Week 5 Monday

Everlasting Is A Long Time

Today’s scripture selection: Genesis 16-19

Key verse: Genesis 17:3-7

 

     We live in a throw-away world.  We buy a fast-food breakfast and wash it down with coffee from a Styrofoam cup.  We get electronic mail and dump most of it into an electronic trash bin.  We buy, or perhaps lease a car that is made of plastic; keep it a few years then swap it for one that is made of newer and flashier plastic.  We download music then delete it when we are tired of it; watch movies on portable devices that will be discarded as soon as another operating system comes out.  And sadly, for many, even our relationships are throw-away.  If the marriage goes sour; the friendship stale – it’s on to greener pastures – “it’s been nice to know you.”  And that’s that.

     In a world like that – the word “covenant” seems very strange and foreign.  It sounds “biblical” and it sounds serious.  And it is; especially when the covenant – the agreement or contract – is between you and God.

     That’s why the Bible says Abram “fell facedown” the day God told him he was about to confirm the covenant they had made earlier.  It was the promise from God that Abram and Sarai – now known as Abraham and Sarah – would become the father and mother of a multitude.

     Now that was enough to process – that this old man and woman were about to start the family they had always wanted.  But what was even harder to swallow was that this covenant, this agreement, wasn’t dependent on Abraham and Sarah’s ability or actions.  God simply blessed them and said it was going to happen.  His covenant of blessing was everlasting – period.  And everlasting is a very long time.

     If God blessed us that way – we might be tempted to do what old Sarah did when she first heard the news – laugh in disbelief.  But in fact, God has blessed us, just like this.  God has promised to never leave us or forsake us; never to stop loving us; never stop offering us opportunities to grow into the children He wants us to be.  It’s called grace – and its everlasting – on His side.  We can walk away from it; we can refuse it – gifts are like that.  But we can’t do anything that will ever keep God from loving us.  He’s like that.

Everlasting is a long time.  Let’s embrace it by loving the God who will never stop loving us.

 

     Prayer: Almighty, everlasting God, sometimes I find it hard to believe you can love me so much that you will never give up on me.  Show me how to be faithful to the covenant you have lovingly established forever.  May I never forsake you or it.  AMEN. 

 

 

      

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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