Who are you lord? What shall I do, Lord? Blessed to be a blessing
"And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent." (John 17:3 Amp
Abraham the father of faith, lived in a pagan world that worshiped many gods (Josh 24:14) and God spoke to him (12:1) and appeared to him (12:7) so Abraham could "know" Him (Who are you Lord?) and told him what to do (What shall I do Lord?) "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; There he built an altar to the LORD and called on (or proclaimed) the name of the LORD" !2:1, 4, 8) in the midst of a pagan world – both in Ur and now in Canaan. This is God's call on every believer's life – to know Him and to share how God has revealed Himself to us specifically (our personal testimony) and to share His Word – His Self-revelation with others. There are two callings from God to every one: 1) first a call to a relationship with Him (salvation and intimacy) and 2) a call to serve Him, i.e., our vocation ("vocare" – to call) through our work and to the sphere of relationships He gives us (family, neighbors, business associates, etc.) using the unique gifts and talents He has given us.
"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. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (12: 2-3) Blessed to be a blessing – As with Abraham, true faith in God leads to obedience to God. "Those who truly believe the Word of the Lord (faith) will forsake all else to become worshipers of the Lord and to serve His program to bring blessings to the world." (Alan P. Ross)
As with Abraham, Jesus calls us to put Him first and love Him above all else and serve Him by making Him known to others: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12: 30-31) "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things (temporal needs) will be given to you as well."(Matt. 6:33) "In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:33) "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt. 28:18-20)
The first thing we "leave" is self-centeredness as seen in Phil 2: 3-7 and become servants of God and others. And this is a daily "leaving" and a daily dying to self as Paul says, "I die daily" (die to self 1 Cor. 15:31) and Jesus commands: "Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."(Luke 9:23)
"Is it possible for people to miss their lives (calling) in the same way one misses a plane?" (Walker Percy) The pyramid of purpose links the temporal (day to day actions) to the eternal (what truly matters from God's perspective) as we commit to God's ultimate and universal purposes in every role and arena of our lives. (See Scriptures on back page for each step of the pyramid.)
My unique purpose
God's universal purposes
God's ultimate and eternal purposes
Discussion Questions FOR APPLICATION OF GOD'S WORD
What are all believers, followers of Jesus, called to leave? Heed Phil 2:3-7
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…"
God revealed Himself to Abraham and Abraham shared his revelation of God to others and ultimately to the world as God had promised – through his descendant the Lord Jesus Christ. How has the God of Abraham revealed Himself to you and how are you sharing your revelation of God to others? Discuss this at your table.
How does God reveal Himself to others?
How well to you know God through His Self-revelation? Or as Chuck Colson says below, How well do you know and live the Bible? What do you have to "leave" to know God better?
The Drought – A Message from God?
December 12, 2007
Last Sunday morning during our devotional time together, Patty and I read from 2 Kings 4, the story of Elisha providing food to the prophets in the midst of a famine. Ironically, as we opened our Bibles, the local newspaper was lying on the coffee table. The headline read, "Spring Crop Reduced as Drought Fear Grows." As everyone in America knows, there is a serious drought here in the Southeast, where Patty and I have a home-crops affected, water supplies dangerously low. In our Bible study we were directed to read Leviticus 26:3-5, "If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit." Later in the study we read Amos 8:11, "The days are coming, declares the sovereign Lord, when I will send a famine through the Land, not a famine of food or a thirst of water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord." For months I have been wondering if this drought is God's judgment. Last Sunday, I put the Bible down and said, "Okay, Lord, I get it." But why, you ask, would the Lord send a drought on the American Southeast? That is the Bible belt: the highest per capita church attendance in America. Well, think about it. The Scriptures, in my opinion, do not speak to a secular nation like America; they speak to God's people. The Old Testament was addressed to Israel; the New Testament speaks to the New Israel, the Church. Now, I hesitate to say that God has said this or that, for fear of being presumptuous-or maybe even being dismissed as a crank. But I cannot get the thought out of my head. Sunday's newspaper and our assigned Bible study, I suppose, could have been a coincidence, but I do not think so. I think God is speaking to the Church-notice I did not say America-today. So what is He saying? That we have been disregarding His Word. That we have been going to church to make ourselves feel good and have our ears tickled. That therapy has replaced truth. There is more than a drought; there is a famine of reading and living by the Word of God.
Scripture memory verse: "And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent." (John 17:3 Amp.)
Daily acts- 1 Cor. 10:31
Short-term goals –plan how will I grow spiritually in the next year – e.g. Psalm 1
Long-term goals- to know God better and glorify Him more Eph. 1:17-19; Phil. 3:7-14
My unique purpose- Eph. 2:10; 1 Peter 4:10
God’s universal purposes – Matt. 22:37-39; 28:18-20
God’s ultimate and eternal purposes – Rom. 11:36