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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

GOD AND THE DAD-LECTURE (lessons from the end of Exodus 15)


Blogging  Exodus 15: 25-27

 25 So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.
There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, 26 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”
27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters.



Upon reflection I realized that I when I give my children money it usually comes with a lecture.  Here’s the script:   Here’s $____ .  It’s yours.  Spend it how you want, BUT you know you need ____ and _____ is coming up; so you might wanna _____ first and make sure you ____.  Don’t go and _____ cause you won’t have anything left to _____ and when you can’t  _____ , don’t come running to me asking for another $_____ because you have money to handle your business, right?  O.K.

I can tell that gets on my kids nerves.  I don’t care.  But I can tell.

I bet God can tell, too; cause He does the same kind a thing with His children.

In Exodus chapter 15, the Lord  performed a mighty miracle at the waters of Marah. He transformed the chemical composition of a poisoned spring and saved the escaped Hebrew slaves from death by thirst in the desert.  He gave them sweet water out of a bitter spring.

But before they left Marah, He also gave them a lecture.

. . . the waters were made sweet [, and there] He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them (Exodus 15: 25).

A statute and/or ordinance is a rule, a codified restriction or requirement made part of the law.  We aren’t told what this law was, but we are told why this law was.  It was a test case. 



Before He gave them the Law, before even the 10 Commandments, God wanted to see if these people, this prenatal nation could handle living by God’s rules. 

The lecture I give my kids when I give them money is a test ---- and a plea.  I need to see if they will make responsible choices.  I WANT to see that they will make responsible choices because I want to give them more responsibility, more freedom, and more opportunities for (yes) money.  My lectures are the daddy way I beg them to please do the right thing here, kid; cause there’s more where this came from.   More lectures for sure, but also more blessings.

“If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26).

The God of the Bible has a LOT of rules:  how you have to  treat people, who you should love, who you should forgive, how you should handle your money, who you can have sex with . . . a lot of rules.  But each of those rules is actually a plea.  Every “thou shat” or “thou shalt not” is God saying “Please, please, please, my child.  Show Me that you can responsibly handle this part of the miracle that is your life because I want to bless you with more authority, more power, and more opportunity to grow and to succeed.”



After refreshing Israel at Marah’s one spring, God gave His people a statute and ordinance as a test.  They kept that test-case rule.  And so,  God brought them not to another single spring with a log next to it,  but Then they came to Elim, where there were TWELVE WELLS of water and SEVENTY PALM TREES; so they camped there by the waters.

If you ever feel like God is holding you back with warnings and slowing you down with lessons, take a breath.  It’s all right.  Your Heavenly Father isn’t trying to keep you from enjoying the last blessing or the next blessing.  He is trying to position you for the greater blessings He has stored up for you.

  
---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Bailey Tabernacle CME Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes the popular blog: A Word to the Wise at www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

Click here to support this ministry with a donation.  Or go to andersontgraves.blogspot.com and click on the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar. 
Visit the ministry’s website at baileytabernaclecme.org

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Bailey Tabernacle CME Church
1117 23rd Avenue
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401

I couldn't work this into the blog post, but #
Mrlegendarius 

Monday, January 21, 2019

SALVATION IN THE SHUTDOWN (audio)

The 2nd message in our series from the book of Daniel.  The title is: SALVATION IN THE SHUTDOWN.


Listen well.


If you can’t get the audio on your device, visit the main podcast page at http://revandersongraves.podomatic.com/   

 --Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Bailey Tabernacle CME Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes the popular blog: A Word to the Wise at www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

Click here to support this ministry with a donation.  Or go to andersontgraves.blogspot.com and click on the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar. 
Visit the ministry’s website at baileytabernaclecme.org

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Bailey Tabernacle CME Church
P.O. Box 3145 
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35403



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

GOD's WAY IS THE BEST WAY (audio)

The first message in a series from the book of Daniel.  The title is: GOD’S WAY IS THE BEST WAY.

Listen well.
If you can’t get the audio on your device, visit the main podcast page at http://revandersongraves.podomatic.com/   

 --Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Bailey Tabernacle CME Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes the popular blog: A Word to the Wise at www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

Click here to support this ministry with a donation.  Or go to andersontgraves.blogspot.com and click on the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar. 
Visit the ministry’s website at baileytabernaclecme.org

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Bailey Tabernacle CME Church
P.O. Box 3145 
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35403

Sunday, January 6, 2019

REMEMBER WHO YOU REALLY ARE (audio)

A message from the baptism of Jesus.  The title is: REMEMBER WHO YOU REALLY ARE.


Listen well.

