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Women in His Presence

by Erica Salazar

Wrestling with God

Wrestling is a physical interaction between two people in which one is trying to gain dominance over the other.

Spiritually, we learn in Ephesians that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against evil principalities. Because of this, there are times that my flesh and my mind wrestle with God.

Last Sunday I woke up with an overwhelming feeling of rejection. That continued as I went to church feeling like an outsider being over 40 yet under 50, divorced, and with no kids. It’s a personal perception of being a modern day leper. Looking around, you see where you want to belong but not having the qualifications of kids or a spouse to quite fit in. Of course this isn’t anyone’s doing, it’s just a perception I have always felt in my position. I felt like that married without kids and now it’s just gone from bad to worse.

I continued in service not able to shake it. I started to really miss my spouse. I started to wrestle with why my best wasn’t enough. I started to wrestle with my worth and wondered how long was I going to have to wait.

I went home and rested in my sadness for the rest of the day.

Sunday Evening
When evening came, I sat with the Lord in my prayer closet with music and started to draw. The word TRUST was written down.

What was at the root of this rejection? Has God not provided for me abundantly? Has God not given me joy in my sadness? Has God not shown himself to be faithful in so many ways? He has! Over and over he amazes me, yet in that prayer closet the root of my rejection was a wrestling that I have with God because I don’t trust Him with my prayers.

I told Him, “I feel rejected by you because it seems as if you don’t answer my prayers. I don’t ask for much.”

There are two things that he has spoken to me and that I believe are prayers of his will but are unanswered. Because of this, I wrestle with feeling as if I’m suppose to settle for less than God’s best. I feel like miracles are for everyone else but me.

Monday Evening
The next evening, I did the same thing. But this time the word TRUTH was written down.

What he spoke to me, comforted me. He reminded me that he has faced the ultimate rejection. Him, the perfect gift of love, rejected by many repeatedly and continuously and that “many” includes me. He showed me that everyone’s life is a whole with fractional parts of ups and downs. Their answered prayer comes when their particular fractional part of hardship is at its end. Mine is more of in the middle. He also reminded me of what he has been able to show me during this time of unanswered prayers and what I would miss and could miss if that prayer was answered in my timing.

Saturday Morning
Yesterday morning I walked with the Lord. This is when he showed me that I’m wrestling with Him. He showed me as I walked along the creek that its beauty is in the bends and where the water flows over the shallow areas where it’s very rocky. The parts of the creek that are still and straight do not bring the beauty. They are boring. He showed me I’m wanting everything to be perfect. Perfectly straight…which is not what life on earth is like. Perfection is only in Heaven and in His Presence.

At that point I got it and He illustrated how this grappling got me to God’s truths.

Position
When I’m wrestling with God, I’m trying to dominate the match and I’m telling God what I see in the natural and that I’m angry and hurt. God, does not let me go. He stays in the wrestling match pinning me down occasionally reminding me of his dominion over all things. However, he doesn’t try to dominate me. He doesn’t force me to give up or give in. He allows me the position to question and guess and at times have a false sense of control.

Perception
1. When I’m in a dominating position, I try to pin God down so he can look up at me and see the situation I’m in and everything that is behind me and surrounds me.
2. God then makes a maneuver and flips the script. He is now trying to get me to look up at Him. However, in my struggle for control and reason, I’m working and wrestling so hard my eyes are pinched shut.

Submission

1. This goes on until His love eventually wills me into submission.
2. At this point, my muscles relax and stop.
3. My eyes open and I see Truth and I see Trust.

Saturday Evening to Tonight
From the point of submission, I can’t even explain how God has unleashed his love. He has sent so many people to me, unknowing to them, with words of encouragement, confirmation, and truth.

God is so amazing in His love for us.

Point to Ponder: When we wrestle with God we win. He positions our perception so that through submission His mission is truly realized.

To God be the Glory

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Mountain and Joy of Motherhood

This was actually my notes to a message that I gave at a Mother’s Day brunch in 2016.  For some odd reason, it was showing up in my email to edit.  Two years later, a lot has changed but not the truths that God revealed to me in preparing for that event.  It was a great reminder to me about moms and spiritual moms within the church and how important their walk with the Lord is to their children.

