Daily Manna: Understanding This Verse Will Change Your Life

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(An omer is one tenth of an ephah.) Exodus 16:36 NIV

Understanding this verse will change you life. I guarantee it.

Let me try to explain. Throughout the 16th chapter of Exodus, Moses recounts the story of the Israelites gathering manna, which were thin flakes of bread. Every morning, each person gathered the manna by a measure called an omer. For 35 verses in chapter 16, if you are inquisitive like me, you are wondering, “Moses, what is an omer? How much is that?”

Good ole Moses fills us in: an omer is one tenth of an ephah! Any questions? Thanks Moses, it’s clear in my mind.

Perhaps like me you are still confused, so I did a little research. According to a dictionary search, an omer is defined as “one-tenth of an ephah”. Okay, that didn’t help. Therefore, I looked up ephah. My dictionary says, “A Hebrew measurement”. Okay, that doesn’t help me much either. (I’m sure after this post you can send me a dozen definitions. Go for it…but it won’t change the purpose of this post.)

The fact is I don’t know what an ephah or an omer is exactly; we just don’t use those methods of measurement today. I think though it is almost like when your grandmother gave you the recipe for one of her famous pies and she says, “just add a pinch” of something. As we may know from that experience, the measurement isn’t as important as the person making the pie.

The purpose of the omer of bread was to supply just enough for the day. If they gathered more than an omer, it wouldn’t last beyond the day. If they gathered too little, they would not have enough to meet their physical needs. The omer was the perfect measurement. God was trying to teach His people that if they trusted in Him to provide for them, they would always have enough, but if they took matters into their own hands, the plan would fail to work. The measurement wasn’t he important part of this plan though; trusting in the Provider is what was important.

In John chapter 6, Jesus shares that He is the Bread of Life. The people, who knew the story of omers of manna their ancestors had received, came looking to Jesus to supply their daily bread. They wanted substance. They wanted provisions. They wanted Jesus to feed them. Instead of trusting in Jesus, however, the people wanted to trust in the bread He would provide them.

How many times do we trust based on what we have or do not have, rather than trusting in the One who can provide? When you and I stop looking at the quantity of our provisions and start trusting in the Provider, it will change the way we live our life. Instead of being happy when we have plenty or disappointed when we have less, we will learn the secret of contentment.

Remember, when you and I have Christ, the measurement doesn’t matter, because we have the Provider. Understanding this truth will change your life.

Giving God A Blank Page To Plan Out Your Life

and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:10 NIV

iStock_000007059074XSmallFor several years I have tried to get my life to the blank piece of paper stage. I have endeavored to present God with a blank piece of paper so He can plan my life.

It started like this. Years ago I was explaining to a friend that I was at one of those “trying to discover God’s will” points in my life. I have been there many times before and will be again. His advice was something like, “Maybe you need to start with a blank piece of paper and give God ample space to plan out the rest of your life. Make yourself completely available to Him.” That made a lot of sense. I left our meeting, however, with a very probing question for myself. Did I really even have blank piece of paper?  Over the next few weeks, through prayer and discipline, I attempted to get there.

Over the years since then, I have periodically continued the self-examination. To do this I have to be honest with myself and the plans I have for my life. I certainly want to follow His lead, but I think many times my page is loaded with my own agenda. If I want my page to be completely blank, then I need to offer it back to God, with nothing on the paper.

Have you given God a blank page to plan your life?

Be prepared.  He loves a challenge and He is great at taking nothing and making something, when you let Him draw the picture.

For more thoughts on determining God’s will, click HERE and HERE and HERE.

Considering The Afterlife…Questions of the Unknown

In our series “Hot Topics”, where our people were able to text in their greatest questions about God, the Bible, life, etc., one of the biggest areas of questions centered around the issue of the afterlife.  Apparently people want to know what’s next….imagine that.  There is a lot of fear associated with this topic, mostly because of the unknowns. In this message I tried to address some of the most repeated questions we received. (Unfortunately it makes you go to the Truthcasting site after 10 minutes.)

