You Have Something of Great Worth

Go to Joseph and do what he tells you…(Genesis 41:55). 

Friend, you have something inside of you through the risen Christ that is of greater worth than gold.  Sometimes I forget that.  Especially when it comes to sharing that treasure with others.  There’s this voice that tries to keep my mouth silent.  It makes me feel small and my faith insignificant.  It keeps me from sharing about the light that lives inside of me.

In the life of Joseph God blessed his life in great abundance and because Joseph had what the people needed, the people flocked to him.  Yes, they flocked to him.  You and I have something that the people need as well.  Truly, it is the love of God wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ.  It is the eternal message of the gospel, the good news that Jesus saves.  This is the message we hold within our hearts as Christians that others need more than food or sleep.  Truly, they will never be fed, nor will they ever be at rest without it.

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I need to remind myself more of that.  I need to keep telling myself that the message inside of me matters and it needs to be shared.  When I look for opportunities to share it, God will open doors.  He will grant me the blessing of speaking His name to others who are in need of His daily bread.  Sometimes that message falls on ripe soil.  At other times the soil isn’t quite ready yet.  Whether I see the harvest of it or not, I have a part to play as I bring the greatest message ever told to a world that desperately needs to hear that Jesus saves.

Lord, grant me opportunities to share my faith with others.  Help me to speak with courage for you.  Jesus, use my life to tell others of your love, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.  

Embrace Your Suffering and Find Your Freedom

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,…(Ge 41:42–43). 

All of us want to be blessed like Joseph, don’t we?  We’re waiting for God to call us up, bless our lives and bring great abundance upon us.  Yet, we must remember, that even while Joseph was living in great abundance, he was reliving very painful moments and had to deal with them or they would certainly deal with him.

Yes, Joseph was blessed, yes he was the second command in Egypt.  From the outside looking in, we could say that Joseph had a perfect life.  Yet, God called Joseph to suffer, even in His blessing, so that Joseph could continue to grow in Godly character and wisdom.  You might be thinking to yourself, but God, how are you good in this?  My life was going so well and now you’ve brought this painful thing back up?  Why are you doing that?  Why can’t I just live in the blessing?  Why are you open wounds and sores from the past?

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Maybe that’s just been me who has asked that question of God.  I’m not sure, but one thing I know for certain is that God cares more about our growth and healing than He does about us living on the mountaintop.  You see, Joseph’s brothers, the ones who betrayed him came back into his life.  Can you imagine the rush of emotions Joseph felt?  Can you even begin to fathom the immense amount of pain he must have felt as each brother walked into the room, reminding him over and over again of the deep betrayal, rejection and hurt he felt over their treatment of him?

Couldn’t God have just let Joseph move forward in life without bringing the past back up?  Couldn’t He have allowed Joseph to bury the past and live only in the blessing of the moment?  Of course, but you see, there’s was something new that God wanted to do through something old in Joseph’s life.  Yes, there was something redemptive that God wanted to work out in the life of Joseph by bringing back all the wounds of his past.

Maybe God has you in a similar season and you find yourself angry, frustrated and discouraged.  Dear friend, look now to your savior who wishes to heal you, restore you and redeem those things from your past.  Trust me when I say this, He is doing a new thing and for that, we can rejoice, trust Him and give Him praise.  God blessed Joseph and redeemed his past because Joseph was willing to go there with God and not become angry and bitter about it.  Dear friend, God wants to do the same for you, won’t you trust Him today?

Lord, redeem and restore all things in my life.  Thank you for the trials and struggles.  Thank you for bringing up similar circumstances in my life to grow my character and to heal me of things I never quite healed from.  Thank you for the journey.  I want to pass the test this time around because of your grace, in Jesus name, Amen.  

 

If The Lord Is With Me, Why Does Everything Go Wrong?

Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined….(Gen 39:20). 

The Lord was with Joseph, but wait, didn’t Joseph get sold into slavery?  Wasn’t he wrongfully accused of doing something then spent years in prison because of it?  How can we then say that the Lord was with Joseph?  How was God good to Joseph in all of this unfair treatment?  Wouldn’t it make more sense for God to protect Joseph from all this unfair treatment if He really was with Joseph and blessing his life?

