Genesis 13

Vs. 4, “and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord.”  Abram, Lot, and all of their family and servants would return from Egypt back to the land of Canaan.  Though Abram lied to Pharaoh concerning Sarai, God kept His promise and Abram came back worshipping the Lord (vs. 1-4).  As God blessed both Abram and Lot, they had a bit of a conundrum: their clans and property were getting too big to stay together.  In an interesting turn of events, Abram gives Lot first choice on which land move into (vs. 8-12).  There is definite wisdom and trust in Abram’s actions towards his younger nephew (vs. 8).  The original audience who would have read this from the author Moses would have been surprised at the vibrant life of the land east (vs. 10).  Ever since the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, the land had been a desert wasteland.  Because of Abram’s humility, God would bless him and remind us what living by faith looks like (vs. 14-17).

Regarding application…Effects of Sin.  Vs. 13, “Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.”  Lot made his choice to the land in the east.  The wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah should not go unnoticed.  The more we are around the influences of sin, it can affect us in ways we certainly underestimate.  We will soon see in the following chapters the outcome of Lot’s decisions.  It’s a slippery slope we travel when it comes to how we deal with sin.  Lot could have lived in an area away from such sin, but he would eventually move his family into Sodom.  Question: Are you attracted towards people or places where sin abounds?  We poke fun at Las Vegas (Sin city), but I think we visit much more dangerous places in our work, in our schools, and in our social settings.  Choose wisely and avoid the temptations of sin that knock at our door!

I Corinthians 15

Vs. 17, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”  A grave danger was transpiring in the Corinthian church.  This danger was the issue of not believing in the resurrection.  The resurrection gives us the confidence that Jesus did in fact conquer death (vs. 1-11)!  This young church should have known better the false teachings that were affecting their incorrect doctrine.  It was important for Paul to remind them that there were plenty of those who had witnessed this resurrection (vs. 4-8).  There was also the Greek influence that believed the body was just a temporary prison for the eternal soul.  Remember also the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection as well.  The second half of our chapter deals with understanding the type of resurrected body we will have (vs. 35-58).  Paul expounds on some illustrations of a seed that grows into a plant (vs. 36-38).  He also compares Adam (natural body) with Jesus (spiritual body) (vs. 44-49).  In the end, we have hope that our frail physical bodies will have quite the upgrade that comes from the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Regarding application…Choose Friends Wisely.  Vs. 33, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”  It’s interesting because Paul is quoting a well-known Greek poet named Menander.  The Corinthians would have been familiar with this quote.  Their issue was that they were allowing themselves to be aligned with people who had false intentions.  It wasn’t that they didn’t know the truth, they were just allowing the false teachings of others to influence them and question their faith.  We also would be fools (vs. 34) to think that we are not influenced in such a way today.  In both the church and our interactions with the world, we would be wise to choose wisely our friends.  Sadly, there are those in the church with their own agenda’s and wayward beliefs.  And there are those in this world that do not have any intention to have your best interest in mind, though they call themselves your friend.  I’m not advocating not having non-Christian friends or reaching out to those who are misled in the church, but I am reminding you to make your best friends those who are believers and can encourage you in your walk with the Lord!

Hosea 14

Vs. 9, “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”  God is going to allow the Assyrians and later the Babylonians to conquer their land.  But, the ways of the LORD are right.  God is calling Israel through His prophet Hosea to repent.  It is a message that is a common denominator throughout Scripture.  When we ask for forgiveness and repent, God hears us (vs. 2).  You see, there is miracle going on that is unseen.  The miracle of God’s grace to an undeserving people (vs. 4-8).  We are to be discerning and choose wisely the ways of the Lord (vs. 9)

Regarding application…Free to Choose.  Vs. 4, “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.”  Setting aside the controversies of election vs. free will…I want us to focus on God is choosing to love us freely.  Jesus had a choice in the desert, throughout his ministry and in the garden to do the will of the Father.  God created and chose to give His love freely.  Question: What are you choosing in your life?  Repentance or sin?  Perhaps the reason we do not choose God is because we love our life on earth too much.  We think we can do a better job.  I think of all the critics out there.  We look at the mistakes of others and are quick to judge them.  Question: Why?  Because, perhaps we think we could do a better job.  We see the mistakes of Actors, celebrities, sports stars and shake our heads.  That is our pride and that is sometimes what we do with God.  We choose ourselves and think God has it all wrong.  Brothers & Sisters…Hosea is calling us to choose to walk in the ways of the righteous.  Don’t let others, the enemy or this world influence your heart.  Let us choose freely and wisely.