Saturday, June 30, 2012

Weeds

The last time I weeded the flower beds was about a month ago; life has been busy.  Needless to say, when my husband went outside to do some yard work, he had a big job with the weeding.  Weeds are persistent; if we do not keep on top of them they will take over our flower beds.  I really should have been going out there every other day just to check up on the flower beds and it would have taken hardly any time at all to take care of the weeds.  I could have pulled them up at the very first sign of them before their roots had a chance to take hold.  Instead, because I let it go for a month the weeds were terrible!  My poor rose bushes were being invaded by an vine and the flower bed that has been empty this summer became full of weeds.

Our spiritual lives are like that as well.  We need to be purposeful at taking out the behavior that belongs to our human nature.  But the only way to do that is through the power of Christ.  Without Christ, the weeds are too tall and the roots too big to be able to pull out - we might just be able to chop them down, but the weeds of human nature will pop back up.  Christ can remove them completely, but we need to come before Him daily in prayer and in the Bible so He can do the weeding He so desperately wants to do.  But, just like my empty flower bed, we also need to let Christ fill our hearts with His beauty and righteousness so there is no room for the weeds to take root again.  We need to let Christ empty our hearts of the weeds and then let Him plant His Word into us.

James 1:21 (NLT) says, "So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls."

Have you let Christ do some weeding in your heart lately?

This post is linked with Spiritual Sundays.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Interesting Timing

Genesis 24:54-67

I was just having a conversation with a friend the other day about how interesting it is when God takes action.  So many times when we read a story in the Bible, we lose the context of time.  We don't always grasp how long it takes from a person's prayer or encounter with God to the moment of action.  Take Abraham, for example, he was promised a nation yet it took 25 years before Isaac was born!  Not only that, he was 100 years old and Sarah was 99; they waited almost all their lives for that moment.  Abraham wasn't even given his promise from God until he was in his seventies.  When we are just reading through the story or reading bits and pieces of it we lose that perspective.  This is another story with a perspective of time.  Earlier this week I mentioned that Isaac had to be older than thirty by the time Abraham sent his servant to find him a wife; however, I have since learned that he was 40 years old.  With that perspective of time in mind, please turn to Genesis 24:54-67.

Abraham waited 40 years for a wife for his son and sent his servant to his father's home to find a wife.  Through a miraculous answer of prayer, the servant received confirmation from God that he had found the wife for Isaac.  Not only had God confirmed that Rebekah was the one for Isaac, but Laban quickly agreed that God had led the servant to their household.  This is where God's timing is so interesting because it took 40 years to get to this point and now things were spinning so fast with no road blocks to be found.  The only potential road block was the servant's request to leave right away while the family asked for the traditional 10 days of saying good-bye to Rebekah.  Rebekah said she was willing to leave right away and left with the servant.  We see at the end of the chapter that Isaac loved Rebekah deeply.

It is worth waiting on God's timing rather than trying to create our own solutions.  Because Isaac waited, God blessed him with beautiful Rebekah who was a perfect wife for him.  But while the wait took so long, once God had things spinning in motion, things ended rapidly.  Have you ever experienced that as well?  Perhaps you have prayed for a long time, years even, and then suddenly God moved His hand in that situation and there was no stopping the forward motion!  In fact, when that happens things seem to move so fast, your head is spinning.  Things happen in a way that we never imagined would happen and we can rejoice in the way God moves.  He is so creative and He sees a much bigger picture than we can, so we can trust His timing.  Don't be discouraged; keep waiting on God because when He begins to move in your situation there will be no keeping up with Him!

Are you waiting and praying for something?  Are you prepared for God amazing movement when it happens?

This post is linked with Faith-Filled Fridays.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Praise For What God Has Done

Genesis 24:21-53

Each and every week, we have an opportunity for corporate worship at our local church service.  However, what happens in our hearts throughout the week.  Are we ever brought to praise God because of the beautiful world He created?  Are we ever brought to praise God because of His love and faithfulness.  Are we ever brought to praise God because of who He is?  What about when God answers our prayers in the affirmative?  We should be brought to praise and thankfulness because when we pray a big prayer and see God step in we know that He is all-powerful and He cares about us.  This week, I have been looking at the story in Genesis when Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac.  The servant prayed a big prayer and asked God to show him who Isaac's wife should be; let's look at his reaction when God answered his prayer in Genesis 24:21-53.

In these verses, we see that Abraham's servant had the opportunity to pray to God for himself and he saw an immediate answer to his prayer.  I'm sure if the servant had any doubt about God, they were wiped away in that moment.  Have you ever had a moment like that where you came to know God in a new way because of the way He answered prayer or met a need.  Notice the servant's reaction when he realized that God had answered his prayer.  He bowed low and gave God praise for what he had done.  When Laban, Rebekah's brother, heard the story he knew that Rebekah would need to go back with Abraham's servant.  Upon hearing this news, the servant began to worship God again.  What wonderful confirmation of God's faithfulness and care this servant experienced in this moment.

Abraham had told his servant that God would make him successful on this mission; however, hearing it and experiencing it are two different things.  It reminds me of a time when my friend called me and my husband and asked us to help them move a swing set from their neighbor's yard into their yard.  She explained that she asked God to give them the swing set only if the neighbors were no longer using it.  Later that day, the neighbor came over and asked them if they would like the swing set.  I was so amazed by that story!  But I had been wishing we could afford to buy a swing set as well and I never thought of asking God for one.  So I prayed that if there was someone in our neighborhood that wasn't using their swing set that God would put it on their heart to give it to us.  The next day the lady who lived next to our church came into the church office (which was across the street from our house) and asked my husband if there was anyone in the church that would like her swing set.  I was amazed and praised God and began telling people the story of what God had done.  I had heard of God's care and power through my friend's story which brought me to praise God; however, experiencing it myself brought me to a whole new place in my relationship with God and my understanding of His care for me.  Big or little, God wants us to turn to Him for our needs and our response should be one of great praise.

Have you praised God for what He is doing in your life?

