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)

May 2, 2017

Love Strenuously


1 Peter 4:8 says, ¬†“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” I was reading in my commentary that the word “deeply there was used to describe the taut muscles of an athlete who strains to win a race. The Believer’s love is to be sacrificial…it strenuously maintains love but it is not blind to the faults of others. What a challenge. “Lord, help us to love deeply those around us…even the unlovely and the unkind. May you give us the strength to love them strenuously for your glory and may you give us wisdom to know what that love looks like. Will your love best displayed in the form of a hug or a truthful conversation given with love? Thank you for the wisdom you give. In Jesus Name. Amen.”

May 2, 2017