Monday, December 31, 2012

I Have to Work New Year's Eve

Broken promises, they sit and fester in your gully like cheap Chinese take-out with a “C” restaurant rating.  It doesn’t matter if you stand up, lay down, go for a walk, your churning stomach stands as a reminder of the broken promises.

I have to work tonight, New Year’s Eve, because “people changed their mind”.  Not that I had big plans, it was more the thought of working on New Year’s Eve.  A night when most of the civilized world takes a break from their job to celebrate the year past and embraces the hopes for the year to come. 

Working tonight has been a bit of a sore spot because of a broken promise.  I was reminded of a few great verses in a sermon,  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside ever weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:1-2 

Those are fantastic verses, especially to start the new year, but what does that have to do with working tonight?  It’s the first word of the verse, “therefore”, what’s it there for?  In order to find out, you have to look back into Hebrews 11.  The last two verses of chapter 11 say, “And all these [the heroes of faith], though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” [emphasis mine].

The heroes of faith were given a promise but did not see it fulfilled.  Not a broken promise, but a promise that had a future fulfillment date, past their life span.  A promise that you don’t see fulfilled can be a tough as a broken promise.  Yet we have role models of faith like Abel, Enoch and Abraham that “died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted the from afar . . . but as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” 11:13, 16

Ahhhh, there it is, their faith kept them focused on the end result, not the years of waiting for fulfillment.  They believed something greater, something grandeur waited for them after death. We have a promise of a perfect home, an eternal home where broken promises will not exist and all God-given promises will be fulfilled.  It is so easy to forget the eternal perspective in the midst of weekly bills, difficult relationships, our jobs (or lack of one), helping kids with homework, fixing the car and broken promises.  But God says, walk by faith, trust in Me, remember that I am preparing a great place for you where working on New Year’s Eve will not matter.  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Incredible Faith, Incredible Doubt

(Part of the Faith to Move Mountain series, examples.  Taken from Luke 1:5-25)

There was a priest named Zechariah...he had a wife named Elizabeth.  "They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord." Luke 1:6

Zechariah and Elizabeth walked blamelessly before God.  And then the Scripture says, "But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren." (1:7)  They served God faithfully but the one thing a Jewish man wanted was a son.  The one thing a Jewish woman needed to remove the reproach of her people was a son.  Zechariah and Elizabeth were "advanced in years", in other words, they were way past the age at which women give birth.

Zechariah, while performing his duties, is visited by an angel that tells him he and Elizabeth will have a son.  The crux of the whole story and the "faith learning moment" is this, Zechariah had not ceased to pray for a son for him and Elizabeth, though it was physically impossible because of their age.  Look at verses 13, "But the angel said to him, 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John." 

Zechariah had never stopped praying for the very thing that was dearest to his heart and for his wife's reproach.  Even though it was physically impossible, he didn't stop praying.  LESSON 1.  (Technically lesson 2 as lesson 1 is walking blamelessly before God.)

Ok, lesson 3 then.  Don't Doubt.  Zechariah had the faith to pray for the impossible but he didn't believe it even when an angel was dispatched to tell him his prayers had been answered.  Verse 18 "How shall I know this?  For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years."  The angel Gabriel says to him in verse 20, "because you did not believe my words...".

1. Walk blamelessly before God.  (We have seen this pattern with the men and women of faith).

2.  Pray the impossible...pray to move mountains!

3.  Don't Doubt.

Lesson learned?  Meditate on these things.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Faith to Move Mountains (part 2 - Examples: Noah)

Have you moved your mountain yet?  You are not alone if you said "no".  God was gracious to us to give us examples of imperfect people, who rose above the lure of the culture, to please God.  They (as we do now) lived in rebellious times when every intention of the thoughts of mankind’s heart was continually evil.  Righteous men and women found a way to live by faith. 

Consider these truths:

By faith, Noah... Heb 11:7

Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord Gen 6:8

Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation Gen 6:9

Noah walked with God Ge 6:9
Noah worshiped the Lord Ge 8:20

Noah was obedient Ge 6:22
Noah was reverent Ge 8:20; Heb 11:7

Noah was an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith Heb 11:7

Noah was a herald of righteousness 2 Peter 2:5

Noah, like Enoch, walked with God.  They walked by faith and they lived their lives to please God.  Noah found a way to live a righteous life in the midst of a generation who’s only thought was evil.  Are you seeing a pattern emerge?

Meditate on walking with God.  What will that look like in your life and in these days?  What will you need to accomplish to make that a reality?  What is the next hurdle that you need to jump?  Focus on the one main thing for now.  If you are not sure what that is, ask God to reveal it to you today.  Ask Him to reveal any areas that you need to surrender to him, and walk by faith.  Name one or two key elements that stand out to you about Noah and Enoch.  Now begin to think about how you can make these a reality in your life.

A prayer for today
Lord, my Lord, may my ways be found pleasing in your sight today. Help my mind to stay focused on you in the midst of the myriad of distractions and battles for my mind.  Keep my eyes pure, let my tongue sing only praises, worship and exclamation of your goodness, mercy and love.  Let me witness of your saving grace to someone today.  Allow me to speak boldly about what you are doing in my life.  Please oh Lord, help me to know you more so that I may please you and walk with you to the last day of my life.  I love you Lord, please increase my faith; I want to move mountains for your glory.  In the precious name of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus, Amen.

Worship and Obey.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Faith to Move Mountains (part 2 - Examples:Enoch)

Have you noticed the “great ones” were all about pleasing God?  Noah walked with God.  David had a heart for God.  Moses was already pleasing to God and his desire was to know God more so that he could please God more.  Abraham blindly obeyed God which gave him a unique relationship with the Creator, one that pleased God. 

“Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” Gen. 5:24

Enoch is a man that we don’t know much about, but what we do know exudes a walk and relationship with God that was greatly pleasing to God.  So pleasing in fact that God took him home early.  Why?  Did God need the company?  Was he sparing him from some evil turn later in life?  God took him off this earth and into the presence of God to experience the greatest joy that any child of God will experience, an eternity with God.

