“And the Lord was with Joseph”

Joseph“And Joseph was brought down to Egypt … And the Lord was with Joseph and he was a prosperous man …”  (Genesis 39:1-2).

Very few men in the Bible suffered the injustices that Joseph suffered, and very few of us ever will. He was sold into slavery by his own brothers. Joseph was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife. Imprisoned, forgotten, and left to rot in a prison cell.

Yet, all along the way, “the Lord was with Joseph.” 

The story of Joseph is a good reminder for all of us today. Joseph’s life, trials, and troubles, remind us that regardless of our circumstances, if we will remain faithful to God, and the ways of God, we can rest assured that the Lord will be with us, and that He is working behind the scenes to fulfill His purpose.

“And we know that ALL THINGS work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to HIS PURPOSE” (Romans 8:28).

O Lord, forgive us for looking at circumstances that are less than comfortable and pleasing in our own sight. Help us to to see Your Hand in all that comes our way, and when this isn’t possible, help us to trust Your heart!

Just Reflecting!

Peter, Do you really love Me?

Peter-1John 21:15-24, So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?  Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.

This question, “Do You Love Me?” which Jesus asked Peter still echoes through the ages. Jesus didn’t simply ask Peter if he loved Him once, but three times. And, in front of the other disciples. Can you imagine?

Purpose 3God had a specific purpose for Peter’s life. He had a path for Peter to take. By the way, Jesus has a purpose for your life and mine. He has a path for us to take too. Peter was called to be a fisher of men (Matthew 4:18-22). He was called to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, beginning in Jerusalem (Acts 1:8). Yet, Peter allowed his fears to overwhelm and overcome him. He denied Christ and went back to fishing, not for men, but for fish.

Now, was the moment of truth, Jesus was calling Peter back to Himself and to His calling.

If you have been saved and serving Jesus for any length of time and if you’re anything like me, you know how easy it is to take our eyes off of Jesus, get caught up with the things of this world, and forget our high calling in Christ.

Peter 2If we listen carefully, we too will hear Jesus asking, “DO YOU LOVE ME?” It’s easy to say we LOVE JESUS, but if we truly do LOVE HIM, we will FOLLOW WHEREVER HE LEADS and OBEY WHATEVER HE DEEDS, regardless of our present circumstances and the future consequences!

Let’s not sing,  “I have decided to follow Jesus,” unless we really mean it!

As one author noted, “My biggest fear, even now, is that I will hear Jesus’ words and walk away, content to settle for less than radical obedience to Him. ”

O Lord, help us to love You with every fiber of our being and demonstrate that love for You by our obedience—not only in that which is comfortable and convenient for us, but all that is commanded by You!

Just Reflecting!

God’s Purpose for My Life

Purpose 1.jpg“I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished THE WORK which Thou gavest Me to do”  (Jn 17:4).

“My kingdom is not of this world … And for THIS CAUSE came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth” (JN 18:36-37).

As I read these words this morning, on the 41st anniversary of my salvation, I had to ask myself these three questions:

  • Am I as passionate about BRINGING GLORY TO GOD today, as I was in the past?”
  • Am I as passionate about FINISHING THE WORK GOD HAS GIVEN ME today, as I was in the past?
  • Am I as passionate about PROCLAIMING THE TRUTH found in God’s Word today, as I was in the past?

Purpose 2Our Lord Jesus lived for one thing and one thing only – to glorify His Father!

And because He did so, His life had purpose, He was focused upon that purpose, and He was faithful to that purpose.

Our Lord Jesus clearly understood His purpose, and this was His passion in life!

How about us today?

A Few Questions Worth Pondering Today:

  • Is finding, following, and finishing the work that God has for us the great passion and pursuit of our life?
  • Are we becoming entangled with the things of this world?
  • Can we honestly say that we are more devoted to the cause of Christ and the Christ of the cause today than we have ever been?
  • Has the fire that once burned within our hearts for Christ and the cause of Christ dwindled?

Purpose 3O Lord, on this very special day, I beg You to help me to remain faithful and fruitful in the call and cause of Christ for my life and in this world! 

Just Reflecting!

Because Thou Hast Done This Thing, 2

Abraham“I and the Lord will go yonder to worship … And said, By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for BECAUSE THOU HAST DONE THIS THING, and not withhold thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee …”  (Genesis 22:5, 16-17).

As we mentioned in our last post, the story of Abraham, Isaac, and Mount Moriah (as found in Genesis 22) is a sobering reminder for all of us who claim to be people of faith, followers of the Lord Jesus, and a people who want to worship the one and true living God.

This story reminds us that true worship of God is actually a matter of faith, obedience, surrender, and sacrifice. And, when we are willing to SURRENDER and SACRIFICE that which is nearest and dearest to our heart -even that which God has given to us- it is an act of spiritual worship that is both pleasing to God and eventually results in the blessing of God.

For Abraham, Isaac might have been his promised child, his only son from his beloved wife Rachel, and the apple of his eye, but it would have been very easy for Isaac to also become an idol in Abraham’s life. And, God always has to deal with the idolatry in our lives, even if the idol isn’t a statue or a shrine. And, He often deals with it in a painful way. Concerning idols and idolatry, I like what one author wrote:

We think that idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case. The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes. Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life. What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give. 

