In the Face of Doubt

Ten years had passed since they had started their new life in Canaan. Was it what Sarai expected? I doubt it. Is it ever as we expect it? She had followed her husband willfully on this journey in hopes of a family – a child of her very own. The word of the LORD to Abram had been “Go…and I will make of you a great nation.” Surely music to her battered and broken heart. With such a promise I imagine her response something along the lines of “Yes! Yes I’ll go Abram! An entire nation from me!” Certainly hope soared within her as they entered the land of promise.

Devotional: Genesis 16:1-6
Key Verse:  “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” Ps. 27:14; NKJV

But then…nothing. For ten long years. Ever been there? By her estimation she was running out of time. Little did she know that’s exactly what God wanted…her body “dead.” So he could be the God who brings life out of death. So he could showcase his marvelous power.

But she couldn’t see the big picture. She didn’t know the big picture. Most of the time we don’t. That’s why it’s called faith. So as time passed and hope drained, Sarai began to doubt. Because isn’t that what happens when prayers go presumably unanswered? Our minds fill with doubt. Maybe…I misunderstood. Maybe that promise wasn’t meant for me.

And Satan gets us right where he wants us. A place of uncertainty. “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her” (Gen. 16:2). 〰 “Abram I know God said you would have a child but maybe it’s not through me. Maybe the promise wasn’t meant for me.” Oh how quickly the seed of doubt can grow. As she considered her options, Sarai became more and more convinced Hagar had to be the solution.

Now before we harp too much on Sarai and the fact she encouraged her husband to have sex with another woman, let’s consider the culture. I’m certainly not excusing her. What she suggested was wrong and God did not honor it but culturally in the world she grew up in it was not an uncommon practice. It was the woman’s responsibility to produce an heir for her husband. If she couldn’t do it a servant could act as a surrogate mother to provide a child.

I think it’s also worth noting that Abram and Sarai had the same father but different mothers (Gen. 20:12). Their background likely included polygamy. That being said I think Sarai had good intentions. Certainly I could be wrong but she is praised in Hebrews 11 as a woman of faith. And again in 1 Peter 3 as a woman to be modeled after. But after years of waiting; years of hoping; she found herself in a place of uncertainty. A very dangerous place. For it’s often from a state of uncertainty we act apart from God.

And end up with an “Ishmael” in our lives. With a mess we didn’t foresee. Heartache we didn’t expect. All because of a little uncertainty. A little harmless uncertainty in the faithfulness of God.

But is it ever harmless? Doubt is the devil’s playground. I cannot imagine the heartache Sarai experienced the night she knew her husband was intimately in the arms of another. And the rejection she must have felt to realize God had blessed Hagar so quickly with child but not her. However the consequences didn’t end there. Sarai had no idea the conflict that would exist between her offspring and that of Hagar. No idea it would go on for thousands of years. No idea it would be the cause of such terrible turmoil. No idea it would last until Christ’s final return (smoldering still today).

Is it any wonder God told us to take every thought captive for Christ? (2 Cor. 10:5) Every doubt. Every fear. Is it any wonder God told us to pray without ceasing? (1 Thess. 5:17) Is it any wonder God said to cast our anxieties on him? (1 Peter 5:7) Any wonder God said to trust him wholeheartedly and lean not on our own understanding? (Prov. 3:5-6) Oh the messes we make when we act apart from God because of doubt or fear or uncertainty.

Oh restless heart be still. Remember God’s faithfulness. Don’t doubt. No don’t doubt. It will only lead to trouble. “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Ps. 27:14; NKJV)

He has a plan. A good and wonderful plan. Be still restless heart. Please don’t move ahead of God. Trust him. His ways are not your ways. His thoughts are not your thoughts. (Is. 55:8-9) Just because he doesn’t work in the timing you had hoped doesn’t mean he’s forgotten or changed his mind or found a loophole. It means he’s still working. He’s still preparing. Trust the God who made you. Trust the God who died for you. He has not forsaken you.

Restless heart pray. Just think how different life might have been if Abram and Sarai had prayed – in the face of uncertainty. Trust God for something better. Why is it when life doesn’t go our way we often assume the worst? What if instead we trusted God for something amazing! For something far more wonderful than we could have ever imagined! Instead of rationalizing; instead of doubting; instead of taking matters into our own hands – what if we believed God was still working? For his glory and for our good…trust him restless heart…trust him.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Eph. 3:20-21

Contemplate and Evaluate:
1. In what area of your life do you need to trust God for something better or bigger or far more wonderful than you could have ever imagined?
2. When have you acted apart from God because of doubt or fear or uncertainty? How can you use that experience to encourage another in their struggle to trust God?image

Back to the Basics

The basics. It’s essential to know the basics. For just about anything…a job, a recipe, a sport, a business. You’ve got to know the basics. The same is true of Christianity. You’ve got to not only know but understand a few basics. A few fundamentals. And live by them. Problem is we don’t know the basics. Or choose to ignore them. And when you don’t have an accurate understanding of the basics you’ve got confusion and misconceptions and a whole lot of people who call themselves Christians but have absolutely no relationship with God. So today…today we get back to the basics.

Devotional: Genesis 15:6
Key Verse: “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” 1 John 2:3

God is God. And we are not. He alone is perfect. Holy. He alone is without sin. We however are full of sin. Filled to the brim with sin. (Rom. 3:23) Sin entered the world through Adam and death through sin (Rom. 5:12). The wages of sin then is death. Death did not exist before sin. But is a consequence of sin because sin separates and death is the ultimate separation. Without faith in Jesus Christ death is a forever permanent separation from the absolutely completely holy God.

