“Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me.” Exodus 19:5
God calls out to the Israelites. He invites them into an intimate relationship. Setting them apart from all others as His special treasure. They will hold this position in His heart if they obey Him and keep his covenant.
They answer back, “Yes! All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”
The story that unfolds after their declaration includes every possible human example of making a promise and trying to keep it. Some will remain devoted, many will struggle with their commitment, some will wander, some will stray and some will rebel in great defiance.
If you, like me, have ever intentionally worked on “keeping your word”, you know what this struggle is like. You’ve agreed to do something for a friend. When the day comes for you to do your part, you may not feel up to it. Maybe the weather is unpleasant, maybe you have received another offer that is better. Decision time. Do you break your commitment or do you do that thing you said you would do – and keep your word? These decision point moments in our journeys create our character and build our relationships with others.
My 58 year old track record includes all possible outcomes. Keeping my commitments, struggling with my commitments and breaking my commitments.
Thankfully, in our relationship with God, He is faithful to His word. He continues to call out to us and has also made a provision of grace that covers us when we fail.
“You will be my treasure,” says God, “when you obey me.”
Moses left the camp at the foot of Mount Sinai, and climbed up into the mountain to talk to God. This was a familiar landscape for Moses. I imagine he headed towards the location of the burning bush, where he first met God. The holy ground where his life changed forever. The place where God assigned him the mission to go back to Egypt and bring the Israelites out of slavery and back to this mountain.
At some point in Moses’s journey up the mountain, God calls out to him, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel:
“You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.” Exodus 19:4
God begins his message with a strong statement of what he has just done for the Israelites. He describes it as having bore them up on Eagle’s wings to bring them back to Himself. He doesn’t mention the tactics and miracles he performed; the 10 plagues, the Passover, or the parting of the Red Sea. Instead, he gets to the heart of the matter. He describes the intention of his actions. He gathered them up and brought them home to Himself.
You are here with me, says God, because I carried you here.
As I write this, I wonder if Jesus will say something similar to each of us.
I bore you up on eagle’s wings and carried you home to me.
My smart phone recently created a slideshow for me using my photos from the last several months. I usually ignore these automated gestures, but this time I watched it. I was surprised at the joy I felt as a collage of smiles from family and friends popped up. Memories of laughter and the beauty of nature, all of these moments captured during this time of great trials in our life’s journey.
It made me stop. Gratitude filled my heart.
I wonder, with great anticipation, what my spiritual photo collage will look like, when I look back to see where Jesus was as He walked with me, and with you, during this time of great trials. I think we’ll see powerful images of his faithfulness and everlasting love for us.
Although we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will not fear, because you, Jesus, are with us. 9Psalm 23)
I have a friend who would always pray that we would be made uncomfortable. That God would “mess us up to rebuild us stronger.” One day, I told my friend that I had had enough of that prayer request. Instead, I’d like to pray to be comfortable, settled, easy. He smiled and said something like, “nobody grows their faith when they’re fat and happy”.
Before 2020 it seemed like individual trials came and went. There were some trials that we faced as a larger community, but nothing like today’s trials. We have been bombarded with one event after another. We seek understanding amidst chaos. We try to support one another virtually and at a distance. There are too many odd disturbances to mention, but you all know what I mean.
I am grateful that there is someone we do not have to social distance from. Someone who we can not infect and who can not infect us. Our ever present help in time of need. The one who calls us to trust in Him alone. We are hungry for truth and we are hungry for a shelter we can count on. We trust you Jesus. We wait for your help as we reach out, in creative ways, to help each-other.
Thank you for this day that you have made, we will rejoice an be glad in it.
I have found friendships in a variety of places. My neighborhood, school, in groups I belonged to, at work, in low and high places, in ministry, through other friends and circumstance. Now and then you just meet someone you “click” with. My best friend in Jr High was a girl i met in my home economics class. Our teacher asked, “are there any birthdays today?” We both stood up and the class sang to us. We thought it was fun to have the same birthday and so our friendship began.
Not all friendships last, some come and go, some are for a season, some are inactive but easily rekindled after years apart, picking up where you left off, as if no time was lost.
Its so amazing to think that Jesus calls us “friend”, and that he feels a “click” with us. To know Jesus as my friend and confidant has been a beautiful journey. Healthy friendships are two way streets, where conversation, affection, respect and trust go both directions. For many years, my friendship with Jesus was a one way street. He was there, trying to talk with me, loving me, reaching out to me, waiting for me. I was busy looking elsewhere for all I needed. When I began to reciprocate and participate in the friendship Jesus offered, i found a friend who understands me, encourages me and teaches me. He knows my history and he knows my future. He will always be with me, guiding me to become the person God created me to be. He offers the same friendship to you.
Thank you Jesus for calling us into friendship with you. Today we say, hello, my friend. ❤️
I have had several conversations lately about the kingdom of God and how it compares to the world that we know. Instead of just settling on the phrase “well, it’s completely different”, I want more specifics. My focus for the next five weeks will be a look at what the bible says about who we are in Christ. How is our identity in Christ different than our identity in the world?
