Lent Day 12

First Signs

Why do you keep looking at one another? There is grain in Egypt; go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live…  Genesis 42:1-17  You wait as long as you can but inevitably you have to make that trip to the food cupboard because there is little food in the house. If it was just you, perhaps you could bear it and make something from the few staples you have left, but there are other mouths to feed who fall under your responsibility. I’ve managed a food cupboard or two and it’s not easy. Most of the people who show up at the doors aren’t there because the food is free, but rather because they need it or someone they know needs it but are unable (or unwilling) to make the trip. It’s a humbling experience to say the least. For me the Joseph story is one of the most powerful – using humility to glorify God’s forgiveness in each of our lives. Joseph remembers his dreams and no doubt he remembers how his brothers treated him. His faith however, was not in his brothers, whose power years ago was simply in numbers. He also remembers his faith is in God, now recognizing the full manifestation of his dreams during his youth. As Joseph’s brothers humbly stand before him, the only thing that stands between him and God’s authority in his life is his own arrogance. Arrogance caused him to be enslaved. Obedience to God’s will brought him out. He would not make the same mistake twice. We have been given that same authority to forgive. How will we use it today?

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Walking Backwards

…Shem and Japheth took a garment… walked backward and covered… their father. Genesis 9:18-29  I often wondered about this passage from Genesis concerning Noah and his sons. I used to think that Ham got a raw deal, that it was unfortunate that he came across his fathers nakedness first. The reality is that someone was bound to be first in seeing Noah exposed. Without knowing why Ham entered his father’s tent in the first place, Ham’s consequence which followed seemed unfair. If you live long enough you realize that there is always more to anyone’s story including our own. There are times when it’s not necessary to place one another in awkward situations. John the Baptist said it best when he was asked about why some were going to Jesus to be baptized; “He must increase but I must decrease.” Ham forgot Noah’s authority, then compounded the situation by telling his brothers! His penalty was harsh; the status of his descendants eventually becoming lowest among the people of Israel. Yet as we know through Christ, and his interaction with a Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21-28), by faith we are not beyond forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation.

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By Whose Authority?

Sunday

Matthew 21:23-32 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?” But if we say, “Of human origin”, we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.’

Know this, if the world didn’t give it, the world can’t take it away! God’s authority cannot be taken away. I believe the chief priests and the elders understood this all too well. Otherwise, why ask the question about authority? No doubt, their own authority is what they were really questioning. They valued their own authority over the people more than God’s authority over themselves. They forgot their own authority over the people, was given by God. Jesus never tried to take their authority away from them. In fact, while he was going about the business of healing, did he not encourage the healed to show themselves to the priest according to Moses law (Luke 5:14)? We can’t have it both ways. We need to be clear. By whose authority do we live our own lives? We can either live by God’s authority or live by the authority of the world. The chief priests and the elders wanted to have it both ways. I confess, in today’s society, with so little control in a struggling economy and so many of us hurting, sometimes I do too. I know that God has given each of us some unique authority (gifts). I know that all gifts come from God and yet sometimes I find myself wanting what God has purposed for someone else. For a moment, I forget the one gift that God has given to each of us. I experience a brief interlude with the way the world perceives life, which believes happiness is attributed to the number of things you possess and people you are able to control. Fortunately, the fantasy doesn’t last, because the consciousness of the Holy and the consciousness of the world can’t co-exist peacefully, but only in disagreement with one another (Romans 7:14-25). Eventually, and in due time we all have to make a decision about the authority in our lives. The chief priests and the elders chose not to believe In Christ, therefore, revealing by whose authority their own ministry is guided. As for me, my authority lay with Christ, the one gift within me that can’t be taken away. Thus by God’s authority, my provision, healing, salvation, redemption, and restoration in HIm is always at hand.

Luke 10:38-42 ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’

James 4: 4-10 Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, “God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

Philippians 2:1-13  it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

2 Timothy 3:5 For people will be lovers of themselves, …holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid them!