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The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. Genesis 13:14-15

Lot and Abram (Abraham) could no longer live together due to the size of their herds of livestock. Abram generously gave Lot the first pick of the land, and he chose the rich plains to be his own. After Lot left, God came to Abram and restated his promise. All the land that Abram saw around him was his. One day the land would be filled with descendants of Abram.

I wonder what was going through Abram’s mind as he saw Lot leave. Lot was one of the last ‘ties’ to his former life in Ur. Lot was taking the better land for himself. God’s promise of children was disappearing as he and Sara grew older. There must have been many questions going through Abrams mind as he contemplated the future.

As Christ-followers God has given us many promises. There are times when the journey we call life is full of potholes and detours. Some of these are a result of our own poor choices. Some are a result of the evil world we live in.

Like Lot, there are times when people seem to take advantage of us, taking the best for themselves and leaving us with second best. Even during these times we need to remember God’s promises for us. God told Abram to look ahead. He encouraged him to walk the land. I think what God was really saying that day was this.

“Don’t be stagnant. Look at all that live has to offer you. I’ve told you I would bring you here and I have. I told you I’d increase your wealth and I have. I told you I’d give you land, and I’m doing that now. I’ve told you that someday I will bless you with many offspring. Trust me.”

God didn’t bless Abram because of who Abram was or what he did for God. God blessed Abram because of who God is and His love for Abram.

The same is true for us as we make this journey called life. There will be setbacks. There will be times when others take advantage of us. There will be times when God’s promises seem to get lost in the shuffle of life itself.

As Abram went through life he built altars, reminders of Gods promises and blessings. We need to build altars in our lives. Places we can return to when life gets complicated, places where we can get back to the roots of our spiritual heritage. God may seem distant right now. It may seem like you have strayed too far from him. It’s during those times we need to keep moving towards God. His promises are sound. Life may change us, but life never changes Gods ability to fulfill His promises.

PRAYER: Father, I thank you for the story of Abram and for how you blessed him during the changes of life. I thank you for this story of Lot and how, even though change happens and sometimes we get taken advantage of, your promises are still true. Help me during the wilderness times of life to return to the altars I’ve set as reminders of your great love and forgiveness. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, Romans 4:20

It had been years since God promised Abraham and Sarah a son. Today that doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but in his society not having a son meant Abraham would have no one to pass on the family name and inheritance. For Sarah, a woman who couldn’t bear children was considered second-rate. In fact, among some circles, not being able to bear children was grounds for divorce and the woman was always to blame in those situations.

God always makes good on His promises, but He does it in His time, not ours. That makes life hard. When someone promises something to us we expect delivery in a reasonable amount of time and in a manner of our choosing. God doesn’t operate within our rules or our time frame.

When He is slow (by our standards) in fulfilling His promises we can respond in a variety of ways. We may get angry with God. We throw our temper tantrums, maybe even shake our fist at Him and demand answers. Usually our anger with God causes us to begin to doubt His promises and His ability to make good on them. “If He couldn’t do this, maybe the rest of the other things He promises are false too!”

When God doesn’t come through on promises for us we may also blame ourselves. We remind ourselves of past mistakes, poor choices or those rebellious times in our lives. We may conclude from this that ‘God must hate me. He’s just getting even with me for doubting Him and doing my own thing.’ We beat ourselves up emotionally for awhile and then, if we aren’t careful we give up on God altogether. “It’s no use. I can’t do this ‘God thing’. I give up. May as well have fun and do it on my own.” Taking matters into our own hands usually only makes matters worse.

A variation of the ‘self-blame game’ is the comparison game. We look at those around us who have the ‘God life’ all figured out. We see how spiritual they are and how they’ve been blessed. We hear them speak of God’s love and mercy and how He is doing such wonderful things in their lives. We naturally conclude that since we don’t have a squeaky-clean, spiritually blessed life like them we must have something wrong with us. The enemy may even chime in here and tell us ‘they are all a bunch of hypocrites’ and urge us to go life alone.

It’s a hard pill for us to swallow, but we need to realize that as followers of Jesus Christ we have many promises from God’s word. But those promises don’t necessarily include comfort, financial prosperity or good health. We weren’t put here on earth to live a country club lifestyle. We were put here to glorify God. During a time when life was at its worst for Abraham and Sarah, they did not waver in their faith in God. The Bible says that is was this unwavering faith that gave Abraham and Sarah the strength they needed to hold on until God’s promise came true.

