21 If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and even the ground where they are.
22 " 'But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. 23 I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This miraculous sign will occur tomorrow.' " (emphasis mine)
My heart is so full from what I have been learning that I wish I could sit down face to face and talk with those of you that I know love to learn and share what you are learning. There is no way I have time or space, or the words to articulate everything.
As far as Valentines goes I am sure most everyones focus will be on love today. Some people will probably have a bad day because they don't feel loved and today is supposed to be the national day of "love" or in other respects "lust" because true love only comes from God. But what about the times in my life, in your life, where your actions don't reflect love through your obedience to Christ? John 14:15 says "If you love me, you will obey what I command." Maybe you are not like me but there have been so many times I have had to get honest with God and tell Him that I had an obedience problem that stemmed from me not loving Him with my whole heart. Somewhere along the way my heart got divided and it was not fully my Beloveds. If I have heard it once I have heard it a thousand times "You can't love others until you love yourself, you have got to love yourself and take care of you...FIRST." That is a lie. The bible is clear that in the end times people will be "lovers of themselves". The bottom line is our society has no problem with taking care of "self" first. I took a trip to the store today to get something for my taxes and there were swarms of people getting their last minute valentines goods. It was a rude crowd...I think you all know what I am talking about buggies everywhere, people sighing because they might have to wait, cutting each other off with their shopping carts, rude drivers in the parking lot. Just go to the store if you want to see the mentality I am speaking of. Our problem with not being able to love others is that we try to love in our own strength instead of the love that comes through the power of the Holy Spirit. If we are waiting on taking care of "me" first to then be able to love others we are in for a life of misery. I have found it to be true myself that the more life is focused on me the more miserable I become.
So what do those verses at the top of my entry have to do with this? Loving God with all of your heart will result in obedience to Gods word. When you are half hearted you become luke warm and disobedient, selfish, and proud. When you are divided you will always end up spiraling down in your walk with Christ. Praise God that like the prodigal son we can always come back to our Father and give Him all of our heart...even if it is a messed up heart that needs mending.
Last night, I was studying about the plagues in Egypt. I was just blown away at the severity of the plagues. We can so tend to diminish the whole account of the Israelites Exodus that it becomes something of a fairy tale to us. Let me just share a brief account of some of the plagues (and you would do so much better to go read it for yourself and let the Holy Spirit speak): the frogs for example...they were everywhere! Can you even imagine frogs being in your bed, your cupboard, all in your home, everywhere you went (sick)? Can you imagine locusts that would come and swarm and devour everything (your land, produce, trees)? Can you imagine the type of gnats that would be as numerous as the dust particles stinging you, getting in your nose, and all of your livestock, and invading everywhere? Then, the darkness that fell on the Egyptians...so thick for 3 days that no one could see anything? Then, the most horrible thing...the firstborns of the Egyptians that were dead everywhere? I can't even begin to imagine the horror.
The LORD instructed His chosen people to eat the passover meal and to eat it in haste. He told them to eat with their shoes on which was not custom to eat with shoes on in a house (because they were about to depart as a nation out of that forsaken place of slavery). He told them that He would passover their dwellings and spare them by the lambs blood dipped in hyssop and wiped over the door frames, which of course we know points to the Lamb (without blemish) who was slain before the foundation of the world to save us from our sins. But the Lord tells them to eat that meal in haste and to ask the Egyptians for plunder, because they were about to be led out of their horrible land of slavery...the land they had inhabited for 400 years.
I can't even imagine what the Israelites went through in this horrible time of slavery (yet I certainly know what it is like to be in sins slavery and darkened in my understanding...a dog returning to her vomit). Pharaoh thought he was a god and he hardened his own heart and the Lord gave him over to that hard heart. The Israelites were in horrible slavery but the Lord had not forgotten them. He would come and bring them out with a mighty hand and miraculous wonders. Our God is Mighty and He is powerful. So please don't be tempted to downplay the miraculous things in His word (like actually parting the Red Sea...can you even imagine). He spoke this very earth into existence and He dwells in ineffable light. He needs no counselor...He is God and He will be true to His word because there is no deceit in Him. When He tells you and me something in the word He means it. When He tells us that we will be blessed if we obey His word He is telling the truth.
Luke 11:28He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."
And on the flip side if we live in disobedience (and I know this one well...unfortunately) we will reap the consequences.
Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.
7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature[a]will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
If we are in Christ we are set apart (saints) because of the shed blood. The thing that amazed me in the account of the departure from Egypt was the fact that Goshen was a part of Egypt and while all of these plagues occurred in Egypt, God protected His people who were in Goshen. Remember that Goshen was given to Josephs family to settle in after the famine when they moved to Egypt. There the Hebrews lived for 400 years. It just baffles me that the Egyptians could almost look down to Goshen and see that while all of these plagues were attacking them, the frogs, the Nile turning to blood, the gnats, the locusts, and the death of the first born in the households, and all of the others...that this pestilence did not touch Gods chosen people. It reminds me of these verses in Psalm 91:
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
You and I are not going to be exempt from trials and suffering but there is blessing in obedience to God. It is just true and I know first hand. I also know what it is like to walk on my own and experience the consequences. PLEASE DON'T TAKE THAT FIELD TRIP into sin. My prayer for whoever reads this is that you would take God at His word.
I read a quote from Beth Moore yesterday that said "Freedom never comes through disobedience." She is dead on. If you are struggling in a certain area take a step back and assess things. Are you whole hearted with the Lord? If not...tell Him. Tell Him why you are afraid of letting go of the idols you are clinging to. Tell Him you are not whole hearted and ask Him to help you. He already knows the state of your heart anyway.
If you are His child...life is not over for you because you have taken some falls. Cry out to God to help you...ask Him for a hunger and passion for Him like never before and walk daily with Him. Not just knowing the word but acting on it. There is peace and blessing in our obedience.
I am tired and not feeling well so I hope this made sense. I wish I had more time but I know most people probably don't read this far anyway.
I am just amazed by the faithfulness of God to what He says...after all He is who He says. In Him there is no deceit and He wants us to get serious about Him and take Him at His word, walking in it...for our good...and His glory. You will be safest, even in the storms of life, when you make Him your dwelling and you stay in close fellowship through obedience. The enemy wants to deceive you in thinking your way is better...but the way that seems right to man leads in death. His ways our right and He will bless our obedience...not to what the world says with all of it's secular advice...but to what He says.