1/14/19 “God’s Unexpected Grace”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Genesis 41-43.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“May God Almighty cause the man to be merciful to you…” Genesis 43:14a, CSB

Devotion:

Putting together puzzles is not one of my favorite activities.  I often end up frustrated.  If you’ve ever spent time putting together a puzzle larger than 20 pieces you’ve probably experienced these same feelings.  It’s obvious what makes putting together puzzles so hard.  When you dump out a large puzzle you see many pieces that look the same and it quickly becomes hard to see how you’ll be able to put together something remotely similar to the picture on the box.  God is a master puzzle worker.

As the master puzzle worker God exercises His sovereignty by putting together the pieces of our lives.  This is one way that God’s grace is seen in unexpected ways.  

Gods sovereignty is displayed spectacularly as He orchestrates the events of our lives.  Here in these chapters, God is putting the lives of individuals and nations together like they were puzzles for kindergartners. Over and over again you read language telling us that God did something or that the only way something could be revealed is by God.  His sovereignty proves, once again, that He is the main character in the story of Scripture.

God shows us His grace in unexpected ways as He puts together the pieces of our life puzzle.

Joseph’s brothers interpreted how they were treated as God’s punishment to them for how they treated Joseph long ago. This was actually an unexpected blessing of God’s grace. You see God is using all of these events to protect and preserve Joseph’s family and His nation.

Reflect for a minute today on how God might be putting together the puzzle pieces of your life?  How do you see His hand at work in you and around you?

 

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1/13/19 “The Lord is with You”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Genesis 38-40.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him.” Genesis 39:21, CSB

Devotion:

No matter what kind of personality that God has gifted you with, being with someone that you trust and know is a good thing.  It’s especially a good thing when you are in a situation that’s unknown, possibly scary, and different than your normal circumstances.  This was certainly the situation for Joseph.  He had been sold by his brothers to be a slave. He ended up in jail but the favor he found with the captain led him to be a slave in the household of an Egyptian master, Potiphar. He was falsely accused of trying to sleep with his masters wife. And that put him back in jail again. I’d call that a series of unfortunate events! If you read Genesis 39 carefully you will notice that verse 21 is not the only verse that has a promise from God to be with Joseph and show kindness to him. Over and over again in Genesis 39 God promises to be with Joseph and bless him.  These promises and truths from God in Genesis 39 reveal a pattern of God’s presence in the story of Joseph.  Take a moment to thank the Lord for his continual presence in your life. Like Joseph, seek to honor the Lord with your life, no matter your circumstance.

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1/12/19 “Compassion for the Confused”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Genesis 34-37.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“Jacob’s sons came to the slaughter and plundered the city because their sister had been defiled.” Genesis 34:27, CSB

Devotion:

You might be thinking to yourself, ‘what a verse to highlight!’  The story of Dinah in Genesis 34 has always been a confusing and disturbing one.  Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, is raped.  When Jacob’s sons find out about this horrible thing that happened to their sister, they put a plan into action to slaughter and steal from the people who did this.  I highlight Genesis 34:27 in today’s reading because of how overwhelming the sin of the world is.  The atrocity of pure evil is sickening.  This has been the feeling in Myanmar this week to be sure.  As we walk around the city of Mandalay I was overwhelmed with the pure lostness of the city.  The same is true for the 45 million in Yangon who have not yet heard about the hope of Jesus Christ.  Many don’t think about spiritual things.  Many more repeat meaningless chants and give money and worship to Buddha.

It is good to sense the distress, dejection, brokenness, aimlessness, and confusion of people.  it’s better to end up at a place where we imitate Jesus by feeling compassion for the spiritually confused (Matthew 9:35-38).  Jesus looked out over the confused and felt compassion for the people. The Lord has definitely put His compassion in my heart for the people of Myanmar and He has renewed His compassion for the people of Paducah.  Will you allow the Holy Spirit to place compassion in your heart for the people around you and the rest of the world?  Pray for your eyes to be opened to opportunities to share the hope of Jesus with someone today.

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1/11/19 “A Humbling Crossroads”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Genesis 30-33.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“Jacob then named the place Peniel, “For I have seen God face to face,” he said, “yet my life has been spared.” Genesis 32:30, CSB

Devotion:

A crisis arose for Jacob in Genesis 32:24-32. Jacob’s wrestles with an angelic being, who was there representing God. This event brings Jacob to a crossroads. It’s a significant turning point in his life in which he experiences a life change. This change had to do with who Jacob would be in the future. His name is changed by God, to Israel, which means “God strives.” The previous chapters have revealed to us that he had lived as a deceiver. But now, in the middle of his wrestling match with the angelic being, he is blessed to be humbled.

