Jews call it “The Binding of Isaac.”Christians most often call the story in Genesis 22, “The Testing of Abraham.”
God said to Abraham, “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.”
His blood must have run cold as Abraham pondered the mandate from Jehovah.But the next morning he saddled his donkey and took with him his son, Isaac, two servants, and enough wood for a burnt offering.They traveled for three days before reaching the appointed place.There he placed the wood upon the shoulders of his only son, much as that wooden cross would later be borne upon the shoulders of the only begotten Son of God.
As they walked away from the servants, Isaac broke the silence.“Father..?The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”I believe Dad choked back a tear when he offered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
Moments later, Isaac was bound for the sacrificial offering. Abraham drew back the knife he had used many times before to skillfully slaughter the lamb in a manner that would cause little suffering.As he looked into the eyes of his only son, at the very last moment, the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham!Abraham!”When he looked up, there in a thicket was a ram caught by his horns.God had provided the sacrifice, just as Abraham had prayed He would!
So impressed was he, that from that day forward Abraham called the place, “The Lord Will Provide.”
Mt. Moriah...It was the place upon which Solomon would build the first temple, and the second would be built there as well.It was also the place where Abraham met and paid a tithe to Melchizedek, the high priest and “King of God Most High.”Today, Mt. Moriah is under Muslim control.The gold-topped “Dome of the Rock” is the most recognized present-day structure in all of Jerusalem.
Beloved, I want you to know that God is never late!Sometimes He may wait until the very last moment possible, but He is always on time.Over the past few years, Sherry and I have experienced an awesome outpouring of God’s benevolence as we have seen Him meet impossible deadlines, provide resources at just the right time, and bless us with unusual spiritual and physical strength to overcome the enemy.
He provided just the right home for us in just the right place at just the right time.Our back yard is wooded, split into two levels (three levels, counting the one the house sets on).The top level is on the elevation of our roof, which is at least 25 feet above the street.As we were thanking God in our prayer time a few weeks ago, God impressed it upon us that we should make our lives, our home, and everything we have a living sacrifice unto Him.Thus, we have named our home Mt. Moriah.The top level in the back yard will have a gazebo, sitting under two tall pine trees.It is there that we will find sanctuary and offer ourselves anew day by day as living sacrifices unto the Father.Indeed He isJehovah-Jireh,“The Lord Who Provides!”
Through it all, we have felt your wonderful support and prayers.We would not have been able to continue without you!
Today, I climbed to the top of Mt. Moriah and called out to God on your behalf.We love you dearly and want to invite each one of you to come by and worship with us here at our own personal “Mt. Moriah.”You are our blessing, our GospeLines family in the Lord.Just as the angel spoke a second time to Abraham, so God has spoken to us regarding you and our mission to the nations:
“...because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:16-18 - NIV)
It seems like I missed the sun shining yesterday.I guess the mind was clouded with pressing thoughts.I promise I will be more aware of the elements as they engulf me.Everyone is in such a hurry and I am not exempt.If a snowflake were to pass me by, I could probably assume it’s a dandelion blowing in the wind.
I must use my senses to detect the birds chirping; to listen for the gust of wind as it rustles the leaves.I’ll have to photograph it in my mind.I really should take time out you know, to savor each moment.Not because I won’t have a tomorrow.
…because I missed the sun shining yesterday.
"Missed the Sun Shining"
Houston has a gorgeous skyline, but given recent weather, a first-time visitor may not realize it.We’ve had rain, fog and cloudy days for the past week.When I approach downtown from Highway 59 South, one can’t even see the top half of the skyscrapers.The view is somewhat constricted until the fog lifts.
We complain when the weather is dismal, even if we need the rain.When it’s foggy or overcast, sometimes our moods are too.
Of course, if we’re honest, when it’s sunny and hot for days and months on end, we aren’t always overjoyed.No matter which way it goes, we want something else.
It’s that way with Christians.We are so busy viewing the world through narrow lenses we fail to realize that God is working in our lives even when our sight is constricted.He has bestowed so many blessings – some we need to store in our memories – the birth of a friend’s first grandchild; the heat that greets us at the door when we arrive home; the soft hands of grandchildren as you walk together through the zoo; the smile and kind word of a colleague; breaking bread with a dear friend; sharing His word with others.Who cares about the weather when we have God in the midst?
