Sound Advice

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Today’s Passage – Exodus 16 – 18 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 5 – 6; Proverbs 25; Psalms 121 – 125

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:1 – 4

Read a previous post from this passage – “Remember Sunday

Read the “0125 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? … Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. … If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.” – (Exodus 18:13-14, 18, 23-24)

In our passage today, we see that Moses gets a visit from his father-in-law, who is not an Israelite, but apparently had placed his faith in the Lord. (see 18:11 – 12) While visiting, Jethro got a chance to observe the day to day ministry of his son-in-law, and determined that Moses was doing way more than any man could handle by himself. Moses was judging and advising the large congregation of Israel all by himself from early in the morning until late at night. Moses, like many leaders, apparently felt that he was the only one who could do the job right, so he did it alone. However, Jethro knew that if Moses kept up that pace, without getting any help, he would wear down physically, and eventually would become less effective at what God had called him to do.

Jethro advised Moses to allow other godly men within the congregation to share in the burden that Moses was carrying. Moses would still be in charge, and he would handle all of the really important matters, but others would be assisting him in dealing with the day to day decisions within the congregation. This advice given by Jethro helped in several ways:

1  Moses got the help that he needed, which freed him up to dedicate more time and do a better job in the important matters.

2  Moses was probably less stressed and better rested than before.

3  The congregation was served better. Even though Moses may have been able to do a better job than most of his helpers, he certainly could not get as much accomplished as all of them together. More was getting done.

4  Leaders were being developed within the congregation. People need to be given opportunities to serve if they are going to be able to grow.

If our ministries are going to get all of the help that they need today to fulfil the will of God, more people than just the pastor are going to have to be involved. The pastor must work at developing leaders, and delegating responsibility.

A secondary thought from this passage is that Moses was willing to listen to advice, even from a guy that was not an Israelite and had not even been a believer very long. Pride will sometimes keep us from listening to sound wisdom. God will often use people to teach us things. We should be ready to listen. We may not always heed the advice of others, and we certainly need to check with God to see if the advice given is in fact His will, but we can still listen.


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He Brought Us This Far – Let’s Keep Going

Today’s Passage – Exodus 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 3 – 4Proverbs 24Psalms 116 – 120)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0124 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Quit Griping!

“[Is] not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For [it had been] better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:12-14)

It is human nature to be fearful, struggle in our faith, and to doubt what God is doing in our lives. The Israelites had been marvelously and miraculously delivered from their bondage in Egypt, but now they faced the obstacle of the Red Sea in front of them, as well as a huge army of pursuing Egyptians behind them. This was certainly a great test of their faith. God had promised to deliver them from Egypt and to bring them into the Promised Land, in Canaan. So far, God has kept his word. So far, He has overcome every obstacle and come through for Israel time and again in keeping his promise. But can they trust Him to deliver them in this next great challenge? YES! God had brought them this far, and He would continue to work until He finished what He started. We can trust God to finish what He started in us today as well:

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6)

Let me give you an illustration of this principle at work in our church recently. As many of you are aware, our church has been in a building project for many years now. Soon after we built our last addition, God revealed to us that we needed to add more nursery and fellowship space. We have been praying, planning, and preparing, as well as saving for this project for a decade now. [Note – It is extremely difficult and expensive to build anything in New Jersey.] We have had several different design plans drawn up, and much discussion and consultation has been done with architects, engineers, township officials, etc. Last year, the time finally came to present our final plans to our township’s planning board. I, for one, was a little apprehensive. Will they refuse to let us build? Will they require something that will make it impossible for us to afford the addition? We were afraid of all kinds of things that never came to pass. Somewhere along the way, going into the meeting, the Lord convinced me that He brought us this far, and He was going to see us through. I remember thinking to myself, “why would God brings us all of this way, only to shut us down?” He wouldn’t. God had brought us to this point, and He was going to see us through until the end, just like He did with the Israelites. The planning board passed our project unanimously, and they even worked with us to make the project a little easier.

