Friday, February 20, 2015


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When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness." And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." (Exodus 14:10-14)

How little faith we have in the Lord when we find ourselves backed in a corner! How soon we forget all He has done for us and the great deliverance of our souls through His own blood that was shed for us! When we are backed in a corner with no way out, we need only remember the cross, and the love that was proven there, and to trust His hand and wait for Him to act in His power and glory. There was no way out for Israel but to go forward. But first they had to "stand still" and wait for God. Through every hardship He will be glorified in our lives as we trust in Him. "What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?" Egypt is symbolic of the world. Jesus saved us out of the world to make us His own, through His blood. Yet we doubt His hand in our lives when trials come. Some even look back to their old life which was a hard task master yet which seems "easier" and more pleasant than the testings of the Lord. We have to choose Egypt or our Lord. We cannot stay in Egypt and please our Lord. When we try to hold on to both, the Lord has to move us and show us we cannot. It's not possible.

These Israelites were not in this position of danger because of sin in their lives or disobedience but because they were doing exactly as the Lord had led them to do, after He miraculously delivered them out of Egypt by taking the firstborn of all the Egyptians and saving them through the blood on the doorposts shed by the sacrificial lamb. Sometimes we can be walking according to the Lord's will in our lives yet everything suddenly seems to come against us and attack us. We find ourselves in an impossible situation, and we question whether or not we did the right thing. Obedience did not make everything better right off! Did we somehow miss God? Was all of this just our own bad judgment that led us to these circumstances? Now we're in a trap with no way out! Wish we had stayed where we were! At least there we were at peace and comfortable and had good food etc. Now what?

Yes, we can in some ways avoid hardship if we stay in our comfortable place and don't move forward with the Lord. Yes, we can many times find more happiness in our lives even, if we fail to move forward where the Lord wants to take us. Yes, we can avoid danger and persecution and hardship, and toil, and lack in our lives if we stay in our comfortable place of security and pursue that rather than God's will and the path He would lead us on. But when we do, we miss God. How much of God do you want? How much of Him do you want to know? Maybe your content with just enough of God to allow you to keep hold on your life in this world and all its pleasures. But that's just enough of God to make you miserable really. Maybe you don't care if you grow in His love and fellowship and maybe you don't care to know Him intimately. Your eyes are on Egypt. You want to keep God but stay in Egypt. You want God to just make life in Egypt a bit more comfortable for you and keep those Egyptians appeased so they leave you alone.

Israel cried out to God for deliverance, yet the deliverance they wanted was one of their own imagination. They didn't necessarily want to leave Egypt. They just wanted to be comfortable and prosperous and at rest in Egypt. But God had other reasons for delivering them. He has other reasons for delivering us. Israel was being called out of Egypt altogether so that they might worship God and serve Him. We as His church are called out of this world to be a peculiar people, to be His own possession, and to belong to Him.

you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:9-11)

He is preparing us for Heaven itself, and an eternity in His holy presence. Imagine! He calls us to something so much higher than we want for ourselves! Even in the times of impossible circumstances, backed in a corner, surrounded by enemies, He has a plan, and will show Himself powerful in our lives and on our behalf when we are given to His will. We may have to go through many chastisements to free us from the love of this world and trusting in that. But through all He is drawing us to a perfect rest in Him in a promised land flowing with milk and honey. The longer we hold on to this world, the longer it takes for our travel through the wilderness. Until we are freed from clutching to our security and comfort and pleasures here, we are not free to walk in the security and rest of all He has provided for us. The most miserable Christians are the ones who strive to hold on to this world and have their own way in it - those who cry out to God for freedom, but not to the place where He alone wants to take them. Instead of striving and crying out to God to get what we want in Egypt, we must let go entirely of Egypt and let Him take us where He wants us to go. At first, we must go through the wilderness, many times, before we get to the promised land.

