Friday, December 30, 2011
ABRAHAM, Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, 12/30/2011
HOW TO ENJOY THE REST AREAS OF LIFE, Part 23a
There are times in life that are simply difficult to tolerate! There are battles to fight, valleys to cross, long nights of the soul to endure and storms that must be weathered. All you have to do is read the story of Job, or just live in this world for any length of time and you will know what I am saying is true. These times are not sent because the Lord wishes to cause us trouble. He is in the business of conforming His people into His image (Rom. 8:29, 1 Cor. 4:17). The trials of life are the tools that shape us into His likeness. Therefore, even though they are difficult, they are a blessing in disguise.
Despite how we feel sometimes, life isn't all bad. We would all have to admit that there are times when the Lord inserts times of peace into our lives. He allows us to pass by some "still waters" and He causes us the "lie down in green pastures." I thank God for those times in my life and I know you do too! Just as surely as the troubles of life are sent into our lives to grow, mature and strengthen us, the rest periods of life are sent for their purpose as well.
This chapter is all about a rest area in the journey of Abraham's life. The ups and downs that lead to this point. I would like to point a few uses for these rest areas of life. When the times of rest come, knowing how to use them properly allows us to extract from them all the blessing that God wants us to get, as we now take a few minutes to look at How To Use The Rest Areas Of Life.
V. 33 FOR INHABITING THE BEST PLACES
The middle part of this passage has to do with a transaction between Abraham and Abimelech (v. 22-31). This transaction saw seven sheep change hands. These seven sheep ewe were a testimony that the well belonged to Abraham. The well became known as "Beersheba", which means "The well of the seven-fold oath." Water wells were of vast importance to men like Abraham. They needed them to ensure the lives of their flocks, herds and families. It was by this well of sweet water that Abraham settled down and enjoyed this rest area of life.
When the fur is flying in your life, it is harder to concentrate on your walk with the Lord. But, we should take advantage of the calm times of life to enhance our relationship with Him. If we can learn to love Him during the lulls of life, then we won't have to work nearly as hard to find Him during the storms!
What I am advocating is a life that zeros in on God through prayer, worship and the study of His Word. A life that doesn't wait until everything falls apart to confess its sins and seek His face. But, a life that is lived in a place of closeness day by day, even when things are good. A life that finds a place of consistent growth in the things of the Lord is a life that He can use for His glory! A good example of this truth is the life of Job. He called on the Lord when things went wrong (Job 1:20-22). He was able to do it quickly because he had spent time in the Lord's presence when things were going well (Job 1:1, 5, 8).
If we can ever learn to settle down in the best places of His blessings during the good, restful times of life, we will not be so easily blown off course when the adverse winds of trials and afflictions begin to blow against us!
V. 22-32 FOR INSULATING YOURSELF WITH HIS PROMISES
These verses tell of the covenant made between Abraham and Abimelech concerning their mutual interests. Abimelech was concerned about his safety, Abraham was concerned about his well. At the end of this summit, Abraham could dwell with safety within the borders of Abimelech's land because he had the promises of this covenant (v. 23).
Use the rest areas of life as times to meditate on the great promises of the Lord! Let these truths feed your soul. Then, when the troublesome times do come, you will find that you are steadied by His Word and by His great promises.
For instance, we believe in eternal security, and that is His promise to His children, but under the right kind of pressure, you might begin to feel that you are lost again. John the Baptist in Matt. 11:3, found himself in a position of doubt that he probably never thought he would see! The promise of His presence is another that comes under attack. What about His power and ability? What about His Sovereignty? What about His ability to meet your needs? However, I believe that if you will immerse yourself in His promises, they will be a help and a comfort as you fight the battles of life. The whole point is this, so fill your heart and life with His truth during the lulls in the storm, that when the winds begin to howl again, you are insulated by His promises. You will find that it is a tactic that works wonders!
TODAY’S SCRIPYURE and BLESSING!
New International Version (NIV)
1 May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. 2 May you blow them away like smoke— as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. 3 But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. 4 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD. 5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. 7 When you, God, went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, 8 the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW!
Thursday, December 29, 2011
ABRAHAM, FOLLOWING THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 12/29/2011
Genesis 21:9-21 WHAT AILETH THEE?
