old testament

God Will Provide

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In my own faith journey, my greatest spiritual weakness is: my God is too small, and I am too big. When we see ourselves as too big and God as too small, we'll trust ourselves instead of Him. So this is what I try to put into my brain, “God will provide, God will provide, God will provide.” And when something new comes into my life, I try to remember that God will provide, and He has provided so wonderfully. 

Abraham had obviously concealed from Isaac what God had told him to do. You know, sometimes we need to do that as human beings. Sometimes to share things will wound another person and in this case that would have caused undue stress for the three-day journey Abraham and his son were embarking on. So finally, in verse nine, they come to the place. Abraham built the altar, laid down the wood, and bound Isaac. 

What happened there? What was the conversation? I wish we knew! 

Did Isaac ask, “Well, where's the lamb father?” 

Did Abraham respond, “I don't have one, YOU ARE the lamb.”

He had to have told him! I want you to see here that it is not just Abraham who was full of faith; look at Isaac! Can you imagine how much faith it took to trust his father? To say, “Go ahead and bind me and put me on the altar?” Where did that boy get that faith? You know, sometimes I think we've spent so much time on Abraham that we miss Isaac. I'll tell you where he got that faith from; he got it from watching his dad. Here's a whale of a challenge for us today, it is not our lips that will teach our kids; it is our lives! And we need to live so they see a living God in us. 

Words surely reverberated in Isaac's mind; “God will provide. God will provide.” Abraham's faith has been so tested over the years it could stretch beyond what we can imagine. Do you realize that at thirty to thirty-five years of age with a one-hundred and twenty-year-old father, Isaac could have easily overpowered his dad and said no? 

Which one had the greatest faith? I don't know that we can answer that. Is it the father who offers his son or the son who lays down his life at the wishes of his father? It was tested faith on both their parts.

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Taking Hold of God

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Abraham’s long-awaited son is finally born at age one-hundred. Can you imagine the joy, the awe, the wonder of that long-awaited son? Thirty years you wait for that child, and then he shows up; "This is my boy," Abraham would have said, "and it is this boy, and this boy only, through whom God's promise will come."

In Genesis 17, God had reiterated the promise and said that this time Abraham's descendants would be like the sand of the seashore. That's a lot bigger promise! We have to understand that all of Abraham’s spiritual hopes were in this boy. This is the boy through whom the line of the Messiah will come. If anything happens to Isaac, there's no Messiah. If there is no Messiah, Abraham is dead in his sin. If Abraham is dead in his sin, he goes to hell for eternity. There's a lot riding on this. I put it this way, Isaac is a big deal in the promises of God! And suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, this hope is tested or more like shattered!

In verse one, God comes to Abraham and says, “Abraham!” And Abraham says, “Oh, here am I.” Don't you love that? His response is so innocent, so beautiful, so naive, so responsive; He's totally unaware of what God is about to ask of him. Wait, did you hear the word, “ask”? That's a lie! God was not asking; it's an imperative verb. Doesn’t that make you want to cry for Abraham? God is commanding here; this is the mother of all tests. 

We're going to walk through this slowly; I want you to feel what's going on; I want you IN the passage...

God says, “Take your son.” What must Abraham have thought? God says, “Take your son,” and then look what He does, He keeps going with the superlatives; “Your son, your only son. Isaac, the one that you love.” Is God being mean here? No! He's helping Abraham out. How many of you know that when you go through a difficult time, you want somebody to understand what you're going through? You want somebody to hear you. You can go through it if you know there's somebody that gets it and that's what God is doing here. He's got his arm around Abraham. He's saying, “I get it. I get it. This is your boy. This is the ONLY boy. The only begotten boy, the beloved boy.” How come God gets it? Because a few centuries later, God's going to give his own boy. He’s saying, “I’m in your court Abraham. I know what I'm calling you to, son. I really, really do. I gave him to you, and now I want you to give him back to me.”

One writer says this was a “test of necessity." He has the conviction that Abraham had grown too fond of Isaac, that Isaac had taken the place of God in Abraham’s heart and that it could cause great harm to Abraham's walk of faith because the place reserved for God has been squeezed out by another. We don't know if that's true, but I have to wonder if you wait for a boy that long and that boy finally shows up, he's going to be precious in your heart.

