Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bone-Deep Faith

“And Joseph said to his brethren, ‘I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here’ ” (Genesis 50:24-25). Twice Joseph said, “God will surely…” This reflected the deep faith of Joseph. His faith literally went into his bones when he made provisions for their care after his death. He was absolutely certain that God would “surely” fulfill those things He had promised so long ago to Abraham. Joseph knew that his people would one day enter and receive the Promised Land of Canaan. His faith in a future event was rooted in the past. Indeed, all faith is rooted in the past. Joseph had seen evidence of God’s faithfulness, His power, His justice, and His mercy in past events. This established a trust which allowed him to have faith in future fulfillment that he could not yet see. What God WOULD accomplish became just as real as what God had ALREADY accomplished. 

Joseph’s faith began as he looked in the past. It started with God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants would possess the land of Canaan. This promise was repeated to Isaac and Jacob (Joseph’s grandfather and father). God had protected them and prospered them just as He promised He would. Joseph’s faith also rested upon the events of his rise to power from slave to pharaoh’s second-in-command. He recognized how God had put him in the position to save his family. “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).

Joseph had no need for further proof. Critics of Jesus had demanded, “Give us a sign and we’ll believe.” Jesus understood their stubborn hearts and knew that yet another miracle would not convince them if previous signs had not. He essentially told them, “You’ve seen enough.” This is the same rebuke that the rich man received in Luke 16:27-31 when he asked for a sign to convince his brothers. There, Abraham says, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” God’s word spoken before to Abraham was good enough for Joseph.

His faith was based upon what had happened in the past, but Joseph’s faith continued as he looked ahead. He looked beyond the current situation in Egypt. Things were going pretty well for him and his people. Yet, he knew that at some point they would leave. Joseph wasn’t stuck in the comfort and prosperity of the moment. He believed God would bless them even more. Joseph’s faith also looked beyond the difficulties that lie ahead in driving out the Canaanites. God had told Abraham how evil the Amorites were (Gen. 15:16). They would prove to be tough enemies who would not give up the land easily. Despite all this, Joseph saw it as a “done deal”. He knew without a doubt that his people would be there one day. He stated with absolute certainty that “God will surely” accomplish those things. It was never a question of “if” but only of “when.” Oh, that we could have such faith in God’s wisdom and providence today! May the Lord shine upon you.

In His service,
Rob Lester  <9)))><

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sunday Preview -- May 25, 2014

I DO believe that heaven is for real, but I do not believe that fact because of a book, movie, or someone's near-death experience. I believe it because the Bible has been proven to be true and the Bible affirms the reality of heaven. Pretty simple logic to follow. The Bible also affirms the reality of heaven's opposite--hell. Unfortunately, while many eagerly accept the accept the notion of heaven, many also reject the possibility of a place of eternal torment. A careful reading of Matthew 25:46 reveals that if words mean anything at all, then heaven can ONLY be exactly as real and eternal as hell must be. Join us Sunday as we begin a two-part study of the afterlife with "The Reality of Hell (Luke 16:19-30)." But DON'T miss the second part next week when we rejoice in "The Glory of Heaven." We must work to avoid hell, but more than that we must actively seek heaven! Sunday evening we continue our series A Walk Through Psalm 23 with "Part Nine: A Table Prepared (Psa. 23:5a)." Hope to see you there!

In His service,
Rob Lester  <9)))><

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sunday Preview - May 9, 2014

God has a habit of using imperfect things. When the time came for His Son to put on human flesh, God kept to this pattern. A study of the individuals in the lineage of Jesus is fascinating. Perhaps most interesting are the women who are included. There are no less than five women and each of them possessed flaws. But God saw something in these women that the world did not. He honored them as ancestors of the Savior of the world. Join us Sunday as we pay tribute to these remarkable women as "Mothers of Honor (Matthew 1:1-16)." We continue our Sunday evening series A Walk Through Psalm 23 with "Part 7: Through the Valley (Psalm 23:4)." How did a senior ski trip help me learn more about trusting in the Shepherd's guidance? You may be surprised. Hope to see you there!

In His service,
Rob Lester  <9)))><

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