Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 20, 2022

Questions in the Bible — Didn’t I Tell You?

Day 4246: Fridays are coming around too quickly, but another chance to TGIF – Thank God I’m Forgiven

Scripture: Joseph’s brothers said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.” Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.”They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter. Genesis 42:21-23

Thoughts/questions: Two things: First, these guys are a bunch of liars! They got one thing right though – they were reaping what they had sown. The way they treated their desperate brother was now causing them problems! And then Joseph was also lying to them by using an interpreter to speak to them, even though he knew their language. Yeah, he had a reason, but don’t all liars? Lets’ NOT follow their poor example!

Second, Rueben’s question has an ‘I told you so’ ring to it – not my favorite expression. But Rueben was right. His question is one I hope God doesn’t ask me someday! I think I’d be squirming in my seat if God were to start a question towards me with, “Didn’t I tell you?” And I think you’d be squirming right beside me if He were to turn to you and start the same type of question.

May we strive to be God’s obedient servants!

Suggested prayer: Almighty God, help me to listen and obey . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 19, 2022

Personal Sharing — There’s Always Hope!

Day 4245: God is the lifter of your head!!! Keep looking up!

Scripture: Then a thief on the cross said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23:42,43

Thoughts/questions: What do a thief on a cross, Payton Gendron, and Jeffrey Dahmer have in common? The three were guilty of committing serious crimes. What do the thief and Dahmer have in common? Before they died, they reached out to Jesus and we should meet them in heaven!

We still don’t know what will happen spiritually to Payton. When I read of how he had killed those folks in the Bronx and then had his gun to his head, I was frustrated that the police talked him down – why didn’t they just let him finish the job and we’d be done with him.

BUT then I realized that this was being conformed to the world, and God transformed my mind. He spoke to me or I thought this (never quite sure on that), but what transpired was that I became glad he still had a chance to join the thief and Dahmer. Instead of wishing him dead, I started praying fo him to become spiritually alive.

That’s a new kind of thinking for me – maybe it will be for you too??!!

Suggested prayer: Lord God, may my primary concern be the souls of humanity no matter how terrible they may be . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 18, 2022

Personal Sharing — The Lilies of the Field!

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 17, 2022

Questions in the Bible — Put the Ball in Their Court!

Day 4243: Don’t avoid praying about the little things – God wants to be involved in all areas of our lives!

Scripture: As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked. “From the land of Canaan,” they replied, “to buy food.” Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.” “No, my lord,” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food. We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.” Genesis 42:7-11

Thoughts/questions: Two things: 1) I wouldn’t characterize Joseph’s brothers they way they did – as honest men! They seemed to have lied so many times, it didn’t bother them anymore! Hopefully none of us have grown cold to our deficiencies, but that we continue to work on them!

2) Joseph knew the facts, but asked a question anyway! A strategy we should often follow. We may have knowledge, but if we try to impose that on others, they may not receive it. So, asking questions can take us to our goal of having them provide the same thing we would have said! Much better!

May we always be truth tellers, and may we always be ready to ask questions rather than speak our mind!

Suggested prayer: Holy Spirit, please guide my tongue to tell the truth and to be sensitive to those I am speaking with . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 16, 2022

Personal Sharing — Food or Seasoning?

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 14, 2022

Personal Sharing — Wait!

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 13, 2022

Personal Sharing — The Unknown Causes You To Trust!

Day 4240: Another Friday. I never tire of TGIF – Thank God I’m Forgiven!

Scripture: Trust in the Lord with all your heart; But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord; When I am afraid, I put my trust in You; Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You; Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe; I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Whom I trust.” (Various Bible parts of Bible verses on trust)

Thoughts/questions: The unknown is usually pretty scary. Being in the dark in a strange place hearing noises of some kind; in the waiting room at the hospital while a loved one is in surgery; waiting for the results of that pregnancy test for who knows how many times; looking in the mirror and wondering why are there red lights trailing my car; trying to look into the future without the help of a crystal ball, and many more. The Unknown – something to avoid! Or is it?

