Faith of Abraham!

The Sacrifice of Issac
Genesis 22:1-19
God tested Abraham.
 
This is what I was reading this morning. There are a couple of really great points that struck me in this reading. First, God uses the words “your son, your only son” three times in this chapter, verses 2, 12, and 16. I found this significant because God sacrificed His one and only son, Jesus. This chapter is a foreshadowing of God’s plan of salvation. 
 
Yes, this is a tough topic of discussion. That is why the second point that stuck out to me was Abraham’s faith is key to making sense of it all. When God called him to sacrifice Issac, we do not find him challenging God and refusing to do so. I read in the very next verse that Abraham obeyed God. Verse 5 Abraham tells the others to wait while he and Issac go to worship and (they) will come again to you. Abraham had complete faith in God that He would work it out. Abraham believed in the resurrection because he trusted in God’s promise. Verses 7- 8 Issac questions his father and Abraham tells Issac that God will provide. Abraham loved God enough to lay down his son’s life before him yet God stopped Abraham’s hand and provided a lamb for the sacrifice.
You see, God wanted to know what was in Abraham’s heart and God blessed Abraham greatly. God later proves His love for His creation by sacrificing His one and only Son, Jesus. 
I have to admit that I am a lazy Christian at times. I find myself at times not wanting to work at it, be it my faith or relationships. I want it to be easy but it isn’t as I have often read in the Bible and experienced for myself. I confess my laziness and desire to grow through putting forth effort in all things.
My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, forgive me for my laziness and inspire me me to do what is right in Your eyes. Test me and know what is in my heart. Increase my faith that I may glorify You in all I do. Amen.
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My Flesh Contends with God’s Spirit in Me.

My Spirit is Willing but My Flesh is Weak.
Galatians 5:17
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  

Mark 19:38
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
 
This has been my quandary for this week since my surgery last Thursday. I was depressed yesterday. I knew what I needed to do but I found myself reluctant much like a sick child not wanting to take her medicine in order to get well. With all of the sundry things that have challenged my health so far this year, I am not happy with the changes in my body. I am feeling my age and lamenting over how things used to be, therefore, the struggle between my flesh and God’s spirit in me has become more noticeable. Please forgive me for my pity party. 
In order to turn things around, I need to remind myself of the many things that I have to be grateful for, which to name a few are healthcare to be able to take care of myself, house and home, loving husband and family, and the resources to shake off this mood. Praise be to God for He loves me just the same. Learning to admit this is the first step to a healthy recovery. It is much like following doctor’s orders to improve and get better, therefore, I need to sing praises to God, pray, read my Bible, and confess my sins.
Isn’t God great?! He is full of mercy and grace for He knows that I will fall short more than once in my lifetime. Victory goes to God!!

My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, forgive me for feeling sorry for myself and being reluctant to turn to You for help. Restore to me the joy of Your Salvation and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Amen.
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God is My Strength!

Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Isaiah 12:2 
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.
I am writing this following my surgery yesterday. It would be easy for me to grumble/complain but I know where my strength comes from. God makes all things possible. I need to recognize my limitations and not overdo. God is my strength and my salvation. He gives me the ability to refrain from using my pain and discomfort as an excuse to be unkind or ugly to anyone else. As I was going into the operating room, I had a moment of anxiety but I reminded myself that I put myself in His hands. He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. With His help, may I not mistreat others badly because I am not well or recovering from surgery. I am responsible to take care of myself so that I heal better and I am less tempted to say something that I would later regret.
When you are faced with an illness or recovering from surgery remember that God is your strength and healer too.
My prayer: Dear Father in heaven, You are my strength and portion. I thank You for a successful surgery and I pray for Your healing as I recover. To You be all glory and honor.  I also prayer for those  who are need of Your healing touch. Amen.
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Looking Back On,

The Many Roles That I Have Been Blessed to Serve.
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
 
In my life, I have had the pleasure of serving others in different capacities. I have served in the Air Force. I had the honor of serving at my church in Sunday School for a couple of years. Serving as a children’s leader in Bible Study Fellowship for a little more than 4 years was very rewarding. I learned a lot from being in leadership there. I have served in Celebrate Recovery for a couple of years. Currently, I am serving in the Williamson County Christian Women’s Connection. Some of my hardest lesson have come from these roles. When God tells you it is time to make a change don’t put it off. He has a way of making you change and sometimes it can be quite uncomfortable. One more than one occasion God made me make a change and I did not like it and I put up quite a fit over it. Looking back I see that He did know what was best for me. Leaving one position helped me to value the next one. A dear friend said to me that I seem to get into competitive arguments (if you know what I mean). I have to say that I did not want to admit it but she was right. God truly has a way of humbling me. Humility is not thinking less of myself. It is thinking of myself less and putting others first. In other words, I am not to be glory seeking for my benefit.
Matthew 23:12
 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
 
James 4:10 
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. 
 
