Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Video: Trying Wood Burning

 

I picked up a new hobby— wood burning! I’ve had a wood burning kit sitting in a drawer for over a decade (yes, ridiculous, I know
🙈
), so I finally opened the box and gave it a try!

This kit is incredibly affordable if you want to give wood burning a try!

If you’re a wood burning pro, let me know in the comments what kit you have/recommend, and give me some tips! I’d also love to see some of your creations!

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Wilderness Is a Gracious Training Ground

 

Remember a couple weeks ago when the Israelites were grumbling about food in the wilderness? God delivered them from slavery in Egypt and performed the grand miracle of parting the Red Sea. He led them into the wilderness for them to journey to the Promised Land. They were led by particular route for specific reasons, but the route wasn’t easy. When it came time to scout out the Promised Land, Moses sent twelves spies to explore Canaan (Numbers 13). The land that God promised to give them was fruitful, but all but two of the spies let fear overtake God’s promises. God forgave the people after Moses pleaded for mercy on their behalf, but they would now wander in the wilderness for 40 years. Anyone 20-years-old or older would not see the Promised Land, apart from Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who trusted God’s plan.


Now, jump with me to the book of Deuteronomy.  Moses is addressing the Israelites and reminding them of what God has done for them and how He will bless them when they’re obedient.  Moses says, “Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands” (8:2).


There was eventually a time when God took Israel out of the wilderness and led them into the Promised Land, but let’s pause and think more on the times we have in the wilderness.


Israel was initially in the wilderness because they were on a journey. God led them on a path that protected them from battles against other nations that they weren’t ready to fight and to teach them lessons they needed to learn before reaching their destination.


Israel stayed in the wilderness longer because of their sin. Their fear of man, mistrust of God, pride, rebellion, and so on, kept them from claiming what God was going to give them much sooner.


God may lead us into a time of wilderness to protect us and to prepare us for what’s next. He may keep us in the wilderness due to our own sin. Either way, God has a purpose for the desert. He grows us in the wilderness. He humbles us and tests us in the wilderness.


Israel wasn’t spiritually ready to move into the Promised Land. Before they could enter into the Promised Land where they would need to fight other nations, they needed to learn to trust God. They needed to learn to worship him alone. They left pagan-worshipping Egypt and were going to enter a land filled with more pagan-worshipping cultures. The wilderness was meant to prepare their hands for physical battle and their hearts for spiritual battle.


When we’re in the wilderness, we need to look for the lessons God is teaching us and prepare ourselves for what He has next. The wilderness is not easy, but it’s a gracious training ground.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Social Media Prayer

 


I had to type this prayer out for myself in early summer 2020. Social media was overrun with people disagreeing and arguing, and doing so with words that spewed hate. It was a divisive year of differing views on politics, social matters, medical opinions, and so much more. There were times I’d type out a response to a post and then hit the backspace button, close the app, and set down my phone. I had to keep a check on my heart, and that meant keeping a check on my mouth (or hands that typed what my mouth wanted to say). I don’t always get it right, online or in person. I actually get it wrong more than I want to admit. I’ve said a lot of wrong things, or things that were said in a wrong tone with a wrong heart. What I speak and type has to be checked every time I get ready to open my mouth or hit reply to a post. I have to ask myself— are the words coming from God that I’m to boldly speak, or are they my own words coming from a prideful heart?

This week I read this psalm from David, and it convicted me and reminded me of the prayer I typed in my notes app almost a year ago.

Psalm 141:3-5
Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.
Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness; let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.

There’s a lot to unpack in this psalm, but here’s one small aspect of it: David prays for his mouth not to lead him into sin. What comes from the mouth comes from the heart. He doesn’t want to be drawn to what’s evil and participate with those who are doing wrong. He asks for someone to correct him if he is wrong. Gulp— that’s hard to ask for and to accept. David acknowledges that to be lovingly corrected is an act of kindness. Let’s focus today on praying like David, asking to have our mouths and hearts guarded and to be open to godly correction.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Remember the Exodus


One thing the Israelites
 of the Old Testament liked to do was glorify their days in Egypt. They would on multiple occasions exclaim that it would have been better if they had never left Egypt than to be wandering in the wilderness they were now in. In the book of Numbers (the fourth book in the Bible), we see that God provided their food every day in the form of manna. They just had to go out and gather it and prepare it. They got tired of it, though, and complained that it wasn’t as delicious as the food they had in Egypt. Egypt— where they were slaves and where their infant sons were murdered. They didn’t remember Egypt as it truly was. It was never meant to be their permanent home anyway.