Don’t listen to that voice of negativity inside of your head that’s telling you “it’s impossible; it can’t be done.” Don’t listen to the naysayers who are always murmuring and complaining, and doubting God. Listen to God. Find out what He wants you to do, trust His Word and His will, and keep moving forward. Stick your toes into the Red Sea of whatever obstacle you are facing, and watch what God will do.


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How Big Is Your Jesus? – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Exodus 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 1 – 2; Proverbs 23; Psalms 111 – 115)

Read the “0123 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.” (Exodus 12:3-4)

Good morning! How big is Jesus, the Lamb of God, to you? Is He only big enough for you? Or, is He big enough to share? He is the Passover Lamb. He is the Lamb that shed His blood to pay for our sins. And He is the One who gave us the Great Commission.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

How big is your Jesus? He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He would have to be very big to do that. So you need to share Him with your neighbor. Then our neighbor will share Jesus with his neighbor, and his neighbor with his neighbor. Before you know it the whole neighborhood is saved. And then the whole city or town is saved. Then the county. Then the state. Then the nation! Can you imagine what living in the United States would be like if it turned back to God?!

It could happen. But we need to start someplace. Have you told your neighbor yet?

“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)

“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (John 20:21)

Peace!


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Sin Stinks

Today’s Passage – Exodus 7 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click hereto view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 15 – 16Proverbs 22Psalms 106 – 110)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0122 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Did Pharaoh have a Choice?

“And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 7:21)


“And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank.” (Exodus 8:14)

There are a few thoughts that came to mind from these three chapters of Scripture this morning. First, notice in the above verses the results of the first two plagues upon the people of Egypt. These plagues were delivered by God to the people of Egypt through Moses because the Egyptians had enslaved the children of Israel and had flatly refused to submit to God and then let them go. In the first plague, the waters of the Nile River and then all of the fresh water sources were turned to blood, killing all of the fish. In the next plague, the frogs came out of the water in droves and covered the land and even got into people’s homes. Notice also in Exodus 8:7, the “brilliant” Egyptians magicians while trying to prove that they had just as much power as God did, duplicated the plague, producing even more frogs, and complicated the problem even more for the people of Egypt.

When God finally called off the plague, the frogs died. They gathered all of the dead frogs and piled them up “in heaps.” All of this death that was result of these initial plagues caused Egypt to stink. Here we see that the wages of Pharaoh’s sin not only caused a lot of death in Egypt, but it also caused a very unpleasant stench. There would be more death to come as well as many cattle would die (Exodus 9:6) as well as many other “men and beasts” (Exodus 9:26). Sin produces all sorts of negative results. Sin stinks! It causes nothing but devastating and unpleasant consequences for everybody involved.

Another thought that came to mind from this passage is that the magicians who worked for Pharaoh did have power, but their power was limited. They could imitate some of the miracles that God wrought through Moses (Exodus 7:11), but most of them they could not. The magicians were also powerless to undo what God had done, and even acknowledged to Pharaoh the far superior power of God.

“And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.” (Exodus 8:18-19)

And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.” (Exodus 9:11)

The devil is certainly a very shrewd and powerful being, but he “ain’t got nothin’ on God.” God is infinite in everything He is, including in power. If you want to be on the team that doesn’t “stink,” and wins every time, you will want to be on God’s team.


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Excuses

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Today’s Passage – Exodus 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 13 – 14; Proverbs 21; Psalms 101 – 105

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read a previous post from this passage – “Expect Opposition

Read the “0121 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.” (Exodus 4:1)

“And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but Iam slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” (Exodus 4:10)

“And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.” (Exodus 4:13)

It has always amazed me how our human nature kicks in when we are asked to do something, even when we are asked by God. There is something inside of us that immediately begins to reason that it cannot be done, or should not be done. We begin to figure out ways to get out of doing it. We don’t come right out and say that we don’t want to do it, at least not initially. We just say that it can’t be done, or shouldn’t be done, or that it will be way too difficult. Most projects get shut done by negativity before they even get off the ground.

