Daily Devotional Week 10 Day 4 OT (chronological) Wednesday (Genesis 42 – 44)

Daily Devotional

Week 10 Day 4

OT (chronological)

Wednesday (Genesis 42 – 44)

Joseph’s Brothers in Egypt, The Second Journey to Egypt, The Final Test

The adviser’s husband was charged with workplace harassment by several former employees and was convicted in court. When the time came for sentencing the judge requested that each of the harassed employees provide input.

The judge asked each to choose from a list of alternative punishments. He said he leaned toward a combination of #’s 2, 3 and 4 but did promise to strongly consider their recommendation.

The former employees decided to meet and discuss the alternatives. After an hour of each sharing their stories they began to get more specific about the choices:

1. Two and a half years in prison (six months for each person offended).

2. $10,000. restitution to the court and $10,000 restitution to each of the persons offended.

3. 10 hours of community service per week for two and a half years (6 months per offended person).

4. 5 years of probation (any offense during that time would result in all of the punishments imposed).

5. Some combination of the above.

After an hour of somewhat heated discussion the adviser’s associate encouraged them to think of both accountability and grace, as in the story of Joseph, then led them to choose the following:

$10,000 restitution to the court (so taxpayers were not burdened by his bad choices), community service every weekend (5pm Friday through 5pm Sunday) for one year – as supervised by the mission headquarters in the City, and 5 years of probation (to be reduced to 1 year if recommended by the mission headquarters in the City).

The judge was surprised by their grace and unselfishness – but he agreed and the husband, faced with a much harsher sentence by the judge, accepted.

Each of the women in this scenario could have received $10,000., if they agreed with the judge’s plan. They also could have tried to exact vengeance through harsher penalties. They chose to recommend what they believed to the best mix of accountability and education. Grace and wisdom, like Joseph.

Dear Lord, You have taught me grace and wisdom through Your Word. Help me to be Your instrument of accountability and Your vessel of grace. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 10 Day 3 OT (chronological) Tuesday (Genesis 41)

Daily Devotional

Week 10 Day 3

OT (chronological)

Tuesday (Genesis 41)

Joseph’s Rise to Power

The rumors about the adviser’s husband’s accusations, and the firing of the assistant, had reached all the way back to the City, where the adviser and her husband used to live and work. A former employee called the adviser to say that he had treated her the same way. The adviser hired a private investigator and discovered a sad pattern. The couple were legally-separated and the husband refused to seek counseling to address the problem.

Wendy went to visit the adviser, she informed her that they had been praying for the situation, she offered to mediate marriage-reconciliation for them, and she inquired if the adviser had reconciled with her former assistant.

The adviser said that she didn’t think her former assistant would ever trust her again, but Wendy explained the way that forgiveness worked for Believers, and suggested that she should give her former assistant a chance.

The adviser visited her former assistant at home, apologized, and asked her to consider returning to her former role – with the additional authority and duties her husband had previously held.

The assistant agreed to become the adviser’s senior associate – with one condition – the adviser would either attend a Sunday fellowship or a small group gathering at least once a week (when she was in town). The adviser agreed.

When others in the village heard that the adviser was visiting the fellowship they became curious as well and soon the Sunday fellowship and outreach groups multiplied.

Things do not always work out well for everyone; though the cupbearer returned to his job, and Joseph was promoted, the baker lost his head, some of Pharaoh’s top people lost authority to Joseph, and the adviser lost her marriage. Sometimes it’s a stubborn choice that a person makes that blocks reconciliation and restoration, and sometimes God steps in and changes things.

Dear Lord, May I always be available to Your service, may I stand ready at the line of reconciliation when a relationship has been damaged, and may I speak-up for others – without expecting anything for myself – even at the risk of being disregarded or misunderstood. Amen. dmc2015

Daily Devotional Week 10 Day 2 OT (chronological) Monday (Genesis 39 – 40)

Daily Devotional

Week 10 Day 2

OT (chronological)

Monday (Genesis 39 – 40)

Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife, The Cupbearer and the Baker

One of the young native Believers in the village went to work for an adviser to the village leader. She was smart and ethical and the adviser came to rely upon her to handle most of her office and business activities – which freed her to travel.

