Month: July 2021

Week Seven-God of Covenant-Jen Wilkin

Take a peek at Week Six

A study of Genesis 37-41

Chapter 37 is about one of the most popular stories in the Bible. Jacob had 11 sons but greatly favored the two born from Rachel, Joseph, and Benjamin. The other sons were so jealous of Joseph that they hated him and mistreated him. Of course, Joseph didn’t help matters when he was placed in charge of his older brother. He certainly did not make friends of them when he told them one day they would bow down to him, that he knew this because of a dream from God he interpreted.

The brothers first wanted to kill him but did not want to tell Jacob to sell him into slavery. This is how Joseph made his way to Egypt. 

Eventually, Joseph arrives in Egypt, and because God uses him in his captivity, he quickly rises to assist Pharaoh. You see, God blessed everything Joseph did. Crops and livestock multiplied under Joseph’s care. The more it grew into great wealth, the more responsibility Pharaoh gave to him. 

Pharaoh had a wife that was in lust with Joseph and wanted to sleep with him. Joseph was adamant about not sleeping with her because he knew Pharaoh would kill him. Unfortunately, that did not stop the wife. When Joseph continued to deny her, she became angry and lied, saying Joseph attacked her, he was thrown in jail. 

Joseph was in jail for a long time, over 2 years, when the Pharaoh had a dream that no one could explain. Joseph explained the dreams of two men he was in prison with, the cupbearer and the baker. When no one could interrupt Pharaoh’s dream, the cupbearer remembered Joseph in prison and told Pharaoh. 

Joseph was released from prison and taken to Pharaoh; Joseph explained the dream, telling Pharaoh that a famine was coming. They would first have 7 years of great fortune in the crops, followed by 7 years of great hardship because of the drought. He explained the famine would be so bad that it would destroy many countries. But, if they prepared well, they would survive and help other countries survive it as well. 

During this time of preparing for the great draught, Joseph married and had two sons. He named the oldest son Manasseh because God made him forget his hardship, and the younger one was Ephraim, which meant that God had made him fruitful.  God took the worst of times, sold into slavery, and blessed Joseph with prosperity and a family.

Eventually, as Joseph had interrupted, the famine came to Egypt, but they had bread for everyone because of his planning. In fact, people start traveling to Egypt from other countries, seeking to buy grain.

Week Six-God of Covenant- by Jen Wilkin

A Study of Genesis 34-36

Take a look back at Week Five

In Chapter 34, we see how Jacob hugely failed his daughter Dinah. We see how she is taken by Schechem, son of Hamor, Prince of the country. Although Schechem went to his father, the Prince asking him to get Dinah as his wife. Unfortunately, Schechem’s action had caused irrefutable damage.

Sadly, after hearing what had happened to Dinah, Jacob did nothing, choosing to wait until her brothers came back n from the fields. The brothers of Dinah were furious and wanted revenge. The Prince went to Jacob, trying to make things better by suggesting they intermarry, allowing Dinah to become Schechems’s wife. This was absolutely against all rules of the Israelites, but the brothers and Jacob agreed if all the men of Hamor were circumcised. Because Schechem was in love with Dinah, both men agreed.

Three days after all the men in the city were circumcised and not feeling at their best, two of Dinah’s brothers, Levi and Simeon, entered the city and killed all the men. They then took Dinah, ravaged the city, taking anything of value, including their women and livestock destroyed the city. When Jacob heard what they had done, he was grieved as all he could think of what the trouble their actions would bring to him.

Moving into Chapter 35, we see Jacob taking counsel from God. God instructed Jacob to go to Bethel. God blessed Jacob with all the land he had given to Jacob’s ancestors, Bethel, where God spoke to Jacob.

We learn that Rachel dies giving birth to their son, Benjamin. Jacob buried her in Ephrath, Bethlehem. Jacob traveled and settled in Edar.

Genesis 36 goes through Esau’s lineage, a people known as the Edomites. Esau’s descendants lived on Mount Seir. Their livestock and wealth were so great they could not live near Jacob and his descendants.

God of Covenant bible study by Jen Wilkin

Week Five-God of Covenant by Jen Wilkin

A Study of Genesis 29-33

After week four, we start this week off with intense love and deception. Jacob travels to Padden-Aram, where Jacob’s uncle, Laban, lives. After arriving sees Laban’s daughter, Rachel, and falls instantly in love. He seeks out Laban and asks if he can marry her. Laban strikes a deal with Jacob, ‘work for me for seven years, and you can marry my daughter.’ Jacob readily agrees. 

After working the seven years, Jacob is eager to take Rachel for this wife. Now Laban, having a daughter older than Rachel, wanted to marry her off first, deceived Jacob into marrying Leah. 

