God Does Provide. Genesis 22 Part 2

<It is rarely easy, it is often challenging but, it is always rewarding to trust God. Big or small, walking by faith is always the right answer. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son…but God was not. God had provision ready. He allowed Abraham and history to see that faith is always correct.

Abraham’s faith showed his son and the world that God loves us and will not ignore our needs or our willingness to follow him. In our lives, we have opportunities daily to trust him. The more we do the easier it becomes to follow him any and everywhere.

As we follow, like Abraham, we impact those we know and those to come. We can never know how great his impact will be on our lives and the lives we touch. That is why each day we must continue to trust and serve him.

God Bless You

Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”“Here I am,” he replied

“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.”

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.&It is rarely easy, it is often challenging but, it is always rewarding to trust God. Big or small, walking by faith is always the right answer. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son…but God was not. God had provision ready. He allowed Abraham and history to see that faith is always correct.

Abraham’s faith showed his son and the world that God loves us and will not ignore our needs or our willingness to follow him. In our lives, we have opportunities daily to trust him. The more we do the easier it becomes to follow him any and everywhere.

As we follow, like Abraham, we impact those we know and those to come. We can never know how great his impact will be on our lives and the lives we touch. That is why each day we must continue to trust and serve him.

God Bless You

Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”“Here I am,” he replied

“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.”

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.;It is rarely easy, it is often challenging but, it is always rewarding to trust God. Big or small, walking by faith is always the right answer. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son…but God was not. God had provision ready. He allowed Abraham and history to see that faith is always correct.

Abraham’s faith showed his son and the world that God loves us and will not ignore our needs or our willingness to follow him. In our lives, we have opportunities daily to trust him. The more we do the easier it becomes to follow him any and everywhere.

As we follow, like Abraham, we impact those we know and those to come. We can never know how great his impact will be on our lives and the lives we touch. That is why each day we must continue to trust and serve him.

God Bless You

Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”“Here I am,” he replied

“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.”

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

Live Like Christ–But Do it in His Power 1 Peter 4

There is a sense of urgency–We should be living as though Christ is returning…Because he is! It is so easy to become complacent in these current circumstances.  No matter how comfortable things seem, we are living for eternity.  That means we seek God, we love others and we act as he would act.  The great news is that we do not have to do it in our power.  The Holy Spirit comes and fills us and guides us to living a Christ like life. 

So what does that life look like, well according to Peter their are three major components–Love, selflessness and humility. If we are selfless and humble, it does not mean we act like EEOre.  It only means that we are always looking for ways to promote others and show them Christ in our lives. Loving others means that we see the from God’s perspective and as members of our family.  We accept them as they are but steer them to the wonderful journey with Christ.  Life is about selfless, loving humility.

Living that kind of life is a sign we are looking to eternity–not simply existing for today!

God Bless You

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Follow Me–1 Mark 1 part 3

How easy is it to follow the Lord.  Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself take up his cross and follow me.” Luke 9.  When Jesus started out, he was looking for men that were to become the pillars of the church. He did not go to Jerusalem, he went to the shores of the sea of Galilee. There he found Andrew, Peter, James and John. Four men, all gainfully employed, simply walked away from all they knew to follow the son of God.  In the days to come, these men were able to share time, trials, meals and their hearts with the one true God.

They were the first to experience a personal relationship with God.  Until that time, God had a relationship directly with prophets, priests and kings.  Now he would begin building personal relationships with folks like us. The question is– are we willing to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him.  Would we walk away from our worldly life.  Would we submit to his plan and leadership.  Andrew, Peter, James and John left everything. In exchange, they were a part of something that changed the world.  Jesus wants us at all costs—help me Lord to follow you the same way.

God Bless You

16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.

19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

I Samuel 25 continued–Sacrifice Saves

Abigail did not know David.  She had no reason to believe her plea would make a difference.  But, her wisdom caused her to make amends and attempt to right what her husband had botched up.  She was honest, vulnerable and confident that God would protect her…and he did.  What an amazing story .

In our lives we are sometimes faced with situations that are not of our making. We are left to clean up messes left by those around us.  While it is easier to ignore them or convince ourselves that it is not our problem—often, a contrite heart and an honest spirit can repair the damage even when done by others.  God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  As we live like him, we lead sacrificial lives.  We are ready to step out to serve others whether they deserve it or not.  Like David, God will honor such a life.

God Bless You

18 Abigail wasted no time. She quickly gathered 200 loaves of bread, two wineskins full of wine, five sheep that had been slaughtered, nearly a bushel[b] of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 fig cakes. She packed them on donkeys 19 and said to her servants, “Go on ahead. I will follow you shortly.” But she didn’t tell her husband Nabal what she was doing.

