Oh, for the faith of our forefathers

Scripture: Genesis 23 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

6 “No!” Abraham responded. “Be careful never to take my son there.7 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. He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a wife there for my son.8 If she is unwilling to come back with you, then you are free from this oath of mine. But under no circumstances are you to take my son there.” Gen 24:6-8 (NLT)

14 This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.” Gen 24:14 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

This is a pretty amazing chapter to read on the faith of our forefathers, wow! Abraham heard from God on who his son Isaac should marry, and who he shouldn’t marry, and where exactly Isaac should settle down at. So he sent his servant to look for a wife for Isaac so that Isaac wouldn’t be tempted to stay in the destination that Abraham was convinced his wife would come from. Abraham was convinced of his actions and followed through with them in faith believing God. It seems like his servant left for the journey a little hesitant, but yet willing to follow the orders of his master. Surely there must have been a degree of assurance based on the many times he had seen Abraham’s faith in action before. It was interesting to see the servant also bow before God with his own requests for this awesome task assigned to him by his master. It was also amazing to see how God answered the prayers of Abraham and his servant and then to see how pleased Isaac was with his new wife that was picked for him. This has once again reminded me of how awesome my God is, and how He will come through for us as we pray in faith, and as we follow His will obediently.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Lord please help me to never question You and Your will for my life. My problems are extremely minor in comparison to the awesome tasks that I read about in this chapter today. Please help me to draw so close to You that I will know Your will for my life and that I will seek with all that I have to follow Your commands, Your Word and ultimately, Your direction for my life and for those that I influence and have responsibility. You are all powerful, and not only have You made everything around me, but You have everything under Your control. Thank You Father for that assurance, and for loving and caring for me enough to want to see the very best for me. My desire is to follow Your will for my life. I pray that my faith will be strengthened each and every day that I walk alongside of You!

Love others without judging them

Scripture: Matthew 7 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

1 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. Matt 7:1-2 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

I have heard this passage read many times before, but today God really spoke to me through the last sentence. I know that I could be way too critical of others and that I tend to judge others, or draw conclusions on what their intentions may have been, but in this passage God reminds me that I have enough concerns of my own to worry about, why become so critical of others. After all, I will be judged by the same degree that I judge others, and I must be way too judgmental of others, because I sure do feel judged and/or picked on at times. I believe that God will still grant me the wisdom to discern when others are doing wrong, or are in opposition to God’s Word, but I have nothing spiritually to gain by trying to be their judge and tearing them down. Instead, I should be using these opportunities to help them overcome a weakness, or develop a stronger relationship with my Lord, who can help them through whatever challenge they may be facing.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father I believe that You want to see Your children do their very best to represent You while here on this earth. I know that at times I fail miserably at this, but I believe that You’re still working on me and will help me overcome my weaknesses such as mentioned above. Lessons like this tend to keep me humble, and I know that in all things I must be careful to both give You the glory for everything accomplished, and also allow praises for everything to go directly up to You for anything, or anyone, that may have been influenced or blessed through me. Please help me not to judge others, for You are our ultimate Judge. Please help me to love on others and show them that You care for them, even if it appears to me that they are messing up. Thank You Jesus for loving us so much that You tolerate our weaknesses and look for ways to strengthen us in those areas so that Your power and Your love may shine through. You are awesome dear God, thank You!

Obedience that shows our fear of god

Scripture: Genesis 22 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

12 “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”  Gen 22:12-14 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Abraham had been an outstanding child of God up to this point, obeying God’s every command and doing what he thought would please God. Yet in verse 1 of this chapter we are told that God tested his faith, and oh what a test! He commanded Abraham to sacrifice his dearly loved son, Isaac. The scripture shares nothing about Abraham questioning God or trying to make any deal with God, he simply followed God’s instructions. Because of his obedience, God intervened and saved Abraham from such a sacrifice. I wonder if we, or if I am obedient enough to God’s instructions that I would do whatever He asked me to do, and secondly, am I obedient enough for God to say, OK you have proven that you truly fear Me. In my opinion, this is the ultimate proof of our love for God and our obedience to Him, when we are willing to follow what He tells us to do no matter what. God loves us so much that He willingly sacrificed His Son, Jesus, and He didn’t hesitate and withdraw at the last moment, like He allowed in the case of Abraham and Isaac. So lessons learned here tells me that God loves me so much that He sacrificed it all. He also loves us so much that He would be willing to step in and save the day for us, His children, when we prove to Him that we truly love and fear Him. Perhaps we will be blessed enough to name the place where we recognized God’s miracle in our life, much like Abraham did in the case of ‘Yahweh-Yireh’!

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

The kind of love that You extend to me is way beyond human comprehension, O Lord. You have shown in Your Word just how loving and kind You were to those before me, and I have every reason to believe that You love me equally as much. May I be bold enough, obedient enough, honest enough and committed enough to show my love and respect in all that You command of me. Abraham was obedient even to the extent that he was willing to sacrifice his greatly loved son. May I be obedient to Your voice today dear God!

O, What A Savior

Scripture: Genesis 20 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

6 In the dream God responded, “Yes, I know you are innocent. That’s why I kept you from sinning against me, and why I did not let you touch her.7 Now return the woman to her husband, and he will pray for you, for he is a prophet. Then you will live. But if you don’t return her to him, you can be sure that you and all your people will die.” Gen 20:6-7 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

God held Abimelech back from sinning by not committing adultery with Sarah, who although she was Abraham’s half sister, she also was his wife. I wonder how many times God must do that for us? I know that as we place our faith in Him and allow Him to watch over and protect us each and every day, some of the things that He might protect us from might be as bad, or worse, than what He did for Abimelech. God loves us so much that He sent/sacrificed His one and only Son for us, imagine how much more He will watch over and protect us in our everyday lives if we truly trust Him and place our faith in Him. O, What A Savior!

