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Friday, November 21, 2014

God is Weaving Your Tapestry (Blogging Through the Bible)

The Master Weaver

The image of God as the Master Weaver, weaving together both the good moments and the bad moments of our lives, to create a beautiful tapestry, is a lovely illustration of God's hand working in our lives. Only now, as we walk through these Grace-Filled-Moments of our lives, we cannot see the completed beautiful tapestry that God is working to create on our behalf.

That's why I'm so thankful we have the life of Joseph to look at. Today we finish reading in the book of Genesis. The book of beginnings has come to an end for us, but the impact of the lessons we have learned from these 50 chapters I think has only just begun.

We have looked back on the Master Weaver at work in the lives of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Issac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah, and Joseph and have seen how God can truly work ALL things together for the good of those who love Him. Joseph has taught me to offer up to God the painful moments of my life that can be redeemed for His glory in His faithful hands.

It's hard to imagine the beauty of our tapestry during the painful moments of our lives. In the moments of our pain we do not understand what good can come out of our circumstances. It's in these painful moments that we must trust who we know God to be and be open to discovering even more of Who He is. This is my prayer for me and for you as we walk through the painful moments of our lives.


Painful Moments Redeemed in the Hands of God



Here are my S.O.A.P.s for Genesis 49 and 50. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Genesis 49

Scripture: Genesis 49:24-25
24 But his bow remained in strength,
And the arms of his hands were made strong
By the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob
(From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
25 By the God of your father who will help you,
And by the Almighty who will bless you
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

Observations: Jacob’s words concerning his son Joseph in verses 24 and 25 reveal to us that Jacob truly did discover a personal understanding of Who God is as he had experienced God for himself during his lifetime. 

Jacob gives five titles of God: “the Mighty God of Jacob”, “the Shepherd”, “the Stone of Israel”, “the God of your father”, and “the Almighty”. 

Jacob’s personal relationship with God is seen in how he refers to God in 3 of the 5 titles using “of Jacob”, “of Israel”, “of your father”. He has discovered God for himself and can now refer to God in this way instead of how we see him referring to God back in chapter 32 verse 9 as “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac,”. God is now "the God of Jacob".

Application: The things we go through in this life allow us to experience God in a personal way for ourselves. A tradition I started for our family each Christmas is buying or creating an ornament for how our family has experienced God throughout the year. Last year was “Peace” as we experienced the Peace of God through trying times with our son who was dealing with fears and anxieties related to his diagnosis’ of Asperger’s and OCD. God was our peace during those trying times. This year we have experienced the faithfulness of God during financial struggles that He has brought us through, so I’ll be looking for an ornament that says “Faithful” because God has moved mountains in our finances. I might do two ornaments this year because God also reminded us during this time that He is our Provider.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for using the experiences of our lives to show us Who You are. Help us to remember to look for your attributes in every circumstance we will go through in this life. What a blessing it is to know we can take the hard places of our lives and use them to grow in our personal understanding of Your character. Give us eyes to see Who You are so that we can comfort others in the valleys of this life with the same comfort that You gave to us during our valleys. Thank You for being so faithful to my family and for reminding us that You are our provider for all that we need. In the faithful name of Jesus I pray. Amen!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Genesis 50

Scripture: Genesis 50:15, 19 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” 19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

Observations: Joseph’s brothers acknowledge “all the evil” they had done to their brother and worry that he would now turn on them since their father was dead. Joseph reassures his brothers that they have no need to be afraid of him because he is not “in the place of God” to bring retribution upon them. Joseph goes on to confirm the truth of the evil that his brothers committed against him, but even more so the greater truth that in God’s hands it was meant for the good purpose of saving the lives of many people.

