“Is This a Test?” January 22

 

Is This a Test? - Have you ever wondered, in the midst of some difficulty, "Is this a test?" Does God, actually, test His people and, if so, are tests punishments or something else? And what does God do when we fail those tests? #tests #trials #GodHave you ever wondered, in the midst of some difficulty, “Is this a test?” Does God, actually, test His people and, if so, are tests punishments or something else? And what does God do when we fail those tests?

As we continue the Genesis story, Joseph will be faced with a test. How would he respond to the brothers who thought about killing him before they sold him into slavery? And his brothers will face some tests of their own, including the fear that God was punishing them for what they did to Joseph, how he might retaliate, and especially, concerning their loyalty to their father and youngest brother. Continue reading

“Sex, Manipulation, Power & Revenge” January 21

 

Sex, Manipulation, Power & Revenge - God created sex. He designed our sexuality as a means to delight and bring pleasure to one another within the marriage relationship. But, sadly, as our culture knows all too well, "sex sells" and it has been twisted and used throughout the ages to manipulate and entice and for many other evil purposes, including revenge, to gain power, and for financial or political gain. #sex #manipulation #power #revenge #wisdomGod created sex. He designed our sexuality to delight and bring pleasure to one another within the marriage relationship. But, sadly, as our culture knows all too well, “sex sells” and it has been twisted and used throughout the ages to manipulate and entice and for many other evil purposes, including revenge, to gain power, and for financial or political gain. Continue reading

“Private Temptations” January 20

 

Private Temptations - Joseph was not only wise in conducting his master's business, he was also handsome. And his master's wife had taken notice. He would soon be faced with one of the greatest temptations. #temptation #GodJoseph had been betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. He was far from home and from the eyes of anyone who knew him. But God was with him and allowed him to be promoted to steward in the house of his master, a man named Potipher. That must have been heady stuff for a young man. But Joseph was not only wise in conducting his master’s business, he was also handsome. And his master’s wife had taken notice. He would soon be faced with one of the greatest temptations. With Potipher gone on business and the house empty, Potipher’s wife made an all-out attempt to seduce him.

Remember, Joseph was a man in his prime, single, abandoned by his family, alone. Who would know? Why not do what everyone else did?

How many of us have been faced with those kinds of private temptations? Given the attention of a powerful person? Told we can have what our heart or our flesh craves? Do we give in?  Continue reading

“Can God Redeem YOUR Past?” January 19

 

Can God Redeem Your Past? - Can God redeem your past? What things in your family or your past do you wish weren't part of your personal history? Can God really use it for good? Does it disqualify you from serving God or ever being used in a meaningful way? Check out today's reading in Genesis, especially the story of Judah and Tamar. #redeem #shame #past #TamarCan God redeem your past? What things in your family or your past do you wish weren’t part of your personal history? Can God really use it for good? Does it disqualify you from serving God or ever being used in a meaningful way? Check out today’s reading in Genesis, especially the story of Judah and Tamar.

Our New Testament reading talks about the heart. What kind of heart do you have? Is it hard, stony, full of thorns, or is it good ground?  Continue reading

“Could I Have Committed the Unpardonable Sin?” January 18

 

Could I Have Committed the Unpardonable Sin? - Two questions that have been asked for over 2,000 years: What is the "unpardonable sin"? and "Could I have committed it?" Even those of us who have some familiarity with the Bible can be afraid of that possibility. We remember the things we said and did as unbelievers and we wonder! #unpardonablesin #unforgiveable Two questions that have been asked for over 2,000 years: What is the “unpardonable sin”? and “Could I have committed it?” Even those of us who have some familiarity with the Bible can be afraid of that possibility. We remember the things we said and did as unbelievers and we wonder! Continue reading

“Small Decisions = Big Consequences” January 17

 

Small Decisions = Big Consequences - How many, seemingly, small decisions and compromises do we all make that can have huge consequences? In our marriages? In our parenting? In our thinking? #decisions #choices #consequences #compromiseHow many, seemingly, small decisions and compromises do we all make that can have huge consequences? In our marriages? In our parenting? In our thinking?

