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Post  Admin on Fri 20 May 2011, 8:31 pm

May 20, 2011
Shortcuts to Futility
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 6:2--29

So many times you and I miss the opportunity to watch the Lord work in mighty and miraculous ways. Why? Because instead of "standing still" and watching Him pull off our deliverance, we seek out the carnal alternative. We look for the back-door escape, a fleshly shortcut.
Notice how God handled His man, Moses. Without rebuke, the Lord gave Moses two pieces of counsel. One related to His person; the other related to His work. He told Moses who He was, and then He told him what He was going to do. And the order in the Lord's response is as important as the facts themselves.
Right off the top, He repeated the message from the burning bush, saying, "I am" five different times in Exodus chapter 6.
"I am the LORD . . . " (v. 2)
"I am the LORD . . . " (v. 6)
"I am the LORD . . . " (v. 7)
"I am the LORD . . . " (v. 8)
"I am the LORD . . . " (v. 29)
Time after time He punctuated His message to Moses by saying, "Look, Moses, your eyes are in the wrong place (again). Get your eyes back on Me (again). Remember who I am (again)."
Who is the Lord? Ask the prophet Isaiah. Troubled and sick at heart over the moral condition of his nation, Isaiah glanced toward the sky one day and "saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up" (Isaiah 6:1 NKJV). That's all he needed to see. He fixed his eyes on the Lord, and, suddenly, his whole perspective changed.
If you have been a believer for any length of time, you will have heard these words over and over. But that's all right; here they are again. Until your eyes are fixed on the Lord, you will not be able to endure those days that go from bad to worse.


Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright ©️ 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 19 May 2011, 1:07 pm

May 19, 2011
"Watch Me Work"
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 5:22--6:12
Moses felt as low as a slug's belly. Way down there. He still hadn't rid himself of the idea that he was supposed to be the deliverer, and that he was somehow failing. How many times had God explained it to him? Yet, like many of us, he had trouble keeping a grip on the Lord's assurances.
What was Moses to do now? The message was a rerun of the last one: "Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the sons of Israel go out of his land" (v. 11).
"Go to Pharaoh, Lord? My own people just bought me a one-way ticket caravan back to Midian, and You want me to go back to Pharaoh? R-r-r-e---m-m-m-em---ber m-m-me? I'm the guy who can't t-t-t-talk. Shoot, I'd mess up a rock fight, Lord. I can't get it together. I'm at the end of my rope. How in the world are You going to pull this off?"
Moses didn't know it at the moment, but he'd put before the Lord the best proposition yet. I'm at the end of my rope. How are you going to do it?
Before we go any further, I'd like to underline a major truth in this world of ours that I don't pretend to understand. Here it is: the best framework for the Lord God to do His most ideal work is when things are absolutely impossible and we feel totally unqualified to handle it. That's His favorite circumstance. Those are His ideal working conditions.
In spite of the Lord's assurances, things kept going from bad to worse for Moses. He'd already gotten the worst of it in a meeting with Pharaoh, and now, in a subsequent parley with the Israelites, he found himself fresh out of credibility. They would no longer listen to him.
Time after time, He brings us to our absolute end and then proves Himself faithful. That, my friend, is not only the story of my life, it's the story of the Bible in a nutshell.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 18 May 2011, 11:28 am

May 18, 2011
Misunderstood
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 4:29--6:2
A bad day just got worse! Moses couldn't believe it. Disappointment turned to disillusionment. Where had he gone wrong? He had taken God at His word, stood before Pharaoh, and repeated---almost word perfectly---what God had told him to say. He said the right words, at the right time, to the right person, spoken in the right way. And now the wheels seemed to be falling off the wagon. The very people he had longed to help (for over forty years) were now cursing him for increasing their hardships and anguish. "Why did you come, Moses? It was bad enough before you showed up. Now, our lives are in danger."
Being misunderstood hurts all the way to the bone. Maybe you've felt that sting recently. You did the right things in the right way but someone misjudged you, reading motives into your acts or words that you never intended. And now you live under that cloud, unable to change the minds of those who have turned against you.
Moses came before the Lord asking those two questions most of us ask when we find ourselves under intolerable pressure: Why? and How?
We begin by saying, "Why? Why me? Why now? Why this?" And then we ask, "How? How in the world am I going to get through this or out of that?"
As one who has also spoken those words numerous times in my life's journey, I find myself very encouraged by how the Lord responded to Moses. He didn't say, "Back off, Moses. You should be ashamed of yourself." I love it that the Lord never slaps you or shames you when you come to Him. He never pushes you away when you bring an aching, honest question that cries out for an answer.
Isn't that great of God? Instead of criticizing Moses for asking "Why?" the Lord says, "Just you wait, son. Pharaoh's been reading too many of his own press clippings. He thinks he's a god, but there is only one God, and he'll find that out soon enough. For a brief period it will seem to you that he's in charge. But don't kid yourself, Moses. I alone am the Lord."


Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Tue 17 May 2011, 12:02 pm

May 17, 2011
Soul Brothers
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 4:27--28
God knew Moses felt lonely in that moment. God knew His man needed some human companionship. Perhaps before Moses felt his first pang of loneliness, God was already moving to meet his need. Aaron was Moses' big brother, his senior by three years. And the Lord sought this brother out and said to him, "Aaron, go to Moses' side now. He's on a long, wilderness road, heading for Egypt. Your younger brother has been through some tough things. He needs a soul brother, right now."
Moses said, "Aaron, listen to this. You'll never believe it. There I was, out with the sheep one day, just like a thousand other days before. And all of a sudden---whoosh!---this bush caught fire, and it wouldn't stop burning. So I stopped and stared. And as I got closer---Aaron, listen to this, man---God was speaking from that bush! And here's what He told me."
If Aaron doubted a single word of the account, Scripture never mentions it. In fact, he was already prepared to believe every word Moses told him. Hadn't God called him out of Egypt to meet his younger brother in the desert? So Aaron listened, nodded his head, and said, "That's great, Moses. I'm with you, bro."
Do you have a closeness with your brother or a kindred spirit in your sister? Do you have a friend with whom you can face the realities of your life?

