February 23, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 38:1-30

Double standards…

In this chapter, we see Judah leave his brothers and integrate with Canaanites by marrying one of their women. We see two of Judah’s sons executed by the Lord for wickedness and disobedience, and we see Judah’s daughter-in-law deceive Judah after Judah failed to follow through with his word.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”:

Do you live a life of double standards? As Christians, it can be easy to do. It is easy to set standards for the people around you – and judge them for falling short – while you yourself know that you haven’t even lived up to those standards. It is easy to point out what the people around you are doing wrong and neglect to see your own sin.

For today’s application, I want to focus on one verse of this chapter, the end of verse 24, which simply reads, “Let her be burned.”

Judah was no less guilty in this situation than Tamar was. In fact, Judah actually initiated it (verse 16). There were double standards in Judah’s heart. Neither one of their actions was right, but Judah’s motives are evident in scripture.

This reminds me of Matthew 7:1-5:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

So what about you? Are there people in your life that you hold to a higher standard than yourself? Do you come down on that person with ever-so-subtle badgering or with harsh words – like “let her be burned”? If not verbally, how about in your heart? Most of us know of some people in our lives for whom we can point out every flaw. Our hearts are sinful in doing this!

This calls for repentance. Let’s begin by removing the plank in our own eye before we remove the dust out of our brother’s or sister’s / husband’s or wives’/ son’s or daughter’s eye. Confess your bitterness or judgmental attitude to the Lord, and to that person if necessary, and put on a heart of genuine love.

If we have a church filled with believers who first repent of their own sin (and are therefore is prepared to hold others accountable), we would become a more biblically disciple-filled church for God’s glory.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

February 22, 2011

Today you should read Genesis 37:18-36

Joseph is his daddy’s favorite. His brothers know it and they hate him because of it. Now he has just told them about two dreams in which, not only is he the favorite, but one day he will rule over all of them, even his mom and dad. This is just fuel on the fire of his brothers’ anger. Against that backdrop, we see our story unfold today. Joseph is sent out to his brothers who are tending the sheep. He goes to where they are supposed to be but finds that they have moved on to another place.

As he approaches his brothers from a distance, they plan a way to kill him, but Reuben, the oldest, realizes that he will be the one who has to face his father. He doesn’t want to have to tell Dad that his favorite son is dead so he convinces the rest of the brothers to throw him in a hole for a while. While Joseph is stuck down there, Judah sees a caravan of Ishmaelites and is struck by an idea: make a little money and get rid of their brother at the same time.

So they get Joseph and sell him to the traders who then take him to Egypt and sell him to a soldier named Potiphar. Reuben returns, sees that he is gone, and makes a plan to hide the evidence of his and his brothers’ sins. How often we try to hide our own sin! But just as Joseph returns to his brothers’ lives, our sin always finds us out and returns to us if it is ignored rather than repented of.

The main take-away from this passage is that it is the beginning of an amazing story of God taking seemingly coincidental acts in a person’s life – many of which are evil and painful – and turns them around for His glory and our good. As you read through this story of Joseph, take note of all the details and situations he faces, how he responds and where it eventually leads him.

Posted by Robbie Byrd

February 21, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 37:1-17

Thank you for being faithful to Jumpstart. What do you think? Are you learning more about Genesis? Are you beginning to form a habit of reading God’s Word every day? They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, and this is a great habit to form! It’s life-changing!!

This week we begin to read the story of Joseph, a well-known one for many of us. Over the next few days, we’ll see Joseph’s life through the ups and downs, the struggles and the victories, the joy and the pain. Sound familiar?

In chapter 37 we learn several key lessons as we see a downward spiral unfold…

FAVORITISM  JEALOUSY  HATRED  SINFUL ACTION

There are some very important lessons here for us as parents!

Favoritism
Jacob, Joseph’s daddy, made some critical errors in parenting. One big one was favoritism. Sometimes we are more naturally drawn to one of our children over the other, but we must fight that tendency and never show it; it is very destructive in the heart of the child that feels left out. I’ve seen this first-hand in my own extended family. Every one of our children needs to feel like they are our favorite!

Jealousy
Jealousy is the ugly green monster that is often produced from favoritism. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of their father’s special attention. When we sense or see this in our kids, we must act quickly and decisively to stop it. Jacob seemed to ignore it.

Hatred
Favoritism not dealt with leads to jealousy which quickly turns to hatred as in the case of Joseph’s brothers. This is never right, but it is often a natural reaction when sin starts to take a hold of our hearts. If you feel hatred against anyone – a parent, a sibling, an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend – deal with it quickly!

“But anyone who hates another brother or sister is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.”
1 John 2:11 (also see Galatians 5:19-20)

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:31-32

Sinful Action
You’ll have to wait and read about that tomorrow – but it’s not good!

Check your parenting and correct errors before it’s too late.
Check your heart today and repent of jealousy and hatred.

Posted by: Tim Parsons

February 19, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 36

We’ll get to Genesis 36 in a moment, but can I share with you something God reminded me of this week? Serah and I are reading through the One Year Chronological Bible this year. It has been a very fruitful resource. We’re currently in the book of Exodus.

A few things really hit me, first of which was the 10 commandments. God was very serious when He told Israel that He is a jealous God and deserves their wholehearted devotion. It made me ask some hard questions about my personal worship and my commitment to Christ. Good introspection.

Second was something I found a little ironic. The reading last week and this week was about building the Tabernacle. All of Israel came together to make sure that all the materials were together and that all the labor was done expediently. The irony was that we were in the heart of the Richmond building. While we were definitely not building the Tabernacle, it has been so neat to watch so many Center Point people come together to make this campus come to fruition. Men & women, college students, middle schoolers, high schoolers, staff, volunteers — so many folks worked incredibly hard and I’m so incredibly grateful. I LOVE CPC AND I COUNT IT A PRIVILEGE TO BE A PART OF THIS CHURCH.

Third, the Lord really convicted me of something I read in Exodus 4. God was giving Moses clear instructions on how to lead Israel out of Egypt and Pharaoh’s captivity. Moses, however refused to trust the Lord and be obedient. It’s not the moment of Moses’ life we talk about, but it may be the most pivotal moment of his life. God pretty much says, “I’ll be WITH you, I’ll speak THROUGH you, and my power will be manifest IN you.”

Moses responds with the 5 most tragic words he would ever say to God. Check out Exodus 4:13:

But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”

One of the most famous, faith-filled heroes of the Bible told God “no”. My heart stopped. I realized that this is one of the reasons why Moses would never go into the Promised Land. But do you know what I also realized? I’ve been like Moses too many times in my life. This week, I resolved again that whenever God called on me, I would say “yes”. In fact, I resolved that the answer would be “yes” before God even asked.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Back to Genesis 36. When I read through it, the first thing that popped into my mind was, “YES! Genealogies again — my favorite!” (note my earlier post here)

There’s only one thing I want to highlight in this passage. Once again, in the beginning of the chapter, Esau is referred to as Edom, his nickname. His descendants would be called the “Edomites”. Remember where he received that name?

Genesis 25:30: And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.)

Your reputation stays with you a long, long time. The name of his descendants was given because of his momentary lapse of judgment. Great reminder for us to be on guard at all times. If I were Esau, I wouldn’t have wanted to be known as “Red Stew” the rest of my life. And neither would my kids. Or my grandkids. Ouch.

Posted by: Todd Thomas