Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Saul gets new life and new name

Here are my lesson notes from my Junior Church Lesson for April 21. 

Why do I post these …. so I don’t lose them.  Smile

Acts 8:1-4

8 And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.

3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.


The stoning of Stephen stunned the thousands of believers in Jerusalem, and now word spread throughout the city that the Sanhedrin, the council of Jewish leaders, was planning to stamp out belief in Jesus before it could get any stronger. A great wave of new persecution began sweeping the city, and nearly all the believers, except the apostles, left Jerusalem and moved out into Judea and Samaria. Whole families left as quickly as they could. Some went north toward Syria, others south toward Egypt and other faraway places.

Why did God allow this terrible persecution and suffering to come upon the believers? Couldn't He have stopped it?

Of course, He could. But sometimes God permits hard and difficult experiences to come to His people in order to get them to carry out His plan and purposes.

Jesus had said, "You will be mv witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and unto Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Up to this time, the gospel had only gone to the city of Jerusalem; the apostles and other believers had been very slow to carry the gospel beyond Jerusalem. God had been patient with His servants.

Many Jews had been brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, but so far no one had carried the message further.

Therefore God allowed the persecution to force His people to get on with His great commission—to get this good news of Jesus to the ends of the earth.

God often shakes us out of our comfort, laziness, and selfishness in order to get us to give His message to the mam- people who have never heard how to be saved. God doesn't want all of us to settle down here where people can easily hear the gospel.

The believers who fled Jerusalem and were scattered abroad "went everywhere preaching the Word." Thus people in other countries were beginning to hear the gospel.

So they were really the first missionaries.

Those who sought to crush the work that Jesus had begun in the hearts and lives of men saw it growing and spreading everywhere. The more they tried to kill faith in Christ, the bigger and stronger it became.

Our lesson today is about Saul. We first hear about him at the scene of Stephen's death.

Saul was a proud Jewish leader and he would have been happy to see all the Christians destroyed. He was sure they were wrong. He hated the name of Jesus and he approved of the stoning of Stephen. He grew up in Tarsus and had been taught to strictly follow the traditions of the Pharisees.

Saul had watched the dying Stephen as his face shined as the face of an angel, and he was shocked to hear Stephen pray for God to bless his murderers.

Of all the enemies of Christianity, Saul was the worst. Everywhere he went, he sought to destroy the church.

He would even go into people’s homes and drag out the men and women who believed in Christ.

Saul left Jerusalem and he was on his way to track down some of the believers who had left the city for other parts of the country,

Saul went to the High Priest in Jerusalem and asked for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found anyone in Damascus who belonged to the Way (a name given to the early group of believers), whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners and bring them back to Jerusalem and to their death.

With his mind full of plans for wiping out the believers, Saul started on his long journey to Damascus, leading a small group of men that would assist him in his project.

The journey was long and lonely. Saul had plenty of time to think all the things he had done the past couple of months. All the people he had put into jail for believing in Jesus. He remembered the day he watched Stephen die.

It was about high noon that day as they traveled. Everybody was hot, tired, and thirsty, yet they pressed on.


Acts 9:3-5

3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.


What do you think Saul was thinking?

Why did he call him Lord?

Do you think he knew at once who this was?

After all how could Jesus be here on the road to Damascus?

Could this be the very person whom Stephen and the other believers declared had risen from the dead?

Is He indeed the King of Glory as they claimed?

Then and there, at that moment, the truth broke upon his heart, and Saul came to understand the great truth that Jesus is the Christ.

Saul knew at once that this was no dream. He had seen the risen, glorified Christ, Who had spoken to him and had called him by name.

Suddenly all the hatred within Saul's heart ended. Saul was converted to Jesus Christ right then and there on the road to Damascus; he accepted Christ as his Savior, and Saul tremblingly called Jesus "Lord."


Acts 9:6 - 8

6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.

8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus.


Think about what the other men must have thought. They didn’t see anything. They heard sound and then Saul fell to the ground and then he was blind.

The others would have been frightened. Do you think any of them thought I wonder why God did this to Saul? Do you think they were thankful that they were not blinded?


Acts 9:9 - 16

9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered.

11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.

12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem.

14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.