We give glory to God by believing in Him when we can’t see his way in the darkness. We give glory to God by remaining faithful when life isn’t fair; when the doctor gives us a bad report; when a relationship goes south; when finances dwindle and our job ends; when the bank finally forecloses on our dream home.

Whatever you are going through at this time, remember that God can and will eventually come through on His promises. It may not be like you were hoping. There may be lots of pain and confusion along the way. There may be times you don’t think you can go on. These times are needed to strengthen you for the road ahead. God DOES love you. He WILL fulfill His promises. Hold fast to your faith. If you do this, with the help of the Holy Spirit, chances are, years from now, you will be stronger and look back to see how much better God’s ways were than your ways.

PRAYER: Holy God. You have given me many promises in your Word. Frankly, right now I don’t see them. I’m tired. I’m battling anger and doubt. I see other people who seem to have it together and wonder what’s wrong with me. Forgive me for my doubt. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to be able to believe like Abraham did. Let others see your glory in my strength as I battle what life has in store for me. May you be glorified in my trial. In Jesus name, Amen.


Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? Romans 2:4 (NLT)

Everyone likes to be right. Everyone likes to be in the popular crowd, the winning team, the champions. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the book of Romans, his readers were mostly made up of Jewish people who laid most of their spiritual integrity on the fact that they were the people of God. This status gave them great pride.

The problem was, according to Paul, they were basing their position on the wrong thing! There were some Jewish believers that thought themselves a step above other believers because of their Jewish heritage. Paul tells them to step back and take another look at what got them where they were. Paul reminds them that the only reason for their position of faith was God’s goodness. It had absolutely nothing to do with their religious tradition.

The message is the same for us today. Everyday we are bombarded with horrific stories of how people treat one another. Even within so-called Christian circles there are people who place their entire identity on their religious tradition, the number of ‘spiritual activities’ they participate in, the music they listen to, or even the version of the Bible they read.

Our position in Christ has nothing to do with anything we have done, either good or bad. If your past is full of addictions, poor choices, or dysfunctional relationships and you have found forgiveness in Christ, you are no different than the squeaky-clean person who has grown up in the church or hasn’t been involved in all sort so sordid activities.

God doesn’t base His love for us on a background check. He bases it solely on who Jesus is and what He did on the cross for you. There is no grading system among Christ-followers in God’s eyes. His love, forgiveness and power isn’t given according to whether you are more, or less worthy than the next person. All are equal in his economy regardless of race, gender, or denominational background. God loves you regardless of all the bad or good things you have done.

None of us are any better or worse than the next person, in God’s eyes. Don’t let others judge you on the basis of your past. Don’t judge others on what you see on the outside. Learn their story before you judge their character. Consider how good God has been to you before judging how other people are. Unconditional love for others is based on the fact that the God of the Universe loves us all the same regardless of our past.

PRAYER: Father God, I thank and praise you for the fact that even though you know how rebellious and stupid I can be, you still love me dearly. Thank you for choosing to love me in spite of myself. Forgive me of my past and empower me by your Holy Spirit to live in close relationship to you. Help me to live unaffected by those who judge me wrongly. Keep me from judging others on the basis of what I see. In Jesus name, Amen.


It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5

Remember growing up and having that ‘friend’ that always made the rules about the games you played? Remember how, for some strange reason, the rules always gave them the advantage? Remember the time you tried to stand up for yourself and change the rules to be fairer and how your friend ‘wasn’t your friend anymore’?

That’s not love.

Remember the time you made a stupid mistake and offended a dear friend? Remember how he/she exploded in anger and said some really hurtful things. Now the relationship isn’t the same, in fact, you barely speak to one another?

That’s not love.

Remember that argument that you had with your spouse/significant other/ family member/boss? You know, the one where all the mistakes you ever made in the past were brought up as fuel for the fire. Things you thought were long forgiven and forgotten suddenly became missiles that pierced your heart.

That’s not love.

