Friday, 30 January 2015

Exodus 20: The Ten Commandments

Hello friends and followers! I hope you are well. I'm so glad to hear from so many of you that you are enjoying the studies here. I also appreciate your kind comments. Thank you!
As I'm sure you can see from the image above, I've decided to change our Scripture verses for memorizing. We'll try and learn Psalm 3 over the next few weeks as I think the words here are comforting for us. So we'll start with verse 1 for the week beginning 2 February 2015.

Now, onto Exodus 20. This is probably the most well-known chapter in the book of Exodus since it contains the Ten Commandments. We all know that, sadly, each and every day every one of these commandments are broken. The courts and prisons are full of people who have defied God's Laws and have ended up paying (or at least we hope they are) the price for their disobedience. Can you imagine what life would be like if everybody kept the commandments? I think it's almost impossible to imagine, but you know, it isn't a pipe dream because one day, when we are in heaven, we will experience such a thing! So, let's take a quick look at what we can learn here:

  1. Our worship, love and obedience should be to the Lord God Jehovah only.
  2. We are never to worship any image - including images of (what people imagine to be) God Himself.
  3. We are never to take God's name in vain. When you have finished reading this blog today, perhaps you'd like to head on over here and read what Courtney Joseph has to say. I completely and 100% agree with what she says. I'm sure that you, like me, have to listen to this almost every day, especially if you work but unfortunately, this is the way people talk now and it is accepted as 'normal' speech.
  4. We are to keep the Sabbath Day as a holy, separate and special day to God (see Exodus 16)
  5. We are to honour our parents/guardians
  6. We must not kill.
  7. We must not commit adultery.
  8. We must not steal.
  9. We must not tell lies or make up stories about other people.
  10. We must be content with what the Lord has blessed us with and not want what everyone else has.
Prayer matters: Ask the Lord to help you to be obedient to His holy Word, remembering that it is not by keeping the commandments that we are saved but that by doing them, we are showing our love and reverence for our God. Especially ask the Lord to help you to keep from saying anything that would offend His holy name and ask Him for strength to ask others to not take His name in your presence. I have had to do this on occasion in work, and generally people do try to stop when they are aware that I find it upsetting. I'll be praying for you too!

Here is your February Reading bookmark:

Hugs Karen x

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Exodus 18 and 19: The Salvation of Moses' father-in-law AND God's Precious Possessions

Hello folks, I've been able to get a few minutes to blog a few wee thoughts to you from Exodus 18 and 19. Thank you to those who sent me those kind and thoughtful texts. I really appreciate you and your friendship. I'd also like to welcome our newest followers - welcome ladies, and thank you for joining in. I really hope you find blessing from these simple studies.

So, Exodus 18: The salvation of Moses' father-in-law
Moses must have sent his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons back to stay with her father while he had to go and confront Pharaoh, for two reasons, I imagine - for their safety and also so that Moses could focus on the mammoth task ahead of him. Now, Jethro, who had obviously heard about the Israelites escaping from the clutches of Pharaoh, comes to see Moses, bringing Zipporah and the two boys with him. Remember that Jethro was a 'priest of Midian' when we first met him and that the Midianites were a very idolatrous nation.

  • (v1) Jethro had heard about what God had done for His chosen people, for Israel as a nation and also for Moses as an individual; he knew that this was indeed God's doing, not Moses'
  • (v8) Moses spent some quality time with his father-in-law, witnessing to him about the Lord
  • (v9) Jethro rejoiced in God's goodness and deliverance
  • (v10) Jethro blessed and worshipped God
  • (v11) He acknowledged that Jehovah was the one and only true God
  • (v12) Jethro worshipped God in the right way and there was spiritual unity between him and the people of Israel
People can be saved from every and any walk of life. Sometimes it's easier to witness to strangers than it is to witness to those in our own family, but God honours those who honour Him and it could be years before we see household salvation, but we'll be patient and do what we can until God answers these prayers. Remember, it was a good 40 years from the time that Moses first met Jethro until this moment. Jethro had been steeped in idolatry when Moses first came into his life but now, here he is worshipping the Lord God Jehovah as the only living God. 
Is there someone in your family (or in your circle of friends) who you've been witnessing to and praying for? Maybe it seems you have been doing this for years and years, faithfully, without any results? All God asks of you is to be faithful...witness, pray, witness and pray some more; the saving is up to Him in His own time. Don't think you haven't prayed enough or witnessed enough or done it with enough persuasion or enthusiasm. Just do as the Lord asks you and He will do the rest. Remember these words in Zechariah 4 - 
6Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

Exodus 19. God's Precious Possessions
What about these lovely and reassuring words to start with? Verse 4 - 
"...I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself." 
I was so touched by the love and tenderness that the Lord has for His people when I read these words. Here are some of the qualities an eagle has - long broad wings, keen sight, powerful flight and great affection for its young. In fact, one man wrote that most birds carry their young between their talons for fear of other birds flying above them and attacking them, but the eagle flies far above all other birds so it can carry its young on its strong wings and there is no danger from above. Then it brings the young to safety. Our God brings us to the safest place of all - to Himself. What comfort there is in these words for the Christian, especially to any who might be feeling a bit fragile or vulnerable just now. Allow yourself the joy of being carried to safety and rest by the Lord. Don't think you have to be able to bear everything and sort out every matter and be able to deal with every crisis. Let the Lord be your strength today.

Verse 5 shows us more evidence that we are very special to the Lord. He calls us His peculiar treasure. Now when I was a wee girl I used to laugh and say to my mum that something was 'funny' and she always replied 'Funny ha-ha, or funny peculiar?' peculiar meaning strange. But thankfully that's not what the Lord means about us! He means that we are a 'special' treasure, 'distinct', 'unique' or 'specific'. We are specifically His and no one else's - but there's a condition attached. He says we will be His special treasure "if" we "will obey" His "voice and keep" His "covenant".

