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We’re In This Together: Keep It Steady

 
So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 
Exodus 17:9-13, NASB

Tucked neatly into five verses in the 17th chapter of Exodus is found a powerful portrayal of a battle-weary, yet faithful Moses. While this passage may have little screen time in God’s narrative, it packs a big message. Let’s unpack it together this week …

 

Keep It Steady

But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set.

Exodus 17:12, NASB

countrychurchGod’s people were under attack by the Amalekites at Rephidim, and His church is under attack today. There may be no swords being drawn, but the spiritual battle is real and the effects are undeniable.

The statistics are alarming. The American church is in decline. Pastors are walking away from their pulpits and churches are shutting their doors. In many cases, more people are sliding out the back door of our churches than are entering through the front doors.

We are greatly blessed by those who have accepted their call by God and are faithfully leading, serving, and encouraging God’s people. Our pastors, missionaries, and other lay leaders are on the front lines of battle as they serve God and serve others. They fight battles that, like Moses, leave them weary, exhausted, and overwhelmed. They get sick. Their marriages struggle. They have more bills than they have money in the bank. And their children are faced with the same worldly temptations that ours are.

None of us are made to go to battle alone, and just as Aaron and Hur rallied around Moses, it’s important that you and I encourage those who have accepted God’s call to serve.

Sometimes encouragement comes in the forms of spoken or written words. Other times it’s in meeting a tangible need, but most importantly, we must come alongside them and keep their arms lifted high in prayer. We must be committed to praying for them personally, as well as for their families, and for their leadership. It was prayer that won the battle for the Israelites, and it is prayer that will win the battle today.

I ask you today, friend to friend, how can we encourage those who have been entrusted by God to lead us?

Dear Heavenly Father, we lift up our pastors, missionaries, and ministry leaders to You. Lord, we ask for their equipping by You to do the work You have called them to do. Please show each of us how we can encourage them and help us to commit to prayer on their behalves. Amen.

Amazed by His grace,

Traci

We’re In This Together: A Man With A Plan

 
So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
Exodus 17:9-13, NASB

Tucked neatly into five verses in the 17th chapter of Exodus is found a powerful portrayal of a battle-weary, yet faithful Moses. While this passage may have little screen time in God’s narrative, it packs a big message. Let’s unpack it together this week …

 

A Man With A Plan

“Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” … So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed.
Exodus 17:9, 11, NASB

Moses,_Aaron,_and_HurAs the sun began to brighten the sky, feeling defeated and weary from battle, I scrawled in my prayer journal, “Lord, I fight the same battle day in and day out, with no victory in sight.” As those words took form on the page, I felt a gentle reminder from the Lord. While countless prayers had been said, too many times I had foolishly relied on my own strength to carry me through the battle that I was facing.

Praise God that unlike me, Moses wasn’t wingin’ it when the Israelites and the Amalekites battled at Rephidim. Instead, he was a man with a plan. With his staff in hand, he stationed himself on the hilltop while Israel went to battle. The staff he held, a symbol of God’s power, was raised high to heaven as Moses cried out to the Lord in prayer on behalf of his people.

Our passage informs us that when his arms were raised high, the Israelites took the lead, but when he dropped his arms, the Amalekites prevailed. Please don’t be misled here and think that the battle’s outcome was being controlled by Moses and the position of his upper extremities!

With his arms raised high, which was a posture of prayer for Moses, he fervently prayed to God on behalf of his people, and it was Moses’ faith that won the battle.

Like Moses, you and I need a battle plan. Instead of a staff to remind us of God’s power, we have our Bibles. Friend, we must be women in the Word. We cannot allow our Bibles to collect dust on Monday through Saturday and relegate prayer to before meals and on Sundays at church.

Our battles look different, but there is a battle raging nonetheless and like the Israelites, our victory depends on the Lord. Prayer must not be our last resort after we have become exhausted from trying to fight the battle in our own strength. Instead, it must be our first plan of attack. We, too, must assume a posture of prayer just as Moses did and do battle in the Lord’s strength. We cannot fight nor can we win the battle on our own.

Dear Lord, help us to be women in the Word, being reminded of Your power. Help us not to foolishly rely on our own feeble strength in the battles of life but to faithfully come before You. Amen.

Amazed by His grace,

Traci

Photo credit: http://ih2.redbubble.net/image.8667881.7430/poster,375×360,ffffff.jpg

A Place at the Table: Taste and See

As much of a social butterfly as I consider myself to be, one social situation sends my heart racing – and not from excitement. I turn into a bundle of nerves when I have to find a seat at a table, especially in a public place. What if there’s not a seat for me? What if I sit in someone else’s place? I’ve come to discover that those fears reflect some fears I didn’t realize I had about the Kingdom of God. I’ve learned though, sitting around tables across the world, that there is always room at His table. Hopefully you’ll find some encouragement in these stories shared around my table.

 

Taste and See

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”
Psalm 34:8

FridayI once heard a story about a man who decided to take a cruise. He packed some cheese and crackers and boarded the boat, excited to take to the open sea. Every night as the other guests enjoyed the extravagant dinners the crew made for them, the man would sit in the corner and eat his cheese and crackers. When someone finally noticed him, he asked why he wouldn’t join them in the dining room. The man explained that he’d only enough to pay for the ticket and couldn’t afford the fancy meals they all enjoyed together. His fellow traveler laughed and said, “Your meals have been paid for as a part of your ticket!”

I wonder how many of us are sitting in the corner eating cheese and crackers without realizing the abundance that has been provided for us already. Jesus’s sacrifice paid our way to heaven, but do we realize the depth of what has been paid?

We have received an ultimate promise of eternity, but eternity begins now. We don’t have to wait to experience the eternal fountain of joy and life abundant – it is ours now. A banquet complete with joy, forgiveness, restoration and more is waiting for us at the table of God. A name placard reserves our spot, and too often we sit in the corner eating the cheese and crackers of worry, anxiety and fear. Take your place at the table of the Lord – taste and see that He is good! Invite others to do the same, because at the table of God, there is always room for one more chair.

Chelsey