The Student’s Desk

That we may know Christ

God has a plan, but…

The Student’s Desk fortnightly devotion 

Prayer

Basis for Prayer: Psalm 145:1-13

Lord we can easily forget how much you love us, especially when things don’t seem to be going our way. But we know Lord that you are God who’s constantly at work to draw us even closer into a relationship with you. Help us to see your works, to marvel at you mercy and love, that we may praise you, and tell everyone else just how great you are!

In Jesus name we pray.

God has a plan, but…

Reading Exodus 3:1-10

Last time we left Moses as a young boy growing up in the Royal household of Egypt. God’s people were slaves in Egypt, and we had hoped this Moses would change all that. But now, many years later, we find that Moses is living in Midian which was at least 400km away, by horse or by foot. Moses has settled down with a wife, and has a good life. Further, Moses had no interest in returning to Egypt because his own people don’t respect him, and Pharaoh would probably take his head for killing an Egyptian. Things don’t look good for God’s people. Has God lost the plot? Was the birth of Moses just a false hope?

No. For all this time God had been in tune with what had been going on. God had been hearing the cries of his people and is about to act, and another great miracle of the Moses story occurs: God speaks to Moses from a burning bush that wasn’t being destroyed by the fire. Now that might be telling us something in itself. Even though God’s people were going through all kinds of suffering, they weren’t going to be destroyed. And God was about to tell Moses how.

God is going to send Moses to Egypt to bring his people out. WHAT!? God’s people didn’t respect Moses last time, Pharaoh wants him dead, and God wants to send him packing back to Egypt!? Besides all that, Moses has a good life Midian. Surely God’s lost the plot this time!

Have you ever been in a position where you’ve been asked to do something and you don’t want to? What happens? You give every excuse you can think of not to do it, and then some! Well this is what Moses does with God. It sounds like a teenager having an argument with their parents! Listen to the excuses:

Excuse #1: ‘I’m nobody!’ Well that’s a fib to start with! He was raised in the Royal Court after all. Besides that, Moses wasn’t doing this on his own. This was God’s work, and God was going to be with him every step of the way.

Excuse #2: ‘I’ve got no authority!’ That was true. So God told him his name which referred to his relationship with his people, and meant he loved them very much.

Excuse #3: ‘What if they ignore me!?’ God enabled Moses to perform 3 different miracles that Moses could perform at any time to show he was more powerful than the Egyptians. Now that’s someone you don’t want to ignore!

Excuse #4: This is my personal favourite – “I have a speech impairment!” That doesn’t wash with God either. God promises Moses he’ll help him speak, and give him the words to say. And if that wasn’t enough, Aaron his brother could speak for him.

Poor Moses. He just ran out of excuses, and not long after, he was packing for Egypt. The hope of Moses bringing God’s people out of Egypt was still very much a real one. But we’ve learned some important things today. 1) God never forgets about his people. 2) God uses the most unlikely people to achieve his purposes. And 3) when God does use people, he gives them everything they need to do what they are asked.

So we can trust God, even when things seem out of control. And if we’re to be part of the solution, God will provide everything we need to do his work.

© The Student’s Desk, 2008.

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February 23, 2008 Posted by | Bible, Bible Exposition, Devotionals, Moses, Religious | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Page update – SUBSCRIBE!

The title of this page has been changed to Subscribe by email or reader. If your hesitant about giving your email, but still want to subscribe, see the page for alternative means of subscribing.

February 10, 2008 Posted by | Site News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moses: The Beginnings of Hope

The Student’s Desk fortnightly devotion 

Introduction

In this series of devotions, we take a flying overview of the story of Moses. It’s an incredible story of the way God brings about his purposes out of hopeless situations. God really is God of the impossible. A feature that should stand out to us is time. Often we expect God to fit in to our lifestyle of instant coffee and microwave dinners, and get frustrated when God doesn’t seem to be responding to our prayers. However, God’s plan for his people would span the life of Moses, and the final acts of deliverance would only be experienced by the next generation. Not only that but the story of Moses is part of a bigger picture that began 4 generations ago when God promised Abraham that he would become a father to a nation, and that nation would be God’s own people. It was a promise that would culminated in the person of Jesus, and wont be fulfilled until his return. Who knows what God has in mind for our lives, and the purposes he has for not only us, but for generations to come! The story of Moses in a microcosmic way shows us how God brings about his ways by intimately working through people in ways we would never think of. The story of Moses teaches us to be patient and wait upon God’s timing; to marvel at the way God works and to have complete confidence in him; and ultimately, look to God for our salvation.

