I was given a copy of “Planet Bound” by the author, A. Marie Dinsmore, in exchange for an honest review. I liked the book. I would have liked the story better if the characters were a little more rounded. Also we are introduced to so many that have little or no part to play other than showing that they feel rejected, which is a common theme in this book. Potential for a good story. The storyline itself is interesting. Human kind is on a quest to find habitable planets. Tough female lead. I liked it. I give it three stars. High School age and up. Some language.
The chosen people of God were a whiny, ungrateful bunch. God hears their cry from Egypt and send them a deliverer. Things got worse in Egypt before they got better. Pharaoh made them work harder after the first meeting with Moses. Then after a great show of God’s strength and favor, finally they were on their way. The eleven day journey to the Promised Land took them forty years and a whole generation of rebellious, selfish people had to pass away before they could even cross over the Jordan. Those “chosen” complained about almost everything. When they whined that there was no food God sent them Manna, bread from Heaven. There are so many other places where they complained, accused Moses of trying to murder them, and wished they were back in Egypt “where at least we had cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.”
Today, we will take a look at when they whined about the Manna. Let’s take up the story in Numbers 11:10-15 (NASB).
“Now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent; and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased. So Moses said to the LORD, “Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me? Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’ I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.”
Moses is feeling the pressure of leading so many people. He feels the people are a “burden.” He goes so far as to even remind God that he hadn’t conceived them, they weren’t his children. I can feel Moses pain. Have you ever had a disobedient child, a whiney toddler, coworkers who grumbled and complained constantly? Then you have experienced some of what Moses is going through. It is important to also note that God was angry, very angry.
Now before we shake our heads and click our tongues over the hard to lead Israelites, let’s take a look at our own lives. We all have someone over us in authority. Parents, teachers, bosses, shift leaders, pastors, elders, government officials, etc. Are we sometimes a burden? ‘Ouch’ or ‘oh me.’
Hebrews 13:17 (NIV) “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”
Simply put, God has appointed those who are over you. They have to give an account to God for you. We are supposed to be a joy to them…not a burden. So maybe we aren’t as bad as those stiff-necked Israelites, but do our bosses cringe when we walk in, or smile? Do the ministry leaders want you on their team, or would they rather not even ask?
Thankfully all of the Israelites weren’t so horrible. During a great battle, against Amalek, (Exodus 17), Moses took his rod and went up on top of the hill to watch the battle. When Moses held the rod up, the Israelites would win. When the rod was lowered they lost. Soon Moses arms became heavy. He couldn’t do it alone. Aaron and Hur each took one of his arms, and they held them up so that the people would have the victory. Then when the twelve spies came back from scoping out the land, ten had a negative report and swayed the people to disobey God. Joshua and Caleb had faith in God and wanted to go in right away. Consequently they were the only two of their generation that got to enter the Promised Land. Even Aaron, Miriam and Moses weren’t allowed to enter in. The attitude of the people finally got to Moses and he acted out in anger, displeasing God.
Are we going to go in the spirit of Aaron and Hur, Joshua and Caleb? Or are we going to be the ones that are a burden.
Which ones pleased God?
That’s what I want to do, don’t you?
Father, Help me to be a blessing not a burden. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Numbers 9:15-23 (NASB) “Now on the day that the tabernacle was erected the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony, and in the evening it was like the appearance of fire over the tabernacle, until morning. So it was continuously; the cloud would cover it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, afterward the sons of Israel would then set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the sons of Israel would camp. At the command of the LORD the sons of Israel would set out, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud settled over the tabernacle, they remained camped. Even when the cloud lingered over the tabernacle for many days, the sons of Israel would keep the LORD’S charge and not set out. If sometimes the cloud remained a few days over the tabernacle, according to the command of the LORD they remained camped. Then according to the command of the LORD they set out. If sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning, when the cloud was lifted in the morning, they would move out; or if it remained in the daytime and at night, whenever the cloud was lifted, they would set out. Whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud lingered over the tabernacle, staying above it, the sons of Israel remained camped and did not set out; but when it was lifted, they did set out. At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out; they kept the LORD’S charge, according to the command of the LORD through Moses.”
