Dad’s Gone–Now What? Genesis 50

Projection–it is the perception that others will behave or perceive the same way that you behave or perceive.  Israel’s sons were clearly projecting their reactions on to their brother Joseph.  When Israel died, the brothers all buried him back in Canaan.  When they returned to Egypt–they were very concerned, OK, lets call it as it was–they were scared spitless that Joseph was now going to punish them for their actions of so many years ago.  It was obvious, that if Joseph had done that to them–well they would retaliate. What they still failed to perceive–was that God had charge of the entire plan and used the brother’s jealousy and hatred to bring about their ultimate safety.
 
Without a living and active faith, it would be impossible to see beyond the “coincidental” nature of the events.  Joseph saw it and praised God for using him to save lives.  He never gave it a second thought.   The brothers, conversely, could not consider anything else; and they feared for their lives each day–simply, because the faith to see beyond their individual choices and safety did not exist in their lives.  That is the incredible dichotomy between the world culture and the culture of people who live in relationship with God.
 
In our lives, the gauge that should be primary is the one that measures ones thoughts of self vs. one’s thoughts of others and God.  If one’s meter is stuck on self-preservation, self-adoration and simply self-absorption; then, like the brothers, that person will never know peace and courage. They will live in a world of fear and discontent–where things are never good enough or safe enough to really enjoy for an extended period of time.  If we focus on God and others, however, God will meet our needs, protect us, and prepare us for the mission he has planned.  On that mission, the trials will often leave one feeling alone and uncared for, but, in the end, those very trials will uniquely situate you to meet your challenges and save lives around you.  
 
In that realm, One neither has the time or desire to hold grudges or to seek retribution. The person is too focused on the mission and the needs of others to worry about petty revenge.  Check your gauge–which end of the meter do you fall.
 
God Bless You
 
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

Israel’s Final Blessing–Genesis 49

The blessing of Jacob to his sons is an amazing prophecy of what was to become of the nation of Israel.  As one takes the time to read the text and then look at the nation’s development, the words of Israel are spot on.  His words also speak to the idea that the choices and behaviors of a person can become the culture of a family.  

As one looks at each of the brothers, you cannot help but notice their personalities affected and shaped their clan.  It was their temperaments and behaviors that either blessed or cursed their nations in years to come.  It had to be alarming to Rueben, Simeon, Levi and Benjamin to hear the prophecy of their future–and yet, their lives and temperaments had already set a culture that would follow for hundreds of years.

So what about us?  Should we fall prey to the natural tendencies within our  family history? If we are like Joseph, Judah or Dan–probably so.   But, the awesome news is, that in Christ, we are new creations.  We can change our culture and become exactly what Christ has called us to be–His ambassadors.  People with an eternal mindset and a heart to serve others.  If we will, then our family histories will resemble a life like Christ and He will be glorified in our journey and in our families–no greater gift exists. 

God Bless You


Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob;
    listen to your father Israel.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
    my might, the first sign of my strength,
    excelling in honor, excelling in power.
Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel,
    for you went up onto your father’s bed,
    onto my couch and defiled it.

“Simeon and Levi are brothers—
    their swords[a] are weapons of violence.

I will scatter them in Jacob
    and disperse them in Israel.

“Judah,[b] your brothers will praise you;…
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,[c]
until he to whom it belongs[d] shall come
    and the obedience of the nations shall be his.

13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore
    and become a haven for ships;
    his border will extend toward Sidon.

14 “Issachar is a rawboned[f] donkey
    lying down among the sheep pens.[g]
15 When he sees how good is his resting place
    and how pleasant is his land,
he will bend his shoulder to the burden
    and submit to forced labor.

16 “Dan[h] will provide justice for his people
    as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan will be a snake by the roadside,
    a viper along the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
    so that its rider tumbles backward.

18 “I look for your deliverance, Lord.

19 “Gad[i] will be attacked by a band of raiders,
    but he will attack them at their heels.

20 “Asher’s food will be rich;
    he will provide delicacies fit for a king.

21 “Naphtali is a doe set free
    that bears beautiful fawns.[j]

22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine,
    a fruitful vine near a spring,
    whose branches climb over a wall.[k]
23 With bitterness archers attacked him;
    they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady,
    his strong arms stayed[l] limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
    because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father’s God, who helps you,
    because of the Almighty,[m] who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
    blessings of the deep springs below,
    blessings of the breast and womb.
26 Your father’s blessings are greater
    than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
    than[n] the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
    on the brow of the prince among[o] his brothers.

27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
    in the morning he devours the prey,
    in the evening he divides the plunder.”

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.

