Lenses

Most of us wear some type of lenses at one time or another in our lives. Lenses are designed to alter our natural vision. Sometimes the vision is “corrected,” sometimes it’s magnified, sometimes it’s darkened, sometimes the colors are changed. It all depends on what lenses you’re using.

The lens we use changes the way we look at the world.

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There are other kinds of lenses, too: lens of self, of our culture, of drugs or alcohol, our backgrounds, family, our church.

What kind of lens do you use?

As we grow up, we naturally use the lenses we are handed: the way our family interacts, how we are treated, things we learn, incidences that change our vision, and lenses we adopt to adjust our vision of ourselves and the world. Sometimes our lenses are smudged or cracked.

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As teens, we delight in changing lenses often, swapping out with friends to see what the world looks like through different lenses. This often extends into young adulthood.

Eventually, we settle on lenses that “feel right,” that are comfortable. Our vision might change with circumstances such as marriage, children, death of loved ones; then we adjust the lenses we already have and hope to see more clearly. Some people just continue to use the same lenses they’ve had, even from childhood, and live with the blurriness of life.

In our natural state, we learn from and respond to those things which we see. The way we see things determines our response. The kind of lens we use becomes vital. If we’re not using a lens that provides clarity, we respond to a distorted image. Our response is distorted accordingly. Other’s perception of us includes our distorted response, filtered through their own clear or distorted lenses.

Do we watch television through cultural lenses?

Do we raise our children using our familial lenses?

Do we interact with others, in the workplace or in our community, through the lenses of self, or drugs or alcohol?

Things can get really messed up!

But God.

Isn’t there always a “But God?”

Yes. ~joyful smiley face~

But God gives us eyes to see. Before we come to know God through Jesus our Savior, we are spiritually blind. We cannot use spiritual vision at all. When we receive His Holy Spirit, God gives us new eyes. They are perfect eyes, but often and often we swap out for the lenses we are used to.

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Have you ever put on someone else’s glasses? It can really mangle what’s out there! Reality is misinterpreted. When we don’t use the proper lenses, we see a skewed picture. We can stumble and fall over things we missed, or grab onto something that isn’t what we thought it was.

Every time we read His Word, God sharpens our vision. We can see through His eyes, feel with His heart, and receive life with clarity, undistorted by human perception. His Spirit can direct our eyes to zoom into important Bible passages, or needs of others; or He can color our natural perception with His love. He can give us x-ray vision to see through the facades others put on, and see into their hearts. He can show us cautions or open doors, spiritual forces that are invisible to human eyes. He can sharpen our perception of Who He is, causing us to fall on our knees before Him.

When you come to God’s Word, remove your lenses. Pray God to equip your vision with clarity. Try not to put any other lenses over God’s perfection while you read, or throughout your day. See the world through God’s eyes. You have His eyes. Use them.

Joybilee Farms’ Herb Workshop

Wow – another herbal workshop. Chris, at Joybilee Farms, is offering a free online herbal workshop starting today, and going through Nov 13. I took an in-depth online class from Chris a couple of years ago, and I use the information and recipes ALL the time! She’s very good about teaching, leading you through the information, and following through. Here’s the website to sign up:

https://joybileefarm.com/workshops/herbal-fellowship-1/

 

Dr Z and the Sugar Crisis

The following paragraphs are excerpts from Dr Eric Zelinski’s article on sugar and its adverse effects, taken from this website: https://naturallivingfamily.com/best-natural-sweeteners/ . Please visit the link to read the entire article, and view the scientific resources.

By now, I’m sure that you already know that sugar feeds cancer. (source) But, did you also know that there are the best natural sweeteners in your pantry that have been shown to fight cancer? Yep! And not those artificial sugars that taste horrible and don’t have any nutritional benefit!

In this article, I discuss the dangers of consuming processed sugars, share three of my favorite healthy natural sweeteners for cancer prevention, and cover the importance of balancing the “glycemic index” with taste and health. And, don’t worry, it’s not as confusing as you may think!

First off, I am convinced that consuming processed sugars is the primary cause of cancer today. Why?

Because processed sugars:

Feed cancer

Dampen the immune system

Has no nutritional value

Are in virtually EVERY processed food on the market

They are everywhere, which is why it’s so difficult to cut harmful sweeteners out of your diet!

