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His work is honorable and glorious, And His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonderful works to be remembered…He has declared to His people the power of His works, In giving them the heritage of the nations…He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name. Psalms 111:3-4a, 6, 9

I’ve always been a snoop. I’m not proud. I suppose it’s just one more aspect of my sin-nature in which I was (am) proficient. When I was a kid for example, I’d stay home sick from (of) school and go through the house top to bottom just looking for interesting stuff to get into. I cannot begin to tell you of all the discoveries I made – some wonderful and some dreadful.

Anyway, one of the more fascinating times involved finding my dad’s scrapbook from when he was in high school. The very first entry was a May 12, 1940 Asbury Park Press Newspaper clipping recounting his baseball team’s state conference loss – their third straight. However, in that same game my dad hit a home run. The account read:

Russ Wells led off the fourth inning and tied the score for Asbury Park by parking one of Horvath’s fastballs in Deal Lake. It was a tremendous drive that carried into deep left center field and even if it hadn’t gone into the lake would have been a round tripper.

The lake must have been pretty far away because on the next page there was a May 9, 1940 account of another game where my dad hit an inside the park home run that didn’t reach the lake, but was so far out in left field he practically walked around all four bases.

Here’s an aerial shot of the Asbury Park High School as it looks today. By my rough estimate the map scale puts dead left field at about 400 feet.

Cool.

Years went by and I had essentially forgotten the story, when in a bar (I think) I heard a tale of when Babe Ruth had come to Asbury Park High School for some kind of exhibition baseball game and he hit a home run into Deal Lake on the same field my dad did. The person telling the story summed up with,

Nobody had ever hit a baseball into Deal Lake before and nobody has ever done it since.

Of course I chimed in with my fuzzy account of the 1940 newspaper clipping I had allegedly seen as a lad, but nobody believed that my dad had achieved such an inconceivable feat. I actually began to wonder myself.

Yesterday, while going through some of my dad’s things, I stumbled upon the old scrapbook and wouldn’t you know it, there were the articles, just as I remembered. Now all I needed to do was to verify the legendary saloon narrative I had heard years before. Searching the internet I soon found a couple of resources that helped solve the mystery.

According to two books: ‘The Big Bam: the life and times of Babe Ruth,’ by Leigh Montville and ‘Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig,’ by Jonathan Eig, the year was 1927 and Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were playing exhibition baseball games across the country. On this particular day in Asbury Park, they were playing the Royal Giants, a Negro League team. The game was bizarre in that spectators were continually streaming onto the field to acquire autographs from Ruth and Gehrig and to steal the baseballs as they were batted into play. Three dozen baseballs were brought to the game by the promoter and the game was called in the sixth inning when Lou Gehrig (not Babe Ruth) blasted the 36th (and last) ball into Deal Lake for a home run.

After a prolonged search, I could find no reference to this being the only home run to ever land in Deal Lake. At the end of my research, the only two facts I could confirm is that my dad, Russell Van Kirk Wells Jr. and Lou Gehrig both hit home runs into Deal Lake from the same baseball field at the Asbury Park High School, thirteen years apart.

What if…

Imagine for a moment if someone had come along, before the birth of these two great men and predicted the time and location of those events. The likelihood of that having happened would be like one in a gazillion, right? Oh well, even without a prediction or the verification of all the details, it’s still a nice fact-based memory to cling to. It just makes me grateful that God took the time and effort to authenticate all His facts, through fulfilled prophesies and documentation, so there would be absolutely no doubt as to who Jesus is, what He had accomplished, and what He continues to do.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

Amazingly, the Bible records over three hundred and sixty prophecies that pertain directly to Jesus Christ and so far Jesus has fulfilled over three hundred of them. In ‘The Case for Christ,’ the author Lee Strobel, (quoting mathematician Peter W. Stoner), reports that the odds of fulfilling just eight of the three hundred would be astronomical; the equivalent being one chance in one hundred, million, billion (that’s a one with seventeen zeroes after it). The odds for fulfilling forty-eight prophecies jump to a whopping 1 in 10 to the 157th power.

To help visualize the probability of one person fulfilling eight prophesies, Professor Stoner imagined secreting a marked coin in a pile of silver dollars two feet deep and covering the entire state of Texas. The odds would be likened to selecting the marked silver dollar on the very first try.

