Need Your Help

Posted: January 28th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

The following is a post my daughter wrote last month on her blog. Since I think she’s pretty incredible, I wanted to share it with you…

Seven months ago, I took on a task that has since pushed me and challenged me in ways that I never wanted to be pushed or challenged. But I could not be more grateful for it. I learned to initiate conversations with strangers, friends, and family about a subject that can be awkward and uncomfortable for everyone, including myself, to discuss. Yet Jesus has so much to say about it. That subject is money.

Seven months ago, I began fundraising to go on Young Life College staff in Germany for a minimum of five years. It has been a gift to have these conversations and invite people to be a part of what God is doing.

Seven months ago, I had 0% of my budget raised. Today, I have 70%. And my goal is to be 100% funded as soon as possible. Will you help? Click here to watch (if you don’t see the video embedded below) the following short video to learn more!

You can contact me at: avstutts@gmail.com



What Does God Want Me to Do?

Posted: January 26th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

I know what I want to do.

You know what you want to do.

But what does God want us to do?

Is there a certain person He wants you to marry? Is there a specific job He wants you to have? Does He have the perfect house picked out for you? Does it matter to Him if you live in Florida instead of Ohio? Should you just get a job now or go to graduate school?

We really want to know the answer to questions like these. We don’t want to make a mistake that will effect the rest of our lives. So we want God to just tell us what to do.

But have you noticed He’s usually not in a great hurry to tell us? We ask God to reveal His will to us and then we wait…and wait…and wait. We might wait for weeks, months or even years. Maybe you’re in one of the seasons of waiting right now. You desperately want to know what to do, but the waiting continues.

So now what are you supposed to do?

I think it’ll help to peak behind the curtain and understand what God wants even more than simply telling us what to do.

In Mark 6, Jesus has returned to His home town. On the Sabbath, He goes to the synagogue and begins to teach. Mark tells us that “many who heard him were amazed.” So far so good.

Then they asked, “Where did He get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?”

After they asked where He got His wisdom and power, it says:

Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon. And His sisters live right here among us.”

Somehow, their amazement turned to questioning, which turned to scoffing. But it doesn’t end there. Mark tells us: “They were deeply offended and refused to believe in Him.”

Mark tells us that because of their unbelief, Jesus “couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place His hands on a few sick people and heal them. And He was amazed at their unbelief.”

Things really went downhill quickly, didn’t they? Amazement turned to questioning which turned to scoffing which turned to being offended which turned to refusing to believe.

I get it though. I’ve been there. I’ve behaved like that. When God didn’t come through for me the way I wanted Him to or when I wanted Him to, I found it easy to question Him. And then to privately scoff and become offended. I doubted His goodness and faithfulness. I became angry and discouraged. And then I refused to believe.

You’ve no doubt already noticed that God isn’t in a hurry to answer all of your questions and just to make your life more comfortable.

So why not? Why doesn’t God just tell us what He wants us to do? Why doesn’t He make things easier? And quicker?

I believe the answer is found in Hebrews 11:6. It’s my favorite verse in the Bible.

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

What does God want you to do?

He wants you to trust Him and seek Him. Not just for an answer to prayer or for something you want from Him. He wants you to seek Him to know Him better, because you love Him.

I know how hard it is to wait and trust. I’m in one of those seasons myself right now. If you are too, let’s not waste the opportunity we have to seek and trust God and to wait patiently for Him to reveal His next steps for us. Let’s not forget this good news:

“He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.”


How to Believe God

Posted: January 21st, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Since I know many of you read these posts by email, you probably haven’t been to my actual blog site in awhile. If you are on the site right now, you’ll see that the sub-title to this blog is, “A continuing journey…”

And that’s what believing God is for me. A continuing journey. Some days I do better than others. Some hours I do better than others. Some minutes too. Maybe you find like I do that one minute you feel sure and confident in God’s promises and the next minute you feel like He doesn’t even understand what you’re going through.

What it really boils down to are my thoughts. My thoughts determine my feelings. They dictate how I respond to other people, to God and to life.

