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  1. As Laban changed the terms of his agreement, Jacob noticed that the characteristics of his animal's offspring would change and favor himself. This outcome went well beyond Jacob's husbandry expertise, which yielded simply variegated lambs and kids
  2. God has huge plans for Jacob (see Genesis 28:13-15), but first he has some character building to do. Through Laban, God is teaching Jacob "the law of the harvest"... that you reap what you sew. Jacob has sewn deceit and his crop has ripened. What will Jacob sew next season? Click HERE to sponsor a child today
  3. WOW! Talk about a "fear of the LORD" moment. Imagine being Jacob. All you life your Father has told you of the promises God made to Abraham, but apart from those stories, Jacob lived far from those promises. Forever at odds with his brother Esau... conniving the birthright and his Father's blessings... and now on the run from certain death at the hands of his vengeance seeking brother. Then God intercedes in a dream, reinforcing the promises that Jacob recalls from his Father's teaching. God IS present, and near. Jacob hears that he is now the promise carrier, and that God's provision and protection are securely upon him. Dad's stories were true. His casual belief has become real, and Jacob's conversion is every bit as dramatic as Saul's. Click HERE to sponsor a child today
  4. Issac had already conveyed the blessings that Jacob's birthright inferred. Issac wasn't going to reverse himself. Further he had opportunity to see Esau's heart... through the Hittite wives he had married and his threats to kill Jacob. Clearly it seemed that God had chosen Jacob to bear the blessings promised to Abraham and his descendants. Click HERE to sponsor a child today
  5. As parents we need to recognize that our children are different
  6. When Isaac discovered the ruse, he would not reverse the blessing
  7. We don't know how God intended to ensure that that Jacob would rule over Esau. But we can be sure He didn't ordain it through deceit, lies and collusion. While God uses both good and bad to bring His promises to light, our choice of actions in response serve to reveal that which is in our hearts. Until we are all swept into Heaven, we will never know Rebekah's heart with certainty. Did she act out of pride for her beloved Jacob... did she fear that God had ordained her to see his prophecy come to pass... were there other motivations? We just don't know. But we do know that neither Rebekah nor Jacob acted in a manner which would bring honor and glory to their LORD. Click HERE to sponsor a child today
  8. Rebekah inquired of the LORD and listened for His response. Yet, like Abraham before her, she felt compelled to move the LORD's prophesy forward through her own actions. Issac too, was a spiritual, leading his family in prayer for a son
  9. Esau set aside his God-given preeminence as Isaac's first-born son. He spurned God's gift in exchange for the pleasures of his flesh. Like the one who discovered treasure in the field and sold all he had to acquire that field, Jacob was quick to take advantage of Esau's flesh and secure his future. Click HERE to sponsor a child today
  10. What character flaws does Diotrephes exhibit?He is an unyielding, self-centered, power-mongering control freak, who has supplanted Jesus saying, "no one comes to the Father except through me" — after all "I know best" Can a person be a strong pastoral leader without developing these traits?Certainly, but it takes humility, selflessness and prayer. If you have tendencies in yourself towards pride and a controlling spirit, how can you fight against them?First of all you have to recognize your faults, and have a teachable heart. Repentance, prayer and submission to God's leading can then bear fruit. Click HERE to sponsor a child today
  11. [*]What are the reasons given in these verses for supporting Christian workers in their ministry?John exhorts us to support our Christian brothers because it was for the sake of Jesus that they went out... they are His ambassadors. Through our support of them, we show our love for Him. [*]What reward comes with becoming a "co-worker," by assisting Christian workers?Co-workers, are partners
  12. [*]Why does the Apostle John tell his readers to refuse hospitality to the false teachers?When a false teacher is invited to speak, the church, in the name of "tolerance" and "inclusion", implicitly sanctions what is said. This presents a stumbling block for less mature believers, as well has mature believers who are experiencing seasons of suffering and struggling with God's "absence" in their lives. As a result, some fall prey to disbelief. [*]What would refusing hospitality mean for a congregation (as opposed to an individual)?At a congregational level, refusing hospitality protects the church from the distortions of false teachers. At an individual level, refusing hospitality (shelter, food, clothing) runs counter to Christ's commandment that we love one another. [*]What is the border between tolerance and stupidity, when it comes to false teachers?When it comes to false teachers, tolerance = stupidity. [*]Do the divisions of denominationalism find justification in this verse? Why or why not?For the most part, Christian denominational differences are based on minor differences. It has often been said: On the "Majors"
  13. [*]What is the danger of "running ahead" of Christ's teachings to "deeper truths"?The danger is that we will run away from Christ's teachings
  14. Why does John exhort his "children" to "keep yourselves from idols"?John has told us that there is only one true God, and he came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, fully man and and fully God, co-equal/co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. "You shall have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3 What idols distract us from the true God? What idols compete with God for attention in your life?Power, status, money, our children, our career, affirmation, pride... are everyday idols in the lives of Christians and non-Christians alike. My idols... well to differing degrees they are represented by that list. Click HERE to sponsor a child today
  15. What are the two conditions to answered prayer in 1 John?Our obedience and God's will. How do we determine God's will so that we can pray boldly, confidently?God's will is revealed through His Word. When we read and study the Bible, the Holy Spirit aligns our will to His. How often will our prayers be answered when our main motive is to achieve our will?Uhhhh.... NEVER! Click HERE to sponsor a child today
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