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My Times Are In His Hands: The Secret Of Contentment

My Times Are In His Hands: The Secret Of Contentment

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My Times Are In His Hands: The Secret Of Contentment

953 pagine
12 ore
Aug 21, 2019


Each page of this book is a snapshot of life stories that have impacted a Christian woman. Robyn Bradley is a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, friend and Bible study group leader and mentor. She grew up in suburban Sydney, taught at various country schools in NSW, married and acquired four sons and a foster daughter who, in due course, married and provided her with a number of delightful grandchildren.

From this background of life experiences (hers and others) she has written how God has been her guide and sustainer through life. Taking each day of the year, with a few special days added, she starts with a Bible verse and takes the reader into a different facet of life as a Christian. The joys, the struggles, the highs and the lows are laid out for the encouragement of those who read. Within each of these experiences, Robyn shows how the faithfulness of God is paramount in his dealings with believers.

Robyn encourages her reader to trust in a mighty God who has provided salvation through Jesus Christ and, by his Holy Spirit, enables the believer to live a godly life.

The Christian life is not a monotone of any one feeling or emotion, but is a kaleidoscope of experiences, overlayed with the certainty of God’s love, forgiveness and constant guidance. Robyn has captured many of the situations that we all face and, in ways that are both thoughtful and provocative, challenges us not to give up but to continue to grow our faith in God.

While written by a woman for women, these daily devotions are neither gender nor age specific but will be an encouragement to all, men and women, young and old, to recognise that their times are also in the hand of God for he alone offers eternal hope.

Aug 21, 2019

Informazioni sull'autore

Robyn was a Reading Recovery and Support Teacher. Along the way she completed post graduate Education degrees in Language and Literacy and in Children’s Literature. Now retired, she home schools one of her grandchildren and writes reading programs for children with dyslexia. She lives in Wollongong NSW with her husband Brad. They have four sons and a foster daughter, all of whom have kindly provided them with grandchildren. With her husband she manages the local tennis courts, puppy-raises for Guide Dogs NSW, travels near and far, mostly in their caravan enjoying God’s creation, and is actively involved in the life of their church. She enjoys family time, friendships, reading, crochet, mentoring, walking, cycling and tennis. This is her first foray into book writing. Prior to this, she wrote feature articles for NSW Department of Education and local special focus publications.

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My Times Are In His Hands - Robyn Bradley

The Secret of Contentment

A Year of Daily Devotions

with further Devotions for Special Days

This is an IndieMosh book

brought to you by MoshPit Publishing

an imprint of Mosher’s Business Support Pty Ltd

PO BOX 147

Hazelbrook NSW 2779

Copyright 2019 © Robyn Bradley

All rights reserved

Licence Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favourite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the author and publisher.


Although the author has made every effort to ensure that the information in this book was correct at press time, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.














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To my husband Brian (Brad)

for his sanctified common sense.

To my family,

my greatest joy and legacy.


My thanks to those lovely people who allowed me to share their inspiring stories; stories that demonstrate courage to overcome and faith to endure. Some do not have happy endings, others offer hope in a broken world. The trust of these people humbles me. I hope what I have written does them justice and honours both them and God.

To those wonderful friends, who took time out to check my work for theological accuracy and syntax, while leading their own active lives, my sincere thanks for their efforts and honest critiques. They include Reverend Campbell King and his wife Marcia, Reverend Chris Jolliffe and his wife Narelle, the late Reverend Paul Beringer and his wife Jenny. Their lives lived in the light of the Lord have been an inspiration to us.

My thanks to our children and grandchildren who kept me grounded in life even though I often got distracted. I especially pay tribute to my husband for his patience and understanding, encouragement (to persevere when I became disheartened), his culinary gifts (when I lost track of time while writing), and editing of my work (an immense act of love and service). He has now breathed a sigh of relief! To family members and friends, especially my Bible Study ladies, who spurred me on, my appreciation.

I thank God for his discerning Word, the Bible, that has formed the basis of these devotions, for revealing his plan of salvation for his people, and for enabling them to accomplish the extraordinary in a world of darkness and light, despair and hope, sadness and joy. Many of these people in the Bible were trailblazers in their time, facing huge challenges as they lived their faith in God and his purpose to draw all people to himself. I thank the Lord for his promptings and guidance in writing this book. I ask his forgiveness for the times I have not made him central in my life, and praise him for his incredible love and grace that keeps me focused on him. The best is yet to come!


Ecclesiastes 3:11

He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. NIV®

All of God’s creation is beautiful. He made nothing ugly. He has given order to all things. As the creator and sustainer of our existence he gives our lives meaning and pleasure.

