All tagged Genesis

Genesis - The End: It is All About Family

We started this journey awhile back: April 16, some 165 days ago. When you spend over 5 months working at something, it pays to reflect. When we began, I wrote: “And sometimes it's messy. But we need to learn our story. Not facts, but rather our family story. Because at the heart of that story is our God. Reading Genesis, we will come face to face with evil and good; hatred and love; and law and grace. What we will find is not just the story of humanity, but of how our God loves us.” As I reflect a few things stand out. They have to do with God’s family, God’s purpose, God’s method, and more…

Genesis Day 70: Almost done! (plus a contest)

Have you done any genealogical research? Before Ancestry.com and DNA test kits and internet in every home, you actually had to go somewhere. Talk to town historians. See great-aunt Margaret. Visit cemeteries and libraries. Nowadays, it’s all at our fingertips. We all want to know where we came from. Why such interest in the past? Maybe it’s part curiosity. But maybe, just maybe…

Genesis Day 69: When You Are Left

There comes a time in every life, when you are the one left—the oldest generation. We might get to this point in our lives via different avenues, but sooner or later, you understand that you’re the oldest generation. For me, it came after both my parents went to be with the Lord. Dad first, then mom. And it was a good thing. They lived their lives well, fought the good fight, kept the faith—and now they are enjoying God for eternity in heaven. Why bring it up? Because as we read Genesis 50, it is easy to be critical of Joseph’s brothers. They are gripped with fear about what Joseph might do, now that their father has passed into life immortal.

Genesis Day 68: Transition Points: Legacy, Those Final Words

Some of us have been at the death bed of a loved one who was well enough to utter their last wishes. Sometimes, we must wait until the reading of the Last Will and Testament to find out what the recently departed desired and felt. Regardless of whether or not you know what is coming, it is hard and emotional for those who remain.

I am trying to picture this scene in Genesis chapter 49. Jacob communicates, in person, parting words to his sons. His words are more than a blessing. His words communicate how he sees each of them.

Genesis Day 67: Transition Points: Settling the Family

Today, perhaps, we are more used to blended families. At least we would like to think we are more accepting. I am not sure whether we are or are not. My dad once told me that when Italians and Irish and Polish men stood shoulder to shoulder in a foxhole, or when they were firing a 16-inch shell from a battleship, they didn’t much care what each other’s ethnicity was. We are naturally proud of our heritage. And it’s good to celebrate our differences, what makes us unique. However, too often our pride turns to prejudice. Today Jacob is dealing with an important family matter—Joseph’s two Egyptian sons.

Genesis Day 66: Transition Points: Moving & Settling

How many times in your life have you moved your home? For the first half of my life, I didn’t move very much. However, in the last 13 years, we have moved 5 times. I have family in the military; one of them used to joke, “No sense cleaning the closets, we clean them out when we move every 2 to 3 years.” While moving to a new location can sometimes bring excitement, it is also sure to bring lots of work, and the challenge of forming new relationships—it is always a time of transition. The Bible in chapter 47 of Genesis presents us with a very common experience: moving and getting resettled in a new location.

Genesis Day 65: Family Reunion

What is the longest you have ever been apart, isolated from, your family? For me it was when I sailed as a midshipman in the Merchant Marines. That period of my life was so long enough ago, that it predates our current internet, global cell phones, etc. You wrote letters—and you received letters—but only when you hit port. Everyone back home is getting on with their lives while you are off in another world. Then it happens—you are reunited with your family and friends. Yesterday I pointed back to the theme that we launched this journey upon: family—God’s family. Today we read about one of God’s big family reunions.

Genesis Day 64: Train Wrecks, Collisions and Other Family Events

“Oh, there no place like home for the holidays”—so the song goes. Yet not everyone looks forward to gathering around the table for a meal with their family. Not sure where you land on the family dinner scenario, but consider the following... When I invited people to read Genesis together, I wrote, “Do you ever think about God’s family? God’s family (that includes us!) is all connected. And sometimes it’s messy. But we need to learn our story. Not facts, but rather our family story. Because at the heart of that story is our God.” Perhaps “sometimes it’s messy” should be in BOLD, and a larger font, with a few exclamation points on the end!

Genesis Day 63: Learning to say Thank You…as an Adult

My wife has taught me a few things: things you might have thought I would already have known! One big one was to simply accept a gift or compliment, and say thank you. She observed that whenever a gift or compliment came my way, I would defer, deflect, or even disagree. I will spare you the psychological analysis of why, and simply say she was right. Why do I bring this up? Because in this section of Genesis there is grace…can you see it?

Genesis Day 62: Can't we just forget about it and move forward?

I have noted before in this blog that I am divorced. I don’t write about it for a number of reasons. First and foremost, because others are involved. It is not just my experience, it is theirs. To write about it is, in essence, to also write about them. I do not have their permission, nor do I wish to cause them to have to think about it. Yet it is there. I know you have painful history in your life, too. And sometimes the people from those events come back into our lives. Today, as Joseph’s story is reaching its climax, the people from his painful past —his brothers — reappear.

