Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Reflections on Abraham Part Five: Good Coaching

Reflections on Abraham
Part Five: Good Coaching
Genesis 22.1 - .19

“Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” - The LORD
(Genesis 22.2)

One of the characteristic of a good coach is that he or she will push until you hit your limit and then push you farther. A good coach wants you to know how fast you can run. How high you can jump. How far you can throw. How hard you can get hit. The good coach does this so you will be better, stronger and victorious when it is game time. The LORD is not just a good coach, He is the best coach.

The LORD knows our limits before we do. He knows all our strengths and weakness even when we don’t. So, like all good coaches He pushes us to those outer limits but instead of athletic ability, He is pushing our faith to its extreme.

Look at Abraham in Genesis 22. The LORD has made a promise and covenant with Abraham that will be fulfilled through Isaac. Now, the LORD has asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham is being asked to kill the son of the promise. Abraham risks it all and steps out in faith. He is willing to sacrifice Isaac and is only stopped at the last moment by the LORD.

The LORD pushed Abraham’s faith to the edge. If you have put your faith in the LORD you know as well as I do that it will be challenged. Challenged by the LORD with the hard call we have as followers of Jesus. Our faith is challenged by the corrupted culture we live in. But, we must never forget that the Holy Spirit is in us to give us the power, courage and strength we need to overcome these challenges.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Reflections on Abraham Part Four: Will You Keep the Way of the LORD?

Reflections on Abraham
Part Four: Will You Keep the Way of the LORD?
Genesis 18.16 - 19.29 & Romans 7.7 - .25

“Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation and all the nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him. so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised.” - The LORD (Genesis 18.16 - .19)

Sodom and Gamorrah are two extremely vile places, so bad that the LORD has decided to destroy these cities. The inhabitant have been wicked and unjust. They have not lived in the way of the LORD and the LORD can not even find 10 righteous people. The LORD after thinking to himself decides to tell Abraham about the impending destruction of Sodom and Gamorrah. Why? In order to give Abraham and his decedents an object lesson. We needed to know that if we do not keep the way of the LORD by living a right and just life we are in danger!

I don’t mean that the LORD is going to send fire and brimstone on us here and now because of our mistakes. What I mean is that if we live an unrighteous, unjust sinful life we will have to deal with the very real consequence here and now. If we continue in walking away from the way of the LORD we will have to deal with the eternal consequences too.

So what can we do? How can we live a perfect righteous and just life? We can’t! We know from our own experience that we will always fall short. It is only thru the love, grace and forgiveness we find in the Lord Jesus Christ that we can over come the temporary and eternal consequences of our sin.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reflections on Abraham Part Three: Children and Volcanos

Reflections on Abraham
Part Three: Children and Volcanos
Genesis 16.1 - .16

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. (Genesis 16.1 & .2)

In our culture we love to be in control and we love to have plans. Huge amounts of money is spent on calendars, personal organizers and software to get our plans and schedule under our control. Recently the entire European continent learned that no matter what their plans, calendars or personal organizers tell them they are not in control. The Eyjafjallajokul Volcano, whose name is nearly impossible to pronounce, shut down most of Europe’s airspace causing thousands if not millions of people to put their plans travel by air on hold. They couldn’t do what they planned to do. They learned that they were not in control and nothing they did would allow them to be in control of the volcano!

When we try to control everything and go our own way rather than waiting patiently for the LORD it causes trouble. Look at Sarai and Abram’s attempt to start a family. Abram knows the LORD has promised him a child but Sarai is either impatient or thinks she has a better plan. So she offer her maidservant, Hagar, as a surrogate and will start a family through her. She wants to be in control of this situation instead of waiting for the LORD. This causes trouble. Sarai becomes jealous of Hagar. Hagar is sent away. Abram is caught in the middle. The family Sarai wanted to start falls apart instead!

When we try to take control it causes trouble. When we try to make plans but don’t surrender them to the LORD we sin. (James 4.13 - .17) Instead we need to wait patiently for the LORD and surrender our plans to His will.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

We Do It Our Way! (The Tower of Babel): Reflections on Genesis 1 - 11

We Do It Our Way! (The Tower of Babel)
Reflections on Genesis 1 - 11

The truth of the Tower of Babel (Gemesis 11.1 - .9) is not that it just happened once but that it continues to happen. In the first 11 chapters of the Book of Genesis we are continually faced with stories of humanity trying to do it our own way and failing. Adam and Eve listen to the serpent and try to be like god on their own terms. Cain decides he can do things himself rather than listen to the LORD’s warnings. Humanity as a whole turns away from the LORD and is destroyed in a flood with only one family saved. The descendants of this family gather in a plain in Shinar to settle and once again try to do things their way.

The LORD has created an entire world for us to inhabit but we decide to stay together and build a city. We had been called to fill the Earth and inhabit every corner but instead we decided go our own way and build one city. To build this city and tower we make our own bricks, instead of the rocks the LORD created. The purpose of this city and the tower was to make a name for ourselves. It is all about our selfish pride as we once again try to be like god. Once again we are choosing something that seems good but is actually evil.

When the LORD comes down to inspect the tower and its city he is horrified. Once again we are disobedient. Once again the LORD has to help us come back around to where we should be by confusing our language and scattering us. Because we are created in the image of God we are capable or more evil and destruction than other parts of creation.

Today this story still happens when we choose to try to live on our own terms we fail. We have been called to live a greater life through Jesus Christ than any life we could imagine or find without him. The choice is ours.