Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Trust God one step at a time

Genesis 22 to 24 When you face a test of your faith and find yourself wavering, return to the story of Abraham. God in His providence tested Abraham’s faith over and over, yet he failed—how like us! Finally, God gave Abraham the hardest test ever; go and sacrifice your only son as a burnt offering on Mt. Moriah—a three-day journey from where he was. We do not see Abraham questioning nor asking for wisdom to understand the why’s.  Abraham was not like the waves of the sea as they ebb and flow. [James 1:6] Instead, he was like Paul’s description: steadfast and immovable. [1Cor 15:58] After many failures, Abraham’s faith could trust in Jehovah Jireh (the God who provides), and thus “he was ready to offer up his only son.” [Heb 11:17]

 As Abraham and Isaac and the servants traveled, we wonder what his thoughts were—but the scriptures are silent. Instead, Abraham faithfully went about his business as if today was not any different than yesterday. That is how God orchestrates our days; today will be much the same as yesterday and tomorrow. The only inkling Abraham had of what lay ahead was what he told Isaac: “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” [Gen 22:8]

Do we trust God in the hard and easy times as Abraham did?

He is a model for us in trusting God to provide all of our needs.

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Merciful God & Answered Prayer

Pray for your children

Gen 19 God is the Living and Holy God who loves purity and hates sin. He is gracious to save and a righteous judge towards the sinful.  The book of Genesis provides all of these pictures of God and in contrast, the “man made in His image” as tainted, sinful, and without hope minus the mercy of God.

Abraham’s pure heart is revealed as he asks God if he will destroy the righteous with the wicked. Lot’s heart is revealed as one who wants to be a fence sitter. Even the city dwellers see his hypocrisy. How different Lot is from Noah who lived in the world but was not a part of it. Peter describes Lot as a righteous man, but here we only see him as a man who has lost his testimony in the marketplace and his home. “This man came to live here as a foreigner, and now he dares to judge us!” [Gen 19:9] Even “Mrs.” Lot loves Sodom more than God!

Abraham had begged God for ten righteous to be saved, but only Lot and his two daughters survive.  These daughter’s act of incest is living proof of those who do not train up their children to follow God.  

What are some lessons we can glean from this passage? (1) God loves the prayers of his saints, and our prayers matter. (2) What you sow you will also reap. (3)We must be as bold as Abraham to pray for those who are perishing.

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

One step forward, two back

Gen 16 to 18 Take a walk in the sand and then try to retrace your walk. The path is much like our lives, one step forward and two back. Our heads swirl with the biblical characters whose lives are held up as a model to us, but then we see that their paths are like ours in the sand.

Abram follows God to Canaan but then fails to trust Him in a famine. In Egypt, Abram lies about Sarai to Pharaoh. One of the things God hates most is that of a lying spirit. [Prov 6:17]He is sent away with great wealth and a servant but was it really worth it?  Next, Abram had just spent an extended time with God and received from Him the promise of a child from his own loins. We wonder why he then chose to listen to Sarai in the next chapter to impregnate Hagar, the Egyptian servant girl.

Principle: Never promote the cause of God by manipulation. When we try to circumvent God’s plans using human wisdom, nothing good comes from it. [James 3:15] Instead, God’s wisdom is from above and is beyond our comprehension. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights [James 1:17]

Lastly, Hagar meets God and comes to know that God sees everything about us. Hagar then, like Job can know: “But he knows the pathway that I take; if he tested me, I would come forth like gold.” [Job 23:10]

Which step are you on today?

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Eyes of Faith Or???

Eyes of faith

Genesis 12 to 15 How would you rate your obedience level? Are you a 10 or less? Abram is on a fast track learning curve to knowing what obedience requires when asked to leave his home, his father, and go to a land that He would show him.  For his obedience, God promises he will father a great nation and more. In addition, others will pay the price for blessing or cursing him. As incredible as this is, Abram fails to follow the first step of leaving his kindred and father’s house. How often does God give us a simple step, and we fail to follow it to the letter! We often say I will trust Him when I see x, y, z. The truth is, we are afraid of that first step because we are not seeing with eyes of faith. A good reminder: “in God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.” [Ps 56:11] God asks us to obey whether we can see ahead or not; that is what trust is all about.

We often ask how God can ask us to leave an elderly parent or something else. So we have to stop and ask why God wanted Abram to do that. God often asks us these simple yet hard steps to see if we will trust Him to be our total provision. We have to decide: will we trust God who knows the end from the beginning? Do we not think God would have provided if Abram had obeyed?

Are you willing to step out and trust God to be meet all of your needs?  

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Job 40-42. How Does God Describe You?

Ready to be God's servant

Job is described in Chapter 1 and again in Chapter 42 as God’s servant.  Job has been unaware of a spiritual battle between Satan and God. He has never known what that battle was or how God perceived him—until God responds to the three comforters in this last chapter. It is then that God speaks to Eliphaz and says; go to my servant Job—not once but four times!

When we face a trial, does God call you His servants? You may be facing a spiritual battle, but you can be assured of this; believers are God’s servants, and He knows how you and I will face each trial.

