And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
Gen 22:12 (KJV)
Don’t you wish you had faith like Abraham? He trusted God even though God did not make sense. This faith trusted that the covenant that God had made with him would be accomplished no matter how impossibly it seemed or requests made of him was against all reason. To sacrifice one’s own son, of promise, Abraham had to have faith that God would stop him or that God would raise Isaac back to life. How could he have such a deep faith that the impossible would happen? Is it even possible to have When we talk of great faith this is one of the passages that we refer to.
Many of the preachers that I have heard on this scripture would often tell us that all we needed was to have faith. If it seems that God is not answering our prayers then we just don’t have enough faith. They don’t go into how Abraham had gotten his faith although understanding his path to great faith may help us gain faith as well.
In the past few chapters, after Abraham had tried to help God fulfill the covenant God reminds Abraham that He will fulfill the covenant. When God promised an offspring Abraham had Ismael by a hand maiden. In chapter 20 Abraham call his wife his sister, she was his half sister. The walk of faith for Abraham has been marked with times of spiritual growth mixed with spiritual failures. We can assume that he had made many mistakes in his life and his ability to learn from them. Great faith starts with the understanding that even when we fail God will not turn us away nor desert us. Finally after a life time of learning to have faith in God it is strong enough to believe God can raise Isaac from the dead after he sacrifices him.
Can we have this faith? It will take time but we can also have this type of faith. Just as we mature into adulthood we have had time of successes and failures. For examples learning to walk, our school lessons, and our social skills. Our spiritual life must begin with our walk with God. Hearing the voice of God at first can be hard to distinguish from the many other voices we hear. Does the voice we hear match up with the word of God? Is this voice leading us to greater faith? As we act on what the voice tells us we are better able to distinguish God voice form all the other voices we hear. The closer we walk with God the better we know His voice and our faith increases. We may not notice our faith increasing but others around us will notice our faith. When we live as close to God as we can God will use our faith.
Mat. 2: 1&2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
From here the King calls all the religious leaders together and asks where this King should be born. The King tells the Wise Men to continue on their journey and the religious leaders stayed where they a were. What is the difference between the religious leaders and the Wise Men?
To me it is almost like the grandparents waiting for the birth of their great great grand child when their granddaughter is still a child, and that of the expecting parents. The grandparents are waiting for that birth, they do not know when it will happen nor are they involved with any of the preparations for that child. The expecting parents on the other hand are excited, they are letting others know the child is coming and they are making arrangements for the birth of that child.
Some think that the Wise Men came from the region that Daniel spent his captivity. Daniel had risen to a great position in that land and may have been a teacher and writer of his time. He may have written books that dealt with the study of the heavens and how God reveals Himself in nature and natural events. When the Wise Men saw this star they knew this must be a sign of God that the King of the Jews was now born. They made preparations to go to worship Him. This journey may have taken over a year to make.
The religious leaders were not looking for a child to be born but they were waiting for the Messiah to come. They were comfortable in their positions and home that they were allowing the events to unfold around them while they were going on with their lives. They were not making any preparation for the the Christ child’s birth.
Are we waiting for God to come the second time or are we expecting Him to come?
Many in our world today are satisfied with the way things are now and are allowing events to happen as they will. Others are expecting the second coming of Christ and are making preparation for His coming.
The Wise Men made themselves ready – they accepted God for who He is – they studied His word, and they went to tell others they had seen His star and they went to worship Him.
My prayer is that you will be like the Wise Men. Accept God as your Lord and savior, study His word, be looking for His second coming and share the good news with others. (Expecting His coming.)
When I was in college many years ago a friend and I were talking about where he would spend eternity. He said that when the time came he was not worried because he was a good talker and he could talk his way out of anything including hell. A college class taught us how to debate and win an argument, but when the time comes what will we say that will get us into heaven?
The truth is that at the judgment seat of heaven our fate will have already been set. The Book of Life will be opened and only those who’s name is found in it will be allowed into heaven. So now the question becomes how do we get our name written in that Book of Life.
In Luke 15: 19 the prodigal son has returned to the father and says to him; “I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.”. This is an act of total humility. This son realized that he was wrong in the way he was living, humbled himself to return to the father and accept a place as a servant. For the act of total humility that the son showed the father accepted him not as a servant but as a son.
This son had rejected all that he had to live on his own. He had rejected the love that his father had to give him, the reputation he had as a family member. He took his inheritance with him. He was now totally on his own to make a new life for himself. In much the same way we are like this son: we have all rejected God the father and have set off to make our own life.
When the time comes what have we done to be able to enter heaven? Many have created a good name for themselves, done great things, and have accomplished much, but is their name written in the book of life?
The only way we can have our names written in the Book of Life is to come humbly before God and say that we are not worthy to be called His child. In Isaiah 64:6 it says that even our own righteousness is as fithy rags to God. As we humble ourselves before god in becomes His grace that he will right our name in the Book of Life. When we walk humble before Him he will not turn us away.
The greatest thing that we can give thank for this year is that God calls us His child and has placed our names in the Book of Life.
