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HOW WE CHANGE

WHEN I ARISE 

IN THE MIDWINTER 

THE SKY IS AS BLACK AS MIDNIGHT.

BUT THOUGH IT IS BITTER COLD OUT

IT’S THE SWEETEST TIME IN.

 MY TIME TO BE WITH HIM.

I ANTICIPATE HE’LL MEET ME.

ONE MORNING LAST WEEK

HE TOOK ME BY SURPRISE,

FOR GLANCING UP I SAW THE SUN

CATCHING THE EARTH BY THE EDGES —

AND GLORY!

BEAUTIFULSKYKC
From my Kansas City porch last week

I WRAPPED MY FLEECY BLANKET AROUND ME

AND  STOOD ON MY PORCH

WORSHIPPING.

LUCI SHAW SAYS THAT

CREATION ECHOES THE TRUTHS IN HIS WORD.

JUST AS THE RISING SUN CHANGED EVERYTHING

WE NEED HIS POWER TO RISE UPON US,

TURNING OUR DARKNESS TO LIGHT.

WE HAVE NO POWER OF OUR OWN TO CHANGE.

WE NEED “THE SUNRISE FROM ON HIGH TO VISIT US.”

(FROM ZECHARIAH’S SONG IN LUKE 1:78)

In just two weeks we will be beginning Lent. I’m excited to tell you what we will be doing — for this has always been an amazing time on this blog.

We’re going to be “peering” into the gospel to better understand how the gospel is the answer to every problem we face. The gospel is not just the power to be saved from the penalty of sin, but it is also the power to set us free from our idols and to strengthen us for every problem we face. The gospel can change how you mother, how you face suffering, even how you confront people.

He is leading us here — I have truly felt like we are in a kayak in His gently moving river. He is carrying us.

kayak_in_the_river-wide

Pray about joining us during Lent. These next two weeks, as we complete where God led us during Advent, you will get a taste of where we will be going during Lent. For every story in the Bible is really a story about Jesus — and hidden in Jesus is the gospel — and the gospel is the mystery that can help us face every problem.

God cares most about developing our character. Though it pleases Him to bless us with health, wealth, and happiness — that is not His primary concern. When you study His family in Genesis, you see He is the Hero for His children are terribly flawed. He is the Potter who is gently molding them over the fire. We saw it with Jacob, with Leah, with Judah — and as we close Genesis, this story continues. Though Joseph ends nobly, he began as a spoiled brat. His father favored him and he was anything but subtle in letting his brothers know that he had a favored position. What changed Joseph into a man of character who reflects our Lord Jesus Christ? The mystery of the gospel. We’re going to look at this and then (and continuing into next week) consider how we might apply this to our own intimate family relationships.

 

Sunday/Monday Ice-breaker

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

2. If you have been on this blog during Lent in the past, could you share a word of testimony on how you felt about it or how it impacted you so I can possibly share it with others? Specifics are wonderful, if you can remember.

Monday-Wednesday: Bible Study

3. How do you see a lack of wisdom in Joseph in Genesis 37:5-11?

4. How did the brothers respond in Genesis 37:18-20?

5. Read Genesis 37:25-36

A. What callousness do you see in verse 25?

B. What callousness do you see in Judah in verse 26?

Derek Kidner comments: Judah will later develop some fine qualities, but at present there is nothing more than self-interest. Profit is a harsh monetary term like “loot,” or “rake-off.” The force of the phrase “and conceal his blood” is two-fold (from man, and by avoiding actually bloodshed, from God).

C. What callousness do you see in the way they confront Jacob?

Derek Kidner sees a parallel between “your son” of Genesis 37:32 and “this your son” of the elder brother in the story of the prodigal sons in Luke 15:30. This was not “their brother,” but “your son.”

Joseph points us to Christ, for like Christ he was betrayed by his brethren. Like Christ, he forgives and rescues his brethren. Charles Spurgeon “The Prince of Preachers,” was considered so, I believe, for he was a master of showing how Jesus is the center of every story, and the gospel hidden in it as well. He has several wonderful sermons on Joseph from which I will quote. (You would be blessed to read them!)

6. Read Genesis 49:22-24 (This was Jacob’s dying blessing to Joseph)

A. How does Jacob describe Joseph’s life? Find everything you can.

In “Joseph attacked by the Archers,” Spurgeon preached:

Oh! the agonies he felt—parted from his father, losing his brethren, without a friend, dragged away by cruel man-sellers, chained upon a camel it may be, with fetters on his hands. Those who have borne the gyves and fetters, those who have felt that they were not free men, that they had not liberty, might tell how sorely the archers grieved him when they shot at him the arrows of their envy. He became a slave, sold from his country, dragged from all he loved. Farewell to home and all its pleasures—farewell to a father’s smiles and tender cares. He must be a slave, and toil where the slave’s task-master makes him; he must be stripped in the streets, he must be beaten, he must be scourged, he must be reduced from the man to the animal, from the free man to the slave. Truly the archers sorely shot at him. And, my brethren, do you hope, if you are the Lord’s Josephs, that you shall escape envy? I tell you, nay; that green-eyed monster, envy, lives in London as well as elsewhere, and he creeps into God’s church, moreover. Oh! it is hardest of all, to be envied by one’s brethren.

B. Yet out of Joseph’s sorrow came beauty — he became a “fruitful bough.” The secret as to how that happened is revealed in Genesis 49:24, and again, in Joseph’s own words in Genesis 50:19-20. It is a two-fold secret — see it you can find it.

 

Joseph has to be humbled, to see the truth about himself. But he also had to be confident

in God’s love for him. The gospel is unique in that two seemingly contrasting qualities

have “kissed” at the cross. (Psalm 85:10)

bigmercyandtruth

Do you see?

We are so bad the Jesus had to die for us. (The truth about our sin)

Yet we are so loved that He did die for us. (The mercy of our God)

7. Now — I want you to apply this by showing how you might use these two truths of the gospel to confront someone you care about in truth and in love. You may have a real scenario or you may need to imagine one.

A. How might you humble yourself in coming, admitting, without excuses, any sin in yourself?

B. How might you speak truth in love?

C. If he or she does not respond as you hope, how might you forgive in your heart through the power of the gospel?

This may be hard to understand, but that is because the gospel is both simple and very complex. We’re going to keep peering into it.

Thursday/Friday

Read or listen to one of these Spurgeon sermons and share your comments.

1)  Joseph Attacked by the Archers (I quoted from this one above): Link

or

2). Rough, But Friendly

Spurgeon shows how the way Joseph dealt with his brothers is the way of Christ. He is rough with us at first, to bring us to our senses, but then shows great mercy. You can either listen or read:

Listen for 99 cents: Link or read it: Link

SHARE YOUR INSIGHTS FROM YOUR READING OR LISTENING TO THE SPURGEON SERMON YOU CHOSE

Saturday

WHAT IS YOUR TAKE-A-WAY AND WHY?

Leave a Comment

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258 comments

  1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    The beauty of the sky in the picture, how often for many of us the sky inspires worship. In reading 1000 Gifts I was on the chapter last night when she is drawn by the beauty and runs out to the moon.
    Darkness to light was a big theme in the chapter as well.
    I do feel born along on the stream, God taking me somewhere, it is comforting to know He is, but uneasy too. I feel the need again to pry the fingers of my mind off of the need to understand everything, to intentionally be grateful and trusting.

    The hope also stood out to me. That the deep riches of Gospel can continue to change me, influencing the way I face conflict, providing power to turn from my idols. I cling to this hope.

  2. If you have been on this blog during Lent in the past, could you share a word of testimony on how you felt about it or how it impacted you so I can possibly share it with others? Specifics are wonderful, if you can remember.

    The 2012 lent season weeks were incredible, I came into them such a wreck.
    In my grief I was eating and drinking too much, feeling I needed to have 2 or 3 glasses of wine to even think of being able to sleep at night.
    I gave up wine for lent last year and it has not renewed the grip it held. I also made real progress in recognizing and putting off my tendency towards making negative assumptions during that time.

    However, for me, the heaviest impact last lent, came when we studied the holiness of God, the realization that being in His presence ought to incinerate sinful me, but by grace through Christ I can approach Him boldly and find not just acceptance but His love and power available to me…what an incredible gift!….the impact of that truth seeping into me has been immeasurable!
    It brings me joy to remember the impact out 2012 lenten studies had!

      1. I am the one blessed by you Dee, so very blessed!
        With a full heart I thank you, thank you for leading us!

  3. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    JUST AS THE RISING SUN CHANGED EVERYTHING

    WE NEED HIS POWER TO RISE UPON US,

    TURNING OUR DARKNESS TO LIGHT.

