Waiting to be Buried

Bible:

So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s house. Joseph lived 110 years. And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation. The children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were counted as Joseph’s own. And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. Genesis 50:22-26 ESV

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.

By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 11:1-2, 22, 39-12:2 ESV

Reflection:

It was Sara’s birthday, and she had a pile of very interesting-looking presents. She could hardly wait to open them! But she was going to wait. Her grandpa was in the hospital, and it would be a few days before he was well enough to come home again. She knew that her birthday wouldn’t be the same without her grandpa, and she decided to wait for him. He always enjoyed parties so much, and the best presents came from him! She wasn’t going to celebrate her birthday without her grandpa, even though it meant she had to wait a few days.

Joseph died in Egypt, away from the land of Canaan. He had been a powerful man in Egypt, and he could have given orders to have his body taken to the family tomb in Canaan right away, as his father Jacob had done. Or he might have been buried in a magnificent Egyptian tomb. But Joseph had a different idea. His body was embalmed and kept by the people of Israel. It stayed with them as a reminder of God’s promise. When their life in Egypt became difficult, Joseph’s body was there to remind them that someday God would bring them back to the promised land. Joseph didn’t live to see the fulfillment of God’s promise, but the people of Israel brought his body along when God brought them home many years later.

Many people through the ages waited for God’s greatest promise to come true. They gave witness to God’s faithfulness and to the promised Savior they were waiting for, but they never saw him. It was only when the right time came that God sent Jesus. Jesus died on the cross and rose again to bring us back to God. We have Jesus, and we know that in him God has kept all of the promises he made to his people so long ago. Someday we’ll meet Joseph and all of God’s faithful people in heaven. They will see all of God’s love and glory there along with us.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for keeping all your promises, especially your promise to send Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

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A Reason to Forgive

Bible:

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.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘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. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 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. 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

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:26-28 ESV

Reflection:

Alexander Fleming was trying to find some kind of drug that would kill bacteria without harming a person’s body. He worked in a science lab with some petri dishes, little dishes that have a gel in them that will grow things like bacteria. When he went away on a vacation, he left a lot of petri dishes behind. Some of them had bacteria growing on them. When he came back, he found mold growing on a number of his petri dishes. He was annoyed, because now he would have to clean up all of his moldy dishes. It would be a lot of work. But then he noticed that the mold was killing the bacteria! This was exciting for him. By accident, he had discovered the drug he was looking for. That’s how penicillin was discovered–by an accident and some moldy dishes that just looked like they would be a lot of work. It took some years before penicillin was made into medicine, but when it was, it saved many lives.

You never know what things that seem bad might turn out to be good things. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, and that seemed like a very bad thing. They meant it to be a bad thing. But God turned it into something good. Joseph became a powerful ruler in Egypt and saved many lives. Joseph saw God at work through all the things that happened in his life. He didn’t think his life was an accident. Because he knew that God was in charge and had brought great good to him and to other people through him, he was able to forgive his brothers. He even cried when he found out they were afraid of him and weren’t sure that he had forgiven them.

Joseph forgave his brothers because God’s love and grace were with him. We have God’s love and grace, too. Jesus came to die for us, and for his sake, all our sins are forgiven. We have God’s promise of love and help and comfort all through our lives. God even promises that no matter what bad things might happen to us, he will always work them out for our good, just as Jesus’ horrible death turned into something very good for us. Because of that, God helps us to love and forgive other people, even when they hurt us. His love and grace work through us.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for always bringing good things out of bad things. Help us to trust you all the time. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://history1900s.about.com/od/medicaladvancesissues/a/penicillin.htm

Source:

Finishing the Job

Bible:

Then Joseph fell on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.

And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, ‘My father made me swear, saying, “I am about to die: in my tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me.” Now therefore, let me please go up and bury my father. Then I will return.’” And Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear.” So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household.

Thus his sons did for him as he had commanded them, for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father. Genesis 50:1-8a, 12-14 ESV

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O Lord.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light. Psalm 36:5-9 ESV

Reflection:

Beldon was pitching for the Blue Sox. He was doing well, and the other team had only scored two runs, while the Blue Sox had scored five. But in the seventh inning, Beldon got tired. He walked two batters. The next batter got a double, driving in two runs. Now the score was 5-4. The Blue Sox manager took Beldon out of the game. He put in a relief pitcher, Drumm. Drumm was able to get the other team out without letting them score any more runs. He held them in the eighth and ninth innings, too, and the Blue Sox won the game. Drumm finished Beldon’s work. That’s the relief pitcher’s job, to finish what the starting pitcher can’t finish.

