Friday, June 28, 2013

The Readjustment of the Work Load is Implemented

Scripture: Exodus 18:24-27

So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said. Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. They judged the people at all times; the difficult dispute they would bring to Moses, but every minor dispute they themselves would judge. Then Moses bade his father-in-law farewell, and he went his way into his own land. 

Insights:  Today’s verses tell us that Moses took the advice of his father-in-law Jethro.  Scholars have debated over the years as to whether God allowed Moses to make this adjustment or whether God ordained for Moses to implement these changes.  I believe verse nineteen and twenty-three destroy such a silly argument.  In these verses Jethro stated the following phrases, “…and God be with you….” and “…God so commands you….”  From what we know about Moses, we know that he would not have implemented anything without first having approval from the Lord God.  It is implied through these two verses that Jethro also told Moses to get confirmation from the Lord.  Once Moses had received it, he did the only appropriate thing: he obeyed the command of God.  When we have heard from the Lord in regards to the area of adjustment we need to make, we must respond like Moses and obey.  Warren Wiersbe wrote, “In this rapidly changing world, Christian ministries must be flexible if they are to solve their problems and seize their opportunities.  The emphasis in the Bible isn’t on organization as such but on the kind of organization that involves qualified people who get the job done.  Self-defeating organizations embalm their structure and refuse to change.  The ministries that God blesses are open to change, so long as the principles of God’s Word are obeyed.”  Beloved, the world is indeed changing and we need to change with it in order to reach the lost world.  Hear me clearly; however, I am in no way suggesting that our message change.  Salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone, period!  The methodology, however, needs to be adjusted.  We need to again follow Moses’ example and go to the Father and ask Him what we ought to do.  After He has spoken to us, then we need to obediently respond with, “Yes, Lord, Yes!”  May our adjustments bring glory to the Lord God. 

  1. Is there anything holding you back from implementing the necessary adjustments in your life?
  2. Are you willing to be flexible, without compromise on the gospel, to reach the lost world?
Prayer: Father, You have a perfect plan and I desire for Your will to be done here on earth as it is done in heaven.  May any obstacle in my life that might prevent me from serving You be demolished and let me implement the necessary adjustments You have called me to take.  Amen.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

We Readjust the Work Load for Peace

Scripture: Exodus 18:23

"If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace."

Insights: Over the last three days I have written about our need to readjust our personal work load as well as the body life work load found within the church itself. Today we are going to look at the very real byproduct of such an adjustment. Notice with me today’s verse. Jethro told Moses if he followed through with this plan, then all the people would go to their homes in peace. Peace is the natural byproduct of readjustment. Now, please understand that contextually this passage is specifically talking about an earthly peace between two individuals or groups that have been at odds with each other. Remember, the reason the people were coming before Moses in the first place was because they had disputes between each other and needed someone to be an arbiter between them. This readjustment brings this restoration more quickly in the human sense of the word. Moving more to a spiritual and even New Testament focus there is another kind of peace that this readjustment brings as well. It is the peace of God actively working in our lives. I think part of the reason this kind of peace comes on us when we readjust the work load of the body is because our focus changes. Friction, factions and divisions occur when our focus is off of the main thing and on minor things. In other words, when we have too much time on our hands to complain, grumble and moan, then peace is lost. When we are all working toward a common goal or vision, then we are unified for a purpose and that purpose is ultimately to bring God glory. When we are working for that objective an unspeakable and unexplainable peace comes in our lives. Beloved, let the peace of God permeate your life and the life of His church. Let the lost world see the difference between our kind of love and peace and theirs. Let God be brought glory because of our obedient response to Him.


1. Are you experiencing peace with your fellow man?
2. Are you experiencing peace with God?

Prayer: Father, grant me Your peace and help me to live a peace with those with which I live, work, go to church, interact or even just meet. Let Your love and peace shine through me. Amen.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

We Readjust the Bodies' Work Load, Part 2

Scripture: Exodus 18:21-22

"Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. "Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.

Insights:  The next two character traits of a qualified man to serve as a judge under Moses is again attributes that ought to be common among every believer in Jesus Christ.  The first trait today is integrity.  The way Moses actually wrote it was “men of truth”.  A person of truth is going to be a person of integrity.  Integrity is who you are when no one else is around watching you.  If you are willing to live a life in obedience to the Father when no one else is present, then you are one living a life of integrity.  If, on the other hand, when you are alone you jump into every sinful vice of which you can think, then you are not a person of integrity.  A person of integrity is going to be truthful no matter what it may cost him or her.  The second trait today is contempt for sin.  Moses wrote it this way, “Those who hate dishonest gain.”  He was specifically describing one who was willing to take a bribe in order for a ruling on a case to go a specific way.  The root issue at hand, however, is hatred toward sin.  Was the judge one who had sufficient hatred toward sin and a desire for righteousness that he could perform his service without bias?  The same is true for a Christ-follower today.  Beloved, we are to be men and women who faithfully pursue Jesus and desire Him to transform our lives through the purging process of sanctification.  The result of such work is hatred toward sin.  Let me wrap up yesterday and today.  As the Body of Christ, we need to make certain the work load is properly readjusted so that every member of the Body is performing the appropriate tasks based on their spiritual gift mix.  As believers who have been forgiven such a great sin debt we ought to have a proper fear of God because of His sovereignty.  With these two adjustments made we ought to be people of integrity who hate sin.  I pray these four attributes are true of your life. 

  1. Do you live a life of integrity?
  2. Do you hate sin like the Lord does?
Prayer: Father, I falter so often in these two areas.  Forgive my evil ways and transform me into one who does live life above reproach and has an intense hatred toward sin.  Purge my life from this evil.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We Readjust the Bodies' Work Load, Part 1

Scripture: Exodus 18:21-22

"Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. "Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 

Insights:  The next aspect of the passage deals with the readjustment of the bodies’ work load.  Moses had to readjust his work load and as a result the body life of the people of Israel also needed to be readjusted.  The same is often times true in the body of Christ.  There were four character traits required of those who were supposed to fulfill this role as judges and the reality is if one is truly born again, then these same traits ought to be exemplified in their own lives.  Today we will look at the first two traits and tomorrow we will look at the last two traits.  The first trait is ability.  In a New Testament context when one receives the gift of eternal life found in Jesus Christ then the Gift, which is the Holy Spirit, comes in one’s life and seals them for the day of redemption.  Now that the Spirit is living within you, He manifests gifts in your life.  You may have the gift of teaching or intercession or any number of other gifts mentioned throughout the New Testament.  The primary point is you are gifted which makes you able to carry out the Lord’s commands.  The second trait is that of fear toward God.  I have often spoken and written about our twenty-first century lack of fear as it pertains to the Lord.  Psalm 130:4 states, “But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared (NIV).”  That verse almost sounds contradictory in nature, but if we understand that forgiveness can only come from the gracious act of a sovereign Lord, then we are better able to understand the need for fear to be present in our lives as believers of such a powerful Lord.  His power and might saved us from a retched end and there ought to be awe in regards to His majestic grace.  If your life is not characterized by these first two traits of an individual established for service, then you need to ask the Lord if you are really His child. 

  1. Do you know in which ways the Lord has manifest His giftedness in you?
  2. Do you have the proper fear of the Lord which testifies to His sovereignty?
Prayer: Father, thank You for the ways in which You work in my life.  You are worthy to be feared because of Your sovereign forgiveness.  Help me to serve You through the giftedness You have given to me.  Amen.


Monday, June 24, 2013

We Readjust Our Work Load

Scripture: Exodus 18:19-20

"Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people's representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do.

Insights:  This week concludes our study in Exodus chapter eighteen.  Along the way we have examined a time of reflection, rejoicing and realization.  This week we will look at a time of readjustment.  In hindsight I wish I had labeled one of my points in the very first week as work and not faithfulness.  Here is what I mean.  In this eighteenth chapter there has been a theme that has run a consistent course and that them is work.  In other words, in the sermon titled A Time of Reflection, one of the points was we reflect on God’s faithfulness (I wish I had said work here).  In the next sermon on rejoicing, one of the points were we rejoice because of God’s work.  Then in third sermon on realization, one of the points were we realize God calls us to work.  And then in yesterday’s sermon on readjustment, one of the points were we readjust our work load.  As you can see there is a constant theme that ran throughout the entire eighteenth chapter and that theme was work.  On this side of eternity, because of the fall, our work is hard a laborious.  When we finally get to eternity with Jesus, we will still work, but our work will be utterly joyous and satisfying.  We will work without the constraints of sin in our lives.  Looking a little more closely at today’s verses we see Jethro has given Moses counsel in regards to his work load.  At this point Jethro has just told Moses what he is doing is not good for him or the people.  He is now giving Moses godly counsel to change how he has been operating in the day to day business of the people and is encouraging him to redistribute the work load.  There are times in our lives, we need to reexamine our productizing and ask the Lord if what we are doing presently is the best and most productive.  If it is not, then we need to be will to readjust our work.

  1. What work are you presently doing that needs to be readjusted?
  2. Are you grateful God has given you the blessing of work or are you resentful that you have been called to work?
Prayer: Father, forgive me for the times I am not grateful for the work You have called me to do.  At the same time, more often than not, I am truly grateful and I thank You for Your good plan and purpose.  Open my eyes and reveal to my heart the areas of work in my life that need to be readjusted.  Amen.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Our Access to the Power of Elijah

Scripture: James 5:16-18

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.

