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New Room Conference is our effort in gathering pastors and leaders who long to be a part of a great awakening. Join us September 19-21, 2018 as we band together around a holy vision for what the Church can be in the 21st century.

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June 20, 2018

Exodus 3:4-10

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” 5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. 7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

CONSIDER THIS

And Moses said, “Here I am.” Maybe you've heard the lines of the old hymn, When the Roll is Called Up Yonder I'll be there. I think the bigger question asked by the Bible concerns who will respond when the roll is called down here. Moses responded in good biblical form: “Here I am.” A reader wrote me recently to say they now begin their prayer time in the morning by saying, "Here I am," and close with "But if not." Love that. Today's text fascinates on so many levels. First, note the way God speaks. I am the God of your father . . . I have indeed seen . . . I have heard . . . I am concerned . . . I have come down . . . to rescue them . . . to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, . . .  So far, it sounds like we're about to get a show of Divine proportions. God is about to take the stage and save the day. Then in a stunning turn of dialogue, God says this: So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” All this about God's power and what God is going to do to rescue his people and bring down the most powerful nation on the planet and then this: So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” God chooses an aging sheep herder as his ambassador to the most powerful man on Earth. As my twelve year old son, Sam, might say, "What the what?! Tomorrow we will get into the prayerful negotiation between Moses and God. Before ending I want to reach back a verse prior to where today's text begins. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” Exodus 3:2-3 A bush on fire in the desert was probably not that big a deal. A bush on fire that is not burning up—that merits the double-take. On fire but not consumed. This is an image of what God would do with Moses life.   Moses by himself: an uninteresting bush. Moses filled with the fullness of God: on fire but not consumed. Moses by himself: hardly worth noticing. Moses filled with the fullness of God: can't look away. This is the vision of the prayer-filled life, which is the Spirit-filled life: on fire but not consumed. Old Testament extraordinary is New Testament normal. Consider Pentecost, tongues of fire resting on Galilean fishermen—on fire but not consumed. Paul said it well: But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

THE PRAYER

Lord Jesus, you are right here, right now. Your presence is the secret. I don't seek you for an answer. You are always the answer. Make of my life a luminous burning, a compelling vision of your presence, power and possibility. Right here, Jesus. Right now, Jesus. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Put yourself in Moses shoes. What was this experience like for him?
  2. What do you make of the statement, "Old Testament extraordinary is New Testament normal."
  3. Are you compelled by vision of becoming a person who is "on fire but not consumed?" What holds you back?
Subscribe to receive the Daily Text email. Join the Daily Text Facebook group here. Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge here. Whenever you sign up, it will begin the following Tuesday. J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

June 19, 2018

Exodus 2:23-25

23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

CONSIDER THIS

23 During that long period, We find ourselves in the story of Moses. Israel lives in the land of Egypt and after many years find themselves enslaved and oppressed under the power of the Pharaohs. The law of sin and death, while utterly uncreative, operates with enormous sophistication and complexity. We have gone from a sky scraping tower reaching to the Heavens to a nation who enshrines its leaders as god incarnate. We have gone from a garden where God walks with his image bearers in the cool of the day to a desert land where the god of the age, a.k.a. Pharaoh, asserts ownership over them, forcing them to build his kingdom. That's what slavery is—when the image bearers of the true God enter the service (voluntarily or involuntarily) of another kingdom under the control and influence of another (invariably false) god. These gods are all ultimately the same, ranging from Pharaoh to money to opioids. They all promise some form of Eden like reality none of them can ultimately deliver. What they ultimately deliver is groaning. Slavery always leads to groaning. "The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God." Why groaning? Groaning should not be confused with groveling. God doesn't look for groveling. Neither do I think it takes groaning to get God's attention. Groaning is the sign of the crystallized consolidation of our attention.  And let's be honest. Our attention needs to be crystallized and consolidated. We like options and alternatives and multiple possible solutions for our desperate situations. So many so-called solutions are designed to avert our desperation. All the while, desperation is our solution. Desperation will either divide our attention among a multitude of possible solutions or it will consolidate our attention to a singular hope in God. The former looks like gritting our teeth and leads to anxiety; the latter looks like groaning and leads to peace. Let me be clear. God's solutions can take all sorts of forms and shapes from medication to miraculous intervention. It's all in how we get there. We live in the self deceived illusion of so many possible alternatives to God when God is the only alternative. In Paul's letter to the Church in Rome he tell us "the Spirit intercedes for us in wordless groans." Romans 8:27. In fact, just prior Paul said this: "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:22-23. It's a mistake to think of groaning as some kind of learned intensity in intercession or a particular expression of emotion in prayer. While those characteristics may or may not be present, the prayer of groaning is much more. Dr. David Thomas, one of the key leaders in our work with NewRoom, recently spent the better part of a decade earning a PhD through researching and writing on this way of prayer and its historic connection with great awakenings. He calls it "Travailing Prayer." He points out how it is not something human desire or effort can produce. In a NewRoom address we published into a small booklet To Sow For a Great Awakening, (part of our Seedlings series) David spoke of travail as

"a kind of spiritual posture found among some who were the catalytic core—a spirit of urgency and audacity, an attitude of brokenness and desperation, a manner of prayer that could be daring and agonizing. These friends in the Hebrides called it travailing prayer, like the Holy Spirit groaning through them, they said, like a woman travailing in labor, like Paul in Galatians 4:19 travailing “as if in the pangs of childbirth that Christ might be formed in you.” (See P.S. below for special offer)

The prayer of groaning, or travail, comes from a desperation not born of anxiety for a sought after answer, but of determinedness to know God as the answer, come what may. Though the movement of God may be years in the future, history reveals the Holy Spirit's preference to grant the gravity of Heaven to this manner of prayer. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

THE PRAYER

Lord Jesus, you are right here, right now.  There are so many reasons why I fail to groan in prayer, but chief among them is the way I protect myself from the pain of others; even from my own pain. Awaken me to the deeper love of God, who runs with abandon into the face of darkness and whose suffering travail brings us saving grace. Right here, Jesus. Right now, Jesus. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Do you have any experience with the prayer of groaning or travail?
  2. Reflect on the difference between a desperation born of anxiety for answers and a desperation born of determinedness to know God as the answer.
  3. Why might it take a long season of groaning prayer before God seems to respond? How might we understand that?
P.S. Seedbed is a mission with a business, which means we do about three times as much mission as we do business. As I like to say, sowing over selling. As we approach the end of our fiscal year (June 30), I want to invite you to consider financially sowing into this mission of sowing for a great awakening. Gifts come in all sizes from $10 to $100 to $1,000,000 (which a generous family gave a few years back). The gift is tax deductible and can be made here. Regardless of whether you can give, I would like to give you the digital edition of the booklet I referenced in today's Daily Text—To Sow for a Great Awakening, by David Thomas.
Subscribe to receive the Daily Text email. Join the Daily Text Facebook group here. Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge here. Whenever you sign up, it will begin the following Tuesday. J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.