Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


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22 Alone with God in the Fire Part 2

Exodus 3:1-5

3 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro,[a] the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai,[b] the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” 4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. 5 “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.

God’s first words to Moses, before God shares His plan with Moses, are personal; He calls Moses by name and then He reveals part of His character to Moses, His Holiness, (v.5) “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground”. God is more interested in the relationship, knowing us, and us getting to know Him, than just following a plan. Sometimes we are more interested in knowing the plan than the planner! Yet God reveals Himself and His character first and His plans second! Who God is should always be the driving force in our relationship with Him not what He can do for us, why? Because who He is, is what changes everything around Him. Everything becomes conformed to Him, God is holy so the ground changes and becomes holy. Are you taking on His character? Because of God’s holiness Moses also has to change and remove his sandals. What needs to be removed in your life? We often come to God trying to get Him to conform to our wishes and our plans but it doesn’t work that way. Is your time alone with God changing you? For Moses everything changes at this point because his encounter with God is a revelation of God himself.

Not only was Moses and the ground changed but so was the bush, everything changed because of God’s presence. This bush should have been destroyed in less than 10 seconds; instead the blazing fire that sets the bush aflame does not harm the bush it changes and shines through it. This ordinary bush becomes different from all the others around it, and because the bush changed, it catches Moses eye and draws him into a relationship with God.  The fire kept burning and consumed the bush but didn’t destroy it, the miracle here is not the bush, it’s the fire. I think this is a picture of what God wants to do through us and his church today, He wants to set his church on fire; he wants His Holy Spirit to blaze through every area of our lives. He wants to burn within us a fresh passion for Jesus, to consume us with his fiery presence so we shine with his glory so that the world may be drawn into a relationship with God.

The fire of God kept burning and burning, it was an inexhaustible fire, and it did not need the bush as a source of fuel! I think so often we try to burn for Jesus in our own strength and the only burn is burn out. Our God is a God of fire and he wants his people to be set ablaze with his glory but that only comes as we spend time alone with God. Moses encountered the God of fire and it was the fire that distinguished the bush from the thousands of bushes around. Is your time alone with God changing you is it distinguishing you? Is it time to get alone with God?


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21 Alone with God in the Fire Part 1

Exodus 3:1-5

3 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai,[b] the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” 4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. 5 “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.”

For Moses this started out as just another ordinary day, he’d been in Midian 40 years tending the flock of Jethro. I’m sure he wasn’t expecting anything different, but this day was different….this day involved time alone with God.  This is one of those passages that stir and provoke us in our pursuit of God. It’s one of the many God encounters we find in the Bible where God visits in a unique way and in a brief moment in time changes and transforms their life forever. Moses direction in life, his attitude towards God, his purpose for living all change in that one moment with God. The ordinary became the extraordinary; the usual became the unusual when God showed up like an eternal flame. Moses was at work, out tending the sheep. God often speaks to us in our everyday life where we work.  Moses was not the last shepherd to experience the power of God while tending his sheep.

Luke 2:8-9  “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them”

Many of us long for a moment like this, when God shows up in a powerful way to speak to us. Some of you feel like you’ve been in the wilderness and it has been a long time since you’ve seen or heard anything from the Lord. It had been 40 years herding sheep in obscurity for Moses, he may have felt like he was spiritually retired, yet God was not done with him. Moses learned more in the wilderness to prepare him for ministry than he ever did in Pharaoh’s court, sometimes it’s our wilderness experiences that prepare us for the ministry God has for us! Do you believe God has a plan and purpose for you? Is it ok for God to reveal His plan in His own time and in His own way? If you feel like you’ve been put in spiritual retirement, stay faithful where you are and wait on the Lord.

While Moses was busy about his task of tending the sheep, he looks over and sees a bush that is burning. This was a theophany, a visible presence of God Himself. This was more than a phenomenon; it was an extraordinary manifestation of the divine presence of God.  I’m sure this was the last place Moses expected to meet God, this was the middle of the wilderness and nothing happens in the wilderness. That is until the creator of heaven and earth, the one who holds all things in the palm of his hands, the one who brings life from dust, the one who knows no limitation shows up. When God shows up the impossible becomes possible, everything changes and it is the impossible that sparks Moses’ Curiosity (v. 3) “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” Notice it is God and His activity that draws Moses to Himself and when Moses starts moving toward God it is at this moment that God Speaks (v. 4) When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

There is an important principle here that we can’t afford to miss and that is, as we turn to God, He speaks to us. What if Moses had carelessly ignored the burning bush as something not worth taking notice of, he would have missed the presence of God, the voice of God and the Plan of God. What about you are you missing the presence of God, refusing to turn from your path and go to Him? Are you missing His voice and His plan? God calls Moses by name, he knew Moses and He knows you. When we are in the wilderness it may feel like He is distant and doesn’t know what it going on in your life but He knows you. Moses responds to God’s call “Here I am” how many times in the bible does God call and the people do not answer the call, Adam was hiding when God called and Jonah ran. God is calling are you ready to say “Here I am”? Are you ready to get alone with God?