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Genesis 35-37; Psalm 12; Mark 14

Oh, what to do with Joseph and his brothers’ betrayal? Sold out. A beautiful gift his father had given (Joseph), the dreams (he was) given by God, his siblings’ seething hatred and jealousy fully surfaced in their hearts. Money exchanged. Blood. Lies and deception. Grief. That’s just their story.

And on some level, it’s everyone’s story–hater or hated: a dream is dashed; a haughty, hateful eye seethes over a beautiful gift/talent received. In bloodline or in Christ.

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
    those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbor;
    they flatter with their lips
    but harbor deception in their hearts.

You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
    and will protect us forever from the wicked,
who freely strut about
    when what is vile is honored by the human race. (Psalm 12:1-2, 7-8, NIV)

Bloodshed still, and it looks different on social streams–hatred, slander, condemnation. Strutting about, honoring what is vile. Lifeblood flows, spirits crushed. Grief.

I looked to learn from Joseph’s perseverance (which was not in my reading today!), but instead, I find the lesson at Jesus’ feet.

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over. (Mark 14:3-11, NIV, emphasis mine)

She did what she could. And it was a beautiful thing to the Lord. She gave her best, poured out.

Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me as you do. Help me, Lord, to do what I can with the talents and responsibilities you’ve given me. And while I grieve the betrayal of blood- and Christ-line, you show me it is nothing new. You encourage me to press on with the dreams you’ve placed in me, to serve you with the talents you’ve given me, to honor you with my attitude despite condemnation and criticism from those around me–be it bloodline or in Christ. Help me, Lord, to be mindful of my heart and my words, to encourage those who run alongside me. I answer to you. I serve you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 32-34; Psalm 145; Mark 13

Imagine a young lady who is loved by a man and that same man rapes her.  Love in my family was just as dysfunctional but more so in another family of mine where the sister sexually abused her younger sister. To this day the emotional abuse continues. No wonder the Jacob’s family had other intentions for the rapist other than marriage.

Three days later the men who had been circumcised were still weak from pain. So Simeon and Levi,[h] two of Dinah’s brothers, attacked with their swords and killed every man in town,  including Hamor and Shechem. Then they took Dinah and left. – Genesis 34:25-26

Love is a strange word and I often wonder how I survived my dysfunctional past to have a rather healthy relationship with God. The Holy Spirit must have done some amazing work in my life transforming me and making me new because there is no reason for being the person I am except by grace and His power in my life.  I know one thing for sure, Jesus was the only person, when I was growing up, that I knew loved me and because He did, I loved Him right back.

You take care of everyone
who loves you,
    but you destroy the wicked. – Psalm 145:20

Every day that I follow the reading schedule found on the top of this blog, and every day that I am challenged to love my wife as Christ loved the Church, I understand this task is one that takes place every day.  Jesus loved us so much that He made sure to tell us how hard it will be when we face difficult times, even the end times.  I am challenged every day knowing that no matter if He comes suddenly, or destruction visits the door of my home, or I am tempted to go against Him in some part of my life, the only way I will hang on, the only way I can survive and sustain my walk with Him is to never waver in my love for Him, always bring Him into every area of my life and to walk with Him wherever I go.

But if he comes suddenly, don’t let him find you asleep.  I tell everyone just what I have told you. Be alert! – Mark 13:36-37

Thank you so much for loving me.  Your love reaches to the core of my heart, it is pure, life changing, and it sets me free to be me.  I can even forgive those who have hurt me or the family members that I love very much. Your love alone can change the world, and yet somehow the Church has lost its will to love You and by not loving You, they have lost the sense of Your love for them. Father, revive us, restore us and bring back to us our first love that You gave so freely to us on the day we gave our lives to following Jesus. Thank you.

Erwin (evanlaar)

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Prophecy fulfilled: Daniel 9, Zechariah 9, and the triumphal entry (Mark 11) (Genesis 28&29)

Many times we read through these prophecies and stories without realizing their significance nor connectedness. Here is a remarkable connection Daniel 9, Zechariah 9 and the book of Nehemiah all point to this event of Jesus coming into Jerusalem as king. When the rebuilt wall was finished in Nehemiah’s day a clock started ticking (Daniel 9) that predicts that cosmic event of Jesus riding into the city on a donkey (Zechariah 9). And the prophecy is fulfilled down to the very day. That makes the hair (what I have left of it) on the back of my head stand up straight and gives me chills. Hundreds of years prophecy fulfilled down to the very day.

This is a devotional site, not an in depth Bible study one, so not enough time her to pick these passages apart, but suffice it to say that the passage we read today is a culmination in prophecies there were made hundreds of years in advance.

How does that tie into the Genesis (28&29)? God predicts what will happen to Jacob’s lineage. Little did Jacob know that night that every word that came from God would be fulfilled down to the very last jot and tittle. That’s why we are reading this great book aren’t we? Because we know this book has the true words of life and it is steadfast and trustworthy. Let’s thank God for this grand truth today!

Father God, we firmly put our trust in You knowing that your wisdom and plans are true and trustworthy. We look forward with a blessed hope to the culmination of all prophecy and find ourselves in your presence for evermore. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen!

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Genesis 26-27, Mark 10

And the LORD appeared to him [Isaac] and said. “…I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Genesis 26:2-5 ESV

Genesis 26 begins with the LORD blessing Isaac and promising that all the nations would be blessed through his offspring. Jesus’ family tree traces back to Isaac, and He was the true fulfillment of God’s words; through Him all the nations of the world are truly blessed. God kept His promise to Isaac, and rewarded Isaac for his faith and trust in Him. God’s blessing on Isaac was clear to the people around him.

