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February 2004 Archives

February 2, 2004

Glancing This Way and That

Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. Exodus 2:12

Isn't it amazing what we will do when we think no one is looking? Moses murdered an Egyptian who beat one of his Hebrew brothers. Eventually, it cost him everything. He fled for his life!

How many times in my life have I glanced this way and that so I might do something I know to be wrong? I can't be with people every moment of every day. I don't want to! Alone time is a part of life. Without solitude, I would be a very shallow man. But too much secrecy can lead me to places I should not go.

Lord, help me to understand that I am never completely alone. You see all I do. Help me to continue in accountability to my Christian brothers. Their watchful eye sees into my very heart.

I long to be righteous. Keep me from the premeditations of my heart.

February 3, 2004

Close and Personal

Then the Lord said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering." Exodus 3:7

God was concerned about the Israelites. He saw their suffering, but it was not from a distance. It was up close and personal. He was intimately aware of the pain they experienced, and He could stand it no more.

Why do I sometimes fall into the modern belief that like Bette Midler's song God is simply watching everything from a distance? He is not that kind of God! He stands next to me at every moment. He was there when, as a child, I felt all alone. He is there when, as an adult, I feel all alone. Every twinge of physical pain, He feels with me. Every twinge of emotional pain, He suffers as well. He is THAT close!

Lord, I need Your arms about me. You are the God of all the universe, yet You choose to love me intimately. The stress of each day would destroy me if You were not here. I need to be close and personal with You today.

February 4, 2004

Please Send Someone Else!

But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." Exodus 4:13

Moses had quite a day.

As he went to investigate a flaming bush that wouldn't burn up, God spoke to him. Moses proceeded to hear God's plan to free the Hebrew people from bondage in Egypt, then he performed two wonders as practice for what he should do in case the Israelite elders didn't believe him.

How cool it must have been! Moses held a staff in his hand that became a snake - then a staff again His hand turned leprous, then became clean again. These things should be enough to convince the elders that God was the One who would save them.

But Moses didn't believe it himself! He told God, "Please send someone else." He asked God to do what He wanted, but to do it in a different way. I'm surprised God didn't kill Moses on the spot. Moses was speaking to the God of the universe - the God who created everything - and he wavered.

O Lord, how many times have I wavered? How many times have I seen You perform great miracles to only doubt You can help me overcome the challenges in my life? When the day comes that You determine to free some of Your children from worldly bondage, and You turn to me, will I doubt? Will I ask You to please send someone else?

Father, forgive me for ever doubting Your power. There are still ways that I am like Moses. I am too afraid to share the truth of my story with the world, so I say, "Please don't ask me to do that." I could more easily go to the other side of the earth to share You through service than I could to stand before those I know and admit how broken I have been.

Help me trust You, Lord. That was Moses' problem; he didn't trust you. It is my problem.

Use me despite my stubborn ways.

February 5, 2004

More With Less

"Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks." Exodus 5:18

"Do more with less!"

The modern business world did not invent the concept of doing more with less. Pharaoh punished the Israelites by refusing to supply them with the straw needed to make bricks. He did this without changing the quote.

How often does this happen today? In every job I have ever held, I have faced this same dilemma. Budgets are cut. Resources are reduced, and management generally says, "work harder." The workload only increases.

Lord, the unfairness needs to stop. I don't ever want others to look at me and call me unfair. Provide the means, so my staff isn't simply faced with working harder - with less. Forgive me for not praying enough for Your blessing in my workplace. We can't do it without You. Help me to be a servant to those around me today.

February 6, 2004

How does He put up with us?

But Moses said to the Lord, "If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips." Exodus 6:12

Moses became a great man, but he didn't seem to start out that way. He lacked confidence. He was a pessimist. He seemed to whine about everything.

How did God put up with him?

God never promised Moses that leading the people out of Egypt would be easy, and it was proving to be the greatest challenge of Moses' life. The people rejoiced when they first heard God's plan to free them, but when Pharaoh retaliated, the people complained. When Moses went to the people again, they wouldn't even listen. Now God commanded Moses to tell Pharaoh about God's plan, and Moses complained. The only thing Moses could see was his own ability - or the lack of it.

Lord, like Moses, I am stuck on my lack of ability. How do you put up with me?

The greatest challenge of my life is before me, and I don't feel up to the task. Every day has been overwhelming, but I trust that You have a plan. Help me, Father, to trust You with every decision - with every challenge. Be the God of my workplace. Be the God of my home.

February 9, 2004

Worrying for Nothing!

