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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 2/18/2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

ABRAHAM, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 2/18/2012

Genesis 19:1-26 Luke 17:32
REMEMBERING LOT'S WIFE, Lesson 23

In the Luke 17 passage, Jesus has just been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God will come. His answer is to warn them to be ready for the coming of the kingdom is like the flash of lightening that instantly lights the sky. It is compared to the coming of the flood in Noah's day, and to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Lot's day. Those who hear are warned to be ready to go when the Lord comes, and they are warned against turning back for anything. Then, in the midst of His teaching, the Lord tells those listening to Him that they should "remember Lot's wife."

Nowhere in the Bible are we told to remember Abraham, Isaac or Jacob. We are not commanded to remember Ruth or Rahab, David or Joshua, but we are commanded to remember Lot's wife! We are told to awaken our sluggish memories and look back to the death of one soul who passed through this world, lived in sin and died in sin. We are told to remember Lot's wife. What is there to remember? She was married to Lot and she lived in Sodom. Before God's judgment came on Sodom and Gomorrah she, along with her husband and two unmarried daughters were forced from the city. They were all commanded not to look behind them as they fled, but she disobeyed and was instantly judged, killed and transformed into a pillar of salt. That is what we know, but when we study her story, we can learn even more about her, how she lived and why she died like she did.

Evidently, there are some lessons that can be learned from Lot's wife. Our assignment from the Lord is that we remember her. Therefore, in keeping with the Lord's command, I want to look on the thought, Remembering Lot's Wife. Let me just say that there is a message here for both saint and sinners. There is a word here for both the saved and the lost. There is a word from God for your heart in Remembering Lot's Wife. I want to consider Lot's Wife and her spiritual condition this morning. There are three areas of her spiritual life that need to be remembered today.

CONSIDER HER SPIRITUAL PRIVILEGES

She Was Privileged In Her Relationships - She was privileged to be married into the only family on the earth known that was serving the one true God.

She Saw The Clear Faith Of Abraham - This man, who was called "the Friend of God", (James 2:23), was her husbands uncle! She had witnessed his dedication to the Lord. She had seen his altars and his worship. She had seen him operate in the power of God and deliver her husband from sure death in Gen. 14. She was privileged to be associated with on of the greatest godly men who ever walked this planet!

She Saw The Cloudy Faith Of Lot - Lot was a man of many spiritual failures. His story is found in Genesis 13:9-13; 14:12. He traded his tent for a townhouse! In spite of his failures, the Bible calls Lot a righteous man, (2 Pet. 2:6-8). His wife could have benefited from his faith, but she failed to do so! One's relationships do not save others. Faith in Jesus saves souls! The responsibility of parents, especially fathers to set the right example is so important.

She Was Privileged In Her Revelations - Because of her relationship with Lot and Abraham, she learned a few things about God.

She Was Acquainted With Deity - She certainly knew who God was and how one approaches Him. She had learned this from her husband and his uncle. Yet, she never followed through with it. How many sit in church and know Who God is and how to come to Him, but they fail to act on what they know? Friend, it has to move from the head to the heart before it can save your soul. Knowing John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9; 10:13 is one thing. Acting on them is what saves the soul!

She Was Aware Of The Destruction - God had even graced her by sending angels to warn her and her family of the impending doom, (Gen. 19:1-13). Still, she refused to flee from the wrath of God, (Gen. 19:16). Gen 19:26, "from behind him" carries the idea that she was lagging far behind the others. She knew, but it didn't phase her! How many know of the judgment that is coming and still they do not flee to Jesus for refuge? Everyone know, how many have run to Him for shelter? Only a fool walks into Hell with his eyes open to its reality and closed to God's proximity!

She Was Privileged In Her Responsibility - Here is a woman who knew the facts and was given every opportunity to act upon them. She was given the chance to change, the chance to believe, the change to be saved. Yet, she squandered those chances and died without God. The privilege of conviction! When God calls, it isn't to harm you, but it is to remind you that He loves you and wants to save you by His grace, (John 6:44; John 6:65).

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, He 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 upon will determine the path taken by your feet. The Prodigal Son in Luke 15:1-24 - 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 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! 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. 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; Rom 12:1-2). 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 lived in Sodom. 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…. 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 you not tell anyone where you went to church! It brings a reproach upon every saint of God who does try to live for Jesus. 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, at the moment of death, 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! 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 do not 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 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. Whatever the need of your heart, there is help in Jesus. But, you will only get the help you need if you come!

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING!
Psalm 62:1-8
New International Version (NIV)

1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. 2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. 3 How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down— this leaning wall, this tottering fence? 4 Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. 5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. 6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 8 Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

SHARE TODAY’S MESSAGE WITH SOMEONE!





  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIDMIS 2/20/2012 7:08PM

    God bless you Vic. What a wonderful blog to call us all to remembrance to be obedient to the word of God.
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POETLKNG2LOSE 2/19/2012 9:48PM

    I often look longingly at the things other have and get my focus off God. I want to
be ready when he comes.

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CLWALDRO 2/18/2012 6:18PM

    God's word is true we just need to learn to be faithful to him alone

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SOARINGPHOENIX 2/18/2012 1:44PM

    I sometimes wonder why He isn't giving me what I want. But I realize now it's because it's probably about the fact that He knows what is best for me more than I do.

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ADJQUILTER 2/18/2012 10:23AM

    Lord,
Help me to keep my focus on you alone, and not fall into doubt. Thank you for your servant, Vic, and his willingness to share your word and bring blessings to so many.
Amen!
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WENDYSPARKS 2/18/2012 9:20AM

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GROEDER 2/18/2012 7:52AM

    This lesson hits a strong point for me - I CAN NOT wait for "later" to accept God and let Him have my life!!!!!!!
It made me stop and ask myself, "am I really ready if He calls me right now?"
He is working through YOU every day to get my attention!!!!!
I praise Him for giving you the talent to help make His Word more understandable for me.

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOORSTEPS OF FAITH!

Friday, February 17, 2012

ABRAHAM, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 2/17/2012

Genesis 18:17-19
THE PRIVILEGES OF THE GODLY MAN, Lesson 22

God is about to bring His wrath to bear upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Before He does this, He takes the time to speak to Abraham about His plans. In this passage, we are permitted to see a glimpse of the special relationship that existed between Abraham and the Lord. From this glimpse at their relationship, we are also permitted to see a snapshot of the relationship that is possible for every godly man living today.

As you know, there are many advantages to being saved today! For instance, missing Hell ranks near the top of my list! Having my sins forgiven, being able to fellowship with God, etc. are all wonderful possessions enjoyed by the redeemed man. But, along with those precious possessions also come some tremendous privileges.

What are the privileges of the godly man? This text points out a few of the more prominent ones. Allow me to share these with you today; but, with great privilege comes great responsibility! God gives us the privileges we enjoy so that He might use us for His glory in this present world. While we have a few minutes together today, let’s take some time and look into these verses. As we do, I want to point out “The Privileges Of The Godly Man“.

THE PRIVILEGE OF AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FATHER.

Few of us grasp the intimate relationship that we possess with our Heavenly Father! These verses give a little insight into the matter. Abraham looked upon the Lord with awe and reverence, and rightly so! But, verse 17 seems to indicate that God looked upon Abraham as a friend, (Isa. 41:8)! How does He see us? Probably with a desire for far more intimacy than we ourselves desire (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6). I would just remind you that, if you are saved, you are a child of God, (1 John 3:1-3). His Spirit dwells within your heart, (John 14:16-18). You are on intensely intimate terms with the Lord.

Involves Divine Discernment - (v. 19 - “I know him...”) God knows us, (Heb. 4:13; Pro. 15:3), and His knowledge of us should cause us to gravitate toward honesty with Him. Isn’t it time God’s men became transparent in their walk with the Lord? Regardless of what we try, we can never hide anything from the Lord!

Involves Divine Dialogue - (v. 17-18; 20-33) The Lord opened a dialogue with Abraham, giving Abraham the opportunity to become and intercessor for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. The godly man has the privilege of being an intercessor for his family, friends and neighbors. He can, in a sense, become Jesus to others as he intercedes for them, (Heb. 7:25). One of the greatest privileges enjoyed by redeemed men is the privilege of prayer. Just the fact that we have unhindered, unfettered access into the presence of God is a blessing without compare, (Heb. 4:15-16)! May we be careful to exercise the gift of dialogue with the Almighty as we pass through this life! It has been said that “prayer changes things.” I know prayer is mighty in power through the power of God, (Eph. 3:20), but what is changed more often in those engaged in prayer! As you spend time before the throne of grace, you become more like the One to Whom you are praying! Abraham didn’t “Jew” God down, vs. 23-33! Abraham was just brought to the same place of grace, Love and mercy that God already occupied!

Involves Divine Decrees - (v. 18) This relationship brings with it glorious blessings that flow to us from the Lord. We have the privilege of enjoying His blessings and plans for us! What a great privilege to be known of the Lord; to be the focus of His precious plans, (Jer. 29:11). In Ps. 139:17 - God has His eye on your life! We may not know where the path of our lives will lead us, but when God does the planning of those paths, they always lead into glorious avenues of spiritual delight and power. Elijah never imagined where is path would take him, but in the end, it took him home to be with the Lord is a great demonstration of divine power and glory (Abraham, Job, Daniel, David, etc.) God had greater plans for each of them than could have ever imagined! Never fear to walk with the Lord, for He always orders our steps along the best path, (Ps. 37:23; Job 23:10).

