pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Joseph’s Faith

Reading: Genesis 45: 8-11 & 15

Verses 9-11: “Come down to me; don’t delay… you, your children, and grandchildren… I will provide for you”.

Joseph is reunited with his brothers and finds out that his father is still alive. He is quick to point out that God has orchestrated this reunion and the circumstances that have Lee to it. The plan began in Joseph’s early life when he became his father’s favorite. He was very irritating to his brothers – so much so that they initially planned to kill him but ended up just selling him off into slavery. Even as a slave God blessed Joseph. He is now in a position to not only meet their immediate need but also to provide for his family’s long-term care.

Joseph designates Goshen as the area for his family to settle. He asks his brothers to say to his father Jacob, “Come down to me; don’t delay… you, your children, and grandchildren… I will provide for you”. Joseph so wants to see his father again so his invitation is all-inclusive. Bring the whole family and all that you own. Come one and all. Joseph is in charge of the whole country and is willing to give extravagantly to his family. He is surely anxious to see Jacob but remains solidly aware that God’s hand is what is driving this situation. It is God’s gifts of leadership that has allowed Joseph to be in this position and to be able to do this for his family. There is no more ego or personal pride in him – his trials have broken him of the things that led his brothers to sell him in the first place.

Just as Joseph has been so too are we a work in progress. At times God forces His way into our lives but most of us do not go through the levels of trial and testing that Joseph experienced. The refining process that God uses with us does not usually include being sold into slavery and time in prison. Although our process may not be as dramatic it is no less impactful on who we are as a person of faith. If one looks back on the journey of faith, we too can see growth and a deepening of our faith. Reflection is an important part of our faith journey. Knowing how and when God has been and is present allows us to extend our faith to others better.

Joseph’s trust in God allowed him to be gracious and merciful to his cruel brothers. Joseph’s awareness of God’s activity in his life drove his actions with his brothers. As we find opportunity to love and care for those who have hurt and wronged us in the past, may we too be led by God, just as Joseph was. In doing so we demonstrate love as we shine God’s light.

Prayer: Lord, it is hard to love those who have shown us hatred. It is difficult to love those who have afflicted us. May your love and grace shine in our lives so that we can shine the light to others. Amen.


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Aware of the Spirit

We live in a world that is constantly in change.  Every day people are born while others die.  People lose jobs, people starts new jobs.  People move from one place to another.  Even our relationships with those closest to us change and evolve over time.  In the midst of all of these transitions and changes though, God remains the same.

The call to abide in God in today’s scripture is a call to ground our life in the one thing that always remains rock solid.  Who and what God is and always will be the same.  His love and care for us never wavers.  He loves each of us just as much the day we were born as the day we die and all days in between.

Yet within the call to abide is also found the call to change ourselves.  We never reach the perfection found in God and Jesus, but we are called to seek to draw nearer and nearer to it as we live out our faith.  It is within this context that God seeks to prune us.  In this process of pruning we are shaped to grow more and more like Christ.

Our spiritual pruning is usually self-administered, done with the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  As we reflect on our lives, the Spirit points out things we need to change and things we need to pursue to grow closer to God.  This promoting comes in a wide variety if ways – from the gentle nudge to the quiet whisper to the in-your-face, can’t possibly miss this event.  The Spirit is always seeking to work in our lives.  We must allow it to shape, mold, and guide us to become more and more and more like Jesus.

Scripture reference: John 15: 1-8