Sunday, February 17, 2013
As a young child I was easily influenced by those around me. Being the youngest of five children I had a lot of examples in my life. And, of course, they were all good! But children often live by what they see in those around them more than what they are told. God gives us instruction in His Word about how we are to relate to each other and then asks us to portray that picture to the world.
Romans 15:5-7 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other—each with the attitude of Christ Jesus toward the other. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father our Lord Jesus Christ. So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.
This scripture always speaks to my heart! It reminds me to give others the same chance in life that God has given me. Verse 7 is the one that really stands out to me: “So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.” It is as we put this into practice that we live in harmony with each other and God receives the glory! Jesus said in John 13:35 that people would know that we are His disciples by the love that we have for one another.
How does God see us and accept us?
He sees us made in His image and likeness –
Genesis 1:26, 27 Then God said, “Let Us made man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
He sees us as His own special people –
2 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
He sees us as a unique person, each one fearfully and wonderfully made –
Psalm 139:13, 14 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
He sees us in our sin and weaknesses in need of a Savior –
John 3:16, 17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
He sees us as once lost, but now found –
Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace have you been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
He sees us as His workmanship, a work still in progress, created for good works.--
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
How did He receive us? – In love, at our worst, He came and reached down and picked us up and made us whole in Christ Jesus!
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
How does He feel about us now? He's crazy in love with us!
Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.
Isaiah 49:15, 16 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion of the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.”
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
Do you need the Savior today? Jesus is waiting to receive you into the family of God. If you will ask Him into your heart He will come to live within you by the power of His Spirit. He will love you, be your dearest friend and give you the satisfaction that only comes from filling the void within your heart with His very own presence. How can you turn down the One who loves you the most? Will you surrender your heart to Jesus today and receive the life that He came to give you? If you want a difference in your life; if you want to experience wholeness in your relationships and peace in your heart, then pray this prayer with me and mean it sincerely in your heart:
Father, I come before You today to say that I see from Your word that You love me. I know that Jesus died for me, that You gave His life to be the payment for my sin, for my willful choice of living my life for myself. I ask You to forgive me and save me from my sin. Father, I believe that Jesus died for me personally and that if I ask Him He will come into my heart and save me. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to do that, to come into my heart and be my own personal Lord and Savior. I thank You for saving me. I promise to live from this day forward for You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
If God received us when we were at our worst then how can we not extend the same grace to those around us?
Father, may we always see the best in those around us. May we extend friendship to them just as you extended salvation to us. Father, I pray that those who are hurting will feel the love from those around them who are reaching out to them. I ask You to set up divine appointments for them to interact with people who will show Your love to them in ways that they will receive. Father, may we never be guilty of turning someone away who needs to see Jesus through us. I pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
2 Kings 4:1-7 (NLT) 1 One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” 2 “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. 3 And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. 4 Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” 5 So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. 6 Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. 7 When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.”
This is one of my favorite Old Testament stories of how God supernaturally supplies our every need. This widow woman was in a terrible crisis: her husband had died and she had depended on his income to provide for both her and her sons. Now there was no one to care for them and the creditors were coming to take her sons away as servants to pay for their debts. So she turned to the Lord, through Elisha, to get wisdom to know what to do about this problem. She needed help and God provided the wisdom and direction that she needed to solve her problem.
The first thing that Elisha asks this woman is “what do you have in the house?” Many times the answer that we need is right under our noses and we can't see it until someone else points it out to us. God meets us right where we are. He asked her to search her heart for what might be the solution to her problem. Often we run from one agency to another expecting everyone around us to provide for us when God really wants to work His miracle through our own hands. Resources are often right within our reach but we look for others to “take care of us”. What this woman saw as a simple a jar of oil was just what God needed to work with to provide for her family for the rest of their lives. Her oil had an unlimited supply when surrendered to her God. As long as she had vessels to pour the oil into the supply kept coming.
Elisha told the woman to go into her house with her sons and shut the door behind them. And then pour the oil into the jars until all the jars were filled. When we follow God's direction for our lives many times those around us don't understand and can easily hinder our ability to stand in faith believing that what God has told us will come into reality. Elisha told her to shut the door behind them. I believe he was saying to shut out the talk of unbelief that would hinder her ability to believe that God would fill the jars as she poured the oil into them. God's provision continues to flow as long as we continue to trust Him to provide for us and follow His directions as He gives them. This woman's faith was only as large as the number of jars that she had borrowed to fill. If she had had more jars the oil would have continued to flow as long as she had the jars to be filled.
