The Golden Calf – possessing 2

Let us explore further the reason why issues of ‘having’ caused the nation of Israel to

English: My Desk

English: My Desk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

backtrack so dramatically on all the vows they had taken before God.

When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” Exodus 24: 3

They had  promised to obey him and be His people just a month before and now they are reveling before a golden calf in idolatrous worship. (chapter 32)

We have considered the idea  that emptiness and lack of direction was felt by the nation due to the fact their leader (Moses) was away for 40 days and nights. This meant that the people tried to fill a leader sized hole with ‘doing’ and with ‘having’. The children of God were not used to making their own choices, having been slaves for so long, and the freedom they now experienced in wide open places caused an unease and insecurity. They tried to fill the new culture with the old ways. It is said that some wild animals are kept in cages for so long when they are released in the wild they will stay put in the cage because freedom is too daunting for them. We hear stories of prisoners so overwhelmed with freedom  and choice  they  re-offend in order to stay within the security of bars.

What if the ‘having’ things includes  people over you for feeling of security. They may be bars on your windows and locks on your personal doors of freedom – but they bring positions of security. This having secure positions means wanting labels for people so that we know who is who and what is what. We call people elders, pastors, evangelists, administrators, leaders, stewards, musicians and may give them badges such as lead musician, trustee etc. We are comfortable then with their label, we know we have all areas covered, we have people in the boxes we have put them in, the role they are now allowed to move around in, we  can understand how everything fits together. We have understanding, we have positions, we have control. Our labels link in with ‘doing’ – doing things for identity. I know that I ‘do’ the PA and that is who I am  – it gives us purpose, meaning, usefulness and sense of achievement.

What if church is to be organic, a family of people. If everyone has freedom to do what is on their heart  there are no boxes to contain people in or pedestals to put people on. There are no clear boundaries in which you have to adhere, a flow of heart connections and Spirit leading. What if everyone is free and powerful to do what is on their hearts?

In a culture of honour and serving there is no hierarchy, no patriarchy, no matriarchy and no uniformity. There is place for  clear leadership but this is done without labels at times – eg someone could lead worship from within the congregation without a stage, microphone or label. The shepherding and leading  is done from a foundation of serving and not from a place of control.  There are no power struggles as each family member honours gifting, call and freedom of others. There is no jealousy as each feels fully loved and accepted.

The onus is on people with anointing to lead well. This means that leaders cannot  rest on a label until they retire or lean on their position to feel that they have a right to make decisions or think they understand. In this organic family all have a voice, all are comfortable to express their gifts and those who are anointed for the moment are given room to clearly lead with deference in their serving. Jesus the King of Kings lead by example and serving – he gave people choices without persuasion.

For all of us it is a challenge to stay fresh in the Holy Spirit. To not just do the things we are on a rota for, or asked to do – but to be what we are. There is a difference between doing to gain acceptance and purpose, and knowing what your purpose is and just being who you were made to be. However eccentric, crazy or bazaar our anointing may seem to others we need to let the real us out. Let’s be who we truly are.

Today: Ask the Holy spirit to show you if there is anything you do to gain acceptance through what you do. Start by recognising your anointing and who you were made to be and start to deliberately to rest in who you are.

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The Golden Calf continued – possessing 1

When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain,

IMG_0334

IMG_0334 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt. Exodus 32:1

1.   Make us= doing

2.   Make us some gods = possessing

There are many adverts that tell me I cannot be fulfilled in life without owning an object or living a certain way. It will make me beautiful, glamorous, successful and desirable. I know that you know that. What constantly surprises me is how much this culture of ours has subtle ways of leaving its imprint on my life and affecting the way I think and live. Having spent two weeks in the Philippines around those who have nothing I realise how petty we are in the west and much time/money we spend on image and self promotion.

Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please.  I will give it all to you if you will worship me.”Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say,’ You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’  Luke 4:5-8

The Devil tempted Jesus to own/posses all the kingdoms of the earth. To have the authority – that sense of power in owning them. The Israelites wanted to own their own influence and rule by making gods. They would have the power in owning their own gods who would have to do as they asked. Idols move where you put them, they don’t speak back, they bring a focus in your life and they look good too.

Life isn’t about having – but about kingdom. Sometimes we mix up dreams of this world for a Godly vision. We want to have a nice house, good family, respectable job, success in what we do, children that are brought up well, cook well and live well – this is no different to the world. We make it sound like a vision but really it is an earthly dream – those in the world want to have all these things.

There is a different between heart desires and kingdom vision. Kingdom vision is supernatural and not of this earth. For example I am trained as a primary school teacher. I want to influence children and families to live well, to knit together community, to bring love to the children – most teachers would desire this this is not a heaven vision. A kingdom teacher with vision will want to bring heaven to the earth – to do God’s will in heaven as it is in the earth. What does this look like? Supernatural gifts of the spirit being used to bring love, peace, community, family, healing, release, binding up broken hearts etc It is the difference between wanting to have reputation and fulfilment against using all of heaven’s resources for God to be promoted and his will fulfilled.