THE PRIVILEGE OF AN INVOLVEMENT RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FAMILY

Abraham’s privileges extended beyond his relationship with the Lord. According to the last phrase of verse 18, all the world would be blessed because of this man. What a privilege to be used by the Lord to touch those around you. What a privilege to be used to impact the lives of those yet unborn! Yet, that is how the Lord used this man and that is how He intends to use each of us to influence the lives around us! Notice how the grace of the Lord allows us to be involved in the lives of others.

We Are Involved Through Our Counsel - (v. 19) The word “command” carries the idea of “issuing orders”. The godly man has the great privilege of counseling others to follow the commands of the Word of God. We have been given the charge of sharing the Word of God with the generations which will follow us through this world. We have the privilege of passing on truth through our words! This speaks of our personal witness. As we pass through this world, we should leave behind a trail of heavenly counsel for others to follow. Let us be quick to share the message of the cross and the word of God with a lost world, (Acts 1:8; Mark 16:15). We only pass this way once, let’s make sure we leave a mark for the Lord as we do!

We Are Involved Through Our Character - (v. 19) The little phrase “after Him”, has the idea of “leaving a legacy for others to follow.” In other words, it isn’t just our words that are important, it is also our walk that matters greatly! We have been given the privilege of walking in integrity before a lost and dying world. We have a responsibility to the young ones, to our peer groups, to those who are weaker in the faith, to anyone who is walking the path of life and may watch our steps. We have a great duty to walk in integrity! Just as our speech is important so are our steps. It has been said, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say!” May we strive to walk the right kind of walk as we pass through this world, (Phil. 1:27). People are watching, let’s be sure they see the right thing! One of the greatest privileges of life is that of being able to walk like Him, (1 John 2:6)!

We Are Involved Through Our Continuation - (v. 19) “and they shall keep the way of the Lord”. The godly man need not fear that his involvement with the family and others around him will be in vain. This verse points out the fact that the godly man can invest his life without fear, knowing that in due time, the Lord will see to it that a harvest is reaped for the glory of God! What you do and say will not die when you die! Your involvement with those around you will continue to bear fruit long after you have departed this world. Preacher who didn’t see fruit during his lifetime, but reaped it after death.

Men have been given the privilege of leadership within the home and within the church, (Eph. 5). That places a tremendous responsibility upon each of our shoulders. Yet, it also places before us blessings that women will never experience! It is time that the men in our churches and in our homes stepped up to the plate and took the responsibility of leadership seriously before the Lord!

THE PRIVILEGE OF AN INVESTMENT RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FUTURE

Abraham doesn’t realize it yet, but his investment in the generations unborn are going to make the Lord’s promises to him a reality. Because Abraham understood and walked in his privileges as a godly man, his future was far more glorious than his past. His investment continues to pay dividends today, and will continue to do so forever! In fact, you and I enjoy the fruit of Abraham’s investment every day we live on this earth!

Guaranteed By God’s Promises - “that which He hath spoken of him”, indicates that God is as good as His Word. When we see the investment of our lives as a privilege before the Lord and we exercise that privilege in faith, we can rest easy knowing the Lord will honor His promises to us! When you share His Word, remember that He has promised to honor that Word, (Is. 55:11). When you sow that Gospel seed, know that He will water it and give the increase in His time, (1 Cor. 3:6). Do not be afraid to live full tilt for Jesus, knowing that He will honor your sacrifice and that He will keep His promises to you, (Rom. 4:21)!

Guaranteed By God’s Presence - “LORD” - God refers to Himself by the name of LORD. This name refers to the “Self-Existent One. The One Who fills all things, sees all things and knows all things.” In other words, Abraham is being watched over by One Who is always there! What a privilege to exist in the presence of One Who will never leave us, (Heb. 13:5). What an honor to dwell with One Who knows us intimately, yet loves us still and Who refuses to leave us!

Guaranteed By God’s Power - “may bring upon Abraham” - We still serve a God Who is able to do everything He has promised and more! The vastness of His great power, (Is. 40:12, Job 42:2; Luke 1:38.) It is a privilege to serve a God Who is so powerful and so mighty. We serve a God Who not only proposes, but He also disposes! In other words, your future is safe in the hands of the Lord! Son, invest everything you have in Him and in His work today, He will see to it that the harvest is matured, and gathered for His glory!

Conc: Men, live up to your potential in Jesus and exercise the privileges you have been given! Thank God for the privilege of being a man! Let Him use you to accomplish His will in the world. Be a man after God’s Own heart! Be a man who fulfills God’s design for making man! Be intimate with God. Be involved with those around for His glory. And, always invest your life in the future. Those are your privileges, God help us all to be all we can be for His glory!

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING!

