Monthly Archives: March 2012

28. Keep your word

Last time we saw how the steward of Joseph's house gave glory to God. He was obviously influenced by Joseph. Joseph was a true example for all of us. He gave glory to God in all situations and lived a life that drew people closer to God. We should follow his example and make a difference to those we come in contact with. We should allow His Spirit to move mightily through us, so that they can experience God through our actions.

Now Joseph invited all of his brothers to his home for lunch. They were afraid at first, but after the steward reassured them they settled in at Joseph's house and prepared their present for him. When Joseph arrived they presented him with their present and bowed before him. He asked about his father and was undoubtedly relieved at their answer:

"Your servant our father is in good health; he is still alive." Genesis 43:28

Joseph then lifted his eyes and saw his own brother for the first time. Benjamin was his only full blood brother. He was so overcome with emotion that he had to leave:

"Now his heart yearned for his brother; so Joseph made haste and sought somewhere to weep. And he went into his chambers and wept there. Then he washed his face and came out; and he restrained himself." Genesis 43:30, 31

It is understandable that Joseph was overcome with emotion. His dreams that he had when he was just seventeen years old were coming to pass, his brothers were in front of him, remorseful of what they had done to him, he just heard his father was still alive and now he sees his own brother for the first time. It is a lot to take in. However he decided that he was not going to reveal himself to his brothers as yet, he first wanted to give them a final test.

He seated them in order of their age at the dinner table and they marveled at it, but none of them clicked that it was Joseph presiding over them. He didn't eat with them, as Egyptians didn't eat with Hebrews. Yet, the brothers enjoyed themselves and ate until they were full; Benjamin even got five times the serving portion of the others.

Then it was time for the final test. Joseph commanded his steward:

"Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man's money in the mouth of his sack. Also put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his grain money." Genesis 44:1, 2

Joseph wanted to make 100% sure that his brothers did indeed changed. Were they truly remorseful, or would they abandon their youngest brother at the next chance that they got?

It is easy to say that you are sorry, but it is a different story to truly act as if you are sorry. Lip service is one thing, but true repentance is followed by actions. Do not just apologize to someone, knowing very well that at the next available chance you would do exactly the same thing again. No, truly repent and allow God to change your heart, for if your heart is changed the actions will follow. It does a lot of harm to the Kingdom of God if we say we are sorry, but we don't act that way. People look at our actions and how we handle things and that determines their view of God. Especially our children. They look up at us.

Mean what you say. If you say that you are going to do something, do it. In our world today people's word doesn't mean a lot anymore. If you say you are going to do something do it, if you make an appointment, keep it, if you make a promise, honor it. As the Bible say, Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Do not waver between the two. Let people see that you have integrity. People respect that. Keep your word and be honest. That way you will honor God as He is steadfast and never wavering.

Father, please help us to keep our word. Help us to honor You in every way. We want to lift You higher through our actions and help people to draw close to You. We love and honor You. Amen

 

27. Allow God to work through you

Last week we learned that we cannot plan the future to the core. We cannot make sure that everything will work out as we had planned. Yes, of course we can plan and do our responsibility, but then we need to let go and let God. He knows best and He will lead the way forward.

Jacob sent his sons, Benjamin included, to Egypt to go and buy food for them. Upon arrival Joseph greeted them and invited them to his house. They were beside themselves with worry and were afraid and immediately tried to rectify the situation:

"O sir, we indeed came down the first time to buy food; but it happened, when we came to the encampment, that we opened our sacks, and there, each man's money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight; so we have brought it back in our hand. And we have brought down other money in our hands to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks." Genesis 43:20-22

They didn't know what was going on and immediately assumed it was because they didn't pay the first time. But Joseph's steward played along and ensured them that their money was received. And it is wonderful to see that the steward of Joseph's house gave glory to God:

"Peace be with you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks; I had your money." Genesis 43:23

How wonderful that the steward of Joseph gave glory to God. He must have learned about God from Joseph. He must have seen how Joseph conducted himself and he must have heard about how God interpreted Pharaoh's dreams and how it became a reality. Joseph certainly was an early evangelist in his time. He attributed all his success to God.

