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Seeing life's events in the light of God's Word.

Rewards

Genesis 39: 4 – “So Joseph found favor in (Potiphar’s) sight, and served him. Then (Potiphar) made him overseer of his house, and all that he had put under his authority.”

You know the story about Joseph being put in charge of Potiphar’s household, while he was still wrongly imprisoned. That’s right. Potiphar noticed his behavior, and God used this incident in his life to prepare Joseph for being administrator in Egypt.

Are there times when you tire of your duties at work or even your service at church? Do you think no one notices… no one appreciates what you do?

Joseph’s story tells us that even though our co-workers, family, or fellow church members may not realize all that we do, we can be sure that God knows. It is His recognition that counts.

So don’t be discouraged. It is God who rewards those who diligently serve Him.

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Giving Thanks for a Stroke

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Genesis 45:4-8a “Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “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. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 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.” 

 

We had just arrived at our New Year’s brunch destination when my sister called to inform us that our brother-in-law had a stroke and had been admitted to the hospital.

You may have received one of these drop-to-your-knees-and-pray phone calls at some point in your life, also. And, hopefully, it was followed a little later by another one saying that your loved one was doing fine—a full recovery expected.

However, in this case, after hearing that good news, further testing detected a serious heart problem.

We prayed, of course, about this new health-related difficulty, but we also had cause for praise and Thanksgiving for the stroke. Without it, the heart complication might not have been diagnosed—until it was too late.

So, the silver lining to the cloud is that now my brother-in-law can see a specialist and perhaps undergo life-saving surgery.

Genesis tells the story of Joseph’s brothers. They sold him into slavery, but he found favor in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the end his father and brothers were allowed to settle in Goshen and avoid the devastating effects of a severe famine. The brothers had evil intentions that guided their actions, but God used their actions to put Joseph in a position to save many lives.

Be encouraged today. The situation you now find yourself in—the health scare, the misunderstanding among friends, the financial setback—may be a blessing in disguise.

Our Heavenly Father, our Healer, our friend knows our present and future needs and is able to supply them in accordance with His will.

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The Perfect Choice

 

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Matthew 1:20- “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”

 

Jesus took on the form of a man and came to earth. 

There are many instances of him praying to his Heavenly Father in scripture. But what about Joseph and the role he played as the earthly father to Jesus?

God chose him because he exemplified all of the good qualities that the Bible tells us are important to Him—things like gentleness of spirit, encouraging, humble, of godly character, honesty, truthfulness, patience, compassionate, loving, just/fair, and wise. 

He was a hard-working carpenter. Even though he didn’t make a lot of money, he was a good provider for his family. He was a man of prayer.

God chose Mary as a mother for His only begotten son, Joseph as a husband for Mary and father for Jesus. Knowing the heart of every man, God chose the perfect one.

I believe he chooses the perfect earthly father for each of us because he knows the kind of man each of us will need to nurture us and help us grow.

You may not realize it, now. You may even think I’m crazy. “If you only knew my dad,” you shout. “He’s far from perfect.”

You are right. I don’t know your earthly father. But, I know our Heavenly Father. And, I also know that we sometimes do not see the truth of things until many years later. 

I heard a story about a guy who had a harsh father who emotionally and physically abused him as he grew up. Yet, the circumstances of his life after he left home were hard and the strong character he had developed as he struggled with his mother to make ends meet, gave him the exact skills he needed to keep him alive during the next twenty years. It was later, as a missionary, that his story  was instrumental in bringing countless souls to Christ.

Today, I’m thankful for Joseph. God’s man on earth, who—with God’s help—protected and guided Jesus to manhood. 

 

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No Tree This Year

Galatians 4:4- “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”

 

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For several reasons, we decided not to put up a Christmas Tree this year.

Instead, the focal point in our living room is a lovely pottery Nativity which was painted by my sister-in-law more than three decades ago. We have displayed it for many, many Christmases.

The cow no longer has one of his horns. The saddle on one of the camels, one ear of the donkey, and the face of the shepherd boy have been chipped over the years.

The nativity may not look quite as beautiful as it once did, but I am enjoying it more than ever before.

I guess it was only natural to spend so much time and effort on our trees in the past. After all, it takes hours to place the lights and ornaments on it just so. Then there’s arrangement of the tree skirt and the placement of the packages underneath…

But, as I said, this year our focus is on the Nativity: Mary, Joseph, the babe in the manger, the Wise Men and the Shepherds, the livestock, and the Angel which appears to be hovering overhead.

God planned the redemption of humankind and, at just the right time, he sent his son, Jesus, into the world. God in the flesh, born in a stable and lying in a manger.

The story gets more beautiful with time. Nothing chipped, cracked, or missing.

The birth of our Lord in the fulness of time.

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