Joseph Hero of the Faith (7)

We’ve been looking at Joseph’s character over the last series of posts, which had so much to encourage and teach us about Godly character as disciples of Jesus, but today’s question is Why Egypt? Why was it necessary for the action to take place in Egypt.

Jacobs’ family lived in Canaan. They were shepherds with livestock who moved their flocks around in search of pasture. Their environment and pastures were suitable for that but not for large scale agriculture. The famine that was coming was going to be devastating on an unprecedented scale and preparation was key.

It was not uncommon to have famines in those times. We read in the bible that there had been several famines already. In Abraham & Isaac’s time they had been forced to travel to foreign lands to buy food. This famine was going to be different though. 7 years was a long period of famine. It was going to affect a large number of people.

Where was a fertile place that could produce enough food to sustain the people and surrounding nations over seven long years with planning and preparation. Egypt was the answer. It was a natural resource.

The river Nile regularly flooded and the delta region around the Nile with its mud flats was rich in minerals and natural fertiliser. It was an extremely fertile region and capable of producing great harvests. A land of abundance.

Joseph was found and placed in the place where the resources were. God put those resources in his hands to be a blessing to many.

Has God given you a vision or mission field but at the moment you just don’t see how it’s going to be possible because you don’t have the resources currently. If God has given you the vision then He will provide. He is Jehovah Jireh. The Lord who provides. God knows where the resources are and can make them available to you for His glory and His purposes. God will provide according to His riches in glory.

God can provide not only the resources to make the vision come to pass but can also direct your paths to the place that is ready to receive. Your mission field. The place of harvest. God can take you to a place which is fertile and ready to receive God’s Word. You might already be right in that fertile place. A place where the soil of men’s hearts, through the work of the Spirit of God, been turned from stone into flesh, softened and ready to receive the Good News of Jesus.

Prepared in prayer with tears of intercession for men’s souls. Brother Alan posted recently the passionate plea of John Knox “ Give me Scotland, or I die”. What passion in prayer for the lost. You can read that post here John Knox

The Nile valley was so fertile that any seed which was sown didn’t need to be ploughed into the ground. The ground was so softened by the regular floods it was ready to receive the seed and the seed could immediately take root and grow.

The fields by my home ploughed ready for the seed

The Lord will show us those people whose hearts are prepared ready to receive the Gospel of Jesus. They are out there desperate and thirsty for the gospel. Jesus told His followers that the harvest was great. There are people who are open and desperate to hear the Good News of Jesus.

Then He (Jesus) said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Luke 10:2

One of the greatest lies the enemy would have us believe is that people are not interested in what Christians have to say. They are interested. People are hungry for the Truth and are looking for it in all sorts of places. Be encouraged and bold that the Lord will direct your steps to share with those who are open and ready to receive.

If the ground is hard and not ready to receive then the seed is going to wither and die. Have you seen what happens when a heavy rain storm falls on hard ground. The water can’t penetrate the ground quickly enough and there is flash flooding. The ground was not prepared ready to receive the rain let alone the seed. It doesn’t penetrate the soil but runs off.

We don’t want run off.

We don’t want our words to run off like that water but we want them to penetrate and water the soil of men’s hearts. Ploughed soil is ready to receive. Ground that is broken up is ready to receive the rain. Little raindrops from heaven. Little words sent in due season.

If the soil is not ready to receive then it needs to be prepared. If those around you currently are hard hearted to the gospel message then we can intercede in prayer for them before God’s throne for the Holy Spirit to minister to their minds and hearts. For those hearts of stone to be turned to hearts of flesh. We can cry out for them to God. May our cries reach the ears of our Father in Heaven who sent His son to seek and save that which was lost.

If you are like me then I’m sure you have experienced rejection by people who were just not ready to receive you. It can be discouraging and cause us to hold back in future. I am learning that I need to recognise the conditions and discern when to sow and when to reap. To be led by the Holy Spirit and move on if the conditions are not ready yet.

Jesus told those that He sent out to minister that if there was no Peace in the house i.e the place was not ready to receive them – then their peace would return to them. If the disciples were not received then they were to shake the dust from their feet and move on.

And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.
Matthew 10:14

Even though those disciples must have encountered some of the rejection that Jesus warned them about, they still returned with joy to tell Jesus the things they had accomplished in His name.

