Five Small Stones

Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine. 

1 Samuel 17:40 (NKJV)

We all know the story of David and Goliath. If you grew up in the church, you learned about it in Sunday School. It is a story of faith and the mighty power of God to deliver us in times of need. What great faith it must have taken for David, a small shepherd boy, to walk out onto a battlefield to face a giant. We are all called to have that kind of faith in every situation.

The Israelites battled against God’s will for many generations. Each time He would deliver them into the hands of their enemies and then He would send a judge to lead them back to God and righteousness. Their faith was not strong but rather dependent on the outcome. It would not linger long but would dry up and fly away in the wind at the first sight of trouble. They had no patience or faith that God could sustain them.

Samuel, the last judge of Israel, was old and had appointed his two sons to be judges in Beersheba. Only, like Eli’s sons, they were perverting the Law and using it for their own selfish pursuits. When the Ammonites threatened to attack, the Israelites turned to Samuel and asked for a king to rule over them. Samuel goes to prayer with God and finds that God is displeased with this request since once again, they have rejected God. They were only focused on the outcome that they desired instead of the outcome that God had plans for. Their focus was misplaced.

And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day–with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods–so they are doing to you also.”  1 Samuel 8:7-8 (NKJV)

When Samuel went to the people of Israel and gave them the warning that God had given Samuel regarding their king, they did not care. They wanted to be like every other nation and have a king over them. Are we not the same way at times? We want to be like everyone else and have what they have and not worry about the consequences. We focus on our desired outcome instead of what God has planned for our lives. We lack the faith it takes to allow God to work in our lives no matter how long it takes. We forget that we are called to be different from the world.

“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.” Deuteronomy 7:6 (NKJV)

So Saul was appointed as their king and led them into battle with the Philistines. David happened to be there, being duly appointed by God through Samuel, to take food to the men of the army and to see his brothers. He was to take news back to his father of the welfare of his brothers.

Goliath was the champion of the Philistines who challenged the army of Saul. David watched in amazement as the army fled from him. David said, “Why are we running from this man? Are we not the army of Israel who God is with?”  See, David knew the outcome and did not rely upon it to battle the giant but rather had faith in God that He would deliver the Philistines into their hands. Saul tried to dress David in armor, but it says in verse 39 that David had not tested the armor. He did know however the strength of the full armor of God!

David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off. 1 Samuel 17:39b (NKJV)

David chose five small stones from a brook to battle the Philistine. So we have to ask, if David had such faith, why did he not just take one stone? Did God specifically tell him to pick up five stones as opposed to one? The text does not say that God told him to, but David was preparing. Goliath was surely not the only giant in their midst. As a matter of fact, in 2 Samuel we find that Goliath had four brothers. So perhaps David was preparing for his battle with one stone for each because he knew that God would direct each stone to where it should go.

David was not held hostage by the outcome of his faith. He did not have the kind of faith that only works when we know how the story ends. He knew that God would deliver them into his hands he just did not know how that would happen. God does not lay out his plan in front of us so that we can make the right choices in life to reach the desired outcome. No! He calls for us to have faith without knowing the end result.

He calls us to live a life that is a reflection of our faith. He calls us to have faith all the time not just on Easter or Christmas; not just on Sundays or Wednesdays. He calls us to have the kind of faith that meets you on Monday, that brings you through Tuesday, that goes to work with you on Wednesday, that gets you through Thursday, that fights with you on Friday, and that sits with you on Saturday. Our faith is not dependent on how it works for us but how it works for God.

 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Do you only pull out your faith when you are faced with an insurmountable task? We are called to have faith even when we do not know the outcome of our medical procedures, even when we are facing unemployment, even when we are faced with late notices from the bank and we are on the verge of losing our home, even when our children still do not know respect. If you have that kind of faith, God will work miracles in your life. You will see blessings from heaven and know that God is still on the throne! David walked out onto that battlefield armed only with the full armor of God and five small stones. He had faith that God would deliver them into his hands because he knew the promise of God not because God said that He would. Put on the armor of God and go face your giant!

