Archive for April, 2014

Who Am I?

April 30, 2014

“Who am I?”

 

Exodus 3:11: “But who am I to appear before Pharaoh?” Moses asked God. “ How can you expect me to lead the Israelites out of Egypt?”

 

Carey stared at the assignment sitting on his desk in his cubicle at his company. “Write and then speak without notes a sales presentation you have made up. It can be any presentation about one of our products.” He gulped. Talking in front of the sales team was the one thing that made his legs weak and his stomach about to vomit. How could he do it?

 

Carey explained to his wife what he had to do, and his wife smiled. “You know, Moses had the same problem.”

 

“Moses?” Carey replied. He had heard plenty about Moses in church over the years, but nothing about a speaking problem.

 

“Oh, yeah,” his wife said. “Moses stuttered and stammered and couldn’t get two words out in order. He feared speaking more than anything.”

 

“What happened?” Carey asked. He knew Moses had turned into one of the great leaders of history, guiding the Jews as they left Egypt to their own country.

 

“God told him he would be with him,” Carey’s wife explained. “Go read it in Exodus 3 and 4, I think. He also gave Moses a sidekick, his brother Aaron. But we know Moses was the leader.”

 

As his wife went into more details about Moses, Carey gained confidence. Finally, he gave his presentation to the sales team and got a standing ovation.

 

Are you ever afraid you won’t be able to do something – in school, church, work, or home? Remember: God is with you. Turn to him, and he will lead.

 

Prayer: Lord, let me not use trickery and lying to get my way. Ever. Amen.

Work It For Good

April 29, 2014

God Meant It For Good

 

Genesis 50:20: As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people.

 

Ally waited in line at the theater with her friends. Her heart was troubled. That afternoon, she learned her grandfather had suffered a stroke. In the hospital in the west, miles from where Ally lived, the doctors were saying it was touch and go. Ally’s parents told her to go to the movie tonight to take her mind off the disaster, but she couldn’t. She found herself praying according to a verse she’d learned that week in Wednesday night youth group. “Jesus, please make Granddad well, and make this work for good in his life.”

Ally’s grandfather wasn’t a Christian. A hard-driving man, he cussed and drank and lived a rough life. But she loved him.

 

A week later, Ally’s parents flew her out west to see her Granddad. As she sat by his bedside, he took her hand. “You been prayin’, haven’t ya?” he whispered.

 

Ally nodded.

 

“Well, it’s workin’,” he said. “I’m feelin’ ready to get right with God.”

 

Ally told him about her prayers and the verse and he smiled. “Sounds like God’s been answerin’.”

Before he died, Granddad did accept the Lord, and Ally realized God had worked the stroke for good, just like he had the problems with Joseph and his brothers.

 

Prayer: Lord, show me how you’re working good in my life. I need to see it. Amen.

When You Love Someone

April 28, 2014

When You Love Someone

 

Genesis 45:3: “I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers, “Is my father still alive?”

 

“Can I see that knife?” Jason asked from the group of four college guys who stood in Gabriel’s dad’s garage.

 

The knife thudded onto to the ground and Gabriel stared in horror. That knife had once belonged to Jason, but Gabriel’s father kept it in the garage now. Gabriel had stolen it from Jason years before when they were kids.

 

Jason picked up the knife and gazed at it. Gabriel’s mind whizzed through several strategies, but suddenly he knew only one was right in God’s eyes: tell the truth.

 

He said, “Do you recognize that knife?”

 

Jason nodded. “I think.”

“I stole it from you,” Gabriel said. “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”

 

Jason looked up. “Uh, sure,” he said. “But …”

“You can have it back,” Gabriel said. “I shouldn’t have done that. But I’m a Christian now.”

 

Jason shook his head. “You amaze me, Gabe.”

           

Gabriel smiled. “I’m just trying to do what’s right.”

When you sin against a friend, how do you make it up? By admitting your wrong and offering to make it right. It’s that simple. In the above passage, that’s what Joseph did with his brothers. It’s a great example to follow.

 

Prayer: Jesus, help me to be forgiving, always. Amen.

Who is WITH you?

April 27, 2014

 

Who is WITH you?

 

Genesis 39:2: The LORD was with Joseph and blessed him greatly as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.

