Monthly Archives: January 2013

January 31

I Chronicles 4:1-23, 7:1-5, 12-13, 30-40    Genesis 46:13-47:12

I am sometimes tempted to skip over the long list of difficult-to-pronounce names in the genealogies. I know they must be important or they would not be included in Scripture. Why did God inspire men to carefully record the descendants of his people? And why include that list more than once?

As I sit here this morning and reflect on these verses I am struck with the thought about my own genealogy. I’m not talking about biological relatives. I am talking about my spiritual lineage.

Listed there are my dear Mother, two spinster sisters we called Aunt Minnie and Aunt Rose who taught our pre-school Sunday School class and who prayed with me. My grandparents are there. As are those who introduced them to the Savior. Aunts and Uncles who loved the Lord, pastors whose messages encouraged and convicted me. A missionary named Alice who spoke at our church when I was twelve. The list goes on.

I thank God for these saints whose lives have touched mine and helped to mold me into the Christian woman I am today.

But will the genealogy end with me? Will there be people in heaven who are there because of me? Will I be listed among the names of those whose lives have drawn them to a saving knowledge of Jesus?

Lord, I thank you for reminding me today that I have a job to do. Help me to influence someone today  in a way that will draw them to You. I want to be a part of someone’s spiritual genealogy. Thank you for the people who are a part of mine.

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January 30

Genesis 45, 46:1-12    I Chronicles 5:1-6, 2:18-55

I love reading about the reunion between Joseph and his brothers. Their hearts must have been so full. And now Joseph was making sense of his life. It was for these ten men who stood before him that God had allowed Joseph to endure captivity and even prison.

Suddenly all the years away from his family was worth it. He had the means to save his family from starvation.

Joseph told his brothers not to beat themselves up for the past. His parting words to them were… don’t fight about this. It didn’t matter any more who was to blame.

Sometimes we can look back on life and say, like Joseph, so this is why I went through that difficulty. Sometimes God allows us a glimpse at the way He works in our lives.

But sometimes it’s not so evident, especially in the middle of a difficult situation. Sometimes all we can do is trust Him like Joseph did while he was in prison.

Lord, Thank You for the times when we are able to look back and see how you used the events of life to bless us and make us blessings to others. Help us to trust You during those times when Your purpose is not so evident. And I pray that we will take Joseph’s advice and not beat ourselves up for our own past mistakes. Help us to know how you can use our life experiences to reach out to others. Maybe we can save someone from starving today.

January 29

Genesis 42-44

It seems Joseph was playing games with his brothers. His dreams had come true. they were bowing down to him, coming to him because they needed him. So why didn’t he tell them who he was the minute he recognized them? Why did he make them go back to Canaan for Benjamin? Why did he plant his silver cup in Benjamin’s belongings?

I think Joseph wanted to know if they had changed from the cold-hearted men who sold him into slavery. What he saw were ten men who loved and honored their father, who were honest enough to return the silver, and who would accept Benjamin’s punishment on themselves.

And you know what? I think those ten brothers learned some things about themselves, too

Maybe we need to be a little more like Joseph. I don’t mean the game-playing. But Joseph watched his brothers’ actions in order to read their hearts.

The word ‘Christian’ is almost meaningless these days. To some, you are a Christian if you aren’t a Buddhist.

Jesus said we would know his disciples by their love. Paul tells us the fruit of the Spirit include things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control.

The Bible also tells us not everyone who claims to know God really does. And it’s important that we are careful to follow truth. Not every religion is true. Not every preacher is preaching the truth.

Let’s be discerning and hold each other up to a high standard. Let’s show our world that we are changed because of our encounter with Jesus.

God give us the ability to recognize Your Truth and reject everything else. And help us to encourage each other to live according to that Truth so that people can recognize your Truth in us.

January 28

Genesis 40-41

I know there are so many parallels in Joseph’s and Jesus’ stories. Both were only 30 when they began their ministries. They both taught about planning for the future. And I think the storehouses in Joseph’s story are very  much like the gospel in Jesus’.

In the Old Testament people came from all over the world to receive what Joseph had. They came with great hunger, needing to be fed. They recognized their need of food and knew where to turn.

