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nChrist
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« Reply #360 on: January 08, 2007, 12:32:43 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Romans 4:16-25 Psalm 37:5

Not Always Reasons, but Promises

Romans 4:16-25

In the days of Abraham, to start out for a land one had never seen was as great a venture of faith as astronauts going to the moon today. It took a great deal of faith for Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees and go to a strange land.

Like Abraham, we Christians are pilgrims on this earth, and by faith we are traveling to a land we have never seen.

Abraham only partially obeyed at first and did not go directly to the land God wanted to show him. There were the years of wasted time in Haran, which to Abraham meant lost time and lost rewards.

As Abraham left Haran he still had no clear directive about the land to which he was going. God had not even so much as described the land as "a land flowing with milk and honey," as He did later for the Israelites in Egypt.

Abraham had nothing to rely on except God's clear command to go. By faith he was to walk a step at a time. God seldom accompanies His commands with reasons or explanations, but He always accompanies them with wonderful promises.

Do you trust God? When you know God wants you to do something, can you step out for Him and claim His promises, even though He hasn't given you reasons why He wants you to do it?

"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass" (Ps. 37:5).

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« Reply #361 on: January 08, 2007, 12:34:09 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference John 16:33 Acts 7:5 Genesis 12:4-9 Hebrews 11:15-16 2 Timothy 3:12

Separation Often Produces Conflict

Genesis 12:4-9

Abraham finally left Haran and forsook everything.

Speaking of Abraham and those who were with him, Hebrews 11:15,16 says, "And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."

Abraham's separation from Haran was complete.

Once Abraham was in the land, he did not stop to possess it but merely passed through it. He did not stop because God did not order him to stop.

Genesis 12:6 says, "And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land."

As to Abraham's inheritance in the land, Acts 7:5 says that "he [God] gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child."

At this time, therefore, Abraham was not occupying the land but merely passing through it. The Scriptures comment that "the Canaanite was then in the land" (Gen. 12:6). The Canaanites posed a problem and were the source of future conflict.

Our separation is similar. God calls for an all-out separation, which often results in conflict. There will be persecution and problems, but we must remember the words of Jesus: "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12).

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« Reply #362 on: January 09, 2007, 12:58:24 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Matthew 6:9-10 Genesis 12:7-9 Hebrews 11:9-10 Jeremiah 33:3

A Tent and Altar Life

Genesis 12:7-9

The tent symbolized Abraham's dependence on God. Hebrews 11:9,10 says of Abraham that "by faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles [tents] with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."

Every child of God is a pilgrim in this world and is to have his eyes fixed on his home in heaven.

The altar that Abraham built indicated his dependence on God and his worship of God. Note the order. First, the believer is to take his place as a stranger and pilgrim on earth; then comes true acceptance and worship.

This is not referring to an acceptance as far as salvation is concerned, which comes by faith in Christ Jesus. This is acceptance in the realm of being a child true to God.

In what we commonly call "The Lord's Prayer," we say, "Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come" (Matt. 6:9,10). This has to do with the altar--not a literal altar such as Abraham built but our relationship to, and worship of, God.

We want His name to be holy, which means that we are not seeking a holy place for ourselves. We want His kingdom to come; that is, we want Him to rule supreme.

To sincerely pray this means that we are not trying to build a little kingdom for ourselves. The phrase "Thy will be done" (v. 10) shows that we want God's will, not ours, to be done. This is worship. This is a vital relationship with God.

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jer. 33:3).

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« Reply #363 on: January 10, 2007, 11:55:00 PM »

Title: Altar Neglect Brings Failure
Book: Strength for the Journey
Author: Theodore Epp

Genesis 12:9-13

After Abraham pitched his tent, built an altar and called upon the name of the Lord, the Scriptures say that "Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south" (Gen. 12:9).

Instead of staying where he had his altar--his contact with God--Abraham went farther south. He went away from the altar and made "provision for the flesh" (Rom. 13:14).

Have you not also found that failures arise when you neglect the altar? The altar is representative of our communion and fellowship with God. Do you have an altar?

It is common to refer to the "family altar." This means having a time when the family reads the Word of God and prays together. But do you also have an individual altar--a time alone with God for Bible reading and prayer?