This post is linked with the Grace Cafe and Thought Provoking Thursday.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Confirmation

Genesis 24:9-21

A few months ago, I read the book, The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson where he challenges his readers to pray big prayers.  He even says that when we pray big prayers that seem impossible to us, we will have no doubt that our prayers were answered by God.  He explained that when we pray for something that could easily happen on our own, when it does happen we question whether or not God played a role.  That is not to say that we should be praying over all things; however, if we never ask God to step in and do the impossible, we miss out on seeing the hand of God move in a mighty way.  I can relate because there have been prayers that I have made for the ordinary (which is good), but when I see the fulfillment of them it is really easy to wonder if I did it or if God stepped in.  It is in our prayers for the extraordinary that everyone who hears about it can have no doubt that God did a miracle.  The story I am looking at is one of faith and a big prayer; please turn to Genesis 24:9-21.

I first want to look at one thing that I brushed over yesterday and it is mentioned again at the beginning of these verses.  Abraham asked his servant to swear an oath by placing his hand under Abraham's thigh.  Today, we see that the servant took this oath before setting off on his journey.  I did a little research and found many differing opinions on what that means; however, there was agreement on the fact that this was a very solemn oath.  Some scholars believe that it symbolized that he was swearing this oath on Abraham's seed.  Some Jewish scholars pointed out that it was because Abraham knew how sacred the circumcision was in the fulfillment of God's promise and having the servant swear an oath near the circumcision was swearing by God and using something sacred to bind the oath.  This is something we will see again later in the book of Genesis, so I just wanted to point out how this was probably the most sacred way a human could bind an oath.

We see that after making this sacred oath, the servant turned to God to fulfill this oath.  The servant knew that he would need God to direct him to the woman God had set aside for Isaac.  The thing I find interesting is that he prayed to Abraham's God; he didn't go directly to God as his God.  I don't know if this marked his status as a servant or if he didn't have a relationship with God where he felt like He was his God; but I do know that as followers of Christ we have the confidence of going to our Creator's throne as our God.  He prayed a big prayer where he asked God for some specific signs to help guide him to who he should bring back.  The thing that made me chuckle is that God fulfilled the signs exactly as the servant asked and then the servant wondered if God had directed him to the right person.  This makes me laugh because, I have asked God for confirmation and when He gave me confirmation, I still wondered if God wanted me to do that which I had asked for confirmation!  We see that not only had God confirmed with him the right woman, we see that she met all of Abraham's qualifications (although the servant didn't know this yet).

We can go boldly before God's throne and ask for big things or for confirmation for our next steps (Hebrews 10:19-22).  But when those prayers are answered, we also need to believe what God has given or revealed. When God reveals something to us, there is no need to doubt because He can do all things and He always does what He says He will do.  But I also understand - I have asked for confirmation on some difficult things as well.  When we receive confirmation for those things, it is easy to say, "Yes, but is this something God really wants me to do?"  I guess that is why Mark Batterson wrote about the importance for asking big.  When we ask big, we have no doubt when we receive the answer.

Do you need confirmation for something from God?  Are you asking for big and specific confirmation?

This post is linked with Word-Filled Wednesday and iFellowship Blog Hop.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Living Like a Promise Fulfilled

Genesis 24:1-8

It has been such a blessing to slow down and take the time to read through the stories in Genesis.  Every time I have read Genesis, I read through it as if I am reading another book; it is so narrative that I forget that I need to sit back and reflect on what I am reading.  Going through and really thinking about the stories I am reading has been a wonderful experience and I hope it has been good for those of you who have been patient enough to follow along.  We are now nearing the last few chapters of Abraham's life in Genesis and I have been so overwhelmed by his life of complete faith.  Today, the verses I am reading once again reminds me that I have so much growing to do in my faith walk.  Come, be challenged along with me and read Genesis 24:1-8.

Abraham decided that it was time to find a wife for Isaac; however, this would take great effort because he didn't want Isaac to marry a Canaanite woman.  I think about this and how old Isaac was by this point in his life - he was around 30 years old, if not older.  This makes me think of how Abraham trusted God in everything, including waiting for a wife for his son.  He knew that the only way the promise would be fulfilled was if Isaac was married; however, settling for a Canaanite woman was not an option.  Abraham allowed God to say who Isaac's wife would be.  One thing Abraham knew for sure is that he wanted a wife who worshiped God so Isaac wouldn't be led astray from the rituals of the Canaanites.  So, Abraham sent a servant to his father's home land to find a wife for Isaac.

This would be a long journey, and the servant was concerned that he would not be able to find a wife for his master's son.  The servant expressed his concerns about finding a wife and asked if he should take Isaac there if he was not successful.  Abraham's answer was interesting and one full of great faith: "'No!' Abraham responded.  'Be careful never to take my son there.  For the Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and my native land, solemnly promised to give this land to my descendants.'"  Abraham lived in a way as if the promise was already fulfilled.  He was not going to leave the land promised to him and he was not going to let his son leave the land either.  There was no going back to where he once was; there was only looking forward.

We are part of the promise for a better life.  As I considered this a little yesterday, think about how Abraham's example is so important for us to follow.  Do we live as though we are staking our claim in our heavenly promise?  Do we continue looking forward toward the promise that lays before us, or do we long to go back to where we once were?  Are we putting our foot down and claiming that promise for our family and refusing to go back to the life we had before Christ got a hold of our hearts?  This is real and this promise is forever.  Just as Abraham allowed that promise to dictate how he would live his life; we are to also live in a way that shows we are a part of the promise.  James 1:21 (NLT) says, "So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls."  That word is the promise we have in Christ and it is planted in our hearts.  There is no room for our old human nature and there is no time to look back!

Are you looking forward and living as a promise fulfilled?

This post is linked with On Your Heart Tuesday and Soli Deo Gloria.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Heavenly Homeland

Genesis 23

With my husband as a pastor, our family has lived in many places.  Each and every place we have lived and served, our hearts have fallen in love with the church and community.  Each and every time, I have longed for permanence and a place to finally settle.  There are some wonderful things that has happened through our moves and we have so many dear friends in many places.  I think that is why I use Facebook; it is a wonderful way to see how my friends are doing.  Reading the chapter I am looking at today reminds me of the lack of permanence that my family has had, yet God has been leading us and guiding us all along the way.  Please read Genesis 23.

