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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Exodus 10-12:13; Matthew 20:1-28; Psalm 25:1-15; Proverbs 6:6-11 (New Living Translation)

1. Once again we discuss Pharaoh's hard heart.

2. Everyone around him can see the power of God, but he cannot.

3. The question is, can Pharaoh humble himself in front of his countrymen and "give in" to a much more powerful Lord. I think he has clearly shown that his PRIDE will not bear that.

4. The lesson here is that we should humble ourselves under the hand of God- the safest place to be.

5. Jesus' message is also- humble yourselves.

6. In terms of which disciple will sit where in the kingdom, He tells them it is not His place to give...but His Father's.

7. Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant.

8. Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.

9. It is our ultimate responsibility to serve everyone around us and to serve with dignity.

10. Elevating ourselves is not our option to take- it is God's to give and He will only give it to those willing to serve.

Long day, short post.

See you next post...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Exodus 8-9:35; Matthew 19:13-30; Psalm 24:1-10; Proverbs 6:1-5 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament text

1. The second plague : frogs. Even though Pharaoh's magicians can duplicate this, they cannot end the plague. He realizes that the Lord must be behind this. The Lord allowed Pharaoh to specify the time of the removal of the frogs demonstrating His power.

2. The third plague: vermin. This refers to small insects, such as mosquitoes or lice. The magicians cannot duplicate this and recognize that this is not magic but divine power.

3. The second triad (three-some) of plagues. These punishments apply only to the Egyptians and not the Israelites.

4. The fourth plague: swarms of insects.

5. Pharaoh begins to make some concessions to God's power. He says they can sacrifice, but stay "within the land."

6. The fifth plague: pestilence. This is some type of deadly epidemic affecting livestock, perhaps anthrax.

7. The sixth plague: boils. A severe inflammation of the skin.

8. The third triad as further demonstration of God's incredible power.

9. The seventh plague: hail. One of God's aims in prolonging the confrontation is to show the Egyptians the consequences of resisting His authority and to make Himself known to the world. This is the first plague to take human life. This represents an escalation of the plagues.

New Testament text

10. The story of the rich man. The young man in this story is a good person, one whose goodness was expressed in his honest observation of the law. But Jesus challenged him on one point. "Sell you possessions..." This is not a universal command given to all rich people. Instead it was a challenge to this individual who measured his goodness by his dealings with other men. Yet, this young man violates the first commandment: "You shall have no other gods before me"

11. All human goodness fails at the same point. It is good enough to do good to others, but it is not enough. God must be the center and the focus of our lives.

12. As the young man leaves, Jesus remarked that wealth makes it difficult to enter the kingdom. .."but with God all things are possible."

13. Peter and the other disciples are stilled concerned about greatness. Jesus answers..."many who are first will be last and many who are last will be first."


14. "Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?"..."Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols..." Sounds like our New Testament text.


15. Swallow your pride...save yourself.

16. Final thoughts-

Pride. This seems to be the problem with Pharaoh. He's having trouble backing down from what looks like a no-win situation.

But these stories are linked by "the thing." The thing we put before God. Our money, our pride. What one thing do you elevate above God? That rules your heart, commands your thoughts and drags you through every decision you make? Whatever that thing is it separates us from God, and from the love of God. ...

See you next post

Monday, January 28, 2008

Exodus 5:22-7:25; Matthew 18:21-19:12; Psalm 23:1-6; Proverbs 5:22-23 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament text

1. Moses returns to God complaining that his mission was not a success. Or is his question really, "What other methods should I use to get this done?"

2.The vindication of God's name is the main theme of the plagues.

3. Moses is now to demand unconditional release, not just a 3 day religious holiday.

4. God begins His reply to Moses by identifying Himself with the name that conveys His full power...Yahweh. To know that He is Yahweh means to experience or witness His power.

5. Yahweh is the same God who, under the name of El Shaddai, made a covenant with Israel's ancestors, and He now intends to fulfill that covenant.

6. "I will take you to be My people, and I will be your God. This refers to the covenant that will be established at Mount Sinai. This speaks to the intended intimate relationship between God and Israel...."And you shall know that I, the Lord, am your God."

7. The pedigree of Moses and Aaron. This begins with the descendant's of Jacob's first two sons, but only for the sake of showing the place of his third son, Levi, the ancestor of Moses and Aaron. Levi's descendants are listed in detail, particularly Aaron and his immediate successors as high priest. The rest are omitted.

8. Troop by troop. The Israelites would not leave Egypt as fleeing slaves but as an army marching to the promised land in military formation.

9. "The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord." God's "signs and marvels" will answer Pharaoh's contemptuous declaration that he "does not know the Lord."

