Category: Genesis

Prayer BackgroundBut God. Those two words that are so powerful in our lives. I especially think about these words when it comes to prayer.

Abram was worried that he would not have any children that could carry on the family bloodline. He wanted heirs, sons. I hear in Genesis chapter 15 a conversation with God. Here is a beautiful view into a prayer from Abram. I can hear the pain in his voice as Abram cries out to God; “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house in Eliezer of Damascus?”

Abram is asking God for a miracle. You see, Abram is quite old at this time and his wife Sarai is past her childbearing years. But the voice of God comes; “This man shall not be your heir, your very own son shall be your heir.” Great news, but how is this going to happen given the fact of the age of Abram and Sarai? It seems impossible.

But God.

Where have you been in your prayer life lately? Have you been asking God for something that seems impossible, something so outside the box, that you might not believe God will answer? Is it something that because of everything you know about your circumstance, you just know that it can’t possible come? If you think about it, all that Abram knew about his situation told him that having a child was impossible. He was pretty old, Sarai was too old to have kids anymore, and he wasn’t going to find another wife. It was impossible. But God.

I had this vision and dream of a marriage retreat, one that I believe God placed on my heart. But every time I thought about it, I thought that it would be impossible. I could never pull this off, so I kept putting on the ‘back burner’ waiting but thinking that it would never happen. But God.

God had other plans. Through the help of the leadership team at Lanark UMC and long hours and always encouraging words of my wife, Sherry, we were able to bring this prayer to life. Because God had the original plan. As I prayed for couples and marriage relationships all over, God spoke about giving them some help. This prayer was the catalyst for the Thrive Marriage Enrichment retreat.

Abram prayed, actually had a conversation with God, about having children. And even in both his and wife’s old age, God blessed them with Isaac. When every thing seemed impossible, God entered. Where in your prayer life to you need to see that with God, all things are possible?

When Bad Things Happen……

As I finished Genesis tonight, something jumped out at me. Genesis 50;20 says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

We have all asked the question, why do bad things happen? In part, here is our answer. If you don’t remember, let me refresh you on what is going on in the last few chapters of Genesis. Joseph, son of Jacob, is considered for murder, hidden in a well and then finally sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Pretty low on the “I’m having a great day” totem pole. But in the years to follow, Joseph eventually interprets dreams for the Pharoah of Egypt regarding 7 fruitful years followed by 7 years of famine and by doing this finds favor in the Pharoah’s eyes and is put in charge of all of Egypt. He becomes the Pharoah’s right hand man with just about as much power as the Pharoah himself.

This all comes back around so that Joseph is able to save his family and many others by the power that was given to him, all because his brothers treated him so poorly and sold him into slavery. I go back to the verse that I quoted earlier, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” God uses trials and tribulations, problems and setbacks, health and sickness for good. God can use the worst thing that has ever happened to you, and use it for something beautiful.

The next time you find yourself in the middle of a valley, stuck in a problem, wondering if things will ever go right; trust that God is preparing you for something much greater. He is preparing you to be a witness and a servant in His greater plan, His greater purpose. Trust Him, and live!

What is the hardest thing that has ever been asked of you? Pretty tough question if I ask myself. I get asked a lot of things at work, at home, with other friends and some of them seem pretty hard. However, one that really sticks out in my memory is when Sherry and I were told that we could leave the hospital after the birth of Stephanie, but our daughter was going to have to stay there for a couple of months. Leaving my daughter in the hospital while Sherry and I went home was probably the hardest thing that has ever been asked of me. How about you?

In Genesis chapter 22, we find Abraham taking his only son Isaac to an alter to offer a burnt sacrifice to God. But Abraham brings only himself, Isaac, wood, fire and a knife. Where is the offering? God has asked Abraham to offer his son as the sacrifice, his only son! First, how could God ask this of Abraham and second, how could Abraham follow through? Isaac is his only son, he has no others so God is asking him to stop the family blood line with Abraham. What a request!

Now my thought of leaving Stephanie in the hospital for a couple of months doesn’t seem so hard after all. Is it bad enough that Gods asks Abraham to do this, or that Abraham almost goes through with it? Of course he would have, he had Isaac bound on top of the alter and his knife drawn to slay his only son. What must Isaac have been thinking? There really is no mention of what was going on in Isaac’s mind as his father was about to kill him. Just then, God intervened with an angel to tell Abraham to stop.

