A little behind, sorry

Today’s read is Genesis 36-41

I am sorry that I am giving you an extra long read, but I promise it is an interesting and fast read. This is the story of when Joseph is sold by his brothers and eventually ends up in Egypt. If you remember the last post I had it was when Jacob is called Israel and Israel is born. Now in these passages we read how Israel came to Egypt. It is important that you note the way they come because it establishes them here in this country and lays the ground work for the book of Exodus.

In the middle of our chapters we read about Judah and Tamar and that is a very strange story. Neither of them are in the right and both are sinfully wrong. What I want you to take from that is God can and does redeem us and He will use all of what we do the good and the bad for His purpose. Now this does not mean that you can go out and sin and God will use it, I am just telling you that God can use you even though you sin. He can take the bad and make it for good and we will read more about that tomorrow with Joseph. God knows we are humans and sinful and fallen. He is not surprised by our sins, He is saddened not surprised. He will take our sins and toss them as far as the east is from the west and He will redeem us but nothing will stop the will of God and if God wills it than it shall be done regardless of our actions.

Joseph is sold and ends up first in Potiphars house and then in jail and now he is moved to Pharaoh’s and is 2nd in command. Most of us are familiar with this story thanks to Andrew Lloyd Weber and his play. We know that God interprets the dreams of the butler and baker for Joseph and later on God interprets the dreams for Joseph with Pharaoh. All of this is what puts Joseph in the right place at the right time.

I especially like these chapters because they happened to be read by me while I was moving and now am closer to take care of Gary. Gary lives in residential treatment center and I live in a town home. How God moved me in this direction and on this path and then provided every day is…. well it is amazing because it is God and only God can do something this amazing. That is what we will read about tomorrow with Joseph and his brothers.

I am sorry that I was away for so long, I was moving and got behind. I am back and I hope you understand and I thank you for sticking with me.

God bless

January 20, 2013

Today’s read is Genesis 36-41

I am sorry that I am giving you an extra long read, but I promise it is an interesting and fast read. This is the story of when Joseph is sold by his brothers and eventually ends up in Egypt. If you remember the last post I had it was when Jacob is called Israel and Israel is born. Now in these passages we read how Israel came to Egypt. It is important that you note the way they come because it establishes them here in this country and lays the ground work for the book of Exodus.

In the middle of our chapters we read about Judah and Tamar and that is a very strange story. Neither of them are in the right and both are sinfully wrong. What I want you to take from that is God can and does redeem us and He will use all of what we do the good and the bad for His purpose. Now this does not mean that you can go out and sin and God will use it, I am just telling you that God can use you even though you sin. He can take the bad and make it for good and we will read more about that tomorrow with Joseph. God knows we are humans and sinful and fallen. He is not surprised by our sins, He is saddened not surprised. He will take our sins and toss them as far as the east is from the west and He will redeem us but nothing will stop the will of God and if God wills it than it shall be done regardless of our actions.

Joseph is sold and ends up first in Potiphars house and then in jail and now he is moved to Pharaoh’s and is 2nd in command. Most of us are familiar with this story thanks to Andrew Lloyd Weber and his play. We know that God interprets the dreams of the butler and baker for Joseph and later on God interprets the dreams for Joseph with Pharaoh. All of this is what puts Joseph in the right place at the right time.

I especially like these chapters because they happened to be read by me while I was moving and now am closer to take care of Gary. Gary lives in residential treatment center and I live in a town home. How God moved me in this direction and on this path and then provided every day is…. well it is amazing because it is God and only God can do something this amazing. That is what we will read about tomorrow with Joseph and his brothers.

I am sorry that I was away for so long, I was moving and got behind. I am back and I hope you understand and I thank you for sticking with me.

God bless

Don’t be a Joseph

Today’s Reading Genesis 36 & 37

Today’s Verse: Genesis 37: 5

Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more.

Nobody likes the favored child for two reasons. One, they want to be favored and two, the favored child usually holds it over the others that they are favored. This is exactly what happens in the story of Joseph. Josephs is the 11th son born to Israel (Jacob) Israel loves Joseph so much because he came from his favorite wife Rachel. Israel loved Joseph so much that he gave to him and only to him a special garment to wear to signify his importance to his father. Joseph was also his fathers snitch. Israel would send Joseph in the fields to spy on his brothers and bring back to their father a report. Joseph loved this attention and the spot light. The eleven boys born before him didn’t.

