Notes from Fred
Our church is filled with laughter and excitement this week, as our children are blessed by our second Preschool Camp of the Summer – “Fun with Food!” The blessings continue in August with “Let’s Go Camping….”
And all of us have the opportunity for a wonderful blessing of Wellness of Mind, Body, and Spirit by our Couch to 5K Challenge – for men, women, Youth, and children of all ages and stages. Be in Worship this Sunday to receive the Couch to 5K Guide; and join the Team beginning on Sunday evening at 7:00, or find a Wellness Buddy to journey together…
Trust In God - To Deliver You!
On Sunday, we continued our walk with Moses to be transformed by trust in God, this week, to deliver us – by being still and seeing His light for our path out of whatever in our life keeps us from the life He wants for us; by moving forward with a first step, that leads to the next step, eventually all the way through to a new life filled with blessings. (Exodus 14:10-31)
- God shows us through Moses that He can deliver us from any circumstance in our life that we believe is impossible to change. The Israelites are trapped between the army of Egypt, the enemy of their past; and the Red Sea, the seemingly hopeless way forward – leaving them in a present of fear, despair, pain, and paralysis. Like the Israelites, we also face times in our lives when we are trapped, slaves to our past with no way forward – A marriage that is falling apart; dysfuntial families; children who despise us and leave us; unhealthy life habits; addictions that will destroy us….
- God gives the Israelites and us a way out and a way forward with four words. The First Two Words are these: Be still! Moses responds to the fear and despair of the Israelites in this surprising way: “The Lord will fight for you; you only need be still!” What Moses reveals is that God will always open a way to deliver us, but first we must be still to be able to see how He can deliver us. So often we are so stressed, so focused on the past and present, so reliant on our wisdom and myopic vision of the future, that we miss what God wants to do for us. The well-known saying is true: When a door closes, God will open a window. But if we only look at the closed door, we will not see the light that God shines through our window.
- For the Israelites, God moved a pillar of cloud between them and the Egyptians. Behind them was darkness, and in front of them was light. Moses says: Be still so that you can see that your old way is darkness; God’s new way is the way of light….
- The pillar of cloud that God offers us is the Bible. The Bible shines God’s light on a path that will deliver us to a future of Abundant Life of love, joy, peace, and more. Be still and take time to see this light of God. There are many circumstances from which God wants to deliver us. I focused on one, a circumstance that all of us will face at some time – our relationships, in our marriages, with our children, families, all of the people in our lives. God wants to fight for our relationships, if we will be still and see.
- The movie Fireproof offers us this truth. The marriage of Caleb and Katherine Holt was on the brink of divorce. But Caleb’s father urged him to be still and see how God’s Word could deliver his marriage from death to life. Caleb took time to be still and saw that God’s way of love was the way forward for their marriage – “Love is patient, kind, not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs….” Day-by-day Caleb took time to be still and let God’s light shine on His path for their marriage. And day-by-day these words delivered their old marriage to a new marriage, filled with the light of God’s love. But this does not just happen in the movies. Four families here have shared with me that being still for just 118 minutes to see the way of God, shone through Fireproof, was the turning point for their marriage. Do you want God to fight for your marriage, for your relationships? Then be still – take the time to see the way that God’s light can deliver you!
- Yet, trusting God by being still will not deliver us. We need God’s Second Two Words: Move forward! God spoke to Moses – “You see the way illuminated by the light. So why are you crying? Move forward!” We see the way forward, but we also see the water, all the ways that make God’s way seem so difficult. So we cry out, we pray. But prayer is not a spectator sport. God shows us the way forward, then waits for us to move forward as participants in the fulfillment of our prayer – trusting in His power, and that He will go with us.
- The most powerful prayer in the Bible is not the sound of words. It is the sound of that first footstep moving forward in faith – the step of the first Israelite into the sea; our first step into all the ways that stand between us and the marriage, the relationships, the life God offers us. A recent poll showed that 70% of people believe that their prayers are not answered because they are “not God’s plan.” That is often true. But just as often, it is because we do not move forward in faith. God’s plan is this: “When you pray , move your feet.”
- Because when we move our feet, we also obey the literal command, in Hebrew, that God gave to Moses (phonetically): “Naw sha” – which means “Pull up tent pins!” God sees that we will never move forward and all the way through, if we are stuck in the ways that hold us back, the same old criticisms, arguments, wound-inflicting words, that lead to growing further apart; if we are stuck in the same old unhealthy habits…. “Naw sha” God says – pull up your tent pins, put behind you the ways of the past, and move forward in a new way.
- This is what delivered the marriage of Caleb and Katherine Holt, delivered marriages in our church, can deliver your marriage, can deliver your life. Caleb pulled up his tent pins of addiction to pornography and self-centeredness; and began stepping forward one step at a time: “Love is patient” – not saying or thinking one negative thought about his wife for a day…. One step became two, then three, then Caleb was walking the way of God’s love. Over time, his way encouraged Katherine; and God delivered their marriage all the way through….
- Do you want God to deliver your marriage, your relationships, your life, all the way through? Then be still and see the way God can deliver you; pull up your tent pins; step forward on God’s path. And the God who delivered Israel from the Egyptians and through the raging sea, all the way through to a new life, will surely deliver you!
- Many years ago, a father gave his son a lamp and sent him out at night to check on the animals in the barn. The boy hesitated, telling his father that the light only shone one step ahead, and the rest was darkness. His father assured him: Just take one step to the edge of the light, and the lantern will light the next step, then the next. Keep going, and you will get through to where your father wants you to be….”
- It is the same way with God for us. If there is anything in your life that needs God to deliver you, be still, see His light at your feet, and take the first step, then the next, and He will deliver you all the way through to where He wants you to be – to where you want to be!
Connection for the Week. Pray for God to deliver you through something, some relationship, that is not what He wants; see in the Bible His way forward; take the first step on the path He shows you, then the next; and see how God will deliver you.