Genesis Day 61: A long wait... and then it happens

Most of us, or maybe some of us, think about life as a slow linear progression. I am not sure why, but I am one of those people—despite evidence to the contrary. Today we come to Joseph. He has been waiting. Not just the two years he has been in jail. He has been waiting, and working, much longer. His life is about to change. When our life changes, out of the middle of nowhere—is that the random chance of the universe, is it our just desert for our patient hard-work, or is something (or Someone) else at work?

Genesis Day 60: Does God Speak in Dreams?

Imagine, you are having your morning coffee, sitting where you always sit. Across from you is the person who always sits across from you for morning coffee. Then they say, “Last night God spoke to me in dream.” Maybe you spilled your coffee on your shirt. Or, maybe your ears perked up.

When some people read the Bible, they dismiss anything that smacks of the supernatural. Others like to discuss how in the past people put more weight on dreams, but today, given what we know about science and the sub-conscious, we’ve moved past this sort of thing. All of that is nice, but our text today says, “Does not the interpretations of dreams belong to God?”

Genesis Day 59: The Lord was with me…

“God certainly has blessed that person.” Ever used that phrase? Many of us say it when we see someone who has all the trappings of success. Perhaps they have a good job, are physically attractive, a happy family—maybe even wealth. We often make a direct connection between those external signs and a blessing from God. But is that what we learn from the Bible?

There is a repeating line in Genesis 39: “The Lord was with Joseph.”

Genesis Day 58: Life is Never a Straight Line

Monday it was 17… well, this year I have reached one of the ages that end with the number “0”—and I don’t mean 40. Ugh! I find myself reflecting on all the earlier years. As I look back on my life, it has been anything but a straight line. Why do I bring this up? As I read this chapter of Genesis, I find myself reflecting on the earlier chapters, and I see crazy twists and turns in this story. Can we notice just how many times Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and now Jacob’s children are living their lives in very UN-straight ways? Today’s chapter of Genesis is about Judah (Jacob’s son), and it doesn’t cast him in a very positive light.

Genesis Day 57: Coming of Age... at 17

Think back to when you were 17 years old. Was it a memorable year? (Maybe you are 17 right now!) If you are older than 17, then pick a few memories. What are they? For me, I remember my senior year—with its highs and lows. The highs included a football championship and being selected to attend a military academy. Regardless of what you or I may think of 17-year-olds, God uses them! The story you have read today, Genesis 37, starts with a dreamer—a 17-year-old dreamer (who should probably keep his dreams to himself)…

Genesis Day 56: Ready—Fire—Aim

Ready—Fire—Aim... that old saying for people who pull the trigger before they know what they ought to be firing at. At issue is whether or not we are aiming at the right target. So... what is the right target? You may be tempted to skip over this chapter in Genesis. I find it offers an opportunity to reflect. It reminds me of a quote from Stephen Covey that goes something like, “Nobody ever laid on their deathbed and wished they spent more time at the office.” I heard it during a season of my life when I was spending a lot of time at the office.

Genesis Day 55: God finishes what He starts…in each of us

Sometimes we feel alone. We have hopes, dreams, goals…and they are just not falling into place. We make progress, but then, despite our best efforts, we seem stalled. Maybe someone has come along and seemingly blown up what we have been working towards. Or maybe we just seem to be stuck in neutral. Our long-sought and promised life—The Promised Land—seems far off. We feel alone. It might be more than loneliness. It might feel like defeat. We’ve all been there. Maybe you are there right now. Maybe you want to throw in the proverbial towel.

We are coming to a place in Genesis where Jacob’s presence in the story will be diminished. While it may seem like two of his sons have blown up his dream, God is not done.

Genesis Day 54: Just when you think you’ve arrived…

You work hard. You struggle through. You make the hard choices. Finally, you arrive at your long-awaited destination. That place in your life that you have been hoping for and working towards. Now it is time to simply sit back and relax. Then the phone rings.

I wonder what Jacob was thinking and feeling with the news of Dinah. He certainly had a flood of emotions. He no doubt was thinking, “what should I do?”

Genesis Day 53: Hope for the Best… Plan for the Worst… Lead from the Front

“If you are not moving forward, you are moving backward.”—so goes the saying. Not sure if you ascribe to that axiom. There is another saying: “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” Life does seem to require we make a conscious decision about whether we will press on towards the goal. Pressing on requires the opposite of foolishness—it requires wisdom. Yet if you are in the middle of a journey, it may be that pressing on is what God is calling you to do. This is the position we find Jacob in, as we read Genesis 33.

Genesis Day 52: Removing Your Outer Shell - The Layers of Our Lives

“I used to think you were arrogant.” Ouch! That is how a conversation began, the end-result of which was the peeling-away of a layer of protection I had wrapped myself in. We often use layers. Some layers are good, but not always—sometimes we need to have a layer ripped off, so that we can grow and change.  For three successive posts, I have reflected on change, both systematic, and personal. Today I want to focus on the personal. I don’t want to rush out of chapter 32 without intentionally staring at Jacob wrestling with God.