Daily Reading: April 2nd


#DailyDevotion Be Faithful To The Lord, No Matter What

5th Sunday in Lent

Read Ex 1:1–22

Exo 1:15-17  Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah,  (16)  “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.”  (17)  But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.

 

God is fulfilling the promise he made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For four hundred years the children of Israel have been multiplying in Egypt. It is thought that a new dynasty had come to power just before the time of Moses that was not friendly to Semitic peoples. So since the Israelites were seen as displaced foreigners and were getting so numerous they posed a physical threat, the Pharaoh decided he needed to do something about it. He was going to kill off the boys, assimilate the girls and put the people under the whip to keep them under control.

 

The Israelite women though feared the Lord more than Pharaoh. Some may take exception of them lying but this may instruct us that love is fulfillment of the law and that we must obey God rather than men. We saw similar actions during World War II in places the Nazis were in control.

 

Through these actions of faith, the women preserved the Israelite people, allowed for Moses to be brought into the world, the instrument through whom the Lord was going to free his people, and the line of Jesus would be preserved.

 

As Joseph reminded us, the Pharaoh meant it for evil but meant it for good. Through the evil of the Pharaoh the Lord was going to show his glory to the Egyptians and to his people. We may be experiencing as manner of evil, trial, tribulations in our lives. People and the world that brings these things upon us mean it for evil. But God uses it for his good and for our good. We may not always see it. The Israelites rarely realized it or remembered it. But as we read the Scriptures we can see it is true.

 

The actions of the midwives should encourage us in our daily living in the Lord. There is so much stuff out there which may cause us to doubt God’s mercy and love. There are lots of situations which may tempt us to not be faithful to God: few for those who read this are threatened with death for being faithful. But the courage and faithfulness of the midwives should encourage us to be faithful no matter what also.

 

On top of that, the Lord himself became of us, was tempted in every way like us, was threatened with death and did indeed suffer death for our sakes, so we may live before God eternally. In and with his strength we too may remain faithful, even unto death should the situation require it.

Heavenly Father, you helped the midwives remain faithful to you and you demonstrated your faithfulness to us in your son Jesus. Grant us your Spirit and faith that we too may be faithful like them to your Word and Promises.

Daily Reading: April 1st


#DailyDevotion Forgiveness Is No April’s Fools Joke

Lent day 28 Saturday

Read Gen 49:29—50:7, 14–26

Gen 50:17  ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”‘ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him…19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?  (20)  As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.  (21)  So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

 

Now we see Joseph’s brothers still didn’t trust Joseph. They must of have thought Joseph was just waiting for their father to die, then he was going to take care of them, i.e. put them to death. They didn’t trust the mercy he had shown them when they first came to Egypt. Of course he did give them a rough time of it to prove themselves that they had changed. Joseph was living rent free in their heads and he didn’t even want to. This is what life is like when we don’t go and make amends to the people we have harmed.

 

But Joseph had learned of the mercy of God during his life. He was moved by their fear and he wept because he thought after their final meeting when they brought his dad and brother they could get back to living. He knew and trusted in the promises of the Lord. The Lord had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob they would become a great nation, that would include his brothers.

 

Judgment belongs to God is Joseph’s belief and attitude. While certainly his brothers meant evil for Joseph, God had a plan and turned it around for good. No doubt St. Paul is thinking about this in Romans 8, “God works all things for good for those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Therefore based on this, Joseph is going to continue to protect his brothers and their families.

 

We should have the same attitude and beliefs as Joseph. We like Joseph, who have been called to Abraham’s children through baptism should believe that we have been called by God and this promise belongs to us in all trials and tribulations. Like Joseph we should forgive those who sin against us as God in Christ Jesus forgives us. Unlike Joseph’s brothers we should follow Jesus’ command to make up with our accusers along the way and not let the sun go down with someone angry at us so we need not walk in fear all our days.

 

Heavenly Father, ever give us faith to trust in your divine providence over us as your children and grant us your Holy Spirit that we may forgive those who sin against us even as you have forgiven all who have sinned against you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: March 31


#DailyDevotion The Church Is For Blessing The People Of The Earth

Lent day 27 Friday

Read Gen 47:1–31

Gen 47:3-7  Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were.”  (4)  They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. And now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.”  (5)  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you.  (6)  The land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. Let them settle in the land of Goshen, and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”  (7)  Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.

 

The Lord had blessed Jacob in his family through the disaster of the relationships between his sons.  He had taken the murderous and hateful thoughts of Joseph’s brothers and turned into life for them and their families.  The Lord had bless Joseph that he would find favor in Pharaoh’s eyes and become head of Egypt and to provide a plan for saving both Israel and Egypt.  Now we see the culmination of that blessing.  Pharaoh would give to Joseph and his family the good fertile land of Goshen.  It was in the Nile delta which received the rich silt of the Nile and fertilized the land.  There was good pasture there.

 

We then should not be surprised at what Jacob does.  Jacob blesses Pharaoh.  That is a function of the Church on earth.  The Church is to be a blessing to the kings of the earth it lives under even if and maybe particularly when the kings of the earth persecute it.

