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December 2003 Archives

December 1, 2003

I Was Afraid

He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." Genesis 3:10

Adam messed up, and he knew it. When he heard God in the garden, he hid. When God called to him, he continued to hide behind his words. He didn't answer God saying, "I was afraid because I disobeyed You." Adam's response was, "I was naked." It was as if he was saying, "You didn't make me any clothes!"

How many times do we hide? How many times do we say, "Lord, You didn't keep me away from this temptation. You didn't make me strong enough. It's really Your fault that I failed." God has seen us naked. He already knows the truth. He is not to blame.

Lord, I'm tired of hiding. Okay, I am naked. So what!? The truth is: I fail to obey as I should. No amount of physical sobriety can keep me from mental failure. Only Your Spirit can help me with my mind's battle over lust, pride, and greed. I still want to taste the fruit. Change my heart, so I can stand before You unashamed and unafraid. Jesus, thank You for saving me.

December 2, 2003

My Master is the Lord!

Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." Genesis 4:6-7

Cain felt cheated. And why not? He worked the ground. Wouldn't it make sense that some of the fruits of the soil would be his offering? Why did God reject Cain's offering and accept Abel's? I believe the reasoning for God's rejection is reflected in Cain's reaction. It wasn't necessarily the offering that was wrong, it was the heart of the one who gave it that was the problem.

Cain's heart wasn't right. Cain's reaction to God's rejection was anger and depression. I think he was probably angry with himself because he knew the truth behind God's decision.

Unfortunately, Cain refused to listen. God told him that sin was lying in wait. But rather than heeding the warning, Cain allowed the anger to grow out of control. Eventually, Abel received the brunt of Cain's frustration, and sin exercised its full dominion over Cain.

Lord, sin desires to have me. I can literally hear its breath outside the door - waiting for an invitation to enter in - to control me completely. I am angry and depressed. The blessing I expected from You hasn't come as easily as I had hoped. It feels like the system is once again saying, "Sorry. You don't measure up." But I know it isn't true. Those for whom I work assure me that my expectations will be met. My salary will finally be commensurate with my responsibility. Yet, I am frustrated with the barriers. I am frustrated with the timing. Will I ever get paid what I am worth?

In the not so recent past, my ultimate reaction would be to escape into the compulsions of desire. Medicating the pain is more pleasing than bearing it. But who is in control? Will sin master me once again? Or will I grab hold of the truth: I have been given dominion over the desires of my flesh through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Spirit, intervene in my heart. Help me to heed the warning signs. Forgive my rotten attitude. Help me to trust that Your purpose and plan will be accomplished in my life. Sin, you cannot enter here. I will not be controlled by you.

My Master is the Lord!

December 3, 2003

Wait!

After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Genesis 5:4

If you do the math, it indicates that Adam lived to see the birth of his great-great-great-great-great-grandson. Methuselah, the oldest man to have ever lived, was born before Adam died.

Adam saw a lot of life in 930 years. He saw good and bad. He experienced the Garden of Eden. He survived the murder of one son by the hands of another. Adam saw Enoch, Methuselah's father, walk with God as he once had. Then he saw the day that Enoch walked and didn't return.

I wonder how much Adam learned in that 930 years? About life? About God's real plan for mankind? One thing is probably certain: Adam was in no hurry. I expect he learned a great deal about waiting upon the Lord.

Lord, why am I in such a hurry? Life is so much shorter now compared to when people first walked the earth, but the lesson is the same - we need to wait for You.

Well, all my emotions of yesterday - all my anxiety over being compensated appropriately - left me feeling exhausted and raw. And now, I must face another day. I got word at the end of yesterday that I will get what I wanted. I'm excited. I didn't escape into my old habits to mask the truth: that I was afraid it wouldn't happen - that I wouldn't measure up, and I would have to tell my family once again, "Sorry. It's not what we had hoped." Now, I need to justify the salary - to prove that I should have it. Then the tough job of really earning it begins.

