Review: Climbing with Abraham

Amazon:  Climbing with Abraham 30 day Devotional

This 30-day devotional takes the reader, event by event, through Abraham’s life story. The author, David Ramos, systematically guides the reader through every account of Abraham’s life in a separate entry, and it gives the reader a very good overview of what the Bible recorded about him – and what we can learn from his story today. Each entry ends with a “Takeaway – a simple summary of what we can learn from that particular instance in Abraham’s life. In this devotional, you will learn about Abraham, but most of all about an Almighty, intimately involved God Who is just as real today as He was then.

I really enjoyed this devotional, because by reading about Abraham’s experiences separately, I was constantly reminded that he was just a normal human being like each of us, struggling with fear, sin and unfulfilled desires.  Just like each of us, he had to choose to have faith in the God Who conquers even when a situation seems impossible, before he saw the outcome.  This encourages me – I too can have faith in the midst of difficult trials in my journey.  Jesus said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14)  Through his obedience, Abraham was called the Friend of God (James 2:23) – what a testimony!

Advertisements

No good thing

The past couple of months have been difficult.  I’ve felt that I could relate to the Scripture that says that we are troubled on every side, perplexed, and cast down (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).  I have been pressed hard from every side and in almost every aspect of life.  Yet, regardless of all the difficult circumstances on the outside, the inward battles have been the most difficult for me.

It is the struggles inside my heart that have really made me broken – the struggle that comes from having a dream inside your heart, which cannot be realized yet;  the promises and desires that your heart long for, but there is nothing you can do but wait for its fulfillment.  I have cried many tears, knowing that even if I could find the words to describe what I felt, no-one would really truly understand the heartache involved, simply because it is so very personal.

I have wrestled many times, telling the Lord that the things I desire is GOOD.  It’s a dream that will, by His grace, make a difference in other people’s lives;  desires that are counted as blessings in His Word;  and promises which are reflected in Scripture.

These dreams, desires and promises have still not been fulfilled, but I am comforted and encouraged through God’s Word.  I am repeatedly reminding myself of what I have found:Psalm 84v11 (2)

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”  ~ Psalm 84:11

I believe that God’s indescribable love will withhold NO GOOD THING from me.  (Romans 8:32)  If something is withheld at this present moment, I must conclude that if I had it now, it would not be good for me.

I firmly believe that there is a “perfect timing” for everything.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)  Yet, I am the first one to confess that waiting for the “perfect time” is extremely difficult, especially if the thing you are waiting for is so deeply rooted in your heart that life feels empty without it.  The Bible isn’t silent about this either:

“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” ~ Proverbs 13:12

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness;  but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” ~ 2 Peter 3:9

Our loving Lord sees the bigger picture and all of the things that can possibly have an influence on our dreams and desires.  During the times when you are waiting, deeply longing for the fulfillment of some GOOD thing, keep reminding yourself of His Goodness.  Keep reminding yourself that He will not make you wait one second longer than what He knows is necessary.

I have cried many tears as I listened to the song Blessings by Laura Story, mostly because I know it is true – we go through difficult times of “unanswered” prayers and waiting for His redemption of our circumstances, but what He really wants is for us to see Him and feel His comforting love through it all.  If a child never fell and got hurt, he would never know that exact kind of comfort, care and love that his parents can show when he’s hurting.  Likewise, we can experience a very special comfort and nearness with our Lord when we hurt.

My prayer is that you will also be encouraged, as I’ve been, through this Scripture.  It takes constant reminding, because I am so quick to doubt.  Many times, I don’t even know what to pray anymore, because of the overwhelming sense of emptiness I feel when I think of these desires.  Then I am reminded of a parable that Jesus told (Luke 18:1-8 below), and I once again lay my heart bare before Him.

Jesus loves you, and He desires the best for all His creation – including you.

Hold on.  Keep the faith.  Keep praying.  Remind yourself of the Truth (His Word).  One day you will look back and know that it was His faithful, all-knowing love that kept you waiting and finally brought fulfillment in a more perfect way than you could ever imagine.

Blessings to you!

© blessedbeyondmeasure3.wordpress.com

Luke 18:1-8
And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;  Saying, “There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, “Avenge me of mine adversary.”  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”  And the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge saith.  And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith [persevering in prayer] on the earth?

