Where are you at today? Do you realize God’s got good plans for you? Do you realize that you don’t have to walk in fear or doubt? Do you realize that you can walk with boldness and courage when you walk with Him? Will you journey through life apart from God or will you choose to live life with God? Will you allow yourself a relationship that is so good and so powerful that it will transform your life? Will you allow it to transform your future?
Today’s reading starts in Genesis where we see that God’s protection is over those who love Him. Consider the vision that was given to the king and how God prevented him from doing something that he would have regretted.
Sarah Renewed1Then Abraham journeyed from there to the land of the Negev and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While he was dwelling as an outsider in Gerar,2Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar sent for and took Sarah.3But God came to Abimelech in a dream at night and said to him, “Behold, you are as good as dead, because of the woman whom you have taken—since she is a married woman.”4Now Abimelech had not come near her. So he said, “My Lord, will You slay a nation, even though innocent?5Didn’t he say to me, ‘She’s my sister’? And she herself even said, ‘He’s my brother.’ I did this with integrity of my heart and guiltlessness of my hands.”6Then God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I myself knew that you did this with integrity of your heart, so I, yes I Myself prevented you from sinning against Me. That is why I did not allow you to touch her.7So now, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet. And let him pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, know that you will surely die—you and all who are yours.”8Abimelech rose early in the morning, called all his servants and spoke all these words in their ears—and the men were very frightened.9Then Abimelech called to Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us, and how have I sinned against you, that you brought great sin upon me and my kingdom? You’ve done to me things that should not be done!”10Abimelech also said to Abraham, “What motivated you to do this thing?”11Abraham said, “Because I thought, ‘There is certainly no fear of God in this place, so they’ll kill me, because of my wife.’12And besides, she really is my sister. She’s my father’s daughter, though not my mother’s daughter. Then she became my wife.13So when God made me wander away from my father’s house, I said to her, ‘This is your loyalty that you must show me: in every place we go, say of me, ‘He is my brother.’”14Then Abimelech took sheep, cattle, male slaves and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and returned his wife Sarah to him.15Then Abimelech said, “Look, my land is before you. Dwell wherever it pleases you.”16At the same time he said to Sarah, “Look, I’ve given a thousand shekels to your brother. Look, it is compensation for everything that happened—so to everyone with you, you are vindicated.”17Then Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his female slaves so that they could bear children.18For Adonai had completely locked up every womb in Abimelech’s household because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.–from Genesis 20
God’s plan is never late! He is rarely early and never, He is right on time!
Birth of Isaac1Then Adonai visited Sarah just as He had said, and Adonai did for Sarah just as He had spoken.2So Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time that God had told him.3Abraham named his son who was born to him—whom Sarah bore for him—Isaac.4Then Abraham circumcised Isaac, his eight-day-old son, just as God had commanded him.5Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac his son was born to him.6So Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me! Everyone who hears will laugh with me.”7She also said, “Who would have said to Abraham, ‘Sarah has nursed children’? For I have given birth to a son in his old age!”–from Genesis 21
God’s protection is over His people. God will even take the outcast who have turned to Him and provide for them. Consider what happened to Ishmael.
Ishmael Banished, Yet Delivered8The child grew and was weaned—Abraham made a big feast on the day Isaac was weaned.9But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian whom she had born to Abraham—making fun.10So she said to Abraham, “Drive out this female slave and her son, for the son of this female slave will not be an heir with my son—with Isaac.”11Now the matter was very displeasing in Abraham’s eyes on account of his son.12But God said to Abraham, “Do not be displeased about the boy and your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, listen to her voice. For through Isaac shall your seed be called.13Yet I will also make the son of the slave woman into a nation, because he is your seed.”14So Abraham got up early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar, putting them on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away. She went and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.15When the water from the skin was finished, she abandoned the child under one of the bushes.16Then she went and sat herself down opposite, about a bowshot away, for she had said, “I can’t bear to see the child dying!” So she sat down opposite and lifted up her voice and wept.17Then God heard the boy’s voice and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and He said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid, because God has heard the boy’s voice where he is.18Get up! Lift the boy up, and hold on to him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.”19Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water, and she went and filled the water skin, and gave the boy a drink.20God was with the boy and he grew. He dwelled in the wilderness and became an archer.21He dwelled in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.–from Genesis 21
God has plans for both of Abraham’s sons. Even when we get impatient (as Abraham and Sarah did by bring in someone else that Abraham would have a child) or we try to handle it in our own power, God has a plan! If we will just take hold of it! If we will just stick with Him and with it! If we won’t lose hope because we think it is taking too long! God will work it out to completion. Where are you at today? What are you waiting for? Are you waiting upon the Lord so that He can renew your strength? Are you leaning upon the Lord rather than trying to understand and figure it all out on your own? Give it up to God! Stay in sync with Him! Allow His will to have it’s way in you. If it is God’s will for you to make a deal or enter into a partnership, then do it God’s way!