"Results!" That's the next hurdle.

Yet through it all, Lord, I guess I am learning some of what Adam may have learned. "Wait!" That's all we can do at times. Wait... and keep ourselves from sin. Father, help me to accomplish all you have before me today. This month will overwhelm me without You.

Help me to wait for You.

December 4, 2003

God Drew a Line

Then the Lord said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years." Genesis 6:3

Does God grow tired of us? In the days of Noah, He sure did. His beautiful creation was tainted by sin. It was damaged by man's attempt to be more than he was - to be like God, and God was ready to destroy every bit of what He had created.

Do we realize how close we came to the complete annihilation of the human race? His love for us, however, kept Him from completely destroying all He had made.

But God will not be walked on. He may have given mankind another chance, but that chance came with limits. Man's life would be shorter. God decided that His Spirit should not contend with man forever - that His Spirit should not plead throughout all eternity for men to again walk with God.

God drew a line. We cannot live as if He doesn't exist - without His notice.

Lord, help me to live a life that brings You joy rather than grief and pain. I believe You truly love each one of Your children. You chose to redeem us - to give us another chance, yet that chance requires much of us. That chance demands our attention. That chance asks, "Will you walk with Me?"

When I walk with You, sometimes we talk; sometimes we just walk. But always we are together. Thank You, Lord, for the opportunity Jesus has given to defy the limits of this life. Choosing to follow Him gives me the ability to hold Your hand when I reach that line, to step over it, and to continue our walk together.

I love you, Lord. Forgive the ways I grieve You. I hope to make You smile today.

December 5, 2003

Our Only Hope

Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. Genesis 7:23

I was talking to a friend last night about our mutual struggle with loneliness. No matter how many people I am around, no matter how much attention I have received, I just can't seem to shake it. There seems to be a pervading sense of loneliness that is buried deeply within my spirit.

My loneliness, however, pales in comparison to what I'm sure Noah and his family felt deep inside a dark, damp ark filled with animals. Everything outside the ark was gone. The only air-breathing, living creatures were inside. How lonely it must have felt to realize you are all that is left. Noah was a remnant; he was the hope for mankind. But I'm sure the blessing didn't come without pain.

Lord, help me to be one who brings hope for mankind. Too many live as if You do not exist, and the Day will come when those outside the ark (a new ark - a new covenant established by Your Son) will perish. How sad that day will be for those outside - and inside. Will we look back and ask, "How many more could we have brought with us?"

Spirit, help me to embrace this sense of loneliness as a reminder of the greatest task of all - to reach the world for Christ. Noah's only hope was you, Lord.

Be my only hope today.

December 7, 2003

He Reached Out

But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. Genesis 8:9

Noah had a plan. First, he sent a raven outside the ark. He had hoped the raven would bring back a sign of life. The raven never returned.

Then Noah sent out a dove. The dove returned with no sign that the water had receded. After a week, the dove was again released. This time, it returned with an olive leaf. Noah knew the time to leave the ark was near. Another week passed. The dove was released and never returned.

Lord, I want to be like the dove. I want to be part of Your plan. But I need You to reach out Your hand - to draw me back into Your arms. I long to be safely by Your side. I don't want to be like the raven - going it alone, searching for a place without You. Set me free, so I might return.

Free me from the darkness. I long for the day when I will dwell with You forever.

December 8, 2003

God Remembers

"Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God an all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:16

God made a covenant with Noah. Never again would He destroy all life on the earth with a flood. As a sign of the covenant, God placed a rainbow in the clouds. He told Noah, "Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember..." He didn't tell Noah to remember; He stated that He Himself would be the One to remember.

Isn't that just like God. "I want to you to be righteous. Let Me make you righteous." He doesn't say, "Do it by yourself." He is always providing the means to accomplish the purpose He has laid before us. That's why Jesus came - to be the Means of our salvation and righteousness.

