Room for us!

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Genesis 26:22 And he moved away from there and dug
another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he
named it Rehoboth, for he said, At last the Lord has
made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.

……
25 So he build an altar there, and called upon the name
of the Lord, and pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s
servants dug a well.

What a journey Isaac has been on! He inherits the wealth of his father, along with an unfailing covenant for the Lord that brought future guarantees to Him. Now, hes not just going by what his father said and or promised, but he is going by what God has spoken to him as a servant and the seed of the one He established covenant with.

Isaac follows the instructions of the Lord, which were to dwell in Gerrar, even in the midst of the famine. Though there might have been places with better provisions and new opportunities, God decides that Isaac should stay in a place of famine. Isaac would set up roots in a place where a covenant with his father was formed; albeit, one they would choose not to honor (of course we could park here and talk about the earthly King/President whom speak and do not honor words and the heavenly King who honors covenant).

Isaac finds himself leading his people from one place to another, giving full effort, displaying full ability, walking in favor, being blessed every place their foot tread, but have to endure the hardship and persecution of a people who hated them for not being able to survive, but to prosper in the time of famine they were all facing. The problem of course is that they are facing the famine, and Isaac is facing the God of the famine. One was looking at lack, and the other was looking at abundance (don’t have time to spend here).

Isaac and his crew dug a series of wells that were met with resistance from the people inhabiting the land that he was in; but they continue digging until they found the spot God had given them. This must be your story as well. You must be one that believes God has a place for you to such an extent that you won’t be distracted by the wells that were empty or made unavailable to you, but that you will keep scratching the surface until you reach the reservoir God had ear marked for you.

I love Isaacs perspective. Though he is the one carrying the covenant, he is not focused on himself. He says of the well, “the Lord has made room for us”. God isn’t just with me or for me, He is for all of us. He has provided for all of us. He is protecting all of us. He is elevating all of us. He is delivering all of us! If we could keep this “…all of us…” focus, it will help us to view our provisions in such a way that we will have more in common that we have uncommon.

Isaac continue, “…we shall be fruitful…”; again showing his perspective on the blessing. Isaac knows they are all experiencing the famine, all making a sacrifice, all working hard, all using their skills, all using their abilities. And while he is aware that the blessing has his name on it, he knows the blessing is not for him solely. He is a channel for others. He is the focal point of the covenant to keep everyone focused on the guarantor or the covenant and not the one whom the covenant was formed with. Isaac says, we are going to be fruitful together; not a part. We are going to prosper together, not divided. If only our the global church could figure this out!!!

This account is concluded about Isaac is summed up with what he does after God has made room for him. “So he built an altar…pitched his tent…dug a well”. My Lord!!! Isaac gave thanks to the Lord.

What if we were like Isaac? Most of us get what we prayed for, search for, worked for and then treat the acquisition as though God’s hand was not with us. God’s favor was with Isaac as he lead his family in faith. God’s favor was with Isaac as he dug the wells. Favor was with Isaac even as they filled the wells in spite.

Isaac was able to continue digging and searching because He found strength in the promise, and hope via God’s established Word. He knew that God would honor His Word, and that he would be provided for and not have to settle for less than what he promised. I too will not settle. You too must not settle. We dig because we know water will be found. We dig because we know water will quench our thirst. We dig because we have a family to hydrate. We dig because we have a flock to feed. Just keep digging!!!! You will find His promise. Just keep digging! Each time you break the surface, you get closer to the bringing forth God’s will for your life to this earth.

Isaac honored God because God had not abandoned him. Isaac knew God was leading him and guiding him, and that the place God prepared for him was not stumbled upon, or retrofitted. He knew God had prepared it to supply all his needs. So why wouldn’t he “set his tent” there? Why wouldn’t he “dig a well” there? He knew God was his source! So why wouldn’t he “build and altar” there? So too am I asking you! Why wouldn’t you? Don’t you know how good God has been? He has prospered you through the famine. Protected you from destruction. Delivered you from yourself. Shielded you from the enemy! Opened up more doors. Filled with water, just waiting to be found, and eager to fulfill all your needs.