How can I live like Enoch?  What lifestyle should I imitate to be found pleasing to God? 

    “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.” Heb. 11:5

Enoch was commended as having pleased God.  Then if I can find out how Enoch pleased God, then I can imitate his lifestyle and consequently please God.  Read on...

    “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. “ Heb. 11:6

Faith is the key to pleasing God.  Without it, it is impossible.  Anyone desiring to draw near to God must believe two things: 1) That God exists, 2) That God rewards those who seek Him.

What does that mean?  Believe that God exists.  The demons believe, but do they please him?  God rewards those who seek him.  How?  What reward?  Rewards can be defined a thousand different ways depending on who you are asking.  And then there is that part about “anyone desiring to draw near to God”.  That refers to desire, desire for God, desire to become closer to God.  Of course, only God can give you this desire.  The desire for God comes from him because left to ourselves we run from God.  So, if God gives us the desire, it must be perfect but we taint it, spoil it, diffuse it, minimize it, hide it, squash it, exchange it, ignore it and do anything but foster it, nuture it, and seek it.  The idolatry of self, exchanges the glory of God for the glory of self thereby effectively muting the desire to draw near to the Most High and Holy God.

Does your heart yearn to be “one of those people”?  To be a Noah, Abraham or Enoch.  My heart does.  It simply starts by believing that God exists, without doubt and having faith that God will not ignore you if you are seeking Him. 

Meditate on this concept today.  Be reminded that God exists, always has, always will.  He is exists in the good parts of the your day as well as the difficult parts of your day.  He is always present and He knows everything.  Then think about Moses who was already greatly pleasing to God and he desired more.  Imagine getting to that place...and remember, God will reward those who diligently and earnestly seek Him.  It’s kind of ironic isn’t it?  Why would anyone need to be rewarded for doing the very thing that we were created to do?  Worship and Obey.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Faith to Move Mountains (part 1 - definition)

What is faith?  It's an easy exercise to find the clinical definition of faith.  Though the textbook definition probably won't change your "faith", it seems to be the necessary starting point.  So here's a few textbook definitions to consider:  

Definition of Faith In the OT and NT, “faith” carries several meanings. It may mean simple trust in God or in the Word of God, and at other times faith almost becomes equivalent to active obedience. It may also find expression in the affirmation of a creedal statement. Thus, it also comes to mean the entire body of received Christian teaching or truth—“the truth.” In Colossians 2:7, the term suggests something to be accepted as a whole and embodied in personal life. In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul witnesses to having “kept the faith.” [Emphasis added]
 Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). Tyndale Bible dictionary. Tyndale reference library (470–471). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Faith, in the Bible trust in, or reliance on, God who is himself trustworthy. The NT and the Greek OT express the understanding of faith primarily with two terms (pistis, pisteuein), which are related to the primary OT verb ‘to be true’ or ‘be trustworthy’ (’aman). The OT concept is considerably broader than this term and its cognates, yet ’aman remains the most profound expression to describe faith in the OT.
Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row, & Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). Harper’s Bible dictionary (1st ed.) (298). San Francisco: Harper & Row.



The primary Old Testament words for “believe,” “belief,” and “faith” are Heb. ˒āman and its cognates ˒emûnâ and ˒emeṯ. The basic meaning of ˒āman is “be steady, firm and trustworthy” (KoB, p. 60); in the hiphil, rendered “to believe,” the verb signifies “accept as true” (1 Kgs. 10:7 par. 2 Chr. 9:6; Lam. 4:12; Hab. 1:5), “be sure” (Job 15:22), or “trust” (Jer. 12:6). The meaning of ˒emûnâ is “steadiness,” “faithfulness,” or “candor” (KoB, p.60; cf. Isa. 9:7b for the parallel between “believe” and “establish”), while that of ˒emeṯ is “trustworthiness,” “faithfulness” (Gen. 32:10), or “truth” (e.g., 42:16; cf. KoB, p. 66).
The New Testament terms are Gk. pisteúō “believe” and pístis “faith.” John uses the verb pisteúō to indicate the circumstance of believing; Paul primarily chooses the noun pístis, but cf. Rom. 3:22, where he combines the noun and verb to indicate “faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”
The word “faith” occurs in a variety of expressions: “in good faith” (Heb. be˓emeṯ; Judg. 9:15–16, 19), a “breach of faith” (ma˓al; Lev. 6:2" [MT 5:21]), “full of faith” (Acts 6:5; 11:24), “of little faith,” i.e., without confidence that God would provide for the basic human needs (Matt. 6:30; cf. 14:31; 16:8 for the small degree of trust the disciples placed in Jesus’ power), a “door of faith” (Acts 14:27), the “word of faith” (Rom. 10:8), the “spirit of faith” (2 Cor. 4:13), the “shield of faith” (Eph. 6:16), and the “breastplate of faith” (1 Thess. 5:8). The Old Testament also portrays faith as undergirding human relationships (e.g., Judg. 9:15). Basically, however, both the Old and the New Testament view faith as mankind’s trust in God. [Emphasis mine]


Myers, A. C. (1987). The Eerdmans Bible dictionary (373–374). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.



Finally, I love books like the New Topical Textbook that provides wonderful lists of a topic for us to consider...in this case "faith".  Don't be too quick to scan this list, but take the time to reflect on "faith" as used in these Scriptures.  Jot down 2-3 points that stand out to you.  How have they made an impact in your life?  How will these truths further your trust in God? 

When we get together next time, I want to begin looking at faith in the lives of men and women in  the Word.  As Jude said, "Beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith." v.20a 

     Faith.

  1.      Is the substance of things hoped for. Heb 11:1.
  2.      Is the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:1.
  3.      Commanded. Mt 11:22; 1Jo 3:23.
  4.      The objects of, are
     a.      God. Joh 14:1.
     b.      Christ. Joh 6:29; Ac 20:21.
     c.      Writings of Moses. Joh 5:46; Ac 24:14.
     d.      Writings of the prophets. 2Ch 20:20; Ac 26:27.
     e.      The gospel. Mr 1:15.
     f.      Promises of God. Ro 4:21; Heb 11:13.
  5.      In Christ is
     a.      The gift of God. Ro 12:3; Eph 2:8; 6:23; Php 1:29.
     b.      The work of God. Ac 11:21; 1Co 2:5.
     c.      Precious. 2Pe 1:1.
     d.      Most holy. Jude 1:20.
     e.      Fruitful. 1Th 1:3.
     f.      Accompanied by repentance. Mr 1:15; Lu 24:47.
     g.      Followed by conversion. Ac 11:21.
  6.      Christ is the Author and Finisher of. Heb 12:2.
  7.      Is a gift of the Holy Spirit. 1Co 12:9.
  8.      The Scriptures designed to produce. Joh 20:31; 2Ti 3:15.
  9.      Preaching designed to produce. Joh 17:20; Ac 8:12; Ro 10:14,15,17; 1Co 3:5.
  10.      Through it is
     a.      Remission of sins. Ac 10:43; Ro 3:25.
     b.      Justification. Ac 13:39; Ro 3:21,22,28,30; 5:1; Ga 2:16.
     c.      Salvation. Mr 16:16; Ac 16:31.
     d.      Sanctification. Ac 15:9; 26:18.
     e.      Spiritual light. Joh 12:36,46.
     f.      Spiritual life. Joh 20:31; Ga 2:20.
     g.      Eternal life. Joh 3:15,16; 6:40,47.
     h.      Rest in heaven. Heb 4:3.
     i.      Edification. 1Ti 1:4; Jude 1:20.
     j.      Preservation. 1Pe 1:5.
     k.      Adoption. Joh 1:12; Ga 3:26.
     l.      Access to God. Ro 5:2; Eph 3:12.
     m.      Inheritance of the promises. Ga 3:22; Heb 6:12.
     n.      The gift of the Holy Spirit. Ac 11:15-17; Ga 3:14; Eph 1:13.
  11.      Impossible to please God without. Heb 11:6.
  12.      Justification is by, to be of grace. Ro 4:16.
  13.      Essential to the profitable reception of the gospel. Heb 4:2.
  14.      Necessary in the Christian warfare. 1Ti 1:18,19; 6:12.
  15.      The gospel effectual in those who have. 1Th 2:13.
  16.      Excludes self-justification. Ro 10:3,4.
  17.      Excludes boasting. Ro 3:27.
  18.      Works by love. Ga 5:6; 1Ti 1:5; Phm 1:5.
  19.      Produces
     a.      Hope. Ro 5:2.
     b.      Joy. Ac 16:34; 1Pe 1:8.
     c.      Peace. Ro 15:13.
     d.      Confidence. Isa 28:16; 1Pe 2:6.
     e.      Boldness in preaching. Ps 116:10; 2Co 4:13.
     f.      Christ is precious to those having. 1Pe 2:7.
     g.      Christ dwells in the heart by. Eph 3:17.
     h.      Necessary in prayer. Mt 21:22; Jas 1:6.
     i.      Those who are not Christ’s have not. Joh 10:26,27.
     j.      An evidence of the new birth. 1Jo 5:1.
  20.      By it saints
     a.      Live. Ga 2:20.
     b.      Stand. Ro 11:20; 2Co 1:24.
     c.      Walk. Ro 4:12; 2Co 5:7.
     d.      Obtain a good report. Heb 11:2.
     e.      Overcome the world. 1Jo 5:4,5.
     f.      Resist the devil. 1Pe 5:9.
     g.      Overcome the devil. Eph 6:16.
     h.      Are supported. Ps 27:13; 1Ti 4:10.
  21.      Saints die in. Heb 11:13.
  22.      Saints should
     a.      Be sincere in. 1Ti 1:5; 2Ti 1:5.
     b.      Abound in. 2Co 8:7.
     c.      Continue in. Ac 14:22; Col 1:23.
     d.      Be strong in. Ro 4:20-24.
     e.      Stand fast in. 1Co 16:13.
     f.      Be grounded and settled in. Col 1:23.
     g.      Hold, with a good conscience. 1Ti 1:19.
     h.      Pray for the increase of. Lu 17:5.
     i.      Have full assurance of. 2Ti 1:12; Heb 10:22.
  23.      True, evidenced by its fruits. Jas 2:21-25.
  24.      Without fruits, is dead. Jas 2:17,20,26.
  25.      Examine whether you be in. 2Co 13:5.
  26.      All difficulties overcome by. Mt 17:20; 21:21; Mr 9:23.
  27.      All things should be done in. Ro 14:22.
  28.      Whatever is not of, is sin. Ro 14:23.
  29.      Often tried by affliction. 1Pe 1:6,7.
  30.      Trial of, works patience. Jas 1:3.
  31.      The wicked often profess. Ac 8:13,21.
  32.      The wicked destitute of. Joh 10:25; 12:37; Ac 19:9; 2Th 3:2.
  33.      Protection of, illustrated
     a.      A shield. Eph 6:16.
     b.      A breastplate. 1Th 5:8.
  34.      Exemplified
     a.      Caleb. Nu 13:30.
     b.      Job. Job 19:25.
     c.      Shadrach, &c. Da 3:17.
     d.      Daniel. Da 6:10,23.
     e.      Peter. Mt 16:16.
     f.      Woman who was a sinner. Lu 7:50.
     g.      Nathanael. Joh 1:49.
     h.      Samaritans. Joh 4:39.
     i.      Martha. Joh 11:27.
     j.      The Disciples. Joh 16:30.
     k.      Thomas. Joh 20:28.
     l.      Stephen. Ac 6:5.
     m.      Priests. Ac 6:7.
     n.      Ethiopian. Ac 8:37.
     o.      Barnabas. Ac 11:24.
     p.      Sergius Paulus. Ac 13:12.
     q.      Philippian jailor. Ac 16:31,34.
     r.      Romans. Ro 1:8.
     s.      Colossians. Col 1:4.
     t.      Thessalonians. 1Th 1:3.
     u.      Lois. 2Ti 1:5.
     v.      Paul. 2Ti 4:7.
     w.      Abel. Heb 11:4.
     x.      Enoch. Heb 11:5.
     y.      Noah. Heb 11:7.
     z.      Abraham. Heb 11:8,17.
     A.      Isaac. Heb 11:20.
     B.      Jacob. Heb 11:21.
     C.      Joseph. Heb 11:22.
     D.      Moses. Heb 11:24,27.
     E.      Rahab. Heb 11:31.
     F.      Gideon &c. Heb 11:32,33,39.


