Jacob leaves on his lengthy journey from Beersheba to Haran—an overland journey from the Negev desert in Israel to a southern province in modern day Turkey. Proceeding northward he comes to the region north of Jerusalem’s current location. There he rests for the evening on a stone pillow.In a divine dream he sees a stairway connecting earth and heaven and angels of God moving up and down. It’s no wonder Jacob views this as “the gate of heaven.”Read More
Sometimes it’s difficult to recognize our own jealousy because we can justify our feelings. But if we’re not careful, our anger can make our hearts become desensitized and cold. Perhaps that is what happened to Joseph’s ten brothers.
Joseph’s overzealous qualities were a positive force when it meant being obedient to his father Jacob.Read More God’s presence, jealousy
The story of Joseph’s life seemed to revolve around the fact that he was frequently in the middle of a storm or another one was lurking on the horizon. Again, his coat would be the launch of another storm. This time it would catapult him from the palace to the prison.
It is clear that Joseph depended on God every step of the way.Read More trouble, God’s presence, temptation
Psalm 43 opens with a desperate cry. “Vindicate me, O God and plead my cause” (v1, NIV). While it is not clear who wrote this psalm or what the exact troubling situation was, the message is clear.
Something has gone terribly wrong. An injustice has been doneRead More prayer, disappointment, God’s presence
Leadership is never an easy task. Indeed dealing with people, whether co-workers or family members, is often a challenge. It is no surprise that Moses would seek the assurance of God’s presence. The responsibility of leadership can be lonely. After a long day, we seek the soothing touch of God like a child longs for his parent, who reminds him that he is on the right path and assures him that he is not alone.Read More leadership, God’s presence, yearning
In verse 46, Jesus cries out that he has been abandoned by God. He is giving voice to more than his feelings. He is expressing an actual fact. A child made feel abandoned by his or her parents in a mall when the parent is actually close at hand. The abandonment that Jesus expresses is real because he bears the sins of the world and is forsaken by the Father. He is forsaken so that we never have to be forsaken (Heb 13:5).Read More trust, God’s presence, abandonment
One of the greatest gifts we receive as we pray with the Psalms is the assurance that God is with us. In the pages of the Psalter we encounter the God who comes to his people in strength and power, in mercy and tenderness.
Psalm 68 is a song celebrating God’s triumph. His victories of the past are remembered and prayer for his help now is offered in faith.Read More God’s presence, God’s help
Think back on the times in which God has moved in your life. Those special moments in which God was specially present. A particular time challenge or need where God ‘showed up’ and there was nothing that you could do but say thank you. God brings those moments into our life as touchstones. They become desperately important when you may at other times be feeling his absence. They are like a memory to remind you that God is there.Read More God’s presence, memory, monument
Outstanding athletes, musicians and actors often struggle to cope with the trappings of stardom. David the harpist turned giant killer also had to face the challenges that accompany heroism!
It’s a little surprising that Saul had to ask his general Abner who David was. After all David had been in the palace playing his harp for Saul during his bouts with depression (16:14-23).Read More success, God’s presence, jealousy
How does this story relate to the commandment “Honour your father and your mother”? (Deuteronomy 5:16) What if one of your parents is an addict, mentally ill or demonized? How can you honour them? The obvious and general teaching is to honour your parents, but there are limitations to honouring parents that are incapacitated in some way. Jonathan understood this principle as he respectfully but persistently challenged his father Saul.Read More protection, God’s presence, God’s purposes