Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Route 66: Days 26-29; Exodus 25-35

Gold-check; bronze and silver-check; blue, purple, scarlet yarn-check. Details, details.  One thing I have learned while reading through the Bible is that the details matter. Many times over the last month, I have seen some point that I had not noticed before that has changed my perspective.  Often times, I find myself calling one of my girls and saying, "Wow, did you see that in today's reading?"  

Over the last few days there has been an overwhelming amount of detailed information on building the tabernacle which will be repeated to the people as soon as Moses comes off the mountain but right in the middle there rises a road block to getting this work project started. The Israelites have gotten out of control, built an idol for themselves and were passionately worshipping it. Moses must be thinking that he can't take his eyes of these 'children' for a second. If you are a parent you probably have experienced the same kind of rebellion in your own home. As soon as your back is turned - dun, dun, dun- they run amuck with crazy behavior.

Sadly, Moses would have to take extreme measures to quell the uprising and three thousand would die that day. I believe that these men may have been the instigators of the whole rebellion. Why else would the have been executed? But its not the men that draw my attention.  Its the number of men-3000. When we consider that there were approximately three million people total who were in the nation of Israel at this time, only 0.1 percent or one in a 1000 were enough to influence the rest. Such a small percentage inciting everyone to shift their focus away from the One True God. It is all very sad but we also know how very easy it is for this to happen.

Allow me to offer a little different perspective on this numbers thing. If one in a 1000 can be such an influence for evil cannot it not work in the opposite direction? Can one influence 1000 others for good? How about one in eight to 15? God's story in our lives, his promise of hope, growing and infecting those around us with his goodness. How about that? Each one of us have the power to change the focus of our family, friends and communities toward the God who saves. Its been built into the details of our lives. Don't ever skip over the details. God is in them.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” ~Matthew 13:31-32

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Route 66:Day 25; Exodus 22-24

While in LA's China Town district today, I noticed that the barricades had been delivered for the annual Dragon Parade and celebration of Chinese New Year that will take place this weekend.  During this time the Chinese community 'spring clean' their homes, pay off their debts, forgive their grudges and gather their friends and family together for a 'reunion dinner'. Another year has passed and a brand new one is about to begin. And it is not going to come quietly. Fire crackers, lots of them will insure that everyone within earshot will know there is a celebration going on.

This made me think of today's passage where we find in God's design on the way that the people of this new nation will live, he has included festivals, national holidays, so to speak, that will allow the Israelites time to stop their normal duties of living and refocus on what is important. It's  interesting how the individual  festivals were designed to draw their attention to how God has protected them in the past, how he is providing for them in the present and how he will continue his promise in the future. I don't know how the Israelites celebrated, but when I think of all the Lord has done, is doing and has promised to do, I cannot be quiet. I want to make some noise! Fire crackers, Anybody?

 In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” ~Revelation 5:12

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Route 66: Day 24; Exodus 19-21

In the last couple of days we have witnessed the birth of a nation. We have seen Jethro, the father-in-law to Moses, coming in and showing Moses how to structure his leadership and then in today's reading, we see the first laws being laid down for the people. These people have been living under another country's rule for four hundred years and now this 'kingdom of priests' [19:6]  would begin to rule themselves under the watchful eye of the Almighty. Command after command was declared by God himself concerning the very basics of life-how to treat God and how to treat others. It guided and instructed the people in their relationships. So interesting don't you think because that is exactly what we were created for. Relationship with God and relationship with others are also the things we struggle with the most but it is important to remember in the end, they will be the measure of a how well we lived our lives.

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. ~Proverbs 3:1-4

Monday, January 23, 2012

Route 66: Day 23; Exodus 16-18

Camping is not the Israelites idea of getting away from it all.  By now in the reading, we see that they are again ready to go back to their lives of slavery. Who can blame them?  They were after all Urbanites who 'overnite" had found themselves thrust into this undesirable, rustic lifestyle. They went from mass producers of food to hunter gatherers for the masses. What did God expect them to do? It wasn't like these Hebrews could sneak up on some unsuspecting herd of deer.  There were three million of the them! No stealth when they moved about. Contrary to popularity polls among the Israelites, God did not intend for them to perish when he brought them to the wilderness. He was going to use the experiences found there, out of their comfort zone, to convince them to leave their reliance of Egypt behind and learn to trust him.  