Torrey, R. (2001). The new topical text book: A scriptural text book for the use of ministers, teachers, and all Christian workers. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Bible Software.

A Muffler that Makes Sounds

It's amazing the simple pleasures of life.  What brings you joy?  A great cup of java, reuniting with old friends, unexpected savings on a purchase.  Oddly enough, my joy came at the low low price of $10 and a landfill.  Let me explain, we recently moved into a new house and they left behind a washer that didn't wash and a dryer that didn't dry and a dishwasher...well you get the idea.  Locally, I was able to take the appliances to the landfill for the rock bottom price of $10.  After living in Toronto for 6 years, the land of recycle and pro-active environment protection, I have to confess that taking a truck load of junk to the landfill felt a bit weird.  But clearing out my garage and starting fresh actually felt great.  I drove away exhilarated...the simple pleasures of life.

I found that I had a few extra minutes before work so I jetted over to the Post Office.  Just as I was pulling in, I began to hear this awful noise.  I quickly realized it was emanating from my 17 year old truck.  I pulled over and decided to ignore the noise and run into the Post Office to beat the other 7 people pulling into the parking lot behind me.  The line was 20 people deep and my 10 extra minutes look very small.  Fortunately, a new automated stamp machine in the lobby allowed me to bypass the the long line to get back to that hideous noise.  As I approach my truck, I found my tailpipe dragging on the ground...thus the noise.  I rip off the dragging pipe and hop into the truck.  All of the sudden I start laughing uncontrollably.  The simple pleasures of life...a clean garage, bypassing a long line at the Post Office and a car problem that can be corrected (ever so temporarily) with a swift yank.

What's the deep theological application here?  There isn't one per se'.  It's a simple life living by the grace of God, yielded to His Spirit, and eyes fortunate enough to see and experience the simple pleasures of life.   In everything, give thanks. 

Thanks God.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Will anyone miss you when you are gone?

"And he [Jehoram, King of Judah] departed [died] with no one's regret." 2 Chron. 21:22b

The other day I was driving by a cemetary where a service was in progress.  It caught my eye because of the sheer magnitude of the event.   Cars lined the streets of the cemetary, the parking lot was overflowing and standing around a casket were a thousand people, mourning a life lost. Evidently, this person will be greatly missed and exerted a level of positive impact upon their community.

I can't imagine anything worse than wasting my life so that no one cared when I died.  Not because I didn't have a large funeral, but that my life counted as nothing towards eternity.  What a very sad commentary of a life lived (or not lived).  No one was sad that Jehoram died, no one bothered to even bury him in the tomb of the kings. 

Have you seen the website www.deathclock.com?  You can put in your date of birth, various lifestyle factors and you will see the estimated time of your death.  Regardless of how much time you have left, you can begin today making a positive impact for the community. 

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

Jehoram was only 40 years old when he died and he reigned 8 years.  Like a two term American president, he had 8 years to make a huge influence on the nation...for either good or evil.  He had an incredible legacy, Jehoshophat was his father and Asa was his grandfather.  Both men left an impressive legacy for family, country and for God. 

What will your legacy be?  Don't wait until tomorrow... 

 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Faith to Move Mountains (intro)

When's the last time you watched someone wither a tree before your eyes?  How about sheer the top of a mountain off and send it hurling into the sea?  Never?  Me neither.  Yet the Christian life demands that we walk by faith.

My goal is simple.  Over the next weeks or months I am beginning an in-depth study on faith to deepen my "faith".  Why?  I want to move mountains.  Because when you have it, you please God.  The men and women that do the greatest things for God are the ones that have the greatest faith in God.  Finally, I don't want to waste my life.

I plan to post excerpts from my study here and it is my hope and prayer that you will take this journey with me.  I will be answering three major questions:
1) What is it?
2) Who had it? (Biblical Examples)
3) How do I get it and what do I do with it? (Practical Life Applications)


Oh, be careful what you ask for.  If you are serious about studying faith, your faith will probably be tested.  I just began this study this week and I have been praying for faith.  Just yesterday, my hours were cut at work...

Ready to move mountains?  Let's go!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Universal Power

“You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”  This verse struck me in a new way today.  Not because of the sheer magnitude of it’s importance, but because of the context in which it was spoken.  I am referring to Matthew 4:10 and it was Jesus that quotes this Scripture to Satan, after Satan wants Jesus to worship him. 

Think about this.  God (John 1:1), in human flesh (John 1:14), who inspired the Scriptures for man (2 Tim 3:16-17) is now quoting them back to a being that is not human and lives in a different realm.  This shows the universal impact of the inspired Word of God.  Jesus doesn’t quote from some heavenly doxology or some unwritten ideology, he uses a commandment spoken to men for his defense.  The truth spoken in the pages of our Bible hold the same power in heaven as they do on earth. 

I just found that amazing.  That Jesus could have used anything for his defense and yet he goes to the written and inspired Word.  The power of the Word of God goes far beyond the borders of our planet, but hold true for all beings everywhere. 

Application

It seems brutally obvious, but if Jesus used Scripture to combat the temptations of the evil one, how much more should we.  How can we use Scripture if we don’t know Scripture?  How can we defend against the misuse of Scripture (as Satan did) unless we “ginosko” (Greek for “come to know”) the Word of God. 

