Miles to go...

I have miles to go... please pray each day for the next leg of my Biblical journey!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 22: 2 Samuel 22 - 1 Kings 7


(Day 23's reading was 2 Sam 12-21... no note for that day.)

S: 2 Samuel 22:2 (King James Version)
2And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;

O: God had just delivered David from his enemies, most recently the war with philistia.

A: I love this verse. what a vivid picture it paints! what do you think of when you hear the words rock, fortress, deliverer? i guess i'm just a girl LOL, because i conjur up images of a knight in shining armor coming to save me, carrying me off to some place totally safe where nothing can hurt me, and being totally devoted to meeting my emotional and physical needs. and that is exactly what God is!  He is our rock... our comforter and provider. He is our fortress... our safe haven. and He is our deliverer... our knight in shining armor who comes to save us from the enemy.

P: Wow, God, you're really everything i need! i remember the first time i realized that... it was back in about '96, '97... i'd moved back out to princeton, i was a single mom, and i drew close to you, REALLY close to you, for the first time in years. i became totally content to live my life with you as my constant companion... even as a "husband" to me. i'm glad that you did bring me a human husband, but Father, sometimes i put too much emphasis on him, and expect him to fill the roles of rock, fortress and delieverer. and then i get all frustrated and stuff, because he's only human, Lord, he can't possibly fill your shoes! so my prayer today is this... when i start expecting too much of my husband, remind me to back off of him, and to lay it all back down for you.

Day 22: 1 Samuel 29 - 2 Samuel 11

David and Mephibosheth. c. V. Gilbert and Arlisle F. Beers

S: 2 Samuel 9:8 (Contemporary English Version)
Mephibosheth knelt down again and said, "Why should you care about me? I'm worth no more than a dead dog."

O: David was making good on his promise to his late friend, jonathon, to show the kindness of God to his decendants. mephibosheth was the only son left alive... the only grandson of king saul. mephibosheth was a crippled guy though... lame since birth. i guess back then that was pretty much worthless. but david restored for him all that had once belonged to his grandfather, took him into his own palace, and treated him like his own son for the rest of his life.

A: wow. what an illustration of what God has done for us? who am i that God should care about me? i'm weak, i'm fickle, and i'm so unworthy of His grace and affection. and yet He has taken me in and made me His own, and values me like His own Son!

P: God, i never really thought about it like that! i think this is why i'm enjoying reading your word so much... it's like i'm constantly seeing things in a whole new light, and appreciating even more the grace that you extend to me. thanks, God, for giving me a place at your table!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 21: 1 Samuel 16:28

Abigail and David, Copyright:
V. Gilbert and Arlisle F. Beers

S: 1 Samuel 25:39 (New King James Version)
39 So when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Blessed be the LORD, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept His servant from evil! For the LORD has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head." And David sent and proposed to Abigail, to take her as his wife.

O: David had gotten pretty ticked off at nabal's insults, and was all ready to get his own revenge when nabal's wife intervened. so he ended up letting nabal live, and within a couple of weeks, God took nabal's life.

A: how many times do i try to take matters into my own hands? this passage illustrates how God will fight our battles for us, if we will just simmer down and let Him, instead of going off half-cocked and doing it ourselves.

P: Thank you, Father, for being so willing to avenge us! so often i want to jump in and get even with people... and when i do, it usually doesn't turn out very well. and when i don't, i usually don't notice when you get even for me. i guess that's by your design... i'd probably get all big-headed about it if i did see.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 20: 1 Samuel 3-15

Saul gets rebuked. Providence Lithograph Co.1902{ PD-23}

S: 1 Samuel 15:22-23 (New Living Translation)
22 But Samuel replied, "What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king."

O: I wanted to post this in a different translation than what i have been reading from. i like the way this one is worded more than the other versions. anyway, saul had just fought a battle against the amalekites as God had instructed him, but he only did it half-way. instead of annhilating everything and everyone, he (and his army) spared the king and the best of the spoils of war, insisting that they were for a sacrifice to the Lord. but that is not what God had instructed them to do, and samuel broke the news to saul that he'd been demoted.

