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A STORY FROM THE BIBLE, 1/2/2011

Sunday, January 01, 2012

ABRAHAM, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 1/1/2012

Gen. 22:1-14
QUALITIES OF GENUINE WORSHIP
The principle of “The Law Of First Mention”: (Satan in Gen. 3; Egypt in Gen 12, etc.). The First mention of the word “worship” is seen in Gen 22: 5, in the Bible. This passage sets the standard for what genuine worship is all about.

The word “worship” means, “reverence or devotion for a deity”. It comes from Anglo-Saxon word “worthscipe”, meaning “worth ship”. Means “ascribing worth to a person or object.” When we “worship” God, we are saying “God is worthy of all our love, our attention and our devotion. He is worthy to receive all that we can give Him.”

The word translated “worship” in verse 5 comes from a Hebrew word that means “to bow down, to prostrate oneself”. In the New Testament, “worship” comes from a word that means “to kiss the hand in a token of reverence”. It was used to refer to “a dog licking his master’s hand”. It is an image of absolute love and complete trust and devotion. People have some strange ideas about worship like it’s something that can only be done in “church“. Like going to a church and sitting quietly while religious exercises are conducted. Worship is a time of singing, preaching, reading of God’s Word, praying, meditating, offering up our gifts, and praising God, and can be done anywhere, anytime and not just in “Church”.

You hear people say, “We really worshiped Sunday! Why, our preacher didn’t even get to preach!” Did genuine worship really take place? Or, they may say, “Our service Sunday was so sublime. The minister’s words were so touching, everyone left the service uplifted and encouraged.” Was that genuine worship? In Gen 22, we are allowed to see genuine worship fleshed out. In this terrible time of testing, Abraham shows us what worship truly is. Let’s examine these verses about the Qualities Of Genuine Worship.

v. 3 GENUINE WORSHIP IS SUBMISSIVE
God’s command was hard, most hard and unbelievable. Yet, it was absolutely clear! God said “Go, worship and sacrifice your son, Isaac.” Abraham did not hesitate; he did as he was commanded! He did not offer excuses, he got up early and he went,( v. 3). A true heart for God is marked by obedience, (John 14:15and 21). Scriptures says that we are His and that we can show our love for Him by doing what He tells us to do ( John 5:24; 8:51 ; 14:15and 23). Worship is not only something a person does; worship is what we are! Every obedient moment of our lives is an act of worship. Our work, witnessing, praying, studying the Bible, meditating, praising Him, singing, our thinking, and even planting a tree..

v. 2 GENUINE WORSHIP IS STEADFAST
Abraham’s life is marked by worship as seen in his altars and in his worship. In fact, Abraham had just finished a time of worship at Beersheba, (Gen. 21:33). He was enjoying a time of blessing and prosperity and he worshiped God. He worshiped the Lord when times were good. In this passage, things take a turn for the worse. God and His ways are not making sense, but Abraham still worships Him! It’s easy to worship God when things are good. It’s not so easy when hard times come! Genuine worship looks beyond the crisis of the hour and sees a God Who is worthy of worship regardless of how life is going. Genuine worship sees a God Who is in control of all the situations of life and it bends the knee to Him, (Rom. 8:28; Ps. 37:23; 2 Cor. 12:7-10). Far too many people are looking for an excuse not to worship. Genuine worship sees the hand of God in all of life and loves Him through the good and the bad.

v. 5 GENUINE WORSHIP IS SEPARATED
When they arrived at the mountain, Abraham separated himself from every worldly care and went to worship. Abraham came ready to worship and he let others take care of worldly matter. Genuine worship shuts the world out and separates itself unto the Lord. Too often our worship is contaminated and controlled by the world. Genuine worship should be the first priority of our lives. We should do nothing else until we have worshiped Him! For examples: Jesus in Mark 1:35; 6:46; and David in Ps. 5:3. We are never too busy not to pray! Worldly concerns contaminate our public worship too. Church is not the place to catch up on gossip; do your nails; figure your checkbook; show off your clothes; fix your hair; talk to your neighbor; look for fault; cause trouble, etc. When we enter the assembly we should come for the sole purpose of worship!

v. 5-10 GENUINE WORSHIP IS SACRIFICIAL
This worship was going to cost Abraham very dearly. He was called to give up the Son of Promise, Isaac. Notice how God makes the demand, (v. 2). Abraham’s response was he never waivers! He gathers what he needs and he goes to do what the Lord has asked of him. He is willing to sacrifice everything he has and everything he has been promised at the command of God. He holds nothing back! Would Sarah have understood?