10 Since Pharaoh's magicians are able to duplicate the first marvel, he is unimpressed. The magicians use "their spells", conventional magic; while Aaron works silently, relying not on his own power, but on the power of the Lord. The Lord's superior power is demonstrated when Aaron's serpent overcomes those of the magicians.

11. The first of 10 plagues. The plague of blood.

- Pharaoh is told what the coming events will show. The Nile river is affected by this plague. The Nile river is the deified source of Egypt's life. The magicians again can duplicate this...so the Pharaoh is once again unimpressed.

12. What is our lesson as we continue with the Pharaoh? The kingdom of Yahweh is invading the kingdom of the Pharaoh. One God invading the territory of another "god." The Pharaoh is in control, and will not relinquish that control without a fight. Isn't that how we are as we struggle to keep our hands on the controls, rather than letting God...

New Testament text

13. Parable of the unforgiving debtor

- We are seen as servants. Christ, our King has forgiven us a great debt. As servants to such a loving and patient King, we are now called on to have patience and compassion with our fellow believers. Failure to have such patience and to extend such forgiveness will cut us off from our experience of God's forgiveness. This is not because God is unwilling to forgive. It is because forgiveness is like a coin. It has two sides...you cannot have the "heads" (receive forgiveness) without the "tails" (extend forgiveness).

-Faith does not give us an elevated status. We are servants, subject to the will of God. And, we are to treat our fellow servants as God treats us.

14. The Pharisees, followers of the way of the Law, approach Jesus about divorce. The Pharisees, like the disciples, missed the point. Jesus had been teaching about greatness, and had shown that true greatness is to restore the straying lamb, to exercise patience, and to be ever-ready to forgive.

Psalm 23

15. The psalmist here claims relation to God, as his shepherd. He recounts the kind things God has done for him as his shepherd.


16. Your own sin will bind you over to the judgment of God; there is no need for prison or chains...

See you next post...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Exodus 4-5:21; Matthew 18:1-20; Psalm 22:19-31; Proverbs 5:15-21 (New Living Translation)

Today I invited members of my Sunday School class to join me in this year-long journey through the bible.

Old Testament text

1. Three miraculous signs will confirm that Moses is indeed sent from God.

- The rod becoming a snake, and then returning to it's original state. Moses needed no spells or incantations. This power is from God.

- The hand itself. Placed into his bosom healthy, pulling it out diseased. The diseased hand has the appearance of leprosy. To the Israelites this is a sign of impurity. The greater meaning is that the people have become leprous (unclean), polluted by sin, but by being taken into the bosom of Moses they would be cleansed and purified. This was also a sign to Moses that he did not work these miracles alone.

-Turning the water of the Nile to blood. The blood is a sign to the Israelites. In contrast to the plagues for the Egyptians.

2. Moses continues to make excuses. God continues to to answer his concerns. Finally, God becomes angry with him. To balance Moses' weaknesses He reminds him of His own power. He encourages him that He will be with him. And God "modifies" the plan, and now Aaron is to be his spokesman.

3. Moses finally gathers up his family and heads for Egypt.

4. He in instructed to show the Pharaoh the miraculous signs. He is warned that this will not be easy. "I...will stiffen his heart.

5. Then he is to say to Pharaoh..."Thus sayeth the Lord..."

6. His reference to Israel as His first-born is a reflection of God's special attachment to Israel. He states that He will destroy the first-born of the Egyptians. This has to do with an ancient view of family as a unit. Children received reward and punishment based on their parent's behavior.

7. Then we have this strange little story about the Lord wanting to kill Moses. The motive for God's attack is unclear. Is it that he hadn't taken care of his family responsibilities? He had not circumcised his son. This was an old tradition. Zipporah takes an active role in saving her husband's life.

8. The first encounter with Pharaoh. The plagues and defeats of the Egyptians may be viewed as God's answer to Pharaoh's contemptuous question, "Who is the Lord?"

9. Moses and Aaron ask for e few days off to go to worship God...lest He strike us. This is an argument that the Pharaoh can understand. He would also believe that failure to worship a deity would lead to punishment.

10. This doesn't go well. The Pharaoh uses a counter-argument. If we let the Israelites go for several days, who's going to do the work. Everything will grind to a halt. That's why we have slaves! In fact, the Pharaoh calls them lazy. So, punishment the Israelites won't be given straw for their brickmaking. Now in addition to making the bricks, they'll have to go out and get the supplies they need. And...the brick-making quota will remain the same!

New Testament text

11. The disciples are having and unbecoming discussion about which of them will be greater in the kingdom. Jesus gives them and unexpected lesson in humility, and faith.

12. He calls little children to him.

- Seeking greatness, the disciples must humble themselves, as one of the little ones who "believe in Me."

- When He called the people of Israel, they stood off in the distance reserving judgment. When Jesus called the child to Him, the child responded immediately. The child accepted Jesus' invitation at once. Greatness comes only when we humble ourselves to trustingly respond to God's call.