Lord, thank You for being the Means. The busyness and stress as of late are wearing me down, and I fear that I could abandon this pursuit of righteousness for the temporary pleasures of my flesh. Keep me from the idols that I have worshiped for too many years. Remember me, lest I forget who I am in You.

December 9, 2003

On This Side of History

These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood. Genesis 10:32

I wonder what it was like to live on the other side of history. The signs are there. We are living in the end of earth’s history. Oh, it may be hundreds of years, thousands of years, or mere moments until the world as we know it comes to an end. But we are definitely living in the end times.

Noah lived at the beginning. Yes, there were many generations before him, but he lived on the opposite end of the spectrum from where we are today. His sons became the fathers of nations. I wonder if he realized that thousands of years later, the earth would be filled with his ancestors. I wonder if he could have imagined how his actions set the rest of history in motion. I wonder if we could understand the impact of our actions on future generations, or have we completely lost all perspective – on this side of history?

Lord, we live in a time when most people tend to consider only themselves. Oh, it is true that as we get older and our children begin to have children, we may start to see how we have made an impact. But do we understand that even we, living at the end of history, can be nation builders? Who knows what God has in store? Who knows how many generations will be lived out before God says, “Enough!"?

Father, help me to live my life in such a way that godly nations could be formed from my body. Give me an eternal perspective. I may not have a world of ancestors awaiting me as Noah did, but I long for all of my descendants to spend eternity with You. Please, Lord! Until You return, draw each of my children’s future children into a relationship with You. Don’t allow even one to be lost!

I wonder… if Noah prayed for me.

December 10, 2003

Could I settle here? Sure!

Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there. Genesis 11:31

After the flood, God commanded the people to be fruitful and multiply on the earth, yet in one hundred years, the people hadn't moved. They decided to build a city that honored themselves, instead of filling the earth and honoring God. It took God confusing their language before they scattered.

Doesn't it normally take an act of God before men will step out into His will? Our pride so often holds us back.

Less than two hundred years later, another man chose to settle in one place rather than moving to where God had originally drawn him. Terah was the father of Abram, who later became Abraham the father of Isaac and the nation of Israel. Terah had three sons, Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran died while Terah was still alive, and I wonder if the grief of his death kept Terah from completely stepping out into God's will.

One day Terah took Abram, Abram's wife Sarai, and Haran's son Lot, and they set out for Canaan. Somewhere along the way, he stopped. The writer of Genesis states that when they came to Haran, they settled there. Now, there were no maps in those days with the name "Haran" on them. Terah didn't get there and say, "Oh, look. This place is named after my son. I think I'll stay here." No. There was something about this place that made Terah stop and say, "I will settle here, and I will name this place after the son I lost."

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Terah had fulfilled God's command to multiply on the earth. But Canaan was his destination. Somewhere along the way, he settled. It may have been his grief. It may have been the location of Haran. Maybe he just liked it. But was it where God wanted him? It wasn't where God wanted Abram. A day would come when Abram would take Sarai and Lot, and they would complete the journey Terah had begun.

Lord, what is it that holds me back from stepping out into Your will? Is it pride? Is it grief? Am I afraid? Or do I just like it where I am? You have been challenging me in so many ways, but can I trust You? My lack of trust is based in fear - not in Your provision. You always provide.

Thank You, Lord, for the opportunities to step out. What an amazing experience I have had in the last twenty-four hours. As I write this, I am sitting in a home that belongs to one of the best-known Christian music artists of our day. Could I settle here? Sure! What a beautiful place. But where do You want me? That is where I want to be.

Help me to reach Your intended destination, Lord, and may You be honored along the way.

December 11, 2003

Stupid Choices

He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels. Genesis 12:16

Abram made a choice to lie about Sarai's identity, and it seemed to pay off. Because of her, he was treated very well by the Egyptians. He acquired a great deal in Egypt.

