Saturday, March 10, 2012

When Life doesn’t turn out like you Expect

I first gave this message On April 1st 2010. Yes I had to get up and speak on April Fool’s Day. I wasn’t exactly happy about the timing. But God’s timing and purposes are always right on. I heard Him clearly that this was what I was to do.

God’s Word says in Isaiah 28:16 and Paul repeats in Romans 10:11 that who ever believes on Him will never be ashamed. I trusted and believed and He came through that evening as He always does. I was amazed. But then He is an amazing God. An Amazing Father.

Yes even though my life looked nothing like I had once imagined it would be, I knew that God’s plans were greater, far greater than anything I could have dreamed.

And I did have dreams.

I thought I would have a 30 kids and as many grand children.
Too often over the years I followed what I thought was right and good in my own eyes, rather than what I knew was God’s path.

For example: I knew premarital sex was wrong. Yet, I followed my own desires.

For example: Abortion, Knowing it was wrong, but convincing myself, this was the only way! Truly not wanting to be known to be pregnant, AGAIN! And not wanting to have to publicly say, I was wrong! I made a mistake! I didn’t want to dance to the tune I had written for myself. And ADOPTION! I couldn’t give my child to someone else to raise! I half tried that once! How could I live with myself! How selfish to deny my child life so that I could live with myself. Father forgive me.

For example: Back in the early 2000’s I knew God had called me to Chiapas, but I reasoned myself out of it. I must learn Spanish, I am afraid of going alone. Someone even said it would
make me old. HA! Like I was going to get to skip getting old if I stayed in the states.

On one level I wanted what God wanted for me. But I on another level….

Well anyway, you can see, life had not turned out the way I planned. God’s Word in Jeremiah, says “I know the plans I have for you…”

When I spoke on this subject back in 2010, I said that sometimes life can seem like a cruel joke.

Yet sometimes we are glad that some of our plans haven’t turned out. I am glad I don’t have thirty kids.

Isn’t it funny though, how we really only question …our lives…our God…when things turn out less than what we planned, or wanted.

I wouldn’t give anything for my family, but that abortion still haunts me.

And Chiapas, aahh Chiapas.

Today, I want to talk with you about Moses. Now there is a life to review! For his life definitely didn’t turn out like anyone planned, except God! He knows the plans He had for Moses………

Oh well lets just turn to Exodus 3, starting in verse 1:

{Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the Priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush. “Moses, Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here am I.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place you are standing is holy ground.” Then He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” At this Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.}

You may recall that Moses was born into slavery and under a death penalty, for simply being born a boy. Then in a twist of fate, he winds up being raised and loved by the very household that ordered his death sentence. The house of Pharaoh.
This is one of those times when life didn’t turn out as expected and it was a good thing. 

He didn’t die and…… he didn’t live life as a slave.
So here was Moses raised as royalty in the house of Pharaoh.
Educated in the finest Egypt had to offer.
He learned languages, politics’, math, world religions, history
management strategies, and even the magical arts, and astronomy.
I imagine there was one thing that eluded him though.

He probably was not in line to be Pharaoh.

For he was not Egypt.
With all of his education and sophistication, this one thing would forever be out of his reach.
                And I bet, at least for a time, he wanted it badly.

In his heart of hearts, he knew he was destined for greatness!

Most of us are ambitious for something.

So here’s Moses, who knows about his Hebrew Roots. By God's design his first 3 years were spent with his own mother who would have instilled as much of God in him, and who he was, as she possibly could.
Yes, he felt it! He knew it! He was destined for greatness…
                  but he was not Egypt.
Sometimes we have a hint of God's plan's for out life and instead of waiting we wrap it in human trappings and think we know what we are doing.

Yes, Moses was living a dream.

But even there, in the palace how could he not have a bigger dream? One that was made up of wants and self, lots of self.

Have you ever met anyone who didn’t have a dream? Everyone hopes for something. Please don't misundertand. Their is nothing wrong with dreaming. But, those dreams should not be the goal.

So what was your dream? What was it that you believed could and would happen?

          Where did your dreams come from? Were they born in your childhood?
As a young adult?
Nurtured by parents, teachers, friends?
Where they elaborate?

I think Moses dreams were fueled by the stories he heard at his Hebrew mother’s knee.
The stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob …
But not just that, there was also,
The ambition that being raised and nurtured in the lavish house of Pharaoh brings.
And of course there were the stories of Joseph,
                                                        a Hebrew, second only to Pharaoh.
Exodus 2:11 tells us Moses ventured out and watched his own people at their labor, beneath the task master’s whip.
I can’t tell you what was in Moses heart that day as he observed the abuse these people of which he was apart and was not apart, suffered.
But let me tell you about my heart. Maybe it is your heart too.
When I am watching TV, and one of those commercials come on about starving children, it hurts.
Feeling helpless, I usually look away. Sometimes I send money…Is it guilt, compassion, solution that gnaws at me?
Sometimes I even dream about ways to help in more substantial ways.
If I were rich I reason, if I were a famous singer, or talk show host, I could do something more substantial.
We have seen famous people do some wonderful things. Some have even benefited from their own benevolence.
There is nothing wrong with benefiting in some ways. Sometimes benefiting is impossible to avoid. As Moses heard the call to serve, I can see how he could easily perceive it as a dream, his dream.

