January 18 Genesis 44-46; Luke 18

These are a few of our SOAP notes from today’s reading. We encourage you to read and journal on your own first, then join us in conversation about what God revealed to YOU today. Click HERE to go directly to the daily reading if you wish.

Printable reading plan: Life Journal Reading Plan

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Let Go of Paralyzing Guilt | Tara Wiley

S~ And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. Genesis 45:5 (NIV)

O~ Not only did Joseph extend enormous grace to his brothers; he also showed tremendous empathy and compassion for their own guilt and grief. Judah had assumed responsibility for the pain he brought to his father – the previous chapter’s account of Judah’s retelling shows just how deeply he recognized the impact of the decision he led his brothers into making when they sold Joseph into slavery. Now, Joseph responds to Judah’s retelling of their father’s grief by addressing both him and all his brothers. In this particular encounter, Joseph’s work of restoration to these broken relationships began with the release of his own hurt and his own statement of forgiveness. He then and continued with his care for the emotional and physical welfare of his entire family.

A~ What kindness Joseph demonstrated. This is what I’ve always focused on when I’ve read this passage before. But today, I placed myself in Judah’s shoes. I’ve been there before: living under tremendous personal guilt and shame. Taking on the full weight of the burden of others’ pain as a result of my own sin. It is an overwhelming, paralyzing place to be. With Jesus’ offering of complete forgiveness, I can also move forward with confidence that Jesus’ words to me are the same as Joseph’s to Judah: Do not be distressed and angry with yourself because of your sin, Tara. I can receive the restoration Jesus offers and find healing deep within, even in the midst of the messy cleaning up of broken relationships. Indeed, when I remain in that place of personal abasement, I do not have the emotional strength to reach in and restore those hurt relationships. It is only from a place of receiving Jesus’ total forgiveness that I can step into taking responsibility for the consequences of my sin and hope to move forward with hope.

P~ Lord, thank You for the strength You provide through Your complete forgiveness.  Because I know I am fully restored to You, I can dare to move forward in seeking restoration when I wound others through my sinful actions. Regardless of how they receive me, I can step forward in grace and receive strength from You. Help me break free from my own tendency to get stuck in guilt and shame, and instead, help me to move forward with confidence that You are empowering me to live a changed life even in the places where I used to be plagued by the consequences of my sin and fear.

Providence | Kelley Deases

S~ So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.  Genesis 45:8 (NIV)

O~ In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9  The same sentiment expressed in this verse from Genesis is also found in this Proverb and throughout Scripture — people make decisions and take certain courses throughout their life, but God ultimately accomplishes His purposes through people and events.  He is able to take our measly effort, our selfish motives and even our outright rebellion and use it to do what He needs to do to reach our hearts and to shape human history.

In this instance, God gave Joseph the insight to realize God was orchestrating all that had transpired in order to ultimately raise up Joseph to this position of authority. Since Joseph possessed a sensitivity to hear from God through his dreams, God was able to use him in this ruling status to govern and to rescue a nation in crisis.

A~ I did not get to this place in my life because of my parents’ decision to move to Omaha in 1980; because of my decision to attend Creighton Law School and marry a young lawyer from my graduating class; because of his decision to pursue another relationship and leave me to raise our young son; because I spent seven years navigating singleness on the other side of that marriage; because I met and married and godly man and established a new family; because we chose to have another baby; because I have pursued various employment opportunities and refrained from others over the years, trying my best to prioritize the needs of our family.  Those decisions and actions all played into it.  God gave me free will. But as I look back, I can clearly see His hand covering these events and moving in the midst.  And I am grateful to have Joseph’s insight to know that God has me and all my circumstances in the palm of His hand.

P~ Father, Thank You for this revelation You gave me 15 years ago how You use all of it — at times even human sin — to accomplish Your perfect will. That realization has given me great peace, especially when things seem to go off the rails.  Not You.  Not in Your Providence.

Forgiveness | Joni Tyner

S~ So it was God that sent me here, not you! Genesis 45:8 (NLT)

O~ I have read the story of Joseph before, but I read it much slower and paid closer attention to the details today.  WOW!! This guy models serious forgiveness.  I really can’t get over all he went through and everything his brothers did to him, (as well as being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife.)  Chapter 45 details Joseph revealing his identity to his brothers.  They are stunned–speechless.  Read it closely. They do NOT weep. They do NOT apologize. They are defensive and worried about themselves. It is Joseph who embraces and kisses each of the 11 brothers. It is Joseph who gets them off the hook by saying, “don’t be upset with yourselves, it was God, not you.”  Joseph initiated the restoration of their family.  He reached out and gave them LOTS of grace and eagerly moved forward in building their future together.

A~ Wow.  That is a Biblical standard I need to embrace. I can’t always wait for the person who offended me to take the first step.  I desire to be forgiving towards others and simply move forward.  God can deal with their stuff.

P~ Dear Lord, sometimes it’s hard to forgive someone when they don’t seem to care if they are forgiven or not.  Help me NOT to use that as a gauge for my actions.  You have called me to forgive like You forgive me and that’s it.  Help me to love unconditionally and be a person known as one who restores–not one who tears things down.

Teach the Children | Guest Post

S~ I tell you the truth anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. Luke 18:17 (NIV)

O~ Jesus invites the children up to him after the disciples rebuke people for bringing their babes to him.  “I tell you the truth.” Often Jesus spoke in parables, yet when he referenced ‘real life’ he always began with, “I tell you the truth.”

A~ If we can only receive the Kingdom of God “like a little child” – What does that look like?  A child believes.  Childlike faith.  The kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:20).  A child trusts those he loves.  My son has often come to me with questions, and both of my boys do what I tell them.  I tell them things to keep them safe and to raise them up in the way they should go.  Yet even though they are kind and respectful, if they don’t know and trust You, have I really taught them anything of value

P~ Lord, help me to teach my children about You!  Help me to find ways to bring you into their focus.  Let them see me following after you diligently, but more than that, please give them the desire to do the same.  I ask this Jesus, trusting in Your name, Amen.

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Posted on January 18, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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