He Provides

 “God himself will provide the lamb

for the burnt offering, my son.”

Genesis 22:8

            It was a tense moment. In the book of Genesis, we read the story of Isaac and Abraham headed up the mountain to present a burnt offering to God, but there was no lamb. God was testing Abraham’s heart to see if he would be willing to offer even his only son. Abraham prophetically stated a truth that would be fulfilled several thousand years later in Christ, as God provided the Lamb who died on our behalf.

            The angel of the Lord stopped Abraham from offering Isaac. The Bible then tells us, Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. God provided a lamb that day on the mountain, and God has provided a lamb for all who will believe. Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

            As we celebrate Easter this month, may our hearts be drawn to the great sacrifice God made for us in sending His only Son to offer His life on our behalf. But the story doesn’t stop at the cross! In three days, He rose from the grave demonstrating victory over sin and death! What joy and victory for those who place their faith in Him! 

Photo by Danny Lines on Unsplash

Close Beside Us

Even when I walk through the darkest valley,

I will not be afraid,

For you are close beside me.

Psalm 23:4

            You are not alone. Your Shepherd is close beside you. He protects and comforts you in the midst of your darkest valleys. Do not be afraid for you do not walk your path by yourself. It is a great comfort to know that when we face the scariest times in our lives, He is there with us. The Bible doesn’t say that we will never walk through dark times, but it does reassure us that we won’t walk through them alone.

            What great assurance we have in knowing that the Lord our God will not leave us. Do not fear about things that may happen or the possibility of valleys in your life. The “what ifs” need not linger as long as we remember that our good Shepherd will protect and comfort us in the midst. Let us walk in confidence and not fear for the road ahead.

Blessings with a Purpose

I will make you into a great nation,
   and I will bless you.
Genesis 12:2

God not only blesses us, but he blesses us for a purpose.  He blesses us so we will be a blessing.  The word bless means, “to benefit.”  It implies abundantly or greatly. In the Bible we are reminded that God blessed Abraham abundantly by building a great nation through his seed.  He made Abraham’s name great.

God’s blessings are different toward each one of us. Sometimes our blessings may come through the most difficult of trials. The purest gold comes through the most intense heat, and the most beautiful gems are formed through immense pressure. Other blessings may be in the rich joy of family members or friends in our lives.

Everyone can look at unique ways God has blessed their lives. The question is, “Are we focusing on the blessings God has given us or on the frustrations?” Let’s thank God each day for the wonderful ways He blesses us, and then let’s be diligent to use our blessings to bless the world around us.

How does God want to use your gifts and talents to benefit others today?

He Speaks

The LORD had said to Abram,

“Go from your county… to the land I will show you.

Genesis 12:1

              God is not a silent god; He is a God who speaks.  In the Old Testament God spoke to His people through prophets, through visions, and sometimes He spoke directly to His servants. He spoke to Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Isaiah and Jeremiah to name a few.  Does God still speak to His people today?

            One of the ways He speaks to us is through His written word, the Bible.  We learn who God is and how He wants us to live as we read His word.  His Spirit speaks to us. Often He speaks through that still small voice within us, lovingly prompting us to follow His direction and gently convicting us to turn from sin.

Now we must be careful not to think that every thought we have is from Him.  We must test it against scripture. The more we get to know Him through scripture and prayer, the more we recognize His voice. Just as sheep recognize their shepherds voice, so we recognize our Good Shepherd’s voice as we grow to know Him and trust Him.

Father, open our ears to hear and our hearts to understand. Help us to follow your ways and honor you in everything we say and do.

Walking Together

Enoch walked faithfully with God. Genesis 5:23

            When we walk with someone, we enjoy fellowship with them as we travel together. We have a choice to walk with God in a close relationship, or we can choose to wander in our own direction doing as we please. Enoch chose to walk with God. Additionally, the Bible tells us that, “Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.” Even in the Garden of Eden God we see a hint of God’s walking as we read, “The man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”            

Paul wrote that just as we have received Christ Jesus as Lord, we are also to “walk in Him.”  We can walk with God as we pray to Him throughout our day. It’s one thing to know God as an acquaintance we simply see on Sundays. It’s another thing to walk with Him in close fellowship. God invites us to walk with Him. Will you accept the invitation?

This is an excerpt from my devotional Pursuing God in the Quiet Places