My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
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Sunday, April 7, 2013


As I told a friend recently, this blogging is a complex thing for me.  Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by an event or something that God is teaching me that I couldn't possibly write about it.  Other times, in order to process my emotions and/or wrap my head around something God is teaching me, I feel like I have to write about it!  Tonight is one of those times.  Today has been quite cathartic for me, from start to finish.

We are privileged to have at our church a man who is incredibly gifted by the Spirit for teaching.  He delivered our message this morning and, if God used him for no one else, He used him to speak to me.  And, just to be sure I was listening, God reiterated His message again tonight through a man I greatly respect.  I had already heard the same message this week, loud and clear.  And I had started to journal it then but I just didn't have time.  So, let me back up...

I believe it was Friday.  I had a bit of quiet time in Deuteronomy.

Aside:  Some of you may remember I am reading through the Bible, and the goal is to read through it this year.  I am obviously behind.  Don't give up on me!  Some of you that have been reading this blog for a while also know that God has been allowing some sifting to take place in me.  Although it's always a bit painful, okay, a lot painful, I know that what comes out on the other side of the fire is something that has been refined.  I do not like sifting.  I do not like seeing all my junk.  I do not like brokenness.  But I do like the promise of what lies ahead.  I'll keep clinging to Him through the sifting and through the fires, even if just by a finger, because I know in my heart that my God is faithful.  Back to Deuteronomy...

So, the first couple of chapters of Deuteronomy are basically a recap of what Israel has been through since their exodus from Egypt.  (And, I'm just going to be honest:  I am so painfully like Israel.)  They came to Mt. Sinai, or Horeb, shortly after leaving Egypt.  And this is God's word to them in Deuteronomy 1:

The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.”

God tells them to pack up and go.  "I have given the land to you; just go in and take possession of it."  Given.  Past tense.  It was done.  The gift had already been given, unwrapped, and laid before them; they just had to grab it with both hands.

And then the Israelites went in to scope out the land.  They saw the fruit and it was GOOD.  To give you an idea of how the land flourished, it took two men to carry a single cluster of grapes (Numbers 13).  But they also saw their enemies--literally giants--and they were overcome with fear.  And they returned to the camp and spread their fear-filled reports like wildfire:

"All the people we saw there are of great size...We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”  Numbers 13

And before the night was over, all of Israel began to cry out:

"Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”  Numbers 14

God had just told them He had GIVEN that land to them!  It was theirs!  And now they are accusing Him of bringing them into the desert to die!  And they are refusing to move forward in faith.  They were focused on their enemies, not their God; so, their enemies seemed larger than their God.  How quickly we forget His promises.

Their lack of faith angered God and He swore an oath that not one adult would live to see the land He had given them, but that their children, whom the Israelites feared would be taken as plunder, would take possession of the land after every one of the adults had fallen dead in the desert.

Then we turned back and set out toward the wilderness along the route to the Red Sea,[a] as the Lord had directed me. For a long time we made our way around the hill country of Seir.

For a long time?  Yes!  40 long years!  So, the time God intended for them to be in the desert, 11 days (See Deuteronomy 1:2), was painfully stretched into 40 years, thanks to lack of faith and disobedience.

Ouch.  This stepped all over my toes.  God obviously intends to take us into the desert sometimes.  The way to our promises is often through the desert.  But the amount of time we spend there may depend on us.  How quickly are we willing to learn our lessons and let our faith increase to the point that we are willing and able to slay our enemies and claim our promises?

Those enemies that look like giants?  They are already defeated!  God has already "blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing" (Ephesians 1).  Blessed.  Past tense.  Given, unwrapped, and laid before us.  When will we quit looking at the enemy who wants to keep us from our promised blessings?  And when will we focus on God and His gifts, and grab on with both hands?

I, for one, am tired of wandering in the desert.  I know God brought me here, but I think I have wandered a bit too long.  Here's why.  Reading on in Deuteronomy, I came to this passage and the repetition struck my soul.  Note the similarity to Deuteronomy 1!

Then the Lord said to me, “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.

Can you hear the intensity?  He is commanding them once again to move out of the desert, out of their fears, and into the promises!  You know what I love about this?  He had already said this to them once:  You have been here long enough.  And that was 40 years ago!  Now, He is saying it again, almost exactly the same way:  You have been here long enough.  (Uh, yeah.  40 years TOO long.)  And I wondered how much longer I have stretched my stay in the desert than He intended it to be.

And I just wonder if some of you, like me, have spent a little time in the desert recently.  Perhaps you've already heard God say, "You have been here long enough."  But perhaps fear of your enemy has kept you from moving forward in faith.  He is the God of second chances.  If we stumble, He will always give us the chance to respond in obedience to the same situation.

Hear Him today.  He longs to be gracious to us.  (Isaiah 30:18).  Can we just imagine Him saying, "You have been here long enough, child.  Now turn!  Take up your weapons and fight.  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  The LORD your God is with you.  You are about to lay claim to some promises!"

And, furthermore, those enemies who have caused so much fear (our enemy who has caused so much fear), this is what God says of them (him):

They [He] will be afraid of you. (v.4)

My dear friends, and my dear daughters (if one day you read this), for the sake of the cross and what Christ did for us there, it is high time we moved outta the desert!  Oh the enemy is real and he will do his best to stand in the way of our promised blessings.  But his best is literally nothing compared to the "incomparably great power for us who believe" Christ.  "That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above every rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age, but also in the one to come.  And God placed all things under His feet..."  (Ephesians 1)  All things.  Our enemy is defeated.  He knows that; he just doesn't want us to know it.  And he is very afraid when he hears us singing praises to the One Who has already secured our victory, "I know Who goes before me; I know Who stands behind; the God of angel armies is always by my side!"  ("Whom Shall I Fear" by Chris Tomlin)

You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light
Whom shall I fear?

You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield
Though trouble linger still
Whom shall I fear?

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side

My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory
Whom shall I fear?
Whom shall I fear?

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I'm holding on to Your promises
You are faithful
You are faithful

p.s.  i realize that i never got to my cathartic day.  stay tuned for part two of this story.  right now i'm just gonna go get my praise on.

p.s.s.  i know that's not a real thing, p.s.s, but roll with it...
do you see how much God is using Ephesians 1 for me right now?!  i love it.  i love Him.  thank you, Lord, for Scripture in my memory.  You alone give me the ability to do that.

p.s.s.s.  i have verse one of chapter 2..."as for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of the world, and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient."

that is not you and me, sister.  not you and me.  and that is exactly why we praise and fight.  He is so worth it.

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