But I wonder how it felt for him. He had a lot of "stuff," but lost his wife in the process; Sarai was living in Pharaoh's harem. Abram actually caused more of a threat by lying about her identity than the truth would have ever caused him. If he had planned a secret rendezvous with Sarai while she lived in Pharaoh's household, he assuredly would have been killed. And what did God think of him for prostituting his beautiful wife? He had the opportunity to reveal the truth when Sarai was taken to Pharaoh's palace. It was only by God's grace that Abram wasn't struck down for his sin.

Lord, even knowing the truth - knowing Your blessing, I choose stupid things. It is only by Your grace that I have not been struck down for my sin. Thank You for looking beyond my choices to the cross of Christ. Thank You for loving me still.

December 12, 2003

Altars

So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees at Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the Lord. Genesis 13:18

We are all in the altar building business. At one time or another, we find ourselves kneeling before an altar worshiping the god of our choice. The real question is: Are we worshiping the real God?

Abram built altars. Even when he traveled to Egypt to avoid the famine in Canaan, he built them; although, there is no mention of them in Scripture. The altars he built may not have been seen by human eyes, but they were very real indeed.

One might question this statement since there is no mention in the Biblical account of Abram's time in Egypt when he called on the name of the Lord. However, while in Egypt, Abram called on the gods of deceit and materialism.

What was the result? Abram was asked to leave the country.

In Canaan, on the other hand, Abram built altars to the One True God, and he was blessed. Rather than using deceit for personal gain, Abram gave his nephew Lot permission to select the land he wanted; he was willing to give away the very best. Lot chose the green, fertile plain. Abram moved north, reflecting a change of his heart. God promised Abram that all the land belonged to him and his offspring. Lot's choice made no difference in the grand scheme of God's will.

Okay, I have a problem. I think it's great that Abram was blessed when he called upon the name of the Lord. Finally, he was worshiping the God he should have been all along. But what about all the "stuff" he acquired when he was building unseen altars in Egypt? He just kept it all, then he was given more. What does all this mean? Was it okay that Abram had gone his own way, deceiving Pharaoh about Sarai's identity and receiving blessing because of her? No. I don't believe God rewarded Abram for his lack of faith in Egypt, but the fact that he got to keep everything makes me wonder.

The truth is: God wants to bless us, and He is sovereign. He makes the rules. And even when we have acquired worldly things in worldly ways, He wants the best for us. Just because Abram didn't call on the Lord didn't mean that God lost interest in Abram. He loved him.

He loves me.

Lord, forgive my worldly pursuits - the ones I chase in my own way. Thank You for not taking away all that I may have gained without You. Help me to see that it all belongs to You. Forgive me for judging others. Bless me, but give me a heart that desires to give it all away. Help me build altars to You and You alone.

December 14, 2003

Servants at Opportune Moments

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. Genesis 14:18-20

Three verses. The account of Abram's meeting with Melchizedek king of Salem is told in only three verses. Yet this man, Melchizedek, is one of the few men - if not the only man - to whom Jesus is compared. The writer of Hebrews call Jesus a high priest in the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek was no ordinary man. He was a king, and he was a priest. But even more importantly, he was used by God to bless Abram, the man selected to be father to God's chosen people.

When I read this story of Abram's meeting with Melchizedek, my first question is: What is so significant about this meeting? Abram was returning from a battle to save the life of his nephew Lot. He brought home the people and belongings taken from Sodom. Bera, king of Sodom, had come out to meet Abram when Melchizedek brought out bread and wine. What is so significant?

Consider the circumstances. The whole scene is frocked with turmoil. These kings had been subject to that king, so these kings rebelled. Then that king got his friends together to take all the people and possessions away from these kings. What a mess!