GospeLines Prayer:Father, help me realize the blessings in every situation.I know my vision is somewhat constricted.Help me open my eyes and my heart to You.
I give You all the praise and glory Father, according to Your word in Psalm 148--
1-5 Hallelujah! Praise God from heaven, praise him from the mountaintops; Praise him, all you his angels, praise him, all you his warriors, Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, you morning stars; Praise him, high heaven, praise him, heavenly rain clouds; Praise, oh let them praise the name of God - he spoke the word, and there they were!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, February 6, 2008
"Our Leader Through The Darkness"
“Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”(Isaiah 50:10 - NIV)
Darkness comes to everyone, even the strongest believer.To deny this is to betray our humanity for which Christ sacrificed Himself in the cruelest of ways.To acknowledge our own frailty relieves us of guilt and frustration.Beloved, Jesus is never more radiant than when you seek him from the dark places.
Charles Spurgeon had this to say about it:“Darkness… can it fall upon a child of God?He is a child of light; shall he walk in darkness?Not in darkness in the sense of ignorance, and sin, and death, but in the sense of gloom and sorrow.Saints may have much of it.The heir of heaven sometimes knows midnight.But if he be with Jesus, following Him as his leader, then he is in a safe condition.”
Many who have traveled those temporary valleys of despair have done so in shame, thinking they were alone in their travail.No, you are not alone!Others, if they are not in your company now, they will be.Life is like that.We share this hope, however, that Jesus can pierce the silence and loneliness of every human predicament.Never tire of seeking His light, for He is nearby waiting to save you from that pit of emptiness.Hallelujah!Never give up!Never!Never!Never!
GospeLines Prayer:Awesome Creator, who spoke the day and night into existence, walk with your servant when the sun is bright and illumine my path when I am sightless. When my way seems dark, let your presence shine as a beacon of everlasting hope.Amen and amen.
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention ofarriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather toskid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a drink in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming… "WOO HOO, what a ride!"
Perhaps a bit funny; poignant, containing some truth; but totally worldly.
No one wants their bodies to fail before their time and few advocate a life of misery, poverty and denial unless that is what God calls you to.Jesus said, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." (John 15:11 - NIV)He also said, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom." (Luke 6:38 - KJV) Additionally, Paul tells us that, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…" (Galatians 5:21-23 - KJV).Does that sound like a life of misery?
No, absolutely not!So, how are we to live?
If we live according to our sinful nature, we will have our minds set on what that nature desires; but, if we live in accordance with the Spirit, we'll have our minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Romans 8:3-5 - NIV)
How can we do that?
The grace of God that brings salvation to all"…teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…" (Titus 2:11-13 - NIV)
GospeLines Prayer:Father, help me to always remember that I can say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions; that I can live a self-controlled, upright and godly life in this present age because… "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13 - NKJV).Amen and Amen!
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
The Carmelites of Indianapolis do not teach or nurse or spread the faith, as other Roman Catholic Sisters do. They pray. Secluded in a fortress of stone, behind thick, high walls to block the world, the eleven remaining Sisters of Carmel of the Resurrection live in austere silence. The only sound is the prayer bell chimes.
The Sisters pray as they sit in rocking chairs, watching the birds peck seeds. They pray as they walk through the courtyard garden. They pray all the time, and seldom venture out into the world. The silence has brought them joy, but it has also brought them a crisis.
Their average age is 70, and their number is dwindling... fast. To ensure their ministry will survive, they have forsaken the seclusion they so cherish, hired a development director, and have gone online with their marketing plan to seek new blood.
After spending an hour with the Sisters, the president of their new ad agency asked the nuns: "So, what do you do?"
"We pray," the sisters replied.
"What do you pray?"
"We pray the news."
The Sisters devour current events, and one will don headphones during prayers to catch National Public Radio.
Oh, my soul! How many times have I asked, "What shall I pray tonight?" What a marvelous lesson we can learn from these devout sisters, to pray for our state, our nation and the world. In turn, we will be praying for each other! And, prayers of intercession are among the highest types of prayers which can be uttered. Beloved, let us join with the Sisters of Carmel and "Pray the News."