Sun, Nov 16, 2008

MISREPRESENTING GOD! NUMBERS 20:2-13

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
MISREPRESENTING GOD!
NUMBERS 20:2-13

            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Numbers chapter 20 as we look at the topic of MISREPRESENTING GOD!  Folks, this is a tough one for probably all of us at times as we face various situations. Our desire is to represent God accurately in all that we say and all that we do. The problem comes when self gets in the way and instead of representing God correctly, hallowing Him, we misrepresent Him before His people and the unsaved. And this usually doesn’t happen when things are going well, they could but for the most part this happens when the heat is turned up in our lives.  When trials and tribulations come into our lives.  When things are not going the way we want and look out! The works of the flesh comes bursting forth on the scene instead of the fruit of the Spirit and when that happens, we are misrepresenting God!

            Before we get to our text this morning let me share with you this thought that will help you to focus on where we are going. The story is called The Muddy Bottom and we are told:

The heart of man is like a [pool of] standing water. Look at it on a summer's day, when not a breeze ruffles the surface, not a bird flies over to cast its light shadow on its face. It is so clear, so bright, you may see your own image reflected there. Now cast a stone to the bottom, and watch the effect. The dark mud is rising all around, rank weeds are floating up which you never saw before; the whole pool is in a state of motion, and hardly a drop of water has escaped the foul pollution. Look at your heart when all outward things go well.

No vexing, crossing care mars its tranquil calm, and you think you see the image of Jesus reflected there. It is so long since sin has molested you that you think it has left you quite, and that all is sure within. Now let a sudden offence come, an unkind, undeserved rebuke; let pride be touched, or self-will roused, and presently all is lost. Like the waves of an angry sea, the poor mind is tossed from thought to thought, and finds no rest. The mud is raised from the bottom, and not one comer of that wretched heart is free from its polluting influence. All gentle, soothing thoughts are gone, and one by one the dark weeds are floating on the surface.

- Quiet Thoughts for Quiet Hours

            How true that is in our own lives, but it does not have to be that way. When we look at the book of Numbers it is really a book that deals with walking. There is the walk by faith in which we see bountiful fruit that is produce in their life. It is a Spirit-filled walk! Or, there is the walk by sight which we see a barren, lifeless, dead life.  It is a walk that is in the flesh! God was teaching the children of Israel how to walk by faith and it is a hard lesson to learn because they refused to surrender to the Lord and the same is true for each of us many times.

            To set the stage for our study this morning the children of Israel are camped at Kadesh Barnea, on the boarder of the Promise Land, the southern portion. This was the place where some 38 years earlier their parents were at and they refused to enter in because fear caused their faith to die.  And because of that God judged them and that generation was going to die in the wilderness because of their lack of faith.  It was the longest funeral march in history, some 38 years!  Over 600,000 people would die in that period of time, some 40 people per day for forty years!

            Now the next generation is on the boarder of the Promise Land, preparing to enter in. There must have been much excitement in the camp. The anticipation of finally entering into the land of Canaan, the land God promised Abraham well over 400 years earlier and now it was coming to pass.  Truly they learned the lessons of faith, haven’t they? Well, let’s begin reading in Numbers chapter 20, starting in verse 2 and see what kind of faith they had and the lessons God was teaching them and us as we represent Him in this world!

NUMBERS 20:2-13

            These 12 verses are packed with lessons for us to learn and apply to our lives. And please understand that this is not just information for you to know but you are to apply these things to your life. If there is no application, then it truly is worthless, it is just head knowledge!

            Think of it like this. You are taking some driving lessons and in the classroom you are given the instructions you need to drive a car. You learn all the signs, what the traffic signals mean, what side of the road you are drive on and-so-on. You have all the information but it is absolutely worthless if you don’t apply it to your life, if you don’t use that information when you are driving your car!

            The same is true in our lives with the lessons God is showing us.  Paul put it like this in Romans 15:4, For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.  The Amplified Bible puts it like this, For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.

            You see, these are faith lessons that help us to grow in the Lord; they help us to mature in the Lord. These lessons help us to be patient or to persevere in our walk, not to give up.  These lessons found in the Scriptures bring us comfort as we are going through tough times knowing that God is with us. These Scripture lessons give us hope knowing He is in control and what He has promised us He is more than able to bring to pass. These faith lessons help us to walk!

