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water

“How heavy is this glass of water?”

“The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

“The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water.  Insecurity.  Shame.  Fear.   Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

One of the reasons that we’re tackling this topic is so that break down the walls that divide us and put barriers up – that prevent us from having deeper, amazing relationships.

We need to put the glass down.

You are not meant to carry your shame.  You are not meant to live in fear.  You are not meant to live in insecurity.

Insecurity isn’t a sin, it’s a place for God to fill.

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Photo By Florian Klauer

 

Today I have the incredible privilege of guest blogging at THE FEARLESS EXPERIMENT.  I have read The Fearless Experiment Blog for a number of years now and are always inspired and inspired by their passion for Jesus and so when Lindsay asked me to write with them.

Their opening page mission resonates with my heart:

Do you ever wonder if there’s more to life? More than just existing, more than just wishing you had the courage to dream. Are you ready to start living? Are you ready to stop letting the word IMPOSSIBLE hold you back? Let’s start this journey together, This is THE FEARLESS EXPERIMENT, what’s YOUR impossible?

Today’s guest post was inspired by part of a message I heard recently at church.  It jumped out at me and had me off on a tangent throughout the meeting.  Since then I have used the phrase “there is a tree” several times in conversation with people to remind them that God has prepared a solution and a way when there seems no way.   Please go over to The Fearless Experiment and have a read.

 

SAMSUNG CSCAs Christians we want to hear God speak.  Our hearts long for connection with Him.

There is a great parallel linking between when God passed by Elijah on the mountain in 1 Kings 19 and when God appeared to Moses on the mountain in Exodus 19.

Exodus 19:16-20 describes: “On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.”

Compare this to when God revealed Himself to Elijah on the mountaintop.

1 Kings 19:11-13 says : Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;  and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.   So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Elijah, being a prophet of God, versed in Jewish history and the presence of God would have known about how God works around mountains.  Perhaps he expected, since God had sent him to a mountain that he would hear the thunderous might of His voice, described in psalms as a multitude of waterfalls and thunders.

But God pulled the unexpected on Elijah. He spoke to Moses with power and noise but He spoke to Elijah with stillness and a whisper.  Rather than manifest Himself in all His brilliant glory and splendid power, He chose to use His still quiet voice..

God doesn’t always whisper. Sometimes He shouts and creates quite a moment. When God visited Moses and the multitudes at Mt. Sinai, he didn’t use His “inside voice.”  

It’s important to hear God how He is speaking though.    Sometimes God speaks with great volume… other times He speaks so softly we have to be listening to hear Him.

Dont go looking for the noise and discounting the quiet if that is how God is speaking today. Dont try and turn up the volume when God is whispering.  Listen. God speaks.  

 

 

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Hindsight can be a good thing, particularly when it gives us clarity or direction on how to approach things in the future. But at times it can also be a little painful, especially when you look back at a situation and think, “If only I’d known back then what I know now.”

How can we know in advance the lessons that only hindsight seems to teach us? I actually believe we can gain the kind of knowledge that sets us up to win, by accessing the wisdom of those who have walked the road before us. The Message version of the Bible tells us to: “Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honouring God.” (James 5:10)

 

Be a listener : “Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you… so Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he said.” (Exodus 18:19,24)

It’s one thing to listen but entirely different to heed the good advice we hear. To heed literally means to listen with a commitment to change. Moses not only listened to Jethro, but he applied his counsel to the situation and changed the way he managed those he was leading. It’s not about how many sermons we hear preached, or how many counseling sessions we go to; it’s what we do with what we hear that counts. To see the fruit of wisdom in our lives, we need to have the spirit of a listener.

 

for more keys on mentoring read the whole post here: The Blessing of Mentorship – Hillsong Pastor, Brian Houston

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Listen… can you hear the whisper of love and grace over your life?

Listen… can you hear the love and joy sung over your life?

Listen… can you hear God inviting you to draw near?

