Tag: God’s purposes
Scripture reading for October 2nd: 2nd Timothy 1, Psalm 47, Proverbs 12
Key Scriptures: 2nd Timothy 1:6-9 “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me, His prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, Who saved us and called us into a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purposes and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, . . .”
This was Paul’s last recorded letter written to his son in the faith, Timothy. Paul was alone and faced certain execution at the hands of Rome. He encouraged Timothy to fan into flame the gift of God, and to never be ashamed of Jesus Christ and the sacred Gospel testimony. He also restated the holy calling that rested on his life and Timothy’s (as well as all believers) to share the Gospel and to suffer if needed as a result of the sharing. Jesus saved us to fulfill His own purposes, established before recorded time.
Faith Confession: I am saved by Jesus Christ and set apart by Him with a holy calling to preach the Gospel and to suffer, if necessary, for the cause of Christ. I am not ashamed of the Gospel and identify with Christ and His followers.
Psalm 47:8-9 “God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; He is highly exalted!”
Scripture reading for January 16th: Genesis 45-47
Families and churches are prone to conflict! I know because I live in a family and have been a pastor for twenty-five years in three different churches. I have experienced conflict in family and church settings and sometimes been responsible for it myself! Sometimes conflict comes from misunderstanding and poor communication. Other times it comes from jealousy or envy. Sometimes it comes from sin and wrong-doing. Everybody wants to blame somebody else and arguments ensue about who was right or who to blame!
When Joseph revealed himself to his estranged brothers, they were astonished, speechless, and terrified! (Genesis 45:1-7) Joseph had to reassure them because he probably had to work through these same kinds of feelings himself. God had given him understanding of the greater purpose that was being worked out. “It was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.”
Joseph sent them away to bring the rest of the family down to Egypt to save them during the next 5 years of famine. He warned them not to quarrel on the way! It doesn’t appear that repentance had truly taken place and Joseph sensed possible animosity. We can only take responsibility for our own sins and forgive others of theirs. When we do that, quarreling is greatly reduced and peace in the family can be re-established. God works out his purposes in our families and homes even amidst the conflict and sin so prevalent in our lives. Often it’s hard to see the big picture.
Jesus Christ was sent before us to save us! He saw God’s big picture and died for our sins. If we confess our sins and repent of them, he will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all guilt and shame. But we may need many reminders to forgive ourselves, others, and let the old memories of failures fade away. May we be able to heed the ancient warning of Joseph and receive the blessing of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. “Don’t quarrel on the way!” (Genesis 45:24)
Scripture reading for January 16th: Genesis 45-47
“I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” (Genesis 45:5)
Joseph had taken his brothers through an elaborate test to soften their hearts and bring repentance. God was behind all of this and Joseph was in on God’s plans through interpretation of the dreams and the directions that God had given him. God is always at work to redeem and save His people. He is more compassionate than we are and also shows mercy to the just and the unjust at the same time. (Matthew 5:43-45)
In this case, God was sending Joseph to Egypt to prepare to save many people from the famine that was coming. The primary care was for Joseph’s family, however. If you remember, Abraham was told by God that his family would live in another land for four hundred years while God dealt with the Amorites, giving them time to repent. (Genesis 15:13-16) This famine was God’s method for moving Abraham’s family out of Canaan for this period of time and then prospering them and growing them in the world of Egypt. God’s use of Joseph, one of His “chosen people”, to bring the wisdom needed to save the whole world was also providential and a picture of the promised “seed” through whom all nations of the earth would one day be blessed! (Genesis 12:3)
God would later call His people to come out of Egypt to worship Him alone. (Exodus 3:10) He would also send His only Son (the “Seed”), Jesus Christ, to Egypt for a period of time to save Him from death! (Matthew 3:13) He would call His Son back to the land of promise to preach and heal and proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven! (Matthew 3:19-20) Everything in God’s plan is based on His desire for saving lives and helping people escape slavery to sin. (Luke 19:10)
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Take time today to thank the Lord for His mercy to you and for His plan to reach all nations with the message of the Gospel! Think of one person who needs the Gospel and pray for that person! They will be eternally grateful!