Tag Archives: Exodus 14

In the Middle of My Pain

In the middle of my pain ….

 

The emotions are overwhelming, like the roar of high tide.  They kick at peace, scream at hope, and laugh at joy.

 

The tears flow like a storm in the summer, heavy then scattered, as the emotions ebb and flow.  They may stop for a moment, but they are never far from being expelled again upon the day.

 

And it feels like being pushed out of a plane at 30,000 feet … without a parachute.

Complete hopelessness.

Complete desperation.

Complete sadness.

In the Middle of My Pain.jpg

I can see God beyond the desert of heart break and hopelessness, but I cannot reach Him.  I am too caught up in the storm, being thrashed and toss, to find the place of escape to run to Him.  I am trapped within my thoughts, a prisoner of grief and anger and hopelessness.

 

I cry out.  Hoping for release.  Praying for escape.  Longing for peace.

 

And then I feel Him come to me, reaching out His gentle hand with great compassion.

He wants to help me.

He wants to hold me.

He wants to heal me.

 

Right where I am.

As the storm rages.

As the skies boom.

As the rivers overflow.

 

Yet will I let go of the storm cloud I suddenly find myself grasping tightly?  Yes, I look down at my hand and find it closed against God’s goodness.  I find my mind struggling to insert His grace into any crack or crevice … but my heart is too wounded to do anything but shove it aside.  I am too consumed with justification to see His peace wanting to take me over.

 

I am a slave to my emotions.

I am a whipping boy of my thoughts.

I am a prison of my circumstances.

 

But thank God there is always another way!

 

Because in the middle of my pain the choice is always mine.

Stay and sulk.

Or release and renew.

 

I can continue to hold onto the storm that wants to submerge me and drown me.  Or I can stand still, take a deep breath, and trust God to help me out of the storm into His great purposes.

 

So in the middle of my pain, who will I be?

 

Will I be Israel?  As they stood at the edge of the Red Sea, with Egypt chasing hard after them, they allowed fear to rule their hearts and cried out for death (Exodus 14:10-12).  As they stood in the valley facing the armored Philistine warrior, they allowed fear to immobilize them from walking in God’s power (1 Samuel 17:11).  As they heard the reports of the spies, they allowed fear to blind them to God’s ability to overcome every obstacle and every “bad report” (Numbers 13:31-33).

 

Or will I be Moses? Will I hear God say “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today” (Exodus 14:13) and trust Him to make a way?

 

Or will I be young David?  Will I remember all God has done for me and trust Him to work in mighty power with something as simple and unassuming as a stone (1 Samuel 17:47-49)?

 

Or will I be Caleb?  Will I stand boldly and confidently in who God is and declare “we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30)?

 

So I choose to open my hand, let go of my pain, and lean into God’s grace.  Which is more than enough to calm the storm and redirect me into His unexplainable peace (Philippians 4:7).  And what started as a gruesome day becomes a glorious day!

 

Marie Fremin.  9/8/17

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My Week

It is amazing how a spirit of generosity and a spirit of peace will be attacked.

 

I went to Joyce Meyer’s Atlanta conference last weekend.  I kept an envelope for each offering, planning to give as I could.

 

Then I show up to work on Monday, full-up on God.  And it was a domino effect of crazy in my office.  Each day someone went off about something.  A different person with a different issue each time.  And all I could do was scratch my head as I wondered “what the heck?” through each conversation.

 

And then it hit me.  I had done something good for my spirit.  I had allowed God’s Word into my eyes, my ears, and my head.  I had soaked my spirit in His truth.  I had worshiped Him.  And I had purposed to be generous.

 

So boom!  I put a giant target on myself.  I brought myself to the attention of the one who hates worship, generosity, and truth.  So his mission became to counteract everything God did in those 2 days.  And he was going to use anything in my path to pull me away from God’s glory.

