Sunday, February 26

Feb 26: Genesis 17

In today’s reading, Genesis 17, we read that God restores Abram’s faith.
  1. In this chapter God meets with Abram face to face to restore his confidence in his promise to give Abram children.
  2. Then God gives Abram a rather harsh command. God tells Abram he wants Abram to circumcise himself and all males in his household as a sign of their covenant with God. This must have been a hard thing to commit to being almost a 100 years old. And imagine what all the other males in Abram’s household must have been thinking. But Abram trusts God and goes through with it all.
  3. God also renames Abram (meaning father) to Abraham (father of nations). This must have been very hard for Abraham to hear. God promised him a son and now he’s 99 years old and God promises that he still will give him a son; then to top it off God renames him “Father of nations.” It’s no wonder Abraham laughed.
Have you ever had a difficult time trusting God? It probably couldn’t be nearly as hard as what Abraham was having to trust God for. It’s easy to doubt God when we can’t see him or audibly hear him. But let us learn from Abraham’s faith. Walking with God isn’t a passive thing. We have to actively have faith in God’s promises and love for us. Ask God to help you trust him more.

Happy Birthday Krystal!

Today is my beautiful wife's birthday. This is a day I thank God for creating the perfect woman to be a mother to by sons and my best friend.

Happy Birthday Krystal! I love you more everyday babe and I look forward to what's in store for us in the future.

Saturday, February 25

Feb 25: Genesis 16

Genesis chapter 16 is our reading for today. Here we read about Abram’s first son.
  1. In this chapter we read that Sarai, Abram’s wife, told him to sleep with their maid to conceive a child. See, Abram wasn’t the only one having a difficult time believing God would come through on his promise. Honestly we can understand why; they were both in their eighties and supposed to have a kid. Who wouldn’t have a difficult time trusting that would happen?
  2. You might be thinking it’s weird that Sarai would tell her husband to have sex with the maid and you’d be right. Except back then in their culture it was perfectly accepted because the slaves we considered property and conceiving a child through a slave was considered the owner’s legal offspring.
  3. After getting pregnant however, Hagar started acting a little big headed and so she was despised by Sarai. If Hagar would have remembered her place she would have probably been treated very well. But Sarai “mistreated” Hagar (i.e. she probably beat her) and so she ran away.
  4. Then we read that Hagar gave God a new name after he cared for her in the desert and promised her son a nation of his own as well. Hagar called God “El Roi” which means “the God Who sees me.” This is the only time in the Bible God is called by this name.
Today we learn that God sees us even in our most desperate moments. Hagar was pregnant, alone  in the desert and literally dying of thirst; and God speaks to her. He let’s her know he sees it all and has a plan for her and her son’s life. So the obvious question is: What are you going through right now that you feel alone in? God sees you and your pain. Trust that God still has a plan for your life too. Take some time and talk to him about it. God takes pleasure in watching his followers and helping them through tough times in their lives.

Sunday, February 19

Feb 19: Genesis 15

Genesis 15 is our reading today. In this chapter we see how faith is a decision not something we’re born with.
  1. At the start of this chapter we read a conversation between God and Abram. Abram is having a difficult time trusting in God’s promise to bless him with children. But God reassured him and Abram made the choice to believe God’s promise.
  2. Then God had Abram kill some animals and make a strange walkway. This is difficult for us to grasp today but it was a religious practice God had with people who followed him before Jesus was on earth. We’re not sure why God demanded animal sacrifices but it’s believed that it’s because the act of sacrificing an animal would impress upon us the significance of our sins and promises to live for God.
  3. Abram falls into a deep sleep and God foretells to him how the nation of Israel (Abram’s dependents) will be enslaved by the by the Egyptians but how God would free them. We read about this later in the Bible.
In this chapter we read about how Abram had to make the decision to have faith in God’s promises. I’ve often had people ask me how I have faith in God. We have to remember that faith in God isn’t something we’re born with; faith is a decision we make because we’re confident in our God. Do you sometimes have difficulty having faith in God? We all do. But ask God to help you make the decision to have faith in him.

