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The past few days as I've read the passages in Genesis, I can't help but think of our current day headlines regarding the Palestinian elections and the "peace process" with Israel. The turmoil in the middle East is largely a family matter traced back to the animosity between Sarah and Hagar and between their offspring. Jacob's descendants and Esau's are still at odds... "All families" on earth are still being touched and influenced by Abraham's seed -- and in Christ, all the earth is blessed.

I could have gone several more weeks without the bold reminder in Proverbs. My tendency so much of the time is to try to protect myself and my family and to rely on my resources to provide for our needs. the reminder that I read this morning is that I need to "Honor God" by giving Him the first and the best of all that I have. May God give me the faith to believe in His provision and the courage to ignore the consequences that fear whispers into my ear.

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Learned something new today-I never really thought about Isaac and Esau's complicity in overturning God's will before. Really appreciate the insight from bible.org-it certainly puts this story in a different light. I dont' think I will ever tire of reading the great literature of the Old Testament-how wonderful to know that God does not need a pious perfect person to futher His will!

As for the New Testament, today's reading covers something very close to my heart-the tendency of "religious" people only wanting to be surrounded by other "religious" people and the subsequent judgemental attitude that accompanies that tendency. I have been burdened alot lately by the loud, harsh, and even hateful rhetoric directed to people who don't believe quite like they do. I am appalled at how many Christians act like they hate the people of the world-the very ones Jesus told us to reach out to. Jesus did not ask God to take us out of the world, in fact "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one." John 17:15 Jesus' strongest words for those teachers of religious law -the Pharisees. They were so busy trying to live the letter of the law and look good to themselves and their peers that they missed the whole point of God. Today's reading exemplified just that. Jesus had great compassion for sinners, and He was right there were they lived and I believe He calls us to do the same. How on earth are sinners supposed to come to know our Lord and Saviour if no one wants to even get close to them? My personal life style is to be "in the world, not of it". I pray each day for God to allow me to reflect His glory in my life-and if I do nothing else right, at least let me be a conduit for His love. I prefer my witness (by the way, that's a noun, not a verb) to be living for God's will instead of smiting people over the head with God. I want them to see what God has done in my life and how much love I have for them because of Jesus and the Holy Spirit that resides inside of me-a sinner- as opposed to showing them how perfect I am -mostly because I'm not very perfect and I don't want them to judge my Saviour because of me. There are a couple of very good books out there that address just this type of situation- John Fischer's "Fearless Faith" and "Finding God Where You Least Expect" as well as David Burchett's "When Bad Christians Happen to Good People" (He has a new one out-Bring 'Em Back Alive-but I haven't read it yet). Both of these books are very insightful for us in today's world-with very real ways to reverse this mindset. Wow, sorry about the rant, but how can we spread the gospel of Jesus Christ when so many of us act like we can't stand the people we need to reach? Especially now because I really believe time is short and God desires all to come to know Him. Will you do your part and love the sinners next to you-or will you pretend you are better than they are or that somehow their sin is worse than yours and so they don't belong with us at the feast? I pray not.

Love in Christ

Genesis 26:17:27-46

John 4 10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

All this talk of wells, digging wells, filling in wells, arguing over wells has me thinking of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman. Living water, the water that quenches our thirst, our thirst for something that only God can give satisfies eternally. Although I didn’t come up with this in my reading, I’m reminded of it while reading the 26th chapter. Everything in the Old Testament points to Christ even the things we don’t understand or we think is insignificant. The bible is not only uses literal language, it also uses language that is symbolic and figurative, sometimes all three elements reside in very pregnant passages. As I read about these wells I’m thinking this represents revelation knowledge that is only found in the Word. As Isaac’s men sought to find water by uncovering old wells and digging new ones, this seems to me to be a type of our search for “wells” filled with the Word of God.

We need a steady, reliable source of Living Water. In those days the Holy Spirit came upon folks, dwelt with folks but He didn’t dwell in folks because Jesus had not yet become incarnate and been crucified. As I read I kept seeing Isaac and his men searching for this Word this well water to quench their spiritual needs. They tried going back and uncovering Abraham’s wells, but some shepherds (ministers) came along and claimed it, said it was theirs. They went out and dug some new wells, and folks claimed those too, wasn’t enough room for everyone to be watered by God’s Word, they thought. Or was it the two-year old babies cry, “It’s mines! It’s mines!“ I want this Word/this well for myself. It’s only for us four and no more!

Sometimes we can go from church to church trying to find a clear Word from God and when we get it, run others off from the well, or we are run off. The lesson: Move on and keep digging until there is peace.

The great sibling rivalry between Jacob and Esau also has it’s spiritual parallels. 29For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. It’s not what you take but it’s what God gives you. We can’t thwart the will of God!

Matthew 9:1-17

If Jesus was truly the Messiah as foretold in the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets, then He would have authority over sin, sickness and death. Jesus first tells the paralytic man that his sins are forgiven and some religious folks were a “little” upset. However he, Jesus, had already proven that he had power over sickness and death by casting out demons, healing all those brought to him, yet many chose not to believe that he was the one spoken of by the prophets. So Jesus gave them concrete proof, proof before their very eyes. By the command and authority of His Words, not by the laying on of hands, He spoke life into a body made useless because sin had entered the world. In the beginning God …

Those same “religious” folks who were at saw the man rise up, picked up his bed and walked had to have been hanging around watching to see who was gong in and out of the party Matthew held for Jesus.

I have heard it said, “You will always find what you are looking for,” and these leaders wanted to find something unholy and unclean in Jesus. What you see and hear is always colored by the content of your heart.

Psalm 10:16-18

In this passage a phrase jumped out of me that seems to be contradictory in verse 17, Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. I’ve always thought that helpless people have no hope. It is there lack of hope that makes them helpless, or is it? What am I missing in seeing this passage? I think I need to do some word study with this particular verse.

Before I accepted salvation I felt helpless and so I had no hope for a better life or existence. What am I missing here?

Proverbs 3:9-10

More questions for me: Am I truly honoring God with my wealth? If I constantly think I don’t have something so I can’t … , and God says that I have wealth, then I’m not fully understanding what he has placed in my hands as well as the value that this something has, even if it’s only a “staff” like Moses had.

Grace and peace,

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