What an awesome thing that so many people around the world are worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I write this devotion having experienced this first hand this week in Myanmar. I have met people who used to practice Islam and Buddhism. The now profess Christ as Lord of their life and have a desire for their families and cities to do the same. I was also struck with compassion for the many who have not yet heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. Myself and others on my mission team have had the opportunity to stand in front of groups of 30-60 people at a time and share with them the life changing message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The majority of these people are hearing this message for the very first time. My prayer would be that many in Myanmar, Thailand, and other places in the world would meet Jesus at a crossroads and choose to follow Him instead of the worthless false gods they currently serve. My prayer is that God would raise up many to share the gospel where they live and send them around the world. Jesus has promised that the harvest is plentiful, but sadly the laborers are few (Luke 10:2). The gospel truly leads us to a humbling crossroads. Will we believe? Will we be willing laborers of the gospel of Jesus?

 

 

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1/10/19 “House of God”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Genesis 27-29.

Highlighted Verse(s):

The Lord was standing there beside him, saying, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your offspring the land on which you are lying. 14 Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out toward the west, the east, the north, and the south. All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 Look, I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:13-15, CSB

Devotion:

Anyone else besides me have an imperfect family?  Everyone’s family has faults and have experienced issues.  While we all have that in common, the difference is that some walk around with deeper scars than others.  The story of Jacob and Isaac is an interesting one to be sure.  Talk about sibling rivalry. Talk about division within a family as deep as a chasm.  Biblical families, especially this one, provide us an example of family dysfunction.  I highlighted the above verses because it shows us that in spite of any family dysfunction that might exist in your family, God’s presence is still active on this earth and He works in, through, and beyond your family circumstances to use you for His kingdom.  I am thankful for my family, but more thankful for God’s active presence in my life to do only what He could do.

God is at work all around you no matter if your family circumstances were ideal or anything less than ideal.

After hearing the words from God in Genesis 28:13-15, Jacob names the place Bethel, meaning “House of God.” This signified God’s presence in Jacob’s life. Let this encourage you and lead you to thank the Lord for his acts of grace in your life to lead you to be in His will.  Be on the lookout for God’s presence and work in your own life.  Thank the Lord for actively doing things in your life that your mom, dad, siblings, or other members of your family could not come close to doing.

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1/9/19 “The Lord’s Providence”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Genesis 24-26. 

Highlighted Verse(s):

“Then the man knelt low, worshiped the Lord, and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not withheld his kindness and faithfulness from my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.” Genesis 24:26-27, CSB

Devotion:

Has your timing ever been off? I enjoyed playing the trumpet in middle school and high school and still enjoy playing percussion. A listener can always tell when a musicians timing is off. When a musicians timing is off it negatively affects the rest of the band and the the whole experience for a listener. I’m thankful that the Lords timing is never off. 

Genesis 24-26 remind us, once again, that God is the star of the story. He is the main character and the One who is in control. His timing is perfect. Genesis 24 introduces us to Rebekah, Isaacs future wife. In this chapter God puts His providence on perfect display. Rebekah shows a willingness to follow the Lords timing and provision (Genesis 24:58). Meanwhile, Esau shows us an example of someone who is focused on the physical realities of life more than the spiritual ones (Genesis 25). 

What do you value most in your life, the physical or the spiritual?

How are you seeing the Lords timing and provision in your life? Thank Him for caring for you in those ways. Like Rebekah, will you submit to His perfect timing and provision?

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1/8/19 “The Lord will Provide”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Genesis 20-22.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide, so today it is said: “It will be provided on the Lord’s mountain.” Genesis 22:14, CSB

Devotion:

Has God ever asked you to do something that required stepping out in faith? Of course He has. You probably have a specific example in your mind right now. I can think of many. In our Scripture today, God asks a lot of Abraham.

God will often ask hard things of us, but He is always there to provide for you as you take steps of faith.

Abraham had to have wondered how the promise of a great nation would be fulfilled if he scarified Isaac. He had to be confused as to why God would have him to sacrificed the promised son that He had waited about 100 years to have. But, when Isaac asked his dad where the animal for the sacrifice was, Abraham confidently told him that God would provide. And God did provide.

Abraham showed God that he was willing to give up everything to follow God. I believe, possibly even with questions, that Abraham was willing to trust God to fulfill His promise and keep His covenant even if he had to go through with the sacrifice of Isaac. And so a ram in the thicket was given to be the sacrifice to take Isaac’s place on the altar. And so Abraham names this place “The Lord will Provide.”

At this point in the story of Scripture, we see a foreshadow of Jesus giving up Himself on the cross to take our place on the altar. And this is ultimately how God fulfills His covenant promise with Abraham.

What is God asking you to sacrifice? What step of faith is He asking you to take? Will you trust Him to provide?

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