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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
…Which can lead us to this question in our lives today - are there any "religious things" that we do in our life just for "show"? Just so that others will honor us? I think this is such a fine line and something that we have to monitor all of our lives. Are you monitoring yourself when it comes to your faith to make sure you are not doing anything for "show" or for the wrong reasons? Have there been times in your past where you have done things just for "show" when it comes to your faith? How did you catch yourself / notice that you were doing something just for "show"? …”

One area where this could be a problem is being asked to pray in public. You start worrying about how eloquent your prayers sound to others and you tend to want to rehearse them beforehand. As an usher in a church I once attended I had to do that occasionally before taking up the offering and I caught myself thinking along those lines. There is a time and place for public prayers but, personally, I have always felt more comfortable praying alone with no one around except God. Jesus said:

“And WHEN THOU PRAYEST, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to PRAY standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, THAT THEY MAY BE SEEN OF MEN. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
- Matthew 6:5-6 ( KJV )

EXODUS 17:8-19:15
I agree that this passage is teaching us that we often need support from other believers even as Aaron and Hur so gave to Moses ( 17:12 ). As the Word of the Lord says in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “ And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

The wars with the Amalekites continued until the time of David who finally destroyed them ( 1 Samuel 30:1-17 ) in obedience to God’s command. However, God said that He would have wars with them from generation to generation ( 17:16 ). Therefore this could also apply to all of the nations that have come against Israel in their history up to modern times. I see the Amalekites as being the prototype of all enemies of Israel.

What should be the Christian attitude toward Israel? The same as Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, who “…rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel,…” ( 18:9 ).

I like what God said by Moses to the children of Israel, “…I bare you ON EAGLES‘ WINGS, and brought you unto myself “( 19:4 ). God also said later through the prophet Isaiah:

“ But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up WITH WINGS AS EAGLES; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. “
- Isaiah 40:31 ( KJV ).

MATTHEW 22:34-23:12
The Pharisees often tried to trip Jesus up with their endless questions. Here Jesus stumped them and silenced them by asking some questions of his own. They knew that the Messiah would be the “son of David “ ( 22:42 ) and they were well aware that multitudes in Israel were calling Him that. In quoting Psalm 110:1 Jesus was teaching them that the Messiah would also be God and they well knew that is what Jesus was saying of Himself. This left them speechless ( 22:46 ). I would have liked to have been there to see the look on their faces.

Jesus acknowledged the God-given authority of the Pharisees ( 23:2 ) and instructed His disciples to take heed to their teachings on the law of God. However, Jesus also exposed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees ( 23:3 ) and their seeking glory for themselves ( 23:5 ).

Jesus also warned His disciples of ecclesiastical elitism and to refrain from giving their leaders such titles as “father” and “master “ which exalt clergy over the laity ( 23:8-12 ). Yes, there is God-given authority in the Church but then on the other hand there is a kind of authoritarianism which can be abusive as in the case of the Pharisees.

PSALM 27:7-14
Verses 13-14 ties in to Exodus 19:4 and Isaiah 40:31 regarding soaring on “eagles’ wings.” When we “wait on the Lord “ ( v.14 ) our faith is strengthened by Him and we will not faint ( v.13 ).

PROVERBS 6:27-35
Could there be any stronger warnings from God against committing adultery in these Scriptures? Even thinking about it or entertaining it in our hearts is playing with fire because sexual lust is like a burning fire inside of us which will get hotter and consume us if it is not put out ( v.27-28 ). Yielding to it is self-destructive ( v.32 ). Not only will we be held accountable by God ( v.29 ) but we may also have to contend with a jealous spouse which could even get us killed ( v.34 ).

are there any "religious things" that we do in our life just for "show"? Just so that others will honor us? .... I come from a very "religious" and legalistic background so I have to be honest and say that I'm guilty of doing this from time to time. God is helping me, most definitely, in this area and I'm thankful because it's one of the character defects in me that I hate the most!!!

I think I read today's Psalms reading yesterday by accident! But yes, there are 2 main areas in my life that I am waiting on God. I trust that God is totally in control of the situations and has a plan, but right now, I just don't understand it and that bugs me! But I believe the Lord will show up, in His time, not mine and so I continiue to praise Him and wait.

Who are your Aaron and Hur? Who is holding you up your arms when they get tired? .... I'm glad you mentioned this...I didn't even look at it this way, as having someone "help" me through a certain time. But what's really cool about this is that just last night...totally unexpected...I was at my Friday night Life Group/Bible Study and I fell apart...emotionally. I won't get into all the details but my friends rallied around me and I actually took a really huge step last night. They decided to walk with me through this valley but not as spectators, they have agreed to jump in with me and really help out. I thank God for my life group - I praise God that I have God fearing friends who are not afraid to "love their neighbor as themselves".