You may have lots of friendships in your life, but you'll probably never have more than a couple of friends on that deeper, spiritual, soul-to-soul level. You can tell such a friend anything that God is doing in your life, and you'll find a warm reception and deep affirmation. If you don't have such a friendship, tell God about your longing. He's the same God who moved Aaron's heart down in Egypt while Moses was walking alone on the desert road. And remember, the best way to find such a friend is to be such a friend.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 16 May 2011, 11:36 am

May 16, 2011
The Staff of God
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 4:21--23
God was saying to his servant, "Moses, you simply go before Pharaoh and deliver the goods. He won't like it. He won't want it. Just bear in mind that even his stubborn, hardened heart is not outside My will." In the following verse, the Lord gave Moses specific instructions of what to say when he rammed into that brick wall. "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD, "Israel is My son, My first-born. So I said to you, 'Let My son go, that he may serve Me'; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn" ' " (Exodus 4:22--23).
To put it into the vernacular, that was a gutsy message. You walk out of the desert into a new land, get an audience with the king, stand before him eyeball to eyeball, and say, "Pharaoh, God says to let His people go. But because you will refuse to do that, your own son will die."
Wow! What a tough thing to say. Yet, it was the Lord's own words. It was a good thing Moses had already settled the issue of obedience to his Lord back in Midian. Moses didn't argue; Scripture doesn't report so much as a flinch. Forty years in the wilderness had changed the man. He was ready to be God's mouthpiece, whatever the consequences. In fact, from that moment on, he seemed to have a quiet confidence in his dealings with the feisty Pharaoh. Knowing he was in the nucleus of God's will, he must have felt invincible.

We could call any work done in the will of God "the work of righteousness." And in doing that work, you will be surrounded by peace. Deep within you, in the very outworking of that service and that obedient walk, you will enjoy quietness and confidence. The original Hebrew term rendered "confidence" here might be better termed "security." The King James Version translates it "assurance."

In other words, there will be a quiet, secure confidence when you are walking in His will. There will be an invincible sense of inner assurance, gently and humbly accepted. Every believer in Jesus Christ longs to experience such assurance. It comes from being in the flowing current of His will. It envelops us when we do God's will, God's way.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sun 15 May 2011, 12:13 pm

May 14, 2011
Covering Home Base
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 4:18
Moses, you'll remember, approached his father-in-law Jethro and asked permission to return to Egypt. He certainly didn't tell Jethro everything at that point, but he let the man know there was something stirring in his heart. After years and years of virtual silence about his life and background back in Egypt, Moses said to Jethro, "It's time for me to go back. There's some unfinished business that needs attention."
When you have heard the voice of God calling you in a new direction---confirming that direction through His Word, through events, and through the wisdom of godly counselors---the result of that thought process needs to be communicated with your family. This is especially true if you are young. Why? Because your family has not had the benefit of the burning bush. You've heard God's voice; that's not true for them. They may not know or understand what God has said to you. They still feel like you should be going in a previously agreed-upon direction, and now you seem to be talking about a whole new set of plans. Those kinds of major course changes can seem upsetting, or even frightening, to those who care about you, especially parents. You need to be gracious enough to give them some helpful information on how God has changed your direction.
This exchange between these two men leads me to two principles worth considering. First of all, when God crystallizes a plan for your life, perhaps nudging you in a new direction, be extremely sensitive how you communicate that to others. Don't assume they know all you know about the process. Don't expect them to greet the idea with immediate acceptance and open arms. Give them the courtesy of time and space to think things through. Communicate your thoughts with tenderness, care, and understanding.
The second thing to notice is that this plan flowed. When you are in the center of God's will, my friend, it flows. It doesn't have to be forced. Moses said, "Jethro, may I go?" And Jethro replied, "Go in peace." Moses could move into what would prove to be a difficult ministry knowing things back home were just fine.
It is a very humbling experience to be moving in the direct current of God's will. But it can also bring fresh assurance.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sat 14 May 2011, 9:43 am

May 13, 2011

Leave of Absence
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 4:18
Verse 18 features a glimpse into Moses' humanity and God's patience. "Then Moses departed and returned to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, 'Please, let me go, that I may return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see if they are still alive.' And Jethro said to Moses, 'Go in peace.'"
Moses left just a few things out of that account, don't you think? Moses says, "Dad, I want to go see if any of my buddies down in Egypt are still alive. I've been at this forty years now. Do you mind if I take a little time off? You know, check out the pyramids, take a ride on the Nile, that kind of stuff."
And Jethro says, "Fine. Have a good time. Take off, son."
Somehow, Moses couldn't bring himself to say, "Uh, Jethro, there was this bush out in the desert, and there was this voice in the bush, and well, the upshot is I'm going to lead the whole nation of Israel in an Exodus out of slavery and deliver them to Canaan." He just couldn't say that. But God, in His grace, doesn't slap Moses' hand. He doesn't say, "Knock it off, Moses! Tell him the whole story." He lets Moses cover his departure with kind of a broad-brush, nebulous explanation.
Somehow, that touches my heart. God is full of grace. Moses was packing his bags for Egypt, and God let it go at that. All He asks of us is a willing heart. He doesn't expect perfection. He doesn't expect you to have all the answers, all the ability, or all the courage. He doesn't even require you to spell out each detail of His call. He just asks you to be available and take that first step of faith in the direction He's pointing.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 12 May 2011, 2:20 pm

May 12, 2011
Going It Alone
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 4:11--17
Do you know what God did? He accommodated Moses' desire. But the compromise was less than the best; brother Aaron proved to be an albatross around his neck. It was Aaron who got impatient while Moses was on the mountain and created a golden calf for the people to worship. It was he who told the people, "This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt" (Exodus 32:4).

