All posts by mannycoronilla

January 15, 2021

Genesis 31:17-32:12

After 20 years of life with Laban, Jacob doesn’t trust him in the slightest, so he takes his family and runs away. This is a good example of doing the right thing the wrong way (yes that is possible). Eventually Laban finds out and catches up to him. Did Jacob actually think he could run away from his problems? 

But God went before Jacob and protected him by warning Laban in a dream as he shares in:

Genesis 31:29 (NKJV) “It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.’”

Laban had the ability and was no doubt persuaded he had the right to judge Jacob, but God commanded him to stand down, and once again we see God’s protection over the nation.

Both men were upset with each other, and both men had valid points. They eventually declared a truce, which is better than a war, but not as good as simply dwelling together in unity (Psalm 133; Ephesians 4:3).

The whole concept of stealing someone’s god has always puzzled me. We’re not sure why Rachel stole her father’s idol; apparently it was special to her, which is huge a red flag indicating something common (even in the lives of God’s chosen people) secret idols in their hearts. John the Beloved warned us of this in:

1 John 5:21 (NKJV) “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”

God repeatedly revealed to Jacob that He was with him, even allowing him to see the angelic realm (Genesis 32:1-2) but Jacob’s fear refused to fade. Jacob’s scheming was the story of his life (his name means heel catcher, conniver, and even deceiver). It’s hard to say you trust God when all along you’re trying to trick man. It’s not really possible to be a believer in God and a manipulator of people simultaneously. Jacob needed to change.

Warren Weirsbe said this about Jacob, “He saw the army of angels protecting him, but even that didn’t encourage his faith. One minute Jacob prayed for God’s help, and the next minute he devised some new way to appease his angry brother. He reminded God of His great promises and then acted as though God had never spoken. This is the conduct of a believer who needed to be broken before God. He prayed to be delivered from Esau (Genesis 32:11), but his greatest need was to be delivered from himself.”

Don’t we all need to be delivered from ourselves? The three enemies we war against are this fallen world, these fallen angels (the devil and his demons), and my fallen nature – and of three – the greatest enemy is me.

Matthew 10:24-11:6

Lots of bullet points in this section.

If we’re faithful disciples of Christ, we will actually be like Him. The world hated Him, they will therefore hate us as well, but don’t let that strike you with fear or stop you from preaching. (Matthew 10:27).

The hostile world hates the message of salvation so it inevitably and eventually leads to persecution, but don’t be afraid! Fear only God!

Matthew 10:28 (NKJV) “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Matthew 10:29-31 are some of the most comforting passages in all the Bible. God is so sovereign that not a single sparrow falls to the ground apart from our Father’s will. If such is the case for every single sparrow, such is the case for every single son, or daughter, for you are infinitely more valuable than the birds of the air…as a matter of fact, God knows the very number of your hairs. Wow! Every single 100,000 of them (on average).  I wonder if the Lord shared this with us because worrying causes hair loss? Don’t worry, He’s watching over you as if you were the only one to watch.

Don’t let anything stop you from being bold and obedient in your faith. Preach the Gospel. Confess Christ openly. Don’t hold back because you think it will promote peace – that’s not the kind of pseudo peace we should be interested in. Please, don’t be obnoxious in your witness, but do speak the truth, just do it in love (Ephesians 4:15), even if it creates friction in the family (Matthew 10:35).  

A healthy Christianity means there are no rival thrones in our hearts, we must love God more than anyone else, we must love God more than ourselves (which is why we take up our cross), and we must be willing to lose our lives for Christ’s sake. (Matthew 10:37-39)

Jesus closes His teaching in this section with an encouragement to serve, and a reminder that even what may be perceived as the smallest and most insignificant form of service (giving a child a cup of water) is registered in heaven and will one day be rewarded. (Matthew 10:42)

John the Baptist had been imprisoned, and it had been quite some time since the day he saw the Spirit descend upon Jesus. Time and trials have a way of ebbing away at a faith founded in experience, and it can happen to even the best of men. John was wondering why it was taking so long for the Messiah to do His thing. Jesus’ response was simply to say that the sign’s of the Christ were clearly manifested and, “John you’ll be blessed if you’re not offended at My timeline.”

Psalm 13:1-6

David asks the LORD four times, “How long?”

For David it was around 10 years.

For Joseph it was 13 years.

For Abraham it was 25 years.

For Moses it was 40 years.

Wait on the Lord, even in the most trying times. My heart goes out to David as he writes in: 

Psalm 13:2b, “…having sorrow in my heart daily.”

Some of you are there. We all go through those seasons of life. Please don’t stop believing, don’t stop doing the right thing, for the day will come when God will reward your long obedience – it happened to David and it will happen to us – the” how long” will become a deep and meaningful song.

Psalm 13:6 (NKJV) I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Proverbs 3:16-18

O the benefits of wisdom – not always binding precepts but beautiful principles, often leading to a long life, riches and honor, good pleasures and peace; not just the fruit of the day but a tree of life granting us happiness!

Proverbs 3:18 (NKJV) “She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

January 14, 2021

Genesis 30:1-31:16

Up to this point Jacob has had four children through Leah, and Rachel is fuming. Jacob was right, not in his anger, but in his theology, his anthropology, God alone is the giver of life.

As a quick side-note, polygamy was practiced back in these days and culture, but from the beginning, it was never God’s intention. 

Again, it’s difficult for us to fathom, but Rachel gives her maidservant to Jacob in order that she might have children on her behalf, and sure enough, Bilhah gives birth to Dan and Naphtali. I’m fascinated by the meaning of each of the names of the sons of Jacob, and what a story this is, but underneath it all, I can’t help but see God’s pure grace covering such a dysfunctional family.

