Putting God's Word into Practice…

Hebrews 12:3-4 Consider Him!

Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (12:3)

Consider: to think carefully about; to look attentively at; to think about and be drawn towards; reflect on, mull over, meditate on, examine

Jesus is our greatest motivation for running the race with endurance.  Meditating on Him protects us from growing faint and weary. In our spiritual life, maybe the reason we feel faint and weary is because we are fixing our eyes on people and problems instead of on the power of Jesus to overcome them!

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (12:4)

“Struggle against sin” can be understood in two ways: our own personal battles against sin when we often give up or give in too easily, and our struggle against the sin of others that cause hardship, persecution and/or affliction in our own life.

Have I resisted sin to the point of death?  The truth is when it comes to my struggle against sin, I don’t fight hard enough.  I’m not willing to sacrifice for victory.  When I’m faced with hardship, betrayal, pain, affliction and persecution at the hands of others, am I willing to forgive and die for these people’s sins?

Jesus was willing…CONSIDER HIM!!  

  1. He washed Judas’ feet knowing that he would betray Him that night.
  2. He wept over Jerusalem for their inability to accept Him as their Savior and Peace.
  3. He kept Peter in the “inner circle” knowing he would betray Him that night.
  4. He healed the ear of His arrestor.
  5. He asked for forgiveness for His prosecutors and executioners.

Jesus constantly and humbly offered forgiveness, grace, mercy, service, and sacrifice to His enemies.  Considering Him empowers us to endure.  Also, recognizing that WE ARE THE SINNERS who were hostile to Him, and that we have received His grace and forgiveness should free our hearts up to endure the sin of others.

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Hebrews 12:1-2 Life is a Race

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

The race of life is set before each man, the finish line is death, and none know how close the finish line is for them!  The good news for those of us who trust in Jesus as our Savior and Lord have a cheering section along the way!

This past year about four weeks before a half-marathon I was registered to run, I tore my calf muscle and needed six weeks of physical therapy.  This left me on the sidelines of the race to encourage other runners. Since I had done the race before, I knew what was encouraging to hear along the way.  If I could read the runner’s name on their bib, I’d say, “Kerri, you look great!  Don’t quit!” or “Tom, you are amazing!” This is how I picture the spiritual race of life with Moses, Abraham, Joseph, King David, Samson, etc…shouting to us, “Keep going!  You can do it!”  And God the Father and Jesus at the finish line saying, “Here she comes!”

So our lives are a race, we have a cheering section, there is a finish line, but how should we run until we arrive there?

  1. Unencumbered!  Lay aside EVERY weight and sin which clings so closely!  Sin, burdens, bad habits, earthly ambition, material possession accumulation, unhealthy relationships…anything that slows us down must go!  Just like the abandoned clothes one sees along a race path!
  2. With endurance.  I was shocked to find the definition of endurance being:  power of enduring unpleasant and difficult process or situation without giving way; capacity to withstand wear and tear.  Some synonyms are stamina, fortitude, tenacity, perseverance, and determination.  Life–our race–is not always easy or pleasant.  I’ve often thought of endurance as going the distance, but it is so much more.  It is pushing through obstacles, hardships, opposition just like the cloud of witnesses who surrounds us did–by faith!  Strong faith is the fuel of endurance!
  3. With our eyes fixed on Jesus!  Jesus endured; He finished strong!  He laid aside anything that would have stopped Him from fulfilling His purpose for His earthly life.  He starts and perfects our faith.  Jesus gives us the fuel to endure.  When we take our eyes off Jesus we become lazy, complacent, comfortable, and easily swayed and knocked down by life.
  4. With joy.  Jesus endured with joy because he knew what His pain was accomplishing–namely, the salvation of the world!  We also have hope for the other side of the finish line.  The promise of seeing Jesus face-to-face and to paraphrase Dr. Joe Stowell, “Seeing His nail-scarred hands reach out to welcome us home.”

How am I running?  What’s holding me back from giving my all in the race?  On what are my eyes fixed?  What is the reading of my faith and joy gauges?