13. He expresses concern for "little ones". I don't think Jesus is talking only about children. I think He's talking about all who respond to His invitation and put their trust in Him

14. Parable of the sheep...

- In our fallen state, we stray like lost sheep.

- The Great Shepherd, Christ, looks for us tirelessly. When He finds us, He is joyful.

- Though the flock (of believers) is great, our Shepard misses any one that is lost.

- "It is not the will of the Father, that one of these little ones should perish." This care extends to all members of the flock, even the mean ones.

15. Jesus changes the focus, a little...

- Little ones are sheep- but little ones are also brothers.

- Jesus talks about how to approach each other for correction. Amazingly, it doesn't say anything about discussing it behind their back.

- Temptations to sin come to all of us. The intrusion of sin into our life causes us to want to break fellowship. Jesus is saying, I think , that our sin, failing and shortcoming should not destroy our family unity.

- If two or three are gathered...who come together in the name of Christ.


15. I will praise You in great assemblies


16. Solomon, having shown the great evil in adultery and fornication, now offers remedies against them.

17. Enjoy the comforts of lawful marriage

18. The Lord sees everything...let the fear of God rule your heart

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Exodus 2:11-3:22; Matthew 17:10-27; Psalm 22:1-18; Proverbs 5:7-14 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament text

1. Moses grew up knowing he was Hebrew, despite the fact that he grew up in the Pharaoh's household. He always knew who he was...Do you know who you are?

2. He saw the oppression of his people, and took matters into his own hands, he killed an Egyptian. He though no one saw him. But, you know whenever we do something "not quite right" someone always seems to know or find out.

3. The Pharaoh finds out and tries to kill Moses. He ran away to Midian (remember them from the story of Joseph).

4. He acts kindly toward some shepherd girls who were being bullied, and ends up becoming a member of their family. Reuel gives him one of his daughters, Zipporah, in marriage. They have a son who they name Gershom (meaning, I have been a foreigner in a foreign land).

5. Many years pass, the old Pharaoh is dead, but of course they get a new one.

6. The people cry out to God, who now "remembers" His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He puts His plan into place.

7. Moses sees the burning bush, which isn't being consumed by the flames. From the middle of the bush a voice calls his name. What's his response, "Here I am!" Sound familiar. You have got to love these patriarchs and this seemingly simple, and at the same time all-encompassing answer. "Here I am."

8. This is not to say that they get it all done. Or that they get it all done perfectly. Or that they never stray from the path. These are after all human beings, with human faults and weaknesses.

9. Anyway, the Lord wants him to go back to Egypt to free his people, God's people.

10. Moses does protest a little. "Who am I that I should appear before the Pharaoh?" God ell him, it doesn't really matter who you think you are, because I am with you.

11. Well then, who shall I say sent me..."I Am Who I Am", Yahweh.

12. God assures him again the he will be with him, and that when they leave it will be as if they had plundered the Egyptians. They will leave with so much treasure.

New Testament text

13. Poor Jesus. He's always trying to explain things to the disciple. Elijah came to Him during the transformation, but the "Elijah tat the gospels refer to as the forerunner of Jesus was John the Baptist.

14. Once again He tells the disciples that their faith is too small...little faith. If it were bigger they would be able to work miracles themselves.

15. He talks about the upcoming crucifixion and resurrection.

16. He pays the temple tax with 2 coins from a fish.

Psalm 22

17. Many scholars believe that this is the Psalm that Jesus was referring to while on the cross. "My God, my God, why have you abandoned (forsaken) me...." But it pretty well describes the scene at the cross.


18. We continue our lesson on being around immoral women (people)...they are merciless. They will consume your money and your wealth.

See you next post...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Genesis 50:1-26; Exodus 1-2:10; Matthew 16:13-17:9; Psalm 21:1-13; Proverbs 5:1-6 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament Text

1. Jacob dies. After Jacob dies the brothers fear that Joseph will take revenge. Joseph's response, "Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good..." Joseph reassures them of his good intentions towards them and their families.

2. Joseph dies. Prior to this Joseph reassures them that God will lead them back home. And, like his father he wants to be buried "back home."

3. Yeah! Genesis is done.

4. The Israelites flourished.

5. There is a new king in Egypt, Thutmose I. This king doesn't know anything about Joseph or what he did to save Egypt during the famine. The new king and his advisers feared the growth of the Israelites. Feared that they might unite with the enemies of the Egyptians. They oppressed them and enslaved them.

6. Moses is a descendant of the tribe of Levi.

7. It was the daughter of Thutmose I, Hatsheput, who found Moses floating in the basket of reeds. She recognized that he was a Hebrew child. Probably circumcised according to ritual. He was ultimately nursed by his own mother.

