Thursday, February 28, 2013

Moving West

Have you ever had the urge to move west? Many cowboy movies associate moving west with adventure and discovery. And, back in the day I'm sure it was. What with trying to find water or land suitable for growing produce or raising cattle. Then having to fight marauders to keep your land. Living in wagons until houses could be built. It took certain personalities to make it work.

For many years I skipped over the part that mentions Abraham's father setting out for Canaan. But he never made it. Instead he settled in Haran.  I don't know if God called him to go or if he just thought to go there. But he never completes the trip.

Of course the story doesn't end there. God still wanted the family in Canaan. So he calls up Abraham to finish the trip. You might think this means that Abraham had what it took. That he was the perfect man, absent of any flaws. You need to keep reading the story of Abraham if you think that.

One thing he did do perfectly was to answer God's call to move west. He didn't tell God he was going to stay where things were easier. Instead, he moved away from the known green grasses of the Fertile Crescent. Away from the luscious rivers that fed the land. Away from family and friends to have over for dinner.

Moving west was a big step of faith. Would you have done it?

I know in some aspects I did it when I married a military man. Life away from family and in places that added to our cultural knowledge was not always easy. But in the midst of the struggles I grew in my faith and knowledge of God, just like Abraham did. For that I can never be sorry.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meteors vs Stars

Did you hear about the meteor that exploded over Russia? I find this an interesting bit of news, especially when you consider there were two others spotted that same day. Not to scare you or be all doomsday-ish, but here's some food for thought. Have you read chapter six of Revelations?

During the sixth seal, John talks about the stars falling to earth like unripened figs being flung from a tree during a windstorm. I think it will be meteors that fall. John would not have known to call them anything other than 'stars.'

And just look at the damage one good sized meteor did when it exploded over a city in Russia. Can you imagine how much damage will be brought when more than one explodes as it hits the earth? I agree with you. It is a scary thought.

Do I think it is the sixth seal happening? No. We haven't experienced the other seals yet. But, I do think it is a taste of what could happen. Should we walk around in fear? No. Our hope comes from knowing Jesus is protecting us and guiding our days.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

God's Love - The Perfect Valentine Gift

Valentine's Day is a perfect day to talk about God's love. The song, One Thing Remains has hit home with me so vividly lately. In that no matter what I do or how I think I've failed Jesus or how far I might stray in my thinking, his love will always be there pulling for me to do the right thing. I will forever be surrounded by it. I can't tell you how freeing and comforting the realization of that is.

My heart breaks for all those who run from God. Who don't want anything to do with him. But that isn't something new for God to deal with, is it? Think about man before the flood, and after the flood. Remember the tower of Babel? Apparently man is habitually running away from God's love and then establishing his own idols and gods.

In reading A Visual Guide to Bible Events I realized how much God loved man even when he'd turned away from him. Did you ever think it was love that caused God to move Abraham away from family and friends? You may not think so, but I do.

I mean it's confusing in some aspects because he moved Abraham from one area where there was fresh water and plenty of land filled with green pastures to another area that wasn't. This new place was a narrow land bridge connecting the two larger areas of the fertile crescent. And, by narrow, I mean you couldn't spread out. If you go too far to the east, you hit the desert. If you go too far west, you hit the ocean. But there was a reason he picked this place.

People, merchants mainly, traveled through that area all the time. And when they did they would come across a nomad named Abraham who loved God in Heaven. While initially they may not have thought much about him they began to see the provision of God. In the narrowest fertile area Abraham's wealth increased. His flocks multiplied. He became a father twice in his old age, and one of those sons came from his ninety-year-old wife. Who ever heard of such a thing?

Can't you just hear it? The God of Abraham blesses him. Provides for him in that place. Oh yes, the word got out; reminding the people of the Mighty God in Heaven. They could no longer ignore him. And as time passed and the nation of Abraham grew, people from all over the civilized world came to know about the love God has for the Hebrew nation, and for man.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Home Sweet Home?

Have you ever wondered how man filled up the earth so fast? There was only one family saved from the first and only mega-flood. Then a couple of chapters later in Genesis you read about all the nations and people making a home for themselves throughout the fertile crescent area.

There's one phrase that gets repeated several times that tells it all. . .'had more children.' (CEV) Not to mention the fact that those men still lived a looooonng time. We're talking centuries. No wonder cities grew so quickly and the people had to spread out and discover new places. (Did you know Egypt and Ethiopia are the names of grandsons of Noah?) Sadly, I see, that as Noah's family grew and moved away from home they forgot about God.

How do I know they forgot about God? Look at all the false gods the Bible tells us about. So, why did Noah's relatives forget?

Have you ever heard a sermon or Bible lesson on staying focused on God, even when things are going in your favor and life is good? Well, life was smooth sailing for them. For the most part. You see, they lived in places where the ground was good. By 'good' I mean food could be grown and harvested; animals could multiply in pastures lands that were green from rivers running through it; trees grew prolifically. This wonderful place stretched from the Persian Gulf all the way over to the tributary area of the Nile River.

And in the midst of this crescent is a stretch of land that makes the whole thing look a bit like an hourglass. The road has to hug the ocean because of the ridge-filled area. And if the people go too far to the east of the ridges they hit the desert. And out of all the places in the fertile crescent this was the 'promised land.'

I have to wonder if Abraham and Lot after seeing the fertile crescent from one end to the other wondered, why here? Why not live where the land searches out farther than the eye can see? But they didn't argue with God. Seeing the green side of things, the water and pastureland, they settle in their new home and made the best of it. Ah, home sweet home.