If we want an illustration for the odds of one person fulfilling forty-eight prophecies, Professor Stoner maintains that the silver dollar is now too large to make such a comparison; we would need to use electrons. Envision five hundred solid balls of electrons extending in all directions from the earth to the distance of 6 billion light years. Now put a check on one single electron and find it on the first attempt.

When we contend with these prophetic odds, appreciating that no fulfilled Bible prophesy has ever been successfully disaffirmed, we can logically accept the details as facts. The reality is that Christ fulfilled the predictions of His own birth, the place of His nativity, the time and manner of His death, the reactions of the people, the piercing of His side, His burial, His Resurrection, plus three hundred more. No proof has ever been proffered to dispute any of these claims. In fact, and according to all probability research, it would be impossible for anyone but God to accomplish this extraordinary accomplishment.

“The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27

Did my dad do what no other man, other than Lou Gehrig, had ever done? Could be. Maybe there were others. But we know Jesus did fulfill the three hundred plus things that were prophesied about Him.

Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:40-44
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For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8:18-19

A few days ago, a friend asked if I would share my testimony in a future blog. My mind immediately flashed back to a teaching I once heard from Pastor Chris McCarrick of Cornerstone Calvary Chapel. He essentially warned the group that our testimonies should not turn into brag-i-monies. I knew exactly what he meant because I had been guilty of that offense –placing too much emphasis on self, exaggerating sinful details to make it more interesting for your audience, and then only giving Jesus an honorable mention in the last sentence or two.

Glory be to Me

I have since been taught to keep my testimony simple and to focus primarily on what Jesus is doing in and through my life today. By design that helps me to keep tabs on my faith-walk, because, if I cannot respond to the question, What is God doing in my life today?” I have a critical situation that needs immediate attention.

So, the gory details that I once shared with everyone, I now only dole out as the Holy Spirit directs me. Now, if I have a divine encounter with an alcoholic or a drug addict, I may share with them how I was once a drunk and a druggie and how Jesus found and rescued me. If it’s a thief or a burglar, then I might relate how Jesus saved and redeemed me from those things.

Through these years, and to God’s glory, honor, and praise, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to communicate similarly with the suicidal and depressed, the abused and the abuser, the adulterer and adultery victim, the murderer, the lawless, the atheist, and the blasphemer.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

However, on occasion the Lord moves me to air-out a random memory or event. The remainder of this blog pertains to one such recollection.

Game Day

The memory is a little fuzzy: it was opening day for the 2008 church softball league. I recall it was an ugly affair: we lost something like 20 to 2. The reality is that our team loses a lot. Why? Well let’s just say that the other teams are usually better than us and leave it at that.

Back then I was in the habit of emailing my teammates a brief devotional the day after a game that focused on some spiritual component of the game. Driving home I had a sense that, given the game’s outcome, the subject matter would likely have something to do with humility.

Little did I know.

Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19

I walked into the house after the game and was met by my son who asked me how the game went. Before I could stop myself I blurted out,

It was awful. We looked like Jerry’s kids out there.”

I Know…I KNOW!

Before the words even left my mouth I felt the Holy Spirit’s conviction telling me not to say it. I ignored this prompting from the Lord and said it anyway. As soon as I finished the sentence I knew I should have kept my mouth shut. Not only had I sent a stupid message to my son that it is somehow okay to make fun of handicapped people, I disobeyed a direct command from the Lord telling me not to say it — two sins for the price of one.

I plopped down in a chair to think about what I might write for the post-game-devo, but my mind was blank. Later, when I went to bed, it was still blank. I prayed and I waited, but there was nothing. I was awoken in the morning by the Lord speaking to my heart.

Are you sorry?”

I knew exactly what He was talking about and before climbing out of bed, I apologized. Then God spoke again.

Go watch the video.”

Again, I knew exactly which video He was referring to, despite the fact it had been over a year since I last viewed it on YouTube. I couldn’t recall the title, but I knew since God was directing me, it would be easy to find.

It was.

The Video:


Looking back, I don’t remember if I ever wrote a team devotional that day. However I do recall how pitiful it is, when because of selfish disobedience and pride, I subject myself to having to learn the same lessons over and over. I’m also reminded that with each act of rebellion there are casualties — nails cannot be extracted without leaving a scar on the wood and seeds cannot be unplanted without disturbing the soil. Sin always has consequences and it is never victim-less.