As children of God we tend to be rather smug in our standing. We proudly tells others we are going to heaven, we worship the One true God, we have Jesus in our lives. While all of this is true it is not pride or boasting that should come from our lips but invitations to join in and share in the same relationship. It should always be our goal to encourage others to want to be favored by God and called His own. If we are off putting we will be hated. We need to be gracious and loving and most of all inviting.

This means we can’t start any gospel sharing message with a list of do’s and do not’s. We should never point out their sins and tell them how wrong they are no matter how wrong they are! Jesus did not walk up to people and confront them in this way. Jesus walked and when He sees them He invites them to walk with Him or dine with Him. He is invitational and He is God so He has all the right to be judgmental but He isn’t. We need to really read and learn from Him and not from self righteous people.

Joseph behaved so badly that his own brothers wanted to kill him. Try not to behave that way.

August 27, 2012

Numbers 33: 1-2
Here are the stages in the journey of the Israelites when they came out of Egypt by divisions under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. At the Lord’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey by stages.

Read Numbers 33

What I love the most about today’s verses is not only did God command the Israelites to journey in stages, He also commanded Moses to record the journey in stages. God wanted Moses to keep an accurate account of how He moved the Jews from one place to another. Why is that important? I believe it is important because He wants to show us that His timing is perfect. I know that when a change of direction happens to us that sometimes we feel blindsided; but God is showing us through His Word that He does not sucker punch His children. He prepares them and He moves them in stages, slowly and only what they can handle for that day.

This is very important for us to remember because life seems to go by quickly, especially when we are preoccupied with a lot of distractions. Some of our distractions can be good and joyful, like the birth of a baby or a marriage. Other distractions can be devastating like the loss of a job or a serious illness. Even a marriage which fails and ends doesn’t do so overnight. Everything moved accordingly to God’s will in time. The path we see behind these distractions will show us how slowly God took us and even how well He cared for our needs.

Just knowing how carefully God takes care of us should give us a sense of peace. In fact we lose that feeling of peace when we take our eyes off of God and allow Satan to convince us that God just pulled the carpet out from underneath our feet. We have to learn how to be better fighters against a lie. We need to learn how to tell Satan to shut up and how to listen to God and allow Him to show us how He tenderly took care of our needs. He did and He always will, and He may not fill our needs as we thought but in retrospect He will fill them much greater.

Another lesson we should pull from this is to never try to rush God and rush to the end of a trail in our life. Jesus said today’s worries are enough and don’t borrow tomorrow’s for tomorrow worries will come.(Matthew 6:34) In this Jesus is teaching us once again that His time, the stages he brings us through, are the stages we should not try to get out of or rush through. Each stage serves a purpose and in those stages God is teaching us something about Him and something about us.

Where are you on your path? I am still walking a very troubled path but the good news is, the very good news is that God is here with me and He always will be. So it really doesn’t matter where I am on this walk, because I walk with God.

August 20, 2012

Genesis 12:9 NRSV

And Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negab.

Abram has received the call from God to leave his country and his family and go where God is sending him. It is important for Abram to leave his family and that is because they are heathens and God is going to redeem Abram and then make him the father of all nations. God has big plans for Abram. God tells Abram that and it is up to Abram who has been brought up among heathens and he worshiped a false god himself, to now accept the voice he hears as that of the One true God who can indeed give to him what He says He can. That is why we read in Acts 7, Romans 4, Galatians 3, Hebrews 7, and James 2 about the faith of Abraham. Abram heard God and believed it to be God and responded to God in faith and he left his home and family and started off to a foreign land. Abram started on his journey and as we read in today’s verse he journeyed on by stages.

We just got done going through the book of Esther and learned how God prepared her for the role of the queen and to save her people. That is quite an impressive story. I want us to also understand that it is not unique. We can go through Scripture and see how God uses His people and pickup a common theme, God prepares them and they journey in stages. God does that because He knows us and He knows how much we can handle. I know this to be true.

When Gary first got sick and was in Marionjoy there was nothing I wanted more than to bring him home with me. I didn’t even care how many times I ran back and forth to bring him to outpatient as long as I had him home I was happy. Little by little and month by month the days got harder and in some ways Gary’s injury took a turn for the worse but in many other ways, I just accepted his limitations. I didn’t lose hope, I have not lost hope, I just came to the conclusion that Gary is better off in residential care where others can take care of him. They can keep him distracted and watch him 24/7 so that he will be safe. That is what he needs and that is what I could no longer provide.