The world tells us, "follow your dreams!" Israel was wanting deliverance from the bondage of Egypt only to follow their dreams in Egypt. But do we have the wrong dreams? When we let go of all our dreams in Egypt, and trust in God as our life, He can give us joy and contentment in any circumstance we find ourselves in.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)

Paul learned this, not because of always being in cozy circumstances, being warm and well fed and well provided for. He learned it while being shipwrecked, imprisoned, beaten, persecuted, hounded by false believers, etc. He learned to walk in faith by the Spirit, and trust that God would always provide where He led, and would always be His portion, no matter what the lack in this world. And whether or not he lived or died, he knew that to live was Christ and to die was gain.

He had no selfish pursuits in his life. All was loss for the sake of Christ. This is not something only Paul could attain to. It is not some unreachable goal only for apostles and super saints. This is the life of a true believer free of this world and trusting in Christ on the Heavenward path He has called us to.

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"? (James 4:4-5)

For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:16-19)

But God has a rest for those who are His by faith in Christ Jesus alone, who have no confidence in the flesh, and have ceased their own striving. It is a rest of faith in His finished work. Even as Christians we can miss that rest in Him by our unbelief and our looking to Egypt. Our walk must be a walk from that resting place, and in that the Lord is able to conquer all of our flesh and do all of our battles. As we rest in faith, His power is able to work on our behalf bringing deliverance again and again, and to work through us and for us. Israel had to stop at the red sea and put their faith in God and know that just as surely as He led them to the red sea with Pharaoh and all his army behind them seeking their destruction, that He would lead them through it safely onward to all He had for them.

What is your "red sea" today? Whatever it is, don't question God's purpose or His bringing you there. Don't question His will for you or His power? Rest in faith in His love for you, that love He proved to you just shortly ago when he demonstrated it in His own blood on the cross, giving up Himself to be the sacrificial lamb for your sin, freeing you from eternal destruction. Can you not trust that the One Who would do that, would also then have a plan for you and lead you carefully, watching over you and meeting your need at every turn until it is time for your finally being taken to be with Him forever? There's no turning back on this journey. There's no staying in Egypt. Jesus won't stay there with you. He wants to take you with Him, out of Egypt, once and for all.

Abba, open our eyes to see and understand the wondrous plan You have for us, and the glory You have for us! How amazing is Your love!!! It will never fail. Teach us to look for no other deliverance but that which You alone would work for us, for Your purposes alone in Christ Jesus. Amen.

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


To listen to an audio version of this devotional, click here (to save it, right click and click "save as")

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. (Psalms 16:5)

Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. (Psalms 73:25-26)

I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. (Psalms 142:5)

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. (Lamentations 3:24)

Portion: A part assigned; an allotment; a dividend. (Webster's 1828 dictionary)

The Lord is my allotment, my inheritance, my assigned part, my dividend. How easy it is to say that yet, we don't really discover that fully until we are at the end of all else in this world, and we see the things we have in life that bring pleasure, happiness, comfort, prosperity, for what they really are. They are fleeting, and we can have them one day and lose them the next. How futile it is to live for them. How foolish to spend one's life striving to have all these things, to think that our own hands and hard work alone has brought them, and that the same can keep them. If God hadn't given even unbelievers the life, the strength, and the means, they would have nothing, yet they don't give thanks to God. That's expected of the world - those who don't believe in God, but how sad it is when His own children still think their portion is what they can have in this world and God is their "genie" in a bottle they must learn to rub the right way to get those things.

The trials and losses we experience in this life have a strong affect on us to cause us to realize what our true portion is as His children. It causes us to let go more and more of what we have in this world, trusting only in Him. He knows, of course, what we need in this world to live, and what is necessary for our well-being. Yet He knows also that He alone can be our true portion, and how we lose out on realizing that when these things take His place in our lives as that.

What does it mean that the Lord is our portion? As a wonderful sister in our church always says, "What does that look like?" I found this little quote from Jonathan Edwards sent through Grace Gems this morning that touched my heart.

