Genesis

From Glory to Shame and Back Again


Genesis 49:28-50:26 & Habakkuk 1:1-3:19

“Drink from the cup of the LORD’s judgment, and all your glory will be turned into shame.” Habakkuk 2:16

This verse took me by surprise this morning as I was reading. It brought to mind another cup that Jesus mentioned in Luke 22:42 when He was praying on the Mount of Olives just before He went to the cross. He knew what was coming and it was distressing Him greatly so He prayed, “Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.”

The LORD’s cup of judgment would certainly be a cup of suffering would it not? And as Jesus hung naked from the cross His glory was turned to shame with people passing by and spitting on Him and taunting Him saying, “He saved others, let Him save Himself if He is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” The soldiers mocked Him as well, calling out, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” Even one of the criminals who hung beside Him on his own cross said, “So You’re the Messiah, are You? Prove it by saving Yourself – and us, too, while You’re at it!” Luke 23:35, 36 &39

And yet, was that not one of His MOST glorious moments of all? Sure He was utterly humiliated in that moment, and yet He remained filled with the Grace that only God can maintain! I mean, seriously, what was His response to all the mockery and shame, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing.” Luke 23:34 Only Jesus in the height of His glory could do something like that. There He was drinking down the Father’s cup of judgment on our behalf and people are mocking Him while He’s doing it. In that moment Jesus was fully human and fully God. He was fully naked and yet still fully clothed in the robe of righteousness that He bestows upon OUR shoulders when we choose Him as our Lord and Savior by accepting the gift He paid for that day on the cross. In that moment every shred of earthy glory was stripped from Him and yet with each lash of the whips His glory shone ever brighter and more glorious! He was utterly humiliated and yet in the process utterly humiliated the Enemy of our souls.

He was so brilliant in that moment, so glorious, that even from a distance of two thousand plus years we have to shade our eyes in order to see it. LORD You are SO BEAUTIFUL! THANK YOU FOR DRINKING THAT CUP!

Categories: 365 Life, Genesis, Habakkuk, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Puppy Dog Eyes & a Firm No


Genesis 46:28-49:27

“We have nothing left to give but our bodies and our land.” Genesis 47:18

Is it just me do some of you feel this way from time to time too? Do you ever feel like you simply have nothing left to give? Like you’ve done everything you could for everyone you could in every way that you could and yet it still wasn’t enough.

My friends, it will never be enough.

I don’t know about you but I’ve thought of myself as a giver. This for the most part is a really good thing. Except I’m learning it isn’t ALWAYS a good thing. You see, there comes a point when you’ve given all you have to give. And if you continue giving after your reserves are gone then the recipient ends up getting nothing and you’re left with a negative balance. Sometimes the kindest thing to do is to say, “No”. Even when it’s hard.
Chocolate is bad for dogs to eat, but this little dog sure does LOVE it!
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He begs until we’re blue in the face if we’re eating something chocolate. HE thinks he wants it. But what he doesn’t realize is that it’s not healthy for him to have it. So the most loving thing for us to do is look him straight in those puppy dog eyes and firmly say, “no”. It’s not easy and it’s not fun but it’s what’s best for everyone involved.
There are times when we have nothing left to give and someone comes to us with those puppy dog eyes and appeals to the squishy part in us that wants to give in and give them exactly what they’re asking for. And there ARE times when that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do. But then there are other times when a firm, “no” is the best answer for everyone involved.

Huh. And I guess that’s all I have to give you today. I wasn’t expecting that. LOL. But now I’m literally sitting here just staring at the screen with no words in my head to write. I love you my friends! Have a glorious day in the LORD today! ūüėÄ

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Regaining the Things We Risk


Genesis 43:1-46:27

“But if I must lose all my children, so be it.” Genesis 43:14

When I read that phrase this morning I read it with foreknowledge of what was about to happen to Jacob. I read it knowing that he would not only regain the children he was risking to Egypt, he would also regain the son he lost many years before and had been mourning since. Yet at the time that Jacob spoke those words, all he could see was the risk. He had already “buried” one son, his favorite son. And now he was risking all the rest of them in the hopes that they *might* come back with enough grain to keep them alive for a little while longer.

