Suddenly, Returning to Egypt Seems Like a Good Idea!

Retreat is often a consideration just before reaching your mountaintop. Don't give up!

As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them— Egyptians! Coming at them!

   They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.'” Exodus 14: 10-12; Message Bible

The Israelites had just left Egypt for the Promised Land in this passage.  They were looking forward to what Moses said the Lord had in store for them.  Freedom, abundant life, plentiful food and safe dwelling places were all the wonderful changes coming in their new life.  They were promised God’s protection and His strength as they journeyed, and so they moved forward with anticipation; forsaking all and leaving the comfort of their former homes. 

Similarly, we have been promised these blessings as we take on the Lord’s commandments in our life.  We committed to following Him and forsook all in order to inherit His blessings upon our lives.  Oh, it is a great promise and one that we heard with such excitement; and thus, we vowed we would not forsake the path, come what may. 

And then we faced our first problem on our journey out of Egypt.  One that left us questioning ourselves, “Did I hear Him wrong?”  And we thought He had abandoned us and left us open, easy prey to the enemy.  We ran around in circles, throwing up our hands and crying out in pain, “Why, Lord, why have you allowed this in my life?  What have I done to deserve such treatment from your hand?  It would have been better for me to have remained the way I was than to have accepted your way of life!”   Suddenly, returning to Egypt seems like a good idea! When the enemy seems bigger than life and He’s coming at you from behind with all his army — you just want to run!  Your knees buckle, you freeze in your tracks and all you can do is cry out for dear life!

Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.  God will fight the battle for you.  Exodus 14: 13-14, Message Bible

When you reach the point where you want to turn back, the point where you think your former path was easier living, and want to just give up: cry out to God.   He will come to your rescue.  He will personally deal with your enemy, your problems, and remove them from your life.  From my experience, I have turned back and found that the old way did not provide any relief.   It only made my life more complicated and left me feeling guilty.  Guilty and sorry!  Sorry that I had given up so quickly, and guilty that I had found comfort in my old ways.  But, I think He knew this would happen.  I believe God allowed me to digress because he knew that  I would become a much wiser person for the wear upon returning. 

However, my friend, we are trying to establish our path forward without having to suffer the pains of abandonment,  and taking a detour that will only cause you extra mileage in your journey.  Learn a lesson from my experience: it doesn’t pay to return to Egypt!  Especially when you are so close to the promised land.

But the people you redeemed,
      you led in merciful love;
   You guided them under your protection
      to your holy pasture.

Exodus 14:12-13; Message Bible

After God delivered them from their enemy they sang a victory song to Him.  They acknowledged that He had guided and protected them with His mighty hand on the path to the promised land.   After you have traveled the long, hard road and arrived at your destination (your victory), then you can look back and see where it was He guided you through the perils of your journey.  Sing a song of praise, dance up a storm, laugh with joy; for He has delivered you from your problem and from being overtaken.

 Remember, when you feel like there is no way out and that you are going to fall into the enemy’s hands, cry out to God!  He will hear you and deliver you every time.  It’s His promise!

Be blessed in your walk today,

Dee

 

Finding Peace after my Divorce

Divorce is painful.  Nothing about it will quickly fade away. It is something that has to be worked through. 

Forgiveness  is one of the most powerful experiences a man or woman will undergo after a painful divorce.  If the act of forgiveness is not applied, then the danger of the bitterness and the destruction of the divorce will remain. 

The choice is given to us clearly through the Word of God concerning forgiveness, and the benefits from chosing forgiveness is for our healing.  I read these statements and I learned to apply them in my divorce to my ex-husband, and the benefits affected other areas of my life:   “Forgiveness does involve a literal forgetting.  Forgiving  involves remembering graciously.  Remembering that harboring forgiveness comes at an emotional and a physiological cost.  Cultivating forgiveness may cut these costs.”  (source unknown)

Forgiveness brings much to our life.

It frees us from the emotional weight of the pain.  It doesn’t take the pain away,  but it releases the hold those emotions continue to have in our heart.  Holding on to bitterness too tightly causes a range of negative emotions, and even causes physical stress to a person.

Forgiveness gives an earthly picture of grace.  Most of the time there is no earthly or rational reason to forgive.  Forgiveness gives something that is mostly underserved.  What an awesome picture of God’s grace!

It helps you sleep better at night.  The emotional weight of an injury is often heavier than the actual injury and takes longer to heal.  When we forgive one another, it feels as though pressure is released from one’s shoulders.  Forgiving people takes less stress and makes more joy, regardless of the pain in our life. 

