Sunday, February 3, 2008

Monday Morning Cover to Cover

Welcome back to our Monday Morning post where 24 of us join together to comment today about what lingers in our hearts as we have read together the chronological Bible this week Genesis 40-50 and Exodus 1-7 and some readings in I Chronicles 1-7. We’d love for you to leave a comment here about what stirred in your heart this week as we read together the story of Joseph from a braggadocious dreamer to a beautiful trusting heart in a dungeon. Link us up to your own blog where we would LOVE for you to post in length what your God spoke to you from our readings. Feel free to comment on any of the selections. I am only going to comment on Genesis and wait until next week to start my Exodus comments. And if you are visiting and this is new to you, just leave whatever comment is on your heart.

An author who has touched me profoundly wrote:
The purpose of VULNERABILITY:is to “get insight into myself so that I can be a happier person.”
But the purpose of AUTHENTICITY is to “face where I am so that I can be lifted up into the larger story of God and serve his purposes more deeply, more fully in my life.” I Corinthians 8:1 says knowledge just puffs us up but Love is what changes us. Knowledge makes us feel important but love puts us in our rightful place. Our humble hearts help us more than our prideful minds. May we read His Word not just to seek insight to be a better person. May we read His Word and let Him change our interior world to be caught up in His Larger Story---His thoughts, His ways, His purposes. Pouring out His Beauty in a much larger story than just ourselves, our little world. There's something so much bigger than what is happening to me.

Fifteen Thoughts from The Life of Joseph.

GOD KNOWS YOUR ADDRESS
Forgotten in an empty cistern.
Forgotten in an unjust dark dungeon.
13 years go by from cistern to dungeon---age 17 to age 30.
How did God help Joseph when he had no encouragement? There is something BEAUTIFUL in this suffering Joseph has embraced while in prison “for a long time” (40:4) Even the cupbearer who Joseph helped (40:23) forgot, NO—he didn’t give a rip about Joseph. Did Joseph think he would ever be vindicated? Where was his silent God?

MY GOD IS MY SHEPHERD TO THIS VERY DAY
I’m so grateful to my beautiful God for helping me forgive my own brother who violated me I was forced out of my childhood home again and again by violence. Genesis 40:15 - but my God has been my Shepherd all my life to this very day; and my Angel has delivered me from harm all my life. Jesus was my Door. The Message says in Jeremiah 17:16: "God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again. You are my praise!Listen to how they talk about me: So where's this 'Word of God'? We'd like to see something happen!" I have not run away from being your shepherd to those people you have given me if it is one or one hundred, if it is a big name or no name.

GOD ACTS IN BEHALF OF THOSE WHO WAIT ON HIM
Isaiah 64:4 God shows up in a dream: 41:16 “God will give Pharaoh the answer God desires—I CANNOT DO IT, replies Joseph. .” WOW. An absent God who didn’t use Joseph’s gift to get him out of jail. Joseph realized his powerlessness, Joseph testifies about Who is in control of his life in the dungeon for 13 years. Joseph entered his suffering just like Job did. So, how did Joseph go from a braggadocious dreamer to a contented captive waiting in the dark? Waiting for man or waiting on a God who was not moving fast?

IN ABUNDANCE OF WORDS, SIN IS UNAVOIDABLE.
Can you imagine after 13 years, you receive an opportunity to send a personal word to the Pharaoh? Verse 40:15 really got to me. Joseph could have made others look really bad for what they unjustly did to him, but all Joseph says is the truth with no defensiveness, no self protection… “I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.” (40:15). One sentence. Case closed. Joseph silences me in my problems. If I had an audience with like a Pharaoh about how I’ve been served injustice, I would so build my case to prove what??? Joseph was dead to sin, at this point, and alive to his captive God. Even the chief baker was just looking for favorable words only (40:16). Will I only receive favorable words from my friends?

SENDING YOU A MESSAGE OF THE SAME VERSE OVER AND OVER

The thought in 41:32 was chilling to me. The reason that “dreams are given in two forms is that the matter is firmly decided by God.” Whoa.This is intriguing to me when I think of times, like this very day, when God has spoken the same thing twice, even thrice, to me.

LIVING FOR ANOTHER WORLD
From prison to the pinnacle of power. In 41:41, it says: “Make Way!” for Joseph. No one lifts hand or foot w/o word from Joseph This could easily be enjoyed WAY TOO MUCH by deprived Joseph BUT —NO, he wasn’t living for that world, he was living for another world. This guy, who had a very rocky braggy jealous-filled start has turned in to one awesome solid young man. He offers me such hope, such a taste of his God.

