Mission Ready–2 Timothy Part 1

When we are called to the Lord’s service, he does not simply toss us into battle and tell us to hope for the best.  Instead, he prepares us for the journey ahead, and he arms us with the tools we need to be victorious.  Timothy was still a young pastor of a Gentile Church.  That had to seem a bit daunting for the young shepherd.  But, Paul reminded him and us he was not going in alone.

He first reminded Timothy that he was raised in the faith and taught by the best. Timothy had a Godly Mom and Grandmother.  He grew up seeing what faith looked like and seeing God preparing and protecting the folks he most loved and admired. Second, he reminded Timothy he was equipped with the Holy Spirit of God–God in us.  He guides, comforts and empowers us to be that for which we were created.

We have nothing to fear–we are prepared and equipped to do that for which we were raised and called–Let’s Go do what we were put here for!

God Bless You

I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Setting Leadership Priorities–1 Timothy 2 Part 1

As Paul instructed Timothy in how to lead a church, it is highly important to understand that as Paul set priorities, the first item on the list was prayer.  We can never grasp the rare gift and honor we have of being able to approach the throne of God and simply speak our hearts, minds, hurts and dreams openly without fear of judgement or rejection.  

Prayer is talking to God as we talk to each other.  Sometimes, our prayers need to recognize the character of God and simply adore Him for who he is. Sometimes, our prayer needs to be transparent and confess the things that are standing between us and God–our thoughts, lack of faith or actions; that dishonor him and us. In all our prayer, we need to thank God for all He has done and provided in our lives–recognizing, that without him, we would be nothing, we could do nothing and we would have nothing.   

Finally, we need to trust that He cares about our needs and the needs of others; and, He never minds for us to intercede on others behalf, or even, for us to openly ask for what we need.  We need embrace this personal relationship with God–and treat it as personally as any other relationship we hold dear.  We can never be afraid, we can never doubt–that God loves us and wants for us to have a rich and meaningful life.

God Bless You

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

Israel Meets Pharaoh–Let the Blessing Begin!–Genesis 47 Part 1

It would be the only time this would happen…Not since his grandfather and father lied to a Pharaoh about their wives being their sisters, had a patriarch of God’s chosen stood before the leader of Egypt.  This time, the now 135 year old Israel, was finally at peace.  He had faced tremendous adversity and heartbreak–but now, God had restored to him all he could have ever hoped or dreamed.  
 
I am sure the young Pharaoh stood in awe of this man–the man who bore and raised the man that had raised him.  Joseph was a father to Pharaoh; and not only saved Egypt, but he saved all the known world. So, to see the love Joseph felt for this man, and to be blessed by him–had to be a great moment in the young king’s life.  Pharaoh gladly blessed him back with some of the finest land in Egypt and a job as shepherds of all Pharaoh’s livestock. Shepherding for Pharaoh would be no small task. 
 
We can never know the impact we have on the lives of others–God told Israel that he would bless the world with his lineage.  The blessing started in Egypt and carries through till today.  God has a plan for each of us, as well.  His plan could take us down roads and events we would have never imagined.  We, like Israel, will simply need to prepare to trust God in any and all circumstance and follow him by faith. We must remember, as we follow, what he has already accomplished in our lives.  
 
There is no question that God has control; there is only a question of whether we will trust him to execute his plan to the end.  If we will, then we will stand firm and see his glory in our lives. In addition, we will see the impact upon many others with whom we interact in our lives. There is little doubt that it is definitely worth the risk.
 
God Bless You
 
Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen.” He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh.Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?”

“Your servants are shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.” They also said to him, “We have come to live here for a while, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants’ flocks have no pasture. So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.”

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability, put them in charge of my own livestock.”

Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed[a] Pharaoh, Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?”

And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” 10 Then Jacob blessed[b] Pharaoh and went out from his presence.

 

Heartbreak Erased–Genesis 45 Part 3

Imagine, what it would be like if you could erase your biggest heartbreak. If the thing that haunted you everyday would suddenly no longer exist–That is what happened to Israel.  Since Joseph had been taken from him some twenty years before, he had not had the will to live, much less the will to lead.  Sure, he did life–put one foot in front of the other; but, when his son died, in a way so did he.
 
Then, as he looked at his dwindling fortune, famine in the land,  all of his sons in Egypt, and Benjamin gone with no promise of return–his life seemed unbearable. In the midst of his grief, up rolls the boys– with grain, carts, treasure and with Benjamin.  Such relief and joy–then the bombshell.
Joseph was alive…His greatest heartbreak erased in a second.  Jacob was stunned, wary, confused and overjoyed all at once.  His son was alive and ruler of Egypt.  
 
In our lives, like Jacob’s, God continues to execute his plan.  As difficult as the journey may seem, if we remain faithful–God will bring us through this part and into the blessings he has prepared for us.  He will wipe away our tears as we stand before him.  He will erase our greatest heartbreak.  In the meanwhile, we can never give up on God; nor, can we ever give in to the enemies lies and temptations. We must cling to the promise he gave to Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  Plans to prosper you–not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.  Stay faithful, stay focused and he will set your path straight.
 
