Alumni Bible Study

A Bible study initially set up for alumni of the Senior Sunday School Class at the First United Methodist Church of Lufkin, Texas. It is our hope and our prayer that this study touches the hearts of those who participate and helps spread the love and grace of Our Lord and God. All who want to learn more about God are welcome

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Location: lufkin, Texas, United States

I am a Christian family man, Lay Pastor and writer from Deep East Texas. I love life, and I enjoy working with young people. I have published two books; "A Small Mind Among Tall Trees" and "God If You Are Not Too Busy, Can You Give Me a Hand". If you want to obtain a copy drop me an e-mail or go to or barnesand . I have been a salesman, cowman and athlete in my past. I still have a strong sense of humor and am not afraid to use it.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Genesis 49:1-28

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1 Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather around. I want to tell you what you can expect in the days to come." 2 Come together, listen sons of Jacob, listen to Israel your father. 3-4 Reuben, you're my firstborn, my strength, first proof of my manhood, at the top in honor and at the top in power, But like a bucket of water spilled, you'll be at the top no more, Because you climbed into your father's marriage bed, mounting that couch, and you defiled it. 5-6 Simeon and Levi are two of a kind, ready to fight at the drop of a hat. I don't want anything to do with their vendettas, want no part in their bitter feuds; They kill men in fits of temper, slash oxen on a whim. 7 A curse on their uncontrolled anger, on their indiscriminate wrath. I'll throw them out with the trash; I'll shred and scatter them like confetti throughout Israel. 8-12 You, Judah, your brothers will praise you: Your fingers on your enemies' throat, while your brothers honor you. You're a lion's cub, Judah, home fresh from the kill, my son. Look at him, crouched like a lion, king of beasts; who dares mess with him? The scepter shall not leave Judah; he'll keep a firm grip on the command staff Until the ultimate ruler comes and the nations obey him. He'll tie up his donkey to the grapevine, his purebred prize to a sturdy branch. He will wash his shirt in wine and his cloak in the blood of grapes, His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk. 13 Zebulun settles down on the seashore; he's a safe harbor for ships, right alongside Sidon. 14-15 Issachar is one tough donkey crouching between the corrals; When he saw how good the place was, how pleasant the country, He gave up his freedom and went to work as a slave. 16-17 Dan will handle matters of justice for his people; he will hold his own just fine among the tribes of Israel. Dan is only a small snake in the grass, a lethal serpent in ambush by the road When he strikes a horse in the heel, and brings its huge rider crashing down. 18 I wait in hope for your salvation, God. 19 Gad will be attacked by bandits, but he will trip them up. 20 Asher will become famous for rich foods, candies and sweets fit for kings. 21-26 Naphtali is a deer running free that gives birth to lovely fawns. Joseph is a wild donkey, a wild donkey by a spring, spirited donkeys on a hill. The archers with malice attacked, shooting their hate-tipped arrows; But he held steady under fire, his bow firm, his arms limber, With the backing of the Champion of Jacob, the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel. The God of your father—may he help you! And may The Strong God—may he give you his blessings, Blessings tumbling out of the skies, blessings bursting up from the Earth— blessings of breasts and womb. May the blessings of your father exceed the blessings of the ancient mountains, surpass the delights of the eternal hills; May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the one consecrated among his brothers. 27 Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; all morning he gorges on his kill, at evening divides up what's left over.
28 All these are the tribes of Israel, the twelve tribes. And this is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each one with his own special farewell blessing.

Jacob "blesses" his sons. Some of the blessings were good, some were bad, some were odd. Judah got the great blessing, and from his line came David, the great king, and then Jesus,(The greater King.)
Joseph did not do bad, and some of the others made out OK. These brothers became the twelve tribes of Isreal,(Jacobs post-fight name.) They would all grow and prosper, but did not all get along. Sort of like most families.
What does this mean to us? Jacob loved his sons, all of them. Before he died he told them what would become of their heirs. They still had time to change, but none did. Our Father,(God) tells us what to expect from life if we live certain ways, can we change? Do we?
Prayer- Lord, Help me live the life You want from me. May you bless me and my family. Thank you for your love, and thank you for your Son. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Genesis 48:1-22

Relax, Read nad Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Genesis 48
1-2 Some time after this conversation, Joseph was told, "Your father is ill." He took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and went to Jacob. When Jacob was told, "Your son Joseph has come," he roused himself and sat up in bed.
3-7 Jacob said to Joseph, "The Strong God appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me. He said, 'I'm going to make you prosperous and numerous, turn you into a congregation of tribes; and I'll turn this land over to your children coming after you as a permanent inheritance.' I'm adopting your two sons who were born to you here in Egypt before I joined you; they have equal status with Reuben and Simeon. But any children born after them are yours; they will come after their brothers in matters of inheritance. I want it this way because, as I was returning from Paddan, your mother Rachel, to my deep sorrow, died as we were on our way through Canaan when we were only a short distance from Ephrath, now called Bethlehem."
8 Just then Jacob noticed Joseph's sons and said, "Who are these?"
9-11 Joseph told his father, "They are my sons whom God gave to me in this place."
"Bring them to me," he said, "so I can bless them." Israel's eyesight was poor from old age; he was nearly blind. So Joseph brought them up close. Old Israel kissed and embraced them and then said to Joseph, "I never expected to see your face again, and now God has let me see your children as well!"
12-16 Joseph took them from Israel's knees and bowed respectfully, his face to the ground. Then Joseph took the two boys, Ephraim with his right hand setting him to Israel's left, and Manasseh with his left hand setting him to Israel's right, and stood them before him. But Israel crossed his arms and put his right hand on the head of Ephraim who was the younger and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, the firstborn. Then he blessed them: The God before whom walked my fathers Abraham and Isaac, The God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this very day, The Angel who delivered me from every evil, Bless the boys. May my name be echoed in their lives, and the names of Abraham and Isaac, my fathers, And may they grow covering the Earth with their children.
17-18 When Joseph saw that his father had placed his right hand on Ephraim's head, he thought he had made a mistake, so he took hold of his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's, saying, "That's the wrong head, Father; the other one is the firstborn; place your right hand on his head."
19-20 But his father wouldn't do it. He said, "I know, my son; but I know what I'm doing. He also will develop into a people, and he also will be great. But his younger brother will be even greater and his descendants will enrich nations." Then he blessed them both: Israel will use your names to give blessings: May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.
In that he made it explicit: he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
21-22 Israel then said to Joseph, "I'm about to die. God be with you and give you safe passage back to the land of your fathers. As for me, I'm presenting you, as the first among your brothers, the ridge of land I took from Amorites with my sword and bow."

