Category Archives: Genesis

Genesis 35-37; Psalm 12; Mark 14

If you assume that Christianity means satisfaction in this life of all your desires, including the ones that lie deepest in your heart, then you live as no person was meant to live. You demand satisfaction. You live for it. You feel entitled to it. You become incapable of real love, only self-centered passion.Dr. Larry Crabb

I thought of Joseph’s brothers and just how much they wanted their father’s love, and they wanted it desperately.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph was a son born to him in his old age, and he made a robe of many colors[o] for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not bring themselves to speak peaceably to him. – Genesis 37:3-4 HCSB

It reminds me of an important general lesson – being satisfied in love cannot be received from a father or mother, by friends or even monetary things. To be fully satisfied and content I must look to Jesus. That emptiness in my heart is reserved there as the only place He can fill. Everything else will fail, but God’s love will never fail.

Lord, help me to be more faithful. (Psalm 12:1)

I walk away from reading Mark chapter fourteen with this invitation. If I would receive the life-changing love of Jesus and respond with extravagant devotion, I will never be the same again.

Father, the word love can be messy – it crosses healthy boundaries and makes things that are a hindrance in my life, like co-dependency, look like a good thing. In the pursuit of love, sometimes I even use manipulation, deception, coercion and even bribery to make things happen. But there is something wrong with this foundation – it is all about what I want. I am tired of the pursuit of wanting anything other than You. Everything else comes up empty, hollow, even baseless. Teach me how to invite You into my life. Teach me how to love like You. I look at what happened to Peter and know that he followed You from a distance. I want to make the decision to follow You as close as I can. I desperately want to be more faithful. May I find myself seeking only You – Your love will never fail – and that is the love I want.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

1 Comment

Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Genesis 24-25; Psalm 4; Mark 9

Many of my friends, who have families, have immigrated with an arranged marriage. All the questions I have about what that looks like in real life have been answered. So when I read of arranged marriages like the one of Isaac, I have a better picture of what it means.

And Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah and took Rebekah to be his wife. Isaac loved her, and he was comforted after his mother’s death. – Genesis 24:67 HCSB

A new home has begun and it is filled with love. I am sure that Rebekah loved Isaac too. Not in a romantic or sentimental kind of way but the kind of love that deepends and strengthens. The kind that stands the strain of trial, nor falters in the times of sickness or trouble.

For me and my wife it was “love at first sight.” Our love has been genuine in the sense that it has become more hallowed and more tender as the thirty-six years have gone by. As much as the arrangements were in place for their marriage, I believe that Isaac and Rebekah also experienced a “love at first sight.” I love the testimony that comes with a marriage that maintains a moral and life-long unity. A unity that proves to be a mutual blessing and represents that of the relationship between Jesus and His Church.

How quickly am I reminded how the Church is so messy in this arena. When there is no unity there is arguing. Where there is arguing there is no healing.

Then He asked them, “What are you arguing with them about?” – Mark 9:16 HCSB

What Jesus is really asking is – what is this big tear all about? He used the expression two other times in order to shed a unique light on the problem with the absence of unity.

Father, I am thankful for Your love for me that I can so graciously give the same to my wife. A home filled with You and filled with love is definitely a blessing. It is amazing to see love live, grow, be more in awe of, yield and so much more easily shared as our marriage matures. Love within the body of Christ also becomes a testimony of the relationship of Jesus and Your Church and those who see it, get it. How terrible it is when we cannot provide that testimony to the world who are looking at us. So many churches closing down, splitting, dwindling in numbers. They all have their story. I pray that our love does not become lukewarm. I pray that the Holy Spirit will spur us on to love one another, to honour each other. I pray that our testimony will be a light to a world who has lost hope. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

Leave a comment

Filed under 5 day reading plan, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, reading plan

Genesis 45; Mark 15; Job 11; Romans 15

Then Joseph said to them, “Please come closer.” They did, and he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be upset or blame yourselves because you sold me here. It was really God who sent me ahead of you to save people’s lives. This is only the second year of famine in the land; there will be five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor reaping. God sent me ahead of you to rescue you in this amazing way and to make sure that you and your descendants survive. So it was not really you who sent me here, but God. He has made me the king’s highest official. I am in charge of his whole country; I am the ruler of all Egypt.  Genesis 45:4-8 GNT

If I were to make an action plan based on Joseph’s response to his brothers, this is what it might look like. First, decide with my head that I need to come to a place where I might forgive with my heart. Secondly, depend on God because forgiveness does not come naturally to me. Thirdly, understand my emotions and allow my feelings to catch up to my decision. And lastly, pray for my enemies and those I think are persecuting me – love them.

