Circus

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“When the world feels like a bad circus, lean on God to get out of the maze.”

TB

Maze

The devil will have you believing that your life is like being trapped in a mirror maze– so confusing and difficult to get out of. But friends, it’s a trap to make you feel helpless when in reality, it’s an optical illusion.

Mirror

When you’re experiencing a circus-like disruption in your life, don’t forget God is always in the equation. In fact, He is the equation. Many of us forget to seek God first in a crisis. So, in the next circus, lean on Christ and mirror His ways.

Today’s Question

Did you forget that the opposition’s circus is already out of business when you trust God more than your circumstance?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 30

1 When Rachel saw that she wasn’t having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She pleaded with Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” 2 Then Jacob became furious with Rachel. “Am I God?” he asked. “He’s the one who has kept you from having children!” 3 Then Rachel told him, “Take my maid, Bilhah, and sleep with her. She will bear children for me, and through her I can have a family, too.” 4 So Rachel gave her servant, Bilhah, to Jacob as a wife, and he slept with her. 5 Bilhah became pregnant and presented him with a son. 6 Rachel named him Dan, for she said, “God has vindicated me! He has heard my request and given me a son.” 7 Then Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. 8 Rachel named him Naphtali, for she said, “I have struggled hard with my sister, and I’m winning!” 9 Meanwhile, Leah realized that she wasn’t getting pregnant anymore, so she took her servant, Zilpah, and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Soon Zilpah presented him with a son. 11 Leah named him Gad, for she said, “How fortunate I am!” 12 Then Zilpah gave Jacob a second son. 13 And Leah named him Asher, for she said, “What joy is mine! Now the other women will celebrate with me.” 14 One day during the wheat harvest, Reuben found some mandrakes growing in a field and brought them to his mother, Leah. Rachel begged Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15 But Leah angrily replied, “Wasn’t it enough that you stole my husband? Now will you steal my son’s mandrakes, too?” Rachel answered, “I will let Jacob sleep with you tonight if you give me some of the mandrakes.” 16 So that evening, as Jacob was coming home from the fields, Leah went out to meet him. “You must come and sleep with me tonight!” she said. “I have paid for you with some mandrakes that my son found.” So that night he slept with Leah. 17 And God answered Leah’s prayers. She became pregnant again and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. 18 She named him Issachar, for she said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband as a wife.” 19 Then Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob. 20 She named him Zebulun, for she said, “God has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I have given him six sons.” 21 Later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah. 22 Then God remembered Rachel’s plight and answered her prayers by enabling her to have children. 23 She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. “God has removed my disgrace,” she said. 24 And she named him Joseph, for she said, “May the LORD add yet another son to my family.” 25 Soon after Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Please release me so I can go home to my own country. 26 Let me take my wives and children, for I have earned them by serving you, and let me be on my way. You certainly know how hard I have worked for you.” 27 “Please listen to me,” Laban replied. “I have become wealthy, for the LORD has blessed me because of you. 28 Tell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, I’ll pay it.” 29 Jacob replied, “You know how hard I’ve worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. 30 You had little indeed before I came, but your wealth has increased enormously. The LORD has blessed you through everything I’ve done. But now, what about me? When can I start providing for my own family?” 31 “What wages do you want?” Laban asked again. Jacob replied, “Don’t give me anything. Just do this one thing, and I’ll continue to tend and watch over your flocks. 32 Let me inspect your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the black sheep. Give these to me as my wages. 33 In the future, when you check on the animals you have given me as my wages, you’ll see that I have been honest. If you find in my flock any goats without speckles or spots, or any sheep that are not black, you will know that I have stolen them from you.” 34 “All right,” Laban replied. “It will be as you say.” 35 But that very day Laban went out and removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted or had white patches, and all the black sheep. He placed them in the care of his own sons, 36 who took them a three-days’ journey from where Jacob was. Meanwhile, Jacob stayed and cared for the rest of Laban’s flock. 37 Then Jacob took some fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of bark, making white streaks on them. 38 Then he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, for that was where they mated. 39 And when they mated in front of the white-streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 40 Jacob separated those lambs from Laban’s flock. And at mating time he turned the flock to face Laban’s animals that were streaked or black. This is how he built his own flock instead of increasing Laban’s. 41 Whenever the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place the peeled branches in the watering troughs in front of them. Then they would mate in front of the branches. 42 But he didn’t do this with the weaker ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were Jacob’s. 43 As a result, Jacob became very wealthy, with large flocks of sheep and goats, female and male servants, and many camels and donkeys.