Moses did the same thing here in Exodus 4. The first excuse that he gives is that the people will not listen. Basically he is telling God that it can’t be done. This is really nothing more than unbelief when it comes to things that God calls us to do. If it is truly of God, He will bring it to pass. All we need to do is obey Him. The results are up to Him. God does not need advisers, He needs obeyers.

The second excuse that Moses offers is really the root of the problem. I know that it is the same thing that often keeps me from fulfilling God’s will. Moses says that he is not the man for the job, that he is not able to do it. Now he is no longer doubting God’s ability or anybody else, he is merely doubting his ability to do what God asks him to do. This is not necesarily bad. We need to realize that we can’t do the work of God in our own power or ability. It can only be done through the power of God. What Moses needed to do (and what we need to do) is believe that if God asks us to do something, He will also equip us to do it. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) We truly can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us.

Finally, Moses is exasperated. He just doesn’t want to do it. He tells the Lord to send somebody else. God finally convinces him to do it, but he certainly was not a willing servant initially. If we refuse to be obedient to the calling of God He may just choose somebody else, but we will miss out on the blessing of being used of God. Know this, though, that if God asks you, you are the man (or woman) for the job. Don’t refuse Him. Stretch your faith. Allow Him to show you what you can do in His strength when you are yielded to His will.


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Calling the Midwife

Today’s Passage – Exodus 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 11 – 12Proverbs 20Psalms 96 – 100)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 121

Read the “0120 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

[Exo 1:7-17 KJV] 7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. 8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. 9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel [are] more and mightier than we: 10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and [so] get them up out of the land. 11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. 13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, [was] with rigour. 15 And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one [was] Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: 16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see [them] upon the stools; if it [be] a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it [be] a daughter, then she shall live. 17 But the midwives feared God and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. (Exodus 1:7 – 17)

In the above passage we read that the king of Egypt was threatened by the growing number of Gods people. He tried treating them poorly and increasing the load of labor but the more the people were afflicted, the more they multiplied. This made the king of Egypt increasingly angry, he had to think of something. He went to the midwives and instructed them to kill any male child of the Israelites that was born. Now, I want to pause for a moment and reflect on the absurdity of this command. I’m sure, at the time, there were many that thought “what a great idea, these people will overtake us if they aren’t stopped”, “it is for our best”, “If the king said it, he must know something we don’t and we should just follow”. In Hindsight, we can all see this is absolutely of Satan and absolutely absurd.  Regardless, this was the king’s command. This was now the “law” for the midwives to follow. V.17 But the midwives feared God and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them but saved the men children alive. 

I would like to focus in on the midwives in this story. Perhaps, because I have given birth 3 times, these midwives really stood out to me. I couldn’t stop thinking about them. With each of my children, I was delivered by a midwife. They delivered my child to me, if I didn’t have a midwife, things could have gone very differently, and my children may not have been delivered in good health or delivered into my arms at all. Once I entered the hospital, it was the midwives responsibility to safely deliver my child. The midwives in this passage of scripture had a very hard choice to make. They were COMMANDED by the king(the law) to kill these male children upon delivery. But they feared the Lord and chose instead to do what was right.

This is where the conviction set in, for me. If you think about it, we as Christians are called to deliver sinners to their Heavenly Father. Are we not, in a sense, midwives in the spiritual hospital of this world? Is it not our job to bring the lost to Christ? How are we doing? Because lately, we have been told “stay away from people”, “don’t fellowship”, “fear talking to people”, “Church isn’t safe”. We have been handed a commandment by “the kings” and we are laying down and giving in.” It is for our best” , “ if the kings said it, it must be for our good”. If you can’t see that what is going on in the world today is a spiritual attack on the hearts of mankind than you need to take another look. 

I cannot help but think of the verse in Proverbs, “There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.” How many times over the past year have we cried “there is a virus in the way; a virus is in the streets”. “We cant go to church, there is a lion in the way”, “ I cant witness, there is a lion”. I AM CONVICTED. Maybe you are all good Christians and haven’t struggled with this, maybe you are witnessing more than ever, and “delivering” the babes to Christ, but I know I haven’t been. I know that I have fallen prey to “obeying the laws of man” over the Law that God has given. Please don’t mistake me for saying the virus isn’t real and dangerous for some. It is. (so are lions) But we must recognize that there is a much larger Pandemic in the world and one we are ignoring.

