Genesis 16-18

Daily Reading

Genesis 16-18

Daily Thought

Chutzpah, a Yiddish word, means audacity, utter nerve, effrontery, nearly arrogant courage, impudence, supreme self-confidence, unbelievable gall, insolence. Author Ruth Pennebaker says New York pedestrians have chutzpah; “They step into traffic, no matter what color the traffic light is, no matter whether it’s a Greyhound bus or some hybrid toy car bearing down on them. These pedestrians do not look, they do not flinch, they only move forward in any direction they want to go. When they come face-to-face with a car and driver, they show total disdain and the purest scorn.”

There is bad chutzpah. Arrogant insolence. Don’t do that.

But there is good chutzpah. Abraham had a good chutzpah. He argued with God over His plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. “What if there are 50 righteous? 45? 40? 30? 20? 10?” (Genesis 18:23-33)  Moses had good chutzpah. He, too, argued with God to save His own people, even when they were wrong (Numbers 14:13-19).  King David had enormous chutzpah. He couldn’t fathom how anyone could be afraid of a giant warrior who was deriding and embarrassing the Jewish nation (1Samuel 17:45-47).  Of course, Jesus had chutzpah. “He who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7).

How’s your prayer life? Routine? Perhaps it could use some chutzpah.

Daily Prayer

My God, I love Your promises. Ask anything in faith and it will be done for you. You do not have, because you do not ask. God, may I be bold with You. May I trust You so much that I believe You go before me. That what You have in mind will be best for me. Not my will, but Yours be done. Delight myself in You and I will have the desires of my heart. All things work for good to those who love You.

With great boldness, God, may I step out in faith and call on Your promises. May I walk in expectation that You mean what You say, and that my life has meaning because You set my path in front of me. God, I trust You.

Amen

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Genesis 12-15

Daily Reading

Genesis 12-15

Daily Thought

Written one after the other, you see a remarkable similarity between the stories of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) and Abram (Genesis 12:1-3). Both the people of Babel and Abram were going to be a great community. In Babel, they would build a marvelous city with a tower that reached the heavens. To Abram, the promise of a great nation. The people of Babel said, “Let us make a name for ourselves”; God said to Abram, “and I will make your name great.”

Both had their eyes on a great nation and a great name, but there is a difference: self-made versus God-made. The people of Babel said, “Let us make” – they desired to do without God. Times haven’t changed. Last year, scientist Stephen Hawking concluded that the universe itself could do without God. The laws of nature’s physics made the Big Bang inevitable, so, “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.” Abram, on the other hand, was stamped “made by God.”  Genesis 12:2, “And I will make you.”

When self made, the focus is on me; God made, and you bless others. Because Babel was self-made, they were made for themselves. Their focus was inward, “lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” God, rather, turns our eyes outward. God made Abram a great nation, gave him a great name, “so that you will be a blessing.”

The difference: one is self made and self consumed; the other, made by God “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).

Daily Prayer

Creator, You made me.  Fearfully and wonderfully, you formed me for a purpose.  You are in charge, You are God, and, best of all, You are good.  My passion is to do the good You have made me to do. To be a blessing, as I have been so blessed.  To love, because You first loved me.

I find myself on my knees in worship, because I am amazed, in awe of You.  The heavens and earth proclaim Your majesty.  And You would think of me, one so small?  In my smallness, You’ve placed Your image, given me Your Spirit, and You call me to be a blessing to others.  Of course, I’ll do it!

Amen

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Genesis 8-11

Daily Reading

Genesis 8-11

Daily Thought

Why was it wrong for the people of Babel to build a city and a tower? (Genesis 11:1-9)

Debbie and I were staring into the sun watching our 7-year-old’s soccer game. I had a hat; Debbie didn’t, but wished she had and thought she left one in the car. I hiked to the car and looked and found no hat. Taking off my hat, I returned to the sidelines, and put it on her head. She thanked me for getting her hat, and did not notice I was missing mine. She never noticed. Finally, after the game, we walked to the car and I opened her door, and as she got in, I took my hat off her head and put it back on mine. I wanted the recognition, and I was willing to trade nobility for it.

God created us to fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:28; 9:1). He created us to worship Him and rule the world. But the people of Babel said, “No thanks. We’d rather stay in Babel and make a name for ourselves.” They wanted the recognition, and were willing to trade nobility for it.

It is amazing what we pay for our pride. God made us in His image, reflecting His glory. But we’d rather others notice us, and the image of God is dulled.

Daily Prayer

Heavenly Father, God of glory, You are so very much worthy of my devotion and praise. I see Your handiwork in creation, I sense Your majesty in myself made in Your image. But most of all, I see You in Your Son, Jesus Christ. The authority of heaven blended with the humility of grace. Born in a manger, died on a cross, You rule on the throne of heaven.

May I follow You so closely that Your ways become mine. To be first, be last. To serve rather than be served. To be a praise giver, not a getter. To love You and others.

Amen

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Genesis 4-7

Daily Reading

Genesis 4-7

Daily Thought

In Genesis 4, Cain and Abel each bring an offering to God, an offering of fruit and of a firstborn lamb respectively. God found Abel’s acceptable, but why not Cain’s?

When I worship, my heart must be in it. It must include true faith and a character of humility and devotion. The Lord said to Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” (Genesis 4:7) Fruit or flock was not the issue, but Cain’s attitude. There was no contrition, no faith, no love or adoration. It was, at best, an offering of duty, and more likely one of greed and rivalry and pride. Cain gave in hopes of getting.

The warning is in verse 7, “And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Sin has a life of its own, crouching as a beast waiting to spring and strike and devour. It craves repetition until it takes hold and becomes a habit. My dad always said, “The problem with kittens is they grow up to be cats.” My dad did not like cats. How often we keep little sins as little pets – they grow up.

