Are you lying? Are you being lied to?


Are you able to spot a lie? Are there things you can do or learn to know the difference between the truth and a lie? Have you ever been a victim of a lie? Do you realize how many times you are being lied to in a day? Are you aware of the epidemic of lies taking place? Today’s devotional started with a stat that I then looked up and found the book by the author who was referenced (Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception by Pamela Meyer). The quote I found both on her book page as well as in today’s devotional was:

People–friends, family members, work colleagues, salespeople–lie to us all the time. Daily, hourly, constantly. None of us is immune, and all of us are victims. According to studies by several different researchers, most of us encounter nearly 200 lies a day.

–on book page on Amazon

She has a very popular TedTalk …why not go from liars, how to be a lie spotter, and move to truth seeking and then to trust building.

There are things that we can do. There are ways to detect lies including facial recognition training, interrogation training, and research into a specialized body of information developed specifically to help business leaders detect deception and get the information they need to successfully conduct their most important interactions and transactions.

Ever heard someone say “I’m fine” but the tone and body language says they aren’t fine.

Ever had a service person say they would be at your place at a given time and either be late or not show?

Ever felt, if they would just tell me the truth we could just deal with that rather than setting up false expectations?

What are you hungry? What is your driving force? What is your wishes? What is your fantasy? They open you up to being lied to. What gap has been opened you up to being lied to?

Today’s reading will look into how much God hates lies and deception. God’s desire is that we become more and more like Him! He is truth! He is light! There is no darkness in Him! He is love! So let’s consider today’s reading and things God speaks to us about lies and how we can build our relationship with God with Jesus as our intercessor and the Holy Spirit and His still quiet voice being our comforter and our guide! Let’s look to God’s Word for help in knowing what to do!


Day 21: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 12,Matthew 14:22-36, Matthew 15:1-9, Genesis 41:41-57, Genesis 42

1. Ask God for help

Psalm 12:1-8

2. Keep speaking to God in the storm

Matthew 14:22-15:9

3. Speak to God from the depth of your heart

Genesis 41:41-42:38


So let’s first take a look into Psalm 12…

1Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
2Everyone lies to their neighbor;
they flatter with their lips
but harbor deception in their hearts.
3May the Lord silence all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue—
4those who say,
“By our tongues we will prevail;
our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”
5“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord.
“I will protect them from those who malign them.”
6And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver purified in a crucible,
like gold refined seven times.
7You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
and will protect us forever from the wicked,
8who freely strut about
when what is vile is honored by the human race.

–Psalm 12

We see the first thing David does as the Psalm starts is to ask God for help because of the state of the world! Some may think that the world has changed but we see that even back in the days of the old testament many of the same issues we face today were taking place. The pendulum of character takes place – move towards God … move away from God – and then the repercussions happen over and over again throughout history. Those who don’t know their history it has been said will be doomed to repeat it. Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat is another quote. Be it Edmund Burke’s quote or George Santayana’s quote… the key is that we need to know about our past and remember it so that we won’t be tripped up or fall into the cycle.

Have you ever felt like David in your world today?

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. –Psalm 12:1-2

That nobody is faithful? That nobody is loyal? That everybody lies? That people are flatterers? That people are deceivers?

So what can you do but turn to God and ask Him for help to understand what your part is and how you are to respond? God is our answer! Jesus has made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! We can trust God!

God is in control and can see beyond the words and the actions and knows the heart and the truth of the matter. He speaks in today’s psalm with…

“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord. “I will protect them from those who malign them.” –Psalm 12:5

We can grab hold of the truth with which David responds…

And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. 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. –from Psalm 12:6-8

So let’s lean not on our own understanding but put our trust in God! Let’s not try to go thru every situation and every conversation without God but ask for His wisdom and discernment in every conversation we have! Let’s allow Him to point out the warning signs! Let’s allow the still quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit to help us with our decisions and even the words we choose to help keep each other accountable and on the straight and narrow!

Next let’s take a look into Matthew…

Our feelings can deceive us! Our thoughts can deceive us! So we need God to help us take hold of the truth!

22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said.Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” 34When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

–from Matthew 14

We see how Jesus takes time away from everyone and everything in order to spend 1:1 time with God the Father. This gave Him time to openly and honestly to God the Father from the depth of His heart. He gives us a pattern to follow so that we can find the same filling of the Spirit to be able to do what is necessary each and every moment of every day! When we walk that close to God, all things are possible! When we are filled to overflowing with God’s anointing, God is able to work in and thru us for the glory of His Kingdom!

Today’s reading is an interesting one to me because a few years back while working through the Bible, I got to this story and while on my way to work I ask God if my workplace was the boat and if I was to get out if He could direct me where I am to go. To my surprise God used a text message from my pastor’s wife which said to me get out of the boat which started the search for what was to be my next step in my career and which company it would be at. Now nearly 4 years later, it is amazing to see what God has been able to do in and through this transition. It is amazing how when we have the faith to step out when He calls that He is faithful and true to accomplish the good work He has prepared in advance for us to do! The signs…wow! The wonders…wow! Everyday I need His presence in my life to make it thru. Everyday I need to be filled before I go out into the world so that I don’t get to empty before it’s time to go to sleep. Do I do it everyday? Unfortunately no and I can tell by how I feel, how my responses are, how my feelings are, … So I try to start each day in God’s Word because that is the source that fills me up and prepares me for what is yet to come!

