Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 48:1 & 2
Read the “0110 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
I really do not know where to begin the discussion regarding this story from Genesis 27. There is so much that is wrong here, and so many lies. We will take them one by one:
1. Isaac was actually many years from his death.
“And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.” (Genesis 27:4)
Isaac did say in verse 2 that he didn’t know the day of his death, but it seems that he feels his death would be very soon. Actually, his death would be more than twenty years later; after Jacob returns from Padanarum with his wives and children. The point is this: in this chapter, Isaac seems fairly sure that the day of his death was imminent, so much so that he is getting his affairs in order regarding his children’s inheritance, but the reality was that he had many more years to live and serve God.
Another thing about Isaac is that he was very carnal. He seems to be completely focused on his flesh. Notice how many times this chapter references Jacob’s love for savory meat (Genesis 27:4,9, & 14).
2. Rebekah conspires with Jacob to deceive her husband.
“My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing. And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.” (Genesis 27:12-13)
Rebekah cannot bear the thought of seeing her favorite son passed by for the blessing, so she conspires with him to deceive her husband. Jacob is reluctant at first but being a Mamma’s Boy he submits to her deception instead of obeying his dad and God. Some theologians have taught that Rebekah was merely trying to assist the will of God as she was told by God that the elder brother would serve the younger brother (Genesis 25:23). I don’t buy that. I think she was just playing favorites. Besides, God did not need her help in accomplishing His will, especially if that help would involve deception and a lack of submission to her husband.
3. Esau lies about his birthright and then determines to slay his brother.
“And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?” (Genesis 27:36)
Esau may have been innocent this time, but his birthright was not “taken away” from him. He gave it up, all because he wanted a bowl of “red pottage” (Genesis 25:29 – 34). After he loses the blessing, however, he is justifiably angry, but his anger crosses the line and becomes wrath, and he determines to kill Jacob as soon as his dad is dead (Genesis 27:41).
This family is, to say the least, dysfunctional. It is hard to comprehend that all of this carnality, lying, favoritism, and hatred is present in the family that God chose to be the patriarchal head of Israel. This is a wonderful picture of the grace of God. When I read this story, I am greatly encouraged because if God could bless a dysfunctional family like Isaac’s, then he can certainly bless the Erickson family, which has had more than its share of dysfunctional moments as well.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 47:1
Read the “0109 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth. And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we. And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him. And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah. And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” (Genesis 26:15-22)
When we read this passage we see the struggle that Issac went through. Issac wasn’t struggling because of any wrong he had done; he was very blessed of the Lord and it made the Philistines jealous, so much so they attacked in a major way. They stopped up the wells that Abraham had dug while he was alive. It’s easy to see why this was such a serious offense – water is life. For the next few verses we see Issac striving to renew these wells by removing the “earth” to get to the water once again. I would like to take a moment and share just how important this passage is, or should be to Christians today, and how the Lord spoke to me. Abraham dug these wells, and with his passing the wells were filled with earth. Our spiritual fathers dug wells of living water and laid a foundation of “Christianity” for us to draw from. When I say “us” I am speaking to my generation. A generation that I believe has become very apathetic to the idea of drawing from the wells. The wells of truth have become so full of “earth” (aka worldliness) and we are ok with that. If Isaac decided to sit back and leave the wells filled with earth, instead of digging them again, people would have died. Because, water is life.
What has filled our wells?
Worldliness – fitting in with everyone else around us.
Apathy – a numbness to the real facts, that people are dying and going to Hell.
Bitterness – towards former preachers or parents who weren’t perfect and messed up.
Contentment – to just live a mediocre Christian life.
If we continue to allow the wells to fill up with this “earth” people are going to die. The living water of Christ is not flowing and people are dying and going to hell. Because, water is life.
So what can we do? We can take back the wells; we can dig again the wells which our fathers dug. It won’t be easy, it wasn’t easy for Isaac (Genesis 26:20-21) but we can do it, just as he did. It’s going to take faith, hard work, sacrifice, determination and so, so much more. If we don’t do something now, it will be too late. The next generation will have no well to draw from, no water to drink, and they will die. It’s time we wake up and take back the wells. Because, water is life.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 47:1
Read the “0109 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.” (Genesis 26:7)
In order for you to fully understand this morning’s thought, you might want to go back and read Genesis chapter twenty. If this account of Isaac lying about the true identity of his wife sounds familiar to you, it is because we read back in Genesis 20 that his father, Abraham, did the exact same thing to Abimelech. It appears that the apple doesn’t fall very far the tree. Isaac apparently had picked up some of his father’s bad habits.
