Sunday, December 20, 2009

2009 – Day 353.Dec 20 – Faith Reveals Goodness

Passage for Study: Genesis 22: 1 – 14 … Genesis 22 linked for study and context …

My Journal for Today: Chuck Swindoll closes out his short study into Abraham this morning by giving his readers (me) three short – but powerful – lessons we (I) can glean, which will help us (me) both live and die in a deeper relationship with The Lord. Here are the three, which were illustrated by Abraham and/or Isaac in their trek up to the mountain for the ritual, but very personal, sacrifice.

#1. God the Father showed us how to live when He released His dear Son. >>> My friend, I hope you know the truth of Romans 8: 32, which states [NKJV], He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? In the incarnation of His Son, God the Father, actually provided His most precious relationship completely for His children – that’s you and me. And His Son did all God the Father led Him to do, absolutely becoming the Lamb of God to save us from our sins. And in today’s scenario, Abraham illustrated, with great maturity of faith, as did Isaac, the son, just how far they were willing to go in life to faithfully follow God. How much are we willing to live and give for our Father?

#2. God the Son showed us how to die when He released Himself to the Father. >>> In this story, Isaac was a wonderful picture of God, the Son’s, i.e., Jesus’, total submission to the will of His father, Jesus willingly setting aside His personal relationship with His Father to humble Himself, even unto death, so that He could fulfill what the Father desired for Him. And so did Isaac to Abraham in our story. But, my friend, what are we doing in our lives to be a “living sacrifice” of worship, as it says in Romans 12: 1-2, so that we can prove, with our living, what God the Son proved by His dying?

#3. God the Spirit will show us how to live and die as we learn to release what has us in its grip. >>> And here is Swindoll’s charge related to that, which can also be seen in our proof text for today. Swindoll writes, “As long as we’re owned by whatever we’re clutching, we’ll never be given over completely to the Holy Spirit.”

And I don’t know about you; but that last statement has me wrapped up in conviction. For years I held tightly to a pattern of recurring sexual sin. Then God came into my life; and He showed me how, by living in His truth, I could let that go and walk in HIS victory. You can see this in John 8: 32 which documents God’s promise that if/when we capture and live in His truth, that Truth (with a capital “T”) will set us free. But, my friends, I still have human issues which I hold to and therefore have me in their grip.

For example, right now I’m dealing with the sin stronghold of gluttony in my life. God even allowed me to contract Type 2 Diabetes as a thorn to help pry this gripping selfishness from me. But I still do things all too often, such as eating things I shouldn’t; and as long as I choose my sin over my Savior’s leading, I will never be able to be given all God has for me in this life. What about you, … do you have something you need to release to God so that He can let you walk free from that gripping issue?

Swindoll’s absolutely right that God will, through his truth (i.e., His word) gently convict and direct us to follow Him as He states in Luke 9: 23; but when I resist and decide to partake of my selfish desires rather than use His power to resist my sinfulness, I will force God into a process, which is almost always very painful, to pry my fingers from the stronghold of my own sinfulness.

In other words, if I won’t do what God tells me I must do voluntarily, He will have to show me the price I will pay for my selfish resistance. How many times, do I have to see God’s banner headline, which reads like the words of that old car filter commercial, Pay me now or pay me later!

Okay, it’s another 2nd Cor. 13: 5 pop quiz, as we ask ourselves, “What must we (I) do to give ourselves (myself) over to God now, so that we (I) won’t have to pay ourselves, the world, or our Lord later?” And when we answer that question, will we be willing to pay God what He is due in discipleship now, or will He have to help us pay Him later … so very painfully?

My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You again for mercifully showing me what I must do to be a living sacrifice for You. Amen

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