Numbers 33:1 Stages In The Journey Of Life

Desert highway

Here are the stages in the journey of the Israelites when they came out of Egypt by divisions under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Numbers 33:1

Going through life there are many different stages. The amount of stages is different for each person. The length of each stage will also be different.

The basic changes are the birth,  growing up, being an adult, getting older and dying. This is very short of the rest of the changes that occur throughout the life of a person.

In the middle of each of these basic stages there can be untold numerous other changes. Some may be short, while others take a lifetime of change.

Some of the changes can be for the better, such as a good move, promotion in position of a job, marriage, new friends, and many more wonderful things. Other changes are not so fun to go through, such as sickness, a negative move, divorce, death, loss of job, and more.

As the Israelites traveled through the wilderness, they had to go through many different changes. Nearing the end of Numbers, God has it listed the different places they had moved to. There was constant change of location. Some seemed to be better, while others were more challenging.

Every believer is on a journey through this life with their walk with God. The ultimate end of the journey is in heaven for eternity. However, until that time, there are many changes. God moves people around on a regular basis. Sometimes to keep one from trouble, other times for one to be a witness or to do a new work in a new location.

Some of those moves are easy to make, while others are scary and challenging. It can be a move from a loved place/position to a place of difficulty and challenges.

Every move God has a person make, is to help the person draw closer to Him and to be a witness to a new group.

You will have changes throughout your life, just like the Israelites. Instead of fearing change and moves, embrace them. Seek God to find out what you can do with the new change in your life. Ask God for strength and wisdom with the new change. And above all, trust God with the new change.

It is a great journey towards heaven. Be ready for the changes as you keep getting closer to heaven. God has a plan for your life.

I pray today that you will know God’s plan for your life; that you will see the purpose in the changes God allows; that you will trust God’s plans; and that you will be a witness of God throughout every change in life.

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Zechariah 4:6-7 By God’s Spirit And Power

So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it'” Zechariah 4:6-7

Zerubbabel had been commissioned by God to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. As he was proceeding to do that, he ran into many problems. Through Zechariah, God told him that it would not be done by his own might or power, but by the Spirit of God and His mighty power. The mountains that lay before Zerubbabel would be flattened and the capstone on the temple would be brought out which much praise.

Challenges in life come up all the time for people. The first thing most people try to do is solve the challenge or try to run away from the challenge. Working in their own power, may work sometimes, but not every time.

Believers will also have many challenges in this life. God will commission a believer to do something that will present a major challenge to do. Often people will, just like the world, attempt to solve the challenge on their own.

One of those challenges is to live the holy life through Jesus. People strive to give up sin on their own. They often make vows and chastise themselves when they do not succeed. This is where a person needs to rely upon God for the strength. Only by God’s Spirit can sin be overcome.

Another great challenge is being a witness to the world. Many go out in their own power and ways to tell others the gospel message. Before one does this, he should seek God’s direction and wisdom in how to present the message to someone. For each person it can be different. Only by God’s Spirit can the gospel message be affectively presented.

Allow yourself to be guided and strengthened by God’s Spirit to do what He wants you to do. In and of yourself, you can do nothing, but through the Spirit of Christ, there is nothing that you cannot do. The mountains that lay before you will be removed, if you allow God to remove them Himself. Do not try to move them on your own.

I pray today that you will know God’s Spirit in your life; that you will rely upon God’s Spirit to meet all challenges in life; that you will do things God’s way; and that God will remove many mountains in your path and life. 

In Over The Head

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go on a cruise with one of my sons to the Bahamas. The views of the beaches and the water was astounding! I had never seen water so blue in my life, unless you count Kool-Aid in a glass. Living in Central Texas, there are no long, nice sandy beaches anywhere to be seen and the water is definitely not blue.

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While in the Bahamas, I was able to go swimming in the ocean on one of their many beaches. It was my first time to ever swim in the ocean. It was amazing to swim in the water. The water was warm and crystal clear. Occasionally I could see a small tropical fish swimming in the water nearby.

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I grew up in Northern Wisconsin and swam in Lake Superior all the time. One of the things about swimming in that lake when you went out into the deeper water, you had to know how to swim or at least be able to float on the water. If you did not know how to do either, you would sink and go under.

