Tag Archives: truth

PRAYER – ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND ISHMAEL

My last post ended with God’s conversation with Abraham ending and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah set in motion. Our next stop along the journey of Prayer will be the blessed even of the arrival of the long promised son, Isaac. This son of promise was promised by God 30 years earlier. However, before God could fulfill His promise, Sarai and Abram took matters into their own hands and tried to “help” God along. a1cadba9-d70a-4431-9a67-d211445f8746_273This resulted in the birth of the son Ishmael (before God changed their names to Sarah and Abraham – see Prayer – Abraham and Sarah post). This son was born of an Egyptian maidservant of Sarai’s and was not the promised son. This is a quote from that post, but I encourage you to read the entire post, if you have not been following the story.

“They did not wait for God’s plan to unfold because of their unbelief that with God all things are possible! They spent 13 long years in bitterness and misery because of their unwillingness to trust God’s plan. Because of their actions, a child named Ishmael, was born of Hagar, the maidservant, and Abram. As I said yesterday, this child grew to be the Father of the Arab nation, who has been a thorn in the side of Israel, to this day! These 13 years were spent out of the presence of God and His grace and mercy. The baby Ishmael grows to be a teenager and when he was 13 years old things began to change. However, I believe that things were changing over the course of these 13 years but things really changed when he was 13.”

So let’s begin this post with the scripture that introduces us to the “Promised Son”.

Genesis 21:1-7

And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him—whom Sarah bore to him—Isaac. Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and alABRAHAM AND ISAACl who hear will laugh with me.” She also said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.”

This was definitely a blessed event. What a miracle has SARAH AND ISAACoccurred! God made it physically possible for this 90 year old woman and this 100 year old man to have a baby. Something that is beyond man, God can do! Always!

How many times do we doubt God’s power in our lives? God can make anything happen if it is His will. God loved Abraham and Sarah and gave them this wonderful promised son and through Isaac many will be born and inhabit the land that had been promised to Abraham many, many years earlier.

As young Isaac grew and was weaned they had a feast to celebrate. This is a day of gladness and excitement throughout the camp. As the scripture goes, as the festive occasion is going on, Sarah glances over and happens to see Ishmael, who is 14 years old now, and Isaac. The young lad of 14 is playing with his new half-brother. Sarah realizes that the two cannot possibly co-exist. Isaac is the promised son and the Covenant is to be fulfilled through him and not Ishmael.  As Sarah sees this unfolsarah-and-isaac-by-scott-snow-oil-on-canvas-2000ding, she can see that there could be real trouble. She knows what God has promised and now she believes the two shall not dwell together any longer. The maidservant, Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, and Ishmael must leave the camp. Sarah tells Abraham that they must leave and this is very disturbing to Abraham – rightfully so… however, God speaks to Abraham. Here is the scripture.

Genesis 21:12-14

12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. 13 Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.”Hagar-And-Ishmael

14 So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar, and sent her away. Then she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba.

Now, let’s stop here and think about this situation. Here is Abraham at 100 years old and Sarah at 90. Abraham has a 14 year old son that he had with his wife’s maidservant and now he has a brand new baby – Isaac. Abraham loves them both. However, Ishmael is a product of his flesh, when he allowed himself to be pulled into the “helping God” story. This is of the flesh no matter how you slice it. Isaac, on the other hand, is of the Spirit. He is the product of years of waiting and praying and much changing in both Sarah and Abraham’s life. They softened over time and became more pliable by God. God waited until it was weSarah and Isaac (?)ll past the time of child bearing years for both of them to make sure they understood it was of God and not man.

The same goes in our lives, we try to “help” God sometimes and it becomes an effort born of the flesh and not of the Spirit. When we walk and talk with God daily and are in close communion with Him regularly, we know how we must walk, what we must say and which direction to put our feet in. That is walking “in the Spirit”. When we go off on our own and do what we want, say what we want to say, and go where we want to go without talking to God about any of it, then that becomes walking “in the flesh”. I have walked in the flesh before, for years, and I tell you one thing, walking in the Spirit is a much sweeter place.

Another scripture that references Ishmael being of the flesh and Isaac being of the Spirit is this:

Galatians 4:21-23

22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 2

The next thing to look at is the need for Ishmael to go! You say, oh how terrible that is to cast out this woman and her child into the wilderness. It had to be a very, very hard thing for Abraham to do. He loved Ishmael greatly, I feel certain. However, he was born of the flesh and had no place in the lives of those walking in the Spirit.

