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Wow!! Rich blessings today from God's word.

Several themes struck me today in Genesis. Ths first is how Esau reminds me a bit of Cain. Cain misunderstood God's direction regarding a sacrifice, so he bought fruit and vegetables when God wanted a blood offering. Esau misunderstood Isaac's directive to Jacob about not marrying a Canaanite woman (Esau had already married two) so Esau proceeds to marry the daughter of Ishmael, perhaps somehow thinking that would please his father and earn him a blessing. --- Sometimes I do some crazy things, thinking that God will be pleased by my effort and will bless me - even to the point of sometimes disobeying other parts of scripture.

Notice how God keeps repeating and reaffirming covenants. We read a repeat of the Abrahamic covenant that God reveals to Jacob in a dream. He had also previously reminded Isaac of the blessing. We commented last week about the Noahic covenant being underscored every time we see a rainbow. Finally, I can't resist mentioning again how the practice of communion in our churches is a remembrance of the New Covenant -- partaking of Christ's body and blood until he joins us at the table in heaven.

Isn't Judah a great name? It means "Praise Jehovah". Actually the name of Leah's first four sons today all have significant names, as well as significant roles in the next chapters of Israel's history.

"If I can just put a finger on his robe, I'll get well." Jesus turned--caught her at it. Then he reassured her: "Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you're well." 22The woman was well from then on. This nameless (to me) woman shines as an example of living by faith. My highest goal can be "just a finger on his robe" and that would be more than I ever need.

He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. 36When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. 37"What a huge harvest!" he said to his disciples. "How few workers! 38On your knees and pray for harvest hands!" I believe that this passage may be at the heart of the song by Casting Crowns called: "If we are the Body". The needs that Jesus gave himself to meeting are the needs that swirl all around our churches and our communities today.
Pray that God send out laborers into the harvest (and don't be surprised if He wants you to go also ;-)

7GOD's business is putting things right;

he loves getting the lines straight,

Setting us straight. Once we're standing tall,

we can look him straight in the eye.
Paul echoes this in his epistles when he tells about the ministry of reconciliation -- setting us straight so we can look God in the eye. That is a ministry that has been passed down to us.

One more time from The Message:
12It's the child he loves that GOD corrects;

a father's delight is behind all this.
How about that!? A father's delight. God loves you, he is crazy about you.
Mark


Genesis 28-29:35

In reading through this portion of Genesis I was struck by several things, one being what the Lord spoke to Jacob as he slept while on his journey to Heron. I realized that Jacob, and thus Esau had no real understanding of who God was or even knowledge of the God that had spoken to their father, Isaac nor the one who was a friend of Abraham, their grandfather. (28:13-15).

The vow or promise that Jacob makes does seem to be one of arrogance then of submission to the Kingship of God. It’s the lesser, Jacob, putting God (the greater) to the test. I feel somewhat ambivalent about Jacobs’s vow and that may be because I too came to the threshold of salvation by testing God. My challenge was, “If there is or isn’t a God can be argued by good debaters and no one would get anywhere; however, if you just try by faith, anything that is a struggle for you and if you get a answer or solution, accept that there is a God. If not throw the whole thing in the trashcan. I tried and I received my answer and my deliverance, so I kept God. As I write this the passage, you love me because I first loved you” floods my memory. Was my challenge me allowing God to show love toward me in a clear and tangible way?

Chapter twenty-nine had me thinking about traditions, lusts and inept conversational skills hindered by lust.

Tradition can kill you at worst and stunt the growth of a person, community and nation at best. When Jacob arrived “in the land of the east,” he found thirsty sheep hanging out by a well, unwatered because the rest of other folk’s flocks hadn’t gotten there yet because it was tradition. “We’ve been doing it that way for years and we will continue doing it that way even if it kills us, or worse, kill the sheep. Keep the stone sitting on top of that well. I know you’re dehydrated, but just hold on till the other sheep get here.” And why must the sheep (the people of God’s pasture) risk the physical harm that comes from being dehydrated, custom, tradition? Who said it, God? Tradition is good but when it hinders the receiving of the Word, that tradition must be reexamined.

