As Joseph nears death, how beautiful are his loving words to these men, his brothers. He gives hope to his family, reminding them of the covenant God made through the patriarchs that they have a promised land waiting for them.
But we too are heirs to God's promises, as children grafted in grace through the blood of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. And He will come to our aid and bring us up when we cry out to Him. How grateful I am for our promise keeping God!
Joseph knew his brothers would be overwhelmed with regret once he revealed himself, so he wanted to reassure them that his forgiveness was real. How prophetic of the love of Jesus, that just as he was betrayed and sold by someone he should trust, Joseph extended such grace and preservation of life.
How amazing God is to us, knowing in advance what our needs will be. How we will hunger and thirst in the future, yet He is there already.
Thank You, Lord, Preserver of Life, for knowing our needs long before we could possibly see them; for using even our missteps and sins, working all things for our good. What a wonderful God You are!
I got a whole new picture
this time I read it.
How cool is that!
I asked God the other day
to show me something new.
Because we read things
with such familiarity...
like we know it all.
But then we read it again,
in a different season of life,
maybe from a new angle
and God can reveal
something completely new.
Here was... the woman...
as I realized she had no name
until after she had children,
and then was named Eve,
the mother of all the living.
So here was the woman,
created as companion and helper
to Adam, and clearly influential,
as we soon see, but she has not
heard the one commandment
from God herself... He told Adam
before she was created.
But after we see the encounter
with the serpent, we realize
she knows of a rule...
only she's not quite certain
of exactly what that tree is called.
But Adam must have told her
to stay away from the tree
in the middle of the garden...
the fruit of it will cause death
so maybe it's just best
we don't even touch it.
Sounds like the start of religion...
man-making of rules
in order to keep commandments.
this is how I saw it fresh.
After the serpent, who we know
is embodied by God's enemy satan,
has gotten the attention of the woman,
he tests her knowledge of the tree
to see if she really knows the truth.
And since she doesn't know it for herself,
since she hasn't heard it from God,
but second hand, from another person,
she's not quite sure of the rule.
So... he can twist it arond
and manipulate the truth more easily.
And she won't even know it.
But clearly she's never even
gone near that tree...
she doesn't even know the name of it.
She just calls it the tree in the middle.
But maybe the serpent has found her
when she's out gathering food,
when she's hungry and vulnerable.
Maybe he's tempted her to go over
and take a closer look... just a look.
That can't hurt, can it.
Just see it for yourself.
Because remember, before
she and Adam aren't even going
to touch that fruit.
But if she's hungry enough...
like we get when we're standing
at the pantry, with that longing stare.
Or looking into the refrigerator
like something new is going to appear,
better than all the other things
we've seen a hundred times.
If only he could get her to go see.
But he must have gotten her
to wander over.
because soon we read this...
Then the woman saw
that the tree was good for food
and delightful to look at,
and that it was desirable
for obtaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit
and ate it; she also gave some
to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Genesis 3:6 HCSB
It's not like she'd seen this fruit
and turned it down.
I don't think she had even been
near that tree before.
Like some place you've decided
you're just not going to go
because you know it's not for you.
Not your style of clothes,
not your taste in food,
not within your budget,
not the right age or social bracket,
no where you want to run into
someone from your past...
even if it's a place you know
will tempt you to behave or be
the old person you swore
you were done being.
You just don't go there.
Unless someone tempts you to.
The talk you into it.
They reason with you...
like maybe it isn't what you think.
So you wander a little closer
until you see... percieve, reason...
like the woman did, that maybe
it does look like food she could eat.
Maybe it was pretty to the eyes,
sweet smelling and soft.
But how she could determine
it would give her wisdom...
that for certain was planted
in her mind by the serpent.
It was a piece of fruit.
But he wanted her to want
what he wanted long ago
before he fell like lightening
He wanted to show God
that these humans were just
as prideful and awful as he was.
That they too could be drawn away
and desiring beauty, power and wisdom.
And sadly, the woman was easy prey,
unguarded, unknowing, unprepared
for what would happen next.
My heart aches for this woman.
All that influence,
yet lacking true wisdom
If only she had known
the word of God for herself.
If only she had stayed fed,
and known her identity.
But she had the burden of being
the first of us...
so we learn mighty lessons from her.
Word of God
train me today...
To not wander hungry, susceptable to manipulation.
To know the word of God for myself; defending truth
and not be decieved, distracted or dicouraged.
It's a rare occasion
that you meet someone new
and start up a conversation
when they DON'T ask you
what you DO for a living.
Where do you work?
What's your profession?
And I get that people are trying
to make a connection,
to learn more about us,
in the hopes of finding
some common ground.
But too often, I think
we get tangled up
in doing, rather than being.
