Genesis 48: He crossed his hands!

Over the last couple of months, I have been working slowly through the book of Genesis in my personal devotions. As I go, I am recording some thoughts about the passages I read in a couple of note-taking Bibles. My wife and I will give these Bibles to our kids on their respective sixteenth birthdays. Because this is supposed to be a labor of love for them, specifically, I realized I needed to keep some of the insights between me and them. I have not, therefore, been sharing every insight on my blog. Today, however, I came across a significant thought in Genesis 48 that I thought was too important not to share. Continue reading ‘Genesis 48: He crossed his hands!’

March 2017 Seminary Update, Supplemental

One of the things that Wesley Seminary offers is the opportunity for people with undergraduate degrees in ministry and such to apply for “Advanced Standing” in various classes. This allows a student to receive seminary credit for specific subjects in which they have already attained at least 6 undergraduate credits with sufficient grades. Continue reading ‘March 2017 Seminary Update, Supplemental’

Seminary Update

This evening, I finished up week 8 of my second semester of seminary training. Given that the semester is 16 weeks long (not counting one week of break), that means that I have officially reached the halfway point of the semester. Assuming it will take me 7 semesters to complete the requirements for my M.Div., I am approximately 20% of the way through the program. Woot! Continue reading ‘Seminary Update’

Lot

The story of Lot recorded in Genesis 19 is one of tragedy. A chapter after Abraham begged God to spare Lot and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for his sake – Lot and his household should have amounted to more than 10 righteous people in those cities! – we discover just how misplaced Abraham’s confidence was. Continue reading ‘Lot’

Quiet

Genesis 17 opens with God coming upon Abram and delivering the clearest word of the Lord yet: Live in my presence blamelessly, circumcise yourself and all the males in your household, and I will give you a son by your wife Sarai by this time next year. It was a profound revelation, to be sure, but I can’t help but notice that it was 14 years too late. Between the end of Genesis 16 and the beginning of Genesis 17, there is a 13-year time jump, and that was a big deal. In the beginning of Abram’s relationship with God, God spoke to him on a fairly regular basis. But after Genesis 15, God had apparently gone silent. For well more than a decade, God had seemed absent from Abram’s life, and it was likely the greatest test of faith that Abram would ever experience. The belief he demonstrated in Genesis 15 was clearly strained, else he wouldn’t have compromised in Genesis 16 to marry Hagar. Indeed, the hardest part about believing and following God is when He is quiet, often for long periods of time. The real challenge of faith, though, is believing – acting as though we’ve already received His promise – even when God is quiet. Continue reading ‘Quiet’

Stay the Course

Genesis 16 tells the story of how Abram and Sarai compromised to see God’s promise realized prematurely. You can hardly blame them because they had already waited 10 years without the child God had promised, and they were not exactly spring chickens before that. But by taking God’s plan into their own hands, they caused themselves great heartache and trouble. Their compromise resulted in marital trouble, and Ishmael and his descendants would certainly fulfill the blessing God revealed to Hagar. Whenever we think our plan is better than God’s and so plotĀ our own shortcut, it backfires. You can count on it. So stay the course. Follow God’s plan, even when your patience wears thin.

Genesis 15: In the Meantime and other ramblings

There is so much important stuff in Genesis 15 that it’s difficult to even express it all. Several years had passed, and yet Abram and Sarai had none of the offspring God had promised. Despite all that God had done for them in the meantime, it was entirely natural for them to question and doubt. Several things hit me in this chapter: Continue reading ‘Genesis 15: In the Meantime and other ramblings’