Do What–God??? Genesis 22

When God trusts you he will take you to places that you never thought you would have to go.  Abraham waited a century for Isaac.  He separated himself from his son Ishmael for Isaac.  He loved and adored this son—Then God asked him to sacrifice him.  What a horrible thought.  Abraham was faithful.  He took his son and laid him on the alter.  He raised the knife and God stopped him from completing the sacrifice.  God trusted Abraham to the end and Abraham did the same.  This relationship was a picture the nation of Israel would never forget. 

Then God did the same.  He sent his son, laid him on the alter and allowed his life to be forfeited for our salvation.  How much are we willing to trust God?  How far are we willing to go.  The truth is our faith and our surrender are the only gifts we can give that bring our Lord joy.  The attitude of surrender are the sweetest sacrifice of all.  We only need to follow him and listen and we will see it credited as righteousness.  God loves us.  He takes us to the edge time and again.  Each event draws us closer and makes us more willing to trust him.  Things that used to seem impossible seem very doable in his power.  Help me, lord to follow closely and trust you complexly.

God Bless You

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son , your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you. ”

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you. ”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. ”

Each person’s legacy–Genesis 21 part 2

Ishmael did nothing to plan his destiny.  He was a child.  He was never intended to be the lineage to save the world.  But God had a plan for him as well.  His plan, however, was as important to God as Isaac’s.  Hagaar wanted to be the mom of the chosen child.  That simply was not to be.

We all have expectations of what we want God’s plan for our lives to be.  Often times, we think we are to be the chosen one.  We believe that God will use us to change the world and bless us beyond measure.  That simply may not be his plan for us.  But, He does have a plan for us.  We ultimately must recognize that submission to his plan is the only way to live.  It is more fulfilling and more rewarding than any plan we can concoct for ourselves.  If we continue to trust and follow him, he will protect and provide for our needs and build a legacy for us.  Help me, Lord to trust and follow you and your plan for my life.

God Bless You

8 The child [Isaac] grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”…

15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.

17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation. ”

19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.

Laughter is the best medicine-Genesis 21 part 1

The things that God can accomplish are amazing.  So much so, that we sometimes take it for granted.  When we hear God parted the Red Sea or provided Manna for 2 million people daily for 40 years, we think that is nice—But wow, when God does amazing things we need to take notice of how great he is.  Sarah was barren for over 90 years—then she has a son.  Not just any son, the one that is to father the lineage that saves the world.  I cannot even wrap my mind around how miraculous and auspicious that truly is. 

In our lives, he does amazing things each day.  Providing, healing saving and leading people around the globe into a right relationship with him. God is great.  In my own life, he does thing after thing to remind me he is God!  If I pay attention, it sustains me when faith is difficult.  If I forget, he could not ever do enough to convince me.  It is my job to hide his word in my heart so I always remember how great he is.  When I do—the amazing remains amazing!  Thanks Lord for your patience and amazing power!

God Bless You

21 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

6 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” 7 And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

Snuggling with the Father-Psalm 131

I took a break today from the Genesis story—As I sought the Lord in the Psalms, this message screamed out–yet again.  God wants his kids to be content.  Not haughty, not proud—simply in step with him.  We must surrender to the idea that HE will provide and HE will protect.  The idea of a child snuggled in its Momma’s arms—no worries or cares.  It is almost too much to understand or believe, but, God does have us safe in his arms and has  plans for our journey.  When we lose sight of his consistent faithfulness, we tend to want to run from him and take care of ourselves. The harder we work, the more obvious becomes the folly of our “Helping God out.”  We need to seek, follow and rest in him.  He then will provide, protect and propel us into the relationship we have always longed for.  Help me, Lord to snuggle into your safe and sustaining arms.

God Bless You

My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.

3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.

She’s still my Sister–Genesis 20

Abraham still was afraid his wife’s beauty would be his end.  She is my sister—He told the King.  The King took her as a wife AT AGE 90+.  Once again, God as a protector of his own, saved Abraham and Sarah.  The King initially was mad.  But, then if you think of it—He did take Sarah.  So God allowed him to make things right.  Abraham prayed for him and his kingdom and they were saved. 

When we follow God, it does not mean we will always be perfect.  We still sin.  But God looks at our faith and our hearts and when we submit and follow him, he will bless us and protect us.  He provides in so many ways we never understand.  I am sure Abraham was astonished when the King came with a repentant heart.  He would have never guessed that.  Often we face insurmountable odds in our lives and see God help bring us through without any help from us.  The Lord wants us to pull up stakes and follow.  He wants us to trust him to meet our needs and protect us.  When we do, we are blessed and we bless others around us.  Abraham should not have feared the King, but, Abraham certainly trusted the Lord and his faith was counted as righteousness.  Help me Lord, to have Abraham’s faith

God Bless You

20 Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, 2 and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister. ” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her. 3 But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.” 4 Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? 5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister, ’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands. ” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. 7 Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”

Self absorped–Self Destroyed Genesis 19 part 1

The saddest part of complete evil and self-absorption is the inability to recognize it.  When the angels came to Sodom and Gomorrah, the people should have been in fear.  Instead, they were arrogant and abusive demanding to rape and destroy the men of God.  Such arrogance was a reaffirmation of what God told Abraham.  The angels showed God’s commitment to Abraham by literally dragging Lot and his wife and daughters out of the city.  The arrogance was obvious then as the city had to be destroyed.