How do I know what is precious to you? – your conversation will give it away. What is the chat as you walk? Is about what you are having for tea, who you are inviting around, what or does your conversation include kingdom talk, dreams, healings, revelation and heaven excitement?

Panic strikes! The Golden Calf is born

Dont Panic

Dont Panic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4 months into the journey and crisis hits! What is the dramatic news? Enemy attacks, drought, famine, pestilence? – no Moses goes up a mountain for 40 days. The people see him go up – but now don’t know what to do.

The people are learning to stand up on their own for first time. In Egypt they were always told what to do, where to sit, where to sleep – they had no choice of there own. Moses then led them with a strong arm out of Egypt – they followed him and his faith in God. Now they have been left on their own with their own thoughts, time on their hand and choices to make. Panic strikes!

When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain,they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt. Exodus 32:1

Why did the people struggle so much?

In the next few days we will unpack what it was that caused this crisis and how we can learn from it. We will draw parallel with Jesus time in the wilderness. It is interesting that even the Son of God has his training time in the wilderness. A time where God called him close for intimate, undistracted fellowship.

1.        Make us = doing

Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’ Luke 4: 3&4

The Devil was saying to Jesus “Don’t just sit there Jesus listening to Gods words spending time with God – do something”.

The Israelites were bored from spending day in day out working until the dropped – now they have so much time on their hands. They felt useless, a spare part, not valued because they were not doing something.

Doing is where I have found solace sometimes. I can  find or hide myself in doing. I can find on days when I am angry, upset or confused that I just want to clean and tidy – or do something to distract myself. Do I measure my self worth on what I achieve. I have notice that when people greet each other they ask “What have you been doing?” The underlying message is “How have you demonstrated your usefulness? What have you achieved? Are you worthwhile? We give labels we give ourselves as doers as this adds meaning to our life – I am a gardener, a cleaner, a children’s worker, a steward etc.

Business is not godliness. We were made for spending time with God throughout the day– not meeting God in meetings. If we can’t fit time in our day to meet with our Father then we are doing something wrong and need to adjust our lives. We were made to be children of God, to be new creations, to be lovers of God

Today: think soberly about your life. Do you find identity in what you do or do you find your identity in the presence of God. Make sure that being with God is prioritized over doing.

Presence of God

English: Crop of File:Souvenir Seller - Moscow...

English: Crop of File:Souvenir Seller – Moscow – Russia.JPG focusing on woman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been struck recently as to how ordinary most days are for most people. We try to fillour lives with exciting moments – but our every day life can be mundane. I wonder how ordinary it must have been to wander around the wilderness. There must have been a lack of fun places to go, things on tv to watch or coffee places to hang out in. This is why when God shows up the ordinary day turns into something amazing

On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled.  Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently. Exodus 19:16- 18

In the middle of the empty landscape God comes down and it was rather dramatic! Thunder, lightening, billowing smoke, earthquake – what a sight. I don’t think you could have missed God’s entry into the Israelite camp even if you were the doziest of folk!

Here comes God letting all his people know that shop is open, he is town, the show is on the road and He is in the business of spending time with his people. Tragically the people did not want to spend time with God.

When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear. And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!” Exodus 20: 18&19

The people had become so fixated on the mountainside dramatics that  they had forgotten the tender words of the Father holding them and loving them. God comes as a Father with power. This is who He is. Let us not be so desiring the big experiences, the healings, the manifestations that we miss the Fathers face and His voice. Both come together. The gentle loving Father full of power and wonder.

We sometimes hide from God when he comes to speak with us face to face. Just as Adam hid in the garden afraid to face up to God it can be due to feelings of guilt, shame, having let him down and thinking we are inadequate. Sometime it can be afraid of the demands we feel he will put on our life or of feeling unworthy. But He is the one who calls us by our name, holds us close and  carries us when we are weak. He only wants the best for us and to help us in our troubles. We need not fear his response to our mistakes, failures or lack – He only has compassion and love for us.

God calls us up the mountain and wants us to come to meet with him. Spend time with him. Share heart with him. He turns the mundane walk of life into something else! The ordinary becomes exciting, the intimate becomes powerful, the plain becomes a wondrous adventure – 3D into 9D!

Today: Ask the Holy spirit to show you if there are any hindrances in your life that stop you freely talking to God face to face. With his help deal with these issues.

We are the Prophetic Message

 

Gan Eliezer, Rehavia, Jerusalem

Gan Eliezer, Rehavia, Jerusalem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a strange man. Eating locusts, dressed in camel hair, no wife, no kids, no house – what was he thinking?  His name was John the Baptist. He was a man declaring that there was something coming far more important that this life, these pleasures. He showed his message in his life he lived.