A: there is such a lesson to be learned here, and i hope i'll remember it! when God tells us to do something, we'd better not do a half-assed job of it. God isn't going to accept any whiney "but I thought..." type of excuses.  God expects our total obedience, and there are consequences when we decide to hold back just a little for our own reasons.

P: Lord, remind me of this passage when i'm wanting to do things my own way! remind me that you'd rather have my total obedience than for me to do things half way and then try to pass off my disobedience as something that might glorify you... because disobedience NEVER glorifies you. i want to be a woman of integrity before you, God. shape me!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 19: Judges 15 - 1 Samuel 2


S: 
Hannah's Prayer: copyright Cook Communications Ministries
1 Samuel 1:11 (New King James Version)
11 Then she made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head."

O: 
Hannah was childless, and in this passage, promised God that if He would give her a son, she would give him back to God. A part of me was a little amazed by her willingness to do this. i mean, she wanted a child so bad, but was willing to give him up as soon as she was finished nursing him? it showed me that her desire was not a selfish one. surely this could not have been an easy thing to do!

A: 
we should all be like hannah... selfless in our requests, and totally willing to give back to God 100%, no matter how difficult it is! and when we make a promise to God, we need to be absolutely sure that we will keep that promise.

P: 
Father, i'm humbled every day as i read about the people who would make "deals" with you, and KEEP them! it's kinda ironic in a way, because collectively, they are so very fickle in their relationship with you. but when they make a vow to you, they generally don't change their mind later. Lord, it's interesting how much of myself i see in them! my relationship with you tends to resemble a roller coaster. no, it resembles israel.  but i'm learning to keep the vows that i make to you. thank you for never giving up on me!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 18: Judges 3-1

George Hicks: Lament of Jephithah's Daughter {PD-1923}
S:
Judges 11:34 (New King James Version)

34 When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter.

O: 
Jephthah had promised God that in return for delivering ammon into his hands, that whoever first came out of his house to greet him, he'd offer as a burnt sacrifice.

A:
we're back to that same old question again... would i trust God to bring about a more suitable sacrifice? could i go through with taking the life of my own child? God surely knew that Jephthah's only child would be first out those doors, and He could have prevented it and sent the family dog instead, but He didn't. would i have followed through with my promise?

P:
God, sometimes reading your word is really difficult! i'm so grateful that you sent our son so that we wouldn't have to do burnt offerings and sacrifices anymore, but God, if we did, i can honestly say that no, i wouldn't have followed through with my promise! does that make me a bad christian? why didn't you redeem his daughter and send a more suitable sacrifice? why didn't you let jephthah off the hook so he wouldn't have to kill his child? i hate being whiny and obstinate, but God, that just doesn't seem right, and i feel very disturbed by this. help me to understand, God.

UPDATE 2012:
As I continue my studies, and journey through the Bible in 90 days each year, my knowledge and understanding grows and deepens. I now understand that Jepthah didn't actually offer his daughter as a human sacrifice. Burnt offerings to the Lord must be male, and must not be human. Rather, when a person is designated as a sacrifice to the Lord, they must be redeemed in the manner ascribed by Hebrew Law. However, the person who is redeemed must be dedicated to the Lord as a Holy Offering, and must never know any form of work... including the "work" of child-bearing and child-rearing. 

This is why scripture indicates that his daughter asked to be allowed to go spend two months in the wilderness with her companions (i.e. servants). Scripture is so clear that she went to lament her virginity, the fact that she would never have a husband. If her father intended to kill her according to the vow, it would make sense that she would go off to lament her impending death, not the fact that she'd never have a family. In their culture, being unable to have children was a fate worse than death!

Jephthah's despair makes perfect sense in this light. She was his only child. His family line would cease to exist after his death if she couldn't raise a family. For him, also, that was a fate worse than death.

Day 17: Joshua 15 - Judges 3

Photo by Stan Shebs, Creative Commons Share-Alike license
S:
Joshua 22:5 (New King James Version)

5 But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

O: the israelites weren't very good about heeding the commandment or law given to them... what a fickle people!

A: i can't really stand in judgment against them... i'm just as fickle as the israelites were. it's like my faith-walk is more like a roller coaster.