In order to be with God you must be perfect. And obviously we are not. So we have a problem – an enormously big problem solved only by an enormously loving God. When he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to be the propitiation for the sins of mankind. (Hebrews 2:17) That we might be made/declared perfect in and through Jesus.

Jesus – who is himself God – became a man that he might be the perfect sinless sacrifice needed to appease the wrath of God. Jesus – through whom all things in heaven and earth were created – allowed himself to be beaten, spit on, mocked, stripped, and nailed to a cross. For you. For me. Jesus – the Almighty One – who resurrected on the third day defeating death. So that he could credit the account of each person who humbly submits to him for salvation with his pure and perfect righteousness.

Because on our own we’ll never be righteous enough. Never. On our own we’re destined for hell. Only through Jesus and his righteousness can we be saved from condemnation. Not through works of our own. Not through baptism or sprinkling or other rituals or even going to church. Not by giving to the poor, the needy, the homeless. Not by doing my best. But by believing. Simply believing.

Just as it was for Abram. “And he [Abram] believed the LORD, and he [the LORD] counted it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6). Not because of something Abram did. Not because of his good works, as Paul reiterates in Romans 4, but simply because he believed. He, just like us, was saved by grace through faith, not by works, so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:8-9).

Yet faith without works…is dead (James 2:17). Dead! That’s some strong language. My friends, herein lies the most detrimental misunderstanding of Christianity today. The role of good works. No, we are not saved by our works. But good works are absolutely a necessity. Because a genuine belief in Jesus Christ will always result in growing obedience to him. Out of gratitude for what God did. Out of love for the Savior. For his glory. It’s not just about praying a prayer. It’s not about saying the right words. It’s about obedience. Jesus said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

Even the demons believe Jesus is the Son of God. And they shudder. (James 2:17) It’s not just about acknowledging…it’s about obeying. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, John elaborated, “Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:3-6).

In the same way he walked. In obedience. In love. In truth and purity. Be holy as he is holy (1 Peter 1:16). These are the fundamental truths of Christianity. But somewhere along the way we’ve forgotten that real faith works and works hard. To bring God glory. To crucify the flesh with its unrighteous desires. Living not in the works of the flesh but by the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).

Even when it’s hard and seems impossible. Even when deep down we really don’t want to. Because genuine faith in Jesus Christ will result in the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus said in speaking of real and false disciples (followers) “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16-20).

Are we gonna mess up? You better believe it. We already established we ain’t perfect! But a genuine believer fights the flesh – sometimes hard – yet Christ empowers. My friends, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9).

Jesus asked “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46) Obedience is no doubt a fundamental basic truth that cannot be ignored. “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 Jn. 1:6). I beg you, dear friends, with sincere love, to evaluate your obedience. Is it simply knowledge you possess? Or a relationship with Jesus evidenced by a growing obedience to HIS commands?

Salvation in Jesus Christ is not a one time event. It’s an everyday event. Living for the King of Kings. Living not for self. Not for my own gratification. Not for my own inclinations. But for Christ’s. For his glory and his kingdom. He saved us not so we could live however we want to and still go to Heaven. He saved us for good works. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” Eph. 2:10.

So let’s walk in them…

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Is your faith genuine? Is it a faith that works? What evidence is there of the fruit of the Spirit?
Are you more like Christ than you were a month ago? a year ago? Is there a pattern of growing obedience in your life?image

My Exceedingly Great Reward

Devotional: Genesis 15:1-5
Key Verse: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” Genesis 15:1

What had he done! Oh the mess he had made. Defeating four kings of the east meant Abram now had four enemies in the east. Humiliated, would they retaliate? What of Sarai? What of the servants, the men, their families? Had he endangered them all?

Obviously we don’t know what Abram’s thoughts were. But isn’t that the way it works? A small fear creeps into the far corner of our minds. We let it take root. Water it with all kinds of “what if” scenarios until it wraps itself around every thread of truth; dismantling our confidence; overriding any desire to press forth. Encouraging us to just give up; wave a little white flag of surrender; and hide. Or hyperventilate. Or eat chocolate. Or buy something new and pretty and distracting. (Or maybe that’s just me.)

All the while God remains patient; faithful. Abram must have been experiencing at least some fear on the heels of his great victory or God wouldn’t have said “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield” (Gen. 15:1). How truly marvelous to have God as one’s shield. Maybe for Abram you might say but God’s not been any sort of shield for me. Oh but he has dear friends. He has. In Christ you are forever shielded from hell. Forever shielded from God’s wrath. Shielded from an eternity of pain and suffering. Shielded from the daily accusations of the evil one. Absolutely Jesus is your shield; your mighty shield. “But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (Ps. 3:3).

But just as God did not shield Jesus from pain and suffering neither will he shield us. Maybe sometimes. But suffering “produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Rom. 5:4) making us more like Christ. Drawing us to him. Giving us opportunity to showcase his faithfulness and bring him glory.

So we remain strong; steadfast; believing he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6). Abram had given up the spoils of war for God’s glory and the sacrifice had not gone unnoticed. No sacrifice we give to God goes unnoticed (Luke 12:6-7). God assured Abram “your reward shall be very great.” But I love how the New King James Bible states it, “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” God himself was Abram’s reward! His exceedingly great reward!

God himself – our reward! The greatest reward. Nothing else could compare! Nothing! Yet so often we want something else. Sometimes so desperately we’d do anything for it. But what if Jesus were the one thing I desired most? What if he were the absolute longing of my heart? What sort of contentment and joy and wonderment might I find if I sought Jesus as my greatest reward?