Abraham may have been the father of the faithful, but His family life was a shambles in the relationships of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael. According to Gen. 16, this arrangement did nothing but cause trouble for Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. Sarah was jealous of Hagar and her baby; Hagar was jealous of Sarah and her relationship with Abraham; poor Abraham is caught in the middle trying to please two women. In our text, things have come to head. There is all out civil war in Abraham’s tent. As a result, Hagar finds herself in a desperate situation. In the midst of that terrible time, she has a powerful, personal encounter with Almighty God. Out of Hagar’s pain comes a ray of hope for all those who find themselves in the hard, harsh places of life. I want you to see that God can take your hopeless situation and turn it around for His glory. I want to focus in on the question the Lord asks Hagar in verse 17, “What alieth thee?” If you have an ailment, regardless of what it may be, God has a word of hope for you in these verses.
v. 9-14 IT WAS A TIME OF HARSH REJECTION
Things had been tense in Abraham’s tent for many years. In this passage, Isaac is about three years old and Ishmael is about seventeen. They are celebrating as Isaac matures from a baby to a little boy. Things come to a head during this feast and Hagar faces a terrible time of rejection.
v. 9-10 The Reasons For This Rejection – Ishmael was mocking and making fun of Isaac and the festivities. The word “mocking” is a strong form of the word “Isaac”, which means “laughter”. Ishmael saw all his hopes of inheritance dashed in Isaac, the promised son. He knew that Isaac was the son of promise and that he was just the son of a slave. So he is jealous of Isaac and he acts out his rejections during the feast. Sarah sees this and blows her stack and demands that Hagar and Isaac be sent away!
v. 11-14 The Realities Of This Rejection – Abraham is reluctant, but God tells him that this is part of His plan for Isaac and for Ishmael. For Abraham, this is as real as it gets! He is forced to send away his oldest son and that son’s mother, Hagar. It broke Abraham’s heart to have to send them away. It was a hard morning for Abraham, a worse coming (“Grievous” = “to tremble or quiver”, v. 11). We all know that life can be just like that at times. We are enjoying ourselves one moment and the next; we are on the bottom, looking up, wondering how we got down here. This life is filled with hard realities and heartbreaking moments. Sickness comes; people die; relationships fall apart; depression rears its head; difficulties arise; troubles dog our steps. That is the reality of life! (Job 14:1; John 16:33). Gen. 3:17-19 show us “Some have been there; some are there and some are going there“.
v. 15-16 IT WAS A TIME OF HOPELESS REALITIES
v. 15 There Were Problems – The water ran out, the sun beat down and Hagar gave up! Life is like that at times ( 2 Cor. 1:8). Sometimes, the burdens are more than we can bear! But, they are never more than Jesus can bear (2 Cor. 1:9-10). In Matt. 11:28-30 Jesus is in the yoke with you!
v. 16 There Was Pain – Hagar’s heart is broken. She is sure Ishmael is going to die; and didn’t want to see him die so she set herself “A Bowshot” away, which is probably about 1000 feet. She does not want to witness the death of her son, so she leaves him under a bush and goes off to weep. She found herself in a situation she could not fix and from which she could not escape. Have you ever been there? David was (Ps. 55:1-8). Most of us like to be in control of our lives, when we can’t control it or fix it, we get desperate! Have you ever been there?
v. 16-17 There Was Prayer – Hagar may have prayed: Ishmael certainly did. God heard him and moved to help him; “Ishmael” means “God Hears”. Prayer is an ever-present resource for the believer. We can run to Him anytime, anywhere, for any purpose and He has promised to hear us and help us! (Matt. 7:7-8; Jer. 33:3; Phil. 4:6-7). Prayer should be our first priority, not the final straw! Here’s the truth: Problems are going to come into our lives. When they do, they will come unwanted or unannounced. When they come, they will hurt us deeply at times. When they come, we must not delay, but we must run to the Lord and seek His help. He will hear us and He will help us. He may change the situation, but more often, He will change us in the situation (2 Cor. 12:7-11).
v. 17-21 IT WAS A TIME OF HIDDEN RESOURCES
While Hagar went through this time of terrible tragedy, she was enveloped by some very precious hidden resources. She didn’t realize it, but God was there and He had just what she needed to see her through. She was so overcome by her grief that she could not see the resources that were right there before her eyes. Have you ever been there? We say it like this, “Can’t see the forest for the trees”.