The people that work for us, the car attendant at shopping malls, the cashier at grocery stores, the waiter at a restaurant etc. look at us and how we treat people. They look at us and we have the opportunity to show them a loving God. God lives within us, we are His Temple and He wants us to show His love to a broken and lost world. Our children also look to us to learn about God. They look at our actions and what we say and how we treat other people. We can preach to them and quote Scriptures to them until we are blue in the face, but our actions will turn them towards God or away from Him. We need to live what we preach. I know it is not always easy and I know that we have off days too. But in general we need to allow His Spirit to flow through us and influence the people around us for His glory.

Joseph was an impeccable example, people started to honor God because of him, and today we have an advantage over him, because His Spirit lives within us. We need to spend time with Him and allow Him to move mightily in our lives. Our flesh is weak and we wouldn't be able to do much on our own, but if we give Him free reign in our lives, He can move through us and change the world to be a better place.

Father please move through us and work through us. We give You free reign. In our flesh we are weak and would not be able to do much, but with You by our side, we can truly influence people for Your Kingdom. Thank you that You are always with us. Amen

26. Give over to God

Last week we learned that we shouldn't put off what we can do today. We should act whenever we know that there is something that we should do. Whether it is forgiving someone, or reuniting with someone, or giving someone something, or doing something for the Lord. Whatever it is, we need to do it for the Lord and we shouldn't stagnate. If we stagnate we are not only hurting ourselves, but withholding someone from a blessing. It truly is not worth it. We need to act whenever we feel the leading from God.

Jacob could have been reunited with Joseph so much earlier, but he stagnated and didn't want his sons to take Benjamin to Egypt. But finally their food ran out and he didn't have any other choice. He had to send Benjamin with them:

"If it must be so, then do this: Take some of the best fruits of the land in your vessels and carry down a present for the man - a little balm and a little honey, spices and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds. Take double money in your hand, and take back in your hand the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks; perhaps it was an oversight. Take your brother also and arise, go back to the man. And may God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may release your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved, I am bereaved!" Genesis 43:11-14

Jacob was a good man and sent of their dire food supplies with them, as well as double the money, to compensate and to hopefully ensure the safe travels of his sons. But truly the only One Who could bring his sons back safely was God. And he acknowledged that by asking that God give them mercy before Joseph. Only God can help him and only God can help us.

Sometimes we are inclined to do so much from our side to ensure that we are successful in what lies ahead. We plan things to the core, we ensure that things go our way; we buy things to make sure that we have a safe journey ahead etc. We want to take matters into our own hands and make sure that things work out the way we want them to work out. But the truth is only God can help us and only He can make things work out for our good. We cannot foresee the future and we cannot plan for every event. We need to stand back and trust in God, His foresight and His goodness.

Jacob could never in his wildest dreams have foreseen that the 'harsh Egyptian' was in actual fact his son, Joseph. No amount of presents that he sent along or money could have brought back his son. Only God ordained it all to work out for good. Nothing he could have done from his side could have ensured the safety of all his sons, Joseph included.

We also need to let go. We need to do what we can, but then we need to let go and trust in God. Especially when it comes to our children. We cannot pave a perfect road for them. We cannot ensure that everything will be smooth sailing. We cannot. We can only raise them to the best of our ability and teach them about God but then we need to let them go into this harsh world trusting that God's protection is over them. He knows what will be best for them. We do not. Letting go is not easy, but seeing them fly with God's grace over them is definitely a reward to look forward to.

