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Genesis 50:15 ” 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?’ “

The brothers of Joseph had acted very abusively towards him… none of them denying the brutality he had been put through.  So now that their father, Jacob, was dead, the brothers were fearing the worst…that Joseph would  repay them for what they rightfully deserved.  And Joseph  could of easily put them to shame for all the wrongs they had done to him…but he chose not to.  To take the moral high road, to not repay evil with evil, to bless rather than curse can be a true testament of your faith.  For it shows to everyone that you’re a victor and not a victim.

Hebrews 7:25 ” Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.”

What does the Gospel mean to you?  I’ve been thinking about this all week in preparation for a meeting this Sunday.  To me, it boils down to Religion vs Relationship.  It’s the difference between ceremony and connection, liturgy and linkage, ritual and relationship.  For Religion is mostly man-made, piling on the things we can’t do…while a Relationship with Jesus Christ is about freedom.  It’s about freedom from sin and death and freedom from the Law we can never keep.  But the biggest difference between Religion and Relationship is this…Religion can’t save you.  Only Jesus Christ who lived a perfectly sinless life has the ability to bring you into His glorious Kingdom and eternal life…it’s only through Jesus that you can make your way back to God.

James 3:5 ” Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.”

In the world small things can have great power.  In the 3rd Chapter of James, he gives examples of a bit in a horse’s mouth, and a rudder of a ship.  And if I asked you what the deadliest animal in the world would be…would you guess a tiger, elephant, or maybe a rhino?  The real  answer is the tiny mosquito that carries Malaria and kills millions of people yearly.  Our tongue is one of the smallest parts of our body…but the power it has is potentially devastating.  For just like one spark can start a forest fire…one ugly slip of the tongue can destroy a life.

Psalm 33:10-11 ” The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

Psalm 2:1 asks the question, “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain against the Lord?”  It’s because within the cunning imagination of man is that prideful idea that we can control our own destiny…but this all just vanity.  For God’s Will prevails over all… and He will carry out His plan and purpose for His glory.  We may think we know the answers…but only God can see from beginning to end and around every corner of life.

Psalm 33:8-9 ” Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.”

For just a moment today ponder this.  God spoke, and the world as we know it was formed.  He spoke, and everything we see was created…out of nothing. For all things on earth were God-ordained.  But we also  need to realize that God’s commands are  very unique in that He requires inner commitment from us…not merely some external superficial obedience.  For God is so great that His commands are not to be questioned…His creative work not challenged.

Acts 1:3 ” After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of God.”

After the Resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days with His disciples.  But why?  It was at the beginning of that 40 days that Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)  For over the 3 years the disciples had traveled with Jesus and watched His ministry, they had been collecting puzzle pieces.  But it wasn’t until He opened their minds that all the puzzle pieces came together and they saw and understood the big picture.

Isaiah 29:15 ” Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know?’ “

Talk to someone who is struggling with a pornography addiction and sure enough they’ll use the excuse, “What I do in the privacy of my own home is my right.” And then they’ll follow it up with, “And I wasn’t hurting anyone with what I was doing alone at night.”  They are rationalizing and attempting to explain away what they already know deep down in their heart is wrong.  For we can’t hide anything from God’s sight.  And no matter how dark it is…God still sees what we’re doing.