Holiness – it’s a word we don’t hear a lot or generally feel comfortable using these days even in church.
The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 1:15 “But as He who called you is Holy, you also be Holy in all your conduct“.
Our Pastor says when you think of being Holy just think it’s being separated and different to the world because of Jesus.
It seems to me that when we try to be Holy ourselves (apart from Jesus) then it just becomes a religious list of dos and don’ts which lead to frustration and guilt when we fail.
We can end up doing lots of works with little fruit.
A wise person said “Holiness will take care of itself when we see ourselves as the Holy people of God with a Holy destiny“.
The way of holiness is living in and through Jesus.
In Revelation 2 Jesus says to the Church at Ephesus:
“I know your works, your labour, your patience and that you cannot bear those who are evil, and you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars, and you have persevered and have patience and have laboured for My name’s sake and have not become weary, Nevertheless I have this against you; that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen and repent and do the first works“
Jesus said they were patient, hardworking, persistent, hated evil – but they no longer had a fervent love for Christ and God out of which their works were to flow.
They had lost their first love.
Jesus said the greatest commandment is “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind” and then “to love your neighbour as yourself“:
I like to think this expression of love unto God and others is Holiness in action.
Today’s post is no. 8 in my series on Joseph. We have already considered Joseph’s character and what was different about Joseph from his 11 brothers. Today is considering why Joseph’s brothers behaved as they did. If it is helpful here is the link to my earlier post on those behaviours Joseph Hero of the Faith (3)
Where did these bad character traits come from.
The answer is in the bible. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, we are all born into sin. That is our human condition. Reading the bible we see that there were these particular sinful characteristics which ran through this family and their influence increased through the generations. We are familiar I am sure with phrases such as “Like Father, Like Son” or “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.
The bible doesn’t whitewash sin or sinful behaviour and it presents the people of the bible to us warts and all. We see their good parts but we also see their flaws, weaknesses and sinful nature. We only have to read the account of King David to see this. This is why the bible stories are so relatable and we can still learn from people who lived many generations before us.
The first thread of sinful behaviour which really stands out in the family line is Deception.
Examples: – Abraham pretending Sarah was his sister rather than his wife. (Genesis 12:13 and 20:2). This was not a complete lie so there was some truth mixed in. It was only a half-truth though and Abraham purposely did not tell the whole truth which was then misleading and had consequences for others. He kept back the whole truth because of fear.
Deception with a mix of truth is especially dangerous. It’s one way that we as Christians can be vulnerable to false doctrines and teachings today. You can read more about the dangers of deception here Deception – The Gibeonites Story
This same deceitful behaviour was repeated by Abraham’s son Isaac who also pretended his wife Rebekah was his sister (Genesis 26:7) Again the root cause was fear.
Rebekah takes deception further when she persuades her son, Jacob to impersonate his brother Esau and deceives Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing which belonged to Esau. (Genesis 27:6-23). The root cause here being selfish ambition. A blessing stolen.
“ Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing”
There are many more examples of deceitful behaviour spreading its influence through all branches of the family -Uncle Laban deceives Jacob into marrying Leah, Jacob’s sons deceive the schecemites and kill them (Genesis 34: 13-31), Jacob’s sons lied to Jacob that Joseph had been eaten by wild animals and was dead (Genesis 37:29-35)
The other sinful trait which influences this family is Envy and Jealousy.
Examples: Sarah became jealous of Hagar and her son Ishmael (Genesis 16:5-6), Jacob was jealous of Esau, Rachel was jealous of her sister Leah’s children (Genesis 30:1), Leah was also jealous of Rachel’s relationship with Jacob (Genesis 30:5), Laban’s sons became jealous of Jacob (Genesis 31:1). Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him.
This jealousy led to actions which had consequences for all involved. You can read more about the dangers of jealousy here Beware of Jealousy.