Application: We need to develop the habit of looking for God’s hand in all the circumstances of our lives. When we live this way we can live as the “victor” instead of the “victim” and we can become “better” instead of “bitter”. We must trust the goodness of God to overrule any evil that would try to come against us.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Your Word tells us that no weapon formed against us shall prosper and that You’re working all things together for our good! Help us to hold on to these truths as we face the hardships and struggles of this life. May our hearts not seek retribution against those who have hurt us, but help us to lay our pain at the foot of the cross and earnestly pray for them instead. Teach us to intentionally look for Your hand weaving together all of the circumstances of our lives into a beautiful tapestry of your grace and mercy. May this be our focus which will allow us to be victorious conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is in His victorious name I pray. Amen!


Remember we will be in Psalm 3 on Monday. We have already read Psalm 1 and 2 back in September, so if you weren't with me then and want to read those two short Psalms over the weekend that would fine. 

Here is the reading plan for next week. I'll see you back here on Monday to discuss Psalm 3. Have a beautiful weekend friends!

Psalms Reading Plan


Walking in His Grace, 
Laurie


Many thanks to Courtney Joseph of Women Living Well, home of Good Morning Girls, for leading us through the Bible. Click on the image below to read other Blogging Through the Bible posts.

http://womenlivingwell.org/2014/11/you-intended-to-harm-me-but-god-intended-it-for-good/
 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holding On To Your Faith During Times of Famine (Blogging Through the Bible)

Promises of God


What do you do when you've been given a promise from God and then He takes you in a different direction from where your promise lies? That's exactly where Jacob finds himself in these final chapters of Genesis.

God has instructed Jacob to leave Canaan - the promised land - with his family and all of his possessions. God uses a famine throughout the land to drive Jacob and his family into the land of Egypt where Joseph is waiting with provisions that will keep them all alive. God has purposes behind this famine that are far greater than Jacob can imagine.

Why would God do this? Well, thankfully, He tells us exactly why in His Word. As we saw in my post on Monday, God gave four specific promises to Jacob to hold on to during this dark time - a time of famine that in God's hands would be used to fulfill His promises and purposes for Jacob's life.

Tuesday's reading showed us the fulfillment of those four promises God gave to Jacob. During this time of famine, God was working out His good plan for Jacob's life and for his entire family. God separated this people for a specific purpose. He did not forget about His promise of the land of Canaan. This was a time of preparation for Jacob and his entire family. They not only needed to grow in physical number, but they also needed to grow spiritually. There was going to come a day when they would have to take possession of their promised land.

The same holds true for us today. We must be growing spiritually in our walk with God in order to take possession of the promises He has for us as His children. He truly has a good plan for my life and for your life! One day we, too, will take possession of our promised land - our true home in the presence of God - and we need to be prepared to meet Jesus face-to-face.

Are you facing a time of famine in your spiritual walk with God? Does it seem like God has taken you off in a different direction from where you thought you'd be at this time in your life? I'd like to encourage you to hold on to your faith - hold on to the promises of God that you know belong to you because you are His child! Let God do the work He wants to do in your heart wherever He has you at this time in your life, trusting that what He is doing is for your good. This time is not to be wasted - it is our time of preparation - and nothing is wasted in the hands of our faithful and loving God!

Nothing is wasted in the hands of our faithful and loving God


Here are my S.O.A.P.s for Genesis 47 and 48: 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Genesis 47

Scripture: Genesis 47:5-6 Then Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, saying, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you. Have your father and brothers dwell in the best of the land; let them dwell in the land of Goshen. And if you know any competent men among them, then make them chief herdsmen over my livestock.”

Genesis 47:27 So Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly.

Genesis 47:29-31 When the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “Now if I have found favor in your sight, please put your hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me. Please do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but let me lie with my fathers; you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” And he said, “I will do as you have said.” 31 Then he said, “Swear to me.” And he swore to him. So Israel bowed himself on the head of the bed.

Observations:
In Genesis 47:5-6 we see the favor of Pharaoh extended to Joseph’s father and brothers in the giving of the best of the land and in making some of Joseph’s brothers chief herdsmen over his livestock. This is a fulfillment of God’s promise to go with Jacob and his family to Egypt (Genesis 46:4).