Hello,

Bill--thanks for pointing out that lovely verse in Exodus 19:4

"You know how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself."

I never noticed that verse before, and it lifts my spirit to think of how He carries us to Him.

I also feel similarly about public prayer... even public testimony can turn into a kind of wallowing or grandstanding if we are not careful.

Gina, what a beautiful picture you painted of your Christian friendships and community within the body. It's important to have people around that we can "fall apart" with--that's the richest form of community.

My thoughts from the readings today? I am always encouraged the story of Jethro and Moses. What good advice Jethro offered and it speaks well of Moses that he was willing to hear the advice AND apply it.

I liked this verse in Psalm 27:8 this morning:

When You said,
“Seek My face,
”My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8

What a beautiful dialogue between God and man. It makes me long to seek His face more intentionally, more constantly, and more completely.

My thoughts on Exodus 18:12-13 and 19:17-26

God may appoint and anoint our ministers and leaders but He expects us to do our part to support and help them. It is easy for us to just sit back and grumble that they aren’t handling things well, but that is not what God intends for us to do. Yes, they have a job to do but we also have a job to do. Instead of complaining about what our leaders or ministers are not getting done, we are to actively work with them and help them achieve the goal however possible.

God Bless!
Pat

My thoughts on Exodus 18:12-13 and 19:17-26

God may appoint and anoint our ministers and leaders but He expects us to do our part to support and help them. It is easy for us to just sit back and grumble that they aren’t handling things well, but that is not what God intends for us to do. Yes, they have a job to do but we also have a job to do. Instead of complaining about what our leaders or ministers are not getting done, we are to actively work with them and help them achieve the goal however possible.

God Bless!
Pat

Sorry for the double post! I don't know how that happened.

Pat

Hey all

I had a question:

1.In Moses's time why was the staff used for performing miracles or why did GOD have Moses use the staff as the object of power?
Was there any significance of staff in those times?

2. Like for me today, prayer would be my object of power(not necessarily a staff)because I believe in my GOD. Also because in the bible it says when you pray in faith GOD provides for all situations.
Why wasn't prayer used in those times to perform those miracles in Egypt?

Thankful in All things

Yesterday at services it came up about being thankful in all things. Believers admitted this was very hard to do, as some things just are horrible and evil.

First - it is NOT thankful FOR all things. Not the individual acts. But it is thankful IN all things based on the promises and guidance of our Lord.

Second - If you have difficulty being thankful in all things, try this thought.

"Be thankful that YOU are not in charge. That the one in charge is perfect has a plan, and has our best interests at heart (like any parent would for a child). If you really think about it and are honest. Would we as imperfect beings be able to run the show? Would we really want to if given that responsibility?

Be thankful God is in charge and knows what He is doing, and pray for an expanded awareness of His Will. Pray for God to develop this thankfulness in you. That is praying in the Will of God.

Arielle,

Second question first.
Prayer is conversation/communication with God. It can be a two way communication or a unilateral (oneway)conversation. It can start by calling on the Lord, or the Lord can initatie the conversation/communication.

So far, we have seen Moses call on the Lord a number of times. We only have the recorded words of Exodus, but it may be that even when not in the text a conversation with God was preceded by a calling to the Lord.

So I do think their was prayer/supplication to the Lord by Moses in these Exodus passages.
======================================================
Good question on the staff.

In Exodus 4:20 staff is called the rod of God (KJV), staff of God (NIV)

Foreshadowing Symbolism:
[My thoughts as I did some research, but the answers are all over the place.]

Staff was a shepherd's staff. Christ is our shepherd.

Staff came from a tree. If it is God's staff: we saw yesterday that the tree God chose to foreshadow shows Christ brought healing and righteousness. (cross)

Staff is later enscribed with the History of Moses, and later the history of each tribe on its staff. God is intertwined with the Jewish people through Christ.

Staff is used to part the Red Sea, Christ provides the path to redemption that only the redeemed can walk on to the Promised Land.

Moses struck rock (Christ) with staff. No one killed Christ, Christ gave Himself up for our sins voluntarily. Thus Christ striking Christ once and for all.

Plagues: Staff raised in most plagues, showing the power of Christ to provide signs as to the authority of the Father (for His glory).

Battle in today's readings. Yes, it shows the body of Christ is to help the leader in faith. The staff being raised symbolizes Christ interceding for His people. As long as it is up and the focus is on Christ (the staff) the battle goes well. But when we get tired and cannot lift Him up to God events do not go well.

