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Bible

Entertaining Angels

As followers of Jesus, we are encouraged to be generous and giving.  Hospitality is part of that.  Sometimes when we show kindness to others, we will never know the affect of our actions.  As an encouragement in being generous and giving, Paul writes, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

This is an interesting thought.  Of course, we would never know if it were to happen.

However, the Bible provides a story that confirms this idea of serving angels.  Three men come to visit Abraham.  He offers them food and respite.  Somehow he realizes that one of them is God (likely Jesus), but it is not until later that we learn the other two are angels.  No indication is given that Abraham ever comprehends the true identity of the other two visitors.

The two men (angels) leave, going on to Sodom to visit Abraham’s nephew, Lot.  He, likewise, offers generous hospitality to them, even to the point of begging.  There is no hint that Lot ever realizes the men are angels, either.  Even so, they save Lot twice, first from the men of the town and later from the destruction of Sodom.

Certainly we should be diligent in entertaining strangers — we’ll never know what might happen.

[Hebrews 13:2, Genesis 18-19]

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Bible

By Law or By Faith

In what initially seems to be shocking statement, Jesus says that if we want to have eternal life, we must follow the commandments in the Old Testament. [Matthew 19:17]

Of course, this is impossible, because if we break even one law, one time, we are found guilty and therefore separated from God.  Clearly, following rules is not the solution.

So what is?  The realistic answer is that we need to turn from our wrong-doing and follow Jesus by faith, who took the hit for our law-breaking, making us right with God.  Even Abraham, was made right with God through his faith, not by following a bunch of rules. [Galatians 3:6]

For further contemplation, this contrast between the law (following rules) and faith (following Jesus) is expanded upon and explained in greater detail in Galatians 3, especially verses 10-11,19, and 21-22.  Also see Ephesians 2:8.

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Bible

Sarah Laughs at God

In Genesis 18:10-15 we read the amazing story of Sarah being promised a son in her old age.  When she hears this, she laughs — I would to; it seems preposterous (but for an all-powerful God, nothing is impossible).  In fact God rhetorically asks Abraham (Sarah’s even older husband) “Is anything too hard for [me]?”

Sarah’s laughter at God’s promise may have been delight, but more probable, it was doubt.  Even so, God did as he promised and Isaac was born to Sarah and Abraham within the year.

Despite Sarah’s laughter over what was humanly impossible, God later commends her for having faith, Hebrews 11:11.  Although she doubted, she apparently had enough belief so that God would later esteem her for her faith.

We may not have immense faith, but a little faith, even with some doubt sprinkled in, is enough for God.