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Bible Challenge – Genesis 18

July 14, 2011 Leave a comment

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” v.14 (NLT)

What a great question! The obvious answer is, “Of course not!!!!” Because we have other verses that answer this for us. Here are two examples,

“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 (NLT)

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31 (NLT)

However, sometimes we don’t take things to GOD that really need to be taken to Him.  In fact, we should take everything to Him because He delights in hearing from us!

This question reveals much about God. Make it a habit to insert your specific needs into the question.  Example, “Is this problem in my life too hard for the Lord?” “Is this habit that I am trying to break or trying to develop, too hard for the Lord?” “Is the communication problem I am having too hard for Him?” “Are my feeling and sometimes lack of confidence too hard for Him to sort out and build up?”

Asking the question this way reminds us that we need to talk to God more often.  It also reminds us that God is personally involved in our life and has the power to help in any situation we find ourselves facing … we just have to include Him in the situation, and trust Him with the details and results.

Today, what are you facing that seems to big for you to handle? Have you asked God help?

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Bible Challenge – Genesis 17

July 11, 2011 Leave a comment

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. 2 I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.'” v.1-2 (NLT)

This wasn’t the first time God and Abram have ever chatted. But this time God doesn’t just make a promise, he makes a covenant with him. A covenant and promise are very similar but also very different. A promise is God simply saying that He will do something. A covenant is God saying He will do something but also demands something from us. When God appears to Abram, he ask’s him to “Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.” The call is the same for us today. God asks us to serve Him faithfully and to live a blameless life. Lets look at these two a little closer.

Serving Faithfully can simply be defined by our obedience and disciplines. However, these are outward expressions of having a relationship with Christ. It’s not just doing something for the Lord, its being who the Lord wants us to be. The only way we can do both, is simply spending time with Him on a regular basis through worship, prayer, Bible Reading. It’s hard to know someone you don’t spend much time with.

Living Blamelessly is a matter of purity. Purity encompasses our thoughts, actions, motives, heart and much much more. Many times when we think of purity we simply think of purity from sexual things. But purity actually involves every aspect of your life.

Today, Would OTHERS describe you as a person who is Serving God faithfully and living a blameless life? Would YOU describe you as a person who is Serving God faithfully and living a blameless life? Most importantly, would GOD describe you as a person who is Serving Him faithfully and living a blameless life?

Bible Challenge – Genesis 16

July 7, 2011 Leave a comment

“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. 3 So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan” v 1-3 (NLT)

Sarai took matters into her own hands by giving Hagar to Abram. Like Abram, she had trouble believing God’s promise that was apparently directed specifically toward Abram and Sarai. Out of his lack of faith came a series of problems. This invariably happens when we take over for God, trying to make His promise come true through efforts that are not in line with his specific directions.  In this case, time was the greatest test of Abram and Sarai’s willingness to let God work in their lives. Sometimes we too must simply wait. When we ask God for something and have to wait, we can be tempted to take matters into our own hands and interfere with God’s plans.

Today, how have you responded to the Lord? Have you trusted Him, ignored Him, or tried to make something happen that He may have even promised in your own timing?

Bible Challenge – Genesis 15

July 6, 2011 Leave a comment

“And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.” v.6 (NLT)

Have you ever felt like you were going through the motions, jumping through the right hoops, but still feeling empty? There is a reason for that.  The enemy tries to keep us busy so we feel like we are doing the right things, but only God can can stir our hearts in a way that causes us to feel connected, driven, and effective.  God gives us the why behind the work and the passion behind the perseverance.  But it all starts with a little word called faith!

When we look at Abrams life it’s easy to see that he had been demonstrating his faith through his actions.  However, it was his faith in the Lord, not his actions, that made Abram right with the Lord.  We, too, can have a right relationship with God simply by trusting Him.  Our outward actions: church attendance, prayer, good deeds, service, will not by themselves make us right with God. (yes you read that right) A right relationship with God is based on faith! Faith is the heartfelt inner confidence that God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do. Right actions will follow naturally as a by products to our faith in Christ.

“Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? 2 If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. 3 For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”

 4 When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. 5 But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. ” Romans 4:1-5 (NLT)

Today, Are you driven by faith, or by feelings? Both can cause us to do good things, but only one will make us righteous in the eyes of God.

Bible Challenge – Genesis 14

July 5, 2011 Leave a comment

“When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan. 15There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives.”  v.14-16 (NLT)

Would you describe yourself as a prepared person?  Let me ask that a different way, would you describe yourself as a proactive person or a reactive person? A proactive person prepares for things while a reactive person simply responds to events.  This is just one of the many things that reveal your character. This passage reveals a couple of things about Abram’s Character that are important for us to note and challenges us to live by.

First, Abram had courage to face the powerful King and rescue lot.  This courage came from the Lord which Abram knew personally.  Because of our relationship with God, we can have courage to face our enemies. Our enemies are those obstacles that we face in everyday life. They come in the forms of difficult people, but mainly they come in the form of thoughts and desires.  It’s part of the sinful nature that we have to learn to resist.

Second, Abram was prepared! Not only was he prepared, he had taken the time to train others for a potential conflict. The Bible says that we should be ready for anything.  We never know what might be thrown our way, but we can be prepared for anything with a little discipline.  We need to be disciplined in these five areas, Spiritually, Physically, Emotionally, Mentally, Socially. Here are some follow-up questions to address when thinking about each of these five areas:

  • Am I growing in likeness to Christ?
  • What I am I doing to prepare/protect myself in this area
  • How are others influencing me in this area of life.
  • How is my lack of discipline affecting in this area affecting me and potentially others.

Those are just four quick questions to ask yourself when you begin to think about becoming prepared and proactive.

Today, what needs to change in your life so you can be ready for any challenge that may arise?

Bible Challenge – Genesis 13

June 29, 2011 Leave a comment

“So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain. 13But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the Lord.” v 12-13 (NLT)

Have you ever done something that you thought was going to be better than it actually was?  Have you ever put yourself in a situation that where you thought, “that would never happen to me.”  How did it turn out for you?  Lot did the same thing, he picked a place that looked good and seemed to have a lot of promise, but in the end it caused havoc and heartache because of the location and the surrounding influences of the people in the area.

For Lot, the good pasture and available water seemed like a wise choice at first. But Lot failed to recognize that the wicked Sodom could provide temptations strong enough to destroy his family.  It leaves me with a question for all of us to think about today: Have you/I chosen to live, play, work in ‘Sodom’?

Now I understand what you are saying to yourself right now, but if someone doesn’t go and share Christ with them, how will they ever hear the message of Christ?  Great question, but notice, Lot didn’t pick the land based on the opportunity to share the Gospel, he picked it based on the opportunity he saw in it for himself. So before you ask that question check your motives as to why you are putting yourself in the environment. Yes, God does command us to reach people in the ‘Sodom’ near us, however, we must be careful not to become like the very people we are trying to reach.  If the only difference between you and them is church attendance, then why would they need Jesus?

Today, Are you being wise and intentional with where you spend your time? It will have an impact on you in ways you never thought possible!

Bible Challenge – Genesis 12

June 28, 2011 Leave a comment

“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.'” v.1-3 (NLT)

Has God ever called you to do something that seemed extreme?  Think about it for a minute.  Ok, maybe extreme was intense, but has God ever called you or lead you to do something whether big or small? Did you do it?

Could you imagine what would have happened if Abram backed out on Gods calling?  Where would we be today? That’s probably another blog post. But the reality is that Abram responded to Gods call with obedience.  Let me say that word again, Obedience.  It’s a word that many of us struggle with because Obedience to God requires Faith.  God promised to bless Abram and make him famous, but God had one condition: Abram had to do what God wanted him to do.  This meant leaving his home and friends and traveling to a new land where God promised to build a great nation from Abram’s family.  Abram obeyed, walking away from his home for God’s promise of even greater blessings in the future.  This was a step of faith that required obedience.

So lets go back to the question, has God ever asked you to do something? Have you done it?  God may be trying to lead you to a place or greater service and usefulness to Him. Don’t let the comfort and security of your present situation make you miss God’s plan for you!

Today, will you take a leap of Faith and obey the Lords calling and leading?