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Genesis 41-42; Mark 16

TLV- Gen 41:8 But in the morning he was disturbed in his spirit

I never know if God is trying to tell me something in my dreams. I have never acted on a dream. What could I be missing out on?

TLV- Gen 41: 14 Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph. So they quickly fetched him from the pit. He shaved, changed his clothes, and came to Pharaoh.

Always be presentable, I can never know when God is about to change my life!

TLV- Gen: 41:46 Now Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving as representative of Pharaoh, king of Egypt

How often am I forgetting the power of God? How God can move heaven and earth to get me where I need to be, when I need to be there. Even if it looks like God has forgotten me, help me to trust He is working on the end result. I once heard Max Lucado say: ”Everything will work out in the end. If it is not working out, it is not the end” My how this applies to Joseph, and to me, even if , just like Joseph, I don’t know it at the time.

TLV- Gen. 42:21 Then each man said to his brother, “We’re truly guilty for our brother. We saw the distress of his soul when he begged us for mercy, but we didn’t listen. That’s why this distress has come to us.

It is strange how circumstances can remind of us of things we would rather forget!!!

TLV- Gen 42:36 Then their father Jacob said to them “You’ve made me childless! Joseph is no more. Now Simeon is gone, and next you’ll take Benjamin! Everything is against me!”

How often is my first reaction negative?

TLV- Mark 16:3-4 They were saying to each other “ Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” Looking up, they see that the stone (it was really huge) had been rolled away.

How often am I looking down, talking, or not paying attention, while I worry about something, and if I would only look up, I would see it is already taken care of. Amazing! God just waits patiently for me to look up.

Mark 16:11 When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe.

Not all will believe, but I should tell anyway. Jesus says to proclaim the Good News to every creature.

Father God, keep my eyes open so that I see how you are working in my life. And give me the courage to tell others of all you have done for me.

Carol (carolvorw)

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Genesis 38-40; Mark 15

Er was a wicked man in the Lord’s sight. Onan did evil in the Lord’s sight. Judah made a plan of trickery and found himself tricked. Joseph was sold into slavery; he was pursued by Potiphar’s wife; he was accused of raping her and put in prison. The baker and the cupbearer were also imprisoned–one later released to freedom, the other released to his execution. Jesus is bound by priests, elders, teachers–the entire high council and led away to the Roman governor.

Very early in the morning the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law—the entire high council—met to discuss their next step. They bound Jesus, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor. (Mark 15:1, NLT)

When Pilate prepared to release a prisoner as was custom during the Passover celebration, the crowd called for Barabbas to be released, not Jesus.

“Would you like me to release to you this ‘King of the Jews’?” Pilate asked. 10 (For he realized by now that the leading priests had arrested Jesus out of envy.) 11 But at this point the leading priests stirred up the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus. 12 Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?”

13 They shouted back, “Crucify him!”

14 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”

But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”

15 So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified. (Mark 15:9-15, NLT)

I watch the effects of sin seep through a lineage, a history. It breaks families, steals years, murders. I remember other verses, that an enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. Resentment leads to enslavement. Lust leads to imprisonment. Jealousy and hatred manipulate leading priests, elders, teachers, the whole high council and the people they influence to choose a murderer’s freedom over the Christ who came to set them free.

God, you are sovereign. Nothing escapes your notice. Not things that burn in a heart, not secrets kept hidden, not a prisoner unjustly accused and left forgotten. You are sovereign when a crowd calls for crucifixion. Your will prevails, even when it looks like sin wins. Sin comes to steal, kill, destroy. You hold freedom and life in abundance.

37 Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

39 When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:37-39, NLT)

Lord, the lengths you go. You are just. You are sovereign. I can trust you. I praise your name. Grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 35-37; Psalm 12; Mark 14

If you assume that Christianity means satisfaction in this life of all your desires, including the ones that lie deepest in your heart, then you live as no person was meant to live. You demand satisfaction. You live for it. You feel entitled to it. You become incapable of real love, only self-centered passion.Dr. Larry Crabb

I thought of Joseph’s brothers and just how much they wanted their father’s love, and they wanted it desperately.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph was a son born to him in his old age, and he made a robe of many colors[o] for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not bring themselves to speak peaceably to him. – Genesis 37:3-4 HCSB

It reminds me of an important general lesson – being satisfied in love cannot be received from a father or mother, by friends or even monetary things. To be fully satisfied and content I must look to Jesus. That emptiness in my heart is reserved there as the only place He can fill. Everything else will fail, but God’s love will never fail.

