Christian Devotional – October 21, 2018

The favorite tattletale. As we move into the scriptures that start to speak directly about Joseph himself, we see some interesting ideas about what others thought about him. Read Genesis 37: 1-4.

His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers; and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms.
Genesis 37:4 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.37.4.NASB

At the ripe old age of 17, Joseph is starting to make his way in the world. He has experienced so many things through his mother and father that have shaped his outlook on life and now he is starting to make some of his own decisions. What he chooses, though, doesn’t earn him any friends.

Joseph chose to share the shortcomings of his brothers with his father. This father who knew all about having favorites since he was the favorite son of his mom and he had a favorite wife, now decides to have a favorite son. Between Joseph giving a bad report and his father’s lavish gift of the colored coat, it’s no wonder his brothers didn’t like him.

None of these things mentioned were things he could control. Joseph did what was right in speaking the truth,  but he couldn’t control how his brothers or father responded. When we are looking at our own life, do we recognize what we have control over and what we don’t? Do we waste time being angry or frustrated about things that we don’t have control over? Joseph could control his attitude and how he responded, but the Bible doesn’t give a clear indication of what that would have looked like. We must control our attitudes, regardless of whether we are being hated, like Joseph’s brothers hated him, or being loved, like his father loved him.

Christian Devotional – October 16, 2018

Death and loss. Next into Joseph’s world came death and loss. In Genesis chapter 35. We see how Jacob cleaned out all the other idols that were in his household, but then shortly after that Rachel, Joseph’s mom, dies giving birth to his brother Benjamin. Later, some time after they arrive at the place where Jacob grew up, Jacob’s father Isaac dies as well. Joseph saw how Jacob dealt with disappointment and grief.

It came about as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.
Genesis 35:18 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.35.18.NASB

As Rachel was dying, she gave her new son a name that reflected her self-centered way of thinking. Ben-oni means son of my suffering. What a legacy to pass down to a son from his mother! Jacob steps in and refuses to leave his name that way and changes it to Benjamin, or son of my right hand.

Even in the midst of the grief of losing his beloved wife, Jacob refused to make a long term decision based on something that was a temporary circumstance. Jacob’s pain and grief at losing Rachel was real and painful, but was temporary compared to what Jacob knew was his long-term relationship with God. As a result, Joseph saw his Dad remain focused on the promises of God instead of on his pain.

Where do we remain focused when going through tough times? Do we recognize what is temporary and what is eternal? How do our responses change when we consider this?

Christian Devotional – October 13, 2018

Does your relationship with God impact others? As Joseph was growing up, we see that his mother Rachel wasn’t focused on God, but what about his father? Not long after Joseph was born, Jacob had a life-altering experience with God. Reading through Genesis 31 and 32 you can see the whole set up, but take a look at Genesis 32:30

So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”
Genesis 32:30 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.32.30.NASB

Jacob knew about God and had even prayed to God before, but that was when He really committed himself to God. You gotta admit, wrestling God would leave more than just the physical mark on his hip that is mentioned. It would be a story that Jacob told and retold to, not just his favorite son Joseph, but anyone who would listen. Joseph would have had a front row seat to his change and transformation. He would have seen how that story shaped everything about his Dad from that point forward. And, his Dad would have told Joseph everything he could ever remember learning from his Dad Isaac and his Grandpa Abraham about the one true God.

How does our life and experiences impact those we are around? Can they tell a difference in us and in what we do because of our relationship with God? Do we talk about it and explain it to them? Do we teach them? This is how we can impact others with our relationship with Christ.

Christian Devotional – October 12, 2018

The life of Joseph. Over the next several days, I am going to be looking more closely into the life of Joseph and how God worked through him. Taking a look back at his birth in Genesis 30:22-24 we see:

Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb. So she conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” She named him Joseph, saying, “May the Lord give me another son.”
Genesis 30:22‭-‬24 NASB
https://bible.com/bible/100/gen.30.22-24.NASB

To look back at the story, Rachel couldn’t have children.  Locked in a battle with her sister of who can have the most male children, she was trying everything she could think of to have a child. She begged her husband, she tried local remedies, and she used her servants as surrogates. But scripture never says that she prayed and asked God. Still, God was faithful and gave her a son. Even throughout this, she was focused on herself. After she had Joseph, she was glad that HER reproach had been taken away and her prayer was that God would give her another son. No thankfulness. No praising God.

How would having a mother that demonstrated this attitude impact Joseph’s early years? Children are inherently selfish anyway, would that have been increased, tolerated, encouraged? As the only son of the favorite wife, this would have just inflated his ego more.

How do we allow the influence of our upbringing to continue to impact our lives as we get older? Do we use it as an excuse or a crutch? Is it a motivation to overcome? We’ll look into how Joseph uses it in the days to come.

Christian Devotional – January 3, 3017

Today as we start on our journey to look at purpose, I decided to start back at the beginning. Take a few minutes and read Genesis chapters 1 and 2.

We see God, the One who has always existed and always been, and then we see that He gets busy creating. God is our Creator and He had purpose as He went through the steps to speak into existance everything that we see and don’t see around us. The Spirit of God hovered around and we see the Spirit of God moving directly with all that God has and is doing. In Genesis 1:26, God talks about the discussion that He had with Himself when we created man. He gave job to mankind to be a steward over all that He had just created. He created man and woman in the image and likeness of God. God blessed them, even as He gave them their commands and their purpose.

