Genesis 48:5-6
"Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are.  And the children that you fathered after them shall be yours.  They shall be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance."

Ruben forfeited his inheritance when he slept with Bilhah (Genesis 35:22).  By accepting Joseph's two sons as his own, Jacob gave the birthright to Joseph (1 Chronicles 5:1-2).  

Have you ever lost something of value because of your actions?  I know I have.  It is difficult counseling and consoling others, who through the consequences of their own sin, have lost something they now regret.  Joel 2:25 is where I go; "I will restore to you the years the swarming locust has eaten."  Through our sinfulness much can be and is destroyed but, God can and will restore what the locusts have eaten.  His mercy and grace are abundant to those who return to Him even with the scars of forgiven sin.  

O LORD our God, You are a forgiving God.  Thank You for restoring the years that have been eaten away because of our rebellion.

Luke 1:39-45
I can't imagine how incredible these days must have been for Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joseph, and Mary.  Can you imagine the conversations they must have had?  The impossible was happening just as God had promised, and they were blessed to be a massive part of the fulfillment of that promise.  God is still fulfilling His promise.  The presence of Jesus always causes some people to leap with joy, and the Holy Spirit continues to fill people. Amazingly, I am a part of the activity of the kingdom of God on earth.  Do my actions and conversations exhibit joy because I understand this incredible gift and blessing?

Thank You Father for including me in Your Kingdom.  I pray my joy in You would be infectious and that You would not be ashamed to be called my God.  

Job 14:1-22
In this chapter, Job addresses an issue that is ever present but discussed very little:  the mortality of man.  In verse seven, Job says a tree has more hope than man.  At least when it is cut down, it can sprout again.  In verse 14, he directly asks the question "If a man dies, shall he live again?"  Solomon describes part of man's problem in Ecclesiastes 3:11, with the fact that God put eternity into his heart but does not let him see or understand the end.  

I am so thankful to live this side of the cross; to live when more of God's plan has been revealed.  1 Corinthians 15 is an excellent explanation of life after death summarized in verses 54-55, "Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?" 

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:9
"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

What is the most significant thing you have ever seen, heard or imagined?  When I was younger, I was a dreamer; always imagining what could be or what I thought should be.  I am not as much anymore, but this verse reminds me of all those old dreams and imaginings.  To believe God's preparation for those who love Him is beyond anything any man, woman, boy or girl has ever hoped for or imagined fills me with great wonder!  What does God have in store for those who love Him?  What do you think it could be?  Please know, you are thinking way too small!