Intro

When I got the call from Gracie about speaking this weekend I was really excited. I had prayed to God that Saturday before, that he would need to make it clear about being called to speak. The call that Monday was an answered prayer.

However, as she was giving me details I was faced with a big uncertainty.

I had said yes to the date, but then she mentioned that it was Mother’s Day weekend. Inside my brain I had a quick panic and then I remembered that she knew that I wasn’t a mom. RELIEF.

II. Dog Mom

Savannah
The closest I’ve come to being a mom is having my three labs, well now two. I remember the day my Savannah swam across a water hole for the first time. I would take her to the local golf course as a puppy and let her learn how to swim. She always stayed close to the edge, but one time she ventured out toward the middle. By the time I realized what was happening I was struck with fear. What if she can’t make it across she is just a puppy? What if she gets scared and is in the middle of the water trying to figure out what to do? Do I or don’t I swim to her rescue. As a “mom” I only had one choice. I had to stop being afraid. It was obvious that she wasn’t. So I ran to the other side and started encouraging her to keep swimming. I was so proud of her.
Watson
My other dog mom situation was when I took all three labs to the pool at the local Navy base. It was the last day of summer and they opened it up for dogs to swim. Getting out of the car with two full grown labs and my newest addition, my baby Watson, was what I would call a safety hazard. I was holding onto three leashes and each dog had a mind of their own. I was getting pulled, wrapped, and almost tripped as we, or I struggled up to the entrance. Once inside the fence, I could let the two oldest swim and run freely while I got in the pool with my baby Watson. This was going to be Watson’s first swim. He was not a natural like his mom, but he sure did draw a lot of attention from everyone else. He looked like a clydesdale swimming with his body straight up and his paws hitting the water as if he was galloping. There was nothing graceful about it. However, everyone thought he was so cute and adorable and I was totally loving it. Again, a proud mom moment.
Sam
The last “dog mom” memory I want to share is when my husband and I took all three labs to Bark in the Park Hooks game. By this time all three were full grown. When we arrived, we let each of them go out and to the restroom. I told each of them to make sure you go “out” before we get inside. Some listened…some didn’t. Just like my pool situation, my husband and I struggled with the three dogs on the leashes. Their excitement and leadership skills had us stumbling and tripping all the way to the outfield berm area. Once there, we had to have a strong hold on the leashes and constantly tell them to sit down. Since the getting to the outfield berm area was a struggle, my husband and I decided to take turns getting our food so one could stay with the dogs. I remember how stressful it was because most of the time we were trying to get the dogs to behave and sit down and eating was almost impossible. When it was my husband’s turn. He was too stressed to eat. I tried getting a family picture, but that was nearly impossible to get all three of them to face me at the same time. We decided to leave early since it wasn’t the fun we had envisioned. As we were walking out our oldest dog Sam decided to do #2 on the walkway behind the outfield. Of course, the other two were going in different directions. We felt helpless.

They just wouldn’t listen.

So, as moms I’m sure you can relate, that with the joys there are also the struggles despite your guidance.

III. God as Our Guide

Just like moms, God experiences the same things with us…..joys and moments where he shakes his head because we are not listening.
The reason I’m not a mom is because when I was in college I faced the mountain of motherhood.
Looking at my situation and looking up that steep mountain wall I was afraid and I panicked. I panicked because I had this dream and a vision of what my future what look like and it was blocked by this circumstance.

Genesis 3:1-6 States
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say You must not eat from any tree in the garden.”

The woman said to the serpent we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden and you must not touch it or you will die.”

“You will certainly not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be open and you will be like God knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom she took some of it and it shows I gave it to her husband who was with her and he ate it.

IV. Transition-Mountain of Motherhood

In this passage God clearly gave GUIDANCE, but Eve let her guidance be directed by the enemy. Notice, the serpent made God’s guidance seem illogical and his logical. So taking all the factors, she allowed herself to be misguided.

I did the same thing. My Guidance before the situation was God. But when confronted with the circumstance I let the world’s logic be my guide because I thought it would ruin the dreams I had of having a husband, family, good job, and nice house. Sure I wanted to be a mom, but I didn’t plan on it happening then. So this mountain, was blocking my dream, and I was too afraid to climb the mountain with God and see what he had in store for me on the other side. So, I walked in a different direction to avoid the trial.