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
God's riches never run out and He never runs short on the supply. His riches are provided for us through our faith in Christ Jesus. Our faith has a tendency to waver at times which can affect the supply that we receive. The two words “according to” actually mean “in a manner consistent with”. God's provision for our need is “in a manner consistent with” His riches in glory through what Jesus did for us on the cross of Calvary. Jesus paid the price for every need that mankind would ever experience. That supply never runs out! He is the gift that keeps on giving. Our ability to receive is the only things that varies. And that is dependent upon whether or not we believe and act on our faith.
What provision do you have need of today? Is it for finances or a material need such as a home or car; a job that He can use to provide those finances; a physical, mental or emotional need? Whatever the need is the supply through Christ Jesus is available. God works through many ways, but the provision is already there for you to reach out and receive.
James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man unstable in all his ways.
God's wisdom is there for the asking. He will not turn you away when you come to Him for direction to solve your problems. The only thing that He requires is that you come in faith, with no doubting. If the widow woman had questioned God's ability to fill her jars from the one jar of oil that she had in her house she would not have received anything to pour into the other jars. She had to believe that what she was told by the Prophet would work. When you come to God the only requirement that He asks of you is that you believe Him and act on what He says. Believe and receive; doubt and do without.
The Greek word for “doubting” is the word diakrino and it has two definitions: 1) To judge thoroughly; to decide between two or more choices; to make a distinction; to separate two components, elements, or factors; to render a decision; to evaluate carefully. 2) The word also connotes a conflict with oneself, in the sense of hesitating, having misgivings, doubting, being divided in decision making, or wavering between hope and fear.
In James 1:6 I believe the second definition is the one to which the Lord is referring. Doubting is wavering between hope and fear. One minute you're in faith believing that God is providing for your need and the next minute your in fear that He will not come through for you. You have a conflict going on within your heart that causes you to hesitate in standing strong in your faith. In this case the Word says that this person is double-minded and unstable in all their ways. This doubting affects every area of their lives. If they can't believe in one area they will have that same problem when they come to the Lord for something else. The word says the answer to strengthening their faith to avoid having doubts is to hear the word of God.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Faith comes by hearing the word of God. So if you need provision for finances the word of God that you need to hear to build your faith would be every scripture that talks about how God supplies for financial needs. Search the Word to find every scripture that talks about money or financial supply and then meditate on those scriptures; read them over and over again, silently and out loud and begin to proclaim that God is supplying your need. Do the same thing for other needs that you might have. For healing, look up every scripture that talks about God's provision of healing in someone's life. Study those out and let them sink down into your heart. Then begin to proclaim that God is your Healer. Resist the thoughts that come that say He will not come through for you. Spend time with people that will reinforce your faith and not throw cold water on it through doubt and unbelief.
Throw fear out the door! That's the devil's primary mode of operation. He always comes with fear to try to stop a believer from standing in faith to receive from God. But God is not the author of fear; that comes from the enemy.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
God has given us these things to overcome fear: His power, His love and mental stability.
The Greek word for “sound mind” is sophronismos and it means safe-thinking. The word denotes good judgment, disciplined thought patterns, and the ability to understand and make right decisions. It includes the qualities of self-control and self-discipline.
You have the ability within you to think clearly, to make sound decisions, to be self-controlled and self-disciplined. All these qualities when applied in your life will help you to be stable, standing firm and strong during adversities while waiting for God's provision to come into reality. God has equipped us to win. The battle is the Lord's and the victory is ours if we will stand up and fight.
1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Standing in faith believing for God's provision is fighting the good fight of faith. Paul told Timothy to “lay hold on” eternal life. To me that gives a picture of grabbing it with a tenacity that says “no one is taking it from me, God has provided it for me and I'm going to hold onto it with all that I have within me”. Eternal life is the life that God has provided for you that is filled with His goodness and provision. It is life that never ends and for a believer that is a good thing because once this physical life is over we change residences to heaven to continue the life that He has provided for us. For an unbeliever eternal life last throughout eternity outside the presence of God in darkness and despair, filled with torment and never-ending pain. God says that eternal life is something to be desired and fought for; it is a life worth living and that we should not let anything keep us from living it to the fullest.
Whatever it is that you have need of this morning, God is waiting for you to come to Him for that provision. Won't you believe that He will provide it for you?