 

And that meant …

  • A car repair for a sudden issue not covered by an expired extended warranty.
  • A dispatcher who has gone into “that’s not our problem” mode.
  • An office manager who replied with a harsh, drawn out, and sarcastic answer to a simple permit questions.
  • An owner who wants to know all but then gets mad and criticizes when a potential problem is brought to his attention.
  • An office staff who puts empty ice cube trays back in the freezer and never pulls a full / overfilled trash bag.
  • A whole call center disappearing by 3pm on a Friday without warning, when the office is open until 6pm.
  • An email server change, so the techs had difficulty sending email

 

All seemingly small and insignificant things.  Until you shine the light of Jesus on them, so you can see the dark influences conspiring to bring us down.

 

Because the enemy doesn’t want anything good or true or meaningful to take root in us.  He has an agenda and a purpose for us – and it is all about keeping us as far away from God’s goodness and grace as he can.  He hates light and faith and hope, so he wants to steal them from us.

 

And he did a bang-up job with me this week.  Every time I turned around, there was another attempt to steal God’s goodness from me.  And sometimes the struggle to stay on point was lost.  I succumbed to his temptation to walk a little less straight, talk a little less right, and think a little less true.  I became the bad seeds Jesus talks about in Matthew 13.

 

Matthew 13:3-8Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

 

Notice there were 4 results from the same seed being sown.  We have 4 possible responses to anything we experience – but only 1 of them is true and produces eternal echoes.  And we decide what it will be.  By our choices.  By our responsiveness.  By our attitudes.  By whatever we are intentional about doing, chasing, and thinking.

 

Yet we tend to do exactly what I found myself doing – echoing the ways of the world.

We let confusion cloud our perspective.

We let fear delegate our direction.

We let popularity define our identity.

We let feelings draw and/or obstruct our path.

We let greed choke out our love.

We let circumstances hinder our hope.

We let trials impact our thoughts.

 

When we need to stop, reflect, and let God take complete control.  We need to choose to let go and be still.  No stones in our hearts or hands.  No dry places in our understanding.  No cares in our thoughts and words.

 

Just open hands and an open heart, so we become “the good ground” (23) in which God can always do a good work – in us and through us.

 

So if I want my life to be productive and effective, then I have to learn to stop my tongue and control my thoughts.  And this is a battle I face every day.

 

I didn’t get it 100% right this past week.  No, I didn’t bite back or allow an argument to brew.  But I did do a lot of eye rolling.  I did have many care-full thoughts that wanted to bend to condemnation.  I did try to stand in judgment and compare behavior.  I did have a stressful day at least one of those days worrying about what would happen next.

 

I see where I went the wrong direction.

I see where I didn’t lean toward God’s best.

I see where I let my feelings dominate me.

I see where the darkness stopped my progress.

 

Thank God He won’t give up on me!  Thank God He allows me to learn from my mistakes and bad choices.  Thank God He loves a work in progress.

 

So this masterpiece isn’t finished yet.  One bad week won’t delegate my future or define my identity.  It will, however, draw me closer into God’s grace, allow me to receive His direction, and show me the beauty of forgiveness.

 

So I will reflect on what I have done and how I could do better in the same circumstance.  I will continue to work on being less like stressed out and fearful Israel standing on the bank of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:10-11).

 

That means I need to lean more into the wise advice of His Word:

  • Stop and trust God is in control. Exodus 14:13-1413 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
  • Stop thinking so much about me and my ideas of right. Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own  understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
  • Stop being critical. Matthew 7:1-5 – “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
  • Remember how two wrongs can’t make a right and be quiet! Galatians 5:15 – But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
  • Remember humility. Galatians 5:26 – Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

 

I didn’t get a lot of this right this past week.  But this coming week is a blank canvas, waiting to be drawn upon.  I will make choices that will add color and shading and shapes.  So Father, help me to do better and be more loving.  Because I know the enemy isn’t giving up on me.  So help me be relentless for You while he is pressing me.  In Jesus’ almighty name.  AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin, 7/30/17

Be Still

Do you fidget?  Do you fuss?  Are you unable to sit still?  Are you unable to tolerate silence?

 

There are times to go, to do, to play, to work.

But there are times we need to just be.

Specifically, to be still.

 

Psalm 46:10 – Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

 

be-still

 

To stand still.

