Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Allen Wright. I think sometimes that we act as Christians as though God has called us, God has saved us, but then we have to do something to validate ourselves. No, the same grace that saved you is the grace that sanctifies you.
The same grace that called you to God in the first place is the same grace that will validate, anoint, and use you. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in our series called Moses, as presented at Reynolda Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It'll be yours for your donation this month to Allen Wright Ministries.
So as you listen to today's message, we encourage you to go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at pastorallen.org. That's pastorallen.org. Or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. More on this later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Allen Wright. Are you ready for some good news? What's that in your hand?
That's today's good news. Because if God asks you, what's that in your hand? It must be he sees something of great potential very close to you. The second book of your Bible, it's Exodus chapter four, as we are in the midst of a series on Moses, and we've declared ourselves to not be in a hurry, and so we haven't gotten very far. We started out at the Red Sea, and then we backed up, and we hadn't gotten back to the Red Sea yet.
In fact, we've still got a ways to go. But I just couldn't rush past the first five verses of Exodus chapter four. Moses has seen a burning bush. He has heard God speak to him, and Moses has been full of questions. Moses wants to know what is your name, Lord?
Who will I tell them sent me? And he begins a dialogue with God in which Moses is protesting and listing before the Lord all the reasons that Moses shouldn't be the man. It's almost hilarious, if you think about it, to have a dialogue with the sovereign creator of the ends of the earth who is giving you a task, it's a very futile thing to try to convince God that God can't use you. But God is very patient, and he wants to show Moses that the call upon Moses' life will be continually validated by the power of God.
Okay? Exodus chapter four, verse one. Then Moses answered, but behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, the Lord did not appear to you. The Lord said to him, what is that in your hand? He said, a staff. And he said, throw it on the ground. So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. But the Lord said to Moses, put out your hand and catch it by the tail. So he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand. That they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob has appeared to you. Jewish rabbis are famous for answering a question with another question.
In fact, a lot of humor in Jewish circles revolves around this, that this is a culture that has learned the art of asking questions. So the boy comes home from college, and he's made a D in physics, and his mother says, what's with this D in physics? And he responds, who am I? Einstein. Or, hey, mom, what's for supper? Oh, what do you think I am?
Your personal chef. In other words, it always could be a question, you know, for a question. And so the funniest is the student who comes to the rabbi and said, rabbi, good teacher, said, why is it whenever I ask you a question, you always respond with a question? And the rabbi said, so what's so bad about a question? Maybe this is the way the people of God were in the old covenant.
They learned this because God interacts this way with us. Moses is full of questions for God, but God's got a question for Moses. While Moses is saying, well, what's your name? And they won't believe me. And how in the world is it going to work?
And how are you? God said, what is that in your hand? And let's be reminded that when an all-knowing deity asks you a question, it is not so he can gain information. God already knew quite well what was in Moses' hand, but Moses didn't know.
Oh, he might have known that he had a wooden stick in his hand that was a shepherd's crook that he could use for guiding the sheep or for fighting off a wolf, but did he really know what was right at hand? What's in your hand? I think that's the question the Lord has for each one of us today. We add a seed of this word at encounter last week, and it just stayed with me.
It just kept stirring. What is that that is close at hand, the most ordinary thing, the most unlikely thing in your life that you might never think God would use, what God could use? I want to talk about this question, what's that in your hand?
But more than that, I want to invite you to let the Lord show you today what it is that is in your hand. All right, the staff. The staff was a symbol. I think the reason the Lord chose this staff as the first sign that he would give Moses is that it was a symbol of the fact that Moses had become a shepherd. Just in the natural sense, what had happened was Moses was a Hebrew baby who was then by God's providence raised in the Egyptian court as if he were royalty. But then after he murdered an Egyptian, he had to flee and he was in exile in Midian. He was no longer amongst the Hebrew people. He was no longer amongst the Egyptian people. He was a man without a home. He was an exile. He was an alien.
He named his first child Gershom, which means a sojourner or an alien. And he had become a shepherd. Shepherds were despised by the Egyptians.
It was considered such a lowly task. And so the irony of this is that Pharaoh had treated Moses like a prince, but now instead of being in the lap of luxury, Moses is in a very poor place with a few sheep being a shepherd. And the shepherd's staff was a symbol therefore of his obscurity. It was a symbol of the seeming nothingness of his life. It would have been just a reminder of how much he'd lost.
It would be an indication that he was in a vocation that was the most despised vocation in Egypt where he had grown up. All of that and that staff. But it was a shepherd's staff. And the shepherd's staff is a great comfort to the sheep.
I rod and I staff, they comfort me. Why would the sheep be comforted by the sight of the shepherd's staff? Because that staff would be used to gently nudge the sheep in the right direction. It was one of the things the shepherd would use to help guide the sheep. Get them on the right path. Lead them to greener pastures.