8. He was given the name Moses= "I lifted him out of the water."

New Testament Text

9. "Who do you say I am?" Who do you say Jesus is?

10. What does this run of verses mean? Peter is the rock, "keys to the kingdom", binding and loosing. There are many scholarly explanations for these. From my readings, I think that Peter was chosen to open the door of the Gospel to each of the two major groups of people of his day-

- Jews (Gospel sermon at Pentecost) and

- Gentiles (chosen to speak to Cornelius, the first Gentile to become a member of the body of Christ.)

11. The binding and loosing are more difficult to understand. It refers, we believe, to binding demons and curses and loosing blessings. We are only able to do these things as an extension of Christ. We are called to be the kingdom. To reflect Jesus in our world.

12. Take up your cross...

13. If you hang on to this life and earthly possessions- you will lose them. We all die, in the flesh. If you give up these things...you will save your life...your soul.

14. What Jesus wants us to give up is not our life, but our self-centeredness...our self!

15. The transfiguration observed by Peter, James and John. Moses and Elijah join Jesus there.


16. "The unfailing love of the Most High will keep you from stumbling."


17. Proverb 5 warns us against adultery.

18. Today's section warns specifically against being taken in by an immoral woman
...sweet as honey,...smoother than oil,...bitter as poison...as dangerous as a double-edged sword.

See you next post...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Genesis 48-49:33; Matthew 15:29-16:12; Psalm 20:1-9; Proverbs 4:20-27 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. Jacob is dying. He blesses his grandsons first. They take Joseph's place in line. This is now the beginning of the "12 tribes of Israel.

2. Like his own blessing...he reverses the order. Stating that the younger will rule over the younger.

3. Jacob wants to be buried at "home."

4. The "prelude" to the blessing is remarkable...

- "the God who has been my shepherd all my life, to this very day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm..." This gives all honor and glory to God.

5. Jacob then "blesses" his sons. Some of these don't sound too nice. But, if we've been paying attention to the story, well earned. Remember, like their forefathers, and like us...these are human beings. We / they "screw" up. But God still watches over us.

New Testament / Matthew

6. Jesus feeds the 4 thousand. The people and the disciples are fed and are filled.

7. Sign of Jonah. Jonah was trapped in "the belly of the whale" for 3 days.

8. Signs of being human again. The disciples get to where they need to be...but they forgot to bring the bread, something to eat. Jesus scolds them. The lesson is not about actual bread and yeast...it's about true and false teachings. The yeast of the Pharisees and Pharisees is false teaching.


9. Here we have it again, the God of Jacob...may He answer all your prayers.

10.It is the hand of God that is directing this whole epic tale. the tales of Jacob, Joseph, and moving on tho the Tribes of Israel.

11. It is the hand of God that should direct our live. But remember, we too have a role to play. God doesn't just push us around like checkers. This life requires active participation. We are ambassadors for the kingdom of God.


12. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines your course in life. Stay true to your values. Don't get sidetracked!

See you next post...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Genesis 46-47:31; Matthew 15:1-28; Psalm 19:1-14; Proverbs 4:14-19 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament

1. God gives His reassurance to Jacob..." Do not be afraid. I will go with you and bring you back."
Isn't this the promise that God gives us all...that He will never leave us? No matter how low the depths, how great the burden, how dark the night...He will never leave us.

2. Jacob answers unswervingly, "Here I am."

3. Jacob goes to Egypt. The family is united. Seventy six (76) people , Joseph's entire family come to join him in Egypt. This is the entirety of the "children of Israel". We will see that many, many more Israelites will leave when the time comes.

4. They live separated from the Egyptians. Who they are and what they do (herd sheep) are abominations to the Egyptians. The additional benefit is that this physical separation is that it is a natural barrier for intermarriage. Remember that was a problem in Canaan.
The land they receive is fertile. They are given excellent living conditions in which their numbers will grow rapidly.

5. The famine continues and we see the greatness of Egypt falter. First the people give all their money to the Pharaoh (via Joseph) for the grain. Then they give all their livestock. Then they give the land, and finally themselves as slaves. When they are enslaved they are given seed to plant. When they harvest the crop they are compelled to give one fifth of it back to the Pharaoh.

6. Jacob asks to be buried "back home."

New Testament / Matthew text

7. Its not what a man eats or how he washes that contaminates him. It is his heart. The good, bad, bitter and sweet things that come from our mouths start in our hearts. The heart and what goes on there are where the work of the kingdom is done.

8. Until He was rejected by the people of Israel, Jesus dutifully made Himself available to them. The Canaanite woman recognize who he was. Her request was granted because of her great faith.


