Posts

Showing posts from January, 2018

"Stop Making Excuses"

BIBLE READING: EXODUS 4-6 I hate excuses, but sadly that doesn’t stop me from making them.  In the story of Moses and the burning bush, Moses attempts to make excuses.   We might make excuses to our spouse, our parents, or even our teachers about our homework; it may not be right, but it is understandable.  But Moses made his excuse to God!  The all-knowing, all-powerful being in the universe and we cannot forget, Moses’ CREATOR!  What was he thinking?  Did he have a lapse in his judgment?  Had he been out in the sun too long?  I really don’t think any of those are valid answers as to why He thought God would accept his excuses.  But wait just a minute…don’t get too critical of Moses. If we are honest with ourselves, we have all made excuses to God in some capacity.  Let me refresh your memory, “Somebody needs to go see Sister So-in-so; I just don’t have time.” or “I wish I was to do something in the worship service, I just don’t have anything fitting to wear” and “I would go to church, bu…

"Choices"

BIBLE READING: EXODUS 1-3  Today’s reading is filled with information about the events leading up to the exodus of the Hebrews from the land of Egypt.  The devotion would be very lengthy if every verse were discussed.  After doing the reading, a specific topic from the chapters was chosen for closer study and meditation. To begin with, the Pharaoh that knew Joseph had died and a new Pharaoh had come to the throne not knowing of the greatness of Joseph and his God; this lead to a different viewpoint of the Jews.  The Jews had been so blessed by God that their numbers grew so massive that the Egyptians were afraid they might take over the country themselves or with the help of neighboring enemies.  This being the case, the Egyptians moved to reduce the numbers of the Jews by killing all newborn male babies. Through the providence of God, Moses was saved by Pharaoh's daughter from the Nile and raised as an Egyptian.  For the first forty years of Moses' life he learned all the wisdo…

"God Meant It For Good"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 48-50
   In the reading for today, Jacob has died and has been carried off to Macpelah to be buried with his ancestors.  Since Jacob has passed, the brothers of Joseph begin to fear that Joseph would now enact his revenge on them for selling him as a slave.  When confronted with their fears, Joseph’s statement must have really surprised them: “you meant evil against me, But God meant it for good” (Genesis 50.20).  Joseph knew that if he had not been sent to Egypt, then he would have never got the opportunity to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams.  If he had not have interpreted those dreams, then the nation of Egypt and the surrounding settlements would have died out due to the famine.  Even during their hatred and jealously of their brother, God was able to bring about His will for the world.  God continues to do the same thing today.  He can take a horrible situation and use it to accomplish a greater good.  Maybe this is the attitude we need to adopt when dealing with…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Genesis 46-47

No Devo Today

El Shaddai"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 43-45
     You can almost feel the anxiety in the room as Jacob debates within himself what to do.  If he does nothing, he loses his son Simeon who is being held hostage in Egypt.  He also risks the entire fate of his family due to the famine.  If he says yes, he risks losing the only connection he has left of his beloved Rachel in their son Benjamin.   The famine has been severe, and they are quickly running out of food.  If Jacob doesn’t do something quick, it is possible that his entire family would die.  This may very well be the most difficult decision of his life.  In the end, Jacob decides to allow Benjamin to go with the other brothers back to Egypt and purchase food.  But, how does he make this decision?  What was the deciding factor that led him to choose this option?  It could be that he just put his trust in God and let Him handle the situation.  Notice what Jacob says, “Take your brother also, and arise, go again to the man.  May God Almighty grant y…

"Guilt is a Heavy Thing"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 41-42            Isn’t this a sticky situation?  Here we have the ten brothers of Joseph coming to Egypt to buy food for their family due to the famine from none other than their brother Joseph.  The Bible tells us that even though they don’t recognize him, he recognized them.  In the process of meeting with them, he begins to question their intentions and toy with them and make them sweat.  It doesn’t take long before the brothers begin to say to one another, in Genesis 42.21, something to the effect of “this is all happening to us because of what we did to our brother Joseph all those years ago.”  I would venture to say that this wasn’t the first time this thought came to their minds.  I wonder if anytime something did not go their way, they thought that their misfortune was due to their sin against their brother.  Having that feeling of guilt can be a very painful thing to carry.  Given the opportunity, I am sure they would have done things differently.  Howev…