ENTER YOUR SUFFERING AND SEARCH FOR GOD THERE
I was touched by the names Joseph gave his sons:”God made me forget troubles of my household”“God made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” 41:51. Again, it makes me think that Joseph entered his suffering and found His God there…

SUFFERING CHANGED HIS FACE AND HEART
Amazing that it says in 42:3 they couldn’t recognize Joseph…you know, he had been through so much suffering that it must have changed his face. And we know it changed his heart.

NO “FAVORITES” ANYMORE…….NO “LITTLE PEOPLE”
How interesting Jacob said “everything is against me.” in 42:35. I mean, he still had 10 children and Job had none. He still had that hierarchy—I won’t give up Ben who is special to me and he says in v. 38 that Ben is the only one left—what about the other sons? Jacob responded to his sons based on their performance before God. Is that God’s love?

SAME SINS OVER AND OVER EXPECTING CHANGE
Chapter 43 - they need more food and Jacob says to go get more but they argue—Ben has to go with us. Jacob says you should have kept that info from the ruler. Still dealing with deception in his old age. Help me God not to keep dealing with same sins over and over expecting different results.

AFFLICTION INVITES US TO ACKNOWLEDGE FAILURE
Makes me think of 42:21 where the brothers said they were guilty concerning Joseph in that they saw the anguish of his soul and did nothing about it—now the brothers are suffering and affliction has a way of inviting us all to acknowledge our faults which otherwise might remain hidden. So sad the brothers spent their life hiding their guilt.

FOCUS ON PAIN FREE AND WE LIVE ONLY FOR RELIEF
I Chron 4:9 - Jabez' beautiful prayer “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. I know we cannot live pain free. They were living in a time of war and this so makes me think of my friend Cyd who was abducted in Afghanistan 10 DAYS AGO and may she be kept from harm! Free from pain! So hoping for her safe return!

AUTHENTIC JOSEPH WAS LIFTED UP TO THE LARGER STORY OF GOD
Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. Don’t be distressed. Don’t be angry with yourselves. There was a larger story of God. “It was not you who sent me here, but God." 45:13 – the Glory of God was on Joseph and he wanted his dad to know the honor bestowed on him.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES….LEAD A QUIET LIFE….
Gen. 46:28 . As soon as Joseph appeared before Israel, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time. I thought it was so interesting that when Joseph was released from prison, he made no attempt to go to his father. I can understand not going to his brothers. Wouldn’t he want his father to know he was alive and see him? It was only because the father and sons showed up. Joseph took care of the responsibilities in front of him. This challenges me in my current dilemma to live a quiet life and take care of my own responsibilities before my God and let God arrange restoration. Again, am I striving to make it happen? However 42:21 shows I must repent of what I am guilty of. Ball is always in my court.

YOU INTENDED HARM; GOD INTENDED GOOD
When the brothers’ message came to Joseph, he wept in deep places and replied: 50:19 “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” How beautiful is that!

ONLY GOD CAN GIVE US A FORGIVING HEART
50:24 God will surely come to your aid. He certainly has for me to help me forgive my brother. I stood at my brother’s grave recently with 4 others as we buried him knowing that I had forgiven him again and again. I forgave him out loud that moment as he was lowered into the ground. I forgive him this moment and forever. I walked away free. I am free.

28 comments:

Ang baylis 2/04/2008  

Good Morning, Girls!
I was tempted not to participate this week because things are a bit crazy around here. I am enjoying this SO much and am excited about how reading the Bible this way instead of all broken up makes so much sense to me in a way I never understood. If you don't mind, I wanted to write down the 3 verses that couldn't possibly be missed by me this week. They are as follows:

Genesis 50:20-21
20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.


Exodus 1:16-17
16 "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live." 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.

Exodus 3:15
God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.

I'm praying for all of you that you are well and enjoying this study as much as I am!
Much Love,
Angie xoxo

Nise' 2/04/2008  

Beautiful thoughts Bev. I love what you said about GOD ACTS IN BEHALF OF THOSE WHO WAIT ON HIM. Do I serve God or the circumstances? This week as I was reading the story of Joseph and his brothers I was reminded that God is always working things out in our circumstances. Sometimes they are worked out over a short period of time and other times the circumstances may be God setting something up that we won't understand that has future implications. We have no idea that what is happening right now may be a prelude to God working out something huge in our lives. And to just keep on working it out and keeping focus on Him. As I was reading, I was also thinking that fiction can't get any better than this story! It has everything and it's TRUTH! Read the rest of my post here.