P: God, thank you so much for the grace that i stand in... because i sure as heck don't deserve it. right now, i'm taking care to walk in your ways and hold fast to you... but will i still be tomorrow? next week? next month? what about after this 90 days through the Bible? Father, help me to keep my eyes focused on you, and not go wandering off as i've done so many times!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 16: Joshua 1-14

Rahab hides the spies;  Frederick Richard Pickersgill 1897 
S:
Joshua 1:9 (New King James Version)

9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

O:
moses was dead, and God had just commissioned joshua to step up to the plate. it must have been a daunting task to face... trying to fill the shoes that moses had walked in for the last 40 years.

A:
God always goes before us, just as He went before moses, and before joshua. just because we can't see what's around the corner isn't an excuse for us to get worried and anxious about things. God promises us that He is with us, and that we aren't to be afraid.

P:
God, i know that there is more to it than just this one verse. i know that the way to NOT be worried about what lies ahead is to stay grounded in your word. that's why you told joshua that he was to meditate on the book of law day and night. i'm still not quite there yet... the meditating day and night. but i'm being pretty consistent with reading your word every day, usually in the morning, and then do my notes at night, so i'm at least giving thought to you upon waking and before sleeping! and i'm learning through that... i'm becoming less worried about stuff. oh, well maybe that's not entirely true. i was plenty worried until yesterday. but you came thru for me in a really big way... in a way that was unmistakably YOU. and i don't know if you did that because i've been spending time with you, or if you would have done it anyway, but regardless, i feel much better receiving your blessing when i'm giving you my attention. thank you for this opportunity to know you better... and i hope you will continue to reveal yourself to me, because i get the feeling that there's a lot more to know.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 15: Deut 23-34

Billy Frank Alexander Designs, obtained from www.sxc.hu
S:
Deuteronomy 26:11 (New King James Version)

11 So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you. 

O:
The context is that of giving God the tithe that is due Him, and rejoicing in the good that God provides.

A: 
I'm so glad that I've been tithing faithfully for almost a year now. I made a commitment that I would not fail to give the Lord 10% of my income, and since God blessed me with a job, I have kept that commitment. there are times when i get a little stressed, wondering when all those blessings are going to come, but they do, just in the nick of time.

P:
God, i really can't thank you enough! my heart is just overflowing with praise and joy right now... just when it looked like things couldn't be worse, and you heard my prayer! i begged you not to test me any further, because i didn't think i could endure anymore, and within minutes, you granted relief from my concerns, providing exactly what i needed. thank you, sooooo very much! i promise, i will NOT forget what you have done for me today.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 14: Deut 8-22

Image by "Blame The 1st" on www.deviantart.com
S: Deuteronomy 12:8-9 (New King James Version)

8 “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes— 9 for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the LORD your God is giving you.

O: It's hard to believe this was written thousands of years ago. it sounds very much like our society today! God was warning the israelites here to set themselves apart from the worldy standards.

A: God still expects us to set ourselves apart from the worldly standards. it's unfortunate that so many believers fall prey to the political correctness of the day, and develop their own modified personal morality, instead of staying faithful to God and HIS morality. but simply put, that ain't good enough, not in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.

P: Lord, i don't even like watching the news anymore. i don't like learning what is going on in our schools, in our churches... i just wish i could bury my head and not even know how far we've drifted off track. maybe i'd like to bury my head because it's easier than speaking out against it. ouch. truth hurts a little. anyway, God, do i really need to know what is going on in order to pray for our society to turn back to you? i guess honestly, i don't believe it will turn back to you. ever. i believe this is just leading up to your return, and that being the case, how am i to pray? give me some direction here God, i'm floundering on this one.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 13, Num 32 - Deut 7

Photoshopped image circled the internet via email. artist unknown
S:
Deuteronomy 3:24 (New King James Version)

24 ‘O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds?

O:
Moses had already been forbidden from crossing the jordan into the promised land. in his remorse and disappointment, he appealed to God, expressing his wonder at God's greatness, and asking that God reconsider.

A: 
God is constantly, daily, revealing Himself to me. to all of us. i see His handiwork every day, and it really is awesome and breathtaking! i could go on about how, like moses, i tend to take it for granted at times, but i'd rather keep the focus just on the beauty of God's greatness.

