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God said to Moses, “I am who I am.

Exodus 3:14

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It took her by surprise–this identity crisis.

One day she knew who she was and the next lacked any sense of a cohesive selfOne day she walked purposefully…with direction; next there was only the feeling of wandering in the dark.  One day her faith blossomed–sharing its fragrance willingly with others; then it suddenly withered to a dingy, lifeless brown hovering somewhere between life and death.

The woman wondered how she would keep moving on when so much of today was caught up in the shattered dreams of the past.  She laughed at the absurdity of looking in the mirror and being unsure of the reflection…like an insecure teenager who hadn’t yet discovered what substance lay beneath the surface.  She wept at the tragedy of losing who she might have become to the early years of abuse.  She even shook her fist at the God who had grieved at the sight of a child’s soul being stripped of hope while her little form was stripped of modesty.  And…the woman missed God the most.

The identity crisis…a personal place of loneliness, trepidation, discovery.  The woman wanders in her spiritual desert–climbing a mountain of doubt and confusion.  She yearns to meet God there and thinks of Moses’.  He had been called by God to lead…to trust…to obey.  Moses’ response?  Who am I?  Moses was experiencing an identity crisis.

“I am who I Am.”  The Lord didn’t address Moses’ insecurities with platitudes or pep talks.  The focus wasn’t on Moses, but on God and what He would accomplish through his servant.  And the woman realizes that those are the words of truth to which she must cling.  “I am who I Am.”  And she keeps climbing.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+christian+songs+i+am&FORM=VIRE5#view=detail&mid=38AAD37AE046FD4DEED638AAD37AE046FD4DEED6

 

 

 

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Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;   

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray— I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;              

My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

We are shaped by the past–not defined by it.  Beholden to our memories–yet not held captive.  Molded by our experiences–but free to become more.

Consider Moses.  Born a slave, he was raised as a prince.  Then, in a moment of rage, he earned the unsavory title of a murderer.  Fleeing from his past, Moses hid in the desert and–in the most desolate of places–discovered God. That was the moment that changed everything in Moses’ life.  Instead of being embittered by life’s twists and turns or stymied by unforgiveness, guilt, or shame Moses was transformed.

He was no longer Moses the Prince nor Moses the Murderer.  Instead, he became Moses the Delivered.  As a man whose purpose had changed from one of self-preservation to one of God’s glorification, he began living afresh–sustained by his Lord, certain of his mission, and impassioned by the freedom found in Yahweh.

We, too, can share in that purpose and freedom–regardless of our past.  Despite hurtful memories or difficult situations.  We can become More than we are today–because of His redeeming power and matchless grace.  There is freedom in Christ, dear friend.

Scripture for Reflection

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,[a]
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed.”

Luke 4:18  (www.biblegateway.com)

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Philippians 1:4-6 “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

As a newlywed, were you surprised to discover you and your husband failed to share all of the same expectations?  Disappointed because he left the toilet seat up?  Startled to learn he was as much in need of the cross as you?  I was.

When we exchanged our vows, I hadn’t realized the number of expectations both David and I had of each other.  I knew my husband would lovingly tolerate mood swings, easily give up the majority of closet space, and avoid comparing my cooking to his mother’s.  In turn, he assumed I would recognize the value of his waxing the pickup every weekend, the importance of creases in Navy uniforms, and the necessity of always arriving 20 minutes early for church on Sunday mornings.

Our expectations weren’t wrong, but they were inaccurate.  Preparing for deployment is similar.  Planning ahead, while important and certain to ease some transitions, will not eliminate challenges each of you will face.

Moses had expectations, as well.  After fleeing Egypt, Moses built a life for himself in the desert of Midian.  He gave up privilege for wealth, started a family, and grew old.  Moses knew the routine.  He enjoyed life’s predictability.  He knew what to expect.  Until…God called him to the unexpected.

For over 400 years, the Israelites had suffered in Egypt.  In fact, they had been brutally enslaved.  Children were torn from their mother’s arms, old men felt the sting of the whip across their backs when age limited productivity, and starved young men could only beg for mercy at the cruel hands of their masters.  In despair, God’s people cried out for relief…hope…deliverance.