The hardest part about loving someone the way Christ wants us to love is that we are so vulnerable. We lay ourselves out emotionally and physically in such a way that it is easy to get hurt. True love is that Christ-like kind of love that seeks what is good for the other person in every circumstance and relationship we find ourselves in along this journey we call life.

The struggles of life and the fact that we are human is the hardest part of loving. When you offend me (for the umpteenth time!), love says it’s okay. We’ll work though this. When I offend you (for the umpteenth time!), love tells me I know I can come to you and ask forgiveness without fear of this situation coming up in a much later conversation. Love endures countless emotional and physical let downs. Love knows when to stand up for ourselves or walk away graciously when we are in danger.

Christ-like love should be like a healing salve on the emotional, spiritual and physical wounds that others have put on us. It comforts, builds up, understands and forgives. Christ-like love is supernatural because in my humanness I’m too weak to love the way I want to. It is during those tough times of life when I rely on His love to give me strength and to strengthen those around me.

PRAYER: Father when I think about all the things love really means I’m in awe that anyone can love. When I see the many ways I’ve failed to love others and the many ways human love has hurt me, I am tempted to give up on love all together. I ask that you would encourage me to see that the love Paul describes is ideal, supernatural love. It’s not just the love you expect us to have for others, it’s the love we can expect from you. Empower me through your Holy Spirit to learn how to love those around me like you do. In your name I pray, Amen.


You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20

I was talking with a friend the other day and as he shared a very stressful time of his life I said “People say God never gives us more than we can handle, but sometimes I wonder.” He looked at me and said, “God does give us more than we can handle, He never gives us more than HE can handle! That’s the only way He can get some of us to rely on Him.”

Throughout the Old Testament, and in our lives today we go through things that seem to hard to handle, we see our kids struggle with things they should never have to deal with. We see our parents fail in old age and our finances falter in troublesome times. We endure the trauma of broken relationships and death. In all this we look heavenward and say “When is enough, enough?”

Take a look at the life of Joseph for example. If you look at his family closely you will see that he grew up in a dysfunctional family with a weak father, a conniving mother and a bunch of brothers that were nothing short of bullies. Joseph didn’t help matters any when he told everyone in his family that someday they would all serve him! The tension around the dinner table must have been thick enough to cut with a knife!

When his brothers had had enough they beat Joseph up and sold him into slavery. Joseph was taken away by strangers to a far off land. He had no chance to say good bye to his family. He was in a strange land where his customs were odd and where the God he worshipped was looked down upon. He was lonely, wrongfully accused, misunderstood, forgotten, betrayed and in fear for his life.

In the midst of his calamity Joseph never lost sight of the fact that God was in complete control. Joseph’s situation wasn’t completely the fault of his brothers. He’d done some things that inflamed their anger. Yet he knew that God would eventually work everything out.

Joseph made the best of a bad situation as well! Rather than sulk as a slave he worked hard to elevate himself to a manager position. When Joseph sent to prison innocently, he didn’t become bitter, he became better. By the time Joseph had his chance for freedom, he was not only ready for life outside, he was ready for leadership.

When we are treated poorly our natural reaction is to retaliate. One day Joseph had that chance. The very brothers that were bullies when he was growing up, the very brothers who’d sold him into slavery, came for help. Joseph wisely tested them to see if they had changed, and then revealed himself to them. Even though he wasn’t obligated to give them anything he gave them food, shelter and  the most important thing any of us can hope for: FORGIVENESS.

You may be going through something you think unbearable right now. It could be the result of something you did or the actions of other abusive people. You may be feeling like there is no way out. In the midst of your pain, remember the life of Joseph. Throughout his struggle he never lost sight of a God who loves you, forgives you and can make whatever you are going through turn out for good. It may take many years, but someday you will be able to look back and see His way was best. He may give you more than you can handle, but He’ll never give you more than HE can handle!

PRAYER: Holy and powerful God. I thank you for stories like that of Joseph that remind me that you are always in control and that you can take the worst things in life and make them useful to your Kingdom. I confess that the struggle I’m in may be partially my own fault. I also suffer at the hands of abusers in my life. Please forgive me for my part in the struggle, protect me from abuse, but most of all, help me patiently acknowledge your leading and wait for you to make all things good for your sake. Thank you for your love and forgiveness. In Jesus name, Amen.

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