“Journaling & Self-Examination” February 1

 

Journaling & Self-Examination - As January comes to an end and the second month of 2017 begins, many of us will be thinking about the goals and resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. We'll examine our progress (or lack of it) concerning a new diet, exercise plan or some other goal. And when it comes to our health, we get numerous examinations and tests to ensure we stay as healthy as we can. When we go to school, we take examinations to test our proficiency in those subjects. But how many of us take time to examine our lives spiritually?As January comes to an end and the second month of 2017 begins, many of us will be thinking about the goals and resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. We’ll examine our progress (or lack of it) concerning a new diet, exercise plan or some other goal.

And when it comes to our health, we get numerous examinations and tests to ensure we stay as healthy as we can. When we go to school, we take examinations to test our proficiency in those subjects. But how many of us take time to examine our lives spiritually?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 13 & 14
Psalm 18.13-19
Proverbs 6.6-11
Matthew 21.1-22

 

Journaling & Self-Examination

 

Exodus 13 & 14:

The Value of Memorials

 

lightstock communion sq

As the Lord delivered the Israelites out of their 430 years of slavery in Egypt, he gave them several things that were to act as memorials for them. First, was the Passover itself.

He, also, told them the first born of all their children and animals belonged to Him. They were to sacrifice the “clean” animals (more about that later) and were to redeem or offer another sacrifice in place of those animals not appropriate for sacrificing (13.13) and they were to offer sacrifices for their firstborn sons. This was to remind them of how the Lord had spared their sons and animals when He brought the final plague on Egypt.

As we continue with our Old Testament narrative, we will repeatedly see God instruct the Nation of Israel to set up memorials. We, too, need our own memorials. It’s so easy to forget what God has done for us and, instead, get focused on what we think He hasn’t done: the prayers He hasn’t answered our way or how He hasn’t blessed us like He has blessed someone else. We need to remind ourselves about the things from which He has already delivered us and the things He has done for us.

Even, if He never did another thing, we should remember the price He paid so our sins could be forgiven. That is the central focus of the Lord’s Supper, the New Testament counterpart to the Passover. It is a memorial to the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. (emphasis mine)

 

Self-Examination

 

Memorials & Self-ExaminationAnother focus of the Lord Supper is to remind us to examine ourselves. In the Old Testament leaven or yeast represented sin. As the Israelites prepared to leave Egypt and each time they took the Passover, they were to examine themselves and see if there was sin in their lives. We, too, are to ask God to show us if there is unrepentant sin in our lives before we take the Lord’s Supper.

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Cor. 11, emphasis mine)

This isn’t the only time we should examine ourselves. The Psalmist prayed in Psalm 139:23-24:  Continue reading

“Parenting: Are you raising rulers or servants?” January 31

 

Parenting: Are you raising rulers or servants? - How is your parenting? Are you parenting with a true servant heart? Are you raising children who will have servant hearts when they become husbands, wives, parents, employees or bosses?

 

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant …”

How is your parenting? Are you parenting with a true servant heart? Are you raising children who will have servant hearts when they become husbands, wives, parents, employees or bosses?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 11 & 12
Psalm 18.1-12
Proverbs 6.1-5
Matthew 20.17-34

 

Parenting: Are you raising rulers or servants?

 

Matthew 20.17-34:

Selfishness & Self-Promotion

 

Verses 20-23:

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.

21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?”

She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”

22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

They said to Him, “We are able.”

23 So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”

What a picture this passage is of our sinful, selfish nature apart from the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit in our lives! Later we will see the change in the Disciples after the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in them and the other believers for the first time.

But now the Disciples, who have been with Him for a large portion of His ministry, listening to Him teach and learning from Him, are still focused on themselves. James and John, the sons of Zebedee, grown men, either convince or allow their mother to come and ask Jesus if they can be His two top advisers when He starts to rule.

It’s obvious they still don’t understand the kind of a kingdom He has come to establish. The Jews expected their Messiah to come and overthrow the oppressive Roman government, but Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom.

The rest of the Disciples weren’t much better, “And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers” (v. 24). The text continues:

25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (vv. 25-28).

I have to wonder if there wasn’t a bit of a sigh, a “Don’t you guys get it?” But instead, He explained how godly, Christian leadership should look.

No matter what we are called to do in the body of Christ, whether in our personal and public ministries, or in our personal, familial and secular lives, we are called to have servant hearts. That means we are to have servant attitudes in our marriages, with our children, with our extended families, in our neighborhoods, in the work place, and in the church.

