Thursday, March 03, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Numbers 13:27, 28, 31

"We came to the land to which you sent us;
it flows with milk and honey ...
Yet the people who live in the land are strong,
and the towns are fortified and very large ...
We are not able to go up against this people,
for they are stronger than we."
Numbers 13:27,28,31
 
Which direction do you tend to look in?
 
In Numbers 11, the people of Israel looked backward in nostalgia: "5 We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6 but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at."
 
In Numbers 13, they looked forward in fear, shying away from entering the promised land because the spies said, "we are not able to go up against this people for they are stronger than us."
 
In both cases, they -- like many of us -- failed to look to the blessings of the present. Indeed, they failed to acknowledged
  • God's daily provision (manna),
  • God's daily leading (remember the cloud that led them day and night in chapter 9),
  • God's gracious promise (that he would return them to the land promised to Abraham), and
  • God's omnipotent power (in their recent memory he'd parted the Red Sea).
I know from my own life that I get into trouble whenever I look backward with either a longing nostalgia (which takes my eyes off the blessings of today) or a paralyzing guilt (which makes me forget God's promise to forgive).
 
I also get into trouble when I stare too far into the future. Why? Because the unknowns can easily swamp me with fear. Either that or sadness can swamp me as I worry about the blessings I'll be missing from today. I can remember, for example, wishing that time would slow down and my kids wouldn't grow up.
 
But here's the point. The God who provides for me today ... and leads me today ... and promises me a hope and a future ... and reigns always with his power ... this God will take care of all my tomorrows!
 
And what I long for is the true promised land. Not here on earth, but up in heaven. And that's a promise God's power and provision holds eternally secure.
 
In Christ's Love,
a guy who's seizing the day 
--------------------
Today several things are colliding in my heart ...

  1. This devotional I am reading late in the evening.
  2. Worship service this evening where Matthew 6:24-34 was the Gospel reading ... it ends with "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  God will take care of us, even more so than the birds in the air and the lilies of the field.
  3. A blog I read earlier this morning that included three quotes: 
    1. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction [based on book by Eugene Peterson]
    2. Play the Movie Forward [The principle is simple, play the movie of your life forward, where do you want to be in one year and what are you doing today to move towards that?]
    3. What do you want your life to look like this time next year and what are you willing to do today to step toward that?
When I hear, see, read the same thing from different sources with the same subject, I know I need to take notice.  Previously I would have ignored them all.  But now I see it as God telling me to not worry. Worry is my default position. Worry about the past and all the negative thoughts that take over when i do it. Worry about the future and whether or not everything will be ok.  Fear that God won't take care of me. 

... but ...

When I look at my life - especially the past couple of months - through the lens of God, it looks like this:
  • God's daily provision (friends who were there the entire time I was stuggling),
  • God's daily leading (people praying and God leading me to safe places in spite of myself),
  • God's gracious promise (that he loves me and covers me in his grace), and
  • God's omnipotent power (he literally saved my life and saved me from physical misery)
I need to use today to Praise him!!  

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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