All Abram wanted was his nephew Lot. He had been up all night chasing Kedorlaomer, and I expect that Abram was exhausted, physically and emotionally. It seems that Melchizedek's entrance came at just the right moment to encourage Abram and remind him to not get caught up in the games kings play. Thankfully, Abram seemed to get the message. He gave ten percent of everything to Melchizedek and kept nothing for himself.

Lord, do I take the time to recognize Your servants who come at opportune moments - to remind me not to get caught up in the games people play? Thank You for pushing through the turmoil to bless me. Help me to respond as Abram did - with return blessing and praise.

Father, may You be blessed today!

December 15, 2003

How can I know?

But Abram said, "O Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will take possession of it." Genesis 15:8

Abram believed that God would give him more descendants then he could count, but in the same breath he seemed to doubt that God would give him the land. He questioned God saying, "How can I know?"

Lord, why is the human heart so fickle? One moment I can be elated with Your blessing, and the next I am overwhelmed by dreadful darkness. At least I am not alone. Even Abram was fickle - believing one moment and doubting the next.

You have been so amazing lately, Lord. I have sensed Your presence when I have needed You most, but now my heart questions. How can I know that I am not alone? This past week has been overwhelming, yet You have been there. The next week has greater things in store. Will You be here again?

Father, forgive my doubts. Meet me on this journey. Keep me from the ways of darkness so that others might see Your light shining through me.

December 16, 2003

Trained to Be Invisible

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13

Hagar felt invisible. As a servant, she was trained to be invisible. She was not a member of the family. She was to be the quiet helper who was never heard and always unnoticed. But one day it all changed. Sarai grew impatient with God’s timing, and she gave Hagar to Abram in hopes of having children in the house. Hagar went from the invisible maidservant to the “other woman” in the house. Sarai grew hostile, and Hagar ran away – hoping to again become invisible.

But God saw her. He spoke to her in the depths of her distress. She realized that, to God, she was never invisible. He had seen her all along.

Lord, sometimes I feel like I was trained to become invisible. The youngest boy in a family of six children – somewhere along the way I disappeared. I am the classic “lost child” in a dysfunctional family. Rather than fighting for attention, I got lost. I learned the unique skill of fading into the background – of being completely alone in the crowd.

Father, I am tired of being invisible. You see me, and that should be enough. Help me to come out of the shadows. Shine Your light so brightly that others take notice, but let them be blessed by Your light reflecting from me – not from anything I can claim.

Spirit, fill me so full that Your peace pours out on all I meet.

December 19, 2003

Confirming Moments

“I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Genesis 17:2

Confirming moments!

Lord, today is a confirming moment. I am so humbled at the way You are confirming Your call upon me. Help me, Father, to bless Your Body. How amazing You are!

Your grace – Your face is what I long for.

December 21, 2003

Simply Sit

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread.” Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. Genesis 18:6-7

Our concept of time has changed so much in modern days. When we hurry to do something, it generally can be done in minutes. At one time, the same task would have taken hours to complete.

One day Abraham had three visitors, one of which was the Lord Himself. Abraham hurried about to have a meal prepared. Now, meal preparation for Abraham wasn’t like it is today. The bread Sarah made would have taken hours to rise before it was baked. And the calf would have been killed, dressed, then cooked over an open fire. This, too, would have taken hours.

I wonder. What did the visitors do while they waited? Did they sit and talk with Abraham? Did they talk among themselves? Or did they simply enjoy the day?

Lord, I have been racing about for the past few weeks, and I have missed so many chances to simply sit and enjoy You. The ministry opportunities have been fabulous, but without You, none of this is worth it. I think I would rather stay home with You than to perform before hundreds of thousands.

Oh, I’ve felt Your presence. I have marveled at the blessings You provide. But to simply sit – to watch You – to listen for Your voice – this is what I miss.

Help me, Lord, to find the energy and desire to spend more time with You. If we need to meet like this every night, I want to be here. But I need Your strength. My body is too fragile. All this hurrying about means nothing, unless I can hurry to Your side and simply sit.