During the 2000 New Year’s Eve celebrations, displaying magnificent fireworks, the ‘Eternity’ sign was showcased in copperplate, and illuminated in lights on the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. A delightful spectacle witnessed by many in Australia and worldwide, it was inspired by Arthur Stace, the reformed alcoholic. What was so amazing was that here was a man, who had been down and out, writing ‘Eternity’ on pavements in beautiful copperplate writing for all passers-by to see and reflect on. After his conversion, Arthur spent the next 35 years of his life devoted to the God who had redeemed him from a life of crime and poverty. He saw this as his personal mission, in grateful response to God for giving him salvation. In 1967, Arthur Stace joined the God he loved in eternity. But what a great legacy he left! Even greater and more awesome is the One who initiated that legacy and gift in the first place, our Father God, who graciously has gifted us with eternity to share with him through Christ’s death and resurrection.

Do you have a longing to know God more, an awareness that part of you is incomplete, and a restless spirit that wonders what life is all about? Perhaps you feel your life lacks direction or purpose. Did you know that God created you to belong to Him? He is our heavenly Father who destined us for eternity, to be with him forever because he loves us. As the author of life, he has set eternity in our hearts so that we would long for, and belong to, him.

If today was your last day on earth, would you be ready to let go and leave? The most important decision we will ever make, in preparing for our final day on earth, is to follow Christ. Have you made that decision? If you want to make the biggest and best lifestyle change, if you want to make a new beginning and allow Jesus Christ to take over your life, why not pray the following prayer? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. For whatever happens, you will live with Christ and die with Christ.

Further Reading: Peter 2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please come into my life. I am sorry for my sins. Forgive me and cleanse me from my sins. I believe that you died in my place to give me eternal life. By faith I receive your gift of salvation and accept you as my Saviour and Lord. Amen.

Know that if you prayed this prayer sincerely and humbly, your life in Christ begins now. The past is past. He has forgiven your sins, begun a healing in you and given you a new start. His Holy Spirit now lives in you and is part of you. But you are a babe in Christ and need to start growing in faith by reading his Word, the Bible, and by praying to the One who has rescued you from the penalty of sin and death. The gospels of John and Mark are good places to start. Join a church that worships the Lord Jesus Christ and tell someone about your newly found faith. Sharing fellowship with other Christians is important, for they can encourage you and walk with you as you grow in Christ.


Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’? CSB®

The ancient serpent called Satan, ‘the one who deceives the whole world’ (Revelation 12:9) CSB® threw doubt into Eve’s mind and lied about what God had said. In fact God had actually said, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden,’ but warned man not to eat fruit from a specific tree, ‘the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ or they would die (Genesis 2:16-17) CSB®. Satan was on a mission to tempt Adam and Eve, undermine their faith and ultimately alienate man from God. When Eve was tempted to disobey God, Satan was quick to weave his poisonous lies and evil deceit around her. No! You will not die, the serpent said to the woman. In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:4-5) CSB®. The Bible then tells us that Eve ‘saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it’ (Genesis 3:6) CSB®.

Immediately their eyes were opened to their monumental sin of disobeying God’s command, so they hid from the Lord God as he walked in the garden. ‘So the LORD God called out to the man and said to him, Where are you? And he said, I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid. Then he asked, Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’ The man blamed Eve who blamed the serpent. ‘The serpent deceived me and I ate. So the Lord God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust …’ (Genesis3:9-14) CSB®. Satan’s question and their response changed the course of human history, for evil entered the world at this point.

During World War II, allied troops serving in the Pacific were subject to propaganda from Japanese radio broadcasters. This was an attempt to lower the morale of our servicemen. Aspersions were cast on their campaigns, the capture of their commanders, the number of prisoners taken, the planes shot down and ships sunk, all to undermine the allied war efforts.

In the same way Satan continues to throw doubt into our minds and undermine our faith, wooing us away from our Christian values. In past years, television shows with adult themes were not allowed to be aired in children’s prime viewing time. Today these shows are allowed, so that only the most vigilant parents can stop the impact they can have on innocent minds. Along with its blessings, advanced technology has produced a new set of evils. Parents and carers battle with monitoring children and teenagers on their screens, where illicit information pops up and where social media provide opportunities for abuse and cyberbullying. Satan still uses the lusts of the world, the flesh and the eyes to seduce, just like he did in the Garden of Eden. As parents, carers and grandparents we need to be vigilant of our loved ones’ usage of technology, to set up blocks and teach them the pitfalls, for they can easily be led astray and become emotionally damaged, in a world where they do not have the maturity to navigate through dangers and temptations.

Further Reading: Genesis 3; John 2:15-17

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us not to be seduced by the world’s attempt to corrupt minds and hearts. May we be active in guarding our youth’s innocence. Amen.


Genesis 3:12-13

The man replied (to God), The woman you gave to be with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate. So the LORD God asked the woman, What is this you have done? And the woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate. CSB®

In one act of rebellion by Adam and Eve, who were the very pinnacle of God’s creation, God’s perfect world was spoilt. With horrific consequences as God acts in judgement on his people, the fellowship between human beings and God is broken, relationships between men women are broken, the harmony between man and creation is destroyed and the spread of sin and death is a natural corollary.

Satan the great deceiver, father of all lies, disguised as a crafty serpent, had set out to woo Eve into doubting God her Creator, then into eating the forbidden fruit of the tree which she then passed on to Adam. This was a test for Adam and Eve and they failed. Once Satan’s arrows found their mark in Eve’s heart she was lost: she saw that the fruit of the tree was good, pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom. Once this fruit was eaten, sin and death entered the world.

