After Moses approaches the burning bush, follows the command to remove his shoes, and hides his face for fear of God, God lays out his plan.  Again we are told of God’s great concern for his people enslaved in Egypt.  Moses is told by God himself that he sees their misery, he hears their cries, he knows their suffering, and that he is surely coming.

Curiously, the text records that God tells Moses that he has “come down” to deliver them, and that his plan is to “bring them up.”  This particular choice of words is symbolic of the future, final deliverer and what he was to do.  This is precisely what Christ did for the people of God.  Surely we serve an unchanging God.

Finally, a third reference to the keen notice God has taken of his people is given.  Verse 9 says, “…the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them…”  Make no mistake, the message of God is clear: he sees, hears, knows, and cares deeply for the pain and needs of his people.  His plan, however, is not to instantaneously airlift them out of earthly suffering and into heaven.  No.  His plan includes the sending of a man – Moses, and ultimately, Christ.

Here,  we find God commissioning Moses to speak to Pharaoh and bring his people out and bring his people out of Egypt.  Moses responds with a humility that says, “Who am I?”  Clearly, he does counts himself neither capable nor worthy to do such a task for the Lord.  Before he begins to make excuses, God assures him that he would be given a sign – after he obeys.

Likewise, God’s plan of salvation and deliverance from the enemy involves the sending of a man, Christ, to save us.  It also involves the sending of human men like Moses to preach to us.  Christ has “come down” to “bring us up” and he has commissioned each of us to go on his behalf preaching the gospel to those still enslaved by the enemy.  The proper response is that which Moses gave: “Who am I?”

Not one of us is worthy to do God’s bidding, yet he send the likes of us for his own glory.  The confirmation of our commission comes not until after we have obeyed in faith.

Moses, like us, has some fears and objections about his calling.  Fortunately, God patiently answers all of his faithlessness with fatherly wisdom.  More on that later.  For today, know that God sees; he hears; he knows; he responds to our pain and prayers.  He has come down to, eventually, bring us up to himself.  He sent a man to deliver us and commissions us to tell others who are still enslaved how to escape.  We are not worthy of this task, but using us is his plan for his own glory.  Let us cease from excuse making and go out with the gospel to set the captives free.



I used to pray for martyrdom.  Yes, you read it right.  Everyday I would pray that when my card was pulled, my end would be for Christ at the hands of a persecutor.  I sold myself on the fact that being a martyr was truly the only “good” way to die.  Perhaps it is.  I mean, who wants cancer?  Or dementia?  Or years upon years in a nursing home?  A car wreck?  At least dying as a martyr has significance; purpose; honor.  Yep, that’s me.  I want a selfless death because I’m…selfish.

A martyr shouldn’t be confused with a murderer.  Many terrorists today are called martyrs but the truth is that all they are is murderers on suicide missions in the name of selfishness and false religion.  A Christian martyr is killed for his faith.  A Christian martyr does not kill for his faith.

Anyway, I read many books on the martyrs of the Christian church down through the ages.  I read how they died, who killed them, and why.  That’s about when I stopped praying that I’d be one.

I mean, these men and women were brutally treated and mercilessly tortured.  They were brave, courageous, and unmoved by horrendous physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse.  They are rocks.  I figured I probably didn’t qualify.  Moreover, I recognized a greater truth: It is harder to live for Christ than it is to die for him.

By saying so, I do not mean to diminish the valor of those who stand in the face of death without wavering in their profession of faith.  There is no greater honor on earth than to die for Christ.  In Jesus’ words, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”  

Still, the Bible, in its great wisdom, calls me to much more than a one time act of valor.  Christianity calls me to repetitive, daily actions referred to collectively as “dying to self.”  Those who do not discipline and master the art of living life for Christ will never stare down the barrel of a terrorist’s gun or kneel to be beheaded and confess Jesus Christ as Lord.

Early in my Christian life I would not only daily pray to be a martyr, but also for wisdom, insight, and conviction of sin.  These were the main things I prayed for day in and day out for years.  The wisdom God gave me at the time was that I must learn to live for him everyday if there was any chance I’d have the opportunity to die for him one day.  Because living for Christ is dying for him.  Every.  Day.   He’s still working on that with me.

All that to say, I’m thankful for college men and women who will stand, look death in the face, and confess Christ.  What an amazing faith!  What an amazing honor.  I know what “kind” of Christians they must have been.  They were real ones – not mere professors.

Maybe I won’t ever get to die for Christ.  Then again, maybe I get that opportunity every single day I live.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” ~Philippians 1:21



God had heard the cries of his people.  Slaves in Egypt, they needed a miracle.  As they prayed, God worked.  Forty long years after Moses fled Egypt a murderer, God called him back a deliverer.