There is an old expression which states that parents don’t get what they want in child-rearing, they get what they are. I have observed that to be true. Our children definitely begin to emulate our values, character traits, and even our mannerisms. As a school teacher, I have closely observed the children in my charge, and it is amazing how much the children are like their parents. It’s kind of scary to think that we are also passing on our bad habits. Isaac learned how to lie from his dad.
As parents, we must be very careful to remember that our children are always watching us; almost analyzing us. They mistakenly think that everything we do is right, so they have no reason not to mimic who we are. Even later when they are taught with words regarding bad behavior, the message that they received from the life of the parent will often leave a stronger impression. Parents, and mentors, need to be very careful to watch their own behavior, especially around those young ones that are so impressionable. We need to be what we want them to be. Be the right example to your children.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 34:6
Read the “0108 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.”(Genesis 23:12-13)
“And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:” (Genesis 14:22-23)
“And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.” (2 Samuel 24:24)
“I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:33-35)
My thought this morning may be a little strange, but I noticed in our reading today that Abraham was offered several times a place to bury his wife Sarah at no cost to him, but he refused to take it unless he paid for it. Back in Genesis 14, we see a similar situation. Abraham and his servants had helped save the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah after they had been conquered and taken captive. The kings of the cities that Abraham helped offered to give Abraham money and possessions for his help, but Abraham refused them also.
In chapter 24, we again see Abraham’s servant giving valuable gifts to Rebekah and her family. He doesn’t negotiate with them to get a better deal. He is very generous:
“And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.” (Genesis 24:53)
In 2 Samuel 24, David was offered the threshing floor of Araunah along with the oxen necessary for a sacrifice, but David refused him also, insisting that he pay money for those things.
Paul also was very reluctant to take anything from people, as can be seen in the above reference from Acts 20.
All three of these men of God were very careful in their financial dealings with people. They didn’t accept any gifts from people who might be giving gifts with strings attached to them. These men wanted to be sure that people understood that God was the supplier of their needs, not men.
I too am very uncomfortable receiving gifts from people, perhaps because of a pride issue, which is also wrong; but I think all too many servants of God are too willing to accept gifts from people, even going to the extreme of constantly asking people for things. Ministers often have a bad reputation in this world for being covetous and greedy, and unfortunately in some cases this is not unjustified. Too many preachers I know are very slow to reach into their pockets and pay for things themselves; they always let somebody else pick up the tab. Ministers today need to be very careful to remember that it is God who supplies our needs, not people. The Bible says, “And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.” (Exodus 23:8).
We who minister today need to make sure that the people know that we are not merely hirelings who do what we do only for what we can get. We need to improve our reputation by being givers, not takers.
Posted in Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 25
Read the “0106 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” (Genesis 18:19)
The big story from our passage today involves the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, apparently along with other “cities of the plain” (Genesis 19:28 – 29; Deuteronomy 29:23). Before the Lord destroys those cities, however, He visits with Abraham and lets him know about His plans. In chapter eighteen, He appears in bodily form with two other “men.” Bible students have long debated as to who or what these men were who arrived with the Lord and then leave the Lord alone with Abraham (Genesis 18:22), but it is logical to conclude that they are the same angels who show up, again in bodily form in Sodom in chapter nineteen.
The verse that drew my attention for this post is Genesis 18:17 – 19 where the Lord discusses with the angels his plan to reveal to Abraham ahead of time what he plans to do with Sodom and Gomorrah. He tells the angels that He “knows” Abraham, and then He reveals specifically that He knows what Abraham will do and be, not just who he was previously. God is the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 21:6; 22:13). He knows everything about us past, present, and future. He not only knows our past, He knows our potential. We tend to only see ourselves in our present and past state, but God sees who we can be in the future.
