Tag Archives: Abraham

Old Faith, New Faith, Bold Faith, Few In Faith

I feel like it could be the title of a new Dr. Suess book.

From Genesis to Revelation it is the same faith. But it certainly varies in the way it’s displayed.

Old Testament saints had faith the Messiah would come, and they were charged with setting forth the principles of New Testament Christianity. Speaking went from a direct line of communication, when Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden… can you imagine what that must have been like! And then following the fall and rebellion of men, a priest would have the responsibility and accountability for God’s children. Not a role to be taken lightly. Handled inappropriately would mean certain death!

God’s Spirit would come upon men like Moses, Jacob and others and it was no doubt an awe-inspiring time. Most likely a little frightening too! It’s from their testimonies that we can experience Old Testament faith.

What characters of the Old Testament would you like to question? And what questions would you ask?

What would have been your reaction if God had showed up in the burning bush to you? Or wrestled with you as He did Jacob? Have you ever felt like you did wrestle with God?

Scroll forward to the New Testament and a whole new line of communication came when Jesus, the Son of God walked the earth once again. But only for a short time. Following His crucifixion and resurrection, that act of unconditional love would humbly allow us, the nobody’s and the somebody’s to speak to God through the Holy Spirit.

As I thought on this today, the images of the two different phones came into play. The old faith and the new faith are still one faith. It’s still the same God on the line. It’s just the way of communication differs.

Old Faith

Romans 4:1-8

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.  Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,  Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Old Testament faith was still faith even though they were keepers of the law. Or attempted keepers of the law.  613 of them. I can’t keep ten! Nor could they, so a sacrifice was put into place that would be used year after year. Lamb after lamb. Slain as a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Did they know that’s what it was? I don’t guess. But they knew it was God’s design and their only hope at the time; and that it all pointed, somehow, some way to the coming Messiah that they hoped for.

Every generation from the days of Adam hoped for.

I think of that old phone as the Old Testament way of communication with God. There was a line you had to go through. The Priest would go into the Holy of Holies and God and he would converse about what the people needed to know. Then he would deliver the message. We too experience that some through the preaching of the Word of God. But the difference is we too can receive a word. That should make you shout! That’s a privilege Old Testament, average Joe’s or Jolene’s didn’t experience.

When God showed up on the mountain, the children of Israel told Moses to go and talk to Him on the mountain. They feared God way too much to want to hear from Him direct.

Exodus 20:18-19

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

Have you ever felt that fearful of God? Why or why not?

I must wonder if some Christians still fear God’s voice. Many don’t even make the attempt at communication, or at least not very often.

New Faith

The words of David used in Romans 4 are from the book of Psalms 32:2

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.  When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.  For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.  Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.  I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.  Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

David experienced God in a way few people did then, or do now.

Why do you think that was so?

It certainly wasn’t because he was perfect. He acknowledges that he’s a sinner.

Romans 3:23 says

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

David wasn’t sin free, he was bold in his confession because he wanted a right relationship with the Lord. He knew his relationship wasn’t right because he felt the heaviness of God upon him.

Have you felt that? What was going on at the time? Likely something that shouldn’t have been going on at the time. It’s not a feeling we like but we should love it, because it tells us that we’re saved.

Salvation comes from repentance.

David received his forgiveness and a renewed relationship with God when he repented, acknowledged what he did and turned away from it.

We too should be so bold!

Bold Faith

David’s relationship with God caused him to take some actions. He trusted God’s guidance for war, or not having war. He composed writings and songs, he played music and was a mighty leader when his relationship was right with God. He was bold!

Are you bold in the faith? If not why?

Few in the Faith

As time goes on, our churches seem to be dwindling in size and number. I pass empty church houses with grown up lawns everywhere I go. It makes my heart heavy and very sad. Because I know at one point there may have been a thriving congregation in that place. But they lost their zeal and their desire to serve God. They also lost the best thing that ever happened to them.

I love missionaries and consider myself a missionary to the United States. When I see folks with burdens for other countries I wonder… when will some get a burden for our own.

