May 8 – The God Who Comes Through – He Dwells Among Us

Read Exodus 40:1-38

The God who comes through is also One who shows up!

His glorious presence was something that Moses yearned for at a crossroads in the Exodus experience. He pleaded with God, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here” (Ex. 33:15). It could be argued that there is nowhere that any of us can go where God is not present. After all, God is always and everywhere present in this world (Ps. 139:1-6). We refer to this as His “omnipresence.” But Moses was calling for that and more. He yearned for God’s revealed and directive presence that assured him he was not on his own.

The tabernacle served as an expression of that. It was a sort of portable, pop-up tent in which God manifested His glory and from which a cloud would rise to lead God’s people. Surrounding the tabernacle was an outer courtyard. Inside, the tabernacle was comprised of two sections; each with its own objects and symbolism. There was the Holy Place. And then, further inside was the Most Holy Place, into which only the high priest could enter once a year to offer sacrifices for himself and for the people (Heb. 9:7). It was there that God’s presence resided and His glory was revealed. It was also from the temple that the cloud would rise to lead the people onward.

The tabernacle is an important part of both the Old and New Testament.

  1. It was a tangible, earthly depiction of heavenly realities fulfilled with Jesus as our sacrifice and High Priest (Heb. 9:23-28).
  2. Its blueprint helped in the future design of the more permanent temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6-9).
  3. The temple curtain was torn without human help at the time of the crucifixion (Matt. 27:51) indicating humanity’s access to God through the sacrificial, atoning death of Jesus.

But for believers in Jesus, there is one more important symbolism of the temple. It is the fact that the God Who comes through now lives in you! You have become the temple of the living God as the Holy Spirit resides in you (1 Cor. 6:19, 20).

As His temple, you and I should choose to glorify God with our bodies (1 Cor. 6:20). This includes issues of addiction to sexual expression. In what ways do you glorify Him? In what ways do you need to make changes?

Keep in mind…the God who comes through not only shows up. He chooses to live in His children.

Steve Kern

April 30 – The God Who Comes Through – He leads people out of bondage

Read Exodus 12:29-42

In the text, God is leading His people out of bondage.  The bondage is clear in this case, it’s forced labor/slavery that has been going on for centuries. It’s also clear that it takes God’s power to free them from the grip of this bondage.

Interestingly, God not only frees them but also has the Israelites “plunder” the Egyptians and they take silver and gold and clothes from their former oppressors. They didn’t take these things by force but just as a result of asking because God had already done a work in the Egyptians.

There are many ways to be in bondage. You can be in bondage to fear, to food, to anxiety, to money/possessions, to sex. The list goes on and on. It can even be someone or something that starts out as good but becomes an idol.

There was a time when I was so into classic cars that I was spending tremendous amounts of time and energy on the cars I owned. After a while, I got to the point where I felt like I was owned by the cars. In time, I started selling them and finally even sold the truck and car hauling trailer.

Occasionally, I feel like it would be nice to have one of them again but, most of the time, I just feel free!

Over the last few years, as a result of some significant health issues, I’ve had trouble with fear and anxiety. However, what has helped the most is God’s word. Here are just a few of the verses that have been so helpful to me:

10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, Psalm 103:2 – 3

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5:7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6 – 7

14“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. John14:1

Sometimes we aren’t even sure what is holding us down but if we ask God He will show us:

23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23

When you know, take it to God and He will provide the power to break the chain of whatever is holding you down.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Tim 1:7

You may be afraid to give up something that you feel will make you happy but consider this:

19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19

He wants us to be free and not just survive but to thrive:

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Keep in mind that these promises are reserved for who have chosen to accept the free gift of forgiveness from Jesus Christ and are allowing Him to be the leader of their life. If you have not yet made that decision, I want you to know that you can be forgiven for all you have done past, present and future:

            Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved          Acts 16:31   (Trust in Jesus)

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.              I john 1:8 – 9

Either way, I challenge you to find out what has you in bondage, take it to God and let Him set you FREE!