The next bad characteristic is Favouritism
Rebekah favoured Jacob over Esau (Genesis 25:28), Isaac favoured Esau over Jacob (Genesis 25:28), Jacob favoured Rachel (Genesis 29:30) Jacob favoured Joseph (Genesis 37) and Joseph favoured Benjamin (Genesis 43:34).
One of the problems with favouritism is it leads to families becoming fractured and split. People take sides. Factions are developed and there is disunity. Resentment, bitterness and anger start to foster and an often overlooked one – Rivalry develops.
Rachel and Leah become rivals for Jacob’s love and affection. They were rivals in who could give him most children which led to the involvement of their handmaidens to provide more and more children. This rivalry influenced their children and the subsequent relationships between the brothers. This was not a harmonious family and so it did not take much to stir up resentment between Joseph and his brothers.
These sinful traits all feed off and influence each other and they got stronger in each generation. The same traits also came through both lines of the family. They were destructive forces in the lives of these families and we see the effects.
This is the problem with the inherent nature of sin. It’s desire is to have us and master us. Once we open the door to it then it’s influence slowly spreads like poison affecting not just us but those around us.
The Lord warned Cain about sin and how it wanted to work in his life.
“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Genesis 4:7
How then can we rule over sin in our lives.
The good news is that we can and there is a way. Jesus Christ is the answer. Jesus has broken the power of sin over us through His death and resurrection and now through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, we can rule over sin rather than sin ruling us.
Through Christ Jesus, we as disciples of Jesus do not have to accept the things of the past. We can get off that treadmill of sinful behaviour.
The influence of sin and it’s bad fruit can be broken in our lives. Our old sinful nature has been crucified with Christ Jesus and we take up our cross daily. We confess our sins and He is faithful through His great mercy and love to forgive us our sins.
God is at work in us for His good pleasure and God desires to bring about change in us. We do not have to persuade Him. God wills to do it. Hallelujah. It is God’s desire to help us rule over sin in our lives.
We become new creations in Christ Jesus. The old has gone and the new life in God’s Spirit has come.
We no longer have to accept the influence of bad character or believe the lie that “I have always been this way and always will ” or “I can’t change, I have my father’s issues”. To agree with that thinking is to deny the power of the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Change is possible through Jesus.
If we accept the truth about Jesus. Submit our lives to Jesus and allow the power of the Holy Spirit to work in us there can be change that is not just one off but will transform our thinking and behaviours for a lifetime.
That change may be instant in some areas of our lives but in others it may require time as we work out our salvation and learn to walk in the Spirit. We fall but we get back up again. We help and support each other with our struggles and weaknesses.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.“ Galatians 5:19-26
Thank you Lord that you have redeemed us from the power of sin in our lives and that you help us in our weaknesses. Refine us Lord and teach us your ways that we may walk like you. Amen.
My dear children – you are all children in my sight, dear and beloved to me.
How my heart aches for you. How my heart longs to take you in my arms and remove the burdens you are carrying.
I am here – just waiting for you.
Waiting to lift you up in my arms and carry you through the night.
Do you hear me calling to you? Do you hear my still small voice crying out to you?
Do not try and block out my voice. Do not fill your hearts and lives with worldly things which would stifle my still small voice.
Make room in your hearts for me. Make room.
Some of you need to clean out the house, to make room so that I can come in and sup with you and talk to you and make you mine.
Some of you have squeezed me into the smallest room of your heart and tried to close the door and keep me in that small space. You will not allow me to have access to the parts which I need to access – the parts which need healing, cleansing and release.
Some of you have opened up a parlour, the best room, where I am invited to sit.
Where everything to outward appearances is swept clean and tidy – all rubbish hidden out of view – a room where a fire burns and which seems welcoming and inviting and where everything appears to be alright – but you are not comfortable with me.
You are not comfortable in my presence and you do not know how to be comfortable with me.
You are not really comfortable with my presence because you are fearful that I will want to go into the other rooms and all the other rooms are barred to me.