Father thank you that You are always there, always looking out for us. We trust You that You know best. We give all our troubles and cares over to You. Carry us through it all, we love and honor You. Amen

25. Now is the time to act

Last week we learned that God will test us in the small things before exalting us to a higher authority. He wants to make sure that we handle ourselves with excellence in the mundane everyday things in life. For if we are not to be trusted in the small things, how can He entrust us with higher spiritual authority? We need to live a life of excellence in every area of our lives, so that we can be a showcase to the world of how a Christian should behave.

Joseph's brothers went home and found all their money returned in their sacks. This made them very afraid. They told Jacob all about their trip and about the leader who spoke harshly to them. They also told him that the leader wanted to see Benjamin. They had to return with him, otherwise he would not let Simeon go and he would not give them more food. However Jacob refused:

"My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he is left alone. If any calamity should befall him along the way in which you go, then you would bring my gray hair with sorrow to the grave." Genesis 42:38

Jacob couldn't bear to lose Benjamin, as Benjamin was all he had left of his beloved Rachel. So he flat out refused to let Benjamin go with them, even though Reuben and Judah vouched with their lives that they will bring him back to Jacob. However soon enough the food that they had brought from Egypt were finished and the famine was very severe. Jacob told them to go again and buy food, but his sons quickly reminded him that they will not be given food if they didn't have Benjamin with them.

If Jacob hadn't been this stubborn, they would have returned much earlier and they would have reunited with Joseph much earlier too. They would have had a much better time, had he relented sooner. Now, they were in dire need of food and facing starvation.

We often delay things that we know that we must do too. We know that there are certain things that we must do and yet we put it off and we put it off. Much to our own detriment in the long run. A couple of years ago a specific Gospel song was playing in my mind the whole time. I loved the song and I instantly knew that the Lord wanted me to choreograph a dance on that song to perform in church. As I thought about it I knew exactly what moves would work and how we should go about doing it. I knew that I should find some friends and perform it at church. Even though I knew all these things, I stagnated. I kept on putting it off, thinking that I was imagining it and that they would think I am weird if I just call the church and tell them that I wanted to perform this dance in church. So as I was still arguing within myself whether to do the dance or not, I was in church one day. And sure enough the preacher said that there will be a dance that morning. And it was on exactly the same song and version that I felt God wanted me to perform it on. I was stumped. I was so jealous, as I thought that I could have done a much better job at it (arrogant I know, fortunately God has done a lot of work on me since). But at that moment I could sense God's presence and He told me: "I wanted the dance performed by you, but you stagnated, so I had to find someone else." That floored me. I there and then vowed to never let that happen again. If I feel I need to do something for God, I do it immediately. I never want that feeling again of someone else doing what I knew I should have done.

And that goes for so many things. If God wants you to forgive someone, do it today. If He wants you to help someone financially, do it now, they need the miracle now. If He wants you to send someone a specific message, do it right away. Do not wait. If you feel the leading of His Spirit, follow Him and do what He has placed on your heart to do. It will not only benefit others, it will most certainly benefit you too. Jacob could have been reunited with Joseph months earlier and Simeon could have been spared months of imprisonment. Do not make the same mistake. Act now.

Father please speak clearly to us so that we can KNOW when to move as well as exactly what to do. We want to follow You and do what You place on our hearts to do without delay. May our actions then be a blessing to others and may we glorify You in the process. We love You. Amen

24. Can God trust you?

Last time we saw how Joseph met his brothers again. They were clearly remorseful and tormented by what they had done to Joseph. They have lived with the guilt for more than 20 years and it still plagued them. But they were truly sorry and God used what they did for good and later on He also used them as the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel, His beloved nation. God can use us as well, no matter what we have done in the past. We must simply turn to Him for forgiveness, make amends with those that we have hurt and continue with Him into our future, knowing that He is mightily with us.