16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”


Put yourself in Ananias’s shoes for a moment. Saul had a reputation of killing Christians. The last person on the earth he wanted to meet, let alone help, was Saul.

How would you respond if God asked you to help someone who wanted to arrest you and kill you?

How did God describe Saul to Ananias? Chosen instrument to take the gospel to the Gentiles.

Who are the Gentiles?


Acts 9:17 - 25

17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,

19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.

20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.

21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”

22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.

23 After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him,

24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him.

25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.


Ananias’s fear vanishes and he does what God tells him to do.

He finds Saul and heals him. Scales fall from his eyes and he could see again.

What does Saul do next? Gets baptized

This is a symbol of his new birth in Christ and his desire to be obedient to God. His baptism shows the world that he is now a follower of Christ.

After meeting Jesus, Saul was a new man. His old ways and habits were gone. He would spend the rest of his life preaching about Jesus.

After his baptism, he spent some time with the disciples.

Why did he want/need to spend time with them?

Do you think they immediately accepted him into their group? Why or why not?

Why did the Jews want to kill Saul? He was proof that Jesus was alive and could change people’s hearts and lives. Many Jews were listening to Saul and believing him.

Paul writes this verse to the church at Corinth:


“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”    2 Corinthians 5:17


How does this describe what happened on the road to Damascus?

God uses Saul’s experiences to help him spread the gospel. His witness is more effective because his life was so drastically changed. If God can save Saul, he can save anyone.


1 Timothy 1:12-16

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.

13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

So when did Saul become Paul?

For a long time I thought that happened at his conversion.  However, I don’t believe this to be true.

It was customary for people to have more than one name. He used his Hebrew name “Saul” in Jewish settings and his Roman name Paul in his Roman environment. His father was a Roman citizen and so that was also Paul’s heritage.

Paul is a fully Romanized name with no Jewish tradition attached to it. He may have changed his name to embrace his new mission as an apostle to the Gentiles. This would allow the Gentiles to more readily accept him.

A new name is also linked to a new life. Abram became Abraham. Jacob became Israel. Simon became Peter. Sarai became Sarah. The Bible is full of examples of people whose lives have been transformed then changing their names.

The name change did not happen immediately. But after Acts 13:9, he is exclusively called Paul.

Earth Day

Yesterday was Earth Day. Earth day is an annual holiday, celebrated on April 22nd. It is set aside each year to increase awareness and demonstrate support for environmental issues. It was first celebrated in 1970 and it brought 20 million Americans out into the spring sunshine for peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental reform.

Sounds kind of good, or does it?

There is more behind what has been designated as Earth Day than planting trees, reducing pollution, and conserving natural resources. Of course, a lot of what is promoted on this day certainly sounds admirable. Furthermore, Christians are to be good stewards in caring for the earth (Genesis 1:28). But there is a lot more to Earth Day than meets the eye.

For example, material can be found on how to worship “Mother Earth.” For many people, this day is really a religious service for the New Age movement. While we may be responsible for caring for the earth, we are not to worship it. We are to use it for man’s good—and to God’s glory.

Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day, stated, “The fate of the living planet is the most important issue facing mankind.”

In reality, the most important issue facing mankind is what will happen to them if they die without accepting Christ as their Savior.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Many are worried about the fate of the planet. While we are responsible to care for the earth, its fate is not really in our hands. It belongs to the Creator (Psalm 24:1), and we are His stewards. We care for the creation, which was once “very good” (Genesis 1:31), but now suffers from the curse of sin (Genesis 3).

We live in a cursed world. The once perfect creation is affected by sin. (Romans 8:22). Things you hear about global warming and climate changes, those are all a part of this curse. Yes, there has been some evidence for slight global warming at times. This is a natural occurrence in today’s fallen world. However, it will not lead to the doomsday events that people are predicting. How do I know? 2 Peter 3:7-10 tells us that it is God who will end this present world when He determines it is the right time and He will create a new heavens and earth.

Should Christians care about the earth? Of course! We have a duty given to us by God to be good stewards of the Lord’s resources. (Psalm 24:1, Colossians 3:23) Also, we are commanded in Genesis to care for God’s creation. We are to use it for man’s good and God’s glory. (Genesis 1:26-28)

However, we are also cautioned not to put the creation over the Creator. Romans 1 warns against worshipping the creation, and yet many Earth Day celebrations are founded in evolutionary ideas. We must remember that nature is not perfect. God cursed the ground in Genesis 3:17. Thorns and thistles came into existence because of the curse.

