when growth begins

May 2015 (22)“Growth in the Christian life often begins with obedience even when acute desire is not present.”

David Platt, Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans and Pornography. Tyndale House Publishers, 2015, p.32.

He will see to it!



The place was called Moriah, a Hebrew word, meaning “place where he will see to it.” It was a remote hilltop somewhere in what would come to be called Jerusalem many centuries later.

Abraham had just sacrificed many of his hopes and dreams because God told him to send his son Ishmael and his mother away. It was Sarah’s idea, but God told Abraham that it was his idea too. He said “Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, because through Isaac shall your offspring be named” (Genesis 21:12). Abraham could not understand that. After all, it was God who had given him Ishmael. Why did he have to lose this son? He didn’t understand, but he knew God loved him, and he knew he could trust God, so he obeyed.

But now, God is again asking Abraham to do the unthinkable. He has only one son left, the son who was promised. The miracle son. Surely God would not let anything happen to Isaac. But here they are, on Moriah, with the wood and the fire and the knife, but no animal to sacrifice in sight. And God asks Abraham to give him a present – the life of that only son.

Abraham was prepared to do it, perhaps thinking that God was going to raise Isaac from the dead. Abraham had told his servants that God would provide a sacrifice. God did provide a ram, caught in the bush by his horns. He provided a substitute. Generations later, on the same mountain, God provided a substitute: his only Son Jesus, for Abraham and all his children.

Abraham is a perfect example of saving faith because his faith was more than mere intellectual assent. He trusted God and he obeyed his command. His faith strapped his son to an altar and picked up a knife. By doing so, he was acting out a scene in a drama, a scene that was written long before his time, a scene that would be fulfilled in history when God himself would send his only Son to be sacrificed on a cross. But Abraham did not know that. All Abraham knew was that God commanded him to do the unthinkable, and he was prepared to do it, because he trusted God. God would see to it.

LORD, give us the faith that trusts and obeys in unthinkable and impossible situations. When we cannot see you, help us to know that you are still here seeing to our needs.

God’s angel said to Abraham: “…because you have …not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore …and THROUGH YOUR OFFSPRING ALL NATIONS ON EARTH WILL BE BLESSED…” Genesis 22:16-18

Bible Verses to Think and Pray About:

Look up these verses about how God has provided his only Son for us: https://www.biblegateway.com/

John 3:16-18

Romans 8:32

Hebrews 11:17-19

1 John 4:9-10

1 John 5:11

What are the Stars for?

Slider18-1040x400Everything that exists was created with a purpose or purposes in mind. Given that reality of intelligent design in creation, one wanders just what purposes the stars might serve.

The Bible says that when God created the universe, he made all the stars on the fourth day. He created them to light up the night sky, but also as a sort of prehistoric calendar – a way of determining what day and year it is, and what season we are in. Nowadays it is much easier to do that with a wall calendar, a watch or an electronic device.

Another use that people have made of the stars is navigation. With the right knowledge and instruments, people could travel all over the planet, with the stars telling them where they were, and which way to head to get where they were going.

Another ancient use of the stars was an early way of sharing the gospel. People who had never even seen the Bible told each other a story of God’s plan for history. The story began with a virgin giving birth (Virgo) and ended with a coming triumphant lion king (Leo). The story has been corrupted over time, so most people think of the zodiac as something entirely different.

One of the most important uses of the stars is as a symbol of God’s covenant with Abraham, a covenant all Christians share in. God promised Abraham that he would bless him, and that through him, he would bless the nations. Abraham would become the ancestor of many nations, so many that the uncountable stars are their symbol. If you are a believer in Christ, one of those stars stands for you. You count.

LORD, thank you that we are counted as children of Abraham, through Christ. Thank you that because of your promise, we count!

“I will indeed bless you, and I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be as countless as the stars in the sky…” (Genesis 22:17 NET).

Bible Verses to Think and Pray About:

Follow these links to verses about how important you are to God: