“Kings, Kingdoms & Functional Gods” January 8

 

Functional GodsDo you ever find yourself trying to help God out just a little? You believe He’s going to answer some prayer, but you keep trying to figure out how, and pretty soon, you’re trying to orchestrate one of those possibilities. Abram and Sarai had been given a great promise, but years had passed with no answer in sight and they took matters into their own hands. Unfortunately, just as it does in our lives, it lead to all kinds of problems and revealed some things about their hearts.

Today, in “Kings, Kingdoms & Functional Gods,” we’ll talk about who or what is really “lord” at that point in time. We’ll also look at how all this relates to worry, how the only way we can stand before God is through “The Multitude of His Mercy” and “His Wisdom for the Upright.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 15 & 16
Psalm 5.1-7
Proverbs 2.6-9
Matthew 6.19-34

 

Kings, Kingdoms & Functional Gods

 

Genesis 15 & 16:

Helping God Out

 

When God called Abram to leave his homeland, He told him that He would make a great nation from his descendants, But here in chapter 15, Abram is starting to wonder:

But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”

God patiently reassured him that He would keep His promise.

4 … “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

“He believed God …” We know it was genuine faith because God “accounted it to him for righteousness.” He was saved by his faith just as we are.

So what happened next, after this great, faith-filled conversation with God?

One chapter later … God still hasn’t given them a child, so Sarai comes up with her own solution and Abram goes along with it. She gives her handmaiden Hagar to Abram as his wife so they can get the child they so desperately want. How like us they were! How many times do we complicate our lives by trying to help God out?!

polygamyOne of the questions I’ve been asked many times about this passage is, “Why did God allow this to happen? And why did He, so frequently, allow the patriarchs in the Old Testament to have multiple wives?”

“Allow” is the key word here. It wasn’t that God wanted them to do so. In fact, you can see in this story and in others, that it always leads to strife and problems of every kind. God doesn’t hide any of that. God’s word, not only reveals the truth about God, but it exposes human nature, even at its worst. God lets us see humankind with all our warts so we can see our desperate need for Him.  Continue reading

October 10 “What kind of ‘watchman” are you?”

stop warning danger watchmanGod judged the leaders in Jeremiah’s time for telling people that everything was fine between them and God while they continued in their sinful lifestyle. Even though, we are called to speak the truth of God in love (Eph. 5.15), we are still called to speak the truth. We are to be watchman and to warn others of spiritual danger. What kind of watchman are you?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 5 & 6
Psalm 117.1-2
Proverbs 27.3-4
Colossians 1.1-29

 

Jeremiah 5 & 6:

Our “praise-the-Lord’s” are in vain

“Though they say, ‘As the LORD lives,’ surely they swear falsely” (5.2).

Sadly, there are many people who attend church, may even be involved in ministry, and who say all the right things. Their conversation is peppered with “praise the Lord” and other “Christian-ese,” but they, too, swear falsely.

When they toss around God’s name and try to look spiritual, they are, actually, using the Lord’s name in vain. And “… are foolish for they do not know the way of the Lord …” (5.6).

Jesus said;

“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15.8).

Continue reading

January 31 “Are you raising rulers or servants?”

Happy kids

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant …” Ask yourself, “Am I raising the kind of son or daughter I’d want to be married to, have working for me, or have as my boss?”

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 11.1-10 & Exodus 12.1-51
Psalm 18:1-12
Proverbs 6:1-5
Matthew 20:17-34

Exodus 11.1-2 & 12.1-51:

The first Passover

Here we see the institution of the Jewish Passover. God is about to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage. But before Pharaoh will let them go, there will be one last plague–death of the first born.

Each Israelite family was to sacrifice a lamb and put some of the blood on the frame of the door to their house. When the death angel saw it, He was to pass over that home.

Jesus, on the night before He was arrested and the events leading up to the crucifixion began, was in the upper room celebrating the Passover with His disciples. On that night, as He was about to become the final Passover Lamb, that celebration or ordinance became what we call “Communion” or “The Lord’s Supper.” It was changed because there was no longer a need for a sacrificial lamb to be slain to temporarily cover sin. Jesus fulfilled that need once and for all. Praise be to the Lamb who was slain for me and for You! Continue reading

January 8 “God’s plan or yours?”

God way or mine

Do you ever find yourself trying to help God out just a little? You believe He’s going to answer some prayer, but you keep trying to figure out how, and pretty soon, you’re trying to orchestrate one of those possibilities.

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 15 & 16
Psalm 5.1-7
Proverbs 2.6-9
Matthew 6.19-34

Genesis 15 & 16:

Our messes and His divine purposes

In chapter 15 Abram asks God about his and Sarai’s lack of children. Remember when God called him to leave his homeland He told Abram that He would make a great nation from his descendants. God reassured him that He would keep His promise. And verse 6 says, “And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” “He believed God …” We know this was genuine faith because God “accounted it to him for righteousness.” He was saved by his faith just as we are.

So what happens next, after this great conversation with God? Continue reading