Romans 8:28–Really? Genesis 38 Final

When I was in Royal Ambassadors (RA’s) as a small Baptist ragamuffin–I memorized the verse Romans 8:28, “For we know all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose!” I believed it then and I still believe it today! 

But, even I would never have guessed that Tamar and Judah meeting at the sheep pins under the most deceitful circumstances, could ever have good come of it! BUT it sure did! PEREZ, the child of the encounter probably scorned and talked about his whole life–was the patriarch of the lineage that led to the birth of our Lord and Savior.  SAY WHAT??!!

Had Judah done things differently… well God would have sent the Lord, but amazingly he used this incredible scene.  God loves to take the impossible and use it to show he works through the impossible. Gideon, 5 loaves and 2 fish, the parting of the Red sea and manna just a few of the most unlikely things God used to prove his power and authority.  What’s more, when ever God used the obvious–Like Saul as King, the people thought they controlled the circumstances and screwed everything up!

What are your “All Things” circumstances–health, job, finances or marriage? Do they seem so impossible that nothing good can come from them? That is the time God does his best work. We have to remain faithful, prayerful and ready to respond to his lead.  And while we may never know the good our “All Things” circumstances cause–we can be confident that God does! Keep the faith!

God Bless You

Then Judah said, “Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn’t find her.”

24 About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.”

Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned to death!”

25 As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. “I am pregnant by the man who owns these,” she said. And she added, “See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are.”

26 Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not sleep with her again.

27 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 28 As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” 29 But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, “So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez.[a] 30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.[b]

Enough is Enough–Genesis 18 Part 3

It is never really all that close! God is a patient Father.  His desire is that none should perish.  So on the warm Canaan evening, when God told Abraham Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin was so flagrant that he was going to wipe it out, God did not make the decision easily or lightly.  God knew they were beyond redemption.  Nothing would please God more than seeing these people turn their lives around and follow him, but he knew I would never happen.

It is so easy for us to blame God for all that is wrong in the world.  When people suffer loss or are treated poorly, somehow it becomes God judging or arbitrarily doing evil to ruin lives.  Truth is the evil in our lives are usually a result of the world state and our personal choices.  We want God to somehow absolve us from the consequence–but, he does not. He allows the world and all in it to remain independent and choose.  But n order to do that, they have to live with the consequence. 

It is my prayer this last day of the year, that unlike Sodom and Gomorrah we are still redeemable and will repent and follow him.  He will forgive and restore us–if we follow him.  If not–we will fall.

God Bless You

So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. 21 I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.”

22 The other men turned and headed toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham. 23 Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? 24 Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes? 25 Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”

 

Wow You Are Not Kidding!–Genesis 15 Final

There Abram stood looking at the Stars and listening to God promise him the Land of Canaan and many descendants…and he asked the most transparent question imaginable–So how do I know what you promise will really happen…?  God says, “Son go get a Heifer, a goat and a lamb!”  Covenants, in those days, were not nicely drafted components of a contract.  Instead, Covenants were life and death promises that required absolute performance or absolute sacrifice. 

Specifically, the parties would cut an animal into quarters and lay them out on the ground walk between the quarters to signify that failure to perform on the covenant would require like treatment of the failing party! Ouch! Here God took 3 animals as if to say not only me, but the entire trinity makes this covenant.  The Heifer representing the father, the lamb representing the son and the Goat (Scape goat) representing the Holy spirit! God was serious.

That is the same level of commitment God has made to us.  If we will follow him he promises to redeem us from the sin we are enslaved to and restore us to a family relationship with him.  Take comfort, believer–God is not kidding!!!

God Bless You

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”

10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi[e] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

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

An Impressive Resume–Revelation 1 Part 1

I often take for granted that God is so awesome.  He created all things.  He spoke a command and  the universe came into being.  He waved his hand and stars filled the sky; fish filled the sea; birds filled the air and creatures roamed the earth.

He is was and always will be.  He sees all, knows all and is all powerful.  He planned this journey back at the beginning of time and will execute it for eternity.  God is truly amazing.  He loves us individually and personally.  He knows us better than any other being and loves us for whom we are.  We would be literal fools not to want to follow him

God Bless You

John,

To the seven churches in the province of Asia:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”[b]
    and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
    and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”[c]
So shall it be! Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Don’t Love the World–1 John 2 part 2

The things that the world offers are not real.  Oh, they seem real–they seem to really fill the bill for meeting our hopes and desires.  But, because he is the master deceiver, the enemy has set the world up to come close but never quite satisfy.  John tells us not to dwell on the fleshly desires, the opportunities for power, or the stuff we build up to show how well we are doing.  Those things are like wildflowers that look pretty but fade quickly.