Abraham was so far from feeling like a permanent resident anywhere that he had never purchased any land to use for a burial site.  That is an amazing statement because Abraham was very wealthy and could have bought a lot of land to use however he wanted, yet he never put down any permanent stakes.  To me, that shows how much he was willing to follow God anywhere.  In this chapter, we see that he was no longer living among the Philistines, but he was living with the Hittites.  Abraham insisted on buying the piece of land to bury Sarah and the interaction for acquiring the land was interesting.  Perhaps this was a cultural norm to offer the land for free yet the person acquiring the land would still pay; this may have been what was considered sensitive in this situation.  Either way, Abraham paid for the plot of land and he wouldn't have to worry about someone later having bitter feelings because the land was given to him for free.  He could use the site to bury his family without fear of someone claiming it was their land.

This isn't as significant to us today, but this shows how much Abraham lacked permanence.  He didn't even have a place to bury his wife.  It is easy for me to understand this concept having lived in many places, but I wonder how many of us go beyond our physical home and look to our heavenly home.  The Bible tells us that this is not our permanent home and the Spirit in us longs for our eternal home.  Hebrews 11:13-16 says, "All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."  We are part of this promise; a promise for a better place - a heavenly homeland!

Are you putting your roots and focus toward your heavenly homeland?

This post is linked with Monday Musings and Sharing His Beauty.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pictures

I love going through our pictures because it brings back so many memories.  Yesterday, I was online making a couple of photo books with a coupon I had and really enjoyed the process because it was taking me back to some of the fun times our family had throughout the year.  Going through pictures can also document some painful times as well.  Looking at this last school year in pictures also amazed me because my kiddos look older now than they did nine or ten months ago!  But overall, going through pictures brings a happiness at seeing the good times in full color.

We have a spiritual photo album as well that is also good to look at.  This photo album marks the significant ways we grew in our relationship with God.  In this spiritual photo album, we see things that are painful and joyful, but in all things we see how God used them to help us grow.  We can look through our spiritual photo album and see how we graduated from the school of bitterness and grief into the higher learning of forgiveness and healing.  We see how we marked major milestones such as learning to trust God even more. I would encourage you to look back and see how God has been with you all along; even if you don't feel like His has been.  Ask God to open your eyes and see the pictures in your spiritual photo album and you will be blessed!


This post is linked with Spiritual Sundays.

Friday, June 22, 2012

God Will Provide the Lamb

Genesis 22:3-24

Yesterday, I explored what our responses are to God when He asks us to sacrifice something that is near and dear to our hearts.  I am humbled greatly by Abraham's response because he got up and set off early the next day to do what God asked - to sacrifice Isaac.  Today, I want to look at even further how great Abraham's faith and relationship with God was.  The verses I am looking at pick up right where I had left off yesterday; please read Genesis 22:3-24.

As I was reading through these verses, Abraham said something to Isaac that stuck in my heart.  Isaac inquired where the lamb was for the offering, and Abraham's reply was, "God will provide the lamb."  What an amazing statement of faith!  This makes me think again of my own responses when God asks something that seems too difficult.  Do I respond knowing that when He is asking me to give something up that He will provide in its place?  When I was a child, my mom used to say, "God only takes something away to give us something better."  It is just so hard in that moment to imagine that something could be better than what we are so comfortable with!  It is hard to imagine that doing something that is going to bring pain will be replaced joy.

"God will provide the lamb."  Abraham spoke with such great faith, yet I don't know if he realized how prophetic that statement was!  God certainly provided the Lamb - the Lamb that would cover the sins of all who believe.  Don't you find it interesting that in that moment God provided a ram?  I know theologians have looked at this moment in the Bible as symbolic of the great sacrifice God would make through Jesus - the Lamb of God.  It was almost as if God was saying, "Not yet.  My Lamb will come and will cover the sins of all."  Abraham sacrificed the ram and called that place "Yahweh-Yireh," which means the Lord will provide.

He surely is our Provider, and He truly loves us deeply.  His love for us is greater than we can comprehend and we can trust that God will provide.  He has already provided for our greatest need: life.  Without Christ we are dying an eternal death, but through the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross we are made whole.  We are no longer separated from God because of sin; the Lamb of God made us right with God.  When we believe and accept the need for the Lamb, we receive eternal life.  With our greatest need already provided, we have the assurance that God knows all our needs and will provide.  He is our Yahweh-Yireh.

Do you believe that God will provide something even better than what He has asked you to sacrifice?

This post is linked with Faith-Filled Friday.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

When God Calls

Genesis 22:1-3

Sometimes God asks something of us that requires giving up something we hold dear.  For me, He has asked me and my husband to move away from family and friends.  My testimony is that even though it felt like a big sacrifice, He has used those moves to grow my faith even more and give me opportunities I never would have imagined experiencing.  Reading through Genesis, I have been challenged by Abraham's great faith in God.  Everything that I have read so far has been complete obedience to God.  Over the next few days I will be looking at his faith and obedience even when God asked something that was extremely difficult.  Please read Genesis 22:1-3.

These verses are so challenging to read!  First, Abraham answered God's call immediately by saying, "Here I am."  This is such a wonderful example and reminder on how we are to be with God.  Are we always listening for His call and are we always willing to say, "Here I am."  Do we anticipate and delight in hearing from God, or do we shrink away?  Abraham lived a life where he was ready to answer God's call.  The second thing that is challenging is to see how God asked what seemed like an impossible thing for Abraham to do - sacrifice his son, Isaac.  The son whom God had chosen for the fulfillment of His promise with Abraham to become a great nation.  We read in these verses that the first thing the next morning Abraham set out to do what God had commanded.

I think about how we read last week that it was difficult for Abraham to send Ishmael off into the wilderness, so I cannot imagine how he must have felt on what he thought would be his last journey with his beloved son, Isaac.  But no matter how he felt about the matter, he obeyed and began the journey to sacrifice his son.  I can't even imagine what must have been going through his head when he thought about facing Sarah when he would have to come home without Isaac.  We will see later that God had different plans and was not going to allow Abraham to sacrifice Isaac; He was testing Abraham.

We each have something that we hold dear to our hearts and how would we respond if God asked us to give them up?  How will we respond when He asks us to sacrifice what we hold dear?  This is such a challenging question to ask of myself.  Will I respond with obedience?  Will I trust God's direction?  No matter what, God wants us to believe in Him and believe and trust Him.  What He asks of us is not always easy, but it is always what is best.

Do you willingly obey God when He calls?