If the Midwives obeyed the king, the story would be vastly different. And if we don’t start fearing the Lord over man, the story will be vastly different for many ,many lost souls out there. Now, more than ever, the world needs Midwives, helping to deliver them to Christ. Will you be the one that fears the Lord and takes a stand?  

            20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. 21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses. (Exodus 1:20 – 21)

God will take care of you, just do what He wants you to do. 

Mears Family – Justin, Sami. Selah, Emerson. and Westin

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Graduation Day

Graduation Day

Today’s Passage – Genesis 48 – 50 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 9 – 10; Proverbs 19; Psalms 91 – 95)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0119 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” (Genesis 49:1)

I remember when I was a young person attending school. At the end of every school year there was an awards ceremony and they would give out various awards for attendance, academics, athletics, and even some for attitude. I didn’t receive many awards as a child, I was what you might call “exceedingly average” in just about every area. Looking back on my school days, I can only recall receiving three awards: two in intermediate school, and one in college (the first time I went to college – not Bible school). However, I remember that every time I attended one of those awards ceremonies, or a commencement exercise, I would always feel two things. First, I would feel regret for not having applied myself more that year. I would realize that I could and should have done more; I should have worked harder; I shouldn’t have goofed off so much, wasting valuable time. The second thing that I would feel is motivated. I would determine that next year was going to be different for me; next year I was going to do better; next year I would be up there on the stage getting some kind of award. The only problem was that my weaknesses in character always outlasted my bursts of motivation.

You may be wondering right now what all of this has to do with the passage that we read in Genesis this morning. Well, here is the connection. Every time I read chapter 49 in Genesis, I am reminded of these award ceremonies. Except, here it is the one who is graduating to Heaven that is handing out the awards. Jacob is about to die, and he calls all of his children together to pronounce a blessing upon some. Unfortunately, he also will be pronouncing a curse upon others. Can you imagine the last words that you hear out of your father’s mouth before he dies being words of regret, rather than words of praise. I know well what it feels like trying to live a life that is pleasing to a father. I spent a good deal of my young adulthood trying to receive “attaboys” from my dad by achieving sales and success in the business world, which was his life. I think every child desires to please their father; at least most do. I cannot imagine the hurt I would have felt had my father said words of regret about my life at his passing. These sons of Jacob had all ran out of time. The time to live a life that would be worthy of being blessed by their father had passed.

You know what’s worse, however, than not receiving words of blessing and praise from your earthly father? Not receiving them from your Heavenly Father. Someday all who are His children will stand before Him and give account for their lives. Some will hear words of praise and will receive rewards; others will not. I want to please my Heavenly Father in my life today so that He will someday say to me, “Well done”. I guess I never got past that desire to hear “attaboy”; only now it is my Heavenly Father that I want to live for. Don’t misunderstand, I loved my dad dearly, and I wanted my life to be a source of blessing to him as well, but my passion in life today is to live for God. I want the same thing for my children. Yes I want to be pleased with them, but ultimately the only thing that matters is if God is pleased with them.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4)


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Living for God’s Plan by Justin Mears

Today’s Passage – Genesis 45 – 47 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 7 – 8Proverbs 18Psalms 86 – 90)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Big Picture

“Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years [hath] the famine [been] in the land: and yet [there are] five years, in the which [there shall] neither [be] earing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now [it was] not you [that] sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:5)

When I read this passage and see Joseph’s mindset, I can’t help but wonder how a man who had been wronged by so many people could have had such great peace? How could he even care for his brothers after what they had done to him? Even to say such words to them like: “don’t be grieved or angry with yourselves.” After a lot of thought and consideration I believe there are at least three characteristics of Joseph that helped him move through the storms of life with unshattered faith in God and His plan.