By Grace

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“When we’re slow to speak and quick to listen, then we can begin to unpack the nuance of grace.”

TB

Hear Well

If you respond to situations with a legalistic approach, your ears and hearts become clogged by the law, dulling your senses grace and mercy. In order to hear well, you must listen with an open heart.

Grace Abound

Grace is not given because it’s earned. No, from human to human we ought to give grace because it’s the very thing that God gives to us. So instead of blowing up at your neighbor, respond with grace.

Today’s Question

Are you full of grace or something else?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 29

1 Then Jacob hurried on, finally arriving in the land of the east. 2 He saw a well in the distance. Three flocks of sheep and goats lay in an open field beside it, waiting to be watered. But a heavy stone covered the mouth of the well. 3 It was the custom there to wait for all the flocks to arrive before removing the stone and watering the animals. Afterward the stone would be placed back over the mouth of the well. 4 Jacob went over to the shepherds and asked, “Where are you from, my friends?” “We are from Haran,” they answered. 5 “Do you know a man there named Laban, the grandson of Nahor?” he asked. “Yes, we do,” they replied. 6 “Is he doing well?” Jacob asked. “Yes, he’s well,” they answered. “Look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the flock now.” 7 Jacob said, “Look, it’s still broad daylight—too early to round up the animals. Why don’t you water the sheep and goats so they can get back out to pasture?” 8 “We can’t water the animals until all the flocks have arrived,” they replied. “Then the shepherds move the stone from the mouth of the well, and we water all the sheep and goats.” 9 Jacob was still talking with them when Rachel arrived with her father’s flock, for she was a shepherd. 10 And because Rachel was his cousin—the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother—and because the sheep and goats belonged to his uncle Laban, Jacob went over to the well and moved the stone from its mouth and watered his uncle’s flock. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and he wept aloud. 12 He explained to Rachel that he was her cousin on her father’s side—the son of her aunt Rebekah. So Rachel quickly ran and told her father, Laban. 13 As soon as Laban heard that his nephew Jacob had arrived, he ran out to meet him. He embraced and kissed him and brought him home. When Jacob had told him his story, 14 Laban exclaimed, “You really are my own flesh and blood!” Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel After Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month, 15 Laban said to him, “You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.” 16 Now Laban had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. 17 There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. 18 Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.” 19 “Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” 20 So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days. 21 Finally, the time came for him to marry her. “I have fulfilled my agreement,” Jacob said to Laban. “Now give me my wife so I can sleep with her.” 22 So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood and prepared a wedding feast. 23 But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. 24 (Laban had given Leah a servant, Zilpah, to be her maid.) 25 But when Jacob woke up in the morning—it was Leah! “What have you done to me?” Jacob raged at Laban. “I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?” 26 “It’s not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the firstborn,” Laban replied. 27 “But wait until the bridal week is over; then we’ll give you Rachel, too—provided you promise to work another seven years for me.” 28 So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob had married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. 29 (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.) 30 So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years. 31 When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. 32 So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “The LORD has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.” 33 She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon, for she said, “The LORD heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.” 34 Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi, for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!” 35 Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, for she said, “Now I will praise the LORD !” And then she stopped having children.

Office Hours

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“To gain understanding, make sure you sign up for God’s office hours.”

TB

In Session

God is miraculous in that He makes time for each and every one of us to ask questions that help us to grow and improve our relationship with Him. Like a dedicated professor, He graciously extends His office hours, 24/7 available for anyone who seeks Him. Be sure to stop by to learn the formulas for your tests.

Ditch

When you make the decision to ditch office hours, you fail to learn the lessons that enable you to grow closer to Christ. Instead, you become like a disengaged student who shows up at the final only to flunk because they were unprepared. Friends, don’t show up until it’s too late. Stop by the Holy Office for your 1:1 tutoring today.