    WE HAVE NO POWER OF OUR OWN TO CHANGE.

    WE NEED “THE SUNRISE FROM ON HIGH TO VISIT US.”

    I love the picture of the canoe, Dee. We are canoeists. There is nothing like it being quiet in the wilderness with God. The heavens and the earth declare the glory of God. I agree that in this blog we are being carried along by the God who loves us.

    1. Diane–love hearing you canoe! I love canoeing–don’t do it as much as I used to–or would like to–so peaceful.

  4. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    When I read this this morning, “The gospel can change how you mother, how you face suffering, even how you confront people.” I thought—that is my last year in a nutshell. I had heard for years the phrase “preach the Gospel to yourself every day”—I liked the idea, but didn’t really grasp what it meant until this past year. Preach the Truth to my soul, every day, every situation. The truth of my sin, the truth of Whose I am, the truth that I have an Advocate who has gone before the Judge and declared me worthy. The truth that changes everything, that sets me free.

    1. Sorry, I just re-read my answer and I think my first sentence came off as if I have ‘figured it out’ or been ‘successful’ in this–which is the opposite of what I meant! I do feel like God has used my mothering, my suffering, and specific relational conflicts–to open my eyes to my own sin and weakness–and to break me, and mold me–definitely a work in process!

  5. 2. If you have been on this blog during Lent in the past, could you share a word of testimony on how you felt about it or how it impacted you so I can possibly share it with others? Specifics are wonderful, if you can remember.

    This first time I participated in the Lenten studies on the blog was 2 years ago. I was raised observing Lent, but it had always seemed to focus on giving something up—and then stopped there. I think what impacted me most was to see that the walk of Gospel is not just to focus on what we must stop doing, but to replace it with Something greater—Dee first introduced me to “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection”, the same month my church had mentioned it in a sermon. Lent has come to mean more to me than abstaining from a favorite candy, etc…to offering up my daily tasks, words, thoughts-as a sacrifice—filling myself with His Word, His ways. Before new life, there must come death.

  6. Will come back tonight to read this. Just letting you know I’m around. 🙂

    1. good to “see” you Krista–you stay in my daily prayers~

  7. What immediately stood out to me were the beautiful pictures. Dee, I could imagine standing in the cold crisp air and feel the beauty of the world that God has given so to us so abundantly as you gazed at the sky. I feel amazement in the great love He expresses throughout our world. Once kayaked in a bird sanctuary in the Outer Banks of NC: gliding through the water, sun shining, quiet among the grasses & birds.
    I have not participated in your Lenten study and am looking forward to it! My husband will be leaving in 10 days to go to with a Men’s Ministry that evangelizes at Mardi Gras. On Fat Tuesday among all the sin and revelry there will be 300 men arms locked together marching carrying a cross through the French Quarter. This always gets me ready for lent as I stay very focused praying for them up until they return Ash Wednesday. Otherwise I don’t have a specific discipline I always do.
    So thankful to have found this study/blog. You all bring such wonderful honesty, desire for Christ and depth of knowledge to share. Thanks

      1. You are one of the minority that knows that Sally is a nickname for Sarah. I was called Sally as a child but have been Sarah since then.

  8. Sorry I dropped off the planet… Schedule is quite a bit different now– in some ways better, but I’m not juggling everything that well.

    1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    that Dee stood out on her porch wrapped in a fleece blanket! It was below zero when I went to work last week, and I couldn’t comprehend standing outside early in the morning.

    2. If you have been on this blog during Lent in the past, could you share a word of testimony on how you felt about it or how it impacted you so I can possibly share it with others? Specifics are wonderful, if you can remember.

    I think this was last year — but not sure. I remember feeling as if I was prepared for Easter for the first time in many years. Also, Anne posted a song that I hadn’t heard before. I listened to it MANY, MANY times and emailed it to others.

    1. Adding one more thing: I read this on my cell phone at 6:00am. I learned not to start checking shortly after midnight 🙂 I was able to read some posts last week on my cell phone, too.

      1. Glad you’re back, Renee! I use my cell all the time to do the study 🙂

    2. Always miss you Renee–so glad you’re back!

  9. What stood out to me is that I don’t understand how people get up in the morning ready to go! I don’t like morning at all 🙁 I can’t imagine standing outside watching the sun rise because I want (italicize) to! I only do it because I have (italicize) to! More power to you Dee! Instead, I was watching a beautiful moon rise tonight as I took the dogs out. Truly amazing stuff, our world. Thank you God for sunrise and moonrise.

    I’m old now and can’t remember what we did for lent last year :(. I was here on the blog though! I don’t usually give anything up though. I think I focused on Jesus more everyday.

  10. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? The beauty of the sunrise and the kayak. There is so much beauty in God’s creation that I’m certain that only humans notice and that may be one of the things that marks us as being uniquely made in His image.
    The statement WE HAVE NO POWER OF OUR OWN TO CHANGE. WE NEED “THE SUNRISE FROM ON HIGH TO VISIT US.” I tend to try harder and harder wanting to make a change quickly and it is a surface change not a heart change, like I’m painting my heart of stone instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to change the stone to flesh.

    2. If you have been on this blog during Lent in the past, could you share a word of testimony on how you felt about it or how it impacted you so I can possibly share it with others? Specifics are wonderful, if you can remember.
    I went back and skimmed the blog from last Lenten season. Some of it warmed me, some of it made me cry. Sadly, I am disappointed at how little I see change in myself. What impacted me most and has helped me throughout the year is learning that idols can’t be removed just replaced. It has given me the motivation to replace my obsessive wrong thinking with praise, bible verses and the truth. Instead of analyzing why I am thinking what I’m thinking, I reflect on what idol this thinking is feeding.

    1. Dawn–such a good picture here “like I’m painting my heart of stone instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to change the stone to flesh” OH how I can relate!

    2. like I’m painting my heart of stone instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to change the stone to flesh.
      LOVE!!

      1. I agree with Elizabeth and Cyndi Dawn, that is a vivid word picture, and understood by most of us.
        I just want to share that I see a change in you from last year, I see a softening. 🙂

    3. Dawn, I too like your word picture of painting over a stone…but I also agree with Chris that you are making progress. How is the writing the letter to your uncle going…were you able to finish and send it?

      1. To Susan all I have to say is procrastination and avoidance. It truly is my plan to do it today.

  11. 3. How do you see a lack of wisdom in Joseph in Genesis 37:5-11?

    It probably wasn’t wise to tell his brothers of the dreams. He should have known they would have been upset.

    4. How did the brothers respond in Genesis 37:18-20?

    They devised a plan to kill him.

    5. Read Genesis 37:25-36

    A. What callousness do you see in verse 25?

    They were eating and thinking about selling Joseph to these strangers just to get rid of him. They didn’t see how foolish he was and that they probably needed to just take care of him instead.

    B. What callousness do you see in Judah in verse 26?

    He wanted to know what they would get out of the deal if they sold him.

  12. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    That we need His power to change us-we can’t change on our own-and I love God is taking us in the direction of peering into the Gospel-“The gospel can change how you mother, how you face suffering, even how you confront people.”-Oh so so sweet-so true, and I am looking forward to this!

    2. If you have been on this blog during Lent in the past, could you share a word of testimony on how you felt about it or how it impacted you so I can possibly share it with others? Specifics are wonderful, if you can remember.

    I had to go back to look because I can’t remember specifics. I hadn’t celebrated lent before I came on this blog and I hadn’t a clue what HE had in store. I would say John Donne’s poem “Batter My Heart Three Person’d God”-and Aslan breathing on us-the witch turned my heart to stone and I was learning so much more in depth His love for me and I so needed Him to breathe on me and batter my heart, and HE DID. Here is my story-what I wrote on the blog:

    “It would take a book to describe the ways Jesus love is evident in my life. He says no one can snatch us out of His hand, and that He will complete HIS work in us until the day of Christ. He is showing me those verses..HE IS FAITHFUL!! Look at what He is doing now in my heart..The white witch made me stoney over the years and God didn’t sit afar, aloof, too busy for me..First step-He put Dee’s daughter in law in my church..The first person He used to get my thinking changed in some areas, then Sondra here in Kansas, and then others, and then He had me come here to this blog and He revealed these stones, then He put us in a solid, thriving church with an incredible bible study class teaching on change! He took me to Keller’s site and revealed this pride..and then had another series of ways to breathe on me in His time..He has lit His fire in my luke warm heart!! It is HIM, not me..He pursued me and didn’t let me fall out of His hand and I am in love with Him all over again. It is a deep joy and a new confidence in Him that He built up within me again over time..He is restoring my joy again..”The Lord’s loving kindness’ indeed never cease, they are new every morning, Great is thy faithfulness!!!”:-) “

  13. 3. How do you see a lack of wisdom in Joseph in Genesis 37:5-11?
    Telling his brothers about his dream of having power over them just stirred their jealousy. I really haven’t studied much about what he was like at that age-I guess he was rather young when he had the dream. But I’m imagining him as not meaning to be boastful necessarily—he was just honest. But he did lack discernment in sharing it with his brothers—did he already realize the rivalry between hem? I’m going to read more-sorry-thinking out loud!