You may know the story.  God sent Moses–a man who had once been accustomed to the riches and pleasures of royalty and now lived the humble life of a shepherd—to rescue Israel.  But, what could God do with a bent old man—a recluse?  Even Moses doubted God’s wisdom.   “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”  (Exodus 3)

Despite his fears and insecurity, Moses remained faithful to God’s commands.  He asked to have an audience with the king of Egypt.  While it may seem surprising, Pharaoh granted the request—likely because he wanted a good laugh.  Think about it.  Pharaoh held the power of the world’s richest nation in his hands.  Commerce and trade were booming.  The military was unshakeable.  Wealth and education were hallmarks of the kingdom.  The ruler of Egypt had nothing to fear from a desert hermit.  Wouldn’t it be amusing to invite this unkempt, senile, stuttering fool to the foot of the throne?

So…Moses entered the glorious halls of the palace.  Unimpressed with the beauty around him, unafraid of the guards escorting him, and uninterested by those snickering in amusement at his blue-collar appearance, he approached Pharaoh and announced without hesitation, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says:  ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.”

Laughter filled the room as Pharaoh and his court heard Moses’ words.  Did this white-haired relic realize he was addressing the most influential man in the world?  Surely, this hermit realized his life was at stake?  Was he insane?

Locking his gaze on Egypt’s king, Moses waited for the noise to subside.  He doesn’t realize who You are, Lord.  He is his own God. What a fool!

Finally, the room grew quiet.  Pharaoh’s face hardened.  He had expected Moses to be a cowering old man tottering on the brink of sanity.  Instead, he recognized strength and determination in an enemy more than twice his age.  Unwilling to admit it to himself, the great king of Egypt knew the Hebrew God had set a plan in motion the moment Moses entered the gates of the royal courtyards.

Remember, friend, the One who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow can also use the unexpected in your life.  Yes, it will be difficult to give up comfortable routines.  You may yearn for the security of predictability.  At times, you might even feel as if you’ve been exiled to a foreign land—abandoned to a place apart from your husband or the life you had known.  Your expectations—for your life, your family, and your faith—will be altered and changed in amazing ways when you give them to God.

Suggested Scripture Reading

Psalm 93

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“I don’t understand, Lord!”  These words  have been part of my inner dialogue, prayers, and conversations for at least the last week–and, really, for almost a year–as my children have been impacted by all sorts of struggles.

There have been spiritual issues.  My parents are just old-fashioned and out of touch.  God gets that I want to live my life before I commit to Him.

There have been academic issues.  Mrs. Kennington, we just don’t see the growth we expected. 

There have been emotional issues.  Temper tantrums at HIS age?  Tsk!  Tsk! 

Through all of it, God has reminded me that He sees the beginning from the end.  He is sovereign.  He is merciful.  And how have I responded?  Sometimes with worry or depression.  Often with frustration and anger.  And, just this week–I admit I’ve even neglected the God who has always proven Himself faithful.

Why?  Because I have an attitude disorder.  When things don’t go my way or according to my plan, I begin to think something is wrong.  I pout.  I whine.  I shake my fist at God and question His wisdom.  Isn’t that foolish?  Unfortunately, it’s an inherited human trait–this “I Did It My Way” mantra–and, it always proves false.  Even faithful believers like Abraham (Genesis 16; 17), Lot (Genesis 19:23-26), and Moses (Numbers 20:1-12) occasionally developed this kind of “stinkin’ thinkin” and  it definitely didn’t work for them.  Why would I ever assume it’d be effective for me?

If you’ve ever taken a dim view of God’s work in your life or the lives of those you love, you understand what I’m talking about.

Praise God for His bountiful grace!  Because once again, I’m kneeling at His throne asking for humility…wisdom…perseverance…forgiveness.  If you, too, have an attitude disorder then I welcome you to join me.  There’s a lot of room at the foot of the King.

 

 

 

 

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