Mike Molter

April 28 – The God Who Comes Through – He assures us in times of discouragement

Read Exodus 5:22-6:13

We take the hand of a toddler when crossing a street. We offer an arm to the elderly when they need a little stability. We lend a hand to a needy friend. We throw up our hands when we’ve lost all control and we take matters into our own hands when we’ve got to get it back.

If our present world was in your hands, what would it look like? Whose hands is it in anyway?

The Israelites wondered the same thing. Moses told them God was going to grant them freedom but they were working harder and more enslaved than ever. They told Moses… “May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” (5:21)

They complained to Moses so he complained to God. “Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.” (5:23)

Moses said ‘yes’ to God and all hell broke loose. His people were mad at him. Pharaoh was annoyed by him. Moses was probably mad at himself…why did I ever let God talk me into this? There’s something deep inside my soul wanting to believe that, if I say ‘yes’ to God, all will be well. And it will be…

In the life to come.

Jesus said,” I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So what do we do with the trouble? How do we stay encouraged? (John 16:33)

God met Moses in his discouragement. He will meet us there too. He wants to take us from what we see, experience and feel, and remind us who He is. I love how He responds to Moses and tells him all the things He will do by His mighty hand. “Then you will know I am the Lord your God!” (vs 7) Without difficulty, we’ll never know the power of His mighty hand. Without our weakness, we’ll never acknowledge His strength. We’ll take the credit every time. We’ll think we’ve got everything all wrapped up in our own ‘capable’ hands.

The Bible has so much to say about the power of His hands. I wish I had room to tell you all that I found but here are some of my favorite passages.

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands. (John 3:35)

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. (John 10:27-29)

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

1 Peter 5:6

Keep following His voice, my friends. It’s time to loosen your grip and rest assured that you are held. No matter how crazy this world gets, He’s got it and you!

Shelly Eberly

April 27 – The God Who Comes Through – He provides (imperfect) leaders to guide us

Read Exodus 3:9-22 and 4:27-31

“Who am I that I should go?” (Ex 3:11).  As Moses appeared before the LORD at the burning bush while shepherding sheep, he received what felt like an impossible task.  “Go, I am sending you” (Ex 3:9) the LORD declared to Moses.  Have you ever felt ill equipped or unworthy of serving the LORD?  Have you ever wondered how you can be used by God?  Perhaps you feel that you have too much sin in your past.  Or maybe you feel you are not educated enough.  Or maybe you don’t have enough time in your schedule to serve.  Maybe you are fearful that you will not know what to say or what to do.

This story of the LORD calling Moses really hits home for me.  I can recall being in my early 20’s and coaching baseball at a local high school.  I loved being around the game and coaching.  I loved the kids who would want extra batting practice, work on pitching mechanics or fielding after practice.  But one thing really shocked me while I was coaching.  I would have kids come up to me and want to talk to me about their personal lives.  Things like their parents’ divorce, drug and alcohol use, sex with their girlfriends.  WHAT!!!  I didn’t sign up for this!!!  I just want to coach ball!  Having played football, basketball and baseball myself, I could never have imagined talking to my coaches about any of those things.  But, of course, I was there to listen and give advice when I could.

A few years later, now married with a young child, starting a career and taking care of our first home, we were a family who attended church regularly yet did not serve.  We would sneak in and sneak out each Sunday.  Then it happened.  Our church had the new pastor of the youth group speak at the service to recruit volunteers to help lead students.  I totally ignored it for weeks but then, they asked again. This time I got “the nudge”.  All guys know the elbow that your wife gives you to get your attention. 

I remember going home and discussing the possibility of serving with Carol.  “I am not worthy to serve, I have too much dirt in my past.”  “I don’t know what to say, what to do.”  “I don’t have time.”  One thing that stuck out to me was those baseball players I coached.  I couldn’t tell you there ERA or batting average, but I knew their struggles.  I was just some dude who happened to be there and help them through those difficult times in life.  And I realized a couple of things: #1 – the Lord had already prepared me.  I had been doing “youth ministry” and had no idea.  #2 – I was NOT worthy, I was NOT ready and would NOT know the things to say. 