Daily my greatest reward. Daily my ambition; my motive; my passion. I think alas I would know him as my shield. We wonder – where are you God? Where are you in this mess? But could it be we see him not because we think on him not. Consumed by the worries of today and tomorrow. Consumed by my wants and desires. My ever increasing wish list. I soon forget whom it is that truly satisfies. I soon forget what is truly my reward. If only I could stay my mind on Him, what a shield I would have. What a shield! Against temptation. Against fear. Against jealousy, discontentment, and sadness. Against every flaming dart sent to disarm my faith. For truly he is the reward!

Yet we have strong desires. Desires that just don’t seem to go away. Sometimes of our own making…sometimes God given. For Abram it was a son. A child – of his very own. Year upon year passed and still no heir. I cannot imagine the ache; the disappointment. Abram had been promised a nation would come from him. Through him would come blessing to every family of the world. He remembered the words spoken to him. No doubt he remembered the words. But still…no child.

So he asked. (God wants us to bring our requests before him.) “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless?” (Gen. 15:2) And God answered piling grace upon grace, “your very own son shall be your heir...number the stars, if you are able to number them…So shall your offspring be” (Gen. 15:4-5). What a gracious God we serve! “Don’t worry Abram I am your exceedingly great reward!” But Lord I want a son? But Lord I want______(fill in the blank). How often I fill in the blank! How often I unknowingly tell God he’s not enough for me. Yet he chides me not. Instead he listens. And if I’m listening reassures me of his sovereignty. Just as he reassured Abram, “You will have a son and much much more.” What grace! What beautiful grace!

He loves us friends. He really does. Bring your requests. Brings your desires. Bring your aches and burdens. Bring them to the Lord. And leave them…there…amid his sovereignty. Believing. Trusting he will do what’s best for you. Because he will. He always will. He proved that at calvary with every nail; every beating; every scar; every thorn; every excruciating hour…for you…for me. So that he could be our exceedingly great reward!

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Do you think of God as your reward?
What today do you need to leave at his throne? What desire, what ache, what burden do you need to give him so that he can be your reward?image

Whose Battle Are You Fighting

Devotional: Genesis 14
Key Verse: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

There’s a battle going on. Whether we choose to recognize it or not….there’s a battle. A hard fought battle. Not on the other side of the world. Not in a remote village. But here. Right here. For the souls of men, women, precious children. A battle that for too long now we’ve refused to engage in. For too long now we’ve said “maybe tomorrow. But not right now. Right now I’ve just got too much going on.”

What if Abram had said that? In response to the news of Lot taken captive by a coalition of 4 eastern kings. What if Abram had said, “You know I’ve just got a lot going on right now. I really don’t have time to go after Lot.” He could have. I have no doubt he was a busy man. But he didn’t. He went after him. He and the 318 trained men born in his household (Gen. 14:14) risked their lives to save Lot and the others who had been taken. Captured by enemy forces.

Made me wonder…what if Jesus had been too busy? You know holding the world together. Too busy to become like us. To come after us. To save us. Unable to save ourselves; unable to work our way into Heaven; we’d be destined for hell. Destined to spend eternity separated from God; enslaved to the enemy; enslaved to sin. But he wasn’t too busy was he? He came after us. And saved us.

Pictured here in Genesis 14 by Abram’s pursuit of Lot. Pictured here by Abram’s victory over strong enemy forces. The odds were stacked against him. High against him. This eastern coalition of kings appeared to be unstoppable. Fierce. Undaunted by the Rephaim and Emim said to be giants in Deuteronomy 2:10-11. This was no small battle and no small victory. Likely Abram gained much respect from the Canaanites for his win. Respect God certainly used to protect him as he sojourned in a land not yet his own.

But no enemy is too strong for our God. No enemy is even a threat. The LORD is never dismayed, so neither shall his people be. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). What’s more? “Victory belongs to the LORD” (Prov. 21:31b). He always wins. Always. I love that part! Rejoice soul; rejoice! The victory is always his. The key to victory then is to be on the LORD’s side. Because when you fight God’s battles…you will win!

But how often I wonder is the battle one of our own making? For our own ambitions; for our own glory; for our own prosperity. Oh the trouble we might keep ourselves from if the only battle we engaged in was the LORD’s. For righteousness. For truth. For salvation. For his glory and his glory alone.

So what are you fighting for? Your own glory or God’s? Your own ambitions or God’s? There is no middle ground. No neutrality. Jesus said “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12:30). Oh friends consider it. Are you gathering? Because the only other option is scattering. We’re in the middle of a great battle. A spiritual battle. Something so much bigger than ourselves. Bigger than we could ever understand. Fierce and mighty is the enemy. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).

But don’t fear. No don’t fear. Simply put on your armor. “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:16-17). And fight the LORD’s battles! On his side. For his glory. Through prayer; by faith; with love; but truth; and strength; endurance; patience; and righteousness. Chase after those neighbors still enslaved to the enemy. Speak the hard truth when no one else will. Extinguish the flaming darts of the evil one. Engage in the battle, the LORD’s battle, not one of your own making.

There will be temptations. Many temptations. As indicated by the presence of the king of Sodom upon Abram’s return from battle. But there to meet him first. There to refresh him with bread and wine was another. “Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace” (Hebrews 7:1a, 2b). Salem is Jerusalem. Thereby in Melchizedek we have at the very least a picture of Jesus – both priest and king (of righteousness and peace). The author of Hebrews goes on to say he is “without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever” (Hebrews 7:3).

