February 21 Numbers 8-9; Acts 28

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Follow Where He Leads | Susan Aken

S~ Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; whenever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the LORD’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. Numbers 9:17-18 (NIV)

O~ During the years the Israelites were in the wilderness they were led by the cloud sent by God. Whether it was one day, two months or years, when the cloud settled that is how long they stayed. They camped at His command and they moved on at His command. They always obeyed Him in this way.

A~ I was thinking this morning that the most important thing is hearing God’s voice. I can do all kinds of things at my own discretion. I can read, pray, go to church; decide what to do or not do. But I want to listen for His voice and be led by my Lord. I want to hear Him guiding me and go when He says go, speak when He says speak or be still when He leads. He does speak through His Word so I need to listen and obey that but I also want to listen with my heart and not just make decisions out of my head.

P~ I want to follow you Jesus. I want to be willing to be like the Israelites so that I go when you say go or give when you say give. I don’t want to make decisions out of my head based on my feelings or what pleases me. I submit to you Lord. Please guide me. Help me hear your voice. Help me be willing to hear you. Let your will be done in and through me.

Stay or Go? | Robin Laney (guest post)

S~ Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. Numbers 9:22 (NIV)

O~ God had rescued the Israelites from Pharoah through a series of miracles. They had escaped slavery by God’s hand and God, Himself, was now leading them on a journey to the Promised Land, Canaan. He appeared to them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. God was with them in a very tangible way leading them, guiding them and protecting them.

One year into their trek they were preparing for the Passover Feast as a celebration of their release from the Egyptians. God had given Moses specific instructions on how to prepare a Tabernacle, a Tent of Testimony. It was to be a place where the people could meet worship and offer sacrifices. A sacred place for God to dwell among His people. The Israelites were separated by tribe and were encamped with the Tabernacle at the center.

Once Moses had finished setting up the Tent according to God’s plan, the pillar of cloud that had led them to freedom came down and covered it. At night, the cloud was like fire. God had chosen to dwell among His people and show Himself to them in a very visible way.

When the cloud lifted from the tent, whether day or night, the people knew it was time to move. They would pack everything up and follow the pillar of cloud until it stopped. They would then set up the tent at that place and form their encampment around it. They might stay one day or one week or one year. They were completely dependent on God for their journey. When He stayed they stayed and when He went they went. While they waited for the next move they busied themselves with the work at hand but were always prepared to move at God’s command.

It’s interesting to note that in the eight verses in Numbers chapter nine that speak of the cloud covering the Tabernacle, it is noted seven times that at the Lord’s command they set out and at the Lord’s command they encamped. The Israelites, at this point in their journey, were secure in God’s love for them and were obedient to follow Him fully.

A~ There are times in my life when I am in tune with God enough to hear or see what my next step should be and times when I depend on my own thoughts and desires to guide me. I have allowed myself to be led by God and I have stepped outside of His will. I have rested in His peace and I have been tossed about by the waves of this world. I have basked in His light and I have suffered in the dark. I have positioned myself to see Him clearly and I have allowed other things to obscure my view of Him. God doesn’t show Himself to me as a pillar of cloud or fire but He dwells in me. Like the Israelites, I have seen Him do amazing things, I know that He loves me and will provide all I need, and I believe that He can use me to fulfill His purposes when I follow Him faithfully. This life has plenty of trouble and uncertainty to offer but there is peace, provision and purpose when I am covered by His presence.

P~ Oh Lord, thank you that you love me in such a way as to be present in me. I am so grateful that You know me well enough to know that I need evidence of You daily and so have sent Your Holy Spirit and offered Your Word to show me Your way. Lord, I pray that I will constantly be aware of Your presence and will respond obediently to Your direction every time. Let me move when You move and stay when You stay and find me content and about Your business while I wait on You.

My Purpose | Joni Tyner

S~ Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacles for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on. Numbers 9:22 (NLT)

O~ God provided a visual presence of Himself in the wilderness for the Israelites by providing a constant cloud of fire. This cloud settled over the Tabernacle and when it, (God) moved, they moved. When it stayed, they stayed put.

A~ The notes in my Bible brought out an interesting point about the cloud.  God was showing them exacting where He wanted them.  When the cloud stayed put, they stayed put.  He wanted them right there.  Sometimes they stayed 2 days, sometimes they stayed a year. The Israelites had purpose in where God put them.

I’ve been thinking about my own life purpose over the past couple of years.  I want to get it right, to live a life that has been assigned me. I don’t want to miss it.  As I reflected on this scripture, I feel like God gave me a new perspective about what my purpose it.

My life purpose might be to listen and follow Him for the exact season of life I am currently in.

Wow.  Maybe my life purpose when my kids were little was to kiss and hold them when they scraped their knee from a bicycle crash. Maybe it was to volunteer in the church nursery and rock a baby.  Maybe God was using my gift of encouragement through this simple gesture. I was a young believer with  minimal Bible knowledge– I think maybe He gave me an assignment that I could do well with what I had.

I wonder if my purpose during the grade school years was to open my home to all those neighbor kids?? I made so many cookies and came up with crazy party ideas!!! God gave me the gift of creativity and the desire to have fun. I think maybe He used those gifts to reach kids who didn’t always see love and joy modeled in their own homes.  Fifteen years later, these kids are grown and they still come see me. I think God is using what I did back as a strong foundation for the future.