When we are new Christians, there are many things in our lives that change. Some things seem to change overnight (i.e., quit smoking, quit drinking, quit carousing, etc.) and other things seem to linger for years. God allows things to remain and others he takes the desire for them away totally. I for one, when I re-dedicated my life totally to God, was smoking 1-1 ½ packs of cigarettes a day. God spoke to me one night while I was praying and said “Leah, you are not being the example I need you to be with your smoking.” I stopped that very moment and never wanted another one. That has been 24 years ago November 1, 2014. Praise God! Other things didn’t leave so fast. Things born of the flesh are hard to let go of sometimes – most of the time. However, we reach a point in our walk with God when we must let go of things that were of the flesh so we can grow in the Spirit. God doesn’t promise an easy time always, but He does promise that it will be well worth every bit of the effort!

God was serious about Ishmael. For the journey that Abraham, Sarah and now Isaac was on with God to progress, Ishmael must go. Now.8033817_f520  God is serious about you too!  If you want to grow in the Spirit, you must cast out the Ishmaels that linger in your life.

All of us have Ishmaels in our lives. Things (or people) we don’t want to let go of.  Things that we have, or things that we have  done, and continue to do or ideas that we have had for many years. Or places we have gone for many years.  I know this first hand. I also know that God’s love and plan is perfect and if you let them go and trust God, He will replace them with Isaacs – laughter, goodness, happiness, fulfillment, a deeper relationship with Him. God is a good God that loves you so much. Talk to God today. He is waiting to hear from you. He calls you His beloved.

The Song – Voice of Truth – Casting Crowns

CLEAN HANDS, PURE HEART AND MIND

I remember a time when I sang in a choir at church and didn’t really … really … have a relationship with my God. Oh I was saved when I was younger… but relationship… a relationship with my God. There came a time when I asked myself if I had clean hands, pure heart and mind to have a deeper relationship with God? Let’s look at what a relationship is. There were 3 different ideas when I Googled the definition for Relationship. This is one of them. I like this one considering how we are “related” to Jesus but it is not exactly the one I was looking for but read on.RELATIONSHIP

Relationship: the state of being connected by blood or marriage.
“they can trace their relationship to a common ancestor”
Synonyms: family ties, family connections, blood ties, blood relationship, kinship, common ancestry, common lineage

(I may have to do a series on this one also… to explore how we are connected to Jesus)

The Merriam Webster definition is this:

Relationship: the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other

I like the part that says “talk to”, “behave toward” and “deal with each other”. You cannot have a relationship unless these elements are present. It’s not a relationship otherwise. It is just knowing each other.

OK, back to singing in the choir. I sang all the good old hymns and all the wonderful praise and worship songs. I loved them. I love music. I have been raised with music all my life. Regular music and church music. Music – I think it flows through my veins. However, when I began to understand that the “Choir Director” was so much more than just “directing the choir”… he was tasked with leading the congregation into the very presence of Almighty God! To Worship… to lead worship. The Praise and Worship Leader title for that individual came about with the advent of “Contemporary Worship” I believe. It describes whaworship heartt that person really is to do. To lead the people in worship of God. To show how and why we are to worship God Almighty. The choir at the same time is to do the same. The choir should be considered worship leaders as well and are considered this by the Worship Leaders. At least I have been told by more than one that this is what he expected of us as a choir.

So when I realized this and me being in the choir I began to take it a lot more serious. I began to analyze my life and ask myself… “Am I living the life of a worship leader?” “Am I being the example that God wants me to be?” “What are the “standards” for being a worship leader?” “If my Worship Leader was living like I was, would I approve?” Well… I will tell you that those are just a few of the questions I asked myself. Needless to say, CLEAN HANDS 1I dropped out of choir for a while. Why? Because I was not living the life I should have been as a Christian worship leader and I felt very convicted! I was not really worthy of “leading worship” of any kind. I worshiped my lifestyle … I was not worshiping God. Oh, I sang the songs and felt the emotions… but … I don’t know… it is just not the same now. It is so much deeper and more meaningful. It has been such a journey for me the last 4-5 years. It has really blown me away how God has revealed Himself to me. However, it wasn’t until I began to seek Him. I turned away from what I was  doing and sought His will.  Oh, He was always there. Waiting. Loving. Knowing. Waiting. Waiting for me to wake up!  When I did it really made so much of a difference!  He was waiting and I am glad He was!

