Faith, The Bible, Trust

The Struggle is Real {Guest Post by Kaylan M.}

REAL

It’s time for a sob story. Are you ready?

So… there was this guy.

His name was Joseph. He was one of twelve sons, and he happened to be his father’s favourite. This was made apparent by the fact that his father made an “ornate” robe, and out of all the brothers, he gave it to Joseph.

Doesn’t sound like such a bad life, huh? But the thing is, this favouritism caused Joseph’s brothers to envy and hate him. And to add fuel to the fire, one night Joseph had a vision where basically a bunch of grain sheaves representing his brothers bowed down to him. He told his brothers about this dream, and of course they hated him more. He had another similar dream, where this time his father and mother also bowed down to him, and cocky ol’ Joseph told his family about this one too.

This all stirred up so much hatred in the hearts of Joseph’s brothers that they wanted to kill him. But they decided they wouldn’t gain much from that, so they sold him to some passing merchants instead and told their father that Joseph was dead.

Imagine that. Not just that your brothers hate you so much that they sell you to the first people who pass by, but I mean, being sold? Leaving everything you’ve known and having no idea what’s going to happen next?

That sounds terrifying.

But Genesis 39:2 says that “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered.” In Egypt, he was bought from the merchants by Pharaoh’s captain of the guard, a man named Potiphar. There, Joseph found favour in Potiphar’s eyes and became head of the household.

But Joseph’s hardships weren’t over yet.

Joseph was a good-looking guy (this is not the difficult part), and Potiphar’s wife decided she wanted to sleep with him. He refused, and in fact he was so set on fleeing temptation that when she grabbed his cloak, he left it in her hands and literally ran out of the house (v.12). After that, she lied about him and told Potiphar that Joseph had been the one who tried to sleep with her, and he was thrown into jail.

But yet again, when it seems like all hope is lost, we see the presence of God. Verse 21 says, “the Lord was with [Joseph]; he showed him kindness and granted him favour in the eyes of the prison warden.

In jail, of all places, God made Joseph successful. Joseph was put in charge of everything in the prison, and “the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did” (v.23). If he can do that, then how much more can he bless our everyday lives?

Now this isn’t the end of the story.

Joseph was successful, yes, but prison is not a very ideal place. Well, along came these two new prisoners, a cupbearer and a baker. They were both servants of the Pharaoh who had angered him in some way.

They each had a dream, which Joseph correctly interpreted. As he did so, he asked only that they remember him when released from prison. Three days later, both prisoners were released. The baker was killed, but the cupbearer went on his merry way… and forgot about Joseph, who spent two more years as a prisoner.

In this time, Joseph was essentially a forgotten man.

But God never forgets. He remembered Joseph’s existence. And God is enough, because guess what happened next?

One day Pharaoh had a dream that nobody could interpret, and the cupbearer finally remembered his prison pal. Genesis 41:16 says that when brought before Pharaoh, Joseph told him, “I cannot do it… but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.

Wow. Where is the insolence and swagger of Joseph’s youth?

The boy who bragged about God’s visions of his family bowing to him is no more. His old self has been replaced with humility, and a full reliance on God. Those years of hard times and suffering weren’t for nothing. Through it all, God was shaping Joseph into a man of wisdom.

And now finally, finally, it all pays off. Check this out.

Joseph told Pharaoh the meaning of his dream (there was going to be a famine), and he even came up with a plan to deal with it.

Genesis 41:37-38 says, “The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. So Pharaoh asked them, ‘Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?’” Pharaoh recognized that there was no one as “discerning” and “wise” as Joseph, and he put Joseph in charge of his whole empire (v.39-40).

And that’s the story. Not just of a spoiled brat who overcame the odds and ended up on top, but of a God who always sees you, never leaves you, and has blessings for you in the end. Joseph learned that while God might not save you from hardships, he can redeem anything.

A speaker I heard once said that in times of distress, we often ask God to take us out of the situation, or to take the situation away entirely. But what our prayer should be is to ask God to enlarge us, to help us overcome the situation and navigate through the struggles we are facing. Because when we come out, it will be with a stronger faith and greater wisdom.

When the trials and tribulations seem like too much to face, act with the same mixture of humility and confidence that Joseph did and say with faith, “I can’t… but God can and will.”

The struggle will be real in this life. But Jesus has overcome the grave, and God is with us wherever we go.

Kaylan is a seventeen-year-old creator of music, obsessor-over-aesthetics, and pursuer of Christ. Her goal for the future is to become an English teacher and to inspire others to live for Jesus. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, Instagramming (@kaylan_m), blogging, or drinking milk tea with her friends. She blogs about her passion for God at no2paths.com.

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Faith, Your Walk With God

Sweet-Smelling Savour of Surrender

Savour

The place: East of Jerusalem in the town of Bethany; the house of Simon the leper. The time: The evening meal. Cue Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus. The following three paragraphs shall be the unfolding story told with a bit of speculation concerning details:

The young woman stands just beside the doorway, clutching a pale box to her breast. With trembling fingers, she strokes the smooth alabaster. It is cool to the touch. A sweet fragrance tickles her nose; the pleasant scent being that of the precious spikenard within her hands. Releasing a shaky breath, she steps into the dimly lit room and approaches the man who sits at the head of the table.

