ADVENTURES, MISSIONS and RETREATS

Reaching and Teaching people about Jesus through Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Adventures.

Category: Devotionals (page 2 of 5)

On The Road to Bethlehem

On The Road to Bethlehem

by Bill Dye

We all know that the Christmas story is the greatest story ever told.  But what do you figure it was like from Mary and Joseph’s perspective?  I mean, what did it feel like in the moment?  I have a hunch that the greatest story ever told started out like the worst day of Mary and Joseph’s life.

First they had to deal with the rumor mill.  The whole town of Nazareth buzzed with the scandal of an unexpected pre-wedding pregnancy.  And now they are on this ridiculous ninety-mile walk from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

Think about it.  She’s nine months pregnant!  You have to know that Joseph went down to the Tax Office and pleaded his case with the indifferent bureaucrats.

I can just see her seated behind the glass window with a sign that says, “Take a number and wait to be called.”

Three hours later Joseph is still sitting in the mush pot fumbling with an odd shaped piece of paper that says, “83” when he hears, “Number 83 window six.”

Joseph hands her the number and pleads his case, “We can’t go to Bethlehem now!  My fiancé is nine months pregnant!”

An accusing eyebrow rises above the horn-rimmed glasses.

“Fiancé?”

“What difference does that make?” Joseph protests, “She’s a human being.  She’s nine months pregnant and she can’t walk 90 miles right now?”

“Better build a cart or buy a donkey. NO EXCEPTIONS!  NEXT!”

If you are traveling ninety miles on foot with a female that’s nine month’s pregnant I can assure you that you had no choice.

This is tough stuff.  And the whole way you are wondering why?

In hindsight we know why they were on that road.  There were at least three strong reasons.

First, it was prophecy

Micah 5:2 predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

Micah 5:2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”

This prophecy was uttered 700 years before Jesus was born.  700 years.  That would be like someone writing something in 1315 about what will happen today.

What was even happening in 1315?  1315 is 177 years BEFORE COLUMBUS DISCOVERED AMERICA!  THE DISTANCE BETWEEN MICAH 5:2 AND THE NATIVITY WAS MASSIVE.  Nobody even remembered it.

Matthew 2 tells us that when the wise men arrived in Jerusalem looking for the King the Jewish leaders had to pull together the historians and scholars and try to figure it out.  Someone finally came up with the answer and quoted Micah 5:2. The next thing you know the Wise Men were headed to Bethlehem.

So what?  So… I think its fair to say that Joseph and Mary had NO IDEA why it was important for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem!  NONE.  That was a forgotten 700-year-old prophecy.

But God doesn’t forget a thing like that.  He put it there to validate the authenticity of Jesus’ Messianic claim.

Second, it was promised

David was born in Bethlehem. God said that the Messiah would come through David’s lineage.

Third, it was pictured

This is just a bit of icing on the cake. Bethlehem means “House of Bread.”  Of course theBread of Life would be born in the House of Bread.

Why were they on that road?  God wanted that baby to be born in Bethlehem.

So yeah it makes perfect sense to us standing with Bible in hand and looking back over two thousand years of history.  But in the moment they couldn’t have known all of that.

For them it was just another major hurdle in a decidedly inconvenient heavenly scheme that made no sense at all.

Maybe that’s where you are right now.  Perhaps you are on your own road to Bethlehem and God’s wonderful plan for your life makes about as much sense as a heavily pregnant woman walking ninety miles to the delivery room.

Here’s what we must remember.  God seldom does one thing at a time. The story is always multifaceted and in the moment you can’t see any of that.

Yes, in the end it might turn out to be the greatest story ever told, but in the moment it’s the worst day of your life.

How do we survive on the road to Bethlehem?

This is where faith comes in.  Faith is believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”

Walking by faith means that when the way is unclear and you can’t understand God’s purpose you trust his goodness.

It worked for Mary and Joseph.  It will work for you too.

Read Proverbs 3:5-6.

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Making Sense of Christmas

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christmas tree

I love the old comic strip Calvin and Hobbs.

