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Dear Children of God,

Have you ever bought something with the caveat, “Some assembly required”? Then, you get home, open the box, and just go to work – and promptly run into all kinds of trouble, extra parts, and frustration. Well, if you just followed the manufacturer’s directions, starting at step one, usually it goes a lot better. Usually, the creator knows best.

Moses experienced both sides of this issue. Following directions … and not following them. In both cases, God’s people were grumbling that life would be so much better if they would’ve stayed in Egypt – forgetting the oppressive thumb of pharaoh. In the first instance, right after they saw God part the Red Sea and provide daily supplies of manna, Moses cried out for help. God responded, “Behold, I will stand before you … you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” (Exodus 17:6) Moses followed God’s directions and water poured from the rock. Forty years later, Moses again cried out. Only God’s direction was a little different. God said, “Take the staff … and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water.” (Numbers 20:8) Then Moses, for some reason, struck the rock with his staff twice instead of speaking to it as God commanded. Though water came out, God punished Moses for failing to trust and follow directions.

We know what God’s Word says to us. Then, we hear the world say, “That doesn’t make sense!” When we the world rather than God, that’s called “sin.” The consequences include both immediate fallout and eternal outcomes. But, when we sin, God gives us more instructions, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) When we realize our error, turn back to Him, and follow His direction; our Father restores us to His eternal presence. Earthly outcomes still apply; but eternal life is restored. This Lent, follow God’s directions to “return to Him” with your whole heart.

                                                                                        In Christ’s Love,

                                                                                        Pastor Jim