The subject of offering forgiveness causes some people to cringe.  It feels like a risk too big to take.  When you forgive, it feels like you are inviting further injury.  Forgiveness can be abused. 

I wonder if Christ ever feels likewise?

I write this insight realizing I will  never be able to state that I  have arrived.  It will always be a continual surrender to Christ’s will, his love, and his direction.  But the knowledge that freedom, forgiveness and restoration brings has its own satisfaction:  a desire in my heart to never stop the journey. 

What does it mean?  It means giving up my hate towards that person for all the wrongs they inflicted on me and the children.  Choosing to forgive is never an act of the will, because we know that if the choice were ours it would never happen.  I realize it becomes an act of the will once we have surrendered it to God, and as we allow the healing process to begin.  Only then do we begin to understand the AWESOME HEALING POWER of God.  Once we have allowed God to truly cleanse us, we experience an actual act of the will.  “Why?” you ask.  Because our will becomes his will for our lives.  We become tubular.  (This will be explained next blog).

Divorce is a bitter action between two people who vowed until death do us part.  But though it is tragic and devastating, our journey goes on.  The path becomes single again and sometimes very lonely because of our unanswered questions and our hurt.   The only hope we have to continue successfully is through our forgiving the offender.

Life does go on, but it is up to you as to how you want to demonstrate to your children that forgiveness is one of the keys to a life of happiness in Christ —  no matter what life may present. 

I chose to forgive.  My life with my ex-husband is being able to see him and to see a “dear friend.”  I could have chosen to continue to resent and hate him.  But my satisfaction came one day when I heard my 33-year-old daughter telling her close friends that, “I am able to forgive because what I saw in my mother when she divorced my father.”  She continued to state that, “They are good friends.  They can sit and have a cup of coffee and a good conversation together.”  It was very hard but ONLY through Christ can this be possible. 

 But, oh the joy that comes when you are fully aware that you have arrived at a place of green pastures where there used to be only hate and vengeance.  It takes commitment and obedience to yourself  that you are going to make it.  Vowing that you are going to create an attitude that states, “I am beyond what I feel inside me and what I remember in the past, and I set my heart to heal.”  Even when everything inside you is saying, “my life was destroyed by this divorce.”   You need to take that all to God and let him lead you, sometimes blindly, through your deliverance of the divorce; but the wonderful outcome will be FREEDOM IN CHRIST!!!

Blessings,

Erme

Order My Steps, Lord.

While out walking the other day, I came across  this new stop sign in our neighborhood.  Apparently, there had been a few accidents at this corner involving cars crossing the road and turning left.  People had a slight problem seeing traffic coming from the left, and were taken by surprise by an oncoming vehicle.  This new sign provides good direction and will keep cars from colliding in the future.

I thought about this posting on the way home and came to the realization that God often does this for me.  I start out, moving forward, until I come to a stop.  This stop is a halt to my path, at times a warning.  Then, I must ask, “Is it safe to continue on this path, or should I change directions?”  I always get clear instruction as to the “right” path to take.  He states, “Don’t go to the left, you will be taken by surprise!” 

One of my favorite verses is Psalms 37: 23 and 24:

The steps of a good man (or woman) are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his (her) way.  Though he (or she) fall, he (or she) shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him (or her) with His hand.

I have an older version of  Living Bible, called The Way, published by Campus Crusade for Christ, and I like its version as well:

The steps of good men (women) are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take. If they fall it isn’t fatal, for the Lord holds them with His hand. 

This version reminds of the time I watched my son take his first steps. It was so awesome!  For weeks he had been holding onto furniture and stepping along using  the edges to walk.  He would smile and wave his hand around as if in celebration of this great accomplishment.  When he discovered that he could let go and walk, he was so ecstatic and beamed his delight with this new freedom.  I was delighted to watch him walk!

I also remember watching him take his first steps cautiously, swaying a little at times as he stood up, and then he would take off walking while concentrating on the direction he wanted to go.   Sometimes, we would have to stop him and redirect his path so that he would not injure himself.  And, sometimes he fell and I would have to help him back up.

In the same manner, the Lord directs my daily path.  He watches me walk and keeps an eye out for the dangerous crossings in my life.  With every step I take, I must consider what His Word would have me to do.  And, sometimes I sway as I stand, waiting for His direction.   I must not take a step forward without His leading, I desire his guidance through his Word.

