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Jan 5, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 5

Sarah Christmyer

Just Getting Started? Read what you’ve missed and check out Bible reading resources.

Bible Time Period: Patriarchs

In the time of the Patriarchs, you called Abraham and promised his children land, a royal kingdom, and worldwide blessing: Help me to trust in your promises today.

Reflection

“The infamous account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and of Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt, is related in Genesis 19.  Don’t miss verses leading up to it in chapter 18, which show Abraham pleading with God to spare the city for the sake of those righteous inside it.  These verses are a beautiful example of the mercy of God and effective prayer, and they also give insight into the character of Abraham.” (The Bible Timeline: the Story of Salvation p. 15)

Today’s Reading

Genesis 17-20

Today’s Question

Notice in chapter 18 the reason God says He chose Abraham.  For what has God chosen you?

Join the discussion below!

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  • God chose Abraham to be the father of many who believe in God…For many, many years now I have loved this story of God’s awesome blessing on Abraham…accepting that God has many blessings for me as well…I now know one of those is to be the teacher of faith and values to my family none of whom go to Church or profess a strong religious faith…Like Abraham, I am alone and must trust that God will hold true to his promise to be faithful to me…and bless me richly…Thank you, Father…for being trustworthy, faithful, and true…I wish to always remain faithful to you. Amen.

      • Thank you, ….I have seen God’s blessings work in their lives greatly. My oldest daughter works as a nurse in a hospital helping others; and my youngest works for a charitable organization helping those with tremors…and just today, He showed me in prayer how to teach my grandson how to be more patient if he chooses to do so. God is so good…

        • I am striving to have the faith of Abraham. God has blessed my live greatly. I am so thankful for my life and my new faith. I am praying that by exercising my faith, I will bless others especially my children who do not put all their trust in God.

          • Have hope Claudette…I have been married 46 years, am 67 years old and have 2 girls, and 4 grandkids…a sister and 2 brothers…all my siblings are divorced and have left the Church, my husband doesn’t go to Church, my kids, their husbands, and grandkids do not go to Church…however, I see signs of God’s virtues and morals in them all. I am hopeful…A very wise newly ordained priest once told me, I may not see their conversion to the faith in my lifetime, and I was so depressed by that…until I started looking at the other things of faith I did see in each of them…I love Abraham, because he lived on faith and a promise of a future…we have that, too. Faith and a promise of a future…sometimes we get too weighed down by what we don’t see, that we miss we do have… Abraham didn’t do…we don’t have to either.
            God loves to see you struggle for Him…right now that is your love dance to Jesus as you stand before Him on the cross. God bless, Claudette…you are in my prayers…

          • Well, Beverly, your siblings, husband, kids and grandkids don’t stand a chance… they
            are destined to receive God’s mercy, compassion and blessings because of YOUR
            intercessory prayers. They may resist… the evil one is powerful… but our prayers in the Name of the Lord are even more powerful!

            “The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with
            you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

            “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the
            Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)

            “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)
            With prayers and blessings for you and your family…

          • Because my prayers are all encompassing for my family and many others, I know my wait is going to be a long, long one in our time…however, my faith, trust, and reliance is in a merciful, loving God who is in the business of saving his creation…and that is what I pray for…the Salvation of all God’s creation according to His Will and Loving Mercy. Billy Graham used to say: “I know the rest of the story”…I do too…I read the end of Scripture…so I know how it is going to end, as well. And God comes out on top!! That is where I want to be as well.

          • Beverly if you can get a book by Matthew Kelly called Rediscover Catholicism. A spiritual guide to living with passion and purpose. Our church gave this book out one to a family and it has helped a lot of people catholics who go to church and those who don’t. So maybe you can share what is in it and perhaps it will plant a seed.

          • Beverly, I know this is a year later…. you have inspired me to start looking at the things my children, grandchildren are doing that are good, the love we have as a family…. the wise newly ordained priest words were given to you at the right moment as they are to me! Thank you for sharing

          • Beverly I know what you are going through with your family, it happens the same with me my husband is not a church goer and itwas worse 4 years ago now even when he still doen no go to mass sometmes he seat with me and watch programs on EWTN or the rosary with Mother Angelica not that long ago he ask me where he can get a bible ii happen to have another one in English and give it tl him I don’t know if I’m going to see his whole convertion or if he will go with me anytime soon to mass but I know it will happen I ask the good Lord everyday in my prayers that he can see His light and follow it my kids all grow up are the same the only want marry by the church is my daughter but she don’t go to mass she visit the church but not when there is service I pray for her too that she can find her way back to the church and all it has to offer.Prayer are powerfull and even when we sometimes don’t like the answer He answer always one way or another, there is no prayer that goes unanswer.I will pray for you and your family and is not in these one in the other you will see His answer to you I hope I see it too even it is not in this one. I trust in Him.

          • I, too, have problems with my family… my husband says he is Catholic, but he does not pray that I can see, and he resists going to Sunday Mass or anything else…
            .
            my daughters were all raised Catholic – but none ( 0 ) go to Mass; 1 goes to church only to take her housemate – she said she does not believe in God, but is willing to overlook such childishness; 1 is wiccan (first, she claimed pagan… *sigh*); 1 doesn’t claim any type of belief, but refuses to discuss church with us – all 3 prefer to say gay rights and women’s rights (including abortion) and suicide rights are being squashed by Catholic Church… 1 married an atheist, 1 married an agnostic… I was offended mightily when I first heard this, I am horribly aware of mine own faults as well as my husband’s perceived faults, and I pray almost 24/7 for their conversion…

          • To Maria and sleepy…it is so easy to find the flaws in other people… Jesus said, referring to this,: “Take the log out of your own eye, before you try to remove that which is in your brother’s”…or something like that…I tend to do this same thing…loking at all the flaws I see in others…,when this used to happen to me before, I would go off in some kind of tangent or another, and things would go from bad to worse for me…but now as I can, I as soon as I recognize this flaw in me, I ask God to forgive me, I determine to forgive myself, and then decide how I can look at that person in positive ways..in other words what are their good points…I know we all have our character flaws….but the thing is I can not change in anyone else…that is their “swamp” and they must deal with that, I can’t do that for them…I can though point out to them those things that I see in them that are “good”..and just maybe this may help them to see themselves in a better light than than they may be seeing at that moment…and this would help them more than any criticism ever would. This is like looking at someone through a different kind of lens…one of positivity, instead of negativity…do I ignore their beliefs which are different from mine? No…Instead, I say something like I know how strongly you feel about that, and I would have to say that we disagree…let us agree to disagree on that issue. And now as I pray for us all, I pray that God’s Will be done, not that they convert…for their conversion may not be a part of God’s agenda for them…I certainly am not God, nor do I profess to know what He has on His mind…Jesus didn’t even profess to do that, ya know….LOL

          • Jesus told His apostles: ‘ “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20)
            .
            no other words could tell me that praying for their conversions would be the best… 🙂

          • I agree. If you can get a book about St Monica and how for 30 yrs she prayed for her son St Augustine’s conversion. He did convert and became one of the greatest doctors of the church there is.

            Some where in the old testament it says something like this “Raise them up in the ways of the Lord and if they should stray they will later return” I have to believe that promise.

          • Take heart! God does not abandon them, and the Good Shepherd is always beckoning to them to return to the fold. Keep praying for all of them (their spouses too) and remember that as much as you love them, God loves them even more–He will not give up on them. I have been working with “Returning Catholics” for a few years now, and have seen miraculous things–including my own family.