"I remember my affliction and my wandering...Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” ~Lamentations 3:19-24

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Route 66: Day 22; Exodus 13-15

Every day's reading has shown me something new and oh, my gosh, those Israelites! Haven't they seen enough to convince them of God's power? How many signs and wonders will it take to make them believe? Weren't they listening to what was going on? At the beginning of this segment, they still aren't quite there with their trust in the Lord. It was going to take something that couldn't be confused with coincidence and, boy, did he deliver. The water of the Red Sea piling up on either side of them allowing them to walk on dry ground to safety. Now that's huge!  Finally, "...when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant." [14:31]  I think they may have suffered from just a bit of that hard heartedness that Pharaoh was infected with. Its major symptom was not listening.
At the very end of chapter 15 after all the singing and dancing subsides and they have drank their fill of fresh water, God gives the Israelites a prescription against Egypt's diseases and it had to do with good listening--
He said, “If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.” [15:25-26]
I wonder if hard-heartedness was included on that list of diseases? Listening then following, paying attention and keeping God's words are just what our hearts, minds and bodies need. God's words "are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body." I am so glad that we are getting a regular dose each day as we travel along this Route 66 challenge, aren't you?

My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Proverbs 4:20-22

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones."
Proverbs 3:5-8

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Route 66: Days 20-21; Exodus 7-12

And let my people go... Just as soon as we have sparring between the powers that be and a few 'signs and wonders'.  God was going to show Pharaoh who was more powerful but he was not the only audience.  The Egyptian people saw it and were "... favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people." [11:3].  Even more importantly, the Israelites saw it. Back in chapter 6, God says to Moses that he is going to show his people the true meaning of 'God Almighty'. His power had not been fully revealed to their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The signs and wonders done in Egypt would re-establish his position in their lives. They would "know that [He was] the LORD your God, who brought [them] out from under the yoke of the Egyptians..." [6:7]  He would again be their God.

But there is yet one more audience in addition to Pharaoh, the Egyptians and the Israelites. God tells Pharaoh that He, God, has "raised you, [Pharaoh] up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. [9:16] 'All the earth.' I think that includes, well 'all the earth'. You and me and each of our oikos. Through this whole passage we see that God can take the worst of circumstances and the most uncooperative of people to accomplish his plan of deliverance. AND through that deliverance his power is revealed and the world is changed. God is All Mighty. I think that deserves a WooHoo!!!

No one is like you, LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.
Jeremiah 10:6

Friday, January 20, 2012

Route 66: Day 19, Exodus 4-6

Would those who wish to accept this mission please step forward. WHAT! God is not looking for volunteers. He has already chosen Moses for the job. Yet here Moses stands thinking he has a choice, making all kinds of reasonable excuses and then finally telling God he should really look elsewhere. "Hello... This is God speaking! You know, the one who made you!" I keep hearing Bill Cosby's voice saying, "I brought you into this world..."God has been grooming Moses for this moment and he promises to continue to teach him as they move along the way. But that's the key- Quit stalling and get moving! Lucky for Moses, he would finally get in gear and begin the mission for which he has been hand picked. His action would result in a lifetime of witnessing the many wondrous things the Lord had planned.

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. ~Psalm 40:4-5

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Route 66: Day 18; Exodus 1-3

Among all the turmoil of Egyptians hating the Israelites at the beginning of Exodus comes my favorite scene from the passage when Pharaoh's daughter looks into the eyes a Hebrew baby and has compassion. Who would have thought this simple, loving act would set in motion a series of events that would not only save a child from certain death and restore a mother's grieving heart but also move forward God's plan of salvation for a whole nation.

