The God of My Master

In Genesis 24 Abraham sends his servant to find a bride for his son Isaac. He assures him that the angel of the Lord will go ahead of him on the journey and bring him success. True to Abraham’s word, the hand of the Lord caused a fortuitous meeting between him and Rebekah who became Isaac’s wife.

Genesis 24:48 highlights the servants response to the favour of the Lord. It reads as follows:

“And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son”

The servant refers to the Lord, as the Lord and God of his master Abraham. This was Abraham’s most trusted servant who had charge of all that he owned. I am certain that he saw the hand of the Lord move many times in the life of Abraham. This event, was yet another in support of the intimate friendship that God had with Abraham, and the great love that he had for him. When the servant saw the supernatural hand of God intervene for the sake of His friend, he had no other response but to worship!

I wonder how many of us live lives of such intimate friendships with God, that other’s come to know God, through that very friendship. When others witness a divine act in that relationship, they have no option to say: “Yip, that is the God of Susan all-right!” Essentially our friendship with God, becomes the catalyst for others to recognise His existence and divine nature. And, as with Abraham’s servant, those who recognise Him, have no option but to worship Him, and acknowledge Him as their own.

Have a blessed day!

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Quick On Your Feet

A relationship with God is a dynamic experience. It is ever-changing, and as soon as you think you have Him figured out, and everything is nicely compartmentalised, He proceeds to blow up the box that you so neatly put him in. The Spirit of God blows where He wills, and only those with quick feet and  a willing heart respond to His direction. Romans 8:14 captures this so eloquently:

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God”

I had such an experience today. i had been preparing for a financial melt-down for some months now. more to the point, I wanted to position myself to profit from changing market forces.Recently, I invested some money into something that I thought would bring me a charming return. And, I subsequently learned form my broker, that my investment had to date actually produced good returns. Today, as I was walking around in one of the busiest malls in Johannesburg, I thought to go have a cup of tea, and write my blog. When I sat down, God said that I was to put away the computer, because He wanted to chat  to me. I obeyed. Actually, I was relieved because I was thin on material.

What followed was the most personal and insightful conversation with my Lord. It is peculiar how we are often amazed at the depth of his knowledge of us – the ones He made. Anyhow, He told me to bail out of the investments I had made, and pursue another kind. This strategy is diametrically opposed to conventional wisdom. Again, I obeyed. When I phoned the broker, and asked him to do as the Lord had instructed, he asked me about my change of heart, because a day earlier I had issued a different instruction. My response was unrehearsed to say the least, in fact, it just sort of came out of my mouth. I replied: “Well, it is never about that money, but about relationship with God. It is about hearing His heart at every minute of the day, and responding accordingly”.

What grace to have a God sit you down and talk to you in the midst of the world’s noise and chaos. What grace for Him to stoop to redirect your life and align it with His highest and best for you. It really doesn’t matter if I make money or not – I mean that sincerely. The greatest gift today, was to have an encounter with Him, in the midst of the world. To have Him invade the minutia of my life and direct me in His ways is priceless. He moves, and blows where He wills. let us be willing in heart, and quick of feet to respond. Amen.

Sojourning 101

Abraham had a habit of building an altar to the Lord whenever he entered a new territory, or when he encountered God. I am encouraged to do the same  as a way of staking a claim for God both in the spirit, and in the natural realms. We who are born of God, consider ourselves to be sojourners on earth, with heaven being our true home. Our journey often takes us to unexpected places, often far from home.

Abraham was told to leave his home and go to a place which God would show him. During his travels, a famine in Canaan forced him and his wife Sarah to go to Egypt. Upon leaving Egypt, Abraham travelled South to camp between Bethel and Ai. Genesis 13:4 tells us that it was the very place where he once lived and first erected an altar to the Lord of Hosts. It is further written that he returned to call on the name of the Lord at this very altar, upon his return from Egypt.

Abraham never fails to inspire me through his relationship with God – it is truly a life worthy of imitation. As the story of our life unwinds and we travel this earth, it is essential to our faith that we always return to our foundations in Christ. The altars in our life are reminders of God and who He has been to us.  They are testimonies of his character and nature; and they are so interwoven with our own lives, that we hardly know where His story begins and ours end. We must like Abraham, return to these landmarks, if only to remind ourselves of the land He once gave us. It is in this land that we are secure in the faith, because the altars represent the assurance of who He was, is and will be to us who call on His name.

Perhaps circumstances has forced you take a turn in Egypt. Remind yourself of what the Lord has done for you,  and how in the past when you called upon His name, he answered you and met you in that place.

 

Taking Territory

I have enjoyed reading about Abraham very much. I am drawn to his relationship with God. He was not a man who engaged in pious religious acts, and yet his relationship with God permeated most every part of his daily life. As he sojourned the earth, God was His constant companion. Where Abraham walked, God was sure to be at his side. They were as a pair of explorers breaking ground and taking territory for God.

