Upraised Hands

In Egypt, Moses was trained in the finest military and religious schools. He became a brilliant military leader, destined the next Pharaoh.  While leading Israel toward the promised land, Moses never led them into battle. In the fight against the Amalekites, Moses uses the universal sign for giving up, upraised hands. He realized it was the LORD’s battle. There was nothing to do but give control to God, allowing God to win the battle.  What would happen if we gave all control to God, allowing Him to fight our struggle against sin.  Then the world would be a different place. Let’s turn the fight over to God.

Whose Side Are You On

Reading Joshua 5:13-15. Joshua asks “whose side are you for?” God answers “I’m not on anyone’s side.” In Matthew 12:30 Jesus said you are either on my side or you are against me.” His desire is for us all to be on His side. Joshua had to understand God was the leader not Joshua. It is a lesson we all need to learn.

The Spirit of Forgiveness

Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here for God did send me before you to preserve life. Genesis 45:5

I chose this passage today for a reason.  We are living in trying times.  It appears life is changing that this will be one of those dramatic times in history when life forever changes.  Perhaps no one can relate to this more than Joseph

Joseph refused to hate his brothers.  It never pays to hate. Hate is a killer.  First, it kills you – it murders your better self before it kills others.  Everything pure and good and kind dies in that atmosphere. Why? Because hate is hell. Love is heaven.

Joseph has been the hero of thousands because of his high ideals and because he lived up to them.  So many of the Bible heroes show us their human side, and perhaps in a way, Joseph did as well when he was young.  But as Joseph grew, he matured. Events forced him to decide whether he was going to hate or love.

You see, his brothers envied him, hates him, and planned to kill the dreamer. Then before they carried out their action to kill him, they sold him as a slave.  As the caravan journeyed toward Egypt, Joseph passed his father’s tents.  He wept, longing to see his father again.  The journey was difficult and lengthy, which gave Joseph plenty of time to reflect on what had happened.   He knew he had a decision to make.  While joseph the captive was carried to Egypt, as his father’s tents disappeared from view, he decided to fully give himself to the Lord.

His soul thrilled with the high resolve to prove himself true to God, not just in this instance but under all circumstances and in all places that he would find himself. He resolved to serve the Lord with undivided heart; he would meet his lot’s trails with fortitude and perform every duty with fidelity. It was then, while riding that camel toward Egypt and away from his father’s home, that Joseph decided that hate had no place in his heart.

One day’s experience had been the turning point in Joseph’s life. What is most important is that Joseph remained true to these high ideals, for he resisted every temptation and every opportunity to hate.  When Potiphar’s wife tempted, he responded, “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God? For his commitment to do what is right, he was put in prison by the lie told by Potiphar’s wife.  When forgotten in jail, Joseph still believed that one with God is a majority over all that should come against him.

The sandalwood tree is an interesting tree, for when you attempt to cut it down, a sweet perfume is sent into the air with each blow of the ax.  Joseph’s life is like that sandalwood tree.  Each attempt to cause Joseph to fall or falter filled the air with the sweet perfume of God’s love living out through him until even his own brothers could experience that same love.  Love never fails, for he won back his brothers because he loved them.

You see, forgiveness is the perfume, which is pure and sweet,

Which roses give such a sweet smell to bless the careless feet that crush the newly fallen petal.

O God, may I, like Christ, thus bear my fate and bless the ones who crush me on a cross.

God, teach me to love like you, for love is the glowing gem of forgiveness.

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