7 Ways to Be Properly Worried

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Got a sinking feeling? Pesky premonitions? Just a little nervous? That’s nothing!

Here are seven sure-fire tips to fuel that anxiety. Continue reading

A Voting Christian’s Prayer

photo-1475938476802-32a7e851dad1Our Father in Heaven,

You are King of Kings, Creator of the Universe, and Lord of my life. You raise up nations, and you take down nations. Our times are in Your hands.

Thank you, Father, for allowing us to dwell for many years in this country of prosperity and peace. We are grateful for your bountiful care.

Our country stands on the precipice of change once again as we prepare to elect a new leader. Continue reading

Do you trust Him?

imageThis passage in Psalms began my daily reading today.

In light of our discussion, “does everything happen for a reason,” this scripture seemed quite timely. In this Psalm, David challenges his own soul to remember no scheme of man can ever snatch Him from God’s omnipotent hand.  Continue reading

Be strong. Fear not. (Day 12 of the #Encourage Marathon)

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Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”

~ Isaiah 35.3-4, ESV

Welcome to mile marker 12 of our #Encourage Marathon! (If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here.)

Someone out there is anxious. It might even be you!

If you read or copied down Hebrews 12.12-13 on Day 8, you may sense a bit of repetition here. We already talked about the need to get motivated. Today, let’s talk about battling anxiety.

Fear and anxiety are part of the human condition. As we grow in age and experience, certain fears increase while others vanish altogether. Adults  tend to worry excessively, because we have so many responsibilities.

Continue reading

More than Conquerors (Day 3 of #encourage marathon)

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“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

~ Romans‬ ‭8:35-39‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Welcome to Day 3 of the Encourage Marathon! (If you want to read yesterday’s post, click here.)

Today, someone out there feels like their fighting a losing battle. (It might even be you.)

The human mind is a powerful instrument. It has the ability to aid in triumph or loss. People have lived through unexpected events for no other apparent reason than “the will to live” (and, of course, because God allowed them to).

When we become a Christian, we enter a fierce race. Satan wants to trip us up, knock us down, and shove us out. If we go into the race thinking we’ll never win, then we do not have faith in the promises of God. The Lord promised that those who were His and endured to the end would have eternal life.

Do you believe that?

I do.

Satan can do all he dares to trip me up, but he cannot take me out of the race because I am more than a runner—I am a victor, a conqueror. Is it because I am strong? Nope. It is the love of God gives me the ability to make it to the finish line. He equips me with strength.

The only one who can disqualify me from the race is myself.

Are you getting tired? Feel like you’re gonna lose? Get your mind fixed on two things:

  1. The goal
  2. The guarantee

The goal is eternal life.

That’s where we are headed. The race is the means by which we get there. If you look down at the ground, you’ll soon become part of it and quit. If you keep thinking about your aching feet and sore muscles, you’ll slow to a stop. Fix your eyes on the finish line and keep moving!

The guarantee is victory.

If we are in Christ and we stay beside Him, He’ll get us to the finish line. As the above passage says, we are more than conquerors through Him. If you know that you can make it, you’ll keep going in spite of all the pain, frustration, and weariness. Again, the victory is only guaranteed if we keep going.

You can win through Christ! Keep your eyes fixed on the goal and the guarantee.


I hope you’ll join me on Facebook, Twitter and here at Elihu’s Corner for this marathon. Share this verse on your Twitter feed or Facebook page (#encourage). Take time today to copy down this verse for yourself. Send an email or text to someone you know who would benefit from this encouragement.

Here is a picture of the verse I copied down yesterday for my own benefit:

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[If you click on the link in the above passage, it will take you to BibleGateway.com. From here, you can click a share link which allows you to share directly to Twitter, Facebook or send an email.]

If you missed the original post listing all 26 passages, click here to download the PDF list.

No tests?

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The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.

~ Proverbs‬ ‭17:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

My children have taught me a great deal about parenting. For instance: when I was a starry-eyed parent-to-be I said things like, “I’ll never yell at my children. I’ll never say, ‘because I said so.’ My child will never do that.”

Are you chuckling yet? I certainly am.

