January 18 – Scripture of the Day

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There is much in our lives that we cannot control. In fact, when we are willing to admit it to ourselves, there is far more we can’t control that we can control.

For many of us, that is difficult to deal with. By nature, we want to be in control of our lives and circumstances.

But that is often not the case.

Well known author and pastor Charles Swindoll is quoted as saying “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.”

I think he’s right.

And our scripture today speaks to these types of circumstances in our lives.

Genesis 50:19-21 reads: 19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.

At this point in Genesis, Joseph’s father Jacob has died, and Joseph’s brothers are afraid that Joseph will now seek revenge upon them for selling him into slavery.

But Joseph reassures them, and tells them while they intended their actions for harm, God used it for good.

God works in our lives today in these same ways.

How often does something happen to us that at the time seems very difficult? Yet looking back on it, we are able to see how God used it to bless us, or prepare us for a future circumstance.

God is a master at taking the bad things in our lives and using them for good.

Because we live in a fallen world that is rife with sin, bad things happen in our lives. Sometimes these bad things are a result of our poor decisions, but sometimes they happen because of circumstances beyond our control.

It won’t always be that way.

But for now, even in the midst of this broken world, God still uses all circumstances to bring about His will and His glory.

God uses the challenges in our lives to mold us, grow us, mature us, and make us better.

No matter the circumstance, God can and does use our lives for good.

Thanks be to God for that!

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Today’s reading: Genesis 47:28-50:26
Tomorrow’s reading: Job 1:1-4:21

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January 17 – Scripture of the Day

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Today’s scripture is Genesis 47:7-10 which reads:

Then Joseph brought in his father, Jacob, and presented him to Pharaoh. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh.

“How old are you?” Pharaoh asked him.

Jacob replied, “I have traveled this earth for 130 hard years. But my life has been short compared to the lives of my ancestors.” 10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh again before leaving his court.

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Today’s reading: Genesis 45:16-47:27
Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 47:28-50:26

January 16 – Scripture of the Day

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There are many themes found throughout scripture, and throughout Genesis. God’s great love for us, of course.

Stories of faith, honor and redemption.

And stories of forgiveness.

Just a couple days ago, I read the story of Jacob and Esau; a story of many things, including forgiveness.

Today’s scripture is Genesis 45:5-7 and 14-15 which reads:  5 But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. 6 This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors.
14 Weeping with joy, he embraced Benjamin, and Benjamin did the same. 15 Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and after that they began talking freely with him.

In this reading we find the climax of the story about Joseph and his brothers, who sold him into slavery.

Now Joseph’s dreams have come true, and his brothers are bowing to him.

But it is also a story of forgiveness.

And we need to continue reading these stories, so we may be reminded.

Forgiveness.

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Today’s reading: Genesis 42:1-45:15
Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 45:16-47:27

January 15 – Scripture of the Day

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Remember the saying, “save for a rainy day?”   Well in today’s scripture, we would more accurately say “save for a drought.”

The scripture for today is Genesis 41:34-36 which says: 34 Then Pharaoh should appoint supervisors over the land and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years. 35 Have them gather all the food produced in the good years that are just ahead and bring it to Pharaoh’s storehouses. Store it away, and guard it so there will be food in the cities. 36 That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come to the land of Egypt. Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.

After being sold into slavery and ending up in Egypt, Joseph found favor with Pharaoh and was not only released from prison, but made governor over the whole of Egypt.

God had told Joseph that there was going to be 7 years of bountiful crops, followed by 7 years of horrible drought. Knowing this, Joseph put a plan into place to save some of the harvest from each of the 7 good years, so there would be food to sustain the people during the 7 year drought.

Saving for a rainy day.

This is wise advice. We all know that unexpected things happen in life; accidents, costly repairs or otherwise.

If we are wise, we will have “saved for a rainy day” and have money put aside to pay for these times.

But astonishingly, even though we all realize these things happen, very few Americans have enough savings to cover these common incidents.

In fact, According to CNN, 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, meaning they have little or no savings to fall back on in case of an emergency, such as a job loss.

That’s a recipe for disaster.

Financial expert Dave Ramsey recommends an emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses, just for such emergencies.

That’s wise advice…that we also see in scripture.

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Today’s reading: Genesis 40:1-23; 35:28-29; 41:1-57
Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 42:1-45:15

January 14 – Scripture of the Day

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In today’s reading, there was a ton of “action” to be found.

Anyone who says the Bible is boring probably hasn’t read Genesis 37, 38 and 39. In these chapters we find a group of brothers who sell their youngest brother into slavery because of jealousy; a woman who tricks her father-in-law to sleeping with her and impregnating her; and Egyptian official’s wife who tries to seduce a household servant (who also happens to be the brother who was sold into slavery).

Geesh…. so much to choose from.

The scripture I chose to highlight today, Genesis 39: 19-23 reads: 19 Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife’s story about how Joseph had treated her. 20 So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. 22 Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. 23 The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.