Watchman Nee even commented along the same lines. Listen closely, please my friend, because this is all of us. He said “Isaac represents the many gifts of God's grace. Before God gives them to us our hands are empty, afterwards, they are full. Then sometimes God will reach out His hand to take ours in fellowship. He needs an empty hand to put into His, but when we received His gifts and are nursing them, our hands are full, and when God puts out His hand, we have no empty hand for Him to put His hand into. When that happens, we need to let go of the gift in order to take hold of God Himself.” And then Nee adds these very sobering words. “Isaac can be done without, God cannot.”

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The One Who Brings Us Through This World

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Let’s take a look at Genesis 22. One writer said that this is one of the high points in the Bible, a mountaintop passage. Another called it “The great climax of the faith life of Abraham.” I would call it, The Supreme Test and the Supreme Victory. This passage dramatizes, maybe better than any passage in the entire Bible, what the life of faith is all about. 

The life of faith is like living in a laboratory if you will, where God is perpetually tested and continually demonstrated to be reliable and true. In fact, Hebrews 11, that great heroes of the faith chapter, almost reads like a laboratory report; "By faith, Moses led the people out of Egypt," "By faith, the walls of Jericho came down." It's saying over and over and over again to us; we can put our hand in God’s hand and journey with Him because He is a trustworthy God. He is reliable. He will provide. We need to understand that my friends because we live in a dark and desperate world, but God breaks into that world with the light of His love and strength, and He offers Himself to us as the only one who can bring us through this world victoriously!

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He Leads Down Well-Worn Paths

Our world calls us in a million different directions. How can we ever know which way to go? In this insightful video Frank shares that we have a loving Shepherd who never gives up on us and how by putting our hand in His, He will always lead us down His well-worn paths.

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Stunned by God

When Father impresses us with Who He is and What He has done...we will find ourselves in an overwhelmingly impressed state. Then, we have no other choice or desire - WE HAVE TO WORSHIP!

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If You Needed More

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Glorious revelation into the heart of God and His desire to bless.

When David sinned with Bathsheba, God told him these words:

"I anointed you king, I delivered you from Saul, I gave you your master's house and wives, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. AND IF THAT HAD BEEN TOO LITTLE, I ALSO WOULD HAVE GIVEN YOU MUCH MORE."

Now I realize, that David had done something really wrong. And God was not pleased with what David had done. And God was going to discipline David to help him further down the path of faith... yes to all those things! 

But do you hear what I am hearing? "If you needed more, all you had to do was ask!"

Wow! What a God!!!

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The Secret Things Belong to God

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There is so much in this world that I do not understand...

So many things I see and experience that I find hard to harmonize with what I know of the true character of God as revealed in His Word. I was musing over this in prayer to Him and this verse popped into my mind; a verse I often use in counseling...

"The secret things belong to God; the things revealed belong to us."

....and then the still small voice that comes in the thought processes of the mind... "I NEVER called you to understand, I called you to trust..."

Yes, sir.

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Only Goodness and Mercy Have Followed Me

 As David looks over his life, he sees that "only" goodness and mercy have followed him.

As David looks over his life, he sees that "only" goodness and mercy have followed him.

Psalm 23.

Everyone knows this beloved psalm. He leads me through the valley of the shadow of death. He is my shepherd.

Interesting insight: Remember, David wrote this as an old man. As he reflects on his life and the faithfulness of God to him, he closes the psalm with these words--- "surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life."

Why did I highlight the word "surely"?

Because it can also be translated "only". As David looks over his life, he sees that "only" goodness and mercy have followed him. What does that mean? That even the pain and sorrow and tears have led to and been overwhelmed by the goodness and mercy of God.

Wow. I think of Rev 7:17 and 21:4 - He shall wipe away every tear and THERE SHALL BE NO MORE PAIN.

May this be the reality for all his saints who journey through this valley of the shadow of death, which is life in a fallen world.

May you see the goodness and mercy in your life so fully that you no longer see the pain and sorrow....

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There's No Place Like Home

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Psalm 90 says "God is our dwelling place".

He is the place where we are home. Home is a wonderful place. A place of security, comfort, and peace. A place where we are accepted. A place where we belong. A place where we can kick up our feet and just be.

This is what God wants to be for us... He wants to be our home, He wants to be the place of our rest, the place where we can learn to just be.

So like that great theologian of the early 1900's said---
Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz...
"THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!"
"THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE GOD!!!"

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Kissed Into Existence

 I believe we could say that He "kissed us" into existence.

I believe we could say that He "kissed us" into existence.

Let's talk about a "kiss"... or better yet, define a kiss.