Jacob is about to die and sends for Joseph to come with his boys.He is going to accept Joseph's sons born in Egypt as his adopted sons, to make them part of the family. This is a big thing, this may be one of the first cases of outsiders being allowed in the fellowship of "God's People."
Joseph notices that his father Jacob is about to make a mistake and bless the youngest son first,(we all remember what a big deal that was with Jacob and Essau.) Jacob had had a vision from God, and he knew what he was doing. He blessed The younger Ephriam ahead of his brother Manasseh. As a gift, he gave them the Golan Heights.
God still blesses us, and it doesn't matter to him who is born when or where. Go to God and receive his blessing.
Prayer- Lord, continue to bless me and my family. Shower us with gifts and give us the strength to serve you better. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Genesis 47:18-31

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen
18-19 When that year was over, the next year rolled around and they were back, saying, "Master, it's no secret to you that we're broke: our money's gone and we've traded you all our livestock. We've nothing left to barter with but our bodies and our farms. What use are our bodies and our land if we stand here and starve to death right in front of you? Trade us food for our bodies and our land. We'll be slaves to Pharaoh and give up our land—all we ask is seed for survival, just enough to live on and keep the farms alive."
20-21 So Joseph bought up all the farms in Egypt for Pharaoh. Every Egyptian sold his land—the famine was that bad. That's how Pharaoh ended up owning all the land and the people ended up slaves; Joseph reduced the people to slavery from one end of Egypt to the other.
22 Joseph made an exception for the priests. He didn't buy their land because they received a fixed salary from Pharaoh and were able to live off of that salary. So they didn't need to sell their land.
23-24 Joseph then announced to the people: "Here's how things stand: I've bought you and your land for Pharaoh. In exchange I'm giving you seed so you can plant the ground. When the crops are harvested, you must give a fifth to Pharaoh and keep four-fifths for yourselves, for seed for yourselves and your families—you're going to be able to feed your children!"
25 They said, "You've saved our lives! Master, we're grateful and glad to be slaves to Pharaoh."
26 Joseph decreed a land law in Egypt that is still in effect, A Fifth Goes to Pharaoh. Only the priests' lands were not owned by Pharaoh.
27-28 And so Israel settled down in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property and flourished. They became a large company of people. Jacob lived in Egypt for seventeen years. In all, he lived 147 years.
29-30 When the time came for Israel to die, he called his son Joseph and said, "Do me this favor. Put your hand under my thigh, a sign that you're loyal and true to me to the end. Don't bury me in Egypt. When I lie down with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me alongside them."
"I will," he said. "I'll do what you've asked."
31 Israel said, "Promise me." Joseph promised.
Israel bowed his head in submission and gratitude from his bed.

"This re-distribution of wealth is trickier than I thought." Or so says the Monty Python character Dennis Moore. Why would Joseph buy up all the land and livestock from all the people of Egypt? This made them slaves to Pharoah. This made EVERYBODY slaves. This is one of those passages that is difficult to understand. To top it off-Pharoah is to recieve one fifth of everything,(early share-cropping.) God only requires a tythe of one tenth, and I guess that would be a good deal to the Egyptians.
Jacob dies in Egypt, but makes Joseph swear,(with his hand under Jacobs thigh,) that he will carry Jacob out of Egypt to be buried back home. Joseph agreed.
Prayer- Lord, help me remember that all I do is because of you. Help me also to remember to return to you the amount you require. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Genesis 47:1-17

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1 Joseph went to Pharaoh and told him, "My father and brothers with their flocks and herds and everything they own have come from Canaan. Right now they are in Goshen."
2-3 He had taken five of his brothers with him and introduced them to Pharaoh. Pharaoh asked them, "What kind of work do you do?"
3-4 "Your servants are shepherds, the same as our fathers were. We have come to this country to find a new place to live. There is no pasture for our flocks in Canaan. The famine has been very bad there. Please, would you let your servants settle in the region of Goshen?"
5-6 Pharaoh looked at Joseph. "So, your father and brothers have arrived—a reunion! Egypt welcomes them. Settle your father and brothers on the choicest land—yes, give them Goshen. And if you know any among them that are especially good at their work, put them in charge of my own livestock."
7-8 Next Joseph brought his father Jacob in and introduced him to Pharaoh. Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh asked Jacob, "How old are you?"
9-10 Jacob answered Pharaoh, "The years of my sojourning are 130—a short and hard life and not nearly as long as my ancestors were given." Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and left.
11-12 Joseph settled his father and brothers in Egypt, made them proud owners of choice land—it was the region of Rameses (that is, Goshen)—just as Pharaoh had ordered. Joseph took good care of them—his father and brothers and all his father's family, right down to the smallest baby. He made sure they had plenty of everything.
13-15 The time eventually came when there was no food anywhere. The famine was very bad. Egypt and Canaan alike were devastated by the famine. Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan to pay for the distribution of food. He banked the money in Pharaoh's palace. When the money from Egypt and Canaan had run out, the Egyptians came to Joseph. "Food! Give us food! Are you going to watch us die right in front of you? The money is all gone."
16-17 Joseph said, "Bring your livestock. I'll trade you food for livestock since your money's run out." So they brought Joseph their livestock. He traded them food for their horses, sheep, cattle, and donkeys. He got them through that year in exchange for all their livestock.