We need to understand that God cannot tolerate rebellion.  But he does love us so much that he will always keep his commitment and even sometimes drag us kicking and screaming to safety and his providence.  We should be chasing after him and his plan for our lives, but we often miss his plan for us.  When we do, he will take us and bring us back into the plan.  We simply need to continue to follow him with our hearts and listen to his leadership.  Then we can avoid the destruction the world is facing.  Help me, Lord to seek you with my heart and life.

God Bless You

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom —both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

 

How Low Will he Go? Genesis 18 part 3

So misunderstood—when people read the Old Testament, they often develop an image of God that is harsh, unrelenting and mean.  The truth is that God desires that no one would perish and all would walk with him in freedom.  The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is the epitome of the struggle.  These cities took evil to a new height and were proud of it.  They had become rich and wicked. God knew there was no hope for the city to repent and they were so evil that it would affect the rest of the Land.  But God allowed Abraham to bargain him down to sparing the city for 10 people. 

God does not want to punish or even give up on us.  He longs for us “to get it” and turn to him on a daily basis.  He does not enjoy seeing us stumble and suffer due to our bad choices.  He did not want to destroy the cities and would have spared them if there was any semblance of repentance or righteousness.  At some point, however, there lies the reality of a hardened heart and rejection of God.  In that, the most caring father has to allow the person to walk away.  It is sad and disheartening—but, God cannot force folks to follow.  God told Abraham he would spare thousands of evil folks to save 10 that loved him. 

In our current culture, how low will God Go?  We have rivaled S&G in selfishness and wickedness.  We, as his children, seek him and encourage others to do so in hope that God will spare us and bless us.  We pray that he will do so for those here that truly wish to follow.  Help me, Lord to be one of the reasons you spare our land.

God Bless You

 

23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing —to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake. ”  27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”  “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”  29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.” 30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.” 32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home

Sarah laughed Genesis 18 part 2

How big is God? Really? Well he spoke the universe into existence.  He brought life where none existed.  He executed his plan and saved a lost world—in the execution, he did some pretty amazing stuff.  Sarah was 90 + years old.  God made sure there was no question that he was executing his plan.  Only God could prepare for the Savior in the way that he did.  So many times, in his word, God does things in a way that clearly shows it is him and not us.  When he does, we can point to him and feel no pressure to make his plan happen.

We simply have to trust him and follow his lead and he will execute his plan flawlessly.  As we do, we can enjoy watching him work.  We can laugh at how amazing his plan truly is.  He loves showing what he can do.  He simply wants us to step back and trust him.  Help me, Lord to trust you.

God Bless You

9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent, ” he said. 10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” 15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

How May I Serve you, Lord–Genesis 18 part 1

Wouldn’t it be great if we could instantly tell when the Lord was in our presence.  What an honor to be sitting at home and God shows up.  When Abraham saw God was there, he immediately and reverently honored God.  There was no asking God for stuff, instead the question was “God, would you allow me to serve you?”  Can you stay awhile? May I honor you and sustain you.  That should be the attitude for those who love the :Lord. 

In our daily walks, we still get excited when we pray and God shows up.  But we need to evaluate our prayer and ask are we showing God the respect he is due? God calls us to bring our requests to him. He loves that we understand he is our provider.  But, we need to understand the great honor it is to have our Lord in our lives.  We take for granted he is there.  We need to be respectful, humble and grateful for all he does in our lives.  We need to say thank you for his presence.  We need to have Abraham’s attitude—please let me serve you, Lord.  We approach him as the VIP that he is in our lives and the lives of others.  We simply recognize that He is the Lord of the universe and deserves to be respected and loved.

Help me, Lord to treat you with the honor and respect you deserve.

God Bless You

18 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. 3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”

Different Journeys–Same Lord Genesis 17 part 3

People’s journeys are simply different.  Abraham was to be the father of many nations.  He had a son named Ishmael and now found he was to have a son named Isaac.  Both boys were prayed for by their dad and yet their journeys were to be completely different.  As a human, it is not easy to understand why God does What he does.  Stories of Job, Joseph, Stephen and other mighty people of God intrigue and perplex us.  Why should these great folk pay such a price?  God has a plan and through his plan the world will be saved.  Along the way as he prepares folk for the daily battle, so much seems unfair.  But, God has been God for a long time and is not looking to retire any time soon.  If we allow him  to work his plan in our life, we will see his plan is preparing us to follow him and be like him.  We simply neeed to believe him and be like him in our daily walks.  Help me Lord, to believe you and be like you in my walk today.

God Bless You

15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” 22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.