You desperately need this time with God; to omit it is to invite all kinds of trials and failures into your life.

I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that 85 percent of the failures and trials that Christians have can be traced to the fact that their altar relationship with God is not right. They have moved away from the time of fellowship with Him.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Ps. 119:105).

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« Reply #364 on: January 10, 2007, 11:56:38 PM »

Title: Friend of the World or of God?
Book: Strength for the Journey
Author: Theodore Epp

Genesis 12:14-20

Abraham's downward steps away from God eventually led to open rebuke.

The Bible says, "Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way" (Gen. 12:18,19).

It is sad when a child of God has to be corrected by the world. All of this came about because of Abraham's lack of faith, which resulted in his going to Egypt--a symbol of the world of unbelief.

We, too, need to be careful about our friendship with the world. The Word of God says, "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4).

Check your life. Are you a friend of the world? According to this verse, if you are a friend of the world, you are an enemy of God.

The time that the Christian spends in a backslidden state is wasted time. Abraham's time in Egypt was wasted as far as his spiritual progress was concerned.

While trying to be a friend of the world, the believer is only building with wood, hay and stubble--which someday will be consumed by the fire of judgment. The believer will receive no reward for this kind of work (see 1 Cor. 3:12-15).

"Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4).

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« Reply #365 on: January 13, 2007, 11:15:17 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 John 2:1 Proverbs 14:12 Genesis 13:1-4

Results of Backsliding

Genesis 13:1-4

Even though Abraham returned to fellowship with God, irreparable damage had been done. When a believer backslides, he does things he will never be able to undo.

Abraham's testimony had been weakened, and damage beyond repair had been done to worldly Lot, Abraham's nephew. Lot had gone with Abraham to Egypt. The backslider never backslides alone; he always takes others with him.

Even though Abraham had backslidden and had brought about much damage, Genesis 13:3,4 tells us that he went back "to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord."

God has made provision for every backslider. Just as Abraham returned to fellowship with the Lord, you, too, can come back into fellowship with Him if you have backslidden.

First John 2:1 says, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

In the first chapter of 1 John, every believer is assured: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (v. 9).

Do not stay in the miserable place of disobedience. Come back to God and confess your sin.

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 14:12).

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« Reply #366 on: January 13, 2007, 11:16:50 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 13:5-13 Galatians 5:16 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

Spirit-Controlled or Carnal?

Genesis 13:5-13

In considering the lives of Abraham and Lot, we see that Abraham's life was symbolic of the Spirit-controlled Christian, whereas Lot's life was symbolic of the carnal Christian.

Unconsecrated Christians who are living according to the flesh are referred to as "carnal" in the Scriptures (see 1 Cor. 3:1,3).

It is never recorded that Lot built an altar. He was not known for his communion with God. As a result, he got into trouble, just as any believer gets into trouble when he does not take time for daily fellowship with God.

I am not referring to a time when the entire family reads the Bible and prays together. This, too, is extremely important, but I am referring particularly to your personal time alone with God.

Perhaps you say you do not have enough time because you are too busy with life's activities. Anything that takes you away from this time of fellowship with God is sin.

Regardless of how much work you have to do, you can find some time to spend with God alone. As a believer, this is your number one prerogative.

The Devil will always see to it that we have little or no time to fellowship with God. But we can--and we must--make time for such fellowship. We must put first things first.

"Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16).

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« Reply #367 on: January 13, 2007, 11:18:10 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 14:10-16 Galatians 6:1

Restoring a Brother

Genesis 14:10-16

What should be our attitude when a brother is taken captive by the things of this world?

Some have a distorted concept of separation. W hen they see a brother fall into sin, they shout it from the housetops and publish it in their magazines. This is not what Christ instructed.

Galatians 6 tells us what our attitude should be toward a fallen Christian brother. The Apostle Paul exhorted, "Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also" (v. 1, Amplified).

When Abraham realized what had happened to Lot, he became very bold. "When Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus" (Gen. 14:14,15).

God rewarded his courage because Abraham "brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people" (v. 16).

"If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one" (Gal. 6:1).

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