Genesis 50:1-Exodus 2:10 Throughout our lives circumstances and situations occur that we just do not understand. For example, I have been praying this week for two dear saints of the Lord who have been stricken with cancer. They both love the Lord with all of their hearts, and yet they are facing a severe test of faith. Why would God allow such a thing to occur? I often see how we blame God for our troubles, but we have to remember the "trouble maker" is not God. The "trouble maker" is Satan, and his plan is to destroy us. God's plan is to give us life and give it to us more abundantly. My husband had two heart attacks, and during that time, he held on to the scripture in Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end" (KJV).
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Genesis 48:1-49:33 Just recently I had the joy of discovering the genealogy of my family on the side of my maternal grandfather. I had the history of my father back to the 1600s, but I had no knowledge of the ancestry of my mother. Some people are really into their heritage, and I'm thankful for people who keep records and research genealogies, because it is rewarding to know our heritage.
Matthew 15:1-28 Remember the song from Fiddler on the Roof called "Tradition"? We all have our traditions. I recall one Christmas hosting my older sister and her family from Seattle. She and her family have their special Christmas traditions, and so does our family. We had a time trying to fit in both family traditions on Christmas day. Traditions are not bad, but they can become a hindrance to God's Word. In fact, if we hold to our religious traditions more than we hold to God's Word, we can make the Word of God have no effect in our lives.
Psalm 18:35-50 We have everything going for us if we choose to go the way of the Lord. He leads us in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. He goes before us to lead the way, but remember, His face is turned toward us, and He never turns His back on us. God turned His back to Jesus on the cross because He could not look upon the sins of the world that were laid upon Jesus, the Lamb slain for our sin. Since the cross, however, we have God's promise as spoken by Jesus, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Thank God for the cross that bridged the gap between God the Father and us, and made the way for us to enter His throne room daily and find grace in time of need. Jesus is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, and He daily is making intercession for you. He is watching your every move and is there to catch you if you begin to fall. Your part is to keep looking into the face of Jesus. If you daily seek His face, you will keep walking forward in Him and you will not backslide.
Genesis 42:18-43:34 Jacob's first response to his sons' appeals to send Benjamin to Egypt as Joseph required was a definite no. He was not about to lose another son as he thought he had lost Joseph. Later in the passage we see Jacob's heart turn. Famine was once again a plague on the land where Jacob lived, and he knew the only way he could save his family was to meet the demands of the Egyptian leader to send Benjamin back with his brothers. He was willing to take the risk of never seeing Benjamin again if that was the only way he could save the rest of the family. Jacob says, "And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved" (Gen. 43:14, KJV).
Matthew 13:24-46 Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a merchant man who sought good pearls. When he found one of a great price, he sold all that he had and bought it. In this passage Jesus shared four parables about the kingdom of heaven. The last parable is about the pearl. He does not explain this parable, so the hearer or reader must interpret it himself.
Proverbs 3:33-35 Again in our readings for the month of January we see the wicked person's life compared to the life of a just person (one who has been justified by God). God's Word tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. I have always interpreted that to mean troubles fall upon the just and the unjust. However, I see in the Bible where rain is usually a symbol of the blessings of God. When the people of a land are pleasing God, He sends the early and latter rains upon the land. When they are disobedient, He withholds the rain. I believe God is always sending showers of blessings upon the earth. The wicked, however, have the umbrella of pride over them, and they never receive the blessings. Today's passage from Proverbs confirms this.
Matthew 12:22-45 I have a friend who said she would probably spend the first 10,000 years in heaven in the "idle word room." It would take that long for the Lord to judge all of her idle words. Jesus said in Matthew 12:35-37, "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
Proverbs 3:21-26 So often in life we are found in situations where we feel a lack of confidence. It may be the first day on a new job, the big interview for a job or simply a test we're taking in school. It is at these times we rely on this verse in Proverbs 3:26: "For the Lord shall be your confidence."