This post is linked with Thought Provoking Thursday and the Grace Cafe.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tamarisk Tree

Genesis 21:22-34

No matter what we think, we leave an impression on the people we are around.  That impression will be either positive or negative whether or not we are trying to leave a positive or negative impression.  One thing that I think would be a safe thing to assume is that unless we are purposefully leaving a positive impression we run the risk of leaving a negative impression.  I say this because it takes purpose to live life in a way that pleases and honors God and it is living that lifestyle that helps leave an impression that is positive and will draw people to God.  Don't get me wrong, even with living a life full of integrity and humility we will find people who will view as their enemy, but many others will see the difference Christ makes in us.  Today, as I continue through the book of Genesis, I am looking at another meeting of Abraham and Abimelech; please turn to Genesis 21:22-34.

The first thing that caught my attention was Abimelech's need for a covenant from Abraham that he would never deceive him.  This reminded me of Abraham's original deception when he told Abimelech that Sarah was his sister.  While that was a true statement, it was a deception because he failed to tell Abimelech that Sarah was his wife.  God save Abimelech from sinning and kept him from sleeping with Sarah.  So, you can see why Abimelech would want assurance from Abraham that he wouldn't deceive him.  The other thing was the reality that Abimelech recognized that God's hand was on Abraham and he seemed to understand that an enemy of Abraham would be an enemy of God.

But what caught my attention even more in these verses was the fact that Abraham planted a tamarisk tree by the well of Beersheba.  This is an interesting tree or shrub that is native to Africa and the Near East.  In the United States, we can find it in the Southwest; however, it was brought there as an ornamental tree and has spread in the wild.  As you can see from the picture, it is a tree that produces branches of delicate flowers and is quite beautiful in bloom.  Many people in the Southwest find it annoying because it is a tree that not only requires a salty soil, but it adds salt to the soil which makes it harder for other plants native to the area to grow.  It adds salt to the soil!  What an interesting tree for Abraham to plant after swearing an oath with Abimelech.

Think about the words Jesus said in Matthew 5:13 (NLT), "You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless."  We are the salt of the earth!  Maybe I'm stretching things here, but how neat is it that Abraham would plant a tree that adds salt to the soil after swearing an oath of integrity?  When we live out our lives with integrity and living out the nature of Christ, we add salt to this world.  Salt is an important preservative and flavoring, and we even need it in our bodies!  So, when Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth we need to consider seriously what that means.  Without the truth of Christ in this world, what would happen?  The world cannot produce it's own salt, it is only through the hope of Christ that the world can have salt.  And the amazing thing about God's plan is that He chose us to be the ones to add the salt in this lost world.  In a sense, God has planted us like the tamarisk tree to salt the soil around us.  No matter where we are, there are lost people that God wants to sprinkle with salt.

Are you adding salt to the soil around you?

This post is linked with iFellowship Blog Hop and Word-Filled Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Thirst

Genesis 21:8-21

I am one of those people who have to make a conscious effort to drink water because I just don't drink a lot and then find myself very thirsty later.  In fact at this very minute, I am savoring a wonderfully hot cup of coffee that was just percolated (I'm not at home, but the percolator did a great job!).  I probably should be refreshing with water because there are sooooo many health benefits to drinking more water. Nonetheless, I will go for long stretches without drinking anything and then wonder why I am getting a headache later in the day.  When I finally hydrate myself, I begin to think clearly and my headache is subdued a bit.  So, I try to remember to fill a bottle of water and bring it to work with me so I will drink water throughout the day.  It is amazing what a wonderful difference it makes for me when I do purposefully drink water.  The story I am looking at is about Ishmael and Hagar in distress and desperately needing water.  Please read Genesis 21:8-21.

Hagar and Ishmael were sent away because Sarah saw them making fun of Isaac.  This seems like such a harsh response and Abraham was heart-broken over it; however, Abraham was given assurance by God that He was allowing this and Ishmael would become a great nation as well.  As we read these verses, we see that this didn't make life easy for Hagar and Ishmael because they were out in the wilderness, but God met them at their greatest need and opened Hagar's eyes so she could see a well.  In fact, Ishmael ended up growing up in the wilderness and we see that God was with him.  I think of how great their thirst must have been because it refers to the fact that Ishmael was crying.  Keep in mind that by this point Ishmael was older; he was not a young boy.  He must have been around 15 years old because we are told that Isaac was done nursing.  So, for a 15 year old boy to be thirsty enough to be brought to tears is pretty horrible.  Yet, God provided the water so that His promise to Abraham would be fulfilled.

We can all experience a spiritual thirst that is painful.  Perhaps it is a thirst we brought on ourselves because we are not spending time with God and in the Bible.  When that is the case, we can seek out God and find refreshment in His presence as we pray and worship and spend time in His Word.  But sometimes, God allows circumstances to arise that throws us out into the wilderness.  Because we are in a new and unfamiliar place that is so isolated, we may find that our connection to God is lost.  It isn't until we are thirsty that we realize that we desperately need to refresh ourselves with the Living Water that Christ promised to all His followers (John 7:38).  When we are out in the wilderness we need to cry out to God to open our eyes and reveal the well of Living Water that we are craving.  It is there; we just need Him to show it to us.  So, even in the wilderness of life, God is with us and growing us and quenching our thirst.  Perhaps He gives us our wilderness times so that we learn to realize our need for Living Water in a way that we never imagined we needed it.

Are you in the wilderness and thirsty right now?  Have you cried out to God to refresh you at His well?

As the deer pants for streams of water, 
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 
When can I go and meet with God?
Psalm 42:1-2 (NIV)

This post is linked with On Your Heart Tuesdays and Soli Deo Gloria.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Lord Keeps His Word

Genesis 21:1-6

We owned an old van that had 189,000 miles on it.  It was running a bit rough, but we were going to take it to the repair shop to see if we could squeeze out another year and maybe make it to 200,000.  But I was also getting concerned because that old van was our only working vehicle.  We are not in a financial situation where a loan for a vehicle was going to work for us, so I began praying about it.  A few weeks ago, I really felt God speak to my heart that He would provide for us and to just wait and see what He would do.  A few days later, we found out that my in-laws were going to sell us their car which had about 100,000 fewer miles on it and running much better than the van.  We were still planning on running the van into the ground and take advantage of having two vehicles; however, after taking the newer car home and having it for two days my husband got in a car accident with our van.  Someone pulled out in front of him and he had very little opportunity to break.  No one was hurt!  Needless to say, because of the age of the van  and the condition it was in after the accident, the insurance decided it was totaled.  What could have been devastating made us see God's blessings all the more because we saw how He provided in advance for us.  We have been given a check from the insurance to replace the van, so we will be able to still have a van for our family of five!  God promised us His provision, and He provided more than expected and in a way we definitely didn't expect.  Today, we will see how God kept His word and provided for Sarah; please read Genesis 21:1-6.

