Worked

Joseph was in training to become second in command of Egypt. He just didn’t know it. He was not a shepherd, like King David, but he often tended his father’s flocks.

Genesis 37:2, “…When Joseph was seventeen years old, he often tended his father’s flocks. He worked for his half-brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. But Joseph reported to his father some of the bad things his brothers were doing.” New Living Translation

Bilhah and Zilpah were slaves or servants. Their owners, Rachel and Leah, gave them to Jacob to become his wives, (30:3, 30:9). Their children were the sons of slaves. These sons were the shepherds.

Joseph, the favorite, (v. 3, 4), was willing to work for sons of slaves. It says he often tended the flocks.

10 Characteristics of a Leader

  1. A leader is not afraid of hard work and getting dirty, v. 2.
  2. A leader does not see any job as beneath him, v. 2.
  3. A leader can work for, and with, anyone, v. 2.
  4. A leader will work steadily or often, v. 2.
  5. A leader does not cover up dishonesty, v. 2.
  6. A leader reports and submits to authority, v. 2.
  7. A leader does not keep a list of all failures or wrongdoings, v. 2.
  8. A leader works when he doesn’t have to because of his position, v. 3, 4.
  9. A leader will do the work, even when it is someone else’s job, v. 2.
  10. A leader will seek answers, even when it makes him unpopular, v. 3, 4.

Dear Father God,

Thank You for the reminder that I am in training. I don’t know the plans You have in store for me. Help me to work like Joseph did, no matter where I am.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Sees

It’s hard to do the right thing when someone is taking advantage of you. You may feel like giving up. But God sees the abuse. He sees when you are yelled at, blamed for everything, taken advantage of, and ignored.

He also sees your hard work:

  1. He sees when you scrub the mess on the stove left from someone else cooking the day before.
  2. He sees you pulling the pop cans and recyclable material from the garbage as you gather it up.
  3. He sees you removing pop can tabs, and cutting out Box Tops and Campbell’s Labels for the school fundraiser.
  4. He sees you taking inventory of the refrigerator and planning dinner around the food that needs to be used up.
  5. He sees you freezing items to use later and giving away food you cannot use.
  6. He sees you mending instead of spending and repairing instead of replacing.
  7. He sees you cleaning the corners and cleaning out drawers.
  8. He sees the ever-present box for Good Will that you continually fill.
  9. He sees you washing windows, ironing, and doing other “old-fashioned” jobs that have fallen by the wayside in today’s modern world.

Genesis 31:42, “…But God has seen your abuse and my hard work….” New Living Translation

He is the God who sees and every blessing and reward comes from him.

Dear Father God,

Thank You for seeing me. Thank You for the rewards You have placed in my life. 

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Sit

Sunday, October 9, 2016

My eyes have been watery, itchy, and swollen for a week. My doctor is out-of-town for another week. This is my 8th day in the house and nothing seems to help.

Today, when I got up, my eyeballs had a layer of mucus on them. I am having trouble seeing. (Yesterday, I texted our band manager and told her I might not play today.) Before I started reading today’s chapters, I asked God to show me what to do today.

Genesis 27:1, “When Isaac was old and turning blind…” New Living Translation

Genesis 27:19, “…Now sit up and eat…” New Living Translation

Genesis 27:31, “…Sit up, my Father, and eat…” New Living Translation

When Isaac had trouble seeing he laid down, only sitting up to eat. After breakfast, I’m going to lay down or sit.

Dear Father God,

Thank You for giving me direction each day. I don’t know why I have been sidelined for a week, but I trust You. Help me to hear Your voice stronger every day.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Foreigner

When I read today’s verse, God reminded me that I am a foreigner on earth. This is not my permanent home; I am only here temporarily. I don’t own a vast amount of land, but God promises to bless me anyway.

Genesis 26:3, “Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you and bless you….” New Living Translation

Abraham and Isaac showed us how to live in a land as a foreigner.

  1. They improved the land by digging wells, 26:15, 18.
  2. They planted seeds and harvested a crop, 26:12.
  3. When there was a dispute they moved away from the place of hostility, 12:22.
  4. They made treaties with the locals, 12:30.

That is how we should live here.

1 Peter 2:11, “Dear friends, I warn you as ‘temporary residents and foreigners’ to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.” New Living Translation

Dear Father God,

Thank You for the reminder that I am only here for a little while. My real home is in heaven and I will spend eternity there. I pray that those who are unsure of their eternal home will turn to You. Show me how to improve my land.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Presence

I loved going to the youth camp at Country Mission Camp in Swaledale, Iowa. The expectation in the evening services was palpable. Pa and Ma Lamb and their extended family covered that week in prayer.

We spent the mornings in classes where they filled us up with as much Bible teaching as possible. They filled the afternoons in outdoor activities to help burn off our youthful enthusiasm.

Saturday morning, after breakfast, we were all sent home and there were many tears. We exchanged addresses because long distance calls were too expensive. (This was before computers and cell phones.)

I thought it was my friends that I missed. I was wrong. It was the Presence of God. We spent a week living in the Presence – just as Abraham did.

Genesis 24:40, “He responded, ‘The Lord, in whose presence I have lived…'” New Living Translation

This is why I reach for my Bible first thing in the morning. I’m seeking the Presence. I want to live in the Presence.