Why did I do this?

I knew of God, but my relationship was minimal. So, when crisis struck, I didn’t know what the Bible said. I didn’t have those experience of turning to the WORD and letting God direct me. I hadn’t heard His truths for all circumstances.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Today, I face another personal mountain. Learning from the past, I don’t want to take things into my own hands. I have spent probably seven years kneeling at the bottom of the mountain praying for God to move it. It has been frustrating, because it hasn’t moved. It tremors sometimes and I think it is going to crumble down, but it hasn’t yet.

I’m sure all of you are facing mountains right now. You could be dealing with the stress of being a single parent. You may be struggling to watch your children go through mountains. Maybe your child is your mountain. You tried your best to raise them, but they are being very defiant. Maybe your adult child is your mountain. For some maybe your mountain is how to move forward in life with the loss of a child.

No matter what your mountain is as a mom. God is calling you to really trust him and CLIMB

You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north. Deuteronomy 2:3

V. What to Expect-

At the Bottom of the Mountain
When we are at the bottom of the mountain we can be gripped by fear. We stare at that mountain wall and wonder which way is the best way to tackle it. We stand paralyzed in worry and anxiousness. At some point we start climbing, but it is rough. We stumble up and we are constantly strategizing how to navigate our way. We become so mentally and physically exhausted that we end up right back at the bottom. The burden is too big for us to carry, and we end up crying in despair broken. After multiple attempts and multiple fails, you will realize that you are trying to do it alone. You may be praying about it and trying to do all the right things, but your heart is not truly trusting in the Lord. You are still wanting to know that if you climb this mountain, you will get your desired outcome. This does not work. At some point, you have to CHOOSE to CLIMB and let God be your Guide. This means you trust him every step of the way, pray that this be used for his purpose, and go up no matter what the outcome will be. In a sense you climb blind allowing the Holy Spirit to lead.

When you make this decision, you will feel peace.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

 

Middle of the Mountain
The middle of the mountain is where you start to really lean into God. Your focus is on him, knowing whatever step you take, he takes it with you. It’s a time of some trials, but more progress. Your confidence builds because of who you are with. It is faith in action every step of the way. Not everyday is easy and at times you will have setbacks. But overall you grow closer to the Lord.

Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Micah 4:2

Approaching the Peak
This becomes a very dangerous time. You have journeyed for quite some time now. You are more exhausted than before. The enemy tries to send forth unpredictable elements to get you focused off God and onto the hardships.

It seems unbearable at times the closer you get. It becomes tempting to quit because of the difficulties. You have to stop more often to pray, refocus on the Lord, and dig deep. You need that oxygen to stay alive and to continue going. You look back at how far you have come and remember the beauty in the pain that you are experiencing. You are reminded that Jesus has been there too. You push on and persevere in Him as he continues to guide you up.

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Psalm 46:5

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45

The Peak and the Descend
When we get to the top, we will see his will. We will have a new perspective and a testimony of how the Lord guided us through it.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

The descend will be like this:

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12

 

Why is This Illustration Important to Being a Mom and a Woman?

Your Children will Look to you as Their Guide
It is really important that you know what it takes spiritually to make it up a mountain, so you can be there for your children as they face their ascend. The less involved you are in reading the Bible, praying, and fellowship, the more likely your advice to them will be based more on the world’s guidance instead of God’s guidance. It’s important for that internal compass to be calibrated to God, that way when your children lean on you, your guidance will be in line with the Holy Spirit.

This is easier said than done for all of us. It is a daily challenge when we let life pull us in all directions.

When you have chosen to climb a mountain with God, you are a great testimony to your kids. You can relate to their struggle and yet testify about God’s goodness no matter what you face.
Everyone Needs a Mom
No matter how old you are, you need a mom. Some of you your mother’s have passed away. For some women, their mother had struggles of her own and couldn’t show love or make the best decisions as it pertained to her children. Some moms live far away and can’t be there on hand in a crisis. For the women of the church, each of you are a mom. Someone that another woman may need to call on when faced with a mountain. Someone who can help her lean on Christ and encourage her as she begins to climb.

