January 6

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“Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away” (Genesis 15:11 NLT).

From: January 6, 2019

DISTRACTIONS THAT MUST BE CHASED AWAY

Abram had prepared the sacrifice as the Lord had commanded. Yet, as he waited on the Lord, vultures swooped down to eat it. Abram chased them away. He would not let them distract him from waiting on the Lord. He was focused on hearing from God.
 
When we commit to offer a daily sacrifice of Bible reading and prayer to the Lord, many “vultures” attempt to distract us. External distractions like pets, a ringing phone, social media and even family members, can distract us from focusing on God. We must learn to chase them away by finding a quiet time and place away from such distractions.
 
Then there are the most difficult “vultures of distraction.” These are the ones that come from within us. Distracting thoughts that come from anxiety, doubt, fatigue, temptation, and even busyness of mind. Like Martha, we must hear the Lord’s voice saying, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed” (Luke 10:41). That “one thing” we need focus on is Jesus!
 
So, let’s be determined to chase away every distraction. For we know that the “birds” will try to “eat the seed” (See Mark 4) of God’s Word before we can take it in.
 
PRAYER: Lord, there are many things both within and without that try to distract us from hearing from You. Help us to chase away every distraction and focus on Your Word and on Your Spirit. We are weak and easily lose focus, but strengthen us to wait on You, being satisfied with nothing less than Your voice. In Jesus name, Amen.
 




“And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Genesis 15:6 NLT).

From: January 6, 2018

What did Abram do to be considered righteous? It was not “what” he did, but “Who” he believed. For it was by believing the Lord that he was “counted as righteous.” The apostle Paul wrote of this saying, “The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Rom. 4:23-24). When the crowds following Jesus asked, “‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent’” (John 6:28-29).
 
Neither the Old, nor the New Testaments, teach that righteousness comes through law-keeping. Righteousness is credited to those who have put their faith in Jesus. As the Scripture says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

‘After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”‘ (Genesis 15:1 NKJV).

From: January 6, 2017

Abram gave his nephew, Lot, first choice of the land and Lot chose the Jordan valley, so Abram stayed in the hills of Hebron. Later, the people of the valley were caught up in a war and Lot, his family and possessions were taken as spoils. Abram mustered his men and pursued those who had taken Lot. He defeated them and brought back Lot with all the people and goods taken. Upon his return, Abram gave a tithe of the spoils to Melchizedek, but refused to keep any of the spoils for himself, insisting that he had sworn an oath to the Lord that he would take nothing lest they should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ Abram let Lot choose the best of the land, and after rescuing him and all the people and goods taken, he refused the spoils. Yet, after returning home from this great victory empty-handed, he must’ve had some fear and anxiety. For God came to him in a vision telling him not to be afraid, for the Lord Himself was his “shield” and his “exceedingly great reward.”

When we choose to answer God’s call and depend on Him for our provision, we will encounter days of doubt and fear. Often, these days will come right after a great victory. On days like this, be encouraged. For God Himself is our protector and our “exceedingly great reward!”

“But I say to you…” (Matthew 5:28 ESV)

From: January 6, 2016

A repetitive phrase that Jesus used in His Sermon on the Mount to contrast the letter of the law with the spirit of the law. “You have heard it said…” that thou shall not kill… thou shall not commit adultery… thou shall not divorce… “but I say…” Jesus listed many of the ten commandments and levitical laws and challenged His hearers to understand that even the attitude that precedes the action is sin. As Jesus illustrated, “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Those who thought that they had kept the law and were therefore righteous, now understood that they weren’t. Jesus taught that the action of sin begins with the attitude of sin. Encountering Jesus we are convicted of our self-righteousness, the sinful attitudes of our hearts are exposed, and our need for salvation is revealed. Many will turn away, determined to cling to their own self-efforts at being “good.” But some will admit the condition of their hearts deadened by sin and receive Jesus, and their hearts will come alive in Christ!

“Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him” (Genesis 15:12 NKJV)

From: January 6, 2015

After Abram (His name before God changed it to “Abraham” – “Father of nations”) had divided the sacrificial animals and arranged them according to God’s instruction, a great sense of “horror” came over him with the setting of the sun. God was approaching. One commentator has observed, “Holy fear prepares the soul for holy joy; God humbles first, then lifts up.” This meeting with God was preceded by Abram’s questioning of God’s promised seed. Abraham had questioned, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless?”
Have you ever spent the night in prayer questioning God and waiting for an answer? If you have, you may have experienced what Abram did, holy terror. God let the hem of His holiness touch Abram and it was enough to horrify. Then, God made a covenant (Literally “cut” a covenant, as the origin of the word covenant implied the shedding of blood to seal it.) with Abram by passing between the sacrificed animals, prophesying his offspring’s slavery in Egypt and God’s deliverance. When the sun arose the next morning, Abram’s questioning and terror had been replaced with faith and holy joy.

“If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?” (Matthew 5:46)

From: January 6, 2014

Jesus’ definition of love was so much higher than what His hearers had ever understood. He tried to describe unmerited, unconditional love (agape) to them, but they couldn’t see it. So, He went to the cross and stretched out His arms and showed them how much His kind of love required. When we receive Jesus, His Spirit resides in us and gives us access to this amazing love. Who is your enemy? How can you show them love today?

“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)

From: January 6, 2013

And he blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’ And Abram gave him a tenth of everything” (Genesis 14:18-20).
“Melchizedek” (meaning “My king of righteousness”), was the king of “Salem” (Shalom – peace) and represents a Christological type. The book of Hebrews (ch.7) refers to him in such a way as to suggest that he is indeed the preincarnate Christ. Whatever his identity, Abram pays a tithe to him as God’s representative. This tithe was not given in response to law (the law hasn’t been given yet), nor request, but was given out of gratitude and recognition of God Most High that had given Abram success. Abram gave it willingly.