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Tag Archives: Exodus

  • A Light in the Darkness

    Posted on April 24, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy

    "In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the LORD from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come." Exodus 27:21 (NIV)

    The memories that burn brightest from my childhood are of our family's camping trips to the beach. All the hard work of packing the tent, suitcases, sleeping bags and food into the car was worth it when camp was set up and family time began.

    My favorite time of the day came as darkness settled, the shouts of children quieted and grills were lit. Often, as we cleaned up from dinner, my mother would take our lantern into the tent to repack our supplies, and I would bask in the glow from the tent and the warm safety of my parents' presence.

    Those memories flooded back as I read Exodus 27 from my daily reading plan. In a meticulous design revealed in the preceding chapters, God laid out the blueprint for the Tent of Meeting, also called the Tabernacle, where He would be worshipped by the Israelites as they traveled from Egypt to Canaan. Sentence after sentence details the fabric, the measurements, and the structure.

    When the plan for God's Tent of Meeting was complete, He began to describe the furnishings. They included a beautiful set of lamps on a lampstand that was to burn continuously inside. This intricate lampstand described in detail in Exodus 25:31-40 was a pure-gold work of art made by the artisans God appointed, and it burned clear olive oil.

    Pieces of a greater puzzle began to click into place as I pondered other scriptures and truths explaining the rich symbolism of the Tent of Meeting's lampstand. I began to see God revealing His plans for us thousands of years ago:

    We are the tent. (2 Cor. 5:4)

    Jesus is the light. (John 1:4)

    The Holy Spirit is the oil. (Zech. 4:1-6)

    Fueled by the Holy Spirit, we are called to let Jesus' light shine through us into the darkness. (Matt. 5:14-16)

    Just as the Israelites moved the Tabernacle through the desert sands ...
    Just as my parents pitched a tent in beach sands ...
    Just as I move through this darkened world ...

    God provides a Light that shines in the darkness, and He creates a tent (us) to shine through.

    For Jesus' light to pierce the darkness, shining brighter and brighter, we need to become more and more transparent.

    For His light to shine continuously, we need to constantly be refueled by the Holy Spirit through prayer, studying and memorizing Scripture, and abiding in Him.

    For His light to shatter the inky blackness of this world, we need to fearlessly move our tents into places of darkness where no other light shines.

    There is a world of people who long for the safety and presence of Jesus–but they need a beacon to guide them. May we humble tents, who carry the Light, glow brightly everywhere as we travel through this world!

    Dear Lord, thank You for allowing me to be a simple dwelling for Your Light. I pray that even as the priests were charged with maintaining the light, I would be faithful to let Your Light shine. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Use the NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women to have your own journey through God's Word.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you experienced Jesus as the Light in your darkness? If you haven't, you can today. Click here to read more.

    If you carry the Light, make sure you're fueled up. In what ways can you spend time in a quiet place with God today?

    Power Verses:
    John 1:4-5, "In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." (NAS)

    2 Corinthians 5:1-2a, "For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven - God-made, not handmade - and we'll never have to relocate our ‘tents' again." (MSG)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Secrets of Success Found in Small Places

    Posted on March 7, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work." Exodus 36:2 (NIV)

    The International Christian Retail Show is a big book convention where publishers, authors, agents, media, and bookstore owners all gather to talk shop. Books are pitched. Books are sold. Books are talked about a lot!

    I went to this conference years ago when I was a wanna-be writer with a book proposal and a dream. Last year, as I signed pre-release copies of my 16th book Unglued, two thoughts went through my mind.

    First ... thank You Jesus that people actually came to my book signing. Seriously, there's nothing quite like standing there with a big stack of free promotion books, a permanent marker, and not a soul interested.

    So when people actually came, I just wanted to hug every single one of them. Seriously. And if I had lots of money I would've bought them all a steak dinner. I'm not kidding.

    The second thought was ... look for those desperate for your encouragement. Many who came through my book signing line were interested in writing a book. I remember being there. I know what it feels like to walk around with a tote bag full of book proposals and a heart full of nervous hope.

    I felt the weight of responsibility to give them the encouragement I so desperately needed when I was in their shoes.