Read Matt. 4:1-11

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

OMG

There it is, in black and white, OMG is among the top Twitter abbreviations.  O my God!  A term commonly used by teenagers and young adults as an expression of surprise or amazement, especially in instant messaging or other social media.  This little expression has been so misused and overused that today as I read Psalm 25, I was stopped in my tracks at verse 2.

"O my God, in you I trust;
let my not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me."

I could barely get past the phrase "O my God" without hearing it in a teenage girl's voice.  A phrase once used by the humble and contrite to express the deep longings of their heart, is now redefined by a generation that has forsaken God.  I would love to call it ironic but it's what a nation does that turns their back on God.  We take the familiar items of worship and veneration and we alter our perception and dispell the original meaning. 

Psalm 25 was the second passage of Scripture I read on the night I gave my life to Christ.  It penetrated deep into my new found heart that night and it still takes my breath away some 30 years later.  Don't let the world redefine the precious truths of God's Word...after all, it was authored by God, not Twitter. 



[Recommendation for Today: Take a few minutes from your busy schedule and read Psalm 25.  If you can make the time (which I know you can), then read it several times, meditating on each verse and asking God to reveal Himself to you through this Psalm today.  You can find it online at www.BibleGateway.com.  Better yet, memorize the one verse that stands out to you and chew on it this week.]

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Key to Continued Success

The Key to Continued Success

As Joshua led Israel from victory to victory through the promised land, the time came to send them away to their new homes.  God had been their victor.  God had conquered the land.  The people had served the Lord all the days of Joshua (Joshua 24:31a) and God had blessed them.  Unlike the skilled politician who talks a lot but says nothing or the legal quagmire of endless documents required to buy a home, Joshua’s final speech is short, simple and ever so powerful.  He lays out the key to continued success in a few short words:

    “Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Joshua 22:5

So Joshua blessed them and sent them away to their homes.

You have been successful and you can continue to be successful if you follow these few simple guidelines:
•    Love the Lord your God by obeying the commandments and laws of Moses.
•    Walk (live) by them, obey them and...
•    Cling to God, serve him with all your heart and soul.
   
The Hebrew word for “cling” (also translated “hold fast”) is the same word that is used in Gen. 2:24 when it says “a man shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife, and they should be come one flesh.”  It denotes a permanent, life-long relationship.

Love, walk, keep, cling and serve.  The latter four words prove the first.  It’s that simple.  The New Testament affirms that nothing has changed, “And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.” 2 John 6

Love, walk, keep, cling and serve.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Wife has a Job

Have you ever seen the show “Fear Factor”?  I seen a few episodes, enough to get the general gist.  For the chance to win a large sum of money, you are put in difficult situations and given a task.  If you complete the task ahead of your competitor, you win.  What makes the situation more difficult is the fact that the show preys on your fears.  They capitalize on your fears by showing you the dangers that you must face before you ever start the task. 

How often have I heard a Christian say, “If you knew what God had in store for you, you never would have done it.”  As I reflect on the last 12 years, I know that this statement is true.  My journey, not yet complete, has been shrouded in mystery.  Last summer I had no earthly idea that I would be were I am today.  And, it would come as no surprise if next summer I look back on this summer and say the same.  God reveals just what we need, when we need it, so that we have the opportunity to walk by faith, pleasing Him. 

Roughly a month ago my wife was out of work.  Now she has a new job, one were she can thrive and use her God given gifts for His glory.  Who knows why God allowed the things that he did?  Maybe the former job was just to bring her to the right place at the right time for this job?  Only God knows. 

I am learning on this journey to be faithful.  It is very easy to neglect the fundamentals, especially when God seems to be silent.  It is very easy to replace your faith with your own will-power and/or with worldly pleasures.   It is increasing easy to grow complacent with a mediocre life, one that is easy, free from worries and the fear factor.  But thankfully, God is faithful.  He will finish what He has begun.  Like David walking through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What does the Lord require of you?


    Mankind, He has told you what is good
    and what it is the LORD requires of you:
    to act justly,
    to love faithfulness,
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 (HCSV)


      He has told you, O man, what is good;
      and what does the LORD require of you
      but to do justice, and to love kindness,
      and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8 (ESV)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rekindling your Relationship

This morning I was reading about some of the most influential men in Scripture.  Abraham, Moses, David, Abel and Enoch.  They are influential to every Christian that ever has been and ever will be.  I think you could sum up their reason for eternal impact in a word, “relationship”, specifically relationship with their God. The Scriptures reveal the importance of their personal relationship to the Almighty God which at times resembles best friends.   

Quick, in a word or two, what character trait is associated with Abraham?  Faith.  How about David?  Heart for God.  This one might be a bit harder, Moses? You might say humble, you might say spoke to God face to face, like two friends or you might just say relationship.  All these biblical heros are canonized by their hallmark accomplishments and their walk with their Creator.  It is the relationship they had with God that makes them stand apart...even to this day.  They stand head and shoulders above the rest. 

Therefore, shouldn’t we examine their lives to see why God responded to them?  Wouldn’t we be better men and women by imitating the best parts of their lives and learning from their mistakes? 

These heros walked with God, having a very special relationship with Him.  Adam and Eve started their life having a friendship with God.  Moses, talked to God face to face but always respectful of his position before God.  He fell on his face over and over and begged God to be merciful to sinners.  Abraham walked and talked with God.  Again, very respectful as if your best friend was king.  David pours out his heart to God as one would do to a best friend.  He talked to God about everything. You and I are afforded the opportunity to have a special relationship to personally speak to our King, our Savior, Creator and God.   

What do we talk to God about?  How do we use our relationship with the omnipotent and omniscient God?  Is it a relationship in which you only ask God for stuff?  Do you only call on Him in the difficult times and ignore Him in the good times?

