In The Land Called “THERE”
“BUT be doers of the Word [obey the message], and NOT merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].”
“For if anyone only LISTENS TO THE WORD without OBEYING IT and being a doer of it, he is like a man who carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror;”
“For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like.”
“BUT he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).”
The picture you see in today’s blog is a painting of lake near our home. My wife and I like to take a picnic lunch, our paint, brushes and easels, to enjoy the sunshine in what I like to call, A Land Called “THERE“. Dianne painted this scene in colorful pastels and I thought it would be appropriate to post with this particular blog.
Our lives are sometimes crowded with choices, and decisions. Sometimes we make wrong decisions, and other times, we are content with doing nothing. We sometimes are afraid to make them because they may result in disappointment. We listen to advice from others but that confuses us even more. We attend church services and hear a message on demonstrating LOVE to our neighbors and shout AMEN in the congregation, BUT fail to take action. The BOOK of JAMES mentions the “Law of Liberty in verse 25″; how we know all about it but forget to do it. What is the Law of Liberty? It is, “the moral instruction given by Christ, especially about LOVE. And if we forget God’s Word and become listeners only, and fail to take action, we are in the land of disobedience.
Dr. Creflo A. Dollar gives us a 8-Step approach in leading you to your destination. I keep a copy of it at my desk and in my wallet as a reminder; to see if I am on the right path.
8 Steps to Your Destination:
THE RIGHT WORD; GOD’S : Leads to the right thinking.
THE RIGHT THINKING : Leads to the right emotions.
THE RIGHT EMOTIONS : Leads to the right DECISIONS or CHOICES.
THE RIGHT DECISIONS or CHOICES : Leads to the right actions.
THE RIGHT ACTIONS : Leads to the right habits.
THE RIGHT HABITS : Leads to the right character.
THE RIGHT CHARACTER : Leads to the right destination.
Our choices and decisions we make and our actions don’t just happen. Turn to the Book of Psalms.
Psalm 119:30 “I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.” Where is the ACTION?
CHOICES and ACTIONS in A Land Called “THERE” — Turn to Genesis 13 and read about the story of Abram and Lot.
As they traveled up from Egypt into the Negev, Abram and his family, Lot and his family did not stop until they reached Bethel, the last place where Abram had built an altar and called on the name of the Lord. It was there he had last been in sweet fellowship with God; and he evidently felt compelled to return, there to confess his sins and seek full restoration to God’s favor. Although Abram and Sarai were restored to fellowship of the Lord, the experiences in Egypt had left some deep scars on Lot and his servants. They no longer felt the reverent admiration they once felt for their leader Abram, and began self-seeking on their own behalf. How has your witness for Jesus affected those around you? This situation was exasperating the circumstances that they were all in because of the great wealth they had observed in Egypt. Consequently, there began a serious friction between the servants of Lot and those of Abram and, no doubt, to some extent also between Lot and his uncle Abram. As sometimes happens in todays churches, separation or a church split is advisable. At least the two factions can follow its own preferred methods and witness to those in the neighborhood, instead of destroying the entire ministry by continued bickering.
This was the solution proposed by Abram. Rather than seeking to continue a forced and artificial union, he saw that it would be better to have a complete geographical break with Lot and his clan. There was plenty of land and more than enough work to be done by two (separate churches or student groups, or other Christian organizations) working apart; there was no reason for them to argue over which has priority in any given field. Abram had learned that God could take care of his needs no matter where he was, so that he offered Lot the choice of fields. Now Abram was the older man and leader of the people s, and Abram by all rights should have had priority; but graciously offered it to Lot. Lot also knew the choice should have been Abrams to make but he wasn’t going to close the door on this opportunity offered.
Lot seizes the opportunity.
Lot seized the chance to his own advantage (as he thought). He had been infected with luxury and excitement of Egypt, and no longer content to be a “stranger and pilgrim in the land” (Hebrews 11:13 KJV). He looked down to the plain of the Jordan river, as it flows into the Salt Sea, where there were five prosperous, exciting cities, and decided that was where he would like to be. When my family lived in Southern California, we used to vacation to the Northwest to soak up the lush scenery and the cooler weather in the summers. In 1980, I got the opportunity to re-locate and become the branch manager at the company’s exciting Seattle location. Dianne and I prayed over the decision and felt right in doing so before moving but, we didn’t align our decision on God’s Word. It just “felt” like the right choice to make. How did that action turn out? That is a whole another story!
Genesis 13:10 gives a vision to Lot that he believes is a land like the Garden of Eden. “And Lot looked and saw that everywhere the Jordan valley was well watered.” Today this region is almost unbearably hot and desolate, but in those early days there was still abundant rainfall in the region. The temperature, also, was much more pleasant than now. Continuing in verse 10, “Before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, [it was all] like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt…”
That was what Lot saw. So, Lot journeyed east, down toward the plain; and Abram headed back up into the hill country of Canaan. Abram gave Lot a choice; “You take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you choose the right hand, then I will go to the left (verse 9).” Did Lot make his decision on the Word of God? Lot’s decision was based on WRONG Decisions, WRONG Thinking and the WRONG words (“8-Steps to Your Destination”). Lot made his choice, going to a Land Called “There”. His wrong thinking of what he saw, determined his emotions and his emotions determined his decision to go the land called “THERE”. He no doubt knew something of the wickedness of these cities of the land, just as he had observed the pagan worlds of Sumeria and Egypt, he nevertheless decided that was what he wanted. His emotions made his decision.
Perhaps he also, like many believers today who make similar choices, rationalized that he could be a witness for the Lord, In A Land Called “There”, while at the same time enjoying the creature comforts they offered. How are you making your decisions or choices in your areas of faith in the city? If your decision doesn’t line up the Word of God in the Bible, it will affect your actions and your actions will lead to the wrong destination.
My next blog will continue in the brook called Cherith; In A Land Called “There”; I Kings 17:1-24.