v. 12-13 God’s Providence – God had a plan in all of this. Ishmael represented the efforts of the flesh and he had to go, so the son of faith, Isaac, might obtain his rightful place. The pain and suffering was part of God’s plan. The same is true in your life and mine. God has a plan and sometimes it involves us walking through some hard places. God knows what He is doing. Until you walk through the valley, you cannot appreciate the mountain top; some examples are Elijah, Widow of Zarephath; Three Hebrews; Daniel; Disciples in the boat; 5,000 plus hungry folks; Mary and Martha; etc. (Isa. 55:8-9; Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17). Thank God He is behind the scenes pulling all the strings of life (Ps. 37:23).
v. 17a God’s Presence – She didn’t know it, but God had been there the whole time. He won’t leave you either ( Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20). Other examples are found in Deut. 31:8; 1 Sam. 12:22; Isa. 41:10; 43:2.
v. 17b God’s Peace – God called Hagar by name; He was concerned about her problem, and He spoke peace to her. God knows (Job 23:10). God cares (Heb. 4:15-16). God can speak peace to your heart (John 14:27; Phil. 4:7). Remember the Disciples in the boat when Jesus came walking in the water? “ It is I” ( John 6:19-21.)
v. 18 God’s Promise – He may not make you a great nation, but He will take care of you –(Matt. 6:25-34; Phil. 4:19; Ps. 37:25).
v. 19 God’s Provision – He opened her eyes and showed her what had been right in front of her all along! We are blinded to His provisions by our problems. He can open our eyes and show us that He has everything we could ever need (Luke 24:30-31). He has what you need, if you will come to Him, you can have that provision (The blessings and power of our God). He has more and can do more than you can imagine ( Eph. 3:20)!
Conc: What ails YOU? Bring it to the Father today by prayer and by faith!
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING,
New International Version (NIV)
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. 3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
ABRAHAM, Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, 12/28/2011
SIN AND THE SAINT OF GOD, Part 21b, Continued From Yesterday!
SIN CANNOT DERAIL GOD'S PLAN
When Abraham left the promised land to enter Gerar, he placed the plan of God in jeopardy. You see, God had promised to send the promised seed within a year (Gen. 18:10-14). Abraham showed very poor judgment! If Abimelech had been allowed to sleep with Sarah, it could have short-circuited God's plan. Of course, the Scriptures tell us that God prevented anything like that from taking place! Another problem is the fact that Abraham is the sole representative of God Almighty ( v. 7). He has been commissioned to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. Instead of being a blessing and a witness for God, Abraham's life could have been a hindrance to prevent Abimelech from knowing of God. However, in spite of Abraham's sin, God spoke to Abimelech and dealt with him anyway (v. 6-7).
Regardless of what we do, God's plan will be accomplished! For too long, preachers have tried to keep the people of God in line by using fear tactics against them. The saints have been told to live right or God can't bless; He can't work and He can't save souls. Many have been told that they have sent others to Hell by the lifestyles they live. Well, I just want to set the record straight today! You cannot hinder God from doing His work (HE WILL DO IT WITH OR WITHOUT YOU)! You might miss out on the blessing of being a part of what He is doing, but God will accomplish His will in the church and in the world whether we cooperate or not!
Another thing, you cannot "send anyone to Hell". Men go to hell when they refuse to receive Christ as their Savior and nothing you or I do can cause them to do that or prevent them from doing that! That may not be what you have heard all your life, but it is still the truth! Our job is to warn them and to live right before them, but the decision they make in the end is theirs and theirs alone (Eze. 3:18)!
You might think that Abraham's sin should have shamed Abraham? But there is no indication that he ever acknowledged it or repented of it! Much like many in our world today! But, think about this: Abraham's sin was used as testimony to the greatness of God. Abimelech would have never known that God was a God of mercy, grace, forgiveness and restoration if that old saint had never fallen into sin! But, because he did, God was able to demonstrate His power through forgiving and restoring Abraham by grace. This is not an excuse for sinning! It is just a reminder that our sin will not stop God from saving folks. People need to know that our God is a God Who saves and keeps SIINERS WHO BECOME SAINTS through grace and not works!