#PastorJDO3

Playing Chicken with the Divine

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…If you do not, my anger will leap out
like a flaming fire against you
that no one will be able to put out.
That will happen because of the evil
you have done. Jeremiah 4:4

God speaks powerfully through His Prophet, Jeremiah, to His people who are once again under the rule of another.  In His effort to restore the relationship between He and His people, He must go over the offenses, and remind them of the boundaries and ramifications that come along with breaking the covenant agreement.images

I found verse 4 an issue because God is speaking, and my fear is that the people both now and then were not listening.  As we soak in God’s love, perfume ourselves with His grace, and cloth ourselves with His mercy, we are blind to His wrath, and destined to experience more of it.  God warns the people, it can be the best of times, or the worst of times.  They can align with His Word, or stand in disobedience to it.

We memorize all the scriptures with blessings and promises, and ignore the warning and instruction.  God says, “Dedicate yourselves fully to the Lord…”  God desires for us to be fully dedicated, not partially dedicated.   The people ended up in their current circumstances because they had spiritual affairs on God.  They worshiped false idols and desecrated His temple by giving the living God a non-living roommate.    They sacrificed on His altar, offering that which was intended for the Lord to a false god.  They could not advance or prosper because they were not fully committed to the Lord.

lockeddoorOf course I gasped.   As I look at our current state, I see us suffering and blaming the adversary, binding the work of the devil while the Lord holds back the angels and the hedge placed around us, exposing us and leaving us vulnerable to the enemy.    God was using them to chastise His people in an effort to direct them back into a right relationship with Him, and they adjusted to their new normal, remained in error, and abandoned their pursuit for righteousness.  We don’t have to remain in our current state!  We can restore to us what has been taken by dedicating ourselves fully to the Lord.

God says this, “…get rid of everything that hinders you from being committed to me.”  So I ask you:

What is hindering you?

What bothered me about this statement is that often the things we see as aids are hindrances.  There are things we consider blessings that are weights in the pool of faith.  As we swim from shore to shore, the cares of this world weight us down in such a manner that we find ourselves struggling to get closer to Him.

Which bring us to the end of the verse, “If you do not…”  God warns them there will be a price for not removing the hindrances and fully dedicating themselves to the Lord, that price will be God’s anger.

God warns, “…my anger will leap out like a flaming fire against you…”  God gives us the visual of his anger being like a flaming fire.  It’s the language of leap out that grabs the immediate attention.  bonfire

Much like 3 Hebrew boys, God’s anger can rage so hot that it leaps out and consumes all in it path.  God says a refusal to honor our covenant will place the people whom God has placed His name on in the position of enemy.  Worse, the fire of God is not an out of control and random fire, its a hot and focused fire which has a focal point.  Lord forbid we be the point of His Anger.

It seems today we like to play chicken with the Lord!  The game chicken we played as children seems to be the lifestyle of many believers. 

In this game, two people take a challenge that has the potential to harm both participants, and measures how far each will go before either harming each other or yields.  The aim is to get the other to flinch first. thus showing fearlessness and moxie.

We hear the word, read the word, know the word, but refuse to acknowledge a portion of its promises.  Just as much as the Bible gives promises of blessings, it gives promises of action towards those who refuse to be obedient.  God sends Prophets to us to correct us, but we stop up our ears, and dare the Divine to visit us.  Its as though we believe we can wave His Word in His Face, and use His promise of blessing to nullify the warning through the same Word!

Stop Playing Chicken with God!

faceoffIn the past, the Israelites benefited from the help from others, but God warns them.  No matter the marriages and or the connections they have made with those who are not in relationship with the Lord, “…that no one will be able to put out.”  Everyone can grab a bucket and a hose, and focus all their resources on putting out the inferno God has sent your way.  We can collectively sacrifice all our resources and find ourselves bearing witness as you are reduced to ash and dust.   Why play chicken with the Lord.

I know what you are thinking; how cruel!  Nah, God concludes “That will happen because of the evil you have done.”  Having a merciful God does not mean He is not just and that we do not pay for our actions.  God says it is  imperative that we assess our relationship with Him and look to restore and repair it before He is forced to take action.  He will do this to protect His name, and to display His conviction about righteousness for His creation.

#PastorJDO3