GENESIS 12 -20 & MATTHEW 9-10
Man oh Woman how I have a love/hate relationship with Father Abraham who had many sons…YESSSSSSS, I just broke out in song and dance. For those of you who KNOW exactly what I’m talking about go ahead and finish that classic and for those of you who have no clue, REJOICE you have not been indoctrinated. Ok back to Father Abraham who had.… just kidding…I can’t help it that song is part of my DNA. I love ABE because he was FAITHFUL and at times I strongly dislike ABE because he was FAITHFUL. You ever felt like that, love somebody for something but dislike them for the same thing because it exposes your own weakness. This man left EVERYTHING he knew to follow the voice of God. Spent his entire life as a man on pursuit of God. ABE grew up in a home where many gods were worshipped. When he heard the call of THE GOD he believed, he left all his family traditions, his entire way of life to FOLLOW. This is one of those crazy things that make me love ABE, no matter the cost he was going and all he needed was to be led by God. It makes me dislike good old ABE because I have no excuses that could actually hold up in the light of that great cloud of witnesses.
Then as if that were not enough this man faces so many different challenges and NEVER gives in to a bitter heart, a resenting heart, he never quits, he never stops believing, HE JUST REMAINS FAITHFUL. I mean he does some pretty crazy things to save his own behind but even in that his life preaches a message, God REMAINS faithful until HIs purposes are accomplished! Yep, if anybody ever told you that following Christ was easy and that your life would be perfect, baby girl or boy THEY LIED TO YOU. Being a believer is routinely tested by life and all the people we live among and our faith in Jesus offers no quick get out of jail free cards….THIS AINT MONOPOLY, this is a life of a disciple and reality is that more times than not, LIFE GETS HARDER! Remember we are not alone and God does not give up on us and you NEVER know what is around the corner with HIM on your side so……BE FAITHFUL. ABE gets in trouble on his journey for the same reasons we do. We think we know better than God and come up with our own plans when faced with difficulties. In moments like that just STOP<DROP<and ROLL right back into the presence and let God remind you that HIs ways are higher than ours and we need only to TRUST the author and FINISHER of our faith, BE FAITHFUL!
I have to say one of the greatest things I AM LEARNING from ABE, yep present tense AM LEARNING, is preserving peace among brothers and believing that God has ALWAYS got my back. I don’t have to position myself or take from others to get something. All I need to do is live from a place of KNOWING if God is for me who can be against me. If God ask of me He will always fill the gaps. If others are pushing and positioning for the best and I freely give, God always takes my little and makes it enough.
Now LOT! OMG LOT! I mean Lot you are crazy! In the reading you see that after Lot took the best portion of land he DECIDED to settle NEAR a well known town of corruption. Yep, Sodom was already known for its depravity and Lot CHOSE to plant his family within its borders. THEN only a few verses later Lot is living INSIDE Sodom. Corruption, depravity, sin always looks good from a distance and will call to you all day long when you position yourself within its borders and before you know it, you will be making it your home. Lot laid eyes on that beautiful, fruitful land and without even asking the Lord or ABE for counsel he just had to have it and then before long Lot is in bondage in need of rescuing. Beloved pay careful attention to where you set up your tents, be careful with whom you lay down roots, who you give access to your heart, be careful what you tolerate, what you allow to take root in your heart, because at first you may just be a bystander but before long you will be living among the DEAD and eventually find yourself in CAPTIVITY longing to be FREE. See ABE understood that the world can never purchase that which God so freely gives to His beloved. After ABE rescued Lot and all the other men in captivity and plundered their captors, the King of Sodom said hey take all the plunder just give me the people. Take all the jewels, all the gold, ALL THE PLUNDER for yourself and ABE said WHAAAAAT FO GET ABOUT IT…. I do not want ANYTHING related to you King of Corruption. There is no way I am taking anything from you. My God will provide all I need. I mean this man just turned down riches because he desired to honor the one who delivered Lot out of captivity, GOD, not himself or any other man would receive the credit. How often do we sell out, our principals, our family, our own faithfulness, even God just to get ahead, for money! We find ourselves in situations everyday that require a little compromise (sometimes blatant compromise) and we will profit great gain. For the ones who stand firm and remain faithful, you may lose out on the gain but what YOU WILL GAIN is of much greater value, the reward of the righteous God Himself. The sad thing to me about Lot is that his family was so corrupted by Sodom that even when God himself comes to their rescue they still cannot let go. I mean his wife looks back at this corrupting city of sin, that God is setting on FIRE, with longing while she was in the presence of the HOLY. HIs girls we find once again taking matters in their own hands out of fear and well, Im just gonna choose not to take about that. What I am going to say is that sin has away of clouding our judgement and our perceptions of things and if we are not careful the things that are sent to destroy us will be all that our eyes can see. GUARD your heart, LOVE the counsel of many, EMBRACE correction, and if you know something is not right DO NOT PLAY WITH FIRE.… you will get burned.