Choices that Will Bring Blessing

Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his daughters lived in a cave. Genesis 19:30

Lot lost everything.

God had spared his life. His daughters were alive, but his wife was gone. All the riches of his youth were destroyed when the Lord rained down burning sulfur on the plain, where Lot had chosen to settle. His pursuit of more and his tolerance of the wicked left him alone, penniless, and afraid. What might have happened if Lot had chosen differently or shared the Lord with the people of Sodom?

The angels told him to flee to the mountains. He begged them to let him run to a very small town for safety. He ran to Zoar. Eventually, grew so afraid that he left the town to live in a mountain cave.

What a way to live after a life of luxury! Then to have your daughters get you drunk and take advantage of you in order to bear children – Lot’s life is a sad story.

How did it go so wrong?

Lord, the choices we make have such impact. If Lot had chosen differently, he may not have lost so much. Help me to make the right choices – choices that will bring blessing in my old age. Help me to seek You, Jesus, and to share You with those I meet.

December 22, 2003

A Clear Conscience

“Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.” Genesis 20:5

Sin brings consequence – regardless of intent. Abimelech learned this lesson. He took Sarah to be his wife, and God came to him in a dream to warn him of his impending destruction. Upon hearing of Sarah’s identity, Abimelech quickly returned her to Abraham, but even though he hadn’t touched her, Abimelech’s household had been suffering. Every womb had been closed.

Lord, I know that You look upon the heart. You consider the intent of a man more than his actions. But actions are important, too. Sin is sin, even if it is committed with a clear conscience. Help me to be fully aware. Help me to listen before choosing wrongly. I have always disregarded my responsibility for sin I unknowingly committed, but… Is there such a thing? Can I truly say I was innocent? That I didn’t know any better? Your Spirit speaks the truth with every breath I take.

Forgive me, Lord, for not heeding the warnings of Your Spirit. Help me to walk in righteousness today.

December 27, 2003

Seeing Past Imperfection

At that time Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do.” Genesis 21:22

Abimelech and Abraham didn’t have the best relationship. Abraham lied about Sarah’s identity, and trouble came to Abimelech’s household after he took Sarah to be his wife. In the end, God protected Sarah and restored peace to Abimelech’s home, but the relationship with Abraham must have been awkward.

Even with Abraham’s deception, however, Abimelech could see something was different. God was with Abraham, and everyone around him could tell. Despite his imperfection, God was glorified.

Lord, I want the world to see past my imperfection. I want all who are around me to see Your hand. I want them to say, “God is with you in everything you do.”

So often, I get in the way. So often, I try to go it alone.

Help me, Lord, to reflect Your glory. May You be seen in me today.

December 28, 2003

The Blessing Is There All Along

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Genesis 22:13

The ram was there all along. It was Abraham’s obedience that revealed it.

Abraham faced the greatest challenge of his life. Isaac his son, the one promised to him, was to be sacrificed as a burnt offering. There is no indication that Abraham questioned God’s words. Early the next morning, Abraham was up and going, ready to obey. God requested, and Abraham responded. As they approached the site for the sacrifice, he appeared to believe that God would somehow restore Isaac; he told his servants, “We will worship and then we will come back to you.” But he didn’t know for sure.

Interestingly, Abraham’s obedience came without record of an emotional struggle. But I’m certain that his heart must have been breaking. He must have wondered, “Did I hear You correctly, Lord?”

Still, he bound his son and raised the knife. At that moment, God cried out again. Abraham passed the test. And as he looked up from Isaac, he saw the ram. It was there all along. He might have seen it before, but his focus was upon God’s command. He had been watching Isaac, his son, the one whom God had promised.

Lord, Your blessing is there all along. It is our obedience that reveals it.

Every day I face challenges and tests. They may not be as extreme as Abraham’s test, but they are important just the same. With every test, my heart is revealed. Will I love you, first? Will I obey without question? I’d like to say I would, but You know the truth. You know how often I doubt and struggle to follow You. Even so, the blessing is there waiting for me to see it – waiting for my eyes to be opened by obedience.