"The LORD is the portion of my inheritance!" Psalm 16:5 The redeemed have all their good in God. God Himself is the great good which they are brought to the possession and enjoyment of by redemption. He is the highest good, and the sum of all that good which Christ purchased. God Himself is the inheritance of the saints; He is the portion of their souls. God Himself is their wealth and treasure, their food, their life, their dwelling place, their ornament and diadem, and their everlasting honor and glory! "Whom have I in heaven but You? And I have no delight or desire on earth besides You!" Psalm 73:25

The glorious excellencies and beauty of God will be what will forever entertain the minds of the saints. The love of God will be their everlasting feast. The redeemed will indeed enjoy other things; they will enjoy the angels, and will enjoy one another. But that which they shall enjoy in the angels, or each other, or in anything else whatsoever, which will yield them delight and happiness--will be what will be seen of God in them!

"You are my portion, O LORD!" Psalm 119:57

All that we enjoy here in this earth is all the more enjoyed truly when we see God as our portion. When we are once freed from them as our portion, and God becomes truly seen as our portion, other things take their rightful place in our lives. We can enjoy them and we can let them go. We can still have peace and joy in Him when they are taken from us. We can truly love one another without making selfish demands on one another to be something for us they cannot be. We can love unselfishly without trying to make another human being what only God can be to us. When God is our portion, we are free. Though we suffer loss, and yes, we will feel the loss in our fleshly bodies of those things our bodies need for comfort, health, and wellness, we will still find ourselves free in Christ knowing we have an inheritance waiting for us, that we have His presence never to leave us or forsake us, and that we have Him forever. We know that even the worst this world can do to us cannot harm us or take away our portion with Christ. If we suffer with Him we will also reign with Him.

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:17-18)

I've been reading a blog written by a woman who is dying of cancer called Mundane Faithfulness. Everyone should have the opportunity to be with someone at the end of their journey with Jesus in this world. Each day as she fades more from this life, she is finding more and more what her "portion" is and to cherish the love God has given her, and to show it in as many ways as she has left to show it to those around her, and also to receive it from them. When my own sister was dying of cancer, I also learned to see how God had brought her to see He Himself as her portion. We don't have to be on our death beds before we see this. We can look to Him right now and say, "You alone, dear Lord, are my portion. This is the truth. Help me daily to see that and to trust that, and to live that." God is faithful. If we truly want to know Him in our lives as our portion, He will help us to see it and to know Him as such and to walk in that wonderful light and love and everything else in our lives will have new meaning. Our motives for all we do and every decision we make will be changed. Our prayer life will change. Our relationships will change. By abiding in Him as our portion, the fruit of our lives will change. It will be good fruit...the fruit of the Spirit.

Don't wait until tragedy or sickness strikes and you are reduced to having nothing left of which to cling to in this world to turn to Him as your portion. Look to Him now and learn to trust Him as your portion even now. He is a God Who rewards those who diligently seek Him.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

If you don't feel that "diligence" or motivation to seek Him, and life is filled with distractions that pull you away from that, ask Him for it. Don't wait to feel it. Just ask Him. He knows how weak we are, and He knows how easily life can throw distractions and things our way that seem so important, so immediate, so pressing on us. Funny how when there is a tragedy, or sickness comes, we can easily put all else aside and will deal with that one thing. But there is no greater tragedy, or sickness, or loss in our lives than a loss of our relationship and fellowship with God. There is nothing more immediate that we must deal with when we see that it is suffering greatly because of our busyness or the cares of this life. The first step is to come to Him in repentance, asking Him to lead you to His fountain of living waters, to stir up again in you that desire and hunger and thirst for Him, and that He would enable you to find Him as your daily portion and life.

He is only truly our joy, when He is our portion in this life now.

Dear Father, help us to see the truth of this world around us, the truth about ourselves, and the truth about You. Help us to see the portion You have allotted for Your children, and the treasures they are missing, and teach us to claim our true portion in You! Help us in every situation to pray, "Lord reveal Yourself to me as my portion in this and reveal Your glory in it." I ask this in Jesus name, through His blood, and by His grace, amen.

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.