March 9, 2016

Today you should read: Genesis 49-50

Jacob is on his death bed and calls his sons together to give them their final blessing. Each son got specific “blessings” even though not all of their futures seemed too bright. However, Judah sticks out as the one tribe that will have the greatest importance. Judah will bring forth a line of royalty, specifically David and eventually Jesus Christ. Jesus was referred to in Revelation as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5). What an honor that Judah had as the son who would be the ancestor of Jesus Christ himself. Judah was the son who God chose to fulfill the promise to Abraham through (Genesis 15:1-6).

If God chose to bless Judah then that must have meant that Judah was the good son right? Actually, Judah was a pretty sinful man if you remember. He got his brothers to sell Joseph into slavery for starters and they lied to Jacob about it (Genesis 37:18-36). In addition, Judah got his own chapter of Genesis (38) dedicated to his lying and sleeping with his daughter-in-law Tamar. Of course, he thought she was a prostitute which is a whole other issue. Judah did redeem himself later in Genesis (44) when he offered to sacrifice himself in the place of his brother Benjamin which was a sign of a new heart. All in all, Judah was a messy dude.

Why would God use a messy guy like Judah to be the line by which Jesus would come through? It is hard to know exactly why God chose Judah because all the brothers were all a little messed up but Judah’s messiness shows us the power of God’s grace. Judah did not deserve this honor but God bestowed it on him through Jacob. Judah was hoping in the same hope that you and I hope in. He was looking forward to the messiah to come and we look back to the messiah that has already come and died for our sins so that we may know God.

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20)

You and I are messy like Judah but no matter what our mess is God gives us the greatest gift he could ever give us, Himself. God did not save us so that we can go to heaven, change for the better or keep us from Hell. They are secondary to the real reason God sent Jesus. God’s greatest gift to us is the ability to know him and the vehicle to knowing God is salvation through his son Jesus.

So my question to us today is what is your greatest hope/joy in this life? Is it to know God?

By: Chad Wiles

March 8, 2016

Today you should read: Genesis 48

800px-Jacob_Blessing_Ephraim_and_Manasseh,_by_Benjamin_West.jpgGenesis 48 gives us a look into a meaningful parenting moment for Jacob and Joseph. Since his dad was ill, Joseph took two of his boys and went to say goodbye to Jacob, the family’s patriarch. When Jacob saw Joseph and made a connection with his sons, he got a little “blessing-happy.” When the blessings were all said and done, there was a feeling of peace over the room.

This is an easy passage to overlook. It has the feeling of a family “Kumbaya”, but there is significance to this exchange. First of all, this is a moment that Jacob did not expect, not in his wildest dreams. He thought Joseph was dead for much of his life. Now, he had his son back. He met his grandchildren. He blessed them all. He was dying a happy man, experiencing a seemingly impossible reunion.

What about the blessings themselves? There is plenty to consider there as well. For one, Jacob blessed the wrong son… or so we would think. It was a part of God’s plan all along. Check out this commentary for deeper insight:

The blessing of Joseph is intimately linked to the blessing of his two sons. By placing his right hand on the head of Ephraim (v. 13), however, Jacob gives him priority over his older brother Manasseh (see 41:51–52). Although Joseph protests, thinking his father has mistakenly placed his right hand on the wrong head (48:17–18), Jacob is emphatic that Ephraim should be blessed as the firstborn ahead of Manasseh (v. 19). Subsequent history reveals that the Ephraimites become one of the leading tribes, with Joshua guiding the people into the Promised Land. (ESV Study Bible, note on verses 13-20)

But you can glean something else from this — an overall Biblical theme. The humble shall be exalted. Though nothing tells us that Manasseh was prideful, the second-born Ephraim had to deal with the fact that he would have a lesser role in his family. And yet, God chose to show, in this oddly-timed moment, that the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Funny, though, that Jacob — the birthright negotiator — was doing the same thing (different circumstances) all over again.

What did you learn from the passage? What did the Lord impress upon your heart today? I pray your Tuesday is richly blessed, Center Point family.

By: Todd Thomas

March 7, 2016

Today you should read: Genesis 47

In today’s passage we see the height of the great famine that God said would come. It has reached all the nations around Egypt and now even the people in Egypt are hit hard. Their money has run out and they are forced to sell everything they have to Pharaoh in order that they might survive. It is in the midst of this great calamity that we find Joseph. Joseph continually shows the wisdom and leadership skills God has given him as he deals with this famine. We also see how God used his life to impact thousands of others because he was continually faithful to The Lord throughout his life. Joseph was faithful to God when he had nothing, when everything had been stripped away and he was in prison. Now we see Joseph being faithful with much: much responsibility and much influence over people he could have easily exploited and not shown grace to.

Of course Joseph could have simply given them the food instead of charging them for it, but I think this also shows Joseph’s wisdom in that he allowed the people to keep their dignity and ability to provide for themselves. This would be something they would need to be successful in the future. Had that been stripped away they would have likely been a perpetual strain on their own country and thus make things worse for themselves.

In thinking about Joseph’s life today I am reminded of what Jesus said in Luke 12:48b:

Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Jesus clearly told us how to live until He comes: we are to seek to glorify Him in everything, work diligently, and obey His commands. This is especially true for leaders, which all of us are in some capacity. The more wisdom, understanding, resources, and talents we have, the more we are responsible to use them for His glory and to influence others for Christ.

So, the question I will leave you with today is: How are you using the talents, resources, and leadership roles God has placed you in to influence others for Christ?

By: Matt Mofield

March 5, 2016

Today you should read: Genesis 46

Summer is one of the best times for student ministry. From camps to mission trips to the additional free time students have to hang out and grow in Christ. It’s amazing to see how much God uses those trips to save some and sanctify others. As rewarding as it is, it can be tough on my kids as I’m gone 4-6 weeks out of the 2 ½ months for such events. Each time that I come back from those week long events my kids will run up to me screaming my name, showering me with hugs and kisses and acting like I’ve been gone for years. It’s brought tears to my eyes many times and I’m sure it does the same to all parents reading this who are often away from their families because of work or other reasons.

However, these family reunions don’t compare to the reunion that Joseph and Jacob experienced in today’s Jumpstart passage. Can you imagine the joy in Joseph and Jacob’s heart when first seeing each other after Jacob thought his son was dead after all of those years? It says in v. 29 that Joseph fell on his father’s neck as they were embracing each other and that he just wept and wept and wept. Let this beautiful scene and chapter remind us of the great fruit that comes from forgiveness and reconciliation.

We saw a few chapters back how Joseph forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery and how they were reconciled after. Now we see the fruit of what that forgiveness and reconciliation brought. A father and son is reunited. God’s people are provided for in a time of famine. Faith in God’s promises as all of Jacob’s family moves knowing that God will bring them back to where He originally promised them, Caanan. Forgiveness and reconciliation is tough when you’re going through it but let today’s Scripture be a reminder from the Lord that there is great fruit that can come from it. We may not see it right away but there’s a reason why, at the time, it hurt Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, but in the end it forgave us and reconciles us back to God.

  1. Is there anyone that you need to forgive or ask for forgiveness?
  2. How does the Gospel encourage us to forgive/ask for forgiveness and give us the power to follow through with it?

By: Erik Koliser