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 Fountain and Water Gates

Two gates today which I have mentioned together as they are both water related. The Fountain Gate and the Water Gate.

These gates have been very much in my thoughts and prayers the last week or so. At church we have been considering wells. We are all wells for Jesus. Sometimes our wells can become blocked, capped, or run dry. There are some people whose wells have been capped by others. Perhaps capped intentionally or sometimes unintentionally by a thoughtless criticism or harsh word.

The Lord wants to see those wells uncapped. I am sure you can recognise some capped wells that you know. Could you pray for them to be released. For healing of those hurts of the past and the restrictions to be lifted off people. It’s time to uncap those wells. Spring up oh wells is the cry of our hearts.

The enemy will seek to hinder us from being wells and we need to guard the wells of our heart. Sometimes our wells become polluted because it’s not pure water that we are allowing in. As my friend Paul wisely said this week, if we are pouring out a drink offering for others then may it be the pure living water of Jesus Christ, the Living Word that we offer them. May we be cleansed and purified by Jesus.

The Fountain Gate

Nehemiah repaired the Fountain Gate.   This gate reminds us of Jesus, who is the fountain of living water and the Holy Spirit freely given to us, who lives in us and fills us daily by His power.

There is a living well of spiritual water for us to draw from daily.   

It is an inexhaustible supply that will never run dry.      

Jesus said we never need to thirst again when we come to Him because He is the living water.   He can satisfy our thirst in all areas and bring refreshing to us.   

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

John 7:37-39

When we are tired, weary or discouraged then we can come to the Fountain Gate and be refreshed.   We can drink deeply of Jesus and be restored.     

If we forsake the living water then we will be dry and empty with nothing to give.  Our source of spiritual life is Jesus and the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. The promise in Jesus’ words is that if we believe in Him then rivers of living water will flow from us. That’s a promise from Jesus. We have to thirst, come, drink, believe and let the river flow. No capping.

timelapse photography off water fountain
Photo by Gabriel Peter on Pexels.com

 

The Water Gate

This gate speaks to me of the power of the Word of God (Holy Scripture) which is at work in our lives.    The bible teaches us that we are washed by the Word of God.   The Word of God is living, powerful and true – a test of our thoughts and intentions of our hearts.  

When we read, meditate and act on the Word of God then we see the fruit of its out-working in our lives and it keeps us on the right path.

The Water Gate was the only gate which it seems did not need to be repaired by Nehemiah as it doesn’t mention the repairs. They repaired opposite that gate and then the next section after it.

Palal son of Uzai worked opposite the angle and the tower projecting from the upper palace near the court of the guard. Next to him, Pedaiah son of Parosh and the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate towards the east and the projecting tower.”

Nehemiah 3:25-26

This speaks to me powerfully.

The Word of God endures for ever.     

God’s Word does not need to be improved, added to or altered. It is complete just as it is.   It is the best instructions, which are never irrelevant or outdated, for a life lived to God’s glory and fulfilling in every way. It’s the manual for successful living in God’s eyes. Not worldly success as we know it but Kingdom living.

Gates-The Fish Gate

The Fish Gate is another gate which was rebuilt by Nehemiah. Fishes have been associated with Christianity for many years. The sign of the fish is still a symbol you see denoting Christian faith.

As followers of Jesus Christ we are called to be “fishers of men”.

The body of Christ has been given the great commission to go out into all the world and make disciples of Jesus. It is the mandate from Christ to His church.

If we just put all of our efforts into catching fish though and seeing converts, people being saved, but we don’t disciple them properly afterwards, then we shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see any growth or maturity and people fall away from faith. The Christian life is one of walking daily with Jesus and serving God and each other.

Discipleship requires service, commitment, love and sacrifice. In order to walk alongside people, especially people who are hurting, we will need grace, patience, empathy and love in abundance. The Holy Spirit will help us to develop the fruit of the Spirit in us as we disciple others.