You see all of us climb mountains. Some are bigger than others, but every time we get over one, there is someone else about to start. The mountain wall looks a lot less intimidating when you have support at the bottom cheering you on, reminding you to pray, is praying for you, sending you scriptures, and reminding you of God’s truth.

Closing

The definition of joy is
1: a feeling of pleasure or happiness that comes from success, good fortune, or a sense of well-being
2: something that gives pleasure or happiness <It’s a joy to have you visit.>

Whether you are a mom of natural children, playing that role within your church, encouraging a child’s or woman’s relationship with Jesus Christ, you will have joy.

No matter what you are going through, there is always joy in nurturing others. There is always joy in showing God’s love and there is always joy when others see God’s guidance in you.

I want to leave you with this last scripture.
Proverbs 3:13-18
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. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways,and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.

To God be the Glory

Erica

 

 

A New Level Of Crazy

If you would have asked me two years ago if I was a mature Christian I would have said, “Yes!” But over the past two years God is drawing me into a whole other level.

As it is…..

To the outside, being a follower of Christ is CRAZY.

To the outside, believing that the Bible doesn’t need to change with the times is CRAZY.

To the outside, being conservative is CRAZY.

But, to the outside and inside the church, believing that God has spoken a specific promise about marriage restoration is even CRAZY to many.

In fact it’s even CRAZY to me.

But, God has definitely drawn me to a crossroad where I have to face a couple of crucial questions.

1. What is God’s character?
2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

1. What does God desire?
Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

2. What’s the truth about each person’s creation?
Psalm 139:13
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 51:6
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. But to I have to believe in the crazy.

3. What is God trying to teach me?
Hebrews 10:36
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

In order to persevere however, I have to go to a whole other level. In fact it’s a whole other level of CRAZY. It’s the kind of CRAZY that people will laugh at like Noah building the ark. It’s the kind of CRAZY that is impossible like Moses going to ask Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. It’s the kind of CRAZY that is unrealistic like Abraham and Sarah bearing children of their own.

If there is one thing I’ve come to realize though, these acts of obedience and faith in the Old Testament, made the way for the biggest CRAZY thing in the New Testament. The birth of a man named Jesus who sacrificed his life for us and then rose from the dead.

This level of CRAZY really requires me to dig deep in prayer. It requires that I believe in prayer. It requires that I believe my God speaks to me. It requires me to trust His voice. It requires me to be patient. It requires me to look at Him and not the circumstances. It requires me to look at me and learn how I need to change. It requires me to go against any bit of human logic and lean on the wisdom and truth of the LORD. This level is hard. It’s not easy. But, it is maturing me and bringing me closer to Christ. Ultimately, it’s a whole other level of CRAZY that I actually enjoy and brings the most peace. So being CRAZY for Christ is exactly where I want to be.

To God be the Glory,
Erica

Summer Crop

17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will [a]know them by their fruits.    Matthew 7:17-20 NASB 

In this scripture, there are three types of fruit trees.
1. Good fruit bearing tree-It does its job and serves its purpose of bearing good fruit that can being eaten. After the flesh is eaten, the seed remaining has the ability to multiply and grow good fruit.
2. Bad fruit bearing tree-It bears fruit, but it is bad. In the fruit tree world, this means it has poor quality fruit which could be a result of disease and/or growing conditions. These seeds may not multiply well or multiply poor quality fruit.
3. The last one is a fruit tree that does not produce fruit at all. This could be a result of being too young, growing condition, or disease. It has no purpose.

What is fruit?

1. It is a flowering plant. (Visual)
2. It is the ripened ovaries of flowers. (Fertile)
3. It contains seeds. (Future generations)

What stages allow fruit to grow successfully?

1. Flowering
2. Pollination (Need the bees)
3. Fertilization.

So, reflecting on this scripture, we must ask
ourselves, “Am I bearing fruit? If so, what am I bearing?”

1. From afar, people should first be able to visually see that I am flowering from having Jesus Christ in my life. They should be able to tell that in the future I will bear fruit for the kingdom. They should know that when the fruit is ready, they will be able to eat and enjoy it.
2. As a flower, am I attracting pollinators? Pollinators are partners in advancing the kingdom. Without them, an important stage is skipped and the ability to produce fruit and multiply is halted.
3. In the fertilization stage, do I sit still waiting and trusting as pollination occurs? Do I appreciate the mighty hand of God in bringing it all together? Do I realize how awesome it is that he creates the fruit, but allows us to bear it?