In Genesis 47:27 we see Jacob and his family with possessions, growing and multiplying in numbers. This is evidence of the fulfillment of God’s promise to make Jacob into a great nation (Genesis 46:3).
In Genesis 47:29-31 we see the fulfillment of God’s promise that Joseph would be with Jacob when he died and His promise that Jacob would be buried with his fathers (Genesis 46:4).

All four promises that God spoke to Jacob are fulfilled. God is faithful! All of these promises were coming to pass during a time of famine. Proof that God is working even in the midst of the trying times of our lives.

Application: Cling to God during the valleys of this life. Know that He is with me, that He is shaping my character, and that His promises for my life will surely come to pass. 

Most of the time I do not understand how God is moving to fulfill His promises, but that’s when I must walk by faith trusting that God is good and that His plans for me are good. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your goodness and Your faithfulness to me. Your ways are not my ways; Your ways are higher than mine; and Your thoughts are not my thoughts. Give me grace to walk faithfully with You through the valleys of this life. Help me to trust You when what I see with my natural eyes does not seem to align with what You have promised to me in Your Word. I pray that during those times I will keep my eyes focused on You and on the truth of Your promises I find in Your Word. I pray that during those times I will allow Your hand to mold and shape my character for Your glory. In the faithful name of Jesus I pray. Amen!



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Genesis 48

Scripture: Genesis 48:3-4, 21 Then Jacob said to Joseph: “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’ 21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers.

Observations: Jacob shares with Joseph the promise God had given to him – a promise to make Jacob fruitful, to multiply him and make him a multitude of people, and to give the land of Canaan to Jacob’s descendants as their possession forever. Jacob shares with Joseph that he is indeed dying, but reassures Joseph that God will be with him and will bring Joseph back to the promised land of Canaan.

Application: It is important to remind our children of the promises of God, that He desires a personal relationship with them, that one day Jesus will return for us, and we’ll finally be home with Him forever.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the promise we have of Jesus’ return! This dark world we travel now is not our true home. Every day that we continue to wait for the return of Jesus, we see a more defined separating taking place between Your children and those who refuse to acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior. Give us an urgency as earthly parents to tell our children of all the promises of God, of how He desires a personal relationship with them, and that Jesus is returning one day and at His return every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. May all of our children bow their knees and confess Jesus as Lord of their lives now so that they will be ready at His return. May we all, as God’s children, keep our eyes focused on the promise of Jesus’ return and on our eternal home with Him. It’s in the redeeming name of Jesus I pray. Amen!


Well, we only have 2 more days in Genesis! Here's our reading plan for the rest of the week:
Genesis Reading Plan


What Book of the Bible Are We Reading Next?

We are Reading Through the Bible with the Good Morning Girls taking one chapter at a time, one book of the Bible at a time, for as long as it takes us. There are no dates or numbers on our reading plan, so you can jump in at any time!

What book of the Bible are we reading next?

The book of Psalms! I l.o.v.e. the Psalms!! During the darkest times of my life - those times of famine I talked about today - I have turned to God in the Psalms for comfort and for strength to continue on in my journey of life. God has truly blessed me with many Grace-Filled-Moments as I seek to live life's moments in the power of His grace! He will do the same for you as you commit to seeking His face through His Word and in prayer. Won't you join me in the book of Psalms on Monday?

Now for those of you who may not have been with me in the very beginning of this Reading Through the Bible journey which I began in August with the Good Morning Girls, I need to explain that we have already read Psalm 1 and 2 back in September. So you may want to go ahead and read those 2 chapters over the weekend so you can begin with me in Psalm 3 on Monday.

Here is a bookmark for Psalms that Courtney Joseph has provided for us. You can right-click on the image and print it off to use as a bookmark for your Bible during our time in Psalms.

Psalms Bookmark



I'll see you back here on Friday when we will finish the book of Genesis! Only two more days friends...let's finish strong!

