Sand and Stars

Romans 4: 17                Tree of Life Version

He is our father in the sight of God in whom he trusted, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence that which does not exist.

This verse speaks about Abraham and says that he is our Father in faith. He is our faith example. We learn from him as he learned from God. God had to teach Abraham how to stand in faith. It wasn’t an intrinsic trait, but God was the example to Abraham teaching him that he must speak the end from the beginning. He had to learn to emulate God in calling those things which aren’t as though they were, speaking the end result instead of the appearance of things.

This is actually a prayer model. God made Abraham a huge promise, but it took years to bring it to pass. So, God had to teach Abraham how to stand in faith. Part of that involved teaching him how to pray and how to speak. Let’s see how this unfolds.

First, you get a promise from God. That is one of the important uses of the Bible. It could also be a dream God has given you which is anchored in the Word. Then, get a picture of it. God took Abram out to look at the stars and told him his children would number as many as the stars. He also gave him the imagery of sand telling him his children would be as numerous as the grains of sand. Every time Abram thought about sand or looked at a night sky he was reminded of God’s promise. The most important bit was yet to come though.

God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. Abram means, “exalted father.” Abraham means, “father of many or father of a multitude.” Abram didn’t even have one child at the time, and both he and Sarah, his wife were well advanced in years. Besides that, she was barren. How was he to be the father of a multitude?

What Abraham did have, though, was a promise from God and to Abraham, that made all the difference. So, he had the promise, two images (the sand and the stars) which represented the fulfillment of that promise and now, he had a new name. Every time anyone called him, he heard, “Father of many.”

However, there was one thing remaining. His confession. First, we pray to receive God’s vision for us. That’s where the real asking takes place. Once we have the promise then we don’t have to ask and wonder anymore. We certainly don’t need to beg and plead. He has already said, “Yes.” Abraham had to learn to call those things into existence which didn’t exist. This is called standing in faith and it is the final component of prayer. This is where most of us miss our answer.

The message I wish to convey today is that this is part of the prayer model. We don’t need to keep on asking the father to do something for us once he has said okay. That part is done and it is time for us to stand like Father Abraham. This last part is crucial and as I said, I believe this is where most of us are losing our prayer answers. After you have an answer from God, it still takes faith to bring it in. He has already said, “Yes,” to healing you but what are you saying? He has already said, “Yes,” to prosperity but what are you saying? If you are still begging God to do something for you, you might be missing your answer to prayer. Pray to get His answer but then stand on that promise like Abraham did. Believe with all your might that what God has said is truth and is yours. Become stubborn and resolute. By his stripes, were you healed? Did God promise to prosper the work of your hand, or not?

This is the hard stuff but right here is where we can make a difference in our lives and the lives of our families. Find your promise. If you are having trouble finding a scripture to stand on, contact me. I will help you. Then, you’ve got to speak the end result. Forget the circumstances. Speak the result. Quit begging God and start thanking Him. Praise Him that He who promised is well able, and willing, to deliver. Call those things which are not until they are.

Better Promises

Hebrews 7: 22, 8: 6

Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

Hopefully you read yesterday’s devotional on the plan, or the covenant, of blessing we have under the Abrahamic Covenant. If you did you may well ask how there can be a better covenant or one enacted on better promises. The covenant of blessing was pretty huge and encompassing if you ask me. None the less, God was not satisfied with that covenant. He wanted more and better for us.

For many of us there was one major problem with the previous covenant. It was a promise to Israel, not to the gentiles so that was one important way God improved the deal. Through Jesus, we also became eligible for all of the promises under the Old Covenant. Obviously, Jesus brought a lot of benefits to us through his life, death, sacrifice and resurrection. He broke the power of hell over us and took away the sting of death. We were lost and he found us. We are redeemed, sanctified, justified, saved and restored. There is nothing in the whole Kingdom of God forbidden to us now. All of God’s thoughts and wisdom are ours. Every blessing has been poured out on all the children of earth. Sin has been cleaned away and we now stand boldly in the throne room of God unmarred by the stain of sin. Jesus did that for us. We were unable but because of his delivering grace, we have now been adopted into the family of God. We are truly and factually the children of Yahweh, Jehovah God. All He has, He has bequeathed to us. No longer are we limited to earthly blessings, the assets of heaven are now ours because of Jesus. So, yeah, he improved the covenant. It was fabulously good before but now it is off the scale wonderful.

