Wednesday, August 3 – Genesis 34-36

So you’ve committed to reading through the Bible…why? What’s the point? Are you reading to say that you’ve actually read through the book? Are you reading because someone dared you? Are you reading to learn more about the history of the religion?

BethanyJournal

Photo credit: @BethanyLigon (2016)

 

Or…are you reading because you are seeking after God? Does your soul thirst for His presence? Are you craving a different way of living?

As I read Genesis 35, I’m struck by what I read in the first few verses. Jacob has this intimate relationship with God. He has REAL conversations with Him. And these REAL conversations that Jacob has with God, initiate REAL change/action in his life.

  • Jacob up and moves his family
  • Jacob directs his family to get rid of all the man-made idols that they have accumulated
  • Jacob sets up an altar to God

When was the last time that you 1) had an encounter with God that was undeniable and 2) caused real change in your life?

As you participate in this Bible reading plan, it is our hope that you experience God in a new way and that your life is forever changed for the better because of the time that you are investing. And the best part is that you are not alone in this journey. You have a community of people doing the same thing that you are. If you have questions, concerns, or other issues that are on your mind, please reach out. We all want to GROW together.

Many Blessings,

-bethany ligon

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Tuesday, August 2 – Genesis 31-33

Hello

Do you know the meaning of your name? After some searching I discovered that “Bethany” has several possibilities:

  • House of Song
  • House of Affliction
  • House of Figs

Apparently there is a bit of confusion when it comes to translating the Hebrew language.

In Genesis 32, we read the story of how Jacob wrestles with God throughout the night, and when the morning dawns, he is given a new name: Israel.

The meaning of Jacob is “the deceiver”. Which when you look back at his life, this makes perfect sense. Jacob deceived his brother Esau out of his inheritance as well as his blessing – both a pretty big deal. But it is during this wrestling match that a significant change takes place, God takes this trickster and turns him into the namesake of God’s chosen people. This wasn’t just a name change, it was a change in identity.

When we repent our sins and accept the love, forgiveness, and eternal life that is offered to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have a change in our identity. THIS is a BIG deal. If we are not intentionally diligent about the choices we make on a day to day basis, it can become super easy to forget who we are in Christ.

Pay attention to who/what is influencing you. Are the people that you listen to or the media that you view, supporting your decision to be a follower of Christ? Or are this influencers trying to draw you away? What changes need to be made in order for you to live a life that shows that you have been changed by God?

Galatians 2:20 is my “life verse” – it helps me to remember my identity on a daily basis. Consider making it your special verse too, if you don’t already have one.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Many Blessings,

-bethany ligon

(aka house of figs)

(Photo By Eviatar Bach (Own work) [Public domain],via Wikimedia Commons)

Monday, August 1 – Genesis 29-30

 

Worship

Today, I’d like to zero in on just one verse: Genesis 30:22, “Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb.”

Let’s break this down.

Then God – When I read these two words together, I think that other events had to take place first, before God took action on Rachel’s behalf. The ten sons born to Leah and the two maidservants had to be before Joseph and later Benjamin were born to Rachel. There was a purpose to the waiting. If Joseph had been born before his brothers, he would have had more clout in the family and probably wouldn’t have been sold off as a slave by his brothers and ended up working in the house of Pharaoh.

Remembered Rachel – According to my Bible notes, “remember” doesn’t imply that God forgot. It implies that God expresses concern and He acts with loving care; He shows favor.

He listened to her – Apparently, Rachel never stopped asking God for a son. She believed that it was possible for God to grant her this request, even though many years had gone by.

So what does this mean to us?

  1. God’s timing is perfect. More than likely something needs to take place before our heart’s desire becomes a reality. Maybe it’s a sequence of events or maybe it’s a change in attitude. Whatever it is, we have to trust that God knows what He’s doing.
  2. God hasn’t forgotten about you. “The LORD you God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
  3. Have Big Faith and keep talking to God. Keep seeking after Him. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Many Blessings,

-bethany ligon

 

Sunday, July 31 – Genesis 26-28

Faithful to Every Generation

4653728769_4c1597e444_oBy Michael Himbeault (https://www.flickr.com/photos/riebart/4653728769)

[CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

As you read these chapters, did you catch the passing of the promise from one generation to the next and then to the next one after that?