20 As she was riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, she saw David and his men coming toward her. 21 David had just been saying, “A lot of good it did to help this fellow. We protected his flocks in the wilderness, and nothing he owned was lost or stolen. But he has repaid me evil for good. 22 May God strike me and kill me[c] if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning!”

23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed low before him. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say. 25 I know Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man; please don’t pay any attention to him. He is a fool, just as his name suggests.[d] But I never even saw the young men you sent…32 David replied to Abigail, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! 33 Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands. 34 For I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, who has kept me from hurting you, that if you had not hurried out to meet me, not one of Nabal’s men would still be alive tomorrow morning.” 35 Then David accepted her present and told her, “Return home in peace. I have heard what you said. We will not kill your husband.”

I Samuel 22–When Life Loses Value

What happens when life no longer matters? That was the issue that faced Saul as he faced the priests that assisted David.  He had already committed to killing David—to attempt to keep what He had already lost. Once Saul started down that road, killing more became meaningless.  In a swift decision he ordered the deaths of God’s priests simply because they helped David. His men refused to kill God’s priests. They still saw the line…but Saul had allowed his personal desires and fears to obscure the value of life and so the line of being a ruler and being a killer.

In current culture, we struggle with similar issues. We have allowed our selfishness to color our perception of life’s value. The unborn, the poor, the sick and the elderly—once considered treasures to be protected and preserved are now considered inconvenient and obsolete.  We are more than willing to help unless it becomes a bother or a conflict in our schedules.  Like Saul, we try to gather and keep things we have no control or title to.  Jim Elliot, a missionary that was martyred in South America said it best, “He is no fool that trades what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Life holds great value—God knew that.  That is why he sacrificed the life of his soon to redeem the world. But, when we discount life’s value to the point that anything else becomes more important—we soon find Life totally loses its value. Help me Lord to always remember the value of life and especially the value of your life.

God Bless You

Then the king ordered the guards at his side: “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because they too have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, yet they did not tell me.”

But the king’s officials were unwilling to raise a hand to strike the priests of the Lord.

18 The king then ordered Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests.” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19 He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep.

20 But one son of Ahimelek son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to join David. 21 He told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, “That day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your whole family. 23 Stay with me; don’t be afraid. The man who wants to kill you is trying to kill me too. You will be safe with me.”

Excruciating Friendship-I Samuel 20 part 2

Sometimes a true friend can only listen and grieve.  It is great to be a friend when things are easy—more difficult to be a friend when things are dire.  Jonathan could only ache as he watched his father mark his friend for death.  He could still deliver him.  He could still be committed to him—but he could not affect the outcome in any way.  In those times, a friends very inability to change the outcome is also the lovely act that shows commitment.  Jonathan never backed away, abandoned or betrayed his commitment to David.  That commitment would stay with David all the days of his life.

 In our lives, we are faced many times with situations where all we can do is listen, grieve and pray for our friends.  Our temptation is to want to withdraw, because it literally hurts not to be able to help.  In other times we simply wear out and no longer desire to remain in the messy lives of others.  But, the true friends roll up their sleeves and stay in the lives of their friends in need.  Often times, when they do, they feel hopeless and inadequate—NOT TRUE.  It is in those times, as with David, that we have the greatest impact on those we love.  Our steadfast prayer, continued encouragement and small gifts are the very lifelines that keep our friends from giving up. 

 If I were to list all of you that have profoundly changed my life, I fear this devotion would extend for pages.  Suffice it to say, that You will only find out in Glory how much you truly did to save the Smith household and how eternally grateful I am and we are! To each of you I can only humbly say thank you for never backing away. 

God Bless You

 28 Jonathan answered, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.”

30 Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? 31 As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!”

32 “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.

34 Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.

35 In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David. He had a small boy with him, 36 and he said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called out after him, “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?” 38 Then he shouted, “Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master. 39 (The boy knew nothing about all this; only Jonathan and David knew.) 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, “Go, carry them back to town.”

Matthew 19 Final–With God all things are Possible

With God all things are possible.  It seems often that life is impossible.  Trials and temptations leave us stressed and feeling hopeless.  The great thing about God is that in the midst of the trials he is still in charge and executing his plan for our lives.  He is intimately concerned for us.  He is also amazingly generous in our lives.  We can never out give or out serve him.

God sees our hearts and is thrilled to prepare rewards for the efforts we have expended in our following him.  Like any dad, he does not love us based upon our efforts, but, he is thrilled to bless, direct and reward us for our faithfulness.  The distinction is understanding our behavior is not what saves us, but it is simply our faith that he is Lord and God has raised him from the dead that saves us.  Once saved, we cannot help but behave in a way that honors him.  We do it out of Love–not to obtain his Love.  None the less, he joyfully rewards our faithfulness and prepares for us an incredible inheritance in the kingdom to come.

Help me Lord to follow you knowing that I can never out give or out serve you.

God Bless You

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[e] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.