 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)

Dear Jesus, I thank You for Your continued grace and mercy that You pour out on us each and every day. I thank You for the way that You teach me how to have faith like David’s. I am thankful that You didn’t just give it to me but made me work toward it. I have learned so much about Your great provisions. I ask that You touch each and every person that reads this today that they too may find the faith that You require of us. I know that this is not an easy task, but Your grace will allow us to learn to wait upon You and not be held hostage by the outcome. I pray that You will continue to teach us how to grow our faith daily. I will continue to give You all the glory forever. Amen.

 

 

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How Do You Measure Up?

For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV)

Have you ever had to measure something and could not find a tape measure or ruler? Have you ever measured something with the wrong tool? Would you measure a piece of paper with a yardstick? Would you measure a room with a twelve inch ruler? You have to measure your project with the appropriate tool. It is the same with our value as a human being and as a child of God.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

We often times sell ourselves short and measure our self-worth by the tools of the world. We try to measure up to something that has no spiritual significance at all. We tend to measure ourselves by what the world expects us to be. We are bombarded daily by advertisements telling us how to be the perfect person. We are told that this pill will fix all that ails you. It can make you thin, bring back your hair, make you stronger, or make you more of a man. These are all tactics of the great deceiver.

When Eve was tempted by the serpent, she was told that she was not good enough but that if she ate of the apple she could be more than she was meant to be. The truth is that God created us in His image and therefore we should be measuring ourselves by His standards and nothing else. As a matter of fact, God’s tape measure is larger than you can imagine because He knows what you are capable of. He knows that we can grow in Christ and therefore have no need to measure ourselves by the world’s standards.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

I often lose sight of what is important and begin to fix my eyes on what the world wants me to be. I find myself condemning myself for the way I look or my inability to speak eloquently. I blame all the things that I cannot have on the fact that I am not good enough. However, God gently reminds me that I am not to look to the world for any confirmation of myself but rather look toward Heaven and seek the prize that awaits me at the end.

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 (NKJV)

When you are feeling like you are not good enough, remember that God does not make mistakes. If you live your life and measure it by the only appropriate tool, you will find that you are called a Child of God and therefore are a perfect creation. You are complete in Him.

and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:10 (NKJV)

You and I were not created to be approved by man by rather to be a servant of the Almighty. In that, we should be looking to Him for approval of the things we say and do. We have been given the Holy Spirit to help us on our journey by guiding us in the right direction. He has prepared a place for me in His presence and I do not need the approval of this world to get there.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 (NIV)

Dear Jesus, I want to thank You for Your many mercies that you pour out on me. You alone are worth of all my praise. I humbly ask that each and every person that reads this today will find that they need to throw away the world’s yardstick and measure themselves only by You. I know that it is not always easy to ignore what the world throws at us daily, but you did not give me a spirit of fear but rather a spirit of sound mind that I can see that what the world offers is temporary and empty. You are my refuge and strength and to You I look in times of need and You will lay mine enemies at my feet. Please bless those that may have found even the smallest amount of truth in this and multiply it within their heart. I will continue to give you all the Glory forever. Amen.

 

Mountains Will Move

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.  Matthew 17:20 (NKJV)

What mountains do you have in your own life? What seemingly impossible climb are you experiencing that seems to have no end? How can you be sure you will reach the other side?

I know that I have looked at my mountains and thought “there is just no way.” Or I would get half way up and then think there was a better path to go around and right back to the bottom I go looking for an easier way. I am sure that this is a common occurrence in life for many Christians. However, Jesus shows us in this verse that we have, within us, the capability to overcome anything that comes our way. That mountain was not put there by accident.

God does not want us to suffer and not prosper in life. In fact, Jeremiah tells us that He has a plan for each and every one of us. There are no exceptions. God knows what mountain you will face before you ever face it and He already has a plan for you to overcome and grow spiritually. After all, Christian growth is the journey that we all are on.