I love how verse one says (in NLT), "The Lord kept His word..."  Isn't that a beautiful statement?  But the statement gets even better, "...and did for Sarah exactly what He had promised."  There are a few things in there that are wonderful and amazing!  First, we are told that God did exactly what He had promised.  That is a wonderful statement and we can know that is how God always works - He always does exactly what He promises.  When God tells us something, we know it will happen.  The other thing that caught my eye was that it says, "...and did for Sarah..."  Isn't that interesting?  God had promised Abraham a great nation and kings as his descendants; however, He promised Sarah a son.  And in that moment, God's promise for Sarah to have a son had been fulfilled.

We don't have to know all the details, and often we will not know all the details but we can trust that God will always do what He says.  Psalm 145:13 says, "For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.  You rule throughout all generations.  The Lord always keeps His promises; He is gracious in all He does."  Isn't that wonderful?  The Lord always keeps His promises!  Big and small all His promises will be fulfilled.  God is so good!

Do you believe in God's promises for your life?

This post is linked with Monday Musings and Sharing His Beauty.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Way Out

Genesis 20

Sometimes when I look back on some decisions I made I wonder how different it would have turned out if I only would have sought God for direction.  It is in those moments that I just wonder what miracle of God I might have missed out on because I tried to fix things my own way.  The story I am looking at is one of those stories in the Bible where I wonder how things would have turned differently.  Today's story will sound similar to one that I read a few weeks ago because it is about Abraham telling a king that Sarah was his sister.  Please read Genesis 20.

In this chapter we read about Abraham and Sarah telling the king of Gerar that they are brother and sister.  As a result, the king took Sarah as his wife.  There are so many things that I find interesting in this story with the first being that Sarah was old!  Her beauty must have been amazing if in her nineties she was attractive to a king.  The other thing I noticed was that they have been through this before and got kicked out of Egypt.  So, in a sense what they decided to do was very risky because they could find themselves being banned from the area.

That isn't what happened because of God's intervention.  God came to King Abimelech in a dream and revealed to him who Sarah was.  God also made everyone in the city infertile as a result of Abimelech taking Sarah as his wife.  He never had the opportunity to sleep with her, so she was sent back to Abraham with many gifts.  Abraham, in turn prayed over the king and healed everyone in the city.  We don't know if Abimelech knew God before this, but I love how God recognized that this was a situation where Abimelech would need intervention and He came to him.  God was not going to let Abimelech fall into sin unknowingly; God warned him and gave him a way out.

We need to remember this because God doesn't want to see us fall into sin, nor does he enjoy seeing us give in to temptation.  James 1:13 (NLT) says, "And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, 'God is tempting me.'  God is never tempted to do wrong and He never tempts anyone else."  God wants what is best for us and will help us find a way out.  1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT) says, "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful.  He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.  When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure."  I love that!  God wants us to succeed and He will show us how.

Do you look to God for a way out of your temptations?

You are invited to read my post Beautiful Friendships on Seeds of Faith Women.

This post is linked with Faith Filled Friday.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Declining Values

Genesis 19:30-38

Have you ever noticed that one bad decision usually breeds another?  When we make a poor choice it brings us even closer to other temptations and poor choices.  We may not even notice this decline because it happens over time and it doesn't seem so bad.  I would liken it to a poor diet.  One thing I noticed is that I tend to crave sweet foods and the more I eat something sweet the more I crave it and over time I am eating more and more sweet things throughout the day.  In order to eat healthy, it requires purposeful decisions and actions on my part but it requires absolutely no thought at all to consume unhealthy foods.  As I have been reading about Lot's experience with Sodom, I have looked at how the culture he chose to live in was having an effect on his moral values.  Today, I want to look at some of the results of his lifestyle.  Please read Genesis 19:30-38.

Lot chose to live among the cities of the plain when it was time to separate with Abraham.  At the time, he wasn't concerned with the surrounding culture because he was attracted to the fertile land.  This decision caused him to be captured in a war and it eventually caused him to lose his home.  But I also looked at the reality that this decision caused him to live in a culture that angered God.  This culture was changing Lot, but today we also see how growing up in this culture caused his family to have declining values.  Reading through these verses, we see how preserving Lot's family line was more important to live in a way that was pleasing to God.  So, Lot's daughters chose to be deceptive in order to have a child.

The thing that is even more interesting is that both boys became nations: the Moabites and Ammonites.  Both of these nations have a history of opposing the Israelites after the exodus out of Egypt.  At times, the Moabites and Ammonites worked closely together and worshiped the same gods.  Unfortunately, their dominant god was Molech and it is also believed that they may have worshiped Baal.  It is believed that their worship of Molech required human sacrifice, a practice that angered God.  This nation wasn't birthed overnight; however, their roots were in Sodom and the poor choices of Lot's daughters.  We can see how these decisions probably led the descendants further and further away from God.  These nations are a dramatic demonstration of how easy it is to allow our godly values to decline and be set aside.  It doesn't take effort to lose our values; however, it takes purposeful effort to keep godly values.  We need to live on purpose!

Do you purposely choose to live in a way that pleases God?

This post is linked with Thought Provoking Thursday and the Grace Cafe.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Escape To the Mountains

Genesis 19:17-30

Have you ever been in a tough situation but God set up circumstances so that you could leave?  I've been there!  I didn't necessarily want to leave because I liked where I was at despite the tough circumstance; however, God made it clear that it was time to go.  He provided a way out and provision, yet it was still difficult to leave and a little scary.  In the end, I do not regret following God's direction because new opportunities opened up that I would have never imagined before.  His escape brought me to a new place in my relationship with Him and strengthened me.  All week, I've been looking at the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and I want to take one last look today at Lot's reaction to his escape.  Lot was given directions on where to go, but he looked at his escape as his doom.  Please read Genesis 19:17-30.

