Think about it: Joseph and God’s faithfulness

Psalms 105:19

“until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.”

The Bible had me in a crazy awesome thought today. I was reminded of the story of Joseph. You know, the guy who dreamed a lot and wore the multi-colored coat.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the story, it’s found in Genesis 37-46. To try and sum up the story, it’s about the youngest son of a man who has 12 children. Not only is he subject to all of the “youngest” stigmas (babied by his mother, favored by his father, bullied by his older brothers, etc.) he was given the gift of dreams and interpreting dreams that would foretell the future.

One night Joseph woke up from a dream that foretold of his impending rise to leadership over Egypt, Israel and even his whole household (which, culturally at the time was unheard of. The youngest of 12 leading over the 1st born. It never happened). God spoke to him through this dream though, and Joseph believed to his very core that this was where God was leading him.

It would probably surprise you as much as it did Joseph to learn that his brothers turned on him after telling them of this dream. They bound him and sold him into slavery in the land of Egypt. He was a slave for years, accused of things he never did, thrown into dungeons.

It wasn’t until he was brought before Pharaoh himself that he began to see how God was still working and moving in his life to fulfill the dream that God had given him all those years ago. He interpreted Pharaoh’s dream of a coming drought that would last throughout the land for 7 years. Pharaoh then put Joseph in charge of all food and rations and put him only second to Pharaoh himself.

God fulfilled his promise that he made to Joseph in his dream all those years ago. But God brought Joseph low before he brought him high.

Often times in our lives we find ourselves in the lows. Wondering if God is really going to fulfill the prayer we truly believe He answered or the calling we truly believe he’s called us to.

For the past four years Courtney and I have held fast to the call in our lives that being on staff with Cru is where God wants us. Where he’s called us to be. We’ve been in, and through, the lows. For almost three of the past four years we have been raising our monthly financial support full-time. The whole time believing that God was still calling us to work full-time on the college campus, sharing and teaching the Gospel to college students.

During this time the Lord was testing our faith and commitment to the call that He’s put on our lives. However, I believe this “low” to have truly been a high when looking back on it. Yes, it was difficult, and at times Courtney and I would say to ourselves, “this is not what we signed up for.” But in the midst of it all — God was faithful. He used those times to show us what we’re really made of, and we quickly found that it wasn’t as much as we thought. If it hadn’t been for the strength of the Holy Spirit inside us, I don’t know if we would have had the resolve to still be where we are today.

Often times we compare trials in our lives to working-out or training for a big race. It’s a cliché comparison — “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” — but it’s true. The difficult things we experience that we push and pray through, but still make it out whole on the other side, are the things that refine and define us.

God is constantly making sure that we’re as “all in” like He is. At least I believe that to be part of the reason God brings us to a trial and we follow His leading. In our lives, like Joseph, God was faithful to us in the dream and vision that He gave us for being on staff with Cru sharing and teaching the Gospel to college students. The Lord wants good things for His beloved children (Romans 8:28). Trust and believe in that as you experience trials in your life.

Take a few moments the next time you’re in the thick of it all. Ask yourself if this is worth the costs of the call that God has placed on your life, or is he trying to get your attention to pull up anchor and set sail to somewhere new?

Think about it …

Think About It: God’s Will

1 John 2:17

“And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Fellow Christian. This is for you. Whoever does the will of God abides forever.

The Word of God talks about the will of God very specifically to us. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul reminds us that it is God’s will that we be thankful in all circumstances. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus tells his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. Letting us know that it is by God’s will that we be active in our faith and Go.

We are also reminded in Ephesians 1:13 & 1 Thessalonians 2:13 that those who claim Christ have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God inside of them, and that both are going to guide and lead us into God’s will.

So let’s face it. There’s some solid Biblical evidence that if you’re a Christian walking in a daily relationship with Christ, you’re going to be struck with God’s will for your life.

“So what?” You might be asking yourself. “Why walk in God’s will for my life?” One of the bigger answers is found in 1 John 2:17: “Whoever does the will of God abides forever.” You can’t find any better reason than that. Those who live according to the will of the Lord will abide in God’s presence forever.

What does this mean? It means that if you make it your life’s pursuit to pursue God’s will & plan for your life, you won’t have to worry about how things are going to turn out. The Bible spells it out pretty plainly: Whoever does the will of God abides forever.

As pastor Bob Coy puts it, “Every time you make the deliberate effort to discern and do God’s will for your life, you set another foundational stone for your future that cannot be moved or shaken. As if experiencing God’s will wasn’t wonderful enough, it’s also establishing a reward for us in heaven that far outweighs and outshines any good thing we can ever comprehend here on earth.”

Keep this truth in mind daily because there will always be the tendency of the nature of the flesh to revert back to our own way.

So how do we do this? What are some action steps to take? Read the Bible. God’s will is going to be revealed through the Scriptures. Pray often. Not only that God would continually reveal His will for you, but pray for all things in all things. The deeper your connection with The Lord the easier it will be to discern His will. Seek council. Fellow believers and mentors in your life are going to be plugged into prayer and God’s Word too. They will help keep you on-track.

Stop and ask yourself: What does God want me to do? What does His Word have to say about that? What else is He using to indicate and clarify what His will is for my life?

Think about it …

Think About it: The Gospel is Personal

Romans 16:1

“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae.”

The book of Romans. Paul’s letter to the church of Rome, 16 chapters, and full of some of the deepest doctrinal truths imaginable. Romans is really unrivaled in terms of the profound nature of the material found within. And yet, as if to keep this lofty piece of literature grounded in reality, it ends with a series of names like Phoebe, Pricilla, Aquila, Mary, Junia, and Julia, and many others.

I love the beauty of this. The needed reminder that at the end of the day, after all of these deep doctrinal truths, real authentic people are an indispensable part of our faith. Yea, Christianity is theological and doctrinal, yet it’s also personal. It includes and impacts real people, people with names and roles that are rooted in real life.

Pastor Bob Coy helps key in why we need to know this, “so often we can distance ourselves from the things we read about in God’s Word. Without even realizing it, we can view it as somebody else’s thing that doesn’t fully belong to us. But it isn’t.”

The Christian faith belongs to us just as much as it belongs to Phoebe, Pricilla, Aquila, Mary, Junia, and Julia. Ours is a personal faith, applicable to real people, and we’re the people that comprise it. God doesn’t want His truths to be carved in stone or on monuments. He wants them to be etched in hearts of actual people.

The truths of Romans and the rest of God’s Word apply to you just as much as anyone else!

The Gospel is personal.

Think about it…