    Maybe you are there right now. Maybe you're looking to actively pursue your dreams in this New Year. Whether it's the hope of being an author or another dream you have bumping around in your heart, here's what I've learned:

    Always remember, rejection from man doesn't mean rejection from God.
    If God has gifted you to write, write! You don't need a book deal to have an impact with your writing. The same is true with other dreams ... sing, create, teach, paint, develop — use your gifts right where you are to bless others.

    Most overnight success stories are years in the making.
    Value the daily discipline of small steps, hard work, honing your craft, and putting in time learning and developing. Take classes. Be mentored. Push through those moments you want to slack off. And do it over and over, year after year.

    Be a blessing to others.
    Don't keep your work to yourself. Find people who could be blessed with your work. I love to write. But what I love more than writing is seeing my writing help other people. That's where I find the encouragement to push through the hard times.

    Expect opposition.
    The challenges and disappointments and set backs are all part of it. And honestly, these hard times serve a great purpose. I've learned much more from my failures in writing than my successes. Use these lessons ... don't waste them by giving up too soon. And remember to glorify Him whether it's a struggle or a success. God uses all things for good.

    Look for the small open doors right in front of you.
    I always scratch my head when I meet people who tell me they want to write and speak but aren't willing to teach a small Bible study first. If God is calling you to do something — He'll have a door open in front of you. But it might be a small door. Look for the small door and walk through it.

    Actually, dance through it with great joy because He will always do great things with people willing to be faithful in the small.

    Dear Lord, I praise You for giving me the opportunity to pursue my dreams. I am so humbled that You would call me to serve You. Please help me persevere as I come up against opposition and frustration in the process of saying "yes" to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What goal are you looking to reach?

    What small step toward that goal can you take today? Remember, we can't go directly from A-Z. There are many stepping stones along the way.

    Surround yourself with a positive support network. Having a strong group of friends/family who will stand with you and be honest with you on your journey is crucial.

    Power Verse:
    Philippians 2:13, "For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Seductive Shortcuts

    Posted on March 3, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.   Exodus 13:17-18

     

    Shortcuts are seductive because they are appealing and inviting. Shortcuts caress our pride, stroke our ego, and garner immediate gratification. We sometimes seek shortcuts while driving, preparing for school exams, career advancement, marriage maturity, parenting skills, financial success, and spiritual development. Shortcuts are attractive to your clever side because you think that, with enough ingenuity and smarts, you can bypass the normal rite of passage. However, the downside of shortcuts is that their promise of a faster way may be short-circuiting God’s best. Just because it is easier does not qualify it as the will of God. In fact, ease of execution may be evidence against God’s will. Instead, a season of suffering may be His plan (1 Peter 4:19).

     

    So, do not depend on circumstances alone as the compass of where God is leading you. You may feel pressure from people, pride, politics, or finances to take the most expedient route. But be careful because expedience can be an excuse for the impatient and the distrusting. If you miss this opportunity there will be others, for God is much bigger than this one deal. Do not underestimate His wisdom in taking you through this laborious and sometimes painful process. It will be worth the wait because it is the process that is preparing you for His next steps. If you rush through the process you may miss God’s best.

    Many times, He is unconventional in His approach. This is the nature of God, for He will not be hemmed in or backed into a corner. Cut God some slack by giving Him the latitude to lead you however and wherever He desires. Just because a friend of yours went down a similar road does not mean you should follow. God’s will for you may be just the opposite. One thing is for sure: He will get the glory when you are patient to follow Him in trust and obedience. God’s glory is your goal (1 Corinthians 10:31).

    Since the glory of God is your objective, keep God’s glory as your litmus test, and your other initiatives will take care of themselves. The shortcut is tempting, but it may be more complicated than you can comprehend for now. Its complexity will certainly compound if you have to backtrack from the shortcut and start all over again. It is much better to wait and do this once and for all. There will certainly be adjustments along the way, but have faith in God that He is facilitating His will even if some of your questions remain unanswered. He’s got your back even though the enemy may be breathing down your neck and whispering words of doubt. God is in control. It is much better to take the longer route with God than the shorter one without Him.

    Travel instead, on the proven path of Providence. Faith in Christ rejects seductive shortcuts.

