Pushing To Success


Exodus 17:8-16 (King James Version)

8Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.

9And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.

10So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.

11And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

12But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

13And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

14And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

15And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:

16For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

During World War II a Marine was serving in the South Pacific. His platoon was under fire and they were trying to signal their comrades that they had taken a certain hill. Their sergeant issued an order for a man to take the American flag and raise it up on a pole to let other units know they had taken this ground. As he grabbed the flag and ran off to raise it up, he was shot by a sniper. Another man was sent to retrieve the flag and raise it up. He too was shot. Finally, a young private spoke up and said, “Sergeant, in just a few minutes it will be four o’clock. If you will let me wait until then, I will take that flag, I will raise it up on that pole.” The sergeant thought for a moment and said, “All right son.” At four o’clock, that private jumped out of his foxhole, ran over and picked up the flag, and then he ran to that pole and raised it up. He then turned and ran back to his foxhole and jumped in without so much as a scratch. The men cheered and the sergeant asked him why he wanted to wait until four o’clock to do what he did. The private replied, “Well sir, its four o’clock here, but it’s 6am back home in Kansas. My mother loves Jesus and she told me that every morning at 6am she would be on her knees praying for my safety. I knew that I would be safe while mama touched heaven for me.”

Things were tough for Israel. God left the “giants” in the land, and Israel was slammed up right against them. Now even though the Amalekites were a formidable foe, I don’t necessarily mean they were literal giants. They were one of life’s giants, no different than the giants we encounter every day of our life. They did have one distinction though, their whole goal was to wipe Israel off the map. They opposed not only the people of God, but the entire plan of God.

Does that sound familiar today? Who have we encountered on life’s journey that has a goal of wiping Israel off the face of the earth? Who do we encounter as we go through our day whose goal is destroying the plan of God in our own life?

The Israelites were afraid, indeed they were wondering why in the world they left Egypt if they were going to be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire! They needed a sign that God was still God. They needed a reminder of the awesome life changing power of a mighty God.

Boy did they get it, and in a powerful visual fashion. Verse 11 says: And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

This one verse teaches us a lot about God. It teaches us about trust, it teaches us about faith, and the continuation of the story in subsequent verses teach us to support one another as we make this incredible journey through life.

Conflict Will Come


One thing we will never avoid is conflict. It’s all around us, and is often overpowering. There are forces in the world whose main agenda is destroying everything God is doing, and you and I are at the epicenter of this fierce battle between good and evil.

“The difference between spiritual and unspiritual community is not whether conflict exists, but is rather in our attitude toward it and our approach to handling it. When conflict is seen as an opportunity to draw more fully on spiritual resources, we have the makings of spiritual community.” 

SOURCE: Larry Crabb in “The Safest Place on Earth,” p. 40.

When we encounter conflict, that is when God is digging down deeper to give us more support. The more intense the conflict, the firmer our foundation becomes when that foundation is the Lord.

When conflict sets in there are a few options. We could run, hide, and hope for the best. We could step up to the plate, and try to be the hero. Or we could stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow believers and fight the battle together.

Of the three options, it is this third one that we find in scripture. Moses set the example by his obedience to God, but like every one of us he began to get tired. His arms began to shake, and little by little they would sink down. Each time he would lower his arms the enemy got stronger. The solution was that the people of Israel propped up Moses’ arms until the victory was assured.

As we encounter the inevitable conflict it is imperative to remember that we don’t have to go through the battle all by our self. Folks the battle that looms before us is a frightening battle, and the potential for defeat lies at every turn, however if we will lift each other up, and support each other through the fight the victory will be the Lord’s!

Coming Down From The Mountain


How many enjoy a freshly baked Krispy Kreme donut? Many of us have tasted them. Some people will line up and wait for hours to purchase these sweet delights. Let me tell you about the process that leads to a Krispy Kreme donut.

First the little balls of dough are shot through with a piercing blast of air to create a hole. Then they go into the proof box where they ride up and down an elevator in an atmosphere of heat and humidity. This causes the dough to rise. After this, they are dropped into hot oil and boiled thoroughly. After surviving this ordeal, the donuts pass through a cascading waterfall of icing.

