Friday, January 23, 2015

What Are My Motives?

Genesis 44

People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.
Proverbs 16:2

Joseph's brothers have had a dramatic change in their attitude towards a favored younger brother. Perhaps it was the guilt they felt in chapter 42 when Joseph accused them of being spies, or maybe it started even before that.

Joseph was testing them to see if they would treat their youngest brother as cruelly as they had treated him. Joseph was a picture of Jesus who also by the Holy Spirit examines our motives. Joseph was hoping  to find repentance in his brothers and the Holy Spirit looks for the same in us.

What a merciful God we have!! What other "god" shows us our wrong motives and then gives us the chance to change, not by our power but his?!

Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgements. 
Revelation 19:1b-2a 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

They Are All Yours Lord

Genesis 42

But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. Genesis 42:4

But Jacob said, "My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him on the journey you are taking, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in sorrow." Genesis 42:38

Jacob was holding too tightly to his son Benjamin. He was not trusting that God would protect him.

Lord, long ago you taught me that my children all belong to you, not me. They are only mine on loan. When ManBoy was born, he had such a difficult birth and then he had to be in NICU for eight days.

When I was able to take him home I was a basket case, constantly worrying while he slept. I feared that he would stop breathing as he had a few times in the hospital. For my own sanity, I had to give him back to you, Lord. I had to get to a point where I knew that whether he lived or died, I would be ok, and that you would use it all for your greater purposes. That was not an easy place to get to and you've had to take me back there several times with all three kids through the years.

It's still not easy to say, "Lord, it's all yours; they're all yours. My kids, my husband, all of me and mine." It is only the trust I have that you always want to help me and build me up, not harm me, that allows me to be able to release all that I have and all that I am to you.

Thank you, Lord, for teaching me this and for reminding me of this hard lesson. Help me to never hold too tightly to anything that you have given me and you have given me all that I have!

If this post resonated with you, please share your comments below. I'd love to hear how God is working in your life!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fruitful in the Land of Suffering

Genesis 41

The second son he named Ephraim and said, "It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering." Genesis 41:52

Lord, I praise you for making me fruitful in the land of my suffering. Indeed, it often seems that is when I am most fruitful. That is as long as I cling to you, my vine.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Monday, January 19, 2015

It's Not About Me!

Genesis 41

Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it." 
"I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires." Genesis 41:15-16

It would be easy to take the credit for being able to do something like interpreting dreams. However, Joseph gives God the credit. He recognized that God is the one who gave him that ability in the first place, even though this seems to be an ability that ran in his family. Back in chapter 37, his brothers and father seemed to have no trouble interpreting the dreams he'd had.

I've always felt that God gives us each special abilities to use for his purposes. A couple of those for me are crochet and writing. Am I using these talents for his glory and to eternal purposes? I believe so, although there is room to grow in this.

God used Joseph's ability to prepare Egypt for a severe famine. He then promoted Joseph to a prominent position. But it wasn't for Joseph's sake that he did this. It was to bring about the salvation of Joseph's family and to birth the nation that would contain the lineage of the Messiah. It wasn't about Joseph at all, it was always about Jesus. Neither are my talents and abilities about me. It's all to easy to become prideful when people notice my talents and praise them. Lord, help me to remember that it isn't about me. It's always all about you!

If this post resonated with you, please share your comments below. I'd love to hear how God is working in your life!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Still in the Dungeon

Genesis 40

The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph, he forgot him. 
Genesis 40:23

Who can command things to happen without the Lord's permission? 
Lamentations 3:37 NLT

Joseph was eager to get out of a difficult situation. Who can blame him? He'd done nothing to deserve prison. I can imagine his excitement thinking, "Soon the cupbearer will mention me to Pharaoh and I'll be taken out of this dungeon." But then his disappointment when day after day no word came for his release.

Little did he know that God was working behind the scenes, not just for his release, but for the release of many others. The time was not yet right for Joseph's release. If the cupbearer had mentioned him right away, then he perhaps would never have gotten the opportunity to interpret Pharaoh's dreams, ultimately saving his whole family.

How often do I beg and plead with God to take me out of a painful situation when he just might be working behind the scenes to bring about not just my release, but also a release of others who are in bondage to sin? As Christians we are God's servants to use as he sees fit. He wants to use us to bring as many as possible to a redemptive relationship with him.

Thank you, Lord, that the painful times in my life are not wasted. Unbelievers are watching me and how I respond to these times. I pray that with your help, Lord, I would respond in ways that bring glory to you! amen

I wrote this before heading to church this morning. During worship we sang this song and it went so well with this that I had to add it in.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife

After nearly a year of no posts, I'm feeling led to repurpose this blog. I may still share things from my daily life, but the new main purpose of this blog will be to share what the Holy Spirit gives me during my quiet times. If these turn out to be too personal then I will either not share that day or generalize it for public consumption. I can't promise that I will share every day, but that is my goal. I need the discipline of journalling and this will help to add a level of accountability.

Genesis 39

Now Joseph was well-built and handsome and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!" Gen. 39:6b-7

I don't know what her marriage was like. Was it an arranged marriage in which she was unhappy? That doesn't really matter much. The point is that she allowed her heart to stray. This is something that is SO easy for a woman's heart to do! Even if you are married to a good man who treats you well. Any little bit of discontentment can drive a wedge between you. 

All it takes is a romance novel (even a Christian one!), a romantic movie, or thoughts of an old boyfriend and "How would things have been different with him?" If we allow ourselves to start believing that our husband doesn't measure up in some way then each discontented thought drives that wedge deeper and our heart strays further away.

 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Lord, you know how I struggled with this early in my marriage. I allowed discontent to grow in my heart. You showed me how to rehearse the things that I love about the man you gave me. You gently urged me to confess my sin of dwelling on thoughts of an old boyfriend to my husband. You helped me to expose that sin to the light so that it no longer held me in bondage. You showed me how to guard my heart by taking every thought captive to the feet of Jesus Christ. But, Lord, sometimes I still forget to remember. When I forget, would you please remind me? Help my love for you first and then my husband to grow. Thank you Lord for 20+ years with this wonderful man! Amen!

If this post resonated with you, please leave your comments. I would love to hear how God is working in your life!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Clay Jars

2 Corinthians 4:7-9

New International Version (NIV)
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

How is it that I've never seen this before?? As I was reading this verse this morning I suddenly read it differently than ever before.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Think about it. Clay jars are not made to take that kind of abuse! They will break if you press them hard on every side. However, it's the treasure that we have inside us that keeps us from being crushed. Only God is able to do this and it highlights HIS all-surpassing power. He gets the glory. Amazing!!