          • Claudette, I feel the same way. Up until recently, I haven’t exemplified a very trusting relationship with God. It seems, however, that the more I read and study God’s word, the more I see the theme of trust. I’m learning to place my trust in Him, versus myself through my own control. I pray daily for my children that they will come to also develop a personal relationship with God. They haven’t to date and I don’t believe my stepdaughter even knows God enough to recognize His works in her life. But, I know that God does all things for good and, with my very fervent prayers, each will eventually come to call on God themselves.

          • I am actually feeling better about my trust in God. The more I pray and study the bible, and spend time with my study group is the more I have learned to give it all to God. I don’t worry about my daughters anymore I just pray for them. My oldest is taking her 7year olds to PSR class and they are preparing for First Holy Communion.

        • I’m still waiting to figure out what God wants of me specifically. However, for the last few years as I’ve prayed to only Him everyday, I believe I’m actually doing what He wants me to do (for now). As the saying goes that God will only give you what you could handle; as I get to know Him more and more each day, the “work” perhaps will get even more larger in scope. As long as I focus each and everyday to touch someone in a special way (as simple as sharing a smile with a complete stranger in the hallway at work in the name of Jesus), I’m doing the work He intended me to do. And even if I forget to do something consciously in the name of Jesus, that’s o.k. too as long as its out of love.

          • In my experience, those simple gestures of kindness are truly priceless. Each of us are struggling with something in life and these small tokens of happiness might be the only bright spot in someone’s day. I also believe that kindness is contagious and if done in the name of Jesus, utterly priceless, right?

          • Also, you said you have only been praying to God these past few years. This sounds naive, but who else would you be praying to, if you don’t mind my asking?

          • Why naive? I just didn’t pray much. My relationship with God strengthened these last few years and as such my prayer life became much more consistent and heartfelt. Blessings.

          • I understand Michelle’s question. You said “for the last few years as I’ve prayed TO ONLY HIM everyday”. It sounded like you may have prayed to SOMEONE ELSE in the past.

            I’m sure you find that, the more you pray, the deeper your relationship gets!

            Peace and prayers…

          • Thanks for the clarification, I was curious and thought your prayers were more intercessory in nature.

          • I know this post is from last year but I missed it then. When I read this, it made me feel like a good soldier of God with my fellow soldiers whom each seek to do Gods will. Even a smile in the hall to a stranger is an accomplishment and motivates me to do something each day. We are not alone as Beverly mentioned, we have each other!

  • Abraham was chosen for greatness. He was chosen to be the father of all nations. I believe that I too was chosen for greatness. Not the greatness of Abraham but the greatness of bringing others to Christ.

    All through God’s word we are given instructions that will allow us to achieve such greatness.

    Lord grant us the strenght, wisdom and perseverance we need to achieve the greatness you have called us to. Amen.

  • So many interesting comments! I will have to catch up on this Bible study myself, didn’t realize that it already begun!!

  • ALMIGHTY GOD chosen Abraham because the Old Patriarch was a good man and a righteous leader and the most important quality, listened and followed without hesitation the ABBA instructions….when Abraham arrived at Palestine and meeted with Melchizedek the God’s confirmation arrived to Abraham’s soul…and to us their descendants…JJ

  • Abraham is not good because he loves God.Abraham is good because God loves him.we are all chosen to be good.with that goodness we can be right and just as Abraham was.accept and receive.

    • I like what you said because today’s readings clarified the question I had yesterday, I wondered if Abram knew the meaning of love. I didn’t see it until today, until after God changed his name to Abraham, and promised him a new covenant. It’s as if he finally learned how much God loves him. When Abraham pleaded for the life of the city if there are even a small number of righteous citizens, that dialogue between God and him clarified to me Abraham does know the meaning of love. Ros Sherman is also so right, “We do not choose God, God chooses us.”

  • Chapter 18 v19. God singled out Abraham to direct his children and descendants to keep the way of The Lord by doing what is right and just. He has given responsibility for the spiritual education of the family to the father of the household. It is so important for our men and fathers of today to follow this mandate and teach their children well by word and example.

    • This struck me today as well. It is certainly missing among men. If God wills it, I can one day live on Gen 18:19 for my family.

  • “To walk in the presence of God and be blameless” is the calling to each of us, I believe. God knows we are going to fail repeatedly, which is why he was so merciful with Abraham, and all humanity through the kenosis and salvific action of Jesus Christ. We are called by Christ to show this same mercy to our fellow human beings, interceding prayerfully as Abraham did for the people of Sodom.
    Taking this call of holiness to heart, I have been blessed with the tools of ministry in the area of adult faith formation. I have been facilitating the Scriptural studies of Ascension Press for nine years, studying for 16 and have obtained a Masters in Pastoral Ministry. After working several years as Pastoral Associate in a small Virginia parish, I hope to teach – high school or college religious studies/Scripture. I feel called to continue encouraging adult catechesis that all adult faithful may come to a deeper understanding and closer familial relationship to Jesus Christ. Let us be the light of hope in a world that can seem so dark!

  • I love the story of Abraham pleading with the Lord to spare the city for the sake of the few righteous people. This clearly shows the compassion and mercy of our God. It shows that we too, can be persistent in bringing our requests to Him. He wants to hear from us. He will listen. And He will respond. Indeed, God EXPECTED such a reaction from Abraham, for in verses 17-18 He considered whether He should hide from Abraham what He was about to do…

    We are also being called to pray for others, to intercede on their behalf.

    For what has God chosen me?

    Well, like Abraham (verse 19), we have been singled out to direct others “to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD may put into effect” FOR US the promises he made TO US.

    I don’t feel the need to “be great”. As long as I obey the Lord by doing what is right and just, and guiding others to do the same, it will be a life well lived and pleasing to God. I feel that we are chosen to bring others closer to God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
    When I went to the National Catholic Bible Conference in Doylestown PA in 2012, I was thrilled to discover that the focus was on evangelization. I thought only the denominations evangelized! I used to declare that I was Christian first, and Catholic second. But now I have embraced my Catholic faith in a deeper way. I am active in the Cursillo movement in my diocese, which helps Catholics deepen their relationship with Jesus and calls us to lead others to Him.

    I think that, like Abraham, I’m still on a journey (a faith journey) and I’m not sure how long it will take to “get there”. But the main thing about any journey is the trip itself. It’s what happens on the road along the way.

    • Marianne, I would say if you live your life as you have just described, you will have achieved greatness in God’s eyes! Blessings to you, this Sunday.

  • I would like to comment on another thought. Chapter 18 God appeared to Abraham and Abraham looked up and saw three men standing near him. Could the three have been God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit? Next we have Abraham leading the three men to Sodom and Gomorrah. The two men go and and God stays with Abraham.
    Another thought–I wonder if Lot ever wondered how his two daughters conceived? Chapter 19
    Comments? or Thoughts?

    • Hi Jeanne.
      You’re right about the three men. Christian tradition has always identified these 3 with the 3 persons of the Holy Trinity.

    • Blessings Jeanne…I’m sure Lot knew what happened; which is probably the reason why they settled in a cave; separated and living apart from others. There’s a symbolic use of separating themselves physically from others and God and what happened in the cave.

      As for your comment about the 3 men that appeared before Abraham, I wanted to think that God revealed Himself in the Trinity to Abraham but in the next chapter we see two of the men go into Sodom (they were angels). I believe the third person could have been the manifestation of God in some form. The point is that God delivered a message to Abraham and Sarah “in person”.

    • * [18:3] Abraham addresses the leader of the group, whom he does not yet recognize as the Lord; in the next two verses he speaks to all three men. The other two are later (Gn 19:1) identified as angels. The shifting numbers and identification of the visitors are a narrative way of expressing the mysterious presence of God.