Sometimes I Want To Appear Insane (Battling Fear)

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So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.”

In case you ever get into a close game of Bible trivia, here’s a good question: Who was afraid so he or she pretended to be insane?

Do you give up? Do you want a hint? He liked sheep. He knew how to sing. His father’s name was Jesse. He was a man after God’s own heart. He killed Goliath.

That’s right…David. The verse above is 1 Samuel 21:13. After Jonathon told David that his father wanted to kill him, David fled for his life. While running from Saul, David hid out near the king of Gath, but not wanting to be recognized, he pretended to be insane. The king let him go.

Now, I really think there is more to this than just a good trivia stumper. I think the fact that David, the one who “killed the lion and the bear” could be afraid, means that I too will have times that I am afraid. The fact that the one who “approached Goliath” could become terrified means that surely times will shake my confidence. The reality that the one who was “anointed to be king”, could become so afraid that he would act like an idiot to avoid being found out, means that you and I, who may appear to be of lesser stature in our faith, should not be surprised when we have fear and doubts.

David was a man, just like you and I. At times, he just couldn’t muster up the faith to go on. At times life got the best of him. At times, he thought he couldn’t take another step. At times fear captivated him. Moreover, it was at those times that God came through for him once again.

In addition, He’ll do the same for you and me!

What’s making you afraid these days?

Stop Avoiding Your Past!

girl pastAre you avoiding your story? Do you often wish you could escape the past?

One famous Bible character never seemed to escape her story.

I have always found it interesting that Rahab continued to be known as a harlot…a prostitute…a hooker… (Sorry for the crude word, but that probably best captures how she must have been viewed at one point in her life.)

In Hebrews 11, the so-called faith chapter, where God chronicles the examples of superior faith, Rahab is still referred to as “Rahab the prostitute”. (Hebrews 11:31) She apparently never fully escaped the title or the memory of her past.

Perhaps the memory of your past gone wrong…all the painful mistakes, the tragedies, the hurts, the failures… remain for a greater purpose…

  • To remind you of who He is and what He has done in your life…
  • To remind you to help others that struggle…
  • To keep you humble or from becoming conceited…

Instead of trying to run from your past, perhaps you should embrace the changes God has brought in your life through that past and the forgiveness He has provided and allow God to use the memory of your sorrow for His glory.

How are you allowing God to use your mistakes, tragedies, heartache and sorrow for a greater good?

If you need some tips on recovering from your past, read this post HERE.

God’s Patient Love (A Quick Reminder)

iStock_000002309744XSmall“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.”  Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love… Joel 2:12-13

I love this passage.  I am told this passage has sparked revival in people’s hearts. It certainly does mine.  It did this morning, for example.

I was reminded that God is slow to anger.

He’s not on edge.  He’s not grumpy. He’s not impatient like I am at times.

Human relationships may be like that.  Sometimes we have the shortest tempers with people we love most.

All of us have days when due to stress, illness, worry…we are on edge….

…Sadly, others around us quickly know when we are having a bad day…

God is not like that…

God is gracious and merciful….he abounds in a steady, unchanging, unconditional love…

Today, maybe even for just a couple moments, I am reminded that I can take God all my burdens…He can handle them without fret, with complete patience, and without getting angry at my insufficiencies.

And best of all…He wants me too, because He cares.

Do you have a burden(s) you need to cast His way?

God Helps Those Who Cannot Help Themselves!

Occasionally people quote a common saying and ask me where it’s found in the Bible.  I don’t enjoy being the one to tell them that what they have always believed is Biblical, really is just a repeated saying among well meaning people.  My favorite is “God will not put more trials on you than you can bear”.  It certainly sounds good, but that is not exactly what the Bible says.   I wrote a post you might read about that HERE.