Please feel free to leave comments with Scriptures that have encouraged you during difficult [waiting] times.

The Author & Finisher of our Faith

We, as humans, think that we should balance out our bad deeds with good deeds.  Mentally, we keep “record” of the bad things we have done, and then we try to balance it out by doing some good deeds in an effort to justify ourselves.

The Bible does say that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20) and that “by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).  Further reading of this passage reveals the example of Abraham, who believed, and the works that he did followed his faith in God’s instructions and provision (Genesis 22:1-14, Hebrews 11:19).  The “works” mentioned in the Book of James are NOT trying to justify ourselves in God’s eyes through “good deeds”.  The Bible is clear that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), and that we are only “justified by His blood” (Romans 5:9), the Blood that Jesus Christ shed for us on the cross at Calvary.  (See also Hebrews 9:22, 1 Peter 1:18-19.)  God wants our works to be done out of our love for Him, doing good deeds to other people because we want to please our LORD (not justify ourselves), and reading the Bible and praying to God because we desire fellowship with our Creator.

As we sincerely desire a love relationship with Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us (Ephesians 5:25), He will work the good works in our hearts (Philippians 1:6 & 2:13).  We, as humans, like to try to be “in control”, DOING things to buy His favour.  This is not at all what He requires.  He wants us to LOVE Him, above all else.  (Luke 10:27)

This relationship between me and God was NOT initiated by me, or “earned” by any good thing I may have done.  His love for us, His mercy and grace, His kindness, is so great that the God of all the universe, the Creator of all things, desires a relationship with us – broken, frail, sinful human beings.

Our relationship with God (through Jesus Christ, our mediator) is from Him.  He is the One Who does the good works in our hearts and through us.  It was never about us – but it always has been and always will be about Jesus Christ, our God.  All the glory and honour is due to Him!  (Revelation 4:11)

1 John 4:19
We love Him, because He first loved us.

John 15:16
“Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you.” ~ Jesus Christ

Philippians 2:13
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:1-3
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Revelation 5:12
Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

I’m Yours, LORD

I’m Yours Lord, everything I’ve got
Everything I am, everything I’m not.
I’m Yours Lord, try me now and see
See if I can be completely Yours.

My life and my love, I leave in Your hands,
I’ll gladly perform as Your will demands
I know it’s not much, Your gift to repay,
but it’s all I can give, and all I can say is…

I’m Yours Lord, everything I’ve got
Everything I am, everything I’m not.
I’m Yours Lord, try me now and see
See if I can be completely Yours.

You put in us all, a desire to belong,
to join with Your strength and thus become strong
With that thought in mind, I reach for the Prize,
I lift up my voice to reemphasize that…

I’m Yours Lord, everything I’ve got
Everything I am, everything I’m not.
I’m Yours Lord, try me now and see
See if I can be completely Yours.

If you hear this song but you don’t understand,
the answer is clear, just reach out your hand
When you feel the force, of Jesus the King,
Just lift up your voice, and join in and sing…

I’m Yours Lord, everything I’ve got
Everything I am, everything I’m not.
I’m Yours Lord, try me now and see
See if I can be completely Yours.

~ Composer / Writer Unknown ~

Audience of One

I come on my knees to lay down before You
Bringing all that I am, longing only to know You
Seeking Your face and not only Your hand
I find You embracing me just as I am

And I lift these songs to You and You alone
As I sing to You, in my praises make Your home

To my audience of One:  You are Father and You are Son
As Your Spirit flows free, let It find within me a heart that beats to praise You

And now, just to know You more has become my great reward
To see Your Kingdom come and Your Will be done
I only desire to be Yours, LORD

So what could I bring to honor Your Majesty?
What song could I sing that would move the Heart of Royalty?
When all that I have is this life that You’ve given me:
So, LORD, let me live for You my song with humility

And, LORD, as the love song of my life is played
I have one desire:  to bring Glory to Your Name!

Chorus

And we lift these songs to You and You alone
As we live for You, in our praises make Your home

Chorus

~ Performed by:  Big Daddy Weave

~ Lyrics:  Mike Weaver