Had Gary been placed right out of Marionjoy into residential care that would’ve been too much for me to bear. I wanted Gary home, I wanted to try and give him space to heal and see if his brain would be restored. I was not ready to place Gary in residential care, that was a big painful step for me. I go to visit Gary several times during the week and still cry on the way home. I am not saying that it isn’t hard because it is hard but it is not as devastating as it could of been had I placed Gary there in October 2011. God knew that and it is for that reason God moved the two of us in stages. He prepared me for this calling in my life. I journeyed in stages just as Abram did and also some of you.
We all know what it is like to suffer and hit a hard time in life. If we are honest and we look back we can see how God prepared us and how God moves us and we know that God did take care of us the entire way. It is hard to see that in the midst of a trial and that is why I want you to start learning how to journal your days. I don’t want you to just journal what you do or what you eat, journal how you feel and what you believe God is saying to you. When a calling from God comes, one that does not make sense, you can look back and see how God prepared you for this call. Does this make the pain of trauma go away? No and God knows it won’t but He does know that while we are crying and talking to Him we will begin to see and understand, that He never leaves us or forsakes us, He is with us and He does go where He sends us and He does send us but He sends us in stages.

August 13, 2012

Esther 8:1
On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews; and Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told what he was to her.

This is going to be our last day we are in the Book of Esther. Today we read how the evil plot of Haman is discovered and how the king deals with his treachery. The Jews are saved and they can thank Esther the young orphaned girl, cousin of Mordecai who was taken by force to the kings palace and after being crowned queen had to appear to him uninvited and put her life on the line for her people. This is one of those real life fairy tales. This is not always the way our trials end. Some of you know that some trails end very badly, with us burying our loved ones and saying goodbye to dear friends. This does not mean that God is not with us in our trials it just means He had other plans for our stories.

Are you still in the middle of your trial? I am and so there is an end coming I just don’t know where it is and how it will end. That is all a mystery to me, but I find comfort in knowing that God has it all planned and knows exactly what will happen next. There are some details He does leave for us since we have free will but for the most part He has it pretty much planned out.

Keep in mind that Esther could have rejected Mordecai’s plan and refused to go before the king and that Mordecai reminds Esther that if she fails to do what she is purposed for then someone else will do the job that was given to her. That is a good lesson for us to learn as we close this book. We get to read and enjoy how Esther worked with God in all of this. Keep in mind that this book starts with a different queen and she has to be put away before Queen Esther can come into the picture. From the first sentence to the last God worked in all of this story. God is not mentioned directly in the Book of Esther but God is directly involved with this Book.

Life can be good, but it has its struggles and sometimes we just hit trials that seem to last forever. God uses those trials to bring about His glory and I am sure if you were to ask Esther now she would say how thankful she is that God used her this way. I am positive that had you asked her that question when her parents died, or she was taken into the kings palace or when she had to fast and pray she would have felt differently. How do I know this? I am going through a trial and I wonder all the time when I will see God’s purpose. That is why I am recording the event. I may never see the outcome but my children will or perhaps my grandchildren and I want them to be able to go back and trace and see how God prepared all of us to do what God has chosen us to do. That is why He saved us and this is the only true meaning we will ever have in life, that is to do the will of God and bring Him glory.

August 6, 2012

Esther 6: 1,2
On that night the king could not sleep, and he gave orders to bring the book of records, the annals, and they were read to the king. It was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold and who had conspired to assassinate King Ahasuerus.

At the end of chapter 5 in the Book of Esther, Haman goes home elated that he got to have a banquet served to him by the queen and to share with the king. He is even chosen to do this auspicious honor one more time the following night. However, as he leaves the palace he passes by Mordecai and his hatred for the man rekindles within him and he builds a gallow to hang Mordecai. We then get to chapter 6 and discover that King Ahasuerus has insomnia, so he does what all of us do when we can’t sleep he calls for a boring book. As the book is read to him something very interesting pops out and grabs his attention and that is the story of how Mordecai uncovered the plot to kill him, tells Esther and the king is saved. There is no coincidence when it comes to God.

It is exactly for this reason that I am having us record the events of our lives. I promise you that the more you journal the more you will discover that God does prepare you for the trials in your life. Mordecai overhears a plot to kill the king and that is pretty serious so he tells his cousin Esther the new queen who tells her new husband the king. The king can’t sleep after his wife serves him and Haman a dinner and requests a second night to repeat the feast. What kept him up was most likely the thoughts racing through his mind. This king was very clever and he would have known that Esther was being strategic. All that thinking jumbled his brain and he couldn’t find rest. Do you see the hand of God in all this? Can you see how God had Mordecai over hear the plot? Honestly, any person could have overheard but only one person was needed to fulfill God’s plan. The king not being able to sleep is God working to pull all things together.

