Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.” (Proverbs 28:13-14) There was once a university professor who was extremely strict with his students. Upon giving the final exam, he informed them that they were to turn in their papers immediately when the bell rang. And if they didn’t follow his directions exactly, they would fail the course. At the end of the class, all of the students but one turned in their tests and left the room. One young man continued writing until he was finished. When he walked up to turn it in, the professor scolded him and said he was going to fail the course. “What is your name?” the angry professor asked. The young man replied, “You don’t know my name?” “How could I, there are 300 students in this class!” With that, the young man inserted his test paper into the middle of the stack with the other 299 tests and walked out of the room. We can hide from friends, teachers, colleagues, and even family members, but we cannot hide from God. Adam and Eve tried to hide after they disobeyed God in The Garden of Eden. Of course, God found them! Remember Jonah? He tried to hide from God; and all that got him was into the belly of a fish. Since the beginning of time people have been trying to hide from God, but it simply doesn’t work. We must embrace the love and total acceptance of our God and accept the grace He so generously gives. “Readiness for God means that we are prepared to do the smallest thing or the largest thing—it makes no difference. It means we have no choice in what we want to do, but that whatever God’s plans may be, we are there and ready.” (Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest)
No More Excuses
Do you ever think about what God created you to be? What He wants you to do? Psalm 139:13-14 tells us, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous.” When God created you, He knew what you were capable of being and capable of doing. Yet, something may be keeping you from reaching your potential. Is it self-doubt? Jennifer Rothschild, a Bible study author, said “The Enemy of your soul would love to stifle you with self-condemnation, lies, and ill-fitting words so your thoughts become a jumbled mess that controls you.” Do you want to give Satan the victory in this? Is it shame and guilt from past sin? You may have heard many say “I know God has forgiven me but I just can’t forgive myself.” That’s like saying that your evaluation of your sins is superior to God’s. To quote a friend, “Isn’t it an awesome feeling to say, ‘What’s done is done. I can let go of the painful past . . . I don’t live there any longer!’” Is it a feeling of not having any talents that God can use? Read Romans 12 to see how God has given all of us abilities to use in serving Him. God told you in the Bible how perfectly and purposely He created you. In spite of what you may think about yourself, believe Him!
What’s in Your Hand
Have you ever tried to hide from God’s call on your life? Moses did. He fled to the wilderness to get away. The hillside was a comfortable place; one that allowed him to live in obscurity. But God approached Moses as he tended sheep. When God asked Moses to speak to Pharaoh, Moses became scared. He felt inadequate. He prayed about his weakness to God and used it as an excuse not to do as God asked. Moses said: “I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” (Exodus 4:10) Moses focused on his weakness, but God wasn’t worried about Moses’ lack of eloquence, vocabulary or skill, but whether or not Moses trusted God enough to obey. Where Moses was deficient, God would be sufficient. Where Moses struggled, God would succeed. Where Moses was weak, God would be strong. How many times does God invite us to follow Him into an adventure? We run and sometimes even tell God that we will do what He wants “later.” But, if we look past our weaknesses, we will find our answer. What is God asking us to do? Have we been responding with our own version of, “My words get tangled”? How often do we hold up our weaknesses and say, “Sorry, God, I can’t,” and then point out our weaknesses to Him. It’s easy for us to focus on our weaknesses. But if God asks us to do something, He will help us get the job done. If the job involves some of our weak areas, then we can trust that He will provide words, strength, courage, and ability where needed. Are we willing to step out in obedience now and not wait until later?
Teachers like to tell students that there are no dumb questions. Maybe that’s true. But Moses came pretty close. Moses answered God, “But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11 (The Message) Keep in mind that Moses asked the question while standing next to a burning bush and listening to the voice of God. Sometimes it’s hard to miss the significance of the moment. But Moses had a problem. His past didn’t measure up to his moment. He knew where he had been, what he had done, and who he was. It probably didn’t occur to Moses that he could throw it down and do the extraordinary thing God had planned. If you’ve been attending First Christian in recent weeks and months, you probably have figured out that we believe God has something extraordinary planned. Coming to that conclusion hasn’t been easy. We looked at our past. We asked, “But why us? What makes you think we could ever lead the people of Hardin County closer to Jesus?” We know where we’ve been, what we’ve done, and who we are. We believe God is answering us in the same way He answered Moses. “I’ll be with you.” Exodus 3:12 (The Message) What else do we need to know?