Matthew 1:20 Do Not Be Afraid

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit”. Matthew 1:20

There are times things happen that people do not fully understand. When times occur like that, many people are afraid, not knowing what to expect or fearing what could occur. As this occurs, people will often take sudden, extreme measures to get out of the situation or to deal with it. The do not always see the bigger picture, but quickly judge upon some few facts.

Mary and Joseph were engaged to be married. Suddenly she was found to be pregnant, so Joseph chose to break off the marriage. An angel comes to him and tells him to not be afraid, because this is from God’s doing.

God’s ways are often above the ways and thinking of man. From a temporary viewpoint, His ways do not always make sense. They can often appear dangerous or wrong. When seen that way, people are often afraid and try to take the situation into their own hands to deal with as Joseph did.

Before a believer should choose to take a situation into his own hands, he should seek God. He should try to find out what God is doing in the situation. As he finds out that it is God’s working in his life, he should no longer be afraid.

Ever since the beginning of time, God is telling His people to not be afraid. Believers are to trust God in every situation and not immediately take things into their own hands as the world does. As Joseph believed God, he was able to be a part of the salvation of all mankind.

As a believer, there may be times when God does something in your life that does not make sense or looks dangerous. First you must seek God to find out if it is from Him and then find out what your next step should be.

In all of this, never be afraid. Know and trust that God is in control of every situation in your life. Do not be like the world and try to take control in your own way. You don’t know, but maybe what is happening is God’s way to save a nation or world through you.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will seek God in every situation; that you will not be afraid, but trust God; and that God will use you in great ways.

Joseph: Faith-God Is In Control

Handcuffed hands

So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of Egypt. Genesis 45:8 

The next person of faith that I want to look at is Joseph. It is not common to think of him as a person of faith, but he was. I will quickly retell his story leading up to why he is a man of faith and how his faith looks.

Joseph grew up as the youngest for many years in a large family of twelve plus children. Not only was he the youngest, but he was much younger than the rest of his brothers. He was different in that God had given him visions, even at a young age.

Some of the visions he had been given had made his brothers angry with him. They realized that the visions meant that at some point in the future they would bow down to him. In their anger they were about to kill him, but was stopped by one of the brothers. Instead they sold Joseph into slavery.

Abu Simbel temple

Despite being in slavery, God was with him and gave him great favor. He had started out being the head of the house of Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials and captain of the guard. This was a very high and honored position to have. Potiphar trusted him completely.

However, Potiphar’s wife tried to get Joseph sexually. Joseph refused and she had him falsely accused and thrown into prison.

Even while in prison, God was still with Joseph and continued to give him favor. He was made the head of all the prisoners because of his faithfulness. Yet, he was still a prisoner, locked up in prison for a false accusation against him.

While in prison, two prisoners had a vision and were unable to understand what the vision was about. God gave Joseph favor and gave him the meaning of the visions. Both of the visions became true.

Human eye

Later, Pharaoh had some visions and no one could interpret them. One of the released prisoners then remembered Joseph interpreting his dream and mentioned him to Pharaoh. He brought Joseph out of the prison to get the interpretation. Again, God gave Joseph favor and he was able to interpret the dream for Pharaoh.

Pharaoh then honored Joseph and made him second, only to him over all of Egypt. Joseph was the person who would save Egypt and much of the world during a very long famine in the land. It was Egypt that would provide food needed by people from many nations.

Some time later, his brothers came to Egypt looking to get some food. Immediately Joseph recognized his brothers, but did not reveal the fact until later, because they did not recognize him. They thought he was either dead or in slavery yet.

When Joseph did reveal himself, he told them not to worry about what they had done wrong to him, but that it was all God’s doing. God had put him into slavery in order to get him to Egypt, in order to have him in position to save Egypt and the world from a famine.

Egypt pyramids

This is where his faith comes in.

It is commonly thought that when a person becomes a Christian believer in Jesus that everything will go alright, that there will be no problems. It sounds nice. Think about it God is with you, He will protect you, and He will meet all of your needs. Why should anyone think anything different?

Yet, this is not the truth. Yes, God is with you, is protecting you and is meeting all of your needs, but the process may be through tough times. God is also going to use you to meet the needs of others. In order for that to happen, you may have to be moved or have to go through something to get you in the right position to be able to meet those needs.

Being moved into a downward position does not always make sense. Why would God move someone down, when He said He would lift a person up? God gave Joseph a vision that he would rule over his brothers. Why would God make him a slave then?

Puzzle pieces

God sees the bigger picture. He is standing above all watching what is happening and is able to know where each person needs to be to fulfill His work. We, as people at the bottom of the picture, or in the picture, cannot see the full picture. We cannot always understand what God is doing or why He is doing it. We cannot always understand why God is allowing certain things to happen in our lives.

This is where faith comes in. Remember, faith is being certain of what you cannot see. Joseph could not fully see what God was doing, but He had faith that God was in control. Instead of blaming his brothers, he was able to see that it was God’s hand that moved him to where he was in the way that it occurred.

God may have placed a vision or a dream in your heart as to what He wants from you. As you strive to achieve that dream, you may have to go down a different path that appears to move you further away from it. You may have to go through some difficult times to achieve that vision.

During those difficult times, do not give up on God. Do not lose faith in God. Have faith in God, knowing that He is still in control and knows what He is doing.

Burning car

Do not allow yourself to become bitter because of the circumstances you may be going through or have already been through. Everything that you go through is meant to build you up in Jesus–to make you more like Jesus. It can expose areas that need to be worked on, areas that need to be strengthened, areas that need to be removed and cleaned up, and areas that can be honored and broadcast.

