“… this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance—the land of Canaan to its boundaries. (Numbers 34:2)
Before the Israelites crossed into their Promised Land, God spelled out their boundaries. Boundaries help me know when I’m in the right place and when I’ve crossed a line into a place I don’t belong. A boundary tells me that my kid’s ball is in the neighbor’s yard and no longer in mine.
Some people don’t respect boundaries. They might be over at your house way more than you wish they were. They might be that person who stands just a little too close for comfort.
As believers, there are places we belong and places we don’t belong. We don’t belong in sin. We don’t belong in rebellion against God. We don’t belong in hatred. Those are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. Just as there are places we don’t belong, there are also places we do belong. We belong in the presence of God. We belong in grace. We belong in hope. We belong in holiness.
Do you know your boundaries? Do you know where you are right now? Which side of the line are you on? The land God has for us is a good one. David wrote, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” (Ps.16:6)
God has a beautiful place for us. It’s where we belong.
Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. (Numbers 20:11)
To the casual outsider, this looked like a wonderful miracle. The people needed water, and Moses performed a miracle that produced water. The story is a bit more complicated than that. In fact, this is the event that would keep Moses from entering the Promised Land.
In a way, I can certainly sympathize with Moses. He was growing quite tired of the constant complaints from the people. It seems that all these ungrateful people did in the wilderness was to gripe, gripe, gripe. When God told Moses that all he needed to do was to “speak” to the rock to produce water, Moses let his anger get a little out of hand. He yelled at the people, picked up his staff, and gave the rock a big wallop. Water came out of the rock, the people were satisfied, but this was when God pulled Moses aside and informed him he would not be going into the Promised Land.
Beloved, God wants to work in our lives. He wants to work through us to meet the needs of people around us. He also wants us to give the people an accurate idea of who He is. He is patient when we are not. He loves when we don’t. He is gracious and kind. We miss out on greater blessings when we misrepresent Him.
So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ (Luke 17:10)
I have to confess that I really like it when people pat me on the head and tell me I’ve done a good job. I think it’s appropriate to show appreciation for a job well done, but sometimes we can become a little too addicted to that “attaboy”. Instead of doing a job because it’s good and necessary, we do it looking for the kudos and accolades.
In Jesus’ day, the world’s economy ran on slavery. The people understood the mindset of the slave. Though some slaves might have a kind and gracious master, most slaves knew they were just a piece of property. As believers, we have become “servants” of God. He has purchased us for an extremely high price. Yes, Jesus calls us “friends”, but we shouldn’t forget that the apostles, Peter and Paul, both called themselves “slaves” of Jesus Christ (2Pet 1:1; Rom. 1:1).
Some of our modern work ethic has lost this sense of “duty”. We tend to be reluctant to commit to a job unless we know what’s in it for us. Our mindset ought to be about serving our good Master, instead of serving ourselves. We ought to trust His guidance and judgment and simply do our duty. You may not always get the “thanks” you deserve, but you will have done the right thing.
This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Caleb Beller.
Luke 8:46, Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” Often we feel our problems may be too personal, small or persistent to change. We feel like Jesus should just walk by. ‘It will never get better’. ‘He won’t care’. These lies often paralyze us in our brokenness. This woman was desperate. Luke tells us that for 12-years she struggled with this intimate and debilitating condition. She spent and tried everything with no relief.
That day something was different, Jesus was close. She dared not stop Him as He was on His way to do something much more important (She felt). I won’t bother Him with all the details, but If I can just touch his robe! Maybe she felt she was too impure to touch Him, desperately she thought if I can just get close enough to touch his robe. “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
Had she kept her hands to herself, or given into fear instead of faith, she never would have heard those beautiful words. Are you desperate for a touch of Jesus? Maybe it’s time to press through the chaos and confusion and touch Him! We need to stop waiting, worrying, and wishing, and mobilize our faith. His presence is near today, we the church are His hands and feet. Do you need to reach out to another believer today? Is someone reaching out to you? May we have the faith to reach out and the faith to respond with the Love of Jesus. His power is present to heal today, through you or for you!
Then he shall offer from the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire to the Lord. (Leviticus 3:3)
One of the Old Testament sacrifices was known as the “peace offering” or “fellowship offering”. The Hebrew name is related to shalom, the word for “peace”. It would seem to indicate that this sacrifice was declaring that you are at “peace” with God. It was a way of expressing “thanks” to God.
The sacrifice involved an unblemished animal, because you don’t give God your second-hand castoffs. Unlike some sacrifices, this one was accompanied by a meal. God got a serving, the priest got a serving, and the rest was eaten by your family. It was like the best Thanksgiving Dinner but with a spot for God at your table. Somebody pass the potatoes! That’s “fellowship” in the best of terms.
The New Testament brought a change in the sacrifices when Jesus died once for all, as the ultimate sacrifice. But there is still something we can give. “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15)
Have you found peace with God through Jesus Christ? Then consider spending time with God. Invite your family and friends and together give God thanks. Give Him the best of thanks.
