Friday 31 May, 2019

Genesis 12:10-20

10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” 14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. 17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned 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 is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, 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 Ps. Ainslie Woods

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Thursday 30 May, 2019

Genesis 12:6-9

6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. 9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

Abraham receives God’s promise of the land he is walking in whilst it is in the possession of the Canaanites. In other words, God’s promise was not in the slightest reflected in Abraham’s real-time circumstances. God’s promises do that – put us in a time-warp. God assures me of my future as if it is present, whilst I’m in a present that looks and feels nothing like God’s future. So would it have been for Abraham, so it is for us. This is the challenge of having faith in God, and gosh I find it a tension quite often in my life.

What Abraham does, though, is inspired. He makes a physical reminder to himself and his family that God really did speak His promise, right there, at the site of the great tree of Moreh at Schechem. Even the next morning, after having God visit him, Abraham (if he’s anything like me) may have had some assurance seeping out of him. But one look at the altar he’d built and an earthy assurance would have begun returning to him.

Here’s to building solid altars of remembrance to help me sustain my belief when my assurance seeps or my mind decides to play tricks on me.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Wednesday 29 May, 2019

Genesis 12:1-5

12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household 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, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Wow! Isn’t that what people want to hear now – that God says He will make you famous. It’s a thing isn’t it, for all of us – that we would like to be blessed and be famous without us putting in the effort to achieve something that is worthy of fame. But it will be good to read the rest of Abram’s story as we go through Genesis – it wasn’t as simple or easy as it sounds here. Abram believed God and was obedient to Him and headed off to Canaan with his family and household team. His life got complex when he did that – there were fabulous times of blessing and there were other times when things
did not go as he wanted – but Abraham’s obedience was a blessing on all the families in the world.

For most of us, we will not always see how people are blessed by our lives just like Abraham didn’t see all that came after. If we are trying to live in accordance with God’s word, we will be a blessing on those around us bringing God’s love and blessing to those around us. Following what God asks of us can be scary or hard work or not convenient but it is always worthwhile even when we can’t see the whole picture.

Thank You Lord that You do bless us – it may not always look like we thought it would – but You do. Help us to trust You Lord that You are trustworthy and that Your BIG picture – the one we only catch glimpses of – is an awesome one – full of love, character, richness, hope, peace. Help us to come to You daily to see what You would have for us to do. Build our faith more and more. Amen

Written by Therese Manning

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Tuesday 28 May, 2019

Genesis 11:27-32

27 This is the account of Terah’s family line. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. 29 Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milkah and Iskah. 30 Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive. 31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there. 32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran.

In Seth’s family alone, the knowledge of the true God was preserved and passed on. Ur of the Chaldeans was a centre of lunar worship. Terah’s family no longer worshiped the one true God but worshiped everything as god. This family who carried with them knowledge of who, how, and why the world and inhabitants were created had become idol worshippers.

This passage tells us there seemed to be no foreseeable future for this family. The barrenness of Sarah is an effective metaphor for the spiritual and physical hopelessness that was on these descendants of Seth. But God intervened graciously and there was hope again.

It’s important to not let our faith become subsumed by the culture around us. When this happens we can become barren in our spiritual lives and we can lose hope. We can forget God’s promises.

But remember, we are heirs to God’s kingdom. We are his children. Just as God intervened with Abram, God can intervene in our lives and his grace always brings hope and a life of abundance.

Father, thank you for your covenant of love and grace you have made with me through your son Jesus Christ. I pray that as you call me I will follow you. Amen

Written by Meredith O’Neil

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Monday 27 May, 2019

Genesis 11:10-26

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

I was always confused by these genealogies in scripture because I never knew how to approach them or what I am meant to walk away knowing.  However, in reading and researching this particular passage and the power of genealogies I realised that they are crucially important.  It’s through Genealogies that God shows us how much he loves history.  He shows us how he loves to work through family lines.  In this passage it begins with Shem, who is Noah’s son and concludes with Abraham whose line Jesus comes from. I love this because it shows us how all the bible stories we know and live interwork and fit together in order to show us Gods big redemptive plan for humanity.  This passage also shows us that God loves to involve every generation and imperfect person within his plan and purposes. We also see that God loves to work through families, which I love because as the Church we are one big family which God intends to work through and we get invited to take part and in his plan and purpose.

As we read this passage consider how crucial it is to God that he includes every generation in his plan, showing us how he loves to work through human beings to bring his plan and purpose to the earth.

Lord, Thank you for your word.  Thank you that you are loving, kind and so interested in every detail of our lives.  Thank you that through your word you show us how much you love history and love to work through us your sons and daughters, to reveal who You are to the world. Help us today to remember this invitation and step out with boldness and courage to share who you are today through our words and actions.  I love you! Amen!

Written by Ps. Annique Botta

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Sunday 26 May, 2019

Genesis 11:1-9

11 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” 5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” 8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

The tower of Babel is an intriguing passage, that has strong relevance to today’s world. In this story, all the people of the world spoke the same language and decided to build a great tower into the sky, to make themselves famous and to unite them. God sees this and is dismayed that their unity will make them too confident in their own strength, so He confuses them with different languages, scattering them all over the world.

At first read, I found this verse confusing – surely God would want people to be strong, unified and capable of anything! It almost sounds like a utopian vision of humanity. That is until you realise that God isn’t in the picture. If the people are so capable of doing whatever they dream of that they don’t need God to help them, then this quickly becomes a very bleak reality. Humanity is designed to be in relationship with God – we need Him in the picture, no matter how good we’re able to design our quality of life. We are also sinful by nature – so being fully unified and capable isn’t necessarily a good thing. Just imagine how corrupt and dark that city could have become if God had not stepped in.

These days, we are seemingly more ‘unified and capable’ than ever. We’re connected across the globe. We have instant access to one another and an increasing comradery around important world issues. We have technology which enables us to do almost anything – soon we may live in a world so automated that many no longer need to work. This could all be seen as a good thing, but only if God is in the picture. No matter how good we have it, we can’t forget where the goodness comes from. We need our Creator.

Lord, help each of us to not rely upon ourselves but to rely upon You. Even when we seemingly have so much of our lives together, help us to see the truth – that You hold the universe together, and it is only by Your grace that we live the lives that we do. May we never forget it. Amen.

Written by Ps. Matt Samperi

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Saturday 25 May, 2019

Genesis 10:1-32

10 This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood. The Japhethites 2 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras. 3 The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah. 4 The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites. 5 (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.) The Hamites 6 The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan. 7 The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteka. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. 8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in Shinar. 11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah 12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city. 13 Egypt was the father of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 14 Pathrusites, Kasluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites. 15 Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, 16 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. Later the Canaanite clans scattered 19 and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, as far as Lasha. 20 These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations. The Semites 21 Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber. 22 The sons of Shem: Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. 23 The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshek. 24 Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah the father of Eber. 25 Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; 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. All these were sons of Joktan. 30 The region where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill country. 31 These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations. 32 These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these 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. Father, thank you for Noah’s faithfulness, and for his heritage in my life.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Friday 24 May, 2019

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 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth. 20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” 26 He also said, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. 27 May God extend 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.

“Good news! The flood has dissipated and God has promised never to flood the earth like this ever again – let’s celebrate with a drink!”

The narrative in Genesis moves so quickly from hope and promise to pathetic indecency. No one knows for sure exactly what happened here. Some biblical scholars speculate that Ham was mocking his father, others that Ham performed an act of lust against his drunk father. Whatever the case, what strikes me is the honourable way Shem and Japheth behave. Not only do they not go along with Ham’s behaviour, but they deliberately ensure that they do not even show a hint of mocking or any immorality against their father.

When I am playing soccer or football, I try to score goals or tries for my team. I don’t risk passing the ball around recklessly in front of my own goal or try line. I don’t laugh with teammates while the opposition has the ball and is trying to score. I am 100% devoted to my team. In the same way, God is calling me to be 100% dedicated to righteousness, 100% committed to his team. In that context, it makes sense to go the extra distance to make sure I avoid immorality.

Lord, give me such a focus for doing good that I take extra steps to ensure I don’t stumble into sin. Keep me in step with you so that Satan does not catch me off guard. Amen.

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Thursday 23 May, 2019

Genesis 9:12-17

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” 17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Every time I see a rainbow I think of this passage, this covenant that God has made. Rainbows make us all stop, look & often go WOW! Another way God gets our attention. Science maybe able to explain them now, but God created it & is still His covenant of promise with us.

Verses 14 & 15 strike me – “when the bow is seen … I will remember my covenant”. Not just when I see a rainbow but when God sees it – thinking on this, I’m sure there are rainbows daily – if not hourly throughout the earth. The whole earth is constantly before Him & His covenants with us, none more so than Jesus – a new covenant, His death in our place, a covenant of eternal life for me, for us.

Thank you Lord for such a beautiful reminder of your love for us – the rainbow, may we always be thankful for your presence with us. Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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  1. Kim says:

    Thanks Suzie for those thoughts, I’ve never thought of it as God looking at it.
    His promises are forever

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Wednesday 22 May, 2019

Genesis 9:1-11

9 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. 4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. 6 “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind. 7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” 8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

This first recorded covenant is extraordinary in so many ways.

Having restored his world after the disastrous destruction brought on it by sin, God begins with a blessing like the one that he first spoke over his creation in Genesis 1:22, 28. He again gives fruitfulness. He again gives us all plants as food. He extends this gift to include animals, but pairs it with a gift to the animals of fear of people. Like all his covenants, he gives far more than he asks.

It’s extraordinary for its breadth: it’s not just a covenant with Noah and his family – it covers all living things. All God’s covenants include the whole world but work through particular groups of people, including you and me. All living things are placed “into Noah’s hand” (translated here as “control”). This is a phrase that is used elsewhere to describe God’s care for his creation as well as his authority over it. We are given an extraordinary role caring for God’s world together with him.

Yet it also reaffirms our unique place in God’s world: uniquely made in God’s image. The word translated here as “likeness” also has includes his intention that we should represent him to his world. All the life he gives is to be respected, but God himself holds all living things accountable for the life he gives us.

Father, it’s so extraordinary that you establish relationship with us. It’s so extraordinary, Jesus, that you gave your life to save ours. It’s so extraordinary that you give us the role of working with you to care for your world, and to speak for you into your world.

Written by David Cornell

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