Please, Give the Kid a Break–Genesis 39 Part 2

Joseph was being blessed by God in the midst of his slavery.  But Potiphar’s wife lied and convinced her husband to have him arrested.  Imagine the emotional hit that must have been for Joseph.  He continued to honor God in his circumstance.  He continued to honor his master even though it was difficult and the thanks he received was being put in prison.  There was no good news for Joseph that day.  In spite of the terrible injustice, Joseph continued to honor God and God blessed him.  Even in prison, he was blessed.

In our lives, many circumstances cause our lives to stink.  We think we are seeing a glimmer, but then more struggle.  The enemy would have us utterly give up and quit.  But, like Joseph, we must continue to move forward and honor God with our lives.  As we do, we will find blessing, even in the difficult circumstance.  We remember that God is God—His plan is always the right one.  We can follow him and he will walk with us through whatever circumstance we face.

Help me Lord to submit and follow.

God Bless You

 11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

13 When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14 she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 15 When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.

But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

Let the Expansion Begin–Acts 10 Final

 God has reminded us from the beginning that he holds our future and the timing of our future.  All through Bible history, God implemented his plan in times and through people that the average person would never expect.  Peter was simply minding his own business, when God sent him to meet with Cornelius, the Centurion. Cornelius had spent a lifetime honoring God—even without any real means of knowing him personally.  Then, Christ appeared and everything changed.

God sent Peter, his lead apostle to start the expansion.  He prepared Cornelius and is family to hear the message and he blessed and anointed the meeting with his spirit—to leave no doubt about his personal stamp of approval. At the close, the family was baptized and the church expanded past the Jewish population and began its march across the world.

I am sure that Cornelius was ready to be saved much sooner than Peter appeared.  He had been seeking God for some time. God had a plan and had to put all the pieces together, however, prior to its implementation. Paul was ready to evangelize, Peter was established as a leader and Cornelius and his family longed to know God. Let the ministry begin.

We are reaping the benefit of God’s perfect timing.  We often seek God on our terms—as did Cornelius, only to find that he always operates in his time and through his plan.  It is often maddening for us to have to wait on him, and yet, when he executes his plan, there is never a doubt that his plan was right and his execution flawless.  God told us in Jeremiah—“I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you—plans to give you a hope and a future!” Jeremiah 29:11.

God Bless You

 

Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

On Some Issues We may Differ–Romans 14 Part 2

After following the Lord for over 40 years, I am convinced that we as Christians simply do not agree about everything.  I know this may come as a shock to some in the body, but, as a group have been on different sides of issues through our history.  In this letter Paul is trying to intercede on one of the Romans pressing issues—meat offered to idols. In their community, that meat was the Aldi of the market.  It was fine and somewhat fresh, but, it had been touched, etc.

But for the Church, it was a big deal—that meat was on the altar of another God. There was a sharp division. Paul was trying to bring unity to the group in spite of the differences.  Truth is, since that day, there have been divisions about clothes, food, drink, offices and music.  All issues at the time seemed earth ending—But as the culture changes so do the issues. And what seemed earth shattering becomes a afterthought over time.

Paul made it clear if an issue pulls you away from God, do not do it.  But, you have to understand that we are different and that issue may not affect others.  So one need not violate what causes them pause-but, do not judge others because they do not agree.  That happens in families—Get used to it. So when you go to church this Sunday and see people in jeans, singing worship songs with a full worship band leading—Remember people have divided churches over all those things…then be grateful that you are in a place that allows such a dysfunctional family to worship freely without fear of reprisal.  Love your family Church—even though they drive you crazy.

God Bless You

Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.[c]

Preparation made into Profession–Genesis 41 Continued

God always seemed to put Joseph over whatever he had in mind.  At Potiphar’s he was over the entire house, in Prison, Joseph was in charge of the entire jail.  Now, even Pharaoh saw God’s hand on Joseph and entrusted him with all things other than the actual throne.  It was an uncanny thing, but people could not miss Joseph’s unique cal by God in his life.  He was trustworthy and he was blessed.  It was such an overwhelming presence, that you simply wanted him to be in charge.