The adviser’s husband was not as respectful. He made excuses for her to attend “business meetings” at lunch time, the first couple of occasions a third person was present – but the “business” matter was something that could have been easily handled via phone or email. During the next couple of meetings there was no third person, he said they had canceled at the last minute, but why not stay and use the lunch reservation to discuss business – but the business matters were shallow – and he asked more questions about her personal life than business.

Finally, he arranged for a Friday dinner meeting – where two others were initially present but left early, – leaving her alone with him. He invited her for a drink at his home, both of them knowing that his wife was away – so she called him out – informing him that such conduct would be an offense to God and his wife.

He stormed off and called his wife. He lied and accused her of flirting and of arranging the meetings. She lost her job, there were rumors around the village, and she was heartsick.

Wendy and the wife of the older missionary couple, met with her. They explained that she really should have said something to them at her first suspicion – but that they would now pray together that the Lord would reveal his sin.

Sometimes the world doesn’t seem just. Both the young Believer and Joseph’s integrity earned them opportunities – then their integrity was falsely questioned – resulting in harm.

Just as the young Believer could not challenge the adviser’s husband, without seeming to call him an adulterer and liar, neither could Joseph – both were in lose-lose situations.

People can be dishonest and unfaithful, then blame it on others. Christians are often seen as easy targets because they appear to be trusting – even gullible.

The only answer was to turn the circumstances, and the people, over to the Lord – and wait.

Dear Lord, Please remind me to pray daily for protection and wisdom, to maintain a constant and transparent conversation with those who have authority over me, and to invest in accountability-relationships with fellow Believers. Amen. dmc2015

Practical Daily Prayer

PRACTICAL PRAYER/PURPOSE

Sermon Delivered: Harville Baptist September 27, 2015

John 16:32-33
“Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

When Do We Need Prayer?

A sick child, a lost pet, a broken-down car or tractor, a lost crop or job, a broken friendship (or at a distance like Mr Quentin & his wife moving to Atlanta), a challenging task, a struggle with sin, a departed loved one … or on the other side celebration of a baby born, a good crop or a new job, victory over a sin, the promise of heaven, or that batch of pear tarts turning out just right. Pretty much – all day every day in all things.

Seven Purposes for Prayer in Our Daily Lives

Key Principle: All of these must be done with and through the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus, and with our hearts set on our Father in Heaven.

I’ll get to the 3-points (you know, that sermon outline thing) a little later …

1. Seek Wisdom

2. Request Spiritual Protection & Power

3. Ask for Encouragement & Strength

4. Request Healing (emotional, intellectual, physical, & spiritual)

5. Clarity as we read the Word.

6. Clarity as we prepare for praise, prayer, and worship.

7. Thanks & Celebration.

JESUS MODELED PRAYER IN JOHN 17

Jesus Prayed for the Father to Glorify Him (or to return His Heavenly glory)

Jesus Prayed for the Disciples

Jesus Prayed for Believers Everywhere

This entire chapter was Jesus’ prayer.

Understanding The Lord’s Prayer

THE LORD’S PRAYER — a PRESENTATION

Can I say OUR if my daily practice of my “religion” has no priority for people who desperately need the saving truth of Christ, as I once needed it?

Can I say FATHER if I do not demonstrate this in my daily living relationship with Him as my Abba Father?

Can I say WHO ARE IN HEAVEN if my priorities are in earthly things?

Can I say HOLY BE YOUR NAME if I, who am called by His name, do not seek to become more holy in my daily life – thereby honoring my eternal Father’s name?

Can I say YOUR KINGDOM COME if I am unwilling to give up my own sovereignty and accept the righteous reign of God in my life?

Can I say YOUR WILL BE DONE if I am unwilling or resentful of having it be so, convenient of not, in my daily life?

Can I say ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN unless I am truly ready to give myself to His service here and now and if I am unwilling to worship Him constantly now, as I will then?

