Go out on a limb… for God
Be led by faith.
Go out on a limb… for God
Be led by faith.
Hope your family. Chance to get married. Dismal finances. Failing health. Forgiveness.
You may feel its too far gone. Happy days or wonderful dreams now seem other-worldly.
Such was the case of Jacob. His favorite son, Joseph, disappeared years ago, apparently victim to a savage animal. His other sons brought him proof of the horrid incident: a bloodied garment.
FOURTEEN YEARS later, Joseph surfaces in Egypt. He never was killed. He was sold in slavery. He’s been promoted to prime minister of Egypt. Jacob simply can’t believe his ears. He gave up hope so long ago and resigned himself to bitterness that now he dares not believe the report.
God has a way of bringing back to you impossibly lost days and dreams. That’s why you need to keep believing.
Slaves were expected to perform grudgingly, only under fear of whipping, so when Joseph showed up whistling at his work, his boss was taken aback. Joseph made all the other slaves look bad because he did more work, did a better job, got things cleaner, cooked better. Whatever task he was assigned, he outdid expectations.
Eventually, Potiphar promoted him to managing director, in charge of his entire household.
As Christians, we should exceed expectations regularly. In our service in church, on outreach in the field, taking care of the needy of the world, we must strive for excellence and not offer a second-best or good-enough “sacrifice with blemish.”
At the end of 13 years of this trial, Joseph went from slave to vice president. God saw his faithfulness and excellent service and promoted him. We can expect good things if we exceed expectations.
Judas Iscariot reasoned that it was time to cash out on Jesus. He reasoned Jesus wasn’t going anywhere after all, and that he should make the most of three years of following the loser named Jesus.
Job’s friends reasoned against their friend. Instead of consoling him, they blamed him. You must have sinned because look at the proof: God’s not with you anymore.
The very same logical fallacies atheists accuse us of using, they too use! (When a pseudo-intellectual brandishes an exotic Latin fallacy, it tends to quiet the non-Latin speaker.)
As Christians, we too can “reason” ourselves out of the will of God. We can “reason” our way of out going to church, tithing, outreaching, our marriage, etc.
To avoid this pratfall, bathe your decisions in prayer. Make sure you don’t spend your time praying trying to convince God that He ought to approve your previously determined decision.
Despite your sincerest efforts, people will doubt you. It happened to the Apostle Paul. He was accused of being a false apostle because he didn’t want gentiles to get circumcised. (He was vindicated by the head honchos in Jerusalem, but still itinerant preachers cast doubt over his person.)
If it happened to Paul, to Job, to Jeremiah, to Daniel, to Amos, to David, to … to JESUS, why be surprised if it happens to you.
This is not to say that you, or anyone, is perfect. It is only to say that we live in a fallen world, and we are not the only ones to possess a cynical sin nature. Others can view us how they want.
In those moments, may our God strengthen us to keep fighting the fight of faith, to keep trying, to not give up.
They didn’t even smell of smoke. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had been thrown into the fire by the despot. While inside, they walked around with Jesus and suffered no harm. King Nebuchadnezzar beckoned them out. Astonished, he forgot all about their disobedience in not bowing to his idol. He recognized that Jehovah was the only true God.
They not only survived, but they survived well. No smell of smoke on them.
Joseph survived prison well. He didn’t execute bitter revenge on his brothers who sold him into slavery.
As the years pile up, we pass through evil, wrongs perpetrated by family or friends. The challenge is not go cynical. The challenge is have the light-hearted delight for life of a child still.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life — Psalm 23:6 NIV. There are times when all we see ahead are difficulties and trials. We forget how God has blessed us in the past.
Take a look in your rear view mirror. You’ll be surprised how God has changed the landscape.
Peter and disciples had just been arrested for preaching Jesus. The Sanhedrin whipped them and warned them to stop. Threats and beatings are what made them rejoice.
Are you suffering for Christ? Take heart. That is what the disciples did. They didn’t get discouraged. They didn’t ask, “Why, God?” They praised God for the difficulties and dug in. They prayed for strength to continue.
Don’t give up, if you are fighting the good fight. Rejoice for the opposition, for the reverses, for the trials. Things appear to be spiraling out of control. In reality, God has everything under control and will work it all out in ways you can’t imagine.