When I believe what’s true, I experience peace and joy regardless of what’s happening around me. When I believe what I see around me, I easily become anxious, worried and fearful.

My mind must be in a constant state of renewal. Otherwise, I will always default back to believing what I see, not what God says is true. That’s why there’s no substitute for regularly being in God’s word. In it, He reveals Himself, His purposes and His ways. He shows me what He’s like and what’s important to Him. He encourages me, corrects me and instructs me.

Several years ago, I put together an eBook called, “I Believe God: a 40-day adventure.” It’s meant to be used as a daily devotional to help you focus on what God says is true and enlarge your capacity to believe Him. If you’d like a copy, you can get it by clicking here. It’s available in multiple formats, so it’s easy to read on whatever device you have. The suggested price is 99 cents, but I’ve set it up so you can set your own price. You can even make it free if you want.

In addition to my mind being renewed, the other critical element to believing God is having the encouragement of others. There’s no way to make it alone. And not only do you and I need others, they need us, too. I know there have been times when I’ve been talking with a friend and I hear myself speaking truth. Sometimes hearing my own words reminds me I really believe what I’m saying.

So if you want to believe God in a greater way, let me suggest you grab a friend and go through the 40-day devotional together. Talk, text or email each other daily to encourage and pray for each other. Choose to intentionally believe God together for forty days and see what happens.

If you do it, I’d love to hear from you. You can email me here.


Do You Make This Serious Error?

Posted: January 19th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

In Mark 12, some religious folks have come to Jesus to try and trap Him. These guys didn’t believe there was a resurrection. When you’re dead, that’s it, they said. No afterlife. So they come to Jesus with a question they think will trip him up.

They present this hypothetical situation where a woman gets married, but before she has a child, her husband dies. The law stated that the man’s brother should marry the woman, so the family name could be carried on. So she marries the brother. Well, before a child is born to the second brother, he also dies. And so does the third. And the fourth. And so on until all seven brothers are dead.

These religious leaders then ask Jesus this question: “Whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.”

With that big set-up, I figure these guys had to be thinking, “Oh boy, we’ve got him now! There’s no way he can talk his way out of this one!”

Jesus replies with these words: “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.” He then goes on to explain how it is they’re wrong. And then He ends by saying, “You have made a serious error.”

I wonder if Jesus would say something similar to you and me. Like when we’re feeling anxious or worried. Or afraid. Or when we’re feeling angry or bitter or jealous or resentful. Or when we’re feeling discouraged and are losing hope.

Here’s what I do to get myself in trouble…

I see my circumstances. I analyze the situation. I can’t figure out how to fix whatever problem I’m facing. And so I get anxious. Then I usually analyze some more. But I still can’t fix the problem, so the worry and anxiety get stronger. Then fear creeps in. And if I let the process continue, I’ll sometimes end up with a migraine.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but praying doesn’t always help. And I think I know why. My prayers are usually so focused on the circumstances that I don’t allow God room to even get involved. I keep rehearsing the situation with Him over and over.

If I would listen more, I wonder if what I’d hear him say is: “Whoa! Gregg! Slow down a minute. Let me say something. Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know My power. Why don’t you dig into my Word and find out what I’ve already promised you and then believe Me?”

Could that be your mistake, too? Could you be too focused on what you see rather than what God says?

What circumstances are you facing today that are causing you to feel discouraged or worried or overwhelmed or angry?

Now do you know what God says about your circumstances? If not, then maybe your mistake is the same one I often make. We’ve forgotten what God has already revealed in His Word and we’ve forgotten His power.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is 2 Peter 1:3-4, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”

God has (past tense!) given us everything (not just some things) we need for living a godly life. He has also given us great and precious promises that enable us to be more like Him. The religious leaders who came to Jesus had made a serious error because they didn’t know His power or the Scriptures.

You and I don’t have to make the same mistake.