Do you think Moses was ready to lead the Israelites out of Egypt?  He had even killed someone.  He was not a well-spoken man.  Or how about King David, “a man after God’s own heart”?  He was a shepherd (not a priest), he had an affair and had his mistress’ husband killed.  Or how about the disciples of Jesus?  They were not Bible scholars but fisherman, and tax collectors – just normal average men. 

All of us are imperfect.  None of us are worthy to serve; however, the LORD has blessed each one of us with a calling and blessing to serve Him and be a part of what He is doing.  I invite you to take some time and think for a moment about this:  Where do you feel God is calling you to serve?  What is your next step that you need to take to make it happen?

Nate Mills

April 26 – The God Who Comes Through – He sees our need and hears our cry

Read Exodus 3:1-8

“…I have heard them crying out… and I am concerned about their suffering.”

There is a time in everyone’s walk with Jesus that something happens…something happens where more questions arise than answers and doubt kicks in. Here is Moses, removed from his people knowing the suffering they are facing and the Lord meets him with a promise and a plan. Moses has more questions than answers but He listens, He follows, He doubts yet obeys. In his obedience he was displaying the faith that God was asking him to have so He could meet the needs of His people. 

Whether it be heartbreak, valleys to walk through, mountains we face, life altering decisions, illness or loss, there are moments that come up in our lives that we forget the Truth that God not only knows about our problems but He cares about them.

Just as God told Moses in that field, He tells us that our suffering matters. He will use this chapter of suffering for His Glory. His goodness pronounced and His promises fulfilled because He knows, He hears and He cares.

A couple of years ago, Jake and I experienced a loss that we never thought we would know. Even after all this time, it’s still a fresh wound and yet the Lord’s presence and power is so strong within our midst, our family, and our marriage because we are holding steadfast to the Truth that He hears our cries, He knows our heartache and sadness, He cares deeply about it and He will be here through it all.

In the beginning of any suffering, it is incredibly easy to walk into the lies that God does not care, that we have control over what has happened. However, just as God knew the needs for His people on this journey to the promise land, He knew ours and it was Jesus himself.
 
The Lord showed up for His people in Exodus, He shows up for us, and He will always show up for you.

He knows our heartache, He knows yours and even though He never promised that we would NOT walk through the valley, He promises to be holding us through it and walking alongside us.

He has this. He has You.
Through it all, He is welcoming you to come forward in His presence.

What is something that you may be holding onto because in your mind you thing He doesn’t care?
I pray that you see the Truth that He does. He wants it. He wants to carry the load, the burden and walk with you. He will show up for you; You just have to bring it to Him.

Kelly Lawson

April 25 – The God Who Comes Through – He sends compassionate people

Read Exodus 1:1-22

God comes through!

That fact resonates throughout the Scriptures. He provided for your greatest need in the person of Jesus. If you have given yourself to Christ, He will gather you into His presence for eternity.

But while you may embrace that idea of “God coming through” on the macro level of life, what about the micro moments that you are living in now? Even there, we are assured that the God of heaven “works all things together for good” (Rom. 8:28). Without exception, He orchestrates it all. And the outcome is good…not necessarily the outcome we would have chosen, but somehow, in the grand scheme of things, still good.

The book of Exodus illustrates that well. Over the next few days, you are offered a front row seat, from which you will observe God coming through in some of the most impossible of situations. That reality begins to surface already in the first chapter.

Four hundred years earlier, God came through by providing food in the midst of famine. The people of God migrated from their hunger in the Promised Land to Egypt where they were welcomed, respected, and fed. But those days were gone. The current ruler of Egypt did not care to know about the history of the Israelites’ journey. He saw them only as a multiplying threat.

Consequently, He forced them to labor as slaves. Still, they multiplied. No problem. He knew how to stunt their growth. He would have the Hebrew midwives kill the Hebrew baby boys at birth. Just imagine…for those, who experienced the oppression of forced labor and for those who knew of the decree to have the babies killed, it must have seemed as if God had deserted them.

But God came through.

The Hebrew midwives had a greater fear of God than they did of Egypt’s king. At the risk of their own lives, they protected the lives of others. They let the little boys live. These two women, Shiphrah and Puah, were God’s provision for the welfare of the babies.

