Friday, January 30, 2015

Reunion

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 33:1-11

TO CHEW ON:
“If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably.” Genesis 33:10

The day Jacob had looked forward to and dreaded was here. Today, after many years, he would see Esau again.

1.What happened when the brothers met? Genesis 33:4
2. Who of the brothers had done something wrong and needed to be forgiven?
3. Who did the forgiving?

The meeting of Jacob and Esau - Artist unknownThe meeting of Jacob and Esau

Seeing Esau again and knowing he was no longer angry was a big deal for Jacob. He compared getting Esau’s forgiveness to seeing the face of God.

Are there broken friendships in your life? Be like Jacob and Esau, and mend them.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me forgive the people who have hurt me, and help the people I have hurt to forgive me. Amen.

MORE: Forgiveness
What does it mean to forgive? Do you agree or disagree with the statements about forgiveness, below. Look up the reference to see what the Bible says.

1. It’s enough to say ‘I forgive you,’ even though you keep thinking mean thoughts about the person who hurt you. (Psalm 103:12)

2. You can’t forgive someone unless they say ‘sorry’ to you. (Luke 11:4)

3. You should forgive someone as soon as they hurt or offend you. (Mark 11:25)

4. If you forgive a person for something, but then he does the same thing over and over, you don’t have to forgive him because it seems he’s not really sorry. (Luke 17:4)

5. We should forgive others, just like Jesus forgave us. (Colossians 3:13)

Answers

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

God is Here

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 32:22-31

TO CHEW ON: "So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, 'It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.'" Genesis 32:30

Soon Jacob was a father, once, twice. three times... As he kept working for Laban, God blessed him with wealth and many children. But things were not going well. Laban and his sons were jealous of Jacob’s wealth. There was quarreling.

One day God told Jacob to move back to his childhood home. He sneaked away from Laban with his family. Though Laban came after him, he didn’t make Jacob come back. Now Jacob and his family were really on their own.

To get back home, he had to pass through Edom, where his brother Esau lived. This worried Jacob a lot. Was Esau still angry with him? Did Esau still want to kill him?

He got ready to meet Esau by preparing a gift of animals and servants. He put the gift in front, with his own flocks behind that, and at the very back his wives and children.

The night before they met, he spent time alone, praying and worrying about what the next day would bring. Then a man met him. They begin to wrestle. At dawn, after they had wrestled all night, the man said, “Let me go.”

“Bless me first,” Jacob begged.

Jacob wrestling with the Angel - Gustave Dore
Jacob wrestling with the Angel - Gustave Dore
“Your name will be changed from Jacob to Israel,*” the man replied. Then with one touch He crippled Jacob’s hip. Now Jacob knew this was not an ordinary man, but God. He felt good because he knew God had not forgotten about him. God would be with him on this day when he met his brother Esau.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that when I am worried and anxious, You are there. Amen.

MORE: Seeing God

God showed Himself to several people in the Bible. (When God makes Himself visible to people we call it a theophany.) Which of these statements about seeing God are true? Which false? Look up the Bible references if you’re unsure.

____ 1. Sometimes when God appeared, He looked like a man. (Genesis 18:1-2)

____ 2. Moses, Aaron and the 70 leaders of Israel died when they saw God. (Exodus 24:9-11)

____ 3. Sometimes God appeared to people in dreams. (1 Kings 3:5)

____ 4. Some people who saw God felt dirty and unclean. (Isaiah 6:5)

____ 5. People thought if they saw God, they would die. (Judges 13:22)

____ 6. God only appeared to people when they were in church. (2 Chronicles 3:1)

*Israel means “he struggles or wrestles with God.

Answers



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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tricked!

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 29:15-28

Jacob and Rachel - Artist unknown
Jacob falls in love with - Artist unknown

TO CHEW ON: "When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, 'What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?'" Genesis 29:25

Jacob eventually found his mother’s relatives in Haran. There he got work with his uncle Laban. He also fell in love with Laban’s beautiful daughter Rachel. Laban told Jacob he could marry Rachel if he worked for him seven years.

Seven years pass quickly. Now it was the wedding day. But after the party was over, Jacob found his uncle had married him to Leah, Rachel’s older sister. (In that time women’s wedding clothes included veils to hide their faces.)

“Why did you deceive me?” Jacob asked his uncle. Now Jacob found out how Esau felt when he was tricked.

