Category Archives: B7Devotionals-OT

Daily Devotionals in 7 Day Groups – Old Testament in Chronological Order

Daily Devotional Week 26 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (Ruth 2:1-17)

Daily Devotional

Week 26 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (Ruth 2:1-17)

Ruth Works in the Field of Boaz, Boaz and Ruth Meet

Nancy got permission for Renea to cull pecans left behind after the harvest. Hopetown’s tree-shakers were old and their ground sweeps inefficient, so lots were left behind.

The local tradition was to allow the poor to pick up and keep or sell the rest.

Renea worked very hard all day, only resting once, and then briefly. When Ben, the owner of the pecan grove where she was culling, asked who she was he was informed of her relationship to Nancy.

Ben kindly encouraged her to return each day and assured her that he would guarantee her safety while she was there.

Renea asked him for the reason for his kindness and he explained that he knew of her loyalty to Nancy, and of her hard work in the fields to provide for them both. He also noted that she had trusted Jesus – so she was a sister in the Lord.

Ben later invited Renea to eat with his family and some workers, then he later instructed them to keep an eye on her, since she was a trusting stranger.

The tradition of God-honoring people from the ancient days of the Israelites had continued all the way to the days of Hopetown. The poor still had to work yet there was opportunity to successfully gather enough to help feed themselves and their families.

Lord, You provide loving-care for those who honor Your name. May I always remember to honor You. Please reveal to me a place where I can encourage, and perhaps provide opportunity for someone, or where I – if in need of some sort – may be blessed by someone else. Amen. dmc2016

Daily Devotional Week 10 Day 1 OT (chronological) Sunday (Genesis 37)

Daily Devotional

Week 10 Day 1

OT (chronological)

Sunday (Genesis 37)

Joseph’s Dreams, Judah and Tamar

One of the young Believers in the home village of Cy and Wendy and their family decided to travel to the distant new village from which Cy had returned several months prior. It was his belief that the Lord was prompting him to go in order to build upon Cy’s efforts to open a door to evangelistic missions.

He had communicated with a group of those with whom Cy had remained in contact – because they had expressed a continuing interest in more teaching.

Once there they were initially friendly and welcoming but as he began to press them about the uniqueness of Biblical-Christianity, the contrasts with other belief systems, and why the two could not be mixed – their attitudes changed.

One day the village leaders asked him to come to their meeting house – where they informed him that it was time for him to leave; he asked why, and was told that the group he was teaching had accused him of sowing conflict and discord.

He was very disappointed but packed his things and left the following morning.

Sometimes we may rush those considering-Christ, new Believers, or older Believers (who are stuck in tradition) to change their thinking too quickly. It is important to constantly assess and reassess the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual teachability of people – through both observation and prayer.

Dear Lord, Please slow me down when I get out ahead of You, make me more sensitive to others, and give me Your words – rather than my own. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 9 Day 7 OT (chronological) Saturday (Genesis 34 – 36)

Daily Devotional

Week 9 Day 7

OT (chronological)

Saturday (Genesis 34 – 36)

Dinah and the Shechemites, The Return to Bethel, The Descendants of Esau

Because of the flat tire delay Cy stopped at a small motel and rented a room for the night. When they were about to leave in the morning they noticed some of their things were missing from the carrying rack and a note on the windshield offered to sell them back to them.

Cy was angry, not only due to another delay, but also for the dishonesty and the boldness of the thieves.

Then he remembered that the local law enforcement official had come from their home village and was a Believer – so he called and explained his situation. The officer and Cy arranged a set-up and captured the young thieves.

Cy recovered his belongings and the agreement they reached was that Cy would not press charges – if the two young thieves attended a small group twice a week with the officer’s wife – who was not a woman to be trifled with.

The young thieves were terrified of being sent to prison in the big city – so they agreed – and Cy and his family were on their way home again.

Cy later heard that the young thieves had confessed to a variety of petty crimes, returned some stolen items and worked to pay restitution for vandalism and for missing items – and had given their lives to Christ.

There was, however, a new challenge for the officer – he had to keep the two reformed young thieves from practically kidnapping travelers to force them to listen to listen to their testimonies and to challenge them to accept Christ.

While the Biblical story was far more brutal the common key lessons are that justice and grace can take a variety of shapes in this world. It is always best for everyone when there is appropriate accountability.

Dear Lord, Teach me to balance justice and grace – because You are a God of balance and humankind needs boundaries. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 9 Day 6 OT (chronological) Friday (Genesis 32 – 33)

Daily Devotional

Week 9 Day 6

OT (chronological)

Friday (Genesis 32 – 33)

Jacob Wrestles at Peniel, Jacob Meets Esau

Along their journey home Cy and his family stopped for food and fuel then, despite their late start, continued on into the night – because they just wanted to get home.

Suddenly the vehicle began to vibrate so he pulled to the side of the road, got out, and discovered a flat tire on the right rear side. He was tired, and envisioning unloading the vehicle to get to the tire jack made him more tired, plus he worried about rumors of road bandits.

Suddenly a large older man carrying an equally large backpack appeared from the brush, accompanied by an athletic looking young woman, and asked “Could you use some assistance?”

Cy was startled and glanced quickly at his wife, who locked the doors, at which sound the man and young woman shook their heads, then started to laugh. The man said “We mean no harm.”

Cy apologized then explained that his jack was buried under all of their stuff inside, plus the carrying rack would have to be unloaded before the rear door could even be opened. The man pulled a tire iron from his backpack, saying “No problem, but there’s one condition, you have to beat her in arm wrestling.” Cy was wearing a loose fitting shirt and pants so his usual carpenter’s muscular build, enhanced by the past three months of work, wasn’t obvious.

Cy pulled a small table off the roof and they began to arm-wrestle. She was much stronger than he anticipated and he stronger than she thought. After a while she began to tire – but as he pressed her arm for the win her foot flashed under the table into the side of his knee – causing him to fall to the ground. She helped him up, saying “Strong, but not invulnerable.” His knee was weak and he limped a little.

The man laughed as she moved the flattened stump, on which Cy had been sitting, in front of the driver’s side rear tire and said “Drive up on to it”, which he did – causing the vehicle to rock oddly. She then placed the short stump, on which she had been seated, under the bumper. He removed the nut, then while he lifted the corner of the vehicle she slid the stump under the frame. He pulled the spare off the roof, swapped it with the bad tire, replaced the nuts, then said “Drive off the flattened stump.” When Cy did that the other stump pulled loose and he was ready to go. As they disappeared back into the brush they called back to him “Remember to pray – the Lord will keep his promise to you.”

Sometimes God sends encouragement and help, along with a reminder, to rely upon His strength and not in our own – and to rest in His promises.

Dear Lord, It’s easy to become proud of our physical strength, our clever methods, and in other worldly resources – please keep me humbly-dependent upon and trusting in You. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 9 Day 5 OT (chronological) Thursday (Genesis 31)

Daily Devotional

Week 9 Day 5

OT (chronological)

Thursday (Genesis 31)

Jacob’s Flight from Laban

Cy had received some credit for his efforts, and more importantly, an opportunity to begin a conversation about God.

In his zeal Cy had used up all of his funds, buying some resources and paying some local laborers, and now had to find a way to replace them.

Cy met with the village leaders and explained that he would have to return to his home village across the valley to be with his family and to raise funds. The leaders worried that the people would become angry with them because they had moved too slowly and only equipped three buildings – and winter was not far off.

They offered Cy a temporary residence for his family, funds to cover all of the materials, and a salary to lead and train the people to build their own systems. Cy was shocked that they had never disclosed the availability of so many funds but agreed and they got to work.

Due to the previous delays they were only able to complete work on a quarter of the homes before winter set-in but they continued despite the cold and multiple families shared the heated homes. Spring came and the leaders became less reliable with timely payments, but the Lord sent Cy the resources he needed from home, and he pressed ahead.

As they interacted with the villagers he, and Wendy, found opportunities to answer their questions about the God of the Bible – and to share the Word with them – and a small core group surrendered they lives to Christ.

In the Fall Wendy discovered that she was with-child again and they decided they would return to their home village before Winter. The leaders worried but Cy assured them that those whom he had trained could complete the work.

Cy agreed not to press for the funds owed him, the leaders agreed to stop pressuring him to stay, and after the usual speeches, dancing, and food Cy and his young family set-off for home.

Doing the right thing does not always result in great physical blessings, sometimes the seeds we plant for Christ come at the price of invested energy, money, and time – none of which is replaced – the blessings come to us in the form of the joy we have that we’ve been well-used of the Lord..

Dear Lord, Show me a way that the gifts and talents You have given me may be used to Your glory.

Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 9 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (Genesis 29 – 30)

Daily Devotional

Week 9 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (Genesis 29 – 30)

The Marriages of Jacob, The Family of Jacob, The Flocks of Jacob

Cy had spotted a small village while on the mountain plateau and after asking around he learned they were people who had been displaced by the sandstorm who had relocated to a far corner of the valley.

The people were not from the valley, nor were they people who had come there for the big outreach event he had planned, but were from a region beyond the valley. They had isolated themselves as they were unfamiliar with local culture and also unfamiliar with the Christian outreach.

Cy prayed, and asked others to do so as well, so he might determine if the Lord had shown him the village for a reason. He came to believe that he should travel to the village, earn the right to be heard there, and then share the Word of God.

Once there he learned that they feared the coming cold Winter weather, especially as wood was scarce in the valley, and they had not had the resources or time to erect many permanent structures. Cy offered to teach them how to build solar hot air collectors and to use rocks from the mountains to store and release the gathered heat at night.

He built the first one for their leader – with the understanding that he would be allowed to share his story when the system was shown to the villagers – but when that day arrived the leader gave a long speech and then everyone broke into a ritual dance followed by a large meal. It was late and dark and Cy never was allowed to speak. He said nothing but prayed for another opportunity.

The next system was for the community building – and again the agreement was for him to speak when it was completed – but this time both the leader and another man spoke, the ritual dance ensued, eating followed, then darkness fell. Cy was a little frustrated.

It had now been two months, he’d only seen his wife and child for brief visits on the weekends, and he was wondering if the village leaders were being honest – or just taking advantage of him. He was asked to build a system for the storehouse, and with the Lord’s encouragement, he agreed.

This time he partnered with the son of the leader – mentoring him in the design and construction of the system – and when the system was unveiled the son introduced him. He was finally able to share his story. He told them that the Lord Who made the sun had taught him how to capture its heat, store it,and release it at night – and that God wanted to teach them far more than that about His Creation.

It can be frustrating and sacrificial to earn the right to be heard – taking longer than we’d like, and sometimes we may be taken advantage of. But we must remember that someone invested in us.

Dear Lord, Open a door and I will be Your patient servant and witness. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 9 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (Genesis 27:46-28)

Daily Devotional

Week 9 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (Genesis 27:46-28)

Jacob Sets Off to Find a Wife, Esau Marries Again, Jacob’s

Dream at Bethel,

Cy was amazed, a little dazed, and definitely delighted, by the work that God did in the midst of the sandstorm mess. After taking time for a celebration of praise and worship, and to arrange for follow-up discipleship groups, he decided to get away from all of the busyness and planning of events – for a retreat with the Lord.

He consulted with an elder back in the city who recommended a remote plateau within a small mountain range about 50 miles from the valley village.

It was a short drive followed by a long hike and despite his youth Cy was tired when he reached the plateau – so tired that he barely set up camp before falling asleep in his tent.

He dreamed about the events of the previous weeks and the Lord showed him how the events unfolded – from a heavenly-perspective. In his dream he watched himself rushing about, “helping” God, various groups making their preparations, and so many people planning their travels – to the grand event in the valley. Unbeknownst to them various weather fronts, in far-distant regions, were colliding and redirecting – so that the soil was bone-dry when God sent the winds came to lift and relocate them. Then He stirred the hearts of the native Believers in the valley to pray and to sing, followed by His gentle invitation to the visitors to indulge their curiosity, with the wonderful conclusion of many (but not all) choosing Christ.

Cy was once-again amazed and awoke to worship and praise the Lord – then he asked the Lord to send another missions team to help with discipleship – and he promised that he would avoid future short-cuts in his outreach.

Jesus broke away from the crowds in order for his human body and mind to have a time of quiet rest to commune with His Heavenly-Father. Every Believer needs a respite now and then. It’s not a vacation for fun but rather a holiday from the clatter and clutter of daily living – listening for His still soft voice.

Dear Lord, When the only voice I hear is Yours I am drawn near to Heaven. Make me still, calm my heart, mind, and body – then teach me, encourage me, and direct me to have Your heart and to walk the path You have chosen for me. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotionals – Monday – Week 9 Day 2 OT (chronological) – Genesis 27

Daily Devotional
Week 9 Day 2
OT (chronological)
Monday (Genesis 27)

Jacob Gets Esau’s Blessing

Cy became anxious that they were not seeing the results God had promised and so he asked his supporters back home country to hold a fund raiser for a large evangelical-missions outreach event.

He contacted a famous pastor from another part of the country and asked him to bring his music team to conduct a huge outreach event.

He hired a large catering company to provide all of the food for the week-long event.

Hundreds of people came and created a giant tent city surrounding the village in the valley. The surrounding hills created a natural amphitheater – which Cy intended to use to increase the effectiveness of the music and speaking.

The day before the event a huge sandstorm swept through the country, grounding airplanes, blocking highways, the power grid collapsed, and – of course – the event was canceled.