My children have been great instructors in humility. I have been tested repeatedly. Sometimes I fail. Being a parent has provided insight into how our Heavenly Father looks at us. To Him, we are like growing children—lovable, learning and fallible. He extends us grace when we fail and trains us that we might be better equipped for the challenges ahead.

About 6 weeks ago, my child had to write a short blurb for school about what she’d do if she were president. (I had no idea that she had socialist tendencies…)

I chuckled to myself when I read the line: “there would be no tests.” In many ways, I can’t blame her for hating tests—the schools make them take heaps more tests these days than I ever took at her age!

Testing is an excellent way of gauging comprehension and retention. As much as I hate giving and taking tests, they are necessary and not a “necessary evil.”

When God tests me, I don’t often recognize it as such. Mostly, I wonder why such-and-such is happening to me instead of looking at it as a growth opportunity. I ask “why”; I long for it to end; I wonder  what I did to deserve it. When I think this way, I am looking at the situation like my 8-year old: “if I were in charge…there wouldn’t be any tests!”

God, being the loving, omniscient Father that He is, longs for us to have luxurious spiritual blessings, not cheap dollar-store gifts. Becoming like Him and desiring the greater, more heavenly gifts requires testing—can we handle the gifts he wants to give us?

My 6-year old wants to have a jeep when she turns 16, so we have a 401-daddy plan: for every dollar she saves, we’ll match her dollar. She has to commit to putting a minimum of $2 per week into the fund if she wants to meet her goal within the next 10 years. You know what? She’s been doing it! She’s also found ways to earn extra money. Who do you think will be getting more advanced testing in money matters? This little one who already has an aptitude for it! Her older sister gets commission and it burns a hole in her pocket. Her tests are more basic—can you divide your money properly? Can you refrain from touching your gifts envelope when you want something? Can you keep yourself from dipping into your savings? Are you willing to work a little harder?My 6-year-old already tested out of that and is on to bigger things. It doesn’t make one child better than the other—they simply have different skill sets. It’s my job to hone those skills and improve the ones they struggle with.

In the same way, God tests and trains us. He does not tempt us—there’s a big difference. Satan tempts us so that we will fall deeper into his clutches. God tests us to lead us on to greater things.

People used to say this often: “Don’t pray for patience. God will make sure you get all the practice you need.” There is a certain degree of truth to that statement. I’ve prayed for patience and then 5 minutes later had to deal with behavior from my children that demanded “the patience of Job!”

God does not foist attitudes upon us; we have to learn them. When we request things like patience, contentment, or self-control, He will help us by providing opportunities to learn. If we work with God, we’ll learn faster. If we resist, we have to constantly be retested.

I’ll say it one more time: testing and tempting are not the same. Satan tempts with the intent to destroy. God tests with the intent to refine.

Are you taking a test right now? I’ve got some great news for you: God allows us to take open-book tests! If you don’t know what He expects from you, use His Word as a reference. If you aren’t sure of the answer, you can raise your hand in prayer.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

~ James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Who do I tell?

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Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

~ Psalm‬ ‭55:22‬, ‭NASB

Have you ever had your heart crushed by someone who was supposed to be a friend? Enemies can attack and leave some bruising, but nothing is as devastating as being hurt, neglected, ignored or betrayed by a loved one. Enemy attacks are like surface wounds; friend’s attacks cut to the bone.

When you feel this way, where do you take your pain? To whom do you relay your frustration? I used to tell other people my feelings with the unfortunate consequence of it being relayed back to the perpetrator and more strife being created. There is a better way: take it to the Lord.

The Burden of Anger.

There are going to be times we are full to bursting with frustration and we have to get it off our chest. We may feel like we can’t take our negative, angry feelings to God because it’s too much like complaining.

When you think this way, remind yourself of the above passage: “Cast your burden on the Lord…”

Casting off is to shed some load that you are carrying. Anger is a burden. Some call this “baggage.” It’s a heavy load. Over time, we may not notice it’s weight, but it weakens our soul, morphing into resentment. Imagine being stooped for a long period of time with a weight on your back. At some point, the back won’t straighten up again because it’s permanently fixed in that position. Don’t allow your soul to be permanently stooped with bitterness. Cast your burden off!

Unloading your baggage.

