Journey to the Promise Land

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“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.”- Exodus 23:20

The children of Israel had been in bondage in Egypt for 430 years (Exodus 12:40-41; Galatians 3: 17) and the end of that period, the Lord God comes to deliver his people out of the land of Egypt, to fulfill the covenant he made to Abraham (Genesis 15: 18; 17:7-8). God revealed his plans for the children of Israel saying 1) I will bring you out from under the Egyptians 2) I will rid you out of bondage, 3) I will redeem you, 4) I will take you to me and be your God, 5) I will bring you in the land, 6) I will give it you for an heritage. (Exodus 6:6-8).

Then begins a forty year journey to the promise land. Why the long and arduous journey?  The Bible says in Exodus 13: 18 “But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness…” Why did the omnipotent God not take the Israel from Egypt into their promised land in an instant?  It’s called process. Relationships are formed and established through a process of knowing, and being known, so God’s purpose was to reveal Himself to the people with whom He had established his covenant.

Through their wilderness journey, the Israelites experienced:

 

  • God’s power: With great signs and wonders, God delivered His people out of the hands of Pharaoh.  Jeremiah wrote: “You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and with wonders, and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terror.” (Jeremiah 32:21)
  • God’s presence: The Lord guided his people by his presence in the form of a cloud (Exodus 13:21; 14:19; 16:10; 40:38)
  • God’s protection: In the wilderness they found God to be Jehovah Nissi ; He defeated the enemies of His people; first the Egyptians, then the Amalekites. “For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” (Deuteronomy 20:4).
  • God’s provision: With food, water, and clothing, God sustained the Israelites through their journey in the wilderness. “I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandal has not worn out on your foot.”- (Deuteronomy 29:5).
  • God’s purification: A Holy God chose for Himself a people called to be separate; “ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people… And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.”( Exodus 19:5-6). He commanded His people to obey his statutes and ordinances (Deuteronomy 4:1) .
  • God’s promise: God word which He spoke came to pass, and did not fail. ”So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.” (Joshua 21:43).

All the above points apply to each person’s journey with God. God promised to bring you to a place, and the process is designed to prepare you to take possession. So whenever you find yourself getting frustrated and impatient with the journey, and perhaps wondering why God has you going through certain situations, remember who goes with you. God is leading you, and He will not leave you, till He has fulfilled every Word He has spoken.

 

 

In Him

Aline Ehade

Sound of Heaven

sounds from heaven

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”Job 33:4

There’s a story about a violinist who come on stage one evening and after he drew the bow across his violin, produced the most glorious sound the audience had ever heard. The crowd gave him ovation after ovation but then violinist broke the violin into pieces. He calmly looked at the shocked audience and said: “Ladies and gentlemen, don’t be dismayed. This was only a three and a half dollar violin. It is not so much the violin that makes the music as it is the man who draws the bow.”
From the scriptures we know that musical instruments have a special place in God’s design of the world, both visible and invisible.  Since the first line of musicians in Genesis 4:21, God ordained the playing of instruments as one of the main forms of worship expressions for his chosen people. The triumphal return of Jesus Christ will be preceded by the sound of trumpets (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16;).

A new year means pressing the reset button, recommitting ourselves to a fresh walk with God, and presenting our bodies as a “living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1). Through the willful act of submission and yielding of ourselves to God, we become powerful instruments in the hands of the Master. Often times we want to write our own melodies and dictate our own tune, but the sound of God is only released through those who align themselves to the frequency of heaven. The sound of God is the heart of God and His will being released into a person’s life or situation. Just as different instruments differ in size, shape and sound, there’s a sound that is unique to you because the melodies were written by God as He fashioned you in the womb (Psalm 139:13).

It’s not about our abilities, gifts and talents; in the hands of the Master, a $3.50 violin can turn into a masterpiece. Every so often, instruments need to be tuned to improve the quality of the sound; this year,  let God release through you the Sound of heaven as you submit yourself to Him.

 

In Him,

Aline Ehade

God’s Masterpiece

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

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We’ve come to the end of another year, and you may be looking back, confused and perplexed at the events of your life. Perhaps it was the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the divorce, the devastating news from the doctor, the financial hardship, or the disappointments that left you questioning the purposes of God.  While we can’t always make sense of the things that happen, nothing about us takes God by surprise. Our lives are not a series of random happenings. God recorded in His Word the life of Job, to remind us of His sovereignty, and to instruct us to trust Him, even when we don’t understand.

God’s work in our lives is a progressive unfolding of His will and purpose.  For this reason, the tapestry is often used as the symbolism of the Christian life. The tapestry starts with a single thread, and progressively, more threads are added, some of different colors, to form the picture the Maker is weaving. We see the reverse side of the tapestry which looks like a messy mix of threads, but every once in a while, God gives us a glimpse of the front of the embroidery. How often have you wondered at a situation or experience, just for things to make sense later, sometimes, years down the line?

The Scriptures tell us we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus. One translation says “we are God’s masterpiece...” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT). Before  He formed you, God envisioned what your life would be. David wrote in Psalm 139:16 “…all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  Your birth, was the first thread in the tapestry of your life. Every joy, every sorrow, every heartache, every victory, every pain, every mountain and every valley experience, form the threads God masterfully weaves, to bring about your expected end.