Psalm 61:1-8
New International Version (NIV)

1 Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. 2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. 4 I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. 5 For you, God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. 6 Increase the days of the king’s life, his years for many generations. 7 May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him. 8 Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAVEPRINCESS65 2/18/2012 12:00AM

    Amen
Thank you for emoticon lessons

With God anything is possible; God will use us to enhance each other to victory. At times God will put us in an uncomfortable situations so we can be a blessing to others; helping them grow to the path God had laid down for them. Just remember, that discomfort is temporary and will be rewarded and we are fulfilling our duties and responsibilities to serve God as he intended us to be! emoticon

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POETLKNG2LOSE 2/17/2012 7:00PM

    Thanks for the lesson. I only pray God can use me and that I won't be afraid to follow Him.

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RELISA4HEALTH 2/17/2012 3:22PM

    Thanks for taking the time to pen down this devotional for many to read. I always loved the study of Abraham. What I love about him is that like many of us, he was an ordinary man, who became extrodanary because he believed God.
What I also love about him is that God shows that despite Abraham's humanness, God was faithful to perform in Him what He had promised, God would bring at the appointed time, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, centuries latter.

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ADJQUILTER 2/17/2012 2:41PM

    Too often people focus on the things they feel that they are giving up when they decide to follow Christ's footsteps. Thank you for bringing out the privileges of that relationship in such a clear and cohesive way. The Christian life might not always be easy, but the fringe benefits are out of this world!
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SCTRACKER 2/17/2012 8:55AM

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JUST_BREATHE08 2/17/2012 8:24AM

    Thank you Vic once again for an emoticon lesson!!!

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GROEDER 2/17/2012 7:48AM

    The privileges that come with a relationship with God seem endless!!!! As are the responsibilities!!!
I pray for the faith and understanding to use these privileges as God plans for me to do.
Thanks for another inspiring lesson, Vic.

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WENDYSPARKS 2/17/2012 7:25AM

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 2/16//2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Following In The Footsteps Of Faith Sermon, 2/16/2012

#Genesis 18:1-33
THREE SIDES OF A MAN NAMED ABRAHAM, Lesson 21

Everyone in this room wears many different hats. For instance, I am a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a friend, among many other things. This passage reveal three sides of the life of this man named Abraham. In this passage, he is visited personally by the Lord. During this visit we are given a glimpse at three sides of this great man's life. As Abraham is revealed to us here, we see some characteristics in his life that need to be seen in every life. For a few minutes, I want to look into this personal encounter between the Lord and Abraham. I want us to see the THREE SIDES OF A MAN NAMED ABRAHAM. Let's examine our lives to determine whether or not we are made of the same stuff as this great man was.

V. 18 THE MINISTRY OF A SERVANT

The identity of Abraham's visitors. One of these beings was the Lord Jesus Himself. The other two were angels. It seems that Abraham recognized the heavenly origin of his guests, because he sprang into action to serve them when they appeared. That reaction sets a good example for us because you never know when the Lord will show up in your life! When He does, He is looking for the same servant heart He found in Abraham. Notice three aspects of that servant's heart.

V. 1-6 The Quickness Of His Ministry - Abraham springs into action speedily trying to supply every need of his heavenly visitors. He may be 100, but there is no hesitation as he flies from one task to the next, until all is completed. Here is a man who recognized his duty and set about to do it as quickly as possible! May I just remind you that the Lord deserves the best service we can give Him?! When we are serving Him, regardless of how menial the task, we should do our best to recognize Who we are serving and we should seek to do the best possible job for the glory of the Lord! (Col. 3:23; Eph. 6:6). If it is worth doing for the Lord, it is worth doing right, (2 Cor. 10:13.)

V. 7-8 The Quality Of His Ministry - Not only was Abraham swift in his service to the Lord, but he was also sacrificial in his service to the Lord. He went to his flock and personally selected, killed and prepared a calf for their meal. You haven't really become a servant until your service costs you personally. Being willing to sacrifice for your master is a sign that you possessed a servant's heart, whether the service is time, tithe or talents, it is willingness rendered at the request of the Master and for His glory. The greatest sacrifice you can offer, of course, is yourself, (Rom. 12:1)! That is a sacrifice that no one else can give to Him! By the way, when He has you, He has everything you have anyway!

V. 8 The Quietness Of His Ministry - While his visitors were eating their meal, Abraham stood quietly by to serve them in any way they might need. He simply stood beside them, adopting the pose of a servant, listening for the voice of his Lord! Imagine the reaction of Abraham's servants as they watched him assume the role of a servant to the Lord. What a powerful testimony it was to them! By the way, others are watching! Make sure your service and testimony are all they should be! Real servants of God are those individuals who make themselves ever available to the Lord and His work. They are ready and willing to serve Him on a moments notice. When there are no orders to follow, they continue to do the last thing He told them until new orders come. They are His and they have no will of their own, but they are lost in His will for their lives! That is a servant's heart!