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Hebrews 11:32-40 The Power of Faith

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets–who THROUGH FAITH conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, WERE MADE STRONG OUT OF WEAKNESS, BECAME MIGHTY IN WAR, put foreign armies to flight.  Women received back their dead by resurrection.  Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again TO A BETTER LIFE.  Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated–OF WHOM THE WORLD WAS NOT WORTHY–wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

“…were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in battle…”  We are all just lumps of clay!  Humble surrender by faith to the powerful hands of God for our shaping, molding and firing is what makes us strong, mighty and useful.  When we try to shape ourselves, we tend to avoid the “fire” that gives strength and steadfastness to our lives!

What holds us back from surrendering our weaknesses to a loving, strong God? 1) Pride. We think we can do better with our lives. 2) Fear.  We don’t want the pain that may come along with strengthening. 3) Selfishness.  Our lives may not result in our desired outcome.

However, there are very tangible outcomes of the lives of those tho allowed God to bring strength from their weaknesses:

  • conquered kingdoms
  • enforced justice
  • obtained promises
  • stopped lions’ mouths
  • quenched the power of fire
  • escaped the edge of the sword
  • put foreign armies to flight
  • raised dead children back to life

By faith we are all capable of being used in mighty, even supernatural ways.  My problem is my faith is too small, my desire to risk too little, my love of “normalcy” and comfort too great!  I don’t always want to embrace and boast in my weaknesses or acknowledge that I need God’s help and strength.

These men’s faith didn’t bring parades, trophies and accolades in their lifetime.  Their faith brought torture, persecution, imprisonment, poverty, homelessness, affliction and mistreatment.  Only people made strong and mighty by faith in God could endure such hardship until the end!  They fixed their eyes on the promise of eternal life with their great God, and the promise that He would send a Redeemer and Savior!

God did send a Savior to secure our eternal reward–Jesus Christ!  How much greater should my faith be because of the confidence that is mine in Him.  God keeps His promises and one day I will stand before Him because of my faith in Jesus, but will my life testify to the power of that faith in my daily life between salvation and the grave???

“…of whom the world was not worthy…”  These heroes of faith were born into a world that didn’t deserve what they had to offer.  They were givers of God’s grace, messengers of His mercy, warners of His wrath, and protectors of His promises.  God found them worthy, even though the world did not.

Lord, give me faith like that–faith to stand no matter my circumstances!  Help me to humbly surrender my life completely to You!  Let me live and operate in Your power, knowing that apart from You I am just a weak girl.  Spend my life to accomplish Your plans, to proclaim Your truths, to serve Your people, to conquer enemies, to rescue those who are dying, to overcome obstacles, and to win great spiritual battles.  I am Yours!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Hebrews 11:32–What more can I say?

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets. 

Gideon. (Judges 6-8)  The Lord came to Gideon while he was hiding from the Midianites.  Gideon claimed he was from the weakest clan and that he was the least of his father’s house.  BUT the Lord said, “I will be with you.”  Gideon experienced supernatural victory in battle.

Barak. (Judges 4-5) The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, so He handed them over to the Canaanites to be oppressed for twenty years.  When they called out to the Lord for help, He tried to raise up a leader to go to battle named Barak.  But Barak was afraid, so he said he would only go to battle if Deborah the prophetess and judge would go with him.  She reminded him that he didn’t need her because the Lord would go out before him.  In the end they did get victory over their oppressors.

Samson.  (Judges 13-16)  Samson was a powerful yet prideful, demanding man whose heart was led away by manipulative, beautiful women!  He gave up the secret to his power and the presence of the Lord left him.  Samson was humbled!  He realized that he was weak apart from the Lord. When he leaned into the Lord’s strength, He received one final victory over their Philistine enemies.

Jephthah.  (Judges 11-12)  Jephthah was known as a mighty warrior, but he was also the son of a prostitute.  His half-siblings hated him, mistreated him, and eventually drove him out of the land.  When trouble came, they recognized that he was a mighty warrior and called him back to lead the people in battle against the Ammonites.  Jephthah said he would only lead them if the Lord was victorious over the enemy.  The “Spirit of the Lord was on Jephthah,” and he did indeed receive victory over the Ammonites.