Notice also that God made a covenant (Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17) with Abraham based upon what He knew about him (foreknowledge). The last statement in verse nineteen states: “that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” There is a lot to think about from this verse, but the practical point I am trying to make is this: If God calls you to do something, it is because He knows what you will be as well as what you can do. You only know about what you have already done, but God knows what you can and will do. I made a decision a long time ago that If I was asked to do something that I believed was the will of God – even something seemingly impossible for me – I would step out in faith to do it. Your “I can’t do that” thoughts are based upon what you have already done, not based upon what God knows you can do. More importantly, God knows what He wants to do and can do through you. I am not saying that you can do anything that you want to do, but you can and should do anything that God wants you to do. God said to Abraham and Sarah in this same chapter, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD? (Genesis 18:14a) The answer is no. God can do in and through you whatever He wills. You just need to say yes to His will.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Read the “0105 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.” (Genesis 14:14)
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
Abraham demonstrated that he was a good friend to a man who in the past was not so friendly to Abraham. Back in Genesis 13:8 – 11 , Abraham’s nephew Lot decided that he no longer wanted to live in the same place that Abraham dwelt in. He said that there just wasn’t enough grazing grass for the both of them and their large herds. He wanted to move away from the man that had taken him in and took care of him after his dad died (See Genesis 11:27 – 28). Abraham was very gracious to Lot and allowed him to make the first choice about where he wanted to be, and Abraham agreed to settle away from whatever area that Lot chose. Lot’s choice was the “well watered” plain of the Jordan Valley.
Time moves on as it always does, and Lot eventually ends up living near and then inside of the very wicked city of Sodom. When Sodom and four other cities are conquered and taken captive by a confederation of four kings, Lot and his family are taken into captivity with them. Abraham could have forgotten about Lot and left him in the hands of the Canaanites, but Abraham was a good friend to Lot, and came to his rescue. A good friend will help even when the person they are helping has not been very friendly. Abraham will later come to Lot’s rescue again by interceding for him to God (see Genesis 18:23 – 33) when God was about to destroy cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, including all the people living in them. God spares Lot and some of his family by removing them from the city before the destruction came (See Genesis 19).
Uncle Abraham was not a “fair weather friend” to Lot. He made a choice to be a friend to him, and he continued acting as his friend even when his kindness was not being reciprocated. People may not always be friendly, kind, and loving to us; but we can choose to be a friend to them regardless. Christ acted as our friend by dying for us when we were not deserving, and He still is our friend today. Let’s take the spiritual high road in our friendships. Let’s choose to be good to people, to be friendly towards them, even when they are not being very kind to us.
One more thought. While we should always choose to be friendly to all people, we should also be careful who we allow to be good friends to us. If we let the wrong people get close to us and influence us, it could pull us out of the will of God. Remember, “Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab” (2 Samuel 13:3), but Jonadab wasn’t a very good friend. Amnon should have been a little wiser in who he chose for his friend, it would have saved him a lot of heartache, and in the long run it would have saved his life.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read the “0103 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.” (Genesis 8:12)
I have a somewhat strange devotional thought from the passage this morning, from Genesis eight in particular. First, however, let me explain the context. In Genesis eight, the rain has stopped, and the water is gradually receding from off the face of the earth. Noah and his family are no doubt very excited about the prospect of soon being able to live on land again in a brand new world.
In verse eight, the Bible tells us that Noah released a dove presumably in order to see if the dove would find the water sufficiently drained someplace to roost. Apparently, the dove found no such place and returned. Seven days later, he released the dove again and the dove returned, this time with an olive leaf in its beak. This was exciting news indeed. Not only was there a tree out there somewhere, but it was alive and producing leaves. Seven days later, Noah releases the dove a the third time, and this time it does not return. It had apparently found a new home, and would await the release of its mate so that they could reproduce and repopulate the world with doves.
Here is my strange devotional thought from this passage. God had called Noah to save his family plus the rest of God’s animal creation by building an ark that would protect them in a worldwide flood. It took him a hundred years to build the ark, and then when the time came, God gathered all of the animals and Noah’s family into the ark. Noah spent a lot of time during this process in close intimate contact with his family and with the animals, but that was all going to end soon. The dove flew away and did not return, and soon Noah’s children and their wives would also leave.