You are ashamed of them.
You feel that they are not good enough for me.
You feel that I would not want to really see inside those rooms – rooms which are dirty, unclean, cluttered, and full of things which you are ashamed of –
those are the very rooms I need to go into with you and help you clean. Help you bring warmth and light into those rooms.
Those areas of your life which you are ashamed of – those areas of your life which you try and keep me out of and pretend do not exist.
I am not fooled.
I want to come into all areas. I want to be able to access all areas of your life and your hearts.
Do not be afraid my children. Do not be afraid.
If you will open the door then I will come in and we will eat together. We will talk together, we will commune together. I made you, created you, I know you better than you know yourselves. I will not be shocked or outraged by anything in your life or in your heart. If you are willing to submit to me completely then I will come in and do a work in you. I will restore you and refresh you.
Some of you ran well once. Who interrupted your race? Who hardened your heart against me? Who deafened your ears and muffled my voice? Who stole away your desire to be with me and the intimacy that we once enjoyed? Who stole your first love?
I am the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I sit at the right hand of my father in heaven. I am not a thief or a trespasser. I do not enter in where I am not invited.
Do not keep me out of my rightful place in your heart and in your life. I want to take up my rightful place in your heart and in your life. Let me take up my rightful place.
Come to me and submit yourself to me. Open the door and let me into my rightful place. Open the door and let me into the closed places.
I am King and Lord of all and there is no other but me. Let me come in. Do not leave it any longer. The time has come to let me be King and Lord in my rightful place.
For the time will come when I will no longer be stood here knocking.
Let me in to that locked and darkened room in your heart so that I may bring my light and my healing touch.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
A friend used this word “atrophy” in an email to me this week. It immediately got my attention as it’s such an unusual word. It reminded me of this post from early 2020 so I wanted to share it again today.
Atrophy means the partial or complete wasting away of part of a physical body.
A sense of shrinking and weakness in body mass and muscle tone. An entire limb can become atrophied and withered and incapable of movement.
There are several things which can cause Atrophy in a body but these ones caught my attention:
Disuse/Lack of Exercise -When muscles are not used or you are immobile for long periods of time then Atrophy can set in. We are called into active service in Christ Jesus and to pick up our cross and follow Him. We are called to give and serve others, to exercise the giftings which God gives us through the Holy Spirit. To serve others and be a blessing to them. To show God’s love in action. There are plenty of opportunities to serve within the body of Christ and the communities we live in. If we are not using and exercising the talents & gifts which God has given us then they will wither. We are called to be a voice crying in the wilderness “Prepare the way of the Lord”. We are called to be light in the darkness. God is rallying his church and the trumpet is sounding – wake up and start to work for the Lord because the day is short. The good news is that this sort of Atrophy can be cured by exercise unless it is too severe. It is never too late to start working for the Lord – He will always make a way. Trust in the Lord and do good.
Poor Nourishment – if we do not feed our physical bodies properly then they will suffer. Muscles will lose mass and our bodies will start to shut down if no nourishment is given. Similarly, the body of Christ will suffer if it is not feeding on the Word of God and in fellowship with Christ – the bread of life. The challenge is -What are we feeding on? If we feed on worldly rubbish or false teachings and doctrines then we will suffer. We need a diet of God’s word and His truths.
Mutations -these are things that should not be part of the body and they cause damage – they attack it from within. In a spiritual sense I believe that Atrophy in the body of Christ is caused by sinful, immoral & selfish behaviour – there is no fruit of the Spirit. It is like a disease which spreads from within. The bible teaches us how a root of bitterness is such a thing – it causes much damage to others. Jealousy, gossip, unforgiveness and such things should not be within the body of Christ. Wolves in sheep’s clothing do not belong in the body of Christ and will certainly cause damage. The bible warns us against them and their works. Jesus says we will know them by their fruits.
Poor Circulation – If we do not have the living Christ, the life & power of the Holy Spirit and God’s love flowing through us then we will have poor circulation. If we are not in unity with one another then there will be a blockage in God’s love and blessings being manifested throughout the body of Christ. Those parts of the body which are not flowing in the Spirit of God will not prosper – their growth will be stunted. We need to connect into God’s amazing power and for the life giving blood of Jesus to pump through us.
I pray that we, the body of Christ, will not suffer Atrophy but will be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
That we will put off lethargy and sin which can so easily ensnare us and will rise in service of the King of Kings & Lord of Lords.
That we will put our hands to the plough and not look back and we will run the race of faith with patience and endurance.
Let us not be weary in doing good for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart – Galatians 6:9.
Let us rise up like the Eagle and run and not faint.
Morning everyone. I am returning to the story of Joseph today. Although this is post 6 in this series on Joseph, I feel like I have only scratched the surface of what we can learn from Joseph’s story. I encourage you to read and study the biblical account of Joseph as I am confident the Holy Spirit will show you more truth and applications to help you in your journey of faith.
So today’s post is about Temptation and Self-Control.
Self-Control is a characteristic and fruit of the Holy Spirit which is so contrary to the world’s culture which is very much about giving in to temptation and getting immediate satisfaction for our desires. I’m thinking of those things that are seen as almost an entitlement. I have heard people say…I’ve worked hard, or I’ve had a disappointing/stressful day, or so and so doesn’t give me what I need…so I DESERVE IT. Those are danger signs to wrong thinking and lead to self focus and self gratification.
That is not the characteristics we see in Joseph. We read that Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph and it was a relentless daily pursuit. She really tried hard to get him to give in to sexual immorality and lust. The temptation especially for a young man like Joseph must have been hard to resist. It wasn’t just the sexual temptation either. Joseph had been betrayed, abandoned and was all alone in a foreign country. His desire for a relationship and emotional comfort must have been great. The enemy of our soul knows our weak areas and will try to exploit them. There can be many doorways for temptation to lead us astray and away from God’s truth and His plan. We need to recognise our weaknesses and the triggers in our lives to harmful behaviours and be wise. Get support from trusted people who will help and speak truth into our lives.
We know from the story that Joseph didn’t give into the temptation. He escaped and ran away. That’s a wise example for us to follow. Get ourselves out of there. If we struggle with certain weaknesses then don’t stay or associate in the wrong places or with the wrong company. Bad company corrupts good morals.
The bible says that with every temptation God will provide a way of escape. That is Godly wisdom that needs to be applied in our lives. Don’t put yourself in potentially compromising situations. Don’t fall for the lies of the enemy to “test” yourself by putting yourself in such situations.
Let us be led by the Spirit of God otherwise pride can lead to a fall. Beware of those who seek to appeal to your flesh.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
There are times when we do have to face temptation squarely in the face and it is Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit working in us which helps us to overcome and break those temptations. We crucify our flesh and it’s desires to Christ. We say No and reject those desires. When we do the power of those things can be broken in our lives and they don’t control us any more. Jesus delivers us from them.
Jesus can empathise with us in our situations because he himself was tempted directly by the devil himself, 3 times. Each time, Jesus rebuked the devil with the word of God. “It is written”. The living Word is the power of God to us too. Jesus said that because He overcame the world then we can too. That gives us hope to know that the power of these things will be broken for us too.
If we do fall into temptation then God is merciful to rescue us and redeem us and get us back on track. We need to repent and come back to righteousness because otherwise we will end up in a worse state than before. The bible warns us of this.
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:20-22
Let us encourage ourselves and meditate on these words today from the Apostle Paul which are biblical truths for us to apply:
Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:16-25
I want to re-share this post today which is from a word that the Lord gave me in August 2020. I believe that it is still a warning the Lord wants us to hear especially in these days and in times ahead. Please read, pray, weigh and test.
You will hear a rumour or a word that “The Lord is there ” – Jehovah Shammah” but the Lord says do not be fooled.
