God's Provision

Reading: Genesis 20-23

Just for today, I will trust God’s provisions. Chapter 22 is where God asked Abraham to take his son up the mountain and offer him as a sacrifice. I can’t imagine how Abraham must have felt. But I do know that Abraham obediently took his son up that mountain, prepared to follow God’s command. As Abraham laid Isaac upon that altar, God saw Abraham’s obedience, and there He provided a sacrificial animal in Isaac’s place. I’ve heard it said many times before that as Abraham and Isaac were walking up one side of the mountain, a ram was coming up the other; and God, our heavenly Father, saw both sides. It is important for us to remember that when we can’t see past our circumstances, God can see the other side of those circumstances, and He already knows how He is going to provide in your situation. In verse 14, Abraham called the name of the place Jehovah-jireh, meaning God will provide. God always provides!

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Being Small

John 3:30 “He must increase, I must decrease.”

John 3:22-31

John the Baptist here didn’t self-promote. He self-demoted. He was placed on an equal plane (Rabbi) with Christ by those of his day. John realized that the world didn’t need John (decrease). The world needed Christ (increase). Probably, without realizing it, John was…in his humble statement about being small…ushering out the Old Covenant and bringing in the New Covenant. 

John only baptized with water…not the spirit. It was expedient for his ministry to cease and Christ’s begin. Here he humbly steps aside and “calls it what it is”. Most would try to hang on to whatever following they had and keep something for themselves.

Small Seeds plant great forests

Small Sparks light great fires

Little David slew great big Goliath--before this he slew even smaller things: a bear and a lion. Little Daniel stopped the mouths of Lions with a prayer. God had him do a small thing, pray 3x a day, before this. Those prayers probably got him ready to pray in the lion’s den.

The door of life is a door of mystery. It becomes slightly shorter than the one who wishes to enter it. And thus only he who bows in humility can cross its threshold. 

Be humble or you’ll stumble. – D.L. Moody

Never be haughty to the humble. Never be humble to the haughty. – Jefferson Davis

Abraham Lincoln once got caught up in a situation where he wanted to please a politician, so he issued a command to transfer certain regiments. When the secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, received the order, he refused to carry it out. He said that the President was a fool. Lincoln was told what Stanton had said, and he replied, “If Stanton said I’m a fool, then I must be, for he is nearly always right. I’ll see for myself.” As the two men talked, the President quickly realized that his decision was a serious mistake, and without hesitation he withdrew it.

  1. We are not programmed to BE SMALL: We drive big cars, live in big houses, eat big food, make big money, spend big money.
  2. We like to read Christian literature…too often the author is a: world traveler, noted lecturer, having addressed huge audiences, in great demand.

“If it means Him getting bigger, then I don’t mind being small.”   –Jimmy Needham

One of the greatest examples of Being Small: (John 13: 1-5, 10-11, 15-16, 21-27) Jesus washed Judas’ feet prior to his betrayal.

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Be Patient and Trust God

Reading: Genesis 16-19

Just for today, I will be patient and trust God. Chapter 16 is a perfect example of getting ahead of God’s timing. Sarai wanted a child. God had already promised Abram an heir (back in Chapter 15:4-6). However, in Chapter 16 we see that Sarai became discouraged and impatient because she bore Abram no children, so she sent Abram in to her handmaid, Hagar. Because of Sarai’s impatience, a son was born to Hagar whose “hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him” v. 12.  Do you think that Sarai would have made the same decision had she known the results? Not many of us would, but none of us can see the future. So we ourselves must learn to wait; to be patient. God’s timing is greater than ours, and it always yields greater results. When Sarah (God changed her name from Sarai to Sarah in chapter 17) learned that she would have a child in her old age, she laughed! She thought her prayer for a child was an unanswered prayer to the point that she laughed within herself! It did seem like an impossible situation, but a question is presented in Chapter 18 (v. 14) that calms all fear and doubt: Is any thing too hard for the Lord? Say that again: Is anything too hard for the Lord? Is there more than one answer there? What is your situation that you feel you just can’t wait any longer for your answer? What brings you discouragement because you have waited so long and it seems like the answer just won’t come? Is anything too hard for the Lord? Nothing, nothing, nothing!  The answer you are seeking may be closer than you think.

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Questioning God

Reading: Genesis 12-15

For those of you who have children or who have been around children for any period of time, you know that they are just full of questions.  What is this? What does that mean? When are we…? How does this….? And on and on. These are questions that, as a parent, I don’t mind. Sometimes I don’t know the answer, but I think that a child’s curiosity is a good thing. However, when I give my child an answer or I give them instructions that they don’t necessarily like, here comes that infamous question:  “but why?” That question isn’t as easy to accept and answer. It is a question against my judgment. As a child of God, I believe scripture teaches us that asking a question isn’t a sin, but when He answers us, we should accept His answer and be satisfied.