God brings family and friends into our lives at particular times and for particular purposes. God may give a young couple children, and for eighteen or more years the children will live together with the parents and there will be a level of closeness and dependency during that period. However, in most situations the doves will fly away and not return. Oh, they may return to visit for a time, but it will not be the same as it was when they were living in the home. It can be very discouraging for parents, but this is the way God intended it to be. Children are supposed to leave, to fly away to do God’s will for their lives.
Sometimes God also brings people together to a specific geographical area for a particular purpose, such as a job or even in to serve in a local church. People may work together or worship and serve together closely for many years. But, eventually God will move some of those people away. My wife and I have been serving at Jersey Shore Baptist Church in Galloway, NJ for nearly twenty years. We have some great friends here. My children were reared here. I cannot imagine life without the people that God has brought into our lives. However, the reality is that God has moved some very dear friends away for a variety of reasons, and may very well cause some of the good folks that are here now to “fly away” in the future to do something else for Him in a different place. Or, He could call my wife and I to a different location.
Thankfully, we never truly lose our saved family and friends, especially in these days of technology and social media, but we do lose the closeness and camaraderie that we enjoyed while living or serving together. We simply cannot expect life to forever be exactly the same as it is now. God will bring changes of scenery and changes of people into our lives. It’s all good. The people that we are very close to now may be called by God to “fly away” and not return. That is His choice. Someday, we will all be reunited together in Heaven, but for now, we need to all find the place where God wants us to serve, and enjoy the people that God has given (for now) to serve along with us.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
Today’s Passage – Genesis 4 – 6 (Click on the reference to listen to the audio. Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Joshua 1:8
Read the “0102 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24)
The exact phrase’ “walked with God,” is used only three times in the Bible, and is only used in reference to Enoch and Noah. In connection with Enoch we are simply told that he walked with God and “God took him.” The Book of Hebrews shines a little more light on the subject:
“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)
Here we see that Enoch was translated up to God before he could physically die. We also see that “he pleased God,” which is a synonymous phrase to “he walked with God.”
“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9)
Regarding Noah, the phrase “walk with God” is connected to the fact that Noah was “a just man and perfect and upright in his generations.” The word “just” tells us that Noah had a relationship with God through faith (Romans 3:28; 5:1; Galatians 3:24). This is further evidenced by the fact that Noah was “seen [as] righteous” (Genesis 7:1). As a human, Noah was a sinner and not perfectly righteous, but he was “seen righteous,” or justified by God because of God’s grace (Genesis 6:8), and Noah’s faith.
Though the exact phrase, “walked with God,” is found only in connection with these two men, Enoch and Noah, we find similar phrases used in connection with other people of faith throughout the Bible:
“And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.” (2 Chronicles 17:3-4)
“But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, … Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 18:5, 9)
“Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” (Acts 9:31)
“And they (Zacharias and Elisabeth) were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” (Luke 1:6)
“I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.” (2 John 1:4)
From these and others related passages in the Scripture, we can state that walking with God involves three things:
- Relationship – Have you entered into a relationship with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Communication – God communicates with us through His Word, and we communicate with Him in prayer. In this new year, determine that you will carve out special time every day to communicate with the Lord.
- Submission – If we are going to walk with God, we are going to have to let Him lead. He is God and we are His children. Yield to His will and to His Word.
Let us start this new year off right by walking with the Lord!
Posted in Devotions, Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Deuteronomy 32:4
Read the “0101 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
This morning, on this first day of 2020, I want to start with a little Bible study from Genesis 1, and then move into a practical devotional thought from the passage.
The word “replenish” in its exact form is only found twice in the Bible: here and in Genesis 9:1 where God commands Noah to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” The word “replenish” is interesting. According to Websters American Dictionary of the English Language (1828 Edition), it means “to recover former fullness,” which is pretty much how we use the word today. The Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (2003) gives as its first definition: “to fill with persons or animals.” The Strongs Concordance also defines the Hebrew word (מָלָא – male’) as “to fill, or be full.”