Father, I thank You for the provision that You have made for each one of us in everything that we have need of. Thank You for making that provision available to us through our relationship with Christ Jesus. I pray for those who don't know Jesus today that may have needs that are going unmet simply because they are outside the covenant that You provided to meet their every need. I pray that they will invite Jesus into their hearts this morning so they can begin walking out the good life that You have planned for them. Father, for those who know You that are in need this morning, I pray that You will show them what to do in each situation. Give them the wisdom they need to know where to go and what to do in their particular situation that will bring the supernatural provision that You have for them. I pray that they will search out Your word to find the scriptures that apply specifically to their need and will begin to meditate on them and speak them over their lives. I pray that unbelief will not be a part of their lives, but that they will stand firm in faith believing until they see the reality of what You have promised for them. Father, join them with people of like precious faith that will reinforce their faith and help them to stand strong until the provision comes. Help them to guard their hearts from unbelief and to put double-mindedness out of their lives. Thank You for providing for their need, Father. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Hebrews 5:9-11 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God a High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,” of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
God addressed a problem among His early believers by explaining to them that we learn by what we hear from Him through being open to receive. He commented about the reason why they didn't understand the deeper things that He had been trying to get through to them. They had become dull of hearing. When we close our ears and hearts off to Him we reach a place of being stagnant, unable to grow because we've limited what we will receive. It's hard to explain things to someone who has become “dull of hearing”. There is an air about them that says, “I don't believe that and I won't receive it”! Often you can tell where a person is in their ability to receive by their body language. Arms folded in front and a skeptical look on their face often reveals that they are closed to anything you might want to say to them. They have “shut you out”!
Jesus referred to this problem in Matthew 13:14-16 when quoting the Prophet Isaiah about why he spoke to people in parables:
“And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.' “But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;”
He was limited to how much He could say to them because they were not open to receiving His teaching that would ultimately bring healing into their lives. Since we receive from God by grace and through our faith, if we are not open to what He wants to say to us we will not be able to receive the healing that His message offers. We will not see what He wants to show us!
Assumptions that we hold in our hearts and minds often limit us to “selective hearing and seeing”. Some common assumptions are: “well, we've never done it this way before”; “I've never seen God move like that in my church”; “I don't believe God wants to speak to me in that way”; “I'm too old to change what I believe now”; “I don't think God wants to move through me so I'll just be content to go to church every Sunday and let the others be the soul winners”. And on and on and on! There are all kinds of assumptions that we can have that will limit what we believe to receive from the Lord!
Hebrews 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
God's word goes on to say that the natural course of us seeing and hearing what He wants to say to us is that we should grow up to be teachers, or those who share what we have learned with others. When we grow and take in what He has to give us then we have something to give out to someone else. As long as we are just taking in the milk of the word because we've limited our ability to receive from Him then we will continue to need only milk. The meat of His word comes through being open to receive and then applying what we have received into our own lives. Growth, even spiritual growth, requires that we move from milk to meat and begin to exercise what we have been taught. You would not give your car keys to a baby because it is not mature enough to handle the responsibility. Likewise, God will not entrust a spiritual baby with the responsibility of a mature leader. Growth comes as we receive from Him and apply it to our own lives. That, according to this scripture, means that we have trained our senses, our eyes and ears, to know both good and evil, or in other words, we've trained our senses to identify what is of God and what isn't. We've grown from babies to adults in our spiritual walk with the Lord.
Have you grown dull of hearing? Are you caught up in the cage of assumptions, believing that God only speaks a certain way, or that Christianity is only for a certain group of believers that believes exactly like you?
Hebrews 6:1, 2 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
In other words, let's move forward, not getting stuck in the beginning things of our Christianity. Let's go on to perfection, or maturity; let's grow up. God has so much more for us than the elementary principles of Christianity. He wants us to experience the meat of His Word; to know the joy of knowing Him and hearing His voice to deliver us from evil and bring His healing power into our lives. He wants us to be able to lead others into a deep and intimate relationship with Him, but you can't give something away that you don't own yourself.
Father, I thank You for the meat of Your Word. I thank You that You have given us as Your children the ability to hear Your voice and to see the things that You want to reveal to us. I pray that we may never close our eyes and ears to You, but we will be open to receive all that You want us to know and have. Father, I pray for those this morning who may be stuck in the beginning stages of Christianity. I pray that they will yield to Your Spirit within them to teach them how to move forward. Show them the way that they each should take in their walk with You. Your plan is individualized; not a formula that says, “one size fits all”, but You have a specific plan for each one of us that is only realized as we seek Your will for our lives. May we never grow dull of hearing so that You can no longer work in our lives or move us into the places that You want to take us. Thank You for Your love that never gives up on us, Father! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
Today love is celebrated all over the world. This is Valentine's Day, the day of love. But what does it mean to “love” someone? We often think of the ooey, gooey, warm fuzzy feelings that come when a man and woman find that they care for and are affectionate towards each other and we say, “they're in love”. They get “that look” in their eyes and often lose touch with reality and are said to have their heads in the clouds. But God said the way we can identify true love is by one person laying down their life for another. He said there is no greater love than this.