Two mouths coming together to exchange tongues and salivic fluid. Isn't that an exciting definition? Doesn't really make someone want to kiss --- does it?

I found a better definition in the dictionary:

Two lips meeting together as a way of expressing love, affection, and devotion. Hmmm.... I like that a lot better.

Why all this talk about a kiss? Let's think about this for a moment. 

When God created in the book of Genesis, the text says, He spoke and it was so. All it took was a spoken word, and there were all kinds of life on this planet.

But when it came to man, God did not create by speaking. The Bible tells us that He breathed His breath into man and man became alive. In other words, I believe we could say that He "kissed us" into existence.

From the very beginning of our creation, God was communicating that He loves us,
has affection for us, is devoted to us, and is crazy in love with us.

I believe He kissed us into existence so that we would never doubt that love that He has for us. "For God so loves the world..."

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What's In A Name?

 My favorite name is from Exodus 34 where God heralds His own name.

My favorite name is from Exodus 34 where God heralds His own name.

There are many names of God. I believe they are there to show us that God is soooo big and so multi-faceted. Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Tsidkenu, Yahweh, Adonai, El Shaddai, Jesus, and of course, Abba Father and the list goes on.

My favorite name is from Exodus 34 where God heralds His own name. "You want to know my name? Here it is..."

"The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin."  
ISN'T THAT AN AWESOME NAME???

CAN YOU IMAGINE PRAYING TO HIM WITH THAT NAME? TRY IT!!!!!

Dear Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin... WOW. You are so awesome.... I forgot what I was going to talk to you about...

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Those Who Are Crushed In Spirit He Makes Whole

  Though others may not be able to come to our aid, God is able and promises to do so.

Though others may not be able to come to our aid, God is able and promises to do so.

Psalm 34:18 is one of my favorite verses in all the Bible, for obvious reasons. I personally believe that every believer ought to have this verse as one of their favorites.

It says, “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted,
and saves (makes whole) those who are crushed in spirit.”

I trust you now know why I say it is one of my favorites “for obvious reasons.” We all live in a world that we were never designed to live in. We were designed to live in a garden paradise called Eden, and if you had not noticed it yet --- “THIS IS NOT IT!” The result is that we all experience things that we were never designed to experience like sorrow, and rejection, and betrayal, and loneliness, and pain. These things can literally crush our spirit. They can leave us in desperate need of someone to “come near” to us and begin the “WORK” of making us whole again.

One of the problems in finding such a one though is that the others who might be able and desirous of coming to our aid are also dealing with their own struggles from living in this fallen world. Very often they are unable to do so because of all that this fallen world has placed on their own plate. This can leave us “feeling” terribly alone and promote a serious spirit of hopelessness deep in our soul. That is the great glory of this verse from Psalm 34:18.

Though others may not be able to come to our aid, God is able and promises to do so.

I am reminded of the words of Asaph in Psalm 73, when he realized this great truth about God he declared, “Who do I have in heaven but you oh God? And who do I have on earth, but you oh God.”

Though we may “feel” alone and desperate and think that nobody cares, that is not the truth. God is near! And not only is He near, He is actively working to unleash all that He is to all that we need in the moment of faith as we trust Him.

If you are broken-hearted today and crushed in Spirit, I pray that you will cry out to Him Who is near to you, and that your experience will be as David’s was in Psalm 23, that He will restore your soul!

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A Similarity Between a Worm and The Son of God

 Out of His being crushed, something beautiful occurred.

Out of His being crushed, something beautiful occurred.

Oh the love of Jesus...

Psalm 22 - David's prophecy of the crucifixion, he cries out that he is a worm.
Strange language. The Son of God - a worm?

Many have stated that it is a declaration of his humiliation. Yes, that is true. But there is more here than meets the eye.
In the ancient world, there was a worm called the scarlet worm. The ancients would crush the worm to make scarlet dye for their beautiful clothing. Hmmm...

More amazing, the life cycle of the worm. When its life was ending, it would attach itself to wood, give birth to its young, die, the scarlet fluid would ooze out and stain the wood to which it was attached.

WOW!

What a picture of our Jesus. In His death on the blood stained cross, He gives new birth to His children. Out of His being crushed, something beautiful occurred.

He became a worm, that we might become the children of God.

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A Good Heart

  Because of the finished work of Christ, it is no longer true that a believer, a child of God, has a desperately wicked and deceitful heart.

Because of the finished work of Christ, it is no longer true that a believer, a child of God, has a desperately wicked and deceitful heart.