I think of Jesus’ prayers, there were so few recorded. I cannot imagine how He felt when He prayed this one.

At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?” – Mark 15:34 GNT

Of all the prayers He could have spoken, I love that He chose one from the Psalms, a traditional prayer or maybe a more prophetic prayer being fulfilled.  It may not have been as long as some of His spontaneous prayers but I love knowing prayer had a place in His life.

Paul gave us the best examples of requesting prayer from his friends.

I urge you, friends, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that the Spirit gives: join me in praying fervently to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to God’s people there. And so I will come to you full of joy, if it is God’s will, and enjoy a refreshing visit with you. May God, our source of peace, be with all of you. Amen. – Romans 15:30-33 GNT

I want to learn how to pray with strength and I am motivated by Paul’s request for prayer. If I want God to use me, I need to depend on people who depend on Him by being in prayer.

Father, my strength to forgive, to love, to be a follower of You, to be a shoulder for others and to proclaim the Gospel comes through my conversations with You. I am thankful that Your door is always open.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Job, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans, Uncategorized

Genesis 44; Mark 14; Job 10; Romans 14

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.  So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.  Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat.  Remember all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble.  You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God.  Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right.  But if you have doubts about whether you should eat something, you are sinning, you are sinning if you go ahead with it.  For you are not following your convictions.  If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.”  Romans 14:17-23 NLT

Am I being a stumbling block or  helping unity? How often do I judge what someone else is doing, but haven’t looked at my own heart?  It’s not my job to convict, but the Holy Spirits. I am reminded that I need to pray for others, before I open my mouth.  And ask the Holy Spirit for discernment.  Why am I voicing my opinion? Is it to bring the person closer to the Lord. Or will it just push them away?

“They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.”  He took Peter, James and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed.  He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.  Stay here and keep watch with me…Then he returned and found the disciples asleep.  He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.  For the spirit is willing but the body is weak.” Mark 14:32-38 NLT

I can relate to Peter.  Sometimes I ‘fall asleep’ when Jesus has asked me to be alert and pray. I get overwhelmed and burdened. I am more susceptable to temptation.  My mind drifts into old habits or ways of coping that are not giving God glory.

“While he was eating, a woman came with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from the essence of nard.  She broke open the jar and poured perfume over his head.” Mark 14:3 NLT

Lord, I pray that my life would be an offering to you.  That I would hold nothing back from you.  Help me to live with open hands towards you.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

2 Comments

Filed under Genesis, Job, Matthew, Romans, Uncategorized

Genesis 35,36; Mark 6; Job 2; Romans 6

How much do I stand out from those around me?

different color

A life of obedience to God’s commands pretty quickly sets us apart. There are activities that we won’t participate in, moral boundaries that we hold ourselves to, and habits that we work diligently to maintain.

Church attendance, tithing, Bible reading, protecting our purity, moderation, and integrity all tend to make our way of living a bit different from the cultural norm.

Really, this “otherness” started back at the beginning. Jacob’s descendants were clearly seen as different from others.

So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” . . . And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. (Genesis 35:2-3,5 ESV)

While our actions and decisions may set us apart, it is God’s response that makes it even more noteworthy. He responds to a life lived in obedience and those around us cannot help but take note.

“Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, (Job 2:3)

God pointed out Job to Satan because Job chose the higher path. His wife didn’t know how to handle the suffering and broke down. Job still had lessons to learn, but he also at least refrained his lips from speaking against God.

Jumping to the life of Christ in the book of Mark, we find the community that he grew up in struggled to make sense of Him. They simply could not believe.

“Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter . . . ” And they took offense at him. (Mark 6:2-3)

God’s work on earth doesn’t always make sense to the non-believing mind. It usually causes a stir, and we should expect to stand out as not-of-this-world.

22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  (Romans 6:22)

We are free. Free to walk in His power. Not bound by sin. Not held back by guilt. Not seeking the approval of the world or our neighbor.

We might look a little weird at times, but if we do, we are in good company.

Lord God, you have done an awesome work to transform my simple self into one that shines Your light and can walk obediently in Your Word. Give me boldness to be different and perseverance when walking with the crowd seems the easier path. My life doesn’t need to make sense to anyone but You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Genesis, Job, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, Romans, Uncategorized