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 GOD's story

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Masculin Nombre de messages : 19974
Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: GOD's story   Lun 1 Aoû - 17:54

Day 20: Read today's devotional on Bible Gateway.

Genesis 22:1-24

Isaac, the promised miracle child, is born. But then, a few years later, God tests Abraham’s faith.

Crucial Test

When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!”

“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”

Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son.
(Genesis 22:9-13)

Reflect

Pagan nations practiced human sacrifice, but God condemned this as a terrible sin (Leviticus 20:1-5). So why did God ask Abraham to perform human sacrifice? God was testing Abraham. God did not want Isaac to die, but he wanted Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in his heart so it would be clear that Abraham loved God more than he loved his promised and long-awaited son. The purpose of testing is to strengthen our character and deepen our commitment to God and his perfect timing.

Imagine what Abraham must have felt as he walked slowly up the mountain with his beloved son. And then as he built the altar with Isaac and laid the wood on it. And finally, as he tied Isaac to the altar and reached for his knife. What a test! But he passed; and through this difficult experience, Abraham strengthened his commitment to obey God. He also learned about God’s ability to provide. He learned to trust God more.

The ram offered on the altar as a substitute for Isaac parallels Christ, who was offered on the cross as a substitute for us. Whereas God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, God did not spare his own Son, Jesus, from dying on the cross. If Jesus had lived, the rest of humankind would have died instead. But God sent his only Son to die for us so that we could be spared from eternal death and instead receive eternal life (John 3:16).

Respond

Letting go of what we deeply love is extremely difficult. What could be more proper than to love your only child? Yet when we do give to God what he asks, he returns to us far more than we could dream. The spiritual benefits of his blessings far outweigh our sacrifices. Have you withheld your love, your children, or your time from him? Trust him to provide.
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Masculin Nombre de messages : 19974
Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: Re: GOD's story   Lun 1 Aoû - 19:32


Day 19: Read today's devotional on Bible Gateway.

Genesis 20:1-18

Abraham experiences déjà vu when he introduces his beautiful wife to the local king. In a situation similar to his experience in Egypt, Abraham is faced with the same decision as before.

Stuck in a Rut

Read

Abraham moved south to the Negev and lived for a while between Kadesh and Shur, and then he moved on to Gerar. While living there as a foreigner, Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and had her brought to him at his palace.
Genesis 20:1-2

Reflect

Although Abraham is one of our heroes of faith, even he repeated the same mistakes. Abraham had used this lie to protect himself before (Genesis 12:11-13). By giving in to this temptation again, he risked creating a pattern. Sin is often a rut created over time. He risked making a habit of lying whenever he suspected his life was in danger. Abraham had his own selfish priorities at heart.

No matter how much we love God, some ruts are especially difficult to resist. These are worn into our hearts with a lifetime of behavior. As we struggle with these sins, we can be encouraged to know that God is breaking up the ground of our hearts just as he did for Abraham (see Jeremiah 4:3-4). But this can be painful. It certainly was for Abraham.

God later tested Abraham when he asked him to sacrifice Isaac. God did not want to watch Abraham fail. He wanted to deepen Abraham’s capacity to obey and thus to develop his character. God wanted to rearrange Abraham’s priorities.

Respond

What situation is requiring you to have faith right now? When we are tested, we can complain about the pain, or we can rejoice that God is at work in our hearts. Are you willing to believe that God is at work?
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Masculin Nombre de messages : 19974
Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: Re: GOD's story   Lun 1 Aoû - 19:32

Day 14: Read today's devotional on Bible Gateway.

Genesis 15:1-21

The Lord renews his covenant promise to Abram.

Stars and Sand

Read

Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”

But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”

Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”

And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.
(Genesis 15:1-6)

Reflect

God told Abram, “Do not be afraid.” Why would Abram be afraid? Perhaps he feared revenge from the kings he had just defeated (Genesis 14:15). God gave him two reasons for courage: (1) He promised to protect Abram, and (2) he promised a great reward to Abram.