"We All Have Issues"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 38-40
     The Tribe of Judah is the most significant of all the tribes of Israel, because it is from this tribe that delivers the Messiah.  One would think that if the Bible recorded any story concerning the man from which this tribe originates, would be one of strength, holiness and godliness.  That could not be further from the truth.  It doesn’t take long for us to see that Judah was a man who would get involved with a prostitute who in turn is unknowingly to him as his daughter-in-law.   The only story that the Bible has that highlights the man from which the tribe of Judah gets his name, is one that none of us would be very proud of.  Why would God be so quick to air out all the dirty laundry of the lineage of Jesus?  Maybe He did so to show us that we all have our issues; none of us are perfect.  Every single human being that has ever existed, except for Christ, is subject to and a slave of sin.  If anything, this should give all of us hope because we all …

"Into the Presence of God"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 35-37
Bethel is often mentioned as a place that the Patriarchs would go and build an altar to God to offer sacrifices; it simply means the “House of God”.  Right before God changes Jacob’s name to Israel in Genesis 35, Jacob is instructed by God to rise and go to Bethel and build an altar there to God.  Before Jacob goes, there are a few things that are necessary for him to do.  Notice the instructions he gives to his family: “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments.  Then let us rise up and go to Bethel, so that I may make an alter there to God” (Genesis 35.2-3).  Jacob’s instructions are just as relevant for us today as we prepare to offer up our sacrifices to God.  Before we come into the presence of God to worship Him, we must first make sure we “put away the foreign gods that are among us”.  I realize that we may not have any small figurines that we pay tribute to on the side, but do we not have a lot of di…

"A Lesson on Forgiveness"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 32-34
      We are a funny group of people. We sure are happy. We sue for everything from a hot cup of coffee to hurt feelings. Forgiveness has become a lost art. Now everything is about revenge, getting even, making someone pay. Sadly enough, it’s drifted from the secular world into churches today. When we should love, we are often bitter. As we continue in our journey through the scriptures, I think that we will find the awesome power of forgiveness in today’s text. In Genesis 32 we find Jacob preparing to meet his brother Esau.  How scared Jacob had to be! He had tricked his brother Esau and deceived him. He had received birthrights that rightfully belonged to Esau. When this happened, he fled! He fled because he was afraid Esau would kill him. He just knew at that time that if Esau found him, he was done for!  Put yourself in Esau’s shoes. How would you have reacted? We would all love to say that we would have let bygones be bygones. But you know what? We don…

"Envy, The Gateway Sin"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 30-31
     Emotions are one of the greatest blessings that God has given us.  However, learning how to control those emotions can be very difficult.  In the reading for the day, one can see that Rachel is struggling with some of her emotions.  Rachel is very upset that God has not allowed her to have children and that anger has grown into jealousy and resentment for her sister Leah. Leah is not only able to bear children, but has been quite good at it having had four children (Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah).  That brings us to Genesis 30. 1:“When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister.”Envy is a very damaging emotion. Solomon describes it as making our bones rot (Proverbs 14.30).  The biggest problem with envy, is that it opens the door for many other sins.  Listen to what James says:             where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”  (James 3.16). Typically, envy is only the beginning of a host of othe…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Genesis 27-29

No Devo Today

"Like Father, Like Son"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 25-26             The phrase “like father, like son” has been around for centuries.  I don’t know if it came from some old Chinese proverb or Confucius’ quote, but it could have had its origins here in Genesis 26.  In this story, we have Isaac repeating the same thing that his father Abraham did by withholding the whole truth about their wives.  In the case of Abraham, he lied to Pharaoh (Genesis 12) and Abimelech (Genesis 20) telling them that Sara was his sister rather than his wife.  The reason he did so was out of fear for his own life.  Now in Genesis 26, we see Isaac do the same thing in lying to Abimelech about his wife Rebekah.  There is a lesson in that!  Isaac simply just imitated what his father had done years before.  It is very important that we teach and train our children in the ways of Truth and Godliness;  but teaching is only part of our job.  We must also live by the words we teach as well.  Children are very impressionable.  They may not alway…

"The Testing of Our Faith"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 22-24
A college student had come to take his final exam in his ornithology class (the study of birds). It had been a tough class with a tough professor. The exam consisted of 25 pictures of birds’ feet and he had to identify which birds they were, based solely on their feet. The exasperated student said; “I’m not going to do this. Nobody could pass this test!” The professor replied, “Then I will have to fail you.” Defiantly, the student said, “So, fail me!” The angry professor replied, “Okay, what’s your name?” The student took off his shoes and socks and said, “You tell me.”  None of us like hard tests do we?   But as Christians, we learn that our faith is constantly being tested.  Some of those tests are easy, but many times they are very difficult.  In the case of Abraham in Genesis 22, this was probably the most difficult of tests.  How could a man be willing to offer up his son as a sacrifice to God? I believe that the reason he was able to agree to do so, w…

"Big Company's Coming"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 19-21 Years ago instead of going “out” to eat, people would invite others over to their home for dinner.  As a child when that would happen I can remember my mother frantically cleaning the house because we had, as she called it, “BIG COMPANY” coming.  She wanted to make sure that she had cleaned the bathroom, dusted the furniture, mopped and vacuumed the floors and prepared the food, so the “BIG COMPANY” would see us at our best.  Now in reality, it never really was anyone like a Senator, Businessman or anyone famous, “BIG COMPANY” usually just referred to anyone that did not already live in our house.  We are all the same way today; when we have visitors over to our home, we want to make sure everything is in order so that they see us at our best.  Imagine this though, what if your “BIG COMPANY” was God?  Because that is close to what happened in Genesis 19; God (through His Angels) were coming to visit Lot in Sodom.  As you might expect, Lot wanted to be a gra…

"Looking With Contempt!"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 16-18 As a product of the Eighties, we had our own little language.  The word “bad’ became something that was “good”.  The word “cool” became something that meant “hot” or “trendy” and the word “gay”, which used to mean “happy” became someone who was homosexual.  Every day at school you could hear words like “like”, “gnarly” or “psych”.  Another word that became very popular that you don’t hear much today was the word “SNOB”.  That was a word we used to describe someone who we thought was arrogant, or would look down on you or simply thought they were better than you.  That seems to describe the way that Hagar had grown to feel towards Sarah.  To be able to have children, was something that gave the women of that day, significance.  It provided for them a status that barren women were not able to have.  Since Sarah was currently not able to have children and Hagar was, the Bible says that she “looked with contempt on her mistress” (Genesis 16.4). One of the recen…

"God's Promises Are Sure..."

BIBLE READING: Genesis 12-15 “God’s Promises are Sure! God’s Promises are Sure! He Speaks, and It Shall Be; God’s Promises are Sure! Those are the words to a song that sister Jewel Kenderick wrote almost fifty years ago that have been sang in elementary chapel for years.  The idea for the song comes from the Promise of Abraham that is mentioned in Genesis 12 and reaffirmed in Genesis 15.  The rest of the Bible is dedicated to reveal to humanity that God’s promises are as a matter of fact, sure.  He promised Abraham a son; he got it. He promised a virgin would conceive; she did.  He promised a resurrection; He did that too.  As you follow the Scriptures, there has only been one promise that He made that he hasn’t followed through on yet; His Second Coming.  Sure…it has been a long time since He made that promise and yes… we haven’t seen the fulfillment of it yet.  The key word here is “yet”.  We must remember the words of Peter,             “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, tha…

"Open Mouth, Insert Foot!"

BIBLE READING: Job 40-42
We have all done it! Some of us more than others, but we have all done it; opened our mouth and said something we wish we hadn’t.  The millisecond it rolls off of our tongue, we wish we could reel it back in.  Then in the following moments we feel embarrassed and humiliated.  Imagine if you had done that to God and then God called you on it.  Within our readings for the day, we have an example of just that!  Job had wanted to be able to have an opportunity to defend himself. He wanted an answer from God as to why all of this was happening, and boy did he get it.  After hearing those words “Where were you…? Job realized he had opened his mouth and inserted his foot.  Listen to his words in Job 42.3, “I have uttered what I did not understand.”  Whether it was Adam in the Garden of Eden or Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane, we can all relate to uttering things we do not understand.  Knowing that this is a common problem, how can we cease such behavior?  James writ…

Sunday

Bible Reading: Job 38-39


No Devo Today

"Awesome Majesty"

BIBLE READING: Job 35-37
As we come to the conclusions of all of the various speeches from the “so-called” friends of Job, they all offer little insight and do very little to comfort him.  However, this last speech from Elihu offers some wonderful words of wisdom for us to think about.  In Job 37, Elihu proclaims the majesty of God in very descriptive form.  Read it again aloud and slow and see the Awesome Majesty of God.  “Awesome” meaning “to fear or revere”, in fact the KJV uses the word “terrible”, “Majesty” meaning “grandeur or excellence”. Each of these two words is very significant by themselves, but together they reveal the “Awesome Majesty” of the God we serve. 

"Oh, Be Careful Little Feet Where You Go"

BIBLE READING: Job 32-34
                When I was a young boy growing up at Atlas Church of Christ, I can remember it being a big deal to get to go into Mrs. Selma Wallace’s Bible Class.   I can’t remember what class it was that she taught, but back then, in my eyes, it was “big kids class”.  She was a wonderful Bible Class teacher and in just about every class we would sing a few songs before we got into the day’s lesson.  One of those songs we sung as children in that class went like this: “Oh, be careful little eyes what you see, oh be careful little eye what you see. There’s a Father up above looking down in tender love, oh be careful little eyes what you see.Oh, be careful little ears what you hear, oh be careful little ears what you hear. There’s a Father up above looking down in tender love, oh be careful little ears what you hear. Oh, be careful little feet where you go, oh be careful little feet where you go.  There’s a Father up above, looking down in tender love, oh be care…

"Those Were the Good Ol' Days"

BIBLE READING: Job 29-31

                We all love to reminisce and somewhat embellish a little about the good ol’ days.  Whether it is how great of an athlete we were or how far we had to walk to school in the snow, it seems every generation likes to reminisce about days gone by.  Job is no different. In fact, that is exactly what he does in Job 29. He even uses the phrase, “as I was in my prime”.  He talks about the way it used to be, when he had his family, his wealth, his reputation.  From reading this chapter, one might think that Job is being somewhat boastful. However, I do not believe that Job is being boastful at all.  I think that he did exactly what he said he did because from the beginning of the book we read how highly God spoke of Job.  It seems obvious that Job was a great man, but now he feels like he is only a shell of his previous self.  What does this teach us in today’s world?  I think God wants us to live each day like it is a gift; enjoy it, bless others with th…

"The World is Flat"

BIBLE READING: Job 24-28

            Believe it or not a professional basketball player, Kyrie Irving, stated in an interview last year that he believed that it was possible that the world was still flat.  I hope he stated this as a publicity stunt, because no one in their right mind would still believe that the earth was flat.  However, up until the 3rd century BC, that was the common thought.  Aristotle first theorized that the earth was round. Columbus died believing he proved Aristotle correct, but the real confirmation came in the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan.  He was a Portuguese sailor who was the first to sail completely around the world in 1522. It took all those years for people to understand that the earth was a sphere, when the Bible points out that astrological fact in Isaiah 40.22, “is he who sits above the circle of the earth…”The book of Job also alludes to it in Job 26.7 “He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.”.  If the Bible ca…

"How Much Do You Value The Word of God?"

BIBLE READING: Job 21-23
As Job continues to struggle and seek understanding as to why he is consumed with suffering, he still trusts that God is aware of his situation (Job 23.10) and that he continues to follow in God’s steps.  Job also continues to believe that when all is said and done he will “come out as gold”.  The reason he believes that will be the case is because he has “treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food” (Job 23.12).  I have often wondered what are those “words” to which Job refers? Tradition tells us that the book of Job could very well be the oldest book of the Bible.  It has been generally believed that the first five books of the Bible were written by Moses. It is also believed that events of the life of Job predates what Moses wrote concerning the Law.  We know that God spoke to the Patriarchs in the past (Hebrews 1.1).  It could be that Job has received these “words” for one of the Patriarchs.  It could even be that Job had received these “w…

"I Know that My Redeemer Lives"

BIBLE READING: Job 17-20
Ever since I was at child at Atlas Church of Christ, I can remember hearing brother Elmer Harris leading the congregation in the song “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”.  I have always understood that to mean that my Redeemer, Jesus, the one who paid my debt with His blood, has been risen from the dead and is still alive today.  The song implies that it is this Redeemer (Jesus), who offers to us eternal life.  Although those statements are all good and correct, this statement by Job in 19.25 may offer a lot more insight. The Hebrew word is “gaal” and it was the name given to the next of kin whose duty it was to redeem, ransom, someone who buys back or avenges one who had fallen into debt or bondage, or had been slain in a family feud.  It also is implied that this “redeemer” is usually a close relative. In Ruth, for instance, the “gaal” is he who must marry the widow of his relative, and to continue his name. Job is stating that He (God, as His Redeemer) will aven…

"I Hate My Life"

BIBLE READING: Job 10-13
“I hate my life!”have those words ever been uttered from your lips?  Regrettably, many of us have to say yes.  There have been times when we are in that deep pit of depression and the clutches of self-pity seem to have their claws clamped down on us.  It is during those times we may utter those words, “I hate my life!”  It is times like this when we might even wish we had never been born, just as Job does in Job 10.  In fact, those are the exact words he said to his friend, “I hate my life!” (Job 10.1) and “I wish I had never been born” (Job 10.18-19).  We might even be tempted to say what Job says to God “…leave me alone…” (Job 10.20).  When we are in that pit, these things become common thoughts for us. However, we must remember that every pit was made for God to pull us out of.  Maybe that is part of what God wants us to see within the story of Job.  We cannot blame God for our pain.  We must turn to Him when we suffer and trust that when He sees fit, He wil…

"Showering our Friends With Kindness"

BIBLE READING: Job 6-9
As the story of Job continues, Job has been hit with devastation like no one has ever been hit before.  He has lost all his children; his body being covered in boils and even his wife is encouraging him to just give up and die.  All this suffering has led to changes in Job’s appearance, so much that not even his friends can recognize him (Job 2.4).  They are so taken back by his appearance and suffering, they just sit back and listen to Job for seven days without saying a word.  Then when he can’t stand it any longer Eliphaz opens his mouth and states his belief that all of this is Job’s own fault.  If he were a righteous man, then none of these things would have ever happened to him.  Wow, can you imagine going to the hospital bed of a man who was suffering because he has just lost everything he loved and saying to him; “Well, I guess you know this is all your fault!” That man’s reply may sound a lot like the words of Job in the reading for today.  One of the th…

"Ask Me About My Servant.."

BIBLE READING: Job 1-5 A few years ago, there used to be a popular bumper sticker that read, “Ask me about my Grandkids...”.  Grandparents tend to just beam with pride over their grandkids; they love them, they are proud of them so much so that they cannot contain themselves.  In my mind, that is the way God feels about Job, listen to what he says in Job 1:8: …Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a            blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?" Doesn’t that sound like something a proud parent or grandparent would say about their children? As we continue to read the story of Job, we see that even though God is proud of Job; He still allows Satan to tempt him.  God isn’t what we would call a “helicopter parent” who hovers over His children to protect them from pain and harm.  As much as we may want to protect our children and grandchildren from the wiles of the Devil, it just simply isn’t possible to protect th…

"The Untold Story of Noah"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 8-11      In Genesis 9.20-23, we have a story that doesn’t get a whole lot of attention in our Bible classes.                  “Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father's nakedness.”         -Genesis 9:20-23
Maybe the reason we don’t see this side of Noah in our Bible classes, is because we don’t want too.  Think about it, we have this picture painted in our mind of a world gone corrupt with only one righteous figure to look to.  In situations like that, we often place that type of person on a pedestal, not wanting them to be caught up in any type sin.  In this situation, we have t…

"What are you Begat-ing?"

BIBLE READING: Genesis 4-7             In your Bible readings for the day, did you just skim over those verses in Genesis 5?  You know the one I am talking about…the “begats”.  It is very easy for us to just skim, run through or even completely bypass the redundant verses.  We all know that there is value in them. We know they teach us about the lineage of Jesus and God’s plan to save mankind, but how do they relate specifically to me today January 2, 2018?  Just for a moment look at the word “begat”. On the surface we know it to mean that they had given birth to a child.  For instance, “And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan” (Genesis 5:9); that means that Enos had a child that was named Cainan.  However, the word can be used to offer so much more than that; it simply means to “to bear, or to bring forth”.  What if instead of using the word to denote who fathered what children, we used it to show what each person contributes?  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could say something like,…

"A Bird in the Hand..."

BIBLE READING: Genesis 1-3 We have all heard the saying “A bird in the hand, is worth two in a bush”?  It is an ancient English proverb that dates to 1670 and is found in John Ray’s “A Hand-book of Proverbs”.   It means the things we already have are more valuable than the things we only hope to get.  It is about risks, warning us against taking unnecessary risks.  Whereas it is better to keep what you have than to risk getting more and ending up with nothing.  I wonder what Adam and Eve would have to say about this proverb.  Their “bird in their hand” was the Paradise known as Eden; the “two in the bush” was more like a tree.  God had provided them with everything they ever needed and wanted, they would have never had to “want” for anything.  All they had to do was to remain focused on their paradise and not allow the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil to distract them.  Why is it that whenever someone tells us one thing we cannot have, that “one thing” ends up being the only thing we…