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Mark 12:31

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Route 66: Day 17; Genesis 48-50

"Listen my children and you shall hear..."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The reading of the will. In honor of the occasion, Jacob has written a poem. Oh, goody. Can you just see his children rolling their eyes thinking,  "Just get to the good stuff, Dad."  Regardless, how they or we feel about poetry, Jacob used this method to recount each son's character and to pass along a view of their future. 

Hebrew poetry translated to English kind of looses its charm but we can still get the message--The birthright passes over the firstborn, Reuben, for his act of defiling his father's 'wife', right past Simeon and Levi who also suffered from poor 'hold back' only theirs had to do with anger and violence  and finally landing on Judah, the fourth in line. His is the family line Jesus will come from-- the whole " scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor"  part. [49:10 NLT]  Very exciting news for Judah. Then, Zed will provide safe harbor for ships, Issie will become a slave, Dan will judge, Gad will have street savvy, Asher will be an re-nown chef, Naphtali would speak words of grace (had to research that one.  Maybe a poet in his own right.), Joe who started out with all those wild dreams actually did turn out to be an excellent leader and was blessed beyond compare. And lastly Ben, well, sadly he gets the leftovers, whatever that means.

Can you imagine teenagers in Hebrew class reciting this as if it were The Last Ride of Paul Revere? Maybe not, but the images found in this poem would get their point across to the Hebrew audience. I wonder what Jacob would have said about me if only we had been acquainted?  Perhaps in our language it would sound something like this--

There once was a girl named Patty,
Who for part of her youth she was bratty.
Then Jesus came in and forgave all her sin,
and now about Him she's quite chatty.

Hope, you enjoyed the poetry lesson. Tomorrow, on to the exodus. One book completed! It has been great fun discovering what God intended to show me along the way.  Hope you are having the same success.

Route 66: Day 16; Genesis 46-47

Another Roll Call and then the wagons would head out for Egypt. Ruben.. here; Hanok...here; Pallu...here. All of Jacob's family were accounted for except the ones they had buried. Sixty-six in all plus women folk and servants. A large group by any standard when you consider it was just a family.  But this family, blessed by God would return home numbering in the millions. God was true to his word. He would prosper them and build them into a great nation even when they found themselves enslaved to their host. Amazing how that happens. God says, "Here's the plan and even though I know you will not be able to keep up with me and things may not always seem to go your way, I am still going to bring blessing through my plan." He's got it all worked out. And that in itself is a blessing.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Route 66: Day 15; Genesis 43-45

I ask you you, "What is up with Joseph's brothers?" Go to Egypt, get grain, leave Simeon as colladeral, go home, eat grain... What about Simeon?! I imagine like Jacob, they believed he was 'no more'. These men had now caused the demise of two of their father's sons and they had a feeling their sin was about to be found out. Even though the brothers were not aware of it, God's plan was at work here 'to prosper and not harm' this family. My favorite verse in this whole passage is when on their return to Egypt, Joseph's steward says, “It’s all right...Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks....” [43:23]  There was more to meet the eye in these sacks of grain and hidden silver. In the end, the real 'treasure'  in these sacks would be reconcillation, forgiveness and restoration in a family.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Route 66: Day 14; Genesis 41-42

Famine is coming.  Joseph has confirmed it for Pharaoh. It hardly looks like it can be possible in this time of abundance but in seven years time Egypt will find themselves suffering unduly if the don't take action now. Wise words from Joseph. This passage reminds me of the importance of building up a good 'supply' of knowledge from the Word during the good times so that we will have it to fall back on when things go bad. Being familiar with the Word helps us to recognize God's voice when we are thirsting for answers during the hard times in our lives. But there is another good reason to 'store up' Scripture in our hearts. It will allow us to offer it to others in their times of trouble. Look what happened in Joseph's case. His brothers came to him for help when they needed food to live. Just like Joseph, our 'store house' will attract those who are starving and then, we will be able to point them to the true provider of life.

