The Covenant–Genesis 15 Part 2

To understand how important Israel was to God, one need only see God’s hand in the ceremony of covenant. God counted Abram’s Faith as his pledge, in return God promised to the land of Canaan to Abram and his descendants. The covenant was no small matter and it’s completion was a lifetime commitment. As God is eternal, so was his covenant. 

God made a covenant with us as well. If we would trust him–as Abram did; then, he would restore our relationship and give us eternal life. Just like Abram, God’s covenant with us is also eternal. We simply must have faith and follow God–as Abram did. Then, like Abram–God will credit our faith as righteousness and give us eternal life with him. What a deal; what a gift!!

God Bless You

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

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.”

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.

As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.

On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—

What Am I Doing This For Anyway?–Genesis 15 Part 1

What am I doing this for anyway…That was Abram’s question to God.  He had just come off a sweet victory where he routed the enemy; saved his nephew and cemented his relationship with God’s high priest–Melchizedek. One would expect a celebration–at least a grateful heart–but, instead, Abram looked around and saw that in a sense he was doing all this trusting and following without leaving a legacy.  He was nearly 80–and while he had untold riches, a beautiful wife and the finest group of men in the world–he did not have a child to whom he could pass his legacy of faith and wealth.
 
Clearly, as we have marched through the history, we see the value placed upon legacy and ancestry.  From Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abram–this family was being tracked, because it was significant.  But 80 year old Abram–had no child, no heir but his faithful servant, Eliezer. Then, as God had so many times thus far, told Abram to trust him–he would in fact populate the world with a legacy that went worldwide.
 
No matter how many times God shows himself worthy, we still fear that this time, he may not come through.  It seems foolish and shortsighted, yet, we all fall into it from time to time.  As with Abram, God says to us–his chosen, “Do not be afraid, I have got this.  Look up and see I am great, in control and hopelessly devoted to you!” It is never God that fails to honor his promise, it is always us–his kids, that lose faith and hope.  Push forward–keep hopeful; know that as with Abram, God loves us and will keep his promises to us!
 
God Bless You
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.
    I am your shield,[a]
    your very great reward.[b]

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”

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

Be Careful the Company You Keep–Genesis 14 Part 1

Things were peaceful in the hills of Mamre…But down in the lush Jordan Valley, not so much! since all the kingdoms of Canaan had decided to take God out of the equation, chaos ensued.  Five Kings, were going to fight four kings–that had wiped out three kingdoms in order to be the one alliance running the valley–confusing, you betcha!  Sadly, in the midst of the confusion, Lot, Abram’s nephew, was swept up and he and all he had was captured and taken away.
 
Now, there is no mention that Lot was involved in the battle, in fact, he probably was not aware of even what was happening.  Still, his choice to have it all–led him into the chaos that was the world culture of that day.  Lot was an unwitting victim of the selfish ignorance of others–it was neither fair, nor was it his fault, but, it was a horrible price he paid for trying to dance close to the world.
 
One of the sad parts of our culture is–we hear daily of people simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time and being victimized by the world.  It is not their fault, they did not take overt steps to be victims–but their proximity to world culture is their undoing.  We as his chosen, need to choose carefully how we involve ourselves and families in the world.  It is not that we have to hide away from society and never see others, but, we can choose not to place ourselves and our families in the middle of danger. 
 
Our prayerful discernment of how we counsel our children’s friend choice, where we let our kids go and where we spend our entertainment time all weigh into our families safety and attitude regarding God, his involvement in our lives and his leadership in our daily choices.
 
We simply need to allow him to lead and seek his counsel in our daily lives and choices–most important, honor him with our daily lives and our family choices.
 
God Bless You

In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert. Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar.Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboyim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goyim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills. 11 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.

I’ll Take the High Road–Genesis 13 Part 2

jordon-valleySo many times in life we are faced with difficult decisions.  Abram and Lot were both being blessed beyond measure.  They had walked in faith and as a result, God had grown their fortunes to a point that they could no longer live in the same place.  It was  causing problems between them and between their workers.  So Abram told Lot they must separate.  But, in faithful form, Abram said you pick where you want to go and I will go elsewhere. 