Jesus said, “Whatever measure you use will be used towards you and even more than that.” (Mark 4:24 Phillips). As Jacob discovered, the way we treat others becomes the way others treat us.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to treat others the way I would want to be treated. Amen.

SUPERSIZE IT: Two Wives!?

In Bible times it was common for men to have more than one wife. This is called polygamy.

Even though many people had more than one wife, it led to problems. Usually the husband liked one wife more than the others. There was often jealousy and quarreling among the wives.

Sometimes kings had several wives for political power. They married foreign princesses to make alliances with other nations.

Later in the Bible, most marriages were monogamous (one wife, one husband). They followed God’s plan for marriage given in Genesis: “...a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Alone - but not alone

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 28:10-20

TO CHEW ON: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15

Have you ever run for your life? That’s what Jacob was doing. After he tricked his father into giving him Esau’s blessing, Esau wanted to kill him. Rebekah told Jacob to go to Haran, where she grew up. Jacob set out alone

How do you suppose he felt as he walked away from his family and the only home he had ever known?
- Nervous about being attacked by robbers and wild animals?
- Worried about losing his way?
- Lonely and wishing he had someone to talk to?

When it got dark, he stopped walking. He pitched his tent, unrolled his sleeping bag, blew up his air mattress – NOT! He had no tent, sleeping bag, or air mattress. Instead he lay on the ground, under the stars with a stone for his pillow.

After he fell asleep, he dreamed. What things were in his dream (Genesis 28:12-13)


Esau   Angels     Isaac    Heaven     Tent

Stairway    God    Rebekah    Bears   Earth


Jacob's Dream - Artist unknown
Jacob's Dream - Artist unknown

Also, in his dream God talked to him. He promised Jacob someday the land he was lying on would be his. He said all people on earth would be blessed through Jacob and his family. And God promised to go everywhere with him. Now Jacob knew he was not alone. God was with him!

PRAYER: Dear God, please go everywhere with me as You went with Jacob. Amen

Girl sleeping under moon and stars
MORE: Dream Facts

- We dream every night.
- While we dream our eyes dart back and forth.
- A sound or touch while we’re dreaming may become part of our dream.
- Our dreams are often about things we worry about, wish would happen or are afraid of.
- We often don’t remember our dreams.

Though God may speak to us through dreams, usually our dreams don’t predict the future or contain special messages for us.

Tell about a dream you remember.

Find out more about sleep and dreaming here.

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Deceit and Trickery

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 27:1-41

TO CHEW ON: "But he said, 'Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.'" Genesis 27:35
Isaac blessing Jacob - Gustave Dore

Isaac was old and knew he would soon die. He asked Esau, his favorite son, to catch some wild game and make his favorite food. Then he would say a blessing over him.

Rebekah heard this. She didn’t want Isaac to bless Esau. Jacob was her favorite son. And hadn’t God said to her at the birth of Jacob and Esau, “The older will serve the younger”?

Here’s what happened next. But one of these things is not true. Which one?

1. Jacob brought Rebekah two young goats and she prepared food for Isaac.
2. Rebekah dressed Jacob in Esau’s clothes and covered his hands and neck to smell and feel like Esau.
3. Jacob took Rebekah’s food to Isaac and Isaac ate it.
4. Isaac blessed Jacob after he smelled his clothes and felt his skin to make sure it was Esau.
5. Esau brought prepared food to his father.
6. Isaac told Esau he had already eaten and spoken a blessing – on someone else!
7. Esau didn’t care that Jacob had stolen his blessing.
8. Esau vowed to kill Jacob as soon as their father died.

By tricking Isaac in this way, Rebekah took matters into her own hands. She could have trusted God to see how He would make sure Jacob got the promised blessing. Instead, she did it her way and started a family fight.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to have faith in You to work things out instead of trying to do it my way. Amen.

MORE: Bible Disguises and Masquerades
Face behind a mask
Other people in the Bible put on disguises to trick people. Match the person with what they did and whom they tried to trick. Here are Bible references to help you:

  • Saul - 1 Samuel 28:8
  • King Jeroboam’s wife – 1 Kings 14:2
  • David – 1 Samuel 21:12-13
  • King of Israel – 1 Kings 22:29-30




Answers

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Now - or Later?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 25:19-34

TO CHEW ON: "Jacob replied, 'First sell me your birthright.'
'Look, I am about to die,' Esau said. 'What good is the birthright to me?'"Genesis 25:31-32

Though Jacob and Esau (sons of Isaac and Rebekah) were twins, they were far from identical. What things do we know about them that show how different they were? (Genesis 25:27-28)

Esau
1.
2.
3.