Insights:  Today we look at the final area of hope in regards to the fathers in our nation.  That area of hope is prayer.  Notice the first thing James referenced to prayer is healing.  I want you to notice the context of that sentence.  The healing prescribed here is a spiritual healing. Yes, we are to pray for the sick around us, but this is specifically about the spiritual healing of the heart.  Our fathers who have abandoned their child(ren) or have become absentee fathers are in desperate need of spiritual healing and it starts with us praying for them.  Then James explicitly tells us the prayer of a righteous individual accomplishes much.  In other words, prayer is powerful.  Remember back to yesterday and the kind of attitude John the Baptist was going to restore to the fathers.  He was going to turn their disobedience into an attitude of righteousness.  A righteous individual is one who lives life under the Lordship of Christ Jesus and that is from where the true power comes.  James finally gives us an example of powerful praying from Elijah.  Now remember yesterday, John the Baptist was to walk in the spirit and power of Elijah.  I emphasize this part of the passage because of what James tells us about Elijah in today’s verses.  Elijah was a man with a nature just like ours.  In other words, Elijah was a sinner just like we are.  What made him different than us then?  It was his active, vital and intimate relationship with God.  When sin did enter into his life, he was quick to repent.  When decisions had to be made, he went to God first, not last.  When courage was needed, he called on the Lord to provide it.  Everything this man did was centered on the Lord and because of that relationship, his prayers were powerful.  Your prayers and mine can also be powerful if we will commune with God!

  1. Are you willing to pray effective prayers on behalf of your child(ren)?
  2. Are you willing to pray effective prayers for the fathers with whom you are being called to disciple?
Prayer: Father, I am so grateful You have given us the gift of prayer.  This two way conversation is the life blood of our relationship in so many ways.  Change the focus, shape and scope of our nation and the men who live here.  Raise a generation of men totally committed to You.  Let Your name spread as a result of Your greatness.  Amen.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Attitude of Righteousness

Scripture: Luke 1:17

"It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Insights:  Today and tomorrow we get to see the hope in light of the dismal portrayal of society we have painted over the past few days.  Verse seventeen is the angels proclamation to Zechariah about his son John the Baptist.  The angel is telling him that his son is going to be the forerunner to Jesus and his primary task is to prepare the people for Jesus’ arrival.  Specifically, his job is going to be to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children and to demolish the disobedient heart and turn it into a heart with an attitude of righteousness.  Here is where the hope gets placed on the canvas.  In his own power, John the Baptist would have been incapable of carrying this mission out.  The angel, however, told Zechariah that his son would walk in the spirit and power of Elijah.  So, to what kind of spirit and power did Elijah have access?  The same one in which we have access.  The difference, however, is the Spirit and power of God wound come on Elijah for a time and then would depart from him.  We on the other hand ALWAYS have access to the Spirit and power of God because He lives IN us if we are born again.  When we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the Spirit of God came into our lives and sealed us for the day of redemption.  He lives inside of us! Because He lives in us we have the source and power to live our lives in an attitude of righteousness.  No longer do we have to live subject to disobedience. We can daily, hourly, moment by moment ask the Spirit of God to give us the ability to be godly fathers to our child(ren).  Tomorrow we are going to look a little deeper at Elijah and one aspect of his life, but it reflects to us our primary tool we have as fathers for our child(ren).  Make certain you come back tomorrow for the final component of our hope in raising godly children which will change society and the next generation.

  1. Are you living life under the surrendered power of the Lord Jesus?
  2. Does your life reflect the attitude of righteousness about which the angel spoke?
Prayer: Father, I realize that the only way I am capable of being the type of godly father You desire me to be is through Your power.  Let Your Spirit have complete rule and reign in my life and allow me to walk in obedience to You as I raise my child(ren) to know You.  Amen.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Land Will Be Cursed

Scripture: Malachi 4:5-6

"Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. "He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse."

Insights: The last phrase in today’s verses in the part that really frightens me. Let me state again, I did not do the necessary due diligence for this sermon Sunday because of the way the Lord moved that morning. In other words, I do not have the actual statistics for this next statement, therefore, I will use generalities. Of our inmates in the prison system, a fairly large percentage of them come from homes where the father had abandoned them or were for all practical purposes absent from the child’s life. Fathers have a God given ability and responsibility to guide their child(ren) in the paths of righteousness. When a father is not around or is unwilling to take the necessary time to train his child(ren) to conduct himself or herself properly, then the child(ren) is more than likely going to fall prey to wrong influences and make poor life choices. This truth is found in Paul’s words when he wrote, “Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33).” Understand, not every child that has an absentee father is going to walk the path of prison, but the lack of a healthy father figure affects work ethic, marital fidelity, civic responsibility, recreational appropriateness, and the list can go on and on. For example, children that had a positive relationship with their fathers are better employees, managers and business owners than those who did not have a father actively involved in their lives. Beloved, it is our responsibility to seek our Lord and ask Him for the guidance necessary on how to stem this tide that is rolling across our country leading it down this path of cursing Malachi described. One way I foresee this curse being turned back is through biblical discipleship. If mature men of God would be willing to come alongside a younger man of faith and disciple them in the ways of the Lord, then I can envision a change that can occur in this land.


