Abraham’s incentives

Heb. 11:8-10:  “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance.  And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he dwelt in the land of promise like a foreigner living in tents; and so did Issac and Jacob, who inherited the same promised.  For Abraham waited for a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.”  

Abraham leaving his country, family, and his father’s house to go dwell in tents in a land he didn’t know…as a foreigner…does take great faith.  There is even more to his faith story, but for today…

When I went back to Genesis this morning to read the beginning, I saw the mention of the fact that Abraham’s wife Sarai was barren; she had no child.  (Gen. 11:30)  Then, in Gen. 12:1-3, the Lord tells Abraham to leave his country and go to a land He would show Him.  But God gave him an incentive.  Well, several incentives, actually.

Remember, his wife is barren.  The Lord said, “I will make you a great nation.”  Wow!  That’s a pretty great incentive to leave.  Ok.  “I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.”  Goodness!  Really?  I mean, me?  “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  Boom!

So, not only was the Lord promising to bless Abraham, but He was going to bless all the families of the earth through Abraham.  I mean, come on!!!!  How can anyone resist that!?  And so, Abraham obeyed.  And so God did as He promised.  God blessed Abraham and his wife.  And God has blessed us all because through Abraham and his descendants came our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ!!

Drop the mic.

If we trust in anything in this life, let it be the Lord.  He does what He says He will do.

Last night we had a soup dinner at church.  I had this amazing new recipe for cornbread casserole that I had eaten the day before.  I also have a great crock pot.  I put all the ingredients in my crock pot and mixed it all up.  When it was time to leave for the dinner, I simply unplugged the crock pot and we headed out the door.  When my pastor’s wife took the lid off the crock pot and stuck a serving spoon inside the casserole was more like soup.

I’d trusted in my recipe and my crock pot, and didn’t even check the results before we left home.  Fail.

Abraham trusted in the Lord who promised to bless him and all the families of the earth through him, living in tents and waiting for a city with eternal foundations.  Win!

In God we can always trust.  He will never let us down.

Served,

jamie

Advertisements

Which fruit are you eating?

Pr. 1:31:  “Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.”

I have eaten the ‘fruit of my own way’ more times than I care to admit. I must say, that while it may have tasted sweet for a moment, it turned quickly bitter, and left an aftertaste not to be desired.

We’ve all done it.  We have wanted to be full of our own fancies, and have our own way.  Perhaps we have even tried to push the voice of wisdom to the back and keep trodding through the mud and muck of sin to have just a bit more.  Sad, but true, huh?

The beautiful thing about the fruit of the Spirit is that it doesn’t require such a struggle.  When we choose to live for God, and walk in the Spirit, we take the path without the mud.  In fact, we can soar above it, on wings like eagles.  There is no conscience to step over.  There is certainly no bitter taste.  And the aftertaste?  Heavenly.

I can’t help but think of the lyrics of Blessed Assurance that say, “Oh what a foretaste of glory devine.”  The fruit of God’s way not only nourishes and fills us here and now; its nutritional benefits are eternal and more wonderful than we can even begin to imagine.  Thank You, Lord, for Your fruit!

Bon Appetit!

jamie

Month of Prayer, Day 23

Lord, the theme in my scripture reading this morning is that regarding Your Word is wise and will lead to eternal rewards.  You warn us not to envy sinners, but to be zealous for the fear of You, reminding us that there is surely a hereafter, and that our hope will not be cut off.

You remind us not to overwork to be rich, but to set our eyes on eternity.  You remind us to correct and discipline our children so that they may be delivered from hell.

In Pr. 23:23, we are told, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.”  We are reminded throughout this chapter about wisdom.  We are encouraged to remember that while temptations may look good for the moment, they lead to bad results.  Help me to remember these verses when I am tempted to focus on earthly pleasures more than eternal rewards, Lord.

Like the writer of Ps. 119:125, I say, “I am Your servant; give me understanding, that I may know Your testimonies.”  I do not want to regard Your Word as void, Lord, but to love Your commandments more than find gold, or any other earthly treasure.

Help me to hate every false way, but to focus on Your precepts, and Your promise of eternity.  Lord, You loved me so much that You allowed Your only Son to be killed so that I could live with You in eternity.  Do not let me trample on that gift just to ‘feel good’ here on earth.  I want to be with You forever.

Thank You, God, for the gift of salvation.  Thank You for the promise of an eternal reward.  Thank You for Your love that is sacrificial.  Please help me love the same way.  Thank You for Your Word, which gives me wisdom.  Please help me to live a life according to Your Word, that I may please my Father in Heaven.

I pray and ask these things in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Month of Prayer, Day 17

Lord, in Ps. 119:81-88, I see the author is being persecuted and crying out for You to execute judgment upon his enemies.  In Pr. 17, Solomon warns over and over about lying, gossip, spitefulness, quarreling, deceitfulness, and evil intentions.  He even says, in vs. 12, that it would be better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs, than to come upon a man in his folly.

It is clear that other people’s decisions, intentions, and actions can greatly affect our lives here on earth.  But You, O Lord, test the hearts. Judgment comes from You alone.  Solomon tells us that, “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”

Knowledge and understanding of You, O Lord, can keep our spirits calm here as we endure the circumstances that present themselves in our lives.  Our hope, Lord, is in You.  Indeed, we do hope in Your Word and long for eternity with You.

No matter what happens around us, Lord, we can continue to pursue our relationship with You.  We can continue to trust and hope in You.  We can keep Your testimony in our mouth as You revive us according to Your lovingkindness.

Thank You for being the One upon which we can call.  Thank You for being faithful to hear and to provide.  Thank You for being the Wise King who is just and honorable.  We can certainly trust in You.