Dear Father God,

Thank You for inhabiting the praises of Your people. All we have to do is start praising You, and Your Presence comes. Thank You that we can live in Your Presence, just like Abraham. Help us to live in Your Presence all day long.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Yahweh-Yireh

She panicked when she read the letter. The first payment was due in a week and a second payment in a month. They had been working and saving for weeks but wouldn’t even have enough for the first payment.

She went to church and worked in the children’s department as usual. She greeted a friend and he told her she seemed stressed out. She explained her dilemma. He told her not to ever get stressed about money.

A few days passed and it was time for the midweek service. She ran into her friend on her way to her station. He handed her enough cash to cover the first payment.

She burst into tears.

Genesis 22:14, “Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means ‘The Lord will provide’). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.'” New Living Translation

Yahweh-Yireh is spelled Jehovah-Jireh in other translations. God uses people to provide. May we always be alert to those around us with needs.

Dear Father God,

Thank You for meeting our needs. Thank You for using us to meet the needs of others. Help us to be aware of any we can help.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Yogurt

I decided to read my Bible today before having breakfast. David woke me up to tell me he was leaving for work. When I sleep this late, I usually eat first.

Since I am obviously hungry, my mind wandered a time or two thinking about what I would have for breakfast. I thought about cereal and milk, or yogurt and strawberries. I’m trying to get more protein in my diet. I thought having a glass of milk with a bowl of yogurt would be too much. Then I read today’s verse.

Genesis 18:6, 8, “So Abraham ran back to the tent and said to Sarah, ‘Hurry! Get three large measures of your best flour, knead it into dough, and bake some bread.’…When the food was ready, Abraham took some yogurt and milk and the roasted meat, and he served it to the men….” New Living Translation

Now, I’m thinking toast, yogurt, strawberries, and a glass of milk. Too bad I don’t have any roasted meat. I’m really hungry now!

Dear Father God,

Thank You for providing my daily bread. Thank You for fresh strawberries to go with it! Help me to honor You in everything I do – even what I eat.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Stages

My last baby was born 24 years ago today. I remember how scared I was when I was pregnant with my first baby. But pregnancy has stages; each trimester is different.

The first stage the baby is a secret between you, your husband, and your doctor. It’s an amazing time knowing a little person is growing inside you.

The second stage is when you can no longer hide your secret. You start planning the nursery and being congratulated by your friends and family.

The third trimester is harder. You have to pee. All. The. Time! You can’t get comfortable. You can’t sleep. By the end of those months, you are ready to do anything to get this baby out! You hit the nesting stage, and in an odd burst of energy, you spring clean your house.

Labor and delivery have stages, too. It starts small with 10-minute breaks and the breaks get shorter. You work through the labor, breathing as if you are running a marathon. Then it’s time to push and you know the pain will all go away as soon as you give birth.

The stages don’t end there. You go through: infancy, toddlerhood, preschool, school, middle school, high school, college, basic training, and then they fall in love.

Even love has stages: becoming “Facebook official,” engaged, and then married. And it starts all over again: pregnancy, labor, delivery, and you fall in love with your baby’s baby.

********

Our Christian walk is in stages, too. You don’t say “yes” to Christ and wake up the next day in China or Africa as a missionary.

Genesis 12:9, “Then Abram continued traveling south by stages toward the Negev.” New Living Translation

Abram took a detour to Egypt because of a famine. But even after a detour, God continued leading him on in stages.

Genesis 13:3, “From the Negev, they continued traveling by stages…” New Living Translation

You may be in the early stages of your Christian walk, or maybe coming back from a detour. Or you have walked through many stages with Jesus Christ. You never arrive, but you also never walk alone.

“Happy Birthday, Derek!”

Dear Father God,

Bless Derek today on his birthday. I know You will guide him through all the stages ahead. I know You are not finished with me and I find comfort in the fact You will be with me every step of every stage I go through. Make my next step clear.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Ark-Bound

You have heard of being housebound, but only Noah’s family was Ark-bound. The song we sang in Sunday school talked about it raining for 40 days and 40 nights. It wasn’t until today that I realized Noah’s family was in the Ark for more than a year.

Genesis 8:13-16, “…On the first day of the new year, ten and a half months after the flood began…Two more months went by…Then God Said to Noah, ‘Leave the boat, all of you…'” New Living Translation

They were in the boat for 12 1/2 months! Can you imagine the smell with only one window and all of those animals? They didn’t have a shower either! We all have it easy compared to Noah!

Dear Father God,

Thank You for the rainbow that shows Your promise to never flood the earth again. Thank You for the seasons. Help me to be grateful for autumn, in spite of Ragweed.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Lifespan

My dad told us he would die when he was 77 – just like his father, and he did. My grandmother, my mother’s mother, lived to be 97. I tell my kids I will live to be 100. How do I know? I don’t. The day of my death was written before I was conceived, see Psalms 139:16.

But I am living my life planning to be alive until I’m 100. I exercise, drink water, eat a lot of raw fruit and vegetables, and get plenty of rest. As I was reading the chapters today I realized my goal may be too short!

Genesis 6:3, “Then the Lord said, ‘My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.'” New Living Translation

Dear Father God,

Show me how to take care of the body you gave me to allow it to last for 120 years. Help me to always remember it is a temple of Your Spirit.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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