Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY

Need a little perspective?
Genesis 50:20 gives us some insight to Joseph. Its says; " You meant to hurt me, but God turned your evil into good to save the lives of many people, which is being done."

What an awesome attitude for Joseph, right? Joseph was hated by his brothers, captured, sold into slavery, thrown into prison unjustly, and then is chose to guide a nation through hard times. Whew, I'd say Joseph had a lot on his plate, wouldn't you? And here I think I have problems. Trials just seemed to come one right after the other for Joseph. Just when one seems to be ending, here comes another blow that was unexpected. Sound familiar?

Trials and struggles will come, and many times these are out of our control, just as Joseph, but Joseph shows us how to push forward, how to overcome all obstacles and do it all in faith.

Don't you know Joseph went through some devastating times? When we go through hard times, who do we want by us, right at our side? Yes, our family. But with Joseph, it was his very family out to get him. They seemed to leave him high and dry. When our family is not with us we can feel even more alone. Our obstacles can seem even bigger. For Joseph much of his trials began right there with his family. I think we can all understand that at some point.

That old saying, "We can pick our friends, but not our family" fits here perfectly. I think about this time Joseph was wishing for some new brothers. See, these were not friends picking on Joseph where he could run to his brothers for help. These were his own brothers attacking him. Making the situation worse Joseph is left wondering about his father. Where was he? How was he? What was really going on, did his father know?

Although Joseph went through such trials God's hand was upon him. God's protection was with him. As others were out for evil, God used their evil for good. God was using Joseph in mighty ways for the kingdom of God.

Can you imagine as Joseph is once sitting back with his family, the country is at rest, and all is coming together? I imagine Joseph then looking back could see God at work. Looking back, not understanding each situation at the time, but in the end he is able to see how God moved through each one to bring a greater blessing. It is not often until the end when we can look back and see how God brought together all the pieces of the puzzle. Just as we put a puzzle together, those first few pieces are often the hardest. You try to fit them together, but have a hard time thinking the picture is going to turn out like what is on the box. But after you are finished, you take a step back and how how each one, each single piece brought together something of beauty.

While Joseph kept his eye on God, God kept His eye on Joseph. There are so many times trials have come and I have taken my eye off God. So many times I doubted, and just felt like there was no end to the struggle. I felt like I couldn't go on. Like being on a roller coaster as your facing one way, but your turning another. You often can't see where you are headed and that is what brings the fear. Its that realization that you are not in control. But praise God, He is in control and He knows just how the ride is going to end and what it is going to take to get us there to the finish line.

Sometimes life is just hard. The kitchen sink breaks just as the washing machine is being fixed. The car needs new tires just as you lose your job. Illness comes just before your insurance kicks in, and just when you have money for one thing, something else takes it! Sound like your life too? It was Joseph's life, and Joseph didn't lose sight of God through it all, but gained understanding and wisdom. He hung in there when things got tough, and came out shining for God. God showed Joseph when you have faith through the drought He will bring the rains you need. Just as unexpected trials come, there are unexpected blessings within them. We just have to focus on God and not the situation at hand. There are always going to be situations, changes that come, but God is forever strong and will lead us through.

Just when you feel like giving up, remember Joseph inside that well and see how God brought him out and used him greatly for the kingdom of God. Our circumstances are no different. Although we may not be able to see clearly right now, if we stay focused on God and not the situation we too will look back like Joseph and see a great and mighty God creating in us something spectacular!

You can read about Joseph in Genesis 37-50. And what a story it is indeed!

Romans 5:3-5 "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Philippians 4:6-7 " Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Psalm 138:7-8 "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands."
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