Monthly Archives: March, 2014

Live Entirely Before Me

It is difficult to live with someone. Growing up you might find it a struggle to get along with your siblings. In college you might find it hard to be a coinhabitant with particular roommates. Then one day there comes marriage and more interesting situations. You might not get the curtains you want hung. You might have to deal with someone who is an early bird while you like to sleep in till lunch.

In Genesis, God told Abram to “live entirely before (Him).” What it means is to live in the presence of God. This means you are constantly aware that His is with you. This means that you faithfully walk with Him. This means you serve Him faithfully. The second part says “live to the hilt.” This means to live a blameless life—to be perfect.

You might think it is difficult to live a blameless life; however, the first part gives the way to maintain the second part. If you live entirely before God, you will no doubt live a blameless life. If you accept Christ and walk with God, you are considered blameless. His blood paid for you to be blameless. So it is not a difficult thing—by His strength, by His righteousness, by His work on the Cross—you are perfect through Him. Like Abram, we need to live ENTIRELY before Him. How? One step at a time. One moment at a time. Keep your eyes on Him.

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God showed up and said to him, ‘I am The Strong God, live entirely before me, live to the hilt! I’ll make a covenant between us and I’ll give you a huge family.’”

-Genesis 17:1-2 [MSG]

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Dressed by God

I speak a lot about the Armor of God and about being clothed in righteousness. We are able to put on this armor and to be clothed in this righteousness only through God’s grace, only through the blood of Christ. From the very beginning, God made sure we were able to be dressed by Him.

When Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, defying the Word of God, they found themselves naked and ashamed. They hid themselves from God. Even before sin entered the world, God had a plan in place. He knew what was going to happen and He prepared a way. Redemption was always on His mind. YOU were always on His mind. His compassion we see as He dressed Adam and Eve with leather clothing He made so that they would no longer feel ashamed.

You don’t have to feel ashamed either. God has made a way for you—His name is Jesus Christ. If you believe in Him and accept His redemptive work on the Cross, it is by His blood that you are cleaned. You are redeemed. No longer should you feel ashamed. If you are still feeling ashamed, you have not given it all to God. Give it all to Him. Allow God to dress you. You have been redeemed. You have been bought with a price. Don’t forget that YOU have been dressed by God.

“God made leather clothing for Adam and his wife and dressed them.” – Genesis 3:21 [MSG]

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The Same Dirt

God made man from the dirt. It is something that we do not consider very often. We read about it in Genesis and we might hear during a funeral service that to dust we shall return. I think it is fair to say that most people do not consider these facts on a day-to-day basis but it is important to recognize both.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, they were both tossed out and today’s passage says they were then left “to work the ground, the SAME DIRT out of which they’d been made.” It was not God’s intention. God walked with Adam and Eve. They had a special relationship, a beautiful relationship. This relationship was broken when sin entered the world. By God’s grace we are able to have that relationship restored.

Today consider this same dirt—but more importantly—consider the grace of God. He may command us to work the dirt from which we come but then one day we return home. We do not need return to the same dirt forever. He has something more for us—eternal life with Him.

“So God expelled them from the Garden of Eden and sent them to work the ground, the same dirt out of which they’d been made. He threw them out of the garden and stationed angel-cherubim and a revolving sword of fire east of it, guarding the path to the Tree-of-Life.”

– Genesis 3:23-24 [MSG]

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Firstfruit

When we give something to God, we are to give our best. God has given us His best and everything that we have is not even ours—it is His. Everything.

When we look at Cain and Abel, today’s passage speaks volumes. Abel brought an offering from the FIRSTBORN animals. They were CHOICE CUTS of meat. Firstborn. The first of what Abel had was given to God. Cain also brought an offering, but the passage simply says “produce of his farm.” It likely wasn’t the firstfruits. It was what he gathered from his farm but it wasn’t the first.

As you read your Bible, again and again we read of the firstfruits and the dedication of the oldest (first) child to the Lord. When we tithe, it is to be the first of our income—money right off the top before we do anything else. When we provide an offering (which is something above the tithe), it should also be something that is meaningful. We shouldn’t give out of excess. It all comes down to the heart. It all comes down to trusting God. He has given us His best.

“Time passed. Cain brought an offering to God from the produce of his farm. Abel also brought an offering, but from the firstborn animals of his herd, choice cuts of meat. God liked Abel and his offering, but Cain and his offering didn’t get his approval. Cain lost his temper and went into a sulk.”

– Genesis 4:3-5 [MSG]

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Life is Precious

As we grow, we cannot help but put values on people. It is all around us. Some people make more money than others. Some people come from a more advanced culture than others. Some people are more popular than others. We might catch ourselves picking favorites. Sometimes we find ourselves in a position to consider whose life is more important. All life is important. All life is precious.

It is hard to see some people mistreated or passed by because they don’t fit into a mold that is popularized by the mainstream people. I have heard people say, “That person is a waste.” People have said  it would be “good if he would just die.” I wonder what God thinks as He sees these people—His children.

In Genesis, at the very beginning, God created people and He cared for them. In today’s passage, it speaks about shedding the blood of humans. “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans let his blood be shed.” Now many people abuse and misunderstand the meaning of this passage without looking forward. It continues, “BECAUSE GOD MADE HUMANS IN HIS IMAGE REFLECTING GOD’S VERY NATURE.” God would rather no human blood is shed because life is precious. Each person matters. Each person is made in His image. So today as you walk through your day, as you see people on the street or at work that you might not speak to or look at—that you might ignore and think less of—today consider them as God would consider them. They are precious. Each and every one.

“Whoever sheds human blood,
by humans let his blood be shed,
Because God made humans in his image
reflecting God’s very nature.
You’re here to bear fruit, reproduce,
lavish life on the Earth, live bountifully!”

-Genesis 9:6-7 [MSG]

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Open Your Eyes

What a special moment Abraham had with God. Abraham and Lot had just split ways, with Lot choosing what area he desired to take for himself. Then God tells Abraham (then Abram) to look around. He said, “Open your eyes, look around. Look north, south, east, and west. Everything you see… I will give to you and your children forever.” Wow!

Abram parted ways with Lot but he did not lose out on the promises God had for him. God was going to bless him and bless him abundantly. He had a great plan. Abraham simply had to trust God.

God has a great plan for your life too. Open your eyes. Look around. Pay attention. Listen to what He has to say to you. Don’t focus on what the world says. He has something else to say—and what He says stands.

“After Lot separated from him, God said to Abram, ‘Open your eyes, look around. Look north, south, east, and west. Everything you see, the whole land spread out before you, I will give to you and your children forever. I’ll make your descendants like dust—counting your descendants will be as impossible as counting the dust of the Earth. So—on your feet, get moving! Walk through the country, its length and breadth; I’m giving it all to you.’”

– Genesis 13:14-17 [MSG]

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God With You

When considering a change in life, do you consider if you can do it? When you are facing a difficult situation, do you consider if you can do it? From what I have seen, many people consider their own strength. Whatever they are faced with, they consider if they alone can do it. If they cannot physically, financially, and emotionally do it, then that is it.

Moses was told to go lead the Israelites out of Egypt and he immediately considered if it was something he could do alone. He said “what makes you think” that I can do that? More or less it was an excuse because Moses considered his own strength and knew it was impossible. But it wasn’t impossible for God.

Too often we consider our own strength but we are not doing life alone. We have a God who is all-powerful. We have a God who is mighty. We have a God who created the Earth. We have a God who sustains us, who provides for us, who helps us, who blesses us with all that we see, feel, and know. Today, remember that God is with you, and consider what you can do through Him rather than without Him. So much more is possible when you see things through Him.

“Moses answered God, ‘But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?’

‘I’ll be with you,’ God said. ‘And this will be the proof that I am the one who sent you: When you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will worship God right here at this very mountain.’”

– Exodus 3:11-12 [MSG]

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God Who Sees

The world can feel like a very lonely place. With technology growing, we have become even more disconnected. There are moments when you can feel very alone. It is as if no one cares. It is as if no one knows of your situation, your problems, your suffering, your pain. But that’s not true.

Hagar was running away because Sarai (Sarah) was unkind to her since she was with child. Could you imagine having someone give permission for something to occur, but then when it happens as one would assume, they turn around and act in disgust toward you? So she ran. She ran away. But God intervened.

God saw Hagar. He knew what she was going through. He understood. He comforted her and promised her a large family. Hagar said, “You’re the God who sees me.” He certainly is the God who sees and He sees you. He knows what you are going through too. Thankfully, like Hagar we can see Him as well! Today, reconnect with God, or if you haven’t connected with Him before, reach out to Him. He sees you.

“She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, ‘You’re the God who sees me!

‘Yes! He saw me; and then I saw him!’”

– Genesis 16:13 [MSG]

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She Went to God

When there is a problem, who do you go to first? When you do not understand something, to whom do you turn? When Rebekah became pregnant, it was a great answer to the prayers of Isaac. However, there was a fight going on in her womb. Jacob and Esau were getting ready for what would continue throughout their life.

Rebekah was so upset by this situation that she questioned living any further. It was too much to endure. I could not imagine the pain of two babies fighting from within the womb. A normal kick alone could be painful but this was a war from inside.

Immediately “she went to God to find out what was going on.” She didn’t seek help elsewhere. She didn’t go to a friend or neighbor. She didn’t go to a midwife. She went to God. It’s the same action we should take when we face a situation, whether it is a war from within, a loss of employment, an illness, or anything and everything else you may face. The bottom line is go to God. Today. Tomorrow. Always.

“Isaac prayed hard to God for his wife because she was barren. God answered his prayer and Rebekah became pregnant. But the children tumbled and kicked inside her so much that she said, ‘If this is the way it’s going to be, why go on living?’ She went to God to find out what was going on. God told her,

Two nations are in your womb,
two peoples butting heads while still in your body.
One people will overpower the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”

– Genesis 25:21-23 [MSG]

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Prosper

I will never tell you that you will be rich because you are a follower of Christ. I loathe the prosperity preaching I’ve heard time and time again. You may not be a millionaire when you accept Christ into your life. I know many Christians who live on very little income. I will still say I am rich because I refer to spiritual blessings always above monetary blessings.

I do think it is important that you understand God has always wanted you to prosper. When God created mankind, when He created the Earth and all upon it, He said, “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!” So from the very beginning, He has wanted us to prosper.

When you are having a bad day (week, month, year), there is this part of you that thinks God doesn’t want me to have these good things or God doesn’t want me to succeed. Tell those thoughts to go away. God has something better for you than those things. It might require patience. There might be a lot of waiting. But God has ALWAYS wanted you to prosper. He loves you. You are His child. A Father always wants the best for His child. Once you align your understanding of the best you can imagine with His best, you’ll realize that it is worth waiting for and you will see that He wants you to prosper. He has given it all so that you have the opportunity to prosper.

“God spoke: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.’
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
‘Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.’”

– Genesis 1:26-28 [MSG]

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