Calvin is in an overstuffed chair, his back to the reader. The TV is bouncing wildly on the stand. Calvin is mesmerized. Calvin’s dad is behind him looking over his shoulder at the Television and Calvin says,

“Oh look, Yet another Christmas TV special. How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by Cola, Fast Food, and Beer Conglomerates. Who’d’ have ever guessed product consumption, popular entertainment and spirituality would mix so harmoniously, it’s a beautiful world, all right.”

After his dad leaves the room, Calvin, without ever looking up from the set says,

“Dad doesn’t handle the season’s stress very gracefully.”

Bill Watterson, the creator of the strip, made an excellent point. Consumerism, entertainment and spirituality really are odd companions.

In fact, when you back up and look at it with cool skepticism, the whole thing is . . .well sort of odd.

For example, why do we drag a dead tree into the house and hang gaudy things all over it?  What in the world does that have to do with the birth of Christ?

Imagine a stranger from another land visits your house at Christmas. “Why are you doing that?” he asks.   “We are celebrating Christ.” “Oh, who is that?” “He’s the son of God.” “I see,” he says, “your god is a tree.” “Well, no.” “Then he was born in a tree?” “Not exactly.” “Born in a forest?” “No,” you reply, “a stable.” Was it a forested country?”   “Actually it was semi-desert.” By now he’s really confused, “So was it a wooden house?” “No, probably a sort of cave.” “Any trees in the stable?” “I seriously doubt it. Mostly cows sheep and goats.”

“So why the tree? Uh, . . . I don’t know.” For that matter, why the lights? Why are we climbing roofs, risking life and limb to string  lights that don’t work? I don’t know. But it’s what we do.

And I’m not saying we shouldn’t. I love everything we do. I’m just concerned that the real purpose for the party is being lost in the celebration. Jesus is the reason for this season.

Without Christ Christmas doesn’t make sense.

Let me suggest two things that will help to keep the purpose in your Christmas preparations.

First, don’t allow the busy preparations to keep you from His quiet presence.

Second, in preparing for Christmas don’t allow your material passions to overshadow His spiritual purpose.

Winds of Change

1970_Oldsmobile_Delta_88_front

We were standing outside the showroom of Brooks Oldsmobile in Denison, Texas waiting for dad to finish the paperwork. My father had just purchased the first new car the Dye family had ever owned. It was a 1969 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale. Dad splurged on the “Royale.“ I don’t know if we pronounced it right but in north Texas vernacular we called it “Roy – Al,” so as not to be confused with English nobility. This wasn’t a Delta 88 Royal. It was a Roy-Al. The name had a decidedly Spanish flair and it meant, “fully loaded.”

Dad’s new car was a light blue two-door beauty with a white vinyl top and a 455-rocket v8. We had arrived. In 1969, Oldsmobile was the symbol of upper middle class America status. The creme de la crème. Nobody wanted to drive one of those cheap Japanese brands. This was America, “Made in America” was the envy of the world.

Then came the Arab oil embargo of the early 70’s. Full size was out. Economy was in. Japan had taken a page from our book and discovered the benefits of quality control. Next thing you know, brands like Honda and Toyota are setting industry standards for excellence. But like an old brontosaur, Oldsmobile continued to rock along, oblivious to the winds of change.

Magazines like “Car and Driver” and “Road and Track” routinely hammered Oldsmobile’s bland production line and antiquated engineering. Still, Oldsmobile refused to listen. Why should they. They were the envy of the upper middle class, right?

Meanwhile, Toyota introduced a new luxury brand called Lexus. Honda soon followed with Acura. Nissan, known more for sports cars, expanded and refined her lineup with the flagship Maxima.

Oldsmobile barely noticed. They had the mid-size staple called Cutlass. Why would anybody want an Accord or Camry when for a little more you could get a Cutlass? The Cutlass brand was so popular that Oldsmobile started tagging almost every new car with some form of the name. There was the Cutlass S, the Cutlass Brougham, the Cutlass Supreme, the Cutlass Calais, the Cutlass Ciera, and even a station wagon named the Cutlass Cruiser. If a person didn’t know any better he might think that the design teams of that venerable institution were running low on creativity.

For the conspicuous consumer of the 1980’s that wanted more than a Cutlass, Olds still offered those upper-end behemoths, the Deltas 88 and 98. How could they be afraid of the Japanese; Lexus and Acura didn’t have anything that weighed three tons!

