Saturday, January 31, 2015

Am I a Slave to Egypt?

This week's memory verse:
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!
Luke 1:45

Exodus 1

So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.
Exodus 1:11

Egypt is clearly a type of the world. If I spend too much time in Egypt it will enslave me. Egypt for me is the TV shows I watch and the video games I play. The games can be especially addicting for me. It's ok for me to relax and play them once in a while but I don't want all my time devoted to such drivel. If I'm not careful that is exactly what ends up happening.

If I let this continue, then I end up actually working for the enemy! Lord, I've never seen this before! 
and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.
I don't want to end up building store cities for the enemy! I want to be storing up treasures for myself in heaven!
Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6:20 NLT

Another area that trips me up is Facebook. I tend to spend a LOT of time on there. It's too easy to get caught up in it and not even realize how much time has gone by. I need to be more aware of how much time I am spending on this social media and not let it eat into the time that I need to be spending on other things.

If I am truly a bondservant of Jesus Christ then I need to be seeking his advice on how to spend my time. I believe that he would prefer to see me spending it on things of eternal value. For me in this season of my life, that means training and educating my children, putting time in with my job (because this honors my husband who appreciates the extra income), planning and cooking healthy meals for my family, and of course spending time in God's Word and memorizing scripture.

Jesus, please help me to evaluate how I spend my time. I want to spend it in ways that will please you. I don't want to end up building store cities for the enemy. In your Holy Name I pray.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Learning to Forgive COMPLETELY

Genesis 50

When their message came to him, Joseph wept. 
Genesis 50:17b

But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid, Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
Genesis 50:19-20

Wow! What a beautiful picture of forgiveness! Joseph obviously was a deeply emotional person. Yet he was able to forgive his brothers so completely that when they sent this message asking him to forgive them it pained him to realize that they still had feelings of guilt and feared him.

I have a hard time forgiving this completely. There have been times when I thought I'd forgiven, then some new friction between that person and me causes that same old bitterness to rear it's ugly head again. It's like I'm peeling away painful layer after layer of gunk when instead I just need to steel myself and dig the whole nasty, ugly mess out of my heart. This is not something that I can do on my own. I need God to perform heart surgery on me by changing the way I think.

It always seems to come back to that. If my thoughts are being changed to become something that pleases God, then the bitterness will disappear. It will be replaced by love. And not a puny, based on feelings kind of love, but a sincere, unconditional love.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.
Romans 8:5-6

Thank you, Lord for showing me this! Please help me to only allow the thoughts in my mind that please you. Holy Spirit, please be my teacher and show me when my thoughts are not so pleasing, because I so easily forget to remember! I love you so much!! In Jesus sweet, precious name I pray. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What will Happen in Days to Come?

Genesis 49

Then Jacob called his sons and said: "Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come."
Genesis 49:1

Here is more proof that Jacob was speaking the words the Holy Spirit was giving him when he blessed Ephraim and Manasseh. There is no other way that he could have so accurately predicted the fate of 12 tribes. There is even a prophecy about Jesus in the blessing for Judah.

The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
Genesis 49:10

Jesus Messiah, someday every knee will bow and every tongue confess that you are LORD! Until then, may you have the complete and unwavering obedience of this individual!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Who Controls Me?

Genesis 48

But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim's head though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh's head; even though Manasseh was the firstborn.
Genesis 48:14

How did Jacob know to do this? Was he only showing preference for the younger one because he was a younger brother? I think God gave him a special anointing of the Holy Spirit at that time. If this had just been his personal preference, then it wouldn't have come true.

Lord, I want to be so in tune with you and your Holy Spirit that I always speak your words instead of my own and always react and do what you would instead of the way my flesh would choose to.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.
Romans 8:5-6 NLT

So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
Romans 8:12-14 NLT

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Living Sacrifice

Genesis 47

"You have saved our lives," they said. "May we find favor in the eyes of our lord; we will be in bondage to Pharaoh." 
Genesis 47:25

These people were willing to be slaves to a mere human. How much more should I be willing to be in bondage to Jesus Christ! All Pharaoh did was save their bodies and he only did that through Joseph. Christ saved my very soul from an eternity of pure, unceasing torment.

I praise you, Jesus for giving your life so that my soul could be saved! I want to be your bondservant for the rest of my life! Jesus, I give myself to you as a living sacrifice. May I be holy and acceptable to you. Amen!

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice -- the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:1-2 NLT

Monday, January 26, 2015

In Egypt

Genesis 46

And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, "Jacob! Jacob!"
"Here I am." he replied.
"I am God, the God of your father." he said. "Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph's own hand will close your eyes."
Genesis 46:2-4

I love how God reassured Jacob. What a caring and compassionate God we serve!

God even arranged things so that Jacob and his family got the best of the land. Not that that lasted for all of his descendants. 

I wonder why shepherds would be detestable to the Egyptians? All I can think of is that Egypt is a type of the world. My Shepherd is detestable to this world. They don't see him the way I do. Their eyes are blinded by the evil one.

Lord, please use me to shine your light into their blinded eyes so that you can cure their blindness and bring them into saving relationship with you. 


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Don't Quarrel

Genesis 45

Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, "Don't quarrel on the way!" 
Genesis 45:24

Oh, my gosh! This makes me laugh! But I laugh because it is so true and hits so close to home. Joseph knew his brothers. Why is it that we have a tendency to argue with the ones who are the closest to us?

Joseph had also just shown great favoritism to Benjamin by giving him a lot more gifts than the rest. He must have known that they would be tempted to harass Benjamin about that.

Lord, help me to not give in to the temptation to argue with my family. Help there to be unity within our family so that others see it and wonder what is so different about us.

Lord, I see so much strife in the family across the street. You know that they desperately need you, Jesus. Holy Spirit, I pray that you would pursue that young woman and her boyfriend. Give her grandmother the strength she needs to manage this wild girl. Comfort them all as they still grieve the tragic shooting death of the grandfather. I pray that now that the mom is out of prison that she will remain drug free. 

Holy Spirit, please pursue every person in that home! As well as everyone who is in and out of it. I pray that you would give me opportunities to share with them and boldness to speak the words you give me in those moments!


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

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!