Genesis 25:19-34

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Genesis 25:19-34
19 These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. 21 And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?”[a] So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 And the Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
    and two peoples from within you[b] shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
    the older shall serve the younger.”

24 When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob.[c] Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.[d]) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Is there anyone in this passage who does everything right?
Isaac? Rebekah? Jacob? Esau?
Who is the hero of this story? (Hint: It’s not any of the humans.)
Why do you think I chose Jacob to be the father of my people?
Do you think I am able to use you, if I choose to?

My Picks for Thursday 11-19-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Before You Debate, You Have to Agree -Trevin Wax
theview
“…in a world of constantly-flowing, often-contradictory information, we rarely get to have a satisfying debate because we don’t agree on what the situation is. You can’t debate a “good” interpretation or discuss the “best way forward” if there’s no common ground of agreement…

The temptation for conservatives and liberals alike is to sideline the truth in advance of the cause. As Christians, we must resist such a practice. We are a people of truth. We should care about getting the facts right. We should be the least gullible people online and the first to challenge viral posts or Facebook videos that reinforce certain narratives with inaccurate information.”


What Refugees in Your Neighborhood Need from You
-Heather Evans
What Refugees in Your Neighborhood Need from You“Sitting in a bare apartment with people who speak a different language and come from a different culture is unglamorous and often awkward. It lacks the adventure and experience of traveling to a foreign land. It requires far more staying power than a two-week trip. But this presents Christians with a call to practice hospitality. God has called us to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19), and this is the mission field coming to us. It is here in our midst and accessible.”


It would un-Jesus him -Ray Ortlund
Öèôðîâàÿ ðåïðîäóêöèÿ íàõîäèòñÿ â èíòåðíåò-ìóçåå Gallerix.ru“I tell you again that he cannot reject you.  That would be to alter his whole character and un-Christ himself.  To spurn a coming sinner would un-Jesus him and make him to be somebody else and not himself any longer.  ‘He cannot deny himself.’  Go and try him; go and try him.”  -Charles Spurgeon


https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/anatomy-of-generations1.jpg
Source: Wrong Hands

Signs You’re Growing in Grace

grow n grace
2 Peter 3:18

I ran across this list by Scotty Smith recently and thought it was very insightful and worth a little time of introspection. I hope you do, too.

A sign you’re growing in grace is less bombast about not being a legalist & more humility because you “get” the gospel.

A sign you’re growing in grace is less theological arrogance & greater appreciation for diversity in the Body of Christ.

A sign you’re growing in grace is you work much harder at remembering names and forgetting slights.

A sign you’re growing in grace is that everybody notices it
but you.

A sign you’re growing in grace is movement from destructive cynicism towards redemptive engagement. Anybody can spew.

A sign you’re growing in grace is that you’re less like a drive-by-shooting with criticisms & more of a healing presence.

A sign you’re growing in grace is evident when you receive feedback non-defensively and give it clearly & lovingly.

A sign you’re growing in grace is evident when people don’t feel like they have to walk on egg shells around you as much.

A sign you’re growing in grace is when you say, “I’ll be prayin’ for ya”, and you follow through on at least 50%.

A sign you’re growing in grace is committing fewer homicides in your heart of slow drivers.

A sign you’re growing in grace is praying for our government rather than simply being cynical about our government.

A sign you are growing in grace is that you are more disgusted with your critical spirit than offended by others’ sins.

Lloyd

Genesis 25:1-11

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Genesis 25:1-11
Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Jokshan fathered Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country.

These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life, 175 years. Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre, 10 the field that Abraham purchased from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried, with Sarah his wife. 11 After the death of Abraham, God blessed Isaac his son. And Isaac settled at Beer-lahai-roi.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Don’t you love the phrase, “gathered to his people”?
What does it mean? How did it originate?
Who are your people?
Reflect today on Abraham’s life.
Consider some ways he could be your example.

My Picks for Wednesday 11-18-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Christmas Is Not for Cranks -Kevin DeYoung
“…surely we can do better than communicate to the watching world, “Screw you! I’ll get you to say ‘Merry Christmas’ if it’s the last thing I ever do, jerk!” If the idea is to keep words like Christmas in the public square–and hipper-than-thou Christians take note, that’s not a pointless goal–there are better ways to go about it.”


When Evil Strikes: A Christian Answer to
‘Isn’t Religion the Problem?’-Karl Vaters
When Evil Strikes: A Christian Answer to 'Isn’t Religion the Problem?'“After church, I was asked a poignant, difficult question. ‘How do I answer my non-Christian friends when they ask me why I’m a Christian? They’re telling me that the problem is religion and belief. When I try to tell them Christians aren’t like that, they point out the Crusades and Westboro Baptist Church. I don’t know how to respond to that.’ Here’s what I told him…”


 If your concern is truly “just making sure they’re real refugees and not terrorists” you should put your mind at ease. Read this to see what has to be done before a person is admitted to the U.S. as a refugee…

Is it easy for Syrian refugees to get to America? -Marty Durenrefugee camp Jordan
“The Economist recently reported nearly 750,000 refugees have come to American since 9/11
. Many of these are from war-torn, majority Muslim countries. To date, only two of these have been arrested on terrorist charges
(two Iraqis in Kentucky were aiding al-Qaeda in Iraq).”