Finally, Rachel gives birth to Joseph. The Bible says, “God remembered Rachel, and listened to her.” (Genesis 30:22). Not that God ever forgets us, it’s simply that He answers our prayers according to His perfect will and timing. It may “seem” like He forgets us during our difficult days, but He never, ever does (Isaiah 49:15). May that encourage you today.

The Bible says in: 

Romans 8:31 (NKJV) “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Laban, Lucifer, and maybe even the circumstances of life were against Jacob, but since God was for Him, God was working out His plan for Jacob and his family; it was evident that the LORD was blessing through Jacob (Genesis 30:27), so Laban asked Jacob to stay with him…and he did, all together it totaled twenty years.

Some say there was a science to the multiplication of Jacob’s flock, but most say there’s no explainable science behind it – it’s just the Lord who chose to bless Jacob and multiply his livestock.

Fallen human nature tends to envy when others get blessed and such was the case with Laban and his sons. Circumstances were beginning to dictate that it was time for Jacob to go back to the land of promise, and then the LORD clearly confirmed it:

Genesis 31:3 (NKJV) “Then the LORD said to Jacob, ‘Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.’”

It helps even more in discerning the will of God, when our wife is in complete agreement, and I love their response in:

Genesis 31:16b (NKJV) “…now then, whatever God has said to you, do it.”

A word to us all!

Matthew 10:1-23

In Matthew 10 Jesus calls His Twelve Apostles by name, gives them power, and sends them out; but before they go He teaches them (and us) many things about this type of ministry.

We don’t simply go anywhere, to anyone, we go where Jesus sends us; the Apostles were sent first to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. This was God’s order (Romans 1:16) for many reasons. Jesus wanted to identify with Judaism because He was the coming Messiah they should have been looking for – the whole world needed to know that. This was not some new religion, this was rooted in the monotheistic beliefs of Abraham and Moses. The Jews held to the Scriptures and under the old covenant, they should have been in right relationship with God, ready for the Gospel, so Jesus sent the guys to them first.

Jesus taught His Apostles to trust God for provision and to be aware of the fact that in all reality, they were sheep among wolves, so they would always need the Shepherd, His wisdom, and a heart to be as harmless as a dove, which speaks of being holy, blameless, and innocent.

In verses 11-15 we get a glimpse of the hospitality they would need as they traveled from village to village. They weren’t to jump from one place to another (searching for better accommodations). Imagine having an Apostle stay at your house. Those who receive their message receive peace, but those who don’t receive a clear and heavy warning:

Matthew 10:15 (NKJV) “Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”

Jesus warned of coming persecutions from authorities and even division among families. Jesus told them in advance because He didn’t want them (or us) to lose heart when we experience these things. May we never split or quit – that’s the only way we lose, “…he who endures to the end will be saved.” (22b)

In v. 23 we have another example of how God’s Word can speak of different ages in a single sentence. Warren Wiersbe comments, “Some of these instructions applied mainly to the Apostles (vv. 5–15) and some to those serving just before the Lord’s return (vv. 16–23). However, spiritual principles are here for all God’s servants.”

Psalm 12:1-8

It was true then and it’s true now, the godly man and faithful person are rare commodities in this fallen world (Psalm 12:1). It makes me want to be one, that much more.

This Psalm highlights the way people use their tongues as weapons against us. Ranging from trash talk behind our backs, to manipulative flattery in our face, they say their tongues are their own, that they can say whatever they want (Psalm 12:4) and they do, shooting from the hip of hardened hearts…but one day they will give an account for every idle word (Matthew 12:36).

Contrast man’s wicked word to God’s pure and perfect Word:

Psalm 12:6 (NKJV) “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

God promises to keep, preserve, and protect His people. (Isaiah 54:17)

Proverbs 3:13-15

The formula for happiness – clear as day – learn (gain) God’s Word (will), and live it out, day by day, and moment by moment. This is wisdom, the application of God’s Word. Wisdom is better than winning the lottery, than having all the gold, silver, or rubies (of highest value in Jewish eyes) in the world – listen to what he says:

Proverbs 3:15 (NKJV) “…and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.”

Wow! That statement stops me in my tracks, it rocks me in a world of endless materialism. Help us Lord.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

January 13, 2021

Genesis 28:1-29:35

Isaac and Rebekah are well aware of their Godly ancestry and destiny, so they send their son to Haran that he would not marry any of the daughters of Canaan. The Bible clearly forbids believers to marry non-believers (2 Corinthians 6:14) for their non-believing spouse has the powerful potential to turn their heart away from the Lord (that’s what happened to Solomon, 1 Kings 11:4).

Isaac realizes the blessing truly has fallen to Jacob so he blesses him volitionally (Genesis 28:3-4). 

In a futile attempt to please his parents, Esau takes as wife a daughter of Ishmael his half brother, but when someone is in the flesh, they make all the wrong moves.

The LORD appeared to Jacob in a dream revealing the “connection” and intervention between  heaven and earth. The LORD confirmed to Jacob the Abrahamic  covenant of land and descendants, and how through him, “…all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” This of course is a prophecy of Jesus Christ.

In response, Jacob built an altar, he didn’t want to forget this dream. He renamed the city Bethel, which means “House of God,” and in Jacob-fashion He made a deal with God, promising to give the LORD a tithe of his possessions if God would be with him, keep him, and provide for him so that he would return to his father’s house.

What a crazy story of Jacob and his two wives, but often our stories are. Jacob arrives in the land asking for his uncle Laban. The men know Laban and point out the fact that his daughter, Rachel, was approaching as they spoke. For Jacob it was like love at first sight. Initially I thought it was wrong that he kissed her on their first date (Genesis 29:11) but then I noticed that his uncle kissed Jacob when he saw him (Genesis 29:13) so I gave Jacob the benefit of the doubt (but I still wonder).