When this is discovered, Jacob was furious but agreed to keep Leah as a wife; Lavan agreed to give Rachel to him if he worked another seven years. Now, that’s one way to get an employee!

We see a lot of conflict between Rachel and Leah. They both wanted Jacob’s love and to give him the most children. There was great strife between them all because Jacob loved only Rachel. Rachel was unable to conceive and envied Leah, who had already given birth to four sons. Rachel came up with a plan of her own; instead of going to God in prayer, she gave her maid, Bilhah, to have children with Jacob. Rachel knew if Bilhah conceived, she would take the child as her own. Buy this time, Leah had stopped bearing children, so she also gave Jacob her maid, Zilpah, to have more children.

Although she had given her maid to Jacob, Rachel had continued to pray to God, asking that she conceive and give Jacob a child. God heard her prayers and answered them. Rachel conceived and had a son, Joseph.

Because Jacob tended Laban’s animals and had the blessing of the Lord, God also blessed Laban’s belongings through Jacob. They both became very wealthy.

After Rachel gives birth to Joseph, Jacob felt a rift growing between his people and Laban’s people and decided it was time to split from Laban and go this own way. He went to Laban asking for his wages so he could take his family and go.

They divided the animals, but again Laban tries to deceive Jacob keeping the strong and healthy animals, giving Jacob the weaker, more sickly ones. God saw Laban’s deception and favored Jacob with healthy, strong animals.

As soon as Laban saw that Jacob had God’s blessing, he agreed to a covenant to stop any hostility between them. Both promising not to hurt the other, Laban blessed his daughters and sons and returned to his home. 

 Jacob knew, in his travels, he would have to travel through his brother’s land. Wanting to make amends, he sent Esau a message asking for his mercy. When his servants returned telling him his brother was riding out to meet him, bringing 400 of his soldiers, Jacob was very afraid.

Jacob divided his camp into groups, sending some to meet Esau first. Rachel and Joseph were in the last group, sent across the river. Alone that night, he prayed to God and wrestled with a man; they struggled all night long, Jacob not letting go, wanting God’s blessing. The man (God) asked what his name was and when Jacob told him, God said his name would no longer be Jacob but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed. Genesis 32:2-8

We finally see Jacob and Esau meet after many years. Esau did not want any gifts, but Jacob beefed him to accept, and Esau relented and took his brother’s gifts.

The next morning, they separated and went their own ways; Esau to Seir and Jacob toward Succoth. Jacob and his family arrived in the city of Shechem in Canaan, bought land, and settled there. 

Wow, that was a lot of information, and I encourage you to read the entire story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah Genesis 29-30. It is an amazing story, and the amount of children they have is staggering. I would love to hear any of your thoughts on this story, as it completely fascinated me. 

my unusual walk in obedience to God's word

My Unusual Walk in Obedience to God’s Word

Obedience is defined as the willingness to comply with orders or requests; being submissive to another’s will. On the other hand, biblical Obedience (obedience to God) means to hear, trust, submit and surrender to God and his Word.

I have been involved with bible studies for the last 20 plus years, trying to learn God’s Word and know Jesus. It has only been in the last 4 years (or so) that I started to feel a tug in my heart each time we studied obedience or I read about it in scripture. Obedience to God is now my top priority, but it can be a struggle for many people, myself included. I wanted to share a little about my walk to being obedient. I pray you will find some words of comfort and maybe a little guidance on how you too can be obedient to the Lord.

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it – Luke 11:28 NIV

Notice how long I had been studying the Word, growing in my faith, developing a loving, committed relationship with Jesus before He started knocking on my hearts’ door about obedience. That’s correct; I feel God waited until we had the relationship we needed before asking me (well, he wasn’t really asking;)) to obey. He knew if our relationship weren’t in the right place, obedience wouldn’t work. When you consider that obedience is to hear, trust, submit and surrender to God and his Word, one must have the right relationship with Him. 

Love the Lord our God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength – Mark 12:30 NIV

Obedience is hard! Think about the last time you wanted to lose a few pounds, but you really wanted a piece of cake. If your mind and heart are not in the right place, that diet will not last long. The concept for obedience to God is the same, you have to be committed to him, you have to really want that strong of a relationship with him, or obedience can be as allusive as those last few pounds. 

I know for me, if he would have come knocking before I was completely committed to him, it would have been easier to hedge around or ignore the calling. Over the years, as I have studied the Word and my walk with Christ has become a calling, I have just fallen more in love with Him and all that he has blessed me with and all He has walked me through. 

Even though it has become my heart’s desire to be obedient to Him and his calling for me, there are still days I stumble and doubt. The fear of believing in me is so second nature that I find myself inventing ways to get myself out of what I know God patiently waits for me to step into. 

