Author Archives: gardnlady

Numbers 21; Psalm 60, 61; Isaiah 10:5-34; James 4

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea,[c] to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

Selfish; self-centered; entitled. These are all words that came to mind as I read through these verses and the attitude of the Israelites.  They were complaining about God’s provision for them.  They were not satisfied with what God was doing in their lives.  They wanted what they wanted NOW.  Like any good parent, God nipped this bad behavior in the bud.  He sent venomous snakes into their midst and people started to die.  He got their attention!  Once the Israelites were confronted with God’s discipline, they sought out Moses to speak to God.  Moses prayed to God on their behalf.  In response, He had him build a bronze snake and put it on a pole.  If they were bitten, all they had to do was look at the snake and they would live.  God made it obvious to them that HE was in control, that HE was their source, and that HE would provide for them.  They had to continuously look to Him.  God didn’t take away the snakes, but He provided a way for them to be saved.

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Selfish; self-centered; entitled. Again, these words come to mind.  This time, however, it is not the Israelites who elicit these adjectives, it is me as I see them apply to myself. There are times I have prayed for something and God has not answered the prayer in the timeframe I believe He should have.  I get in a bad mood, or start complaining.  I want what I want NOW!  I thought about how lately I have found myself dissatisfied with my life.  What are you doing God?  Are you even there?  What about me?  Selfish; self-centered; entitled.

Through time spent with him, I remembered who God is. He is God, and I am not.  He owes me nothing; I owe Him everything.  Even if I never receive another answered prayer or blessing, He has already given me the greatest gift:  His Son.  If He never does another thing for me in this life, He provided a way to live with Him forever in the next.  Every day I need to remember this.  Every day I need to thank Him.  Every.  Day.  I don’t have a bronze snake on a pole to save me.  I have an empty tomb and a risen Savior.  When I get outside of my self—my needs, my wants, my wrong motives—I see that truth clearly.  I can praise God with a joyful heart and lifted hands.

Father, I know I am selfish. I know I grumble and complain.  I know I am not always satisfied with my life.  Forgive me LORD for thinking I deserve anything more than you’ve already done on my behalf.  I ask for a changed heart—one of gratitude for who you are and thankful that you love me.  I ask for a humble spirit that I might look out instead of in and up instead of down.  I ask hoping my motives are right.  I do not seek pleasure, for that is fleeting.  I seek joy.  That comes from you alone.  In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, James, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Numbers, Uncategorized

Numbers 5; Psalm 39; Song 3; Hebrews 3

Why is it we have this false belief that because we are believers, walking with Jesus, we are going to live this problem-free life? There are things that are going to come at us, shake our very foundations, and leave us dazed and confused at something we never saw coming.  One moment we are flying high.  We are serving God; all our relationships are strong and healthy; life is good.  Then, BOOM!  Everyone’s boom is different.  We get called into our boss’s office and are told the company is downsizing and we have no job.  One moment we’re laughing with our spouse and the next we’re calling 911 because they’ve fallen to the ground unresponsive.  We go to the doctor for our annual physical and he finds something suspicious in his examination.  We get a call that one of our children has been in an accident and is on the way to the hospital.  That solid ground we’ve been standing on has started shaking and we have a split second to decide how we’re going to respond.  David talked about this.

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth;  the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.[b]

“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.

We can choose to put our hope in the Lord just as David did. God alone is our firm foundation. He is our solid ground.  He is the only security we truly have.  When our world is crumbling around us there is nothing else we can cling to because there is nothing else that can’t be destroyed.

How do we do this? We get to know him, spend time with him, commune with him, and trust him.  We have to know God’s word and his character.  When I was a new believer, I struggled with trusting God.  I wasn’t even sure how to do that—how do you learn to trust?  I really sensed the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart:  Trust comes with time and consistency.  Wow!  That is exactly how you learn to trust!  When someone or something is consistent over a period of time, you learn to trust.  God is faithful.  Always.  The longer we walk with him we see that faithfulness in our own lives.  Sure, we’ve read in the bible how he’s been faithful in other people’s lives, but we get to see it in our own life.