“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:25

Earth Day and its founders and proponents are at war with the gospel because they promote false worship. The Christian response should be this simple thought: Jesus Christ is the Creator, and He alone is to be worshipped. He created man as the pinnacle of creation and determined that humans would be the only part of creation to be made in the very image of God, and that man as the image-bearer of God would rule over the earth.

The Bible has a great deal to say about our use of the resources of the world and our relationship to the earth. Of all people, Christians who honor the Creator should have a passion for creation. It is the duty of man to cultivate, wisely manage, and carefully steward the earth because God made it and assigned man to care for it.

Saving the planet will not save man or ensure him a future on this planet. You cannot save the earth. But man can be saved. Salvation is found in Jesus Christ — the Creator! It is this Creator through whom we live and breathe and have our being. (Acts 17:28) It is the very power of His Word that holds the worlds together.



Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 10:13 "For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Romans 10:9-10 "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."


Some ideas in this post come from Ken Ham and http://www.answersingenesis.org/

Monday, April 15, 2013

I lost my best friend

pup21Last week was a particularly hard week for my family. Our wonderful family dog got sick and we ended up having to put him to sleep.

We had Lucky for 12 years. He was a member of our family. When Randy moved last April and Beth and I were left in Georgia for 2 more months, Lucky slept beside my bed. He kept me company and would listen to all my problems. He never judged me. He loved me unconditionally.

When I came home from work on Thursday, April 4th, I noticed that something was wrong. He staggered a little bit and actually fell down a couple times. I was concerned but thought perhaps he was tired. There had been men working outside our house that day and perhaps he hadn’t gotten any sleep.

lucky3The next morning he didn’t look any better. We “penned” him in our kitchen and we left for work. When I got home that Friday night, he was worse. My daughter came home from college that night and witnessed him “collapsing” in our kitchen. We immediately called the vet and got an appointment for Saturday morning.

The vet took x-rays and did blood work and told us all his tests came back normal. We put him on a special diet and gave him some medicine. He continued to get worse.

IMG_5614Tuesday night, April 9th, our daughter called to check on him and we told her he was not doing well and we didn’t think he would make it through the week. That night my husband had to carry him out to use the bathroom. He placed him on his bed and I hand fed him some shredded chicken. I had to hold the water dish up to his mouth for him to drink.

Wednesday night, April 10th, our daughter drove home from college (an hour away) to see Lucky. She saw that her Dad had to carry him out to the bathroom. Lucky stood long enough to “go” and then took one step forward and collapsed. He lay there unable to get up. We carried him back in and he refused to eat anything. He refused to drink. We were able to hand dip some water and get him to lick our hands. We then decided that it was time to call the vet. The vet was unsure exactly what happened to our “buddy” but he thinks it must have been a brain tumor. Lucky went peacefully to sleep that night. We cried our eyes out. We missed him terribly.lucky

Some Christians believe that pets don’t go to heaven because they don’t have souls. They were not created in the image of God. The Bible doesn’t tell us whether heaven includes animals or not. It does say that not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without God knowing about it.

It can be argued that while people must come to faith in Christ in order to enter into heaven, and that the same rules do not apply to animals when they die. Our furry friends don’t struggle with being obedient to God.

I cannot say for sure what happens to animals when they pass away. I can look at what I know about God and go from there.

IMG_0469The first thing we see in the bible is that as the Creator, God loves and enjoys all he created. It was good (Genesis 1:31) and He cares and provides for it (Psalm 104).

The Bible also tells us that God is good and that he always does what’s right.

“You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.” (Psalm 119:68)

This theme runs throughout the Bible.

Finally, we see that the God’s main purpose in the work is to save people from their sin. He has a special plan for humanity that is different than the rest of creation.IMG_0464

So, God’s focus is on having a relationship with people but he does love and care for all His creation. I can’t say for sure that Lucky is in heaven but I can trust God and know that He always does what is right and good.