    4. How did the brothers respond in Genesis 37:18-20?
    They saw him and plotted to kill him. They called him a dreamer and banded together to throw him in a cistern.

    5. Read Genesis 37:25-36
    A. What callousness do you see in verse 25?
    Just after throwing Joseph into a cistern, they are sitting down to eat as if no big deal!

    B. What callousness do you see in Judah in verse 26?
    Judah is looking at what they will gain if they kill Joseph and then hide it. He wants to get something out of it so he suggests they sell him for a profit.

    C. What callousness do you see in the way they confront Jacob?
    They bring him Joseph’s coat, dipped in goat’s blood to give the appearance that Joseph had been killed. They don’t care about their father’s great loss, they only care about their own gain and keeping themselves from blame.
    They say “Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.”—they have so distanced themselves from Joseph that they don’t even refer to him as brother. Their hearts have grown stoney and hardened. They feel nothing about what they have done to Joseph or their father. They are so hardened, they don’t even feel guilt. I imagine they have justified their actions. They’ve told themselves so many lies they no longer hear the Truth.

  14. seeing the kayak pictured as it is, not whole, was very meaningful. My journey this past two years unemployed,(having lost my job of 15 yrs) has been about allowing God to steer my path. And just as one seemingly small mis-paddle in a canoe or kayak can set the boat off course so too can my tiniest thoughts, words and actions. I visualize my loving and faithful Father God steering my canoe (life) and allowing His will not mine be done.
    Last week after an interview where I was told how wonderful my resume was and how excited the HR was to see someone with my qualifications apply. I asked my sisters to pray with me about the job- I received a call at 11:30 for a second interview, then was called at 2:30 to cancel as they filled the position! A year ago I would have been angry and ranted about the incompetence. Today I can praise God for closing a door and allowing me to stay on His path, I clearly see it was not His will for my life. My sister shared with me that she had a strong sense that God has me ministering to my daughter, a young mother, right now and that is where I am to be. My husband lovingly pointed out pride and self-reliance might be idols I need to work on.
    I am looking forward to experiencing Lent with all of you. I was turned off by “Lent” because so many people I knew spent the time complaining and whining about what they had given up. I am excited to find new meaning in this time.

    1. Such a good post, Becca. I loved “And just as one seemingly small mis-paddle in a canoe or kayak can set the boat off course so too can my tiniest thoughts, words and actions.” It’s so true.
      I’m glad that you are open to what God wants to do with you and not what you think that you should be doing; and that your husband can lovingly be honest with you.

    2. this is so good, Becca “A year ago I would have been angry and ranted about the incompetence. Today I can praise God for closing a door”

  15. 6. Read Genesis 49:22-24 (This was Jacob’s dying blessing to Joseph)
    A. How does Jacob describe Joseph’s life? Find everything you can.

    I really enjoyed this passage.
    Fruitful vine-his life produced fruit
    Near a spring-he stayed close to the Source of food, of Life
    Climbing branches-he strove towards Light, always growing
    Attacked by bitter men-he suffered wrongly
    Remains strong-he stayed faithful
    Stayed limber-he stayed soft, teachable, humble
    Because of the Shepherd-reliant on the Lord

  16. I had NO idea what I was thinking last year so I went back to see:-) It was in that time that we were exploring our idols even deeper and figuring out that you cant just get rid of them you have to replace them. I think we were all getting to the point that we “knew” that but still trying to figure out how to DO that.
    trusting Gods plan in the middle of the yuck was what I came out of that lent time with. that I had been grafted into HIS family and HE was going to take care of me, not keep me from trials, but care for me in them and that knowlege helped me to let go of the need to control which opened my heart up to JOY that I had never felt before.
    I LOVED the sonrise picture, wishing i was not surrounded by trees so I could see it here:-) thanks for the beautiful picure.
    What stood out to me most is that God is there, our eyes are often blinded by our own issues, selfishness, control, self pitty,…..but HE IS there.
    side note
    My family is going through a LOT of changes and we are all having a hard time adjusting. I started to work 2 weeks ago,
    sent my youngest Emma, to school a week ago,
    Abby my oldest daughter is graduating high school and having health issues again, not sure if its stress, but they are scary (headaches, dizzy, nausous, hands turning blue)
    everyone is very used to having me available to them 24/7 and Lily is having a hard time adjusting to not having me there for her all the time.
    Ellie is having to be the “mom” while im gone and she is struggling with that.
    so if you could pray for us all that would be great:-) the sad thing is I am LOVING working and getting away! feeling a little guity that everyone else is having such a hard time! I have homeschooled all these years because i felt that God told me to, that it was what was best for my kids, it is not in my natural bent to be home with the kids all day! I love my kids and would not give up the years of homeschooling but it has never been easy for me. when people say “oh i could never homeschool” I think “me either, without God!” I am sad that the stayathomemom/homeschooling (20years)part of my life is coming to an end because it meens my kids are growing up so fast…..but I am excited for the takeyourkidstoschool/gotoworkparttime part of my life to begin 🙂 Now if I can just get through the next 4 months of homeschooling/workingparttime/takeyourkidtoschool/dancemom/collegevisit part of my life 🙂 you can do anything for 4 months….right!!!!????

    1. Oh, my, cyndi. What a busy life you lead! I’ll be praying for you.

    2. Oh Cyndi, adjustments are hard for anyone, let alone kids who just want to depend on you, but I agree with Dee, the more they get used to it the better they will become when it’s time to be on their own. They will appreciate you for it in the long run.

    3. Cyndi, It’s a new chapter in your life! Welcome it and I hope the kids adjust soon for your sake. Praying for the next 4 months!

  17. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

    “Luci Shaw says that creation echoes the truths in His word.” Many mornings while driving my daughter to school, we have quite a panorama before us as we drive east, and the area is wide open and we have a great view of the sun coming up on many mornings. It is a glorious sight, and it always reminds me of “His mercies are new every morning”.
    Last Friday, I was out shoveling snow, and the fine, powdery snowflakes were whirling all around so that I felt like I was in a giant snowglobe! Staring at all those swirling snowflakes made me a little dizzy…but it made me think of “though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be whiter than snow”. And the sheer number (overwhelming)of snowflakes in the air made me think of how overwhelming His grace is, in answer to our sin.

    “We have no power of our own to change”. I am glad we’re going in this direction, because I’ve sure felt stuck in a rut lately. I’ve just started a study at my church, and it will also be on idolatry. I need to hear the truth over and over again, because I am not yet free from my idols. I feel like God is so absent and distant right now and at times I feel an overwhelming unhappiness.I need “His power to rise upon us, turning our darkness to light.”

    1. Praying for you Susan, that soon you can look back on your “stuck in a rut” feelings with a clear vision that God has provided a victory!

    2. Susan, praying God will make a way for your unhappiness to change to happiness.

    3. Oh Susan–I continue to pray for you–I’m so sorry. I pray you will feel Him overwhelm you with His crazy-about-you love–just like those snowflakes–I really pray that

  18. Cyndi, I will pray for you and your family during this transition time. I want to encourage you too, that while the change may be hard, not having you around 24/7 will stretch and grow your children. And as a mom it is wonderful to come home after working and love coming home, a treasure that isn’t usually experienced by someone who is there 24/7.
    So this time can teach newfound independence and problem solving skills to your children and also help all of you to value and treasure one another even more.
    You go girl!

    1. thanks Chris!!!! you are SOOO right 🙂

    2. Chris, I so agree with this!

  19. How do you see a lack of wisdom in Joseph in Genesis 37:5-11?
    Yes I see a lack of wisdom, in his telling the brothers of his dreams, his inability to see how they felt, but he was very young. I feel an affinity for Joseph. I was the youngest and my mother favored me, My sisters disliked me for it, but I really didn’t understand why until I was much older. I am not ready to classify Joseph as a brat, spoiled yes, lacking in understanding yes, but I am not sure he understood the jealousy his brothers felt towards him.

    The dreams must have been so incredible, I imagine it would have been hard to keep quiet about them. He perhaps didn’t even realize what they signified.