Heb 3:12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

So . . . these trials come into our lives. And maybe we don’t weather them very well.  Maybe you find yourself struggling with believing God is good.  That is exactly what Satan is waiting for.  He is just waiting for the opportunity to say to you:  “Did God really say . . .?” because he wants to deceive you and question what you thought you knew in your heart.  That doubt can take us into a pit of despair!  This is why it is so important for us to be in community with other believers who truly know us. We must allow ourselves to be transparent.  In those moments of weakness, we need them to remind us of God’s faithfulness, of his goodness, of his promises.  We need to encourage each other daily. Our voice of encouragement needs to be louder than the lies.  I love the wording in this verse, “as long as it is called “Today” because every day we wake up is today!  So there is never a day we don’t need encouragement from God, from His word, from our fellow believers and to do likewise to others.  Look around at the people God has brought into our lives.  Who needs encouragement?  I guarantee someone does.  We are talented actors, showing the world everything is okay—on the outside; but inside, we’re a mess.  If you pray and ask God to reveal someone who needs encouragement, you’d be surprised who he brings to your mind.

Our world as we know it can be changed in an instant. We will never be immune from it this side of glory.  What we need to survive is something unshakable in a world that can be so easily shaken.  Jesus is the answer.  That is where we start.  Call out to Him, ask Him to be that stability, that immovable object in your life.  Then, encourage others to do likewise.

Have you ever noticed that whenever there is a big storm brewing, the newscasters always start telling you how to be prepared ahead of time in case it hits? The wise thing to do is take heed of their advice.  Maybe the storm will hit, maybe it won’t.  Maybe you’ll have an earth shaking trial in your life, maybe you won’t.  Isn’t it better to be prepared?  You can’t lose by putting your hope in the Lord!

Lord, thank you for being immovable; trustworthy; the Person I can always count on. I can cling to you no matter what.  You are unshakeable in a world that is easily shaken.  I pray for those who are struggling even today, Father, that someone will encourage them.  They will bring your light into their dark place.  If there is someone in my life, let me help them grab on to you for dear life as we cannot survive without you.  On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.  In His name I pray!

 Cindy (gardnlady)

 

 

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Leviticus 18; Psalm 22; Ecclesiastes 1; 1 Timothy 3

Today is a good day! It is Good Friday!

I have to admit the verses I read for today brought on an entirely different meaning to me once I realized the significance of the day they were assigned to be read. On the Christian calendar, today marks the remembrance of Good Friday—the day Jesus was crucified.  There was nothing “good” about that day as it is recognized as the darkest day in all of history.   It is the day the Jews (those who believed) lost all hope that this Man, Jesus, was the Messiah prophesized for hundreds of years.  It was not good for his disciples who had given up everything to follow him. What were they to do now?  But God’s plan of redemption was being fulfilled before the eyes of creation.  No one saw the significance as it occurred.  It proves that God’s greatest works may not “look” the way we think they should.  On that day, God made a way for us to have direct access to Him by tearing the curtain of separation.

Psalm 22 contains verses that were fulfilled in the Gospels.

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? (see also Mark 15:33-34) NLT

Jesus says these words as he is hanging on the cross. In researching these words I came upon an interesting perspective.  I had always thought of these words as Jesus suffering separation from God (2 Cor 5:21) taking our sin upon himself.  But one commentary I read talked about Jesus pointing the people around him to Psalm 22, revealing the prophecy being fulfilled before their eyes, teaching even as he was dying.  If they read that scripture, they would have read these words that were written hundreds of years before Christ was born:

 16b They have pierced[a] my hands and feet.  (see also Matt 27:35; Mark 15:24; Acts 2:23)

 18 They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice[b] for my clothing.  (see also John 19:24)

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”  (Ecclesiastes 1)

 Apart from Jesus Christ, this is true. Only He gives meaning to life AND death.

I shared in a recent post that it seemed death was all around me. At that time, I was waiting for my brother to die. We had been told it was imminent but I don’t think we ever want to give up hope that a miracle can happen.  It was a wait that took me deep into a pit of depression.  In my eyes, it was meaningless.  The last few years as he slowly declined and then finally the pneumonia that took him–it all made me angry.  I was angry with this horrible disease that took away the life he could have had and the time we could have spent together.  I wasn’t sure what to do with that anger, so I held it in and isolated from the world as much as I could.  I went through the motions of life but it was all meaningless.

As I’ve read through these verses the last few weeks, I began to find comfort. When I first started reading the verses, Ecclesiastes 1 really spoke to my mood.  But this past week, as Easter approached, I thought of Jesus laying down His life for us.  He was willing to die, to suffer, and to sacrifice Himself.  Death had no victory over him.  John 12:24-25 says “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”  I began to see anew that there is meaning to death.  Yes, we are separated from our loved ones but only for a while if they have believed in Christ as their Savior.  Yes, we miss them terribly and there is a void in our lives.  But death is not the end!  Jesus rose on the third day.  We are told by Jesus himself that he goes before us to prepare a place for us.  Why would he tell that to us if it were not true?

