Sunday, January 31, 2016

Monday, Genesis 15 - Unconditional Terms

"Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." What a statement! Whatever the intended meaning was, clearly Abraham took it to mean that God was THE source... the ONLY source of supply that Abraham would ever need.
It becomes immediately obvious what was important to Abraham; what he wanted God to give him. He wanted someone to carry on his name, his line and his land when he was gone. He wanted a son.
It can be reasonably postulated that men hunger naturally and inexplicably for immortality. Some men sense that they will find it in fame, others in infamy... and some (apparently) in procreation. Abraham is our current example of that. The problem: Abraham was too old to have a son (or so he thought), so he mused that maybe somehow God could bless one of his closest and most trusted servants (Eliezer) as if he were actually a son. God had other ideas.
In verse six we read one of the most succinct doctrinal statements in the Bible. This is the only way that any of us can be reckoned righteous before God... God must impute it to us. On the basis of belief - God decrees innocence! Why? Because God values faith! Never lose sight of that. He only grants justification, innocence, holiness, salvation and heaven to those who learn to trust Him in this life.
As God commonly does, He immediately gave Abraham a job to do. God told Abraham to offer a sacrifice of five animals; a heifer, a female goat, a ram, a turtledove and a pigeon. Abraham cleaved each of the three larger beasts into two sections (evidently something like a chef would butterfly a steak).  Then he laid them out along with the two birds... and he waited.

That evening God put Abraham to sleep and made a one sided covenant with him. Why did God put Abraham to sleep? So he wouldn't mess anything up?  Because he had nothing to contribute? Because God doesn't need our help in order for Him to do the things that He is doing? One thing is for sure; as God passed between those pieces (in the form of a smoking furnace and a burning lamp) He was obligating Himself to bring His promises to pass. Regardless of Abraham's future and regardless of the future of his children... ultimately, everything that would be necessary in producing the SEED of Abraham (which was also the SEED of Eve) was sure to come to pass. God said so!

Saturday, January 30, 2016


While today would normally be a reading day, instead I recommend that you gather with the saints tonight for our annual business meeting.  Soup @ 6:00 p.m., business @ 7:00 and desserts afterward. If you aren't part of our congregation or if you can't assemble, then by all means, pick a chapter and read!  May God bless your Sabbath!

Friday, January 29, 2016


Share with others today: what chapter do you plan to read today?

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Hope you didn't forget to read the chapter of your choice today.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Don't forget to pick a chapter somewhere in the Bible and read it with your family today.  Don't let a good habit die just because our routine is different this week.

Monday, January 25, 2016


Since we are taking a week long break in our 3 and 5 to Thrive readings in Genesis, pick a Psalm or a Proverb today to read together with your family.  Don't skip listening to God daily just because of a snow storm.  

Sunday, January 24, 2016


For those of us who missed assembly today due to the snow storm, spend some time meditating on what we miss when we miss gathering with believers.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Well, today is a scheduled break in our 3 & 5 to Thrive journey.  However, this doesn't mean we should skip reading altogether.  Pick a New Testament chapter today and read it with your family.  

Next week we will take an unscheduled full week break, but I will recommend reading strategies each day.  We will pick back up in Genesis 15 in February.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Friday, Genesis 14 - Two Ancient Kings

Just because a story is obscure, that doesn't make it irrelevant.
In this chapter there are many kings of great insignificance who are listed. Don't get bogged down with them. They are mere backdrops.
However, toward the end of this chapter there are two kings listed who are of enormous consequence. Take notice of them: the King of Salem (Melchizedek) and the King of Sodom (Bera); the King of peace and the son of evil. Both men will leave their legacy indelibly stamped on history and eternity.
The most significant thing to take notice of here is how Abram responded to each of these two kings. After fighting bravely to rescues his backslidden nephew (Lot), Abram had some very distinctly contrasting interaction with both of these unique characters.
Compare these two encounters:
1.         Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he (or He?) was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, "Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most high God, which has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he (Abe) gave him (Melchizedek) tithes of all (verses 18-20).
2.         And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, "Give me the persons, and take the goods to yourself.” And Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich"‘(verses 21-23).
The financial exchanges (and lack thereof) recorded in those verses speaks infinite volumes about Abraham's character and faith. Abraham was deeply interested in the glory of God above all else! In worshipful submission Abraham received and gave freely to the honorable King of Peace. With firm piety Abraham refused to enter into any sort of obligatory relationship with the son of evil.
Compare again
1.         Bera's days and the days of Bera's city were numbered. Ezekiel 16:49 records that "the iniquity of... Sodom, [was] pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness... neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."  As a result, God's vengeful and eternal fire wiped them out.
2.         Melchizedek's days and the days of his spiritual city (Jerusalem) are numberless. He and his city exist for the high and holy purpose of glorifying the worthy God of heaven! God's blessed presence will cause both to endure forever.
The ways of Sodom and the ways of Salem are still before us today. Choose wisely. The plight of each king and of each city will be shared by each devotee.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Thursday, Genesis 13 - A Family Quarrel

God's blessings come with certain burdens.  Not that the blessings are flawed; it's us... we're flawed.
I'm reminded of II Corinthians 4:7, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels."  While our ineptitudes allow the glory of God to shine more brightly (in contrast to our lack of glory), our ineptitudes also get in the way of our attempts to be godly ourselves (obviously)! Our feet are made of clay. We are, after all, just dust.
So, God blessed Abraham and Lot with great wealth ... so much so that the land that they lived on couldn't sustain both of their families at once.
Now, who gave them their riches? God did! But, their wealth became a cause for parting. That solution seemed like a good one.  Abraham meekly gave Lot the first choice of the land that lay around them.
Lot should have been like Ruth with Naomi (Ruth 1:16), or like Elisha with Elijah (II Kings 2:6). He should have insisted on sticking with his godly companion. But, Lot's propensity to follow after the lust of the eyes (I John 2:16) immediately showed itself... he chose the cities that lay in the well-watered plains near Sodom. That choice would eventually prove to be a fatal one for him.  Abraham went the other direction and continued his rural nomadic life in the land that God promised to give him.
At the beginning of this chapter Abraham and Lot came out of Egypt (representing the world) and found themselves living at Bethel (which means, "the house of God"). The chapter ends with two statements that give us a distinct impression of the opposite directions that these two men were taking.  Verses 12 and 13 say that "Lot... pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly." Sounds like he was headed in the wrong direction, eh? Verse 18 says that "Abram removed his tent, and came... and built... an altar unto the LORD."

Perhaps the schism was simply indicative of the hearts of these men. Their conflicting priorities made their disconnection ultimately inevitable either way (Amos 3:3).