As I grew up in the church, I was often told by many various people that the human heart is desperately wicked and deceitful beyond all things. This, as you know, is a statement from Jeremiah 17:11. When this truth was proclaimed to me, about me, it came with the full authority that every other verse in the Scriptures has. After all, Paul has loudly and affirmatively proclaimed that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Therefore, I must have a desperately wicked and deceitful
heart, right? After all, the Bible says I do!

Wrong! DEAD WRONG!

Those dear souls who communicated that “truth” to me, about me, failed to interpret that verse in light of there being two covenants, and therefore two economies in which we live. Jeremiah 17:11 was written under an old covenant economy, where man, even the believing man, lived in a state of separation from God, his sins not yet having been removed by the cross of Christ!

In Ezekiel 36:25-26 however, God stated that He was going to establish a New Covenant, in which he would cleanse us from our sin, take away the stony heart of our flesh, and give us a new heart. Did you see that? Because of the finished work of Christ, it is no longer true that a believer, a child of God, has a desperately wicked and deceitful heart.

That old ugly heart has been taken away, and we not only
have a new heart, a good heart, a heart that wants to love and serve God.

Oh, my friends, you have a good heart. I am reminded of that incredible movie "Braveheart" where William Wallace has a vision of his recently martyred father telling him, "William, your heart is good! Have the courage to follow it!" 

That is my word to you today, "Dear friend in Christ, your heart is good, have the courage to follow it, and watch the world stand in awe of the God they see in you and the work He has done on your behalf!"

Getting Serious About Jesus

 ... the key to walking out the truth is in   setting the mind  .

... the key to walking out the truth is in setting the mind.

Proverbs 23:7 is perhaps the most transformational verse in the Bible in terms of our living the Christ- Life! It says, “As a man thinks within himself, so shall he be.” In other words, the key to walking out the truth is in setting the mind. That is why all over both the Old and New Testaments we are exhorted to set our mind and be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

Well then, what should our mind be set on? Well, SIN of course! At least that is what far too many in the church think. We have got to stop sinning! Put sin to death! Avoid sin! And I trust you know, that when you say the word “sin” – you have to do so in a high pitched, nasal twang and drag the word out like this, “s-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-n!” It really helps as well, to put a glare on your face with wrinkled up nose like your’re smelling something foul!

Now, I understand the pre-occupation with sin in the Old Testament. Sin is what separated us from God and there was no way to permanently remove it.  So man had to always be aware of their sin and offer sacrifices for them! But with the coming of the New Covenant and Jesus removing our sin from us, taking them away completely and forever, sin is no longer to be the dominating thing we set our mind on. When the writer of Hebrews finished his theological treatise in chapters 1 – 11, how did he begin his application? Did he say, “Therefore, fix your eyes on sin?” NO! A resounding NO! He said to lay aside sin and fix our eyes on the Author and Perfecter of our faith! Our mind is no longer to be set on sin, but on Jesus.

As we fix our eyes on Him and live in dependence upon Him,
let me say it simply, “The Christ-Life in us does not sin!”

Well then, why do we sin? Because we make a choice to live contrary to who we are, and live as independent creatures from God, we in the moment of unbelief choose to sin. If we are really serious about sin, the thing we need to do is become even more serious about Jesus. Remember, He did not just come to be our Lord and our Savior! He came to be our very LIFE! (Col. 3:3-4) Oh the glory of this reality!  He enables us as indwelt men and women to experience and express His own abundant LIFE!

It Can Be Hard to Wait...

I am so excited to share with you today.

In the book of Genesis, it records how God came to Abraham, and promised him an heir through his own seed with his bride Sarah, and through that seed would come descendants numbering like the stars in the heavens. In addition, God promised that through his seed ALL the families of the earth would be blessed! Abraham was 75 years old when God made that amazing promise to him. Even more amazing, Sarah was 65 years old. What an exciting promise to an old, childless couple!

As the years went by, though, no child arrived, and God continued through those years to reaffirm His promise. Abraham and Sarah had to wait and wait and wait! "WAIT" is for me one of the worst four-letter words found among humanity! It is hard to wait, especially when the promise of something so good and wonderful is delayed. 

As time progressed, Abraham and Sarah decided to take matters into their own hands. First, they offered to God that their servant Eleazer might be considered the heir. Then, at Sarah's request, Abraham had sexual relations with Hagar to produce Ishmael, whom they offered to God to be the heir. God, of course, said "No" to their suggestions of help and continued throughout the years to affirm His promise that He would provide an heir through them, until one day He did provide when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90, and way past the onset of menopause! 