            Now, in these verses we have read this morning I see five main points that I would like to focus on. They are: THE TRIAL – NUMBERS 20:2-5. Then: THE GODLY RESPONSE – NUMBERS 20:6.  From there we will look at: THE GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD – NUMBERS 20:7-8.  Then we will look at: THE UNGODLY RESPONSE – NUMBERS 20:9-11. And lastly we will look at: THE REBUKE – NUMBERS 20:12-13.  So with the remainder of our time this morning, let’s see what lessons we can learn and apply to our lives so that as we go out we may represent God in a proper way!

1.  THE TRIAL – NUMBERS 20:2-5

            You would think after 40 years of God providing manna, bread from heaven for them to eat, they would trust in God to provide this water for them.  You would think after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and their shoes not wearing out, that they would have enough faith in God to proved water for them.  You would think after 40 years of providing water for them in the wilderness that they would have enough faith that even during this seemingly dry period, God would provide for them. He did not carry them these 40 years to let them die of dehydration but they took their eyes off the Lord and placed them upon the situation they were facing, which caused them to murmur and complain against God! Like their parents some 40 years earlier, they would rather be in Egypt in bondage than with God in this trial!

            And please understand that this was a serious problem, no water for all these people and their animals. But that was not the issue. I believe God wanted to stretch their faith, to see their faith grow, to get them to look to Him instead of the situation, but they lost their focus and murmured and complained about the situation!

            Folks, how often do we find ourselves in situations that are overwhelming and instead of looking to the Lord, we look at the situation and we begin to murmur and complain! Why does God do that to us, put us in these situations? Because, like the children of Israel he wants to stretch our faith, to see our faith grow, to get us to look to Him and see the salvation that He will bring to the situation we are facing.  You see, as we look at things through the eyes of faith we will have thankful hearts and not murmur and complain!

            James puts it like this as he tells us in James 1:2-8, My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

When we fall into various trials, not if, we need to know that God is working. The Greek word for knowing is GINOSKO, (ghin-oce’-ko) and it speaks of knowing something more than just information or facts, but from a personal experience.  You see, it is trusting in God in the present situation I am facing knowing how He has taken care of me in the past, how He was with me then, and it gives me confidence now because I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, I know that by experience, first hand experience!

           In Isaiah 33:6 we are told, “Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, And the strength of salvation; The fear of the LORD is His treasure.  You see, it is knowing the truths of God, and then applying them to your life otherwise your faith is empty.  God is testing our faith, seeing that it is real, helping us to grow. And please understand that God knows all about our faith, thus, these trials are for us, not for Him. These trials will show us what is in our own heart.  We do not want to be a double-minded person, being tossed all over the place as we face various situations, but to walk by faith.

            For the children of Israel they had a heart that lacked faith and this was manifested in their lives as the heat of the situation was turned up, as difficult times came their way.  For us, when God shows us what is in our hearts, we need to repent and give it to Him; we need to grow from the situation as we are learning lessons of faith. Now, we have seen how the children of Israel responded to the situation, but how will Moses and Aaron respond to what is going on? We will find out as we get to our next point.

2.  THE GODLY RESPONSE – NUMBERS 20:6

            Can you imagine 40 years of murmuring and complaining, how much more could Moses and Aaron take? But look at their response; they fell on their faces before the Lord, they were praying!  Moses did that often, especially when difficult times came, the difficult situations arose, he brought it to God in prayer!

            Can you imagine how discouraging this must have been for Moses and Aaron! Forty years have passed by; the older generation is almost gone, dying in the wilderness because of their lack of faith. Now, here comes the next generation, the one that was to enter the Promise Land and they are doing the same thing that their parents did, walking by sight and not by faith, which caused them to murmur and complain!

            For Moses and Aaron, they can’t go another 40 years waiting for another generation to grow up!  Thus, I am sure that there prayers were fervent, that God would not wipe out this generation but by His grace and mercy He will let them enter the land of Canaan. He wanted this generation to see that God is still in control, that He is for them and not against them and He will not only provide water for them but He will see them enter the Promise Land if they would walk by faith. Perspective is everything as this story illustrates for us:

I am not a connoisseur of great art, but from time to time a painting or picture will really speak a clear, strong message to me. Some time ago I saw a picture of an old burned-out mountain shack. All that remained was the chimney...the charred debris of what had been that family's sole possession. In front of this destroyed home stood an old grandfather-looking man dressed only in his underclothes with a small boy clutching a pair of patched overalls. It was evident that the child was crying. Beneath the picture were the words which the artist felt the old man was speaking to the boy. They were simple words, yet they presented a profound theology and philosophy of life. Those words were, "Hush child, God ain't dead!"

