Tag: grumbling

Enduring temptation in the last days

Scripture reading for September 7th: Isaiah 36-37, Psalm 123, 1st Corinthians 10

1st Corinthians 10: 9-13 “We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Paul warned the believers in Corinth against the temptations of the last days. He pointed them to the Israelites of the Old Testament and what was recorded in the Scriptures. These stories of unfaithfulness and backsliding serve as examples for us. God had them written down to warn us to be watchful and to stand firm. He also provides a way of escape with each temptation. With sexual immorality, we are to use our feet to avoid defeat! With grumbling and testing Christ, we are to practice thanksgiving, prayer and simple and pure devotion to Christ. God will be faithful to keep us and give us escape when we walk by faith.

Psalm 123:1-3 “To You I lift up my eyes, O You Who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, and the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till He has mercy upon us.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the examples and warning that You have graciously provided in the written Word of God to warn and encourage us. Thank You for Your faithfulness to Your people to give them pathways of escape from temptation common to believers. Help those today who are in sexual temptation to escape. Give Your people thankful hearts that are fully committed to follow You.

Isaiah 36:15-17 “And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, “O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God.”

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Thankful for Scripture Examples!

Scripture reading for November 24th:  1st Corinthians 7-11

Key Scriptures:  1st Corinthians 10:6-10  “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.  Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written:  “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.”  We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did–and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.  We should not test the Lord, as some of them did–and were killed by snakes.  And do not grumble, as some of them did–and were killed by the destroying angel.”  

Paul stated that all the past writings and examples recorded in Old Testament Scripture was there as examples for New Testament believers.  These negative examples teach us the consequences of rebellion and unbelief.  They stand as warning and encouragement to live a righteous and holy life and avoid the death and destruction that come from practicing known sin!

Thankful for Scripture examples:  “They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom.  But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert?  There is no bread!  There is no water!  And we detest this miserable food!”  Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.”  

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Powerful examples!

Scripture reading for November 24th:  1st Corinthians 7-10

I chose my life theme from going through Army officer’s leadership school.  A key leadership principle that stuck with me was “Set the Example!”  I was taught that one of the most powerful influences that a leader could have on others is their example.  Jesus Christ modeled for us and his disciples by living a life centered on doing God’s will and serving others.   The Bible records many examples that are not so good as well.  Someone has said, “if you are not good for anything else, you can always be a bad example!”

In 1st Corinthians 10, Paul used some bad examples as warning for believers.  Paul exhorted the Corinthians to remember the Israelites of the Old Testament.  They had some great spiritual experiences with the Lord leading them by the cloud and fire and taking them through the Red Sea.  They got to eat “manna” from heaven and drink water from the “Rock” for forty years while they wandered in the desert.  They had God’s appointed leader, Moses, praying for them.  However, God was not pleased with them!  (1st Corinthians 10:1-5)

In spite of being supernaturally delivered by God from Egypt, many of them brought their idols with them!  They were taught by God to be true to their wives, but many were sexually immoral as they worshiped these idols.  Many grumbled against God and died from the bite of poisonous snakes and by the destroying angel of death.  Their hearts were not right with God in spite of all the supernatural power that they witnessed.  They thought they were right with God because of His blessings.

We should learn from their example. (1st Corinthians 10:8-10)  America is a land of idols!  Sports stars, entertainment figures, soap operas, movie stars, popular music stars and the like all serve as idols.  We are sexually immoral and glorify sexual freedom that mocks God and His word because we are idolatrous!

Grumbling against God because of unbelief was also a characteristic of the Israelites.  That grumbling kept them out of the land of promise and a whole generation died in the desert.  These examples should drive us to Christ Jesus.  He is our escape from sin, death and temptation.  He is always faithful and delivers those who depend on Him!

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Connecting with God’s healing mercy!

Scripture Reading for February 17th: Numbers 21-15

The Israelites were doing what they did best–grumbling!  As they grumbled against Moses and God, God sent poisonous snakes which bit the complainers and caused death.   (Numbers 21:5) The Israelites then asked Moses to pray for them and confessed their sin. (Numbers 21:7)  God answered Moses as he prayed with some strange instructions. He was to make a bronze serpent and place it on a pole in the camp.  Anyone who was bitten could look at the bronze snake on the pole and he would be healed!  (Numbers 21:8-9)

God put this ancient story in the Bible to teach us that sin causes death!  God has repeated this over and over but His people seemed to forget!  When we grumble against leadership, God isn’t pleased because we are actually grumbling against Him.  Because of sin’s consequences, we lose our connection with God and need His healing grace.  Good leaders are there, even when we mess up, to intercede for us and restore us.   God’s remedy sometimes seems strange to the world!   Imagine!  Put a bronze serpent on a pole and look to it!

