Abraham was Fierce!

The patriarch, Abraham, leads the way in creating a lasting relationship with God. In my mind, Abraham was a rock star! I say that, not simply because he is chronicled among the icons of faith in Hebrews chapter 11. I declare it because I am in awe of the audacity of his friendship with God. His lifetime of greatness was wrapped up in God’s promises.

God promised to make Abraham a blessing and to grant him boundless gifts in many areas. God promised to bless him personally, bless his name, bless his descendants, and to bless all the earth through him. God did all that…and more.

The portrait painted in Genesis of Abraham is strikingly candid. No airbrushing, no puffing him up. He was, by no means, a flawless man. He had fears. Failures. Missteps. Nevertheless, when God said, “Leave your kingdom, your kindred, and your dwelling and journey to a land I have not even told you about yet”—Abraham’s response was: “Okay.” Abraham believed God and that unflinching trust was credited to his spiritual account.

Some of the most wonderfully written and deeply moving stories in the Word are told about Abraham—the birth of his son, Isaac, and then complete surrender in the test to sacrifice Isaac.

When God called Abraham to go, he went. In my personal life, my husband and I left our very own Ur of the Chaldees (in our case, it was Marion, Ohio) and set out on a journey of faith. God has, indeed, proved faithful.

In sharing the story of Abraham, students, seekers, scholars and teachers will all find value in the pamphlet available from Rose Publishing entitled, Abraham: A Journey of Faith. There are maps and a timeline of his life, a description of God’s covenant, and examples of Abraham’s strengths and weaknesses. I can see myself in Sarah. When God’s plan tarries, I have said to God—“That’s okay, Lord. You’re really going to like my plan better anyway.”

This foldout pamphlet is perfect for any teaching moment or for any Bible student to grow in knowledge and understanding. The pamphlet’s price is small enough to share multiple copies with classes or friends. You can check it out and order copies on Amazon here: http://bit.ly/amazon-abraham. Or on the Rose Publishing website here: http://bit.ly/Rose-Abraham.
Free weekly e-charts are available at http://www.rose-publishing.com/eCharts.

Lord, Bless This Mess

“Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah … saying,Arise, go to Nineveh…” But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord,and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish.” 

—Jonah 1:1-3

 Here’s a confession. I hear but don’t always listen.

To hear is to use your auditory senses. When you hear, you do so with your ears. When you listen, you take it to the next level. What you hear becomes the center of attention. To listen is all about focus, concentration, and tuning in to the broadcast. The conversation gets clearer.

On the other hand, human frailty is something like this: even when God speaks, we sometimes don’t listen.  Thus, my recent Jonah moment. In the Old Testament narrative, God spoke clearly and Jonah went the opposite way.

I can sympathize with Jonah. I think I know how he felt.  In my own self-created “situation,” I was on the boat leaving Joppa, heading for Tarshish when I knew perfectly well I should be in Nineveh.

And, no, it wasn’t sheer disobedience. I never refused to do what God said. In fact, I pledged to do exactly what God instructed, just not right now. The conversation went something like this:  “OK, Lord, I heard You. But I’ll be right back. Just let me run over here for a second and do this first.” It was a small request, I hardly thought He would notice I was missing.

From that moment, I was leaning into a headwind—the kind of gust that sucks the air out of your lungs. Two choices were involved and I picked the option that I favored.  The result:  a mess.

Choosing to do what we want is always prideful, self-centered and disobedient. We learn quickly that we can’t run away from doing as God instructs, Jonah-style. Nor can we quietly saunter away, full of logical explanations, like me.  Whether you end up getting thrown overboard in a fierce typhoon or simply have your eyebrows knocked askew by a powerful gust of wind, God’s message is clear. Stop doing what you want to do.  The plan we choose can never be as effective or successful as the plan God chooses for us.

Listen and learn.

Living in everyday joy doesn’t make you immune to making regretful decisions. It does give you peace in every mess. You cultivate the ability to pray and ask God to send a taxi…or a whale…going in the right direction. God honors us when He graces us with a work that becomes a blessing to someone else.  In the end, just turn around and pray for deliverance whenever you feel that messy wind start to blow.