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“An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush.  So he looked and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.”  Exodus 3: 2

“Then Moses said to the Lord: ‘Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since…..but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue”  Exodus 4:10

So many choices these days, so many voices.  We hear we are to do the will of God.  We also hear when something happens that must have been the will of God.  Yet sometimes the voices are divided.  “Do this as it is the will of God”, we hear from one side.  “No! this is what you should do to fulfill His will!”, we hear from another.  Boy if I could just see a burning bush!  It sure would be great if my shrubbery would talk to me.

I apologize for being a little flippant because the question is an important one; maybe the most important one.  How do I know what I’m supposed to do?  Where can I go to get Our Heavenly Father’s answer?  Why isn’t he showing me a sign?  First, I think that it is important to understand how much Our Heavenly Father knows about us; even more than we know ourselves.  We might say to ourselves (I know I have) but wow, if I could only have a burning bush message, I’d be all in.  I’d do exactly what I heard!  Come on God! let me have it!

Let’s take a look at a few actual human reactions to signs from God.  Moses and the burning bush for example.   It is impossible to portray the divine on a worldly stage but I Youtubed how Hollywood portrayed this interaction in the epic movie: The Ten Commandments.  Charlton Heston is a pretty amazing Moses, but the interaction does not seem to fit the emotion of the interaction between the Angel of the Lord and Moses. For Moses does first ask why me, and then he proceeds to dispute with God that He has chosen wisely.  Moses tries to make the points that the Israelite People will not know who sent him, won’t believe that he was sent, that Moses is not talented enough to be the right person.  The fact that this is all coming from the miracle of bush on fire but not consumed does not seem to have had an overwhelming impact on Moses.

How about the Israelite People themselves.  First they have seen the power of God in the plagues sent against Egypt, including the “Passover”.  They have been freed from Egypt leaving with loads of riches; gold and silver.  They have been spared from attack by the Egyptians by miraculously crossing through the Red Sea.  They are being led and protected, night and day, by God Himself, in the guise of a pillar of fire at night and pillar of smoke during the day.  How can it be that they would miss the will of God in these signs.  Yet time after time, they miss the Will of God and complain to Moses:  “You led us here to die of thirst!  You led us here to starve to death! Would that we have stayed in Egypt.  Hey, I’ve got a good idea, let us make a golden calf to bow down and worship!”  Doesn’t appear that God’s signs had an overwhelming impact here either.  There are many other times miraculous signs were not initially heeded; a talking donkey a dry or dew soaked fleece.  And lest we forget, the miracle after miracle performed by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that were completely dismissed.

Thus it is vital that we be honest with ourselves.  If God sent us a miraculous sign today.  If we were confronted with an indisputable direction to be taken.  And, if that direction was not one we thought we could succeed at, or if it was not a direction that we had planned to go; would we drop to our knees praising God and declaring that yes we will leave and do immediately? Or, would we question God’s sign, question God Himself and the wisdom of the course He has laid out for us?

Here’s one of the miraculous things to me in all of this; God’s Mercy and Patience.  Here is the Creator, giving a task to His created. And the created is replying:  Creator, I’m not so sure about this, not just once but several times.  Remembering the Power of the Creator in all things, one might expect He would judge His creation unworthy, bring destruction down and find another.  What did He do for Moses; gave him Aaron to accompany him.  What about the people of Israel when they complained about starving; sent manna and quail.  When the people denied Jesus and His miracles, Christ died for them and us.

So if a bush is not going to do it for us; what will?  As it was in the beginning and ever shall be; God will.  God has given us the reference material to His Will.  He has given us His Word to read and study that clearly outlines what He wants.  And He didn’t stop there; for if a picture is worth a thousand words, then an action, an example must be worth a hundred times that.  So God gave us the deeds of Himself in loving action with us and then when we needed The Perfect Example, Our Heavenly Father sent Jesus Christ to show us the way.  And He is not done giving.  For to provide us with insight we are incapable of through worldly logic or discernment, God has given us the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and touch our souls with the Wisdom and Love of God.