  • When I first read the discussion question this morning, my response was “I don’t know.” Then, after discussing with my wife and attending a bible study, my reflection is to simply state “for the Glory of God.” I feel God has given me Grace and Righteousness to strive to live a life like Christ in everything I do as a lay person in the Church.

  • I continue to be surprised by how many times Abraham sins/errs even while doing God’s will. If he could still be in God’s favor while being in His presence, There is hope for me who believes and has not seen! Faith is so powerful!!!

  • As I read the passage, 2 thoughts occured to me. First God told Abraham to “Go!,” and Abraham went. When the Holy Spirit nudges me into action, I need to respond. Even when that mean leaving my “comfort zone.” The second thought would almost seem to contradict the first, but it doesn’t. It dovetails on the first. When God told Abraham that he would have a son, Abraham thought that he had to “force” the promise to happen. So, for me, when there is a future promise, I need to wait on the Lord. Sometimes that can mean praying for family members to return to Church, and always extending the gentle invitation, but not FORCE or try to make them feel guilty, etc, etc. Pray, be charitable, and wait on the Lord.

    • I see I’m not the only one who has no idea what God’s plan is for my life. Sometimes it might seem like we’re stumbling in the dark, searching for the Light to guide us in the right direction. I left my “comfort zone” more than a year ago, from being financially secure to constantly wondering how I will make ends meet.

      I like what you said, Kathy, about not trying to force things to happen, but rather we must patiently wait on the Lord. In a recent bible study on the Gospel of St. John, I had a bit of an epiphany of my own regarding Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. He waited four days to go see Lazarus, but by then everybody thought it was too late. Jesus told the sisters, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God? Father, I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” (John 11:40-42)

      It seems we are also called to wait. But oh, how it will be worth the wait! How it will glorify God, probably in ways we can’t imagine! In the meantime, I will keep praising Him and thanking Him. For ALL things that happen reveal the glory of God!

      • Neither of you are alone in wondering what God’s plan is for your lives. I had stated a couple of days ago that God has set me on a path, which requires moving to a different state, selling my beautiful beach home and downsizing to an in-law apartment. I’m in generally good health and plan to continue to work for several years yet. I haven’t sold my house yet; that will come in God’s most perfect timing. And, I don’t know what He plans for me along this journey, but I do know that I’m doing my best to listen for His guidance and, when he does reveal His plan, I want to recognize it and embrace it!

        • I’m beginning to realize that WE’RE LIVING HIS PLAN RIGHT NOW. We’re always focused on looking to the future; we forget that we’re living in the present. Therefore, every morning I thank God for the new day and praise Him for all the blessings I receive.

  • I think the Lord knew what he was doing when He chose Abraham. “The Lord said,
    “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham
    shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations on earth shall
    bless themselves by him? No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has promised him.” Genesis 18:17-19 God is so incredibly awesome!

    As for me; I am not sure what God has chosen for me. I try to be a good person each day. Sometimes I falter and selfishness seems to take precedence over charity. God loves me for what I am so I believe that He loves me for what I am regardless of my flaws. I acknowledge my faults to Him
    and feel forgiven. He is, again, incredibly awesome!

  • When Abraham pleaded with the Lord, he must have overridden his own awe and fear of the Lord, out of love for the righteous men in Sodom. It shows Abraham’s belief that even in an evil place such as Sodom, there must be at least 10 righteous men, yet there was only one. It shows the compassionate side of Abraham, the fact that God listens, considers and answers our prayers, maybe not as we hoped. I wonder if Abraham wept when Sodom was destroyed because there were not 10 righteous men?

    On the question for what has God chosen me, I simply do not know. I can’t get over the fact that he has chosen me and remain humbled, grateful and happy. But I do not know “for what”. Perhaps it is best I don’t know, so that I can just keep doing whatever comes up that seems to be the thing I should be doing, for as long as necessary.

  • For what has God chosen you? Great question!!! I have dedicated my life to helping others through health care, but I don’t feel that is enough. I feel like I want to do more, but what is the question. In searching for ways for Catholics to do Bible study I found very challenging. I believe Christians have it down pat, but us Catholics are only starting to scratch the surface on how to better learn to study the bible with very few tools out there. How many Catholics do you know have read the entire bible, if even one entire book? I decided I want to read the entire bible in a 3-year period. Fortunately this (Great Adventure) is one avenue to help me begin to read the bible and have a better understanding of our faith. I am hopeful that somehow I can be a disciple in helping other Catholics to read the bible in the future. I am only starting this journey which has already proven to be challenging.

    • Blessing Luz, I have to agree with you on some aspects of your comments but have to disagree with you on others. Yes, non-Catholic Christians know the Bible very well but unlike us, don’t have the Mass that shows the Bible Coming Alive before us. Yes, we should read the Bible and as St. Augustine said “to know Scripture is to know Jesus” which is important for us to ensure we read the Bible seeing Christ in every Old Testament verse. Not to knock this particular study which is aggressive in assuming to read the 14 narrative books in 90 days but the Bible should be a life long blessing. I started reading the Bible with new lenses (through the eyes of Jesus) back in 2012. I’m on 1 Kings at this time and felt that I’m not “behind” at all because during that time, I reflected on the stories and experienced life in different ways because of these stories. I believe that the 90 day exercise is to give us a first pass of the narrative books and expects us to go back on our own God given time to savor every word mulling over it’s messages and how we relate to every character mentioned in the Bible – even those characters that were considered lost. God bless you.

      • Reading the bible IS a lifelong blessing. I don’t think we’ll fully absorb all the knowledge contained in it until we reach heaven. Then think of the eons we can spend sitting around with St. John and the others, listening to the stories and miracles, for only heaven could contain all the books that could have been written! (John 21:25)

        I think we are very blessed to be given this bird’s eye view in 90 days. It only covers 14 chapters of the entire bible. For someone like me, who is “historically challenged” (I do better with the spiritual and relational topics as opposed to history) this is a good way to get an overview of the bible timeline and salvation history.
        Studying in depth can follow, as you say, on your own time or in another
        venue.

        And yes, we Catholics are so fortunate to have the Mass and the Eucharist!

      • I agree that non-Catholic Christians know the bible well but they don’t have all the beliefs we have such as the Holy Eucharist, that is why Catholics should not take bible classes with them so that we interpret the bible correctly. What I meant was that non-Catholic Christians have regularly scheduled bible classes and are more familiar with reading the bible than we are. My mother is 86 years old, very religious (almost became a nun when she was single) and goes to mass every week, however she has never read an entire book although she reads from the bible every day. Now things are changing and Catholics are too encouraged to read the bible. I have only read 3 books, I am completing Book of Numbers by tomorrow, for some reason that book took me a long time to review. Yes, the 90 day challenge is a first pass, but it is helpful in getting the bible’s message in some perspective. I really appreciate reading about everyone’s thoughts, journey, and reflection. God bless you too : )

    • Well, Luz, perhaps you can bring a bible study to your church! The Ascension Press studies are excellent! We’re starting Galatians this week… can’t wait!

      I have read the bible from cover to cover many times. The first couple times, I’m not sure how much I absorbed. As I get older, I’ve come to
      savor it slowly. I’m not on any timetable or pressure to get it finished. So I find that I get so much more out of it.

