Monday, December 19, 2011
Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith , 12/19/2011
THAT TROUBLE WITH HAGAR, Part 16b, Continued From Yesterday!
THE REACTIONS TO THE TROUBLE
All three of the participants in this fiasco reacted differently to the situation, and all three reacted badly. By the way, when sin and its problems, or any problem from any source, for that matter, arrives in our lives, most of the people today will react to it in one of the three manners as we shall see below.
In V. 6 Abram Reacted By Being Unaccountable - He tried to pretend that there was no problem and that if there was a problem, it was Sarai's to deal with. He totally ignored his responsibility in the whole situation. Many people try to deal with their problems by simply ignoring them. This will never work! Left unsettled, small problems grow into bigger ones in a short time. In 2 Sam. 13:1-39, David ignored the problem of Amnon and Tamar and the problem grew until Absalom took matters into his own hands and killed his brother! Therefore, whether it be a problem in the home, on the job, in the community, at school or in the church, it must be confronted and dealt with or it will get out of hand. Just ask Abram!
In V. 5 Sarai Reacted By Being Unreasonable - Sarai was miserable because of the pride and haughtiness of Hagar, so she tried to make everyone else around her miserable too. She tried to blame Abram for the problem. She tried to blame Hagar for the problem. She even dragged God into the problem. She fleshed out the proverb: "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" There are many who approach the problems of life with a similar attitude. If they are unhappy, they want everyone else around them to be unhappy as well. So, they get grouchy, mean-spirited, short-tempered and become hard to get along with. Lest we forget, this is not a Christ-like response to trouble and problems, (Gal. 5:22-23; 1 Cor. 13:4-8)! He would have us learn to handle the problems of life without attaching others or attempting to make them as miserable as we are!
In V. 6b-9 Hagar Reacted By Being Unavailable - Hagar decided that the answer to her problems was flight. She just packed up and left to get away from the problem. This is the most common response of all! Some examples are as follows: When problems arise at church, don't seek a solution, seek a new church. When problems arise on the job, don't fix it, find a new job. When problems crop up in the marriage, don't work it out, just find yourself a new mate. The giants of Canaan and the children of Israel are another example. They ran from them the first time, (Numbers 13-14); but before their descendants could claim the land, they had to face and defeat their problem, (Deut. 9:1-2).
I would just call your attention to the fact that God sent Hagar back to the family, (Gen. 16:9). It takes two to have a conflict, and only one to end it. He did this for several reasons, but among them is the fact that God intended to use this situation to help each of these three people to learn to face their problems God’s way. Abram had to face it. Sarai had to deal with it. Hagar had to live in it. God's first order of business isn't to make you happy, but to make you holy! Forcing you to face your problems is one way of accomplishing that end!
In V. 10-16 THE RESULTS OF THE TROUBLE
Proverbs 13:15 says, "Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard." Numbers 32:23 says, "...be sure your sin will find you out." These and other verses remind us of the sad truth that sin brings with it troubles and trials. The situation before us today is no different!
In V. 11-12 A Difficult Son Was Born - Ishmael is called a wild man. Many parents seem determined to raise their own "wild men" through lack of standards and discipline in the home! He would be difficult to handle and would be aggressive towards others. Ishmael represents the difficulties that arise when sin is allowed to divert us from God's path for our lives. Remember, sin brings it's own club. Ishmael is a picture of that truth. What might your sin give birth to in your life? Remember Gal. 6:7-8, we reap what we sow!
In V.9-11 A Dysfunctional Family Was Burdened - As Ishmael grew, the tensions surrounding him grew as well. In other words, the sin of Abram and Sarai, even after many years, still brought heartache and trouble into the home! I would just remind you that your sins, no matter how small and insignificant you may think them to be, always affect you and those around you! They poison your spirit, they sabotage your family and they hinder your walk with God. Many families are burdened today by the so-called hidden sins of those in that family! The answer to sin is to drag it into the light, (Pro. 28:13). Sin cannot live when it is brought out of the darkness into the marvelous light of the glory of God, (John 3:19-21).