As I read through the verses in Leviticus and 1 Timothy, they are filled with laws and rules on how we are to live our lives here. Following Jesus gives our life meaning.  Living as he taught us to live gives our lives meaning.  Serving him gives our life meaning.  Getting to be with him when we die—that gives death meaning.   It is time to get busy living until he calls me to be with him.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I need Easter. He is Risen!

Father, today as we remember the price Jesus paid for us to be with You, let us not take it lightly. We need to remember he willing allowed his body to be abused and broken beyond what most of us could ever endure.  For this, we eat the bread.  We need to remember the blood he shed to atone for our sins.  For this, we drink the wine.  He died the death we deserve.  But then he rose!  Hallelujah!

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Leviticus 2, 3; John 21; Proverbs 18; Colossians 1

18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others[f] will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”

20 Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” 21 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”

22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” 23 So the rumor spread among the community of believers[g] that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that isn’t what Jesus said at all. He only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” (NLT)

I love Peter! There is just something about him that is so relatable.  He has such a love for Jesus, messes up, yet still pursues Him.  Jesus loves him despite everything that has happened.  Peter is the first one out of the boat when Jesus appears to them on the shore after the resurrection.  Even though he denied Christ he didn’t hold back in shame, he ran to greet the man he had walked so closely alongside for three years.  As they are having a meal together, Jesus pulls him aside and has a personal conversation with Peter and gives him a purpose for his life:  Feed his sheep!  He wants Peter to pick up where He left off.  Then Jesus tells him how one day he is going to die in a way that will glorify God.  Peter looks over at John and asks Jesus: “What about him?” He wants to know what will happen to John. The scripture doesn’t say this, but I wonder if it was out of concern for his “brother” that he asked the question.  The two of them had been closer to Jesus than the others during the course of his ministry.  I think Jesus’ answer was to get the focus off of something that was going to happen in the future, and back to what He wanted him to do now.  Of course, their conversation was overheard and the rumors started that John was not going to die.  Proverbs 18:8 warns of this:

 Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart

I can imagine this caused quite the buzz among the other disciples. When we only hear part of a conversation or personalize something someone else has said, it can really dishearten us. Jesus didn’t say that John was not going to die; he was merely stating if that is what was in store for him that was not something that Peter needed to worry about.  Peter was to follow Jesus.  The same can be said for us.  We get ourselves into trouble when we compare our walk with someone else’s or worry about what God is doing in someone else’s life.  We need to keep our focus on Jesus!  We need to follow Him.

Peter was forgiven for denying Jesus. He sat in the presence of Jesus.  He was still used mightily by God to promote the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles. Not only did he walk with Jesus, he was given His Spirit to continue His work, to feed His sheep.  Colossians 1 says the same about us.  We were once far from God, yet through the death of Christ, we have been reconciled to God.

21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

Paul also spread the message of hope to the Gentiles which has been passed down for generations to reach this time in history. Jesus laid the foundation, then passed the baton to Peter and the other disciples. He called upon Paul to travel all over to spread the Good News. The lives of Peter and Paul both show us that no one is beyond being used for God’s purposes—it doesn’t matter how many times we’ve messed up.  We all have a story of redemption to share.  We have all been sent out to “feed my sheep”.

Thank you, Lord, for revealing the message of redemption. Because of this, I am reconciled to You.  I have Christ living inside of me.  That is something that is beyond my comprehension; all I can do is trust it is so. Thank you that you love me even though I’ve messed up plenty of times.  Help me keep my focus on You, Jesus. I want to follow You.  In your name I pray.

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Exodus 28; John 7; Proverbs 4; Gal 3

Exodus 28:3 -Tell all the skilled workers to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest.

What is wisdom? How do you get it?  As the verse above states, sometimes we are given wisdom from God.  Somehow we just KNOW something that we can’t explain.  Often, someone will share something they’ve learned with us based on their own experiences.   It can come from something we’ve read that has had an impact on us.  Often, however, wisdom comes from learning and experiencing life for ourselves over a period of time.  There is truth to wisdom.

I thought of these questions as I read through Chapter 4 in the book of Proverbs. I know much of the book is attributed to Solomon.  There is nothing biblical about this, but I imagined Solomon sharing about a time when he was a young boy, sitting with his father, David, as he imparted words of wisdom to his son.