And yet it is when we are faced with the unknown, that we often turn to God and that’s a good thing. We could worry and lose sleep, or we could trust and find peace. Life is filled with unknowns, so our responses to them can have a huge impact on the quality of our lives. By partnering with our loving God, we can face the unknown with trust! He has taken care of us before, and He will again and again!

Suggested prayer: Almighty God, You know the future. I don’t. Help me to trust in Your promises . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 12, 2022

Questions in the Bible — It Is What It Isn’t!

Day 4239: Surprise someone you don’t know with a financial gift today!

Scripture: Joseph’s plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders.” Genesis 40:37-39

Thoughts/questions: Joseph lived out James 4:10 which states that we are to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord and then He will lift us up! Many say ‘It is what it is’ but for Joseph, what seemed to be happening was not what was really happening. Joseph later stated to his brothers that they intended evil on him, but God meant it for good. I like to put it this way – for Christ-followers, ‘It is what it isn’t!’

If Joseph were prideful or believed in ‘It is what it is,’ he could have easily been depressed and then struggled to make it on his own without God. Who knows what would have happened then? But he didn’t! That’s why many parts of his life are recorded so that we may follow his example. And for you and me? First, are we being humble and letting God lift us up or ??? Then, are we, believers in the Creator of the entire universe, resolved to see things as they are, OR as God sees them?

May our response to life’s dire circumstances always be: “With God, it is what it isn’t!’

Suggested prayer: Lord God, I choose to acknowledge You in all of my ways. Make my paths straight . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 11, 2022

Questions in the Bible — Give God His Due!

Day 4238: Jesus loves me this I KNOW!!!

Scripture: “We both had dreams,” Joseph’s two fellow prisoners answered, “but there is no one to interpret them. Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” So the chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. “This is what it means,” Joseph said to him.

When the chief baker saw that Joseph had given a favorable interpretation, he said to Joseph, “I too had a dream.” “This is what it means,” Joseph said. Genesis 40:8-18 (Excerpts)

Thoughts/questions: We bring certain issues to people who are skilled in the area we need. For example, we take our cars to an auto mechanic and our bodies to a doctor – the appropriate party for the job at hand! Joseph felt the same way.

God interpreted the dream with Joseph as His mouthpiece. And God wants to speak through you. He doesn’t just speak through pastoral types, He speaks through ordinary people like you and me! AND just like He did with Joseph, God will put each of us in very specific situations to be able to be His instrument. And like Joseph, those situations might not be to our liking, but we are to ‘bloom where we are planted.’

Some people refer to an incident like this as a ‘God thing’ while others call them miracles, but whatever you call them, the living God has called your name and you’e off the bench and in the game! Pray that you’re obedient when those God ordained times come!

Suggested prayer: Lord God, send me opportunities to be available and obedient . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 10, 2022

Questions in the Bible — A Sorrow That Leads to Repentance!

Day 4237: This year is just flying by . . .

Scripture: When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?” Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.” He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.” Genesis 37:29-33

Thoughts/questions: Joseph’s brothers should have known better. At least a few of them probably felt guilty throwing their brother done that cistern. At least Reuben did, and he returned to see what he could do. He then traveled alone to get back to his brothers and had lots of time to think.

SADLY, neither Reuben nor his brothers repented. Reuben tore his clothes expressing sorrow, but there was no repentance. How about us? When Holy Spirit reveals sin in our lives and we know it, do we have merely sorrow, or a sorrow that leads to repentance? Joseph’s brothers demonstrate that sorrow alone doesn’t cut it.

I trust you all regularly repent and confess your sin to God from Whom you find forgiveness. But, if like Reuben you have realized the error of your ways but didn’t seek forgiveness, now is the appropriate time to repent! Confess your sin; God forgives!

Suggested prayer: Lord God, may I always be conscious of my sin and repent . . .

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