If you can’t get the audio on your device, visit the main podcast page at http://revandersongraves.podomatic.com/   

 --Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Bailey Tabernacle CME Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes the popular blog: A Word to the Wise at www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

Click here to support this ministry with a donation.  Or go to andersontgraves.blogspot.com and click on the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar. 
Visit the ministry’s website at baileytabernaclecme.org

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Bailey Tabernacle CME Church
P.O. Box 3145 
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35403

Friday, January 4, 2019

BITTER TO SWEET (a lesson from the waters of Marah)




blogging Exodus 15:22-27
22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the -wilderness and found no water.
23 Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah.
 24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.
There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, 26 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”
27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters (Exodus 15: 22-27)


After God saved them from Pharaoh’s armies at the Red Sea, the children of Israel were exuberant.  Led by Moses and Miriam, they sang and danced with joy.  They were free, safe, and on their way to a land of milk and honey.  They marched into the desert and kept marching for three days without water, but they didn’t complain.  Finally the dehydrated lines of hopeful Jews  sighted an oasis. But when the first happy Hebrews who outran the company made it to the oasis they discovered water, water everywhere but not a drop that any of them could drink.


  
Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah.

THEN, they complained.


Sometimes, what breaks a people isn’t the lack of hope; it’s the loss of hope. 

Stay in any bad situation long enough and if the abuse is consistent, you get acclimated. You either convince yourself that it’s not really that bad, or you rationalize the pain as the acceptable price for whatever good you draw out of your life, OR you tell yourself that salvation is coming.  You just have to hold on until your change comes.   So you don’t complain. 

But if rescue shows up and then leaves without you, if escape is in your grasp but slips away, if you experience the fulness of real hope that turns to disappointment ---- it’s enough to sever one’s sanity.

Israel didn’t complain during the long, dry walk in the desert.  They held onto hope.  But when the water turned t out to be undrinkable, when hope turned to disappointment, they snapped.

And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 

Their hopes had been raised and dashed and they were so angry, so bitter that they named the location Marah which means “bitter.”


Undrinkable water after 3 days with no water is a major problem.  But, the presence of a problem isn’t a problem; only the absence of a solution is a problem.

You may have gotten the job you prayed for and found yourself in a bitter work environment. 
You may be in the marriage God ordained for you but not be quite as happy as you’d dreamed. 
You may have been born again by the redeeming power of Jesus but temptation and trouble is stealing the peace you were promised.
The blessing for which you’d hope may have turned out to be so much trouble that you feel bitter.

Now look to God and let Him direct your path and your line of sight.  What does God see in your situation that you don’t? 


At the waters of Marah, Moses set his attention on God.  So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.


By itself, the water was another problem, but God hadn’t only provided a spring. He’d also provided a tree, and taken together, the water-tree combination wasn’t a problem.  It was a solution, a sweet, sweet solution for every thirsty every man, woman, child, and animal among the children of Israel. 

What does God want to show you in your situation that you hadn’t noticed because you were so absorbed by the problem? 

Let go of your bitterness and give your attention to the Savior who brought you this far.  Let God redirect your focus to include the full package He has provided.  

See the opportunities that all those conniving coworkers unwittingly leave on the table for you because they’re too busy playing social games.  See the ways you can grow   into your best self when you stop expecting your spouse to MAKE happy (which is the same as expecting your spouse to make you be happy).  See on the banks of the living waters of your salvation the tree of A life that you can live now, positively doing greater works instead of passively waiting for God to remake the world around you.

Maybe the ingredients for turning your bitter situation into a sweet blessing are already available.  Maybe they’ve always been available.  Maybe you just need to let God show you what you’ve been overlooking.


That would be pretty sweet, huh?

Romans 5:5  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
  
---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Bailey Tabernacle CME Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes the popular blog: A Word to the Wise at www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

Click here to support this ministry with a donation.  Or go to andersontgraves.blogspot.com and click on the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar. 
Visit the ministry’s website at baileytabernaclecme.org

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Bailey Tabernacle CME Church
1117 23rd Avenue
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401



Tuesday, January 1, 2019

ALMOST THERE, AGAIN (audio)

A message to end a year and begin a new season.  The title is: ALMOST THERE AGAIN.


Listen well.

If you can’t get the audio on your device, visit the main podcast page at http://revandersongraves.podomatic.com/   

 --Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Bailey Tabernacle CME Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes the popular blog: A Word to the Wise at www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

Click here to support this ministry with a donation.  Or go to andersontgraves.blogspot.com and click on the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar. 
Visit the ministry’s website at baileytabernaclecme.org

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Bailey Tabernacle CME Church
P.O. Box 3145 
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35403