This story is actually a picture of the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.  In the Gospel of John, Jesus used this story before the most famous verse in all of Scripture.  The snake that was lifted on the pole is a picture of Jesus Christ crucified.  He was made sin, who knew no sin, that we might be healed from the serpent’s poisonous bite.  If we will look with faith to His finished work on the cross, we will be saved and healed!  God loves His people and wants to save them from the poison of sin’s bite and the consequence of sin–death! (John 3:14-18)  If we refuse the remedy provided by God, then we will die and perish!  This ancient snake-bite remedy turns out to be the current remedy for all mankind!  I am grateful that I have looked at Jesus Christ with faith and received the healing from my own sin of grumbling, complaining and rebellion! Have you done the same? (Romans 10:9-10)  It is through the cross of Jesus that all who look to Him can connect with His healing grace!

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Leaders and those who follow!

Scripture reading for January 24th:  Exodus 16-18

For some reason, I’ve been in leadership positions all my life!  I’ve always felt inadequate and usually haven’t sought a leadership position; others always seemed to volunteer me.  As I’ve worked leading in various secular and church positions, I’ve become acutely aware of my inability to please everyone.  Moses soon learned this same truth!  There are as many opinions as there are people under you and Moses had over a million “followers”!

God’s people were delivered from Egypt by a mighty act of power by the Lord, and then from Pharaoh’s pursuing army!  Led by Miriam, Moses’ sister, they danced in joy and sang a song of deliverance!  A few days after the victory celebration, the Israelites faced hunger and began to grumble.  They blamed Moses for his poor leadership and for bringing them out into the desert to die. (Exodus 16:3)  A little farther into the walk, they ran out of water and began to grumble again, quarreling with Moses.  Their hearts were angry and hard and they blamed their leader, actually blaming God! (Exodus 16:8)

Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, came for a visit to bring back Moses’ wife and two sons.  Jethro was thrilled to hear the stories of God’s deliverance through his son-in-law.  He observed Moses sitting in judgment with all the people coming to him with their complaints.  His advice to Moses was to raise up some helpers to share the load of leadership.

If you are a follower, pray and obey before you complain!  When you grumble about your leader,  you are grumbling about God!  Listen to your leadership and support them by prayer and encouragement!  Don’t test or blame God; He is never at fault!  If you are a leader, raise up those who can help you with the work.  It blesses you and them to use the gifts God has given them to serve.  Leadership is a joy when you take these tips and your followers do, too!  The main one to please in all of this is God.  May His face be smiling on your leadership!

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Learning by example

Scripture reading for November 23rd: 1st Corinthians 7-10

I chose my life theme at Army officer’s leadership school.  A key leadership principle that stuck with me was “Set the Example!”  I was taught that one of the most powerful influences that a leader can have on others is their example.  Jesus was a great model of this principle!  The opposite can also true.  It has been said: “If you are good for nothing else, you can always be a bad example!”

There were several things that Paul exhorted the Corinthians to learn from the example of the Israelites in the Old Testament.  These people  had great spiritual experiences with the Lord leading them.    They got to eat “manna” from heaven and drink water from the “Rock” for forty years while they wandered in the desert.  They had God’s appointed leader, Moses, praying for them.  However, God was not pleased with them!  (1st Corinthians 10:1-5)

In spite of the good example of God’s leadership and Moses’ prayers, many of them were sexually immoral as they worshiped idols  from Egypt.  Others grumbled against God or tested Him and died before reaching the promised land.  Their actions indicated a lack of faith.  They became examples for us of what not to do!

“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.  Do not be idolaters, as some of them were. . ” (1st Corinthians 10:6-7a)  America is a land of idols!  Sports stars, movie stars, rock stars and government leaders all serve as idols for those without a true relationship with Christ.  Our nation glorifies sexual freedom  and immorality that mocks God and His word!  We call stories filled with idolatry and immorality “entertainment” and many in the church support this by regularly partaking.

