Posted by: Larry Hoekman | November 24, 2017

Learning From Others — It’s a Dream Not a Plan!

Day 2912: Another Friday for TGIF – Thank God I’m Forgiven!!!

Scripture: Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Please listen to this dream which I have had.” Genesis 3:5,6

Thoughts/questions: There are quite a few famous dreams and two of those include Joseph’s dreams and the dream of Martin Luther King. Although King’s dream wasn’t a night time dream, both men’s dreams guided their lives and both dreams were met with opposition.

For both, the dream created their life plan; rather than their plan becoming some sort of dream.  We tend to plan and make carefully thought out decisions which most would agree with. But remember, King stated, “I have a dream!” not ‘I have a plan!’

What’s your dream? If you don’t have one, is it because it was once there but faded into oblivion or maybe you think your dream would be ridiculed like the dreams of Joseph and King? There are times we need to dream more and plan less.

God puts dreams into our lives for a reason! Don’t minimize them. Your personal dreams are part of why God has you here! Dream big! Live large! God has big plans for you!

Suggested Prayer: Almighty God, let my dreams be Your dreams for me . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | November 23, 2017

Personal Sharing — Consistent Thankfulness!

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | November 22, 2017

Personal Sharing — Thankful for What???

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | November 21, 2017

Personal Sharing — Hypocrisy Or ?

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | November 20, 2017

Learning From Others — The Oak of Weeping!

Day 2908: Please pray for Max, my Chinese friend and head of b’ball in his city of 10 million. He’s just heard about Jesus for the first time in the last few weeks, and we met and talked yesterday!

Scripture:  Soon after this, Rebekah’s old nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried beneath the oak tree in the valley below Bethel. Ever since, the tree has been called Allon-bacuth (which means “oak of weeping”). Genesis 35:8

Thoughts/questions: Rebekah’s nurse, Deborah, is probably mentioned earlier in Genesis when Rebekah moved to marry Isaac and took her nurse, probably Deborah . Her life isn’t mentioned, but her death is as kind of a stand alone verse – why? And where she was buried was called the ‘oak of weeping’ – again, why?

As to the first why – something about her must have been important, but we’re left to conjecture about how. But we do know weeping was associated with her, and I’ll apply two reasons for that. 1) Her personal weeping. By traveling alone with Rebekah to a new land, her sole focus would be on Rebekah and her well being. And Rebekah’s life was filled with highs and lows.

The joy of Rebekah’s pregnancy and resulting twins followed by joy when the estranged brothers reunited. In between however, were many sorrows. Rebecca’s lies, the ups and downs of both Esau and Jacob, Jacob’s multiple wives and Esau marrying two wives outside of the Jewish community. Plenty of times of weeping for Deborah.

2) People wept for her! Her graveside ceremony must have been filled with tears for this beloved woman! So what do we learn? 1) God chose to note in His book a woman who exhibited compassion throughout life – do we? 2) We should live our lives so that tears of sorrow fill the eyes of those who remain – are we?

Jesus and Deborah both shed tears and later had tears shed for them. May our lives be the same!

Suggested Prayer: Oh Lord, give me a life where I impact others and have a heart of compassion . . . 

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | November 18, 2017

Personal Sharing — Oh How Things Can Change . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | November 17, 2017

Biblical Phrases — You Are Worthy!

Day 2906: May your Friday not get in your way of serving others! It’s all about them/Him!

Scripture: You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things; by Your will they exist, and came to be. Revelation 4:11  And they sang a new song, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.  Revelation 5:9

Thoughts/questions:  Those of us in the U.S. are preparing for Thanksgiving. The ones we are thankful to are worthy of our giving thanks to them. However, in reality we are unworthy; He is worthy! That pretty much says it all.

Part of the definition of worthy is simply ‘good enough.’ That may seem so minimal, but after considering it a bit, it fits as it depends what you are good enough for. Good enough to do X, then you’re worthy to take on the task of doing X!

If you haven’t read Revelation 5 recently, it is well worth (yes, that was intentional!) the read, as Jesus is singled out as the only one in heaven or earth who was/is ‘good enough’ to do the required task. Yes, He is good enough!

Have you received Him as the One who is good enough to be your Savior and Lord? If not, do so today!

Suggested Prayer: Dear Jesus, You truly are worthy of all of my praise and all of my thanks . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | November 16, 2017

Learning From Others — Lust and Revenge!