Patty 2/04/2008  

Good morning! There was so much in our reading this past week that it was hard for me to decide what I wanted to share. God's Word is amazing and again it is an honor to read the Bible with you all! Thank you for letting me share and Bev, after reading your thoughts, to learn just a little bit of where God has delivered you from to where you are at now, leaves me speechless. Your heart for Him overflows to all of us! Thank you for your encouragment!
Here is what I will share:
Gen. 46:2-3, God speaks to Jacob in another vision, God says, "Jacob, Jacob!" and he said, "Here I am." vs. 3, So He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there." Obviously Jacob had a fear going to Egypt or God wouldn't have appeared to him telling him not to fear. He was going to a new place to reunite with his son Joseph. This quickens in me that God will call us to go, do we let fear keep us from going or do we do it afraid? Trust me, I have been in both places. The places God calls us to go can be many different places, un-employment, a season of waiting, I remember sitting in my former church in the worship service and toward the end of the sermon and through the invitation I felt God speaking to my heart, Patty, I am calling you out, my heart was racing so fast, it just happened at this time that I had a chance to go to Africa on a medical mission trip and I thought that was what God meant and I walked down and prayed with my pastor. Turned out it wasn't Africa He called me to go to but this was the time I walked the road of sickness, cancer. I was afraid but God also filled me with His Power and Strength through one of the darkest times of my life. He is God, Immanuel, God with Us. He goes with us, whereever He calls us to go, He is already there!

Gen 50:19, "Joseph said to his brothers, Am I in the place of God? His brothers afraid that Joseph would get even with them since their father was dead. Am I in the place of God, cross references to Romans 12:19, Don't take revenge , my friends but leave room for God's wrath; for it is written "It is mine to avenge. I will repay. Joseph could have taken revenge but he chose to forgive. It made me think of the times I took the place of God with people who hurt me. Who am I? There have been times I wanted to hurt those who hurt me , imagined many ways I could pay them back and God spoke this to me. I have learned to ask for mercy for them because after all there are times when I have been the one to hurt and I would want God's mercy. I have this saying, hurting people hurt people. May our response be to pray for one another.

Exodus 1:20, So God was kind to the mid-wives. They feared God more than man and they helped God's children. God was kind, that really gets me. Their is nothing like the lovingkindness of God. I remember being in a season that was one of the most difficult things I have ever been in, a lady and her friends lying about me,(in church) and people who should have known better believing her lies and turned on me. Walking through the church getting dirty looks, through this God would not let me speak up. I can tell you that I didn't want to teach my Sunday school class or minister to anyone. In my words, I was done. God told me to serve His people through the good and bad times. Can you imagine the mid-wives, they could have chosen to go the other way and kill all the males that were born. I am sure there were times they didn't want to do this job.(or be in this position) Look at the N.T. verse that cross references from Ex. 1:20, to Hebrews 6:10,God is not unjust; he will not forget your work, and the love you have shown Him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. This was the verse God gave me thru that time. We are showing God love when we help his children, even in times when we don't have the heart or mind to, in the difficult seasons we go through and that does not go unnoticed by God! Keep serving God's people and fear and obey God not man! He will reward our work.

annie's eyes 2/04/2008  

There are so many things that linger as we say goodbye this week to Jacob and Joseph and we see Moses and Aaron step up in power over Israel Particularly rich text and so many lessons, I hardly know where to begin! Like Angie, I am so taken with the bravery of the midwives who out of fear for the Lord, and probably love in their hearts, could not put the Hebrew babies to death. I am moved by Joseph’s powerful forgiveness and understanding that had he not gone through all he had, many would have died from the famine. I loved meeting Moses again for the first time, seeing him as a weak and sinful human that God made mighty. I think it is about the journey more with God than the destination. He’s into character building, love refining, and relationship a lot more than the circumstances required to see it all to fruition.
Here
are a few major lessons I gleaned as I read through the readings this week. This journey is blessing me, most especially each of your own perspectives at week’s end. May you enjoy your own appropriateblessing from God this week.

helenw13 2/04/2008  

Good morning all...I look forward to heading over to your sites to read your thoughts...
Bev, great 15 thoughts about Joseph...your words about leading a quiet life and taking care of our responsibility was really eye opening to me...funny, I don't think I ever thought about why Joseph didn't go and see his father post-prison...great insight...thank you.

I also focused on Joseph this week and you can read more here!

Have a blessed week!