I can see how he perhaps began to develop a plan, an educated plan. A plan to benefit the Hebrews and Moses. Why not!
Maybe he decided that he could steal the hearts

                                                     of this multitude of Hebrew slaves, who longed for freedom.

You know years later that is exactly what David’s son Absalom did to his father. (II Samuel 15: 1-6 tells us that Absalom went and sat at the gate of the city “…and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel.”

If a blood son could conceive in his heart such a plan, so too could an adopted son.

Moses could have his dream and become Egypt and set his people free too!

What a noble cause!

Yes I think Moses dreamed he could be the Hebrew deliverer and

They, these Hebrew slaves,

would be his vehicle to power

to become Pharaoh.

But, Moses plans, what ever they were, our plans what ever they are, are never as big, or wonderful as God’s plans.

If you have been a Christian for any length of time you have probably heard about the letter that Jeremiah the weeping prophet sent to those Israelites who had been devastated by war and taken captive by their enemies. God said in Jeremiah 29:11 I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you.

I imagine these people, ripped from their homes, many of their loves ones dead, or sent somewhere else, struggled with this statement. How can Your plans of captivity be better than my plans of freedom?

Well God’s answers in Isaiah 55:8-12 when He says, “My ways are not your ways…”

Even in our salvation, often times we only see that we are saved from hell.

We should also see with eyes of faith, what we have been saved to. Our vision our plans are so small in comparison to His plans. We often live with one foot in Canaan and the other in our past, our Egypt.

When we don’t grow in our faith, when we don’t heed God’s direction, when we don’t wait upon His Word, when we follow our own ways, we should not be surprised when our plans run amuck of problems.

                                       Remember the problems that Moses ran into.

          He goes out to his people, (Exodus 2: 11-10)

          and in perhaps, indignation or anger he kills a man!

          It doesn’t matter what you call it or why he did it…

                                                 I assure you Moses felt justified in his actions.

Verse 12 tells us “…looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.”

Yes, he felt justified!

Don’t we usually feel justified? We seldom do something for no reason. When we act apart from God, whether it turns out right or wrong, we usually can find a way of justifying ourselves.

The ways of a man always seem right to him. Proverbs 14:12 / Proverbs 16: 2, 25

If the man he had killed had been a Hebrew slave,
it probably wouldn’t have mattered to anyone who mattered, especially not to Pharoah.

But, this man was an Egyptian!

Isn’t that the way it unfolds ladies.

Just one misstep, one mistake,

and there are no do over’s…

By the way, it doesn’t look like Moses realizes he has blown it.
As a matter of fact I think he thinks he is still in control and

now really feeling like the deliverer.

Remember David with Bathsheba, he was out of control and didn‘t even know it!

Thinking his plan is unfolding nicely,

Moses returns to the pits for an encore, looking for his applause…

Are you looking for the applause of man? Applause from the world?

Be careful!

Moses returned to the pit to find his people only saw him as a pretender and a murderer.

Oh yes and lets not forget Pharaoh.
Pharaoh, who now sees his Hebrew son as a threat.

                                     A threat that needs to be eliminated!

Have you ever found yourself there, on top of the world,
and then suddenly the world is on top of you?

* crushing and breaking you,

* making you desperate,

* making you run.

* Your heart is pounding,

* the tears, the fears, the panic

* and the utter desperation!

Then you and I have a soul mate in Moses.

He literally went in moments from a dynasty to devastation, and a desert.

Think about it:

Tainted by the glamour and glory of his life in Pharaoh’s palace,

Moses is unskilled and ill prepared to live in the world of



tents and

other indignities

and discomforts.

And yet ladies he survived!

Doors opened even if they were only the flap of a tent.

he survived because God is in the desert too.

So life had not turned out like Moses expected.

· Moses, who would be Pharaoh,

                                                         is now shepherding a flock of nasty sheep in the desert.

· It probably seemed like a cruel trick…  

                                                         I bet he grieved and wept over his loss.

· Have you looked around ladies and found smashed dreams?
                                                        Have you found a Bedouins tent instead of a palace?

It is okay to grieve and be sad. But don't live in the land of regret.

Face it, look at it squarely.
· Is he gone?
· Have your children chosen paths of destruction and ruin?
· Have your careers, turned into dead ends?
· Did you bring it on yourself?
· Did someone else do it to you?

It is okay to grieve and cry….But as you grieve and cry remember

that Moses was right where God wanted him….

at just the right time.

Oh, it still hurt….Like you wouldn’t believe….it hurt!