However…

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness… My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness… 1 John 1:9 + Isaiah 61:10a

Oh, Blessed Salvation!

In Christ we are cleansed and are not haunted by past sins. Today, the events serve as reminders of Christ’s grace and mercy.  Glory be to God!

If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, if you want to be forgiven and cleansed, if you desire to have purpose and to be used by God, you can.

One by one, mull-over each of these verses:

  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
  • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
  • But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
  • That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your hear that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved…For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:9-10 + 13
  • Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 5:1 + 8:1

Finished?

There’s nothing to stop you from praying to God right now and receiving the promises of His word as your own. In your prayer sorrowfully admit that you have sinned against God and ask Him for forgiveness.

Are You Sorrowful?

And believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God Who died for you on the cross, rose from the dead, and is Lord. Call upon Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior.

Do You Believe?

Believing implies a willingness to submit to God’s authority and obey what He says in His word the Bible.

Are You Willing?

If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior today, praise the Lord! You should know that Jesus encourages Christians to make disciples (students), not merely converts. For that reason you should find a solid, Bible-believing church, attend and get involved. If you need assistance in finding a church in your area, I am more than willing to help you – simply make your request known in the comments section below.

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10

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Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Jamses 4:7b-8a

In November 2007, Tampa Bay Rays owner, Stuart Sternberg desiring to change the teams image dropped the word Devil from their name. One year later God (in my humble opinion) honors that decision and the ‘Rays’ go from worst to first in the American League East; losing to Phillie in the World Series was God’s way (perhaps) of keeping them humble.

Having said that, I believe the time is right for a major league name-change here too and propose that Jeffrey Vanderbeek, owner of the New Jersey Devils and current president and general manager, Lou Lamoriello drop the word Devils from their name.

A few years ago I recall being at the Meadowland’s Arena and cheering, “Go Devils, Go Devils!” I’m telling you I was convicted on the spot and left that game vowing to never utter that phrase again. I love a good hockey game, but I cannot with cleansed conscious root for the adversary, even if it is just a name.

Frankly, I don’t expect to gain much support, but that’s OK; I’m going to make the proposal anyway and pray for a good outcome: Let’s send a message to the NJ Devils to change their name. I further propose that our Christian radio stations (who have an obligation to report the sports and news) begin referring to the New Jersey Devils as “That hockey team from New Jersey” until a suitable replacement name is found.

What say you? Is this a case of legalism or doing what is pleasing to God?

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Behold, my eye has seen all this, My ear has heard and understood it. What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. But I would speak to the Almighty, And I desire to reason with God. Job 13:1-3

Although we are cautioned against it, Christians like to argue, contest, and debate other Christians. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, and they’ve done it. Probably because it is a component of our sinful nature, we feel the need to defend God and our position in Christ. I submit to you that these things do not need defense.

”But Dave…”

Doesn’t the Bible says, ‘Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching,’ in 2 Timothy 4:2; and doesn’t 1 Peter 3:15 direct us to, ‘always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.’

The Bible most certainly does prescribe these things, but please note that the 2nd Timothy passage begins with the exclamation, “Preach the word!” and the 1st Peter verse, “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” Sadly, when we enter into our doctrinal discussions, we tend to forget the simple admonitions: know the Bible and know your heart. As far as Zophar, Bildad, and Eliphaz (Job’s friends) were concerned, they knew very little of one and almost nothing of the other.

The Response

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

Job’s response should be our response, that is, “I appreciate what you boys are saying, but I can speak directly to Him myself.” Job’s remark didn’t imply that he knew everything that was going on, but that he knew enough to discern these guys had missed the mark with their counsel—Job wisely turns to the Lord.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

Please let it be clear that I am not proposing that we reject godly direction or fellowship—Heaven forbid. Rather that we would yield to the Holy Spirit when He reveals counsel has turned to conflict.

Those who regularly submit their hearts to the Lord for inspection (and correction) and abide in His Word, will clearly hear His voice when He speaks.

