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.

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.

The rock with a tap?

Who on earth would have expected this? – it is like a Harry Potter film. How did flowing

Old Razorback Mountain at the Black Rock Desert

Old Razorback Mountain at the Black Rock Desert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

water suddenly appear out of a dry rock. Not just a little dribble but enough for a whole nation to drink, bathe, cook with. In other words a gushing stream.

 Ex 17 :6 I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai.Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.

 1 Corinthians 10:4 and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.

On this adventure we are going to see some strange sights. Sights that will make our eyes pop out of our heads. Things that will make no sense our your brain but every sense to our hearts.

We know there is one that travels with us. He is a rock. He is Christ. This rock not only has the normal characteristics of a rock being solid and dependable, a sure foundation but also has heavenly surprises   Even in the hardest, driest place this rock travels with us so we know we are safe and then the rock overflows with water to refresh our thirsty souls.

Today: In the heat of today, in the hard parts of this week turn to the rock and know you are secure. Then drink deeply refreshing waters that flow out of Christ

Morning by Morning

Exodus 16:21 they gathered the food morning by morning

Cock-a-doodle-doooooo!

Cock-a-doodle-doooooo! (Photo credit: Ian A Kirk)

 Lam 3:23 great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning

Was it a coincidence the manna started off like refreshing dew? I don’t think so. It was a sign of his fresh faithfulness each morning. His mercies lying on the ground. They had to go out and gather the overflow of blessing and goodness. Some would have landed around their tent but most of it they would have had to make an effort to reach out and gather

I would like to be aware of the fresh faithfulness and mercies of God falling around me all the time. Some are within arms reach – obvious blessings. My house, my health but some are further out to look for; new friendships, fresh success, new opportunities. These blessing I have to reach out and gather.

I am challenged over the number of blessings that fall around me that I miss. That sunset laid out in the sky for me, the bird outside my window singing for me, the smile from a friend made for me, the warmth of my socks, the crunch of gravel on the path, the embrace of a daughter, the lift in a piece of music, the droplet of rain hanging off a leaf, the smell of bacon in a pan. These are all an extravagant love gift from my Father that were given me fresh this morning.

Do we feast on the goodness of the Lord every day because we have gathered in his faithfulness into our heart ? We have been aware of his fresh blessing morning by morning and have taken them as precious mercies into the storehouse of our souls? To do this we have to be turned onto the overflowing gifts that fall around us all the time.

The feast we eat is set in the midst of our enemies Psalms 23 is the goodness that falls around us. He shows those who conspire against us that there is a feast of mercy and goodness for us to partake of. This abundance of love laid out for you is for you to enjoy, savour and imbibe.

The feast of manna  in Exodus 16

  • v13 Wet like dew – refreshes the soul
  • v11 Like bread – food for the soul
  • v11 You can eat all you want – satisfies
  • v31 Tastes like honey – is good and sweet

 “Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!“

  Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

    “Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Thomas Chrisholm 1923

Today; Spend time being aware of the blessing that Father God is giving you fresh morning by morning. I have even started a notebook to gather my blessings in so that everyday I am  being aware of his lavish love for me – perhaps you need to start one too 🙂

Every adventure needs a compass

I love walking – especially in the hills with my collie dog, Gemma. There are not many times I venture away from walks that I know well and so I am not very used to using maps – but I do know how to use a compass. Compasses are fairly straight forward once you know  where you are and where you want to go. There are 4 basic choices – North, South, East and West. On this journey God is taking us on how do we know which direction to walk?  – we use a compass.

Let’s look at the compass the  Israelites used.

Compass

Compass (Photo credit: Roland Urbanek)

He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.” Exodus  15:26

The four points on this compass are

  • Listen to His voice
  • Do what is right
  • Do what He ask
  • Let him heal you

When you use a compass the first thing you need to work out is where you are and where you want to go. God asks the children of Israel what their intentions are? Why are they on this adventure? How will they know where to go?

Adventures are  tough. They will push you to your limit, but on the way you will see some amazing sights. At times you will wonder what on earth you are doing and why you are putting yourself through all this. It is important to know why you are setting off, who you are journeying for, who is travelling with you and how far you are prepared to travel.

If you are travelling on this adventure what are your intentions? Why are you setting off? Who are you journeying with? Who is travelling with you? How far are you prepared to travel? How will you know where to go?

Today

  1. Listen to my voice – make it a priority to spend time listening to God
  2. Do what is right – pay deliberate and thoughtful attention  to what you are learning and how you need to apply it
  3. Do what I ask –  decide that no matter what he asks you trust him enough to radically obey
  4. Let me heal you – open your life to God and allow Him to heal you mind, soul, spirit and body