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How Moses is a foreshadowing of Christ to women

Someone recently pointed out an interesting passage to me. I think there are some good lessons to learn from it.

When Moses arrived in Midian, he sat down beside a well. Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters who came as usual to draw water and fill the water troughs for their father’s flocks. But some other shepherds came and chased them away. So Moses jumped up and rescued the girls from the shepherds. Then he drew water for their flocks. When the girls returned to Reuel, their father, he asked, “Why are you back so soon today?” “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds,” they answered. “And then he drew water for us and watered our flocks.” (Exodus 2:16-19 NLT)

Reuel, who we see from Exodus 18 was also called Jethro, later gave his daughter, Zipporah, to be Moses’ wife.

Here are several points:

  • Women as well as men were shepherds in Moses’ time.
  • Their father, Jethro, was the one who assigned them this task
  • These seven young women cared for their father’s flocks, bringing them regularly to get water
  • Other shepherds, not wild animals, made their task much more difficult by chasing them away from the well. (Was this because they were women?) One has the impression from Reuel’s comments when they arrive home that this was a daily occurrence. How sad!
  • Moses, who is a type and foreshadowing of Christ, rescued the women from the other shepherds and helped them with their flocks by drawing water for them
  • By Exodus 3, Moses is looking after those same flocks. It’s while he’s doing this that he sees the burning bush
What  can we learn from this?

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If the world were a village…

You think you have it tough? I recently came across these figures on a site that encourages people to pray for various countries in the world. (Visit the site--it’s well worth the time.) All of us are aware of some of the injustice around the world, but these figures brought it home to me…

Picture the world as a village of 100 people.

  • Six people (all U.S citizens) own 58% of the wealth
  • 74 people own 39% of the wealth
  • 20 people own the other 2% of the wealth. If you have a bank account (with any amount) you are among the richest 30 people
  • 18 people struggle to live on $1 USD per day
  • 53 people struggle to live on $2 USD per day
  • 20 people are undernourished
  • 15 are overweight
  • One dies of starvation
  • 20 people have no clean drinking water
  • 56 people have no access to sanitation
  • 80 live in substandard housing
  • One person has AIDS
  • One has a university degree
  • Seven people have computers
  • 67 are illiterate
  • 48 people cannot speak freely of their religious faith

Of the 6.5 billion people in the world, 2 billion have never heard the Gospel.

In the light of this, how should we then live?

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When God is silent

When Tony and I moved here to the States in 1987, probably the toughest part of our lives so far at a spiritual level kicked in. Why? God became silent. He stopped talking to us.

Back in the UK, nearly everything had gone well. It was relatively easy to know what God was saying. In fact, when he spoke to us about moving to Texas, his leading was so clear that we sold our house and moved here, knowing no one. We felt a bit like Abraham, but were confident he would continue to lead us clearly.

And then silence.

Nothing. Nada

No clear direction.

It wasn’t so much the little things. It was that clear sense of direction, knowing we were following him, in the center of his will, that was missing.

To start with, we confessed every sin, real or imaginary, that we could think of. After all, we reasoned, sin separates us from God.

Still nothing.

We tried everything. We had faith, we prayed against the enemy.

Then I got angry with God. How could he bring us here and then drop us? Needless to say that didn’t work either.

Finally, I came to the place where I realized my total dependence on him. If God chose to leave me on the shelf and never to use me again, that was his prerogative. He is the potter, I’m mere clay in his hands.

A number of things died at that point–any desire for limelight, any sense of entitlement, any hankering to be anything beyond ordinary.

It was then, after nine years of God’s kind of seminary on the backside of the desert, his training in the school of wilderness experience, that, God, in his mercy, started speaking again.

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Covering and control

Only too often, I come across this kind of sad story of spiritual control:

“I committed some “offense”  (usually not a sin but something that went against the church’s “rules”), and the pastor /church excommunicated me. No one else in the church is allowed to talk to me. My old friends avoid me in the grocery store. The ones it hurts most are my kids, who just don’t understand….”

As far as I’m concerned this is control and abuse. It’s an application of the “heresy” of covering.

Control takes other forms too. Like baptism.  Only someone who is ordained can baptize. Show me that in the Bible! Or communion. It takes a special sacred person to give communion.

Often it’s applied specifically to women. Women can’t baptize. Where’s that in the Great Commission?

Give me a break!

 

 

 

Feet and forks, knees and mouth

As a former physician, I still maintain an interest in health. I recently read an article (I think it was probably by or about Dr. David Katz who is an authority on preventive medicine), stating we can reduce our lifetime risk of all chronic diseases by 80 percent with our feet, forks and fingers. That is, if we will exercise, eat right and not smoke.