    How did the brothers respond in Genesis 37:18-20?

    They conspired to kill him. It is hard to imagine how much they hated him.

    Reminded me of these verses from James:
    “13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

  20. 5. Read Genesis 37:25-36
    A. What callousness do you see in verse 25?
    They sat down to eat, they were so little troubled by their sin that their appetites were unaffected, while at that point they had left Joseph to die slowly of starvation.

    What callousness do you see in Judah in verse 26?
    Judah is looking to lessen his sin and profit at the same time, he realizes they can be rid of Joseph without actually killing him. I think he must have felt a little twinge of remorse, as he decided it was better not to shed his blood.

    What callousness do you see in the way they confront Jacob?
    This stands out to me:
    “35 All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him”
    but that none of his sons cared enough about comforting him to tell him the truth. How this must have twisted all of them.

  21. 3. How do you see a lack of wisdom in Joseph in Genesis 37:5-11?

    Joseph told his brother and father about his dreams. It seems that his father also lacked wisdom, in allowing Joseph to be so obviously favored (or maybe that’s just a “thing” because I live in a society that focuses on egalitarianism?). Plus, Joseph’s father chewed him out for the content of the dream, not for rubbing it in.

    4. How did the brothers respond in Genesis 37:18-20?
    Wow, they had been stewed about it; their hatred had festered and they plotted to kill him. Most likely, this was due to the big picture of him being favored/spoiled and the dream was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” (totally unsupported opinion, but there must be more to the story than a little brother’s “stupid dream.”)

    5. Read Genesis 37:25-36

    A. What callousness do you see in verse 25?
    THEY ARE EATING and observing the scenery — as if nothing had happened.

    B. What callousness do you see in Judah in verse 26?
    “What will we gain if…?” He wanted to profit.
    “cover up his blood” He did recognize a potential problem related to a “cover-up.”

    C. What callousness do you see in the way they confront Jacob?

    Interesting — they didn’t (overtly) lie. Even in confronting Jacob, they may have been deceiving themselves about their own guilt. They showed Jacob the robe dipped in blood and let Jacob draw his own conclusion; the most obvious conclusion was that Joseph was dead. They disregarded Jacob’s heart for Joseph and that his heart would be broken, both through selling Joseph and making it look as if he was dead.

  22. Hey Ladies,
    Last week Becca posted about each of us taking one day of the week and praying for Krista, and to do this for a month…I just went out for a short walk and I prayed for Krista and her situation, so I’d like to take Mondays, if that’s okay! Becca had the wonderful idea of helping Krista by upholding her in prayer, and she gave the example of Moses being helped to hold up his arms when they grew tired.
    I will make a concentrated effort to keep praying for Krista throughout the day!

  23. Susan- Thank you for taking Monday ! I will take Wednesday. One trick I use is the night before I am “on schedule” I place colored post it notes or another item throughout my home where i know my path will take me, usually do 12. i.e laundry room, computer, refrigerator. And then as I go about my day i get little reminders prompting me to bring on the prayers. I believe as we raise our voices to the heavens we can expect a miracle. One of the most amazing stories of healing I experienced was with a cousin, struggling with alcoholism for years, multiple failed attempts at quitting. We prayed him through his first month of sobriety.

    1. Hi gals…sign me up for Thursday…thanks for the post it notes idea, Becca. I’ll put them all over my office…:)

  24. I will pray for Krista on Fridays

  25. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    The beautiful scenery. So many times I have worshipped God b/c He is so evident in His creation. It is His world and He is soverign.
    That I can do nothing apart from God. That God has the power. So many times I have been broken. My sin or other’s sin but God is faithful. He continues to lead and guide me. To love me. I am beginning to finally realize that God will never ever take His love from me. That He loves me! It is accepting and believing and finally resting in that love.
    My song of the moment is
    It is my confession Lord that I am weak
    So very weak but u r strong
    And though I have nothing Lord to lay at your feet
    I come to your feet to say help me along.

    2. If you have been on this blog during Lent in the past, could you share a word of testimony on how you felt about it or how it impacted you so I can possibly share it with others? Specifics are wonderful, if you can remember.

    I have never celebrated Lent. I am not even sure what it is.

    3. How do you see a lack of wisdom in Joseph in Genesis 37:5-11?

    Joseph was young and so confident of His father’s love and protection that he never thought twice of what he was saying.
    He lacked wisdom as many do when they are young.
    He was excited about his dream and what it could mean.
    He probably should have kept it to himself but if he did then all of the family would have died.
    His father rebuked him but his father also pondered in his heart what the dreams meant.
    Joseph would have never ended up in Egypt and he would never had been able to save his family from the famine
    God intended for it to happen so it did

    4. How did the brothers respond in Genesis 37:18-20?
    They were hurt and jealous and angry and resentful. Having grown up in a dsyfunctional family I can imagine the emotion, the hurt and the pain. Rueben was trying to save him and bring him back to Jacob but the brothers sold him for money and to hide their hatred.
    The whole family was falling apart b/c of hidden jealousies, pain and resentment and the fact that Jacob played favourites with his children.

    5. Read Genesis 37:25-36

    A. What callousness do you see in verse 25?
    The brothers did not think of Joseph at all. He had no meaning at all to them.
    He was something they tolerated therefore they could think of their empty stomachs and not worry that they were plotting to kill their brother.
    It was nothing to contemplate murder.

    B. What callousness do you see in Judah in verse 26?
    Judah did not think of Joesph at all. Judah did not love or even think of his brother other than what we could gain from it. His heart was empty of love, mercy or even shame.

    Derek Kidner comments: Judah will later develop some fine qualities, but at present there is nothing more than self-interest. Profit is a harsh monetary term like “loot,” or “rake-off.” The force of the phrase “and conceal his blood” is two-fold (from man, and by avoiding actually bloodshed, from God).

    C. What callousness do you see in the way they confront Jacob?
    They just sent the coat dipped in blood. There was no love or wondering if Jacob would be in pain. They just wanted to prove Joseph was dead. They were cowards. Ruben was upset and tore his clothing but did he tell his father the truth? This family was dsyfuctional but I appreciate the honesty of the family dynamics and how Father God redeemed and used all the circumstances to save the family. What God sets out to do He accomplishes.

    Derek Kidner sees a parallel between “your son” of Genesis 37:32 and “this your son” of the elder brother in the story of the prodigal sons in Luke 15:30. This was not “their brother,” but “your son.”

    Joseph points us to Christ, for like Christ he was betrayed by his brethren. Like Christ, he forgives and rescues his brethren. Charles Spurgeon “The Prince of Preachers,” was considered so, I believe, for he was a master of showing how Jesus is the center of every story, and the gospel hidden in it as well. He has several wonderful sermons on Joseph from which I will quote. (You would be blessed to read them!)

    6. Read Genesis 49:22-24 (This was Jacob’s dying blessing to Joseph)

    A. How does Jacob describe Joseph’s life? Find everything you can.
    Joseph is described as a fruitful bough. That Joseph was attacked but stood his ground. That Joseph rested in God and knew God was in control not the brothers or anyone else for that matter. That Joseph blessings are greater and will last longer.

    In “Joseph attacked by the Archers,” Spurgeon preached:

    Oh! the agonies he felt—parted from his father, losing his brethren, without a friend, dragged away by cruel man-sellers, chained upon a camel it may be, with fetters on his hands. Those who have borne the gyves and fetters, those who have felt that they were not free men, that they had not liberty, might tell how sorely the archers grieved him when they shot at him the arrows of their envy. He became a slave, sold from his country, dragged from all he loved. Farewell to home and all its pleasures—farewell to a father’s smiles and tender cares. He must be a slave, and toil where the slave’s task-master makes him; he must be stripped in the streets, he must be beaten, he must be scourged, he must be reduced from the man to the animal, from the free man to the slave. Truly the archers sorely shot at him. And, my brethren, do you hope, if you are the Lord’s Josephs, that you shall escape envy? I tell you, nay; that green-eyed monster, envy, lives in London as well as elsewhere, and he creeps into God’s church, moreover. Oh! it is hardest of all, to be envied by one’s brethren.

    B. Yet out of Joseph’s sorrow came beauty — he became a “fruitful bough.” The secret as to how that happened is revealed in Genesis 49:24, and again, in Joseph’s own words in Genesis 50:19-20. It is a two-fold secret — see it you can find it.
    That Father God was in control. Yes terrible things happened to Joseph but he cried out to God and God heard him and remained faithful to God even when terrible things were happening to him. Like in the hymn
    It is no longer I that liveth but Christ that liveth in me.
    He lives, He lives,
    Jesus lives today
    He walks with me and He talks with me along life’s narrow way
    He lives, He lives
    Salvation to impart.
    I know He lives b/c He lives within my heart.