As you read these words, you may sense God's nudge to step out on faith in a plan that seems risky at best. You don't have all the answers. You don't know the hows and whys and wherefores of what God has in mind. From a human point of view, the prospects look rather bleak. Do you know what our tendency is? It's to take someone with us. Somehow, that keeps us from having to put our full trust in the Lord's plan; we can lean on that gifted friend or companion we've brought along with us.
How many men have gone into a business partnership and lived to regret the day they chose that partner? How many women have engaged in pursuits with a companion they wish they had never asked to join them? God's call is a serious, individual matter. While I believe with all my heart in accountability, God's call does not lend itself to the buddy system or to group excursions. And before you bring any other individual along with you to fulfill that call, or before you join a team, you must make absolutely certain in your heart that each one has the same vision beating in his or her heart that you do.
If not, then take this advice, my friend: Go it alone. Follow God's voice without distraction.
God was finally willing to say to Moses, "All right, all right, have it your way. I'll send Aaron, too, but it isn't My best, Moses. The day will


Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 11 May 2011, 11:20 am

May 11, 2011
And the Answer Is . . .
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 4:1--10

"But Lord," Moses was saying, "I can't be Your spokesman in this situation. Why, I wouldn't have any answers when those guys started firing questions at me."

Before we consider the Lord's response, stop and think about that lame excuse for a moment. It has a familiar ring to it, doesn't it? It's a pretext mouthed by many believers today. "Lord, I can't do that, because I'll get in a verbal corner and won't know how to handle it. Somebody will ask me, 'What about the heathen in Africa?' or 'How did they fit dinosaurs into Noah's ark?' I'll get tongue-tied. I won't know what to say, and I'll appear ridiculous and foolish in the eyes of other people. No, I can't do that, Lord. You can see that, can't You? I just don't have all the answers."
Maybe you remember what it was like in high school or college to have a teacher or professor who stranded himself out on a logical limb. He found himself in the wrong, everyone knew it, and yet he stubbornly refused to admit it. What did you do? Chances are, you began to bear down on him, sawing off that flimsy limb with a set of sharp-toothed facts. Why did you do that? Because there is something inside of us that wants the other person simply to admit, "Yeah, I was wrong."
I have never lost respect for any individual who replied to a question with the answer, "I just don't know." On the other hand, I have lost a great deal of respect for those who knew they were wrong, and knew that I knew they were wrong, but could not bring themselves to admit it.
Direct question: Why do we feel we have to have all the answers at our fingertips? Straight answer: Pride. Pride says, "If I don't have a ready comeback, if I say 'I don't know,' they'll laugh at me." But that's not true at all. Intelligent, thoughtful people won't laugh; they will realize that no one has all the answers.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Tue 10 May 2011, 2:14 pm

May 10, 2011
Hard of Hearing
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 3:4--22
Moses had been resistant for forty years, telling himself all that time that his was a lost cause. Now, when God came with a direct, simple call, the old shepherd couldn't handle it. In fact, he wouldn't let himself believe he might still be useful to God. "Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt" (Exodus 3:10).
Now that wasn't complicated, was it? The Lord spoke in a tongue Moses could understand. He gave him a simple, two-fold command. First, He said to Moses, "I will send you." And second, "You will bring My people out." That was the plan.
Notice, please, that this was not a multiple choice arrangement. It wasn't even an invitation. It was a call. God does not speak and ask our advice regarding His plan. God makes declarations. He doesn't open up the scene for a rap session or a dialogue. He doesn't call in a blue-ribbon panel of consultants to suggest viable options. He speaks, and that is that.
At very unique junctures of our lives, God says to us, "Now, My child, I have this in mind for you. I know that you have knotted things up in the past. And I know that you may knot things up in the future. But as far as today, right now, this is My plan for you. Now go. I'm sending you, and I will be with you."
God told him that he would be an instrument in the deliverance, but God Himself would be the deliverer. Huge difference. In God's calling, He has a plan; but He never expects you to carry out that plan. He's going to pull it off. He simply wants you to be the instrument of action. After all, it is His reputation that's at stake, not yours. All He asks is that you give yourself to Him as a tool He can pick up and use. That's all.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 09 May 2011, 11:40 am

May 9, 2011
Flammable Bushes
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 3:4--10

What was God's larger message to Moses in that moment? Release your imagination for a few moments. It might have included some thoughts such as these: "Moses, forty years ago you were a fine looking bush, impressed with all your own foliage. You had long, strong branches and lush, green leaves. But when your bush started burning, it was gone in less than forty-eight hours. Your grand scheme went up in flames, charring your dreams and consuming your ambitions along with it. There was nothing left, was there? That was your life, Moses. And then you ran like a scared rabbit across the border to get away from the Egyptian lynch mob.
"You thought you were a choice, top-quality bush before that happened, and now you don't think you're worth much at all. Listen, man, any bush will do as long as I, the great God of all grace, am in the bush! I want to use you, Moses. Stand still, and let Me set you on fire!"
What does it take to qualify as a bush that God will use? You have to be dried up and thorny. Okay, I qualify. You have to be dusty and dirty. All right, I'm there. You've got to be ordinary. Right. That's me all over. What else, Lord?
You have to be burnable. God is looking for flammable bushes. There are some good-looking bushes and shrubs out there in Christendom that won't burn at all. They're made out of asbestos. You couldn't set 'em on fire with a welding torch. Napalm wouldn't even do the job. These are beautiful replicas of beautiful plants, but they won't burn. Which means they are of no use to God.

The truth is, any old bush will do as long as God is in the bush. That's what He was saying to Moses. "I want you to burn for Me as no man has burned before. You've been dried out and well-seasoned in this howling wasteland through these years. I wanted you dried out! And I have pruned away from you all those things you used to hang on to and that meant so much to you. I have reduced you to a simple love for Me. That's all you have to offer now, Moses, and that is all I want."


Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sun 08 May 2011, 10:08 am

May 6, 2011
A Major in Discomfort
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 3:1; Acts 7:29--30
Notice carefully how the process took place through those years of desert learning, because it is the same with you and me. God must break through several hard, exterior barriers in our lives before He can renovate our souls. His persistent goal is to break through to the inner person. As David acknowledged, "Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom" (Psalm 51:6).
What are those resistant layers in our hearts, and how does He break through to that hidden part? First, He finds pride. And He uses the sandpaper of obscurity to remove it ever so gradually.

