A covenant Not A Contract

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Genesis 17:1-6  Abraham and the Covenant of Circumcision

Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him,   “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.  “I will establish My covenant between Me and you,

And I will multiply you exceedingly.” Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,  “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you,
And you will be the father of a multitude of nations.  “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham;
For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.  I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.

In the eyes of the world both a  They both can mean to “enter into an agreement between 2 or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified.” When contracts are signed, something is expected from both sides. If one side fails, then the contract can be null and void. We all know that contracts can be broken or there can be loop holes. CONTRACT is a legal agreement made in suspicion. The parties do not trust each other, and they set “limits” to their own responsibility. A COVENANT is an agreement made in trust. The parties love each other and put no limits on their own responsibility.

 In this passage of the biblical text God appears to Abram. This is one of several occasions in the biblical text were God appears to His servant to give instructions. On this occasion God meets his servant Abram to establish a covenant that involves Abram and his descendants. Now if you are a student of the bible you will no doubt notice that this is not the first time that we hear of this covenant between God and his servant Abram. Earlier in the book of Gen. God approaches Abram with similar covenant in  Gen15:18 however that covenant has a focus on the land that God will give unto the descendents of Abram. This covenant is different because God now clarifies by adding I will multiply you exceedingly and I will make you fruitful. One must note that this language is not at all novel as in the aforementioned text God all eludes to these elements of the covenant however this is the fist time that there is a notion that the royal seed will be of Abraham not merely a relative of the descendents of Abraham. God goes on to tell Abram that he is to walk upright and blameless before God. In other words God is tell Abraham “ If you walk before me you will be blameless.  This is true for us today often times we feel that the things that God has promised us are contingent on us up holding and up keeping our side of the bargain or on fulfilling our side of the covenant. While in some ways this is true it is important for us to remember that God desires our hearts not only our actions. This is at the core of what God is telling Abram if you walk before me, if you walk with me, if you seek after me, you will be blameless. Yet somehow we reverse it in our own human frailty. We choose to believe that one must be blameless in order to walk with God when in fact most of the biblical text is a direct contrast to this notion.

            Abram had been walking with God for the majority of his ninety nine years, we know that he was not perfect as evidenced by his trickery concerning the identity of his wife and his error in attempting to create his own descendents through Hagar. God does not abandon Him that though it seems Abram may have had lapses in judgment it appears that he continually was in fellowship with God even through theses times.  Therefore we must conclude that the list of wrongs and rights have more to do with our moralistic point of view then God’s divine plan.  So we can stop shouting out our short comings because God uses us in spite of them!

            In this case God is the initiator, establisher and sustainer of the covenant. This is true today yesterday and tomorrow.  God is the initiator and sustainer of the covenants that He makes with us. There nothing that we can do to nullify or veto God’s part of the covenant. God is the one who does the work and there is nothing that we can do about it!!

 Notice how many times in the passage the Lord uses the pronoun “I”!! The Lord repeatedly suggests that he is the guarantor of the work that needs to be done!! Like our Divine shadow, His is with us wherever we go making provision for us according to his perfect will. This is both sobering and comforting, think for a moment of the promises that God has made to you, He promises to be out strength and our redeemer, our shield and or help , or deliver and our provider,. He promises to never leave us or forsake us, whether we make our bed in hell or whether we flee from him like Jonah, if you are His child born of the covenant sealed with the blood of Christ you are an obligatory receipt of his love, grace and mercy, He who has done a good work in you will complete it, and once again there is nothing that you can do about it.

 It is God’s job to fulfill the covenant all you have to do is walk with Him. Now think of the time when you would have rather not been a recipient of his loving kindness when you felt that you did not deserve the mercy and grace of God. Listen to the Lord as He says to Abram I am God Almighty Walk before me and be blameless I will establish my covenant between me and you!  This is not a contract, from you nothing is required. Know that no matter what the circumstance my look like God is keeping His side of the covenant.

Resolutions are so… Tired!

