The Highly Disfunctional Biblical Family

Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau

Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau

Romans 1:17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Deceit, lies, manipulation, stealing and intent-to-murder are the behaviors that are exhibited in chapter 27 of Genesis. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like a family who is blessed by God. The theme from the Adam’s family should be playing in the background while we read this story. There are so many things that are wrong about it and on so many levels.

Isaac is supposed to give the family blessing to Jacob (his oldest son), but does not because he selfishly favors Esau. Rebekah selfishly manipulates Jacob to disguise himself as Esau so that Jacob (her favorite son) can receive Isaac’s blessing. Jacob lies to his father, Isaac, to receive his brothers blessing and Esau wants to kill his brother for stealing his birth given blessing. The result: division, grief and strife.

There are consequences for their actions, we can’t live without having consequences for our sin. I had coffee with a friend yesterday and she asked an awesome question. “Why does God give us free will?” If God didn’t give us free will we would be merely puppets. I’ve never been in the military, but my only tangible comparison that I envision is that a puppet of God would be like being a soldier who is told what to do, when to do it, and is subject to obey every command – without exception. If or when that soldier acts – in any way – independent of those commands they are disciplined, punished, and forced to comply. That is not the character of our loving God.

God wants 2 things to come from our free will:

1 – God wants to know that we (freely) choose Him. Free will gives us the ability to choose between God and sin. He is pleased to know our love and desire to please him is sincerely, not forced. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being told what to do. I’m much more likely to do what I am asked to do instead of being told what do to.

2 – He allows our choices to strengthen our faith in Him. If we go down the wrong path or mess up along the way, we know that God is faithful to bring us back to him. We can then repent of those sins (admitting we have done wrong) and grow closer to him as a result. He forgives and allows us to learn from our own mistakes as to not repeat those sins and further validate why His ways are the best ways for us to live our lives. When my Dad used to demand that I do something I did it begrudgingly or would rebel against his wishes. With free will, its as though God warns us in advance and if we chose not to heed that warning – we learn!

So Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Esau are going to learn (the hard way) that their way is not the best way. They all made choices and those choices will not benefit them. However, it will benefit us because they gives us yet another example of why we need to trust in God, not ourselves.

Servant… In A Good Way!


In Genesis 24 we read that Abraham is getting up there in age and decides to send his servant to find a bride for Isaac. I see so many wishful parallels between my life as God’s servant and Abraham and his servant.

Abraham does not want to get a bride among the Canaanites where the people are given to idolatry and paganism, and so he sent his servant to his people, back in the land of Haran. I am impressed with the way the servant handles himself. First of all, it is evident that he does not want to disappoint Abraham. Abraham covers all basis, he even gives him a contingency plan in verse 8, “If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.”  Isn’t this like Jesus says in John 15:10, If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.?” He’s not saying, “If it doesn’t work out, abort my plan and do whatever you want.” God wants us to do his will and if we are unsuccessful, we need to go back to him, not try to force our own agenda.

Next, Abraham equipped his servant . He even went so far as to give the servant everything that he needed to improve his chances at a successful journey. I’m not sure how much camels cost back in that day, but this servant took ten of them. That’s giving this servant a significant advantage. God doesn’t send us on a journey that He doesn’t provide us with the proper tools we need to succeed. Hebrews 13:21, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

And then before the servant has a chance to speak to any potential candidates for Isaac’s bride he prays. Verse 12 he asks God, Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.” How many times do I get into a situation that I realize that the outcomes are bigger than I am. On several occasions I have had to stop, pause, and pray. It’s a beautiful picture of surrendering our will and motives to God’s will and His outcomes.

Next, I am humored by the fact that the servant prays an elaborate prayer, asking God that things will happen a specific way and then he doubts it. Have you ever done that? You pray for something, it happens just as you requested, and then you doubt? It’s as if “that was too easy” or “too good to be true,” so you go back to prayer and ask for further clarity? Admittedly, I have done that on more than one occasion. Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” 

Lastly, I love that Rebekah’s family recognizes that the servant is a man of God. I love that they can see that the servant is not just an average guy. This shows that his actions speak for themselves and his presence commands respect of a higher power. They didn’t see him pray before he spoke to Rebekah, nor did they hear the purpose of his journey until he was invited in for his foot washing and meal. There must have been something special about him that set him apart.

We all know people like this. There is something different about them. Sometimes we can’t put our finger on it, but we can just tell. Not only am I inspired by Rebekah and the servant, but I’m encouraged by the incredible God that we serve and how He is in every detail in this story. Just as he is found in every detail of ours. I think today’s message is a great reminder that he has a plan, He provides for our needs as we live to execute on that plan, and He will be revealed in us to those we interact with. It’s a beautiful story, and so is ours.