I particularly think that's true
within our Christianity.
I mean, haven't you ever
gotten caught up in the
To Do List of Religion?
Or whatever else
you might put on your list,
it almost becomes
more like we are checking off
boxes to earn our way
into the good graces of God
rather than realizing that
His good grace was available
before we ever had a To Do List.
And to be very honest,
it's taken me most of my life
to get to the point where I can
wrap my mind around the concept
that God approves of me...
JUST AS I AM.
And just so you don't have to
struggle as long feeling that same way,
until you finally figure it out too,
let me share with you
what God has revealed to me.
When Jesus came to earth
He began life as a baby,
grew up as a boy and had
a pretty normal life until adulthood
so that He could gain the perspective
of what life was like for us...
so He could know how we see things,
how people treat us
and how we feel when they do.
But when it was time to begin
His ministry, and before He had performed
any miracles, or had chosen His disciples
He went to see His cousin
who had been sent ahead
announcing the coming Christ.
Then Jesus came from Galilee
to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
When He had been baptized,
Jesus came up immediately
from the water; and behold,
the heavens were opened to Him,
and He saw the Spirit of God
descending like a dove and
alighting upon Him.
And suddenly a voice came
from heaven, saying,
“This is My beloved Son,
in whom I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3:14, 16-17 NKJV
Now remember, that Jesus had yet
to PERFORM any miracles.
And here He was being baptized,
coming up from the water.
The Holy Spirit came upon Him...
the very same Holy Spirit
that lives on the inside of us.
And then this voice from heaven
proclaimed from the Father God, himself
that He was pleased with Jesus...
BEFORE He had even DONE
one miraculous thing.
God announced that He was
pleased with His Son...
just because He WAS His Son.
because of the relationship.
Because the Father God
loved His Son, He was pleased
Now let me backtrack a bit to creation.
A couple days ago, I posted
about how God spoke
the world into being.
And I marveled at
the creative power of words.
(click here to read post)
God spoke the world into being..
Day and Night
Heaven and Earth
Land, Sea, and Vegetation
Sun, Moon, and Stars
Birds and Fish
All of those wonderful creations
He made with words;
spoken commands that caused
inanimate objects to obey.
And some that never existed
to amazingly exist from nowhere.
the spoken commands ceased.
And God moved into a much more
personal form of creation.
For to create man,
He gathered some of His earth...
And the Lord God formed man
of the dust of the ground, and
breathed into his nostrils
the breath of life; and
man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7 NKJV
This a more personal creation.
This handheld, handmade, molded and crafted.
This face to face and breathed into...
the very breath of life.
And special enough
to be like Himself...
So God created man in His own image,
in the image and likeness of God
He created him; male and female
He created them.
And God blessed them...
And God saw everything
that He had made, and behold,
it was very good, and
He approved it completely.
Genesis 1:27-28, 31 AMPC
Stop and re-read that last part again.
Because we have read it so many times,
possibly without grasping what it really means.
This is KEY!
And God saw everything
that He had made, and behold,
it was very good, and
He approved it completely.
Let me ask you...
have you ever made something
all... by... yourself?
Even as a kid?
Like a science project for school,
a present for your mom on Mother's Day,
a lemonade stand that no one came to
but your Dad.
Or even as an adult?
It could be as simple as baking a cake.
As artsy as writing a song.
As fun as building a fort for your kids.
Or as career driven as completing
a big project at work.
But when you're finished...
you stood back and looked at it
and you realized that it was pretty good.
Then you walked away from it...
and maybe the next day looked again,
Hey, that's actually, really good!
I did that!
And you get this pride that swells a bit
because that thing you made or did was good.
Now remember, that's just like
what God said about us.
But probably just a fraction of how God felt
when He made YOU!
God knit you together in
you mother's womb...
a more personal creation.
a handheld, handmade, molded and crafted.
face to face and breathed into...
with the very breath of life creation.
Yes, that's you!
God Created you for His pleasure.
And just like when Jesus came up
out of the water after being baptized
and before DOING or performing
one good thing for Him...
He approved you completely.
You see, God is not waiting
for us to check off our religious To Do List
to get His approval.
He is not waiting for us to
get our act together,
to straighten up and fly right.
God is not looking for the perfect,
the planned out,
the righteous and holy ones.
God made you and me
the way we are
for a purpose... flaws and all.
And before we can get around
to DOING one thing for, or against Him
He approved completely.
Because He made us for His pleasure.
He made us,
stood back and
was very glad.
But where we get all messed up
is the lie that we are not enough.
That our flaws disqualify us,
that our sin and shame makes Him
so mad at us that He cannot accept us.
That is a lie.