3-7: When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, “Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.  Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.  Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.  Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

 14-15: Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.  

20-22: My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.

23: Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

We are not born with wisdom, it is acquired over time. Some of us have attained it the hard way.  I can honestly say if I have any wisdom at all, it has come from learning things through making many mistakes, getting banged up because I didn’t take someone else’s advice, and just general immaturity.  Did my parents sit me down and try to warn me, to share with me all they learned?  Yes.  Unfortunately, I was not wise enough to listen to them.  I had to find my own way.  I am smiling as I think of a perfect example of this.  When I was 6 or 7, my best friend was Connie.  She lived across the street and we played together almost every day.  One day I wanted to go across the street to play with her but my mother said I couldn’t because she had Chicken Pox and if I went around her I might get it too.  But I snuck over to her house and played with her anyway.  Guess who got the Chicken Pox a week later?  My mother was wise to warn me, my not listening was “folly” (a word used quite often in Proverbs). That experience taught me the wisdom of staying away from someone contagious!

That is a silly example, no doubt, but experience has taught me other things as well. Through the years I’ve learned the wisdom of “guarding my heart” and “avoiding walking in the way of evil men”.  There is wisdom in learning that God has set in place a certain order of things, a process, and trying to shortcut or bypass this can have serious consequences.  As my daughters have grown and they’ve encountered similar situations, I have tried to share the lessons life has taught me.  Sometimes they listen; sometimes they have to find their own way to wisdom.  God can say the same thing about me!

Proverbs 9:10 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” This wisest thing I have ever learned is that I don’t know everything but I have a Father who does.  If I am wise, I will seek His advice, direction, and purpose for my life for He alone can direct me in the path I should take.  If I am wise, I will give Him complete control.  I am sorry to say, I am not always wise!

Abba, Father, any wisdom I have has come from You. Through studying Your Word, I learn what is good for me and what is not.  I learn where you set your boundaries and why they are good for me.  By trusting your process and timing, I change and grow. I thank you for your patience over the years as sometimes I am a slow learner.  Lord, please give me ears to hear and a heart ever open to You.  In Jesus precious name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Exodus 14; Luke 17; Job 32; 2 Corinthians 2

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

There they were—the Red Sea to the front and the Egyptian army speeding towards them from behind, the place they had just left. They were no longer slaves; God had gone to great lengths to set them free.  They had seen miracle after miracle of His power, yet after all that He had done, they doubted. “Did you bring us out here to die?” they asked Moses.  They let their circumstances dictate their reaction. Haven’t I done the same?

Just when you think you’ve conquered that stronghold, or that addiction, or finally gotten out of that unhealthy relationship—whatever it might be that was keeping you in captivity—the enemy comes after you charging full speed ahead. There has to be a way out but you don’t see it.  And fear sets in!  So you run back to the things you know that helped you in the past—those false gods you turned to that tricked you into believing they were the answer.  The Israelites wanted to run back to Egypt.  For me, it would be food.

I have a love/hate relationship with food. I love it (a little too much) but hate that it is my “go to” coping mechanism when I think life is out of control.  This is my bondage, my battle.  Everything was going along pretty well for the last couple of years.  Then I started letting my guard down a little at a time.  A little piece of something sweet, just a bite of something I know is a trigger for me because, of course, I’m strong enough to handle this now.  Fifteen pounds later tells me a different story.  Life came at me and hit me hard and I had my back against the Red Sea and my hand on a pastry (my version of the Egyptian army).  I was in an emotional turmoil and in that moment I forgot what the Israelites forgot—God is in control!  I did not cry out to Him, I was trying to fight my own battle.  But verse 14 says:  The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  He is my strength; He alone can calm the storm inside of me but I can’t hear Him until I get still before Him. I got busy doing everything EXCEPT spending time with the one Person who satisfies my emptiness. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.

Then there are those well-meaning friends who just don’t get it. “Why can’t you eat that?  Surely it won’t hurt to just have one?  They are really good!”  I start thinking, maybe they are right; what would it hurt to have a taste? Jesus warns us of this in Luke:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves.

Unless I am diligent and constantly leaning into the Lord for my strength, I am easy prey. I forget that “I am weak but He is strong” as the song goes.  I cannot do life on my own.  I think I can when life is going along just fine.  But life does not go along fine.  John 16:33 says: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”   We lose jobs, people we love die, we have health issues.  That Red Sea is staring at me!  I have a choice:  I can trust that God is in control or I can believe that I am out of control and react accordingly.

