Thursday, August 31, 2017

day no. 14,192: progressively stunted

Genesis 18:32-33
Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” 33 And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

This passage culminates in two different audacities. First, Abraham has the hutzpah to haggle His Creator down to the agreement that if 10 righteous are found amongst the urban hipcats of Sodom, God will spare them. The second is that there apparently were not even 10 righteous in that progressive city. For all of its modern charm and relevance, it lacked 1 thing… well, 10 things to be exact. There were no more than 9 righteous people in that entire metroplex. If there had been, it would have remained standing. But for lack of righteousness it was humbled. Posters promoting parades of pride flamed and flew through the cocky atmosphere.  For all their advancement, they had finally arrived at their terminal.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

day no. 14,191: old school grace, new school wrath

Genesis 18:22
So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord.
 
Jesus dispatched the angels to the task of destroying Sodom. Jesus approved of its destruction. He did not show up thousands of years later to apologize for His grumpy old Dad. Jesus is eternal God. What God does, He does. What God says, He says. If you are prone to believing the lie that the OT was archaic, bloody and backwoods and that the NT is enlightened, gracious and revolutionary, you are reading them wrong. There is grace upon grace in the OT and there is plenty of blood and destruction in the NT. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

day no. 14,190 continued... no agenda is hidden before Him

Genesis 18:20
Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.
 
God is never a victim of a false report. He is not swayed by feelings or confused by spin. No agenda is hidden before Him. He personally and perfectly inspects and renders judgment. He always knows. No guilty will go unpunished. No innocent will go unavenged.

day no. 14,190: Laurelai is this many!

Lolo is 4, 4!!! You have been excited to turn this many for quite some time. You want to be a big girl in many ways and yet you also like being our tiny resident lady. You are a delight. You insist on getting a hug from me every morning I leave work -- so much so that some nights you wake up (recently around 4 am) screaming in your bed until I enter and you remind me to hug you before I leave for work. It is cute… and exhausting! You like sitting on my lap during family move night and you haven't decided yet whether or not you like tickles. You scream and ask me to stop when I do but you beg for them when I don't. I love you Laurelai. May you continue to grow in wisdom, stature (but not too much, I love that you're little) and favor with God and men. May you honor God, be honorable and receive honor in increasing, respective degrees. Here's to 4 and being so good at being this many!

Monday, August 28, 2017

day no. 14,189: chosen and commanded

Genesis 18:19
For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.

God chose Abraham for a task. Abraham's responsibility was to command his children and his household to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice. Abraham's responsibility was to respond to God's ability to do what He had promised by commanding those under his influence to do the same. May men of God hear this and be inspired likewise to do the same for theirs.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

day no. 14,188: a stroll through the woods

Genesis 18:1
And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day.
 
Do not miss this. The Lord appeared to Abraham on a hot day during the hottest part of that particular day. Abraham is hanging out on the stoop, trying to stay cool when God shows up at his house. Do not make a habit of assuming where and when God will appear. He does not always RSVP to the scheduled revival meeting, but He does sometime take a stroll through the woods apparently. Do not miss Him by looking only where you think He should appear. Look at what is in front of you, always ready to receive Him whenever He may decide to appear.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

day no. 14,187: eagerly enduring difficulties

Genesis 17:22-23
When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. 23 Then Abraham… circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him.
 
Those who love God gladly and eagerly endure the difficulties required to draw them closer to Him.

Friday, August 25, 2017

day no. 14,186: vanity fair

Genesis 17:20-21
As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

God chose Isaac over Ishmael before Isaac had done anything, good or bad. Grace is not fair. If it was, it would no longer be grace, it would be a wage. Praise God for His wisdom in election and for the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. It is likely not how we would have done it, but who are we to say that our way would have been better? 

Would our way be more fair? Depends who you ask. 
Would it be less gracious? Absolutely!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

day no. 14,185: how grace rolls

Genesis 17:17
Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”
 
Grace knocks you over with a feather and leaves you rolling around giggling. If Abraham had felt entitled, he may have only experienced a smirk of "it's about time," but because he was humble, he fell over himself laughing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

day no. 14,184: the very point of reproduction

Genesis 17:9-10
And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised."