Parting Words

With summer around the corner, I encourage you to be in full bloom for Jesus Christ now. Let May be a month of pollination and fertilization. Come June, the people around you will be looking to enjoy a sweet, refreshing, juicy fruit.

Let that fruit be you!

To God be the Glory,
Erica

 

 

At the Table

This past week I made my fifth move in two years. It was a big milestone in the sense that this time, I knew it would be the move that I could settle into for awhile. There has been a lot of wandering, wondering, and waiting and finally having a place to call home again has brought a lot of joy and gratefulness.

If there is one thing in my apartment that sort of bridges my time of being married to now, it is my dining room table. We had originally bought it when we moved into our house that was a step up from our starter.

It is a table that holds a lot of memories for me. Many people have gathered at that table whether it be from a life group, Bible study, family, friends, or church fellowship. Many meals, some family style, have been eaten and accompanied with laughter and joy.

In times of solitude, it was a place I could sit and get the best view of green jays on the bush outside the dining room window. Occasionally, I could see hummingbirds and mockingbirds building their nests too.

It also held mismatched plates that were my grandmothers, moms, or were specifically picked out at an antique store.

I loved my table for many reasons and it was one of the things my husband bought for me as we made our new house our home.

This past week as I settled into my new place, I was able to have company over. I made my first meal to serve at the table for a couple of high school youth and a youth leader. As requested by one of the youth, I made sure to not over cook the chicken.

So…
Out came my favorite platters and dishes.
Out came the focus of planning a meal again for more than just one.
Out came a happiness in my heart to entertain and show hospitality in my home again.
Out came the holding of hands as we prayed over the meal.
Out came the great conversation that people encounter when they share a meal and sit face to face.

When everyone left….
Out came the tears as I realized how long it’s been and the memories of a past season.

But, out came the realization that I get to do it all over again in a new way. Maybe my spouse won’t be with me at the table as I begin to break bread with others in my new place. However, God is still there. He will still be at the center as we gather. He will still be there when it’s just me and my plate. He will still bring the opportunities to share the gospel and fellowship. And for that, I’m extremely grateful and blessed. I look forward to the many meals and friends that I will get to share life with at the table in this new season.

Proverbs 9:1-6
Wisdom has built her house;
she has set up[a] its seven pillars.
She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
she has also set her table.
She has sent out her servants, and she calls
from the highest point of the city,
“Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
“Come, eat my food
and drink the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways and you will live;
walk in the way of insight.”

 

Dry Wood Come Alive

Saturday morning was glorious.  As I took my worship walk, I decided to climb a small mound that had been beckoning me since I first started walking that area with my dogs.

Going up, I felt as if I was starting my ascend at Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg. The dirt was a hue of red like a ball field, but with the sporadic growth of small vegetation.

A couple of Bible stories were running through my mind as I looked down to watch my footing and then back up to see where I was going.

First, I thought about Moses and the burning bush. Then, I thought about Abraham and Isaac walking up the mountain with the pile of wood on Isaac’s back.  Last, as I would see minature canyons cut into the earth from recent runoff, I thought about the valley of dry bones.

I was thoroughly enjoying a moment of peace and joy when a dead piece of wood caught my eye.  I back tracked, picked it up, and continued to explore the top of the mound.

I began to notice that there were a lot of these pieces of wood despite the fact that the vegetation growing near was small, scraggly, or ground cover.  It was after a few observations that God revealed to me a message.

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These pieces of wood use to be alive, however now they are dead.  In fact, they have been dead so long that they are dry.  But, in a moment of revelation it became clear, “Dead and dry wood is what is used to build houses.” It is a resurrection of sorts that actually brings more life because of what it holds inside.

So why did God share that with me today?

Because looking down at that dead dry wood reminded me of a situation I’m in.  Like When the Lord called Ezekiel to prophesize to the dry bones in the valley, he has asked me to prophesize to this situation and call it to come alive.  God will take the pieces of death and restore, resurrect, and renew all that was lost.

