Availability vs. Ability ?!

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Now pay attention! I’m here with you, and I’m going to be watching over you wherever you go. I’m going to bring you back to this land, because I won’t ever leave you until I’ve accomplished what I’ve promised about you. Genesis 28:15 (ISV)

This is what I like to call a locker room verse. You know, the kind that as you are heading toward those double doors that lead out to the playing field of life and the I AM coach stops you in your tracks cuz He’s got one more Word for you.

“Hey mighty warrior!” You think, I’m sure He meant the guy that just left. But He calls again, louder this time, “Hey mighty warrior!!” You slow but still can’t believe He would be addressing you.

When all of a sudden you are spun around to face Him! With His mighty hand He grabs the face mask on your helmet of salvation so that you have to fix your eyes with His as He calls YOU His mighty warrior (despite how unqualified and unlikely you feel) and pours the truth of Genesis 28:15 in high definition and with great exclamation into your soul!

It’s not about ability it’s about AVAILability.

We can constantly live in the fear of the unknown, the question mark of life OR we choose to live in the fearless freedom that comes from the exclamation of His faithful promises!

If you were to draw an eye on the end of a question mark symbol which way does it face? DOWN right! Now if you draw an eye on the end of an exclamation point symbol which way does it face? UP!

If I am going to live fearlessly confident in the exclamation of God’s faithful promises I can’t keep my eyes down cast on my own feet, on my own lack of ability and resources. I must fix my eyes up on Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Heb. 12:2)

In Genesis 32 we see Jacob getting ready to step out of the locker room so to speak as he returns to the promised land at God’s direction. Verse 7 states, Jacob was terrified but how do we see he responds to his fear and questions… verse 9, Then Jacob prayed…

When I’m threatened by life’s unknown I can run around frantic in fear or I can take captive all my thoughts (2 Cor. 10:5) and bring them to God in prayer.

Jacob gives us a good example of how to pray when we are questioning… am I going the right way, am I making the right choice, am I going to make it, how, why…???

To highlight a few phrases from Jacob’s prayer recorded in Gen. 32:9-12…

(9) O LORD, you told me… And you promised me… (10) I am not… I owned nothing… Now my house fills… (11) O LORD, please rescue… I am afraid… (12) But you promised me…

Jacob goes back to abide in God’s faithful promises – he remembers who he is not and Who God is – he honestly places before God his feelings and requests – but ends like he started, resting in His faithful promises! Because God is the Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13) and finishes what He starts (Phil. 1:6)! Praise Jesus!!

So where are you today? 1 Cor. 3:16 states, Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 

I tell you what, if we know the answer to that question we should be living it out in exclamation!! The Spirit of the Living God dwells in me, whom or what shall I fear!!! (Psalm 27:1)

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Don’t fear your lack of ability to be, to figure it out, to fix, to know… rather just give Jesus your AVAILability in His Word and in prayer and watch your life straighten out from a question mark state to an exclamation mark type adventure! (John 10:10)

Independent Read: Jude 1:24-25

The Gift Of The Seed

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For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. 2 Cor. 9:10

Sometimes I think we can completely miss God’s answer to our prayers! We may be praying so hard expecting Him to show up with the “harvest” we’ve been praying for when if I read that verse above, what does it say God provides for the farmer, the sower… for you and I?

THE SEED!!

The answer to our prayers may show up in the form of a seed and who can tell the potential of a seed unless the work is done to plant it? If we are not careful that seed God so graciously provided as an answer to our prayers may look like a whole lot of work (blood, sweat and tears). It may even just get swept up in the trash and thrown out if we don’t take time with Him in prayer and in His Word so that He can give us eyes and ears to perceive it for what it truly is (Matt. 13:16)! The answer to our prayers!!

God provides the seed… its our job to sow it to His glory… AND THEN because it is only God who makes things grow (1 Cor. 3:7)… He provides the bread, the harvest from the sown or spent seed!!

and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. Isaiah 58:10 

When we recognize it’s obedience to Him in even the small things and in the things that didn’t make sense (like tiny seeds)… that it was in keeping the faith when all was weary and seemed lost… that the harvest in our hearts began to sprout!

The harvest of our prayers came AFTER recognizing that the answer to our prayers was in the form of a seed to be sown into the lives of others for Him. It’s then we see the seed He gave us was much bigger and more plentiful than we ever thought possible!

The seed He gives us, if planted will produce the fruit of Him in our lives. Others will get to taste and see that He is the bread of life (John 6:35), the source of true abundant life (John 10:10), love, meaning, purpose and hope that the world is so desperately craving! …and then even your night will become like the noonday!

He is God of the harvest that entrusts us with the gift of seed-like answers to our prayers as an opportunity to deepen our relationship with Him through trust and faith for His glory and kingdom.

Praise Jesus for the gift of the seed and for being God of the harvest.

