Genesis 18:1, 10-14 “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Genesis 18:1, 10-14
1 And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.
11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.
12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
13 And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?
14 Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

-We are told previously in scripture that Sarah was barren even in her youth (Genesis 11:30); she is now past the point when even a normal woman would be able to conceive a child and yet the Lord promises  that at nearly 100 years old, she will do exactly that.  The sheer size of the Lord’s promise leads her to question it; “If I couldn’t have a child all of these years, how am I supposed to have one now that I’m old?”  The Lord reminded Abraham and Sarah that there is really only one question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  Focusing on our circumstances will inevitably lead to doubt because our circumstances can get very big.  But if we focus on God instead, we will be able to see how much bigger He is and that “with [Him] all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Genesis 6:5-7 Godly Sorrow

Genesis 6:5-7
5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

-The sin of mankind is so great that it makes the Lord sorry He made us and makes Him seriously consider destroying us.  Does that bother you?  It should.  But which part of the equation bothers you more; the fact that the Lord is grieved or the idea that He would destroy you?  If the idea of grieving the Lord bothers you most, that’s good; it is a sign of godly sorrow which leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10).  If the idea of being destroyed bothers you most, that’s not so good; it is a sign of worldly sorrow which leads to death (2 Corinthians 7:10).  Repent of your sins and turn to the Lord, not so you can escape punishment, but so you can stop bringing reproach upon the very Being who saw fit to create you.  “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”  (Proverbs 28:13)

Matthew 5:13-16 “Shew forth praises”

Matthew 5:13-16
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

-“Praise is comely for the upright” (Psalm 33:1) and true praise is never out of order (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  But praise is more than a song or a shout; true praise at its strongest is manifested by a life that shines brightly.  So brightly that it encourages others to praise God.  So sing praises to the Lord by day and sing praises to the Lord in the night season; but with all thy singing, don’t forget to show praises to the Lord.  “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

Genesis 3:1-3 “Study to shew thyself approved”

Genesis 3:1-3
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

-We all know the story here. Satan as the serpent tricks Eve into doubting God’s command not to eat from tree of the knowledge of good and evil; when she and Adam eat, they are cursed and so we are all cursed (Romans 5:12). Notice Eve’s initial response to Satan and how it differs from God’s actual command:

God’s Command: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)
Eve’s Response: “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” (Genesis 3:3)

Eve had managed to mess up the Lord’s one simple command. This is clear evidence that she had not taken time to properly familiarize herself with the God’s Word. Her ignorance made her an easy target for Satan. Don’t make the same mistake she did. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Psalm 1:1 Are you a help or a hindrance?

Psalm 1:1

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

-Sinners have a “way”.  It is a way that may seem right, but “the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12) The Lord makes it very clear that the blessed man will avoid these paths.  But consider this verse from another perspective.  There are sinners aplenty struggling to find God.  We can choose to be the helper that comes alongside such a sinner and helps clear the way to Jesus or we can become just one more obstacle that that sinner has to get passed on the way to Jesus.  Just as important as it is for us to stay off the paths of the wicked, it is equally important that we not “become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Corinthians 8:9)  That we “standeth not in their way” as it were.  How many people have been driven further from God by the inappropriate actions of a so-called “Christian”?  What a shame if such a charge was laid to our testimony.

Amos 1:11, 13; Amos 2:4, 6 But God…

Amos 1:11, 13; Amos 2:4, 6
11 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever:
13 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border:
4 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked:
6 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes;

-Roused by the Holy Spirit of God (2 Peter 1:21), the Prophet Amos spells out the coming of the Lord’s judgment on the nations. Two things stand out to me about these passages:
1) “For three transgressions of Edom, and for four”– Now this could just be fanciful language, but the way I see it, the Lord is marking transgressions and is ready to pour out judgment for three, but before He can even bring the judgment, the people have already ticked up to four. “For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them.” (Isaiah 59:12)
2) In 2:4 and 2:6, the Lord turns Amos’ attention to Israel and Judah. Notice that the language used for God’s own people is the same as was used for the heathen nations. Remember this the next time you feel a sense of pride in your own labors and self-worth. We all deserve Hell and we all deserve it equally; BUT GOD has made a way for us to be redeemed and have a righteousness that is not our own. “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” (Psalm 73:26)

