Wednesday, January 6, 2010


God is willing to patiently prove his love for us in the face of our doubts. In today’s reading, God told Abram that he would be blessed, but Abram had serious doubts. In verse 8, Abram replied, “O Lord GOD, how am I to know?” You’d think the all-powerful God of the universe might have thundered back, “BECAUSE I SAID SO, THAT’S HOW!” Check out this surprising dialogue, initiated by God, who says:

. . . "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great." But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me? . . . " behold, the word of the LORD came to him . . . "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

And he said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess." But he said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?" He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon."
- from Genesis 15:1-9

God didn’t snap at Abram for doubting. Instead, the Lord proceeded to patiently specify numerous proofs (sacrifices) for Abram to line up in order to satisfy his doubting mind. This is the God we serve, who is willing to get down on our level to prove his love and faithfulness to us in the face of our doubts.

May God give us grace to believe him, and to boldly claim his promises for ourselves and those we love. And if we cannot take him at his word, may we bravely confess our doubts right to his face, knowing our Father will graciously receive us, and that he will answer us kindly! This is my prayer for you.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I notice it is not just the book in my hand, but the attitude of my heart that defines whether the reading useful for good in my life. Anyone (including the devil himself) can learn to quote scripture, but it is the attitude of the heart which defines whether we use God's word to rectify our wrongs or to justify erroneous thinking. Check out the quote war, below, from today's reading:

And the tempter came and said to [Jesus], “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him . . .
from Matthew 4:3-10

I don't want to leave my attitude to chance! I want to take this moment to deliberately define the purpose and attitude of my heart as I read through scripture in 2010. I pray I'll more like the character in this dialogue who uses scripture to defeat the tempter. How about you?