Lot, picked the lush plains of the Jordon river.  It was the hip and happening place of Canaan. the lands were lush, the city life hopping and  people were absolutely evil.  Abram took the hills far from sin. In Abram’s mind, God had shown himself faithful time after time.  So wherever God put him–that would be great.  In the days ahead, God proved Abram correct.

In our lives, we are constantly faced with choices regarding following the pattern of the world or following the leadership of God.  Often the choices seem small–food, entertainment social scenes or settings.  Other times it becomes issues of life–jobs, home, family or marriage.  In all cases, if we will simply believe God is the protector and provider, we can make the choices that honor him and allow him to prepare us for our mission here, and, our eternity with him.  This life is simply not a sprint–it is a marathon.  Our training to endure, pace and focus on the end prize will distinguish us from the crowd; and it will honor God and show him to the dying world. 

Easy is rarely better and things that shine and sparkle are rarely the greatest treasure. 

Trust God–and allow him to lead.

God Bless You

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.”

10 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.

14 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.

This Land is Your Land–Genesis 12 Part 2

landAbram was faithful and when God sent him he, his wife and his nephew set out by faith to Canaan–“The Promised Land.” That name has been bantered around for millennia–but, it was in his initial steps of faith that God took Abram aside and promised Abram that he would give him and his descendants the land for as far as he could see. That was a pretty bold promise to a 75  year old husband and uncle.  Abram followed without question.

As we study through the Bible, we see great acts of faith–that only demonstrate their greatness, well after they were taken.  Abram’s inhabiting of Canaan, Joseph’s interpreting dreams, Daniel’s refusing to eat the foods of the King were all monumental steps of faith–yet, at the time each seemed kind of small.

In our journey, we too have opportunities to move forward each day in faith and allow God to be amazing in our lives.  When we do, we never know what impact those steps will have on the lives of others and on our personal faith journey. But, we do know that God promises if we trust him with all our hearts, lean not on our own understanding, acknowledge him in all our ways–then he will make our paths straight! Proverbs 3:5-6.  He did that for Abram, he will do it for us! God only calls us to be faithful–not perfect, that is his job!

God Bless You

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh and Schechem. 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.

The Flood and Faith–Genesis 7 Part 1

It must have been a daunting feeling the day Noah and his family entered the Ark.  All of the animals parading in and all the preparation for feeding and caring for the animals,  All of the behavior, the ridicule and scorn as Noah and his clan entered the boat on that sunny day.  Then the door was closed and  well, nothing happened. Nothing happened for a week. I am sure it took some time to get everyone and everything settled in.  I am also sure that as the family prepared, they had to practice the care and feeding of the animals…BUT, by day 6, faith had to be growing weak.  Of course, day seven changed everything.  The world had never seen rain or flood–the people would not have known what hit them, they never would.  Noah and his family would be the lone survivors for the world they knew.

When we are faithful, God will make our lives full and meaningful.  He will put us in positions to test our faith, and in the midst, allow us to experience every human emotion.  We do see through all of Bible history, that God always protects, provides and prepares His chosen for what lies ahead.  He allows our faith to be stretched and pushed–so when struggles hit; we can face them with confidence, not in our abilities–but in God’s character.  We can never lose either faith or hope.  Those things are gifts.  We simply trust him, follow him and allow him to steer the boat–then we will survive!

God Bless You

The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth

The Importance of Oral Tradition–Genesis 5 Part 1

It is often forgotten that, while Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Bible, prior to that, there was a rich oral history of the beginning of the nation of Israel.  What one learns, as we study these scriptures, is that the people near Noah’s time–still had the ability to talk to Adam and Seth, the 1st two generations.  The discussions about original sin, the garden, and the life of men were bantered throughout time.  It was that generational training and continued worship of God that set this lineage apart from the rest of the men in the world.  In God’s planning, there was a covering of truth and involvement in the lives of these men that made the reality of creation and life stand the teat of time.