"...it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world...Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
~John 6:33, 35 

Famine is sure to come to each of us from time-to-time whether it be our own trials or from those who are seeking refuge from "hunger and thirst". We must be prepared. Start filling the store house today. Read the Word!

Here is another blog I wrote a few years ago on the same subject based on Solomon's observation of Ants!! Enjoy.  http://return2thegarden.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 13, 2012

Route 66: Day 13; Genesis 38-40

"The LORD was with Joseph so that he prospered..." ~Genesis 39:2

My, is that little Joseph?  He has certainly grown up well. Joseph was not only "well-built and handsome" [38:6] he was also very successful in everything he did. This young man had changed from a soft, somewhat-spoiled, immature youth into a man of integrity.  "The LORD was with Joseph" and Joseph was in captivity--two forces that would make him stronger. Hardship and humility can do a mighty work in any one's life. 1. Hardship builds us up rather than tearing us down if we keep in mind that the Lord is with us.  He sees us and quite often this is when we see God at work most clearly. 2. Humility keeps our minds in the most optimum position for growth. Joseph humbled himself to God's ways as seen when he responds to temptation with, "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” [39:9] Two forces, one external, one internal, working together to bring about the change God desires. Like Joseph, we can also be 'well-built'--stronger in the Lord and his ways-- and 'handsome'-- attracting those around us to the hope we find in God-- if we allow hardship and humility do their work. And God will take care of the successes.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The LORD works out everything to its proper end..." ~Proverbs 16:4

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Route 66: Day 12; Genesis 35-37

Favoritism Strikes Again! should be the title of Genesis 37. Maybe, Jacob thought it was a good 'look' for his family because it worked for him in the past but the other family members did not quite see it his way. Add brothers who suffered from 'low moral integrity' and you have a poisonous mix. These sibs of Joe's were sick and tired of him. All the special attention sent his way by their father and then, to hear his crazy ramblings about they would be bowing to him...well, that just pushed them over the edge with their anger. Favoritism in a family destroys the unity a family should feel. Each person of he household should feel as valued as the next. Put favoritism into any group and the group will be dysfunctional with the potential of imploding. At the very least, the group will become ineffective due to its disunity.

One of favoritism's synonyms is discrimination. Now, that puts a very negative feel to the action of the word. Antonyms of favoritism: fairness, impartially, justice. Those are words that will improve any family dynamic. What a price Jacob paid for his inability act fairly toward all his sons. Not only did he loose Joseph but those other boys sat with their father as he grieved not saying a word. Mmmm...mmm...mmm. Such a sad state of affairs.

Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. ~Psalms 106:3

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Route 66: Day 11; Genesis 32-34

Jacob certainly was a businessman. He was very good a what he did. It seemed his whole thought process was governed by how he could come out ahead. And I think because of this, he thought that was how everybody operated. Unfortunately, it sometimes ruined his relationships. At least it is true with the relationship he had with his brother. We see his wheeling and dealing came between himself and Esau in Genesis 25:29-34, leaving Esau hating the whole situation with his birthright. Then, when it comes time for the brothers to be reunited in chapter 33, Jacob is again slipping into 'how can I make this go well for me' attitude offering payment for forgiveness. Esau was not looking  for restitution. He wanted a relationship with his brother. Esau didn't need Jacob's livestock. He had his own. He didn't need or want Jacob's stuff. He wanted Jacob. Our relationship with God should mirror the one Esau desired with his brother. It should not have to do with how we can get ahead by adding him to our lives or what we do to buy his forgiveness. God just wants a relationship based on love with us.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Route 66: Genesis 28-29

There is something beautiful about a person's first face-to-face with God. That moment of recognition that God not only exists but he is also present and personal. Jacob's revelation comes as God passes his blessing that has graced Abraham and  Isaac and now him. I loved Jacob's words when he woke from his dream, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”  He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”  [28:16-17] Yes, it is truly awesome to be in the very presence of God. This passage makes me remember my own moment of recognition that God wanted to have a personal relationship with me and I can feel Jacob's excitement, awe and joy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Route 66: Genesis 25-27

