Monday, February 19, 2007

Day Six (6)

Genesis 15 - 17
God's covenant with Abram, the birth of Ishmael, name changes and circumcision (ouch!).
I've read this story so many times, but it is always engaging. 15:6 - Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord declared him righteous because of his faith. We often think the Old Testament is about law, but here it is...justification by faith in the OT!

The character of Sarai here is like us in so many ways. Even though God has promised Abram a child from Sarai (15:4), she tells Abram to sleep with Hagar because "The Lord has kept me from having any children" (16:2). Then, once Hagar is pregnant and mistreats Sarai, she says to Abram, "The Lord will make you pay for doing this to me!" (16:5). How often we invoke the name of God and His actions when He has absolutely nothing to do with causing the circumstances in which we find ourselves!

Chapter 17 is all about the covenant - it is forever (7,8), and our responsibility is obedience (9).
In verse 1, the Lord says to Abram, "I am God Almighty; serve me faithfully and live a blameless life." Do we understand God's nature and call upon our lives, so that our response is to serve Him and honour Him in our life?

Psalm 6
David's simultaneous agony and trust seem also contradictory. He weeps, begs for the Lord's return and yet know the Lord has heard him and will answer. I wish I could have such faith when faced with dire situations!

Acts 4:1-22
What an awesome story! We see the power of the Holy Spirit and that in Jesus alone we have salvation. Too often we put Jesus IN the way of salvation when he is really ON the way to salvation...anyhow...we can all see how the Holy Spirit transforms ordinary uneducated fishermen into bold orators (v. 13). But two other things stand out: "We cannot stop telling about the wonderful tings we have seen and heard". For Peter and John, it is just a natural outpouring of the work of God to tell others about Him. So many of us struggle to share our faith with those around us? Do we not have a story to tell? Are we afraid of what people will think? Do we not think we will have the right words? It's not up to us - it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

It's also important to note that the work of the Holy Spirit leads everyone to praise God (21), not Peter, not John or any other person, but God alone

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