Now beautiful Sarah makes me laugh, I can see myself in her at times. When God told her something impossible she LAUGHED and when God was not performing fast enough she came up with HER OWN PLAN. Sadly I resemble Sarah more often than not and Im so grateful that God hears my laughing and chooses to just SPEAKS HIS PLANS OVER ME again. Just like Sarah, I most likely have to deal with the mess I made when I was playing God but God always reminds me of who He is and what He is capable of doing, calling me out of my disbelief into HIS REALITY. If I surrender it all to the Lord he will bless my mistakes and turn it for good if I just trust Him. What happens in our lives when we live from Sarahs prospective is we tend to produce Ishmael in our life when God has Issac for us. What did she just say? I said what happens in our life when we choose to laugh at God and do things on our own is we end up with BONDAGE and not PROMISE.
Abraham and Sarah are great people to start the lineage of Gods chosen people because they were not perfect yet they PURSUED. They had times of doubt yet they BELIEVED. They encountered all types of obstacles yet they REMAINED FAITHFUL. They had opportunities to position themselves yet they HONORED. Do you see what I see? THIS is why I have a love/hate relationship because it challenges me. It challenges me to throw away my pity parties and my "I want it now" attitudes and SURRENDER to what God is doing. It challenges me to be humble myself and realize that I make mistakes and I NEED God to rescue me from myself at times. It challenges me to be willing to give up my entire world in a moment for God because I NEVER KNOW what is waiting around the corner with the God who calls us outside of our small covered tents to look at the STARS and believe for greater things!
Ok Matthew… enough already! I mean I cannot even get past one chapter and I am picking myself up off the floor. Listen to this:
Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you? Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me. If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.
I guess I should say read this not listen because you cannot hear me but BELIEVE ME when I say I am shouting this right now. To myself and to anybody who will listen. Those closes to us can be our worst enemies because we are emotionally attached to them. We have got to learn to submit our emotions to the Father. God does care about our feelings and our heart but we also have got to learn that our emotions are not REALITY. They are feelings and if we are not careful we will be led by our feelings and not the Spirit. Our love for God has to be the ONLY thing that rules our heart and when our emotions do not line up with the Father we HAVE to surrender them. NO MATTER WHO IT IS, GOD HAS TO TRUMP EVERYBODY. That is freedom! I tried to move on in my reading and NOPE stopped again:
How can I account for this generation? The people have been like spoiled children whining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope, and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk, but you were always too busy. John came fasting and they called him crazy. I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
First of all, I believe that Eugene Peterson is southern because the message bible says proof of the pudding… that right there people is some southern slang if ever. Anyway, I just stopped and said Matthew Im gonna need you to slow yo roll a bit please. EXPECTATIONS! Living with expectations, you will never see what God is trying to do because you are too busy looking for that which you expect to happen. The Lord desires for us to live freely and lightly in His rhythms of Grace. A beautiful song of our life if we learn to believe Him in anything, follow His lead, trust Him no matter the circumstance, and stop living for ourselves and what we always want. Man such easier said than done but I am a student and once again I have been taken to school by the greatest teacher. I desire to be a woman who does not merely hear or read the word but actual does what it says but I find myself stopping VERY frequently and just sobbing. I think more often that not I find myself VERY MUCH like Abraham. Sitting underneath my own tent of expectations and what could happen or doubting because of what is staring me in the face and realize that EVERY TIME I hear or read the word God is calling me out of my limitations to look at the stars and behold HIS FATHOMLESS ABILITY to do much more than I could ever think or imagine. This photo hangs in my room from my Israel trip to remind me to be a STAR GAZER not a