January 4, 2019
A NEW YEAR BEGINS!
How long did Noah, his family, and the animals live on the ark? Twelve and a half months! They spent a year cooped up together on a big boat with one window! That must have been some year. Everything they had known before was gone. Yet, everything before them was new again.
God had saved them. Their former homes and possessions were gone, but they were alive. They had the Lord and they had each other.
Have you ever had a year when the floods of life came and seemingly took away everything you had known? Where do you turn at such a time? It’s hard not to live in the past. How do we look to the Lord and to a new day, a new year to begin again? We turn our eyes to the Lord . . .
PRAYER: Dear Father, help us to turn our eyes to You, turning the page on yesterday, fully living in the present, and trusting You with the future. Yesterday had its share of suffering, loss and even shame. Yet, we know that You have put our sin and shame on Your Son Jesus, so that we no longer have to bear it. Help us to walk by faith in the freedom of the Spirit, knowing that the future is in Your hands. In Jesus name. Amen.
January 3, 2019
HOW TO FIND FAVOR WITH GOD
Out of all the peoples of the earth, Noah “found favor with the Lord.” The word “favor” might also be translated “grace” or “acceptance.” This “favor” says more about God than it does Noah. For although Noah was recorded as righteous and blameless, the most revealing attribute was that “he walked in close fellowship with God.”
Because of God’s favor, Noah and his family were saved from the floods of judgment by being found safe in the ark of God. The wrath of God was poured out on those outside and upon the ark itself, yet those within the Ark were saved.
The ark is a picture of Christ. Those within Christ have found favor with the Lord. Only those in Christ will be saved at the final judgment. For “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
PRAYER: Lord, thank you that we can find favor with You in Christ Jesus. We confess our sins to You and thank you for the forgiveness we have in Jesus. O what joy we have knowing we are safe in the ark of Christ. In Jesus name. Amen.
January 1, 2019
THE REVELATION OF REST
God created many “signs to mark the seasons, days, and years” (Gen.1:14). But He established the seven-day-week by revelation. For God worked six days to create the heavens and earth and on the seventh day He rested. So, He declared the seventh day “holy,” which means set apart for special use–– in this case–– rest.
The interaction between the earth, sun and moon were put in motion to run like a clock and a calendar, establishing our days, months and years. But our weeks are lived by faith, for no other sign but God’s Word reveals the seven-day-week.
So, with this in mind, let us begin this year with the goal of following not only God’s rhythm of creation, but also His rhythm of revelation. Working and resting by faith in the One who made us in His image and for Himself. Our Lord Jesus leads us in this saying, “Whatever the Father does, the Son also does” (John 5:19). Our Lord Jesus is our revelation of rest, for He is our Sabbath Rest.
January 26, 2018
JOSEPH WOULD NOT TAKE THE PLACE OF GOD.
After Joseph’s father died, his brothers became afraid that he would seek revenge for the way they had treated him. As the second-in-command of Egypt, Joseph could have easily ordered their imprisonment or death. But Joseph recognized that it was God who had given him the position he had, so that he might rescue his brothers and their families, and not only theirs, but all the peoples of Egypt. No, he would not use his God-given position to sit in judgment of his brothers. Joseph knew that judgment belonged to the Lord. He would not take God’s place. For as the Lord has said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay” (Rom. 12:19).
Therefore, forgive one another. Live at peace with everyone.
January 24, 2018
Jacob spoke a word over each of his sons as he lay on his deathbed. Over Simeon and Levi, he spoke a word that may have been heard as a curse, yet there was grace in it. For the tribe of Simeon would come to have land within the boundaries of Judah, which actually lengthened their days. Levi would become the Lord’s priestly tribe and be given cities scattered throughout Israel. So, both Simeon and Levi were “dispersed throughout Israel” as Jacob said.
Sometimes what appears to be a curse is actually a blessing.
January 23, 2018
Although there is some apparent discrepancy in how Jacob’s family is numbered (Stephen said there were 75 in his speech in Acts 7:14.), the point is that the Lord took this small group and made of them a nation. As Moses said, “Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven” (Deut.10:22). The children of Jacob lived in Egypt 400 years. In the latter years, Joseph was forgotten and the Israelites lived as slaves. Yet, it was this time of travail that bonded them together, so that when the Lord delivered them, they came out a nation.
January 22, 2018
JACOB LEARNS HIS SON IS ALIVE!
Old Jacob had lived with the knowledge that his son, Joseph, was dead. He had grieved for him for years. But then, his sons gave him the good news that Joseph was not only alive, but was a powerful ruler in Egypt. He finally believed their good news and was determined to travel to Egypt to see him before he died.
This story reminds me of old Simeon, whom the Spirit had promised he wouldn’t die until he saw the Christ (Luke 2:25-35). It reminds me of the disciples response when the women who had visited the tomb, told them they had seen the risen Lord. Jacob’s son, who was dead, is alive!
January 21, 2018
JOSEPH’S BROTHERS BOW BEFORE HIM
Joseph had two similar dreams when he was young. In the first, he saw he and his brothers binding sheaves in a field when his sheave arose and stood up while theirs bowed down to his. In the second dream, he saw the sun, moon, and eleven stars bow down to him (Read Gen. 37:1-11). Now, his double-dream had come true. Here he stood, as the governor of Egypt, with all eleven of his brothers bowing before him.
Joseph is a foreshadowing of Jesus. For Jesus was rejected by His brethren and turned over to the Romans to be crucified. Yet, He arose and is coming again. When he does, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that “Jesus is Lord” (Phil. 2:10-11).
January 20, 2018
DID JOSEPH SIN BY TAKING A FOREIGN WIFE?
When Pharaoh promoted Joseph to be his second-in-command, he also gave him a new name, “Zaphenath-paneah” (“God speaks and lives”), and a new wife, “Asenath” (“Gift of the Sun-god”). The Egyptian king wanted Joseph to have an Egyptian name and an Egyptian wife from an influential Egyptian family, the priestly family of Potiphera, “priest of On” (“On,” also known as Heliopolis, “The City of the Sun,” was the center of worship of the sun-god, Ra, located 10 miles northeast of modern Cairo.). This new title, name, wife, and family were given to him by Pharaoh. But really… weren’t they actually given to him by God?
For it was God’s purpose to put Joseph in power in Egypt to preserve Israel and to show His great power and glory 400 years later when He brought them out with a strong hand. Two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, were born to Joseph and Asenath. They became equal with the 12 sons of Israel when Jacob blessed them as his own sons (Gen. 48:5). Therefore, when God chose the tribe of Levi to be His own possession, the addition of Manasseh and Ephraim maintained the number of Israel’s tribes at twelve.
No, Joseph didn’t sin. He lived before the Mosaic law and the New Testament warning (2 Cor. 6:14). Joseph was obedient to God’s purpose for his life, of which he had dreamed when he was a boy.
January 20, 2018
THE DREAMER GIVES GOD THE GLORY
Joseph had thoughtlessly shared his dreams with his older brothers, predicting how they would one day bow down to him. In their jealousy, they sold him into slavery. Yet after years in slavery and prison, Joseph had changed. He was humbled, giving God all the glory for any power lent to him for interpreting dreams. He stood before mighty Pharaoh, a worshiper of false gods and one who had the power of life and death over his subjects, yet Joseph responded by attributing true power and glory to God. For he knew that God was over all, even Pharaoh. And he trusted his future into God’s hands.