      • Thanks for your thoughts, since I only started to read the bible books a couple of months ago, I have to wait to become more familiar with the books. The only reason for my 3-year timeline is for my goal of reading the entire bible to become a reality. I find I can only read a couple of chapters in one sitting, as there is much to contemplate on. I see online people read the bible in one year, but that does not allow enough time to contemplate. Unlike other reading I do, this reading I do not take lightly. Kudos to you for reading the bible several times over. I can’t wait until I can say the same thing one day!

        • Well, when you get to be my age… 🙂
          Seriously, Luz, feel free to start ANYWHERE. I found it easier to start with the New Testament;
          it was easier for me to absorb. Just pray on it, and I’m certain the Holy Spirit will open your mind and you will receive wisdom and understanding. Blessings to you.

          • Thanks Marianne. I am most familiar with the NT, that is why I am starting with the OT as I feel like I don’t know enough about the prophets. I bought the Daily Roman Missal and meditating on the readings on a daily basis, going to mass on Sundays as I work full time. So I am getting the NT read as well. Wisdom and understanding comes in small daily doses. Patience is definitely a virtue.

    • Luz, When I was told on Good Friday last year “Your Cancer is incurrable and will most probably be back within 18 months I created what I called my “Bible Bucket List” I decided to read one Chapter a day. I asked the Holy Spirit to Guide me in which books to choose. I made the list and put them on my calendar. I also an taking to Great Adventure series This mini Bible is helping me a lot

      • I work in oncology and find that those who have faith are able to live their lives more peacefully than those that lack faith. The truth is no one really knows when God will call us home. I love your bible bucket list idea! I hope you find comfort reading His words. God bless.

  • Chapter 17 – The covenant with God is perpetuated with the practice of circumcision. On that same day, Abram has each of the males in his household circumcised. A name is given to Abram in the form of Abraham establishing his identity as a follower of God; not only of name but by deed (circumcision). This becomes the foundation to which boys are named on the 8th day after birth during the ceremony of the circumcision. The covenant with Abraham establishes the royal line to come from his lineage. Abraham laughs at the prospect of his wife, now Sarah, to bear a child to be named Isaac. He offers God Ishmael as the one to be chosen to fulfill the royal line but God chooses Isaac; the child born of a miracle.

    Chapter 18 – Three men of God announce to Abraham of the birth of his son Isaac for which Sarah overhears and she too laughs. She must have heard from her husband of the promise made to him by God and hearing it again from an independent source; she still found it incredulous. When we rely on our own understanding of things, we end up missing so much. Notice God’s question to Abraham why his wife laughed at the prospect of having a child at her age; reminiscent of the question God asked Adam in the Garden. The question demands that Abraham and Sarah reflect on this promise and acknowledge that nothing is impossible for God. The inclusion of Sodom at this point suggests that the Lord is paving the way for righteous people in a nation onto God. An heir was announced and now the land must be cleared of all evil in order for the seed to take hold. Lastly, Abraham prays to God for the deliverance of the cities – a connection to the power of intercessory prayers – God does listen.

    Chapter 19 – God’s mercy is shown to Lot and his family in saving them from the destruction of Sodom. Abraham’s prayer for their safety is heard. Sodom became a city seeped in perverse behavior and extreme selfishness. As the city is destroyed, Lot’s wife looks back and is immediately turned to salt. The key message is that when God delivers one out of a lifestyle or experience that’s sinful, do not look back reflecting on the sin because it may draw you back and one could become catatonic in moving forward. In Luke 17:32-33, the Lord Jesus reveals that Lot’s wife looked back because she wanted to preserve the lifestyle in Sodom [“Remember the wife of Lot. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it”]. The nation of the Ammonites and the Moabites were founded upon the incestual relations of Lot with his daughters; a practice common in Sodom. REFLECTION – Does God destroy His children or is the story of Sodom & Gomorrah an allegory of the subversion of our relationship with God and who were are meant to be in the image of God. We are all made in that sacred image but when we deviate so far from treating each other as objects to please the self, the image of God fades from the community of those that partake in the sin. The falling of fire and sulfur illustrates the tremendous and violent reaction and outcomes of our selves when we violently pull ourselves from the Light of God.

    Chapter 20 – Abraham, learning from the events of Sodom in particular with the incident of Lot and his daughter’s offered up to the evil demands of the townsmen, sought to protect himself because he thought that the place he settled in Gerar (with Abimelech) may be the same as Sodom; which is why he offered his wife to Abimelech. Abimelech’s response was something to appreciate – he was tempted but chose to follow what was right in the eyes of God. Yes, Sodom was destroyed and there was hope of good people in the land.

    • The story of Lot and his daughters seems to echo Ham sleeping with his mother to try to get Noah’s inheritance. In both stories, drunkenness was involved. Another interesting note with regard to Lot and his daughters is that Lot offered up his virgin daughters to the mob outside his door calling to let them have their way with his visitors. What much his poor daughters have thought? Maybe their deception of their father was a bit of revenge? Those passages are difficult and require a lot of prayer to understand.

  • I love this story of Abraham, which he negotiates with our Lord and pleas with him. The gift of interceding for each other before the Father,Son and Holy Spirit. I want to take this opportunity to thank first our Lord for all his gifts. Particular this site and bible class where he unites us all for the same common good, to help us grow more in knowledge of him and to intercede for each one of us. So as we celebrate this feast of epiphany today. I want to pray for each person who is reading and united in Christ. We bring ourselves to God in thanksgiving for all the talents he has given us.

  • I guess I was surprised to see Abraham’s plea to save Sodom is later used by Jonah as he pleas with God to save the people and city of Ninevah. God does hear our prayers. You asked in discussion what God’s plans for me were? I have long thought about this. It hasn’t always come clearly to me through the years. I believe that one of my calling is to be a teacher. I did that for 10 years in the local Catholic Elementary School. I have also served my parish as a Lector, Lay Communion Distributor, and as a Religious Ed. instructor. I had also been a substitute teacher for years. I felt this pull back to substitute teaching this year and have made a slight return to it.

  • For what has God chosen me? What a question to try and answer after reading about Abraham and his dedication and loyalty to God. This has been my struggle and it appears to be getting worse. I feel like I am being pulled in so many directions that there is no focus in my life or a specific chosen path that God is leading me on. My hope is that God is patient and understanding as I try and figure this life out. I am trying to ensure my daughter is truly grounded in her Faith as she rapidly approaches adulthood while at the same time trying to help my three year old son learn the basics of God’s goodness and to be kind always. Then I can’t forget about the middle daughter, at 11 who I pray does not get forgotten in the melee of life. Coupled with that a husband’s career that is quite demanding and at times stressful I rarely feel as if I have done right by any of those in my care. That being said, I know they are in MY care so specially given to me by God. Each day is a new day and I try to live it for God. I read in a book last year something to the effect of, “I want people, when they see me to see Jesus in my eyes so they too might want to live as Jesus lives.” I am not sure how I am doing but through daily Mass, prayer, and a lot of hope I believe that God will not steer me wrong and help me as I walk each day in the hope of Eternal Salvation. Every now and again, God does give us signs that we are at least in the ballpark, and this morning I saw this glimpse in my three year old as he took the candelabras off of my dining room table, added new purple candles (leftover from Advent) saying, the Church uses different colored candles, and walked through our house singing “Alleluia” in his most spiritual voice. I am so grateful for this Bible Study, what an amazing way to begin 2014!

    • Michelle, it’s so obvious to me… you have been chosen to be a Mother! It sounds like you are on the right path. Being “hands on” is vital,
      spending quality time as a family, and above all, going to Mass as a family.

      I agree with you. When people see me, I want them to see such joy that they say “I want what she has”.