 

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.  Jeremiah 33:3

 

We are what we listen to?  Whose voice is the loudest in our life?

Are we listening to the voice of hope and life?  Versus the voice of doubt and discouragement?

Are we listening to the voice of the One who is creative and wise – who breathed out the stars and counts the hairs we have on our head, who knows the path of lightening and the volume of water in a raindrop? 

Whose voice do we listen to?  Whose voice do we let shape us?  Whose voice defines us?

 

God is faithful.

Faithful to speak and guide and be personal and near.  He is not far away, but close, interactive.

He is speaking hope and life, wisdom and peace.

 

Over and over again the Bible records interactions between God and His people.

Over and over again it talks about a God that talks to His friends, that is near, that is personal, that speaks love, that imparts wisdom, that shows the way.

 

He is the same today, as He will be tomorrow, as He was yesterday. From the beginning God has spoken to His children and desired real relationship with them. He walked in the garden with Adam and Eve and at the end of time Revelation 22:3-4 it says that we will worship God face to face! 

Abraham was called a friend of God.  Moses talked with God face to face in the tabernacle tent and upon Mt Sinai.

 

He wants to speak you you… and for you to LISTEN.  We recognize God’s voice because we recognize Him, the better we get to know God the more clearly we will recognize His voice.  He is faithful.  He is speaking.  Are we listening?  

 

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." John 10:27

 

Listen… when God says i love you.

Listen… when God says this is the way, walk in it.

Listen… when God says i know you, i have a plan, you belong to me.

Listen – let His words shape you, define you, give life to you.

 

 

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The sound of steel on steel clattered through the valley. Swords were skewered through spleens; blood ran like a river through the marshes. The battle had raged long and Joshua’s army was flagging. The enemy was overcoming God’s people and Moses could no longer stretch his arms to the heavens. As each muscle tightened with cramp it seemed like Heaven too had supernatural spasms. The power of God seemed restricted like Moses’ tired limbs. Finally somebody had a flash of genius, and held up two boulders as crutches to support the old man’s failing biceps. As Moses reached for Heaven the hand of God reached down, and the war was won (Read Exodus 17:10-13).

There’s a lesson here: if you reach out for God, His power will reach into your life and defeat your daily battles. The flip-side is, if you don’t, you may find yourself a casualty on the field of life. ‘At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth’ (Philippians 2:10 NLT). Bringing Jesus’ name into the battle is a sure-fire way of bringing the enemy to submission. So, pray – until your arms could drop off!

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Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp. And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent. Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.  Exodus 33:7-11

 

i want to be a face to face friend of God. 

 

As i read about Moses and Joshua meeting with God in the tent of meeting, my heart is stirred and moved that Moses SAW the form of God and spoke face to face with Him.  God says (in Numbers 12, see below) that Moses was faithful in all His house – and the reward of his faithfulness was intimacy.

 

In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear).  Ephesians 3:12

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].  Hebrews 4:16

i want my life to lean always towards knowing God.  i press in for this purpose, to be His child, to be His friend.

any sacrifice, any bowing of my knee and will, any refinement, any transformation, is worth it to feel His embrace and pleasure.

to walk with Him on this earth as friend is a great reward!

and i love love love that joshua stayed after Moses left… i wonder if that heart was one of the things that were credited to him as a qualification for leading the people into the promised land, a man after God’s heart, a man of God’s presence, a man of prayer and faith….

 

ps: its interesting to note, that in Exodus 3 Moses freaks out in his first encounter with God and hides his face, yet here 30 chapters later he has face to face encounters and regular relational connection.  don’t stay in the place of first encounter but develop a relationship with God!

 

“Listen to my words:
“When a prophet of the LORD is among you,
I reveal myself to him in visions,
I speak to him in dreams.

But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.

