Stranger in a strange land

Published 2:59 pm Friday, June 18, 2010

When I hear the word stranger, several definitions comes to mind, such as an alien, a foreigner living in a community without relatives.

When I think of this term, my mind also focuses on Genesis in the Bible where it talks about Abram.

In Chapter 12 in the Book of Genesis, God said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s house and go to the land I will show you.”

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His personal name means “father of the multitude.” He also was the son of Terah, and a descendant of Noah’s son Shem, (Genesis 11:27). His name was later changed to Abraham in Genesis 17:5. His wife was Sarai, and her name was later changed also to Sarah. Her name means princess. God blessed them in their old age and gave them a son, Isaac. Moses wrote the book of Genesis in 1450-1410 B.C.

As we study the book of Genesis, we see that is the beginning of God’s plan for mankind. With the fall of man, God did not leave us hopeless. His plan of salvation is prophesied in the Book of Genesis. Genesis also sets the stage for the entire Bible and the world.

Abram was 75 years old when he left and set out from Haran. He took his wife, Sarai; his nephew, Lot, and all the possessions they had accumulated. This included the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan.

When God called him, he moved out on faith and obedience. God then established a covenant with him telling him he would find a great nation. Not only would this nation be blessed, but God said the other nations of the earth would be blessed through Abram’s descendants. Abram was to follow God and influence those with whom he came in contact with. Through Abram’s family tree, Jesus Christ was born to save humanity. Through Christ, people can have a personal relationship with God and be blessed beyond measure.

God promised to bless Abram and make him great, but there was one condition. Abram had to do what God wanted him to do. This meant leaving his home and friends and traveling to a new and strange land. Abram obeyed, and walked away from his home to follow God’s direction. God may be trying to lead us to a place of greater service and usefulness for Him when we have to change or relocate. We are not to let the comfort and securities of our present position cause us to miss out on God’s plan for us. God planned to develop a nation of people in whom he would call his own. He called Abram from the godless, self-centered city of Ur of the Chaldeans, to a fertile region called Canaan where a God-centered and moral nation could be established.

Abram built altars regularly togged for two reasons: 1) to pray and worship God and, 2) as a reminder of God’s promise to bless him.

When God calls us to do a job or gives us an assignment, do we make excuses?

Do we doubt Him?

Do we want to stay in our comfort zone?

Do we become afraid or apprehensive?

God need bold soldiers and those who have surrendered their lives for serving Him. Our commitment to him must be solid. When we have used all of our resources and human frailties, next comes testing of our faith in God. He will always show himself faithful to what his word says. We have to know the voice of God in order to hear his voice. As we become part of God’s family, we will be able to recognize his voice.

Abram was a stranger in a strange land but, God guided him and protected him. I am sure Abram had some fears, but he followed God’s instructions anyway. I know how he probably felt because when I moved to Georgia, I felt as a stranger in a strange land.

So many times I thought about moving back home to Plant City, Fla., because I felt as a stranger in a strange land. Through making adjustments and transitions, I was faced with some trying and difficult moments.

With these tests, God was molding me into a better person and servant for Him. As a Christian, we are going to be faced with ups and downs.

If Jesus died for us, who are we to grumble?

We are no better than Jesus. Through all of these tests, God has always being there for me and has always prevailed. He said he will never leave us nor forsake us.

As I close, I have learned how to endure in happy times and in sad times, bad times and in good times. It is all worth it as long as I have Jesus.

As stated in First Peter 2:11-12, we as believers are to live in such a way that the world can see Jesus in us, since we are strangers and aliens in this world. Heaven is our home with the Lord. God is our heavenly Father and we must remind ourselves of this on this wonderful Father’s Day.

I am blessed to say that my earthly father, Abraham Bivins Sr., instilled Godly values and morals in me to make me who I am today. Through Jesus, I have allowed him to teach me when I falter and want to do things in my own human ability.

In God we live and move and have our being. With his unfailing love, I can help pass these values on to others in the ministry that the Lord has given me so that the Father may be glorified.

As we move from one degree of grace to another, we need to allow God to work in our lives as Abraham did. We will then see our ministry grow and be productive in many ways. We will outgrow our territory. Being obedient like Abram would give us favor with God.

When it is all said and done, “Give Me Jesus” because He is the reason for it all.

Please allow me to quote these comforting words from a song I love: “In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus. When I am all alone, give me Jesus. You can have the entire world and its possessions, give me Jesus. When I come to die, give me Jesus because he is a Father to the fatherless. He is a Mother to the motherless, just give me Jesus. What a friend we have in Jesus. He’s a Friend to the end, just give me Jesus. Man will turn against you, but Jesus never will.”

Just give me Jesus. Amen!