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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Genesis 45-46; Psalm 108; Galatians 2

Genesis 45-46; Psalm 108; Galatians 2

By mmattix

I see a theme of grace in today’s selections.  Joseph’s brothers threw him in a pit, told their father he was eaten by a wild animal, then was sold into slavery.  Although he was completely wronged by his siblings, with God’s help Joseph forgave them and saved them from the famine.  He showed grace.

“So Joseph said to his brothers, ‘come near to me please.’  And they came near.  And he said, ‘I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.  And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.  For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing or harvest.  And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.  So it was not you who sent me here, but God.  He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all this house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:4-8 ESV)

In our faith, we are saved by grace, not by anything we have done.

“I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (Galatians 2:20-21)

And when we see the gracious threads of God’s hand in our lives, we can sing with the psalmist:

“I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;

I will sing praises to you among the nations.

For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;

Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!

Let your glory be over all the earth!” (Psalm 108:3-5)

Lord,

Let us see your gracious handiwork in all of our circumstances. There is nothing we can do to earn it.  You just love us so much to lavish love on Your children.  May we be forever grateful.

Amen,

Kellie

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Genesis 43-44; Psalm 24; Galatians 1

26 When Joseph came home, they gave him the gifts they had brought him, then bowed low to the ground before him. 27 After greeting them, he asked, “How is your father, the old man you spoke about? Is he still alive?” (Genesis 43:26-27) NIV

14 Joseph was still in his palace when Judah and his brothers arrived, and they fell to the ground before him. 15 “What have you done?” Joseph demanded. “Don’t you know that a man like me can predict the future?” (Genesis 44:14-15) NIV

As the brothers bowed before him, Joseph’s dreams that he told his brothers and father have now come to pass! God had shown him back in Chapter 37 this was going to happen. He had two dreams and here they are bowing down to him on their second visit.

In my imagination, I see a young Joseph strutting around like a peacock in the coat his father gave him. He knew his father favored him.  As far as we know, none of the other brothers had ever gotten a gift so fine.  (A part of me wants to be “the favorite”!  There is pride that comes from that desire.)  I am sure there was a lot of resentment in that household.  The mothers’ battle to win the affections of Jacob would cause enough dysfunction in any home. The jealousy of the other brothers grew.  There was no doubt Jacob loved Leah more so the sons borne to her seemed to have a deeper love in their father’s hearts.  (But Jacob replied, “My son will not go down with you. His brother Joseph is dead, and he is all I have left. If anything should happen to him on your journey, you would send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave.[b]) Gen 42:38

Despite the actions of his brothers, God had great plans for Joseph–but he had to endure some hardships along the road. I believe God used them to humble him and chip away at any pride he had as well as mature him.  Being a servant was a vastly different role for Joseph.  Yet, his innate leadership skills could not help but surface.  It didn’t matter if he was serving in Potiphar’s home or deep in the dungeon.  His unique giftedness shone through.

I have noticed that in my own life. It is almost as if God puts me in certain situations where my own gifts are needed and I can’t even stop myself from using them—they just emerge.  I am an analytical problem-solver.  If I am in a group setting and no one has taken charge, I really have to pray about whether or not to get things going because I would just jump in and do it (God has had to teach me patience in that area).  I am an encourager.  God has had to teach me when to speak and when to remain silent (still working on THAT one), but sometimes saying nothing and just hugging someone is all the encouragement they need.  Words have no impact.

I found it interesting that Judah was the one who stepped up to the plate and offered himself as a slave instead of his brother Benjamin. It was his idea in the first place to sell Joseph off to the Ishmaelite traders. His genealogical line produces David and ultimately our Lord Jesus.  We just never know how God is going to bring good out of a situation.

Heavenly Father, I find the story of Joseph so encouraging in my own walk with you. He went through some pretty tough circumstances but you were always with him.  You orchestrated events so he was in the right place at the right time for your purpose.  I believe there are promises from you in my own life that you are working out.  I ask for the patience and endurance to continue walking with you until you get me where you want me.  The journey with you is one I would never change.  Thank you for loving me so much.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Genesis 41&42; Mark 16

37 This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” (Genesis 42:37-40) ESV

We recall all the things that Joseph experience. He was betrayed by his brothers, then by his owner’s wife and then by a fellow jail mate. He spent years (for some of us not that long [he was 30 here]) but still years marking time at least or worst suffering along the way with no hope or deliverance in sight. Then comes this great picture of him standing before Pharaoh and interpreting a dream that will deliver millions of people. And Pharaoh’s observation? Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God? In the midst of suffering and hopelessness there was no leaving the God he loved. He was full of the Holy Spirit to the point that even Pharaoh saw it.

How many times do we let the circumstances we face, the disappointments in life, trial and sickness pull us away from God. We focus on us and not on the God who can deliver and want a growing relationship with us. In the midst of all these trials Joseph grew closer to God. How bout if today we welcome those negative events and circumstances into our lives as a way of pushing us closer and growing our relationship with the Holy Spirit? What difference will that make? Let’s see!

Father God help me today to look at the negative things that come my way as a means to growing my relationship with You and Your Holy Spirit. Grow me in you today God! I pray these things in Jesus Name, Amen!

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