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21


 

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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And Jehoiada the priest gave to the captains of hundreds the spears and the large and small shields which had belonged to King David, that were in the temple of God. Then he set all the people, every man with his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, along by the altar and by the temple, all around the king. 2 Chronicles 23:9-10

What is a Trophy?

Trophies are the tangible proof; the irrefutable evidence of triumph. Consider Webster’s 1828 Dictionary definition: Among the ancients, a pile of arms taken from a vanquished enemy, raised on the field of battle by the conquerors…Any thing taken and preserved as a memorial of victory, as arms, flags, standards and the like, taken from an enemy.

Webster’s explanation seems to imply that trophies are less for the recipient and more for those who might witness their display—sort of like our testimonies. Think about that in the context of today’s Bible passage. Jehoiada the priest goes to the Temple and equips Judah’s army with King David’s trophies! These men were fortified, if you will, by the testimony David had left behind for God’s glory.

Is that not the purpose of a saintly testimony? Surely the testimony giver is blessed in the sharing, but isn’t it the hearer who is encouraged and empowered? Reflect upon that the next time you witness an athlete hoisting a trophy over his head. Were you in any way encouraged or empowered? Unless that contestant was glorifying God, the only one being elevated was himself.

God’s Trophy Case

Giving God all the honor, glory, and praise, King David placed all the trophies in the Temple, revealing that awards of this kind belong to God. Webster would likely agree for in his last entry (to his trophy definition) he writes ‘Present every hearer to Christ as a trophy of grace, ’ thus demonstrating that the trophy belongs to Jesus. Christians don’t receive trophies; we are the trophy, and accordingly we elevate Christ Jesus as champion.

So where are your trophies? Are they in the temple for all to see (and hear) or are they collecting dust? Let us endeavor to share them with others so that God can have victory in their lives too!


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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart (*perfect heart, KJV) and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.” 1 Chronicles 28:9-10

The Myth

Nike, the winged goddess of victory, is of course a myth, which is quite fitting since the philosophy behind the slogan “Just Do it,” (that we currently attribute to the modern day name), is also a fairy tale. Taken out of its biblical context, “Just Do it” minimally serves to set one up for ruin. However, in its proper framework, the phrase is the perfect tag for a most wonderful counsel.

The Math

As we read King David’s encouragement to Solomon, the numbers begin to add up. Inspired by God, David lays down a pattern for the boy king to follow, first acknowledging that the tried and true God of his fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is also his God. “If the God I follow were not genuine,” David might have said to his son, “I would have told you so!” Therefore David does proclaim, ‘Know God.’ The Apostle Paul would add…

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:8-11

Serving God

It might seem obvious, but it’s of vital consequence to recognize that we cannot serve God until we know something about God. It is for this reason David prescribed the order to be followed. Once we know, and as we are committed to knowing Him more, the church, both individually and corporately can more effectively serve Him. Performance flounders for those whose biblical and relational knowledge of Jesus is shallow.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1

A Perfect Heart

In the New King James version, the passage is rendered as serving God with a loyal heart, while the King James translation cites a perfect heart. The message being conveyed by both is that Christian service is not to be done half heartedly. Since the Father searches our hearts entirely and wholly comprehends our intensions, to bring Him less than all is pointless.

I will praise You with my whole heart… Psalm 138:1a

.Less of Me

David continues that we should seek Him…

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8a

And that we have been chosen by Him…

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you John 15:16

And that we have a house to build too!

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

How Do We Pull it Off?

When we talk about things like perfection, aren’t we over extending ourselves? You bet we are. As we read further along in 1 Chronicles 28 we discover that David gave Solomon the plans for the Temple that was to be built. Similarly, our Father has given us the pattern in His written word to pursue.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

David told Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God–my God–will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord,” and God tells us the same thing; we have the identical assurance.

He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6; 4:19

No Worries

God does not take away our ability to choose, so we can, if we desire, worry. But in light of God’s established promises (for those who believe on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior), why would we elect to waste precious time focusing on our anxieties–Jehovah Jireh is our provider and His grace is our sufficiency. We can know Him, whole heartedly serve Him, and seek Him resting in the reality that we have been chosen and thoroughly equipped by Him. Praise be to God!