It’s such a blessing to help other believers to grow and mature in faith in Jesus. There is a cost to following Jesus and it’s important that we present the whole gospel to people. The Christian life can be one of suffering, hardship and persecution because of our faith in Jesus and preparing people for that is a key part of discipleship. The Lord is with us in all circumstances of life, the ups and downs. Our God is big enough to handle the challenges and hard questions. We do a dis-service to God if we do not study and present the whole of scripture.

So are the nets (our churches) ready for the catch or do they need some repair work to avoid people falling through the gaps. Are you personally willing to receive and disciple new converts. If you are a follower of Christ then I encourage you to share your testimony and life with others who are new to the faith and disciple them. Help them and strengthen them to grow and mature in Christ and share your experiences with them. We all have something to offer in service to Jesus. Is there someone that you can take under your wing today or give a supporting hand?

We often leave the discipling to others but as someone said it’s just an invitation to someone to “come journey with me as I journey with Jesus”.

Jesus invites us to follow Him and become more like Him. That is the discipleship journey – to become like the Master. We are all on the journey together, at different stages, but we can all help each other to keep pressing on to the finishing line.

Gates-The Sheep Gate

I did a series of posts a couple of years ago on Gates and I am re-posting them with a couple of tweaks over the course of this week. The posts were inspired by a teaching I heard a Pastor give many years ago at church from the story of Nehemiah. I have also over the years used the material in small group teaching. The book of Nehemiah is rich material for a bible study and discussion group as there are valuable lessons for us that we can apply.

To set the scene, the Lord leads Nehemiah by His Spirit to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the ruined gates and walls of the city.

Here are some questions for us to consider. How and what are we building in our lives?

I am encouraged by the example of how to build from Nehemiah Chapter 3. The order in which Nehemiah describes how the gates and walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt is an example of how the Holy Spirit leads and inspires us to build in our lives.

The Sheep Gate was the first gate to be rebuilt. This is the most important gate in our lives. We have to come to God through the Sheep gate. The bible teaches us that it is only those who enter in by Jesus Christ (the Shepherd and the Sheep gate) who can come into relationship with God. Jesus said that no-one could come to the Father but by Him.

Have we come to God by repentance through the Cross of Jesus and understood the power of the Cross in our lives. That the power of sin and death is broken because of what Jesus has accomplished for us by His death and resurrection. That we are now children of the living God, adopted into God’s family. If we try and build on anything apart from the true foundation of the revelation of Jesus Christ and the Cross we will build wrongly. Jesus Christ has to be the cornerstone of our faith.

We all need to enter in through the Sheep gate to be a true sheep, no exceptions.

Jesus Christ warns us about those who don’t come in by the Sheep gate.

They are not sheep but wolves in Sheep’s clothing and there are false shepherds.

In John chapter 10 v 1-11 Jesus says “Most assuredly I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” “But he who enters by the door is the Shepherd of the sheep – To him the doorkeeper opens and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep he goes before them and the sheep follow him for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

Jesus went on to explain: “Most assuredly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before me are thieves and robbers but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door, If anyone enters by Me he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.”

Please be on your guard of any teaching or doctrine about Jesus which is contrary to what the Bible reveals to us about Jesus.

We need to come to God through a true revelation of who Jesus is, why his death on the Cross was necessary and the power of His resurrection. The bible teaches that Jesus was God’s son, the Word made flesh. Jesus came as God in the flesh. Jesus died for our sins but was raised again victorious and ascended back to Father God in heaven. God has given Him all authority and power and a name above all Names. Jesus sits at God’s right hand and makes intercession for us. One day Jesus will return for His church as He promised.

An interesting detail is that the Sheep gate was the only gate that didn’t have locks and bars. To me this symbolises that the way to God is open through Jesus and it is open to everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done. Nothing can disqualify you from receiving grace and forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ and the redemptive power of the Cross.