 

Raising Servants

 

girl in hoodie parenting teenHow might that look in our parenting, for example? It does not mean we wait on them hand and foot and neglect teaching them responsibility. It means we cultivate a desire to teach them respect, responsibility, and obedience, not out of a desire to make our own lives easier or to look like successful parents to others, but out of our desire to see them grow up to be godly men and women.

Serving our children includes godly, loving discipline and doing it consistently, even when we’re tired and would rather keep watching TV. It means disciplining when you have worked all day and feel guilty about it, because you know it’s what they need!

Spoiling them, catering to their every whim, giving them every toy or gadget, always letting them do what they want, is not being a loving servant to them. When our children grow up thinking they are the center of the universe and “deserve” everything they can get, we have done them a huge disservice! In fact, we have sinned against them! Ask yourself, “Am I raising the kind of son or daughter I’d want to be married to, have working for me, or have as my boss?”  Continue reading

“It’s not fair!” January 30

 

It's not fair!It’s not fair! Have you ever looked around at the lives of others and thought just that?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 9 & 10
Psalm 17.8-15
Proverbs 5.21-23
Matthew 20.1-16

 

It’s not fair!

 

Matthew 20.1-16:

Unfair Labor Practices?

 

In “The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard,” a businessman hires workers at various times throughout the day. At the end of the day, he pays the same wage to those who were hired just before quitting time as to those who worked all day. Some of them said, in effect, “It’s not fair!”

Have you ever felt like those laborers who were hired early in the morning? Perhaps, on the job or, possibly, in your spiritual life?

Maybe you were raised in church. Or maybe you were the “good” son or daughter, the one who didn’t rebel against your parents or your Christian upbringing. Or maybe you’ve been a believer for a long time, faithfully serving Him and there are things you’ve prayed about that haven’t happened.

Maybe you got a diagnosis you didn’t want or your spouse walked out on you? Then you see some new believer all excited because God has done something great for her!

Or maybe you’ve had a hard time accepting the fact that your “n’er-do-well” brother-in-law got saved after years of drug use and wild living and now everyone acts like he’s the golden boy! It hardly seems fair.

We can be so like the older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15.11-32). He was mad because his father forgave his wild younger brother and even threw a party when he came home (more about that when we get there).

But, if we’re honest, we might look back and admit that though we may not have “run off” into riotous living like the prodigal, there have been many times when our hearts were far from God, times we harbored bitterness and unforgiveness, times when we were selfish, manipulative, unkind and unloving. Instead of being upset over God’s grace in the lives of others, we need to get down on our knees and thank Him for His grace in ours.

And no matter what … even when it doesn’t seem fair to us, we can trust in the goodness of our sovereign God. A great book to help you understand His goodness and sovereignty in the midst of difficulty is the book It’s Not Fair! by Wayne Mack.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Exodus 9 & 10:

On Dogs & Sows

 

God is about to deliver His people from Israel, but so far Pharaoh has refused to let his cheap labor force leave Egypt.

Over and over he agrees to allow them to go, only to harden his heart when the “crisis” of each plague is over and the “pain” is not so intense (see Jan. 29 post, “Sleeping with Frogs”). Don’t we often do the same?  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Leaving, Cleaving & Weaving” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? "Leaving, Cleaving & Weaving" -

We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married.

Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. If your marriage is a good one, hopefully, you can fine tune some things and if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married. So, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Leaving, Cleaving & Weaving

 

Last week I shared my own testimony of marriage, divorce, remarriage, and God’s grace. If you missed it, I hope you’ll check it out.

The previous week I talked a little about God’s plan for marriage and how when Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God, it not only damaged their relationships with God, but with each other.

Today we’ll zero in on, arguably, God’s clearest and most definitive statement on marriage. It’s the one statement about marriage that God makes four times (Gen. 2.24; Matt. 19.5; Mk. 10.7-8; Eph. 5.31) in the Bible.

He said it once in the Old Testament, three times in the New, once before the fall, and three times after. It was and is God’s plan and purpose for marriage in a nutshell.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

As a counselor, I can tell you, more often than not, when a couple is struggling in their marriage, it can be traced back to a failure to follow this blueprint in one or more areas. So what are the components of God’s divine plan for marriage in this verse?