V. 9-21 THE MESSAGE FOR A SAINT

God always rewards the faithful service that is rendered to Him. In Abraham's case, He does this by reassuring Abraham regarding the birth of Isaac. Verses 18-19 tell us of the great affection, knowledge and care God possessed for this man Abraham. God knew what caliber of man Abraham was. He knew that Abraham would stand the test and be all that God wanted him to be. He is clearly pictured as God's saint in these verses.

v. 9-15 A Message About A Child - God had given this promise repeatedly to Abraham. The last time, Gen. 17:17, Abraham had laughed for joy when he heard again the glorious promise of hope from the Lord. This time, the promise is repeated for the benefit of Sarah. All she had heard was second hand promises from Abraham, this time she hears the promise directly from the mouth of God. Her reaction is vastly different from that of her husband. He laughed for joy, she laughs from doubt! She is confronted and rebuked. This episode is a reminder that God knows everything there is to know about you and me. He knows our motives, our secret sins and all things that we do. Nothing is hidden from His eyes, (Heb. 4:13).

V. 16-21 A Message About A City - This is a precious point in Abraham's relationship with the Lord. Because of who he is, how he has conducted himself and the future he is to enjoy, God is determined to share His heart with Abraham. Imagine being in a position of closeness to the Lord that motivated Him to share His heart with you. No doubt this is among the passage that prompted the Jews to refer to Abraham as "the friend of God.", (James 2:23; Is. 41:8; Ex. 33:11). God wants to have that same kind of relationship with each and every one of us today! When we are in a position of closeness to Him, He will share His heart and His will with us. Never feel that this kind of relationship is only for the super saints! I will remind you of the great truth that as we seek to get closer to Him, He responds by moving closer to us,(James 4:8).

V. 22-33 THE MEDIATION OF A SON

The message that the Lord had shared with Abraham was a difficult message to hear. It had been revealed to him that his kinsmen, Lot and his family, were in danger of death and destruction. "The cry" of that place and their "grievous sin" was the reason for the coming destruction. To many, Sodom must have been viewed as a showplace and a success story. They probably bragged about how it had been rebuilt after the great war of Gen. 14. Abraham knew different. He knew the city was slated for destruction. Those of us who know the Bible know that our world thinks awfully highly of itself. However, it too is slated for destruction! May we learn to pray like Abraham did so that we can see our world saved! He received the message and it motivated him to action before the Lord. Perhaps this was a factor in God's desire to share the message with Abraham! Perhaps he wanted to motivate Abraham to move deeper in his relationship with God. We have seen Abraham the servant. We have seen Abraham the Saint. Now, we are given a chance to see Abraham the son speaking with his heavenly Father!

V. 22-23 The Distance Between Them - Abraham stood before the Lord and when the angels departed, he drew near to the Lord. I praise the Lord for the truth that God's children can approach Him and draw as near as they please to their heavenly Father. Listen to His invitation to you and me, (Matt. 11:28; Heb. 4:15-16; Rom. 8:15-17).

V. 24-33 The Dialogue Between Them - Abraham's prayer to the Lord arises out of several burdens he carries because of the revelation he has just received. First, he is concerned about God's reputation. If the Lord simply destroys the people of Sodom out of hand, Abraham is concerned that people will get the wrong impression of God and of His love for sinners. Secondly, he is thinking about Lot and his family, who live in Sodom. He wants to see them spared, at the very least. So he begins to talk to God about the situation and gets God to agree to spare the city if just 10 righteous people can be found there. In Lot's family, there was Lot, his wife, two unmarried daughters and at least two married daughters and their husbands. This was a total of at least eight people in that family. Abraham must have thought that Lot would have at least won his family and a few others. Although Abraham did not know it at the time, his prayer was answered! God did spare the righteous when He destroyed the wicked. When the morning came and Abraham looked toward Sodom and saw the smoke of that place, (Gen. 19:27-28), he must have been discouraged.

However, his prayer had been heard and it had been successful, (Gen 19:29). Sometimes, our prayers seem to be very ineffective and weak, but only in eternity will we know the full impact of our personal ministry of prayer in the lives of others. Therefore, do not be discouraged, just pray and trust the Lord to bring it to pass!

Conc: If there is anything that you need to take away from this service, it is this: a close, personal relationship with God is possible for anyone who desires it! In your heart, are you honestly as close to the Lord as you would like to be? Are you His servant, running eagerly and speedily to do His will? Are you His saint, listening intently as He reveals His will and ways to you? Are you His son, His child, interceding before the throne of the Heavenly Father on behalf of those who do not have access to Him? Do you need to work on one or more of these areas of your relationship with the Lord? If so, there is help to be found in His altar!

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING!
Psalm 59:1-8
New International Version (NIV)


1 Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me. 2 Deliver me from evildoers and save me from those who are after my blood. 3 See how they lie in wait for me! Fierce men conspire against me for no offense or sin of mine, LORD. 4 I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me. Arise to help me; look on my plight! 5 You, LORD God Almighty, you who are the God of Israel, rouse yourself to punish all the nations; show no mercy to wicked traitors. 6 They return at evening,
snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city. 7 See what they spew from their mouths—
the words from their lips are sharp as swords, and they think, “Who can hear us?” 8 But you laugh at them, LORD; you scoff at all those nations.

