Wednesday, January 11, 2012
ABRAHAM, Following In The Footsteps Of Faith , 1/11/2012
ABRAHAM GATHERED TO HIS PEOPLE! Part 30a
These verses record the end of a great life! Abraham was taken from among a pagan people and make the Father of the Faithful. He was taught the harsh lessons of faith and obedience. He suffered for God and he enjoyed the best God had to offer. In the end, his life is concluded by the words "and was gathered to his people."
As I consider the life of this great man, I realize that there are certain characteristics that were present in his life that need to be found in me as well today. I would like to point out just a few of those characteristics as we conclude our study of this great man of faith. As we come to the end of this study and to the end of Abraham's life, I see some similarities with what could have been said about him and what might be said about us when we too leave this world. These similarities are made clear by the characteristics I want to point out. So, while we have this time to look into the Word of God, let's consider this thought, "Abraham: Gathered To His People."
When someone dies, three things usually come up at some point during a discussion of the deceased individual's life. Those three things are: 1.) How they lived their life; 2.) Some of the events surrounding their death; and 3.) Where did they stand with the Lord. These are the three characteristics I want us to consider.
HOW HE LIVED HIS LIFE
It Was A Life Of Faith - One of the clearest and most striking things about Abraham's life is how he lived everyday and took every step by faith in God. His faith was not declared by him, but it was declared years later by the writer of the book of Hebrews - (Heb. 11:8). This is the kind of life that God wants everyone of His children to live - (Heb. 11:6; Rom. 14:23; Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38). If the people of God could ever learn to let go of their lives and leave them in the hands of the Lord, it would revolutionize our lives and forever end the struggles we have with worry and fear, (Phil. 4:6-7). Faith is not just for the super saint, it is for all believers. Even you!
It Was A Life Of Following - Heb. 11:9 tells us that the life of Abraham was one lived in the acts of following. Wherever the Lord pointed him, that was the direction he took. It would seem that Abraham had no life of his own, but that his life was one totally given over to the will of the Lord. A life spent following the Lord is a life that will always end up in the right place! Why? Ps. 37:23 teaches us that when God leads, the destination is assured!
It Was A Life Of Favor - Because Abraham walked in faith and followed the Lord regardless of where He led him, God abundantly blessed the life of this amazing man. He blessed him financially, militarily, physically, spiritually and He blessed Abraham's family as well. Of course, this had been the oft repeated promise that Abraham had been given by the Lord, (Gen. 12:2-3; 17:16; 22:17). God had promised to bless him and God did just that! I can guarantee you that a life lived for the Lord is a life that will not lack blessing! He may not bless you in the ways you want Him too, but I can guarantee you that He will bless your life in the ways that matter the most (Eph. 1:3). It is worthy of noting how the life of Abraham fleshed out the list of graces that are to characterize those who believe in the Lord (2 Peter 1:5-11). He had all of these great attributes in his life and it proved that a work of grace had been done in his heart! By the way, we are to be abounding in these things as well! Why? When we have them in our lives in abundance, they make us fruitful,(v. 8); they give us assurance of our salvation, (v. 9); they help prevent us from falling, (v. 10); they give us a glorious entrance into the kingdom, (v. 11).
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“OH, THAT WILL BE GLORY”
Lyrics and Music: Charles H. Gabriel
When all my labors and trials are o’er, And I am safe on that beautiful shore, Just to be near the dear Lord I adore, Will through the ages be glory for me.
O, that will be glory for me,
Glory for me, glory for me,
When by His grace I shall look on His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me.
When, by the gift of His infinite grace, I am accorded in heaven a place, Just to be there and to look on His face, Will through the ages be glory for me. Refrain:
Friends will be there I have loved long ago; Joy like a river around me will flow; Yet just a smile from my Savior, I know, Will through the ages be glory for me. Refrain:
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW!
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
ABRAHAM, Following In The Footsteps of Faith, 1/10/2011
WILT THOU GO WITH THIS MAN, Part 29
Abraham the old patriarch is dying. Before he does, he wants to find a bride for his son, Isaac. He sends a nameless servant to his relatives home to find this bride. The servant does what he was sent to do. He finds a bride for Isaac and succeeds in his mission returning home with a bride for his master’s son, Isaac. For Rebekah, her encounter with Abraham’s servant came down to one important question, “Wilt thou go with this man?”, (v. 58). She said, “I will go” and this response changed her life forever!