10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. (emphasis mine)

Jesus is my Shepherd. I can easily become the lost sheep if I am not constantly looking to Him for direction, listening to Him for reassurance, and asking Him to fill up all those empty places only He can fill. The enemy wants nothing more than for me to isolate myself.  Last I looked, self-pity and depression are not listed among the fruit of the Spirit.  How do I make disciples for Jesus if I’m not out serving Him around other people?

I was driving home from work the other day and I saw something that caught my eye in someone’s yard. As I glanced over to get a better look, I noticed the car started heading in the direction I was looking.  I almost ran off the road into a big ditch!  What an example of what was going on in my soul.  I diverted my attention and started veering off the path.  In my weakness, I forgot God’s strength. If He is strong enough to part the Red Sea, He is strong enough to handle anything in my life.  I know He is fighting for me!  I think it’s about time for me to live that way.

Heavenly Father, I am so thankful you never give up on me. No matter how many times I fall down, you lovingly pick me back up.  You continue to teach me as only You can.  Forgive me for the times I have let anything replace You as God of my life.  Give me the strength I need to finish this race leaving behind the things that hinder me.  In Jesus mighty name I pray.

 

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Genesis 50; Luke 3; Job 16, 17; 1 Corinthians 4

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

18  “We are your slaves,” they said. His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

 

These verses are some of the most well-known in the bible.  There is so much going on in these few little passages.  We know that with the Fall, sin entered the world.  Sin always has consequences.  I can remember being a young teenager, having done something wrong, and waiting for the punishment my parents saw fit to bestow.  Consequences. 

I can’t imagine being one of Joseph’s brothers.  Their jealousy causes them to sell their brother as a slave and then they tell their father a lie about him being killed.  They have to live with the weight of that sin.  They watched their father grieve and mourn for the loss of his son knowing full well they had a part in that pain. I am sure the guilt festered inside of them every day.   So time passes and life goes on as that sin is still out there, lurking.  But God knew about it! 

In the meantime, He was watching over Joseph and molding his character.  Years later, the brothers are reunited with Joseph, and they bring their father to Egypt as he wanted, and Jacob has his son back.  Whew, happy day.  The sin is revealed, they can let go of that guilt they’ve been carrying around.  Their father is beside himself with joy, they have plenty of food, and they can relax.  Then Jacob dies. 

That is the problem with sin, it happened and can’t be undone, and as we are taught, the consequence of sin is death.  Sometimes the death is the death of peace.  We can be forgiven but sometimes those consequences hang over our heads.  They come at us just when we think we can let it go and we don’t have to live every day knowing what we did, how we hurt someone, or how someone else’s sin hurt us.  The brothers figured that as long as their father was alive, Joseph would do nothing in retaliation. But now that he has died, they fear their brother has been harboring anger over what they did to him.  So they once again resort to their old tactics—lying!  They manipulate the situation out of fear.   How many lies are told because we fear the outcome of being truthful?  They were waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop.

The next part is what struck me this time:   “His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him.”  Finally . . . repentance.   Up to this point, I am not sure they repented for what they did.  This time they gave up their pride and humbled themselves, asking for forgiveness.  Seems to me Joseph had such a dream where his brothers fell down before him which caused this whole journey to begin with.  The dream God had given Joseph had come to pass. The grace Joseph showed to his brothers is an example of forgiving grace and mercy shown to us by our loving Father.   

Joseph weeps, perhaps because his brothers think so little of him that he would bring harm to them.  He assures them that though they might have meant evil against him, God used it to bring about the saving of many people.  I can look at my own life and see how God brought good out of a situation.  In fact, I wouldn’t be a believer today if someone hadn’t caused great pain in my life.  That situation took me straight into the arms of Jesus.

He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

God has given us a means to cleanse us from our sins.  We can be rid of them once and for all, no longer carrying around the guilt and shame of what we’ve done or what’s been done to us.  We don’t have to live like we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.  This way to forgiveness is through belief in Jesus Christ.  John preached of His coming.  Jesus came to take our sins upon Himself and restore our relationship with God.  Oh the joy and freedom that comes when that truth finally sinks in.

Heavenly Father, your mercy upon us overwhelms me at times.  I ask You, “why are You so good to me?” and I know it is because of Your great love for us.  My heart overflows with gratitude for how you’ve changed my life.  Thank You.  In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUrnwpGefDI

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized