January 21, 2021
Genesis 24:61-67
Then Rebekah and her attendants got ready and mounted the camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left.  Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev.  He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching.  Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?  “He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.  Then the servant told Isaac all he had done.  Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
New International Version (NIV)
                The early years of marriage are not always easy but they can be beautiful.  On Facebook I recently posted a picture of me and Melanie in the first year of our marriage.  The picture says a lot.  First, we were very young when we married, but off to a good start, in love with each other, standing in front of the Speight Jenkins married housing at Baylor.  She was a beautiful bright-eyed junior and I was a first year seminary student.  Second, we were on our way to church.  She was our church pianist and I was the pastor, large Bible in hand.  I gave thanks as I placed it next to a recent picture of our family with three kids, two daughters in law (and love) and two granddaughters.  We had no idea what God had in store for us! 

                For the first twenty-one years of my life, the most important lady in my life was my mom Nancy.  I smiled Sunday when a church member reminded me she had met my mom and talked with her, once.  If you met her, you probably talked with her.  For the last thirty-six years of my life, Melanie, my wife has been the most important lady in my life.  Born into a family of four boys, other than these two ladies I had no female family members for a long time.  Then God gave us our daughter Casey.  Our sons Graham and Chase were blessed to marry Abigail and Brooke.  Then God gave us two granddaughters in Josie and Nory.  Now the girls outnumber the boys in our family significantly.  Though I use a different copy of the Bible than I did in the old picture, it remains for me and my family a meeting place with God and a guide for life. 

                Isaac grew up with the love of his mother Sarah and father Abraham.  His mom died when he was a young man and Abraham buried her at the Cave of Machpelah.  Isaac’s grief was great.  Then Abraham sent a servant to find a wife for Isaac from among his own people in Harran.  The interesting process is bathed in prayer.  Genesis tells us the Lord answered the servant’s prayer and brought Rebekah to a well.  The servant asked for her to become Isaac’s wife.  I understand the family being loathe to let Rebekah leave them.  They came to believe it was God’s will for her to go.  As Genesis narrates the love-story, Isaac was waiting in the field meditating when the servant brought Rebekah back to him from Harran.  They did not have a prolonged courtship or time to get to know each other, but they were married.  Rebekah gave Isaac comfort in his grief. 

                At a micro-level all we see in this picture is the marriage of a young couple.  But at a macro-level God is developing the larger narrative of the scriptures.  Through these faithful ancestors, God was preparing to send his only Son Jesus into the world.  Their personal story and God’s larger story were moving purposefully together toward a planned future.  So are our stories.  Today is a good day to give thanks for the people who gave us birth and reared us in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  It is also a good day to pray for our families.  So many of our students who grew up at Tallowood have been married and now are having children of their own.  It is fun to watch!  The years will travel swiftly.  Someday they will look back at the wedding pictures and realize how much they have changed.  Over the course of the years, they will inevitably experience joy and pain.  But through it all, the one constant in the world will have been the God who loved them and included them in his story.  The book reminds us that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  When we hear his words and put them into practice, we are building our lives on a firm foundation to weather the storms that come our way.  
Pray with me:         
Father, we thank you for parents who tried to teach us to love you.  Give us grace in our family relationships today.  Some are married and some are single.  Give us grace Lord to walk closely with you and to build our lives on your words today.  Take away our fear of the future Lord.  Remind us that we are still in your hands.  Great is your faithfulness!  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.    
Scripture memorization for this week:    
Romans 4:20-22
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.  This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Hebrews 11:17-19
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
New International Version (NIV)
Our 2021 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations Bible reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy here:
We would love for you to join us as we read through the Bible in one year, while still having the flexibility of reading 5 days per week.  In addition, I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  We will also memorize 2 scriptures each week.  As we journal together this year,  Robby Gallaty’s H.E.A.R. plan is a good resource: Highlight a verse that stands out to you, Explain what it means, Apply that truth to your life and Respond to what you’ve read with an action or prayer.

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