In current culture, there are so many influences that can draw men away from God.  It is the personal influence of Godly Christian men and women that sets the Christian culture apart from the rest of the culture.  If we do not share our knowledge of God and his influence on our lives, our kids and friends will become just like the men that have no selfless influence. We can never be afraid to offend others by speaking the truth in love–It is so important to continue the tradition of God so that the lineage of God will continue for the next generation and many to come.  Our prayer, as his children, should be that we will be and raise Godly men and women that will raise Godly men and women.

God Bless You 

When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind”[a] when they were created.

When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.

When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father[b] of Enosh. After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Seth lived a total of 912 years, and then he died.

When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 10 After he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. 11 Altogether, Enosh lived a total of 905 years, and then he died.

Seth-A new Hope–Genesis 4 Final

When we look at the beginning of the world and the fall of man, Clearly, men did not start well.  Cain killed his brother and built a lineage of selfish and self-absorbed people.  With that came the bully/victim mentality and a push for self-preservation.  But, in the midst of that Adam and Eve had another son, Seth.  Seth represented a fresh start.  He was not a part of the initial pain of sin and death and he was not a part of the outright rebellion of those that proceeded him.  He instead was raised to honor God, It was his lineage that started worshipping God.  Then hope was returned.  God had not given up on men, he simply changed the relationship.  He did not love them less, but was separated by the sin that entered the world, and, as it did, a wall sprang up between men and God.  Yet in the separation, God blessed the line of Seth–the ultimate restoration of the relationship destroyed by sin.

In our day, in our world, we still look back to the restoration started with Seth carried through Noah and settling on Jesus.  It realigned men and God.  It made our choice to worship him be a personal choice, and it allowed us to reach out directly to God with our greatest needs and desires.  We do not need an intermediary–we accept him personally, seek him personally and follow him personally to an eternity of fellowship as was created and intended to be.  Today, we should call on the name of the Lord with the same fervor as did the line of Seth. 

Thanks Lord for being personal and exceptional in my life and the life of those that seek you!

God Bless You

25 Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth,[h] saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.

At that time people began to call on[i] the name of the Lord.

The Conclusion–Ecclesiastes 12 Part 2

So to close the book, the wisest man that ever lived made it simple–do the right things for the right reasons.  Do not spend your energies trying to beat the system and kicking at the Goads.  It simply does no good to fight the right way to live; and if you do the right things, you will enjoy peace and uphold your civic duty.  It is a very basic concept, but one that has stood the test of time.
 
If we would be willing to simply honor God with our lives, trust him to lead us on this journey; then we–like Solomon would see that God is faithful beyond measure, and will meet each and every need we can face and provide us a full and meaningful life on this journey and eternal life from now on!!!
 
God Bless You!
Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people.
He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs.
10 The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.

11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one shepherd.[b]

12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.

Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

13 Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.

The End of the Beginning–Ecclesiastes 11 Part 2

Solomon was closing out hos search for meaning by the recognition that life simply looks a lot different when you are young.  It is wise to know that optimism and energy are gifts for the young.  When you come across a young person that is cynical and lethargic–it is alarming and off-putting.  Conversely, when us old goats of the world still see the wonder and excitement of life–well, we are minimalized and told we are cute.
 
Life is hard, unfair, rugged and cruel.  There are events that happen and people that pass through that literally suck any positivity out of our existence.  In those times, we have to trust God to replace that which is stolen by our enemy.  Young or old, we look to God for our joy, and, as we follow him, we allow the Holy Spirit to replace the joy life talks away.  Facing life daily is hard.  The longer we endure, the more difficult it becomes.  The great news is that if we capitalize on optimism when we are young, and, we trust God for joy when we are old–well, then we complete the race and keep the faith only to see that we have only come to the end–of the beginning!
 
God Bless You
Light is sweet,
    and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
However many years anyone may live,
    let them enjoy them all.
But let them remember the days of darkness,
    for there will be many.
    Everything to come is meaningless.

You who are young, be happy while you are young,
    and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart
    and whatever your eyes see,
but know that for all these things
    God will bring you into judgment.
10 So then, banish anxiety from your heart
    and cast off the troubles of your body,
    for youth and vigor are meaningless.