 

Peter reminds us we are to blessing people, 1Pe 3:9  “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”  And James in chapter 3 also reminds us of this vocation.  Of course Jesus tells us this, Luk 6:28  “bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”  And so does St. Paul, Rom 12:14  “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”

 

Specifically St. Paul reminds us to pray for those in authority, 1Ti 2:1-4  “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,  (2)  for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  (3)  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,  (4)  who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  St. Paul gives two good reasons for this.  One is for the Church that it might live in peace and two that they might come to a saving knowledge of the truth.

 

Lord, God heavenly Father, you have ordained powers and authorities in the world.  We pray you would bless them with wisdom so they may lead their people with justice, mercy, truth and equity.  We pray for their conversion to faith in Christ Jesus that they too may understand, believe and confess Jesus as their Lord now freely rather than when He returns and are forced to their condemnation.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Daily Reading: March 30th


#DailyDevotion Good Doesn’t Need Evil

Lent day 26 Thursday

Read Gen 45:1–20, 24–28

Gen 45:4-8 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. (5) And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. (6) For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. (7) And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. (8) So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

You just never know how God is going to turn your life around. Whether you have done evil or have been the victim of it, it is all in God’s hands. It is in God’s hands for God’s purposes. Now that can be a scary thing or a good thing depending on your view of your relationship with God.

Joseph’s brothers until they get the view the plan at hindsight see their evil now as a good thing or rather how God has turned it into a good thing. You rarely want to be the one perpetrating the evil in the normal scheme of thing, just in case you’re wondering, just look ahead to the next book in the Bible to what happens to Pharoah. But for God’s people in Christ Jesus it all pans out.

We have the promise, Rom 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” And how do we know we have been called according to his purpose? By his choosing. How do you know you are chosen? By the rite of baptism. In Baptism, you know God has placed his name, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit on you. There he has placed you into his Son, Jesus. Rom. 6:3ff

If you are in Christ then all things are working out for your good and the good of His Church. We don’t always see it at times. It may take 450-2000 years (just read the Bible history from Israel’s entrance to Egypt to the crucifixion of Jesus) but the good that God intends will not be frustrated. I think this is because despite the bad guys line in every good movies, “You can’t exist without me!” they have it backwards. Evil cannot exist without good because evil is just a perversion of the good like rust on a nail. The nail is perfectly happy and can exist without the rust. Whatever evil there is it depends upon goodness for its existence. God being the ultimate good simply removes the evil from that which being perverted and whala! The good that was supposed to be there is there. But Tarnex won’t do the job. It takes the blood of Jesus and the cross to remove it.

Lord grant us faith to believe that while we cannot see the good you are going to work from evil or good, that you will indeed keep your promise to work all things together for our good. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Daily Reading: March 29th


#DailyDevotion Is Someone A Pledge For You?
Lent day 25 Wednesday

Read Gen 44:1–18, 32–34

Genesis 44:9 Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants.” 10 He said, “Let it be as you say: he who is found with it shall be my servant, and the rest of you shall be innocent.” 11 Then each man quickly lowered his sack to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12 And he searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city. 14 When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, he was still there. They fell before him to the ground. 15 Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that a man like me can indeed practice divination?” 16 And Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we and he also in whose hand the cup has been found.” 17 But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so! Only the man in whose hand the cup was found shall be my servant. But as for you, go up in peace to your father.”…32 For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.’ 33 Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father.”

 

Joseph again test his brothers.  He wants to see whether or not they have changed.  He wants to know whether or not they have repented of their treatment of him in wanting to kill him and selling him into slavery.

 

We see here they tear their clothes.  It is a sign of repentance.  They believe God is bringing this upon them because of what they had did to their brother Joseph.  We might take a brief note to remember these are God’s people.  Judgment begins with the house of God.  God may indeed discipline those who have been called to be his through various and sundry punishments until such time they repent.  As Jesus is apt to teach us, “Unless you repent you will likewise perish.”  Joseph uses their words against them when he searches for the cup and lays the blame squarely on the one who has it, the one he is framing, his little brother. How do his brothers act?  What is their response to being sent away without Benjamin?  Judah as we recall from yesterday fulfills his promise.  He will stand in the place of Benjamin.  He will be the substitute.

 

The seed of Judah, Jesus of Nazareth is our substitute so we may return home to the Father.  Satan wishes to accuse us, rightly and wrongly before God.  But Jesus is our scapegoat.  He takes the blame.  He is punished for our transgression so we may live and return to our Father in heaven without sin, guile, blame, shame or guilt.  It is all laid on our elder brother Jesus.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for fulfilling the promises you made in the Old Testament.  Grant us faith to believe it. Amen.

Daily Readings: March 28th


#DailyDevotion You Have Someone Who Has Pledged His Life For You

Lent Day 24 Tuesday

Read Gen 43:1–28

Gen 43:8-9  And Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones.  (9)  I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.

 

Now Judah places his own life as a pledge for his brother Benjamin. They had to go back to Egypt to buy food. There was no way to go back without him. Benjamin, as far as Jacob is concerned is the last son of his wife Rachel. We must remember is was Judah who kept his brothers (minus Reuben) from killing Joseph. Instead, Gen 37:26 “.. Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood?” Now what profit is Judah and his brothers getting? But Judah is willing to risk losing Benjamin as the risk of his own life.