I have that.

In just a little over a month I’m traveling to New Mexico to minister in two different churches, if not more. I’m praying the Lord opens doors for me there to encourage the believers to be bold in their faith!

For this trip I ask that you’ll pray too. Pray that God will give me words and songs and that a great Spirit of revival will come upon that place. Pray for our safe travels and pray that our expenses are met.

I’m booked believing that we can’t out give God.

Stepping Into the Unknown

When I think of the Bible characters that stepped into the unknown at the instruction of the known, my heart is encouraged. When I get ready to take my first step, it’s always a flutter. It’s usually followed by nausea and fever blisters. Weird right? That’s what stress and nerves do to me. Once I get past the first step and start walking on the new ground I settle in pretty quickly. But those first steps often feel like a cliff.

When Abraham stepped out of the Ur of Chaldees he may or may not have felt a little apprehension. The Bible just says he went. But in the book of Shari it will say, see went… but she didn’t feel good.

When Moses was told to step into the leadership role of Israel, He argued with the Lord that he wasn’t very good with a bullhorn. So God gave him a mouth piece named Aaron. But it didn’t take him out of the role of leader.

When God made David King, he was in one of the lowest positions of the day, a shepherd boy. But God used all that position to make him a mighty defender and a man who could lead people with the same passion he lead sheep.

When Christ picked “Team Jesus” from the crowd, He picked a variety of twelve characters with a variety of talents. We know their names 2,000 years later because of the impact they had in their work.

I just wrote myself happy.

I’ve never really got to experience a comfort zone, because God is always doing something in my life. Sometimes it’s because He’s fixing what I broke, and that’s very uncomfortable! Today is no different. A new ministry direction is on the horizon with doing things I’ve had a passion to do for 20 years. But this time it’s on God’s terms. So it makes me feel a little better about taking the first step.

I hope that in sharing my thoughts on my zone, that maybe it will help you navigate yours a little better.

Please make the following a matter of prayer when it comes to the new Jesus Chick direction:

  • That God would open the doors (not Shari)
  • God provides a team of people with a passion for the work.

The work will focus on the following areas:

  • Promoting the Gospel (always first and foremost)
  • Youth programs
  • Adult programs
  • Women’s programs
  • Senior programs
  • Substance abuse educations programs

That would be why I need a team. There is a huge amount of work on my plate. But I want to reach as many people as I can with this ministry and give them the tools to reach more.

Big Step… but I’m ready.

Logic is so Overrated

chick pondering

In need of hope? Glory to God I need it every day! I wake up with Satan at the foot of my bed telling me that there is no hope. I should give up on the day before it gets started. The aches and pains in my body tend to raise their hand in agreement and say “we think that’s logical.”

There is no logic in faith (at least to the world) and faith gives birth to hope. Apostle Paul speaks of that in Romans 4, reminding the believers of an original believer, Abraham, who against hope believed in hope.

Romans 4:18-25

Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

CONTRADICTION TO HOPE

It was not logical that a one hundred year old man should have a child, but God did not say he would have a child, God told him that he would be the father of nations. That goes beyond what the body and mind can comprehend. There is no doubt in my mind that Satan continually tried to steal Abraham’s hope by telling him that he was crazy to think he was going to have a child. Why else would he have bought into Sarah’s plan to have a child with Hagar. (Genesis 16)

God tells me through His word this morning that although the world (and my body) says that there is no hope, there is hope and there is a plan. I need to stick to it.

CONFIDENT IN HOPE

The word says that Abraham staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief. His faith gave birth to the hope that God’s Word would be fulfilled and his wife would give birth to a son just as God had said. Faith comes first. We cannot have hope unless we have faith. I have faith in God, Jehovah, my Provider.  He has proven Himself true again and again, Satan has proven himself a liar again and again, and I want to see through, not to stagger, as God brings to fruition, (gives birth) to this plan He has for me. Do you have that confidence today? God is faithful… trust Him!!!