As we saw last week, Joseph overheard his brothers when they were saying how sorry they were for what they had done to him. He was overcome with emotion and wept. It must have been very emotional for him. He must have hoped that they will be remorseful, but he never knew until that moment. Yet, still he wanted to test them and make sure that it was not only lip service, but that they had truly changed. He secretly returned their money into their sacks of grain, as he wanted to see how they handled that:

"Then Joseph gave a command to fill their sacks with grain, to restore every man's money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. Thus he did for them." Genesis 42:25

His brothers turned out to be honorable men. For instead of being joyful when they found that their money had been returned, they were dismayed:

"But as one of them opened his sack to give his donkey feed at the encampment, he saw his money; and there it was, in the mouth of his sack. So he said to his brothers, "My money has been restored, and there it is, in my sack!" Then their hearts failed them and they were afraid, saying to one another, "What is this that God has done to us?" Genesis 42:27, 28

They weren't glad that their money was returned, they were honorable and wanted to pay for it. Later on we will see that when they returned, they offered to Joseph this money as well as extra for the new food that they wanted to acquire. They wanted to pay their dues. They aced that test.

Sometimes God will also test us. He will never allow things to come on us that we will not be able to handle. God wants us to live a life of excellence. He wants us to stand out from others, so that we can do the honorable thing. When we live a life of excellence, God will start to entrust us with more and more in HIs Kingdom. He wants to see if we can do the small things well, and then He will progress to entrust us with the bigger things. God has started to do that to me and I must say it hasn't been easy. The small things can be very difficult to do, especially if you are in a hurry. For example when you have tried on clothes in the shop, go back and place it where it belongs. When your hands are full in the shops and you accidently let products fall from the rack, do you pick it up? Do you go and replace the trolley after you have placed the groceries in your car? Do you make sure that the public toilet is nice and clean after you have used it? Are you honest with your taxes and what you earn? Do you make way for other cars to come into your lane? Do you truly listen to your children or your spouse? Do you go on holiday even if the government has closed the borders? And so I can go on and on. God cannot use us for bigger things if we cannot get the small things right. He wants to see that we are living a life of excellence in all areas  of our lives. He wants to entrust us with so much. We need to walk the walk, and not just be a Christian in our speech. He wants us to influence the world, but first He needs to make sure that He can trust us with the small things in life. At the end of the day, they show our character and what we are truly made of.

Father we want to honor You in everything. We want to lift up Your Name and bring glory to You. We want to live a life of excellence, help us with it and give us the strength to follow through. We want to be used by You. Amen

23. God has a bright future for you

God exalted Joseph to second in command in all of Egypt. Joseph didn't have the credentials, the education or the experience for that position, but yet God ordained it to be so. And because Joseph was willing and keen to do his best and to listen to God, everything worked out great. Joseph was successful in all that he did and his plan of collecting enough food for everybody to use during the time of famine worked out quite well. We therefore learn that when God places us in certain situations we shouldn't be worried; He will look out for us and help us through it. He will give us the wisdom to handle the situations and to excel in His plan for our lives.

Joseph did so well in offering food to the Egyptians, people from other countries heard about the food as well. It spread as far as Canaan to Joseph's family. His father, Jacob heard about the grain in Egypt:

"And he said, "Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there, that we might live and not die." Genesis 42:2

So Joseph's ten brothers set off to Egypt to collect grain. Little did they know that they would encounter their brother Joseph. He immediately recognized them even though they didn't recognize him. He spoke to them and learned that he had a brother that he didn't even know of, Benjamin. He wanted to meet him and in the same breath test his brothers to see if they have changed. He took one of them, Simeon and placed him in jail. The rest he sent back to go and fetch Benjamin, as well as to take food back to their families. Just before they went, they said the following:

"We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us." And Reuben answered them, saying, "Did I not speak to you, saying, "Do not sin against the boy": and you would not listen? Therefore behold, his blood is now required of us." Genesis 42:21, 22

They felt terribly guilty for what they had done to Joseph. They sold him when he was seventeen years old and he was probably now between 38 and 40 years old. So for more than twenty years they carried this guilt around with them. Nothing in this situation suggested that this happened to them because of what they did to Joseph and yet that is the first conclusion that they jumped to. What they did to Joseph must have tormented them for years and years. It was terrible what they did and yet God used it for good. God used it to save His people from famine through Joseph.