If you feel the weight of anger/pain/frustration, pause for a moment and pray, “Lord, I am so angry with [insert name]. They did [this] to me. It made me feel [insert emotion]. I know that you desire me to forgive as you have forgiven me. I need to extend grace to this person and have the mind of Christ. Help me to overcome, to be holy as you are holy. I can’t let go of this without your aid.”

The Lord already knows what the person did and how you feel about it, but it is critical that you lay it all out as to Him as you would to a friend. You know that gnawing sensation you feel when you need to get something off your chest? That’s what you are doing when you pray this way to God. Get it off your chest. There is something innately helpful about talking something through. Unload your baggage. Don’t tell someone else who may go and share what you want concealed; tell the One who can actually handle the load.

Taking on Forgiveness.

Onice you have unloaded your pain, it’s time to pick up forgiveness. Carrying an attitude of forgiveness is a much lighter load than the leaden backpack of anger. It is not easy to forgive, which is why it is important to seek the Lord’s help. Do you believe in the statement of Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”? If you believe it, then ask Him for help! Do not doubt His promises.

Keep asking, seeking and knocking.

You may or may not feel better immediately after confiding in the Lord. If you are still wounded, you need to keep going back to God. Remember, He can handle your heartache. It is not useless repetition, it’s like physical therapy. One trip to a physical therapist won’t fix an injury. It takes several visits to get back into shape. This is no different. Keep asking in faith. The Lord is calling us to be like Him, it is His will. If you desire to be like Him, then you need His assistance and you need it constantly.

Has someone slighted you today? Are you feeling wounded? Don’t tell another person, tell God—He can handle it!

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

~ 1 Peter 5.6-7, NKJV

[Please Note: There are instances, such as cases of sexual, verbal, or physical abuse in which it would be necessary to seek counseling/therapy. Trauma affects the brain just as violently as a being physically hit by a bus and the recovery takes just as long or longer. If you are a victim of trauma, seek help from a qualified Christian counselor AND the Lord. I have found that it is sometimes necessary to get counseling from someone who does not know you personally, because they are not biased towards you or the offending party. God puts people like this in our lives as His tools, just like doctors and nurses. There is no shame in getting help from a neutral party and it does not negate or weaken the hand of God.]

Are they stronger than steel? [The Effective Prayer 8.3.15]

This post is part of the weekly series on effective prayer.

forging steel

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1.2-3, ESV

Last week, a friend of mine posted the following image on Facebook:

The Strong

Have any of you found this to be true?

This makes me think of people in the Church who are knowledgeable, careful, humble, loving and whom by all appearances, have it together. They are orderly, unshakeable, and strong.They are the go-to-guy or gal when you need advice or help. They are pillars in the church. It isn’t just a facade either; if you spend an abundance of time with them one-on-one they truly are who they appear to be.

Does this describe someone you know?

The strongest of Christians are forged like steel—they are molded and strengthened through intense heat and intense pressure.

When I think of forging metal, I picture hot furnaces and dangerously powerful machinery.

Steel and iron—two of the strongest metals—are usually hot-forged.  The metals are put under intense pressure and heat to be formed into the desired shape. There are many ways of completing this process, but I, admittedly, am no expert on this subject. I do know that steel isn’t just warmed up to a baking temperature to be formed. It is heated to temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. It isn’t gently pressed into a mold like butter. It’s compressed or beaten into shape. If you’ve ever seen a blacksmith forging metal, you’ve seen glowing orange metal whacked repeatedly with a heavy hammer, powered by a muscular arm.

God desires His people to be strong. He wants us to withstand the alluring draw of this world. Living a life in contrast with the world takes courage and strength.

My reading has lately consisted of literature published by Navy Seals. The training they describe isn’t just physical, there is a mental beating that takes place as well. The training staff do everything they can to make those men quit. There is a saying frequently used during training in both military and paramilitary groups: “live for the next meal.” You focus on getting through a particular moment not by thinking long-term, but by completing this one training to make it to your next meal. Thinking too far ahead is dispiriting. The majority wash out. The pain is unendurable, the strain too great. The guys that do emerge successfully are hardened… like steel. Does that make them unbreakable? Are they perfect? No. But they are a mighty force to be reckoned with.