Consuming processed sugar and simple carbohydrates can lead to an addictive dopamine cycle, and most people are addicted to the stuff without even knowing it! Research has actually shown that there is a neurochemical similarity between intermittent binging on sucrose and drugs of abuse: “both can repeatedly increase extracellular [dopamine levels] in the nucleus accumbens.” (4) In fact, sugar is more addictive than cocaine. (5) Eight times more addictive, to be precise, according to Mark Hyman, MD. (6)

Have you ever wondered why it’s so challenging to eat just one cookie or have one slurp of a cola? Like narcotics, the dramatic fall back to Earth after riding high on the sugar clouds will create an intense craving in your body for another “hit.”

This is why it’s important to consume as many natural, whole foods as possible because they will trigger a gradual, moderate amount of feel-good hormones. However, eating sugary treats will cause a spike in these feel-good hormones which then causes people to crash soon afterwards.

In addition to being horribly addictive, sugar dampens your immune system, making you more susceptible to falling prey to an infection and can even lead to chronic disease because of the inflammatory response it triggers in the body.

Immediately after it’s been consumed, sugar literally shuts down white blood cell effectiveness and puts the body in danger for up to 5 hours. (7) Most people don’t realize this.

According to nutritionist K.C. Craichy (Quest for the Cures), just 100 grams of sugar inhibits our white blood cell’s ability to kill the pathogens in our body by up to 90%. And this happens within 15 minutes of consumption. (8)

To put this in more familiar terms, American Anti-Cancer Institute Founder Bob Wright confirms that data from a 1973 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition still holds true today: “One can of [soda] has enough sugar to shut down 50% of our immune system for a minimum of 4 hours.”

And, according to the American Anti-Cancer Institute:

When we consume sugar, we are simultaneously shutting off our defenses while pouring gasoline on the fire that is Cancer. When we take into account that “50 to 70% of our total immune system cells cannot see cancer … even on our best day,” the notion of adding sugar to our diet seems even more blasphemous (A.J. Lanigan, Quest for the Cures).

Sugar is conceivably the most dangerous substance on the planet and we should avoid it like the plague. Nancy Appleton, PhD, even claims that there are literally 141 ways sugar ruins your health. (9)

Sugar contains absolutely no nutritional value, and it has been reported to: (101112)

Cause dental cavities.

Cause skin conditions like acne and eczema.

Contribute to hormone imbalance and adrenal fatigue.

Deplete your body of natural energy and prevent mineral absorption in your bones.

Encourage stomach ulcer formation.

Feed candida.

Greatly inhibit metabolism.

Lead to osteoporosis and arthritis.

Cause gallstones.

Spike blood sugar levels.

Suppress the immune system.

Sugar is literally everywhere and that’s the real danger of sugar.

The American Nutrition Association says:

“According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the average adult in the United States takes in 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, or a whopping 150 pounds a year, while teens pile in 34 teaspoons a day. That’s more than twice the amount of sugar we should be eating.” (13)

When it comes to cancer prevention, eating the right foods is just as important as NOT eating the bad ones, so keep this in mind when making baked goods and satisfying your sweet tooth. Thankfully, the best natural sweeteners are readily available so kicking the sugar habit can be a cinch if you use these three instead of sugar.

1. The Best Natural Sweeteners: Stevia – By far one of the healthiest, sweetest, and best natural sweeteners, stevia is an herb that has been shown to help reverse diabetes and obesity. Stevia is one of the best natural sweeteners for two reasons:

It is a natural plant that has powerful healing properties.

It has no calories and has a 0 glycemic index. When it is used instead of sugar (and other natural sweeteners), blood glucose levels are not affected.

2. The Best Natural Sweeteners: Raw Honey – Ranking #2, most raw, unfiltered honey is a rich source of: (15)

Amino acids

B vitamins (B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid)

Calcium

Copper

Iron

Magnesium

Manganese

Phosphorus

Potassium

Sodium

Zinc

Honey is an extremely effective wound healer and has also been known to help with irritable bowel syndrome, acne, eczema, MRSA, tooth decay and a slew of other disorders.

Taking just one teaspoon of local raw honey has been shown to enhance immune function by building a tolerance to local pollen.