To busy to walk in obedience

Show of hands (figuratively speaking) who is busy? I am 99.9% sure there was not one person who didn’t say, ME! Have you noticed how busy we can get when something needs to be done, but we are just unsure if we want to do it? 

You have a feeling- a thought maybe- that keeps coming to mind, ideas popping in your head, entire conversations you have with yourself (in the privacy of your head, of course)! You know God is trying to tell you the next step of your journey is ready for you, or maybe a completely new journey…and what do we do? We get busy.

Suddenly many jobs need to get done first, like cleaning the house, taking on a new project at work, or my personal favorite, a new committee at my kid’s school. I find it humorous that we think we can out busy God, I mean, really?! Like showing him we have so much on our plate we can’t possibly take on what he wants us to do too, maybe at a later time, just not right now, is that okay with you God? I have to laugh because I so did that! Well, let me share what happened; God laughed too, right in my face! 

Busy does not scare God; he just took some of my busy away and kept nudging me about being obedient to Him. You see when God is in your life, and his eye is on you, there is no avoiding it, no putting it off, and certainly no getting out of it. Trying to avoid God and His calling for you can become like a game you can play, but it’s a game that has no end. 

Our doubt feeds our fear

“Hi Jesus, it’s me, Christine; I really want to thank you for all that you have blessed me with. I know this path I walk on was designed just for me by you…and it’s great! I love where I’m at; everything is good. I was thinking, you know, about this calling…that I may need to study some more, pray more for discernment, make sure I know what I am doing before I do anything new. I want to make sure it’s what you want me to do, and I want to be obedient, but are you sure it’s the right time?”

Wow, that’s a conversation I have had with myself about a hundred times. I can tell you, my friend, it’s not God’s message I needed clarity on; no, He has always known what he was doing. It was me, letting my doubt of myself turn into fear of doing something I have never done. That next step where I felt God was taking me, where I desperately wanted to go but still dragged my feet, doubting I could fulfill my calling. 

What I can share for certain, my friend, if you have a special desire in your heart, you think it may be your calling; and if you have prayed on it, wondered about it, and prayed some more, chances are God put that desire on your heart. Believe me, if it is not what he wants you to be doing, He will close that door. Then bring you right back to where he wants you to be. Just trust in Him and take it to him in prayer. You do not have to worry about doubting yourself if you trust in Jesus.  

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask, we receive from him because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.—1 John 3:21-22 ESV

I am not a big believer in things just popping into my head (unless it’s what to make for dinner). I am a firm believer in the Holy Spirit of God giving me that desire. We have a choice to make; we can believe God is who He says he is, (Jeremiah 10:12– He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.) or we can fall into the trap of our mind and let doubt pull us away from Gods next blessing.  

The Cost of Disobedience

Some people may want you to believe that there are no real consequences if you are not obedient, but they are wrong. The bible clearly says your obedience affects those around you. 

For as by the one man’s disobedience, the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience, the many will be made righteous.— Romans 5:19 ESV

Do you think you can do your own thing and have no influence on your family, your peers, even people you don’t know very well? If you profess to be a Christian, people will expect you to act a certain way, whether they are believers or not. But what people think really does not matter, nor should we fall into letting it matter. 

It all goes back to the relationship you have with God. The closer you get to him through his Word,  the desire to be more like him in every way will lay heavy on your heart. Your obedience to God will shine through you like the sun breaking through the clouds on a rainy day. You will be an example of how to walk in obedience because the love you have for Christ will transform you. You will want to be like Him, you will want your walk to be like his walk, and you will want to portray him to the world through the way you live. And you will be blessed by God. 

The Blessings of Obedience

When some people think about God blessing us, they may think more monetarily that they will be blessed with a great job, a big bonus, a large home, or another tangible way. To me, blessings from my Father are much more from the heart. 

I am blessed with his love, with his presence in my life; he is my own personal guide through this world we live in. I feel his peace in my heart and his joy in my soul. He is my daily compass, my constant companion that will talk with me anywhere I go. Of course, we can’t forget about the blessings of our family, our friends, our health, the jobs we have. All of the wonderful things He gives us because he loves us and wants to bless us. 

 If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.  All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:  You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.  The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock-the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.  Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.- Deuteronomy 28:1-5 NIV

And God can bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.- 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

It’s easy to be disobedient if your walk with Christ is not strong. If you’re struggling with obedience to God, I highly recommend you look at your relationship with Jesus. Can it be strengthened? Can you spend more time in the Word to draw closer to Him? If you are having a difficult time, turn to him, pray to him about your struggle, He will hear you and guide you closer to him. The closer you walk with Jesus, the more you want to be like him. The closer you are with him, the easier it is to be obedient because it becomes your heart’s desire. I’ll be praying for you.