James, in talking about the tongue, said, it is a small member—a little part of our body, but he went on to say that it’s like the rudder on a ship. It sets the course of our lives (Jas. 3.4-5). What other small things can turn our lives in directions we may have never intended?

What can we learn from the small decisions and compromises that people in the Bible made?  Continue reading

“Is It Biology or Sin?” January 16

 

Is It Biology or Sin? - Ladies, I wonder are we sometimes guilty of using biology as an excuse to disobey the second greatest commandment, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves? #biology #women #sin #prayerLadies, I wonder are we sometimes guilty of using biology as an excuse to disobey the second greatest commandment, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves?

Rachel had stolen from her father and when he came looking for his property, she used the fact that it was “that time of the month” to cover her sin! Is it possible we do much the same thing in various ways?

Also, what was Jacob’s wrestling with God all about? Did Jacob “win” that wrestling match, why did he go away with a permanent limp, and what does it all mean? Why does God allow us to wrestle with Him in prayer sometimes?  Continue reading

“Soap Operas, Reality TV & the Bible” January 15

 

Soap Operas, Reality TV & the Bible - The Bible is full of stories about love, sex, rejection, envy, jealousy, adultery, immorality, scheming, deceit, greed, thievery, contention, even murder (and that's the short list)! Why did God lay out humanity's dirty laundry here and in other passage of Scripture? It wasn't just for entertainment value. #realitytv #polygamy What do soap operas and reality TV have to do with the Bible?

First, let me say, I’m not a fan of soap operas or reality TV. Oh, there was a day when I didn’t miss an episode of Dallas. Yep! I admit it. Some of you are going, “Dallas? Isn’t that a city in Texas?”

I guess soap operas are still around, but today we have reality TV, modern-day soap operas lived out live before the camera. We seem to be fascinated by all the fussing and fighting, backstabbing and conniving. Maybe it makes us feel a little better about our own sinful hearts.

But sadly when you meet today’s cast of characters in our Old Testament reading, you’ll realize soap operas and reality TV have nothing on our spiritual ancestors.

The Bible is full of stories about love, sex, rejection, envy, jealousy, adultery, immorality, scheming, deceit, greed, thievery, contention, even murder (and that’s the short list)!

Why did God lay out humanity’s dirty laundry here and in other passage of Scripture? It wasn’t just for entertainment value.  Continue reading

“Recognizing & Preventing Favoritism” January 14

 

Recognizing & Preventing Favoritism - The consequences of favoritism, selfishness, and other sins can be long-lasting and painful to our families. How can we recognize it in our parenting and prevent it in our families? #favoritism #parenting #familyBehavior has consequences. When it comes to parenting, one of the most devastating is favoritism. Add selfishness and manipulation to the equation and you have a destructive combination that can tear families apart. The next couple to take center stage in Genesis, Jacob and Rebekah, had to learn this lesson the hard way.

The consequences of favoritism, selfishness, and other sins can be long-lasting and painful to our families, too. How can we recognize it in our parenting and prevent it in our families?

Also read about the difference between “Righteous Anger & Sinful Anger,” “The Chastening of the Lord,” and the importance of “Defending the Faith in Love.”  Continue reading

“Favoritism, Impatience & Birthrights” January 13

 

Favoritism, Impatience & Birthrights - Isaac’s and Rebekah’s twins, Jacob and Esau, are grown now. Isaac’s favorite is Esau, a hunter and man’s man. Jacob, it seems, was a mama’s boy and a homebody. Their favoritism led to manipulation and deceit that would, eventually, split their family apart.

In today’s reading, the first cracks appear as Jacob manipulates his impatient, impulsive brother. In the process, Esau throws aside his birthright. His behavior has a great lesson for us as believers in Christ.

Also, read about “God Our Righteous Judge,” the blessings that come from “Honoring the Lord in Our Giving,” and about spiritual and physical healing in “Unless the Father Draws Him.”  Continue reading