Today’s Question

Did you go to God’s office hours or are you determined to fail the final?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 27

1 One day when Isaac was old and turning blind, he called for Esau, his older son, and said, “My son.” “Yes, Father?” Esau replied. 2 “I am an old man now,” Isaac said, “and I don’t know when I may die. 3 Take your bow and a quiver full of arrows, and go out into the open country to hunt some wild game for me. 4 Prepare my favorite dish, and bring it here for me to eat. Then I will pronounce the blessing that belongs to you, my firstborn son, before I die.” 5 But Rebekah overheard what Isaac had said to his son Esau. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game, 6 she said to her son Jacob, “Listen. I overheard your father say to Esau, 7 ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare me a delicious meal. Then I will bless you in the LORD ’s presence before I die.’ 8 Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you. 9 Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish. 10 Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.” 11 “But look,” Jacob replied to Rebekah, “my brother, Esau, is a hairy man, and my skin is smooth. 12 What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me.” 13 But his mother replied, “Then let the curse fall on me, my son! Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats for me!” 14 So Jacob went out and got the young goats for his mother. Rebekah took them and prepared a delicious meal, just the way Isaac liked it. 15 Then she took Esau’s favorite clothes, which were there in the house, and gave them to her younger son, Jacob. 16 She covered his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skin of the young goats. 17 Then she gave Jacob the delicious meal, including freshly baked bread. 18 So Jacob took the food to his father. “My father?” he said. “Yes, my son,” Isaac answered. “Who are you—Esau or Jacob?” 19 Jacob replied, “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.” 20 Isaac asked, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” “The LORD your God put it in my path!” Jacob replied. 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau.” 22 So Jacob went closer to his father, and Isaac touched him. “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac said. 23 But he did not recognize Jacob, because Jacob’s hands felt hairy just like Esau’s. So Isaac prepared to bless Jacob. 24 “But are you really my son Esau?” he asked. “Yes, I am,” Jacob replied. 25 Then Isaac said, “Now, my son, bring me the wild game. Let me eat it, and then I will give you my blessing.” So Jacob took the food to his father, and Isaac ate it. He also drank the wine that Jacob served him. 26 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come a little closer and kiss me, my son.” 27 So Jacob went over and kissed him. And when Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he was finally convinced, and he blessed his son. He said, “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of the outdoors, which the LORD has blessed! 28 “From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine. 29 May many nations become your servants, and may they bow down to you. May you be the master over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. All who curse you will be cursed, and all who bless you will be blessed.” 30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and almost before Jacob had left his father, Esau returned from his hunt. 31 Esau prepared a delicious meal and brought it to his father. Then he said, “Sit up, my father, and eat my wild game so you can give me your blessing.” 32 But Isaac asked him, “Who are you?” Esau replied, “It’s your son, your firstborn son, Esau.” 33 Isaac began to tremble uncontrollably and said, “Then who just served me wild game? I have already eaten it, and I blessed him just before you came. And yes, that blessing must stand!” 34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he let out a loud and bitter cry. “Oh my father, what about me? Bless me, too!” he begged. 35 But Isaac said, “Your brother was here, and he tricked me. He has taken away your blessing.” 36 Esau exclaimed, “No wonder his name is Jacob, for now he has cheated me twice. First he took my rights as the firstborn, and now he has stolen my blessing. Oh, haven’t you saved even one blessing for me?” 37 Isaac said to Esau, “I have made Jacob your master and have declared that all his brothers will be his servants. I have guaranteed him an abundance of grain and wine—what is left for me to give you, my son?” 38 Esau pleaded, “But do you have only one blessing? Oh my father, bless me, too!” Then Esau broke down and wept. 39 Finally, his father, Isaac, said to him, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above. 40 You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.” 41 From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.” 42 But Rebekah heard about Esau’s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, “Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting to kill you. 43 So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran. 44 Stay there with him until your brother cools off. 45 When he calms down and forgets what you have done to him, I will send for you to come back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?” 46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m sick and tired of these local Hittite women! I would rather die than see Jacob marry one of them.”

Lifelong Learner

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Discipline yourself to become a lifelong learner as it takes a lifetime to even begin to appreciate and know God.”

TB

Lessons

When we place God at the center of our lives, we begin to see the infinite lessons He has to teach us. This is especially true in the fact that we must contend with a fallen world. So, focus your attention on Christ to root out the distractions of this world. As you humbly accept the fact that there are many lessons, they become easier for you to learn.

