More family histories.  Yesterday I worked, slept and dreamed.  I dreamed about breakfast with my family.  I had a slice of toast, warm and buttered.  My late wife is gone now, but the taste of that toast was here with me again this morning when I awakened.  My wife is with the Lord, but he lets her visit in my dreams.  Butter is gone from my diet, but she is not.  The testimony of a Christian woman is forever. 

We are the bride of Christ, and we can serve others as a good wife does.  The men and women of Israel are the bride who will be remembered by her husband while we are separated.  Let your testimony join these of Israel as the bride our Messiah can dream of.  We may be reunited this year in Jerusalem!

Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.  For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s:)  The sons, I say, of Reuben the firstborn of Israel were, Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.  The sons of Joel; Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son,  Micah his son, Reaia his son, Baal his son,  Beerah his son, whom Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria carried away captive: he was prince of the Reubenites.  And his brethren by their families, when the genealogy of their generations was reckoned, were the chief, Jeiel, and Zechariah,  And Bela the son of Azaz, the son of Shema, the son of Joel, who dwelt in Aroer, even unto Nebo and Baalmeon:  And eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates: because their cattle were multiplied in the land of Gilead.   1 Chronicles 5:1-9

Birthright and sibling rivalry.  Do you remember the noise of children fighting in the house?  Treasure the memory of all that strife and noise; it will go away soon enough.  The tribe of Judah gave us the Lion of Judah, so that birthright claim is undisputed now.  Children and grandchildren will witness the passing of time, but Messiah is the same forever. 

And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites, who fell by their hand: and they dwelt in their tents throughout all the east land of Gilead.  And the children of Gad dwelt over against them, in the land of Bashan unto Salcah:  Joel the chief, and Shapham the next, and Jaanai, and Shaphat in Bashan.  And their brethren of the house of their fathers were, Michael, and Meshullam, and Sheba, and Jorai, and Jachan, and Zia, and Heber, seven.  These are the children of Abihail the son of Huri, the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jeshishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz;  Ahi the son of Abdiel, the son of Guni, chief of the house of their fathers.  And they dwelt in Gilead in Bashan, and in her towns, and in all the suburbs of Sharon, upon their borders.  All these were reckoned by genealogies in the days of Jotham king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel.  1 Chronicles 5:10-17

Wars and rumors of wars persist today.  Even as US troops are leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, they are quietly being repositioned in Jordan, adjacent to Israel against the threats from Syria, Iran, and Pakistan.

The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war.  And they made war with the Hagarites, with Jetur, and Nephish, and Nodab.  And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him.  And they took away their cattle; of their camels fifty thousand, and of sheep two hundred and fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand, and of men an hundred thousand.  For there fell down many slain, because the war was of God. And they dwelt in their steads until the captivity.  1 Chronicles 5:18-22

May our own people remember God in their endeavors.  We can choose to be of the kingdom of God, even if we are not the nation of Israel.  When our political leaders are going the wrong way we can still be guided to our own survival.  After the fall of Judah, Daniel was able to be successful even as a prisoner of war.  Now we see Israel in later generations yielding to the Assyrians.

And the children of the half tribe of Manasseh dwelt in the land: they increased from Bashan unto Baalhermon and Senir, and unto mount Hermon.  And these were the heads of the house of their fathers, even Epher, and Ishi, and Eliel, and Azriel, and Jeremiah, and Hodaviah, and Jahdiel, mighty men of valour, famous men, and heads of the house of their fathers.  And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them.  And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.  1 Chronicles 5:23-26

We will visit the families and tribes that lived in Judah next.  Some were priests, some warriors.  Some were employed in secular jobs, but still stood out as men of God.  The chronicles of your life will reflect how you use the opportunities to reflect the Messiah who is the path to life.  A slice of toast may be the key to guide your loved ones to eternal life. 

For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.  Mark 9:4