And when the storm clouds of rebellion and addition settled over our family,  I think my purpose was to learn to sit at His feet and let Him be my everything.  I needed to learn humility and forgiveness. ( trust me, I had 100’s of lessons in humility)   I remember one particular day. I sat in the parking lot of the courthouse as I cried and argued with God.  I remember crying out to Him, “I can’t do this. I’m a Sunday School teacher. I bake cookies and plan birthday parties. I don’t know how do all of this—I’m not suppose to be doing this.”  Of course, God knew I needed to grow in trusting Him when my life looked like a complete failure to others.  What kind of mom has her kid in jail? What kind of mom has her kid go through drug rehab—and relapse twice?  I learned my purpose was to give up control and simple trust Him. It was to intimately learn compassion for people who struggle. God used my life experiences to come along others and say “I get this”.  Satan may have intended to destroy our family through addiction, but God used it to grow my faith. He used it to grow my husband into a spiritual leader for our family. He used it give me a desire to reach out to an orphaned homeless teenager and give her hope. I was able to teach and guide her to Jesus, the one who will never desert her.  I think God’s purpose was to for me to learn to receive Him.

So as I reflect on what my purpose is today, I think maybe it’s an accumulation of all God’s grown me into.  It’s to be compassionate with young mom’s as they are in a season of building their family. It’s to continue to build relationships with people who need a bridge to Him.  I think maybe my purpose for today is to write about God’s faithfulness as I imperfectly live out His assignment for me.

P~ Dear Lord, I want to be in constant alignment with Your cloud—Your will for my life.  Help me to see and embrace the purpose of today and not waste time worrying about where the cloud might go to next.  I want to be in Your presence and fully engaged with Your will for me.


S~ When we were ready to leave, three months later, they gave us the things we needed. Acts 28:11 (NCV)

O/A~ This verse really emphasized to me, how much I just don’t enjoy the journey.  I am way too focused on the goal, the task, the worldly end result.  Paul’s ship hit an island when he was traveling to Rome.  This was a hiccup in his plans.  Then while on the island, he was bitten by a snake, which he just shook off into the fire.  Then he spent time on the island fellowshipping with people and healing the sick.

As I am reading this, I thought, “Wasn’t he on his way to Rome, and an Angel said that he must stand before Caesar?  I am pretty sure God meant for him to get there, so why is he dilly dallying?”  Right after this thought goes through my mind, I read on and the next heading, for the next passage in my Bible is, “Paul Goes to Rome”.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I am not naturally a carefree, enjoy the journey type of girl.  I am sure much of that has to do with my childhood and the environment I grew up in.  Yet, prior to the hiccup of a husband with an addiction, leaving my husband, selling our house, and bankruptcy; I had gotten way better at relaxing, trusting God, and enjoying the journey.  So much so, that even people at work noticed a change and inquired what prompted it.  And trust me, things weren’t easy or hunky dory even during those times.  Yet, my perspective was a lot different.

The change, at first, was something I had to purposefully make a point to do.  I had to be aware of my knee jerk reactions, rely on God to help calm me, and shrug off what truly was not important or what did not work.  Eventually, it became a habit, and I did not worry, try and control, or let the hiccups throw me off as much.  I enjoyed the journey, much more, during this season of my life.

I am just realizing today, that even though I am not as bad as I was before, I have lost a lot of that, due to the storms of my life.  I am too busy trying to prevent the hiccups and storms that pop up during the journey.  Then, when they do, instead of trusting God in them, I am focused on getting over them, so that I can continue on  with my original course.  This has made it impossible for me to consistently enjoy the good, as I am always trying to avoid the bad and force a specific path.

Yet, God knew where Paul was.  He knew that Paul got side-tracked by a massive storm on his way to Rome.  He is the one who allowed it to happen….maybe so Paul could show and tell something about Him to the people on that island.    What if Paul would have been Michelle?…..

“Great, now we crashed, when I told you people we shouldn’t have sailed anyway!”

“Great, now God is going to be upset with us, because He wanted us to go to Rome, and we are stuck on this island.”

“Great, now I have been bitten by a snake!  Nothing goes smoothly….like surviving a massive storm, being stuck on an island, wasn’t enough trouble for awhile?”

“God directed me toward Rome.  I don’t have time to fellowship and heal sick people.  I have to get to Rome!”

“God, I am trying to do what you told me to do.  Could you please make it a little easier?”

I think it is safe to say, that if Michelle was on that island, many people wouldn’t have really been able to SEE or HEAR God.  Yikes, the realization that God gave me this journey, with hiccups and all ………is freeing.  I didn’t disappoint Him.  He isn’t punishing me.  He wants me to take time to enjoy it, and enjoy the work that He has given me to do.  If it doesn’t go as planned, smoothly, or as society or the world says it should; He wants me to know that He orchestrated that too, but He still wants me to enjoy the journey and in doing so, I will be able to show and tell people about Him.

P~ Thank you God for You.  Please continue to help me put the pieces together, and remind me, of what I already know, when I am having trouble remembering.  Please forgive me of my sinful, stinky attitude, that not only cannot be used by YOU, but also has been used by the enemy to kill, steal, and destroy my peace, my joy, and parts of my journey.

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Posted on February 21, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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