1. Are you willing as a growing and maturing follower of Jesus to disciple a younger man in the faith in order for him to be a better ambassador of Jesus and father to his family?
2. If you are not willing, then what is the reason for your reticence?

Prayer: Father, raise a generation of faithful men who will take serious their charge and responsibility to point their families to Your Son, Jesus. Lord, please, prevent this curse from falling, spreading or going any further in this land than it already has. Let it be purged and removed and let Your name be glorified again throughout America. Amen.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Importance of Fathers to Their Children

Scripture: Malachi 4:5-6

"Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. "He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse."

 Insights:  Touchstone magazine reported the following, “If a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions, only one child in fifty will become a regular worshipper.  If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers.”  We are living in a society here in America where the hearts of many, if not most, of the fathers are not with their child(ren).  In other words, we have the largest generation of absentee fathers or fathers who have completely abandoned their child(ren) in the history of our nation.  The same kind of serious sin was occurring during the time of Malachi and the Lord showed him that there would be a day coming in which the father’s hearts would be turned back to their child(ren).  That day would come when the spirit of Elijah would come on John the Baptist and he would become the forerunner to Jesus.  I think we as a nation are in desperate need for men like John the Baptist to come on the scene.  In other words, we need godly men who will take a stand and raise their child(ren) in the ways of the Lord Jesus.  We need men who will mentor younger men in the ways that one is obedient to Jesus, which will make them better fathers.  It is not too late for America and the children of this nation.  If, however, we do not step up and take this challenge to stir the hearts of men back to God, then what we will look at tomorrow will come to pass and that would be very bad.  I encourage you to stick with the reading of this blog throughout this week.  I know at this moment and even tomorrow the verbiage sounds very bleak and downcast, but there is hope.  When we get to Thursday and Friday we will see that hope in a more evident fashion.  So hang in there throughout this week.

  1. If you are a father, have you not taken seriously your responsibility to your child(ren)?
  2. Are you able to recognize the departure of fathers in the American home?
Prayer: Father, I pray you raise up a generation of men who honor You and point their families to You.  You are worthy and Malachi saw a generation under John the Baptist as one where relationships between fathers and children would be restored.  Lord, let that happen again.  Amen.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Jesus is Going to Judge the World

Scripture: Malachi 4:5-6

"Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. "He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse."

Insights:  During Sunday School yesterday the Lord changed the direction of my sermon.  I was supposed to conclude our series out of Exodus eighteen, but the Lord moved me to three different passages of Scripture which we will look at this week.  Let me start today’s Thoughts by Scott with a statement I have made before regarding Old Testament prophecy.  When an individual in the Old Testament saw a vision from the Lord, it often time looked like mountain peaks.  If you have ever been a long way off from a range of mountains and saw one that seemed really large, you might have thought it was just one peak.  As you got closer, however, you realized there were two peaks and one was just behind the other one.  Old Testament prophecy is like that.  Malachi saw the coming of the Lord and His herald, John the Baptist, who bore the spirit of Elijah.  At the same time he saw the great and terrible day of the LORD.  The great and terrible day of the LORD is the Great White Throne Judgment of the damned.  It is a terrible day because of all the souls sentenced to eternal hell away from the love of God.  For Malachi, his vision made the coming of John the Baptist and this great judgment the same event.  We know there have been at least 2000 years of separation from the two events.  The point is the herald, John the Baptist, was preparing the way for the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  There was and is a time between this initial proclamation from John the Baptist and Jesus’ coming on the scene to this judgment seat.  During this time, people are able to get saved, made new, become born again, but they must do so before that great and terrible day of the LORD.  If they wait till then, it is too late and they will be damned for all of eternity.  Beloved, because of this future judgment, we ought to be compelled to go and tell others about the love of Jesus.  Their very eternity is at stake.  Will you share Jesus with them?

  1. Which judgment seat are you going to sit under?
  2. Will you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior today?

Prayer: Father, I am so grateful You sent Your Son Jesus to die in my place.  Because of His sacrifice and gift of salvation, I do not have to face the Great White Throne Judgment.  Stir my heart Lord, to be more urgent in my proclamation of Your Son’s Work so that others will not have to face that judgment.  Amen.


Friday, June 14, 2013

We Realize God Calls Us to Adjust

Scripture: Exodus 18:17-18
Moses' father-in-law said to him, "The thing that you are doing is not good.  "You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.