Then He finds us gripped by fear---dread of our past, anxiety over our present, and terror over what may lie ahead---and He uses the passing of time to remove that fear. We learn that things aren't out of hand at all; they're in His hand.
He next encounters the barrier of resentment---the tyranny of bitterness. He breaks down that layer with solitude. In the silence of His presence, we gain a fresh perspective, gradually release our cherished rights, and let go of the expectations that held us hostage.
Finally, He gets down to the basic habits of living, he penetrates our inner person, and there He brings discomfort and hardship to buff away that last layer of resistance. Why? So that He might renovate us at the very core of our being.
Reach for the hand of your Guide! He is Lord of the desert. Make that your desert. The most precious object of God's love is His child in the desert. If it were possible, you mean more to Him during this time than at any other time. You are as the pupil of His eye. You are His beloved student taking his toughest courses. While testing you, He loves you with an infinite amount of love.
Jesus walked through the desert first. He felt its heat. He endured its loneliness. He accepted its obscurity. He faced down Satan himself while the desert winds howled. And you can be sure He will never, ever forget or forsake the one who follows Him across the sand.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

May 7, 2011
An Ordinary Day
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 3:1--3
This was the day when God decided to break a forty-year silence. Pause and let that sink in! Through four decades in Midian, we have no record of God's speaking to Moses. Not even once. The day that was going to shatter that silence, however, dawned like every other day in the wilderness. The night before, as he was sleeping out under those bright desert stars with his flock, perhaps under the looming shoulder of Sinai, he saw no meteor flash across the sky. He heard no voice. No angel tapped him on the shoulder at breakfast that morning and said, "Pay attention, Moses. God speaks today."

There were no hints, no premonitions, no special signs to alert him to the fact that God Himself would break the silence that day and change his life forever. It was just your common, ordinary, garden-variety day-shift with the sheep. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else.
That is the way God works. Without a hint of warning, He speaks to ordinary people on ordinary days. In other words, it will happen on an ordinary day. People will be getting married and buried. There will be problems, and there will be needs. Some people will be driving buses, others will be riding in them. Some will be on the way home from work, tuned in to talk radio. Others will be in the checkout line at the grocery store, impatiently wondering why the person ahead of them is taking so long to write that check. Some will be boarding an airplane, others stepping out of a subway.
And suddenly, the Son will come! There will be a flash in the sky, a shout, the staccato blast of a trumpet, and in the twinkling of an eye, it will be over. There will be no previous warning.
Don't look for some brilliant aura to come over you early in the morning, and a booming angelic voice announcing, "This is the day!" If that happened, you might pull the covers over your head and never get out of bed.
God works by simply stepping into an ordinary day of life and saying what He wants to say. It's a meat-and-potatoes kind of proposition. Here's what needs doing, and you're the person who's going to do it, so get after it!

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 06 May 2011, 2:22 pm

Insight For Living~ Charles R Swindoll - Page 19 PixelServer?j=lie-pmrrysImp6ITA1Uu1Q. May 5, 2011
A Major in Obscurity
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 3:1
The desert is a place of obscurity. Moses had to cope with being a nobody. All his adolescent and adult life, he had been a big-time somebody. The spotlight followed his every move, much as the contemporary spotlight follows Britain's Prince William and Prince Harry. Every time Moses stood, people looked up expectantly. Every time he addressed them, people stopped talking and listened. Every time he strolled through the streets, heads turned.
Sheep don't do that. You can say whatever you want, you can turn backflips while reciting poetry, and the flock won't be impressed at all. They'll go right on feeding their faces. As much as you and I may appreciate wool sweaters and wool socks, sheep are basically unintelligent and unresponsive animals. And Moses had the pleasure of their company for four long decades of his life.
Perhaps you identify with this situation. As you read, you're nodding your head. You are taking some course work in obscurity yourself; you find yourself struggling every day with the limitations you've had to endure. You have been forced by the very nature of the desert to give up many of the privileges, perks, and activities you once enjoyed and held most dear. Now you're "just getting by," subsisting on the absolute basics of life. That is God's plan, my friend. And if you would graduate from His school of the desert, you must take classes in obscurity; it is the first required course of the school.
Amy Carmichael, one of my favorite poets, wrote these words:
Before the winds that blow do cease,
Teach me to dwell within Thy calm:
Before the pain has passed in peace,
Give me, my God, to sing a psalm.
Let me not lose the chance to prove
The fullness of enabling love.
Oh, love of God, do this for me:
Maintain a constant victory.¹
Here is the unvarnished truth: If you don't learn to live peacefully with obscurity, you will repeat that course until you do. You cannot skip this one and still graduate.

1. Amy Carmichael, from Rose from Brier (Fort Washington, Penn.: CLC Publications, 1973), 12. Used by permission.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 05 May 2011, 9:54 am

May 4, 2011
Through It All
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 2:15--25
You'd better believe that Moses, though tucked away in a corner of that wasteland, heard the latest news from the travelers in caravans making their way up from Egypt through the Midian desert. When Moses learned the Hebrews were crying out, his heart must have turned over within him. But unlike before, he rested and relied upon God. He didn't try to organize a rescue party. He didn't slip back into Egypt as an assassin or saboteur. Not him! He'd learned that lesson.
Do you know who it is who keeps erecting all those unrealistic standards in your life? Do you know who keeps raising the bar beyond all hope of clearing it?
It's you. You do. And so do I. Our Heavenly Father doesn't. The psalmist tells us, "He knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust." We think we're finished because of our failures, but God says, "No, you're just getting started. Press on!"
Our problem isn't that we've failed. Our problem is that we haven't failed enough. We haven't been brought low enough to learn what God wants us to learn. We're still trying to redeem Egypt single-handedly.
So what are you trying to prove? Who are you trying to impress? Why don't you step off that treadmill and just be yourself? Plead with the Spirit of God to prepare you, then use you, however He pleases, dark side and all. You'll be amazed how that takes the pressure off.
This very moment, you and I are the recipients of a gift from One who loves us just the way we are: warts, cracks, failures, and all. Since it is a gift, you might as well open your hands and receive it. Look, there---that's your name on the tag, just underneath the ribbon.
The gift is called grace.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 04 May 2011, 5:33 pm

May 3, 2011

Living in Obscurity
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:16--25

Pay close attention to that last sentence. "Moses was willing to dwell with the man." How good that is. Here is a man he had never met; an obscure desert priest and shepherd, who had spent a lifetime raising sheep (and daughters!) in the desolate patch of land known as Midian. "And he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses. Then she gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, "I have been a sojourner in a foreign land" (vv. 21--22).

