When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
Yesterday I posted about the “burning bush” experience that God wants us to have with Him. Today I want to take it a step further. The first thing I notice, is that God did not reveal Himself until He knew that He had Moses attention.
Sometimes I like to go out hiking or camping in the woods. While I’m there, I usually take the time to pray and seek the Lord. The reason I love to meet with God in the wilderness is that there are no distractions.
We live in a world where there’s a whirlwind of activity around us. We desperately need to take the time and get alone with God in a solitary place. Only then will God have the freedom to speak with us on the level He desires.
The next thing is that God instructs Moses to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. God wants nothing to insulate Moses from His holiness. So often we want a buffer between us and God. We want the Pastor to pray for us and tell us what to do. The truth is that we need to see ourselves as holy – set apart for the exclusive use of God.
Take the time right now to bask in the holiness of the Lord. Begin to see yourself as set apart for His plan. Lay down your desires upon the altar of God. In that way you are opening the door for a “burning bush” of your own.
Tags: alone with God, attention, Bible, burning bush, camping, Christian, devotion, distractions, encouragement, fellowship, glory, God's faithfulness, hiking, holiness, holy ground, Holy Spirit, holy worship, Moses, prayer, presence of the lord, set apart, wilderness
Now Moses was tending the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.”
This is a very familiar portion of the Word of God. Every Sunday School student knows about Moses and the burning bush. Here we see Moses going through the normal routine of an average day. Then, out of nowhere, God shows up and absolutely revolutionizes his life.
What may surprise you is that God desires us all to have “burning bush” experiences. We serve a God who always desires fellowship with his children. If you are listening, there will be times of deep intimacy between you and the Lord. These are times when you have a special moment with the Lord.
You also need to understand that these times are few and far between. However, they are times when the Spirit of God speaks to you so clearly that you can almost hear Him with your physical ears.
The important thing to remember is that we need to keep our eyes open for these times of special clarity in our walk with God. We cannot afford to miss them – they are life changing.
Spend some time, today, in quiet reverence before the Lord. Let Him know that you are willing to listen to His voice. Allow Him to share His heart with yours.
Tags: Bible, burning bush, Christian, clarity, devotion, distractions, encouragement, fellowship, glory, God's faithfulness, Holy Spirit, holy worship, intimacy, life changing, presence of the lord, reverence
They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them.
In this passage, Nehemiah is praying, and remembering why Israel is presently in captivity in a foreign land. Time and time again they refused to listen to the Lord’s leading. They took no time to think and meditate on the many miracles that God performed on their behalf. Instead they had a history of outright rebellion against God’s leadership.
But here is the amazing part – in all that time God remained forgiving, gracious, and compassionate. I’m so glad that our God is not bound to emotional outbursts the way we humans are. Instead of writing them off and giving up on them, God worked with Israel. He tried to draw them in by His love for them.
This is truly a God who is abounding in love. This verse literally says that God has an over abundance of love. That only stands to reason. God is love. God is infinite. Therefore, His love is infinite.
What a comforting thought – God has more than enough love for us. You can personalize that and say that God has more than enough love for you. He will never run out. No one can ever say that they have done so many things wrong that God doesn’t love them any more.
Bask in the warmth of that love today. Let God’s overabundance minister to your soul. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak words of encouragement to your inner man. Be refreshed by this love that passes all understanding.
Tags: abounding in love, Bible, Christian, devotion, encouragement, faith, fellowship, God is love, God's love, Holy Spirit, inner man, love, loving God, miracles, Nehemiah, praise, presence of the lord, rebellion
This is my second post on what true love is all about. Yesterday’s post showed that the only way to know love is to know God. That is the basis for our understanding.
God is love.
O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.
The world talks about love, but it’s not the real thing that they refer to. If you look at the statistics on marriage and divorce it becomes very clear. Couples go into marriage saying that they are deeply and truly in love. It is a love that will last forever. Then, years later, when times of trouble come they are suddenly incompatible.
The fact is that we throw the word love around very loosely in our society. We say that we love so many people and things, from boyfriends to French fries. Yet our love is as changeable as the wind. Some people or things that we loved last week have now been replaced with “better or newer” versions.