The mustard seed, is the smallest of all seeds so it is no wonder that Jesus used it as an example. Once this seed is planted, it grows into one of the largest herbs. That small little seed must endure the elements in order to grow and actually uses those elements to grow. Just like the mustard seed, we too have to have a beginning, but once properly nourished, can grow and expand into something wonderful. We too have to grow our faith and then we can overcome anything in our path.

Perhaps your mountain is pride, addiction, a struggling marriage, or even growing a ministry. Whatever the case, God has given each of us the tools necessary to overcome. But faith does not come easy or is often free. We have to endure those mountains in order for our faith to grow.

Remember that when Jesus healed, it was faith that healed them. He did not heal them and then ask for faith. No! Faith had to be applied first in order for the healing to take place. The walls of Jericho fell because of faith and Daniel did not get eaten by the lions because of faith. Here’s a huge mountain for you–the furnace that was heated seven times hotter than usual. It took a real leap of faith to walk through those doors after seeing the guards die just from the heat at the door.

Faith can move mountains in your life but, like anything else in you, it has to be exercised in order to grow strong. Those mountains you face today will one day end up behind you and then you can look back over your journey and see God’s hand in your life. My God is my guide through those mountains. He leads me on the right path to overcome them but it is ultimately my faith in God that gets me there. It is not I overcoming the mountain but rather God helping me to overcome it.

The Bible is full of examples of great faith. Do you think that is a coincidence? How are you saved? Through grace by faith. That is your beginning. What you do with it from there will ultimately determine how your journey will end. God calls each of us into a faithful relationship with Him. The Worthy Lamb paid a debt I could never pay and He did it all out of love for me. He did not do it so that I would have to suffer through life–He did it so that I could HAVE life.

Dear Jesus, I pray that You would have Your hand on each and every person that reads this today. I pray that You help them to increase their faith so that the healing may begin. I know, Jesus, that You did not do all of this for nothing. You love each and every one of us and want us to be happy and prosperous–to have hope. I ask that You continue to work in my life to overcome the huge mountains I have in front of me. I know that You will help to guide each of us through our mountains to strengthen our stamina for the journey. I love you Jesus. Thank You for paying a debt I could never have paid. May we all continue to give You all the glory in all that we accomplish. Amen.

Go climb your mountain!!

Obstacle or Opportunity

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  James 1:12 (NKJV)

We all face stressful situations in life, but how we choose to deal with them will ultimately set us apart form the world. As human beings born into a sinful world, we are prone to “grumble.” The Israelites did it for generations. Every time you turn a page, you find the Israelites grumbling about something and God has to straighten them out. Are we not sometimes the same way? How often do you complain about traffic or the line at the grocery store? I know I do it more often than I would like to admit. So how are we to handle our stressful situations?

It is all in the way we look at them that will determine how we approach the solutions. Do you view them as an obstacle in life or an opportunity to grow? This is a key question that we have to learn to ask in every situation. If we can master this question and answer it honestly, we can be on the road to learning more about God’s character and ours as well.

Obstacle is defined as “a thing that blocks one’s way or prevents or hinders progress.” We tend to look at life’s challenges as obstacles in achieving what we believe we need in life. When we hit this point in our lives, our natural instinct is to fight to overcome or find another path. The latter is usually not an option so we continue to fight our way through the challenge as though our lives depended on it.

Now an opportunity is defined as “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.” When we are faced with an opportunity we carefully weigh our options and make a decision based on emotion and prosperity. These are sometimes so much easier to deal with. We often experience a lot less stress and find that making a decision brings a sense of peace to our hearts. However, for those who jump at every opportunity without considering the consequences end up creating another obstacle from an intended opportunity.

Because of free will, life is full of choices so when God allows something to take place in our lives, He is giving us a chance for personal and spiritual growth and discovery. We can learn to look at them as an opportunity or an obstacle. Is this an opportunity for me to grow in my faith and prayer disciplines by turning to God for answers or will I simply grumble that yet another obstacle is in my way?