SIN WEARS THE EMPEROR’S CLOTHES
Sin is just like the story of "The Emperorer's Suit". It attempts to camouflage itself, but it never realizes that its camouflage is flimsy and transparent. In fact, everyone can see through it, except the Emperor. When Abraham is confronted by his sin, he does not repent, but instead he offers up excuses. Here they are. They aren't much, but they are the same ones people still use today.
1. He Claimed That He Had Acted Out Of Fear - v. 11 - It wasn't fear that caused this terrible event, it was a lack of faith!
2. He Twisted The Facts - v. 12 - Sarah was his sister, but she was more than that, she was his wife!
3. He Hid Behind His Past Failures - v. 13 - He tells the king that this is the way we have always done it. Abraham's response to being confronted is to attempt to hide behind some very flimsy excuses. Like the Emperor, Abraham did not even realize that he was fully exposed before God.
When we sin and are found out, we always try to make excuses for our behavior. We will either blame someone else, or we will blame the devil. We may try to pretend that we didn't do anything wrong. We may plead ignorance. We may act like we see no wrong in our actions. There are a thousand ways we can handle sin, but only one way will bring cleansing, restoration and the blessing of God. Sin must be confessed! It must be dragged out, kicking and screaming, into the open, and it must be exposed for what it is: black, dirty and wicked! This is God's way for dealing with sin (Pro. 28:13; 1 John 1:9). What excuses are you hiding your behavior behind today? Whether you know it or not, everyone already sees it for what it is! You will never get past it until you can see it for yourself and deal with it God's way!
Conc: We all battle sin! Some more than others, but we all fight it nonetheless. The question is, who is winning the battle, you or your sins? If you want to be free you can be (John 8:32)! If you want to be a light to the world you can be (Matt 5:14). If you want your life to be blessed and to be a blessing, you can have it (Rom 15:29)! All it takes is you doing what Abraham refused to do: get before the Lord and face your sins for what they are! If you do, the Lord will forgive you and bless you, He will restore you and use you for His glory. Does that sound good to you? If you need that kind of help, it is available in Jesus. Come to Him and watch Him work on your sin problem!
TODAY’S SCRITURE and BLESSING,
New International Version (NIV)
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; 2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. 3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. 9 For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
ABRAHAM, Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, 12/27/2011
SIN AND THE SAINT OF GOD, Part 21a,
These verses portray a horrible failure in the life of one of God's choice servants. If you remember Abraham's journey down in to Egypt in Genesis 12:10-20, you will notice some similarities between that event and Gen 20:1-18. It is never pleasant to see failure in the life of one of God's children. But, I am thankful that God did not sweep Abraham's sin under the rub. I am grateful that He saw fit to record the event in the pages of Scripture. I am grateful because, like Abraham, I struggle with sin. Sometimes, I struggle with the same sins over and over, as I am sure you do too. What we need in the midst of our struggle is some encouragement! What we need is the blessed assurance that we have hope in the midst of our failures!
This passage offers that hope to our hearts today! It may seem like a passage of darkness, gloom and failure, but in reality, it is a passage filled with hope and help for you and me. I want to point out a few principles that are contained here that speak to your need and mine, as we take a look at Sin And The Saint Of God.
SIN DOESN'T HAVE AN EXPIRATION DATE
Remember that Abraham is 100 years old when this event occurs. When he did this same thing in Genesis 12, he was just beginning his walk with the Lord. Here, he should be at the height of his maturity as a believer. Notice also that this is a sin he has carried with him for many decades (Gen 20:13). For us the point is clear: there will never be a time in this life when we will be beyond falling! Therefore, we need to avoid some of the mistakes that Abraham made.
Never stop trusting God to take care of you - Why was Abraham there in the first place? Well in Gen. 12, he went because of a famine, not believing that God would take care of him. This time, we are not told why he went, but my opinion is that he was getting away from Sodom and Gomorrah. He probably thought that all the area would be burned up. When we come to the place where we no longer trust the Lord to meet our needs and to get us through the trials of life, we are headed for disaster!
