The Great Promise Keeper

Genesis 18:9-15

You probably have received an email stating that Bill Gates is giving money to people who will forward the message you received to ten other people.  Nearly everyone in the USA has also received mail from National Publishers Clearing House promising a winning chance at millions of dollars.

Whenever a promise is made two things must be considered.  Does the person or company have the resources to back up the promise and is the person or company trustworthy.

In the movie “It Could Happen to You,” a cop stops at a diner to eat.  After he finishes his meal he realizes he doesn’t have enough money to tip the waitress.  The cop explains this to the waitress and then makes an interesting promise.  He has purchased a lottery ticket, and if it is a winning ticket he will give her half of the prize money as her tip.  Like Sarah in our scripture reading, the waitress laughs at the likelihood of this taking place.  First, he probably won’t win.  Second, if he wins he won’t remember his promise to her.  The twist in the movie comes when he does win the lottery and returns to the diner to give the waitress a two million dollar tip.  The amusing part of the story is when the cop tries to explain this to his wife.

It has been reported that God made 5,467 promises that are recorded in the Bible.  How do we know God will keep His promises?  Every promise God has made, that relates to the past, has been kept.   He has the resources and He is trustworthy.

By Dr. Gayle Woods

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Christian Hospitality

Genesis 18:1-8

The Greek word is philoxenia is a compound of two Greek words –philos – “kind affection” or “love” and xenos – “stranger. ” Literally, philoxenia means “one who loves strangers.” In the first century they didn’t have Holiday Inns, Red Roof Inns, or even Motel 6.  A night in an inn would be unpleasant for they were ill kept.  It would have also been dangerous.  The solution to the problem of lodging for traveling Christians at that time was for other Christians to open their homes to traveling brothers.

Lydia was a prominent, respected and successful businesswoman in Philippi.  Paul and Silas met with her, and God “opened her heart” to the gospel.  She and her entire household gave their hearts and lives to Jesus.  What is so difficult to some Christians seemed to be an immediate response in her new life in Christ.   She urged Paul and Silas to be her house guests. She suddenly viewed her home and possessions as resources that could be used by God to help build his church. She saw a need as she looked at Paul and his travel-worn missionary team.  Instinctively she sought to meet the need. Scholars believe that her house served as a home base for the church at Philippi for quite some time. It would be well if all Christians would ask themselves, “How can I develop a better willingness to be hospitable and to value people?”

By Dr. Gayle Woods

 

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A Mother of Nations

Genesis 17:15-19

Following Phoebe’s marriage to Walter Palmer in 1827, the couple became interested in the John Wesley’s writings.  Of special interest was his teaching on the doctrine of Christian perfection.  In 1837 Phoebe came to know the truth of the experience of entire sanctification personally.  Her family soon followed, experiencing this second definite work of God’s grace.  They were excited about what God had done for them and felt they should spread the good news.

Two years prior, Phoebe’s sister Sarah Lankford began to have weekly prayer meetings with other Methodist women. Eventually Phoebe became the leader of the meetings which were called the “Tuesday Meeting for the Promotion of Holiness.”

In 1839 men were finally allowed to attend the meetings.  Among them were Methodist bishops, theologians and ministers such as Edmund S. James, Leonidas Lent Hamline, Jesse T. Peck and Matthew Simpson.   Others that were influenced during this time by her speaking and writing were the temperance leader, Frances Willard; the co-founder of the Salvation Army, Catherine Booth; and the first president of the National Camp Meeting Association for the Promotion of Holiness (later the Christian Holiness Partnership), John Inskip.  The holiness message which had died down to a flickering ember burst into a flame that spread throughout the world.  Phoebe Palmer was blessed by God to become a “mother of nations.”

By Dr. Gayle Woods

 

 

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