January 18, 2010

Gen 43-45: The Hidden Call of God

Posted in Israel, Redemption tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:54 pm by Steve

One of the first things I noticed about this passage was that the writer now almost exclusively refers to Jacob as Israel. The change has been made from just a family problem to a national identity.

The fact that Joseph is overcome with emotion and looks for a place to weep lets the reader know that Joseph is not just playing games but his heart is sincere. People may say many things and do things that on the outside look one way or another, but tears reveal what’s really in the heart.

The main point of the Joseph Story: Our Perspective is limited when God’s Grace is

“it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you” 45:5

Joseph finally shares with his brothers that Joseph’s life in Egypt, their evil [notice Joseph doesn’t hide this fact], and the sorrow they have experienced has had a divine purpose which none of them could have foreseen. Joseph’s dream has finally been realized but in way he could never have imagined.

Have you ever asked God for a blessing? Did you ever want to be in a position of power, authority, and prestige? Be careful, for the road to success, in God’s plans, is usually paved with sorrow and a new understanding of what it means to be great!

“The greatest among you must the be servant of all” Matthew 23:11

Father God, when we are troubled, anxious about tomorrow, or doubt whether You grace is sufficient to save us, help us to remember Joseph and that even in the midst of storms in our lives, You have never abandoned us, but have placed us where we can do the most good. Help to gain a new perspective, to serve where we can serve, to give what we can give, and wait for the revelation of Your plan in our lives. This in pray, humbly, in Jesus’ name. Amen

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January 9, 2010

Discover Hope

Posted in Vision tagged , , , , , , at 4:58 pm by Steve

Faith makes things possible ~ Love makes them easy!

I believe that once you have hope, everything become possible. But I also believe that real hope begins with God. There simply is no true, lasting hope in this world without God. God is the great artist who made us and the world in which we live. God is the Father who loves His children and will never give up on them. The God is the teacher who wants to give our lives meaning and purpose. Until we accept this reality, nothing else will really make sense.

If you’ve tried to make it without God, to do it all on your own, then you probably know how frustrating it can be. Living up to someone else’s standards, always comparing yourself and your life to others is an act of futility with no possible end. Without God’s power, we have no hope of overcoming our struggles. Without God’s mercy, we have no hope of overcoming our past. Without the meaning that God offers, without the sense of purpose that he provides, we have no hope of overcoming the emptiness that a godless life becomes.

While we certainly don’t know everything about God, we can learn a lot about God by looking at what he has done, what others have experienced and learned, and by what He has chosen to reveal about Himself. He created this world and everything in it, which shows us that he is creative, life-giving, and powerful beyond anything we can imagine. God revealed himself, His character and purpose through the patriarchs, prophets and saints that encountered God and developed a relationship with Him.  The Bible reminds us that He is not an aloof God, but one who desires to interact with His creation. God has told us the things that are necessary to know Him and live as we were originally created to live.  These are not arbitrary rules and regulations, but things that actually restore healthy living and meaning to us.

We also see in the Bible that God made promises, and God always kept his promises. Some of those promises concern things that are still to come, and we believe that one day they will be fulfilled. He has promised to do things for us in this life, and he has promised that when this life is over, he will provide a life for us that will have no end.

Our belief in God and our trust in his promises fill our lives with hope. God wants to be in a relationship with us. Today. He wants us to talk with him every day. He wants to provide what we need for this life and eventually provide us with a life that doesn’t end. What better hope could there be than that?