Insights:  I think for many people the reason they are hesitant to adjust their lives to the will of God is because they think this adjustment will change who they are.  In some ways this is a justifiable concern, because obedience to God is going to alter you.  The reality is the change will be for His glory and your good.  More often than not, the adjustments God requires of our lives do not actually change our character, but make us better and more efficient servants of our King.  For example, in today’s verses we see Jethro telling Moses that what he was doing was not good and further explained that Moses’ present course of action was going to wear him and everyone following him out.  Notice, Jethro did not tell Moses to stop being a prophet, ruler or judge.  Jethro’s instructions were clearly designed to help make Moses a better and more effective judge.  This kind of adjustment is more often than not the kind of adjustment God makes in our lives.  God has called us to service and obedience.  He has gifted and equipped us for such service.  And just like when we start a new job or sport or activity we are not as good at the tasks in the beginning.  In time, we become faster, smarter, and better at the job and become more productive.  God’s adjustments are like the tools needed to make us a more proficient employee.  These adjustments do not alter who we are, but make us better.  Before anyone misconstrues what I am attempting to say regarding the change in our core being, let me clarify.  I am writing specifically from a Christian perspective.  If you are lost and have never received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then these words do not apply to you.  What you need is a radical, life altering, core changing encounter with Jesus.  This relational encounter will indeed change who you are.  Before you were walking in death and sin, but after Jesus takes your life, you walk in new life for the very first time.  This salvific experience is not just an adjustment; it is life altering change with eternal ramifications.  The adjustments are for after you have become a Christ-follower and they make you a better disciple.

  1. What areas in your life do you need to adjust?
  2. Do you realize how these adjustments make you a more effective follower of Christ Jesus?
Prayer: Father, Your vantage point to life is perfect and You know exactly what adjustments I need to make in order to be the most effective servant to Your kingdom.  Help me, Lord, to be pliable in Your hands and obedient to Your will and direction.  Amen.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

We Realize God Calls Us to Body-Life, Part 2

Scripture: Exodus 18:14-16
Now when Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, "What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?"  Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God. "When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws."

Insights:  Moses was gifted in such a manner that he held the positions of ruler, prophet and in this week’s portrayal a judge.  What we need to understand about our giftedness is that Spirit of God is the gift.  1 Corinthians 12:4 and 7 states, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.” And, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”  The point is when we were born again the Holy Spirit of God came and lived within us (1 Corinthians 6:19).  We were sealed for our salvation by the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).  Now that He lives in us, He manifests Himself in us by empowering us to do good works for which we were preordained (Ephesians 2:10).  Keeping everything that we have mentioned together, we now understand that our task is to determine the manner and ways in which the Holy Spirit has manifest Himself in our lives.  As we learn what our gift(s) is/are we then become aware of how we are equipped to best serve God.  Our next step is to pray and watch and inquire as to where God is presently working.  As we observe God’s activity, we adjust our lives in such a way to join God in His work by using our spiritual gift mix for Him and His glory.  As we participate we are contributing toward Body-Life within the church.  In other words, God has perfectly provided His Body, the church, for every good work.  If we know what our gift mix is and we refuse to use our gift(s), then we are actually hindering the work of God in the Body.  By hindering the work, we are actually grieving the Holy Spirit and Beloved that is a dangerous thing to do.  We need to whole-heartedly join God in His work and use our gift(s) to edify and advance the Body.  Tomorrow we are going to learn if Moses heeded his father’s suggestions and began to experience Body-Life with in the nation of Israel.

  1. Do you know what your spiritual gift is?
  2. Is there anything that is preventing you from using your gifts?
Prayer: Father, You are always at work and inviting me to join You in that work by using the gift(s) You have given to me.  Open my eyes and let me truly see Your activity in order that I may join You.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

We Realize God Calls Us to Body-Life, Part 1

Scripture: Exodus 18:14-16
Now when Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, "What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?"  Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God. "When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws."

Insights:  Monday I referenced a fairly lengthy quote from John Calvin.  Let me pick that quote up here to help us understand this second point a little better.  Calvin wrote, “Here, too, it is worth while to remark, that no single mortal can be sufficient to do everything, however many and various may be the endowments wherein he excels. . . . Let, then, God’s servant learn to measure carefully their powers, lest they should wear out, by ambitiously embracing too many occupations. . . . let us learn that in the human race God has so arranged our condition, that individuals are only endued with a certain measure of gifts, on which the distribution of office depends.”  What Calvin was saying as well as Jethro to Moses was if we do all the work ourselves, we are going to wear ourselves out.  Now I want you to know that Moses did not have an elitist mindset as some people do.  In other words, he was not doing things by himself because he thought he was the only one capable of doing the work.  I believe his heart and his words reflect his ignorance to what a burden he was creating.  He had not considered the codependent relationship he was developing with the people.  The same thing must be overcome by the church of the twenty-first century as well.  Pastors are not supposed to do all the work.  If they do, then they are creating the same codependent relationship that Moses had been developing.  In the end that is not a healthy outcome for anyone.  Tomorrow we are going to look more closely at the area of giftedness that was already in place and talk in more depth about the gift(s) God has given you.  For God has indeed gifted you for the work of ministry.  Our lives are to reflect the glory of God to a world desperate for His love through our giftedness.

