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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Missing Miracles

I am doing a Bible reading plan via YouVersion that will have me read through the entire Bible in 1 year. (Admittedly I am a bit behind but I am trying to catch up.) Today's reading had in me in Exodus, reading one of my favorite stories in the whole Bible. The parting of the Red Sea.

Besides the whole story being amazing, here is the part that stuck out to me and prompted this post:

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” Exodus 14:13-18

So let me set the stage... The Israelites had been in slavery for a really long time in Egypt, hundred's of years. They were horribly mistreated. Through a series of miraculous plagues sent by God upon the Egyptians, the Pharaoh decided to let the Israelites go back to Israel. 

They all set off on a long journey by foot. Literally over 2 million of them. On foot. 2 MILLION. I know how slow going traffic is in Dallas with a few hundred cars so I can't imagine how slow moving 2 over million men, women, children and animals was. Yikes!

Anyway, the Pharaoh changed his mind after they left, and so they got their chariots ready and went after them to bring them back. One would think that 2 million people would be no match for a few hundred men and horses, but I guess that shows the power of the mind when someone else controls it.

The Israelites see the chariots coming and they panic, blaming Moses and saying they should have never left in the first place. You see... they were in a bit of a pinch. Before them was the Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh bringing up the rear and closing fast.

In case you were wondering, the Red Sea is big! It's about 220 miles wide at it's widest part and covers over 169,000 sq. miles of land. This was no trivial little body of water to cross and going around was not an option.

So Moses has a little talk with God and what he is told blows my mind. I'm sure it blew Moses' mind too. I really would have like to watch that conversation taking place. I can see Moses appearing to talk with himself and it getting a tad bit animated with lots of hand gestures. I have to imagine there may have been a few "You want me to do what? And you're gonna do WHAT?" type moments. 

God told Moses to put a stick (well staff but still a stick) across the sea and it would part so the people could walk across on dry ground. They didn't even have to worry about mud!

In case you are visual like me, here is my favorite video clip from The Prince of Egypt movie that shows this scene play out.

Anyway, it got me thinking. What if Moses had listened to the Israelites and not believed God could save them? What if this miracles never had happened because of the doubt in their minds. Because they couldn't wrap their human brains around the fact that God controls everything, even the seas, and is faithful to deliver us in times of trouble.

They would have missed one incredible miracle!!

How many times in our lives do we miss miracles that God is willing to do on our behalf because we can't wrap our little human brains around the fact that our God is big enough to part seas for us?

How many miracles have we missed because we stop trusting and taking action when we hear God ask us to do something that seems impossible and forget that HE will make a way if we will just believe?

That is my challenge to myself and to all of you today. Believe God when you hear Him asking you to step out in faith. Take action. Move forward and get ready to watch God in action.

History shows us that when we get out of the way, are obedient and take action as led by the Lord, that what we see Him do will blow our minds!

PS - If you are wondering if this is just some story found in a book that was made up, Google it. They have actually found pieces of chariots at the bottom of the Red Sea. How awesome is THAT! What evidence of God's miracles will they find in your life when they look at it year from now?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Widow's Mite and $20

I haven't written a blog post in almost a year. It's high time I get back to it. So here goes...

Today I think I know how Jesus must have felt when he was in the temple and had the privilege of witnessing the widow giving her mite. To most seeing it, it was of no consequence. Such a small amount, what difference could that possibly make?

Jesus saw past the amount given and focused on the heart that gave it. This woman who didn't have much, gave out of her lack with a joyful spirit, desiring nothing in return.  

           Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box. He also
          saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.
He said, “I tell you the truth, this
          poor widow has put in more than all of them.
For they all offered their gifts out of
          their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had to live on.”
          Luke 21:1-4




I think Jesus must have had another one of those moments today as He looked down from heaven and saw the events unfold that have touched me so deeply.

My daughter, Kira and I have the privilege of going to Peru for the second year in a row on a mission trip with our church. Since Kira was in 6th grade she has been going on mission trips, sometimes more than one per year. She has my work ethic for sure. She has never once sent out support letters, but instead had a deep seeded conviction that she needs to work for her trip money. So, we bake cupcakes.

Over the last 6 years, I have lost count how many cupcakes we have made. LOTS. But we enjoyed the time together baking (and tasting). We always trust that God will take care of the money piece and just ask for trip donations instead of charging a specific amount. And every year, she has been fully funded. God is faithful to provide! This year is no different. We have baked and the Lord is providing. 

Kira decided to change things up a bit and add a t-shirt fundraiser this year as well. They are super cute (sorry - ruggedly handsome for the guys that have purchased one) and will be a good conversation piece.

Today I got a text from a friend saying she was dropping off a gift for Kira and I at church. It was from her daughter. I love surprises! I wasn't sure what to expect, but when I retrieved it, I was blown away.

Inside the bag were two beautiful notebooks, pretty flower pens and a note, hand decorated. Inside the envelope were 2 "Frozen" stickers (which I am sure were treasured possessions and will likely go on Kira's guitar case) and $20. 

Enter the widow's mite moment...

See, what I found out later is that when asked by her mommy if she wanted one of Kira's shirts, this sweet little girl asked how much they were. Ran to her piggy bank and retrieved $20 and proceeded to say she didn't need a shirt, she just wanted to give to our trip.

I don't know if you can remember when you were in elementary school or not, but $20 was a LOT of money. And she gave it freely.




As I thought about this sweet gift, it made me think about my own generosity. You see, I know that this little girl sees the example set by her parents in their generosity. And they point the way to Jesus every chance they get.

I know that children tend to model what they see their parents doing. Both the good and the bad. So I had to ask myself through tears, what example of generosity have I given my own children?

I have shown them what it looks like to give your time to the work of the Lord. And what it looks like to do that with excellence so we are giving our best to him. I am glad they have seen that from me.

But did they see me giving more than just my time? Was I enough of a visible example of generosity with my money that they picked that up and adopted that as their own now that they are grown? Do they know that we should give out of love for Christ and not out of obligation?

Thankfully it's never to late to be a good example to those around us. And while it is not important to be noticed by others when we give, if we live a life of generosity in all areas - people won't be able to help but notice. Every part of you will ooze it. And it will be contagious.

Today, this precious gift was contagious. So thank you Abigail, for your beautiful example of what it looks like to give like Jesus did. Today I know you made Him smile!

How are YOU doing in this area? If you're at all like me, I bet there is room for growth! Join me in the journey. Won't you?