Father, You know my heart. You see my obedience. You see my disobedience, and You love me still. Continue to reveal Your plan. Help me to see the blessings that await my response to Your requests. You are the God who sees. You are the God who reveals.

December 29, 2003

Abraham's Patience

So the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site. Genesis 23:20

Abraham had moved about the land of Canaan for almost half his life when his wife Sarah died. He owned a great deal. He was a very wealthy man. But he lacked one important possession: a place to bury her.

Could you imagine living most of your life moving about a land that God has promised you, and when you need it most, the land still isn’t yours? Abraham had no choice but to ask for a place, then pay a ridiculous price for it. Sarah was buried at Hebron, a city that would someday be a place of refuge.

How frustrating it must have been! The first permanent dwelling place Abraham bought for Sarah was her final resting place.

Lord, I don’t think I am as patient as Abraham was. To spend most of your life wandering about and never holding a deed for what is meant to be yours! I confess that I want it now. Help me to be content with Your timetable. Help me to accept that some things will not come in this life. Help me to see Your will, regardless of the gain – or the wait.

December 30, 2003

A Woman of Action

Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”

“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself. Genesis 24:64-65

Isaac needed a wife, and God had a plan. As the story unfolds, we meet her. She is Rebekah.

Rebekah was a woman of action. Everyone around her seemed to doubt and delay. But she never hesitated to step into God’s will. On, there is so much I can learn from her.

The servant Abraham sent to find a wife for his son Isaac was full of doubt from the very beginning. He questioned Abraham saying, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Even after praying to the God of his master Abraham and seeing his prayer immediately answered, he hesitated. Rebekah did exactly what he had asked; she offered to draw water for his camels. Yet, the servant stood and watched to see if she would draw all the water she had promised. When Rebekah told him there was room in her father’s house for him to stay, the servant stood at the spring and waited. Rebekah’s brother Laban eventually found him and declared, “Why are you standing out here?”

Upon hearing the servant’s story, Rebekah’s brother and father responded with a quick reply: “Take her and go.” But the next morning when it was time to leave, Laban and his mother hesitated saying, “Let the girl remain with us ten days or so.” God’s will stared them in the face, and they delayed.

Rebekah didn’t delay, however. She left that very day with the servant on the long journey to Canaan. And when she saw Isaac from a distance, she again acted quickly.

She was young. Isaac was almost 40 years old. Yet she didn’t hesitate. Immediately, she covered herself with her veil – as a bride would for her bridegroom. Right away, Isaac took her as his wife.

Oh, to be so enthusiastic about God’s will! Lord, I wish I were so quick to respond. Rebekah was an amazing young woman. Not once did she delay. I so often analyze the consequence. My doubt becomes obvious.

Help me, Spirit, to understand and respond. Give me wisdom. Give me courage. May You be pleased with my faith.

Give me faith, Lord.

December 31, 2003

At the End of Our Lives

His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah. Genesis 25: 9-10

I wonder if Isaac and Ishmael became friends. Although Ishmael was sent away, he was there to bury his father. At that time, Isaac was living near Beer Lahai Roi, a place that was name by Ishmael’s mother, Hagar, when she fled from Sarai after Ishmael was born. Oh, I’m sure Ishmael harbored resentment towards Isaac; Ishmael was Abraham’s first born, but Isaac was the chosen one.

I just wonder what kind of relationship they had towards the end of their lives. Goodness knows, the beginning was full of turmoil.

Lord, I wonder what my relationship will be with my siblings towards the end of our lives. There has been so much turmoil over the years, that now I find it easier to live my life apart from them. Soften our hearts, Spirit, so that when the day comes to bury my father, we can stand side by side without anger.

About December 2003

This page contains all entries posted to The Potter's Hand in December 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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