Saturday, July 1, 2023

July 1, 2023

God calls Abraham his prophet. Abraham knows God has promised him a nation of descendants, yet he still doesn’t trust him. Abraham pushed the boundaries of truth to help save himself from getting killed by King Abimelech. He and Sarah are indeed half siblings through their father; however, they were also married. Even though this seems repulsive to us, it’s in scripture. The Bible is not boring! So, even though Sarah was probably already pregnant with Isaac, King Abimelech took her away from Abraham. God visited him in a dream and told him he was a dead man for taking her. Of course,  Abimelech returned her before doing anything lewd with her. God had so much love for Abraham and Sarah that he stopped this man in his tracks and forced him to make restitution for his crime by giving them sheep, oxen, servants, and silver. Abraham blessed him a prayed for him, his wife, and their people. 

We know that we know that Jesus has saved us from the consequences of our sins, yet we still don’t trust him and continue to sin. If you have to lie, you don’t trust God to work out the details of a situation. That’s all there is to it. Yes, it’s difficult, but we need to learn to trust God from the lesson learned by Abraham.

Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing? And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake. And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. Genesis 20:10-12

Friday, June 30, 2023

June 30, 2023

Today's lesson is about being grateful for unanswered prayers. Abraham prayed a general prayer, and God still answered him. He started by asking for fifty righteous people to escape when God destroyed Sodom and finally ended by asking for ten. The Bible only tells us of four leaving, and none were very righteous, but God saved them because of Abraham's prayer. The men of Sodom were insane and knew of the angels visiting Lot. They were ravenous to get to them, but Lot offered his daughters instead. What kind of dad offers his daughters to strangers for sexual abuse? Why were those men so eager to get to the angels? It reminds me of the sickos wanting to sexualize children today. It's not a good idea to look back after God saves you from destruction; Lot's wife looked back and became a pillar of salt, but that is a lesson for another day! Lot's daughters slept with him when he was drunk and got pregnant with sons; one became the father of the Ammonites, and the other was the father of the Moabites. They eventually caused trouble for the children of Israel. It's one of those prayers that, in hindsight, you wish God hadn't answered. It also makes you wonder; if they were considered righteous, how evil was Sodom? When God doesn't answer your prayers, maybe it's because of something like this! Be grateful for unanswered prayers!

And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. Genesis 19:29

Thursday, June 29, 2023

June 29, 2023

Like many of you, I remember certain things that make an impression that I cannot shake. Many years back, I broke my leg and was in a cast, and maneuvering was difficult. We had a closing in a high-rise, and I was by myself because I was meeting Richard there. I got as close to the door as possible, but it would still be a long walk and nearly impossible to get inside. I was one of only a couple of cars on that particular floor of the parking garage. I was contemplating what I would do when a “security guard” appeared out of nowhere. He instructed me to park in the loading parking near the door. I looked away for a second, and he was gone. I never saw him again. I knew God had sent an angel to give me instructions. I will never forget it for as long as I live. I was in an impossible situation, and God sent help.

Abraham entertained angels. They were bringing news about Sarah becoming pregnant and on their way to visit Sodom and Gomorrah. They appeared in human flesh, which tells me it is possible and can happen again; it’s scriptural. The scripture also points out that one was Jesus because Genesis 18:1a says: “And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre.” This verse uses all caps to indicate that one of them was Jehovah God. In verse 18:17, it also used LORD when he spoke about Sarah. 

Angels take on a human likeness because we would freak out if we saw them in their heavenly garb. Remember, nothing is impossible with God.

Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Genesis 18:13

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

June 28, 2023

Thirteen years after telling Abram about his covenant, when he was 99 years old, God further explained his covenant, added another stipulation, and changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah. He explained that his covenant to make him a great nation would be fulfilled through Sarah, who was 90. At the same time, he made it clear that his part in the covenant would be that all the males, servants, or family members were to be circumcised right away, and anyone born under his care from that day forward would be circumcised on the eighth day. Sarah was to give birth to Isaac a year from that day when Abraham was 100 years old! By waiting until they were very old, God made it clear that he was in control and that even though it seemed impossible, we learn that anything is possible with God. 

Because of Jesus, circumcision is now considered a heart issue. We are to die in the flesh so that we might live for Him. Doing that fulfills our covenant with Jesus. You cannot serve the god of this world and Jesus simultaneously. Though we must live in this world until he takes us to be with him, we must set our hearts to serve Jesus and not get too caught up in worldly affairs. 

And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. Genesis 17:6-7

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

June 27, 2023

We must avoid placing blame on others for the mistakes we make. Look at what happened to Sarai with Hagar. She and Abram tried to force God’s promise by making it happen in their time rather than God’s. Sarai offered her servant to Abram as a wife to produce children because she was barren, and it backfired. Of course, it backfired; they didn’t wait on God! Hagar got pregnant and then became nasty to Sarai, and Sarai blamed Abram. He had a part in it but didn’t jump into that fight and told Sarai to handle it herself, and she did. She began treating Hagar harshly, which caused her to run away. There had to be a check in their spirit about going forward with such a plan. Being Sarai was Hagar’s master, was there consent? The whole scheme seems wrong, and they had to have known. 

How do you know if it was God speaking to you or if you were trying to make things happen on your own? If you listen to the Holy Spirit, he will make clear the best way to proceed, and his impression will never go against scripture. 

And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the LORD judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. Genesis 16:5-6

Monday, June 26, 2023

June 26, 2023

Last year, I bought a mango tree and planted it in my yard. It had plenty of time to grow before this spring and had nearly doubled in size. It only produced new growth when it came time for it to bloom. I patiently checked it daily, but nothing. I watched my neighbor's trees bloom, leaving fruit hanging from their branches. I did everything I knew to do; I prayed, watered, fertilized, and was diligent in its care, but it failed me. It was probably of the variety that needs to mature before it fruits; nevertheless, I was expecting a large production of juicy sweetness. Because it's a fruit tree, there is the promise of produce unless it was the fig that Jesus cursed. 

God promised Abram an heir, and he believed him, but waiting on God to deliver on his promise was excruciating, and Abram became discouraged. God then made a covenant with him that his heirs would possess all the land surrounding him, including those already owned by others. God told him of all the trouble they would face but would judge the nations harshly that would oppress them. 

When God makes a promise, he keeps it. Though the waiting may be challenging, we can always count on him to deliver on his promise. I expect my mango tree will produce fruit, but I must wait for the right time. 

And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:6

On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, Genesis 15:18

Sunday, June 25, 2023

June 25, 2023

Moses records the first war in the Bible. The rebellion began when some countries got tired of being oppressed under another country's rule. It's similar to the States getting tired of Washington and rebelling, then Washington collecting all the belongings of those states and their people. One of the captives escaped and ran to Abram to tell him about the capture of Lot and all his things. Even after Abram and Lot split, he still loved him and set out to rescue him. Abram had an army of people and overtook them, bringing back Lot, his possessions, and all the other people. Even though the Bible tells us that Lot was righteous, he surrounded himself with evil people and suffered the same consequences as they did. The lesson in this is to be careful of who your friends are; even though you may sympathize and engage with a particular people group, if God decides to punish them for their actions and you are involved with them, you may receive the same consequences. If that happens to you, I hope you have a friend like Abram to rescue you. As a side note: Abram gave God the glory for his victory. 

And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people. Genesis 14:15-16