Matthew 11:7-30 The invitation extended throughout the Word of God is "Come unto Me." We live in a world that is burdened and heavy-laden, a world where men have no rest for their souls. Men everywhere seek peace of mind and long to have joy in living. They run to drugs for pseudo peace and alcohol for temporary highs, but there is no lasting peace or joy apart from the Lord. Only the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ, can offer eternal peace and joy and right standing with God the Father. He gives us the invitation today, "Come to Me, and learn of Me meekness and lowliness of heart."
Proverbs 3:16-18 The benefits of wisdom are not just happiness. This passage lists some of the benefits we will experience if we will live our lives in the wisdom from above.
Proverbs 3:13-15 Everyone in this life is searching for happiness. The word happy in Hebrew is the same word for "blessed." We all want blessings in our lives, and yet so many fail to live a happy, blessed life. This passage in Proverbs gives the secret to a continual life of happiness or blessedness. "Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding"( Prov. 3:13).
Genesis 28:28:1-29:35 As a child I remember singing, "We are climbing Jacob's ladder." In the song was the phrase, "Every rung goes higher, higher." Jacob experienced a divine connection between heaven and earth. In his dream he saw a ladder between heaven and earth, and he saw angels ascending and descending this ladder. The Lord stood above the ladder, and He spoke to Jacob and told him how the families of the earth would be blessed through his seed. He promised Jacob that He would keep him wherever he went, and that the time would come when He would bring him again to the land He promised Abraham, his great grandfather. When Jacob woke up, he said "Surely the Lord is in this place."
Matthew 9:1-17 Jesus' response to the scribes who accused Him in their hearts of blasphemy was, "And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house" (Matt. 9:4-6, KJV).
Genesis 24:52-26:16 This Genesis passage gives a beautiful picture of how the Holy Spirit seeks us, chooses us to be the bride of Christ and leads us. The servant who sought a bride for Isaac is a type of the Holy Spirit. The servant was given the assignment to find a bride for Isaac. He found Rebekah, but before he could take Rebekah to Isaac he had to have her permission. When the servant knew Rebekah was the chosen one for Isaac, he wasted no time. He presented gifts of gold, jewels and raiment to Rebekah. Then he asked Rebekah's parents for her to go with him to marry Isaac. Rebekah's parents were hesitant and asked if Rebekah could remain with them at least ten days. The servant shared how the Lord had prospered him in his way, and now he was ready to take Rebekah home with him to meet Isaac. The parents then said they would ask Rebekah. Rebekah's reply was immediate and positive. "And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go" (Gen. 24:58, KJV).
Proverbs 3:1-6 The story is told of a man who bought a ticket for a cruise to the Caribbean. He climbed on board and looked forward to the four-day cruise. He had carefully packed for the trip and had included all the food he would need for each meal during the cruise.
Genesis 20:1-22:24 The father was patiently instructing his seven-year-old son how to be an effective outfielder in baseball. He gave the following instructions: "First, son, you have to stand with your glove ready to receive the ball, and keep your eye on the ball. As the ball is falling, you need to run to where the ball is and try to catch it before it reaches the ground. If the ball hits the ground, scoop it up quickly and throw it to the base-.-.-.-"
Proverbs 2:6-17 We witnessed in our church a dramatic conversion. A bodyguard for the Mafia was saved, and he shared with us some of his assignments as a bodyguard to Mafia leaders. He was charged to defend the Mafia leader with his own life. He was to check out where the Mafia leaders were to eat, sleep and travel to be sure there would be no way someone could get to that leader to do him harm. He stayed awake all night to guard the leader. This passage in Proverbs reveals several divine bodyguards we have as we walk in the path God sets before us. These bodyguards preserve our way and keep us from traveling on the path that leads to destruction.
Matthew 6:1-24 Jesus tells us not to lay up treasures on this earth where moth and rust corrupt and where thieves break in and steal; instead we are to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust will not corrupt, and where thieves will not break through to steal. Whatever we treasure is what we give our heart and soul to keep. This exhortation of Jesus caused me to examine my own life and ask myself these questions: "Where is my treasure? Is it on earth, or is it in heaven?"
Genesis 13:5-15:21 The herdsmen of Abraham's cattle and the herdsmen of Lot's cattle were in strife. Each of them probably thought the other had more grazing land than he did. Abraham's response to this strife was, "Is not the whole land before you?" There was plenty of land for both.