Saturday, June 17, 2006

Following Father Abraham

Following Father Abraham

“I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the LORD and do what is right and just. Then I will do for him all that I have promised.” Gen. 18:19 (NLT)

The Context of this Command is Amazing (Gen. 18)

v Abraham shows hospitality to LORD & two Angels

1 Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 …and behold, three men were standing by him; 22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. (see 19:1ff) - NKJV

Theophany / Christophany: a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. For more examples see Gen. 16:7–13; 22:11–13; 32:24–30; Ex. 3:1–8; 23:20–23; Num. 22:22–35; Josh. 5:13–15; Jdg. 2:1–3; 6:11–24; 13:18; 1Kg. 19:4–8; 1Chr. 21:16–22; Is. 37:36; Dan 3:25 - “This passage involves another Christophany… The three visitors appear as “men,” but one is identified as the “LORD” (v. 13). Possibly the other two “men” accompanying Him were angels (19:1). The outstanding visitor, perhaps the preincarnate Christ, assumed control of the conversation and foretold the miraculous birth of Isaac.” W. A. Criswell, Believer’s study Bible [computer file], electronic ed. , Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1991 by the Criswell Center for Biblical Studies.

v The LORD is bringing Abraham into His confidence – Sodom’s fate

17 “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing…”

v The LORD is renewing the promise, His covenant with Abraham, though he tried to shortcut God’s plan (Ishmael): Gen. 12; 15; 17

18 “since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation,
and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

v God gives a new insight into His purpose and plans for Abraham and the means of bringing the Covenant Blessings to Abraham’s descendants. Father Abraham has some divine daddy duties:

19 (NKJV) “For I have known him [chosen], in order that
he may command his children and his household after him,

that they keep the way of the LORD,

to do righteousness (to do what is right – CEV)

and justice (what is... fair – CEV)

WHY? “…that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

A lot was riding on Abraham training his kids & household. So too us & ours.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Wise Advice for Foolish Young Lovers

Recently I had the honor of doing a wedding of two "kids" I saw grow up from preteens to neat, godly Adults. What a joy! Interestingly, the wedding was on April 1, otherwise known as April Fool’s Day. No comments, please.

With wedding season bearing down on us, I am pleased to share the challenge I gave at their wedding. A last insider note to help you make sense of one bit of advice I offered, his last name, her now-married name is Short. Shhh, here comes the Bride….

From time immortal, or at least since the 50’s, mankind has sought an answer to this question: "Why do fools fall in love?" Yet fools do fall in love and holes, the mud and traps.

Most of us, when we fall into something, try to get out of it. With an April Fool's Day wedding, you've provided a great way to remember some important lessons for marriage.

Certainly— or should I say, "no fooling"— you want to live a life of wisdom and abandon all foolish ways. So to help you from being mere fools who fall into love and risk falling out of love or climbing out, I have some words for the W.I.S.E.

The Wise work to grow in love and stay in love. The Wise may find a deep emotional connection, but it is not something they fall into or fall for. It is the results of wise workmanship.

Proverbs 14:1 says "The wise woman builds her house, the foolish one tears it down with her own hands." Since you do not want to be that kind of man or woman, here is your W.I.S.E. advice.

"W" - Walk with the Lord. Live in close step with Him. Abide in the vine, Jesus.

Proverbs 1:7 teaches that the "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." You need to walk with each other, but to do that best, walk with the Lord - as an individual, as a couple and in the community of the Church. To do otherwise is foolish and deadly to a relationship.

The second word to the WISE is "I", Invest in each other. Alexis, your dad knows a thing or two about this as a financial consultant, and also from the example he has set with your Mom. Investing means paying a price. [Here in the ceremony, I read Ephesians 5:21-33. Go thou and do likewise, dear reader.]

Alexis, love and show Ben respect. Ben, be willing to die for Alexis and die daily to self. Ephesians 5:21 instructs us "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."

Many investments, maybe all of them, have risk. So too in marriage, there is no promise of return. Yet not investing is worse, far riskier. If you want a return, you have to invest. Walk with the Lord and invest in each other sacrificially and trust God for a return, a dividend.

The third W.I.S.E. advice is easy to remember. "S" - Keep Short accounts. Forgive.

In 1 Corinthians 13:5 we are wisely instructed that "love keeps no record of wrong". It does not take into account wrongs suffered. No score keeping, no family historians. Keep short accounts.

Ephesians 4:26 says "Be angry and sin not. Do not let the sun go down on your anger." If you do this, you’ll show great wisdom. If not, you’ll prove foolish and tear down your home with your own hands.

Walk with the Lord. Invest sacrificially. Keep short accounts, forgive.

Your last W.I.S.E. word is "E" - Enjoy. Where did Jesus perform His first miracle? At a party, a wedding party. The thought of the host being embarrassed by running out of wine and the party ending early was unacceptable to Him.

God created and gave us marriage. Every good and perfect gift comes from above. The last time I looked, gifts are to be enjoyed. Enjoy each other— laugh with, and not at each other. Play, celebrate, and extend the honeymoon.

Life can be hard. Make your home a haven, a slice of heaven. Be a harbor from storms. Host your friends often, yet hole up too and enjoy each other.

So again, I ask the question: "Why do fools fall in love?" They weren’t watching where they were going. It is said that love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.

Yet, the Wise go in fully alert and aware. They walk with the Lord. They invest sacrificially in each other. They keep short accounts, forgive. They enjoy each other till death they do part.

May you live lives of wisdom, reverencing, honoring, and fearing God. Let us pray.