Monthly Archives: January 2015

Genesis 30:1-24 – Bitterness

cross of Christ

We pick up this week where we last left off in Genesis.  Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, set out to find a wife and ended up with two of them.  Jacob, the deceiver, had now found himself deceived by his uncle Laban and obligated to Laban for 14 years of labor.  It was a love story gone bad.  And it’s about to get a whole lot worse, as bitterness wells up among Jacob and his two wives.  And in all this bitterness, there is an offsetting absence of focus on the Lord.  It becomes apparent that a heart abiding in the Lord has no room for bitterness.

How about you?  Are you bitter?  Do you see what it’s doing to you?  Do you recognize the warning signs and what can you do about it?  Looking at this Sunday’s passage, we’ll investigate several causes of bitterness and discover its cure.

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Bait & Switch – Genesis 29:1-35

The Path

Well, we’re well more than half way through the book of Genesis and we continue to see just how broken and apt to failure God’s people can be.  Jacob has been the subject of the last few weeks and his actions and attitude are disappointing, to say the least.  He is the grandson of Abraham and now heir to God’s covenant promises, yet he is definitely not with the program.

Thankfully, as Elder Jim Beltz pointed out last Sunday, “God does what He’s going to do, in spite of the actions of men.”  God is so incredibly faithful, even when His covenant people lack faithfulness.  What a comfort and encouragement for the heirs of Abraham who are in Christ!  Even when it looks like things in your life are moving in the wrong direction, God is at work ensuring you’re right where you need to be.  Jacob was right where God wanted him, and we see it again this Sunday.  He was right where he needed to be.  Our passage will show us the same for Leah.  In fact, as God’s children in Christ, you and I are also right where we need to be, even when it looks like things in your life are moving in the wrong direction.  Join us for worship this Sunday morning at 10:30.

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Experiencing Intimacy with God


“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. (Psalm 119:18)

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)

I find great comfort whenever I read the psalmist divulge, to God and to us, his spiritual weakness and need. The intimacy with God I experience often fluctuates from year to year, month to month and day to day. So when I see the psalmist ask God to open his eyes that he might behold wondrous things in His Word (Psalm 119:18) or for when I hear the psalmist plead for God to be more satisfying than anything else in this world (Psalm 90:14), I can relate. Despite how desperate I am for intimacy with God, I often fall short in sensing His nearness.   Why is that? Especially when I agree with the psalmist that “For me, it is good for me to be near God;” (Psalm 73:28).

“Experiencing Intimacy with God” is the title of our Monday night group, which begins on January 12th. My goal for the class is to answer the questions, “Why do we fall short in experiencing intimacy with God?” and “How can we put ourselves in a place where we are more likely to experience the kind of intimacy with God we’re seeking?” As we attempt to answer these questions, we must first acknowledge that God has given us real and complete intimacy, by the work of His Spirit and in Jesus Christ. But experiencing that intimacy is something else. Our sinful nature keeps us from fully experiencing real and complete intimacy with our God in this world.  Even so, the Holy Spirit can create a greater sense of our intimacy with God as we put ourselves in the path where He is most likely to be at work in us.

As you enter the new year, I hope you’ll yearn with me to experience greater intimacy with God. Not everyone will attend the Monday night group, but you can still place yourself where you are likely to find and grow in the greatest intimacy. First of all, if you haven’t entrusted your soul to Jesus Christ, you must start there. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit comes through faith in Christ and is the ground of your growth. After that, the most likely places to find the intimacy you are seeking is when you are regularly reading God’s Word, going to Him in prayer, surrendering your day to His agenda, and when you’re present and worshiping with His body.   It is so simple and yet so powerful. If you truly desire to grow in intimacy and God’s grace, take a moment now to honestly evaluate how you’re doing in each of these areas. Do you find yourself daily listening to God in His Word, speaking with Him in prayer, discerning His will as you go, and immersing yourself each Lord’s Day in Christ’s body? If not, what steps will you commit to right now to do so in 2015? Experiencing greater intimacy with God starts and comes about by the Holy Spirit, but it’s also accompanied by a genuine desire from you. How great is your desire for intimacy with God?

Here is my prayer for you and for me, from Ephesians 3:14-19:  “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

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