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January 17 - Morning

“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood,hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.” - First Corinthians 3:10-15

Overcoming Temptation


Joseph's fear of God and his consciousness of God’s plan for his life empowered Joseph to overcome where others had failed:
  1. Joseph was unsupervised, so no one was watching and no one would know…except God who was the judge of all the earth.
  2. Potiphar completely trusted Joseph, so Joseph could have created and taken advantage of situations …except Joseph responded faithfully to Potiphar’s trust.
  3. Joseph had risen quickly to his position authority which could have made him arrogant and self-indulgent…except Joseph had handled responsibility in his father’s house before and he knew how far and fast a man can fall from his position.
  4. Joseph had a reason to think life owed him something and that he needed to take whatever he could when he could to get ahead since he was a foreigner, in a foreign land, speaking a foreign language because he had been betrayed by his brothers and forced into slavery…except he knew God had a plan and this was not the way the two dreams had ended.
  5. Joseph already had access to everything that Potiphar had, but for this one thing. Eve and Adam found self-justification for taking that one forbidden thing in a situation similar to Joseph’s…except Joseph told himself that he was content with what he had.
Wisdom and self-control prevented Joseph from separating himself from God’s plan. Finally, in the Genesis account we encounter a man who will fear God and live in obedience to God’s ways and wisdom. This man will suffer, but he will always rise and prosper.
Talah (Hb) - To Hang (Eng) - talah is the Hebrew word that means “to hang,” "to hang up,” and, it is used to refer to death by hanging. Talah comes from the Hebrew root word that means “to let dangle.” Talah is used 28 x, most often in Esther (9x), where talah speaks of Haman’s intentions and death. In Genesis 40:19-22 it is used to refer to Pharaoh’s execution of his chief baker. But, in Isaiah talah is used figuratively to describe something that can be trusted and depended upon when it refers to the glory that will be bestowed on Eliakim:           
“All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots— all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars.” – Isaiah 20:24
Do I do what is right when left alone?
Am I faithful with my responsibility, or am I self-indulgent?
I will be content with what God has given me and use my potential and opportunities righteously.



Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

Complete Text

General Text




Personal

Efficient at work

Church

Obedience
Government Spending
Vulnerable democratic institutions



A Roman game board cut into the stone pavement of the Cardo.
Genesis 13:1, Abram returns from Egypt.




Someone to Quote

""There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained." - Winston Churchill

Something to Ponder

Dinesh D'Souza makes these statements and supports them in his bestselling book, "What's So Great About Christianity."
1 Christianity is the main foundation of Western civilization, the root of our most cherished values.
2 The latest discoveries of modern science support the Christian claim that there is a divine being who created the universe.
3 Darwin's theory of evolution, far from undermining the evidence for supernatural design, actually strengthens it.
4 There is nothing in science that makes miracles impossible.
5 It is reasonable to have faith.
6 Atheism, not religion, is responsible for the mass murders of history.
7 Atheism is motivated not be reason but by a kind of cowardly moral escapism.

Here’s a Fact

In Jeremiah 38:1 two royal servants of Zedekiah are mentioned: 
1-Gedaliah son of Pashhur 
2-Jehucal son of Shelemiah
Two clay bullae (clay used to seal a scroll and pressed with the image from a personal seal) were found in and near the royal palace in Jerusalem. They had been glazed in Jerusalem’s fire of 586 with these men's names and their father's name written in ancient Hebrew exactly as recorded in Jeremiah 38:1. They were found in 2005 and 2008. (Details here and here. See image here.)

Proverb

"Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife."
- Proverbs 17:1

Coach’s Corner

Do not let yourself be addicted to anything. Maintain control by protecting your freedom to 
choose…and, then choose life and choose what is right. 

Genesis 19
New International Version (NIV)
Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed
19 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.
12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”
14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
16 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. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! 19 Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”
21 He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)
23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
27 Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.
29 So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.
Lot and His Daughters
30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.”
33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.
Job 9
New International Version (NIV)
Job
Then Job replied:

“Indeed, I know that this is true.     But how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God?

Though they wished to dispute with him,     they could not answer him one time out of a thousand.

His wisdom is profound, his power is vast.     Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?

He moves mountains without their knowing it     and overturns them in his anger.

He shakes the earth from its place     and makes its pillars tremble.

He speaks to the sun and it does not shine;     he seals off the light of the stars.

He alone stretches out the heavens     and treads on the waves of the sea.

He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,     the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,     miracles that cannot be counted.
11 
When he passes me, I cannot see him;     when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.
12 
If he snatches away, who can stop him?     Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’
13 
God does not restrain his anger;     even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet.
14 
“How then can I dispute with him?     How can I find words to argue with him?
15 
Though I were innocent, I could not answer him;     I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.
16 
Even if I summoned him and he responded,     I do not believe he would give me a hearing.
17 
He would crush me with a storm     and multiply my wounds for no reason.
18 
He would not let me catch my breath     but would overwhelm me with misery.
19 
If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty!     And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him?
20 
Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me;     if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.
21 
“Although I am blameless,     I have no concern for myself;     I despise my own life.
22 
It is all the same; that is why I say,     ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
23 
When a scourge brings sudden death,     he mocks the despair of the innocent.
24 
When a land falls into the hands of the wicked,     he blindfolds its judges.     If it is not he, then who is it?
25 
“My days are swifter than a runner;     they fly away without a glimpse of joy.
26 
They skim past like boats of papyrus,     like eagles swooping down on their prey.
27 
If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint,     I will change my expression, and smile,’
28 
I still dread all my sufferings,     for I know you will not hold me innocent.
29 
Since I am already found guilty,     why should I struggle in vain?
30 
Even if I washed myself with soap     and my hands with cleansing powder,
31 
you would plunge me into a slime pit     so that even my clothes would detest me.
32 
“He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him,     that we might confront each other in court.
33 
If only there were someone to mediate between us,     someone to bring us together,
34 
someone to remove God’s rod from me,     so that his terror would frighten me no more.
35 
Then I would speak up without fear of him,     but as it now stands with me, I cannot.
Genesis 16-17
New International Version (NIV)
Hagar and Ishmael
16 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.
Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
“Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”
11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:
“You are now pregnant     and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael,     for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 
He will be a wild donkey of a man;     his hand will be against everyone     and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility     toward all his brothers.”
13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.
The Covenant of Circumcision
17 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”
Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”
19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” 22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.
23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, 25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen; 26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day. 27 And every male in Abraham’s household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.


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