Jesus is the Rock
Behold I am laying in Zion, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.
Recently I met with a group of women to pray for the Lord’s direction in beginning a new ministry in our church. One of the ladies referenced the Old Testament account of Aaron and Hur holding up the arms of Moses, while the Israelites fought the Amalekites.
Through the He Is Your Life ministry, the Lord has given our team the blessing of coming alongside pastors around the world by praying for their ministries. In a prayer request from one of the pastors, he also referenced this same passage in Exodus. Since the Lord brought this to my attention twice in one week I figured He wanted me to take a closer look at this event in the Bible.
Exodus 17:8-16 tells us about a battle the Israelites faced against the Amalekites. Joshua led the Israelites in battle while Moses stood on a hill overlooking the battle. As long as Moses’ staff was raised God’s people had the advantage. But, when he dropped his hands the Amalekites gained the advantage. Verse 12 says “Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up.”
So Aaron and Hur found a stone for Moses to sit on. They stood on each side of Moses holding his hands steady until the Israelites defeated the enemy. This passage shows us how we are to come alongside others and lift them up as they do what the Lord has called them to do. As I read this passage this time, I saw something new: Aaron and Hur found a stone for Moses to sit on. Moses' strength was gone and they brought a rock to rest on.
Psalm 118:22 refers to the Messiah as “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”. In Matthew 21:42 Jesus refers to this passage as finding its fulfillment in Him. 1 Peter 2:6 reads “Behold I am laying in Zion, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame”.
Aaron and Hur brought a rock to Moses to support him. He put his full weight on that rock because he did not have the strength to stand. In this I see a beautiful picture of how Jesus is our Rock. We can put the full weight of our trust on Jesus. He is our firm foundation and like Peter says, “whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame”.
Isn’t it so wonderful, when we trust Jesus “we will not be put to shame!” We can trust that Jesus will give us the strength and resources to accomplish the work He has called us to do, because He is our Rock, our firm foundation.
Jesus told a parable in Matthew 7 about the foolish man who built his house on the sand. When the storm came the house fell. But the wise man built his house on the rock and when the storm came the house stood firm.
As we obey what the Lord calls us to do there will be storms. Some of the storms are used by the enemy to deter us, but some are allowed by the Lord to strengthen us and to reveal where we think we are trusting Him but we are trusting in ourselves. That is the sand Jesus warns about. When we trust Jesus to work in and through us we are standing on The Rock.
Weekly Memory Verse
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding
Have you ever been around a child who incessantly asks, “Why”? I experience the “why?” stage with each of my five children.
The stage of “why?” can be fun at first; when the preschool-age children becomes aware of the world around them. They begin to wonder why things happen. Curiosity can be a good thing. It can lead to discovery and knowledge and growth.
But, when “why?” is asked over and over and over again, it leads to frustration, weariness and even a growing numbness on the part of the person being questioned. Ask any parent of a young child in the “why?” stage of life. There are times when there are no answers to the “why?” barrage of inquiries. Sometimes, we simply don’t know “why?”. A child who constantly has the need to know “why?” wears us out. Similarly, as an adult, I realize that my own incessant desire to know “why?” behind circumstances wears me out.
Have you been there? Have you ever thought that if you just knew the “why?” behind your circumstance it would be easier to handle; it would be easier to be patient; it would be easier to cope.
I have noticed that my desiring to know “why?” and asking my Heavenly Father “why?” over and over again, brings a lot more angst and frustration than peace.
In my limited understanding, I think that if I only knew “why?” then I would have peace. However, our Heavenly Father knows this is not the case. Our Lord knows that what actually brings the peace we yearn for is to trust Him with everything that is making us scream “why?” on the inside.
Trusting God’s character and His truth brings us peace. Asking “why?” causes a growing distrust and unrest.
So, in the times when I am tempted to ask the “why”, question I need to look to the truths in God’s word that place me on the pathway to peace of mind and heart. Here are a few Scripture verses that remind me that God cares for me and I can trust Him no matter what:
~Genesis 16:13: “She (Hagar) gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’”
No matter what I may be going through, I know God sees where I am, and that truth gives me comfort. If for no other reason, I can praise God for being the God who sees me.
~Psalm 31:14-15: “But I trust in You, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands….”
~Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
~Isaiah 46:4: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
~1 Peter 5:6-7: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
Keeping a list of Scripture verses that bring you comfort, hope and peace during difficult times is important. It reminds us of who God is and that He is bigger than our tough times. God cares about us more than we can imagine.
Weekly Memory Verse
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
I find that certain words generate different emotions in me. For example, the word “mountains” brings feelings of peacefulness while the word “crowds” makes me feel stressed. These are both based on experiences. With this being said, I was reading a daily devotional that had the word “adversity” in the title. I admit to you that I could feel my guard going up. My mind was beginning to form questions for God about my near future. I can’t say that I’m fond of the word ‘adversity,’ because I am not!
I do appreciate that a devotional shares what God is teaching the author, and I can learn much from it, too. But I believe that God wants to speak to each of us through His Word daily. And with my reaction to the title... not to mention the entire devotion, I quickly realized that I needed to hear a fresh word from the Lord to help my thoughts line up with His will for me.
We know that we are going to face adversity in this life. 1 Peter 4:12a reminds us, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you.”
Today, are you struggling in your marriage? Are their difficult relationships in your life that overwhelm your thoughts? Are you wondering how the bills are going to be paid? Is your character being questioned? Are you being verbally attacked for your faith, or do you find some people choosing to keep you at a distance due to your firm stance on the Bible?
The apostle Paul helps us navigate these times of adversity... as he experienced more difficulties than most of us. He shares in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
Paul goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 4:11, “For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.”
Later in the passage Paul described our mortal bodies as jars of clay. According to 2 Timothy 2:20, clay was used for common purposes. God desires to fill us with Himself, putting divine treasure in jars of clay. Why? As stated in 2 Corinthians 4:7, “to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
To be clear, Paul is saying that because of the power of God at work in his fragile body, he is: hard pressed but NOT crushed, perplexed but NOT in despair, persecuted but NOT abandoned, and struck down but NOT destroyed.
Paul is testifying of God’s love and faithfulness.
May the meditation of our hearts be Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
And may the prayer of our hearts be that we can look at adversity as an opportunity to allow the life of Jesus to manifest itself in each of us.
"No matter how difficult something may be, I must say, 'Lord, I am delighted to obey You in this.'" -Oswald Chambers
Weekly Memory Verse
….The LORD is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does
Over two years ago, when Hurricane Irma was about to destroy Florida, my husband and I were away from home, our five grown children, their spouses, our 8 grandchildren, our extended family, friends and our two dogs. We were not in danger, BUT everyone else was in the direct path of a Category 5 hurricane. I was helpless and definitely not in control! I was trying to praise the Lord and walk by faith; however, I found myself thinking, “You are a good, good Father BUT our family is in trouble. Father, I know that you can keep our children safe, BUT there are so many dangerous situations. Lord, You are sovereign BUT how could you allow us to be so far from home when You knew this hurricane was coming?”
I was struggling to trust Him completely through this storm and by adding the word but to my thoughts - that little three-letter word - I was questioning and doubting His goodness and making excuses for my fears. My focus was on the situation and NOT on the Lord Almighty. I was forgetting that “…the LORD is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does” (Psalm 145:13, NIV).
We can make excuses or possibly blame others for our actions when things don’t go the way we want them to go - OR we can be more like the three Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach and Abdnego in Daniel 3. These young men were facing a life or death situation. They only had control over how they were going to respond to the situation., They had been promoted by King Nebuchadnezzar to oversee the affairs in the province of Babylon. When the king commanded everyone to worship the golden image that he had made, the young men were willing to be thrown into a fiery furnace rather than bow down to a golden image. They proclaimed “…the God we serve is able to deliver us from the blazing furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know…that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17 & 18, NIV). In the face of certain death, they were willing to completely trust and cling to the Lord God Almighty. Whether God delivered them from the fiery furnace or allowed them to die, they were still going to trust Him.
The king had the boys bound and thrown into the fiery furnace. He did not see them burning, he saw them walking around freely AND they were no longer alone! The king saw four men walking in the fire and the fourth looked like the Son of God (Daniel 3:25). The one true Living God entered that fire, protected those boys and caused the king to be astonished and admit that their Lord was the Most High God!
What an amazing example for us! When we are faced with a terrible situation, God will either deliver us from it or He will walk with us through it - no buts about it! Either way, He is always trustworthy!
Weekly Memory Verse
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.