God desires for us to use these situations as opportunities to come closer to Him and in return, He will draw closer us (James 4:8). What a marvelous opportunity to come into a fuller relationship with God! In order for this to happen we have to learn to trust and have faith that He will lead us in the right direction.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

The evil one will jump on every situation if we allow him to. If we decide to look at the situation as an obstacle it only gives him opportunity to use it against us. But, if we look at it as an opportunity, he will find an obstacle in his path. Rest assured that God has a plan for your life but you have to be willing to allow it to happen as He intended.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

It is oh so easy to get caught in a trap of looking at life as an obstacle. We all have desires and dreams that are rooted in our own wants and needs. It is only when we learn to let go of the world that we can ever learn what it is to be truly free. God has promised endurance, strength, courage, and wisdom in our times of need. All we have to do is ask for it.

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.”     Isaiah 30:21 (NKJV)

Dear Father, I come before You today humbled by the fact that only You can rescue me from all that this sinful world throws my way. It is only by Your amazing grace endless mercy that I am here. I thank You for each and every person that reads this today and I ask that You will be with them as they face whatever trials and temptations are thrown their way. May they learn to turn to You for the answers they seek in their lives and may they only find those answers at the cross. You are a faithful God and only desire for us to be happy and abide in Your presence. May we all continue to give Your Son all the glory forever. Amen.

Walking the Tightrope

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

Have you ever seen a high wire act? I always think to myself, “That must take a lot of confidence to step out onto that wire every time with nothing except a stick.” It becomes even more incredible when they perform without a safety net in place. That takes real courage.

The movie The Walk, is about a French aerialist named Philippe Petit who walked a tightrope between the twin towers. He was suspended in midair with nothing between him and the ground and in the movie; he does it all with a hurt foot. What an incredible amount of faith he must have had to take that first step.

In order to get to this point, he first had to train. So that he would gain confidence, he had to have a safety net below him because he would inevitably fall. Even when we learn to walk as children, we fall down before we learn to keep our balance and walk. Our parents walk along side of us holding our hands so that we do not fall but it is only when we do fall that we learn to stand on our own two feet.

Our lives in Christ are much like a tightrope walker. We walk through life never fearing because we have God as our safety net. We become complacent and this makes way for spiritual laziness. How can we ever expect to build our faith when we always have that net to catch us when we fall? So, in order to teach us real faith, God sometimes takes away the net and still expects us to take the first step. It is a lesson in humility meant to teach us faith.

I have been out on that tightrope and looked down only to find no net is there. I cry out to God to reveal Himself to me but my voice echoes back to me from the silence. God has withheld Himself in order that I may learn to walk with nothing more than just my faith. He may be silent but He is never absent. How can we ever really learn faith while we always know that He will be there to bail us out? We can’t.

I am not suggesting that God will abandon us, because He has promised that He never will, but rather He pulls away from us to teach us. St. John of the Cross called it a Dark Night [of the Soul]. These dark nights are necessary on any journey toward Christ. They build our character and at the same time God reveals more of His character to us through them.

At the time of creation, God decided that we were to be created in His image; therefore we work to build our character to be like His. Even in the tough times, we look to Him for strength and refuge from the storm. God has not abandoned me; He is simply allowing me to learn to trust Him more. He tests my faith and strength by allowing me to walk alone for a short time.

Perhaps you are experiencing a dark night of the soul right now. Perhaps you are struggling with many of the things that life throws at us daily. Rest assured that God has promised His continued support and love. He has demonstrated His love time and time again. He did not send His Son to the cross for no reason. He did it because He loves us so much that He wants to spend eternity with us. So the next time you feel all alone and that God is not listening, just remember to “Be still and know I am God.”

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.   Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19 (NKJV)

And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.                                               2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.  Isaiah 12:2 (NKJV)

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for your great mercy and grace. I thank you for all the glorious things You have done for us. You created us in Your image and placed us amongst the rest of Your creation so that we may enjoy it. You give us grace even though we do not deserve it, and You even sent Your Son to shed His blood on Calvary for us so that we would not have to be separated from you by sin. I thank you for always being there when I need You. You may not always speak to me like I want, but I know that these are the times that You are teaching me to walk upright in faith. I pray that you bless each and every person that reads this that they may experience You the way I do. There is no greater joy than to serve You. In all things, I will give You the glory forever. Amen.