But Abraham had the faith and the fear in God to do all that was asked of him, regardless of the cost, even if it cost him everything. How are we in faith. Do we have the faith to listen and obey all that God has asked of us? I hope and pray that I do!

As I read Genesis chapter 21, I am reminded that through God, all things are truly possible. Loot at Abraham and Sarah, for so long they wanted to have children but were never able to. Then, when they were old, God proved what He could do and gave a son to Abraham and Sarah.

Sarah was amused about this because she didn’t think this was possible. The world has told her that it was not going to happen, that she would not give birth to a son. But God. God stepped in and proved his power by making all the impossible things possible.

Think about your lives today, about all of the things that the world tells us are impossible. I’m sure you have all run into someone who has told you that you couldn’t do something. Something that they or the world has determined to be impossible. Stop listening to the voices of this world and focus your ears on the voice of truth who is telling you that it is possible, and He can make it happen if you just believe in Him and trust Him to guide you on the path that He has chosen for you. Everything is possible, with God!

Bargaining with God

In Genesis 18, a couple of things happen to Abraham.

First is when God tell Abraham and Sarah that they will have a son. Sarah can hardly believe what she was hearing, now that she was old she was going to have the pleasure and raising a son. The Lord asks, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” When you think about certain things happening in your life, always remember that nothing is impossible with God by your side.

Three visitors arrived at Abraham’s tent that night, but Abraham addressed them as one person, Lord. Did Abraham see God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that night? He knew who it was that was there as he bowed low when he met them. He also pleaded with the three visitors to stay and rest before they went on their way.

The second part of this chapter has Abraham bargaining with God. He wants God to spare Sodom. He asks God, because he knew there were many in Sodom that were not following God’s law, if he would destroy the entire city, even the righteous. He said, “What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?” God is just right? God would not destroy good people just because the majority are evil?

But listen to Abraham as he carries on this conversation with God. God says he will not destroy Sodom if there are fifty righteous people in it. Realizing his error, Abraham asks, “what of there are only 45?” God again agrees not to destroy the town if there are 45 righteous in it. This goes on until they reach the number of ten people. I see some good bargaining going on here. Abraham was possibly arguing with God about the future demise of an entire town.

What does this say to us? I would pose this; we can dialog with God and reason with Him if what we are asking is for the good of the kingdom of heaven, if it is just and does good. Earlier I wrote about crying out to God, this one being a little more wrestling with our circumstances in life and what we believe is right. In the end though, we need to trust in God’s judgement, if the answer is no, the answer is no.

Cry Out!

Can we plead to God? Can we offer our cries of need, concern or desire to our Father in heaven? Absolutely! Read some of the Psalms. Most of the Psalms begin with heartfelt, gut wrenching cries of need, however they seem to always end in praising God almighty. Proving over and over again that no matter what storm we may be in the middle of, we should always praise the Lord.

I know there have been times that I have cried out to God. Why does this happen to me? Why didn’t I get that promotion I wanted? Why did my grandfather pass away so early? There where so many others as well. If I could only go back and realize that God was in control and that I should have been praising him for all of the lessons I learned throughout my life. I can now see how some of those times helped to mold my personality and lead me down the paths that have now led me to where I am today.

Praise God in your everyday lives, but don’t let that stop you from questioning God. Ask Him about the situations you are in, ask Him why things are happening to you. Now that you have done that……listen! Listen to what He is telling you, what he is telling you through the problems and trying times you are going through. Now finish by praising God for everything he has brought you through and the things that will continue to help you with. Trust Him, He will never fail you.

The Call of Abram

The call of God. It’s never easy and almost always calls us to step out in faith. 

Why is it that when we want to do something, it never really stretches us. Maybe because deep down we know what we can safely accomplish and maybe we are afraid of failure. Afraid that we will fall short of our goals and dreams. When we set out to do things on our own accord, we have nothing higher to put faith and trust in.

Faith is such a strong word and one that should not be just thrown around like it doesn’t mean anything, because for me, it means everything. Everyday we rely on faith and trust. The world around us uses these words like they were dime store candy and meant to be thrown away. Then Christ comes into our lives and our life becomes one that is rooted in those two words, faith and trust. Of course I could not leave out love, after all that is the greatest word! p down, we know what our limitations are and just what we think we can accomplish. However, God knows what we truly can accomplish if we are pushed. He knows our true potential and what talents we have, I mean, He gave them to us, right?