From a spiritual viewpoint, everything boils down to the very same question. You see, in this story, Abraham is a picture of God the Father. The Servant represents the Holy Spirit. Rebekah represents the church, or those saved by grace, and Isaac is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father has sent His Holy Spirit into this world to call out a bride for Jesus Christ, (John 16:7-11). Like Abraham’s servant, the Holy Spirit does not promote Himself, but He talks about Jesus and calls lost people to come to Him for salvation, (John 16:13-14). Those who have Jesus revealed to their hearts by the Holy Spirit, and hear Him say, “Wilt thou go with this man?”, are brought face to face with the greatest question man will ever face! How you answer that question determines where you spend your eternity!
Today, I want to look at this passage from Rebekah’s perspective. I want to point out a few thought that should make saying “Yes!” the answer to the question: “Wilt thou go with this man?” a little easier.
I. SOME MATTERS ARE VERY CLEAR TO REBEKAH
Isaac Is A Man Of Mystery - The name of this man is not even revealed to Rebekah! This servant had to travel over 500 miles to teach Rebekah about Isaac with his bag of riches. To a lost person, Jesus Christ can be mysterious and frightening. Lost people have all kinds of questions and fears The best way to learn about Jesus is to come to Him by faith. The Spirit of God will teach us all about Him as we journey toward home! The Holy Spirit is in the teaching business -( John 16:13-14). We will never get to know Jesus completely until we get home!
Isaac Is A Man Of Money - Everything Abraham owns is in the hand of the servant, (v. 35-36) and will belong to Isaac. Laban is very interested in this! Everything the Heavenly Father owns has been given to His son, (Rom. 8:17), and He shares all He has with His Bride (The Church). The scope of this thought is seen in Deut. 10:14; 1 Cor. 10:26. Look up and look around, everything you see belongs to Jesus and to us ( 1 Cor. 2:9)! He is well able to care for His bride!
Isaac Is A Man Of Matrimony - V. 4, 34-49 - Isaac is a man looking for a bride! It was every woman’s desire, in that day, to marry and have children. For Rebekah this must have been thrilling! Out of all the women this rich, eligible man could have chosen, God chose her to be Isaac‘s bride! Don’t take the call of God to be saved lightly! To be called to come to Him for salvation is an honor beyond compare! When you think of man’s lost condition,( Eph. 2:1-3; 12) and what the Lord wants to do for him, (Eph. 2:13-22), it is an honor to be called and chosen to come to him for salvation!
II. SOME MATTERS ARE VERY CONCEALED TO REBEKAH
Her Road Is Concealed - She does not know what lies between where she is and where he is! There are many unknowns along the way, but the servant has all the necessary resources to make the journey successful! Some of the questions she might have had were known by the servant! None of us knows what will happen between here and Heaven! But, we can rest in the sure knowledge that God knows and plans the road ahead, (John 10:4; Ps. 37:25), and that He will go with us all the way home, (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5)! Not a single one who begins the journey with Jesus will fail to make it home if they remain faithful and obedient! The road may be rough and it may be fraught with peril, but we are ALL be going through them with the help of the Lord!
Her Reception Is Concealed - When he sees her what will he think of her? Will she be accepted? Will she be loved? Notice that all her fears were in vain, (v. 67)! Friends, you need not wonder whether Jesus will have you or not. If you will come to Him, He will never turn you away, (John 6:37)! If you are already saved, you need not fear His rejection at the end of the journey!
Her Reward Is Concealed - What is in this for Rebekah? Is this offer for real? If I could answer her, I would tell her, “Rebekah, you get a new Father, a new Family, a new Faith, a new Fortune, a new Future, and a new Fame. Rebekah, you get more than you could ever imagine when you get Isaac!” The world, the flesh and the devil, will try to tell the believer that there is no payoff in serving God. But, you remember this: the rewards for coming to Jesus are without number and without limit, (1 Cor. 2:9; Rom. 8:32; Eph. 1:3).