David.  (1 Samuel 16)  David was a shepherd boy from Bethlehem–the youngest and least in his family.  But God chose him to be King and a man after His own heart.  At David’s anointing ceremony it says, “The Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward.”

Samuel.  (1 Samuel 1-3)  Samuel was a God-given gift to Hannah who was barren, yet faithfully prayed that if God would give her a son, she would give him back to the Lord.  Samuel was raised in the temple, and though he was young, he served the Lord.  The Lord came and called Samuel, and he surrendered his heart, ears and lips to the Lord’s service.  In 1 Samuel 3:19 it says, “And Samuel grew, and THE LORD WAS WITH HIM, and let none of his words fall to the ground.”

All of these great men of faith were weak in either status, stature or maturity, also socially, physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually, BUT THE LORD made them strong and gave them great victories and faith!  Until we humbly realize that apart from the Lord working through us we are weak, we will not experience supernatural power and victory over oppression, sin and enemies.  Humility is the key!  When we can only boast in our weakness–God alone gets the glory!

Yesterday, I was experiencing a weak spirit.  Generally I wouldn’t put that on my Facebook status, but I did.  Even after posting I almost took it off because it felt too personal–too vulnerable.  Do you know that God used that Facebook status to encourage many people’s hearts and remind them of His strength?  God uses our weakness!!

But He said to me, “MY grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more GLADLY of my weaknessES, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are nothing, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

Don’t boast in the presence of God, but boast only in the presence of God!  It’s the difference between saying, “I’m amazing!” and “You’re amazing!”

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Hebrews 11:30-31 By Faith Rahab the Prostitute…

By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. 

Through faith there is power to demolish an enemy stronghold and to rescue the soul of a prostitute.  Faith is powerful!!  

In Joshua 2 we see the account of the two spies that went in to Jericho on a mission for the Israelites.  There host was a Gentile prostitute, Rahab.  Rahab demonstrated faith in word and deed.  In Joshua 2:9-11 Rahab said, “I KNOW that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you.  For we have HEARD how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea…and as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD, HE IS GOD IN THE HEAVENS ABOVE AND ON THE EARTH BENEATH.”  Rahab went from hearing about God’s power to affirming her belief that He is the true God.

Because Rahab hid the spies until the danger had passed, they promised her that when the city was destroyed, if she would hang a scarlet rope from her window, every family member in her home would be rescued when the Lord destroyed the city.  So she tied the scarlet cord in the window…and waited.

The description of the destruction of Jericho comes in chapter 6.  A seven day “battle” ensued.  The Israelites marched around the city once a day for 6 days blowing trumpets and carrying the ark of the covenant.  On the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times.  The grand finale was a trumpet blast and all the people shouting.  Jericho’s walls fell down and the town was captured and plundered.  

It took great faith for the Israel nation to accept God’s plan of battle and to follow through with it.  It would have been easy to think it a crazy plan and come up with one more “wise” and “effective” in the eyes of man.  Often times when God calls us to step out in faith, it may look foolish in the eyes of the world, but we won’t see the power of God or give Him the glory if we don’t have the faith to fulfill His plan.  God’s plans bring victory over our enemies, bring us blessing, and demolish strongholds.  When we go it alone, we see defeat, struggle, and unending battle.

Back to Rahab…the spies kept their promise and rescued Rahab’s family because of her faith.  Rahab was then able to live among the Israelites.  She married a man named Salmon (not a fish!), who fathered Boaz, who married Ruth.  They gave birth to Obed, who fathered Jesse, who fathered King David….who’s family and lineage Jesus the Messiah was born into hundreds of years later.

The scarlet cord reminds me that by faith we receive Jesus Christ, and His blood covers all our sins.  It is only when God looks at us and sees His Son’s “scarlet” on us by faith that we can be rescued out of sin, darkness and death.  He adopts us as His children and makes us part of His family.  Then He uses us to accomplish His purposes–specifically bringing the message of Jesus Christ to a faithless world.

