Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Was Abraham a Hebrew???

I was thinking about Abraham and how God called him, a Gentile, out and set him apart. God made some promises to him and he believed God. As a result, he became circumcised to show that he was set apart unto God. The Hebrew race was began by a man who was himself a Gentile!

Romans 4:9-12
9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

This was alluded to in Acts Chapter 7:1-8 when Stephen told them where the twelve tribes of Israel began.....a gentile. This caused the Sanhedrin court to become white with rage toward him and, along with the things Stephen said about the other patriarchs, caused him to ultimately be killed.

Acts 7:1Then said the high priest, Are these things so?

2And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

3And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.

4Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.

5And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.

6And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years.

7And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.

8And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.

I find it fascinating that God's plan for salvation included a Gentile from the beginning. This brings to mind the verses in John.

John 3: 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

How exciting it is to realize that God thought of us from the beginning! He had a plan for the salvation of the entire human race. Because a Gentile was grafted in at the beginning, salvation was ultimately brought back to the Gentiles. How awesome is that?

The question is............will you be a believer like Abraham and take God at His Word??

This is what us Southerners would say is "an oldie but a goodie".... Thank God he grafted me into his family!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My life is full these days. Between work and college, I have the equivalent of two full-time jobs...not counting my duties as a wife and mother. This week, in particular, I have found that there is some distance between me and my heavenly Father. Partly, it is because time changed and my kids are waking up before the time when I usually have my quiet time with the Lord. I also started a temporary job that I really don't like that much. I've found myself being grouchy with my husband and my kids.

This morning, I awoke with a whisper in my heart and the word........remember. Shortly after that, the song "Roll Back the Curtain of Memory" started rolling through my mind. I opened up my Bible and turned to one of my favorite passages Colossians 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Life is a temporary arrangement. The people who are nearest to me are borrowed. My family here on earth is not an accident. God knew who I needed in my life and who I would need to be responsible for. Our lives here a full of troubles and trials. However, when I get to heaven, my family will be free from strife and overloaded schedules.

Greater than that is the knowledge that a perfect man with a perfect plan laid down his life for mine. Because he took my life to the cross, I now live through him. I can call God "Abba, Father" because Jesus Christ adopted me into the family. What a thrill!

The words of this song are so timely. "Remind me where you brought me from and where I could have been"........... Thank you God for the reminder of where my priorities lie.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Birds have Nests, Foxes have holes......

My friend and I were laughing recently. Apparently, our pastor was eating dinner with her and her family when he said, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."(Matthew 8:20) She said, "Wow, you're a poet". When he told her it was from the Bible, she was embarrassed and they all had a good laugh. It did get me thinking though.

Here I am, a wretched, hateful, unloving person, whom God had mercy on. In the last year, I very well could have been homeless if not for my parents. Now, I have a home, albeit not a nice one, a family, food to eat, shoes to wear, clothes on my back, and a job to help provide. I am very thankful for the comforts God has allowed me to have. In addition, I have a husband who is becoming more like Christ every day, children, extended family, and the best friends in the world.........and I don't deserve any of it.

Contrast that with Jesus Christ. What man was more deserving of glory? What man was more worthy of the riches of this earth? What man would have been a better husband, father, friend? And yet, during his time here on earth, he was denied every comfort. He literally did not even have a home. He WAS the homeless man on the street. He did not know where his next meal was coming from. Is it any wonder that he commands us to care for those who are in worse shape than us?

When he returns, it will be with all the splendor and glory that he deserves. What a Savior! Listen to this song. It pretty much describes how I feel about Jesus. If you don't know him, don't let the day end without surrendering your heart and life and laying them at his feet.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Are you Called or Chosen?

From time to time, I come across a scripture reference that was taken out of context when I was growing up. This morning I was reading in Matthew chapter 20, and came across verse 16. ( So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. ) I was taught that this meant that just because someone claimed to be a Christian, doesn't mean they are unless they followed our particular formula for salvation.

As I was reading this, an idea began to form in my mind. The question was, what is the difference between CALLED and CHOSEN? What I found is mind-boggling. The Greek word for called is kletos. The emphasis of this word is that God is looking for someone. He has lost someone and is out in the night pleading and calling for them. The thought is that they are not returning an answer to him, yet he continues to call. My next question was who does this sound like in the Bible? Yes, I believe he is referring to the people of Israel. In fact, there are many references in the old testament of God calling to the Jewish people repeatedly and having them reject him.

The Greek word for chosen is eklektos (which is similar to the Greek word for church -ekklesia). I'm not familiar with the Greek language, so I can't say if this is significant or not. However, I do know that eklektos carries the connotation of "the highest calling" or "chosen by God to obtain salvation". This word indicates a positive response in the one who is called.

Now, back to the passage in Matthew 20. What is the context?

1For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

2And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

3And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,

4And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.

5Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

6And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

7They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

8So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.

9And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.

10But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

11And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,

12Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

13But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?

14Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

15Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

After reading this, it seems clear to me that he is talking about the fact that God has called and called to the Israelites, but they refused him. He then "hired" us, the Gentiles, and gave us the same wage/reward. This being true, it has nothing to do with following a formula. Rather, it has to do with God calling and us responding to his free gift of salvation. If you have not truly given your heart and life to Jesus Christ, I urge you today to surrender to him and accept the free gift that he lavished on us through Jesus.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Is Change Possible?