All I know is this… if you are involved in any kind of worship “leadership” you need to make sure you are clean from the inside out. Clean hands, pure heart and mind. God knows the difference. blessed-are-the-pure-in-heart-1-728He loves you anyway, but He does require pure worship of Him. He wants clean hands, pure heart and mind and a pure motive! Are you worshiping to please yourself, others or Him?

There is a story in the Bible that makes me shake my head every time I hear it. At first I thought… wow… that’s a little harsh… but “God is God and I am not” I love that phrase … I heard my pastor say it more than once and I really like it. Let me explain the story a little.

Moses had a brother named Aaron. Aaron was the High Priest and he had 4 sons and they were called to be priests as well:

Numbers 3:2

And these are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab, the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

Now Arron’s first born Nadab and the next born Abihu offered unauthorized fire … well, I think if you read what the Bible says it will make more sense… read what happened…

Leviticus 10:1-3

10 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. And Mstrange1oses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying:
‘By those who come near Me

I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.’”  So Aaron held his peace.

Aaron understood Moseheart-and-mind1s plain and clear. His sons were disobedient and they paid the price. I began my relationship with God and realized I had many things I needed to … had to clean up! When I did, I can’t tell you how much sweeter my relationship became. It deepened my faith, it opened up my heart and mind to things I never imagined. God is God and I am not and I am glad of it!

This isn’t just for Worship Leaders.  It is meant for anyone that wants a relationship with God or a deeper relationship with God.  If you don’t have a relationship with God today, please call out to Him. If there are things you need to “clean up” in your life, then do it! God is always there waiting. hqdefaultYou miss so much of God if you don’t. God wants clean hands, pure heart and mind. He will help you if you just ask. He loves you so much. He calls you His beloved!

Here are two videos of the same song. One is by Mercy Me with Lyrics. The other is a group singing. I like both… so I am sharing both! Enjoy!

Video – Give Us Clean Hands – Mercy Me

Video – Give Us Clean Hands – ??

GOD AMAZING

Sometimes I think about how God can do all things and is in control of all things and wonder if anyone else ever really thinks about this.  For many years I have known that God can even change the course of time if He so chooses.  There was a time in the Bible when time literally stood still.  Joshua 10 teSUN STANDS STILLlls the story of a whole day where the sun stood still in the sky.  And another time when God caused time to go backwards in 2 Kings 20.  Since God made time stand still and go backwards from a man’s request, He can sureTIME WENT BACKWARDSly help with any problem in this life we have!  I know my God can do all things and therefore I should not be afraid of anything that this life can throw at me.

I have prayed from time to time for God to change my circumstances if He chooses.  I want His will of course and if I have to learn something in the process, for Him to help me in that process.  Sometimes it seems He answers right away and other times I never seem to get an answer.. well, maybe the answer is just “wait”.  I have never been a very patient person but have learned in the last few years that there is really no reason to “hurry” and get all upset and “try to change my own circumstances.”

I have learned that trusting God for my destiny is much better than trusting me forEAGLE my destiny!  I have tried… I have screwed it up!  I prefer God’s plan now, thank you!  I love this scripture… Isaiah 40:31 31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  See the entire chapter here.

I trust that each of you have the same desire.  If you are reading this post you more than likely have a longing heart and seeking spirit for God’s Truth!  And I pray that God helps you in whatever is on your heart and mind; those things that worry you, that bring you down and give you trouble during the day.  There are many scriptures that speak about worrying and fear and peace.  Here are a few:

PEACE2

Matthew 6:25-27  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

Matthew 6:34  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 11:28-30  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Luke 12:25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his  span of life?”

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Colossians 3:15  “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

2 Thessalonians 3:16  “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”

Psalm 55:22  Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved”

And one of my favorites…

Romans 8:31  “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

I pray that whatever God lays on my heart to share with you every day helps you in some way throughout your day.  I know that God is an Amazing God!  His Word is an Amazing Love story to us about His Amazing Love for us!  If you haven’t met this God of mine, I encourage you to read about how He wants to know you personally.  Find it here.

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GOD AMAZING

 

The Song – God Amazing – Charles Billingsley