Anchoring in the Storm

There is a lot of debate in the nautical world whether you should anchor a boat on the sea when a storm approaches. Some say “yes” and others say you’re crazy to. However, when faced with an impossible situation, it is often natural to want to throw an anchor overboard to ground yourself and keep yourself from drifting on the rough seas. The question is where do we put our anchors?

When faced with the storms that will inevitably hit our lives, do we run for high ground or do we run back to our “safe place?” That place where we always found comfort in the past. For some this is drugs, others alcohol. It could be the safety we find in the arms of another man or woman outside of marriage, or perhaps it is the internet pornography that is so easily accessible these days. Regardless, we need to be careful where we place our anchors.

When the storm hits, many times we have no warning and are not prepared for it. Take for example, unemployment. You get called into the office one Friday only to find that you are no longer employed. No warning…no sirens…no weather station telling you its coming. Now you have to determine how to tell your family. How to face the humility of telling your children that you no longer have a job. Your mind wanders to “how will I feed my family?” or “how will I pay rent?” The storm clouds are rolling in and the wind is beginning to pick up. The sky darkens above you and you begin to doubt your abilities as both a husband and a father and the next thing you know you are throwing down your anchor to weather the storm.

If this has happened to you, or you may be dealing with it now, I can assure you that God will weather the storm with you. You are never alone in the boat. Instead of anchoring yourself to the world, anchor yourself in faith and prayer.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

For some this is much easier than others. I myself find it easy to have faith in the dark times. I have seen first-hand what God can do if we allow Him to work in our lives. It was not always that easy for me. I found myself running from God when the storms approached and anchoring myself in the world instead of anchoring myself in Jesus. Somehow that never worked out for me and the storms only intensified. It does not come easily though. Like anything else in life, it takes practice removing the doubt in our lives. Doubt only comes from the father of lies.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” James 4:7

You have to ask yourself, “where is my anchor?” Are you anchored to an addiction or perhaps you are just anchored to doubt instead of faith. Well, I can tell you that there is a way to weather the storm and break free of that anchor weighing you down.

The anchor of a U.S. aircraft carrier weighs over 30 tons and the links are just an incredible size and strength. Sometimes we allow our anchor to grow to ensure that we are firmly grounded in our “safe zone.” Once we are anchored, our sin only strengthens the chain that holds us there. Fortunately there is a solution.

I believe that most of you have heard the song by Zach Williams entitled Chain Breaker. In his song he talks about God breaking the chains of sin that bind us. My God is a chain breaker.God can also break the chain of the anchor that is holding you down regardless of its size or strength.

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

No matter what storm you may be experiencing in your life today, God has already provided a safe haven for you. He sent His son to die upon a cross and shed His blood so that you no longer had to be anchored to sin in this world! He carried your sin and mine so that we did not have to. And He did all this before you were even born!

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Can you ever imagine such love? Not in this world, but My God is love. He loves us so much that he would sacrifice His only son so that we may be free. What a wonderful gift. It is only by faith that you are saved. So when the storm approaches, be sure to anchor yourself in faith and prayer rather than the things of this world. You will see such a difference in how you are able to weather the storm.

Dear Father, I thank you for your wonderful grace and mercy. I will never be worthy of your grace but I thank you that you sent your Son to die upon the cross for me so that I no longer had to be anchored to this sinful world. I pray today that these words may touch someone as they have me. I pray that anyone that may be anchored in the wrong place, that You will reach out to them wherever they are and touch them and let them know that they are not alone. Send Your Holy Spirit upon them and strengthen them or convict them that they may turn the tide and find You waiting for them. I will continue to give You all the glory forever. Amen!

Facing the Bullies in our Life

Have you ever felt bullied? I don’t mean “picked on” once in a while but rather continual chastisement for whatever reason. This is a problem that I am all too familiar with. Fortunately, there is a way to handle bullies that will end their reign in our lives.

