Saturday, February 27, 2016

Speak, Do Not Strike

Admit it. We have all been in situations where we were told to do one thing, yet we did something else. Your mother tells you to clean your room, but you stuff everything in the closet and hopes she doesn't notice. There is a big test coming up, and you don't study enough so you have to cheat to get through. In both these circumstances, the end result looks good, but then, your mother opens the door and everything falls out, or the teacher ends up giving you a bad grade, yet if you had taken the time to study, it would have been better. Believe it or not, Moses had one of these "quick fix" problem before him, and he choose unwisely. The story I am referring to is of course the striking of the rock for water in Numbers 20. Lets go back a book for a minute. Shortly after freedom was giving to the Israelite people from Egypt, they come to a place where there is no water to drink, and they are surrounded on all sides by desert. So, in classic Israel fashion, they complain to Moses. "We should have stayed in Egypt. At least there we had enough to drink. Why would you bring us out here just for us to die?" Naturally, Moses takes the people's request before God, and here is what takes place. Moses is commanded to strike a rock, and from that rock, water would flow out, enough for all the people and their livestock. With the help of his trusted staff, Moses strikes the rock and water begins to gush out. Now fast forward with me. The people have spent roughly 40 years in the desert, with each step along the way miraculous taken care of by God the Father. Now all of a sudden, with the promised land in sight, an estimated 4-5 day journey away, the supply of water quickly dries up. "Oh, great. No water. Now what? We are going to die!!!" These people have witnessed God's hand for 40 years firsthand, but at the first sign of trouble, they panic and fear for their lives. "Moses, we have no water. Save us like you did last time." Again, Moses goes to God and prays for water. This time, however, God gives a slightly different instruction. The first time, said to strike the rock. This time, he says to speak to it, and water will flow out of it. "What? Are you kidding me God? These people want me to provide for them and all you want me to do is speak to a rock? I will be a fool in the eyes of the people. No thank you God, I think I like the old way better. Let me just strike the rock as I did last time and that way I will not look like an idiot. Perform the miracle like before and it will all be good." So, Moses strikes the rock and God sends water. He performed the miracle exactly like the people wanted. Their provision was meet. But what about their promise?

"But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron,'Because you did trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land that I give them."-Numbers 20:12

 Ouch!! That had to sting. Here the people's need has been meet, but at such a high price. God just told them that because of their disobedience, they are not allowed to walk into God's promise.  God did not tell them to strike the rock, for He likes to show up in different ways then they were used to, but Moses was more concerned about himself to give God the honor that he rightfully deserved. He choose to strike out of comfort rather than speak out of commitment. He gave up his place in the promise because he thought God too small to do a miracle in a way not shown before.

Have you ever been so close to your promise that you can almost see it, yet you act out of fear and settle for provision instead of waiting for promise? The people freaked out because they would have to go a little while without in order to get so much more, yet they could not get over their own thirst to make it that long. God is in the miracle business, but he likes to change things up a little. He asked Moses to do a simple task, Speak, don't strike, but Moses lost his promise because he refused to trust God to provide.

"What do I say? What is it that God wants me to speak in order to get water out of this rock?" It could something as simple as "Rock, spring forth with water", or maybe it is simply declaring your promise over your situation, If God has promised you "Canaan", declare it, speak it, make it so. Don't settle for the temporary, but declare the eternal. God knows what He is doing, give him the Honor he deserves to follow through with what he said.

Adam Semple- A young man on a mission from God.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Awesome God

Sometimes, the greatest realizations come from the simplest things. Looking at pictures, dreaming about what God is getting ready to do, my little 5 year old brother starts singing. Not Frozen, or what does the Fox say. This kid breaks out into a song of full belief. "My God is Awesome. He can move mountains. Keep me in the valley, Hide me from the rain." We did not even know he knew this song, yet the lyrics are flowing from him, and it brought me to tears. My God is Awesome. So what if there is a mountain in your way. My God is Awesome. Bills piling up. My God is Awesome. Deadlines quickly approaching. My God is Awesome. We serve an awesome God.

"For the Lord Most High is Awesome, the great king over all the Earth"-Psalms 47:2.

"You, God, are Awesome in your sanctuary: the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!"- Psalms 68:35

Why do we doubt that God knows what he is doing? Why do we question if He is even listening to our prayers? It is because we have forgotten that Our God is Awesome. I don't care that I have said a thousand times, I will say it a thousand more to make sure these words get deep down into my spirit. God is bigger than all of our problems and dilemmas. That mountain that has hindered you in the past, it is going to be moved in such powerful ways, that even the people around you will be full of aw. Google defines awesome as this: breathtaking, magnificent, awe-inspiring, mind-boggling, mind-blowing and marvelous, just to name a few. My God is all that and a bag of chips. Our language is not capable of fully describing the awe of the our Father in Heaven. HE IS AWESOME!!!!!

Tell a friend, shout it to the world. "Guess what world, My God is Awesome. No mountain in my path can survive, no army that opposes can stand. Hear this Satan. Nothing you throw at me will knock me down, because I have the Awesome god fighting in my corner. You have had your fun, but now, its God's turn, and he is coming in swinging. Every place you thought you had control over, just wait. He is coming with a double-edged sword, and he is going to strike down every stronghold you have once occupied. You can't touch me. You can't have my family. You can't steal my joy. You can't destroy my future. I serve an Awesome God who is about to kick you sorry tail back to hell where it came from, and this time, there will be no escape for you. Have fun in the lake, because my God has already conquered you, and there is nothing you can do about it."

Don't worry about your situation. If God has promised it, he will do it, in his timing, and in a way that only he could. You want to know why? Because your God is Awesome, and he will never let you down.

"My God is Awesome"- Charles Jenkins, Fellowship Chicago

Adam Semple- A Young Man on a Mission

*photo credit-

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Not Late, Not Early. Right On Time

Just sitting here, waiting. Not sure all it is that I am waiting for, I just know I am waiting. For what? A ticket out of here. An end of a season. An invitation home. It could be any one of these things, or something entirely different. Whether we like it or not, we are all waiting for something. We spend our lives in anticipation, expecting any day now that something will change. Sometimes as we wait, we get impatient. We try to rush things along, even when it is not in our power to do something. This same attitude happened on several occasions throughout scripture. The golden calf, the army of saul going to battle without a go, the birth of a nation that never should have existed in the first place. This nation I am referring to is that of Ishmael found in Genesis 16. In chapters before, God had promised Abraham that through his seed, a great nation, more measureable than the stars in heaven, would arise. Abraham's wife Sarah was well advanced in years, and when up to this point, she was unable to bear children for Abraham. So she gets her servant Hagar, and tells her husband to sleep with her so that her heir would come from her servant. But this was not how God said the nation would come. He point blank said that through Abraham and Sarah, not Hagar, his nation would come. But in the eyes of Sarah, God was taking too long. So as a result, Hagar gives birth to Ishmael. Immediately after, Sarah feels judged by Hagar. Now the bible doesn't not give us Hagar side of the story here, but through Sarah's perception, she feels that now that Hagar has a kid, she is looking down on her. So she tells Abraham to put her out, and send her away, her and her baby. Ishmael's line is where most, if not all, the religions that oppose God have come out of. From that point until the end of time, Christians now are in a constant war with nations like Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, just to name a few. Imagine what our world would be like if Sarah had waited patiently on God's promise. How many countless lives would have been saved if these nations had not been able to rise up. This should be an important lesson for all of us. When God says he is going to do something, He will. We may never know how or even when, but as long as we do not try and do things on our own, God's plan will always be the best thing for us. Abraham and Sarah had to wait well over a decade before Isaac was born to them. We don't know why their wait was so long, but we do know that even though Isaac's seed has fallen short, they are still God's chosen. His plan, his people. Not our plan, our people. The world is in turmoil, all because we just could not wait another second. Let us not be so quick to be impatient and work things out in our own way, that we miss what God is doing in the times of waiting. God is preparing each and every one of us through the waiting period to get us ready for when that thing finally comes. With every minute we have to wait, God is ensuring that we trust him to take care of the details. Even when earthly time is seemingly running out and deadlines are closing in, God's timing is never late. It arrives precisely when it intends to. Right when we need it the most. God knows what he is doing. Wait on him to carry out his plan that he has already set in motion for your life.

Adam Semple- A young man on a mission from God

*photo credit- Gandalf- Lord of the Rings 

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Nut Who Stood

Every family across the world is like a fruitcake. You have your good fruits, your bad fruits, and then you have some nuts. You know who I am talking about. The nut is that person who does crazy things all the time. Not crazy like adventurous, but crazy crazy. In our journey called life, we come across nuts all the time. The health nut, the fitness nut, the business nut, just to name a few. The one I want to focus on is the religious nut. Now i am not talking about the religious judgemental nuts. The religious nuts I am referring to are people who follow God wholeheartedly, even when the atmosphere around them tells them not to. What would happen to us nuts if we faithfully stuck to what God has spoken? Imagine you are a squirrel preparing for winter. You spend the months leading up to it storing away nuts to help you survive the cold. You bring in a whole tree full of various nuts and when winter comes upon you, you are ready for it. but what if during the winter, you forget where some nuts have been stored, and the next thing you know, spring is upon you, and all these new trees begin sprouting in the places you buried food. Hold on a second. Where did this sprout come from? Was this not only a small nut before white rain covered the ground and it was lost? This can't be my stockpile. Plot twist. It is. That little acorn that was once small and looked over, is now on its way to become a mighty oak in God's forest. This nut stood firm against the harsh winter storms. The cold nights buried under the surface. The constant searching from its hidder. But now, Spring is in the air. The birds are chirping. New life is springing up left and right. This little acorn has begun to blossom into something far bigger than it could have ever imagined.

"and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."- Isaiah 61:3

Have you ever looked at an oak tree and assumed that it just showed up out of the blue overnight. Of course not. Trees of that magnitude take time and effort to become the spectacle before you. Just like the oak, every acorn takes time. Sure it might seem like it is taking forever for you to spring up, or maybe you have sprung a little and you are not growing at the rate you feel you should. DON"T GIVE UP. Keep yourself planted by the living water and even when the growth is stopped unintentionally. When you dig your roots directly into the soil by the waters, you will begin to see bigger, more fuller fruit than when you are in thin soil lacking the nutrients necessary for growth. 

"They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes:its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."- Jeremiah 17:8

After the growth and the nurturing, the storms that come upon you have little effect on your walk. You are strong, and mighty, and your roots are so deep in the ground that the winds howling around them don't even make you quiver. 

Stick to what God has commanded and your small acorn self will blossom into a mighty oak of righteousness that stood its ground.

Adam Semple- A young man on a mission from God