A Father’s Dying Wish and Blessing–Genesis 47-48

It is a really amazing story, Israel was very pleased to have spent 17 years in Egypt with the son he had thought was lost.  At the end, however, he needed to solidify the notion that this was not his home and these were not his people.  So Israel called the Prime minister of Egypt in and simply told him, “Son, I do not want to be buried here.  I want to be buried back home.  In addition, son–your two boys that greeted me when we were brought back together, are now my boys.  They each get a share of inheritance as would Reuben or Simeon.  So in effect, Joseph received a double portion of Israel’s inheritance.

In looking at our lives, we have to take Israel’s view of our world.  We can never see this place as our home.  No matter how nice or easy it may seem, we await our opportunity to go home.  Paul said in Philippians 3:20-21,

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”

 
We can never be too comfortable or attached to this world.  It will always disappoint; and, it will always take our lives.  Nothing in the world or it’s culture will move us toward becoming like Christ.  That is why Paul said in Colossians 3:1-2 to set our heart and mind on things above not on earthly things.  Like Israel, we need to long for and expect a home in Heaven– where we will be blessed, as were the Son’s of Joseph…
 
God Bless You
Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven. 29 When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.”“I will do as you say,” he said.

31 “Swear to me,” he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff…Some time later Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him. When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel rallied his strength and sat up on the bed.

Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty[a] appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’

“Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. Any children born to you after them will be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers. As I was returning from Paddan,[b] to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem).

Joseph Manages The Famine–Genesis 47 Part 2

There was still the whole famine thing going on.  The Land did not  produce for seven years.  So, God used Joseph to literally keep the country alive.  Joseph systematically fed the folks and acquired all the wealth of Egypt–for Pharaoh.  He collected all the Egyptians’ money, livestock and land.  Still, in the process, Joseph treated the people with dignity and fairness.  While Pharaoh now owned their land, the people were still able to go back to it, work it and treat the land as their own.  They simply had to share the proceeds of the crops with Pharaoh.
 
Meanwhile, Israel and the family settled in and grew in number and in wealth.  While Israel was ready to die when he saw Joseph’s face; he lived an additional 17 years.  Joseph was able to spend a lot of time rebuilding what had been lost.  If one considers what happened even after the famine, Israel experienced 12 years of prosperity for his family and for Joseph.
 
We see the same.  As we consider our daily walks, we go through difficult trials and tests. The test mold us and shape us–but, then, we are  given the opportunity to enjoy our families and our lives as God restores us.  We simply have to learn to be content whatever our circumstance.  Additionally, we must continue to lean on God as we move forward. We must never forget or become ungrateful for all he has provided.  If follow him, the journey will seem straighter and easier–than if we kick at the twists and turns God sets before us.  As it says in Philippians 4:6–“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition–with thanksgiving, bring your requests to God. Then the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
 
God Bless You
 
There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine. 14 Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying, and he brought it to Pharaoh’s palace. 15 When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all Egypt came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? Our money is all gone.”16 “Then bring your livestock,” said Joseph. “I will sell you food in exchange for your livestock, since your money is gone.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, their sheep and goats, their cattle and donkeys. And he brought them through that year with food in exchange for all their livestock.

18 When that year was over, they came to him the following year and said, “We cannot hide from our lord the fact that since our money is gone and our livestock belongs to you, there is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we perish before your eyes—we and our land as well? Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh. Give us seed so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.”

20 So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. The Egyptians, one and all, sold their fields, because the famine was too severe for them. The land became Pharaoh’s, 21 and Joseph reduced the people to servitude,[c] from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 However, he did not buy the land of the priests, because they received a regular allotment from Pharaoh and had food enough from the allotment Pharaoh gave them. That is why they did not sell their land.

23 Joseph said to the people, “Now that I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh, here is seed for you so you can plant the ground. 24 But when the crop comes in, give a fifth of it to Pharaoh. The other four-fifths you may keep as seed for the fields and as food for yourselves and your households and your children.”

25 “You have saved our lives,” they said. “May we find favor in the eyes of our lord; we will be in bondage to Pharaoh.”

26 So Joseph established it as a law concerning land in Egypt—still in force today—that a fifth of the produce belongs to Pharaoh. It was only the land of the priests that did not become Pharaoh’s.

Israel Meets Pharaoh–Let the Blessing Begin!–Genesis 47 Part 1

It would be the only time this would happen…Not since his grandfather and father lied to a Pharaoh about their wives being their sisters, had a patriarch of God’s chosen stood before the leader of Egypt.  This time, the now 135 year old Israel, was finally at peace.  He had faced tremendous adversity and heartbreak–but now, God had restored to him all he could have ever hoped or dreamed.  
 
