Week 8 Monday

A Stairway to Heaven

Today’s scripture selection: Genesis 28-31

Key verse: Genesis 28:17


     Ask people of a certain age what they know about a “stairway to heaven” and you are likely to hear about all about a song performed by the English rock band Led Zeppelin back in the seventies.  But the Bible talks about a very different stairway.

     When Jacob began his adult spiritual journey he had a dream.  In it he saw angels going up and down a stairway to heaven.  He was so impressed by this vision that when we awoke he said to himself:

“How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

     And in that very place, named Bethel, Jacob received God’s promise that “all people on earth would be blessed by you and your offspring.”  Wow!  With such a startling vision and promise from the Almighty – you’d think Jacob was set.  His life would be just one easily obtained blessing after another.

     Interestingly enough, that wasn’t the case.

In fact, Jacob was just beginning a long journey – some of which would be happy and blest; much of which would be filled with challenge and hardship.

     So it is with us.  We mustn’t ever think that just because we are trying to stay on God’s path for us that it will always be easy.  In fact, in my experience, it seems that often, when you are closest to God’s calling for you – that is exactly when the road may become the most difficult.

     But the Bible also reassures us – as do the lives of countless saints – that if we only remain faithful, eventually, blessing will come.  And often, it comes in the most unexpected of ways.

So keep your eyes open.  Some days will be easy and some will be hard.  But there is a stairway to heaven ahead.

And it doesn’t have anything to do with a rock song from the seventies.


Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay on the heavenly path – no matter where it leads.  AMEN.











By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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