Because it is exactly those reasons
that He came
as a man to the earth
to sacrifice His life.
He knew all that stuff about us
before the world even began.
Look at this...
For God saved us and
called us to live a holy life.
He did this, not because we deserved it,
but because that was his plan
from before the beginning of time...
to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:9 NLT
Did you read the whole thing
really thinking it out?
It's not about pre-destination.
Don't get wrapped up in that.
Or the part about being holy.
Focus on the part about...
NOT deserving it.
We can all wrap our minds around that.
Here, I'll use myself as an example
even though I applies to you as well.
God, who existed before time began,
knew I was going to be created.
And He also knew that He was going
to really love me, but that I would
screw things up for myself by sinning
and then having shame over my sin.
So He planned ahead and decided
upon this whole "saved by grace" idea.
That is the plan that even though
I don't deserve it, God gives me
the free gift of salvation...
the free forgiveness of my sin.
He wipes my dirty slate clean,
just as if I had never sinned
because He took my punishment...
the punishment of death, actually.
And then He miraculously raised from
the dead and gave me that too.
He gave me eternal life with Him forever.
Praise His wonderful name.
And I honestly did nothing.
He planned it all before time began.
Before I could have even done something,
if there had been anything I could have done.
So here's my point.
We are always so wrapped up
in trying to earn our way in life.
And I get that we need to earn a living.
That is the way it is on the earth.
Yes, pay your bills, please.
But in the Kingdom of God,
Jesus paid the bills.
And I don't have to earn anything.
I am free, saved by grace.
I can like and even love myself.
but because He approves of me.
He is pleased with me
and I can accept that freely.
Now I am free to ask Him BOLDLY
to work in my life to become
something great for His glory.
And what's awesome
is the Holy Spirit that descended on Jesus
after His baptism, that was within Him
as He walked the earth doing miracles,
is the same powerful Spirit
the lives inside of me...
and inside of you, if you have
salvation in Christ!
So let us accept ourselves today
as God does.
Let us come before God knowing
that He is pleased with us
we are His children
and we were created by Him.
Word of God
train me today...
To walk with a new spirit of freedom
knowing that I am approved by You, Lord.
To boldly BE the one You created for a purpose,
rather than striving to DO things to earn Your love.
We begin today, the Exodus...
the going out, the departure, the movement of many people.
But every beginning requires a leader.
One who is willing to take charge, set an example, handle challenges, take on the responsibility of many, and risk much.
for Joseph and all his brothers have died in Egypt, leaving their descendants in the land of Goshen. A prosperous nation of people, just as God had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
But now a new Pharaoh had risen to power.
One who did not know Joseph.
One who did not favor these people.
One who saw their multitude and feared them
And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we..." Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. Exodus 1:9,11
But God had another plan...
one that kept a promise given Jacob generations before.
I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again
Genesis 46: 3-4
So God called Moses, at the age of eighty...
born a Hebrew, raised Egyptian, and much like us... he struggles with his identity.
Until he fled to become a shepherd.
Moses was exposed to great power, yet settled, even hid, assuming a humble heart.
And when God calls him, Moses begins to reason... to question...
"Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?"
... and when "they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
...and then, “But suppose they will not believe me, or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you."
...and finally, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
Genesis 3:11, 13, 4:1,10
Poor Moses... questioning the voice of God.
And I can only say that... because I am so often like him.
One filled with my own reasoning, questioning, wondering.
This way, or that?
Go now or stay?
Did I hear Him correctly, or did I imagine it?
Maybe I should wait for a sign... or pray more about it...
I could spend days reasoning away what I have heard God speak to my heart to do... but that is not His desire for me. God is seeking our obedience, our faithfulness, our trust that His way is best.
No matter what.
Word of God... train me, today...
to be a servant of God without excuses or reasoning.
to act quickly when I know I am called.
I believe God wants teach us, as He did Moses...
Who I am... a child and heir with inheritance in Jesus Christ.
Who He is... a faithful, unfailing, loving God... the great I AM forever and to all.
What He gave me... a purpose that I am to pursue, train and trust in Him.
How to use it... my gifts and talents for His glory and not my own.
But I also believe that God has even given us purposeful limitations, in order that we will be unable to do all He has asked... unless we fully rely on Him.
Otherwise, I would take credit, dismissing Him when our purpose is to reveal Him.
Lord, help me today, to not simply be like the reasoning Moses who questioned everything. But help me to develop and grow to be like the Moses who listened and learned to follow You and to lead others.
For Moses was a man with great perspective, and a humble heart.
from my heart...
I write as an overflow... an expression of my true love for God and with a deep desire to encourage others in their day to day lives. For we can only find peace, joy, and satisfaction when we yield to the One who yielded His life for us.