The Doldrums

I read a post yesterday which reminded me of something I had written a while ago, and I felt prompted to share it again today. Perhaps there is someone who needs encouragement this morning that there is always hope to move forward.

This post is for anyone who may be experiencing a feeling that they are stuck in the doldrums at the moment – where they are seeing a lack of activity, movement or progress in their lives- a feeling of being stuck in the same place.   

Do not despair, there is hope for you and breakthrough awaits.  

In some instances, God’s hand has kept you in that place until His perfect timing and He has worked in you and prepared you so that you are ready for the suddenlies – the wind of God’s Spirit will come suddenly and you will see great acceleration and growth.  

There will be a sudden shift.  Some people have been waiting for the wind -God’s wind and a fresh breath of the Spirit of God to propel them forward to where they need to be.  

I pray that such people will be stirred up in hope and experience a fresh impetus to push forward in God and let Him breathe new life again into their vision.

For those who have lost hope and feel stuck in the Doldrums, I pray that such people will experience new zeal (great energy and enthusiasm for something you feel strongly about) which will replace apathy (feeling of not being interested or enthusiastic) and complacency (a feeling of being satisfied with yourself or with a situation so you do not feel any change is necessary) and despair (feeling that all hope lost) which can hinder progress and moving forward. 

I pray that we will reject apathy and complacency, throw off the shroud of apathy and complacency and put on the garment of zeal instead.  

That there will be an exchange of  the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3) for the garment of Praise.

If you find yourself thinking “what is the point” then that could be an indication that you are stuck in the Doldrums.   

Be careful that unbelief and fear has not set in and trapped you.   Unbelief will need to be dealt with in prayer and repentance.

James 5 V 16 – The effective, fervent (very strong feelings about) prayer of a righteous man avails much.   

If this resonates with you then I encourage you to seek God in this season.

Be led by the Holy Spirit into all He has for you. Amen 🙏

 

True Hope..

I have realised that hope is not as easy to define as I thought and can be easily misunderstood.

My own hope in the past was not always properly formed and I think when I reflect back was either a false hope, misguided optimism or wishful thinking on my part.

So then when things did not turn out as I had hoped, I was disappointed.

When disappointment took hold that led me down a slippery slope of all sorts of other negative emotions and thoughts. It can shake your confidence and faith. It can crush your spirit and make you feel like giving up.

When hope is crushed, the heart is crushed
Proverbs 13:12

Disappointment can be that doorway for negative thoughts and emotions. Bitterness can start to take root if we are not careful. Jealousy and envy can be quick to follow too.

Guard the door of your heart against disappointment.

Let us encourage each other and build ourselves up on a solid foundation which cannot be shaken.

The cornerstone of our faith and true hope is found in Jesus. Keeping our eyes fixed on Him.

I have experienced that Hope is formed through tests and trials. It comes through the hard times. It is developed in those times when we travel through the valley and experience the love and faithfulness of God. We trust in Him to know the best outcome for us. Not my will but His perfect will formed in me.

“We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God’s approval, and his approval creates hope. This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us.”
Romans 5:3-5

Whatever difficult circumstances you may also be going through I pray that perfect hope will take root in your heart and mind. Guard your heart. If there is disappointment or bitterness, then I pray the Holy Spirit will bring revelation and will lead you to repentance, release and healing and that your joy will be restored.

Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. Romans 12:12

Blessings to you this day in Jesus name.

Pouring the oil on you

Today I wanted to share this picture that the Holy Spirit inspired in my heart last year. It is Pentecost Sunday today and I’m so thankful for the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Truth glorifying King Jesus in and through us, His body of believers. Thank you Jesus for sending the Holy Spirit to us.

I had a beautiful and encouraging picture during worship at our church service this morning which I want to share here too, as I believe there are people reading this blog (or people you know) who will be blessed and encouraged by this picture.

In the picture I saw a shepherd who was pouring oil onto and over a sheep’s head.

The Shepherd was rubbing the oil into places that were wounded or infected but otherwise the oil was freely flowing down and over the sheep’s head onto its neck and then onto the ground.

File:Pouring Oil.jpg

We know that we are the sheep of God’s pasture and the great Shepherd of the flock is Jesus.

Jesus is pouring the oil of His grace and love through the ministry of the Holy Spirit over your head today. It is like the balm of Gilead dripping down over your head.

The Lord Jesus wants to bring healing, wholeness and restoration to those who are currently experiencing attacks on their thoughts – those experiencing anxiety, depression, fear, self doubt, confusion and whose thoughts are being assailed at this time.

Just as the Shepherd pours the oil over the sheep to protect it’s head from disease and to heal its wounds so the Lord is pouring out His grace and love upon you today.

Receive His love. Receive His grace.

I pray that every thought and imagination will be taken captive to Christ and we will know and experience the extravagance of His abundant love for us today.

That we will know and experience God’s amazing love and grace from the top of our heads – the crowns of our heads – to the soles of our feet.

This oil of grace and love is being poured out upon your head today – receive it and allow yourself to surrender to His loving grace and mercy working in every area of your life but particularly your thoughts today.

Bless you today my friends in the precious name of our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Gates -The Valley Gate

Nehemiah re-built The Valley Gate.       This is a difficult gate and one that we don’t much want to go through- the valley experiences.    We would all much prefer to stay on the mountain top and enjoy those experiences with God but life for most of us is not like that – even the Christian life – it has mountains and valleys. We will face difficult times and times of struggle. It is in such times that our faith is tested and stretched but often it is these experiences which can lead to growth and strength in our faith.

The valley gate can be a necessary path to what God is preparing in us and for us.   The valleys develop our faith and trust in God and we learn from these experience that God is loving, faithful to His promises and His Word and able to sustain us.    We also develop empathy and compassion for those in or who will also go through similar circumstances. We have testimonies to share.

Humility and the valley gate in my experience can sometimes go together hand in hand.   I have had to humble myself under God’s mighty hand before I realise that I can’t handle situations on my own or with my own wisdom and little understanding.    Once I submit and surrender to God and acknowledge my dependence on Him, then I have felt His peace and His presence even in the most difficult of situations.

Valley Gates are painful. Jesus went through a valley gate when He went from Mt Olives through the Kidron Gate into the Garden of Gethsemane and then to the Cross.   Jesus was in agony in the garden but He yielded to God’s will to be done.  

Most of us will go or have been through valley experiences but the encouragement is that we are never alone at those times and we can get through them with God’s strength and support.   Jesus promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. He will lead us through the valley – even the valley of death. The words of Psalm 23 encourage us that God is with us and will not forsake us and will comfort us in time of sorrow, grief, difficulty and pain. 

If you are in a valley situation right now – I pray that you will have the strength and faith to keep going, don’t give up. I encourage you to ask for God’s help and help from others. God will show you the way and lead you through to the other side.

 

Joseph Hero of the Faith (8)

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.

Following Jesus

Joseph – Hero of the Faith (6)

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

Don’t go in there

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.