Some scholars believe Melchizedek was a Christophany – an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ. I have no doubt it could have been for the LORD appears to Abram other times. Specifically in Genesis 18 as a man. But God does not make that clear. The point is that Jesus is not only King but our high priest forever. And as high priest he lives to intercede for us before the Father. (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34) He’s there, right there, always to refresh; strengthen; encourage; bless. He’s there, right there, always when temptation is in your face. He’s there; right there after a long day in the battle. After a major mess up or a time of sin – he’s still there. With bread and wine he’s waiting to reconcile; renew; or refresh.

Oh my soul. Fear not. For he is with me. He is there. Always there to strengthen me and uphold me with his righteous right hand. Fear not, soul, for you are on the LORD’s side. Put on your armor and be strong! For HE is with you.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Are you on the LORD’s side? What battle are you fighting? His or one of your own making?
Where do you turn when you need strength, encouragement, and refreshment? To Christ or elsewhere?image

Sometimes We Need to Let Go

Devo Scripture: Genesis 13
Key Verse: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked…but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Ps. 1:1-2

We cling to things…don’t we? Tight. Like that dream, that child, that house, that job, that plan, that money is the one thing that will make us happy. The one thing. So we pray. We take it to God and we beg him for it. Please LORD, please just this once answer my prayer the way I want you to. Or we fight for it. At the risk of losing everything…we fight. We let it consume us until every thought, every moment, every whisper is for it and it alone. Never mind our witness. Never mind our relationships. Never mind our God.

And it very well might rightfully be yours. You may have worked hard for it. It belongs to you. So no way should you have to let go of it. No way. It wouldn’t be fair. After all it’s yours. Don’t worry I feel the same way. It’s mine…my reputation, my security, my comfort, my desire, my life, my idea, my hope, my shame, my pride, my sin.

So we cling. Harder. Because “blessed is he who gets what he wants.” Is that it? Is that what Scripture says? No, it’s not. But we act like it is. Atleast I do…when I pray unceasingly for what I want. What I think I need to make me happy. To keep me happy.

But what if we let go? It’s scary, I know. But what if we let go of that which we cling most tightly to. That which we grasp at with such sincere audacity; which we think will make us most happy. What if we actually let go? For starters, maybe we wouldn’t be so worn out. (All that clinging and grasping is exhausting!) Maybe we’d actually “let go and let God” as we allude to. Maybe we’d realize life in HIS hands isn’t so bad after all. Maybe we’d still be ok. And maybe….just maybe we’d learn to trust Jesus who cares for us as we will never fully comprehend.

We might even find blessing. Abram did. When he – for the sake of his witness; for the sake of his relationship with his nephew; for the sake of his relationship with God – let go. They had a problem, he and Lot. They had too many riches! Together they overpowered the available pasture lands and wells. Their herdsmen quarreled. But instead of fighting back. Instead of getting really upset and demanding Lot respect his authority. Instead of pouting, complaining, feeling sorry for himself and stuffing his face with chocolate; instead of gossiping – he went to Lot. And he let go. “Let there be no strife between you and me…Is not the whole land before you?…If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left” (Gen. 13:8-9).

So Lot took a good look around (likely they were on elevated ground). “And saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt” (Gen. 13:10). It looked good! After the famine; after seeing Egypt; it looked really good. So he took it. All of it! (Blessed is he who gets what he wants. Right??) Problem was the land included Sodom. And the men of Sodom “were wicked, great sinners against the LORD” (Gen. 13:13). And because of his choice to dwell in wickedness Lot would lose much, including his wife. He would live daily with a tormented soul (2 Peter 2:8). No, he wasn’t blessed. But Abram was.

Abram, who let go. Abram, who worshiped God upon his return from Egypt. Abram, who learned to trust, with a ruthless trust, the Almighty God. He was greatly blessed. For God appeared to him and said look around. All the land you see I give to you and your descendants. Forever! Go and walk through it! So I imagine Abram did. I imagine he took a nice long walk. But then settled “by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron” (Gen. 13:18). He settled in rich communion with God; for Mamre can mean “richness” and Hebron means “communion.” What an incredible place to be…settled in rich communion with God. Truly Abram was blessed. For all communion with God is a blessing.

And we want blessing. Don’t we? Because it make us happy. And truly happiness is what we seek! It’s why we cling. It’s why we grasp. Because we want to be happy. And we think we know just what will make us happy. But do we? Do we really know? God’s made it clear. And it’s not always getting what we want. It’s doing what HE wants. That’s what will make us happy.

It’s not a coincidence the Hebrew and Greek words for blessed can be translated “happy”. It’s by design. God’s perfect design. Because happiness cannot be found in a dream, a hope, a wish, a goal. It’s found in Him…

Blessed [happy] is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked…but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Ps. 1:1-2

Blessed [happy] is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!” Ps. 112:1

Behold, blessed [happy] is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.” Job 5:17

Blessed [happy] is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding.” Prov. 3:13

Blessed [happy] is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Ro. 4:8

Blessed [happy] are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matt. 5:8

Blessed [happy] are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 5:10

Seek after Jesus my friend. Seek him with all your heart. Live always for him. Even if it means…you have to let go. For the sake of your relationships; for the sake of your witness; for the sake of His glory -sometimes we have to let go. But I have no doubt if it’s for his glory you’ll find yourself blessed. You’ll find yourself…happy.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What are you clinging to; what are you grasping for; that you need to let go of today?
What have you sought after for happiness? (A better body; love; wealth; position; honor) What does Scripture say will make you happy?


Claiming the Promises

Devo Scripture: Genesis 12:10-20
Key Verse: “The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance.” Ps. 37:18-19

I don’t think Abram expected it. A famine that is. I wouldn’t have. “Lord you brought me all this way for a famine? Really? I don’t understand. Why? Why are you allowing this?”

These…all things I could hear myself saying. Or maybe I should just admit…all things I have said. We pray. We seek God. We sense his leading. We take a step of faith. And then…a famine. Something so completely unexpected. Something so hard it makes us question if we really did the right thing. And maybe we didn’t. Maybe we stepped out of God’s will to serve our own purpose or pleasure. Yet other times…other times we can be sure, we’re right where he wants us. Right smack dab in the middle of a famine.

So that HE can show himself faithful. So tremendously faithful to every promise. To every single soul who reverently fears his wonderfully holy name. This is why the famines come. This is why the hard things happen. The unexpected things. So we will know him as faithful. Faithful to his promises. The promises we so seldom claim.

I am convinced if Abram had sought God for his needs Genesis 12 would have contained a story of God’s miraculous provision. I am convinced if Abram had claimed the promises of God he would have been a strong tower; a testament to God’s goodness; a refuge for many, in a dry and desolate land. I am convinced God would have blessed him for his faith.

Instead Abram fled to Egypt. He took matters into his own hands. (Something I am guilty of more often than I care to admit.) He lied out of fear for his life. (Fear being the opposite of faith. Fear being that which strangles our faith.) And got himself into a serious predicament.

Sarai was indeed his half sister (Gen. 20:12). So to protect himself (for it was apparently not uncommon to kill a man for his wife) he commanded of Sarai from the moment they entered Canaan “This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me. He is my brother” (Gen. 20:13). Then instead of killing him they would negotiate with him, giving him time to formulate a plan of escape from any would be suitors. (Unless of course the suitor ends up being the king of Egypt.)

Off she was taken…to the palace. At 65 years of age Sarai must have been quite the looker! I cannot even comprehend the anguish of Abram’s heart. He knew there would be no negotiating with Pharaoh. What had he done? I’m sure with every sheep, every oxen, every donkey, every servant delivered to his doorstep the guilt festered deeper within. Thank goodness he knew a God faithful to his promises. Did Abram pray? It doesn’t say. But when he walked out of Egypt with his wife and all that he had acquired, no doubt he knew who had delivered him. Pharaoh should have killed him. Abram jeopardize his entire household. And caused him much suffering. Yet he was alive and free and blessed with many riches. (Grace…God’s abundant grace)

But he missed it. He missed the opportunity to showcase God’s faithfulness to the world. His goodness to those who revere him. Did Abram get off scotch free? No. It was only a matter of time before the Egyptian servant Hagar, whom they likely acquired on this trip, would cause him severe grief. How different things might have been if Abram had simply claimed the promises and remained in the land of Canaan. I’m not saying it would have been easy. I’m not saying he wouldn’t have endured great loss. But God is faithful to his promises. Even in the days of famine…God is always faithful.

A truth we must harbor deep within our souls. Don’t be fooled by the heaping piles of food on the table. Right now, today, we’re smack dab in the middle of a great famine…a great spiritual famine. And I’ll be first in line to admit…I have concerns. I have fears. I have doubts but I know whom I have believed in. “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deut. 7:9).

Let’s prove to the world he is faithful by remaining strong and steadfast, deeply rooted, in this dry and desolate land. Even if our fears are legitimate. He is faithful. Do you believe him? Great are the promises we have to claim!

Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.” Prov. 13:13

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:19

The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance.” Ps. 37:18-19

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.” Ps. 37:23-24

The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.” Ps. 37:40

But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” Ps. 103:17-19

Great are the promises for those who remain steadfast in the famine. Who keep the commandments of the LORD. Instead of compromising. Instead of taking matters into our own hands. Let’s wait for the LORD. Let’s not miss the opportunity. That the whole world may know…he who promised is faithful.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What promise are you claiming today?
Are you a testament to God’s goodness in this dry and weary land? How so?image

Called By God

Devo Scripture: Acts 7:2-4; Genesis 11:27-12:9
Key Verse: “For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you.” 1 Thess. 1:4

My hard working farmer and I have an inside joke with the phrase “So I’ve been thinking…” When he starts a conversation with these words my candid response is typically “Uh oh, what am I gonna have to do?” More often than not it entails maybe 15 people for dinner in just three days (after I’ve already been grocery shopping for the week). Oh and making pies because I’m really good at pies. But if I start the conversation his typical response is “How much is it gonna cost me?” What?!?! Honey not all of my ideas cost you money…just some of them.

But as we begin our study of Abraham I can’t help but wonder, did Abram (as he is called in Gen. 12) have any of those “So I’ve been thinking” conversations with Sarai? I can only imagine there were a few. They lived in the city of Ur (186 miles southeast of modern Baghdad). It was a thriving city with opportunity for not only prosperity but honor. It was also a center of worship for the moon god, Nanna. Pilgrims would come from near and far to pay tribute to Nanna at the large Ziggurat towering above the city. Many worshiped the moon god, including Abram, his father, and brother (Joshua 24:2).