The key words are “leave,” “joined,” and “one flesh.” You’ll probably remember that the word “joined” was translated “cleave” in the old King James Version. And we might call the idea of becoming one flesh, “weaving.” So we are to leave, to cleave, and to weave our lives together.  Continue reading

“Sleeping with Frogs” January 29

 

Sleeping with Frogs - Frogs ... they're everywhere! ... in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! Yet, when Moses, God's messenger comes to Pharaoh and asks when he'd like them removed, he says, "Tomorrow." "Just let me spend one more night with those frogs." How about you? Are there any frogs you're keeping around for another sleepover?Frogs … they’re everywhere! … in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! Yet, when Moses, God’s messenger comes to Pharaoh and asks when he’d like them removed, he says, “Tomorrow.” “Just let me spend one more night with those frogs.” How about you? Are there any frogs you’re keeping around for another sleepover?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 7 & 8
Psalm 17.1-7
Proverbs 5.15-20
Matthew 19.1-30

 

Sleeping with Frogs

 

Exodus 7 & 8:

Hard Hearts

 

It’s time. God is about to deliver His people. But first, He prepares Moses and Aaron for the task ahead:

¹ So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them” (Ex. 7.1-5).

“I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” At first glance, that might seem a little unfair! Is God on His throne pointing to one person and saying I don’t like the way she looks, I think I’ll harden her heart? God is God and He can certainly do as He sees fit, but that is not the picture we see here.

God said He had heard the cries of his people in Egypt (Ex. 3.7), cries against which Pharaoh had already hardened his heart. When we harden our hearts and refuse to show compassion on others, why should we be surprised if He withholds compassion from us?

Even as believers, though we don’t lose our salvation, we can damage our fellowship with Him and set in motion laws of sowing and reaping (Gal. 6.7-9). And if we repeatedly harden our hearts, it may be a sign that we are not really saved, because the Bible teaches that though believers may sin, they will repent.

Even in these passages in Exodus, Pharaoh continues to harden his own heart. Ten times it says Pharaoh hardened his heart and ten times God hardened his heart. God’s hardening was judicial hardening in response to Pharaoh’s personal, sinful hardening.

We see a similar picture in Romans 1 beginning in verse 18. We sometimes call this passage the downward spiral of sin. We see men and women refusing to respect God as God though they know the truth and choosing to continue in their sin. In verses 24, 26, and 28 we see the response of God. It says He, “gave them up …,” “gave them up …,” and “gave them over …” John MacArthur says in his Study Bible, “When men consistently abandon God, He will abandon them by removing His restraint and allowing sin to run its inevitable course.”

This results in hearts that are more and more hardened by their own sin. As we look around our world today, we see this in abundance. It’s interesting that the example God uses in Romans 1 is that of homosexuality. Consider that as you listen to the news.

 

One More Night with the Frogs

 

One of the plagues God brought on the Egyptians was frogs (Ex. 8.1-15). Can you imagine? Frogs are everywhere—in in their homes, in their beds, in their bowls, in their ovens—everywhere! When Pharaoh had once again promised to let the people go, Moses said, “Accept the honor of saying when I shall intercede for you …” In other words, “When do you want me to get rid of the frogs?” And Pharaoh says, “TOMORROW!” Tomorrow? “Yes, let me spend one more night with the frogs!”

It seems ridiculous, yet, there can be things we refuse to give up in spite of the consequences. Areas where we are saying, in effect, “Let me have one more night with these frogs!”

Then notice verse 15, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the LORD had said.”

How many times have you and I repeated the same pattern? We have a crisis Continue reading

“When You Try Trusting God & Things Get Worse” January 28

 

When You Try Trusting God & Things Get Worse - Our Exodus reading illustrates the importance of being willing to keep standing and trusting God when things get worse instead of better and can help us understand that we are in a spiritual battle.  Psalm 16 reminds us where real joy is to be found.  Proverbs 5 warns us of the consequences of sin. All of us need to heed the warnings in this passage, but if you have teenagers, knowing these truths and teaching them to your sons and daughters is so important. This may be one of the most important passages for boys to understand even before they come into their teens.There are so many important truths in today’s readings. I had a hard time deciding which one to feature in the title. I hope you’ll take the time to read today and let me know what spoke to you.

Our Exodus reading illustrates the importance of being willing to keep standing and trusting God when things get worse instead of better and can help us understand that we are in a spiritual battle.

Psalm 16 reminds us where real joy is to be found.

Proverbs 5 warns us of the consequences of sin. All of us need to heed the warnings in this passage, but if you have teenagers, knowing these truths and teaching them to your sons and daughters is so important. This may be one of the most important passages for boys to understand even before they come into their teens.

Finally, Matthew 18 illustrates the seriousness of unforgiveness and its effect on our relationship with God.