Learn

To learn from God requires us to give Him the rightful respect and attention He deserves. God will never force you to pay attention to learn, which is why many fail from the start. The great thing about learning from God is that it never stops. He will never run out of things to teach us. As our spiritual maturity increases, so does the desire to hear from God.

Today’s Question

Are you a lifelong learner or has your pride hindered your ability to listen?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 26

1 A severe famine now struck the land, as had happened before in Abraham’s time. So Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived. 2 The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt, but do as I tell you. 3 Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you and bless you. I hereby confirm that I will give all these lands to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father. 4 I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. 5 I will do this because Abraham listened to me and obeyed all my requirements, commands, decrees, and instructions.” 6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar. 7 When the men who lived there asked Isaac about his wife, Rebekah, he said, “She is my sister.” He was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “They will kill me to get her, because she is so beautiful.” 8 But some time later, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out his window and saw Isaac caressing Rebekah. 9 Immediately, Abimelech called for Isaac and exclaimed, “She is obviously your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” “Because I was afraid someone would kill me to get her from me,” Isaac replied. 10 “How could you do this to us?” Abimelech exclaimed. “One of my people might easily have taken your wife and slept with her, and you would have made us guilty of great sin.” 11 Then Abimelech issued a public proclamation: “Anyone who touches this man or his wife will be put to death!” 12 When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the LORD blessed him. 13 He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow. 14 He acquired so many flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and servants that the Philistines became jealous of him. 15 So the Philistines filled up all of Isaac’s wells with dirt. These were the wells that had been dug by the servants of his father, Abraham. 16 Finally, Abimelech ordered Isaac to leave the country. “Go somewhere else,” he said, “for you have become too powerful for us.” 17 So Isaac moved away to the Gerar Valley, where he set up their tents and settled down. 18 He reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham’s death. Isaac also restored the names Abraham had given them. 19 Isaac’s servants also dug in the Gerar Valley and discovered a well of fresh water. 20 But then the shepherds from Gerar came and claimed the spring. “This is our water,” they said, and they argued over it with Isaac’s herdsmen. So Isaac named the well Esek (which means “argument”). 21 Isaac’s men then dug another well, but again there was a dispute over it. So Isaac named it Sitnah (which means “hostility”). 22 Abandoning that one, Isaac moved on and dug another well. This time there was no dispute over it, so Isaac named the place Rehoboth (which means “open space”), for he said, “At last the LORD has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.” 23 From there Isaac moved to Beersheba, 24 where the LORD appeared to him on the night of his arrival. “I am the God of your father, Abraham,” he said. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you. I will multiply your descendants, and they will become a great nation. I will do this because of my promise to Abraham, my servant.” 25 Then Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the LORD . He set up his camp at that place, and his servants dug another well. 26 One day King Abimelech came from Gerar with his adviser, Ahuzzath, and also Phicol, his army commander. 27 “Why have you come here?” Isaac asked. “You obviously hate me, since you kicked me off your land.” 28 They replied, “We can plainly see that the LORD is with you. So we want to enter into a sworn treaty with you. Let’s make a covenant. 29 Swear that you will not harm us, just as we have never troubled you. We have always treated you well, and we sent you away from us in peace. And now look how the LORD has blessed you!” 30 So Isaac prepared a covenant feast to celebrate the treaty, and they ate and drank together. 31 Early the next morning, they each took a solemn oath not to interfere with each other. Then Isaac sent them home again, and they left him in peace. 32 That very day Isaac’s servants came and told him about a new well they had dug. “We’ve found water!” they exclaimed. 33 So Isaac named the well Shibah (which means “oath”). And to this day the town that grew up there is called Beersheba (which means “well of the oath”). 34 At the age of forty, Esau married two Hittite wives: Judith, the daughter of Beeri, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon. 35 But Esau’s wives made life miserable for Isaac and Rebekah.

Your Step

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Your step has your name and your lesson on it.”

Jon Barnes

Unique

Wherever you are in your relationship with God is distinctly between you and Him. In the grand scheme of things, this means that we all have unique and distinct relationships with God. For that reason, while we should encourage, share, and learn from one another, we cannot compare notes on our personal relationships with Christ.

Step 1, 2

Just because we are on different steps does not mean that anyone person is greater than the next. Friends we must not make God-specific judgments about people and their walk with Christ. In doing so, we take away the miraculousness that is God. Everyone fails without Christ. There isn’t a single person who is perfect. So, mind your step.