Death and Taxes… Our Only Guarantees?

God is in Control

God is in Control

Matthew 10:30  …And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (NIV)

I was having lunch with a couple co-workers the other day and the subject of death came up. Within the last 2 weeks, 2 people from my hometown of Marinette, Wisconsin passed away unexpectedly – prematurely in my opinion.  Working in an industry that proactively helps people prepare for the unexpected, achieve financial security and proper legacy planning,  I asked myself, “Did they have their estate in order? Will their families be o.k.?

Confession: I don’t handle death very well. When it comes to death I withdraw, cower, detach. I feel such a deep sense of grief and take on the emotions that are associated with loss; regardless of whether it is my own personal loss or loss for the survivors of the deceased.  When I mentioned that over lunch, my co-worker caught me by surprise when he responded, “That’s weird, since you are a Christian!”

How am I supposed to react to that statement? Just because I’m a Christian I should be able to handle death easier? Perhaps as Christian’s we know that death is only a gateway from this life to the next, but there are two ways that I take that; either grieving over NOT knowing that they are truly went to heaven or (selfishly) grieving our earthly loss. It’s hard to let go of people to have made a significant impact for the Kingdom – they inspire me!

In Genesis chapter 23, the whole chapter is about Abraham’s wife, Sarah’s, death. It describes Abraham negotiating the appropriate place for her burial with Ephron. With all of the sensitivity that I have around the event of death, I had that same struggle with this entire chapter – it’s so sad. That is until I learned that this chapter had a greater significance.  According to Bob Deffinbaugh recorded in, he states, “By determining that Sarah, and later he and his descendants, would be buried in Canaan, Abraham “staked his claim” in the land which God had promised. The land where he would be buried was to be the homeland of his descendants. The place that God had promised him was the place where he must be buried.”

So I now have a new perspective. Not so much on death itself, because let’s face it – it’s hard stuff. Yet, the world says that Death and Taxes are our only guarantees in this life, but I have one addition: God’s greater plan! Each one of us, for whatever time we are given on this earth, is a part of a greater plan. If God knows the hairs on our heads and the number of breaths we will take while we live upon this earth, we can count on God’s plan to prevail and I’m putting my beats on that… not death and not taxes.

This Is A Test – Love, God


Psalm 119:74-76

New International Version (NIV)

74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
    for I have put my hope in your word.
75 I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous,
    and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 May your unfailing love be my comfort,
    according to your promise to your servant

Through our Godly Girlfriends Facebook Page, we are reading a chapter a day through the bible. I like this community because it has given me a daily discipline to read my bible and, in all honesty, a track to run on. If you’re like me, I am better off when given some direction with bible study because without it I wander a bit aimlessly through the bible and most often hang out in hope-filled pages of the New Testament. Not that that is a bad thing, but I know – and have known that – the WHOLE bible has application and to limit myself to the New Testament, I’m missing out.

Well let me tell you, I have been missing out BIG TIME! Here we are on Genesis chapter 22 and what God is revealing is far more than I ever bargained for. This past week we have focused on Abraham and I have been very disappointed with Abraham to say the least. Here is a man, chosen of God, and he keeps messing things up. All along I keep thinking, “Dude, you have GOD talking to you!” It’s not like he has to read and study scripture, take a bible study, cross reference the origin of Greek words, dissect various versions and commentaries. He is being talked to by God himself (or angels of the Lord).

Despite all of that, Abraham’s greatest flaw is his disbelief. With all humility, I have concluded that it is mine too (See Dangerous Assumption), but then in Genesis 22, Abraham goes beyond what I would EVER be capable of doing.  This is where Abraham takes his one and only son, Isaac, to offer as a sacrifice. Why does he do it? God tells him too. (GULP!)

Completely symbolic of what God did on the cross with his one and only son, Jesus, but if God tested me – like he tested Abraham – I would surely fail here. Then again, God does test us all the time. The purpose is to prove that our faith is real. Not that God needs to prove it to Himself since He knows all things; rather, He is proving to us that our faith is real, that we are truly His children, and that no trial or test will overcome that faith.

So I share all of this to say that God tests us because he loves us. He sacrificed his OWN son for us. In terms of Abraham’s disbelief, God tested him and he succeeded. Perhaps He’s testing you right now? Tests are not fun, but they do teach. I guess the best way – the only way – is to have faith.

Dangerous Assumption

Just Believe

Just Believe

Genesis 20:11 Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’

I want to just smack Abraham. Here is a prophet of God and he lies to Abimelech that Sarah is his sister. His rationale, “There is surely no fear of God in this place.” [This is where I would launch a good back hand across the back of his head.] So what Abraham – Isn’t that when God reveals himself? But Abraham is afraid that telling the truth could result in death so he chooses to lie instead?

