Choose Christ!

Hebrews 11:24-26

24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
 
When Moses chose to follow God, there is much he was turning his back on. He could have spent the rest of his life enjoying the comforts of royalty high above the rest of the people, especially the Hebrew slaves. However, when he left the palaces and looked on the burdens of his people and the abuse they were enduring through their Egyptian slave drivers he chose to help them by killing their oppressor. This event sent him fleeing into the wilderness where God met him at the burning bush to send him back as God’s ambassador.
 
Look at the way the writer of Hebrews puts it, he chose affliction and persecution over sinful pleasures, he chose the promise of riches in Christ over the abundant riches of the Egyptian empire. I am convinced that one of the greatest enemies that we face today is the enemy of comfort. We like things the way they have always been. We don’t like to rock the boat. We like to stay comfortable. But God calls us to leave our comfort zones and follow him. Sometimes its to the mission field, sometimes its in front of a Sunday school class, sometimes its across the street to share the gospel with a neighbor.
 
Compared to what Moses gave up to follow God, having to get up off of my comfy recliner to serve him seems like a small thing, but that doesn’t mean its still not difficult. I pray often that God keeps me uncomfortable. I don’t ever want to find myself satisfied with my walk with Christ, with my service to Christ. I want to be like Paul and always be looking ahead to the horizon, following hard after Him. 
 
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ let us examine our walk with Him and determine to choose the Riches of Christ over anything this world has to offer!


On the shoulders of Giants

 
Hebrews 11:23
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.
 
Isaac Newton was a mathematician, astronomer, theologian, author and physicist who is widely recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time and is most famous for discovering the Laws of Gravity. But Newton knew that he was not alone in all that he accomplished. In his letter to Robert Hooke he borrowed an old phrase and wrote, “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of giants.” While he was a brilliant man in his own right, he acknowledged the men who came before him who helped make him into the man he was.
 
It is this phrase that comes to my mind today as I consider our latest example of faith. We have come to the life of Moses and, though he followed God to do awesome things, his life of faith began with the faith of his parents. In spite of the command from the king to throw all new-born males into the Nile River,  the parents of Moses kept his birth a secret for 3 months. Then when he grew too much to keep hidden, his mother made a small boat for him and set the child afloat on the river, effectively placing him in the hands of God. We know the rest of the story, how the daughter of Pharaoh came “at just the right time” to wash and found Moses in the little improvised boat. She had her servants look for a Hebrew woman who had recently given birth to nurse the baby, which just so happened to be Moses mother. He was raised as royalty, given all of the training of a prince and prepared for command. I don’t know about you, but too many coincidences for me! God’s hand can be seen through each of these circumstances as He prepared His man for leading His people. 
 
Think of the Examples of Faith we have seen so far: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph. Each of these walked with God in faith. (I wander what stories of Faith Moses’ nurse (mother) told him as she cuddled her son in the Pharaoh’s place). Moses knew that he stood on the shoulders of spiritual giants whose examples he followed as he led the children of Israel through the wilderness wanderings toward the promised land. 
 
Think back on your life. Whose shoulders do you stand on? Whose life stands as a pedestal for you to see farther than they did, to go farther than they did, to serve God closer than they did? I can count many in my own life. My parents of course. Teachers who motivated me, preachers who helped me see God as I have never seen him before, and friends who have encouraged me to do more than I ever dreamed I could. It makes me wonder, will my children be able to stand on my shoulders and see further than I did? Will those in my church be able to stand on my shoulders and do more for Christ? Will someone one day look back on my life and say “I am standing on the shoulders of Giants”. Not that I want the notoriety, but I desire my life to be the motivation to make others want a closer walk with my Lord.
 
Today, as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ let us remember those on whose shoulders we stand as we press forward to share the Gospel of Christ. And as we do, let us strive to live a life of faith that others can use as a pedestal to see and go even further in their walk with Jesus!
 


Don’t get Comfortable

Hebrews 11:22

22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

I remember when I was growing up, there would be days when we would go to a friends house and my mom or dad would say, “Don’t get too comfortable, we will be leaving soon”. This was a warning for me to be ready at anytime for them to tell me to get in the car so we could go home.
 
In some ways our verse today reminds me of these times. It points us back to the last couple of verse in the book of Genesis at the death of Joseph. He told his people that there is coming a day when they would leave Egypt to receive the promises of God, and when they did, they were to take his bones with them to the promised land.  Joseph was an expert at “not getting comfortable” while waiting for God to say its time to go. When he was sold into slavery in Egypt he refused to get comfortable in Potiphar’s house even when tempted to sin with his owners wife. When he was thrown into prison he refused to resign himself to his lot and get comfortable. Instead he remained faithful to the gifts God had blessed him with and looked for the day he would be freed. He refused to get comfortable in his present circumstances, knowing that God was going to fulfill the vision that he had been given and lift him up into a position of authority in the land.
 
Now he is telling the children of Israel that there is coming a day when God will keep the promise that He had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He told them “don’t get comfortable here in Egypt, God has somewhere for you to go!” And when you go, take my bones with you! 
 
The application for us is easy to see, though maybe not so easy to put into practice. Scripture tells us we are strangers dwelling in a land not our own. Our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth and we are not supposed to get “too comfortable” here. Our time here is limited and we can see the signs of the time all around us. Here are the two lesson that I want us to take away from the devotion this morning. Always be ready for that Trump to sound and to hear His voice saying “its time to go home”. But don’t get so caught up in what is in front of us that we forget to be faithful right here, right now. While Joseph knew he would not be a slave forever, he was still the most faithful slave he could be. While he knew he would not be in prison forever, he was the best prisoner he could be. Whatever God has called you to be in this world, strive to be the most faithful at it until the day when God calls you home.
 
Today, Let us ReFocus our hearts on minds on Christ as we remain faithful to him in this life by pointing others to him until the day when we here those words “It’s time to go Home!”.