Today’s Question

Are you focusing on your steps with God, or are you stalled by looking out at other people?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 25

1 Abraham married another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She gave birth to Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3 Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. Dedan’s descendants were the Asshurites, Letushites, and Leummites. 4 Midian’s sons were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. These were all descendants of Abraham through Keturah. 5 Abraham gave everything he owned to his son Isaac. 6 But before he died, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them off to a land in the east, away from Isaac. 7 Abraham lived for 175 years, 8 and he died at a ripe old age, having lived a long and satisfying life. He breathed his last and joined his ancestors in death. 9 His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite. 10 This was the field Abraham had purchased from the Hittites and where he had buried his wife Sarah. 11 After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who settled near Beer-lahai-roi in the Negev. 12 This is the account of the family of Ishmael, the son of Abraham through Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian servant. 13 Here is a list, by their names and clans, of Ishmael’s descendants: The oldest was Nebaioth, followed by Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16 These twelve sons of Ishmael became the founders of twelve tribes named after them, listed according to the places they settled and camped. 17 Ishmael lived for 137 years. Then he breathed his last and joined his ancestors in death. 18 Ishmael’s descendants occupied the region from Havilah to Shur, which is east of Egypt in the direction of Asshur. There they lived in open hostility toward all their relatives. 19 This is the account of the family of Isaac, the son of Abraham. 20 When Isaac was forty years old, he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan-aram and the sister of Laban the Aramean. 21 Isaac pleaded with the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. The LORD answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins. 22 But the two children struggled with each other in her womb. So she went to ask the LORD about it. “Why is this happening to me?” she asked. 23 And the LORD told her, “The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.” 24 And when the time came to give birth, Rebekah discovered that she did indeed have twins! 25 The first one was very red at birth and covered with thick hair like a fur coat. So they named him Esau. 26 Then the other twin was born with his hand grasping Esau’s heel. So they named him Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when the twins were born. 27 As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoorsman, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. 30 Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) 31 “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” 32 “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?” 33 But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.

Check, Please

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“To grow farther in your walk with Christ, become open to receiving correction and feedback from wise counsel.”

TB

Holy Fiber

In one way or another, we’re all full of it. The best way to combat the BS we feed ourselves is by following it with a dose of Holy Fiber. God will always be honest with us. And, when we don’t hear Him loud and clear, He sends someone along to give you the recommended dose. Holy Fiber, also known as the Truth, enables us to listen, learn, and loves as our Father in Heaven instructs. Without it, we’d all be backed up and bloated by our foolish nature. More to the point, we become prone to foolishness and poor choices that ultimately we beg God to relieve us from.

Recommended Dose

Because the Truth is optional, it is up to you to cleanse your palate. Pride and arrogance push the Truth and those who bring it away. But friends, practice humility and discipline to take the spoonful as recommended. This happens when you listen to God and the people He sends your way to help you remain on the straight and narrow. Of course, feedback and correction at first are hard supplements to swallow. But ask yourselves this, if God is loving enough to tell us the Truth, and send folks to reinforce it, perhaps we ought to ask for the check.

Today’s Question

Are you taking your recommended dose of Holy Fiber or are you full of it?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 24