God Bless You
 
So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. 22 To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels[b] of silver and five sets of clothes. 23 And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”25 So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26 They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, “I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”

What a Difference a Day Makes–Genesis 41 Part 3

It was official, 13 years after being tossed aside by his brothers, Joseph’s dream was coming true.  He was officially the chief operating officer of all Egypt.  The import of that change is staggering.  It showed the Pharaoh believed God and allowed this Hebrew to come in and manage during the good times.

Remember, Joseph built the nation and structure in a time of great plenty.  Record crops, record peace and an administrator (Joseph) that was probably cursed by the average farmer–for so unduly taxing their land. Joseph thrived–he married, had kids and forgot quickly about the betrayals and imprisonment.
 
He also forgot the original dream of going home. After all–God tapped him for a mission; and, while he did not know its eventual outcome, he knew it was his job to humbly and gratefully carry out his part.
 
In our lives, sometimes we have to simply accept God’s plan and not question each twist and turn.  We learn in Joseph’s life, in Job’s life, in David’s life and in our own–that most times, God refuses to tell us why he is doing things a certain way.
He expects our trust, and He rewards our faith with execution of a plan that is uniquely made for us. 
The ultimate goal is spiritual, not physical. He wants for us to have an eternal perspective that enjoys the present, but is not tied to it. We, like Paul grasp the concept–whether well fed, or hungry; living in plenty or in want–We can do all things through Christ–who strengthens us! Philippians 4:12-13
 
God Bless You

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On,[d] to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48 Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49 Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.

50 Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh[e] and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim[f] and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

Ministry in the Midst of Trials–Genesis 40 Part 1

When life turns sideways, it is extremely easy to become withdrawn, to become bitter and to simply stop serving God.  One would argue, “Why bother–look where it has gotten me.”  But, when one realizes that the quickest way to work though the pain of trials is to serve others, well, that is a game changer! Joseph was kidnapped from his dad, sold into slavery, accused of all manner of evil and thrown into prison–and he only did what was right!

Still in the midst of the trials and pain, Joseph continued to trust God and serve others–that is why when he saw the two officials in prison and in pain, his first thought was to help.  He was not showing off or trying to curry favor–he was simply using the gifts God gave him–to move beyond himself, and continue life.

As amazing as that sounds; it is still truthfully the best therapy for making it through a day.  God simply calls us to trust and serve him–he, in turn, will protect us, provide for us and prepare us to do the mission for which we are called.  Joseph had no idea what God had in store for him; he simply knew that following God was the only way to live, and do well in any circumstance.  We can also live a life that serves others and God and trust him to meet our needs and provide us an amazing journey! Please join me in that pursuit!

God Bless You

Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them.After they had been in custody for some time, each of the two men—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison—had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own.

When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?”

“We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.”

Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”

A Nation is Born–Genesis 33 Part 2

 So, life in the new nation–Israel had begun; not in the way one would usually see the birth of a nation, but, instead–a true and organic nation built by the birth of a family. God changed it’s patriarch from a deceiver, to the chosen leader of the nation.  And the leader bought land on which to settle.  Unlike his grandfather before, Israel came to settle and grow.  His sons were establishing their own families, and for the first time since Terra settled in Haran, the people were settling in.  It was a strange sense for them, but, they had no idea, that these simple steps, would set in motion our ability to know and be known by God.

God made the covenant, first with Abraham, the again with Israel that all nations would be blessed through his family—we can affirm that that covenant is true. A world that knows about God; and people in every nation that are in relationship with God wave as a glorious  banner to the fulfillment of God’s original covenant. We, should wake each morning truly grateful for that covenant.  We should recognize that we are, by spiritual adoption, a beneficiary of that covenant.  With that, we should never hesitate to be a part of the execution of God’s plan to fulfill that covenant.

In my life, each morning—I am confronted with the very proposition, how is the world being blessed through me?  Most days, the answer truly remains a question mark.  But, like Israel as he settled in, we have no idea how God intends to use us, our families and those in whom we pour our lives. In the early 20th century, a tent revival preacher was coming to the end of his ministry.  He knew the end was near, because people were no longer coming to the tent in mass, and those that came, were not being moved as they once had.  Yet, as the week was drawing to a close, the old preacher gave the invitation and after several verses, only one person came forward to start a relationship with God.  Dejected, the old preacher tossed in the towel and retired.  What that evangelist did not, or could not have known–was that the person that came forward that night was none other than Dr. Billy Graham.  We remain faithful–then allow God to make the difference.

God Bless You

14 So let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I move along slowly at the pace of the flocks and herds before me and the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.”

15 Esau said, “Then let me leave some of my men with you.”

“But why do that?” Jacob asked. “Just let me find favor in the eyes of my lord.”

16 So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir. 17 Jacob, however, went to Sukkoth, where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Sukkoth.[a]

18 After Jacob came from Paddan Aram,[b] he arrived safely at the city of Shechem in Canaan and camped within sight of the city. 19 For a hundred pieces of silver,[c] he bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, the plot of ground where he pitched his tent. 20 There he set up an altar and called it El Elohe Israel