In V. 10-12 A Divine Plan Was Bolstered - Even though this sin was accomplished by the will of men, it was going to be used for the glory of God. Those involved could not see how things would play out in their day. Yet, much of the trouble the world is dealing with today, especially in the Arab world, is a direct result of Abram's sin with Hagar. The Arabs are going to figure heavily in God's plan for the end-time events. You see, nothing, even our sins, catches God by surprise. He can take the worst of our failures and use them for His glory. That is not an excuse for evil, but a reason to get up and go on after we fall. Therefore, when sin is committed in your life, do not run from it. Rather, run to the Lord and fine the cleansing and forgiveness He offers thought grace, (1 John 1:9).
Conc: So many areas of our lives have been addressed in this message that I would be surprised if there was a single person today who has not been spoken to directly. While we live in this world, there will be sins and there will be times when we react badly to the trials and problems of life. But, my friends, those sins and those bad reactions do not have to mark our lives! There is a place, called the altar, the place for prayer, where we can go to find the help, forgiveness and restoration we so desperately need. If this text has spoken to your life today, please bring it to the Lord and let Him have His way in your life!
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING.
New International Version (NIV)
16 But to the wicked person, God says: “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips? 17 You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.
18 When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers. 19 You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit. 20 You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son. 21 When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you. But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you. 22 “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: 23 Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.”
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith , 12/18/2011
THAT TROUBLE WITH HAGAR, Part 16a,
It is amazing the depths to which God's Own people can sink. Here is Abram, a man who is following God by faith. He has believed God enough to leave his homeland and his family behind. He has trusted God through battles and trials that would have made many men turn around in defeat and return home. Yet, for all his faith and his good deeds, Abram is still a human. He is still made of sinful flesh and there is still within him a pull towards the world and its allurements.
We all know what this passage is about. Sarai and Abram try to help God give them a son by having Abram take Sarai's maidservant, Hagar, as his wife. Of course, this was never God's will for their lives, but, as with us, this did not stop them from rushing headlong into it anyway. Their decision brought with it far reaching consequences for them and for our world today. Let's spend a few minutes in this passage on the thought That Trouble With Hagar.
In V. 1-4a THE REASONS FOR THE TROUBLE
While all the reasons behind this fiasco are far too many to mention, there are three reasons that warrant mention.
The Acceptance They Were Desiring - In that society, it was considered a disgrace for a couple to be childless. In our day, many couples choose that lifestyle for themselves and that is okay. Others have that choice forced on them by physical reasons. In Abram's day, regardless of the reasons behind it, if a couple had no children, they were mocked, looked down on and largely were not accepted in society.
This was a society that also thought nothing of multiple marriages. If a man like Abram were to take Hagar as a concubine, or secondary wife, no one around them would think a thing of it. If that concubine were to bear a child, it would be considered to be the child of the first, or the primary wife. In this way, Sarai could get the child she desired and be accepted in the community. God's children are often guilty of lowering their standards to those of the community around them in order to fit in better. It is better to please God and be rejected by men that it is to please men and be rejected by God (Acts 4:19)! There MUST be a clear line of demarcation between the people of the Lord and the world around them, (2 Cor. 6:17.) Many churches are falling into that trap today!
The Baggage They Were Dragging - The Bible tells us that Hagar was an Egyptian. She is part of the possessions that Abram brought back with him from his sinful journey into Egypt, (Gen. 12:10-20). Had he never journey to that country, there would have been no Hagar to marry! He is still reaping the harvest he sowed in Egypt! You never go into sin and come out clean! There is always some reminder, some evidence, that you were there! That is the Law of Sowing and Reaping, (Gal. 6:7-8).