Independent Read: Matt. 13:18-23, Gal. 6:9, John 4:34

 

 

 

Wonder Or Worship

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Before I had finished praying in my heart, I saw… Genesis 24:45

Abraham asked his servant to find a good wife for his son Isaac and his servant, wanting to fulfill his masters request successfully, prayed to God for help in this matter.

Gen. 24: (12) O LORD, God of my master, Abraham, he prayed. Please give me success today, and show unfailing love… (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..

Now this was no small prayer. The servant Eliezer had taken with him 10, yes 10 camels and just ONE camel can drink up to 25 gallons after a weeks travel! (Did I mention he had TEN camels with him?!) You do the math… 25 GALLONS times 10 camels… Yikes! Now how likely are you going to find a gal you don’t know, and who does not know you, to offhandedly just offer to freely water those camels!!!?!

Yet… scripture indicates (verse 15) that BEFORE he was even through praying God was bringing one such a gal! How good is God, how amazing!!

Do you need a reminder today that God is always working on answering your prayers in His perfect way and in His perfect timing too… even as you are praying them?

When this gal Rebekah offered to take on this monumental task that the servant had specifically requested in his prayer regardless of how humanly unlikely it would have been to have come by… I found myself amazed at the servants reaction. Verse 21 indicates, The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not the LORD had given him success in his mission. HELLO SON, YES HE HAD! HOW MUCH MORE SPECIFIC DO YOU NEED GOD TO GET?!!!!

But you know… how often do I waste time just wondering when I should be worshiping!!

God is SO good and worthy of our worship …even in our wonderings.  Because even when things are unclear to us, He clearly has it under control… and is always working. (John 5:17)

For I know the plans… Jeremiah 29:11 And praise Him that He does right!!

Independent Read: Psalm 66:20

Plant Your Tamarisk

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Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he worshiped the LORD, the Eternal God. Genesis 21:33

Beersheba was located in desert land. Are you in a desert land so to speak? Have you given up on something you used to have hope for?

Abraham was given a promise from God and gaining this well in the desert land of Beersheba was just one more stake in that faithful promise. I find it interesting that Abraham names the place Beersheba which means “well of the oath”. In Jesus we have all been given a well of faithful promises.

2 Corinthians 1:20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes”! And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.

Have I taken time in prayer and in His Word to get to know those faithful promises?

As soon as Abraham claimed the well he planted a tamarisk tree right there!! Now you can even see the word risk in tamarisk can’t you?! A tamarisk tree requires a lot of water and where is Beersheba located… the DESERT! Risky move Ab.

To take a step out in faith often feels like a risk. Like planting a tamarisk tree in the middle of the desert. But if you are planting near the “well of the oath”, if you are planting a stake in one of Eternal God’s faithful promises…

Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. Matthew 15:13-14

…you can trust that you will be held steadfast in His love (Psalm 136:16).

If the Eternal God, the great I Am resurrection and life has promised you, than you can risk planting your seed of hope (even in the desert land) because it will flourish… in His timing and in His way.

Romans 4:18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him…

Don’t give up hope – in Jesus this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us…Romans 5:5

Jesus loves you. Plant your tamarisk tree on that dear one. (John 3:16, Matt. 28:20)

Independent Read: Romans 15:13

9 Questions And Moving

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But God listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe… Genesis 19:29

The number 9 is used 49 times in the Bible. It conveys the meaning of finality and as I read Genesis chapters 18-19 I can see God in all His graciousness had allowed Abraham to ask Him question after question after question, but after question number 9 in chapter 18 verse 33 it states, …the LORD had finished his conversation with Abraham... it doesn’t say Abraham ran out of questions, it says the LORD had finished, it was time to move on.

I’m grateful for God’s seemingly infinite patience with me and my endless list of whys and hows, but I too think there comes a point like in the conversation between God and Ab that I just need to stop. I need to stop and just trust. Trust His character. Trust He is who He says He is. Trust that He will do what He promises… because is anything too hard for the LORD? 18:14 

No, nothing is too hard for Him! So even if I don’t have all the answers… THE answer is to keep my eyes, not on my own resources (because that will just end me up in a defeated heap of discouragement) but on the Source of all resources!

The Source knows the root of your need, want, desire even better than you do. It struck me that in Genesis 19:29 it states that God listened to Ab and kept his nephew safe but interestingly, in all the questions Ab asked God he never specified that his concern for the city was rooted in his concern for his nephews life. God already had it figured out and knew the depths of Abraham’s hearts concern, and He cared!!

When we can’t trace God’s hand we can trace His heart by looking to the cross.

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your great love, for opening a way through Your death and resurrection for us to have an intimate relationship with You both now and for eternity. Thank You for Your patience to sit with us as we ask all our questions and for loving us enough to encourage us to move on and trust who You remain to be – steadfast and true. That we might find in all our uncertainty, that You are certain. That Truth is final. Praise You! Amen.

