Never Too Late for God

Genesis 17:1 NKJV When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.”

Did you notice how old Abram was when the Lord appeared to him? Abram was 99 years old! It’s never too late for God to appear in your life and it’s never too late to turn to God either. As I read this verse it was as if God was speaking this to me and a pattern appeared that seemed very familiar to me – the pattern of salvation. Allow me to explain.

God first says “I am Almighty God”. This is the first step in being saved. I must recognize I’m not God – only HE is. He is Almighty, the source of all power. He is more powerful than I can even imagine. Recognizing God is Almighty puts everything in the proper perspective. Realizing He’s God and I’m not, helps me recognize my own sinfulness. When you compare yourself to God, it becomes quite clear how much we miss the mark. Romans 3:23 NKJV “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Romans 6:23 NKJV “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The second step is “walk before Me”. I must submit myself to the authority of the Lord God Almighty. Ever notice how a very young child will behave nicely or do really cute things before their parents or other adults? It’s because they know someone is watching. God is saying “I’m always watching, therefore, walk before me as though you know I’m watching”. If I know God Almighty is watching, I’m more likely to choose things that glorify Him rather than satisfy my selfish desires. Galatians 5:16 NKJV “…Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Before we can walk by the Spirit, we must be born again in Christ Jesus. Once we are born again, we become new creatures in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

The last step is “be blameless”. This is the final step in God’s process and not one you can achieve on your own without completing the first two steps. After you’ve accepted God is Almighty, your perspective is changed, and you accept what Jesus Christ did for you, the result is you are blameless before God. When you give your life to Christ, His righteousness is laid upon you, so you are washed clean and purified from all unrighteousness. 1 Corinthians 6:11 NKJV “But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

To recap what we’ve learned from today’s verse. Here’s a quick summary:

1) Recognize God is Almighty and I am sinful.

2) Walk before Him, ask for forgiveness from Christ.

3) Become a new creation in Christ and be blameless.

Are you ready to give your life to Christ? Pray a simple prayer like:

“Jesus forgive me for living my life without you. I know I am a sinner but you are Almighty God. As much as I know how I give myself to you. Please come into my life and make me new. In Jesus’ name Amen.”

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade. Author of and websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

God’s Promises to Abram

Read Genesis 15 NKJV

Have you ever noticed how hope appears only after there’s been a period of doubt, trials, despair and self-pity? I know for me, I had to get to the very end of my self-sufficiency in much misery and pain before hope shined his light on me.

In reading Genesis 15, I noticed the same pattern: doubt, worry, despair all came before hope. As I’ve come to learn of God’s generosity, He doesn’t just provide hope. He also follows up the hope with a personal promise, something that speaks to the person specifically and intimately.

Let’s take a look at two examples from Genesis 15 in the NKJV translation. The first example lies within verses 3 through 6:

3 Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”
4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.”

5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

Notice in verse 3 Abram is whining about having no children to be his heir. He’s actually blaming God for not giving him children. That to me speaks of self-pity, doubt and despair. At this point Abram was unable to see what God was capable of doing.

Look at verse 4 and 5. God spoke to Abram saying “Don’t worry. You will have an heir from your own body. In fact, you will have so many descendants you won’t be able to call them, just as you can’t count the stars.” If that is not a picture of hope, I don’t know what is.

Finally, we see the personal and intimate promise in verse 6. Abram believed God and God accounted it to him for righteousness. Abram was considered righteous in God’s eyes because he finally believed God.

The second example of this repeating pattern is found in Genesis 15 verses 13 through 15 in the NKJV translation:

13Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.

14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

15 Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.

In verse 13 we see God telling Abram what will become of his descendants and the picture isn’t so bright. God says they will be strangers in a land that’s not theirs, they will serve those who own the land and they will be afflicted four hundreds years. That sounds a lot like despair to me.

Moving on to verse 14 we find the hope. God says “Don’t worry, I will judge the nation whom they serve and afterwards they will leave with great substance.” This is a reminder that when things don’t look like their going well, God is still in control and He will take vengeance on those who persecute His people.

Again we see the personal promise towards Abram in verse 15. God tells him, he will live a long life and die peacefully. Isn’t that nice of God to tell Abram how long he’ll live? I would think that would provide such a boost in productivity and remove a lot of fear. Just think about it. Abram could do anything God wanted him to without worrying about dying in the process, for God gave His word he would live a long life.

What about in your life, do you see the same pattern? I know I did when my marriage was in crisis mode and I thought it would never be good again (despair). God sent an angel to direct me to (hope). Through the pain I found Jesus Christ and believed on Him as my Lord and Savior, who forgave me (personal promise). If you haven’t noticed this pattern yet, keep your eyes open. It’s just a matter of time before you do. When you do recognize the pattern, know that God is teaching you something new either about yourself or about His character or both.

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade. Author of and websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

Faith of Noah

Read Genesis 6 and 7

What if God told you to build an ark? At first it may seem like it would require a lot of faith to carry out that command. I mean really, build an ark in your front yard. Can you imagine the complaint’s from your neighbors and your homeowner’s association?

This is exactly what God did with Noah. He told Noah He was going to destroy man and all the living things because He saw they had corrupted their way on the earth. God told Noah build an ark, for in you I have seen righteousness on the earth.

As I pondered this story more, I realized Noah and God had a close relationship. They spoke often together. This wasn’t the first time God had spoken to Noah. As a result, I don’t think it took Noah by surprise. In Genesis 6:22 we see Noah did according to all God commanded him. While it may require a huge amount of faith to believe God is real and is a rewarder of men, it really doesn’t take more faith to follow through on something God asks you to do, once you know Him.

Think about it. When you first believed, God had not revealed Himself fully, so it took more faith to wait for God’s revelation. As you grew in your personal relationship with God, He revealed more of Himself by proving He was God in a way that helped you believe. Once He makes Himself well known to you, it’s far easier to obey His commands.

One way to document the way’s God proves Himself to you is to journal your prayers. I started this process as soon as I believed. It surely helped me see God moving in my life. From the smallest prayer, like “help me get through this today” to bigger ones like “save my marriage”. The more you journal your prayers and God’s answers to your prayers, the more your faith will grow because it becomes so easy to see His activity in your life. Talk about excitement! It’s exciting seeing how God works things out for the good of those you love God and are called according to His purposes.

So do you have faith like Noah?

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade. Author of and websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

To Know His Will

Read Acts 22:14:15

Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.

For further study refer to the verses below pertaining to the different elements of the above verse.

1. God has chosen you

Deuteronomy 7:6
“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.

1 Kings 3:8
And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted.

1 Chronicles 16:13
O seed of Israel His servant, You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!

2 Chronicles 29:11
My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense.”

Isaiah 43:10
“You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me.

Matthew 22:14
“For many are called, but few are chosen.”

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Revelation 17:14
These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

2. To know His will

John 7:17
If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.

Ephesians 1:7-9

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,

3. To see the Righteous or Just One

John 14:7
[ The Father Revealed ] “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

John 14:9
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

4. To hear His voice

Deuteronomy 4:36
Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might instruct you; on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire.

Isaiah 30:30
The LORD will cause His glorious voice to be heard,

John 5:28
Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice

John 10:3
To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

Hebrews 3:15
while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

5. To be His witness of what you have seen and heard

Acts 5:32
And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Acts 14:3
Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

Acts 10:43
To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

John 12:17
Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness.

Luke 4:22
So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade. Author of and websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.