Devotions

Identify the Need

Tabernacle | Devotion 3: Identify the Need
Roger Allen

With the explosion of non-profits over the last thirty years, grant writing has become a sought after skill. Because of this, many colleges now offer certificate programs in this very employment field. Each year billions of dollars are given out to successful grant writers. In order to be approved, there are few absolutes that must be accomplished. First, identify the need and then build your proposal from there. However, what should be the first consideration typically gets overlooked. Paying special attention to the grants specific requests is paramount to being successful. Following them would seem to be the logical step, but for whatever reason, many writers seem to fail, and billions are left at the table. For such a relatively easy task like following the rules, many seem to drop the ball.

Exodus 40:16 says, “This Moses did; according to all that the Lord commanded him, so he did.”   

In the making of the Ark of the Covenant, Moses was given a specific set of instructions to follow. From the wood to the overlay, everything used in the making of the Ark was asked for by God. Even the decorative work on the lampstand was done to perfection by craftsman that were handpicked by the Lord Himself. As we see, Bezalel was called by name, in Exodus 35:30, to be the lead builder for the construction of the Tabernacle. Moses attended to each minute detail as the Lord had instructed. As we read about Moses, it becomes abundantly clear he is obedient. Through the whole story of his life, we find him following God’s leading. When he was called to shepherd the people out of Egypt, he obeyed. Through all the griping, hardship, and lack of faith on the peoples part, Moses continued in obedience. When we study the life of Moses, we see in him as a prophet, one who through obedience, intercedes for the people. While not perfect, we see him as a foreshadow of Jesus. He was the giver of the law that the people should follow. He was a man worthy of being heard and obeyed. He was a prophet who would be a liaison between the people and the Lord. He led by example as a servant and a leader. Yet, in one swift act of disobedience, he was denied entrance to the promised land.

Numbers 20:12 (NCV) adds, “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe me, and because you did not honor me as holy before the people, you will not lead them into the land I will give them.’”

How has an act of disobedience cost you? What was the penalty for your breaking of the covenant between God and yourself? As we see in Moses’ life, one act cost him dearly. Imagine now, you have lived a good and upright life, yet in the end, you fail and falter, what will be the outcome? You see, as much as we may try, we will never be able to fulfill the Law completely. Just like Moses before us, at some point, we will fail the Lord miserably. The Good News is, if you have received Jesus as your Lord and have repented, you will receive forgiveness. With Him, we have a picture of grace so freely given to us by the Father. He gave us the perfect sacrifice in His Son, and by doing so, the Law was fulfilled completely. We are found guiltless, without condemnation, we are brothers and sisters in Christ, and this should produce in us a desire to live a righteous life by grace alone.

Finally, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

“You Have Skills”

Tabernacle • Devotion 2: “You Have Skills”
Taylor McCullough

If I were to ask you to build a house completely by yourself, even though I offered to provide you with some of the tools you would need, but not all of them, you would probably call me crazy. You are one person, being asked to complete a job that requires many, and you are not provided with everything needed. How successful would you be?

In Exodus chapter 36, we read about the construction of the sanctuary, which was a place to worship and meet with God.

Exodus 36:2 says, “And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work.”

The Lord placed individual and unique skills into each person, so they could work together for a great purpose. He did not give all the necessary skills to one person. Not one person was asked to build this alone. Not one person was more significant than the other. Hearts were stirred, and people willingly obeyed and took action.

In chapter 39, we read that the people of Israel accomplished what the Lord had commanded.

Exodus 39:43 says, “And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, so had they done it. Then Moses blessed them.”

Their willingness to work and utilize their God-given skills resulted in accomplishing what God had commanded. God equips each one of us with different tools and skills for a purpose. Be willing to seek and use what He has placed in you, to serve the Lord, and obey His commands.

As a worship leader, playing instruments and singing are tools that I use to worship the Lord. I am blessed to be involved in this ministry, connect with others, and serve the Lord while doing so. Joining other voices and instruments, to lead others into worship is amazing and important, but there are other ministries of equal importance. There is the children’s ministry, recovery ministry, outreach programs, and a host of others. God has placed different callings, skills, and interests in each person. How incredible is that? The next time you feel like you are of less importance because you are not successful or do not feel called in a certain area of ministry, remember that He did not create you to do it all.