Daily Prayer

My wonderful God, may my life be the first thing I bring to You as an offering, as worship. I shall love You with all that I am, my heart and soul and mind and might. And sin I shall hate. You are going to have to help me with this. Please, do whatever it takes.

Amen

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Genesis 1-3

Daily Reading

Genesis 1-3

Daily Thought

God says that after eating the forbidden fruit, Adam became like him in knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:22). My children know good and evil because I teach them good and evil (preferring good). Have I been feeding my children the forbidden fruit? Why was eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil a bad thing?

The answer lies in the first 4 words of the Bible, “In the beginning God.” This is the worldview Adam and Eve were created into. It was their modus operandi. They did not perceive good and evil, they simply lived in God’s creation in the manner he designed it. They did so without thinking, without choosing. Now that they have eaten the fruit, they get to think about it. Their lust to choose was stronger than their love of living in God’s Eden.

We must teach our children good and evil because Adam and Eve made the knowledge available to us. Ultimately, our goal is not to choose wisely, but to follow closely. In God’s Kingdom to Come, evil is abolished. We will return to “In the beginning God.”

Daily Prayer

Creator God, Loving Father, what a world you created! Awesome and amazing. Thank You for life. It is purely wonderful, meaning it is wonderful when it is pure. I am so sorry for fouling things up, for going my own way, for not following You. So, thank You again for changing my heart. For pursuing me and teaching me to pursue You. For giving me life anew.

I look forward to Your Kingdom. Today and everyday, may I live for, may I follow closely my King, my God, Jesus Christ. My Savior.

Amen

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Revelation 20-22

Daily Reading

Revelation 20-22

Daily Thought

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” ~Revelation 22:13

In Genesis, Jesus is the Ram at Abraham’s altar. In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb. In Leviticus, He’s the High Priest. In Numbers, He is the Cloud by day and pillar of fire at night. In Deuteronomy, He is the City of our refuge. In Joshua, He’s the Scarlet Thread out Rahab’s window. In Judges, He is the Judge of the World. In Ruth, He is our Kinsman Redeemer. In 1st and 2nd Samuel, He’s our Trusted Prophet. In Kings and Chronicles, He is our Reigning King. In Ezra, He is our Faithful Scribe. In Nehemiah, He is the Rebuilder of everything that is broken. In Esther, He is Mordecai sitting faithful at the gate. In Job, He is our Redeemer. In Psalms. He is my Shepherd and I shall not want. In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, He is Wisdom. In the Song of Songs, He is the Beautiful Bridegroom. In Isaiah, He is the Suffering Servant. In Jeremiah and Lamentations, it is Jesus who Weeps over His People. In Ezekiel, He’s the Fearful and Wonderful Four-Faced Man. In Daniel, He is the Fourth Man in the fiery furnace. In Hosea, He is my Lover, forever faithful. In Joel, He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit. In Amos, He’s our Burden Bearer. In Obadiah, He is our Savior. In Jonah, He is the Missionary that takes the Word of God to the world. In Micah, He is the Messenger with beautiful feet. In Nahum, He is the Avenger. In Habakkuk, He is the Watchman that is ever praying for revival. In Zephaniah, He is the Lord mighty to save. In Haggai, He is the Restorer of our lost heritage. In Zechariah, He is our Fountain. In Malachi, He is the Son of Righteousness with healing in His wings. In Matthew, He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. In Mark, He is the Miracle Worker. In Luke, He is the Son of Man. In John, He is the Door by which every one of us must enter. In Acts, He is the Shining Light that appears to Saul on the road to Damascus. In Romans, He is our Justifier. In 1st Corinthians, He is our Resurrection. In 2nd Corinthians, Jesus is our Sin Bearer. In Galatians, He redeems us from the law. In Ephesians, He is our Unsearchable Riches. In Philippians, He supplies our every need. In Colossians, He is the Fullness of the Godhead Bodily. In 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, He is our Soon Coming King. In 1st and 2nd Timothy, He is the Mediator between God and man. In Titus, He is our Blessed Hope. In Philemon, He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother. In Hebrews, He is the Blood of the everlasting covenant. In James, He is the Lord that heals the sick. In 1st and 2nd Peter, He is the Chief Shepherd. In 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, it is Jesus who has the tenderness of love. In Jude, He is our Lord coming with ten thousand saints. And in Revelation, lift up your eyes, for your redemption draweth nigh, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Daily Prayer

And now unto Him Who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.

Amen

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Revelation 17-19

Daily Reading

Revelation 17-19

Daily Thought

There is a strange and sad scene at the end when all those who had placed all hope in this world watch the smoke rise after destruction, “Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste” (Revelation 18:16-17). The great city was Babylon, representing the commerce and culture of this world, and the Bible calls her “the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality” (Revelation 19:2). She is rightly destroyed, for none is less welcome at a wedding than a prostitute, and it is time now for the marriage supper of the Lamb.

The Lamb is Jesus Christ, and his bride is the church. She has purchased her gown, but rather than a gaudy purple and scarlet, her fine linen is bright and pure, “for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” (Revelation 19:8). The world began with a wedding, “a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). God called it very good. At the end of history, there is a new beginning and another wedding, and it is even better and forever.

Daily Prayer

My God Eternal, You have given me a glimpse of the future and it fills me with anticipation – a world pure and good, filled with Your love and holiness. I live now in preparation for an everlasting Kingdom with Your Son on the throne reigning in righteousness.

May my life reflect now what is to come, displaying the goodness and godliness of eternity with You, and may it attract others to desire You.

Amen

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