Walking in His Grace, 
Laurie


***Chime in! Who is excited about starting the book of Psalms on Monday? Give me a shout out in the comments below...


Monday, November 17, 2014

Our Final Week in Genesis (Blogging Through the Bible)


Genesis 46-50

Today we begin our final week in the book of Genesis! It has been such an amazing journey through Genesis. Thanks for joining me!

Here's our reading plan for this week.


Genesis Reading Plan

And here's my S.O.A.P for Genesis 46:


Scripture: Genesis 46:3-4  So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.”

Observations: God tells Jacob to not be afraid to go down to Egypt. He gives Jacob four promises to comfort and reassure Jacob that he is doing the right thing by going to Egypt and has no need to fear. 

The first promise of God, “I will make of you a great nation there,” reveals His good purpose to Jacob for sending him and his entire family into the land of Egypt. The unconditional faithfulness of God is revealed again in this promise which reaffirms the covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants.

The second promise of God, “I will go down with you to Egypt,” assures Jacob that God will be with him in this hostile enemy territory, giving him another reason not to fear. Jacob can be sure that where God is calling him, He will also go with him. 

The third promise of God, “I will also surely bring you up again,” reaffirms God’s promise spoken to Abraham when He first prophesied that his descendants would be strangers and oppressed in a land that was not theirs (Gen. 15:13-14), but that after 400 years God would bring them back to the land of Canaan. I’m sure Jacob had heard about this prophecy growing up. There are times in all of our lives where we need to be reminded of God’s word and to be assured that whatever God says will surely come to pass. This promise is also given as a personal comfort to Jacob that he would be buried in the cave with his fathers.

The fourth promise of God, “Joseph will put his hands on your eyes,” is given to comfort Jacob that Joseph would be there with him at his time of death.

Application: During fearful times of our lives, we can seek the face of God for comfort through prayer and reading His Word. We can be reminded of His promises to us while we sojourn in this hostile world that is not our true home by spending time reading the Bible. God’s Word is given to us as a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. We can’t use it as the spiritual weapon it is intended for – the sword of the Spirit – unless we open up its pages and read the words that were inspired by God.

There are promises of God found in the Bible that are ours as His children. Jacob received strength for the journey ahead of him because of the promises God spoke to him. May we run to God through prayer and into His Word to receive the strength for our individual journeys of this life.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Word and for the opportunity to sit at Your feet in prayer. Help us to seek Your face every day for the strength we need for this journey of life in a world that is hostile to You and to Your children. We long to be with You and to live eternally in Your presence. Help us to keep our eyes on You and to not be fearful on the journey we each are taking on the road that will lead us home to Heaven. In the comforting name of Jesus I pray. Amen!


Let's finish strong in the book of Genesis. I'll see you back here on Wednesday! In addition to sharing my S.O.A.P.s, I'll also be giving you information on which book of the Bible we're heading into next and about our Christmas break.

Walking in His Grace, 
Laurie
 

 

**Chime in! What are your thoughts for this chapter? Please share in the comments below.


 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Forgiveness and Reconciliation (Blogging Through the Bible)


Genesis 44 and 45


We see in this week's reading the beauty of forgiveness and reconciliation in the story of Joseph and his brothers. Their story is a beautiful picture of Jesus forgiving sinners who come to repentance and are reconciled to God.

Here are my S.O.A.P.s for Genesis 44 and 45. I would love to hear your thoughts about these chapters. Feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post.



Thursday, November 13, 2014


Genesis 44


Scripture: Genesis 44:1-2, 10-14, 33-34 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack. Also put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his grain money.” So he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.
 

10 And he said, “Now also let it be according to your words; he with whom it is found shall be my slave, and you shall be blameless.” 11 Then each man speedily let down his sack to the ground, and each opened his sack. 12 So he searched. He began with the oldest and left off with the youngest; and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and each man loaded his donkey and returned to the city. 14 So Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, and he was still there; and they fell before him on the ground.
 

33 Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad as a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers. 34 For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me, lest perhaps I see the evil that would come upon my father?”