After all of the planning and hope Cy was heartbroken – but God was not finished.

In the darkness, with no power, and fear as to what was happening some of the native Believer-converts gathered in the meeting tent – and began to pray and then to sing. People came to see what was happening and one by one they joined in the singing – then began to ask from where their faith came – and quietly the locals shared the story of Jesus in their lives and many surrendered their lives to the Lord.

This was to be just the beginning of a great wave of salvation across the region – and it came despite Cy’s efforts to “help” the Lord.

It is hard to watch people stumble from day to day; confused, hurting one-another, being led from lie to lie, deception to deception, and finding hope only in momentary things – while in their hearts – true freedom and joy are absent. Our temptation is to ‘help’ God with worldly marketing techniques, manipulative environments to leverage fear or experiences or superstition – when all God asks us to do is to be faithful vessels – and to leave the method and timing to Him.

Dear Lord, Help me to resist the temptation to replace Your way with mine, Your timing with mine, and Your Holy Spirit with my works. It’s Your story I am to live and to tell – You will do the rest. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotionals – Sunday – Week 9 Day 1 OT (chronological) – Genesis 25:19-26

Daily Devotional
Week 9 Day 1
OT (chronological)
Sunday (Genesis 25:19 – 26)

Jacob and Esau, Isaac and Abimelech,

The young carpenter, Cy, and the young woman missionary, Wendy, were married in the summer and by Fall they were with child – actually, twins.

Wendy’s pregnancy was filled with unusual symptoms; during the day she was never hungry and always cold, during the night she was constantly hungry and always felt over-heated. Her food cravings shifted wildly between the meals common to hunters and laborers (spicy liver and barley pudding, and dried salted fish with flat bread) and meals common to the teachers and caretakers (vegetable soup, mint tea, and chocolates from the city).

When the twins were born one was slender, resisted napping, and was always hungry (Cody) while the other was more stocky, liked to nap, and ate on a regular schedule (Will). As they grew their differences became more pronounced such that strangers would not recognize them as siblings at all.

When they were old enough to be baptized Cody slipped away on the scheduled day to hunt with some boys from the village while Will testified to his faith for all to hear. People trusted Will whereas they always wondered what Cody might do next.

When he was older Cody returned from helping to fight wildfires on the other side of the country – and with him was a native woman whom he had married – she was not a Believer and that resulted in a great deal of conflict and confusion.

We are all born with different mixes of genetic material into a world in which none of our experiences are quite the same – the choices that we make in the midst of all of that begin to shape who we are.

Dear Lord, I want to be the person You want me to be, despite the enemy’s schemes to prey on my weaknesses and to undermine my strengths. You are the potter, I am the clay. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotionals – Week 8 OT (chronological) – Genesis 17-25:18

Daily Devotional
Week 8 Day 1
OT (chronological)
Sunday (Genesis 17)
The Sign of the Covenant

The team re-grouped back at the office in the city.
They spent a great deal of time in prayer and an older missionary from a nearby country came to encourage them.
He shared some personal stories of mistakes made – and how God had later redeemed them.
He led them in visualizing their role as building the foundation of a house upon which others would add walls, then others a roof, and yet others doors, windows, and more – each doing their best at the piece of the larger project placed before them.
He shared that the Lord had given him a dream the night before, affirming the role of the team, and showing him a gathering of people from several villages – praising the Lord together.
The young carpenter shook his head and muttered “But how? After I’ve made such a mess and wasted so much time?”
The older missionary reminded him that God can redeem something good out of what the enemy intended – through the manipulation of his impetuous actions – and he was certain that He would.
He then invited the members of the team to each accept and wear two visual reminders, wristbands for each hand; the first bore the outline of a turtle, the second the outline of a fish. They were to serve as obvious reminders to be patient – and to trust God.

Sometimes we need both encouragement and visible reminders before us all the time. They may include a daily call or text from an accountability partner, and maybe a mark, a wristband, or a piece of jewelry.

Dear Lord, I want to be Yours all the time. I want to keep my eyes on You and to stay on the path You have laid-out before me. Please send me an accountability and encouragement partner – and give me a visible reminder to help keep me on task. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 8 Day 2
OT (chronological)
Monday (Genesis 18)
Three Special Visitors

The team traveled to a hill-country village about a mile from the area controlled by the unpleasant religious group with whom they had their early unpleasant experience.
The older couple, who had separated from them, were living and working in another village – it was down in the valley – but it was not controlled by the religious group.
That night three members of the team had the same dream, and it was like the one that the visiting missionary had spoken about (assurance of fruit from their outreach) – they awoke in the night and rushed to tell the young carpenter – and together they all praised the Lord.
Just prior to light the young carpenter had a dream of his own – it was about a terrible fire sweeping through the valley below – destroying all of the villages controlled by the religious group (as well as their crops, trees, bushes) – it was followed by a flash-flood that would strip-away the good soil (because nothing remained to protect the soil) leaving the land barren and worthless.
He awoke suddenly, shaken and troubles, and he walked to the edge of the hill overlooking the valley to pray. He asked the Lord – if anyone in the valley, other than their missionary friends, would respond to the Word of truth – would He would spare them from the disaster?
Once again he felt the warmth of the Lord’s assurance, and thus comforted, he rose to join the team for breakfast.

Everyone deserves the Lord’s punishment, based upon the perfect justice of His law and righteousness – only the equally perfect balance of His grace withholds that punishment. We all rebel in small, if not great, ways. We all sin as we live through lives of imperfect days.
Jesus is our advocate in Heaven, as He has been since the Garden of Eden – He has always been the promised redeemer. We bring our prayers to Him, through the Holy Spirit, and He hears us – together with our Father in Heaven.

Dear Lord, So many are suffering in this world; broken hearts, broken bodies, lost dreams, lost loved-ones, disaster, disease, captivity, and wars – we want all of that to end – but we know it cannot here on this fallen planet. Even so, we cry-out and seek Your hand of intervention, whenever and wherever it can make a difference – for Your kingdom. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 8 Day 3
OT (chronological)
Tuesday (Genesis 19)
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s Wife, Lot’s Daughters

The young carpenter sent a message to the older couple down in the valley, warning them of the coming destruction, and alerting them to the Lord’s willingness to spare the teachable.
The couple traveled to the city and appealed to those with whom they had spoken in the past, sharing with them the prophesy, and pleading with them to leave.
Some of the people reported what they were saying to the religious leaders – who gathered a mob and set out to kill them.
The Lord guided the couple to unexpected allies, of whose sympathies the religious leaders were unaware, and they hid them – and those with them – for the night.
In the morning the dark clouds gathered and the older couple pleaded with those who had stayed the night with them – and their new allies – to leave. Some refused to leave and some fled with them.
When they were out of the city and on their way up to the village, safely located in the hill country, one of the people broke from the group and ran back toward the city – just then a bolt of lightning struck the metal frame of the umbrella and she was killed.
The rest were sad but continued on to the hills – from where they watched the terrible destruction of all but one village at the edge of the valley – the one which had earlier welcomed the couple – and had resisted the false teachings of the religious group from the city.
The young remnants of the people of the city inter-married with the hill people – but they merged their old religious ideas with those of the hill people – resulting in a syncretic religion that led people into confusion and conflict for generations to come.

When destructive influences must be eliminated from our lives, be it the music we listen to, the shows we watch, the company we keep, or bad thinking – God will do what is necessary to purify His children. It could get messy and be painful, or it could be less so – it all depends upon our cooperation.

Dear Lord, When you say that You intend to purge our personal world of a destructive influence, You will see it through. We can cooperate – and have peace, we can resist – and risk severe harm, or we can try to have it both ways – and be miserable. Please motivate me to cooperate. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 8 Day 4
OT (chronological)
Wednesday (Genesis 20 – 21:8)
Abraham and Abimelech, The Birth of Issac

The older couple had returned to the village in the valley and one day a large group arrived. They were originally from the village but had left several years ago after a disagreement – since resolved – but had settled far away.
The leader of the visiting group overheard the wife of the missionary couple refer to her husband as her “brother in Christ”, and since he was unacquainted with Christians, he misunderstood. He asked the women traveling with him to invite her to his temporary quarters where he placed a shawl on her – a claim to her as his wife.
When the word got out the whole village was in an uproar, some feared speaking-up as they didn’t want to re-open old conflicts, but others knew it was wrong and feared some sort of retribution – from the missionaries’ people or perhaps their God.
The leader of the village, and the missionaries’ husband, held a private meeting with the visitor – and after some time he was led to understand what had happened.
They all decided to take the opportunity to surprise the couple with a great chicken roast feast to celebrate their 10 year wedding anniversary. They invited the people of the hill country, as well as the missionary team there.
The wife took the occasion to announce that she was with-child and expected to give birth in about five months. That added to the joy of the occasion.
Five months later the baby was born and they decided to make his middle name a combination of the names of the village leader and of the visiting leader – a wonderful symbol of grace.

Sometimes we make rash decisions that may place places others at risk, or create confusion, and the process of resolution can be difficult. It may be as a poor role model – an action or an ill-chosen word, or it may be the way we present ourselves to a watching world (perhaps a woman dressing provocatively, a single man flirting with a married woman, a student cheating in school and encouraging others to do so as well, someone downloading games, software, or videos illegally and sharing that with others).
Dear Lord, Please make me a more consistent witness of righteousness rather than a rebel – like the world around me. Help me to be more careful so that what I say, and what I do, does not contradict Your integrity and power in my life. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 8 Day 5
OT (chronological)
Thursday (Genesis 21:9-34)
Sarah, Hagar, and Ishmael, Abraham and Abimelech

The children of the remnant of the destroyed city (who had relocated to the hill country) were playing with the children of the spared-village as they visited for the wedding anniversary celebration.
The some of the games, songs, and stories they knew with the local children – and a parent overheard.
She told some other mothers and they were all very upset – because some of the content promoted some of the images and values of the city that God had destroyed.
They grabbed their children and took them home, leaving the other children alone and wondering why – so they asked their parents – who asked the leaders of the village.
The mothers were summoned and asked to explain their actions – which they did. There were charges or intolerance and prejudice, worrying too much about harmless child’s play, and hurt feelings – and in the end the families from the hill country left the gathering and headed home.
The missionary couple followed them, promised to work on bridging the gap, and promised to pray – and to visit.
Meanwhile, there was a dispute between the large visiting group (led by the man who had misunderstood about the missionaries wife) and the people of the valley village over some ropes. They had all worked together to make some very strong and long ropes but the next morning only half of them were found and both groups claimed them.
The visitors worried that they would be unwelcome to return should they push the matter too hard, so they offered to pay a small sum to take them – as they needed to leave for home – and did not want to be delayed as the search for the others continued. This was agreed to and the conflict resolved.
The villagers wanted to make sure there were no hard feelings – so they each gifted the travelers with a package of food and some special gifts.
The missionary couple prayed for the travelers and gifted them with materials to read – and they promised to travel to visit them if they decided that they wanted to learn more.

Sometimes it may be necessary to separate from an influence that may confuse children. Sometimes there are disagreements that may be resolved – perhaps by a good-will sacrifice, and sometimes long-term peace is encouraged through acts of generosity and kindness.

Dear Lord, Please make me your instrument of wisdom and peace, even if it may seem difficult or costly. Amen. dmc2015
Daily Devotional
Week 8 Day 6
OT (chronological)
Friday (Genesis 22 – 23)
The Sacrifice of Isaac, Sarah Dies

The missionary couple could not stop talking about their baby, they took her everywhere – making her the center of their activities, and thus became distracted from their outreach.
While they were visiting the hill people a strange sickness struck the village in the valley, especially affecting the children, and the leaders sent word to the missionaries – asking them to come and pray.
The couple worried about the well-being of their child and asked the team to pray for wisdom. As they slept they both dreamed the same dream, one of a miraculous healing in the village – and of a powerful witness – if they returned with the baby and then prayed for the village.
They prayed with the team, and asked them to pray – especially for their baby – as they set out in faith for the village. When they arrived the leaders were amazed to see the baby with them, and in response they pledged that if God healed their village every person there would listen to their teaching for a year.
The couple prayed, God healed the people of the village – while He protected their baby – and many were saved that next year.
Shortly thereafter, word came that the elderly missionary from the neighboring country (the man who had encouraged them earlier in their missionary journey) had died. The whole team, and several of the locals who had become Believers, all traveled to the funeral to celebrate his long and faithful service to the Lord.

Our circumstances may not look the same as in our story, but the same principles apply – if we don’t walk in faith, how can we expect others to be impressed by our empty words?

Dear Lord, Cleanse me of any fear or a lack of confidence in You. I don’t want to be a tool for the enemy as he accuses You of irrelevance or of powerlessness – because my walk is compromised or timid. I would rather be alone with You than in the company of thousands without You. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 8 Day 7
OT (chronological)
Saturday (Genesis 24 – 25)
The Wife for Isaac, The Death of Abraham, The Sons of Ishmael

The young carpenter was overheard remarking upon the wonderful relationship of the missionary couple in the valley; how committed they were to their work, and how amazing it must be to have a child to care for and love. The missionary couple heard and began to pray for a wife for him.
During their prayers, and their study of the Word, they developed seven requirements for anyone to whom they would feel comfortable giving their blessing as a God-approved mate:
1. She must be a genuine Believer.
2. She must have been a Believer who had been fully engaged in discipleship for at least a year.
3. She must be generally close to him in emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual maturity.
4. She must sense a strong call to missions – as that was clearly his calling.
5. She must be physically strong enough to endure the mission field – so as to not become a burden or distraction to him.
6. She must bring her own gifts for ministry, some filling gaps in his gifts and talents – as they would be full partners in ministry – just as Eve was both to complete and to serve alongside Adam.
7. She must be fiercely-loyal to the Lord, and to whomever she married, so that drifting or temptation would not eventually harm the ministry.
They prayed about all of the young women in the valley who had been saved for more than a year, then prayed through those in the hills – thinking that such an alliance might help his ministry – but none were sufficiently mature in their faith (and most still clung to some of the old ways).
Just as they ran out of names the young woman member of the team returned from a brief visit home and they clearly sensed the Lord directing their attention to her. They invited her to visit with them for a while and after a couple of weeks they asked her about him – and she expressed the prompting of the Holy Spirit to consider courtship – and he agreed.