Moses second son was prophetic too – by the name he carried.

Exodus 18:4 Eliezer – which means ‘God was my helper, he rescued me from the sword of Pharaoh

Moses sent his wife and 2 sons off to stay with Jethro (his father in law) to keep them safe. This was sometime before the Israelites escaped from Pharaoh. One month into the journey around the wilderness and Moses sees his children and wife again. What a fantastic re-union. How he must have missed them. Moses tells them all that has happened and about the amazing miracles God did – the way he helped them cross through the sea.  Eliezer heard all about his name being fulfilled. He understood who he was. He had found his identity.

The name of his son shows what faith Moses had that God would rescue the Israelites. Even before the mass exodus Moses named his son “he rescued”. This was a brave step to stake his belief so clearly in the name of his child. Everyday when Moses looked at ‘he rescued’ he must have wondered when his freedom was going to come.

Jethro is delighted at the testimony Moses brings.  He sees the hand of God in all that had happened. The testimony takes him to the presence of God in worship. Aaron and all the elders feast in God’s presence.

My name means noble and for years I only felt shame. God brought me out into a place of freedom where I saw his grace on my life and I understood who I was. I discovered my identity as a noble princess of the King. It is something that I am still discovering and coming to an understanding of. As I change and tell my story I am the message. I rub off God’s love and goodness into other peoples’ hearts.

Your story (testimony) of all that God has done for you will turn peoples hearts to God. You will cause them to desire a relationship with God. Be generous in sharing your story around.

Today: What does your name mean? Feel free to adopt a prophetic name that you see being fulfilled. Eg loved of God, free son, adventurous daughter etc Share your story with someone today and be the message to them.

Father who loves to walk (with us)

Get your boots on! We are off for a walk. It will take effort but you will see and hear things

holding hands, se 39th ave

holding hands, se 39th ave (Photo credit: cafemama)

to delight you on the way. The birds singing, squirrels scurrying and the trees whispering to one another. It will make you feel alive and your heart vibrate with life!

I love walking. I feel close to God when I walk. I have been learning, however, that he enjoys walking with me also. In fact He has called me out of bed recently to go on a walk because His heart is to spend time with me. I have been shocked some mornings by His excitement.

 Ex 17:1 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, travelling (walking) from

place to place as the Lord commanded.

Nehemiah 9:12 By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take.

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, what is good. To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

One of the first things we see God doing with mankind in Genesis is walk and talk with them. He would spend time with Adam and Eve wandering around the garden.  How does a spirit God walk? Has he special legs? Anyway, it seems that He still likes walking with us. He likes to wander with us through the paths of life keeping a conversation of intimacy open. He does not ask us to journey or adventure alone – He is with us all the way. He is in not rush to be anywhere – he is just enjoying your company.

He will even walk with you (escort you) for a good night out. Perhaps a feast in a great hall. He just wants to be with you – because he loves you.

He escorts me to the banquet hall;

  it’s obvious how much he loves me. Song of Songs 2:4

Today: Perhaps go on a physical walk with the knowledge that God walks with you.  Or sit down with God. Make an effort not to pray but just enjoy his company.

The Father’s Passion

I have been touched recently by the story of the Israelites’ exodus as written in Psalms 78.

Fathers Love

Fathers Love (Photo credit: lachicaphoto)

The story is written in a poetic form and quite different from the account in the book of Exodus.

As I read this chapter I heard in this retelling of the story the heart cry of a Father for his children. What a tragic story.:a Father who takes his kids for some time out. He wants to share his story with them, connect with them and love them – but instead they constantly bicker and blame him for everything.  You can see through the verses the way the Father cares, provides and nurtures his children. His desire was that they would trust Him. He didn’t want lip service (verse 36) He wanted a heart connection with them.

Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland. Psalm 78:40 (NLT)

This verse is so full of grief as a result of their rejection of Him that I could feel his tears falling. Their rebellion, indifference and lack of trust saddened his heart. He desired a heart change but “again and again” they test their patience.

  • They did not remember his goodness :42 & 43 

Do we remember and count all the good things he does?

  •  They rebelled :40

Are our hearts soft and responsive? -not cynical or angry.

  •  
  • They turned their backs V9

Do we refuse to accept all that God is trying to teach us?

  • They fled on the day of battle v9

Do we back down out of doing the things we are called to out of fear and self preservation?

  •  
  • They did not keep covenant  v10

Do we obey him and take seriously the fact that he is Lord/boss in our life?

  •  They tested him with demands v18

Do we place blame on God when things don’t go well and expect Him to cause everything to turn out right?

  •  They spoke against God 19&20

Do we criticize the way God is moving, changing things or the way he chooses to use different people?

Today: Read the list slowly of ways the Israelites tested God’s patience and ask yourself is there any changes you need to make. This isn’t to make God love you – he couldn’t love you any more than he does already – it is so that you can learn to stay responsive to the Father’s heart.