The International Archives of Allergy and Immunology published an article that discovered that pre-seasonal daily use of birch pollen honey decreased allergy symptoms by 60%! (16)

If you can afford it, get some Manuka honey. It’s a little pricey, but is a powerhouse immune booster. If it’s out of your budget, you can find raw, local honey at your local health food store for pretty cheap.

3. The Best Natural Sweeteners: Maple Syrup – Shown to kill colon cancer cells, maple syrup is a delightful replacement for most baked good recipes. (17) It is rich in calcium, iron, zinc and manganese. University of Rhode Island researcher Navindra Seeram states:

“I continue to say that nature is the best chemist, and that maple syrup is becoming a champion food when it comes to the number and variety of beneficial compounds found in it. It’s important to note that in our laboratory research we found that several of these compounds possess anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been shown to fight cancer, diabetes and bacterial illnesses.” (18)

Honorable Mention (BlackstrapMolasses) – being exceptionally nutrient-dense, molasses also contains cancer-fighting properties. (source) According to one study, “Blackstrap molasses is rich in a variety of essential minerals including iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium and potassium as well as the majority of the vitamin B complex, deficiencies of which confer a major cancer risk. Molasses also contains high concentrations of amino acids and linoleic acid, an essential lipid that has a documented anti-tumor effect.”

WHAT ABOUT AGAVE & SUGAR ALCOHOLS?

Both agave and sugar alcohols like xylitol have been praised for being healthy “natural” sweeteners and many health care providers are recommending them because they are low on the glycemic index. First of all, they are anything BUT natural. Secondly, they are quite toxic to the body.

Ever since the 1950s, researchers have known that xylitol: (19)

Cannot be properly metabolized by humans.

Causes digestive issues like gas, bloating and diarrhea.

Gets stored in the liver, which can contribute to long-term liver damage.

Agave is even worse. A great explanation came from a recent Dr. Oz article where the famed medical celebrity retracted his opinion of agave.

“After careful consideration of the available research, today I’m asking you to eliminate agave from your kitchen and your diet. Here’s why:

“We used to think that because agave has a low-glycemic index and doesn’t spike your blood sugar like regular sugar does, it would be a good alternative for diabetics. But it turns out that although agave doesn’t contain a lot of glucose, it contains more fructose than any other common sweetener, including high-fructose corn syrup.” (20)

DOES IT SOUND TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?

Let common sense be your guide when it comes to choosing sweeteners. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Enjoy stevia, raw honey and maple syrup – these three have been tested by both time and science to not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but are also healing and life giving.

Dr Z includes a glycemic index chart on the site, at the end of the article.

Recipe Friday: Turmeric Bars

Don’t let the title fool you – this stuff is like candy! You wouldn’t think turmeric would make for a sweet treat, but these are so easy to pop in your mouth!

Turmeric is a current health darling, and for good reason. According to research, its anti-inflammatory properties outshine any NSAID on the market. And, unlike NSAIDS (like Tylenol, ibuprofen, Alleve, etc.), turmeric works with your body, helps your immune system (NSAIDS tamp down your immune system), and is NOT harmful. I keep a good supply of turmeric capsules on hand, and take one or two (depending on the severity) when I get muscle cramps, a back twinge, stiff neck, a headache, or I feel a cold coming on. In addition, turmeric has liver-cleansing properties.

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Turmeric is a plant, a rhizome, and the root is what is used for the spice. Like ginger, this root can be grown or purchased whole or dried and ground into a powder. The whole root can be chopped and added to foods, or you can make a tea from it.

A side note: plain ol’ yellow mustard has a compound, curcumin (curcumin is also a compound found in turmeric). If you have a back injury, say, or bruise your leg, or have a headache, take a big spoonful of mustard every hour. It sounds like something to gag on, but it goes down a lot easier than you’d think, and it works.

Another ingredient in these turmeric bars is gelatin. Be sure to only use pure, organic gelatin, as other types may be mixed with other ingredients, or may come from chemically-raised beef. Gelatin is another nutrition powerhouse. It’s great for gut health, it has collagen, and helps your body build strong discs, ligaments, tendons, skin, nails, and hair. It helps to strengthen joints and prevent against the development of injuries, or helps to heal them faster.