We will do likewise. We will rejoice over those who receive Christ and come into the Kingdom of God.

Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:5-6

The seed sprouting in the fields

Transformational Change

Those are the words that the Lord spoke to me yesterday at church during our Easter service.

Transformational Change.

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

There is power in the Cross of Jesus

A plea for Deliverance and Forgiveness

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

O my God, I trust in You;

Let me not be ashamed;

Let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;

Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.

Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.

Lead me in Your truth and teach me,

For You are the God of my salvation;

On You I wait all the day.

Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;

According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.

Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted.

The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses!

Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins.

Consider my enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred.

Keep my soul, and deliver me;

Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.

Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.

Redeem Israel, O God, Out of all their troubles!

Psalm 25:1-7,16-22

The Lord God answered this prayer for deliverance and forgiveness on Good Friday when Jesus, the lamb of God, delivered us from Satan’s grasp and brought us into God’s Kingdom through His blood shed for us. Jesus redeemed us from the judgment and penalty of sin. We are redeemed, sanctified, forgiven and restored into new life in Christ Jesus our Lord. May this be your prayer today. Find Deliverance, Mercy and Forgiveness for your sins in Jesus. Thanks and Praise be to our God. Amen

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I will leave a light on

I was reminded of this post today so decided to re-post #thursdaythrowback

Last night my two daughters went into the City to meet friends and go out. It was going to be a late night so they were either going to stay out at friends or get the night bus home. As was usual my husband had left the outside light on for them coming home in the dark.

However, last night as I went to bed I turned the light off. My husband was surprised and asked why I wasn’t leaving the light on. I replied that the girls had said that they were probably going to stay out with friends or get back early in the morning so there was no point leaving the light on.

Well this morning the Lord spoke these words to my heart – “I will leave a light on“.

Those words are the title of a song which my youngest daughter loves and plays a lot.

Jesus reminded me that we (His followers) are the light of the world.

We carry the light of Christ.

Jesus left a light on when He went back to His Father God in Heaven – He left us.

Jesus hasn’t switched that light off yet.

I will leave a light on.

We show others the way to Jesus by declaring our faith in Him and living out that faith in loving service.

We shine in the darkness and point the way home to God through faith in Jesus the Son.

One day though the reality is that my earthly light will be switched off. I won’t be here anymore to shine the light for others.

I need to shine whilst I can. Whilst I still have the time.

I hope I can leave a legacy of light behind me too.

You may be the only light in your family, your friends, your colleagues, your neighbourhood, your community – the place where the Lord has put you.

Your light is really important so be encouraged and “let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

I really think there is someone who needs to hear this today.

Don’t give up but let your light shine – It will lead someone home to God.

Leave a light on and it will lead that person home – they may be in a dark place at moment, have wandered far from truth, be in a very very dark place but the Lord is saying:

“I will leave a light on” – that light is you.

Don’t let it go out and it will lead them home.

The Valley of Decision

As we enter into Holy Week, I want to re-post this for those who don’t yet know Jesus as Lord and Saviour. I urge you – Please don’t leave it too late to choose to accept and follow Jesus.

If you are in that valley of decision, then I pray that this Easter, the reason for the Cross and the Resurrection will become alive in your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. You will realise the truth, your eyes will be opened and you will repent and choose life in Christ Jesus.

If you have turned away from following Jesus, then I pray you will return to the Father’s House.

Are you ready for the King to return.

I heard the Lord say :

Multitudes, Multitudes in the valley of decision. 

Choose you this day who you will serve.   Who will you bow the knee to and honour as your God?  Who will you serve?  

Will you choose to serve the God of self or will you crucify the flesh and it’s wicked desires and submit yourself to the Holy One (Jesus).  

Will you choose to pick up your cross and surrender your life to the Holy One.  Will you sacrifice your life and humble yourself under His Mighty Hand.

This is the time of decision.  This is the time to choose.   Choose you this day who you will serve. 

As for me and my house we will choose to serve the Lord.   We will serve him wholeheartedly.  We will serve him joyfully.  

Though the fig tree may wither and there be no fruit on the vine yet we will praise Him. 

We will go out with joy and be led forth with peace and the mountains and hills will surrender before us.  

We will be overcomers and mighty ones in the Kingdom of our King Jesus, for He will equip us with every good thing to accomplish His purposes and plans.