Perhaps you are wondering as to why I am offering this word study on “replenish.” The reason is that there are some Bible teachers that would tell us that the word “replenish” only means “to replace or recover from a former fullness,” and based on that narrow view of the word they have come up with some extraordinary theories regarding a previous pre-Genesis world that somehow was destroyed and needed to be recreated by God. C. I. Scofield, in his famous Scofield Reference Bible espoused his Gap Theory partially based upon his understanding of “replenish.” He believed that a previous creation existed on the earth prior to Genesis 1:2, and went through “a cataclysmic change as the result of a divine judgment,” due to the fall of Satan and his fallen angels. His view and others like it offered an explanation for the billions of years that scientists have demanded for the existence of the earth. Personally, I think this is a weak argument. I am an advocate for a young earth, created by God as little as six thousand years ago, and not millions or billions. While I am certainly not a scientist, I would say that there is valid scientific evidence that supports a young earth. See Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis for more information from a scientific perspective.
Now for the practical application. Adam and Eve were given stewardship of a brand new world. They were given dominion and were commanded to subdue it, meaning to take responsibility for it and conquer it. They were to be fruitful and multiply in order to fill the earth with people, and they were to be good stewards of God’s Creation so that the earth would be filled with other good things as well.
Starting today, you and I have a brand new year. Last year is gone. It really matters not whether last year was filled with victories or defeats, we need to move forward in the perfect will of God in the future without dwelling in (or on) the past. Replenish (fill up) this new year that God has given you with all of the things that He would want you to include for a successful and prosperous year for His glory.
Fill the year with the Scripture. Spend some time in the Word of God every day. Follow a Bible reading schedule that will help you to stay on track. We cannot fulfill God’s will apart from His Word.
Fill the year (and yourself) with the Holy Spirit by yielding to His will and not your own. God commands us to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Let Him have control of your life.
Fill the year with Soul winning. Tell everyone you know about our wonderful Saviour. Let’s subdue 2020 for the Lord. Let’s let God work through us to give us dominion to “occupy” for Him this year.
Posted in Devotions, Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Today’s Passage – Your Favorite Passage
(Second Milers also read – Proverbs 31)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 John 4:7 & 8
Read the “1231 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
Tomorrow begins the New Year, which is traditionally the time that people make all kinds of resolutions regarding things that they want to see changed in their lives. Some want to lose weight, others want to become more organized, and some want to quit some bad habit; the list is endless. In the past, I would make many resolutions, but, unfortunately, was unable to keep many of them. This year, I have resolved not to resolve. You may be asking, what do you mean by that preacher? What I mean is: I have resolved to stop trying to fix the myriad of things in my life that need fixing. No, I have not thrown in the towel on trying to live the Christian life. On the contrary, I have discovered a better way to see the necessary changes take place.
This year, instead of exercising my will power to change things in my life, I have opted to turn the whole process over to God. I have figured out that the closer I get to Him, the more He begins to chip away at the things in my life that need to go. Let me give you a verse that has been on my mind a lot lately:
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
This verse tells me that God actually works with our will. Our will is really the problem isn’t it? Paul said that the inside of him was no good thing, “for to will is present with [him]”. Resolutions are about our will, but transformation is about the will of God. We may desire to see things fixed in our lives, but then our will changes, and the fixing stops. However, when transformation takes place from the inside, God not only changes our will, but also implements the changes that need to take place.
You may be thinking: what do I have to do? This is too good to be true. I don’t have to do anything? God does all of the work? Well, you do have to draw nigh to God. He says that if you will do that, He will draw nigh (get close) to you. In order to get close to Him, you are going to have spend more time with Him: reading His Word, and praying. You will also have to spend less time with the world. The world also desires to conform you to what it wants you to be. You see, the world will also mess with your will. If you spend enough time pursuing the things of this world, your thinking will also change; your desires will change. The same is also true with God. Get with Him. Saturate yourself in prayer and the Word, and God will begin to chip away at all of the rough edges in your life, and you will gradually become a vessel more meet (fitted) for the Master’s use.
This New Year, you have some choices to make. You can decide to do nothing: throw in the towel, and wait out the return of Christ. You can also decide to make a long list of things that you want to see changed, goals that you want to see accomplished, etc., and set out through your will power, your tenacity, to implement those things. You may even be successful in fulfilling some of them. Door number three is the option that I am choosing. I am going to take some tangible steps this year to get as far away from the world and as close to God as I possibly can. Then I am going to sit back and watch what He does in my life. No goals this year, just God.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.