These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

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Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp. So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. Exodus 33:7-11Moving Day

You gotta love Moses. The Lord just finishes telling him that He will not travel in the midst of camp, so what does Moses do? He moves his tent outside of the camp! Do we all see the lesson in this? As Christians we must be in that place where we can easily maintain our walk with Christ Jesus and if we find ourselves tabernacled where God is not we must re-pitch our tent. Having said that, we know God is everywhere, but we also know that some places are more conducive to an attentive relationship with Him than others.

Intriguing

What I found to be exceptionally insightful (as it pertains to the Exodus passage) is that anyone could have followed Moses, but out of the two or three million people, only one person did—Joshua. Everyone one else opted to stay at home. Israel was intrigued by the spiritual life, but never moved towards it–a behavior we witness today. There is a growing number of people who falsely believe they are in the faith, when all they really are is fascinated by it. Let us recognize that trait and move far, far away from it.

The Competition

…Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus… Hebrews 12:1b-2a

I want us to re-envision *Paul’s race-analogy. Look around…our opponents in this race are not our friends; they are not our brothers and sisters in the faith. The race we run is against our enemies and their goal is not our goal. While our objective is to finish the race, theirs is to take us out of the race by any means possible. As we pursue the finish line, the competition seeks to finish us.

The Relevance of Speed

In this race, speed has no relevance—honestly; we can walk all the way to the finish line. But know this: as we slow our pace evil catches up and if we stop altogether, evil surrounds us. We know (or we should know) that the opposition is powerless; he cannot inflict wickedness upon us, but the closer he is the louder his taunts. Our rivalry is not pleased when we stumble and fall, but when we fail to rise to our feet and complete the race. Our enemy does not want to kill us; he wants us to kill ourselves…and we do that when we accept that which he offers. So whatever the tempo; a crawl, a stoll, or a trot, keep moving towards Jesus.


*I am not dogmatic about it, and although know one knows for certain, I lean towards Paul being the author of the book of Hebrews

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Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. Exodus 17:1

The Feast of Tabernacles

The Feast of Tabernacles is a seven day celebration which commemorates Israel’s flight from Egypt and their subsequent forty year wilderness adventure. The truth of the matter is that God only intended this journey to last about one year, but because of faith-issues the mission was extended. For God, getting Israel out of Egypt was one thing, but getting Egypt out of Israel was quite another. Suffice it to say, the Lord brought Israel to seven separate campsites for the purpose of preparation and sanctification of His people.

Succoth

Succoth was the first stop and where the Feast of Tabernacles gets its other name: Sukkot (or the Feast of Booths). The word Succoth could be defined as ‘tent-town’ and for Israel the lesson of this place was that we are just visitors to this planet. The Bible reminds us that we are as sojourners and pilgrims, just passing through this world; pictured here by Egypt. In this our journey our Lord would remind us to maintain our Heavenly focus.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33

Etham

Etham was stop number two and it was located on the edge of the wilderness. It was an unwelcoming place, but the name Etham would remind them that God was with them. It was in this place God provided His guidance in the form of a pillar of cloud and one of fire that would safely lead them along the path

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b

Pi Hahiroth

Pi Hahiroth was essentially that place between a rock and a hard place; the two mountains of Migdol and Baal Zephon. With the Red Sea at their back, Israel was a vulnerable target for the pursing Egyptian army. The Lord purposely situated them in this place so that His power and His deity could be displayed for the entire world to see. The lesson of this campsite is that it has never been about us, but about Him. Believe it or not, God loves the Egyptian and would rather he be saved than destroyed

…For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

Marah

Marah was the place on the east side of the Red Sea where Israel found bitter water. God used this place to demonstrate His miraculous provision and by so doing gave us a picture of Christ’s work on the cross. The message is found in our acceptance of His provision found in His Son Jesus, for to the degree we accept what He has finished on the cross is to the same degree we will lack bitterness in our faith journey.

“Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Luke 8:48

Elim

Elim means mighty one and it is an oasis and a place of refreshment. The twelve wells and seventy palms speak to the Good News message and Christian service. In a peculiar yet godly way, as we share that which we have freely received there is a fulfilling replenishment. This is a work only our God can and will do—in giving we get back.

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

Sin

The Wilderness of Sin campsite was one of murmuring and dissension. In response God rained down upon His people manna so that no man had lack. Similarly, those who by faith have accepted Jesus Christ as the bread of life find satisfaction. In our flesh our tendency is to look back towards our worldly past and see it in a splendor that actually never was; in reality it was a desolate place. In our consumption of Christ Jesus we know contentment and have life.