Love – Greek word, agape, which means an undefeatable benevolence and unconquerable goodwill that always seeks the highest good of the other person, no matter what he does. It is the self-giving love that gives freely without asking anything in return, and does not consider the worth of its object. Agape is more a love by choice than by chance; and it refers to the will rather than the emotion. Agape describes the unconditional love God has for the world.
1 John 4:9, 10 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
God sent Jesus to die for us that He might show that great love that He has for us; the love that chooses to do what's best for us. The ultimate need for mankind was that of a Savior, One who could die to pay the price for the sin of mankind. Jesus was that sacrificial lamb Who died to pay the price for man's sin.
Hebrews 9:27, 28 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice; no more animal sacrifices were needed to cover man's sin. Jesus paid the price to not just cover man's sin, but to totally remove it; as far as the east is from the west. Man, when receiving what Jesus did for him personally on the Cross of Calvary, has his sin completely removed, and becomes just as if he had never sinned.
Jesus said in John 10:17, 18 that His Father loved Him because He lay down His life and no one was able to take it from Him.
John 10:17, 18 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.
Jesus willingly went to the cross to purchase the redemption of mankind. He gave of Himself that we might have life. The Romans crucified Him on an old wooden cross because He chose to die for you and me! He expressed that “greater love”, the love of choice, agape, that always chooses what's best for the other person, through His death on the Cross of Calvary.
John 3:16, 17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
God sent Jesus into the world to die that His man might be saved. The payment was freely made by Jesus, who willingly went to the cross to pay the price for mankind's redemption. It was a gift given by Love, Himself, Who could do nothing more than express His very own nature to the people that He created and loved. It is because of His great love for us that we celebrate Valentine's Day, for God is love.
1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
We can't truly love another person without God's love residing in our hearts. That's why there are so many failed marriages in our world. The love that is shared without arising from the heart of God is simply an affectionate type of love that fades when it's own needs are not met. True love arises from knowing God because He is love. Without His agape love in a person's heart, the love that they show to another is simply a love arising from emotional feelings; an attraction that they have towards another person.
Have you personally experienced God's love expressed towards you through the crucifixion of Jesus? He loved you so much that He chose to die for you to pay the price for your sin. You can know Him and experience His love in a real way today! If you haven't received Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord please pray with me this prayer and sincerely mean it in your heart.
Father, I come before You this morning in the name of Jesus to acknowledge that I have never received the payment that Jesus made for my sin that expresses Your love for me. I confess that I am a sinner by birth because sin travels down the bloodline and I am a sinner by choice because I have chosen to live my life selfishly for my own gain. I ask You to forgive me, to cleanse my heart from sin and to save me. Lord Jesus, I receive Your great love and thank You for saving me. I believe that You are the Son of God, sent to pay the price for my sin, that You were crucified and raised to new life and now sit at the Father's right hand in heaven. I confess You, Lord Jesus, as my Savior and Lord! From this day forward I vow to live for You! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer and really meant it in your heart, you are now a child of God. You have been ushered into the family of God. Congratulations! You have just made the most important decision of your life.
Father, I pray for those who have come into Your family today that You would make Yourself real to them so they will be assured of Your presence within them. I ask that their new life in Christ Jesus would be seen to those around them as they share what has taken place in their lives today. I pray for those who are hurting this morning that may not have someone to share their love with on this special day that Your presence would surround them with a new awareness of how much You love them and desire to have them share that love with You. I pray that they will be comforted by Your love and not desire a love that would simply be a substitute for true love. And may we all show love one to another, Father, for everyone who knows God loves those around them as a sign that they belong to You. May we share the love that You have placed in our hearts. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Genesis 15:1-6 NLT Afterward the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don't even have a son? Since I don't have a son, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no children, so one of my servants will have to be my heir.” Then the LORD said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own to inherit everything I am giving you.” Then the LORD brought Abram outside beneath the night sky and told him, “Look up into the heavens and count the stars if you can. Your descendants will be like that—too many to count!” And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD declared him righteous because of his faith.
How many times do we sacrifice what God wants to do in our lives because we can't see past the problems? Do we limit what God wants to do in our lives through our own natural abilities or inabilities? Do we judge God's power to do the impossible by what we see in the natural?
When God first began speaking with Abram about giving him a son, Abram couldn't see the greatness of God's ability to do the impossible because he was limited by his view of the problem. He couldn't see the solution because of the largeness of his circumstances. Abram assumed that things were going to continue as they had and he would eventually die and all that he had worked for throughout his life would go to an outsider because he had no heir of his own. God was offering him all that He was and had and Abram couldn't see the vastness of it because of his focus on the problem.