Jacob had died, and he wasn’t able to make sure that his body was buried in the promised land. His sons had to finish the job for him. Joseph and his brothers were faithful to their father and kept their promise to him. Jacob was embalmed in the Egyptian style, then carried to the family tomb in the land of Canaan.

Jacob’s sons kept their promise to him, but in the end, it was God who was faithful to Jacob. God had promised to go to Egypt with Jacob and be with him, and that Joseph would be with him when he died. He also promised that Jacob would return to the land of Canaan. Jacob didn’t live to see God keep his last promise, but God’s faithfulness went beyond Jacob’s life. God worked through Jacob’s sons to keep his last promise to Jacob.

God’s promises to us go beyond our lives as well. Jesus came to earth to die for us, and he rose again from the dead. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we know that death isn’t the end for us. We have life with God that lasts forever. We can rest securely in God’s promises, knowing that he is with us in life and death, and on and on forever!

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all your promises to us, especially that we are yours, now and forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Death and Promises

Bible:

Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come.

“Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob,
listen to Israel your father.

I wait for your salvation, O Lord.”

This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him. Then he commanded them and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah—the field and the cave that is in it were bought from the Hittites.” When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people. Genesis 49:1-2, 8, 28b-33

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:3-11 ESV

Reflection:

There’s a painting by an artist named Masaccio called “The Trinity.” It shows Jesus on the cross, with God the Father behind him offering up his Son. But one interesting part of this picture is at the bottom. There is a skeleton at the bottom lying it its tomb. There are words above this skeleton that say, “I was once what you are and what I am you will become.” This is a gruesome and scary thing to think when you look at a dead body. Once the body was alive just as we are, but now it is dead, only a skeleton. Someday we will die too, and become a skeleton like the one in the painting.

Joseph and his brothers might have felt that way when they looked at their dead father. Their father, who had just given them his blessings and promises for the future, was now dead. How could they know that his blessings and promises would come true? Jacob couldn’t even be sure that he would be buried in the promised land. How could he know that his people would go back there someday?

The answer is in one thing Jacob said. He said, “I wait for your salvation, O Lord.” Jacob believed in the promised Savior, and all the good things God promised his family were given in order to bring that Savior into the world. Someday a Savior would come to destroy death and the devil. Faith in that promise was what made Jacob able to give his sons his blessing and promise.

Jesus is the promised Savior. When he looks at the body of someone who has died in faith, he also says, “I was once what you are.” Jesus was once dead, too. He died on the cross for our sake. Jesus also says, “What I am you will become.” When Jesus says these words, there is an incredible promise. Jesus didn’t stay dead. He came back to life on the first Easter Sunday. Jesus has turned life and death upside down! He promises that all who believe and are baptized into his death and resurrection will rise again at the last day and be alive with him forever.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for destroying death and the devil for us by your own death and resurrection. Amen.

Source:

Beckett, Sister Wendy The Story of Painting London: Dorling Kindersley, 1994, p. 139.

In Life and in Death

Bible:

Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly. And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were 147 years.

And when the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If now I have found favor in your sight, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal kindly and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt, but let me lie with my fathers. Carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burying place.” He answered, “I will do as you have said.” And he said, “Swear to me”; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself upon the head of his bed. Genesis 47:27-31 ESV

For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Romans 14:7-9 ESV

Reflection:

When Abraham Lincoln died, his body was taken to Springfield, Illinois, and he was buried there. You can visit Lincoln’s tomb if you go to Springfield. He is buried with some of his family members inside a building made of granite, marble, and bronze. On the inside walls of his tomb there are plaques that have some of his most famous words. You can read what he said about a house divided against itself, or about a nation having a new birth of freedom, or about the nation continuing with malice toward none and charity toward all. Do you know what speeches these words come from? Abraham Lincoln is dead, but his burial place is a place that helps people remember his words and some of the things he believed and worked for.

Jacob knew he was going to die, and it was very important to him that he be buried in a way that showed what he believed. Jacob knew that the most important things in his life were all of the promises of God. He knew that the Savior would come from his family, and that God would bring his people back to the promised land again. He didn’t want to be buried in Egypt. He made Joseph promise that he would take his body and bury it in the promised land. Abraham had bought a burial place for the family, and that’s where Jacob wanted to be buried. His burial would be one last reminder to his children and grandchildren of his faith in God’s promises.