That vivid picture of that burned-out mountain shack, that old man, the weeping child, and those words "God ain't dead" keep returning to my mind. Instead of it being a reminder of the despair of life, it has come to be a reminder of hope! I need reminders that there is hope in this world. In the midst of all of life's troubles and failures, I need mental pictures to remind me that all is not lost as long as God is alive and in control of His world. 

- James DeLoach, associate pastor of the Second Baptist Chruch of Houston, quoted in When God Was Taken Captive, W. Aldrich, Multnomah, 1989, p. 24

            How can we gain that perspective? By keeping our eyes focused on the Lord and learning to trust in Him for all things. Paul put it like this in Philippians 4:6-9, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

            We are to bring EVERYTHING to God in prayer because He can handle it, we can’t! When you let God know what is troubling you, when you let your requests be known to Him, it isn’t that He doesn’t already know what you need, what you are going through, but now you give Him permission to act upon them, to work in your life, to carry them for you. The result is His peace will fill your life, a peace in the midst of a storm or trial.  It is a peace that surpasses all understanding. How can that be? Because now God will guard your heart or emotions. He will guard your mind or your thoughts. Your focus will be upon God, you will fill yourself up with the things of God and the peace of God WILL be with you!

            Now, how is God going to respond to their prayers?  Is He going to wipe them out, destroy them for their lack of faith, for their murmuring and complaining?  Or will He have mercy upon them and extend to them His grace?  That is our next point!

3.  THE GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD – NUMBERS 20:7-8

            Notice the grace and mercy of God here. God had every right to destroy them for their lack of faith, for their murmuring and complaining, but He didn’t. He tells Moses to get the rod, gather the congregation together, and speak to the rock and out of it will flow the life-sustaining waters they needed! They didn’t deserve it, God just gave it to them as this story illustrates for us. We are told:

True story. Two pastors were on their way to Atlanta, Ga. for a large Christian men’s gathering. One of them had never been in the south before. After staying in a motel overnight, they stopped at a nearby restaurant for breakfast. When their meal was delivered, the pastor who had never been south before saw this white, mushy looking stuff on his plate. When the waitress came by again he asked her what it was. "Grits", she replied. "Ma'm I didn't order it and I'm not paying for it". "Sir, down here you don't order it and you don't pay for it, you just get it." How like the grace of God!

- Ray Raycroft

            Not exactly what God does for us, but you get the picture.  You see, grace is getting what we don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what we do deserve. We don’t deserve life, but God gives it to us through Jesus Christ – GRACE! We deserve death for our sins but God does not give it to us because of Jesus Christ – MERCY! Look at it like this:

A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death.

"But I don't ask for justice," the mother explained. "I plead for mercy." 

"But your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied. 

"Sir," the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for." 

"Well, then," the emperor said, "I will have mercy." And he spared the woman's son. 

- Luis Palau, Experiencing God's Forgiveness, Multnomah Press, 1984

            In that story we see mercy extended to the son, for he deserved death, but was spared. We also see grace extended to the son, for he was given life!  Our God is so gracious and merciful to us and His judgment does not come quickly.  He is patient and longsuffering with us just as He was with the children of Israel!

            The command of God that He gave to Moses is really simple. All Moses has to do is take the rod, go to the rock, make sure the children of Israel are gathered around so they can witness the power of God, and then just speak to the rock and water will come forth, enough to quench the thirst of some 2 to 3 million people plus their animals!  That was the plan, how would Moses respond to God’s instructions? How would this humble, prayerful man of God carry out the plan of God? That is out next point.

4.  THE UNGODLY RESPONSE – NUMBERS 20:9-11

            Moses started out good, obeying the Lord. He took the rod, he gathered the people together and then, what was building up inside him for maybe 40 years now overflows in is words and deeds! Yes, he had to take a lot from these people day in and day out. In fact, regarding this incident we are told in Psalm 106:32-33, They angered Him also at the waters of strife, So that it went ill with Moses on account of them; Because they rebelled against His Spirit, So that he spoke rashly with his lips.

            The poor guy was provoked. Can you imagine all the complaining, all the murmuring and now, after 40 years and on the boarder of the Promise land, this next generation is following in the footsteps of the last generation! It is so bad that Moses calls them rebels.

            Interestingly enough, when the Hebrews Scriptures were translated into Greek, the Septuagint, the Greek word they used for rebels was MOROS. Folks, we get our English word “moron” from that Greek word! In other words, as Moses is standing before all these people, representing God before them, he yells at them, “Hear now, you morons! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” That is not exactly what God had in mind! His words did not match who he was representing. He let his anger get the better of him!

