Stress: 1

‘“Who are you?” they demanded. Jesus replied, “The One I have always claimed to be.”’ John 8:25 NLT

Jesus was constantly under pressure. There were gruelling demands on His time. He rarely had personal privacy, and He was constantly interrupted. People repeatedly misunderstood, criticised, and ridiculed Him. He was under enormous stress, yet He remained at peace under pressure.

Just how did he do it? He based His life on eight sound principles of stress management. So for the next week let’s look at them and see what we can learn.

Know who you are. ‘“Who are you?” they demanded. Jesus replied, “The One I have always claimed to be.”’ If you don’t know who you are, others might try to tell you who they think you are. If you don’t know who you are, you’ll subconsciously let other people pressure you into believing you’re somebody you’re not. A lot of stress comes from our hiding behind masks, living double lives, being unreal with others, and trying to be somebody we’re not. Insecurity always produces pressure in our lives; when we’re insecure we feel coerced into performing and conforming. We set unrealistic standards for ourselves, and even though we work, work, work, we still can’t meet them.

So what should you do? You must know who you are, and Whose you are! You’re a redeemed child of God, put on this earth not by accident but for a purpose. You are deeply loved and fully accepted by God. He has a plan for your life; therefore you are significant. To overcome stress, you must know who you are, and until you deal decisively with this issue you’ll be plagued by it.

SoulFood: Gen 47–49, Matt 22:34–46, Ps 26, Pro 7:26–27

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2020

Today’s Readings

Genesis 47–49 ()

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47:1 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.”

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.” 10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. 11 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. 12 And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father's household with food, according to the number of their dependents.

13 Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. 14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought. And Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house. 15 And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.” 16 And Joseph answered, “Give your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. He supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. 18 And when that year was ended, they came to him the following year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent. The herds of livestock are my lord's. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh. And give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”

20 So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe on them. The land became Pharaoh's. 21 As for the people, he made servants of them from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land.

23 Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. 24 And at the harvests you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.” 25 And they said, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh.” 26 So Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt, and it stands to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; the land of the priests alone did not become Pharaoh's.

27 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. 28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were 147 years.

29 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, 30 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.” 31 And he said, “Swear to me”; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself upon the head of his bed.

48:1 After this, Joseph was told, “Behold, your father is ill.” So he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. And it was told to Jacob, “Your son Joseph has come to you.” Then Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed. And Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples and will give this land to your offspring after you for an everlasting possession.’ And now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are. And the children that you fathered after them shall be yours. They shall be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance. As for me, when I came from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).”

When Israel saw Joseph's sons, he said, “Who are these?” Joseph said to his father, “They are my sons, whom God has given me here.” And he said, “Bring them to me, please, that I may bless them.” 10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see. So Joseph brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them. 11 And Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.” 12 Then Joseph removed them from his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. 13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near him. 14 And Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands (for Manasseh was the firstborn). 15 And he blessed Joseph and said,

  “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
    the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day,
16   the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys;
    and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
    and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him, and he took his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. 18 And Joseph said to his father, “Not this way, my father; since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.” 19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.” 20 So he blessed them that day, saying,

  “By you Israel will pronounce blessings, saying,
  ‘God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh.’”

Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh. 21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you again to the land of your fathers. 22 Moreover, I have given to you rather than to your brothers one mountain slope that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and with my bow.”

49:1 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.
  “Reuben, you are my firstborn,
    my might, and the firstfruits of my strength,
    preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
  Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence,
    because you went up to your father's bed;
    then you defiled it—he went up to my couch!
  “Simeon and Levi are brothers;
    weapons of violence are their swords.
  Let my soul come not into their council;
    O my glory, be not joined to their company.
  For in their anger they killed men,
    and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen.
  Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
    and their wrath, for it is cruel!
  I will divide them in Jacob
    and scatter them in Israel.
  “Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
    your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
    your father's sons shall bow down before you.
  Judah is a lion's cub;
    from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
  He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
    and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10   The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
  until tribute comes to him;
    and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11   Binding his foal to the vine
    and his donkey's colt to the choice vine,
  he has washed his garments in wine
    and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
12   His eyes are darker than wine,
    and his teeth whiter than milk.
13   “Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea;
    he shall become a haven for ships,
    and his border shall be at Sidon.
14   “Issachar is a strong donkey,
    crouching between the sheepfolds.
15   He saw that a resting place was good,
    and that the land was pleasant,
  so he bowed his shoulder to bear,
    and became a servant at forced labor.
16   “Dan shall judge his people
    as one of the tribes of Israel.
17   Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
    a viper by the path,
  that bites the horse's heels
    so that his rider falls backward.
18   I wait for your salvation, O LORD.
19   “Raiders shall raid Gad,
    but he shall raid at their heels.
20   “Asher's food shall be rich,
    and he shall yield royal delicacies.
21   “Naphtali is a doe let loose
    that bears beautiful fawns.
22   “Joseph is a fruitful bough,
    a fruitful bough by a spring;
    his branches run over the wall.
23   The archers bitterly attacked him,
    shot at him, and harassed him severely,
24   yet his bow remained unmoved;
    his arms were made agile
  by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
    (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
25   by the God of your father who will help you,
    by the Almighty who will bless you
    with blessings of heaven above,
  blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
    blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26   The blessings of your father
    are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents,
    up to the bounties of the everlasting hills.
  May they be on the head of Joseph,
    and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.
27   “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
    in the morning devouring the prey
    and at evening dividing the spoil.”

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him. 29 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, 30 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. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah—32 the field and the cave that is in it were bought from the Hittites.” 33 When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.

Matthew 22:34–46 ()

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34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,

44   “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
  “Sit at my right hand,
    until I put your enemies under your feet”’?

45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Psalm 26 ()

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Of David.

26:1   Vindicate me, O LORD,
    for I have walked in my integrity,
    and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
  Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
    test my heart and my mind.
  For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
    and I walk in your faithfulness.
  I do not sit with men of falsehood,
    nor do I consort with hypocrites.
  I hate the assembly of evildoers,
    and I will not sit with the wicked.
  I wash my hands in innocence
    and go around your altar, O LORD,
  proclaiming thanksgiving aloud,
    and telling all your wondrous deeds.
  O LORD, I love the habitation of your house
    and the place where your glory dwells.
  Do not sweep my soul away with sinners,
    nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
10   in whose hands are evil devices,
    and whose right hands are full of bribes.
11   But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
    redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12   My foot stands on level ground;
    in the great assembly I will bless the LORD.

Proverbs 7:26–27 ()

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26   for many a victim has she laid low,
    and all her slain are a mighty throng.
27   Her house is the way to Sheol,
    going down to the chambers of death.

Sat 14 March, 2020


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