We see how even our eyes can deceive us when the disciples thought they were seeing a ghost.  We see how when we take our eyes off of Jesus and start looking at the storm, we can be fooled! We see how when we see our storms in life as larger than God our faith gets shaken but when we remember that nothing is greater than our God we can find peace that goes beyond all understanding! For there to be a shadow means there is light and so we don’t have to fear the darkness because God is the light! So let’s keep our eyes on Jesus! Let’s not be shaken because of the great liar, the devil, who wants to kill, steal, and destroy, but rather let’s put all our hope and trust in Jesus and lean on Him! We’ve seen how in our lack of fear, Jesus can intervene — when Peter started to sink he cried to Jesus for help and Jesus saved him. We also see in the Bible when the father was asking Jesus to save his dying daughter that Jesus said if he believed she would be healed and the man said he believed and prayed for help with his unbelief. We can’t do it alone! We need God and God is faithful and just! So don’t try to go it alone! Walk out each day with Jesus! Talk with Him about everything! Ask Him for wisdom for every situation! And allow Him to receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! There is no need to fear when you keep Jesus near! No matter the storms of the life, knowing that Jesus is in control and with you, never leaving you and never abandoning you, you can find peace in the midst of the storm!

The reading in Matthew continues into the next chapter…

1Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” 3Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’5But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ ”

–from Matthew 15

As we look here we find a crossroads. It’s the crossroad of what you say vs what are your intentions. It’s the crossroad of what you are doing vs what is in your heart. Are they aligned? Are you words aligned with your intentions which are aligned with your actions which is the overflow of your heart? Are they all aligned with God’s will because you have been filled to overflowing thanks to God?

Don’t put on a mask of deception! Don’t put on a mask of lies! Don’t be a hypocrite!

Today’s reading concludes in Genesis…

Let’s finish strong! Let’s finish well! Let’s not grow weary in doing good! We have been in training and now let’s live out our lives to glorify God! Let’s trust God thru it all! He knows what He is doing and what is yet to come! We need to be humble! We need to have a servant’s heart! We need to be the least to be able to lead! So let’s keep our hearts right with God! Don’t worry about the times in the battle or the times in the valley, keep your eyes and your focus and your trust in God! Let’s consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because it builds our faith and our endurance so that in the end we will be perfect, complete, and lacking nothing! Let’s not worry about the troubles that come our way because Jesus has warned us about them and told us we can take heart because He has already overcome the world!

41So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. 44Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” 45Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt. 46Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure. 50Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” 53The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.” 56When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. 57And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.

–from Genesis 41

Don’t allow yourself to grow bitter! Forgiveness is the key! Even when being mistreated or lied to, don’t become bitter, but forgive them! We see how Joseph responded! We see even in the naming of his children:

  • his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”
  • The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

So let’s not worry – because worry doesn’t change anything. So, let’s pray instead – prayer changes everything! Remember God is in control!

Let’s remain humble through it all – be it through the storms of life or the mountain tops, let’s be humble so that we won’t need to be humbled! Let’s not become bitter! Let’s not become boastful! Let’s walk in a way that when the end comes and we are face to face with Jesus, we will hear “well done, my good and faithful servant”!

We see the difference in lives lived between Joseph and his brothers. Imagine having to live your life out starting with deception and then guilt. Imagine how you would feel selling your brother, having lied that he is dead to your father, and the burden that would put on your shoulders for the rest of your life. Instead we should pick up the yoke of Jesus for He tells us that the yoke is easy and the burden is light!

Today’s reading from Genesis speaks to this…

Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt

1When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” 2He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.”
3Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. 5So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also.
6Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked.
“From the land of Canaan,” they replied, “to buy food.”
8Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 9Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”
10“No, my lord,” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food. 11We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.”
12“No!” he said to them. “You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”
13But they replied, “Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more.”
14Joseph said to them, “It is just as I told you: You are spies! 15And this is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16Send one of your number to get your brother; the rest of you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth. If you are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 17And he put them all in custody for three days.
18On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison, while the rest of you go and take grain back for your starving households. 20But you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.” This they proceeded to do.
21They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.”
22Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” 23They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.
24He turned away from them and began to weep, but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes.
25Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them, 26they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.
27At the place where they stopped for the night one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver in the mouth of his sack. 28“My silver has been returned,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.”
Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”
29When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said, 30“The man who is lord over the land spoke harshly to us and treated us as though we were spying on the land. 31But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies. 32We were twelve brothers, sons of one father. One is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in Canaan.’
33“Then the man who is lord over the land said to us, ‘This is how I will know whether you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take food for your starving households and go. 34But bring your youngest brother to me so I will know that you are not spies but honest men. Then I will give your brother back to you, and you can trade in the land.’ ”
35As they were emptying their sacks, there in each man’s sack was his pouch of silver! When they and their father saw the money pouches, they were frightened. 36Their father Jacob said to them, “You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!”
37Then Reuben said to his father, “You may put both of my sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him back.”
38But Jacob said, “My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him on the journey you are taking, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in sorrow.”

–from Genesis 42

Today’s devotional concludes with this very important truth from the story of Joseph…

In all this Joseph’s original dreams were being fulfilled. In spite of all he had been through, he kept trusting God and being faithful to him. It started out badly but it finished well.

 

Never let go of your God-given dreams. Even if you start off in a ‘pit’ or a ‘prison’, like Joseph, you may end up in a ‘palace’. As Joyce Meyer writes, ‘No matter where you started, you can have a great finish… Even if you are in a pit today, God can still raise you up and do great things in you and through you!’

–from Day 21: Bible In One Year 2017


Today’s Reading:

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How you doing in ‘the art of steering’?


There is a lot of navigation that is required to get through life. This means we have to do a lot of steering to avoid things in life. We need to figure out how to get through the tight situations without hurting ourselves or others! Consider the relationships in your life! Consider the choices in life! Consider the obstacles in life! So can you navigate through it all without any dings or scratches showing up on your life?  Can you navigate through it all without leaving wrecks behind you? Can you navigate through it all without breaking everything that shows up on your path? Are you interested in being able to navigate this life? Do you know what it takes? Do you know where to turn to find it?

WISDOM is what it takes and GOD is where you need to go to find it!


