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Daily Encouragement

January 18 – Wisdom haves and have-nots, and practical wisdom

January 18
Genesis 37:1-38:30
Matthew 12:22-45
Psalm 16:1-11
Proverbs 3:27-32

Genesis 37:1 – Abraham was a stranger. His blessing of being a father of many nations wouldn’t be realized until after he was dead. Obeying someone for a reward in the distance – what’s that called? (Hebrews 11:9). By the way, Joseph seemed to have the same youthful lack of discretion (albeit less violent) that his siblings had (37:6-8, 9-11). Reuben had a grosser lack of discretion (Genesis 35:22) but seems to have improved some that he stopped the fratricide in v. 21. (Ever wonder why Proverbs always talks about wisdom? Children have needed it for thousands of years!) Joseph – was sold for twenty pieces of silver (v. 28), similar to Someone who was sold for thirty pieces of silver (26:15). Judah still had lessons to learn. He sold his brother for a quick buck (37:27) and then looks to buy a favor from a harlot (38:15). I Timothy 6:10 has something to say about money….

Bonus thought – Scripture is not just ‘character lessons’ – i.e. Judah wanted to kill Joseph, we shouldn’t want to kill our brothers. Rather all of Scripture points to Jesus. Jack Klumpenhower has lesson notes on most of Genesis including today’s reading. He wrote a book emphasizing that Sunday School has become ‘character lessons’ – not showing how every passage of Scripture points to Jesus. Over the next few days see how Joseph’s life points to Jesus.

Matthew 12:25 was alluded to by Founding Father John Dickinson – “By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.” Patrick Henry declared in his final speech “United we stand, divided we fall.” Abraham Lincoln talked about a house divided on slavery. Ross Perot named his political committee “United We Stand.”  But are we united with Jesus? (v.30). BTW – notice Jesus believed Jonah was a real person? (Matthew 12:40). As we were talking yesterday about how great Jesus is – He claimed to be greater than Jonah! (12:41) greater than Solomon! (12:42). Finally let’s make sure to be careful of our words – 12:36. (Reading Scripture tends to be sobering, does it not?)

Psalm 16:1 – Once when I was feeling under attack and overwhelmed, I started copying the Psalms by hand. Not because I didn’t have access to a photocopier, but because I felt I was reading thru the Bible too quickly and I needed to force myself to slow down and meditate. The Psalms really came alive as I realized that God deals with hurting people throughout the book again and again. But some promises are conditional – if He is at my right hand – then I shall not be moved (v.8). God promises deliverance, but we must obey.

Proverbs 3:27 – Solomon is giving the wisdom that Jacob and his descendants needed early. A variation of the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12), v.27 is a simple command – if you can be a help to someone, be a help to someone. Sometime I’d be afraid to do something because it wasn’t my place, but it was always appreciated when I would tell someone – I think you need help – can I help you?  If you’ve had a friend on Facebook who’s a Multi-Level Marketing distributor, I’m sure they’ve shared with you how they’ve been paid early and how wonderful it is to receive early (Proverbs 3:28).

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

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Daily Encouragement

January 17 – Listen to God. Repent. Obey. Be Blessed.

January 17
Genesis 35:1-36:43
Matthew 12:1-21
Psalm 15:1-5
Proverbs 3:21-26

Genesis 35:1-3 – Yesterday Jacob was in deep trouble. His kids murdered an entire town seeking revenge. This is one of the few times we see the correct pattern of how to handle problems (we’ll see many examples of the wrong way). Jacob listened. Jacob repented.  Jacob obeyed. God blessed. 35:20 – Rachel dies and is buried in Bethlehem Ephratah (Gen 48:7). Jeremiah 31:15 talks about her weeping for the children. Micah 5:2 mentions this place Bethlehem Ephratah and says something big will happen there! The Jewish group “Friends of Rachel’s Tomb” has some interesting history and many ancient photos of the structure referred to today as Rachel’s Tomb. Unfortunately this site’s history prior to the Byzantines is unknown, as opposed to the Cave of the Patriarchs, so we don’t know if it is the actual site, but we know that Rachel was buried in this region. Genesis 36 – J. Vernon McGee discusses this chapter as God’s pointing out the “rejected line” and then dismisses it – similar to the line of Cain vs. the line of Seth that we read earlier this month.

Matthew 12:6 – If you’re looking for a journal topic thru the gospels – read what Jesus said about Himself. Sometimes people think of Jesus as just a good teacher, or sometimes they write songs that Jesus is like a “boyfriend.” While Jesus was an amazing teacher, and loves us more than anyone else can, He is great. Greater than the temple (v.6), Greater than the Sabbath (v.8), and Greater than the curse (v.13)

Psalm 15 – God expects a change in His people! God lives in a holy heaven (v.1) and cannot abide sin. The good news is all we have to do to go to heaven is be perfect. The bad news is nobody is perfect.

Proverbs 3:21-26 – I enjoy leading tour groups – most of the time on a tour I’m not telling people something “hidden,” just making sure they don’t miss something in plain sight!  Solomon shared yesterday the Creationary power of wisdom – and he has to remind his son – don’t let it go! Can you count the blessings today of wisdom? God’s way is better than our way! Just like Jacob realized when he was in a jam: Listen to God. Repent. Obey. Be Blessed.