Lust, the desire to benefit self at the expense of others, while love is the desire to benefit others at the expense of self; because I’ve read this story before I know that Jacob, the deceiver is out deceived by his soon to be father-in-law, Laban. Laban speaks to Jacob seemingly out of concern for his welfare and his sense of righteousness and fairness, “You shouldn’t work for me without pay just because we are relatives. How much do you want?” Sweet words that hide a wicked cunning manipulative heart. Each of these two parties go on to do a slow dance of deception before Jacob finally breaks free in the end. I am led to concentrate on seemingly kind words (Laban) to find tell-tell signs of the true intent of the person speaking them, and you really can’t just look at, read or hear the words to discern. What is needed is the lining up together in one accord, words, spirit and gestures of the person to really evaluate the intent, and I believe without the prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirit it is impossible to see through that veil.

In the Amplified Bible a passage in the book of Jeremiah speaks of a person being a party to their own deception. This may explain also why and how Jacob fell into the trap.

And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword; and they shall have none to bury them--them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their wickedness upon them [and not on their false teachers only, for the people could not have been deceived except by their own consent].(Jeremiah 14:16 AMP).

Is the saying true that only a con man can be conned?

Inept and/or Poor Conversational Skills: I don’t understand how Jacob, after working for Labon for four years, could not deduce, figure out, see, hear that the woman who was brought in to the marriage bed was not Rachel! Didn’t he ever talk to the woman? Was he so inflamed by sexual desire that he didn’t take time to have a conversation? I just don’t get it. “Wasup” with this? I refer back to Jeremiah 14:15, deception needs the input of two parties.

The rivalry between these two sisters over the affection of this one man, well really, the attempt of one sister to gain the love of “her man” from her sister, shows the long history of the “Baby Momma Drama.” It is only through the knowledge of man discovering and learning how to capture and transmit sound and picture waves over and through the air, have we been able to have beamed into millions of homes around the world the verbal, physical and emotional fights that give the Jerry Springer Shows and all those like it, the T.V ratings that bring, in Living Color, all the details of woman trying to hold on to and wrest away from another woman, an average ordinary man! Aint’ nothing new under the sun. It’s didn’t work then and I sho’nuff wont work now
Matthew 9:1-18

Jesus is very busy in the eighteen verses, raising folks from the dead, healing a woman who was not suppose to be out of her house because she was unclean due to her blood flow, the blind men getting healed and Jesus telling this disciples to pray for workers to bring in the harvest, I want to focus on the blind men.

I have been fascinated by the blind men who Jesus crossed paths with for about two years and I can’t seem to change my focus. I enthralled because in all of the stories, well most of the stores, it is the blind folks who call Jesus, Son of David. And to me this has great significance. The prophets state that Jesus will be called the Nazarene; however what one is called by folks doesn’t mean it is true, especially when the one’s doing the calling think they know where you are from but don’t ask you were you were born. Jesus being called a Nazarene, I don’t think was a title or a statement of fact as to his origin, but a statement of fact to what He would be called.

As long as Jesus was called the Nazarene that was a stumbling block to those who thought they knew him. I am reminded of people who think they know people because they have read about them in the gossip columns or heard about them from Access Hollywood or seen most of the movies of a particular actor. They are lured into a false relationship with an image or perception of who they think they are. Today we have people who confuse knowing and facts about God with thinking that these facts mean they know God.

To cry out Jesus, son of David meant that these blind men knew that Jesus was the Messiah because Messiah would be from the line of David and David was born in Bethlehem. Folks who couldn’t see knew what folks who could see, but who were really blind, didn’t know. That is just awesome. Coupled with what Bethlehem means in Hebrew, House of Bread, this is even more of a shock to the senses. Jesus, the Bread of Life was born in the House of Bread. There is nothing so blind as a man who does not see, or a man who has sight but no vision.
Psalm 11:1-7
Trusting in the Lord and standing, after having done all to stand, while folks all around you are running to the border, to the psychic hotline, will have people thinking that you are crazy, get over it. That comes with the territory.

Proverbs 3:11-12

If love desires to benefit others at the expense of self, and God so loved the world that He gave… Love is not about warm fuzzes. If loves is about benefiting, it concerns itself with placing the one loved in a position to be the best person that they can be, to guiding the person toward their full potential, that which they were created to be. Guidance takes pressure to order to mold, and that pressure is discipline.

Grace and peace
Ramona

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