Scripture: "Escort me along the way; take me by the hand and teach me. For You are the God of my increasing salvation; I have wrapped my heart into Yours." (Psalm 25:5 TPT)
Scripture: "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out not knowing where he was going." (Hebrews 11:8)
Scripture: "For the promise of the Holy Spirit for YOU and your children, and for ALL that are far away, even to as many as the Lord our God invites and bids come to Himself." (Acts: 2:39)
Scripture: "And as you go, preach saying, 'The Kingdom of God is at hand!' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers; drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give." (Matthew 10:7-8)
May the grace and peace of the Holy Spirit be with you always. Let's invite the Holy Spirit into this moment, that He may break open the Word for us, that we may become living Words, and the hands and feet of Jesus in our worlds. Father, do in us what You did in Abraham, and make us people with whom You can entrust Your dreams and Your Heart.
By the end of Abraham's life, he was called "friend of God." He certainly didn't start that way! He was a man who was a dreamer. He had a dream of lands and wealth, freedom and peace. God needs dreamers. Dreamers are willing to take risks. God was willing to start at the very beginning and take Abraham where he was. But He had no intention of leaving him there! Hold on to that thought. Because when we look at so many Churches and at so many IN our Churches, we see so many who are living a flat-lined faith. There is so little fire, so little belief in the miraculous presence of God in our day...and so much "doing" in our own strength. When God's original dream of family was hijacked in the garden, He sent Jesus to recapture the dream. We say we know what that dream was, but I need continual reminding that the dream is THIS moment, and He intended for ME to be part of it. The enemy would love to continually have access to our thoughts and our emotions. We have to be on our guard ALL THE TIME so that we don't give him room to beat us up with his lies about who we AREN'T- in God's plan. When God sent Jesus to rescue His original dream of family and His children being co-heirs with Christ, He couldn't wait to display heaven on earth THROUGH His kids. He just needed anyone who would trust Him and let Him dream IN him or her. He is still looking for the same thing. We are living right now in a time that needs to see the miraculous power of heaven operating in our world. The only thing that has ever blocked that is God's difficulty in finding people who will believe Him at that level and take the journey with Him. Abraham was called "friend of God" because without even knowing who God was at first, he was open to all God had in mind.
Abraham's life was long and colorful. You can read about him in Genesis 12-25. What is important for us today is this: Abraham lived in a place much like Babylon. At the time there were many gods. When Abraham first heard God speak, he had no way of knowing he wasn't one of many gods. God told him to go but gave him no direction. Consider this carefully. God was building a relationship slowly with him AND a dream IN him. He was also teaching him who God really was as THE first and most important thing. That relationship would continue to grow, but God led his son in the way that Abraham needed, to be able to reach a place of believing. He will do the same for us. Abraham had many stops on his journey, but he only built altars at four places. Each signified something very important. After God promised Abraham the land (Genesis 12:1. 7), the first place He brought him on this journey was to Shechem. Shechem was between Gerizim (called the Mount of Blessing) and Ebal, characterized by lifeless terrain. Shechem was the place in the middle and came to symbolize "the place of Choosing." Abraham learned that he had to choose the one true God above all the little gods. Shechem was his place of choosing THIS GOD. Next God led him to Bethel, a town that meant "House of God." This stop symbolized the blessings that would come from being a member of God's household...a child of God. It was previously unheard of to Abraham, but at Bethel, God revealed Himself as Father. Abraham was learning that God had invited him to be his son, and a treasured member of His household. In his culture, people were at best slaves to the gods, so this was an entirely unfathomable thought! Abraham also learned here that the dream Abraham was dreaming was placed in him by God Himself. They were in it together. Exciting? Yes. Scary and risky? DOUBLE YES! But God has always had much more in mind than just being our God. He's always been excited to create and dream with us. And when we say yes, His promise is to take us deeper and deeper into an intimate friendship with Him, just like Abraham.
The third place Abraham moved his family and built an altar was Hebron. The meaning of this city's name is something close to friendship, and it was here that God took His relationship with Abraham to a whole new level. Friendship with God has always been His dream for us. You know well that you can have a mother or father with whom there is no friendship. God's dream for His children has always been intimacy, friendship, mutual delighting in each other. Hebron was the place that Abraham learned that God was his friend. Remember that Abraham did not start as a friend of God. It happened over many years and many experiences. His trust in God as Father, and then Friend, grew over time. Our relationship with our Father grows in the same way. God knows our weakness. He knows our fears, our doubts, our every need. He intends to prove His endless faithfulness, His kindness and His Heart for us every step of our journey as well. Abraham made some glaring mistakes along the way. Take note that it did not stop God's plans and purposes in using him. God is sure of HIS ability to complete His work in us. Be at peace. He wants our YES. He has NEVER expected our perfection.
There was a fourth altar--Mt. Moriah. Through all the years of the growing of a beautiful friendship, and in spite of Abraham's missteps along the way, in the end Abraham's trust in God had grown to a level that few have reached. God asked of him the unimaginable...to make an altar and sacrifice his son, the one through whom God had promised He would provide many, many ancestors. How could this be? It made no sense. How could there be ancestors if he killed the one through whom they would come? But so great was his faith in his Father and Friend, that he chose to obey this request. I can only wonder if he believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead...so sure was he that the Promiser would keep His promises. And we know that He did. Years and years later, the Father would ask the same of Himself, the sacrifice of His Son for our redemption. God did not spare Himself. But we know that, in His great love, He did spare Abraham.
Life is full of great sorrows and great blessings. It is easy to have our dreams beaten down and even buried in heaps of difficulties. But our Savior came to resurrect all of the dreams that God wants for each generation of His children. It's our time. We are moving toward Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. What would the Lord be stirring in YOU? What are His dreams for THIS generation, THIS moment? And who will carry His dreams? Who is willing to risk, to trust, to believe when we see nothing...to hope when, in the natural, that seems ridiculous! Have you ever thought of the grief Noah got for building the ark when the sun was shining? Scripture says people scoffed at him and called him crazy. We too will be called crazy for believing at the level God is asking. But we can't just talk it. We have to display it. We have to BE God's "show and tell" of who He is and what He can do. That will take thick skin...and that will take wrestling with all the lies from "out there" and in our own heads that tell us to be quiet and quit this crazy thinking. Who are YOU to think God would use YOU? I get it. I fight the same from time to time. We have to get really skilled at telling that enemy voice that we are absolutely NOBODY, and isn't it astounding that God would use the likes of us?! At that first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit showed up and turned a bunch of weak-willed doubters into faith-filled giants. The Spirit of the risen Lord now lived in each one of them, and all of history was changed because of them. God is ready, excited, to do the same in us. The Holy Spirit lives in each of us in the same measure as the first apostles. Perhaps we don't need more gifts or spirituality. Perhaps we need to believe and activate what we already have!
We talk a lot about it. Today, let's give God permission to dream His biggest dreams yet, IN us and THROUGH us! This is the best time EVER to be alive! Praying that He gets a screaming YES from each of us. I can't wait to watch Him move in all of these YESES!
Declaration: Thank You, God, for making us this generations Abrahams, Peters and Marys. Thank You Lord that You are dreaming in US, and we are becoming dynamic faith-filled believers who are open to ALL You want to do in us and through us. We are becoming more aware of Your glory, Your power and Your love every day and we thank You that You promise to complete the work You have begun in us. (Philippians 1:6) Go Big, God! We thank you that You are escorting us along the way and teaching us all that we need to know to display Your Kingdom in our worlds. We love You, Lord, and we give You all the glory and honor forever and ever. Amen!