Jacob
1.
2.
3.

One day when Esau came back from hunting, Jacob was making stew. When hungry Esau asked Jacob for some stew to eat, Jacob used his cleverness to get Esau to promise him the birthright in exchange for a pot of stew.

A birthright was a big deal. It was what the oldest son in a family inherited. As firstborn of the twins and the oldest son, Esau’s inheritance was twice as big as Jacob’s. The birthright also brought with it the job of being the family leader next to Isaac.

But in one reckless moment, Esau said, “What good is a birthright to me if I die by hunger anyway?” Then he promised Jacob his birthright if he would give him a bowl of stew. Later he regretted this decision with all his heart.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to make decisions based on wisdom, not impulse. Amen.

MORE: Got to have it - NOW!

It’s natural to want things NOW! But insisting we get what we want immediately is often not wise.

meal of various foods
candy
Sort these things into two groups.
  • Which things satisfy right away and go on the Instant Reward (IR) pile? 
  • Which give a reward later and go on the Delayed Reward (DR) pile?

1. ____ Spending all your money on gum and candy.
2. ____ Waiting till mealtime to eat with your family.
3. ____ Spending all your free time on play.
4. ____ Nibbling on snacks whenever you’re hungry, then skipping meals later.
5. ____ Practicing a musical instrument for half an hour a day.
6. ____ Saving your money by putting some in a bank.

Answers

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

God, I need help!

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 24:12-20, 57-61

TO CHEW ON: "Then he prayed, 'O Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.'" Genesis 24:12

Abraham sent his servant on an errand. He was to find a wife for Isaac among Abraham’s relatives far away. This was a hard job. As the servant traveled he wondered how would he ever find Abraham’s family, let alone know which was the right girl.

When he got to the faraway land, he still didn’t know what to do. He found a well and sat there to rest. As he rested he prayed, "God please help me find the right girl. May it be the girl that when I ask her for a drink, she'll offer to water my camels too. If that happens, I'll take it as a sign that she's the right girl."

Before he finished praying beautiful Rebekah came to the well.

Unscramble the words to find out what the servant said and how the girl answered him (Genesis 24:17-19)


Could this be the right girl?

It turned out Rebekah was also one of Abraham’s relatives. When the servant explained his errand to Rebekah’s family they asked her, “Will you go?” and she answered, "I will go."

You too can ask God for help with your work. Do it today. The answer may take a while to come, or it may appear before you finish your prayer!

PRAYER: Dear God, today please help me with _________________________ (name a job you must do today). Amen


MORE: Memorize this!

Here is a Bible promise about prayer. You may want to memorize it to remind you to ask for God’s help with anything and everything!

"Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear." Isaiah 65:24

Answers



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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Big Test

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 22:1-19

TO CHEW ON: “...and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” Genesis 22:18

Imagine Abraham’s horror the day God told him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Perhaps he had some of these questions and thoughts:

- Did I hear God right?
- Why would God make me wait all these years to have a son, only to ask me to kill him?
- Didn’t God forbid human sacrifice?
- God can do anything. Maybe He is planning to raise Isaac from the dead.

Whatever Abraham was thinking, he didn’t argue with God. Instead, he took Isaac, the stuff they needed for the sacrifice and they went to the place God told him.

Using Genesis 22:9-12 as a guide, put the rest of the story in order.




An angel stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac - Artist unknown
An angel stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac - Artist unknown
Abraham’s faith was tested to see what he believed in. God was testing him to see whether he believed in what his mind told him God would do, or whether he believed in God, even though he didn’t understand. Abraham’s actions showed he believed in God. He passed the test!

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to pass the faith tests I face. Amen.

MORE: A Father who really did sacrifice His Son

This story of Abraham and Isaac reminds us of a story that happened hundreds of years later. Another Father watched as His Son was sacrificed–not on an altar, but on a cross. Read about it in Mark 15:33-41.

Answers

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Promises, promises

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 21:1-7

TO CHEW ON: "Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him." Genesis 21:2

I’ll play with you after school today.

Never tell a soul– promise?

Wait till summer; then I’ll take you fishing.

We’ll go to Disneyland next year - it’s a promise!


Our lives are full of promises. Do we keep all the promises we make? Do others keep their promises to us? Probably not.

But there is Someone Who does keep every promise He makes. God promised Abraham and Sarah they would have a son. In fact He said it over and over. Now at last, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90 years old, the baby was born.