1st  – Joseph was living for something bigger than himself. Before he was ever thrown in the pit, sold into slavery, or put in prison, he wanted to serve God, which made him a faithful servant to everyone he found himself under the authority of. He recognized that he was just a vessel in God’s grand plan.

“These [are] the generations of Jacob. Joseph, [being] seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad [was] with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.” (Genesis 37:2)

2nd – He saw the spiritual before the physical. He recognized that it was not any person that put him in Potiphar’s house, or prison, but God who sent him there. He knew it was the calling of God on his life that placed him in these predicaments. He realized it wasn’t about blaming anyone. He understood it wasn’t what he saw but instead what he couldn’t see.

“[There is] none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou [art] his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9)

3rd  – He had the ability to be content in any situation that God put him in. Every time the plans changed, he changed. He actually excelled and flourished in every circumstance. He was adaptable. He didn’t spend time trying to alter his circumstances or wallow in the misery of them. He recognized God’s will was moving him and it was time to adapt. 

“And his master saw that the LORD [was] with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all [that] he had he put into his hand.” (Genesis 39:3)

Has God placed some undesirable circumstances in you life? How are we handling it? Does your desire to live for God come before everything else? Are we living for something bigger than ourselves?

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

 Are we seeing things with the eyes of faith? Or are we getting caught up with all the things that we see. Are we remembering the spiritual warfare or are we getting distracted by the winds and waves as Peter did as he walked on water to Jesus in the storm? 

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].” (Ephesians 6:12)

Do you find yourself running away from the adversity or trying to hide and wait it out, or are you adapting to the challenges God has placed in your path? Are you rising to the occasion, or are you still trying to change things back to the way you want them? Can you be content and thrive in any situation God puts you in like Joseph?

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)

The Mears Family

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Bereaved Again?

Today’s Passage – Genesis 43 – 44 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 5 – 6Proverbs 17Psalms 81 – 85)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0117 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s reading passage – “Passed the Test,” and “People Can Change.”

“And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.” (Genesis 43:14)

The word, “bereave” (שָׁכֹל – shakol), is a very interesting word. It primarily has the idea of losing someone in death. The Hebrew word has been rendered a variety of ways, such as: “deprived” (Genesis 27:45); “cast their young” (Genesis 31:38; Exodus 23:26); “rob you of your children” (Leviticus 26:22). It has also been translated metaphorically as “barren” in reference to land (2 Kings 2:19; 21). The word carries the idea of being stripped of something that is very dear to you, such as a loved one, and especially a child. The word, “take (Benjamin) away,” is used synonymously with bereave in Genesis 42:36.

In our passage, Jacob did everything that he could to keep his youngest son, Benjamin, from going with his brothers to Egypt to try to buy food for the family. The brothers had a bad track record of losing people that Jacob loved. Joseph had disappeared and was assumed dead back in Genesis 37 after he went to check on his brothers. Simeon was arrested and put in an Egyptian prison after going with his brothers to buy food on the last trip for food (Genesis 42:24). When the brothers came back from Egypt from that trip (without Simeon), they tell Jacob that they can only return for more food if they bring their youngest brother with them. Jacob is furious that they even mentioned to the Egyptian official that they even had another brother. He flatly refuses to let Benjamin go:

“And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again. And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.” (Genesis 42:36-38)

At first, Jacob will have nothing to do with taking this great risk in sending Benjamin to Egypt with his brothers for more food. Why? He had been hurt in the past, and he did not want to risk being hurt again in the future. It was only after he had no other choice, when he realized his whole house was going to starve, that he finally acquiesces to let Benjamin go. You know the story: Jacob’s fears turn out to be unfounded as he not only get’s Benjamin back, he gets Joseph and Simeon back as well. But Jacob almost missed out on the blessing of seeing his two missing sons again, all because of his fear of losing a third son.

Bereavement can cause a person to put up barriers and protections that will keep them from experiencing future blessings from God. This may be a weak illustration, but I just talked to a man recently who was reluctant to get another dog because he had just lost one, and he did not want to go through the pain of loss again. Losing a new dog someday will definitely be painful, but does that temporary grief outweigh the joy that the dog will bring through all of the years of its life.

