Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Shepastor: "God Has Another Plan"

Genesis 50: 15-20 (Bible in Basic English)

15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "It may be that Joseph will hate us, and will fully pay us back for all of the evil which we did to him."
16 They sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father commanded before he died, saying,
17 'You shall tell Joseph, "Now please forgive the disobedience of your brothers, and their sin, because they did evil to you."' Now, please forgive the disobedience of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to hi
18 His brothers also went and fell down before his face; and they said, "Behold, we are your servants."
19 Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid, for am I in the place of God?
20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive.

The poet William Cowper declared,

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.

“God Has Another Plan”

Even in the midst of great dysfunction, God has another plan. Even when it looks like all the odds are against you, God has another plan. Even when it looks like boobie traps have been laid all around you, doors seeming to close before you, enemies seem to be gathering together against you and it looks like you’ve played your last best card – God has another plan. While all of these unfortunate things were happening, God was making Joseph. God was molding Joseph. God was preparing Joseph to be a great and mighty Leader who would not only end up saving his brothers that hated him and sold him into slavery, but God would use Joseph to save the nation of Israel.

When you are faithful, when you are committed to do things God’s way even in the face of hatred and resentment from others, even in the face of pain and disappointment, even in the face of lies and false accusations – God is looking, God is watching, God is moving on your behalf. And because Joseph didn’t try to fix things on his own, because Joseph didn’t try to repay evil for evil, because Joseph just kept trusting, obeying and believing God, he exalted him to a place of honor and great responsibility.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer once published an article from a minister entitled,
“Blooming in the Mud”

“I saw some beautiful flowers at Euclid Creek. They were growing in mud and bird droppings and broken branches.. What most of us notice are the flowers. We tend to see what we like and ignore what makes things happen. We may see the things that support us as disgusting or unpleasant, but the things you dislike are basically what wake you up to the truth…Mud and bird droppings make the flower bloom and you are the flower.”
There are times in our lives, seasons in our lives when it looks like everything is going wrong and everything is going against you. But God is working and moving in ways that you are not able to see, in ways that you are not aware of, in ways that seem impossible. In each situation where Joseph was treated unfairly, treated harshly, denied a chance to “tell his side of the story,” God was working on his deliverance. As Joseph lay bruised and beaten in a pit, not knowing what would become of him, then being sold into slavery, God was working on a plan to elevate him. After being raised to a position of power and prominence and it looked like he was finally on his way, Joseph experienced another devastating blow – he was falsely accused of trying to rape his master’s wife. He was accused falsely because he refused to get involved with her and sin against God and his leader.

Joseph helped two cell mates by interpreting their dreams. They promised him that when they got out of prison they would put in a good word for him, but instead, they forgot about him. He was left in prison for several more years. But God had another plan for Joseph. Even when people forget the good you’ve done to help them, God is not going to forget your labor of love. Even when those you’ve done the most for turn their face in a different direction when you need help, God will help you. Even when it looks like there is no one to walk with you as you go through the difficulties and struggles of your life, God will stand by you.

Sometimes you will suffer pain, false accusations and mistreatment because you refuse to do the wrong thing. Doing what is right will sometimes cause you to have to walk alone, experience pain and rejection and even loss of some so-called “friends,” but if you hold to what is right and true – God will elevate you in due season.

Because Joseph put his trust in God and did not repay evil for evil, but just kept on doing what was right, God exalted him to a place and a position of prominence and power. And God so fixed it that the very people who sought to destroy Joseph, the very people who sought to kill Joseph, the very people who sought to get rid of Joseph, those same people ended up needing Joseph to save their lives. God will make your enemies your footstool if you just wait on Him.

Here’s a great lesson from Joseph. When God delivers you, don’t try to repay your enemies. Don’t try to rub their misfortune in their faces, but if he or she is hungry, feed them. If they are in need of clothing, give them something to wear, if they are in trouble and call upon you, help them any way you can and God will continue to exalt you and He will cause them to repent and turn from their wicked ways.

I heard a story the other day about two women who lived in the country. For the purposes of this story I’ll call them Mary and Sue. Mary had a nice little home. It wasn’t fabulous, but it was her home. She raised her family along with her husband there for many years. But Sue, her neighbor hated Mary for some unknown reason. Sue had a chicken coup near the edge of Mary’s property. And every time Sue would clean her chicken coup, she would dump the mess from her coup into Sue’s back yard.

But Mary never retaliated. She just kept tending to her garden on her property. She kept speaking to Sue whenever she came out of her house. She kept teaching her children to be respectful of Miss Sue, even though she was mean and disrespectful to their mother. Well, in the process of time, Sue became ill. She could no longer tend to her yard. She became bed ridden. But something wonderful began to happen in Mary’s yard.

The mess that Sue had flung into Mary’s yard, fell on the garden and caused the flowers in her garden to blossom and bloom. The flowers were so beautiful that Mary decided to pluck some and prepare a bouquet to take to Sue. When Mary went into see Sue, she gave her the beautiful flowers. Ashamed of how she’d treated Mary all these years, she asked for forgiveness and asked her, where in the world did she get such beautiful flowers, and Mary replied, “All that mess you flung over into my garden from your chicken coup helped to fertilize my garden and now I have these beautiful flowers.”

Take the mess that is flung into your life and fertilize your garden. Learn all you can from the mess and let God fertilize your life. Take the bitter and give it to God and let Him make it sweet. God can take your mess and turn it into a miracle.

Won’t you trust Him today?

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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