We don’t always catch these moments in our lives. Sometimes we remember them and can go back and see the hand of God. That usually happens in the joyful times of our lives. That seldom happens in the trials. That is because we are so focused on the pain of the trail that we turn inward and internalize our pain. We forget to push those feelings out and towards God so He can help us get through them. That is why it is imperative to stop and journal so that you can keep a record that serves to reveal and teach you where God is in all of that mess.

Back on July 7, 2011 when I woke up and found Gary dead my entire world flipped upside down and it really seemed like my life was being emptied out. The way I pictured it was the way a woman takes her purse and empties the contents. That is how I felt my life was changed, suddenly and messily. What I am doing is going through some journals from before hand when life was good, Gary and I were happy and planning a long and fun life together. I am discovering that God did prepare me and not just for that one day but for all the days thereafter. You will discover the same.

July 30, 2012

Esther 5:1,2
On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne, in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

Esther asked her cousin Mordecai and the rest of the Jews to fast and pray with her for 3 days and it is on the third day this queen goes before her king. That had to be very frightening for this young girl. She knows she can be put to death for what she is about to do and the fasting and praying did not give her an answer. God did not send a prophet to her or a sign so she would know that she would be fine. She was going before the king hoping that God would grant her favor, but knowing that He may not. That takes a lot of faith in God to do.

When we are in trials of our lives there are two things that I believe are the hardest for us to accept. The first is, we didn’t see it coming so we feel blindsided, or sucker punched. The second is, we are no longer going in the direction we thought and we have no clue where we are headed. All we know is that life as we knew it is changed, altered and now is uncertain.

These trials can come to us by way of disease or accidents. It can be through a loss of employment or marital status. Trials happen in ways we least expect and we always believe that we are ill prepared. However, that is not the case and we are learning that in our Esther study. God does prepare us and he does it in stages. You may think that this was a sudden change in Esther’s life but it isn’t. The proof in that is that she asked for everyone to join her in a 3 day fast and prayer. She knew that she had to go to God before she can go before the king. She knew that this did not guarantee her safety but she understood it kept her with God. This was not something she learned suddenly, on the spot, she learned this and she carried this wisdom and knowledge with her to the kingdom.

In the rest of this chapter as you read it you will notice that Esther does not just blurt out to the king what her request is but rather she wisely does something to honor him. I am sure God impressed that upon her as she prayed and it is a very wise move. Her faith in God has prepared her for such a time and we will see next week how God’s plan all comes together.

Write down where you are in your life right now, please record what is going on. Tomorrow or the next day you may see the hand of God move you over or to a new spot. Then you can look back and see how God prepared you. God does prepare you because God never sucker punches His children. He catches us after Satan does and shows us how He saw the blow coming and how we will recover. He is Omnipresent He is our God, He is our Father and He is always for us.

July 23, 2012

Esther 4:16 NRSV
“Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, nor or day. I am my maids will also fast as you do. After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.”

Esther exhibits great wisdom for a young woman in this verse. She knows that what she is about to do can and will risk her life. She understands that the only one who can save her and keep her safe is the One to whom they pray. She doesn’t want any popcorn prayers. You know what I mean, the two second prayers we say for someone when they ask us to pray. No, she wants the people to fast and pray and to do that for three days. She wants them to pray for her safety while she delivers the message. She wants serious and dedicated prayers.

There are different kinds of prayers and all of us know that. There are times when we just give God a quick popcorn prayer. At other times we sit with God and we give Him much more time. Then there are times like this when we need protection and assurance that where we go, God will go with us. We want to make sure we are going where God is sending us. We want to make sure it is God we are obeying and following. Those prayers require much more time and if you give prayer that much time, you just normally fast. You don’t think about food or playing on the Internet. You just pour your heart out to God and beg Him to hear you.

Our intention is to have God answer the prayer the way we want it answered. We will see next week how Esther’s prayer is answered. Today we are just going to see how fasting and prayer doesn’t always go the way we expect it.
2 Samuel 12:15-18a

The Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became very ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child; David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. The elders of his house stood beside him, urging him to rise from the ground; but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day the child died.

David is known as the man after God’s own heart and when him and Bathsheba commit adultery they conceive a child, it is this child who dies. David lay prostrate before God and fasted and prayed, begging God to keep the child alive. Certainly, this did not end the way David wanted.

