perfect, complete and lacking nothingMaking it through benefits more than just you! It helps those you can help too. It helps those who will follow you. It helps those who are depending on you. It will help those who are counting on you. He may bless you with kids. It will create a trickle effect where it will even bless your kids.
Today’s reading continues in the story of Joseph. After all the adversity and trials and after the reunion with his brothers and his father.
Blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh
1After these things, someone told Joseph, “Behold, your father is sick.” So he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, with him.
2When someone told Jacob, saying, “Behold, your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel summoned his strength and sat up in the bed.
3Then Jacob said to Joseph, “El Shaddai appeared to me in Luz, in the land of Canaan, and blessed me.”
4He said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and multiply you and turn you into an assembly of peoples, and I will give this land to your seed after you as an everlasting possession.’
5So now, your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, they are mine. Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just like Reuben and Simeon.
6Any descendent of yours whom you father after them will be yours; they will be identified by the names of their brothers for their inheritance.
7“Now as for me, when I came from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died along the way, in the land of Canaan, while we were still a distance from entering Ephrath. And I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”
8Then Israel saw Joseph’s sons and said, “Who are these?”
9Joseph said to his father, “They’re my sons, whom God has given me here.” Then he said, “Please bring them to me, so I may bless them.”
10Now Israel’s eyes had grown heavy with old age—he could not see. So he brought them near to him, and he kissed them and hugged them.
11Then Israel said to Joseph, “To see your face, I didn’t expect—and look, God has let me see your offspring as well!”
12Then Joseph took them from his knees and bowed with his face down to the ground.
13Then Joseph took the two of them—Ephraim with his right hand across from Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand across from Israel’s right—and brought them close to him.
14But Israel stretched out his right hand and placed it upon Ephraim’s head (though he was the younger), and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands (though Manasseh was the firstborn).
15Then he blessed Joseph and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has shepherded me throughout my life to this day,
16The Angel who redeemed me from all evil, May He bless the boys, and may they be called by my name, and by the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac. May they multiply to a multitude in the midst of the land.”
17When Joseph saw that his father placed his right hand upon Ephraim’s head, it was wrong in his eyes. So his took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head.
18Joseph said to his father, “Not like that, my father, because this one’s the firstborn. Put your right hand upon his head.”
19But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also will become a people, and he also will become great. But his younger brother will become greater than he and his seed will be the fullness of the nations.”
20Then he blessed them that day saying, “In you shall Israel bless by saying: ‘May God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh.’” Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh.
21Then Israel said to Joseph, “Look, I am about to die. But God will be with you and will bring you back to the land of your fathers.
22Now I myself give you one portion more than your brothers, that which I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and my bow.”
–from Genesis 48
In this world you will have troubles, but take heart for Jesus has overcome the world. When you face trials of many kinds, consider it pure joy for when it completes the work it has started in you it will make you perfect, complete and lacking nothing!
So remember the hope, the truth, the love and continue to press onward towards what God is calling you to do.
Today’s reading continues with Jacob sharing what is yet to come…It even speaks how the scepter will stay in the line of Judah till the day when Jesus comes to claim it.
Jacob Speaks Over His Sons
1Jacob called his sons and said to them: Gather together so that I can tell you what will happen to you in the last days.
2Be assembled and listen, sons of Jacob, and listen to Israel your father.
3Reuben, my firstborn are you, my vigor and firstborn of my power, endowed with extra dignity, endowed with extra strength—
4like water boiling over you will not have extra, for you got up into your father’s bed, when you defiled a maid’s couch.
5Simeon and Levi are brothers, instruments of violence are their knives.
6In their secret counsel may my soul not enter. In their contingent may my honor never be united. For in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they maimed oxen.
7Cursed be their anger for it was strong and their rage for it was cruel— I will disperse them in Jacob, I will scatter them in Israel.
8Judah, so you are— your brothers will praise you: Your hand will be on your enemies’ neck. Your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9A lion’s cub is Judah— from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He crouches, lies down like a lion, or like a lioness— who would rouse him?
10The scepter will not pass from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs will come. To him will be the obedience of the peoples.
11Binding his foal to the vine, his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he washes his garments in wine, and in the blood of grapes his robe.
12His eyes are darker than wine, and teeth that are whiter than milk.
13Zebulun will dwell by the seashore, and be by a harbor for ships— his distant border reaches Sidon.
14Issachar is a strong-boned donkey, lying down between two saddlebags.
15He saw that a resting place was good, and that the land was pleasant. He leaned his shoulder to bear a burden, and became a forced laborer.
16Dan will judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
17Let Dan be a serpent beside a road, a viper beside a path, who strikes a horse’s heels, so that its rider falls backward.
18For your salvation I wait, Adonai!
19Gad—attackers will attack him, but he will attack their heels.
20Asher—rich is his food— he will provide delicacies fit for a king.
21Naphtali is a doe let loose, who offers words of beauty.
22A fruitful son is Joseph, a fruitful son beside a spring— daughters walk along a wall.
23The archers were bitter and shot arrows and were hostile towards him.
24Yet his bow was always filled, and his arms quick-moving— by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob. From there a Shepherd, the Stone of Israel,
25from the God of your father who helps you, and Shaddai who blesses you, with blessings of heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of breasts and womb.
26The blessings of your father surpassed the blessings of the ancient mountains, the desire of the everlasting hills. May they be upon Joseph’s head, upon the crown of the one set apart from his brothers.
27Benjamin is a ravening wolf— in the morning he devours spoils, and in the evening divides plunder.