This recipe also includes coconut milk, another nutritional superstar on its own. It is a good source of protein, fiber, Vitamin C, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, and selenium. In addition, the medium-chain fats (very healthy fats) in the coconut milk combine well with the turmeric to help your body absorb all the nutrients it can. Again, check your coconut milk product for where it came from, how it’s processed, and what other ingredients might be included. When you open a can of coconut milk, it is usually separated, with the thinner liquid on the bottom. Just mix it in.

The addition of black pepper sounds counter-intuitive to a sweet treat, but you won’t taste it, unless you add too much. The black pepper reacts with turmeric in an amazing way to help deliver the fullest benefits of the turmeric.

RecipeFridayTurmericBars

The recipe: Turmeric Bars

Ingredients:

2 cups                full-fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon     ground turmeric

3 tablespoons   raw honey OR 10 – 15 drops liquid stevia

pinch                  black pepper

¼ cup                 grass-fed beef gelatin

1/2 teaspoon     cinnamon, optional

Directions:

In a saucepan, put the turmeric, pepper, cinnamon (if using) and coconut milk.
Heat on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in honey (if it’s too hot, cool a bit until it’s no more than 104 degrees, to get the full benefits and properties of the raw honey).
Check sweetness and adjust to taste.
Sprinkle gelatin powder over warm liquid.
Whisk vigorously for about 1 minute, ensuring gelatin powder is completely dissolved.
Pour into a glass dish and refrigerate until gelatin is firm and you can cut it into small portions with a knife.

 

~pictures snagged from the Internet~

Breast Cancer Information Links

There is a webinar coming up concerning breast cancer. I got this notification from Dr. Eric Zelinski, the “essential oils guru:” https://naturallivingfamily.com/hope-for-breast-cancer/

And (not a webinar, but another natural health site dedicated to breast and ovarian cancer) from Dr. Josh Axe (his mother went through breast cancer twice): https://uniteforher.org/

I will mention that both these natural health doctors do not support the pharmacies behind the October Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, as they are based on toxic measures and too often do not consider diet changes and natural paths to health.

From Dr. Z’s newsletter, regarding the webinar:

Most doctors are only trained in (and therefore only comfortable) following the medical “standard of care” (chemo, radiation, surgery, immunotherapy) without even considering customizing an integrative approach for their patients that uses an “outside the box” approach.

But… there are options.

That is why it’s SO important to hear from the people who have made choices; who’ve taken decisions and seen the impact of those choices and decisions in their fight against cancer.

Because I Don’t Want To — What??

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I’m thankful to God for 1. Instilling within me a desire to do right and, 2. Giving me the parents I had who reinforced that character trait.

“I don’t want to” was never an option for getting out of doing the right thing. It just never was. So I am taken aback when I hear of people opting out of a responsibility or decision or action based solely on “I don’t want to.”

What??? I don’t get it.

What died or went wrong inside a person who backs out of commitments because of a selfish desire to not get the heck out of their cocoon of comfort? Whether it’s doing the dishes, or getting in the car to be with a friend in need, or attending a function, or giving a hug; if it’s the right thing to do, my feelings about a matter are moot. After God quickened my spirit and took up residence within me, I have the impetus and direction to move at His will and pleasure. Sure, my flesh often intrudes:

  • He does NOT deserve a hug right now.
  • I’m too tired to go do that.
  • I’m mad, and I’ll have to wait until I feel like it, or it won’t be worth it.
  • I don’t like that person, anyway.
  • I’m busy with this, and it irritates me to stop what I want to do and go minister to someone else.
  • I don’t have time.

So what? It’s not about me. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. It’s about loving others, about obeying God, about blessings and not sinning.

James 2.16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

James 4.17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

We may think that we’re serving ourselves by keeping to only what we want to do; but that’s not how God designed us. He designed us to serve one another, to receive our greatest joys and peace by doing good unto others.

If we do not act in accordance with God’s design for us, we spiral down into selfishness, ungratefulness, and stinky attitudes.

And even though that’s inviting, we don’t want that. Really.

Step into the light. That means putting off the flesh, and putting on Christ. Be Jesus to those who need you. God will let you know which ones, and He will bless you. HE WILL BLESS YOU.