Today when people die and are buried, some kind of picture might be put on their gravestones. There might be flowers, or a musical instrument, or trees and mountains, or a baseball or a football. People who believe that in Jesus often have a cross put on their gravestones. This shows that they believe Jesus died for them, and that his death won them God’s forgiveness and life forever. A cross on a gravestone reminds us that Christians who die belong to the Lord.

Our lives are also marked by Jesus’ cross. We live believing in what Jesus did for us. We belong to the Lord now, and will belong to him forever–while we live, and after we die. We don’t have to wait till we die to show what is most important to us. God the Holy Spirit helps us live in a way that shows that we belong to Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for making us yours, and that we belong to you in life and in death. Amen.

Blessed to be a Blessing

Bible:

Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the days of the years of your life?” And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.” And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their dependents. Genesis 47:7-12 ESV

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

We love because he first loved us. I John 4:7-12, 19 ESV

Reflection:

The church that the Millers belonged to was having a food drive. The church was collecting boxes and cans of food to give to people who didn’t have enough to eat. The Millers wanted to give some food to the food drive, but they really couldn’t. They didn’t have enough to eat themselves. They didn’t have much money, and Mr. Miller had lost his job. But then something exciting happened. Mrs. Miller won a prize at her supermarket. The prize was $1000 worth of food! Now the Millers had more food than they needed, and they were able to donate some food to the food drive. They were given a lot, and that made them able to give to others.

When Joseph took his elderly father the meet Pharaoh, Pharaoh asked Jacob how old he was. Jacob said that he wasn’t as old as his father Isaac or grandfather Abraham had lived to be. He also said that his life had had a lot of trouble and sin. Jacob knew that he was poor in God’s eyes. He hadn’t lived a life that would please God. But even so, he blessed Pharaoh. He was able to bless Pharaoh, not because he was such a good person, but because of God’s grace. God had given Jacob love and care and protection all through his life. Jacob was blessed by God, and he was able to bless Pharaoh with God’s blessing, not his own.

We are also blessed by God. He gives us his love and grace every day. We receive this love through Jesus, our Savior, who died on the cross for us so that our sins could be forgiven. God’s love in Jesus fills our lives, and we are able to love and bless others because of it. The blessings we give other people don’t come from ourselves, but from God. Everything good we have, and everything good we can give, comes from God. God is the one who helps us share his love and blessing with others.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all you’ve given us. Please love and bless others through us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

In a Strange Land

Bible:

So Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan. They are now in the land of Goshen.” And from among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were.” They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. And now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. Let them settle in the land of Goshen, and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.” Genesis 47:1-6 ESV

When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:33-34 ESV

Reflection:

Where was the Land of Goshen? What was it like? If you look at a map of Egypt, the Land of Goshen is in the northeastern area of the Nile Delta. It is a very rich and fertile land. There would have been good pasture for the flocks of the families of Israel, and they could have started farming when the famine was over. When God called on them to leave the promised land, he gave them a good place to live. Pharaoh treated them well and was kind to them.

Many years later, when the people of Israel returned to the promised land, God told them to treat the strangers who lived with them in the land with the same kindness. They were to remember that they had once been strangers in another land and how that felt. As time went on in Egypt, they were no longer treated well. They were made slaves. Israel knew both kindness and hardship in a country where they were strangers. God’s love was with them through it all, and it was that love they were to show strangers in their own land.

As God’s people, we are living away from the promised land of our heavenly home with God. Jesus won that home for us when he died for us on the cross. Sometimes in this world we are treated with kindness and have a good life, but sometimes as God’s people we have trouble and hardship because we are Christians. When this happens, we can remember that we are strangers on earth, and that we are looking forward to our home forever with God. Because we know we have God’s love all the time, his love shines through us to others who don’t feel welcome or at home. God helps us treat others who are strangers with kindness and love.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to win our home with you forever. Help us to show kindness to others who are left out and strangers. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.allaboutarchaeology.org/goshen.htm

I Am with You Always

Bible:

So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.”

Then Jacob set out from Beersheba. The sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They also took their livestock and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters. All his offspring he brought with him into Egypt. Genesis 46:1-7 ESV

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 ESV

Reflection:

Jessica’s dad’s company was sending him to a foreign country to live for a couple of years. Her mom, her sister, and she were going to go along and live with him there. Jessica was worried and afraid. She would miss her home and her school and her friends. She would be living in a country where she didn’t understand the language or the customs and wasn’t used to the food. She didn’t want to leave her home. But her mom and dad said, “You won’t be alone. We’ll be with you and will help you with everything. After two years, we’ll all come home together again.” That made Jessica feel better.