There are hungry people in our world, too. People who recognize an emptiness, a hunger that only God can satisfy. Do they know where to turn? And are we ready to share what we have with them?

Lord, may your Church, those people who know you as Savior, be ready and eager to share the good news of Jesus Christ. I pray for hungry and hurting people today. May they recognize that it’s You they need. And may they be drawn to us. Prepare us to feed a multitude today.

January 27

Genesis 36-39

I find it interesting that Joseph’s brothers sat down to dinner after they threw their brother into the cistern. They had allowed their jealousy to grow to the point of hate. Did they hear Joseph calling to them? Were they aware of his tears? How could they just sit there and pretend nothing was wrong? Were their hearts so hard?

Did they watch Joseph struggle as he was being dragged into captivity? Not one of the ten brothers came to Joseph’s rescue.

Once again God has allowed us to see what hate can do when left to fester. In this case, hating Joseph made it seemingly easy to get rid of him and plan an elaborate lie to cover their tracks. Life went on as normal as they ate their meal.

But I wonder how often they were awakened at night by the sounds of their brother crying out to them. I wonder if the grief in their dad’s eyes meant anything to them.

Lord, help me recognize those feelings in me that could become destructive. And may I refuse to allow those feelings to take root. Give me a sensitive heart and may I be quick to come to you at the first sign of trouble.

January 26

Genesis 33-35

Jacob thought Esau would want to kill him. The closer he got to home, the more frightful Jacob must have felt. As the firstborn son Esau should have received their father’s blessing. Esau had a birthright. But Jacob had stolen what should have been Esau’s.

Now he was coming home. We don’t know what happened to Esau during the years Jacob was away. But one thing is certain. Esau didn’t allow anger and jealousy to destroy him.

Somewhere along the line Esau had forgiven Jacob without Jacob even knowing. Did Jacob deserve Esau’s forgiveness? Jacob never apologized or tried to make it up to Esau. So, no. I guess Jacob didn’t deserve forgiveness.

But Esau deserved to forgive.

Someone once said forgiveness is a gift to yourself. And I believe that. I used to tell my students I was too lazy to carry a grudge. It takes a lot of effort. And instead of feeding the hurt I’d rather let it die of starvation. I’ve found the more I think about the wrong someone has done to me, the more I entertain hard feelings, the bigger the grudge becomes and the heavier the burden of carrying it.

Anger and hate are like cancer. They eat at you until they destroy you. And whether or not the person at whom your anger is directed deserves your forgiveness, you deserve the freedom that comes from forgiving them.

And remember… while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Father, it’s not easy to forgive when we know we have been wronged. And sometimes we need to walk away from the person who has mistreated us. Help us to be aware of the destruction anger and hate does to us. Then help us to let those feelings go. Teach us to forgive as we are forgiven.

January 25

Genesis 31 & 32

What is it about guys and wrestling? When I was in high school I loved going to wrestling meets. I sat at the scorer’s table and kept stats. I eventually learned the moves and strategies of this exciting sport. But I never once was tempted to join the team.

I have two grown nephews who think their mother’s living room rug is a wrestling mat. The older even broke the nose of the younger a while back and they still wrestle when they are together.

I know some people disagree when I say there is a fundamental difference between men and women. Oh, women like to establish our superiority, too. But we tend to use less physical means to do so.

That’s why reading that Jacob wrestled all night with God isn’t something I can relate to. I’d have thrown in the towel after the first period bell.

So is there a spiritual lesson to be learned here? I’m glad you asked!

When I am convicted of a sin, God will use guilt, worry, and a host of other negative emotions to bring me to my knees. I can toss and turn all night with the weight of my sin. As God’s child, He wants me to repent so He can bless me. At those times, it’s like I’m in a wrestling match that I cannot and should not win if it means holding on to that sin.

At other times, when I am facing a life changing decision or am so burdened for a loved one I can’t sleep, I may feel in the morning as though I have wrestled all night. It’s not that God is my opponent. In fact God is on my team!  He is more like my coach on the sideline, seeing my battle from a different angle, and shouting instructions and encouragement.

In both cases, God wants me to come out a winner. He wants to help me defeat sin in my life and he wants to bless me. I just need to learn when to quit wrestling with Him! Because when He wins, I do too!