 

From Judah comes the one who puts down his own life for a pledge again for his brothers. That one from Judah is Jesus and we are his brothers. As Judah went back to Egypt (the land of misery) with his own life as a pledge to his father in order save the lives of his family, so too, Jesus comes to world (a land of misery) with his life as a pledge to the Father in order to save the lives of the human race.

 

Jesus comes with his lifeblood as the ransom to save us from eternal death. If we are to live and partake of eternal life then he must give his life as a pledge on the cross. And there on the cross indeed his life is required of him. By his death he has conquered Death.  His death becomes our own death and we need not experience it anymore. For Jesus did not stay dead. He conquered stay dead. He rose again. Now he offers eternal life for all who put their trust, their faith in him, his name and in his works. All who have their faith in him possess eternal life now. They never taste death. They are freed from the land of misery and enter the promised land.

 

Heavenly Father, grant us such faith in Jesus, our ransom from death, that we may be freed from eternal death and possess eternal life and for all eternity in your kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: March 27th


#DailyDevotion Repentance In Action

Lent day 23 Monday

Read Gen 42:1–38

Gen 42:17-24  And he put them all together in custody for three days.  (18)  On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God:  (19)  if you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined where you are in custody, and let the rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households,  (20)  and bring your youngest brother me. So your words will be verified, and you shall not die.” And they did so.  (21)  Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.”  (22)  And Reuben answered them, “Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.”  (23)  They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them.  (24)  Then he turned away from them and wept. And he returned to them and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.

 

It sure seems like Joseph is giving his brothers who represent Israel a hard time.  But one can truly say they deserve it.  Indeed they themselves confess such at this time.  What they had done to Joseph they fear has come back upon them.  At least now they confess their guilt.  The fact that they do it despite the fact that Joseph is right there listening to them and they don’t know shows the sincerity of their confession.

 

Joseph’s heart had also changed during this time.  While the Scriptures never say it, it is likely that he held some sort of grudge against them and certainly at the very least a few hard feelings.  But their confession of their sins breaks his heart and turns to weeping. His testing of their character is showing them to be different people than they were when they sold into slavery.  But Joseph still wants to test their character.  He’s making leave one behind and to bring the youngest, his full brother to him.  There are two reasons for this. One is to see whether or not they will actually come back for the brother or leave him to rot in Egypt.  The other is to see whether or not they are telling the truth about his younger brother.  On top of both of those it is his intention to get the whole family in Egypt where he can save them from the famine.

 

Now the brothers represent Israel.  Israel is a type, a representative of Christ Jesus.  Note what happens at the beginning of the chapter.  Israel is cast into the custody of the Egyptian for three days and on the third day he is raised from the prison.  In like manner the fulfillment of Israel, Jesus Christ is buried in death and on the third day rose from the dead.  In like manner Jesus departs and returns to the Father.  And in like manner as Israel returns for the brother still in custody of Egypt, Jesus shall return for all his brother still in custody of their graves and restore them to life.  Jesus is the fulfillment of this passage that you may know what happened here in the life of Israel it will be fulfilled in your life.  So even as Jesus is raised from the dead, all who trust in him will be raised to everlasting life.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, grant us such faith in your resurrection that we too shall be freed from the prison of death when you return to us with the Father and enter into eternal life in new heavens and new earth.  Amen.

Daily Readings: March 26th


#DailyDevotion God Has Plans For You But It Probably Isn’t Being The King Of Spain

4th Sunday in Lent

Read Gen 41:28–57

Gen 41:38-41  And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?”  (39)  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are.  (40)  You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.”  (41)  And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”

 

Can you imagine that? Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers, sent to prison by his master, is now master over all Egypt. This might not be something that will happen to you in your lifetime. It may be hard for you to figure out how this may apply to your life. But it does. For even if the Lord doesn’t make you master over all you see, he does raise up rulers from among the people to do his will. Paul reminds of that in Romans, Rom 13:1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

 

God does have a plan for your life and he has promised he cares for you. But not everybody can be king in this life in this age. Yet you are individually important in his plans. There is no one who is not necessary. We cannot always see it and it may not always be made manifest in our lives. We all have our parts to play. Joseph’s brothers and Joseph’s master and his master’s wife all had a part to play in putting Joseph in power to accomplish God’s will.

 

Hopefully, you as Christians will not be playing the part of Joseph’s brothers or Potipher’s adulterous wife. We should be confident though that God is raising people to positions of power for his good purposes, for the good of the Church and the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We should be humble to take the lots in life God places before us and do everything he has given us to do to the glory of Jesus.

 

Even if we are not raised to greatness in the eyes of the world we should remember, 1Pe 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” We are children, through baptism, of the King of all creation, brothers and sisters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And on the last day if we are faithful Jesus will place us on his Father’s throne.

 

Heavenly Father, ever give us faith in your divine providence that we may live in peace and quietness all our days no matter what callings you have called us to, knowing your plan for us and your Church shall prevail. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.