1 Abraham was now a very old man, and the LORD had blessed him in every way. 2 One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, “Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh. 3 Swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. 4 Go instead to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac.” 5 The servant asked, “But what if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to travel so far from home? Should I then take Isaac there to live among your relatives in the land you came from?” 6 “No!” Abraham responded. “Be careful never to take my son there. 7 For the LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and my native land, solemnly promised to give this land to my descendants. He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a wife there for my son. 8 If she is unwilling to come back with you, then you are free from this oath of mine. But under no circumstances are you to take my son there.” 9 So the servant took an oath by putting his hand under the thigh of his master, Abraham. He swore to follow Abraham’s instructions. 10 Then he loaded ten of Abraham’s camels with all kinds of expensive gifts from his master, and he traveled to distant Aram-naharaim. There he went to the town where Abraham’s brother Nahor had settled. 11 He made the camels kneel beside a well just outside the town. It was evening, and the women were coming out to draw water. 12 “O LORD, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham. 13 See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. 14 This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.” 15 Before he had finished praying, he saw a young woman named Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor and his wife, Milcah. 16 Rebekah was very beautiful and old enough to be married, but she was still a virgin. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up again. 17 Running over to her, the servant said, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” 18 “Yes, my lord,” she answered, “have a drink.” And she quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and gave him a drink. 19 When she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw water for all his camels. 21 The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not the LORD had given him success in his mission. 22 Then at last, when the camels had finished drinking, he took out a gold ring for her nose and two large gold bracelets for her wrists. 23 “Whose daughter are you?” he asked. “And please tell me, would your father have any room to put us up for the night?” 24 “I am the daughter of Bethuel,” she replied. “My grandparents are Nahor and Milcah. 25 Yes, we have plenty of straw and feed for the camels, and we have room for guests.” 26 The man bowed low and worshiped the LORD . 27 “Praise the LORD, the God of my master, Abraham,” he said. “The LORD has shown unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.” 28 The young woman ran home to tell her family everything that had happened. 29 Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, who ran out to meet the man at the spring. 30 He had seen the nose-ring and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man had said. So he rushed out to the spring, where the man was still standing beside his camels. 31 Laban said to him, “Come and stay with us, you who are blessed by the LORD ! Why are you standing here outside the town when I have a room all ready for you and a place prepared for the camels?” 32 So the man went home with Laban, and Laban unloaded the camels, gave him straw for their bedding, fed them, and provided water for the man and the camel drivers to wash their feet. 33 Then food was served. But Abraham’s servant said, “I don’t want to eat until I have told you why I have come.” “All right,” Laban said, “tell us.” 34 “I am Abraham’s servant,” he explained. 35 “And the LORD has greatly blessed my master; he has become a wealthy man. The LORD has given him flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, a fortune in silver and gold, and many male and female servants and camels and donkeys. 36 “When Sarah, my master’s wife, was very old, she gave birth to my master’s son, and my master has given him everything he owns. 37 And my master made me take an oath. He said, ‘Do not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. 38 Go instead to my father’s house, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son.’ 39 “But I said to my master, ‘What if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to go back with me?’ 40 He responded, ‘The LORD, in whose presence I have lived, will send his angel with you and will make your mission successful. Yes, you must find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family. 41 Then you will have fulfilled your obligation. But if you go to my relatives and they refuse to let her go with you, you will be free from my oath.’ 42 “So today when I came to the spring, I prayed this prayer: ‘O LORD, God of my master, Abraham, please give me success on this mission. 43 See, I am standing here beside this spring. This is my request. When a young woman comes to draw water, I will say to her, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” 44 If she says, “Yes, have a drink, and I will draw water for your camels, too,” let her be the one you have selected to be the wife of my master’s son.’ 45 “Before I had finished praying in my heart, I saw Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ 46 She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’ So I drank, and then she watered the camels. 47 “Then I asked, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, and my grandparents are Nahor and Milcah.’ So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists. 48 “Then I bowed low and worshiped the LORD . I praised the LORD, the God of my master, Abraham, because he had led me straight to my master’s niece to be his son’s wife. 49 So tell me—will you or won’t you show unfailing love and faithfulness to my master? Please tell me yes or no, and then I’ll know what to do next.” 50 Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “The LORD has obviously brought you here, so there is nothing we can say. 51 Here is Rebekah; take her and go. Yes, let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has directed.” 52 When Abraham’s servant heard their answer, he bowed down to the ground and worshiped the LORD . 53 Then he brought out silver and gold jewelry and clothing and presented them to Rebekah. He also gave expensive presents to her brother and mother. 54 Then they ate their meal, and the servant and the men with him stayed there overnight. But early the next morning, Abraham’s servant said, “Send me back to my master.” 55 “But we want Rebekah to stay with us at least ten days,” her brother and mother said. “Then she can go.” 56 But he said, “Don’t delay me. The LORD has made my mission successful; now send me back so I can return to my master.” 57 “Well,” they said, “we’ll call Rebekah and ask her what she thinks.” 58 So they called Rebekah. “Are you willing to go with this man?” they asked her. And she replied, “Yes, I will go.” 59 So they said good-bye to Rebekah and sent her away with Abraham’s servant and his men. The woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood nurse went along with her. 60 They gave her this blessing as she parted: “Our sister, may you become the mother of many millions! May your descendants be strong and conquer the cities of their enemies.” 61 Then Rebekah and her servant girls mounted the camels and followed the man. So Abraham’s servant took Rebekah and went on his way. 62 Meanwhile, Isaac, whose home was in the Negev, had returned from Beer-lahai-roi. 63 One evening as he was walking and meditating in the fields, he looked up and saw the camels coming. 64 When Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac, she quickly dismounted from her camel. 65 “Who is that man walking through the fields to meet us?” she asked the servant. And he replied, “It is my master.” So Rebekah covered her face with her veil. 66 Then the servant told Isaac everything he had done. 67 And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent, and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother.

