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Genesis has been really speaking to me since the start. One of the things that has been comforting to me was summed up by Bob Deffinbaugh:

"The doctrine of the providence of God is one of the most comforting truths in all of the Bible, for it assures me that what God says, He will do, even if I am found to be actively resisting it. If the promise of eternal salvation were not dependent upon God’s character and His power, Who can bring about His will in spite of man, what kind of promise would it be? I might just as well quit now and avoid the rush. But if God’s promises are sure (as they are, Philippians 1:6) then I can diligently work for these goals, realizing that I cannot lose, even when I am faint of heart or go my own way through disobedience or rebellion."

Amen to that!

I couldn't help but notice the irony of the old "Deceiver" being deceived by his sons. They also used the trick of falsifying clothing to confuse their father. Can you imagine how cold and hard their hearts had to be to torment their father that way? I cast no stones, because my family still bears the scars of my lies and deceit, but God's grace is more powerful than the effects of sin. Whether that be the sins that I commit, or the sins that were committed against me. I bear witness to the healing of God and to the fact that He takes delight in resurrectting lost causes and working his purposes through the most unlikely looking people.

Food for thought in Matthew today... 32 "If you reject the Son of Man out of some misunderstanding, the Holy Spirit can forgive you, but when you reject the Holy Spirit, you're sawing off the branch on which you're sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives." God eternally exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. we can not presume to follow and obey the Father and Son while denying or ignoring the person of the Holy Spirit. God is still teaching me how to understand the Trinity and to "fear the Lord", I want to persist in knowing God better.

Paul tells us to "put off the old man and put on the new". The last verses in the Matthew passage today show us why it's not enough to "reform", but we must pursue God's word and his righteousness. "That's what this generation is like: You may think you have cleaned out the junk from your lives and gotten ready for God, but you weren't hospitable to my kingdom message, and now all the devils are moving back in."

2 I say to GOD, "Be my Lord!"
Without you, nothing makes sense.
5 My choice is you, GOD, first and only.
And now I find I'm your choice!
10 You canceled my ticket to hell--
that's not my destination!
11 Now you've got my feet on the life path,
all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
I'm on the right way.


Hi, Mike! I have really been enjoying reading the Bible with you this year!

I was wondering something -- for the links to the readings on Bible Gateway, could you possibly not specify a version? If none is specified, and you have a default set, it goes automatically to the default. So for me, it would go to the NASB. But for you, it could still go to the NLT.

If you'd prefer not to do it that way I understand; just thought I'd ask! Thanks so much for this blog! :)


Michelle, thanks for the post and joining us on the journey!

I do know there are a ton of folks using versions other than NLT. I'll probably keep sending my links to the NLT version, as that's where I'm pulling my scripture quotations from for the posts. And if I didn't designate NLT, it would probably pop up as NIV for most folks as a default - which is of course a great translation too! :)

You probably know about this website link below? Others may be interested in it too. It has each of our OYB readings and a link to open up the readings in your preferred translation - be it NASB, NIV, Message, etc. Check out the site below. Click on the link, then click on the month of January and then you'll see a drop down for your preferred translation. Hope this helps. Thanks! Mike


I don't have nightmares but I do have dreams and some of them are colorful and spectacular. I do believe we sometimes in our dreams are given an insight from God. And when I have these I share them with my wife. I don't share them with anyone else. So they remain between God, my wife, and myself.

I do believe God does talk to some of us(I am not sure if everyone) in our dreams to prepare us for a future event, show us an answer to a problem we might be experiencing, and even to show us a direction He wants us to go in our service to Him.

I have changed the direction of my service to Him because in my dreams He talked to me and showed me where He wanted me and what He wanted me to do next.

I pray every morning when I wake up, then during my morning reading and fellowship time, and right before I go to sleep. I believe praying right before you go to sleep will set your thoughts and mind right with God for a good night's sleep. And I believe we can while asleep subconsciencely communicate with God with praises and good thoughts.

If you are close to God, you spend time in daily fellowship with Him, and you allow His Holy Spirit to talk to you, He will communicate to you all throughout the day even when you are asleep. THe key factor here is: ask God for you to be open minded at all times and allow the Holy Spirit to be able to talk to you at any time.

There also have been a few times I have been waiting on an answer and I wasn't given it until I was asleep. I woke up and knew what exactly I was suppossed to do.

I am not sure if this is of any help. But wanted to share my thoughts.

God Bless.

I can't tell you how much this blog means to me. I love the comments and personal insights given by you and the commentors. I didn't notice that you linked to the reading and had been looking up the passages on crosswalk.com. I read the passages, then look up the commentary and then come back and read the comments. It is a very special time for me. Thanks again for the extra time and effort you and your commentors spend.