To sit still.

To just be with God.

 

Like Mary.  Luke 10:39 – “And [Martha] had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.”

 

Mary had an opportunity – to be distracted by doing (40a) or to be devoted by sitting.

 

And she chose to be devoted.

To just be with Jesus.

To hear His truth.

To know His love.

To be in His presence.

To be near His grace.

 

And Jesus honored her choice.  Luke 10:42 – “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

 

No one can take away the goodness and the grace you experience in God’s presence.

No one can take away the love God pours over you in His presence.

No one can take away the peace and purpose you find in God’s presence.

 

Your strength is in God’s presence.  Isaiah 40:29-31 – “29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”

 

Your security is in God’s presence.  Psalm 91:1-2,5-6 – “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’… You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.”

 

Your salvation is in God’s presence.  Exodus 14:13-1413 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

 

Your surety is in God’s presence.  Isaiah 40:4-5 – “Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken”

 

All from just being still.

Just being with God.

 

Where does you start?

BE INTENTIONAL.

Make a choice to stop and sit.

Make a decision to pause and pray.

Make a commitment to be still and be with God.

Tune out the distractions – the chores, the obligations, the have-to thoughts.

Tune out the voices – of your mistakes, of others, of the enemy.

Then sit down.

And just be with God.

 

He is waiting to be with you.

And He has promised us over and over again that it is more than worth our time.

 

Marie Fremin.  1/1/17

Red Sea Revelations

Exodus 14 13 Then Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid! Take your stand [be firm and confident and undismayed] and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for those Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm.”

 

When was the last time you had a huge problem?  An intense dilemma?  A giant adversary?  How did it make you feel?  What thoughts ran through your head?

 

I can imagine the dialogue running through Israel – both non-verbal and verbal – as they saw the impenetrable Red Sea in front of them and considered the undefeatable Egyptian army coming up behind them.

 

Sure, they had just marched out of Egypt “confidently and defiantly” (Exodus 14:8b), taking all they owned plus most of Egypt’s treasures (Exodus 12:35-36).  But now they are in the wilderness, the unknown realm, without any “comforts” of their slavery to assure them.  And they are trying to figure out God’s plan.  Probably scared at not having the answers of where they are going and how quickly they will get there.

 

And God tells them to camp by the Red Sea (Exodus 14:2).  And while they are waiting for their next move, God sends Pharaoh after them (Exodus 14:5-9).  Now they are trapped.  The raging Red Sea is in front of them, unable to be crossed quickly or efficiently by the million plus people with all their livestock and possessions.  And coming up fast behind them is a raging Pharaoh with over 600 “war-chariots” and soldiers ready to destroy them.

 

Raging waters in front.  A raging army behind.  Nowhere to run.  No options.  So they are overcome by fear and panic.  In their “very frightened” state, they question God’s purposes and convince themselves God wants to destroy them (Exodus 14:11-12).

 

The same people who just experienced God’s miraculous deliverance in one night have lost their confidence, faith, and hope.

 

Because they saw the size and determination of Pharaoh’s army.  They focused on that instead of remembering the power of God’s hand and the promise of His purpose.  They had walked freely out of Egypt with millions of dollars in jewels and treasures on top of what they already owned.  Not one man, woman, child, or animal was left behind.  Yet with their possible besieging they (quickly) decided Pharaoh’s army was too much for their God.

 

Just like their later generations in 1 Samuel 17, who “were gathered together and they camped in the Valley of Elah, and assembled in battle formation to meet the Philistines” (2).  They stayed on their mountain, too afraid of the almost 10 foot tall Goliath in full armor to engage them in battle.  They were easily intimidated and convinced themselves that the giants were too powerful for their God.  So Goliath came out every day and taunted Israel, and “when Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid” (11).  And Israel lost heart.  They refused to turn to God or trust God.  They refused to engage for fear of not being victorious.

 

One nation.  Two different incidents.  One common feeling – great intimidation.  In both instances, Israel chose to look at the opponent – the size, the speed, the intensity – instead of looking at their God.  The God who chose them.  The God who was leading them.  The God who was taking care of them.  The God who was protecting them.