Another myth people often say is “God helps those who help themselves.” I would point out the Scripture that says this, but I have not found it. In fact, I think I’m safe in saying that I haven’t found it, because it isn’t there.

While the message sounds good, we need to understand that the only thing we can do to help ourselves so that God will help us is to put our trust in Him to help us! Did I lose you on that one? God wants to help His children. God’s love causes Him to want to bless His children. The thing inside of us, which welcomes His favor, is the love He has for us and the love we have for His Son, not what we have done to help ourselves.

Moses told the Israelites once, before they went into battle, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)  Sometimes our job is not to “help ourselves”, but to be still before the Lord and wait on Him to work His perfect plan in our life.

Perhaps you have been trying to “help yourself” so that God would “help you”. Why not be still, do nothing, wait on the Lord, and let Him help you, in His timing and with His plan, just because you are His child?    The greatest way you can help yourself, might be to humble yourself before the God who wants to bless you. (1 Peter 5:6)

Coming Home To God (Thoughts for a Prodigal)

iStock_000003359196XSmallSo he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20 NIV

One of the finest word pictures in the Bible: God running to His children! Can you say Godspeed?

Jesus told this parable, not so much about a boy, foolish in his youth who squanders away all his wealth and then comes cowering back to an expectant father. Even though that is what occurs in the story, this story is about you and me.

Jesus is describing for us how God feels about His children. If you are a child of God, bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus, through your faith in Him and Him alone to save you, then God will always be ready to welcome you home! God will never give up on His children.  God may discipline you, but you can rest assured He will never forsake you. You are His, and He will wait for you as His own.

Stop for a moment and picture this story as Jesus meant for you to see it. Imagine you are the prodigal child. You have wandered away from the comfort and protection of your Father God. You have wasted your life on wild living. It was fun at first, but then the new wore off and you were homesick. You realized what you had given up. What you wouldn’t give to go home, but how could you? You had traveled so far and your pride was at stake. People would say, “I told you so”. Your friends might even make fun of you. And what about your Father?  How could He ever forgive you for what you have done? Plus, does He really want you to come home anyway?  Would anyone?

Still, anything is better than where you are at now, so you head for home. Before you can even see the front porch…while your head was still hanging low…you hear a sound. It sounds like footsteps. Heavy footsteps. You look up, almost afraid to for fear of what you may see, and you the sight is something you have never seen before!

YOUR FATHER GOD IS RUNNING TO MEET YOU! God, the Creator of stars, is running to greet you, a sinner, and welcome you home. He isn’t coming with a frown or a smirk of anger on His face. He has His arms open wide! He has on a great big smile! He has a loving twinkle in His eye, the kind He always had when He was proud of something you did!

He reaches you and instead of shouting insults at you, He tells you how pleased He is to have you home. There are tears in His eyes! He lets out a shout of joy. He orders a party to be held in your honor! He tells the angels to get the band playing! Gabriel starts up the gas grill! GOD IS GLAD YOU HAVE COME HOME!

Maybe you need to go home today! God is waiting! He’s probably over half way towards you right now! All you have to do is turn around, and head for home!
I hope you’ll invite me to the party!

Why Was David “A Man After God’s Own Heart”?

An often-confusing term concerning the Biblical character of David is the term “man after God’s own heart”.  Have you ever wondered what that really means? What does that kind of heart even look like? This morning I read a verse from the writings of David that I believe perhaps best captures the meaning behind this phrase.

I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalms 16:2

David recognized that the only good in him was the God in him.  Great godly leaders are willing to step aside from their own need for ego building and self-confidence and humble themselves before an almighty God.

I have heard before that President Theodore Roosevelt often went outdoors at night, looked up into the vastness of the universe, simply to remind himself of his humanity compared to the vastness of the universe.  I think that is an important principle for all of us that claim a leadership title.

Next time someone asks you why David was called “a man after God’s own heart”, point him or her to Psalm 16:2.