Month: April 2015

It Was Only a Dream

dream

I read Rick Warren asks God to reveal insight into his messages while he sleeps. I liked the idea, so a few weeks ago I decided to do the same. I have noticed for years that I wake up at night for no apparent reason, so I concluded it must be God. Now when I wake up during the night, I simply ask God, “Ok, what are you trying to say to me?”

The whole concept backfired on me! I got more than I asked for…which isn’t unusual when you ask God for something. It was a dream, a vision, or a word. I’m just not sure what to do with it.

In the dream my wife and I rent an apartment (and don’t get bogged down in details and questions…it was only a dream). One wall of the apartment divided the space between it and the adjoining apartment. The problem was that it is was one of those accordion, movable walls attached at one end. The owner said, “No worry. It is locked and no one can open it into your side.”

The next day I come in from work and there are people all over our apartment. And not just people, they are all illegal aliens. Most can’t speak English. They are eating “our” food and watching “our” television. I remember asking one in my dream, “Are those really my bananas that you are eating?” So in my own rude way, I “kindly” asked them to leave.

As I am closing the wall a man is standing there, looking at me with a baby in his arms. He kindly says to me, “But there are no bathroom or kitchen facilities on this side. What are we supposed to do?”

My response to him?

“That’s your problem!”

I woke up…I realized the potential for evil within my own heart.

God quietly reminded me:

“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat…”  -Jesus

Dr. Robert H. McCarver
Directional Pastor
City Church

WHY DID GOD TELL ABRAHAM TO SACRIFICE ISAAC? Jim Dennison

40-days-sm

This is a great article written by Jim Denison…

The week after my first son was born, I was scheduled to preach on Genesis 22 and the story of Abraham’s offering of Isaac. I had to change the sermon. As I told the congregation, I thought I didn’t understand this story before. Now I knew I didn’t.

Perhaps this text has bothered you as well. God’s requirement seems so unfair, so unlike a Father of love. And Abraham’s faith seems so far beyond human ability. As we’ll learn, both appearances are deceiving.

What did God ask of Abraham? The passage opens with a very confusing statement: “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied” (Gen 22:1). The Hebrew word nawsaw means to test and prove something, to show that it is so. It does not mean to tempt to do wrong, but to test so that we can do right. God is going to give Abraham a faith test, one he will pass with flying colors.

Here it is: “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” (v. 2). Remember that Abraham had waited 25 years for this son. When he was born God had promised his father, “it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned” (Gen 21:12). And now God told this elderly man, more than 110 years old, to sacrifice him to God.

“Go the region of Moriah,” to Mt. Moriah. This is the single most significant mountain in the world today. Where Abraham offered Isaac, David later offered sacrifice to God on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite (2 Sam 24:17-19). And so Solomon, David’s son, built his Temple here and made this rock at the top of the mountain the Holy of Holies (2 Chr 3:1).

Today this rock is enshrined in the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim structure completed in AD 691. It is the holiest spot on earth to the Jews, and third holiest to the Muslims. They both want it. And the Middle East conflict which rages today comes down to it.

But long before all of that, a conflict raged in the heart of an old man. He was to “sacrifice” his son here, to slit his throat and burn his body. To give up his beloved child, his heir and legacy and future, everything that mattered to him. To give it all to God.

And he passed the test. He and Isaac got up early the next morning and traveled by foot more than 40 miles over three days. He climbed up this mountain with him, and laid his bound son on this altar, knife high in the air. How did he do it?

By faith in God. He trusted his Lord, not just with his religion but with his life. Not just with what he could spare, but with his best. He knew that whatever he gave to God, God would bless. Hebrews 11:19 says, “Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.” He knew that if God wanted him to sacrifice this son, God could raise him back to life. God could still keep his promises and make him his heir. God could do whatever God wants to do.

We see this faith in Abraham’s promise to his servants: “We will worship and then we will come back to you” (v. 5). And they did. We see it in his promise to Isaac: “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (v. 8). And he did, giving Abraham the ram which replaced his son on the altar of worship.