Day 20: The Bible In One Year 2017 – How to navigate life

Devotional, Proverbs 2:12-22, Matthew 14:1-21, Genesis 40, Genesis 41:1-40

Today’s devotional gives it to us in 3 steps…

1. Avoid wrong turns

Proverbs 2:12-22

2. Choose the good path

Matthew 14:1-21

3. Navigate through the challenges of life

Genesis 40:1-41:40


Avoid wrong turns…Proverbs 2:12-22

Can your character stand the test of time? Can you live to the higher standards?

16Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman,from the wayward woman with her seductive words, 17who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. 18Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. –from Proverbs 2

Will you be tempted away from doing what is right? Will you be able to stand the temptations and resist it so that they will flee? Do you realize what is going on? Do you realize it is a battle for your soul?

There are right turns and there are wrong turns. Unfaithfulness is an example of a wrong turn! So to avoid wrong turns seek wisdom! Ask God for help! Listen to the still quiet voice of the Holy Spirit! Allow wisdom to have its way in you so that you won’t take a wrong turn. Allow wisdom to keep you on the straight path that leads to life! Allow wisdom to keep you from getting tempted and tripped up by people who glorify doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil! Allow wisdom to guide your steps and make your path straight so that you won’t be tempted off course and navigate onto the crooked path and get tripped up in devious ways.

12Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,from men whose words are perverse, 13who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, 14who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, 15whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. –from Proverbs 2

The devil is a liar who tries to make it all look good. Once he has his handcuffs on you then you start to realize how bad it really is. Once he has his teeth in you then you realize the pain and agony that will come with it. Turn to God and seek wisdom before it is too late!

Consider the word covenant. It’s more than a deal … it’s a binding agreement that shouldn’t be broken. You look at the world today and it would mean that a covenant is even more than a contract as you watch people breaking those. Marriage is a covenant! The relationship with God in the old and the new testaments were also defined as covenants! So we need wisdom to help us stay on the right path! We need wisdom to keep us walking out the good life! So let’s remain with God and not stray from His path! The narrow straight path leads to life and few will find it! The broad road leads to the wide gate that will allow many to enter into destruction!

20Thus you will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. 21For the upright will live in the land,and the blameless will remain in it; 22but the wicked will be cut off from the land,and the unfaithful will be torn from it. –from Proverbs 2

Choose the good path … Matthew 14:1-21

It may not always be easy — actually we know from Jesus that in this world we will have troubles and we also know we can take heart because He has overcome the world–so although it isn’t easy, walking it out with Jesus will help us thru the trials to build up our faith, it will strengthen our perseverance, it will mature us, and through it all it will get us to the point of completeness and lacking nothing!

Life is a journey of making choices. We need to navigate the choices we need to make. We have been given free will which doesn’t mean autonomy, but free to choose whom we will serve! Our decision to that will impact everything in our lives! Based on our choice of whom we will serve, we will live out our lives in different ways because of our motivation and source. We can choose to serve God or we can choose to serve someone or something else. The choice is yours but the impact is deterministic. How you live out your life, the choices you will make, will be impacted by the choice of whom you will serve! Consider how Joshua positioned it to the Israelites…

14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” –from Joshua 24

He gave them the choice. He allowed them to make the choice before entering into the promised land and crossing the Jordan river, but he made it very clear what he was going to do, not just his family but he put himself out there first. We need to make the choice for ourselves first! Until we chose and start to live out our lives in alignment to that choice, it doesn’t matter what we say — we need to choose to serve God!

Today’s reading calls us back to getting on track, getting onto the right path!

The book of Proverbs presents us with a choice between the way of wisdom and the way of evil. Here, we read what these two paths look like in practice, in the lives of Jesus and Herod.

The path of evil

Herod the Tetrarch was Herod Antipas (21 BC – AD 39). This was the man who rejected Jesus to his face (when Pilate sent Jesus to Herod), just before Jesus’ death (see Luke 23:8–12).

Herod had done what the writer of Proverbs warned against. He had committed adultery with his brother’s wife, Herodias. When confronted with his actions he had John the Baptist ‘bound… and put… in prison’ (Matthew 14:3) because of his own guilty conscience.

Herod’s life seemed to revolve around personal gratification. He had discarded one wife and acquired another. His focus was on his own personal pleasure, rather than the misery that his actions would have caused others – not least his own brother, Philip. Beware when personal pleasure matters more to you than the needs of others.

The fear of rejection can also lead us into trouble. Herod ‘was afraid of the people’ (v.5) if he were to have John put to death. And yet he was also afraid of rejection from the guests at his dinner party and therefore granted Herodias’ daughter’s request for the head of John the Baptist (vv.8–10). Make sure you do not allow what others think of you to matter more than what is right.

Because John the Baptist courageously spoke out, Herod wanted to kill him (v.4). Evil seems to have run in the family because his niece, Herodias’ daughter, plotted with her mother to have John beheaded (vv.6–10). They were so hardened to evil that they were not even sickened by the sight of John the Baptist’s head brought in on a platter (v.11).

The path of good

John’s disciples told Jesus the terrible news (v.12). Jesus was clearly deeply shocked by his cousin’s death. His response to bad news was to withdraw ‘privately to a solitary place’ (v.13). He needed to be alone with God.

Yet when his plans were interrupted, Jesus did not get irritated (as I often am). It is good to make plans; but allow God to interrupt your plans. Because of his compassion (v.14), Jesus had the wisdom not only to ‘go with the flow’, but also to respond actively – he ‘healed their sick’ (v.14). Even after all that, he did not take the opportunity to get away from the crowds. Instead, he fed them – or rather, he taught his disciples how to feed them miraculously (vv.16,19–20). He mobilised them.

We see the extraordinary wisdom of Jesus as he navigated through this day. It was a day that started very badly. But Jesus managed to heal many sick people and miraculously feed ‘five thousand men, besides women and children’ (v.21). It was a day that would be remembered throughout history and has affected millions of lives.