 

Joseph in the Book of Genesis made some big mistakes as a boy. Number one, his father loved him more than his other brothers, and Joseph let everyone know about it. He even wore a special coat, showing how important he was. Joseph also dreamed great dreams that made him look like a god and his brothers like slaves. That just made everyone angry. Eventually, Joseph’s brothers came up with a plot and sold Joseph into slavery.

 

As you read the rest of the story of Joseph, you’ll be amazed. Every time someone threw a curve to Joseph and got him into trouble, Joseph seemed to make the most of it. He ended up on top even though it seemed everyone was trying to put him down.

           

Why did this happen? The Bible reveals one basic reason: God was with him.

 

Do you sense that God is with you? How can you tell? Several ways. One, you’ll defeat temptation more than you’ll give in to it. Two, you’ll experience joy and peace in your heart. Three, you’ll see some success in life, and you’ll know it’s not just because of you. It’s because God opened the door and led you through.

 

If you’re a Christian, God is with you. He will lead, help and encourage you every step of the way. So trust him.

 

Prayer: Father, I praise you that you’re with me. Keep me thinking about it. Amen.

Dreams

April 25, 2014

The Dreamer

 

Genesis 37:5: One night Joseph had a dream, and promply reported the details to his brothers, causing them to hate him even more.

 

Kyle woke up in a sweat. “Wow, what a weird dream!” he muttered.

 

In his dream, he had stood in a stadium and told a Super Bowl crowd about his faith in Jesus. And everyone started laughing at him. It was horrible. He woke up feeling as if he would scream.

 

Dreams can be strange, comforting, weird, or wild. You just never know. In ancient times, though, God sometimes communicated to people by dreams. He did so with Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus. He also gave dreams to Daniel, the wise men and others. Joseph dreamed many strange but prophetic dreams. His dreams actually told what would happen in the future.

 

Few if any of our dreams will do that. Joseph’s mistake was to tell the dreams which made him look important and powerful to his family, making them look inferior and like slaves. It would all lead to bad things for Joseph. When pride strikes and we begin to think we’re really something important, we are on dangerous ground.

 

Do you ever think of yourself as better, or more important than others? Watch out. You might be in for a terrible surprise!

 

Prayer: Father, help me to think rightly of myself, and not be proud. Amen.

Wrestling

April 24, 2014

 

The Wrestling Match

 

Genesis 32:24: A man came and wrestled with him until dawn.

 

Karin lay in bed thinking. From somewhere deep in her mind, she heard the words, “Go ahead, give the proposal to your friend, Stacey. No one will know, and you will help her.”

A second voice spoke: “You know that’s cheating, Karin. You know that displeases God.”

 

“But Stacey is having a hard time this week. Shouldn’t I help her?” the first voice said.

 

And the second: “You can help Stacey by spending some time showing her how to fix the original proposal. That’s a better way.”

 

And so it went. Sometimes we “wrestle” in our minds with God about things we want to do but which we know are wrong. Jacob experienced a similar wrestling in this story in the Bible. He was afraid of his brother, and he worried that he would die. God came to him and wrestled with him about the right thing to do. In the end, God changed Jacob’s name from “cheater” (which is what “Jacob” means) to “Israel,” which means “One who struggles with God.”

 

Do you ever see your Christian life as a struggle? Well, the truth is, it often is a struggle. Forces all around us fight for our loyalty and love. Who will you love most – God, the devil, or yourself? That’s the struggle!

 

Prayer: Jesus, let me make the right decision to follow you today. Amen.

Trickery

April 23, 2014

Tricking Dad

 

Genesis 27:9: Go out to the flocks and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll prepare your father’s favorite dish from them.

 

Dad stepped in the front door and yelled for Jesse. “Get down here,” he called.

 

Jesse hurried down the stairs and stood in front of his dad. “You lied to me,” he cried. “You paid your friend Bill to clean up the garage. But I asked you to do it. You lied to me.”

 

Jesse hung his head. “I didn’t want to do it. I’m sorry.”

 

“Trickery! Lying! It’s a bad way to live,” his dad said. “Now go apologize to Billy for using him.”

 

Jesse clomped off, feeling guilty and miserable.

 

Trickery! Lying! Some of us do it all the time. You even find such things in the Bible. In this story, Jacob and his mother tricked his father into giving him the blessing that his father intended to give to his brother, Esau. It cost Jacob dearly, for he soon had to run away to the north and live with relatives because Esau threatened to kill him.