They were truly sorry for what they had done, they were remorseful. And at the end God used them to become the twelve tribes of Israel, His beloved nation.

We might also have done terrible things in the past. We might also be remorseful about things we have said and done to other people. Do not carry this guilt around with you for one single day more. Lay it down at the feet of Jesus. Ask Him for forgiveness, He gives freely to all. Then go and make amends with the person that you have harmed. If it is not possible to do that, do that in the Spirit and be set free. Then move on with your life and be free from all guilt and condemnation. Jesus came to set us free. He wants to use us in mighty ways, we must just be pliable and willing to repent and move where He wants us to move. Our future is bright, no matter what we have done in the past. God can work with that and bring beauty from ashes.

Father, we are so sorry for things that we have done in the past. We were spiritually immature and didn't realize what we were doing. We are so sorry about it. Thank you for forgiving us, we praise You and look forward to our future with You. Amen

22. Ask wisdom from God

Last time we saw how God lifted Joseph up from the lowest of low in prison to the second highest position in all of Egypt, the most civilized country of the ancient world. He lifted him up within minutes. But it took thirteen years of preparation for Joseph before this moment arrived. He could have become despondent and could have forsaken God during that time, but he didn't. He continued following God and doing the best he could, doing good to others in the process. God honored that and lifted him high at precisely the right moment. And we learned that this could be true of us as well, we should never lose heart, but we should continue with our responsibilities as well as doing good to others and fellowshipping with God on a daily basis. Our turn will come, when God will use us in the best possible way, honoring His Name and His Kingdom.

Joseph was now second in command in Egypt. As exciting as this was, this must have been a very daunting task. After all he didn't have the proper training for the task up ahead. He didn't go to a 'university' to study what to do in a situation like this. He didn't have the experience of running a country. He didn't know how Pharaoh's palace was run etc. etc. He was literally thrown into the deep end. But He had God. And that made all the difference. He did his best and God did the rest:

"So Joseph gathered up all the food of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities; he laid up in every city the food of the fields which surrounded them. Joseph gathered very much grain, as the sand of the sea, until he stopped counting, for it is immeasurable." Genesis 41:48, 49

God gave Joseph wisdom and knowledge to gather the food for the seven years of famine. He helped him in all the details and Joseph blossomed. He became powerful in the eyes of the people and Pharaoh sent all the people to Joseph to deal with:

"So when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Then Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, "Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, do." Genesis 41:55

Joseph did such a good job, that Pharaoh trusted him totally. He had total confidence in him and that says a lot.

When God appoints you to do a certain job, He will equip you to be able to do the job as well. You might feel afraid and inadequate, but God will equip and lead you. He will not abandon you, but help you throughout the process. He will never place you in a certain position without being confident that you would be able to do it.

This reminds me of a saying - "Do it afraid." If God wants you to do something, do it even if you feel afraid. It might be that He wants you to forgive someone, or that He wants you to correct someone, or He wants you to be more assertive and stand up for yourself or maybe He wants you to expose wrong doing, or maybe He has led you to a new place or a new job and He wants you to reach out to others or to change systems etc. Whatever the case may be, He will lead and guide you. He will. Just ask wisdom from Him, He promises to give it to you:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5

Father thank you that we can ask wisdom from You. You led Joseph and he did a sterling job, please lead us too. Help us to know what is the best thing to do and give us the courage to do it. We want to honor You and be the best we can be. Amen

21. At the right time God will lift you up

Last week we learned that God's Spirit flowed so greatly through Joseph that even Pharaoh noticed it and commented on it. Joseph was so close to God that he immediately knew what Pharaoh's dreams meant and he also knew what to do about the dreams. He didn't hesitate or waver; he knew instantly what needed to be done because God was mightily with him. And the same could be true of us. When we live really close to God, we can also move more easily in His Spirit and know what God wants us to do and say to other people. Wouldn't that be wonderful? How amazing would that be to know what to say to other people and knowing that it is God speaking through you! It is possible; you just need to spend the time with God. Then breakthroughs will come.

Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream and told him what to do about the revelation too. Pharaoh could see God moving through Joseph and without a moment's notice:

"Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne I will be greater than you." And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "See I have set you over all the land of Egypt." Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph's hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, "Bow the knee!" So he set him over all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh also said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt." Genesis 41:39-44

I have read the life of Joseph many times before, but when I read these verses again I realized the impact of what just happened here. It is truly phenomenal and God inspired. Where have you ever heard of a foreigner in jail rising to second in command of the most civilized country in the world within minutes? How on earth is that possible? He is taken out of jail and given all the riches of Egypt, ruler over all except for Pharaoh. No one can even lift a hand or foot without Joseph's consent. That is unheard of, especially for a foreigner. In an instant his whole life changed. He rose from the lowest of low to the highest of high in a matter of minutes. Did he do something in the physical realm to deserve it? No, not really if you look at him through the eyes of the Egyptians. BUT GOD. It is so amazing to see how God's will always come to pass. Joseph did his part, and then God did the impossible. Joseph's part was to do the best he can in the circumstances, to do good to others and to stay close to God. And then God took over and exalted him within minutes, after Joseph's obedience of 13 years!

Today the same can be said of us. We need to do our part, namely to do the best you can where you are at, to do good to others and to stay close to God. It is as simple as that. Then God will step in for us at precisely the right moment and exalt us to where we need to be. The problem with us is that instead of casting our care on God, we keep the care, but we cast the responsibility unto Him. We moan and complain and we do not want to do our part. We become selfish and stagnate. We blame God for things happening in our lives and we don't believe that He will come through for us. And that is a recipe for disaster. We cannot throw away our responsibility. Joseph would never have been exalted if he had committed adultery with Potiphar's wife, or even if he didn't, if he didn't have a good attitude in jail and didn't help the chief butler with his dream he would never have been exalted either. Joseph did his best where he was and helped where he could and stayed close to God and he received his reward. And notice he didn't receive it after one year or even two years of being faithful, but after thirteen years of doing the best he could! Remember that when you get tired of waiting or tired of doing good. Keep on going, God sees what you are doing and will reward you when the time is right. He knows what is best for you and will always do that.

In the meantime, be patient, be kind, do good and keep your responsibility. God will bless you.

Father thank you that our lives are within Your hands. You are faithful and true and we love You for that. Thank you that we can rest assured that You know best. In all situations and in all things. Amen

20. Overflow with God's Spirit

Last time we learned that God's timing is the best. At exactly the right time He would lead us and help us through situations. He would open doors when it needs to be opened and close doors when it needs to be closed. He sees the bigger picture and knows what is best for us, when we try to force things to happen earlier than it should, we make trouble for ourselves. We should never do that, but rather wait on God for His perfect timing.

And what a better example than Joseph. Okay, fair enough, he was forced to wait for his moment to come because he was in jail. BUT he had a good attitude while waiting. He did his best in jail and worked there as a supervisor. And as we saw, the moment that he came out of jail, he gave God the glory for interpreting the dreams. He didn't squirm away from God and pretend that he could do it all by himself, no, he gave all glory to God, even though he knew that Pharaoh was seen as a 'god' himself. And what was also amazing to see is that after Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams, Joseph didn't ask for time to receive the interpretation from God. He didn't go away on his own and consult God first. He lived so close to Him and had His Spirit guiding him, so he didn't need to do that, God's Spirit just flowed mightily and he could give the interpretation as well as the solution instantly. God flowed so greatly through him, that even Pharaoh saw that God was with Joseph:

"And Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?" Genesis 41:38

I don't think we realize what a huge compliment this was. Especially coming from Pharaoh who himself was considered to be a god. He saw God in Joseph and I do not think there is a bigger compliment that anyone can give to someone.

