Monthly Archives: January 2018

Exodus 7-9; Psalm 105; Ephesians 1

When I was younger, there was this author who became famous because he wrote these three books that really turned followers of Christ into the practice of being thankful and to focus on praising God into a powerful exercise. I love worship and learned a lot from this author. I bet when Moses heard how the Egyptians would know that God was the Lord and praise Him as such that he did not understand what making Pharaoh stubborn would do to fulfill that promise.

 But I will make the king so stubborn that he won’t listen to you. He won’t listen even when I do many terrible things to him and his nation. Then I will bring a final punishment on Egypt, and the king will let Israel’s families and tribes go.  When this happens, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord. – Exodus 7:3-5  CEV

Regardless of life’s outcomes, God calls me to glorify Him – He calls me to praise Him, to tell everyone the amazing things He has done in my life.  So what has He been doing?  Well, if I did not meet Him each morning to find out what my plans were for the day, I probably would have nothing to share.

Praise the Lord
    and pray in his name!
    Tell everyone
    what he has done. – Psalm 105:1  CEV

I hear testimonies from older Christians who seem to have not much going on since they experienced something amazing with God 10 years ago.  Are they really saying that God has not been kind to them yesterday or the day before or last week?  I find myself praising God every day because everyday I wake up and breathe Jesus’ name into my prayer life and bible study. I am reminded of what God has done for me.  He did not do it just because of me, He does these things because He loves Jesus and so that is why I praise God every day.

God was very kind to us because of the Son he dearly loves, and so we should praise God. – Ephesians 1:6  CEV

Father, I am so sure that Moses had a hard time praising you through the ten plagues.  He only had your promise.  I have Jesus and I am so thankful because each day I can turn over to Him all of my worries and cares and anxieties and because Jesus’ loves me, He takes all of them and He carries them for me. I cannot think how any day I start is not filled with praising You for being my God, my Father. Today is no different.  I bless You and worship You and pray that today my life may glorify You for You are so worthy of being glorified. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Exodus 4-6; Galatians 6

“But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?” Then the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?” “A shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied. “Throw it down on the ground, “The Lord told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back. Then the Lord told him, “Reach out and grab its tail.” So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd’s staff in his hand. “Perform this sign,” the Lord told him. “Then they will believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob-really has appeared to you.” Exodus 4:1-5 NLT

So many of my doubts sound like Moses’s “What If’s?”

What if….
I am misunderstood.
The words don’t come.
I forget something important.

“But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Exodus 4:10 NLT

Oh, how I can relate to Moses. I focus on all the reasons why I can’t.   Instead of trusting in a powerful God who wants to do the impossible through me. I start to think of other people who can do it better. But, maybe God just wants a willing heart. I recently sat down for coffee with a struggling friend. As I  listened, I felt the Holy Spirit prodding me to share with her. I found all those “What if” questions surfacing in my mind. But, God used me despite myself and showed up in a powerful way. My friend was infused with hope, and so was I.  I came to realize that it isn’t about me, but God’s glory.

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are fooling yourself. You are not that important. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare your self to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” Galatians 6:2-5 NLT

God wanted to use Moses, even though he knew that his brother was a better speaker. No matter how many times the Lord showed Moses he was with him, he gave in to fear and insecurity.  How often has this been me?

Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear? Is it I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” Then the Lord became angry with Moses. “All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. “ Exodus 4:11-14 NLT

Dear Father, Help me to be obedient to what you ask of me. Without comparing myself to others. Knowing that you are with me always. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who guides me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Exodus 1-3; Galatians 5

We come to two juxtaposed passages of Scripture this morning. We have Moses not acting out of love or having a close relationship with God and then the Apostle Paul giving us the fruit of a loving relationship with the God of the universe. Paul writes:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:22-24 [ESV])

God has a plan that reaches across the ages and we don’t fully understand it all, but what if Moses instead of being a person who tried in his own strength to free God’s people was a person of love and peace? Perhaps the Jewish Nation would have been relieved of their suffering 40 years earlier.

The fruit of the Spirit that Paul lists are not something we strive for, but what we bear because of our loving relationship with the Father.

What kind of fruit are you producing? Is this fruit coming from a loving relationship with God? Just think of the things God can do through you and the people you can affect  through the overflow of your relationship with the Father.

What does your fruit look like this morning? How can you grow closer to God so that you can produce more of it in changing your life and those around you?

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Genesis 49-50; Galatians 4

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” Genesis 50:15 ESV

In Genesis 50, Joseph’s brothers are terrified because their father died. Joseph is one of the most powerful men in Egypt and they are worried that without their father, Joseph will take revenge for all the wrong his brothers did him. However, Joseph does not have revenge in mind.

His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear for am I in the place of God? AS for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear, I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:18-20 ESV

Joseph’s response shows his trust in God and reveals how God worked everything together in the end. Not only is his family safe and well in Egypt, but many people were also saved through Egypt’s famine preparations that Joseph put into place. God’s hand on Joseph ultimately turned all the horrible things that happened to him into blessings. Even though Joseph went through incredible hardships, his life had a happy ending.

So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s house. Joseph lived 110 years. And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation…And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob…and you shall carry up my bones from here” Genesis 50:22-25 ESV

God blessed Joseph with long life and the promise that his family will eventually leave Egypt and head to the land God promised to give to Abraham.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:4-6 ESV

Just as Joseph and his descendants were heirs to God’s covenant with Abraham, so I am an heir to God’s covenant through Christ. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, I am adopted by God and share in God’s covenant.

Dear God, thank you for send Jesus to die for my sins. Thank you for adopting me into your covenant and sending your Spirit into my heart. Please help me follow You and grow closer to You. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Genesis 47-48; Psalm 25; Galatians 3

Joseph has been heavy on my mind–not only because of the readings, I’ve heard his story preached online a lot recently. I consider him, his trials and testing and perseverance in light of a bigger plan.

This weekend marks a year since my father’s death, and a year since my whole world shifted. Joseph likely never imagined the turn of events that one day as he trotted down at his father’s request to check on his brothers at work; I look back in contemplation at a year I never could have imagined.

My focus with Joseph was a list of questions: Did you know your brothers hated you? What were you thinking as they sold you as a slave? What went through your mind when Pharaoh’s wife set you up? And those years in prison–how did you get through each day of wait?

But today, I focus on what God is doing. Certainly, I’ve seen his hand in my own life this past year–even recently, when our dog got loose. She’s been gone several days. I sat on the couch last night under a wave of gratitude for a God who loves me and loves my dog, who has taken a heart-aching situation and used it to open doors to prayers I’d been whispering to connect with others in my community. In the process, he’s sparked a new flame in my heart. He is molding me into someone new.

In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust. (Psalm 25:1, NIV)

And this is how I can look back at a hard year, grateful, that his hand has never left mine–in fact, he holds me. He has not forsaken me.

Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? (Galatians 3:4-5, NIV)

Lord, how I’ve learned what little I can control, sometimes not even my own tears. You have taken my head knowledge and moved it into my heart to show me so very personally that you are sovereign and your ways are good. When trials cut deep, you are with me, catching every tear, and working every moment for my good and your glory. Thank you for holding me and my family, and I pray that you’ll bring our dog home to us soon.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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