Prayer matters: Ask the Lord to give you the strength and courage to witness to others about what He has done for you. Be gentle when witnessing. 
Ask Him to help you and give you strength to carry on, especially if you find things are getting a bit difficult for you in your life circumstances. Be prepared to let Him be in control and carry you to safety.

Hugs Karen x

Wednesday, 28 January 2015


Good evening friends. I'm just popping in to ask for your understanding for a couple of days. A member of my family is ill at the minute, just home from hospital and very much in need of TLC so I am staying with her for a few nights until she's feeling a bit better. This means I won't have the time to blog our next couple of chapters until Friday or Saturday, DV, but that's OK, isn't it?! You go on ahead with your own personal study and check back at the weekend to see if I'm here!

Thank you for your patience. Hope to be back very soon

Hugs Karen x

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Exodus 17: The Battle against Amalek

Hello dear friends. I hope that your day has gone well so far and that you have walked close to the Lord today.

Here we are, back with the Israelites as they continue on their journey, moving further and further from Egypt and closer to the promised land. And just like in chapters 15 and 16, we hear them complaining against Moses and the Lord again. Every time I read these words, I ask myself, "Do I complain and murmur against God's will for me? Am I happy where He has placed me or is there something I want that I don't have?" I have to search my heart to make sure I am not being a grumbler or complainer.

The reason for their complaints this time is the same as in chapter 15 - no water. But didn't the Lord provide for them then? So of course He is capable of providing again. They seem to have forgotten this.

Then a bigger problem arises. Amalek, the descendants of Esau, draw near to the Israelites to fight against them. Throughout the history of ancient Israel, the Amalekites have been a nation who have always been against them. There were constant battles between God's people and this enemy over time. Doesn't this just remind us that we are in the same situation today? We are in a constant battle, each and every day, with our enemies - the devil, the flesh and the world. Galatians 4:17 and Romans 7:21-24 talk about the Spirit in battle against the flesh and good versus evil. According to the actions of Moses and his friends (v12), there is only one way for us to be victorious in this daily battle - by prayer. There are numerous references in the Scriptures to 'lifting up the hands', meaning to be in prayer - take a look at:
  • Psalm 28:2
  • Psalm 63:4
  • Psalm 134:2
  • Psalm 141:2
  • Lamentations 2:19
  • Lamentations 3:41
  • 1 Timothy 2:8
So we need to keep close to God in prayer. This is the means of victory He has given us and if we choose to neglect it, then we will be overwhelmed in the daily battle. Pray always, be aware and be vigilant (Ephesians 6:18). "Pray without ceasing" (1Thessalonians 5:17). 

Prayer matters: Think about the great privilege that Moses had in verse 12 - he had friends on either side of him, supporting him in his prayers. If you have something that is a heavy burden to you just now, why not ask some of your close and faithful friends to pray along with you? I'm sure they would be very happy to be your prayer support during times of difficulty. More importantly, don't forget that Christ your Saviour is also praying on your behalf.

Hugs Karen x

Monday, 26 January 2015

Exodus 16: Manna from Heaven and the Sabbath Day

Hello, dear friends, and welcome to week 4 of our studies and Exodus chapter 16. I am glad that some of you have been contacting me and have been asking for prayer for various matters. Feel free to contact me by mobile, email or by the form on the left of this blog. Just above is the verse for this week that we are trying to memorize!

At the end of Exodus 15, we left the people of Israel in a happy place. They were at Elim where they had more water than they knew what to do with as God provided them with 12 wells of water and 70 palm trees. Remember that this was just after their complaints to Moses that they needed water. As always, God supplied their need in abundance.

They have left Elim and they are now in the wilderness of Sin (just its name, nothing to do with sinfulness) after a journey of about 6 weeks. I imagine they would've had the sense to bring with them plenty of water supplies from Elim. Here we are in verses 2 and 3 and what do we find the Israelites up to now? Complaining again. As we would say here in Northern Ireland, 'giving off' to Moses and Aaron because they were hungry. They were making their feelings well and truly known to the servants of God. Was it Moses and Aaron's fault that the Lord was leading them this way? Was it their fault the people were hungry? No, on both counts. This was all a part of God's perfect plan for His people, but they just couldn't see the big picture. All they knew was, they had needs and they wanted them met 'right now'.

This is where God unofficially brings another part of His plan for the good of mankind into play - the Sabbath Day. The purpose behind setting aside this one day in seven is so that we might focus completely on the Lord our Saviour and worship Him and also that we might gain some well-needed rest after a busy six days of work. You would think that the Lord was using the day of rest as a punishment for some people the way they are so against it. If they actually thought about it logically, they would see that their mind and body needs this time to keep healthy, especially in the full-steam ahead societies that we live in nowadays. If God Himself needed to rest after Creation, why do we think we (the weak and helpless created beings) are more capable of doing without a day of rest? I'm glad God is wiser than me and knows I need that day set aside for His glory and for my benefit. There is no need for us to be out shopping or doing work on a Sunday. These things can be done in preparation for the Lord's Day on a Saturday. Make the most of it, rest, take it easy, without feeling guilty! Worship the Lord and obey Him. He's a God of wisdom!

Prayer matters: Ask the Lord to help you (and me) to always be thankful for His provision and to be patient while we sometimes have to wait on this provision. Pray too that we will be thankful for the Sabbath Day and use it as it was meant to be used - for the praise and worship of the Lord and the rest and refreshment of our body and soul.

Hugs Karen x

Friday, 23 January 2015

Exodus 15: How soon we forget!

Good evening, friends and welcome to my two newest followers. You are very welcome and I hope you find much blessing here.
Can you believe we are at the end of week 3 already? Where has the time gone?!

So here we are, with Moses and the children of Israel, safe on the other side of the Red Sea with the enemy defeated and destroyed. So, as we would expect, there is great praise and thanksgiving for all the Lord has done for them. This was truly a miracle, the way the Lord made a safe passage way through this huge sea for His people; not one of them was lost. They sing and shout for joy! They praise God for His:
  • glory (v6)
  • power (v6)
  • victory (v7)
  • protection (v10)
  • incomparable excellence (v11)
  • mercy (v13)
  • redemption (v13)
  • guidance (v13)
What an amazing God we have! Are you aware of just how much the Lord loves you and wants to take care of you? Think back over your life and all the wonderful blessings He has sent your way. We cannot cease to praise Him!