Today, examine your relationship with God.  If the Spirit is bringing to mind things that need to be changed, then pray, confess and begin anew your relationship. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eating Myself to Death

The way we think, the way we respond, our actions to any given situation is defined by our life view.  I have been watching the new series Duck Dynasty and I have to say I love it.  Redneck millionaires that, for the most part, have not allowed their riches to change “who” they are.  Yes, they live in mansions, they drive expensive cars and they fly to business meetings in helicopters, but they still eat off the land, have strong moral values and recognize the importance of family and God. 

For us city dwellers, I would venture to surmise that the majority of us are more susceptible to our environment.  We grow restless and discontent with our two year old car, we want a bigger and better house (though we can’t afford it), we see what our neighbors have and we desire to have the same...or better.  Hollywood produces our heros and they change spouses more often than we change cars.  We venerate their unrealistic lifestyle with reality TV (see the irony?) and it comes as no surprise that we quickly find someone else to bring us today's fading pleasure. 

Today my Scripture reading finished up in Numbers 11.  The Children of Israel see God’s cloud on the tabernacle.  God miraculously provides water and food for them every day.  He protects them, he keeps their clothes from wearing out and they daily see Him speaking with their leaders.  Surely, if this was our input, our reality TV, our daily influences, we would be basking in the glory of God and singing His praises for His wonders and provisions...wouldn’t we?

11:1 “And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes.”  11:18 “For it was better for us in Egypt.”  Wow, a slap in the face of God.  So God gives them what they think they need and the very food they desire, and they eat themselves to death (11:33).

Now before I had a chance to judge these vial and ungrateful people that lived in a time when God’s hand was never more displayed, I began to think about my own “misfortunes”.  Oh, come to think of it, it is really easy to complain.  It is even easier to forget how God has saved my bacon more times than I can count, more than I will ever know (this side of heaven).  Suddenly, this passage penned by Moses many thousands of years ago hits home.  I am humbled and recognize my own attitude of grumbling, discontent and lack of trust.  Falling to my knees, I begin to declare the the wonders God has done in my life, making known the glory due to the sovereign ruler of all the realms.  His ways are right, His ways are perfect, always on time, never late and if His eye is on the sparrow, then I should remember and know that He watches me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

While Walking on Water I began to Sink

The storm raged.  A fury of wind and water caught the small boat and crew by surprise.  These seasoned and hardened men, accustomed to the sudden storms like this, knew they needed to get to land.  They feverisly worked against the wind and waves as the storm wore them down physically and mentally.  In the midst of the howling winds, as they wipe water from their brow, they see an apparition in the middle of the sea.  “It is a ghost!” Jesus immediately speaks to them offering words of comfort and assurance.  After all, it was Jesus who put them in this boat to cross to the other side.  No doubt some of these weary disciples were questioning why this miracle worker would send them on a boat alone, only to be tossed to and fro by this sudden and violent storm. 

In the midst of this raging storm, impetuous Peter wants proof of Jesus identity.  With one word, Jesus gives permission to Peter’s request and transmutes the physical laws of science.  “Come” and suddenly Peter is walking on water in the midst of a furious storm.  A few glorious seconds of walking on water is eclipsed by a cataclysmic failure of faith.  “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:22-33)

The issue of faith has been on my mind lately.  Like the disciples, it is easy to grow weary in the midst of a storm.  It is easy to question the one that put you on the boat, especially when the storm begins to rock the boat and splash stinging waves in your face.  You quickly forget the miracles that you have seen as your feet get wet and you grow cold and tired.  Just like Peter and his mountain top experience, Monday is coming and the Monday low seems much greater than the Sunday high.  I can just hear Peter telling his family, “while walking on water I began to sink”.

Faith, it is everything in the Christian life.  “No distrust made him [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.  That is why faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness.’” (Rom. 4:20-22) Note a couple key points of this passage:
1) Nothing made him waver from the promises of God.
    When God makes promises they will come true. 
2) He grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.
    Growing strong in our faith is linked to giving God glory before the promises come to pass.
3) He was fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
    Physically it was an impossibility for Sarah to have a baby at age 90.  But Abraham was absolutely convinced that God could do what he had promised...even though Abraham could not fathom “how”. 

Are you fully convinced that God’s promises will come true?  When God says to those that love him, “all things work together for good” do you believe it?  It’s easy to say “yes” when you are not in the midst of a storm.  It’s easy to give glory when your life is nearly perfect.  The real test is during the storm, when nothing makes sense and you can’t possibly see how this could work out for good, getting on your knees to worship.

Do you desire to get out of the boat and walk on water toward Jesus?
  Then remember Romans 4:20-22 and never ever forget this verse, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”  (Hebrews 11:6)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Wife Lost her Job

If there was ever a tumultous roller coaster ride of ministry I would say our family has an express pass.  The last 18 months have been some of the hardest months of our lives, the most silent from God and the most disappointing from professing believers. 

My wife’s job seemed to be too good to be true.  Now I know you're smiling as you read because of the expression, "if it seems to good to be true...".  I love the last dialogue of the movie Willy Wonka (with Gene Wilder of course).  He says to Charlie in the elevator, “Do you know what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he ever wanted?  He lived happily ever after.”  Lori and I felt that after a long tough road of ministry, it was our turn for a little “Jabez” styled blessing.  So when Lori landed this job when she was still in another country, before she even moved, we counted our blessings. 

Two months later, she is ambushed with “we are broke and can’t afford to keep you”.  No apologies, a few excuses but mostly don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  What makes it worse is they are professing Christians, this was sold to us as ministry.   Broken promises, stories to titillate your potential success (both in ministry and in salary) all are shattered in an instant...while we still await a final paycheck for monies still owed. 

What makes people act that way?  Surely this did not come as a surprise in 60 days that they couldn’t afford her?  Why do Christians present themselves as one way, make promises they can never keep, misdirect and titillate the unsuspecting followers of Christ?  Why do they change their tune so quickly?  How is it they can turn on the volunteers to the point of acting more vile and rude than a non-Christian?

