The gods of the World or
The King of Kings?
Praying this finds you safe and prospering in the Lord. This has been a challenging winter. Weather patterns have been most unusual and quite intense. Spring officially arrives in little more than a month so be encouraged!
In reading the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis this week I could not help but wonder who we are in our family, whether it be our family of origin, our church family or the family of our community. Joseph was the beloved son of Jacob. Jacob loved Joseph more than his other children as he was a son born to him in his later years. He even made Joseph a coat of many colors. Joseph’s brothers resented this and plotted to kill him.
Guard Your Dreams!
In addition, Joseph was quite the dreamer. Perhaps his mistake was sharing the dreams God gave him with brothers who were not in the same place. They resented him and plotted to remove him from the family. Have you ever had a dream and shared it with someone who did not receive it well?
Perhaps they proceeded to tell you how foolish you are for even daring to dream. Perhaps they began to resent you and would snipe at you every chance they had. Perhaps they completely cut you out of their life. So went the story of Joseph.
Jacob sent Joseph to check on his brothers who were feeding their flocks. When they saw him they conspired to kill him. One brother, Reuben, said not to kill him but leave him in a pit with no water in the wilderness. God sent a band of Ishmaelites traveling to Egypt. Joseph was lifted from the pit and sold to the Ishmaelites. His brothers took Joseph’s coat, dipped it in goat blood and took it to their father. He grieved for his son who surely had been killed. Imagine the depth of deception and cover-up all in the name of jealousy and resentment. So went the story of Joseph.
Guard Your Heart!
Have you ever felt abandoned in a pit? Has it felt like a barren wilderness? Although jealousy and resentment may not result in such drastic measures today they are no less evil and mean-spirited. Check your heart now. Do you find any jealousy or resentment of another who appears to be walking an easier path than you? Perhaps there is someone who is joyful despite their circumstances and you find that hard to understand. Maybe you just do not ‘get’ another person so you resent them and in talking about them to others you are actually plotting their demise in whatever social circle you share. Check your heart now. Jealousy and resentment can manifest in so many ways, each of which is corrosive to your spirit over time.
God’s Favor Opens Palace Doors
Joseph is sold into slavery; he gains favor with the Pharaoh, is falsely accused of adultery by Pharaoh’s wife, and is then thrown into prison. He gains favor with the keeper of the prison, helps the butler in prison but this assistance is forgotten for a time as the butler returns to the palace. Pharaoh seeks someone to interpret his dreams and Joseph is brought from the prison. After all he had endured Joseph stands before Pharaoh in humility and says that it is not he, Joseph, but God alone that can give Pharaoh his answers. The dreams are interpreted and Pharaoh elevates Joseph over the entire land of Egypt saying, “Forasmuch as God hath shown thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as you are.” (Genesis 41:39)
Joseph has gone from a seventeen year old youth with his family through unimaginable trials to be elevated at the age of thirty to steward the land of Egypt. Through it all Joseph had favor because the Lord was with him. He chose to follow God’s ways and not the ways of the world. Even after he had his own children in Egypt he named them Manasseh and Ephraim, meaning, “God has made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house…For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41:51-52) Did he forget his family? No, he simply forgot the evil done to him and allowed the Lord to cleanse his heart and move forward and be fruitful in his life. Check your heart now. Do you hold any animosity against anyone? Allow the Lord to cleanse your heart and go forth and be fruitful in your life.
The Blessing of an Open Heart
In summary, Joseph’s family comes to Egypt and finds their long lost brother and son. Joseph opens his heart to his family. Pharaoh opens the land to Joseph’s family and they dwell in abundance despite the great famine of the time. Joseph even told his family, “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life….God sent me before you…to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God…” (Genesis 45:5, 7-8) So goes the story of Joseph.
How do you handle past grievances? Do you ruminate over the situation(s) and cast blame? Do you try to elevate yourself above having any contribution to the circumstance? Check your heart now. Know that God goes before you in every situation. He is your rear guard. He is with you always. Are you living as if this is true or are you living as if all that happens is somehow a plot to thwart your joy and peace?
Check your heart now.
Look at your relationship dynamics this week. Could you be the Joseph sent ahead to preserve life? What Joseph endured was huge! But God raised him up in time of famine to be able to bless his family and the land in which he lived. Are you raised up ‘for such a time as this’ to be the blessing in your family and community despite past or present circumstances? It really is not about you after all.
Choose this day whom you will serve. Will it be the gods of division and strife, jealousy and resentment, or the Lord, Jesus Christ? If you really choose to follow and serve the Lord your life is in His hands. Your life becomes about Him and His ways not about you and your ways. Consider the story of Joseph this week. Check your heart now and rise up ‘for such a time as this!’
Quotes to Ponder This Week
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” ~Jesus,Matthew 5:9
“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~Jesus, Matthew 28:20
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” ~Joshua 24:15
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulations produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” ~Romans 5:3-5
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ….” ~Romans 16:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” ~2 Corinthians 5:17
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:18 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” ~James 1:2-3
“Reflect upon your present blessings—of which every man has many—not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ~Charles Dickens
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.” ~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A Prayer Request
Thank you for your continued faithfulness to pray. Please keep all who serve our country, our servicemen and women and their families in prayer for salvation and safety. They are our front-line on the battlefield, let us be their front-line in the spirit. Also, let us cover all who have come home wounded that they and their families will receive the kindness, help and support they need to go forward in their lives.
God bless all our diplomatic and military personnel and their families. May the Lord keep them safe. Pray for all throughout the world for hedges of protection against radical Muslim extremists and all forms of terrorism. We have long prayed for spiritual victory over radical Islam in Esther’s Warriors Ministry. We now see the reality of this threat come to the forefront in this time in world history.
Please pray for all in authority over us, for the full truth to come forth concerning Benghazi and for safety in Israel. May God richly bless the United States of America, bring to light every single crooked place and keep her safe. May we may arise united once again as One Nation Under God in this auspicious season in our country’s history.
We continue to pray for truth to prevail as we saturate this country in prayer and stand for all that is right in America and for all of us who call ourselves American. These are treacherous times and now more than ever we must maintain our walk. Fail not in this hour.
Please Join Me in Prayer
Father we thank You for each and every person You bring into our life. Teach us to move past our human frailties and arise with Your grace and mercy toward all. Jesus, give us Your heart of compassion and forgiveness. Teach us Your ways that we may be ambassadors without chains to bring Your Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. We pray this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen and amen.