It always amazes me how God can redeem some of the most painful and ugly situations. I was reading the very last chapter of Genesis regarding Joseph. Joseph had been betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. They had dealt treacherously and cruelly with him. But Joseph’s eyes were always on God. So that at the end of this chapter Joseph was able to say to his brothers, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children. And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”

Earlier in Genesis 45:7 Josesph said to his brothers, “But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here but God.”

Make no mistake Joseph suffered because of what his brothers had done and not just for a week or two, but for years. Yet, by God’s grace Joseph was able keep his gaze on God and His plan. Joseph’s story, or really God’s story is truly humbling, because it is a tremendous reminder of God’s sovereignty, wisdom and love that is soo incredibly different than the inclinations of our very human hearts.

Last Sunday our pastor askedsked us if we knew Jesus was coming back in the next 15 minutes would we be willing to declare an international amnesty (day so to speak)…and forgive those that have wronged us, so that when we went to face God at those end of those 15 minutes…our hearts would be clean before God? It is a powerful question to contemplate.

There is a great cost to unforgiveness in this lifetime and in the next life. Is it worth it?

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

That word stronghold is an interesting one. It implies a fortress, which is a great comfort to us when God is our stronghold or fortress. But what if the thing that has a strong hold on us is not God…but our stuff, our bank account, our comfort, our pleasure, our kids, our relationships, our careeer, or even our ministies…etc. The scripture suggests that our salvation and light come only from God…and we can be fearless when He is our stronghold. I’ve had the privilege of watching a number of people around me dislodge false strongholds in pursuit of the LORD. It is really quite amazing to see a peace and confidence settle in their spirits, just like Ps. 27:3 states, “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.” We become, as I recently heard in a sermon, spiritually “bomb proof” and while we may hurt and experience heartache we we are not panicked because we know in whom we have believed (I Timothy 1:12)

February 21, 2017

Come, Follow Me

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19 I love this command by Jesus. We are to come to Him. And Follow Him. That verb represents a life time of movement. You can’t follow someone if you don’t move WITH them. Sometimes i think the greatest challenge is walking with Him into the places He leads us. In Scripture, he was often leading his disciples right into the thick of things with many people in great need. Not many of us want┬áto jump on the band wagon to step into such places. But there are other times He calls his disciples to pull away and pray with Him or just fellowship with Him. These are the places that refuel us, strengthen us and help us gain our perspective. We can’t follow Him to the hard places and thrive if we haven’t a cultivated the habit of following Him into His quiet fellowship.

February 21, 2017