In our Philippians class on Wednesday nights, we are encouraging everyone to write the things down that you do not understand as you're reading God's word. Someone commented, that they are not understanding much of anything right now, as they read. I would encourage everyone to spend a few minutes in prayer before you begin reading each day.Before I read, I always ask Jesus to open my ears, and I ask for the Holy Spirit to teach me. Many people do not read God's word because they're afraid they won't be able to understand it on their own. They feel unqualified and inadequate.
- 1 Jn 2:27 says,"As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and that anointing is real, not counterfeit-just as it has taught you, remain in him."
God's word is alive and active, sharper than any two edged sword. Ask God to bring His word to life as you meditate on it. And remember, we are not reading for information, but for transformation. Pray that God's word will shape you and form your very thoughts. Today's reading is from Genesis 36:40-38:30. Through parenting in these last four years, one thing that I have discovered is how much our children are a reflection of who we are as parents. In the beginning they watch and study us, and shortly after, they begin to imitate us. If I don't like what I see in my child's behavior then maybe it's time for me to change my behavior. There's a reason they say the apple never falls very far from the tree. If you want your children to have a positive outlook in life, then don't spend time complaining in your home. If you want your children to have a fire in them for Jesus, to follow Him all the days of their life, then model that with your life. They will imitate the life that you live out. Unfortunately this principle applies not only with our positive attributes but also with our negatives attributes. Often times with sin, our error is simply a monetary loss of reason. We lash out and moments later we are not proud of our actions. The mistake with premeditated sin is we often convince ourselves that there is really no harm in what we are doing. Or if no one finds out, then no harm done. The reality is that sin not only hurts your life but it also hurts the others around you. Many times sins are generational, the sins of the fathers are passed on and revisited to their children. Certain sins can stay in family lines for many generations. It is the lie of the enemy that would lead us to believe that sin can be without consequence. As we are reading through Genesis the "sin of deception" is more apparent than I've ever noticed before. Initially the deception is used with very good intentions, Abraham wants to protect himself and Sarah. But, at the root of his action their is doubt as to whether God is on top of their present situation. Abraham's doubt overcomes his trust in the Lord and he takes matters into his own hands. From Abraham to Jacob the presence of deception grows and becomes more vindictive. Abraham deceives Pharaoh and later Abimelek, lieing to both of them about Sarah. It begins as deception to outsiders, for the sake of family protection. Then Isaac follows in his fathers footsteps. Isaac lies to Abimelek about Rebekah. However at the end of Isaac's life this sin advances. This deception now enters Isaac's home. Isaac is deceived by both his wife and his son Jacob. It is no longer just deceiving outsiders for the protection of the family. Jacob's name, given to him at birth actually means "deceiver, or sub planter" and even though Jacob is blessed by God and is made the father of a mighty nation, my heart goes out to Jacob. Jacob's plot in life is a life of tremendous grief and betrayal. Not only was Jacob given the name deceiver from birth, but he is continually deceived by his closest family members throughout his life, even after his name is changed to Israel. First Jacob is deceived by his uncle Laban. Jacob only wants to marry Rachel, but is given Leah. This single act of deception by Laban gives Jacob a home of turmoil where there is continual contention between Rachel and Leah. This contention spreads into his children's lives as well. Rachel is the love of Jacob's life. Jacob truly only wanted one wife, yet Jacob ends up with 11 children by 3 different women, and Rachel is unable to conceive. When Rachel finally conceives she gives him a son. Joseph is the object of Jacob's affection, Rachel's first born son. Despite all the family contention, all is well for Jacob. Rachel and Jacob have finally conceived a son. However, soon after the arrival of great joy, Jacob is interupted by sudden grief. Rachel, his love, conceives again, but this time Rachel dies giving birth to their second son, Benjamin. Before Joseph even becomes a man, deception visits Jacob once again. This deception is literally one that would be unimaginable for a parent. Jacob's own son's deceive him. They sell Joseph into slavery and convince Jacob that Joseph has been killed by a wild animal. This utterly destroys Jacob. He declares that he will mourn Joseph's death until the day he joins him in the grave.
- Gal 6:7 says,"Do not be deceived: God can not be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."
Jacob lives a life of much tribulation and hardship. Could Jacob have avoided any of these hardships? Is this the life that Jacob inherited when he deceived his father? Is this the quality of life that God intended for Jacob?
- In Philippians 1:6 Paul tells us,"he who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
We play a huge roll in what our journey looks like on the road to completion. At the end of 2 Timothy, Paul says, "I have finished the race". God has laid out a course for our life. This course could be similar to a 1 mile journey. But because of human experience(our determination to do things our way) sometimes a 1 mile journey can include 40 laps around the mountain. I am so thankful that God does not jeopardize our development for the sake of our comfort. God is more committed to your development than he is to your comfort. While the Lord's yoke is easy and his burden light, when we decide to not trust the Lord, choosing instead to do things our own way, we can make a very simple life extremely complicated and painful. But, God is faithful to see us through to the end. As we move forward into this brand new year, let's ask the Lord to give us wisdom. To turn away from sin and the determination to do things our own way, and let's place our complete trust in him.
- Proverbs 3:5-6 " Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."