Genesis 24-27 (NLT) 

Discover His heart:  His Word encourages us to live a righteous life to avoid the many consequences of sin

Tucked in between Christmas and Easter on the holiday calendar is Valentine’s Day, a day spent enjoying and celebrating those we love.  More sugary chocolate treats will be given as gifts and consumed than any other day of the year outside of Halloween.  As the saying goes, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we diet!”

Sugar!  Who doesn’t like sugar!  Even now I look across the room to my kitchen and spy my glass sugar canister with the sun hitting it just right and each sweet grain sparkling in its rays.  I’ve known a few individuals in my life who care little about sweets and can pass up a sugary dessert without batting an eye.  I’m not sure what planet they’re from, but I’m certain it’s a miserable place.  While sugar seems rather benign in nature, it does hold an addictive property to where our appetites require more and more in order to be satisfied.  In addition to obvious weight gain over time, we now have learned that when sugar consumption is left unchecked, serious health issues can arise.  But then, as we discover today in our reading, uncontrolled appetites can lead to all sorts of problems in our lives.

@ Genesis 25
“One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, ‘I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!’…‘All right,’ Jacob replied, ‘but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.’ ‘Look, I’m dying of starvation!’ said Esau. ‘What good is my birthright to me now?’” (29-32)  I sincerely doubt that Esau was truly starving to death, but the excuses we make are quite creative when we yearn to satisfy our appetites.  “Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.”  Those were expensive lentils, to say the least.

Jacob, a heel-gripping deceiver during those early years, made a great deal for himself because of Esau’s uncontrollable appetite.  He would now possess the wealth and power of a first-born son.  Appetites come in a variety of passions, and any appetite that causes us to make a poor trade and sacrifice something of value should certainly be considered out-of-control.  Many have sacrificed their honor and reputation to satisfy their lust for power or have lost the respect of family and friends to satisfy their sexual appetites because they traded their core values for temporary pleasure.

Esau lost his future, his riches and his promise.  Hebrews 12:16-17 reminds us, “Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.”  Fortunately, God forgives our sins, but it is at the very least difficult and often impossible to restore the honor, reputation and respect we once enjoyed when we dishonor them as Esau did.

This disheartening story of Esau is not one of the feel-good uplifting stories of the Bible, but I would imagine that God was intentional with its inclusion.  If we heed its message, it will spare us the pain and loss that comes with making a poor trade in order to satisfy a fleeting moment of power or pleasure.  And in that sense, the story of Esau is priceless. 

Moving Forward:  I love the Lord for showing me the disciplines of His word.  I choose today to protect those things of value, praying never to trade the eternal for the temporary in my life. 

Tomorrow @ Judges 7-11

Isaiah 29-33 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He waits for us to come to Him so that He can show His love

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, our thoughts are turned to those we love and the ways we will express our love.  Capitalists that we are, we have turned this sentiment into a multi-billion dollar enterprise – chocolate, flowers, diamonds…and again I say chocolate!  In step with this focus on love, television programming is filled with love stories to touch our hearts and to remind us of our own love story.

A familiar story is one of unrequited love where the dear young man desperately loves the young woman who seeks after the more dashing or successful men in her life and ignores his adoration.  Or another story is where the young woman, listening to her biological clock, becomes impatient in waiting for the right man to come along and almost marries Mr. Wrong.  Fortunately, with television movies of this nature, love sweeps in at just the right moment and everybody lives happily ever after. (Sigh) In our reading today, Isaiah talked about God’s unrequited love for an impatient nation, a love deeper than Hollywood could ever imagine. 

@ Isaiah 30
“Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved.  In quietness and confidence is your strength.  But you would have none of it.  You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt.  They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’” (15-16)  As the advancing Assyrian army threatened Judah, God asked them to rest in Him, and in due time He would deliver them, but Judah was impatient.  Time was ticking away, and they considered an alliance with Egypt. This response reminds me of an impatient young woman, her biological clock and unfortunate alliances.

“So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion.  For the Lord is a faithful God.  Blessed are those who wait for his help.” (18)   Here was a compassionate God waiting for Judah to fall in love with Him, to stop looking to others for love and protection.  Unrequited love.

If they would once again fall in love with God and not turn to others, He would love and protect them beyond their wildest dreams. “He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries…he will still be with you to teach you… Your own ears will hear him.  Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.” (19-21)   Their gracious God who loved them so dearly would answer, teach and guide if they would only turn to Him, forsaking all others.

And what a great message for us in the climate that we live in today!  Instead of turning in panic to unknown sources for our answers and help, God asks us to patiently wait for Him to respond to our hearts cries.  He will be gracious if we will ask for help.  He will respond to our cries and teach us along the way as we wait on Him.  He will direct our steps on the very best path and at the perfect moment in time.

When we are tempted to turn to others first for help, He waits for us to come to Him so that He can show His love and compassion to us and be gracious to us.  A sovereign God, so full of love, created us to be the recipients of this great love – He only has eyes for us!  How can we resist so great a love?  How can we make Him wait? 

Moving Forward:  As I patiently wait on Him today, I’ll listen for His voice right behind me, directing my path.  I love Him so. 