Independent Read: Jeremiah 33:3, Psalm 27:14

The Faith Of Chapter 12 In Chapter 11

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I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13

So we all probably have a “Lazarus” right… something we wished or hoped God would have dealt or would deal with differently right… or maybe I’m alone on that island but I’m thinking maybe I’m not… But I was so struck by verse 2 in John chapter 11!!!! Verse two describes an event that happens in chapter 12!!!! In chapter 11 there is just a blip describing Mary’s worship of Jesus in chapter 12 but Mary is not going to get to read chapter 12 in her life time…right! She had to keep the faith in chapter 11 without the benefit of hindsight from chapter 12.

So what a precious reminder to me that in my chapter 11’s when it doesn’t make sense and I’d like things to be so much different…. to still, in the middle of those 11’s to worship like I trust Him to be the God of my chapter 12. (In Jesus you do have a chapter 12.)

Maybe I perceive love as comfort but I think God perceives love as trust – will I trust Him even when it’s not comfortable? Can He trust me with the process as I trust Him with the outcome…

Jesus didn’t show up at Lazarus’ bedside, He showed up PASSED time at the tomb… why? to reveal more of His character. He wept because really He had been with them the whole time and it broke His heart too, but if He was going to reveal more of who He was to them and be the saving of many more lives (Gen 50:20) He had to show up at the tomb.

His way is ALWAYS best.

Maybe if I choose to worship in my 11 like He is God of my 11 AND my chapter 12 I might see that my chapter 11 is an OPPORTUNITY for a greater revelation in my chapter 12! A revelation of more of the great I AM.

Trust Me you will arrive safely (2 Tim. 4:18, 1 Peter 4:19) to chapter 12 so you can worship and praise Me, the very same God, in chapter 11.

Independent Read: 1 John 4:8 …God is love.

Unafraid

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…and no one will make them afraid. Zephaniah 3:13

God tells people in Genesis 9:1 to, Fill the earth. However by Genesis 11 we see people trying to take matters in their own hands and working in direct contrast to that command of God! (11:4) …let’s build a great city for OURSELVES… make US famous… keep US from being scattered all over the world. (emphasis mine) Sounds like they have become a bit distracted by me, myself and I. That’s easy to do isn’t it.

However we see, the LORD came down (verse 5) and His purpose prevailed and by verse 8 they are, scattered…all over the world – Because, no purpose of His can be thwarted. (Job 42:2) And good thing too because even when I can’t see and don’t understand the bigger picture He is painting I can trust Him who is faithful (Heb. 10:23) to perfectly complete it (Phil 1:6).

We can contrast this first event with a second in the very next chapter in Genesis. Chapter 12 illustrates Abram (Abraham’s) beginnings. Here we see God taking the building initiative… (vs. 2) I WILL make you into a great nation… I WILL bless you and make you famous (vs. 3) I WILL bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. Which leads to… (vs. 2) YOU WILL be a blessing… THROUGH YOU all families will be blessed… (emphasis mine). Golly it sure would seem He takes care of a whole lot of the heavy lifting when you let Him lead!

Letting Him lead takes faith. Like Abraham we often don’t know or understand the path. But in the NLT Genesis 12:9 states, Then Abram continued traveling south by stages toward the Negev. Did you see that phrase “by stages”?! So maybe Abram too needed to trust God just one step/stage at a time!!

As soon as Abram get’s to the land God leads him too a famine hits! What?! When we decide to live full out for God and it gets hardER… let’s see it as an opportunity to trust Him deeper to grow us closer to His mighty loving heart.

We see Abram go to Egypt for food temporarily. Maybe rather than question God’s ways we could say, okay, I may not understand but I’ll trust You for the next step even if I don’t understand it because I know you’ll be in it. He understands things we don’t and sees things we can’t so trusting Him to be the expert builder really is the safest route!

In the account of what happens to Abram in Gen. 12:10-20 we see a direct parallel with the Israelites later bondage in Egypt!

Because of a famine Abram/Israel went to Egypt (Gen. 12:10/47:13, 27)

There was an attempt to kill the males and save the females 12:12/Ex. 1:22)

God plagued Egypt (12:17/Ex. 7:14-11:10)

Abram/Israel plunder Egypt (12:16/Ex. 12:31-33) and ascended to the Negev (13:1/Num. 13:17,22) (Last 4 points NLT study bible notes referenced)

So the Israelites could trust that their God was able to rescue them from their bondage in Egypt because they could remember that God had already proven faithful in their past!!

When you don’t know, my dad always told me, to go back to what you do. Go back as far as you need to in order to remember His faithfulness, His Word of Truth. Abide in Him who is faithful, who will never leave you or fail you – you can trust Him.

So you no longer have to be afraid. You can, Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! because, The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph. 3:14, 17

Instead of trying to build our path, hand the bricks to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2) and let Him lead us down it, one stage at a time, unafraid, for He is faithfully trustworthy.

Independent Read: Hebrews 11:6, 10, 2 Tim 4:18