I also know of people who have been burned and hurt by broken relationships who are reluctant to enter into any new relationships. Hurt is real and fears are real, but we cannot let our hurts and fears keep us from the abundant life that God has for us today and tomorrow as we fulfill His will. Jacob was so worried about losing again that he almost missed a big win. Jacob almost missed it. He almost refused to let Benjamin go. But, God would not let him. God allowed Jacob’s situation to become so desperate that he had no other choice. We simply cannot let our grief cripple us, control us, or keep us from moving forward with life; it must be God’s will that guides the decisions we make.


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Behold, It Was A Dream – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Genesis 41 – 42 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 3 – 4; Proverbs 16; Psalms 76 – 80

Read the “0116 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, well-favored and fat-fleshed; and they fed in the reed-grass. And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill-favored and lean-fleshed, and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. And the ill-favored and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven well-favored and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. And he slept and dreamed a second time: and, behold, seven ears of grain came up upon one stalk, rank and good. And, behold, seven ears, thin and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them. And the thin ears swallowed up the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream.” (Genesis 41:1-7)

Good morning. A woman at work asked me if I believed in dreams. She had heard about God talking to people in dreams. One of the things she heard is that the dream would be the opposite of what God was trying to say. I don’t know where that one came from, unless whoever thought about it was confusing dreams with visions. (Look at 1Kings 22 to see the vision of Micaiah who was to entice king Ahab to go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, and be killed.) Micaiah agreed with Ahab’s other prophets telling him to go. Ahab knew that Micaiah was lying and Micaiah told him the vision of the lying spirit placed in the mouths of his prophets. And Ahab went up, and was killed. With Joseph, God had a plan for this dreamer.

1) God-given dreams will have purpose and line up with His Word.

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Peter 3:9)

In order to preserve life during the seven years of famine, God’s plan was to get Joseph down to Egypt. He gave Joseph dreams that would aggravate his brothers to the point of wanting to kill him…

“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.” (Genesis 37:5)

“And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say, An evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” (Genesis 37:19-20)

“And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colors that was on him; and they took him, and cast him into the pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother, our flesh. And his brethren hearkened unto him.” (Genesis 23-27)

God brought Joseph to Egypt, where he was sold as a slave. Through various circumstances, Joseph would end up in prison. But God sent the chief butler, and the chief baker there also. And they both dreamed dreams. God used their two dreams to get Joseph out of prison…

“Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day: Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, me and the chief baker: and we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. And there was with us there a young man, a Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret. And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged. Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.” (Genesis 41:9-14)

2. God-given dreams can be used to get you where God wants you.

Pharaoh would have never known about Joseph if God did not give him a dream which he or his magicians were not able to interpret. Joseph was set before Pharaoh as Pharaoh told Joseph the dream.

3. God-given dreams can warn you and instruct you.

“And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: what God is about to do he hath declared unto Pharaoh. The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. And the seven lean and ill-favored kine that came up after them are seven years, and also the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind; they shall be seven years of famine. That is the thing which I spake unto Pharaoh: what God is about to do he hath showed unto Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: and there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; and the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine which followeth; for it shall be very grievous. And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh, it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint overseers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of these good years that come, and lay up grain under the hand of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. And the food shall be for a store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.” (Genesis 41:25-37)

In Matthew chapter 1, Joseph, Mary’s soon-to-be husband is instructed not to fear and take Mary as his wife…

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1:18-20)

In Matthew chapter 2, God uses dreams to warn and instruct the wise men and also Joseph (Matthew 2:12-13,19 &22).

Today we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, and the complete preserved Word of God for English speaking people in the King James Bible. Does God need to use dreams today? Maybe as a catalyst to start something He needs to accomplish in your life or the lives of the others around you. But God-given dreams will have a purpose and line up with His Word; can be used to get you where God wants you; and can warn and instruct you; but so can the Holy Spirit and your Bible.

I need to go fulfill prophecy now…

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams…” (Acts 2:17)

Peace!


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