Lord, help me to be more faithful. (Psalm 12:1)

I walk away from reading Mark chapter fourteen with this invitation. If I would receive the life-changing love of Jesus and respond with extravagant devotion, I will never be the same again.

Father, the word love can be messy – it crosses healthy boundaries and makes things that are a hindrance in my life, like co-dependency, look like a good thing. In the pursuit of love, sometimes I even use manipulation, deception, coercion and even bribery to make things happen. But there is something wrong with this foundation – it is all about what I want. I am tired of the pursuit of wanting anything other than You. Everything else comes up empty, hollow, even baseless. Teach me how to invite You into my life. Teach me how to love like You. I look at what happened to Peter and know that he followed You from a distance. I want to make the decision to follow You as close as I can. I desperately want to be more faithful. May I find myself seeking only You – Your love will never fail – and that is the love I want.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Genesis 32-34; Psalm 145; Mark 13

In our Old Testament reading today, we learn about how Jacob wrestled with the Lord.

The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s his was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day has broken.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ And he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ Then he said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.’ Then Jacob asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying ‘For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.’ The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh.” (Genesis 32:22-32 ESV)

The Lord disabled Jacob to show him that HIS strength was sufficient. I think he gives us each disabilities in life to prove this to us as well. I personally struggle with anxiety. It keeps me humble and keeps me relying on Him to make it with through life without being constantly wrapped up in fear. Another great way to battle anxiety is to meditate on scripture.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever.” (Psalm 145: 18-21 ESV)

On a good day, my focus is on eternal things. I focus on who God is, what He can do when He chooses to and whose I am. The psalms are a great way to express my heart’s struggles and desires. So in these crazy days we are living in, I need to be kingdom focused. Our new testament reading urges us to be ready for His kingdom.

But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake- for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning- lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all; Stay awake.” (Mark 13:32-36 ESV)


Like Jacob, You can use my anxious nature as a way to keep me dependent on You. Help me to keep an eternal focus, especially in times of anxious struggles. And let the struggles be for my good and Your glory.


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Genesis 30-31; Psalm 11; Mark 12


Life is full of it, some lives more than others. Conflict seemed to follow Jacob everywhere. In his home growing up he lived with ongoing tension as his parents played favorites with Esau and himself. The rift between the two boys eventually drove Jacob from his home and into another contentious relationship.

The deception and arguments that characterized Jacob’s relationship with just about everyone must have grown tiresome. Jacob and Laban, Rachel and Leah, and on and on. Jacob generally avoided outright physical violence, but he did his share of manipulating situations, stirring up arguments, and running when the fire got too hot.

Yet God chose this man to father the start of the twelve tribes of Israel. I don’t know the true state of his faith in God. Some speculate that Jacob never learned to trust God fully. Others conclude that after the wrestling he limped away a changed man. But, most agree that in his early years he was more driven by selfish ambition and preservation than a holy fear of God.

If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.”

Genesis 31:42 ESV

Still, despite his tendency to argue and the bickering that peppered his wives’ relationship with each other and later his children, when Laban outright confronted him on his way out the door, Jacob recognized that the only thing truly protecting him was God. Interestingly, he does not yet claim this God as his own, but merely the God of his forefathers.

Jacob recognized that it was time to sever this contentious relationship with his father-in-law and see what God had planned for the next season of life.

In the Lord I take refuge;

Psalm 11:1 ESV

For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
    the upright shall behold his face.

Psalm 11:7 ESV

I don’t need to fight my own battles. I can take refuge in him. I can find hope in the promise that I, as one claiming Christ’s righteousness, will see his face. Conflict doesn’t need to characterize my life.

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31 ESV

If I can keep these top two priorities intact in my life, God will remain first, and His love will flood out from my life to others. Conflict does not need to be a common refrain in my life as it was in Jacob’s.

Find my refuge in God, love others, and teach my kids to do the same.

It certainly doesn’t mean all conflict is unavoidable or if conflict does come my way that I am not following God; our faith may at times be grossly offensive to those around us, stirring conflict. God graciously gives wisdom to proceed and sometimes will even step in to intervene as he did when Laban was going too far.

Lord, thank you for giving me a place of protection in this contentious world we live in and for wisdom to choose my battles and my words. Help me recognize Your hand in each situation and trust Your plan in the present and future. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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