Tomorrow @ Matthew 14-16

Genesis 24-27 (NLT) 

Discover His heart:  His Word encourages us to live a righteous life to avoid the many consequences of sin

Tucked in between Christmas and Easter on the holiday calendar is Valentine’s Day, a day spent enjoying and celebrating those we love.  More sugary chocolate treats will be given as gifts and consumed than any other day of the year outside of Halloween.  As the saying goes, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we diet!”

Sugar!  Who doesn’t like sugar!  Even now I look across the room to my kitchen and spy my glass sugar canister with the sun hitting it just right and each sweet grain sparkling in its rays.  I’ve known a few individuals in my life who care little about sweets and can pass up a sugary dessert without batting an eye.  I’m not sure what planet they’re from, but I’m certain it’s a miserable place.  While sugar seems rather benign in nature, it does hold an addictive property to where our appetites require more and more in order to be satisfied.  In addition to obvious weight gain over time, we now have learned that when sugar consumption is left unchecked, serious health issues can arise.  But then, as we discover today in our reading, uncontrolled appetites can lead to all sorts of problems in our lives.

@ Genesis 25
“One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, ‘I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!’…‘All right,’ Jacob replied, ‘but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.’ ‘Look, I’m dying of starvation!’ said Esau. ‘What good is my birthright to me now?’” (29-32)  I sincerely doubt that Esau was truly starving to death, but the excuses we make are quite creative when we yearn to satisfy our appetites.  “Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.”  Those were expensive lentils, to say the least.

Jacob, a heel-gripping deceiver during those early years, made a great deal for himself because of Esau’s uncontrollable appetite.  He would now possess the wealth and power of a first-born son.  Appetites come in a variety of passions, and any appetite that causes us to make a poor trade and sacrifice something of value should certainly be considered out-of-control.  Many have sacrificed their honor and reputation to satisfy their lust for power or have lost the respect of family and friends to satisfy their sexual appetites because they traded their core values for temporary pleasure.

Esau lost his future, his riches and his promise.  Hebrews 12:16-17 reminds us, “Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.”  Fortunately, God forgives our sins, but it is at the very least difficult and often impossible to restore the honor, reputation and respect we once enjoyed when we dishonor them as Esau did.

This disheartening story of Esau is not one of the feel-good uplifting stories of the Bible, but I would imagine that God was intentional with its inclusion.  If we heed its message, it will spare us the pain and loss that comes with making a poor trade in order to satisfy a fleeting moment of power or pleasure.  And in that sense, the story of Esau is priceless. 

Moving Forward:  I love the Lord for showing me the disciplines of His word.  I choose today to protect those things of value, praying never to trade the eternal for the temporary in my life. 

Tomorrow @ Judges 7-11

Isaiah 29-33 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He waits for us to come to Him so that He can show His love

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, our thoughts are turned to those we love and the ways we will express our love.  Capitalists that we are, we have turned this sentiment into a multi-billion dollar enterprise – chocolate, flowers, diamonds…and again I say chocolate!  In step with this focus on love, television programming is filled with love stories to touch our hearts and to remind us of our own love story.

A familiar story is one of unrequited love where the dear young man desperately loves the young woman who seeks after the more dashing or successful men in her life and ignores his adoration.  Or another story is where the young woman, listening to her biological clock, becomes impatient in waiting for the right man to come along and almost marries Mr. Wrong.  Fortunately, with television movies of this nature, love sweeps in at just the right moment and everybody lives happily ever after. (Sigh) In our reading today, Isaiah talked about God’s unrequited love for an impatient nation, a love deeper than Hollywood could ever imagine. 

@ Isaiah 30
“Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved.  In quietness and confidence is your strength.  But you would have none of it.  You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt.  They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’” (15-16)  As the advancing Assyrian army threatened Judah, God asked them to rest in Him, and in due time He would deliver them, but Judah was impatient.  Time was ticking away, and they considered an alliance with Egypt. This response reminds me of an impatient young woman, her biological clock and unfortunate alliances.

“So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion.  For the Lord is a faithful God.  Blessed are those who wait for his help.” (18)   Here was a compassionate God waiting for Judah to fall in love with Him, to stop looking to others for love and protection.  Unrequited love.

If they would once again fall in love with God and not turn to others, He would love and protect them beyond their wildest dreams. “He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries…he will still be with you to teach you… Your own ears will hear him.  Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.” (19-21)   Their gracious God who loved them so dearly would answer, teach and guide if they would only turn to Him, forsaking all others.

And what a great message for us in the climate that we live in today!  Instead of turning in panic to unknown sources for our answers and help, God asks us to patiently wait for Him to respond to our hearts cries.  He will be gracious if we will ask for help.  He will respond to our cries and teach us along the way as we wait on Him.  He will direct our steps on the very best path and at the perfect moment in time.

When we are tempted to turn to others first for help, He waits for us to come to Him so that He can show His love and compassion to us and be gracious to us.  A sovereign God, so full of love, created us to be the recipients of this great love – He only has eyes for us!  How can we resist so great a love?  How can we make Him wait? 

Moving Forward:  As I patiently wait on Him today, I’ll listen for His voice right behind me, directing my path.  I love Him so. 

Tomorrow @ Matthew 14-16