Moses, who would have been in line to marry an exotic Cleopatra-type beauty back in Egypt, settled down with a shepherdess. And when she gave birth to their firstborn, Moses gave him an unusual name: Gershom. It means "a sojourner." That's what Moses had become---a sojourner in a distant land, forgotten and obscure. He came into Midian not knowing anyone, not knowing the ropes, not even knowing where he was going to live. But when Jethro said, "Young man, would you like to live with us?" Moses replied, "Yes, I would. I'll live anywhere."

Let me ask you directly: Are you willing to be obscure? A servant's mindset will teach you what that attitude is all about. To put it in simple terms, in the Body of Christ some people are called to be the toes. Not everyone can be a right hand, an eye, or an ear. Some people have to be the toe, or the heel, or the kidney, or the liver. These members are (hopefully) seldom seen. But just let one of them stop functioning for awhile and watch out! The whole body is in trouble.

Moses was willing to be obscure, to dwell apart from the limelight, to accept his new status. I ask again: Are you? God will use failure in your life to break down that strong desire in your heart to see your name in lights. And when he finally breaks you of that lust for recognition, He may place you before the lights like you could never have imagined. But then it won't matter. You won't care if you're prime time or small time, center stage or backstage, leading the charge or cooking the food. You're just part of the King's army. People of selfless dedication are mainly available. That's plenty!



Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Tue 03 May 2011, 12:29 pm

May 2, 2011

Selfless Dedication
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:15--25

Moses, the Prince of Egypt, alias Prince Charming, watering animals? Why? Because Moses had just choked down the biggest wedge of humble pie you can imagine. By now, the man was ready to do anything. Isn't it interesting, though, that in this incident Moses was allowed to be a deliverer on an immensely smaller scale? Earlier, he had thought he was going to deliver a nation. He had grand dreams and mighty schemes. But this time God said, "You want a job as deliverer? Then stand up and do it, son. Start here. There are seven women here in Midian who need a champion at this moment."

Moses could have shrugged it off. He could have said, "Aw forget it. I'm out of the delivery business. Let someone else do the job." But he didn't. It was here Moses took his first steps in becoming a man of selfless dedication. The young women would later tell their father, "An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock" (v 19).

That thought moves me. If you can't do the good you would, do the good you can. You may have had big-time plans in your life---major league dreams that haven't panned out. You were going to write a best-selling book, but the opportunities just haven't come along. Are you willing to write for your church newsletter?

Maybe you wanted to teach in seminary or Bible school, but the pressures of life forced you in a different direction. Are you willing to teach a fourth-grade Sunday school class? Are you up for leading a small group Bible study? Is it really the teaching that draws your heart, or is it the prestige that goes along with the position?

Failure, you see, teaches us a servant's attitude. And what does a servant do? He does "the next task." She does what is available and ready for her to do. Those without such an attitude resist getting their hands dirty. They never want to get involved in the messy part of working with people. They always want the polished part, the popular part. But the tough stuff behind the scenes? Well, give that to someone else.

God, however, will use our failures and setbacks to cultivate within us a servant's heart. That's step one. It's all part of the process.




Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 02 May 2011, 8:47 am

April 30, 2011

Shrink-Wrapped Salvation
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:15--25

Moses took a forty-story fall. As we pick up the biblical account, he's a heavy-hearted, bruised-and-battered soul who has come to a sudden stop at the bottom. In a matter of mere days, he has stepped off the top of the pyramid as Pharaoh-designate and down to a bedraggled, penniless fugitive on the backside of Zipville.

Living as we do in a product-oriented culture, we like to package our faith too. We prefer to sell a slick, shrink-wrapped version of salvation that includes prosperity and peace, endless happiness here and now, and heaven by and by. While there is nothing wrong with teaching principles that can result in genuine, God-given success, there is something wrong if we neglect to mention the process, which must inevitably include times of defeat and failure.

I wouldn't have to go back very far on my calendar to revisit a week where I missed the mark---missed the whole target---more than I hit close to the bull's eye. And I don't have to be a prophet to proclaim that you have experienced the same. Of course you have. You may be having such a week even as you read these words.

What I'd like to know is who erected such a happily-ever-after standard of perfection in the first place? God knows very well we aren't able to produce perfection; that's why Jesus, the perfect Son of God, graciously died in our place. That's why He gave us a position of perfect righteousness in Him, reminding us by contrast that our own daily experience will constantly fall short.

If you're waiting for a seamless, blemish-free week, friend, you're going to wait in vain. There is no such thing. And until we learn how to derive lessons from seasons of failure and loss, we will keep repeating those failures---digging ourselves into an ever deeper hole---rather than moving on as we grow up.

What you and I need is the reminder of the process that leads to times of victory and success. Then, with memories of those golden moments shining in our minds, we'll learn how to avoid some of those valleys, or how to climb out of them more quickly. That process, I believe, is every bit as important as the product.




Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sat 30 Apr 2011, 11:09 am

April 28, 2011
Bumps in the Road
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 2:11--15
First surprise. Next confusion, followed by fear, like icy fingers around the heart. When Moses' well-kept secret hit the prime-time networks, he got the shakes. And acting on fear, the biblical account states that "he fled from the presence of Pharaoh." Why did he run? Verse 15 tells us, "Pharaoh tried to kill Moses." Now that Moses had tipped his hand and shown his true loyalties, Pharaoh couldn't stomach having such a threat around. In the king's eyes, a disloyal and out-of-control prince was better off dead. What awful repercussions grew out of Moses' ill-considered action.
It is very possible that you, too, have been forced to deal with such consequences. Your track record may reflect a pattern of great ambition but little knowledge. Great desire but little discernment. Great aspirations but little humility. Great zeal but little wisdom. And so you have to run the rabbit trails right to the bitter dead-ends, one after another. You've run faster each time, but never succeeded. None has taken you where you wanted to go. And if the truth were known, your impulsive actions have resulted in an unbearable situation.