Take them to still waters. That staff would be... Also that staff, along with the shepherd's rod that could be thrown, but that staff would become a weapon if needed. And the good shepherd might fight off the predator, might put the wolf away by using that staff.
I've got a picture that someone gave me in my early years here. And it was a blessing to me. They said, you know, you're a shepherd and you've come to be our shepherd. And so I've got a painting of a shepherd. And I was expecting, you know, a shepherd with a little lamb in the arms or something like that. But instead it was a picture of a shepherd with his staff. And it was a ravenous wolf that was attacking the shepherd was just crushing the wolf with the staff. That's part of being a shepherd.
That's Alan Wright. And we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Ever feel like something's holding you back as if you lack an important key that could change everything? Is there someone you love who seems stuck? You'd like to help them, but how?
What's missing? Blessing. We all need a positive faith filled vision spoken over our lives. You can learn how to embrace the biblical practice of blessing through Pastor Alan Wright's new book, The Power to Bless, which quickly became an Amazon number one bestseller after its recent release.
Until now, the hardcover book has only been available through retail sales. But this month, Alan Wright Ministries wants to send you the book as our thank you for your donation. Make your gift today and discover the power to bless. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860 or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues.
Here once again is Alan Wright. So all of that is in that shepherd's staff, a symbol of how ordinary life is and yet the thing that would be of great comfort to the sheep and a picture of being a shepherd and how it guides and protects. But what's interesting about the staff, and surely this is part of the reason the Lord chose it to be the first sign that he would give Moses, is that the staff was also a symbol of royalty in Egypt. So it was used as a metaphor for Pharaoh to be the shepherd over everyone. And you will see in ancient hieroglyphics, you'll see wherever Pharaoh is depicted, there's usually a symbolic shepherd's crook. And usually that shepherd's crook would have a stylized animal's head at the curved top of the shepherd's staff.
So what an irony. It is a despised profession and yet it became a symbol of the Egyptian tyranny. And this was the thing that was in Moses' hand. What's that in your hand? It's a staff. It's a symbol of my obscurity. It's the symbol of my humble vocation. It is also the thing that would be inscribed in hieroglyphics describing Pharaoh himself.
What an irony. And then the thing that I note about this next is that this is a question of what is in your hand. In other words, it's as close as your own hand.
God is seemingly saying that the thing that I'm going to do is so close. It's not for somebody else. It's not in some other place. It's not off in the distance. It's not some ethereal notion. This is right at hand.
It's right here for you for now. I think that's part of the word of the Lord today is that for some of you, you've always thought of the blessing of God. It was always somewhere else. The kingdom of God and his power and his presence.
It was always a little bit farther away. But when Jesus came, what he said is repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent means to change your mind.
It means to change your way of thinking. So literally what Jesus said all the time was, I want you to change your way of thinking. The kingdom of God is not off in the distance. The kingdom is here. And that's what he told the disciples to go and preach. He said, go and tell people, repent.
Change your way of thinking. You've always thought the kingdom was off in the distance. You've always thought it was somewhere else, but it's not. It's here.
It's now. The kingdom of God is at hand. It's as close as your own hand. The power of God to deliver you from whatever besets you is as close as your own hand. The provision of God for what you need is as close as your own hand. The miracle working power of God is as close as your own hand.
Something you can't even get away from. It's just here. It's in your hand.
