All the Reasons I Can’t

But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:13 NIV)

Since I surrendered my life in 2011, I have felt a call from the Lord to serve Him. If I’m being honest there were moments where I thought I should be a priest or a pastor before I even gave my life to Jesus. Long before I knew what it meant to be a true follower of Jesus I can remember one conversation that should have told me something was very wrong spiritually. I remember speaking to a group of co-workers one day in the breakroom of the business we worked at. After suggesting I thought I was being called to be a pastor, someone prodded: “don’t you have to be a Christian to be a pastor?”

Sometime later I finally found out why that conversation stung so deeply. The person who asked me that honest question saw something in me I didn’t see in myself. After surrendering my life to Jesus in September of 2011, I formed an online ministry called My Emanuel. Still active today and the precursor to Reborn Church, My Emanuel is an online ministry with the purpose of taking the Good News of Jesus to the world. Although I’ve felt called before I even truly knew the One who was calling me… I’ve always felt unqualified, unworthy, and unable to truly step into the calling God has placed on my life.

The last 10 years of my life have seen me submitting deeper into the call God has placed on my life. If I’m being honest, I continue to hold out fully surrendering to full time ministry. Today the very real thought hit me that there are four real obstacles holding me back:

  • I missed God’s will before, what if I am mistaking my desires for His?
  • I’m not qualified to be a pastor
  • I have a family to provide for (I can’t walk away from my secular job)
  • I’m scared

What about you today? Is God calling you to do something that you feel insecure, unqualified, unprepared, or scared of? In Exodus chapter 4 we see this same struggle play out. God’s chosen instrument of deliverance for His chosen people Israel was Moses. Moses might as well have been a million miles away from Egypt, living a life as a shepherd, far from his people or where God was calling him. When God showed up and called Moses to go to Egypt to be His voice before Pharaoh, Moses had reason after reason he couldn’t go and God should send someone else. Objection after objection revealed the truth: Moses could only see every reason he couldn’t go instead of the one reason he had to… it was God’s will for his life.

Today if you feel God calling, you may have a million reasons not to go. You may not be qualified and insecure not thinking you have what it takes. Instead, let us remember that God isn’t calling the qualified, He qualifies the called. (Colossians 1:12) All the degrees, certifications, experience, charisma, charm, and eloquence in the world don’t matter unless God is with you. In Exodus 4 we see over and over that Moses thought surely God had the wrong guy… but God went on to use Moses to become the first leader of the nation of Israel during the Exodus.

Today whatever excuses you have for resisting and running from the call of God, lay them at His feet. Surrender and trust Him even when you can’t see the end of the story. Trust Him to equip you, sustain you, and open the doors as you faithfully seek His call on your life. Lay ever fear and failure at His feet and call out: “not my will be done, but thy will be done”.

What is truth?

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)

What is truth? In the modern world this question has become less absolute and more subjective than ever before. Truth has been under assault as most grapple with their personal choices and not wanting anything (or anyone) to challenge them. Absolute truth has now been replaced with a scale of truth or the thought that what is true for you might not be true for me… but, is this way of thinking… true? Is it Biblical? Can we know truth? Does the Scripture have anything to say about this important topic? More than we might imagine.

If you are struggling with the concept of truth, you aren’t the first (and won’t be the last). In one insightful exchange the Roman governor of Judaea, Pilate, has a conversation with Jesus about this exact topic. “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. (Romans 18:38 NIV) Pilate did what so many others before him and after him do… he didn’t stick around long enough to get the answer. 

Sunday we explored Preparing for the Battle and putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17). If you missed the message you can catch up on our YouTube channel here. Today we are going to explore just one component of the full armor of God, the “belt of truth” (Ephesians 6:14). The Scripture challenges us to “stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist”. Before we can suit up… we have to answer the question: what is truth?

In the context of Pilate’s question, we can look back to the Scriptures to begin understanding “what” (or better yet, who) truth is: “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37 NIV) In this exchange Jesus begins to make a profound statement… truth is an indication of those who are “on the side of truth”. For those who reject truth, they also reject Jesus Christ.

Our focal verse for today is the simplest answer to the question. What is truth? Jesus is truth. Jesus Himself said it this way: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 NIV) Jesus Himself is the perfect manifestation of perfect truth. Apart from Him it is impossible for us to know, see, understand, or accept real truth. When we reject the Truth, we will never be able to live life the way God intended for us to.

Today this devotion is for those who have surrendered their life to Jesus. To you I remind you: truth is paramount. Truth is unchanging. What is true is always true or it was never true. The truth that we need to live, grow, and fight in the daily battles of life is God’s Word. Within the 66 God-breathed books of the Bible we see God’s perfect revelation for mankind. How we should live, work, interact with others, serve God, and everything we need to be “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 

Trying to live life as a follower of Jesus with “subjective truth” will leave us cold, hanging firmly in midair, with no foundation to fight from or grown from. We need truth. We need Jesus. What is true is always true for all people. Its time to get back to the Scriptures, to firmly buckle the belt of truth around our waists, and to filter every thought through the unchanging, unyielding, beautiful truth of our God.

When God Seems Late

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (2 Peter 3:8 NIV)

Has it ever felt like God showed up late or was absent when you needed Him? Confession… I’ve felt this way before. For some reason often we pretend like we don’t struggle with doubt and moments of weakness but I haven’t met a person yet who hasn’t in their life at some point.

As I’ve been reading through the Book of Exodus, the story of God’s miraculous deliverance of the nation of Israel from Egypt through His servant Moses, I’ve been captivated by the thought: God’s timing is not our timing. For hundreds of years the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob suffered in slavery and bondage in Egypt. For doubtless hundreds of years as they cried out to God in their despair it must have felt as if God had forgotten them.

Do you ever feel like that? Like “God where are you?” Does God ever feel distant, far away, or unconcerned with your life? The Hebrews found out exactly what you and I should never forget: God is never unconcerned with our suffering. In Exodus 3:7 we see God proclaim to Moses: I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. Today I want to remind you that even when God feels far away, distant, or unconcerned, none of those things could be further from the truth. 

As I read the historical records of the Exodus, I thought about another time where God “seemed late”. Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus and the brother of Martha and Mary (also dear friends of Jesus) was sick and dying. In the Scripture we see a very concerned Martha and Mary send word to Jesus: “the one whom you love is sick” (John 11:3). Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were loved by Jesus and Martha and Mary knew that Jesus had the power to heal their dying, desperately sick brother.

If you read the story in John 11:3-27 (which I strongly urge you to) you will see that God’s timing, plan, and purposes don’t always match our own. After receiving the urgent word of Lazarus’ pending death, Jesus waited… four agonizing, painful, heartbreaking days as Mary and Martha watched (powerlessly) their brother Lazarus die.

Just like God did with the national of Israel, Jesus did with Lazarus. Though God showed up 430 years after Israel expected Him and Jesus showed up 4 days after Martha and Mary expected Him… He was right on time. If you read the Exodus story and the story of Lazarus you are going to see the same conclusion… God is faithful. We can trust His timing. Even when Jesus is 4 days late… He is right on time.

So what’s the application for you and me? Don’t lose heart. Don’t give up. Continue trusting God even when His timing seems off. Trust His faithfulness. Continue to pray. Continue to seek His face. Continue to keep the faith.