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!

Blessings

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace, (Psalm 67:1, Psalm 122:6)
comfort for family, protection while we sleep; (Matthew 5:4, Psalm 4:8)
We pray for healing, for prosperity, (Mark 5:23, Psalm 118:25)
we pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering… (Psalm 9:13, 2 Chronicles 6:32-33)

And all the while, You hear each spoken need…  (2 Chronicles 20:9, Exodus 3:7)
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things.  (Ephesians 3:19-20)

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through rain drops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?  (Psalm 56:8)
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?  (Hebrews 13:5)
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise? 

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear;  (James 1:5, Hebrews 3:15)
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near…  (Psalm 27:7)
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love  (Matthew 14:31, Matthew 28:17)
as if every promise from Your Word is not enough!  (Joshua 23:14, Hebrews 10:23)

And all the while, You hear each desperate plea  (Exodus 22:23, Psalm 40:1)
and long that we’d have faith to believe…  (Mark 5:36, 9:23, 11:24, John 11:26)

Chorus

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win, we know  (Luke 22:48, John 3:19)
that pain reminds this heart that this is not, this is not our home!  (Hebrews 11:13-16)
It’s not our home!

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through rain drops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life  (Proverbs 13:12)
is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?  (John 4:13-14)
What if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights,
are your mercies in disguise?

~ Written and performed by:  Laura Story ~

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” saith the LORD, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Romans 8:28
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Further reading:  Heavenly perspective

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.

Overcomer

Staring at a stop sign, watching people drive by,
t-Mac on the radio…
Got so much on your mind, nothing’s really going right,
looking for a ray of hope…  (Psalm 130:7)

Whatever it is you may be going through,
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you!  (1 Cor. 10:13)

You’re an overcomer!  Stay in the fight ‘til the final round!  (1 Cor. 9:24)
You’re not going under, ‘cause God is holding you right now!  (John 10:29)
You might be down for a moment, feeling like it’s hopeless –
that’s when He reminds you that you’re an overcomer…
You’re an overcomer!

Everybody’s been down, hit the bottom, hit the ground…
Ooh, you’re not alone!  (1 Peter 5:8-10, Matt. 28:20)
Just take a breath, don’t forget, hang on to His promises –
He wants You to know:

Chorus

The same Man, the Great I am, the One who overcame death,
He’s living inside of You!  (John 11:25-26, 1 Cor. 15:54-57)
So just hold tight, fix your eyes on the One who holds your life –  (John 10:29)
there’s nothing He can’t do!  (Matt. 28:18, Col. 2:9, Eph. 1:20-23)
He’s telling you:

(Take a breath, don’t forget, hang on to His promises…)
(2 Peter 3:9, Rom. 4:21, 2 Cor. 1:20, Titus 1:2, Heb. 6:15, Heb. 10:23)

Chorus

Don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer!

~ Written by:  David A. Garcia, Benjamin Glover, and Christopher E. Stevens
Performed by:  Mandisa ~

John 16:33
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation:  but be of good cheer;  I have overcome the world.” ~ Jesus Christ

Romans 12:21 
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

1 John 4:4
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them:  because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

1 John 5:4-5 
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world:  and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”

Revelation 12:11
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

Revelation 17:14 
“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them:  for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings:  and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”

