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Tuesday Thoughts 1-24-17

There are times when, no matter how much you have planned, worked and managed time; things go in the opposite direction.  If you’re a regular reader of Tuesday Thoughts, you know this subject (control) really challenges me.  It is my most regularly visited topic!  Imagine my delight when I ran across such an incident in the Old Testament book of Genesis, the book of beginnings.  In the 48th chapter, Joseph, the second youngest of twelve sons born to the man who whose name would define a nation (Israel), brought his two sons in to be blessed by his father.  The cultural custom of the day would be for the oldest son (in this instance named Manasseh) to receive the first and greatest blessing and the youngest (Ephraim) a lesser one.  Actually, the oldest son in every family was due twice as much as any other!  But when the time for blessings came, …Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.” (verse 14).  This opposite blessing freaked Joseph out and he tried to correct his father’s mistake.  Read Israel’s response:  “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.”  When you read on in the history of God’s people, you will find that Ephraim was much more prominent than Manasseh.  Why am I delighted to read this?  For one thing, it’s a reminder that God has a plan and that even if I mess up my part, He will see His through!  Boy does that take a load off!  Are you trying to carry all the responsibility of life?  It’s a useless and draining effort.  Only God can be God.  Another reason this resonates with me is that it describes something that is not just a little different than the plan, but a total opposite.  It’s a lot easier to make adjustments when things aren’t “quite” what we planned, but when they are totally different, the easy thing becomes questioning God…or my faith…or my purpose.  Anybody feeling this?  Don’t take the quick road here either.  This is much deeper than the car that won’t start, or the raise that didn’t happen.  Think cancer, or that 2 am phone call about an accident, or the spouse that suddenly decides to leave, or…fill in your blank.  No matter your perspective on the issue of control or the depth of your personal loss when things go way, way, wrong, the road out and up is the same: “…How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you… Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:19 & 21 (NIV).  Do you have something to cry out about? What are you waiting for?  Cry out!  But don’t get stuck there.  After you cry out (Father, you’re blessing the wrong son!), listen to the Father.  God will be faithful to show the right way to walk.  Be prepared, it will almost always seem impossible at first.  It may seem like He isn’t speaking at all.  If He seems silent, remember this: God will use what He has already taught you so return and repeat the ways of God and you WILL receive the blessing!  Cry, listen and walk.                                 – Pastor John

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