In my book, there's only one thing worse than being at the end of a self-directed life, and that's being in the middle of one.
You say, "Well, I'm in my thirties, I ought to know better than that." Moses was forty.
You say, "Hey, I'm no novice! I've got education and training like you wouldn't believe!" Better than Moses? Remember, by this time in his career, he was "educated in all the learning of the Egyptians."

Our impressive resumé is part of the problem. Sometimes we're educated beyond our own intelligence. We know more than we're safe to handle! The truth is, when you rely on the flesh to get a job done, you don't need more schooling. You don't need another degree. You don't need more training seminars. Plain and simple, you need wisdom. So do I. So do all of God's people.
But discerning wisdom takes time. It takes some major bumps in the road. It takes enduring some failures and swallowing big and bitter doses of humility. Welcome to reality.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
-----
April 29, 2011
Sit Down!
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 2:11--15
Moses was a frightened and disillusioned fugitive running, escaping for his very life. His vaunted education now meant nothing to him. His knowledge of hieroglyphics and Egyptian culture gave him no comfort. His military victories seemed hollow. Thanks to his rash act of violence, that same military wanted to kill him. And with every step, he probably groaned within himself over his untimely deed, saying things like, "Life is over. God can never, never use me. I'm absolutely finished."
Maybe that's where you are today as you read these words. This man Moses lived thousands of years ago, but the situation I've just described may seem as contemporary to you as today's stale bread in your kitchen. You say, "I've worked so hard. Tried so many things. Pushed myself so relentlessly. But it's gotten me nowhere. Nothing has worked for me. It's curtains."
Believe it or not, you may be closer than ever in your life to a spiritual breakthrough. You won't quit running in the flesh until you get to the endless, waterless sand dunes. When you finally get there, when you finally stumble to a stop in the pitiful shade of some sun-scorched rock, you will be saying to yourself, "Will God ever, ever use me?" And there you'll sit.
When the self-life finally sits down, the well of a new life lies near. When will we ever learn that? Highly qualified, capable people prefer to be on the move; sitting down goes against the grain. Yet when that broken forty-year-old named Moses finally slumped to the ground at the end of a self-driven life, fresh, cool drinking water was available right next to him.
Sit down. That's right, my friend, sit down!
You have run far enough. You have pushed long enough. You have fought, demanded, and manipulated your way for too many years. God has finally grabbed your attention. He is saying, "Quit! Stop! Let Me handle it! Sit there on the hot sands of the desert where you have brought yourself. Look at what lies next to you. It is a well, full of fresh water." Soon it will be God's delight to bring up the bucket and refresh your soul. Sit still. Stay there. Be quiet. Listen.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 28 Apr 2011, 11:49 am

April 27, 2011
Heat but No Light
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 2:11--14; Acts 7:20--29

Moses believed he was to be the deliverer, many years before he received his recommission at the burning bush. He assumed everyone else would realize it too.
The passage goes on to tell us, "On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting" (Acts 7:26).
Now why did he go back to the scene of the crime? I think he returned to carry out his plan. He'd proved his loyalty to the Hebrews by striking down an Egyptian official. That was Plan A. Now for Plan B. He would return to the scene of his action and rally the troops. But they didn't listen to his counsel. In fact, they didn't respect him at all. "But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and judge over us?'" (Acts 7:27).
How those words must have stung a man who had just risked everything.
It's a pretty simple plan, isn't it? A meat-and-potatoes sort of proposition. If you're a spiritual leader, spiritual people will follow you. That's true of any leader. If you've got the goods, people follow. But they didn't follow Moses. At that point, the prince of Egypt led a lonely one-man parade. The bills of the flesh are now coming due.
Let's level with each other. Have you ever experienced something like that? Most of us have been there. You get all ready to pull off something big for God. You set goals. You spend time and money. You tell a bunch of people. But as painful as it may be for us to admit it, goals not bathed in prayer or brought before the Lord in humility turn out to be downright useless. They don't go anywhere. They don't accomplish anything. They generate heat but no light. And you're left with confusion and defeat.

Bottom line: If you are moving in the energy of the flesh, your efforts are doomed to fail. But when you trust the Lord God to give you the next step, when you wait in humility upon Him, He will open the doors or close them, and you'll get to rest and relax until He says, "Go."

April 26, 2011
Let's Move On
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 2:11--14
According to Exodus 2:12, Moses hid the body of the slain Egyptian. But by the next day, it was all over the papers. They found the Egyptian. Five inches of loose sand hid nothing.
Hiding wrong, Moses now had to admit, does nothing to erase wrong. And I am convinced that from that moment on Moses determined never to hide anything again. He would be transparent. He would speak his heart, regardless of the risks of vulnerability. He would no longer hide.
Sometime in my ministry, I am going to gather up enough courage to have a testimony time where the only thing we'll share is our failures. Wouldn't that be different? Ever been to a testimony meeting where everybody else seemed to be on Cloud 39, and you were in Tunnel Number 7? One after another is talking about soaring in the heavenlies, while you're counting gum wrappers in the gutter. Why don't we visit the other side? Why not hand the microphone around and say, "When was the last time you took a nosedive? Can you share with others what it was like to experience a major disappointment?"
Far from being a downer, I've got a hunch that might prove to be a major encouragement to a group of people who feel all alone in their struggles. So many of us feel as though we have to hide our failures, believing no one else could have possibly failed as we have. Some are even afraid to tell God about it, fearing He might be as put off as we imagine others will be.
But He isn't like that at all, is He? When we take a tumble and cry out to Him in our shame and our distress, the psalmist says He "inclines His ear" to us. He bends over to listen. We say "Oh, Father, I've failed! I've failed terribly. Look at what I've done!" It is then He puts His arms around us, just as a loving earthly father would do. He then says, "I accept you just as you are. I agree that what you have done was wrong, as you've confessed it to Me. Now, My son, My daughter, let's move on."