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

January 16 – Wisdom and Choices

January 16
Genesis 32:13-34:31
Matthew 11:7-30
Psalm 14:1-7
Proverbs 3:19-20

We’re in the second half of the first month of this journey! In Genesis 32 we’re in the middle of a dramatic scene. Jacob had lied to his father and cheated his brother Esau out of the blessing of his father.  Earlier this month we saw the liar Jacob being outlied by his uncle Laban. He’s learned his lesson. Now he’s seeking reconciliation. This is an expensive reconciliation – 32:14-19. But God is blessing his self-sacrificial reconciliation with a new name. (32:26 – The Pulpit Commentary says Jacob “sought to obtain from him the blessing which he had previously stolen from his aged father by craft.”) 33:30 – Jacob realized in yesterday’s passage his family is far from devout (stealing idols!) but now is determined to change his family’s theology by committing himself publicly. Just as grandpa Abraham did (Gen 12:7), Jacob built an altar  to El-Elohe-Israel. God – not just any God but the Creator God (Gen 1:1 uses the word Elohim) of Israel – is my God now! BTW – Bodie Hodge / AiG has a great article on names for God. But in the next chapter (34) we see Jacob’s kids inherited his sin nature and are practicing it more than their father’s newly exemplified faith.

Matthew 11 – yesterday we saw doubting John but Jesus’ compassion rings out – “there hath not risen a greater than John”! But the least of the kingdom will be greater than John! Now I’m glad you’re reading God’s Word in its entirety this year but 11:23 is a sober warning for you. If you have more exposure to God – you have more responsibility. God rained down fire and brimstone on Sodom but says it will be worse for those who know about Jesus but don’t know Jesus personally. Jesus alternates from warning of eternal judgment to offering rest in your souls. There’s no middle way with Him.

Psalm 14:1 – Ray Comfort says April 1 is National Atheists’ Day. Psalm 14:3 sounds a theme we will see in Romans 3.

Proverbs 3:19-20. This wisdom seems pretty powerful. Let’s keep seeking it as we continue reading!

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

January 15 – Blessings from Seeking the Lord!

January 15
Genesis 31:17-32:12
Matthew 10:24-11:6
Psalm 13:1-6
Proverbs 3:16-18

Genesis 31:24 and 26 appear to show Laban is disobeying God. Laban obviously is speaking to Jacob but God seemingly told him not to speak to Jacob at all. This is where Bible commentaries can be helpful to explain difficult passages. BibleHub offers a few different commentaries on 31:24, and you realize there’s a wide variation in the commenting – don’t say anything violent, don’t go from positive to negative, don’t try to get him back, etc. That’s when you realize that human commentators are not inspired – but their best help is when they point out cross references. In Genesis 24:50 – years before when Eliezer went to Laban, asking for Rebekah to return to marry Isaac, Laban said “The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good.” Now in Genesis 31:24 God uses the same words Laban used back at Laban – “Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.” Ever had a time when God used your words to convict you?

Matthew 10:33 – Another convicting verse – “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” How many times have people started talking about eternity, life after death, and you’ve heard God telling you to talk about what His Son did for them? But thankfully – we know this isn’t the unforgivable sin, because as we’ll see in a couple weeks someone famously commit this sin.

Matthew 11 – When John was in doubt – Jesus pointed his disciples indirectly to Isaiah 35:4-6 – the signs of when God would come.

Psalm 13:6 – I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” Feel free to sing during your time with God!

Proverbs 3:16-18 – We saw in yesterday’s reading that these are the benefits of wisdom and mercy, and Proverbs 9:10 tells us wisdom and understanding come from the Fear of the Lord and the Knowledge of the Holy. Today we see more benefits from fearing the Lord – Length of days, Riches and honor, Pleasantness, Peace, and Happiness! Enjoy God’s blessings from seeking Him!

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

Daily Encouragement

January 14 – Can you name the 12 disciples?

January 14
Genesis 30:1-31:16
Matthew 10:1-23
Psalm 12:1-8
Proverbs 3:13-15

Ever have a boss that was jealous of you? Genesis 30:43 – God blessed Jacob incredibly so he increased exceedingly. But Laban had changed his wages and every time he changed the terms of the deal God blessed Jacob even more. Sometimes you may be in an unfair position. But God sees. 31:12. A friend of mine shared how he wasn’t being treated fairly in a business situation. Thankfully God keeps ultimate score even when we feel like we’re losing, and He will still bless us and provide as we need.

Matthew 10:2-4 The Lord Jesus Christ introduces us to the 12 men he chose to spend time with while He was on earth. While memorizing the names of the disciples will not get us bonus points in Heaven, knowing basic Biblical facts is helpful! Unfortunately most Christians can’t name more than two or three disciples. However many Christians could name the members of Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring, the starting lineup of the Green Bay Packers, or many other things less significant. By the way – I do best memorizing with a song – here’s “He Has Called Us Too” on YouTube that will help us memorize the 12 disciples.

Psalm 12:6 – God has a special promise for you. You’ve taken the challenge to read thru God’s Word for the first time or for an additional time. Other words are vanity, flattering, double hearted, and proud. But you’ve chosen to partake of pure words. Keep it up!

Proverbs 3:14 – And speaking of silver – the wisdom of God, the understanding from God (see Proverbs 9:10) is better than silver, gold, rubies, and even Bitcoin (Bitcoin is included in the “all things thou canst desire” in Proverbs 3:15).

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.