Joseph introduces some of his family to Pharaoh, (I wonder how he picked the five brothers he took with him?) Pharaoh was happy for Joseph and agreed that Joseph's family could settle Goshen.
Egypt was a big country, built along a big river, but was surrounded by a big desert. How could they be so repulsed by shepards? I don't know, maybe it was the wild and wooly lifestyle, maybe the smell, but this did give Jacob's people, or Israel, an opprotunity to be sepperated and still fed.
Joseph starts to trade stores of food and money for livestock, what is that boy up to? Tune in tomorrow and find out.
Prayer- Lord, Strengthen us to do your service. Help us to organize our lives to serve you better. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Monday, September 25, 2006

Genesis 46:28-34

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
28-29 Jacob sent Judah on ahead to get directions to Goshen from Joseph. When they got to Goshen, Joseph gave orders for his chariot and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. The moment Joseph saw him, he threw himself on his neck and wept. He wept a long time.
30 Israel said to Joseph, "I'm ready to die. I've looked into your face—you are indeed alive."
31-34 Joseph then spoke to his brothers and his father's family. "I'll go and tell Pharaoh, 'My brothers and my father's family, all of whom lived in Canaan, have come to me. The men are shepherds; they've always made their living by raising livestock. And they've brought their flocks and herds with them, along with everything else they own.' When Pharaoh calls you in and asks what kind of work you do, tell him, 'Your servants have always kept livestock for as long as we can remember—we and our parents also.' That way he'll let you stay apart in the area of Goshen—for Egyptians look down on anyone who is a shepherd."
Joseph finally sees his Father, and it is good. God had been with both Joseph and Jacob, and now they were together again. God had used Joseph to save his family, and had brought them to Egypt.
Re-read verses 31-34, (by the way this is from "The Message" amplified Bible, which is a paraphrase,) notice that Joseph wants his family to live apart from the rest of the Egyptians. Why? Even though they were in a different place, Joseph wanted his family to stay separate from the Egyptians. He did not want them to become absorbed into the Egyptian culture, intermarry and loose their identity-and their religion. They were set apart as a different people by God. Of course, Joseph had an Egyptian name, an Egyptian wife and kids. His line would not be pure. God works in mysterious ways, His people were segregated from the rest of the country. This kept them set apart as a nation, but it caused great problems down the road.
Prayer- Lord, As we study and learn more about You and Your people, help us to understand that we may not know why you guide us in a direction, but have faith that it is the right direction. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Genesis 46:8-27

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
8 These are the names of the sons of Israel (Jacob and his descendants) who went to Egypt: Reuben the firstborn of Jacob.
9 The sons of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron and Carmi.
10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman.
11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
12 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez and Zerah (but Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez: Hezron and Hamul.
13 The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puah, [
a] Jashub [b] and Shimron.
14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon and Jahleel.
15 These were the sons Leah bore to Jacob in Paddan Aram, [
c] besides his daughter Dinah. These sons and daughters of his were thirty-three in all.
16 The sons of Gad: Zephon, [
d] Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi and Areli.
17 The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah. Their sister was Serah. The sons of Beriah: Heber and Malkiel.
18 These were the children born to Jacob by Zilpah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Leah—sixteen in all.
19 The sons of Jacob's wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 In Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. [
21 The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim and Ard.
22 These were the sons of Rachel who were born to Jacob—fourteen in all.
23 The son of Dan: Hushim.
24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shillem.
25 These were the sons born to Jacob by Bilhah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Rachel—seven in all.
26 All those who went to Egypt with Jacob—those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons' wives—numbered sixty-six persons. 27 With the two sons [
f] who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob's family, which went to Egypt, were seventy [g] in all.
Roll call! I know what you are thinking; How could the family tree of Jacob be of importance to me? All it is a bunch of really weird names. Yes...and no. This gives a real base for the stories of the Old Testament, legitimacy if you will. This is not a fairy tale, because here are the names of the real people involved. Notice that the number listed here is seventy. By the time of the Exodus the number had risen to hundreds of thousands.
When Joseph meets his father they have a very emotional reunion. Jacobs life is complete. God has blessed him one more time. God blesses us every day, and we should always give Him our thanks and praise.
Prayer- Lord, Thank you for all the blessings you give me. Your love and support is much more than I could ever deserve. I will always praise you, because without you- I am worthless. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Genesis 46:1-7

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Jacob Goes to Egypt
1 So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, "Jacob! Jacob!" "Here I am," he replied.
3 "I am God, the God of your father," he said. "Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph's own hand will close your eyes."
5 Then Jacob left Beersheba, and Israel's sons took their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him. 6 They also took with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in Canaan, and Jacob and all his offspring went to Egypt. 7 He took with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters—all his offspring.