The world was changing but Oldsmobile wasn’t. A new generation of drivers that didn’t share my father’s affinity for the brand came of age. By the early 90’s Oldsmobiles had started to gather dust in the showrooms.

Someone at General Motors finally pushed the panic button, and sometime in the late 1990’s Oldsmobile tried to awaken from the stupor. They buried the Cutlass moniker and trotted out a whole new line of cars.

In order to emphasize the “New” Oldsmobile (I know its oxymoronic), the marketers came up with a strange new jingle, “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile!”   Unfortunately, by then it was too late.   Oldsmobile, that venerable staple of the middle class American dream, had died and it didn’t even know it yet.

A few years later, GM announced it was ending the brand. Nobody seemed to care. I was glad that dad wasn’t around to see it.

I was thinking about dad’s old Delta 88 Royale as I drove past some crumbling churches in our area. The thought suddenly came to me, “Churches can be like car companies you know.”

Doing versus Knowing

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Amish_-_On_the_way_to_school_by_GadjoboyThe religious heads of Jesus’ time fell into two opposing groups.  The Sadducees

were the wealthy aristocratic leaders headquartered primarily in Jerusalem.

They tended to be much more interested in politics than religion.  The second

much more widespread and popular party went by the label of Pharisee.  The

Pharisees lived in and around the common people and focused on the demands

of the law and personal righteousness.

While neither group could stand the other, they had a common hatred for this

upstart prophet from Nazareth that went by the name of Jesus.

Both groups loved to play, “Stump the Messiah.”  They would generate some

penetrating question and then trot it out to Jesus and hope to trip him up.

One day the Sadducees had flamed out badly with a question related to marriage

and the resurrection. It was an ironic question considering the Sadducees didn’t

even believe in resurrection.

After the debacle with the Sadducees the Pharisees thought they would try their

hand with this meddlesome Messiah.  After a quick sidebar they rolled out their

favorite Lawyer to pin him down with a burning question related to the law.

“Teacher,” the barrister queried, “which is the greatest commandment” (Matthew

22:36).

The question was a carefully crafted minefield.  In their minds the greatest

commandment was the one they recited every single day, “Hear Oh Israel the

Lord is our God the Lord is One.”  They called this the Shema and it came from

Deuteronomy 6:4.  Every Jew knew it by heart.

The trap was set.  As soon as Jesus quoted that familiar line they would pounce

on him.  “Wait, if God is one then how can you be God as you profess to be?”

Jesus shocked everyone by quoting, not Deuteronomy 6:4, but Deuteronomy 6:5,

And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL

YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’”

And then for good measure he added a second,

“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’”

Stunned silence.

I don’t know if you can feel the difference but here it is.  The verse they loved to

quote was descriptive.  It defined God but said nearly nothing about what that

means.  The part Jesus quoted was prescriptive.  It didn’t so much define the

nature of God as it prescribed the actions He wanted from followers.

I know it’s a fine distinction and I don’t mean to split hairs but the implications are

really profound.

The Pharisees thought that knowledge was the most important thing.  Jesus

showed them that application matters most.  God is not nearly as concerned with

what you know as he is with what you do with what you know.

I think the lesson for the Pharisees is a great reminder for us.

Churches spend a lot of time studying about God.  Maybe we should spend a bit

more time applying what we’ve learned.

Nine years ago the Amish showed us what it means to apply the great

commandment.  It happened in Bart Township, Lancaster County Pennsylvania.

Bright young faces with their bikes and scooters parked beside the door were

sitting in rows at an Old Amish one-room-schoolhouse when a crazed gunman

burst through the door.  He took hostages and then brutally shot ten little girls, all

between the ages of 6 and 13.  Five died.

The story quickly burned up the Internet and news outlets.

But then the Amish did what most people could never do.  They buried their

innocent children and then reached out to the family of the murderer.

Here’s the Fox News piece:

Fox 10/5/06

“The Amish say they are quietly accepting the deaths as God’s will.

‘They know their children are going to heaven. They know their children are

innocent … and they know that they will join them in death,’

‘The hurt is very great,’ Gertrude Huntington said. ‘But they don’t balance the hurt

with hate.’

