Continue to trust in the Lord even if it doesn’t seem like He is present.

“But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand.” (Exodus 3:19)

In this morning’s reading, Moses has an encounter with God. He finds a bush burning in the wilderness but is not being burned up. Like many of us, he turns aside to see how a bush on fire could remain whole, unburned by the fire that should consume it. Upon approaching the bush, a voice, the voice of God, emanates from the bush warning Moses that he has entered a holy space.

Afterwards, God proceeds to tell Moses He has heard the cries of His people in Egypt who are being brutally afflicted by the Egyptians. Not only has He heard their cries but He has seen their affliction. He has come to provide them with relief. But God is not going to smite the Egyptians right away. Instead, His plan is to send Moses to bring the people out of Egypt. Moses is tasked with approaching Pharaoh and asking him to let God’s people go three days’ journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to God (Exodus 3:18).

What is interesting about God’s plan for Moses is that He already knows the outcome. He tells Moses that He knows the King of Egypt will not let them go unless compelled by a mighty hand. He doesn’t tell Moses the mighty wonders He will do just that He will do them. Not only will He do mighty wonders that will result in the Israelites escape, but He will also provide the Israelites favor with the Egyptians. Favor that will result in them plundering the Egyptians of their silver and gold jewelry, as well as clothing. The Israelites will not leave Egypt empty handed.

Again, we see the providential nature of God. He is in control. Life does not happen by chance. It is a part of God’s plan. We see the Lord provides, He protects His people. Continue to trust in the Lord even if it doesn’t seem like He is present. He is present. He has not abandoned you. He remains faithful. Watch and see what the Lord will do in your life!

If we hope to be Christ pleasers instead of people-pleasers, we need others.

Knowing others have sought to and are seeking to please Christ should help us to do the same. We are not alone in our journey to living for Christ. Nor is it just a 21st-century activity. From the very beginning, Christ-followers have sought to be Christ pleasers instead of people pleasers.

As self-professed Christ-followers, we should do the same — we should be Christ pleasers, not people pleasers. One way we can fight the tendency to be a people pleaser is to exist in a community with other Christ Pleasers. Not only do we need the example of others in history, like Paul, but we also need the example of others today. We need others to look to and others to encourage us on a daily basis. In order for that to happen, we have to be in a community with others.

Our need for community is why you not only need to attend church, but you should join a church and then plug into a small group. If we hope to be Christ pleasers instead of people pleasers, especially in the hostile world in which we find ourselves, we need others.

There is no escaping the Lord’s Judgment

“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Rev 6:15-17)

There is a day coming from which no one can hide. One day the fabric of the cosmos as we know it will roll back like a scroll to reveal the Creator and Judge of all the earth (Rev 6:14). A time of judgement will come. A time where the Lord’s wrath will be poured out.

What, when, and how this will take place is hotly disputed, but the most interesting aspect of the Day of the Lord is that no one can escape. Notice the text highlights “everyone” from those who are in power to those who are slaves. Kings and wealthy oligarchs and influencers will face the same wrath as those who are enslaved, used, and abused by those who wield power.

At the judgment seat, as well as at the foot of cross the ground is level. The ground is level because all are sinners. Sinners are not just those who miss the mark from time to time, or those who fall short of God’s commands, even though that is true. Sinners do fall short of God’s commands. We fall short because we are rebels. Not just because we messed up at that moment. No, we are rebels. We want to call the shots. We want to be King. We want to be Creator. We are rebels. As rebels, we all deserve God’s wrath.

Thankfully, there is a Lamb who was slain for our rebellion. The precious blood of Jesus was spilt on our behalf. Those who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior are united with Him in His life, death, and resurrection. The Father’s wrath passes over Christians, not because we are better or more righteous than another, but because Jesus is better and more righteous.

There is a judgment coming. The only way to prepare for it is to believe in Jesus. We cannot build a bunker or run far enough away. There is no escaping the Lord’s judgment.

How are we to build ourselves up in the the faith?

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,” Jude 1:20

How are we to build ourselves up in the the faith? We talk a lot about God building us up. The Spirit working monergistically in us and on us. How are we to build ourselves up in the faith?

One way in which I believe Jude, the author of this short letter, has in mind that we build ourselves up is by understanding that their are false teachers whose desire is to destroy our faith. We build ourselves in the faith as we not only understand their teaching and why it is false, but when we grow in our understanding of our own faith. We will never guard against false teaching if we do not know our own faith.

Knowing our own faith is where many Americans, and Christians, struggle. Many are not able to answer simple questions like, “What is the gospel? Who is God? How were Old Testament saints saved?” We must, however, have a simple understanding of the Bible, its doctrine and theology. We must know how to answer our critics and why a particular teacher’s teaching is false. If we don’t, we open ourselves up to deception.

Christian, build yourself up in the faith!

How can we go “on mission” without leaving the community?

“Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.” (3 Jn 1:8)

How is it possible for us to go on mission without leaving our job, home, or family? Besides the fact that we are all called to be missionaries in our own communities by living life “on mission”, we do so through our giving.

When we give to support the work of missionaries around the world, we participate in their mission. Our giving provides them the opportunity to remain on the mission field to do the work of ministry, seeking to reach others for Christ.

It is important we support missionaries.

God has gifted and called each of us to a certain task. We each have a part in furthering the kingdom of God. Those called to domestic and foreign missions are the front line workers whom God has gifted in such a way that they are able to start ministries and reach the people to whom the Lord has given them a heart.

The Lord has also gifted you in certain ways so that you can participate in those ministries. He has not only given you spiritual gifts you are to employee, but he has also provided your current job and finances. In fact, everything we have is a gift of God. We are called to be good stewards of God’s gifts. Investing them in the kingdom. When we serve and give to support kingdom ministry, we are stewarding our resources well.

Be a good steward of the resources the Lord has provided, support your local ministry, as well as international missionaries.

Christian, don’t seek to please the world.

“Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” (1 Jn 3:13)

The world is not our friend. The world hates us. That is strong language, I know, but it is true.

Hate is a word that is tossed around without much thought of what it actually means. To hate someone means you wish they never were or that you wish they would disappear, never to return again. You want them to cease to exist. Not only do you want that person to cease to exist but you want their ideas and actions to disappear as well.

When John tells us that the world hates us, he means that the world wishes Christians ceased to exist, which means the world is not our friend. The world would rather we not be around.

The world has a disdain for Christianity because they believe we limit their freedom. Any institution that does not agree with complete and utter freedom of expression is an enemy of the world. Their power must be removed so that the individual can operate without any restriction.

These ideas might sound eerily familiar. They are being played out in our nation as I write this post. But they are not new. Man has hated the things of God from the beginning, seeking to throw off God’s rule in one way or another since Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the garden.

If we have learned anything over the millennia it is that God’s people are not friends of the world. We cannot give a little and be ok with those in the world. Complete and utter capitulation is the only action that will do. This is why those who try to please the world, like the progressive liberal church or those in the liberal camp themselves, constantly find that the goal posts are moving. One day they are progressive enough and are celebrated. The next they are being cancelled because they haven’t moved far enough fast enough. They are not on the right side of history, as some would say.

As Christians, we should not be surprised the world hates us. Knowing that must not get us down. Instead, we must continue to trust in Jesus, resting in His sacrifice on our behalf, experiencing joy in our restored relationship with the Father, and finding hope in Jesus’ return.

Christian, don’t seek to please the world.