If you have never come through the Sheep Gate then I encourage you to confess your sins and take that step by faith in Jesus today. Receive forgiveness and start a new life in Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Burning Love

I was thinking about relationships and love the other day. This year is my 30th wedding anniversary in July. After dropping a few hints (very heavy hints) my husband realised what a milestone this was and something to be celebrated. I can only think being married to me is a celebration every day so that’s why he had forgotten 🤣

Our relationship has naturally changed over the years and deepened from that initial attraction and fervent love and passion to the developing of a deeper understanding and love for one another that goes beyond that surface knowledge and intimacy to something way deeper. We have learnt from each other and also discovered new things together. Set our own rhythms and become comfortable with each other, trusting each other to be there and challenge and support when things are tough.

There have been different seasons in our relationship. We are now entering that season when our children don’t need us as much and retirement is a lot closer. Our children are off doing their own thing so nights in, days out, holidays are generally just us now. When there’s no-one else around but you, that’s when you need those common interests and to still have fun together.

This navel gazing at my marriage has made me think of the beauty of being able to have a personal relationship with Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit.

When we are mature in faith (I’ve been a Christian longer than I’ve been married to my husband) it is good to stop and consider, whether our hearts still burn with a fervent love for God and for Jesus, our saviour.

Has our fire dwindled and do the embers need a fan of the wind of God’s Spirit.

What is it that motivates us daily in the things we do and say.

Remember that first time you became a Christian and how you were so hungry for the things of God?

If that fervent love is not still there, then what has taken the place which God had in our lives.

The Bible says Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.

Idolatry is putting something before God – we can make idols of money, careers, other people -worshipping anything other than God.    

Idolatry is one of the areas I believe Holy Spirit is bringing conviction to us as believers in the Body of Christ. The Lord wants all of us.

The Holy Spirit can reveal the true nature of our hearts and what it is that really takes the first place in our lives, our thoughts, prompting our actions. 

Sometimes, we are blind to what or who is really sitting on the throne in our hearts.

We love God because He first loved us and gave His son to die for us while we were still sinners.

Love for God will manifest itself in spending time in His word and in fellowship with Him through prayer and praise. Times of fellowship with God; fellowship with other believers, being obedient to His Will; allowing His Holy Spirit to fill us and mould us.

The Lord draws us with chords of love. Let him draw you to Him today.

The beauty of Holiness

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.

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

By Invitation Only

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.

Revelation 3:19-20

God – He is on your side

I was reminded of this post following an encouraging word from our Pastor on Sunday. I thought it would be a timely #ThrowbackThursday post.

Psalm 46 verse 1 declares that:

“God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in times of trouble“.

If you are in the middle of difficult times and struggling to hang on and feel that everything is conspiring against you, then I encourage you to take hold of these bible verses. Meditate on them. They will be life to you today.

God is with you in the middle of it all and will not let you sink. His everlasting arms are around you to support you.

In verse 10 it says “Be still and know that I am God“.

I always thought that this meant that I was to be still and know Him in such times but the footnotes in my Bible say that this is God telling the wicked- “Be Still and know that I am God“.

In other words God is telling the enemy who is rising against us and conspiring against us “Back off -enough is enough- you don’t have a chance of winning in this situation because I am God”. Jesus has already defeated the enemy. He has won.

I love that. Thank you Father that you are on our side. God puts the enemy well and truly in his place. He reminds the enemy that God alone will be exalted among the nations. All glory, honour and power are His alone.

God may allow us to go through certain trials and struggles to strengthen our faith and so that we can grow in spiritual maturity – things that sometimes we do not understand- but ultimately God always has the last say over the enemy and his strategies because God is God.

God is sovereign and everything in heaven and earth is subject to Him.

This was evident when Jesus spoke to the storm that was raging all around the boat carrying the disciples and Jesus over the sea of Galilee. Jesus was right there in the boat with the disciples. He commanded the winds and the waves to “Be still” and they were.

Does God need to speak into a few storms in your life or do you need to remind the storms that God is saying to them “Be Still“.

Bless you today.

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