Don’t Underestimate Your Influence

The Best Is Yet To Be, Day 5

Today’s reading: Genesis 21:33

Even though there are mountains that block the way on our journey to finish life well with our children and families, Scripture is quite optimistic about us succeeding in this area. The emphasis repeatedly directs us to rely on God’s strength to overcome any adversity. While we might struggle in these areas, He doesn’t! He freely offers us help and hope along the way.

An interesting example of this idea is found in a fascinating verse in Genesis 21. It illustrates how Abraham literally got his hands dirty to make a statement of profound trust in God. It’s especially poignant since he had not taken possession of the land that had been promised to him. What is described has particular significant for moving mountains and finishing well in the context of our children and families.

Verse 33 says Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba. Why would he have done that? What was special about this particular tree or location? Digging up the arid soil to bury a seed was tantamount to stating, “This land is mine, and God will be true to His promises.” Beersheba was the southernmost point that Israel ever reached which indicated the large vision Abraham had for the land God promised to give him.

Because this particular tree survives and provides shade in the desert, travelers and shepherds prize this tree. They also say “We plant tamarisks for our grandchildren because they grow so slowly. We may not enjoy them, but our grandchildren will.”

What is the equivalent of planting a tamarisk tree in your life? What can you plant in your midlife years that will bless future generations? Don’t underestimate the influence of your midlife and later years. They represent a significant season of influence, so dream big!

Watch author Bruce Peppin’s take on “Don’t Underestimate Your Influence.”

Bible Gateway

The Transformational Power of Scripture

Reading and hearing the Bible is like eating it—it enters into our bodies, our spirits. When we meditate on what we’ve read and heard, we’re chewing and digesting the material until it’s assimilated into our systems, disseminated throughout our personalities, and actually becomes us.

In Luke 24, Jesus joined two of His disciples as they trekked from Jerusalem to Emmaus. It was the afternoon of the first Easter, and the two were perplexed by the brutal death of their Messiah and the puzzling rumors of His resurrection. They heard footsteps behind them, and a mysterious Stranger drew near and engaged them in conversation. He listened to their queries and began telling them what they yearned to know.

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

After arriving at their home and breaking bread with them, Jesus vanished from sight. But later, as the two disciples discussed their never-to-be-forgotten walk, they said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (verse 32). Verse 45 goes on to say that Jesus “opened their minds so they could understand the Scripture.”

Notice how Jesus opened the Scriptures to their minds and He opened their minds to the Scripture. What Jesus did for them, the Holy Spirit does for us. The apostle Paul said, “We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).*

Bible study was never meant to be merely academic. It’s relational. Transformational. It’s not simply studying a book; it’s fellowshipping with a Friend.

Today’s Tip

Keep a meditation journal. Every day list the date and write down the verse or reference the Lord gives you. As you study the passage, jot down your thoughts about it. Over time, you’ll develop your own informal Bible commentary.

* James M. Gray, How to Master the English Bible (Edinburgh and London: Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, 1907), 53.

Devotional

It is a snare to continually think about defects. Imagine anyone who has seen himself in the light of Jesus Christ thinking of his defects! Why we are too filthy for words, and to be concerned because of the spots upon us is absurd. Leave the whole miserable thing alone; we have the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves but in God, and there are no specks in God.

The background of God’s forgiveness is holiness. If God were not holy there would be nothing in His forgiveness. There is no such thing as God overlooking sin; therefore if God forgives there must be a reason that justifies His doing so. In forgiving a man, God gives him the heredity of His own Son—He turns him into the standard of the Forgiver. Forgiveness is a revelation—hope for the hopeless; that is the message of the Gospel.

Reflection Questions: In what ways do my faults and failures stunt the growth of my hope? What reason do I have for hope if I refuse to grant or accept forgiveness?

Quotations taken from Not Knowing Where and The Shadow of an Agony, © Discovery House Publishers

Devotional in Italian

Giosuè aveva ricevuto un compito all’altezza del Dio che glielo aveva affidato. Mosè era morto e adesso stava a lui guidare il popolo d’Israele nella Terra Promessa. Il frutto della Terra Promessa era pronto per essere raccolto ma prima di appropriarsene, Giosuè avrebbe dovuto temere Dio e affidarsi alla Sua guida senza pensare troppo ai giganti che abitavano in Canaan ma concentrandosi sulla bontà del Suo grande Dio.

Dio ti ha chiamato a grandi cose? Forse ti stai chiedendo quale sia il prezzo da pagare. Togli l’attenzione dai ‘se e i ma’ e chiedi a Dio di riempirti con il Suo coraggio e la Sua forza. Se Dio ti ha chiesto di fare un passo di fede, provvederà a tutto ciò di cui hai bisogno per completare il compito che Lui stesso ti ha affidato.

Dio Onnipotente dammi il coraggio di proseguire e compiere la Tua volontà. Non voglio crogiolarmi nella paura e ostacolare la meravigliosa opera che Tu vuoi compiere in me e attraverso di me. Voglio assaggiare il dolce frutto che tu hai promesso e lasciare andare la paura. Amen!

Devotional in Italian

Se la paura ci paralizza e ci è difficile rimanere in piedi, il nostro Dio Onnipotente ha promesso di proteggerci, soccorrerci e fortificarci. Egli, infatti, è onnipotente e nessun nemico può colpire coloro che sono protetti da Lui. Dio è colui che viene in soccorso di chi ha bisogno di aiuto. 

Questa promessa implica però anche una responsabilità. Infatti, Dio ha dichiarato che ci circonderà con la Sua cura anche quando l’ansietà si presenterà nella nostra vita ma è necessario porre la nostra completa fiducia nella Sua Parola. Oggi, possiamo scegliere di concentrarci sulla Sua fedeltà e smettere di nutrire le nostre paure. 

Padre, grazie perché sei presente accanto a me e mi sostieni quando sono agitata o impaurita. Aiutami a rimanerti fedele e a ricordare che Tu mi stai sostenendo. Voglio dire basta alla paura e sì alla fede in Te. Amen!