Genesis 37 - Key


And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;

I noticed how Joseph was destined to be killed, but the goat was killed instead of him, and the goat's blood was like a substitute for his blood. That reminded me of how Jesus Christ dying and shedding his blood on the cross is like the sacrifice of a lamb, a substitute for our sins.


And he knew it, and said, [It is] my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.

Jacob assumed those things, but he was mistaken. I'll work on not being a pessimist.


Genesis 35 - Outline

a calling to be clean from sin
the journey to Bethel
God spoke to Jacob
different names from different perspectives
Reuben did a sinful thing, and Jacob heard of it
the sons of Jacob
Isaac died and Jacob and Esau buried him


give service in love

2 Corinthians 9


Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

When we serve the Lord, He doesn't require us to make ourselves miserable about what we're doing. It doesn't make us more holy to give more than we want to, and to be sad about it. He wants us to set a purpose in our hearts, and serve according to that purpose. We should be cheerful about serving the Lord and other people out of love.


2 Corinthians 8


For [I mean] not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:

When we give money to people for the Lord, the intention isn't that we end up with less than we need, ourselves. People who have more than they need, are supposed to give cheerfully to people who need more than they have.

The Lord doesn't give us more than we need so we can have more than we need. He gives it to us so we can have the blessing of giving it to others who are in need of it.

Now some people disagree with my opinion, but I don't feel that people in the Church who are in need, or in debt, should generally give to others who aren't as much. Why should a person who already might find himself on the receiving end of charity, give away even more money, when it isn't really necessary? For there to be equality, the money would only end up being given back. Wouldn't it be more efficient if the relatively rich people were more generous, and the relatively needy people were more humble, and willing to receive?

We shouldn't give more than our means, feeling like we have to. We shouldn't feel like God wants us to feel bad when we give, like He would be pleased with that. We're supposed to be cheerful givers.


godly sorrow vs. worldly sorrow

2 Corinthians 7


For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

There's two different kinds of sadness, the sadness of the world, which just brings about some kind of death, and godly sadness, which brings about repentance. Being sad in a God-like way is worthwhile, because it leads to being saved in some way, a way that we won't regret.

We should be willing to go through the sadness that's necessary to be like the Lord. Maybe it means we have to give up some sinful pleasures. Maybe it means we have to confess some shameful sin that we'd rather not admit. It's going to be well worth it.

For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge! In all [things] ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.


1 Timothy 1 - Key


According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

On one hand, the gospel is about grace, not about laws of what we can and can't do to be righteous. On the other hand, there is a righteous manner of life that's in accordance with the gospel. And, we should have good teaching about sin and righteousness.

Philippians 1:27
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

This means that we should Behave in a way that's suitable to the gospel. We've received salvation through the gospel, and now we should live in a manner worthy of it.


Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did [it] ignorantly in unbelief.

When I've fallen into sin, I won't think, I've already sinned anyway, so I might as well stop trying to do what's right. I'll get back up and do what's right when I have a chance.


come out and be separate

2 Corinthians 6


Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,

We miss out on great opportunities by dirtying ourselves with doing bad things. If we would be willing to give up sinful pleasures, we could enter into awesome rewards. We should strive to really follow the Lord's right ways, and we won't be disappointed!

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.


Genesis 34 - Key


And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I [being] few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.

This chapter is mostly about Shechem's problem, but Simeon and Levi also had a problem. They had an anger problem.


Genesis 49:5-7

Simeon and Levi [are] brethren; instruments of cruelty [are in] their habitations.

O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.

Cursed [be] their anger, for [it was] fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

It's easy to fall into acting or speaking angrily toward people, but that's not what the Lord wants us to do. This week, I'll work on not speaking angrily to my family.


Revelation 9 - Key


And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:

Despite all these terrible plagues, the ungodly still didn't repent. We should be repenting from our sin now, while we can quit while we're ahead!



I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

I'm going to not just try to do what's right and try not to sin, but I'm going to change my attitude about right and wrong. I'll work on hating sin, and taking pleasure in righteousness.