1. What did Sarah do? (Genesis 21:6)

2. Abraham and Sarah named the baby Isaac. What does the name "Isaac" mean?

God kept His promise. What a happy time!

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the joy of kept promises. Amen.

MORE: God's promises to you

The Bible is full of God's promises to you. Read the following promises and solve the crossword puzzle below.

1. Eternal life: (John 11:25) "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will (1 DOWN) even though he dies.'"

2. Rewards: (Ephesians 6:8) "Because you know that the Lord will (2 DOWN) everyone for whatever good he does whether he is slave or free."

3. Forgiveness: (1 John 1:9) "If we confess our sin he is faithful and just and will (3 ACROSS) us our sins."

4. Guidance: (Psalm 25:9) "He (4 DOWN) the humble in what is right and teaches them his way."

5. Protection: (Psalm 125:2) "As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord (5 ACROSS) his people both now and forevermore.




Answers

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

God as Judge

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read: Genesis 19:12-29

TO CHEW ON: "The two men said to Lot, 'Do you have anyone else here...? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.'” Genesis 19:12,13

When the two angels got to Sodom they met Lot at the city gate. He invited them to stay at his home for the night. But even there the visitors didn’t escape the violence of the city.

Soon a crowd of men was banging on Lot’s door. They wanted to abuse the two angels - who they thought were ordinary men. When Lot went out to calm them, they threatened him. They were about to break down his door when the angels pulled him into the house and made the men go blind.

“Do you have anyone else here that belongs to you?” the angels asked Lot. He talked to the young men who were engaged to his daughters. But when he told them God would destroy the city, they thought he was joking.

Before dawn the next morning, the angels pulled Lot and his family out of bed. “Hurry! Get out of the city,” they said. “God is going to completely destroy it!”

In the picture Lot and his family are running away from Sodom. But someone looked back. Who was it? What happened to her? (Genesis 12:26)

Lot and his family fleeing Sodom - Artist unknown
Lot and his family fleeing Sodom - Artist unknown
God had promised to spare the city if there were ten good people in it. How many good people were found? (Genesis 19:16)

What did Lot see when he got to Zoar and looked back at Sodom? (Genesis 19:24)
God destroyed the city but saved Lot’s life. Why?(Genesis 19:29)

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to remember that You are a holy God who punishes sin. Amen.

MORE: Sodom’s Sins

The Bible doesn't tell us the specific sins of Sodom that were so awful God wanted to destroy the city. After reading Genesis 19:5-7 and 19:9-14 what do you think the sins of Sodom were?

Answers

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ask and Ask Again

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read: Genesis 18:20-33

TO CHEW ON: "Abraham said, 'Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?'
He said, 'For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.'
Then he said, 'May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?'
He answered, 'For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.'” Genesis 18:31,32

One day three men came to visit Abraham. He welcomed them, washed their dusty feet and fed them a hot dinner. As they talked, Abraham realized that these visitors weren’t ordinary men. Two of them were angels and one was God Himself, in human form.

After their visit, as Abraham walked down the road with them God turned to him and said, “I’m going to tell you what I’m planning to do.” Then He explained how He had heard that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were sinful and violent. He said if the angels found that to be true, He would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

Immediately Abraham thought of Lot. He had moved near Sodom. So Abraham begged God to spare the city if there were good people found in it. Abraham asked God, would He please spare the city if there were fifty good people left in it?

God answered, “Yes.”

Abraham asked again, “What about forty-five?”

“Yes.”

“Forty? Thirty? Twenty?"

Three more times God said,“Yes.”

Still Abraham was worried. But should he test God's patience by asking still another time? He would ask just once more.
Abraham talking to the angels

Abraham was persistent and determined when he talked to God. We too can pray for others (intercede) like Abraham did.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help and protect and bless my family, my friends, my coach, my teachers, my pastor, my mayor, my member of parliament or senator, my prime minister or president. Amen


MORE:
Never-give-up prayers

Abraham didn’t easily give up in his praying. He kept asking and asking and asking.

Who is someone you’ve been praying for for a long time?

Learn from Abraham’s example, and don’t give up praying for that person!

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Monday, January 19, 2015

More than a Promise

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Read: Genesis 17:1-10

TO CHEW ON: "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations." Genesis 17:4

Twenty four years after God said to Abram “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you,” Abram still didn’t have even one son, let alone a nation of sons. By the time he was 99 years old, can we blame him for thinking God had forgotten His promise?