  1. How has God equipped you to work within the Body of Christ?
  2. Are you using your gift(s) to bring glory to God?
Prayer: Father, thank You that You have endowed me with gift(s) to be used in Your service.  Grow me in these areas and allow me to be the most effective I can be for You.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We Realize God Calls Us to Work, Part 2

Scripture: Exodus 18:13
It came about the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening.

Insights:  From the very beginning God created work.  Before the fall, Adam worked and it was pleasurable to him.  In fact, it was only after the fall that work, which was still good, became hard (Gen. 3:17-23).  In the New Testament Paul tells us if a man does not work, he ought not to eat (2 Thess. 3:10).  Still in another location Paul tells us to work as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23).  Hopefully you see the point.  God created us to work.  Moses had three types of work hats in which he worked.  He was a prophet, a ruler, and in today’s passage we see a judge as well.  In light of the preparatory words we looked at yesterday, I believe Moses enjoyed his work.  Now, did he get frustrated from time to time in his work?  Obviously, the answer is yes.  I believe that is because of the fall that work is not always pleasurable.  As a whole, however, it ought to be.  If your occupation is a burden and not a blessing, then maybe you need to ask the Lord if you are doing what He has equipped you to do.  Maybe there is other work He desires you to do.  Remember the Colossians 3:23 passage when you do work.  Even in those jobs that you find less than enjoyable, you ought to do the work as unto the Lord.  There is one last aspect to work that I wish to point out.  When we get to heaven, guess what we will be doing?  Yes we will be praising the Lord, but we will also be working.  I don’t know what images you have of eternity, but it is not you sitting on a cloud with a harp singing all day long.  We are told in Revelation that we will bring our glory, splendor, or treasure into the throne room of God (21:24).  In other words, we will work and bring our offerings into the presence of God.  The difference in that day and the one in which we presently live is that the work will not be burdensome, but joyous.  The reason is because God will redeem work just as He has redeemed all things that will be in eternity.  The stench of the man’s fall will not even have one scent in heaven.  Beloved, work.!  Work as unto the Lord Jesus and let it be like a fragrant offering to Him and enjoy what you do.

  1. Are you doing the work for which God has called and equipped you?
  2. As you work do you work as to the Lord and reflect His glory in your life?
Prayer: Father, You created work and You made it good.  You have equipped and established me.  May all that I do bring You praise.  Amen.

Monday, June 10, 2013

We Realize God Calls Us to Work, Part 1

Scripture: Exodus 18:13
It came about the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening.

Insights:  We have looked at A Time of Reflection and A Time of Rejoicing.  This week we are going to look at A Time of Realization.  Let me paint the picture this morning with two lengthy quotes.  The first is from J. Coert Rylaarsdam a commentary writer.  He wrote, “Slaves cannot be turned into saints overnight.  These people were living the simple life.  They had returned to nature.  There were no complicated city conditions, no artificial luxuries to quarrel over, no banks or real estate deals, and yet the people stood about Moses from morning till evening.  It would have taken a panel of trained psychiatrists and jurists, one can imagine, to deal with all the difficulties that had arisen in the day.  When a crises is over people always have more time to think of their pet troubles and dislikes and of their neighbor’s shortcomings.”  Rylaarsdam wrote those words because it set up this thirteenth verse we are looking at today.  The second quote is from John Calvin and it helps us understand Moses’ attitude a little better.  He wrote, “It was a proof of his illustrious virtue and mental heroism to undergo so many trouble, to endure so much fatigue, and not to be subdued by weariness from daily exposing himself to new toils.  It betrayed also a magnanimity never sufficiently to be praised, that he should occupy himself gratuitously for this perverse and wicked people, and never desist from his purpose, although he experienced an unworthy return for his kind efforts.  For we have seen him to have been often assailed by reproaches and contumelies (rude and abusive), and assaulted by chidings and threats; so that it is more than marvelous that his patience, so constantly abused, was not altogether worn out.  In this, assuredly, many virtues will be discovered worthy of the highest praise; yet Jethro in these very praises finds occasion of fault.  Whence we are warned that in all the most excellent acts of men some defect is ever lurking, and that scarcely any exists so perfect in every respect as to be free from any stain.  Let all those, then, who are called on to be rulers of mankind know, that however diligently they may exercise their office, something still may be wanting, if the best plan that they adopt be brought to examination.  Therefore let all, whether kings or magistrates, or pastors of the Church, know, that whilst they stain every nerve to fulfill their duties, something will always remain which may admit of correction and improvement.”