I have good friends who are professors. I seldom feel this way…

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(click image for larger size)

 

Genesis 24:1-67

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Genesis 24:1-67
(I’ve copied only the last few verses, but read the whole chapter.)
62 Now Isaac had returned from Beer-lahai-roi and was dwelling in the Negeb. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel 65 and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Do you see Me working out the details here?
Do you think I still do that kind of thing?
How much detail have I worked out for you?
Do you trust Me to do that?

My Picks for Tuesday 11-17-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

If you are having trouble with the “what to do with refugees” issue, please read and consider this article. It’s beautiful, timely, and challenging…

The Good Samaritan, a Retelling -Marty Duren
“God bringing to Christians those who need Christ is not a thing to fear. It is a time for preparation for gospel advance. But, it will do no good if all our actions and words indicate we have no good news for those who need it.”


This excellent article was published back in March but it seemed like it might be a good time to share it again…

What ISIS Really Wants-Graeme Wood
“The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.”


The Point of RevengeTim Fall
– a lesson from The Princess Bride and the Apostle Paul
Inigo Revenge“‘I have been in the revenge business so long. Now that it’s over I do not know what to do with the rest of my life.’ . ..I love that line … because the purpose of revenge, in my personal opinion, is completely worthless and pointless.” -Mandy Patinkin


Another insightful and challenging post by Carey Nieuwhof…

How Pastoral Care Stunts the Growth of Most Churches
-Carey Nieuwhof
shutterstock_62970499“If a church is going to grow, congregations have to let go of the expectation that their pastor will be available for every medical emergency, every twist and turn in their lives, every family celebration and every crisis. That’s a tough sell for many congregations, but if a church is going to grow, it has to happen.”


…because they become part of the offering…

 

Genesis 23:1-20

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Genesis 23:1-20
Sarah lived 127 years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. And Abraham rose up from before his dead and said to the Hittites,[a] “I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.” The Hittites answered Abraham, “Hear us, my lord; you are a prince of God[b] among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will withhold from you his tomb to hinder you from burying your dead.” Abraham rose and bowed to the Hittites, the people of the land. And he said to them, “If you are willing that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me and entreat for me Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he owns; it is at the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in your presence as property for a burying place.”

10 Now Ephron was sitting among the Hittites, and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the Hittites, of all who went in at the gate of his city, 11 “No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the sight of the sons of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead.” 12 Then Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. 13 And he said to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, “But if you will, hear me: I give the price of the field. Accept it from me, that I may bury my dead there.” 14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “My lord, listen to me: a piece of land worth four hundred shekels[c] of silver, what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.” 16 Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants.

17 So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, was made over 18 to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, before all who went in at the gate of his city. 19 After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 The field and the cave that is in it were made over to Abraham as property for a burying place by the Hittites.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
1. What can you learn from Abraham about living and negotiating as a “sojourner and a foreigner” (v. 4) in your world ?

How do you like them apples?

You know what
It is about TV?
You can turn it off,
“Click,” just like that!

You know what
It is about about doors?
You can close them,
“Slam,” just like that!

You know what
It is about people?
You can leave them,
Turn and walk, just like that!

You know what
It is about books?
You can quit them,
Close the covers, just like that!

You know what
It is about God?
You can’t do anything about him,
He’s there, just like that!

How do you like them apples?

 

Number ninety-two in God Is No Fool by Lois Cheney



(I’ve always loved this little book since I first discovered it while I was in college. Click the image for purchase info.)

 

 

My Picks for Monday 11-16-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Please, please, PLEASE stop indiscriminately passing on falsehood in the name of truth. It helps nothing and hurts us all! For example…

No, Thousands of Syrian Refugees Are Not Arriving in New Orleans -Aaron Earls
Powdered Wig Society Syrian refugees“You cannot lament the dishonesty of mainstream media outlets while promoting and sharing stories from conservative blogs that do nothing but exaggerate, mislead and blatantly lie to push their agenda.”


On a related note, here’s an excellent piece by Trevin Wax in Washington Post…

Should we really close the border to refugees? Here’s why fear drives out compassion.-Trevin Wax
“So, in the midst of a worldwide battle against the evil of Islamic terrorism, we must make sure that we do not allow fear to overwhelm our hearts, crowd out our compassion, or fundamentally change our character. For compassion to win, courage must conquer the fear in our hearts.”


And then there’s this important reminder…

Who Do I Make the Effort to Notice?
What Paris Should Teach Us
-Amy Medina
“In spite of all the (probably) unfair accusations of racism or prejudice that are being thrown around, times like these are great for soul-searching.  Let us not lose the opportunity to grow.

Do we allow only the media to tell us what to pray for?  Do we take the time to look for the people and places who might not be getting the same attention?  I have been convicted to look harder for the ignored stories. Jesus sought out the prostitute, the tax collector, the child.  Even a sparrow does not fall to the ground without his notice. Who do I make the effort to notice?”


And, for my cat loving friends…
http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/bz-panel-11-13-15.jpg