I John 5–In Closing…

In the end, there have always been two great commands from God; Love the true God, and love others as you love yourself.  All other commands and direction fall within those parameters.  John closes his letter to the church by laying that out very clearly.  We are God’s chosen adopted children if we believe that Christ is the Savior and Lord. The evidence of our belief is our love for God and his people.  Further evidence is following Him and doing what He has called us to do.
 
We see the truth through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We also testify to that truth by our words and our daily lives. We are not expected to be perfect, but, we are called to be different. That difference is a lifetime process of transformation that always centers on the gift of salvation. As we journey, we see God’s hand on our lives and become more like him with the passage of each day. In the end, however, it still comes down to this: “He who has the Son Has Life; and He who rejects that gift does not have eternal life.”
As we end the decade, we need to be reminded that our Journey is swift and our destination is eternity. We, therefore, are called to live for that end and not for the temporary promises of this world.  Happy New Year.
 
God Bless You

 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the[a] Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

The One Who Calls Us Is Faithful–Genesis 45 Part 2

The most enjoyable part of the Joseph story is that it does end well.  While the next five years were to be the most challenging in the history of famine and drought, it really was fine.  Joseph was sent by God to save the Egyptians and his family, and he was doing it. Now, he was reunited with his family and beloved dad; and, he was going to be able to care for them; never doubting, that God was in charge.
 
In our lives, sometimes, we miss the point.  Even when God blesses us mightily, it does not stop the circumstances of life happening around us.  We have to embrace the blessings, recognize his hand in them, and be grateful for his provision and his leadership. We cannot stop facing the day-to-day battles and struggles, they still exist! We can, however, face them, knowing that he who calls us is faithful–and he will do it! I Thessalonians 5:24 
 
Joseph knew what lied ahead would be as challenging as what had come before.  But, he also knew that the God that brought him to Egypt–would use him to save it, his family and the world.  Christians have to walk with that same confidence–knowing that the God who brought us this far, WILL complete the work he has started and he will protect, prepare and provide for our every need and desire. 
 
God Bless You
 
So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’12 “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”

14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.

From Inmate to In Charge–Genesis 41 Part 2

Joseph had no way of possibly knowing that God was ready to change the entire world through the faithful walk of a local prison trustee.  He had long given up the idea of home, family and freedom and had quietly adjusted to his routine.  But, then God stepped in.  It was time to execute a plan some 12 years in the making.
 
Joseph was escorted to Pharaoh and knew immediately after hearing his dream the will of God for the life of Pharaoh. He spoke the truth, no fear, no expectations and the Pharaoh placed him in charge of all of Egypt’s operations.  Joseph had been in preparation for this job for a long time–now, as Egypt’s prime minister, he would fulfill God’s mission for his family.
 
God’s timing is never the same as our timing.  We battle through the trials, temptations and tribulations of life; never quite knowing if or when God is going to use us to shape his plan. It is most important for us to remain faithful, humble and ready to step up–for whatever he has planned for us.  When it is time, he will make it obvious that his hand is in it, and we simply need to trust Him and move forward.  It is a great gift to be able to fully rely upon God and watch him change us, and others through us.
 
God Bless You

So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”

“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”

Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do.

“It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do.

Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt,

but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land.

The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe.

The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you.

You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”

The Power of Family Values–Genesis 24 Final

It is great, when a plan works.  As God prepared  the heart of Abraham and Isaac in Canaan–he was doing the same in Haran for Abraham’s family.  When given the story, not only was the family willing to step out in faith–but, Rebekah was also willing to trust God and leave the safety of home to go meet this Isaac.  What’s more, after traveling back through the desert, they arrive back at Abraham’s home only to find Isaac in prayer.  It was clear that God was a centerpiece in the lives of the family that Abraham’s Dad, Terah, raised.  That framework, was the very driving force that pushed his son to seek his daughter-in-law from a family with the same heritage and faith.
 
One can never underestimate the power of one’s lineage and family values.  It is the power of those values and traditions, that saved humanity during the time of Noah. Those values made Abraham a nomad for 25+ years, while he waited on God to provide an heir.  It is the same values that keep his chosen today praying for like-minded families to raise spouses for their kids. 
 
We pray for the spouses for our kids daily.  from their youth, we have instilled the critical nature of marrying Godly spouses that will be aligned in faith–to journey together.  It is no small thing–as seen in the life of Abraham, to properly raise and prepare your kids to marry Godly spouses.  That is how faith travels through the lineage from Seth to Noah; from Shem to Abraham and finally from Abraham to Jesus. Since prayer is the greater work, families must pray for unity and faith to continue as a family trait and tradition.  The world will hate it, and it becomes more difficult as each generation passes–but, with God, ALL things are possible.
 