As I read through these verses, the first thought I had was how patient God is wth us!  God is all-knowing and wants what is best for us; however, when He offers what is best we often question His choice.  We ask for something different because we are sure we know better than God what is best for us.  Yet, He still is patient and continues to provide even though we complain.  In these verses, notice how the angels directed Lot to escape to the mountains.  But Lot didn't like that option and asked if he could run to the little village of Zoar.  He was given permission to go to Zoar; however, he was afraid of the people there so he ended up running to the mountains anyway.  God knew that escaping to the mountains was best, but He allowed Lot to learn it the hard way.

We may not always like the direction God gives us, but He is always with us and we can trust His direction.  When I think about it, it seems as if Lot still didn't fully understand the danger he was in which is probably why he complained about the escape God had provided for him.  Escaping to the mountains seemed like inevitable doom to Lot, but he is not the only one who has ever felt that way.  Sometimes God tells us to leave the life we have now and to run to the hills and we cannot understand why.  But, it is those times in running to the mountains that God does amazing work in our hearts.  When we are secluded with Him, we listen to Him and experience Him in a new way.  If God is putting something before you that seems too great to bear, remember that He knows what is best for you.  Be encouraged because you can do all things that God asks of you through the power of Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:13).  We are always better off following His direction right away rather than making things even more difficult.

Is God telling you to escape to the mountains?

This post is linked with iFellowship Blog Hop and Word-Filled Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Don't Look Back

Genesis 19:12-29

God has taken me very far in my walk with Him.  Even though I have known Him all my life, He has brought me through so much and has grown me into the person I am today.  The awesome thing is knowing that He is still growing me by showing me things that still need to change.  But in order for that growth to continue happening, I have to follow God's lead and I have to keep looking forward and not long for what was.  Yesterday, I started looking at the angels' visit to Lot and today I am reading about the destruction of Sodom.  Please read Genesis 19:12-29.

I have to admit that I am feeling pulled in many directions this morning as I read these verses because there are so many lessons that can be found in this story.  I am trying really hard to stay on one topic; however, there are a few things that I will comment on briefly because I think they are important points to consider.  I first want to remind you what I looked at yesterday to set the stage.  Two men who were angels came to Sodom and stayed the night with Lot.  When the men of the city found out, they came as a mob to Lot's house and demanded he turn the men over to them so they could have sex with them.  The angels caused all the men to become blind so they went away.  Things were pretty bad in Sodom and God had made the decision to destroy it, which is where we are picking up today.

The first thing that I noticed is that Lot went to his daughters' fiances to warn them to leave the city because it was going to be destroyed.  They thought Lot was only joking and didn't take his warnings seriously.  We still see that today as people mock the idea that we need a Savior.  I think that is important to consider because when we are used to a certain lifestyle we cannot see how it is wrong.  People cannot see that God is unhappy and there will be consequences unless we turn to Christ.  This is a perfect example of how people can hear the truth but they accept it as a joke.  We cannot save a person, but we can give them the truth.  How the truth is accepted in their heart is between their choice.

The next thing that stuck out at me was Lot's hesitation to leave the city.  Lot knew and understood that he had to leave, but he still required the angels to take his hands and pull him out of the city.  When we choose to follow Christ, we have to sacrifice some things that we think is great.  As we are shown the way to salvation, we may hesitate to give up a lifestyle we enjoy and find comfort in.  It is hard for us to see how God has better plans for us and wants us to see salvation.  But this is no joke and there is no time to hesitate.  When God is calling for change we need to find the urgency in the situation and go.

The last thing I want to consider is the fact that Lot's wife looked back.  If we are looking back to say, "Look at what God has brought me from!" we are also looking forward.  But if we are looking back missing "the good old days," we really haven't fully embraced and understood what God has rescued us from.  We need to accept that God is not all about rules on how to live, He is all about us understanding who He is and how much He loves us.  When we accept those truths there is no need to look back and miss our former life.  We cannot look back longingly because it will only draw us back.

Do you fully accept the changes God asked of you is to save you?

This post is linked with On Your Heart Tuesday and Soli Deo Gloria.

Monday, June 11, 2012

What Do You Choose?

Genesis 19:1-11

As humans, there are things that grab our attention and draw us to make certain decisions.  Beauty is one thing that can draw us to someone or something.  I enjoy beauty that is found in nature and I am drawn to go out so I can see God's incredible creation.  Some people are drawn to the opportunity for power or control, and make life decisions based on what will help them fulfill those desires.  Others are drawn to make decisions based on money.  A few weeks ago, I looked at the moment that Lot and Abraham realized they would need to part ways in order for their households to thrive.  Lot was given the opportunity to choose to live wherever he wanted; he chose to live in the fertile plains that showed beauty and a guarantee for his herds to be well fed.  He was lured by the beauty of the land and he moved there without considering what the surrounding culture would do to him.  Today, I want to look at how our desire for control can make us make decisions that are not good for us.  Please read Genesis 19:1-11.

Verse one gives us an idea of Lot's standing in the city because he was sitting at the city gate.  This was a place of prominence in this culture and only people with influence and power sat at the city gate.  If you have been following along with me in Genesis, you may remember that one of the reasons Lot and Abraham needed to separate was because Lot had also become wealthy while he was with Abraham, which may be why he had enough influence to sit at the city gate.  Lot showed hospitality to the men by offering them a meal and a place to stay the night in comfort.  But as we continue reading these verses, we see why Sodom grabbed God's attention because the men in the city came to have sex with the strangers.

Things really were bad in Sodom; however, we also see some signs that Sodom's culture was starting to have an effect on Lot.  Lot's response to the men's demands was to offer his two virgin daughters instead.  I know that I do not completely understand the culture, but this still seems like an unusual response.  He was trying to appease the men; however, he was also showing that he was willing to cause harm to his own daughters in his attempt.  This is such an unusual thing because virginity was highly valued and usually fathers protected their daughter's virginity so that they had a better chance of finding a husband for them.  The ending result was the men becoming angry with Lot and threatened harm to him as well.  The angels protected Lot by blinding the men and the men gave up.