Genesis 34 - Outline

Dinah was in the wrong place at the wrong time
Shechem might have thought he just did "one little sin," but it ended up creating a huge fiasco
Shechem got things in the wrong order: first he took Dinah, and then he asked about marrying her
Shechem and his father Hamor came to Jacob and his sons, and asked them for Dinah
Jacob's sons were angry, so they deceitfully promised to give Dinah if all of the men in the city would get circumcised
Shechem and Hamor convinced all of the men in the city to get circumcised, playing on their greed, and promising them all of Jacob's stuff (v23)
when the men were sore from getting circumcised, Simeon and Levi massacred the city and took everything
Jacob rebuked his sons for ruining the family reputation


Revelation 9 - Outline

the falling star with the key to the bottomless pit
the permissions of the locusts out of the bottomless pit
the description of the locusts out of the bottomless pit
the time to loose the angels bound in the Euphrates river
the description of the army of the horsemen
the people who survived still didn't repent from all these sins


knowing the terror of God

2 Corinthians 5


Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

We should take preaching the gospel seriously. Not that we need to try to scare people or force them to convert, but we should recognize the reality of what's at stake. We should share in a caring way, but not in such a passive way that we've forgotten that the gospel means life or death.


Colossians 4 - Key


Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

Redeeming the time means realizing the value of our time, and extracting the most real value out of it as we can. It's like buying up our opportunities, while we have them. We should make the best of all the time that we have, and not waste any.


Even though I'm just doing my own business for the beginning of this summer, I can see that I still need to have a good schedule in order to be redeeming the time. That doesn't mean I need a schedule so strict that it's impossible for me to keep, or that I can't ever take a break or have any fun-- but, I shouldn't be lazy, either. So, I'll start keeping a good schedule now.


Colossians 4 - Outline

treat servants fairly
continue in prayer
we ought to speak of Christ
redeeming the time
speech with grace
salutations and greetings
messages from Paul


Genesis 33 - Key


And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

Jacob went to great lengths to humble himself and make peace with his brother. We should be meek, and selfless, and be willing to go the extra mile to be peacemakers.


Proverbs 6:3
Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.

If a family member does something bad to me, I'll work on returning good back to them anyway.


Revelation 8 - Key


And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

I think of the passage in Isaiah, where Isaiah saw the Lord, and cried, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips... (Isaiah 6:5). And then one of the seraphims laid a live coal on his mouth, that he had taken with tongs from off the alter, and Isaiah's sin was purged. I think about how when we don't know what to pray exactly right, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans that cannot be pronounced (Romans 8:26).

The censer makes me think of the Lord's will. The Lord taught His people to pray, ...Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. (Matthew 6:10b). The censer being filled with fire makes me think of Spirit-filled prayer, that we pray, in holiness, according to the Lord's will.

(Revelation 8) v5
And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast [it] into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

When the censer was thrown into the earth, I think of all of the unfulfilled prayer being fulfilled at once. One day we'll no longer need the same kind of prayer, with the Lord's people on earth praying to Him in heaven, because we will be with Him where He is, and see Him face to face. I think about all the things we pray now-a-days, and many of them we don't see fulfilled the way we think or desire, but we're taught to be patient and wait for the Lord. If they were all, finally fulfilled, wouldn't it shake the earth?


Jeremiah 33:3
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Realizing that I pray to a living, all-powerful God, and He will answer and grant my requests, I'll pray, more often, with real fervor and passion.


Genesis 33 - Outline

Jacob humbled himself greatly to find favor with Esau
Jacob called the people that were with him, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant
Jacob insisting on giving Esau a great gift
Esau tried to get Jacob to come back with him, but Jacob sneakily devised a way to stay independent
Jacob stayed by Shechem and built an altar there


Revelation 8 - Outline

great suspense, before the seven trumpets
incense, prayers, and fire, thrown into the earth with incredible consequences
angel #1: fire and blood burnt up part of the plants
angel #2: a mountain burning with fire turned part of the ocean to blood
angel #3: wormwood made part of the rivers and springs bitter and deadly
angel #4: part of the sun, moon, and stars, were smitten and became dark
warning of 3 woes from the the last three trumpets


treasure in earthen vessels

2 Corinthians 4


For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is renewed day by day.

When hard and sad things happen to us as people, and we still have hope and follow the Lord, it's a testimony that there's something amazing at work inside of us, and that everlasting heavenly things are real. Let's be diligent to continue on and serve the Lord and do what's right, despite our relatively light disappointments and weariness.