When God calls a person out of singleness, what the apostle Paul referred to as “the best choice for undivided service to Him”, He doesn’t expect us to choose a mate alone nor without guidelines. Our mate must never be one who distracts us from Him or His plan for our lives. The enemy is desperate to disable a useful servant of God with an ill-chosen mate.

Dear Lord, Please Guide me in all things – even the romantic ones – keep me centered on You. Amen. dmc2015

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated – http://bible.org
Devotional copyright © 2015 by David M. Colburn. This is associated with the BibleSeven Study –“Genesis 17-25_18 Week 8 – OT Chronological”. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.

Daily Devotionals – Week 7 OT (chronological) – Genesis 12-16

Daily Devotional
Week 7 Day 1
OT (chronological)
Sunday (Genesis 12:1-7)
The Obedience of Abram

The young carpenter had not been raised in a Christian home. It’s not that they were against religion or God or anything, they were “just too busy”, and that was “all for other people anyhow”.
It wasn’t until he was apprenticing with a master carpenter that he first learned the difference between a religion and a relationship; in the context of Christianity, the first was what someone does, the second was the reason that they did it.
He resisted the whole thing for a while, first using the excuse that he was too busy, then the fear of being different, after that he worried that he wasn’t good enough, but finally he admitted that the only wise response to God was always “yes”.
He had no idea where that first “yes” would take him … and take him it did, to another yes, and another, and then another.
The second “yes”, following his surrender in-faith, was to be publicly baptized. He was surprised that his parents and others thought it was just fine. After that there was the yes to weekly discipleship and fellowship with other Believers. Then some helpful projects in the community – and even two states over to help after a tornado.
Then came the big one – God asked him to move, away from everyone and everything he knew, to another country, where he looked different, and didn’t know the language … he said “yes” but wondered what God was doing.

God doesn’t always ask everyone to make huge geographical changes, sometimes He needs His children to serve right where they are; indeed, that is most often the case. Of course change and challenges may sometimes be the most difficult close to home.

Dear Lord, You often take us out of our comfort zones – sometimes to change us in order to make us more useful – sometimes to use us as Your instruments of service. Please strengthen and mature me so that I am available to say “yes”. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 7 Day 2
OT (chronological)
Monday (Genesis 12:8-20)
The Promised Blessing Jeopardized

When the young carpenter arrived in the foreign land he was worried about his papers (especially his passport and other documents that legalized both his presence and his freedom to leave). He was also worried about saying or doing anything that might get him in trouble.
He had made his first order of business to pray, thanking the Lord for safe travel, and for the resources to make this evangelical-missions adventure possible. The other members of his team did so as well.
From the airport they traveled several hours by train to a rural area where they hoped to begin their outreach. No teams had ever visited this area and they had left the friendly faces of fellow Believers back in the city.
They discovered that the local government had changed and was now run by the same people who led the common religion; a value-system deeply steeped in ancient barbaric customs, that empowered the men to selfishly abuse power, and one filled with vague superstitions – that further darkened their thinking.
One of the two women in the group had very light colored hair and skin and stood-out from the local darker-skinned darker-haired women. The only other woman on the team looked a lot like the locals, was married to a member of the team, and was much older.
In the local culture a woman never traveled without her husband, unless she was with another close relative, so when the young carpenter was asked if the light-haired woman was his wife he carefully answered that they both were unmarried – not mentioning that they were considering engagement – fearing the jealousy of the local men.
The local leaders were informed that the light-haired woman was unmarried, and while the young carpenter and other men were gathering wood for their rented cabin – the younger woman (who stayed behind with the older woman for counseling and fellowship) was kidnapped.
Unknown to her she carried an easily contracted and fast spreading virus – spread when she sneezed (due to her allergy to the dusty animal particles on their clothes and in their hair). The rest of the team, and the people back home, had a natural immunity – but not so the locals, who were quickly sickened by it.
They immediately summoned the young carpenter, accused him and his friends of “having demons” and of intending them harm, returned the young woman to him, and demanded that he and his team leave their village immediately – and never return.

When we interact with other cultures, especially those with a powerful mixture of religion and politics, it is very important to study them carefully – to be aware of dangerous potential misunderstandings. The same (to a lesser degree) may also be said when we consider marriage, business partnerships, assembling a sports team, choosing key leaders within faith-based organizations, and close friendships.
Also, if we want the blessings of God, we must avoid situational ethics – where we trust our partial truth more than our faith in God In an increasingly hostile world Christians need to be alert, informed, faithful, and wise.
Dear Lord, My comfort and safety is not Your first concern, but You do expect me to exercise reasonable caution “Do not test the Lord Your God”, and if I do so – You will protect me. I also need to ask You first before presuming that my manipulation of facts is in Your will. Help me to be bold, without also being careless or dishonest, as I “go forth” to tell the world about You. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 7 Day 3
OT (chronological)
Tuesday (Genesis 13)
Abram’s Solution to the Strife

The young carpenter, and his team, shaken and wary traveled on through several villages – carefully choosing those not affiliated with the extreme religious views of the first.
After a while the older couple found a village where they felt they could serve effectively and so they separated from the rest of the team.
The five remaining members traveled on then returned to their home base in the city to rest and to process their experiences.
As they shared what they had observed, the relative ineffectiveness of their outreach, and their frustrations – they found themselves drawn to deeper study of the Word, to praise, and to prayer.
They asked more questions about the local culture, gained insight into potential points of contact, and spent quiet times in meditation – as the Lord encouraged them through His Holy Spirit and through fellow Believers.
After a week they came together to prepare to go out again – this time feeling far better prepared – and ready to be used by the Lord – certain that He had prepared their way.

Not all evangelical-missions trips see immediate fruit. One missionary shares his story of thirty years in a remote region – never seeing a single person come forward to confess Christ – but after he retired the new missionary harvested the fruit of his labors – in the younger generation.
Short-term missions often assist long-term missionaries rather than experiencing immediate impact. It may take the combined efforts of several teams over several years to have impact. God has been patient with us and we must also be patient with others – who may be even more resistant to change.

Dear Lord, I want to see everyone choose You – and receive the double blessings of peace and purpose in this world – plus the promise of Heaven forever. I want You to find me faithful as a living example of Your transforming work in my life every day, and if called, faithful to serve You wherever I go. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 7 Day 4
OT (chronological)
Wednesday (Genesis 14)
The Blessing of Victory for God’s People

The young carpenter, and his team, received word that there had been trouble between some villagers near where the older couple had stayed to minister – and they had gone missing.
They traveled to the area where they learned that the couple had been kidnapped and were being held hostage for ransom by some associates of the troublesome radicals they’d encountered earlier.
They informed the missions office back in the city and asked them to inform people back home – especially requesting prayer.
They spoke with the leaders of the friendly villages, who had been attacked, and were told that it would not be wise for them to counter-attack – because the couple would likely be killed.
The team didn’t have the money to buy their freedom and feared for their well-being if allowed to remain with their captors for long.
They decided to fast and pray and ask the Lord God to intervene. Two days later representatives from a nearby village brought the now-free couple to them.
The story they told amazed everyone; a lion had attacked and killed two of the kidnappers, snakes had bitten and killed two others, and a tree had fallen on the two leaders as they slept in their tents – all within minutes of each other – and the dazed but unharmed couple had just walked away.
Meanwhile, the villagers had visited the camp and taken the now-abandoned possessions. They offered some of them to the team, who refused – saying that they had done nothing – and that all of the praise belonged to God.

Sometimes God allows, indeed equips, empowers, and instructs us to deal with challenges directly – and sometimes He makes it obvious that only He is able. We must always consult Him in prayer and we must never imagine that our resources to overcome are merely of our own invention. When He shows us our powerlessness – then He overcomes – we must never forget that all praise belongs to Him.

Dear Lord, Troubles will come in the lives of Believers in this world – of which the temporary prince is Satan. Help me to remember that You are the only source of power to overcome, You are my peace in the conflict, and You deserve all praise. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 7 Day 5
OT (chronological)
Thursday (Genesis 15:1-6)
God’s Promise to Abram Renewed

The team arrived in a new village and after their long journey they settled in for the night.
The young carpenter could not sleep so he walked around outside the cabin, remembering when he came to faith, and remembering when the Lord told Him that He had a mission for him – far away.
He cried out to the Lord in prayer, asking when he might see some fruit, and wondering if he might return home with nothing to show – his funds exhausted and his visitors visa expired.
He looked up at the stars and was reminded of God’s promise to Abram, then he felt the warmth of God’s touch … “Oh” he said “OK, Lord. You will multiply our efforts here beyond what we can imagine. It’s Your work, and not mine, Thank You.”
He smiled as he slowly walked back to the cabin, slipped quietly into his bunk, and fell asleep looking forward to the morning.

Whatever it is that the Lord asks of us He asks having already prepared us – and the way. Sometimes, we may get out ahead of God in our impatience, and he redirects or slows us. Our job is to be available, willing, trusting, and faithful – the time, place, and results are entirely His. We may not see some of what He is doing, perhaps not until much later, perhaps not even until Heaven.

Dear Lord, I want to be Your hands and feet, Your vessel of grace, Your instrument of healing – however You choose to give me purpose – while I remain here on earth. Awaken my heart, my mind, and my soul to Your Spirit – so that I may hear and obey. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 7 Day 6
OT (chronological)
Friday (Genesis 15:7-21)
God’s Promise to Abram Illustrated

The team set out in the morning to help people around the village – in hopes of earning the right to be heard for Christ – people were grateful, but suspicious. Some of them gave team members fruit, nuts, and water – but they all resisted conversation.
The young carpenter returned tired and a little confused, he had expected some sort of immediate change in the attitudes of the local people, or at least some evidence they were making progress.
Again, after the others were settled-in for the night, he went outside and prayed – then he stirred the fire and waited on the Lord.
After a while a red hot piece of a small log popped out and landed away from the rest of the fire, it sat there a while isolated and surrounded by sand, slowly fading – then suddenly a gust of wind caught-up the hot piece of wood and dropped it onto a pile of dry grass and leaves and twigs surrounded by sand – and it all burst into flame.
The young carpenter smiled and nodded and said “Thank you, Lord, I will be more patient. Just as you have been patient with me – I will also trust Your promise.”
Again, he returned to the cabin and slept well that night.

The fulfillment of God’s plans does not reply upon any mere human, nor is He obligated to make us part of His plan from beginning to end – we are to play our part then get out of His way. When we try to force ourselves into His timing and His execution we complicate rather than assist.

Dear Lord, Please help me to be humble enough to accept that I neither choose the time, place, or means, nor do I get to demand that I even see the end. Help me to humbly serve – and leave the rest to You. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 7 Day 7
OT (chronological)
Saturday (Genesis 16)
The Birth of Ishmael

The team set out the next morning, determined to serve and to earn the right to share the Word of the Lord.
The young carpenter was still anxious to see some evidence of the Lord using their efforts, despite his prayer the night before to be patient.
After lunch he discovered the 10 year old son of one of the villagers playing alone. He sat nearby to observe his playing. The young man paused and looked at him, walked over and said hello. He offered the young man some candy, which he took and ate, then showed him a video on his cellphone.
The young man watched in awe as he ate the candy. The video was about a similar young man who rejected God and went to hell, along with his family – which frightened him.
The young carpenter fed-into his fear and told him that the only way to save himself and his family was to become a Christian. The frightened child repeated the words he was told to say then ran home to tell his family.
The young carpenter was elated and returned to the team – sharing the news. Some celebrated with him but some were not at all comfortable.
A little later the village elders sent word that they wanted to meet with the young carpenter. When he arrived the parents of the young man were present with the elders and they were all very angry.
He thought that he’d now have an opportunity to share the same message with all of them and really make a difference – instead, they berated him for taking advantage of the child, for disrespecting his parents by not asking them first, and for abusing their trust (permitting the team in their village).
They informed him that the team was no longer welcome and must leave at first light – and in the meanwhile were to have no contact with anyone in the village. The team was disappointed, both with the young carpenter, and with the lost opportunity.

It is important to reflect upon any area where we may be trying to accomplish in our flesh that which God has said He will do. Ill-conceived and hasty actions, apart from the timing and ways of the Lord, can have the unintended consequence of building walls rather than bridges.

Dear Lord, I can get so excited about Your promises that I may use the wrong methods, and rush the timing, both of which are Yours to choose. Humble me so that I will avoid “playing God”. Amen. dmc2015

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated – http://bible.org
Devotional copyright © 2015 by David M. Colburn. This is associated with the BibleSeven Study – “Genesis 12-16 Week 7 – OT Chronological”. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.

