Tag Archives: jacob

Rededication – Getting back to God’s Plan

chick bethelIf I asked you this morning how your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is, what would be your answer? It’s not a comfortable question, because if we’re truthful, none of us are walking as close to the Lord as we should be. At the end of Wednesday night teen class last night all the teens had cleared out with the exception of a few girls who wanted to talk (such an honor!). One of those young ladies had made the decision to rededicate her life to Christ and her friend encouraged the way.   She wanted to put a marker down that she could look back at and say “This is the day I moved closer to Christ.” While the renewal of our mind should be an everyday occurance because of the garbage that travels through it in the course of a day, rededication is a more serious event. I think of it much like the time in Jacob’s life when he left home. In my mind’e eye I always picture him as a young man, but in truth he was past the age of retirement when he left his parents home heading toward Haran (Genesis 28:10). That puts a some what different perspective on his behavior and a certain need for a getting his heart right with God.

He’d lied to his father, deceived his brother, and his mommy made him run away at 70 years old… I think it was time. His first night on his own wasn’t in an apartment in the city it was on a hillside with a pile of rocks for his pillow and there he found himself with night dreams, visions and a lot of time on his hands. It’s those harsh nights that get me too. When your mind won’t stop reeling of the things in life that are not as they should be and darkness has a tendency to bring things to light… Like the need for a right heart with God.

Jacob’s dream: (Genesis 28:12-15)

And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.

For me that was the equivalency of arriving at church, and at the end of service saying, “Wow! I had no idea God hung out here.” I’m pretty sure there are some folks who still don’t know… but I digress. God had met Jacob there and he didn’t know until he awoke from his sleep. That’s the time of rededication! When you wake up and realize that God is trying to move in your life and you’ve been so far from God’s mindset that you had no idea. When He created us, He spoke a plan but then we get off track. As a child of God we all want it… you know… God to do something great in our lives, but we start going through religious motions. We can do it in our sleep. Don’t cuss, don’t chew, don’t date the guys who do (especially if you’re married), go to church, treat people right and so on and so forth. And then church becomes less of a priority, but we still treat people right! Jacob didn’t even do that. He likely felt as low as a snails belly! He knew he’d messed up.

God wanted to do great things in his life, but first Jacob was going to have to come to terms with God, on God’s terms.

Vs. 17-22

And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

Jacob put that stone down as marker in Bethel (which means house of God) as a reminder that he and God and renewed their relationship in that place. Do you have to be in church? No, but it sure helps set the tone! My young friend had come to church last night with the need to lay a marker down. I can’t wait to see what God does with her life! She’s entering her first year in high school and was ecstatic that a church across the street from her high school was opened once a week by the senior class for a prayer lunch. A group of young people returning back to the place God began dwelling many years ago… What do you think might happen there? Revival!!!!! I hope.

Let’s all go to the Rock! Age doesn’t matter, but God needs us to get back to the plan.

There’s a Rumor Goin’ round… and the Lord started it!

CHICK VICTORY

Turn on the news, listen in on any number of conversations or watch the trending topics of the internet and it’s bound to be there…any number of headings meant to incite fear or at the least cause alarm; end time warnings, antichrist theories and terrorist threats. Our minds are pummeled with images of destruction and yet those of us in America are blessed to live on a soil of peace, at least for today. I’m dumfounded by either the ignorance of leadership or their willingness to hand over the keys of freedom to a liberal, ungodly lot who have no conscience of evil. That’s a pretty harsh statement, but I’d argue its truth and win. I’m not saying that everyone in Washington is on board… but if they’re not, where in the world are they?

For quite a while it’s been on my heart to blog on this incitation of fear that my own heart has fell to upon occasion, but the words didn’t come until today.

2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” So how is that we can have a sound mind in this chaotic world? Only through the Word of God because it is the only true peace on earth.

In the book of Obadiah, in it’s one and only chapter we find the continuing saga of two brothers at odds; Jacob and Esau. A story that began in the book of Genesis and continues through to today, with Edom (the descendants of Esau) being viewed as an example of the antichrist and Jacob (Israel) the chosen nation of God. A little piece of ground that God chose as His own and is still desired to be the possession of anyone at odds with God. And at the root of it all – the pride of men.

Obadiah 1:1-4

The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord God concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the Lord, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised. The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord.

One thing for certain is if God starts a rumor, it still truth. The antichrist, the “heathen’s ambassador” is for certain in our path. Much speculation has occurred on who it is or will be, but he has yet to be revealed. We are however primed and ready to accept the god of lies because we’re allowing ourselves to be engulfed in this fear that the world would have us fall to. The world is looking for a Savior, Who’s been there all along, yet they desire one with cape and crown that they can see. And Satan will provide it. He’ll provide it by two methods: Fear and Pride.