In Exodus chapter 3, we find Moses tending sheep.  He is working a very common job in complete obscurity.  During his daily routine of this low and lonesome job, God comes to him and reveals something – a bush on fire that does not burn.  The text doesn’t say Moses was looking for a sign or seeking God when this happened.  He was merely working his everyday job.  God sought Moses.

God waits until he has Moses’ full attention to speak.  When he does so, the first thing God does is command respect and obedience.  Before any further instruction, God tells Moses to keep his distance and take off his shoes.  Moses obeys.

Finally, God confirms his identity.  Moses reacts with Godly fear and humility as the Lord begins to unravel his plans for him.

All God-ordained callings begin with God, his Word, and our obedience.  Living peaceful, quiet lives in obscurity does not disqualify us from doing great things for God if we are listening for him and attentive to his Word.  God only gives one instruction at the time, though.  He waits for our obedience before giving more information.

Moses may have looked like a commoner to everyone who knew him as a shepherd, but he was actually a prince.  He had knowledge and understanding of the very things God was calling him to do in Egypt.  Moses was anything but ordinary.  God qualified and prepared him his entire life for what he was about to do.  The same is true when God calls us.

There are many, many people in our culture who are in bondage and slavery to an oppressor even greater than Pharaoh – namely, Satan.  Therefore, go to work.  Be faithful in the low and lonesome daily-ness of life.  Watch and pray.  Be attentive and sensitive toward God and his Word.  Obey in the small things.  Who knows whom God will call you to deliver to Christ.

He hears my “Hey!”


Her sandcastle is almost complete.  “Hey!” she yells indignantly as the waves come up to carry it away.  “Hey!” she screams again as if the ocean acknowledges the desperate pleas of a mere child.  Naivety and innocence seem  cruel deceivers as she begrudgingly submits to defeat.

For a moment, time stands still.  A little girl’s demand at the deaf deluge pulls back the curtain on the spiritual.  I consider the contrast between God’s grace and my whimsical demands.  I quell her disappointment with a hug.  The flood becomes my eyes as the character of a God far bigger than the ocean reminds me of his great mercy.

I am the little girl building and bargaining.  I am the child, unwise and oblivious, pouring all I have into the futility of sinking sand.  Entitled, I am the angry toddler begging that my bucket loads of broken pebbles would not be buried.

But buried they must be, lest I trust in them.  No matter, because my vast ocean hears my “Hey!”  He envelopes me.  He is never deaf.  Despite his deity, he acknowledges my disappointment like a mother – a father – he quells my fears and failures with his ever proximal presence.

Later, the little girl carries her light to look for crabs.  When the covering of crustaceans is made clear to her, she screams.  She grabs my once unwanted hand and cuddles close.  She wants carried.  She clutches her tiny light and she cries out.  She shines it to the sky avoiding what’s on the ground beneath.  The brightness fails to reach up, but a grand array of stars reach down.  She wants to go home but she must wait for Daddy’s word.

She is me.  So unaware.  So dull.  So ready to walk alone until she is shown what waits fast under her feet in the darkness.  Her frailty is revealed in her fear and she fumbles for faith.  She grasps the little light she has and she tries to force it far enough to find favor.  Just then favor finds her.  Favor reaches down.  Favor forgives.  Father.  Father allows her to fit fully in his lap until he gives word that she can finally go home.

The house I built on the sand may have fallen far away.  My castle, my kingdom must have come down.  But the ocean heard my “Hey!” and my Father came to save.



“Mooooommmm!!! Addie’s on her ipod and she won’t take the dog out!  I took (the other dog) out and she’s just sitting there doing nothing!”

“Addie, did you take the dog out?”


“Addie, are you allowed to play games before you get ready for school?”

“I’m not playing gaaaaaames.  I’m looking something up.”

“You know you’re not allowed to use your ipod unless you are dressed and ready for school, you’ve already eaten breakfast, and taken your dog out.  Give me your ipod.”

Said child runs away screaming and avoiding any and all responsibility for as long as humanly possible.  Tattle tale child gloats and reminds me of the contrast between her “goodness” and her sister’s “badness” including a sales pitch to take her shopping later.  Youngest child watches the drama unfold with concerned face but waits until later on when her compliance level is very high to ask once again, “Mommy, what percentage am I being good right now?”

Unfortunately this is not an unfamiliar or outstanding scenario in my home.  I have two who dabble in the art of manipulation through obedience and one all out rebel.  I guess it should be no surprise that two sinners managed to breed three more sinners.

Teaching my children at home affords me a commodity other parents do not usually have an abundance of – time.  I have lots of time to spend correcting, encouraging, punishing, rewarding, and teaching them how to be a respectable, responsible, literate member of society.  Well, those are my three main goals on this joyride anyway.