We are not called to do it all, but we are all called to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. Locate your God-given skills and use them.

Ephesians 4:1-7 says, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”

Servants of the Lord

Tabernacle | Devotion 1: Servants of the Lord
Max Sinclair

I never truly understood the Church, or the Christian way of life till I was 22 years old. I had grown up here at our Waterford location when it was still Faith Baptist, I remember having Pastor Josh as the Children’s Pastor, and he would take us to Ceasarland to have fun. I remember going through Pastor Jayson’s Youth Group and leadership. I remember going to Church. I remember these things, but I never truly understood them; I never truly got the point. For a while, I thought that it was something you needed to do, and you needed to go to, but as I got older, I fell away from that. I knew the stories of the Bible; I understood some passages of Scripture. I had an elementary grasp of the concept of salvation and the other “Christianese” words, but to say I understood the Church, I would be lying if I said that I did. It came to a head when I realized truly what salvation is, and why it is so important. Finally, I realized I had done nothing to earn eternal life, but it was given to me by God’s infinite mercy and grace. The price of my sin was paid for by another, and because of that, I am indebted to Him with my life or as the apostle Paul would say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). At this point, as I cried on the floor of a bathroom 2,376 miles away, I truly understood what the Church is.

As we have studied the book of Exodus and the life of Moses, we start to come to the end. God has given His people the Law and the rules in which they are to worship Him. In Exodus chapter 35, we have at first the command of the holy day and recognition of the Sabbath; then God tells Moses how to build the tabernacle. Now for many, this word is foreign, and it was for me too, but tabernacle in Hebrew means “dwelling-place.” This was to be the portable house of the Lord and a place for the people to meet with and worship Him as they wandered in the wilderness. Moses is told by the Lord on how it is to be built, much like how God told Noah how to build the Ark. Specific things were required for its construction, and Moses listened and relayed this information to the children of Israel.

After they had heard what Moses had said, Exodus 35:21 (CSB) says, “Everyone whose heart was moved and whose spirit prompted him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting for all its services, and [to make] the holy garments.” At this moment, the people of the Lord were moved in such a way that they went forth and did what the Lord had commanded. That is what we, as the Church, are to do. Too many times, I see people who walk into the doors of our location, week after week, and I see them sit in the same seats talk to the same people, but they never serve. As the church, we are to give back. Jesus did not say, “Go and sit in a seat on Sunday, have Christian radio presets in your car, and pray before your meals if you can remember to do so.” No, He said to go and make disciples of all nations. As a church, we are not to be encouraged on Sunday, and that is it, we are to go and bear fruit, go and be moved by the Spirit and bring forth offerings to Him. We are to offer our lives up in service to Him. We need to stop just being with Church people, and truly become servants of the Lord.

Mountains

Shining Face | Devotion 6: Mountains
MJ Johns

Currently, we are driving through the mountains of Yellowstone Park in Montana and Wyoming to visit our son, Logan who is working here for the summer. I cannot express how breathtaking the views are! Logan is stepping out of his comfort zone to lead people, work hard, preach sermons, and lead worship at the park. It has been a growing experience. Logan is surrounded by an extremely liberal and godless people who do not even know or understand that they are lost. He has also met some Christians that are on fire for God and Christians who loosely follow Jesus and are involved in partying. This has been a disappointment to him, yet he still loves. People are important, but they are not where our hope is found. God’s faithfulness, steadfast love, beauty, and grace have been evident and life-changing to our sweet son! After this summer in the mountains, I dare say, Logan will not be the same young man he was when he left.

After driving through the mountains, hiking through the rough terrain, and huffing and puffing up the steep slopes (the altitude thing is legit), it is so fitting that I am reading about Moses’ mountain experience. As Moses was hiking, I am sure he witnessed similar valleys, rivers, and incredible views like we are seeing.