Your own hand is the thing. You're stuck with it. It's there. It's right there. I think God has a word for somebody that it's right there. It's right there. Quit believing that it's off in somewhere else and it's for somebody else. I was always taken by the words of Henry Nouwen in his opening chapters of his book called The Return of the Prodigal which was a book about the prodigal son story of Luke 15 but it was about also the famous Rembrandt painting by that title The Return of the Prodigal because Henry Nouwen was absolutely fascinated with this mysterious painting which Rembrandt a master of light and the vividness of color and symbolism had depicted this boy who'd spent all of his inheritance in riotous living and he had come home finally and fallen into his father's arms and there he was in Rembrandt's painting in his tattered clothes his bared feet his broken self and the father who has light upon his face is embracing embracing him holding him next to his bosom and there are people all around that are just watching on and they are in the shadows distant and observing close but they might as well have been a mile away because there's only one that was in the father's embrace and I was identified with what Henry Nouwen this scholar and author and teacher said he wrote for years I had instructed students on the different aspects of the spiritual life trying to help them see the importance of living it but had I myself really ever dared to step into the center kneel down and let myself be held by a forgiving God there are many ways in which you can feel distant sometimes for me it's been my own intellect my own my own mind always trying to sort everything out figure everything out and you know always wanted just to know this that that God is as close as my own hand that he's really here Moses what's that in your hand it's a staff it's an ordinary thing it's the symbol of my humble vocation a reminder of my obscurity and it's in hand it's right here it's as close as my own hand and don't miss this it's in your hand it's it's something that's personal to you it's something that someone else is not holding you're holding it he didn't ask Moses to go and get a secret sword from a stone and some faraway place or to go find a gem hidden in a dark cave and some other land what he was talking about was this is something that's right here it's right in your hand it's it's it's something about you it's something about who you are Moses I'm not going to use somebody else for this I'm going to use you so whatever you have in your hands gonna work what do you have what do you have see I think that's part of the question and and I think so often we look at our lives and we don't have anything much I look back over my life and I go I've come come from a broken family I come from brokenness I come from some pain I come I've had shame I've been driven I've been the Lord's like okay I can use that yeah what do you have what do you have you know I got a couple of divorces and some wayward kids okay God said I can use that what do you have well I've got frustration at my workplace right now and things don't say okay I can use that well what do you have what's that in your hand what is that God's saying he knows he wants you to know he wants you discover it maybe it's time to not be thinking that it's somebody else that's going to be blessed that it's somebody else that has a destiny what's in your hand your hand and and then the power of this story to me grows in this that when God tells him to throw it to the ground he picks it back up it's the snake he picks it back up becomes a staff again God is showing himself strong he's showing himself mighty he is proving to Moses that Moses is God's man he is validating Moses and why this is such good news to me is that Moses doesn't do something to validate himself Moses didn't call himself and Moses didn't validate himself and I think sometimes that we act as Christians as though God has called us God has saved us but then we have to do something to validate ourselves no the same grace that saved you is the grace that sanctifies you the same grace that called you to God in the first place is the same grace that will validate anoint and use you you do not qualify yourself for your inheritance and the saints but Paul said in the first chapter of Colossians you have been qualified for your inheritance amongst the saints this is something that God does for Moses it is something that is right at hand and then God turns it into something that is a powerful symbol and a validation of what God is going to do in Moses life I'll be your source Moses I'll be your confidence I'll show you how I'll be with you I'll never leave you I'll never forsake you if I'm with you who could be against you throw down the staff I want to show you my power I want to show you my grace I want to show you that my purposes are true oh many are the plans of a man's heart but the purposes of God will prevail I want to show you my sovereign power Moses I want you to know you are mine and you are my man for this hour I am validating you when you become a Christian you receive the Holy Spirit every single Christian has the Holy Spirit I'm every Christian has the Spirit of God living inside of you and the first thing the Holy Spirit begins to do is be bear witness to your spirit that you're a child of God what's God doing validating who you are oh my if we could just have for our young people today if we just I just long for every single one of the children and youth in this country to come to know the saving power of Jesus and then not only to know that but to know that God says I have plans for you not to harm you but to give you a future and a hope I have validated your life in Jesus Christ you have purpose you have destiny oh we're just a we're just we're just a hurting people that are looking for validation you wonder why people wander into every means of sin and every kind of group and every different kind of divided allegiance people are looking for some type of validation of their life and God just comes to Moses and Moses is just tending sheep in Midian as an exile and God not only calls him he says I'm going to show you that you have been qualified for this Alan Wright in today's teaching what's that in your hand unlock the power of blessing your life discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing if you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement get Alan Wright's daily blessing it's free and just a click away at pastor Alan org ever feel like something's holding you back as if you lack an important key that could change everything is there someone you love who seems stuck you'd like to help them but how what's missing blessing we all need a positive faith-filled vision spoken over our lives you can learn how to embrace the biblical practice of blessing through pastor Alan Wright's new book the power to bless which quickly became an Amazon number one bestseller after its recent release until now the hardcover book has only been available through retail sales but this month Alan Wright Ministries wants to send you the book as our thank you for your donation make your gift today and discover the power to bless the gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries this broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support from you give today we will send you today's special offer we are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries call us at eight seven seven five four four forty eight sixty that's eight seven seven five four four forty eight sixty or come to our website pastor Alan org Alan for for those of us in the season maybe we were longing we're hoping we're wishing for something is it okay to say you know what maybe look at what God has done for you it kind of goes back to the old song count your blessings but but it's also what has God equipped you with today that we may not even be realizing well I think so often we're like Moses and we're like how can I do this how could you call me to this is my life make a difference and and sometimes we're asking the questions of God he's got a question for us and that's what he had with Moses and he said what's that in your hand I mean it just whatever you now have in your hand even it was just a wooden staff that seemed so ordinary God takes it and turns it into something extraordinary it's the ultimate picture of God's plan for using people we feel so limited and yet God's unlimited so there's something in your hand yeah you know there's something God can use right now what is it and and that's a powerful encouragement from today's word it's not all about if I only I had this or if only I could develop that exactly it's already in your hand. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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