Recipe Friday: Flax and Chia Seeds

RecipeFridayFlaxAndChiaSeedsTeaPudding

SO healthy! Do you use flax and chia seeds in your recipes? There are so many reasons you should.

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Nutrition information from https://draxe.com/nutrition/chia-seeds-vs-flax-seeds/ (please click over and read more about this)

Ounce for ounce, chia seeds contain the higher amount of fiber and are especially rich in soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels, reduce appetite and promote regularity. Chia seeds are also easy to digest, and unlike other types of seeds, they can be consumed either whole or ground. Plus, they boast a good amount of several other micronutrients, including manganese and phosphorus.

Flaxseeds pack in more omega-3 fatty acids per serving, which is important for reducing inflammation and preventing chronic disease. Flaxseeds are also high in lignans, which are plant compounds that act as antioxidants and have been linked to protection against cancer and heart disease. Unlike chia seeds, however, flaxseeds need to be ground up before consumption in order to maximize the potential health benefits.

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These little power-packed seeds are a great way to incorporate some serious health into your diet. I’ve been using them in my smoothies for years. I also use them as egg substitutes in some recipes (brownies, biscuits, and meatloaf, for example). I make chia pudding.

You can use chia seeds as is, the way they come out of the package, or grind them.

You need to grind flax seeds before you use them, or you don’t derive any nutritive value from them.

Both flax and chia seeds will provide even more nutrition if you soak them in water or other liquid for anywhere from 30 minutes to a day.

I recommend storing these beauties in the freezer or ‘fridge.

Recipes:

Egg Substitute:

Grind the seed(s) (like in a coffee grinder) before measuring and using.

1 egg = 1 tablespoon ground seed(s) plus 3 tablespoons water. Let set for 15 minutes.

Flax Jelly Tea

This is the only recipe I know of that you don’t have to grind the seeds. You’re going for the gel that it makes, not the content of the seed. After steeping the seeds, you can still use them in a smoothie.

This helps with chest congestion, cough and sore throat.
2 tbsp. whole flax seed
1 cup of water
Add both to a pot and simmer for 5 min. Strain immediately and reserve the clear liquid. Mix in one tsp. honey and 1 tsp. lemon juice. (I add a drop of lemon essential oil to the honey first, and mix; then stir into the hot tea. It’s lovely to sip.)

Chia Pudding

Make this pudding the day before, or in the morning to serve in the evening.

  • 3/4 cup milk (dairy milk or non-dairy)
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons maple syrup or honey (or other sweetener)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons chia seed (you can grind it if you like, or not, depending on how you like the texture. Not-ground chia pudding is a bit like tapioca.)
  • nuts, berries, fruit, coconut flakes for topping (optional)

In a 1 ½ cup glass container, mix all ingredients together really well. (While it is safe to use your raw honey in this recipe, since you don’t cook it, you may want to heat it gently just until it is mixable.)

Cover and let set. Refrigerate. Mix it every half hour or so for the first hour and a half, to break up the clumps.

Refrigerate for at least six hours. Overnight is good.

This recipe can be adjusted any way you like:

  • Add more sweetener or less.
  • Add more milk or less.
  • Add cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Add essential oil (orange sounds very nice).
  • Add raw cacao powder (1 tablespoon) and more sweetener (add an extra 2 teaspoons) for chocolate pudding (and a drop of peppermint essential oil, if you like!).

Flaxseed Wrap

This makes one wrap.

  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 large egg

Blend all ingredients together well.
Warm a 10-inch skillet. Add coconut oil to grease if you want.
Pour in the batter and spread evenly across the bottom.
Cook for about 3 minutes.
Lift the edge with a spatula and slide onto a plate. Let cool for at least 5 minutes

Oat & Flax Pancakes

This makes about 10 medium-large pancakes.

  • 1/4 cup flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup oat milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sweetener (optional)
  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until the batter is smooth. Note: The batter thickens as it sits. Right after you make it, let it sit until it’s the thickness you want to work with. If the batter gets too thick, add a bit more milk.
    2. Heat a little oil or butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Directly from the blender, pour batter onto the skillet (3-4 tablespoons per pancake). Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until brown on the bottom. Turn over and brown the other side. Serve hot.

This is SO good with good ol’ butter and maple syrup running down the side. Alternatively, you can heat crushed blueberries with a bit of sweetener and a thickener; spoon down the middle of a pancake and roll up. Yum!