As the chosen ones of God traveled through the wilderness they only moved when God moved. They only camped when God stopped moving. They did this not for days, weeks, or months, but years. God was trying to teach them a valuable lesson.
God knows where and when we need to go. His way is always best.
They could have made that journey in eleven days. Eleven days! Forty years later, they were still following the cloud by day and the fire by night. You’d think after forty years of this they would have gone into the Promised Land and continued to be “followers of God.” Read the Old Testament and it becomes clear that they didn’t. They followed their own deceitful hearts, the people who they were warned about, false gods and pretty much everything but God. Thank God there were always some faithful few who stuck to the course, who learned the lesson.
What about us? Has God brought you through some wilderness times, only for you to stop following Him? Have you allowed the lies of the enemy, or the lust of your own flesh to lure you away? Has the world in all its momentary pleasures got you caught in its web?
Psalm 37:23 (ESV) says, “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.”
So maybe you got off the path. It’s only ever one step back to the Lord. Then you may stumble from time to time, maybe even fall. But fear not, God will uphold you.
I Corinthians 9:24 (NASB) “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.”
It really isn’t important how fast you run, just that you finish, with honor. It is not something you can cheat at. You can’t pretend. You are either in the race or you aren’t. What is the prize?
Just the saving of our souls.
So what about it? Will you move when He moves? Will you stop when He stops? Will you allow Him to show you the way?
His word is a light unto our paths and a lamp unto our feet. (Psalm 119:105). He knows the way. He made the path. Your steps are ordained. He even gave us the Holy Spirit to lead us along the way. Fix your eyes on the prize and run! When you are too tired to run, walk. When walking gets hard, crawl. Do whatever you have to do to move forward…towards Him.
I Corinthians 3:10-13 (KJV) “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth hereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
What would you prefer to have your building made out of? The choices are gold, silver and precious stones or wood, hay and stubble. The rich building materials represent things that aren’t easily found, they are rare, they last, and they have value. They can be tried by fire and retain their beauty and form. The others are easily found building materials, quite common actually. During those fiery trials…they burn up. In a stiff wind or a storm, they blow away. The wood here isn’t big oak logs, but more like the twigs of the “Three Little Pigs” story. These building materials are easily corruptible. They rot, they mold, and they lose their strength over time.
The bible uses the word “stubble” quite often. Some versions replace it with the word “chaff.”
In Isaiah 5, Isaiah talks about the wicked. Verse 24 (NASB) says, “Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes stubble and dry grass collapses into the flame, so their root will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”
Isaiah 40:23-24 (NLT) “He judges the great people of the world and brings them all to nothing. They hardly get started, barely taking root, when he blows on them and they wither. The wind carries them off like chaff.”
Isaiah talks about sorcerers, astrologers, soothsayers and the like in Isaiah 47:14 (NIV). “Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. These are not coals for warmth; this is not a fire to sit by.”
That is our poor building material; let’s take a look at the better stuff. Proverbs 3:13-15 (NIV) talks about wisdom. “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.”
The temple was full of these precious building materials. All of the wood, which was the best of the best, was still covered in gold, silver and bronze. All of the articles were made of the same metals. The ephod had twelve precious stones. (Exodus 24, I Kings). Heaven is a wonderful place. The Bible tells us that the streets of the city are gold, the walls are made of twelve precious stones and the gates are giant pearls.
Now, we who are now in the family of God, who have made Jesus our Lord, are building. Jesus and his plan of salvation is the foundation. What building material are we adding to this foundation? Are we building what will remain? What has eternal value? Or will it be burnt up in the flames? It all depends on our motives and whether or not we are hearing from God, or just doing what seems right to us. All good ideas aren’t God ideas.
Getting rich so that we can buy more toys: Stubble.
Allowing God to prosper us so that we can use it for the Kingdom: Gold.
Singing on the praise and worship team so that others can see us: Twigs.
Singing on the praise and worship team so that we can lift up Jesus and give glory to God: Rubies.
Are you getting the picture?
