Sunday 11 October, 2015

Genesis 13:1-7

13 Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev Desert. He took his wife and everything he had. Lot went with him. 2 Abram had become very rich. He had a lot of livestock and silver and gold. 3 Abram left the Negev Desert. He went from place to place until he came to Bethel. Then he came to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier. 4 There he called on the name of the Lord at the altar he had built. 5 Lot was moving around with Abram. Lot also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 But the land didn’t have enough food for both Abram and Lot. They had large herds and many servants, so they weren’t able to stay together. 7 The people who took care of Abram’s herds and those who took care of Lot’s herds began to argue. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

God was very much part of Abram’s life. He included in his travels returning to places where he had previously encountered God so he could remember and worship. A great idea. How do you remember moments in your life where God has done amazing things? Do you have a way to revisit those times regularly so you can be grateful and get your thinking in line with God’s view of the world.

Things were about to get tricky for Abram as his staff and Lot’s staff started working against each other rather than working together. Abram spending time with God as he started to work out what to do is a great example for us.

Thank you Lord that You engage with us in life and that we can look back to times when it was obvious to us. Help us to recognise Your influence in our lives even more than we currently do. Help us also to remember the obvious times regularly so we can build our faith and trust.

Written by Therese Manning

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Saturday 10 October, 2015

Genesis 12:10-20

10 At that time there was not enough food in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he spoke to his wife Sarai. He said, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 The people of Egypt will see you and say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me. But they will let you live. 13 Tell them you are my sister. Then I’ll be treated well and my life will be spared because of you.” 14 Abram arrived in Egypt. The Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 When Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they told Pharaoh how beautiful she was. So she was taken into his palace. 16 Pharaoh treated Abram well because of her. So Abram gained more sheep and cattle and male and female donkeys. He also gained more male and female servants and some camels. 17 But the Lord sent terrible sicknesses on Pharaoh and everyone in his palace. The Lord did it because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh sent for Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say she was your sister? That’s why I took her to be my wife. Now then, here’s your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders to his men about Abram. They sent him on his way. So he left with his wife and everything he had.

From this passage we know that famine caused Abram and Sarai to live in Egypt. We also know that Abram truly feared for his life to the point of allowing his beautiful wife to live with Pharaoh. Clearly his fear for his life was very real and I can’t help wonder how Sarai got her head around her new living arrangements! They end up getting kicked out of Eygpt to boot.

Yet the preceding passage of Scripture lists a number of promises God made to Abram concerning his future ie. I will make a great nation of you, I will bless you, I will make you famous, all families of the Earth will be blessed through you etc. Abram was going so well – he’d up and left his family and country in complete faith and obedience to God. What’s happened then?

Famine or the thought of lack has allowed doubt and fear to creep in. Would God truly provide for him and Sarai or would he have to muddle through on his own? It would seem Abram made his own plan and God’s promises seem to have been forgotten in light of the circumstances faced at this moment in time. We see the human side of the “Father of the Faith” and that he was grappling with his faith in God as we all do from time to time. This passage is a reminder that God’s promises remain true regardless of what we face in life.

Dear God, thank you that you are completely trustworthy. Help us to believe the promises in your word. Amen

Written by Ainslie Woods

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Friday 9 October, 2015

Genesis 12:4-9

4 So Abram went, just as the Lord had told him. Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. They took all the people and possessions they had acquired in Harran. They started out for the land of Canaan. And they arrived there. 6 Abram traveled through the land. He went as far as the large tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were living in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram at Shechem. He said, “I will give this land to your family who comes after you.” So Abram built an altar there to honor the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there, Abram went on toward the hills east of Bethel. He set up his tent there. Bethel was to the west, and Ai was to the east. Abram built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. 9 Then Abram left and continued south toward the Negev Desert.

Verse 4 reads “So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him.” The words “as the Lord had instructed” jump out at me. They show Abram’s obedience and faith, in that he was willing to do what God had asked of him.

We each have different things God has instructed us in – from great big life decisions down to small daily habits. Abram/Abraham is known as the father of faith, and we need to take a leaf out of his book by acting in faithful obedience in our lives. Jesus encourages us in John 14, “If you love Me, obey my commandments.” Where is it in my life that I need to obey God’s instruction?

Lord, thank You that You speak. Thank You for revealing Yourself to all of us. Thank You for placing a unique call upon each of our lives, thank You for your instruction, and thank You that we can wholly trust You as we obey your instruction.