One answer becomes clear in my quiet time this morning.  I have been reading in Exodus and I get to that famous chapter 32, “The Golden Calf”.  The people are so quick to abandon God and serve other gods.  That’s why the first commandment is “You shall have no other gods before me.”  Our hearts are desperately wicked and we quickly seek other things to satisfy, especially under pressure.  The amazing thing is that Aaron, his sons, the seventy elders all saw God and lived.  They ate and drank before God and glimpsed heaven (Ex. 24:9-11).  Now forty days later, they are bowing down to a golden calf that Aaron himself has made at the request of the people. 

Do you remember when Moses first came back to the downtrodden children of Israel?  The end of Exodus 4 we see the people gladly receiving the words of Moses, rejoicing at the sight of the signs and bowing in worship to their God that was going to deliver them from their affliction.  But as soon as Pharaoh makes their lives even harder (5:7-8) we find they “did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.” (6:9)

I (we) are faced with this very time of hardship, of harsh treatment of a battered spirit.  We can turn our backs on God and go our own way.  We can abandon God and turn to other gods.  Or we can do what pleases God, walk by faith.  There’s no doubt the latter road is the hardest.  It is the narrow road, the one less traveled, many times a lonely road.  But it is the one that brings God glory.  Some how, some way this is for our good, because God promises it.  Somehow, someway this calamity will bring God glory...for all the earth is His.  Admittedly, when you feel like you are drowning, it is difficult to thing clearly, cooly, logically...but it is our faith that not only keeps us going but accomplishes what God desires.  It was Abraham’s faith that God found pleasing, need I go on?  Simply trust and obey.  Just like the children of Israel that expected God to deliver them immediately from Pharaoh's hand, God had another plan that involved greater glory to His name, to His people and for His sake.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Saturate your days with prayer, be filled with the Spirit and meditate on His Word.  He is Faithful.

Friday, March 2, 2012

My Wife has Cancer

We were shocked to hear the phone ring at 7:35 am.  Lori got up to answer the phone and read the caller i.d., it was her doctor’s office.  She answer the phone and her face grew stern, vexed, serious.  As she listens intently, she holds up her hand forming a letter, “C”...Lori has cancer.

The issue of God’s sovereignty is something that has been near and dear to my heart for the last 6 years.  Prior to sovereignty my multi-year studies focused on God’s will.  The two are inexorably linked.  Therefore, when Lori told me she had cancer, in my heart, I acknowledged that Jesus is in control and this is for His glory.  It has been no accident that my quiet times have been in Genesis and I have been listening to John Piper’s eight-year study on Romans. 

Abraham is justified by faith, faith alone and it is credited to him as righteousness.  The wonder of that statement should take your breath away.  Joseph, when speaking to his brothers says, “it was not you who sent me here but God” (Gen. 45:8).  Warren Weirsbe’s book, “Walking with the Giants” reminds us of hero’s of the faith that walked humbly before God and God did great things through them.  Little men that served an enormous God, walking by faith and trusting Him for everything.  They wanted nothing for themselves but to glorify God and fulfill His calling on their lives - whatever that may be.

I suppose I could complain about a lot.  Life has not turned out as I expected. I was out of work for a year and my seminary education seems to be wasted.   My wife has cancer, we are living in yet again, another “ghetto”.  I seem to be unable to provide for my children as I long to do.   But who should I blame?  God, for not acting as I would have wanted?  May it never be!  God, in His perfect sovereignty has brought me to the perfect place for the perfect time.  Imagine Joseph being betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, wrongly accused of rape, then forgotten in prison.

It is so easy to get distracted by bad news and lose that God consciousness.  Today, I am reminded that my knees aren’t just funny things to play with.  God gave me knee caps to hit the dirt and bow before my Maker, my Saviour, my Lord and my God.  I am thankful that my wife’s prognosis is excellent and the cancer wasn’t nearly as serious as it could be.  I am thankful that I have a roof over my head and a job to put food on the table.  I know that God has the perfect plan for me to bring Him the maximum glory if I will only take my eyes of the man in the mirror.  As Piper always says, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him”. 

I love you Lord, thank you.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Making Your Way Prosperous

My wife worked with master motivator Zig Ziglar for years so I had many opportunities to spend a little one on one time with him.  I can tell you that he was a genuine off the stage as he was on the stage.  His book “See You at the Top” was built on the premise that if you help others to succeed and achieve their goals, you will also succeed. 

Ok, I can’t resist, here’s a quick list from Zig’s book.
1) Success starts with self-image because you are the only one who can make that possible. Before you convince anyone else, you have to convince yourself.

2) Successful people are ‘Good Finders’; they look for the good in other people. “You can have anything in your life, if you help others get what they want.”

3) No goals = no game. Activity is not accomplishment. Don’t be a wandering generality. Goals should be big, long range, daily and specific.

4) Unlimited possibilities. Records were meant to be broken. Until Roger Bannister ran the four-minute mile, most thought it was physically impossible. After his achievement, people broke the record constantly.

5) Work as a team. There is a limit to what you can accomplish by yourself. Example: Geese fly 72% farther by flying together.

6) Attitude is everything. It determines the outcome. While you cannot control the environment, you (and only you) can control your attitude. The pessimist says. “I will believe it when I see it.” The optimist says, “I will see it when I believe it.”

7) Create good habits because habits define our lives. Example: The average teenage student watches 17,000 hours of television before they graduate high school.

8) Successful people enjoy their work.

9) Keep going. "The price of success is less than the price of failure".  


So, with all that being said, what am I about to say?  That I was reminded of these principles as I was reading Genesis 39 this morning...which immediately reminded me of Psalm 1:1-3.  Zig was always very forthright about taking Biblical principles of success and applying them life.

Joseph, 11th son of Jacob, firstborn of Rachel, has been sold by his brothers into a life of slavery.  He is purchased by Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh.  Let’s be honest with ourselves, if you were placed in the same position most of us would be complaining, screaming, seeking justice and revenge.  We would be seeking to escape, a way to get home to the plush life of multi-colored robes, no hard labor, favorite son status and the affluent life. 