The Promises They Were Doubting - Gen. 15:1-6 tells the story of God's great promise to Abram. When the promise was given, Abram reacted in faith, but as time has gone by, Sarai has begun to doubt. He, along with Sarai, decides that God needs help in fulfilling His promise. After all, God only said that Abram would father a son; He didn't say by whom he would father that son! It is my conviction that doubt towards the Word and promises of the Lord accounts for more of our troubles than anything other single thing. We can read what He has promised us, but when the promise isn't fulfilled immediately, we begin to doubt and try to find way to make it happen ourselves. When will we ever learn that: God always keeps His Word, (Heb. 6:18; Rom. 4:21; Ps. 119:89); God is a God of order and that He doesn't run on our schedule; for example, Jesus - Men needed a Savior for 4,000 years before He came, but God sent Him "in the fullness of time", (Gal. 4:4.); and God doesn't need us to take matters into our hands in order to accomplish His will, (Ps. 50:12.)
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING;
New International Version (NIV)
7 “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God. 8 I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. 9 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, 10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. 12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. 13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? 14 “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, 15 and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW!
Saturday, December 17, 2011
ABRAHAM: FOLLOWING IN THE STEPS OF FAITH, 12/17/2011
Gen. 16:1-14 THE GOD WHO SEES, Part 15b, Continued From Yesterday!
THE COMFORT OF HIS OMNISCIENCE
When we think of the omniscience of God, we often think of just the negative side. We think about how God sees everything we think, say or do, and this thought bothers us. In reality, the complete knowledge of God is one of the most comforting truths there is! Let me tell you why.
He Sees The Supplicant – In this passage, we see Hagar on the run. She is in a time of terrible distress. Yet, in the midst of her trial, she has a conversation with God. We call this prayer. I am glad God hears me when I pray, aren’t you? That is His promise, (Isa. 65:24; Jer. 33:3; Matt. 7:7-11). But, there are times when I cannot put my prayers into words. What then? The God Who sees all things sees even the thought of my heart that cannot be expressed. He hears the prayer that remains unspoken. He interprets the message of our tears. He reads the unspoken message of the burdened heart! He does not need for us to frame our prayers in words (although we should); He can comprehend the depth of our petition, because He knows us intimately (Rom. 8:26-27). Even when the golden thread of life is severed and I slip out into eternity, I will enter Heaven with a prayer in my spirit and He will know that prayer just as surely as He knows me today!
He Sees The Sufferer – In these verses, Hagar is suffering. She has been rejected, abused and hated. She is all alone and on the run. Her heart is broken and she does not know what to do. In her pain, she encounters the God Who sees. No other person sees it all! All around us today, there are people who suffer. They have pain and heartache that they keep well hidden from those around them. Take heart my friends! People around you may not see nor understand, but there is a God in Heaven Who knows all about the path you walk, (Job 23:10). He knows where you are today and He knows what is around the next bend in the road. Since He knows, He is able to help you as no other! He knows your pain, (Heb. 4:15). He cares about you (1 Pet. 5:7). He is able to give you peace in your valley (Phil. 4:6-7). He is able to work in your situation to bring about the best conclusion (Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17). He knows how to bring joy out of your dark night (Ps. 30:15).
He Sees The Slandered – Hagar has also been slandered. She is but a slave and she has been forced by her mistress into a situation she could not avoid. Now, she is forced to bear the brunt of Sarai’s anger. In that place of misunderstanding and slander, she find help from the God Who sees. There is no shortage of people who would slander our good names and our pure motives, who hasn’t been misunderstood, misrepresented or become the focus of some malicious gossip and their hateful words. We all have, but God sees the truth! While other might spread their lies, God knows all there is to know about you and the circumstances you are in. One day, He will set the record straight. How do you answer your accusers? By doing good… David, in 1 Sam. 17, was ridicules by Eliab, (v. 28) and by Saul, (v. 32). David’s answer was to walk across the plain and slay the giant. God’s answer to slander and our answer to slander should be that we always do the right thing. Live for God and stay the course and God will allow you to live down those who would damage your good name! That is His plan!