Ezekiel 37:1-14 New International Version (NIV)

The Valley of Dry Bones
37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

To God be the Glory,

Erica

Breaking Free

This morning I was praying for someone very special to me. While I was praying, I was seeing that person on a bed chained down. However, he would sit up and the chains that held him down broke off. But, the enemy’s hand came upon him fast and pinned him back down on the bed. The chains were back on and the enemy started whispering lies to him.

I started to pray that angels would block those lies and that the Lord would put his hands on that person’s heart and beat it back to life. Then when he would wake-up and sit-up again, he would reach out to embrace the Lord who was waiting with open arms and unconditional love.

As I journaled afterwards, I started to draw what I saw and asked, “What keeps the enemy from getting a hand in there to pin him back down?”

I asked that because I was seeing a vicious cycle: sit-up, chains break, pinned back down, and repeat.

The word STUCK kept coming to mind.

Although I was praying for someone very specific, the answer was applicable to everyone.

When we sit up from sin, we must embrace the Lord and accept His open arms and love. We can’t be afraid that we have messed up too much. We can’t sit up, but still let those lies lay in our mind. If we do, the enemy just pushes our body back down in the bed of his beliefs.

If we….
1. Sit up from sin
2. Leave the lies on the pillow
3. Quickly cling to the embrace and love of the Lord…..

Then, the enemy’s hand cannot get to us. There is no room between the embrace we have with the Lord. We must cling to TRUTH and LOVE. The enemy’s hand cannot squeeze in between us to separate us from our father. He is not that strong.

James 1:13-15
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Psalm 63:6-8
6
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
7
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.

To God be the Glory

God Gave Me a Stone

My dogs favorite thing to do is have time off the leash. This means they can run fast and crazy without bothering anyone.  It’s complete freedom and bliss for them, which also makes me happy to see.

A couple of weeks ago, we were doing our normal off-the-leash trek when I decided to cut through the grass to a nearby waterhole.   Once there, they did their normal swim and stick fetching until it was time to head back.

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As I was walking back across the grass, I stubbed my toe on something hard.  As I reached down into the uncut grass, my hand stumbled upon a sphere shaped object. Pulling it up for inspection, I found it to be a rock. I found this to be quite unusual. So when I got back to the street, I had to test it.  I threw that rock down hard to see if it would break like mud but it didn’t. Therefore, like all other times an oddity occurs in nature with me, I took it to be some sort of message from God.

As I walked back home, I tossed that rock up in the air repeatedly.  As I did that, a couple of things came to mind:

1. Heft-This rock has the perfect heft to throw far and do damage.

2.  Catapult-This rock would be perfect for a medieval sling that catapults stones to hurt the enemy.

3.  David killed Goliath with a stone.

4.  Jesus’ tomb was covered with a large stone.

When I got home, I looked up the definitions for heft and catapult.

Heft: the weight of someone or something

Catapult: a device in which accumulated tension is suddenly released to hurl an object some distance, in particular.

So what was the message…..

God revealed to me that this stone represented a burden I am carrying.  As difficult as the burden is, he told me the heft and heaviness is exactly what is need to create a deadly blow to the enemy.

My arm on the other hand is like a catapult that the stone rests upon. The heavier the burden/stone gets, the further my forearm will hinge back and down closing in towards my shoulder   However, like a catapult, it will only go back so far.    Eventually, the tension will build upon the hinge until it can go no further. At that moment, with unleashing force, the stone will be released causing a deadly blow to the enemy.

Therefore, the burden that I carry of what is dead, will come back to life.

To God be the Glory

 

 

 

Week 2 Altars and Offerings: The Golden Calf

This week’s study will focus on Exodus 32. Like last week, will start with gathering some background information befor jumping into Exodus 32.  Some of last week’s information will be beneficial for this week, but it required.

Like last week, a burnt offering is part of this story as well as a fellowship offering.  Of course there is the golden calf along with an altar that Aaron made

Monday: The Rest is History

1. Read Exodus 3:1-4 and describe how Moses was called, who called him, and what punctuation was used?
2. How did Moses respond?
3. Compare this to Abraham in week one and write down your thoughts.
4. Read Exodus 3:5-6 and write down the command God gave Moses.
5. Who does God say he is the father of and how does that make you feel after reading about Abraham and Isaac?
6. Read Exodus 3:7-11. Who is this about? What is he concerned if and why? What is he going to do? How is the LORD choosing to do this?
7. What is Mose’s response and compare it to Abraham’s response?
8. What mountain is Moses on and what mount did the sacrifice of Isaac take place?

