

Witnesses or comic material. We have the opportunity in our world today to be salt and light. To offer moral alternatives in an age of license.

Investigate my heart and mind, Lord, to weed out any immorality I harbor. I ask not to act in any way that causes an affront to Your name, in thought or in deed.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 25:20

Guard my soul and deliver me;

Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in Thee.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 32:16, And the tablets were God’s work, and the writing was God’s writing engraved on the tablets.

Written creation. Majestic life. Teeming oceans, teeming insects, teeming cities, teeming stars. Flowers and grasses and shrubs and trees. Cactus to redwoods. Kittens to giraffes, worms to elephants. Parrots, crocodiles, penguins. Sand dunes, rain forests, ice caps. Mountains of lava, mountains of rock, mountains of snow. Streams tricking, rivers raging; wave tossed lakes, mud soaked ponds. Life in nature and universe declaring the work of God’s hands.

Written commandments. Moral law. Simple statements. Staggering commitment. Boundaries for community. Boundaries for conscience. Boundaries of wisdom and righteousness. Boundaries of judgement. “For there is no partiality with God. Who will render to every man according to his deeds.”

Written Christ. Manifest love. Ensconced in mortal flesh. Word of truth, word of grace, word of salvation. God Himself given as a gift to mankind.

Written covenant. Ministry letters. Ambassadors of love’s new commandment. “Being manifest that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”

Written by God’s own hand.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 102:18

This will be written for the generation to come;

That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 32:1, Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

Moses delayed. The people of Israel demanded. Make us a god they insisted, to go before us. Impatient, indignant at the long wait, they chose a man-made substitute. A molten calf.

Chronos time. Set here and now. Structured, scheduled, streamlined. Straight historical time, ticking clock time. Man’s time.

Kairos time. Set in eternity. Spacious, substantial, sufficient. Searching time, expectant time. God’s time.

Some patriarchs lived in both. Moving through history they waited upon God’s promises. Joseph sat in prison waiting for God’s release. Noah waited in the ark. Abraham waited for an heir. And yet Jacob grasped at this inheritance too soon, Abraham begot Ishmael. And both suffered years of additional waiting as a result.

How can we keep our faith, Lord, from sliding into our solutions? How can we keep our eyes fixed on Your time instead of ours? The temptation is so strong, so enticing, to speed up answers, to solve situations our way. Like Israel.

Keep me, Lord from melting substitutes when Your answer delays. Keep me in Kairos time.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord;

Be strong, and let your heart take courage;

Yes, wait for the Lord.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 31:6, And Behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you:

Appointed for a task. Equipped with talent, with knowledge, with skill. God appointed skills. Placed in hearts for a purpose. God knew by name and by assignment those equipped with necessary craftsmanship.

Created to create. What a joy to know our gifts and talents are God given in our hearts. Heart skill. Crafted into our makeup. “Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”

Apply our hearts to nurture, to practice, to use our skills diligently Lord. To be ready at Your call. To serve You in our crafts. To joy in creation. To be faithful. To respond.

Lord, assist me to live creatively, seeking to serve You through Your gifts in my heart.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 37:23

The steps of a man are established by the Lord;

And He delights in his way.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture Exodus 30:37, And the incense which you shall make, you shall not make in the same proportion for yourselves; it shall be holy to you for the Lord.

Fragrant incense. For worship. For Aaron to burn every morning and every twilight. Fashioned separate. Fashioned holy.

Spices blended, spices beaten. Spice bold smoke. Saturating their senses, sanctifying their prayers.

Faith formed day. Structured around worship, prayers, labor. Another ceaseless offering. Beginning and ending with God. “And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.”

Spoken prayers, silent prayers, searching prayers. Do I offer them to You with a holy awe, with a heart of worship? Do I invite You to begin and end my day and influence all the situations in between, or do I keep You at a distance? Separate compartments for worship and work?

Bathe my senses in Your Spirit, Lord. Anoint my prayers with Your spices that they may be acceptable.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 141:2

May my prayer be counted as incense before Thee;

The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.

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