He Sees The Sinner – By birth, Hagar was an Egyptian. She was a heathen, a pagan, a sinner. Yet, the eye of God was upon her. She ran away, but she could not get away from the gaze of God. If you are lost, you may think God doesn’t think about you. The truth is, He sees all you do. He is there when the thought of sin in conceived. He is there when the deed of sin is carried out. He will be watching when the sentence of sin is carried out. Imagine the difference in the O.J. Simpson trial if Judge Lance Ito could have entered the courtroom and said, “I saw it all!” Well, God can and will say that! There will be no hiding in that day. Rev. 20:11-15 teaches us that the best thing you can do is turn to Jesus for salvation today.
Conc: Thank God that He sees all! It may be that Satan or others have been telling you that God is not seeing what you are going through. Satan is a liar. God sees and God cares. Do you need to talk to Him about some things? Maybe you need to come and acknowledge His watch care. Maybe you need to bow and thank Him that He is The God Who Sees.
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING:
New International Version (NIV)
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Friday, December 16, 2011
ABRAHAM: FOLLOWING IN THE STEPS OF FAITH, 12/16/2011
Gen. 16:1-14 THE GOD WHO SEES, Part 15a, 12/16/2011
Hagar is alone, frightened and sure that God is nowhere around. Yet, in her trial, God knew exactly where she was. He saw every move she made and He came to her to offer comfort and hope.
When God showed up in the middle of Hagar’s nightmare, she stood amazed in the profound truth that God Almighty had His eye on her. She was amazed that God cared about Hagar. She was so amazed that she called His name “El-Roi” – “Thou God Seest Me!” She named the well “Beerlahairoi” – “The well of the Living One that seest me.”
He knows where you are. He sees what you are going through. I want you to see the truth that He sees you, but it is not with disinterest. He sees you and He cares about you. He want you to come to understand that you are “the apple of His eye” (Ps. 17:8; Zech. 2:8). Let me share some of the details of His omniscience with you about “The God Who Sees You“.
THE CERTAINTY OF HIS OMNISCIENCE
“Thou God seest me” - “Omniscience” = “Possessing total knowledge; knowing everything.” When we say that God is omniscient, we are saying that He knows absolutely everything there is to know. The proof of His omniscience can be found in four areas.
In His Person – The Greeks called God “Theos”. This word comes from a root word that means, “The One Who Sees.” The very concept of deity revolves around His ability to see His creation. The ancients saw God as a Being Who could take in the whole of His creation with a single glance. They saw Him as One Who knows every detail in the universe with complete knowledge. When we breath His name, we are invoking that Name of “The One Who Sees”.
In His Presence – God knows everything not only because of Who He is, but also because of where He is. The Psalmist reminds us of His omnipresence, (Ps. 139:1-12). He does not see us from afar, but He is ever with us, beholding all we do, (Pro. 15:3). God is in you, around you, before you, beneath you, above you and within you. It would be easier to escape from your own skin than to escape from Him. His greatness is One Who fills all and must therefore know all!
In His Power – God knows everything not just because of Who He is and where He is, but also because of what He does. Our God is not disconnected from His creation. He sees the sparrow that falls to the earth. He knows the very number of the hairs on your head, (Matt. 10:29-31). Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, you can see the hand of God actively involved in His creation, (Ps. 19:1-4). He controls everything in this world. What this means is that we have a God Who fills all things and controls all things, must therefore know all things!
In His Purposes – God knows everything because He is God; because He is everywhere; and because He controls all things. It is also clear that He knows what will take place before it ever happens, (Is. 46:10-11; Ps. 135:6; Dan. 4:35). How does God know what will happen before it takes place? He plans it, (Eph. 1:11)! Nothing can happen in this world that is not a part of God’s eternal, perfect, unstoppable plan! That may not help you, but it sure does bless me! That puts the comfort in (Rom. 8:28). A God Who plans all things is surely able to know all things!
THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS OMNISCIENCE
“Thou God seest me” – The God we serve is an omniscience God. He sees all things all the time. Since that is true, what does that mean for us?
His Knowledge Of You Is Personal – “seest ME!” – God sees you as if there were not another creature in His universe. Can you get your mind around that? If I try to see each of you, I am forced to look at one person at a time. God can see all things at the same time and still give each person His full attention! Now, imagine that every star and heavenly body was gone from sight. Imagine that all the earth was void of the features that catch the eye. Imagine in that environment that the piercing eyes of God were focused solely on you. That is just how it is! You are the focus of His undivided attention. John 4:1-42, tells us that when Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, there might as well have been no one else in the world. That is how He sees you. You are the particular object of His attention right now!
His Knowledge Of You Is Perfect – “SEEST me!” – When God sees you, He does not just see what you are wearing, where you are going or the expression on your face. He sees you entirely, completely, without and within at the same time. He knows every thought, every imagination, even before they are formed in the mind, (Ps. 139:4). As you move through this life, God sees you completely, perfectly and thoroughly.
His Knowledge Of You Is Persistent – “Thou God SEEST me.” – “Seest” is a present tense verb. God sees and He always sees how we watch ourselves when the eyes of men are known to be upon us! We weight every word, watch every step and temper every deed, when the eyes of others are watching. But when the eyes of men are nowhere around, we tend to let down our guard. Let me just remind that when others are gone; when the door is closed; when darkness has enveloped us; and when we think we are all alone, the eyes of Almighty God see us still, (Ps. 139:11-12; Is. 29:15; Jer. 23:24).
His Knowledge Of You Is Phenomenal – “Thou God SEEST me!” – The word implies absolute sight. We think we see ourselves, but others often see us better than we see ourselves. While others may see us and judge our physical frame; and the wisest among us might be able to interpret our thoughts, deeds and motive; no one will ever know us like God does! He sees all, both that which is public and that which is private. Your parents, your spouse and your dearest friends may know you intimately, but they will never know you like God does. You may think you know yourself, but you will never know your own heart like He does. He knows all there is to know about us, (Psa. 139:1-3).
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING:
New International Version
1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW!
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith , Part 14b, 12/15/2011
MOVING TOWARD MATURITY, Continued From Yesterday!
Gen 17:10-11, THE CHALLENGE TO ABRAM'S FAITH
In response to Abram's question, the Lord makes a strange demand. This demand served as a challenge to the faith of this man. Faith that isn't tested isn't really faith at all.
The Challenge Of Preparation - God's request is for Abram to prepare a sacrifice. This whole event was how men in ancient times made a covenant with one another. They would cut animals in half and arrange the pieces several feet apart and walk between the pieces together. It symbolized the sacredness of a man's word. It said, "May I be like one of these animals if I break my part of the covenant." For Abram, it took a lot of costly, hard, bloody work to prepare things like the Lord wanted them to be. We need to remember that when the Lord makes a requirement of your life or mine, it will often require us to commit to some hard work on our part. The great things of God do not come easy, they do not come cheap, nor do they come to the lazy. God's best is reserved for those who are willing to pay the price. What is that price? Prayer, holiness, separation, obedience, etc.; not wood, hay, stubble, gold, silver, or precious stones (1 Cor. 3:11-13).
The Challenge Of Protection - As Abram waited for the Lord to come by and meet with him, the birds of prey began to descend on the animal carcasses. Abram had to shoo them away to protect the sacrifice from being devoured. When the Lord begins to move in your faith life, you can count on the fact that every vulture in the world will come against you to devour what the Lord is trying to do in your life. If we allow them, many vultures will try to take away our time, our concentration, or commitment to the Lord and to His work. We need to be on guard to protect what the Lord wants to do in our lives and allow nothing to hinder it or prevent us from seeing it come to pass.