Helen

Mary Lou 2/04/2008  

As always, Bev your comments stirred my heart and pointed me towards Him. What stirred my heart this week reading about Joseph was how God remembered him and it is not recorded that Joseph became impatient while he was in all of those waiting rooms. God grew him in those waiting rooms to be exactly who he needed to be in God's own timing for the saving of Joseph's family and all the others who needed the food....If I could only be as patient as Joseph and not resist my waiting rooms so much. And I feel I am in several waiting rooms and He is speaking to me and tugging at my heart and I am doing my best to listen and pay attention...don't want to go this way again....Blessings on you and yours......thanks for all you give out.....

CrownLaidDown 2/04/2008  

My brain is tired, my friend. I don't know why, but it feels so full: of life, of living and being and doing. So I sit here thinking, what were the things I wanted to write upon? And I really am not sure exactly now what I had in mind. But I'll try.

For Joseph, I contemplated how he made a life there in Egypt...an important life apart from the comfort of familiarity. He had to walk on from his family: just Him and God. I understand that feeling...and wonder how exactly he dealt with it on a daily basis. Of course, God always ties things up in His own time and (as I've heard Beth say) He ties them in. So by the time his brothers came before him in need, Joseph revisited his own pain...and he forgave. That open wound was finally mended by God stitch by stitch. So that's one thing that really stood out to me.

Moses, too, felt alone--even named his children after his heart's cry. But our good God initiated a relationship with Him in such an unexpected way. It makes me wonder--what way God are you going to initiate a continual relationship with me that will be unexpected? What fresh thing awaits for me in this desert place?

Hmmm...all so worthy of thinking upon and meditating on God's goodness to us. I thank Him for you, Bev--and each dear one engaging in His Word together! What a joy!
Love you,
holly

Shonda 2/04/2008  

Bev,
The points you share resonate in me too. You articulated much more than I can. You learned so much and I'm thankful that I can glean from what you learned.

There are many facets for me too, but I honed in an area I felt needed the most attention in my life. The area that screams "What about me?" I share on my blog about how God dealt with me about getting over me and living for His glory.

You can read more about it at Shonda's Journal.

I'm still praying for Cyd & her driver and their protection. I pray no harm come upon her and she will be set free!

Blessings in Christ--

Fran 2/04/2008  

I echo what every has written. There is just so much truth and power and realness in every single one of these events. I'm deeply reminded of my need for patience and God's beautiful character trait of patience.

I love Him more and more as we explore and reflect on these stories of long ago and what sweet God has to say to me.....me.

Thank you Bev for praying for all of us. I pray for us too. May He reveal so much more than we could ever expect.

Hugs~
Fran

BethAnne 2/04/2008  

I love reading your notes and I say 'ditto' to everything you wrote!

Bev Brandon 2/04/2008  

Angie, thank you soooo much. You know, when you see through the eyes of someone else, something else just jumps out and when you said in Gen. 50 how Joseph reassured them, that so falls on my soul tonight with such gravity. I need to be reassured in the midst of God's plan for my life. The enemy of our souls means it against us, too. Whenever you share, it's so fresh, so real, so exciting. Have an awesome early birthday trip to Houston---how good God is to provide that for you. Enjoy Beth and every minute of Annette!

Alana 2/04/2008  

I'm here. You guys have lapped me for sure, but I'm still running!

Still working through Genesis, but I'm enjoying it so much. Talk about some interesting stories!

One of the things that struck me the most was in Genesis 17:1-3

"When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God showed up and said to him, 'I am The Strong God, live entirely before me, live to the hilt! I'll make a covenant between us and I'll give you a huge family.' Overwhelmed, Abram fell flat on his face. "

Well, I should say so! Just imagine God showing up and talking to you in real life. I know we can still talk to Him, but I was in awe over the privilege Abram had of talking to Him in this way. What an honor!

This just struck a chord with me so I thought I would share my thoughts.

That is all...

Julie 2/04/2008  

Bev, I posted but I am not sure where it went. You might have gotten it, but I don't see it here. Anyways I posted on my blog what God brought to me about Joseph. I still don't know how to link to my blog from a post.... so if you want to read, if you click on my name it will take you to my blog. The entry is at the top of the blog, called "Joseph Shows Me God".

Thanks for letting me join in.

Have a blessed day,
Julie

Bev Brandon 2/04/2008  

'Nise...I have tears streaming down my face as I read your comment. I think God is so alive in you. How true, what you said. And one more reminder from you that I am waiting on God, not on any man. Whoa. Thank you.