The formation of this family (keep in mind Jacob eventually becomes Israel) is flooded with grace.

Every husband should  be inspired by Genesis 29:20 but I wonder if Jacob’s love at this point was eros (erotic) and not agape (divinely unconditional, true love).

Genesis 29:20 (NKJV) “So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.”

Jacob got a strong dose of his own medicine, when his uncle Laban deceived him by getting him drunk and slipping in the older sister, Leah, as wife (Genesis 29:25). Imagine that! But no worries Laban said, just serve another seven years and I’ll give you my younger daughter also. More than likely Jacob didn’t have to wait until the seven years were over to receive Rachel, but he DID work the full term for his second wife.

Why did Jacob love Rachel so much? Genesis 29:17 informs us that Rachel was beautiful and had a nice figure. I doubt that those are ever ingredients or factors of true love. Love is something rooted in the lover, not in the object of love, and how awful it is when a husband does not love his wife – such was the case for Jacob toward’s Leah – the Bible says in:

Genesis 29:31 (NKJV) “…the LORD saw that Leah was unloved…”

What a heavy indictment of a husband!

It’s heartbreaking to see the way Leah hoped that with the birth of each child her husband would love her. Thankfully, by her fourth child she lifted her eyes to heaven rather than her husband (Judah’s name means “praise”) and she was able to praise the LORD.

Matthew 9:13-18

Another day in the Ministry of the Messiah. He healed a woman with a twelve year flow of blood, He raised a 12-year-old from the dead, he healed two blind men, he cast out a demon, and I’m sure there was much, much more. It’s no wonder we read in:

Matthew 9:33b (NKJV) “And the multitudes marveled, saying, ‘It was never seen like this in Israel!’”

They should have known this was the Messiah!

In reading this section we clearly see the power of Christ, but we also see the factor of faith. The woman, the father, the blind men all had at least a mustard seed of faith (if not more) and Jesus honored that. Notice His teachings on faith:

Matthew 9:22 (NKJV) “But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

Matthew 9:28b (NKJV) “And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’”

Matthew 9:29 (NKJV) “Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith let it be to you.’”

In verse 35 we have the three-fold ministry of Jesus articulated in order, teaching, preaching, and healing.

Jesus looked out at the people and was moved with compassion. They were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd (how does a sheep survive without a shepherd?). In response, He asked his disciples to pray for more laborers – something still needed today – people who truly make themselves available, and are willing to work for God sacrificially.

Psalm 11:1-7

Don’t fly away like a bird – pray and trust the Lord. He’s testing us and working in our lives…but O the fate of the non-believer! (Psalm 11:6)

Proverbs 3:11-12

Even though it hurts, I’m glad that God doesn’t leave me to myself, He disciplines me, and deals with me validating my legitimacy as a son, and even proving His love. (see also Hebrews 12:5-11)

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

January 12, 2021

Genesis 26:17-27:46

At this point in his life, Isaac is doing “well.” We read in this section of four wells Isaac digs. The first two, are wells that are disputed, but the third and fourth seemed to work out peacefully.  

As you can know, water is a precious commodity and Bible teachers tell us that claiming a well was the equivalent of claiming ownership of the land. Isaac was being bullied, but Isaac was passive by nature (Romans 12:18). Eventually they were able to work out a covenant and the reasoning should be an inspiration for us as believers:

Genesis 26:28 (NKJV) “But they said, ‘We have certainly seen that the LORD is with you. So we said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, between you and us; and let us make a covenant with you.’’”

Is it evident to others (even non-believers) that the LORD is with me?

Not only was Isaac digging wells, he also began to build altars. The LORD appeared to him and reaffirmed His promise to Israel (Genesis 26:4-5).

The whole account of Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing is a bit bizarre (from my perspective) but it’s only because I lack the grace that our amazing God gives. Isn’t it sad what we read back in:

Genesis 25:28 (NKJV) “And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.”

Parents should never have favorites…but God showed them grace.

It was wrong for Jacob to steal his brother’s blessing – and the way he and his mother did it, lie after lie after lie, how could it merit God’s blessing? God showed them grace.

God had revealed to Rebekah that the older would serve the younger back in Genesis 25:23, but she should have allowed God to work it all out; we are not to deceptively help God out…but God showed her grace.

As we continue our journey in the Scriptures we will see THROUGHOUT the Bible the many, many failures of God’s chosen people (the Bible doesn’t hide them) it records it all, etched in history – how could God use and choose them? God showed them grace. The same is true for my life and yours, take heart…God shows us grace.

At least Jacob believed in the blessing of God! Do I? Really?

Esau may have been going through the motions of believing in the blessing, but did he really have God’s promise in his heart? Why did he marry pagan women who were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:34) sapping Rebekah even of her very life? (Genesis 27:46) If a believer marries a non-believer they also marry many heartaches, and will lose many of the blessings of life.

One last thing before we leave this section; some believe Esau was doomed from the get go because the Bible tells us that God loved Jacob and hated Esau (Malachi 1:3; Romans 9:13). The simple explanation for this is that Jacob was a believer in the LORD; he was saved and favored by God who saw his faith, even before time began (1 Peter 1:2).

Matthew 9:1-17

This account of friends bringing their friend to Jesus is one of my favorites in the Bible. When they arrived at the house where Jesus was, there was no room to get in, but they didn’t give up. They carried their friend up on the roof, bored a hole, and let him down in the presence of Jesus. Talk about resilient faith!

They wanted their friend to be healed physically, but Jesus first healed him spiritually, eternally, for that is far more important. The religious leaders doubted in their hearts, but Jesus, who knows the heart and all our thoughts, proved it to them and reveals to us all the power that He has to forgive sins – His gracious deity.

