“Don’t Quarrel on the Way!”

 

 

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Watering:

Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”

 

And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” Exodus 17:7

 

Watching:

Quarreling draws the line and says, “I’m right, you’re wrong.”

Quarreling leaves the Creator out of the picture altogether, and forgets that He is listening.

Quarreling births empty words – ripe with hurt – and leads to confusion and doubt.

 

We are not instructed to agree.

… we are instructed to shut up and stop quarreling!

Wondering:

If I don’t take captive every word, before it exits my mouth,

If I don’t wrestle it, hog tie it and walk away,

If I don’t first take my complaint to God and place all my ‘rightness’ on the altar

… then quite simply I have failed. Sinned.

 

The enemy is looking for us to fall flat on our faces – cheering us on to “speak our minds”

Arguing which “side” is right,

Arguing which anointing is real,

Arguing which truth is more true…

But ultimately, at the heart of it all, our quarrel is not with man at all but with God.

 

“Is the Lord among us or not?”

 

This question is not inherently wrong – no question is – when asked with sincerity and humility and brought straight to the God of all truth and comfort and love.

But, on the flip side, I can take this question – with all its impatience and arrogance reeking to high heaven – and spit it out to the world. In the end, all that is accomplished is testing God with sarcasm, doubt and misguided truth.

I have a choice.

 

Waiting:

Lord, help shut my mouth. Change my heart and forgive me. You are so above any stupid quarrel or point of argument. If I cannot speak the Truth in love that is real and grounded in relationship, then I better shut up.

 It is never about being right…

it is always about love wrapped in grace and mercy.

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You Have Stayed Long Enough

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Watering:

 The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain.”

Watching:

The children of Israel have been wandering.

In a desert.

For a long time.

And now, finally, it’s time to get off the mountain.

It’s time to go face their enemy and grab their inheritance.

It’s time to come down from the mountain and get to work.

God is making it quite clear,

“You’ve been here long enough… I’ve taught you. Now, go.”

 

Wondering:

I love mountains.

I love mountain climbing.

I love the hope of a mountain’s peak.

Few ventures so closely mirror the struggles of Life, and the triumph of Grace.

… which makes the mountaintop a very hard place to leave!

But Life isn’t lived on the summit. It’s lived in the valleys, along the rivers, and on the flats. And like the child being pulled to leave a toy store, we can leave a mountain kicking and screaming and end up disintegrating into a lot of unpleasantness if we have forgotten why we went in the first place:

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

… He will teach us his ways,
    so that we may walk in his paths.

Prayer:

Jesus. I love your mountain tops. I love learning from you where my heart can stretch its wings and soar… Help me remember and embrace the valleys where I get to practice everything you’ve taught.

 

More Word to Water

 

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Even though

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Watering:

So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested and tried me,
though for forty years they saw what I did.

Watching:

 

“… during the time of testing”  the Lord gave proof of his faithfulness, proof of his provision and proof of his care and guidance. Daily in-your-face proof.

“… during the time of testing”  the Lord was patient (in that forbearing way of his). He had a bigger plan, an eternal plan – but the Israelites couldn’t see beyond their noses.

“… during the time of testing” God saved, fed, watered, and clothed his children.

And yet, even though they saw what He did for forty years

 

… they never really saw past their bellies.

 

Wondering:

So what about me?

For 56 years, God has surrounded me with his faithfulness and for 33 of those years I’ve wrapped myself warm in the blanket of His name.

But even though, for these many years I have seen what He’s done, like the children of Israel,

… too often I grumble and complain, looking for the cheese to go with all my whine

… too often I forget the parted waters, the manna, the quail, the shoes that never wear out… the pillow under my head, the sun streaming through my window, the wonder of breathing without thought

… too often I forget that my “promised land” is right in front of my eyes, smack dab in the middle of my camp:

God with me.

Not what He gives, but who. He. is.

He is my promise maker,

my promise keeper

… my Dad, leading me home.

and His presence alone is my promised land.

 

Waiting:

Lord, I will remind myself of all that you’ve done, and all that you are. You are God, alone, and I will praise you.

 

Watering Today

Hebrews 3; Isaiah 8,9,10

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The God Who Wants…

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 Watering:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them  that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.” (Exodus 10)

 Watching:

Pharoah had a hard heart and the Lord knew it. God already knew how Pharoah had messed with the Children of Israel. The Lord already knew the flintlike disposition of his cronies. The Lord’s purpose with every sign and wonder, in this whole huge story, was that Moses and Aaron and all His people and all their children after them would know:  THAT. HE . IS.  GOD.

…God wants to be known.

Wondering:

I don’t have any desire to be famous. But God does. He wants to be famous in my life. He wants to search and rescue me – and search and destroy my enemies.

He wants to be called on.

He wants to be the One on whom I fully rely.

He’s that dad that longs to hear me say to every evil giant: “My dad is stronger than you will ever be!”

God – the God of the entire universe – wants to be known by me.

He wants a place of fame in my life.

He wants me; He wants you

… simply because He loves us.

Waiting:

Father, I can’t even wrap my mind around your greatness. Or your dying love for me. But I want to. I want to know the God who wants to be known… by this prone-to-wander little me.

 Touchable. Reachable. Indescribable.

“Call out to me and ask me, and I will teach you great and unsearchable things that you do not know.”