  1. Would others characterize you as being a complainer or a grumbler?
  2. How does your work give evidence to your temperment?
Prayer: Father, let my attitude be genuine and authentic like Moses.  Let me not have a slave mentality of complaint.  May my life bring You glory and honor.  Amen.

Friday, June 7, 2013

We Rejoice because of God's Meal

Scripture: Exodus 18:12
Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses' father-in-law before God.

InsightsOn Sunday we closed our sermon with the Lord’s Supper.  It was very appropriate, especially in light of this twelfth verse.  The word translated meal in this passage literally means bread in the Hebrew and John Calvin writing about this verse stated, “It is my decided opinion that by the word ‘bread,’ the manna is incontestably meant.”  I think Calvin is correct and this line of thought easily helps us transition into the Lord’s Supper.  For Jesus said, “This is the bread which came down from heaven: not as the fathers ate and died; he that eateth this bread shall live forever (John 6:58).”  In other words, the manna of the Old Testament was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ incarnation.  The difference was His coming down brought eternal life whereas the manna of Moses pointed to God’s provisional hand of blessing on the newly found nation.  Let me give a few thoughts regarding the Lord’s Supper.  First, the meal is for believers only.  It is a way for us to testify to Jesus’ work in our lives.  Second, the meal is not to be taken lightly.  Paul warns that some believers who had taken the meal in an unworthy manner actually passed away.  Third, the meal gives us an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with Jesus.  If there is sin brought to our hearts by the convicting presence of the Holy Spirit, we are able to repent and have our relationship restored to that joyous place of righteousness.  Beloved, let us approach the Lord’s Supper next time with the proper reverence for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  May we boldly proclaim our allegiance to our Lord and Savior in our participation of such a reverent meal.  May God be brought glory because of our obedience.

  1. Do you take the Lord’s Supper without truly thinking about the seriousness of the moment?
  2. Do you understand that the Lord’s Supper is a testimony of your faith in Jesus Christ?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice, death and resurrection.  You work on Calvary paid my sin debt and has given my life everlasting because I have received Your gift of salvation.  Thank You, my Lord.  Amen.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

We Rejoice because of God's Empowerment

Scripture: Exodus 18:12
Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses' father-in-law before God.

InsightsThe first word in today’s verse is crucial.  “Then” means that something preceded it.  In this case, the conversion of Jethro in verse eleven is what preceded the next statement.  Then, Jethro, because of the life change that God brought about in his life, was able to present a burnt offering and sacrifice to the Lord God.  Even though I have stated it in previous Thoughts by Scott, let me emphasize that Jethro was a priest of Median.  He was a polytheistic worshipper of the gods.  Verse eleven told us about Jethro’s salvation experience with the words, “Now I know….”  Because of this conversion, he was able to offer this sacrifice to God.  Even though the Law had not been given by Moses yet does not mean the Israelites did not know about sacrifices.  Aaron would not have allowed Jethro to make such an offering if his heart had not become one devoted to Yahweh.  The same truths apply to us today.  Even though the difference between us and the followers of God in the Old Testament lies in the perpetual relationship with which we get to experience the Holy Spirit.  In other words, for the Old Testament believer the Spirit of God would come on them for a time and then depart.  With New Testament conversions the Holy Spirit becomes the deposit and seal on our lives.  He remains within us permanently. We can have great goals and lofty thoughts about serving God, but if His Spirit in us is not the One to empower us to obey, we are going to fail, loose heart, and quit.  If, on the other hand, we do surrender to the Spirit’s promptings and power, we will accomplish great things for God and His kingdom.  Beloved, I am so grateful for the Holy Spirit working in me and you.  I am so appreciative He does not leave us nor forsake sake us.  I am so thankful He does empower us to obey and follow through on His will and commands.  I know I do not obey perfectly because my old sin nature does rise up at times, but because of the Holy Spirit’s empowerment I am able to obey at other times.  Beloved, we ought to pray for daily surrender to the Lord’s will and the Spirit’s empowerment in our lives.  Let us live courageously for our Lord and God because of the Spirit residing in us!

  1. What has the Lord empowered you to do for Him?
  2. How well do you respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in you?
Prayer: Father, thank You that You have sealed me with Your Spirit.  He empowers and guides me and leads me to You.  Thank You for this marvelous gift.  Amen.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

We Rejoice because of God's Salvation, Part 2

Scripture: Exodus 18:11
"Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods; indeed, it was proven when they dealt proudly against the people."