     

    Post/Tweet: Have faith in God that He is facilitating His will even if some of your questions remain unanswered. #faith

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Name of God

    Posted on January 30, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-46

    There is a name that is above every name, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. His name is greater than Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses. His name is larger than life, it overcomes death and reigns for all eternity. The name of the Lord is a strong tower of strength and protection. His name is a nuisance to His enemies and confidence for His children. The name of God is our rear guard and spiritual security. His name is the object of our worship, praise, petition and prayer!

    We honor  God’s name because He is honorable. We humbly and proudly claim to be followers of God, because He has called us to Himself. Some will make fun of our faith, but we know in our heart and from experience that Jesus is a leader worth following. Our Savior Christ Jesus is creditable for His claims are undeniable. Yes, when we speak His name there is no middle ground response. Jesus is either embraced or dismissed. We are defined by Christ’s name.

    “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Exodus 20:7

     

    Therefore speak the name of the Lord your God with reverence and awe. Do not misuse His name by apologizing for His commands or by stepping into His shoes as judge. The name of Jesus Christ is our life example. His name is our brand promise of peace, hope and forgiveness to a lost, dying, confused and hurting world. Proclaim the name of God as your true love, the Lover of your soul. Be ready to respond to those who ask you for the reason of your hope in Christ.

     

    As you face giants of fear, face them in the name of the Lord Almighty. As you face giants of rejection, face them in the name of the Lord Almighty. As you face giants of shame and guilt,  face them in the name of the Lord Almighty. As you face giants of anger, face them in the name of the Lord Almighty. God will deliver your enemies into your hands for His name sake.

     

    “For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.” 1 Samuel 12:22

     

    Prayer: Lord Jesus, bless Your name, and all that is within me bless Your holy name.

     

    Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 16:10; Job 1:21; PsLM 7:17; Acts 9:28; Romans 10:13

     

    Post/Tweet today: God’s name is a nuisance to His enemies and confidence for His children. #nameofGod

     

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Someone to Lean On

    Posted on January 2, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy

    "When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset." Exodus 17:12 (NIV)

     

    Someone very dear to me is in the fight of her life ... she's wrestling with her belief in God and searching to know with certainty that Scripture is true. She's fighting for her faith. Watching from the sidelines is difficult to endure for me. But the battle is one that only she can combat.

    I love her so much and want to jump in the ring with my fighting gloves and slay the enemy. As one who came out victorious from the same struggle of my own, I long to bottle the knowledge I learned and give it to her. Handing my wisdom and faith to her would surely spare her the agony associated with a fight for faith in the Lord.

    Watching the conflict as a bystander is arduous. But while I watch, I pray. And through prayer I am reminded of two men in the Bible who stood by their friend Moses in battle.

    Moses sent Joshua into battle to fight an army of their enemies. While Joshua and the men waged war, Moses stood on top of the mountain holding his staff over the valley. Joshua and his men were victorious as long as Moses held the staff up. When Moses lowered the staff, their enemies gained on them.

    Moses' friends, Aaron and Hur, followed him up the mountain. They saw the pressure and agony Moses experienced as he held the staff. With compassion, these men pushed a large rock under Moses for him to rest upon. Then, in a selfless act of love and friendship, they each held up one of Moses' arms as he held the staff high.

    They could not hold the staff for Moses but they could stand with him through the long battle.

    They filled in the gap created by Moses' weakness with the strength of their faith.

    This story challenged me to change my position from a bystander to that of a gap-stander. A bystander is an onlooker who watches, but does not to get involved.

    A gap-stander has empathy and takes action, using the strength of her faith to help the fighter stand until victory comes. A gap-stander is someone the one in battle can lean on.

    Are you watching someone you care about fight for faith, whether in God, for healing, restoration of a marriage, or something else? Do you feel helpless?

    We cannot give our faith to our loved ones or fight for them, but we can stand with them and support them as they fight to have their own faith.

    The job of the gap-stander isn't easy, but it is a place of honor. Gap-standers are committed to encouragement, prayer, and spiritual and practical support. As we watch the battle rage, we also share in and observe God's great work and their victory. Who can you stand in the gap for today?

    Dear Lord, someone I love is fighting and is tired. Will You show me how I can help? I choose to change positions from a bystander to a gap-stander. Help me have patience and be compassionate as I stand in the gap. I praise You for the victory that awaits for my loved one. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Jesus Calling devotional from Sarah Young.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read Moses' story in Exodus 17:8-13.