    1. Loved this mellany….”It is my confession Lord that I am weak
      So very weak but u r strong
      And though I have nothing Lord to lay at your feet
      I come to your feet to say help me along”.
      Still praying for you!

    2. I am so glad you are with us Mellany!

      I have been thinking too about the depth of dysfunction in this family.
      These boys had grown up with Rachel hating them and their mother, somehow hating Joseph must have seemed justified, almost normal given the atmosphere of tension and competition they grew in.

      I love that you brought out that Gods purposes included saving this family, in spite of their very great flaws, these were his chosen people.

      There is such hope in that!

  26. Dee,

    While perusing your blog, I admit that I jumped ahead into the latter part of the week. The Spurgeon sermon caught my eye and I just couldn’t wait! I have to thank you for posting it. Such a beautiful reminder of God’s forgiveness and restoration in our lives. I had just asked God for a specific Biblical example where there was overt disobedience and yet(in His mercy) a lavish restoration! With the sermon came a beautiful reminder of just such a instance (Joseph and his brothers)! He answered my prayer with this post! 🙂 Very timely indeed. Spurgeon is such an amazing orator! Thank you for sharing this gem! It brings sweet hope!

    1. welcome Rhonda!

    2. Glad you’re here Rhonda!

    3. Welcome Rhonda…you will love it here on this blog!

  27. I would be honored to pray for Krista on Tuesdays

  28. sooooooo Abby calls HYSTERICAL today while i was at work because our basement (its a walkout and has all 3 of the kids bedroom and a bath) is COVERED with what she is sure our termites! thousands and thousands of crawling bugs all over the place!!!! she was having a panic attack and I was driving to Emmas school to pick her up….late, and had to be at the other job in 5 min. some days you laugh our you would cry! God is SO very good to me. My friend who is a counselor was able to calm Abby, I was able to get an exterminater to come out to tell us they were citrinala ants and NOT termites! THANK GOD! God is teaching me to rely on friends some times, He is teaching my kids that they CAN handle things when I am not available. I am just so thankful that HE loves me enough to not let me stay comfortable.

    1. Oh yikes, Cyndi! What an experience! Glad it all worked out.

    2. Never a dull moment in your house Cyndi!!

    3. Cyndi, LOL..I think I would have been like Abby! 😉

  29. Okay ladies, I need to be completely honest about something here, and I hope you will understand. First of all I am extremely grateful and feel so blessed for those of you committing to pray for me & my marriage! It is a very hard time for me & my family and we truly need the help to lift us up to God in prayer!
    That being said…I truly don’t have much hope for my marriage. 🙁 You see, for all the years of being married (8 1/2) it’s been very much a roller coaster. Sometimes it would be “fine”, things would seem good, Jeff was sweet and and loving, etc, then it would all come crashing, again. Either over finances (usually, it was a HUGE issue), or that I wasn’t doing something good enough (housework, etc), stresses at work, and so forth. The “crashing” over the years came more often, and worse. He never physically hurt me, but there were times he would punch walls, and just scream at me, or the kids. He had (has) anger issues, and also ADHD which would cause mood swings…but even more so than just mood swings. He would have (still has) a lot of highs and lows. He really could be a sweet, tenderhearted man, who seemed to seek God, but his “lows” were scary and very hard. He was also very controlling. So much of my marriage it seemed like I had to walk on egg shells. Still feel that way at times even though we are separated.
    When I was pregnant with my youngest, Caleb, I left him for a few days. I took the kids and left. It was December 2009. I went to my parents’. I was truly scared for my and my kids safety. I couldn’t handle it anymore. The summer of 2009 is when things really got bad. He had a “friend” who had separated from her husband, also a very verbally abusive marriage, and Jeff spent a lot of time with her. That summer there were a lot of arguments about the time they spent together. According to him, and her, they were “just friends”, though they would constantly talk, text, call each other “best friends”. Even his family was telling him it wasn’t appropriate how close they were. He said he didn’t care. That they weren’t doing anything wrong. I tried to convince Jeff we needed counseling, but he refused. I mentioned I wanted to talk about what was going on with our pastor at the time, and he basically threatened me that I would truly regret it if I mentioned anything to him and got her (the other woman) involved. So I, foolishly, kept my mouth shut. He stopped spending so much time with her, and I saw that talking about it just made him really mad, so I stopped. Our anniversary weekend in August that summer was very nice, and things seemed to get better, but by December 2009 they were really bad again. So that is why I left.
    After I left he seemed repentant, and we had good talks on the phone. Even did Bible study together. One evening he came to my parents’ place, they took care of the boys, and we went out. We went out to a lovely dinner and a movie. It was so nice. Not long after that I took the boys and we went back home. Things were good again. For a while. For a few months. Then very bad again. 🙁 I planned to leave again September 2010. Almost did. Even planned ot get an apartment. He found out about it. He finally agreed to counseling, and I also started on medication for my depression/anxiety. Once again things got better. Marriage counseling seemed to really help. Again he had gotten very close to this female friend of his, and during counseling agreed to really limit things. That lasted a couple of months. By December 2011 I could just feel myself going downhill. I felt like I had lost myself. Took more pills than I could have for the first time 1 year ago, end of January 2012. Then again in April…and again in September, which after that my marriage truly came tumbling down and he basically kicked me out. I was never trying to kill myself, I just wanted the deep pain to go away. He said just before I had left near the end of October he would go to anger management. He never has. I’m not surprised. Very often he’s all talk and no action.
    So, there you have it. I don’t trust him, at all. Yes, I do care about him still, yes, I would LOVE for our marriage to be reconciled, but even if he gets help, and we have LONG term marriage counseling, I am just so very much afraid I will get back together with him, and not long later it will all come crashing again! I can’t do that again. I won’t. So…I truly don’t have much hope for him, or our marriage. It feels like it’s too far gone. He even has been kind of decent with me recently, and I am thankful for that. But I want absolutely nothing romantic to do with him. None. God would truly have to work a miracle. Which I *know* is possible for Him…I guess I just don’t have that much faith for Jeff that it would be possible.
    Sorry, I know this probably doesn’t have anything to do with this week’s Bible study, I just had to get that out for those of you praying for me & my marriage.
    God bless you all for being so loving and caring!

    Krista

    1. wishing we could go out for coffee and have a girl to girl 🙂 My best advice is to focus on YOU and YOU getting healthy. If the marriage is going to heal, you will have to be healed so going to counseling, getting the depression under control, strengthening your relationship with Jesus, are all going to be good for YOU and for the healing of your marriage….its a win win!
      when Paul and i were very bad I was challenged by a friend to pray for him everyday and to treat him as I would if he were my son. That was so convicting to me! I was reminded that He was Gods child and I was to treat him as a brother in Christ.
      Hang in there! don’t give up! Make sure you find healing yourself before you give up on or try to make a go of your marriage. I will be praying! I have been there and it hurts SOOOO bad! *HUGS*

      1. Thanks Cyndi. I am getting the help I need. I am finally on the proper medication, and I have a wonderful therapist. She’s great, really. We discovered I had (well, still have, but not as bad as it was)more issues with anxiety than depression. Yes, there is some depression…but it was worse when I was with (because of?) Jeff. I never want to live with him again. The way he tried me put my anxiety through the roof.
        I do, often, pray for Jeff. I’ve read “The Power of the Praying Wife” a lot. I constantly pray and ask God to help me see him through His eyes, not my own.

    2. Krista please know you can be open here and it does help to know how and where to pray for you and your family. I’ve also been there like many of the women here and one thing that I did that helped ME was to ask God to forgive me for my part in the marriage breaking up which was a lac of communication and I also asked my now ex-husband to forgive me for not being the wife I was called to be. This helped free me up so much that even though our marriage broke up I can honestly look at my kids and tell them I tried everything to keep our family together. I was willing to go to counseling but he was not, he was unfaithful and at times verbally abusive to me. I prayed daily for my marriage that what God as brought together let no man separate, but deep down I don’t think I would have been able to get over the lack of trust I had with him. You are going in the right direction and seeking the help you need for YOU, so continue to seek The Lord and he will guide your path thru all of this. I continue to pray for you and now The Lord will do mighty things. Keep the faith Krista!