Paul reminds us that we not in a wrestling match against flesh and blood. Instead, our battle is against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against evil’s spiritual forces in the heavenly places. [Eph 6:12-13] Therefore, we must put on the whole spiritual armor of God that includes the belt of truth; the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace; the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God and stand firm.

What trial are you facing this day? Will God announce to Satan that you are His servant?

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“Are We Listening?”

Are we listening

Job 38-41 God is God, and He will decide whatever way He wishes. Sometimes He speaks in a soft whisper and sometimes in a whirlwind.  “He is not a man that He should change His mind,” nor is he a man who needs to compromise or offer emotions like the man he created. This is a powerful lesson as we wander through the 77 questions He asks Job.

 Imagine yourself as Job sitting in your sackcloth and ashes and facing this! We don’t find Job bowing, worshiping, or doing any of the things such as the Apostle John when he fell at his feet as dead. We do find that Job is in listening mode, and that is where we need to be. God will use whatever He chooses to get our attention.

The question before us is: are we listening?

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Elihu’s Last Stand

Scripture says: pride goeth before the fall

Job 35 to 37 The story of Custer’s last stand has always intrigued me. Custer’s pride was his undoing and in some ways, Elihu is like Custer. He is not ready to stand down until he has had his last word.  Dissecting his words, we find both truths mixed with misunderstandings. Elihu is right about one thing: Storms come that we may seek the face of God but do we? Or does our pride keep us from that step?

Elihu is also right in his description of God: He is all of splendor and more. We cannot attain to Him. God is God, and man is man. God is under no obligation to react to people’s actions. He also doesn’t need to provide relief if their prayers are selfish and full of pride.

The truth is this: the time to seek God is early on when hearts are tender and humble. But days come and go with men leaving God out of the equation. God may be grieved and broken-hearted, yet He remains steadfast, allowing them to choose or reject him.

The saddest words I ever heard was: I never needed God in all of my life, and I don’t need him now. Tragically, the men in Noah’s time and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31 show us the results of that philosophy.

Torments await those who reject God. Where are you, my friend?

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“Failure or Success in a Trial”

the key to success

Job 29 to 31 Today we see many homeless people here and there. If you take time to talk with them, you may hear some of the same dialogs that Job was having with himself, his friends, and God. Like Job, they begin the age-old “why” me and “why” this.  Some will admit to their past sins, but others, like Job, can recount their lives and not see the answers. James reminds us that when we are in a trial to ask for wisdom and that is what Job is doing. May you be encouraged to know that just as Job wondered, he still trusted God. You can as well. When in a trial, look at the past and then ask: Has God been faithful? If you can answer yes, then why would He not be faithful now? That is why God can be trusted even if you never learn the reason until eternity.

Although Job has been through the fire and continues to feel the heat, one thing he knows is this: God knows the end from the beginning. “Does he not see my ways and count all my steps?” [Job 31: 4] Therefore, no matter how bad life has become and how despondent Job is over this strange set of circumstances, he will not walk away from his belief that God is God and He knows the reason. 

The bottom line is this: If Job or we fail here, Satan wins. TRUST GOD so you can say you passed the test.

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Wisdom comes from God

Job 28 James succinctly addresses wisdom and remarks that there are two avenues: earthly and heavenly. One is demonic, and the other is godly.  James further notes that we have godly wisdom through our good conduct and works done in gentleness. On the other side of the coin is earthly, natural, and demonic wisdom, and then describes it as jealous, selfish, disorderly, and full of evil practices. The contrast is clear; the wisdom from above is peaceable, gentle, accommodating, merciful, impartial, and true.  

Job had no Bible, preachers, prophets, or the indwelling Holy Spirit, yet he understood what men today do not comprehend: ‘The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’ [Job 28:28] Thus, the truth that Paul expounds proves that even without all of the outside intervention:  through the “creation of the world [God’s] invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.” [Rom 1:20]

 Which wisdom do you have? May you be encouraged to know that as Job wondered, you may also, but, even in his wondering, he still trusted God and had godly wisdom. You can be as well.

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God Knows You…

God knows each of us

Job 21 to 24 The Truth of the Matter

Are you confounded by the responses of those who are asked; do you believe the Bible? Some answers come back like the Ethiopian’s question; how can I unless someone guides me? Or, the Bible is too hard for me to understand. Or, I am too busy to read the Bible and on and on and on go the answers to our question. Yet, Job centuries before even a word was written, he could say: “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my allotted portion; he is unchangeable; whatever he desired, he does. Did you catch that? Job had no Bible, no missionary came to tell him about God, yet he treasured the words of God. How did he know?   “For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.” [Romans 1:20]

God has been silent with Job not because he didn’t want to interact with him but to prove to our arch-enemy the truth of what he knew about Job: There is no one like him. He is blameless and upright and fears Me. God knew that Satan was frustrated because Job did not curse him, yet He remained silent because just as Job knew God’s character,

God knew Job’s character: if tested, he would come forth as gold. [Job 23:10]

What does God say about you?

God knows who you are and how you will respond. Trust Him.

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