I mean, that’s the story I tell my own self when life seems to be going wrong.  I think to myself, “This must somehow be my fault.  I must have somehow made God angry with me and now He’s punishing me,” or one of my favorite lines that I like to use with God, “What’s up with that Lord?  Why all this hardship?  Why all this unfair treatment?”  Then, I’ll start playing the words of those who have hurt me on repeat.  I’ll replay the scenarios over and over in my head.  I’ll think about all the ways that they were wrong and how I’m right, trying to justify myself, therefore, somehow trying to make myself feel better about the situation.  If I’ve been wrongfully accused I’ll sometimes feel a need to try and fix it.  To try and fix the mess that I feel someone else has made of my life.

Yet, I am reminded that Joseph stayed in that prison cell until God called Him out.  From what we can tell he did not grow bitter or become angry with God.  He simply entrusted himself to God in the midst of deeply unfair treatment.  He didn’t try to convince others of his integrity.  He simply let God raise him up and show the true colors of his character.

I know what you’re thinking though if you don’t clear your good name how can you move forward from this?  If others don’t see that you didn’t, x, y or z how can anything good come from this?

What I have learned is that as we submit ourselves to the one who judges justly, keep our heads low in humility and press hard into grace the truth of who we are is revealed by how willing we are to trust God in the midst of the trial.  Our character, integrity, and humility are all tested in these moments.  The question is not so much what will we do, but who will we become through them.  I don’t know about you, but I want to become someone different and so instead of putting hurtful words and circumstances on repeat I want to entrust myself to Him who judges justly, have deep love in my heart towards others, even those who have hurt me, and when He’s ready, He’ll raise me up.

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Lord, I trust you.  That’s so easy for me to say, but sometimes so hard for me to do.  Please forgive me when I stumble and fall in this.  Forgive me when I don’t love and lead like Jesus. Help me now to love and lead like Him even when it hurts.  Even when it feels unfair.  Grow and change me through this, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.  

 

From Grace to Grace

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given….(John 1:16).

If you’re a Christian, do you remember when you gave your life to Jesus?  Everything felt so right.  The joy, peace, and goodness that filled your life were palpable.  You knew something was different about you and your Spirit rejoiced over it.

But then life started to set in again.  The setbacks, disappointments, and trials.  They all started pressing in on your once again and you began to wonder why God wasn’t as good to you as He was on the day of your salvation.

My daughter, who is currently only seven weeks old, cannot live on her own.  She needs me to live, feed her and change her.  She literally has almost no independence and for her to go out on her own right now without my constant protection, holding her close and keeping her safe would end in true tragedy.

Beloved of God, don’t you see, the trials, setbacks, and disappointments are not to destroy you, but to grow you.  There will come a day when I have to loosen the grip of protection on my daughters’ life.  Not because I’m leaving her, I’ll still be there, always ready to keep her safe at any moment and when I need to step in, I will.  But, she’s going to have to take some steps on her own.  Some of them will be painful.  Some of them will seem unfair, but she’ll always have me to fall back on and remind her of the goodness of God.

If I am willing to do that for my daughter, isn’t it true that God desires to do the same for His children?  The pressing, persecution, and pain are to grow us up in maturity.  We have a choice to make in those moments, will I continue to lean into the Father who loves me and be filled with more grace or will I run from grace and into the arms everything I used before Christ to soothe my present pain and worry?  For me, the only lasting satisfaction I have found is Jesus and His grace.

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I hate the way I feel when I run from His grace and into places of anger as resentment and bitterness start to take root.  Only through Jesus, dear friend, can we find the freedom our lives need to walk forward out of grace and into grace once more with a heart that believes God for good and glorious things.  No matter where life takes us.

Father, thank you for your grace.  I want to live and walk in it today.  Thank you for growing me up in you into maturity.  May I always be ready to place myself before you as a living sacrifice.  Jesus, I want to be faithful to you.  I don’t want to run to anger, fear or pride.  I want to run towards you, Amen.  

 

God Has a Chosen One and I’m Not It….

 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”… (Jn 1:34). 

God has a chosen one and you’re not it.  I get it, you understand that.  But, if I could be quite honest, sometimes, the world starts to revolve around me and although logically, I understand that Jesus is God’s chosen one, I start to live like I’m it instead.