Sometimes, God comes through by sending others to our rescue. A stranger stops by to help. A friend offers words of hope. A fellow believer provides a gift of money. A relative is faithful to pray. Who are the people who have blessed you when life seemed most challenging?

As you recognize this, don’t miss out on the fact that God may also send you as His means of rescue.

Steve Kern

September 6 – The God Who Comes Through – Dwells Among Us and Lives With Us

Read Exodus 40:1-38

The God Who comes through is also One Who shows up!

His glorious presence was something that Moses yearned for at a crossroads in the Exodus experience. He pleaded with God, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here” (Ex. 33:15). It could be argued that there is nowhere that any of us can go where God is not present. After all, God is always and everywhere present in this world (Ps. 139:1-6). We refer to this as His “omnipresence.” But Moses was calling for that and more. He yearned for God’s revealed and directive presence that assured him he was not on his own.

The tabernacle served as an expression of that. It was a sort of portable, pop-up tent in which God manifested His glory and from which a cloud would rise to lead God’s people. Surrounding the tabernacle was an outer courtyard. Inside, the tabernacle was comprised of two sections; each with its own objects and symbolism. There was the Holy Place. And then, further inside was the Most Holy Place, into which only the high priest could enter once a year to offer sacrifices for himself and for the people (Heb. 9:7). It was there that God’s presence resided and His glory was revealed. It was also from the temple that the cloud would rise to lead the people onward.

The tabernacle is an important part of both the Old and New Testament.

  1. It was a tangible, earthly depiction of heavenly realities fulfilled with Jesus as our sacrifice and High Priest (Heb. 9:23-28).
  2. Its blueprint helped in the future design of the more permanent temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6-9).
  3. The temple curtain was torn without human help at the time of the crucifixion (Matt. 27:51) indicating humanities access to God through the sacrificial, atoning death of Jesus.

But for believers in Jesus, there is one more important symbolism of the temple. It is the fact that the God Who comes through now lives in you! You have become the temple of the living God as the Holy Spirit resides in you (1 Cor. 6:19, 20).

As His temple, you and I should choose to glorify God with our bodies (1 Cor. 6:20). This includes issues of addiction to sexual expression. In what ways do you glorify Him? In what ways do you need to make changes?

Keep in mind…the God who comes through not only shows up. He chooses to live in His children.

Steve Kern

September 5 – The God Who Comes Through – Revealing Glory and Transforming People

Read Exodus 34:29-35 (cf 2 Corinthians 3:12-18)

Going back to school in the midst a pandemic is tough.  I have been volunteering and subbing in a school since my retirement 8 years ago so I know many of the students who attend there.  We have talked, laughed, hugged and learned together throughout the years.  However, when I was required to wear a mask, my greetings were met with lots of quizzical looks as they searched their memories to recognize using only my eyes for clues. We could talk thorough the masks, but it wasn’t until I slipped the mask down and said, “It’s me!”  that the lights of recognition and smiles returned to their faces.

For so many years Moses had talked to God.  He had seen his miraculous power.  He had followed God’s direction and God had heard his pleas.  But it was when God removed the mask and revealed his full glory that Moses was so filled with his glory that his face actually glowed!  It glowed so much that the other people were afraid.  Moses put a veil over his face until he was once again in the presence of God in the tabernacle.

Being in the presence of God was deemed to be way too much for any normal person and even the priests needed to stay behind a veil that separated the holy of holies within the tabernacle.

But that veil that separated the normal people from God was torn in two when Jesus died on the cross giving you and me full access to God himself. We are God’s children and as such we can boldly approach Him with our prayers, requests and thanksgiving. He is never too busy to chat with us. Being able to talk directly to God gives us comfort and strength. Through His guidance anything is possible.

Our great nation was formed through His guidance.  The Pilgrims left the comfort of their homeland to sail across the ocean to an unknown land for the right to worship Him.

Through His guidance a small fledgling group of states dared to challenge the powerful English military to build a country whose motto is “In God We Trust.” Through His guidance that same country has been the beacon of life and liberty to the rest of the world!