Key Scriptures Genesis 25-27

I don't know if it was the time of day, just before bed, I read through this passage but the scene of Rebekah and Jacob running a con on Isaac seemed like a bad episode of I Love Lucy. Rebekah and her elaborate plan to deceive, Isaac's suspicion he was about to be tricked and Jacob going along the whole crazy scheme was almost humorous. And the funniest line in the story to me was, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin.What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him..." .[27:11-12]  Duh...he was trying to trick him! Each person in this situation had their own agenda but again God's word would ring true. The outcome had already been revealed to Rebekah years earlier while she carried these boys close to her heart--  “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” [Genesis 25:23] Sadly, this story does not end with immediate forgiveness found with the "Oh, Ricky" Lucy experienced. Rage, murderous threats and running for one's life were the result when this family was torn apart. Terrible consequences for selfish behavior.

Another thing that struck me in this story was the comments about Esau's wives. Genesis 26:35 says,
"They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah." And then, Rebekah in chapter 27:46 laments, “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.”  These two statements bookend the story of deception. Even though Scripture does not make any reference to them during the the incident, it makes me wonder if these women played some part in Esau's eagerness to receive the blessing when in the past he despised his position of  firstborn.[25:34]  This may partly explain why Rebekah was so fanatical about Jacob receiving leadership position. So much so that she was willing to take what ever curse Jacob would receive if they were found out. [27:13] Just a thought because all I can do is infer because of lack of evidence in the Word but it does lead me to believe this family was really in trouble before any deception occurred.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Route 66: Day Seven

Key Passage: Genesis 22-24

I do love a good love story. Through a set of unusual circumstances, two strangers find their way into each others arms and live happily ever after.  Isaac's and Rebekah's story is just this sort of tale but we know it is by no coincidence that this couple comes together. God, himself had a hand in it.  My personal love story is much the same.  My husband and I were in the right place, at the right time, with the right attitude under the right circumstances to meet. Love at first sight occurred much as it did for Isaac. For Rebekah, I think perhaps it was love 'prior' to first sight and the reason--her heart was willing to take the risk to go to a place she had never been to be with a person she did not know to live a life she could not imagine. She didn't even hesitate or prepare.  She was ready and willing embrace her life of a "hope and a future" talked about Jeremiah 29:11.

Rebekah's confidence probably comes from the fact that she had been in training for this very moment. Her life experience had prepared her for the things she would face. Her "arms were [certainly] strong for the task' [Proverbs 31:17] as seen when watering twelve thirsty camels but I like to think her heart and soul were also ready to be a comfort to Isaac and the mother of a nation.

Each of us have a similar set of skills unique to the tasks God will ask us to do.  Maybe you have heard that "God does not call the equipped, he equips the called".  I think the truth is he has been equipping each us from the beginning of our lives. The experiences of our ordinary lives along with the heartbreaks and joys he has carried us through have given us the knowledge needed to reach out to those around us in wisdom. We already have what it takes to do the things he calls us to do and when it comes time to act we can be confident we can do the job loving the world. And if your knees feel a little wobbly at the thought of stepping out in faith, know that the Lord has seen the outcome and he still called you to a show off a life of hope found in Him.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”   1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Friday, January 6, 2012

Route 66: Day Six One More Stop

Key Scriptures: Genesis 19-21

Another thought about this story of Lot--Lot was willing to sacrifice his own daughters to protect the visitors in his house.  The custom of offering protection to those under one's roof was taken very seriously and in this story we see the extreme measures Lot was willing to go to. It made me think--At High Desert Church are all about Oikos*-our eight to fifteen 'visitors' found under our roofs. To what extent are we willing to step out and face the enemy in order to show them the power of the God who saves?

*Oikos is the Greek word for 'household'. HDC uses this term when speaking of the people in our relational world who we come in contact with on a regular basis.