Never put yourself in the place of temptation - Abraham had a fear that some man would kill him so that he could have Sarah. When he felt this fear, he was inclined to lie to save his hide, not believing that God would be able to take care of him. Only a fool subjects himself to temptation's lure believeing that he will walk away unharmed! If you know that you have a problem in a given area, you are foolish to place yourself in a position to be tempted! When temptation comes, you need to be like Joseph: Run! (Gen. 39:12). Friends, we must never let down our guard! May we never come to think that we have arrived at a place where we cannot sin, or where we are free from the temptation to commit a particular sin. As sure as you let down your guard, you are headed for trouble (1 Cor. 10:12)! As long as you live in this flesh, you will never be safe from sin!
SIN CANNOT OVERCOME GRACE
Even though Abraham is clearly out of God's will at this time in his life, he is still enjoying the Lord's blessings! That may mess up your theology, but it is still true! You see, even when Abraham is in a place of his own choosing and is not doing what God asked him to do, he is still being blessed by the Lord. Notice the blessings that came his way:
1. He Forgave Him Of His Sins - Implied in verse 17
2. He Protected Him From Harm - v. 2-9, 18
3. He Blessed Him Financially - v. 14-16
4. He Used Him For His Glory - v. 17
(This same principle is witnessed in the life of Elijah , 1 Kings 19:8-18).
What does this teach us? Simply the truth that we cannot change “who we are” , but we can change “WHAT WE ARE and TO WHOM WE BELONG“! We all know that God chastens His children (Rev. 3:19; Heb. 12:6-12). However, how many of us could testify to the truth that there have been times when we were miles away from the Lord and He still blessed our lives! What is this? Nothing less than His grace! This just serves to remind us that God deals with us on the basis of whose we are rather than on the basis of what we do! This does not give us a license to sin! After all, the redeemed sinner is going to want to serve the Lord, and the sinner will not rest until things are right between him and the Lord. It is also true that after a while God will deal directly and completely with the sin that resides within His children's hearts. Thank God, even our sin is unable to separate us from the LOVE of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:38-39), but sin will separate us from God (Is 59:1-2)!
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING:
New International Version (NIV)
1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. 6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. 7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. 10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’S unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW!
Monday, December 26, 2011
ABRAHAM: FOLLOWING IN THE STEPS OF FAITH, 12/26/2011
Genesis 19:1-26 Luke 17:32
REMEMBERING LOT'S WIFE, Part 20b, Continued from yesterday!
CONSIDER HER SPIRITUAL PROBLEMS
For thousands of years men have wondered why this woman looked back. There are three spiritual problems that Lot's wife had in her life. These are revealed in this passage and they answer the question.
A Problem With Her Faith - Disbelief - She looked back because she did not believe that God would do what He said He would do! She thought He was bluffing! Lost people still make the same gamble today! Friend, God isn't bluffing! Just ask the Rich Man of Luke 16:19-31. Just ask Judas Iscariot! There is a Hell and you will go there if you do not come to Jesus Christ for salvation! There is chastisement for the child of God who chooses sin over the will of God, (Heb. 12:6-11). God isn't bluffing! Sin is a hard taskmaster, (Pro. 13:15).
A Problem With Her Face - Disobedience - She, along with all the others, had been commanded not to look back. But, there was something within her that caused her to turn back toward Sodom. The problem with Lot's wife was that she had her eyes on all the wrong things. She was looking back at a lost life, a lost lifestyle and a lost city. Wherever your gaze is fixed on today, it will determine the path taken by your feet. The Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-24, his gaze was on the world and his feet followed. That is why some of you won't get saved! That is why some of you can't live life right! Your gaze is fixed on the wrong things! What a dangerous way to live! God's plan, as it is laid out in His Word, is a perfect plan! Those who follow God's plan enjoy God's blessings and His peace. Those who reject God's plan for living find their path strewn with disaster and trouble. What are you looking at today?