            Not only that, but he now strikes the rock, not once, but twice! God told Moses to speak to the rock but he disobeyed and his deeds did not match who he was representing. Again, he let anger get the better of him. It is as this story illustrates for us. We are told:

A lady once came to Billy Sunday and tried to rationalize her angry outbursts. “There’s nothing wrong with losing my temper,”

She said. “I blow up, and then it’s all over.”

“So does a shotgun,” Sunday replied, “and look at the damage it leaves behind!”

Getting angry can sometimes be like leaping into a wonderfully responsive sports car, gunning the motor, taking off at high speed and then discovering the brakes are out of order.

- Maggie Scarg in New York Times Magazine

            You see, our words and our deeds should reflect the nature of Christ; the fruit of the Spirit should flow instead of the works of the flesh. John tells us in I John 3:18, My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.  In other words, don’t talk the talk, walk the walk!

There is another important point here and it is the picture that God was painting for us and Moses messed up. You see, Jesus was smitten once for our sins. Paul put it like this in Hebrews 10:10-12, By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.  And in I Peter 3:18 we are told, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.

Now we only need to speak to Him to receive those life-giving waters. In John 7:37-38 we see this as we are told, On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’  Thus, Paul tells us in Romans 10:8-10, But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Moses ruined the picture God was painting for us of Jesus, smitten once for our sins so that now all we must do is come to Him and speak to Him!

Also, not only did Moses not speak for God correctly. Not only did Moses not represent God in his actions. But he also let pride get a hold of his life and he looked down upon the people. In fact, he raises himself up with God, taking, in a sense, God’s glory, and God says that He will not share that with anyone! In verse 10 he said, Must we bring water for you out of this rock?  God calls Moses a humble man, but not here! But I hope you see the progression that is going on here and how that is not a good thing, it is a downward spiral!

It is easy to get mad at people for what they do, but how are we going to respond when that happens?  Listen carefully to this article that happened last week at a church in Michigan as homosexuals stormed the church. We are told:

Worshippers at a Bible-teaching church in Lansing, Mich., were stunned Sunday when members of a pro-homosexual, pro-anarchy organization named Bash Back interrupted their service to fling propaganda and condoms around the sanctuary, drape a profane banner from the balcony and feature two lesbians making out at the pulpit.

According to De Leeuw, "Prayer had just finished when men and women stood up in pockets across the congregation, on the main floor and in the balcony. "'Jesus was gay,' they shouted among other profanities and blasphemies as they rushed the stage. Some forced their way through rows of women and kids to try to hang a profane banner from the balcony while others began tossing fliers into the air. Two women made their way to the pulpit and began to kiss," he wrote.

            The report said Bash Back issued a statement today confirming it targeted Mount Hope, which has about 5,000 church participants, because it participates in "the repression of queers."

            "The leadership of Mount Hope Church does not attempt to identify the church as anti-homosexual, anti-choice, or right wing. The church does take the Bible at face value and believes what the Bible says to be the truth," Williams' statement continued.

"According to the Bible, Mount Hope Church believes homosexuality to be a sin, just as fornication, stealing, drunkenness, and lying are sins. No sin greater than the next. Mount Hope Church strives to follow Jesus' example of loving the sinner but not the sin while helping people change their lives for God's glory and their improved quality of life. Mount Hope Church also recognizes that to each person God grants freewill."

The church then offered help for people "caught up in unwanted sexual sin, drug abuse, and many other areas."

"The church's response? After things settled down, the blasphemy ended, the lewd props removed and the families safe from fear of additional men and women running into and past them the pastor took the stage and led the congregation in one more prayer ... not for retribution, or divine justice or a celestial comeuppance (that's what I'd have prayed for) but instead that the troubled individuals who'd just defiled the Lord's house, so full of anger and hate, would know Jesus' love in their lives and God's peace that exceeds human understanding," De Leeuw wrote.

- Bob Unruh, Lesbians, condoms go wild in attack on Christian church, November 11, 2008, WorldNetDaily

Paul, in Philippians 3:15-16 tells us, Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.  What mind is Paul speaking of? He is talking about the mind of Christ, but how do we know the mind of Christ so that we can then manifest it in our lives?

Paul tells us in I Corinthians 2:10-16, But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.

You see, God’s Word, opened up to us by His Spirit allows us to know the mind of Christ. That is the information and we must then take that information and apply it to our lives, we must walk by faith, trusting in God and with the help of God’s Spirit, as we surrender to Him, we can walk!

