THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Genesis 40-42
52 And the name of the second he called Ephraim: “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
James 1:2 says, “Count all joy when you fall into various trials…”
Count it all joy when troubles befall you…really? One translation renders it this way, “Consider it pure joy when you fall into various trials.” I am not sure about you but one of the last things on my “to do” list is to praise God when affliction strikes and yet it is through affliction that I discover God’s wonderful grace and amazing power to provide for us.
Joseph’s life had been hard…no doubt about it. In fact according to the self help guru’s of today Joseph should have been nothing but dysfunctional with all the hurt brought into his life. Sold into slavery, separated from his father, falsely accused and thrown into prison, forgotten by someone you help…these are the afflictions of Joseph. Yet through it all and by it all Joseph’s character and integrity remained intact. After rising to power in Egypt he was given a wife and she bore him two sons…one was named Ephraim, “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” The meaning Ephraim’s name reflected the blessings of God through his troubles.
Joseph saw God at work in the afflictions that befell him. Through every hurt, disappointment and problem he never wavered in his commitment to God. When the normal man would have folded in a corner and cried Joseph kept his faith in God. And God responded with a level of blessing that is hard to fathom.
Can you and I be found faithful in our affliction? Will we be found fruitful in a time of trouble? Will we keep our faith strong when the winds of adversity whip through our life?
Lord, may we be found faithful through every circumstance and every challenge…In Jesus Name...AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Genesis 37-39
4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.
Jealousy is a bitter pill that stains the waters of families. Far too often families struggle under the burden of jealousy…sibling jealousy…jealousy between mom and dad…jealousy with cousins and so much more. No family is immune to the bitterness caused by jealousy.
Joseph was loved by his father. In fact the Bible records that he was loved more than any of his brothers and they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. By the way, this jealousy was a precursor to a terrible act of violence against Joseph.
How do we drive jealousy away?
That is the 64 dollar question. Allow me to share some specific ways we can battle against jealousy in our families…
First, let’s honor each other in love. The Bible declares, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” Pure, selfless love has a way of driving away those negative emotions that can plague families and friends.
Secondly, we can battle jealousy by rejoicing in the success of those we love. Wouldn’t it have been a different story had Joseph’s brothers had a party to celebrate Jacob’s love for Joseph? When we genuinely rejoice over the success of a brother or sister we reap the joys of family love.
Finally, we drive jealousy away when we protect those we love from our negative emotions. I remember fighting with my brother once because I felt he was getting something from my mom that I deserved. I didn’t protect him from my anger…I didn’t protect him from my rage…I injured and bruised his spirit with the effects of my jealousy.
Let’s guard against jealousy in our homes and relationships and allow God’s Spirit to help us LOVE each other with a great love.
Lord, protect the homes of every person reading this devotion with Your power and Your peace. May they rejoice in the joys and success of those they love and protect them from the bite of jealousy and its effect…In Jesus Name...AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Genesis 34-36
15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him, Bethel.
Can you remember those moments where you know that God spoke to you?
Yes I am certain many people criticize us saying, “God doesn’t speak to people anymore.” Well God spoke very clearly Jacob. He changed his name to Israel. He blessed him with a great future. And called the name of the place where God spoke with him, Bethel. A place he would never forget.
God still speaks to His people.
He speaks grace and peace to those who are hurting. He speaks wisdom to those struggling with making some decision. He speaks truth from His Word for those whose lives are being overwhelmed with falsehood. He speaks comfort to those who have lost a loved one in death. He speaks grace and mercy to those who are broken because of their sin. He speaks warning after warning to wickedness on every side. He speaks hope to His faithful elect with words of assurance from His scripture. He speaks life during Christmas and Easter when Jesus is born and then when Jesus is crucified, buried and risen…for our sins. He speaks when we open the Word of God and allow its truth wash our soul.
God still speaks to His people…and we are blessed!
Lord, speak to us in ways that only YOU can and help us to always have listening ears…open hearts…and feet that are ready to walk in obedience to YOU…In Jesus Name...AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Genesis 31-33
7 So Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies. 8 And he said, “If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the other company which is left will escape.”
I have enjoyed the few family reunions I have been able to attend. My Sunday duties keep me away most of the time but in those rare weekends when I am able to attend, I really do enjoy seeing family members I hadn’t seen in a long time.
Our scripture today records an impending family reunion. Jacob and Esau were about to meet again…and Jacob was afraid. They didn’t have the best parting of ways and Jacob was certain that Esau would exact some element of revenge upon him. So he began to make battle preparations for what he saw as an impending attack.