Abram listening to God - Artist unknown
Abram listening to God - Artist unknown
But now God came to Abram again and told him, “I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.... You will be the father of many nations.”

God gave Abram more than a promise. He called it a covenant. It is the strongest promise anyone can make.

Circle the things a covenant IS (look it up in the dictionary if you need to).

promise         wish        contract        lie         

dream         pledge


To prove Abram and Sarai He really would do what He said, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, and Sarai’s name to Sarah.

PRAYER: Dear God, I trust to keep Your promises even if it takes a long time. Amen.

MORE: Changing names

In Bible times, the meaning of a person’s name was important. Names told about people – what they did for a living and what they were like. Sometimes when a person’s life changed, their name was changed too.

Here are some Bible characters who were given new names. Match their old names with the new:

Look up the Bible references if you need help:
Abram – Genesis 17:5 | Sarai – Genesis 17:15 | Jacob – Genesis 32:28 |
Gideon – Judges 6:32 | Solomon – 2 Samuel 12:25 | Saul – Acts 13:9.


What’s your name?
What does it mean?
Does the meaning describe you?
I'm sure you like your name. But if you were to change it, what new name would you choose?
Why?

Answers

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Can't Wait

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read: Genesis 16:1-9

Abram looking at the stars - Artist unknown
Abram looking at the stars - Artist unknown

TO CHEW ON: 'Your slave is in your hands,' Abram said. 'Do with her whatever you think best.'” Genesis 16:6

What promises had God given Abram?
  • Genesis 12:2
  • Genesis 15:5

If Abram was to be a nation and have as many children as there are stars, he would first need at least one child. But year followed year and still Abram and Sarai had no children. They were old when they first moved. Now they were very old.

We can’t wait any longer. God needs help with this, thought Sarai. So she gave her servant Hagar to Abram to have a baby for her. Though this was a legal thing to do at that time and place, it was not God’s way.

Hagar got pregnant. But now she scorned Sarai. Sarai blamed Abram. Abram told Sarai to do as she liked with Hagar. So Sarai sent Hagar away into the desert.

An angel comforted Hagar. He told her she would have a son, Ishmael, but he wouldn’t get along with his brothers. And the angel told Hagar to go back to Abram and Sarai.

What the angel said to Hagar about Ishmael came true. Ishmael became the father of the Arab nations. Through the centuries they have fought with the Jews, who are the descendants of the child Abram and Sarai did finally have. How much better if Sarai would have waited for God to give Abram and her the child He had promised.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me always to wait for Your timing. Amen.

MORE: The Impatient Way

We too want things sooner rather than later. Which actions below may show impatience?

1. Buy lottery tickets to get rich.
2. Go to school to get an education.
3. Starve to lose weight
4. Borrow money so you can buy what you want now.
5. Get a job and save your money.
6. Use a credit card to buy things you don’t have cash to pay for.
7. Eat a little less at meals to lose weight.

Answers

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

First Choice

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Read Genesis 13:1-17

Abram and Lot - Artist unknown
Abram and Lot - Artist unknown
TO CHEW ON: "So Abram said to Lot, 'Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me.... Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.'” Genesis 13: 8,9

Abram did take one member of his family along – his nephew Lot. Lot also had flocks and servants. Soon their servants were fighting over the same pastures. Abram didn’t want fighting. He had a meeting with Lot. “I think it’s time for our families to part,” he said.

Abram was the leader and the respected older person on this trip. He could have told Lot to graze his cattle on the scrubby hills while he (Abram) took his cattle to the green valley. Instead Abram let Lot have first choice about where he’d go.

What an easy decision for Lot. Of course he picked the lush green valley for himself. Besides being the best pasture land, it was near the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah where his wife could shop and he could get supplies.

If Abram was sorry about his decision to let Lot pick first, it wasn’t for long. After Lot left, God met Abram again. He told him that even though Lot had picked the best, God would someday give Abram and his family all the land he could see in every direction.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to put others first. Amen

SUPERSIZE IT: Generosity in Action

• Here's a Bible verse about being generous. You might want to memorize it. Then you will have God's promise to generous people at your fingertips next time you're tempted to be selfish.

Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38.

• Try this:
Next time you’re tempted to choose the biggest and best for yourself– STOP!
- Let someone else have first choice.
or
- Choose the dessert that’s smaller, the bottom bunk, the back seat in the car or whatever tells the other person you’re giving them the best.














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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.