Does anyone here today feel like a Krispy Kreme? Do you feel like you have been blasted with air? Do you feel like you have been boiled in oil? Well, remember that these experiences precede the sweet delight that follows. None of us look forward to trials. None of us love hardship. But without them, we will never enjoy the sweet fruit of maturity. 

Billy Graham said, “Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.”

In our life we will have those wonderful mountaintop experiences: We will enjoy a hot fresh Krispy Kreme Donut, our child will be born, we will get that promotion at work, we will graduate high school or college, or get that 7 letter word in scrabble that uses an X. Whatever brings us to the mountain of joy won’t last and eventually we will begin to slide down the slope to reach the valley one more time.

We usually don’t want to spend any time in the valley, but without the valley we never appreciate the mountain. Life has to be lived in both places to create a balance that is spiritually healthy for us.

While Joshua was down in the valley fighting the battle with the Amalekites, Moses was on the mountaintop interceding with God for Joshua. Joshua needed Moses. When Moses began to falter, and slide down the mountain a little bit Aaron and Hur left the fray to prop their leader up. Joshua needed Moses, Moses needed Aaron and Hur.

It’s no different for us today. We have been in the battle, and have often felt like we were losing, maybe even being boiled in oil a little like the donut. Now we are advancing up the mountain, striving to reach the top. We need to pick each other up along the way, support one another, and encourage one another as we make the journey together.

Prepare For the Future


Joshua didn’t know it, but Moses was setting him up spiritually to take the leadership of the people of God upon himself. Moses was praying for Joshua, and for his future. Prayer is the essential key in the equation. Joshua was down on the battlefield praying for God’s help, and Moses was on the mountain praying that God would help Joshua.

It is essential for our journey up the mountain to prepare the next generation of believers to take our place. South Peninsula needs to become a place of refuge for those in the younger generation that need a break from the battle.

By his actions on the mountain, Moses was preparing the next generation on how to be God’s people. It is our responsibility to pass down the wisdom that we have learned from each hard fought victory.

God doesn’t constantly reveal himself and his Word to each new generation. That’s not how he works. Faith is not about our discovering new truths every day. God has spoken. The next generation learns from the previous. That’s God’s plan. 

So much for the silly notion that parents should have a hands-off policy toward the faith of their young! That’s a tragedy of our times. We have all heard parents say that they will not force religion on their children. They will just remain neutral and let their child decide for himself when he gets old enough. Of course, a child must decide for himself. But it is the previous generation that must to teach and guide. Our kids need it. 

Today’s kids grow up in a high pressure world. Anyone who thinks this world is religiously neutral is kidding themselves. All of kinds of forces are vying for the hearts and souls of the young.

We gray beards need the young as well. We don’t always like to admit it. I know two things about churches and children. Every church wants to have lots of kids. But when they get them they immediately want them to stop acting like kids—without having to be taught. Most adults also have a long-term memory problem. We are absolutely convinced that we never acted like today’s kids, especially at church. Those of us with grown children are equally sure that we never let our kids behave the way today’s kids do. We are probably wrong on both counts.

The oldest generation here needs kids. They remind us what this is all about. If we are not careful, we can easily conclude that church is about us, our wants and wishes, our comfort, our contentment. It’s not! It’s about God—his will, his worship, and learning more about him. The kids among us remind us how much we all have to learn.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Out of the mouth of babes?” Certainly you have. It comes from the simple truth that sometimes it takes a child to reveal lasting wisdom. It seems foolish but it isn’t!

For example: 
· Patrick, age 10, said, “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”
· Michael, 14, said, “When your dad is mad and asks you, “Do I look stupid?” don’t answer him.” 
· Michael, wise man that he was also said, “Never tell your mom her diet’s not working.”
· Randy, 9 years of age said, “Stay away from prunes.” One wonders how he discovered that bit of wisdom.
· Kyoyo, age 9, said, “Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time.”
· Naomi, 15 said, “If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse.”
· Lauren, age 9 said, “Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick.”
· Joel, 10 years old, said, “Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat.” and
· Eileen, age 8 said, “Never try to baptize a cat.”

It’s not too late for us to change the future.. It’s not too late for us to reach a new generation of people for the Kingdom of God.

Our scripture today painted a bleak picture of ongoing battles increasing in difficulty, right alongside a prophetic picture of complete and total victory through the incomprehensible power of a mighty God! Let’s keep those arms raised and let God fight the battle for us!