Read on for a free offer…

If you’re married and would like a free copy of my latest book, “The Intimate Evening Planning Guide,” I’m offering it for free this week on Amazon. Click here to get your copy. This offer is good until Friday, January 23, 2015. If you like it, I’d really appreciate it if you left a review on Amazon. Also feel free to let your friends know.

One other thought related to marriage…if you feel like you and your spouse have drifted apart and no longer feel connected or if you’re “just stuck” and are having trouble moving forward in your relationship, let me encourage you to take advantage of my marriage coaching process. You can learn more by clicking here.

The Intimate Evening Planning Guide 231x300 Do You Make This Serious Error?


The Chief End of Man

Posted: January 16th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The nation of Israel was in slavery to the Egyptians for four hundred years. I wonder what the Jews who were born, lived and died in Egypt during those four hundred years thought. All they knew their entire lives was slavery. They never saw God’s miracles. They never made it to the Promised Land. Maybe Hebrews 11:13-16 was written for men and women like them:

All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

If you’re like me, you want trials and difficulties to be over today. If not, yesterday. That doesn’t always happen though. Ten years ago at this time, my dad was battling through the last few months of his fight with leukemia. A year ago, a friend of mine was fighting through the final stages of colon cancer. My dad and my friend would have liked to survive their illnesses. They didn’t want to die. But for them, the trials didn’t end with deliverance, but with death.

Maybe you’re battling a chronic illness today like they were. Or maybe you’ve been trying to repair a marriage or find a job or get pregnant.

And you wonder where God is and when He’s going to help.

Sometimes though, He has something better for us planned than immediate relief. But I’ll be honest, it’s hard to write that or accept that. I don’t want to suffer any more than you do or the Jews in Egypt did. My hope is that your difficult circumstances will come to an end as they eventually did for the generation of Israelites who lived four hundred years after Joseph.

In Exodus 3, God appears to Moses and says, “I am the God of your father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land.”

God was aware of what the nation of Israel was suffering. He saw. He heard their cries. And He came down to rescue them. He came down to fulfill the promises He had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

He may be coming to rescue you any day now. Don’t lose hope. Keep crying out to Him. Keep seeking Him…not just relief. Keep seeking Him. I too often have made the mistake of only seeking relief from circumstances I didn’t like. I wish I’d spent more time seeking His face. Because sometimes the trials don’t end when or how I want them to. So what I really need is peace and joy in the midst of the hardships.

Mostly, what I’m reminded of today is that life isn’t about you or me. Whether our trials end today or tomorrow or next year isn’t the point.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism is a statement of beliefs completed in 1647 to teach the doctrines of the church. The first question and answer in it is:

Question: What is the chief end of man?

Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.

That’s why you and I exist. It’s why the Jews exist. It’s why they endured hundreds of years as slaves and were eventually led out by Moses. It’s why you are in your circumstances today. And why I’m in mine. If our current circumstances persist, it’s our opportunity to glorify God and enjoy Him. If He brings relief, it’s our opportunity to glorify and enjoy Him.

In the midst of whatever you’re facing today, how can you choose to glorify God and enjoy Him?


Where is God When You Need Him?

Posted: January 8th, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Have you ever wondered where God was when you needed him?

I have.

In some dark moments, I’ve raged at Him, “Where are You, God?! Why won’t You do something?! Can’t You see?!”

It can feel like just when we need God the most…He doesn’t show. We desperately cry out for help…but we’re met with silence. A day stretches to a week which stretches to a month which stretches to a year…and longer. And still we wonder where He is and why He’s not helping us.

Last time, we looked at Joseph and how he ended up in prison for years. For a crime he didn’t commit. And yet there’s never any mention of Joseph becoming angry or depressed. We never see him losing hope and giving up.

So what’s going on? How was Joseph able to persevere through a lengthy prison term without becoming angry at his brothers (for selling him as a slave) or at God?

Genesis 39:21 says, “But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him His faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden.” The last part of verse 23 says, “The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.”