As we move into chapter 2, we see that God gets more specific into the purpose that Adam had. He was to start his stewardship of creation by giving names to everything. Names are so important to God and we can be assured that God knows each and every one of our names. Why else would God have given Adam that job first? The we see the crisis that Adam experiences. Well, actually, God sees the crisis and the problem first, before Adam even realizes it. God sets up a way for Adam to see and understand his need, but even before that God has already created a way to meet that need. Chapter 2, verse 18 shows where God understands a need that Adam had. God saw an opportunity to show Adam a need, then God showed Adam that there was nothing that Adam could do to meet that need on his own. Then, God met Adam”s need in a way that only God could do. And, God”s provision was perfect and exactly what Adam needed.

Four things that we can see and learn about our purpose from these chapters:

  1. God is perfect and has created us individually with purpose
  2. God knows all our abilities and recognizes our needs long before we will ever recognize a need
  3. God always has a plan to meet our needs and to provide for us exactly the right things/tools/people to be able to fulfill our purpose
  4. God will wait to provide us what we need until we come to an understanding that we have a need. He will allows us to go through circumstances where He is the only answer and we will turn to Him for that answer.

God has a plan and He has a purpose for us. Are we seeking for that or are we even looking for what God i trying to show us? Today, as we close, think back through all the opportunities that God has given us and how we have done on our own. We can know that God has answers for us, if we will just recognize that He is the only Onw who can truly provide the answer. Are we looking to Him for the answers of our life?

Christian Devotional – February 5, 2016

Read Genesis chapter 50

VERSE:

Genesis 50:20–“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

TRUTH:

The intentions of others towards us are miniscule and unimportant compared with God’s intentions for us. As Joseph was able to say here, even when others had done something that they intended for evil and harm, God is able to take that and use it to bring about good. We must be careful not to get hung up on what others are intending to do with us. If we do, we may not be able to catch what God is planning to do through us in situations. If we start to see things through God’s perspective, we will recognize that it is truly on His perspective that matters anyway.

RESPONSE:

Father, if I focus on the perspective of others, I will get angry and bitter, so I give that to You. I only want to focus on Your perspective. Allow me to see what You are doing and how You are moving through each and every situation. I only want what You want, so please bring about Your will in my life.

Christian Devotional – February 4, 2016

Read Genesis chapter 49

VERSE:

Genesis 49:29–Then he gave them these instructions: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite.”

TRUTH:

Jacob recognized that his time was about to come and he would die. He was in Egypt, but he also knew that God had promised that his descendants would return from there back to the land that God had promised his fathers Abraham and Isaac. As a result. He made plans to be returned there himself. Are we so confident in the promises of God that we will stake our life and our death on them? Do we make decision now that are based on what we are confident that God will do later? We must trust that God will do exactly what He has said He will do and make our decisions accordingly.

RESPONSE:

Father, I praise You and I thank You for knowing what is coming so I don’t have to stress and worry about it. I will praise You and lift You up. I know that You are the one who is over the futures and so I will make my decisions knowing that what You say will be true.

Christian Devotional – February 3, 2016

Read Genesis chapter 48

VERSE:

Genesis 48:4–and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’

TRUTH:

Jacob was reminding his son Joseph of the promise that God had made to their family. When we understand and experience the blessing and promises of God, it is important to be sure we share that with those who are coming up behind us so that they, too, can understand and share in the blessing of God. If we don’t teach them, how will they learn. Jacob understood that and so he would repeat the promise of God to his children in order to help them see and remember all that God had indicated that He would do through their family. God has promised to be with us, as His children. Are we sharing that blessing with our children?

RESPONSE:

Father, I pray that You will help me to be bold to share Your blessing with my family so that they may understand what You have for them is more important than anything else that they can experience. I know that You will do all that You have said You are going to do. Please be with me and bless me and help me share that blessing with others.

Christian Devotional – February 2, 2016

Read Genesis chapter 47

VERSE:

Genesis 47:10–Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from his presence.

TRUTH:

While it is typically customary for someone who comes into the presence of royalty to bring a gift, instead Jacob brought a blessing for Pharaoh. I find it interesting since Pharaoh considered himself God and here was this person coming before him and blessing him with a blessing from a different God. Yet, Jacob knew and understood that he had something that Pharaoh did not had. Jacob had a relationship with the true and living God. As a result, Jacob did seek to share a piece of that with the Pharaoh. Regardless of who we are and where we come from, if we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, then have more than the richest and most powerful people on the earth and we have something that we can share with them.

RESPONSE:

Father, I pray that You will see myself in comparison to You and You alone and not compare the wealth or prestige of what You have me doing with others. I pray that You will widen my influence and help me to see and know that You can use me each day to further Your work and glorify Yourself.

Christian Devotional – February 1, 2016

Read Genesis chapter 46

VERSE:

Genesis 46:30–Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.”

TRUTH:

Joseph had grieved for his son that he thought was dead, now he found out that he is still alive. It was a beautiful reunion of father and son. In many ways, this parallels the story of Christ. Jesus was dead, but now he’s really alive and no one is prepared to meet death until they have experienced for themselves the living Savior Jesus Christ. Have we experienced the joyous reunion of us with our Heavenly Father through the Son Jesus Christ?

RESPONSE:

Father, thank You for all that You have done to create this reunion between myself and Jesus. I know that because of my relationship with Him, I have a restored relationship to You, the Father. I praise You for all that You have done for me and continue to do.