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Things happen in life where I am hurt by the words of others or their judgments of me and I am sent into this place of self-pity where I tell myself a story that goes a little something like this.

“These people just don’t appreciate or see my gifts.”

“I should be given a chance, it’s their loss if they don’t see and use my potential.”

I’ll play similar phrases like these on repeat.  This only causes me to become more and more isolated from the people I’ve convinced myself don’t see my value or appreciate me.  This simply makes life, ministry, and service all about me.  My needs, my wants, my gifts, how I’ve been slighted and misunderstood..me, me, me….gross.

I wish I could say that I’ve arrived in this, but I just haven’t.  I’m still fighting with Jesus for my freedom from this dark place my mind likes to spin into.  You see, people, circumstances and not getting what we want is not the problem.  The enemy who loves to twist, lie and deceive is the problem.  I get that, and I understand that, but I often forget to realize that when the battle rages, I don’t fight him.  I fight my circumstances, the people around me and, ultimately, the Lord.

There is one chosen one, Jesus.  Today, I’m going to fight with Him for right belief, because He is the only one who can set my mind free from the prisons I put myself in.  Truly, we wear the victors crown when we learn how to start fighting the right enemy through the power and love of the true chosen one- Jesus.

Father, today I want to stand on truth.  You are God’s chosen one, not me.  Forgive me for making life about myself.  Forgive me for fighting the wrong enemy.  Set my heart free according    

 

I Am Not My Mistakes….I Am a Child of God

he gave the right to become children of God…. (John 1:12). 

Dear friend, truly, your citizenship is in Heaven.  Because of Jesus and His willingness to make a way for you, we have been adopted into God’s family.

Think about that, sit on that thought with me for a moment.  The God of glorious grace invites you in not just to be acquitted of all your wrongs, but to become part of a family; His family.  You, dear friend, have received all the riches of His grace.  You are His son or daughter and He delights in you.  Yes, He delights in you and loves you even though you falter.  Truly, His love for you will never run out.  No matter where life takes you, He waits to welcome you always, with loving arms into His grace.

Just as I look at my daughter and am overcome by a great and deep love for her I am blown away by the reality that the Father has an even deeper love for me and for her.  Truly, in this, we can rejoice.  For this is who we are, His beloved children.  We are not the culmination of our mistakes or the hurtful words spoken to us.  We are indeed His children, made in His image and held perfectly in His love.

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Now, beloved of God, let your Father dance over you today as you allow Him to hold you perfectly in His love, knowing that you are His child.

Father, sometimes I am overwhelmed by just how much you love your children.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for not giving up on me.  Thank you for the grace that is mine in Christ.  Glorify your name through me today, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen. 

I’ve Learned Just How Powerful Faith is Over My Emotions

my foes will rejoice when I fall….(Ps 13:4).

We will fall in life.  Things will happen, we will fail and the enemy will rejoice when we do.  What I have found though, is that I find myself continuing to fall because instead of falling into my faith, I keep falling into the hands of my emotions.  Those emotions are usually never good as my mind races with feelings of anger, mistrust, wanting to justify myself, etc.  The enemy loves to spin a story that just doesn’t exist in our hearts so that we’ll keep falling back on something that just isn’t true.
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Have you ever done that?  Made up a whole scenario in your head of how someone feels about you or how things are going to play out?  Honestly, I’ve done that more than I care to admit and the story I tell myself is usually never good.  It’s always a story of discouragement and defeat.  Therefore, instead of falling into my emotions and drowning in them I must place myself in the hands of a loving Father who silences my heart and speaks His words of life and love into me.
The enemy is defeated when we take up the shield of faith and allow the Lord Jesus to write a different story on our hearts and mind.  You see, this story is found in His word.  When we write that story on our heart, we can recall its truth when we are discouraged so that we may be encouraged.  After all, in all things, we are more than conquerors, and that includes over our emotions, because of Him who loves us.
Father, today I want to fall into the hands of grace.  I long to know you and to be led by your hand of mercy.  Lord Jesus, be my joy and delight.  Shower me with your truth as I lean into you.  I refute the discouraging message of the enemy who wants to make me believe lies.  Today, I long to stand on your truth, in Jesus name, Amen.