Energy Balls

RecipeFridayFlaxAndChiaSeedsEnergyBalls

I don’t have a recipe for these, but chia and ground flax seeds are great for mixing into nut butters with other goodies for a healthy and quick treat.

Suggested ingredients:

  • Nut butter
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Chia seed (ground or not)
  • Coconut
  • Chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • Cacao powder
  • Adaptogenic herbs, powdered or ground (such as ashwaghanda, maca, slippery elm)
  • Turmeric
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Dates (pitted)
  • Coconut oil
  • Nuts
  • Raisins
  • Bone broth, collagen, or protein powders

Mix any of the ingredients together (a food processor works well). A nice aspect to this recipe is that it’s no-bake: you can taste it before you finish the product. Form into balls, or press into a pan. Balls can be rolled into additional ingredients (coconut, cacao powder, sucanat), or additional ingredients can be pressed into the top of the bars (chocolate chips, raisins). Refrigerate.

2 Timothy 1.7

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2 Timothy 1.7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

God does not pass on fear to us. That is never from Him (not to be confused with the fear of God, which is necessary; we’re talkin’ fear of man or circumstances).

The Spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind is from God. It’s His Spirit.

The POWER is God’s; the LOVE is God’s; and the SOUND MIND is God’s.

That means we put off our fleshly person and put on Christ. We access the Spirit of God within us and USE IT.

Lessons from Exodus

LessonsFromExodus

God gives us so much in His Word! Salvation, teaching, edification, He gives it to us “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3.16, 17).

I believe God gives us a picture of the story of His salvation in the book of Exodus. There are parallels and lessons to be drawn, important for us to know in our walk with Him. This is why the Exodus story is re-told throughout the Bible (Psalms, Acts, etc.): it’s important! God has a lesson for us, a message.

I’m pretty sure a whole book or books could be written on the subject, but here is a short list of lessons from Exodus:

    • God chose His people Israel. There was nothing in them that they did or performed or thought that made them special to God among other people. He simply chose them out of the world to symbolize His love and grace; and to be a light for Him in the world to others. Abraham was their father; Jacob (later named Israel) was the patriarch of the twelve tribes.

     

    • Egypt symbolizes sin / the life of sin / our darkness / death / that which is not of God.

     

    • God placed Joseph in Egypt before the family of Israel moved there; Joseph was there to save them. God already had a plan in place for His people.

     

    • Egypt looked pretty good to the Israelites when they first got there. It was a land of plenty (because God had placed Joseph there to provide). They were free to come and go and conduct their business. They were given a special place to call their own when they moved there, Goshen, separate from the Egyptians.

     

    • The Pharaoh who knew the Israelites died, and a new Pharaoh came in. Just like that, Satan and evil can change from looking good to showing his true colors.

     

    • The Egyptians slowly enslaved the Israelites. The Israelites could have moved away prior to their complete enslavement, but life was good, this was their home, and they stayed. They didn’t see what was coming. God gave us another picture of this in the Holocaust: people could not imagine the evil that was coming, this was their home, and they stayed.

     

    • Sin entices us to stay by looking good and/or comfortable. We are slaves to it by the time its true nature is revealed.

     

    • Pharaoh symbolizes worship of false gods. In Egypt, Pharaoh was considered a god. The people looked to him for sunshine or rain or providence, and believed he provided for them. The Israelites, while they lived in Egypt, were drawn to this false worship. They had the stories handed down to them of their fathers, of God and His provision and care; but after 400 years of living in Egypt and of being slaves, they were in complete bondage. Although they believed lies, they still knew the God of their fathers (the midwives feared God, in Exodus 1; in Exodus 2.23, “the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage,” the Word does not specifically say they cried out to God, but He heard them; at the Red sea, in Exodus 14.10, “the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD”).

     

    • God created Moses. Pharaoh’s daughter was kind, and took Moses in. Sometimes the world looks kind and takes care of us. We must see the world for what it is, and obey God in it.

     

    • God called His people out of Egypt. There was no way the Israelites could save themselves. God provided the only way out, and it was miraculous. No one else could have saved the Israelites. The Israelites were God’s chosen people.

     

    • Only the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of the Israelites saved the firstborn from death. Only the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus, saves us from death.

