Good Stuff

Today I read: Genesis 1-2:3

I guess you can call me a liberal creationist. I won’t argue about how He did it. 6 literal days or a few billion years? Did He use evolution as a means to create? When did the dinosaurs come into play? (and were they dizzy, dizzy?) All interesting questions and okay to debate, but I don’t want to put God in a box.

I don’t read Genesis 1 and 2 as a science textbook. The creation story, to me, is less about the process of creation and more about revealing who our God is. A God who turns chaos into something wonderful. A God who is creative, but not without order. An artist who carefully plans out His work.

And the best part? He creates good stuff. “It is good,” He says over and over. God made good stuff for us to enjoy. And WE are the very good stuff. YOU are the very good stuff.

Now that’s good stuff. 🙂

Confessions of Angry (And Justifiably So) Brothers

Today I Read: Genesis 37.


(“Gee… Maybe I shouldn’t
have been such a jerk to
my brothers…”)

Gregory Maguire (author of Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, among others) has a knack for flipping well-known fairy tales on their head.  The lines begin to blur and you wonder, “Who’s really the good guy and bad guy here?”

If there’s one thing I hope people get from this blog, it’s that the Bible is full of stories of broken, messed up people that God chooses to love and work through.

I really admire Joseph. He trusted God in the darkest of times. He had integrity. He stood strong in the face of sexual temptation (and was promptly punished for it). But… He was also kinda a punk.

Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son. He really couldn’t help that, given that he was the firstborn of Jacob’s favorite wife. But he sure did know how to add wood to the fire.

When we first meet Joseph he is tattling on his brothers. From there, he brags about dreams he has – dreams of him being in power over his brothers. It seemed he loved to strut his stuff and flaunt. His brothers are so enraged that they hatch a plan to kill him. They don’t end up going that far… They just sell him into slavery.

Were they right in doing so?


Can I understand their anger?


For those who don’t know, I have Cerebral Palsy. Admittedly, my disability has led to many people going easy on me or giving me the upper hand. Just today, I spilled my sweet tea at a movie theater and some lady got up and bought me a new one (for the entire movie I was petrified that I would spill it again and cause a raucous.)

I’m sure that for my 2 sisters, growing up with me as their brother made things difficult at times. Like Joseph, some of it was out of my hands. People will react however they will react. But also like Joseph, there were [are] times I strutted, taking advantage of my situation.

This chapter shows me how damaging pride can be. I really do believe it was pride that made Joseph a showoff. Pride wrecks relationships. And I’m so prone to it.

When pride creeps up, I want to kill it.

The Lord Is In This Place

Today I Read: Genesis 28

I’ve heard the story of Jacob many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever realized or appreciated how much of a redemption story it is.

As I’ve said before, Jacob was a scoundrel. He tricked his brother out of a birthright and blessing. He’s the kind of person that makes non-Christians want to steer clear of Christians. But here’s something I never really considered: I’m not sure if ol’ Jake really cared much for God in his early years.

When Jacob robs Esau of his blessing by duping his father, he doesn’t just lie. He uses God in his deception. Look at this exchange in Chapter 27:

18 He went to his father and said, “My father.”

“Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?”

19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”

20 Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”

“The Lord your God gave me success,” he replied.

Ouch. Jacob knew dad was the religious type, so he just used God to explain everything away… As one commentary I read says, this was clearly using the Lord’s name in vain.

Jacob gets the blessing, but is then forced to flee from an angry Esau. He sets off for his uncle’s and has to travel through a desert. When it becomes night he stops for a rest. He puts a stone under his head and lays down to sleep.

I wonder if, as Jacob looked up at the stars that night, he had one of those “How did I get here?” moments. All his tricks had finally caught up to him. He got what he wanted, but his future was now looking bleak.

It was in that moment that God tenderly came to him. Not with a punishment, but with a promise. God was still with him. God still chose Jacob, even when Jacob didn’t choose God. God was still with him.

Jacob woke up a changed man. He knew something he never knew before. “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it,” he says.

I wonder how many people are not aware that God is with them.

I wonder how many people forget that God is with them. I know I do.

My heart breaks for people who are in the desert and are about to give up. Please don’t.

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, where you find yourself, or how bleak things may seem. The Lord is in this place.

Song of The Day: Seasons Of Love.

The God of Liars, Cowards, & Deceivers

I’m halfway through my reading of Genesis and one thing is clear: God sure knows how to pick ’em.

Genesis often refers to God as “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” This was the patriarch that God chose to build a nation through – a nation He would use to bless all other nations. But these guys hardly seem deserving. You might as well say, “The God of Liars, Cowards, & Deceivers.”

A quick rundown: Abraham was impatient and literally laughed in God’s face. He also was in the habit of tricking other men into believing his wife was his sister so that if they wanted her, they wouldn’t kill him (real chivalrous…). Isaac was passive and let his wife and kids push him around constantly. His conflict-avoidance tendencies led to much family drama. And Jacob was a straight up scoundrel who was constantly deceiving others to get his way.


(“Hungry? I’ll make ya some stew!“)

The fact that God used these 3 clowns to bring about His plans gives me great comfort, because I’m certainly no better than them. In fact, there is one quality in them that I greatly admire and want to cultivate in myself: They continued to follow God, even when they messed up. God kept pursuing them, and they kept pursuing God. Abraham kept believing God’s promises. Isaac kept praising God. Jacob kept wrestling with God. In their brokenness, they still allowed God to use them… And God did!

Christian Bale made waves and caused some frowns in the Christian community a few weeks ago when he gave his opinion on Moses. “I think the man was likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life,” he said.

Was Moses a barbaric schizophrenic? I don’t know.

If he was, then it gives me hope. If God used a barbaric schizophrenic to save a nation, then what will he do with me?

Abraham Has Ants In His Pants

Today I Read: Genesis 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 (later called Abraham) was a man of great faith, but even he got antsy.


Abram and Sarai were childless. That can be a heartbreaking reality for couples even today. Abram seemed resigned to this fate, but in Genesis 15 God promises him a son – an heir of his own flesh and blood. And, to Abram’s credit, he genuinely believes this promise.

But 10 years pass and things haven’t changed. Abram and Sarai are growing restless. So Sarai hatches a plan to “help” God out. She tells Abram to conceive a child with Hagar, her maidservant (how desperate must she have been to suggest to her husband to sleep with another woman?). And Abram, being the strong leader he is [sarcasm!], sits on his hands and complies.

[BTW, some people think the Bible is just a book full of heroes who did everything right. It mostly gives us examples of what not to do.]

This decision had disastrous consequences. It led to jealously and abuse toward Hagar. It led to a broken home for Ishmael, the baby. It led to further delay of a promise, like when you take a shortcut to your friend’s birthday party and get so lost that by the time you arrive all the ice cream cake is gone. You should have stuck to the main roads. But I love that in His grace, God showed tenderness to Hagar and blessed Ishmael.

This story is a great reminder to me of how fickle I can be. I can believe God – genuinely, truly believe him – yet still get ants in my pants and try to control outcomes.

Questions I’m Pondering: How have I tried to “help” God out in the past? What blessings did it delay?

In Other News: This happened. Really.

Song of The Day: Say Goodbye To Hollywood by Billy Joel.