How great is our God and glorious all His good deeds to His children. May all of His purposes be fulfilled in the earth and all of His beloved draw unto Him with great gladness.

Trust and Blessing

Jeremiah 17: 7

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord.

In a conversation last week, the theme about trusting God kept coming up. Time and time again the circle seemed to close on our learning to trust the Lord. I believe with the people in the conversation last week that this is a critical lesson for us.

Today’s verse says plainly that blessing is in trusting the Lord. Why is that? How can God lead us in the paths of blessing if we do not trust Him enough to follow Him? He can’t. He can point out the way to go but if we do not believe that He is always leading us to the land of plenty then we will hesitate.

Abraham is known for his faith but it was really obedience that made him the Father of the nation of Israel. His father, Terah, received instruction to take his family and go to the land of Canaan but he got comfortable and stopped before accomplishing what God told Him to do. He saw a good land and did not trust God to take him to a better place. Eventually God spoke to Abram telling him to leave his family and go to the place where God would show him. Abram complied and now we know Abraham as the Father of the faith and you didn’t even know Terah’s name. It was through simple obedience that Abram learned that God was on his side. Through obedience, he learned he could always trust God. Through trust and obedience, he became the Father of faith.

Sometimes the big revelations are in the little messages. There is no great message in obedience other than just do it. However, obeying God gives us the evidence and belief that we really can trust Him. As we move over into trust, we find blessing. The blessing has already been provided by our Father. We have to learn to trust Him so that He can lead us to the blessing. Otherwise, we end up wandering around in the tall weeds like the Israelites wandered around in the desert.

How do you learn to be blessed? You learn to trust God daily for the small things. You must learn to hear God for yourself . If you cannot hear God speak to you, how can you trust Him? How can you do what He says if you can’t hear Him. This is ground zero. Practice hearing His voice. Contact this ministry if you need help hearing Him because this is where you must start. Then you can live the life of the blessed person, blessed coming in and blessed going out.

The Facts Don’t Count

Romans 4: 19

And without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.

If you want to know one of the secrets to living successfully in the Spirit it is this, don’t let the facts interfere with the truth. Abraham had a promise from God that not only would he and Sarah have a child but that he would be the father of nations. How does an old man whose body is as good as dead and whose wife is not only elderly also, but who has always been barren, have a child? Well, in the natural, and according to the facts, they don’t. But, you see, that is where we must depart from the reasoning of this world and move over in to Jesus thinking and Jesus faith. 
Abraham did not become weak in his faith. Now what is faith really? Sometimes I think we make it too hard a concept. Here is a simple illustration. If I tell you that I am going to give you a pen when I see you will you be expecting to receive a pen? How confident are you that you will be given a pen? That is the measure of your faith in me? If you have a high expectation, even an assurance, then you have a lot of faith in me. That is all faith is, believing. You believe that what I say, I will do. Now, how assured are you that Dad is going to do what He has said? Somehow, Abraham was able to believe God’s word over the evidence which he saw in the world. Which one do you think you would have a tendency to believe? When you believe God, then that belief turns into trust. In the example of the pen, do you trust me to give to you what I promised?

Verse 18 says that Abraham believed even though there seemed no cause for hope. He saw the evidence that the world presented to him and chose to instead believe what God said. That is so hard for us to do but it is a super-key to living in the supernatural blessings of God. If we want to walk on the water, and who doesn’t, then we have to renew our minds with this kind of thinking. We have to ignore the facts. We don’t deny their existence we just deny their power. Abraham decided that God’s word was the final word, that it superseded the physical facts. That is the way we need to be, the way we need to think if we wish to walk in the kind of miracles that Abraham did, the kind of miracles that God wants to be our everyday experience.

Redeemed, Restored & Renewed

Galatians 3: 13 – 14

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” – in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles.