Jacob’s family goes to Egypt. This was like the Okie migration to California during the Dust Bowl of the 1930's and 1940's. Country come to town. Jacob was a little nervous about making the trip. He wanted to see his son, but taking the tribe to Egypt meant that he would probably die there, and he would never see Canaan again.
God came to him in a dream to comfort him, so he went. Sometimes we get nervous before making a life changing decision,(like going to college.) Jacob prayed and God answered. He will do the same for us.
Prayer- Lord, I know you have great plans for me and all who read this. Sometimes I become afraid of what lies ahead. Comfort me, and guide me in the direction You would have me go. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Genesis 45:14-28

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
14-15 Then Joseph threw himself on his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. He then kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Only then were his brothers able to talk with him.
16 The story was reported in Pharaoh's palace: "Joseph's brothers have come." It was good news to Pharaoh and all who worked with him.
17-18 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Tell your brothers, 'This is the plan: Load up your pack animals; go to Canaan, get your father and your families and bring them back here. I'll settle you on the best land in Egypt—you'll live off the fat of the land.'
19-20 "Also tell them this: 'Here's what I want you to do: Take wagons from Egypt to carry your little ones and your wives and load up your father and come back. Don't worry about having to leave things behind; the best in all of Egypt will be yours.'"
21-23 And they did just that, the sons of Israel. Joseph gave them the wagons that Pharaoh had promised and food for the trip. He outfitted all the brothers in brand-new clothes, but he gave Benjamin three hundred pieces of silver and several suits of clothes. He sent his father these gifts: ten donkeys loaded with Egypt's best products and another ten donkeys loaded with grain and bread, provisions for his father's journey back.
24 Then he sent his brothers off. As they left he told them, "Take it easy on the journey; try to get along with each other."
25-28 They left Egypt and went back to their father Jacob in Canaan. When they told him, "Joseph is still alive—and he's the ruler over the whole land of Egypt!" he went numb; he couldn't believe his ears. But the more they talked, telling him everything that Joseph had told them and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him back, the blood started to flow again—their father Jacob's spirit revived. Israel said, "I've heard enough—my son Joseph is still alive. I've got to go and see him before I die."
The good news spreads. Even the Pharaoh gets in the act. He gives the brothers wagons and carts to go get the rest of Joseph’s family and move them to Egypt, and told them not to worry about leaving things behind. "The best in all of Egypt will be yours. I think it is important to note that when Joseph sent his brothers home, he told them to try to get along with each other.
Jacob could not believe his son was still alive. After all, he had been told a long time before that Joseph was dead. Like Thomas, he doubted. He finally realized the truth and set off to be reunited.
Why do we doubt? Are things too much to believe? Sometimes we get overwhelmed and can not accept very good or bad news. That is where faith comes in. After all, if we knew all the answers-we would not need faith.
Prayer- Lord, Help us grow our faith. Help us remember that our faith in you and Christ is what is truly important. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Genesis 45:1-13

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn
1-2 Joseph couldn't hold himself in any longer, keeping up a front before all his attendants. He cried out, "Leave! Clear out—everyone leave!" So there was no one with Joseph when he identified himself to his brothers. But his sobbing was so violent that the Egyptians couldn't help but hear him. The news was soon reported to Pharaoh's palace.
3 Joseph spoke to his brothers: "I am Joseph. Is my father really still alive?" But his brothers couldn't say a word. They were speechless—they couldn't believe what they were hearing and seeing.
4-8 "Come closer to me," Joseph said to his brothers. They came closer. "I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt. But don't feel badly, don't blame yourselves for selling me. God was behind it. God sent me here ahead of you to save lives. There has been a famine in the land now for two years; the famine will continue for five more years—neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me on ahead to pave the way and make sure there was a remnant in the land, to save your lives in an amazing act of deliverance. So you see, it wasn't you who sent me here but God. He set me in place as a father to Pharaoh, put me in charge of his personal affairs, and made me ruler of all Egypt.
9-11 "Hurry back to my father. Tell him, 'Your son Joseph says: I'm master of all of Egypt. Come as fast as you can and join me here. I'll give you a place to live in Goshen where you'll be close to me—you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and anything else you can think of. I'll take care of you there completely. There are still five more years of famine ahead; I'll make sure all your needs are taken care of, you and everyone connected with you—you won't want for a thing.'
12-13 "Look at me. You can see for yourselves, and my brother Benjamin can see for himself, that it's me, my own mouth, telling you all this. Tell my father all about the high position I hold in Egypt, tell him everything you've seen here, but don't take all day—hurry up and get my father down here."

Finally Joseph could take it no longer, he had to reach out to his brothers. After he revealed himself he wept in joy. He brothers were speechless. They had to have been scared to death. They had tried to do away with their brother, and now he literally controlled their lives. That had to be a sobering time.
Joseph did not hold a grudge,(as I would have.) He explained that God had used their actions as part of a greater plan, and now they would be safe because of what God had done. That is a very deep thought of God’s works. If we truly trust God, shouldn’t we trust that what ever happens, God is working?
Joseph wanted to see his father again. When he was a slave, or worse, a prisoner, he probably gave up hope of ever seeing his father. Now it was going to happen. No matter what happens, we should never give up hope that things will happen for good as well as bad.
Prayer- Lord, Keep us strong during times of testing and trial, and especially during times of good. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Genesis 44:18-34