Most of us complain when small changes take place at work.  We complain when we encounter just the slightest of hardship that upsets the perfect and harmonious balance of life.  All I see in the first few verses of Gen. 39 is the right stuff.  Joseph clearly has a right attitude despite his circumstances.  Joseph becomes successful in Potiphar’s household because he is a hard worker, he desires to see his master succeed, and he acknowleges God whom he serves.  God blesses Joseph AND everyone sees that it is the Lord that is bringing the increase.  How do they know it is the Lord?  BECAUSE Joseph isn’t hiding who he serves, it is GOD.  Joseph doesn’t keep quiet that he is a Hebrew and serves the creator of heavens and earth.  That’s why! 

Over the past few weeks there has been a lot of external pressures in my little world.  New software at work has wreaked havoc and I have had more than my share of angry customers.  I was reminded of a few months back when I saw my right attitude have a positive influence on my employers.  I saw their business growing like wildfire and I knew God was blessing.  But this morning I was reminded that my attitude at work is not all that it has been or should be.  It’s my choice.  Right attitude, helping others (sounds a lot like the two great commandments, Love God, Love Others).  What will you choose? 

“Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.”
(Psalm 1:1-3 ESV)

Monday, February 20, 2012

One of the Greatest Chapters ever Written

Genesis 24

This chapter tears at my soul as one of the greatest chapters in the Bible.  Abraham, like Job, has been fully and completely blessed by God.  The abundant life that Abraham enjoys he owes to God.  Abraham’s long-time wife has passed away, his only son Isaac remains and before Abraham leaves this earth, he wants to make sure his son has the right spouse to live out his life, as he did. 

But these verses are so much more than finding a wife for Isaac, they are resounding assurance of Abraham’s faith in the promises of God.  He has seen God work over and over and over and continues to rely on God’s providence in every aspect of his life.  Abraham, even advanced in years, is not willing to compromise his confidence in his God.  Abraham has wealth and abundant resources at his disposal, yet he still relies on God.  This lesson should not be missed as dwellers in North America, the prosperity of God often sways us to rely on the blessings, instead of the one who provides the blessings.

The right woman for Isaac
We see in a few chapters that Isaac’s son will chose a wife from the daughters of the Canaanites that will cause his parents grief and effect his life’s direction.  The FIRST THING we see Abraham doing is
1) Finding the right spouse for his son, regardless of the cost.
-The journey is not a family vacation to disney world, it is a long arduous trip fraught with danger.  It would require man-power, time and resources.
2) Abraham wants his #1 to swear an oath to his faithfulness.  He is not willing to take a chance, he wants his servants utmost tenacity to accomplish the task.
3) Abraham believes in God’s direction and guidance to fulfill this task.  “He will send his angel before you”.  (Confidence in God)
4) Everyone has observed that Abraham’s God is powerful and watches over him (23:6; 21:22).  The servant has seen first hand, God’s blessing on Abraham’s life.  Perhaps this servant was at the tent when God came to visit him with two angels.  He knows enough to pray to Abraham’s God and intercede on behalf of Abraham (v.12). 
5) His timing is perfect.  He brings his camels to drink at just the right time.  He positions himself for the best chance of success.
6) He has a plan in mind and prays to Abraham’s God that He will bless his plan and make known the right woman...the one that God has already chosen for Isaac (v.14).
7) While the words were still on his lips...God answers his prayer.  God was already sovereignly working to fulfill the prayer he was about to pray.  God did not leave him hanging, oh what a joy when God answers like this.
8) The prayer is simple, honest, and all about his master.  He asks for success for the sake of his master, not so that he would look good.  He tells God exactly where he is (standing by the spring of water), he tells God his idea and asks for a simple sign of assurance to know which one is the right one. 
9) The sign was one that showed kindness and generosity on the part of the young girl.  It reflects an unselfish attitude, kindness to strangers and initiative to go the extra mile even when you are not asked.  This girl is clearly the type of girl that any young man would want to marry.
10) He silently observes her.  Is there anything about this girl that would reflect a negative spirit?  He only has a few moments to make the decision...though God has confirmed his prayers he again wants to position himself for success and not failure. 
11) Not only does Rebekah provide water for him and water for his camels, but she is from the right family and even a close relative of Abraham (v.22-24).  You couldn’t arrange a more perfect marriage...unless you are God.
12) The right response (which so often we neglect).  God has answered his prayers, God has clearly sent his angel (as Abraham said) to prepare the way and what is his response?  I can’t wait to meet your family, hurry, let’s go.  NO, “the man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord” (v.26).  What a beautiful incredible inspiring breathtaking verse.  Memorize that verse, it’s only 10 words.  “The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord.”  Now insert your name where it says “the man”.   your name bowed his/her head and worshiped the Lord.

Once again the “right response” to answered prayer is exhibited by the servant in verse 52.  After receiving a favorable response to his marriage proposal for Isaac, he again “bowed himself to the earth before the Lord.”  

This servant, in the midst of the excitement, did not forget to stop and thank God for hearing and answering his prayers.  It is the “right and proper” response to a loving and sovereign God.  This is a strong take-away point for me, maybe it is for you too.

I think so often we settle for less than God’s best.  We get a few victories and we stop short of finishing the task, unlike this servant that not only stops to thank and worship, he refuses to eat and get distracted with the celebrations until the task is completely accomplished.  How easy it would have been to begin the celebration without giving thanks to whom all the success was due. 
The chapter finishes this beautiful story by a servant’s tenacity to see this task finished in a timely manner.  He does not want to delay God’s glory as he presents Rebekah to Isaac and father-in-law Abraham.  Isaac loves Rebekah (v.67) and their marriage is the fulfilment of this task but only the beginning of a lifetime of God’s blessing on their life. 

This servant went in the strength of knowing a godly boss, who trusted in God’s ability to provide.  He prays to Abraham’s God because he has observed first-hand Abraham’s faith and God’s response.  He has witnessed Abraham’s relationship with God and knows that what Abraham has is not fake, it is not show, it is genuine, it is authentic and his God is real.

Who are you influencing?