The result of their disobedience was that all was revealed. They became ashamed of their nakedness, alienated from God. The garden, once a place of joy and fellowship with God, became a place of fear, as they tried to hide from God. The sad part about this was that Eve blamed the serpent for causing her to disobey God and Adam blamed Eve. No one took responsibility for his/her own sin. God gave Eve a chance, then Adam, to admit their culpability, to confess their sin and regain fellowship with God, but this didn’t happen, and the consequences were catastrophic for them and for generations to come. But God in his infinite mercy provided the means of grace to humanity. God said, Because you have done this … I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel (Genesis 3:14-15) CSB®. The seed of woman would produce the Messiah, God’s rescue plan for mankind. Satan would hurt Jesus on the cross but, through Jesus’ death and resurrection, Satan would be defeated. Satan has been given notice, for when Christ returns he will be utterly destroyed.

When one of my mischievous sons was in trouble, at an early age, he used to say, The devil made me do it. I always explained that he alone was responsible for his wrong actions, that the devil can tempt you to do the wrong thing, but you can always resist and he will back off (James 4:7). Finally when he knew he couldn’t get away with it, he stopped using it as an excuse, took responsibility for his actions and said he was sorry. What do we use as our excuse for sin? Do we blame others? Is it always someone else’s fault, never ours? This is a tactic used by many to escape accountability. Our former minister used to say that when we point the finger at someone, three more fingers are pointing back at us.

The choice to obey or disobey is ours. The decision to take responsibility and confess our sins is ours. Our Lord Jesus paved the way for the forgiveness of our sins on the cross. He paid the price. His promise to us is: ‘In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he richly poured out on us with all wisdom and understanding’ (Ephesians 1:7) CSB®. With this trust in Jesus comes the hope and promise of eternal life.

Further Reading: Genesis 3

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your plan to rescue us from the beginning of time so that we, the guilty, would be free from sin’s penalty and eternal death. Amen.


Genesis 4:6-7

Then the LORD said to Cain, Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. CSB®

God spoke to Cain, who had had given Him a grain offering from his farm. He did not look with favour on Cain’s offering, for it was just a token gift, but accepted Abel’s gift. While Abel sacrificed the best portions of his flock in grateful response to the God who had blessed him with wealth, Cain held back the choice bits and did not give with a thankful heart. It was a matter of heart, attitude and motivation. These were supposed to be acts of worship to a God who had blessed them with a plentiful harvest and flocks, and Cain had given his God a second-rate gift. Do we do that? Hold back the best and give God the leftovers of our love, time, money and service?

God graciously told Cain that he could get it right if his attitude and faith were sincere. He warned him that this attitude would lead to sin. But instead, Cain became angry, jealous and resentful, and projected his hatred onto Abel. Had Cain confessed his sin right there, he would have been forgiven and had a clear conscience, but he compounded his sins and so we see the disastrous consequences. Cain became the first person on earth to commit murder, because he couldn’t control his anger over being found wanting. Bad attitude gave rise to anger, which was left to simmer, fed resentment and finally escalated tragically into murder.

Cain’s sin was made even worse by the fact that it was premeditated, and committed with deliberate deceit. Let’s go out to the field … Cain lured his brother out to the field where he brutally murdered him. When the Lord God asked him where his brother was, he showed disrespect to God, by lying and responding flippantly: I don’t know, he replied. Am I my brother’s guardian? Then he [God] said, What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! So now you are cursed, alienated from the ground that opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood you have shed. If you work the ground, it will never again give you its yield. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth (Genesis 4:9-12).CSB®

And with those words, God banished Cain from his family and homeland. The ground now soaked with his brother’s blood would symbolize death and no longer yield produce for Cain. But worse, he was to be alienated from God, banished from his presence as well as his land and home, and marked so that no one could kill him as he wandered the earth.

God urges us to deal with sin as soon it reveals itself, not to let it snowball into huge proportions. In 1 John 1:9 we read that: ‘If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ CSB®

Further Reading: Genesis 4:1-16

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you forgive us and wipe the slate clean when we ask, and that this has been possible because of Christ’s work on the cross. Thank you that we are covered over with the blood and righteousness that Jesus gives to us. Amen.


Genesis 6:6

The LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and he was deeply grieved. CSB®

God had pronounced judgement on a people he had created and who had become wicked. We read these tragic words: ‘When the LORD saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, the LORD regretted that he had made man … Noah, however, found favour with the LORD’(Genesis 6:5, 8) CSB®.

Only Noah and his immediate family would be exempt from drowning. For Noah walked with God. His goodness and integrity stood out in stark contrast to his contemporaries who continued to do evil in God’s creation; a generation so wicked and corrupt, that God was going to destroy the world by flood and start again. God mourned his people’s sin. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, there had been a total breakdown of relationships and escalating rebellion against God.

