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Mike-regarding your question asking if Joseph was playing “mind games” with his brothers, no, I don’t think so and here is why.

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and asked him, "We are not blind too, are we?" Jesus replied, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin, but now because you claim that you can see, your guilt remains."
(John 9:40-41 NET.)

Joseph was trying to get them to admit they were blind; they had to confess to their sin(s). First of all one cannot come to God, to Christ, without first admitting one is sinful, Joseph could not bestow on his brothers the honor of being his brothers in Egypt, with all the honor that would entail, unless they faced their sin. There are two kids of sorrow, a worldly sorrow (a sorrow that says, I’m sorry because I got caught), and a godly sorrow (a sorrow that is truly repentant of one’s behavior. Without godly sorrow, the brothers would not be able to exist in Egypt without becoming a further stench in the nostrils of the Egyptians, who didn’t like Hebrews anyway.

It’s all about character. We can mentally assent and verbally confess we are something that our behavior shows we are not; but unless there is a character change our words will never match our behavior or vice versa. No mind games with Joseph, he was just trying to get his brothers to admit they were “blind.”

Now I rejoice, not because you were made sad, but because you were made sad to the point of repentance. For you were made sad as God intended, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. For sadness as intended by God produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret, but worldly sadness brings about death.
(2 Corinthians 7:9-10 NET.)

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Living by myself - it is easy to go into my "prayer closet". The whole place is a "prayer closet". I do not think it is difficult to go off on your own, you just need to choose to do be isolated. Examples: Roll your windows up, turn off your radio and just pray while driving. Find an empty office or shut your door for a few moments and pray. Pull over into a parking lot and pray. In the mountains, I often pulled over in a rest or scenic area and got out and walked over to a nice vista, and just prayed. etc. Not prostrate, wailing, but just respectful, hands folded, quiet time.

In the last year, I have gone on one men's retreat at my church. I would highly reccomend the experiance. Not only for the prayer time and spiritual nature of the weekend, but for the opportunity to meet other like-minded people in your church. Do not stay with people you know in the church. There are a lot of people who have families, committments, or just do not hang around church to talk on Sundays. If they are away from those things on a retreat, it is a good time to get to know them and fellowship.

Matt 14:22

Although gospel of John is not a synoptic gospel, it too includes the story of feeding of 5,000+. Included in the recount is this verse:

"Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself." - John 6:15

The Jewish people were waiting for a Messiah that would be a king, sit on David's throne, and throw off the yoke of Roman oppression. They were expecting a MAN, to many the idea of God coming in Man's body was not possible. The simple reason was: God would become corrupted if in a man's body. Maybe they were influenced in this thought by Greek and Roman mythology - I don't really know?

So the Crowd wanted to make Jesus king by force, and since the Disciples were also Jewish I maintain that they also were caught up with this idea of Jesus as king.

Jesus went up into the mountain, but he also made, constrained, forced the disciples into the boat (matt 14:22, mark 6:45) (Gk. Anagkazo). My conjecture is that he wanted to separate his disciples from the train of thought going on in the crowd.

Perhaps in Jesus' quiet time on the mountain, he prayed for the crowd, but I think he was praying especially for the disciples. When the time was right, in God's will and led by the Father, Jesus came to the disciples "walking on water". Perhaps to show them AGAIN that he was not purely a MAN but Diety.

I always marvel at how the disciples saw all this evidence of the diety of Christ, but in times of stress or tumult would waver in their understanding. (Just like us???)

The important point here is Jesus did not perform this miracle off the cuff, but consulted God the Father in prayer. Just like we should do, especially during pivotal times in our lives.

To Mike's question about retreats and time alone with God I was impressed with how Jesus did leave the crowd to be alone with God. Just yesterday I led the life group leaders at my church through an interactive discussion on an article called "Moving from Solitude to Community to Ministry." The article was a compilation of writings of Henri Nouwen. You can find the article at www.NextReformation.com.

IN the article Nouwen makes the point that Jesus had this spiritual rhythm in his life of being alone with the Father (solitude)and then coming down and choosing the 12 (community) and then taking them into ministry when he took them to the crowds to heal and help. You can see this pattern in Luke 6:12-19. Although it says in Mark 1:35 that he arose a great while before day we also see him going to pray all night. I guess Jesus was a morning and night person.
The point for me is that I need to make sure these times dialoguing with God through the One year bible is a time of authentic solitude. It's out of this time that I develop the keen awareness of 'others'--seeking for community, and that I realize that community nor bible reading in solitude are ends in themeselves, but that God intends to bless others through us by empowering us through solitude and community to serve others in our world and faith communities.

One of the tendencies I see in people is to keep consuming and consuming lots of spiritual input without ever becoming channels of blessing. Instead they end up like the Dead Sea with no flow out.
I pray that as our one year bible blog community continues to journey that God will use each one of us wherever we are in the world to bless others as we "hold out the word of life" Philippians 2:16

Have you not been given a dream/vision/word/phophecy by the Lord & when it comes to fruition you cry out of humbleness to the Hand of the Almighty Lord God?!?!?! I know that I do...I cry when He confirms what He gives me in dreams/visions/words of knowdlege/prophecy. It is a humble & contrite heart that He loves & will not turn away from. I think Joseph was so humbled by what God had given him when he/Joseph was young & then confirming everything He told him/Joseph was very very humbled & of course, he loved his family. He knew that all that had happened was God's hand & that is very very humbling indeed...to see it lived out & to be a part of it...it is beyond our comprehension & it humbles us greatly.

"Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn {us} but He will heal us; He has wounded {us} but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him. "So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth." --Hosea 6:1-3

"The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times {brighter} like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted." --Isaiah 30:26

Joseph was not playing mind games, I beleive he was being obedient to the whishperings of the Lord. Everything played out just like it was supposed to & God was glorified once again. Nothing is coincidence with God in our lives. He is soveriegn & always in control, even though it may not seem so to our finite minds. His ways are not our ways for sure.

jan

I just found it amazing that the disciples saw Jesus turn 5 loaves and 2 fish into enough food for over 5000....but realised after he walked on water that he was the son of God and worshiped him...

ok, i'll be the lone gun on the joseph. yes, he was definitely trying to trick them. whether or not this was to cause confession or not i don't know. headgames were definitely involved! my curiousity is with the fact that joshua was a bit of a trickster himself. since joseph was favored by his father, perhaps we now know why.

Regarding Peter walking on the water. He could not have walked on the water if he had not first gotten into the boat. That is the first requirement, get into the boat. He couldn't walk under the water, he couldn't go around the water, he had to get in the boat. We cannot have miracles unless we first get on board. Jesus is the only way.

Interestingly the current phrase is 'If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat!

I guess it depends where you count the start of the journey. Anyway...

Firstly I wanted to say Thank You for showing me a part of the picture I hadn't seen before; about josephs actions protecting and providing for his family and therefore preserving his line. It seem obvious now, but it's quite important I think.

Secondly, if being a diciple of christ is all about having a relationship with God, then everything else becomes a response to that relationship? Be it what we do, how we think, the way we treat people etc etc Whatever we fill our time up is meaningless unless we've first spent time communing with God; in whatever way we need to.

Often Christians are the worst people to be around when you want to spend time with God!

the images they interesse me so much so I would like to get more information about bible

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