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Thank You Father for loving us so much that You gave everything that was meaningful to You. Thank You for reminding me this morning that You also love me enough to steer me away from trouble and You will protect me from sinning. Thank You for being such a loving, awesome Father, to want the very best for Your son, to keep me safe from the sinful desires and temptations of this world. I’m sure that many times I will never know what all You have protected me from, but what a peace to know that You are my constant guide, protector and director. Thank You Jesus!

Be Happy, don’t worry!

Scripture: Matthew 6

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matt 6:31-33 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Many of us experience the pressure and stress of financial burdens from time to time, consequently many of us worry about everything that is affected when we are challenged financially. We are told in this scripture that this type of worry is evident of the unbeliever, because they have no hope, they have no scriptural direction, they have no reason to believe that they needn’t worry. Instead we are to know that ‘every little thing is gonna be alright’! In the verses leading up to this, Jesus shares examples about the birds and the lilies, and how much more valuable we are to Him than these. Therefore, as He takes such good care of them and provides for their everyday needs, imagine how much more He will hear our cry and take care of our needs. Wow, to have a heavenly Father who loves us so much that He would take care of us so wonderfully, gives me encouragement today, gives me hope for tomorrow and gives me a future to look forward to, as I rest in the palm of His hand. Let’s make the worries of this life disappear as we place our faith and trust in the hands of our Savior who has promised to watch over us and take care of us, because we are way more valuable to Him than any other plant or creature that He made. As we look at all the beauty around us, let’s stop to reflect on how much more we are loved and how much more God has promised to shine in and through us, so that others may see His beauty!

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Wow, what a reminder dear God! It is so easy to worry about all that we bring on ourselves and all that this world serves up to us. I pray that I will have the strength and power to look beyond the temporal things of this world that may bear on my mind, and reflect on the awesome God that loves me so much that You have promised to care for me, especially when I may feel like the world has served up extreme challenges on me. Thank You for Your love dear God, please take my hand and lead me through each and every day!

Is there anything too hard for the lord?

Scripture: Genesis 18

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Gen 18:13-14 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

In the everyday rush of life and circumstances we often face challenges that seem insurmountable to us. When our selfish wishes don’t come true, or if our prayers are not answered like we envision in our own minds, we tend to feel like God is not in control and/or that He does not hear our prayers. In this chapter we read where Abraham and Sarah has grown very old, yet God has seen fit to still bless them with another child. Sarah felt like the plan of God was so far out that she laughed, because the plan sounded so far out to her. I believe that today as we face life’s challenges we may not even go to God with our concerns because we feel like our problems are way too big. I believe that God is saying to me, and/or to us, O Ye of Little Faith! Is anything too hard for the Lord? Friends, we serve the creator and developer of this universe, the One who spoke all this into existence. Is there anything too hard for Him? I would dare say that He can do all things! He can handle every problem or challenge that seem so impossible to us. Today let’s let go, and let God be God!

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father I know that You must look at Your children and often say “O ye of little faith, have I not proven myself to you on numerous occasions? Why won’t you let me help you?”. Please help me to learn to place my trust in You and allow You to be God in all circumstances of my life. You are well aware of all that is troubling me today. I have no need to worry, because I need to just place everything into Your care and allow You to take control. Thank You for reminding me of Your power this morning. Thank You for reminding me that nothing is too hard for You! As I place myself into Your powerful hands again today, I pray that You will relieve me of every concern that tend to burden me. I need You each and every day through each and every situation. Please take control of every decision and every aspect of this life, and allow me to look through Your eyes when I am tempted to worry. Thank You for loving me so much!

A Covenant Relationship

Scripture: Genesis 17

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.2 I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”3 At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him,4 “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations!5 What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations.6 I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them! Gen 17:1-6 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Much is said in God’s Work about covenant relationships. In this particular chapter there were several covenant relationships made with Abram (Abraham) and they all were similar in form. God made a covenant that He would do certain things and this was either preceded, or followed by, certain things that would be required by Abram and/or his people. In this particular covenant God told his servant who was once fatherless, that he would become the father of countless descendants and of many nations, and to mark this his name would be changed to reflect the new him, because Abraham actually means ‘Father of Many’. Now prior to all this being revealed, God demanded of Abram that he vow to serve Him faithfully and live a blameless life. Throughout God’s Word He makes many promises to us, the greatest of which was the gift of His Son Jesus. In this particular covenant, God sent His Son so that those of us that believe on, and accept Him as Lord of our life, would have eternal life. At Christmas time we celebrate the gift that was presented to us. I trust that for all who may read this devotional, You would truly accept this gift and complete the covenant presented by God, for I guarantee you that He will live up to His part of the covenant by opening heaven’s gates and receiving us into eternity with Him. Friend I pray that your eyes will be opened to this invitation, because the alternative is not very bright for those who refuse to accept Jesus. An eternal life of damnation and the unpleasentries of Hell is not anything that I can imagine anyone wanting to set as a goal in their life.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father I thank You for the greatest gift ever given – Your Son. I thank You also for touching my life and encouraging me to accept Your gift some 35 years ago. I am concerned about the numerous number of family and/or friends and/or co-workers that have chosen to ignore Your gift and the covenant You have offered to us. I pray that this will be an important Christmas weekend in the lives of those that You have touched my life through, because I pray that You will once again overly sensitize their hearts so that they will understand how hopeless life is without You. May they experience the real meaning of the reason that we celebrate Christmas as they surrender and submit their lives to You this week.