Can I say GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD without expending honest effort for it or by ignoring the genuine needs of my fellow men. Nor may I say it if I do not daily seek to learn about Him, the bread of life, through His Word?

Can I say FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US if I continue to harbor a grudge against anyone?

Can I say LEAD US NOT INTO TESTING If I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am certain to be tempted, or if I refuse to “put on the armor” daily to equip me to resist temptation?

Can I say DELIVER US FROM EVIL (or from the Evil One) if I do not prepare to fight in the spiritual realm with the weapons of prayer, righteous living, and clarity as to my standing as a “saint” and a Child of God.

Can I say YOURS IS THE KINGDOM if I do not give the King the disciplined obedience of a loyal subject?

Can I say YOURS IS THE POWER if I fear what my neighbors and friends may say or do?

Can I say YOURS IS THE GLORY if I am seeking my glory, or if I give places of honor to others who place their own glory first?

Can I say FOREVER if I am too anxious about today?

Can I say AMEN unless I honestly say, “Cost what it may, this is my prayer.”?

Source: anonymous (edited dmc2015)

Seven Purposes for Prayer in Our Daily Lives

1. Seek Wisdom

Wisdom is information/knowledge plus understanding. God’s wisdom is perfect.

(The dictionary defines wisdom as “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.” Knowledge, on the other hand, is “information gained through experience, reasoning, or acquaintance.” Knowledge can exist without wisdom, but not the other way around. One can be knowledgeable without being wise. Knowledge is knowing how to use a gun; wisdom is knowing when to use it and when to keep it holstered.)

As a hospice chaplain I almost always pray for wisdom with patients and families – for them and for the professionals. They frequently thank me for that. When life gets crazy it’s hard to think clearly – and even professionals need God’s guidance.

Job 12:13 “With God are wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.”

Correcting a child, doing our jobs, dealing with government, all require wisdom.

Proverbs 3:13 “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who obtains understanding.”

We should be praying that our leaders will seek God’s wisdom.

Ephesians 1:15-23 “Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.”

2. Request Spiritual Protection & Power

The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10-12 that we are in a spiritual battle.

I don’t know about you but I have experienced a number of moments in my 25 years of faith where the spiritual warfare became unpleasantly palpable.

(Illustration: I was once at a dinner party. We were just seated and the woman next to me suddenly jumped up and ran to the kitchen. The hostess went to see why and returned looking a little shaken. The woman was an acquaintance from work whom she did not know well. I asked “Is she was ill, is my deodorant not working, did I say something wrong?” She replied “No. She said that she was a practicing witch and she could not be in the same room with a practicing Christian. I had not said anything about my faith – but the demon in her was apparently terrified by the Holy Spirit in me.)

(Illustration: When our children had night terrors we taught them to tell the Enemy to go away. They did and no more terrors.)

As we allow people to immigrate from regions of the world where spiritual warfare has been in the open for generations – we will experience more of that here.

Rev. 12:17 “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”

John says that the war is still being waged, but the outcome has already been determined.

Satan and his followers have been defeated and will be destroyed.

As is illustrated in C.S.Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters”, Satan is battling daily to bring more into his ranks and to keep his own from defecting to God’s side.

Those who belong to Christ have gone into battle on God’s side, and he has guaranteed us victory. “Carpe diem” – seize the day!

3. Ask for Encouragement & Strength

I have lots to confess at the end of each day – if I pile each day upon the next it would eventually crush me.

Satan is the accuser – don’t listen to him – he’s a liar.

I always liked the bumper sticker “The Next Time Satan Reminds You Of Your Past – Remind Him Of Your Future.”

We are “made new” every morning – that is the blessing of Grace.

Confess – Repent – Request & Receive Forgiveness, then Be Reconciled & Restored.

Jesus will encourage you and He will be your strength “When you can’t carry on.”

Yesterday you started smoking again and a voice in your head said “Give up trying, you know you can’t do it.” God doesn’t talk that way – that’s the devil. Tell that demon to shut up and go away – you are a Child of God.

4. Request Healing (emotional, intellectual, physical, & spiritual)

I have seen God lift severe emotional distress, I have seen Him clear the muddled-thinking of a confused person, I have seen God heal cancer, and I have seen God do battle and defeat the Enemy in the lives of demon-harassed people.

James 4:3 “We have not because we ask not.”

Dr. Neil Anderson, author and founder of Freedom in Christ ministries, insists that people must address the whole person rather than only part – if complete healing is to be found.

(Illustration: In a Divorce Recovery group a woman returned for the 3rd time. She was not a Believer, was obsessive about completing tasks, and she often challenged parts of the lessons. This time asked “Can a person recover from divorce and not be a Christian?” My answer was “Yes … but, only if one is willing to accept partial recovery.”)

God allows this fallen rebellious world to go on as it will and only occasionally intervenes. We cannot often know why He intervenes and why He does not – and that is not our place – we trust His perfect knowledge and love.

5. Clarity as we read the Word.

A person without the Holy Spirit cannot ever fully understand the Word – I remember those days — I was 35 before surrendering to the Lord.

Even for Holy Spirit-filled Believers – when we’re confused, stressed, and tired – merely opening the Bible isn’t enough – we need to ask for clarity.

I watched many a fellow student stumble through the Word, attempting to extract meaning – using only their own intellect – and coming up empty (or worse, confused).

Luke 24:45 “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures”

John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.”

I have been writing a daily Bible study, and now a devotional, through the old and new testaments – for the past 7 years. Every time I read a section of text the Holy Spirit opens my eyes to a clearer understanding.

6. Clarity as we prepare for praise, prayer, and worship
.

Have you ever come to church, participated in the service, and left feeling as confused, empty, and powerless as when you arrived?

You could blame the music or the message – but you would be wrong …

Just as 1 Corinthians 11:27-28 instructs us how to prepare ourselves to receive communion so also are we to prepare ourselves for special times of praise, prayer, and worship.

Just showing up, setting aside a little time (even before a meal), and closing our eyes is a good start, but … imagine that you are Isaiah in the presence of the Lord in Chapter 6 “Woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips …”

Develop a sense of the holiness of God and approach Him with both reverence and trust.

Arrive early enough to ask the Lord to speak to you – maybe through the music and the message – or maybe in spite of it … He will honor your request.

The same is true of preparation for prayer.

7. Thanks & Celebration.

Keep a journal of your prayers – and God’s answers. During tough times it will encourage you and at all times it will lift you to a state of thankful celebration.

(Illustrations: 22 years ago a Missionary visiting Gordon-Conwell Seminary shared his Prayer & Answer Journal. 20 years and every prayer was answered – not always in the time or way he expected. During hard times the journal was encouraging. In the movie “War Room” the Prayer-Answer Journal pages on the wall became the contact-point to move the young wife to listen.)

And now … a quick 3 point sermon …

THE METHODOLOGY OF EFFECTIVE PRAYER

A. TALK

Be honest. God already knows anyhow, so give it up.

Have a conversation – just remember to Whom you are speaking.

Be specific “We have not because we ask not.”

B. LISTEN

Don’t just broadcast then walk away – or at least don’t stay away.

Meditate on what you have said and what you know about the One to whom you have said it – the Holy Spirit will clarify – and often prompt prayer for things you forgot.

Be teachable – whatever He decides has to be OK or else you are “playing God”.

(Illustration: As parents of an initially unresponsive newborn child we had to pray that whatever God did – it had to be OK with us. If all we had was 9 months in the womb, then heaven, His choice was perfect. But we asked for life.)

C. ACT

Allow yourself to be transformed – that’s what God does – let Him.

Choose to be a willing and available instrument and vessel.

(Illustration: Older divorced singles – See that spot in your broken vessel? It matches up to the same in another person. God can pour His blessing through you into them.)

Choose to be both balanced and sacrificial.

(Illustration: If you have two shovels, sacrificial is to allow a co-worker to borrow your favorite, balanced is to not give away both so that you cannot work.)

John 16:33
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

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.