9. I think the interpretation in The Message is clearer..

- God vaults across the sky, warming hearts to faith
- The revelation of God is whole
- The signposts of God are clear
- The life maps of God are right
- The directions of God are plain
- God's reputation is 24 carat gold
- The decisions of God are accurate
- God's Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds
- God's Word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure; otherwise how will we find our way
- Keep me from stupid sins.
Ever make / do any of those?


10. Stay off the path of the wicked..."they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. " The way of the wicked is like deep darkness. Better to stay on the path of the righteous, where you can see.

See you next post...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Genesis 44-45:28; Matthew 14:13-36; Psalm 18:37-50; Proverbs 4:11-13 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament text

1. Why have you repaid my kindness for evil? The brothers have been set up by Joseph, again. But he seems to be testing their character. Have they really changed since the last time he saw them? Are they putting on an act ot do they really care about Benjamin. Or are the just afraid of Jacob?

2. For me there are 2 key lessons in Joseph's story

- Trusting God no matter what...

-Maintaining your character...

3. Joseph has been through a great deal. We talked about this in the last psot. Favored son
-->attacked by his jealous brothers--> sold into slavery--> rising to the top in those conditions
-->falsely accused--> imprisoned--> rising to the top again--> forgotten for 2 years--> summoned by the Pharoah--> becoming second in command for all of Egypt.
Throughout all these ordeals he continues to trust in God.

4. Joseph always knows who he is. He doesn't sin with Potiphar's wife, because it would be a sin against God. He realizes that his gift of dream interpretation is from God. That it is God who reveals the meaning of the dreams. Not Joseph alone. He maintains his character. He does not deviate from the things he thinks are right and just. He is known for his integrity.

Character is a choice. Joseph could have had Potiphar's wife. He could have imprisoned his brothers and had them killed. But revenge was never in his heart...or if it was, he chose not to act on it. There's that word again...choose. Do we choose the high road, or give in to our baser instincts...because that feel so much better...in the short term?

5. Now the "children of Israel" are on their way to Egypt.

Matthew text

6. The story of feeding the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish(es).

7. What strikes me about this story is when the disciple ask to send the crowds away, because it's getting late and they'll need to be fed. Jesus says, "you feed them." Jesus works it out for them, but isn't that how we approach God. we are surrounded by people who have needs. We, rightly pray for them and ask God to bless them. But what are we doing to bless them? To help them?

8. Jesus walks on the water. Peter wants proof. If You call me, I'll come out there. But he doubts and stumbles. Jesus calls his faith small. He's right of course. Peter will demand more proof later.


9. You, God have armed me for the battle

10 God pays back those who harm me. God pays them back...vengeance is the Lord's.


11. Wisdom first teaches what is right--Juvenal

See you next post

Monday, January 21, 2008

Genesis 42:18-43:34; Matthew 13:47-14:12; Psalm 18:16-36; Proverbs 4:7-10 (New Living Translation)

1. We have the ongoing epic tale of Joseph's life. His brothers travelling back and forth for grain and to save the life of their brother, Simeon.

2. Joseph chose to keep Simeon prisoner while the others travelled home to get Benjamin. Why Simeon?

3. Joseph sent them home with grain and their money. Notice that when the brothers think they are doomed they ask, "What has God done to us?" Not what have we gotten ourselves into, or what have we done?

4. "Poor" Jacob, his main concern in losing Benjamin is that "he is all that I have left." (of Rachel ?) So initially, he won't let him go. At least not until the famine continues and they are starving again. He also seems to have forgotten by this time that he had to send Benjamin in order to get more grain.

5. They prepare gifts and more money for "the man." Joseph is second in command to all of Egypt. He has no need for their gifts, trinkets or money.

6. Simeon is released and they go to Joseph's house to eat. They are given water to wash their feet and feed for their donkeys. Both signs of hospitality.

7. He is overcome by the sight of his brother, alive and well.

8. We also see that the Hebrews and Egyptians are separated. The Egyptians despised the Hebrews. They cannot eat or sit together. This must have been a strange existence for Joseph, since he was second in command, and known to be a Hebrew. This is important as we move these two groups closer to each other.

9. This is an amazing story. Look how God has worked and knitted everything together so that the plan will go forward. So that the promise can be kept. So that a remnant might be preserved. I doubt that anyone, including Joseph could have guessed how this would have turned out. From tending sheep, to the cistern, to slavery, to Potiphar's house, to prison, to second in command...so that his people would be saved.

Matthew text

10. The parable of the net (dragnet) - the kingdom ends with final separation of the unrighteous from the righteous.

11. Jesus finishes His stories, and the people are amazed. This is someone they know. Someone they watched grow up. How can He know these things? How can He really know what the kingdom of God is like?

12. Because of their unbelief "he only did a few miracles there." Do we miss or block our blessings by getting in our own way? Stumbling over our own feet looking for proof? Are we like Thomas? Will we not accept the truth unless we can see it and feel it for ourselves?