As we walk in faith, we some times lose our balance and fall. We may then be embarrassed, confused, angered or just take it all in stride.  We usually just get back up and continue walking forward.   The verse above states that, “if they fall it isn’t fatal”, be assured, my friend, you will fall down once in a while in your Christian walk; but it will not end there.  Did you hear what the Psalmist said?: … for the Lord holds them with his hand.  How awesome is that?  Your Lord will not let you walk alone, he will not let you walk out into dangerous traffic, and even if you misread Him and do get sideswiped … He is there to grab your hand and pull you up!

Let’s take a poll:

Would you rather?:

  1. Walk alone and take my chances.
  2. Walk blindfolded on my daily walk, taking my chances.
  3. Walk with someone who can help order and guide my steps?

I am guessing that most of us would choose #3 and rather have someone help us in our daily walk.  When you, being a good (faithful or righteous)  man or woman, ask God to order your steps what you are asking Him is, “Lord,  keep me safe, keep me focused and help me to walk before you.  May my walk be pleasing to you.” 

Psalms 120: 33 reads, “guide me with your laws so that I will not be overcome by evil.”  God’s laws are meant to protect us from harm, not to restrain our walk.  He keeps us from fatal mistakes, he keeps us from those things that would destroy our faith in Him.  It is this loving Father, who watches your every step, that holds your hand, that will not allow you to be left all alone standing in the middle of a crossroad.  If you fall, he will dry your tears, dust you off and with his loving hand, pick you up.   He has you in his hand, beloved. You are always in his sight!

There is so much more I would love to share on asking God to direct your steps, but my friend, it is your privilege to pursue this prayer and walk.  I encourage you to meditate upon this thought, upon His Word, so that you will understand the great plans he has for your life.

Be blessed in your walk today,

Dee

Run With Your Heart Wide Open

I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.  Psalms 119:32

The Lord has set my heart free to run in him.  I feel like I am running in the “breezes” of the Lord.  It was a position in life I was not able to obtain for such a long time.  Because of the negative choices I had continually made, it created in me a heart of fear.  I always longed to be able to feel that freedom in my God.  I longed to be able to experience running, and standing, with confidence in the Lord.

I have learned that the only thing separating me from that relationship with God was my lack of confidence in knowing that God loved me with a furious love.  When I discovered that truth, I fell right back in love, and true freedom exploded in my heart. To this day I will never be able to put it into words, but I do remember that God did tell me, “Now go and run with your heart wide open.”

I have learned that God is waiting with wide and open arms for all of us to approach him.  And what is it that God is waiting for?  Intimate fellowship, intimate prayer and communication, intimate dialogue and conversations about anything and everything, and the sharing of our most personal, private, and secret thoughts. I learned that God is looking for seekers!  God is looking for those who are not afraid to try to establish a personal, on-fire, passionate, intense, and willing to tell-all and share-all love relationship  with him.  God is looking for a maximum intense kind of personal relationship with no holds barred.  He is looking for on-fire and passionate people who will try to tear into him; people who will try to take hold of Him.  He seeks those who will try to understand Him and His ways.

“For it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.  Hosea 10:12

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”  Psalms 42:1

A professional athlete will give it his best and give his all every time he goes out to compete in an event.  God wants us all to show the same amount of intensity in our personal relationship with Him and in our own personal seeking of Him and all of His ways.  Just to emphasize the importance: God want us to be seeking him, take hold of him.  He wants us to seek him with maximum effort and maximum intensity.

I believe that seeking after the Lord  and establishing a good, deep, intimate, personal relationship with Him is all part of a sanctification process.  Something that God wants to do with each of us.

When I stop to think of the kind of God we are dealing with, the God of the entire universe, I see a best friend that will never harm you, never hurt you, mistreat you, lie to you, leave you, or forsake you.

Finding this out to be true in my own life is changing me.   I do not need to worry about myself because God will take care of me.  I am experiencing that to run with “My heart open wide” is  exciting.  Running in his instructions for my life, and in his righteousness, is freeing, it is life!  I see myself like a picture I saw on my Facebook that shows a little dog running (see photo above).  The quote was “run like someone left the door open”  and in my life, I am finding that someone left the door open.  That someone is God.  He left the door of my heart open and I am running straight into his arms. Then, he turns me around and says to me, “Now go run with your heart wide open with my blessing and peace.”  Love like you mean it, live like you mean it.  Wow….I am blown away every time I am awake, or asleep, because of the God to whom I declare my allegiance!

Am I experiencing life to the fullest?  My answer is a mighty “YES” because of the this God I serve who “loves with his heart wide open.”

Blessings,

Erme