Recap of Devotional in Christianfellowship chat room Friday Jan 24,2014
To begin with this and why I was lead to speak on the lesson for tonight. In all my dealings with folks in Church, around town and yes even these chat rooms I have notice one thing. Many Christians struggle and seams to have a lot of problems.
Folks let me tell you this very one thing, this kind of living should not be so as a child of the Living God. God is good, God is great and God takes care of us. But yet we all seam to make it like it’s a hard life to live and were having all kinds of issues and we make it look like it is impossible to have a happy life.
Does living the Christian life seem impossible? Let me tell you a secret–it is impossible–on our own. Trying to live the Christian life by your own efforts is like a ship on dry land it just doesn’t work very well.
For the ship to get anywhere, it needs to be resting on the water. And to enjoy the Christian life, one needs to learn on how rest in God. Paul knows this: “For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me strength and power” (Philippians 4:13).
The Christian’s secret to a consistent life is for Christ to live His life through us: “I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
We as Christian s hear a lot about “Godly behavior,” but often wonder what that actually means. As Christians we are asked to live to a higher standard, because we are representatives of God on Earth. So striving to live a God-centered life is important, because when we exhibit Godly behavior we are providing a good witness to those around us.
God expects us to live by a higher standard. This means that God wants us to be examples of Christ rather than living by the world’s standards, in the word of God we see many of these examples and many times we must get out of our comfort zones and do what God ask you and I to do. If we do what he asked us, the blessings and rewards will be great we see this in the scriptures were about to read.
Reading: Genesis 12:1-9
12:1 Promises to Abram – Now the LORD had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.
6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. 7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said,”To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 8 And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. 9 So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.
It’s important to remember that in addition to the Old Testament events being true and literal, these accounts are also illustrations of New Testament principles. Referring to the Old Testament scriptures Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:6 that these things occurred as examples for us.
With this in mind let’s have a look at five ways that Abram’s story in Genesis 12:1-9 has application for you and for me today.
This is why I Title the lesson: Five Things You’ll Experience in Your Life with Christ
1st) Continual strength from instruction
Genesis 12:6 says that Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. The name Shechem means shoulder — the shoulder was a symbol of strength in the Jewish culture, similar to what the bicep symbolizes in our culture today (The shoulder makes more sense if you think about it, if you want something to move put your shoulder into it).
The name Moreh means instruction. This we see in 2 Timothy 2:15 – Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. This makes perfect sense if you think it through. God’s ways are higher than our ways, better than our ways, and different than our ways.
It’s not natural for us to understand the ways of the God who is so big that the scripture says He measures the universe with the span between His thumb and His little finger! (Isaiah 40:12) A God as big, as powerful, and as amazing as ours requires that we study His ways to learn them. It’s essential that you and I recognize God’s Bible for what it is, a supernatural book that has a supernatural effect on our lives as we study His word. As we learn God’s ways in His scriptures we’re strengthened by Him.
#2nd) In our life with Christ = Constant Conflict
At that time the Canaanites were in the land. (v.6) We’ll see throughout much of the Old Testament that the enemy of the Jewish people, the Canaanites, were allowed to live alongside the Israelites for centuries, which resulted in constant conflict in the lives of the Jews.
We experience constant conflict in our lives today that the Lord allows our flesh to live alongside His Spirit that’s in us. We too experience a life of conflict between our Spirit and our flesh. Jealousy, envy, lust, intemperance, a short temper, sharp words, selfishness, greed — you and I have the very same problem Paul had, as he said what I desire to do in God’s Spirit I sometimes find so very difficult to do, and what I don’t desire to do in my flesh, I sometimes find myself doing.
