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Category Archives: Genesis

When The Going Gets Tough . . .

Sometimes things are overwhelming.  I’m am not talking about a busy schedule; I am talking about those things that happen when it seems like hope is lost. These moments are hard, and we tend to ask the question, “where is God?”  There is a simple answer to this question – He is right there with you.

We need look no farther than the account of Joseph in Genesis.  At times, things were pretty rough and overwhelming in Joseph’s life.  Where was God when Joseph’s brothers threw him into the pit?  Where was God when Joseph was sold into slavery?  Where was he when Joseph was falsely accused of an attempted rape?  Where was God as Joseph was innocently thrown in prison and then forgotten about?  Where was God?  Acts 7:9 tells us, “And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him.”

We live in a Genesis 3 world.  This means that everything around us is corrupted and tarnished by sin.  Evil takes place all around us because mankind rebels against the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, God.  Jesus told the disciples that they would have trouble in this world, but they were not to fear because he had overcome the world (John 16:33).

Are things overwhelming?  I want to encourage you to have hope.  I am not speaking of hope as if it is wishful thinking; I am talking about an anticipated certainty.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18 tells us, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Don’t lose heart.  I cannot promise you that your current situation will change, but I can promise you that if you lean into God and the truth of his love you will find hope.  This is because our momentary affliction is nothing compared to the eternal glory that awaits us.  Our circumstances do not change God’s love and purpose for our lives. We trust in God’s plan and we faithfully proclaim with Joseph that what is meant for evil, God intends for good (Gen. 50:30).

Our hope is in the Lord.  By the work of the Holy Spirit, through the redemption of Christ, God is bringing us to a place where his presence will be uninterrupted by sin.  Don’t let the current circumstances lose sight of your hope in Christ.  Remember that God is with you, even when you don’t see Him or feel Him.

 
 

Hey Batter, Batter . . .

It is easy to be distracted.  Some of you will begin reading this and not make it to the end because something else catches your attention.  It is as if there is someone yelling “hey batter, batter . . . swing” just to make us miss something.  What if the thing we miss is important?  What if we miss something great because we are paying attention to something that is meant to distract us?  Satan desires to keep us distracted.  He wants us to be blinded to God’s work and God’s blessings.  This has been a strategy since the Garden of Eden.  In Genesis 3 we have the first account of Satan distracting man from the work and blessings of God.

Think of all that Adam and Eve had at their disposal.  In Genesis 2:16, they are told that they can eat from every tree of the garden, except . . .  Yes, we like to focus on the except.  We mull it over in our minds and let it become the focus of our thoughts.  Do you see the strategy?  Let’s go back to chapter 2.  At this point, Adam and Eve seem fine with this exception.  After all, they have every other tree in the garden to eat from.  God’s work and blessings are abundant.  They are completely satisfied with them, but things change in chapter 3.  Here is that deceptive strategy.

The serpent (Satan) begins to distract them with what they cannot have.  That’s right . . . He yells “hey batter, batter” and they swing.  They are so distracted that they forget the abundant work and blessings they are satisfied with in chapter 2.  We don’t know how big the Garden of Eden was, but let’s speculate for a minute.  The Virginia Department of Forestry suggests that a Christmas tree farm can plant about 1,037 trees per acre of land.  So, let’s imagine that the Garden of Eden is only 2 acres.  Now, we will fill that with only 1/3 of the suggested trees.  That leaves us with about 691 trees planted in the Garden.  That means that Adam and Eve have access to 99.997% of the trees.  They are only forbidden from eating 0.003%.  What a significant difference!

It seems illogical to be enticed by that little number, but that is the way Satan works.  There are times you may be distracted by the 0.003%, but don’t swing.  Don’t let Satan make you miss recognizing the abundant work and blessing of God in your life.  Don’t miss out on God’s goodness because you are focusing on what you do not have; you might not have it for a reason.

This post was published in The Monitor of Naples, Texas on 11/24/16.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in Genesis, Monitor Articles, Uncategorized

 

Single Parents

A few weeks ago, my wife went to a women’s conference in Indianapolis with a friend.  For those of you that don’t know, I have four great kids, but this trip left me to be a “single” parent for those four days.  We survived and everything went well.  People in the church helped me as there were a few emergencies that needed my attention, but I want to tell you one thing.  If you are a single parent, you have a very tough job.  In reality, you are the only income and you work hours to support your children and then work hours at home.  You get little sleep and little time for yourself.  I do not know what life events led you to your current situation, and honestly, it doesn’t matter.  I want to share with you the story of the Bible’s first “single parent.”

Many know the account of Abraham and his son Isaac, but Abraham had another son, Ishmael.  When Abraham’s wife, Sarah, could not have a child, she gave him her servant Hagar.  This sounds ridiculous to us today (and it should, because it was not the right thing to do).  Nonetheless, Hagar gave birth to a son and named him Ishmael.  This created resentment in the heart of Sarah and she treated Hagar horribly.

What’s the point?  In Genesis 21, Hagar is forced to leave.  Sin has led to sin, and now she finds herself in the wilderness (aka the desert) with no water and no food.  What is she going to do?  She sets Ishmael down and walks a bit farther so that she does not have to watch her son die.  In the depths of this despairing moment, God speaks to her.  This wasn’t the first time.  In chapter 16, she fled because of her mistreatment by Sarah.  During this time, she learned that God sees her pain and is with her.  As she awaits the death of her son in chapter 21, God sees her again.  She places her faith in God and he takes care of her and Ishmael.

If you are a single parent, I want you to know that God sees your pain and struggle.  He knows what led to this situation and he cares about you.  If you will lean into him and place your trust in him, he will give you the strength you need.  I wish I could tell you things will get easier, but they might not.  However, this I can promise you: if you surrender your situation to him and seek him with all your heart, he will give you the strength you need.

This post was published in The Monitor of Naples, Texas on 7/21/16.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2016 in Genesis, Monitor Articles