The Challenge Of Patience - I get the impression that this activity took Abram most of the day. He is in a holding pattern. He has the sacrifice ready, he is guarding it and the Lord doesn't show up until after darkness has fallen. It was a time that required patience on the part of Abram. God never runs on our schedule! We try to get ready for Him and line up with what He is doing in our lives. We wait and we wait for Him to show up and move in us and through us. He will, but only when He is ready! Therefore, if the Lord is working in your life, be patient and wait on His timing. Don't rush in as we have a tendency to do, just wait patiently on Him and He will bring it to pass (Is. 40:31. God knows the timing; we do not)!
Gen 15:12-21 THE CONFIRMATION OF ABRAM'S FAITH
The Darkness - When the Lord did finally show up, Abram was enveloped in a great darkness. Part of the darkness was due to the time of day, it was night time after all! The rest was due to the work of the Lord in his life. God brought Abram into a dark time so that God might increase and mature his faith. God still does this in the lives of His people. He sends us into the dark times of life so that we might learn to trust Him more. He allows our faith to be matured in the darkness: Three Hebrews (Dan 3:13), the disciples, Daniel, Noah, etc. all had to face their darkness to learn that the Lord could handle their situation. Therefore, do not fear your darkness, for if you are saved, then the Lord is working out His perfect will in your life and He is growing you into more perfect maturity. No one said it would be fun, but it sure is beneficial!
The Details - During this time of Darkness, the Lord comes to Abram to tell him of God's plans for the children of Abram, who have yet to be born. God goes into great detail to let Abram know that which He was about to do. The details must have been as frightening. The birds have a prophetic significance in that they picture the nations that would attempt to defeat Israel. The grace of God in delaying the blessing on His people to give the Amorites space to repent (v. 16) God doesn't usually come by with all the details of that which He is doing. He wants His children to learn to walk by faith and not by sight. We are reminded of this truth four times in the Bible (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38). God only has to speak one time on any subject for us to know what He thinks about it. But, when He tells us the same thing four times in the Bible, it must mean that He wants us to get a handle on it! In other words, don't go to God to try and make Him prove something, just take Him at His word and let Him work out the details in His Own way!
The Documentation - As I have mentioned this ceremony was part of an ancient covenant ceremony. Here, the Lord comes down in His glory, the first time it has been seen on earth since man sinned in Eden, and He passes between the sacrifice. He is confirming His covenant with Abram. Usually both parties had to pass through together. However, this covenant is one sided. Irregardless of what Abram, or his descendants do, this covenant is as good as the Name of God. It will be fulfilled! The change from "I will" (Gen. 12:1; 12:7; 13:15; 13:17); to "I have" (Gen. 15:18) means it is a done deal and it cannot be changed! This covenant cemented the faith of Abram in place and gave him a sure promise to hang his hat on. Thank God for the promises of God that make faith possible! Many of His promises are "If you will then I will" in nature (Rom. 10:13; Acts 16:31; Matt. 6:33; Phil. 4:19). However, His greatest promises are cut in stone and they are one sided. Regardless of what we may do, His promises still stand and will stand, (Heb. 13:15; Acts 1:8; John 10:28; John 14:1-3; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-52); etc. The promises and covenants of the Lord are given to encourage and confirm our faith in Him. As we accept Him at His word and order our lives after His will, we mature in His image!
Conc: How's your faith today? Maybe like Abram you are sitting looking at your life and wondering "How?"; "Why?"; "What?"; "When?". Listen, God is not afraid of your questions. He is not opposed to your asking them. All He is looking for is that person who will come before Him by faith. He is looking for that person who will simply take Him at His Word and believe Him, regardless of how things look or how they may personally feel about the matter. He is looking for some people that He can grow up in Him for His own glory. Are you that person? Do you want all that the Lord has for you? If so, let Him move you toward maturity. It all begins with you taking that first step of faith, so that you can come before Him and ask Him to begin working in your life.
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING:
New International Version (NIV)
10 You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured on me. 11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes. 12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
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