For His plans are to bless us and use us to be a blessing to many nations and that through us all the nations of the earth will rejoice.  

They will see the light of goodness and grace manifested before them.  

The children of light will rise up and prepare the way for the King. 

Rise up my people and proclaim the King is coming.  

Prepare you the way of the Lord for the King of the whole earth is coming.  He is coming.  

The King of the whole world is coming to judge the world with righteousness and truth. 

He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

He has trodden the wine press of God’s fury alone and He has purged and cleansed His own from all sin and unrighteousness. 

He has purchased them and set them free. 

He has raised them to new life in Him.

All hail the Lamb.  All hail the Lamb.  

Choose you this day who you will serve. 

Who will you serve. 

The choice is yours. 

Choose wisely before it is too late and the choice is taken from you.  

Choose wisely and choose now before it is too late.  Amen

 

Fix your eyes on Jesus in this season – Follows His example – Endurance, Sacrifice & Humility

God is working in the darkness

Morning, I will resume my series on Joseph tomorrow but today for #ThursdayThrowback, I wanted to re-post this one from March 2021 as an encouragement to those who may like Joseph find themselves in a dark place at the moment.

We don’t often as Christians talk much about darkness and the night time but recently I’ve been thinking about darkness in a new light 😊 (excuse the pun but I couldn’t resist it)

When I was a child I was, probably like most children, frightened of the dark and the night time. I used to let my imagination run wild about things that were living in that dark time of night. I would hide myself under my bed clothes and make myself invisible. I was hidden, so in my childish thinking, if I couldn’t see anything then nothing could see me.

The bible encourages us to put away childish thinking and so I’ve been trying to understand darkness/night time from God’s viewpoint and think differently about it. It started with a prayer vigil that we held recently from midnight until 3 a.m. In preparing for that I discovered that the bible teaches us a lot about darkness and especially the midnight hour.

First off, I am reminded from Genesis Chapter 1 that God created the day and the night. If God created it then it is His and just as the sun, moon and stars belong to Him then so does the night – it belongs to God.

The darkness and the night belong to God and not the enemy.

It seems to me that the enemy has exploited our fear and twisted our thinking about the hours of dark and the night time. I have heard it called the “witching hour” and the enemy has used this time to his advantage and for his wicked purposes for far too long but he doesn’t have control of the night. God does. It belongs to God and as children of God and children of the light it can belong to us as our inheritance in Christ.

I believe it’s time for us as believers in Christ to rise up and to reclaim the darkness and the night times.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
Isaiah 60:1-3

The bible teaches us that God does great and miraculous things in the night and especially in the midnight hour. God is working in those hours of darkness on our behalf and bringing freedom and deliverance to His people in the night time. He answers prayers in the night. He brings us dreams and revelation in the night.

Here are just a few examples of the amazing and miraculous things which I am reminded of which God has done in the night:

1. At midnight the angel of the Lord went through Egypt and God led the Israelites out of hundreds of years of captivity into freedom just after the midnight hour;

2. God sent an angel to free Paul and Silas from the prison at midnight. Salvation then came to the jailor and his family;

3. God also sent an angel at night to free Peter from the prison as guards slept and whilst the believers were gathered to pray for him;

3. God made His covenant with Abraham at night;

4. God showed Jacob in a dream the angels ascending and descending to the earth from heaven and also wrestled with Jacob in the night;

5. God gave Daniel revelation in dreams;

6. God gave Pharaoh a dream which enabled Joseph to prepare for a famine.

These are just a few amazing stories of God working at night to bring freedom and salvation to His people.

I am also reminded of the greatest story ever told.

When Jesus was dying on the cross as part of God’s amazing plan for our salvation and redemption, God caused there to be darkness over the land for 3 hours from noon until 3 in the afternoon. Jesus then died.

Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb, in a place of darkness, but a miracle was taking place during that time and on the third day His glorious resurrection took place.

Jesus the true Light of the world was then revealed and He had triumphed over death and hell and Satan.

Day always follows the night and light always breaks into the darkness.

Miracles can still take place in the darkest of times. God can be working for you and answering your prayer in this place of darkness that you may find yourself in right now.

Please do not give up hope. He is working on your behalf. He is working in our darkness.

Blessings to you all this day and night in Jesus precious name.