III. SOME MATTERS ARE VERY CERTAIN TO REBEKAH
She Is Willing To Choose - v. 58 - Even though she does not know all there is to know about Isaac, she knows that she wants to be with him. She doesn’t have all the information, but she has enough to choose! He sounds just like the man she wants to be married to. Salvation boils down to your wanting Jesus more than you want anything else in life. Being saved means coming to a place where you are willing to choose Jesus over your sins; Heaven over Hell; God over Satan. Salvation is about you reaching a place where you want to be free more than you want to be bound! Salvation is about you coming to a place of faith in Jesus Christ alone, (Acts 16:31; Eph. 2:8-9). Rebekah looked around and said, “I want him more than anything I have here. I will go!” Salvation comes down to your being willing to make Jesus your choice, after He has made you His choice, (John 15:16)! Don’t allow anything to stand between you and your soul’s salvation! Nothing you can name in this world or in the world to come is more valuable than your being saved, (Mark 8:36-37; Mark 9:43-48)!
She Is Willing To Change - Rebekah has come to the place where she esteems Isaac as being more valuable than anything else in her life. She is willing to turn her back on everything to go be with Him. She is willing to live in a new place, in a new way, under new management! This is the essence of salvation. It is a total life change, because it is a new life… period, (John 3:3, 7; 2 Cor. 5:17). Coming to Christ means coming to the place where you are willing to turn your back on the old life forever and embrace a new way of living and walking (Eph 4:22-24). Many balk at this point, but a heart of repentance is a necessary component of salvation,( Luke 13:3)!
She Is Willing To Commit - Rebekah has reached the place where she is willing to commit the rest of her life to being Isaac’s wife. She is willing to give her all to him! Salvation is not about mere profession, it is about total commitment! There is no place in the church for so-called “easy-believism”. Salvation is a radical commitment to follow Jesus Christ for the rest of your life, with no reservations! Salvation comes when a lost sinner is convicted of his sins and is drawn to Christ. When that sinner believes the Gospel and repents of sin, confesses Jesus as Lord, and puts Him on in baptism, he or she is saved! Salvation is a total, radical, permanent commitment!
Conc: Rebekah made her decision to go to Isaac. As a result, she was loved, blessed and lived a happy, joyous life. It all happened because she said, “I will go!” when she heard the question, “Wilt thou go with this man?” What about you my friend? Jesus is calling, isn’t He? In your heart, you are hearing that same question asked today, “Wilt thou go with this man?” Well, will you? If you will come to Jesus, He will save you and change your life forever. You and you alone can decide what you will do with Jesus!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
Jesus is standing at your heart's door. Standing and knocking, He's knocked before;This is the question we face once more: What will you do with Jesus? At your sad heart He is knocking still, Longing to enter your soul to thrill; You must accept or reject His will: What will you do with Jesus? Oh, will you leave Him alone outside? Or, will you choose Him whate'er betide? This is the question you must decide: What will you do with Jesus? What will you do with Jesus? What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be; Someday your heart will be asking: What will He do with me?
Monday, January 09, 2012
ABRAHAM, Following In The Footprints Of Faith, 1/9/2012
STANDING UP FROM BEFORE THE DEAD, Part 28b, Continued From Yesterday!
V. 17-20 IT WAS A TIME OF FAITH
The fact that Abraham buried his wife in the cave in Hebron, shows the depths of his faith in the Lord God. Of course, Abraham's faith is well known and documented, even in the New Testament, (Heb. 11:13-16). In Abraham's life, we can see faith exhibited in three areas.
We See His Faith In The Promises Of God - He was able to buy the cave with confidence seeing that he already owned the land in trust. It had been given to him by the precious promise of God, (Gen. 13:15-17). He knew that one day, he and his descendants would be buried in this very cave. But, he was able, by faith, to see far beyond this. He was able to see a day when he would stand with Sarah, in the presence of the Lord in Heaven, (Heb. 11:9-10)! This same faith dwelled in the heart of Job, (Job 19:25-27). It should dwell in our hearts as well, (John 14:1-3).) When we are able to look beyond the present to the things we have been given in promise, by faith, it secures the heart, frees the mind, and strengthens the hands to work, (Heb. 11:1)! When we know we are going home some day, it makes the trials of this journey bearable!
We See His Faith In The Plan Of God - Abraham knew that even as he buried Sarah here, there would come a day when his descendants would inherit this land and would dwell there. Because of this great knowledge, Abraham was able to endure his grief, his pain and his losses. He knew that God's plan is always best, (Rom. 8:28). If we could ever grasp that truth it would change our lives! It would spell the end of our second guessing, our worrying and our "why?" and "What if'". God has a perfect plan and it is not meant to hurt you, but it is meant to produce His image in your life, (Rom. 8:29). It is meant to glorify His name and to further His kingdom in this world. The best thing we can ever do is to submit humbly and wholly to what the Lord is doing in and around us!