Daily Devotionals – Week 6 OT (chronological) – Job 32-42

Daily Devotional
Week 6 Day 1
OT (chronological)
Sunday (Job 32 – 34:30)
The Speeches of Elihu

The farmer and his friends then considered the wisdom in the words of Elihu.

Elihu, younger than the others, spoke up when he saw that the three older men had ceased from contesting with Job.
Elihu challenged the three older men for improperly asserting certainty of specific sin in Job – merely because they could not comprehend any other acceptable explanation for his troubles.
Elihu reminded them that despite the age difference they were all created by God from the same clay and all stood equally before the Lord God.
Elihu challenged Job’s insistence that he was innocent before the Lord God – noting that only God could claim perfection – but he did not insist that specific sin was the only explanation for his troubles.
Elihu challenged Job’s derisive attitude toward the Lord God – when Job had declared the Lord to have been absent from a fair hearing and unjust toward him.

The farmer and his friends noticed that Elihu was not corrected by anyone.
They recalled from prior Bible reading that not only did the Lord God not ask Job to pray for him (as He did the other three) – many of the things he said also appeared in the Lord’s words to Job.
They also remembered that later, in the New Testament, the apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to be unafraid to speak truth – even to those older than he – and to not allow them to intimidate him to silence.

God’s truth is unchanging. As Elihu observed, it is not the sole possession of people merely because they are old, or denied those who are young – it is given to those who honestly seek it.
We are never to fear speaking the truth in love, to gracefully challenge those who misrepresent the Word of God within the fellowship of Believers, and/or to disciple those whose hearts the Holy Spirit has prepared to learn. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 6 Day 2
OT (chronological)
Monday (Job 34:31 – 37)
Job Is Foolish to Rebel, Elihu’s Third and Fourth Speeches, The Work and Wisdom of God

The farmer and his friends continued their review of the wisdom in the words of Elihu.

Elihu rightly observed that Job had gone beyond bringing his grief to the Lord and had actually challenged Him as unfair and unavailable.
Elihu then launched into one of the most-profound declarations of praise of the Lord God in all of the Bible, concluding with …
“But now, the sun cannot be looked at – it is bright in the skies – after a wind passed and swept the clouds away.

“From the north he comes in golden splendor; around God is awesome majesty.

“As for the Almighty, we cannot attain to him!

“He is great in power, but justice and abundant righteousness he does not oppress.

“Therefore people fear him, for he does not regard all the wise in heart.”

The farmer and his friends were cheered as they read the words of Elihu.

When we gather together with fellow Believers, it matters not how many or the location, and we read praises lifted to the Lord – we are drawn to worship of the one and only true God – and we are encouraged.
God is eternal and unchanging, perfect in all ways, and needs nothing. He gives because he chooses to give, loves because He chooses to love, gives grace because He chooses grace, and judges because justice is righteous. Believers are His vessels to be used in His plan as He chooses.

Dear Lord, Please help me to live rightly so that I am available to You. If I harbor wrong thinking please correct it, if I wander – bring me home, if I fall please lift me up. I am Yours – I surrender all. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 6 Day 3
OT (chronological)
Tuesday (Job 38 – 39)
The Divine Speeches

The Lord’s First Speech

The farmer and his friends sat with hands over their mouths as they read the Lord God’s words to Job.

The Lord God had allowed Job and his associates/friends sufficient time to dialogue and then brought a devastating challenge to Job “Who is this who darkens counsel with words without knowledge?”
[Note: This is close to Elihu’s first words. Was he an angel, Jesus in the old testament, or just an extraordinarily wise younger man?]
The Lord declared that Job, who had demanded a judicial audience so that he could justify himself to God (Whom he had accused of doing him an injustice), had to stand and be questioned – then required to respond to His questions.
The Lord God directed Job’s attention “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”, then He continued to quiz him about many details of creation, even mocking him about the source and destination of light “You know, for you were born before them; and the number of your days is great!”
The Lord God then continued across the planet, listing detailed specifics about many varieties of living things and asking Job to inform Him about his (Job’s) knowledge of them, mocking him again “Is it at your command that the eagle soars, and builds its nest on high?”

The farmer and his friends looked at one-another in shock, imagining the times that they may have harbored wrong beliefs – or even spoken them aloud – and what a terrifying moment it must have been for Job.

It’s OK to have an imperfect understanding of God – it is impossible for any human to fully know such an awesome Being, One Who is not like us. It is not, however, acceptable to promote false teachings about the singular source of perfection.

Dear Lord, We never have standing to question You, though You are not troubled when we cry out to You – and do so imperfectly. May I learn from Job’s experience the difference between crying-out in anguished uncertainty and doubting the integrity or knowledge of the Lord God. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 6 Day 4
OT (chronological)
Wednesday (Job 40)
The Divine Speeches

The Lord’s Challenge, Job’s Reply to God’s Challenge, The Lord’s Second Speech

The farmer and his friends nodded their heads as they read the Lord God’s challenge to Job, then his sudden humility and silence, and then they sat in awe as the Lord continued to lecture Job.

Job replied “Indeed, I am completely unworthy – how could I reply to you?” acknowledging that he had spoken twice but had not given answers, and now he would remain silent.
The Lord God again challenged Job to prepare to answer His questions, beginning “Would you indeed annul my justice? Would you declare me guilty so that you might be right?”
The Lord then reviewed several of His unique attributes – demonstrating to Job that he was in no position to be questioning God.
Behemoth appears to describe some sort of great beast, one which likely mutated or became extinct over time – perhaps an ancient hippopotamus or rhinoceros.

The farmer and his friends speculated if their reply might have been any different than Job’s, or if they’d have been able to speak at all. They also wondered aloud as to the mysterious Behemoth.

For most of us the “Behemoths” in our lives may be rhetorical such as exceptionally challenging tasks, or extraordinary gifts and talents, or physical such as an exceptional athlete, a giant Clydesdale horse, or a huge elephant.
When our view of God is too small then everything seems too big. When we create barriers to God because we have wrong, non-Biblical notions, about Him – peace and wisdom escape us.

Dear Lord, Help me to know You better, to be a better student of Your ways, and to trust You more. Then when trouble comes I know where to turn. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 6 Day 5
OT (chronological)
Thursday (Job 41)
The Description of Leviathan

The farmer pondered the “Leviathan” in his life, that is the terrible tragedies he had experienced, then recoiled from the notion that he might blame God and challenge the One Who controls the monster.

The Biblical concept of Leviathan, in Job, has a three-pronged nature, on one hand the use of a literal exceptionally-large creature – to illustrate a point about power, on another perhaps a rhetorical image – to describe any unusually-difficult life challenge, and the third – to illustrate Job’s standing before the Lord God (a Behemoth or Leviathan by comparison).
The Lord asked Job which mere human (Job or any other) can handle “Behemoth” or “Leviathan” at all, let alone with a mere word, a look, or a casual action.
The most natural renderings of Leviathan, in the context of God challenging Job – who had challenged Him – may be a self-description (41:8-11) or perhaps His justice meted-out in the world by the “Accuser” – “that old serpent” the devil. (Isaiah 27:1 and Revelation 20:2).

The farmer and his friends agreed that they needed to choose God as an ally rather than make of Him an enemy – the wise choice seemed clear – to trust and obey.

When we face “monstrous” challenges in life we are forced to choose whether to challenge them with God = or to challenge God – and make Him our enemy. In the life of the faithful Believer God is always an ally, but in the life of a Believer in rebellion the “Leviathan” may come as an agent of chastisement – and in the life of the unbeliever, in judgment.

Dear Lord, You want to be my ally, and I sure prefer You in that role. Please guide me to where discipleship and mentoring will mature me as Your faithful-servant and trusting vessel. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 6 Day 6
OT (chronological)
Friday (Job 42:1-6)
Job’s Confession

The farmer and his friends bowed their heads and became very somber as they read along …

They looked back to Job 40:6-7 to remember why Job felt compelled to speak again:
“Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:
“Get ready for a difficult task like a man. I will question you and you will inform me!”

Job had been verbally attacked by his three friends – and he reacted by defending himself and diminishing the Lord God.
Elihu described the foolishness of any effort to diminish the Lord and challenged Job to repent.
The Lord God demanded that Job be accountable for his thoughts and words.
He demanded that Job “Pay attention”, be questioned, and then answer the questions He put to him – in the context that He defined – rather than the faulty contexts of Job and his three friends.
“I have declared without understanding things too wonderful for me to know.

“Therefore I despise myself, and I repent in dust and ashes!”

Job discovered absolute humility, just as David in the desert would later proclaim that if he faded into the dust of the desert – were that to be the Lord’s will – he would still praise Him.

The farmer and his friends were nodding their heads saying “That’s right, that’s right” as the words of Job humble confession and repentance were read.

There are many times that we think, and even say, foolish things. Mature people will allow us to apologize and will forgive. Our Lord God is quick to accept, forgive, and restore a contrite heart.
Never be afraid to admit when you are in the wrong, to seek and accept forgiveness, then to strive to prevent the enemy from manipulating you into repeating the error.

Dear Lord, Without You I am nothing. My past is worthless – unless redeemed by You, my present is empty – unless filled with You, and my future is meaningless – unless centered on You. Help me to learn to make You my all in all. Amen. dmc2015
Daily Devotional
Week 6 Day 7
OT (chronological)
Saturday (Job 42:7-17)
The Epilogue (42:7-17)

The farmer and his friends breathed a collective sigh of relief as they read the conclusion of Job.

The Lord God declared that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar has spoken wrongly about the Lord’s treatment of Job (assigning a proportional sin-guilt to Job) and that they needed to make offerings.
He compared their statements to Job’s humble repentance – after He confronted him (not Job’s earlier statements of doubt or challenges to God).
He further instructed that Job would function as their high priest, and pray to Him on their behalf, and that only then would He forgive them.
[Note: Elihu’s statements were not flagged by God as incorrect.]
The Lord then blessed Job with children and animals and great health and wealth.
Job gave inheritances to both his sons and his daughters, a practice not later continued.
[Note: Some rare exceptions were made to the son’s inheritance only tradition.]

The farmer’s friends offered to pray for him daily, to share their resources as he rebuilt his business and farm, and encourage others to do the same – as led by the Lord God.

Not every tragedy leads to a literal restoration times two, sometimes the Lord redeems what the enemy has meant for evil in other ways – a testimony of His comfort, faithfulness, strength, and truth, an altered life path from one drifting toward trouble, or a partial literal restoration.

Dear Lord, Whatever You choose for me I must accept as the best way. You know far more that I every detail, You love me – as your vessel – in ways I cannot comprehend, and You have promised me eternity in heaven with You – nothing on earth can compare to that. Amen. dmc2015

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated – http://bible.org
Devotional copyright © 2015 by David M. Colburn. This is associated with the BibleSeven Study –“Job Week 6”. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.

Daily Devotionals – Week 5 OT (chronological) – Job 4-31

Daily Devotional
Week 5 Day 1
OT (chronological)
Sunday (Job 4-7)
Eliphaz Begins to Speak, Job Replies to Eliphaz

The farmer had always encouraged others to be hopeful, no matter their circumstances, and so the friends were shocked at the mood of despair – indeed they felt a need to find cause in secret sin to explain the disasters and the despair.
The first friend reminded the farmer of counsel given to others, of teaching many had received as to choices having consequences, and of repentance and restoration.
The farmer replied that they were being presumptuous to presume sin was the reason for the tragedies, that it didn’t matter anyhow because all was lost and hopeless, and that death was the only good path.

Sometimes it is best to not speak rather than attempting to intellectualize losses that are still too emotionally-overwhelming for the other person to even hear you clearly. It is also highly-probable that you do not have all of the facts.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to offer specific practical resources (food, helping around the home or property, running errands, etc.) and to pray – carefully in the presence of the one suffering and more boldly elsewhere – do not use your prayer to preach repentance at the one still overwhelmed by their suffering.

Dear Lord, Life happens, sometimes pretty and sometimes pretty ugly. You are always there. Help me to be sensitive to Your Holy Spirit’s perfect presence and timing as to how You want me to be Your instrument of caring to someone who is hurting. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 5 Day 2
OT (chronological)
Monday (Job 8 – 10)
Bildad’s First Speech to Job, Job’s Reply

The farmer and his friends talked about the story of Job.
Bildad began by calling Job the equivalent of modern term “a windbag”.
Bildad presumed, like Eliphaz, that Job and his children had sinned so badly that they deserved harsh punishment.
Bildad reminded Job that the Lord God rewards the righteous and punishes the sinner.
Bildad told Job that if he confessed and repented the Lord would forgive him and make his future far more bright than his past.
Job agreed with Bildad about the character of God, but continued to declare his innocence.
Job said that God “mocked” the innocent in their suffering.
Job complained to the Lord of unfair treatment, because of his innocence, and lamented the absence of an arbiter between himself and God.
Job again declared his desire to die since God had taken everything of value from him.
The farmer said that he understood Job’s perspective and agreed with his conclusion.

Sometimes we can get trapped in a cycle of thinking, apart from a simple surrender to God, and that can lead to all manner of confusion.
In the text Job and his friends began a long series of exchanges, largely fruitless, where they attempted to play God in order to justify their views – in Job’s case to justify giving up on life – in Bildad’s case to find a simple human explanation for the tragedies.
Of course we know, from the beginning of the book of Job, that this was a heavenly battle played out on earth.