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 25 Apr 2011, 1:03 pm

God Gets It Done
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 2:11--14
Moses looked this way, and he looked that way. Isn't it interesting? He didn't look up, did he? He looked in both directions horizontally, but he ignored the vertical. And what did he do with the results of his murderous anger? Scripture says "he hid the Egyptian in the sand."

Invariably, when you act in the flesh, you have something to cover up. You have to bury your motive. You have to hide a contact you made to manipulate the plan. You have to conceal a lie or half-truth. You have to backtrack on a boast. You have to cover up the evidence your fleshly procedure created. It's just a matter of time before truth catches up with you. The sand always yields its secrets.
This is a good time to emphasize that the capable and gifted are also cursed with vulnerability. The highly qualified live on the cutting edge of the enemy's subtle attack---the very adversary who prods you to act in the flesh, to do the right thing at the wrong time. And how does he operate? Most of us know the drill.
You find yourself moved by a sense of need. You utter a foolish vow, like Jepthah, and live to regret it for the rest of your days. You hurry the process along, as Abram and Sarai did, and later find yourself with an Ishmael on your hands, mocking the child of promise.
Neglecting to ask God's counsel, neglecting to seek God's timing, you step in to handle things prematurely. And by and by, you've got a mess on your hands. You're stuck with a corpse, with a shovel in your hands and a shallow grave at your feet.
You know the odd thing about it all? Most of us aren't very clever at cover-ups anyway. It amazes me that Moses couldn't even bury an Egyptian right. Makes me wonder if he left the guy's toes sticking out of the sand. He failed simply to cover up the corpse.
But what about years and years later, when God took charge and Moses acted according to His timing? Was God able to cover up the Egyptians? God buried their entire army under the Red Sea---horses, weapons, chariots, and all! When God's in it, the job gets done. With the Lord in charge, failure flees.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Sat 23 Apr 2011, 11:55 am


Our Ultimate Hooray, Part Two
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read 1 Corinthians 15:19--22

Just imagine . . . those who are physically disabled today will one day dance in beautiful coordination and leap in ecstatic joy. Those who spend their lives absorbed in total darkness will see every color in the spectrum of light. In fact, the first face they will see will be of the One who gives them sight. And those precious souls whose minds and emotions are limited by mental disability, disease, or old age will enjoy to the full unhindered and uninhibited relationships. It's enough to put a smile on any weary face. There's nothing like the hope of resurrection to lift the agonizing spirits of the heavyhearted.

Unless, of course, it's all a cruel hoax.

That's Paul's whole point in 1 Corinthians 15:19. Remember how he put it? If bodily resurrection is only an empty dream, then "we are of all men most to be pitied." All our preaching has a hollow ring to it, our faith is worthless, the dead have perished, and we are still under the condemnation of our sins (15:14, 16, 18). What a deplorable state of affairs! It's enough to make all of us run and hide!

But wait. That hypothetical argument hinges on a conditional presupposition . . . if. "If there is no resurrection of the dead" (15:13), then we're out to lunch. But there is a resurrection with all its promised hopes. It is as sure as we're alive at this moment.

How can we be so certain that we will be resurrected? What is the source of our assurance? What gives us unshakable confidence in the face of death? The fact of Christ's resurrection.

Because He has been raised, we too shall rise. As Paul stated in that same section of Scripture, "Christ [is] the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming" (15:23). That's us! Jesus Himself promised, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies" (John 11:25).

No wonder we get so excited every Easter! No wonder we hold nothing back as we celebrate His miraculous resurrection from the grave! It's a double-barreled celebration: His triumphant hurrah over agony and our ultimate and eternal hooray.



Copyright © 2007, 2011 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Fri 22 Apr 2011, 4:57 pm

April 22, 2011

Our Ultimate Hooray, Part One
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Revelation 21:4; 22:3, 5

What gives a widow courage as she stands beside a fresh grave?

What is the ultimate hope of the disabled, the amputee, the abused, the burn victim?

How can the parents of children who have brain damage or physical handicaps keep from living their entire lives totally and completely depressed?

Why would anyone who is blind or deaf or paralyzed be encouraged when he or she thinks of the life beyond?

How can we see past the martyrdom of some helpless hostage or devoted missionary?

Where do the thoughts of a young couple go when they finally recover from the grief of losing their baby?

When a family receives the tragic news that a little daughter was found dead or their dad was killed in a plane crash or a son overdosed on drugs, what single truth becomes their whole focus?

What is the final answer to pain, mourning, senility, insanity, terminal diseases, sudden calamities, and fatal accidents?

The answer to each of these questions is the same: the hope of bodily resurrection.

We draw strength from this single truth almost every day of our lives---more than we realize. It becomes the mental glue that holds our otherwise shattered thoughts together. Impossible though it may be for us to understand the details of how God is going to pull it off, we hang our hopes on fragile, threadlike thoughts that say, "Someday, He will make it right" and "Thank God, all this will change" and "When we're with Him, we shall be like Him."

More than a few times a year I look into red, swollen eyes and remind the despairing and the grieving that "there's a land that is fairer than day"1 when, as John promised in the Revelation,

"He will wipe away every tear . . . there will no longer be any death . . . any mourning, or crying, or pain." . . . There will no longer be any curse . . . any night . . . because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. (21:4; 22:3, 5)

Hooray for such wondrous hope!



1. Sanford F. Bennett and Joseph P. Webster, “Sweet By and By.”

Copyright © 2007, 2011 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.



April 21, 2011
God's Timing
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:11--14

I'm convinced Moses was doing more than grandstanding. I believe he was absolutely sincere. He didn't see himself murdering a cruel slave driver as much as courageously striking a blow for God's people. The desire to do something right overcame him. His problem? He dedicated himself to the will of God, but not to the God whose will it was.

Let that thought sink in. You and I can become so dedicated to the will of God, we can be so driven by a blind sense of purpose, that we might inadvertently take matters into our own hands and leave God completely out of the loop. Been there, done that?