“We should not test the Lord, as some of them did, and were killed by snakes.” (1st Corinthians 10:9) We challenge God by questioning His leadership and right to direct us.  God’s goodness should never be questioned by His people.

“And do not grumble, as some of them did–and were killed by the destroying angel.” (1st Corinthians 10:10)  Grumbling is a sin indicating unbelief in the heart.   Grumbling is common today in our culture.  It can be a besetting sin with church people.   Grumbling kept the Isrealites out of the land of promised land and can do the same for us!  Let’s wisely learn from these examples!

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The joys of leadership!

Scripture reading for January 24: Exodus 16-18

For some reason, I’ve been in leadership positions all my life!  I’ve always felt inadequate.   As I’ve worked leading in various secular and church positions, I’ve become acutely aware of my inability to please everyone.  Moses soon learned this same truth!

In the passages of the last few days, God’s redeemed people were delivered from Egypt by a mighty act of power by the Lord, and then from Pharaoh’s pursuing army!  Led by Miriam, Moses’ sister, they danced in joy and sang a song of deliverance!  People sometimes expect everything to be handed to them and they will live happily ever after.  This picture is soon readjusted as troubles cause us to face reality.

A few days after the victory celebration, the Israelites faced hunger and began to grumble, blaming their leader Moses. (Exodus 16:3)  In spite of this, God met their need!  Next, they ran out of water and began to grumble again.  Their hearts were angry and hard and in blaming their leader,  they actually blaming God! (Exodus 16:8)

Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, came for a visit to bring back Moses’ wife and two sons.  Jethro was thrilled to hear the stories of God’s deliverance through his son-in-law.  He observed Moses sitting in judgment with all the people coming to him with their complaints.  His advice to Moses was to raise up some helpers.  Moses should just handle the ‘hard’ cases and let the others do the rest!

Lessons for today are plain.  First, pray and obey before you complain!  When you grumble about your leader,  you are grumbling about God!  Listen to your leadership and support them by prayer and encouragement!  Don’t test or blame God; He is never at fault!  (He makes no mistakes)  If you are a leader, raise up those who can help you with the work.    Leadership can be a joy when you listen to advice.  The main one to please in all of this is God.

1 Corinthians 10:1–4 (NIV)

” For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.  They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.”

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The Earth Swallows!

Scripture reading for February 15th: Numbers 13-16

Earthquakes have been in the news lately.  The earthquake in Haiti took the lives of over 200,000 people.  Many were buried alive by rubble of buildings or crushed by them when they fell.  The Bible tells us a story that reminds us of an earthquake and that cost the lives of several families while a whole nation watched it happen.  God sent a special kind of earthquake at a precise moment to signify His displeasure with some of His people who who were insolent and defiant against God’s chosen authority.  This judgment is an interesting picture of the final judgment for rejecting God’s chosen authority, Jesus Christ!

A Levite named Korah, along with Dathan and Abiram from the tribe of Reuben began to talk against Moses.  There were 250 leaders in this group that went to Moses and Aaron and accused them of going too far in assuming leadership of the nation.  Their view was that everyone was holy and the Lord was with each person.  (Numbers 16:1-3)  They each thought that they should be able to offer sacrifices and take the job of priest before God.  Moses’ response was to fall face-down in intercession.  I bet Moses had a flat nose from doing this each time there was trouble or rebellion!

Moses was instructed by the Lord to set up a meeting the next day where all the 250 leaders plus Moses and Aaron would appear before the Tent of Meeting  with their censers filled with fire and incense.  God would then signify His choice of leadership.  Moses spoke directly to Korah and rebuked him and then called for Dathan and Abiram but they refused to come.  Moses became angry and prayed that the Lord not accept their sacrifice.  (Numbers 16:12-15)

The next day they gathered before the Tent of Meeting.  God instructed Moses to move everyone away from Korah, Dathan and Abiram and their families and tents.  Moses and Aaron had fallen face-down to intercede again but got up to obey.  As they warned the people, the earth opened and swallowed these men and their families, alive and screaming,  into Sheol!  (Numbers 16:20-30)  The 250 men with censers were burned to a crisp! What a terrible sight this must have been, provoking fear in the people!  However, the very next day they again grumbled that Moses and Aaron had killed the Lord’s people!  Rejecting God’s leadership has eternal consequences!

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Strike the Rock!