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
18-20 Judah came forward. He said, "Please, master; can I say just one thing to you? Don't get angry. Don't think I'm presumptuous—you're the same as Pharaoh as far as I'm concerned. You, master, asked us, 'Do you have a father and a brother?' And we answered honestly, 'We have a father who is old and a younger brother who was born to him in his old age. His brother is dead and he is the only son left from that mother. And his father loves him more than anything.'
21-22 "Then you told us, 'Bring him down here so I can see him.' We told you, master, that it was impossible: 'The boy can't leave his father; if he leaves, his father will die.'
23 "And then you said, 'If your youngest brother doesn't come with you, you won't be allowed to see me.'
24-26 "When we returned to our father, we told him everything you said to us. So when our father said, 'Go back and buy some more food,' we told him flatly, 'We can't. The only way we can go back is if our youngest brother is with us. We aren't allowed to even see the man if our youngest brother doesn't come with us.'
27-29 "Your servant, my father, told us, 'You know very well that my wife gave me two sons. One turned up missing. I concluded that he'd been ripped to pieces. I've never seen him since. If you now go and take this one and something bad happens to him, you'll put my old gray, grieving head in the grave for sure.'
30-32 "And now, can't you see that if I show up before your servant, my father, without the boy, this son with whom his life is so bound up, the moment he realizes the boy is gone, he'll die on the spot. He'll die of grief and we, your servants who are standing here before you, will have killed him. And that's not all. I got my father to release the boy to show him to you by promising, 'If I don't bring him back, I'll stand condemned before you, Father, all my life.'
33-34 "So let me stay here as your slave, not this boy. Let the boy go back with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? Oh, don't make me go back and watch my father die in grief!"
Were these the same brothers that wanted to kill their brother, but instead decided to sell him into slavery? Why the change? Particularly Judah. He had gone along with the plot and then lied to his father to protect his and his remaining brothers hides. Now he felt the need to speak out to try and protect his little brother Benjamin. Just doing this to an important man like Joseph could have caused Judah to be killed him self. He courageously offered to take Benjamin’s punishment so that his little brother could go home to their father.
Joseph had tested his brothers to see if they had changed, it appeared they had. There are times that we must stand up for what is right, Judah must have felt this was one of those times. He showed love and courage, and that would be rewarded. Remember, David, and then Christ, came from the line of Judah-not Joseph.
Prayer- Lord, Give us the strength to stand up for what is right, and the wisdom to know what that is. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Genesis 44:1-17

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1-2 Joseph ordered his house steward: "Fill the men's bags with food—all they can carry—and replace each one's money at the top of the bag. Then put my chalice, my silver chalice, in the top of the bag of the youngest, along with the money for his food." He did as Joseph ordered.
3-5 At break of day the men were sent off with their donkeys. They were barely out of the city when Joseph said to his house steward, "Run after them. When you catch up with them, say, 'Why did you pay me back evil for good? This is the chalice my master drinks from; he also uses it for divination. This is outrageous!'"
6 He caught up with them and repeated all this word for word.
7-9 They said, "What is my master talking about? We would never do anything like that! Why, the money we found in our bags earlier, we brought back all the way from Canaan—do you think we'd turn right around and steal it back from your master? If that chalice is found on any of us, he'll die; and the rest of us will be your master's slaves."
10 The steward said, "Very well then, but we won't go that far. Whoever is found with the chalice will be my slave; the rest of you can go free."
11-12 They outdid each other in putting their bags on the ground and opening them up for inspection. The steward searched their bags, going from oldest to youngest. The chalice showed up in Benjamin's bag.
13 They ripped their clothes in despair, loaded up their donkeys, and went back to the city.
14 Joseph was still at home when Judah and his brothers got back. They threw themselves down on the ground in front of him.
15 Joseph accused them: "How can you have done this? You have to know that a man in my position would have discovered this."
16 Judah as spokesman for the brothers said, "What can we say, master? What is there to say? How can we prove our innocence? God is behind this, exposing how bad we are. We stand guilty before you and ready to be your slaves—we're all in this together, the rest of us as guilty as the one with the chalice."
17 "I'd never do that to you," said Joseph. "Only the one involved with the chalice will be my slave. The rest of you are free to go back to your father."

Joseph was still testing his brothers. He sets up Benjamin, his full brother, to be the patsy. His stewards place his money and Josephs silver cup in his bags. After the group leaves the steward chases them down and confront the brothers, and they find the "lost" items. Side-bar; Since the brothers had a "situation" with money turning up in their baggage the first time, wouldn't it make sense for them to check their bags before they left Egypt this time?
They were hauled back before Joseph, but instead of being selfish and letting their little brother rot in jail, the brothers are acting as one. Did they learn from their past mistakes with the young Joseph?, or did they just fear Jacob that much? These questions and other may be answered next week.
Prayer-Lord, Help us act like a unified family as we do your work. When one of us is unjustly accused, we are all accused. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Genesis 43:16-34

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
15-16 The men took the gifts, double the money, and Benjamin. They lost no time in getting to Egypt and meeting Joseph. When Joseph saw that they had Benjamin with them, he told his house steward, "Take these men into the house and make them at home. Butcher an animal and prepare a meal; these men are going to eat with me at noon."
17-18 The steward did what Joseph had said and took them inside. But they became anxious when they were brought into Joseph's home, thinking, "It's the money; he thinks we ran off with the money on our first trip down here. And now he's got us where he wants us—he's going to turn us into slaves and confiscate our donkeys."
19-22 So they went up to Joseph's house steward and talked to him in the doorway. They said, "Listen, master. We came down here one other time to buy food. On our way home, the first night out we opened our bags and found our money at the mouth of the bag—the exact amount we'd paid. We've brought it all back and have plenty more to buy more food with. We have no idea who put the money in our bags."
23 The steward said, "Everything's in order. Don't worry. Your God and the God of your father must have given you a bonus. I was paid in full." And with that, he presented Simeon to them.
24-25 He then took them inside Joseph's house and made them comfortable—gave them water to wash their feet and saw to the feeding of their donkeys. The brothers spread out their gifts as they waited for Joseph to show up at noon—they had been told that they were to have dinner with him.
26 When Joseph got home, they presented him with the gifts they had brought and bowed respectfully before him.
27 Joseph welcomed them and said, "And your old father whom you mentioned to me, how is he? Is he still alive?"
28 They said, "Yes—your servant our father is quite well, very much alive." And they again bowed respectfully before him.
29 Then Joseph picked out his brother Benjamin, his own mother's son. He asked, "And is this your youngest brother that you told me about?" Then he said, "God be gracious to you, my son."
30-31 Deeply moved on seeing his brother and about to burst into tears, Joseph hurried out into another room and had a good cry. Then he washed his face, got a grip on himself, and said, "Let's eat."
32-34 Joseph was served at his private table, the brothers off by themselves and the Egyptians off by themselves (Egyptians won't eat at the same table with Hebrews; it's repulsive to them). The brothers were seated facing Joseph, arranged in order of their age, from the oldest to the youngest. They looked at one another wide-eyed, wondering what would happen next. When the brothers' plates were served from Joseph's table, Benjamin's plate came piled high, far more so than his brothers. And so the brothers feasted with Joseph, drinking freely.