Sometimes we forget or just don’t want to think about it…but it’s the really hard times we face that are the most important.

And they usually have us right where God wants us.

Even though Moses’ life had run amuck of all his plans and dreams,

God still had His plan.

And unbeknownst to Moses,

God’s plan was to prosper him and all of Israel.

It was a plan to give hope and a future.

At this point Moses probably doesn’t feel like God,

if there is a God, even cares.

And I think Moses is still reliving all of his mistakes, recalling all of the what if’s..

What if he hadn’t gone out that day!

What if he hadn’t lost his temper!

What if…

Ladies, do you trust Him today.

Do you believed God cares about you?

Do you know and believe that even amid this pain God has a plan?

Maybe you don’t know it. Maybe you have just survived…

Maybe like Moses you still aren’t done with your dreams, desert or not…

Maybe like Moses you are still hanging on to Egypt….

Let’s read our text again. Exodus Chapter 3:

"Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the Priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush. “Moses, Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here am I.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place you are standing is holy ground.” Then He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” At this Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God."


You know Ladies, this isn’t written anywhere, but I bet Moses was still hanging on to his Egyptian sandals.

Exodus 2:15 says that Moses fled from Pharaoh. He didn’t have time to change into his hiking boots. When he fled he was probably still wearing his fancy Egyptian designer suit and sandals. Then when he arrives, the Midianites recognized this Hebrew as an Egyptian. Probably because of his clothing and accessories.
When Moses moved into Reuel’s tents, he eventually had to take off his fancy duds. He had to take off Egypt,

to become a shepherd.

I think in those early days in the desert, when the wound was still fresh,

he had put his fancy sandals away and sometimes, as the years went on, when he was having a pity party,

he pulled those sandels out, stuck them in his travel pack and took off to the far side of the desert to try them on again….

away from everybody….

to remember and to weep…

I think he was wearing them that day recalling his lost glory,

when the God of Gory called to him from a burning bush.

Sometimes ladies even when our dreams and plans have fallen,

we still hang on to bits and pieces, as if they would do us any good.

You know ladies, in the bible, up till now, when God first spoke to people, he just showed up and spoke.
Adam, Noah, Abraham, they had no theatrics, no burning bush.

No, God just spoke or He showed up.
But here’s poor Moses;
      who had lived in the house of Pharaoh,
                       tainted by the splendor of the life he had lived.

He did know magic and the arts.

He had lived with the “god King” Pharaoh;
he had probably seen this supposed god stub his toe, become angry and fail.
Yep, Moses would have known Pharaoh was only a man, a lie.

So maybe Moses had difficulty believing in any god. His disbelief was probably not helped by his current circumstance.
So as old Moses shepherds a smelly flock of sheep, he really had no reason to believe.
So what does God do?

          He gives Moses a burning bush.

                           And you know Moses isn’t awed in the least.

He doesn’t yet, fall on his face.

He doesn’t shake in his fancy sandals.

This man who had probably seen and learned magic tricks that stunned the common man,
he is once again only reminded of Egypt and her wonders.
As he looks at that bush, wearing his Egyptian sandals, he is reminded of his loss.

Instead of awe he very nonchalantly walks over and says

“Cool trick let me go over and check this out. I remember when..”

I wonder how often I miss out on the awe and presence of God because I am so

*Busy looking back and remembering what was, or

*Because I am so calloused and jaded by the modern magical world

we live in today.

You know it has been a long time coming. Moses has been through a lot. But God knew exactly what it would take to reach Moses.

God gets Moses attention, and then he speaks…..

God Himself, brought Moses to the exact place he needed to be in order to hear the very

voices of the one true GOD!

Ladies, God Himself knows exactly what it is that you need right now.

         God said to Moses amidst his brokenness and disbelief,

                                          Take off your sandals…

Take off the remnants that are Egypt,

Take off where you have been,

what you have been through,

what you have believed, and stand here with Me. For I am God!

Yes in a gentle voice by the light of who He is, maybe God is calling you to let go of the bits and pieces of your dreams, and embrace the plans that He has for you.

In the light of who HE IS, Egypt pales in comparison.

Maybe right now you are standing on Holy Ground. Maybe God is saying “take off your past, your sorrows and your loss.”

Yes maybe God is speaking to you.

He knows you have been through a lot.

He knows it is hard sometimes to let go

of those bits and pieces of dreams.

Maybe your going through it right now.

It is okay to grieve and ask why.

It is okay to say I don’t want it to be this way. I want to get back to the palace, the dream.

I don’t want to let it go!

But maybe tonight is the night you can lay down the past, and what was.

Maybe you are here tonight and you too have looked at your life and found it isn’t all you had expected.

Maybe you go through the days numbly waiting for it to happen.

Maybe tonight is it.

Don’t miss it.

Don’t be so busy looking back you can’t see God is sending you a burning bush. Won’t you turn aside, come on over take off the past and see what God is doing and preparing you for.







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