With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the LORD.  Numbers 12:6-8

read more HERE

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And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord." So the Israelites did this. Exodus 14:4

 

i think this was also a lesson so that the ISRAELITES knew that God was the Lord, mighty and powerful!  only a few verses down the israelites are saying:  "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!"  Exodus 14:11-12

 

sometimes i think the experiences we go through are to teach us to trust.  how often do we find ourselves facing a crisis and we freak out instead of responding with trust and faith?  God used the Red Sea to teach the people that He was their deliverer and saviour.  He used it to demonstrate His mighty power. 

 

  • Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7
  • Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
  • 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. Isaiah 41:10

 

i can trust in God.

He is trustworthy.

though sometimes things dont go to MY plan, HE has a plan and is at work on my behalf.

i am confident of His love and goodness.

i am confident that He is my Father.

when faced with fear i CHOOSE to trust God.

i STOP, BREATHE and REMIND MYSELF OF THE PROMISES OF GOD.

His Word is faithful.

His promises can be trusted.

He is always at work.

i counter FEAR with faith.

faith that is grounded in the Word of God and His promises.  not blind faith but faith that has facts and basis.

i live not by sight but by faith in God.

Nothing is impossible for God – the same God that split the Red Sea is at work in your life! reading exodus 14 so makes me trust God – He moves in intervening and awesome ways – unexpected and extraordinary ways!

 

"You will never get past your fears until you are willing to face them head on—period! And…as long as the enemy controls you through fear you will not be fully surrendered to Jesus!" Perry Noble

 

next time we face an obstacle, instead of freaking out, how about we trust, and stop and breathe and remind ourselves of the promises of God.

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The people kept their distance while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.  Exodus 20:21 MSG

Moses was the rare individual that would not settle for knowing the acts of God but he desired to know His ways. While there are many who will stand at the bottom of the mount wanting someone else to climb the mountain to meet with God and relay the information. There are few who will climb-(exert effort), press past fear and preconceived notions and disappear behind the cloud. It is there that a man meets God. All were invited but only one ascended. Only one who came back with the radiance of God still shining upon him, only one who spoke with God face to face as a friend. The mountain and the invitation awaits ….. Who will climb? Father I know how many obstacles/excuses there are for me to stay at the base of the mountain. My desire and longing is to climb to meet You. Keep that passion at the forefront of all that I do this day!  youversion note

 

its interesting to note in exodus 19 and in this chapter the limits had to be put around the mountain and how only one called man could come and approach God.  the people had to consecrate themselves but even then the mountain was off limits.  God appeared in a dense cloud with fire and thunders and lightenings.  if the people crossed the barrier they would die.

 

contrast to the reality that Jesus is God with flesh, incarnated.

  • The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

  • Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.  Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.  John 14:8-11

  • The Son is the image of the invisible God.  Colossians 1:15
  • Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men  Philippians 2:6-7

Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God.

and the beautiful thing is that He came and dwelt with us, to show us the Father, to demonstrate His love and grace and power.

because of Him we have access and freedom to approach God, just as Moses did : In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

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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 ready for battle.  Exodus 13:17-18

i find this passage fascinating.

as humans its like we’re hardwired to want to go from A to B the shortest way possible. but sometimes that isn’t the best route to go. sometimes we need to take detours and go the scenic route. its better for our character and our strength and our relationship with God. 

God KNOWS the right way we should go. we should entrust our lives to Him – commit our ways to Him and He will order our steps.

 

though it can be said that it was because of the israelites unbelief and stubborn hearts that they went the long way round.  if their hearts had been committed to the ways of the Lord and His will perhaps they would have gone the shorter route? 

are their journeys in our life that are taking longer because of the condition of our heart?

is there a lesson to be learned in going the long way round?

 

the great things God will do through you are going to grow in the soil of persistence, prayer, obedience and sacrifice. that means there will be plenty of plowing and pruning. that is the way living things grow, whether you’re talking about vegetables or vision. steven furtick

God loves us too much to take us through the short cut. He knows we might see what’s required and go back to where we started. So sometimes He takes us on a detour. Jon Acuff

 

 

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