Day 2905: A week from today in the U.S. – Thanksgiving!!!

Scripture:  Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, was raped by Shechem, whose father was Hamor. Jacob and Dinah’s brothers found out about it and concocted a plan of revenge. As the leader of the Hivites, Hamor responded to his son’s request to have Dinah become his wife, contrary to what God had commanded His people, by asking for a truce with both peoples living together and inter marrying. Jacob’s sons agreed with the condition that the males become as one by having all the Hivite males circumcised. Shechem’s lust to have Dinah for his wife caused them to agree. The third day following the procedure with all the men in pain, two of Dinah’s brothers snuck into the Hivite city and killed every male including Hamor and Shechem, and they also looted the land.   The account of Genesis 34

Thoughts/questions: Wow! First thing – this should have never happened had Laban been honest and not required Jacob to take Leah first before marrying Rachel, as Dinah was Leah’s daughter – amazing what happens after one chooses to deceive.

A tragedy driven by lust. Shechem’s lust lead him to rape and then to the ultimate destruction of all the Hivite males. We’d never do that, or would we? The sexual urge in humans is strong and can be fertile ground for challenging temptation. Our current lust issues have resulted in an excessive number of couples living together, adultery, divorce, pornography, sexual perversions, and many who stop their commitment to God to give themselves freedom of sexual expression.

If this has become an issue with you, learn from Genesis 34! If not, be thankful and do not let lust conceive ANY of the above problems. Do not be deceived into thinking lust can be satisfied – it always wants more! Attack lust as an major enemy and seek God’s help in this area EVERY day!

Suggested Prayer: Lord God, help me to understand the destructive power of lust and to avoid it at all costs . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | November 15, 2017

Learning From Others — Laban’s Lies!

Day 2904: Holidays are coming! Be at peace!!!

Scripture: So Jacob served seven years for Rachel. And it came about in the evening that Laban took his other daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob. But Laban said, “It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the first-born. You, Jacob, shall serve me for another seven years and I will give you Rachel. Excerpts from Genesis 29:20-27  (God was blessing Jacob’s flocks and stated this) “For I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you.”  Genesis 31:12b

Thoughts/questions: Sometimes it feels as if God is clueless as to our situation, and His attention has gone to others. I’m sure Jacob felt this way. He worked seven long years for Rachel, got Leah instead. Then worked seven more years for Rachel and made a deal with Laban to take only the imperfect sheep and goats. Two wives and the poorest of the herds was all he had to show for 14 long years. God didn’t seem to care.

But Jacob’s herds grew and Laban began to lose what he had. God then told Jacob that He had been observing his situation all along, and was now blessing Jacob while Laban was also reaping what he had sown.

God IS watching! He IS taking notes! It may not be for a few years, but He WILL respond to those who treat us unfairly. Whether it be a family member, friend, business associate or whomever, don’t take revenge into your own hands or act unbecomingly. God sees and will take care of you and them in His time! Trust and be patient!

Suggested Prayer: Father God, when people cheat me or treat me inappropriately, help me to maintain my integrity and trust You to take care of it all . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | November 14, 2017

Learning From Others — Family Priority?

Day 2903: May the Lord use you to be a blessing to someone today!

Scripture:  And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.”  Genesis 20:2a  And when the men of the place asked about Isaac’s wife, Isaac said, “She is my sister.”  Genesis 26:7a  And Rebekah was listening while Isaac spoke to his son, Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game to bring home, Rebekah said to her son, Jacob – (she told him to pretend he was Esau) Genesis 27: 5, 6a

Thoughts/questions: Family is so important, yet just how do we balance our inherent love for family with our commitment to Christ. Some have said that the most challenging idol facing Christ followers is family.

Our founding fathers lied and mislead others in regards to family to obtain what they wanted. I’ve known many a Mom that takes the ‘mother bear’ stance regarding not just any kids, but only her own. Others take the ‘blood is thicker than water’ to an extreme. So, what are we to do?

It has been said that our priorities should be JOY – Jesus, Others, then You. Certainly family would rank right at the top of the ‘others’ list, but NOT above Jesus. When faced with family issues, we are to retain our testimony and Christ like character at all times, as we consider our spiritual family as well as our physical family.

Let us all commit to not make our family an idol in our lives! Jesus, Family, Others and You!!! Jesus first!

Suggested Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me not to prioritize family over You . . .

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