We should also live so close to God that people can see Him in us. This doesn't just happen. Just like exercising our physical muscles, we must exercise our spiritual muscles. And just as we cannot expect to pick up several kilograms of weights in our first week of training, we cannot expect to just flow with God's Spirit like Joseph did after spending two mornings in a row with God. It just doesn't work that way. We need to be consistent and develop our relationship with God. We need to get to know Him and His heart for us as well as for others. The closer we get to Him, the more we will flow in His principles and spread that to other people.

God wants us so close to Him, that we can give advice to others in a moment's notice, and it would be God inspired advice. That is God's plan and will for all of us. He wants us to be true representatives of Him, speaking to others what He would have spoken to them. We should follow Joseph's example. Even though he went through some very tough times, he stuck close to God and it paid off. People could SEE God in him and that has made all the difference. And it would make all the difference in your life too.

I know we are all busy and do not have the time to spend God. But as Joyce Meyer said the other day, we always find time for what is important to us. If our bodies are important to us we find time to exercise, if our children are important to us we find time to spend with them, if our friends are important to us we make sure we keep in contact, if our sports are important to us we make time to watch it. So, is spending time with God important to you? Is it important to you to be filled with His Spirit to overflowing? If it is, you WILL make the time. It is your choice. Everyone gets 24 hours a day, what are you going to do with it?

Father we want to overflow with Your Spirit just like Joseph did. We want people to see You in our lives. We want to be filled with more and more of You. Thank you for always making time for us. We love You. Amen

115. Easter 2022

This Easter I would like to share something out of my book "The Four Horses". When I prayed over this year's Easter message this is what came up for me:

God ordained that Israel camp in a specific formation in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. The Tabernacle of God was in the middle of the camp. To the east of the Tabernacle camped Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun-in total they were 186,400 (Numbers 2:9). To the south camped Reuben, Simeon, and Gad-in total they were 151,450 (Numbers 2:16). To the west camped Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin-in total they were 108,100 (Numbers 2:24). To the north camped Dan, Asher, and Naphtali-in total they were 157,600 (Numbers 2:31). Now, what is very interesting to note is that if we were to draw these numbers according to scale, the way they camped formed a cross! Isn't it amazing! To the east were many more people than to the west, and the north and the south were almost equal, actually forming a cross with the longest ax towards the east. And when they camped all the people looked inward towards the Tabernacle, which is a picture of Jesus and what He came to do for us at the cross.

So, Israel was in fact already living in the reality of Jesus being sacrificed for them, and therefore they were protected. And not only that, Jesus's heart of love for them was in the center in the form of the Tabernacle. He was encamped with them, and therefore no evil could befall them! Did you know that Israel was never attacked and beaten while they camped this way in the wilderness? It is certainly something to ponder and to learn from. While God was in the center of them as a nation, they were unbeatable.

Also, it is worthy to note that the long bar of the cross (or where Jesus's feet would be) faced east. Why? Well, the Lord wanted them to focus on where the sun was rising; symbolizing that He is the Light of the world. He was the One who would bring light in their darkness. He wanted them to renew their commitment to Him every day as the sun rose to bring in a new day. For in His light, they could see light (Psalm 36:9); in other words, they could see the path laid out for them, the way to go. It was also prophetic of what was to come. The Temple of God, later built by Solomon, also faced eastward (Ezekiel 11:1), and when God later departed from the Temple due to the nation's disobedience, He departed from the threshold, thus in an easterly direction (Ezekiel 10:18). The glory of the Lord therefore left the city on the east side (Ezekiel 11:23). But when Jesus comes back again, His feet will land on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east (Zechariah 14:4). Thus, He will come back again from the east! This is also stated in Ezekiel 43:1-5. So, Jesus's feet at the cross symbolically faced east, and when He comes back again, His feet will touch on the east side of Jerusalem. Isn't God's Word just accurate? Also interesting to note, Judah was camped at the east side, and Jesus came from the tribe of Judah.