28These are the tribes of Israel, twelve in all, and this is what their father spoke to them. He blessed them, each one he blessed with a suitable blessing.
29Then he charged them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
30in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, that is next to Mamre in the land of Canaan—the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a property for burial.
31There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah, and there I buried Leah.
32The field was purchased along with the cave in it from the sons of Het.”
33When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, then breathed his last and was gathered to his peoples.
–from Genesis 49
Will you be bold enough to testify of who God is and what He has done for you? Let’s watch Paul before the religious rulers of his day…
1Paul, looking intently at the Sanhedrin, said, “Brothers, I have lived my life in all good conscience for God up to this day.”
2But the kohen gadol Ananias ordered those standing by him to strike him on the mouth.
3Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you on the mouth, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit judging me according to the Torah, and yet in violation of the Torah you order me to be struck?”
4Those standing nearby said, “Do you insult God’s kohen gadol ?”
5Paul said, “I didn’t know, brothers, that he is the kohen gadol . For it has been written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”
6But recognizing that one group was Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Sanhedrin, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees! I am on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead!”
7When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.
8For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection or angel or spirit, but the Pharisees affirm them all.
9Then there was a great uproar. Some of the Torah scholars of the Pharisees’ party stood up and protested sharply, “We find nothing wrong with this man! What if a spirit or angel has spoken to him?”
10As a big dispute was developing, the commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them. So he ordered the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them and to bring him into headquarters.
11The following night the Lord stood beside Paul and said, “Take courage! For just as you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome!”
Conspiracy to Kill Paul
12When it was day, the Judean leaders formed a conspiracy. They bound themselves by an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul.
13There were more than forty who formed this plot.
14They went to the ruling kohanim and elders and said, “We have bound ourselves with a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul.
15So now you and the Sanhedrin serve notice to the commander to bring him down to you—like you are about to investigate his case more thoroughly. But we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”
16But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush. He went into the headquarters and told Paul.
17Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander, for he has a message for him.”
18So the centurion took him and led him to the commander and said, “The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, as he has something to say to you.”
19The commander took him by the hand, stepped aside, and began asking him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?”
20And he said, “The Judean leaders have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the Sanhedrin tomorrow—as if they are about to investigate more thoroughly about him.
21But do not give in to them, for more than forty of them have bound themselves by an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed him. Even now, they are ready and waiting for your consent.”
22So the commander dismissed the young man, charging him, “Tell no one that you have informed me about these things.”
Escorted to Caesarea
23Calling two of his centurions, he said, “At the third hour of the night, prepare two hundred soldiers, along with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen, to proceed as far as Caesarea.
24Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, so that he might be brought safely to Felix the governor.”
25He wrote a letter to this effect:
26“Claudius Lysias, To the Most Excellent Governor Felix: Greetings!
27This man was seized by the Judean leaders and was about to be killed by them, when I came on the scene with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he is a Roman citizen.
28Desiring to know the charge of which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their Sanhedrin.
29I found that he was accused concerning issues of their law, but charged with nothing worthy of death or imprisonment.
30When I was informed that there was a plot against the man, I sent him to you immediately, also ordering his accusers to state before you what they have against him.”
31So the soldiers, in keeping with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris.
32On the next day, they returned to headquarters, leaving the horsemen to go on with him.
33When they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul before him.
34Upon reading the letter, the governor asked what province he was from. When he learned that Paul was from Cilicia,
35he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers have arrived also.” Then he gave orders for Paul to be guarded in Herod’s Praetorium.
–from Acts 23
God has a plan for each of us! Let’s walk to complete that plan! Let’s move forward to finish the race He has set in motion! Let’s not grow weary in doing what is good! Let’s consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds! Let’s be overcomers as Jesus was an overcomer! Let’s press on and never give up! Let’s not make it about it being a show and tell, but let’s live lives that testify to the hope and truth that is within us thanks to Jesus!
Today’s reading concludes in the book of Matthew…
Religious Leaders Demand Signs
1Now the Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Yeshua, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.
2But He replied to them, “When evening comes, you say, ‘Fair weather coming, for the sky is red,’
3and in the morning, ‘Stormy weather today, for the sky is red and gloomy.’ You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times!
4An evil and adulterous generation clamors for a sign, yet no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” And leaving them behind, He went away.
5Now when the disciples came to the other side of the sea, they had forgotten to take bread.
6“Watch out,” Yeshua said to them, “and beware of the hametz of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
7And they began to discuss among themselves, saying, “We didn’t bring any bread.”
8But knowing this, Yeshua said, “O you of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread?
9You still don’t get it? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets of leftovers you gathered?
10Or how about the seven loaves for the four thousand and all the baskets of leftovers you gathered?
11How is it that you don’t understand that I wasn’t talking to you about bread? Now beware of the hametz of the Pharisees and Sadducees!”
12Then they understood that He wasn’t talking about the hametz in the bread, but about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
The Father Reveals His Son
13When Yeshua came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14They answered, “Some say John the Immerser, others say Elijah, and still others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
15He said, “But who do you say I am?”
16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17Yeshua said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven!
18And I also tell you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My community; and the gates of Sheol will not overpower it.
19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will have been forbidden in heaven and what you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven.”
20Then He ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah.
First Prediction: Death & Resurrection
21From that time on, Yeshua began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and ruling kohanim and Torah scholars, and be killed, and be raised on the third day.
22Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Never, Master! This must never happen to You!”
23But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, satan! You are a stumbling block to Me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of men.”
24Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.
25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
26For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
27For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then ‘He will repay everyone according to his deeds.’
28Amen, I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
–from Matthew 16