Colossians 3 - Key


Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

To escape the list of sins in Colossians 3, we should set our affection on heavenly things. We should take off the sinful things like lies, and put on the heavenly things, like thankfulness.


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

One good, heavenly thing to put on instead of sin, is singing songs of praise to the Lord. I'll sing hymns more often, like on the way to places, with people, in the car.


Colossians 3 - Outline

our focus should be on the eternal things in heaven
because he's coming and again and we'll be with Him
put off all these
put on the new man
good behavior to put on
special instructions to wives, husbands, children, fathers, and servants
we'll get rewarded for what we do, one way or another


Genesis 32 - Key


And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob [is] behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.

I think Jacob did a wise thing. He did what he could to make peace with his brother, and he prayed and asked the Lord for help with the situation. We should trust the Lord and call on Him to help us, but we should also be faithful to do the right thing as well as we can.


Proverbs 16:9
A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

First, I should ask the Lord for wisdom about things. But then, if no special revelation comes, sometimes it's also OK to try to make some good plans for the future.

When I pray for the Lord's help in situations, I'll also do the best I can to do what He wants me to do in those situations.


Genesis 32 - Outline

Jacob met God's host of angels, on his way
Jacob sent a message to find grace with Esau
Jacob got a dreadful sounding response back, and divided his people so some could escape
Jacob humbly prayed to the Lord, praised Him, told Him how he felt, and reminded Him of His promises
Jacob was willing to give up a great amount as a gift to find favor with his brother
Jacob, alone, wrestled with the Lord or the Lord's representative at Peniel
the children of Israel changed their eating habits because the Lord made Jacob's thigh out of joint


we preach Christ

2 Corinthians 4


For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

When we preach the gospel, it's not that we're some great people, and people need to come to us. We declare Christ, and we should be humble, like servants, to the people we're going out to.

Let's make sure that we're talking about the Lord when we preach the gospel, not bragging about ourselves.


the new contract

2 Corinthians 3


Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

We don't preach for people to keep the old testament law. It's a good thing, but it's there to show that all have sinned, and that the wages of sin is death. It's there to point people to Christ.

I don't think having the Holy Spirit is about keeping a bunch of outward do's and don'ts. It's about serving each other and being like Him.

[Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.


to preach Christ's gospel

2 Corinthians 2


For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

When we preach the gospel, let's make sure we're doing it sincerely, realizing that the Lord is watching.

For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?

I saw that, to some extent, Paul's joy and sorrow was tied up with the joy and sorrow of the Lord's people that he loved. (Of course, though, our feelings aren't supposed to be completely bound to other people, because our joy is ultimately based on the Lord.) We should really care about other people.

When we're sharing the gospel, or, especially, when we're discipling people, we should have a lot of true care for them. And we should show it by speaking the Word purely and faithfully.


Colossians 2 - Key


As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him:

We should walk with the Lord, continuing with Him in the things we already know He wants us to do.


I've known the Lord doesn't want me to waste time entertaining myself when I'm supposed to do other things. I worked really hard on that while I was taking classes, but now that they're over I fell back into it more. I'll still continue working on not wasting time.


Colossians 2 - Outline

have unity and be completely sure of Jesus Christ because wisdom is in Him
don't be deceived by people's philosophies-- Christ, the way we received Him, is enough
the way we've received Christ, we don't need the law of ordinances like circumcision, or intruding into things about other spiritual beings
the old testament laws about eating, and drinking, and observing days, are not an end in themselves; they're there to point to Christ
true wisdom and reward comes from holding up Christ Himself, not people's teachings about outward behaviors


Genesis 31 - Key


And ye know that with all my power I have served your father.

Serving other people like this, is a way to serve the Lord. We should serve others with all of our power.


I'll do the best I can with serving my family, like with making supper.


Revelation 7 - Key


And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

It's easy to say, Yes, I'd die for the Lord, but do we live for the Lord? How do we expect to overcome in the great tribulation if we're not being faithful in the little things, today? It won't be any easier in that day.


For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

It's a great privilege to be a servant of the Lamb, and He's promised great rewards for it. We should be the Lord's servants, even in our little tribulations today.

Since I finished school, I've been taking it easy and letting my schedule slip. I think some of that is OK, but I've been starting to see the need to have a more regular schedule anyway. I'll serve the Lord by managing my time better, even though I'm taking a little break right now.

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