Hebrews 10:10-14 What Jesus Expects

Hebrews 10:10-14
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

-Around 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ arose from the dead, carried His atonement into Heaven itself and made peace with God the Father for all of mankind.  After He finished His great work, the Bible tells us in Hebrews 10 that He sat down and began expecting.  He’s been expecting ever since.  What is He expecting?  It is important to note here that the word “expect” conveys a sense of obligation or requirement.  As told In Hebrews 10:13, Jesus requires that “His enemies be made His footstool”, Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that Jesus requires His people to have a good end.  Basically, by shedding His blood, Jesus claimed authority to require everything in creation to turn out exactly the way He wants it to turn out.  Now He sits and waits until it’s time for that requirement to be fully met.  “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:28)

Revelation 1:17 “And when I saw Him…”

Revelation 1:17
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

-John the beloved; the disciple whom Jesus loved.  In scripture, John rests on Jesus’ breast (John 13:23), watches as Jesus is transfigured (Matthew 17:1-2), came to the Lord’s empty tomb and believed (John 20:8), saw Jesus several times after his resurrection (John 20:19-20), and watched Him ascend up to heaven (Acts 1:9).  But despite being a beloved disciple and spending all of that time with Jesus; when he finally sees the Lord in all His glory, he can only fall at His feet as though dead; afraid.  It turns out that nothing in John’s life could have prepared him for that meeting with Jesus.  Seeing Jesus as the humble Servant who died on a cross is the most important thing that any of us can ever do, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that that’s all there is to Him.  Only the tip of Jesus’ glory and majesty has been revealed and just as it was with John, nothing in this life will ever prepare us for what it will be like to truly see Him.

Psalm 78:1-4 “Suffer the little children to come unto Me”

Psalm 78:1-4
1 Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:
3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
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-At the outset of our nation, it was very clear what God we served and that He was responsible for our freedoms and blessings; even though religious expression was always designed to be free for each individual, as a whole country we knew where we stood.  We were never perfect, but as human institutions go, the hand of God seemed to be guiding us and not resisting us.  Nowadays, things that were once criminal are now commonplace, things that were shameful are now celebrated and the words on the lips of the average American involve this country being in the toilet.  What happened?  In the 1963 Abington Township School District v. Schempp case, the Supreme Court declared school-sponsored Bible reading and reciting of the Lord’s Prayer was unlawful.  Since that time, we have had three generations move through our school system (the foundation of training for American children) who learn about Christianity in “Comparative Religion” classes and view the Bible as a literary text.  We still teach our children that they should do right, but by removing God’s authority, we can no longer teach our children why they should do right.  The Bible teaches us to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)  For over 50 years, this nation has taught its youth to go the wrong way, and for over 50 years this nation has scratched its head wondering why things have gone so wrong.

Isaiah 46:9-10 God knows exactly where you are today

Isaiah 46:9-10
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
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-Does anyone have a favorite book that you have read so many times you can remember the whole story?  As you read it again and again, you know the book so well that you know what events will happen on what pages and those events never change; what happens on a given page will be the same every time you turn to that page.  Our lives appear the same way from the perspective of the All-knowing God.  While we look into our future with uncertainty, the Lord knows everything that will happen and everything happens right on cue; this can be a great source of peace in our lives if we’ll allow it to be.  We often dread what’s waiting for us tomorrow, but let us never forget that the only things that can happen tomorrow are the things that are supposed to happen; God knows your tomorrow better than you know that page in your favorite book.  What’s more, God not only knows every page of our lives, but he is also the Author which means that all of our tomorrows are ordained by Him.  “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” (Psalm 33:11)