Fear will come to those who do not know the Word of God. And they outnumber those who do. Pride is the political hierarchy that believe that “they” are the solution.

God says of pride in Proverbs 6:16-17 – These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

The pride of man says “I am in control,” but the wisdom of God says, “I know Who’s in control.”

It was pride that caused Lucifer to be kicked out of Heaven, caused Eve to want to be as smart as God, caused the tower of Babel to be built which got the nations scattered, caused Herod to kill all those innocent babies trying to exterminate Christ, and will cause the antichrist to demand to be worshipped in the end times. But it is the humility of the Christian faith, that acknowledges the power of almighty God and His sovereignty that will bring peace to the soul in this world of woe.

Obadiah 1:18 – And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken it.

History has proven God’s word again and again and will continue to do so. Yes we live by faith, not sight. But we also have the historical facts as evidence.

When God said that there would not be any remaining of the house of Esau He meant it. The Edomite extinction began around 300 A.D. when a group of Arabs conquered their capital city Petra and continued through other tenemies until they were completely destroyed by the Romans around 70 A.D. And no one today can tell where an Edomite is located.

The spirit of fear that the world would desire Christians to have shouldn’t be there. If we read and understand the Word of God we can know, regardless of what appears to be going on in the world, God still has FULL CONTROL. And there will come a day that the pride and arrogance of those in the world who desire evil against the nation of Israel and the people of God will be as Esau. None remaining. Amen.

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The Wow Factor in God’s Plan!

Today is the first day of school for the children in our community, so for the purpose of encouraging their little souls last night at Wednesday Bible Study, I taught at lesson on Esau (Who had a poor choice on chow and chicks) – Jacob (Who pursued power and position at great cost) – Leah (Who Labored for Love) and Rachel (Who was a diva of discontent). It was fun lesson but my favorite part was wrap up. I’ll leave you to go back and read Genesis 25-29 if you’d like to catch the full story.

The wrap up…

My goal in choosing these characters was to remind the teens that life doesn’t always go as planned. We sometimes think something is so extremely important that we’ll surely die without it. When in reality it’s merely temporal, like a bowl of soup, and certainly not worthy of trading the magnificent things that God has in store for us.

Relationships with friends and family are complicated, but of those that we have a choice in we need to choose wisely, else God’s plan for our lives could be jeopardized. Esau was firstborn and entitled to the birthright, but I can’t help but believe that Jacob was God’s chosen all along to continue the lineage of Christ. The Momma’s boy Jacob was far from perfect, but he wasn’t as wishy washy as Esau (a man’s man hunter) who gave his birthright away because his tummy was growling and married idol worshipping women who I’m sure took his focus off of the things of God. Jacob’s wrestling for position began at birth (Genesis 25:22), Jacob mentally wrestled, although sometime deceitfully with his brother through life, and he wrestled with God (Genesis 32:24) and got a new name. Jacob was a fighter! interesting side note (Jacob and Esau were likely in their late 60’s when that went down). They were far from the boys that we often see depicted in story books.

Jacob leaves home and gets snookered into marrying two women, one he loves, and one he tolerates. Now this is where the story gets the wow factor! Rachel, who was all that and a bag chips, was the choice bride of Jacob and yet he wasn’t enough, she wanted children. He loved her from the day he laid eyes on her having worked 14 years for her and they felt like but a day. I’m sure the evidence of his love for Rachel was on his face lit up like glory and a knife in the heart of Leah who knew she was wife by default. Jacob worked seven years prior to their marriage, but not for her. So she gave him four children, thinking that surely with each one he would love her more, but it was not so. Genesis 29:31 says “ And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.”

The lesson for my girls was this, – God is the only one that will satisfy your soul. Being the prettiest or the most loved won’t do it. And all those times that you feel you’re the plain Jane, not the most popular, not the most attractive and Satan has you convinced there is not greatness in your life… hang on to the story of Leah.

Here’s the wow factor?

Matthew 1:2 –  Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;

It was Leah’s great x 19ish grandbaby that was the Redeemer of the world. Not the pretty girl Rachel’s. God used Leah to bring salvation into the world through the lineage of Jacob. That thought just blew me away! I was that plain Jane gal, okay, but not great. Never the most popular, talented or beautiful… and yet today I feel like a million dollars because God is using me in such an awesome way.

I urged my teens to hang onto that thought on the days that Satan had convinced them that they didn’t measure up… GOD’S GOT A PLAN!