Instead, we are to dwell on the things that last–Loving each other, raising our kids in the Lord, serving others and helping them see the wonder of following Christ.  The things of eternity may not sparkle or seem as glamorous–but, a wise man said, “All things that sparkle are not treasure.”   Through the years I have watched Satan try to emulate God.  Probably, my favorite example is Las Vegas–all the lights and fountains are pretty, but, I would trade them all for one beautiful night under a starry sky. 

Don’t settle, follow!

God Bless You

 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

The Advocate–1 John 2 part 1

As an attorney, one of my favorite qualities of Christ is him as our advocate.  He knows us for the sinners that we are.  He knows we are frail and daily subject to falling into sin and independence from him.  Still, despite that, he intercedes on our behalf.

Oddly, there stands Satan–the prosecutor; accusing us of the sin he so conveniently placed in front of us, swaggering to the bench and saying to God–he is so evil, look at all he has done.  Meanwhile, Christ stands at our side, points to the accuser and says, “That sin is forgiven and forgotten, because I paid the price.

Grace is not a license to sin, though.  We should be seeking to follow him daily and closely.  If we do, we do not desire to disappoint him. We instead seek to be like him—selfless and surrendered.  That desire to follow is the best sign we are a part of the family. Help me Lord to follow you closely today.

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

Confession is Great for the Soul–1 John 1 final

I heard in a sermon a few weeks ago that no one simply drifts into a great life.  We were designed by God to be intentional and God Like.  That is why sin has had such a terrible impact upon us and upon the world as a whole.  The natural man defaults away from God and drifts toward a selfish and empty life.  Even with eternity in the balance, men choose to be separated from God naturally.

But God chose differently.  Through his spirit, we are drawn back to him.  In that, if we confess our sin–our natural desire to be Lord of our own life, and follow his lead and begin the personal relationship with him as Lord of our lives–our affirmative decision to surrender allows him to forgive us and restore our eternal life and journey with him.

While simple, it is by no means easy.  we have to choose each day to follow him and not run our own show.  But, when we choose that life–we have a Great Life Indeed!

God Bless You

This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

An Eye Witness’s Joy–1 John 1 Part 1

We sometimes forget that the New Testament was written by the guys that hung out with Jesus.  Their accounts were given and their encouragement shared because they were there and saw God on earth.  It had to be amazing to walk with Jesus every day.  To see the miracles, to hear the messages and to watch the sacrifice–left an indelible mark on the men he chose.  John, his beloved disciple stood by him to the end and through the resurrection.  He adopted Mary.

When we read this word, we are able to enjoy the first hand account of God’s love for us.  We should be changed when we hide the news of his amazing life and grace in our hearts.  He was the Lord God–He brought us life and light and a future. We should never doubt his impact on our lives and the lives of all who know him. We need to take hold of the amazing view we get of God through those that went before.  Thanks Lord for showing us who you are!

God Bless You

 We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning,[a] whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy

House IN Order-2 Samuel 21

My youngest has watched a cartoon called total Drama Island.  It is a parody of all the “Survivor” type reality shows.  For the last several years, David’s life, reign and experience had been “Total Drama Island.”  Now, back in power, back in order and back to business David is back in battle.  Sadly, as with all of us, time had taken its toll and David was exhausted.

Throughout our journey, we too face battles and drama.  Our walks with the Lord ebb and flow as does our faith and behavior. But, even as we walk faithfully, often time takes its toll on us.  We lose the energy and the optimism of youth.  When that happens, even when the Drama has passed, we grow exhausted in battle. Thanks be to God for those in our lives that meet the challenges of life with us and sometimes save our lives when we cannot face the battle.  It is OK to grow exhausted.  It is OK to pick the battles we are to face. It is OK to look to our fellow soldiers to battle along-side us and even on our behalf.  It is also ok to be warriors in prayer.  We can use his word and spirit to accomplish great things.  The key is to continue to follow Joshua’s example and make every day a CHOOSE-Day. “Choose this Day whom you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

God Bless You

15 Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. 16 And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels[b] and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David. 17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, saying, “Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished.”

18 In the course of time, there was another battle with the Philistines, at Gob. At that time Sibbekai the Hushathite killed Saph, one of the descendants of Rapha.19 In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair[c] the Bethlehemite killed the brother of[d] Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.20 In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha. 21 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimeah, David’s brother, killed him.

22 These four were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men.