Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesdays with Jesus #191

#191 "Never Too Far"
March 22, 2011
During my quiet time this weekend, my devotional referenced Hebrews 10:23, which says, "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;). In "Sparkling Gems from the Greek" by Rick Renner, the author spoke quite a bit about Abraham and Sarah. He spoke of how their promise from God, the promise of a son to an old, barren couple, looked like it would never come to pass. He referenced their many hardships, challenges and tough circumstances that would've given anyone cause to say, "We give up. This just isn't happening for us." The lesson that day was to never give up the dream that God has placed and promised in your life. But my thoughts started to go in a different direction as well.
Not many folks have the odds stacked against them as much as Mr. and Mrs. Abraham did. To make matters worse, this couple made some mistakes. Some pretty hefty ones if you ask me. In Genesis 12: 10-20, Abraham lied to Pharaoh and his officials saying that Sarah was his sister and not his wife, in order to save their skins. Again in Genesis 20:1-18, they committed the exact same deception. Their worst mistake however, came in Genesis 16. Sarah was tired of waiting on God for her child. She decided to take matters into her own hands. After all, she wasn't getting any younger. She came up with a "brilliant" scheme to have her maidservant Hagar sleep with her husband (who does that, by the way?) and through Hagar she would have her promised child. Being somewhat technologically and scientifically challenged back in the day, there were no labs, no in vitro fertilization, no donor banks. Nope, Abe had to sleep with Hagar and willingly, that's exactly what he did. We all know how well that turned out, don't we? Ishmael was not the promised child. Sarah blamed Abraham. Abraham blamed Sarah. Sarah hated Hagar and the Bible says that Hagar despised her mistress. Sarah mistreated her until she had to run for her life with her not so promised child.
Thirteen years later the promise was fulfilled when Sarah did indeed become pregnant and give birth to Isaac. The promise was fulfilled in spite of all of their mistakes.
When God births a dream on the inside of you, it doesn't always come to pass in the time table you would construct. As time goes on, you think you know better. You get tired of waiting, like Sarah. You come up with a plan. But it's not God's plan. And it's a big mistake.
The longer time passes without seeing the fulfillment of your dream; you may sin and make mistakes. One day you find yourself thinking that your dream and God's promise will never be fulfilled because of all the poor decisions and mistakes that you've made. You're sure that God has taken that promise off the table because you've messed up one too many times. Be encouraged today by the life of Abraham and Sarah. In spite of themselves, they received their promised Isaac. When Abraham was called by God, he was given this promise: "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12: 2-3) That promise came to pass. In spite of lies and deceit. In spite of wrong decisions and poor choices. That's because the promise was based on God's faithfulness, not theirs. When God gives you a promise in His Word and you believe Him, it is credited to you as righteousness (Genesis 15:6) and it will be like receiving a check that only needs to be cashed at the appointed time. God's promises and covenants with you are based on His faithfulness to His Word, not on anything that you do. Your dream can still come to pass. Your promise can still be manifested in your life. Don't be discouraged. Don't think you've gone too far. Don't, don't, don't give up.
Read for yourself the stories of Moses, David, Peter and the prodigal son. These are not sinless, perfect men who lived lives without ever making a mistake or two, or three. Yet God used them mightily, loved them dearly, forgave them freely and not a word that God spoke was ever not fulfilled. The devil would have you believe that you can never be used by God because of the mistakes that you've made. Remember, precious one, the devil is a liar. (John 8:44) Your truth is contained in the Word of God, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and sure to come to pass because your God, the One Who made the promise, is trustworthy. (Hebrews 10:23 NET) Dream on, dear one, dream on!
Living the Word along with you,  
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