In just about any other community, a deadly school shooting would have brought

demands from civic leaders for tighter gun laws and better security, and the

victims’ loved ones would have lashed out at the gunman’s family or threatened

to sue.

But that’s not the Amish way.

In the aftermath of Monday’s violence, the Amish have reached out to the family

of the gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, who committed suicide during the

attack in a one-room schoolhouse.

Dwight Lefever, a Roberts family spokesman, said an Amish neighbor comforted

the Roberts family hours after the shooting and extended forgiveness to them.

Among Roberts’ survivors are his wife and three children.”

I like to read the blogs of people that don’t always share my worldview.  I will

never forget one such blog.  The writer tends toward the politically far left.  He’s

often cynical and sometimes jaded, but the Amish reply to senseless brutality got

to him.  Shortly after the tragedy my friend posted a picture of an Amish carriage.

It’s the familiar simple black buggy with the ubiquitous red triangle on back.  The

photograph showed the window on the carriage with the faces of three small

children peering out.

At the top of his column he wrote: “I think the world would probably be a better

place if we were all Amish.”

Maybe the world would be a better place if Christians spent less time on knowing

about God and more time doing what He says.  The Amish showed us what that

looks like.

What is Love….Really?

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. —Romans 5:8

Years ago I asked a young man who was engaged to be married, “How do you know that you love her?” It was a loaded question, intended to help him look at his heart’s motives for the upcoming marriage. After several thoughtful moments, he responded, “I know I love her because I want to spend the rest of my life making her happy.”

We discussed what that meant—and the price tag attached to the selflessness of constantly seeking the best for the other person, rather than putting ourselves first. Real love has a lot to do with sacrifice.

That idea is in line with the wisdom of the Bible. In the Scriptures there are several Greek words for love but the highest form is agape love—love that is defined and driven by self-sacrifice. Nowhere is this more true than in the love our heavenly Father has shown us in Christ. We are deeply valued by Him. Paul stated, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

If sacrifice is the true measure of love, there could be no more precious gift than Jesus: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16 nlt).

Amazing love!
How can it be
That Thou, my God,
Shouldst die for me? —Wesley

The measure of love is what you are willing to give up for it.

INSIGHT: As a result of Christ’s sacrifice, Paul mentions two great benefits for the follower of Christ. In verse 1, he says that we have “peace with God,” an idea that he unpacks in Philippians 4, where we read of the incomprehensible peace of God, but also the relationship we have with the God of peace Himself (vv.8-9). In Romans 5:2, Paul also declares that we now have “access” to God. This was a stunning idea that he explained more fully in Colossians 1:21, “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.” We receive the gifts of peace with God and access to God because of Christ’s loving sacrifice on our behalf.

A Father’s Love

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lonely child

Luke 1:17 “And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

John the Baptist was given the ministry of preparation. He would pave the way for Jesus. His message was hard and unyielding. He called folks to examine their sinful ways and get ready to make a change! We all know what John was about. Prophet, pure and simple. He wore wild skins and ate wild things. But here’s something I picked up today in the text that I’d never seen before. One of the manifestations of a repentant heart was for fathers to once again care for their children.

We don’t think much about that do we?  For us, repentance usually includes turning from immoral things and inappropriate behavior. But look what the front end of that verse says. It’s all caps. Emphasized because it’s a direct quote from the Old Testament. He’s quoting Malachi 4:6. One of the signs of a changed heart will be “to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children.” Here’s what I suddenly realized. “When men stray from God they often stop loving their families like they should.”

I was talking with a woman not long ago and she was saddened by the fact that her ex-husband never came to see his children or grandchildren. He lives one state over and was back within thirty miles on a hunting trip with his brother. Another brother that still lives in the same town as the children tried to encourage him to come see them, “Why don’t you come home with me for a day or so and see the kids and grandkids?” The absentee father, now in his mid sixties said, “you know I’m getting on up in years and there won’t be too many more good hunting seasons for me to have.”

I was speechless. Then I came across verse Luke1:17. I gained a new insight on lostness and repentance and sin. Men don’t go to bars and hang out with their buddies at the expense of their families because the bars are so glorious and glamorous. They go because their hearts have been turned from their children. And one of the signs of a man who is right with God will be when he comes home to his family.