When God reveals Himself, He can empower the meek. He can bring hope to the injured.  He can comfort the lonely and frightened. He can bring healing to the sick. We just need to be bold enough to ask.

Do you recognize God when He speaks to you? Or are you still seeing Him through a mask of doubt?  Maybe you need to pull down your mask and say,” Hey, God!  It’s me! Can we talk?”

Trust me you will never be the same!

Pat Arnold

September 4 – The God Who Comes Through – He Keeps His Covenant

Read Exodus 32:1-35

In a conversation I had last week, a friend said something that got me thinking. She said, “Sometimes I try so hard to manipulate my circumstances so that in the end, things turn out the way I think is best.” I don’t know about you, but I am guilty of living like this. So often we carelessly throw God’s plans and promises for our lives out the window. We think we know what is best for ourselves and will do just about anything to try and make sure things end up that way. This issue is not unique to us today. In fact, there’s a story recorded in Exodus 32:1-35 where we see God’s people manipulate their circumstances and even break their covenant with God in order to get what they want.

Moses was leading the Israelites at the time this story took place. The Israelites were settled near Mt. Sinai and there was a period of 40 days where God called Moses up onto the mountain to meet with Him. While Moses was up on the mountain meeting with God, the Israelites grew impatient and questioned where their leader was. They wanted to keep moving on to the land God had promised them and Moses was taking too long! So, they asked Moses’ brother, Aaron, to make them gods who would go before them and lead them. Aaron listened to the people and created a god for them, an idol made out of gold. In creating this idol, the people broke their covenant with God by disobeying His commandment given to them in Exodus 20:4. They manipulated their circumstances by taking the control that belonged to God.

In Exodus 32:10, God responds to what His people have done. He said to Moses, “Leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” Because God is just, righteous, and holy, disobedience angers Him. In His power, He could have wiped the Israelites out right away. But, there is a beautiful truth about God that is put on display in this story. While the Israelites sought their own favor, Moses sought the favor of God and in faith asked Him to turn from His anger. Verse 14 says, “Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.” Even though God’s people deliberately broke their covenant with Him, He does not break His covenant with them.

The same God keeps His promises to us today. His promises for us can be found in His Word. Even though we continually try and take control from Him, He will never cut off His promises to us. We don’t deserve the kind of faithfulness He shows us, but that is why we can praise Him for who He is.

Sidney Rupp

September 3 – The God Who Comes Through – Knowing of Our Sin

Read Exodus 20:1-19

The God of heaven is indeed the God who comes through!

By this point in the book of Exodus, He has protected His people, provided a leader to bring them out of bondage, and miraculously guided them by cloud and fire…even through a sea! If you have followed along in the reading, you have also identified the fact that He can come through in your life.

The setting for today’s story is a mountaintop. With the people of Israel gathered in the valley below, the peak was covered in a cloud as thunder bellowed and lightning flashed. As if that wasn’t enough, the ground quaked as God captured the nation’s attention in holy fear. The God who comes through wanted to clearly communicate His expectations for His people…the 10 Commandments.

What were God’s intentions in giving these famous words? Of course, they communicate His desires for mankind, giving us instruction for life, but here are some of His broader intentions:

  1. These commandments remind us of the simplicity of the Christian life. In total, the Old Testament Law consisted of 613 commandments. Here we have 10 that serve as a summary of God’s two-dimensional plan for living. You can mentally divide these 10 into “two tablets.” The first four commandments remind us how to love God and God alone. The last six commandments point out how to love our neighbor as we relate to them.
  2. These commandments point out the impossibility of measuring up. That’s right, it is through the law that we gain an awareness of sin. By defining what the bullseye is, we understand how we have missed the mark. The God who comes through intentionally outlined his righteousness demands for us (Rom. 3:20-23).
  3. The commandments lead us to the necessity for faith in Christ. We can be so grateful that God does not leave us in a position of sin, guilt, and judgment. No, the God who comes through uses the Law to point us to our need for the grace of God extended to us in the person of Jesus (Gal. 3:23-25). That was part of His purpose in giving us the Commandments.

The God who comes through does more than define the target. He makes every provision for all who cannot hit it!

Steve Kern