Written by Matt Samperi

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Thursday 8 October, 2015

Genesis 12:1-3

12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s family. Go to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation. And I will bless you. I will make your name great. You will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you. I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you. All nations on earth will be blessed because of you.”

In these verses, we read of what is known as the ‘Abrahamic Covenant’ – a promise from God to Abraham. This is a well-known scripture that contains so much in only three verses. It speaks prophetically of what is to come for Abraham, and indeed for ‘all nations on earth’. While there is a lot of depth & significant meaning in these verses, what I love most about it is that it shows God’s heart for His people. The covenant He makes with Abraham is unconditional, unmerited & speaks of the personal relationship He had with Abraham, and longs to have with all people. I am reminded that the promises of God speak so much more about who God is and not just what He can do (even though what He can do is amazing –  there is nothing He cannot do!). I love that God wants to know us & to be known by us, and that He is always for us.

God, thank you that you love us unconditionally, and that we can have real & personal relationship with you. May we long to know you, not just for what you can do in our lives, but for who you are. Amen.

Written by Madelaine Tarasenko

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  1. David Newton says:

    There is so many interesting things in Genesis. Up to this point all three of the only monotheistic religions in the world have a shared heritage.
    .
    All Christians should spend some time getting to know what the ‘Abrahamic Covenant’ actually is and how it fits into Christian teaching.
    .
    Thanks Mads.

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Wednesday 7 October, 2015

Genesis 11:27-32

27 Here is the story of Terah’s family line. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 Haran died in the city of Ur in Babylonia, the land where he was born. Haran died while his father Terah was still alive. 29 Abram and Nahor both got married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai. The name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah, the daughter of Haran. Haran was the father of Milkah and Iscah. 30 But Sarai wasn’t able to have children. 31 Terah left Ur in Babylon. He took with him his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran. Terah also took his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram. All of them left together to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they made their home there. 32 Terah lived for 205 years. And then he died in Harran.

This passage outlines Terah’s family and his ancestral line, including his son Abram. It then goes on to explain the actions Terah took in moving his family from Ur to Canaan. However he changed his plan on the journey and decided to settle his family in Haran. Haran was in Assyria, which refers to the ‘sinful world’, and was populated with Chaldeans, referring to the ‘world of idolatry’.  This was therefore a land that was distant from God, and would not have a Godly-influence on Abram and the family.

When reflecting on this passage, I think about Abram and the amazing life that was ahead of him. Despite being settled in Haran for many years with his family, he was receptive to the call of God and eventually left Haran for the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:4). God did not stop calling Abram to the land of Canaan, and Abram followed. This demonstrates the importance of listening to God and being obedient to Him, as well as not giving up on the call of God on our lives.

God, I ask that You would help me to listen to your voice daily and follow your lead in my life. Thank You for going before me, and for the plan You have to prosper me. In Jesus’ name.

Written by Laura Samperi

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Tuesday 6 October, 2015

Genesis 11:10-26

10 Here is the story of Shem’s family line. It was two years after the flood. When Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad. 11 After Arphaxad was born, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters. 12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. 13 After Shelah was born, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. 15 After Eber was born, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters. 16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. 17 After Peleg was born, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters. 18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. 19 After Reu was born, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. 21 After Serug was born, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters. 22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. 23 After Nahor was born, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters. 24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. 25 After Terah was born, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters. 26 After Terah was 70 years old, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.

10 generations from Shem (Noah’s son) to Abram (who God renamed Abraham)

All I know about the generations from Shem until Abram is what is written here.

Not much of a story – just that they lived, had children and died.

Verse 26: After Terah was 70 years old, he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

They do have a story – and a legacy in Abram. I know his story! God chose Abram to the Father of many nations – to make an everlasting covenant with – to reveal Himself to – to be His friend. I searched ‘Shem’ in my bible and apart from another couple of lists like this one in Genesis and Chronicles, there’s only one other place he’s mentioned. It’s in Luke – in the genealogy (family tree) of Jesus! I need to remember there is so much more going in God’s plan than what I can see right now!

Lord help me live according what you say and not by what I see – trusting in Your good plans.

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

1 (reply)
  1. Andrew Mellor says:

    amen to that!! Makes me want to make sure I get involved with what God is doing an not let life just pass by!

