Saturday, August 25, 2012

Abraham's Obedience

by Charity Pence

This Week's Verse: Genesis 22:2 "Then He said, 'Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." (NKJ)

I cannot imagine what was going through Abraham's mind when he received the command from God to sacrifice his son Isaac. The Bible only tells us that Abraham went. But it could not have been easy for Abraham. That is why I believe we can learn much from this story.

Abraham was an old man by the time he was blessed with a son. Consider for a moment the joy he must have felt when Isaac was born. His faith was already strong, but surely receiving such a seemingly impossible blessing must have strengthened his faith in God. Isaac would be his heir! The descendants promised by the Lord became a reality with Isaac's birth. But then God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as an offering. At that point, I would have said, "Hold up. How are you going to carry out your promise if I kill my son?" The story in Genesis doesn't mention Abraham doubting the Lord. But taking that journey to Moriah had to be one of the most difficult trips for Abraham.

The point is, being obedient to God is easy when His command makes sense. When we understand. But when we don't understand? That's when real faith kicks in. That's when we reveal our true character.

We may never know what would have happened if Abraham withheld Isaac from God. What we do know is that Abraham took those steps, despite how hard it must have been. And he was blessed for his obedience. "By myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand whch is on the seashore, and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies." Genesis 22:16, 17 (NKJ)

Dear Heavenly Father, It's so easy to rejoice and be obedient when things go our way. But when the path you set before us is difficult or doesn't make sense, too often we stumble. Please help us to be more like Abraham. Strengthen us so we can let go of fear and doubt, and so we can continue walking until your will is done. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Power Verse:
Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you." (NKJ)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fan or Follower?

by Charity Pence

This Week's Verse: "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?" (NKJ)

Have you ever asked yourself if you're a fan or a follower of Jesus? There's a big difference between the two. You can like something, or someone in this case, without taking any action. In other words, you can be a fan. However, to be a follower means more than just liking something. A true Jesus follower doesn't just read about Jesus; he or she displays characteristics that Jesus displayed.

It's so easy for us to act contrary to what a Christian should be. We get mad. We hold grudges. We treat those who have hurt as as our worst enemies. But Jesus said, "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." Matthew 5:44 (NKJ) A fan says behaving as Jesus commanded is a good idea. But a follower goes further by striving to be obedient to that command.

Being like Jesus is what being a Christian is all about.

Dear Heavenly Father, So often I act in a way that goes against You and who You are. Please forgive me for being hasty in my anger, for not being concerned as I should be for those who have hurt me. I call myself a Christian, Lord. So please help me to be that. Make me more aware of how I treat others so that Your light will shine through me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

1 Peter 3:8: "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous." (NKJ)