In dealing with my issues in my marriage, I've had to face the fact that all of my marriage problems were NOT my husband's fault. It was a mixture of things that were a) his fault, b) my fault, and c) life happening to us. Part of my problem is the lack of appropriate boundaries in my life. I've been like a city without walls. People could just run in and out and trample over me and I would lay there and take it.

So how did I get that way? I didn't have terrible parents. They weren't perfect, but they did the best they could. I believe that the church environment I grew up in is the culprit. I learned at an early age that men were to be feared and women silent. Any woman who was outspoken was labeled "rebellious". Differing opinions weren't welcomed but, rather, strongly discouraged. My mom never had many friends by choice. She is just not the type that needs a lot of social connecting. I do. I've always felt guilty for wanting friends. The back-biting and back-stabbing that went on among "friends" was a crisis of epic proportions. It wasn't exactly a place where kids could learn healthy ways of confronting bad behavior. When you add to that the mindset that it was "us against the world", it is no wonder that so many people end up in bad marriages.

Not only does it set some women up to be the victim, but it is also the perfect breeding ground for controlling men. Thus, the cycle of abuse is set up by default. No one calls it abuse, just submission..

The question I've been asking myself is "Is change possible"? Is it possible for a weak, dominated woman to recover and start to stand up for herself without going to the other extreme and become a man-hater? Is it possible for a controlling man to stop lording over his wife with a superior attitude without becoming a sissy?

Society would say that change is only possible when both people are willing to change. Both have to be committed to changing. Sometimes it starts with one person, sometimes both. Usually, it starts with the wife. I would say that the only way to lasting change is for both people to totally commit themselves to the Lord and seek to learn his plan for marriage, not what they've learned from those around them.

This requires gut-wrenching work. Sometimes people aren't willing to do the hard work of learning new ways to react to stress.

I'm not sure which it will be in my case. I hope that God will restore my marriage. I'm praying God's will in all of this. The hard thing in this is that some friends will not understand. I feel bad that I may lose some friendships because they don't understand why I would want to work things out, if it's God's will. Some have said and done damaging things to my husband and it would be impossible for him to feel comfortable around them. I will leave that up to God.

My prayer is that I will continue to stand up for myself while still leaving room in my heart for the possibility that God may want to work it out in the long run.

I would appreciate the prayers for me and my husband. It's not easy for either of us to learn new ways of doing things that have been ingrained since childhood.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ever Feel Like Job?

Job 16 (The Message)

Job 16

Job Defends Himself
If You Were in My Shoes
1-5 Then Job defended himself:

"I've had all I can take of your talk.
What a bunch of miserable comforters!
Is there no end to your windbag speeches?
What's your problem that you go on and on like this?
If you were in my shoes,
I could talk just like you.
I could put together a terrific harangue
and really let you have it.
But I'd never do that. I'd console and comfort,
make things better, not worse!

6-14 "When I speak up, I feel no better;
if I say nothing, that doesn't help either.
I feel worn down.
God, you have wasted me totally—me and my family!
You've shriveled me like a dried prune,
showing the world that you're against me.
My gaunt face stares back at me from the mirror,
a mute witness to your treatment of me.
Your anger tears at me,
your teeth rip me to shreds,
your eyes burn holes in me—God, my enemy!
People take one look at me and gasp.
Contemptuous, they slap me around
and gang up against me.
And God just stands there and lets them do it,
lets wicked people do what they want with me.
I was contentedly minding my business when God beat me up.
He grabbed me by the neck and threw me around.
He set me up as his target,
then rounded up archers to shoot at me.
Merciless, they shot me full of arrows;
bitter bile poured from my gut to the ground.
He burst in on me, onslaught after onslaught,
charging me like a mad bull.

15-17 "I sewed myself a shroud and wore it like a shirt;
I lay facedown in the dirt.
Now my face is blotched red from weeping;
look at the dark shadows under my eyes,
Even though I've never hurt a soul
and my prayers are sincere!
I feel this way right now. I want things to change,

but I have no control over the events of my life.

In some ways, it seems like God is asking too much

of me. It seems like God truly was Job's enemy.

Remember, Job was LIVING this. He couldn't flip

to the beginning of the Book of Job and see WHY it

was happening. He also couldn't flip the the end of

the Book of Job to see how it ends. It's almost

shocking to read the things that Job says, and how

he rails again God, and yet......the Bible says that Job never

charged God foolishly. Listen to the rest of what Job says..

The One Who Represents Mortals Before God
18-22 "O Earth, don't cover up the wrong done to me!
Don't muffle my cry!
There must be Someone in heaven who knows the truth about me,
in highest heaven, some Attorney who can clear my name—
My Champion, my Friend,
while I'm weeping my eyes out before God.
I appeal to the One who represents mortals before God
as a neighbor stands up for a neighbor.

"Only a few years are left
before I set out on the road of no return."

I believe that this is a prophetic reference to Jesus Christ.

HE is our attorney, our champion, our friend....... Even though

we sometimes 'feel' abandoned by God, Jesus actually was
(Matthew 27:45-50)
. We can take comfort in times of extreme trials that Jesus Christ has been there. He knows what it is to suffer and feel rejected and alone. Listen to this song by The Isaacs. Thank God that he understands..........