Then after all this praise for past blessings, the people felt a great sense of hope for the future and they sang praises to the Lord for what He was going to do in bringing them into their own land, a place of rest and safety for ever (vs17,18). These two verses also remind us of what lies ahead for the child of God in eternity. God is preparing us an eternal home with Him as our King for ever and ever. We have so much to be thankful for, past, present and future.

But, this is all forgotten within a short time, only three days, in fact. Moses led the people into the wilderness of Shur, but there was no water for them to drink. So, the people murmured and complained. Had they completely forgotten that only three days earlier God had divided a sea that was 1400 miles long and 221 miles wide and 7254 ft deep to bring them to safety? Do they not think that He can provide a cup of water for them to drink? This is only a minor problem in comparison with the huge Red Sea!

Isn't life often like this? It can be a roller coaster of emotions - up on the mountain top one minute, and the next we're down in the valley. This is especially true for women, you know, with all these hormones we have to deal with!! We often live just for the moment and want everything to be perfect and always going our way and when there is a hiccup on our journey, we forget how the Lord has blessed in the past and we start to murmur and complain. The problem is that very often we tend to rely on our own feelings too much instead of reminding ourselves that we should be trusting in the Lord and what He has planned for us. We need to say to ourselves "The Lord blessed me and looked after me during such and such a trial, so why would I fear that He won't help me this time, and the next time and the time after that?"

Instead of thinking about what we don't have, let's try to focus on what we do have and how the Lord has blessed in previous times, believing in faith that He will do it again!

Hugs Karen x

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Exodus 14: Walking through the Red Sea

Good afternoon, and welcome to Exodus 14.  This chapter is just full of the Lord's merciful grace, His protection and salvation.
Isn't the internet an amazing place to gather information, some good and unfortunately, some not so good? When I was growing up, my generation got all their information from encyclopedias or other similar books. Now we just type a word into Google and get all the information we need. So, I checked out 'the Red Sea'. Apparently it is 1400 miles long - about the same distance from Belfast to Copenhagan and back; about 221 miles wide (approximately from Belfast to Galway) and it has a maximum depth of 7254 feet. So even looking at this huge expanse of sea would have been enough to put fear and hesitation into the people of Israel.
There are some commands from the Lord in this chapter that we need to take note of, especially if there is something you are facing today or in the days ahead that might seem very overwhelming. Is there something looming on your horizon that is causing you to fear and feel it is all too much?  God stands by your side with these words of instruction -
  •  "Fear not"
  • "stand still"
  • "see God's salvation"
In other words, God has this all under control.  He can mange on His own without our help on this one. It's too big for us to try and deal with it so move across into the passenger seat and let God take the wheel. Our job is to trust Him and not be afraid; to settle ourselves down and be patient for the outcome. And what will the outcome be? God's deliverance and salvation. Step aside and let Him have the glory.
And then, when He has provided a way of deliverance for you, what does He want you to do? "Go forward". We get through difficult patches and then we keep going. Of course, this isn't always easy, because we have emotions and feelings that sometimes hinder our progress. But we need to keep trusting in the Lord to give us the grace and strength for every trial. What would've happened if the Israelites had gone only 3/4 of the way through the Red Sea and didn't keep going forward? Obviously they would have been destroyed with their enemy. Don't let your enemy, the devil, have the victory in your life. Prove to him and the world that you serve a wonderful God who helps you to keep moving forward.
Prayer matters: Ask the Lord to give you the patience to step aside and let Him take control and then when you come out on the other side, ask Him for grace to keep going forward, for His glory. Why should we be afraid? We have the Creator of the universe, the King of kings and Lord of lords on our side.
Hugs Karen x

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Exodus 13: The Lord delivers and guides His people

Are you feeling discouraged and alone today? Perhaps you feel that your journey through life is filled with disappointments that you are trying your best to cope with and face by yourself? Dear Christian, I really pray that you find hope and comfort from this chapter. It is a chapter of deliverance and guidance for the child of God. You are most definitely not alone.

Just in case the Hebrew people might forget, God, through Moses, reminds them four times in this chapter (vs 3,9,14,16) that it is He who has delivered them from the heartache of their past life in Egypt. No matter how difficult things may seem to us now, we need to remember that we have been delivered from sin and the Lord has saved us with His strong and mighty arm. The comfort we have at this present time is that, before salvation we were completely alone with no one to turn to for help; but now, after salvation, we have the Saviour to turn to in prayer.

Look at these words in verses 17 and 18, "God led them not...but God led the people...". I'm sure there are many times in life when you think 'Surely this is the path God should lead me along. It's obviously the quickest and easiest way to go'. Look at the map below and see the route to Canaan that God led the people by.

At the top of the picture you can see the route that would have been quicker, via the Philistines, but God can see the way ahead that we can't see.  He knows the obstacles, the difficulties and the struggles and He knew that, even though going through Philistia would've been much quicker, it would've also been much more dangerous for the people. We need to trust His wise judgment. Who knows what terrible dangers the Lord has protected us from by leading us on a (in our opinion) 'very roundabout way'?! I really am glad the Lord knows what's best for me and doesn't always answer my prayers the way that I want Him to. This is why I've learned over the past number of years that I must pray according to His will, not mine.

Sadly, some people think that they could never get saved because they couldn't 'keep' their salvation.  And that is true, we can't. It is God who does the keeping and the leading and the guiding. He leads us by day AND by night (vs 21, 22). In the same way that Jehovah "took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people" (signifying His presence so today He never leaves us or forsakes us. Sometimes we Christians might think we could keep going much more easily if we could 'see' the Lord guiding us in the same way the Hebrews could 'see' the pillars of cloud and fire. Today we have the Scriptures (where God speaks to us) and the Holy Spirit protecting and guiding us and we believe this by faith.