Lucky loved us unconditionally. He didn’t care what we looked like. He didn’t care how much money we made. He didn’t care what jobs we had. All he wanted was our love and attention. So I will grieve for him because I miss him greatly but I know that God loves me and He loves Lucky, too.


"O Lord, You preserve both man and beast." Psalm 36:6

"A righteous man regards the life of his animal." Proverbs 12:10

In God’s future kingdom, all pain will be gone. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I create all things new.’ And He said to me, “Write this down, for these words are true and faithful.’” Revelation 21:4,5.

“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalms 46:1

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Psalms 46:1

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I missed Easter – Part 2

So why is Easter a big deal. For some people Easter is strictly about the Easter bunny, chocolate, dyed eggs, and family dinners. For me, it is much more than that.

Easter is important because it proved that Jesus was who He claimed to be. He was God in the flesh, and He came to earth to save us.

There were three events on that first Easter morning that I’d like to look at: Jesus’ trial, His death, and His resurrection.

The Trial

Jesus actually went through six trials. In that one night, he was brought before Annas, Caiphas (the high priest), the Sanhedrin (the religious Supreme Court), Pilate (the governor of Jerusalem), Herod (the governor of Galilee), and then back to Pilate. At the end of those six trials, what did they find to accuse him of?

Nothing. He had done nothing wrong.

They brought in people to make up phony charges, but those didn’t stick. Finally they convicted him on one count: claiming to be the Son of God. That’s the sole reason Jesus went to the cross. They didn’t like that claim.

How did they make that claim stick? Jesus admitted to it. He testified against himself. So when the liars didn’t give enough evidence, He willingly handed them the evidence they needed for a death sentence.

Jesus claimed to be the Savior of the world.

John 12:47, Jesus says: “I didn’t come to judge the world. I came to save it.” He allowed himself to be put on trial so there would be no doubt about who He was. He could have stopped the trial at any moment. He knew He would be proven guilty and put on the cross -- but he allowed it to happen. It was all part of the plan.

The Death

After enduring a night of beatings and mocking, and after having a crown of thorns thrust upon his head, Jesus was crucified. Crucifixion was torture. His hands were stretched out wide against the cross and nailed through the two bones in each wrist.

If you hung this way for any period of time, the muscles around your chest cavity began to be paralyzed. You’d be able to breathe in but you couldn’t breathe out.

Death on a cross would have been a simple matter of suffocation.  However, the Romans took his knees and bent them a little bit and nailed his feet to the cross.

So he hung there in absolute agony until the pain in his chest was about to explode -- and then he would lift himself up on his nailed feet to grab a breath.

When the pain in his feet grew unbearable, he’d let himself back down again -- until the pain in his lungs became unbearable. It was an incredibly torturous event.

Eventually, the soldiers would break the legs of the criminal to hasten death by suffocation. In the case of Jesus, they didn’t have to break his legs, because he had already died.

Just to make sure, they stuck a spear in his side. Water and blood came out of the chest cavity.

Why did Jesus have to die? Because He alone was able to pay for our sins. We deserved punishment, but Jesus paid the penalty for us.

The Resurrection

After Jesus died, they took his body down and put him in the tomb, and a giant stone was set in front of the cave. The religious leaders -- worried that Jesus’ body might be stolen and so they asked for Roman guards to be posted in front of the tomb. 

The stone didn’t stop Him.  The guards didn’t stop Him.  Jesus rose from the dead and walked out.

“... by being raised from the dead he was proved to be the mighty Son of God, with the holy nature of God himself.” (Romans 1:4, LB)

Historical records say he showed himself to 500 people at one gathering. Can you imagine witnessing his death and then seeing him walking around Jerusalem three days later!

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, the skeptics mocked him and said, “If you’re the Son of God, why don’t you just pull yourself down from that cross?  Why don’t you just come down and show that you’re really God?”  Jesus had something more spectacular planned.  He said, “I’m going to let you bury me for three days, then I’ll come back to life to prove that I am what I am.”

What does this mean to us today?

Jesus died to pay the penalty of death that I deserve for my sin. He was buried and rose with a glorified body, gaining victory over death and the grave. When I put my faith in Him, I have the promise of one day having a body like our Lord’s and reigning with Him in heaven.

What’s your verdict?

Easter really boils down to only two issues.

