Putting God's Word into Practice…

Genesis 24-27

Chapter 24

  • Abraham wanted to do everything he could to keep his only son from getting mixed up with a bad woman, and yet Isaac ended up being married to a women whose favoritism led her to deceive and manipulate and change the course of her sons’ lives.
  • We see the phrase several times here: “steadfast love and faithfulness.”  This phrase may be on of the most common phrases in the Bible.  These virtues are perfect summarizations of the character of God, and the character He wants to develop in each of His children.
  • When God answers our prayers, are we quick to town down and worship the Lord? To bless Him for His faithful leading and provision?

Chapter 25

  • The Lord heard Jacob’s prayer for offspring.  He opened Rebekah’s womb and gave her twins…but with not a super great prophecy of their future.  Due to the twins’ dramatic differences, favoritism is born in the hearts of Isaac and Rebekah.
  • Esau despised his birthright and sold it for bread and lentil stew.

Chapter 26

  • We see here almost an identical theme in Isaac’s life as in his fathers. There was a famine. The Lord promised to care for him and his descendants.  Isaac settled in Gerar and lied about his wife being his sister to King Abimelech out of fear.  And in spite of his faithlessness, the Lord blessed Isaac with even more wealth and possessions.
  • Esau took Hittite wives that made life bitter for his parents.  Lord, please let my sons take godly, joy-filled, life-giving, gracious, good, kind wives!!

Chapter 27

  • “Delicious food, such as I love.”  This theme is repeated throughout the chapter.  Isaac’s love for delicious food was the downfall of his legacy.  DON’T LOVE DELICIOUS FOOD!  Those cravings will come back to bite ya!
  • You can’t always trust a mother who says, “Obey my voice.”  You don’t have to obey if the one in authority is leading you into sin.
  • Jacob says, “The Lord YOUR God,” to his father.  He doesn’t know God personally…yet!
  • Wanting a blessing from one’s father is natural desire.  To not hear one can cause exceeding sorrow and bitterness.
  • Rebekah lies to Isaac again to get him to send Jacob back to Laban because she fears for his life, and doesn’t want it to end at the hands of his brother, Esau.

God is working out his faithful, loving plan in spite of sinful man.  He can make a straight line with a crooked stick!

Comments Off on Genesis 24-27

Genesis 20-23

Chapter 20

  • God redeems man’s faithlessness–even when it is repeated!
  • Husbands and wives can either honor God together or be drawn in to sinful decisions together.
  • God is able to prevent and protect man from sinning against himself.
  • Abraham “thought.” ( vs. 11)  When we make assumptions about others and let those assumptions dictate our decisions, we are in danger of making sinful, fear-driven decisions.

Chapter 21

  • The LORD visited Sarah and allowed her to conceive and bear the promises son, Isaac.  (Interesting wording…)
  • In jealousy, Sarah makes a decision against Hagar and Ishmael that creates an era-long battle between nations. (God’s sovereignty is still over it all.)
  • “The Lord, the Everlasting God!” vs. 33  What a wonderful name it is!

Chapter 22

  • God tested Abraham’s faith.
  • Mt. Moriah–Where Abraham offered his only son as a sacrifice to the Lord…same place Solomon will build the temple.  Same place that is hotly contested now between the offspring of Ishmael and the offspring of Isaac.
  • “God will provide…”  That is faith!!
  • Obedience…That is faith!!
  • Deliverance and provision–rewards of faith!!!  Test aced!

Chapter 23

  • Sarah dies and is buried in Hebron, in the land of Canaan.
Comments Off on Genesis 20-23

Genesis 16-19

Chapter 16

  • Sarai had a bad idea, but Abram listened to her voice instead of remembering the voice of God.  Flesh>faith=failure!
  • The angel of the LORD “found” Hagar, spoke to her, heard her, and saw her.  She fled to a spring of water in the wilderness and found the Living Water instead!

Chapter 17 

  • God redeemed Sarai and Abram’s sinful decision and committed to keeping His promise in spite of their lack of faith.
  • He promised Himself to them and their offspring…to be their God…their Leader, Protector, Provider.
  • The Lord said, “I will bless her,” even though she tried to control their family through her own plans and made a mess of everything.  He chose to bless her and open her womb even after “the way of women had ceased to be with Sarah.”
  • Abraham literally rotfl! (vs. 17)

Chapter 18

  • “Is anything too hard for the LORD?”  That is the question I need to answer overtime I get discouraged or feel hopeless.  There is nothing too hard for Him!
  • God shares with Abraham His love for righteousness and justice and hopes that each generation after him is filled with it.
  • Abraham appeals to the Lord as a just Judge in His dealings with the land of Lot.