Think about it. Just 9 generations removed from Shem (the godly son of Noah) and already idolatry. If we don’t teach our children and grandchildren…it won’t take long. No, not long at all. Thank goodness God is in the business of justifying the ungodly (Rom 4:5). (i.e. Me and you for that matter) God didn’t choose Abram because he was a godly man. He was far from it. God chose Abram because he had a plan to bring salvation to all people through the offspring of Eve (Gen. 3:15), Seth, Noah, Shem, and now Abram. God was sovereignly working his plan. And still is to this day! (rest in that my friends…rest in that)

But it wasn’t going to be easy for any of God’s chosen vessels. You would think being chosen by God would mean life would work a bit more in your favor. But it’s that kind of thinking that gets Christians in trouble. What about when the going gets tough? What about when the hard things happen? What then? If we think being chosen by God means an easier life we’re gonna be pretty upset with this so called “god” we serve. Maybe instead of expecting a nice wide paved road we should expect an uneven path through a dark jungle with snakes, sinking sand, and slippery slopes around every corner. Maybe then we’d count our blessings a bit more. Maybe then we’d be more watchful for the lifeline’s God extends to us. Maybe then we wouldn’t be so lukewarm in our faith. Maybe then we’d be prepared and God could actually use us. Because being chosen by God doesn’t mean life will always work in your favor but it does mean God will always work in your favor. If you’re in Christ you’ve been chosen by God. And you can hold tightly to the fact “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6; NIV).

So on one beautiful day in Ur (maybe it was a rainy day but we’ll say it was sunny), God began a good work in Abram. He appeared to him. (I can’t quite fathom that.) And said “Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you” (Acts 7:3). I can’t help but wonder at Abram’s reaction. Scared? Surprised? Hesitant? I would have been. Were there any introductions? “Abram I’m God. The real God. The Almighty One. Your creator. I set the moon in place and I keep it there. I am the Sovereign One and you shall serve me.” Or in his heart did Abram just know…this. is. the great I AM.

Then came the “So I’ve been thinking” conversations between Abram and Sarai. (Or so I imagine.) I wonder at her reaction. “Abram, did you have too much to drink? Is the heat getting to you? What do you mean we have to leave? Where are we going? What do you mean you don’t know? Did she have “go days” and “stay days?” (I would have!) Was she delighted or surprised that her father-in-law was so on board with the idea? For Terah maybe it was simply a fresh start. Gen. 11:28 tells us Haran (Abram’s brother) had died in Terah’s presence. No parent should ever have to bury a child, no matter the age. Staying in Ur could have meant daily facing painful memories. And leaving could have meant escaping them. So they packed up and left for Canaan. But when they happen along a place with the same name as his son (Haran) maybe it was just too hard to leave (Gen. 11:31).

So Abram stayed in Haran until his father died and God removed him from there (Acts 7:4). Did God appear to him again in Haran? We simply don’t know. But we do know that Abram obeyed. With the promise of becoming a great nation, blessing, honor, and protection, Abram entered Canaan at the age of 75.

Why? Why was he so willing to risk everything? To leave his home, his people, his family. Simply put, because God called him to do so. And what God determines will come to pass. When the God of the Universe calls you to faith it’s impossible to resist. I don’t claim to understand it. I simply claim the Scriptures.

Jesus said “All that the Father gives me will come to me…No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” (Jn 6:37, 44). Give praise and thanksgiving to the Father who has drawn you to Christ! We have not the power to bring ourselves from death to life, either physically or spiritually, only God has that power (Eph. 2:4-5). “Salvation belongs to the LORD” (Ps. 3:8). Ephesians 1:4 declares “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” And Romans 9:16 states of salvation “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy.

It’s not because of who you are that you believe…it’s because of God. And it’s for a purpose. God has called you not so you can live however you want to and still go to Heaven. God has called you for a reason…just like Abraham. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). If you are in Christ…it’s for a purpose. For. a. purpose. God has plans for you! Yes, plans for you that bring him glory. Great glory. Right now. Right where you’re at. Whether you want to be there or not. He has called you. So my dear friends…let’s get to it! To God be the glory!

Contemplate and Evaluate
What do you think of the statement “Life will not always work in your favor, but God will”?
Do you consider your salvation a result of your own works or the very grace of God?
What purpose has God called you for? Is your life bringing glory to Him?


Rightly viewed, Rightly worshiped

Devo Scripture: Genesis 11
Key Verse: “The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?” (Ps. 113:4-6)

What we need today. What we really need…is the same thing the people in the land of Shinar needed. The people who built the Tower of Babel. The people scholars widely believe built a Ziggurat for their tower. A religious structure dedicated to a deity; similar in shape to a pyramid. “The main architectural feature was the stairway that led to the top. In a small room at the top a bed was made and a table set for the deity.” It acted as a bridge between heaven and earth. A way for the gods to descend upon the people. At the bottom, next to the Ziggurat, a temple was typically found. The gods could descend using the stairs, receive the worship of the people, and in turn bless the people; bless the city. So as you can imagine if one was going to build a city they would of course want a Ziggurat.

So they built one. The people in the land of Shinar. They built it tall “with its top in the heavens (11:4).” To reach God. But it’s arrogance to think God is so easily attainable. Or to think he needs a staircase. Yes, arrogance to think God needs our worship or our resources. He needs nothing from us! Nothing! What the people of Babel desperately needed was a right view of God. A. right. view. of. God. “The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?” (Ps. 113:4-6)

But really are we so different? Do we not also need a right view of God? In a society that thinks God is a way of the past. That God is whoever we want him to be. That God is approachable even in sin. That God is like one of us. Arrogance, yes arrogance! “There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed” (1 Samuel 2:2-3).

Jesus is the bridge between heaven and earth. Jesus alone. So shall his name be great! Not mine. No not mine. Neither theirs. For they aspired to make a name for themselves (11:4). But it is God alone whose name is great. And God alone who can make one’s name great, as he made Abraham’s (Gen. 12:2). Yet today are we not guilty of the same ambition? To make a name for ourselves? With selfies. Followers. Reality TV. Viral photos and videos. All of it to make a name for ourselves. But who am I really? Who am I but a servant of Jesus Christ? Oh that His name might be great. That His name be followed. And not as a swear word. But as the Lord of Lords; King of Kings; Holy and Almighty God. Rightly viewed. Rightly worshiped.