      My greatest regret is that my parents didn’t go to church with us kids. The youngest of five, I
      watched as one by one, when my siblings turned 18 they stopped going to church. I thought it was a requirement! Turn 18 and stop going to church…

      So if you continue as you are doing, “living like Christ” and setting an example for your children, you are building a faith foundation that will stay with them their entire lives. In the Name of God, I guarantee it!

  • In Chapter 18: “…that he may direct his sons and his posterity to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just.” Abraham was chosen to be an example and mentor to keep straight the way of the Lord. For myself, I am not clear on what exactly my task is. I recently retired from 41 years of nursing, and I continue to teach with our RCIA team and work with our Life Teen Youth group as well as facilitate a group for “returning Catholics”. But I have a strong sense that I am to be called to something specific, that it will be revealed in time and I must be ready. I feel as though I am living in “advent”.

  • For the last 3 1/2 years I have been struggling with trying to find out what God had called me to do. On March 19 of 2010. I was told I had esophageal cancer and had probably 3 months to live. The news actually delighted me because I had been grieving for my father that I was contemplating self-distruction. But when I went to the Dr. to discuss pallative and hospice care my brother who was visiting took me to the appointment. He said get a second opinion from my nephew (his son who is a primary care physician) so the records were sent. That night my nephew called back and said one of his patients was surgeon who was doing innovative surgery for this type of cancer, she had seen the records and believed I was a good candidate for her surgery. I would have to undergo intensive Chemo and Radiation though. It was touch and go with Chemo/radiation. Chemo caused my eyesight to deteriate. My daughter found a book that had larger type it so happened it was a book of Mother Teresa’s writings and speeches on the Beatitudes, “Blessed Are You” During the Chemo Infusions I read the book. I felt the presence of Mother Teresa beside me. I united my suffering with Christ. The operation was a sucess. When I came to, I asked God why was I spared what do You want me to do. Last year I developed a new cancer and the old one was present with the new one. At the same time my back was injured and I am crippled, for a while I thought now I am crippled and the cancer is back what great thing can I do now? Today a friend sent me the following quote Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel wrote in Souls On Fire that when you die and go to meet your Maker, you’re not going to be asked why you didn’t become a Messiah or find a cure for cancer. All you’re going to be asked is, “Why didn’t you become you? Why didn’t you become all that you are?”
    I know now that all I must do is unite myself with Christ

    • Barbara, your suffering is not in vain. Your suffering, united with Christ’s, has a very real purpose. In spite of the cancer, you can still intercede for others. You can also share your story, and encourage others not to give up.

      You may also find inspiration in the story of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. I cited Elizabeth as an example of someone with a strong ideal in my talk on Ideals for Cursillo. She had a deep devotion and also united her
      suffering to Christ.

      God bless you in your journey. You are a shining example to others who suffer. May God give you His rest, comfort, and peace.

    • You are going through a lot but have the right attitude to help yourself and in the process influence others around you. My sister had cancer at the age of 33 and was united with Christ. Everyone that visited her said they went to cheer her up, however they walked out of the room feeling completely different and uplifted. We all will meet our Maker one day and the best we can do is try to get to know HIm and try to emulate Him as best we can. I will pray for you and your family, that you may have peace and love to help you on your journey.

    • Thank you for your sharing Barbara.
      How ‘life
      is not easy’ is easy to say than to go through it! You are an inspiration as
      when we are in rock-bottom, God is so close to us, only we need to cry out to HIM. Mother Teresa has lived many years
      in darkness, yet never give up her faith in God. You are God ‘s beloved
      daughter, stay close in His love!

  • God is calling me to pray and LISTEN! The listening is hard as there is a certain amount of being unsure and yet walking in faith! The waiting is painful as I have a heart that wants to go, go, go all of the time. I feel very in touch with those who have loss in their lives. Loss of loved ones, loss of home, loss of hope and those that don’t know how much God loves them. For now I pray for each of them, I try to listen and wait and learn to be The Lord’s hands, feet and mouth here on earth!

  • I found it interesting that God tells Abraham that “kings shall come forth from you” (Gen 17:6) but later in 1 Samuel 8 God tells the Israelites that a king is not His will for them. Of course God already knows that they will ignore His advice, but this verse caught my attention.

    I also noted that Abraham AGAIN tries to pass off Sarah as his sister with Abimelech. Didn’t they both learn that lesson in Egypt?

    As far as what God has chosen me to to do, I sometimes feel like the people of the Old Testament. God has great plans for them (for example, Abraham was supposed to go to the Promised Land without taking any of his kindred (Gen 12:1) but he takes Lot. When he gets to the Promised Land, there is a famine. If he had left Lot behind would a famine have occurred, thus preventing the trip to Egypt where Sarah was taken by the Pharaoh as a wife? But even so, God continues to bless Abraham (and many other people in the Old Testament) even when they mess things up. I see this so often in my life. I think that I’m in the right place, doing the right thing, then I mess something up. Things might go wrong for awhile, but then some other blessing comes along and I feel called to do something else. I just need to focus on trying to better discern God’s will and follow His guidance.

  • I love the fact that Abraham humbly for the first time starts a conversation, a dialog with God. Asking him to spear the life of others even though he was only thinking in Lot.

  • The Holy Spirit has prompted me to revisit how God has chosen me lately – a person so far away from Him. I am a convert and didn’t know Him at the point of baptism. Lord Jesus has picked me up and put me on the role of a catechist, the Holy Spirit has put me on fire to evangelize. The role of a catechist has help my loved ones to become a Catholic, also to strengthen my faith in God. His love is unconditional! Praise and thank you God !

  • Since first reading it with any attention a few months ago, I have had problems with the Origin of the Moabites and Ammonites. The story of the two girls laying with their father. Can anyone help me with that. I am a day late because of travel yesterday.

    • Lot had two daughters and a wife.. when told to get out of Sodom and Gomorrah, they were also warned not to look back, or they would become pillars of salt… his wife looked backand as turned into salt…
      .
      then they were told that Zoar or Segor would be safe from God’s wrath, as Lot had asked…
      .
      they left Segor or Zoar as Lot was afraid of it, too… they went into the hills and stayed in a cave… there it was that Lot’s daughters (seeing no man anywhere and fearful of their having children) caused Lot to drink wine both nights – they gave birth to Moabites and Ammonites then…

      • I’m struggling with this passage too. There seems to be no consequence to incest…or at least considers incest better than having no children. Am I not seeing something? Do these Moabites and Ammonites later become terrible people? Thanks for any clarification — I am definitely new at this!

        • I agree! Guess it shows us God forgives us all our sins! I am no expert but I believe the Ammonites were enemies of Israel and eventually destroyed themselves – although the Capital of Jordan is Amman which comes from this name. The Moabites were often at odds with the Israelites but Ruth who is one of the 5 women in the genealogy of Jesus was a Moabitess…. shows God can use any of us no matter our origins or our own disobedience!

        • the consequences of incest are just this:
          .
          the girls lost any chance of marrying because they had given birth…
          .
          the father who was old lost his chance to grow old gracefully; and his choice not to have more kids; and his chance to grow old with his kids at an older and more stable age as well as provide for them…
          .
          and yes, the Moabites and Ammonites became the enemies of God’s chosen people – because these kids were raised fatherless, and no chance to gain a father, they were raised poor – which leads to all sorts of violent behaviour

      • We have to remember that this is very early in Salvation history. We don’t have the 10 Commandments yet, no New Testament teachings. I have often been told that we cannot place New Testament judgements on Old Testament stories, especially the REALLY old stories. For the people at the time of Abram and Lot, just worshiping One God was a crazy concept, it takes time for all these other rules to sink into place…… Of course we can also think back to Adam and Eve, there had to have been incest at that point as well because the only people on the planet were close blood relatives. It was a different time that we can’t project our current standards on.

