February 6

Exodus 14:12-14 (NIV) 12Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" 13Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

One minute they were worshipping God for their deliverance, and the next, they were whining about their fears. So it went for the next 40 years. How like us! I think that is one reason God chose the Jews; they so consistently demonstrate man's vacillation from faith to fear. There before them was the presence of God in the form of a cloud. They saw the angel of God. They had seen the plagues on Egypt, but here, in what looked like impossible circumstances, mountains on two sides, a sea in front, and an army behind, they forgot all that God had done in the past and even what He was doing at the moment. Fear blinds us to reality. No wonder we so often encounter the words, "Do not be afraid" in Scripture.

Your condition is no different than theirs. God will take you to the same impossible places so that you can learn that all you need do is "to be still". "The LORD will fight for you...!" It is God's will to deliver you from the world and from trust in yourself, so that you can follow Him to the Promised Land. He will fight for you if you will let Him. What would have happened if the Children of Israel had attacked the trained army of Pharaoh, trusting in their own might? God always has a better plan. His plan builds our faith and shows the enemy that the LORD is God.

Scriptural advice: Be still. Do not be afraid. The battle is the LORD's!

February 6

Matthew 6:12-14 (NIV) 12Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' 14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

In the last half of the prayer that the Lord taught His disciples, Jesus teaches us the need to forgive others. We are to ask God to forgive our indebtedness to Him in the same way that we have forgiven other's indebtedness to us. It is human nature to become bitter toward those who have been unjust toward us, yet, we are daily unjust toward God. He pours out so much goodness upon us, but we rarely return the gratitude that is due Him. We rarely respond to His love with the love that is due Him. He asks us to be perfect. (5:48) That would mean responding as we should. Yet, He remembers our human condition and asks one thing. Forgive others like you want to be forgiven. Imagine the transformation that would take place in the world if individuals would do just that!

The prayer ends with a request to not be led into temptation, but instead, to be delivered from Satan. This prayer is in recognition of our weakness. It asks for divine intervention to keep us from areas in which Satan would ensnare us. Spiritual people don't consider themselves capable. They rely on the strength of the Lord. In the Spirit, they know they can do anything the Lord calls them to do. At the same time, they see how weak their flesh is and ask for heaven's intervention. The only way they will finish strong is by the grace of God.

The one comment Jesus makes on the prayer is to point back to forgiveness. If you forgive others when they wrong you, you can be assured that God will forgive you. This teaches us that the heart of God desires to see me walk in peace, and longs for strife between individuals on this earth to cease. Are you walking in the light of this?

Remember: Forgive like you want to be forgiven.