The same was true of his time as the manager of Potiphar’s  house before he was thrown in prison. Genesis 39:2 says, “The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did…”

Let’s stop here for a minute and consider a couple things. First, Joseph was experiencing God in the midst of circumstances he would never have chosen. No one wants to be betrayed by family members. No one wants to be sold as a slave and taken to a foreign land. No one wants to be falsely accused. No one wants to be wrongfully imprisoned.

When we find ourselves in a situation we don’t like, it doesn’t mean God isn’t with us or actively at work. Maybe God is most at work when our circumstances are the least desirable.

Second, success may not always look like we want it to. Joseph was a successful slave. He was a successful prisoner. I don’t want to be a slave or a prisoner. When I’m in hard circumstances, I want God to change them. Right away. And yet God was at work in and through and for Joseph regardless of the circumstances.

Eventually, after years of imprisonment, Joseph is let out because he’s able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. Rather, God reveals to Joseph what the dreams mean and Joseph relays the meanings to Pharaoh. God has warned Pharaoh that a seven-year famine is coming. Pharaoh responds by putting Joseph in charge of the entire nation of Egypt. Joseph makes sure the people stockpile grain so they can survive.

After the plentiful years, the famine hits, not just in Egypt, but in the whole region. Including the land of Canaan where Jacob and his family are living. To make a long story short, Jacob, his family and his descendents are saved because they’re able to buy food from Joseph and eventually move to Egypt to live there.

In Genesis 50:18, Joseph says to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”

During the years as a slave or the years he spent in prison, Joseph couldn’t see what God was up to. Surely, there had to be times he was wondering where God was when he needed Him the most. It was only in hindsight that he could see how God had used his brothers selling him as a slave, Potiphar’s wife falsely accusing him of rape and meeting Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer while in prison to accomplish His greater purposes.

Your current circumstances may not make any sense to you.  You may feel like God has forgotten you.

But He hasn’t.

He’s at work where you are, even if you can’t see it or sense His presence. Trust Him. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. He is at work in you, around you and for you.


When the Waiting Doesn’t End

Posted: January 1st, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

DSCN1111 300x225 When the Waiting Doesnt EndWhat are you waiting for?

A spouse?

A baby?

A job?

A restored relationship with a child?

Results of a medical test?

Healing?

There’s nothing easy about waiting. Especially when it feels unfair. When the waiting wasn’t brought on by anything you did or didn’t do.

Do you remember the story of Joseph, Jacob’s youngest son? He was Jacob’s favorite son and that made his eleven older brothers jealous. Of course, Joseph didn’t help himself by telling his brothers about the dreams he had about them bowing down to him. Joseph may have lacked diplomacy, but most teenagers do.

When his brothers see an opportunity to get rid of Joseph, they take it. They sell him to some traders on their way to Egypt. Once in Egypt, they sell him to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials. God is with Joseph causing everything he touches to prosper. It’s not long before Potiphar puts everything in his household under Joseph’s leadership.

Meanwhile, his brothers report to their father that Joseph was killed by some kind of wild animal. They even take Joseph’s coat and dip it in some blood, so Jacob will be convinced. Nice guys, his brothers.

Joseph is not only a capable leader, he’s a good looking guy, which catches the attention of Potiphar’s wife. She is constantly after him to sleep with her. And Joseph is constant in his refusals. One day when they’re alone together, she again demands he sleep with her. When he tries to leave, she grabs his cloak, which he leaves behind. She’s had enough of his rejection, so she falsely accuses him of trying to rape her. Potiphar is furious and has Joseph thrown into prison.

And there he languishes. Innocent. Falsely accused. Unfairly imprisoned.

The head of the prison gives Joseph some responsibility and soon everything under his leadership is going well because God is still with him. Still though, Joseph is a slave, in prison, in a country not his own, for something he didn’t do.

After some time has passed, a couple of Pharaoh’s officials end up in prison with Joseph. They each have a dream one night and God reveals the meanings to Joseph. When one of the officials is released from prison, as Joseph had predicted, he returns to his service to Pharaoh. Genesis 40 ends with this sentence, “The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.”