Prayer matters: Ask the Lord to help you pray in His will only and to accept that this is the best path for you.

Hugs Karen x

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Exodus 12: God institutes the Passover

Hello friends.  Isn't the weather cold at the minute? I hope you've escaped all these bugs and colds that are going about at the minute; unfortunately I am dosed with the cold, coughing and sneezing constantly, with a nose that Rudolph would be jealous of!

Verse 3 is one of my favourite verses, "...and when I see the blood, I will pass over you...

How can these blessed words not encourage the heart of the believer? This is the Gospel in a nutshell. When we ask Christ into our heart, when we're forgiven because of His finished work on the cross, when we have His atoning blood applied to our heart, we have NOTHING to fear. Our future in heaven is secure - on the day of judgment we will have no fear of being cast into a lost eternity; the price for our sin has been paid.

Of all the plagues that Pharaoh was faced with, this was the only one that had any impact on him directly and personally. He didn't seem to be affected when other people's houses were filled with frogs or when their cattle and crops were destroyed - but now the plague has come straight to his home and family. His firstborn son has died and he is lamenting. I wonder if he remembered the terrible atrocities he had committed when he ordered the murder of all the firstborn Hebrew baby boys. We must be aware that 'we reap what we sow' and Pharaoh was certainly reaping what he had sown years earlier.

Take great comfort from the fact that if you are saved and trusting in the blood of Christ for salvation, then you will never experience separation from God, but you will at all times be protected by His hand.

Prayer matters: Ask the Lord to help you understand just what you have been saved from and the blessing that salvation truly is. Also ask Him to speak to the hearts of unsaved loved ones, that they would take heed to the warnings of the Gospel and repent now and be saved.

Hugs Karen x

Monday, 19 January 2015

Exodus 11: God reveals the final plague to Moses

Hello there everyone and welcome to our third week of Bible study!  Thank you to all of you who are following me and have already said you are encouraged by these studies.  This is what I'm aiming for...that we are blessed and encouraged together as we dig into the treasures of the Word. Welcome also to our newest follower!

So, how are you getting on with memorising the verses?  Do you want my honest truth? I'm struggling with them because they are not familiar verses, but I think I'll persevere with them as I don't want to give up so early in the game.  But I do think we'll learn easier and different verses after we've done these ones.  I hope you don't mind!

Here's this week's verse

What have you learned from today's chapter?  My thoughts on chapter 11 are short tonight.

Verse 1 tells us that the Lord is totally in control of every situation and He knows exactly what will happen. Isn't it interesting that the Lord tells Moses that this will be the last plague and that finally Pharaoh will let the people go? I've a feeling the Lord tells him this to encourage him because, don't forget, Moses has gone to speak to Pharaoh on nine different occasions and every time he has been shot down and rejected by the wicked king. Maybe Moses is beginning to lose heart; I know if I was in his shoes I'd probably feel like it was time to give up.

Here's another very interesting thing to take note of.  In verse 3, we see that after all the stand-offs with Pharaoh and all the warnings from God to him through Moses, it isn't actually Pharaoh who has a sincere repentance of heart but it seems that the people of Egypt and indeed Pharaoh's own servants are the ones who have been spoken to. They see the truth of all that Moses has been saying and they now believe him and hold him in high regard. You know, sometimes we may be witnessing to someone in the family, at work or in school, but they reject what we say. We keep trying for a while but they don't seem to be interested. However, there may be other people around who may be listening to what we are saying and the Lord speaks to them. You just never know who may be taking note of your witness and life!

Prayer matters: pray that the Lord will help us always to be faithful to Him and to keep going on, even in the face of great discouragement. Ask the Lord to help you to be a constant witness for Him in your daily life.

I pray that the Lord will abundantly bless each one of you this week wherever He has placed you.

Hugs Karen x

Friday, 16 January 2015

Exodus 10: Locusts and darkness

Good evening, friends. Can you believe we are one quarter of the way through Exodus already?!

Ever since the beginning of chapter 5 of Exodus, there has been a long-running battle between Pharaoh and the Lord. Pharaoh wouldn't even acknowledge God's existence at first but now he has come a bit further by recognizing that, yes, He does exist, but He won't tell me what to do. Moses is just the messenger and every time Pharaoh sent him away in anger, it was really the Lord he was rejecting.  Perhaps you have been trying to witness to someone, maybe a family member or a friend at work? But they want nothing to do with the message you bring. They want you to go away and leave them alone. Try not to take this personally, because really it's not you, but the Lord, that they are rejecting.

Pharaoh has set himself up against the Lord.  Pharaoh represents the devil and his evil will and Moses represents the Lord's holy will. In life, we always follow one path or the other - good or evil; Satan or the Lord. The crux of this whole matter is that Pharaoh has refused to humble himself before God.  These chapters are not so much about Pharaoh not letting God's people go; it's more than that.  It's about Pharaoh being filled with pride and not wanting to yield to the Lord in obedience. We are the same today - the choices we make are either for God or for self, the devil and the world. There is a constant attack by the devil as he seeks to devour the souls of men. Whose side are you on? Have you humbled yourself before a holy God or are you still struggling to be in control of your life, doing it your own way?

Pharaoh was, as king, regarded as a son of the Egyptian sun god, Ra. However when it came to the plague of darkness that the Lord sent throughout the whole land (except Goshen, where the Hebrews were), Pharaoh was weak and helpless against the power of God. All God's people had light in their dwellings. In John 8:12 we read, "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." If you're a saved and redeemed person, isn't it wonderful to know that whatever difficulty you may be going through just now or are about to go through, there is light in your heart because of Christ? You don't walk in darkness. You may not be able to see the way ahead at the minute, but the Lord can see; He will hold your hand and guide you through. He will shine the light of His glorious Word into your heart to bring you comfort. Trust Him with your fears and worries and He will see you through.

Here's a lovely Gospel song to encourage you; not modern but the words are good.

I hope you have a good weekend.  See you back here on Monday for Exodus 11.

