Thursday, January 18, 2007

the first kiss...

Do you recall your "first kiss"? You know the first kiss with the person you absolutely loved!?!? In my reading today in Genesis 29, I came across a first kiss. It didn't seem to turn out quite as expected. You see, I always envision first kisses as romantic adventures during which time stands still and all the world seems to be right.

It didn't quite happen that way with Jacob. He has been instructed by Isaac (his father) to go find a wife - and preferrably not one from Canaan. Isaac further instructs him to go to Rebekah's brother's house (Laban) and find a wife there. So Jacob sets out. It no doubt was a taxing journey - and he undoubtedly experienced many things. He arrives at a well when Rachel - the farm girl - (well, actually scripture calls her a "shepherdess"), shows up. She was drop-dead gorgeous... well, scripture says she was "beautiful of form and face". (that means drop-dead gorgeous to me). Anyway, in verse 11 the Bible says this: "...Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept..." Talk about giving a girl a complex!

Why in the world did Jacob react this way to this tender moment... this "first kiss"? Perhaps he was homesick and missed mom? I could see that, I guess...but he was kissing a beautiful girl! Was he just overwhelmed by the whole thing in finding someone so beautiful, so right that he just couldn't hold it in? I don't know!

What do you think? Drop a line and let me know what you think about this strange "first kiss".

God's word is full of fascinating stories and principles that will absolutely change your life... even your love life! Get in it and search its pages!

God bless, and please pass the creamer...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Lessons from Genesis 24

Genesis 24 was where I was studying earlier today. It is a long chapter detailing the circumstances of how Isaac (Abraham's son) got his wife - Rebekah. For some it is a familiar story - for others, unknown. It is worth a second... or first... look!! It is a great narrative of how God demonstrates His faithfulness, sovereignty and guidance in His children's lives.

Long story - short version here:
Abraham is growing older - he is just now a widower. His wife Sarah has died and he has just buried her. He is concerned for his son, Isaac. He wants Isaac to have a wife from their own people, and so he employs one of his faithful servants with the task of finding a wife for him. Abraham makes the servant swear that he will find a wife from Abraham's people and not from the land from which he originally came. The servant agrees.

As the servant heads out to find a wife for Isaac, he stops at a well to water his camels. He then stops and prays, asking God to specifically identify Isaac's future wife by the way that she would respond to his asking for water. She would not only give him water, but also water the camels. With this short prayer he watches the women come to the well.

He sees Rebekah, who is very beautiful - and he runs over to her asking for a drink. She quickly gives him a drink, and then states that she will also water the camels. She then quickly empties her jar into the trough, runs and refills her jar and then proceeds to make sure the camels have enough water to drink. (I just love the emphasis in scripture on how quickly everybody is moving - its kind of interesting!)

The servant then proceeds to give her some bracelets and rings - basically asking her if she would like to be Isaac's wife - and she runs off to tell her mother these things. He then immediately bows down and worships God, praising Him for all that He has done in response to his prayer. He is invited to Laban's house (Rebekah's brother) and is invited to have dinner with the family.

Before he takes a bite he stops to testify about what has taken place and ask what they think about the prospect of Rebekah becoming Isaac's wife. This of course leads to them asking Rebekah if she wanted this, which she did, and then announcing their blessing on it.

(Okay - so it wasn't the short version! )

What are some lessons that I pulled away from this mornings study? Here they are:
  1. Bathe everything in prayer & then act in faith. The servant prayed before interacting with any of the girls at the well. He was dependent on God. I need to have that kind of dependence!
  2. Remember to praise God for His answers to prayer. The servant stopped and immediately gave thanks to God for His answer to specific prayer. How often do I demonstrate ungratefulness by not taking time to recognize God's answers to my prayers?
  3. Testify of God's goodness & working in my life. The servant recounted the whole story - not leaving any details out - of how God brought him to this point of asking for Rebekah to go back with him to marry Isaac. The people around the table had an opportunity to rejoice in the goodness of God too! I need to proclaim the working of God in my life - so that others are encouraged by His working!

One other thing from the end of Chapter 24. It mentions Isaac going out in the fields in the evening and meditating. The spiritual discipline of meditation is a unused discipline in many Christian's life. I have been challenged lately to increase this discipline - perhaps more next time on how & what that looks like in a believer's life.

Until then, God bless (and keep the java hot!).

Monday, January 15, 2007

El Olam...

El Olam... The Everlasting God.
I came across this wonderful name of God in my reading in Genesis 21 today. In verse 33 it states: "...And Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God..."

God's eternality - an interesting concept which I don't quite meditate on near enough. It is very easy to get wrapped up with & consumed with our personal lives and all the little details that go with them. However, we are a tiny blip on the timeline of eternity. Our lives - the vapors - are nothing more than a brief hic-cup... a tick of a clock... a millisecond of eternity. God is eternal. Let your mind try to get around that concept.

How about this reference in Isaiah 40:28: "...Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable..." He is immutable - no changing... everlasting.

Or this out of Psalms 100:5: "...For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness to all generations..." He is good - always has been, always will be. Faithful - forever.

I have begun writing characteristics of God in the margins of my Bible as I see them played out through Scripture. Things such as: Sovereignty, Faithfulness, Eternal, etc. I suggest you do this as well. What a wonderful picture of God that will develop before your eyes!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My how time flies! I haven't updated this blog since last year... ha ha - I wonder how many other bloggers have used that same line?!? The holiday season was an incredibly busy one for me - and then there was the sickness that came just after Christmas. I have not been that sick for many years, and am so thankful that I live in a country that has wonderful medical technology!

As part of our encouraging our church members to study God's Word this year, our church has a Read through the Bible plan which coincides with the Sunday sermons. It has been an interesting start to the new year! We are reading chronologically through Scripture, and are almost finished with the book of Job. I am amazed at Job's steadfastness, even though God is largely silent towards him much of the time.

I currently have five different studies going right now, and I never seem to have time to do any of them adequately: Chronological reading plan, youth group reading plan, Hebrews study, James study, Anthropology study and misc other things in there like: sermons and youth group lessons! Some days my head spins!

I am working on "new year's resolutions" such as: praying more in individual intercessory prayer, memorizing more scripture, drinking more water and much less pop, less snacking between meals, etc.

Have you made any resolutions? I am finding that this is not a popular thing. I love the new year and the focus it brings, but more and more people that I deal with skip the resolutions. Many feel that failure is imminent so they figure "why try?" I feel that "nothing ventured, nothing gained". May God give you the endurance and perseverance to accomplish what He needs you to do this coming year!