What would be the equivalent of feet and forks in terms of seeing the moves of God that we long for? Just as with disease prevention, doesn’t it come down to the basics? How about knees and mouth? That is, prayer and telling our stories and Jesus’ story?

Feet and forks really only work if we take are intentional about using them. We have to make an effort to exercise, a decision to eat right. Just as preventive medicine only works if lifestyle choices become ongoing habits, I suspect that one-off prayers and witnessing occasionally, while good in themselves, will not produce the results we long for. However, a lifestyle composed of prayer, and deliberately going out of our way to share our faith with others will produce more fruit than just sitting around and hoping it will happen.

What do you think?

 

 

 

Making disciples

As part of my study on Disciple Making Movements, I’ve been reading through the gospels to see how Jesus approached making disciples.

Jesus invited people to become his disciples. In Mark 2:14, Jesus said to Levi (Matthew), “Follow me and be my disciple.” He didn’t tell him, “Follow me and when you’ve learned enough, you can be my disciple.” Too often, we make discipleship a teacher/learner process, whereas Jesus regarded anyone who followed (and obeyed) him as a disciple, right from the get go.

Our friend, Molong, in the Philippines has a very simple pattern of making disciples. He’ll say to someone, “You’re my friend and you believe in me, would you like to become a disciple?” Then he tells them about following Jesus. When they say “yes,” he baptizes them, and teaches them how to do the same for their friends. He now has disciples down to the 14th generation. If you follow him on facebook, you’ll come across posts like ” XXX (second generation) says they are going to baptize seven people today.” There are around 600 new believers who have become disciples in this way. Their “follow-up” consists of  living life together–not under the same roof, but as an everyday occurrence.

Within evangelicalism, one-on-one is a preferred method of discipleship . I have no doubt as to its effectiveness (wish someone had been there to disciple me as a young believer). However, recently I’ve been questioning this.

There were only two occasions I can find in the gospels where Jesus had a conversation with one of the disciples alone. One was with Peter over the paying of taxes (go and catch a fish) and the other, also with Peter, was about forgiving people seventy times seven times. As far as I can see, every other interaction that is recorded involves a group of them–of at least two or three.

There was one occasion where it specifically states Jesus was alone for a conversation with someone–the woman at the well. And we assume (although it doesn’t say so) that he was alone with Nicodemus in John 3.

Other than that, once he had chosen the twelve, Jesus worked with groups–groups of his disciples, the crowds, challenged groups of Pharisees and Sadducees. Other conversations where it appears he was talking to individuals, if you examine the context, were all within a group situation.

What can we learn from this?

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A remarkably accurate prophecy

In the mid 1970’s I read a book called  Battle for Israel by Lance Lambert from the UK. In it, he describes a prophecy. The story behind this prophecy is that a bishop of the Russian Orthodox church, Bishop Aristocoli,  handed it to Mother Barbara shortly before she moved to Israel in 1911. It’s a political prophecy, and, with the benefit of hindsight, especially considering when it was written,  absolutely remarkable for its accuracy. (You can find the prophecy in several places on the Internet.) When I first read it, only some of it had been fulfilled and over the decades I’ve often thought of it as I’ve watched world events unfold.

Here’s what the prophecy says:

“Not one country will be without trial – do not be frightened by anything you will hear. An evil will shortly take Russia and wherever this evil comes, rivers of blood will flaw. This evil will take the whole world and wherever it goes, rivers of blood will flow because of it.

It is not the Russian soul, but an imposition on the Russian soul. !t is not an ideology, or a philosophy, but a spirit from hell.

In the last days Germany will be divided in two. France will just be nothing. Italy will be judged by natural disasters. Britain will lose her empire and all her colonies and will come to almost total ruin, but will be saved by praying women.

America will feed the world, but will finally collapse. Russia and China will destroy each other. Finally, Russia will be free, and from her believers will go forth and turn many from the nations to God.”

In 1911, who could have imagined the impact of Russian Communism? Or that Britain would lose her empire? (I believe Britain was saved by praying women–Britain was at the brink of financial and political ruin when Lydia prayer groups began, and Margaret Thatcher was a woman who prayed.) Who could have imagined that Germany would be divided in two? What are we seeing in America?

However, this is not the total prophecy. It was prefaced by some words concerning women:

“Tell the women they must belong absolutely to God. They must believe in the great things that are happening and that God is doing on the earth. They must prepare their souls, their children and their husbands. And they will have very much work to do for God. Oh, what a great work the women will have to do in the end time, and the men will follow them.”

Makes one think…

What implications do you think it has for today?