How wonderful that Jesus would call a Tax-Collector to follow Him; Tax Collectors were hated by the Jews, and were considered to be the worst of all sinners. But this opened doors for Jesus to eat with sinners in His loving attempt to reach them. Legalistic people don’t do such things, neither do they understand God’s heart to reach the lost and heal the hurting. It makes me check my life. When was the last time I reached out or hung out with someone who wasn’t saved? God help us to go fishing.

Psalm 10:16-18

I know the LORD has never completely relinquished His throne, even in this crazy world that we live in; but my heart aches in longing for the day our King literally, physically, actually, eternally rules from Jerusalem.

Psalm 10:16 (NKJV) “The LORD is King forever and ever; the nations have perished out of His land.”

Proverbs 3:9-10

Give to God off the top, the fat of the firstborn, the best of what you have. If at all possible, budget your life so you can give to God 10% (it’s a great place to start) and you watch how God will bless your life (Malachi 3:8-10).

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

January 11, 2021

Genesis 24:52-26:16

We continue the story of the servant securing a bride for Isaac, which is a picture of the Holy Spirit gathering a bride for Christ.

Rebekah’s brother and mother attempted to hinder her from going to Isaac (Genesis 24:55) but the servant pushed. Ultimately they all agreed to ask her personally (Genesis 24:57). Rebekah’s response is courageous and beautiful – she said yes to the proposal – she saw God’s hand in it all. We read her response in:

Genesis 24:58 (NKJV) “Then they called Rebekah and said to her, ‘Will you go with this man?’ And she said, ‘I will go.’”

This is how it is for every single Christian. It is a personal decision. Will you follow the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit to enter in to this permanent relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ? It’s up to you. Can you see the treasures? Do you hear His Word? Will you say yes to Jesus?

In Genesis 24:64 Rebekah sees Issac for the first time. What a moment this is. Christian, consider the moment when we finally see Jesus for the first time! 1 Peter 1:8 speaks of the fact that although we have never seen Jesus, we love Him; but one day we’ll see Him.

We read in Genesis 24:67 that Isaac “loved her.” The ultimate calling for every husband (Ephesians 5:25).

In Genesis 25 we see further reason for Abraham’s name (father of a multitude). Abraham married Keturah and God apparently visited him again and blessed him with more children; but God makes it clear that Isaac was the child of promise.

It took 20 years, but in much waiting, praying, and even pleading (Genesis 25:21) Isaac and Rebekah eventually conceived. There were twins in her womb.

Warren Wiersbe, “Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah. For twenty years, they waited for a family that did not come. God blessed Isaac in everything but the thing he wanted most. He and Rebekah knew that God had promised descendants (Genesis 15:5), so Isaac laid hold of the promise and prayed. True prayer lays hold of God’s Word (John 15:7) and seeks to accomplish God’s purposes.”

Early on in the womb it was made manifest to mom that these boys would both be patriarchs of nations, and that the older would serve the younger. I don’t believe it was fate, it was simply God’s foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:2). God knew that one day Esau would despise his birthright and sell it for some soup.

Apparently it was okay for Isaac to spend some time in the land of the Philistines, during the famine, but it was not okay for him to lie about his wife for his own protection. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Isaac’s father had done the same thing – repeatedly. Our children won’t usually do as we say, they usually do as we do.

God graciously kept and continued to revealed His promise to Isaac along with the reasoning behind it:

Genesis 26:4–5 (NKJV) “And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”

Even though God was raising up the lineage of Abraham through Isaac – (the nation of Israel) it was primarily because of the fact that through Israel “…all the nations of the earth,” would be blessed. Through Israel we would receive the Savior and the Scriptures. Do you see His love for the whole wide world?

Matthew 8:18-34

Following Jesus doesn’t go hand-in-hand with a comfortable life. Jesus was on the go. As far as we know, He didn’t own a home or a mode of transportation; the only thing He owned were the clothes on His back. He would sometimes stay with friends, bundle up on a bench, and sleep with no pillow for His head.  

Am I willing to follow Christ “uncomfortably?” As a missionary? Is He my priority? Or have I put others before Him? (Matthew 8:21-22)

Jesus was setting sail in order to cast out demons from two men, so it’s understandable that He would have strong opposition, hence the storm. Jesus was exhausted, so He slept through the it. When His disciples woke Him up to ask for help, there was nothing wrong with their request, what Jesus disapproved of was the panic in their plea demonstrating a complete lack of faith.

Jesus stilled the storm and the disciples wondered, “Who can this be that even the winds and sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:27) Good question for us all. Have you ever thought that one through. He’s not just a typical teacher, a passing prophet, a random rabbi. The only logical answer to the one who did what Jesus did (even rising from the dead) is that this was none other than God the Son, the second Person of the Holy Trinity.

Getting back to the nap. Do you ever feel as if God’s sleeping through your storm? Well, God is no longer here in the flesh so He never sleeps or slumbers, but we do sometimes wonder about the storms of life. When you’re there I do encourage you to trust Him, go to Him in faith, and find peace in the fact that Jesus is in the boat – He will keep His promise to take you to the other side.

Jesus goes on to cast out demons from two men. Why did the people beg Christ to leave? Because their pigs had perished. They valued the money the pigs produced over the men created in the image of God. Sadly, many people have the same heart – when will understand that God and people are what this is all about!

Psalm 10:1-15

Psalm 10 is a Psalm that bemoans the fact that wicked, wicked men seemingly get away with their crimes. They even murder the innocent (Psalm 10:8). They think there is no God, He’s the furthest thing from their minds (Psalm 10:4, 11, 13).