CONVINCED IN HOPE

Abraham was fully persuaded that, what he (GOD) had promised, he was able also to perform. Don’t let Satan convince you any other way than what God has spoken. When I began to write this I started to say that Satan was on the bed post, but that put him above me, and that is not the case.

Paul said in Romans 16:20 ~ And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. He may have been speaking of Satan being under our feet in the very near future or in the end times, but regardless Satan is beneath us, not above. I don’t need to elevate him in any way in my life – be it metaphorically or literally. I am convinced that God is the God of All Hope. Satan is a liar. My faith in Christ has been proven again and again!

Satan is a contradiction to hope. Be confident and stand strong in his adversity, be convinced (assured) that God will deliver what it is you stand in need of just as He delivered Sarah of that precious child who was the beginning of the great Nation Israel that God had promised!

Get a Grip! God’s got this

get a gripIt likely will not be a shocker to anyone who knows me to hear me say that I’m not a sports fan. Sports has its place in life and God Bless those who enjoy it, but for me personally competitive games usually leave a bad taste in my mouth from the over zealous fans who take it a little too seriously. They watch a game like I watch a church service. I’m shouting hallelujah and encouraging God’s man to get in their and give it his all for Jesus. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging the home team, just don’t be ugly about it and mean to the fans on the other team, after all we’re all playing football, right? Yes… there was a hidden agenda in that analogy. But that’s not my point in this blog; no shocker there either!

I was listening to someone talk about watching a game that had already been played and that the score was announced prior to the games airing. It changed his viewpoint of the game; when a guy dropped the ball or fumbled a play, there was no surprise. No fear of what the end result would be. He didn’t scream at the players to do better, he didn’t get upset when things went awry, the game was already over. I have to wonder how life would change if we viewed it from a game over prospective?

Genesis 22

1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

I have to believe that when Abraham “saw the place afar off” that he had that game over prospective. He didn’t know how the game was going to play out, but he knew the score. God, Abraham and Isaac 1, Satan 0.

I have a feeling Satan messed with Abraham’s head all the way up that mountain. I figure Abraham did some serious praying and contemplating about the event to come. He had to have wondered what Sarah’s reaction would be to the story. He was the man of the house, he was the man of God, but I don’t figure Sarah would have been laughing about this message from Heaven as she did the day God told them of the coming birth of their son. Abraham may have even had one of those “What happens on the mountain stays on the mountain” conversations with Isaac. Just as Jehovah-Jireh was on the mountain, having provided a ram, God’s got our sacrifice in the bush too. It’s no coincidence that it was the third day that Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. Those three days that Christ spent in the grave, having took the keys of Hell from Satan was our game over experience.

What ever it is that Satan has planned to thwart the grand plan of God is a moot point. There may be a few fumbles on the play (on our side of course) but it won’t change the ending score. How awesome is that thought today? I don’t know about how it is for you but it brings great jubilation to my soul to know that no matter how the game looks in play… we win.

Yes I drop the ball, I go the wrong direction I have occasionally been the other team’s best player, but God is my number one fan. He loves me, He created me and He’s got me covered!

But I want That!

I-want-that-cookie

How many times have we said it? We know it may not be the will of God for our lives, but we want it. We’re not sure we can even afford the maintenance, but we want it. We have two similar, but not exact… we want it.  Color me guilty. We’re a spoiled nation. I’m never any more aware of it than I am when I speak to my friends in other countries whose idea of luxury is more than one meal a day; those whose meager belongings would likely fit in a grocery cart and I’m complaining because I don’t have the latest and greatest of some new trend that I’ll tire of tomorrow.

That wasn’t necessarily the case in Sarai’s day. What she wanted was a child, not an unreasonable request, especially for the culture of the day. But she grew tired of waiting and tried to fix God’s problem for Him.

Genesis 16:2

And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

I posted a quote yesterday that I heard on Sirius XM radio on my way to work in the morning.~ “Worry is not believing God knows what’s best, bitterness is believing He was wrong.” I don’t know who’s thought it was, but I thought it was profound! And then when I added the story of Sarah to the equation later on in the day, I thought God may have just been trying to tell me something. Possibly He’s trying to tell you too!

