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Going the Distance

JogI have been posting about Abraham and his experience on the mount of sacrifice.  He is an example to us of how to position ourselves to receive God’s provision in our lives.

In my last post I talked about how he was quick to obey the voice of God.  But sometimes, even when we respond right away, things don’t happen when we think they should.

On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.
Genesis 22:4

We saw that God had told Abraham to leave home with his son.  He also told Abraham that He would show him the place where he was to sacrifice Isaac.  Abraham obeyed immediately, but that was not the end of it.

It’s now three days later and they’re still traveling through the wilderness.  This had to be the hardest walk Abraham ever took.  Yet he continued on, even knowing that he would lose his son in the end.

I’m sure he kept telling himself to just turn around and go home.

“You must have heard wrong.”

In spite of this constant internal pressure he continued to move forward.  He did this not even knowing where his final destination would be.

This is the second key to being victorious in the face of trials and unlocking the blessing of God.  We must cultivate perseverance.  Sometimes it all comes down to the choice to put one foot in front of the other no matter how hard that is.  We must continue to serve God day after day, even when everything around us looks just the opposite of what we think it should be.

It’s in times like this that we must place our confidence in the Lord.  Drawing strength from Him is the only way to move forward when the going gets tough.  Christ has promised us that He would never abandon us.

The good news is that situations can change.  Just because things don’t look good now doesn’t mean that God is not in control.  He is still on the throne.

The truth is that it’s not always easy to follow God’s leading.  But the end result is always worth the effort.  Don’t let the temporary problems rob you of the blessings that the Lord has for you.

Maybe you’re going through something right now that you don’t understand.  You might not know how the Lord could possibly get you through it.

Take the time to draw upon the Lord’s power for you.  Spend time before Him in humility, acknowledging that without Him you can do nothing.  Place your future in His hands and commit yourself to seeing His plan fulfilled in your life.

Question: How has God proven Himself faithful to you in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Faith, God's Provision

 

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The Link Between Obedience and Provision

SunriseIn my last post I started a series about God as our Provider – Jehovah Jireh.  I’m using Abraham’s experience on the mountain of sacrifice as our example.

Before Abraham ever called God by this name, the Lord asked him to offer his only son, Isaac, as a sacrifice.  It was Abraham’s response that floored me.

Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey.  He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac.  When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.
Genesis 22:3

I don’t know what time of day God spoke to Abraham about taking his son to the mountain of sacrifice.  But what strikes me the hardest is the fact that immediately – early in the morning – the next day, he was ready to travel.

If I were asked to give up a child, I could find so many excuses to put it off.  I would want to spend some time with him.  Maybe even throw him a going away party so his friends could say goodbye.  I might spend nights in prayer so that I could get a “confirmation” that God really said what He said.

I remember when my middle daughter, Sarah, went away to a ministry internship in Texas.  Even knowing that I would see her again from time to time it was hard to let her go.  I can’t even imagine what Abraham was going through internally.  I don’t know that I could have gone through with it.

Unlike me, Abraham did just what God had asked him to do.  Not only did He respond positively, but he did it immediately when he was asked to do it.  This is the secret to persevering under testing.  We must be quick to obey God.

I have talked to so many people who have told me things like, “I know God wants me to do this, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.”  Too often the things that God asks of us get put on the  back burner.  We are waiting until our goals are finished.

So often we like to put the teachings of Scripture into little bubbles.  When we talk about God’s provision, we only want hear about how to tap into God’s supply.

Obedience is in a different bubble.  That’s one we don’t want to hear about very often.  In the life of Abraham we learn that everything is interconnected.  How well I tap into God’s supply is dependent upon my level of obedience.

Don’t fall into the “bubble” trap.  Review your life.  Is there something you’re neglecting that you know is God’s plan for you.  Repent of your inaction.  Spend time with Him and commit yourself to His desire for you.

This could very well release a blessing that has been stalled out for a while.

Question: Is there something God wants you to do that you’ve been slow to obey?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in God's Provision

 

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Jehovah Jireh is a Place

MountainThere are a lot of people who write about how you can have the blessing of God on your finances.  I’ve been feeling lately that the Lord wants me to write about this truth for a couple of weeks in my posts.  I’m hoping that it will be a benefit to you.

There’s a name of God that gets a lot of attention.  Jehovah Jireh – which is Hebrew for the God Who provides.  This is one of the names of God that has inspired so many songs and sermons.

It was on the mountain of sacrifice that Abraham used this term for God.  This was the first and only time it was used in Scripture.

It happened just after God stopped Abraham from offering Isaac as a sacrifice.

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns.  He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.  So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide.  [Jehovah Jireh]  And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
Genesis 22:13-14

There are many people who view this name as a promise of provision.  What they fail to see is that Jehovah Jireh is not a promise but a place.  It’s a spiritual mountain that must be climbed.  To get to that place in God, it will require the same thing from us that it did of Abraham.

Some time later God tested Abraham.  He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah.  Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
Genesis 22:1-2

Of all the things that come with the spiritual walk, testing has got to rank among my least favorites.  Yes, I understand from the Scripture that unless my faith is tried and tested it’s worthless.  But that still doesn’t mean I have to enjoy the process.

When we think about Abraham, we usually refer to him as the “father of those who walk by faith.”  A lot has been written about the faith of Abraham.  I’ve heard many people say that they aspire to have that same level of faith.

What’s sometimes forgotten, however, is that along with great faith comes great testing.  Abraham was no exception.  Because his faith in God had risen to such a high degree, he endured trials that I can’t even imagine going through.

Just as he is our example of faith, Abraham can give us insight into how to stay strong under testing.  For the next few posts we will take a close look at this aspect of his walk with God.

As we take this journey with Abraham, I hope that you’ll find that place of abundant provision in Christ.

Question: Have you noticed that with each new step of faith, you enter another phase of testing?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Faith, God's Provision

 

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A Child of God

John 1:12-13
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

I can’t think of a greater blessing!  We can be children of God.

This is not for everybody.  You have to want it.  It comes by faith in God and what He has done through Christ.  It has to be received, if we believe in His provision for us on the cross.  If Jesus Christ is our Savior, then we are God’s children.

Some people look at themselves as slaves of God.  Then they get the attitude that it is hard to work for Him.  They have an angry look on their face and act like serving God is the worst thing you could do.

Now I do admit that children are supposed to obey their parents.  In that sense we must “serve” God.  I know that on more than one occasion I accused my parents of treating me as their slave.  The fact is, even when you have to do what you’re told, the parent-child relationship is far superior to that of a master and slave.

This verse tells me that I am not just treated like a child of God.  He doesn’t just call me His son.  It is much greater than that.  I have the right – with all the responsibilities and privileges – to be a child of God.  This is an amazing thought.  God views us as full fledged sons and daughters.  That is why He both blesses and disciplines us.

Spending time with our Father should be the most natural inclination.  It should be where we want to go for love, support, encouragement, and strength.  Spend time with the Lord today, knowing that He wants you to experience the best that being a part of His family has to offer.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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