  • Though I had bought a Bible long ago I had never attempted to read it. I have just begun reading the Bible. All these years I had believed that a few good deeds is enough to be with God. But now I realize that it isn’t enough. I am not yet sure for what reason God has chosen me? As I journey through the Bible I pray that God will provide me an answer ..

  • GENESIS 17

    15God further said to Abraham: As for Sarai your wife, do not call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.*16I will bless her, and I will give you a son by her. Her also will I bless; she will give rise to nations, and rulers of peoples will issue from her.j17Abraham fell face down and laughed* as he said to himself, “Can a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Can Sarah give birth at ninety?”

    GENESIS 18
    9“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There in the tent,” he replied.10One of them* said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah will then have a son.” Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent, just behind him.b11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years, and Sarah had stopped having her menstrual periods.c12So Sarah laughed* to herself and said, “Now that I am worn out and my husband is old, am I still to have sexual pleasure?”13But the LORD said to Abraham: “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really bear a child, old as I am?’14Is anything too marvelous for the LORD to do? At the appointed time, about this time next year, I will return to you, and Sarah will have a son.”d15Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid. But he said, “Yes, you did.”
    I guess you would call this a rhetorical question but I am curious as to why when Abraham laughed about him and Sarah having a child so late in life that it was ignored yet when Sarah laughed, she was sort of reprimanded.

    • because it says ‘Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid.’ (Gen 18:15)
      .
      it did not say Abraham lied or was afraid when God told him Sarah was to bear his son…

      • Thank you Sleepy. Your comment makes perfect sense. This isn’t my first time doing this study so you would think I would have caught that. For this very reason this is why I like this discussion board. We can help each other.

        • I, too, see things so much more than originally with other people pointing out some little bit of nothing (in the Bible?? lol)

  • I read several posts from a year ago, and am going to add an update for this year. First, a confidant suggested that I share my concerns for my family and other issues with others, so they can pray for them as well…I did that and have found that the results to those prayers have been much more profound and answers to those prayers have come much more quickly. I have learned the importance of Jesus’ saying that where two or three are praying, there I will be…I now have many, many people praying for my family and me…So here is a brief update: my grand children are growing even more in the values and morals that God wants us to have…as I have spent time with each of them this past Christmas season, I am amazed at how much change and growth I see in them…My husband, daughters, and sister are also, showing signs of Christian growth…though there is not much interest on Church participation,yet…I am encouraged that will happen in time…As for myself…my motto for the New Year is taken from the Hazeldon twelve=step program…as I have discovered, not surprisingly, that my addictive behavior is to have control: Let go and Let God. This I hope to add each day to my intention: God Your Will Be Done This day, and every through out my life…

    • Beverly, I know exactly where you are coming from. In this day and age, apathy has taken over our way of life. Religion isn’t as important because the instant gratification attitude has exploded along with the “What’s in it for me”? I find that I can’t see the answers to my prayers regarding my immediate family. It could be that I’m caught up with the instant gratification way of life, too.
      You have such a beautiful attitude towards life and such positive expectations! I will read and reread your comment so perhaps I could gain some insight in something that I am missing! May God bless as you are a very special person to me through your writings.

      • Thank you for your comments…I have gained much from yours over these many months as well…I would say I am what I am, and since I know I’m broken, I would have to say there are definitely sides of me that need the Savior as well. I definitely know this part of the journey as well. For many, many years I thought that if I gave in to all the material things that I thought that my family wanted,they would come to an end of their need for “more”,,,this even lead to purchasing some very large ticket items…however, all this backfired…for the opposite happened…the more they got, the more they wanted…and I realized we were spinning out of control…and what they really needed along, I couldn’t give to them-a very sad,difficult pill to take, as I love each one very much…Does that mean I love them less, judge them, criticize them? No, I love them unconditionally, forgive them as needed, seek their forgiveness as needed, and pray unceasingly along with sacrificial offerings and spiritual bouquets…so I had gone from trying to control everything to giving up control on anything…I am just beginning to learn to follow this advise of my spiritual director: Control what is mine, and leave the rest up to God…in other words try to stay centered…and believe this is most difficult for me…I suppose as, I look at my response to Marjorie, my motto for the New Year needs to be modified to: Control what I can, and leave the rest to God..trying to stay centered. See, pnkyB4brain, God has used you to help me to clarify what it is He wants me to focus on this year. May my ramblings help you to set your focus for the New Year according To what God wants of you. May the Holy Spirit guide you and all who are doing this challenge.

        • Beverly, You cannot fathom how inspiring your words are to me at this present time. May we all help each other in achieving what God wants of us! Bless you.

    • My sons do not practice their faith, in fact my oldest son and his wife didn’t even have our grandchildren Baptized even though we have asked and asked. I must admit when they were babies and we were watching them I “baptized” them with water and the Sign of the Cross…. better than nothing. My youngest son is out in California and his friends either don’t have a faith or are vocal atheists and he doesn’t go to church except when we are there. He does have a faith just caught up in this world. I talked to our priest and he told me to pray, pray and pray some more. In praying the one bright note has been they’ve sent both to a Christian pre school and they know Jesus died and saved us for our sins. We bought them a children’s book on the Bible for Christmas and we talk to them about Jesus. Like you Beverly I am trying to Let go and Let God praying they all receive Him as our Lord and Savior.

      • I didn’t have this attitude a couple of years ago…I began seeing a spiritual director a couple of years ago, through an organization called “On Eagles Wings” that is associated with our diocese…This is by far the best thing I have done for myself…This is my fourth spiritual director, and each one has been just what I needed at that time….So, may I suggest you think about a spiritual director; and get a group of your friends to pray for you family…letting them know when there are special times you o they are in need of special prayer. This may help you have greater peace of mind. As far as “bap tizing” your grandkids…I did t hat, too…with each of my grandkids…I have asked a priest about that, and he suggested, I write out a paper with that information on it…with the approximate dates that I did it. Then, if they are baptized, they can be conditionally baptized…I have that information in my files on the computer. Probably the hardest thing for me to do, is “Letting Go, and Letting God”…for as a Mother and Grandmother, we don’t want to see our family

        • I, too, baptized my grandson, on 22 Sept 2013, right after his father said “No, I’m not going to baptize my kids – that’s for those who believe in a god – I don’t, and neither will my kids. “

          • I have indirectly modeled and taught morals to my grandkids…and they have listened to K Love music as we drive here and there, I have read some bible stories to them, told them other ones, shared all the things I do with Church…They are very aware of their grandmother’s preferences, as are my kids…who have been known on occasion, to tell me something important that is happening their life, and hint around for prayer…at which, I tell I will pray for them…and they are always grateful…Oh well, that is what it is for now…but I am hopeful always…for my trust is in God who is mightier than their stubbornness, fears, angers,etc…

    • Prayer is a very powerful thing. I strongly believe that when we pray that our family members will come or return to the church and grow in faith, God hears our prayers. Though the choice is ultimately up to the individual, our fervent prayers are heard and the Lord is as persistent as we are… He will keep on seeking a relationship with them. “Rejoice in hope, patient in suffering, persevere in prayer” (Romans 12:12)

      • I have learned that God pursues each of us; some of us are more open to His nudges than others. So, my prayer for my children is that God will find a chink in their armors and nudge them in such a way that they can’t ignore His presence any longer.