What?! Like getting caught in a lie would guarantee his safety? As a result, Abraham made a dangerous assumption in Genesis 20.

I’m seeing a theme in Abraham’s life and I believe Abraham’s greatest fault is his disbelief in God. Yet, the single, most fundamental thing that God asks of us is to believe. That is a theme throughout the entire bible and is also God’s message to us. In Genesis, we see evidence of God’s heart for those who believe and then fast forward to the new testament and to sum it up in one verse, Acts 16:31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” Without belief in God, nothing else matters… NOTHING! From our own salvation to how we live out our lives in reverence to God as a [action] believer!

My message as I interpret what God is trying to tell me in Genesis 20 is to do a heart check on my belief. Do I believe God? Confession… I want too. Maybe I need a good smack to the head too. This should be a no-brainer, but this is where my story and Abraham’s are parallel. I am prone to do things as to how I ‘think’ they should be rather than believe God. I am unapologetic when I say that I believe IN God – It’s the simply “BELIEVING God” that I still need work. Therefore, I rest in His grace and appreciate biblical example’s, like Abraham, who are given to us to show that God is with us, even when we take matters into our own hands.

“Just Do It”


1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”

It’s more than the motto of Nike, it’s God’s message to us in Genesis chapter 19. When God talks to us, we’re supposed to respond… NOW!

I just finished reading Genesis 19 and my heart is heavy. I see so many similarities between the lifestyle of Sodom and Gomorrah and that of the world today. I even see some resemblance of Lot’s heart and mine. Lot professes to be a Christian and yet he is so absorbed in the things of the world that he blends right in. In Lot’s case, he was ineffective in winning people over for Christ because he was perceived by the people as, “one of the boys.” I’m quite sure one of the lessons God has for me in this is that he doesn’t call me (Christians) to ‘blend in.’

So the angels of the Lord who visited Lot warned him that he must flee from the city and not look back. He hesitated. Let me quote that out of the bible, verse 16 says, When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them.” How many times to we see that God wants us to respond to Him and we procrastinate? I have my hand raised right now. I admit that I do. Perhaps partial disobedience on my part, but sometimes it simply does take God to grab me and nudge me to get moving. I get comfortable where I’m at. I’m sure Lot and his family were comfortable too.

What I hear ringing in my ears as I write to you in reflection of this story is the song I learned as a kid, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”  I guess my learning’s of today are to trust God, don’t hesitate to do it, don’t look back to what I am running from, and leave the outcomes up to God.

My prayer for my readers, followers, and friends is that we may stand united in obedience to God, believe God, and trust God in all over our circumstances.

Bold With God

Stay Strong Believer!

Stay Strong Believer!

As our Godly Girlfriends study the bible one day at a time, one chapter at a time, I’m compelled to write one of my greatest take-a-ways from today’s reading in Genesis Chapter 18. It’s near the end the of the chapter that Abraham speaks to God and is very inquisitive. Are you inquisitive with God? I am. I find myself questioning why things are the way they are, what God is up too, and when God will act. Sometimes I inquire of him for selfish reasons because I have my own desired outcomes, but I have to say, especially when I am reading my bible, I have a lot of questions that start with what, when, and why.

Apparently, so does Abraham and he gets to ask God himself. This interaction is completely fascinating to me. In verses 23 Abraham approaches God and asks, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” The question puts me at the edge of my seat because I think of natural disasters or the more recent terrorist attacks where innocent lives are taken. God could prevent that. So here is a situation (the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah) that Abraham is privy too and Abraham asks a legit question – a question I would ask.

Before getting too bold or assertive, Abraham then admits where he stands in rank to God, verse 27, “I am nothing but dust and ashes…,” and goes on to negotiate with God over how many God believers will spare amongst the majority of the wicked population. Abraham continues to be respectful as he continues to question God. “May the Lord not be angry…” or “Now that I have been so bold to speak to the Lord…,” and then the final request, “…but let me speak just once more.”

This just makes my heart pitter-patter. Abraham has a heart for the believers who live amongst the lost, the wicked. There are so many aspects of this passage that move me. I carry the burden on my heart as to how many friends I have who are unsaved and I do go to God and pray that He would draw them into a relationship with Him. But, like Abraham, I have a heart for the believers too. Those who are out there ‘fighting the good fight’ and remaining faithful in this world. If you who are reading this blog today are one of those being beaten down by the pressures of this world, feeling defeated or overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness. I pray for you today. I lift you up to God, that he would (for your sake) not allow the world to destroy you. (Verse 32).

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”