Aside

My Hope Is In You  – My Daily Bread!

The joy of our Lord is found in His Word in the book Of Genesis 40: 23, NIV which reads:

“The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.”

Joseph’s story found in Genesis chapters 37-52 is a story of triumph and persevering under dire circumstances.  It is a story of learning to trust in the Lord despite what life brings your way.  It is an excellent story of how to navigate life’s ups and downs and still stay focused on God.

The passage above is recorded in the Word after Joseph had successfully interpreted the dreams of the king’s chief cupbearer and chief baker whom he met while falsely imprisoned for something he did not do.   You see Joseph rose to a position of prominence in his master’s house (an official in Pharaoh’s) in Egypt after being sold into slavery by his brothers only to be thrown into prison when his master’s wife accused him of assaulting her.

Joseph had one request of the cupbearer who was restored back to his position of favor before the King:  “when all goes well with you remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison.”  (Genesis 40: 14, NIV)  But as we know as soon as the cupbearer went back to his position of favor, he did not consider what Joseph had done for him.  I found myself pondering whether Joseph who openly acknowledged God as the source of his gift (Genesis 40: 8, NIV);put his confidence in the ability of the cupbearer to get him freed from prison because of the cupbearer’s connection to the king.

Did Joseph in an act of desperation fail to realize that it was his connection to God that was the source of his deliverance?  Did he not clearly see that God’s hand was upon him and that it was clear to others that God was intervening on his behalf, even in his daily affairs?  We are told:  “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered and lived in the house of his Egyptian master.  When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant.”   (Genesis 39: 2-3, NIV)

Did Joseph not see that God had indeed remembered Him and prospered him in his way despite his ups and downs.  Great things happened as a result of this – others recognized who the God of heaven was because of his favor on Joseph.  They were able to see God in action and it impacted the life of not only Joseph, but also those who he came into contact with.  Sometimes Saints, when we are in the midst of ups and downs; look for how God has remembered you and favored you!  And know that although God may use others to accomplish His will, HE is the source of all our goodness and our very great reward!

Prayer: “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.  Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.  Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord.”  (Psalm 25: 4-7, NIV)  Yes Lord, remember even me.

      Copyright© 2011-2013 Colleen Holton All Rights Reserved.

Aside

A Special People – My Daily Bread!

Our call to worship the Lord is taken from Deuteronomy 26: 16-19, NIV, which reads:

“Today you have proclaimed the Lord to be your God and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice.  Also today the Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments, and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name and in honor, that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken”. 

These words of Moses were spoken before his death and right before the Israelites began their journey to possess the Promised Land.  It was a confirmation of the covenant that God had made with them and their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Those who believe today are also special to the Lord; although we are not heirs to the Abrahamic covenant, we are heirs to the new covenant of grace through the blood of Christ with is attained through faith –  “Therefore the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.  He is the father of us all”.  (Romans 4: 16, NIV)

One of the most beautiful passages in new testament scripture which speaks to our favored position before God is found in 1 Peter 2: 9-10, NIV, which reads:  “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God, once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy”.

Jesus also spoke of the special position afforded His followers when He was on earth and said:  “You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know His master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you”.  (John 15: 14-15, NIV)  Imagine how wonderful to be referred to as a friend of Jesus Christ!

Just as God in His infinite mercy chose Abraham and his seed, so too has He chosen you and made you His people that you might declare the glory of His name.  Jesus also said:  “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last”.  (John 15: 16, NIV)   And just as obedience was required by Abraham, so too is obedience required on our part.  Jesus further said:  “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love”.  (John 15: 10, NIV)

Saints, rejoice in your preciousness in the eyes of the Lord!  However, this should not make us haughty in any regard, but should call us to the obedience displayed by Christ and encourage us to resolve in our hearts to obey the Lord at all times and be able to say with gladness:  “I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people, in the court of the house of the Lord” (Psalm 116: 15, NIV) for we are yours O Lord, saved to your side for the working of your good pleasure!   We are special indeed!

      Copyright© 2011-2013 Colleen Holton All Rights Reserved.

Aside

Our Precious Lord – My Daily Bread!

The meditation of our hearts today is taken from Job 23: 12b, NIV, it reads:

“I have treasured the Words of your mouth more than my daily bread”.   

This incredible passage was spoken by Job, a servant of God after he had suffered great personal tragedy with the loss of his children, all his earthly possessions, and his health (see Book of Job).   Job was in such despair that his close friends and his wife suggested he curse God and die.  But yet, he clung to the Living Precious Lord even more!

What an awesome expression to be able to say in the midst of trials!  This passage speaks of having a deep personal relationship with God, of trusting in Him no matter what the circumstances, of a life committed to seeking and knowing God, of deep personal faith born of experiencing God’s faithfulness!  Does your faith enable you to cling to God and His promises no matter what?

In the face of adversity, what is your response to God?  Could you treasure God even more or would you turn away from God, thinking He has forgotten you?  The choices we make of how we respond in times of crisis reveal what we truly believe about God in our hearts.  The choices we make daily on how to live reveals where our hearts are for God.   Jesus said: “For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks”.  (Luke 6:45b, NIV)

For every crisis, know that God has allowed it and already knows the good it will bring.  Yes Sisters, even in the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a divorce; even in these things God is growing us for Him.  There is an opportunity if we can get pass the anger and the pain; a chance to increase our faith, to trust Him more and see Him revealed in a way we have never experienced before.

