Saturday, September 15, 2012

"I am"...

In Exodus chapter 3 we read that Moses was summoned by God in the desert as he was looking after his father-in-law's sheep.

Moses asked God, “What is your name?” God replied, “I am”. Some versions of the Bible put it this way, “I am and remain present”.

This God cannot be summoned – He has never been gone. He is present.

Moses was never alone. Never forsaken. God was and is present.

You and I are never alone. God is present.

I am so thankful to God for this reminder today. I don’t want to think that I can or need to summon God to come and do my bidding instead of me realising that God is here.

God called Moses to be a part of what God was doing with the Israelites. God wants to call me and wants to call you out to join him in what he’s doing. Are you willing to say, "here I am", to say "yes"?

I am also thankful for the reminder that God is here, with me, in whatever I'm going through. He sees, hears, hasn't left.

I'm so glad he is 'I am'...

This poem was given to me many years ago and it reminds me that God is here and the best way I can live is to be present, with him, now and not hang on to regrets or fear for what was or what may be...

"My name is I AM" - Helen Mallicoat

I was regretting the past and fearing the future,
Suddenly my Lord was speaking,
"My name is I AM".
He pause. I waited.
He continued.
"When you live in the past
with its mistakes and regrets
it is hard.
I am not there.
My name is not I WAS.

When you live in the future
with its problems and fears
it is hard.
I am not there.
My name is not I WILL BE.

When you live in this moment,
it is not hard.
I am here.
My name is I AM."

Wilderness #2 – A time to refocus, refresh and get ready!

Have you felt like things weren’t going as you’d planned or hoped? You thought God was leading you somewhere better than where you are and yet it doesn’t seem that way at all?

Oh I have. I have left places that weren’t so great because I felt God calling me somewhere else. However, I have struggled with thoughts that the not-so-great was better than I realised because right now is no fun at all...

The Israelites felt the same way. They were set free and led out of Egypt. God led them through the wilderness on their way to the promised land. However, in the wilderness, they started complaining and wanted to go back to Egypt, forgetting how terrible it really was.

I don’t want to be a person shaking her fist at God and complaining about where God has me when he answered my prayers to take me out of the situation I was in. It’s just that the wilderness doesn’t look like the ‘promised land’... That’s because it's not!

I think the Israelites forgot that and I sometimes do too. The wilderness was a place they needed to go through to get to the promised land. The wilderness was a place that God took them through to show them who they really were and whose they were. Perhaps God does the same with you and me...

The wilderness is where God led the Israelites after rescuing them – to protect them. The wilderness was where God showed them who they were – not slaves but a great army and people of God – they had forgotten. The wilderness was the place that God reminded them who he was – leader, protector, provider – God Almighty! In the wilderness, God was drawing them closer to himself – to strengthen and fortify them as his people. In the wilderness, the Israelites witnessed miracles – they saw God’s power first-hand. God used the time in the wilderness to prepare his people for taking the promised land – to prepare them for the battles ahead – exposing sin and weaknesses that needed to be dealt with.


Is this what God is doing with us when we are in those ‘wilderness moments’?

I want to be careful that I don’t miss out on what God has for me in these times – I want to see God for who he is more and more. I want to hear him speak and draw closer. I want to experience his provision and protection in ways I wouldn’t otherwise (oh, and I have!) - but I also don’t want to extend my stay because of ignorance or doubt or rebellion...

The wilderness season isn’t meant as punishment but as a time to be refreshed, to refocus, to get ready...

My prayer is that my heart would be soft and my ears in tune with God’s voice, that I would follow where he calls. I want to get rid of anything that will stop me from taking the land that God has for me – that would stop me from fully living the life he has for me on the other side of this wilderness experience.

What about you?

Get your feet wet

On a trip to the beach one day, to walk and chat with God, I stood on a point overlooking the sand and the water. I was contemplating my walk along the beach and back and for some reason I was thinking that I didn’t want to get my feet wet or dirty – weird for me who loves my beach walks.

I was at a crossroads with work, ministry and some relationships and had been wondering about what was next - if there was even something new to come or if I was to stay where I was. I was wanting a change but fearing what that might mean at the same time.

As I thought about not going on the walk, I heard God say to me, “Come and take a walk with me. Take your shoes off and get your feet wet.”

I was immediately reminded of two places in the Bible where God called people to get their feet wet.

In Matthew 14, Peter got his feet wet when Jesus told him to come to him on the water. He stepped out of the safety of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. This is probably my favourite passage in the gospels.

The other passage is in Joshua 3 where the Israelites crossed the Jordan River. The priests had to go first and step into the raging river and get their feet wet before God made dry ground for the rest of the Israelites to walk on (v8). Acting in faith came before seeing the result.

 Verses 15-17 tell the story of what happened as the priests took their steps of faith: “...the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water and the rivers edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away...the priests...stood on dry ground in the middle of the river bed...”

At the beginning of the chapter, God called the Israelites to a new place in a new way – not the same as before. He says, “since you have never travelled this way before, they will guide you...”

God has called me out before and this day I asked God if there was somewhere new he wanted me to walk with him or was he calling me as a reminder or confirmation that I was to keep walking with him, where I am?

God reminded me of who he was and of how he can be trusted, even when he asks me to follow him where it doesn't look safe or stable. He wanted me to step out and get my feet wet again. 

I decided, again, to say yes, because I know that God is faithful. Just like the priests, taking their steps of faith and then seeing the water stop, I needed to step out into the new thing God was calling me to, trusting he would do what he promised, providing what I needed at the right time.

It's not easy to look at the raging rivers of doubt, confusion, fear, the unknown and step out into it all, hoping that we'll be okay, praying that God will do as he said. But, God is faithful. I know I'm repeating myself but it is true. If he asks us to get our feet wet, following him, he will take care of us. 

Getting our feet wet can be uncomfortable but I know that it is better to live with wet feet, walking with God, than living with dry feet, standing on the bank  wondering about all that God might have planned and missing out...

Today, if you hear God ask you to take a walk with him and get your feet wet, step out. He won't let you drown.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A prayer from Psalm 40

Psalm 40v3 “He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”

Lord, I want my life to reflect you – your glory. I want you to shine through me so people will see you and be ‘amazed’ and put their trust in you.

v4 “Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord...”

May that joy fill my life and be evident to those around me – a reflection of you in my life.

v10 “I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.”

Lord, open my mouth and give me the words to speak and share... I don’t want to keep you or your Good News hidden in my life.