VISION

Genesis 37:7-8
Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

It is good to have a vision for/of your life. It is also wise to either keep it to yourself or tell the right people. Whatever God plans for your life will definitely come to pass. But there is also no need to sabotage your current relationships because of it, or allow unnecessary people access to your vision. Nobody can hinder your vision in life without your permission.

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WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?

Genesis 34:5
Now Jacob heard that he had defiled his daughter Dinah. But his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob held his peace until they came.

Sometimes, we wonder why God allows bad things to happen to us. We even go the extent of blaming Him. However, some things happen as a result of living in a fallen world. Also, he has given us our free will to choose to do right. We cannot blame God for the bad things people do. We take heart in the hope that one day God will make all things new.

JUSTICE

Genesis 31:6-7
You know that I have served your father with all my strength, yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not permit him to harm me.

Whether you are a child of God or not, some facts still remain unchanged. For example, you reap what you sow. Jacob cheated his own brother, later his own uncle cheated him. The measure you mete out to others, the same measure will be meted out to you.

GOD AND SOCIAL ANXIETY

I’ve given myself a diagnosis of having social anxiety. Going outside is difficult for me. Unless it is completely relevant like church and lectures, you will find me at home, reading or writing or watching movies.

However, I’m also wondering what God thinks about my self-diagnosis. I’ve been depressed before et al but with this social anxiety it stems from unpleasant experiences with people. Thus, these unpleasant experiences tell me that if I’m in the same situations again, a similar unpleasant incident will happen. But I want you to be the judge of these few Bible verses along with me. This is my idea of what God thinks about social anxiety in the Bible.

1.*Proverbs 29:25 ESV
The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
I think if you really trust God, there is no room in your life to fear man.

2. Proverbs 26:13
The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!”
I know the last thing you need is to hear you are lazy as well as socially anxious. But that is what the Bible says. The lion here refers to people.

3. Numbers 14:9
Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”
Human beings are like putty in your hands if you are Christians. They are mortal, but God is immortal and lives in you.

4. Job 4:6
Is not your fear of God your confidence,
and the integrity of your ways your hope?
Our fear should be of God, not of man.

5. Matthew 10:26
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
Everybody has their own secret anxieties.

6. Matthew 10:28
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
People can make fun of your body, but they can’t do further than that.

7. Romans 8:15
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Fear should be a thing of the past now you are a Christian.

8. 1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
The Bible commands us to love. It is difficult to love someone who makes you feel anxious.

9. Luke 12:7
Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
You are as good as anybody else. No need to be anxious.

10. Joshua 10:25
And Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and courageous. For thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.”
The enemies can include fear, depression, and anxiety.

11. Luke 1:30
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
If you have found favor with God Himself, who else is there to be afraid of? Is it because we can’t see God but we see people?

*All verses from ESV

POWER OF PRAISE

Genesis 29:31
When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.
Genesis 29:35
And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.

God gave Leah children because she was not loved, but she insisted on using the children to buy her husband’s love until she finally learnt that it was better to channel her energy into praising God. Praising God helps set our priorities right. Praising or showing gratitude to God for all He has done for you enables you to see things from a higher perspective. Praise opens our eyes to see that what we always thought we wanted had been there all along. Praise does not change the situation for us, but it changes us for the situation.

THE LOVE OF GOD

Genesis 28:15-16
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”

Jacob cheated twice, and yet it did not change God’s mind about him. Nothing we do surprises God or changes who He is and how He feels about us. Not that we should sin intentionally, but our mistakes do not stop God from loving us. Enjoy your day

ABRAHAM: A BROKEN HOME?

Genesis 25:5-6
Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country.

This verse gave me a pause. The reason is none other than Abraham’s attitude with his second set of children with Keturah after Sarah died.

First, Abraham gave those sons gifts alone. Wow. That must have hurt both Keturah and his sons, to come as ‘second class’ to Abraham’s first family. But then again, we can have the benefit of the doubt that because Abraham was so rich, the gifts may have been well-received.

However, the Bible says Abraham sent them away to the east sake of Isaac’s promise. In other words, they were robbed of an intimate relationship with their father while he was still alive.

That sucks to me because I come from a broken family. As at the time I needed a parent when I was in my teens, my father was elsewhere taking care of another set of children. Recently he told me one is younger than my not-so-little sister, which means after he left us, he was totally having a good time elsewhere.

I’m so inexplicably disappointed in Abraham for this, although I may be seeing from a biased point of view. After all, he was reluctant to send Ishmael away in the very beginning of the promise issue after Isaac was born(Gen. 21:11).
So let us see if Abraham was right or wrong.

Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born and Sarah was 90. Sarah was 127 years old when she died, which means Isaac was 37 years old at the time. Abraham was therefore 137 years old when Sarah died.

Abraham then married Keturah when he was…the Bible doesn’t say. But he died when he was 175 years old. So the period between his death and Sarah’s death is 38 years. And Isaac got married three years after Sarah’s death, when Isaac was 40.

So assuming Abraham married at the time of Isaac’s marriage, Abraham was 140 years old when he married Keturah and gave birth with her. The time between his second marriage and his father is 35 years.

The Bible makes it clear that ‘while he was still alive’ he sent Keturah’s kids away. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, his last child was probably already twenty when Abraham finally died. That is more than equivalent to today’s age of maturity which is eighteen. They were quite old enough to leave and live on their own, considering their level of maturity was probably higher than that of ours today.

I guess Abraham was not a bad father after all. He was just looking out for the great Covenant God made with him(Gen. 17:2). I think I need to move on from my abandonment issues.