Still, more oft than not I find myself at a total loss for how to get there.  I’m realizing that it may be because I personally don’t always know how to get there.  I’m a sinner, too, after all, and why I ever expected to clone myself and end up with a better version is beyond me.  All I got were three, going on four, carbon copies.  Drat.  If I want to help them and retain my sanity, I have to figure out how exactly it is that God changes me.

We began a group study on the book of Proverbs.  Proverbs offers wisdom for life and godliness.  It got me to thinking, more or less, evaluating, what wisdom is practically in my life.   What does wisdom look like day in and day out in my relationships, my demeanor, and, especially, my parenting?  All I could think of was star charts and how much I hate them.  So I left Bible study scratching my head asking myself why do I hate star charts so much anyway?

I hate star charts because I am daughter number one and daughter number three.  I’m the recovering prideful obey-er who is ever tempted to manipulate Pharisaically.  My husband is more like daughter number two – the act first, think later out and out rebel.  Nevertheless, truth be told, we are both, both.

Therefore, I know star charts will only feed the already existing pride and arrogance of daughters one and three.  I also know that nothing short of prayer, fasting, daily Biblical instruction, and likely a few lost limbs and several nervous breakdowns will stop daughter two.  Ok, maybe none of that will stop her. But I have to try, folks.  God, help me.

Pastor says the way to avoid prideful, heartless obedience is to preach the gospel.  Everyday.  He says the way to avoid lawless rebellion is to preach the gospel.  Everyday.  Preach it to yourself.  Preach it to your children.  Yes and amen.  My question, and forgive me once again for my ignorance as an 18 year old Christ follower who should sure well know better by now, is still, how?    Practically, daily, how do I do that?

Because I do study the Bible daily.  (It’s a high ranking item on the star chart for me.)  I open “school” for the kids with “Bible class” and everyday we “talk” about what the gospel is, what it means, and the like.  We have Bible based history, science, reading, Bible study, Sunday school, Bible memorization, nighttime devotions, family prayer, individual prayer, etc.  I could go on.  Still, as five spoiled sinners we have a mind blowing capacity to learn and know without doing and living.

That’s why I no sooner begin reading the Bible lesson and a crayon fight breaks out.  It’s why I don’t finish the lesson for my anger over the said fight.  It’s why no one gets it even if I do finish.  My kids aren’t disobedient because they do not know the gospel.  They are disobedient because I am disobedient; because I am all too often not rightly applying the gospel I teach them in my own behavior.

I know what you’re thinking.  Someone needs a star chart.  Perhaps.  I think maybe the pastor is right, though.  In fact, I know he is.  But what kind of star chart follows the gospel?

I picture it looking something like this:

Love                  Hate

Joy                  Anger

Peace              Discord

Patience              Impatience

Kindness              Unkindness

Goodness               Evil

Faithfulness           Unfaithfulness

Self Control         Recklessness

Gentleness        Harshness

Now we have a usable chart.  I mean, maybe it’s ok to remember the good things we do.  Well, as long as we don’t tell our left hands. (See Matthew 6:3.)  Maybe the chart just needs another side.  It needs balance.  It needs a “bad things” side where we write those, too, so that we might remember, confess, and have to physically erase them afterward.  After all, wasn’t that the fault of the Pharisees?  They kept a record of rights they should have been forgetting and never considered their own sin they should have been remembering.  In so doing, they refused the gospel.  No one whose star chart is full on only the good side needs a Savior and no all out rebels care much about getting stars on either side anyway.

There must be hope for both kinds of sinners!  While the religious sinners are asking, “Why wouldn’t Jesus love me?  My star chart is full of good!” and the rebel sinners are asking, “Why would Jesus love me?  I don’t even have a chart and if I did it would be full of demerits!” we must be responding with grace rather than stars and demerits.  The answer to sinner number 1 is grace-filled correction and rebuke urging the consideration of personal failures, confession, and repentance until they realize how counterproductive and contemptible their good works are to their spiritual life.  The answer to sinner number 2 is grace-filled correction and rebuke urging the consideration of personal failures, confession, and repentance until they realize how counterproductive and contemptible their bad works are to their spiritual life.  Both types of sinners need the gospel, but giving it to them looks somewhat different practically because we sin differently.

Star charts don’t work but the gospel does.  Who knew?  Insert head into hands.

As I finish typing this little ditty ipod void Addie urges correction for her playing on her ipod before she got ready for school sister.  “I think she should get her ipod taken away like me because she’s doing the same thing I did.”  Rebel turned tattle; tattle turned rebel.  Can a girl even get some consistency around here??? Excuse me while I attempt to start preaching living the gospel again today.



