The Encounter 

Hebrews 7:1
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, . . .”

Abraham and his nephew Lot experienced great blessings from the Lord. When they first arrived in Canaan, they had very little, but as the years passed, they acquired great wealth. As nomadic farmers, great success meant an increase in livestock, and increased livestock meant a need for larger pasture lands. Soon their wealth became so great they were forced to separate. Abraham chose to continue to live the simple life of a farmer, while Lot left the family business and began to dwell, with his family, in the city of Sodom. Sodom, and her sister city, Gomorrah, was known for the wickedness that was practiced within the city walls. The king of Sodom had been conquered by Chedorlaomer, a powerful king of Mesopotamia, and along with other kings, paid annual tribute to keep from being attacked. A group of these cities, including Sodom, elected to stop paying tribute and stand their ground. Soon, Chedorlaomer and his forces attacked the rebel cities, and overthrew them. As the saying goes, “to the victor goes the spoils”, and Lot, along with the inhabitants of Sodom and all their wealth, was taken captive. When news of this reached Abraham, he gathered his servants, other shepherds and farmers, and they went in pursuit of Chedorlaomer and his army. Overtaking them in the night, Abe and his men were able to do what the armies had failed to do, they miraculously conquered the enemy forces, and rescued the captives.

It was on the return from this great battle that Abraham met Melchizedek, king of ancient Jerusalem. Weary from battle, and perhaps somewhat frightened at the idea of the retaliation that may arise from Chederloamar’s troops, Abraham has one of the most interesting encounters of his life. We are told Melchizedek meets him with bread, wine and a blessing. The writer of Hebrews tells us Melchizedek is a type of Christ, and his actions illustrate the work of Christ. As the weary warrior is ministered to by bread and wine from Melchizedek, so the Christian is strengthened for future battle at the communion table. It was the night before His death when Jesus took bread and wine and instituted the sacrament of communion. He told us that as often as we want, we can partake of these elements and remember the work of the cross. My sins broke His body, and His blood cleanses me of my sins.

No matter what struggles, battles, or obstacles you may be facing, the secret to your success is found at the cross. Take some time today to reflect upon all that Jesus has done for you at Mount Calvary, and there at His feet, pour out your heart to Him.

Pastor Jim

 

A Great Nation

Deuteronomy 26:5
“And you shall answer and say before the Lord your God: “My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous.’

The story of Abraham is the story of God, that has been rewritten in the lives of countless thousands over the years. Abraham was an unknown shepherd living in ancient Babylon when he heard the call of God. He was to separate from the world he lived in, and commit himself to following the Lord. As he, daily, walked by faith, and took simple steps of obedience to God, his life, and our world, were forever changed. Fast forward to the time of Moses, and this simple shepherd has become the Father of many nations. Fast forward to the time of Joshua, and his people have been given a land flowing with milk and honey. Fast forward, once again, to the time of Christ, and he has become a blessing to the entire world, because the promised  Messiah has come. 

As you live in the obscurity of what your life might be, wondering how God could ever use you to accomplish anything for the Kingdom of Heaven, keep in mind, that the pattern of God is always the same. Whether it is Gideon, threshing wheat, David tending sheep, Peter, James and John, mending nets or you, going about the activities of your daily life, God will always use the simple obedience of men and women of obscurity to transform the world. No one would have ever heard of any of the heroes of Scripture had they not responded in faith and obedience, and done the tasks that were set before them.

Whatever God is calling you to do, no matter how insignificant it may seem, do it! Time alone will tell how greatly the world will be impacted.

Pastor Jim


  

Turning Around

Genesis 20:2
“Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, ‘She is my sister.’ And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.”

2015/01/img_1314.jpgAbraham’s journey had led him to the far south of the promised land, to an area that had begun to be occupied by the Philistines. Because of the reputation of the Philistine people, Abraham and Sarah decided the best approach to guarantee their safety was to lie about their relationship. They would tell anyone who asked, they were brother and sister. Thinking Sarah would not be taken and Abe would not be killed. It seems their plan backfired, because when the Philistine king of Gerar saw Sarah, he took her into his harem and sought to make her his wife.

This passage serves as an illustration of many things, not the least of which, it gives us a clear picture of what true repentance actually looks like.

It seems the moment Abimelech took Sarah, things started becoming difficult within his home. In addition to the fact that his family members became barren, unable to have children, he also began to have some very vivid, and quite disturbing dreams. In one of these dreams, God appeared to him declaring that if he did not return Sarah to Abraham he would be killed. We read that God told Abimelech to restore Sarah to her husband. The word restore means to return or to turn back. It is a word which could be used synonymously with the word repentance. In essence, God is calling the king to repent of his actions.

It seems odd that this Philistine king becomes a very clear and positive example of what true repentance actually looks like. We read, he was confronted by the Word of God, he cried out to the Lord, and he changed his behavior. All three of these steps are a part of real repentance. Sadly, we often find ourselves arguing with the Word or attempting to justify our actions instead of allowing the Word to change our living. In some cases, we we might even go as far as admitting what we are doing is wrong and even cry out to God, without being willing to make the appropriate changes.

Let’s determine today, to follow Abimelech’s example and make whatever changes the Word of God demands. After all, once he repented, he began to receive the blessings of God.

Pastor Jim