Isn’t it sad that rather than cooking meals and dressing in his best to get ready for a reunion with Esau he made preparation in case Esau attacked him? He knew he had tricked Esau. He knew he had done terribly wrong by his brother. Now he was very fearful of those consequences.
I can’t help but think that we consciously and consistently seek to do the right things then we won’t be fearful of those “reunions” with family, friends, and classmates. Jacob had not done the right thing. Until this moment he had used trickery and deception to get by. But things were about to change. When you read further in this chapter you see that before the “reunion” with Esau that Jacob wrestles with God. He was never the same man afterward. I am certain this experience with God tempered how he encountered Esau. No tomfoolery…no trickery…no deceit…just an honest heart to heart and face to face meeting.
Perhaps we need an encounter with God that will cause us to do right by those we love.
Lord, we come face to face with YOU in Your magnificence…Your glory and we see that we are sinners in need of grace. Help us to deal rightly with our family, friends, coworker and others. Help us to live righteously and justly in a corrupt world…In Jesus Name...AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Genesis 28-30
16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”
One of my Old Testament professors in seminary asked this question, “How do you know you have worshipped God?”
How do you know you have worshipped God?
Jacob was very tired from traveling. So he found a comfortable place, slipped a rock under his head and fell fast asleep. During the night he had an incredible dream…in that dream God assured him that HE was going to bless him in incredible ways. When he woke up he knew, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it?”
Many times God has been present…we have worshipped and we didn’t even know it. But here is what is amazing…when we may have missed that moment to recognize and worship God…we can worship HIM immediately in that moment. Jacob immediately declared how awesome that place was and that it had to be house of God.”
Perhaps you have “missed a moment” in worship. Distractions…disturbance…disorientation may have hindered your worship of God. But this very moment you can turn in worship…adoration…praise…and…commitment to God. You can recognize that HE is God and that HE is in control of everything.
Maybe you can say, “How awesome is this place because God’s presence is here with me…even NOW!”
Lord, how awesome are YOU in this very moment…I praise Your Holy Name…I bow my heart before YOU in adoration and praise…I want to live for YOU this day…In Jesus Name...AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
Genesis 25-27 Click to Read the Scripture for Today
34 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me—me also, O my father!”
“Bless me-me also, O my father!” cried Esau. But remember, desperately hungry he had sold his birthright to Jacob. Now just wanting to please his father, Esau’s discovers that his blessing is stolen by Jacob when he dressed as Esau and presented himself for the blessing.
Isaac so desperately wanted to bless with the superior blessing but he couldn’t. It had already been given to Jacob. In exceedingly great and bitter cry he said to his father, “Bless me-me also O my father!”
Esau’s missed blessing was both his fault and his brother’s. His fault because whatever his blessing from Isaac he had already sold to Jacob for a meal. It’s Jacob’s fault because he used deception, selfishness and trickery to get what he wanted.
It strikes as interesting that we live in a world where we would quickly mortgage our future for happiness right now. Then after we have signed the paperwork and the thrill of our new “purchase” has worn off we experience buyer’s remorse and look for a way out. Some of us are exactly like Esau, so consumed with “what” we want that we will pawn everything we have for that moment of pleasure. Others of us are like Jacob, “I’ve got what you want but it comes with a price…are you willing to pay that price.”
The cry of Esau, “Bless me-me also O my father!” are very haunting words. In a moment of desperate desire we could “sell our soul” for just that small moment of pleasure. Be careful what we crave…it always come with a price.
Lord, bless every person reading this devotion with Your awesome power and strength…bless them with peace…bless them with grace and mercy for their hour of need…bless them with Your good things in life…bless them LORD…In Jesus Name...AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
Genesis 22-24 Click to Read the Scripture for Today
67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
Husbands love your wives. That is a consistent life lesson throughout the Bible. When Rebekah became Isaac’s wife the Bible says, “He loved her.”
Husbands loving their wives should be simple. And yet there is a “lack of love” syndrome plaguing many marriages. Marriage counseling “experts” are feverishly pumping out the self help books to encourage couples in their love relationship.
Loving our wife isn’t a choice it’s a command. From Genesis through Revelation there is model after model of men who love their wives.
Loving our wife brings harmony to the home. Research from PREP (Prevention Relationship Enhancement Program) shows that the number one predictor of happiness in a marriage is how well a couple fights. I have seen it time and again: conflict is a cancer to relationships. Because I love my wife perhaps I should protect her from that ugly side of my words and ways and instead LOVE her with all my heart.
Loving our wife leaves a legacy for our kids. I pray that at the end of my life that my kids can and will say that I loved their mother. I want all the days of my life with my wife to be a legacy of love for my children and my grandchildren.