God’s people had become slaves in Egypt.  Moses was still tending sheep in the desert.  The people were groaning under their heavy work load and crying out to God for rescue.  In just two short verses, we find the kind of God we all long for.

And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. ~Exodus 2:24-25

Firstly, God heard their cries.  Of course he heard.  He hears and knows everything, right?  This is not a mere audible sound going into the ears of God, though.  The text implies that this “hearing” is one of response.  God always hears, but after much suffering and slavery as these desperate cries go up to Him, God now prepares to act on behalf of his people.

The text also records that God “remembered” his covenant promise to these particular people.  Had God ever forgotten?  Of course not.  The author means to convey that God has taken special notice of his pleading people and he is preparing to act on account of his own faithfulness – not theirs.  God remembers and keeps his promise to these people because of who he is and who they are to him – not because they deserve his mercy.

Finally, we learn that God “saw” them and “knew.”   God never went blind.  These was never a time in all four hundred years they spend enslaved in Egypt that God misplaced his people.  The implication is that God’s eye was turned toward their need as they cried out to him.  He knew them as his very own children.  He felt compassion toward them and sought to rescue them.  He looked upon them as the very apples of his eye and he knew well their pain.

When pain and suffering are laid heavy upon us it is good to know that Our God is not deaf, forgetful, blind, or ignorant to our needs.  He hears us.  He remembers us.  He sees us.  He knows us.  He always hears, remembers, sees, and knows us, but there is an appointed time for his deliverance.  It is often not as quickly as we prefer, but he is always faithful.  He is faithful because of who He is – not who we have been – and he will surely respond to our cries in his appointed time.  Keep praying.


The Measure of a Man


2:49 a.m. – He sends a text that tells his wife he’s almost home and can’t wait to put his arms around her.  He’s been drag racing again.  Normally, she would be there cheer leading from the eardrum breaking bleachers, but the the race track is no comfortable place for a woman with child.

His friends may think that having a supernaturally fast street car, an even faster race car, and a bread-winning business to prove it is what makes him most respectable.  But we both know better now.

Don’t get me wrong, his gifting is found in gears and gadgets.  He has given his life and livelihood for building things to go.  Fast cars bring home the bacon – bacon, by the way, whose “better eat me and broadcast it if you’re a big man” blasphemy has created a sincere aversion for him.  No.  Tim has not bought in.  Bacon hasn’t the slightest thing to do with being a man.  Neither do beards or how much of it (bacon) you bring home.   Being a man, brothers, is found in something a little bit bigger and badder than that.

 Here is a day in the (new) life of a recovering bacon braggart’s wife…

8 a. m.  – He gets up early on Sunday morning after his 3:30 a. m. return from drag racing to go over the Bible lesson he’s about to teach the children at church.  He takes the dogs out, brushes little girls’ hair, and eats a breakfast void of bacon.

9:30 a.m. – He turns the car around when his wife remembers something she forgot.  He laughs instead of yelling.  Upon returning, he gets out and kindly get the said item for her.

10 a. m. – He teaches Sunday school, complete with funny faces, friend-making foolishness, and all the same fervor he has when fueling up his fast cars.

1 p. m. – He buys lunch for extended family.  He takes them to the river to picnic and play.  He picks his wife a wildflower.  He buys his daughter a heavily overpriced elk skin purse, his other daughters a wooden trinket and his wife a handmade flower for her hair.  He teaches them about nature and geography with enthusiasm.  He sneaks away and buys them ice cream.  He baits their fishing poles with slimy worms they can’t bear to touch repeatedly.  When the pregnant wife wants to wade in the water, he holds both her hands and leads her carefully.  He carries everything back to the truck.  He always drives.

7 p. m. – He sits down on the couch and watches a kids movie.  He rubs his wife’s feet and doses off unintentionally.

10 p. m. – He tells the kids a story, prays with them, and puts them to bed.  He lays down with a sore back.  He talks with his wife for a while and then prays with her about the trials of the upcoming week.  He remembers those in need, in pain, in leadership, in darkness.  He thanks God repeatedly.  He asks the Lord to bless his wife and children.  He plans to get up early for a walk with his wife before working all day on a holiday.

He wins.  Not with his race cars or his worldly wealth.  He knows that can be taken away.  He wins the hearts of those around him because he has put away self-indulgence.  He has refused the lies of worldly gain and it has been revealed to him what is worthwhile.

The measure of a man is never about his net worth, his appetite, his appearance, or his material possessions.  The measure of a man is most evidenced by his love for God demonstrated by his love for others.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. ~John 15:13

Big beard wearers, bacon eaters, big car builders, take note of Mr. Rodeheaver.  He has taken note of Christ.

~Mrs. Rodeheaver



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