Prayer

Basis for Prayer: Psalm 121

Lord we can look at the world sometimes, or what’s even going on in our own lives, and feel intimidated, even scared. We can feel frustrated Lord, labouring day in and day out, and not get anywhere. So it is a great comfort to know that our help comes from you. That we’ll never find you sleeping, you’re always watching over us, keeping us from destruction no matter how difficult life gets. Lord these truths are so evident in the life of your people. As we look at the story of Moses, help as to be amazed at the way you work, and to know we can have our trust in you.

In Jesus name we pray.

The beginnings of hope…

Reading: Exodus 2:1-10

Sometimes we find situations that are just hopeless. It may be an event we’ve heard on the news, or it may be circumstances in our own life. And there appears to be no way out. No matter how hard we think, and try to fix the problem, we’re stuck there. But I want us to know that God knows when we’re stuck, and he does care deeply about us. Even when it seems nothing is happening, and we’re getting frustrated, God is at work to solve our problems in ways that we would never think of.

It’s at such a time in the life of God’s people the baby Moses was born. This was around 1,500 years before Jesus. Let me paint the scene: God’s people had migrated to Egypt and had become a large number of people – there were thousands of them! The King of Egypt, Pharaoh, began to worry about how many foreigners there were in his country. He was worried that one day they’d all run-a-muck and take over Egypt. So he hatched a plan, to stop this from happening. He had all God’s people put into slavery where they were forced to do hard work. But that didn’t work because they just became more and more numerous. So Pharaoh came up with another plan that was even worse than the first. Pharaoh was going to have every new born baby boy killed by throwing them in the river. NASTY! He did this for 2 reasons: 1) so little boys couldn’t grow up to be big soldiers and fight him, and 2) so that the only men the girls could marry would be Egyptians. God’s people were in serious trouble, and they couldn’t do anything about it.

But God was at work, and miracles were happening. A baby boy was born, and his mother was able to hide him for three whole months. Can you imagine trying to hide a baby with all the noise they make??? But then she got one up on the Egyptians. She made it look like her baby was thrown into the river just like all the others, but somehow survived the ordeal. Then who else should find the baby then Pharaoh’s daughter? Uh oh! This baby is a gonner for sure! There’s no way the Pharaoh will allow his daughter to keep a foreign baby! But no. Pharaoh’s daughter had pity on the baby, and took him to be her own. The plan has worked. Pharaoh’s daughter believed the baby had been thrown in the river and gave him the name ‘Moses’.

But we haven’t heard the best part. Moses’ sister is standing at a distance watching all this happen. Now royalty never bring up their own. They always have nurses or nannies to do the job for them. So Moses’ sister goes running up to Pharaoh’s daughter and offers to get a nurse for her. Pharaoh’s daughter says, “yep, go get one!” But who does Moses’ sister get? Mum! So not only does Moses get to live, but he gets to be raised by his Mum in the Royal Court. So Moses is going to get the best education, the best food, and the best lifestyle. The only catch is, Moses’ mum can’t let anyone know who she really is. But that’s ok, because there’s a much bigger issue at stake – the rescue of God’s people. We’ll get to see how Moses’ childhood plays a big part in this in the coming weeks.

Well so far, God’s people are still stuck in slavery. They’ll be in slavery for a while yet. In fact, things are about to get a whole lot worse for them. But already we have seen God busy behind the scenes setting up something big, even though we might be wondering what baby boys have got to do with people in slavery. For this reason, we can be confident that God is at work, even though it may not look like it. So we ought to be praying to God about the things we struggle with. We ought to be patient and wait for his timing, and his purposes. Because whatever God has in mind will be far better than what we could ever imagine!

© The Student’s Desk, 2008.

February 9, 2008 Posted by | Bible, Bible Exposition, Devotionals, Moses, Old Testament | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Widgets

Wahoo! I just worked out what widgets were – DER!!! It’s all that stuff on the right hand side of the page. Other pages, links, the news. You can even search this site! I think when I’m done writting, that’ll come in pretty handy…

February 7, 2008 Posted by | Site News | , , , | Leave a comment

Official launch of The Student’s Desk website

Yes, I’ve occupied this little corner of cyberspace for over a year, but after a bit of creativity and allot of hard work over my summer break, today marks the official launch of The Student’s Desk website.

The main aim of the website is to provide a written word ministry in teaching the Bible. But it’s also a personal website. So you’ll find a bit of information about me, and a few other bits and pieces, including other ministries that I’m involved with, and updates about my studies.

The Student’s Desk also has facilities so you can subscribe and get notifications via email of updates, and make donations securely if you’re so inclined.

Most of all, I hope this website will provide a source of encouragement and teaching to many.

February 6, 2008 Posted by | Site News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beliefs Page

Page added – Beliefs

Here I outline concisely what my core beliefs are as a Christian so visitors may know the theological framework for my papers.

February 6, 2008 Posted by | Religious, Site News, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who is Jason Forbes?

Major page update – Who is Jason Forbes? 

I’ve added a whole lot of information about how I’ve ended up where I am today.

February 1, 2008 Posted by | Site News | 1 Comment

Gosford to Kangaroo Valley

This is a tour I did on my trike in September 2000 during the Sydney Olympic Games. The ride took me from Gosford to Kangaroo Valley on the South Coast of NSW and was quite an adventure.

With another term of study behind me, I reckoned I was about due for a bike ride.

I decided to head down to Kangaroo Valley. I didn’t choose Kangaroo Valley for any particular reason. I knew it was a lovely corner of the world and hadn’t been there for a few years. I also had made a contact through college who lives at Wollongong. He offered a pick-up should I have needed it. Also, Kangaroo Valley was somewhere the Olympics weren’t!!!

In recent months, I had been considering buying a touring bike fitted with an assistance engine to make the extra loads and large hills manageable. However, before I went spending money on such a bike, I wanted to try a few different things.

I approached this tour differently to Easter. Firstly I used different tyres that gave the bike more speed, but less grip. Secondly, I didn’t set myself a schedule – where I got that day was where I slept. Thirdly, I kept my pack as light as possible, yet didn’t meet with much success. When I had loaded everything onto the bike, I couldn’t lift the rear wheel of the ground. I dreaded a repeat of Easter when I didn’t meet all of my objectives due to excessive weight, and poor planning.

I left on Friday, 15th September at 9:00am. The first few kilometres were very promising with the 20kg touring pack not effecting my speed at all. Acceleration was slower, but once the bike started rolling it kept rolling, and was fairly easy to maintain a speed of 25-30km/h.

I was headed for Wisemans Ferry that night, and so peddled my way through Somersby and Mangrove Mountain. Upon reaching the top of Somersby, I found my times to be fairly close to when I was super fit (ie. before I owned a car). I got to Central Mangrove General Store at 12:30pm where I had lunch. I then rode on to Wiseman’s Ferry finding my daily comfort zone along the way – 5hrs or 50km of riding, which ever came first. So I struggled for another half-hour to get to the camp ground for that night. I arrived there at 4:50pm and had ridden 65km that day.

I was concerned for my endurance and recovery. I had arrived at Wiseman’s Ferry exhausted with aching legs. I wondered how I was going to manage the next day. This happened at the end of each day’s ridding. Amazingly, a hot shower and a good night’s rest was all it took to refresh me for the next day’s challenges, whatever they may have been!

I left the campground Saturday morning at 9:30am and rode into Wisemans Ferry township for an early lunch, to restock on food, and make contact back home. Instead of climbing the hill out of Wisemans Ferry, I rode down river 6km to Laughtondale where there is a single lane dirt road leading to the top of the ridge. It takes you through some lush green rainforest making the 50min climb allot less painful. It’s nowhere as steep as the main road, and only saw 4 other cars while I was on it.

I continued on to Cattai National Park where I stayed that night. I arrived at 3:50pm, and even though I had ridden 51km, I didn’t feel too tired at all. I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

That night I got to enjoy something I hadn’t before. I’ve seen plenty of sunsets before, but I hadn’t hung around for another hour and watched the celestial main event – the stars coming out one by one until the night sky is full of stars. I began to understand the awe and wonder Isaiah had when he wrote:

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:

Who created all these?

He who brings out the starry host one by one,

and calls them each by name.

Because of his great power and mighty strength,

not one of them is missing.”

– Isaiah 40:26

I suspect what Isaiah was reflecting on was far more spectacular then my view effected by modern day pollution.

On Sunday, I was expecting I would find myself worn out and boarding a train from Windsor to come back home. No such thing happened! I left Cattai at 9:30 and got back on the road still peddling as the same pace as on day one.