Did that cruel taskmaster need to be punished? Yes. Was it wrong to beat that Hebrew as he did? Certainly. But when Moses stepped in and began his own Operation Deliverance, he was energized by the flesh, not the Spirit.

How easily this can happen to good people, to men and women with the highest motives and the best of intentions. Picture this: You're a gifted and highly qualified teacher. In your heart, you ache to be in front of a classroom again. With all your soul, you want to feel that lectern beneath your hands and the minds of those eager students absorbing your knowledge. And suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, an opportunity presents itself. If you don't watch it, my friend, you'll find yourself elbowing your way through that "open door."

But all the while, God waits for you to seek His counsel. If you act without discerning His timing, you may lose the smile of divine favor. He will not bless what He has not ordained. You may truly sense that God has something for you to accomplish in a certain area. But if you aren't vigilant, if you aren't daily humbling yourself before Him, seeking His face, discerning His timing, operating under the Spirit's control, you may push and force your way prematurely into that place where God wanted you, but you will not have arrived in His own time.


Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Thu 21 Apr 2011, 11:58 am

April 20, 2011

Have Faith, Have a Plan
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:1--10


Jochebed had faith. She also thought through a very creative plan. I'd like to pause to reflect on this tension between careful planning and full-hearted faith. Are they mutually exclusive? Not on your life! Yet to talk to some believers, you might be led to think otherwise.

I've counseled with unemployed men and women who tell me, "I'm just waiting on the Lord to provide a job."

"Fine," I reply. "And where have you placed your resumé?"

"Well, I'm not going that route. I'm just waiting on God."

"Oh really?" I say. "Then I hope you don't mind remaining jobless for awhile."

The old motto of soldiers during the Revolutionary War applies to many areas of life: "Trust in God, but keep your powder dry!" In other words, place your life in the Savior's hands, but stay at the ready. Do all that you can to prepare yourself for battle, understanding that the ultimate outcome rests with the Lord God.

To walk by faith does not mean you stop thinking. To trust God does not imply becoming slovenly or lazy or apathetic. What a distortion of biblical faith! You and I need to trust God for our finances, but that is no license to spend foolishly. You and I ought to trust God for safety in the car, but we're not wise to pass on a blind curve. We trust God for our health, but that doesn't mean we can chain smoke, stay up half the night, and subsist on potato chips and Twinkies without consequences.

Acting foolishly or thoughtlessly, expecting God to bail you out if things go amiss, isn't faith at all. It is presumption. Wisdom says to do all you can within your strength, then trust Him to do what you cannot do, to accomplish what you cannot accomplish. Faith and careful planning go hand-in-hand. They always have.




Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Wed 20 Apr 2011, 12:22 pm

April 19, 2011

We Must Obey God
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 1:1--22

When we come to passages like the first chapter of Exodus, we are reminded that God's law always comes before man's law. Scripture does not teach blind-and-blanket submission. The fact is, there is a time to submit, and there's also a time to resist.

Before we run with that principle too far, however, a word of caution may be in order. The Exodus passage does not teach children to disobey their parents, wives to usurp their husband's leadership in the home, or anyone to reject ethical authority. But the passage does make one thing clear: submission to civil authority has limits. As Peter once told the Jewish ruling council, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

In other words, when the king's edict directly violates God's clearly stated will, we ought to fear God, even as a couple of brave ladies named Shiphrah and Puah feared God. And they, being dead, still speak. Scripture tells us that God honored the faith of these midwives. It says, "The people multiplied, and became very mighty. Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them" (1:20--21).

The midwives valued God's favor more than that of Pharaoh. Motivated by a deep and abiding reverence for the living God, they refused to obey the king's wicked edict. When that king told them to violate God's basic principle, the preservation of life, they refused to do so.

Pharaoh's directive, barbarous as it was, has its contemporary equivalent . . . in reverse. In Communist China today, couples are allowed only one child. When many women learn the sexes of their babies, they either carry them to term or immediately abort. If it's a boy, he lives. If it's a baby girl, she is frequently terminated.

The date on the calendar may have changed since the days of the Exodus, but human nature has not. Apart from the redeeming work of Christ, our hearts are desperately wicked. Cruelty existed in Moses' day, and cruelty exists today. Tyrants ruled in the ancient world, and tyrants rule in our day. Injustice hurt the innocent in Pharaoh's time, in Herod's time, and still in our sophisticated twenty-first-century world.

But in the days of Exodus there also lived men and women ready to stand alone for righteousness, even in the face of death, just as there are today. God always has His remnant.



Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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Post  Admin on Mon 18 Apr 2011, 11:29 pm

Courage in the Face of Kings
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 1:1--22

According to Pharaoh's instructions, the Hebrew midwife was to watch closely as the baby emerged. She was immediately to discover the sex of the child as it came forth from the womb and to snuff out its life if she noticed it was a male---possibly suffocating the little boy before he ever uttered his first cry.

Then the midwife could say, "Oh, I'm so sorry. This one was stillborn."

What a heinous, murderous plan! Frankly, it comes very close---within a few seconds, as a matter of fact---to the present heinous practice known as "partial birth abortion." These midwives, however, remained staunchly pro-life! What heroines! These ladies feared God more than they feared the laws of the king. Actually, their alibi contained some humor. The word "vigorous" literally means "lively." They told a frowning, unhappy Pharaoh, "My, oh my, King, these women are fast. When we hear they're about to give birth, we rush over to the house and zip, pop, it's over! The baby's already there, and then what can we do?"

Pharaoh, who may not have appreciated the graphic details of childbirth any more than I do, bought the whole thing. Who was he to argue with these strong-hearted midwives? Thankfully, these two courageous women, as Scripture would later say of Moses' own parents, "were not afraid of the king's edict" (Hebrews 11:23).

Praise God for such courageous people of faith. To this day, from Africa to China to the Middle East, that same courage shines out like a beacon. All over the world as you read these words, God's people are being hounded and persecuted for their allegiance to Jesus Christ. And they are standing fast in the face of edicts from kings, presidents, generals, and party commissars. They are saying, "No, we won't do the things you are asking us to do. We refuse to deny our Lord." And they are paying the ultimate price.



Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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