The God of a Messed Up Generation

jacob

For some reason, I get images and ideas in my mind, and they’re turned into facts. So many things I think I know about scripture and then I’ll discover something that I should have known… and yet didn’t. Like the fact that Jacob was in his mid to late seventies when Isaac accidently gave him his brother’s blessing and he fled from Esau. Now, in my mind I had him as a fairly young man, after all, he was still hanging out in the tents with his mom! And while what his mom certainly did was wrong by encouraging Jacob to deceive Isaac, he was in his seventy’s for crying out loud; he really couldn’t blame his Mom because his diaper was too tight growing up. It was time for him to get out of the tent and be a man. And so Jacob fled… and his story continued as he met a greater deceiver than himself (Uncle Laban), married his true love Rachel (second) after being tricked into marrying her older sister Leah. But now that I realize he was in his eighties, that story makes more sense. His eyesight may not have been what it once was!

Being that this is a blog and not a full blown bible study you’ll have to do your own reading on that story, (Genesis 25-27) for it was but introduction. My point in reminiscing those pages was to remind us of who Jacob was. His name literally means “deceiver.” The Bible said about Jacob and his twin brother Esau that “the children struggled together within her;” They were fighting before birth! Now that’s sibling rivalry; and they’re still fighting in their late seventies. But along the road to restoration of the brother’s relationship, Jacob gets a new name.

Genesis 32:24-28

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.  And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.  And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

A few points and then I’ll leave you to ponder this thought as I was left when I heard a message on it.

  • Jacob began his life in a wrestling match for the position of first born.
  • He swindled his brother out of his birthright and his blessing and on his way to restoration he wrestles again… but this time with God.
  • He receives a new name, Israel, and yet… on several occasions throughout the Bible God continues to call him Jacob, saying “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…”

Why would God go to all that trouble to give Jacob a new name and yet continue to use the name Jacob when reminding his servants of Who He was? Could it be to remind those of us who fail God daily, that God, in all His holiness, still acknowledges that He’s not the God of perfect people, but of deceivers? He gave Jacob a new name, Israel; He restored his relationship with his family much the way we’re given a new name in Glory upon salvation and restored to the family of God, but while we walk down here we’re still deceivers. We’re not a perfect people, but we serve a perfect God.

That thought amazed me yesterday… so much that I was still chewing on it today when I woke up and decided to share. I hope you are equally blessed to know that God is still God even when we’re messed up.

 

How to Keep Your Life in Tune

Yesterday as I sat down to play my fiddle, I heard “ping” and then my “A” string went a little sour, I tightened it and tuned it and a few seconds later, “ping”- it was out even more! As I tuned it again, the “D” string decided it was not getting the attention it desired. “Ping!” again. Are you serious? Then I happened to think about the location of my fiddle, it had been sitting close the gas fire place, which because of the cold temperatures had been kicking on more than usual. The warmth had likely caused the wood to contract and expand allowing my tuning pegs to slip. A little TLC on the “D” string and Old Joe Clark sounded as good as it ever did (insert grin here).

This morning as I awoke and began to ponder the day I began thinking about those slipping pegs. I had moved my fiddle to the other side of the room away from the toasty fire; if only my out of tune life would be so easy to get back into shape. It goes out of tune for the same reason, too close the fire. Troubles and trials seem to travel in groups and one after another I find myself sounding a little sour. It doesn’t take long to hear that “Ping” in life that almost has your string unwound from the peg completely. Something so simple, can push you over the edge.

I’m by no means a seasoned fiddle player, but I knew enough to not get in a panic (although my heart fluttered a little) when I heard the string slip. There was no need to jump to the conclusion that my fiddle playing days were over and I should take up another instrument. That would be the Esau theory of life.

If Esau played the fiddle he would have likely thrown the fiddle away, quit playing music all together. In the story of Esau and Jacob, grandsons to the great Abraham, the friend of God, we find a dose of stupidity for which I can relate. I too have often made decisions in the heat of the moment and then later thought, why on earth did I do that? Esau had been out hunting and was tired and cranky and in a split second decision gave away the blessing of God, the position of authority, his inheritance and privilege as the first born that would have set him up for a sweet life.

Genesis 25:29-32 ~ And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

Jacob is referred to as the deceiver, but I don’t think that title came from this occasion. He later deceived his blind father with the help of his mother (Genesis 27), but in this story Esau was not deceived he sold his birthright to Jacob without quarrel. For a momentary pleasure of a bowl of soup he gave away the blessings of God that would have set him up for life.

How many times have I in the “ping” of the moment made a life altering decision? Too many to count. A new found friend of mine in social media, Sandi Krakowski said the other day that she uses the 7-7-7 theory of decision making. What difference will this decision make in 7 hours, 7 days, 7 months? If Esau had ask himself that question, he’d have gotten his own bowl of soup. But instead he started his life on bad decisions. He later grieved his parents by marrying into the family of Ishmael, another bad decision.

Are you in the midst of a decision? Think it through and use Sandi’s 7-7-7 theory. I used it this week, it works and could save you some serious heartache down the road.

Don’t throw the fiddle away, it makes beautiful music in the Master’s hand. My hand? not so much…