Route 66: Day Six

Key Scriptures: Genesis 19-21

Oh, Lot, Lot, Lot.  Here you are in the thick of disaster needing to be rescued, AGAIN. Won't you ever learn? The thing about this story that always gets me is that when the angels say run for the hills or die, Lot has a discussion with them about why that won't work for him. He just can't do it.  It was way too hard. They conceded allowing him to have it his way. Eventually, Lot discovered the angels were right all along and moved on to the mountains but it was fear for his life that drove him there.

Anybody else a hands on learner like Lot, making compromises in life because the 'mountain' ahead of you seems to tall to climb? I know I am at times especially when God's requirements seem to hash or out of touch with my reality. But I have found through experience that His ways are perfect for me. He always knows what he's talking about.

Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.  Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. ~Deuteronomy 32:1-4

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Route 66: Day Five

Key Scriptures: Genesis 16-18

Running ahead of God will surely end up with some negative results but what is a couple to do? Abram and Sarai had been waiting and wondering about their child for some time. It had actually become a 'laughing matter' to them (17:17;18:12) perhaps because if they didn't laugh they certainly would cry. The waiting had turned their focus inward toward their disappointment seeking a way to remove their pain. In the end, it only multiplied their misery causing jealousy, anger, hate, abuse, disunity. Waiting is one of the hardest things we do but we can find blessing in it if our focus remains on the Lord. 

 Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord. But those who fail to find me harm themselves..." ~Proverbs 8:34-36 (NIV)

Route 66: Day Four

Key Scriptures: Genesis 12-15

How often do we wish we could see the future? Abram got to have such an experience in Genesis 15:12-16 and it wasn't pretty. A thick and dreadful darkness fell over him! Four hundred years of misery and captivity for his descendants! Sounds pretty scary to me.  In order to avoid impending disaster overload, I think I will choose to take the one-day-at-a-time approach of trusting in God's words that he "knows the plans he has for [me], plans to prosper [me], to give [me] a hope and a future."

Oh, Abram got to see the hope, in his future, too, but a what cost? Knowing what the future held for his children and grandchildren must have heartbreaking. Just believing God, taking him at his word, having faith- has a more positive payoff. It is credited as an act of righteousness. (15:6)

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn...
Psalm 37:3-6

Start the Journey:Route 66; Day One

Well, this isn't actually Day One but I will be making some observations I have had while starting my excursion through the Bible.  The church I attend has started a new series entitled Route 66: A Journey of a Lifetime which will take our congregation through the entire Bible in a year.  In addition to the sermons the everyone has been asked to read daily a portion of Scripture that has been laid out for us and keep track of the sights we see as we go. The journey has been great this week and I have noticed some ideas I had not seen before as well as having been reminded of some old lessons that contain the wisdom needed to move about the earth in a way that will please God.

For instance, Day 1: Genesis 1-3- Man's nakedness or transparency (Genesis 2:25; 3:11) . Good or bad, God sees us right where we are--"Psalm 139:7 NIV - Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" We cannot hide from him. He sees us no matter where we go. Good thing to remember wherever you are in life, don't ya think?

Day 2: Genesis 4-5- Noah was obedient. He did what God said and oh, what a blessing. Cain on the other hand did what many people choose to do-his own thing, his own way. And then, he expected, even demanded, a blessing. Cain was about Cain, self-centered while Noah was about God's business, listening AND acting on His words.

God sees us as we are. Obedient or not so much. He sees us.  Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah. Their lives were open to him whether they liked it or not. God knew right where they were and what they were doing.  God hasn't changed. It is the same for us. He is here.  He sees us. He knows us, our downfalls and our triumphs. I believe that this journey through God's word will allow us as a church to really begin to recognize God's presence all around us. Getting to know his ways through the stories we will read will help us know how we should do life, what attitudes please God and the direction we should take in any given situation. We will begin to see God more clearly in exchange.

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. ~Colossians 1:9-12