For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. , John 6:33

Rephidim

Rephidim was to be the seventh and last campsite for Israel and it was in fact a rest spot; in many ways a picture of our Sabbath day of rest. No water was found here and God brings us to such a place so that we might thirst more for Him. It was here that God gave us a wonderful picture of Jesus our Rock. Like this rock in Horeb, our Rock Jesus was also beaten and from His side the water flowed. The Lord brings us to this place of craving so that we might more fully understand the Sacrifice that was made on our behalf.

Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

Spiritual Dryness

The truth is that we all find ourselves in one of these campsites at one time or another; after all we are pilgrims and sojourners. Identifying the camp we are in will better assist us in your spiritual journey. The worst thing to do is to leave the campgrounds before we are led out. The best thing to do is to relax and enjoy the lesson God has prepared for you, And oh yes–take notes.


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So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. Exodus 10:22-23It is my tendency to forget significant details of an event and recollect only the trivial minutiae associated with it. Such is the case of my visit to a cave when I was a child. I cannot recall how old I was, who I was with, or even where this alleged cave was, but one detail I do remember—the dark.

The cave-guide asked, “Who has ever seen true darkness?” He (or was it a she?) then went on to explain that on the earth’s surface we are never in total darkness; there is always light seeping in somewhere. Then she (or he) flicked the switch and plunged us into a kind of darkness the likes of which I had never seen—no pun intended. My five-minute experience was frightening. I suspect that the ninth plague imposed upon Egypt; the three-day, epidemic of darkness was abundantly more terrifying.

But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. Exodus 10:23

There certainly is measurable calm associated with having illumination and God saw to it that His people were so equipped. And for those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior we see that parallel in our lives—the correlation that exists between possessing His light and being at ease as we traverse an extremely dark planet. Since no person is born a Christian, everyone who is reborn can bring testimony of the fear and anxiety connected with the dark place they once resided.

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16

Not Going to Re-Invent the Light Bulb

It would be easy for me to rattle on regarding the issue, but why bother when God said it best in His Word. Consider these light passages:

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life…You are the light of the world…My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” John 8:12, Matthew 5:14, Matthew 11:30

Don’t make the gaffe of believing that God has provided His Light merely so that we might be comforted and at peace with the world. The fact that we are so blessed by God is because He is abunadntly loving, gracious, and merciful–God is able! He is the ultimate multi-tasker, able to both conduct His orchestra and bless His musicians simultaneously. But make no mistake about it; the purpose of the Light is to bring Him the honor, glory, and praise. It’s always been about Him and it always will be, so hold that torch high.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:29-31


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Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. Genesis 39:1-5

W. J. W. D.

What do I do when I find myself in an adverse situation—do I lament, “This isn’t fair, ” or proclaim, “why has this happened to me?” Do I arrogantly declare, “My talent is being wasted, ” or do I swear vengeance against those who have wronged me? And what would I do if I were in Joseph’s sandals? If anyone had the right to gripe, Joseph certainly did, but instead chooses a superior course to follow and in so doing expresses what Jesus would do.

Christian Prosperity

A whole lot of churches are getting the wrong message about prosperity. If the Lord elects to bless a person with worldly wealth, so be it, but in so doing God is not declaring that this is what (godly) prosperity is or that we are all somehow entitled to it (wealth). Prosperity is characterized not by that we possess, but by an attitude we express. In Joseph we see a man who is blessed by what he has been given and not grieved over that which he does not have, demonstrating that in the pursuit of God’s righteous there is satisfaction.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

A Blessing to Others

I like that the Bible records that as a result of Joseph’s behavior and attitude, that the Lord blessed Potiphar’s house as well. My mind immediately goes to the work-place—can my boss say of me, “This is the best employee I have ever had—whatever he does is a blessing to me, ” or do I let my feelings get in the way of my performance? Wherever I find myself, are those around me somehow blessed because of my obedience to God? In emulating Joseph we imitate Christ Jesus—let our focus be on His promise and His provision for His honor, glory, and praise.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God…If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Corinthians 10:31 & 1 Peter 4:11


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