  • One, is Jesus who he says he is?  Is he God?
  • And two, if he is who he says he is, are you going to place your faith in Him?  Will you accept his payment on the cross for your sin?

Today, you sit in judgment of Jesus.  Just as Pilate asked, “What shall I do then with Jesus who is called the Christ?”  What’s your verdict?


1 John 1:8-9 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Philippians 3:20-21 “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

2 Timothy 2:11-12 “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;”

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I missed Easter – Part 1

I awoke in a sweat around midnight on Saturday. I sat up and the room was spinning viciously. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. It was like being on a Tilt-a-Whirl that wouldn’t quit. I tried again to open my eyes. I tried to force them to focus on the window across the room. I couldn’t do it. I started to feel nauseous. I called for my husband.

I had been experiencing short dizzy spells all week but nothing quite like this. We decided that I should go to the ER. I was able to hold off vomiting until we arrived at the hospital but then out it came all over the parking lot.

I staggered into the ER with help from my husband and daughter. I must have looked bad because they took me in and immediately got me a bed.

We spent most of the early morning hours there. I was given numerous medications, an EKG, and a CAT Scan. The dizziness started to clear up. It had lasted almost three hours. They determined that I had a severe case of vertigo and it was most likely caused by a virus in my inner ear.

It is now Wednesday and I am some better. The medications from the ER made me sleep all day Sunday and most of the day Monday. I am still experiencing dizziness from time to time. I made an appointment, as recommended by the ER doctor, with a specialist but he can’t see me until May.

I feel defenseless. I feel out of control because I have no warning when these spells will strike and I can’t do anything to stop them. I am afraid – afraid I will fall, afraid to drive a car, afraid to go down a set of stairs ….

I had to drive to work today. On the hour drive to work, I sang praise songs and prayed. I asked God to keep me safe. I arrived at work and breathed a big sigh of relief.

I am trusting God moment by moment to get me through right now. I trust that He knows what is best for me. I trust that He will take care of me. I know that all things work together for good for those who love God. I am waiting on the Lord for strength and I trust Him to work all things out.

I am frustrated that I missed Easter. Easter is my favorite Christian holiday. It is because of Easter that I am saved and look forward to heaven. I’ll comment more on that tomorrow …


“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31

Monday, April 1, 2013

Our wilderness lessons

Many people have been asking me how I like my new house.  I love my new house.  We went through quite a lot to get where we are. 

If you’ve been following me on my blog, you know that we lived with my parents for 9.5 months while we were selling our properties in Georgia and getting our new house built in Pennsylvania. There were a lot of stressful times with permits and contactors and things. 

There were times we got very frustrated with the process but we knew we were where God wanted us to be. We felt led by God throughout our journey of relocating.

Looking back, I can see how God used that time in our lives to draw us to Him,

I was thinking about the story in the Bible about how the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness for forty years.  God impressed on my heart that He had us on this journey to teach us some things..

God had us in our “wilderness”  to humble us.  To teach us that all good things come from Him.  To teach us to appreciate all the things He provides for us.  God wanted us to completely trust Him for everything.  There were times when we didn’t know what else to do besides pray. 

God breaks us so that He can then work through our brokenness. We need to serve Him with a humble and broken spirit.  This is so we are dependent on Him and not dependent on our own talents to get us through.

God had us in our “wilderness” to show us what was in our hearts.  It is easy for us to give Him our head but not so easy to give Him our hearts.  God wants our hearts.

God had us in our “wilderness” to teach us that man doesn’t live by bread alone.  We need to be in His Word daily.  God made me hungry for His Word.  He made me see that I needed to spend more time thinking and meditating on His Word.  I was “putting in my time” with the Lord out of a sense of obligation but I wasn’t diving into the Word with a hunger for truth and growth. 

God gave me perspective as I thought about the facts that the Israelites never needed anything that God didn’t provide. Sure they had wants but they did not have needs.  In our wilderness, God provided everything we could possibly need. 

As God takes His people into the promised land, He reminds them that He provided everything they had.  It was God that provided their herds and their houses.  They were not to think that they had accomplished all of those things for themselves.  It is God who blesses and lead us.  God deserves the praise and the glory for everything that I have and everything that I am.