What does all this have to do with strong Christians and prayer?

The Christians that are truly strong, did not get to that point without great difficulty, nor is their testing complete. If it appears that nothing seems to shake them, it is more likely that they have learned to draw strength from God and they bring their pain to Him first. There are still incidents that hurt, moments of unspeakable pain, and periods of unutterable grief. They just seem stronger because they either don’t talk about it or they seem little fazed by it.

They have been forged, tested and not found lacking…

…but they are NOT invincible.

They still need our prayers, and our encouragement.

I want you think of one person who is a pillar in the church. They don’t have to be recognized as such, but they would be sorely missed if they were gone. Write down their name and put it somewhere you regularly pray or a place you look at often.

For the next seven days, commit to praying the following for them:

1) Pray that they will practice humility.

It’s easy for people who are strong to get a big head. They think they’re too smart to learn, to strong to break and too big to fail. Pray that the strong person you are praying for will remain humble before God and His Word, and not place his or her confidence in their own strength.

Remember Samson? He was confident in his own strength and failed to remember that his strength came from the Lord. He got up to fight one day and was soundly defeated.

The bigger they get, the harder they fall.

Pray that this person will not be self-inflated, but will walk humbly with God.

2) Pray for them to resist temptation.

Remember David? David was king over Israel. He had victory in everything. Nothing seemed to hard for him!

Then, there was this woman named Bathsheba…

Instead of being with his troops fighting the battles of the country, he was sitting idle at home watching a woman bathe on the roof of her house. Then he went a step further and took her for himself. When he found out she was pregnant, he brought her husband home from the front lines to be with her so that he [David] could cover his tracks, but Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband) refused to do so. David sent Uriah to the front line of the battle and ordered that his captain pull the troops away from him, leaving him defenseless. Uriah was killed.

After Uriah was dead, David took Bathsheba for his own wife.

David’s poor choices had staggering consequences. At least 2 people died from his sinful decisions: a mighty warrior and a helpless infant. When he was finally confronted about his sin, he repented with every ounce of strength he could muster. David was crushed by what He had done (read Psalm 51). He received God’s forgiveness and is still counted among the righteous of God, being mentioned as “a man after God’s own heart” in the New Testament. And yet, the rest of his life was restless and troubled as he payed the consequences of his sins.

Think of the person you are praying for. Do you want them to suffer lifelong or eternal consequences for falling into temptation? Of course not! Pray that when temptation comes, they will take the way of escape that God provides.

3) Pray for them to make wise choices.

The Apostle Peter is a great example of a good man blundering into bad choices.

This is the man who fervently proclaimed to Jesus that he would go with him to death, then flaked under pressure and denied that he even knew Jesus.

This is the man who spoke to an enormous crowd on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 people were baptized into Christ. He’s also the same person who succumbed to peer pressure and wouldn’t eat with the gentile Christians when his Jewish buddies showed up. It took Paul’s open rebuke to set him straight.

Because of his position, his choices swayed other, more impressionable Christians. The strong can do great damage with their poor choices. 

Pray for them to make godly choices and to live their lives in such a way as to bring honor to God and the Church.

4) Pray that they will put their trust fully in God.

Do you ever find yourself placing your trust in your own strength? You may not do it consciously, but I’m sure you have from time to time. What do you do when your strength fails you?

In American Sniper, Chris Kyle described some of the jihadist hideouts they found as being a druggies dream come true. Many of the jihadists had to use drugs to get their courage up to fight. They couldn’t trust in their own strength or courage so they took in some chemical courage.

If you think a strong Christian is immune to trusting in chemical courage, you are wrong. Plenty of good men and women have been undone by trusting in a drug or a drink to give them strength to carry on. It isn’t just chemical either. They might put their trust in their own knowledge, wealth or influence.

Pray for them to trust fully in God.


I want to ask you to do something else for this person you are praying for:

Send them a note, a text or an email. Make it known to them that you are praying for them. Your words may be like a glass of cold water on sweltering August day.

Let us pray to the Lord each day this week to great effect!

Lord, why did you ever send me? (Moses part 2)

trust at the sea

Yesterday, we looked at Moses and his reluctance to fulfill God’s command. After trying to get out of it, Moses finally obeyed God’s commission and traveled to Egypt.

