One day Joseph’s brothers were out watching the flocks in the fields (and in the sun), and Joseph was kept at home to relax. Later on, their dad sent Joseph out to check on the brothers. When the brothers saw Joseph coming from a distance, they hated him so much that they talked about killing him. After some discussion, they decided to beat him up and threw him into a large, dried out, underground water storage container. Later, they pulled him back out. Joseph thought his ordeal was over, but instead his brothers sold him to a caravan of traveling merchants. Joseph pleaded with them for mercy, but his brothers just smiled and waved goodbye. You can read about this in Genesis 37 and some of the following chapters also reveal some of the details. Joseph had basically done nothing wrong, but he found himself betrayed by his own brothers and sold into slavery.
Sometimes people think that if they do everything right, then no bad things will ever happen to them. Sometimes people are very cautious in order to avoid problems or troubles. Some people think that if they serve God without making any mistakes, they will then have a nearly perfect life. But life doesn’t work in these ways. Joseph did nothing wrong, but he was sold into slavery. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” The Bible never promises us an easy, trouble free life. In fact, we are promised we will have trouble.
Joseph was taken to Egypt as a slave, but during his time there, he would see God’s plan unfold for his life. A much greater good would occur because of his time as a slave. Perhaps some day you will face tough times when God is trying to bring about long term good. It will be hard to face at the time, but in the long term, you will see God’s hand at work in your life.
1 Thess. 4-6
I am by no means an art expert but I love walking around an art museum and observing all the different colors and variations an artist can use to awaken our senses and bring ordinary things to life. Some artists tell stories about the past or present with their works and yet others imagine the future. The future is the image that Paul details as he paints a picture of what the return of Christ will look like.
Imagine suddenly seeing the sky open up and watching as the Son of God comes down with the trumpet of God. He shouts and calls to your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who have died to rise. You feel the earth tremble and see the dead rise from their graves and return to life. You watch them wake to see their hopes come to fruition and meet their Savior in the air. After all the dead have risen you stand in awe because you are finally seeing your Savior when you feel yourself begin to rise into the clouds. Here is the most beautiful piece of this image, it says in the last part of 1 Thess 4:17 that “we shall always be with the Lord.”
For us to be a part of this magnificent image we must encourage each other to stand firm in God’s word and to be alert to the difficult trials that we may face. The last half of chapter 5 gives us some ways we can do that. We are to “live in peace” with each other and to “be patient with everyone.” We are to “rejoice always” and “pray without ceasing.” Take time to consider how you can be an encouragement to others as we together await the day we meet our Savior face to face.
– Lacey Dunn
January 5, 2017
I was and still am, a stay at home mother. It is the best choice I have ever made and one of the most difficult! Spending all day with two young children often left me stressed and frustrated. This was made more trying by my strong willed second son. I prayed daily for patience until another mother of four, newborn twins with two toddlers explained I needed to pray for a change of perspective. This was a game changer for me! Now when I find myself stuck in my emotions, I step back and look from a different angle. This can often help me see what is really causing me trouble or help me get back on the right path.
Psalm 68 & 69 David is focused on all that is going wrong. His enemies fight against him. His friends talk behind his back. He is focused on the negative around him and has taken his eyes off God, and off the good around him. And then he remembers, God is always with him! He has again placed his focus in the proper place. David is a good reminder to keep our eyes on God, during the good and bad times.
Ps70:4 “But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, “Let God be exalted!””
(Photo credit: http://www.godswordimages.com/wallpaper/joy/psalm-70-4/)