InsightsThe gospel is so vitally important that I never want to take for granted that those reading these Thoughts by Scott are indeed born again.  I trust and often times speak that you have a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, but I also do not know who might stumble on to these pages.  I, therefore, have on occasion and will today go into more depth of the gospel.  Heaven is a free gift that God offers to His creation, you and me.  This gift cannot be earned or deserved.  It must be received.  At the same time for us to understand why we cannot earn or deserve it we need to understand a little more about ourselves.  All of humanity is sinners.  You are a sinner and I am a sinner.  Because of that sin we are all incapable of saving ourselves.  God’s standard for admission into His heavenly glory is perfection and one sin utterly destroys that possibility.  At the same time we need to understand God.  He is merciful and loving and therefore does not want to punish us.  At the same time, however, He is just and holy and therefore must punish sin.  So, how does God solve this apparent problem of His mercy and justice?  He solves it in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the infinite God-man.  He is fully God and fully man all at the same time.  He came to this earth and He DID live life perfectly and without sin.  Because He was perfect He was able to become our sacrifice for our sins.  For the Bible tells us that without the shedding of blood there is no remission, or removal, of sin.  Jesus took on Himself the punishment of God’s justice which was rightly for us and our sin.  He cast our sin as far away as the east is from the west and offers us eternal life with Him in heaven.  So, how do we receive that gift?  By faith and faith is not mere head-knowledge.  Nor is faith temporary in nature.  Faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation and eternal life.  This kind of faith is surrendering yourself to Jesus’ authority.  No longer do you have a say in the matter of your life choices.  You are to live obediently to Him and show your love for Him.  It is the greatest decision you will ever make.

  1. Have you received the salvation being offered to you by God?
  2. If you have not received this gift of salvation, then what is holding you back?
Prayer: Father, You were are so gracious to me.  Let me never take for granted Your gift of eternal life.  Continue to strengthen me to be bold in sharing the gospel with those who do not know You.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

We Rejoice because of God's Salvation, Part 1

Scripture: Exodus 18:11
"Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods; indeed, it was proven when they dealt proudly against the people."

InsightsThose first three words are absolutely crucial to the passage found in Exodus eighteen.  As I reminded you yesterday, verse eight was Moses’ witnessing opportunity with Jethro, his father-in-law.  Theologians believe verse eleven was Jethro’s conversion statement.  Remember, Jethro was a priest of Median.  In fact, some historians believe he was the high priest of Median.  The people of Median worshiped multiple gods and Jethro was a leader that helped facilitate such worship.  On hearing Moses’ testimony, however, he came to the realization that Yahweh really was the true God and it was for that reason today’s verse states, “Now I know….”  God is still offering salvation to all who have not entered into a saving relationship with His Son, Jesus.  Tomorrow, we are going to go into more depth into the means by which salvation is offered to us.  I encourage you to make certain you read tomorrows Thoughts by Scott and make certain you are in a relationship with Jesus.

  1. Have you received the salvation being offered to you by God?
  2. If you have not received this gift of salvation, then what is holding you back?
Prayer: Father, You were so gracious to Jethro and You desire to be gracious to me and all who do not know Your Son, Jesus, as Lord and Savior.  Strengthen me to be more bold in sharing the gospel with those who do not know You.  Amen.

Monday, June 3, 2013

We Rejoice because of God's Work

Scripture: Exodus 18:9-10
Jethro rejoiced over all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians. So Jethro said, "Blessed be the LORD who delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.

InsightsRemember from last week that verse eight is Moses’ witnessing opportunity with Jethro, his father-in-law.  Verse nine through twelve show Jethro’s response.  Douglas K. Stuart wrote in his commentary on Exodus, “Verse 9 actually says in the Hebrew: ‘Jethro was delighted for all the good things that the LORD had done for Israel.’  In other words, he was not merely ‘delighted to hear about all the good things’ but personally delighted by the facts themselves—because they answered questions he himself had about this God Yahweh who had appeared to his son-in-law and promised such great things for a certain enslaved people in Egypt.”  That word rejoice, which actually means delighted in Hebrew was translated in the Greek Old Testament, which we call The Septuagint, as astonished.  Here is the point for today: God IS actively at work in this world and He desires for you to see it and recognize it.  He worked in such wonderful ways that Jethro was delighted and astonished at all God had done which lead to his outpouring of his joy in a rejoicing manner.  God constantly works in such ways to astonish and delight His children.  My fear is that we are living lives so quickly that we fail to recognize God’s activity.  Our failure to be observant, however, does not negate God’s wonderful work.  Beloved, we need to open our eyes and ask God to reveal to us His work and then respond like Jethro with rejoicing. 

  1. What has God done recently in your life that has astonished you?
  2. Are you actively and intentionally looking around you for the work of the Lord?
Prayer: Father, You are always at work in this world.  Open my eyes that I may recognize Your activity and give me the courage to join You in that work.  Amen.