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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Quiet Time: Return


Then the angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority." – Genesis 16:9

Submission is an act of obedience to God.

It was wrong of Sarai to mistreat her maid, Hagar. Unfortunately, people often lord their positions over one another, especially when we feel our place is being threatened by a subordinate.

However, doing what God says to do when He makes His way clear is always better than running our own way or worse, running away.

How often has a word from the LORD come to us in a time of need;  but, had we simply submitted to its bidding the stress would soon be replaced by a sense of inner peace and strength from the indwelling Holy Spirit as we walk in accordance with God’s direction?

When we are bewildered and beset with fear and frustration, that’s the time to stop and listen closely to what God has to say. Then, simply submit to it.

Return; it is the LORD God whom you serve.

Further Reading: Genesis 16:7-16

Monday, January 27, 2014

Quiet Time: Time's Up

Time’s Up

"Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete." – Genesis 15:16

No one knows when their day of reckoning will come, but one thing is sure, whether it is four days or four hundred years, the Righteous Judge will judge rightly (Gen. 18:25).

God told Abram that his descendants would be strangers in a country not their own for four hundred years (Gen. 15:13).

True to His word, the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years, at the end of which they headed back home for Cana.

God also said that the Amorite’s would be disciplined for their heinous unrepentant sin and removed from Canaan around the time the Israelite’s returned; and that’s exactly what happened (Gen. 15:16).

Of course we understand that God is patient with people. He doesn’t want anyone to parish but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, it is reasonable to think that after 400 years of God reaching out; at least one of those Amorite generations should have chosen to love Him. But, that was not the case.

We may even be tempted in judging the Amorites too harshly, but, perhaps we should first take stock of our own foolish predicament.

Here we are, 2000 years after God's own Son gave His life for our sins and rose again, proving that He has conquered both death and the grave; yet, still we choose to question His grace, goodness, and method toward saving mankind.

Frankly, we humans have not changed much. Like Old Testament pagans we do not honor Him as God or give thanks, but we have become futile in our speculations and in the process, our foolish hearts have been darkened. Professing to be wise, we have become utter morons (Romans 1:21-22).

One thing no one will say when the time of reckoning arrives is, “God, You’re wrong.”

(2 Peter 2:21)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Quiet Time: Personal Convictions

Personal Convictions

"I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share."- Genesis 14:22-23

Personal convictions are, well, personal. It is frustrating to expect others to keep your creed.

During a battle between several kings in and around the region of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abram’s nephew, Lott, and everyone in his household were taken captive. 

Abram found out about the raid from an escaped prisoner and immediately took off after them with a few of his neighbors and several of his own trained fighting men. 

A battle ensued, Abram and his allies prevailed, and not long afterward the king of Sodom, who was still licking his wounds from the defeat suffered at the hands of the army Abram just conquered, came forward to thank Abram for his help in knocking off his enemies. Naturally, this king wanted to lavish gifts upon him for his bravery. (Again, everyone loves a winner)

What the king of Sodom didn’t realize was that Abram was a God fearing man who had already made up his mind (Gen. 14:22) not to take any of the spoil from his defeated enemies (which, by the way, was common practice back in those days). 

Interestingly, Abram, who was obviously the leader of the rescue party, made it very clear to the king that these were his personal convictions, and although he didn’t want anything from anyone, he still expected his allies to receive the customary spoils of war (Gen. 14:24).

Principles are powerful tools in helping us give glory to God. But, when we expect others to live according to our creed, we’ve crossed the line from teacher to tyrant. God changes the heart; not us.

Do you have a personal conviction? 

Live it out for the glory of God. Perhaps He will use you to help others develop their own biblical  world view as well.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Quiet Time: Beware the Winner

Beware the Winner

When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. – Genesis 14:20

And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." He gave him a tenth of all. – Genesis 14:20

Abram had his household trained and ready to fight, but God immediately sent Melchizedek, the priest, to remind him Who gave the victory.

Winning can tempt us into believing that we are somehow better than the next man. Since everyone loves a winner, the victor is often celebrated and lifted up by those around him. That’s where the danger lies. 

The bible tells us that a man tested by the praise accorded him (Proverbs 27:21). We see also, that many trust in the strength of their arsenal or their own preparations and personal skill.  (Proverbs 21:31; Psalm 20:7). 

As Christ followers, we must always remember that our Father God is the giver of all things good, and that includes every victory.