Men, its time for that kind of revival.

Praising God in the midst of a challenge…

While millions watched on television, Nik Wallenda walked across Niagara Falls on a 1,800-foot wire that was only 2 inches in diameter. He took all the precautions he could. But adding to the drama and danger of both the height and the rushing water below, a thick mist obscured Nik’s sight, wind threatened his balance, and spray from the falls challenged his footing. Amid—and perhaps because of—these perils, he said that he “prayed a lot” and praised God.

The Israelites also praised God in the middle of a dangerous challenge. Theirs involved a large group of warriors who had gathered to fight them (2 Chron. 20:2). After humbly asking God for help, King Jehoshaphat appointed a choir to march out into battle in front of the Israelite army. The worshipers sang: “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever” (v.21). When they began to sing, the Lord caused the enemy forces to attack and destroy each other.

Praising God in the midst of a challenge may mean overriding our natural instincts. We tend toward self-protection, strategizing, and worry. However, worshiping can guard our hearts against troubling thoughts and self-reliance. It reminds us of the lesson the Israelites learned: “The battle is not [ours], but God’s” (v.15).

Lord, I praise You, for Your mercy is everlasting.
Help me to remember that every battle in
this life is Yours. The outcome belongs to
You because You are sovereign.

Keep Your Eye On The Ball

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eye on the ball

 

The old business guru Peter Drucker said that whenever he was called to consult with a company he would ask the leadership two questions: “What’s your business?”  and “How’s business?”

He said that he asked the first question because sometimes leadership forgets the purpose of their business.  They get sidetracked and lose focus.  So he starts by trying to clarify the company objectives.

Peters and Waterman shared a similar concern in their fine work, In search of Excellence.  They called it, “Sticking to the knitting.”  The writers point out that back in the 70’s and 80’s conglomeration became the rage and many good companies saw their fortunes crumble through poor acquisitions.  The problem was, they got into business that they didn’t understand.  Westinghouse went into aircraft engines, RCA tried computers, and Exxon tried their hand at telecommunications.

Peter’s and Waterman quoted an article  from Business Week concerning the problems of Ling-Temco-Vault.  Most today have never heard of LTV.  I remembered that company because my dad had stock in LTV and every morning at breakfast he would check the stocks in the Wall Street Journal, and boast about his latest windfall with LTV. LTV was a great company in the 1960’s.

So what happened?  Ling-Temco-Vault started as an electronics and aviation company.  Then it went into the steel business.  Then it bought a meatpacking consortium that included sporting goods.  By the time the conglomerate had finished expanding it comprised 33 companies employing 29,000 and producing 15,000 different products.

Peters and Waterman wrote:

“Jimmy Ling was down in Washington appearing before an anti-trust committee describing why conglomerates were not in restraint of trade. He put up a chart that said, “How many people in LTV (then Ling-Temco-Vault) know the steel business?” He had just bought Jones and Laughlin. The answer? A big red zero was the next chart in his presentation. I bet today Jimmy Ling wishes the answer to that hadn’t been zero, because when Jones and Laughlin went down, Ling lost control of LTV”[1]

In July of 1986 this company that was worth $3.6 billion in 1969 ($23.3 billion in today’s dollars), was in bankruptcy.  The final asset, “LTV Steel,” liquidated in a second bankruptcy in 2000.

What happened?  In simple language, they took their eye off the ball. They forgot why they were in business.

If you plan to stay in business then you’d better know what business you are in.

Church isn’t a business but like those international conglomerates we too can forget why we exist.

Years ago I read the story of some guys traveling through the southern United States.  It was lunchtime and they were hungry so they started looking for a restaurant.  They stumbled across a greasy spoon with an odd name, “The Church of God Grill.”  Curious, they phoned in an order and asked for an explanation.  The cashier told them that it was originally a church but finances were tight so they started selling burgers and things to help make up the difference.  The burger business took off, but the church kept on declining.  Eventually they dropped the church all together and today it’s just a grill.

What’s your business?

No, we aren’t a business, but I still think we need to ask this question.  Why are you here?  What purpose do you serve?