On to the Word …

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 5 & 6
Psalm 16.7-11
Proverbs 5.7-14
Matthew 18.21-35

 

When You Try Trusting God & Things Get Worse

 

Exodus 5 & 6:

When Things Get Worse

 

Now Moses has returned to Egypt to do what God has told him to do. He has gone to his brother Aaron and received confirmation from him, from the elders, and from the people (Ex. 4.27-31). But when he and Aaron go to Pharaoh to demand he let the people go, things don’t turn out so well! In fact, things get worse!

Have you ever felt that way? You surrender your life to God or you make a decision to turn and go God’s way in some area of life. At first it’s great. You know you’re doing the right thing … but then things start to go wrong! Continue reading

“Parenting by ‘The Book'” January 27

 

Parenting by "The Book"Parenting by the book: parenting books abound today and most of us have probably read one or more of them at some time. But when was the last time you read the parenting book? All of God’s Word is written from the perspective of a Father to His children. Proverbs, in particular, contains a lifetime of wisdom for parenting and for sharing with our children.

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 3 & 4
Psalm 16.1-6
Proverbs 5.1-6
Matthew 18.1-20

 

Parenting by the Book

 

Proverbs 5.1-6:

Parenting & Proverbs

 

Verse 1 starts out “My son, …” Solomon was teaching his son and, of course, God is teaching His children.

Proverbs is full of instruction for us in all of our daily living, but it also gives us lots of wisdom to help us be godly parents. In today’s reading we find some strong warnings about sexual issues:

1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
Lend your ear to my understanding,
2 That you may preserve discretion,
And your lips may keep knowledge.
3 For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey,
And her mouth is smoother than oil;
4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death,
Her steps lay hold of hell.
6 Lest you ponder her path of life—
Her ways are unstable;
You do not know them.

I can’t help but wonder how many fewer teen pregnancies and other sexual consequences there might be if we as fathers and mothers faithfully taught the truths in Proverbs 5 to our sons and daughters.

parenting bible momVerse 3 speaks of the “immoral woman.” Most of us don’t think of our teenage daughters as “immoral women” when they text “inappropriate” photos of themselves to some boy, but they are behaving like it. Perhaps we need to do a better job of teaching them what the Word of God says about their behavior.

It’s the Word of God that will pierce their hearts.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4.12).

While we’ve been deceived into thinking we need to soften the truth to protect their “self-esteem,” our sons and our daughters are becoming involved in sexual activity and making decisions which can alter their lives for years to come.

Of course, the principles in Proverbs and elsewhere in the Bible are not limited to those on sexual behavior. God’s Word provides the help we need to live godly and to instruct our children in every area of life (2 Pet. 1.2-4).

A few that are especially applicable to parenting:  Continue reading

“The Root of Prejudice” January 26

 

The Root of Prejudice - How did the nation of Israel go from being favored by the Egyptian leadership to suffering so much persecution and prejudice that they would end up enslaved by a nation that once welcomed them? And what does it say to us as Christians in our nation today?How did the nation of Israel go from being favored by the Egyptian leadership to suffering so much persecution and prejudice that they would end up enslaved by a nation that once welcomed them? And what does it say to us as Christians in our nation today?

Also …

What if you were arrested for being a Christian? Would the evidence be for you or against you? One day each of us will stand, either before the “Judgment Seat of Christ” or “The Great White Throne Judgment.”

Jesus said, “ “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” Will He be able to testify for you or have to testify against you?

 

Today’s Readings:
Exodus 1 & 2
Psalm 15.1-5
Proverbs 4.25-27
Matthew 17.1-27

 

The Root of Prejudice

 

Exodus 1 & 2:

Abraham, Joseph … now Moses

 

Now we begin another adventure into the Word of God!

God is getting ready to raise up Moses and remember:

“… whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15.4).

When we studied the life of Abraham, the Father of Faith, it helped us know and trust in the faithfulness of God to keep His promises. The Scripture says Abraham:

“Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be’ ” (Rom. 4.18).

In Joseph we saw a picture, a shadow, of Christ, the Son who was willing to lay down his life for His brothers, to forgive though they caused His suffering.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5.8).

Now, through the life of Moses, we’ll begin to see more of God’s character. This time as our Deliverer—the One who sees our bondage and hears our cries and “in the fullness of time,” His perfect timing, He delivers us. We’ll talk more about this in the days to come.

 

The Root of Prejudice

 

But today let’s take another look at chapter 1.8-10:

8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; 10 come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.”

How did the nation of Israel go from being favored by the Egyptian leadership to suffering such persecution and prejudice? Continue reading

“When Others Hurt You” January 25

 

The Sovereignty of God When Others Hurt YouHow do you respond when others hurt you? Do you trust in the sovereignty of God or do you become angry and bitter?