Covenant of Abimelech and Abraham22Now it came about at that same time that Abimelech—with Phicol the commander of his army—said to Abraham, “God is with you in all that you do.23So now, make a pledge to me here, by God, that you will not violate your word with me or with my descendants or with my offspring. As I have shown loyalty to you, show the same to me, and to the land in which you have lived as an outsider.”24Abraham said, “I make a pledge.”25Now Abraham had rebuked Abimelech because of the well of water that Abimelech’s servants had seized.26So Abimelech said, “I don’t know who did this thing. Nor did you tell me, nor did I hear about it until today.”27Then Abraham took a flock of sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them made a covenant.28Abraham set seven young ewe-lambs apart from the flock of sheep by themselves.29Abimelech said to Abraham, “What do these seven ewe-lambs that you’ve set by themselves mean?”30He said, “You are to accept the seven ewe-lambs from my hand, so that they may be a witness for me that I dug this well.”31That is why that place is named Beer-sheba, because there both of them made a pledge,32and they made a covenant in Beer-sheba. Then Abimelech got up, with Phicol the commander of his army, and they returned to the land of the Philistines.33Then he planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba and called there on the Name of Adonai, the Everlasting God.34He lived as an outsider in the land of the Philistines for many days.–from Genesis 21
God was there and He is here right now! He will never leave us nor abandon us! So don’t walk away! We have freewill and you will see people everyday choose to walk away from God and try to do it on their own, just like the prodigal son. But God, the Father is looking and hoping and waiting for him to come back. Have you wandered away and has the devil put lies in your head that God can’t or God won’t love you again? Is the devil’s lies keeping you walking away rather than just stopping and turning back to God? He’s right there waiting! Stop! Turn back! Humble yourself! And ask Him for forgiveness and to have you back! When we ask Him to forgive us, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and clean us from all unrighteousness.
Let’s not be afraid to share the hope and the truth of Jesus! Let’s allow it to be a testimony that will stick with people and be a seed planted into their lives! It’s not all about us after all, but all about Jesus! And maybe one day their lives will be turned around because of what took place to us, through us, or with us! (Consider Saul who became Paul)
1Then the kohen gadol said, “Are these things so?”2Stephen declared, “Brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran.3He said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come here to the land that I will show you.’4Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God moved him to this land where you now live.5He gave him no inheritance in it—not even a foothold—yet He promised ‘to give it to him as a possession to him and to his descendants after him,’ even though he had no child.6“But God spoke in this way, that his ‘descendants would be foreigners in a land belonging to others, and they would enslave and mistreat them for four hundred years.7But I will judge the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they shall come out and serve Me in this place.’8“Then God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. So he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day, and so Isaac with Jacob, and Jacob with the twelve patriarchs.9The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him.10He rescued him out of all his troubles and granted him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him governor over Egypt and all his household.11“Famine and great suffering came over all Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers could find no food.12But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time.13On the second visit, Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and his family became known to Pharaoh.14So Joseph sent and called for Jacob and all his relatives—seventy-five persons.15Jacob went down to Egypt and died, he and our fathers.16They were carried to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.17“But as the time drew near for the promise God had sworn to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt—18until ‘there arose another king over Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph.’19Dealing with our people with cruel cunning, this king mistreated our fathers and forced them to abandon their infants so they would not survive.20“At this time Moses was born—extraordinary before God. For three months he was nurtured in his father’s house.21And when he was set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and raised him as her own son.22Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in his words and deeds.23“When he was approaching forty years of age, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, Bnei-Yisrael.24When he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he went to the defense of the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian.25He was assuming that his brothers understood that by his hand God was delivering them, but they did not understand.26So on the next day he appeared to them as they were fighting. He tried to reconcile them in shalom, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong one another?’27“But the one doing wrong to his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge over us?28You don’t want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’29At this remark, Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.30“When forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai in the flame of a burning bush.31When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. But when he came up to look, there came the voice of Adonai:32‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.’ “Moses trembled in fear and did not dare to look.33But Adonai said to him, ‘Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.34I have surely seen the oppression of my people in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. Now come—let Me send you to Egypt.’35“This Moses—whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who appointed you as ruler and judge?’