God had to take Abram outside of his own surroundings to give him an illustration of what He wanted to do in and through Abram's life. Sometimes we have to leave where we are to see what God wants to lead us into. When Abram opened himself up to see what God was showing him his perspective on his situation changed. All of a sudden he could see that God really was the God of impossibilities and He wanted to do the impossible in Abram's life.
It is said in Genesis 15:6 that Abram “believed” the LORD!
That word for believed is the Hebrew word aman and it means to consider trustworthy; to stand fast in one spot. Considering something trustworthy is an act of full trusting or believing. This is the emphasis in this portion of scripture, which is the the first biblical occurrence of aman, where Abram believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness. The meaning here is that Abram was full of trust and confidence in God, and that he did not fear Him. It was not primarily in God's word that he believed, but in God Himself.
When God convinced Abram that He would do the impossible in his life in giving him a son Abram was able to stand fast believing that God was trustworthy and would do what He had promised. When we come to the place that God is bigger than our doubts or fears we will be able to stand firm on what He has promised each one of us.
What is it that God has promised to do in your life that you are struggling to believe?
Jesus told His disciples when they were struggling with their faith that they should “Have faith in God”. (Mark 11:22) The foundation that we build our faith on has to be a firm foundation of truth. Only God offers that. There is nothing that the world can offer that compares to what God can and will do in a believer's life. In another place Jesus asked His disciples, “Where is your faith”. (Luke 8:25) What had they placed their faith in? In Luke 17:5 the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith and He responded with this:
Luke 17:6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.”
It's not a matter of how big our faith is; it's a matter of how big our God is and how we respond in alignment with that truth. Jesus said they could take faith as small as a mustard seed and speak it out to their problem and it would obey them. Unbelief limits your faith.
F.B. Meyer said, “Unbelief puts circumstances between itself and Christ, so as not to see Him....Faith puts Christ between itself and circumstances.”
This reminds me of Jesus when it says in Hebrews 12:2 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Jesus put His trust in God; His faith had a firm foundation and then He looked at the joy of redeeming mankind, paying the price for the penalty for our sin, instead of the distraction of the pain and shame of going to the cross. He put His faith into action by focusing on the solution instead of the problems. Jesus put the greatness of His Father between Himself and His circumstances. He looked to God to bring Him into the fullness of His destiny as the Savior of the world. Faith puts God between us and our circumstances.
What assumptions have you allowed to come between you and what God has planned for your future? Is it that you assume that things will never be any different than what they are now? Have you assumed that your problems are too big for God to do anything about? How about this one: have you assumed that it's too late or that you are too old to fulfill the plan that God has for your life?
All of these assumptions keep us caged in the present to where we can't see our way out to experience the future! How about changing our assumptions? What about changing our thoughts and actions to align with the truth of God's word?
Later in the book of Romans we see how Abraham changed so he could experience the reality of what God had promised him. We would be wise to adopt his attitude for victory in our lives as well.
Romans 4:18-24 NLT When God promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, Abraham believed Him. God had also said, “Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars,” even though such a promise seemed utterly impossible! And Abraham's faith did not weaken, even though he knew that he was too old to be a father at the age of one hundred and that Sarah, his wife, had never been able to have children. Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything he promised. And because of Abraham's faith, God declared him to be righteous.
Through all the time that Abraham and Sarah waited for Isaac to be born, the scriptures say that his faith grew stronger, not weaker. He brought glory to God because he continued to stand in faith. He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do that which He had promised! What a testament to standing in faith! This was an extreme situation that required strong faith and Abraham lived it so we could see what we need to do in situations that seem like impossibilities in our own lives. What God has done for one He will do for another. He is no respecter of persons!
Father, I thank You for recording within Your word the stories of those that have gone before us that can show us the way to take to achieve the promises that You have given each one of us. Thank You for Abraham's strong faith and the encouragement it gives us when we read of how he stood in faith believing that You were able to do that which You had promised him. Father, I know that there are many today that are struggling to believe that things will be different in their lives; that loved ones will come to salvation; that they will overcome illnesses and receive Your healing touch to restore them to good health; that they will find new jobs that will relieve the financial pressure in their lives and many more problems that we can't even begin to imagine. You, Lord, know exactly where each person is in their walk of faith. I pray that You will show them the good plan that You have for their lives and instill within them the ability to believe You to work and bring into manifestation what they can't do for themselves. Help them to continue to believe until they see the reality of the promise! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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