      1. Julie-I need to do that. I have told him I am sorry…but not about specific things that happened. And I have not truly asked for his forgiveness. I need to do that. Though truthfully not looking forward to it, that will be extremely hard…

    3. Krista, thank you for sharing that..which is so personnal, but it helps us in how to pray. It sounds like Jeff needs alot of help. I’m so glad you are getting help too and doing well. We can still pray as you are very important to us.
      I will pray on sundays…love you, Krista

    4. Krista, So thankful you are getting His comfort through counseling. I agree though that you need to be away and get relief. If your anxiety-depression is waning since you have been away then that says something. Who knows what God has in store-I do know God doesn’t want us in abusive situations whether it be mentally or physically and if you are willing to get help and he isn’t, there isn’t anything you can do about that. Being in a situation where you fear for your well being or life at times isn’t healthy. Glad you are out of that for now and getting help. Will pray for a miracle in your marriage-but will trust God’s sovereignty either way. You are loved here!

    5. Thank you for being open and trusting Krista, we know it isn’t easy to press the ‘Submit Comment’ button when what you are sharing is so very personal. It does help us to know how too pray.
      Any news on the job that you interviewed for?

    6. Thank you for sharing, Krista, so we do know how to better pray for you. I am sorry for the verbal/emotional abuse you have endured, and I will pray for you to be made whole….by the Lord, and through the right medication and with help from your therapist. I am glad you have lots of love and support. I pray for you and your boys to be reunited.

    7. Thank you all, so much. I knew my heart would be safe here. I just wanted you all to know where I was coming from. You are all such a blessing to me!
      Chris-I haven’t heard anything back. It’s been a week now so I am thinking that would be a no. But they are a BIG organization in town, with a lot of daycares throughout the area, so at least they have my resume and I am hoping they might at least call me once in a while to fill in. Though I will still be looking for permanent work.

      1. I am praying for u and your three sons.

        I was a single parent for 17 years and I raised 3 daughters
        What I can share the most is that God is so faithful.

        Blessings
        Mellany

  30. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    The pictures. I am fortunate to live in an area where we get some pretty cool sunrise’s and sunsets. In the spring and summer the sun is rising about the time I am dropping my son off at school or heading to work. When there is a spectacular sunrise it is like God is saying good morning to me. Last week I was having a particularly difficult day and felt I needed to decompress so I decided to walk home (about an hour) and the sun was setting and the sky was pretty interesting. I was able to chill and feel God’s saying He was there and the sky was just for me.

    The first thought when I saw the picture of the canoe, was that it reminded me of a vision that I had a few years ago. I was in a canoe floating down a river. I never figured out a reason for the canoe, but when I saw the picture, I thought that perhaps now was the time for the specific whatever it is.

    I will be interested to see what God has planned. I feel like I am in a weird place since sometime last week. All day today once I got into the office I felt weary and drained. I could not explain it and I also felt trapped that I really didn’t have much choice in what kind of job I would do. I tried singing praise to God (in my head) but that was a struggle. I don’t feel like I really belong there, but if I don’t then I have no clue where I belong. Today I would have really preferred to be lying in that canoe, looking up at the sky and just resting in God’s presence.

    I had decided that since Lent was coming, then I would also use that period to specifically seek what I should be looking at. I think that I will be participating in Lent with this group as I think that Dee’s plans for Lent will fit perfectly with what I think I need. Right now the sky is dark when I wake up, but that will change in about a month and during Lent, when I get up, the morning sky will continually get brighter with some spectacular sunrises to wake up to. I think Lent will be the same.

  31. Sunday/Monday Ice-breaker

    1. What stood out to you from the above and why? – The picture of the morning sky was breathtaking and I’m sure even more so in person. It just shows how much God loves us that he created the beauty in this world for us. For us to enjoy yet we complain about one thing or another or some don’t even believe he created it. I’ve always heard the little phrase, ‘red in the morning sailors take warning, red at night sailors delight’ and I heard it explained on Moody Radio and while reading thru the bible I came across it in Matthew. It amazes me how many people probably say that and don’t even realize that it came from the bible. Also that we have no power of our own to change and God cares about giving us good gifts, but is more concerned about our character. The world we live in today is all about “stuff” yet God is not. He care so much for us that he wants us to develop into the people he created us to be. People he can use to reach others who still don’t see the Light of this World. We need to be open to any change that we see and try and find God in it.

    2. If you have been on this blog during Lent in the past, could you share a word of testimony on how you felt about it or how it impacted you so I can possibly share it with others? Specifics are wonderful, if you can remember. – I was participating last year during lent and this was a response I made to what stood out to me from above in Week 3 of the Lenten series of 2012
    “2. What stands out to you from the above and why? – when Dee was newly married and her sister Sally came to visit, Dee’s “don’t tell me about God attitude” had no place in God’s plan for her life. This tells me that we can plan our days and life they way we want it to happen, but God has a different plan all together for us. It doesn’t matter what we want, if we have been chosen by God our destination has been set, it’s just a matter of how long it takes us to realize it and to let God be the guide. I am so glad that Dee took the path God had set out for her, or none of us would be learning His ways thru her.”
    I am so thankful for how God used Dee’s sister Sally and that the planting of that seed that day was watered into the a wonderful and amazing teacher of the Word. Dee is such an inspiration to me and I’m sure to many women around world. So many hearts have been reached because Dee took the time to ponder what her sister had to say. God is using Dee in a mighty way and I’m glad for that.

  32. I love both the sunrise and the canoe, but I can picture myself lying back and watching the skies change, in the canoe, as it slowly goes down the river, praising God the whole time for his beauty he gives us.

    I am anxious to peer into the gospel…”to better understand how the gospel is the answer to every problem we face.” I already know that it is, but ready for some more proof!

    I also am very forgetful as to last year, but I never grew up in a christian home or in a church, so all of this is still so new to me and I learn more every time.

    Thank you so much for your wonderful teaching Dee…we are all like sponges and soak it up!

    1. Joyce–picturing you in the canoe–praising Him–YES, that is YOU in my mind–always pointing us back to Him!
      Love your new avatar too–is that you on the right?

      1. Yes, but 10 year ago at Maurice’s son’s wedding. Kendra and I had the same length hair then and now we are both short hair! (cause she hated getting the tangles brushed out, so has wanted short hair every since!)

        1. you truly are beautiful inside and out, Joyce

    2. Joyce, you make me think. I guess the gospel is the answer to every problem, but I sure wish I was a quicker learner! My situation with Sarah seems hopeless and I am exhausted. I don’t know how much longer I can take her. I wish I knew where to look. I wish i felt like God cared about us. Right now I feel like David (?) in one of those Psalms where he is lamenting! Oh God! Where ARE you? How long must I endure the pain of a mindless out of control daughter?! Please help me Lord!

  33. C. What callousness do you see in the way they confront Jacob?

    I suppose bringing the robe with blood would be pretty harsh; to see something that belonged to your son so destroyed would be upsetting. I can just imagine the wild thoughts that ran through his mind of what actually occurred to make the robe look that way. We all know what that feels like. Your mind can go crazy inventing scenarios when we are worried about our children, and not knowing exactly what is happening to them.

  34. 3. How do you see a lack of wisdom in Joseph in Genesis 37:5-11?

    Joseph should have kept his dreams to himself and not said anything. He should have known human nature and that his brothers would not respond with much support-I mean if anyone said they had a dream that you bowed down to them-that would smack of narcissism or arrogance. (I hate to admit this, but this reminds me of my youngest son-even though he would ‘jokingly’ talk like this he would do so with such pride-his older brothers were real resentful toward him-things have changed though as I have had to have many reality check talks with him-and God is faithful, He has humbled little Jake.)

    4. How did the brothers respond in Genesis 37:18-20?

    They hated him-I think they would respond in the flesh like anyone else would.

  35. I don’t have time to find Becca’s post to pray for Krista-I have already taken her up on that-wonderful idea! I was thinking I could double up with someone on Tuesdays-but will also pray as God leads.

  36. What stood out above and why?
    Morning sky. The mornings are my favorite time of day because it’s seems to be the most peaceful. Your picture is beautiful. I notice as I become older in Christ the more I appreciate nature and those things God has created.
    I’m in a Medical Terminology class studying the human body, so intricate and detailed. Science to me screams there is a Creator, nothing together is done by chance.
    My Pastor preached on how much God desires for that time alone with Him, that our relation to Him is much like a marriage. How God longs to consummate our spirit with His. I have been to consummed with work, bills and school that I have been badly neglecting my time in morning devotion. And my spirit is paying to high a price for this.

    I am burdened right now for my sister in-law’s ( married to my brother) sister Beth and her son ( can not say his name).
    Beth’s son murdered his wife two weeks ago, and then tried to take his own. They were in the process of a separation.
    They have a ten year old son. I don’t know how the police discovered her body, or the husband who tried stabbing himself in the tub.
    The wife’s family needs prayer.
    Beth has her grandson, but he will be taken from her. Beth does have relationship with the Lord.
    She has a strong walk. Please pray for her, she is the strong one in this family.