This morning the Lord impressed this word to me:
The Lord says that in the past many have run after the manifestations of who they believed was the Holy Spirit, because of a deep hunger to meet the Lord and encounter His presence, but these have often been false manifestations and have led people into the wrong things and opened up a door in their lives to the enemy by accepting a false anointing or a false spirit to oppress them.
The Lord says that you don’t have to run after manifestations of His glory. The glory of the Lord is coming to you.
Wait patiently for the Lord he says – He will come. He will not disappoint you.
The Lord says that He has already warned us in His Word not to run after such manifestations or people that claim to be Him. He says not to do it -for if you do then you will be deceived.
As the lightning streaked across the sky as it did in the storms that roared across this nation in the night and which all could see clearly in the sky, then so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.
Do not be deceived. Do not go running after false manifestations of the Holy Spirit and the Lord’s glory.
You will know the awesome presence of the Lord for He is Holy and where He is – is Holy.
You will not be able to stand in His presence. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. He is Lord and there is no other.
The Lord does things according to His Word (the Bible). He does not act outside of His Word.
Keep the Word of God close to your heart. Feed on the Word of God. Be guided by the Word and do not be deceived for many false prophecies and false words are circulating at the moment.
Many false prophets and leaders are rising up in this hour to lead His people astray. Do not be deceived says the Lord. Say true to His Word – Put your trust in God and do not be deceived. God is faithful and He is true. He will sustain you and protect you at these times.
Watchmen – Take your place on the city walls. Arise and look out at the horizons.
What do you see? Warn the body of Christ. Sound the alarm. You need to watch in these days ahead says the Lord.
There is an acceleration now occurring and things will happen fast. There is a suddenly approaching – Look & Wait.
Sound the alarm when the time comes and warn the body of Christ.
I am reminded of these scriptures from Matthew 24:
24 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives,( the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming( and of the end of the age?
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.(5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.( You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted( and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 0 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,11 and many false prophets( will appear and deceive many people.
12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom( will be preached in the whole world(as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place(‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.17 Let no one on the housetop( go down to take anything out of the house.18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 0 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.21 For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equalled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders( to deceive, if possible, even the elect.25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.27 For as lightning( that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven,with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[ is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,but only the Father.(37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,(up to the day Noah entered the ark;39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.( 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.(43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant,(whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Those are the words that the Lord spoke to me yesterday at church during our Easter service.
That is the truth of the power of the Cross of Jesus Christ and His shed blood in our lives.
When we come to and through the Cross of Jesus and understand and experience the Cross, we are changed.
We are transformed by its power.
The old person is no longer. We are new creations in Christ.
Transformation means a complete change in the character or appearance of someone especially so that person is IMPROVED.
We cannot NOT be changed by the Cross. We are changed for the better.
We are intended to become the best version of ourselves that God intended us to be through the power of the Cross.
It is a simple but powerful truth.
The Cross of Jesus is the place of transformational change.
You are not the same person you were before you came to and through the Cross of Jesus. Don’t rely on feelings, accept that truth and apply the truth daily in your life. There will then be fruit of the change that will show in your life.
Your circumstances may not have changed, they may never change but YOU HAVE CHANGED IN YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES. You now look at your circumstances from a different vantage point. You look at them from God’s perspective.
Do you want to change? Then come to the Cross of Jesus Christ. It is the only place where you will meet the Truth in person, Jesus, He who has the power to change you and for the better.
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
As we have already seen in the previous post, Joseph demonstrated patience and long suffering through his troubles, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit of God.
Joseph also showed that there was no bitterness or desire for vengeance in his heart even after all that had happened to him. When the opportunity arose for Joseph to take revenge on all those who had wronged him, when he was in a position of authority and power as second only to Pharaoh to be able to do so, he chose mercy and forgiveness instead.
