And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt.”
While clinging to hope and holding strong to our faith, we are often discouraged by the challenges and setbacks that appear in our lives. Just when it seems things are looking up and your optimism is restored, something happens that shakes your faith. Trying times seem to come at the most trying of times.
God’s chosen people understood that feeling. For centuries, God had promised that he would give them a land of their own. But they found themselves enslaved in the land of Egypt for 400 years. With extraordinary signs and miracles, God delivered the Children of Israel from Egyptian slavery. The final and most notable of those miracles occurred when God split the Red Sea so that the Israelites could escape on dry land. Things seemed to be on the upswing. But having escaped Egyptian slavery and traversed the Red Sea on dry land, the Israelites found themselves traveling through the desert for days without water. To make matters worse, when they finally found water, it was too bitter to drink. “So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘What are we to drink?’” (Exodus 15:24). God performed another miracle through Moses and cleansed the water so that it was suitable to drink. Nevertheless, the people remained unsatisfied:
In the desert, the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt . . . but you have brought us into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death. (Exodus 16:2-3 NIV).
Although God had delivered them from the awful conditions in Egypt, their discomfort in the desert challenged their faith in God’s promise. Has that ever happened to you? Is that happening to you now? Has your present condition caused you to forget how far God has brought you and how much God has done in your life? It is all too easy to get distracted by the difficulties of life and to even cause us to question God.
Be encouraged. Do not allow difficult circumstances to make you question God. If you are doing what you know God has called and directed you to do, don’t allow life and its challenges to cause you to change your belief about what God has said. Never allow the discomforts of the journey, to distract you from your destination. When that happens, you’ll surely want to turn back. Going back is simply not an option. Egypt was never meant to be your burial ground. You are destined for the promised land. Don’t turn back, no matter how many discomforts there are along the way. Keep moving forward.
Published on Jan 09 @ 3:35 AM EDT
Amen ???? Never look Back Very True! God is with us!!
Posted on Sat, Jan 9, 2021 @ 8:36 AM CST
Thank you Lord for this word of encouragement. You're right, "going back is not an option." You're right keep moving. Great words of encouraging.
Posted on Mon, Jan 11, 2021 @ 8:26 AM CST
By Loretta Shelton and Pastor Marlin Harris
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7
The Apostle Paul uses an illustration in 2 Timothy 4:7 reminiscent of competing in the Roman Olympic games in order to demonstrate the Christian believer’s life of faithfulness. He says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
What is remarkable is that Paul makes these comments while imprisoned in a Roman jail knowing he is at the end of his life, and consequently at the end of his God-given mission. Throughout Paul’s Christian journey, he remained steadfast and loyal to his calling, despite the unimaginable obstacles and perils that he faced. Paul remained faithful to his ministry for the sake of Christ by fighting what he called “the good fight of faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). This means he maintained a godly character, lived by Biblical principles, and was unwavering in his faith and trust in God. This characterized Paul’s life regardless of the unpleasant circumstances that he was often attacked with. He did not rely on his past service, but he persevered and served God until crossing the finish line at the end of his ministry on earth.
Like the Apostle Paul, we must live this Christian life with the same convictions and fortitude as the athletes who were competing in the Roman games. Christians must run the race, fight the good fight, and endure hardships valiantly, in order to receive the prize of an incorruptible crown that never fades away. The qualifications required to receive this coveted prize are to run lawfully and diligently until we finish. Running this race means honoring God with our hearts and bodies, developing a character that looks more and more like Christ each day, and living a life that pleases our Father, and is worthy of the great redemption that we have been graced to receive. We must start, run, and then finish the race. We will finish, because no believer ever runs the race of his life alone. The Lord Jesus Christ runs with us, and He will get us to the finish line, if we stay the course and “finish well and finish strong”.
When you are running the race of life there are a few things you want to be sure to do. First of all, you must be spiritually prepared for the journey. This spiritual preparation is impossible without being filled with the Holy Spirit, for which there is no substitute. The scripture is clear that we are to be empowered by the Holy Spirit if we hope to accomplish anything in this life that brings glory to God. The Spirit of God empowers us with wisdom, strength, and godliness that causes the blessings of God to rest upon our journey. He alone conditions our hearts to endure the pain of the race, and to not turn back or give up before we reach the finish line.
Secondly, we must endure the necessary disciplines needed to prepare us for the rigor of the race we are to run. When runners prepare for lengthy marathons they will often spend months preparing themselves physically for that one race. They will attempt smaller races and work their legs and test their endurance with exercise regimens. They do this so that when they are in the ‘big’ race, they will have the strength to finish. Finishing our Christian race is more about the strength of our spirit than it is about the desire we may have in our hearts. Many people start out with Christ, and they desire greatly to finish, but they have not developed the spiritual strength to endure the trials and tests that befall them along their journey and they, sadly, fall away.
Jesus speaks about this reality in Matthew 13:1-9 when He shares the Parable of the Sower, where he outlines four different scenarios of seed-planting. One of his 4 scenarios involves a farmer who sowed his seeds in soil that was cluttered with rocks. He says that the soil received the seed quickly, but because the ground had not been tilled and prepared, the rocks were too numerous in the soil and made the soil depth shallow. Soon the seed died in the soil because there was no depth created by tilling. This is what happens to any of us who set out to run this Christian race, and we have not had the hard, stony rocks in our hearts, minds, and habits broken up and tilled away. Without the discipline of dedicated study of the Word of God, the daily practice of prayer, and regular worship and thanksgiving to God, we will not be able to break those hard rocks that have settled into our hearts and have made them resistant and impervious to the convictions and truths of the Word of God.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, every sincere believer must have an ardent and passionate desire to finish their race well. God placed that desire in your heart when you gave your hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ. The only way to satisfy that aching and longing in your soul to finish well is to daily discipline your life with the Spiritual practices of prayer, worship, and time in the Word. As you attend to the things of God, He will attend to the cares and desires of your heart. Let’s lay aside the weights and the many distractions, and run this race with all we have so that when we are finished, we will feel our Master’s embrace and hear him say, “Well done”.
Holy Father, we all have our own individual race to run. May You grant us the strength and the conviction to run our race well. Remove the hindrances from our path, and unchain our feet from the heavy weights and burdens that have weighed us down. Lord, grant us the freedom to run and not get weary, and to walk and not faint. In Jesus’ Strong Name, I pray. Amen.
Spend today surveying your life to determine what are those weights and distractions that make it difficult for you to finish your race well. Consider those challenges, temptations, and tests that you are engaged in daily, and actively name them before the Lord, and make the decision to do whatever is necessary to lay them aside. Seek the Lord for His strength and lean upon the Holy Spirit for His guidance.
Published on Jan 31 @ 12:38 AM EDT