It wasn’t that God didn’t want Sarah to have a child, but her timing was off. So in her attempt to fix God’s problem she created a problem for the entire nation of Israel. (Ishmael, the son of her handmade) is the root of the Arab nations which continue today to be a thorn in Israel’s side, and ours! Ahhh, but surely your decision won’t have a lasting effect? After all, yours is not a child, it’s a car, or a stereo, or cute shoes. As with most issues in life, it was Sarah’s heart issue that was the problem.

She had told Abraham, “the Lord hath restrained me from bearing.” To restrain is to “keep something under control.” It wasn’t that Sarah couldn’t have children, it was that the Lord was preventing it and Sarah knew that. She was in a sense saying “God says it’s not my time, but I believe it is.” Timing is everything, whether it be a child, a job, or something materialistic.

Sarah’s decision didn’t please God and it didn’t please Sarah. We find her later complaining to Abraham in verse 5 “And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee.” If I’m reading that right Sarah still had quite the attitude and her relationship with the Lord may have been a little skewed. In my mind the phrase “the Lord judge between me and thee,” is the equivalency of saying “If you don’t believe me, just ask God.” Had either of them done that, we’d not be in the fix we’re in today in the Middle East. Sarah now expected Abraham to fix the issue.

Times haven’t changed much. We still play the blame game and wait for someone else to clean up our aisle. We need more prayer prior to our decisions for less problems afterwards.

Are you trying to rush God? Stop. Are you angry because it didn’t go as planned? Stop. If a wrong decision’s been made, repent and allow God to walk you through. If you haven’t crossed the line yet, now would be a good time to reflect back on Sarah’s story and consider the far reaching consequences of your decision.

If someone else’s bad decision is the issue, forgive and allow God to work through both of you.

If this message encouraged you, I’d love to hear about!

The Promise Doesn’t Change

Exodus 12:25~ And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.

The Promise Doesn’t Change

Genesis 12:1-3  Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

For four hundred and thirty years the Israelites had been enslaved to the Egyptians. I have to wonder how many times they ask the Lord, “But what about the promise?” How many generations died without having seen it? God’s timing is not ours (else my last journey through heartache would have been much shorter!) Abraham, the original receiver of the promised died having not seen the promise fulfilled. Even with Abraham’s death, Israel’s disobedience, and a change in priorities of God’s people, God didn’t change the promise. He promised Abraham he would make of him a great nation and as the 600,000 men, likely over one million people trekked across the dry land of the Red Sea, what a sight it would have been to behold. My heart stirs in me this morning at the thought of what it must have been like to have been in that passel of people! It stirs not only from that promise being fulfilled but from the promises fulfilled in my own life on the countless times God has said “I’ll bring you through” and He did!

Are you going through a struggle in your life? Has heartache knocked upon your door? For Israel to receive that promise they had to do a few things…

The blood had to be applied – Today is no different for the child of God. The blood represented another promise that God would redeem His people, through a greater sacrifice. His Son would be the final sacrifice to end them all, but you must confess Who He is (the Son of God). What He did (He died for you) and Where He is (Risen from the dead and In Heaven at the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for our sins.)

When God said move, they needed to go – If the children had stayed in the corrupt world of Egypt, God’s plan would not have been fulfilled, they needed to go to the Promised Land where the influence of the world would not be. The problem with that was, they took a lot of the influence with them in their minds. They left the country behind, but not the characteristics. And because of that they lived defeated many times. But the promise didn’t change. It just wasn’t as good as it could have been.

Continue to serve – Once they reached the Promised Land God told them they were to “keep this service.”  Somehow or another when people get saved they forget that the journey’s not over. Israel was to continue keeping the Passover as a reminder that God had brought them out. There is much to do for the cause of Christ, and much of it is undone because people have stopped keeping His service. We’re not saved by works. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 ~For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” But James 2:18 reminds us that although works will not save you, salvation should give you the desire! “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

I hope today find you clingin’ to the promise! It did not change!