Have you ever felt like there were times in your life when everything was going wrong? Joseph did. Joseph had brothers whose jealousy of him drove them to plan his death (Genesis 37:18). To get rid of him forever. They threw him into a pit, sold him to traders in a caravan going to Egypt, and told their grief-stricken dad that he was dead. Much later, after many years of suffering, strife, and sifting - even three years in prison - Joseph was raised up by God to become Egypt’s Prime Minister - the second most powerful position in the land. God in his sovereignty appointed Joseph to this position before a famine would strike Egypt (Genesis 41:40). During the famine, Joseph’s brothers traveled to Egypt, desperate for food. They came into Joseph’s presence, not knowing who he was, requesting his help. But Joseph knew who they were. And he saw them for what they had been: men influenced by Satan to act on their emotions of hatred, jealousy, and greed to do his work for him. To carry out his evil scheme. The Lord’s great mercy softened Joseph’s heart toward them. When he finally revealed his identity to his brothers, they begged for mercy. They thought their lives were finished. They were sure that they would reap what they sowed and they would be killed. But astonishingly, God moved Joseph’s heart and he forgave them. And Joseph punctuated his recognition of God’s sovereignty through these words to his brothers: “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). Could God be permitting evil moments in your own life so that he can eventually use them for good? So that he can bless others through you? Grow the faith of others as they watch your faith remain unshaken? God knew he would use Joseph’s story to demonstrate his ability to use evil for good. God’s perspective is always eternal. He knew that by appointing Joseph to the Prime Minister of Egypt, the Jewish people would have a way to survive. And here’s what’s most important in Joseph’s story ... and ours: the Jewish people had to survive for Jesus to enter the world and save humanity from its sin. From the pit, to Potiphar, to prison, to Prime Minister - God was sovereign over all. He promises to use evil for good as he always does for his children. Always. And this promise is for you as well.
Welcome to the MOHC blog, a daily dose of encouragement from Pastor David Chadwick.
- Jun 19, 2020
- 2 min read
The enemy and his demonic army are ruthless and relentless. But Christ-followers have no reason to become discouraged! Why? Because God is the Creator. The evil one is only a creature. This creature goes by many names: the devil, Satan, the great divider, the father of lies. But no matter what name he is called, he is under God’s sovereignty. He can’t do anything unless our Father in heaven allows it. Numerous examples of this truth are found in the Bible. Look at Peter for one. Jesus predicted Peter would be disloyal to him (Luke 22:31-34). Peter objected and proudly proclaimed he would never desert Jesus. He had left everything to follow Jesus and was willing to die for him. But Satan knew Peter’s weak spot. And despite his devotion to Jesus, circumstances drove Peter to panic to the point that he denied Jesus. Not once. But three times. Jesus granted Satan permission to carry out this attack. Why? Jesus used Satan to grow Peter’s faith so that after he had passed through the trial he could help others grow their faith. And while Satan may be a formidable foe, he is overseen by the Creator. He is under the complete and sovereign control of God. Jesus told Peter that after Satan had sifted him, his faith would increase. It would become secure like never before. And it did. After Jesus’ death, Peter became the head of the apostles. He was the first one to preach on the day of Pentecost after the coming of the Holy Spirit, and he was the first to perform a miracle (Acts 2,3). Look how many people’s faith grew because Jesus permitted Satan to sift Peter like wheat! Could God be using spiritual assaults and a spirit of fear in your life to deepen your faith in him? To show you places where your life isn’t completely hidden in Jesus (Colossians 3:3)? To give you insights into areas where you aren’t finding rest for your soul (Matthew 11:29)? To help you serve someone else going through your trial? God uses evil, pain, and even the enemy himself to sift us like wheat. To help us learn how to serve others. To drive out our pride. Our bitterness. Self-righteousness. And, yes, our anxiety. Next time you recognize one of the devil’s schemes, remember God’s sovereignty. Look the devil in the eye and say, “Oh, it’s just you.” Then, keep moving through your day. Or take a nap. God is sovereign. He is in control. He’s got this.
- Jun 18, 2020
- 2 min read
What’s a powerful weapon a Christian can use to fight fear? Saturation. Becoming filled with the Holy Spirit to the point of overflow. If someone is filled with the Holy Spirit, it’s impossible for a demon to oppress that person. Filled means filled. Imagine a sponge so saturated with water, it can’t absorb another drop. When it’s placed on the kitchen counter, water oozes out of it. Being filled with the Holy Spirit means there’s no room for anything but the fullness of Jesus. Jesus oozes out of the believer. That’s why Christians must be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). We must be fully yielded to him who dwells in us. We are not to be filled with anything earthly, but instead, we are to be fully led, influenced, and controlled by the One who lives in us. The Greek verb translated “filled” in Ephesians 5:18 is in the imperfect tense. It refers to a continual, daily, regular infilling. It suggests that as we serve Jesus, there is an emptying of him in us to a dying world. That’s why we need regular, daily infillings. As a car runs out of gas, so can we be emptied of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power. Christians need daily times with Jesus, times that are filled with prayer and God’s Word. We need regular encounters with the Spirit’s love, grace, and fruit. It’s imperative we make this a habit. And if we don’t? We can open our hearts to demonic influence. The evil one and his minions will look for any portal that gives them an opportunity to attack. As a coach spends countless hours studying game films to exploit an opponent’s weaknesses, so does the enemy of our souls try to find every available vulnerability in us. We will - eventually - become more like what we focus on. We must ask ourselves: Will we focus on good or evil? Faith or fear? The Creator or a creature? Christ or chaos? The more saturated we become with the Holy Spirit, the more access we have to his power. The more access we have to his power, the more potent our fight and victory against the evil one and all his wiles. The power of the Holy Spirit in us is a weapon that causes fear to flee.