    1. Oh my Laura Marie, I will be praying for all involved in this case and for the little boy who may not understand what is going on and most likely is very scared at this time. This has got to be so hard on everyone right now. Will be praying for peace and comfort and strength to all.

    2. Laura Marie, I will pray too for Beth, her son and grandson, and the family of her daughter in law. Such a hard hard thing.

    3. Oh Laura Marie–this is so tragic. I will pray

      1. Laura Marie, how awful…I’m so sorry. I’ll for sure pray for your sister Beth and son and grandson and your niece’s family…how tragic.

    4. How terribly tragic, Laura Marie. I’ll pray for all concerned and for you as you seek wisdom in how to help and what to say.

    5. Really concerned for that poor little boy. I can’t imagine the emptiness he feeling. He needs to feel secure amd comforted. I am praying for the Lord to bring ( if its not Beth) someone who will be a type of security and can provide unmeasured love to this little boy.
      That he feels God’s presence and peace through this nightmare he is probably living.

      1. So true! Amen to that!

        I am confused … do we have two Laura Maries on here? I guess we must. Is there a way to differentiate? When I read the posts on my email I do not see the picture or lack of one so assume they are the same person. Help, please.

        1. lol.. it’s the same Laura Marie. The problem with the picture is because my iPhone doesn’t recognize it. When my picture pops up its because I’m on my laptop.

        2. LOL! So good to know. Same person. I’m relieved. Too confusing to try to keep two people with the same name straight.

    6. Praying, Laura Marie.

    7. Laura Marie, I am just letting you know I read this yesterday and have been praying. What a heart-breaking situation!

    8. I will pray for Beth and her grandson.
      I pray that the 10 year old boy will just cry out to God as his grandmother holds him.
      I cannot imagine that shock, the anger, the pain, the hurt he is going through.
      I pray for any scripture or song to be stirred up in him.
      That he justs crys out to God
      Blessings
      Mellany

  37. 6 B. Yet out of Joseph’s sorrow came beauty — he became a “fruitful bough.” The secret as to how that happened is revealed in Genesis 49:24, and again, in Joseph’s own words in Genesis 50:19-20. It is a two-fold secret — see it you can find it.

    He is HUMBLE “his strong arms stayed limber” (49:24) “am I in the place of God?” (50:19); and TRUSTING in God’s goodness (49:24b; 50:20)
    I’ve been thinking about his strong arms staying limber—an unencumbered state. Not weighed down with pride, resentment, but bare, flexible, YIELDING. There was a tree I loved to climb when I was growing up—a magnolia. The branches were like that—strong, but also yielding. I am often not as limber as I would like to be. To become, to stay limber, requires daily letting things go—before they entrap me. Releasing the frustrations, the hurts and disappointments before a bitter root can grow.

    He is TRUSTING “because of the hand of the Mighty One”; “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good”—the last few days I have applied this truth to daily struggles—big ones and small. There are a million things daily that Satan would love to use to bring frustration and a critical spirit in me—but God will use for good if I trust Him. The smallest annoyance can either set me up for a bad mood or bring me back to Him in prayer. I heard recently that when something goes wrong—a broken dishwasher, or a broken relationship—to allow God to use it to remind me that those things were never meant to be my satisfaction. Let the disappointments remind me of the only One that can never disappoint.

    1. Thanks for the reminder, Elizabeth. I REALLY need a new way to view disappointments.

      1. Dawn–I’ll pray for you as I pray for my own “eyes”–that we may see from the eternal perspective…

        1. Thank you. I have been and will continue to pray for you, too.

    2. Thanks Elizabeth. My son and daughter are pretty disappointing to me. This helps to remind me He is all I need to focus on, not them.

  38. 3. How do you see a lack of wisdom in Joseph in Genesis 37:5-11? He told his brothers and his father about his dreams in a bragging way. He was a teenager, immature.

    4. How did the brothers respond in Genesis 37:18-20? With jealousy and hatred to the point of plotting to kill him.

    5. Read Genesis 37:25-36

    A. What callousness do you see in verse 25? They sat down to eat their lunch after having thrown him into the cistern. He was probably injured since it says they threw him into it, not that they lowered him down.

    B. What callousness do you see in Judah in verse 26? He saw a way to make a profit. Not thinking or caring what this would do to his father or how this would affect the rest of Joseph’s life.

    It’s kind of funny, at the beginning they said, “Let’s kill him and see what comes of his dreams.” Later at the prospect of making money they forgot that they were going to prove his dreams wrong.

  39. I skimmed through the responses and I don’t think that anyone has taken Saturdays for praying for Krista. I will. The post it notes are so simple and practical, what a great idea.

  40. I wanted to share that the sermon you can listen to seems only to cost if you download it. I was able to listen for free.
    I woke up in a surly mood, with a headache and feeling dissatisfied with everything. I prayed and asked for guidance out of my fog, the sermon was so humbling and comforting to me.
    More than once over the past 20+ years I have had coworkers comment about the steady stream of difficulties Bill and I seem to contend with, one said it seems we are always under a black cloud.
    I have sometimes wondered if I were quicker to learn what God would teach me, if my suffering would be less. This sermon was such an encouragement.

    “You shall never be sent on a journey without provender and you shall never have to go to battle at your own charges. If the Lord tries you, it shall never be above what you are able to bear, for He will, with the temptation, make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. He may treat you roughly, but He will fill your sack. He may speak sharp words, but He will put your money into your sack’s mouth. He may take your Simeon and bind him before your eyes, but He will give you provision by the way till you get to the goodly land where you shall need no more provision and the Lamb shall be forever with you—and you with Him! ”

    I encourage all of you, especially those who are crushed by trials right now to listen.

    1. oh dear Chris–I am just now reading the first sermon–but came to this and it reminded me of your post here about all the difficulties you have had: “The ripest fruit is most pecked by the birds”–I think you must be very ripe fruit~

      1. Thank you for this Elizabeth. I loved your ‘broken things’ comments above!

    2. Thank you, Chris, I’m going to listen now. I think the “dark cloud” is God sharpening you into a very fine, shining example for Christ.

      How is Cosmo?

      1. Thanks Joyce for asking about Cosmo, you have such a tender heart.

        He is declining, I have taken to sleeping in our spare room with him as our bed is too high for him to get in and out of. He has trouble breathing which wakes him up and makes him anxious. He relaxes when I touch him and love on him.
        I called the vet and she tweaked his meds, he is feeling a bit better since but this will not last. He is losing muscle, his abdomen is growing, his lymph swelling and possibly a tumor are causing internal swelling which makes his breathing shallow and labored, he wakes up a lot and has to sit up and pant.
        We will likely end his suffering before it gets really super bad. I have read stories of others in the same struggle, the ones who waited until their dog was really at the end all seem to wish they had been brave and gone sooner. The owners who look back with peace gave their dogs a wonderful last couple days and let them go. This is a hard thing, being sad about this little dog unlocks deeper sadness. I don’t know how anyone who doesn’t have the hope of heaven can cope.

  41. 3. How do you see a lack of wisdom in Joseph in Genesis 37:5-11? – By Joseph telling his brothers and later his father about his two dreams only made him look proud, that he was better than them. I don’t see at this point if he knew the dreams were from The Lord or not, but either way he should have kept quire about them until they came to pass. All too often I speak before I think just like Joseph did and get my self in trouble and have people I care about be upset with me. I need to take my issues, my thoughts to The Lord and not others. It troubles my heart my I do this and wonder if Joseph was troubled also, but by him telling them the 2nd dream I’m not sure at this time if he was.

    4. How did the brothers respond in Genesis 37:18-20? – They plotted against him, mocked him and wanted to kill him. They despised him and wanted nothing to do with him.

  42. 5. Read Genesis 37:25-36

    A. What callousness do you see in verse 25? – They were not even upset about that they had no problem sitting down to eat.

    B. What callousness do you see in Judah in verse 26? – He didn’t want to kill him as Joseph was after all their brother, but he continued to go along with them that something needed to be done to him.

  43. 7. Now — I want you to apply this by showing how you might use these two truths of the gospel to confront someone you care about in truth and in love. You may have a real scenario or you may need to imagine one.

    A. How might you humble yourself in coming, admitting, without excuses, any sin in yourself?
    I’ve actually had a few instances recently I could use here—but what is sticking out to me today, and sorry, I know this isn’t what you asked for!, but it’s confronting myself! I’ve had one of those times, over the last month, when everything you “stumble upon”-from my kids’ devotional this morning, to my own devotions, articles, sermons…all seem to be saying the same thing—take every thought captive, and speak the truth to my soul. Do not listen to my feelings, letting them take the reigns—but speak truth to my heart.