Sometimes churches forget who they are and gradually morph into something God never intended.  I’ve seen churches start acting like a country club.  The focus turns inward, and while they may not say it, they certainly live by the unwritten credo, “Membership has its privileges.”  Some churches turn into shrines.  The key mantra is, “Don’t mess anything up.” Churches can become academies of learning. “Forget about the lost, we’re here to study the Bible.”  Some churches become strange self-help centers.  Some are like giant pep rallies.  Some churches feel like political conventions.

It seems as if there are countless ways for churches to take their eye off the ball.

So what’s your business?  If the Lord were to walk into your church and ask that question what would you say?  It’s really not a hard question because Jesus defined our purpose in Matthew 28:19-20:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit ,teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The church exists to tell the world about the beautiful grace of Jesus. When you think about it, church is one of the only institutions in the world that exists for the benefit of its non-members.

That’s our business.  So… how’s business?

We Like Sheep

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sheep

Ezekiel 34:31 “As for you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your God,” declares the Lord GOD.

God Calls us sheep. That’s not exactly a compliment. Sheep need shepherds. For a variety of reasons.

They need a shepherd because they tend to stray Sheep aren’t like cows. They need full time supervision.  They wander off, and get into all kinds of trouble.

“All we like sheep have gone astray”

Sheep need a shepherd because they have to be led.

You can’t drive sheep. ” He leads me beside still waters.”

Sheep need shepherds because they can’t carry a burden

In her book, All We Like Sheep, Mary Glynn Peeples said that one of the reasons sheep need a shepherd is because they aren’t capable of carrying heavy loads.  She has a point.  You never see one hitched to a wagon or saddled up with some cargo.

Of course it’s a short leap to make the connection between sheep and us. We really aren’t designed for loads either. Like sheep we do best when we stay light.

Mary tells how her dentist husband, Sam used to worry while trying to establish his practice. Early in their marriage they never took more than three or four day vacations because Sam would get too anxious. She said they were always glad to get home so Sam could go back to work

Then Sam found Jesus. Still, things rocked along they way they had. Sam was still stressed out and the rest of the family lived at the “top of their lungs and the edge of their nerves”. Mary said that one day her Sam picked up the paper on the drive and on the cover was the first picture of planet earth from outer space.  Sam couldn’t believe how small the United States was. He struggled to decipher the location of their home state of Alabama, and then he realized his dental office was not even visible. God suddenly spoke peace to his anxious child. “If I can handle the universe,” God said, “I can handle your dental practice.”

Sam’s mental attitude changed that day. He determined to yield each day to the sovereign Lordship of Christ. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the worry and anxiety melted away and in its place Sam found peace. Mary said that the old worries still surface from time to time, but when they do Sam simply remembers that picture of earth from outer space. Sam says, “You can’t commit a week or even tomorrow. This is something you need to do daily.”

Who Am I ?

Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” —Exodus 3:11

Years ago, world-famous evangelist Billy Graham was scheduled to speak at Cambridge University in England, but he did not feel qualified to address the sophisticated thinkers. He had no advanced degrees and he had never attended seminary. Billy confided in a close friend: “I do not know that I have ever felt more inadequate and totally unprepared for a mission.” He prayed for God’s help, and God used him to share the simple truth of the gospel and the cross of Christ.

Moses also felt inadequate when God recruited him for the task of telling Pharaoh to release the Israelites. Moses asked, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” (Ex. 3:11). Although Moses may have questioned his effectiveness because he was “slow of speech” (4:10), God said, “I will certainly be with you” (3:12). Knowing he would have to share God’s rescue plan and tell the Israelites who sent him, Moses asked God, “What shall I say to them?” God replied, “I AM has sent me to you” (vv.13-14). His name, “I AM,” revealed His eternal, self-existent, and all-sufficient character.

Even when we question our ability to do what God has asked us to do, He can be trusted. Our shortcomings are less important than God’s sufficiency. When we ask, “Who am I?” we can remember that God said, “I AM.”

Dear Lord, help me to remember that You are
with me, even when I’m unsure of my own
abilities. Give me the faith to believe that You
can help me to do anything You ask me to do.
You need not be afraid of where you’re going when you know God’s going with you.
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