A Problem With Her Focus - Deception - She probably had everyone in the family fooled! They probably thought that she was saved. She had everyone fooled but God! The problem with Lot's wife is the problem with many people today, they have merely made a profession of faith, but they have never truly been born again (Rom 6:3-5)! She proved what she was when she looked back to Sodom! You see, her body was out of Sodom, but her heart was still there (Mat 6:21). This is a picture of that religious person, that church member who has turned over a new leaf, but who has never been converted! There is a difference in claiming to be a Christian, than in being saved! When you are truly saved, you will not be able to enjoy the pleasures and allurements of the world as you did before! Why? Because you have been made a new creature, (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph 4:22-24). If you are just pretending to be saved, please be aware that you are not fooling the Lord! He knows your heart and will judge you accordingly! By the way, it is possible for those who have been converted to find themselves looking back longingly at the old life they as Lot's wife did in Sodom, or as the Israelites did in Egypt (Ex 16:3). This was condemned by Jesus, (Luke 9:62). You see this trend in the church today. Everywhere there are professing Christians that want to dress, act, walk and talk like the world and not like Jesus. People who say they know Jesus, but act like the unsaved around them. What they are doing is playing around with sin and treating sin too lightly! My friends, sin is a deceiver, it is a killer and it is dangerous! It must be dealt with early and radically. Do not let it get a foothold in your life, but root it out, whatever the cost or the pain, (Eph. 4:27; Matt. 5:27-30). We must get radical with our sins! That is a travesty! That is a tragedy! Some people live, dress and act in such a fashion that I would just as soon they not tell anyone where they went to church! It brings a reproach upon every saint of God who does try to live for Jesus in this place. Yet, I thank God that there is a place of repentance for those who are guilty of the backward look today.
CONSIDER HER SPIRITUAL PUNISHMENT
It Was Sudden - When judgment came, it was swift and sure (Pro. 29:1). You may walk in sin for years, but one day judgment will surely come. One day, time will run out! There will be no more opportunities and no more calls to repentance, (Gen. 6:3). There will be nothing but judgment swift and sure! Friend, I challenge you to flee the wrath of God! There is but one shelter for the soul, (Romans 5:6-9).
It Was Serious - The Bible says that she became a pillar of salt. Instantly, the judgment of God fell on her and she perished and was swallowed up in the wrath of God. Her judgment came in spite of her unbelief! Friend, it won't be a pillar of salt for you, but it will be an eternity in Hell, (Ps. 9:17). If you die without Jesus, your judgment will be swift and sure! Instantly, you will find yourself in Hell!
It Was Settled - For Lot's wife there would be no pardons, no second chances and no hope. She was gone and lost forever and nothing could be done about it! My friend, the time to prepare for the next world is today, (2 Cor. 6:2). When time runs out on you, there will be no opportunities after death. There will be no pardons and no paroles. There will be nothing for you but justice and judgment. Your sentence will be settled forever. However, there is grace today if you will come to Jesus, (Eph. 2:1-10). There is hope if you will respond to His call. There is salvation for all who will come to Him by faith, (Rom. 10:13; Rev. 22:17). Wouldn't you rather have Hope than Hell? Would you rather have the joy of salvation rather than the judgment of sin? You can, but you have to come to Jesus! Will you do that today?
Conc: We need to remember Lot's Wife today and always! Not so that we can revive an ages old, painful story, but so that we can be reminded that this life we are living is fleeting. It doesn't last very long. As you pass through this world, you can’t do better than to come to faith in Jesus and be saved. The lesson from Lot's Wife is this: Take God at His Word! If He says it, then it will come to pass, and men need to be ready to meet Him some day. With that in mind let me say this: Hell is real! Judgment is real! Death is real! The only way to safely navigate your way past these stark realities is through faith and obedience in the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is the invitation: if you are lost like Lot's wife, and you want to be saved, then you come to Jesus, He will save you. If you are saved, but you are guilty of looking back at the world, and of living like the world, He has forgiveness and restoration for your soul while there is time. Whatever the need of your heart, there is help in Jesus. But, you will only get the help you need if you come to Him!
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING,
New International Version (NIV)
11 Sing the praises of the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done. 12 For he who avenges blood remembers; he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted. 13 LORD, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death, 14 that I may declare your praises in the gates of Daughter Zion, and there rejoice in your salvation. 15 The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden. 16 The LORD is known by his acts of justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands. 17 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead, all the nations that forget God. 18 But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish. 19 Arise, LORD, do not let mortals triumph; let the nations be judged in your presence. 20 Strike them with terror, LORD; let the nations know they are only mortal.
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