Waiting is hard, but isn’t it even harder when you’re waiting and you get a glimmer of hope, when it feels like God is about to change your circumstances, when He’s about to come through…and then nothing happens? You thought your spouse was changing, but then reverts back to former behavior. The interview went so well, but there’s no call back. You were sure the next test would show you were getting better, but it doesn’t.

There’s no mention of Joseph losing hope or becoming bitter, but it had to be a struggle for him. Yes, God was with him, but he was just a regular guy. Like you and me. And like us, he had to choose to believe God, not his circumstances, especially because there wasn’t an immediate change for Joseph. Chapter 41 begins this way, “When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream…”

Joseph has already been in prison for some time. And now two more years pass.

That’s a long time to wait. And not see an end in sight.

Maybe you can relate. You’ve been waiting and hoping and praying. And there’s no end in sight to your waiting.

Next time, we’ll take a look at what was happening that Joseph couldn’t see. We’ll see how God’s unseen hand was at work. For now, know that God sees you. He knows what you’re going through. He knows your pain and your fears. He knows your frustrations and discouragement.

He has not forgotten you. His peace and joy are available regardless of your circumstances, difficult people, unmet needs and unfulfilled dreams.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)


New Post On My New Site

Posted: December 22nd, 2014 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Truth | No Comments »

I just finished a new post. It’s on my new site. You can find it by clicking here.


Life’s Heavy Fog

Posted: October 27th, 2014 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

IMG 1241 300x225 Lifes Heavy Fog

Recently, I was in Toms River, New Jersey with two of my kids visiting my mom. We walked on the boardwalk, ate pizza at the Sawmill in Seaside Heights and watched my old high school win a football game. I also got to see some friends I grew up with, but hadn’t seen in years. And I was able to show my kids where I grew up in Brick Township.

Screen Shot 2014 10 27 at 10.40.50 AM 273x300 Lifes Heavy Fog

IMG 1186 300x225 Lifes Heavy Fog

IMG 1159 300x225 Lifes Heavy Fog

IMG 1201 225x300 Lifes Heavy Fog

My daughter, Amy, got to practice her German with my mom who speaks it fluently.

So a week ago at this time, we were getting ready to drive back to Philadelphia for our flight to Charlotte and then our connecting flight to Northwest Arkansas. Things started out smoothly…

We arrived at the airport in plenty of time. We checked-in, went through security and had dinner before our 7:25 p.m. flight. The flight to Charlotte, NC was uneventful. In Charlotte, we had an hour or so before our flight home. At our gate, I ran into a friend who was heading home after a business trip. We boarded on time, took off and were about ninety minutes into our flight when the captain made an announcement.

He said there was heavy fog around the airport and visibility was down to a quarter mile. To land, he said they needed visibility of at least a half mile. At this point, we were probably within twenty or thirty minutes of landing, but he said we were going to head back to Charlotte. When we deplaned in Charlotte, US Airways had agents at the gate calling out names and giving us our updated itineraries.

My friend’s new flight left two days later. Another guy was booked on the same flight only the next night. I wasn’t holding out much hope for what we’d get, but a minute later my name was called. They had re-booked us on Delta for the next morning at 7:15 a.m., which would get us home to Northwest Arkansas before noon. We were given a discounted hotel room and finally got into bed around 1:45 a.m. Our shuttle back to the airport was at 5:00 a.m., so we set our alarms for 4:40.

After a couple hours of sleep, we returned to the airport in Charlotte and boarded our flight to Cincinnati. Everything was again going well. At the start.

Our flight from Cincinnati departed on time and an hour or so later, we were beginning our descent into Northwest Arkansas. And that’s when the captain made his announcement. The fog from the previous night hadn’t lifted yet, so we were unable to land. He said we were going to circle in the area and wait for it to lift.

IMG 1313 225x300 Lifes Heavy Fog

Those aren't clouds, that's the ground fog covering the airport.

I’m not sure how long we circled, but it was long enough for the captain to make another announcement. He said we were safe, but were beginning to run low on fuel. So we turned to the west and headed toward Tulsa where we would refuel. By the time we landed in Tulsa, refueled and made it back to Northwest Arkansas, the fog had lifted and we landed safely.