Quietly expectant, He turns His gentle eyes upon her. For just a moment, she holds His searching gaze, ignoring the confused mutters and questioning glances of the others at the table. All doubts and fears flee in His presence. In humility and reverence, she breaks the box before Him, and pours out the costly contents upon His head. She then proceeds to kneel, dabbing the remaining oil upon His feet.

The other guests look on her in utter disbelief, some demanding to know why she didn’t sell the valuable box of perfume and give the proceeds to the poor. But as she wipes His feet with her hair, Mary of Bethany can sense the silent pleasure of her Lord, and it floods her heart with the purest of joys. Unabashed tears slide down her glowing cheeks, mingling with the anointment upon Jesus’ feet, and the room fills with the sweet-smelling savour of her surrender.

Spikenard…What is it?? I know, a strange place to begin. But to truly grasp the depth of this historical act, you must understand the price this woman paid.

I had the opportunity to spend this past week in Windsor, Colorado at the Ellerslie School of Personal Discipleship Training. It was there that I learned the following: “Spikenard, the head of a fragrant East Indian plant, which yields an oily juice of delicious odor which the ancients used (either pure or mixed) in the preparation of a most precious ointment. It is a healing juice, used for an extraordinary number of ailments. It is a skin tonic that helps to cure bacterial skin infections and provides relief from various types of inflammation. It helps cure constipation; it provides relief from insomnia, stress, and anxiety; it is a perfume; and [it] is also an effective deodorant. In addition to that, it treats allergies, fevers, hemorrhoids, angina pain, and varicose veins. This healing juice aids in cell regeneration, the healing of wounds, the circulation of blood and lymph, and the secretion of hormones and enzymes. It’s the cure-all substance” (taken from the Bravehearted Personal Discipleship notes, page 17).

Wow! That is quite the stuff, isn’t it? Can you imagine what that would have cost back in those days? According to Judas Iscariot, who was among those eating with Jesus, that ointment would have been worth three hundred pence, which was approximately a year’s wages (believersmagazine.com). She could have sold it and provided for many poor people; or she could have stored up the money for herself and her family; or she could have saved it for a time of great need when she or a loved one was ailing. But she didn’t. Instead she poured it out upon her Saviour. Why is that?? Jesus gives us the
answer.

And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of her for a memorial of her.” (Mark 14:6-9)

“She hath done what she could.” That sentence intrigues me. If you think about it, Mary’s spikenard was probably the most valuable thing she possessed. She could have done a number of other things for Jesus, but instead she chose to pour upon Him her most precious possession. I suppose we can’t know for sure, but it is likely that Mary had placed her faith in this small alabaster box and its contents. Its healing properties could cure just about anything, and if things got tight and times were hard, the profits
of it could cushion her and her siblings quite well. Why not rely on it to take care of her needs?

But then Mary was introduced to Jesus Christ, the ultimate Healer and Provider. At the moment that she fully comprehended who He was and what His purpose was to be, she knew she must place her faith in Him and surrender all in doing so. And so she “did what she could.” She poured out everything before Christ, and knelt at His feet in humble submission, in complete surrender to Him.

What a picture of trust! of devotion! Compared to the riches received in Jesus Christ, the most costly thing Mary owned was as a handful of pebbles beside an endless ocean of precious jewels. Her “cure all” oil was nothing compared to the healing, cleansing, atoning, redeeming, priceless blood of Jesus Christ.

And she knew that in order to receive that life-giving flood, she must first empty herself of that which she had thought to be her savior; she must offer up a sacrifice. So with loving abandon, Mary poured out upon her true Savior the sweet-smelling savour of surrender.

If you’d like to check out this story for yourself, you will find it in Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, and John 12:1-8.

Nellye

Faith, Fruits of the Spirit

The Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness

Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 10.05.16 AM

Hi ladies! I hope you’ve had a great summer, and are having a good week in school! I had a crazy summer, and didn’t have much time to post, for which I most sincerely apologize!

So, our next fruit is goodness. I know it’s been a while since the last one (sorry!), but kindness and goodness, I feel, go along the same lines.

Definition of GOODNESS: moral excellence, virtue; generosity; kindly feeling.

Goodness is a hard one to describe, but I think goodness is basically giving grace to those around you. It’s not judging people because their lives may not be orderly and virtuous (after all, nobody’s lives are!), but loving on them because God loves them.

I’ll be honest, goodness is hard! Especially for me, since I tend to let my pride get in the way of kindness and grace towards others.

Again, goodness and kindness are similar, but goodness is important because 1) it’s really comforting to someone who has had a hard week, and 2) it really reflects Christ. If we give grace to those around us who may not even be Christians, it is an awesome reflection of our Savior, who loved us so much that He died for us!

So, here is one way to show goodness:

  • Ask people you meet about their week. Take time to listen, as we all know how it feels to be able to pour out your week’s joys and sorrows to someone!

Have a great day! 🙂

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