Saturday, February 18

Feb 18: Genesis 14

We’re reading Genesis chapter 14 together today. This chapter shows Abram in a new light.
  1. First we read a lot about various kings and all sorts of people whose names end in “ite.” And we read about a battle where the armies of 5 kings were beaten by the armies of 4 kings. During this defeat Lot, Abram’s nephew, was captured.
  2. After Abram learned of this he took 318 men with him and defeated the armies of the 4 kings to rescue Lot and all the other captives. Surely God was involved in Abram’s victory but Abram is seen in a new light after this account of his life. Previously we read about how he goes from being obedient to God to doubting God’s protection. Which leaves us with a view of Abram being some kind of timid shepherd or something but after this there’s no doubt he’s a warrior.
  3. Then did you notice Abram’s obedience to God when he was offered what was probably a lot of wealth from the king of Sodom? It’s Abram’s obedience that kept him close to God. He had his doubts at times but he always tried to follow God with his life.
How about you; do you try to follow God with your life? It’s natural to have doubts at times, we all do. But in spite of your doubts do you follow God’s direction? Ask God to help you have greater faith and obedience to him today.

Sunday, February 12

Feb 12: Genesis 13

We’re continuing with Abram’s story today in Genesis 13.
  1. In this chapter we see how generous Abram was to his nephew Lot. 
  2. Lot was subservient to Abram in that culture but after Lot complained about the land they were living in Abram allowed Lot to choose the better land. 
Abram had every right in their culture to refuse Lot’s desire for the better land but Abram was generous to him. Have you ever had a decision to be generous with someone even when you didn’t have to? What did you do? If we’re followers of Jesus then he calls us to live lives of generosity. Ask God to give you opportunities today to be generous to others.

Saturday, February 11

Feb 11: Genesis 12

Today we’re reading Genesis chapter 12.
  1. In this chapter we start reading the account of the life of Abram. A few months ago Verve did a series on the life of Abraham. You can go back to the sermon archives and listen to “A Life Worth Watching.” He starts off named Abram and then God changes his name later to Abraham.
  2. We see that Abram was a man of great faith in God. God told Abram to leave all he ever knew and God would give him children and a land of his own. Without knowing any details Abram obeyed, took his family and started walking.
  3. We also see in this chapter that Abram falters in his trust that God would protect him at times. When he went to Egypt Abram wouldn’t even admit he had a wife. God protected Sarai from being disgraced and in the end provided a way for Abram and his family to leave Egypt again.
Even people of great faith in the Bible have times of doubt. Living in a relationship with God can be difficult because we can’t see him or audibly hear his voice; it requires faith in his promptings and in what the Bible says. Do you sometimes have difficulty trusting God? We all do but we have to learn to trust him one day at a time. Ask God to help you more quickly trust him.

Sunday, February 5

Feb 5: Genesis 11

We’re continuing in Genesis with chapter 11. 
  1. In this chapter we learn how there came to be so many different languages in the world. 
  2. It might be confusing to us that God would be so upset about the people building a tower but the reason God was so displeased and intervened was because the people were doing it to glorify the supremacy of people. 
  3. Then we read the lineage of Shem (one of Noah’s sons) that ends with a man named Abram. Abram is a major figure in the history of the world and we will learn more about him in the weeks to come.
God’s intervention at the tower of Babel still may be unsettling for you. God didn’t so much “punish” the people when he confused their language and scattered them around the world. God was actually being gracious. God knew that if people started building monuments to their power then they’d forget about their relationship with God and he knew that would ultimately leave them empty inside. God was trying to help keep the human race going in the right direction. Just look at us now, people everywhere are building monuments to themselves and their accomplishments and we’re more empty now than ever before. God knew we were created for a relationship with him. How’s your relationship with God going? Is God just an afterthought at best for you right now? Or do you have a deep growing relationship with him? Ask God to show you where you’re at and help keep you close to him. Life’s full of ups and downs; and God wants to be there with you through it all.

Saturday, February 4

Feb 4: Genesis 10

Today we're reading Genesis chapter 10. This chapter goes through the lineage of Noah’s sons.
  1. Japheth’s descendants were sailors and mastered traveling the waters.
  2. Ham’s descendants were great warriors but we’ll see later that from Ham was born the future enemies of people who follow God.
  3. Shem had many descendants as well and from these people Jesus was eventually born.
From Noah and his sons the whole earth was repopulated. Sounds crazy to us today because we’re so far from that. The interesting thing is if we keep these people in mind and see how they and their descendants play into the rest of the story.