Observations: Joseph continues to be guided by the hand of God in these tests of his brothers’ hearts with the intention of bringing about complete repentance in their hearts. When Joseph’s servant finds the cup in Benjamin’s sack, the reaction of the brothers shows their grief and disturbance over the loss of Benjamin that would be the death of their father. They tore their clothes and returned to the city. This time they don’t leave their brother in the hands of captives as they did Joseph; instead, they accompany Benjamin determined to stand with him in slavery or even death. Judah even intercedes for Benjamin offering to take his place as a slave to Joseph. This shows Judah’s concern for Benjamin as well as his concern for the well being of their father. We can see in Judah a change of heart as he offers his own life for the lives of Benjamin and their father.


Application: There is no greater evidence of a changed heart than the sacrificial love for another. We are never more like Jesus than when we put the needs of others before our own. The same sacrificial love that Jesus poured out on us should flow from our hearts into our marriages, into our children’s lives, and into our friendships. 


Prayer: Heavenly Father, create in me a heart that longs to put the needs of others above my own. Help me to remember the sacrificial love Jesus poured out for me as I interact with those you have blessed my life with. Even more, I pray that You would help me to show sacrificial love to those who are not so easy to love and to those who have hurt me. Thank You, Jesus, for Your example of sacrificial love shown in that while we were yet sinners You chose to die for us. It’s in Your loving name I pray. Amen!



Friday, November 14, 2014


Genesis 45


Scripture: Genesis 45:1, 4-5, 7-8, 14-15 Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Make everyone go out from me!” So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 


And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 


And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.


14 Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. 15 Moreover he kissed all his brothers and wept over them, and after that his brothers talked with him.


Observations: My heart smiled at today’s reading. What a beautiful picture of reconciliation! What a beautiful testimony of the power of God at work in Joseph’s life working ALL things together for good – not only Joseph’s good, but for the good of his family and the people of the land who were affected by the famine.


Joseph’s cautiousness finally melts away as he feels assurance of the godly repentance that has led to a change of heart in the lives of his brothers. He is no longer able to restrain himself and all the emotion that he has been guarding within his heart he is finally able to release. Can you image the relief and the overwhelming sense of joy?! Cautiousness is pushed away to usher in a glorious time of reconciliation.


Joseph recognizes God’s hand in the events that have shaped his life – both good and bad. He releases his brothers from the pain of guilt over how they sold him to the Ishmaelites by assuring them that it was God who sent him there to Egypt in order that lives would be saved during the famine. 


Tears are flowing and brotherly love abounds. Talks begin among brothers who have spent years apart from each other; I can just imagine them sharing with one another. 


Forgiveness and godly sorrow that leads to repentance brought about this beautiful reconciliation. 


Application: God sees the big picture of all of the events – good and bad – that will make up the story of our life. Joseph’s life is a wonderful reminder that when God writes our story the ending will justify every.single.event. There are times of growth for us in the good times and even more so in the bad times of our lives. It’s in the bad times that I’m able to cling to what I know about God – knowledge I’ve gained by spending time daily with Him in His Word and through prayer. It’s in those bad times that I get to experience God…not just with a head knowledge, but with a heart knowledge as I find Him faithful to be Who He says He is and of His love for me.


Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of salvation You have given to me through Jesus Christ. Because You first loved us, You provided the means of our reconciliation through the perfect and sinless life of Jesus. He fulfilled every requirement of the Law that we could not. It’s through His blood that we have been reconciled to You. Help me to live my life in the same way…to be the one to approach a broken relationship with love and forgiveness and a hand that is extended in an effort of reconciliation. In the reconciling name of Jesus I pray. Amen!


Have a great weekend friends! I'll be back on Monday with another Blogging Through the Bible post. Here's our reading plan for next week:


Bible Reading Plan

Walking in His Grace, 
Laurie

I'm linking up with this Blogging Through the Bible post with Courtney Joseph over at Women Living Well, home of Good Morning Girls. Read more Blogging Through the Bible posts by clicking on the image below.  

Good Morning Girls