Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Greatest Thing We Have to Offer

Here's a quote I was really blessed by today:

“The greatest thing we have to offer our people is not our education.  It is not our good ideas.  It isn’t even our gifts and abilities.  It is the fruit of the time we have spent with the Savior, the utterly unique and unparalleled thing that happens when we are simply in His presence.”  ~ B.  Patterson

What are our priorities today? What do we have to offer?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Out of Egypt...Into the Wilderness

"And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the Lord their God." ~ Exodus 29:45,46

I love how God is always wanting to dwell among His people - to be familiar with us, to be part of us, to identify Himself with us. He doesn't hold Himself aloof, thinking Himself too exalted or too holy to contaminate Himself with the likes of us. Instead of us contaminating Him (which is basically impossible), He wants us to be transformed and purified by being in His presence! What a novel idea - instead of our dirt rubbing off on Him, His "cleanness" rubs off on us.

Then, "they shall know that I am the Lord their God" - there is no doubt, no questionings, no "I think" or "maybe". They know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God is real, and that He is the only reason they are freed from their bondage.

Now here's what I thought was really interesting. Why was Israel "brought forth out of the land of Egypt"? It was so "that I may dwell among them." In other words, God couldn't dwell among them while they were in Egypt. Why??

Exodus 20:2 calls Egypt "the house of bondage." Revelation 11:8 makes reference to Egypt representing spiritual Babylon. Time and time again throughout the Bible, Egypt is referred to as a place of worldliness, idolatry, and rebellion, and Israel was in bondage here - in bondage to sin. So long as we are in bondage to our sin, God cannot dwell among us, cannot dwell in us. We have to allow God to break our shackles, and lead us out of the world, out of the prison house of rebellion and idolatry, and into a wilderness experience with Him. A wilderness devoid of distractions and where there is no earthly support - where we must learn to trust in God and God alone for our sustenance, and where He can have our undivided attention to teach us His ways, and retrain our thoughts and habits. Then He can lead us to the Promised Land, once every longing for Egypt is silenced in our hearts. I want this experience!