Tag Archives: disciples

Genesis 39; Mark 9; Job 5; Romans 9

Joseph, whose immaturity and lack of tact got him into further trouble with his older brothers, is sold to Ishmaelite traders, and finds himself serving Potiphar, the Pharaoh’s captain of the guard. Joseph has lost his freedom, but yet because God is with him, he still succeeds (even when it seems like he continues under trial). God goes with him through this all, and it is evident to those who stand witness.

20 So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. 22 Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. 23 The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed. (Genesis 39:20-23, NLT)

A man’s son suffers from violent seizures. He brings the child to Jesus for healing when the disciples were unable to do it.

21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.

He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”

23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:21-24, NLT)

The disciples argue about which of them is greatest among them, and Jesus shuts it down.

35 He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

36 Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.” (Mark 9:35-37, NLT)

Joseph’s immaturity and lack of tact got him into deeper trouble with jealous brothers. But still, God used Joseph, grew Joseph, and equipped Joseph for a greater purpose than just a kid brother getting sold out by his family. A child is victim to convulsions and seizures, powerless himself to something bigger than him and those around him. But Jesus, in his strength, authority and power is able–oh, he is able, to do great things.

When Jesus calls another little child into the group as an object lesson, I think on this child. Children are immature. Inexperienced in life. Naive, perhaps. Impulsive. Not all children operate from a moral high ground–not even adults have mastered this. Kids are kinda cute, and it’s likely easier to welcome a child in Sunday school into the fold–but what if it’s the kid in the neighborhood no one likes, or the kid in the classroom that causes constant trouble, or the kid acting like a bully? An adult can be equally unlovely, immature, inexperienced, impulsive, unkind.

Certainly there are circumstances the disciples wanted to shun people, where Jesus stopped and took time.

49 “For everyone will be tested with fire. 50 Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.” Mark 9:49-50, NLT)

Oh, Lord. Don’t let me lose my salt. Thank you for giving me a Kingdom focus. Thank you for your reminder that we are all tested with fire. Thank you for showing me that you go with me in difficult places, and that you show mercy on those you choose. Thank you for showing me that even while the disciples followed you and loved you, they still messed things up and turned people away. Oh, Lord. Don’t let me lose my salt.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 38-40; Luke 12; Psalm 7

As a teenager, the story of Joseph refusing the advances of someone else’s wife was key to my own walk with Jesus. It was a story that was instrumental in my decision that  pornography was not going to be the path I would take as I grew up to be a young man. I needed the strength to make the kind of decision that Joseph could make if I was going to live my life completely for Christ.

But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge.  He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” – Genesis 39:8-9  ESV

Now as an adult, I realise that Joseph was not just sticking to principles, those principles were going to cost him. I can imagine that it came close to being his life, but it still resulted in quite a few years in prison. The principal I learned as an adult follower of Jesus was that if it cost my life then I would choose to gladly give it. In my day, there were many stories coming out of Russia and China at the time, of incredible persecution, and how those who stood true to their walk with Jesus, died. Those testimonies were crucial in my own walk with Jesus. In fact, this promise gave me the context to give my life completely to Jesus —

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. – Luke 12:22-23  ESV

I find it liberating to trust Jesus to supply all of my needs.  I find it liberating that He guides and leads me to places of employment.  I find it completely liberating that I can trust Him to look after my wife and children. I find it liberating that I can trust Him completely.

Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me – Psalm 7:1  ESV

Father, I thank for the testimony of Joseph. I thank you that he gave you everything he was and You looked out for him. I thank You for Your promise to look out for me too. You have been so faithful that You set me free from any anxiety in my life. I thank you for David’s prayer to You. He trusted in You too and in his simplicity of faith, You answered his prayer and saved him. What a blessing to joy in You today. I enter today in Your rest and am thankful for it. 

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Ex. 18; Luke 21; Job 36; 2 Cor. 6

Job’s friend wants to paint a rosy picture for God followers–if you aren’t prosperous and your life isn’t pleasant, you must be doing it wrong. But today’s readings all point out that following God is no cake walk. Moses had a long, hard journey leading people out of slavery. Job, who was titled as God fearing and blameless, experienced heartache and loss magnified. Paul lists his hardships one after the other. And Jesus tells this,

“But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. 13 But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. 14 So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, 15 for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! 16 Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. 17 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers.” Luke 21:12-17 NLT, emphasis mine.

Job’s friend credits himself as knowledgeable. His observations reach for truth, but fall short. And this is something everyone is capable of. Well-meaning friends, however smart and sincere, can mix the truth into false concoctions. Who hasn’t thought their own advice sounded good and true?

I turn to the Bible.

I sit around the table with Moses’ father-in-law, Paul and Jesus. I write down what they say.

  • Lead by example: teach God’s decrees, give His instructions, show (them) how to conduct (their) lives.
  • We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us,and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 NLT, emphasis mine.
  • 28 So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” … 34 “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, 35 like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. 36 Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:28, 34-36 NLT, emphasis mine.

Thank you, God, for words I can trust. I pray for grace and strength “to live in such a way”, “in everything (I) do”, to serve you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Job, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament

Ex. 4; Luke 7; Job 21; I Cor. 8

Moses was concerned, doubtful, worried–what if they don’t believe him? What if he got tongue tied? Can’t you send someone else?

But it’s God who empowers. It’s God who changes hearts.

He can turn a staph into a snake, and water into blood. He can take a leader’s heart and make it hard.

Later, these signs would not immediately sway a Pharaoh’s hardened heart, but in this chapter, it’s love that brings about worship.

29 Then Moses and Aaron returned to Egypt and called all the elders of Israel together. 30 Aaron told them everything the Lord had told Moses, and Moses performed the miraculous signs as they watched. 31 Then the people of Israel were convinced that the Lord had sent Moses and Aaron. When they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped. Exodus 4:31 NLT, emphasis mine.

In Luke, Jesus has been healing and raising the dead, and John asks, “Are you the one?”

But it’s the woman bent over the Lord’s feet, pouring out perfume and tears that underscores: it’s love that brings about worship. He knew her many sins and didn’t turn away from her. In fact, he forgave her.

Paul tells in 1 Corinthians 8:1B: It is love that strengthens the church.

The prettiest words, the best arguments, the fanciest decorations, the strongest resistance–no, no–exclusion, judgment, grudge, spite–matching T-shirts, Facebook pages, Tweets in 140 characters or less–they don’t touch love. I can’t Photoshop it. I can’t Pin it. I can’t sell it. I can only give it away.

It is the heart’s hearing of concern and the seeing of someone’s misery. It is the presence in a sinful life repented, and a forgiveness of wrongs. Oh, I can come up with any number of reasons and excuses to deny it and dispute it (it’s too hard;  it’s complicated; do you know what they did; I don’t even like them)–but the barest essence of a life lived in faith is love.

What would your relationships be like if you treated every individual as a potential friend? This comes from Gary Chapman’s book Love as a Way of Life. I think of hurtful relationships, and can’t love shine there? God gives me opportunity to forgive and to love, and I can turn away and say, “Can’t you send someone else?” Like he used Aaron as Moses’ spokesman, he can use someone else for his glory.

But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it. Luke 7:35 NLT.

Lord, empower me, please, to serve you in the places you put me. Love draws people to you, to worship you. I don’t want to stand in the way of anyone getting to worship you–as my withholding of love or forgiveness is not a witness of my faith, but rather of my heart.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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