Archive for April, 2005

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. – Genesis 22:8

Yesterday, I wrote about the great faith that Abraham had to leave his land and travel to the place God showed him. Today, I will write about the even greater faith he showed when God asked him to give him his son. I use the terms “give him his son” for a very good reason. In this scripture passage we are lead to believe that God will require Abraham to sacrifice his only son to him. However, we already know that God does not accept human sacrifice, in fact he abhors it. In reality, God is asking Abraham to give him his son, to place God first. In the end God provides a animal for the sacrifice (as was needed for an proper and acceptable sacrifice). But, In the end God also accept Abraham’s son, Isaac. Isaac is not accepted as a sacrifice to be killed, but a sacrifice to live and carry on the mission of God. In fact, I see this as a great example of the sacrifice we are required to make. God asked each of us to put him first before family, friend, everything. We are to go (just as Abraham did) where he wants us to. We are to give him our families for his use, not ours. The great joy in this is knowing that when we put God first he will use us and allow us to have the wonderful people in our life such as friends and family.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for allowing me to have such wonderful friends and family. Thank you for reminding me that in the end I am yours and they are yours. Thank you for loving me so much that you would want me to be yours. Help me to always be on mission with you. I love you Lord. Amen.

When you read the story of Abraham you see a man of great faith. He moves to a place he does not know because God tells him to do so. He bargins with God to save Sodom and Gamorah even though he should have no standing to bargin with God for anything (of course, one could argue that this was not bargining because God already knew that there were not enough righteous people in Sodom and Gamorah for them to be saved). Abraham had a big faith except when it came to his wife, Sarah. Twice, he lied and said she was his sister instead of his wife because he was afraid he would be killed so a ruler of the land he was inhabiting could take her. He was willing to move far from home, but he was not willing to believe that God would protect him if he let people know he was married to Sarah. This just goes to show us that each of us has weak areas in our lives that we have a hard time believing that God will take care of.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for being in charge of each day. Thank you for caring about every little detail of our lives. Help me to serve you and have the faith to give you all of my life, not just parts. Thank you for your promise to look over these details. I love you Lord. Amen.

Abram believed the LORD , and he credited it to him as righteousness. – Genesis 15:6

This is such a simple statement. Abram believe what God said and it was righteous. Our simple act of belief is also a profound act of righteousness. Of course, the opposite of this is also true. Our simple act of disbelief is a profound act of unrighteousness (sin). To show the truth of this, all you need to do is look a little farther in the same text. God had promised Abram that he would have a son through his wife Sari, but after waiting for many years after the promise he still did not have the son. To “correct” the situation Abram took Sari maidservant as his wife and had a child through her. However, this was not the promise God had made and it was not the way God intended it to happen. Just like us, Abram belief was credited as righteousness, but his disbelief (and the actions that flowed out of this disbelief) we credited to him as sin.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for leading us into righteousness and away from sin. Thank you for helping us to know you and understand your ways. Thank you for your great and precious promises. Help us to have a patience that passes all human ability as we wait for your promises to come true. Thank you for your love. I also love you Lord. Amen.

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you…” – Genesis 12:1

Faith…If we are a Christ-follower we think we have it. We think that if God told us to do something that we would just go and do it. And maybe some of us would, but I think many of us would run. I am always amazed by the faith of Abram (Abraham). God told him to go, so he took his family and those associated with him and went. He didn’t know exactly where God was taking him but he went anyway. That is the kind of faith we all need to have. If we truly believe that God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords than we should be willing to listen and obey immediately. I know this is not easy for me, nor (I can guess) is it easy for many. Abram had his heart and mind open to God and he did what God asked of him.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I know my heart and mind have not always been as open as they should be…forgive me. I know that I have not always listened when you said Go…forgive me. I know that you only have the best in mind for me…thank you. Help me to truly serve you with everything that I was, am and ever will be. I love you Father. Amen.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel � because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth. � Genesis 11:3-9

The story of the Tower of Babel is one that many heard while attending Sunday School. On the surface it seems like a simple story, but in actuallity it explains a lot of the dicension and trouble in our world today. Whether you take this story literally or see it as figuritively explaining the reasons for all the difference languages and cultures the point is still the same (However, I see no reason to not take this as a literal occurance.) Our own arrogance caused God to make sure we would never be able to unite as a people. He knew that if we had one language and culture we would become even more arrogant than we already are and find even less reason to look to him as our source of strength. This passage does not mean we wouldn�t need him, but it does mean we would not think we need him. If you consider how many of us already feel that way, just think how it would be if we were all one united people. God in his wisdom made sure that would not happen. If fact, it is kind of ironic. Our arrogance combined with our different language/cultures makes sure we will never unite.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for creating us to know you. Thank you for creating situations that require us to look to you. Thank you for helping us get beyond our arrogance to see you. Help me to surrender to you each and every day. I love you Lord. Amen.