  • I often wonder why would God choose me for anything special over so many others that inhabit this planet. I thought about this and read what I wrote last year and realized I was thinking that I was being chosen for some great deed!
    I then realized that I am indeed being chosen for some great deed and that is by living each day as a Christian and showing my love for God in whatever I do. I am in awe of this insight and am proud to be chosen for this incredible honor.

    • I believe he chose you, pnkyB4brain , because he knew you would follow through! It sounds like you have it in your heart to do great deeds. 🙂

      • Vicki, I am so excited that it sank into my thick head that I don’t need to be famous or extraordinary to accomplish this deed. I just need to be myself and have faith in the Lord. Thank you for your comment. May God bless.

        • I was shopping at a quaint little shop and came across a lovely plaque which said “Happiness is when you’ve gotten really good at being you!” The phrase is a simple one but has great depth. It means that we have grown to accept ourselves the way God intended us to be. To accept our flaws as well as our attributes and to accept in a loving way all that befalls us. It means total acceptance of God’s will and continued growth in His service. Blessings to all.

    • There’s no greater mission than to obey the greatest commandment, and what a blessing to have received this insight. We’re all on different stages of our journey. Sometimes circumstances don’t allow us to “do much” but the greatest things can be accomplished during these times. You might be planting a seed for another person’s growth; or showing a kindness that makes another person see Christ in you. And so on.

      Also, these Scriptures are food for thought:
      “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Luke 16:10-13)

      “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ …For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:21, 29)

      • God must shine down upon all the participants in these discussions! Your incredible insight helps me strive to do better as my human side (selfishness) occasionally decides to take over my mind! (Satan never sleeps!!!)
        Marianne, thank you and may God bless.

  • Jesus, please… guide me and others who know You have called us to Your service, in every way, on every day… let us know it’s all right to feed the poor, give them clothing, help those that seek it find a roof… tell us to stop worrying about ourselves so often that we cannot see or hear the poor, until we can see and hear the poor without giving any thought to ourselves…

  • We always think, “what is God’s plan for my life?” Yet if we think about it, God’s plan is already happening, we are exactly where we are meant to be (we just don’t always realize it).

    To answer today’s question, I reflected back on the past year. I’m active with the Cursillo movement in my diocese, organizing events and last year I updated their web site. I also take advantage of opportunities to witness to those around me, and I was blessed with many opportunities to do so with coworkers as well as the occasional stranger in my path. I see myself continuing these activities in 2015. I also plan to publish my own personal web site, where I can post some of my photos and writings.

    Several months ago, I had a dream which led to a middle of the night conversation… with God or an angel, I don’t know. All I know is that it’s been ten months and I can’t get it out of my head.
    http://www.mygraceandhope.com/do%20something.htm

    Well, as Matthew West says in the song, “it’s time for us to do something”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_RjndG0IX8

    • I think you are referring to the name change of Abram and Sarai right? The foot note in my bible says : For the ancients a name did not merely indicate, rather it made a thing what it was, and a change of name meant a change of destiny. Did that help?

      • I googled and found out that “Abram’s name means “exalted
        father” but Yahweh will give him a new name to reflect his status as the
        father of God’s holy people: Abraham means, “father of a multitude”. Hope that adds to Jeanne’s answer. I drew a blank with Sarai.

    • Similar of changing Saul’s name tompaul. It represents a new creation. When you are born again you are a new creation thus the name change.

    • I know what you mean. I don’t have a problem with Lot wanting to protect his guests but not at the expense of someone else and especially not at the expense of his two daughters who were still virgins.

    • Yes, I had a really hard time with that one too… Even knowing that back then female children were not regarded nearly as high as male, I am still shocked.

  • I understand that Abram was chosen because he was righteous and just. Still the ways of the Old Testament are so rude to my view, and also really far from Jesus Merci, Love and Discernment as it is stated in today’s readings.

  • It is not too great a stretch to refer to the daily quote of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, posted in Facebook, when pondering today’s passage/reflection question. He speaks of Jesus’ swaddling clothes hiding the Son of God, just as the appearances of bread and wine hides the Reality of Christ’s sacrifice being relived in the Mass. It is the same for us – our seemingly dirty rags of sin and our dependence on everyday things as air and water overshadow the secret of our sanctity.
    “For many good souls are hungry to do great things for God. They complain that they have not opportunities for heroic virtue, no chance at the apostolate. They would be martyrs; but when a meal is late, or a bus is crowded, when the theater is filled, or the dance postponed, or the bacon overdone, they are upset for a whole day. They miss their opportunities for loving God in the little things He asks of them.” (Lift Up Your Heart)
    God created us, isn’t this enough to encourage us in our daily lives? Are we not created to live in His image, joyfully thanking God in our blessings and our tribulations? Thus we illuminate the Way, I contend. But it’s a hard habit to foster, I admit.

    • Tho’ we’re now on day 9, I have just figured out…I think…how to join the discussion. I would like to join the group, but need some help doing so. Disqus has me confused. Thanks!

      • At the bottom of each day’s reflection is a link “Join the Discussion,” I think the box says; click on that and scroll down through the discussion again to where it says post comments. You may see icons for Discus or Facebook, etc. and a directive to sign in using one of these. Click on the Discus one (at least, that’s what I did initially) fill in the fields to join, and then you can post your comments each day, just as you commented to me here! Good luck and so nice to have you in the discussions. I have not commented much this year – I offered more than my share last year! But I am checking in to read new comments.

  • “I have singled him out that he may direct his children and his household in the future to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD may put into effect for Abraham the promises he made about him.”

    I know I have been called to a great deal in my parish. I am on the mens association but was recently called upon to start looking at a new christian ministry within our parish based in the mission of Frassati. I am excited for this and look forward to seeing where it will go. I always knew there was more. I asked in prayer to please let me know what it is. I was then sent an email from the Frassati chapter and also met the director of our christian ministries in my church.

    We are always being called. The real question is are we in a place to listen.

  • Beverly, We have much in common and your post gives me hope. I have been married 26 yrs, am 55 yrs old and have 3 (almost) grown children. .a sister and 3 brothers…all my siblings are divorced and have left the Church, my husband doesn’t go to Church and neither do my kids. I used to be one of their CCD instructors. The evil one whispers “failure” in my ear. I cry most every Sunday in church alone. I too see signs of God’s virtues and morals in them all. I too will choose to live on faith and the promise of a future. Perhaps I won’t see their conversions in this lifetime, but that’s ok. I pray my Rosary daily for them. Thank you Beverly and Abraham

    • The evil one wants you to think you’re a failure. I’m a firm believer that “what you speak becomes reality”. So if he’s whispering these negative thoughts in your ear, simply shout out “I am a child of the One True King. God loves me; He hears my prayers; and you cannot touch my loved ones… they are in the palm of His hand.”

  • Every day I am learning with these readings, and the comments help me to understand. Earlier I was in the BEST sorted comments with out realizing because they are over a year old, but I liked a comment by “Chuck” who stated, “Abraham is not good because he loves God, Abraham is good because God loves him. We are all chosen to be good, and with that goodness we can be right.” Yesterday, I had a question if Abram knew the meaning of love. Today’s readings clarified to me that it was after God changed his name to Abraham and promised him a new covenant, that he realized how much God loves him. When Abraham pleaded for the life of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah he is surely displaying love for human life. I also liked what Ros Sherman said, “We don’t choose God, God chooses us.” God chose me to learn more about The Bible, now I understand why I decided to commit to this 90 day adventure.