Thanks to Andy Holmes @andyjh07 for making this photo of the beautiful night sky available freely on Unsplash 🎁

Joseph – Hero of the Faith (2)

Yesterday’s post included a short summary of Joseph’s story and today we consider God’s Plan in Joseph’s story.

God knew that in Joseph’s lifetime there was going to be a severe famine. A famine that would last 7 long years and which would lead to starvation for many people if steps were not taken to prepare for such a devastating event.

God had made a covenant with Abraham that he would be the father of many nations who would be blessed through him. For that to be fulfilled Abraham’s descendants would need to be preserved out of the coming famine.

God could have chosen to sustain Jacob’s family miraculously (as God would later do by providing Manna and water for their descendants in the wilderness) but God had a different plan which would not only save Abraham’s descendants but many others too. That plan sounds like a forerunner for the gospel message to me.

Joseph’s story shows us God’s grace and mercy in action that God not only through Joseph fulfils his plan to save Abraham’s descendants but God also saves the Egyptians and many other peoples from other nations who came to buy food from Egypt during the famine.

God wanted someone to serve His purposes, to bring His plan to fruition and He chose Joseph to outwork that plan.

I can’t read the story of Joseph without seeing the signposts to Jesus and God’s plan of redemption for mankind.

When Adam sinned God had a plan to save mankind and His name was Jesus.

And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15

Jesus came not only to save Abraham’s descendants the Jews (Israel) thereby fulfilling the covenant promise to Abraham but also to save the Gentiles – the whole world.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Joseph’s story is undeniably one of hardship, suffering and pain which lasts for many, many years. He was betrayed by his family, sold into slavery in a foreign country as a young man, falsely accused of a crime he did not commit and put into prison. God did not cause those things to happen to Joseph but God used those circumstances for good instead of evil. God’s favour was on Joseph. He sustained Joseph through those hard times. Joseph learnt valuable lessons along the way and his experiences were not wasted.

There are many examples of suffering servants of God in the bible. Jesus himself was the suffering servant prophesied by Isaiah. The disciples and the early church believers suffered. The Apostle Paul suffered to take the gospel to the Gentiles. The Lord showed Paul what was in store for him and how he would suffer but he still chose to go.

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Acts 9:15-16

God can allow us to go through suffering and hardship for the greater good. We see and hear stories of Christians all over the world suffering for the sake of the gospel every day. The difference which enables them is Hope. When we walk through the valley, God is with us. There is light at the end.

The bible teaches us that a life of faith will not be easy because the world is against us. We are not exempt from times of trouble but God’s grace and presence is always with us to sustain us. Don’t think you are doing something wrong or out of God’s will if you are going through difficult times – you may be right in the middle of God’s plan.

Joseph had this incredible insight into God’s plan which he shared with his brothers at the end of the story. This is how incredible and transformational this revelation can be. No bitterness on Joseph’s part but the realisation of what God has done through him.

for God sent me before you to preserve life; God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance” “so now it was not you who sent me here, but God”. Genesis 45 5-8

May we also like Joseph discern God outworking His divine plans and purposes in our lives for His glory.

Tomorrow we consider why God chose Joseph and why Egypt.

Cast off the grave clothes

When Jesus rose from the dead, He left his grave clothes in the tomb. I want to say that again- He left his grave clothes in the tomb.

Why.

Jesus didn’t need them anymore. They were obsolete garments.

Jesus was clothed in new garments and glory and resurrection power.

As a believer in Jesus Christ you don’t need your grave clothes anymore either.

If you are still wearing your grave clothes then you need to cast them off.

You have been born again, raised to new life in Jesus and seated with Him in heavenly places.

You are clothed with the garment of salvation and a robe of righteousness.

Jesus has taken those stinking, heavy grave clothes and exchanged them for new heavenly robes.

It’s the divine exchange. Praise God.

Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. John 20:3-7

Gardens…

Morning all, I hope you all had good weekends. This is the third and last in my series of updates of re-posts over the weekend following on from Mountains and Rivers.

I came to realise, like many others over the lockdown restrictions, that it was such a blessing to have a garden – either a place which is yours, a sanctuary to enjoy and take pleasure from or a communal garden.    A place to reflect, enjoy the beauty of nature and time to relax.    Gardens draw us in and make us feel better – they are food indeed for the soul.   There is something in our DNA which draws us to a garden – even if we are not green fingered ourselves – we can appreciate the beauty. This is me with my dog peeking through a floral display in the park.