Ah Ha

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“Don’t fret about uncomfortable moments, instead ask God to help you learn from them.”

TB

Boiling Crabs

Being in untenable circumstances is frustrating, and, it’s natural to want to avoid unpleasant things. Like crabs trapped in an increasingly hot pot, we scramble for the exit door at the first sign of difficulty. That said, when we focus solely on what’s bothering us, we fail to not only enact the teachings of Christ, but we fail to learn how to grow closer to God in our trials. Friends, life is not a utopia. No situation will ever be perfect nor will it be without the potential for conflict or other un-fun things. However, when you commit to entering God’s peace, you learn how to be content in any situation.

Tame Your Mind

When we obsess over what’s wrong in our lives, we fail to see what God is showing us. The next time you’re in a situation where you’d like to escape, ask God what lesson can be learned in that moment. By taking the time to focus on Him and not your circumstance, you begin to see how you can grow and mature. You may be frustrated at work, but God may be giving you a firsthand course in improving patience. Clashing with your spouse may be a lesson in displaying Christ-like love. There are an infinite amount of lessons to be learned in a given lifetime, so ask God so that you may increase your ‘ah ha’ moments.

Today’s Question

What is unpleasant in your life and have you asked God what lessons can be learned in those moments?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 23

1 When Sarah was 127 years old, 2 she died at Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron) in the land of Canaan. There Abraham mourned and wept for her. 3 Then, leaving her body, he said to the Hittite elders, 4 “Here I am, a stranger and a foreigner among you. Please sell me a piece of land so I can give my wife a proper burial.” 5 The Hittites replied to Abraham, 6 “Listen, my lord, you are an honored prince among us. Choose the finest of our tombs and bury her there. No one here will refuse to help you in this way.” 7 Then Abraham bowed low before the Hittites 8 and said, “Since you are willing to help me in this way, be so kind as to ask Ephron son of Zohar 9 to let me buy his cave at Machpelah, down at the end of his field. I will pay the full price in the presence of witnesses, so I will have a permanent burial place for my family.” 10 Ephron was sitting there among the others, and he answered Abraham as the others listened, speaking publicly before all the Hittite elders of the town. 11 “No, my lord,” he said to Abraham, “please listen to me. I will give you the field and the cave. Here in the presence of my people, I give it to you. Go and bury your dead.” 12 Abraham again bowed low before the citizens of the land, 13 and he replied to Ephron as everyone listened. “No, listen to me. I will buy it from you. Let me pay the full price for the field so I can bury my dead there.” 14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “My lord, please listen to me. The land is worth 400 pieces of silver, but what is that between friends? Go ahead and bury your dead.” 16 So Abraham agreed to Ephron’s price and paid the amount he had suggested—400 pieces of silver, weighed according to the market standard. The Hittite elders witnessed the transaction. 17 So Abraham bought the plot of land belonging to Ephron at Machpelah, near Mamre. This included the field itself, the cave that was in it, and all the surrounding trees. 18 It was transferred to Abraham as his permanent possession in the presence of the Hittite elders at the city gate. 19 Then Abraham buried his wife, Sarah, there in Canaan, in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre (also called Hebron). 20 So the field and the cave were transferred from the Hittites to Abraham for use as a permanent burial place.

Always Be

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“When people, places, and things fail, take comfort in the Truth that God is always constant.”

TB

Imperfect

Because man and the things of this world are imperfect and temporal, we’ll let each other down from time to time. Hopefully, as we walk with God, our frequency to offend and be offended decreases; however, we’re still human. As such, we must take comfort and counsel from the One who is perfect.

Constant

God is. Which means we can trust that He will always be sovereign and just. Though we may not understand His works and timing, we can understand His teachings. This happens when we humble ourselves and open our hearts. When you accept His teachings, you take comfort in His timing and consistency.