     

    • God made the Israelites a stench in the nostrils of the Egyptians. The Egyptians shoved the Israelites out, and gave the Israelites spoils to send them on their way. God’s people are often a stench in the nostrils of the world.

     

    • The Egyptians and Pharaoh wanted the Israelites back after they’d gone. Often, the Israelites wanted Egypt back after they’d gone (“And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt“). Both Egypt and Israel wanted life to go back to the way it was before. The Israelites were in bondage, but at least they knew what to expect in their everyday lives before God started interfering.

     

    • God led Israel out of Egypt in a miraculous way. It could only be via a miracle that they were saved. The Israelites had only to obey God, and follow Him, and He saved them. Even when they did not obey Him, He still saved them: they were His chosen people.

     

    • Moses was a man of God. He stood between God and His people as a beacon, a prayer warrior, a leader, an example, and a governor. God still uses His people in such ways.

     

    • God provided a pillar of light in the darkness and a pillar of cloud in the day, to guide and protect His people. He still provides His Light and Protection in our lives through His Word, and His presence in His Holy Spirit.

     

    • When Pharaoh chased after them with his army, God had His children in a spot where no visible way of escape presented itself. God protected His children with the pillar of fire; He also protected them by allowing no other way of escape. He needed them to know that HE was their salvation, He and no other. When the children of Israel thought there was no way, God made a way; a way no one could think of or invent. God is our only way of escape; we need to look to Him, not anywhere else or to ourselves.

     

    • After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, God allowed them to witness His destruction of Pharaoh and his army. After God saves us, He will allow us to witness His destruction of our enemy: sometimes in this world, but surely at the end of the world when Christ returns. (Note: God destroys the enemy; we have no power to do so.)

     

    • Even after miracles of God’s provision in the desert, the Israelites still complained and turned away from Him. They wanted to depend on other gods.

     

    • In our lives, we all have times in the desert: times of wandering, of wondering where God is, of doubting, of hardships and pain and terror.

     

    • While still in the desert (after He had called them out and saved them from death), God gave His children commandments, rules to follow, ways to behave, and strict mandates on how to worship Him. Why? Because they needed it! They had no idea of how to live righteously, how to live in a healthy manner, how to live in harmony with their brethren, or how to worship God (no idea of His holiness). If they didn’t have rules, they would make their own (as they often did, anyway), and disaster would follow. With rules and commandments, the Israelites had a blueprint, an outline of what a holy life looks like. They would know when they obeyed it, and they would know what disobedience looked like.

     

    • The Israelites feared greatly, and many of them never did depend on God. They said, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?” Yes, for some, God did take them into the wilderness to die. Better for God’s people to die in the wilderness than to die in sin. When they refused to enter the Promised Land because of fear and doubt (and refusing to follow God), God put them back into the wilderness until that generation had died, and a new generation grew up in the fear of the Lord. God knows the end of our days, and how we will respond to Him. He knows when it is better that He take us out of the world.

     

    • God fed them every single day with manna. He always provided water, even in a dry and thirsty land. He still feeds us every single day, and provides Living Water.

     

    • After their wanderings, God led His people to the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. This is what a saved life looks like. This new generation was fit for the Lord’s work. They had been toughened in their wilderness journeys, they were brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord’s commands, they had not only heard the stories of God’s miracles from their parents, but had witnessed God’s miraculous provisions themselves, each day. Deuteronomy 29.2-6 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God.

     

    • God’s children were not led to Canaan to sit back and receive everything. No; they had to fight battles, they had to defend against the enemy, they had to work to provide food, they had to be on the lookout always. They had to keep their eyes on God, and remember where they had been, and what God had done.

     

    • In the Promised Land, the Israelites had God’s testament and commands to follow. Moses had written everything down, had taught it to the people, and had taught it to Joshua. God’s people started out well. But, just as we all do, they fell away.

     

    • The Israelites devastated their Promised Land, just as we have devastated ours. No, not every single child of God forgot Him (God always has a remnant), but as a people, they turned away from Him and invented their own ways and glorified themselves.

     

    • And God judged them. Just as He judges us. He allows and intervenes and provides situations and circumstances and people so that we will look to Him, love Him, follow Him. He still calls to us.