The amazing thing on the water in the Bahamas, was that I could float without trying. The salt in the water was enough to keep me floating without work. I could actually stand up straight, with my arms at my sides, in over my head and float there in place. I had never floated without having to work at it and stay concentrated.

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As I was floating around noticing how this worked it God impressed upon me something. I was out in over my head in the water. In order for me to touch the floor of the ocean, I would have to dive down at least two feet below the water. And the interesting thing was, that because of the buoyancy of the water, that was  not exactly easy to do.

I could not see the salt, or anything else in the water that would hold me up. I had to trust what was unseen to keep my floating and I did not have to work at it. It was not my effort that kept me floating, but the salt level in the water.

In the very same way in life, there are times I must be in over my head in situations in life. God has called me to be His witness to this world. In order to be His witness I have to get out in this ocean of a world and be that witness. I have to step out into deeper waters where the fish (men and women) are to tell them about Jesus.

It is so easy to think that I cannot be the one to witness to someone. Maybe that person is too important, or maybe he is such a bad person, or maybe that person does not like me. Fears that the person may be angry or retaliate. Or maybe I am in a hurry and cannot take the time to witness. The reasons to not witness are numerous.

Yet, God has called us to step out into the deeper waters and trust Him. He is like the salt in the ocean, you cannot see Him, but He is there holding you up. As you step out into the ocean of this world, among the people you can float and be His witness.

Just as a person must let go of his fears of going under the water and drowning when in the ocean near the Bahamas and be willing to float, so you must let go of your fears to go out and be His witness.

God will be there with you and take care of you. He will not let you fail, if you are doing His will, in His way, and in His time.

Today, I want to encourage you to step out into the deeper waters, in over your head and trust God. Trust God to take care of you as you do His will and be His witness. Just as it was exciting for me to be floating, while standing straight up, so it will be exciting when God touches lives through you.

God can and will do amazing things in and through you, if you will allow Him to do it. Trust Him today in the deep waters of this world.

Waiting For The Best

Back in 2014, I was laid off from a very well paying job that I had been at for several years. It was devastating to lose the job and was unsure of what to do next. I had lots of experience in many different areas, but was not great at any of them.

Several other challenges were also present in the process of searching for a new job. One was my age, I am not exactly a young person any more. Another was that I have a large family. At the time I had seven children, since then I have been blessed to have eight total…so far.

With the large family and not great skills, it made it very challenging to find a job that would provide for my family. My wife is unable to work, since we homeschool our children. I knocked on many doors, had several interviews, but will still coming up with no job at all. No one was willing to hire me for various reasons, some of which I knew, many of which I had no clue as to why they would not hire me.

Prior to all of this happening, I have worked with children at various levels and was told that I was good with them. I have also been told that I should be a teacher multiple times. I do love to work with children and I also love to teach people.

Around 2003 I did look into becoming a teacher, but did not have the required degree at the time. That option was not open to me at that time. Since then I did finish out my schooling and received a bachelor’s degree.

A couple of months after being laid off, a friend of mine called me up saying he heard I was searching for a job. He worked at the district level of a local school district. He told me he wanted me to be a teacher in his school district. He told me to get hired as a substitute and then how to proceed to get my alternate certification as a teacher.

After praying about it, I felt that was what God wanted me to do. I was immediately hired as a substitute teacher for the district. Each day I would sub in different schools for different teachers of all grades. The more I did it, the more I enjoyed working with the children. The challenge was that the pay was still very low, making it difficult to support my family’s needs. God was faithful during this time to meet all of those needs in His way.

About 5 months later, one of the schools (which by God’s favor was my favorite), asked me to become their permanent substitute teacher. It did raise the pay some and provided very secure paychecks. The biggest challenge was that when there was no school, there was no pay either.

Last year, I was able to take the certification tests for core subjects and pass them. This was after a lot of studying and tears, remember I am no longer a young man.

Once I passed those tests, I started to apply for a teaching job. I had several interviews, but nothing would open up. I was not really positive that I wanted to teach any of these subjects, especially with the pressure on teachers to get the children to succeed. Yet, that was all I could see open before me and God had not pointed me in any other direction.