Chapter 19

  • Apparently some people were crying out to the Lord to destroy these wicked cities.  And He heard and went to see first hand…almost a test to see if they were as wicked as He heard. (I don’t really understand this, especially since He is an omniscient God, but I believe that His ways are always for a purpose.)
  • Lot lingered…He wasn’t sure if he wanted to walk away from all his possessions, maybe had a fear of what the future would hold.  In the end, all that he lifted his eyes up to see that captured his heart in chapter 13 was lost.
  • The “men” seized them–because of the mercy of God–and took them outside of the city.
  • Because of Abraham’s righteous request, Lot was rescued.  It was nothing that Lot did.  When we ask anything according to His will, we can know that He hears and will give us what we ask.  (1 John 5:14-15)
  • The end of this chapter just gets weird, but my one takeaway is that Lot didn’t seek the Lord and his daughters didn’t seek the Lord.  They took matters into their own hands…they leaned on their own understanding…they made their own ways. Never turns out well!
Comments Off on Genesis 16-19

Genesis 12-15

Chapter 12

  • The Lord said, “Go,” so Abram went.  Abram had confidence that he heard the voice of God and believed His promises.
  • The Lord appeared to Abram (vs. 7).  Even more intimately connected.
  • Abram built an altar and called on the Name of the Lord.  But it wasn’t long before Abram let unbelief and fear lead him to try to control his own destiny.  He forgot the promises of God and let what he could see redirect him.  He forgot that God could sustain him and his family through a severe famine in the land, so he took them to Egypt, lied to the Pharaoh, and almost lost his wife (the one who would bear the promised offspring).  BUT GOD redeemed, protected and rescued Abram and all he possessed from his mistake.

Chapter 13

  • Abram went directly back to where he started and called on the Name of the Lord again.  Sometimes we all need a spiritual reboot.  We need to refocus on the Name of the Lord!
  • When Abram and Lot separated, Lot took the best-looking land for himself.  The one that would be easy to dwell from a human standpoint.  But it was a spiritual wasteland!
  • Lot “lifted up his eyes and saw.”   The Lord told Abram where to lift up his eyes.  The Lord didn’t guide Lot, but He did guide Abram.

Chapter 14

  • “When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive…” He prepared for battle and went out and rescued Lot and his possessions.  That’s what God does for us.  And that is what we should do for each other!  There are loved ones who are captive all around us, what are we doing to rescue them?  Even if we have to go up against an enemy that is much stronger and greater in number, if God is on our side, great things will be accomplished and people will be set free!

Chapter 15

  • In spite of all that Abram had, he still wanted a son…an heir. And God promised him one–in such a tender and personal way!
  • Abram believed the Lord and it was counted to him as righteousness.  We cannot be right with God apart from belief in Him.
  • God’s promises are not always for what we think is good. In verse 13, God promised Abram that his offspring would experience 400 years of slavery, affliction, and sojourning.
  • “BUT I WILL…” God promises that He will bring light to the darkness, set slaves free, judge their afflicters, and give them a land to call their own.
Comments Off on Genesis 12-15

Genesis 8:20-11

Chapter 8:20-22

  • “The Lord smelled,” … “The Lord said.” He is a LIVING GOD!
  • “Never again will I curse the ground because of man…”  But millennia later, He cursed THE MAN because of the world.  (Galatians 3:13)

Chapter 9

  • Vegetarianism ended!  Praise the Lord for meat!!!

Chapter 10

  • The cities established out of the sons of Ham were cursed just like the Lord promised…cities such as Sodom, Gomorrah, Sidon, Nineveh, etc…

Chapter 11

  • Man can say, “Come, let us…” and they are able to do great things, but when the Lord says, “Come, let us…”  He changes the course of history!!!
  • Terah took Abram, Sarai, and Lot and headed from Ur to Canaan, but they settled in Haran instead.  Settling–accepting good enough, less than the best.  We may settle for our own good ideas, but if they are not God’s idea, He will not let us linger there!   He will call us out in obedience to what is His best!
Comments Off on Genesis 8:20-11

Genesis 4-8:19

Chapter 4

  • God always gives an opportunity for humble repentance.
  • God punishes sin, and sinners must live with consequences.
  • Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and living in the land of Nod “wandering.”  There is no rest, no purpose, no confidence apart from the presence of the Lord.
  • “People began to call on the name of the Lord.”  Maybe they realized their need for His protection and intervention.  Maybe they realized they were lost without Him–that wandering wasn’t very fun.

Chapter 5

  • God created, blessed and named Adam and Eve in His likeness.
  • Man created and named his offspring in his likeness.
  • All who were born also died just like the Lord promised. (Except Enoch who disappeared off the face of the earth.)
  • Enoch walked with God…close relationship, purposeful pursuit, friendship, communication, wisdom seeking, sharing life.

Chapter 6

  • The Lord experienced regret and grief over the human condition–and man’s propensity to think and do evil.
  • “But Noah found favor…” Why?  Because he was righteous and blameless, and he walked with God.
  • God hates violence on the earth.  So much so, that He was willing to destroy His whole creation because of the violence and sin that had overtaken the beauty.

Chapter 7

  • Noah did “all” the Lord commanded.  Full obedience=whole-hearted love.
  • God shut them in the ark.  He was their protector and sustainer.

Chapter 8

  • “But God” remembered Noah in the ark. HE caused a wind to blow.  HE caused the wind to recede.
  • God commanded Noah’s family to be fruitful and multiply.  He wanted righteousness to fill the earth again.

I came away from today’s reading with more questions than answers.  There are gaping holes in this story…things God didn’t intend for us to know.  I tried to research some answers to my questions, but ended up not wanting to subject myself to the understanding of man and elevate it higher than what God gave me in His Word.  I’m okay with not knowing and understanding everything–how it worked, why it happened, how many people it impacted, etc…God’s ways and thoughts are higher than mine and I don’t need to know–I just need to believe what He has given me.  What I know for sure:  He is holy; He hates sin; He is the creator of all things and can do anything He wants with His creation; He sees and knows intimately those who walk with Him; He loves and rewards faithful obedience; He is good.

Comments Off on Genesis 4-8:19

Genesis 1-3

I’ve been piecing together Scripture and studies over the past few years and really feel like I need to return to reading big chunks of the Bible each day until I finish it again.  Instead of filling up another journal.  I’d like to just keep track of things that stand out to me each day here for my personal growth.  So here it goes:

  • Chapter 1:  God said…and it was so…and it was good.
  • Genesis 2:  God is generous–everything for man except except one tree!  God gave Adam a helper so he wouldn’t be alone.  And not just any helper–a women–a “perfect fit.”
  • Chapter 3:  Satan’s temptations are always the same.  They appeal to the “Lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” (1 John 2:16)  They cast doubt over the goodness of God.  They are subtly deceptive.
  • Chapter 3:  First two emotions after the introduction of sin were shame and fear.  The first response was to hide and blame.
  • Chapter 3:  Death is a consequence of sin, but it is also a display of the grace of God. When God forbid Adam and Eve to stay in the garden and eat of the fruit of the tree of life, it kept them from living eternally in their sinful condition.  Death without believing in Jesus leads to eternal separation from God, but death with believing in Jesus leads to eternal life in His perfect presence.  For the Christian, physical death is our escape from living forever in a sinful world.  Therefore, death is a gift from God.
Comments Off on Genesis 1-3

What I’m Learning About Discipleship from The Three Little Pigs

Cuddled up in the recliner with my one year, I began to read a new book to him.  It’s an old story really, but something about the way this one was written started the wheels in my mind spinning.  The Three Little Pigs is a very familiar lesson about diligence and planning ahead; but in this account, I found so much more.

We need an “older brother” in our lives.  When the older brother in this story saw the younger brothers’ houses of straw and sticks, he responded by saying, “It doesn’t look very strong.  What if the wolf comes?”  Don’t we need someone in our lives like that spiritually.  We have a raging enemy who longs to devour us; he huffs and puffs and blows daily.  It is a good thing to have someone who reminds us and warns us of this truth and who is brave enough to speak honestly into our lives.

We need an “older brother” in our lives.  As you know the wolf did come, and he succeeded in blowing down the houses of the younger brothers and sent them scurrying.  Where did they scurry?  To the older brother’s house, of course.  The older brother swung open the door announcing, “Hurry!  You’ll be safe here.”  When our world comes crashing down, even when it’s due to our own foolishness, it is so important to have a safe place to turn.  Someone who will offer us grace, hospitality, and safety.  Not someone who says, “I told you so,” but “Hurry! Get inside!”

We need an “older brother” in our lives.  This book didn’t end with the wolf giving up and leaving the three pigs to celebrate.  The final page declares, “The next day, the oldest pig showed his brothers how to build strong houses out of brick.” Yes!  That is discipleship–that is mentoring!  A true “older brother” doesn’t leave us where we are, he comes alongside of us and teaches us how to live stronger lives!  The “older brother” reveals the way to security and joy.

We all need someone like that in our lives, and someone needs us to be that person for them!  Reaching forward, reaching back; offering and receiving warnings; displaying and requiring grace; teaching and being taught wisdom!

Bryant, Robyn. The Three Little Pigs. Tormont Publishing. Canada, 2011.

Leave a comment »

The End of Nehemiah and Blogging (13:30-31)

This is it!  542 blogs in three years.  God has been faithful to speak to me and strengthen me.  And my prayer has been that He would do that through me for you.  God is calling me to deeper intimacy with Himself.  I’m not quite sure what that means or what it will look like, but based on my prayer time Saturday it means, “honest, raw and private.”  Even though my quiet times in God’s Word have been personally reflective, there is always the underlying knowledge that I’m studying to share.  There is often more urgency to get thoughts typed up than to “sit and soak.”  This, coupled with leading women’s Bible study at my church has left me feeling like I’m wading in shallow waters.  Like I’m trying to draw out water from the ocean with a hole-y bucket instead of a holy bucket!

How appropriate that my last blog will be from Nehemiah 13:30-31. “Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; and I provided for the wood offering at appointed times, and for the firstfruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.” Chronologically this is the end of the Old Testament.  It ushered in 400 years of silence.  Nothing more is recorded in the Bible until Jesus-the Light of the world-is born.

Nehemiah’s legacy is that he restored Jerusalem, the temple, and the inhabitants back to purity with their God.  Everything was left in tact as the world awaited the Messiah!  Likewise, may our hearts be “in tact” as we await His return.  Come Lord Jesus!


Notes from Nehemiah (13:23-29)

Flashback to the Israel’s covenant they made in chapter 10:

  • WE WILL NOT give our daughters to godless, foreigners as wives or take their daughters for our sons.
  • WE WILL NOT do business on the Sabbath or Holy Days.
  • WE WILL let the land rest and cancel all debts every seven years.
  • WE OBLIGATE OURSELVES to pay the temple tax.
  • WE OBLIGATE OURSELVES to bring the firstborn and firstfruits of everything to the temple.

As we have seen throughout chapter 13, upon Nehemiah’s return he found the people and the city in a sorry state of spiritual compromise.  Everything they committed themselves to, they reneged on.  In this case, the Jewish marriages were mixed between those who belonged to God and those who were considered enemies of God.  They were raising children who neither spoke Israel’s language nor knew Israel’s God.  This inter-marrying was not about racial purity but about spiritual purity.  Marrying someone who was not part of God’s family was considered a treacherous–disloyal, unfaithful, backstabbing–act against God.  1) God desires His children to be pure and holy, and spiritual inequality in marriage leads to compromise and sin.  Nehemiah reminded the people that King Solomon had wives of different faiths and it ushered in his downfall and affected their whole nation.  It eventually drove to Jerusalem’s destruction and the people’s exile.  Would they be so foolish as to let that happen again after all God had done for them in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem? 2) Marriage reflects a covenant between God and His people.  He promised to provide for, protect, cherish and love them.  Their intermarrying was most likely for political strategy, military alliances, and financial gain.  They were putting their trust in other nations to do what God promised He would do for them!

Isn’t that true of us!  We let relationships change us morally.  And we put our trust in relationships for our intimacy, protection and provision instead of trusting Jesus.  Who we physically bond ourselves to here on earth is a big deal!

Nehemiah’s response to this treachery was intense.  In verse 25 it says, “And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take oath in the name of God, saying, ‘You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves’.”  He punished and shamed them for their sinfulness.

When I read the words “confronted,” “cursed,” “beat,” and “pulled out their hair,” it reminded me of Jesus.  In Isaiah 50:6 it was prophesied:  “I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.”  And we see that fulfilled in Matthew 27:28-31 and Mark 15:16-20. When the Lord found us in our sinful state–married to the world, sharing our lives with the enemy–he could have punished and shamed us.  Instead, he let the punishment and shame fall on His own Son.  His wrath against our treacherous hearts was spent on Jesus.  If we believe that truth and accept Jesus, we can be purified without being punished–that’s grace my friends!

Leave a comment »