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Genesis 50:1 - Exodus 2:10

All day I couldn’t get out of my mind what would it have felt like to grow up in a country that you are a stranger in? Even though you were born there and possibly died there, you were still a stranger in the land... Clustered in a designated part of the country, you keep your customs, your language and your belief system. Yes, a few might venture off into the other part of the land and may even assimilate into the predominant culture, but most are grouped together within the same community unchanged for hundreds of years. Imagine being a stranger in the land of your birth. Imagine having to be removed from your promise in order to maintain your identity to receive that promise.

Israel/Jacob is called the church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38), the called out ones, the ek-klay-see'-ah. The church was called out to be in the world but not of or apart of the world.

What happened to Israel back in the day, is what we are experiencing in this day. We are the called ones, the ones given the promise yet separated from that promise while we mature in becoming Christ like. We are strangers in a strange land given a mandate to separate, not isolated, from the world. While strangers in a strange land we are to be to those we live amongst, a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, a chosen people (1 Peter 2:9).

The pressure and resentment those who are born in a country where they are estranged, “aliens,” to assimilate is undeniably strong. Just think of how nuts people who live in the United States get when they think that a group of people are not becoming “American” enough for their taste. We cry out for closed borders, we demand that these immigrants/aliens get on board, learn the language, and stop consuming “our government programs,” without contributing anything to society and the tax roles. Think about it, that more than likely was spewed out on Israel while she grew to be a mighty number in Egypt. Do you think they might have had a “Egyptian” only cry when creating directional signs and such like?

The same pressures exerted on Israel to confirm, the same pressure we in the United States exert on the foreign born, even when they are born here to confirm is the same pressure Believers are met with while trying to keep on the path God has predestined all those that call on His name to walk.

Israel, the church in the wilderness: what things can we learn from her, what “type” and “shadow” can we find in her that we can relate to the messed up churches we find ourselves attending?

Grace and peace,

Thank you, Mike, for your blog posts. I really enjoy reading them.

Lisa from SC

First, I agree with Lisa about your posts :) I'm currently going to a Bible study and we are in the initial stages of forming a brand new Church. It's been interesting and I am praying it works out for us !! I loved the Billy Graham quote. I'll share that with the Bible Study group.

Thank you Ramona to tell the story like it is. Even you have been in the country for years, since you are black and you come from a poor country, they still discriminate you. As a professional you are competent, you do a wonderful job but they think you have an accent, but when they are in trouble, they are having inspection with the department of health, they need you to pray for them they seem to recognize your values, thanks God I trust in God and I tell them: I am here for political reasons, not for a better life ,as a matter of facts, mi ife was better in my country. We are exposed at the same problems in a few churches, you are black and you go there, some " they say they are christians, but the way they look at you is: what are you doing here, they live the church,some of them walk after you, not even a good Morning. But God is good and I will not let anybody like Elizabeth of the Trinity , a young Carmelite nun wrote: " MAY NOTHING GOD TROUBLE MY PEACE OR MAKE LEAVE YOU ' It's really aa pleasure to be a member of that Bible study. Thank you Mike from my heart. Maryse

In our Matthew readings today Jesus institutes the church. I'm curious what your thoughts are on the church today?I love the church! I wouldn't know what my life would be like without the church and the family I have built through and in the church And I'm not talking about any one denomination - I mean church as the overall "body of Christ" Christian churches worldwide. Big churches, small churches, house churches, cathedral churches. Do you personally go to church regularly? Yes Why -I grew up on church. Even when my family didn't feel like going to church, they would drop me off at church..however, my mom and I went regularly, then I grew up and got married and moved away and came home on weekends to our hometown church, till we had our son and then went to a church in my town I lived in, then I got introduced to the church I am at right now and was led there which I have been a member of for 8 years. I love it!!or why not? Have there been periods of your life where you have not gone to church regularly?there was a few years I didn't attend church as regular right after I graduated from high school and then I came back to church right before I got married and then following year I had my child. Have these been good or not so good periods of your life? This was not a good time in my life. I constantly felt guilty that I wasn't going to church and knew that something was missing from my life but just didn't know what it was..till I found a life-changing church and the life-changing Jesus I met there.. What would you say to someone now who might be reading this blog who does not go to church about church?I would say, Jump..go run immediately to a church body! It will change your life! Do it scared..just DO IT!! seriously..our church website is: www.lcci.us How might you encourage someone to go to church? watch our website, look at the archived services and see how awesome it is..pray about it, let the Spirit lead you. Why does it matter if they go to church or not? It matters because two or more are gathered and Jesus is there too..we need uplifting people in our life, and "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing the Word of God" Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings?It has all been so great lately! I love the book of Genesis..sniff,sniff..I hate when Genesis is over in our one year read..I like Exodus too..so looking forward to this read, and Psalms/Proverbs and Matthew great too. Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!

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