I was watching a cute movie the other day in witch the woman was always looking out for her own interest. She wanted her food at an exact time and the food had to be just right. She would belittle everyone who worked for her because they could never do things to her satisfaction. She was never happy and she made everyone around her miserable. We can use many terms to describe someone like this but lets be nice and just say that they are totally self centered.
There is another movie (from the previews I have seen) where a man can not say no to anyone. He is always trying to please everyone else. I can only imagine how unhappy this person is because none of his wants or needs are met.
In our world today we have both of these personalities played out. In family life we have those who always want to have the people around them cater to their every wishes and those who want to have peace at all costs. When families take these to the extreme families will dissolve in a short time.
Can we find a solution? Is there a happy middle ground?
The answer may have been around for a long time but we have tried to ignore it. In the Bible; Philippians 2:4 says: “Don’t be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.” Our concerns are important and they need to be addressed to some degree. For us to be happy we must have our concerns, desires, needs met but maybe not all the time. We need to also be concerned about the interest of other people. There are times when their needs may be more important than our own needs. We can see this played out when we watch parents care for the well being of their small children or for a sick child. Maybe it is a friend that has a problem that you may have to change our schedule to help out. When we can balance our needs and at the same time we can help others we become a more contented person and we have made some great friends.
Jesus has given us a great example to live by. He took care of Himself and His needs while at the same time He was able to help those around Him. His main concern was His relationship with the father and then He was able to have the strength to teach others and care for their needs. God has given each one of us special gifts and talents that we need to use to take care of our own needs and then to help those around us. Consider these thoughts. We want to be well liked – choose to like others even the unlikeable. Do you like to teach, then teach others. There are many places that do not require a formal education for this. Are you good at business, others can use your help. Do you love to play music – there are a lot of us who would love to hear you play or sing. Be creative with what God has give you.
May God guide you to those who need your help today.
Have you ever wondered why you go through the things you do? Maybe it was an accident, a financial reversal, a sickness or some other time when you were suffering. Is there a reason you suffered? I have asked myself this question from time to time and have found some help for myself when I suffer.
I have come to believe that all of our experiences can be used for some good. The education that I have had has helped me find work, but it is the on hands experiences that are most helpful. As I have grown more proficient in my job I can help others learn from my experiences.
It is those times of suffering that I think are the most helpful for me. When I have suffered, I have been lucky to have a great support group around me. This support group has been there to encourage me to go on, given needed advice, and helped me make the right decision. It is amazing how that help has come. There have been letters with comforting words or unexpected money in it, a friend who just listened, instruction or professional help.
After I have gone through these suffering what should I do? I have learned that those who have brought me comfort are those who God has brought into my life and that all of them have suffered as I have suffered or their suffering has given them information that can help me. In 2 Corinthians 1:4 we have these words:“He comforts us whenever we suffer. That is why whenever other people suffer, we are able to comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God.” God has not allowed us to go through our sufferings alone, He has been there through our sufferings. Because He has been there for us, He asks that we be there for others. If we look around we will find many who are suffering and need our help. Helping others is the will of God. God’s will has two aspects, the one is to worship Him. We do this by attending services, prayer, music, and studying His words. The other is to care for our neighbors. Remember the story of the man who was beaten on the road and it was the man who cared for him that was a neighbor. Jesus told the disciples that they were to be servants (neighbors) to others. As we have been comforted in our time of need can we not help but comfort others?
May God bless you as you reach out to help your neighbor.
I was watching a movie titled “Overboard” where the main character complained about everything. Needless to say no one wanted to be around this woman. The jest of the movie was that this woman hired a carpenter to do some work and when he was done she refused to pay him and threw him overboard. Later she fell overboard and when she was picked up she had lost her memory. He saw her on the news and decided that he would act like her husband and take her home to work off what she owed him. She continued to be self centered and complained about everything until she started to think of others. If you have known someone like this you almost can’t help but feel sorry for them and at the same time you can not stand to be around them. Luckily there are few people like this woman.
Most of us have a tendency to complain from time to time, and if you are like me there are times when you might complain a little too often and too loudly. With all the things that don’t suit us, it really is hard not to find something to complain about. The children, the boss, the weather, our daily life are but a few of the things people complain about. Is it O.K. To complain?
David Ring, an evangelist, had a sermon titled “The 11th commandment – thou shalt not belly ache” In Philippians 2:14 we have these words: “Do everything without complaining or arguing.”
Have you ever noticed that you are calmer and normally enjoy being around those people who do not complain or argue? If you are one that think that you might be complaining or arguing too much, how do you make the change?
There are two thing that we need to look at that will help us change. The first is that we need to seek the help of the Holy Spirit. If we ask, the Holy Spirit will remind us that we are complaining or arguing, and we can stop. This is not always an easy thing to do for when we think that we have the problem licked we start to complain all over again, but if we will allow Him, the Holy Spirit will always remind us. The second thing is that if we look out for other people’s needs we will not have time to complain about our situation. This will have many rewards some of which are unforeseen. You may even find new and better friends.
May you have a happier life.