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The responsibilities of being a citizen

I’m on jury duty this week–one of the responsibilities of being a citizen of this great country. But it may mean this is the only time I post this week. Here’s how I became a citizen.

Photo Credit: ladybugbkt (Creative Commons)

On May 23rd 2008, I became an American citizen. In a large gymnasium hastily converted into a courtroom, before a presiding judge and with all due pomp and circumstance, I pledged allegiance to my new country and was granted the rights and privileges that citizenship brings.

It was a surprisingly moving ceremony punctuated by patriotic songs and speeches about freedom. There were around 1,100 of us, from 85 different nations. The immigration officials several times spoke of the incredible stories—the hardships that some people had endured to gain the privilege of citizenship. I was sitting next to a man from Bangladesh who had not seen his wife in more than eight years in order that he could become an American citizen and have her come and join him legally. For me, coming from a nation like Britain, I take freedom and justice for granted, but many people were from oppressive regimes or situations where the rule of law has no sway, and poverty and injustice are a way of life. In becoming citizens of the US,  they are liberated.

There were several judges and even a US senator in attendance. An immigration official had to swear on our behalf that all of us had been investigated and no just cause was found whereby we might be denied citizenship, and we all had to raise our right hands and solemnly promise that there was no reason we knew of why we should not become citizens. We were then informed of the rights and privileges we would automatically have as citizens of the United States. These included such things as the right to travel under an American passport, the right to vote and so on. We were also informed of our responsibilities including the fact that any of us could be called on to act as jurors or to fight for our country.

If the occasion arose. America’s wars are now my wars.

Finally, we had to give up any loyalty that we might have had to “kings, potentates and other authorities” and swear allegiance to our new country. We pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and were all  declared to be American citizens, with a certificate to prove it. Then pandemonium broke out as the court adjourned and everyone began celebrating.

I am very proud of my British heritage. My heart is still there. But now I’m also proud to be an American.

This is the second time I have changed citizenship. I was actually born into an oppressive regime that sought to marginalize all its citizens. There was no justice; its citizens frequently lived in fear, and breaking its laws carried the death penalty. At the age of 11, I had the opportunity to change my citizenship and I appeared before a judge. This time, I could not claim that I was worthy to be granted citizenship, but Someone came and stood in my place, and my right to become a citizen of this new country was based on His righteousness rather than my own. And so in the courtroom of heaven, I relinquished my citizenship in the kingdom of darkness and became a citizen of the Kingdom of light ruled by a good, righteous and just King. However, I became more than just a citizen; I was welcomed into the royal family with all the rights and privileges, not just of citizenship, but also of sonship.

Just like becoming an American, there are also responsibilities tied up with citizenship of the Kingdom. I was born again into a nation at war. Like it or not, her wars are now my wars, and God’s Kingdom is in the process of invading the kingdom of darkness. I also have the privilege and responsibility of acting as an ambassador for this Kingdom wherever I go, and of letting others know that they can be free from the oppression of the regime they currently live under.  They too can change citizenship and come under the rule of a King who loves them and is longing to welcome them into His Kingdom.

 

Remembering the reason for Christmas

Here’s an inspiring video that brings Christmas into focus. Enjoy.

Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

A story from the Philippines

For some years we have been friends with Molong Nacua, who lives just 40 minutes from where the worst of Typhoon Haiyan hit in the Philippines. He’s not exactly a house church guy, but he makes disciples all the time. His new disciples go on to make other disciples and so far they have touched about 600 families, reaching to 14 generations of disciples. They don’t hold meetings; for them, life is one long encounter with Jesus in the company of others. Discipleship is practical, and very reproducible.

We stayed with Molong and his lovely family a few years back. They live simply, as an extended family, always taking in others in need. There were two other families and several single guys living with them when we were there. They looked after us like royalty, giving up their bedroom for us to sleep in, producing delicious meals that we ate out in the open, talking and laughing until late in the evening. They took us to the coast–I’ve never seen such an incredible variety of starfish before or since.

So when we heard about Typhoon Haiyan, we were sure that Molong and his community would be in the thick of things. Sure enough, they were.The community, including the children, spent hours and hours preparing hundreds of grocery sacs of food and water to take to those in need.  These they delivered out in the community, visiting different areas, distributing to thousands of people.

As people elsewhere heard the story, they sent them funds that are being used to help provide for those whose lives have been devastated.

The work continues, blessing many whose lives were impacted by the typhoon. Nowthey are rebuilding homes. And alongside all of this, they continue to make and baptize disciples. Eight were baptized just yesterday!

Molong’s blog on Facebook is worth following to give you an idea of what is going on. His pictures are worth a thousand words.

The needs will be ongoing. You can donate to the work Molong and his family are doing via House2House.

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