Hugs Karen x

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Exodus 9: Diseased cattle, boils and hail

Good evening friends and apologies for only getting this post out now.  Instead of posting first thing in the morning I've decided to do it in the evenings from now on.

So, as a reminder, what exactly was the purpose of all these plagues?  Verse 14 tells us "That thou (ie Pharaoh and his people) mayest know that there is none like me (Jehovah) in all the earth." Verse 16 reinforces this because we learn here that the reason for the existence of Pharaoh as king was to prove God's power and to declare His name throughout the world.  God is the Creator and it is His choice what He does with those He creates - we cannot, and dare not, dictate to God.  It is a sad reality that people today see themselves as more than what they really are.  Man has a very lofty opinion of himself, an opinion which he has not learned from the Scriptures.  The Bible tells us in many places that we are only dust, we are sinful, we are far from holy...and yet man still thinks he has something in himself to boast of.  There can only be redemption and salvation for the soul that sees its unworthiness before a holy God on this side of eternity.  That's why the Gospel is preached, to make people aware of their need of a Saviour.  When Christ returns to this earth as Judge, the time for salvation will be past.  We must accept Christ as Saviour now.

Thankfully, there were some of Pharaoh's servants who were wise and, after four severe plagues from God, they finally believed the word of His servant Moses and did as God said by protecting their cattle.  This was the right thing to do.  Sadly, however, there were those who remained as sinfully stubborn as their master Pharaoh, and they suffered the consequences.

In life, regarding our relationship with the Lord, we have two options:
  • God commands ~ we obey ~ He is glorified ~ we are blessed
  • God commands ~ we disobey ~ He is still glorified ~ we are punished
Would it not be easier to just obey Him in the first place and save ourselves a lot of grief?  Let's be wise today and yield to the Lord and in doing so, we will find peace and blessing.

Prayer matters: Pray for friends and family who are still stubbornly rejecting the Lord's offer of mercy and ask Him to soften their hearts to accept His love and mercy.  Pray too that He will give us soft and tender hearts to always want to do His will and be in obedience each day we live.

Hugs Karen x

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Exodus 8: Frogs, lice and flies!

Good evening, friends.  How are you getting on with your own readings and Bible study?
While reading today's chapter, I began to think about it in more depth than ever before.  Normally I just quickly read over the words in simple acceptance and faith of what happened here but I've never really taken the time to consider what this must have been like for the people in Egypt.  Imagine opening your kitchen cupboards and some slimy, croaking frogs looking back out at you, or going to bed and finding a whole pile of them under your duvet.  Yuck!!! I don't know about you but the very thought of 'lice' and 'flies' gives me the creeps!  And not just some flies, but swarms of them.   In the summer time, I'm always running around our house with fly killer and newspapers, swatting anything that remotely resembles a fly, and quickly closing doors and windows!  This would've been awful for the people but it wasn't the Lord's fault.  He had given Pharaoh the opportunity once again to repent and let the people go to serve the Lord but again Pharaoh "hardened his heart".
There is a simple word of warning here too.  Pharaoh asked Moses to pray to God on his behalf to take away the plague and he would then let the people go, which Moses did.  But once Pharaoh saw that the danger was past, he reneged and went back to his old ways.  Very often this is what people will do when they are sick or in trouble; they promise the Lord that they will obey Him if He would just help them and get them out of their trouble but as soon as He does this for them, they continue on as if nothing was ever wrong.  We need to be very careful not to 'use' the Lord.  
The Lord will always look after His own dear children as He did in this chapter.  He made a division between His people and Pharaoh's so that the Israelites would not be harmed by the plague.  God will always take care of those who love Him and protect them from harm.  What a wonderful Saviour!
Hugs Karen x 

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Exodus 7: First Plague - Waters turned to blood

Good morning all and a special welcome to my newest followers!  Glad to have you with us.  I forgot to mention yesterday that this week we are trying to memorise Psalm 77 verses 13 and 14:

[13] "Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?
[14] Thou art the God that doest wonders: Thou hast declared Thy strength among the people."

V5.  "...the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord..."
God had reasons for everything He did and He still does.  Dear Christian, please do not think that things happen by chance or by luck.  This would suggest that there is no order or that no one is in control.  The Lord God Jehovah created this world and He has all things under His guidance and control.  God gives man choices and sometimes allows certain things to happen; He is not a tyrant imposing His will on us, but He allows us to choose whether to follow Him or to follow the devil and then we must take the consequences.  God's aim is to let people know that He is indeed the Lord.  We need to understand that life is not all about is in fact about God.  He is the Creator who must be honoured and glorified.  We are simply the created beings who must bring Him this honour.  Even the great and mighty Pharaoh had to acknowledge that God is the Lord.

Isn't it interesting that God uses the river Nile as the focus of His first plague?  It was here that the little babies murdered at Pharaoh's command were thrown - a reminder to Pharaoh and his people that God saw what had happened.  Also, Egypt very much relied on the Nile as its main source of water for agriculture.  The yearly flooding of the Nile was the most important factor in ensuring that a good harvest.  It was also an important trade route - travel on the river by boat was the easiest way to get around.  The Egyptians really depended on this river and now, because of Pharaoh's stubbornness in not heeding the Lord's command, God sends a punishment.  Does Pharaoh care, though?  No, not at all.  He heads back into his house and shows no care about the goings on. As long as he's OK.  He became harder of heart and more stubborn while his people suffered.

Aaron cast down his rod and it became a serpent and Pharaoh's magicians did the same.  The devil uses lots of tricks to try and prove he's just as good as the Lord but he isn't, because in the end, Aaron's serpent swallowed up all the other ones.  No matter how strong and powerful the devil may seem to us at times, always remember that the Lord is ultimately the most powerful and He will always defeat the devil.  Since the fall in the Garden of Eden it has always been a battle between the devil and the Lord, between evil and good.  The devil uses people to bring about his plans (as he did with Pharaoh) and the Lord protects and blesses those who follow Him.
If you are discouraged today or if there is something or someone getting you down, tell the Lord about it and allow Him to work in a mighty way.  In the end He will swallow up all death and sin and we will have the victory.  Trust Him!