Genesis 6:8 refers to Noah finding favour or grace with God. The word ‘grace’ comes from the Hebrew root, ‘to stoop or bend.’ God stooped down from heaven to save Noah and his family from annihilation by flood, just as he stooped down from heaven to pluck us from the penalty of sin and eternal death through his Son’s death on the cross. God’s grace was such that he established his covenant with Noah, and so would allow him to continue His dynasty on earth after the flood, through his sons and their wives.

Today we are saturated with news in social media of civil war, displaced refugees escaping war-torn nations, child abuse, domestic violence, poverty and famine, third world countries suffering under corrupt or inept leaderships. God’s words in Noah’s time are relevant today to us: ‘The LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and he was deeply grieved.’ Except that in the early stages of civilisation, Noah’s time, God was prepared to ‘wipe mankind, whom [he] created, off the face of the earth, together with the animals, creatures that crawl, and birds of the sky—for [he regretted] that [he had made] them’(Genesis 6:6-7) CSB®. It appals us today to see the depths of evil in the world, as well as mankind’s ability to escape justice and accountability for crimes committed! In the Second Coming, Christ will return to judge mankind and Satan will be finally annihilated, and fire will destroy the earth. ‘The heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed’ (2 Peter 3:10) CSB®.

Do we live our lives in stark contrast to the world or do we conform to society, taking on the attitudes and behaviours of a world that denies God, whenever it suits us? Noah’s stance is an encouragement to us to endure and be faithful to God’s promises, so that we might not be judged to be faithless.

Further Reading: Genesis 6-8

Prayer: Almighty God, we are so glad you are a God of restoration. You restore people’s lives and relationships and give them hope. We know that one day this will be perfected in you. Because of Jesus. Amen.


Genesis 6:17-18

Understand that I am bringing a flood—floodwaters on the earth to destroy every creature under heaven with the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark with your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives. CSB®

God gave Noah strict instructions and dimensions as to how to build a huge ark. Noah was to use cypress wood to build the ark with rooms, lower middle and upper decks, and pitch to make it leak- proof as it floated. It would be as high as a four storey high rise, as long as one and a half football fields, and six times longer than it was wide, amazingly the same ratio used by shipbuilders today! Now we can assume that Noah didn’t live near the ocean so building an ark in the middle of dry land, a fair distance from the sea, would have drawn laughter and jibes from his neighbours. He and his family would have faced rejection, because they were different and somewhat eccentric. We can also assume that Noah had never seen an ark. Yet with no written instructions but, totally trusting God, he did all that was commanded of him. Noah chose to obey God and appear foolish to others. ‘Because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength’ (1 Corinthians 1:25) CSB®.

Despite the ridicule of his antediluvian contemporaries, Noah and his family pressed on to build the ark on dry land, not subject to rain for months. Noah trusted God completely to save him and his family. When the ark was finally finished, God commanded Noah to load up the male and female of every living animal, a sign of God’s ongoing commitment to creation. Then he and his family, his wife and three sons and their wives boarded the ark. God would ensure that the human race would continue after the flood. The Bible tells us that ‘The Lord shut [them] in’ (Genesis 7:16) CSB®.

Today atheists and sceptics are quick to point out that our beliefs are archaic, a crutch or out of step with contemporary thinking. These critics mock those who choose godly living over a more self-serving godless lifestyle. They have fewer credentials to support their views than the followers of Jesus Christ, whose resurrection was indisputably witnessed by many people at that time. God calls us to trust him in the face of mockery and rejection, for the reward is eternal life with him rather than eternal separation. If we have salvation in him, he keeps us spiritually safe till that day we see him in glory, just as he kept Noah and his family safe in the ark.

Further Reading: Genesis 6:9-22; 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

Prayer: Lord God, strengthen our faith so that we can stand in the face of opposition and rejection, knowing you are in control. Amen.


Genesis 7:5

And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

Hebrews 11:7b By faith he [Noah] condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. CSB®

It is a timely reminder for us to reflect on God’s judgement on a godless people, for it has relevance for us today as well, in the light of Christ’s return to earth to judge the world. Like those who were lost in the universal flood, there will, unfortunately, be no escape for those who choose to reject God.

The earth was no longer the perfect paradise God had created it to be. It was scary to see how quickly humanity forgot about God and descended into corruption, violence and decadence. Sadly, only one man Noah stood out as ‘a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries; Noah walked with God’ (Genesis 6:9) CSB®. We are told that ‘By faith Noah, after he was warned about what was not yet seen and motivated by godly fear, built an ark to deliver his family. By faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith’ (Hebrews 11:7) CSB®. How many people do you recognise in your church, community, sporting communities, local, state and federal governments as being righteous, blameless and walking with God; people who stand out from the crowd and make a difference? Noah did! Because of Noah’s obedience and faithfulness to God in a secular world, God saved him and his family from the universal flood that destroyed every other human on earth.