Paul said in Romans 7: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25)
This side of heaven Earth), you and I will always have your flesh with you. But thank God for Christ who strengthens your Spirit and in whom you can do all things. (1 Corinthians 4:13) You shall overcome! (1 John 5:1-6)
#3rd) In our life with Christ = Continual Cleansing
Twice in chapter 12 we see Abram build an alter. (v.7-8) When we build an alter to the Lord, or in your life and my life, when we go to that alter, that’s when we’re altered. That’s when I’m changed into the man God desires me to become. That’s when you are changed. That’s when you are cleansed. That’s where you are renewed!
It’s interesting to see here the beginning of a pattern in Abram/Abraham’s life. Pretty much wherever Abraham had a tent, God had an alter. That’s a great model for you and I to follow when we are keeping up the worship of God in our family wherever we may be, and in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves.
#4) In our life with Christ = Continual Choice
From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. (v.8) The name Bethel means house of God. The name Ai means house of ruin, heap, or dump. Abram had choices before him as we all do, every day. The house of God on the West, and the house of ruin on the East.
In Acts 7:2-3 Stephen tells us that God originally commanded Abram to leave his original home of Ur 25 years before Abram set out from Harran. In Ur Abram had a very comfortable life. He was rich materially. He was likely well respected for his wealth, his position in his father’s household, and his beautiful wife Sarah.
He likely was comfortable in the habit of worshiping and yet comfortable as he was, Abram chose to obey God’s command to travel to a yet to be identified location. So often I see this issue of comfort in peoples’ lives today when they come into this chat room seeking advice. A person in a comfortable situation who knows in his or her heart what God would have him do and yet they resists.
So – What are you comfortable with? Are you comfortable in a relationship that God would have you leave? Are you comfortable with being unemployed? Are you comfortable with your dependency on alcohol? Are you comfortable with your dependency on prescription drugs? Are you comfortable with sleeping in on Sundays or using a chat room as an excuse rather than leaving your home and spending time with God over at His house?
Perhaps you’ve been in your comfort zone now for a number of years. Take heart! By Stephens account in Acts 7 Abram failed to respond to God’s calling for 25 years! But God in His grace patiently stuck with Abram through every one of those 25 years of procrastination. Ladies and Gentleman Our God is the God of second chances.
#5th) In our life with Christ = Continual Blessings:
People tend to want to stay in their current, familiar, comfortable situation, even if it’s destructive or less than God’s best. Abram was comfortable with his life in Ur but yet he chose to do what he knew God would have him do. Let’s see what the result was.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;” God said in verse 2 of Genesis 12. Abram was blessed with the gift of bearing abundant fruit. He who was without a child, who’s wife had been barren for decades, was promised the gift of bearing abundant fruit.
“I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” (v.2) Abram was blessed with a great name as well as the privilege of being a blessing to others. “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;” (v.3) Abram was blessed with the security of God’s protection. “and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (v.3) This last part of verse three speaks of the greatest blessing of all — through Abraham through the Messiah Jesus Christ, would come, imparting the blessing of salvation to all peoples on earth.
Abram’s choice to act on what he knew God wanted him to do resulted in the blessing of primacy in that it would be from Abraham that the Savior of the world would come (v.3); the blessing of identity in that he was given a great name (v.2); and the blessing of security in that God promised to protect him (v.3).
Interestingly, in the previous chapter of Genesis the builders of the Tower of Babel attempted to attain the same blessings, but not through acting on what God wanted them to do, but rather through the energy of their own flesh and their ways.
They said in Genesis 11:4 “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens (primacy), so that we may make a name for ourselves (identity); otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth (security).” See they were trying it their own way rather than trying God’s way.
Every day you and I face the same choice. To travel the path of those in Genesis chapter 11, or to follow the example of Abram in chapter 12. It didn’t work out very well for those who attempted the tower of Babel in fact it ended very badly. But if you follow Abram’s example and leave your comfort zone, awkward and difficult it may be, and act on what you know God would have you to do, you too will experience God’s blessings.
Folks let me tell you right now, Choose God’s way. You’ll never regret it, listen to his instructions and follow his ways when he gives you the instructions needed to make changes in your life.