—is the one whom God sent as both ruler and redeemer, by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush.36This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years.37This is the Moses who said to Bnei-Yisrael, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’38“This is the one who was in the community in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living words to pass on to us.39Our fathers did not want to be obedient to him, but shoved him aside. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt,40saying to Aaron, ‘Make gods for us who will go before us. For this Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt—we have no idea what has happened to him.’41“And they made a calf in those days, offered a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands.42But God turned and gave them over to serve the host of heaven, just as it is written in the book of the Prophets: ‘It was not to Me that you brought sacrifices and offerings for forty years in the wilderness, was it, O House of Israel?43You also took up the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the images you made to worship. And I will deport you beyond Babylon.’44“Our fathers had the Tent of Witness in the wilderness—just as the One speaking to Moses had directed him to make it according to the design he had seen.45Our fathers received it in turn and brought it in with Joshua when they took possession of the land of the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it remained until the days of David,46who found favor in God’s sight. He asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.47But Solomon built a house for Him.48However, Elyon does not dwell in man-made houses. As the prophet says,49‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is the footstool of My feet. What kind of house will you build for Me, says Adonai, or what is the place of My rest?50Did not My Hand make all these things?’51“O you stiff-necked people! You uncircumcised of heart and ears! You always resist the Ruach ha-Kodesh; just as your fathers did, you do as well.52Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed the ones who foretold the coming of the Righteous One. Now you have become His betrayers and murderers—53you who received the Torah by direction of angels and did not keep it!”54When they heard these things, they became enraged and began gnashing their teeth at him.55But Stephen, full of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God—and Yeshua standing at the right hand of God.56And he said, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”57But they covered their ears; and crying out with a loud voice, they rushed at him with one impulse.58Driving him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.59They went on stoning Stephen as he was calling out, “Lord Yeshua, receive my spirit!”60Then he fell on his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” After he said this, he died.–from Acts 7
Saul was leading people to attack the Christians, but later on that road, the road to Damascus, He had a divine encounter with Jesus that change the history of the world. Who knows you may be tilling the soil with what you do and say. Who knows you may be planting seeds that are yet to grow. Who knows you may be watering seeds others have planted. And God will make them grow and consider all those people who are in or have come in or will come in to your life and what God might be able to do for them through you! God’s good plans are for you and for them! God’s good plans are so that we can all have a hope and a future! So don’t hold back God’s love! Live it out so that others may also come to know Jesus!
Consider the beginning and how many wanted to come and meet Him! Consider the wise men who traveled so far following the star. Consider the shepherds who were told about this incredible miracle and left their fields to meet Him! Consider your journey! Consider the impact Jesus has had and can have not only on you but also those around you.
Wise Men Follow His Star1Now after Yeshua was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, magi from the east came to Jerusalem,2saying, “Where is the One who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”3When King Herod heard, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.4And when he had called together all the ruling kohanim and Torahscholars, he began to inquire of them where the Messiah was to be born.5So they told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet:6‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’”7Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star had appeared.8And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child. And when you have found Him, bring word back to me so that I may come and worship Him as well.”9After listening to the king, they went their way. And behold, the star they had seen in the east went on before them, until it came to rest over the place where the Child was.10When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great gladness.11And when they came into the house, they saw the Child with His mother Miriam; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another way.
The Angel of Adonai Appears13Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of Adonai appears to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the Child, to kill Him.”14So he got up, took the Child and His mother during the night, and went to Egypt.15He stayed there until Herod’s death. This was to fulfill what was spoken by Adonai through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My son.”16Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became furious. And he sent and killed all boys in Bethlehem and in all its surrounding area, from two years old and under, according to the time he had determined from the magi.17Then was fulfilled what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying,18“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and loud wailing, Rachel sobbing for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”19But when Herod died, behold, an angel of Adonai appears in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,20saying, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those seeking the Child’s life are dead.”21So he got up, took the Child and His mother, and went to the land of Israel.22But hearing that Archelaus was king of Judea in place of his father Herod, he became afraid to go there. Then after being warned in a dream, he withdrew to the region of the Galilee.23And he went and lived in a city called Natzeret, to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets, that Yeshua shall be called a Natzrati.–from Matthew 7