The situation reminded me of Abraham standing on the top of the mountain, knife in upheld hand poised to kill his only promised son. He was risking it all to trust God and to obey Him. And because of his obedience he, and his ancestors including Jacob and all his sons, gained so much more in the process.

Two Saturdays ago God called me to trust Him and exercise my backbone a bit. It involved a pretty big risk to our finances, but I knew that obedience (and a stronger backbone) would be worth whatever risk God was calling me to take. The next day during worship at church He spoke to my heart. He knew that I was concerned about the money I was giving up by being obedient to Him and in that moment of surrender and praise He said, “I will DOUBLE the money you would have gotten because you obeyed Me.”

Sometimes there are seasons in our lives where Jesus calls us to simply trust Him. It’s not usually very easy and it’s rarely an enjoyable experience, but it ALWAYS pays off big time in the end. Abraham not only got his son back, he gained an even larger inheritance for him in the process of trusting God and obeying His command. Jacob not only got the eleven sons he sent to Egypt, he got Joseph back from the supposed grave and they lived in a land of plenty and wanted for nothing during the worst famine in years. Jesus surrendered His own life in obedience to the Father and ended up with not only His own life, but all of ours in the process!

My friend, your obedience is heavily rewarded in the kingdom of Heaven! Often times the very thing God is calling you to risk is the very thing you will regain in the end, and much more besides. Isaac asked Abraham as they were climbing the mountain, “Father, where is the sacrificial lamb?” And Abraham replied, “God will provide the lamb.” There are times in our lives when God calls us to ram our heads into a brick wall. When those times come we’ve just got to run with all our might expecting a hole to appear when we get there.

Categories: 365 Life, Choose: Fear or Faith, Genesis, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Sunday SHMILY

 

 

090514_2132_StrengthinA1.jpgGenesis 40:1-42:38

“he was quickly brought from the prison” Genesis 41:14

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image the heart is hard to see in this picture, let me zoom it in for you.

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check out the bubbles in this almond milk I used to make zucchini butterscotch pancakes! They turned out REALLY really well and were sooooo yummmmmyy!!!!!

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image Apparently God was happy that I was making them because I got a LOT of smiles out of them!

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God celebrated with us last night when we ate at Pizza Hut after the derby where Sean came in sixth place in the class above where he normally runs! ūüėÄ We were THRILLED! And since he was the highest finisher in the group he usually runs with he bought dinner for everyone. This was his fourth run with this car. Of those four runs he placed “in the money” and received a trophy in three of them!!! To say I’m proud of him and his ability to build a tough car is an understatement. WAY TO GO SEAN!!!!!

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Categories: 365 Life, Genesis, Season 3, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

Strength in Adversity


Genesis 36:1-39:23

“A young woman named Tamar… she is more righteous than I am.” Genesis 38:6 & 26

In reading today’s Word of the Day I marveled once again at my namesake Tamar’s position in the text. Her chapter long story is quite the interruption of Joseph’s. And I queried God, “What about Tamar’s life was so important that it necessitated the interruption of the telling of Joseph’s?” His one word answer blew me away and brought me to tears. “Strength”.

Tamar’s life (or at least this part of it anyway) was filled with death, disappointment and utter betrayal. The men in her life that should have been protecting and providing for her; used and abused her. Her story characterizes the strength that we too can possess. Tamar could easily have been utterly destroyed by the circumstances in her life. She had TWO abusive husbands die on her. And yet, she didn’t. She stood strong and held her head high and fought for what was rightfully hers. The house of Judah owed her a child and she wasn’t about to be denied. Yes, the means that she was forced to use weren’t exactly smiled upon (then or now). Yet when what she had done came to light they went from calling her “harlot” to “righteous”. When everyone else around her had turned their backs, she stood up, took matters into her own hands and did what was RIGHT. And to do that she used a strength that none of the men around her were willing to impart. What Tamar did took GUTS. She literally risked her life to do what was right. And you know what the best part is? We all have benefitted from her display of intestinal fortitude.

When Jesus, the ancestor of Tamar, shared that we are to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) He pointed something amazing out; we’re supposed to love ourselves! For the last five months I’ve been studying Beth Moore’s book So Long, Insecurity You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us and learning how to love myself so that I can better love others. Basically, I’ve been growing a backbone and learning how to stand up for myself. I’ve come to realize that by allowing others to take advantage of me I’m allowing them to hurt themselves in the process. By being a … how does Beth put it, a “puddle of spinelessness” and “flying into a fit of hysteria” I am benefitting no one but Satan and his cause to destroy us. However, when we stand with the strength of Tamar and do what is right in spite of our circumstances and in lieu of the cost (even to our very lives or livelihood as the case may be) then we benefit everyone around us including the kingdom of God!

In this last week I’ve been faced with several circumstances that have threatened strengthened my backbone and when I prayed about what to do, do you know what God said? “Sometimes you’ve just got to throw around some tables.” (Matthew 21:12-13)

Jesus was no shrinking violet! He was no wall hugger or passive bystander. He stood up for what was right and so can we.

Categories: 365 Life, Genesis, Season 3 | Leave a comment

To the Rescue


Genesis 29:31-31:55

“O LORD, please rescue me” Genesis 32:11

Boy, I don’t know about you right now, but I can really relate to that statement! It makes me think of the song “Need You Now” by Plumb.

Sometimes we just need Him don’t we? We need to just have a moment alone with the King of kings and the LORD of lords, the Creator of the Universe. Sometimes we need to know that He is the God of angel armies. We need to know that He is faithful.

He IS faithful.

We need to know that He fights for us and not against us.

We need to know that He is for us.

God IS for us.

God is for YOU.

The night before Jacob was due to meet his brother (and the army of 400 men with him), he fought with “a man” who turned out to be God. At the end of the night the man blessed Jacob and renamed him Israel which means, “God fights”. Now in the scripture it explains that the reason Jacob was renamed Israel was because he had fought with God and with men and had won. However, every time I saw those words today I read, “God fights for you“.

God fights for YOU. And if God is for you then WHO could be against you??? I mean honestly? Who? He’s GOD. He is the Creator of EVERYTHING seen and unseen. Would He have been so foolish as to have created something that COULD conquer Him? It may be a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Almighty God. (Hebrews 10:31) But it is a WONDERFUL thing to fall into the arms of the Almighty God! And through the blood of Jesus YOU have been given that right to flee to the breast of the One who conquered death and fought for you against the forces of evil.

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In Front


Genesis 29:31-31:55

“in front of them” Genesis 30:41

I’ve always found Jacob’s technique of sheep breeding to be quite… interesting. He would place branches with strips of bark peeled off of them in front of the sheep while they were mating which always resulted in the offspring turning out striped or spotted. Now, I’m not a scientist, but how in the world is that possible??? And yet it according to scripture it happened time and time again, he would take two regular sheep, breed them in the presence of a tree limb with stripes on it, and out would pop a spotted or striped little lamb.

So today when I read this I just had to ask the Father why on Earth He would include such a story in the sacred scripts. How is this significant to us today? His answer blew me away!

“Jacob put the desired result ‘in front of them’ before they had ever even conceived.” Now, on the surface that doesn’t seem that tremendous until you go where the Holy Spirit took me on this one.

Jesus.

What was it He always said to someone He was inviting into fellowship with Him? “Come follow Me.” Jesus was continually putting Himself “in front of” His Disciples. He was constantly telling them, do what I do; let Me show you the Way. A good shepherd doesn’t drives his flock ahead of him, he always leads it.

As the Israelites were exodus-ing out of Egypt where was the pillar of cloud/fire? He didn’t go after them and make them stumble their way through the wilderness without a guide. It went “in front of” them so that they would never be lost.

God never leaves us without guidance. He never makes us stumble around in the dark without a Light because He is the Light and has promised to never leave us or forsake us. And He is our desired result, is He not? Always in front of us showing us the Way to go. Hallelujah.

Categories: 365 Life, Genesis, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Children of the Promise


Genesis 26:6-29:30

“We can plainly see that the LORD is with you.” Genesis 26:28

How? How could they plainly see that the LORD was with Isaac? If we take a glance up at verse 12 we see that “When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the LORD blessed him. He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow.”

What was it again that God kept saying to Abraham, Isaac’s dad? Oh yeah! “I will bless you and make you famous and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-3)

In chapter fifteen of Genesis, “the LORD made a covenant with Abram that day and said, ‘I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River” (verse 18) You see, “Abraham believed God and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” (Galatians 3:6) “God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the scripture doesn’t say ‘to his children,’ as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says ‘to his child’ and that of course, means Christ.” (Galatians 3:16) “And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” (Galatians 3:29) “The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.” (Galatians 3:7) “God said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendants all the families on earth will be blessed.'” (Acts 3:25) “For He made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.” (Luke 1:55)

So I restate my original question to you today. How? How could someone looking into the box of your life plainly see that the LORD is with you? HE IS WITH YOU, it’s the Truth. Matthew 28:20 says, “I am with you always even to the end of the age.” But how that shows up and blooms in our lives is as unique as we are. How is the LORD’s presence in your life evident to you and to those around you? I really want to know, so hit “reply” on your email or “comment” below online. In Luke chapter one Mary breaks into a song of praise because of the LORD’s presence in her life, what would your song sound like? It’s important for us to daily count our blessings so even if you don’t comment here or write a song, find some way to express your praise to our ever present help in times of trouble, because He is with you.

Categories: 365 Life, Genesis, Season 3 | Leave a comment

A Room All Ready for YOU


Genesis 24:1-26:5

“So he [Laban] rushed out to the spring where the man was still standing beside his camels. Laban said to him, ‘Come and stay with us, you who are blessed by the LORD! Why are you standing here outside the town when I have a room all ready for you and a place prepared for the camels?'” Genesis 24:30-31

This scripture was way too beautiful for me not to break it down and share it with you. If you’ll notice there are five sections to this scripture:

  1. So he rushed out to the spring where the man was still standing beside his camels.
  2. Laban said to him, “Come and stay with us…”
  3. “you who are blessed by the LORD!”
  4. “Why are you standing here outside the town”
  5. “I have a room all ready for you and a place prepared for your camels.”

So today I’m going to take each section and share with you a correlating scripture that the Holy Spirit gave me in order to fully convey His message.

  1. The man standing by the spring

    In Psalm chapter one we find the psalmist painting a picture of a relationship with God:

    1 Oh, the joys of those who do not
        follow the advice of the wicked,
        or stand around with sinners,
        or join in with mockers.
    2 But they delight in the law of the Lord,
        meditating on it day and night.
    3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
        bearing fruit each season.
    Their leaves never wither,
        and they prosper [or are blessed] in all they do.

    In John 7:37-39 Jesus tells us the Truth about standing close to springs of water:

    37¬†On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38¬†Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’39¬†(When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

  2. “Come and stay with us…”

    While Laban may have been the first to say these words, he was by no means the last! In a slight modification of the words themselves, Jesus uttered the same sentiment precisely in Matthew 4:18-22:

    18¬†One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers‚ÄĒSimon, also called Peter, and Andrew‚ÄĒthrowing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19¬†Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20¬†And they left their nets at once and followed him.

    21¬†A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22¬†They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.”

    Jesus calls us each to “come and stay with Him”. He wants for us to follow in His footsteps and to stick close by His side in order to soak in the Living Water of His word. And what’s the benefit of a relationship with Jesus?

    28¬†Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29¬†Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30¬†For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (According to Matthew 11:28-30.)

    The burden we are given is to bear His Light in this the Valley of the Shadow of Darkness. In this relationship with Jesus we are given the work of entering into His rest.