Last week you read in Chapter 12 God making a covenant with Abram promising land and descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. Today, you read that the same covenant was passed along to Abram’s son, Isaac (in Chapter 26) and then again to Isaac’s son, Jacob (in Chapter 28).

The crazy thing is that none of these Biblical Patriarchs lived to see the fulfillment of God’s promise. But that didn’t stop them from living an obedient life and expecting the promises to come to fruition at some point.

So what does this mean to us, so many generations later?

  1. God has a plan and this plan will prevail.
  2. Just because we don’t know the details of the plan, doesn’t mean that He is not trustworthy.
  3. We are called to be obedient when God recruits us to be part of the plan.
  4. God’s timing is often much different than what we can possibly understand…so resist developing your personal agenda in the meantime.

So whether we are waiting on the coming Kingdom, or waiting for God to answer prayers for peace, healing, restoring a relationship, providing direction for what steps to take next in a major decision, or something else you’re wrestling with, firmly believe that God is faithful in His promises.

Many Blessings,

-bethany ligon
Bethany Ligon is super excited to be involved with this year long Bible reading plan. She has been part of FUEL since she started attending (before it was known as FUEL) in 1987, only missing a few years here and there. When not acting as one of the FUEL Directors, she is a Technology Integration Facilitator (fancy term for working with teachers)  in her local school district. She is married to Daryl, has an awesome niece, Whitney, and loves to eat tortilla chips and salsa. Go ahead and follow her on Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat @bethanyligon.   

Saturday, July 30 – Genesis 24-25

Whose Birthright is Whose?

I’m the oldest of 3 brothers. I know the negotiating that can happen between siblings. Sometimes it’s fair, sometimes it’s not. The story of Jacob & Esau is an interesting story of brotherly negotiation. There was a clear winner & loser. Esau made a bad trade. He gave up his birthright for a bowl of soup. That’s doesn’t seem like a big deal to us, but I read the following explanation that gives us some clarity.

A birthright was a special privilege given to the oldest son. The child who had the birthright received the blessing of the father as well as all the father had built and accomplished. In the case of Esau and Jacob, it was more than gaining dad’s money, it was about receiving God’s special blessing.

Today you have the opportunity to receive the birthright that God intended for Jesus. Jesus is both the only Son of God and the firstborn of God. By having a relationship with Jesus, you can share in the blessings intended for Him. The Bible says: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. … Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:14,17). Congratulations!

— Seth Ross

Friday, July 29 – Genesis 20-23

What is Your Highest Priority?

In Genesis 22, God tested Abraham’s faith in a serious way by asking him to sacrifice his own son. It’s a story that foreshadows what God did for us by sacrificing His son for us. It’s a powerful image, even if it’s difficult to comprehend. While none of us will likely be asked to make that same choice, God does call us to make sacrifices for him. I like how this author asked the question…
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God tested Abraham’s faith and in doing so pushed him into an uncomfortable situation. What is something or someone you love more than anything else? Mentally insert the answer in the blank space below.

“For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld __________ from Me.”

Would this be true of you if God asked you to make a sacrifice? Yes or No? If no, what might you need to consider in order for God to have the highest priority in your life?

— Seth Ross

Thursday, July 28 – Genesis 17-19

Trust – and Obey!

Today’s chapters contain 3 really odd stories… the covenant of circumcision, a 90-year old woman being told she’d have a child, and Sodom & Gomorrah. While the details of the stories are very different, an important theme emerges. God expects obedience, and obedience results in blessing. Disobedience comes with consequences, either immediate or delayed.

That’s probably not new information. The part we often overlook is what makes obedience possible. Think about people in your life that your expected to obey. I’d guess you feel some are easier to obey than others. What’s the difference? I suggest the key is TRUST. When you trust someone, it’s easier to obey them. Why? You know they have your best interest in mind.

God loves you more than anyone on this planet will ever love you. And so he has your best interest in mind… all the time. Every time. Even when He asks us to do things that seem out of step with our culture, that seem old-fashioned, that seem archaic. It can be difficult to obey God in our sexuality, relationships, language, behavior, ethics, morality. Why? Probably because we don’t really trust God. We might think He doesn’t really know what He’s talking about. But he does, and internally we all know that. Even if we don’t like it.

So… do you trust God? Do you believe He wants the best for you? If that’s true, then obeying Him is easier (even if it’s not easy). And if you’ve had a difficult time obeying… maybe the best place to begin is learning to trust God.

— Seth Ross