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Genesis 16:1-18:15

It is always interesting how each time I read thought a passage something different jumps out at me. So here goes. The follow verses from Proverbs came to my mind as I read today’s readings:

Under three things the earth is disquieted, and under four it cannot bear up: Under a servant when he reigns, a [empty-headed] fool when he is filled with food, An unloved and repugnant woman when she is married, and a maidservant when she supplants her mistress.
(Proverbs 30:21-23 AMP)

Leaving behind all the opinions about Sari finding a surrogate, Hagar, to carry her husband’s seed, according to the writer of Proverbs, Hagar, Sari’s “maidservant,” may have either tacitly or directly challenged her mistress’ authority. If the writer of the above three verses is correct in his assessment, than Hagar may have been making the ground shake, so to speak. She had produced for Abram what Sari couldn’t. She had been intimate with another woman’s husband, even if that woman initiated and facilitated the act. Talk about one-upmanship.

We are a funny folk. We counsel people and when they received and act on that counsel and it goes awry, we distance ourselves from the consequences. Sari presented her handmaiden to her husband in an attempt to “work” God’s promise to her husband, or had Abram kept the promise to himself? Hmmm. (If Sari knew that God has given a promise of a child to Him, why whould she have laughed when the angel spoke to her husband? Or could she have thought the Promise was to her husband and not to her? That’s a whole ‘nother essay.) Either way, she turned on the one she gave counsel too, her husband. Abram heard the counsel but didn’t have to receive it. How many times do we accept someone’s counsel without considering what is being said just to make the person happy. When it blows up in our faces, if we go back to the person who was so generous with their ideas, what usually is the reception we received?

Every one of us is responsible for your own choices no matter how strong the pressure to accept that advice. Bottom line is this: Not only will we have to serve our choices, but those we are responsible for, those under our leadership at home, work or church, will feel the effects. Abram’s relationship with Hagar was of the flesh. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. It is only the things born of the Spirit that will last. My prayer for all those who come to his Blog, myself included, is this: That we consider the consequences of our choices. May all here evaluate their decisions, are they of the flesh or of the spirit. All things of the “flesh” lead to death. Let us go on to live in Life. Let us stop producing Ishmaels in our lives.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

I am so glad that Jesus tells us how to pray (the Lord's Prayer) as part of his Sermon on the Mount. Today, I prayed the Psalm reading but then also prayed the Lord's Prayer immediately thereafter.
What a blessing!

I now plan to pray this way every morning. I believe it will help me be more God-centered and focused on doing His will throughout the day rather than being so self-centered.

Hallelujah!
Jeff

Regarding the God's second covenant with Abraham in today's reading:
It caused me to re-read his first covenant (Gen 12:1-3). It seems to me the essence of the 2nd covenant is just like the first covenant. Do you agree, or see them differently? I do notice that God adds a requirement for circumcision as part of the 2nd covenant. Yet Christians today do not routinely follow this. Any insights from you as to why this is?

Thank you and Godspeed,
Jeff

The One Year Bible Blog commentary today did not address the importance of understanding the difference between the Isaac (Jewish and Christian progeny) and Ishmael (Islamic progeny). The differences have had a very, very profound impact on the world throughout its history -- and even up until our current times:
http://www.inplainsite.org/html/isaac_ishmael.html

I pray what ever is prompting me at the time. I sometimes don't say anything. Other times when I heard myself babbling I quit praying.
Most of the time I take the prayer points or other passages in scripture that are highlighted to me and pray about those. I also praise god, count my blessing and then ask for wisdom. Verses in Matthew are so clear. However, sometimes very difficult to put in place in the flesh. So today, I pray for wisdom, strength, and the ability to make the right choices on what is spoken today in Matthew. I find it interesting that today's reading ends with proverbs:
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,

2
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—

3
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,

4
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,

5
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.

This is my first year doing the One Year Bible Study, and now it would also be a great time to learn how to pray. Based on Mike's blog and comments by Jeff and Joe, I plan to do my prayer as below from now on:

1. Starts with Psalm Reading,
2. followed with the Lord's Prayer,
3. then praise God, count my blessing and ask for wisdom,
4. pray for a specific segment of my life and our world. (For this one, I'll have to pray for the wisdom to make 7 segments.)

I'm not used to pray before, except for very short prayer before meals. I'm glad that now there's a procedure for me to follow. What a great beginning of year 2017!

Mike and everyone,
Proverbs 2:1-5 reminds me wisdom is available, it will put us on the right path. But we must greatly desire it, hunt for it, ask questions, seek and search it like someone searches for gold.
(all Scriptures below in the Amplified Bible version.)
Proverbs 2:4-5-
4 If you seek skillful and godly wisdom as you would silver
And search for her as you would hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome]
And discover the knowledge of God.

These scriptures also reminds me the importance of reading & studying God's Word:
Psalm 119:98-100-
98 Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
For Your words are always with me.
99 I have better understanding and deeper insight than all my teachers [because of Your word],
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged [who have not observed Your precepts],
Because I have observed and kept Your precepts.

Psalm 42:1-
As the deer pants [longingly] for the water brooks,
So my soul pants [longingly] for You, O God.

Job 28:23,28-
23 “God understands the way [to wisdom]
And He knows its place [for wisdom is with God alone].
28 “But to man He said, ‘Behold, the reverential and worshipful fear of the Lord—that is wisdom;
And to depart from evil is understanding.’”

Blessings to everyone on this Bible reading journey!
Joyce

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