Dear Father God,
I thank You that You have given us mercy and grace. That you are extravagant with both. You always give us so much more than we can ask or think, and most definitely more than we could ever deserve. No matter what we do, how we fail, You are slow to anger and quick to forgive! I thank You for the shed blood of Jesus. That no more do we need to shed the blood of cattle and sheep. That Jesus’ shed blood cleansed us of all sin. I am so grateful that the life and blood of Jesus fulfilled all the law. I no longer have to follow a lengthy list of “do’s and don’ts.” I am no longer bound to the law, but set free by Your grace. Thank You, Father, that I can now come boldly into Your presence. It is so wonderful, Lord, to know You in a personal way, to be in fellowship with you. Thank You, Father, that you speak to me, as I speak to my own child. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Help me to be more like you.
Isaiah 60:1-3 (NIV) says, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. “For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
Did you know that you are supposed to change the environment around you? It is so important that we understand this, especially in the day we live in. We aren’t supposed to let what is going on around us dictate how we behave or think, but just the opposite. Let’s take a look at some familiar situations in the bible. We can go as far back as Genesis to find some good examples.
Jacob had wanted to leave Laban and go back to the home of his father. In Genesis 30:27 (KJV) we see Laban’s answer, “And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.” This man who had tricked Jacob into marrying both of his daughters, had changed his wages over and over, and had tried to cheat him, was blessed just because Jacob was there. That is pretty exciting. So to make sure we understand this wasn’t a one-time-deal, let’s dig a little deeper.
Next we will take a look at Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his brothers and ends up in Egypt. Genesis 39:2-6 (KJV) says, “And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.” Farther along in verse 23 we see that even the prison, where Joseph was taken after being falsely accused prospered because he was there. Joseph went from a high position as s slave in Potiphar’s house, to a basically ruling the prison, to being second in command to Pharaoh. This is favor. Notice the same wording “For thy sake” and “For Joseph’s sake.”
There are plenty of other instances. Check out Daniel, Ruth, Esther, David and Paul. Wherever they went people were blessed. What about you and me?
The bible calls us “the salt of the earth. “Matthew 15:13 (ESV) “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” What does salt do? It seasons, it preserves and it can be used to help heal. As salt we should go into the world, our jobs, neighborhoods and even our families and make things better. On our jobs we should be setting the example of honest, hard work. Don’t worry about what the people around you are doing. Don’t complain about the boss. Work hard, represent Jesus and be salt. What better job security can you get than the business prosper “for your sake?” Is your family crazy and dysfunctional? Be salt. Is your community full of sin and crime? Be salt.
The world may be full of darkness and it keeps getting darker, but God’s people will shine! Why? So they can come to His light. Jesus was the Light when He walked this earth. Now He tells us we are. So that means we have to shine. We reflect Him to this lost and dying world. There is coming a time where there will be hardship and need. Who will help the people, who will God send?
Yep, that’s right.
Simplify your life
Luke 21:28 (NIV) “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
We all can feel the anticipation, the excitement, and the expectancy in the air. Something is happening. Something is changing. What exactly is it? What are we looking forward to?
Isaiah 60:1-4 (NIV) says, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. “For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. “Lift up your eyes roundabout and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms. “Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you”
Isaiah is prophesying about the future of Israel, but this prophecy is also for the church. This is how things will happen in these last days. We will shine! People will come to us! God is asking for a greater commitment from His children. We need to get serious about Kingdom business. Derek Prince, in his book “Prophetic Guide to the End Times: Facing the Future without Fear,” tells us,
“We often hear it said, ‘God wants our time, our talents, and our money,’…if we give these to God and think we are doing God a favor, we deceive ourselves. God is really saying, ‘what I want is you! And when I have you, I have everything you have.’ In these closing days, God is not going to settle for a lesser commitment. We need to ask ourselves; have I ever totally given myself to God without reservation? Have I placed myself at His disposal? That is commitment.”
Psalm 110:1-3 (NIV) “The Lord says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendor, your young men will come to you like dew from the morning’s womb”
I love the way that is worded. “Your people will volunteer freely!” Isn’t that our desire? To do something wonderful, something big, for God? So what is stopping us? In praying about this, God showed me several things that seem to hold us back, but I kept coming back to this one thing. We, especially in the Western World, are too busy. We run here, go there, sign up, make commitments we can’t keep, and wear ourselves out being so busy. So today we are going to focus on how to simplify our lives.
