Today we begin reading Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-20. Several years ago in a sermon I understood the beatitudes or blessings at the beginning of Jesus' sermon in a new way. Jesus is encouraging us who feel like giving up. I've attached the sermon "Understanding a Joy that Nothing Can Destroy." You can watch it here. At the end of the message Kevin gives a wonderful testimony of the power of the Holy Spirit in his life.
In Genesis 13-15 we see these ups and downs played out in a believer's life. Abram (later named Abraham) displays a generous spirit in chapter 13 and incredible courage in chapter 14. From those spiritual highs, he falls into a valley of despair at the beginning of Genesis 15. It seems like God isn't going to keep his promise. The LORD's words to him are reminiscent of the phrase we heard a couple of weeks ago in a message: "Jesus + Nothing = Everything." The LORD says, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."
This is the Christian's life. Sometimes we feel like we can take on the world. Then doubts and fears fill our hearts. It is in those darkest time that the LORD's words can lift us up. We are not alone. The Savior God is with us, not because we are so good and strong, but because he is so merciful and forgiving. We need add nothing else. When the Savior God is with us, we have everything we need. God grant us this faith of Abraham. Amen.
Below is a map that can help you trace Abraham's travels in the Promised Land.