By God’s grace, I seek to be more humble in my serving and not get into competitive arguments. It is not always easy but it is rewarding. Thanks be to God for all that He has done and yet to do in me.
 
My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thank you for teaching me what I need to learn and for helping me along the way. Forgive me for the times I seek my glory and cause me to serve others out of humility and love. Amen.
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Grumble Vs. Victory in Jesus!

Troubles Can Work Good in Us or They Can Be An Excuse.
2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  

Why is it that often believers use their troubles as an excuse to mistreat others? I did this when I was younger until one day I realized that it was wrong to mistreat others because I was not feeling good. When Moses lead his people out of Egypt they grumbled and complained often. It seemed like that there was nothing that would keep them happy for long. God gave them manna and quail. He provided water. Yet, they grumbled and wished that they have never left Egypt. I am not much different but I am trying to rely on God as my helper to overcome my grumbling ways. When I do not feel well is when I am most prone to grumble or complain. It is all a matter of perspective. I have to stop and think about others who have it harder than I do and realize the cost Jesus paid for my sins. I can turn to the scriptures to be reminded of God’s goodness and He will sustain me.
Psalm 54:4 (NIV)
 Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.
Psalm 55:22 (NIV)
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Everything that happens in my life serves a purpose. Will I grumble or reach out to God in prayer for His amazing grace to help me? Grumbling does me no good and it does not encourage others nor does it make me good company. For the glory that it is meant to achieve in my life far outweighs all the trouble. When I consider Jesus as He went through the trails and crucifixion, who am I too complain?  He scorned the shame of the cross and was obedient unto death. All things are possible with God. He has the power to help me to bear my cross.

So are you a grumbler or do you desire victory in Jesus? When are you most prone to grumble?
My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, forgive me when I grumble or complain. Help my to seek You and Your strength and grace. May I not forget what Jesus suffered on my behalf. Amen
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Rejoice in the Lord!

I Shall Rejoice in the Lord!!
Why?
 
Psalm 64:9-10 (NIV)
All people will fear;
    they will proclaim the works of God
    and ponder what He has done.

10 The righteous will rejoice in the Lord
    and take refuge in Him;
    all the upright in heart will glory in Him!

 Philippians 4:4-5 (NIV)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
I rejoice in the Lord for He is good and it makes my heart glad. I have come through another crisis and I am better for it. It was not easy of course but God is true to His word and worked all things for my good. I learned that I can talk things out with someone close to me and not be held captive to old patterns of thought and/or actions as before. Now I can say with a little more conviction,
 ‘Come what may, I will be okay for the Lord is with me!’ 
I am learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. So let me rejoice as David did in the psalms.
 
 Psalm 104:33-34 (NIV)
I will sing to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to Him,
    as I rejoice in the Lord.
 
I rejoice in the Lord for He is my refuge in times of trouble and despair. May my gentleness be evident to all and I shall sing of His praise for as long as I shall live.  
What do you have to rejoice in the Lord for?
 
My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, may my meditation be pleasing to You as I rejoice in You. I give You thanks and praise for seeing me through another crisis and helping me to learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. I rejoice in You for You are good. Amen.
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What Am I Thankful For?

Difficult Times and Difficult People
Why?

I saw a post recently on Facebook that said, ‘When God wants you to grow, He makes you uncomfortable.’ There have been many times in the first part of this year that have made me uncomfortable. To be honest, I have not accepted them too well. It has only been in hindsight that I have come to appreciate those times. God has been ever faithful and has seen me through them with me fussing and fuming along the way. The outcome has always been worth the trial and the uncomfortableness. If only I could learn to recognize what God is doing and trust in Him more to work things out for my good. I have to admit that I can be someone else’s difficult person for I am not a perfect saint by any means. The verse that comes to my mind is Philippians 2:12-13,
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
 
Yes, God does have a purpose for everything. He has made each person on purpose for a purpose. Whether or not we acknowledge this is up to each person. So I give thanks for those times when I am challenged by a difficult time and/or difficult person. When I take time to seek Him, He will show me His plan and help me to make the right choice of action or give the right reply. May I not forget the times that He has proven Himself faithful, trustworthy, and true to His promises.