There is a reason I am showing these two examples today. There is no way, not one way you or I can see from this side of heaven the plan of God. He invites all of us to come before Him in prayer and ask for what we want in the Name of Jesus. That is all He requires, the answer to the prayer is His. As David says in verse 22, who knows if the Lord will be gracious; and that is the truth. Since we don’t know how the prayer will be answered than that part of the prayer is not what we should concern ourselves with. We are called to pray and/or fast and pray when needed. We are not called to answer God’s prayers for Him. Therefore, if the prayer does not come out as you wanted, it is not what you have done, but God’s will.

Esther is going to go before the king. She calls for the people to fast and pray for her. She did not ask for a sign from God to show that she will be safe. She just placed that concern in the hands of God. What are you praying for? I prayed for a year for Gary to be healed. I fasted and prayed for a year and Gary is not healed. Does this mean God is unable to heal Gary? No, it means that healing Gary is not in God’s plan.

Prayers to God are always heard, but He doesn’t always answer in the way we prayed. Pray anyways.

July 16, 2012

Esther 4:13, 14 NRSV
Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a times as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish, Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.”

Esther is one of those girls who right now could be saying to herself, “If not for bad luck I would have no luck at all.” I mean this is a young girl who was orphaned and then raised by a cousin. She had to mourn the loss of her parents for a long time because that is not something a young child recovers from easily. Then when she is still young she is taken captive to live in the kings harem so he can try her out one night to see if she is worthy of marriage and if not she is never summoned to him again. However, that does not happen and Esther is chosen by the king and that is a blessing right? Now the Jews are looking to her to go to her husband and ask him to save her people. The king doesn’t even know she is a Jew. Esther is expected to use her position to persuade the king to rescind his death order. Esther knows that she cannot go to the king unless he summons her and he has not summon her for some time. She realizes that what Mordecai is asking her to do is risk her life for the others. If I were Esther I would be considering my current position more of a curse than a blessing.

All of you can relate in such various ways to today’s story. Some of you went to school and earned degrees and landed the job you worked hard to get, only to discover it is that job that makes you miserable. Some of you waited your entire life for Mr. or Mrs. Right to come your way and they do and then after they are done loving you they become Mr. Or Mrs. Right for the next person. Some of you exercise and eat right and take good care of your bodies, and find out you have cancer and could die young. Some of you wanted a child so badly you would have bought one, but God blessed you with one, the same one who is rebelling and walked away from you and God. An orphan was chosen by the king to be his wife and she wears a jeweled crown. This is the kind of stuff fairy tales are made up of; only this really did occur, Esther is now the queen. A queen with a very heavy burden in life and being a queen isn’t all it was cut out to be.

That child of God is called life. Life as we know it is lived in a fallen world with all its natural and hidden dangers. There is only one promise, one guarantee, one truth and that is Jesus is our Redeemer and God. Aside from that everything else is made from pie crust, easily made and easily broken. Some of us get by in life learning this lesson down easy road, others aren’t so fortunate, that is the group I belong to. In that group we walk up hill, rugged roads filled with all sorts of peril, desolate and dark; except for that teeny tiny light which appears to be very far away. That light is God and that is how small and far away He appears to us when we feel alone and abandoned on that road. It can be argued and I am sure many Christians read this far and want to write to me quickly and remind me that Christ is always with me and never leaves me. I know that truth. What I am saying is that when we get placed on a very difficult road, we don’t always feel like we are sitting the in palm of God’s hands. We feel like God just flicked us across the universe and we are the furthest person away from Him. That is a lie of course, but this is what trauma feels like!

Esther hears that her cousin actually expects her to go to the king uninvited and appeal to him for the Jewish people. Esther tries to reason out to her cousin why she can’t go to the king who then reminds her that she is a Jew herself and will have to die under the same order. Then he concludes with that one powerful verse that Christians have memorized: Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.

Have you taken my suggestion and written down what it is you are going through right now? If not then do that today. I want you to go back on that day God reveals to you what He was doing. I want you to see firsthand God’s plan and purpose. I know you know the verse from Jeremiah 29:11 “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” There is a plan and at this time Esther has no clue what it is. Her brain is scrambling and turning over all kinds of thoughts like: first my parents die, then I have to be raised by a cousin and if that was not bad enough I get taken from him to be tried out by the king. Than the king chooses me and for a short time I get to live like a princess but all of that is about to change. The minute I step before the king he will give the order for me to die than what good will that do anyone? Am I supposed to shout on my way to the gallows ‘save my people?’

What Esther doesn’t know, what I don’t know, what you don’t know, is the plans He has for us and perhaps He has brought us here today to this problem or tragedy for such as a time as this.