When we’re in the midst of a fog, it’s tough to see. Planes can’t land. Drivers can’t see ahead. People can’t even walk. A friend was telling me that his wife had gone out for a walk that Monday morning when the fog was still in place. It was so thick, she had to go back home because she was afraid of bumping into something. My wife, Robyn, could only go 25 mph on her way to pick us up.

How do you respond when you find yourself in the fog?

Whether it’s something minor like a delayed flight or something major like cancer or being laid off from your job, you and I have a choice. We can believe God is still good, loving, faithful and all-powerful and can work in the midst of whatever circumstances we find ourselves in or we can panic, get angry or become discouraged.

God’s vision isn’t limited by the fog you’re in today. He still sees. He still knows what He’s doing. He knows exactly when the fog will lift. And until it does, He will walk you through it. You’re never alone. He never expects you to figure things out on your own.

In Matthew 16, Jesus told His disciples it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem where He’d suffer and be killed, but come back to life on the third day. Peter pulls Jesus aside and reprimands Him for talking like that. Here’s how Jesus replies:

Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Why did Jesus react so strongly to Peter? Wasn’t Peter just trying to look out for a friend? Get away from me, Satan? Peter is a dangerous trap?

Like Peter, it’s easy for us to view life from merely a human point of view, not from God’s. When we do, we not only lose our peace, but we fail to see the plan God is working out around us. And His plan always takes precedence over our plan.

What if rather than asking God to remove our difficult circumstances (which is always what I want him to do!), you and I chose to trust Him to take us through the fog and accomplish His greater plan in our lives?


Yada, Yada…It’s Not Just a Seinfeld Episode

Posted: October 23rd, 2014 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

In my last post, we looked at Genesis 15 and Abram’s encounter with God. Nothing in Abram’s circumstances would have led him to believe he was going to be the father of nations and that the entire world would be blessed through him. Why? He was old and childless and so was his wife, Sarai. But God is never limited by what’s happening in the past or what’s happening now. And because He is faithful to His promises and already sees the future, we can be confident in Him.

In verse 6, we see…

And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. (Genesis 15:6)

After Abram believes…

Then the Lord told him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.” (Genesis 15:7)

What happens next is fascinating…

But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it? (Genesis 15:8)

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever sensed God answering your prayer or leading you to a promise in His word, but then almost immediately you start to doubt or wonder if it’ll really happen? One minute you’re fully confident God will come through, but in the next moment, like Abram, you’re asking, “Lord, how can I be sure?”

God made a promise to Abram, but the circumstances were stacked against him. He believed…but…but how could he really be sure?

The Hebrew word for “sure” in verse 8 is the word “yada”. It means “to know, to learn to know, to perceive, to know by experience…” In Genesis 4:1, “Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife…”, the word for sexual relations is “yada.”

So how does God respond to Abram’s question?

The Lord told him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half. 11 Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away.

12 As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. 14 But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. 15 (As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) 16 After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.”

17 After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. 18 So the Lord made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egyptto the great Euphrates River…

God responds by entering into a covenant with Abram. The smoking firepot and flaming torch represented God as He passed between the animals that had been slaughtered and laid out as sacrifices by Abram. This was how a covenant was confirmed. In essence, the two parties to a covenant would pass between the dead animals and say something like, “May this be done to me if I break this covenant.”

What’s significant is that only God passes between the slain animals. Only God obligates Himself to fulfill the covenant.

God says to Abram in verse 13, “You can be sure…” Abram asked how he could know or be sure (yada) God would come through. We can’t see it in our English translation, but in Hebrew God says to Abram “yada yada.” In God’s reply, the word appears not just once, but twice. It’s like saying, “You can certainly be sure.” Abram wanted to be yada. And God said you can be yada yada.

God doesn’t lie. He doesn’t go back on His promises. He’s faithful and He’s able to come through for you. When God says it, you can be sure. You can be certainly sure. You can be yada yada.