Robert Read's Thoughts

Zigs and Zags

Zigs and Zags

15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died, 17 ‘Say to Joseph, Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. (Genesis 50:15-21 ESV

When life’s road develops potholes, you may ask, “Am I really in God’s will?” Sometimes the Lord will lead you on what appears to be the wrong path, like Joseph suffering in slavery, the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, Daniel spending the night with hungry lions, or Paul sitting in prison.

“But I will trust in you (Psalm 55:23).”

All these people were in the Lord’s will. At times, they must have looked at their circumstances and wondered if they zigged when they should have zagged. God’s way is best for you, but your comfort is secondary. He doesn’t promise that you will never have problems, but he does declare that He will deliver you from them all (Psalm 34:19). He doesn’t promise you a superhighway. It may be a mountain trail full of twists, turns and bumps.

Could the problems you’ve been blaming yourself or others for actually be a part of God’s plan? Or, could our present-day circumstances in this world actually be a part of God’s plan? If you’re not sure, and we can never be sure, commit them to God and trust that He will work even these things out for your benefit (Romans 8:28). And pray specifically that the Lord will use the recent catastrophes for the good of the nation. I know that is difficult for us to fathom. Intercede that His people will respond to those in need in ways that will honor Him, and that our Nation will turn to Him in revival.

Tags: faith, trust
in Pride

Gentle Fight

Philippians 2:3-11

3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (ESV)

In 1971, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier squared off in the “Fight of the Century.” Prior to the match, Ali was quoted saying, “There’s not a man alive who can whup me. I’m too fast. I’m too smart. I’m too pretty. I’m the greatest. I’m the king.” Unfortunately for Ali, he lost the fight.

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom (Proverbs 11:2 ESV)."

Ali was known for his boasting. Like many, his struggle with pride could be deemed “the fight of the century”, but today’s scripture says when pride comes, then comes disgrace. There are numerous biblical examples where “pride goes before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18).

King Nebuchadnezzar lost his kingdom (Daniel 4:28-33); Pharaoh destroyed his family, his nation and his army (Exodus 5-14); Herod was eaten by worms (Acts 12:21-23) and Haman lost his life (Esther 5-7) – all because of pride.

 As you pray today, petition God to alert you to areas in your life where pride may be sneaking in, then ask for help in becoming “gentle and lowly in heart.” (Matthew 11:29) Also, pray for our country and the current situation with this virus, pray that all people will follow the precautions and guidelines that we may end this pandemic as early as possible.

Tags: pride

Withered Hands

Withered Hands

Luke 6:6-11

A Man with a Withered Hand

6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him.8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. 9 And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?”10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. (ESV)

Bethel, a city once known for its commitment to the Lord, had become wicked. The king, Jeroboam, erected idols and engaged in pagan worship. Despite his evil ways, he knew the power of God, and experienced it firsthand – when his own hand was afflicted as he tried to keep God’s power from splitting an idolatrous altar in half. A man of God was on the scene, and Jeroboam pleaded with him to intercede on his behalf for healing. The prophet did, and Jeroboam’s hand was restored.

“And the king said to the man of God, ‘Entreat now the favor of the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me (1 Kings 13:6),’”

In Luke, Jesus sees a man with a withered hand outside the synagogue. Even without any account that he asked for healing, nor any intercession by His disciples, Jesus had compassion on the man, healing him…much to the irritation of the ever-present Pharisees.

The compassion of the Lord is available to everyone, and He heals whom He will. Nonetheless, it could be your responsibility today to intercede on behalf of someone – even someone on our prayer list, or someone you know – who needs that touch, that abundant grace. Won’t you bring a compassionate concern before God today?