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Monday 5 October, 2015

Genesis 11:1-9

11 The whole world had only one language, and everyone spoke it. 2 They moved to the east and found a broad valley in Babylon. There they made their home. 3 They said to one another, “Come on! Let’s make bricks and bake them well.” They used bricks instead of stones. They used tar to hold the bricks together. 4 Then they said, “Come on! Let’s build a city for ourselves. Let’s build a tower that reaches to the sky. We’ll make a name for ourselves. Then we won’t be scattered over the whole earth.” 5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 He said, “All these people are united and speak the same language. That is why they can do all this. Now they will be able to do anything they plan. 7 Come on! Let us go down and mix up their language. Then they will not be able to understand one other.” 8 So the Lord scattered them from there over the whole earth. And they stopped building the city. 9 There the Lord mixed up the language of the whole world. That’s why the city was called Babel. From there the Lord scattered them over the whole earth.

Two things strike me from this scripture. In verse 4, we hear the driving motivation for the Tower of Babel – “let us make a name for ourselves.” And in verse 6, you have the Lord God speaking of the immense capacity the human race possesses in unity – “Nothing will be impossible for them.”

The problem I see here is that the people have great unity of communication – one language and speech – but for the wrong purpose – making a name for themselves. What inspires me by implication in this passage is that given unity of communication, and right purpose, humanity has incredible capacity – God himself says so.

I know we are called to lift up the Name of Jesus with our lives. What I am challenged to ensure is that 1) I have this purpose at the core of my life and daily walk, 2) I am creating a dialogue with those around me towards unity in this purpose – believers and yet to believe alike. Then, as God himself says, the possibilities of what can take place will be endless. God confuses and breaks up sinful unity of purpose. But if the purpose glorifies His Name, will He not throw his blessing behind us?

Lord, show us what it means and looks like to glorify your name. Teach us unity of communication around this purpose again. And then help us lift up your Name all our days, and throughout all the earth. Amen.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Sunday 4 October, 2015

Genesis 10:1-32

10 Here is the story of Shem, Ham and Japheth. They were Noah’s sons. After the flood, they also had sons. 2 The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras. 3 The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah. 4 The sons of Javan were Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites. 5 From these people came the families who lived near the Mediterranean Sea. Each tribe and nation then spread out into its own territory and had its own language. 6 The sons of Ham were Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan. 7 The sons of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteka. The sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan. 8 Cush was the father of Nimrod. Nimrod became a mighty hero on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter in the Lord’s eyes. That’s why people sometimes compare others with Nimrod. They say, “They are like Nimrod, who was a mighty hunter in the Lord’s eyes.” 10 The first capital cities of Nimrod’s kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh. These cities were in the land of Babylon. 11 From that land he went to Assyria. There he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir and Calah. 12 He also built Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah. Nineveh is the most famous city. 13 Egypt was the father of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 14 Pathrusites, Kasluhites and Caphtorites. The Philistines came from the Kasluhites. 15 Canaan was the father of Sidon. Sidon was his oldest son. Canaan was also the father of the Hittites, 16 Jebusites, Amorites and Girgashites. 17 And he was the father of the Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. Later the Canaanite tribes scattered. 19 The borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar all the way to Gaza. Then they continued toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim all the way to Lasha. 20 These are the sons of Ham. They are listed by their tribes and languages in their territories and nations. 21 Sons were also born to Shem, Japheth’s younger brother. All the sons of Eber belonged to Shem’s family line. 22 The sons of Shem were Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. 23 The sons of Aram were Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshek. 24 Arphaxad was the father of Shelah. Shelah was the father of Eber. 25 Eber had two sons. One was named Peleg. That’s because the earth was divided up in his time. His brother was named Joktan. 26 Joktan was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. They were all sons of Joktan. 30 The area where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar. It was in the eastern hill country. 31 These are the sons of Shem. They are listed by their tribes and languages in their territories and nations. 32 These are the tribes of Noah’s sons. They are listed by their family lines within their nations. From them the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.

Verses 1 & 32 tell us that this is the family tree of Noah & his sons. It’s always interesting to me the actual path these genealogies take … and in verse 32 it also says from them nations spread over all the earth.
I think of my own family history & I can only go back 3 or 4 generations that I’m aware of without further investigation. Here for the first time, I’ve realised that I am literally also a descendant of Noah. Genetically somehow I’m a descendant of Noah. All these years I’ve read this as a ‘Bible story’ not really thinking through how this is related to me … verse 32 now gives me a completely different perspective. I may not know all twists and turns of the generations in between, but I am also related to Noah.