We See His Faith In The Power Of God - Even as he stared death in the face, Abraham was able to walk in victory because he knew that he was serving a God Who controlled all the affairs of life and of death! He knew that even though his pain was great and his loss was terrible, in the end, he would come out a winner because God resides on the throne! Would to God we could remember that today and forever! We are not going to be in this world with all its pain and heartache forever! The day is coming when we will leave this world for a new home in glory. When that day comes, we will enjoy the victory! The bottom line is this: We have read the conclusion of the book! We have already won all there is to win. We must now wait until the victory we already hold by faith in our heart is beheld by the eyes!
Conc: There are times when we all look at an impossible situation and wonder how much more we can take. Let me tell you now that God's grace is sufficient for you in everything you will face in this life, (2 Cor. 12:9). He will give you grace to stand up from your dead and to go on for His glory until the battle is over. I do not know what you might be facing today, but I do know that faith is where your victory lies, (1 John 5:4)! What will it take to get you to stand up from your dead? Whatever it is, the Lord has it. Come get it!
TODAY’S PSALM and BLESSING!
New International Version (NIV)
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Sunday, January 08, 2012
ABRAHAM, Following In The Footprints Of Faith, 1/8/2012
STANDING UP FROM BEFORE THE DEAD, Part 28a
We have been privileged to walk with Abraham through the peaks and valleys of a life well lived. We have seen him leave his homeland to walk with God by faith. We have witnessed his successes and his failures. We have seen him as he experienced the joy of childbirth and watched as he willingly gave that child up to the will of the Lord. Abraham's life has been filled with the best and the worst that life can dish out.
Genesis 22 took this man to the pinnacle of faith and obedience. Chapter 23 takes him into the depths of the valley of the shadow of death. Here, we watch him say goodbye to his wife Sarah, we see a man who has learned to walk by faith as he weathers the storms of life. Today, I would like for us to watch Abraham in these verses as he teaches us how to live the life of faith even when tragedy enters our life, and for a few moments, let’s consider the thought: " Standing Up Before The Dead".
V. 1-3a IT WAS A TIME OF FAREWELLS
The Sadness Of Separation - We are told that Abraham's wife of some 70 years has died. This kind of separation is part of everyone's life,( Heb. 9:27), but when it comes, we are never quite prepared for the hurt it brings. Thank God, the cruel messenger of death will be done away with forever one day,( Rev. 21:4; 1 Cor. 15:26).
The Sting Of Sorrow - When death entered the home of Abraham, it broke his heart. The Bible says that he came to "mourn" and to "weep". These words mean "to wail" and to "shed tears", respectively. By the way, this is a natural reaction to death! There are times when we hear people tell us not to weep over our dead, but when they are stripped from our presence, it is impossible not to weep for those we miss. F. B. Meyer said this, "Tears relieve the burning brain, as a shower the electric clouds. Tears discharge the insupportable agony of the hearer, as an overflow lessens the pressure of the flood against the dam. Tears are the material out of which heaven weaves its brightest rainbows. Tears are transmuted into the jewels of better life, as the wounds in the oyster turn to pearls." When death has intruded into the land of the living, do not fear its cleansing needful ministry in your life.
The Strength Of Steadfastness - The Bible tells us that "Abraham stood up from before his dead". This means that when the mourning period was over, Abraham moved on with his life. You see, grief is a normal part of living, but there is a time when grief must reach an end. Sorrow over death is natural, but sorrow that does not end is unnatural. A woman told me recently that she has grieved for her parents for over 15 years. Folks that is not godly sorrow! We are told in the Bible, "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.",(1 Thes. 4:13). May we learn to rejoice over our loved ones who, like Sarah, have entered the realms of light,( 2 Cor. 5:8)!
V. 3b-16 IT WAS A TIME OF FAITHFULNESS
Abraham has been given all the land by the promise of God. However, He does not own one square inch of the land at this point. He goes to speak to the men of the city to acquire a place to bury the dead.
V. 4a Abraham Declares His Identity - He tells the men of the city that he is still a pilgrim among them. He has lived here some 62 years at this point, but he has never settled down. He says that he is a "newcomer" and is just one "passing through". Even after all this time, he has never set down his roots in this world. What a lesson to the children of God! As long as our roots do not go too deeply in this world, we will not become too entangled in its affairs. May we never forget our identity! We are pilgrims and strangers in this world (1 Pet 2:11). Let us so live and not settle down, but keep traveling, looking for that city that will be our eternal home!