I know we just made it through Valentines Day, 2012 but I’m not talking about the love the world tells us about, but the love that Jesus demonstrated for us, agape love. So I say, Happy Valentines Day and I hope you experience agape love this week.

Buildings to the Sky

So the men of Genesis decided they were going to build something to their own greatness. They wanted to build a city and a tower, a tower that would stretch to the heavens so they could make a name for themselves.

Now, we see many times in the Bible when people decide they are more important than God, and want to build something or do something to make a name for themselves. They want to leave a legacy here on earth to their own greatness. God decides to teach them a lesson. He scatters them all over the earth and also confuses them by giving them different languages so they cannot understand what everyone else is saying.

So many times this story repeats itself throughout history, but yet we still do not listen. Stop thinking of yourselves! If you want to gain here on earth, help others around you, then you will be lifted high in heaven. If you want to leave a legacy here on earth, leave a story that others will talk about. Not a story that focuses on us, but the story of each one of us focusing on our Savior. Show the rest of the world what it means to live for Christ.

Don’t build the next biggest tower toward heaven because we all know that buildings come crashing down, but our love and faith in our God never fails and He will never fail us.



Control Your Thoughts

The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. Genesis 6: 5

Wow, this sounds like today. We have traveled so far from God and His plan for us. There are many of us on this earth that still follow and believe, but it seems like there are many more that are trying to drag us down and feed us with lies. Temptation lurks around just about every corner and it does not let up even for a minute.

If it were not for the promise God made to Noah in the next chapter of Genesis, I would feel afraid of when the next flood was coming. I mean, I don’t even know how to build a boat, I sometimes have a hard time getting one into the water. God promised Noah and the rest of us that He would never destroy the earth again. Good News!

Let’s look at the verse I quoted earlier again, the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil all of the time. Only evil, not a shred of goodness was found. I know there are times when I remember the things that I had thought throughout the day and feel bad about some of my thoughts. But they are not “all” evil, most are good thoughts with some bad ones thrown in. But this shows just how much God wants us to pay attention not only to our actions that everyone else sees, but also our thoughts that only God and we see. Try this, during your day, make notes of some of your thoughts and take inventory at the end of the day to see where you fell during the day. This exercise is not meant to tear you down but to show how you can build yourself up and fight the temptation that creeps in without you knowing it.

Thank you God for the rainbows!

Cain’s Punishment

What’s the worst that could happen? Have you ever asked this question of anyone, maybe of yourself? I think at some point, I have. It happens when you reach a point of not knowing whether or not you should do something radical, do something conservative or even do nothing at all. You aren’t sure what is going to happen so you think; what’s the worst that could happen.

In Genesis 4; 16, I hear the worst that could happen. “So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” Can you imagine your world without God? Without your Savior?

I think of a barren desert for miles and miles with no end in sight. No chance of escape. No life, no water, no food, no love; nothing. That is the worst that could happen.

Now Cain did something wrong, he killed his brother Abel because he was jealous. Cain was not being looked on with favor from the Lord and he wanted what his brother Abel had. But instead of changing his ways, he took his brother out in the fields and killed him. Then he did something that we are almost all guilty of; he lied. God asked him where his brother was and Cain answered, I don’t know. How many times have our parents asked where something was or how something got broken and we answer, I don’t know? I am reminded of the old Family Circle cartoon with a ghost double of one of the kids who always wears the sign; “Not Me.”

Now, with my little understanding of the scriptures, I still know that you can’t hide anything from God. Partly because He wants to be with you at all times. He wants to protect you and tell you that you are loved. So why did Cain lie to God? I’m not exactly sure but I do know that God punished him by sending him away. Away from Eden and God’s presence. I can not image my life without God in it. Let me rephrase that! I don’t want to image my life without God in it. I want Him to walk with me every day and be there to celebrate my triumphs as well as to be there when I fall short and need encouragement.

I pray that no one ever is punished in this way, but I know there are some that do not believe in God and if I or someone else does not show them how much God loves them, then they may be separated from God when their time on this earth is over. Not on my watch!