No, we are not so unlike the people of Babel. In need of God…in need of a right view of God. So God, merciful as he is, made himself known. To the descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. To Israel; to the nations; to us. But in order to do that God had to separate the people into nations and he did that at Babel. There by the tower he confused their language, giving us the different dialects of today. What a site that must have been! I wonder at their reaction when they suddenly didn’t speak the same language as their neighbor. I wonder if God did it in the night or midday. I wonder at the chaos in the city. What did they think? Did they presume the gods had judged them? Or did they recognize it was the LORD God who had judged them; who was separating them since they would not do so themselves. Defiantly they declared “Come, let us build ourselves a city…lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” This…a direct contradiction to God’s command to “fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1). But is God one to be defied? His commands such that we can choose to obey them or not? Is this how they viewed God? Is this how we view God?

Oh that we would worship him as he is. Not as we make him. Not as we imagine him. Not as the genie in the bottle who grants three wishes when we rub him the right way. Not as a God that can be manipulated. Not as a God we can merely summon when we need something. Not as the prosperity god. Not as the mean man upstairs; the tyrant who sends good people to hell. Not as a god at the top of a staircase. No….let us worship him as the God of the Bible. The God who makes himself clearly known throughout all the world.

The God who has revealed himself through the work and person of Jesus Christ. A merciful, faithful God is he. A loving God who came to seek and save the lost. A holy God who must judge sin for what it is. An Almighty God who can redeem; who can save; who has power over sin and death. A God who cannot be reached by a staircase or good works or any other means other than the shed blood of Jesus Christ. A sovereign God who holds the earth in the palm of his hand; who numbers the stars and the hairs upon your head; who made all things and holds all things together. This is the LORD God. This. is. who. he. is.

King of kings; Lord of lords. View him as such now and you will be blessed to view him as such in eternity. Forever. Together. In one language. The judgment of Babel reversed. God said through the prophet Zephaniah, “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord” (Zeph. 3:9). Oh what a day that will be! When God is rightly viewed. Rightly worshiped.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
How do you view God? Does it match with what Scripture says of God?
How does your view of God impact your daily life? Your prayer life? Your life of service to him?
How can you today show the world who God really is? Who can you show his love to?image

A Little Family History

Devo Scripture: Genesis 9:26 – 10:32
Key Verse: “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Galatians 3:26

So ya wanna know where ya came from? Well I can tell ya! You’re a descendent of either Shem, Ham, or Japheth. “From these three sons of Noah came all the people who now populate the earth” (Gen. 9:18, NLT). All the people! Including me. Including you. Christians and non-Christians alike have a connection to Biblical history. Whether one chooses to accept that or not doesn’t change the fact that all peoples descend from one of these three men; from Noah; from Adam; and ultimately from God. (Kids let me tell you a story about your Great Great Great Great grandpa Japheth and your Uncle Shem.) Sounds a little crazy doesn’t it?

I’ll admit at first glance Genesis 10 appears to be a boring genealogy with names neither you nor I know how to pronounce. But in actuality…it’s your family history (and mine too). Verse 2 begins with Japeth. In general the European countries descended from him, through Javan. Scholars also include Germans, Russians, Slovaks, Romans, Greeks, Turks, Poles, Medes, Celtics, and Persians as descendents of Japeth (just to name a few).

From Ham are named four sons. From these come the African peoples; the Ethiopians; the Egyptians; the Libyans. As well as the nations of the Canaanites. But if you remember from last week the Canaanites are cursed by Noah (9:25) and are thus (surprise surprise) no longer in existence. They dwelt mainly in the land east of the Mediterranean Sea (otherwise known as the promised land) and were destroyed by God when Israel took possession of this land fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Deut. 1:7-8). But the annihilation of the Canaanites did not come immediately. God is patient not wanting that any should perish. He gave them time, yet they esteemed him not. Initially the Canaanites even prospered. Note their initial settlement was in some of the best, most fertile land. Makes me think of Psalm 37:7 “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.” (Ps. 37:7,9).

Genesis 10 elaborates on one particular descendent of Ham, Nimrod. In Hebrew Nimrod means “we will rebel.” Verse 10 says “The beginning of his kingdom was Babel.” Sound familiar? The Tower of Babel. Babel is also known as Babylon. “As a city, Babylon symbolizes humanity’s ambition to dethrone God and make the earth it’s own.” When the Israelites chose to serve other gods the LORD exiled them to Babylon for 70 years. In essence God said, “Ok if you want to live apart from me then I’ll send you to the city representing life apart from me.” Babylon is also spoken of again in Revelation, no doubt representing rebellion against God.

Then we have Shem. From Shem came the Assyrians, the Arabian tribes, the Chaldeans. But most notably the Jews, God’s chosen people, whom the Messiah (Jesus Christ) would descend through.

What a blessing Shem received! The Messiah; the Redeemer; the one spoken of all the way back in Genesis 3:15; the very Son of God; would come from Shem. A blessing indeed. When Noah prophesied a curse on Canaan, he also prophesied a blessing on Shem and Japheth. “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.” (9:26-27) Oh how I pray it could be written of me in such a way. “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Stacey.” The LORD was the God of Shem. Shem followed after God and God chose him. God used his descendents for the most glorious purpose, though it was not easy. Far…far from easy. God used them to make his name known throughout the entire world. Used them to bring salvation to the entire world. God is aware my friend, oh so aware of every little thing done for him and not done for him. He’s waiting to bless. Waiting for the willing soul. Looking for the one willing to glorify him (2 Chron. 16:9). It won’t be easy…no not easy. But it will be so so worth it.

Noah’s blessing also fell on Japheth. “May God enlarge Japheth.” Think about the massive amounts of land contributed to the descendants of this man. But the real blessing is in the words “let him dwell in the tents of Shem.” Did Shem and Japheth’s descendents live together? Not to my knowledge but this was fulfilled when God brought salvation to the gentiles.  “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:26, 29). And if Abraham’s offspring then an adopted descendent of Shem. As such believers “dwell” in the tents of Shem.

But it gets even better. In Christ, as one of Abraham’s offspring, believers share in the inheritance promised to the saints (Col. 1:12). The first of that inheritance is the Holy Spirit (Gal. 4:5-7). Those in Christ are “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:13-14). Next is the redemption of our bodies (Rom. 8:23) and eternal life with Christ in Heaven (Rev. 21). “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom. 8:16-17). (For more on life in Heaven, click here.)

So the real question is not “where did I come from?” That’s already been determined. The real question is “where am I headed?” What’s your inheritance? Is it eternal life with Christ in heaven? Believer we have much to celebrate. Though now we mourn. Though now we struggle. We can rejoice too! “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).

Contemplate and Evaluate:
How are you today encouraging godly heritage in your family line?
Could it be said of you “Blessed be the LORD, the God of _(your name)_? Would others recognize it?
When was the last time you considered your eternal inheritance in light of the daily hard things?image

God is for Us

Devo Scripture: Genesis 9:1-17
Key Verse: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

It had been quite a year for Noah and his family. I have no doubt they were happy to be off that boat. But as I put myself there with them in the mountains, I have to wonder if they had doubts; questions; concerns. We read from one verse to the next without pause but they did not. They lived it daily. So I wonder how long before God spoke to them? Reassured them. Blessed them. How long? Was it immediately after the burnt offerings? Or was there a time of silence when they questioned, looked at each other, and thought what now? What will become of us? Did God bring us this far only to let us starve? Why did we have to land in the mountains of all places? Is God for us or against us? If God was really for us couldn’t he have made this whole starting over thing a little easier? Why does it have to be so hard? Is this really God’s plan? (Have you been there?)

There they were alone in the big gigantic world with little left to their name. It would take time to grow food. The terrain was different. The climate was different. Their surroundings were different. I have to think they had doubts. Plenty of doubts. Doubts that make you wonder is God really for us or against us? This God who just brought judgment on the entire world is he for me or against me? But then God spoke. (Just let the magnitude of that alone sink in.) Did they expect it? Or was it a bit surprising? “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” God’s first words after pouring out his judgment were words of blessing. Can you imagine? What a relief to hear the very words God had spoken to Adam (Gen. 1:28). It was still God’s desire that man flourish. But there was more! God said more! “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything” (9:3). Oh how God provided. He was for them, not against them. So much so that he gave them all animals as food. We don’t know exactly what the restrictions were prior to the flood but now they could kill to eat as they needed. He provided abundantly for them and for us. Because he is for us, not against us.

But God still wasn’t done. Because God would not stand for the kind of violence that preceded the flood and because he values the life of man (for all people are made in God’s image) he enacted the death penalty for any person or animal who wrongfully took a life. My friend, God is for us. Everyday he is for us. Then God continues with what had to be the most reassuring promise ever to fall on their ears – “never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” Oh thankgoodness. Can you imagine their relief? Never again would they have to go through this. Never will we. And as a sign of the covenant to never flood the entire earth again, God said “I have set my bow in the cloud” (9:13). Note God doesn’t say “the bow” or even “a bow.” He says “my bow.” The rainbow is his and his alone. It’s not simply a meteorological phenomenon. It’s a part of his glory. His very glory! What surrounds the very throne of God? A rainbow! John saw it in a vision. “And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald” (Rev. 4:3). And so did Ezekiel when a vision of the throne was given to him. “Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around” (Ezek. 1:28).

God didn’t make the rainbow that day. He didn’t suddenly come up with the idea after the flood. No…the rainbow has always been. It’s a small glimpse of the radiant glory that always surrounds him majestic on the throne. And he graciously shared it with us. He shared his bow with us. Why? Because he wants us to know he is for us; not against us. But so often it doesn’t feel like it. Because we associate his goodness to us with our good fortune. When things go well, God is for us. But when things turn upside down we quickly wonder why me? why now? How could this happen? Is God really for me; or against me? Oh that we would stay grounded in the truth of His Word. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31-32)

God proved that he is for us when he sent his one and only Son to die in our place on the cross. God proved that he is for us when he poured his wrath upon Jesus so he didn’t have to pour it on us. God proved that he is for us when he gave us the gift of eternal life. What then shall we say to these things? What shall we say to the fact that in Christ we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17); blessed in Christ with all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1); sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30); adopted as children of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). What shall we say to the fact that he has freed us from bondage to sin (Rom. 6:22) and given us access to his very throne (Heb. 4:16)? I think we shall confidently say – God is for us, not against us.

So when the day comes that I question. I will hold fast to the word of God. I will stand strong in the promises and remember these things. Satan will not dissuade me. Man will not dissuade me. I know whom I have believed in. And he is for me. Everyday God is for me. So let me be for him. Let my life be all for him.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Do you feel confident that God is for you? If not, ask him to give you peace and confidence in the promises he has given us.
How can you today express to God that you are for him?