And you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him. (Exodus 29:7)
The Bible teaches that all believers are “priests” to God (Rev. 1:6). A priest is one who does things to serve God and others. We often think of ministry as being all about what we are “doing”, but ministry starts with what’s been “done” to you.
Before Aaron and his sons could serve as priests, they were to go through a “consecration” ceremony. The ceremony involved sacrifices that not only committed them to God but paid for their sins. The sacrifice was personal – the animal’s blood was put on the priest’s earlobe, thumb, and big toe. It’s as if they were being cleansed in their mind (earlobe), their actions (thumb), and where they went (big toe). The use of the scented anointing oil was symbolic of the Holy Spirit being on the priest’s life, giving his life a new fragrance as evidence of God’s work in his life.
Believers, God has called you to serve. Before you get busy “doing” things, make sure that you’ve received the things that God wants “done” in your life. God wants you to walk clean and forgiven. God wants you to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s when we serve from a place of being cleansed and empowered that we are most useful to God. Start with what’s been “done”.
…who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, (Mark 5:3)
He had the most hopeless of lives. Possessed by demonic spirits, his life was in ruins. He lived far from society in the graveyard. People tried to control his behavior by putting him in chains, but even chains couldn’t stop his wild behavior. All day and night he’d wander among the tombs, wildly howling, and cutting himself with sharp stones.
All that changed the day that Jesus came.
With a few simple words, Jesus cast the demons out of the man. The demons entered a herd of pigs, which in turn went crazy and flew off a cliff, drowning in the lake. The man was forever changed.
What seems impossible to us is possible with Jesus. People that we think are beyond help can be changed by an encounter with Jesus. Hopeless situations in my life can turn around with just a word from His mouth.
Sometimes, I’m a little too accustomed to the way things are. I think that since I am powerless to alter a situation, it’s simply hopeless. I think, “That will change when pigs fly.” Yet I have a God who can make pigs fly. Don’t quit. Bring Jesus into the situation. See what He does. Lord, we have no help apart from You.
Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. (Exodus 1:8)
The story of Joseph is an amazing tale of God’s providence, grace, and power to save. Not only did God use Joseph to save his own family from a coming famine, Joseph saved the nation of Egypt as well. Those must have been wonderful days to have seen God’s hand at work and see how God turned bad things to good.
But time marches on. “Good ‘ol days” don’t last. Old leaders like Joseph eventually die off and are succeeded by the next generation. Then a king arises in Egypt who doesn’t have a clue about Joseph, what he did for Egypt, nor the value of Joseph’s people. For the children of Israel, the changes they were facing were terrible. They would become slaves and be mistreated, until the day Moses rose up to save them.
I hate to be the one to remind you, but change is coming. Everything changes. Time marches on. Sometimes the changes are for the better (like Moses coming), and sometimes the changes are difficult (slavery).
Are you ready for changes to come? Do you have your feet planted on the Rock? You can be destroyed by change, or you can adapt and thrive. Which will it be? Blessed are the flexible.
Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it. (Genesis 37:24)
Talk about a dysfunctional family. Joseph was born into a family where his dad had four wives, and they all lived together. He had two older brothers who killed all the men of an entire town. And you’re telling me your family has problems? Joseph’s life continued to get worse and worse. His brothers plotted to kill him, then decided to sell him as a slave to be taken to Egypt. From being a slave, Joseph would find himself in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. How in the world did Joseph keep on going?
Joseph had a promise from God. He had been given dreams about his future, and since those things hadn’t come to pass, Joseph trusted God, and God was with Joseph. At any time in his teens or into his twenties, Joseph could have just given up, but he didn’t. His story wasn’t over yet.
Beloved, your story isn’t over yet either. You may be facing difficulties that you feel you didn’t sign up for. You may not understand why life is so hard right now. Yet like Joseph, your story ain’t over. You too have a God who has plans for you. You have a God who is with you. Trust Him to take you through the entire story of your life.
This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Caleb Beller…..
“Then Rebekah took the choice clothes of her elder son Esau, which [were] with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. And she put the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck.” (Gen 27:15-16)
As Jacob covered his neck and limbs trying to emulate his brother Esau, it is hard not to have mixed emotions. Was Jacob trying to do the right thing the wrong way? As I turned the moral “Rubik’s-cube”, something caught my attention.
There is an interesting New Testament parallel with this story. As Jacob covered himself in the identity of Esau, his father blessed him as the firstborn. When we are covered in Christ we also become heirs to the blessing of the firstborn. The Father blesses us as if we were Jesus!
These verses from Rom 13:1, Gal 3:27, Eph 4:24, and Col 3:10 exhort us to put on Christ. Unlike Jacob, we seek the blessing in the light of His promise. Romans says that we are now His children and co-heirs with Christ.
Have we covered ourselves with Christ and embraced the privileges of the firstborn? Jacob fulfilled the prophecy given before his birth that the older would serve the younger (Gen 25:23). May we walk in the fullness of our inheritance. Clothe ourselves in Jesus, and in faith pursue the blessings He has promised in His Word.