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How Far Are You Willing to Go?

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Now the Lord had said to Abram, Get out of your country from your family and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.

I will make you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great and you shall be a blessing (Genesis 12:1-2).

God is telling some of you what He told Abram because He wants you to go where you’ve never gone before and He wants you to do what you’ve never done before.

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8).

Abraham had faith and obeyed God. He was told to go to the land that God had said would be his, and he left for a country he had never seen (Contemporary English Version).

Faith motivated Abraham to obey God’s call and leave the familiar to discover the territory he was destined to inherit from God. So he left with only a promise and without even knowing ahead of time where he was going, Abraham stepped out in faith (The Passion Translation).

To go to a place that you don’t know sometimes will require you to leave a place that you do know. For Abram to become what God promised in Genesis 12:2, he had to first obey Genesis 12:1. Sometimes the hardest thing for us to do is to leave certain people. Abram couldn’t leave Lot. That was his nephew. But the thing Abram found hard to do finally had to be done. There had to be a separation.

Sometimes the person you refuse to let go of is the person who is keeping you from seeing what God promised. The moment Lot left Abraham to enter the land he had chosen, then Abraham could see what God had promised.

And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot was separated from him, Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward and westward. For all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever (Genesis 13:14).

You are different, but you keep fighting to remain the same. You are not like the others, but you try to be like them. Like Israel, you want what the other nations have when they be should desiring what you have. You should be like Peter, who chose to walk on water while others chose to stay in the ship.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:13).

God is making you, but you’re fighting the way He is taking you because the way is not always easy. You fight it because you would rather walk with many than to walk with a few, but the way that many are taking leads to destruction.

When I talk about going to a place in God that you’ve never been before, I’m not talking about a physical location. I’m talking about a spiritual location. I’m talking about your relationship with Him. I’m talking about getting closer to Him than you’ve ever been before. I’m talking about you drawing so close to Him that He asks, Who touched me?

God wants us to come up higher and to come closer. Zaccheus climbed a tree to see Jesus. Moses climbed a mountain and God spoke to him face to face as a man speaks to his friend.

Terah took his grandson (Lot), his son (Abram) and his daughter-in-law (Sarai) and they left Ur to go to the land of Canaan, but when they reached Haran, they settled there. Abram’s father died never entering Canaan. Abram, on the other hand, refused to settle and he chose to go all the way.

Now…

Do you want to go to a place in God that you’ve never been before? And if so, how far are you willing to go?

Be Careful Not to Fall

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Simon, a Pharisee, invited Jesus to his home.  Luke tells us about a woman in the city that was a sinner (7:37).  Although she wasn’t invited to Simon’s home, she went there to see Jesus.  I’m sure there were other teachers and rabbis in that city, but there was something different about this Jesus.  Maybe she heard about the widow’s son who was raised from the dead or the centurion’s servant that was healed or the leper that was cleansed.

She didn’t carry any water or towels with her to Simon’s home, but when she arrived, she immediately began to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears and dry his feet with her hair.  Simon didn’t say it out loud, but he thought to himself, If this man was really a prophet, he would have known who and what manner of woman this is that is touching him. She’s a sinner.  Jesus did know everything about this woman, but he didn’t treat her like the others.  Her sins are many  (Luke 7:47).

Have you ever for a moment thought you were better than someone else? I know I have and I can only imagine the looks this woman got by these ‘religious folks’.  I’m sure everybody in that city knew her business.  They probably thought she wasn’t ‘worthy’ to touch Jesus.  This does not pertain to all  Christians, but like certain Pharisees, we sometimes only teach or preach to impress others and not to help others.  We study to teach the word, but we never study to become the word.  Like the rich young ruler, we are so proud of ourselves. We’re proud that we don’t commit adultery, kill, steal, bear false witness, cheat or dishonor our parents, but we still lack one thing (Luke 18:20-22).

This woman was an outcast.  She was rejected and shunned by religious leaders. No one really wanted her there.  Sometimes we are just like Simon.  We know other people’s sins, but we don’t see our own.  We’re like the blind that have eyes yet cannot see.  We know how to look clean on the outside, but refuse to become clean on the inside.  And even if we ‘don’t do the things we used to do’, we sometimes forget what we once did or who we once were.  We forget how long we were slaves to sin.  This is why God told the Israelites that if they forgot  and left a sheaf while gathering their harvest in the field to not go back and pick it up, but to leave it for the poor, the stranger, the orphan, the widow and the fatherless.  This was a reminder to them that they were once slaves in Egypt.  This was His way of humbling them and reminding them what HE did for them (Deuteronomy 24:19-22).

I think sometimes we forget that we were saved by grace and not by goodness.  Trust me.  Our good is not good enough.  I believe that, as Christians, we have an opportunity to be like a gate or a door for others to God, but at times we have only let certain people in while shutting out others.  Forgive us, Lord.

This woman, to me, was more pure and honest than Simon and his invited guests.  Yeah, she was probably a mess, but she came to Jesus because she was tired of that mess.  She wanted change.  She wanted something different.  Her tears were tears of repentance.  She submitted to Him.  She honored Him.  She worshipped Him.  She anointed His feet with ointment, which wasn’t cheap. It cost her something. All Simon did was open his house, but this woman opened her heart.  She gave Jesus all and her faith moved Him.  He had to forgive her sins.

Well…now they were mad that Jesus forgave her sins.  And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgives sin also?  (Luke 7:49). Have you ever taken a medication that is supposed to cure one thing, but it can harm something else?  When Jesus forgave her sins, she wasn’t just free from her sins, but she was free from the effects of sin. They really didn’t understand what had just taken place.  Had they understood, they would have been rejoicing with her.  Had they understood, they would have repented of pride and repented for their thoughts.

I think one of the reasons why people get angry when God does something for someone else is because they think God should have done it for them instead.  They behave like the eldest son who got angry when his father celebrated the prodigal son’s return.  They feel that because of the things you’ve done in your past that you don’t qualify for a party (Luke 15:28-30).  You’re not good enough.  You don’t deserve a husband or a wife.  You don’t deserve that promotion.  You don’t deserve to be blessed.  And sometimes they get angry because they don’t understand what the father told the eldest son.  All that I have is yours  (Luke 15:31).

I know the body has many  parts, but let us not forget that we are one  body in Christ.  Let us be careful of how we treat one another.  Let us not look down on one another because although you may be standing today, it may be you that fall tomorrow.  Be careful.

Let the one who thinks he stands firm [immune to temptation, being overconfident and self-righteous], take care that he does not fall [into sin and condemnation) ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12, AMP.

So be careful. If you are thinking, “Oh, I would never behave like that” – let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12, TLB.