It is well

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

~ Written by:  Horatio G. Spafford ~

2 Kings 4:8-37
And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread.  And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread.  9 And she said unto her husband, “Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.  10 Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.”  11 And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there. 12 And he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite.”  And when he had called her, she stood before him.  13 And he said unto him, “Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host?” And she answered, “I dwell among mine own people.”  14 And he said, “What then is to be done for her?”  And Gehazi answered, “Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old.”  15 And he said, “Call her.”  And when he had called her, she stood in the door. 16 And he said, “About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son.”  And she said, “Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.”  17 And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.  18 And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers.  19 And he said unto his father, “My head, my head.”  And he said to a lad, “Carry him to his mother.”  20 And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.  21 And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out.  22 And she called unto her husband, and said, “Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.”  23 And he said, “Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath.”  And she said, “It shall be well.”  24 Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee.”  25 So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, “Behold, yonder is that Shunammite:  26 Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child?”  And she answered, “It is well.”  27 And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, “Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the Lord hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.”  28 Then she said, “Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?”  29 Then he said to Gehazi, “Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child.”  30 And the mother of the child said, “As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.”  And he arose, and followed her.  31 And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, “The child is not awaked.”  32 And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.  33 He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord .  34 And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm.  35 Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.  36 And he called Gehazi, and said, “Call this Shunammite.”  So he called her.  And when she was come in unto him, he said, “Take up thy son.”  37 Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.

We’ll understand it better by and by

We are tossed and driven on the restless sea of time;   (James 1:6)
somber skies and howling tempests oft succeed a bright sunshine;
in that land of perfect day, when the mists are rolled away,
we will understand it better by and by.   (Ephesians 1:18)

By and by, when the morning comes,
when the saints of God are gathered Home,
we’ll tell the story how we’ve overcome,   (Revelation 12:11)
for we’ll understand it better by and by.   (John 13:7)

We are often destitute of the things that life demands,   (Philippians 4:11-13)
want of food and want of shelter, thirsty hills and barren lands;
we are trusting in the Lord, and according to God’s Word,  (Psalm 119:42)
we will understand it better by and by.

Chorus

Trials dark on every hand, and we cannot understand
all the ways of God would lead us to that blessed Promised Land;   (Proverbs 20:24)
but he guides us with his eye, and we’ll follow till we die,   (Psalm 32:8)
for we’ll understand it better by and by.

Chorus

Temptations, hidden snares often take us unawares,
and our hearts are made to bleed for a thoughtless word or deed;
and we wonder why the test when we try to do our best,  (John 16:33)
but we’ll understand it better by and by.

~ Lyrics and music by:  Charles Albert Tindley (1905) ~

A Worthy Vessel

Since time immemorial the waves have roared
lashing and forming the sandy shores,
Then still, then storm, then high, then low;
Breaking where seawater ebb and flow.

In perfect rhythm the tides come in –
High and low and neap and spring,
Ceaselessly moving and shaping the land;
Breaking the shells into soft, white sand.

So too with us – with you and with me;
Throughout our lives we unceasingly see
God’s Hand within our calm and our storm
shaping us from the day we are born.

When things get tough we should not despair;
The LORD is in our trials and our prayers,
We need only look upon Jesus’ face
to know He is our only safe hiding place.

God cares so much for each one of us
So do not panic and do not fuss –
Allow God to break, to heal and remake
you for the part He wants you to take.

A vessel so fine it is fit for the King
Wondrously beautiful;  sealed with His ring –
Blood-bought and pure;  the Potter’s pride
Dressed in white linen;  the High King’s bride.

~ Written by:  Belinda van Rensburg ~

1 Peter 1:6-9
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

1 Peter 5:7
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

2 Timothy 2:20-21
“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.  If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”

Revelation 19:7-8
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him:  for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white:  for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

Holy Spirit, have Your way

Long after the tears fall I’m still your child,
I put down my defenses and lay down my pride,
Love and forgiveness flow deep and wide
So I’ll run to you and surrender all!

As I lay down my life and pick up my cross –
What a joy it is to give my life away to You!
All that I need, all that I seek
is You here with me –
Holy Spirit have Your way in me!

In times of trouble, though trials may come
The Rock of Ages is standing strong
I’m fighting battles, but the war is won
So I’ll run to you and surrender all…

Chorus

More of You and less of me, God
More of You and less of me, God
More of You and less of me, God
More of You overflowing

Chorus

~ Performed by:  Leeland

~ Lyrics written by:  Ed Cash, Leeland Mooring & Jack Mooring