I am sure the young Pharaoh stood in awe of this man–the man who bore and raised the man that had raised him.  Joseph was a father to Pharaoh; and not only saved Egypt, but he saved all the known world. So, to see the love Joseph felt for this man, and to be blessed by him–had to be a great moment in the young king’s life.  Pharaoh gladly blessed him back with some of the finest land in Egypt and a job as shepherds of all Pharaoh’s livestock. Shepherding for Pharaoh would be no small task. 
 
We can never know the impact we have on the lives of others–God told Israel that he would bless the world with his lineage.  The blessing started in Egypt and carries through till today.  God has a plan for each of us, as well.  His plan could take us down roads and events we would have never imagined.  We, like Israel, will simply need to prepare to trust God in any and all circumstance and follow him by faith. We must remember, as we follow, what he has already accomplished in our lives.  
 
There is no question that God has control; there is only a question of whether we will trust him to execute his plan to the end.  If we will, then we will stand firm and see his glory in our lives. In addition, we will see the impact upon many others with whom we interact in our lives. There is little doubt that it is definitely worth the risk.
 
God Bless You
 
Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen.” He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh.Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?”

“Your servants are shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.” They also said to him, “We have come to live here for a while, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants’ flocks have no pasture. So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.”

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability, put them in charge of my own livestock.”

Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed[a] Pharaoh, Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?”

And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” 10 Then Jacob blessed[b] Pharaoh and went out from his presence.

 

Isreal Reunites With God and Joseph–Genesis 46 Part 1

It was finally happening.  Israel and all his family were going to Egypt.  Israel would see Joseph for the 1st time in 20 years.  As the pain was fading, Israel’s recognition and dependence upon God returned and at Beersheba–he did something he had not done in a long time–he offered sacrifices to God.  It was no small thing, and God met him there.  God personally took Israel aside to reassure him that this plan was moving forward as he intended.  

In those moments, Israel had to feel completely content.  He knew that God had done all that he promised to do; and was preserving his family for generations to come.  Then, the moment when father and son reunited–the greatest moment in this man’s life.  The two men hugged and wept for what must have seemed hours.  Together again after all that they had endured.

It is in those moments, we have to continue to stake our faith in God–the author and creator of our story.  We  realize that life is tough, but, we carry on–knowing that God does work his plan to the end.  When we grasp that concept, we can then trust His leadership and continue to focus upon His grace and plan.  Then, at moments when we least expect, God reveals himself.  He shows us that He will care for us and will never forsake us.  That is why we must trust him–now and forever!

God Bless You

 

So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

“I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”

Then Jacob left Beersheba, and Israel’s sons took their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him. So Jacob and all his offspring went to Egypt, taking with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in Canaan. Jacob brought with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters—all his offspring…All those who went to Egypt with Jacob—those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons’ wives—numbered sixty-six persons. 27 With the two sons[f] who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family, which went to Egypt, were seventy[g] in all.

28 Now Jacob sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to get directions to Goshen. When they arrived in the region of Goshen, 29 Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father[h] and wept for a long time.

30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.”

Heartbreak Erased–Genesis 45 Part 3

Imagine, what it would be like if you could erase your biggest heartbreak. If the thing that haunted you everyday would suddenly no longer exist–That is what happened to Israel.  Since Joseph had been taken from him some twenty years before, he had not had the will to live, much less the will to lead.  Sure, he did life–put one foot in front of the other; but, when his son died, in a way so did he.
 
Then, as he looked at his dwindling fortune, famine in the land,  all of his sons in Egypt, and Benjamin gone with no promise of return–his life seemed unbearable. In the midst of his grief, up rolls the boys– with grain, carts, treasure and with Benjamin.  Such relief and joy–then the bombshell.
Joseph was alive…His greatest heartbreak erased in a second.  Jacob was stunned, wary, confused and overjoyed all at once.  His son was alive and ruler of Egypt.  
 
In our lives, like Jacob’s, God continues to execute his plan.  As difficult as the journey may seem, if we remain faithful–God will bring us through this part and into the blessings he has prepared for us.  He will wipe away our tears as we stand before him.  He will erase our greatest heartbreak.  In the meanwhile, we can never give up on God; nor, can we ever give in to the enemies lies and temptations. We must cling to the promise he gave to Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  Plans to prosper you–not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.  Stay faithful, stay focused and he will set your path straight.
 
God Bless You
 
So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. 22 To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels[b] of silver and five sets of clothes. 23 And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”25 So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26 They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, “I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”

The One Who Calls Us Is Faithful–Genesis 45 Part 2

The most enjoyable part of the Joseph story is that it does end well.  While the next five years were to be the most challenging in the history of famine and drought, it really was fine.  Joseph was sent by God to save the Egyptians and his family, and he was doing it. Now, he was reunited with his family and beloved dad; and, he was going to be able to care for them; never doubting, that God was in charge.
 