When Abimelech went to him [Isaac] from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army… They said “We see plainly that the LORD has been with you. So we said let there be a sworn pact between us, between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you…You are now the blessed of the LORD.” Genesis 26: 26, 28-29 ESV

Abimelech saw the LORD blessing and hand upon Isaac and decided to make a treaty with him. Abimelech knew it was foolish to stand against the LORD’s blessed, so he treated Isaac with respect and honor, asking for peace. Isaac and Abimelech make a treaty, and went their ways in peace.

Jesus, the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham and Isaac, tells the disciples what is going to happen to him on earth.

…“See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” Mark 10: 33-34 ESV

Jesus tells His disciples of the ultimate sacrifice He is going to make to save His people from their sins. He is going to suffer at the hands of the Gentiles and die on the cross. Jesus told his disciples this so when He rose again they would remember His words and believe in Him.

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saws it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the king of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them laying his hands on them. Mark 10: 13-16 ESV

Dear God, thank you for sending your Son to suffer and die for our sins so we can be made pure like Him. Please help me receive you kingdom like a child and follow with without falter. In You Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Genesis 24-25; Psalm 4; Mark 9

I want God guiding my steps. I want to hear what he says. Abraham heard God’s promises. He knew that God would provide.

“The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. (Genesis 24:7, NIV, emphasis added)

His servant looked expectantly for God’s presence and provision. I open my eyes too.

12 Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”

15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. (Genesis 24:12-15, NIV, emphasis added)

In January’s quiet, I look back on a past year in thoughtful reflection and consider the days ahead.

Tremble and do not sin;
    when you are on your beds,
    search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
    and trust in the Lord. …

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:4-6, 8 NIV)

I think long on inheritance and stewardship and faith walking and trust.

43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. (Mark 9:43, NIV)

I consider the lessons of last year, fertile ground my tomorrows are built upon, and I look for your guidance. Search this heart, Lord, and help me. I want to hear your voice. Help me to hear well.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 21-23; Psalm 107; Mark 8

Anything is possible with God.  He has proved Himself over and over, so why do we doubt or worry about the future?

Sarah laughed when God told her she would have a baby in her old age.  But in Genesis 21 we read:

“The Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as He had promised.  And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him.” (Genesis 21:1-2 ESV).  Notice ‘as He had said’ and ‘as He had promised.’  He keeps His word.

We are in the midst of deciding how to school our oldest through high school.  The Lord led us to her grammar school, so why do I worry that He won’t lead us to her high school?

In Psalm 107 we read about troubled times people go through or foolish mistakes people make, yet over and over Psalm 107 repeats:

“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

    For the wondrous works to the children of man!” (Psalm 107:8)

He is faithful.

In Mark 8 Jesus tells his disciples plainly that He will go to the cross.  Peter argues with what he hears and Jesus rebukes him:

But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said ‘Get behind me Satan!  For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Mark 8:32-33)

Satan likes to whisper and cause us to doubt that God keeps His words, means what He say, is faithful and loves us.  We need to set our mind on things of God in all of our decision making.  This includes decisions like education.  We should not get distracted by the influences of others or in face of what seems like an overwhelming decision.  We cannot see the future.  But He can.  He is already there.  Pray and trust Him for the answer.

Lord,

Help us to trust You in the decisions of our lives, both big and small.  You are true to Your word and know what is yet to come for our good.

Amen,

Kellie

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Genesis 19-20; Psalm 1; Mark 7

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. (Psalm 1:6 NLT)

Abraham knew his nephew Lot and his family were living in Sodom. In chapter 18, God tells Abraham he is going to destroy Sodom.  He sends two men who were with him ahead to see if they are as wicked as he has heard.  Abraham asks the Lord if he will save the city for 10 righteous people.  In chapter 19, Lot sees the men as they enter the city and invites them back to his house. The men of the city surrounded Lot’s house and ordered that the men be sent out to them.  He was willing to turn his daughters over to the townsmen in order to spare the men. The remaining text refers to the men as angels.  These angels saved the lives of Lot’s family by rushing them to safety—literally grabbing them and running.

23 Lot reached the village just as the sun was rising over the horizon. 24 Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. 25 He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt. (NLT)

In verse 17, the angels told Lot and his family: “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!” Yet after they were away from danger and in a safe place, Lot’s wife hesitated and turned to look back even after they had been warned not to do so.  Maybe it was nothing more than a wistful glance at a home in which she had spent many years, but when God says no, he means no!

Wow! Haven’t I been guilty of doing the same thing?  There is something about “looking back” that can paralyze us.  I have a similar story in my life.  After praying to God about something, I clearly sensed him telling me “no”.  He was sparing me from danger but I wanted what I wanted.  I did not obey. The pain caused by my choice is an emotional scar I bear to this day.  Even after time had passed and God provided a way out, I turned to look back!  That was just the amount of time needed for the enemy to pounce!  There are always consequences for our actions.  God has since redeemed that choice, but the ripple effects remain to this day in the lives of people I love.

27 Abraham got up early that morning and hurried out to the place where he had stood in the Lord’s presence. 28 He looked out across the plain toward Sodom and Gomorrah and watched as columns of smoke rose from the cities like smoke from a furnace.

29 But God had listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain. Gen 19:23-29 NLT)

Abraham goes and looks at the burning cities. I am sure he is wondering if Lot and his family survived.  Because of Abraham, God did save a remnant of the city—four to be exact:  Lot, his wife, and two daughters.  Only three made it to the cave in the mountains.

Lord, I thank you for redeeming lives. When you say no, it is for our own good because of your great love for us.  Even when we don’t listen, you lovingly pick us up on the other side of our bad choice.  Just like the prodigal son, you welcome us home with open arms.  I am forever grateful to Jesus my Savior.  In his name I pray, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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