    Might this be a prayer for you to whisper today? Dear Lord, right now I need some gap-standers. I am weak, weary, and wounded from this fight. Fill me with courage to reach for help. I praise You for the victory that awaits me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Power Verses:
    1 Peter 5:6, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." (NIV)

    Isaiah 41:10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Remembering

    Posted on December 26, 2012 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha

    "Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old." Psalm 25:6 (NIV)

    I sometimes struggle to see how God's Word applies to me and my life. Especially when I've been waiting a long time for some prayers to be answered. For hearts of loved ones to fully turn to Jesus. For manna to rain from heaven.

    The funny thing about waiting is it can be all-consuming. It inhales my attention, chews my focus and swallows my thoughts, leaving me in a place of uncertainty and doubt. I forget God's power to fulfill my hopes for prayers answered. Its then, when I can't see how He's going to bring things to pass, I have to rely on His faithfulness in the past.

    Remembering God's faithfulness in other's lives in Scripture, reminds us of His faithfulness in our own.

    When the waters rise, you've waited long for rescue and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 8:1*: But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

    When dust and debris threaten to replace passions, dreams and callings and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 9:15: I will remember my covenant between me and you.

    When the pitter-patter of little feet is silent and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 30:22: Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive.

    When fear, worry, doubt and anxiety enslave and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Exodus 2:23a, 24a, 25b: During that long period...The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out...God heard their groaning and he remembered... and was concerned about them.

    When you can't sleep and restlessness sets in, remember... Psalm 63:6-7: On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.

    When guilt consumes and you fear God will never forget your sins, remember... Isaiah 43:25: I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.

    When all hope is lost, remember... Luke 24:6a-7: He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you...'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'

    When your marriage comes back from the brink of despair, remember... Deuteronomy 8:2: Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness.

    When dreams come true and you're thriving in your calling, remember... 1 Chronicles 16:12a, 15: Remember the wonders he has done... He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations...

    Recalling these accounts in Scripture helps me remember His goodness in my own life. When I can't see how He is moving on my behalf, I choose to remember that He promises to be just as present and faithful to me and you today as He was for others in the past.

    When joy surrounds. When sorrow clobbers. When all's right in our world. When the bottom drops out. When we feel loved and cherished. When we feel abandoned and alone, let's remember... They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. (Psalm 78:35)

    Dear Lord, Your love and Your grace never fail. Please help me remember this today and always. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

    Share God's faithfulness to those in need by supporting a child through World Vision.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Remember times God has been faithful to you. Recount those out loud today.

    Focus on the everyday miracles that remind us of God's faithfulness like waking up and breathing.

    Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father
    There is no shadow of turning with Thee
    Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
    As Thou hast been, Thou for ever will be
    Great is thy faithfulness, Great is thy faithfulness
    Morning by morning new mercies I see
    All I have needed thy hand hath provided
    Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.
    ~Thomas Chisolm

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 143:5, "I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done." (NIV)

    Jeremiah 31:34b, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (ESV)

    *All verses NIV

    © 2012 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616G MatthewsMint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • I Can't Find the Words

    Posted on November 26, 2012 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in both speech and action." Acts 7:22 (NLT)

    Have you ever tried to hide from God's call on your life?

    Moses did. He fled to the wilderness to get away. The hillside was a comfortable place; one that allowed him to live in obscurity. But God approached Moses as he tended sheep.

    When God asked Moses to speak to Pharaoh on His behalf, Moses balked. He felt inadequate. He lifted up his weakness to God and submitted it as an excuse not to do as God asked. "My words get tangled," he said. (Exodus 4:10b NLT)

    Yet years later in Acts 7:22, we find that Stephen described Moses as powerful in both speech and action.

    How could this be? Did he truly struggle with his words, or was it an excuse?

    As an Egyptian citizen and adopted member of the royal family, Moses had access to the finest education. As a young man he rose to the rank of prime minister, a task that required him to communicate with others. But Moses is believed to have had a true speech impediment.

    He struggled to get the words out.

    So when God approached Moses to join in an adventure to free His people from slavery, all Moses could think about was his weakness.

    When Stephen described Moses, hundreds of years later, he had the advantage of seeing Moses' life span. He had heard of every act of courage and victory. Even in death, the name of Moses was revered among the nation of Israel.