Share This Lesson With Those YOU Love!





  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POETLKNG2LOSE 2/17/2012 6:53PM

    Thank you for this post. I am not as close to God as i should be. I don't spend enough time with Him sometimes.

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SAVINGHANNAH 2/16/2012 10:24PM

    Thanks for all your great wisdom and insight. emoticon

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SCTRACKER 2/16/2012 3:17PM

    Thank you for today's blog.

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ADJQUILTER 2/16/2012 10:34AM

    Lord give me a servant heart like you found in your servant Abraham. Bless Vic for the loving servant's work that he does to share his knowledge of your word, and bless and inspire those his word reaches.
Amen!

Vic,
I am just digging into your blog, and have decided to go back to the beginning and read all of the posts. The wisdom and faith shown here are priceless. God bless you, dear friend.
Arlene
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Comment edited on: 2/16/2012 10:35:17 AM

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GROEDER 2/16/2012 7:51AM

    It is wonderful that, not only, are we servants of God, but He is also our friend and as approachable as we want!!!!
What better than to serve the One who loves and is always there for us!!
I pray for a blessed day for you today and every day, vic.

Comment edited on: 2/16/2012 7:52:18 AM

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 2/15/2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith , 2/15/2012

Genesis 16:1-16
THAT TROUBLE WITH HAGAR, Lesson 19

It is amazing the depths to which God's own people can sink. Here is Abram, a man who is following God by faith. He has believed God enough to leave his homeland and his family behind. He has trusted God through battles and trials that would have made many men turn around in defeat and return home. Yet, for all his faith and his good deeds, Abram is still a human. He is still made of sinful flesh and there is still within him a pull towards the world and all its allurements.

We all know what this passage is about. Sarai and Abram try to help God give them a son by having Abram take Sarai's maidservant Hagar as his wife. Of course, this was never God's will for their lives, but, as with us, this did not stop them from rushing headlong into it anyway. Their decision brought with it far reaching consequences for them and for our world today. As we have time today, let's spend a few minutes in this passage on the thought “That Trouble With Hagar“.

V. 1-4a THE REASONS FOR THE TROUBLE

While all the reasons behind this fiasco are far too many to mention, there are three reasons that warrant mention today.

The Acceptance They Were Desiring - In that society, it was considered a disgrace for a couple to be childless. In our day, many couples choose that lifestyle for themselves and that is okay. Others have that choice forced on them by physical reasons. In Abram's day, regardless of the reasons behind it, if a couple had no children, they were mocked, looked down on and largely were not accepted in society.

This was a society that also thought nothing of multiple marriages. If a man like Abram were to take Hagar as a concubine, or secondary wife, no one around them would think a thing of it. If that concubine were to bear a child, it would be considered to be the child of the first, or primary wife. In this way, Sarai could get the child she desired and be accepted in the community. God's children are often guilty of lowering their standards to those of the community around them in order to fit in better. It is better to please God and be rejected by men that it is to please men and be rejected by God! There MUST be a clear line of demarcation between the people of the Lord and the world around them, (2 Cor. 6:17.) Many churches are falling into that trap today!

The Baggage They Were Dragging - The Bible tells us that Hagar was an Egyptian. She is part of the possessions that Abram brought back with him from his sinful journey into Egypt, (Gen. 12:10-20). Had he never journey to that country, there would have been no Hagar to marry! He is still reaping the harvest he sowed in Egypt! You never go into sin and come out clean! There is always some reminder, some evidence that you were there! That is the Law of Sowing and Reaping, (Gal. 6:7-8.)

The Promises They Were Doubting - Gen. 15:1-6 tells the story of God's great promise to Abram. When the promise was given, Abram reacted in faith, but as time has gone by, Abram has begun to doubt. He, along with Sarai, decides that God needs help in fulfilling His promise. After all, God only said that Abram would father a son; He didn't say by whom he would father that son! It is my conviction that doubt towards the Word and promises of the Lord accounts for more of our troubles than anything other single thing. We can read what He has promised us, but when the promise isn't fulfilled immediately, we begin to doubt and try to find way to make it happen ourselves. When will we ever learn that:
A. God always keeps His Word, (Heb. 6:18; Rom. 4:21; Ps. 119:89);
B. God is a God of order and that He doesn't run on our schedule, (for example, Jesus - Men needed a Savior for 4,000 years before He came, but God sent Him "in the fulness of time", (Gal. 4:4.);
C. God doesn't need our help to accomplish His will, (Ps. 50:12).