In the time he and his family built the ark that would keep them safe from the flood, Noah had opportunities to preach God’s message and warn the people of their impending death, but their response was to ridicule Noah and, therefore, the God whom he loved. What a long decadent way these people had come, and therefore were now destined to die. For despite the warnings, they had rejected God, their Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

God again reminded Noah of his plans to wipe out all living things on earth because of their sin. He instructed him to board with his wife and sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives, as well as both pairs of female and male creatures, and provisions for all. He made a covenant with Noah to keep him and his family safe from the floodwaters.

As soon as God shut the doors and windows, he sent rain for forty days and forty nights, but he kept his promise to keep Noah’s family safe within the ark. The waters flooded the entire earth for 150 days, destroying humanity and every living creature outside the ark. This was God’s judgement on those who delighted in sinning.

Many people view God through rose coloured glasses. ‘My God wouldn’t do that’ or ‘My God wouldn’t send people to hell.’ But, in reality, God is not only a God who loves and doesn’t wish for any to perish, but also a God who is just and righteous and must punish sin. For this reason, he sent his righteous Son to die in our place, so that we, the unrighteous and guilty, would go free (John 3:16). He leaves the free choice to us to decide if we are for him or against him. And for us today who remain in Christ, we have the assurance and confidence that God keeps us safe from the penalty of sin and death within his grace.

Further Reading: Genesis 8; Hebrews 11:1-7

Prayer: I choose you, merciful God. Thank you for choosing me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Genesis 9:15b -16

Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. NIV®

After the rains and the floods had stopped, the water steadily receded from the earth and the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, located in Turkey. It took a while for the land to dry out and the water to dry up. It was nearly eleven months before Noah, his family and the animals stepped onto dry land, so everyone would have been glad to escape the confines and smells of the ark. Then Noah built an altar and sacrificed the clean animals and birds as an offering in worship and thankfulness to God. God was pleased with this and made a covenant with Noah and his descendants never to send a universal flood to destroy mankind again. He provided a new beginning for mankind. God promised Noah that he would uphold the seasons and rhythms of the earth, to sustain human life even though people would continue to rebel against him.

That everlasting covenant was the rainbow, a visible sign, which would remind generations to come of God’s redemption and promise. This splendid symbol in creation still reminds us of God’s promise today. I never fail to be reminded of God’s mercy and goodness when I see a rainbow arcing in the sky after a storm. The colours red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet after a bout of heavy rain shine as a testament to an infinitely faithful and gracious God who not only keeps his promises but colours and shapes our lives in so many diverse ways. This same grace he extended to Noah, because Noah walked with God, he extends to us.

In Noah’s day, God saw how wicked man was and the evil inclination of his thoughts and deeds, and he wept! Today how do man’s thoughts and deeds compare? When we read of man’s inhumanity to man in modern society, how far down the degradation track, I wonder, can man go? How long will God’s heart be grieved at what he sees? Before he intervenes the apostle Peter writes: ‘Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9) CSB®.

Today we have far more evidence to prove God’s overwhelming love for us in the Old and New Testament as well as in his creation. We have proof of Christ’s ultimate rescue plan for us as we look to the cross and the empty tomb that shouts of God’s gracious handiwork.

Further Reading: Genesis 9:8-17

Prayer: Gracious Father, please have mercy on those whom we love and those whom we do not know, that they may be given another chance to accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord before it is too late. Amen.


Genesis 11:4

And they said, Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered throughout the earth. CSB®

At a time when the whole world at this time had one language and a common speech, people began to congregate in the fertile plain called Shinar, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Filled with their own importance to make a name for themselves, and be in control of their own destiny, they excitedly banded together to build a tower of clay bricks, reaching to the heavens, so they thought.

This tower was probably a ziggurat, a common structure in Babylonia at this time. Ziggurats, built as temples, looked like pyramids with steps leading up the sides, standing at about 92 metres high and wide. Except this temple would be different! It would be built as a monument to their greatness and their culture, for generations to come. Sadly they wanted to glorify themselves and leave God their Creator out of the equation.

But God in his omniscience made their efforts fruitless by confusing the language, so that the people all spoke different languages, thereby becoming unintelligible to one another. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy as what they feared came about, and God scattered them over the face of the earth in their new language groups. Henceforth it became known as the tower of Babel¹. The play on words seems apt because their babble of languages put paid to their man-made plans.

For our lives to be honourable, we need to look to God as our high tower. The thesaurus defines a tower as a stronghold, a rock, a refuge, which has the advantage of height and strength and being a lookout. Originally from the Latin, ‘turris’ means a high fortified tower, a citadel high on a rock. We refer to some people as being ‘towers of strength’ in times of trouble and this originally comes from the Bible, which refers to the Lord as being ‘a strong tower.’ Solomon wrote in the tenth century BC at a time when Israel was united and prosperous, ‘The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected’ (Proverbs 18:10) CSB®. After God delivered David from harm by Saul’s hand, he wrote ‘The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold [tower]’ (Psalm 18:2) CSB®.