We should strive to be that unified with God.  It would serve us in so many ways.  We would be blessed in all circumstances. We would change lives all around us.  And God would be glorified in each and everything we did.  It is a great ministry to honor God by simply being ourselves.  The challenge is to do so without personal pride or desire for gain.  When we live like Joseph lived, we will be blessed like Joseph was blessed.  Help me, Lord to honor you with all I do so you will be glorified.

God Bless You

39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”

Joseph in Charge of Egypt

41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command,[b] and people shouted before him, “Make way[c]!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

To Know or To Live–Genesis 3 Part 1

In retrospect, I think I would have chosen immortality.  But, it seems that from the beginning, we have always wanted to know more.  We could never be content with the way things were, we always needed to move forward.  If I only knew the answer to this question, this issue, this life stage–then I would be content. So said Univac, IBM, Apple, Microsoft…Google.

It was the same at the beginning.  Eve was mistaken–she thought being as smart as God was the answer–it was not. Knowing both good and evil simply drove men from God—not toward him. Then the folks at Babel thought reaching God was the answer, it was not. Building toward heaven simply made men prideful and self absorbed. Throughout time, men have tried to emulate the independence God has, in order to become God’s themselves.  So much wasted energy–If men would have sought to emulate God’s character, rather than his independence, then we would have enjoyed his freedom.

Adam and Eve were free to enjoy the world and to enjoy life–that was not good enough.  They wanted to control life, That was the big lie. We will never be able to control life.  The harder we try, the more entangled we become.  If you want to be like God–seek him first and foremost.  When you do, you will realize His greatest gift is the gift of freedom and life.  Seek that, not knowledge and independence–then you can be like your heavenly father!

God Bless You

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves

Rich and Poor–James 2 Part 1

It–Most of us find it difficult not to be caught up in IT,  We dare not speak of IT, When in IT, we try to discount IT,  What is IT, IT is the real distinction between being rich and being poor.  Since the beginning of time, there has been a natural tension between wealth and poverty. I have been blessed to have had both.  I have seen the distinction in how one is treated, I have seen the obvious opportunities that each bring.  But, this is not about me. This is about us.  As a church, we are called not to play favorites.  We don’t mistreat and ignore those that are struggling, nor do we put those with wealth on a pedestal.

The trick is realizing that every position rich or poor has its struggles.  The primary one is that unless Jesus is Lord of your life, you are going to be owned by a thing that is created and temporary.  As an outsider looking in, we have to show care in dealing with the entire family–no jealousy of the rich; no disdain for the poor.  We simply love people and celebrate their successes and support their struggles.  We are each on a separate journey–none the same and none easy.  Let’s be the travelers that look to be an encouragement to all–no matter the class no matter the struggle.

God Bless You

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

The Goal is Love–I Timothy 1 part 1

 

So many in the faith try hard to do the right things.  They read his word, they pray and they serve.  They do these things so that they can honor God.  No ill intent, no alterior motive.  But, as time goes on, it becomes more and more difficult to remember that the reason we want to honor God is because of the love we have for him—a love based upon the amazing sacrifice he has made for us.  As we celebrated Easter—we remembered his death and resurrection that moves us from the dead to the living.  We love him for that and desire to follow and honor him with our lives.

The sadness comes when we forget.  When we do the things our faith calls for simply for compliance sake.  We somehow make it about us—not about him.  We blush a bit when told about how well we pray or serve.  We act embarrassed when chosen to do highly visible tasks for the church.  But, inside we become proud. We feel more spiritual and we feel bad for those poor sinners that just don’t get it.  WELL, that made Jesus furious while he walked among us and it breaks his heart still today.  What we say, What we know and what we do—if not done for love of the Lord, is simply worthless—I Corinthians 13:1-4, makes that abundantly clear.

We set our sights on what is ahead—eternity with him and while here we speak, learn and do all we do to glorify him.  We walk humbly knowing that, like David, we are one afternoon nap away from throwing a lifetime of faithful service in the dumpster– if we think we can do Christianity without God’s leading.  We walk with confidence, only we do it in his shadow and by his leading.

God Bless You

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.