Jacob’s love for Rachel seems to be one of the great love stories in the Bible, but at the end of his life, he didn’t ask to be buried with Rachel. He made a very surprising request.

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 49 & 50
Psalm 14.1-7
Proverbs 4.20-24
Matthew 16.1-28

 

When Others Hurt You

 

Genesis 49 & Genesis 50:

The Death of Jacob

 

As we conclude our reading in Genesis, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. Genesis is one of my favorite books and chapter 50 contains one of my favorite verses, verse 20.

In chapter 49 Jacob is dying and he gathers his sons around him to speak to them for the last time. Commenting in depth on what follows in verses 2-27 would require more time and study than I can give here. But remember, God, who knows the end from the beginning, was speaking prophetically through Jacob. The things he spoke foretold future events, but also reflected each of his sons’ characters and their past.

But let’s take a minute and read back over his words to Judah in chapter 49:

8 “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s children shall bow down before you.
9 Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
11 Binding his donkey to the vine,
And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
He washed his garments in wine,
And his clothes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
And his teeth whiter than milk.

Jesus was to come through the tribe, or descendants, of Judah and much of this speaks of Him. But as you think about Judah remember this is the man who in chapter 38 married a Canaanite woman, slept with his daughter-in-law Tamar because he had mistaken her for a prostitute, and then hypocritically condemned her to death.

But God was working and when he was confronted with the truth concerning Tamar, Judah said, “… She is more righteous than I …” (Gen. 38.26). He admitted his sin and repented.

In Egypt we get another glimpse of the change in Judah. When it looked like Benjamin was going to be arrested, Judah volunteered to take his place!

This should give us all hope that God can and does change people. It should also give us hope that He can use us in spite of the mistakes we have made, if we will repent and go His way.

 

When Others Hurt You

 

Genesis closes with the death of Jacob and a new set of worries for Joseph’s brothers. The old fears come back. They wondered if Joseph was just waiting for their father to die, so he could seek his revenge.

Verse 17 says that Joseph wept because they still didn’t get it. His response is one of the classic passages on the sovereignty of God:

“Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50.19-20).

What has God allowed in your life? Has someone meant evil against you? Have you become angry or bitter because of it? Or Continue reading

“Where are You, Lord?” January 24

 

Where are You, Lord? & A Type of ChristWhere are You, Lord? Ever felt that way? Maybe you’ve been deeply hurt, possibly by someone close to you. Maybe it’s a financial trial or a serious illness. Whatever it is, we need to be like the psalmist in today’s reading.

Joseph was said to be a “type of Christ.” A type is a picture (like the old “tintypes,” pictures taken during the 1800s). In this case, a picture of Christ, a glimpse of what was to come. What exactly does that mean and how should his example inspire us today?

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 47 & 48
Psalm 13.1-6
Proverbs 4.18-19
Matthew 15.21-39

 

Where are You, Lord?

 

Psalm 13.1-6:

How Prayer Changes Us

 

 

Here we see the progression that comes by faithfully, and honestly, lifting our requests to God in prayer. The Psalmist prayed:

“How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” (v. 1).

He was saying, in effect, “Where are You, Lord?” Ever felt that way?

In spite of not fully understanding, the psalmist prayed in faith:

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken (vss. 3-4).

Then he goes on:

But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me (vss. 5-6).

The psalmist made a conscious decision to trust God. He chose to focus on the faithfulness of God.

We, too, can choose to trust God in our trials!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3.5).

Our prayers may start out, as the psalmists did, “Where are you, Lord?” But if we stay faithful, God will not only faithfully answer according to His will and His timing, but we will be changed as we grow in our ability to trust Him.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Genesis 47 & Genesis 48:

A Type of Christ

 

Joseph and his family have been reunited. Here in chapter 47 we see Joseph’s care for his aging father, “Then Joseph brought in his father Jacob and set him before Pharaoh” (v. 7). Somehow I see Joseph helping his elderly father into some kind of a chair so Jacob can show his respect to Pharaoh and pray for him. But he doesn’t just care for his father; he also cares for his brothers. In verse 11 Joseph “situated his father and his brothers” and in verse 12 he “provided” for his father and his brothers. Remember, these are the same brothers who sold him into slavery.

tin typeJoseph is a type of Christ. A type is a picture (like the old “tintypes,” pictures taken during the 1800s). In this case, a picture of Christ, a glimpse of what was to come. We can look at those old photos and see that while they were not perfect images, they give us some idea of what the real person looked like. In the same way, when we look at the various “types of Christ,” each one gives us an idea of some of the attributes of our Savior.  Continue reading