Love is actually a very serious matter. Before we say that we love God…we better know what love is. The Lord is our supreme example.
People talk about the various names given to God in the Bible. Names like Jehovah-Jireh, God my Provider. I have heard many sermons on the names of God. But somewhere down the road we missed one. I have never heard a sermon on the verse above.
The phrase translated “my loving God” is actually the name Elohiym-Checed, God who loves me. God and His love cannot be separated. Love is who He is. He doesn’t have to think about whether He will love me or not. God simply loves me because that is who He is and what He does.
Let God minister His love to you today. Maybe you have doubted His love for you. Let the knowledge of His character change your perception. You are loved. Let that thought override all others.
Tags: Bible, changeable, Christian, devotion, divorce, fellowship, God is love, God's faithfulness, God's love, loving God, marriage, names of God, presence of the lord, trust
Do you love God? Here’s a loaded question – do you really know what it means to love God?
I John 4:8-10
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
I am convinced that we, as believers, need to understand what it truly means to love God. I have decided to spend a few posts exploring this topic.
The big question is where do we even start to understand what it means to love God? He is so vast, so infinite. His ways are so far above our comprehension. How could we ever grasp love for a God so great and powerful?
In order to really love God, we have to start with the correct attitude. Scripture is clear that it’s not about our love for Him, but His love for us. Before I can ever love God, I must have an understanding of what love is and just how much He loves me.
The path is clear and simple. To understand love, I have to understand Him. That is the basis, the starting point, the foundation stone.
God is love.
If I want to know love, I must know God. That is the bottom line. I need to know God and the fullness of His love for me. It is because of His love that my sins have been atoned for. Spend some time in the presence of true love today. Go before God and let His love flow through you and work in you.
Tags: Bible, Christian, devotion, fellowship, first love, God is love, God's faithfulness, God's love, higher, love, loving God, presence of the lord
What does that mean? Should I be afraid of God? Is He watching for any slip so He can zap me?
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
The fear of the Lord is misunderstood by many people. I have talked to Christians who were so very afraid that they would mess up even a little. They think that God is watching them so closely that if they make the smallest mistake, they will be penalized severely.
Fortunately that’s not what it means to walk in the fear of the Lord. The best illustration I ever saw was a show about people who cut diamonds for a living. The show chronicled the diamond from when it went on the auction block to when it’s stones ended up in the fine jewelry shop.
The winning bid was about 3 million dollars for this large diamond. The jeweler was sure that he could more than triple the value by the way he cut it up into smaller stones. What happened next surprised me. I expected him to immediately begin the process of cutting the diamond. Instead, he took the first three months to simply study the diamond. He basically stared at the diamond for hours a day, making notes, drawings, and plans for the cuttings he would perform. With a stone that valuable, he didn’t want to do anything that would ruin it.
That is a picture of the fear of the Lord. I am not afraid that God is going to get upset at me and hurt me. On the contrary, my relationship with God is so important to me that I fear anything coming to disrupt it. It is so valuable to me that I don’t want to ruin it. I want to walk before God in such a way that our fellowship grows daily.
Cultivate a true fear of the Lord. Meditate upon how valuable it is to be in relationship with Him. Then let that attitude motivate you to live a reverent life before Him.
© Nick Zaccardi 2012
Tags: afraid, Bible, Christian, devotion, diamond, faith, fear, fear of the Lord, fellowship, God's faithfulness, God's will, growth, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, prepare, presence of the lord, relationship, reverent, valuable, value
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
I can’t think of a greater blessing! We can be children of God.
This is not for everybody. You have to want it. It comes by faith in God and what He has done through Christ. It has to be received, if we believe in His provision for us on the cross. If Jesus Christ is our Savior, then we are God’s children.
Some people look at themselves as slaves of God. Then they get the attitude that it is hard to work for Him. They have an angry look on their face and act like serving God is the worst thing you could do.
Now I do admit that children are supposed to obey their parents. In that sense we must “serve” God. I know that on more than one occasion I accused my parents of treating me as their slave. The fact is, even when you have to do what you’re told, the parent-child relationship is far superior to that of a master and slave.