For some of us, our idols are found in family or friends. For others of us, it’s in our financial security or our future ambitions. And, still for others, its the familiarity of a good church, home, job, etc…

Someone has said, “The human heart is an idol making factory.”

Understanding this helps us to understand why so many of us, in fact, all of us, struggle with making the “hard decisions” when it comes to following Jesus. Oh, there are many decisions and choices that are “easy” to make, but its those difficult ones that get the best of us.

Path 1When it comes to bringing your only son, the one your heart adores, to Mount Moriah, now that’s another story.  And, when it comes to doing what Jesus wants us to do. And, in many cases, when it comes to going where Jesus wants us to go, that too, is another story. And, I think we can all attest to this!

Why is this? Because it isn’t really Jesus that’s ruling our hearts and lives, but the idols that we really serving. They have control! 

Again,  I like what another author wrote:

Old gods die hard. They hold on, they creep in, they quietly clutch at us. Perhaps when we meet Christ, the old gods fall silent for a while. But they regroup. They wait for their time, and they aim as high as ever. They want to rule our hearts again.

A few more questions worth pondering at the beginning of 2018:

(1) When God begins to speak to my heart, and there’s a “hard decision” to make, do I first ponder all that Christ has done for me with a heart of gratitude, or does my mind wander to someone or something that makes it difficult to make the decision?

(2) Are there any reoccurring words that God has spoken to me over the years that, because of someone or something, I keep ignoring or neglecting?

(3) When will I stop wrestling with God and simply SURRENDER and SACRIFICE whatever or whoever it might be on the Mount Moriah God has for me?

Just reflecting!

Self-2“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”  — C. T. Studd

 

Because Thou Hast Done This Thing

Abraham“I and the Lord will go yonder to worship … And said, By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for BECAUSE THOU HAST DONE THIS THING, and not withhold thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee …”  (Genesis 22:5, 16-17).

The story of Abraham, Isaac, and Mount Moriah, as found in Genesis 22 is a sobering reminder for all of us who claim to be people of faith, followers of the Lord Jesus, and a people who want to worship the one and true living God.

This story reminds us that true worship of God is actually a matter of faith, obedience, surrender, and sacrifice!

When we are willing to SURRENDER and SACRIFICE that which is nearest and dearest to our heart-even that which God has given to us- it is an act of spiritual worship that is both pleasing to God and eventually results in the blessing of God.

As we are less than two weeks into 2018, there are a few questions worth pondering:

(1) Are there some things, or even people, that God is calling for us to SURRENDER and SACRIFICE in order to truly follow Him in this New Year?

(2) Is there someone or something that we are clinging to that God is calling us to give to Him and, yet, it seems too unbearable to give up?

(3) Is there a Mount Moriah a few days journey ahead for us? If so, are we willing to take the journey?

For the follower of Jesus, the journey of faith and obedience is, at times, lonely and long, and often painful, but in the long run, it’s always worth it!

Just Reflecting!

 

 

 

Satan’s Last Stronghold

#1“The Lord will destroy the house of the proud …” (Proverbs 15:25)

It has been said, “Pride is Satan’s last stronghold in the heart and the life of a committed Christian.” Someone else has said, “Pride is the first sin to enter a man’s heart and the last to leave.”

Regrettably, more often than not, our pride not only goes unchecked, but goes undetected and this is the root cause of so many issues in our life and ministry!

Think about all of the problems that we have in our life, our marriage, our ministry, and yes, even in our so-called movement. Isn’t it fairly easy to see that pride is at the root of much, if not all, of our problems. And yet, we are too proud to admit it! 😦

Again think about it, regardless of the circumstances, a proud spirit is almost always, if not always, at the root of our many contentions.

“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom” (Proverbs 13:10).

The quickest and surest way to see a man, a marriage, a ministry, or even a movement “destroyed” is for us to allow our sin of pride to go undetected and unchecked!

#2O Lord, help us – no Lord, help me – to pulldown the stronghold of pride in my life. Help me to follow in the humble footsteps of Jesus!

Just Reflecting!

ARE YOU GOING THROUGH CHANGES? I HOPE SO!

#1Hebrews 5:12-6:1, For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.

2 Peter 3:18, But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

While most of us would readily admit growing in Christ is the will of God, if we aren’t careful, some times we just stop growing. And, if we are going to grow, we are going to have to spend time in the word of God, spend time sitting at the feet of Jesus, and allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the changes that need to be made.

#3When it comes to loving, learning and living the Bible—especially the “meat” of the word—MATURITY matters. The question is, “DO I WANT TO GROW?” “AM I WILLING TO CHANGE?” or “AM I SATISFIED WITH MY PRESENT SPIRITUAL CONDITION?”

I think most of us want to be used by God to make a difference in the lives of others. I think most of us want God to use us to change others. I am convinced most of us want God to continue to use us to change others. If so, it would be good to keep in mind:

God has to CHANGE ME before He uses me to CHANGE OTHERS. And, He has to continue to CHANGE ME, if He is going to continue to use me to CHANGE OTHERS!

#2Romans 12:1-2, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed [CHANGED] by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

A Few Important Questions Worth Pondering:

  • Am I still growing in my love and service for Christ or have plateaued in my Christian experience?
  • Am I changing, or am I stuck in a spiritual rut? If not, why?
  • Am I a little bit more like Jesus today than I was yesterday? If not, what’s holding me back?

Just Reflecting!