Abram was not promised wealth or fame; he already had that. Instead, God promised descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky or the grains of sand on the seashore (Genesis 22:17), too numerous to count. Just when Abram was despairing of ever having an heir, God promised descendants too numerous to imagine. God’s blessings are beyond our imaginations!

Abram had been demonstrating his faith in God through his actions. It was his faith in the Lord that made Abram right with God, not his actions (Romans 4:1-5). His actions were the product of his faith. We, too, can have a right relationship with God by trusting him. Outward actions without faith—church attendance, prayer, good deeds—will not by themselves make us right with God. A right relationship is based on faith—the trust that God is who he says he is and does what he says he will do. Right actions will follow naturally as by-products.

Respond

When you fear what lies ahead, remember that God promises to stay with you through difficult times and that he has promised you great blessings. Thank God for his protection and his promises, and ask him to remove your fears about the future.

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Masculin Nombre de messages : 19974
Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: Re: GOD's story   Lun 1 Aoû - 19:33

Day 13: Read today's devotional on Bible Gateway.

Genesis 14:1-16

After they settle in different regions, Abram rescues Lot when he is captured during an attack on the city of Sodom.

Rescue Mission

Read

When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan. There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives.
(Genesis 14:14-16)

Reflect

Lot’s greedy desire for the best of everything led him into sinful surroundings. His burning desire for possessions and success cost him his freedom and enjoyment of life. As a captive of Kedorlaomer, he faced torture, slavery, and possibly death. In much the same way, we can be enticed into doing things or going places we shouldn’t. The prosperity we long for is captivating; it can both entice us and enslave us if our motives are not in line with God’s desires.

When Abram learned that Lot was a captive, he immediately tried to rescue his nephew. A much easier and safer route would have been to not become involved. Abram could have just dismissed Lot with, “That’s what he gets for being so selfish.” But with Lot in serious trouble, Abram acted at once.

These incidents portray three of Abram’s characteristics: (1) He loved and cared for his nephew, not allowing Lot’s previous behavior to keep him from acting. (2) He had courage that came from God; facing a powerful foe, he attacked. (3) He was prepared; he had taken time to train his men for a potential conflict. We never know when we will be called upon to complete difficult tasks. Like Abram, we should prepare for those times and take courage from God when they come.

Respond

Sometimes we must get involved in a messy or painful situation in order to help others, even those whom we may not like very much or who have hurt us in the past. We should respond immediately when others need our help. Who is God calling you to help today?
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Masculin Nombre de messages : 19974
Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: Re: GOD's story   Lun 1 Aoû - 19:33


Day 16: Read today's devotional on Bible Gateway.

Genesis 17:1-14

Several years have passed and still no child for Abram and Sarai. But God reassures Abram of his covenant promise, gives him circumcision as its mark, and changes his name to Abraham.

What’s in a Name?

Read

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”

At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them!”
(Genesis 17:1-6)

Reflect

Why did God repeat his covenant to Abram? He had already mentioned this agreement twice (Genesis 12 and 15). Here, however, God was clarifying it and preparing to carry it out.

He revealed to Abram several specific parts of his covenant: (1) God would give Abram many descendants; (2) many nations would descend from him; (3) God would maintain his covenant with Abram’s descendants; (4) God would give Abram’s descendants the land of Canaan.

The terms were simple: Abraham would obey God and circumcise all the males in his household; God would give Abraham heirs, property, power, and wealth. Most contracts are balanced exchanges: We give something and receive something of equal value in return. But when we become part of God’s covenant family, the blessings we receive far outweigh what we must give up.

To reaffirm these promises, God changed Abram’s name (which means “exalted father”) to Abraham (which means “father of many”). From this point on, the Bible calls him Abraham. Abraham’s name served as a reminder of God’s promises.

Respond

The Lord told Abram, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.” God has the same message for us today. We are to obey the Lord in every aspect because he is God—that is reason enough. If you don’t think the benefits of obedience are worth it, consider who God is—the only one with the power and ability to meet your every need.
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