Sacrificial Love

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Exodus 2-3

What do you think of when you hear the names Moses, David, Jeremiah, Paul or Jesus?  I have to tell you that today I saw our good good Father and He spoke some truths about Moses to me which gave me new vision regarding being parents, pastors or leaders or even a dear friend.  One thing these men have in common is that they were responsible for so many people in the roles they played.  Though what we’re going to look at can refer to being responsible for many or even just one.

You see Moses, though he was brought up in Pharohs house chose to be connected to his kinsmen and family, the Jews.  His mother was his nurse and I’m sure she taught him all she could in the time frame that she had available to her knowing God ordained that she have that ability.  Somewhere in the back of Moses mind he knew he would be the one used to redeem his people.  He wanted to, yet he went about it in his own strength and in his own time and had to flee for his life robbing him of his call and purpose.  It would seem like “oh boy didn’t he get that wrong”.  He couldn’t save God’s people let alone himself. He believed the lie for decades that he wasn’t usable and he wasn’t God’s choice.  That was until one day he turned aside to see the odd site of a bush on fire yet not burning up. Funny the things God will use to get our attention.  As Moses watched, God called him out saying “Moses, Moses” and Moses said “here am I”.  This is so important because we don’t know how many times God tried to get Moses attention while in his desert time.  The scripture says that God didn’t speak though until He saw that Moses turned aside to see .  Meaning, Moses set his mind on it to think about it.  I think the Lord does this with us many times. He waits for us to turn aside and see.  We need to be people who when the Lord is showing us something that we decide to ponder and think on it so He can speak directly to us. Those are moments when you realize the Lord is telling you something and it would behoove us to stop and think about it.  It was here at this burning bush that God meets Moses right where he was in his desert and tells him you are my choice.  I still want to use you. God very lovingly begins to tell Moses of his heavy heart for his people.  He said I have heard their cry and I know their sorrows.  This beautiful exchange is Father God laying the burden of His heart onto Moses.

This is where it really began to sink in for me.  Our loving Father hears our cries and knows our sorrows.  Isaiah 53:3 says that He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and aquainted with grief.  I don’t know how you see Him but oh how He loves us.  Now I can imagine God the Father loving me but what comes next was shocking.  You see once Moses had this exchange with God he is forever changed.  He immediately obeys and goes back to his people to begin the deliverence.  This man who had lost all faith became the leader of faith.  Not only that but this job would last until his death.  This man of faith who was used for some of the most miraculous miracles to date never entered the promised land.  This is the man who was so close to God that He would meet with him face to face. This man God called His friend.  Why?  How could this be?  I’ll tell you how.  LOVE! LOVE IS HOW!  Can you see it?  Moses had accepted and bore the burden of the Lord for His people. Moses so loved God that he willingly loved with God’s love God’s people as God did.  Even when God wanted to wipe out this people and start again telling Moses he will use him to begin again, Moses so loved the people that even in their sin he interceded for them and said count me as one of them.  If you punish them you have to punish me.  This even happened more than once.  Yet this is why God chose Moses to begin with.  He would love them as much as he did.  He would love them like Jesus loved us being willing to be counted as one of us, interceeding for us on our behalf.  Spairing us from what we deserved.

This is why God still chooses and uses broken people.  We can understand and empathize with the lost and their terrible choices because we were those same people messing up and making terrible choices.  This is why we are called to love one another.  We can’t possibly love through our flesh.  It takes the Spirit of God and an encounter with Him to give us His heart.  But this love is how they (the world) will know we belong to Him. John 13:35   This same love can be seen in so many of those listed in the Bible whom we call prophets, teachers, disciples, hero’s and saviors.  They loved who Father God loved.  They weren’t perfect and that’s what made them perfect for the job.  It’s what will make you perfect for what God calls you to.  We are humbled by our mistakes, some small and some grieviously great. This humbling reminds us how much we all need Jesus.  It reminds us how much He loves us to take our place and shows us how we should love each other remembering how much we’ve been forgiven.  Freely you have received, freely give.  Matthew 10:8

Even if you have messed up today I would say to you as Jesus said to Peter that “when you have returned to me, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32  Pray for those over you, your Pastors, Teachers, Parents etc.  They love you and pay a high price to lead you.  Honor them since God chose them to care for you as He does.  Let love be your standard.  You are not forgotten in the desert.  Be watching and listening for Him to call your name.  He will use you for His glory and redeem you from the desert. You may be the next to lead.

By Jaime Luce

 

Shift Your Focus

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As I sat and read a devotional today something struck me that I’ve never really thought about before.  I love those moments when things are suddenly clear.  I must confess that so many things are still very foggy for me but I’ll take any clarity that my “Teacher” wants to bring focus to. The funny thing is that the thing that comes into focus wasn’t necessarily a thing that I was even confused about or even thinking about yet it was an important knowledge of a much larger picture.  I don’t know about you but I can be guilty of not seeing the forest for the trees.  This was a zoom out to focus and not a zoom in.

The disciples were always students, perpetual learners.  Most of the time they didn’t understand and Jesus would have to take them aside and explain.  I began to think about the Jewish culture and what it meant to have a Rabbi.  From a young age the rabbi would choose his students and tell them to follow him.  They were to continually study and learn. They’re teaching included their study of course but it was also to mimic the thoughts, words and actions of their teacher.  Think about it for a moment.  For years they were tutored and trained.  Many times they were taught to think because they were asked a question.  Rabbi’s like to answer a question with a question.  Do you ever feel like you have the question but are on a journey to the answer. I feel this way a lot.  I ask the Lord a question and He answers me with a question.   This is necessary however if we are ever to be in the position of training others as we ourselves are.  You are a constant student who is ever learning.  For example, Jesus would be approached by someone blind and He would ask him what do you want me to do for you.  Seems kind of silly doesn’t it?  Yet many times this was the case.  Much of our learning comes from asking the right question.

This is how it should be for us, always knowing we have much to learn and to not get settled thinking that we are old enough now with a been there done that attitude and have it all figured out.  Sadly, so much of what we think we know we know amiss.  We see through a glass darkly as the word puts it. We see through our lens, through our experiences, culture and upbringing.  It’s not easy to try to see through someone elses lens.  Have you ever put on someone elses glasses and things were blurry to you?  That’s my point.  We must be ever learning from the one with perfect vision otherwise we could be the blind leading the blind.  I don’t mean to say we can’t learn from each other.  Of course we can but our study and our focus should be on “The teacher”.  We should always be in the posture of a student eager to learn and follow the teachers example.  I can see why it was so difficult for the disciples to grip that it would be better for Jesus their teacher to “go away” as He put it, than to stay with them physically.  How would they learn?  How would they know what to do?  Who would explain things to them?  So many questions…

This is a great place to be in, wanting to learn and know what He would do or what He would say.  It’s not knowledge for knowledge sake but wanting to know truth.  The search for truth is a remarkable one.  Why?  Because truth sets free.  Jesus said come learn of me. He said Seek and you will find and knock and it will be opened to you.  I’m so grateful He gave His Spirit to us and didn’t leave us alone.  I can’t imagine how difficult navigating this life would be without Him.  When I get focused on one thing it’s His spirit that adjusts my lenses.  So be encouraged if you have many questions!  He will be faithful to you to help you ask the right questions and then to receive those answers that grow you.

By Jaime Luce