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Today I have been reflecting on the passage of Scripture for the second day of Lent.  I have chosen for this project to read from The Message, as it’s language is so plain, and often blunt.  Jesus could be plain and blunt as well, and I thought it would be a good exercise to encounter God’s word as a call to sit up and take notice.  The Lenten journey is a good time to allow God to be blunt and plain as he speaks to me.

Today’s Lesson:  Genesis 15: 1-6

After all these things, this word of God came to Abram in a vision: “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I’m your shield. Your reward will be grand!”

Abram said, “God, Master, what use are your gifts as long as I’m childless and Eliezer of Damascus is going to inherit everything?” Abram continued, “See, you’ve given me no children, and now a mere house servant is going to get it all.”

Then God’s Message came: “Don’t worry, he won’t be your heir; a son from your body will be your heir.”

Then he took him outside and said, “Look at the sky. Count the stars. Can you do it? Count your descendants! You’re going to have a big family, Abram!”

And he believed! Believed God! God declared him “Set-Right-with-God.”

The questions that were posed for pondering were:

Do you see God as your shield and reward?
Do you believe God’s promises and feel God’s investment?

Wow, those questions are not as simple as they appear.  
It would be so easy to just say “YES” and be done.  But there are deep issues to consider here.  Issues of fear.  Issued of doubt.  Issues of a surrendered heart.  Issues of trust.  

The question here is:  What is at the heart of my faith?

Is God my shield and reward?  

Do I see God as my protector?  Do I believe that God is blessing me?

Yes….BUT

Yes….BUT…. does that really mean no?  What is it about having faith despite the circumstances we see around us that is so difficult?

Abram, struggled with that same faith.  He believed the promise of God…BUT he sometimes tried to take control of the situation for himself.  What counted for him was that he kept coming back to that promise.  Kept reaffirming his faith as he patiently (and not so patiently) waited on God’s timing.

Is God my shield and reward?  Do I see God as my protector?  Do I believe that God is blessing me?

Yes….BUT

Yes, but there are days when I struggle with fear and doubt.  There are days when I consciously and deliberately have to keep reminding myself that God is taking care of me and that God will reveal his plan for the blessing that is to come.  On those days my prayer is, “I believe, help my unbelief.”  There are days when I have to say over and over again, “I will put my faith and trust in God.”

And that leads me to the second question the study poses for pondering….

Do you believe God’s promises and feel God’s investment?

Do I believe God’s promises to be true?  To be truthful….. not always.  But what I do know is that God has always taken care of me in the past.  That alone gives me the confidence to say that God does care for me in the present and will care for me in the future. After all scripture does say, “I am the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.”  For me it is all a matter of keeping my eyes on God.  

Do I feel God’s investment?  There are days when the answer is a resounding “YES”.  More than that, I can see God’s investment in me, my life, my ministry.  I can see his blessings, and oh they are so many.  God has given me a lot.  Can I give him the kind of faith and trust that goes along with confidently stepping forth into whatever he calls me to do next?

That is the real focus of Lent, isn’t it?

Stepping out into what God is calling us to do.  

Abram did it, and it was counted to him as righteousness.  That faith points us to Jesus who stepped out in faith and God was his shield and reward.  I know it may not have looked like it in the Garden of Gethsemene as Jesus prayed to not have to go through with what God was calling him to do.  I know it didn’t look like it as Jesus died on the cross and was buried in the tomb.  But that wasn’t the end of the story…..not at all.

Faith
     stepping out in faith
               trusting God in the journey
                                      THAT IS MERELY THE BEGINNING OF THE STORY

My story is not finished.  There are still many miles, days, years to walk.  What God will ultimately make of me has not yet been revealed.  Where God’s pathway leads is as yet unknown.  But I will never know unless and until I take that first step of faith and choose to walk with God where ever he may lead me.  

 

 

So today, I affirm my faith.  I will walk with God and trust him to reveal his promise.  And may it be said of me, as it was said of Abram…

And he believed! Believed God! God declared him “Set-Right-with-God.”  Amen.

 

 

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