Scripture reading for January 25th: Exodus 16-18

You would think that God’s people would not grumble against Him!  The Israelites had seen the miracles of the plagues in Egypt and been protected from their effects.  They had been miraculously delivered from the death angel by the blood of the Passover lamb.  They had seen the Lord lead them with a cloud of glory by day and fire by night.  They experienced deliverance through the Red Sea and saw how Pharaoh and his army were drowned.  They had been given loads of silver and gold before they left Egypt and saw God bring manna to feed them in the desert.  Their clothes and shoes did not wear out and not one of them was sick or disabled!  What they experienced of God’s presence and miraculous power would make most of us stand in awe!

Yet, after being fed with manna and traveling on to Rephidim, they found no water to drink.  They first quarreled with Moses.   (Exodus 17: 1-3)  God’s leadership always takes flack when things don’t go as the people think it should.  The people easily turn on leaders, but God looks at this differently.  They are actually turning on Him!  (Exodus 16:8)  Moses asked them why they were putting the Lord to the test by quarreling with Him.  They responded by blaming Moses for bringing them out into the desert to die of thirst!  It is amazing how short-sighted and forgetful people can become.  Miracles don’t instantly transform people into faith giants!

To help Mose through this situation, God gave him specific instructions.  He told Moses to walk on ahead of the people and take some of the elders of Israel with him.   He was to go to the rock at Horeb and God would stand before him there.  Moses was to strike the rock and God would supply water for the people to drink!   (Exodus 17:5-6)  When Moses obeyed, water gushed out to satisfy the 2-3 million people, and their flocks and herds, as well!

The New Testament gives insight into this event.  Paul taught that the spiritual rock that the Israelites drank from was Christ.  (1st Corinthians 10:1-6)  He was smitten for us to give us “Living Water”.   He has walked ahead of us and taken God’s rod of judgment on sin!  Drink today from the smitten Rock!  The living water is flowing freely for all to drink!

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Learning By Example!

Scripture reading for November 24th:  1st Corinthians 7-10

I chose my life theme from going through Army officer’s leadership school.  A key leadership principle that stuck with me was “Set the Example!”  I was taught that one of the most powerful influences that a leader can have on others is their example.  I find this to be biblical as well.  Jesus Christ modeled for us and his disciples the way to live.  He lived a life centered on doing God’s will and serving others.   The Bible records many examples that are not so good as well.  Someone has said, “if you are not good for anything else, you can always be a bad example!”  In today’s reading the Apostle Paul reminds the church at Corinth of examples that should help them and us to live a blessed life.

In 1st Corinthians 10, Paul uses the bad examples as warning for us today.  There were three main things that Paul exhorted the Corinthians to remember about the Israelites of the Old Testament.  They had some great spiritual experiences with the Lord leading them by the cloud and fire and taking them through the Red Sea in a type of baptism.  They got to eat “manna” from heaven and drink water from the “Rock” for forty years while they wandered in the desert.  They had God’s appointed leader, Moses, praying for them.  However, God was not pleased with them!  (1st Corinthians 10:1-5)

In spite of being supernaturally delivered by God from idolatrous Egypt, many of them brought their idols with them!  They were taught by God to be true to their wives and to Him, but many were sexually immoral as they worshiped these idols and lived in fleshly indulgence.  Most grumbled against God and His provision and died from the bite of poisonous snakes and by the destroying angel of death that they had opened the door to.  Their hearts were not right with God in spite of all the supernatural power that they witnessed.  They thought they were alright with God because of God’s blessings.  They became examples for us!

We should learn from their example. (1st Corinthians 10:8-10)  They did not keep God first.  Idolatry and sexual immorality always go hand in hand.  America is a land of idols!  Sports stars, entertainment figures, soap operas, movie stars, popular music stars and the like all serve as idols.  We are sexually immoral and glorify sexual freedom that mocks God and His word because we are idolatrous!  The church is even full of idolatrous behavior and sexual immorality!

Grumbling against God because of unbelief was also a characteristic of the Israelites.  That grumbling kept them out of the land of promise and got a whole generation killed off in the desert.  The destroying angel, Satan, killed them because of their greed, idolatry, and sexually perversion.  These examples should warn us today and drive us to Christ Jesus.  He is our escape from sin, death and temptation.  He is always faithful and delivers those who depend on Him!

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