What is your tower? Are you self-seeking? Have you left God out of the equation by abandoning your wedding vows, by building bigger and bigger projects, or by pushing others out of the way to climb the ladder of success in your career; all this to feel good, sometimes at the expense of integrity and true core values? Rather than building towers of our own and glorifying ourselves, the Lord wants to be our tower of strength, to be our safety and refuge, to whom we run in time of trouble, one who will defend and protect us. If we call on him he will hear us. If we honour him he will honour us and all that we do.

Further Reading: Genesis 11:1-8; Matthew 6:24

Prayer: Father God, may we put fellowship with you above personal gain, for material things pass away. Amen.

¹ D.Kinder, IVP, Tyndale Genesis p.110. The Hebrew verb ‘balal’ means ‘to confuse.’ Sounds similar to the name of the city, Hebrew ‘babel.’

DAY 10

Genesis 13:8

So Abram said to Lot, Please, let’s not have quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, since we are relatives. CSB®

Abraham and his nephew Lot had to compete for lands and grassland fodder for their rapidly growing herds and flocks, along with the Canaanites and Perizzites, who also populated the land. It was rather crowded. While Lot and his tribe were greedy for the most fertile land, Abraham wasn’t prepared for this to become a point of contention and cause an estranged relationship, so with a generous and godly spirit, he stepped back and allowed Lot to choose. Abraham gave Lot first choice, and Lot opted for the more favourable, well-watered region (which, incidentally, was populated by the worst of the Canaanites).

You have to admire this trait in Abraham, who acted with humility and graciousness to Lot. Abraham could so easily have overruled Lot because of his seniority and status, but as a mature man of God, he knew that dissension was to be avoided and that God could be trusted to provide all he needed.

In the best of families, whether church or biological, disagreements can arise. Bitterness and alienation can ensue if we do not deal with problems and seek restoration and healing. We all make mistakes. Hopefully we learn from them. One option is that we agree to disagree and find a way forward. We can resolve an issue by accepting that in Christ we need to embrace our differences, or we can ask for or offer forgiveness, reconcile and begin to build bridges.

It is the way in which we deal with our differences with one another that reveals whether we are spiritually and emotionally mature or not. And always in these tricky situations there is an opportunity for spiritual growth and grace. God’s Spirit in us moves us to be Christlike in our dealings with others. He wants us to be more accountable for our thoughts, words and deeds. This can be really hard at times, especially when we have to take the initiative. But because we belong to Him, we are called to be more intentional as peacemakers and gracemakers in our dealings with our immediate family, church family, our community and the world.

Further Reading: Genesis 13:1-18; Ephesians 4:25-32

Prayer: Our God and Father, help us to love others as you love us and when we fail, help us to confess our sins, ask for forgiveness, make things right and begin again. For the honour of your name. Amen.

DAY 11

Genesis 18:20

Then the Lord said, The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous … NIV®

Proverbs 2:12-14. It [wisdom] will rescue you from the way of evil—from anyone who says perverse things, from those who abandon the right paths to walk in ways of darkness, from those who enjoy doing evil and celebrate perversion. CSB®

We see a classic case of a man being led astray in the tragic story of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, whom Abraham had raised when Lot was orphaned. Earlier, when the land could not support both families and their flocks, Abraham graciously let Lot choose to live on the fertile plains of Jordan near Sodom, while Abraham lived in Canaan. But Lot’s choice proved the wrong one, as the men of Sodom were evil and sinned greatly against the Lord God. When Abraham was informed of God’s intent to utterly destroy the city and its evil twin, Gomorrah, he pleaded with God to save Sodom if ten godly people lived there. God agreed.

Sadly there were not ten righteous people to be found in Sodom because God’s angels arrived at the city gates to carry out the destruction. Lot was quick to offer hospitality to the men as it was unsafe to stay outdoors in Sodom. When a group of debauched men knocked on his door and asked for sex with the men, Lot offered his virgin daughters instead. This was an indication of the depths of depravity to which Lot had sunk. Before they could break down Lot’s door, God’s men yanked him inside, rendered the culprits blind and urged him to gather his wife, daughters and flee. ‘The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it,’ (Genesis 19:13b) CSB®. In the end only four were left to be saved as the daughters’ fiancées did not believe that destruction was imminent. Just like these misguided youths, young men and women of today ignore the warning signs God gives to avoid dangerous environments or to flee from temptation, even more so today given the potential minefields that can arise in the physical and cyber world.

Now Lot was slow to believe God’s messengers. Perhaps he was in shock, perhaps he was lingering in the hope that nothing would happen. But God was merciful to him and God’s men hastily grabbed Lot, his wife and daughters and led them out of Sodom for the destruction could not begin till they were safely outside the city. ‘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!’ (Genesis 19:17) CSB®. But Lot was still plea bargaining, fearing that the disaster would overtake them, so God granted his family refuge at a small town called Zoar, which meant that it would be an exclusion zone to the fire. When Lot and his family reached Zoar, God unleashed burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah, destroying every living thing.