A burning bush?  A pillar of fire?  What are those examples compared to the Resurrected Christ!?  In Him we truly have all that we need.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, ever since the Garden of Eden, we have been trying to figure things out through our own devices.  You have sent us signs, prophets and even Your Only Son Jesus Christ.  Yet we confess, we struggle against those signs trying to interject our own.  Forgive us Most Merciful Father we pray.  Pour out Your Heavenly Strength that we might put aside all worldly logic and thought and humble ourselves and our will to the service of Your Will.  Through the Holy Spirit bring us to an understanding and willingness to follow what You would have us do.  That in following Your Will, we would bring glory, honor and praise to Your Most Holy Name.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

 

“I say to you, if you have the faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move.”  Matthew 17:20

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like the mustard seed…..which indeed is the least of all the seeds, but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree so that birds….nest in its branches”  Matthew 13:31-32

Alas the mustard seed.  At times I have heard this statement wielded like a weapon by people who report to be people of faith.  “The reason that you are not, fill in the blank, cured, successful, married, wealthy, on and on,  is that you don’t have enough faith”. I have heard this thrown up by people who do not believe as an example of the ridiculousness of faith:  “Move a mountain..really???  You really believe that nonsense?”  I will admit that I have used this against myself:  “I’m just not believing hard enough is why my prayer is not coming to fruition.”  And of course there is that famous scene in Star Wars, where Luke Skywalker can’t move his ship out of the water, but Master Yoda, because he has no doubts, accomplishes the seemingly impossible.

So we focus on the mountains.  We close our eyes, may get on our knees, we tighten every muscle and we pray, oh how we pray.  Sometimes I’m like Dorothy in the wizard of Oz.  I’ll just click my heels, say there’s no place like home, over and over, and believe I’m there.  Then I’ll slightly open one eye to peek and see if it came true.

When things don’t turn out as we had hoped and prayed, we often focus on the mountain:  “It was just too big”  we say to ourselves.  Yet maybe we are focusing on the wrong thing.  Let’s consider the mustard seed.  It has one God Given Purpose.  When it is planted, its mission is to eventually become a mustard tree.  God has a uses for the tree, one of which is to be a shelter for birds.  The seed can not say, I think I want to be an elm tree, or produce tomatoes.  No, its only choice is to become what God has intended.

Which brings us then to the mountain.  Is the faith that we have being used for what God intended?  Why is it that we want the mountain moved?  Is it for our convenience, to show our power and glory, for our gain?  Often when we contemplate what Jesus meant, we think in terms of size or volume.  Our faith is not large enough.  If Jesus had wanted to use an illustration where size mattered; why didn’t He use a really large seed for His illustration; like a coconut?  So perhaps, just perhaps, it was not about the size at all, but the intent.  The faith, the intent of the mustard seed, is to do God’s Will and become a mustard tree, it has no other purpose.  Indeed the seed is incapable of even devising another purpose.

God in His infinite Wisdom, made us different from the seed.  He gave us the will to consider alternatives.  There is an enemy who tries and too often succeeds in getting us to place our will ahead of Our Heavenly Father’s Will.  The devil does it in many ways.  Don’t even try to do that, it is too big (God’s will has limits).  You want to be rich and live the extravagant life for yourself; just pray real hard for those lottery numbers to come through (Putting our will before God’s).  You’re not getting what you want; only goes to show that you are rejected by God (putting limits on God’s love and wanting to separate us from God)

You and I, like the mustard seed, are God’s creation.  As the song says, He put me hear for a reason, He has a mission for me.  That like the mustard seed, my prayers, my actions, my life are totally devoted to His Will, no mountain can stand in my way.  How can I be sure of that?  In the beginning, after He created me, He called it very good. His Will is that we and He will be together always.  How do I know that?  He gave His only begotten Son, that I would believe and not perish.  Oh that the Love He has for me, would be the seed, that leads me to be the tree of life, His Will desires me to be.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, how I long to carry out Your Will in my life.  Yet I humbly confess, that so often I want more of my will than Thine.  I often use my faith and my prayers selfishly in an attempt to gain my own way.  I pray for Your Help, Dear Father, to overcome the temptation of the devil, to accomplish only my own desires.  Pour out Your Spirit upon me and write Your Name on my heart, that everyday, I will grow stronger in the desire to carry out Your Will in my life and see the fruits and blessings of that relationship.  That in the sure knowledge of being on Your Path, my faith will be such that no mountain, or earthly construct will stand in my way in carrying our Your Mission for me.  In the name of He who came, lived and died for my salvation, Jesus Christ, I pray .  Amen.

 

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