Faith can rescue anyone, even a prostitute…even me….even you.  I pray this morning that someone will read this and put their faith in Jesus!

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Hebrews 11:29 By Faith The People…

By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. Hebrews 11:29

After 430 years in slavery in Egypt, the Israelites were set free to go back to the land that God promised them. The 600,000 men took along their women and children, all kinds of goods and provisions from the Egyptians, and livestock flocks and herds.  This was probably quite the processional!

Wilderness.  As I was reading the account of this in Exodus 13-15, I was surprised to find that God led them the long way out that led through the wilderness.  He did this to protect and strengthen them.  Sometimes I feel like I am in a wilderness figuratively.  Reading this changes my perspective about the wilderness–maybe God has led me there for my own good!?

Enemies.  Next the Lord led the Egyptians to pursue the Israelites.  This was also for their good.  God’s plan was to use the Israelites’ enemies to reveal His ability and power to protect them and fight for them.  The Israelites’ first response when they saw the enemy drawing near was fear.  But Moses told them, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today.”  Faith must replace fear if we want to see God’s power!

Obstacles.  The Egyptians pursued them all the way to the Red Sea.  They were surrounded with fear, hopelessness, and darkness. They wished they were slaves again instead of being destined to die in the wilderness.  But God had other plans!  God drove the sea back and the Israelites–millions of people and animals–walked across through the night on dry ground.  When the enemies followed, the sea caved in on them, destroying them completely.  God’s power shines the brightest in the dark when all seems lost!

God leads us–individually and even whole groups of His followers–through wildernesses, allows enemies to pursue us and puts obstacles in our paths so that we will put our faith in Him and see Him work in supernatural ways!  This is how our awe and wonder of Him is refreshed.  It also leads us to worship Him for who He is and what He does!

Who is like You, Oh Lord, among the gods?  Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? Exodus 15:11

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Hebrews 11:23-28 By Faith Moses…

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. (23)

The Israelite people in Egypt kept multiplying, and a new king came to power who began to be afraid that they would take over Egypt.  So He oppressed them with the burden of slavery, and he ordered the execution of all Israelite male babies upon birth.  

God picked Moses at birth for a special purpose, not because of anything Moses had done but because of his parents’ willingness to oppose the king by faith.  They set a great example for Moses in the value of faith over fear.  Faith and fear are polar opposites, and they cannot exist together in our hearts and mind.  

Are there any areas in my life where I am experiencing fear?  What does that say about my level of faith in an all-powerful God?  Am I setting an example of fear or faith for my children?

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. (24-26)

After Moses’ parents hid him for three months, they set him adrift in the Nile River where Pharaoh’s daughter found him and took him home as her own son.  He grew up knowing that He was an Israelite enjoying all the benefits of living in the Pharaoh’s household.  As an adult, seeing the oppression of his people overwhelmed him with anger, so he fled Egypt.  

Choosing to follow God will often bring mistreatment and reproach because the world is opposed to Him.  We live in a culture much like Moses’ that is consumed with temporary pleasures.  The temptations and pleasures of sin are real, but they are not lasting.  The only way to endure mistreatment and to overcome living for earthly pleasures and riches is to fix our eyes on the eternal reward.  Seeing Jesus face-to-face and experiencing the blessing of eternal rest and joy will be worth anything that we think we are “giving up” in this life.

By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. (27)

Following God in faith and recognizing that He is the true authority causes pleasing Him to trump pleasing any earthly king who opposes His plans.  

God appeared to Moses in the form of a bush that was on fire, but not destroyed by the flames.  This gave him the confidence to face the Pharaoh’s anger.   Having faith that we will see God, although He is invisible to us now, gives us endurance in the face of persecution and opposition.

By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. (28)

Moses returned to Egypt by the power and command of God to rescue the Israelite people from the clutches of slavery and oppression!  The only way that rescue was possible was by sacrificing an unblemished lamb and covering the doorposts of their homes with its blood.  When the Destroyer passed over (Passover) their homes and saw the blood, the firstborn sons were saved and rescued.  Anyone who didn’t put their faith in the sacrifice and the blood were not rescued!  Passover has been celebrated ever since in Jewish culture.  Even the Lord Jesus was celebrating Passover the night that He was betrayed and became our sacrificial Lamb.  By the shedding of His blood, we have salvation and rescue from slavery to sin.  By faith, we must believe that He is the only way.  Salvation can come by no other means except allowing His perfect sacrifice to cover our sin.  This is faith that leads to life!

