The Good Land…Genesis 14 Part 1

Things are not always as lovely as they appear.  Lot was so excited to move to the plains.  The good land, the best water and the thickest grass.  But he also moved to the land where people were evil and selfish.  And while he may have been minding his own business he was caught up in the midst of their rebellion.  Fortunately, his uncle was able to save him and restore the area from the warring kings.

We have to be mindful of the world around us.  We can avoid a great deal of pain and confusion by simply staying away from people and circumstances that we know to be harmful.  It is difficult to look past the surface and see the long term consequence of our choices, but if we will take we the time, we are usually blessed far more than we could ever imagine.

God Bless You

The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. 12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.

13 A man who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother[b] of Eshkol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.

Dad’s Know…Genesis 13 Final

You can almost picture the scene—Abram watching Lot trotting down the hill, rejoicing at the great trade he had just secured.  He took all the “good” land and left his silly uncle with the hill country.  Abram was looking out over the land—a little sad…but then, as dad’s do, God said, “Look over all the land–as far as you can see, and as far as you can walk– all this will be for you and your lineage.”  A huge spiritual hug from a Dad that understands us better than anyone. Abram stepped out in faith and continued to trust God even when it seemed as though God was not delivering.

We act similarly, when we truly believe and follow God, there are days that simply feel like the promises will not be delivered upon.  Trials and tests wear us down,  and the world gleefully skips by announcing all the victories it enjoys.  In those dismal points, God calls out—child, I love you and have an amazing eternity planned for you!  Do not lose hope! Simply follow and as far as you can see and as far as you can walk it will be yours!  Faith is a journey, and while difficult at times, it is amazing, full and meaningful when we allow Him to lead and we simply and humbly trust and follow!

God Bless You

 

The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[a] forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.

Sometimes We are not Better Together–Genesis 13 Part 1

Abram and Lot had already become rich.  There faith had been blessed.  But as they grew it was apparent they had to move apart.  Once again, Abram trusted God.  Abram said to his nephew–You pick anywhere you want to live and I will go elsewhere.  Lot picked the fruitful lush plain, close to the city.  It would be easy, and he would have it all.  Abram was fine with that–even as the elder and leader of the family–he was not concerned to stay up in the hills where it would be more difficult to maintain his herds.  Abram knew God would provide.

We need to have the same faith.  We have to trust that it is God that provides, and he will astound us–if we will humbly follow his lead.  One thing we can be pretty confident in, though–God does not typically lead us into easy and evil.  If faced with the choice of easy and evil–we should always walk away.  Lot thought he would have it all, but as the song says, “Every form of refuge has its price.” We need to avoid easy and evil and trust God to provide the means and the supplies to follow closely. If we do, as with Abram, it will be counted to us as righteousness!

God Bless You

Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.

From Hero to Zero–Genesis 12 Final

It could happen to anyone of us at any time. Abram knew God was going to make him into a great nation.  He left his home, took his family and travelled to Canaan; simply because God promised land to him.  

Still, when trouble appeared in the form of famine, Abram left Canaan and went to Egypt. While in Egypt, Abram was willing to trade his wife for his life and wealth. One moment, Abram was the man of great faith, The next moment he was a liar and a coward.  

In any given moment, we are the same. When we trust the Lord, we can be people of great faith. On other days, however, given the right circumstances, we can walk away from everything we know, and become sniveling cowards, relying on our own senses rather than on our Lord. 

Thanks be to God, for His patience, His grace and His mercy. He is willing to start each day brand-new.  Not only is God willing to lead, guide and direct us, but, he is also willing to forgive and restore us when we repent and return to him. What’s more, he protects us from our own failures, and often uses them to make us the people of God we are called to be.

Those are the times we see unconditional love displayed by God. And those are the altars, the moments in time and space, that reminds us of how much God loves us; and how we are to treat others. 

Help me Lord to trust you and treat others with the same kindness you have treated me. 

God Bless You

 10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

Building Altars–Genesis 12 Part 3

 While some would argue that building altars to God at memorable points in their journey was silly, Abram and his family did spiritually two of the most important things one can do in their faith–worship and remember.  When one builds an alter, it not only signifies the importance of the place…it also marks the allegiance to the one true God.  That was a critical thing in Canaan.  The people had long ago abandoned the God that delivered their Ancestor Ham.  They moved on to self worship and then to fashioning all manners of God’s to signify the things that were important–the sun, the harvest, intimacy and fertility, food, power and eternity–they grew to need things to touch and see in order to be secure in their control of their lives and their future.

Little has changed, We still need to build altars to significant points in our faith.  our submission to God, our covenant of marriage, our dedication of our kids to the Lord each deserve a permanent reminder that He is God and we are His.  The world places altars everywhere–stadiums, theaters, malls and endless other tributes to the illusion that men somehow have things under control.  Their altars almost certainly fail them–as control by men is sadly impossible.  But those that follow the Lord and allow him to lead and control their journey, leave altars all along th4e way as reminders that their lives and families are and will be his to control.  Help me Lord to remove the altars I have built as tributes to me and the world, but, also help me to worship at the altars I have built to honor you.