Have you ever stopped to think that in your difficult moments that God has something for you to learn from it all?
 
My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I give You thanks that You love me enough to encourage me to grow. Forgive me for the times that I have complained. Help me to learn that You are working all things out for my good. Be with those who are in their difficult times and cause them to see Your hand in it all. Amen.
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What Casts Out Fear?

Perfect Love
1 John 4:16-19 (ESV)
16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.

Love for one another comes from God because He first loved us through sending His son, Jesus to be propitiation for our sins. Propitiation is a big word that essentially means that Jesus revealed us of having to pay for our sins by appeasing God’s wrath and that by believing in Jesus we have been reconciled to God. As we begin to fathom the love God has for us and abide in that love and He in us, we begin to be changed from the inside out and fear no longer has a hold on us for fear has to do with punishment and as believers no longer have to fear God’s punishment. He will perfect His love in us as we love one another. One of my favorite hymns is ‘O The Deep Deep Love of Jesus,’ S. Trevor Francis, 1875. I particularly like the second verse.
 
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!
 
So the next time you are feeling down and in need of uplifting, stop and think about how deep His love is for you. His love never changes and He died to make you His own. He also intercedes for you to the Father. What greater love is that?

My prayer: Dear Father in heaven, always bring to mind the depth of Your love for me and by it may I in turn love others. May others be encouraged by Your love and be changed forevermore. Amen.
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Reading God’s Word from Cover to Cover.

This is My Goal for the Year!
Why?
There have been two people who made an impression on me. One was a member of my church who died last week. His name was Tom and at his service it was mentioned that he had read the Bible from cover to cover 25 times and I have read and studied various books of the Bible but I have not read it from front to back. The other person was a female pilot who had learned to fly when she turned fifty. I am approaching fifty this year so I was thinking of what could I strive to accomplish. I decided to set myself a goal to read the Bible from front to back before my birthday next year. Then I had another thought, I am reading the Bible in the English Standard Version this year so why not read it again in another version such as American Standard Version. Therefore I am asking for accountability. I will post on Tuesdays how I am progressing and what I am learning. I started yesterday. Today, I read Genesis 3-6 and here are some thoughts on what I read.
Genesis 4:7b God is talking to Cain after Cain killed Abel. “And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at your door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. Sin has its desire for me as well but I must rule over it. Meaning that I have a choice to let sin have its course or choose to refrain from it.
Genesis 5:24 & 6:9 Enoch and Noah both walked with God. God took Enoch and He spared Noah from the flood. I, too, desire to walk with God and let Him rule in my heart.
Genesis 6:6-7 God had regret in having created man and it grieved His heart. Genesis 6:12 gives the reason for this because the flesh had corrupted the earth. Yet Noah found favor with God verse 8. 
God gave specific directions to Noah for building the Ark. 6:22, Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him. I am always amazed at the faith of Noah for he did all that was commanded of him by God. This, too, should be my desire to do all that God has commanded me. One of His commands is to love one another and to forgive as I have been forgiven.

Challenge to you; What goals have you set for yourself?

 My prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I am thankful that I can read and that I have Your Word available to me. Help me to be faithful to my goal and place in me the desire to follow through. Amen.
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F.A.I.T.H.

Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him
John 20:30-31 (ESV)
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
There are several examples of great faith in the Bible; The Leper in Matthew 8:2; The Centurion in Matthew 8:10;  and The Ruler in Matthew 9:18 just to name a few. But for me, Abraham had great faith in God to leave home to go to an unknown land. He had a fantastic adventure in trusting Him. Even when God called him to sacrifice his only son, Issac, Abraham believed in God’s promises and therefore he believed in the resurrection. Yet God provided a lamb and Issac was spared. This was a foreshadowing of what God would do for us through His one and only Son, Jesus. John 3:14-20 sums it up quite well.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
I recently heard it explained that the two thieves that were crucified with Jesus represented humanity in that there would be those who would believe in Jesus and those who would reject Him. I thank God that His Holy Spirit has lead me to believe in Him and through Him I have eternal life and hope in my heart. I, too, am having a fantastic adventure in trusting Him. I know that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). 
Believing is more than a mental assent. It is clinging to, relying on, adhering to, and trusting in Jesus with all your heart as if  your life depended on it. In whom do you trust in, rely on, cling to, and adhere to?
My prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thank you for making me Yours through Your beloved Son, Jesus and Your Holy Spirit convicting me of my sin. I know that a part from You I can do nothing. May those who read this blog be encouraged to believe in You fully. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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