January 6

Genesis 19-21, Psalm 6

When talking with someone in public, how often do we conclude by saying, "I will pray for you", only to get distracted 2 seconds later and never eventually praying for that person? When we read or hear of someone with an issue and say, "I will keep you in prayer", how many do it then, but forget about it in the ensuing days? Procrastination is a problem in the lives of Christians and non-Christians alike. Augustine of Hippo said, "God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination." Martin Luther King Jr. said, "You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step."

Abraham was not a procrastinator. We read in Genesis 14:14, "Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan." He didn't wait to contemplate strategy, he chased an entire army to save Lot. When God revealed to Abraham the covenant of circumcision, we read in Genesis 17:23, "So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him." Abraham did not consider the right setting or look at his schedule, God asked and he did immediately. We see when Abraham encountered the three men (2 angels along with the Angel of the Lord) in Genesis 18:2, he did not hesitate, "So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground,". Realize Abraham was 99 years old when he ran over to them. Contrast this with Lot. He has already been told by the two angels that imminent destruction was coming on Sodom and Gomorrah. We read in Genesis 19:15-16, "When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city." And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city." In the next few verses, we continue to see Lot procrastinate and debate the angel's instructions on where exactly he had to run to. We see the staggering difference between Abraham and Lot in Genesis 19:29, "And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt." God spared Lot's life because of the request of righteous Abraham. Though it doesn't say it, I could picture Abraham in continuous prayer as these events were unfolding. Our prayers bring mightier results than we may ever know. It's a good thing it was Abraham praying for Lot, and not the other way around.

The Holy Spirit resides inside all of us who have repented and accepted His free offer of salvation. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, we read, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" The Holy Spirit continually prompts us to action, the problem is we don't yield. It is so easy to procrastinate and wait for the right moment which often never occurs. Like Abraham, when led by God, we should immediately move into action. When it comes to prayer, if you say you are going to do it, either do it out loud on the spot, or no sooner that you walk away do it then. If you say you will keep someone in prayer, write their name down someplace so that you will remember. Many know that they are living a life of sin, apart from God, and avoid making a commitment to Christ believing they have plenty of time for that. Many Christians avoid telling their loved ones about Christ for fear of offending them or making them uncomfortable, believing they have plenty of time before that loved one dies. But only God knows when our time on this earth is over. May we all follow the example of Abraham, the man of faith. When we feel God calling us into action, don't procrastinate, act.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster