How Then, Should We Live?

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?  
Who may live on your holy mountain? 
The one whose walk is blameless, 
who does what is righteous, 
who speaks truth from their heart; 
whose tongue utters no slander, 
who does no wrong to a neighbor, 
who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; 
and does not change their mind; 
who lends money to the poor without interest; 
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things will never be shaken.
Psalm 15

Contentment Found In The Strangest Places

It was just this past Sunday evening when it hit me, square between the eyeballs while I was kneeling on the floor of Little A’s room.  Sometimes she is awake for these prayers and other times not, but after we close the Bible, I’ll plant my knees on the carpet beside her bed and say a prayer, no matter how tired I am, how done, how ready I am to go to bed myself, I do this, and if you think about it, He was not to weary to kneel for us (Luke 22: 39-46).
I’m not going to kid you, I’ve been struggling with contentment, because after five years, things are a bit lonely, and no matter how many books you read by Elisabeth Elliot, you still want to slip your hand into someone else’s and look across the room and see them looking at you and have that conversation in bed at night before you fall asleep, it’s ok to be brave, but I think it’s even more ok to admit when you want somebody there, but this brings me back to the prayer, the one that Little A is awake for this time, and I just start thanking God for that particular day, a day to:
worship in His place
to serve
to be with friends
to be in nature
to spend time with family
With my thick skull planted into the short nap, I realized just how wonderful God is, it was pretty much the perfect day without me planning it or even realizing it at the time, it was amazing and I didn’t even know it until I started this prayer of thanks, so I’m pretty sure Ms. Voskamp’s got something going on here.
Go ahead, if it’s the end of the day where you are, get out a sheet of paper and write down all the things you did today, the things you were most thankful for and you’ll find that, no matter what you’re going through right now, God is still, very muchamazing.
Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.  Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.  Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.  Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he pronounced, O descendants of Israel his servant, O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones.  He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.  He remembers this covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac.  He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: to you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.  When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another.  He allowed no man to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings: “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.” Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.  Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.  For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.  Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place.  Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name.  Bring an offering and come before him; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.  Tremble before him, all the earth!  The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.  Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!  The the trees of the forest will sing, they will sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.  Give thanks to the Lord, for his is good; his love endures forever.  Cry out, “Save us, O God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, that we may glory in your praise.” Praise be to the Lord the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.  Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.”
I Chron. 16: 8-36

When You Are Feeling Overwhelmed

I’ve posted a couple of ideas on Moses recently, and wanted to share some further ruminations, particularly in a season of life where things have felt a little overwhelming.

After Little A and I concluded our evening reading in Exodus a few weeks ago, we read a footnote in her Bible that approximated the number of Israelites led out of Egypt to be 2 million.  Little A laughed and rolled back onto her carpet in the middle of her bedroom, “Moses must have been exhausted!  All that complaining and whining!”  Yep, for all you teachers out there multiply your classroom by about oh, 83,000 and there you have he nation of Israel, leading that crowd, not over, not under, but through the sea, and the whining started even before they could cross…God knew this was a lot for Moses, but God was with him, every day, all the time, fortifying him, just as he is with us, so if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with everything you’ve got piled on your to-do list (who isn’t?), or find yourself in a difficult relationship situation, I have a few suggestions from what I’ve observed reading about Moses:

1) Eliminate distractions: whether this means taking a little break from social media (what?!) or kindly declining a lunch invitation when you know you must, just do it, you’ll save your sanity. Time with God is essential to keeping your peace.  One of my Bible study leaders who came home after a successful career in academia to be a stay-at-home mom to her three children, joked that she had to start every morning on her knees to fortify herself against the troops.  We knew that she was only partly joking.  Motherhood is the front ranks.  Throughout Exodus and Numbers, we see the phrase, “Then the Lord said to Moses.”  We aren’t able to hear from him until we turn down the noise.

2) Step back and allow others to help you, better yet, ask for help. In the 18th chapter of Exodus, Moses gets a visit from his father-in-law, Jethro, they had a time of fellowship in which Moses recounted God’s goodness to his people, which resulted in feasting and sacrificing to the God of Moses.  The next day, “Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening.  When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”  Moses explained that he helps them to discern God’s laws and decrees when settling disputes.  But Jethro is a believer in delegation (a very wise man) and encourages Moses to teach them the laws and decrees, selecting trustworthy men and appointing them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens, having them serve as judges for the people.  Moses did just as he said, assigning judges to his people.

I realize I’m preaching to the choir here.  I hate asking for help, but whenever I do, I am very rarely turned down, as fellow believers, we are encouraged to bear with one another in love, this is an opportunity in service and in my case, a lesson in humility.

3) Remember that you are human–we all get angry, frustrated, sad, lonely and we make mistakes.  I’m not going to lie to you, the other day I got so frustrated I threw a chair, not at anyone or anything, I was just angry and picked up a large object and threw it on the ground.  Not a good moment for me.  I immediately went to my room and shut my door.  Yes, even at thirty-ahem, I still throw fits but try to go in my room and do it. When  Moses came down from the mountain, heard singing and dancing and saw that the people had set up a golden calf, he got angry, so angry, he busted up the tablets the Lord had written on (Exodus 32:19).  It’s ok, God redeems these things too.

4) There will always be haters, but God is the ultimate judge of any of our actions; in Numbers 12, we see the two people closest to Moses, Miriam and Aaron oppose him, they were upset that they couldn’t lead right along with Moses and used the subtext of him taking a Cushite wife as doing something outside of God’s law (there were no laws against marrying foreign women at this point):

Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked.  “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this.  (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)  At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the Tent of meeting, all three of you.”  So the three of them came out.  Then the lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam.  When both of them stepped forward, he said, “Listen to my words: When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.  But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house.  With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord.  Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”

Next, it says that the anger of the Lord burned against them, the cloud lifted from above the tent and Miriam was left there, leprous, she was confined outside the camp for seven days then brought back–and no movement by the nation was made until she returned.

Yikes.  As much as our human hearts are prone to speculation, we have to remember that God is the ultimate judge.

Any problems seem daunting right now?  Not sure how to even begin digging out?  The last several days of my devotions have concentrated on resting, abiding, so I’ll leave you with this verse from Isaiah 50:10: Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant?  Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.