In our lives, sometimes, we miss the point.  Even when God blesses us mightily, it does not stop the circumstances of life happening around us.  We have to embrace the blessings, recognize his hand in them, and be grateful for his provision and his leadership. We cannot stop facing the day-to-day battles and struggles, they still exist! We can, however, face them, knowing that he who calls us is faithful–and he will do it! I Thessalonians 5:24 
 
Joseph knew what lied ahead would be as challenging as what had come before.  But, he also knew that the God that brought him to Egypt–would use him to save it, his family and the world.  Christians have to walk with that same confidence–knowing that the God who brought us this far, WILL complete the work he has started and he will protect, prepare and provide for our every need and desire. 
 
God Bless You
 
So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’12 “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”

14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.

Free at Last–Genesis 45 Part 1

Joseph couldn’t stand it any more.  He had tried and tested the brothers and found that they truly changed. The brothers had at least prioritized the feelings of their father above their own.  Joseph had to tell them the truth–what a reveal.  I am sure the feelings of the brothers were a mix of confusion and outright terror.  After years of guilt and shame, they had just weathered the ordeal of being accused of being spies; then, they were seeking to save the life of their brother.  Now, after all that, it was the object of their guilt that held their very lives in his hand. 
 
For Joseph, he was finally free.  He was free from slavery, free from confusion and free from the pain of being separated from his family.  He was managing Egypt and preserving the lives of that nation and the lives of the future nation of Israel.  It was a happy day for him.  It was also a strange day in the palace.  The servants, guards and staff watched Pharaoh’s right hand guy become a puddle.  In the end, it was a great day–the day God’s plan came into sharp focus.
 
In our lives, we may have to walk a number of miles on the journey before we begin to see God’s plan take shape. Then, as it does, if we will continue to humbly follow and allow him to continue his efforts–then we will see his plan come into sharp focus.  As it does, we will find that our lives matter–to our families, and often, to so many more folks we would never have known or influenced–except for God’s influence.  That is when freedom rings and we experience the joy of seeing him, not us, doing the amazing work in our lives.
 
God Bless You
 

Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace.“I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors.[a] So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser[b] to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.

“Now hurry back to my father and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me master over all the land of Egypt. So come down to me immediately! 10 You can live in the region of Goshen, where you can be near me with all your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything you own.

The Full Circle–Genesis 44 Part 2

The recurring theme continues to appear–Judah, the patriarch of the lineage of King David and Jesus appears before Joseph–no excuses, no lies–he says, We are without excuse, but, for the sake of my father and brother–take me instead! This was the same guy that said some 20 years before, 
Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.”
 
In Proverbs, Solomon reminded us that if you raise a child in the way he should go, when he is old, he will not depart far from it. Judah lived with his statement for 20 years and now, he was making things right–he sold himself into slavery for the little brother he should have defended before.  Little did he know, His ancestor would make the same offer for all who have sinned–“Take me instead!”
 
We still benefit from Judah’s negotiation. Our salvation, like Benjamin’s, rests on the grace and mercy of a holy God.  It was the selfless sacrifice of Jesus, that made it possible for us to have a personal relationship with God!
 
We are called to be as selfless–Jesus said it best, “If anyone would be my disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross–Daily, and follow me!” Luke 9:23.  It is not about some magic prayer, it is simply laying your life on the alter and trusting God to return it complete and restored! God is not cruel–He is a dad. Like any dad, he will not hand a child a snake; when the child asks for bread.  He will not return a slap for a kiss. He loves us, and only wants peace and freedom for our lives–now and for eternity! That is why he said–“Take me instead!”
 
God Bless You
What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied. “What can we say? How can we prove our innocence? God has uncovered your servants’ guilt. We are now my lord’s slaves—we ourselves and the one who was found to have the cup.”17 But Joseph said, “Far be it from me to do such a thing! Only the man who was found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you, go back to your father in peace.”

18 Then Judah went up to him and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, let me speak a word to my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, though you are equal to Pharaoh himself. 19 My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20 And we answered, ‘We have an aged father, and there is a young son born to him in his old age. His brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’

21 “Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see him for myself.’ 22 And we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father; if he leaves him, his father will die.’ 23 But you told your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’ 

30 “So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father, and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life, 31 sees that the boy isn’t there, he will die. Your servants will bring the gray head of our father down to the grave in sorrow. 32 Your servant guaranteed the boy’s safety to my father. I said, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!’

33 “Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34 How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.”