God Bless You

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring[c] I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.

Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev

Faith at its Best–Genesis 12 part 2

Abram moved forward—He went into Canaan simply because God told him to.  Once he moved forward, God promised him all the land he could imagine would be his.  Abram kept moving into the land simply trusting God to provide all he promised.

That is the essence of faith.  When we walk in a way that is simply trusting God even though we do not know what lies ahead, he cannot help but want to bless us and exceed our expectations.  The wonder he creates and the promises he exceeds are the greatest banners to his majesty he can provide.  When we fail to trust him we take away his opportunity to do wonders.  So when we walk, we walk trusting him to give him the opportunity to bless us mightily.

God Bless You 

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring[c] I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.

Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

Abram Went as the Lord told Him–Genesis 12 Part 1

It really can be that simple. God directs and we follow.  God told Abram to go to Canaan, as he had told Abram’s father Terah.  Without hesitation or delay, Abram gathered his family and his stuff and headed out on a journey that would change Humanity from then on.  Abram left with a promise–I will make you a great nation!  What an awesome legacy, and it started with obedience.

In our lives, we are faced daily with the opportunity to simply trust God and follow his  lead.  Trust me, while it is simple, it certainly is not easy! as one reads about the life of Abram, it is obvious his simple trust in God was rarely easy.  The amazing quality of life and the legacy Abram was able to leave, far outweighs the trials and sadness he faced.

We have to walk the journey as Abram did–Always trusting God. When we do, we will live a life that is full, meaningful and bigger than ourselves and greater than we could imagine.  Never give up and never give in–walk as Abram in the path God lays out!

God Bless You

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.[a]
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”[b]

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Almost, But Not Quite–Genesis 11 Final

What do we know about Terah?  Oh, he was Abram’s Dad…The sad news is that he was the first man called to Canaan! He scooped up his little family and left Ur–on his way to Canaan.  But somewhere along the journey, he decided to stop in Harran.  Don’t get me wrong–Harran was a nice place, it just wasn’t where God was leading him and his family.  It was a convenient sidetrack that stopped his journey.

So many of God’s chosen take off on the journey the father calls them to and in the midst of it get sidetracked and rendered ineffective. Work, kids, illness, and a host of little foxes enter our lives and nip at us.  We then wake up at AARP + years and wonder where the time went and why did we lose our vision.  God says–its OK! Start a new vision today.  Read the word, pray continually and seek ways to serve.  You may have missed Canaan, but you do not have to miss God!!!

God Bless You

This is the account of Terah’s family line.

Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. 29 Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milkah and Iskah. 30 Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive.

31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there.

32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran

The Tower–Genesis 11 part 1

We simply do not need God anymore…that was the message from the tower of Babel. They all spoke the same language, they could manufacture and build for themselves.  They had become great hunters and gatherers. Simply put, there was nothing they could not do.  So, God had to mix things up—he did so by confusing the language and spreading the world and its folks apart.  From then on, men would be more concerned with competing with each other than with competing with God.

Well in the 21st century after our Savior came, we are at the point the men of Babel were at.  We are no longer separated by language or space.  The internet provides instant communication across the globe.  The human genome project allows us to understand and alter the human body to end disease and death, technology like the private space travel consortiums will make travel quick and easy across the globe.  Once again, men think that they do not need God any more.

History has taught us that from that point, men start spiraling out of control and destroy themselves.  Only those that remain humble and following God and his plan survive and succeed.  We must return to the place where we allow God to be God.  It seems like the independence is great, but we simply entrap ourselves in the mess we make. God says, ”If my people will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways and seek my face—I will hear their prayers, restore them and heal their lands!” We do not have to return to an Amish society model, but we do have to quit trying to lead and simply follow God’s plan.

God Bless You

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward,[a] they found a plain in Shinar[b] and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel[c]—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

The Families of Noah–Genesis 10

After the flood, The world started again and as Noah’s sons expanded in the land, they spread across the world and built the nations.  As the world expanded, so did the attitudes and cultures of each of the brothers.  It was amazing how the lineages began to take on an attitude about God.  When Ham was cursed by Noah after the flood, the resentment and rebellion was passed on and became a general hatred for all things that related to God.  That was the beginning of idol worship and self absorption that caused the great divisions among the families.

In our time, we still see the vestiges of the early cultures.  Historical records from all cultures all recount a flood tradition, and the attitudes and beliefs still are apparent. Despite the cultural predisposition, though we all still have the choice to follow God.  Each of us makes a daily choice to trust him, or to trust ourselves.  In that choice we shape our lives and the lives of our kids and generations to come.  What a huge responsibility.  That is why Joshua–the leader of Israel so many hundreds of years later said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

God Bless You

This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.

The Japhethites

The sons[a] of Japheth:

Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.

The sons of Ham:

Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan.

Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was[h] Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber.

22 The sons of Shem:

Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram.