Tag Archives: Moses

Follow the Leader

Celebration of God
Manifested in the World
January 26, 2015

 Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 18:15-20

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: ‘If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.’ Then the Lord replied to me: ‘They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. — Deuteronomy 18:15-18

 Our scripture today are words shared by Moses as he instructs the Israelites on God’s response to their petition. Moses stipulates that the prophet to come must be like Moses himself. What were the characteristics of Moses?

  •  Moses was well acquainted with more than one culture before he was called by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He knew the Israelites through his birth parents, the Egyptians through his adopted parent, and the Midianites through his wife and her family.
  • Moses was not afraid to approach the unknown.
  • Moses worked well with a team of people. He could lead when he needed to lead, could support when that was called for, and could delegate after receiving some sage advice from his father-in-law.
  • Moses cared deeply about the people over whom he was given leadership.
  • Most importantly, Moses worked at staying in synch with God.

These are just a few characteristics but it is a nice list to consider as we are called to serve in any capacity. Of course, many see Christ as the prophet about which Moses was talking, and we are encouraged to emulate him especially.

Prayer: Lord you have sent many great leaders and prophets into the world to help us find our way to a closer relationship with you and to the furtherance of your Kingdom. Give us the courage to follow their examples. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Streams of Living Water

ocean of loveLiving in the Spirit
October 22, 2014

Scripture Reading: Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17

Turn, O Lord! How long?
   Have compassion on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
   so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
   and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be manifest to your servants,
   and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
   and prosper for us the work of our hands—
   O prosper the work of our hands! — Psalm 90:13-17

This scripture is introduced by the heading, A Prayer of Moses, the man of God. I could certainly understand Moses praying: Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. Of course, we should remember that Moses grew up in the lap of luxury—the House of Pharaoh. We do not know exactly when he learned he was a Hebrew. Perhaps he remembered from the time his biological mother weaned him. Perhaps he discovered it by accident as a young man. When he came upon an Egyptian beating one of the Hebrew slaves, Moses killed the Egyptian and then ran for his life. I am sure as he fled he had many more questions than answers with all that history ruminating in the back of his mind. He spent several years in the employee of the man who became his father-in-law. Until one day he saw a burning bush as sacred ground, took of his shoes, and approached it. He made the conscious decision to turn his life over to God.

As the prayer continues we see that finding God does not equal an escape from all of life’s woes into some type of never, never land. It equates to a lot of hard work and in Moses’ case dangerous work. Finding and following God means that we have signed on to be the workforce that is building God’s kingdom here on earth right now. Based on the laws that Moses later receives at Mount Sinai the tools we have to work with involve loving God and letting God’s love channel through us to all of God’s children until eventually opening ourselves to receive God’s love channels back through them.

Prayer: God of rivers flowing to oceans, help us build channels of love throughout the world that merge with the paths of love streaming from all your people until the whole earth is abundantly awash in your love. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Get on Board

Teach-Girls-End-World-PovertyLiving in the Spirit
September 1, 2014

 Scripture Reading: Exodus 12:1-14

 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. — Exodus 12:11

Feel the energy in the air? Moses came, he confronted Pharaoh, and plagues descended on Egypt with the final plague arriving tonight. Tomorrow will bring freedom. We must be ready. After four hundred years of living in slavery, the Israelites will walk out of Egypt from oppression to the awesome adventure of freedom. The Bible does not say but I wonder if some did not go. If some preferred to remain in the oppression they knew rather than step out in faith to the freedom about which they had not a clue. Well, I guess Moses had a clue. His escape to Midian had given him a taste of what was possible. One man with a vision can make a difference. One man with a vision sent by God can change the world.

While attending a meeting in Atlanta recently, I toured the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. I was amazed at the emotions that washed over me as I walked by display after display recounting history of which I had been a very small part. I remembered standing with my fellow students dressed in the mandatory slacks and dresses, all clean and neat, singing Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World while George Wallace in his run for President campaigned where I lived and ranting, waved his hands at us calling us long-haired hippies out to ruin the world. I flashed back to the sounds of explosions in the night, in the distance following the death of Dr. King.  And I remembered Curtis Mayfield’s words in a song popular at the time:

People get ready, there’s a train a-comin’
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord.

The oppression we face in the USA today have changed some, mostly marked by greed and thirst for power. Israel’s prophets would have called it idolatry.  No matter what we call it, people are hurting as a result of it. Are we going to get on the train?