The highest point in Yellowstone is 11,372 feet. I would love to tell you that we conquered it, but alas, there is just no way (Once again, I blame the altitude, not the fact that I am completely out of shape). Mount Sinai, in Egypt, is 7,497 feet. Moses did hike this. In the Old Testament, God chose this mountain to speak to Moses by giving him the Ten Commandments. However, more importantly, God revealed Himself to Moses.

In Exodus 34:29-35, it says, “When Moses came down from the Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.”

If we are willing to face it, the human being is naturally sinful, vain, lost, hard-hearted, and godless. We all have seen the reckless partying first hand, and the Israelites were not the exception. They had been caught worshipping an idol of a silly golden calf, for goodness sake. Yet, God called Moses to serve these people. When he brought the Ten Commandments down the mountain and spoke to the people of Israel after this encounter with God, he was completely unaware that his face was different. Moses had seen the absolute beauty and glory of our living God and was demonstrating obedience in sharing what had been commanded to him. It actually terrified people to look at his shining face. He put a veil or cloth over it when he spoke to the people so they would not be afraid. What does the glory of God look like? I think this is just beyond my simple comprehension, but I truly believe that God gave Moses an altered appearance on his skin so that the people would know and understand that Yahweh had spoken to him and that these Ten Commandments were for real, “So listen up.”

Here is what I think:

  1. People matter, so love unconditionally (No matter how pagan they are). Be bold. Do not put a veil over the hope we have in God.
  2. Be the voice, the very skin that shows His power, beauty, and forgiveness. Be that light to both those who claim to know Jesus but just “do not get it” and those who are not there yet. We need to allow a completely holy God to make us different, so we do not “blend” into sin.
  3. In 2 Corinthians 3:7-18, Paul says basically that Moses was not alone. Jesus also had a big experience on the mountain. Moses shining face was just a taste of what was to come through Jesus Christ. Have confidence and rest in this truth.

After we spend time with God on the mountain or valleys low, we need to take a beat, reflect, wonder, and then shine.

Convergence of Appearance

Shining Face | Devotion 5: Convergence of Appearance
John Rigg

Have you ever been to a shopping mall or walking a busy city street and encounter an elderly couple wearing matching shirts? Probably your first thought is, “Oh, how cute! That couple is adorable!” Then you realize that their mannerisms are eerily similar, and upon the further study, you notice that even their facial features resemble each other. Suddenly, this couple is no longer cute; they are creepy! So, you shake off this encounter, and then it happens again. You spot another couple with matching shirts, like mannerisms, and yes, they even look alike! Fortunately, there is nothing of which to be afraid. Apparently, science has labeled this phenomenon “convergence of appearance.” Studies show that the longer couples are together, the more likely they are to resemble each other. Really, it is true, I think? You should Google it.

Genesis 34:29-35 informs us that Moses, with the second set of the tablets of the Testimony in hand, came down from the mountain once again to read the Law of God to the people. Unknown to Moses, however, was that the glory of the Lord was upon his face as he began to talk with the people. When the people saw the glory of the Lord on Moses’ face, they were afraid to come near. Now every time the children of Israel saw the face of Moses shining with the glory of the Lord, Moses would cover his face with a veil until he would once again return and speak with the Lord.

I admit that I know very little about the subject of “convergence of appearance,” but I could not help but think about this phenomenon as I was reading about Moses’ forty days and forty nights on the mountain with God. Much like the couples who look and act like one another; Moses’ time with God left him mirroring the glory of God. Nevertheless, because of the Law’s inability to give full access to God, Moses placed a veil over his face symbolizing restricted access. Full access and full glory would be future events brought about by Jesus’ work on the cross represented by the tearing of the veil at His crucifixion (Mark 15:51-54).

The Apostle Paul eludes to this event in Exodus to help us understand the full access we have to God and the transformation that occurs when someone puts their faith and trust in Jesus, “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:16–18 NKJV).

The way I see it, it is all about “convergence of appearance.” The more time I spend with the resurrected Lord, the more I become transformed into His image. The greater the time with the Lord, the more I look and act like Him! However, notice it is not overnight. It is from glory to glory. Being transformed is a process!

So, with whom are you spending most of your time?

Chances are you look just like them.



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