I love you, My King.

jamie

Reading the whole Word

This morning I was reading the book of Amos.  I was reminded that we cannot just pick and choose which parts of God’s Word we read.  It is all important.

It is normal and helpful to choose verses that help us through the day, such as “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” or “My God shall supply all your needs through His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Mt. 6 reminds us not to worry.  John reveals to us the power of Jesus and the power that brings to our lives.

These verses are wonderful and help us survive and cope here on Earth.  While we are waiting on the Lord, we cling to the hope we find in His Word.  I am so grateful that we have access to the Word of God.

What a blessing that He gave us such access to Him!

Reading Amos; however, reminds us that this life is about more than just being comfortable.  Life is about more than surviving.

Amos reminds us that while we are comfortable, other around us are lost and dying.  People are literally without God and headed for destruction.  When we read outside of our “comfort verses,” we are reminded to grieve for the lost, which will spur us to action.  We are reminded that this life isn’t a game.  There is a mission for us in this life.

Yes, I believe God’s promises to prosper us and give us life more abundantly, but I don’t believe those things supersede His desire that all His children come to Him.  I don’t believe He sent His Son to die on the cross simply for our comfort.

He wants us to be saved, and to live eternally with Him.  But not just us…also those around us.

Amos, and other prophets remind us that this life will not always be.  The Word of God is a gift we have, that cannot be taken for granted.  Life is not only about eating, drinking, and being merry, but also about eternity.

Christ’s return will come.  Not everyone will be known by Him on that day.  Does that grieve your heart?  If it doesn’t, I encourage you to turn to Amos.  I encourage you to ask the Lord to remind you of His heart.

It is easy for the worries of the day to blind us and cause us to forget the larger picture.  God’s Word is there to remind us to grieve and to act.  We can spread the verses of hope with those who come to believe.

Encouraging you,

jamie

Which way?

Pr. 17:24:  “Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.”

The Lord revealed something to me yesterday as I was driving.  There are signs, arrows, and directional markers all around us.  Some signs to tell us exactly which driving lane we need to be in.  Arrows point us in the right direction on one-way streets.  There are signs to let us know what’s ahead, when to merge, if there is a detour, and on and on.  

We are surrounded by instructions, and yet some people are still ‘directionally challenged.’  Why is that? They have good intentions.  They know where they want to end up; however, the get flustered in the details and lose their way.

This proverb says that even though the fool is looking for wisdom, he cannot see her, though she is right in front of him.

Not everyone can clearly see the signs and markers.  Not everyone can figure out which lane is correct when there is so much going on around them.  Driving (like life) is so busy sometimes, and we cannot always see the little arrows in the midst of the noisy crowds.  Sometimes the little details can be hard to pick out among all the hundreds of signs, directions, and choices all around us.

This could be a lesson about how we shouldn’t overlook the wisdom that is right in front of us.  This morning; however, my heart is aching for those are can’t find their way.

The word fool has a condescending meaning in our times; however, God uses the word fool to mean someone who is disregarding His Word.  It is someone who has become lost on their journey.  Sure, there are signs, markers, arrows, and indicators all around them, but they cannot see them in their search for answers.

Instead of us having ‘road rage’ against those around us who are lost or disregarding God’s Word, we must allow compassion for their souls to cause us to be someone who lovingly points them in the right direction.  Do we want those around us to drive off the cliff into tribulation, fiery death, or torment?  I don’t want anyone to end up in a location of pain and anguish that was designed for their enemy just because they missed the U-turn sign.

When we’re driving as a group and someone doesn’t make it through the light or misses the turn, do we continue on, leaving them behind?  No.  We stop and wait for them.  Perhaps we go back to get them and guide them on.

The journey to eternity is of far greater importance than a trip to the store or to that vacation spot.  We can’t let ‘road rage’ cause us to laugh at, judge, or scoff at those who are losing our way.  We MUST stop and help!  Someone else showed us the way.  We have to share the secret with someone else.

Help us see the wisdom, Lord,

jamie

Which wisdom do you seek?

Pr. 5:1:  “My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding.”

I’m struck again today by what the Bible says about wisdom.  In 1 Corinthians, Paul speaks about the wisdom of men vs. the wisdom of God.  There is a vast difference indeed.

Paul is reminding the Corinthians, and us, that it is not the wisdom of man that we should chase, obsess over, or count on.  He tells us in chapter 2:10-11 that the Spirit alone knows the deep things of God.  We should be chasing after God.

When Paul spoke to them it was not with persuasive words of human wisdom, with excellence of speech, or from his own power and ability.  The only thing he desired to know was Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and when he spoke, he demonstrated the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

The ‘wisdom’ of this world is driving us further and further from God.  Of worldly wisdom, Is. 29:14 says that the wisdom of the wise will be destroyed and the understanding of the prudent will be brought to nothing.  We cannot count on the wisdom of men to give us the answers we seek.  We cannot count on the wisdom of men to protect us, solve our problems, or bring true freedom.  Their wisdom will be destroyed and brought to nothing.

Only wisdom from the Lord endures.  When seeking after wisdom, let’s make sure we’re going to the right source.  Wisdom was with God at the beginning of His way, and exists with true prudence, knowledge, and discretion.  (Pr. 8)  We have been invited to ask God for that same wisdom, and told that He who gives to all liberally and without reproach will give it.

We may sometimes feel foolish in the face of worldly wisdom, but we needn’t.  God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and the weak things to put to shame the things which are mighty.  In the end, God’s wisdom will be what makes all things new and will lead us to our heavenly home.

Let’s grow wiser by running after God.  He’s the one we can truly count on.

With eternity on my mind,

jamie