 

They chose to let an obstacle become the defining point of their faith.  But not in the way God intends.  They let the obstacle define them and their faith in a negative way.

 

And that’s not what God wants for us.

 

So He sends us a voice of truth.  Sometimes it is the Spirit in us speaking to us.  Sometimes it is a trusted friend giving us wise advice.  Sometimes it is a voice of faith encouraging us to be strong.

 

In 1 Samuel 17, it was a young boy named David sent to check on his three oldest brothers.  This young boy comes in full of life and faith, more than any one solider in the army has mustered up.  He looks at the giant and sees a peanut in the sight of his mighty God.  He does not for one minute fear Goliath or cower at his taunts.  “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he has taunted and defied the armies of the living God? … The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” (26)  Because the giant is nothing when God is involved.  And David knew if he went out it would be “in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” (45).

 

red-sea-revelations

 

For the Israelites in the wilderness, it was Moses.  Immediately addressing their great fear and calming their chaotic words.  Exodus 14 – “13 Do not be afraid! Take your stand [be firm and confident and undismayed] and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for those Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm.”

 

And that’s what God is reminding me today.

Stop talking.

Stop thinking.

Stop fearing.

Stop cowering.

Start believing.

Start trusting.

Start moving.

Start going.

 

Because God has a plan (Exodus 14:4,31).  In the wilderness, He wanted to solidify the faith of His people to believe Him wholeheartedly.  Because He wanted His people to cut all their emotional ties to Egypt, which had no benefit except slavery for them.  Because they were going to have to face bigger enemies and tougher foes than Egypt, and He needed them to be prepared to trust Him without wavering.  Because He wanted them to know without a doubt that He was always going to take care of them.  Because He wanted to establish His power for them – and for all the people they would be facing, so His reputation would precede them.

 

And it started at the Red Sea.

 

red-sea-revelations-2

 

When “the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all that night and turned the seabed into dry land, and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the middle of the sea on dry land, and the waters formed a wall to them on their right hand and on their left” (Exodus 14:21-22).  Showing Israel there was no natural force too great for Him to control.

 

When “the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and put them in a state of confusion. He made their chariot wheels hard to turn, and the chariots difficult to drive” (Exodus 14:24-25).  Showing Israel there was no man-made army too great for Him to control.

 

When “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal flow at sunrise; and the Egyptians retreated right into it [being met by the returning water]; so the Lord overthrew the Egyptians and tossed them into the midst of the sea. 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the charioteers, and all the army of Pharaoh that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them survived” (Exodus 14:27-28).  Showing Israel that God’s timing is perfect and trusting Him results in seeing miracles.

 

So today you’re facing an army or a giant.

God is asking you to stand firm and stand strong.

God is asking you to not lost heart or give up hope.

God is asking you to trust Him completely.

What are you doing?

How will you respond?

 

Choose to be like David.  He talked the talk, proclaiming God’s goodness.  And then he walked the walk, showing no fear.  “When the Philistine rose and came forward to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:48).

 

He didn’t hesitate.

He didn’t allow himself to be intimidated by taunts and threats.

He didn’t consider Goliath’s size or weapons.

He didn’t consider his own size or lack of armor.

He didn’t go through all the possibilities.

 

He picked up his faith and ran toward the obstacle.  Knowing God was with him.

 

And that’s what Israel should have done in Exodus 14.  They shouldn’t have immediately turned their hearts back to the oppression of Egypt, longing for a false sense of security and a lifetime of slavery.  They should have stood firmly and faithfully at the edge of the Red Sea and loudly declared God’s power.  They should have declared loudly and proudly how God had just redeemed them from Egypt’s hand, and He was more than able to do it again.

 

Because there is always one truth that should ground us and guide us.  God is bigger and stronger and more equipped for victory than anyone who comes against us and anything that comes upon us.  We need to hold onto Paul’s truth – “Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

 

He is a God of miracles.

He is a God of the impossible.

And He is waiting for you to decide how you will respond to the obstacles in your way.

What will you do?

 

Marie Fremin.  10/2/16