 I call out, Lord.

More of His Word to Water

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Finish Strong

Watering:

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.  (2Cor:8:11)

Watching:

The Corinthians were running a good race. Their coach was proud. But they needed a little boost- – a re-energizing, re-aligning pep talk: “Good job. Keep going. You’re doing great. Finish strong.”

Wondering:

I often start off strong. I get a dream, a big idea, a larger than life project, and Wham! I’m off and running… Then down the line (and I hate to admit how quickly) I peter out. The ending can often feel so far away. Without a coach running along side, or teammates cheering from the dugout, Hope easily fades. And unfortunately, Life doesn’t always afford us the luxury of personal trainers in the wings to bolster our weakened resolve.

But if we listen,

if we quiet ourselves,

If. We. Wait… (and often when we just simply obey)

… we will hear the Lord, going before us, watching behind us, whispering comfort each step along side our way: “You can do this. Run with me. We can do this. Let’s finish strong.”

Waiting:

Father, help me to hear your coaching voice. Help me to listen and take to heart those words that are just for me. There’s so much to learn, so many ways to run a better race… so many ways I fall. Yet you always pick me up, dust me off and I hear you gently say, ” Run your race, Jane. No one else’s. You can do this. We can do this. Keep going. Let’s finish strong.

More Word to water

 

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Both

Watering:

 10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness,that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock.16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. (Deut. 8: 10-18)

***

 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today.16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. 20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.  (Deut. 10: 12-22)

Watching:

The people of Israel had wandered a long time. For forty years they faced inner giants: need, want, and all the old “greener pastures” giants. Now they were about to enter into promised land. Promised and amazing – but not heaven. There were new giants, different giants… all those terrible “unknown” giants.

Yet, hadn’t God proved his love and his unmatched magni-giantness on their behalf…over and over and back again?

So now, He gives reminders to the people of Israel. Sticky notes. Write this down on your hearts instructions: DON’T FORGET.

Don’t forget I love you. Don’t forget I’ve led you to this place. Don’t forget, I want to bless you… but blessings can pack a punch if you’re not careful. So, be glad. Be thankful. Be free… but don’t forget who is your God, and serve no other… because I love you. And I have called you by name.

Wondering:

I am a sinner, stained and blemished, saved from a fate I deserved. Saved by a love-scarred lamb. Saved by grace alone, not by anything I have done to try to earn my way. Ever.

I am a daughter of the Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. Clothed in a wedding gown, made shining white by a layed down Life that paid its price. Set in the heavenlies. His little princess, the apple of his eye, living free… with irrevocable access to his lap.

I am sinner and I am daughter.

 

I am both.

And in both

I am beloved.

Waiting:

Father, thank you for your sticky notes. Etch them deep into my heart.

In the desert I am led and fed. In the promised land, I make my bed because you bled.

In both lands there are giants – different tactics but the same enemy who wants to kill, steal and destroy. In both realities, I need you. In both I WILL REMEMBER: You are God… and I will serve you, and you alone.

More Word to water

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A Little “Ouch”

Watering:

Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord!Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”

Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell face down, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

13 These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.  (Numbers 20:2-13)

Watching:

Moses was angry. He was fed up. How many times had the Lord saved these people and served these people and shown these people His wonder? And now here they were whining and rebelling again! Enough already! And here the Lord was going to give them what they were bellying aching about. Again.

Yet, the Lord said just to speak … Seriously, God?

Moses wanted to spank. smack. spit. to spew. And he did. And I bet it felt good.

… And it cost him the promised land.

Wondering:

Okay, I have to admit. This one gets to me. How many times had the Lord wanted to unleash his anger, and one of his servants interceded, and calmed his wrath. Seriously. And now that tables are turned and Moses is feeling wrathful, and he gets dinged for his emotion and misses out on the promised land?! Excuse me, Father, but what’s up with that?

But here’s the deal. We don’t get to call the shots. Period. We can’t send out the lightning strike to teach the rapist his lesson. We can’t call down fire on the murderer who ravages an unsuspecting girl. We can’t see into the hearts of lives upended by trial and wallow in the anger of what we deem unfair.

We don’t have the perspective that sees how this whole human puzzle is being fit together perfectly at his command. We don’t have a plan that trumps God’s. We can only trust that He is Love, and He is Good. We need only to speak to the Rock.

Our job is to “trust in Him enough to honor him as holy.” … even in the stories, like these, of the unhappily ever afters.

Because, in the end, we don’t know nothin’. But when all is said and done, like Paul, we don’t NEED to know nothing – except Jesus and Him crucified. (…Speaking of which, God sent his only amazing boy to brutally suffer – physically and emotionally – at our hands, just for the sake of us quarrelers. Making a way so we need only to Speak To The Rock… So, yeah, we’ve got nothin’ on Him.)

… AAaannnd (in regards to Moses) turns out, if you look ahead in the book, he gets to do that shining-in-glory thing just to give Jesus a friendly boost of courage! So, yeah, don’t think The Big Guy was too worried about this one particular little ‘ouch’ in the bigger scheme of things, ya know?

Waiting:

Lord,  life is filled with little ouches. And a whole heckuva lot I don’t ‘get’… Teach my heart to trust and honor you as holy. Always. Period.

More Words to Water

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