The sign of this covenant was available only to males for through them the promised Serpent Crusher was destined to arrive. This promise of God would be fulfilled specifically by a male child born under the Law and as such the sign of this particular aspect of the covenant was placed at the very point of reproduction.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

day no. 14,183: eternity never expires

Genesis 17:7
"And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you."
 
The God of Abraham initiates and keeps covenant and because He is eternal, His promises never expire. Any who approach Him by faith shall be called sons of Abraham.

Monday, August 21, 2017

day no. 14,182: when God says, "go back."

Genesis 16:7-9
The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” 9 The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her."
 
Where we want to be and where God wants us are not always the same place.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

day no. 14,181: a pregnant sentence

Genesis 16:4, 6
And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.
 
Sarai's plan produced more than just a pregnancy, it conceived contempt. What she thought she wanted turned out to be more than she could handle. Discontent conceived the plan before malcontent was born.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

day no. 14,180: shot caller

Genesis 15:12-14
As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.
 
God calls His shots. Long before the 10 plagues of Egypt were observed, they were foretold. The slavery and the salvation were not reactions, but the plan and what Abraham saw in lucid dream, Moses saw with undimmed eyes.

Friday, August 18, 2017

day no. 14,179: the bloody path between the halves

Genesis 15:7-11, 17-18
And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” 8 But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” 9 He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. 11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away... 17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram.
 
God made the covenant all by Himself. He passed through the bloody path between the halves of animals Abram had protected from the vultures. God walked through alone. While Abram slept, God was at work.
 
God descended as Abram slumbered, just as Jesus drank the cup while His closest friends slept. God promised, may it be done to Me as it has been done to these animals if I do not fulfill My word. He kept His word… and He was torn to shreds.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

day no. 14,178: a decade

10 years ago this evening Paige and I were married. She wore a white dress. I wore a black tux. I cried. We toasted, we cut cake. We set the dance floor on fire and then nearly set the banquet hall on fire (sparklers were involved). We took home months of green bean casserole and cheesy potatoes. I like who we were and I like who we are now and all that has gone in between. It hasn't always been rainbows and butterflies, but it has been good, really good. One decade down for Team Van Voorst and we're only becoming more formidable by the day. If you wanted to stop us, you missed your window. We're too strong now (and we're only getting stronger). A dynasty is born.

day no. 14,178 continued... extra credit

Genesis 15:6
And he believed the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness.
 
Abram's belief in God's promise was credited to his account as righteousness. Abram didn't do anything. He believed that God was going to do something. That belief in God's character was currency that spends in eternity.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

day no. 14,177: God graciously looked down

Genesis 15:5
And He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
 
A childless man looked up at an infinite sky as a gracious God looked down on the father of nations.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

day no. 14,176: the Maker of riches

Genesis 15:1
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
 
After receiving communion and blessing from Melchizedek, Abram receives assurance and security from the Lord. If God is your shield, what can harm you? If your reward is coming from the Maker of riches, how great is your reward?

Monday, August 14, 2017

day no. 14,175: a husband must have answers

1 Corinthians 14:33-35
God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
 
I have read these verses many times and interacted with them often with respect to the ongoing women in leadership, complementarian discussion. But I never before today noticed the tremendous weight and responsibility this puts upon the husband. A good, godly weight, but an intense one nevertheless. If a wife has questions, who is she instructed to ask? Her husband once they are home. So who needs to have answers? Her husband. And if she is eager, zealous to learn and grow, he must keep up with her and even more so to be out ahead of her in order to field her questions and pastor his little flock. He is under Biblical obligation to answer her, not simply buy her books or send her off to someone else's house to a woman's group to learn. He MUST answer her which means he MUST know. He must do the work of study, meditation, contemplation, etc… in order to be the best pastor of his home. The godlier the wife, the more of a man he will be required to be. The godlier the man, the further onward and upward he will be able to lead his own home. If it is shameful for a woman to speak in church, how much more shameful is it for a man to be silent in his own home?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

day no. 14,174: means of grace

Genesis 14:18-20
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 and blessed be God Most High,
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”
And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
 
Melchizedek was a king and a priest. He brought bread and wine and blessings to Abraham who in turn gave a tenth of everything he had to Melchizedek. Abraham received the communion and the blessings Melchizedek offered. Melchizedek received the offerings Abraham tithed.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

day no. 14,173: a handful of sharpened sticks and a forest of twigs

Genesis 14:14-16
When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.