Just for today, I will realize that there is a difference between asking God a question and questioning God. Abram had questions for God (Ch. 15:2, 8), but when God answered, Abraham was satisfied. He didn’t question God’s answer.

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Thoughts on Leadership

Reasons why Leadership may be less than the best., by J. Oswald Sanders.

  • Perhaps we lack a clearly defined goal that will stretch us, challenge faith, and unify life’s activities.
  • Perhaps our faith is timid, and we hesitate to take risks for the kingdom.
  • Do we show the zeal of salvation in Christ, or is our demeanor morbid and sad? Enthusiastic leaders generate enthusiastic followers.
  • We may be reluctant to grasp the nettle of a difficult situation and deal courageously with it. Or we may procrastinate, hoping the problems will vanish with time. The mediocre leader postpones difficult decisions, conversation, and letters. Delay solves nothing and usually makes problems worse.
  • Perhaps we sacrifice depth for breadth, and spreading ourselves thin, achieve only superficial results.

Improving Leadership, by Hudson Taylor

The all important thing to do is to:

  1. Improve the character of the work
  2. Deepen the piety, devotion and success of the workers
  3. Remove the stones of stumbling, if possible
  4. Oil the wheels where they stick
  5. Amend whatever is defective
  6. Supplement, as far as may be, what is lacking

(Quotes taken from “Spiritual Leadership” by J. Oswald Sanders copyright 1994)

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Trusting God

Reading: Genesis 8-11

Just for today, I will trust God to answer my prayers in His time. Noah left the ark and built an altar before God made any promises directly to Noah. God made the covenant in chapter 8 (v. 20-22) but He didn’t voice it to Noah until the middle of chapter 9 (8-16). God has your answer-He might just be waiting to reveal it.

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Thoughts on Humor

“Our sense of humor is a gift from God which should be controlled as well as cultivated.” -J. Oswald Sanders

“Next to virtue, the fun in this world is what we can least spare.” -Agnes Strickland

Criticized for including humor in a sermon, Charles Spurgeon said: “If you only knew how much I hold back, you would commend me.” Later writing on the subject, he said: “There are things in these sermons that may produce smiles, but what of them? The preacher is not quite sure about a smile being a sin, and at any rate he thinks it less a crime to cause a momentary laughter than a half-hour of profound slumber.”

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Following God

Reading: Genesis 4-7

Just for today, I will choose to faithfully follow the Lord, even when He directs me to do something I do not understand. Rain had never fallen from the sky, yet Noah obeyed faithfully God’s command to ‘build an ark.’ It may be that God is asking us to do something for the sake and protection of our families-even in times that we cannot understand, those are the times that we must trust.

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Thoughts from Joshua 14

-God will give you your mountain (i.e. Caleb), Joshua 14:12-13

-God may want you to inhabit/go over the mountain rather than move it, Matt. 17:20

-The Levites had no land inheritance…but their needs were well met, Joshua 14:4

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I am His creation

Reading: Genesis 1-3 

Just for today, I will look around and enjoy God’s creation. I will not complain about the heat or the cold, the rain or the snow; I will take time out of my hectic schedule to reflect on the intricacies of His handiwork-then I will rest in the fact that His most amazing creation is me. The vastness of the universe and the design of the galaxies were created by the master Creator, yet, we are still His most beloved creation. That is how important you are to God.

There is a product that tells you to ‘love the skin you’re in’ and there is much truth to that. God didn’t create us all the same. Some of us have red hair while others have blonde… (well, if you are friends with Miss Clairol, then you can be any hair color you want!) Some of us are tall and others not so tall. Some have the ability to speak well and confidently while others are shy and struggle to find the right words in a conversation. We enjoy different things, and that is by design. God doesn’t make mistakes. I’ve seen a child’s shirt that says, ‘God don’t make no junk.’ Although that phrase may be grammatically incorrect, it couldn’t be closer to a Biblical truth.  I am encouraged to know that even in my weaknesses, my imperfections, and my mistakes, I am still His creation, His GREATEST creation, and He loves me.

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Sunday, October 25

Ephesians 1:7, Redemption

Sunday, October 18

Ephesians 1:5-6, To His Praise

Sunday, September 27

Ephesians 1:1-2, Introduction

Sunday, September 20

Ruth 4:9-22, Blessing
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