Tuesday: There are Two Brothers

1. Read Exodus 4:10 and write down what Moses’ concern is and compare it to Isaac’s concern that he raised with his father.
2. How does the Lord respond to him in verse 11 and how did he respond in verse 13?
3. In verse 14 what feeling did the Lord have to Moses’ response and what solution did he provide for Moses’ insecurities? Write down the specifics of the arrangement and include why Moses is given the staff.
4. Read Exodus 4:22-31. Did God only speak to Moses?
5. Who did Moses and Aaron relay the message to and how did they respond?
6. Read Exodus 5:1-23. Write down what happened that caused the Israelites to doubt and question Moses and Aaron?
7. How does Moses respond and what emotion would you describe him having when he returns to the Lord?

Wednesday: Aaron Falters

To this point, we have gathered some background information that will help us get a more detailed picture on what is going on.

First, as we move forward, keep in mind that Aaron at times would speak for Moses. Therefore, his words would be respected. Also, since he was the face speaking, it would be easy for his face to be sought.

Also, remember that this situation is not the first time “the people” have had doubting seeds growing in them as something dragged on.

Read Exodus 32:1

1. How did the people approach Aaron? Explain how that would make you feel.
2. What are they requesting from Aaron?
3. How do they refer to Moses? At this point if the story, Moses has led them out of Egypt. Therefore they are no longer in slavery and bondage. What is your opinion about that?
4. Read Exodus 14:29-31. What did the Israelites do. Write your thoughts about the contrast of the Israelites trust in Moses in 14 to 32.
5. Read Exodus 20:22-26 and Exodus 23:20-25. What was communicated to the Israelites and how is their request in 32:1 complete disobedience and unnecessary?
6. Read Exodus 32:2-4. What is Aaron’s response?
7. What did Aaron do next and how is he being disobedient to the Lord’s request.
8. What did the Israelites declare when Aaron was done and how does it contradict to what we read in 14:29-31?
9. Read 32:5-6. What did Aaron do to try and rectify the mistake of making a golden calf?
10. What does Aaron declare will occur the next day?
11. What kind of offerings are to occur?

We learned about the burnt offering last week. A fellowship offering, which was also known as a peace offering, was the only one that the Israelites would get to partake in eating some of the meat.

12. After the presentation of the offerings, what did the Israelites do?
13. Write down the definition of revelry. What are your thoughts about the Israelites partaking in revelry after giving an offering?

Below is a link for more information on the fellowship offering.
https://bible.org/seriespage/4-fellowship-offering-leviticus-31-17-711-34-195-8-2229-30

Thursday: Moses Fixes

1. Read Exodus 32:7-8. How did the Lord refer to the Israelites when he spoke to Moses?
2. Why is the Lord upset?
3. Read Exodus 32:9-12. How does the Lord describe them now?
4. Describe the Lord’s emotions to the situation. Can you relate? Explain.
5. What does the Lord say he will do for Moses and how is this connected to the covenant he made to Abraham?
6. Read Exodus 32:11-14. Why does Moses plead for the Lord to not destroy the Israelites?
7. What details of the covenant does Moses remind the Lord that he swore to?
8. What was the result of that conversation?

Friday: Moses Sees for Himself

Read Exodus 32:15-19
1. What was Moses carrying and who made it?
2. What did Joshua and Moses hear as they were coming down the mountain?
3. At this point, Moses had only been told by the Lord that the Israelites had bee corrupt. He did not know exactly what was going on. What did Moses see and how did he react?
4. What did he do to the calf?
5. What did he have the Israelites do? How does the action reinforce that an image made of gold is not not a god?

Read Exodus 32:21–24

1. How is Aaron’s account the same and different compared to how it actually happened in 32:1-4?
2. What are your opinions about Aaron’s responses to Moses?

Read the rest of Exodus 32 to wrap up this week’s study.

 

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