Abraham trained and raised an army before he needed one. When that time came, he already had men who were trained. Abraham was not threatened by their gain. He was fortified by their advancement. When the time came, he lead his army, divided them and took out kings... plural. Did you catch that? It was previously 4 kings against 5 and Abraham rides into town with a handful of trained men and takes them all out. A handful of sharpened sticks are more useful arrows than a forest of twigs. Taking the time to sharpen men in times of peace produces pointier, more punctual results in times of war.

the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.

Friday, August 11, 2017

day no. 14,172: initiating worship

Genesis 13:18
So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.

If you've been paying attention, Abram had a habit of building altars to the Lord wherever he went. If Abram was going to call a particular place home for a moment, he built an altar and worshiped God. Do we initiate worship wherever we find ourselves or do we only enter into worship that has been scheduled and prepared for us by others?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

day no. 14,171: good land, bad plants

Genesis 13:12-13
Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.

Lot made his decision based on the land, but failed to consider the lay of the land. The place where he was going to pitch his tent may have been good land, but it possessed bad inhabitants. The dirt was good, but the atmosphere was wicked.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

day no. 14,170: a plan to end the bitterness

Genesis 13:8-9
8 Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.”
 
Abram recognized the strife and proposed a plan to end the bitterness. His benevolence toward man and his trust in the sovereignty of God are both observed in his willingness to place the matter fully within Lot's hand.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

day no. 14,169: mutually exclusive private islands

Genesis 13:7
and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock.
 
Mo' moolah, mo' problems. The more you have, the more you need to keep what you already have. As Abram and Lot both grew rich, they also grew apart. There wasn't room enough for them to both be rich in the same place at the same time in the same way. The land could not sustain them both and it produced hostility between those who were in charge of caring for the flocks.

Monday, August 7, 2017

day no. 14,168: a need for grace no less than ours

Genesis 12:17-19
17 But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. 18 So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.”
 
Abraham was an imperfect man who required grace if he was going to be saved. As great as he was, his need for grace was no less than ours.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

day no. 14,167 continued... birthdays and anniversaries

Happy 79th Birthday Dad! Almost 80. That is crazy.

And Happy 40th Wedding Anniversary Mom and Dad!!!

day no. 14,167: the offspring of father Abraham

Genesis 12:7
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.”
 
The offspring of Abraham are those who by grace through faith lay claim to the inheritance earned and offered by Jesus.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

day no. 14,166: great enterprise often begins with a great sacrifice

Genesis 12:1-3
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
 
Great enterprise often begins with a great sacrifice and great futures are often the products of surrendered goods.

Friday, August 4, 2017

day no. 14,165: what his father left unfinished

Genesis 11:31-32
31 Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. 32 The days of Terah were 205 years, and Terah died in Haran.
 
It appears that Terah originally wanted to go to Canaan, but either found something he preferred in Haran or lost heart and stopped there. Either a change of heart or a fainting heart led to him making Haran his home. His son, Abram, would finish the last leg of the journey and complete what his father left unfinished.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

day no. 14,164: a singular plural

Genesis 11:7-9
Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.” 8 So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.
 
Again, God is an Us. The Lord is a singular plural. This is not something invented by Christians in the 300s. There is only one God. And He is an Us. God is spoken of as a He and a We.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

day no. 14,163: the achievements of ants

Genesis 11:5
And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built.

The boasts of man fall so short of Heaven that God must come down to inspect them like a grown man on his hands and knees trying to see the achievements of the ants.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

day no. 14,162: building a bigger middle finger

Genesis 11:4
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
The foundation of Babel was laid by hearts determined to do anything other than what God had clearly said. The tremendous effort and determination to build Babel began as a simple, yet seditious sin: I want to avoid what God wants for me. Their hearts flicked God off and their hands cussed His Name with every brick they laid. Discontent that God hadn't given them a long enough middle finger, Babel was erected to reach all the way up to Heaven.