But God does see and one day they will have to repay for all the trouble and grief they’ve caused. (Psalm 10:14).

Keep praying.

Proverbs 3:7-8

God help us to have a healthy fear of the LORD leading us to depart from evil!

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

January 10, 2021

Genesis 23:1-24:51

The account of Sarah’s death and burial in Genesis 23 should capture our attention. 

Warren Wiersbe said, “Sarah is the only woman named in the Bible whose age is given and burial described. It was the death of a princess, a woman of faith (see Hebrews 11:11–13).”

In 1 Peter 3:1-6 Sarah is given to the ladies as an exemplary  wife. 

Understandably Abraham was hurting deeply at the passing of his lifelong companion, we read in:

Genesis 23:2b, “…and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.” 

I’m sure most of you have noticed by now that this present planet is not actually the land of the living, it’s more like the land of the dying. And although we who are believers will see our loved ones in Christ again, we still mourn deeply. Christians still cry, and even Jesus wept (John 11:35), but we don’t sorrow as those without hope.

Abraham purchased a place to bury his beloved wife, and even though the entire land had been promised to him – this grave would be the only land he would own on this side of time. Again, some insightful words from Warren Wiersbe, “He paid a high price for what became one of the most famous tombs in Bible history, and eventually six people were buried there (Genesis 49:31–32). Abraham owned only one thing on earth: a grave. Genesis ends with a full tomb, but the gospel story ends with an empty tomb! And because Jesus Christ lives, we who trust in Him never need fear death.”

In Genesis 24 we have a beautiful story of Abraham doing all that he can to make sure that his son marries a good and Godly woman. The providence of God in putting two people together as husband and wife is never mundane, but this story is especially special. The servant sets a fleece before the Lord, and God answered His him before even before he finished speaking/praying (Genesis 24:15). Rebekah simply did a good deed for a stranger, but you never know when God is measuring you for something great – this good deed on her part would lead to Rebekah’s place in the family tree of the Messiah.

This story is also a beautiful picture of God the Father gathering a bride for His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Did you notice that the servant’s name is not mentioned? The reason for that is because the servant who gathers a bride for the son, is a picture of the Holy Spirit, who is gathering a bride (the church) for Christ. The Holy Spirit never draws attention to Himself. We’ll see next time how Rebekah is shown the treasures of a life far away, she hears the words of the servant, and is then asked to make a personal decision on whether or not she will commit to this relationship. It pictures the proposal we’ve been given from Jesus, God’s Son, as presented to us by the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 8:1-17

In this section, Jesus heals a leper with a touch, a Centurion’s servant from a distance, and Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever. With each healing we are reminded that there is no one like Jesus – who demonstrates His deity and majesty and even does so personally.

In those days NO ONE would dare to touch a leper. Pastor Chuck Smith shared this, “No one touched lepers. If a leper came within 150 feet of anyone, he was required to cry out, ‘Unclean!’ (so that other stayed away) But Jesus reached out to touch this man with compassion, love, and concern. Jesus was always interested in those who needed Him most.” When you have a moment, check out this song by Terry Clark (an oldie but goodie – one of my all-time favorite songs).

“The Leper,” by Terry Clark

Don’t you just love the way nothing is too big for the Lord? Even leprosy! And at the same time, nothing is too small for the Lord (like a fever)? Over the years we’ve prayed for everything, from lost kids, to lost keys, temporary parking places, to permanent homes, we’ve prayed over those with cancer, and yes, fevers, and we’ve seen the Lord answer in the affirmative many of those prayers. I’ll never forget one time Shelly and I were praying for healing for our friend Gloria’s who had a fever, and God instantly took it away. He is able.

Matthew quotes from Isaiah 53:4 applying it to the healings of Jesus and teaching us that this was included in the redemption of Christ. Now, does that mean that every illness is guaranteed to be taken away on this side of time? No. It’s all according to God’s will (1 John 5:14). God’s people don’t always experience healing (1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20; 2 Corinthians 12:8-10) but it’s okay and even Biblical to ask (James 5:14). When our faith intersects with God’s will, we will see wonders (Matthew 8:13).

Psalm 9:13-20

We find the word “nations,” multiple times in this chapter (Psalm 9:5, 15, 17, 19, 20). How comforting it was to David (and should be to us) that even if the nations opposed us – it wouldn’t matter – after all, if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Please pray for the United States of America!

Psalm 9:17 (NKJV) “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”

Proverbs 3:1-6

Proverbs 3:5–6 (NKJV) “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

This was Kay Smith’s life verse. I have a hunch it’s a favorite for many of us. The Hebrew word translated “acknowledge” is yada. It means to know personally and even intimately.  If you ever need that special direction from God (like every day) please know it’s rooted in a deep and personal relationship with God – just draw near to hear.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

January 9, 2021

Genesis 20:1-22:24

It’s important to know that a half-truth is a whole lie. It’s hard to fathom the thought that Abraham and Sarah once again lied like this about their relationship. It’s true, Abraham was the half-brother of Sarah (Genesis 20:12) but they were married, they were husband and wife. Hadn’t they learned their lesson? Apparently not. But the LORD showed them grace upon grace, He protected them and the promise He made to them.

Warren Wiersbe, “God spoke to the heathen king but not to His own friend, Abraham! Although God kept the king from sinning, He allowed Abraham to lie! God called Abraham to be a blessing, but now he had become a curse in the land. God was protecting Sarah, Isaac, and His great plan of salvation.”

I love what we read in Genesis 21:2, “…at the set time.”

God is never late, but neither is He ever early, He is always right on time. Abraham was 100, Sarah was 90 (Genesis 17:17) the child of promise was an undeniable miracle.