I rode through Penrith which was the worst part of the whole trip. The Northern Road is one of the most boring roads I’ve ridden on. The mercury got above 30degC. And after spending 2 days in the country found myself competing with city and Olympic traffic. Being loaded up with my camping gear, this was not easy! I didn’t count on the traffic being that bad that far west, but I survived. I decided next time I want to get to the other side of Sydney, I’ll catch a train!

I was planning to stay at Bents Basin before moving on to Camden to stay with relatives for a few nights. However, I managed to get to Bringelly by mid-afternoon and decided to ride the extra 30km to Camden. The final 2hrs were tough, but I got to my Aunt’s at 5:45pm and covered 82km for the day.

The next day, I was still peddling along to a bike shop for repairs and visiting my grandmother. Bits and pieces had been shaken off from the roughness of Wisemans Ferry Rd. and needed to be put back on. The following day I stay at my Aunt’s watching other people exhaust themselves on TV as they competed at the Olympics.

While I was at my Aunts I was trying to plan my next place of stay between Camden and Bundanoon, but nothing suitable was found. With the temperatures threatening to sore  again I decided to ride Cambeltown that Wednesday to catch a train to Moss Vale where I would ride on to Bundanoon. I arrived in Bundanoon around 4pm and continued on into the nearby Morton National Park to view a few lookouts. I then rode back into Bundanoon and camped at the youth hostel. I got to meet a few people and found out some information for the next two days. I was told Sydney folk often get the train to Moss Vale and ride through Kangaroo Valley on to Berry where they get the train back home. That sounded like a good plan to me (probably because from Camden on I didn’t have one!), and I was also told of a reasonably priced tourist park at Kangaroo Valley.

Thursday I left Bundanoon at 10am after it had stopped raining for long enough for my tent to dry. It was wonderful ridding through the high country in the cool air. I stopped at Fitzroy Falls for lunch and viewed the waterfall and lookout. Quite an amazing view seeing as far as Braidwood at the other end of Morton National Park. From here I continued on to Kangaroo Valley. I wasn’t quite prepared for the steepness of the descent. Even though the pack wasn’t too heavy, it still effected the handling to a degree, and needed to be careful going down.

I arrived at the tourist park at 3:30pm and the shop attendants rushed out to me to see if I wanted any water. I said, “Well, actually I’m after a campsite for the night”. I don’t think they were expecting that for a reply! So I camped at the tourist park, did a short ride around the township in the twilight, and made contact back home. I had done it. Mission accomplished! I had made it to Kangaroo Valley and in top condition as well!

I was contemplating what to do next. I had intended to spend 2 or 3 days exploring the valley. But with my wallet looking rather thin, I thought it best to come home and spend some money on personal transport-my Subaru wasn’t quite what it use to be. I was speaking to the tourist park operators about ridding to Berry. They advised me not to take the main road. It’s busy, steep, long and windy. Instead, take the road through Wattamolla and you’ll go around the base of the mountain, and is much flatter. Sounded like another good plan and so embraced it without question.

I left Kangaroo Valley at 10am bidding fair well to the tourist park owners. They were most friendly. I headed for Berry and took the Wattamolla Rd. 11km along the Wattamolla road, it wound straight up the mountain!! I was accustomed to short, steep hills along the valley floor and kept thinking the top would be around the next bend. 10 bends latter, I was still climbing, and could no longer see the valley floor. With the rate I was perspiring at, I looked as though I had just been in a wet t-shirt competition, and won! Finally at the top, I felt like a mountaineer. All I could see was mountain tops with the valley floors nowhere in sight. I don’t think it I climbed as high as the main road, but it was still a dizzy height. Then, with the ocean in sight, it was another precarious run down into Berry where I got the train home.

I arrived at Berry at 1:30pm, and covered 27km. I bought some much wanted lunch from a local green grocer and headed for the train station. It was only 20mins before the next train which was well timed. It was then a simple matter of enjoying a 4hr train trip back home.

I couldn’t be happier with the way this ride went. It was an absolute success. In 8 days, I had done 26hrs and 45mins of riding covering 332km averaging 12.8km/h. With the success of this ride, the idea of an assistant engine was very much scraped.

The following Friday the question of my personal transport was resolved with the signing up for a new car that would cost half as much to run. But that’s a whole other story! If I need an engine, a part driving and part ridding tour is a better option.

February 1, 2008 Posted by | Australia, Travel | , , , | Leave a comment