Scriptures: Genesis 41:50-52
The Bible tells us that Joseph was a dreamer. A dreamer is someone who can see in color, while others see in black and white. A dreamer can see what others cannot. A dreamer can see from afar what others cannot see up close.
Being a dreamer cost Joseph: he was hated by his brothers and sold into slavery. The enemy attacks the dreamer not the dream! The journey between a dream and reality is through a circumstance named impossible. But when God fulfills a dream He reminds us of where we came from and He reminds us of how far we have come.
Joseph's first son was named Manasseh, which is translated to mean "God has made me forget my troubles." Joseph survived a great deal of trouble and Manaseh was a reminder that God had erased the pain of the past. Our enemy tries to trap us in our past, because he is trying to keep you from your future!
Joseph's second son was called Ephraim, which means: "For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction." There is not an Ephraim experience without a Manasseh experience! Joseph had to go through the trouble to get the promise. Joseph was squeezed by circumstance and fruitfulness came out. Joseph's fruitfulness far surpassed his trouble! He even became second in command of a very powerful kingdom: a very far cry from being picked on by his bo
You can never face anything that is bigger than Christ. You must hold on to your dreams, because God is the giver of dreams. The trouble you are experience now could be the springboard that launches you into great blessing!
Scriptures: Mark 16:1-8
Easter is often seen as an event of the past, but the truth is Easter is a past story which gives us future hope! We have an Easter service which celebrates Jesus' resurrection which happened 2000 years ago. It is an exciting story because death, hell and the grave could not hold our Savior! This gives us hope that the grave will not hold us down. Many people find comfort in past events: we can see the results and know that we have no reason to worry. We can also have faith for the future because of past successes.
Often we find ourselves in the very unsettled present, like the women we read about in this passage who went to the tomb of Jesus to anoint his body with spices. These women faced the unsettled present: they had heavy hearts about the loss of Jesus and also there was a very large stone in their way: "who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?" But their heavy hearts and a huge obstacle did not stop them!
The message of Easter is so deep: when problems are too large for us to handle God has the means to roll away the stone. Jesus is our Savior who is greater than our present problems. Do you have a huge obstacle in your way? Let God roll away the stone!
The key is we must seek Jesus! Seek Him even with a heavy heart. Seek Him even when obstacles stand in your way. Seek Him while your dealing with present worries. Jesus is a Savior for the present.
Scriptures: Malachi 4:1-3
In California there are giant redwood trees that can live up to 2000 years some with heights that measure as high as 300 feet and diameters as wide as 35 feet. Their bark can be 12 inches thick and their branches 5 feet around, yet they have very shallow roots that grow only 10 to 13 feet deep. The roots grow out from 30 to 80 feet and with this size it can be very dangerous for tree: what the tree does to survive is intertwines their roots with nearby tress for added support and strength.
Have you ever noticed that living trees always have deadwood? The tree seems to stop feeding the deadwood and allows it to fall away. The tree seems to know the value of its living parts and puts its resources in keeping those thriving.
If you cut down a tree you can see that they keep a records of their existence through rings on their trunks. Thin rings show that they have had years of droughts, while thick rings show they have had healthy years. The rings can tell you if the tree was ever hit by lightening or had a disease. If you were to look at your "rings" what would they say about your life? Do you have a lot of thin rings showing scars of ancient hurts or wounds that never healed? Will you have thick rings reminding you of great years filled with joy and blessing? Maybe the rings will show that you have been hit by some storms, or been strucl by lightening. Maybe their are rings still being formed as you continue to grow.
We all have some deadwood in our lives that we have let hang around on us, and the problem is we spend too much time and effort focusing on the dead pieces that we let whats good and flourshing in our lives suffer. So how do we get rid of this deadwood? This stuff that is hanging aroud getting in the way of our happiness? We need to admit that we have been hurt and not just angry, and we must choose healing over hurting. We have to let God take away the deadwood, so the new growth can multiply.
We all have some living wood: green full of sap ready to grow and produce. The Bible says it this way: "but the sun of righteousness will rise on those revering my name, healing will be in its wings." Focus your thoughts on the things of God: just as a tree needs the sun we need the light of God's love to shine on us. We need to intertwine our roots with other believers, because we need support, life is not meant to be lived alone! God wants you to expericence His grace and grow!
Scriptures: Romans 15:4, 2 Corinthians 12:9
God's grace is sufficient; He is in our lives for the impossible stuff. God wants to direct us to pathways of effectiveness and change the impossible into the possible.
God wants us to have hope that things can change. One man said "there is no pain like family pain," but God's grace has the power to remove pain. We must find a way to insert God's grace into our family structure. Once we recognize our limitations, we can then turn to God for strength.
We must remember that the Bible is not a retouched photograph: its full of real people with real pain. The Bible reveals family trials of the past, and shows how God provided healing, lets look at some examples: first is Hosea.
Hosea was a prophet and his wife was a prostitute. She had two other children by other men and throughout their marriage she continued to seek relationships with other men. Hosea was instructed by God to continually purchase her back from these men, raise her children and take care of her. Hosea dealt with family pain.
The second example is King David's son Absalom. Absalom was described in the Bible as being a handsome man and being the son of the King, he had many opportunities in life, but family pain got in the way. Absalom's whole life changed when he found out his brother had raped his sister, and his angered escalated into him murdering his brother. He eventually overthrew his father's kingdom and sleeps with David's concubines in a tent on the roof of his father's house. Absalom formed an army to attack his father's army and eventually is killed in battle. David suffered saying: "my son, my son Absalom." This is a family that dealt with pain.
Why did they deal with all this family pain? The answer is sin. Gomer, Hosea's wife, sought lust above the love of her husband. Absalom allowed his anger cloud his judgement and took life into his oSin makes us question God's Word. Sin makes us distort God's Word. It makes us deny God's word. But Romans 5:20 tells us: "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." God's grace can heal family pain; it is sufficient for all our struggles. God's grace will overcome the impossible and will put our families on pathyways of effectiveness. God's grace provides patience and God's Word provides hope. We must allow Him to move in us and in our families to let grace abound in our lives.