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Hebrews 11:22 By Faith Joseph…

By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones. Hebrews 11:22

(Everything I’m summarizing can be read in more detail in Genesis 37-50.)

Joseph was the long-awaited firstborn son to Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel, thereby making Joseph his favorite son.  

Joseph dreamt that his whole family would bow down to him and told them so.  This made his brothers hate him enough to fake his death and sell him into slavery to some Ishmaelites who took him to Egypt at the age of 17.  

In Egypt, Joseph was purchased by one of Pharaoh’s officers, Potiphar.  THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH AND HE BECAME SUCCESSFUL!  Potiphar saw Joseph’s success and put him in charge of his whole household, and the Lord prospered Potiphar because of Joseph.  Unfortunately there was someone else who delighted in Joseph’s success and she wanted him for herself–Potiphar’s wife.  After several attempts to seduce Joseph to no avail, she became embarrassed and claimed Joseph was coming on to her.  So Potiphar threw Joseph into Pharaoh’s prison.  BUT THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH IN STEADFAST LOVE AND GAVE HIM FAVOR IN THE JAILER’S SIGHT!  

Meanwhile a couple of the Pharaoh’s servants were thrown in jail with Joseph, and they had some intense dreams.  God gave Joseph the ability to interpret them, and the dreams came true.  Pharaoh’s baker was hanged and the cupbearer was restored to his position.  But he forgot about Joseph’s ability for two more years.  When Pharaoh himself had a dream that needed interpreting; Joseph was remembered, called on, cleaned up, and brought before Pharaoh.  Pharaoh recognized the Spirit of God and wisdom in Joseph and made him second in command over all of Egypt at the ripe old age of 30–13 years after being sold into slavery.  

The land of Canaan was in a dire famine, so Jacob’s family went to Egypt.  Bowing low before Joseph, they begged to buy food.  Without realizing who he was, they had fulfilled the dream given to him at age 17.  Joseph revealed his identity, and the whole Israelite people moved to Egypt  to be saved from the famine.

One of Joseph’s most famous quotes came at the end of his father’s life, when his brothers were afraid that he would stop protecting them and get revenge for what they did to him in their youth.  In Genesis 50:20 Joseph said to them, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

After all Joseph had been through, he knew by faith that God was using it to rescue His chosen people!  God never wastes our suffering or hardships; in fact, He allows them for much bigger purposes than we may ever know!

On his deathbed, Joseph renewed and passed on God’s covenant that the Israelites would be led out of Egypt by God’s own hand and return to the land He promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–taking Joseph’s bones with them!

What I have learned this week while studying Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph:

  1. God uses imperfect, sinful people to fulfill His purposes.
  2. God picks them before they have done anything to deserve it.
  3. When they encounter God’s presence or hear His voice, they respond in faith.
  4. They still sin after they start following God’s plan.
  5. God doesn’t remember them for their sin, but for their faith.
  6. Following God means walking through trials, tragedies, and difficulties while leaning on His faithfulness to the end.  
  7. It is their responsibility to teach the faithfulness of God to the next generation.
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Hebrews 11:21 By faith Jacob…

By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. Hebrews 11:21

When we left Jacob yesterday he was on the run after stealing his brother’s firstborn blessing from their father, Isaac.  Here are a few key events from Genesis 29-48 that lead up to Hebrews 11:21’s “deathbed” faith.