One of my favorite songs is Painting Pictures of Egypt by Sara Groves. The chorus says:

I've been painting pictures of Egypt,

I've been leaving out what it lacks

The future feels so hard,

And I wanna go back

The Israelites had selective memory, forgetting their enslavement and only remembering their few comforts. They were on their way to the Promised Land, and God promised them victory in response to their obedience. But they craved something else to eat, and that took priority over trusting God and His provision.


The Bible Recap book’s commentary on Numbers 11:

Their complaints aren’t related to an unmet need. This isn’t desperation— this is entitlement. God provides for them, but they don’t think it’s sufficient. They long for Egypt, forgetting that whatever God calls you to endure with Him is better than any kind of abundance without Him. It’s not like they had abundance in Egypt anyway! They’re romanticizing the past, and God calls it a rejection of Him.


In the book of Exodus, God parted the Red Sea and delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians, but quickly after (Numbers 11), the Israelites are found grumbling about food. They have witnessed a grand miracle, and all they can think about now is what else they want to eat. Aren’t we guilty of similar grumblings? We forget what God has done for us. When the present gets tough, we romanticize the past. When our present circumstances seem boring, less than glamourous, not exactly what we want, we complain rather than praise the fact we have daily provision.


The Bible Handbook commentary on Exodus says this:

Exodus gives a glimpse of the propensity of mankind to forget the goodness of the Lord. God delivers the Israelites time and time again, yet their hearts still wander from the Lord. They are eyewitnesses to many miracles that God performs, they see Him fulfill His promise, and they experience firsthand the covenant faithfulness of the Lord, but they still wander and look for other gods. This sinful condition is not limited to the Israelites. Instead, we would do well to recognize ourselves in the people of Israel. Exodus, with all of its portrayal of God’s provision, deliverance, and faithfulness, helps us to safeguard wander-prone hearts and teaches us to rely on the Lord’s promises.


What about your past are you wrongly remembering or glorifying because it seems easier than trusting God? Which God-given provisions are you grumbling about? What Red Sea moments are you forgetting? Stop and thank God for his provisions. Stop and remember His times of rescue in your life. Stop and ask Him to strengthen your faith and to help you to rely on Him and His plan.


I’ll leave you with these lyrics from another favorite song and issue a challenge for us to rely on God’s provisions and to trust His plan when we’re in the wilderness.


When you’re living in the Numbers, remember the Exodus.


Ellie Holcomb, Red Sea Road:

We will sing to our souls

We won't bury our hope

Where He leads us to go

There's a Red Sea road

When we can't see the way

He will part the waves

And we'll never walk alone

Down the Red Sea road

Oh help us believe You are faithful, you're faithful

When our hearts are breaking

You are faithful, You're faithful

You'll grant us eyes to see

You are faithful, You're faithful

Teach us to sing

You are faithful, You're faithful, You're faithful 

 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Equipped


Have you ever wondered if your job/vocation/daily activities can be used by God?

In Exodus 35, we read about the building of the tabernacle. I get excited every time I read this passage. Here’s why:

First, God called for the Israelites to give out of willingness and to give from their hearts (35:21, 22, 26, 29). We must be willing and have a heart turned to serving God.

God tells Moses that he has prepared craftsmen to do the jobs needed to construct the tabernacle. God used artists, weavers, and perfumers, men and women, to make His dwelling place! As someone who loves to create, this gets me excited! I’m not saying I’m creating the tabernacle over here, but God gives people different giftings and abilities to do His work!

The most exciting thing— God supplied the wisdom, understanding, and knowledge the craftsmen needed to do the work and filled them the Holy Spirit to do it (35:31). They had never built a tabernacle before, but God abled them to do the work they were called to do.

You may not be a craftsman, and we’re not building a tabernacle, but if God calls you to do something, He will equip you to do the work. If he has called you to your day-to-day work (nursing, teaching, studying, cooking, cleaning, running a business, designing, parenting), then He will equip you and use you and your willing heart in His kingdom work and in His church.

When God calls us, He equips us to do the work.

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