Show Me Your Strength

Written By Jen

I really do want to see how strong you are!  That sounds fun!  Isn’t that why we love the amazing race, the biggest looser, the voice, I even like P90X videos.  Show me your strength.  Show me what you can persevere through.  Show me joy that comes from trial.  I want to see you work and really I want to see what work accomplishes.  Show me your strength.  Let me see your character as you work.  What role does forgiveness  mercy, grace, perseverance and sweat play in your accomplishments.  Can I trust you?  Would I follow you?  Who are you?  I want to watch your story.  How do those stories change us or do they?  When I see others who have lost tons of weight do a work out, I think, surely I can get through this hour if they can.  How does the strength of another give us the courage and the strength to take another step?  It’s pretty powerful.  I admire leadership that leads others to somethings better.  There are a whole bunch of leaders out there who are leading people nowhere or dragging people down.  What good is that?  What kind of stories do you follow?  What kind of leaders influence you?  What kind of everyday peeps impact your life?  Relating back to the Christmas story, Mary had been following some stories. Mary knew who her God was.  She knew His character, she had been watching His strength as it was seen through generations before her.

Joy is an amazing gift!  Sometimes it comes from sorrow or is coupled oddly with anguish, like in child-birth.  It is interesting to me how sometimes I can grieve and yet be so thankful for the one I am grieving for the love we shared that I also feel joy.  Mary is in awe here.  She and Elizabeth are simultaneously experiencing the unbelievable.   Mary responds with praise and thanks to God.  She KNEW who God was.  She knew who He said he was to Abraham.  She knew his promises.  She believed him.  She knew His Strength.  Check out her response to God.  I put it here in the Message version because I fell in love with it.  I really want to highlight and bold all my favorite parts for you, but maybe you can find your own.  Here’s what she said to God.

46-55 And Mary said,

I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went back to her own home.

 

I told you I fell in love with this translation of Mary’s response.  I could see God a bit through her eyes and I could see why she believed, why she followed, the strength she admired and the God whose name is above all other names!  The following are a few of my thoughts as correlated with the verses as I read!  All I have to say is Hallelujah.

Is giving Mary and Elizabeth children showing His strength?  Part of His story?  Part of His trial?

Is HIS holy name set apart from all others a glimpse of His strength? (Thank you that Your name is not like any other name!)

How does His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him show His strength?  (Wash over me.)

When He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts did He not win our love? (Isn’t this the hero in every movie we love?)

He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud. (Admirable indeed.  No one is beyond His reach.)

He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.  (He knows and loves His people.)
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.  (He is caring forth a plan.  A redemption plan.  A hero, in a movie we love.  Hold onto your seats, the Word is becoming flesh and about to dwell among us, Immanuel, God with us.  Mary, Elizabeth, Zachariah, Joseph and the whole world is in for a wild ride.  The  hero is about to shake things up.)

 

 

Who He Is

Written By Jen

I am trying to read a little bit of 1 Timothy each day this week.  There is one bit that keeps running though my mind.  It comes from 1 Timothy 1:15-18ish and I posted it here in the Message and the emphasis is added by me, it says this:

Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever.

Deep honor and bright glory 
      to the King of All Time— 
   One God, Immortal, Invisible, 
      ever and always. Oh, yes!

I have been thanking God for his endless patience with me.  I love the last part that I bolded.  It is all praise to God, all honor and glory.  It states who he is, King Eternal, Lord Immortal, God Invisible.  He is worthy of our praise.

Bible Bites: God was with him

Written By Jen

I read Genesis 34-39 the other morning and Joseph has quite a story!  Bottom line: GOD WAS WITH JOSEPH.  God was with Joseph when he was painfully betrayed by his raging jealous brothers, when he was pleading for mercy while being sold into slavery  and then brought to Potiphar, and when he was a faithful and reliable slave.   God was there even when he was seduced by Potiphar’s wife and then framed by her sent to jail.  God was with Joseph in painful places and prosperous places.  God was with Joseph EVERYWHERE he went.  Joseph knew God was with him and he made hard character decisions because of it.  Joseph faced common and challenging choices like should I sleep with her or not, work hard in jail or be bitter and sulk, and revenge on my brothers or forgiveness.  This is the verse that stuck with me: “because God was with him; whatever he did God made sure it worked out for the best.” Joseph didn’t make sure it worked out for the best-God did.  I want to be with God and I want God to be with me, just like He was with Joseph.  I need to remember who I belong to.  God promises us in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Joseph’s circumstances were not “good”.  At times they were horrible.  Been there?  But, Joseph saw God’s good purpose for his bad circumstances and he respected God.  Some days I want to be with God and some days I don’t.  I can question yesterday forever and get caught up in guilt and shame; but I can honestly say today, TODAY, I want to be with God.  Let’s ask Him, “God will you be with us today like you were ‘with Joseph’?  Will you help us to see how YOU work in our lives for your good purpose?  Let us not take credit, but give YOU praise for the way YOU work through our lives, regardless of our circumstances: from jail, to slavery, to the grind of work, to the brokenness of pain; wherever we are in life today, please, will YOU be with us? Amen”  Love you all!

READ IT?

I copied and pasted highlights of what I read from Genesis 34-37 in the Message in order to tell you the first part of Joseph’s story.  I added the emphasis and a few comments in there!  I put my comments in blue and everything else is from the Message.  Enjoy!

Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. When his brothers realized that their father loved him more than them, they grew to hate him—they wouldn’t even speak to him.  This sounds like modern day sibling rivalry.  Joseph’s brothers cooked up a plan to kill him.  One of his brothers, Reuben, had compassion on Joseph.  “Reuben heard the brothers talking and intervened to save him, “We’re not going to kill him. No murder. Go ahead and throw him in this cistern out here in the wild, but don’t hurt him.” Reuben planned to go back later and get him out and take him back to his father.”  Unfortunately, Reuben’s plan didn’t work.  Before he could go back and save him, his brothers had thrown him in a cistern and sold him into slavery. They decided slavery was better than actually killing him.  The brothers went back to their father with this report:

“They took Joseph’s coat, butchered a goat, and dipped the coat in the blood. They took the fancy coat back to their father and said, “We found this. Look it over—do you think this is your son’s coat?”

He recognized it at once. “My son’s coat—a wild animal has eaten him. Joseph torn limb from limb!”

Jacob tore his clothes in grief, dressed in rough burlap, and mourned his son a long, long time. His sons and daughters tried to comfort him but he refused their comfort. “I’ll go to the grave mourning my son.” Oh, how his father wept for him.

It’s amazing to me how the brothers banded together and lied to their father.  So, the story goes on:  Joseph was first sold to the Ishmaelites, and then bought by Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials and the manager of Pharaoh’s household; there Joseph was a slave for Potiphar.

As it turned out, God was with Joseph and things went very well with him. He ended up living in the home of his Egyptian master. His master recognized that God was with him, saw that God was working for good in everything he did. He became very fond of Joseph and made him his personal aide. He put him in charge of all his personal affairs, turning everything over to him. From that moment on, God blessed the home of the Egyptian—all because of Joseph. The blessing of God spread over everything he owned, at home and in the fields, and all Potiphar had to concern himself with was eating three meals a day.

Joseph was a strikingly handsome man. As time went on, his master’s wife became infatuated with Joseph and one day said, “Sleep with me.”

He wouldn’t do it. He said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me here, my master doesn’t give a second thought to anything that goes on here—he’s put me in charge of everything he owns. He treats me as an equal. The only thing he hasn’t turned over to me is you. You’re his wife, after all! How could I violate his trust and sin against God?”

She pestered him day after day after day, but he stood his ground. He refused to go to bed with her.

On one of these days he came to the house to do his work and none of the household servants happened to be there. She grabbed him by his cloak, saying, “Sleep with me!” He left his coat in her hand and ran out of the house. When she realized that he had left his coat in her hand and run outside, she called to her house servants: “Look—this Hebrew shows up and before you know it he’s trying to seduce us. He tried to make love to me but I yelled as loud as I could. With all my yelling and screaming, he left his coat beside me here and ran outside.”

Ugh, another cruel incident.  However, without this incident we couldn’t see Joseph’s character begin to shine.  After being pestered day after day, by a woman of importance, he was able to keep his cool and know his purpose and say, “How could I violate his trust and sin against God?” Amazing.  Potiphar was furious with Joseph because he believed his wife’s accusations and Joseph went straight to jail.  And the story of Joseph goes on:

But there in jail God was still with Joseph: He reached out in kindness to him; he put him on good terms with the head jailer. The head jailer put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners—he ended up managing the whole operation. The head jailer gave Joseph free rein, never even checked on him, because God was with him; whatever he did God made sure it worked out for the best.” 

The redemption that goes on in the following chapters as Joseph’s life goes on is incredible.  You can find out more about his life in Genesis 32 to 50.  Mmmm, it’s rich.

 

 

Bible Bite: Moses

Did you know that Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Bible? Actually, God wrote them by the hand of Moses. He did this during a time when Moses was leading the Israelites through forty years of “waiting” until God was ready to take them into the promise land. Moses had the time, faith, and history with God. And God had his ear. Listen to what God says about Moses in this next passage. God has called Moses, Miriam and Aaron into a meeting. Apparently, Miriam and Aaron had been speaking against Moses behind his back. (guess what? God can hear that!) His love and protection for Moses are poured out in his message to Aaron and Miriam:

Listen to my words:
“When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the LORD.
Why then, were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”
Numbers 12: 6-7

Yes, God protected Moses, who by the way, was not a perfect man. He had already committed murder, buried the body, and had entertained a few heated arguments with God in his life. Yet he had grown in character and faith, and the bible says he was “more humble than anyone on the face of the earth.”

Why do I share this today? Because I think it gives the bible credibility. In my (humble) opinion, the fact that Moses was beloved and precious to God and he was able to talk with him in such a direct manner, gives the words of those first 5 books great value and truth. How much more directly can the words of the bible be written if not through the breath of God on one’s face? No one that I can recall (and please correct me if I’m wrong) had an audience face to face before God. God always protected people from HIS glory by some sort of separation such as a cloud or a hidden face. I am awed to think of Moses being able to converse with God that intimately.

The next time you read anything from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers or Deuteronomy, remember their author and the audience he was allowed before a mighty and holy God.

Have You Experienced God’s Faithfulness?

Jen
God has shown his faithfulness to all kinds of people in the Bible.  God showed His faithfulness to Rahab the prostitute and her family, Peter one of his closest friends who denied him 3 times, Jonah who tried to evade him, David who had an affair and a man sentenced to death and many more.  These men and women did not live perfect lives, rather, lives with pit holes and muddy roads, wrong turns and even crashes.  They showed us how to follow God even when it’s messy.  God showed he is faithful even when he finds us covered in mud, lost or just turned around.  He loved us first.  In our mess he loves us.  He is faithful.

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
   for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
   therefore I will wait for him.”  Lamentations 3:22-24

We would love to hear how you have seen God’s faithfulness in your life!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...