They wasted no time going back to Egypt. I might have piddled around a bit. When they arrived and were told to go to Joseph's place, (probably a palace since he was second in command of a very wealthy country.) They were uneasy, because of the whole money thing after the first trip. The servant told "all is well, you received a bonus from yoour God and the God of your father."
Jacob had great faith, most of his son's were not burdened by this. When a servant from a distant land says your God provides, I wonder what they thought? They were led inside where they washed up and prepaired for a big lunch.
Joseph finally sees his little brother , and has to go cry. Can you imagine the emotional roller coaster he must have been on? Even as they are partying, Joseph is plotting one more test.
God had brought Joseph to Egypt for a reason, and had re-united the brothers. Things were looking good for Joseph. He had power(and lots of it,) money, fame, a family in Egypt. What else could he want? God had promised Abraham, Issac, and Joseph's father Jacob something much more.
Notice in verse 32 that the egyptians servants would not eat with the hebrews. Even then, the jews were segregated.
Prayer- Lord, Help us remember that you have great things planned for all of us. Let us rejoice in today, but be ready for tomorrow. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Genesis 43:1-15

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
1BUT THE hunger and destitution and starvation were very severe and extremely distressing in the land [Canaan].
2And when [the families of Jacob's sons] had eaten up the grain which the men had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, Go again; buy us a little food.
3But Judah said to him, The man solemnly and sternly warned us, saying, You shall not see my face again unless your brother is with you.
4If you will send our brother with us, we will go down [to Egypt] and buy you food;
5But if you will not send him, we will not go down; for the man said to us, You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.
6And Israel said, Why did you do me such a wrong and suffer this evil to come upon me by telling the man that you had another brother?
7And they said, The man asked us straightforward questions about ourselves and our relatives. He said, Is your father still alive? Have you another brother? And we answered him accordingly. How could we know that he would say, Bring your brother down here?
8And Judah said to Israel his father, Send the lad with me and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones.
9I will be security for him; you shall require him of me [personally]; if I do not bring him back to you and put him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.
10For if we had not lingered like this, surely by now we would have returned the second time.
11And their father Israel said to them, If it must be so, now do this; take of the choicest products in the land in your sacks and carry down a present to the man, a little balm (balsam) and a little honey, aromatic spices and gum (of rock rose) or ladanum, pistachio nuts, and almonds.
12And take double the [grain] money with you; and the money that was put back in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again with you; there is a possibility that [its being in your sacks] was an oversight.
13Take your brother and arise and return to the man;
14May God Almighty give you mercy and favor before the man, that he may release to you your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved [of my sons], I am bereaved.
15Then the men took the present, and they took double the [grain] money with them, and Benjamin; and they arose and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.

Hunger causes all of us to do different things. Jacob did not want to send his sons back, (Simeon must have not been his favorite child.) They ran out of grain and had no other option. He sent twice the money to cover the "oversight" of the returned money with the boys. He didn't want to send Benjamin, but he had no choice.

Sometimes, the second trip to a different place can be the most frightening. Joseph had properly scared his brothers, but finally Jacob put his faith in God. We do the same things. As a salesman I do not mind making cold calls. Sometimes making the second call can be tough, especially if the first meeting was not particularly nice. We all must have faith, and God will take care of us.
Prayer- Lord, Give us the strength to follow-up when we do your work. Give us curage and give us the wisdom to trust You always. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Genesis 42:18-38

Relax, read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
18-20 On the third day, Joseph spoke to them. "Do this and you'll live. I'm a God-fearing man. If you're as honest as you say you are, one of your brothers will stay here in jail while the rest of you take the food back to your hungry families. But you have to bring your youngest brother back to me, confirming the truth of your speech—and not one of you will die." They agreed.
21 Then they started talking among themselves. "Now we're paying for what we did to our brother—we saw how terrified he was when he was begging us for mercy. We wouldn't listen to him and now we're the ones in trouble."
22 Reuben broke in. "Didn't I tell you, 'Don't hurt the boy'? But no, you wouldn't listen. And now we're paying for his murder."
23-24 Joseph had been using an interpreter, so they didn't know that Joseph was understanding every word. Joseph turned away from them and cried. When he was able to speak again, he took Simeon and had him tied up, making a prisoner of him while they all watched.
25 Then Joseph ordered that their sacks be filled with grain, that their money be put back in each sack, and that they be given rations for the road. That was all done for them.
26 They loaded their food supplies on their donkeys and set off.
27-28 When they stopped for the night, one of them opened his sack to get food for his donkey; there at the mouth of his bag was his money. He called out to his brothers, "My money has been returned; it's right here in my bag!" They were puzzled—and frightened. "What's God doing to us?"
29-32 When they got back to their father Jacob, back in the land of Canaan, they told him everything that had happened, saying, "The man who runs the country spoke to us roughly and accused us of being spies. We told him, 'We are honest men and in no way spies. There were twelve of us brothers, sons of one father; one is gone and the youngest is with our father in Canaan.'
33-34 "But the master of the country said, 'Leave one of your brothers with me, take food for your starving families, and go. Bring your youngest brother back to me, proving that you're honest men and not spies. And then I'll give your brother back to you and you'll be free to come and go in this country.'"
35 As they were emptying their food sacks, each man came on his purse of money. On seeing their money, they and their father were upset.
36 Their father said to them, "You're taking everything I've got! Joseph's gone, Simeon's gone, and now you want to take Benjamin. If you have your way, I'll be left with nothing."
37 Reuben spoke up: "I'll put my two sons in your hands as hostages. If I don't bring Benjamin back, you can kill them. Trust me with Benjamin; I'll bring him back."
38 But Jacob refused. "My son will not go down with you. His brother is dead and he is all I have left. If something bad happens to him on the road, you'll put my gray, sorrowing head in the grave."

