The Righteousness of Abram

Genesis 15:1-6, 12-18
Romans 3:21-31
, –
Sometimes we go through seasons of our lives that just don’t make any sense.

We’ve been obedient. We have been in fellowship with God and his Word. Yet somehow what he calls us to and what we see are very different things.

 

We try to stay the path, but as time goes on it seems that the wilderness we walk in has no end in sight. We know this is God’s path that led us here, so we continue – sometimes with great blindness to where our path leads. But still we walk on.  At times the path makes no sense whatsoever. We complain, we question, we cry out, and yet we continue even when wishing to quit.  Some of us continue and some of us eventually give up.

I wonder Abram’s thoughts when he was promised descendants? He too found himself in a strange land- out numbered, with the revelation of centuries of enslavement. He had no children. He wasn’t a young man anymore- and neither was his wife. God chose Abram for His divine purpose despite his current circumstances and personal limitations.

“Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
Genesis 15:6

God chose Abram, and he believed.  Abram didn’t see the end result. He trusted God at his word and obeyed. Through his obedience, God was glorified.

“Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith.  For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.”
Romans 3:27-28

Are you caught up in your own limitations?  Do you feel limited by your circumstances?

God cannot use us for His glory when we take our eyes off of his righteousness and focus on our own circumstances.  If we work in our own power, we limit God to our finite selves and interfere with His greater will and purpose.

Prayer
Lord remind me that you are perfect in your ways. You see what is seen and unseen. You hold the future and the present circumstances. Help me to remain faithful to that which you have called me- seen and unseen.

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Embittered Children

Americans in the US have just endured the first of  the Presidential debates for the upcoming election. Endured is the most polite word I can come up with after listening to the two candidates involved.

My 17 year old son has recently become interested in government and politics. He has been following this election from the primaries. This evening he took upon himself to watch the debate online in the comfort of his own room while folding his laundry.

As the debate was ending, I was passing by his room and I heard a deep sigh.  “Well, that’s over.”  I looked into the door and saw my son turning off his monitor. I caught his eyes, and I saw the frustration in them. The sadness. The hopelessness.

We owe our children better than this. We owe our children an apology.

We have placed ourselves and our children in a terrible position. We have put our hope and faith in a system that is abhorrently flawed and then behave badly when our side doesn’t like the tactics of the others.

I talked about this in my previous blog. I still stand by those statements.
https://edwardsvillecupcake.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/careless-words/

I took my son in my arms and told him I am sorry. I am sorry that adults have gotten us into this situation.

We will be judged for this. Make no mistake.
Colossians 3:21
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Careless Words

jamesJames 1: 26-27
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart and his religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

It’s no secret that Americans are an opinionated brood. We pride ourselves on our God -given rights, even when we denounce the very existence of God. Our favorite right above all- the freedom of speech- our First Amendment right. In recent years, Americans have taken this right to its furthest extreme.

I have a number of friends from many walks of life. Some are from outside of the US, and others are Americans. On any given day, my news feed is filled with people attempting to influence others towards their opinions on what to believe, who to support, who is oppressed, and why those who oppose those ideas are subhuman.

Christians, it’s time to put an end to the hateful speech. I am talking about the way we are handle ourselves on social media,  with regards to social and political issues.  While not every post is denigrating, the vast majority are.  And as we post our opinions, our children and teens are watching. We’re teaching our kids that it is acceptable to exercise our first amendment rights regardless of who it hurts.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 12:18 Thoughtless words cut like a sword. But the tongue of wise people brings healing. 

Matthew 12:36-37 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

 

Are you a picky eater?

It’s been my experience through many years of working with children that, while they are sweet creatures created in the image of God, if you put the slightest bit of the wrong thing on their dinner plate, it can cause a hunger strike. Instantaneously. It doesn’t have to be touching anything else, but somehow the entire plate has become contaminated and hazardous waste.

I think the same is true often when we ask people in the church to get involved in small groups, Sunday school or even attending church. The picky eater syndrome raises its ugly head.

What do I mean? I mean I don’t think we as Christians are hungry enough to devour the word. I think that we have too often taken the Burger King “Have it your way” mentality to our own spiritual demise. It’s as if we are starving ourselves spiritually in a hunger strike because the corn touched the potatoes on our spiritual plate.

Often times as Christians, we take the “picky eater” approach to our spiritual growth. We head out to church, and we immediately begin the negotiation process of what it’s going to take to make us come back. We look “on our plate” so to speak and find that there are items that we didn’t order when we came in the door. “The kids are too noisy.” “They don’t have coffee.” “They do have coffee, but they drink it in the sanctuary.” “The drums are too loud.” “The hymns are old.” “Someone is making them uncomfortable.” “No one looks like me.” “They all send their kids to public school.” “They live in the dark ages.” Every detail of the church is so scrutinized that fault is found “on our plate” in every church. With that kind of scrutiny, no wonder.

In other cultures, I am told that Christians will walk miles to attend a worship service. They gather together and worship and praise and teach for hours. These people are hungry for the Word. They will do what is necessary to be filled. They will overlook the imperfections of this world to experience the Perfect presence of the Almighty. And they are filled.

Imagine if western Christians came to church with this hunger.

I know personally that I am hungry. I am hungry for food. not milk. not rice cereal. I need a spiritual steak. I need some really protein rich foods to sustain my spiritual workouts that I face each week in my family, community and ministry.

“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” – Jesus

Thank you to a dear Friend

0724122123For some time I have wanted to write to you. I haven’t quite known where to start. There is so much in my heart I want to say.

I have never really ever recovered from losing you as a friend. Looking back now, I am not sure what even happened anymore. I am convinced that it was something stupid I said or did. I went through a long stupid phase in my late thirties that really has no excuse except for my own arrogance and self-promoting pride.

When our friendship fell apart, I didnt know what to do. I knew I would never have another best friend like you. I became wary of people. I was that way before you knew me, but I went right back to that lonely and distrusting place. Mostly because I know that no one will ever replace the friendship we had, and now it’s likely to never be that way again and I know it’s my fault.

You were the best friend I have ever had. You helped me loosen up. You brought out the best in me even at my worst. We laughed together, had children together, and dreamed together.

I want to tell you thank you for being that kind of friend. The kind of friend that is “closer than a brother”. (Prov 18:24b).The kind of friend you helped me grow and saw the good in me and encouraged me to be my better self.

I am sorry I took that friendship for granted. I am sorry I let my pride get in the way. And I am sorry I hurt you. I know that things will never be the same again, but I want to thank you for being a friend to me and caring about me the way Jesus would. For that I can never thank you enough.

The Chill Runs Deep

Today I awoke to a serious chill in the air. Even after the sun was up the air felt cold, damp and smelled of fall.

I am never thrilled with the end of summer and this year it was as if there was no summertime at all. No sound of ocean waves crashing against the shore.  No standing in long lines at Six Flags.  No long car rides in anticipation of adventure and loved ones waiting for our arrival.

Instead, there was hours and hours of packing and boxes and unpacking. Fixing and fixing again.  Giving up and giving away large chunks of our identity to seek a new life in a place that seems so foreign and strange.

I have been told that people here are among the friendliest in the world. I wish that would be my experience. So far, though, I am finding myself on the outside looking in.  Image