Prayer matters: pray for patience when the Lord seems to be delaying in working things out for your good.

Hugs Karen x

Monday, 12 January 2015

Exodus 6: The seven promises -"I will..."

Good morning and welcome to week two of our studies in Exodus!

Today we are looking at chapter 6, where we see God rising up to judge Pharaoh.  For quite a while now, Pharaoh has sat on his throne, giving orders and questioning the very existence of Jehovah.  The Lord has allowed him time to repent and change but he has grown harder and now the time has come...that appointed time when the Lord steps in to do His will.  Verse 1 starts with a simple word that means relief for Moses, "Now".  At last Moses can take a step back and let God deal with Pharaoh.

Five times in this chapter, God reminds Moses that He is indeed "the Lord" (vs 2, 6-8, 29) and this is followed by a long and wonderful list of what God intends to do.  Sadly, those people who do not love the Lord and who do wickedly, think they can say and do what they like without any fear of consequences. They think that either God isn't there, that He doesn't see everything or that He doesn't care.  But knowing He is there, seeing everything and that He cares for His children is what keeps Christians going in the face of unfairness and harshness.  They know that God will eventually step in, when the time is right.  He also reminds Moses that He hasn't forgotten His covenant with the patriarchs and then He gives him, not one, or two, but seven wonderful promises!  Let's apply these promises to our situations today.

1. "I will bring you out from under the burdens of..."  What are your burdens today?  Something related to health, finances, work, family, marriage, friendships?  He promises that, in His time, He will bring you out from under these burdens.

2. "I will rid you out of their bondage".  Is there something holding you back from doing something good for the Lord?  Are you afraid, worried?  Someday, and hopefully soon, the Lord will free you from the power of whatever this is.

3. "I will redeem you".  If you are not yet saved, the Lord holds out the arm of salvation to you - grasp it now while there is still time.

4.  "I will take you to me for a people".  The Lord saves and chooses us to be His redeemed people.  We are His and nothing can ever change that.

5. "I will be to you a God".  He is almighty, powerful, loving, gracious, merciful and He is our heavenly Father.  He cares about us and wants the best for us.

6. "I will bring you in...".  Do you feel as though you are far away from the Lord?  Have you wandered away from Him?  He is exactly where you left Him.  The Lord doesn't leave us; it is us who are prone to wandering.  But there is hope because the Lord will welcome you back into His loving arms and keep you safe where you belong.

7.  "I will give it (that is, the land) to you for an heritage."  What a wonderful reward awaits the faithful Christian.  God is preparing a mansion for you and me, a home in heaven and when our time on this earth is done, it is ours along with the glorious joy of being in His presence.

What more can the Christian look for or desire?  I pray that, whatever your need is today, you will find a promise here that you can make your own.

Hugs Karen x

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Just checking in...

Hello friends.  I won't normally be posting on this blog at the weekend, but since this is our first week I just thought I'd pop in and see how you're all doing!  I see we also have three more new followers - a warm welcome to you all ☺.  Here's a reminder from a previous post -

We are also going to be trying to commit some verses to memory, so this is the Scripture we will be memorizing over the coming weeks - Psalm 77:11-20.
This week we are memorizing Psalm 77:11,12 - 

12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. 

How are you getting on with memorising the verses?  If I'm honest, I would have to say memorising verses is not something I'm great at.  Oh, of course I know all the favourite well-known verses like John 3:16 and Proverbs 3:5 & 6, but verses that are a little bit more obscure...mmm, well, that's taking me out of my comfort zone!  And, two verses in one week, with MY memory?  Well, this isn't easy; but I'm going to push myself on a bit.  There are 1440 minutes in a day, so surely I can take 5 of those minutes every day and try and commit these verses to memory.  My husband is a minister and he regularly visits the elderly people in our congregation and he always tells me that, even though there are things they cannot remember at this stage of their life, they can ALWAYS remember God's Word and the old hymns.  So, if I live to an older age and I find myself in a situation of memory loss, I need to prepare myself now to take in God's precious and comforting Word.  You can tell I recently turned 50, can't you!!!

So, I decided to write out the verses for January on the back of my little daily reading bookmark so that it's right there at hand.  We only need to do up to verse 16 in January; we'll do the rest in February.  I've also highlighted the verses I've to do for the week.  Hope this gives you a wee nudge in the right direction!

Friday, 9 January 2015

Exodus 5: The blame game

Good morning friends and welcome to Exodus chapter 5 and also welcome to my newest follower.  It's good to have you!  That's our first week almost over.  How have you been getting on with your own personal studies?  Have you learnt something different from what I have as you've spent time in the Lord's presence?  Take the weekend to reflect on what you learned this week and pray over those areas in your life where you feel you really need the Lord's help.  Maybe you need to do something differently, better, or more?  That's between you and the Lord.  Talk to Him about it.  Ask Him for grace where it is most needed.

Isn't this Pharaoh a nasty piece of work?  Can't you just hear the scorn and mockery in his voice in verse 2 when Moses and Aaron ask for time off to worship the Lord?  
2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.

Pharaoh blamed the two brothers for hindering the people from getting on with their work and then he decided to make life even harder for the Israelites by stopping their supply of straw.  Poor Moses and Aaron!  All they were doing was being obedient to the call of God.  Then they're also insulted by their own people for interfering and being the cause of this further hardship - 
21 And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us.