P:
God, you are so great! from the little daily "helps" that you provide, to the beauty of the evening sun on the mountains, Lord, there is none like you! thank you for allowing me to be a part of your spectacular creation, and a part of your family!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 12: Numbers 21-31

Balak is angry with Balaam. From VisualBibleAlive.com
S:
Numbers 24:11-13 (New King James Version)

11 Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would greatly honor you, but in fact, the LORD has kept you back from honor.”
12 So Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, 13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD, to do good or bad of my own will. What the LORD says, that I must speak’?

O: 
Balak seemed a little dense to me. He couldn't quite grasp that Balaam was going to obey God, and that God was not going to curse the israelites.

A: 
it is so common for the world to offer rewards and honors for being disobedient to God's word. it's like bribery. and sometimes it would be so easy to take that path. and in some ways, don't i? little things on a daily basis... even when i'm not actually being disobedient, how many times do i stay silent when someone else is talking inappropriately, or telling offensive jokes... do i laugh, or maybe ignore it, or do i speak up and say "that's offensive"?

P: Father, i try to be a good witness to those around me, and in the big things, i think i do a pretty good job. but in the little things, i often fail... i don't speak up for what is right because i want to fit in... and once in a while, i may even join in... especially when it comes to gossip. i struggle with gossip. why do i do this? the reward of being accepted by my peers? Lord, i need to remember that the only approval i should be seeking is yours. help me to remember that, so that i might honor you instead.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 11, Numbers 9-20

Moses, Faith Images from VisualBibleAlive.com
S:
Numbers 11:14 (New King James Version)
14 I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me.

O:
Moses grew a bit exasperated with the israelites, who were whining and complaining over what they were given to eat, and kinda took it out on God.

A:
i have felt like this fairly often lately... my husband and our housemate haven't always seemed very interested in finding work that actually pays, and my income sure isn't sufficient! but i know that God's provision IS sufficient, as long as i am being obedient to Him. complaining to God may not be the right approach, (even if it does yield results), but i can go to Him in prayer and supplication, and i can count on Him to meet our needs, somehow.

P:
Lord, i don't want to be like moses was in this particular instance. it's not right to use you as a sounding board. i imagine you'd appreciate it more if i'd always remember to come to you without whining when i voice my concerns! i'm gonna pay more attention to that, and instead of complaining when i come to you, i'm going to try to always remember to praise you for what you have blessed me with, and to thank you for having everything in your control.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 10, Numbers 1-8

Cathedral Rock Hike near Las Vegas, Oct. 2009, photo by me
S:
Numbers 6:24-26 (New King James Version)

24 “The LORD bless you and keep you;
25 The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’ 

O:
This was the way that God instructed the priests (via moses) to bless the people of israel

A: 
There really isn't much to say about this, other than it's just as beautiful and relevant today as it was back then.

P:
Lord, to all those who read this note, please shine your face upon them. bless them and keep them safe from harm, put joy in their hearts, and let peace and harmony rule their home. (even those homes that are on wheels!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 9: Lev. 15-29

From VisualBibleAlive.com
S: 
Leviticus 26:3-4 (New King James Version)

3 ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them,
4 then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

O:
God was giving the Israelites the conditions of His provisions. Later in the chapter, God lays out the terms of disobedience.

A:
Why do we, as humans, fail to grasp the simplicity and significance of this? walk with God, and He provides for you, and protects you. step out of His will and you're stepping out from under His umbrella of protection. and then when we get drenched by the storm, whose fault is it? there's this common misconception in america today, i hear people all the time asking "why is God punishing me?" and people responding saying that God doesn't punish people like that... well, not true! when we live our lives in defiance of God's will, He does punish us by allowing calamity to befall us. we aren't all like job, living uprightly and righteously and undeserving of punishment, being allowed to be tested. yes, we go through tests and trials, but many of those, if we were to trace them backwards, are a result of our own stupidity, a consequences of our own disobedience to God. 

P:
Father, i screw up so frequently, and there are so many areas of my life that i know i do not fully submit to you. help me to let go of those areas, and give you full control. not just temporarily, but permanently! thank you for allowing us to live under grace, and not under the law. thank you for your unending patience and love for me!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 8, Lev. 1-14

From Northrop's "Treasures of the Bible" 1894
Scripture: Leviticus 5:18 (New King James Version)

18 And he shall bring to the priest a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him regarding his ignorance in which he erred and did not know it, and it shall be forgiven him.