    B. How might you speak truth in love?
    Far too easily, what I call “just being honest” or “sharing my feelings”…snowballs into critical, complaining, depressive thoughts. I tend towards deep thinking, I like to share what’s really going on inside…but I have noticed how, in my effort to never “candy-coat” the truth, I can spend too long on the negative.

    I came across this from Martin Lloyd Jones:
    “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? … You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’–what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’–instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do.”

    As I have really tried to do this over the last few weeks, my spirit has been lifted, my conversations lighter, my joy deeper. So this is sort of a confession and a way for me to be held accountable. “Taking every thought captive” has taken on deeper meaning for me. Before I rattle off all the struggles of the day when my husband gets home and kindly asks “how was it?”—I want to surrender first to Him—the complaints, the judgments…not to say it’s all rosy when it’s not, but to really speak the Gospel back to my soul, first. Let it sink in—and then the cares will find their rightful place and not take center stage of my heart.

    C. If he or she does not respond as you hope, how might you forgive in your heart through the power of the gospel?
    This may be hard to understand, but that is because the gospel is both simple and very complex. We’re going to keep peering into it.

    OK, here, I will refer to a recent example between myself and a friend whom I have struggled with. I have not received the response I’d hoped—and at first, it stung. Days went by, and I kept waiting. But now that it seems there will likely be no further response, I feel peace. In my confrontation, I spoke truth, and I did it gently. But more important for me, and I believe the reason I do feel peace—is that I did not retaliate or list all their wrongs. I apologized for what I could, I left the door open. I said I would pray and I have. I feel a clear conscience, and I believe it is in His hands.

    1. Yes I agree tell us how it ends, oh wait we need to make up the ending don’t we. I sure could use more help.

  44. fun story of my today–I was at work and a friend ran in and said “I FINISHED IT!! OOH, I LOVED it!!” I knew of course she was referring to Idol Lies. And then she said–the ONLY thing that bummed me out was that I didn’t want it to end–she said “I wasn’t ready” and she had not realized where the study guide began so she thought she had a lot left! I said I would pass it on to Dee that she’d like a sequel 😉

      1. I ordered my book idol lies a long time ago but it has not come in.
        Can I order one from u
        Esp. if it has a workbook as well.
        Thanks
        Mellany

    1. Elizabeth, this totally made my heart jump-I can so see God moving in Dee’s book–YES YES YES we want a sequel-so cool to see God’s encouragement to Dee!! I envy your friend-she gets to see you a lot! Wish you lived closer-was looking at a picture of your family on my fridge-so so precious and when I look I recall the stories you have shared about them-how God is moving and it is a sweet time of fellowship with you-even though you live so far away. Love you. 🙂

      1. Wish you lived closer too–OH the number of times I have thought how I would love to go for a walk with you…or just listen to you sing 😉

  45. Me too! I want a sequel!!

  46. 5. Read Genesis 37:25-36
    A. What callousness do you see in verse 25?

    They sat down to eat while Joseph languished in the pit.

    B. What callousness do you see in Judah in verse 26?

    I had always assumed that Judah suggested that Joseph be sold because he did not want Joseph killed, but I can see here from the context that perhaps he just wanted the money or else he did not want to actually “kill” Joseph because he was afraid that they might be found out (by man) or he is enough afraid of God that he sees this as a way they can get rid of Joseph without disobeying the command of “do not kill”.

    C. What callousness do you see in the way they confront Jacob?

    I see Kidner’s point when the brothers ask, “Is the YOUR son’s robe?” rather than asking “Is this Joseph?” or “is this our Brother’s?” They are distancing themselves from Joseph. In their anger, they do not want to be considered related to Joseph. Their callousness is also seen in their attempts to comfort their distraught, grieving father. They were concerned, but not enough to tell him the truth about what they had done. Even Reuben who did not want Joseph killed, participated in the cover-up.

  47. 6. Read Genesis 49:22-24 (This was Jacob’s dying blessing to Joseph)
    A. How does Jacob describe Joseph’s life? Find everything you can.

    Fruitful bough, by a spring, growing abundantly, strong bow, agile arms, helped and blessed by God

    B. Yet out of Joseph’s sorrow came beauty — he became a “fruitful bough.” The secret as to how that happened is revealed in Genesis 49:24, and again, in Joseph’s own words in Genesis 50:19-20. It is a two-fold secret — see it you can find it.

    It was “the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob” that made his arms agile and his bow unmoved. The brothers intended evil in the selling of Joseph into slavery, but God meant it for good.

    Is the two fold secret that we are so bad, we cannot possibly rescue ourselves, yet God uses even those bad things to save us because he loves us so much, though we do not deserve it? There is no room for self-righteousness in the gospel; no room for even the slightest thinking that I deserve God’s grace but you do not because your sin is worse than mine.

  48. 7. Now — I want you to apply this by showing how you might use these two truths of the gospel to confront someone you care about in truth and in love. You may have a real scenario or you may need to imagine one.
    A. How might you humble yourself in coming, admitting, without excuses, any sin in yourself?

    One of issues we are dealing with in Krista’s separation is that Jeff and his family are accusing Krista of being an unfit mother and using that as an excuse to keep Krista from spending very much time with the boys. They are not denying visitation altogether but only for short periods of time (no way near the equal time she is due by law).

    How do I humble myself in this? I admit to myself and my family that I am not faultless in my duties as a mother and grandmother.

    As we discuss the crisis among ourselves as family and friends, I need to be careful not to be critical or bitter in my thoughts, or words. I confess that I have been critical, both in thought and word. I have felt justified in this because of the wrongs being done to my daughter.

    I need to be aware that thoughts lead to words and words to actions. Not just my actions but even my sinful thoughts stab the heart of God and hurt Him. I am not just hurting myself but God. I do not want to do that so I must not indulge in bitterness and anger. And when I do think or speak critically, I need to repent and ask God to change my heart and cleanse me, knowing I cannot do this on my own.

    B. How might you speak truth in love?

    I pray about how to best help Krista – mostly this is praying that God will speak to her and help her (and God is helping Krista in amazing ways so that I stand amazed), and, when I do speak, I pray that my words may be spoken with gentleness and humility and with an encouragement building up Krista. I need to ask God to take the “beam” out of my own eye before I try to remove the “sliver” out of anyone else’s.

    If I have opportunity to interact with Jeff or any of his family, I need to speak with great humility and prayerfulness, yet speak the truth about Krista and Jeff.

    C. If he or she does not respond as you hope, how might you forgive in your heart through the power of the gospel?

    I need to keep my eyes of Jesus, remember that He is in control of this situation. As Ann Voskamp puts it, “Preaching gospel to yourself every day is critical — otherwise it’s your very life that’s in critical condition.” I need to see myself as being as sinful and in need of forgiveness as anyone else, if not more so. To do this, I need to be constantly in prayer and regularly in the Word. I need to see God’s great love for those who are unforgiving toward me and my family and I need to pray for them.

    1. Diane–I was just missing you. I was reading the 2nd sermon–came to this and you came to mind “Now, child of God, let me put this point to you very plainly. Without saying anything further, are you in very deep
      trouble tonight? Do all God’s waves and billows go over you? Does deep call unto deep at the noise of His waterspouts? Then expect that now some great blessing will come of it!”
      ~praying for all

      1. Aww, elizabeth. You are sweet. I have been having Internet trouble for the last couple of days. I hope to have the time to listen to Spurgeon’s sermon in a few days, but the next couple of days are busy because of my other Bible study groups.

        I appreciate all of you who have committed to praying for Krista and Jeff. I so appreciate the support. I also appreciate Krista’s honesty with you all about where she is coming from.

    2. I agree

      Thank u for sharing.

      I am praying for u and your dtr. and your grandsons.

      Blessings
      Mellany

  49. C. What callousness do you see in the way they confront Jacob? – They showed no respect for their father and did not care about his feelings, they were just worried about their own skin and not having to face their actions which were wrong.

    6. Read Genesis 49:22-24 (This was Jacob’s dying blessing to Joseph)

    A. How does Jacob describe Joseph’s life? Find everything you can. – Joseph is a fruitful vine who is near a spring, and his branches will climb over the wall. I think to me this means that Joseph will prosper in what ever he does and his offspring will do the same as they are the branches that climb the wall. They will escape from the harm that may come to them.
    He is attacked but yet he stands firm in what and who he believes in. He does not succumb to the wrong done to him, he does not get even because The Lord is with him at all times.