My wife and I often prayed if maybe I was supposed to go down another road, but God kept all other doors closed. I did not have a peace about anything else. And nothing else really presented itself. During this time, I often questioned myself as to whether I had heard from God clearly or not, but I know that I did and was unable to turn to a different path.

This school year presented a new path for me in the school I was at. About three weeks into the school year, I was placed in a Theatre classroom and told I would do all the teaching. I was given the lesson plans on what to teach and how to teach it.

I was game to do it, because I am willing to try anything. But I had no real clue as to how to teach theater. I had been in many plays (years ago), but had never taken or given a drama class at all. I questioned on what and how to do it.

Two weeks into it, the principle asked me if I was certified to teach theater. I told her I was not. She said I needed to be, because several parent’s liked what I was doing and wanted me as the permanent teacher. The other teacher was being removed. She then told me I was to do all the grading, lesson planning, parent-teacher conferences and anything else needed.

I was actually having fun working with the students. It was scary to start lesson planning because I still did not really know what I was doing. Over the time I have learned a lot about lesson planning and teaching theater. I am still learning, but I have having fun at it.

I am also able to be a witness for God to the students in the school. One of the things that I really enjoy being able to do is control what plays are being done. I can have them do plays that are in line with the ways of God.

I began to work on getting certified in theater. It was a very tough test. There were a lot of things I had to know that I had never even heard of before. I took the test in December, 2016 and failed by several points. I retook the test in Feb of this year and was able to pass it.

Almost immediately after passing the Theatre Teacher Certification Test I was hired as the full teacher for the class. I am still learning a lot in how to teach the students, but I am enjoying it.

One of the things that I realized in teaching theater is that I do not have to be concerned about the students having to pass the STAAR test. That is a Texas test to determine if the students are learning or not. It is a rigorous test that challenges every teacher with students who have to take it. This test is only for the core subjects classes.

Even though it took several years to get to where I now am, I am very glad that I trusted God. I had originally thought I would be teaching a core subject. God had other plans. He gave me something that was better.

Not only do I love acting, I have a son who is very active in acting, even as an adult. It made a great connection with my son in doing this.

God has blessed my family and myself in this field.

I want to encourage everyone to trust God’s plan for your life. Wait on Him for His blessing and walk the path He has for you. It will be worth it.

There were times I was scared and questioned God, but in the end it was worth it. God provided all along the way in miraculous ways. It will be worth it for you also.

Leaking Water

Our main family vehicle is a suburban. It is an older one that we have already had for 10-11 years and had purchased it used when we got it. It currently has around 360,000 miles and for the most part is still running fairly well. With that kind of miles, you can expect some quirks about it that are not always worth the money to fix. Some of them being, the sound system no longer works, the lights flash on and off saying a door is open–though no door is open, the bright lights will come on every time you turn on the turn signal to the right, and numerous other small challenges. But it still gets us from point A to point B fairly well.

Recently our suburban has started leak out radiator fluid. I have been unable to determine where it is leaking at, but every other day, and sometimes every day, more fluid has to be added. It is a little nerve-racking, and definitely frustrating to have to deal with it.

We do not have another vehicle to use if we were to take it to a mechanic, plus don’t really have the money to fix it at this time. So at this time we live with it, grateful that it still runs, keeping it filled with water, and praying to God for a solution.

A thought that I had about this was how our vehicle is like our lives. We go to church and get filled with God’s Spirit, get re-energized, ready to face the week with God. As the week goes by, what usually happens?

Things break down, go wrong, problems occur, sickness occurs, going to work, stress at work, financial challenges, and the list goes on. If I am not careful, I allow the Holy Spirit to leak out of my life. He gets pushed out by my allowing other things to take the throne of my life. God gets put on the shelf with my business of life.

Instead of life being about God, it suddenly becomes about me and my needs and wants.

When this happens God allows warning lights to go off in my life that there is a problem. The peace of God has disappeared. Rest can no longer be found. Energy is depleted. There is no more joy in life. Reading the Bible becomes a chore, or is put aside and forgotten.

The interesting thing about this, is that it can be prevented. Keeping your life full of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word will prevent the problems from tearing you down and allowing the Holy Spirit to be leaked out of your life. Jesus said that you need to drink of the water that He has so that you can have eternal life.

The problems will still be there. You will still have many challenges in this life here on earth. Those problems are there because of sin and to push you closer to God. You have to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide and keep you going.

This can only happen by constantly being filled with God each day. Study God’s Word, sing songs of praise and worship to Him, pray without ceasing, and fellowshipping with and encouraging other believers.

The devil wants you to self-destruct and tries to keep the pressure on you to push God out of your life. He strives to get you to let the Holy Spirit leak out of your life so that you do not have God in your life, keeping you going. As you are filled with God’s Spirit, you will be energized to keep going. The fluid of the Holy Spirit will keep the gears of your life lubricated so that you do not overheat and be destroyed.

Know that God is willing to fill you daily with His Holy Spirit to give you the needed strength to face each days problems and challenges.

Your problems may not go away, just as my problem with my suburban has not gone away yet, but you will have the hope of God that you will survive in spite of them, and know that God is with you through the challenges.

James 1:2-3 Pure Joy

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

James starts out his letter with a very powerful, hard-hitting, and not so cheerful statement about being joyful. Everyone loves to hear about being joyful and wants to hear good news. Yet, at first, James’ statement does not sound like it was said correctly and is not really good news. He tells the people to have pure joy when going through a trial.

No one likes to go through a hard time. Most people will be complaining about having to go through a difficult time. Every believer will be crying out to God to remove a difficult trial in their life. They will be seeking any way possible to get out from under that challenge that is going on.

Yet, James is telling the people to consider it pure joy to be going through the trial. Pure joy is an extreme excitement.

Think about what you feel when you are suddenly promoted to a position you have long desired and worked for. Or when you graduated high school, or college and earned your degree. Or the day you proposed and she said yes, or he proposed and you said yes. Or the day you got married. These are all days where you experienced pure joy. You were excited.

This same excitement should be felt when you are going through a hard time. It goes against the nature of man to have that joy. The reason for that joy is that it is God’s way to build you up. God is working to build up your perseverance, your endurance to keep going forward for Him.

An athlete has pure joy when finishing a difficult workout. He feels invigorated and ready to compete because of the workout. The reason is because he knows the value of that workout.

Look beyond the pain of the moment and look to the value on the other side of the challenge. Think about how you will be able to tell that God was there with you and for you through it all. Think about the great testimony you will have afterwards.

Consider it pure joy this new year as you go through challenges and trust God in and through them. Grow closer to God and more like Jesus everyday.

I pray today that God will strengthen you in every challenge you have; that you will trust God through everything; that God will reveal Himself to you more in each trial; and that you will be more like Jesus each day.

John 8:23 Not of This World

“But he continued, You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” John 8:23

Jesus was starting to describe that He was getting ready to go away to a place that the people could not follow. The people thought that He was going to kill Himself. Now Jesus explained that He was from heaven, not the earth.

Being from heaven made a difference in the perspective Jesus had on life. He was able to look down and see the big picture. He knew God directly and knew what God wanted and was doing. He knew the value of heaven. He knew the futility of the things of this earth.

As a human, your view will be from the bottom looking up. Looking out into life on earth, things do not look very good. When something happens you do not understand. Giving up something looks like a high price to pay for something you cannot see–heaven.

The world will tell you that you must eat, drink and be merry now. You must be willing to indulge in any pleasure for yourself now. You must look out for yourself.

As a believer in Jesus your view of this world should be different. This world is here for you to use to get yourself through to heaven and to bring others with you to heaven.

Since you are now one with Jesus, you, as He is, are not of this world. Your focus should not be on just the here and now, but on the eternity in heaven.

Are you concerned with doing what your Father in heaven wants you to do? Are you concerned with living your life the way God wants you to live it?

Remember that as a believer in Jesus this world is not your final home. You are a pilgrim just passing through. Keep that in mind in your day-to-day struggles and challenges. Life will be challenging, but every journey has challenges, some exciting, some are boring, some are painful, but all are worth it in the end.

I pray that God will give you a vision of the glories of heaven; that God will fill you with His Holy Spirit to guide you; that you will keep your eyes on Jesus and heaven; that you will live in light of eternity in heaven; and that you will bring others with you.