Observation: this is a recurring thing throughout what i read today... it's always the priest that makes atonement for the people.

Application: we don't have to have a priest make atonement for us anymore. Jesus not only became the perfect sacrifice for our sins, but He is the only intercessor we need. and i'm so grateful for that, because i don't think i'd have even wanted to try to remember all the rituals regarding all the many kinds of sacrifices and offerings! i'd be so afraid of screwing it up and being cast out and killed for it. all i have to do when i sin, knowingly or not, is to just ask forgiveness!

Prayer: Father, thank you for giving us your Son! thank you for the simplicity of being able to have a personal relationship with you, with Jesus, and not having to rely on a fallible human to be our middleman.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 7, Exodus 29-40

Leonardo Da Vinci's Hand of God, 1509
Scripture:
Exodus 29:45-46 (New King James Version)


45 I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.


O/A:
God dwelt among the israelites and made Himself known to them in ways that just don't happen today. I don't see a cloud going before me by day and a fire burning by night. we don't have a temple that is built to specifications given by God, with gold and silver and expensive linens, and all that stuff. but we do have God with us every day, and if we pay attention, we can know without a doubt that He is present, and that He is the Lord our God. it's in the everyday little things that we see Him most, but at the same time, it's those same little things that we overlook, and chalk them up to anything BUT God most of the time.


Prayer:
Father, i know you're in the little things. i know it's you when i'm searching all over for my car keys and have to stop and ask for you to lead me to them.... and you do. i know it's you when i pray that the grocery total will be under my budget, and it is. i know it's you when our needs are met, and i know it's you when you grant us more than we need and give us something extra. Thank you, God, for always being here with me!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 6, Exodus 16-28

Moses, supported by Aaron and Hur, is praying for victory  Millais, 1923 
Scripture: Exodus 17:11-13 (New King James Version)

11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 

Observation: can a more perfect picture ever be painted? this is my new favorite passage in the whole bible! this isn't about what moses did, it's not about what israel did, it's about how the battle was won... with arms lifted up in praise to the Father.

moses and the israelites, their battle was physical. and as long as moses's hands were lifted up to God, the israelites were winning. but the enemy would begin overcoming them the second that moses would grow tired and let his arms fall. it was so obvious to him, and to aaron and hur, that aaron and hur got him something to sit on and they held his arms up!

Application: every day i go through some sort of battle... whether it's physical or emotional or psychological, it all comes back to spiritual battle, because somewhere or other (i'm not good at remembering chapter & verse) scripture tells us that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and rulers of darkness. and unless i want to fall completely apart and let the enemy gain ground, i must keep praising God, no matter how bleak the situation looks.

and not only do i need to be like moses, i need to be like aaron and hur, holding up the arms of my friends and loved ones when they are too tired to keep praising God.

Prayer:

wow, God! i'm just really so much in awe right now, i don't even have the right words to say! so i'm going to quit typing and just sit here and meditate on you for a little bit...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 5, Exodus 1-15

Seventh plague by John Martin, 1823
scripture:
Exodus 5:22-6:1 (New King James Version)

Israel’s Deliverance Assured

22 So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”
Exodus 6

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”

observation:
it always surprises me, for some reason, when i read in the bible about godly people who question God in a moment of doubt or frustration. i think there's this part of me that believes that if we dare to doubt God even for a second, or question Him, that He's gonna zap us with a lightening bolt or something. i don't know why i expect that to happen, i've yet to ever be struck by lightening. shame, yes. lightening, no.

application:
God is consistent. His answer is always pretty much the same... "wait and see". it's never a "because yada yada yada", it's always "wait, and see". and sometimes, we have to wait a long time to see! but God's plan, His reasons, are always revealed. eventually.

