Sunday, August 28, 2005

God said, I have come down

One of my favorite Bible chapters is Exodus 3 where God makes revealing "I" statements about himself to Moses. God chose Moses to negotiate with Pharaoh, and a contest between the gods of Egypt and I AM was scheduled.

First, God got Moses' attention, then Moses reluctantly enlisted. On that day, God made telling remarks about himself. He even used a visual aid, a flaming bush that remained verdant green. On that day, God appeared on Moses' path, and lit two fires, one in a green plant, one in the 80-year-old novice negotiator, Moses.

God's Resume as presented to Moses (Exodus 3 NIV):

vs 6-- I am the God of your father

vs 7--I have indeed seen the misery of my people

I have heard them crying

I am concerned

vs 8--So, I have come down

vs 9--the cry has reached me...I have seen...I am sending you.

vs 12--I will be with you

vs 14--I am who I am

vs 15--say to the Israelites, I AM has sent me (Moses) to you...I am to be
remembered from generation to generation

vs 16--assemble the elders of Israel and say to them...I have watched over

vs 17--say to the elders, I have promised to bring you up out of your misery

vs 19--I know the king of Egypt

vs 20--I will stretch out my hand and strike...with wonders

I will perform among the Egyptians

vs 21--I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward these people.

The same God still ignites fires in his servants' hearts today.

Monday, August 15, 2005

4,000 Reasons to Wake Up

"My plate's full" has come to mean a person's schedule is overbooked or they have all they can manage in their life. No more can be added. One more green pea on the cardboard Chinete plate and it'll fold up, upsetting the precarious balance.

When I ask friends, "How are you?" The all too common answer is "Busy." And it's the same answer I often give. Exiting the express way is tough. When life is lived in a trot, stepping off the treadmill can be difficult.

Jesus knew busy. I'm convinced he had a tight schedule--many wanted an audience: the chronically ill seeking cures, the dying wanting more of life, and those weighted by wrong-living seeking forgiveness. On one occasion Jesus taught a crowd for two days (Matthew 15:29-39). The men alone numbered 4,000, not counting the women and children. In an outdoor area, they probably camped out, sleeping on patches of grass and cloaks. During that second night, when Jesus heard the arthritic moans of sleeping people shifting their weight, did he think, "They're still out there."

The 4,000 were there when he went to bed, and when he woke up, they were still all around him. I believe when Jesus awoke on the third morning, and the thousands of men, women and children stretched, yawned and grinned at him, that he greeted God, his station in life, and the people with a smile.

I've had long to-do lists, but I've never awakened to 4,000 people waiting to see me. Two lessons about Jesus and this huge crowd helped me. First, Jesus didn't get flustered because the all the people still milled around on the third morning.

And this third sunrise, the impromptu campers were even more needy. Now, their stomach growled. And God supplied their needs. Before, when reading this story, I missed two important lessons. One is gracious-Jesus continuing to do the same teaching, healing, and even providing food on day three. The same Jesus ably assists his children who awaken to routine back breaking or heart taxing tasks for long periods.

For months, even years, some care for a family member with Alzheimers or another may work long hours to pay off debt. Jesus knows what it is like to wake up and be greeted by the same scene. He can and will give endurance and even ignite smiles in his servants.

I'm also impressed with Jesus' time investment. He focused on caring for people. In this modern age, just shuffling all the paper mail, receipts, documents and reading material is a never ending job. Add to the paper mania all the things we fuel, vacuum, wash and dry and one could spend every moment grooming inanimate objects.

Even though Poor Richard's Almanac said that fish and visitors smell after three days, Jesus greeted his 4,000 plus hillside guests with grace. Also, Jesus joyfully invested his time in the Father's business, because the Father's business was and still is people.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dissipating Millions

King Asa got bad news. An army of one million foot soldiers advanced toward his territory. Did he panic, twist his hands, rally his army, or get depressed? I don't know how he reacted physically or emotionally to the news of invasion, but I do know the decisive action he took. He prayed.

"O LORD, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O LORD, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!" (2 Chronicles 14:11).

Asa's prayer for aid against his enemies, gives me courage to call on God to help me. Millions are not surrounding me, terrorizing, but the chores on my list is numbering around 30. My situation is not life threatening either, but the same God who routed millions, can clear a path for me to have some down time, at home, to work hard and achieve order once again.

But, Lord, may I put a few conditions on my request? I don't want to be laid up with any broken bones or entertain flu bugs. I want my car drivable, just in case I need to go to Wal-mart. Oh, and I don't want any of my family to get sick and need me at home. That'd be awful for them to reap a virus because I prayed for deliverance. This list is getting out of hand. I'd best leave it in your hands.

Please be creative in helping me find more ways to get more done at home, so I can declutter the "million" objects in my home. God, I'm imagining the faces of Asa's army when they saw the enemy sprint toward their homeland. Please find it in your heart and will to help me throw out accumulated, unused stuff.

Then, could you put that same victorious look on my face? Please...