Moses’ Trust-Training was underway.

Before listing God’s promises and subsequent fulfillment, consider an important piece of information. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy (aka the Pentateuch) were all inspired by God and written by Moses. He recorded his own foibles in these texts, but there’s more to it than that.

In writing these books, Moses also recorded God’s promises and their subsequent fulfillment.

It is almost impossible to be a writer and be unaffected by the content of your writing. In some way, those words will impact the mind and heart. I am confident that as Moses recorded this narrative in Exodus, he was touched by the sheer number and accuracy of God’s fulfilled promises and prophecies. Recalling what God had done surely trained his mind to trust in the Lord and the veracity of His word. Moses knew that if God made a promise or prophecy, He would see it fulfilled no matter who or what tried to interfere.

With all that being said, here is a list of the things God promised and prophesied in chapters 3 and 4 of Exodus along with their subsequent fulfillment:

  • Promise: 3:12 – “this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
    Fulfillment: Exodus 19
  • Promise: 3:16-18 – “Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers… has appeared to me… and they will listen to your voice.”
    Fulfillment: 4:29-31 – “Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
  • Prophecy: 3:19 “But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand.”
    Fulfillment: 7:13-14, 23; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 12
    “But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said.” (8:19)
  • Promise: 3:20 “So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go.
    Fulfillment: The Ten Plagues, Exodus 7-12
  • Promise: 3:21-22 “And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.
  • Fulfillment: 12:35-36 “The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.”

That’s FIVE promises/prophecies that God gave to Moses, and they were ALL fulfilled, just as God said they would be. I know that the list is a bit tedious to read through, but it really makes the significance of God’s trustworthiness POP! And, as I said above, Moses wrote this all down. He could see, in retrospect, what the Lord had done not just for the Israelites, but for him as well. God had demonstrated his faithfulness over and over and over.

And yet….

Before the Ten Plagues even had a chance to happen, Moses hit a snag with Pharaoh and the Israelites. Pharaoh was offended that Moses dare to ask the for the Israelites to go and worship, so he creates more work and toil for the Israelites. Moses immediately doubts himself:

“O Lord… Why did you ever send me?” (6.22)

Immediately God replies:

“Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh…” (7.1)

And Moses did. Repeatedly. Plague, after plague.

By the time the Israelites were delivered, Moses had great confidence in the Lord. He was put to the test when the Israelites found themselves trapped—the ocean in the front, the Egyptian army behind, and mountains on both sides.

Moses says to the people (who are crying out in terror):

Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 

The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Exodus 14.13-14

Moses finally understood that he could trust in the Lord, no matter how dire and desperate the situation.

He finally saw that if he but trusted in the Lord and obeyed his commands, great things could be accomplished.

Are you plagued by doubt today? You may be asking, as Moses did, “Lord, why did you bring me here?” I have asked that question of the Lord more times than I care to admit. He does not always give us the why, and that is when we need to rely on the trust that He has developed in us through His word, through prayer, through renewal and through praise.

If you are doubting the power of the Lord, take time to write down all the times when God has taken care of you. Write down answered prayers. I mentioned this in a previous post on prayer: a friend of mine recommended writing prayer requests on an index card and then, when the prayer is answered, filing it behind a “fulfilled” tab to see the results of God’s care pile ever higher.

Read. Pray. Renew. Praise. Repeat.

Solid Trust requires training.

Let us press on to know the Lord and trust Him completely… no matter how inadequate we may feel for the task.

Lord, please send someone else…

trust God - steps

In the previous posts on Gideon, we examined how Gideon was trained to trust in the Lord step by step. Today, let’s look at Moses.

Gideon and Moses have a few things in common.

1) God saw the potential in both men even though they did not.

2) They were both a bit scared of carrying out God’s commands.

3) Both were trained to trust.

Moses is one of the most highly respected men in history. His commendations include:

  • Author of the Pentateuch.
  • Hero of Faith (Hebrews 11)
  • Lawgiver
  • Meekest Man on Earth.

In light of all those glowing accolades, it’s rather surprising to think that he was actually afraid to carry out God’s command.