            Folks, it is easy to let people push our buttons; provoke us to anger, isn’t it! But that is a work of the flesh if we respond to the buttons they are pushing! We have the mind of Christ and we need to let love flow so people will see the love of God for them.  Moses didn’t do that. He lashed out at the people and misrepresented God. Is that such a big deal?  You bet it is and we will see that with our last point!

5.  THE REBUKE – NUMBERS 20:12-13

            Now we can argue about Moses being right or wrong in his actions and each side could make some pretty compelling arguments, but we don’t have to do that. You see, God said that Moses was wrong! In fact God says that because of their actions, Moses and Aaron, it showed that they did not believe in what God said and because of that, because of their actions, they made God unholy before the people, they misrepresented God!

            God wasn’t mad at the people, He showed them His grace and mercy and gave them water to drink! It was Moses who was mad at the people and because of that he misrepresented God in his words and deeds. In fact, God told Moses that he did not hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel. The Hebrew word for hallow is QADASH, (kaw-dash) and it can mean to defile, or purify, make holy. In other words, he was desecrating God; he was defiling God by his actions!

            Folks, by our actions we are telling people about the God we serve, what He is like. I like the way that G. Campbell Morgan wrote on this issue; it does put things into perspective for us. He wrote:

By this manifestation of anger, which as we have said was so very natural, the servant of God misrepresented God to the people. His failure was due to the fact that for the moment his faith failed to reach the highest level of activity. He still believed in God, and in His power: but he did not believe in Him to sanctify Him in the eyes of his people. The lesson is indeed a very searching one. Right things may be done in so wrong a way as to produce evil results. There is a hymn in which we may miss the deep meaning, if we are not thoughtful –

                        Lord, speak to me that I may speak

                        In living echoes of thy tone.

            That is far more than a prayer that we may be able to deliver the Lord’s message. It is rather that we may do so in His tone, with His temper. That is where Moses failed, and for this failure he was excluded from the Land.

- G. Campbell Morgan

May we represent God faithfully, giving Him the glory that is due, for if we don’t, as here with Moses, He will correct us and He will get His glory, God will be hallowed! Here’s the thing, do you want God to be hallowed through your obedience or his correction of you?

            Now for Moses and Aaron, there were consequences for their actions, for their misrepresentation of God. They will not be allowed into the Promise Land, after 40 years of leading the people!  That may seem harsh, but God holds leaders accountable for their actions as well as all believers!  Again, that may seem harsh but it truly is as Jesus said in Luke 12:48, But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.  With authority comes accountability!  James put it like this in James 3:1, My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.  God holds leaders, teachers, and pastors, those in a leadership positions, to a higher standard because they are representing Him before the people!

            Why did God judged Moses and Aaron and not the people? It is His grace and mercy and we may not understand it, but He does not only what is best, but what is right, what is perfect!  Listen to what James Packer wrote:

Ancient paganism thought of each god as bound to his worshippers by self-interest because he depended on their service and gifts for his welfare. Modern paganism has at the back of its mind a similar feeling that God is somehow obligated to love and help us, even though we don’t deserve it. This was the feeling voiced by the French freethinker who died muttering, “God will forgive—that’s his job.” But this feeling is not well founded. The God of the Bible does not depend on his human creatures for his well-being (see Ps. 50:8-13; Acts 17:25), nor, now that we have sinned, is he bound to show us favor. We can only claim from his justice—and justice, for us, means certain condemnation.

God does not owe it to anyone to stop justice from taking its course. He is not obligated to pity and pardon; if he does so it is an act done, as we say, “of his own free will,” and nobody forces his hand. “It depends not upon man’s will or exertion, but upon God’s mercy” (Rom. 9:16). Grace is free because it is self-originated and proceeds from the One who was free not to be gracious.

- James Packer, Your Father Loves You

            Yes, these are some tough lessons that God wants us to learn through the things we have read and seen this morning. Thus, as I close this morning we need to remember that trials, difficult times will come our way, not maybe, they will. Thus, it is how we respond to those situations. That is what God is interested in.  As with Moses, he brought it to God in prayer, that is where it needs to begin, but not end. As we pray, God will guide us and then we must put into practice what He is showing us. We are not to add to it or distort it in any way because as we do, we are then misrepresenting God. Our words and deeds will not be what God desires for our lives. And yes, God will hold us accountable for what we do.  May we share the love and light of Christ in a world that is hurting and in darkness. May we not misrepresent God in our words and deeds but manifest the character, the nature, the love of Jesus Christ in all that we do because we have the MIND OF CHRIST!

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