We are children of God.
When I think about what it means to be a child in this world, I think about my experience as a child in the family I grew up in, as well as the experience my own children had with me. Both imperfect because we are imperfect. Its hard for most of us to think of being part of a family free of competition, criticisms, feelings of being lover-looked, misunderstood or unloved at times.
As a child of God, we are fully loved, fully accepted, nothing we do surprises our father, he will never leave us and he will never forsake us. We don’t have to compete with our siblings or wonder if we are loved. It’s a paradigm worth exploring. How can I live my life more aware of being a child of God?
Thank you Jesus for what you’ve done – so that we may be a child of God.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
I’m ending my love series with the powerful promise packed into verse 13. A reminder that our relationship with God begins with His love – and never ends. Love welcomes us, approves of us, and stays with us, now and forever. The perfect shelter for any storm. The ever-present comfort that never wears out.
Focussing of God’s love over the last 25 days has changed me. I tested every verse against my experience of Jesus. Where have these words been true in my life? Kind of like when you test a company’s mission statement against your experience with them. In this exercise, however, I found way more love than I was looking for. My understanding of God’s love has broadened and I have a new degree of freedom to just be me. I am loved.
Lord, thank you for your love. A love like no other. May we all continue to seek you and grow in our understanding of who you are and who we are in you. You are our good good father. Amen
God’s love for us is everlasting. His love for us will never fall-apart or disappear. Human love is often imperfect, the love we receive from others, the love we give to others and the love we have for ourselves. But the love Jesus has for us is perfect. We may never fully grasp this truth, but that does not change the fact – God’s love for us will never fail. He loves you because He loves you.
I have carried this verse with me all weekend. Mulling it over, and looking for its presence in my life. How would i describe this verse – as it lives and swirls around me.
To me it holds a complete description of the unfailing love God has for us – and – a the description of the love we all seem to crave. Does this describe the God-sized hole we all have in our hearts that only God can fill? A love that endures the circumstances we struggle with. A love that carries a banner of hope for us to follow. A love that upholds a faith in us, that we will find our way through the sins we struggle with. A love that never gives up on us. With this ever-present love encircling us – how can we fail? I am so grateful.
Years ago, I was mediating a conflict between a foreman and a union employee he supervised. The tension had steadily risen for weeks as the foreman held his ground. During our session, the foreman finally spoke the truth and admitted to what he had said to the employee and sincerely apologized. I was struck at how fast the tension left the room once the truth was spoken. We were now able to move forward and soon their relationship was mended. It was a lesson I carry with me today.
Lord, help us speak truth when it’s our turn to share and help us discern when truth is spoken by others. Thank you for being the very best example of truth. Amen
We have all made drastic changes to our daily lives during the pandemic in order to benefit those around us. A perfect example of love. Lord, help us to continue to put others first as we move through the pandemic journey. We will share all of our frustrations with you as you teach us to love. Amen
Lord, today we celebrate your trustworthiness. When the ground shakes, the sands shift and we are faced with an unpredictable landscape, we can take a deep breath and rest on your steadfast love. You truly are our rock.
Lord, please upgrade our discernment. Help us make sense of all the things we hear, sorting out truth from lies, truthful from deceitful. We will use our ears, our eyes and your wisdom to find truth. Thank you 🙏❤️ Amen
Lord, thank you for being with us, for watching over us and for having a personal relationship with us. We may not hear your footsteps but we can see you around us when we watch for you. Our true companion. ❤️🙏 painting by Vivian Laxdal Dunbar
Lord, today we remember the steadfastness of your love for us. The wind may blow, our foundations may tremble, worry may swirl around us, but there is nothing that can change, cut-off or separate us from your love. You’ve got us. 🙏❤️ Amen
Lord, thank you for the provision of eternity. We will one day be with you, with unveiled faces, we will see your glory and understand more deeply what your gift to us means. Help us to see you working around us today. Amen
Lord, you are not bound by the limitations that surround us. You can break-through and transform any situation. Please break-through with your healing and perfect will for our lives. You can work all things together for good. We need you. Amen.
Lord, when we align our prayers with your will and have faith that you can do things that are beyond human strength, the impossible things in our lives can change. Today we are going big and asking you to end the deadly impact of the corona virus – around the world. Amen ❤️🙏.
Lord, your will for us is perfect. In times of stress, your will and your words, challenge us to rise up and push in the opposite direction of our worries. Today we will pray and thank you for everything we can think of all day long. This will rekindle our joy. Thank you for your encouragement! 💛🙏
Lord, you are trustworthy, loving, faithful and true. The promises you have made to us are anchors to our soul. We can be strong, confident and sure-footed as we face troubles of all kinds, because you, Jesus, are with us and for us! Help us hear your guidance today. Amen ❤️🙏