It got me thinking about gardens in the bible.

God was the first Gardener:

Genesis 2 v 8  “the Lord God planted a garden“- the Garden of Eden.    How amazing and beautiful that first garden must have been, planted and designed by God’s own hand.   It says that every tree planted was “pleasant for the sight” and “good for food“. God made that garden especially for Adam and Eve.   He took the time to create a special place for them.   A place of nourishment and also a place to meet for fellowship.    God would walk in the garden in the cool of the day and meet with Adam and Eve – a special time of relationship.  

I love that as Christians there is also a special place for each one of us – a place where we can go and meet with God – a place to be in His presence.

Life was in that very first Garden:

Life was formed there in the Garden of Eden. God created Eve from Adam’s side and the Tree of Life – eternal life- was also there in it’s midst.    Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness and the bible teaches that we find life – true life – in our relationship with Him.    When we come and meet with Jesus we meet Life.

Jesus said “I am the way, the truth & the life. No-one comes to the father except through Me“.     

We won’t find true life or relationship with God any other way. After Adam and Eve had eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they were put out of the garden in case they ate of the tree of life and lived forever in sin.     Jesus through his death and resurrection has cleansed us from sin to make a way back into the garden of fellowship with God for us. We are now partakers of eternal life.

Death was also in that Garden:

When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge then death came.   God made tunics of skin to cover them – an animal had to die to provide those skins for clothing for Adam and Eve.  Death had entered into creation for the first time.  

Death was also drawing near to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.    Jesus met with his Father in prayer that night in the Garden.    On that night the Garden was a place of betrayal, pain and suffering for Jesus.   He was in great sorrow and in deep distress.   He had been betrayed, let down by His disciples and was facing death and torture.    

The garden is a place that God wants us to come when we too are in such times of sorrow – times of anxiety and fear.  Times when we feel overwhelmed and think that we can’t continue – when it all seems too much.    Times when people close to us have betrayed us or let us down. God will draw us to Him, will comfort us and strengthen us so that we can continue.

Beware of the enemy in the Garden:

Satan entered the garden of Eden and deceived Eve. Watch out for the lies of the enemy. Don’t let satan lead you astray by his lies and deception.

The garden can provoke others to jealousy. Jezebel schemed and plotted to have Naboth killed because her husband Ahab desired the vineyard garden that belonged to Naboth. The king wanted it for a vegetable garden but Naboth refused to sell. It was his inheritance and not for sale.

The enemy always wants to steal your inheritance in Christ. The enemy is jealous of your position in Christ and he will do what he can to steal from you. Guard yourself and trust in God. The enemy will try and stop you enjoying relationship with God. He will tell you that you are not good enough and all sorts of lies to interfere in your relationship with God.

New Life and hope was in the Garden:

When Jesus conquered the grave and rose from the dead, He appeared to Mary. She thought at first that he was a Gardener.   I had never really thought about that before but my friend mentioned it to me the other day.     Why would Mary have mistaken Jesus for a Gardener unless he was in a garden and it was a reasonable assumption to make.   From a place of sorrow and grief the garden became one of hope for Mary. There is hope in the garden – Jesus was dead but now He is alive.   The garden is a place of hope. It’s a place of victory. It’s a place of new beginnings.

Nourishment in the Garden:

The plants which were in the Garden of Eden were good for food and there was a river which flowed through it.    We all need food and water to survive and flourish.  

Jesus said “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to Me shall never hunger and he who believes in Me shall never thirst”  – “Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God“. 

There is spiritual nourishment in spending time with God in His presence. Hearing what He has to say to us in those quiet times as we spend time in His word – the bible.   Jesus is the true bread of life and out of Him spring rivers of living water.  I am becoming more aware of my need to spend more time in His presence, in His word than being busy doing things for God.  I am blessed by the giftings and ministry which God has given me but being in relationship with Him is the most important thing – Reminding me of my first love.

Love is in the Garden:

Unconditional love is in the garden. God loves us.

You will hear God’s voice in the garden speaking to you. As He spoke to Adam you will hear His still small voice speak to you saying- I love you.

God is love. If you seek Him you will find Him. If you are looking for love you will find it in God the father and Jesus the son.