V. 4b-9 THE REACTIONS TO THE TROUBLE

All three of the participants in this fiasco reacted differently to the situation. All three reacted differently, but it is worthy to note that all three reacted badly. By the way, when sin and its problems, or any problem from any source for that matter, arrives in our lives, most of the people in this room will react to it in one of the three manners I am about to share with you.

V. 6 Abram Reacted By Being Unaccountable - He tried to pretend that there was no problem and that if there was a problem, it was Sarai's to deal with. He totally ignored his responsibility in the whole situation. Many people try to deal with their problems by simply ignoring them. This will never work! Left us settled them , because small problems grow into bigger ones in a short time. (2 Sam. 13:1-39 - David ignored the problem of Amnon and Tamar and the problem grew until Absalom took matters into his own hands and killed his brother)! Therefore, whether it be a problem in the home, on the job, in the community, at school or in the church, it must be confronted and dealt with or it will get out of hand. Just ask Abram!

V. 5 Sarai Reacted By Being Unreasonable - Sarai was miserable because of the pride and haughtiness of Hagar, so she tried to make everyone else around her miserable too. She tried to blame Abram for the problem. She tried to blame Hagar for the problem. She even dragged God into the problem. She fleshed out the proverb: "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" There are many who approach the problems of life with a similar attitude. If they are unhappy, they want everyone else around them to be unhappy as well. So, they get grouchy, mean-spirited, short-tempered and become hard to get along with. Lest we forget, this is not a Christ-like response to trouble and problems, (Gal. 5:22-23; 1 Cor. 13:4-8)! He would have us learn to handle the problems of life without attacking others or attempting to make them as miserable as we are!

V. 6b-9 Hagar Reacted By Being Unavailable - Hagar decided that the answer to her problems was flight. She just packed up and left to get away from the problem. This is the most common response of all! When problems arise at church, don't seek a solution, seek a new church. When problems arise on the job, don't fix it, find a new job. When problems crop up in the marriage, don't work it out, just find yourself a new mate. The giants of Canaan and the children of Israel….They ran from the them first time, (Numbers 13-14); but before their descendants could claim the land, they had to be faced and defeated, (Deut. 9:1-2).

I would just call your attention to the fact that God sent Hagar back to the family, (16:9). He did this for several reasons, but among them is the fact that God intended to use this situation to help each of these three people to learn to face their problems His way. Abram had to face it. Sarai had to deal with it. Hagar had to live in it. God's business isn't to make you happy. He wants to make you holy! Happiness will not occur until we first become holy. Forcing you to face your problems is one way of accomplishing that end!

V. 10-16 THE RESULTS OF THE TROUBLE

Proverbs 13:15 says, "Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard." Numbers 32:23 says, "...be sure your sin will find you out." These and other verses remind us of the sad truth that sin brings with it troubles and trials. The situation before us today is no different!

V. 11-12 A Difficult Son Was Born - Ishmael is called a wild man. Many parents seem determined to raise their own "wild men" through lack of standards and discipline in the home! He would be difficult to handle and would be aggressive towards others. Ishmael represents the difficulties that arise when sin is allowed to divert us from God's path for our lives. Remember, sin brings it's own club. Ishmael is a picture of that truth. What might your sin give birth to in your life? Remember - (Gal. 6:7-8)!

V. 21:9-11 A Dysfunctional Family Was Burdened - As Ishmael grew, the tensions surrounding him grew as well. In other words, the sin of Abram and Sarai, even after many years, still brought heartache and trouble into the home! I would just remind you that your sins, no matter how small and insignificant you may think them to be, always affect you and those around you! They poison your spirit, they sabotage your family and they hinder your walk with God. Many families are burdened this evening by the so-called hidden sins of those in that family! The answer to sin is to drag it into the light, (Pro. 28:13). Sin cannot live when it is brought out of the darkness into the marvelous light of the glory of God, (John 3:19-21).

V. 10-12 A Divine Plan Was Bolstered - Even though this sin was accomplished by the will of men, it was going to be used for the glory of God. Those involved could not see how things would play out in our day. Yet, much of the trouble the world is dealing with today, especially in the Arab world, is a direct result of Abram's sin with Hagar. The Arabs are going to figure heavily in God's plan for the end time events. You see, nothing, even our sins, catches God by surprise. He can take the worst of our failures and use them for His glory. That is not an excuse for evil, but a reason to get up and go on after we fall. Therefore, when sin is committed in your life, do not run from it. Rather, run to the Lord and fine the cleansing and forgiveness He offers thought grace, (1 John 1:9).

Conc: So many areas of our lives have been addressed in this message that I would be surprised if there was a single person today who has not been spoken to directly. While we live in this world, there will be sins and there will be times when we react badly to the trials and problems of life. But, my friends, those sins and those bad reactions do not have to mark our lives! There is a place, called the altar, where we can go to find the help, forgiveness and restoration we so desperately need. If this text has spoken to your life today, please bring it to the Lord and let Him have His way in your life!