The time came for Hagar and Ishmael to be cast out (Ishmael is typology of the flesh – Galatians 4:21-30). Earlier in life, Sarah steered her husband Abraham wrong, this time her counsel was correct. Abraham didn’t want to do it, but God confirmed it and he obeyed…for in Isaac his seed would be called (Genesis 21:12).

The truth of God’s perpetual presence in Abraham’s life is a truth about all of God’s people (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). Do others notice that about you? May it be evident in us as it was in Abraham, so that even non-believers will take note.

Genesis 21:22 (NKJV) “And it came to pass at that time that Abimelech and Phichol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, ‘God is with you in all that you do.’”

Genesis 22 is an epic chapter. This is the first time the word “love” is found in the Bible (that sounds significant to me). 

God tested Abraham.

Genesis 22:2 (NKJV) “Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’”

As I try to put myself in Abraham’s sandals, I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the request to sacrifice my son, especially considering the miraculous birth, and the promise of God. But Abraham did not hesitate to obey. How was he able to do this? We have the explanation in New Testament light.

Hebrews 11:17–19 (NKJV) “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”

Abraham completely believed God’s promise; Abraham was thoroughly convinced that even if Isaac died, he would be raised from the dead.

Genesis 22 is an amazing picture (typology) of what would actually take place close to 2,000 years later, when God the Father would give His only the Son, the Son that He loved, Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for our sins. When Isaac asked his father about the sacrifice, Abraham’s response was literally, “The LORD will provide Himself the Lamb.” 

Another fascinating fact is the location of the sacrifice. One day the Temple would be built at this exact location, on Mount Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1).

Genesis 22:14 is the origin of God’s Name – Yawheh-Yireh (Jehovah Jireh) = the Lord will provide. May we remember His name.

And Abraham passed the test with flying colors. O Lord, may we do the same whenever our love is tested!

Matthew 7:15-29

Beware of false prophets. They look like sheep, but it’s only because we look on the outside, superficially. A closer look reveals the fact that they do not bear the fruit of the Spirit and their message is not actually the Bible. Look closer. Listen more attentively.

Jesus may be addressing the false prophets themselves when He says that simply because a person professes Christ as Lord, is used by God to prophesy, cast out demons, and do MANY miracles in HIs name (Matthew 7:22) it doesn’t mean that person is saved. We truly need to examine our lives no matter what our profession, position, or practice may be  (2 Corinthians 13:5).

We’re all building a home (our lives). Some are building on a good foundation, while others are building on the sand. One day the storms of life will come to all of us – will you stand? It all depends on whether or not you’ve been building on the Rock by hearing AND obeying God’s Word (Matthew 7:24-27).

Psalm 9:1-12

David writes so many songs about the spiritual battles he’s entrenched in. He looks to the Lord to take care of his enemies; may we do the same.

A few verses that stood out to me:

Psalm 9:8a (NKJV) “He shall judge the world in righteousness…”

• It may be happening – very soon.

Psalm 9:9 (NKJV) “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

• May we run to Him, He is our shelter in the storm.

Psalm 9:10 (NKJV) “And those who know Your Name will put their trust in You; for You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

• It is not just beneficial, it’s beautiful to know the names of God. Study them, seek Him, you’ll be blessed if you do.

Proverbs 2:16-22

With so many Christian men and women falling into sexual sin, I cherish the Proverbs and the heavy warnings. Her house leads to death. None who go to her return, nor do they regain the paths of life. (Proverbs 2:18-19).

O Lord, please keep me pure!

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

January 8, 2021

Genesis 18:16-19:38

Abraham was a friend of God  (see 2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23) and God makes much more known to His friends than He does to others (see John 15:15).

The LORD let Abraham know that He was considering complete judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, so God sent the two men (angels) before Him. Abraham immediately thought of his nephew Lot, so he began to intercede on His behalf. This is a fascinating conversation/prayer between Abraham and God. First Abraham expresses his faith in the justice of God, “Far be it from You…to slay the righteous with the wicked. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” 

As Abraham continued to pray and ask God not to judge the righteous with the wicked, in all reality he was praying for his nephew Lot. He asked God, would You spare the city for 50? 45? 40? 30? 20? 

And then we read in:

Genesis 18:32 (NKJV) “Then he said, ‘Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: suppose ten should be found there?’ And He said, ‘I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.’”

Apparently there weren’t even ten righteous in these cities and our just and holy God was forced to judge Sodom and Gomorrah. We read back in Genesis 18:20 that the outcry against these cities was great, that their sin was grave, it was flagrant. No doubt there were MANY sins in Sodom and Gomorrah, but a simple reading of the account reveals blatant, unashamed, and aggressive homosexuality. This sin was so horrible in the eyes of even the marginal believer Lot, that he offered his daughters as wives instead of the men. But the men of Sodom and Gomorrah would not back down.

God was forced to judge Sodom and Gomorrah and rained down fire and brimstone (Genesis 19:23) but before He did, God was merciful to Lot (Genesis 19:16) and his two daughters. God remembered the prayers of intercession from His friend Abraham (Genesis 19:29) and removed them before the land was leveled.

So many lessons to learn.

The value of intercession. That God won’t judge the righteous with the wicked, pointing to the Rapture of the Church before the Tribulation Period (1 Thessalonians 5:9). The sin of homosexuality (something that used to be recognized as wrong is now strutting down main street – aggressively). The way we need to flee the counsel of this world, its ways, and the judgment to come. May I never look back, as Lot’s wife did and was turned into a pillar of salt. Lot’s wife didn’t simply look back to see the fireworks, she wanted to go back; somehow her heart was attached and wouldn’t let go. Jesus warned us in:

Luke 17:32 (NKJV) “Remember Lot’s wife.”