How many of us watched the “Little House in the Prairie” or read the books and dreamed of a simple life? Sure they didn’t have the modern conveniences that we have, but they had a more precious commodity…time. They worked hard, but they weren’t rushed or stressed. Choices were fewer, obligations were fewer, and their expectations were fewer. How many of us lose sleep over our hectic schedules or feel overwhelmed with life? Be honest, how many of us cringe inside when we hear about another service, an extra class, or some other thing that should excite us, but our minds scream “how can I do one more thing?!” Then we feel guilty, throw ourselves into another obligation, sometimes only half there, half awake, and half committed, only to feel disappointed in the results? This isn’t God’s plan for us.
So what is robbing us of our time? It is more complex than we think. The root is in our priorities. What is important? You would be surprised what is important if you would take a closer look at your life. Let’s look at Luke 21: 28 again. “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” We need to start here. In the same book mentioned before, Derek Prince says,
“Jesus does not say, ‘Be frightened’ or ‘look for a hiding place.’ He does not say to plans some method of escape and concentrate on survival. His attitude is look up. Things are going to get better. It is very important that we who are God’s people present to the world the picture of confident assurance. (That will impress them, and will make them want to know what we have that they don’t)- enabling us to face these pressures and crisis with calmness and confidence.”
How much of what we do is out of fear, or trying to survive? How many times have we said, “if I can just get through this day, week, month? These thoughts make us run, or hide, or both. We keep ourselves busy so we don’t have to face reality. We think if we can just get the latest new (phone, game, clothes, house, car, gadget, etc) thing, that life will be easier, better. That just isn’t true. When we live like that, we have jumped onto a merry-go-round made by Satan! His plan is to keep us distracted, self-centered, wore out, and trying to do it all in our own power.
That is not God’s plan for us. He wants us to have time for ourselves and our families. To have things we enjoy having and doing. But God never intended those things to rule us or take control of our lives. How can we be committed to Him in the way we need to if we are short on time, short on attention and just plain short on energy? He wants the commitment, expects it. So we need to make some changes.
Let’s prioritize. First make a list. What is the most important things to you? What do you place the highest value on? What are your goals in life? We need to make time for these things. List the top ten. Now take a closer look and cross one of the list. Think of it as surgery. We are cutting of the tumor, the parasite that is stealing your life. I know it is scary, but we all agreed that something needs to give, something needs to go. It is time to start making choices.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT) “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”
We have choices to make. Is it part of or important to God’s plan for my life? If the answer is yes, then keep it. If the answer is no, delete it. Simple. Not easy to do, but good for us.
Here is a short list of things you need to consider. There are great websites and book on simplifying your life. Find some, and read them. Most importantly, pray about it and ask the Holy Spirit to show you where the weeding needs to be done.
• Evaluate your commitments
• Evaluate your time.
• Simplify tasks.
• Learn to say no.
• Limit your communications (twitter, facebook, snapchat, iphones, etc) and simplify your computing life.
• Limit your media consumption.
• Purge your stuff and simplify your wardrobe.
• Limit your buying habits.
• Free up your time.
• Spend time with God.
• Spend time with people you love.
• Slow down. Your driving, eating, and any other area where you rush. Give yourself more time for tasks.
• Establish routines. Create a workable system for housework.
• Learn to live frugally. Consider a smaller home, a smaller car, a smaller yard. Live closer to work.
• Do something you love, have a creative outlet.
• Go for quality, not quantity.
• Don’t over schedule your day! Leave time between appointments.
• Whenever you are faced with a choice, ask yourself, “Will this simplify my life.” Always be sensitive to the voice of God, because often He asks us to do things that will stretch us.
This is a great start. Don’t try to do it alone! You need God’s help and guidance to do it. Sometimes we will need to do radical surgery. Other times we need to take baby steps.
One of my favorite sayings is: “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”
Living freer, having more time for God, and building a stronger commitment to Him will so be worth it!