I've been reading through the book of Numbers.
I'm gonna be honest, I've done some serious skimming and speed reading this time through this book. I truly do believe that all Scripture is profitable (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17) but the numbers in Numbers can be a little . . . (cringe) boring?!
A few days ago, though, I was so blessed by the passage I read in Numbers chapter 9 that I had to share it with you!
At the command of the Lord the children of Israel would journey, and at the command of the Lord they would camp; as long as the cloud stayed above the tabernacle they remained encamped. Even when the cloud continued long, many days above the tabernacle, the children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord and did not journey. So it was, when the cloud was above the tabernacle a few days: according to the command of the Lord they would remain encamped, and according to the command of the Lord they would journey. So it was, when the cloud remained only from evening until morning: when the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they would journey; whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud was taken up, they would journey. Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey. At the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed; they kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses.
Numbers 9:18-23 (emphasis mine)
Note: Did you notice how many times the words "At the command of the Lord" or "According to the Lord" appear in these few verses?
(My pastor would be proud of me for noticing that!)
When God called Josh and I on this adventure, we knew absolutely positively that "the command of the Lord" was for us to GO!
Desiring to be wise, Josh and I talked to many friends and family, seeking their input and counsel. There were several people in our life (okay, probably most of the people in our life) who thought we were CRAZY! There were people who, with the best intentions, voiced their concern about this seemingly radical and potentially reckless decision.
But the metaphorical cloud had been taken up and we HAD to break camp and "Go!"
Over the past three years, we have cycled through staying and going. There is much planning involved, and we've done our best to listen closely to the direction of the Lord. Sometimes we stay in one place for a few days, sometimes for a few weeks, and sometimes for longer.
Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey.
Numbers 9:22 (emphasis mine)
I am so grateful for this reminder that our "going" and our "staying" should be done according to the command of the Lord.
There are plenty of times when God has told me I need to "stay" and I've gotten very restless. Maybe because I'm uncomfortable where I am or maybe just because I'm impatient and want to move on to the next thing. Whatever the case, there are times when it is very hard to stay.
Honestly, though, more often then not, it's not the "going" that's hard, it's the "NOT going"!
(feel free to pause and read that sentence again, I promise it does make sense!)
I find myself quite comfortable in one place, without any new adventures (read: long drives, new faces, late nights, etc. . . )!
But then I watch the cloud dramatically rise up and begin to move on and I hear the Holy Spirit call to me, "Are you coming!?!"
"at he command of the Lord"
Although I am just a few chapters into the book of Numbers, I am familiar with the story of the Israelites. I know how their story ends.
And I know that when God's children follow well! When we are willing to go or stay, according to the command of the Lord. . .
He is with us!
Oh praise the Lord, He is with us! We are never alone. There is no task, trial, mountain, or valley that we must face without our Shepherd. He promises to always be there
He promises that if we will follow Him, He will lead us beside still waters and on paths of righteousness!
(see Psalm 23)
So let's keep following Him.
Here is the fourth installment of posts flashing back to the first few months of our ministry. You can read the previous posts HERE (part 1), HERE (part 2), and HERE (part 3)
June 29, 2013
It's hard to believe that we've been on the road for a whole month already! Wow! How time flies!
As we finish the first leg of our journey, I am reflecting on the past few weeks. We have had some amazing blessings, answered prayers, and great family times. We have also had a few very frustrating experiences, times of doubt, and emotional and spiritual weariness. Some of these struggles are to be expected and embraced, as Jesus said “…In this world you will have trouble…” and James urges “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trails of many kinds…”. However, some of the struggles were the natural result of trying something new and outrageous and needing to learn from mistakes. So what have we learned? How can we live more efficiently, productively, effectively, and joyfully while following God’s call on our lives?....Hmmm, bear with me as I journal my thoughts about all of this….
I’ll start with the positives.
First ~ God has left no room for doubt as to whether He is “in” this, whether this was indeed His plan for us. At every one of our 29 concerts so far, the audiences have responded with great enthusiasm and the leaderships have invited us to come back next time we’re in town. We have had many people share personal testimonies of God using Josh’s music to bless or encourage them. We have also seen six more children sponsored through World Vision this month. Financially, we have been blessed above and beyond at almost every concert and we are sitting well above our budgeted income and below our budgeted expenses. Praise God! It’s “working”! :)
Second ~ As a family, we are experiencing such wonderful times together. Josh has never had the physical health to play so much with the boys. He is able to participate in every aspect of their lives now. As parents, we are better able to “share the load”. Spiritually, we have so many opportunities to talk about God and learn from life experience about faith, trust, and answered prayer. The boys are learning more about working together as a family to share Christ’s love with the world. I see God growing them daily!
Third ~ Because we are all ALWAYS together, character flaws are harder to hide. We all have constant accountability, which can be uncomfortable but is so good for us. I can talk and talk about showing love, but when the boys hear me grumping about our camping neighbors, my “talking” is useless…unless I humble myself and apologize (which I did, for the record ;) )
Okay…I think I’m going to leave it at that for now. I’ll deal with the “negatives” later! :)
fun at the park
LOVE! LOVE! Love my man!
Today the amazing young man who made me a mama is 10 years old!
From the moment I found out I was having a boy I new it was perfectly right! I was surprised, because I was sure God would give me a girl and I thought that's what I wanted, but when the ultrasound technician made the announcement, "It looks like it's a boy!" I felt my soul smile!
Though I had no idea what I would do with a boy, I knew God had given me a gift that was beyond my imagination! I felt completely unprepared and absolutely thrilled for the adventure ahead.