  1. Laban tricked the master of trickery.  Jacob promised to work for 7 years to earn Laban’s daughter, Rachel, as a wife.  Upon waking the morning after his wedding night; Jacob found Leah (Rachel’s sister) in the marriage bed instead of Rachel.  Jacob worked another 7 years to earn Rachel.  Isn’t it ironic that the reason Laban tricked Jacob was because in their culture it was not right for the younger to be blessed before the older sibling! 
  2. Birthing battles.  Jacob’s wives were not content with the offspring they were giving him, so they gave their servants also to be his wives.  Between the four of them, they gave Jacob 12 sons.
  3. Prosperity and pain.  Jacob’s household prospered on Laban’s land and it caused “in-law issues.”  Jacob and all his house fled back to his homeland–which was also the land promised to his heirs.  He didn’t return to conquer or inherit the land–but as a sojourning tent-dweller, practically homeless!
  4. Jacob surrendered to God’s plan and pursued God’s promises.  He wrestled with God, was blessed by God, and saw God face-to-face!
  5. The wife that Jacob dearly loved, Rachel, died in childbirth with his 12th son.  Being currently pregnant, I can’t imagine the grief, doubt and anxiety it would bring a husband to lose his beloved in labor.  
  6. His 11 sons became jealous of Joseph, Jacob’s favored son.  They sold Joseph into slavery and tricked their father into believing that Joseph was killed by a wild animal.  Many messages on this story focus on Joseph’s woes, but can you imagine his father’s desperation and grief?  He believed his favorite son was dead for nearly 30 years.
  7. During a famine in the land (another giant trial/loss), Jacob found out that Joseph was alive in Egypt, and God revealed to Jacob that it was all part of His plan to get His chosen people–the Israelites–to Egypt to make them into a great nation.  God also told Jacob that he would die in Egypt.
  8. Joseph promised Jacob that when he died, he would not be buried in Egypt.  This led Jacob to worship God.
  9. Jacob never expected to see Joseph again, but God allowed him not only to see Joseph, but his grandsons through Joseph as well.  He blessed his grandsons, and this led Jacob to worship.  The old, nearly blind man bowed to the ground, put his face in the dirt, and worshipped God!

Just like Isaac yesterday and Joseph tomorrow (Lord willing), Jacob knew he was dying when he passed on the blessing to the next generations.  He obviously held fast to his faith until the end!  Even through many unfortunate circumstances, painful loss, hopeless events, and tragedy Jacob remained faithful to the promises of God.  Then after a lifetime of seeing God’s faithfulness to him, he worshipped!

Let me encourage you today to think on God’s faithfulness to you, and may it lead you to worship the One who created you, loves you, and fulfills all His purposes for your life!

Here’s the song God put on my heart:  http://youtu.be/wPI_DIqICP0

On that day when my strength is failing

The end draws near and my time has come

Still my soul will sing Your praise unending

10,000 years and then forevermore!

Bless the Lord, oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I’ll worship Your holy name


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Hebrews 11:20 By faith Isaac…

By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. Hebrews 11:20

To get the full picture, I headed back to Genesis 25-27.  It is a fascinating story that could easily be recreated in a soap opera today!

Isaac knew that the Lord promised to make a great nation from his father through him.  Yet the wife that he loved was barren.  He didn’t give up or find another way like his father before him; HE PRAYED! God heard and answered, and Rebekah conceived!  Just because God promises does not mean the journey to fulfillment will be smooth sailing.  Our faith and dependence on Him will be tested along the way!

Rebekah and Isaac had twins, and God told Rebekah that the older would serve the younger.  Rebekah made sure of it through lying, manipulation, and crafiness…not through faith.  BUT GOD even uses the bad things we do to work His purposes.  He is powerful like that!

Isaac, on his deathbed, did bless his sons and set the course for the Israelite nation to flow through his lying, cheating, younger son, Jacob.  In doing so, Isaac passed God’s covenant to Abraham of a great nation and a promised homeland to Jacob and his descendants.  

Even though Isaac himself would not see the fulfillment of God’s promise, he had enough faith to know that even after his death, God’s promise would stand firm.  What a gift–a lasting legacy of faith–to the next generation!  

This will be a common thread in the next two verses as well.  I’m so thankful that God is giving me plenty of time to meditate on these thoughts:  How am I passing on the promises of God to my boys?  When I am dead and gone, will the strength of my faith leave a lasting impact on them?

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