Lot’s choice of location and his neighbours had led him astray with their wicked ways. He had compromised his faith to win peer acceptance. But his uncle’s prayers had saved him from a life steeped in degradation and given him another chance to live a righteous life. The story of Sodom shows us that the people of Lot’s time dealt with the same sorts of repulsive sins the world faces today. We need to pray for our children, and indeed all children and teenagers, for God’s protection on them from the evil one and from those who would lead them astray. We need to pray for them to make wise and bold choices even though it challenges the world’s values, peer pressure and friendships, for it is a spiritual battle.

Further Reading: Genesis 18:20-33; Proverbs 2:12-15

Prayer: Gracious God, never let us be distracted by worldly things lest our faith becomes diluted and useless. May we make wise choices and see your hand in our lives. Amen.

DAY 12

Genesis 19:26

But Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. CSB®

There was no time to lose. As Lot and his family fled the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, God released his sulphuric fire from the heavens, utterly destroying all those living there, as well as flocks and vegetation. He had judged the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and found them wanting. The sulphuric smell of flames and burning cities, animals and vegetation permeating the air would have been smelt for kilometres around. But God’s angels had warned Lot and his family to run, not to look back, not to stop but to flee to higher ground or else they would be swept away. And God delivered them, thanks to Abraham’s prayers; all except for Lot’s wife who looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. Clinging to the past she looked longingly back at what she had left behind. She was still drawn back to the old life she had lived.

Jesus doesn’t want a half-hearted commitment from us, nor does he want us to be distracted from following him. Even Lot had hesitated to leave his city so that the angels had to grab his hand and those of his daughters and wife, to flee. What does that tell you? Even in the face of disaster, Lot was still procrastinating. Perhaps he still doubted that God would follow through with the cities’ destruction. Or perhaps he wasn’t quite ready to leave the wicked environment of Sodom that had so shaped his views and lifestyle. Somewhere along the way his faith in God had become diluted and he had lost his way spiritually.

Are we like that? Are we drawn into the world’s sensual pleasures? It is always a gradual process. It doesn’t happen overnight. For subtly we blend in and before you know it we are no different from everyone else. We have been set apart by God, as his holy people, to intentionally make a difference in this world as salt and light, with those whom we mix. God doesn’t want us to look back at our old life prior to being a Christian, or procrastinate about serving him. He wants us to grasp our new lives with both hands and move forward confidently knowing him, grateful for his mercies and salvation and sharing that knowledge with others.

Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place overlooking Sodom and Gomorrah, where he had stood before God and interceded to save Lot and his family. All that was left was ‘dense smoke going up from the land, like smoke from a furnace’ (Genesis19:28) CSB®, a grim reminder of God’s judgement on a wicked people who had flouted his laws. I am impressed at how Abraham interceded for Lot and how God’s grace to Abraham extended to Lot. I wonder whether Lot was grateful to God, thanking Him for his narrow escape. God was merciful in saving Lot from the fiery destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah because of Abraham’s fervent prayers. What an example to us to intercede for others to be saved!

Further Reading: Genesis 19:1-29

Prayer: Lord Jesus, once we have committed to follow you, may we never turn back. May we intercede for others to be rescued from death to life with you. Amen.

DAY 13

Genesis 27:34

When Esau heard his father’s words, he cried out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, Bless me too, my father! CSB®

Esau, Isaac’s firstborn, had flippantly sold his birthright to his younger brother Jacob, in a weak hungry moment, for a bowl of stew. The birthright was customarily passed on to the eldest son and, on the father’s death, would mean not only leadership of the clan but participation in the covenant blessing God had promised Abraham. Just as with Abraham, God would make his son into a great nation, bless him and all his family, and make his name great (Genesis 12:1-3).

That all went out the window when Esau’s twin brother Jacob plotted with his equally scheming mother Rebekah to dupe his father Isaac into blessing him. Rebekah appeared calculating and devious as she dressed her favoured son Jacob in hairy clothes to disguise him as Esau (a deliberate plan to deceive Isaac who was old and blind) and to trick him into passing the legal and spiritual blessings on to Jacob. Esau’s grief knew no bounds as he cried out to his father for a blessing, but Isaac could not rescind what had already been given, nor could he change what God had ordained. Instead Esau received a lesser blessing. When Rebekah realised that Esau meant to kill his brother in revenge, she sent Jacob to her father’s country, far away from his home (and also, away from the pagan Canaanite women). There God dealt with Jacob’s flawed character before He was able to use him for His glory.

Those who have felt least favoured as they grew up in their homes can feel a little sympathy and compassion for Esau, and his anguished desire at this time to be blessed. For a child to be treated as less loved than one of their siblings must lead to psychological and emotional scars that carry through to adulthood. Yet, in the story of Jacob and Esau, we are reminded of the need as believers to hold onto God’s promises, and not to treat them lightly. Esau treated his birthright almost with contempt when he agreed to give it to Jacob. And then in Jacob we see someone who cheated to achieve his own ends. In pretending he was Esau, he lied to his father. Having chosen Jacob as the one to receive the inheritance, God had a sovereign plan that didn’t involve trickery. Later ironically, Jacob himself would be deceived by his uncle Laban in choosing a wife.