Dear Lord, Help me to be still when my mind is not clear. Help me to rest in You. Send to me people who are equally humble and quiet before You, rather than those who are vexations at the worst possible moment. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 5 Day 3
OT (chronological)
Tuesday (Job 11 – 14)
Zophar’s First Speech to Job, Job’s Reply, and Job’s Challenge to God

The farmer and his friends continued to talk about the story of Job.

Zophar had joined the others – challenging Job to admit his sin and to allow the Lord God to forgive and restore him. He mocked Job for suggesting that he was better than everyone else, and free of sin.
Job replied that the fortunate were presuming to judge him merely because God had brought trouble to him – presuming that guilt for secret sin was the cause – forgetting that everything was God’s to do with as He pleased and that for some unknown reason it was His pleasure to bring him low.
Job suggested the concept of death as a sleep of unawareness “… so man lies down and does not rise; until the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor arise from their sleep.” (vs. 14:12)

The farmer agreed with Job that God is free to do as He pleases with His creation, insisted that no one but God could explain the reason for the tragedies, and remained as hopeless about the future and as longing for death as ever.

We can never rightly blame God for causing sin, accuse Him of being unjust, or imagine that know something that He does not. All are Biblically-absurd notions.
In our pain and anguish we lift the groanings of our hearts to God, He gives grace where our thinking may be sloppy, and He will lead us to understanding and trust. Then He gives us strength for the journey and hope every morning.

Dear Lord, It’s not hard to imagine that Job and our farmer, now past the initial shock, were desperate to find a rational ‘container’ for understanding – as were their friends. As friends to the suffering may be be vessels of grace rather than tools of the enemies condemnation. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 5 Day 4
OT (chronological)
Wednesday (Job 15 – 17)
Eliphaz’s Second Speech and Job’s Reply

The farmer and his friends continued to discuss Job …

Eliphaz amplified his challenge to Job as too arrogant toward the Lord God, maybe blasphemous.
Job was shocked and declared his associates/friends to be poor comforters and perhaps even his enemies for criticizing him so aggressively in his suffering. He also asserted that were he in their place he would not criticize but comfort.
Job repeated that he felt that the Lord God was “picking on him” without cause and that he had lost hope as a result. But he still clung to God and cried out in desperation for relief:
“16:19 Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high.
16:20 My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God;
16:21 and he contends with God on behalf of man as a man pleads for his friend.”

Eliphaz essentially called Job a pompous windbag, a sinner in-denial, and an arrogant apostate who dared to challenge the Lord God with self-righteous declarations of his victimization. While he was correct on many points, indeed some of his words were later repeated by the Lord God, he presumed to know what only the Lord may know and thus served as an emissary of the ‘accuser’ – the enemy – rather than as an encouraging-exhorter sent by the Lord.

The farmer was a little troubled as he began to sense that he had drifted into some of the error of Job but was grateful that his friends had learned from the Bible and did not pile-on as Job’s friends had.

Job and his friends were all guilty of misrepresenting the Lord God in one or more ways, but he was the victim of terrible tragedy – while they were more obsessed about winning a theological debate than in comforting their friend.
Because we are rightly taught to be “good Bereans”, testing everything against the Word of God, it can be hard to not speak-out when we hear incorrect statements. But our role in-the-moment is to be caring and wise, not adding pain and not raising matters that the listener is emotionally incapable of hearing.

Dear Lord, You are the Great Healer and Great Teacher, we are merely Your vessels. Help us to be available and to remain humble and patient. Amen. dmc2015
Daily Devotional
Week 5 Day 5
OT (chronological)
Thursday (Job 18 – 21:6)
Bildad’s Second Speech, Jophar’s Second Speech, Job’s Replies

The farmer and his friends continued to discuss Job …

Bildad complained that Job treated his friends as dumb, yet he beat himself up – even suggesting that his suffering should cause the world to stop, and maybe even collapse, because of it.

Job again accused his friends of unfairly attacking him, that he was innocent, and that even the Lord God had treated him unfairly.

Job said that even if his friends were correct it would be none of their business and that they appeared to be arrogant, proud, and self-righteous.

Job complained that his servants, slaves, and relatives also turned against him – even his wife found him disgusting.

Job re-asserted his assurance that there is a “Redeemer” and “Vindicator” in the Lord God and that he would at some point be redeemed and vindicated.

Zophar attacked Job declaring that all of his problems were evidence that he must have sinned unrepentantly and that he was no friend of God.

Job warned his associates/friends that they needed to worry that the sword of judgment might also come against them.

The farmer and his friends observed that Bildad and Jophar felt that Job was disrespecting them and that he thought the same of them.

They agreed that Job’s friends had spoken out of fear – because Job’s suggestion of a no sin-associated cause for his massive suffering placed them at-risk of the same – therefore they felt the need to isolate the event to Job’s unique hidden sin.

They wondered why Job would believe that the Lord God would be his vindicator right after he said that the Lord was his unjust persecutor?

The farmer again thanked his friends for not behaving like Job’s friends.

If we become self-righteous about winning an argument, silent – not to listen but only waiting a chance to make our point again, then we merely escalate, rather than learn. If we want to be heard it’s often best to understand the perspective of the other person.
Dear Lord, Help me to listen at least twice as much as I speak, to hear the other person’s heart, and to allow You to shape my words to speak truth in grace-filled love. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 5 Day 6
OT (chronological)
Friday (Job 21:7 – 28)
Job’s reply continued, Eliphaz and Bildad third speeches and Job’s replies.

The farmer and his friends discussed the last of the exchanges between Job and his three friends …

Eliphaz declared that Job was indifferent to the needs of the poor, and took financial advantage of others, therefore he was guilty before the Lord God deserved what he got.

Job said he’d plead his case but that the Lord was unavailable.

Bildad told Job that all humans are imperfect and are like worms before the Lord God.

Job said Bildad’s ‘god’ was one of simple cause and effect, sin and consequences, whereas he believed in a more complex God. (But his description was clouded by his personal circumstances.)

Job said that the Lord God had denied him justice and that he would never confess guilt (before God or his three associates/friends) – because he was righteous, so his integrity required him to stand his ground.

Job accused his associates/friends of being “godless” themselves – deserving the same fate they had described for him – when they accused him of being either dishonest about his sin or “godless”.

Zophar judged Job a wicked man, deserving his fate, because he could not imagine any other explanation of Job’s condition. Eliphaz and Zophar were not only convinced that Job’s troubles could only be punishment for his sins but they also found it necessary to presume what were his sins – and to condemn him for them.
Rather than look to the Lord God in prayer Job and his associates/friends chose to engage in an intellectual debate and to impugn one another’s faith.

The farmer and his friends were shocked to see how far their emotions had carried Job and his friends outside of grace and reason and pledged to one-another not to follow their example.

Have you tried to show someone, using plain facts, that they are wrong – yet they clung to a notion – irrationally?
Have you ever been falsely accused, amidst a larger conflict, not entirely of your making?
Have you experienced or observed Believers who were so invested in their intellectual debate that they neglected to make room for the Lord God?

Dear Lord, Please guide me into patience with the unteachable, protection against false charges, and faithfulness despite the faithlessness of others all around me. May “trust and obey” never be replaced by “situational ethics” in my life. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 5 Day 7
OT (chronological)
Saturday (Job 29 – 31)
Job’s Concluding Soliloquy

The farmer and his friends discussed Job’s lengthy diatribe about his circumstances and his perspective that God had treated him unfairly – ignoring his plea for a fair hearing.

Job reflected upon his high-standing in the community as one to whom people looked for encouragement and help, and who was treated with near-reverence.

He then he described the way that people avoided him, since the series of tragedies, and even the least of the least now mocked him.

Job’s description of the latter vss 30:1-8 sounded shocking:
“whose fathers I disdained too much to put with my sheep dogs.

“Men whose strength had perished;”
“banished from the community – people shouted at them like they would shout at thieves –

“They brayed like animals among the bushes and were huddled together under the nettles.”

“Sons of senseless and nameless people, they were driven out of the land with whips.”
Job again blamed the Lord God for his condition “ I cry out to you, but you do not answer me; I stand up, and you only look at me. You have become cruel to me …”

Job again declared his innocence, that he was undeserving of his earthly-fate, and the the Lord God had failed to fairly-consider his righteousness when finding him guilty and worthy of his terrible predicament.

Job concluded by declaring that if the Lord would grant him an audience he would explain his innocence and that he was sure that the Lord God would then correct His error.

Job actually believed that the Lord God had made an error.

Job’s doubts about the Lord’s perfect knowledge represented a dangerous flaw in his doctrine, and as an influential person in the community (up until the recent calamity) that was not healthy.

The farmer and his friends were even more shocked than before. They were puzzled as to the identity of the primitive banished people. They agreed that it was a very primitive time, and that Job didn’t have access to the Bible, so they should resist judging him too harshly.

It is not hard to imagine that under similar circumstances a person who had grown used to comfort might become confused when confronted with tragedy – all the more reason why good Biblical discipleship is so important – we need to be prepared to separate the things of the world from the purity of God.

Dear Lord, May I never doubt Your perfection in all things – from knowledge to love – and may I understand that my earthly circumstances are not the highest priority of the One Whose eternal plan is perfect. Amen. dmc2015

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated – http://bible.org
Devotional copyright © 2015 by David M. Colburn. This is associated with the BibleSeven Study – “Job 4-31. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.

Daily Devotionals – Week 4 OT (chronological) – Job 1-3

Daily Devotional
Week 4 Day 1
OT (chronological)
Sunday (Job 1:1-5)

Job’s Good Life

Horatio Gates Spafford was a prominent lawyer, a senior partner in a large and thriving law firm. Spafford invested in real estate north of an expanding Chicago in the spring of 1871. When the Great Fire of Chicago reduced the city to ashes in October of that same year, it also destroyed most of Spafford’s sizable investment.

Two years later, in 1873, Spafford decided his family should take a holiday somewhere in Europe, and chose England knowing that his friend D. L. Moody would be preaching there in the fall. He was delayed because of business, so he sent his family ahead: his wife and their four children, daughters eleven-year-old Tanetta, nine-year-old Elizabeth “Bessie”, five-year-old Margaret Lee, and two-year-old Anna “Annie”.

On November 22, 1873, while crossing the Atlantic on the steamship Ville du Havre, their ship was struck by an iron sailing vessel and 226 people lost their lives, including all four of Spafford’s daughters. Anna Spafford survived the tragedy. Upon arriving in England, she sent a telegram to Spafford beginning “Saved alone.” Spafford then sailed to England, going over the location of his daughters’ deaths. According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote “It Is Well with My Soul” on this journey.

Following the sinking of the Ville du Havre, Anna gave birth to three more children. On February 11, 1880, their son, Horatio Goertner Spafford, died at the age of four, of scarlet fever. Their daughters were Bertha Hedges Spafford (born March 24, 1878) and Grace Spafford (born January 18, 1881).

Their Presbyterian church regarded their tragedy as divine punishment. In response, the Spaffords formed their own Messianic sect, dubbed “the Overcomers” by American press.

In August 1881, the Spaffords set out for Jerusalem as a party of thirteen adults and three children and set up the American Colony. Colony members, later joined by Swedish Christians, engaged in philanthropic work amongst the people of Jerusalem regardless of their religious affiliation and without proselytizing motives—thereby gaining the trust of the local Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities.

During and immediately after World War I, the American Colony played a critical role in supporting these communities through the great suffering and deprivations of the eastern front by running soup kitchens, hospitals, orphanages and other charitable ventures.

Dear Lord, Life has a way of “just happening” in this fallen world. May I remember that it’s not what happens that defines people, it is how they respond. May I respond by turning to You for the the best way forward – the way that brings glory to you. Amen.
dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 4 Day 2
OT (chronological)
Monday (Job 1:6-12)

Satan’s Accusation of Job

The director of the national agriculture department was meeting with top advisers and staff when a tax department official entered the room and sat to one side. The stated purpose of the unexpected visit was that his agency had received reports that a major rice farmer was falsifying data.
The official specifically named one very successful rice farmer. This caused some consternation as that particular farm had been promoted as a role model for others and if the charges were true it would be very embarrassing for the director.
The rice farmer was not only producing the usual types of rice but had discovered ways to produce some unusual types that were much less common and far more valuable. The farmer was also very generous to employees and supported causes which served the needy.
The tax official accused the agricultural director of favoritism due to a personal friendship and use of the rice farmer as a role model – but the director knew the owner of the farm well and was certain of the owner’s personal integrity.
The director also knew that the tax official had a history of believing untrue accusations from competitors, that in a large farming operation it was always possible that an employee might have altered numbers – unknown to the owner, but that such an investigation would prove costly to the owner.
The director reluctantly told the tax official that the department would not attempt to block the investigation of the business but if there was any effort to directly attack the owner the agriculture department would request the president’s intervention.
There are times in most people’s lives when misunderstandings or false accusations result in inconveniences and worse. The biases and/or motivations of the accusers, and sometimes those of the investigators, may not suggest a fair hearing. In such cases it is best to have an advocate with the power to defend you.
Dear Lord, When we are falsely accused it is Jesus Who stands up for us. Thank You that we are always certain that Your justice is perfect and Your knowledge is complete. When we confess our sins we are never telling You anything that You do not already know. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 4 Day 3
OT (chronological)
Tuesday (Job 1:13-22)

