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.

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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

Receiving Blessings

“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

Abram is a pretty ordinary guy. Up until now, we don’t really hear anything special about him. We don’t hear of him having a great faith or being righteous so far – nothing that explains to us why God chose him as the man that He would make into a great nation. God chose someone ordinary and imperfect, just like you and me, to bestow blessings upon.
God doesn’t bless us because we deserve it. He doesn’t bless us because we are worthy. We’re not worthy.
Like God’s grace, there is nothing we can do to earn His blessings.
If you think that God will never bless you because you are not spiritual enough or because you don’t deserve to be blessed, God has a surprise in store for you! He sees something special in you, and, out of love, He wants to bless you.
God’s blessings are free. They are His gift to us, and we should receive them with joy and a grateful heart.

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father…
‭‭James‬ ‭1:17‬a ‭NLT‬‬

Thank You God for all the blessings in my life. I joyfully receive everything You have given me, not because I have earned it, but because You are good. 💜
Amen

Precious

After Noah showed God his respect and gratefulness, God was pleased. In fact, He immediately began blessing Noah and his sons.
He said that He would never again curse the ground because of us, even knowing full well that it is our nature to sin.
His love for us is so great that he wanted to fill the Earth with us again.
He gave us meat to eat. That may seem insignificant to us these days, but this is a gift that He had not offered before.
He made it clear how precious our lives are to Him when he said that he would demand an accounting for the life of a fellow human.
He established a covenant with Noah, and He put a rainbow in the sky, because He wants us to see this symbol of His love. He has the power to take away everything we have, even our very lives, in the blink of an eye, but He chooses to show us His love instead.

Look at how much has changed in God’s view of us, as humans, from the beginning of Noah’s story through to the covenant. He looked at us and regretted that he had ever made us at all. But this one man was so faithful, so full of love, devotion, and gratefulness, that God looked at us as precious again. He wants to give us the world!
He wants us to love Him and honor Him, like Noah did.
He wants us to show that we are devoted and grateful.

Dear God,
I fall on my knees, thanking You for Your love and Your grace that I could never earn. Thank You for never giving up on me, even when I give up on myself. I am so grateful for the relationship that we are building stronger each day, and for everything that You are teaching me as I draw closer to You. Please open my eyes so that I may see every opportunity to honor You and to show my devotion to You.
Amen ❤️

Blessings and Burdens

Blessings don’t always come with no strings attached. Occasionally, they have burdens associated with them. Sometimes we have to work very hard to accomplish what God assigns us, according to His purpose.
Sometimes we go through hardship and suffering before we see the blessings that come out of our hard work. We don’t always see the blessings immediately. In fact, we often must wait much longer than we’d like to wait. This doesn’t mean that God has abandoned us, it means that he trusts that we have the faith to see it through. Look at the time and the hard work Noah invested in building the Ark. The time he spent ON the ark, feeding and caring for all those animals. Imagine the fear that Noah and his family felt during the storm, which must have seemed like it would never end. The rough waters, with no land in sight.

If Noah had focused on the burdens of his assignment, he may not have followed through – and none of us would be here today. Sometimes there is more riding on God’s plan for you than you could ever imagine! Think of how different our world would look today if Noah had balked at the size of his burden or had simply not followed God’s plan at all.
“Gee, God…I appreciate the offer, but I don’t think I can build a boat THAT big.
Cypress wood, you say? That’s pretty hard to come by. Could we maybe use some other material?
And do we really need two of EVERY animal? You see, I’m allergic to cats…”

It’s up to us to look past the difficult situations and see that His blessings outweigh the burdens of our lives.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
– ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7 NLT‬‬

When I am feeling overwhelmed, I will pray:
Dear God,
Things are hard right now. I am trying to follow your plan, but I am hurting. Please give me peace and the strength to follow you and fulfill your plan for me, no matter how hard things get.
Amen

Finding Favor

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”
– ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭6:8‬‬

So what exactly is God’s favor anyway?

The favor of God can be described as His acceptance or approval. It can also mean a kindness or Goodwill.

James 4:6 says that He “…opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.”
Proverbs 11:27 tells us that “Whoever seeks good, finds favor.” God knows when we are trying to be better, and He respects that!
In Psalm 30:5, we learn that “…His favor lasts a lifetime…”
For the rest of our lives, he has blessings in his plan for us!

Psalm 128:1 (AMP) sums it up best for me:

“Blessed [happy and sheltered by God’s favor] is everyone who fears the LORD [and worships Him with obedience], Who walks in His ways and lives according to His commandments.”

‭‭ When God shows favor, He gives an abundance of blessings. In Noah’s case, he and his family were spared when God flooded the earth. When the angel came to Mary and told her that she had found favor with God, she was blessed with Jesus.
But with favor, comes responsibility. Noah had a great deal of work to do before God’s promise was fulfilled. Mary had to live with the trials of being an unwed mother, when people did not understand or believe in the concept of the virgin birth. Being in God’s favor doesn’t mean that life is going to be filled with nothing but blessings from here on out. There is no guarantee that finding favor in the eyes of the Lord will bring you everything your heart desires. Although the Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering (Genesis 4:4), he was murdered shortly afterward. Sometimes God puts those He favors through trials, as we see in the book of Job.

But as Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” That means that no matter how big your mistakes are, and no matter how bad things seem, God can work things out. If you love God and obey His commands, if you are pursuing your calling or at least trying to figure out what He has called you to do, if you are finding joy in serving Him, then you have found favor with God. Now look around you and find your blessings. And be ready for the blessings He has planned for your future! Remember – His favor lasts a lifetime!

Dear God, Thank You for the favor that You have poured out on my life and all of the good things You have in store for my future. Please open my eyes to the blessings that I overlook, so that I may take delight in them. And please show me how I can be a blessing to others. Amen