We should remember God’s words: ‘For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:9) CSB®. Our God doesn’t need to resort to trickery to further his plans. We should trust him rather than use deceptive means to achieve our goals, such as resorting to skulduggery to achieve promotion at work, gossip to make someone other than ourselves look bad, lying on our résumés to present a false picture of our qualifications. God’s ways and methods are always better than ours, and achieved in a way that upholds integrity and honours him.

Further Reading: Genesis 27

Prayer: Sovereign Father, we are so glad that you are in control of this world. Help us to be patient, rather than rushing in, and to allow time for you to work behind the scenes in the lives of others, to achieve what is best for us and for your glory. Amen.

DAY 14

Genesis 29:25-27

When morning came, there was Leah! So he [Jacob] said to Laban, What is this you have done to me? Wasn’t it for Rachel that I worked for you? Why have you deceived me? Laban answered, It is not the custom in this place to give the younger daughter in marriage before the firstborn. Complete this week of wedding celebration [with Leah], and we will also give you this younger one in return for working yet another seven years for me. CSB®

There is an expression that says, ‘What goes around comes around.’ The apostle Paul put it more graphically when he said, ‘Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows he will also reap’ (Galatians 6:7). CSB®

Jacob had fled to his relatives’ homeland to escape Esau’s vengeance, and fallen in love with Rachel, his uncle Laban’s daughter. In return for their marriage, Jacob agreed to work for Laban for nothing for seven years. However Laban had other plans, and tricked Jacob into marrying his older daughter Leah. Imagine Jacob’s horror and dismay, when he awoke next morning to discover his bride was not the one he had chosen. Ironically, Jacob the deceiver, who robbed his elder brother of his inheritance, was deceived by his uncle, who seemed even more cunning than Jacob! Consequently Jacob served Laban another seven years without pay to win Rachel, demonstrating the depths of his love for her.

Consider also the fallout from Laban’s dirty trick on Leah and Rachel for his own gain. He really was a nasty piece of work, and would never have won the Father of the Year award, that’s for sure! He thought more of gaining wealth, getting another seven years’ worth of work out of Jacob for no pay, than for his daughters’ welfare.

In time God told Jacob to return to his homeland, with the promise that he would be with him. Later, as Jacob planned to escape Laban’s clutches, he made a wager with his uncle to build up healthy flocks of livestock and receive a portion of them, so he could start his own business. When Laban’s sons became resentful of Jacob’s wealth, God told him to return immediately to his homeland, so Jacob fled without saying goodbye. Throughout all this, Jacob was still a work in progress. He was not yet fully reliant on God. But Jacob was part of the covenant God had made with Abraham, to bless him and others through him, to make him into a great nation and to give him land. God’s plan for Jacob in God’s time frame was still unfolding.

Like Jacob, we are all at that stage where the Lord is working in our hearts to make us more like Himself. His plan is still unfolding for us. He has a fair bit of raw material to work with to make us more authentic as Christians for he wants us to be aligned to his will and to be open to his Spirit as he works in us to make us more like himself in character.

Further Reading: Genesis 29:9-28

Prayer: Father God, cleanse our lives of any dross so that we shine like stars for you. For the honour of your name. Amen.

DAY 15

Genesis 29:31-32

When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb; but Rachel was unable to conceive. Leah conceived, gave birth to a son, and named him Reuben for she said, The LORD has seen my affliction; surely my husband will love me now. CSB®

Jacob loved Rachel, not Leah. Rachel had been his first choice from the beginning, but Laban had tricked Jacob into marrying the elder daughter Leah. As second best, Leah was the greatest loser and victim in a deception not of her making. She felt unloved by her husband. Women in that culture in those days were powerless to forge their own destiny. However, the Lord graciously allowed Leah to bear six sons and a daughter by Jacob, and two more through a surrogate, her maid. Ancient Middle Eastern culture placed great value on a woman bearing a child, especially a son and heir, so Leah hoped that by bearing a son she would earn her husband’s love, a love he showered on Rachel. For a woman lonely in marriage as she was, her children would have given her great joy. Rachel also used her maid as a surrogate mother to bear two sons, before she was able to conceive through God’s grace and bore Joseph. She was to die giving birth to Benjamin.

We are not told what happened to Leah after Rachel’s death. We know that when Jacob was returning home, he feared Esau’s anger when they met again. So he placed Rachel and Joseph, his favourite family, at the end of the procession to protect them-this no doubt would have hurt Leah. Being starved of her husband’s love would have sorely diminished Leah’s self-esteem over the years. Jacob would have benefited from marriage counselling!

Between the years 1965-1989, Nicolae Ceausescu ruthlessly ruled Romania as a police state. Only after his overthrow and execution in 1989 for crimes against the Romanian people, did the world see the results of his reign of terror on television news. Most disturbing and horrific were the many children in orphanages spread throughout the land. This tragedy was caused by Ceausescu’s national policy of no contraception and no abortion for women, for as growing families became impoverished they gave up their children to orphanages. Mentally and physically disabled children were the most vulnerable. These children, imprisoned in cots, unloved and untouched by human hands, were emotionally and

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