Joseph was the eleventh son of Israel and his older brothers hated him. The life of Joseph is known for oppression and injustice because of the evil he suffered at the hands of his own brothers and the government officials of Egypt (the land to where he was sold as a slave). At the same time, his story is known for God’s providential control and how he crafts his master plan throughout a person’s life no matter what trials occur. Joseph was a dreamer and a visionary. God gave him dreams and Joseph was excited by those dreams. Even when evil attempted to thwart him, Joseph’s story is summarized by “and Joseph dreamed again.” Joseph kept his eyes and mind on God’s promises even when everyone told him that his dreams were just foolish day dreams.
Listen as Casey finds encouragement in how Joseph responded when life told him that God’s dreams for him weren’t possible.
When you find yourself in difficult situations, do you believe that even the hardships of life are for your good or do you think that it’s just bad with nothing helpful to gain?
Often, we can say that God is good all of the time but still expect that God will bring badness into our life. As if God doesn’t really love you he just loves bringing trial into your life. The Apostle Paul described to the Christians at Corinth the type of disasters he was experiencing. He alluded to the troubles that they would experience and then he wrote, “All of this is for your benefit.”
Look for what God is doing. See the situation as Jesus would see it. God promises that every situation will work for you. That doesn’t mean that every situation will be comfortable or happy for there is going to be some terrible experiences in your life. Yet God promises, through his love, that every situation you’ve been in will work for your good because of his goodness for you. We all go through things that are challenging in the moment, and later on we look back and say “hey, that actually did something for me!”.
Listen as Casey encourages us why and how God’s love is experienced through bad situations. God doesn’t expect you to walk through difficult situations and act like it’s not difficult. Let God know your frustration. Let God know your doubt. Ask God to show you how the difficult problem will work for your good. No matter how he answers you, the answer will always include his loving reminder, “Trust me and hold on to my hand tight. This will benefit you.”
When the Israelites left Egypt they were a people united with a common vision and following one leader – Moses. The first time in some four hundred years, the people of God were a people with renewed purpose and led by one, chosen leader. Moses led God’s people for nearly four decades and he was the first dedicated leader than many of them ever had. And then he died.
After he died, God spoke a wonderful truth about Moses. God called him “My servant”. The people found themselves without a leader, yet God held the plan and God wanted the Israelites to continue with the vision he gave them through Moses.
The Life’s Journey congregation may feel like a people without a shepherd, but we are reminded that God is the leader and he is the true shepherd. As Life’s Journey begins the process of finding a new senior pastor, we know that God is with us where ever we go. Be encouraged as Casey reminds us that God sets the vision and we will continue with purpose, strength and courage if we are willing to listen and move just as Joshua and the Israelites learned.
Grace is one of the most misunderstood and most attacked tenants of the Christian faith.
As a Christian you know that God’s grace saved you (from sin and Hell), but afterwards it’s easy to act like works keeps you safe. The Christian life is one of outward works which are signs/evidence of an inward change, but outward works never earned God’s favor and they don’t keep God’s favor. We do good works to honor God and live like Jesus, but it is God’s grace and his Spirit that makes us new and guides us into the perfection God wants in our lives. It’s not the works you do that fix you.
We hold onto works because we don’t listen to who God says we are – a beloved child and friend of His. A person works for God’s love and his liking because they don’t fully accept that God already loves them and likes them. A life transformed by grace is a life of good, outward action and at the same time it is a life at peace, not striving to do good, but one that rests in the grace of God trusting first in the secure love of God.
Be encouraged by Casey’s message and know that you don’t have to work for God’s favor. Joy and peace in your life will come when you trust in the fact that God loved you and chose you before you did anything good.