God places us in families. We are all apart of the family tree of Noah & his sons. I’m grateful that I have in my heritage, a man that was so completely obedient and faithful to God, we would not be here without him.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Saturday 3 October, 2015

Genesis 9:18-29

18 The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. 19 The people who were scattered over the earth came from Noah’s three sons. 20 Noah was a man who farmed the land. He decided to plant a field that produced grapes for making wine. 21 When he drank some of the wine, it made him drunk. Then he lay down inside his tent without any clothes on. 22 Ham saw his father naked. Then Ham, the father of Canaan, went outside and told his two brothers. 23 But Shem and Japheth picked up a piece of clothing and laid it across their shoulders. Then they walked backward into the tent. They covered their father’s body. They turned their faces away because they didn’t want to see their father naked. 24 Then Noah woke up from his sleep that was caused by the wine. He found out what his youngest son had done to him. 25 He said, “May a curse be put on Canaan! He will be the lowest of slaves to his brothers.” 26 Noah also said, “May the Lord, the God of Shem, be praised. May Canaan be the slave of Shem. 27 May God add land to Japheth’s territory. May Japheth live in the tents of Shem. And may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.” 28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 Noah lived a total of 950 years. And then he died.

I wonder what was going through Ham’s mind?

Whether he meant to bring shame to his father by telling his brothers about what dad got up to or not, I’m not sure. But his brothers immediately treated this seriously and went to considerable lengths to cover the mistake of their father.

All too often we hear phrases such as I didn’t mean any harm, or no one got hurt (at least physically) or it seemed funny at the time. It’s made worse today with social media but what people really need is friends who defend and “cover” their mistakes, even our mistakes.

At the time, I doubt Ham thought there would be consequences to his actions, but they really do highlight character flaws and a lack of integrity as well as disrespect to his father Noah.

Noah’s declaration “May Canaan be cursed!” shows that the effects of sin are not just limited to the offender, but Ham modelled to his children and set a pattern of behaviour that influenced many generations that followed.

But what about me, what behaviour do I want to pass on to my children, what do I want to be known for?

Sure, it might seem trivial, harmless or even funny, to take advantage of a person’s mistakes, but my first action really needs to be one of respect and honour, for my actions or even inaction, are a model to those around me and even passed on to my kids.

Jesus, help me to see others as you see them, to love them as you love me, to be an example of one who covers a mistake with love and grace.

Written by Andrew Martin

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Friday 2 October, 2015

Genesis 9:8-17

8 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons who were with him. He said, 9 “I am now making my covenant with you and with all your children who will be born after you. 10 I am making it also with every living creature that was with you in the ark. I am making my covenant with the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals. I am making it with all the creatures that came out of the ark with you. In fact, I am making it with every living thing on earth. 11 Here is my covenant I am making with you. The waters of a flood will never again destroy all life. A flood will never again destroy the earth.” 12 God continued, “My covenant is between me and you and every living creature with you. It is a covenant for all time to come. Here is the sign of the covenant I am making. 13 I have put my rainbow in the clouds. It will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Sometimes when I bring clouds over the earth, a rainbow will appear in them. 15 Then I will remember my covenant between me and you and every kind of living creature. The waters will never again become a flood to destroy all life. 16 When the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it. I will remember that my covenant will last forever. It is a covenant between me and every kind of living creature on earth.” 17 So God said to Noah, “The rainbow is the sign of my covenant. I have made my covenant between me and all life on earth.”

What did that rainbow mean to Noah and his family? I think it meant joy- you can’t have a rainbow unless the sun is shining onto the clouds; there was sunshine again after months of stormy skies. It meant hope- a sign that there was an end to the flood; an end to the most stressful and scary time of their lives. Imagine what it must have been like for them floating without any sense of when or how it would end for them. Is this what it’s like for our refugees who cling to hope on tiny crowded boats? I think that it was also a sense of security; God remembered them, He promised that He would never again destroy the world with a flood. This is an unusual covenant as it is unconditional, not the usual “if you” “then I” of the other covenants God made with His people. I also think that Jesus will return before the rising sea levels of global warming engulf us, because of this promise.
I believe that God protects those who give their lives to Jesus, we will not be destroyed. Though we die on the earth as Noah eventually did, we will be raised to life in Christ. We all go through times of overwhelming flood and dark stormy skies where we can’t see the end. The rainbow is for each of us. A sign of Gods presence and a promise that the end of suffering will come.
I will cling to Gods presence in my storms and picture His rainbow of hope and grace, until the day I see it.
Thank you God that you rescued us from destruction, not with an ark, but with the blood of your own son Jesus. Amen

Written by Dimity Milne

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