It is impossible for us to live somewhere where the culture doesn't surround us unless we chose to live in a commune.  But, if we lived in a commune, how would we show God's love to the world?  So, we need to live in the world!  How do we keep the world from changing our values?  I believe it is in the choices we make.  We can choose to go to church and be actively involved in the church community.  We can choose to make decisions that are based on godly wisdom rather than our human desires.  We can choose godly friendships that will help us grow in Christ rather than making the world our close friends.  We need to be in the world and reach out and show love to the world; however, the world doesn't need to define and change who we are.  James 1:27 NLT says, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."  We show God our faith by making decisions that help us grow in our relationship with Him rather than choosing to listen to the world and please our human nature.

What do you choose?

This post is linked with Sharing His Beauty and Monday Musings.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

He Is God

 


 "Before the mountains were born,
before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from beginning to end, you are God." 
Psalm 90:2 (NLT)




I think this is a reality that we sometimes forget: before God ever created this world, He was God.  No matter what is going on in relation to this world, God is still God; He always has been and He always will be.  Just the wonderful truth that God is God should bring us to a place of great worship and praise to God.  We can take comfort in knowing and remembering this truth because we also know that there is nothing too difficult for God.  Nothing!  This world is His creation, so this world must bow to His command.  No matter what our scientific laws say, God can make things happen that seem impossible.


Have you thought about who God is lately?


This post is linked with Spiritual Sundays.

Friday, June 8, 2012

But the Lord Remained

Genesis 18:16-33

God has many different ways that He communicates with us and we've even seen some of those ways in reading through Abraham's story.  We are not given a lot of details about all of Abraham's interactions because in some of the stories we are told that God spoke to Abraham, but there are other times when we read about Abraham having a vision.  The verses I looked at yesterday and today show us how God physically came to him.  It is interesting because in reading through the Bible we also see how God will use dreams or prophets to speak to us as well.  Other times He uses people in our lives to tell us something we need to hear.  He also uses the Bible to speak to us and He can even speak to our hearts while we are praying.  There are some people who have audibly heard God.  The verses I am looking at in Genesis today begins a story that many people are familiar with because it is about Sodom and Gomorrah and continued interaction that God had with Abraham.  Please read Genesis 18:16-33.

This is such an interesting interaction between God and Abraham because God chooses to reveal His plan for Sodom and Gomorrah.  Remember, Abraham has special interest in Sodom because his nephew, Lot lived in Sodom.  Abraham loved Lot and didn't want to see destruction come his way.  In this interaction, Abraham begins to plead for the people who live in the city who are righteous in God's eyes.  What I find interesting is that Abraham started at 50 righteous people and settled on 10 righteous people as if he already knew that God wasn't going to find very many people who would be considered righteous.  And the wonderful thing was that God listened to Abraham's pleas and understood his cry for salvation; He agreed to spare the city if 10 righteous people could be found.  But there was something even more amazing to me as I read this story.

Notice verse 22; the NLT says the Lord remained with Abraham and the NIV says that Abraham remained standing before the Lord.  Either way, there is something significant happening here.  I think Abraham wanted to continue talking with God about His plan and God chose to stay to hear what Abraham had to say.  That is beautiful to me!  God didn't just reveal a plan and then walk away, He allowed time for Abraham to ask questions.  He remained with Abraham.  I think this is important to remember:  God doesn't just want a one-sided relationship with us.  When He speaks with us He wants us to converse with Him.  He wants us to consider what He has told us and ask questions or respond to Him.  It is okay to talk to Him; which is outrageous when you consider that He is Creator of everything and above all things.  We are told that we can come boldly before God because of Jesus.  Hebrews 10:19-20 (NLT) tells us, "And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place." 

Do you remain with God and ask questions?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Is Anything Too Hard For the Lord?

Genesis 18:1-15

When I was pregnant with my third child, we were renting a small upper apartment.  Our two boys ages three and one and half were sharing a room and barely fit with their toddler beds.  We began looking for a bigger place and we became acutely aware that in our small community if we wanted a bigger place we would need to buy a house.  Our cars were also too small to fit three car seats in the back seat, so we were finding ourselves needing a van.  The problem with all this was that our finances would not allow us to buy a house or a van.  One day in my worry about this I prayed and felt God speaking to my heart.  He told me that before my baby was born we would have a house and a van.  That seemed so impossible that I was sure I had put those words in my head out of wishful thinking, but I still hoped that I really heard from God.  Within a few weeks my husband was asked to consider leaving his career as a band teacher and go into ministry.  A church we had attended in Milwaukee called us in Illinois and asked Chris to apply for an associate pastor position.  To make a long story short, we chose to take a leap of faith and leave our jobs so Chris could go into ministry.  Before my daughter was born, we moved into the church parsonage and bought an older van from a family in the church for a price we could afford - we had a house and a van.  Nothing is impossible with God and He always does what He says He will do.  Please read Genesis 18:1-15.

In these verses we see God telling Abraham that the fulfillment of His promise for many descendants was going to start soon.  As Sarah heard God promising a son, she laughed because it seemed so impossible.  She was ninety years old and Abraham was one hundred!  But notice God's reaction in verse 14, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"  Then He said it again: within a year they would have a son!  We see Sarah's reaction: fear.  That is understandable because first of all, we are told that she had spoken her doubt to herself in the tent.  Yet God knew how she felt and what she said and He called her on it.  That had to be very unsettling.

The thing we all need to remember is that nothing is impossible with God and He always keeps His promises.  This means that when we are given a promise that all who follow and believe Christ, we have a hope of eternal life (John 3:16).  Our hope is based on the fact that we know God is truth and love and we can trust that His promise for eternal life will happen.  Nothing is impossible and if God says that through Christ we are made whole and our sins are wiped away, we can believe that promise!  God always does what He says He will do!

Do you believe in God's promises?

This post is linked with Thought Provoking Thursday and Grace Cafe.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What Is Your Status?

Genesis 18:1-15

In today's culture, if you were to ask the question, "What is your status?" you would receive a different reaction depending on the generation you were talking to.  If you were talking to a younger generation, you may find that the person will think you mean what is happening in their life at that moment.  Social networking uses the word status for people tell how they feel or what is going on.  If you are talking to someone from an older generation they would probably feel that question is rude because they would interpret the word status as their position in life.  Status could mean the social class you are in or your position at work.  Part of the reason this question would be considered rude is because in our culture, people always want to be in a better status than they are.  But in the verses I am looking at, we see that Abraham viewed his status very differently.  Please read Genesis 18:1-15.