My sweet Son, when I held you in my arms for the first time I thought my heart would explode! My love for you was greater than I could put into words. I had never felt the way I felt in that moment and for every moment since then. My precious Boy, you are the answer to my prayers and the fulfillment of the cry of my heart.
This oldest son of mine has taught me so much about myself, about God, and about life. He keeps me guessing, brainstorming, reading, and praying for wisdom about how to be a better mom. He is one of a kind and I am so proud of him!
My ten year old is affectionate. He is lavish with his words of love to his family and he has never met another child who was not his "friend".
MY ten year old is brilliant! His brain is always working, thinking, churning, and questioning. He wants to know why? when? and how? about everything. He has a wealth of knowledge, well beyond his years. He remembers nearly everything he reads and he reads all of the time!
My ten year old has a sensitive and compassionate heart. He hurts for those who hurt! He cries out to God daily for mercy and healing for those in his life that are sick or don't know Jesus! He never forgets!
My ten year old is cautious! He rarely acts impetuously or foolishly! He has spared me many of the typical mommy fears. I rarely worry for his safety! :)
My ten year old is a leader! He has ideas and plans and knows what should be done. I know that this characteristic will serve him well when he is older, enabling him to be a strong and wise leader!
My ten year old loves Jesus! Oh this is my absolute favorite to write. My son LOVES Jesus! He trusts Him, calls out to Him, and praises Him! He knows whose he is!
Birthday boy, I am so proud of you! I know we struggle sometimes. I'm sorry that I can be so impatient and grumpy with you! Thank you for forgiving me when I am unkind! You are a such special young man and I know God has big plans for you! I pray daily that God will hold you close, that you will always know how much He loves you, and that you will grow into a mighty man of God! I'm writing this here because I want the world to know how special you are to me. I thank God for giving you to me! I will love you forever my Son, nothing you or anyone else does or says could ever change that!
I am your mama and will always be your biggest fan!
When I was a little girl, my parents told me that Jesus loves me
and that he hears me when I pray. Then one night, after many nights of horrible nightmares, I lay in bed terrified to go to sleep, so I prayed. I asked God to help me not be afraid and to give me good dreams. The next morning I woke up and realized
that God had heard the cry of my heart and had blessed me with peaceful sleep
and I knew, "Jesus, loves me!"
When I was about seven years old, I gave my life to Jesus. I may not have had a wealth of Bible knowledge or doctrinal views, but I knew what I needed to know.
I knew that I was a sinner.
I made mistakes. I was not perfect. Sometimes I yelled at my mom. Sometimes I bullied my little sisters. Sometimes I was rude.
I knew I needed forgiveness.
The sin in my heart, that caused me to yell and bully felt yucky inside. No one had to convince me that I needed forgiveness.
My own conscience spoke loud and clear.
I knew that Jesus was God,
and that He loved me.
He came to earth as a baby, lived a perfect life,
died on the cross for the sins of the world, and then rose from the grave - conquering death!
I knew Jesus offered me forgiveness and was my way to a friendship with God,
and eternity in heaven.
Now I am sure there are some who will read this and think...
"Well, of course you believed those things. That's what your parent's taught you! You've been brainwashed!"
For those of you who would respond that way, hear me out. . .
I tell my kids that Brussels Sprouts are delicious!
I've been telling them that since they were very little.
(bear with me, I really am going somewhere with this)
I truly believe it with all of my heart and I have done my very best to convince them how tasty Brussels Sprouts are. -
But they both still gag every time they eat them!
I have also always told my kids that potty talk is NOT FUNNY! "People don't like it!" I say. "They won't laugh!" I insist. -
And yet, fart noises and poop jokes continue to be
irresistible to them.
Now please don't be offended! I know I sound sarcastic, but honestly I'm not trying to be. My hubby is the one who is great with deep metaphors and analogies. I'm not! This is the best I've got.
The simple point I'm trying to make is that
even at a very young age, even while we still believe deep in our hearts that our parents know best
still greatly affects our beliefs.
My boys tasted Brussels Sprouts and their experience told them
Brussels Sprouts are nasty
My boys tried out a little potty joke and someone laughed
(thanks for that, by the way!)
and so their experience convinced them that
despite what Mommy thinks, they are indeed quite funny!
The reality is that our parents DO have a strong influence on our beliefs, but when it comes down to it,
we decide for ourselves.
I am not great at deep theological discussions and I do not enjoy doctrinal debates. There are many men and women out there who are far better at intellectually defending their faith, so if that's what you are looking for and if that's what you need to believe, then I plead with you, "Please, seek them out!"
But if you are willing to listen to someone who is not the wisest, most educated or knowledgeable, but who knows Jesus personally, who has experienced the reality of His sovereignty, goodness, mercy, forgiveness, and provision in her life . . .
If you are curious about what it looks like to live life leaning on a Savior who Never, EVER let's you down . . .
then I'm your girl!
Life is not easy, things do not always go as I wish and
my relationship with Jesus is my life line.
It's how I survive the ups and downs of life.
Jesus is the only way to find peace in a world full of turmoil!
He is my Savior and my Best Friend! If you want to talk more about Jesus, please get in touch with me! I'd love to tell you all about who Jesus is and just how much He loves you!
Hi! I'm Sarah
I'm so glad you stopped by! I pray you find encouragement and a reason to smile while you're visiting! If this is your first time on my blog, be sure to START HERE.
You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
Ezekiel & 1 Peter
(the Bible in a year)
The Gospel of Luke
(Women's Bible Study at Church)
The Seventeenth Swap
by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
(family read aloud)
by Jamie C. Martin
Mother and Son:
The Respect Effect
by Emerson Eggerichs