Joseph has a little fun with his brothers. He tells them to go home and bring back the other brother. Just to make sure they do as he says, he need to keep one of them, as a symbol of good faith. He has been talking in Egyptian and having an interpreter talk to his brother,(sneaky,) and when the brothers began to complain to each other in hebrew, it drove him to tears.
Simeon stayed in jail, and the rest went back to face their father, Jacob. As they were returning home they noticed that the money they had paid for their grain had been placed in the grain sacks. It looks bad for Simeon. Do the brothers go back to Egypt now? They may be accused of stealing back the payments.
They try to convince Jacob into to allowing them to carry benjamin back to Egypt with them to ransom their left brother, but Jacob is less than enthusiastic. He has lost Joseph, now Simeon, why throw good sons after bad? This would require faith, faith in his son's being able to protect his baby and faith that God will take care of the situation. Jacob was a man of faith, but is this too much? Sometimes we run into similar situations,(only scaled back a bit.) Do we have faith? Do we put our children in God's protection, even though we have already lost some?
Prayer- Lord, Give me the faith to let you be in charge of my life. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Genesis 42:1-17

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Joseph's Brothers Go to Egypt
1 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why do you just keep looking at each other?" 2 He continued, "I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die."
3 Then ten of Joseph's brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. 5 So Israel's sons were among those who went to buy grain, for the famine was in the land of Canaan also.
6 Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph's brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7 As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. "Where do you come from?" he asked. "From the land of Canaan," they replied, "to buy food."
8 Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 9 Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, "You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected."
10 "No, my lord," they answered. "Your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies."
12 "No!" he said to them. "You have come to see where our land is unprotected."
13 But they replied, "Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more."
14 Joseph said to them, "It is just as I told you: You are spies! 15 And this is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of your number to get your brother; the rest of you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth. If you are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!" 17 And he put them all in custody for three days.
Revenge is a dish best served cool. The famine that struck Egypt struck everywhere, including Joseph’s homeplace back at Canaan. Jacob hears that Egypt has food, (I wonder who told him. Was it a hungry traveler or an Angel?) He tells the boys to stop looking at each other getting hungrier and go get food. He did not, however, send Benjamin. After all, he sent Benjamins older full brother Joseph on a trip, and he never came home.
When Jacob’s boys get to Egypt, Joseph recognizes them, but they don’t recognize him. (I think I seen the Governor somewhere before, was it in a pit?) Joseph messes with them, and accuses them of being spies, and threw them in jail, (payback.)
Joseph starts to test them, and tells them to choose one to return and get their little brother and the others will stay in prison. He knows this will be a challenge for his brothers, but they need a little challenge.
What would YOU do? I think I might have to be a little rougher with someone who beat me and sold me into slavery for almost half of my life. They will not get off free, but Joseph will be a lot nicer than I.
Prayer- Lord, Give me a forgiving spirit. Help me remember that it was people like me that killed Jesus, and yet you forgive me. Help me forgive others. Go-Fight-Win. Amen

Friday, September 08, 2006

Genesis 41:41-57

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Joseph in Charge of Egypt
41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt." 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, [
a] and men shouted before him, "Make way [b] !" Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.
44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt." 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, [
c] to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.
46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh's presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48 Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49 Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.
50 Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh [
d] and said, "It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household." 52 The second son he named Ephraim [e] and said, "It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering."
53 The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55 When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph and do what he tells you."
56 When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. 57 And all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the world.

Genesis 41:43 Or in the chariot of his second-in-command ; or in his second chariot
Genesis 41:43 Or Bow down
Genesis 41:45 That is, Heliopolis; also in verse 50
Genesis 41:51 Manasseh sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for forget .
Genesis 41:52 Ephraim sounds like the Hebrew for twice fruitful .
Joseph in charge! He is suddenly a new man with a new name and a new princess wife. What a fairy tale ending! Pharaoh knew he would need the "trappings" of success or people would not respect him and do what he said. Do we as a society care more about outward appearances than inner qualities? You bet! Things have not changed much in five thousand years or so. There was a reason Pharaoh changed his name a gave him a princess wife. Joseph needed to get rid of his "slave" name, and even worse, the name of a shepherd. What would bring him better into society more than a name? A wife! Things really do not change much.
Sidebar- If I had been Joseph, Potiphar and his wife may have had a real change of lifestyle, as well as the butler,(so Jeeves-what took so long?) If the wife liked to call "rape," I think I might have let her stay in prison a few dozen years. She may have gotten a lot of practice. Joseph was not that petty, at least not that the authors recorded. Even though he was a new man, he kept his old faith.
Prayer- Lord, Even when your blessings are showered on us, help us keep the faith and be Your children. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Genesis 41: 17-40

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer-Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18 when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. 19 After them, seven other cows came up—scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. 20 The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. 21 But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.
22 "In my dreams I also saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. 23 After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none could explain it to me."
25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27 The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.
28 "It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30 but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31 The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32 The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.
33 "And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. 36 This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine."
37 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38 So Pharaoh asked them, "Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God [
a] ?"
39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you."
Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream, but even more, he gives him advice. A prisoner giving the King advice-that’s gutsy. Joseph tells the Pharaoh that there will have to be great planning and organization over the next 14 years for Egypt to survive. Then Pharaoh really stepped outside the box and asked Joseph to oversee the collection and distribution of food.
This is unlike anything we could ever imagine. Take a prisoner, a shepard (a job the Egyptian upperclass looked down upon,) and a foreigner, and elevate him immediately to the second in command of the entire country. God is great, and can do anything, but this was a great miracle. Joseph was ready, for over twelve years he had worked in the jail, learning languages and customs, honing his administrative skills for just an opportunity.
Are we guilty of doing the same? Do we prepare to do God’s work no matter what God has us doing, or are we waiting for "the call." Listen closely- God may be calling us even now.

