All in Scripture

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 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.

Genesis Day 51: Creating a New Culture…Don’t Stop Short (Part 3 of 3)

“Look, we’ve come a really long way. We have achieved what we wanted to achieve.  We don’t need to jeopardize all we’ve accomplished.” That is a phrase you will hear when you are driving for change. Why? Because to arrive at your destination you most likely will need to “cement” your changes. And that normally means facing some final, large obstacles.

Chapter 31 of Genesis ends with Laban departing Jacob. You and I, if we were in his shoes, might say, “I’ve done it. I’m free!” Jacob might rationalize, “Why bother to go back to my brother? All it will do is open up old wounds.” Yet stopping now is stopping short of the Vision—God’s Vision.

Genesis Day 50: Creating a New Culture…The Middle (Part 2 of 3)

“It’s a mess.” That is what I thought. We were in the middle of trying to transform ourselves, and our company. When you are halfway there, you still have “large chunks” of your life, your work, your company—that when you look at them—it appears as if nothing has changed. You know you cannot go back to the way things were. What do you do?

I have been suggesting that as we read chapters 30-32 of Genesis, we are witnessing the transformation of a man and a family. This is not just any family. It is the family God will use to launch the nation of Israel…

Genesis Day 49: Creating a New Culture…Amid Stress (Part 1 of 3)

It is one thing to live into a new culture in a season when everything is going well. It is quite another to live your culture amid envy, affliction, and even hatred. Many companies and many people seek to create a new chapter in their lives—be it a new corporate culture or a new and improved individual personality. Trying to turn the corner is hard. Doing it in a swamp of jealously and loathing is more than difficult. You try to hold onto your newfound principles and stay above it. Yet even the most motivated, newly-minted saint will falter. What does this have to do with Genesis 30?

Genesis Day 48: God’s Best-laid Plans…and Us

Some days I think I am doing okay following Jesus. It is not that I have erased my history (I know where I have disappointed God), but in the “here and now” I feel like I am doing okay. I am reading my Bible, saying my prayers, I haven’t lost my patience, and in general, I have kept my emotions in check. Then it happens. Things don’t go my way, or a difficult event takes place, or an important relationship falls apart. I find myself asking God, “Why did You let this happen?” I wonder, is that what Jacob is asking here in Genesis 29?

Genesis Day 47: Defining Moments

Most days, most of us go through the regular motions of life. We wake up, follow our routines, and press on. It is also true that most of us have had major defining moments. I have a bunch of these moments. We all do. Some are huge, life-altering events. Some of those events are full of joy and some are full of pain. Regardless, we have them. And we have been reading about them in Genesis.

Genesis Day 46: The Bible doesn’t sugarcoat life and the knuckleheads that fill it

There are days in our lives when people act out in the craziest of ways. There were those days, those people, in the Bible, too. The amazing thing about the Bible, though, is that it communicates, rather than sugarcoats, those kinds of stories. Today, in Genesis 27, I find one of these situations.

The situations in the Bible often give me pause. I find myself thinking that this is the inerrant Word of God, and yet it is simultaneously communicating a real event in real people’s lives, people who are part of God amazing plan. And today, those people seem to be—at best—knuckleheads.