The other reality that is generally hard for us to accept is not knowing WHY a particular something is happening.   We ask why Me?  And God asks why not, are you not mine?  Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV, tells us “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

From this passage it is clear that we cannot figure God out, we do not know all that He is thinking and planning for us every moment.  He will reveal what you need in the proper time; so do not spend forever wondering why, use that time to treasure Him in His Word, for in it we find His unmerited favor –  a grace that suits every occasion!

Following are some of the blessings that come from treasuring God‘s Word in our hearts daily:

God will be our guide; we don’t have to go it alone!  “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  (Psalm 119: 105, NIV)

We have God’s peace: “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” (Psalm 119:165, NIV)

God is our protection: He will guard our hearts even in the face of trials: “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your Word.” (Psalm 119:114, NIV)

God’s Word will become our true treasure: “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” (Psalm 119:72, NIV)

Prayer: Lord, help me to seek you and your truths daily in your Word, to treasure the words of your mouth more than my daily bread that I might know thee;  show me how to esteem you higher than thousands of pieces of silver and gold; change my heart, that I might glorify your name.  Holy Spirit, pray for me.  Amen.

     Copyright© 2011-2013 Colleen Holton All Rights Reserved. 

Aside

Bread of Heaven, the Life of God – My Daily Bread!

Our call to desire Christ is taken from John 6: 33, 35-40, NIV, which reads:

“For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.  Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.  But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.  All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.  For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me.  And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up at the last day.  For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’”

What lead up to this profound truth of who Jesus was?  He made this awesome statement to a crowd that had followed Him after He had performed the miracle where He fed five thousand.   However they received an unexpected reply from Jesus when they found him.  Perhaps they expected to be commended by Jesus for being diligent in seeking Him out.  Instead Jesus revealed to them the truth of their hearts – namely that they followed Him “not because you saw the miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” (John 6: 26, NIV) Jesus knew that their perspective was motivated by material gain rather than understanding the true significance of Jesus, His mission and His message.

Then Jesus chastised them and told them to “not work for the food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life.”  (John 6: 27, NIV)  This comment from Jesus leads them to ask Him “what must we do to do the works God requires?”  (John 4: 28, NIV)  They believed that they needed to do works in order to gain everlasting life.  Then Jesus confronted them with a shift in their spiritual paradigm, a colossal change in their thinking that would need to occur for them to see the Kingdom.  He simply said:  “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.”  (John 6: 29, NIV)

After this profound statement, they still did not believe, for they asked Him for a miraculous sign that they might see and believe; and they reminded Him of the manna that their forefathers were fed while in the wilderness.  They were minimizing Jesus’ miracle of feeding the 5,000 as something fairly insignificant when compared to manna for millions daily.  How did Jesus respond to their doubt and self-seeking materialism?

Christ in a few sentences shook their world upside down with the key passage above.  They wanted eternal life by a works ministry, He told them to get eternal life they had only to believe in Him, they wanted another sign, He told them that He was the sign, they spoke of temporal bread that satisfied for a little while, He spoke of life-giving bread that lasted an eternity and of a thirst that was forever quenched!   They spoke of their life on earth; Jesus spoke of the life that could be had in the resurrection!    They simply could not fathom that life would be very different in the Kingdom that Jesus was beginning to sketch for them.

But you know what; sometimes God has the same kind of conversations with us today.  We come to Him with our heart closed and with our hands out expecting to get what we want; He opens our eyes to what it means to walk with Him, to accept our cross and follow Christ.   We come entangled and snared by the material things of this world; He strips away all the things not needed for His kingdom and focuses us on what He knows is important  – for He is preparing us for eternity.  We  come with our priorities all out of whack after living a lifetime with God on the fringes of our lives;  He lovingly shapes and molds us into the likeness  of His Son,  all the while fixing our hearts on the things that matter to Him.

And through it all, we come to appreciate that Jesus is our necessary food– the living bread that came down from Heaven to do the will of the Father.  That only through a relationship with Him can we enter into the Fathers rest!  For Jesus is the “way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through” Him.  (John 14:6, NIV)   Rejoice in the living Bread, Oh the Bread of Heaven, Jesus Christ our Savior and King!

    Copyright© 2011-2013 Colleen Holton All Rights Reserved.

Aside

Joy, the Answer to Despair – My Daily Bread!

Our call to peace is taken from James 1:2-4, NIV and is a reflection about an important aspect of bearing up under trials – having the proper attitude.  Scripture tells us:

“Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.”

What enables Christians to be joyful in the midst of trials?  It is because of what we know about God and His promises to those who love Him.  His loving kindness fits us perfectly when we are troubled!

First, what we know about God’s power brings us joy!  When we are weak we can operate off of the power of God; we do not have to go it alone: For he tells us “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthian 12:9, NIV)  The same power that enabled Christ to remain on the cross is at work in us!  This alone should make us leap with joy!  For we are perfected for God during adversity; by recognizing our vulnerabilities, it allows us to see God magnified in our lives!  This passage speaks of His Grace or unmerited favor upon us as more than enough no matter the circumstance!

Secondly, what we know about God’s peace brings us joy!  Isaiah 26:3, NIV, tells us ‘You will keep in perfect peace Him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”  Jesus promised “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27, NIV)  God’s peace is what sustains our hearts for Him during trials for His Word tells us “Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I say rejoice.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made know to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7, NIV)

Saints are you able to be joyful in the midst of your trails?  If not, check the source of your power and peace.  If God is your source, His power will sustain you and His peace will keep you and your joy will be made complete in Christ Jesus!  So the next time you find yourself in the midst of something, make some joyful praise to the Most High!

  Copyright© 2011-2013 Colleen Holton All Rights Reserved.