13. John, remember John the Baptiser...well he is in prison. For telling the truth. As a gift to his niece, who is also his step-daughter, Herod beheads John. Upon receiving this news, Jesus retreats, but the crowds follow Him. Is He sad and upset, or just disappointed?

14. John was killed for the truth. What are we doing to advance the kingdom?

Psalm text

15. The Lord delights in me...

16. God's way is perfect.

Proverb text

17. Wisdom and judgement...get them

See you next post...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Genesis 41:17-42:17; Matthew 13:24-46; Psalm 18:1-15; Proverbs 4:1-6 (New Living Translation)

Old Testament text

1. We finished up last post with Joseph getting cleaned up to meet the Pharaoh.

2. Joseph gives God the credit for the interpretation and the warnings to Pharaoh. Giving credit to God may have been something he overlooked in sharing his dreams with is brothers.

3. The Pharaoh's dreams both have the same interpretation. Feast followed by great famine.

4. "The famine will be so severe that even the memory of the good years will be erased." We have all been here at some point in our lives- either emotionally, physically, financially...Things seem so bad that we cannot remember a time when things were good. But if stop, think and look up from the muck, we can always think of a time when we felt more blessed. And we must maintain the hope that we will rise again.

5. It is said that hope is not waiting for God, it is waiting with God.

6. The basic plan to get through the famine is to store one-fifth of the crops during the good years. Pharaoh can see that Joseph is "filled with the spirit of God."

7. Joseph becomes second in command for all of Egypt.

8. Joseph is given a new name, Zaphenath-paneah ("God speaks and lives"). He is 30 years old.

9. He inspects all of Egypt. He has been given a God-inspired plan, but he takes the time to see what he has in the "natural world" to work with.
- Do we take the time to get prepared, to get educated and organized when we are given new projects? Yes, God helps us, but we have to do the work as well.

10. Two sons are born to Joseph

- Manasseh- "God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father's family"

- Ephraim- "God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief"

11. Everyone has to come to Joseph for grain. Eventually most of his brother's come.

12. Benjamin is left at home. Has he become the new "favored son"? Has Jacob learned nothing?

13. Joseph recognized his brothers immediately. He remembered the dreams he shared with them. Some of us might have taken this opportunity to "throw it in their faces." Joseph does not. But he does "make them sweat."

14. He sends for his younger brother, Benjamin. Is he checking the brother's story, to be sure that Benjamin is still alive?

Matthew text

15. The Son of Man is the farmer, the evil one is the enemy. We will all be sorted out in the end.

16. When we find the Kingdom of Heaven it is a treasure greater than any we can possess.

17. What do I think these parables mean in our everyday lives?

- The parable of the sower--> individuals repsond differently to the Word's invitation

- The parable of the wheat and tares--> the kingdom's citizens live among the men of the world, growing together until the time of God's harvest

- The parable of the mustard seed--> the kingdom begins in insignificance; its greatness comes as a surprise

- The parable of the leavening--> the kingdom is implanted in different "raw material" and grows to fill the whole personality with righteousness

- The parable of the hidden treasure--> the kingdom is hidden and for individual "purchase"

- The parable of the priceless pearl--> the kingdom demands abandonment of all other values

Psalm text

18. This is an incredible image of God.

19. The text says that he rides "mounted on a mighty angelic being (a cherub), he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind." It doesn't say anything about God having wings.

Proverb text

20. Get wisdom; develop good judgment.

21. Wisdom (and good judgment) will protect you.

See you next post...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Genesis 39-41:16; Matthew 12:46-13:23; Psalm 17:1-15; Proverbs 3:33-35 (New Living Translation)

1. The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did...the Lord is with us always, even when it doesn't look like we are being successful.

2. Potiphar was blessed because of his association with Joseph. Many times others are blessed through us, as we are through them. We are meant to be in community.

3. Joseph does not sleep with Potiphar's wife for a number or reasons.

- First, it would be a betrayal of his masters trust. What are we thinking when we betray other's? Are we thinking of the temporary satisfaction of some blinding passion? Are we thinking of the short and long-term consequences of what we do? The people we may hurt?

- Second, it is a sin against God. Remember, we haven't gotten to God's written Law, the Ten Commandments, yet. Moses and the written law are still ahead of us in our studies. But, someone has taught Joseph the basics of what God expects from us and what makes a man a man. And he has held fast to these values even in times of despair, and perhaps great temptation.

4. Joseph runs away. Frequently we forget the most basic approach to dealing with bad influences...move away, run if you have to!

5. In prison, the Lord was with Joseph.

6. Interpreting dreams is God's business. Joseph has finally learned that he is but a vessel for this "gift." We all have gifts and talents given to us by God. Do we use them to good purpose?