 

 

Do you ever lie to your friends, your spouse, your boss(or anyone else)? Do you use trickery and deception to get what you want? Stop! Confess it to God and start being honest. It’s a trap of the devil which he will use to destroy you, if he can. 

 

Prayer: Lord, let me not use trickery and lying to get my way. Ever. Amen. 

God Provided

April 22, 2014

God Provided the Sacrifice

 

Genesis 22:8: “God will provide a lamb, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both went on together.

 

Imagine this situation. One day your old father comes into your room. “Come with me,” he says. “God has asked me to do something important.”

 

He takes you out to a high hill. There, he ignites a fire and soon flames shoot up from the wood. Then he asks for your hands. You stick them out. He ties them up, and then ties up your feet. “What are you doing?” you ask.

 

“God wants me to sacrifice you on the fire to prove I really love him,” your dad says.

 

You are terrified. Your dad helps you up. He’s about to throw you on the flames, when God stops him. “Here,” God says, “here’s a loaf of bread you can put into the fire. But now I know you really believe.”

 

Crazy – right? But it actually happened. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son to prove his faith. At the last minute, God provided a ram to use instead.

 

God has also provided the perfect sacrifice for everyone. No one ever need fear that God will ask this again. Jesus was the sacrifice, and when we believe in him we prove our faith. Have you proven yours by believing in Jesus? If not, do so today!

 

Prayer: Father, thank you that Jesus died for me. I do believe. Amen.

The God Who Sees

April 21, 2014

The God Who Sees

 

Genesis 16:13: Thereafter, Hagar referred to the LORD, who had spoken to her, as “the God who see me!” for she said, “I have seen the One who sees me!”

 

Have you ever felt like no one cares about you? Like you don’t matter to anyone?

 

Everyone has those feelings now and then. For Hagar in this story in the Bible, the feelings were intense. A slave, her owner Sarah, wife of Abraham, had allowed her to bear a special child for Abraham. This was an old practice. When a woman couldn’t have children, she often allowed a slave or servant to bear children that she’d adopt. In Hagar’s case, Sarah’s jealousy when Hagar became pregnant upset the whole house. Hagar ran away. She felt alone rejected, and hated.

 

But Hagar lived in a special house: Abraham’s. God had chosen to bless Abraham in many ways, and those in his house would be blessed as well. God “saw” Hagar in her misery and visited her. He told her to go back to Sarah, and things would improve. Hagar reacted with the words, “You are the God who sees me.” God knew about her trouble, and helped her.

 

Do you ever think that God sees you? He knows all about your problems, your hurts, your worries. Like Hagar, if you turn to him for help, he will answer. God never turns anyone away who seeks his love and friendship.

 

Prayer: Jesus, I know you see me. Let me never forget that you care. Amen. 

Out of Money

April 21, 2014

Out of Money

 

what can I do now

the money is gone

the accounts are empty

I have some gold

some silver in the

safe deposit box

it will not last long

I can’t get a job

I’ve applied everywhere

the recession remains

the market is empty

we eat we drink we sleep

but how long can it last

if I can’t pay the mortgage

if I can’t pay for groceries

if we really come to bottom

dead bottom

nowhere to look to but up

where will You and I be

when we reach that passageway

my parents are gone

the inheritance is spent
no one to go to

am I one of those who must

go to the church and beg

for a few cans of food

please I need You to say something

give me some assurance

give me something strong

and hard

and sure

to hold onto

yet I feel You say nothing

why are You so often silent

why do You look at us

know all we do

all we say

and You remain unmoved

seemingly uncaring

like David said

how long O Lord

will You forget me forever

You are love

it says in 1 John

twice

where is it in my days

where can I grasp it

my children look up to me

I’m hungry Daddy

I need some new clothes Daddy

I love you Daddy

but I hurt so bad

we have never been in this place

no money at all

I feel broken and forsaken

and deserted

all those things

You said you would never

forsake or desert me

You would never

do the things the world does

to the lost

You would never do to me your child

or any of Your children

the things I have seen

families taken to the end

believers murdered in Iran

and North Korea

I know

I know You say You are with us

to the end

but the world teems with

broken forsaken hurting Christians

what am I to do then

after the last check is written

the last dime cast to the cashier

the last hope dying

before my eyes

I’m sorry to complain

I don’t do it much

but sometimes I just

have to blurt it out

this is serious

where are You God

where the heck are You