V. 4b-16 Abraham Demonstrates His Integrity - In order to secure a place to bury his wife, Abraham strikes a deal with one of the sons of Heth, a man by the name of Ephron. Abraham mentions a certain piece of property and Ephron offers to give it to him, but Abraham refuses, because he does not want to be indebted to any man,( v. 13). This is a good lesson for every child of God! We need to beware that we owe no man anything but love, (Rom. 13:8). When Ephron sees that he has the advantage over Abraham, he charges him far more than fair price, but instead of standing up for himself, Abraham humbly accepts the offer. Having to pay for land that God has promised to give him might have caused many men to stumble, but Abraham was able to see beyond the present into a future where it was all his anyway. Even in trials, Abraham was a man of integrity! How you conduct yourself when the pressure is on says more about you than how you act when things are good! Another example in the Bible of integrity under pressure is Job, (Job 1:20-22)!
TODAY’S PSALM and BLESSING!
New International Version (NIV)
1 We have heard it with our ears, O God; our ancestors have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago. 2 With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our ancestors; you crushed the peoples and made our ancestors flourish. 3 It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them. 4 You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob. 5 Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes. 6 I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; 7 but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. 8 In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW!
Saturday, January 07, 2012
ABRAHAM, Following The Footsteps Of Faith, 1/7/2012
THE TRIAL OF FAITH, Part 27b
v. 12-14 SOME LASTING FEATURES: This story still speaks to us today because of three outstanding features!
The Picture In Isaac Is A Portrait of Jesus through and through
1. Only Son ( John 3:16; Matt. 3:17).
2. Son was Obedient To The Father’s Will (Isaac about 15-20 years old), Abraham was more than 100. Isaac was more than able to overcome his father, yet he submitted, just like Jesus (John 4:34; Luke 22:42).
3. Isaac carried the wood for the offering as Jesus carried His own cross (John 19:17).
4. Isaac prayed to his Father – So did Jesus (Luke 22:42).
5. Isaac willingly surrender to the appointed task (John 10:18). So did Jesus, no one had to force Him to go to the cross ( Is. 53:7).
6. Isaac dead for three days (In Abraham’s mind)! Jesus was in the tomb for three days ( Matt. 16:21).
7. Isaac Raised from the dead ( Heb. 11:17-19 ). Jesus was also raised from the dead ( Matt. 28:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:1-23;Rev. 1:18).
The Peace In Abraham – Abraham is a wonderful portrait of the grace and peace of God. He was certainly heartbroken and miserable, yet somehow, he knew that God would intervene. His attitude is revealed in Heb. 11:17-19. Perhaps, Abraham was even excited as he contemplated what God would do. Surely, he would see a new side of the Lord in this work. This is an encouragement for you and me to continue to trust in the Lord. There is no respect of persons with God; what He did for Abraham, He will do for you!
The Provision Of God – The Ram in the thorns. God abundantly intervened and met the need. He name of the place – Jehovah-Jireh – "The Lord Will See To It." While pain, heartache, grief, sorrow, dread, death, and brokenness went up one side of the mountain, provision, healing, glory, salvation, delight, deliverance, and blessing was coming up the other side. God was Jehovah-Jireh then, and He still is today! He is what you need today in every area of your life! What God did on that mountain called Moriah for Abraham , He did 1,500 years later in the same place called “Calvary”, where Jesus died, for you and me!
Conc: Your faith, if it is real, will be tested, but rest assured today that Jesus is and has all you need to have the victory in your life. The primary thing that needs to be settled is this: Are you trusting Jesus Christ for your salvation today? Just like Isaac, Jesus climbed Mt. Moriah carrying His cross and your sins. He died there to save your soul and today, you can be saved if you will come to Him by faith. Will you do that today? Christian, are you undergoing a trial today? If so, please come to the Lord, He is still the God “who will see to it“. Bring your need to Him right now.
TODAY’S PSALM and BLESSING!
New International Version (NIV)
1 Vindicate me, my God, and plead my cause against an unfaithful nation. Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked. 2 You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? 3 Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.
Get An Email Alert Each Time MJRVIC2000 Posts