Job’s Integrity in Adversity

Just as the investigation of the rice farmer was to begin a terrible tsunami blew across the peninsula destroying the rice growing and processing facilities, and killing most of the workers in the fields and buildings. The farmer and spouse were away from the property, meeting with their attorney, but all of the children were home and were killed.
The farmer was in shock, hurried home in hopes that things were not as bad as the early reports and that maybe some of the people -presumed dead – had actually survived. But the reality on the ground was even worse than the news reports. Heartsick and overwhelmed by the magnitude of the losses the farmer collapsed on the floor, pleading to God for strength, and wondering how to go on.
There are times in our lives when all of the small dark clouds of trouble look like one looming storm; arguments with friends, misunderstandings with family, criticism from bosses or teachers, a health problem, a car problem, and too much month left after all of the money has been spent.
Rarely are things as bad as that faced by Job, or the farmer in our story, but always the answer is to trust God for comfort, patience, peace, strength, and wisdom. Loss and suffering are natural events in this fallen world, that God holds-back some of it is an undeserved blessing. Freedom from trouble is only found in the promised new heaven and earth, not in this broken and dying earth.
Dear Lord, No matter what comes to Your children it can never be too much to bear because You live in us, You carry us through, and You will bring us home. May we never doubt You. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 4 Day 4
OT (chronological)
Wednesday (Job 2:1-10)

Satan’s Additional Charge, Job’s Integrity in Suffering

When the farmer finally arose and sat to eat lunch the mail was delivered. The letter from his physician contained another blow – the tests from the skin patches on his ears, nose, head, and neck were Melanoma (skin cancer) and it appeared to have metasticized (spread to other parts of his body).
The farmer’s head bowed and his spouse read the letter then cried-out “Why is God doing this to us?” Like Job the farmer replied “We must accept whatever comes and never blame God.” then quoted from the movie I Am Legend “God didn’t do this, we did”, adding, this is because of the Fall and the continued rebellion of humankind.”
The farmer’s children and workers were gone, the entire business destroyed, the threat of investigation loomed, and now a life-threatening disease – yet not a wrong word was spoken of God.
That big dark cloud in life can sometimes include a wild thunderstorm or even a tornado – yet the Lord promises us that He is with us in the storms of life – we must cling to Him and press-away the lies of the enemy.
Dear Lord, right now I may feel as if I am dying-inside due to some event in my life – one over which I have no control – please carry me for a while. I need Your strength, I need Your comfort, and I need Your peace. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 4 Day 5
OT (chronological)
Thursday (Job 2:11-13)

The Arrival of Job’s Friends

When the farmer’s friends heard of the terrible tragedies they came to visit – they were shocked by the physical devastation of the storm – and more shocked by the hollow stare, then gaunt face, and the red splotches about the face, neck, and head. They were speechless.
Unlike Job’s friends they only refrained from speaking for seven hours on the first day – the nurse had warned that it would not be helpful to speak until the farmer was ready; however, in their fast-paced lives those seven hours of silence felt like an ancient week.
Different people react differently to tragedy, but all need a time of stillness to recover their sense of balance and perspective – when we try to rush that process we’re not being helpful.
As a hospice chaplain there have often been times, especially just before a patient dies – and sometimes immediately afterward – when loved ones simply need a safe presence for a while, rather than words. In this busy and noisy modern culture that can be challenging – but it’s about them and not us – we owe them the respect of honoring their needs rather than our own.
Dear Lord, life in this fallen world is filled with loss and tragedy, it’s unavoidable and it’s hard. We were not made for this fallen world. Teach us to trust You to be our strength, waiting on You for the right time to move on. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 4 Day 6
OT (chronological)
Friday (Job 3:1-12)

Job’s Wishes That He Was Never Born

When the farmer finally spoke the grief and loss poured out a a jumble of words testifying to a short-sighted vision of a life’s-work obliterated with nothing to show – wishing, as had Job so long before – never to have been born.
The buildings could be rebuilt, the fields repaired and replanted, and more workers hired and trained. Of course the children could not be restored, nor could the dead workers – their stories had ended.
The knowledge that made it all work was not lost, those who had learned from and been encouraged remained, and so the value of learning and opportunities to continue – awaited some healing.
When we hear the frightening words “You have cancer”, or “Your close relative is dying, or has died”, your spouse gives up on your marriage, a respected person chooses poorly and suffers a great fall, your children rebel, your home burns, or a dream of some sort has been crushed it can be hard to see through to the light of hope beyond.
Dear Lord, When this world steps on my heart, fogs my mind, and seems to suck the air out of my lungs – please catch me as I fall into Your safe and loving arms. Keep my heart from bitterness, keep me from making poor choices until the fog clears, and be my strength to endure. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 4 Day 7
OT (chronological)
Saturday (Job 3:13-26)

Job Longs for Death – Wonders Why God Was Keeping Him Alive

The farmer, still grieving, continued to wonder why God would have allowed birth – knowing that such a horrific end awaited – the pain was causing the center of thinking (like Job) to drift from God to the farmer.

The farmer then wondered why God allowed life to continue – the grief was too overwhelming – the disease and treatment so unpleasant – but never paused a moment to ask for His healing.

When troubles come, and persist, it is natural to become confused. Job, and our farmer, should have stopped at the question of why they were still alive – since our sole purpose on earth is to serve God. The right question is always “How may I serve You Lord and how will You equip me to do so?”
Of course we need time to grieve our losses, of course we get confused and forget to ask the Great Healer to heal us to serve, and of course we can lose sight of the future in the enormity of our challenges. We are mere humans.
Jesus is our role model because He never took his heart, mind, soul, or physical activities off the focus of God the Father’s purpose.

Dear Lord, When things are their darkest I need You even more. May my hope be found in any purpose that I can search-out that You have for me. May I set aside my needs and seek to do Your deeds. Amen. dmc2015

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated – http://bible.org
Devotional copyright © 2015 by David M. Colburn. This is associated with the BibleSeven Study –“Genesis 16_9-11. Prepared by David M. Colburn and originally edited for bible.org. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.

Daily Devotionals – Week 3 OT (chronological) – Genesis 6:9-11

Daily Devotional
Week 3 Day 1
OT (chronological)
Sunday (Genesis 6:9 – 7:24)

The Judgment of the Flood

They had 100,000 chickens on their farm. A few hens and roosters had been separated from the rest by the owner who wanted them to eat the crickets and other bugs which plagued his garden at home. While they were away a terrible disease attacked the farm.
There was no cure – the chickens would have to be destroyed and the farm cleansed. All of the chickens were chased into the barns and the doors closed. Then a truck rolled up and a person in an odd-looking safety suit stepped out. The bosses all shouted “Everyone off the property!” Once they were outside of the gates they were told to go home and not return for two days.
The man in the suit then walked to the center of each building, opened a canister, then moved to the next, then returned to the truck and waited. After an hour the huge fans in the barns turned on, the canisters were retrieved and placed back in the truck, and the man left. All of the chickens were dead.
The workers returned in two days, shoveled the chickens into huge dumpsters (they were taken away to be burned), then set about cleaning everything on the property with bleach.
Only the chickens at the owners home remained to repopulate the farm.

Sometimes there are things in our lives that are like the disease that attacked the chickens. We can be stubborn and hope things magically get better or allow the Holy Spirit to purge them from our lives. A measure of our faith and maturity is that we let go of the things that God says to let go of.

Dear Lord, help me to listen and to obey and not get in the way when You need to clean me up. Amen.
dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 3 Day 2
OT (chronological)
Monday (Genesis 8:1–14)

God remembers Noah

The young man’s dad, a former military man, was very stern. He was always fair, but he didn’t like change or surprises – and did I mention that he was always stern? If there was something Dan wanted to do that was out of the ordinary his answer was always “No”. Depending on the tone of the “No” Dan knew not to ask again that day, and maybe not for several days.
The teen boys archery club was starting again in September and Dan had just turned 13 – he was finally old enough to join – if his dad said “Yes” and approved him spending the money he had saved for a bow, some arrows, and the membership fee. Dad’s first answer was “No”, and it was a particularly “Don’t ask me again any time soon” kind of “No”.
As Dan waited for an opportunity to ask again he tried leaving a newspaper ad on the kitchen table announcing an upcoming sale on bows and arrows. But his dad said nothing. He then left his jar of saved money on the counter with the paper bearing the amount he’d saved clearly visible. Still dad said nothing. Finally, he summoned up his courage, knocked on his dad’s door and when called in said “Permission to speak?” in his most official sounding voice. His dad replied, suppressing a smile, “Permission granted.” Dan continued “I have worked and saved for the day that I turned 13 and hereby request permission to invest in a bow and arrow and membership in the archery club.” To which his dad responded “Permission granted. Please close the door quietly on the way out.” But the smile escaped his control and Dan saw his opening, rushed to hug him, then stepped back to straighten his clothes and hastily exited the office. He dared not look back, but had he done so, he would have seen his dad smiling proudly as he watched his son depart.
As we discern what our Lord God wants of us we may sometimes think of Him as a stern taskmaster. We may even think that He likes to say “No” when He actually wants to say “Yes” – when our request is made at the right time, in the right way, and for the right reasons.
John 14:12-14 reminds us that God’s response to our prayer requests is based on the test of glory to Him and no lesser person or thing – for that would make them an idol.
Dear Lord, when I approach You as Father, may I know You love to bless me for obedience. Amen. Dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 3 Day 3
OT (chronological)
Tuesday (Genesis 8:15-22)

A new beginning after the Flood

When World War II in the Pacific, generally the United States versus Imperial Japan, was ended – via the surrender of the Japanese – some Japanese fighters sent to the Philippines didn’t get the message.
In an isolated mountainous jungle area 20 fighters continued to believe that their emperor desired them to hold-out – no matter what and for no matter how long. For twenty-nine years they lived off the land, dying one by one from various causes (one had walked away and was never seen again), until only one remained.
It turned out that the soldiers had learned what to eat or not eat by watching the animals. They would also occasionally kill a cow, belonging to local villagers, now and then. Efforts were made to contact and draw them out but they treated all such efforts as enemy propaganda.
Once captured it required the presence of his former commander to finally convince him that not only was the war over – but that his captors meant him no harm.
In our lives there are times when it may feel as if we are trapped in a lonely place, conflict rages all around us, and there is little to do but to try to survive – and wait it out.
The Bible teaches us to trust God for the strength to stand but also to be wise enough to know when He is telling us to move on. He calls us into fellowship so that He may teach, affirm, and care for us – using our fellow Believers.
Dear Lord, help me to faithfully trust You through the storms, to faithfully trust You in order to know when to leave my temporary shelter, and to faithfully trust when You send me back out. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 3 Day 4
OT (chronological)
Wednesday (Genesis 9:1-17)

The Lord blessed Noah and his family.

They had two separate areas for animals on their farm, one close to the house, and the other further away. They had a very good reason for this.
The animals kept near the house were long-term resources for eggs, milk, and labor – and because they were near and stayed around a long time, they also became casual pets. The animals kept further away were intended for food.
Their grandparents and great-grandparents still tell stories of the day when things were different and the few animals they had were kept together. If the hunt went badly or the weather made it impossible to hunt – on any day a casual pet (chicken, cow, duck, goat, etc.) could suddenly become dinner – not always pleasant, but when resources are scarce and people are hungry one did what one had to do. One way to avoid emotions ruining their appetites was to trade their animal for a different animal with a family in another town – but often that was not practical either.
Every day we make choices. Where do we buy a product, with whom we spend some time, what things we choose to do – there is a corollary or opposite, for each; which store we didn’t favor, which friend we didn’t choose, to which things we said no. Each choice reflects a value judgment; this store has a sale, this friend is moving away – so it’s the last chance to be together, that activity is more dangerous than I like – or perhaps it may be a different sort of value judgment about right versus wrong and good versus evil.
Dear Lord, when I have to make choices, help me to remember that You know every detail – and no matter how small, wisdom dictates that I bring to You them all. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 3 Day 5
OT (chronological)
Thursday (Genesis 9:18 -10:32)

Blessings and curses upon Noah’s sons

The big corporation decided to build three self-driving cars. The first two proved to be reliable, first on the test tracks, then out in the general public – but the third gave them lots of trouble.
All three were built in the same factory, all three used almost the same parts, but the third had been entrusted to a new young employee for final tests and adjustments. The senior engineers had tired of the project so they delegated the tedious part.
After months of effort, first by the young engineer, then the senior engineers – the nagging variable that was causing problems simply could not be found. It was finally decided to relegate number three car to the test track for visitors to see and for the running of errands with a human driver always present.
In life we humans have unique personalities and unique physiologies; we not only can make different choices based upon the same information, our bodies may react to the environment differently. One child may be good at art, another math, a third sports, the same three may each respond differently to cold weather, hot weather, and rainy weather.
When we approach moments of choice in our lives it is important that we understand ourselves better. When we evaluate the choices of others, it is equally important that we take the time to understand them better, because we all are affected by the Fall.
Dear Lord, I do not want to choose foolishly, like Ham, and stumble into a life of limitations and trouble. Please help me to slow down and to consider carefully the reasons for the choice I am about to make. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 3 Day 6
OT (chronological)
Friday (Genesis 11:1-9)