Genuine worship is costly because it requires us to make sacrifices. Things like time, plans, pride, pleasures, secret sins, etc., will all have to be taken to the mountain and placed on the altar. That is why so few genuinely worship. It is not cheap! What some will give is a cheap variety. We get what we pay for (Gal 6:7)! Genuine worship requires that everything of value be placed on the altar and given to God, ( John 4:23-24; Rom. 12:1-2).

v. 5 GENUINE WORSHIP IS SECURE
Abraham did not know all that was going to happen, but he went up that mountain expecting a miracle, and that is just what he received. (Heb. 11:17-19) He knew that his worship would not be in vain!

Genuine worship does not understand all of life. It is not pleased with every twist in the road. Genuine worship gives itself unreservedly to God, in spite of the things it cannot comprehend, and it bows before Him in the face of everything. Genuine worship knows that its earthly expression is merely practice for what will be perfected in Heaven. Genuine worship bows before God because it realizes Who God is, what God has done and where the road of faith will end up. Genuine worship knows that the real miracle, privilege and blessing is that God allows it to happen in the first place!

Conc: What made all this possible was Abraham’s availability, (v. 1). He was in his place, listening for the voice of the Lord and he was ready for worship. God is seeking genuine worshipers, (John 4:23-24). Is your worship genuine; do you worship in Spirit and in Truth; or does it need work?


TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING
Psalm 5:1-12
New International Version (NIV)

1 Listen to my words, LORD, consider my lament. 2 Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, or to you I pray. 3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. 4 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. 5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; 6 you destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, LORD, detest. 7 But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple. 8 Lead me, LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make your way straight before me. 9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies. 10 Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. 11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. 12 Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

A SAYING ABOUT MOMENTS I PRACTICE:
In Happy Moments, I praise God; In difficult moments I seek God; In quiet moments I worship God; In painful moments I trust God; And for every moment I thank God.

HAPPY NEW YEAR MY FRIENDS! Vic.

  
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GROEDER 1/1/2012 7:51AM

    What a wonderful way to start the first day of a new year!!! I worship Him as I read your daily lessons and I pray for blessings for you each day.
Have a very happy and blessed New Year, Vic.

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A STORY FROM THE BIBLE, 12/31/2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

ABRAHAM, Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, 12/31/2011

Genesis 21:33-34
HOW TO ENJOY THE REST AREAS OF LIFE, Part23b, Continued From Yesterday!

V. 33 FOR INVOLVING YOURSELF WITH HIS WORSHIP

Abraham used this calm period of life to call on the name of the Lord. He used this time to deepen his relationship with God. This certainly equipped him for the battles that still lay ahead.

Why is it that so many people wait until the bottom falls out to call on the Lord? The best time to worship Him is all the time! It says far more about your character when you are consistent in worship than it does for you to wait until you are in trouble to call on Him. Many people treat Him like He was a spare tire! Pull Him out when life goes flat, put Him away again when the crisis has passed.

Don't wait until some calamity comes to run to Him, be in the business of seeking His face day by day (Mat 6:33). Then, when trials do come, you are already close to Him. That is why church, Bible reading and study, and prayer are so vitally important.

V. 33 FOR INVESTING IN THE FUTURE

This verse tells us that Abraham planted a "grove". This simply means that he planted a tree. He is making an investment for the future. At his age, he might never cool himself under its shade, but Isaac will, and his grandchildren will. He is looking beyond himself to those who will follow and is making a difference for them while he can.

Use the rest areas of life as times to make an investment in the future of the Lord's kingdom work. Is there a young person you can mentor? Is there a life you can impact for the glory of God? Is there someone's life that you can be a blessing to for the glory of the Lord? This is what the Lord intends His people to be doing (Titus 2:2-10).

There will come a time when your life will be wracked by the winds of adversity. When those times come, your focus will be so inward that you will not be able to make a difference for others. The time to reach out is when things are going smoothly. Sadly, too many believers live their lives for self, with no concern for anyone else.