    Stephen knew when Moses spoke, though he may have stammered, his words carried weight.

    The words Moses spoke were described as "life giving." (Acts 7:38 NLT) Moses' words mended arguments, offered justice, negotiated freedom and dispensed wisdom.

    Only in hindsight do we see what Moses could not see in the beginning. God wasn't worried about Moses' lack of eloquence, vocabulary or skill, but whether or not Moses trusted God enough to obey.

    Where Moses was deficient, God would be sufficient.

    Where Moses struggled, God would succeed.

    Where Moses was weak, God would be strong.

    How many times does God invite us to follow Him into an adventure? Whether it is to be a great mom, or to lead a Bible study, or do anything outside our comfort zone, do we hold up our weaknesses and say, "Sorry, God, I can't," and then point out our weaknesses to Him.

    In these instances, "My words get tangled" translates to:

    I'm not patient, God, so don't ask me to be a good mom.

    I don't like to be in the spotlight, God, so let someone else lead that study.

    I'm afraid, God, so don't ask me to [fill in the blank].

    When we look past our "tangled words" to His equipping, we find our answer.

    What is God asking you to do? Have you been responding with your own version of, "My words get tangled"?

    Are you willing to step out in obedience today?

    Like Moses, only with hindsight will you one day see how your obedience shaped a child, or a neighbor or a nation.

    Or you.

    What do you stand to gain as you take the focus off your deficiency to trust in His sufficiency?

    Dear Lord, You know my very real weakness. But I am excited to respond to Your voice today. With You all things are possible, so I step out in faith beginning today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises by Renee Swope

    Reflect and Respond:
    Abraham was old; Timothy was timid; Jacob was insecure; Peter was impulsive; and Moses had a speech impediment, yet God used each of these people in such a way that their names are etched in history.

    Add your name to the list above: I am _______________, but with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27).

    Power Verses:
    Exodus 4:10, "Moses said to the Lord, 'Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.'" (NIV)

    Exodus 4:11-12, "The Lord said to him, 'Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.'" (NIV)

    © 2012 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Why I Wear a Toe Ring

    Posted on October 8, 2012 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves." 1 Peter 2:16 (NIV)

    I remember begging my mom to get my ears pierced. I was in 5th grade and only one other girl in my class had hole-less lobes. I pleaded my case. "But Mooooooom! EVVVVV-ERYONE has their ears pierced but Heidi and me!"

    That year on my birthday, she took me to the Meijer Thrifty Acres grocery store where a nice lady in the jewelry department pierced them for me.

    The pain was worth the cool.

    When I was in college, my friend Carmen got one ear double pierced. She said she did it to remind her that she belonged to the Lord; that she was His slave.

    You see, in the Old Testament, slavery wasn't unjustly forced like in our modern world. It was more of an occupation; a servant with civil and religious rights. A slave worked for his master for six years and then had the option to leave. However, if he wanted to continue his servanthood, he could. As a symbol of his loyalty, his ear was pierced. Exodus 21:5-6 says this about slaves:

    "But suppose the slave loves his wife and children so much that he won't leave without them. Then he must stand beside either the door or the doorpost at the place of worship, while his owner punches a small hole through one of his ears with a sharp metal rod. This makes him a slave for life." (CEV)

    I loved Carmen's idea of having a small hole in her ear as a sign of life-long service to the Lord. An earring to remind her that she chose to serve God in all areas of her life. However, I am a wimp. And the pain of the first ear piercing was enough for me!

    But a few years ago, while shopping downtown with some friends I had an idea. What if I wore a sterling silver toe ring as a sign of my service to the Lord? My friends and I each bought one.

    I wear this toe ring everyday to remind myself that I am a voluntary slave of Christ. And that I love my Master and the things He's given me to serve, like my family, church, neighbors and others.

    When I see it, it reminds me that I'm not in control, God is. And it helps me realign my preferences with His when I want to be the boss of my life and my circumstances. When I grow weary of serving God selflessly, I am reminded that I belong to Him.

    My toe ring also reminds me that my relationship with the Lord is for life.

    Yes, I am free to do as I'd like. There are no laws in my country against chucking my faith and running away.