This is a message of the cross that we do not hear often and yet it is so profound that we should be shouting it from the housetops. This is a huge statement. While we were yet under the curse, God provided a way, the way, to redeem us from that curse. Jesus Christ, our beloved, went to the cross not to bear the burden of the curse but rather he became a curse so that we could be freed from the curse, from sin and from death. Jesus went to the cross so that we could be redeemed from the curse of the law and thereby be reconciled to God and into the blessing of Abraham.  

This passage encourages further study for it demands an answer to the question, “What is the blessing of Abraham?” It also answers many questions and some very large ones at that. We know, beyond doubt, that we are to live lives of blessing being no longer under the curse. We are heirs of all of the promises God made to Abraham. We know what the Christian life is to look like and it is not one of sickness, disease and poverty. Those are in the curse. It is not a life on anguish and torture. We are delivered from the curse of the law, from the power of darkness, into the kingdom of his dear son.

Additional text: Deuteronomy 28: 1-14

Investing Wisely

Hebrews 3:1 & 5: 10

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession…being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

We discovered yesterday that giving is a means to financial betterment in the Kingdom of God. Today I wish to take a quick look at the tithe. I don’t really think of the tithe when I discuss giving. For me the tithe is simply that part I put away in God’s treasury which provides my seed for sowing. When farmers get in their harvest, they don’t eat it all or sell it all. They must reserve a portion of this year’s harvest to use as seed for next year’s planting. In my mind, that is the tithe and it is the starting place for financial well-being.

Tithe literally means ten percent. In Genesis 14: 20 we witness the tithe of Abraham to Melchizedek. Jesus is now our high priest and he is clothed in the same priesthood as Melchizedek (Psalm 110: 4, Hebrews 7: 17). Some people actually teach that tithing is an Old Testament doctrine. I can only postulate that people posit that theory because they do not want to give to God. The answer I have heard in response to that position is, “If they could give ten percent under the law, how much more can we give by grace.” Our high priest is Jesus. That is according to New Testament scripture. How much more should we want to give under his priesthood than those Old Testament folks who had not been saved by grace unto eternity? Later on, after Jacob and Isaac and the twelve tribes, priests were appointed from the house of Levi. God could have appointed Jesus as a priest according to the order of the Levites but he did not. His priesthood is higher than the Levitical priests. Therefore, if Abraham, Father of all of us through grace and the shed blood of Jesus, could give ten percent to Melchizedek, then how much more can we give unto Jesus our High Priest? Might we, from the deep well of our hearts, pour out onto Jesus our substance in addition to our love?

The Audacity

Romans 4: 21

Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised.

This verse was written about Abraham who is called the father of faith. This is the picture of faith; not questioning whether God is able to fulfil His promise to us. Verse 20 reads from the NASB thus: “Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God.” Abraham did not waver. He was fully assured that the God who made him a promise was well able to deliver on that promise. Fully assured, not partially, Abraham was convinced that God would come through.

After reading this verse I felt compelled to look up assurance and assure in the dictionary. This is what I found.

Assurance: 1. The act of assuring. 2. A statement or indication that inspires confidence. 3. a. Freedom from doubt; certainty. B. Self-confidence. 4. Boldness; audacity.

Assure: 1. To inform confidently, with a view to removing doubt. 2. To cause to feel sure; convince. 3. To give confidence to; reassure. 4. To make certain; ensure.

Wow! Those are strong words. I love the boldness with which we can be assured that God is with us and for us. Can we even go so far as to be audacious? Sure we can and some are. We can have absolute certainty that the one who promised is prepared to follow through on His promise. What, then, makes us different from Abraham? That is to say, how many people do you know personally with audacious faith? My goodness but I would like to aspire to be known as one with that kind of outrageous, radical faith. Can you imagine how much the locals made fun of Abraham and Sarah? People probably said, “Oh, you know, they are those ‘faith’ people. They think they can have a baby at their advanced ages because their God made them a promise.” Oh that we could be that daring, that bold in our believing. Jesus said that with just a little bit of faith, nothing would be impossible to us (Matthew 17: 20). 

God is mighty and able to deliver on all His good promises. Do you believe it?