7. Patience in waiting on the Lord. It was two years before he was summoned to see the Pharaoh.

8. He's been in prison, and has to be cleaned up to see the Pharaoh. This passage reminds me of when Jacob' preparation to take his family home. He told them to bath, change their clothes. They were on their way to a "new life."

9. He has come to interpret the dreams of the Pharaoh. He rightfully gives glory to God. "It is beyond my power, but God can tell you..."

10. From Matthew, we are family. It is Christ that unites us.

11. The parable-

- Seeds on the footpath. The birds steal the seeds. We hear, but we make no attempt to understand. The evil one then comes to steal the seeds of faith from our heart and destroy us.

-Seeds in/on the shallow soil. Sprout quickly, but soon wilt in the heat / light of day. We hear and we appear to flourish quickly. But we lack deep roots (understanding) to sustain us. We fail as soon as problems arise.

-Seeds among the weeds. Our new found faith is choked out by worries. Once again, we lack sustenance prevail against our attackers.

-Seeds in fertile ground, produce abundant crop/harvest. These to Jesus represented the people who hear and understand.

12. "Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand."

13. Psalm

- "I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God."

- "When I awake. I will see you face to face and be satisfied." When I awake from this life. When I awake from stumbling around in the dark. When I actually open my eyes. When I begin to see and hear and understand. When I awaken, when I awaken, I will see you. But you've been there (for me) all along.

14. Proverbs

-The interpretation from The Message says, "...the fool gets the booby prize."

see ya next post

Friday, January 18, 2008

Genesis 42:18-43:34; Matthew 13:47-14:12; Psalm 18:16-36; Proverbs 4:7-10 (New Living Translation)

1. The first problem we see in this story is that Joseph is the favored son. This just aggravates the brothers. And it destroys any possibility of a good relationship.

2. Do we treat our children differently? Of course we do. The important question we need to ask ourselves is, "Why?" Do we treat them differently because they are more good looking, because they are smarter. Perhaps because they are more like us. Perhaps one gives you a little less heart-ache. Consider, if you're not too freaked out about the idea- what am I leaving as a legacy? What will their relationship be like once I'm gone (dead). Will they love each other, care for each other...watch out for each other? Just some thoughts.

3. Anyway, the brothers hated Joseph. Between the dreams, the special coat and his father's obvious preference.

4. Without reading more into the scripture than it says, we don't really know how Joseph said these things, or what kind of attitude he brought to the table. But it does say that his father scolded him.

5. So the brothers plot to get rid of the "boy wonder"

6. It doesn't say who suggested killing Joseph. Reuben intercedes and offers to let him die of neglect...but he had planned to secretly rescuing Joseph at a later time.

7. He's put into the cistern. However, they think better of this when there is an opportunity to profit from this. Get rid of the brat and make money too.

8. Jacob is distraught.

9. Joseph is sold to Potiphar in Egypt.

10. Then there is the story of Judah and Tamar. Judah was deceitful inn that he never planned to have Shelah marry Tamar. Tamar was deceitful in pretending to be a prostitute to have a child. She escaped death by being wise enough to have gotten a "guarantee"

11. The reading from Matthew tell us that there is no neutral ground. You are either with Christ or against Him. As with many other things in life, by our actions and our deeds, we are either helping or making things worse.

12. Things are rarely what they seem. When you are angry about something, about to jump someone about something...if you really stop, and think...the thing that you're ranting about is not what's bothering you. In the Matthew scripture, I don't think these people were really worried that Jesus was Satan or the "prince of demons." I think they were worried that the prophesy was being fulfilled. They had been wrong all this time in their assumptions about how things would be. Here was the Son of God...really here. Not dressed as a warrior or a king. A lowly carpenter's son...hanging out with lowly fisherman (not the chief priests)...here to redeem us...WOW!

13. Every good thing I have comes from you.

see ya next post.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Genesis 35-36:43; Matthew 12:1-21; Psalm 15:1-5; Proverbs 3:21-26 (New Living Translation)

1. God tells Jacob/ Israel to get up and go. And, he does. There's no stalling. No protest that he has too much invested in where he is. No complaints about what he may lose or have to leave behind. He gets up, tells everyone to get ready (and how to get ready) and they move out.

2. Once again, we are reminded to let go of our false, little gods. The things that keep us more attached to this world; keep us paralyzed into in-action. He's asking them to let go of their old lives; God has a new plan for them (and for us).

3. El-Shaddai...God Almighty

4. Benjamin's name- some translations say his name means "son of good fortune"

5. Here we go... Reuben has sleeps with Bilhah (one of his father's concubines, the mother of several of his brothers)

6. Esau = Edom, ancestor to the Edomites. We'll see them again later. Esau's wives are Canaanite women.

7.The brothers separate because of the vastness of their blessings. They are both blessed.

