Faith Over Fear

Because of a famine in Canaan, Abram took things into his own hands instead of asking God for direction. He decided to go to Egypt and live for a little while.
His decision put him and his wife in danger. Because Sarai was such a beautiful woman, Abram feared that the Egyptians would kill him. Abram made another decision without consulting God – he lied.
At this point, Abram’s fear was stronger than his faith. His fear of starvation was greater than his faith that God would provide, and his fear of being killed by the Egyptians was greater than his faith that God would protect him. Abram convinced Sarai to say that she was his sister, so that he would be treated well and his life would be spared.
Apparently Sarai’s safety wasn’t a part of Abram’s plan. Although Abram was treated well with gifts of livestock and servants, Sarai was taken by the Pharoah as his wife. Sometimes when we stray from the path that God has set for us or when our faith is weak, we are not directly affected. We may even benefit from our poor choices. But those same choices could be hurting those close to us.
Fortunately, God did not allow Abram’s poor choices to keep Him from the plans He had for Abram. God handled the Pharoah, and Abram was able to leave with Sarai and everything he had gained while in Egypt.
If Abram had stayed in Canaan, where God had led him, his faith would have grown stronger as God provided for him. Instead he allowed fear to take control, leading him away from God, and even leading to sin.
How often do you allow fear to steer you off course?
You start out on the right path, with the best intentions in your heart, and then things get hard and you are afraid of what may happen, so you start looking for an easier path to take – without asking God what direction you should be heading…
But God doesn’t give up on us when we make mistakes. God shows grace in our weakness and He still has plans in store for us, even after we’ve made choices that lead us away from Him.
If you are trying to follow God’s plan for your life, you have to stop allowing fear to trigger a change of plans. Use your fears to trigger your faith instead.

Dear Lord,
Please help me to remember to seek your direction when I’m faced with a problem or when I have a big decision to make. I want to always stay on the path that You have set for me, but sometimes I lose sight of what is important, and I worry too much. Sometimes I feel like I’m alone in the struggle and I try to find my own way out. Please help me to remember that even when I’ve made mistakes and end up feeling so far from You, that You will still open Your arms and pull me back to where You want me to be. Thank You for showing Your grace and not giving up on me in my weakness.
Amen


Today’s scripture

Genesis 12:10-20 NIV
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”
14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

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A Journey of Faith

When Abram arrived, God appeared to him and told him that he would give this land to his offspring one day. On top of everything that he had already promised Abram, now he was adding a promise of land. It didn’t matter that the Canaanites were already in the land – Abram knew that God was on his side. He was filled with hope and he had faith in God and the promises that he had made.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

He built an altar to the Lord, then continued to travel, building altars to the Lord and calling on His name.
Abram was learning to walk faithfully with God, even though he hadn’t seen any of the promises fulfilled yet. In fact, he had left behind the comfort of his home, his family, and his friends to wander through unfamiliar territory and sleep in a tent.
When God calls us, we are not usually being called into a comfortable situation. We are being called into a journey. The journey is different for each of us, although each person’s journey will include strengthening of faith and surrender to God’s plan. And while you may be eager for God to pour out His blessings upon you, be careful that in your expectations, you are not confusing God’s blessings with the comforts of the world. Don’t begin your journey expecting to immediately attain all that God has planned for you. Let go of the urgency and the need for everything to happen right now, and hold on instead to the peace in knowing that everything will happen in God’s timing.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for the plans that You have in store for me. I know that I haven’t always been ready or willing to answer your call. But I am waiting and listening for You now. I know that the road ahead may not always be easy, but I know that I will always have You to turn to when I am in need. Please continue to prepare me for the journey that lies ahead of me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen


Today’s Scripture:

Genesis 12:6-9 NIV
6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring
I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lordand called on the name of the Lord.
9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

When He Calls

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him;
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭12:4a‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Abram left, despite all that he was asked to leave behind.
Abram went, although he didn’t know where he was going.
He put his faith in God, even though God’s plan for him may have sounded a little shaky.

Where was this land that God wanted to show him, and what was he supposed to do when he got there?
How was God going to make him a great nation when he was childless at the age of 75, and Sarai was not able to conceive?
How was God going to make his name great when there was nothing remarkable about him?

When God calls, He is not asking us to have faith in his plans, He is asking us to have faith in Him and that His plans for us are good. The plan, alone – without Him, without His principles, without obedience, without faith – isn’t what brings you blessings or success.

Abram went because he had faith in God. He believed God. The difference between believing in God and believing God is that anyone can believe in God, but when you believe God, you begin to exercise your faith, you live in obedience, and you answer when God calls.

But how do I know what God is calling me to do?
Abram had the benefit of having instructions directly from God. Unfortunately, we do not have the convenience of being able to text God:

Hey Heavenly Father! 😇
I’ve got this weekend off! 🙌🏼
Is there anything special you
want me to work on? You got
any PLANS for me? Give me a CALL! Amen 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

I mean, how awesome would THAT be – if He would just TELL us what His plan is?
Well, I can’t tell you what God is calling you to do, because I don’t know your personal gifts and talents or how God is working in your life, but here’s some advice on a few ways you can get more in tune with a thought process that will help you follow where he leads.

– Keep your thoughts focused on Him rather than yourself. Learn to quiet your inner voice and listen for His voice. I absolutely love this version of Proverbs 3:5-6!

Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for GOD ’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭MSG‬‬

– Set aside a time for Him every. single. day. Pray. Read His Word and follow His instructions and His Principles. There is so much to learn in The Bible. If you follow where it leads you, you will be answering God’s call in your life!
– Don’t be afraid to take a first step. Like Abram, put yourself in His hands without fear of the unknown. Don’t be concerned with what you leave behind. The rewards you receive from knowing that you are walking in the path He has set for you are more than worth it!

Dear God, Thank You for having a better plan for me than I could ever make for myself. Please help me to grow in faith as I walk the path You have set for me. Please teach me and prepare me so I am ready to answer Your call. And please quiet my thoughts that are focused on myself so I can fully focus on You and follow where You lead me.
Amen

Be a Blessing

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God wants to bless us so we can be a blessing for others. He doesn’t want us to hoard His blessings and keep them for ourselves, He wants us to share.

Have you ever been in a drive-through and paid for the vehicle behind you? You don’t expect anything in return, just sprinkling a little bit of joy on someone’s day…
Have you ever pulled forward to the second window to pick up your food and noticed in your rear view mirror that the person you just blessed was blessing someone else? That’s what this verse is talking about! Only God’s blessings are even bigger and better than burgers and fries!
God wants to put joy in our hearts so we are inspired to make a difference in someone else’s life!

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Here are just a few ways you can be a blessing:
– Acts of kindness – even when it’s not needed, sometimes the smallest gestures can brighten someone’s day!
– Kind words – words of encouragement, compliments
– Listening – sometimes people just need to be heard and understood. Give someone the attention they need!
– Donations – whether it’s a charity that is near and dear to your heart or a coworker who is going through hard times, sometimes monetary donations are a blessing. When you are doing your spring cleaning ask yourself if someone at a homeless shelter could find your items useful, before you just toss them.
– Acts of service – volunteer at your local food bank or check with your pastor to see if there are any volunteer initiatives that you could participate in.
– Prayers – sometimes the best thing you can offer someone is a heartfelt prayer.

Dear God, I thank You for all the blessings that You have given me. I am so overjoyed that you want to make ME a blessing! Please open my eyes so that I might see every opportunity to bless others. I hope that by blessing others, I will bring glory to Your name!
Amen