Isaac’s love for Rebekah is our model not matter how long we have been married. Men we can strengthen our love for our wife starting NOW! And the good news is that we will get LOVE in return…
Lord, grant me wisdom to love my wife with the power of Your Holy Spirit…In Jesus Name...AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
Genesis 19-21 Click to Read the Scripture for Today
4 Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house.
We are in enemy territory. God has called His church…His people to live, work, and minister in the world…the same world the enemy is seeking to destroy.
Lot was living in Sodom…not a good place to live…some men…two angels came to visit. All was going well until the men of the city…young and old from all parts of the city surrounded Lot’s house. Their intentions were NOT pure. Their intentions were evil.
Everyday you and I are surrounded by evil. Every time we gather in worship with other believers we must be aware that evil surrounds our church gathering with one intention…to destroy the good that we do in worship and work for God. We are surrounded by evil whose desire is to distract us from our main mission in life…to tell the world about a Jesus the ONE…the ONLY ONE who can save a lost and perishing people. We are surrounded by evil, whose very purpose is to convince us to compromise…to water down our message…to take the short cut.
So what are we to do? How are we to respond? In the powerful name of JESUS we are to stand up and be heard. We are not to back down from our positions against those critical issues in life. We should be a shining light of JESUS in the world of darkness that surrounds. We should not be dismayed when they rejected us…calling us right wing extremists…after all did they not revile our Savior Jesus the Son of God.
So lets stand tall…lets work strong…lets never back down from who we are (Christians) and WHOSE we are (Children of God).
Lord, grant us strength, power, and wisdom as we are surrounded by the enemy this day…we need Your help to stand strong in our convictions and to never back down from our LOVE FOR YOU…help us we pray…In Jesus Name...AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
Genesis 16-18 Click to Read the Scripture for Today
10 And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.”
(Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.[c] 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
I know you have never laughed at something unbelievable…well we all have. In our text, Sarah overheard the messengers from God who assured Abraham that his wife would have a son. You can see that at her age the very thought of her and her 99 year old husband having a baby was, well it was “laughable”.
But the lesson in this text is simple: The miracles of God are not laughable.
When I think of Abraham and Sarah I wonder if we have lost the ability to believe that God still performs miracles. He still takes impossible situations and turns them around for His plan and purpose in life. His plan for Abraham…His purpose was that Abraham would be a great nation. But childless at the young age of 99…well the outlook wasn’t very promising. We know today that God did indeed make Abraham into a great nation…a nation as numerous as the stars in the sky.
The miracles of God are not laughable…they are essential to our everyday life. We can’t do anything in life if we don’t believe the impossible. Just the other day a situation came into my life that brought immediate and utter frustration. For a few minutes I was very angry about my inability to help in this situation. And then the reality hit me…I serve a great God. I remember breathing a prayer, “Lord I give this situation to you…work it out please.” Before midnight the situation was completely resolved.
The miracles of God are not laughable…they are needed everyday of our life.
Lord, work Your miracles as only You can and forgive us when we laugh at the impossible and help us to trust YOU for the impossible…In Jesus Name...AMEN!!!
THE WORD FOR TODAY
Genesis 13-15 Click to Read the Scripture for Today
1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
We are surrounded by fear everyday…it is being used by politicians to offer empty promises…it is being used by the wealthy “LENDERS” to extort people…fear is being used by corrupt business people to take advantage of any unsuspecting person they can find. The social, political, and spiritual unrest in this country is reaching the highest levels I have seen in my lifetime. Let’s learn a lesson in dealing with fear from Abram.
With all that unrest from the kings in the area Abram had to be filled with doubts and fears…the Lord came to him in a vision saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your SHIELD, your exceeding great reward.”
God promised Abram (Soon to be changed to Abraham), “…I am your SHIELD…” We know what a shield does. Police officers wear bullet proof vests…it has saved their life on many occasions. Soldiers wear protective gear in battle…it has saved many lives. We need HIS shield of protection to save our life.
In these days of fear and anxiety we must embrace the simple truth: HE is our shield. Perhaps we need to stop calling the words, “In God We Trust” tired and worn and EMBRACE them with every fiber of our being. We need a shield to protect us…it will not come from Washington. We need a shield to surround us…it will not be through our military might. We need a shield to encourage us…it will not be through the “feel good” preachers on the air waves.
Our shield…our protector…our provider…our HOPE is in God. I love the praise song that sings, “My life is in You Lord, my strength is You Lord, My hope is in aYou Lord…in YOU it’s in YOU.” Through every fear…every challenge…every obstacle…we can say, “My SHIELD is from YOU Lord…”
Lord, You are our shield…In Jesus Name...AMEN!!!