Got Questions said this about Lot’s wife, “The Hebrew for “looked back” means more than to glance over one’s shoulder. It means “to regard, to consider, to pay attention to.” The Scriptures don’t say whether her death was a punishment for valuing her old life so much that she hesitated in obeying, or if it was a simple consequence of her reluctance to leave her life quickly. Either she identified too much with the city—and joined it—or she neglected to fully obey God’s warning, and she died.”

Jesus also said in:

Luke 9:62 (NKJV) “But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’”

In Genesis 19:30-38 we have the horrible beginning of the nations of Moab and Ammon through drunken incest. What a broken world we live in.

Matthew 6:25-7:14

Jesus reminds me not to worry about anything, including clothes and food. If our Heavenly Father takes care of the birds of the air, will He not take care of us? His children?

When Jesus asks the question about whether or not anyone could add one cubit to his stature through worry, I have a hunch He’s telling us that no one grows by worrying. On the contrary, we grow by NOT worrying, by simply trusting our Father!

I cannot overstate the value of priorities. Is God first in my life? If He is, He promises to add “…all these things.”

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

How I need to be careful of a critical spirit. It’s okay to want to help your brother or sister who’s struggling, but it must be done with the utmost care. Jesus informs us that the only way to be able to remove the speck from my brother’s eye, is to remove the plank/beam from my own eye (Matthew 7:5).

Sandy Adams, “Optical surgery and confronting a brother are both sensitive operations. Be careful before you barge into another person’s life with a stain on your own.”

Be persistent in prayer (Matthew 7:7). In the Greek language we literally read that we are to “Keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking.”

I know it’s more than this but I believe we are to keep on asking for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit, we are to keep on seeking the Lord Himself, and we are to keep on knocking on those doors of ministry opportunity; let’s see which one’s He opens (1 Corinthians 16:9; Colossians 4:3).

Our Father is eager to give good gift to His children!

Psalm 8:1-9

What a beautiful Psalm on how much God values mankind. The Maker and Maintainer of all things is mindful of us and even visits us! (Psalm 8:3-4)

Proverbs 2:6-15

A few takeaways from this section of Scripture

Proverbs 2:7b, “He is a shield to those who walk uprightly.”

Proverbs 2:10a, “When wisdom enters your heart…”

Abide in Christ, stay on track, keep on believing, for there are those , “…who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness,” (Proverbs 2:13) soberly heartbreaking.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

January 7, 2021

Genesis 16:1-18:15

The “clock” was running out (so they thought). Sarai was naturally too old to have a child. So Sarai convinces her husband Abram to go in to her maidservant Hagar in order to have  children. It’s an absolute tragedy that Sarai and Abram refused to wait on the LORD. They decided to go the way of the world, and the flesh, and “help” God out.

Hagar did indeed get pregnant, but immediately the unnecessary troubles began. God help us to wait on Him, to trust the LORD to fulfill His plans for our lives in His timing. The descendants of Ishmael would eventually become the Arab nations. (Click HERE for more on this)

Warren Wiersbe, “Faith and patience always go together (Heb. 6:12; James 1:1–5). Isaiah declared, “Whoever believes will not act hastily” (Isa. 28:16). We must trust God not only for His plan but also for His timing. Before He could send the promised son, God had to wait until Abram and Sarai were as good as dead (Rom. 4:19–21; Heb. 11:11–12). Sarai leaned on human understanding instead of God’s promises (Prov. 3:5–6). She trusted a woman from Egypt instead of the God of heaven.”

The LORD loves everyone involved, so when Hagar runs away He pursues her and convinces her to return to Sarai with a heart of submission. How gracious and personal God is! Hagar realizes this and even referred to the LORD as “El Roi” which means “The God-Who-Sees” (Genesis 16:13). The well nearby was then called “Beer Lahai Roi” which literally means, “The One Who lives and sees me.”


As we experience the the hard times in life, we need to remember, our way is not hidden from the Lord, He really does see and will act on our behalf…wait on Him (Isaiah 40:27-31).

Abram was 86-years-old when Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:16). God appeared to him 13 years later (Genesis 17:1).

God changed his name from Abram ( high or exalted father) to Abraham (father of a multitude). Again, God promised Abraham the Land, and again God promised Abraham many descendants. God then instituted circumcision as a covenant between them which symbolized the cutting away of the flesh (the fallen sin nature). God promised a son to Abraham through his wife and changed her name from Sarai (she that strives) to Sarah (princess, a woman of high rank).

When the LORD promised a son to this couple, Abraham laughed and doubted and Sarah later laughed as well (Genesis 17:17; 18:12) (so much for their amazing faith). I find it encouraging as a parent that Abraham had been praying for Ishmael and God said He had heard those prayers (Genesis 17:20). Abraham assumed Ishmael was the child of promise, but God said no, His covenant would be through Isaac (his name means laughter). Doesn’t that bring a smile to your heart?

Why the delay? Many factors are involved in God’s timing but ultimately when Isaac was born, there would be absolutely no doubt about it – this son is a miracle!

Hebrews 11:12 (NKJV) “Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”

Matthew 6:1-24

“When you do a charitable deed…” (Matthew 6:2)

“When you pray…” (Matthew 6:5)

“When you fast…” (Matthew 6:16)

These are things Jesus assumes we will do as His children. May we do so almost secretly, obediently, and with sincerity, not to be seen by others so they’d think we’re godly. Let’s end the desire to impress others, let’s live only to bless God.

In Matthew 6:9-13 we have what’s been called a “Model Prayer.” When we pray may we have reverence for Our Father, may we seek His Kingdom and His will. He is the Giver of the Bread of Life, every day of our lives. As we ask for forgiveness for the sins we’ve committed against God we MUST also be sure to forgive those who have wronged us. And how important it is to ask the Lord to protect and deliver us from temptation and the evil one.