This verse tells me that I am not just treated like a child of God. He doesn’t just call me His son. It is much greater than that. I have the right – with all the responsibilities and privileges – to be a child of God. This is an amazing thought. God views us as full fledged sons and daughters. That is why He both blesses and disciplines us.
Spending time with our Father should be the most natural inclination. It should be where we want to go for love, support, encouragement, and strength. Spend time with the Lord today, knowing that He wants you to experience the best that being a part of His family has to offer.
Tags: Bible, blessings, calling, child of God, Christian, cross, devotion, encouragement, faith, family, hard work, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, obedience, parent, problems, provision, relationship, savior, slave, testimony
2 Timothy 1:5
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Sometimes it’s good to look back over your life to see where God has brought you from. I love to hear a testimony of a changed life. I have known drug addicts, gang members and people from the “underworld” who have given their lives to Christ and were changed by His power. I have met people who have been bound by addictions, hurt by abuse and oppressed under the weight of depression all set free by the blood of Jesus.
It is an encouragement to see the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit at work in the world. I, for one was insulated from most of these issues. I tend to relate more with Timothy. My grandparents were saved soon after they came over to America from Italy. My parents were raised in church, and followed Christ throughout their lives. When I came along, I had no choice – church was where our family went, whenever the doors were open.
Then, one day, at a children’s camp (Camp Woodhaven in West Boylston, MA) I personally received the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. I have tried to follow His leading ever since.
Sometimes I used to feel that I missed out on something, when I would hear the testimonies of how God saved people from an evil life. But when I grew older I realized the blessing of being born into a Christian home. God kept me from some of the things that could have destroyed me. I have a testimony of the Lord’s power to keep and protect a life from the darkness of the world.
So, whether you came to Christ from a life of great sin, or you were raised in church, be grateful to the Lord for His presence in your life. The fact is, we all need a Savior. No one is too far away from His love. Equally, no one is good enough to deserve His love. We all need the power of the cross to set us free. Praise God for His grace that He freely gives to all who seek Him.
Tags: Bible, Christ, Christian, Christian witness, devotion, disciple, encouragement, evil, faith, God's faithfulness, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, praise, protection, sin, testimony, trust, world
Before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world.
This verse comes from a very beautiful section in the book of Proverbs. Here Solomon uses the writing style of personification to speak for wisdom.
We are told that before creation was begun God had already mapped out His wisdom. That is a comforting thought. God’s wisdom is not a response to any event. There is nothing that ever takes God by surprise. On the contrary, all of creation is an outgrowth of God’s wisdom.
I remember the day that I committed my life to the Lord, Jesus Christ. When that happened, the Lord didn’t sit down with the Holy Spirit and say, “Now we have to figure out how to fit Nick into the kingdom.” Before I was born, my life was designed exclusively with His plan in mind. My life was made to function best in His wisdom.
This is why seeking His wisdom should be your number one priority. God wants the very best for your life. He has a plan for you that was established before the mountains and rivers were created. Seek out the wisdom of God for your life. Only then can you know the complete joy of personal fulfillment.
Tags: Bible, Christian, devotion, encouragement, God's will, God's wisdom, Holy Spirit, kingdom of God, praise, problems, response, seeking, wisdom
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
I love watching the sky in the evening. When you go outside on a bright starry night and gaze at the heavens, it seems to go on forever. Indeed, all the stars that you are able to see are light-years away. They are unreachable at our present level of knowledge.
That is how much God loves us – to a level unattainable by human thought. My finite brain cannot comprehend His love and compassion for me. That He would pay the price for my forgiveness at a point when I didn’t even know Him is beyond my understanding.
But there is more to it. If I were to travel in a direction – east or west – and continue on forever, I would still never come to my sin that was taken away. He has permanently removed the sin, guilt, and punishment that should have been mine. What an incredible thought.
These are basic truths that are known by most believers. Yet, it is a good thing for us to take the time to review and meditate on them once in a while. Spend some time in the stillness of your surroundings today, and allow these deep principles to work on your soul. Let them revive and renew your appreciation for the Savior of your life. Give Him thanks today for all He has done for you.
Tags: Bible, Christian, devotion, east, encouragement, faith, forgiveness, God's love, higher, holy worship, Jesus Christ, praise, presence of the lord, stars, thank God, thanks, west