"But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you." Exodus 7:3-4a

Moses was so worried about his speaking ability that he moaned and groaned when God told him to tell Pharaoh to free the people of Israel. He feared Pharaoh wouldn't listen to him.

The truth was: Pharaoh wasn't going to listen - no matter how eloquent the speaker might have been! It didn't matter that Moses couldn't speak well. God already had a plan. He would harden Pharaoh's heart, so any man's words would fall on deaf ears. Moses worried for nothing!

Lord, forgive me for the time I have faltered because I feel weak and unworthy. You have plans that I don't understand. Many times Your plan is to show Your strength through my weakness. Continue to pour Your Spirit through me, so others might be blessed.

February 11, 2004

The Moment of Relief

But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. Exodus 8:15

In the heart of the moment, we cry out!

In the face of terror, we believe!

It is said there are not atheists in foxholes. Men who face the horrors of battle pray to God, fully believing He can save them.

But what happens the moment we find relief? Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron pleading for them to pray for relief from the plague of frogs. As soon as the frogs were gone, he hardened his heart. Once they were gone, he refused to believe.

Aren't we like that? When life is full of crises, we pray continually. When we are content, our hearts grow hard.

Lord, for so long I have struggled to seek You in the good times. You are so easily forgotten. In an odd way, I believe I have held onto the darkness, so I could feel Your light save me.

Help me to live in the light and to feel Your presence ever so strongly because I am there. Soften my heart. Keep me from hardening it, so I might be molded without first being broken. Lay Your hands on me today.

February 12, 2004

Impending Danger

Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. Exodus 9:20

Not everyone in Pharaoh's palace had a hardened heart. Some of Pharaoh's officials began to believe each time Moses shared what the Lord had said. When God warned Pharaoh about an impending hailstorm - the greatest to ever strike Egypt, some ignored the warning. Others heard it and took immediate action.

Lord, sometimes when I hear the warnings of impending danger, I immediately respond. Other times, I ignore the warning - only to be hurt in the end. Help me to fear You. Help me to run when I must and to stand when You determine it.

Thank You for Your Spirit. Without Him, I would be destroyed by the enemy.

February 16, 2004

Chased by Darkness

So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. Exodus 10:22

Those whose hearts were hardened were plunged into total darkness. Despite Pharaoh's promises, the people of Israel remained in captivity. God showed His power, yet Pharaoh's heart didn't change.

Lord, I feel like the darkness is chasing me. If my heart were hardened, there would be no hope. Total darkness would be my just reward. Continue to soften my heart. Continue to mold me into the man of Your making. I fear the darkness, for I have lived there for far too long. Shine Your light into my life, so I might live. Thank You for the fruit of Your Spirit. Make self-control my closest friend. I long to walk with You.

Make me holy - as You are holy.

February 21, 2004

Forcing Him Out

"All those officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, 'Go, you and all the people who follow you!' After that I will leave." Exodus 11:8a

Who would ever think we could chase out the God of the universe. We can ask Him to leave, and He will go. Pharaoh did. His heart was so hard that God finally said, "...I will leave."

He gave us the freedom to live our lives free from His interference if we choose. What love He has displayed!

Yet, life without Him is impossible. Everything exists because of Him. What would it be to force Him out of the everyday affairs of life?

Lord, I am amazed how I push You out at times. The choices I make apart from You only lead to disillusionment, for I soon discover that I cannot affect the outcome. Only You have that power. In the end, I am discouraged and depressed.

Help me, Lord, to choose correctly today. I have the power of choice. I choose You!

February 23, 2004

And Also Bless Me

"Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me." Exodus 12:32

No matter how hardened a man's heart may be, his deepest desire is to receive blessing. Pharaoh fought the Lord. Through each and every plague, he grew defiant. He continued his refusal to allow God's people to leave Egypt to worship. When warned of the final plague that all the firstborn of Egypt were to die, Pharaoh had lost all sense. His people were suffering, and he refused to avert their pain. Stubbornly, he stared down the God of the universe. The result was death. Not a single household in Egypt was left untouched.

In the pain of this plague, Pharaoh broke. He asked Moses and Aaron to take the people and leave. In the middle of his command, there is a small request that could be easily overlooked. Pharaoh said, "And also bless me." Despite the anger, despite the pain, Pharaoh - like every one of us - longed for blessing.

Lord, every man stubbornly fights You at some time. For years, I have struggled with a battle for my very soul. The enemy has kept me enslaved to the trappings of my flesh. All along, like Moses, I have made a plea for freedom. Yet, like Pharaoh, I have refused to grant it. Living both sides of the story, I have been the captive and the captor. My human nature is a powerful foe.