The Dispersion of the Nations at Babel

They built a great ship about which it is rumored that one man associated with the project declared “Even God could not sink this ship.” The two things that did sink the ship, in addition to the literal cause – an iceberg, were arrogance and avarice.
The arrogance was in plowing ahead through waters about which there had been multiple warnings of deadly floating icebergs. The avarice was that in their rush to make the announced deadline, and the desire to cut costs, they used some inferior metal and inferior rivets – both of which may not have failed were it not for their vulnerability to the severe cold of their ill-chosen route.
The name of this ship is infamous for it’s legacy of pride and of failure – the Titanic.
In our lives there are times and places where we may be guilty of “titanic” arrogance, especially when we imagine that we can handle challenges without God, that we can go places and do things that He warns against and not be harmed by them, and that we can fail to be in accountability and discipleship relationships – as He has instructed – and still grow stronger and wiser.
Dear Lord, please help me to ignore the foolishness of “Lone Ranger Christianity” and rather to link-up with fellow Believers so that I am not such easy prey for the enemy. May my faith not fail due to faulty construction and poor judgment. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 3 Day 7
OT (chronological)
Saturday (Genesis 11:10-32)

The Genealogy of Shem through Abram

They were both raised in a church and community where a high value was placed upon married people with many children – and they were in agreement with that philosophy.
They married right out of high school; he had a good job, they had been given a small cottage as a wedding gift, and he had a scholarship to the local community college – as a part time student. Because of their good circumstances she could stay home – and they could immediately have children.
The first year passed and no child. In the second year they visited the doctor, she ran lots of tests, then announced that she could not explain why they could not get pregnant. By the end of the third year they were both embarrassed by the questions and frustrated by their infertility – so when he was offered a two year contract, all expenses paid, in another state – they jumped at it.
While they were away they were talked into a surrogate mother arrangement, but when the time arrived for the birth of the baby the surrogate changed her mind and insisted on keeping the baby – and the law was on her side. The surrogate, who worked for the clinic, had used her own egg rather than that of the intended mother. She had altered the records to say that was their agreement all along. The trusting couple had not checked the forms carefully before signing them and now were trapped. They were heartsick. Meanwhile, they also learned that the surrogate was secretly a member of a very dangerous religious cult, adding to the mess.
The father could assert legal rights to occasional visits with the child but she demanded that he release those rights. She said that she didn’t care about the money, and that the cult’s lawyers would file charges (false but hard to disprove) that he had threatened to kill her and the child. If he claimed his legal rights not only would he be responsible for many expenses over the lifetime of the child, but she and the cult could destroy their lives – not to mention the influence of a cult-raised child on their other children – a very real concern as during this process his wife had discovered that they were finally pregnant.
It was a very hard decision but he released his rights to the child and they moved back home.
There are lots of pressures in life, many of which may not be as ethically-unclear as surrogate birthing, but all of them must be done in God’s way and in God’s timing. When we feel rushed due to human-pressures and/or timing, rather than trusting God for His priorities and His timing, we must resist and wait on Him.
Dear Lord, It may be the desire to be married, to have children, to have a certain job or promotion, to be famous, rich, or something else – none of which are Your first priority for us – because that is always a better relationship with You. Help me to keep my eyes on You and not on the priorities of the world. Amen. dmc2015

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated – http://bible.org
Devotional copyright © 2015 by David M. Colburn. This is associated with the BibleSeven Study –“Genesis 16_9-11. Prepared by David M. Colburn and originally edited for bible.org. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.

Daily Devotionals – Week 2 OT (chronological) – Genesis 4-6:8

Daily Devotional
Week 2 Day 1
OT (chronological)
Sunday (Genesis 4:1-2)

The Story of Cain and Abel

4:1 Now the man had marital relations with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.
Then she said, “I have created a man just as the Lord did!”
4:2 Then she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Abel took care of the flocks,
while Cain cultivated the ground.

The mother hen laid two eggs and she sat on them for 21 days.
When they hatched one was a hen and the other a rooster.
The mother hen watched over them carefully, keeping them clean and safe, showing them the way to the food and water.
As the new little hen grew she was very calm as she went about her daily routines of eating and drinking water and eventually laying her own eggs.
The rooster was the opposite – attacking everything and everyone – and rushing to always get to the food and water first.

Everyone is unique and it’s not always easy to figure out why children in the same home can be so very different in so many ways.
As Believers it is important that we reflect, before God, at the end of each day – to learn how we might improve.
We are also to be teachable by those whom the Lord sends to help is to grow – be they parents, teachers, counselors or preachers.

Dear Lord, I don’t always know why I react to things the way that I do sometimes, please help me to be honest with You – and to learn from those whom You send to help me. Amen.
dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 2 Day 2
OT (chronological)
Monday (Genesis 4:3-7)

4:3 At the designated time Cain brought some of the fruit of the ground for an offering to the Lord.
4:4 But Abel brought some of the firstborn of his flock – even the fattest of them.
And the Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering,
4:5 but with Cain and his offering he was not pleased.
So Cain became very angry, and his expression was downcast.
4:6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast?
4:7 Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine?
But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door.
It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.”

Continuing our story from yesterday …
As the little young hen grew her need for food and water increased.
Her time to forage for nutrition was limited due to egg-sitting time, but she still had to eat.
Because the rooster was so aggressive around the food the hen was away from her eggs for long periods of time in search of bugs and greens.
One day she returned to her eggs to find them broken – the people took them away and cleaned-up her nest – then she laid more eggs.
The hen was now afraid to leave her eggs for long and was starting to get hungry and thirsty and weak.

Don’t we all have times when the many priorities of our lives seem to conflict?
We need to work to pay our bills, or maybe we’re pouring our time into education – either situation can mean less time for family and friends, and sometimes we even allow it to affect our time with God.
Time spent traveling to work, plus long work hours, may result in grabbing quick-food that isn’t healthy and we may choose to sacrifice necessary exercise – then our bodies suffer.
We face many choices, and because we’re often frustrated and tired, it’s hard to think clearly.

Dear Lord, You know the needs and the responsibilities I have, please help me to strike the right balance. Amen.
dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 2 Day 3
OT (chronological)
Tuesday (Genesis 1:26-2:4)

4:8 Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”
While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
4:9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
And he replied, “I don’t know! Am I my brother’s guardian?”
4:10 But the Lord said, “What have you done?
The voice of your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!
4:11 So now, you are banished from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
4:12 When you try to cultivate the ground it will no longer yield its best for you. You will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.”
4:13 Then Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to endure!
4:14 Look! You are driving me off the land today,
and I must hide from your presence.
I will be a homeless wanderer on the earth;
whoever finds me will kill me.”
4:15 But the Lord said to him, “All right then, if anyone kills Cain, Cain will be avenged seven times as much.”
Then the Lord put a special mark on Cain so that no one who found him would strike him down.
4:16 So Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

As the saga of our chickens continues …
One very hot and dry summer day the water was low and the rooster got there first and drank his fill.
When the hen arrived he chased her off whenever she tried to drink – aggressively pecking at her head and neck – he did this all day and night for several days until the hen died.
When the owners saw the dead hen and the peck marks they knew that the rooster had killed her.
They didn’t want to kill the rooster, because they had hatched him from an egg and watched him grow, so they put him in the truck and drove a good distance – leaving him in a field to fend for himself.
When we act selfishly we cause harm to those around us, which means we cannot be listening to the Holy Spirit within, and as a result it will feel as though we are a long ways from Him – a sad place to be.
Dear Lord, I know that my weakness causes me to act selfishly sometimes, please help me to recognize and change that in my life – I want to be near to You. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 2 Day 4
OT (chronological)
Wednesday (Genesis 4:17-24)

The Beginning of Civilization

4:17 Cain had marital relations with his wife,
and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch.
Cain was building a city,
and he named the city after his son Enoch.
4:18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael. Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.
4:19 Lamech took two wives for himself;
the name of the first was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah.
4:20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the first of those who live in tents and keep livestock.
4:21 The name of his brother was Jubal; he was the first of all who play the harp and the flute.
4:22 Now Zillah also gave birth to Tubal-Cain, who heated metal and shaped all kinds of tools made of bronze and iron.
The sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah.
4:23 Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah! Listen to me! You wives of Lamech, hear my words! I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for hurting me.
4:24 If Cain is to be avenged seven times as much, then Lamech seventy-seven times!”

When he got out of jail the young man moved to another state, found a good job building houses and eventually started his own company.
Along the way he met a young woman, and they were married.
They had several children and he named a new development of homes after his first-born son, and then named the streets within it after his wife and other children.
Their children had different gifts; one was an artist, another a carpenter, and another a mechanic.
The father had an argument with one of his workers and rather than work things out he fired him – then he shouted to everyone that if they ever disagreed with him he’d fire them as well.

Just because someone has authority, title, or wealth does not mean that they have mature wisdom.
When you are able to choose under whose authority you live, be it in business, fellowship, marriage, or politics consider their maturity and demonstrated wisdom – and where possible the quality of their relationship with the Lord.

Dear Lord, help me to consult Your Word to be wise in all matters throughout my life. Amen.

dmc2015
Daily Devotional
Week 2 Day 5
OT (chronological)
Thursday (Genesis 4:25-26)

4:25 And Adam had marital relations with his wife again,
and she gave birth to a son.
She named him Seth, saying,
“God has given me another child in place of Abel because Cain killed him.”
4:26 And a son was also born to Seth, whom he named Enosh.
At that time people began to worship the Lord.

In 1906 the Holy Spirit of God brought a great awakening and revival to Wales, Great Britain.
In 1908 a young British chemist, only 22 years old, obeyed the call of God to bring His Word to the Hmar people of north-east India.
He was opposed by the British colonial officials and the Anglican church there but persisted.
Despite warnings that they were pagan cannibals, not fond of “white” men, he went and found himself welcomed to live among them where he shared – without evidence of significant progress – until thrown out of the country by the British officials.
Some 40 years later a young Hmar man visited him – he was the son of the most-attentive Hmar, had learned English, translated the Bible into their language, and many came to Christ – building schools and clinics and over 100 fellowships. [Book and Movie: “Beyond The Next Mountain”]

If God, through the still soft voice of His Holy Spirit, called to you to serve Him – would you hear Him?
Would you obey even if the call seemed impossible, unfeasible, and even dangerous?
It may be as simple as changing your daily schedule somehow, changing the people with whom you spend the most time, spending more time in His Word, or helping a fellow Believer in need. Or, it might be something far more life-transforming.

Dear Lord, I am only here to serve You, everything else fades in importance. Please help me to hear and to respond in faithful obedience to Your call. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 2 Day 6
OT (chronological)
Friday (Genesis 5)

From Adam to Noah

5:1 This is the record of the family line of Adam.
When God created humankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 5:2 He created them male and female; when they were created, he blessed them and named them “humankind.”
5:3 When Adam had lived 130 years he fathered a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and he named him Seth. 5:4 The length of time Adam lived after he became the father of Seth was 800 years; during this time he had other sons and daughters. 5:5 The entire lifetime of Adam was 930 years, and then he died.
5:6 When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. 5:7 Seth lived 807 years after he became the father of Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. 5:8 The entire lifetime of Seth was 912 years, and then he died.
5:9 When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. 5:10 Enosh lived 815 years after he became the father of Kenan, and he had other sons and daughters. 5:11 The entire lifetime of Enosh was 905 years, and then he died.
5:12 When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. 5:13 Kenan lived 840 years after he became the father of Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters. 5:14 The entire lifetime of Kenan was 910 years, and then he died.
5:15 When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. 5:16 Mahalalel lived 830 years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. 5:17 The entire lifetime of Mahalalel was 895 years, and then he died.
5:18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 5:19 Jared lived 800 years after he became the father of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. 5:20 The entire lifetime of Jared was 962 years, and then he died.
5:21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. 5:22 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God for 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. 5:23 The entire lifetime of Enoch was 365 years. 5:24 Enoch walked with God, and then he disappeared because God took him away.
5:25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. 5:26 Methuselah lived 782 years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. 5:27 The entire lifetime of Methuselah was 969 years, and then he died.
5:28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 5:29 He named him Noah, saying, “This one will bring us comfort from our labor and from the painful toil of our hands because of the ground that the Lord has cursed.” 5:30 Lamech lived 595 years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters. 5:31 The entire lifetime of Lamech was 777 years, and then he died.
5:32 After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
A piece of space debris struck their parts-supply ship on the way to a mechanized outpost on the planet Mars, so they made an emergency landing on the moon.
Before the astronauts used their escape pod to return safely to the space station, and then home to Earth, they built two sophisticated robots.
The robots were designed to build greenhouses and farms on the surface. These robots were also programmed to build more robots.
The astronauts used the best parts for their first robots but after that the robots had to make due with the parts they could find in the damaged ship – so each new robot was unique, some ran better, some lasted longer, they looked a little different, and their tasks varied.
Due to a sudden terrible surge of plagues, storms, volcanoes, and war no one from Earth paid any attention to what was happening on the moon.
One day decades later a young person with a telescope looked up and saw a ring of greenhouses around the moon and wondered how they got there, what was in them, and who might live there – and thus was born a new generation of explorers.
The Genesis 5 text is silent as to the pre-Seth era. It remains unclear how many children they had prior to Seth, but what is clear that every one was unique, and God knew them all by name. When we look back across the generations of our family history what patterns do we see? If not toward greater faithfulness – can we be the one God uses to cause a change in direction for future generations?
Dear Lord, You care about every choice – indeed every thought that we form in our minds – and You long for us to invite You to be Lord of all. Help me to see – and to follow. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 2 Day 7
OT (chronological)
Saturday (Genesis 6:1-8)

God’s Grief over Humankind’s Wickedness

6:1 When humankind began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, 6:2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humankind were beautiful. Thus they took wives for themselves from any they chose.
6:3 So the Lord said, “My spirit will not remain in humankind indefinitely, since they are mortal. They will remain for 120 more years.”
6:4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days (and also after this) when the sons of God were having sexual relations with the daughters of humankind, who gave birth to their children. They were the mighty heroes of old, the famous men.
6:5 But the Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind had become great on the earth. Every inclination of the thoughts of their minds was only evil all the time. 6:6 The Lord regretted that he had made humankind on the earth, and he was highly offended.
6:7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe humankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – everything from humankind to animals, including creatures that move on the ground and birds of the air, for I regret that I have made them.”
6:8 But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.
They were little people in a village of traditionally small stature – no one ever stood more than 5’2”. Their daughter went to work in a clinic in a nearby city where she met a man from a village of very sturdy and tall people. As things would happen they became friends, then their families became friends, and after a while they were married. Over the generations there were tall and small children born within the same families of their descendants and the stories told to explain that became somewhat fanciful. But there was also a dark side – his family worshiped a false god who encouraged sin and over time few among her people remembered the God of the Bible.
Have you ever heard a story about your family or town or something else that seemed quite unusual, only to later meet someone who shared the more simple and true history?
As we make friends and learn about other cultures we must be watchful that we do not merge things into our beliefs and values that are incompatible with the sovereign truth of the Word. The enemy knows that our flesh is weak and that we will naturally drift toward that which gives excuse to sin.
Dear Lord, help me to be wise so that I am not deceived, and bold that I will exhort others to do the same. Amen. dmc2015

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated – http://bible.org
Devotional copyright © 2015 by David M. Colburn. This is associated with the BibleSeven Study –“Genesis 1-3. Prepared by David M. Colburn and originally edited for bible.org. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.