Moses isn't one bit happy about having to take the blame for this and he takes his complaint straight to the Lord.  Moses wants to know why God did what He did and blames Him because He didn't do what He said He would do; and why did He choose him to be the one to deliver the people.  Moses obviously thought he could have done without this hassle at this time in his life.  Maybe he was thinking back to the time in Exodus 2:21 where we learn that he had pretty much grown content staying with Jethro, getting married and raising a family and that would do him for the rest of his days. He may have felt that being a shepherd, hard work as it was, was a lot easier than dealing with people.  Why had God felt the need to pull him out of his comfort zone and send him into this new and difficult role?  Questions, questions, questions! But no faith or trust or patience.
Isn't it wonderful that the Lord is patient with us?  He could have punished Moses for his attitude, for his unbelief and casting of blame, but He didn't.  Moses obviously thought serving God was a one-off thing - go and speak to Pharaoh, he'll humbly say 'oh yes, Moses, absolutely, whatever you say' and then back to looking after the sheep.  Not quite!  Sometimes when we're serving God, He takes us on a longer, more complicated path than the one we would naturally choose for ourselves.  This is because He sees the end from the beginning and knows how the whole thing will play out.  It's a bit like me when I read a book - my family and friends think I'm weird for doing this - but I always read the first chapter to get to know the main characters then I head straight to the end of the book to find out if it ends well.  Only when I know it's going to turn out alright can I settle back into reading from chapter two to the end!  Well, unfortunately life isn't like that.  We're right in the middle of the action and we don't know the outcome.  But what we do know is that the Lord is the author of our lives, He's writing our story and it will definitely have a happy ending because if we have repented of our sin, and have trusted in Him for salvation then we will be taken to heaven someday to reign with Him forever.  The main bulk of the story is where we live in obedience to Him and allow Him to use us to serve Him and bring Him glory until the happy ending.  Of course, there will be the bumps and twists along this journey that we are not expecting, but if we keep close to the Lord, we'll be OK.

Finally remember the words of Genesis 18:25, Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Prayer matters: Pray that we will be patient and trusting even when we don't understand God's workings.  LET GO AND LET GOD...

Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday for Exodus 6!  I hope you can join me and even ask your friends to pop in too!

Hugs Karen x

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Exodus 4: No excuses!

Good morning friends, and welcome to chapter 4 of Exodus.  Also today, I'd like to welcome my newest follower - I do hope you find blessing and encouragement here.

Yesterday, we read in chapter 3 that God was about to answer the prayers of His afflicted people by using His servant, Moses, to lead them out of Egypt.  God promised Moses that He would 'certainly' be with him. Has God perhaps called you to serve Him in some way?  Maybe to give your testimony at a church service? Maybe He'd like you to speak to the boys and girls in the Children's Meeting?  Or perhaps, He's giving you the opportunity to witness to a friend, neighbour or work colleague?  God has promised that He will never leave you or forsake you, so you never have to do anything without His presence.  Yet, perhaps like Moses, you are afraid.  Afraid of saying something silly, of being disbelieved or even mocked.  Perhaps you are a shy person and feel that you cannot speak well in front of others.  Are you making excuses not to serve? Twice Moses said, in response to the Lord's call, "BUT...".  As God Himself reminded Moses, He made our bodies so He can also help us to use those bodies for His service.

What we need to try and do is to stop focusing on ourselves and what we can't do, and instead think about our great and mighty God and what we can do in His strength.  He will help us and equip us.  Verse 12 says:

"Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say".

You'll never know just what you can do until you try.  Of course, the first time is always the hardest, in anything we do, but we need to start somewhere!  Start small if you feel unsure and your confidence will build as you keep going.

Prayer matters: Pray that the Lord will give you opportunities to serve Him and that He will give you the grace to say "Yes, Lord".  Ask Him to equip you and teach you what to do and say and most of all ask Him to receive all the glory!

Many blessings, Karen

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Exodus 3: The great "I AM"

Good morning friends, and thank you to the first three ladies who have started following me!

Today we are in Exodus chapter 3, where Moses has the amazing experience of meeting the LORD at the burning bush.  In v.14 we read "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM".  The Hebrew for this is YHWH, referring to the LORD God JEHOVAH and it means "He is" or "He will be".  Jehovah is a name that is personal to our God and it is especially linked to His covenant grace and mercy.  Our God is an amazing, almighty God, way beyond our human comprehending.  God does not 'need' us the way we need Him, but in His great love and mercy for mankind whom He created, He wants us to have fellowship with Him.  What an honour and a privilege for us.  Imagine being able to have a personal relationship with the Creator of heaven and earth!

Here's what I found especially encouraging in this chapter.

7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
Jehovah is watching all that goes on here on earth.  Listen to these words of comfort - 
"I have surely seen the affliction of my people...
and have heard their cry...
for I know their sorrows...
and I am come down to deliver them...
and to bring them up..."
Our God Jehovah cares.  He is not a distant, impersonal divine Spirit who isn't interested in us.  He sees our struggles, He hears our prayers, He is aware of our tears and, in His perfect time, He will help us and deliver us.  Are you struggling today with some sorrow or affliction?  Tell the Lord about it and then wait for Him to deliver you.  Of course, the waiting is the hard part, isn't it, because we want answers now. Over the years I have learned to become more patient as patience hasn't always been my strong point ☺. But the Lord wants us to be patient until He is ready to work.  If we don't wait and try to manage things our own way, then disaster can follow as we saw in Genesis with Sarah and Hagar.  Remember the words in Psalm 27,
He'll even give us the grace to be patient, if we ask Him.
And we'll finish today with these words from verse 12, "And He said, Certainly I will be with you".  When God says "certainly", He means there can be no room for doubt.  Believe Him, because He is the Truth, He cannot lie.  Are you feeling alone today?  Feeling as though no one really understands what you are going through?  God sees, He knows, He hears and He cares...tell Him all about it and then wait in His presence.
I trust that the Lord will bless your own heart this day and that you will soon see answers to your prayers.
Prayer Matters: Pray for yourself and your brothers and sisters in Christ, that we will draw closer to God as Moses did when he saw the bush burning.  Remember God is always there, we are the ones who wander away.  Keep close to Him at all times.
Hugs Karen

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Exodus 2: Moses delivered from death by God's protecting hand

January Bookmark

Here is the reading plan for January.  Print it off and use it as a bookmark in your Bible.

We are also going to be trying to commit some verses to memory, so this is the Scripture we will be memorizing over the coming weeks - Psalm 77:11-20.
This week we are memorizing Psalm 77:11,12 - 

12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. 