When Abraham left his home, on the instruction of the Lord, he came to Canaan. Genesis 12:7 provides us with some detail: “ Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him”. In the very next verse we read that Abraham moved to a place between Ai and Bethel, and again he built an altar unto the Lord, and called upon His name. In Genesis 21:33 we read how Abraham wins back the well that people tried to steal from him. In response to winning back the territory, Abraham plants a Tamarisk tree unto the Lord, and there he calls upon the name of God.  It is enormously significant that whenever Abraham entered new territory, or took ground, he would build an altar to the Lord and worship Him.

I believe that taking ground in the spirit and in the natural is inextricably linked to worship. We, like Abraham need to lay down a marker in the spirit and in the natural, declaring that the land is now under the reign of the Kingdom of God. Yes, the land was promised to Abraham, by a God that does not lie. And yet, Abraham habitually built altars unto the Lord God as and when he took new territory. Abraham was not passive in his worship or in His pursuit of the territory that God promised him. He was very much intentional and such a natural and instinctive response can only be borne out of relationship. Let us be equally deliberate and focused in taking land for God.

 

 

The Crown of God’s Creation

I dreamed last night that I had a conversation with someone about investment opportunities within companies on the stock exchange. I pointed out a particular company, and said that it was run by a man of God. I went on to say that we should  invest in people, rather than moisturizer. The Lord revealed some principles of truth through the dream that are worth sharing.

People are the crown of God’s creation. And therefore they should be the single greatest determinate of how and where to invest our time and resources. Hebrews 2:7 declares it so: “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands”. And although there does exists some debate over the exact translation of this verse, it is fair to say that man is God’s glorious creation. We should further realize that man was set over the work of God’s hands. It is therefore clear that God values the hands that make the product of greater value than the product itself. The product may be replicated, but the person can not. In real terms, the man behind the company or ministry is more important than the ministry itself.

People are stock of God’s company  –  that is His Kingdom. They are His creation and His investment. He poured the best of Him into us when we were created in His image. He further gave the best of Him, in His Son, to preserve and bless us with the fullness of life. The precious blood of Jesus was spilled for man, and not for an organisation.

When we invest in people, we partner with God, His designs, plans and purposes on earth. He invested in people and empowered them to establish His purposes. When we do the same, we honour His creation, and recognize lasting value in the “stock” that is the pinnacle of His creation.

Worship: Recognition of Who You Are

I have long since believed that one definition of worship is: ” the recognition and expression of who God is”. It could be expressed through a simple verbal expression such as “God You are gracious”, or  it could be set to a melody. Either way, it gives expression to who He is, His character and nature.

If we were to apply this definition to our daily lives, the context or setting of our worship may change, but the manner will remain the same, in that it would always recognise and express His character, no matter how we express it. Let me explain. If you wash dishes for a living, and you know God to be a God of excellence, you could express the excellence of his character in the manner you wash dishes. Washing dishes has now become an act of worship. This sentiment is partly conveyed in Colossians 3:23, which reads: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as if for the Lord rather than men”. The act of worship is then not confined to any act in particular; so long it truthfully represents the Spirit of God.

Genesis 22 sees the Lord ask Abraham to offer his only son Isaac on an altar. Abraham says yes to the Lord; and he agrees to offer Isaac to the One who gave him his very son. God had promised him this heir, and I am certain that Abraham believed his God would raise his son from the dead, if it came down to it. Genesis 22:5 captures Abraham’s words, just as he is about to depart with his son Isaac to the place where he was to offer him. The verse reads as follows:

“Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.”

Notice Abraham’s word choice. Worship. He and the lad, were about to worship God, and then they planned to return. Abraham knew God to be faithful and He was about to give expression to that through the sacrifice. Notice further how he says that they will be back. Abraham’s sacrifice, the act of trusting and obeying had become an act of worship, because He knew God, and therefore he did not fear. The way Abraham lived life was an act of rapturous worship worthy of imitation.

Worship dispels fear. In fact it mocks fear, because it recognises and expresses the Faithful Love that is God, which the word tells us drives out all fear. Today, I am challenged with a series of “what  if’s”. I choose to worship God today through the choices I make. My choices mock fear, and declare God is faithful. He is a Provider. He is my Provider. My choices further give expression to the fact that He is big, and that nothing is impossible for Him. And now to worship…..

Trained Servants of the House

We who call on the name of the Lord, are all called to serve in the house of God. And, it is so that sometimes such service takes on unexpected forms. We find an example of this in our father Abraham’s household.

His relative Lot is taken captive by a war party, and in response, he mobilizes his household. Genesis 14:14 picks up the story: “When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan”.

Abraham trained his servants for warfare, precisely for such an eventuality. It is so with the servants in God’s house also. We each serve in various capacities in the house, but, there comes a time that we need to make war to recapture that which was taken from us. We find further examples of this in the book of Nehemiah, where people of various professions assisted with the building of the wall. My favourite example is found in Nehemiah 3:8, where a certain perfumer laboured in the building project. He was no builder, but he joined the fight regardless.

We are all warriors and we have all suffered loss, or had our walls broken down at some point. Perhaps it is time for us to mobilize ourselves in the pursuit of that which was taken from us, and fight for the restoration of that which was broken down.