  3. “You who are blessed by the LORD…”

    Time and time again throughout the story of Abraham we hear God repeat the words, “I will bless you and make you famous and you will be a blessing to others.” Over and over God is emphasizing the most basic principle of being a Christ follower and a Living Water drinker, God blesses you in order to for you to be a blessing to others. Did you catch that? God’s first goal is to bless you. YOU! Now!

    In Psalm 1:3 it even points out that the end result of that tree drinking up that water day after day is that it bears fruit and prospers in everything that it does. Think about it, it would be impossible for you to bless someone else if you hadn’t first been blessed yourself. You couldn’t comfort someone going through a hard time if you hadn’t ever been comforted yourself. You wouldn’t know how to do it. You can’t bless others financially if you’re not financially blessed yourself. You can’t bless others with words of wisdom if you haven’t been blessed with wisdom yourself. You can’t lend someone your lawnmower when theirs breaks down if you don’t have a lawnmower to lend, now can you? You see how it works? God blesses you FIRST and foremost in order that through you He can bless others who may not have the same relationship with Him that you do. You are blessed to be a blessing.

  4. “Why are you standing here outside the town…”

    Now this one gets a little… interesting. This phrase gives us this picture of a man standing outside the city gates. There’s a verse found at the very end of the Bible in Revelation 22:12-15 that bears a striking resemblance to this very image:

    14¬†Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. 15¬†Outside the city are the dogs‚ÄĒthe sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.

    While still taking up residence in the Valley of the Shadow of Death we have not yet entered into the city past those pearly gates of heaven. Technically speaking we’re still outside the city with the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie. But there’s that significant detail we grasped onto back in point number one – we’re standing next to the spring like trees planted by the river in a desert wilderness. Jesus is that spring of Living Water from which we can drink deeply all the days of our lives through the miracle of His Word alive and active in us. He is the Daily Bread served up fresh and piping hot morning after morning as His mercies we seek.

  5. “I have a room all ready for you”

    While our flesh and bone may still reside on the hard packed clay of Earth where the Adversary roams seeking whom he may devour, John 14:1-7 gives us tremendous hope… and a home.

    “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2¬†There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3¬†When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4¬†And you know the way to where I am going.”

    5¬†“No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

    6¬†Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7¬†If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

    Sound familiar? There is a room, prepared just for you, in the Father’s house. It has all your favorite things in it and your name is on the door because He’s got it waiting for you when the time is right. Today, through Laban, Jesus tells us the Truth, “I am the way, the truth and the life. Outside the city there is trouble in every form, but there is also a river of Living Water. When you ‘Come and follow Me’ you will find yourself blessed with washed robes and able to enter in through the gates of Heaven where you will live forever with Jesus in the room prepared especially for YOU. (And there’s even room for your camels too, if you have any.) ūüėČ

    Do you want to follow Jesus today? It’s as simple as saying, “Yes” right here right now. You can whisper it. You can SHOUT it. But whatever you do, just say it! “YES Jesus! I want to follow YOU! Please come into my heart and spring forth from my heart like the spring of Living Water that You are. I am in the desert wilderness. I am weary and heavily burdened and in desperate need of rest. Thank You for forgiving me of all my sins and taking them upon Yourself at the cross. I accept Your gift of salvation. Please help me to walk in Your ways. Please bless me so that I may be a blessing to the others around me in everything that I do – from laundry to finances – may I be more like you day by day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

Categories: 365 Life, Genesis, Season 3 | Leave a comment

Sunday SHMILY


Genesis 20:1-23:20

“I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you.” Genesis 22:16-17

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This heart sticker literally fell out of my pants after I had been wearing them all day! I have no clue where it came from!
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It’s hard to see because I couldn’t edit it before posting (sorry). It’s communion in church this morning. It was dark at that moment.
image A heart shaped rock on the sidewalk just outside the doors at church.

Categories: 365 Life, Genesis, Season 3 | Leave a comment

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