MONTHLY ARCHIVES: July 2015

In Control

Posted on July 28, 2015 by Karah

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Read Proverbs 3:5-6. Personalize these verses and offer them to God as a prayer as you begin your quiet time today.

Can you recall a situation where you took matters into your own hands? What was the outcome? Journal your thoughts.

With that experience in mind, read Genesis 16:1-15 in your Bible.

“Sarai said to Abram, “Since the Lord has prevented me from bearing children, go to my slave; perhaps through her I can build a family.” And Abram agreed to what Sarai said.” —Genesis 16:2

Mull over the last few week’s devotions about the covenant God made with Abram. Part of that covenant was promised children. But God’s promise hadn’t come in the time frame they expected, so Sarai and Abram devised a plan to make it happen.

What do you think went through Abram and Sarai’s minds as they waited for this promise? Journal a few thoughts.

Do you know someone who has patiently prayed and waited for God to work something out in his or her life? What have you learned from that person’s example?

Abram and Sarai sought to take control of the situation. When have you done the same thing? How is that taking over a role that only God should have in our lives? Explain.

The Point

God is a covenant God who wants to use our lives to tell His story of redemption. We must let Him have control.

Respond

In what situations or circumstances are you trying to take control rather than trusting God? List anything the Holy Spirit brings to mind. Confess those things to God.

Ask God to help you to rest in His faithfulness in those situations. List two ways you’ll choose to do so this week.

Are you struggling to understand God’s plan for your life? For further study, read Jeremiah 29:11-13 and Proverbs 16:9.

Behind the Story

Sarai’s plan for a servant to have her child wasn’t out of the ordinary. Married women who were barren were often shamed, so it was common practice for a barren woman to give her servant to her husband. The children born to the servant women were considered the children of the wife.3

 

3Life Application Study Bible, NIV Version (Wheaton: Tyndale and Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 32.


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Faith=Righteousness

Posted on July 21, 2015 by Karah

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Sing praises to God today, worshiping Him for who He is and what He has done.

Reread Genesis 15:1-6 in your Bible, focusing on verse 6.

“Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” —Genesis 15:6

The Hebrew word translated “believed” is a construction that means to place trust in someone with confidence. What does that help you to understand about Abraham’s faith in God and His promises? Explain.

When the word righteousness is used in the Bible, it means having right standing before God. How did Abraham find right standing before God, according to Genesis 15:6?

With Genesis 15:6 in mind, read Romans 4:1-19 in your Bible. Focus on verse 13.

“For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.” —Romans 4:13

The Jews were relying on their heritage as God’s chosen people and their adherence to the law to make them right before God. But Paul argued that those things weren’t even what made Abraham, the father of the Jews, righteous.

According to these verses, what made Abraham right before God? Explain.

What things do people in the world think will make them right before God? List a few ideas.

What do you depend on to declare you right before God? Why?

The Point

Our covenant God makes people righteous by their faith.

Respond

Righteousness is about faith, not about doing good deeds or being a good person. There is only one way to be justified before God and that is by faith.

Consider what you base your standing before God on. Jesus died and rose again for your salvation and believing that is the only way to truly know God. Does your faith rest in this truth?

As a Christian, do you sometimes find yourself trying to earn more of God’s favor or living like your faith is a checklist of rules and good deeds? Confess this attitude to God. Ask Him to remind you of all He has done to save you.

Behind the Story

Imputation is a fancy, theological word that means reckoning something to another person.This is exactly what happened with Abraham—God credited to Abraham something he did not have in himself—and is also what happens when we accept Jesus as our Savior.2

 

2Trent Butler, “Impute,” Holman Bible Dictionary, studylight.org, [cited 19 April 2014]. Available from Internet: http://www.studylight.org.


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Set Apart

Posted on July 15, 2015 by Karah

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Ponder this quote from Charles Spurgeon as you begin your time with God:

“God has set apart His people from before the foundation of the world to be His chosen and peculiar inheritance.”

The Masters is a major golf tournament played annually in Augusta, Ga. Winners receive a unique prize—a green jacket—that sets them apart as members of an elite group. Only the 300 or so members of the August National Golf Club and Masters winners are allowed to wear the jacket.

Think about that idea of being set apart as you read Genesis 17:9-27 in your Bible.

“Throughout your generations, every male among you at eight days old is to be circumcised. This includes a slave born in your house and one purchased with money from any foreigner. The one who is not your offspring, a slave born in your house, as well as one purchased with money, must be circumcised. My covenant will be marked in your flesh as an everlasting covenant.” —Genesis 17:12-13

By commanding Abraham and his descendants to be circumcised, God was creating an outward sign that would set His covenant people apart from the pagan world.

Circumcision wasn’t a new practice God created for this occasion; other ancient cultures practiced it, usually to signify ownership or loyalty to an authority. So, when God instructed Abraham and his descendants to do this, what was He really asking of them? Explain.

God gave circumcision a new meaning by making it the symbol of His covenant with a specific, set apart group of people. Do you think God is still calling people to be set apart for Him? Why or why not?

The Point

God’s people are distinctly set apart. He is still setting people apart today.

Respond

If you have a relationship with Christ, you have been called to a set-apart life. Record a short statement of commitment and loyalty below.

What does being set apart look like for Christians today? For further study, check out 1 Peter 2:9-10 and Romans 12:2.

Behind the Story

In Scripture, the concept of circumcision is sometimes used metaphorically. In Deuteronomy 10:16 and Jeremiah 4:4, circumcision of the heart refers to total devotion to God. The uncircumcised were regarded as those who are insensitive to God’s leadership. Circumcision, then, was an external sign of singular devotion to God.


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Fully Committed

Posted on July 7, 2015 by Karah

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Prepare to hear from the Lord by getting rid of anything that could distract you. Ask God to speak to you through His Word today.

How do you handle stress, anxiety, or fear? Circle all that apply.

Pray

Think about it constantly

Read Scripture

Focus on something else

Exercise

Ignore the stress

Rely on comforts

Talk with a wise friend

Stay busy

It’s easy to let fear and stress overwhelm us and take our eyes off God and His promises. That was even true of Abram.

Read Genesis 15:1-21 in your Bible. As you read, underline Abram’s responses that reveal his anxiety and fear.

“On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “I give this land to your offspring, from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates River.”

—Genesis 15:18

Consider these questions:

How did God respond to Abram’s worries? Why was reaffirming His promises to Abram an appropriate response?

Take a closer look at verses 1-5 and 7. How did Abram respond? When have you responded to God like that? Why?

Review the definition of the word covenant. In what ways does this word describe God? Explain.

COVENANT n. – A formal and serious agreement or promise.

How did God show that He is a covenant God in these verses? Jot down a few ideas.

The Point

God is not distant, but desires to covenant with His people. He is fully committed to His plan and His people.

Respond

God is a covenant God because He is faithful to His promises, including redemption. Because He is a covenant God, we can trust Him.

God’s Word is full of promises. In your journal, jot down a few things you know God has promised in Scripture. Spend some time praising God for these truths and how He’s shown Himself to be faithful in them.

As believers, we share in Abraham’s covenant. For further study, read Galatians 3:6-7.

Behind the Story

One important part of sealing a covenant was sacrifice. The Hebrew expression for making a covenant literally means to cut a covenant. This may refer to the practice of cutting an animal in half and walking between its pieces seen in this passage.1

 

1Martin H. Manser, “Covenants, Nature of,” Dictionary of Bible Themes, [cited 19 April 2014]. Available from the Internet: https://www.BibleGateway.com


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