Anyone who has read the Old Testament has at least some familiarity with the story of Joseph, the young brother who was first sold to some traveling traders, who then sold him into Egyptian slavery in the household of Potiphar, the captain of the Pharaoh’s guard.

What stood out to me re-reading this portion of the story was despite the enormous challenges Joseph faced; sold by his brothers, and then ending up in jail falsely accused of attempted rape – there is no mention of Joseph feeling sorry for himself or wanting to give up. Surely he must have had some of those feelings, but the Lord was with him.

We all face challenges in our lives, yet most of us won’t be falsely accused of a crime and end up in jail.

Yet in our day to day lives, we often let small and ultimately inconsequential problems bog us down.

That is why perspective is so important. The perspective as believers in Jesus – that no matter how bad thing seems, no matter how down we are – God is always with us.

Let us work to better keep that eternal perspective as we go about our (often mundane) daily lives.

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Todays’ reading: Genesis 37:1-36; 38:1-30; 1 Chronicles 2:3-8; Genesis 39:1-23
Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 40:1-23; 35:28-29; 41:1-57

January 13 – Scripture of the Day

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Honestly, not much jumped out at me today in the reading. I chose Genesis 36:1 which says: This is the account of the descendants of Esau (also known as Edom).

I chose it because its representative of most of the reading today. Pretty much all the reading was an account, or record of, family history. It was genealogy. Not the most exciting reading.

But what it did bring do, was give me an excellent reminder about family.

After our relationship with God, there is nothing in this world more important than the relationships we have with family.

No, those relationships aren’t always easy.

Sometimes they cause frustration, anger, hurt, grief and anxiety, among other emotions.

But they also should be the most important and fulfilling relationships we have on Earth.

In our family relationships we have the greatest opportunity to learn, love, forgive and sacrifice.

To model Jesus’ love to the world.

And that is a good reminder, even if the reading was a bit boring.

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Today’s reading: Genesis 36:1-43; 1 Chronicles 1:35-2:2
Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 37:1-36; 38:1-30; 1 Chronicles 2:3-8; Genesis 39:1-23

January 12 – Scripture of the Day

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The scripture that grabbed me today was Genesis 33:4, which says, “Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept.”

In chapter 27 of Genesis, Issac’s son Jacob tricked him, with his mother Rebekah’s help, and stole the blessing that rightfully belonged to his brother Esau.

Esau threatened to kill Jacob, so Jacob fled their home and went to live with his Uncle Laban in a different place.

Many years later, God told Jacob to return home. But he was fearful that his brother Esau would still be angry and wish to harm him.

Instead, Esau “ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him.”

There are few things more powerful than forgiveness.

It literally sets us free from the dark power of anger and hatred, which will eat us alive if we let them.

One of the wisest sayings I’ve heard said is, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison, and expecting the other person to die.”

Let God free you from the shackles of unforgiveness, and unburden your heart.

Forgive.

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Today’s reading: Genesis 32:1-35:27
Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 36:1-43; 1 Chronicles 1:35-2:2

January 10 – Scripture of the Day

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The scripture that stuck out to me today was Genesis 28:16, which says Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!”

That God is with us is a common theme throughout the Bible. God is with us.

He has always been with us. From creation, before we were born, every day of our lives, and for eternity.

Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 28:20 “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

This should give us great comfort and assurance, particularly when we are struggling with life issues.

No matter what we are going through, God is with us!

Often when we are struggling, it may seem as if God is far away. Sometimes that is the case because of sin on our lives; but no matter how we feel, that is not reality.

The reality is God is always with us. He told us so.

We may be like Jacob, not even realizing that God is with us.

But that is the great story of the Bible.

God is with us… always!

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Today’s reading: Genesis 28:6-22; 29:31-30:24
Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 30:25-31:55

January 9 – Scripture of the Day

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The scripture that stood out to me today was Genesis 25:27-34. It reads:   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.

 Have you ever done something in haste, without thinking the consequences through?

Sometimes we say or do things out of anger, frustration, impatience…. whatever the case may be … that we later come to regret.

Sometimes we simply don’t fully appreciate the consequences of our actions.

One of my favorite sayings is “Don’t do something permanently stupid because your are temporarily upset.”

This passage of scripture reminded me of that.

Instead, we should focus on the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

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Today’s reading: Genesis 25:27-34; 26:1-35; 27:1-28:5
Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 28:6-22; 29:31-30:24

 

January 5 – Scripture of the Day

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The scripture that spoke to me today was Genesis 15:1 which says: “Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”

This is a message that applied to us today as well. In this passage we hear God telling Abram not to be afraid, and Jesus tells the disciples the same thing several times; for example, Luke 12:4.

Essentially, when God tells us not to be afraid, he is telling us to trust him.

And when we trust God, when we believe that Jesus is his son, our reward is indeed great.

For it is through faith in Jesus that our sins are forgiven, we are reconciled with God, and we receive everlasting life.

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Today’s reading: Genesis 15:1-21; 16:1-16; 17:1-27

Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 18:1-33; Genesis 19:1-38; Genesis 20:1-18; Genesis 21:1-7