V. 1-8 FOR INVENTORYING HIS BLESSINGS

As those peaceful days unfolded for Abraham, he was able to spend the time listening to the laughter of Isaac and Sarah. He was able to contemplate all that the Lord had done for him and how God had blessed his life. It was a time for him to inventory the blessings of the Lord.

Being thankful for the blessings of the Lord in the days when life is good is a great way to prepare for those times when it is less than pleasant! Living in the constant awareness of the Lord's goodness and blessings in your life is a hedge against doubt, fear and uncertainty when the hard days of trials come. God would have us to be a thankful people (1 Thes. 5:18; Phil. 4:6). Don't take the easy days of life for granted! They will not last forever, but while they are here, use them as times to rejoice in the blessings of the Lord and to prepare for the days that are coming when it may seem that the blessings are few and far in between!

Conc: At this point in his life, Abraham was well aware of all that he had already been through. He knew what the storm felt like! He knew how dark the valley could be and he knew how long the night could last. But, he did not know what lay just ahead! If he had been able to see the future, he might not have ever chosen to face it. God in His wisdom, used this rest area time in Abraham's life to prepare him for the trial that was just ahead.
You know, you and I cannot see tomorrow either! We do not know what is ahead. I am just glad that God, in His wisdom, plans a few rest areas along the way for us to enjoy. He gives us the times of refreshment and peace to help us to recover from our past battles and to prepare ourselves for the trials that lie ahead. Are you using the rest areas of life to their full advantage? If you are in one of life's lulls, thank God for, and ask Him to help you to use it for His glory. If you are in the storm today, why not come before Him and thank Him for the battle you are fighting and thank Him that somewhere out there, there is a rest area with your name on it!

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING!
Psalm 68:10-19
New International Version (NIV)

10 Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor. 11 The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng: 12 “Kings and armies flee in haste; the women at home divide the plunder. 13 Even while you sleep among the sheep pens, the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver, its feathers with shining gold.” 14 When the Almighty scattered the kings in the land, it was like snow fallen on Mount Zalmon. 15 Mount Bashan, majestic mountain, Mount Bashan, rugged mountain, 16 why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell forever? 17 The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. 18 When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from the rebellious— that you, LORD God, might dwell there. 19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNUZSUZ 12/31/2011 11:02PM

    Very inspirational message!

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TIFFPATTERSON 12/31/2011 1:05PM

    This brought a lot of things into perspective for me, thank you Vic!

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HAVE-MERCY 12/31/2011 8:03AM

    I especially liked the story on counting blessings. Thank you. emoticon

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GROEDER 12/31/2011 7:43AM

    This lesson really hit home for me, Vic!!
Every day I pray the prayer of Jabez and ask the Lord to "enlarge my territory" of influence, so I can share Him with others. The rest areas of life are perfect to be a witness for God!!!

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A STORY FROM THE BIBLE, 12/30/2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

ABRAHAM, Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, 12/30/2011

Genesis 21:33-34
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!
Psalm 68:1-8
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!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GROEDER 12/30/2011 8:03AM

    Your daily messages have become a wonderful part of my daily devotions. The Lord has truely blessed me by giving me a Sparkfriend like you!!!!!


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A STORY FROM THE BIBLE, 12/29/2011

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,
Psalm 37:1-5
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:


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANNIE924 12/29/2011 5:03PM

    Thank you, so many lessons to be learned from this devotion. Looking at it from each participants viewpoint can be a real eye opener - God is in the midst of each of their lives. Amen emoticon

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GROEDER 12/29/2011 8:13AM

    What a powerful message of what God can AND WILL do in our lives if we go to Him in faith.


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STUDLEEJOE 12/29/2011 8:01AM

    Great post

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A STORY FROM THE BIBLE, 12/28/2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

ABRAHAM, Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, 12/28/2011

Genesis 20:1-18
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,
Psalm 37:1-9
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.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIDMIS 12/29/2011 9:25AM

    I love that scripture Vic. Before having the desires of our heart our delight must be in Him.
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GROEDER 12/28/2011 7:59AM

    A wonderful lesson, and the Psalm carries a great message for all of us!!

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