Daily Devotionals – Week 1 OT (chronological) – Genesis 1-3

Daily Devotional
Week 1 Day 1
OT (chronological)
Sunday (Genesis 1:1-5)

The Creation of the World
1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
1:2 Now the earth was without shape and empty,
and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep,
but the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water.
1:3 God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light!
1:4 God saw that the light was good, so God separated the light from the darkness.
1:5 God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”
There was evening, and there was morning, marking the first day.

For two months before a puppy is born it lives and grows inside the mother dog.
Prior to that two months the puppy simply did not exist, anywhere.
That is what things were like before “God said”.

When you consider this day who or what is important
and you decide who or what will guide your decisions,
try to remember that before anything – was God.
Should He not be our everything?

Dear Lord, I want You to be first, last, and everything. Amen.
dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 1 Day 2
OT (chronological)
Monday (Genesis 1:6-25)

1:6 God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters
and let it separate water from water.
1:7 So God made the expanse
and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it.
It was so.
1:8 God called the expanse “sky.”
There was evening, and there was morning, a second day.
1:9 God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place and let dry ground appear.” It was so.
1:10 God called the dry ground “land” and the gathered waters he called “seas.”
God saw that it was good.
1:11 God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.”
It was so.
1:12 The land produced vegetation – plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.
God saw that it was good.
1:13 There was evening, and there was morning, a third day.
1:14 God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night,
and let them be signs to indicate seasons and days and years,
1:15 and let them serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.”
It was so.
1:16 God made two great lights – the greater light to rule over the day and the lesser light to rule over the night.
He made the stars also.
1:17 God placed the lights in the expanse of the sky to shine on the earth,
1:18 to preside over the day and the night,
and to separate the light from the darkness.
God saw that it was good.
1:19 There was evening, and there was morning, a fourth day.
1:20 God said, “Let the water swarm with swarms of living creatures
and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.”
1:21 God created the great sea creatures and every living and moving thing with which the water swarmed, according to their kinds,
and every winged bird according to its kind.
God saw that it was good.
1:22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
1:23 There was evening, and there was morning, a fifth day.
1:24 God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds:
cattle, creeping things, and wild animals, each according to its kind.”
It was so.
1:25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds,
the cattle according to their kinds,
and all the creatures that creep along the ground according to their kinds.
God saw that it was good.

A person built a house inside a bubble.
Between the house and the space inside the bubble every need was met for human and non-human life.
There was fresh air, water, food, and shelter and lots of room to move about.
Everything was in perfect balance – but was it a home?
Not without people living in it it was not.

Up until this moment in Creation God had not added man to the world, but it was a perfect place for humans to live.
The Holy Spirit Who lives in us, Believers, is perfect – just like God’s Creation.
When it’s time to decide between the world and the wisdom of God,
isn’t it best to go to the perfect place for wisdom – God in us?

Dear Lord, please help us to make you our perfect home. Amen.
dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 1 Day 3
OT (chronological)
Tuesday (Genesis 1:26-2:4)

1:26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness,
so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”
1:27 God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.
1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it!
Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground.”
1:29 Then God said, “I now give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
1:30 And to all the animals of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.”
It was so.
1:31 God saw all that he had made – and it was very good!
There was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.
2:1 The heavens and the earth were completed with everything that was in them. 2:2 By the seventh day God finished the work that he had been doing, and he ceased on the seventh day all the work that he had been doing. 2:3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he ceased all the work that he had been doing in creation.
2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created – when the Lord God made the earth and heavens.

The farmer and his wife were getting older and decided they needed some help.
They hired a person to manage their property for them; the cattle, the planting and sowing of the fields, and the maintenance of the barns, equipment, and fences.
They gave to their manager money and power to act in their name.
The manager was not them but the manager now had purpose and responsibilities like them.

The first man and woman were expressly created for the purpose of caring for God’s new Creation.
Although we are far from that perfect place and their perfect innocence we share their purpose.
When we rise in the morning we are blessed with a purpose from God.

Dear Lord, please keep me mindful that I live and breathe to serve You. Amen.
dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 1 Day 4
OT (chronological)
Wednesday (Genesis 2:5-17)

2:5 Now no shrub of the field had yet grown on the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. 2:6 Springs would well up from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. 2:7 The Lord God formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
2:8 The Lord God planted an orchard in the east, in Eden; and there he placed the man he had formed.
2:9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow from the soil, every tree that was pleasing to look at and good for food. (Now the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were in the middle of the orchard.)
2:10 Now a river flows from Eden to water the orchard, and from there it divides into four headstreams. 2:11 The name of the first is Pishon; it runs through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 2:12 (The gold of that land is pure; pearls and lapis lazuli are also there). 2:13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it runs through the entire land of Cush. 2:14 The name of the third river is Tigris; it runs along the east side of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.
2:15 The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for it and to maintain it.
2:16 Then the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, 2:17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.”

They arrived in a distant land in hopes of finding the rumored spring of eternal youth.
The local wise man explained that there was indeed a very special spring and a beautiful tree bearing sweet hanging fruit stood next to it.
It was a unique combination of the spring, the fruit, and the person that resulted in forever young or aging quickly. Neither the spring nor the fruit was of any benefit without the other.
The local belief was that the integrity of the person affected their body chemistry in some way and that was what determined the reaction.
So far no-one who had dared to test the spring and the fruit had the integrity to earn eternal youth.

Adam and Eve had been informed, by their Lord and Creator God, of the potential for death. Due to their intimate connection with (and responsibility for) the rest of Creation they had observed that the berries, fruits, and greens they picked and ate – giving them life – were thus separated from their own source of life from the bush or plant or tree – which represented a primitive form of death.
In our day to day lives our inconsistent integrity reveals something of our standing, with or without God.
Fortunately, it’s not our integrity, but rather that of Jesus the Christ – that earns us eternal life.

Dear Lord, I need Your integrity to be mine, all of the day and all of the night. Amen.

dmc2015
Daily Devotional
Week 1 Day 5
OT (chronological)
Thursday (Genesis 2:18-25)

2:19 The Lord God formed out of the ground every living animal of the field and every bird of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them, and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
2:20 So the man named all the animals, the birds of the air, and the living creatures of the field.

2:18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion for him who corresponds to him.”

20b … but for Adam no companion who corresponded to him was found. 2:21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while he was asleep, he took part of the man’s side and closed up the place with flesh.
2:22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the part he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 2:23 Then the man said,
“This one at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one will be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
2:24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife, and they become a new family.
2:25 The man and his wife were both naked, but they were not ashamed.

The young scientists had grown frustrated because no matter how they manipulated the microbes and other resources they found in the dirt they simply could not coax it into growing human tissue.
An older scientist, watching them struggle, one day invited them to his lab – where he showed them a successful effort.
Shocked, they asked him how he had done what they could not, he explained “Human tissue is unique and unless you begin with a uniquely-human source – in this case adult stem cells – you can never succeed.”

In our lives we often struggle to find ways of doing things our own way, despite God’s clear instruction that His way is the only healthy and wise way, then we become frustrated.
Humankind was invented by God, then distorted by sin, but God still understands us best.
When we choose our paths why not ask our inventor, Who loves us dearly, which way shall we go?

Dear Lord, I know that my flesh resists Your direction and discipline, please help me to choose You over everyone and everything else. Amen.
dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 1 Day 6
OT (chronological)
Friday (Genesis 3:1-13)

The Temptation and the Fall

3:1 Now the serpent was more shrewd than any of the wild animals that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Is it really true that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?”
3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard;
3:3 but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’” 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, “Surely you will not die,
3:5 for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open and
you will be like divine beings who know good and evil.”

3:6 When the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food, was attractive to the eye,
and was desirable for making one wise,
she took some of its fruit and ate it.
She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.
3:7 Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day,
and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the orchard.
3:9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
3:10 The man replied, “I heard you moving about in the orchard, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”
3:11 And the Lord God said, “Who told you that you were naked?
Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
3:12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave me,
she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.”
3:13 So the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
And the woman replied, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”

The mom and dad told their children that while the painting the bedrooms was completed they needed to wait in the kitchen.
They told their 7 year old son to ask his 12 year old sister if he needed any help with anything and for them both to not eat anything until dinner time.
The sister sat and read her favorite part of her science book, the page that described how to make desserts, while her younger brother laid on the floor and read a magazine about dogs.
The pictures of the desserts made the sister hungry and when she glanced in the kitchen she saw chocolate chip cookies in the glass cookie jar, so she got up, walked into kitchen, and took and ate one.
Feeling guilty she called her brother in and had him eat one as well.
Just about then their parents walked into the room and caught them with the cookie jar.
The girl said “I couldn’t help myself, it was that school book”, and her brother said “You told me to I was supposed to listen to her”.

When we make our choices is it based on the boundaries that God has set or do we make excuses to satisfy the immediate desires of our flesh?

Dear Lord, please gather about me – and those whom I love – people who obey You, so that we are not so easily led astray. Amen.
dmc2015

Daily Devotional
Week 1 Day 7
OT (chronological)
Saturday (Genesis 3:14-24)

The Judgment Oracles of God at the Fall

3:14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all the wild beasts
and all the living creatures of the field!
On your belly you will crawl
and dust you will eat all the days of your life.
3:15 And I will put hostility between you and the woman
and between your offspring and her offspring;
her offspring will attack your head,
and you will attack her offspring’s heel.”

3:16 To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase your labor pains;
with pain you will give birth to children.
You will want to control your husband,
but he will dominate you.”
3:17 But to Adam he said,
“Because you obeyed your wife
and ate from the tree about which I commanded you,
‘You must not eat from it,’
cursed is the ground thanks to you;
in painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
3:18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
but you will eat the grain of the field.
3:19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat food
until you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust, and to dust you will return.”
3:20 The man named his wife Eve,
because she was the mother of all the living.
3:21 The Lord God made garments from skin for Adam and his wife,
and clothed them.
3:22 And the Lord God said, “Now that the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil,
he must not be allowed to stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
3:23 So the Lord God expelled him from the orchard in Eden to cultivate the ground from which he had been taken.
3:24 When he drove the man out,
he placed on the eastern side of the orchard in Eden
angelic sentries who used the flame of a whirling sword to guard the way to the tree of life.

For years, every day at dark, the children were allowed to light one small rocket – it would fly up straight over the yard, then make colorful bright sparkles – after which they’d have a small treat.
There were many different size and color rockets from which to choose and all were pretty.
On a shelf above them were two that looked just a little more special, one they were told to never light – even though the display would be magnificent – because if they did they’d have to move away, and the other would be be beautiful as well and it would mean they’d always have everything they needed.
It seemed to them that they would always have all they needed, so the second didn’t seem so special, but when a note was found one evening on her door – saying “You’ll get extra treats and nothing would change.” and it was signed, “A Friend” – she decided to light it with her brother.
They did so and suddenly after the bright display a terrible cloud appeared in the sky and lightning started striking everywhere, burning the trees and setting the house on fire – so they ran from the house and the property – never to return.

There are people, places, things, and value-systems in this world which the Bible tells us to avoid.
They may seem exciting at first, and we may tell ourselves that we won’t be harmed, but He is right.
Every sin leaves a scar on our hearts and minds and sometimes even on our physical body.
If we confess and repent He will forgive and restore us to His fellowship but we will bear the marks of our sin until we receive our new bodies in Heaven.

Dear Lord, it’s so easy for us to imagine that “We got this” when the truth is “It’s got us”. The enemy leaves a mark to celebrate where we once chose him over You, and to which he points when he’s trying to trick us again. Humble us, discipline us, guide us away from that which separates us from You. Amen.
dmc2et

All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated – http://bible.org
Devotional copyright © 2015 by David M. Colburn. This is associated with the BibleSeven Study –“Genesis 1-3. Prepared by David M. Colburn and originally edited for bible.org. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.