Yet through it all, I have longed for Your blessing.

Isn't it amazing how a man steeped in sin still cries out to be blessed?

Father, Your mercy is great. Through all my stubborn failures, You hear me. You have heard my cries: "And also bless me!" Thank You for loving me still. Thank You for pouring out the blessing of Your Spirit. Thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son - the Lamb of God.

February 24, 2004

The Long Road

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." Exodus 13:17

The Israelites finally left Egypt. The trip could have been relatively short. There were trade routes commonly used between Canaan and Egypt, yet God led them around by the desert road. He led them toward the Red Sea, which seemed the opposite direction from their final destination.

God oftentimes chooses the long road rather than the short one. Behind it all, God has plans we would never understand.

Lord, I feel like I have been on the long desert road. I know You were protecting the Israelites from war by sending them into the desert. Are You doing the same with me? Are You somehow protecting me from turning back to my old life by leading me the long way?

Ten years of growth on my healing journey seems like a lifetime. I have failed in so many ways. But You love me still. At the same time, I have grown.

Help me to continue on this path, Father. Give me the strength and resolve to one day cross over into the Promised Land of Your eternal kingdom. Be my Guide along the way.

February 25, 2004

Be Still

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14

Some challenges are so great that our only hope is to be still and trust the Lord. The Israelites were hemmed in, or at least this is what they thought and Pharaoh hoped. Pharaoh's army stood on one side; the sea was on the other. But between them was the Lord. Moses knew the truth; God would always show Himself to be faithful.

Father, the challenges of life seem so great. I fear the enemy's army. I fear the sea of my sin that has hemmed me in for so long. Can I defeat the enemy? Can I make a path of escape? Without You - NO! With You - no challenge is too great.

Lord, help me to trust You. There are seas to cross and mountains to climb before the Promised Land will come into view.

Help me to be still.

February 26, 2004

Time To Celebrate!

"The enemy boasted, 'I will pursue, I will overtake them. I will divide the spoils; I will gorge myself on them. I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.' But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters." Exodus 15:9-10

Do we take the time to remember the miracles of God's salvation? Do we contemplate the ways the enemy has been destroyed? Or do we spend our time only considering how we have fallen short - how the enemy has won at times - how we may never measure up to God's righteousness?

Moses took the time to celebrate the salvation of God. The enemy was crushed by the mighty waters, and the Israelites danced and sang. They commemorated the event with praise. Do I take the time to remember what God has done? Or am I too hung up on reaching the next goal - on receiving praise rather than passing it along to my Savior?

Lord, I had a friend challenge me yesterday. He challenged me to contemplate how far I have come rather than focusing on the distance yet to be traveled. Have I slighted You? Have I forgotten to praise You for the ways my enemies have fallen?

This week marks five months of a new commitment to self-control in my life. Help me to celebrate that fact! It has been a daily battle - a battle of conscious choices to turn from temptations that have haunted me for years. How did it all begin? Five months ago I met a man whose mere sobriety challenged me. Today, he is my friend - my accountability partner - my confidant, and he continues to challenge me to seek after holiness. Through him, You have provided the support I need to walk in Your will.

Father, You are highly exalted! My enemy has been crushed. You are my constant Protector and Guide. This journey may have left me weary and worn, but together we have come so far. Today, I choose to celebrate. I choose to honor You with joy and praise. Thank You, Lord, for all You have done. Thank You for the support You have given me. Continue to reign in my heart, so that five months from now - five years - we will still be celebrating!

February 28, 2004

The Hard Way

Then the Lord said to Moses, "How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions?" Exodus 16:28

Some people just need to learn things the hard way. Moses was very clear with his instructions to the people; God had been very clear with him. The manna was for one day only. On the day before the Sabbath, more was gathered, and it would last for two days. But still, some had to learn the hard way. The manna that was kept for the next week day spoiled, and on the seventh day there was no manna to be gathered.

Moses grew angry. God grew angry.

Lord, as a parent I understand Your frustration. Some lessons are not easily learned by our children. They push the limits. They try to follow their own thoughts rather than our instructions.

I am the same. So many times in life, Your instructions are clear to me, yet I choose to learn the hard way. Help me, Father, to obey Your word. Help me to willingly accept Your instruction. Teach me to follow You.

About February 2004

This page contains all entries posted to The Potter's Hand in February 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2004 is the previous archive.

March 2004 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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