Genesis 24:1 – Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.
The Bible says that Abraham was righteous. But do you know that his nephew Lot was righteous too? (2 Peter 2:78) Yet, both men lived very different lives. Although they both lived under Gods grace some 400 years before the law was given, Abraham was very blessed, whereas Lot lost a lot!
Both men had large herds and flocks. When their herdsmen started quarrelling over space, Abraham took the initiative to make peace. He even let Lot pick the lands that he wanted. Both men were righteous, but one was more gracious than the other.
Lot picked the well-watered plain of Jordan, where the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were. He dwelt there and pitched his tent as far as Sodom. Eventually, he lived in Sodom. Now, Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible represent a sinful lifestyle. Some Christians think, Since I am righteous by faith and under Gods grace, I can live a sinful lifestyle.
Well, lets learn from Lot. He first saw Sodom, then his feet walked toward it and finally he went into it. I like what a great man of God said: Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay. What did Lot end up paying?
He was captured when four kings plundered Sodom and Gomorrah. And even after Abraham rescued him with the help of God, he did not learn his lesson. He went back to Sodom. Some Christians live from one bail-out to another. God delivers them from, say, debt, and they go right back to borrowing money or gambling! Sodom and Gomorrah were eventually destroyed. Lot escaped with only the clothes on his back and even lost his wife in the process.
Beloved, you are the righteousness of God in Christ. When you truly understand what Jesus did to make you the righteousness of God, it will cause you to fall out of love with sin and fall in love with God. Then, it will not be hard to have a heart for God, as Abraham did, and like Abraham, be blessed in all things!
DON’T FEAR THE FAMINE
Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. – Isaiah 60:1–2
Do you believe that you can experience the most increase when the world is experiencing famine?
My friend, famines have been around since the time of the Old Testament patriarchs. But the good news is that God always takes good care of His people. Abraham had more than enough during a time of famine. His son, Isaac, had enough to sow during a time of famine and reaped a hundredfold. In fact, Isaac began to experience the most abundant increase and provision during the time of famine.
That’s God’s style. All glory goes to Him when you and your loved ones are provided for during a famine. Beloved, fear not, but be confident and assured that Jesus will lead you into new levels of success and blessings. He will cause you to experience a hundredfold increase even when the world is in famine.
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!” (Psalm 91:1, 2, AMP).
There is a secret place in which we can remain safe in God. We can stay stable and fixed when we trust Him and His promises at all times.
HYPOCRISY IS AN ATTITUDE
And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. – Matthew 23:12
He who thinks that he will be exalted by acting as a servant, pretending to be humble so that he will receive the promise of God’s Word, is sadly mistaken. Hypocrisy is an attitude or motive.
There are two main types of hypocrisy: 1) People don’t practice what they preach. 2) People’s motives are wrong even though their actions are right.
The second type of hypocrisy is why Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees.
It is more subtle than the first type and is very prevalent today in religion. They were seeking self-glory instead of seeking to glorify God.
Their priorities are wrong, and their focus is on outward displays instead of on the inner condition of their heart. Furthermore, they always persecute the true worshipers of God.
Universally, people dislike blatant hypocrisy; although this subtle type of hypocrisy has been encouraged and even promoted by religion. Religion teaches tithing and giving for selfish motives while 1 Corinthians 13:3 and 2 Corinthians 9:7, make it clear that giving will profit us nothing unless we have the proper motive. The same thing happens when people try to achieve holiness by performing many other religious acts. It is not always the acts that are wrong, but the motives behind the acts. These wrong motives can also make you a hypocrite.
Anyone who rejects salvation because he doesn’t like religious hypocrites, should remember that if he doesn’t receive Jesus as his Lord, then he will spend eternity with these hypocrites in Hell.
CLOSE THE DOOR ON FEAR
And do not give the Devil an opportunity to work – Ephesians 4:27, ISV
So many people today are living with less than God’s best because they’ve allowed fear to creep in and take root in their lives. Fear is the greatest weapon the enemy uses to try to hold us back. Fear is not from God. Scripture tells us that fear brings torment. It’s designed to paralyze us and keep us from God’s blessings.
The good news is that God is greater than fear. His power in you is greater than any power that comes against you. But in order to walk in His power, you have to close the door on the enemy of fear. The enemy can’t have access to your life unless you open a door and give him access. That’s why we have to be careful about what we watch, what we listen to, what we read, and what we say. When we open ourselves to fear, we give the enemy opportunity.
If you’ve allowed fear to steal from you in any area of life, today you can be free — you can be finished with fear! It starts by receiving God’s love and meditating on His promises. Meditate on His truth and speak His truth which sets you free! Surround yourself in God’s love and let Him lead you into victory as you close the door on fear.
My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. —2 Corinthians 12:9
Like many towns, Enterprise, Alabama, has a prominent monument. But the monument in Enterprise is unlike any other. The statue doesn’t recognize a leading citizen; it celebrates the work of a beetle. In the early 1900s, this boll weevil made its way from Mexico to the southern US. Within a few years it had destroyed entire crops of cotton, the primary source of revenue. In desperation, farmers started growing another crop—peanuts. Realizing they had been dependent on one crop for too long, they credited the beetle with forcing them to diversify, which led to increased prosperity.
The boll weevil is like things that come into our lives and destroy what we have worked hard to accomplish. Devastation results—sometimes financial, emotional, or physical—and it is frightening. We witness the end of life as we know it. But as the people of Enterprise learned, the loss of what is old is an opportunity to discover something new. God may use hardship to get us to give up a bad habit or learn a new virtue. He used a thorn in Paul’s flesh to teach him about grace (2 Cor. 12:7-9).
Instead of striving to preserve old habits that are no longer effective, we can view every hardship as an opportunity for God to cultivate a new virtue in us.
O much-tried saint, with fainting heart,
The thorn with its abiding pain,
With all its wearing, ceaseless ache,
Can be the means of priceless gain.
God often uses bitter experiences to make us better.
NO BURDEN …
For the [true] love of God is this, that we do His commands–keep His ordinances and are mindful of His precepts and teaching. And these orders of His are not irksome–burdensome, oppressive, or grievous. – 1 John 5:3
Do you know why the Word of God and the orders God gives to you in your spirit are not burdensome or oppressive? Because everything He tells you is for your good and for your victory!
God knows what it takes to live in victory in this present evil world. In fact, He’s the only one Who knows. The people of this world cannot tell you how to live
victoriously. They don’t know how. But God does! He can make things work, even in the middle of darkness, and if we’ll follow His instructions, commands and precepts from His Word, we can too!
Let me give you an example. One commandment that God gave to us is to love one another and forgive one another as He has forgiven us. This command is not grievous because it’s the key to our freedom. If you can walk in the love that’s been shed abroad in your heart, you’ll have joy every day. But if you don’t walk in this commandment of love, somebody will get your joy before lunch! God knows that. So, He made a command of love and forgiveness because love works! Without love, there won’t be any joy, and the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Don’t resent God’s teachings. Don’t consider His ways a burden to your lifestyle. Rejoice over them. Take them gladly by the hand and let them lead you all the way to victory!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).
I want you to know that Jesus is our good shepherd who watches over and delivers us even when we walk—not by His leading—into the valley of the shadow of death. In that valley, He is still with us. He is not with us to say, “I told you so.” He is not standing there, with arms folded, to see how we will get out of the trouble we got ourselves into. No, He is with us to protect and deliver us from the evil one with His rod and staff.
Beloved, Jesus will never forsake you, especially when you need Him the most. He will protect you, deliver you from death and bring you safely through every season of darkness!
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SIMPLY SERVING (4) :
‘…give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord.’ 1 Corinthians15:58 NIV
Paul writes, ‘Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?… If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.’ (Galatians 1:10 NIV) A true servant of God is content to work quietly in the shadows. They know that in Heaven God will openly reward people we’ve never even heard of—people who taught emotionally disturbed children, cleaned up after the incontinent, nursed AIDS patients, and gave their lives in a thousand unnoticed ways. ‘Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.’ During World War II, when England needed to increase its coal production, Winston Churchill called together labour leaders. He asked them to picture in their minds a victory parade which he knew would be held in Piccadilly Circus after the war. First in line would be the sailors who kept the vital sea lanes open. After them would come the soldiers who returned from Dunkirk, then went on to defeat Rommel in Africa. Next would be the pilots who’d driven the Luftwaffe from the skies. Last of all, he said, would come a long line of sweat–stained, soot–streaked men in miners’ caps. Someone would shout from the crowd, ‘And where were you during the critical days of our struggle?’ And from ten thousand throats would come the answer, ‘We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal.’ Not all jobs are prominent and glamorous. But those who serve God with their ‘faces to the coal’ play a vital role in fulfilling His purposes in the earth
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