Prayer- Lord, Call me for Your service. Let me do your work, and keep me humble doing your service. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Genesis 41:1-16

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Pharaoh's Dreams
1 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, 2 when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. 3 After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. 4 And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5 He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. 6 After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.
8 In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.
9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, "Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. 10 Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. 11 Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. 12 Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. 13 And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged. [
a] "
14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.
15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it."
16 "I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires."
Two long years waiting for a trial. Say what you will, but Joseph had patience. Pharaoh has some dreams that he can’t understand, and they bother him. Looking at the dreams after interpretation, they seem pretty obvious-fat cows eaten by skinny cows and the same with heads of grain. He did not know what they meant, but he did know that they must be important. His butler then remembers Joseph, and his ability to interpret dreams. I guess it is better late than never.
After Joseph is cleaned up, he is brought before Pharaoh. He is not brought to him for trial, but to see if he can help. After Pharaoh asks Joseph if he interpret the dreams, Joseph tells him he can’t-but God will. That is faith.
I have to see God working a lot in this passage. I believe that God is working on Pharaoh with the dreams, making these visions pray heavy on his brain. Also, Pharaoh had lots of interpreters working in his court, and none of them could tell what the dreams meant? Some poor excuses of seers if you ask me.
Can we wait that long for our chance? What will we do for the Kingdom if we are placed in places we don’t deserve to be in? Joseph understood more than dreams.
Prayer- Lord- Keep us focused on the important parts of our lives as we experience the changes in life we are going through. Remind us of our priorities, and give us the opportunities to do Your will. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Genesis 40

Relax, Read and Reflect.
Prayer- Lord, Open my heart and open my heart and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
The Cupbearer and the Baker
1 Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, 3 and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them. After they had been in custody for some time, 5 each of the two men—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison—had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.
6 When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. 7 So he asked Pharaoh's officials who were in custody with him in his master's house, "Why are your faces so sad today?"
8 "We both had dreams," they answered, "but there is no one to interpret them." Then Joseph said to them, "Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams."
9 So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. He said to him, "In my dream I saw a vine in front of me, 10 and on the vine were three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Pharaoh's cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes, squeezed them into Pharaoh's cup and put the cup in his hand."
12 "This is what it means," Joseph said to him. "The three branches are three days. 13 Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position, and you will put Pharaoh's cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. 14 But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. 15 For 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."
16 When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, "I too had a dream: On my head were three baskets of bread. [
a] 17 In the top basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head."
18 "This is what it means," Joseph said. "The three baskets are three days. 19 Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and hang you on a tree. [
b] And the birds will eat away your flesh."
20 Now the third day was Pharaoh's birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh's hand, 22 but he hanged [
c] the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation.
23 The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.
Genesis 40:16 Or three wicker baskets
Genesis 40:19 Or and impale you on a pole
Genesis 40:22 Or impaled
Joseph had two new charges, the cupbearer(butler) and the baker of the Pharaoh-or King. While they were working for Joseph, they had dreams. Joseph understands that interpretations come from God, and explained their dreams. The wine stewards dream meant good, but the baker’s dream was bad. Joseph asked the butler to remember him when he got out, but he did not.
God stays with Joseph. We will see that God does remarkable things in the big picture,(cinema grande) but the short term doesn’t always look good. When we are in times of trial and tribulation, remember this, and try to look at the big picture. If you are facing incredible odds in your life, be thankful. God may be using you to do big things.
Prayer- Lord, give me patience to remember that you work in big ways. Help us remember this when times are hard as well as when times are good. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Genesis 39

Relax, Read and Reflect
Prayer- Lord-Open my heart and open my mind and help me learn. Go-Fight-Win. Amen.
Joseph and Potiphar's Wife
1 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.
2 The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So he left in Joseph's care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!"
8 But he refused. "With me in charge," he told her, "my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
13 When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14 she called her household servants. "Look," she said to them, "this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 15 When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house."
16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: "That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house."
19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, "This is how your slave treated me," he burned with anger. 20 Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
Meanwhile, back with Joseph. Joseph has been sold into slavery by his brothers, and the Ishmaelites took him to Egypt. Egypt was a land of stark contrasts, it had the very rich-and the very poor. Joseph was sold to Potiphar, a wealthy Egyptian, and prospered. He has a lot of natural talents, and did not turn from God. He had been taken from his home under bad situations, and it would have been easy for him to turn his back on God, but he didn’t-and God blessed him.
He was doing well, and Potiphar promoted him. Joseph was handsome and Potiphars wife lusted for him. It would have been easy(no pun intended,) and expected for Joseph to sleep with his master’s wife, but he didn’t. He did not want to sin against God. Consenting adults tend to rationalize their behavior as hurting no one, but when they sin with each other, they also sin against God. Joseph stayed strong against constant temptation, and even ran from Potophars wifes advances, and this made her mad. She made up a story saying that Joseph had tried to rape her, (instead of her raping him,) and Joseph was thrown into prison. No trial, no nothing. He was probably sent there to die, because there was no speedy trial. God was still with him, and Joseph continued to have success.
Could we behave in the same way? Yes-we could, but would we. When things go bad, and I mean real bad, will we remember God is with us-or will we turn away from Him as He has obviously turned from us. This is part of our faith, and it is my prayer that we can resist temptation and keep God in our hearts, no matter what happens.
Prayer: God, remind me that You are with me always. Help me resist the temptations to sin against you. Keep me pure and honest, and I will use my talents for you. Go-Fight -Win. Amen.
Things to do- I will make it a point to update regularly now that school is back, so tell your friends.