Okay, so now we know that they camped in the form of a cross, three tribes on each side of the cross. Now, of each group of tribes there was a "leader" tribe of the three. On the east it was Judah, on the south it was Reuben, on the west it was Ephraim, and on the north it was Dan. Each tribe also had their own banner/symbol presented on their flag.

The flag of Judah had the symbol of a lion. The lion was given to them because Jacob compared Judah to a "lion's whelp" when he prophesied over him before he died (Genesis 49:9).

The flag of Reuben had the symbol of a man's face. The man's face was associated with Reuben because he was the firstborn, the head of the family.

The flag of Ephraim had the symbol of an ox. The ox was used because it was through the vision of the calves/oxen that Joseph predicted the famine and provided for them all in Egypt through God's grace. Also, when Moses prophesied over Joseph (in effect his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh), he said:

"His glory is like a firstborn bull, and his horns like the horns of the wild ox" (Deuteronomy 33:17).

Therefore, an ox was used as the symbol.

The flag of Dan had the symbol of an eagle. The eagle was used because when Jacob prophesied about Dan he said:

"Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path" (Genesis 49:17).

Jacob compared Dan to a serpent. But according to rabbinical tradition, Dan didn't want a snake as his symbol, so they substituted the snake with an eagle, the destroyer of serpents.

Now for Easter 2022, I would like us to see Jesus through these four symbols and experience Him through it. These four symbols truly depict Jesus' character. I do not have time to explain it here, it is in my book, but in short.

First of all, Jesus is the Lion of Judah. He is the conqueror, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. We should see Him as that in our lives. We should not be afraid or worried about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication give all our wants over to Him. He is mighty and will be able to handle all situations for us. He is the One we can truly trust and give over to.  (Jesus is depicted as King in the Gospel of Matthew.)

Secondly He is a man. He came to earth as a man just like us, flesh and blood. He felt and experienced all the heartache and pain that we do. In fact He experienced a lot more with His gruesome death. So He truly understands our trials and tribulations. He understands what we are going through and we can therefore come to Him with reassurance that He will give us the best advice and that He will comfort and care for us. (Jesus is depicted as the Son of man in the Gospel of Luke.)

Thirdly He is an ox. Hard-working, always serving everyone, always having time for everyone. He is tender and soft, and yet tough like an ox, no pushover as the Pharisees realized. We can therefore be rest-assured that He is our Advocate at the right hand of God, always working on our behalf and looking out for us. He never sleeps and slumbers and we can always call out to Him for help. We must also follow His example and be a servant for Him here on earth. (Jesus is depicted as a hard-working Servant in the Gospel of Mark)

And fourthly He is an eagle. He is the Son of God, flying high above it all, with a bird's eye view of everything that is going on in our lives. He is Divine and He knows best. We can therefore trust His guidance and help and ask Him for it on a regular basis. He can see far ahead and we can therefore follow His Voice and know that it will be the best pathway for our lives. (Jesus is depicted as the Son of God in the Gospel of John.)

Ponder these four 'faces' of Jesus, I am sure Holy Spirit will show you even more this Easter. May you rest in His love and be at peace knowing that the King of kings, the Servant of all, the Divine Son of God, the man who understands is with you every step of the way.

Thank you Father for Your amazing grace and mercy. We love the wonderful nuggets of truth that You reveal in Your Word for us to enjoy. Thank you for teaching us about Jesus and unveiling more and more of Him to us. Therein lies all the secrets of this life. We love You and we rejoice in all that Jesus has done for us. We would have been lost without Him. Thank you Jesus, we glorify You Father and we walk this life with You Holy Spirit. Amen