The amazing thing I find in this account is the commentary found on it in Romans 4:18-20, where God says of Abraham, that "against hope believed; he was not weak in faith; and never doubted but was strong in faith!" Are you kidding me? He NEVER doubted? What about Eleazer? What about Hagar and Ishmael? Makes me question, "God, do you even read the Bible that you wrote?" How are we to explain this, that God says Abraham never doubted, when clearly he did?

The answer I believe is very simple. The Bible tells us that whatever is not of faith, is sin. So Abraham's lapses in faith were sin. However, through his seed that was going to be born, Jesus, God removed all of Abraham's sins and cast them as far as the east is from the west, to be remembered by God no more... in other words, when God looks at Abraham He truly does not see ANY lapses of faith; nor ANY sinful choices, He sees only righteousness, for God has chosen to not remember such failures. 

And now the glory... It is the same for you and me. We have had many lapses of faith, many sinful choices that we regret and find hard to forget. The glory is that God has taken those things infinitely away from us, and chooses to remember them no more... So completely has He done this, that when He looks at us today, He sees only righteousness. WOW! Glory to God!

The Mercy of God is Greater Than You Believe.

In the Bible, God has multiple names, which is as it should be to help us define and embrace His multi-faceted character. After all, He is so big and so good, no one name can suffice to describe Him. Hence we have, "Adonai" = Master; "Yahweh" = Lord, "Elohim" = Mighty God, "Jehovah Rapha" = God our healer, "Jehovah Nissi" = God our banner, "Jehovah Tsidkenu" = God our righteousness.... and so it goes.

One of my very favorite names is found in Exodus 34. What is fascinating is that this is the name He personally revealed to Moses, following the making of the golden calf and the drunken orgy by the children of Israel. STOP! DO NOT READ THAT LIGHTLY! This horrid sinning was done by the people of God, who personally experienced the miraculous plagues God put on Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea! After receiving so much, isn't much to be expected? Wouldn't a holy God be done with such a people who "know better" because they know God? So what is His name?

"The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering and abundant in goodness, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin!"

Now that is some kind of name! As I ponder it, it seems as if even God Himself cannot find the words to describe His mercy to man. I would put it this way my dear friend, "No matter how great you believe the mercy of God is, it is greater than you believe."

"No matter how great your sin is, even sin as a believer, his mercy is greater than your sin. His mercy is like the light.... the greater the darkness, the brighter the light will be made manifest!" IT IS TIME!

It is time for you who have committed GREAT SIN (even as a believer), to recognize how much greater is the mercy of God toward you if you would only run to Him, instead of from Him. What a great name!

Father, No! Don't Say That!

When Les-Leigh was a little girl, there was an occasion where I had to tell her that what I had done to her, was wrong. She put her little hands over her ears and screamed, "NO! Daddy, don't say that!" She could not handle the fact that her dad was wrong, and not perfect in her eyes. (she knows better now of course)

I share that with you because there are times when my Father speaks in His Word and I want to put my hands over my ears and scream, "No! Father, don't say that!". Like in Isaiah 43:4, when in telling us how much he cares for us, He says, "I will give men's lives for you."

Did you hear that? God says He loves us so much, that He in His care for us, will take other men's lives for our well being. That makes me want to put my hands over my ears and scream, "No! Father don't say that!"

At the same time it makes me marvel that He loves us, His kids, that much... Wow!!!

Only Good and Mercy

Psalm 23 is a favorite of so many people. It is most often read at funerals, but the psalm is really for the living... for those who are journeying through a dark and sometimes lonely world. The glory of the psalm is that we do not walk through this "valley of the shadow of death" alone, for HE, the living and all powerful God of the universe is with us.

Because He is with us, v. 5-6 tell us that there is a banquet spread for us before those foes that sought to vanquish us. Ours is the final victory. In that "spread" that is laid out before us, we are told that "surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives..."

The word I want to home in on is "surely"... it is the Hebrew word ak, and can be translated surely, truly, or nevertheless. The translation I prefer is "only".... In other words this is the Rom 8:28 of the Old Testament. There are things that really look and feel bad in this journey through the valley of the shadow of death, but in that day, when we sit at the feast with our Lord Jesus and celebrate His and our victory, we will look back at all those bad and fearful things that we experienced and see ONLY the GOOD that our Father was working into our lives... and they will be bad and fearful to us no more....

But for God... this would not be true.