I've done a recent post on dreams on my blog - see this link: http://mindandsoul.typepad.com/mindandsoul/2005/01/dream_work.html

Sometimes dreams help you sort things out but when God is involved it is rarely so simple. we may have some questions answered but more remian - he is full of wonder and a great topic for peaceful and awe-filled dreams.

Hi Mike,

Thank you ever-so-much for this blog. Last year, I set a goal of reading the New Testament (completed), and this year I wanted to read the Old Testament. This blog makes it a lot easier, and it's great to have a resource that prods my thoughts about the verses. It's also nice to re-visit the New Testament with your commentary.

Like far too many "Christians," I shamefully admit to never having read the entire Bible. So many people have options of, and comments upon, the Bible, but I believe few have actually read the whole thing. I'm also not a biblical scholar, and my faith has been like a roller coaster. Hopefully, my long over due reading of God's word will take out the valleys.

The passage about the unforgivable sin was one of those "things that make you go hmmm" for me. If the Father-Son-Holy Spirit are the Holy Trinity, then why is only blasphemy against the Spirit unforgivable? I did a little research and I liked the answer from the link attached to this post (from Probe Ministries):

"This sin is simply willful and persistent rejection of, and lack of faith in, the person and work of Christ."

So, I guess it is not the blaspheming of the Father or of Christ that is unforgivable (still it is not encouraged, however). Rather, the rejection of their works, powers, existence, and deeds is one that cannot be forgiven. Those elements are in essence the Holy Spirit. Yet, it does seem a tad semantical. Anyone else have some thoughts on this?

As a very young Christian I mentioned to a close friend that I was having many nightmares... likely due to a particular situation. She said she would pray about this for me. I only saw her once a week, and was happy to report the following week that I was no longer having the nightmares. It had never occurred to me to talk to God about this, but it was my friends initial reaction.

Genesis 37:1-38:30

I want to leave the dysfunction junction of Jacob’s family in chapter 37 and get to Judah and Tamar in chapter 38. Within chapter 37 we see Jacob reaping the seeds of deception he had sown within his own life as well as allowing the sins of his fathers, Abraham and Isaac to not only visit him, but opening the door and letting them in (Exodus 32:5 KJV).

The murderous jealously of Joseph’s brothers God used to separate out or call out Joseph to Egypt to prepare a place for them in time of drought. [16 He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; 17 and he sent a man before them Joseph, sold as a slave. 18 They bruised his feet with shackles, (Psalm 105 NIV)]

It is Judah and his relationship with Tamar, his daughter-in-law, which has fascinated me for year. This association, this sexual encounter they have, is so very today. Tamar is trying to secure her financial future by using sex. There is nothing new under the sun and that ploy is used to do, sometimes successful sometimes not. Judah on the other hand is willing to risk the consequences of exchanging the things that identify him, his staff, his signet ring and his cord, all the things that said, “This is me,” for sex. I guess in today’s world this would be like giving up possession of your American Express, Master and Visa Card and your Passport and Drivers license for sex as a deposit. Usually 10% of the value of an item is asked to be left as a deposit. Here Judah, and a lot of other guys, have left deposits that greatly exceed the price they were willing to pay, wrecked marriages, homes, families, and careers, not to mentioned personal integrity and community respect. Illicit sex is so dangerous for the believer because it places everything that is of true lasting value under a temporary moment of pleasure. [18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20)]

Because God had foreordained before the foundation of the World that Jesus must come through the line of Judah and be knows as the Lion of Judah, the failures of Judah’s two sons would not thwart the plans of God.

Matthew 12:22-45
22Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”

Wow! You see “stuff” that is unbelievable, stuff that you have never seen before, stuff that was foretold in the Law of Moses and written down by the prophets. You see it before your very eyes, it fits the criteria given by the prophets, and you ask, “Could this be the Son of David?” We are an indecisive people. We need to have a “posse” to agree with us before we can make a decision: Decisions and statements by committee. Something is or isn’t true unless everybody I “run with” agree, and I’m right if I have the majority with me. Am I one of those people?

Do I need a crowd to validate truth when I see and hear it? That is the question of the day for me.

Psalm 16:1-11

4 The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods.

I can attest to the truth of this statement. For years, twenty years, I ran after a lot of gods. The worst one was the god of my own self-importance and he wanted a sacrifice that I could never fully get because I could in no way afford the cost. I have traded the demanding needy for the God who is above all gods because,

7 I will bless the LORD who guides me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I know the LORD is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

Proverbs 3:27-32

This is the “Golden Rule” Old Testament style with an additional warning of watch who you desire to be like.

And as for getting things through dreams, hasn’t happened yet. I usually here from God when I'm doing a three mile walk after work, or strangely enough while I'm on the Subway going and coming from work which is gotta be God's sense of humor because I use to "curse" folks out, really no-kidding, when I saw them reading a Bible on public transportation. Yikes! Go figure.

Grace and peace

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