In Exodus 1:22, Pharaoh warned the Egyptians to throw every baby boy they found into the river. It is ironic then that Moses' own mum put him into the river to protect him. Here in chapter 2 we have another godly and brave woman - she took great risk to protect her baby. Again as in chapter 1, we see that when people honour God, He honours them.

Of all the people who could possibly stumble upon this little treasure hidden in the river, it was someone who could have done him a lot of harm. It was Pharaoh's daughter and she had the power to have Moses killed. But instead her heart was moved with compassion for this little baby. Although this could've ended terribly, the Lord had great and wonderful plans for Moses and nothing could stand in the way of God's will. 

The princess knew immediately that Moses was a Hebrew baby, but instead of having him killed, she gave him back to his own mother to bring him up for her and she even paid her to do the job!  What a wonderful opportunity for Moses' mum!  She had bravely protected him and the Lord had given her little son back to her and had blessed her further by giving her a wage for doing what she loved. 

Moses' mother was able to instruct her young son in the Holy Word of God; she would also have been able to teach him about the history of his nation and the fact that the Jews had been chosen as God's special people.  We all know that the early years of a child's life are extremely important when it comes to teaching the Word of God, teaching anything, in fact. For all of you who are mothers of young children, enjoy the precious time of influence for good that you can have on your little ones. The bible tells us that when we teach a child when he is young, those lessons will stay with them always. This is a further encouragement to those of you who are mothers of young people who may have been taught the scriptures as a child but who have now gone astray.   

Proverbs 22:6 KJV
[6] Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Keep praying that the Word will be deep in their heart, deep enough to convict them and draw them back to their Saviour. 

Perhaps you have learned some other lesson from this chapter. Please feel free to share with us what you have learned. 

Prayer matters: Pray for mothers who are starting out on their journey of motherhood and also for those who may be heartbroken over their prodigal young people. Also remember those ladies who may be struggling with the loss of a little one and those who are still waiting on the Lord to answer their prayers according to His perfect will.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Getting ready to enter Exodus!

Hello friends and a happy and blessed 2015.  I am entering this new year with a renewed desire to meet with and grow closer to my Saviour.  I hope you feel the same and if, at this point in your life, you don't, then ask the Lord to open your heart to His Word and to speak clearly to you through it.  I pray that His people will want to know Him more this incoming year.  I have discovered through different events in my life in recent times that I am totally dependent on the Lord to help me live the life He wants me to live.  I've always known this, ever since I became a Christian over 32 years ago, but now I know that this is how I want it to be.  I don't want to try and struggle through life in my own wisdom or strength.  I want to live my life fully by resting on the Lord and in His great strength.  Psalm 20:7 says: "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God".

Before we start our study in Exodus on Monday, here are a few things you might like to gather up for your own personal use (optional, of course):

  • Bible (I use, and will quote from, the King James Version)
  • January bookmark
  • Coloured pens or pencils (not felt tips)
  • Highlighters 
  • Journal/notebook
Here is the colour scheme I use for marking my Bible.  I've tried to keep it simple so that I can remember it easily.

PURPLE = Commands to obey
ORANGE = Examples to follow
DARK BLUE = God's characteristics
LIGHT BLUE = Heaven, my reward
GREEN = Lessons to learn
PINK = Promises to plead
BROWN = Sin to stay clear of
RED = Warnings to be aware of
YELLOW = Prayer
I hope this helps you to get organised and ready for our new study.  If you have any ideas you'd like to share of what helps you to get the most out of your personal Bible study, feel free to comment.

Exodus 1: Pharaoh afflicts the Israelites

Hello dear friends and welcome to our studies in exodus.  I really hope that you will be blessed during our time together.  Please consider following my blog by clicking on the followers gadget on the left (below the 'Welcome', leave a comment at the end sharing your own personal thoughts, or you can contact me using the form on the left sidebar and I will get back to you shortly.

There are a few verses that really jumped out at me in this first chapter of Exodus.
Let's start with verse 12: 

"But the more they (the Egyptians) afflicted them (the Israelites), the more they multiplied and grew".

After years of blessing and ease for the Israelites, there is a sudden change in circumstance for them. They are no longer treated with respect on account of Joseph; instead they are abused and persecuted. Sometimes things like this can happen in the workplace. Maybe you have a really good boss who you get on well with. Work is a pleasant place to be. Then circumstances change and you get a new boss who doesn't really take to you or you to them. There may be some tension or friction. It takes a while to sort through your feelings about them. Sometimes things work out well and the situation eases but other times, it just doesn't work out.
Why did this happen to the Israelites? It was because the new king of Egypt was afraid of them, afraid of their number and their strength (v9). So he decided the best course of action was to try and crush them, instead of working with them. Often, when others see Christians being blessed and doing well, they get afraid or even jealous and their natural reaction is to try and harm them. We as Christians may be perceived as a threat to some people (v12). Perhaps you are being persecuted for your faith - in work? In school? In your community? So, what's the answer? How do you deal with this? Follow in the footsteps of the midwives. They were only women at the mercy of a very powerful and ruthless king. Times would've indeed been difficult then. Did these midwives take the easy way out? Did they consider that not only were their jobs at stake here, but even their very lives could've been lost? No! They were brave ladies, and at great personal risk, they continued to obey God in spite of the king's commandment. We must always respect and honour those in authority - Romans 13:1 KJV,

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God", except of course when they go against God's command.

Result? Exodus 1:20 KJV,

"Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty." God always honours those who honour Him; maybe not always immediately, but He will definitely do it.
Remember, dear sister in Christ, if you are going through some sort of difficulty today where you feel that you are being afflicted and don't really know how to deal with it, then remember the midwives, be strong and remind yourself of the words in Isaiah 12:2 KJV,

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation."

 A thought for prayer: Pray for those who are suffering persecution for their faith, whether this be on a global scale or in a place of employment.

Wishing you many blessings in the days that lie ahead

Karen x