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING!
Psalm 51:1-10
New International Version (NIV)

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Invite someone to come join the TEAM!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIDMIS 2/19/2012 7:02PM

    Vic I read this and really liked it. It reminded me again that God's timing is as important as knowing His will. I forwarded it to my pastor. Hope you don't mind. I thought it was that good.

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POETLKNG2LOSE 2/17/2012 6:46PM

    Thank you for those words; how true they are. How often have I wanted to run away from problems instead of confronting them; especially when it involves people. I hate conflicts and having to admit when you are wrong. Recently in the last couple of weeks God had me confess in our woman's bible study that I had a spirit of jealousy over her home and what she had in it. How humbling that was!

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WENDYSPARKS 2/15/2012 2:44PM

    emoticon

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CAM2438 2/15/2012 7:19AM

    THANK-YOU FOR THOSE WORDS TODAY!

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FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 2/14/2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith , 2/14/2012

Genesis 16:1-16
THAT TROUBLE WITH HAGAR, Lesson 19,

It is amazing the depths to which God's Own people can sink. Here is Abram, a man who is following God by faith. He has believed God enough to leave his homeland and his family behind. He has trusted God through battles and trials that would have made many men turn around in defeat and return home. Yet, for all his faith and his good deeds, Abram is still a human. He is still made of sinful flesh and there is still within him a pull towards the world and its allurements.

We all know what this passage is about. Sarai and Abram try to help God give them a son by having Abram take Sarai's maidservant, Hagar, as his wife. Of course, this was never God's will for their lives, but, as with us, this did not stop them from rushing headlong into it anyway. Their decision brought with it far reaching consequences for them and for our world today. Let's spend a few minutes in this passage on the thought That Trouble With Hagar.

In V. 1-4a THE REASONS FOR THE TROUBLE
While all the reasons behind this fiasco are far too many to mention, there are three reasons that warrant mention.

The Acceptance They Were Desiring - In that society, it was considered a disgrace for a couple to be childless. In our day, many couples choose that lifestyle for themselves and that is okay. Others have that choice forced on them by physical reasons. In Abram's day, regardless of the reasons behind it, if a couple had no children, they were mocked, looked down on and largely were not accepted in society.

This was a society that also thought nothing of multiple marriages. If a man like Abram were to take Hagar as a concubine, or secondary wife, no one around them would think a thing of it. If that concubine were to bear a child, it would be considered to be the child of the first, or the primary wife. In this way, Sarai could get the child she desired and be accepted in the community. God's children are often guilty of lowering their standards to those of the community around them in order to fit in better. It is better to please God and be rejected by men that it is to please men and be rejected by God (Acts 4:19)! There must be a clear line of demarcation between the people of the Lord and the world around them, (2 Cor. 6:17.) Many churches are falling into that trap today!

The Baggage They Were Dragging - The Bible tells us that Hagar was an Egyptian. She is part of the possessions that Abram brought back with him from his sinful journey into Egypt, (Gen. 12:10-20). Had he never journey to that country, there would have been no Hagar to marry! He is still reaping the harvest he sowed in Egypt! You never go into sin and come out clean! There is always some reminder, some evidence, that you were there! That is the Law of Sowing and Reaping, (Gal. 6:7-8).

The Promises They Were Doubting - Gen. 15:1-6 tells the story of God's great promise to Abram. When the promise was given, Abram reacted in faith, but as time has gone by, Sarai has begun to doubt. He, along with Sarai, decides that God needs help in fulfilling His promise. After all, God only said that Abram would father a son; He didn't say by whom he would father that son! It is my conviction that doubt towards the Word and promises of the Lord accounts for more of our troubles than anything other single thing. We can read what He has promised us, but when the promise isn't fulfilled immediately, we begin to doubt and try to find way to make it happen ourselves. When will we ever learn that: God always keeps His Word, (Heb. 6:18; Rom. 4:21; Ps. 119:89); God is a God of order and that He doesn't run on our schedule; for example, Jesus - Men needed a Savior for 4,000 years before He came, but God sent Him "in the fullness of time", (Gal. 4:4.); and God doesn't need us to take matters into our hands in order to accomplish His will, (Ps. 50:12.)


TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING;
Psalm 50:7-15
New International Version (NIV)

7 “Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel: I am God, your God. 8 I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. 9 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, 10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. 12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. 13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? 14 “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, 15 and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

LET‘S INVITE OTHERS TO COME JOIN THE TEAM!


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCTRACKER 2/14/2012 9:22AM

    emoticonfor your faithfulness in posting this devotional.

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GROEDER 2/14/2012 7:28AM

    I am still impatient and want to "help" God do what I THINK I need. Slowly, I am learning that all I need is faith and trust and He will take care of the rest!!!!
Praise God for his wisdom!!

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