As a child, I had to endure the daily torment of others. It is as if children have a special sense of who is different and they pounce on them like a lion–devouring them. I was made fun of, chased on the playground, pursued nine long blocks home every day while insults were hurled at me. I was pummeled with rocks, beaten, humiliated, and laughed at. I had no way out and no one to protect me so I just dealt with it each day and quickly came to understand that I was never going to be worthy of friends. The summers were long and lonely, counting the days until I had to return to the daily torment.

This kind of behavior can certainly influence the way a person thinks and sees themselves later in life. It will often times drive them into a “self-medication” mode early in life and they soon spiral out of control. My heart aches daily for all the children in the schools that have to endure that same things that I had to as a child. My daughter often comes home and tells me how someone pushed her or made fun of her at school. It breaks my heart and “dad mode” kicks in and off to the school we go.

The Israelites were bullied by the Egyptians for over 400 years. They were enslaved and made to labor day and night. God, however, stood up for them. He protected His chosen people. He allowed it to happen in order to bring them to a point where He could work with them. Much like the potter with the clay.

Yet you Lord are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.    Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)

Our Heavenly Father does this with us sometimes in order to bring us to a place where we are more “pliable.” Sometimes it is only in our times of true brokenness that we are able to be used for His will. As humans born into a sinful nature, it is easier for us to take control of our own lives rather than have the faith that is needed to allow God full control. But only by doing so can we ever experience God’s plan for us…and He does have one!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

So, Moses and Aaron were dispatched to bring God’s people out of Egypt. We all know the story of how God hardened the heart of the pharaoh and then rained down plagues on him and his people and was finally convinced to let them leave. Now by this time the Israelites numbered over 600,000. This number only reflects the men so in reality there were probably closer to 2-2.5 million people including women and children. They made up almost half of the population of Egypt during that time.

God marched the Israelites around the edge of the mountains and circled them back to encamp on the banks of the Red Sea. They were led by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night. When they arrived at the Red Sea, they found that the pharaoh and his army were pursuing them and they became afraid. They began to complain to Moses about their situation.

Isn’t that just like us? We don’t get what we think we need or we are put in a situation that looks hopeless and we begin to complain. Remember that the Israelites were camped in an area that gave them no way out. They had mountains on two sides, the Red Sea on another, and the world’s greatest army coming after them. They were locked in with no way to escape.

The Israelites were so used to being bullied that their natural reaction was one of chaos. They were conditioned to think of themselves as less than a person and to believe that nothing good could come of their lives. They needed an intercession from God to make them believe that someone did find them to be more valuable than anything. They were a “chosen” people just like we are. Here is Moses’ response to their complaining:

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” Exodus 14:13-14 (NIV)

Moses tells them to just relax and allow the Lord to do His work. “…you need only be still.” So the angel of the Lord and the cloud moved from in front of them to behind them coming in between them and the Egyptians. It must have taken a tremendous act of faith for the Israelites to “be still” in that situation. Faced with a regretful and hateful pharaoh and his army pursuing them to drive them back. But that is what is required of us in order for God to work in our lives…faith.

We need to remember that no matter how the devil tries to bully us, there is always someone on our side that will fight for us. God will protect us from whatever we face, if we only allow Him to do so. He will position himself between us and the problem. We have to give up complete control and allow His work to be done through us. Just as he used the Israelites situation to bring about belief, He can do the same in our lives. Only God can turn a negative into a positive!

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:28-30 (NIV)

Remember that bullies only have power and control in your life if you allow them to. Satan can only bully you if you allow him to. Stand strong and turn to your faith in God as your refuge. This world is only temporary and one day we will all be in the presence of our Deliverer to sing praises to His name. Don’t be bogged down with the things of this world but rather “be still.”

Dear Father, as I approach your Throne of Grace today, I want to thank you for looking out for me all those many years. I look back now and can see your plan unfolding. I thank you for your mercy and Your grace. Your love will endure forever and I look to that whenever I am feeling down about my life. I pray that you protect all those that are faced with bullies everyday and that you bestow upon them the peace that surpasses all understanding. I pray that you may reveal yourself to them and remind them to just be still and know you are God! I will continue to give you all the glory. Amen.