I think Abraham's reaction to the visitors is something to take note of because he was a very wealthy man.  The first thing that strikes me is that he is sitting in his tent near Mamre's oak grove.  This is the same spot that he chose to live when he and Lot parted.  Remember, Lot chose to live among the plains of the Jordan River and Abraham chose to live near Mamre's oak grove.  Without losing focus too much, think about the fact that Abraham had been living in this spot for many years, yet he was still living in a tent.  It makes me wonder if he preferred living in a tent rather than building a home, or if he chose to live in a tent because he wanted to be ready to go whenever God told him to go.  Personally, I think it was the latter.  I think Abraham lived knowing that he was not in his promised land; he was not in his true home.  It didn't matter how much wealth Abraham possessed, he was not home.  His wealth and status didn't mean anything compared to being where he belonged.

The other thing that struck me is that as soon as he saw the visitors he ran to greet them.  This is such a different view of hospitality that we hold today in America.  If we see strangers approaching our home, we become suspicious and wonder why they are coming.  When people are traveling now days, they stay in a hotel and eat in a restaurant.  But, there were no hotels and restaurants in Abraham's day so hospitality was much different.  The thing that I find interesting is that Abraham could have sent a servant out to meet these strangers, but he personally ran to meet them.  I wonder if they were clothed in a way that would have signaled a higher status or if Abraham was just a very humble and hospitable person.  Either way, Abraham seemed to push aside his own status in order to gratefully serve these strangers.

I wonder how often I am willing to push aside my status in order to recognize that this is not my home.  How willing am I to push aside my status in order to serve others?  Jesus asked us to push aside our own status and asked us to treat others the way we would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).  Philippians 2:3-4 says, "Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too."  Our status means nothing because we are to be treating others as though they are better than ourselves.  That is a challenging thought, isn't it?  One more thought on how we are to think of ourselves from Romans 12:3, "Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us."  Let us be honest when we measure our status: we are merely humble servants of the One and Only Living God.

What is your status?

This post is linked with iFellowship Blog Hop and Word Filled Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Immediate Response

Genesis 17

I've gotten a little behind over the last week due to some travel we did over the weekend.  My husband and I had the opportunity to go to a retirement party for his parents.  His dad has been a pastor for over 40 years and was at his current church for 21 years.  Since my husband and I had lived in the area for a few years, we have grown to know the people in the church, and it was a blessing to connect with some people we haven't seen for about 12 years.  It was a good reminder to look through their album of the different churches they served to remind me of how God has different things planned for us at different life stages.  I remember twenty years ago feeling like life couldn't get started soon enough and now I find myself wondering what God has in store for my future.  Now that I am in my 40's, I see that God has something special planned for us no matter how old we are.  When my father in law moved his current church, he had two sons in college and one finishing up high school.  Yet, God was starting something new for him and my mother in law; who would have guessed they would have stayed for 21 years!  And now, here they are looking at a new beginning wondering what God has in store for them.  How fitting it is to look one more time at the big picture we are given in Genesis 17 when Abraham is 100 years old and Sarah is 90.  Please read Genesis 17.

For as crazy as everything sounded, Abraham still chose to believe and follow God's direction.  Notice Abraham's reaction to all the promises God gave him in this covenant; he immediately circumcised every male in his household.  We are told in verses 26-27 that everyone was circumcised on that same day.  Does that say anything to you?  I am struck by Abraham's immediate obedience; he didn't decide to take care of it tomorrow he did it the same day.  I think of my own obedience and the the timing of my obedience.  I may obey, but is my obedience immediate, or do I think it is something I can take care of tomorrow?  Looking at Abraham's example, we see that immediate obedience is best because we do not know what tomorrow brings.  These wonderful promises required Abraham's obedience.

God still wants obedience from us.  Jesus tells us in John 14:15, "If you love me, keep my commands."  This is how we show love to God; we obey Him.  Abraham showed his loyalty and love to God by immediately obeying God.  When I think of it, I know I appreciate it when I tell my children to do something once and they obey rather than when I have to say something to them repeatedly.  Why would I not show God the same respect and more!?  God doesn't want procrastination; He wants obedience.

Do you obey God immediately or do you wait for tomorrow?

This post is linked with On Your Heart Tuesdays and Soli Deo Gloria.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Surprised By Absurdity



Sometimes we get surprised by God.  Sometimes His plan seems so out of our ability to concieve that our human imaginations think of the most logical answer.  But God doesn’t work in human logic with finite laws of physics and reason; God is infinite and so is His creativity.  There is no end to His power and there is no end to His love.  Earlier this week I looked at the reality that we are His children and we have a new name as part of His family.  What is the name we bear?  James wrote about the reality in James 2:6-7, “But you dishonor the poor!  Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court?  Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?”  Today, we will read about God giving Sarai a new name and the promise that goes with it.  Please read Genesis 17:15-27.

God shared with Abraham how the promise for many descendants wasn’t just for Abraham, but it was a blessing that was to be shared with Sarah.  Notice how this didn’t match with Abraham’s paradigm because he was 100 years old and Sarah was 90; it seemed absurd to think that they would have a child at this point in their lives.  But God assured Abraham that the promise extended to Sarah meant that she would bear a son.  She would not be the mother of many nations through Hagar, but throught the amazing power of God. 

God’s plans often sound absurd to us as well!  After all, it was absurd to think that marching around a city and shouting would bring down the great walls.  It seemed absurd to have Gideon be a great warrior when he was the least of the least.  It was absurd to think that a shepherd boy who was the youngest in his family would become a beloved king of Israel and great warrior.  It was absurd to think that Jesus would come to earth to eat and drink with sinners.  It was absurd to think that Jesus who was the Word of God made human would come to earth and live a sinless life just to sacrifice Himself for us. It is absurd to think that we who believe bear the noble name of Jesus Christ.   And it is absurd that the Creator and Lord over all creation would use simple humans like you and me to carry out His plans.  It seems that God likes to surprise us with absurdity.

Has God given you a dream that seems absurd?  Do you believe that God can do even the absurd?

This post is linked with Faith Filled Friday and Spiritual Sundays.