READ: Romans 4:17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.
In Romans 4:17 Abraham was praised for his faith. Abraham had a keen ability to not look at his current circumstances as though they would always be that way. He could have looked at himself and said "I'm too old to be a Father" or looked at his wife and said, "she's too old to conceive and give birth to a child" or "we just don't have the energy to raise a child - God must have us mixed up for another couple". But he didn't! He did have a moment of trying to make the promise come into fruition out of his own doing (when he had a child with his wife's servant Hagar). The child that came from that union (Ishmael) was not the promised child that the descendants as many as the stars in the sky would come from.
Sometimes we try to take matters into our own hands and certainly Abraham's life was a lesson to us to TRUST GOD and LET HIM DO HIS WORK IN HIS TIME. But Abraham's life also reminds us that our current situation is not going to be the outcome. When God promises us something and we wait and we wait.... even in the waiting we can KNOW that our future is held in the hands of God and the plans and purposes that He has for us will come to pass.
Are you facing something hard right now? Are you clinging to the promises of God for your life... but getting weary and the waiting is getting long? Believe me - do I ever understand that! But looking at Abrahams life and using his keen ability as an example to ourselves... we can look at our current situation and not get stuck there. We can KNOW that a better day is coming when the promise will be fulfilled. Hang on and trust and don't lose hope!
READ: Isaiah 43:18-19 "But forget all that -- it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
Maybe you feel like your in a wasteland. A dry period of your life that seems unimportant or the outlook seems bleak. Believe me -- I have been there. There was a time in my life when I didn't really know how I would go on. I was facing every single day feeling like no one saw me, and no one cared. I carried an internal pain inside of me that burned like a flaming fire that never went out. I remember I gave my testimony in church that God would carry me through and he would make a way.... the doctors may have had no way.... but I KNEW that God did.
In our scripture today God is saying to you: "Forget your past, forget your mistakes, forget your failures and your fears - you are my child and I am going to take care of you. Nothing is impossible for me. When you see no end, I only see the beginning. I have a destiny for you and if you walk with me, I will make it happen. You see only a dry wasteland, but I see springs of living water that will bubble up from you and produce the victories that I have destined you for. See I have already begun to do something new. You don't see it, but trust me.... I'm working all things together for your benefit and for your best! Trust me because I love you. I am yours and you are MINE. Love, Your Heavenly Father!"
READ: Genesis 3:8-10 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"
He answered, "I heard your in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
When I was 16-years-old you could say that I wasn't the best driver. I don't think that I understood that when I backed up the back end went one way and the front end was going the other. I was backing out of the garage one day and my front end side swiped the side of my mom and dad's garage.
When I got home that night my dad asked me what happened to the garage. I'm ashamed to say that I "Played Dumb" like I didn't know what he was talking about. However, when my dad went to look at my 1980 Datsun, he noticed white paint on the maroon car!! A DEAD GIVEAWAY that I knew what had happened!!!
We laugh about it now - but in all seriousness.... I wanted to hide the situation from my father. I knew that there would be consequences for my actions and I didn't want to live up to that reality.
Have you ever found yourself hiding from God? Adam and Eve did. They were tempted in the garden by satan (as the serpent), and when they gave in to his temptation and sinned - their eyes were opened. They saw the mistake they had made, but it was too late because there was division between them and God.
We are lucky in that we live in a day of GRACE. Jesus made all the difference for us. He was God's plan to bring relationship back between God and man. When we do something wrong - we can get rid of that horrible feeling of guilt that makes us want to run and hid. We don't need a mediator either - we can go straight to Jesus. The Bible tells us that we can come boldly to the throne of God and we can ask forgiveness and we will receive it.
Don't let unforgiven sin come between your relationship with God and yourself. You need Him to get through life and He needs you to be His hands and feet here on the earth. We need to be the kingdom of God to those around us..... You are kingdom people - so no hiding from God -- only building the most important RELATIONSHIP of your life!!
READ: Mark 12:30-31 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
In Luke Chapter 10 Jesus tells a parable to an expert in religious law who was asking how to inherit eternal life. Jesus told the parable of a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers and beaten. A priest comes along, but goes by the man. A Levite also walks by the man. But a Samaritan came to where the man was and when he saw him he had pity on him. He went to him, bandaged his wounds, and poured oil and wine on them. He put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn and paid to take care of him there.
Jesus then asks, "which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" And Jesus instructed him, "Go and do likewise."
It can be difficult to love those who don't deserve it. But when we ask ourselves, "How could God offer love to me (a sinner, a mess-up, a failure over and over). Yet he loves me. He forgives me. He wants to spend eternity with me. He loves me with NO STRINGS ATTACHED. NO IF'S, AND'S, OR BUTS. Yet he is a perfect and holy God. He showed me grace, when I deserved punishment and eternal damnation.
When we understand the God kind of GRACE that has been extended to us, we will want to extend that type of GRACE to others. And we can do this - through God who gives us the ability to love.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27-36
As Christians we are called to LOVE - AND EXTEND GRACE AND LOVE TO EVERYONE.