–from Day 20: The Bible In One Year 2017 – How to navigate life

How will you choose? How will you decide to live out your life? Will you allow guilt to cause you to act out in ways that will hurt others or even yourself? Will you make decisions that will lead you away from God and off His path to life? Will you then act out because of fear or worry or doubt when confronted about this path you are walking down? Is it all about you? Is it about personal indulgence? personal fulfillment? personal pleasure? personal enjoyment? Will you serve something other than God and then find yourself going down the wrong path? What about the needs of others? What about the ability and opportunity of getting to serve others? Some may think of it as a small thing, but consider WWJD – What Would Jesus Do! Live in relationship with God rather than worry, doubt, and fear! Put your trust in Him! Take time to spend with God! Make time to be with God! Get away from it all and allow God to speak to you and provide you the wisdom you will need for this very situation! Let’s go His way rather than allowing bad news to get us irritated because our plans were interrupted. Let’s allow compassion to help us go with the flow, even when it isn’t what we wanted or planned. Let’s get back on track and complete the good work that God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish! Let’s encourage and mobilise the team to get back on task and press forward for the glory of God!

Navigate through the challenges of life … Genesis 40:1-41:40

There are many examples throughout the Bible where people face trials and troubles and challenges. Joseph is an incredible example where he received a vision and dream for his future, yet the path wasn’t easy but his character helped him through it all because he leaned on God’s wisdom.

Today’s devotional pulls it all together like this:

Have you ever been rejected, treated unjustly, let down by a friend or found yourself in some other frustrating situation?

‘Great faith is a product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials,’ said Smith Wigglesworth. We see this exemplified in the life of Joseph.

At the age of thirty (41:46), Joseph was put in charge of the entire country of Egypt. Pharaoh was looking for a wise and experienced person and he recognised that there was no one as qualified as Joseph (vv.33,39).

But first Joseph went through a very tough time. It was all part of his training. He had been rejected by his brothers, treated unjustly and put in prison. Yet his suffering was still not at an end.

God gave him the interpretation of the dreams of his fellow prisoners, the cupbearer and the baker. He was given a clear and accurate interpretation. The baker was executed but the chief cupbearer was released and restored to his position. All Joseph had asked of him was that when he was released, he would remember to mention him to Pharaoh and get him out of prison (40:14).

However, the chief cupbearer forgot all about Joseph (v.23). This must have been so difficult and discouraging for him. It is never easy when friends let you down. In Joseph’s case, it meant two more years languishing in a dungeon (41:1).

Prison must have been an extraordinarily frustrating place for a man of Joseph’s talents. He was in his twenties, in the prime of his life. He did not know whether he would ever be released. I am not a very patient person. I think I would have gone mad with frustration.

Yet, in fact, God was preparing Joseph for something great. It probably did not feel like that at the time. By feeding fellow prisoners in a jail, God prepared Joseph to feed the nations from a palace.

Finally, when Pharaoh had dreams that he was unable to interpret, the chief cupbearer said, ‘Today I am reminded of my shortcomings’ (v.9). Joseph was called in to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.

Joseph said, ‘I cannot do itbut God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires’ (v.16). We see how Joseph has grown in wisdom. The self-confidence and swagger of his youth have been replaced by a reliance on God. He acts here with an extraordinary mixture of humility and confidence (two qualities that do not often go together). This is the humility and confidence we need when faced with the challenges of life: ‘I can’tbut God can and will.’

Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams (vv.25–32), and tells him how he should respond to them (vv.33–36). Even Pharaoh recognises the great wisdom that has grown in Joseph. He asks his officials, ‘Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?’ (v.38). Because he recognised that there was no one as ‘discerning’ and ‘wise’ as Joseph, Pharaoh put him in charge of his whole empire (vv.39–40).

Through all your suffering, trials and tribulations, God is preparing you. Joseph had grown in wisdom. As a result, he came up with a plan that enabled the people to navigate through a period of great economic recession and turmoil. Many of us face all kinds of economic difficulties at the moment. God’s help and wisdom may not always change the situation, but they will help you navigate through the struggles you face.

— from Day 20: The Bible In One Year 2017 – How to navigate life

So today we are put in the position of needing to make a choice. We need to choose whom we will serve. We need to seek wisdom so that through our lives we won’t leave bloodshed and pain, but rather be able to bring joy, hope, love, and life to the people God brings into our lives! We need to serve God so that others may come to the reality of Jesus and be transformed! Our choice will help us to navigate this world we live in! Our choice will help us to master the art of steering through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit!

This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!


Today’s reading:

 

What is your most valuable possession?


Is it valuable because of its monetary value? Is it valuable because of its relational value? Is it valuable because it is scarce? Is it valuable because it is rare?  Is it valuable because its useful? Is it valuable because of its personal nature to you?

If it was money and you lost it all, how would you be? If it was a relationship and you lost it, how would you be? If it were scarce or rare and you lost it, how would you be? If it was useful and you lost it, how would you be? If it was personal and you lost it, how would you be?

What if you lost that but found Jesus? What if you started a relationship with Jesus and it triggered the loss? What if you started a relationship with Jesus and it helped you through the loss? Would you hold onto Him and have the same view as Paul?

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.–from Philippians 3

Paul speaks of this in comparison to who he had been and what he had been able to do with his old position and stature. When we realize that our most prized possession should be a relationship with Jesus, everything changes!

Throughout my life, I can remember moments when God intersected my life, but I kept missing the point that it was about rituals or routines, but that it was all about having a relationship with God! Be it when I was at university  and felt the pull to get confirmed. Be it when I was going to be married and felt the pull to get married in the church. Be it going to church after moving into a new place and getting an invitation from a church we kept driving by daily that came in the mail. Be it that moment while at this new church when I realized it was about a relationship and my journey walking with Jesus began and my life has never been the same and many lives including my wife, my children, and those I have the pleasure interacting with on a daily basis thanks to Jesus who never gave up on me and kept knocking on the door to my heart until I opened it up and asked Him in. He has the ability to be with us through the highs and the lows.