Jacob was a very old man by now. It was hard for him to think about leaving his home. He had been living in the promised land and felt close to God there. But while he was on his journey to Egypt, God appeared to him and talked to him. God promised that he would go with Jacob to Egypt and also that he would bring Jacob back to the promised land. Jacob knew that God would keep that promise.

We also have God’s promise that he will always be with us, no matter where we go. God came to us in Jesus to live among his people. Jesus died and rose again to bring us back to God. Before he returned to heaven, he promised that he would always be with his people. Even though we can’t see Jesus, we can trust his promise that he is with us to help us and hear our prayers. Someday he will bring us to our promised heavenly home to be with him forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being with us all the time. Please forgive our sins and help us every day. Amen.

Too Good to be True

Bible:

So they went up out of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. And they told him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them.  But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.” Genesis 45:25-28 ESV

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:24-29 ESV

Reflection:

Odysseus went off to fight in a war, and he was gone for 20 years. His wife, Penelope, didn’t know if he was alive or dead. She wondered if she would ever see him again. When Odysseus finally came home, he disguised himself so his wife wouldn’t recognize him. Penelope asked him and some other men who wanted to marry her to string a bow that had belonged to Odysseus. None of the other men were able to do this, but Odysseus could. Penelope wondered if this stranger could be her husband. She gave him another test, and told him to move the bed out of the bedroom. Odysseus had built the bed, and he knew that it wasn’t possible to move it, because it was part of a live tree! When Penelope saw these signs, she knew that the stranger was her husband. It was a joyful reunion!

Jacob had long thought that Joseph was dead, and when his sons came home and told him that Joseph was alive, he couldn’t believe it. It seemed too good to be true. He had never expected to see Joseph again. How could he believe that Joseph was alive and well in Egypt, and in fact a powerful ruler? But when he saw all the rich provisions Joseph had sent for him, and heard the words of Joseph, he believed the good news.

When Jesus rose from the dead the first glad Easter, his disciples didn’t believe it. It seemed too good to be true. They didn’t believe until they saw Jesus for themselves. Thomas said he wouldn’t believe unless he could touch the mark of the nails in his hands and the mark of the spear in his side. So Jesus came and let Thomas touch him. When Thomas saw these signs, he believed the good news. What a joy to be with Jesus again!

Because Jesus rose from the dead, we can be sure that death is not the end for us. This is very good news for us when we lose someone who believed in Jesus. We can be sure that we will see everyone who believes in Jesus even after they die. Someday there will be a very happy reunion in our heavenly home, even happier than the reunion Jacob looked forward to having with Joseph.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for conquering death for us. We look forward to being with you and all your people forever in heaven. Amen.

Riches for the Family

Bible:

When the report was heard in Pharaoh’s house, “Joseph’s brothers have come,” it pleased Pharaoh and his servants. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load your beasts and go back to the land of Canaan, and take your father and your households, and come to me, and I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat the fat of the land.’ And you, Joseph, are commanded to say, ‘Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Have no concern for your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”

The sons of Israel did so: and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the command of Pharaoh, and gave them provisions for the journey. To each and all of them he gave a change of clothes, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five changes of clothes. To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and provision for his father on the journey. Then he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, “Do not quarrel on the way.” Genesis 45:16-24 ESV

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV

Reflection:

Brad and Emily’s dad owned a small restaurant. They liked visiting the restaurant after school. It wasn’t very busy then, and they could have something to eat. Their dad would let them have anything they wanted that the restaurant served. Usually they had some ice cream, but sometimes they might have a hamburger or a plate of French fries. If one or two of their friends came with them, their friends could have anything they wanted, too. Their dad was happy to treat them and their friends.

Pharaoh was the same way with Joseph’s family. He valued Joseph very much, and had provided Joseph with power and wealth. Now that Joseph had been reunited with his family, Pharaoh was happy to extend his gifts to them, too. It was his way of showing how much he appreciated Joseph to be good to Joseph’s family. Joseph’s connection with Pharaoh gave his brothers and their families incredible benefits in Egypt.

We have been given the best benefits of all from God. He is rich in love and mercy and kindness, and he gives us more love and care than we can even imagine. He does this because of our connection with Jesus, his Son. It’s through Jesus and what he did for us on the cross that we have all the love of God, our Heavenly Father. We are now God’s children, and we ourselves can bring others to God. We know for sure that he’ll welcome everyone through Jesus and give them his love and grace too.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us so much of your riches of love and kindness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.