  • Every day I am learning with these readings, and the comments help me to understand. Earlier I was in the BEST sorted comments without realizing because they are over a year old, but I liked the comment by “Chuck” who stated, “Abraham is not good because he loves God, Abraham is good because God loves him. We are all chosen to be good, and with that goodness we can be right.” Yesterday I had a question if Abram knew the meaning of love. Today’s readings clarified to me that it was after God changed his name to Abraham and promised him a new covenant, that he realized how much God loves him. When Abraham pleaded for the life of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, he is surely displaying love for human life. I also liked what Ros Sherman said, “We don’t choose God, God chooses us.” God chose “me” to learn more about The Bible, now I understand why I decided to commit to this 90 day adventure.

    • Margie, I am glad you joined the journey with us this year. I too learn so much daily. Today’s readings were so moving for me. I could actually see Abraham and Sarah waiting on the angels passing through. They wanted to make sure they were well fed and rested before heading out to warn and assist Lot and his family to find safety quickly.

      • You’re right Carla, it is so strange for me that Abraham has become more real for me now. Reading these chapters remind me how it is when you meet someone for the first time. You don’t know how to take them or how to react with their behavior, then one day the anticipation becomes an understanding of what the person is really all about. I have learned about Abraham, and then he died. So much like life is now. Last year I worked with a teacher for a year. We never really got to know each other, then she left the job and we happened to run into each other a few months later, so had lunch and talked, learning so much about each other. We’ll probably never run into each other again, but we walked away knowing how human we are..

          • Thank you Carla, I need reminders like this to stop and take time for others. It may seem like nothing at the time, but maybe someone up there is recording our stops.

  • I am not sure what God has chosen me for. The recent Called and Gifted Workshop is helping me to discern possibilities and I am trying to learn to listen to God. The voyage has been interesting with doors opening and closing steady, giving me the opportunity to consider whether I am called to a particular course of action e.g volunteering or learning. Like Abraham I have a journey, but mine is ongoing.

  • I STILL DO NOT KNOW WHAT GOD HAS CHOSEN ME FOR . I PRAY THAT I MAY UNDERSTAND AND I PRAY FOR STRENGTH AND COURAGE TO DO HIS WILL. TO FOLLOW THE SUFFERING JESUS FOR THE SAKE MY FAMILY AND OTHERS.

  • I didn’t know what God has chosen me for 4 years ago I knew Him by references today I’m closier to Him I started as a simple Emmaus sister, 2 years ago I became a Lector at my parish then a litle more than a year a became a Minister of the Eucharisty, then at my archidioces start the program Why Catholic? and I was choosen to be part of the parish group last september I was choosen to be part of the Core group of our parish Emmaus Women Group my husband said that is one to many reponsabilities and I feel sometimes that I don’t doing enough I ask the Lord to tell me what He want me to do and sometimes He put some thoughts on my heart that I have to follow I just ask for Him to give me strength to keep following Him whatever He want to take me.

  • I am almost 51 yrs and I suffered first stroke 17 march 2010 – some since then…
    .
    struggled for first year to get all the memories from my mom (mine were damaged by strokes) before she died…
    .
    since then, I have been struggling to overcome not being able to go when I want to, or where I want to… to talk correctly, to type correctly… to get anything done with regards to mere household duties takes plenty of God-given help…
    .
    on top of all that, I have been struggling with emotions and stuff – mostly due to my being unable to do stuff and being unable to tell anyone what the problem is and why I need assistance…
    .
    so… what does God want from me??? I can do so little physically, I worried about that a long time… I cannot pray with the family (they no longer believe in God), cannot pray with the Church (husband only takes me when he’s awake, when there’s no football on, when it’s not cold outside, when he has no headache, etc), cannot participate in the community of the Church (no going to even Sunday Mass means I have no ideas what the Church is doing) … even going to see Robby (dead this past 27yrs) wasn’t on hubby’s agenda this past year… my sibs are damaged by strokes, cancer, wrecks, and the loss of God in their lives, besides being spread from California to Florida…
    .
    so… what does God want from me??? simply this: to grow in God, pray faithfully, constantly, post online the things God puts in front of me, to face my own family with God against their own agendas, to deal with it as a wife should, as best I can… and to pray, also, for those in purgatory as well as everyone I know, love, like, or detest…

    • sleepy, I’ve learned that there is Hope, even when everything looks hopeless and seems impossible. In the situation you describe, you have the armor of your prayer. This may be hard to do, but focus on what brings you joy. I had to tell the person who tried to pull me down, “you cannot steal my joy”. Let them see the Face and the Reason for your joy. As time goes on, and they see the Source of your joy in spite of all your struggles and pain, they will sit up and take notice.

      I pray that this time of suffering will be a time of spiritual growth for you. The more you immerse yourself in the Word of God, the more at peace you will be. I used to spend two to three hours a day in prayer and reading Scriptures and other inspirational writings. I also praised and thanked God every day, even for the negative things. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

      My mantra was Joshua 1:9, which I prayed daily. And you know what? God heard me. He answered my prayers.

      “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

    • Sleepy, my prayers to lift you up and give you strength to get beyond the prayers and scriptural words to the next level of feeding the Love of God through your heart. Marriane could not have said it better. Her word are enough to make a persons face glow in an instance. God, help Sleepy get to the next step of bringing your grace into action, one step at a time.

  • Like Abraham we have been chosen to be a new creation. God has chosen me to be the spouse, husband,dad and worker he wants me to be. God’s will be done. God wants !me to live life to the fullest, but I can not do it by myself as I have failed countless times before. But through the infinite mercy of God he has made me a new creation through Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father through the power of the Holy Spirit bless my life to assist me in being the man you want me to be. I know that I am powerless and can not do it by myself. With your love, strength, power and might I can do all things. I pray this in the powerful name of Jesus.

  • Abraham was God’s chosen early on. He continually put him through the test back through chapters 12 -15. Seeing that through the journeys he sent Abraham, that the faith for God was there. I believe God saw the goodness in Abraham in his old age and new that the covenant of bringing him heirs to keep the bloodline going was necessary. God out of all the patriarchs singles Abraham out to direct his sons and his future generations to follow his God.

    The section I continue to struggle with in this section are the acts so sins carried out by The two daughters of Lot. We all need to be mindful of “Thy will be done”. God is in control not I.

    As faithful as Abraham comes across he does fall into the commandments of fearing The Lord and when that tends to lessen evil is quick to take over. Again, Abraham and Sarah lie to Abimelech, but this time God steps in to help the innocent out. I would think after this time around Abraham and Sarah not continue repeating the same sin.

    Throughout the day I prayed to better understand my purpose and what. I keep coming back to is reaching out to comfort others to gain the strength to know they are not ever alone; Jesus is with us. Also a reminder to have others seek and follow their strengths within them and to carry them out to others gracefully.

  • A year later after my last comment, I found Abraham is a man full with compassion and kindness. He saw traveller passed his way, he would invited them to fresh up and feed them. He interceded for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah not to be destroyed by God. These days I pray to God to grand me the gift of compassion and mercy towards as I have too much judgement on their past.
    Prayer is so effective if we persistent. God answer our prayers in His time and not our times. My husband is a Sunday Catholic also a convert after we married 10 years, but now I notice he would kneel and pray for sometimes before Mass. Though he don’t like me taught any religious topic, but his faith has grow. Praise God!

    • Good, to here your faith come through. My family is similar, but rather than nagging them I try and hear more with my heart and less with my ears and eyes. I pray for them daily and I have faith that by the time they get to and old ripe age as Sarah and Abraham that they too will be serving others before them. Amen!

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