He has the ability to bring peace beyond our circumstances — He can calm the storm or He can calm the storm in us or He can give us peace as we walk thru the storm.

Let’s consider this as we look into today’s reading from God’s Word…


Day 19: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 11, Matthew 13:36-58, Genesis 38, Genesis 39

Today’s devotional (Day 19: Bible In One Year 2017) speaks to this with the following points…

1. The intimate presence of God

Psalm 11:1-7

2. Knowing God’s Son

Matthew 13:36-58

3. Experiencing God’s blessing

Genesis 38:1-39:23


The intimate presence of God…Psalm 11:1-7

Throughout the Bible, we read of various people who have had to deal with incredible trials and troubles. We read from old testament to new testament how people sometime through their own words or actions and other times created from outside sources ran into troubles. We see though how having an intimate relationship with God makes a difference. In today’s Psalm, we hear from David who was given advice to run away…

1In the Lord I take refugeHow then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain.
2For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.
3When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
 4The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them.
5The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.
6On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.
7For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.
–from Psalm 11

David answers with confidence because he had already run to God with the problem he was facing. His intimacy with God brought him a peace that went beyond understanding! (“In the Lord I take refuge.”) His trust in God starts and ends the Psalm when he finishes with “the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.” He was in the right place and even the structure of the psalm shows how being in an intimate relationship with God is crucial and how it makes all the difference in the world, no matter what is taking place in the world around.

Knowing God’s Son! — Matthew 13:36-58

Do you know Jesus? Have you started a relationship with Him yet? It will be the best thing that ever happened to you, if you will answer that still quiet voice and allow Him into your heart! You will be transformed from the inside out! You will be a new creation where the old is gone and the new has come!

36Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.42They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear. 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. 47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.“Yes,” they replied. 52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” 53When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57And they took offense at him.But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” 58And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. –from Matthew 13:36-58

I know this was so true to me when I learned the power of forgiveness. I was in such a hard place, a tough time where forgiveness for the things being done to me was the furthest thing in my mind, but in the midst of it all, Jesus didn’t want to leave me there and through it all I kept reading God’s Word and praying for answers. He had spoken forgiveness so many times but I could find excuses why I shouldn’t until that one day when I was at the end of my rope and extra pressures showed up and so I asked for help with those other pressures, but God knew me intimately and He knew that the bigger problem needed to be taken care of first before the new problem I was asking for could be handled. That day 7×70 came on the radio and God got my attention, Jesus was on message and wanted to break the chains of bitterness, anger, lies, deception, and unforgiveness!

Jesus is worth it! Having a relationship with Him is worth more than anything this world has to offer! It’s about starting a relationship with God and building an intimate relationship with Him!

As you can tell from my initial story I stumbled into this because of the invite to the Christmas production that came in the mail. Some people are searching though and find Him!  Today’s reading even speaks of these two scenarios…

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

and

the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

In the one case the man stumbled upon it and in the other case, the merchant was in pursuit. Not matter which one you are, when you find it your world will be transformed.

It goes beyond the temporary! It goes beyond the material possession! It’s real!

When we find Jesus, we find true joy, true treasure, and greater value than we could have ever found on our own or produced on our own! It’s not all about the money! It goes beyond the here and the now to the reality of what is going to last! It’s a relationship that will never end! It’s an intimacy where we get to spend the rest of eternity with God!

Take a look around you and see what is going on in this world. Do you or people around you ask questions like “if there is a god, why does he let this type of stuff happen” or “why doesn’t he just deal with it now”? In God’s Word we see how God’s grace and mercy speak to it…

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.

–from Matthew 13

A judgment will come! The book of Revelation provides us with insight into that end time! Today’s reading puts it this way…

36Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.42They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear. –from Matthew 13

and

47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. –from Matthew 13

Judgment is coming! Jesus warns of those who don’t turn to Jesus! those who cause sin and all who do evil! Whether we consider how:

They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Or we consider:

49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

So let’s be found in Jesus! Let’s be in relationship with Him so that in the end we can be found righteous in Jesus’ righteousness!

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

 

So no matter how great or how troubling your times may be, we build our relationship with God and be transformed! We can see this in and through Joseph whose trust was in God!

Experiencing God’s blessing – Genesis 38:1-39:23

The devil is going to try and tempt us from doing what is right! The devil is going to try and see what buttons he can push in order to trip us up! So let’s walk with Him and talk with Him and allow Him to guide our path!

Judah and Tamar

1At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. 2There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and made love to her; 3she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. 4She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. 5She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him.
6Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death.
8Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” 9But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.
11Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Live as a widow in your father’s household until my son Shelah grows up.” For he thought, “He may die too, just like his brothers.” So Tamar went to live in her father’s household.
12After a long time Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shua, died. When Judah had recovered from his grief, he went up to Timnah, to the men who were shearing his sheep, and his friend Hirah the Adullamite went with him.
13When Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is on his way to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14she took off her widow’s clothes, covered herself with a veil to disguise herself, and then sat down at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that, though Shelah had now grown up, she had not been given to him as his wife.
15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, “Come now, let me sleep with you.”
“And what will you give me to sleep with you?” she asked.
17“I’ll send you a young goat from my flock,” he said.
“Will you give me something as a pledge until you send it?” she asked.
18He said, “What pledge should I give you?”
“Your seal and its cord, and the staff in your hand,” she answered. So he gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19After she left, she took off her veil and put on her widow’s clothes again.
20Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite in order to get his pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her. 21He asked the men who lived there, “Where is the shrine prostitute who was beside the road at Enaim?”
“There hasn’t been any shrine prostitute here,” they said.
22So he went back to Judah and said, “I didn’t find her. Besides, the men who lived there said, ‘There hasn’t been any shrine prostitute here.’ ”
23Then Judah said, “Let her keep what she has, or we will become a laughingstock. After all, I did send her this young goat, but you didn’t find her.”
24About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.”
Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned to death!”
25As she was being brought out, she sent a message to her father-in-law. “I am pregnant by the man who owns these,” she said. And she added, “See if you recognize whose seal and cord and staff these are.”
26Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I wouldn’t give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not sleep with her again.
27When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 28As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” 29But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, “So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez. 30Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.

–from Genesis 38

and

Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife

1Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.
2The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”
8But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
11One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
13When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 15When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
16She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
19When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

–from Genesis 39

We will all be tempted! How we handle it is where we can make a difference! Will you act on it? Will you avoid it? Will you resist it?

Today’s devotional closes with the following point…

Your circumstances may not be ideal. For example, you might feel like you are in prison – literally in prison, or confined like a prisoner in your job, a health issue, a difficult relationship or other circumstances. Yet in the midst of all this, if you stay faithful to God, you can experience his presence with you, his favour in the sight of others, and his blessing on your life. This is the ‘pearl… of great value’ (Matthew 13:45–46). This is your most valuable possession.

— Day 19: Bible In One Year 2017

 

Kingdom come


What do you think of when you hear “kingdom come”? Do you think of a time in the future when there will be a new world and a new heaven? Do you think of a time in the future when the world will end? Do you think of a time in the future after this life?  Do you think of the time after death? Do you think of the point at which the world comes to an end? Do you think of it and its use in the Lord’s prayer? Do you think of it as asking for God’s way to take place here on earth as it is in heaven? Do you think of it as asking God to speed up Jesus’ return to earth? Do you think of it as the time when Jesus rules the earth as His kingdom?

In the Bible, we find the term kingdom associated with this topic…

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. –from Revelation 11:15

But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. –from Matthew 6:33

1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

–from Luke 11

9 After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For your is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. –from Matthew 6

So let’s consider God’s kingdom that is coming and look to align to Him and His will! Let’s consider how incredible the new world will be under His rule! Let’s commit ourselves to living our lives here on earth His way and sharing the Good News of Jesus to the world around us! Jesus has called us to a higher standard, so let’s live it out and share it with those He has blessed us to be around. They may or may not be the easiest to get along with, however, each of us has a purpose and a hand in the lives of the people around us.

Let’s take hold of God’s truth:

17 And he said to him, Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He said to him, Which? Jesus said, You shall do no murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and your mother: and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. –from Matthew 19

Let’s take hold of God’s love and share it:

19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen. –from Matthew 28

So let’s glorify God the Father while we are here on earth by lifting up Jesus into the world around us and living out our lives in alignment with His Kingdom! So that we can share and be evidence to the world around us what Jesus is like and how they too should desire a relationship with Him! Let’s invite Jesus into our heart that He may help us to bring His Kingdom to this world! He is coming back! He will return! Until then, let’s be prepared and let’s share the Good News with the people God brings into our circle of influence that they too may know of the love of God! In so doing, we can help them join us in heaven with God!


Day 18: Bible In One Year 2017: 
Devotional, Psalm 10:12-18, Matthew 13:18-35, Genesis 36, Genesis 37

Today’s devotional breaks out this way…

1. Cry out for the transformation of society

Psalm 10:12-18

2. Keep telling people about Jesus

Matthew 13:18-35

3. Bow down before the King of kings

Genesis 36:1-37:36


Cry out for the transformation of society…(Psalm 10:12-18)

God’s kingdom is coming. God’s timing is perfect. God’s never late and rarely early. God is patient because His hope is that nobody will perish, but everyone will come to repentance and find eternal life. When He comes back the reign of terror will end and a new world and a new earth will be available to all those whose names are in the book of life.

From today’s reading, we see how the psalmist prays for people, so let’s be people who care for these people…

  • Helpless (v.12)
  • Troubled (v.14)
  • Grieving (v.14)
  • Victims (v.14)
  • Fatherless (v.14,18)
  • Homeless (v.18, MSG)
  • Oppressed (v.18).

So will you be light and salt to the world around you? Will you share love and hope because of your faith with these people that they too may know the kingdom of God and that His Kingdom will come through our arms extended to bring them hope too?

12Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.Do not forget the helpless. 13Why does the wicked man revile God?Why does he say to himself,“He won’t call me to account”? 14But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;you consider their grief and take it in hand.The victims commit themselves to you;you are the helper of the fatherless. 15Break the arm of the wicked man;call the evildoer to account for his wickednessthat would not otherwise be found out. 16The Lord is King for ever and ever;the nations will perish from his land. 17You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 18defending the fatherless and the oppressed,so that mere earthly mortalswill never again strike terror.

–from Psalm 10

Keep telling people about Jesus (Matthew 13:18-35)

Will you be someone who will notice hard ground and try to work it to soften it to be good soil in which a seed can be planted? Will you be someone who will notice rocky ground and try to help clean things up so that it will be good soil in which to plant seeds? Will you be someone who will notice the weeds, things growing wild and getting in the way of being able to produce good fruit so that you will have good soil in which to plant seeds? Will you plant seeds that will produce good fruit when you find good soil to plant it in?

Do you know how you can do this? You can do this by sharing Jesus with them! Share how Jesus transformed your life! Share the hope that is within you because of Jesus! Share Jesus’ love by being His arms extended to embrace and care for them! Share Jesus’ love by being His hands working side by side with them so they know that you care for them.

Don’t lose hope if when you plant a seed that it doesn’t always produce fruit. Sometimes that is how you can tell the condition of the soil. You may find that some won’t take root, others only produce temporary results due to trouble, worries of this life, or the deceitfulness of wealth. When you find good soil, the fruit it produces will be incredible, a harvest beyond your wildest dreams. Let’s help the world to become part of God’s family! Let’s be sharing the hope that is within us so that Jesus can be a part of their lives. It may start small, but just like a little yeast in dough will make it all rise.

How will your influence in the world around you impact the world? Will you impact your marriage? Will you impact your family? Will you impact your neighborhood? Will you impact your community? Will you impact your city? Will you impact your workplace? Will you impact your nation? Let’s start small and start transforming our world, one step at a time!

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” 24Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 “ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 “ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ” 31He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” 33He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” 34Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:“I will open my mouth in parables,I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

–from Matthew 13

Bow down before the King of kings (Genesis 36:1-37:36)

One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! He is the King of kings! He is the Lord of lords! He is the Prince of peace!

Today’s readings shares some wisdom and insight from the story of Joseph…About his dreams and visions, how some weren’t ready or willing to hear about them, how timing and tact of being able to share is something necessary to have. He foreshadows the coming of Jesus!

We again are faced with a choice…we can choose to willingly bow to Jesus now or we will have to bow to Jesus later.

Esau’s Descendants

1This is the account of the family line of Esau (that is, Edom).
2Esau took his wives from the women of Canaan: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite— 3also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth.
4Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau, Basemath bore Reuel, 5and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam and Korah. These were the sons of Esau, who were born to him in Canaan.
6Esau took his wives and sons and daughters and all the members of his household, as well as his livestock and all his other animals and all the goods he had acquired in Canaan, and moved to a land some distance from his brother Jacob. 7Their possessions were too great for them to remain together; the land where they were staying could not support them both because of their livestock. 8So Esau (that is, Edom) settled in the hill country of Seir.
9This is the account of the family line of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir.
10These are the names of Esau’s sons:
Eliphaz, the son of Esau’s wife Adah, and Reuel, the son of Esau’s wife Basemath.
11The sons of Eliphaz:
Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam and Kenaz.
12Esau’s son Eliphaz also had a concubine named Timna, who bore him Amalek. These were grandsons of Esau’s wife Adah.
13The sons of Reuel:
Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were grandsons of Esau’s wife Basemath.
14The sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon, whom she bore to Esau:
Jeush, Jalam and Korah.
15These were the chiefs among Esau’s descendants:
The sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau:
Chiefs Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, 16Korah, Gatam and Amalek. These were the chiefs descended from Eliphaz in Edom; they were grandsons of Adah.
17The sons of Esau’s son Reuel:
Chiefs Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were the chiefs descended from Reuel in Edom; they were grandsons of Esau’s wife Basemath.
18The sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah:
Chiefs Jeush, Jalam and Korah. These were the chiefs descended from Esau’s wife Oholibamah daughter of Anah.
19These were the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these were their chiefs.
20These were the sons of Seir the Horite, who were living in the region:
Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These sons of Seir in Edom were Horite chiefs.
22The sons of Lotan:
Hori and Homam. Timna was Lotan’s sister.
23The sons of Shobal:
Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho and Onam.
24The sons of Zibeon:
Aiah and Anah. This is the Anah who discovered the hot springs in the desert while he was grazing the donkeys of his father Zibeon.
25The children of Anah:
Dishon and Oholibamah daughter of Anah.
26The sons of Dishon:
Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran and Keran.
27The sons of Ezer:
Bilhan, Zaavan and Akan.
28The sons of Dishan:
Uz and Aran.
29These were the Horite chiefs:
Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 30Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These were the Horite chiefs, according to their divisions, in the land of Seir.
The Rulers of Edom
31These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned:
32Bela son of Beor became king of Edom. His city was named Dinhabah.
33When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah succeeded him as king.
34When Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king.
35When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king. His city was named Avith.
36When Hadad died, Samlah from Masrekah succeeded him as king.
37When Samlah died, Shaul from Rehoboth on the river succeeded him as king.
38When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Akbor succeeded him as king.
39When Baal-Hanan son of Akbor died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife’s name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab.
40These were the chiefs descended from Esau, by name, according to their clans and regions:
Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 41Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 42Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 43Magdiel and Iram. These were the chiefs of Edom, according to their settlements in the land they occupied.
This is the family line of Esau, the father of the Edomites.

Joseph’s Dreams

1Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.
2This is the account of Jacob’s family line.
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
3Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. 4When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
5Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
8His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
9Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
10When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

Joseph Sold by His Brothers

12Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, 13and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.”
“Very well,” he replied.
14So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.
When Joseph arrived at Shechem, 15a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?”
17“They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’ ”
So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.
19“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20“Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”
21When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22“Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.
23So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
25As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
26Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.
28So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
29When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?”
31Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.”
33He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.”
34Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him.
36Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.

–from Genesis 36,37


Day 18: Bible In One Year 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Potential into Kinetic


Do you realize how much potential you have there? Do you realize what you could accomplish? Do you realize what is available to you? Do you realize that you have a choice? Do you realize how much that choice could make a difference? Do you realize that a choice to start, to move, to begin, to answer, to listen, to understand, to obey could transform the world around you?

Potential is “the energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position relative to others, stresses within itself, electric charge, and other factors.”

Kinetic is “energy that a body possesses by virtue of being in motion.”

So will you get moving? Will you achieve your potential? Will you ask God for wisdom to help direct you? your steps? your words? your actions? Will you be obedient to His call and His instruction for your life?

Kinetic energy vs. Potential energy. Energy is the ability to do work. Objects can have stored, or potential, energy when work has been done (such as raising an object in the air) or by virtue of their position (such as sitting at the top of a hill).

We have all been created with the ability to do work. We all have potential. What good work has God prepared in advance for you to do? Will you listen to His call and accomplish it? He has created each of us on purpose, with purpose, for a purpose! How we choose to convert that potential into kinetic is based on a choice, we all have freewill and we all get to choose and make a choice! We need to choose wisely! We need to respond to God’s calling on our lives to accomplish the good work He has prepared in advance for us to accomplish! We need to respond to God’s calling on our lives and be good stewards of all He has stored up (our potential) in us and use it for the glory of His kingdom. We all get a choice to use it for good, use it for evil, or let it waste away. Let’s be good stewards and use the gifts and talents God has given us for good! How will you transform that potential you have?

Will you accomplish your full potential? Will you have any potential energy left in the tank at the end or will you have used it all for God’s glory? Will you have used your potential energy up for good so as the glorify God the most? Will you have wasted your potential energy by not walking in alignment with God and being obedient to His call on your life?

Each day is a gift from God! This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! How will you take the potential and opportunities of today and transform them?

Will you store up some additional potential in order to accomplish even greater things?


Today’s devotional speaks to fulfilling our potential. Day 17 – Bible In One Year 2017


Devotional, Psalm 10:1-11, Matthew 12:46-50, Matthew 13:1-17, Genesis 34, Genesis 35

Don’t get caught up in the daily routine and miss out the opportunity to transform that potential energy into kinetic energy in order to get even greater work done for the glory of God! We all have been given a purpose when God created us which keeps prodding us to become what God desires for us to become but we all have to choose how we will respond to the calling on our lives!

Are you living to your full potential or are you living a life where you feel “there has to be more than this”?

Consider God’s plan: Jesus says: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Consider God’s plan: Jeremiah tells us: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God’s plan isn’t just for when things are good, but also when we are facing troubles and trials. Consider God’s plan when we are facing trouble: Jesus says: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Consider God’s plan when we face trials of many kinds: Jesus says to consider it pure joy, let’s get the full context: “ Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Some friends got together because we wanted to be able to share encouragement and one of our friends had received a message from God and so he kept prompting us till the point where we put together a devotional book called More than. I never thought I would write a blog never mind a book. I know have been blessed with blogging since 2005 and being a co-author to a book too. I never would have considered being president of an organization, but I was. I never would have expected to be a director of something, but I am now a director for a camp for foster teens as well as a director of product management at work. Who knows how great the potential is that God has set in motion, but I know that when I walk with Him and try to stay in alignment and walk it out in obedience, even greater things can happen.

God’s Word even tells us that “Greater things are yet to come.” Consider when Jesus tells us in John 14:12 – Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

So how can we multiply? When an object has potential and starts to move, depending on the resistance the final kinetic energy it has is a multiplication factor of where it had been. So with the potential God has given you, how will you multiply it? Will you increase by 30x? 60x? 100x? We read in today’s reading that when we are living in relationship with Jesus 30x is the minimum. So the key is to walk in relationship with Jesus! Your potential goes beyond your ambitions and your desires, as I mentioned before when speaking of some of my works, it was beyond my ambitions and desires and more about what I felt God calling me to step up and step into. God’s desire is for us to live the abundant lifelacking nothing!

It goes beyond God blessing us to God allowing us to be a blessing to others.


Today’s devotional (Day 17 – Bible In One Year 2017) wraps this into 5 points…

1. Promote humility

Psalm 10:1-11

2. Pursue intimacy, 3. Put down roots, 4. Protect your heart

Matthew 12:46-13:17

5. Purify yourself

Genesis 34:1-35:29


Promoting Humility…

1Why, Lord, do you stand far off?Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 2In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,who are caught in the schemes he devises. 3He boasts about the cravings of his heart;he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. 4In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;in all his thoughts there is no room for God. 5His ways are always prosperous;your laws are rejected by him;he sneers at all his enemies. 6He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.” 7His mouth is full of lies and threats;trouble and evil are under his tongue. 8He lies in wait near the villages;from ambush he murders the innocent.His eyes watch in secret for his victims; 9like a lion in cover he lies in wait.He lies in wait to catch the helpless;he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. 10His victims are crushed, they collapse;they fall under his strength. 11He says to himself, “God will never notice;he covers his face and never sees.”

–from Psalm 10

Pursue Intimacy…(with God and with people)…all ministry flows out of relationship

46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

–from Matthew 12

Put down roots…We need to go deeper if we want to be able to withstand the wind and the rain of life. We need to let our roots go deep.

1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

–from Matthew 13

Protect your heart…There are many whose hearts are calloused and need God’s softening. There are many who will try to break your heart too. Invite Jesus into your heart that it can be transformed. Don’t allow the worries of life to wear on your heart! Don’t allow the deceitfulness of wealth rob you of joy!

10The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 11He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

–from Matthew 13

Purify yourself…Grab hold of a spirit of forgiveness and becoming an ambassador of peace rather than looking to retaliate or seeking revenge!

Dinah and the Shechemites

1Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. 2When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her. 3His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. 4And Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl as my wife.”
5When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home.
6Then Shechem’s father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob. 7Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter—a thing that should not be done.
8But Hamor said to them, “My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife. 9Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it.”
11Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.”
13Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. 14They said to them, “We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. 15We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We’ll settle among you and become one people with you. 17But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we’ll take our sister and go.”
18Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19The young man, who was the most honored of all his father’s family, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. 20So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city. 21“These men are friendly toward us,” they said. “Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can marry their daughters and they can marry ours. 22But the men will agree to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are. 23Won’t their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us agree to their terms, and they will settle among us.”
24All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.
25Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. 26They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. 27The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. 28They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. 29They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.
30Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.”
31But they replied, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?”

–from Genesis 34

Jacob Returns to Bethel

1Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.”
2So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. 3Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. 5Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.
6Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. 7There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.
8Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth.
9After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel.
11And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. 12The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” 13Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.
14Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. 15Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel.

The Deaths of Rachel and Isaac

16Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.” 18As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.
19So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.
21Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder. 22While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it.
Jacob had twelve sons:
23The sons of Leah:
Reuben the firstborn of Jacob,
Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.
24The sons of Rachel:
Joseph and Benjamin.
25The sons of Rachel’s servant Bilhah:
Dan and Naphtali.
26The sons of Leah’s servant Zilpah:
Gad and Asher.
These were the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram.
27Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. 28Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. 29Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

–from Genesis 35

The potential is great and so we need to be prepared and aware of what the world may send our way. We need to resist the devil so that he will flee. We need to be well rooted and standing strong with the full armor of God in order to complete the work God has for us!

Will you achieve your full potential? Why not get started today!


 

 


Day 17 – Bible In One Year 2017