So start out this New Year, being ok with not having all the answers, and when things  appear to be messy, trust that God is making something beautiful.

 

Happy New Year!

 

In Him,

Aline Ehade

Under good management

Under good management

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”-Luke 12:32

How would you define contentment? Is it having all your wants and needs satisfied, or do you see it as a state of being at peace regardless of the condition of things around you. The latter state is produced by gaining a 360, well rounded, biblical understanding of the work of Christ in the life of the believer.  Jesus states this in clear terms in John 10:10 “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” There’s a difference between overemphasizing the benefits of the Cross of Christ in our presentation of the Gospel, at the expense it’s central message, and apprehending the full measure of what It means to have been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 1: 3 tells us that God has “…blessed us with all spiritual blessings …”

We all like sheep, have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). We were helpless, weary and worn out like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). But with His blood, He purchased us, to bring us into an intimate, personal relationship with Him, as the sheep of His pasture under His special care and covering. We easily embrace God’s sacrifice for our salvation, but we struggle with grasping his concern and diligent commitment to our daily needs and well-being. Christ did not pay a high prize to make us His possession, to then abandon us to figure out life on our own. God is Jealous for His Name.  Philip Keller describes Him as “The Sheepman to whom no trouble is too great as He cares for His flock. He is the rancher who is outstanding because of His fondness for sheep…He is the owner who delights in…seeing His sheep contented, well fed, safe and flourishing under His care.”

Entrusting our lives to Christ’s control does not mean we are shielded from the hardships, frustrations, and stressors of life. But because we belong to the Father, we face trouble with the proper biblical perspective, with peace and confidence, knowing that God is watching and working things for our good. He is the Good Shepherd who did not spare Himself but laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16).

 

In Him,

Aline Ehade

 

I am sheep

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“Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3

Of all the animals he created, God chose to call us sheep, and in the process characterized himself as our Shepherd. “…I am the good shepherd…I lay down my life for the sheep.” –John 10:14-15. Short of having a real life experience tending sheep, (which I did seriously consider) we can understand the dynamics between sheep and Shepherd through the eyes of a sheepman. David as a shepherd uses this very imagery in Psalm 23, to speak of the benefits God’s children enjoy under His care.

  • His Proprietorship.

Just as sheep carry the seal of their shepherd, David opens Psalm 23 by identifying His owner. It makes all the difference who we belong to; “I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14). The Lord God is our Maker. He has set His seal of ownership over us (2 Corinthians 1:22). The psalmist marvels that His life is under the care of the Architect of the Universe, and the Creator of all things visible and invisible; he proudly proclaims “The Lord is my Shepherd.”!

  • His Provision

Sheep are helpless creatures that are utterly dependent on their shepherd for their daily sustenance and ultimately their survival. In his book “A shepherd looks at Psalm 23”, Philip Keller writes: “The Good Shepherd…delights in his flock…He will go to no end of trouble and labor to supply them with the finest grazing, the richest pasturage, ample winter feed and clean water.”. David said:  “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.” (Psalm 23:2)

  • His protection

Sheep are feeble, fearful and timid beings, with little to no self-defense, whose only recourse is to run when frightened.  The Good Shepherd watches over his flock by day and by night ready to protect them against predators. “The Lord is for me; I will not fear…” Psalm 118:6.

  • His Presence

When sheep are restless, agitated, aggravated, discontented, they cannot rest. Philip Keller explains: “nothing so quieted and reassured the sheep as to see me in the field. The presence of their master…put them at ease as nothing else could do…”

Society says take care of yourself, look out for yourself, and be in charge of yourself. So we live weary, restless and anxious lives. Provision has been made for us to experience security, peace, rest and the comfort God offers, when we come under His care, as the sheep of his pasture.

In Him,

Aline Ehade

Right focus

Storm

“Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”-Matthew 14:28-30

The disciples find themselves in yet another storm. During the first storm, Jesus is traveling with them (Matthew 8:23-27), but this time, the disciples are left facing the elements of nature alone. Peter had witnessed Jesus previously calm a storm and perform miracles after miracles. So when Jesus comes to them walking on water, Peter’s eyes are on Jesus, in spite of the storm. Peter steps out in faith, believing that at the command of the Lord, He can do the impossible. There’s a boldness that arises in us when we hear the voice of the Lord, whereby our confidence is rooted in the One who calls us. It reads in Acts 4:13 that “when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men… they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” The New Testament followers of Christ courageously preached the Gospel, in obedience of Jesus’ command to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel…” (Mark 15:16).

After the initial phase of stepping out in the power and the authority of Christ, comes the process of walking out your calling. Your ability to fulfill God’s intended purpose for your life will be determined by the direction of your focus. After you set sail, storms begin to crash against your boat; doubts from within, negative/critical voices from without, health, family or financial challenges, distractions and worldly lusts that pull your focus away from Christ.

The reason we find ourselves losing battles and sinking spiritually, is because we have taken our eyes off of Jesus;  we start rely on own abilities and resources, we turn to others for direction and validation, and we despair at the storms of life. Peter walked on water, but then he began to sink the moment his focus shifted.  Keeping your eyes turned to Jesus requires a conscious effort, day by day, but only then you will experience the supernatural power of God in your life.

 

In Him,

Aline Ehade