Exodus chapter 3-4 records God’s first meeting with Moses. As always, I suggest reading the chapters for yourself to get the full context.

Moses was tending his sheep when suddenly he saw a strange sight. It was a bush engulfed in flames but not consumed. That got Moses’ attention. When God sees Moses turn to check out this strange sight, he speaks through the bush. After a few brief words of introduction and explanation, the Lord says to Moses:

Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:10)

I can just picture Moses with a mixed look of terror and shock on his face…

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3.11)

Even though Moses had been brought up in the house of the Pharaoh, he had given all that up. He was only a humble shepherd now. He did not see what God saw.

[God] said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3.12)

God never gives a command and says, “Good luck! You’re on your own!” To Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” To Moses, he says, “But I will be with you…”

Do you ever feel like God is asking too much of you at a given time?

My friends, whenever God asks us to do something, He promises to be there every step of the way. These accounts in the Bible are there to teach us the faithfulness of God and how He cares for those who follow Him. We simply need to trust and obey. This is why reading the Bible daily is so important. It helps us develop our trust in God’s promises.

Leading hundreds of thousands of slaves out of most powerful nation of the known world is no mean feat. This is a monumental task! Moses is plagued by uncertainty, but God will train him to trust.

In chapter 4, Moses makes two excuses as to why he may not be the best candidate for the job. After each excuse, God provides a way around the self-perceived weakness.

Excuse#1: They won’t believe me.

Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you.’” (4.1)

Moses is saying, “Lord, if I go, they’re going to think I’m making this up!”

God is ready with an immediate solution. He has Moses actively participate in 2 miracles: Moses’ own staff turns into a serpent and then back into a staff, and Moses’ hand becomes leprous and then clean once more. Then God tells Moses, “if they still don’t believe, you will pour out water from the nile on to the ground and it will turn to blood.” Miracles in the Bible are often used to confirm that a person is sent from the Lord and that their message is true.

Excuse #2: I am not a good public speaker.

God is ready with another answer:

“Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (Exodus 4.11)

God is, in effect, telling Moses, “You just saw 3 miracles. I am the Lord that does those miracles. I am the Lord that made the mouth of man. Do you honestly think I can’t help you communicate My words to Pharoah? Don’t you trust Me?”

Finally, Moses can see that he is not going to get out of this commission using his excuses, so he says,

“Lord, please send someone else.”

Have you ever felt that way? Maybe you’ve even communicated those very words to God in prayer.

How many times do we find ourselves engulfed in circumstances that seem unmanageable? How many times are we called to do something and we just don’t see how we can accomplish it? As with Moses, God will never call us to do something and then abandon us. He will always be there to strengthen us, help us, and—best of all—be with us.

We are all called to different tasks during different seasons of our lives. It could be that in this season of life you are called to change diapers, wipe noses, kiss bruises and—above all—nurture a helpless little child. It could be that you are caring for an elderly parent that may or may not be a pleasant patient. Maybe you are working 12-hour days doing stressful or unpleasant work to provide for your family. You might be the student working full-time and schooling full-time with sleep and study crammed in between. Maybe you are called to be single and you aren’t sure how to cope with the loneliness. We often look at people like Moses and think that our job is unimportant by comparison. God has given you and me an appointed task for today. We need to carry it out with joy and diligence no matter how big or how small it may seem.

Above all else, we need to trust Him to provide what we need to accomplish our commission.

I love this quote from Elizabeth Elliot:

“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”

Elisabeth Elliot

Moses asked God to send someone else, and unsurprisingly, God became angry. God provides one more solution: Aaron, Moses’ brother is a good speaker. I’ll tell you what to say, you pass it along to him and he will speak for you. Stop making excuses and get moving. (my paraphrase)

According to Exodus, Moses doesn’t say anything else, but as we read further, we see him proceed to carry out the command of the Lord.

The training of Moses has begun.

Tomorrow, I will list out the promises that God makes to Moses in chapters 3-4 and their subsequent fulfillment so that we can see with clarity how Moses was trained for the enormous task of leading the people out of Egypt and all the way to Canaan.

Do not be discouraged, my friends. Give your tasks to the Lord. Don’t ask someone else to do what has been appointed to you. Trust God to give you what you need to carry it out.

~Elihu