Its when you have the power yourself to inflict wounding on those who have wronged you but you refuse to do so, that is the power of God in action. When you bless them, that is the power of God in action. When you feed them, that is the power of God in action. When you love them that is the power of God in action.
Joseph was willing to help the Egyptians in their greatest hour of need. These were the same people who had cruelly mistreated him, enslaved him and wrongly imprisoned him. They were foreigners to him, not his tribe or nation. He had no loyalty to them or reason to help them.
Joseph was also willing to help his family, those who had once betrayed him, stripped him of his robe, tried to kill him, put him in a pit with no water or food, sold him into slavery, and abandoned him. He could have sent them packing when they came begging for bread but he didn’t. He had the power of life and death in his hand. He chose to grant them life and provide for them.
Joseph showed incredible forgiveness towards his brothers for their betrayal and cruel treatment of him. Not just in word but as we have seen in and through his actions as well.
Jesus gave a similar command to us, His followers:
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.
35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.
Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27-36.
Joseph’s brothers themselves could not understand how Joseph could possibly have forgiven them. You see they still thought as ungodly men. They were worried that Joseph would change his behaviour once Jacob was dead so they pretended that Jacob had told them on his deathbed that Joseph had to forgive them.
They failed to understand the grace and mercy that Joseph showed them. That is why God chose Joseph over them. They couldn’t grasp the ability to forgive and not seek revenge.
Some people cannot understand how God can forgive us our sins and all the cruelty and wickedness in this world but He does through Christ. Jesus has paid the price for all our sins, justice has been met and now there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus who himself forgave his enemies from the cross. Freely we have received so freely give.
Today we consider Joseph’s character and what it was about Joseph which made him different from his brothers and a man after God’s heart.
Joseph was an example of long suffering and patience. It was 20/22 long years until the fulfillment of the prophetic dreams which God gave to Joseph. What must Joseph have been thinking throughout that time, especially when everything happening to him was the complete opposite of his dreams. He was a slave and imprisoned. The lowest of the low in status. Joseph showed incredible long suffering and patience throughout his ordeal. How did he keep going.
Joseph didn’t have the benefit at the start of seeing the big picture and how the story panned out. God chose to give Joseph two dreams when he was a young man – the sheaves of wheat bowing to his sheave of wheat and the 11 stars, sun and moon bowing down to him so Joseph knew only in part that he was destined for greatness from the interpretation of the dreams.
There are no examples in Joseph’s story of the Lord speaking directly to Joseph, giving him direct revelation, no burning bush experience or records of any angelic visitations to Joseph.
However, there are two verses (Genesis 39:2 & 21) which speak volumes and where it specifically says that “God was with Joseph”.
Those verses can be life changing when we take hold of them. The assurance of knowing God is with you.
That is what enabled Joseph to keep going and endure. Joseph knew and had confidence that God was with him. If God is for us who can be against us. Oh the confidence that must have inspired in Joseph to know that God was with him. That God had not forgotten or forsaken him even though his circumstances would suggest it. We must be careful not to harden our hearts towards God when we are going through difficult times, when can’t see the whole plan and we see only in part. Keeping our faith and trusting that God will never leave us or forsake us.
God still speaks today through dreams, visions, prophecies and we can make the mistake of thinking they are “now” words for this present time or the immediate future. We have to learn to submit the timing to God. The fulfilment may actually be for years in the future. We need to practice patience while we wait.
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.“ Habakkuk 2:3
Don’t give up on your vision – is it time to revive something God gave you years ago? Have you given up on it? Don’t get discouraged – wait for it – if God has promised it – it will happen.
Joseph learnt patience from the things he endured. The Spirit of God was in him as the Egyptians recognised.
Patience and long suffering are not popular concepts in this current worldly culture of instant gratification. Dare I say it – They are not popular in the church either. They are Godly characteristics though which we are to pursue as the fruit of the Holy Spirit which the Lord wants us to bear.
Let this be our prayer today:
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4