Every believer has some area to improve on to become more like Jesus. No one is perfectly like Him, so there is room to grow. Trust that God is in control and is working towards that goal–that is faith in God.

Looking up

Seek God to understand why you are going through tough times or had gone through tough times. Find out how you can use those tough times for His glory and His kingdom.

This is faith. You cannot fully see the whole picture, but can know that God does. God is working all things out for your good. Have faith that this is true and will always be true.

 

Genesis 50:19 Taking God’s Position

mountain winter scene

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?” Genesis 50:19

The reason sin came into the world was selfishness. Adam and Eve, like Satan, wanted to be like God. They wanted to take His place.

Throughout history people have placed themselves in positions of judgement and control. They want to be in control and be able to make the final decisions on everything in their own lives, and often in the lives of others. These final decisions are often judgements on what is best or not best for their own lives or for the lives of other people.

While judgements can be made, often they may be made with the wrong motive or made completely wrong choice. These types of judgements can be found in the world and inside the church. Believers are often known to quickly condemn a person and bring on punishment without looking at the bigger picture or knowing the full story. Others judge in order to make themselves to look better.

Very few people would say that the road to suffering is the best road to take, yet, God does, at times, choose that road to build a person up. He also chooses that road to move a person to where he needs to be.

After Joseph’s father died, his brothers were scared that he would judge them for their wrongful treatment of him. Immediately Joseph stated that he was not in the place of God to bring on that type of judgement. He actually saw the bigger picture of what had occurred. Instead of focusing on the wrong his brothers had done, he saw it as God moving him, through suffering, to a bigger position to help everyone out. He saw the situation through the eyes of God, rather than his own eyes.

There will be times you will have to go through suffering at the hands of others. This is something that God is allowing for His purpose. Seek to look at the situation through God’s eyes. Do not put yourself on His throne. Be willing to see why God is allowing that situation in your life and how it can be used for His glory and to spread the gospel message of God’s love and grace.

When people see God on the throne of your life, it will draw them to Jesus. He is to be lifted up, not you.

I pray today that God will reveal His purpose in your life; that you will trust God’s work in your life; that you will allow God to deal with people in your life in His way; and that you will allow God to be the ruler of all. 

Genesis 45:8 No One To Blame

Boy on traintrack

“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.” Genesis 45:8

Hard times come upon every person at one point or another, and even often more than one time in life. Things change, people get sick or die, things break down, injuries, fights, disagreements, and more.

As things happen that are not very good or positive, the first thing many people try to do is figure out who to blame in why things went bad. Or they want to know why things went bad in their life. People want to know the purpose behind all negative things. Just as a little child asks the question ‘why?’ so do adults when things go bad.

Often it is easy to blame someone for what went wrong. The person said or did something that was bad and it caused a problem and a change in life. This is what it looked like for Joseph from an outside perspective. His brothers sold him into slavery, then, he gets falsely accused and put in prison. Everything looks terrible and individuals can be blamed–his brothers, and his master’s wife.

Yet, Joseph becomes second, only to Pharaoh in Egypt and provider of food for the world. He saw this as God’s doing in order to meet the needs of the people later on. God knew the drought was coming and set Joseph up to help meet that need. Joseph did not blame his brothers, nor God. He accepted and proclaimed that God sent him to Egypt to help the people, even though it was through slavery and imprisonment.

Believers will go through hard times, yet it is not anyone’s fault. God is in control and allows bad things to happen for a purpose. That purpose may be for the individual or it may be for others, but either way it is to glorify God.

As you go through hard times, and you will some day, do not be quick to blame someone else or get angry with God. Ask God to reveal the purpose for the hard time. Ask God how you can use that difficult time to spread His gospel message and bring Him glory. Ask Him how you can help others through your difficult time.

God can and will use you in the best way possible. Are you willing to be used despite the trouble it might be?

I pray today that you will know God’s work in your life; that you will trust God’s work in your life; that you will not be angry at what God allows in your life; and that you will use all situations for His glory.

Genesis 42:21 Sin Will Be Found Out

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They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.” Genesis 42:21

Criminals are always looking behind them and all around. They are looking for the police, trying to avoid them. Fear is in their hearts that what they had done wrong will be found out. There is no trust in anyone, because they themselves are not trustworthy and have done something wrong.

If a crime goes unpunished long enough, most people will begin to stop fearing getting caught. They will live life as though nothing had been done wrong. Yet, some crimes can be punished many years later. For some crimes there is no statute of limitations.

Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery when he was young. Over the years most of them had begun to forget the fear of being punished for their sin. During a drought, they went to Egypt to get food, innocently thinking they were in the clear. Not knowing that it was Joseph they had to talk to, they were being held back and falsely accused. As this occurred, it immediately came to their mind what they had done so many years before. They realized they were being punished for their sin against Joseph.

Some believers often act in the same way. They will ‘hide’ a sinful act or habit from other people. They will act as though they are truly following God and nothing is ever wrong, while sinning on purpose. They will think that they are in the clear and no one sees it.

However, God sees all actions and thoughts. He knows what sins a person does. For the time it may seem that there will be no punishment, however, if left unrepentant, there will come a day of punishment. It may be in this life or after death at the judgement seat, but it will come.

As a believer, you are to turn from all sin and repent of the sin. God is ready and willing to forgive, but if you do not allow Him to forgive, there will be punishment in store.

Allow God to change your life with forgiving you and strengthening you for a new life following Him. Do not hide your sin, but give them to God. He loves you and will forgive you.

I pray today that you will know the love of God in your life; that you will turn from sin to God; that you will repent of sin; and that you will know God’s forgiveness in your life.