One last thing about this prayer. Did you notice that when you pray this prayer you’re praying for the entire church? (notice the words “US”  and “WE” are found 5 times in this prayer)

God help us to invest our time, talents, and treasures towards His Kingdom, towards the things that are everlasting. People try, but no one is able to serve both God and money. Eventually our loyalty will be tested and revealed. 

Warren Wiersbe, “We lay up treasures in heaven when we consider that all we have belongs to God and we use it to magnify His righteousness and advance His kingdom (Matt. 6:33). It means much more than merely giving offerings to God, although that is important. It means total stewardship of life so that God is in complete control and our one desire is to glorify Him.”

Is my eye good? (Matthew 6:22) When our eyes are looking at good things, our entire life will benefit. Seek after God, read the Word, watch good studies and movies, look at everyone and everything through the lenses of Lord. But if our eyes are “bad” looking and lusting after the things of this world, our life will suffer the consequences (see Proverbs 17:24).

Psalm 7:1-17

Once again David prays for deliverance. I can’t even begin to imagine the wars he experienced.

I’ve always been fascinated by:

Psalm 7:11 (NKJV) “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”

Proverbs 2:1-5

The first 9 chapters of Proverbs are largely an invitation to seek after wisdom. The invitation is not without promise.

Proverbs 2:4–5 (NKJV) “If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

January 6, 2021

Genesis 13:5-15:21

There are those times when moves need to be made. In this case, Abram and his nephew Lot were growing with more people and possessions. Abram was the one who made the suggestion for separation so that there would be no strife between them (a good thing).

But Lot lacked wisdom. He did not investigate or scout out the land; it just looked good to him. We read no record of him asking God (praying about where to go). As a young man he should have left the decision to his uncle. I can’t help but think that these words we read in the Bible about Lot are derogatory in nature:

Genesis 13:1, “Then Lot chose for himself…”

God then gave to Abram what we call the Abrahamic Covenant. God promised Abram (Abraham) the land of Canaan extending all the way to the Euphrates River (Genesis 15:18) (Genesis 13:15 tells us that this promise is “forever”). Another part of this covenant is God’s promise to Abraham of an almost innumerable number of descendants. God has kept His promise to Abraham, and during the Millennial Kingdom Israel will claim all the land of the covenant.

It didn’t take long for Lot to fall into trouble and he and his family were taken away by the enemy. When Abram heard, he came to his nephew’s rescue – recovering all. I’ve always been blessed by the fact that Abraham’s servant were ready for war, did you notice that he and his 318 servants were “trained” (Genesis 14:14).

After the victory, enters this mysterious figure named Melchizedek, King of Salem. He was the Priest of God Most High. Although I can’t be dogmatic, I’m of the opinion that this was a theophany, that Melchizedek was none other than Jesus Christ.

  • Jesus is the King of Salem (Jerusalem).
  • Jesus is the final  and forever High Priest of God (Psalm 110:4 – a prophecy of Jesus).
  • Melchizedek’s name means, “King of Righteousness.”
  • Melchizedek is described in the Bible as having no human genealogy; this is prior to the incarnation.
  • Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:4).
  • And isn’t it interesting that here in Genesis 14:18 we have the bread and the wine? Hmmm, where have I heard that spoken of in significance? (communion)

I believe it was Jesus who enabled Abraham to have that spiritual victory over the enemy. It’s the same victory He offers to all of us (Philippians 4:13).

What a beautiful passage in:

Genesis 15:1 (NKJV) “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’”

Again the LORD brought Abraham out and showed him all the stars (before lights and pollution). The LORD said, “So shall your descendants be.” And then we read those epic words in:

Genesis 15:6 (NKJV) “And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”

This is one of the passages the New Testament writers will later point to as Scriptural proof of salvation by faith (not works). Abraham simply believed and was saved. He believed and God’s righteousness was accounted to him (see also Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23). We are saved by faith not works, but, as James points out, if we’re truly saved, works WILL follow as evidence of salvation.

Matthew 5:27-48

Jesus teaches with authority and reminds me that my life as a disciple of His, must be true…in my heart.

You may have noticed Jesus’ words, “You have heard that it was said…” “…but I tell you.” Jesus clarified God’s Word to us and taught with authority. Adultery is not simply this physical act, it takes place in the heart any time any of us look to lust. We don’t need to swear, as some back then were demanding, all we need to do is keep our word. In personal matters it must not be an “eye for an eye” mentality. We must love those who insult us (be patient) and even love our enemies. Isn’t this how God is? (Romans 5:8) If we say we’re God’s children we should therefore be like Him (Matthew 5:48).

When Jesus speaks of plucking out an eye, or cutting off our hand in order to keep ourselves from hell (Matthew 5:29-30), it is not to be done literally, He’s simply warning us that we should deal severely with any sin in our own lives – cut it off!

Psalm 6:1-10

In Psalm 6 David is severely ill, even on the brink of death. He sees it as a combination of God’s discipline (God allowing it) and the enemy coming against him. So he prays…and he’s confident, God will hear and heal (Psalm 6:9).

Proverbs 1:29-33

Proverbs 1:31 is another reminder that we make our decisions and then our decisions make us.  We will eventually and inevitably reap tomorrow what we sow today (Galatians 6:7-9).

So Manny, make good decisions – sow good seed.

I cringe at the word “complacency.” Complacency is defined as, “a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.”

O Lord, I do rest in Your righteousness, but may I never have that feeling on this side of time that I’ve arrived, which may lead to Christian cruise control. May I always seek You passionately, every day of my life.”