God Bless You
When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. 53 Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother. 54 Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night there.When they got up the next morning, he said, “Send me on my way to my master.”

55 But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the young woman remain with us ten days or so; then you[e] may go.”

56 But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”

57 Then they said, “Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.” 58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?”

“I will go,” she said.

59 So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,

“Our sister, may you increase
    to thousands upon thousands;
may your offspring possess
    the cities of their enemies.”

61 Then Rebekah and her attendants got ready and mounted the camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left.

62 Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. 63 He went out to the field one evening to meditate,[f] and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. 64 Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel 65 and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”

“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.

66 Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. 67 Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Visitors Are Welcome Here!–Genesis 18 Part 1

You never know who might drop in on you…On this day, Abraham had 3 visitors–they just happened to be God!  When they appeared, Abraham knew right away they were not just anybody–So he rushed out to meet them, welcomed them and treated them as honored guests in his home.  What Abraham was about to experience would be a day that he would never forget–largely, because he welcomed them honored them and trusted them.  Sadly, then as now, that rarely happened.   As Abraham and his family feverously prepared to honor their guests, God was preparing to honor Him.
 
In our lives, we have to be open to the idea that God places people in our lives like the visitors who came to Abraham. They appear and we treat them with honor and respect–only to find later they were God’s emissaries to meet us, train and bless us.  We have to be kind and respectful–trusting God to use us in the lives of others, but also knowing we may be visited by his emissaries.  We live in a society that teaches us that we are the most important person in the room.  The selfie craze is only a manifestation of our hearts attitude that constantly cries out–“Look at me!!!” As his chosen, we have to be the people that cry out, “Welcome, how can I make your day?” It is the selflessness that sets us apart and honors God.  In addition, that selflessness allows God to come in and do great things in our lives–far greater than what we could ever do for ourselves!  Treat folks with love and respect–you never know, you may be entertaining Angels!
 
God Bless You 
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. 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.He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,[a] do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 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.”

“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs[b] of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”

Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

“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.”

nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

No Thank You–Genesis 14 Final

Why wouldn’t Abram be glad to claim the treasures he and his men obtained after routing the enemies of the 5 kings? It was a simple principle for Abram–he did not want to be tied to the king in any way–not even as a benefactor.  There have always been those for whom even gifts come with a price tag–The King of Sodom was such a man.  He wanted everyone to feel that they owed him.  That is why Abram’s victory was so galling to him.  Now he owed Abram, or so he thought. 
 
The reality was that both Abram and the king of Sodom were indebted to God.  Abram saw that, that is why he gave a tithe to Melchizedek.  But, the King of Sodom wanted nothing to do with acknowledging God–so he was willing to give stuff to Abram–then Abram would be grateful.  Abram was already grateful to the provider and protector of his life–God.
 
We are often faced with opportunities to align with the world–when we do we could be enriched and put in the spotlight.  The problem is, when we become beholden to the world–no matter how innocently it happens, or how much we feel we deserve it–we are then beholden to someone other than the God who protects, provides and prepares us. 
 
We need to live in the world, but, never be indebted to the world for our lives, family or property.  We need to understand that God is our source and resource for all we are and all we have.  When that realization becomes a part of our lives, then, like Abram, we will be free.
 
God Bless You 
The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.”22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshkol and Mamre. Let them have their share.”

Following God, the Making of a Hero–Genesis 11 Part 2

After studying the Bible for almost 50 years, I remain intrigued that God was so open and transparent about his plan to save the world.  He actually, like every good author, reveals himself in almost every chapter.  As we focus on the lineage that brings us to Abraham, we realize that the age of men dropped dramatically.  From Adam to Noah–the average age of men landed in the 900’s, now, by Abraham’s time that has dropped by 80%.
 
God knew men would not change–but, he also intentionally used frail men to carry out his plan of restoration.  The other revelation, is that the men that God used were not superheroes–they were normal people who lived normal lives. It was their desire to continue to seek God that distinguished them in the history of God’s plan.  
 
If we, as his chosen people. would commit to remaining faithful to God’s word and plan–we would see that faithfulness shine in this culture.  We truly make a difference, by standing in alignment with God’s plan and walking daily in the path he has made for us.  In addition, we, like the heroes of old, draw closer to him and are sensitive to his direction–making our journey easier to align with God’s leadership.  We need not be timid or ashamed, instead; we must stand tall and firm in the faith, humbly following God at his word.
 
God Bless You
This is the account of Shem’s family line.

Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father[d] of Arphaxad. 11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. 13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.[e]

14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. 15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. 17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.

18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. 19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.

20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. 21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.

22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. 23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.

24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. 25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.

26 After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.