Today’s Question

Are you believing in the flawed world of the perfection of Christ?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 22

1 Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” 2 “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” 3 The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” 6 So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, 7 Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” 8 “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. 9 When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11 At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” 12 “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” 13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the LORD will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” 15 Then the angel of the LORD called again to Abraham from heaven. 16 “This is what the LORD says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that 17 I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. 18 And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.” 19 Then they returned to the servants and traveled back to Beersheba, where Abraham continued to live. 20 Soon after this, Abraham heard that Milcah, his brother Nahor’s wife, had borne Nahor eight sons. 21 The oldest was named Uz, the next oldest was Buz, followed by Kemuel (the ancestor of the Arameans), 22 Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel. 23 (Bethuel became the father of Rebekah.) In addition to these eight sons from Milcah, 24 Nahor had four other children from his concubine Reumah. Their names were Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

For Good

Hi Peeps,

Today’s Quote

“God can use any situation for good.”

TB

Relative

As humans, our minds are wired to view situations as good or bad, rather than what is. The truth is, it’s all relative. That’s not to take away from tragic situations. Friends, while life may be new to us, trust that God knows exactly what’s going on. More to the point, He turns the faithful’s trials into triumphs.

Revised

In your moments of need, they often feel like the end of the world. As you continue your relationship with Christ, reflect on how those trials impacted your walk with Christ. In time you will see God’s hand in the tough times And in that revelation, you begin to understand how He uses all for good.

Today’s Question

Are you reflecting on God’s goodness in all things?

Enjoy the reading

Genesis 21

1 The LORD kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. 2 She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would. 3 And Abraham named their son Isaac. 4 Eight days after Isaac was born, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded. 5 Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. 6 And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me. 7 Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!” 8 When Isaac grew up and was about to be weaned, Abraham prepared a huge feast to celebrate the occasion. 9 But Sarah saw Ishmael—the son of Abraham and her Egyptian servant Hagar—making fun of her son, Isaac. 10 So she turned to Abraham and demanded, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son. He is not going to share the inheritance with my son, Isaac. I won’t have it!” 11 This upset Abraham very much because Ishmael was his son. 12 But God told Abraham, “Do not be upset over the boy and your servant. Do whatever Sarah tells you, for Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted. 13 But I will also make a nation of the descendants of Hagar’s son because he is your son, too.” 14 So Abraham got up early the next morning, prepared food and a container of water, and strapped them on Hagar’s shoulders. Then he sent her away with their son, and she wandered aimlessly in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15 When the water was gone, she put the boy in the shade of a bush. 16 Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards away. “I don’t want to watch the boy die,” she said, as she burst into tears. 17 But God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, “Hagar, what’s wrong? Do not be afraid! God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Go to him and comfort him, for I will make a great nation from his descendants.” 19 Then God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water. She quickly filled her water container and gave the boy a drink. 20 And God was with the boy as he grew up in the wilderness. He became a skillful archer, 21 and he settled in the wilderness of Paran. His mother arranged for him to marry a woman from the land of Egypt. 22 About this time, Abimelech came with Phicol, his army commander, to visit Abraham. “God is obviously with you, helping you in everything you do,” Abimelech said. 23 “Swear to me in God’s name that you will never deceive me, my children, or any of my descendants. I have been loyal to you, so now swear that you will be loyal to me and to this country where you are living as a foreigner.” 24 Abraham replied, “Yes, I swear to it!” 25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well that Abimelech’s servants had taken by force from Abraham’s servants. 26 “This is the first I’ve heard of it,” Abimelech answered. “I have no idea who is responsible. You have never complained about this before.” 27 Abraham then gave some of his sheep, goats, and cattle to Abimelech, and they made a treaty. 28 But Abraham also took seven additional female lambs and set them off by themselves. 29 Abimelech asked, “Why have you set these seven apart from the others?” 30 Abraham replied, “Please accept these seven lambs to show your agreement that I dug this well.” 31 Then he named the place Beersheba (which means “well of the oath”), because that was where they had sworn the oath. 32 After making their covenant at Beersheba, Abimelech left with Phicol, the commander of his army, and they returned home to the land of the Philistines. 33 Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he worshiped the LORD, the Eternal God. 34 And Abraham lived as a foreigner in Philistine country for a long time.