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At the beginning of the year people begin to make resolutions. People vow to themselves or others that they are going to stop doing or start doing something that will dramatically change their present life. People do this each year but very rarely do they accomplish their so called resolution and even with this knowledge they often then proceed to make a new “New Year’s” resolution again the following year. Statistics show that resolutions are actually more likely to fail then to succeed, even though most people begin their quest to quit smoking or lose 10 pounds with much gumption and vigor. The reality is that they have not counted the cost of these changes and have not made a proper plan to accomplish their goal. Many of us are like this in our walk with the Lord. I know I have been! I say I am going to read more of my bible! I say I am going to fast more! I say that I am going to make sure I spend more time in worship! However I do not often pull out my calendar and PLAN to do these things. My zeal and passion alone are not enough to get me there not because I don’t want to do it but because I have not made room to do so!! I often do not ask God HOW to do theses things rather I craft some half -hearted feeble minded scheme that will fall away a few weeks after I begin. It is like the person who says I to themselves I am going to start my diet on Monday then proceeds to buy all their high calorie favorites on Saturday morning know that they will still be there on Monday!! The Bible instructs us to count the cost of a plan of action or a work before we begin in order to help secure the completion of a project! Therefore my beloved brothers and sisters, I share this with you I am not making resolutions this year!! Rather I am making Plans those that have been crafted under the direction of my Heavenly Father. I am setting short term goals, long- term goals and guidelines. I am making sure that my steps are ordered by the Lord as much as I am able to discern and prayerfully I will no longer have the time to make resolutions! Will you join me?

What the Lord Requires…

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ImageA couple of weeks ago the Lord showed me a vision. In this vision I was in the midst of a field, it was like a grassland area with a vast expanse, in this area there were people dressed in all white. Some of the people were in their natural state, meaning that they had no physical embellishments, no make up, no jewelry, no artificial hair nails etc. In essence they were “naked” and unashamed, while others were more made up.  Each person had a basket on their head similar to a wicker laundry basket. In each basket was a collection of items symbolizing what that person offered up to God. Some baskets seemed to produce a pure white smoke that drifted up to the heavens while others had smoke of various dark colors black, brown and green. I asked the Lord what this meant… here is the interpretation.

             The people dressed in white are those in the body of Christ. Those in the body that were in their natural state are those that have stripped themselves of the desire to impress other people with their life (what they do, what they wear, how pleasing they are to the natural eye). Those that were made up are those that are still seeking to please the flesh and other people around them. The basket on their heads indeed was the offering that each person had made to God, in other words for each person this sacrifice was different though the container was the same. The offering that produced the pure white smoke emanated from those who offered what the Lord required, while the dirty looking dark smoke was representative of the offering that was not what God required rather what those individuals choose to give. This was not a pure sacrifice.

            Upon pondering this I began to think of two places in the Bible, one is in Genesis where we see a parallel of God requiring a sacrifice and accepting one while rejecting another. Gen. 4:4- 7 And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

             It strikes me that the Lord talks to Cain in many ways to encourage him to give what the He required. The Lord is very clear in our lives what He desires for us through His Word. The Lord also sends people to confirm what His has already spoken. Therefore there is not excuse or reason to say “I do not know what the Lord requires.” However if you ask the Lord will reveal it to you.

            Another place in scripture that came to mind is in the New Testament when Jesus happens upon the rich young ruler. Mark 10:17-22 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 1You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property

            The young man was not willing to offer up what God required. While he was willing to offer what was easy for him! He said I have kept the commandments from my youth therefore we can assume that he was at least trying to be moralistic however it was not what the Lord required of Him.  The Lord required him to give up his thought, his plans, and his concept of what his life should look like in exchange for what the Lord desired to give him. This concept has not changed, one of the first things you must lean as Christian is that YOU no longer have control! Part of that realization is that you do not get to choose what you offer God! Often times there are areas in our lives that we refuse to allow God to touch, for some of us this is our money, for other our own comfort or our ten year plan.  It is very counter cultural, God is not our president rather He is our King! I implore you beloved in order to get God’s best you must first offer your best which is your will. It is hard but it is worth it!

The Lord said…

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For a long time now the Lord has been telling me to write. As is my costume I began to psychoanalyze this” but write what Lord.. But write how Lord… But no one will read it Lord… Why me Lord!!” If you know me this is how my talks with the Lord usually go so then the Lord began to send people who also said I should write. Needles to say I took there comments and deconstructed them as well. I then began to half write on face book much to my loving husband’s chagrin Be cause as he says, “ I love you but your facebook post are novels , ain’ nobody got time to read that!:” So here we are my beloved friends after some gentle nudging from my dearest sister friend, I AM WRITING! No on to the important part now that you have context. This assignment has been chasing me for quite some time however I remained stagnate because I refused to bend my will to match what the Lord requested. I must repent because I am merely a conduit for the growth that the Lord desires to see in His people. The great thing about those pillars of faith in the biblical text is not that they performed miracles or split seas and raised the dead rather it was that they said, “Yes”. This is the day I say yes and this Blog is what it looks like so Ball in your court Lord, make it happen!!