In 2012, 46.5 million people were living in poverty in the United States—the largest number in the 54 years the Census has measured poverty www.nclej.org/poverty-in-the-us.php

“The finding that over 400 million children live in extreme poverty and children are more likely to be poor than adults is disturbing, since this can exacerbate child labor and create inter-generational poverty traps,” said Kaushik Basu, World Bank Chief Economist and Sr. Vice President, “Hence, if we want to make a sustainable dent on global poverty, this is where we need to focus our attention.” http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2013/10/10/report-finds-400-million-children-living-extreme-poverty

Prayer: Enable our justice making, O Lord. Amen

 All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




Praise the LordLiving in the Spirit
August 27, 2014

 Scripture Reading: Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b

 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
   make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
   tell of all his wonderful works. — 105:1-2

I must confess I get a little tired of those people who always see through rose colored glasses. They never see problems, everything is beautiful to them. I am probably a little jealous to be honest. Analytical by nature, I do see both the pros and the cons of life.

Recently I have been working on a business plan for one segment of our regional church’s responsibilities. The guideline I am following asked for a summary of the state of the entity about which I am writing. Declining membership, declining offerings, and staff cuts is depressing to write. It is true though, and it is something with which we must deal, if we are to carry out the mission of Christ.

I also read an editorial in a newspaper today about a poll that indicated the vast majority of the American public hold the perception that the Affordable Care Act has been a miserable failure. Not so by most measures, millions of people who did not have health care now do, computer glitches have been fixed. Negotiations have occurred with business to fix some areas that caused unexpected issues. The problem is that is not what we hear on the news. Every problem is breaking news that we hear ad nauseam while the successes, if told at all, are on the back page. And opponents of the law still rant regularly that it is the worst law ever implemented.

Psalm 105 starts out with exquisite praise of God then leads into reports of the horrible deeds done against the Israelites in Egypt. At the end it recognizes that God sent Moses and Aaron that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Isn’t that interesting? It does not say Moses subsequently led them out of bondage. It praises God for the privilege to serve God. In all our negativity that is something to think about.

Prayer: Almighty God, lead us forward as your servants knowing that our call is to serve, the results are yours. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved

The Blame Game

blamegameLiving in the Spirit
August 26, 2014

 Scripture Reading: Exodus 3:1-15 

Then the Lord said, ‘I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land,…The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ He said, ‘I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.’ — Exodus 3:7-12

Jesus told us that God counts every hair on our head and knew what was happening with every sparrow. It should not come as a surprise to us then that God was fully aware of the plight of the Israelites. Surely there were many among those slaves calling out to God for mercy, but there were many perhaps who had given up, forgotten about God. God was still keeping an eye on them, too. And God sees the plight of families with children pouring out of Syria, Guatemala, Afghanistan, and Democratic Republic of the Congo in our world today. There are no easy answers to the problems that cause such migration, but we are called to seek solutions and offer assistance.  While it is usually beneficial to analyze what is happening to seek answers, it is a waste of precious time and resources to invest most of our energies in establishing blame.

I once had a supervisor for whom it was very important that she not be seen as the blame for anything that might have gone wrong in our challenging work with abusive and neglectful families. After spending long sessions with her where the time was mostly spent trying to fix blame, my co-workers and I discovered that we could forgo the blame game and get on about the business of addressing the issues, if in some way we would say “It was my fault, and I will never do it again.” That or a similar phrase seemed to lift the burden off her shoulders and free her to become a very good, proactive problem solver.

Jesus essentially did just that at the cross. He took the blame for all our misguided actions to free us to serve as his Body in the world today. We need to get about the business of doing just that.

Prayer: Great I AM, we thank you for the gift of your Son who frees us every day to serve you. And we thank you for hearing our cries and the cries of the oppressed. Show us what our response is to be and enable us to make it happen. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Fear Not in a Hug

hug-your-fear-logo-72dpi-smallLiving in the Spirit
August 19, 2014

 Scripture Reading: Exodus 1:8-2:10 

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. ‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, ‘because’, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’—Exodus 2:5-10

One person rescued one child and in so doing changed the course of history. We each may have that opportunity at some time in some place. We never know when the simplest act of kindness can result in a mountain being moved.

Back in the early 1980’s my boss was diagnosed with AIDS. There was not a whole lot know about AIDS at that time and thus there was a whole lot of fear regarding it. He spent several days in the hospital with the illness that brought the condition to light and it was several days before he returned to work. By that time his condition was common knowledge throughout out building. We had had meetings with and distributed pamphlets to our staff assuring them that the disease was not contagious through normal contact. Some did not believe it. One told me that she knew it was highly contagious but that God would shield her from getting it. There was an already scheduled senior staff meeting that included about 100 people on the day my boss returned to work. I walked into the nearly full room with him when our very gregarious and loving nurse who headed our in-home care program for the elderly came flying across the room and gave my boss the biggest hug declaring for all to hear how happy it was to see him back. No angel had ever rendered “fear not” more profoundly.

I doubt if Pharaoh’s daughter had a lot of power but she had enough to keep one child safe. In a world where justice rest on a delicate ledge, we are all called to do whatever we can to keep it from failing.

Prayer: God grant me the courage to do what I can to make justice a reality throughout the world. Amen.