Abraham trusted God with his best, and God did more with it than Abraham ever could. He made this one child the father of the Hebrew people. Through his descendants God brought his own Son, who died on his own sacrificial wood as our sin offering to God.

And now because of what God did through Isaac, Abraham’s seed, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal 3:28-29). Through Abraham’s child we are all God’s children. All because he gave his best to God, and God blessed it and is using it still today.

What does God ask of us?

Now the Lord is calling us to do what Abraham did. He wants us to let him control our lives—every part of them. To put our families, and friends, and finances, and futures on his altar. To put ourselves where Abraham put his son. To give our lives to God.

Romans 12:1-2 is the New Testament commentary on our text. Hear these familiar words in a new way, through Eugene Peterson’s translation, The Message: “Here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

But even God can use only what we trust to him. No doctor can treat a patient who is unwilling to be helped. God is still looking for those with the faith of Abraham.

Conclusion

“Take your everyday, ordinary life—and place it before God as an offering”—this is the call of God. Who is Isaac to you?

original article below:
http://www.denisonforum.org/faith-questions/21-bible/50-why-did-god-tell-abraham-to-sacrifice-isaac

Are we prepared?

prepared

A few weeks ago I went to Sam’s Club with my family and I ran into three old friends of mine from Boy Scouts. There may have been more there but at the time I knew for certain that there were at least four Eagle Scouts in that building. Later that day I began to think about our life trajectory. We came together as young neophytes eager to start a journey and ready to learn. Over the course of many years we learned how to build fires, cross raging rivers safely, survive in the wilderness for long periods of time with very little provision and so on. We studied emergency preparedness, first aid, and learned how to save people in many different circumstances. Two of those guys in that building saved a young boy who was drowning in the Mountain Fork River one summer. Every one of us had used emergency CPR at least one time that I know of. I was thinking about how we were always taught to be prepared, after all…it was our motto. Be prepared! It was comforting to know that if some dire situation would have taken place, in that building, if someone were to open fire, fall and break a leg, have a heart attack or lose one of their kids in the store, most likely we would have some learned reaction from our days in Boy Scouts and more than likely all of us would have had a few useful items on us that might prove useful. We were taught to always be prepared.

I thought about us, Christians, the Church. All of these old friends of mine were leaders among men, game changers, men whom other men listen to and create a response through that leadership. They know how to execute change, but in the only real area of preparedness that matters…were we prepared? Am I prepared?

I thought about us, Christians, the Church. I thought about Jesus.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Fathers house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. AND YOU KNOW THE WAY TO WHERE I AM GOING.”
John 14

I thought about us, Christians, my old Boy Scout friends, the Church.

I thought about it all. Our fall, how God prepared the skins of animals for Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness and hide their shame. The fact that God prepared a savior for us through his Son Jesus long before his birth. How He has given us his word, prepared by him, showing us how to understand faith, the assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.

Christians, are we prepared?

So many of us gather together in the Church each of us with our own specialized skills and hobbies. We bring so many different things to the table. We are blessed with different spiritual gifts and abilities. Some of know how to spit out a verse to someone whose sick, some of us know how give and serve well, some of us know how to share the truth of Jesus to others. But are we prepared? Are we ready?

Most of us would agree that we cannot be prepared for what we are seeing lately in our world. Evil is among us. Times are scary. We must have faith in the sovereign purpose of God.

“Do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring light in darkness and will disclose the purpose of the heart.” 1 Corinthians 4:5

But

“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.”

2 Thessalonians 2:1

One day, he will “shake not only the earth, but also the heavens.”

I am thankful that “the Lord is patient toward us, not wishing that any should perish but that all should reach repentance. But, the day of the Lord will come like a thief.”

Are we prepared?

“The mystery of lawlessness is already at work.

One day, “The heavens will pass away with a roar, the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done will be exposed.”

Are we prepared?

As we wait for the new heaven and a new earth…are we prepared?

I think about us, Christians, my old Boy Scout friends, the Church.
Are we prepared Christians?

Patrick Duke
Member City Church