prayer:
God, sometimes i get so frustrated and bent out of shape with impatience... i know i'm supposed to wait and see as your plan unfolds. and i know that a thousand lifetimes to me is like a split second to you, or whatever the saying is. but on my end, time just seems so maddenly slow! especially when what i'm waiting to see is your light in my husband's life. and who do i take that out on? yeah. so God, please forgive me for my impatience. and heal the hurt that my words must have caused to mark this morning. really heal it. like, undo it! help me to learn to bite my tongue, Lord!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 4: Genesis 41-50

Joseph Forgives His Brothers
Scripture: Genesis 50:15-21 (New King James Version)

Joseph Reassures His Brothers

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” 16 So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.”’ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
18 Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.”
19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Observation:

joseph's brothers had good reason to be concerned. they pretty much deserved whatever was coming to them, at least from my point of view. but from a godly perspective, this is what total forgiveness is all about. joseph had never, not for one moment, forgotten the cruelty of his brothers, but his forgiveness was so complete, that it was his desire to help them, to provide for them, when they were down and out.

Application: 

when people have hurt me deeply, it takes a while for the healing to take place, sometimes even after the forgiveness has already happened. joseph had many years for those wounds to heal, and when his brothers came before him, those wounds opened back up, and he wept, on more than one occasion. (why does the word "wept" sound more palatable and masculine when talking about a guy? if it had been a woman, she'd have just cried!)

but even though those emotions still needed to be expressed, God was faithful to bring about total forgiveness and complete healing from the past. i've been in joseph's shoes! hard to imagine that all these thousands of years later, i could actually experience the same thing that one of the biblical patriarchs experienced. am i in a place now where, if it were necessary, could i be so gracious to those who have hurt me in my lifetime? 

yes, i believe so. i can't think of anyone off the top of my head whom i would even hesitate to help, no matter what the history was.

prayer:

Father, i thank you for all the times you have heard me cry out, and have healed my broken heart. sometimes forgiveness comes a little slow on my end, and it takes a lot of work to allow you to forgive through me, and in the future, Lord, i hope you will help me to get my pride out of the way a little quicker! there is such freedom in forgiveness!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 3 Genesis 29-40


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scripture:
Genesis 39:20-24 (New King James Version)

Joseph interpreting dreams in prison
20 Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison. 21 But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. 23 The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority,[a] because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper.

observation:

being poorly treated, spitefully entrapped, and wrongly imprisoned seems to have been a recurring theme in joseph's life. but instead of letting that make him bitter, joseph submitted himself to God in spite of his circumstances, and as a result, God gave joseph what some would call a "midas touch".

application:

i wonder if joseph ever, even for a moment or two, allowed himself to indulge in anger towards the spiteful snots that caused him so much trouble? did he ever feel hatred towards his brothers for having thrown him first in a pit, then selling him into slavery? did he ever want to call potiphar's wife a hateful name after she lied and had him thrown in prison? i'll admit, it's a struggle for me not to write a hateful name about her, and i didn't even live back then!

but there's a big lesson i should learn from joseph's life. and in my head, i already know this! nothing good comes out of being angry. when you allow yourself to get consumed by emotion, that's all you can see... yourself. you sure can't see God through the haze of fury. you can't accomplish anything to make your situation better if you're ticked off all the time.

why do i forget that so often?

when we get out of our own pity party and turn our eyes back to Jesus, our sorrow can turn to joy. or even if it doesn't turn exactly into joy, it can sure seem brighter than the doom and gloom we feel when we're mad. and when we focus on doing our best for Him, in spite of our circumstances, it doesn't go unnoticed! He starts pouring out His blessings on us.

prayer:

Lord, i get awfully self-centered a lot. i frequently remind myself that i'm working for your glory, not my own paycheck... and that i should be doing it without complaint and certainly without being a bad witness. and most of the time, when i remind myself of that, i start doing a much better job! but that doesn't seem to apply to me when i'm at home. i don't do my best for you right here where it counts. i'm not always a good witness to my husband, or to our housemate. and the stuff that needs to be done around here, i tend to do half-way. i need some improvement in those areas, Lord. i know i do. but... i'm not going to ask right this moment for you to teach me how to improve! i'm just going to stop for a minute and say thanks that i HAVE a husband, and a beautiful home. you really have blessed me. for what, i'm not sure, but i am thankful. and i'm going to try to show a little more appreciation to you for what you've given me.