Are You Discontent?

What I love about the book of Exodus is that it describes a massive journey of this huge people group who look and sound a lot like our culture.

You see prior to chapter fifteen the nation of Israel was held in bondage in Egypt. Moses comes and says, “The Lord has told me we are going to get out here.” Then he goes before Pharaoh and says let my people go.  Pharaoh struggles and God brings down plagues.

Israel sits and watches God do mighty things:  water turned to blood, Locusts all over the place, frogs everywhere, the first born killed unless you had provided a Passover lamb.  That only names a few.

After the plagues they continue to watch God do mighty things to get them out of captivity, including the parting of the Red Sea.  They saw the water rise up on the sides, and then they walk across on dry land.

Moments later we find ourselves in Exodus 15.  The people are triumphantly praising God for what He has done.

In Your lovingkindness You have  led the people whom You have redeemed; In Your strength You have guided  them  to Your holy habitation. Exodus 15:13

 

Then we take a short jaunt to verse 22-27 and the people say, “There is no good water.  This water is bitter. What are we going to do?  Are we going to die?” The Lord in verse 25, tells Moses to throw a tree branch into that water and I will make it the best water you ever drank.

Now they have gone through the plagues, they have seen the red sea being parted, and God has now provided them with water after their grumblings.  We get to chapter 16 and the nation says, “What about food?”

They grumble again, and they are plagued with discontentment. In verse 4 the Lord says, “I will rain down bread from the heavens.”

I know I have said it before but we need to truly understand that these people watched God perform the plagues, part the red sea, provide water, and send bread.  And then they say, “What about meat?” We see their discontentment shine through again.

The Lord says in verse 12 “I will give you meat in the evenings and manna in the mornings.”

The struggle is real.  By now they are over it, right? You read to verse 16 and you think “Man these people need to get it together.”  They have seen time and time again how the Lord has provided.  Yet they are so discontent.  Nothing is enough for them.

You hope it is coming to an end.  Instead we get to chapter 17 verses 1-7 and they have moved from grumbling to quarreling against Moses.  Why?  Water, again!  They have made a full circle. The nation never got that God’s enough is more than enough.

When discontentment is ruling over our lives, we are always questioning how we are going to get to the next thing.  It becomes all about how I am going to get myself to the next step. The whole time, the Lord is saying “My plan for you is more than enough.  My enough is enough.” Are we living in light of God’s enough or are we struggling to accomplish the next thing we think we need?

About the Writer:
Liz is just a girl who spends her days in seminary classes, spends her afternoons interning with First Baptist Dallas Women’s, and spends evenings with her friends laughing and challenging the definition of community to be something much deeper. If you need her you can probably find her watching Dancing with the Stars while on Pinterest, challenging the worldly norm of a 28 year old.

 

 

Women: God’s Instrument for Justice

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me. Psalm 138:7

Anyone who tells you that the Bible degenerates women hasn’t closely examined it’s message of unconditional love, especially for the vulnerable.  The Bible is rich in accounts of God using the weak to defeat the strong (what an amazing way to show His power!). In the fallen world of patriarchal culture, circumstances often left women broken and victims of the destructive desires of men.  But the suffering will not last, and Jesus will one day come back and defeat evil once and for all. (Revelation 19:11-21)  Men’s power cannot stand next to God’s power.

In the book of Exodus we get a glimpse of God’s power to defeat evil men when He used women as his instrument of justice.  Pharaoh was fearful of the growing Israelite nation and sought to destroy them through the genocide of all newborn boys.

Two blessed midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, defied Pharoah’s order to kill all the Egyptian baby boys as their mothers gave birth to them. (Exodus1:15-20)  These heroines remind me today of the many women who work in crisis pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, and foster care; protecting and advocating for the most vulnerable among us. They stand powerfully against seemingly unstoppable injustice.

In addition, Pharoah’s own daughter was instrumental in his own destruction. She found baby Moses hidden in the reeds. She brought him into Pharoah’s house and raised him s her own. Pharaoh’s adversary grew up in his house because God used his daughter to thwart Pharaoh’s evil plan of genocide for the Egyptian people. (Exodus 2:5-10)  In perhaps what seemed to be quiet ways, these women through God’s diving will toppled the terrifying and oppressive power structure that reigned with ear over their lives.

Dear Sister, you are precious in the sight of God.  He can use you powerfully for His glory. While the world may objectify, sexualize, and stereotype women as less interested or capable of leading; God knows your great worth.  Men will fail you and leaders may oppress you, but God has not forgotten you.  He has heard you.

There is deliverance.  The powers of this world:  nations, unjust leaders, abusive boyfriends and husbands will fall. . . so hold on.  God is trustworthy and good. The oppression of this world cannot stand though it’s weight may be crushing.  God is working in the midst of the broken and vulnerable.  We can rest in his promised victory, and we can look for how He might use us to bring justice. . . just as He used Shiphrah, Puah, and Pharoah’s daughter.

About the writer:
Caroline is a wife and mom who loves Jesus. She also has a career in commercial real estate investing. God has given her a heart for encouraging other women. She and her husband, Eric, are the directors of the Fellowship Class, a young married Sunday School class at First Baptist Dallas.

Be Still

Let me paint a picture for you. Moses is leading the Israelites, God’s chosen people, out of Egypt where they were being brutality mistreated as slaves under Pharaoh. As they are fleeing, Pharaoh sends a large army filled with his best chariots after them to capture and kill them once again. At one point the Israelites find themselves in an impossible situation with Pharaoh’s army closing in on them
from behind and the Red Sea in front. At this point the fear filled Israelites begin ridiculing Moses for taking them from their familiar life and putting them in such a dangerous situation. All of a sudden panic sets in and being tortured in Egypt looks better to them than the fear of the unknown. Moses then gives the Israelites a pep talk of sorts reminding them the Lord will in fact deliver them. These specific wrds from Moses replay often in my own head as I face impossible situations as well.

 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.  Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

We struggle with infertility and our situation often feels impossible. I can easily feel surrounded by fear if I focus on our years of past struggles or the unknowns that lie in front of us, just like the Israelites. I find that when fear is ruling, I desire to have full control over my own situation. Living in fear and control is not being still. In fact, they keep us from fulling trusting God and often work against His plan. God wants us to be still so He can rule over our lives, directing us as He fights our battles along the way.

So how did the Lord fight for the Israelites? With the raising of Moses’ staff over the Red Sea it split in two, leaving a clear and dry path for the Israelites to escape. As they escape through the parted waters, the Egyptian army follows. At the direction of the Lord, the walls of water come crashing down and the Red Sea swallows up their enemy. The Israelites trusted and the Lord fought their impossible battle for them.

Don’t let fear rule and discount your faith in God. God is powerful over our impossible situations, we just have to trust Him. I absolutely love this specific verse from the popular worship song, No Longer Slaves by Bethel Music

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it.
You drowned my fears in perfect love,
You rescued me.
And I will stand and sing
I am a child of God.

How amazing that the God of the universe is working to fight my battles for me. Knowing that relieves such a burden! We must be still. Let Him drown our fears, allow Him to fight for us, and He will part a way through the impossible.

About the Writer:
Joni is a former elementary school teacher turned stay at home wife and mom to her son. She enjoys serving at First Baptist Dallas along side her husband as small group leaders in their Young Marrieds Sunday school class. She loves spending her free time crafting, attempting Pinterest projects, and above all spending time with her family.

The Breaking Point

The last straw. That silly, insignificant thing that sends you straight over the edge. It’s been a rough morning, after a rough week (or month). You are stretched thin, barely holding it all together and then one more thing happens and you break. And that’s where I found myself- at my breaking point.

I got my boys into class, found my way back to my car, and the flood gates opened. I was finally letting it all out. Every tear that streamed down my face represented a fight that I had lost in the last month, a moment where I had been defeated by life, another failure. I turned my car on and the music began to play. The songs flowed out of my radio… to my ears… to my heart. Each song seemed perfectly fitting for my situation- heartfelt songs, crying out to a savior for grace and mercy, a desperate call on the only One who knows every tear.

breaking-waveI thought I was doing fine on my own, things were not great, but they were not that bad either. Life was manageable, survivable… so I thought. “I’m strong. I can get through this.” I kept telling myself. Until I hit my breaking point. So, there I sat, in the school parking lot, broken, crying out to God, singing praises to the Lord through my tears, and questioning why. And then it hit me- to bring me back to God. I was trying to control my own life, my steps, my will. This breaking point was a not so gentle reminder that I needed to surrender my control to God. I have no control, I only thought I did.

The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Now I laugh, remembering what my son told me the other day, “Mom, my brain makes me think that I’m in charge of you, but I know you are in charge of me. My brain just tells me that I’m in charge sometimes.” He understands that I am in control of his life- to protect him, guide him, care for him. But he also recognizes the fight within his own head to take control of his life. Such wisdom from a 5-year-old.

I do the same thing with God. I tell him “I got this. I’m in charge. I’ll let you know when I need you.” When things are good in life, our minds deceive us into believing we can do this on our own- that we do not need God. Sometimes we must be broken in order to bring us back to the One who protects us, guides us, and cares for us. God is stronger and infinitely wiser. I have to seek Him daily and allow Him to be my God.

The Lord will fight for you; while you keep silent. Exodus 14:14 

Consider each breaking point pure joy and cry out to the Lord, praising Him with songs.

About the Writer:
Meghan is a former art teacher who feels blessed to now be a stay-a-home mom to her two boys. She loves volunteering at her sons’ school and with the First Baptist Dallas Women’s Ministry and First Impressions Team. She is passionate about art, cooking, working out, and playing volleyball.