8. Jesus' instructs us to show mercy, not be focus so much on following the rules...SHOW MERCY!

9. Healing and helping on the Sabbath...

10. Do we treat people as well as we treat our pets?

11. It is the condition of the heart that counts. This is how we get to God.

12.Common sense and sound judgment will keep you safe...guard these with your life!

see you next post...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Genesis 32:13-34:31; Matthew 11:7-30; Psalm 14:1-7; Proverbs 3:19-20 (New Living Translation)

1. Once again we see Jacob hiding behind gifts, etc.

2. Jacob wrestles all night with someone. (is it God?) Then someone changes his name. From that moment on he is Israel. This seems to be part of a pattern. We have Abram-->Abraham, Sarai --> Sarah, and now Jacob --> Israel.

3. To name a thing is to know it, to define it. When we enter into God's promises, we are given a new name. That name is saved, redeemed...

4. This brings me to another point. Most people don't like reading the Old Testament. They don't like a God who gets upset with His people. I think the beauty of the Old Testament is that these people, the patriarchs and matriarchs of our faith are AVERAGE and NORMAL. To use the vernacular, they "screw" things up all the time...and God forgives them, and brings them back into the fold. These people are just like you and me...at least a lot like me. No matter how hard I try, I am imperfect, I am human. But I serve a God and a Savior who watch over me, even when I do the dumbest things.

5. Notice the order for the line-up of Jacob's family...maidservants and their children, Leah and her children, Rachel and her children. Is this still in case something goes wrong, so that a "remnant" might be saved? But we'll come to this point again as we read through Genesis.

6. The brothers (Jacob and Esau) reunite and all seems to be forgiven

7. Then we have the story of Shechem (name of the city and the prince) and Dinah. Shechem raped her then fell in love and had to have her for his wife. Lust, then love (?)

8. Hamor never apologizes for the conduct of his son.

9. Shechem never apologizes for the rape.

10. They are not suppose to intermarry with these people...they are Canaanites! It's one of the rules. This is what makes the son's response deceitful. They are making a promise they have no intention of keeping.

11. Hamor's speech to his city is double-talk as well. He starts out by saying these guys are our friends. And concludes by saying that if they do this thing (get circumcised so they can marry), all the livestock and possessions will be theirs.

12. They all get circumcised, not realizing that obtaining God's promise and bounty is not confined to physical circumcision.

13. Simeon and Levi destroy the whole city. They took everything (cattle, women, children, possessions).

12. It is spiritual circumcision...circumcision of the heart that matters. A repentant and contrite heart.

Grace and Peace,
"See" you next post...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Genesis 31:17-32:12; Matthew 10:24-11:6; Psalm 13:1-6; Proverbs 3:16-18 (New Living Translation)

Thoughts, questions, things to consider from today's reading-
1. Jacob, the trickster, has been tricked several times by Laban...ultimately steals away like a "thief in the night" to escape his "slavery
2. Rachel leaves with her household god(s). Hedging her bets. Then lies about having them (okay a "white lie", a lie of omission, but what's the diff!)
3. What is/are your gods?
4. Mizpah-watchtower. We have a more positive impression of the Mizpah. Many people currently wear rings or medallions signifying an emotional bond between people who are separated (either physically or by death)..."And Mizpah; for he said, The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another."
5. Jacob "subjugating" himself to his brother Esau by referring to him as master. Remember he stole this man's birthright and blessing.
6. Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot kill your soul. Fear only God...
7. How do we acknowledge Jesus and the sacrifice He made for you and me?
8. Enemies are closer than you think.
9. John, the Baptist. In the natural John, like the rest of us, doubts. In the spiritual realm, he knows who Jesus is...they met in the womb.
10. Psalms- I don't know how long my troubles will last, but I will trust in your unfailing love.
11. Wisdom- the path to long life, riches, honor, and a less difficult life.

What strikes you about these passages...

Monday, January 14, 2008


What's the goal here? Actually, my mission is two-fold-

First, to communicate with people who are interested in studying the bible. To discuss that study, to share ideas, insights, questions, revelations, joys, struggles, prayer requests. Also to enlighten and inspire one another.

to that end, I have added feed/link for one year Bible study. This is an "easy" way to work through the bible, but it may also give us some things to discuss as we embark on this journey together.

My second goal is to journal or chronicle projects that i am interested in starting. I feel that this type of community will give me a sense of accountability, as well as offering insights, suggestions, etc. What types of projects, you ask. like staring a food pantry, helping women get jobs (when they're available), reaching out to those less fortunate than myself.

Who am I?

Bible study is a life-long passion. I am no "bible scholar." My formal training is not in religious studies; I have taken classes at seminary.spent a little time at seminary.

We are all wondrously blessed, but we forget...and we forget, or ignore those who are not. let's remember those things together by going back to "The Word of God."

So next posting, we'll jump in...