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Friday, February 26, 2010

leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 1:17, But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live.

The Hebrews were an enslaved people living under many restrictions and deprivations. For the midwives the opportunity arrived to look out for number one, to make sure of their personal safety. They could ease their situation by simply obeying Pharaoh’s commands and put to death all male babies at birth.

But they feared God.

Shiprah and Puah looked beyond the temporal. Though they themselves could not see God they knew enough about Him to choose the possibility of physical death over spiritual death. God had not yet made clear, in the laws, the worth of a life to Him, but the midwives knew that he valued the lives of these babies.

They would not stop the new births.

They stood for God against the political propaganda of the age. The midwives stood against decisions based on fear and greed.

Whose side am I on? What decisions stand before me? Am I determined to play life safe, no matter what happens, or am I willing to follow God’s leading, no matter the cost? How can I witness to God’s truth in my era of homeless and elderly and cast away children that will extend light to the next generation? O Lord, may I have the courage of the midwives to choose life.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 125:2

As the mountains surround Jerusalem,

So the Lord surrounds His people

From this time forth and forever.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 1:12, But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread out,

Exodus 1:14, and they made their lives bitter with hard labor…

The silence and majesty of a redwood grove are difficult to describe. Quietness seeps inside. We stand hushed in the awesome splendor. Walking along the fern carpeted paths we come closer, and see another view. Many of these giant trees have been scorched by fire. Burnt bark exists in the midst of new growth.

The Egyptians used harsh measures against Israel, yet Israel multiplied. And in the midst of forced toil, Israel’s spiritual hunger grew. Israel remembered their God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and they called to Him for salvation. They turned to God’s promises and to God’s vision to see them through.

We do not deliberately choose bitter paths to follow, but, when they come, we can choose how to bear the burden. We too can return to God, leaning on His strength to cope. In His hands the acrid labor can become beautiful. In His care the dross in our lives can be burned away and leave us gold.

Lord, I need Your vision to seek Your good in the middle of my hard labors. Keep me faithful to endure, to stand, to grow.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 9:9

The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed,

A stronghold in times of trouble,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Leaving Egypt Behind

Scripture: Exodus 1:8, Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.

The past gives us our sense of rootedness in history. We belong. But we cannot live in the past. Daily life pulls us forward. When we try to stay in the past, we become out of touch, immobile.

Nor can we expect others to live in our pasts. Our present relationships are for now. We are responsible for both our actions and attitudes today. The Lord’s compassions are ‘new every morning’. Each day becomes an opportunity for spiritual growth, for renewal, for knowing God.

Why were the Egyptians, who were once so hospitable, now so hostile, despite the fact that Joseph had been forgotten? What kind of day to day relationships existed between Israel and Egypt? At one time inter-action had been good, or at least peaceful. When did the outlook change?

The Egyptians chose harshness. In their minds they acted with wisdom. By systematic coercion they would wear the Israelites down and restore a sense of security for themselves. Their actions resulted from fear. Instead of achieving security, they grew increasingly anxious and intimidated. Israel suffered.

How am I dealing with relationships? Am I holding to past hurts? Do I systematically build walls of silence to protect myself? Or am I lashing out, making sure no one can come close enough to connect?

You, Lord, do not hold our pasts against us. You ask us to live in a new affinity to You each daybreak. May I ,too, extend a clean slate to others in my life this morning.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 103:12

As far as the east is from the west,

So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Welcome to my sowing light seeds blog. Through this blog I hope to share some of the insights and questions I've struggled to understand and hope you will share some of yours too. My glimpses for my writing and for my own daily choices most often come through reading and stories. It's there I can identify with the conflicts and decisions characters make, whether real or fictional.

Paul encourages believers to, "lay aside the old self...and put on the new self." (Ephesians 4:22-23) The question then becomes how. It continues to surprise me how much relevance for today I find in the scripture stories. Lives are always changing.

One of the most historical journeys is found in the Book of Exodus, and my question became: what exactly gave them the courage to leave Egypt behind and step out in faith toward a new beginning? How can their experiences impact us?

I hope these reflective meditations help you to discover your own mix of prose, poetry, questions and journal insights.

Leaving Egypt Behind

by Marcy Weydemuller

Scripture: Exodus 1:1, (And) "These are the names of the sons of..."

Sometimes in our splintered life-styles we find it difficult to feel a part of anything. Pieces of ourselves become scattered throughout fragmented days until we question who or what we are. Yet each of us is part of a heritage: physical in our families, or spiritual through our churches, or cultural in our languages. We are a connection between past and future whether the link is tenuous, due to an empty sense of belonging, or full to overflowing, we are a piece of a whole. What can or will we pass on? How do we stand in the present?

Israel arrived in Egypt as a family of seventy and there they multiplied exceedingly. Not that the conditions were good. The setting was harsh, the labor bitter. The more they increased the more the Egyptians grew afraid and retaliated with severity. No longer did the Israelites bask in the honor given to Joseph. Joseph was forgotten and the Israelites dreaded.

Separated from their country, separated from self-esteem, separated-many believed-from God. So they cried in despair and removed hope from their children. Seethed in anger and frustration at captivity.

In whose footsteps am I following, Lord? How am I handling my circumstances now? What attitude do I portray? Is there room for growth or am I too busy fighting, arguing and fearing like the Egyptians and Israel that I'm building walls against You? "do not lose heart...for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." You encourage us to look beyond our present. To pass on hope.

Lord, please keep me willing to allow Your spiritual unseen growth to take root in my situations. Help me to use affliction as an opportunity to meet other's needs and to provide understanding and encouragement so that together our pieces become centered in You.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 1:3

And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season,
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
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