Is the staff magical? I don't think so. You have a designated leader (moses) of God's people who has a staff that symbolizes a connection with God (Christ). God utilizes the staff at burning bush to give Moses a tangible feeling of connection. Christ's appearnace on earth the first time should do the same thing for us. Would the miracles have happened without the staff - yes. But the danger there is that Moses may have at some point thought it was him performing miracles - not God.

Rambled a bit, and something I will have to gover the next few years to refine my thoughts.

Exodus 19

4Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. 5Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed,....KJV

Before this - I just want to say in Jethro's visit - the people were still not going to the Lord. They came to Moses as judge. One man cannot do God's job. So an in imperfect world - a judging system is set up.

In verse 4 above Bill and Elizabeth nailed it. God did to the Egyptians, God put them on His back (eagle) and brought them out. notice it is the idea of soaring - God provided at great heights. And God brought them to Himself.

Not Moses, not you or me in salvation, but God....

Vs. 5 I like the KJV because it is truer to the Hebrew text. Again God is not just saying do this and do that and you will be my treasured possession (remember Matthews's parable of the treasure in the field)......Even being redeemed because of our flesh we cannot just obey.

God SAYS if you will obey (actually "hear my voice with perception) my voice.... God does not abandon anyone after redemption. God will provide the guidance and instruction for what you need to do....Just listen, hear, and then you can obey. Stay connected with the same belief you had at salvation, and God will lead you on your walk.

God is an Awesome God who will finish the works that he started - just trust Him and listen and hear.

[NOTE: Israel obeyed off and on, so did they lose their treasured status? Go back to Matthew's parable of the discovered treasure in the field (world). God put the treasure back in the ground, purchased the field (world) at the cross, and will come back to recover it at the second coming. It may be just a remnant of the Jewish people, but they will call on the name of the Lord and be saved. - and they will be His recovered treasure]

Matthew 22:34-23:12

A few notes:

1)37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
This is the greatest command of God because if one can do it 100% you would not sin. Sin is against God not man, and if you loved God this much you would not want to affront God with sin.

Can we do it? No - certainly not before we are saved, and not afterwards because we are still imperfect (with the "flesh").

However if you want to pray a prayer that is in the Will of God revealed by His Word - pray for this. Pray that God through the Holy Spirit will enhance and develop your love for God to these levels. THAT is a prayer God will answer.

2)Jesus asks the Pharisees whose son is the "annointed" (Christ). They gave the safe answer "son of David" because the annointed Messiah would come from the line of David. But their answer reveals that they do not understand that God (David's Lord) came to Earth. For David called the Savior Lord. The Messiah pre-existed David. The Pharisees had no answer - because they just could not fathom this point.
======================================================
8"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.

THIS MAY OFFEND SOME CHRISTIAN SECTS, but I want to look at it in the context of Jesus' words in this chapter.

Jesus is speaking to the multitudes and to the disciples regarding obeying the teachings from the temple. Not what the teachers do in real life, but their teachings (Word and Law of God).

Goes on and lists some faults of the teachers.

Then these verses:
Jesus has been speaking of spiritual teaching in the temple, and the actions of the spiritual leaders and now who is Christ talking to?

Because the answer to each phrase is Christ, Father in Heaven, and Christ it is being addressed to believers whether in the crowd or disciples. But spefically the disciples as they are going to perform the teaching roles in early Church. This is about future spiritual teachings and the people who perform those functions in the coming church after the resuurection.

The Church in Greek means assembly - the body of believers - the Body of Christ. So how are the teachers of the Body of Christ - the assembly - not to be addressed?

Rabbi - sign of respect and title of a Jewish teacher or Master. Don't be called that for their is only one Master and source of instruction in the Church - Christ.

Father - an affectionate term given to a Jewish teacher/rabbi. Don't be called that for there is but one Father and He is in heaven. Note: Jesus is talking about spritual relationships between a teacher and the body, not a physical paternal relationship. It is OK to call your biological or step-father - father (IMO).

Master - again a sign of respect for a learned rabbi who teaches God's Law. Do not be called that because there is only one master of the church - the Head of the body - Christ.

Why be so adamant about not having titles for disciples when they teach the early church? One, because giving one a title takes away from the Glory of God. People may seek the titled person instead of God (Israelites today in Exodus????) It diminishes God's role through the Holy Spirit. God shares His Glory with no one (Isaiah). Secondly, there is always the danger with titles that the individual will come to believe it is about himself and not God. That the title lifts him up to a special place reserved only for God. Pride is a dangerous thing.

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