Bev Brandon 2/04/2008  

Annette, Hearing your voice on the phone tonight talking about the great I AM in your life so shook and settled my heart. It's what I need this moment. Spent too many moments over a lifetime proving He wasn't what I needed but I know that I know tonight He is my I AM. You brought that to me tonight and I just love your mother's heart and your heart of friendship! Thank you my friend!

Bev Brandon 2/04/2008  

Patty,
You are honest.
You are humble.
You are hungry.
You are repentant.
You are refreshing.
You are real.

Still remembering Psalm 107
even this very night
my God spoke through it to me
once again through you
even after 6 months...
amazing girl
Amazing God!

annie's eyes 2/04/2008  

I love your new header and it falls as a fresh Word on a parched soul. I had a friend from Palestine that is a Christian many years ago in Bible study named Bahi. Bahi would always say, "to this very day..." which meant that when we would read certain Scriptures, she would tell us, that that well or that place or that custom was still the same today. So your Blog Title "My Shepherd to this very Day" I hear with that sweet woman's voice saying to this very day! Amen. Love you, Bev. annie

Bev Brandon 2/04/2008  

Helen, You are a beautiful writer! Just beautiful and your words tonight touch deep places in my soul for my dreams are part of my story. I have one dream "Brother's Footsteps" that has haunted me my whole life until one day a few years ago when what I dreamed in that dream actually came true and my beautiful God showed up riding valiantly to rescue me from that darkness. His Love cast out fear.

I loved what you said about be careful who to share your dreams with---I have wanted to with anyone who would stop long enough to listen...not any more...while I respect my story, it also doesn't define who I am...

One thing about your writing is that your provoke such thought from within. Thank you so much for contributing immensely not information but an invitation to transformation.

Bev Brandon 2/04/2008  

Mary Lou, The word that was so poignant, so powerful, so pithy, so patient that you painted was the WAITING ROOM. I'll probably always remember that word associated with Joseph. In fact, I just wrote it in my Bible and i put Mary Lou right below it. It's a treasure for me. I love words!

Bev Brandon 2/04/2008  

Humble Holly...so many parallels to what you are walking through. How Joseph made a life apart from the comfort of familiarity---ah! And you have chosen to do the same. Sorry I didn't get back with you tonight...the phone call was who I thought it was and had to go in that direction. I'll try to call again this weekend. I admire and applaud you so with all your little ones, living open-handed to your good God, missing the touch of ones you love deeply. All the while, honoring Him and walking not by sight. By faith! You are absolutely precious humble Holly!

Bev Brandon 2/04/2008  

Shonda -
"G E T T I N G O V E R M E"
That so speaks to me!!!!!!!!!!!
We are all "curved in" on ourselves getting over ME. And we will live knowing it will never be nailed down, completed here but praise God we can find rest in HIM and peace and joy. And you are! You always communicate such humility and tenderness to your beautiful God!

Bev Brandon 2/04/2008  

Fran, You leave such a fragrance of delight and drama. II Cor. 2:14 it's the fragrance of Jesus that we smell. You make me feel like I could lean on you for anything, call you for anything, ask you for anything, depend on the God in you not just for insight, not just new information, but being formed to the image of Christ!

Bev Brandon 2/05/2008  

Bethanne, my heart does flips when I see your name for it's such a joy! I love your expectant heart waiting for the Shout and waiting to be called by name to see Him face-to-face. Please come back again and again.

Bev Brandon 2/05/2008  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bev Brandon 2/05/2008  

Alana, Your post so reminds me of Jim Elliot's quote "Live to the hilt every situation you know to be the will of God." You are an unbelievably good gifted writer. Very good! And I love it that you linger where you are touched. I think your thoughts run pretty deep.

Bev Brandon 2/05/2008  

Julie, you crack me up. You are so hysterical! I just did the same thing at Alana's and where is that comment flying around? Joseph so brings God to me too. I mean to think that even his face was changed in that dark dungeon from the suffering...but what his loving God did in those 13 years are so precious to me. Loved your comments! But that's no surprise to me. Love you Julie!

Praise and Coffee 2/05/2008  

Bev,
I love you!
Your words are a blessing,
Sue

Abby 2/05/2008  

i'm on the road to catching up, and embracing all the wisdom from you beautiful ladies in the meantime :)

thanks for blessing me again today :D

Praying for Our Friend Joanne Psalm 131:3 Waiting on God. Hope Now. Hope Always.

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I have another blog where I blog daily as a small group of us read through the New Testament this year. It's called A String of Pearls. We carry each other on mats (when we just can't walk anymore) to Jesus and sweet things like that.

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