    However, my toe ring reminds me:

    "Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves." (1 Peter 2:16 NIV)

    Are you willing to commit to God with all your heart, mind and soul? To serve rather than be served? To carry out the wishes of your Master willingly and joyfully? Even though you are free, will you choose to be His slave today?

    A pierced ear or toe ring is optional.

    Dear Lord, may I be reminded continually that it is You that I serve, not the other way around. May my life show my love and devotion to You and my loved ones. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If you liked this devotion, check out Karen's new book LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith. It will enable you to control what you should and trust God with what you can't.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Although the term slave rightly has a negative connotation given history and current-day sex trafficking, how can the word "slave" properly describe how we should relate to God?

    On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being never, 10 being always), how often do you react to life's circumstances with a joyful attitude and "whatever Your will is" perspective? What can you do to make that number go higher?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 119:17, "Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word." (ESV)

    © 2012 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Diligence Rules

    Posted on October 2, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor” (Proverbs 12:24).

     

    How hard do you work, or do you hardly work? God said to Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food” (Genesis 3:17, 19). And He explained to Moses, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:9–10).

    Has our culture become accustomed to receiving good things without great effort? Who is entitled to influence without being industrious? Perhaps there is a dearth of diligence that has depressed people and economies. Laziness leads to the control of others, while honest labor is given opportunities and advancement. Do not despair in your diligence for you are set for success. Mind your business meticulously, and you will enjoy the business.

    “Now the man Jeroboam was a valiant warrior, and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious, he appointed him over all the forced labor of the house of Joseph” (1 Kings 11:28 NASB).

    Indeed, intense industry leads to preferment. Your faithfulness to your work is not going unnoticed. Your diligence is a distinctive that separates you from the average or lazy laborer. Security comes with this level of service. Promotion follows performance that produces the right results the right way. Be an industrious example others seek to emulate.

    Lastly, the Lord blesses hands that are hard at work. He smiles when He sees your service exceeds expectations. You go the extra mile to make sure others are cared for as you would like to be treated. God knows, because of your thoroughness on the job and your integrity in its execution, you can be trusted with more.

    “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).

    Prayer: Lord, what task do You desire that I diligently complete before beginning another?

    Related Readings: 1 Kings 12:20; Proverbs 10:4; Romans 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:15

    Post/Tweet: Promotion follows performance that produces the right results the right way. #diligence

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  • Eclipsed by Glory

    Posted on August 21, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.” Exodus 3:5-6

     

    There are seasons when a servant of the Lord Jesus will engage the glory of God in an intense fashion. Yes, His glory is all encompassing, all the time, but these less frequent, intimate encounters are especially revealing. God’s glory goes to places in the heart where humans fear to tread. Only by faith and brokenness can a Christian experience this deep commune with Christ in the middle of pain, uncertainty, prayer, worship and transition.

    Moses, in reverent awe, worshiped God in His glory during his burning bush experience. In humility he took off his shoes and bowed in submission to his King of Glory! In these very meaningful moments we listen for the voice of the Lord and we do exactly what He says. If He says go, we go. If He says stay, we stay. If He says wait, we wait. The voice of God does not stutter, nor should our faith. We obey, because His glory is our guarantor.

    “As for me, I will be vindicated and will see Your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing Your likeness.” Psalm 17:15
    Are you emboldened or intimidated by experiencing God in all His glory? When you feel overwhelmed by His majesty, be motivated to move forward by faith. Allow your fears to transform into trust based on the fear of the Lord. His glory will eclipse your afflictions and deepen your affections. It is not a path to prominence, but a call to servitude. Once the glory of God governs your heart, He takes you to places only His special friends go.

    Experiencing and embracing the glory of God is the passageway to friendship with Jesus. Lordship leads to laughter. Awe enables amusement. Fear facilitates freedom. Intimacy brings inspiration. Glory gives grace. You are a friend of God, because of the glory of God. Indeed, His glory eclipses your earthly challenges and invites you to be called friend. Wow, what a privilege to walk with Jesus and worship Jesus at the same time!

    “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” Exodus 33:11a

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I want to see Your glory, so I can display Your glory in my life.

    Related Readings: Numbers 12:8; Matthew 5:8; John 15:13-15; 1 John 3:2

    Post/Tweet this today:  His glory eclipses our afflictions and deepens our affections. #glory #God

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ

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