A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.

1 O LORD , how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
Selah [a]

3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD ;
you bestow glory on me and lift [b] up my head.
4 To the LORD I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.
Selah

5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6 I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.

7 Arise, O LORD !
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

8 From the LORD comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.
Selah

We are so blessed to have a God who does get involved in our everyday lives. Many who believe in a creator god, have decided that God must have left us to our own devices after creation. This is simply not true. God is with us and interacts with us as he sees fit to do. God gets involved in our lives to bring about his perfect will. We serve a God who puts Kings on the throne and removes them. We serve a God who literaly knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:6-7). We serve a God who loves us so much that he is with us each and every day.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your love. Thank you for being by our side. Thank you for walking with us. I especially thank you for doing this for me and my family. Help me to serve you each day. Help me to recognize your work in my life and around me. I love you. Amen.

“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” � Genesis 3:5

If you read anything I have written on this blog, you soon realize that I believe God�s greatest gift to us was our free will to follow him or reject him. In our lives today, we don�t see this as a simple choice. Our decisions to follow God often are more decision about many different topics and the choices we can in regards to these topics. However, the first decision of whether to follow God was actually a very easy on. We can see from Genesis 3:5 that Adam and Eve even had a choice. It was the choice to eat of the fruit that would let them understand both good and evil, or it was the choice to remain only understanding the goodness of God. I think sometimes we need to get our lives back to simple choice. All too often we make following God a complex and difficult decision, but in reality all we need to do is decide he will be Lord of our lives and seek him each and every day. Does this sound over simplified? � Maybe. Does it sound like it will work? � Definitely. When we seek after God all the other decision become much easier because God makes them, not us.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for giving us choice even from the very beginning, even though you knew we would choose wrongly. Thank you for showing us the right choice even though you knew we would often ignore them. Thank you for loving us so much that you forgive us for not following you. I love you Lord. Amen.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1

These ten simple words, the very first words of the Bible say so much about our case for faith. God is the creator of all. As creator he set everything in motion and proves himself to be the only one who is worth of praise, honor and glory. These words also say something else very important. Many people want to deny the existence of God. They want to chalk creation up to random chance, however this is not only ridiculous, but it requires even more faith than a belief in God. Just look outside at the fields with crops growing in them. Scan your eyes across the urban landscape. Gaze at the coastal plains. It does not matter where you live, our very world testifies to the reality of God through the fact of the existence of our world. I must admit, I don’t have enough faith to believe this all happen by chance. I do have enough faith to believe in a loving, caring God who through the ultimate act of Love create an earth and its inhabitants. I do do have enough faith to believe that God loved us so much that he gave us the capacity to serve him or reject him. I have enough faith to believe he created a path to redemption and reconciliation through sacrifice of himself (his son). I have enough faith to believe that, “In the beginning God created…”

Dear Heavenly Father,

You are the creator God, the savior God and my Lord God. Thank you. I will never understand how people can chalk up this amazing earth to chance. Our world can only exist because of your extreme love. Thank you God. Amen.

He said to me: �It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars�their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.� – Revelation 21:6-8

I have always felt that the most important praise I could ever hear from God who be the words he said in one of his parables, “Well done Good and Faithful servant.” Being a servant of God is a great honor and should be enough to reach for, especially based upon human standards. However, God has different and better standards based upon his extreme mercy and love. In this passage in Revelations he does not say we will be his servants, it says we will be his son’s. What an amazing though that God loves us so much that he will ultimately call us his very children. As the father of three adopted children, I can grasp a small part of what it means to be adopted into God’s family.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for loving me so much that you have invited me to be your son. Thank you for showing such great mercy and forgiveness that I can actually accept this invitation. Help me to serve you as only a son could. I love you Lord. Amen.

After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants. And again they shouted: Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever. – Revelation 19:1-3

As a Christ-follower, It is not unusual to hear people say they cannot believe in God, because of all of the bad things that happen in the world. The argument is that an all powerful God would protect us and let us live in a perfect world. This is true in the sense that God could easily do this, but he loves us so much he refuses to make us live in this perfect world. God gave us the greatest gift he could have possibly given – Free Will. Free Will allows us to make our own decision. Through these decision we have created a fallen and failed world. God did not do it, we did. This also leads us to the true and just judgment of God. While God allows us to make foolish decisions, he also calls us to follow him and let him serve as our guide. Often we use our free will (his perfect gift to us) to choose to disobey him. Essentially, God’s greatest gift to us is the very reason we will have to be judged. Even an amazing gift such as free will requires its responsible use. So why does God allow bad things to happen. The real answer is that it is not about his allowing or disallowing, it is about or choices.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the gift of free will. As with any real gift it has the possibilities of good and evil. Help each of us to use it wisely and help me to serve you whole heartedly. I love you Lord. Amen.