Dec 3, 2014
Dec 3, 2014
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done. Genesis 50:20
Jay Bufton turned his hospital room into a lighthouse.
The fifty-two-year-old husband, father, high school teacher, and coach was dying of cancer, but his room—Room 5020—became a beacon of hope for friends, family, and hospital workers. Because of his joyful attitude and strong faith, nurses wanted to be assigned to Jay. Some even came to see him during off-hours.
Even as his once-athletic body was wasting away, he greeted anyone and everyone with a smile and encouragement. One friend said, “Every time I visited Jay he was upbeat, positive, and filled with hope. He was, even while looking cancer and death in the face, living out his faith.”
At Jay’s funeral, one speaker noted that Room 5020 had a special meaning. He pointed to Genesis 50:20, in which Joseph says that although his brothers sold him into slavery, God turned the tables and accomplished something good: “the saving of many lives.” Cancer invaded Jay’s life, but by recognizing God’s hand at work Jay could say that “God intended it for good.” That’s why Jay could use even the ravages of cancer as an open door to tell others about Jesus.
What a legacy of unwavering trust in our Savior even as death was knocking at the door! What a testimony of confidence in our good and trustworthy God!
Lord, difficult things come into our lives so often. Please help us to trust You enough to see that nothing is beyond Your control. Help us to tell of Your love even in the tough times.
By God’s grace, we can have our best witness in the worst of times.
While Joseph’s story had a spectacularly happy ending, it did not come overnight. When Joseph became the primary character in the Genesis narrative, he was only seventeen years old (Gen. 37:2). After about ten years as a slave in the household of Potiphar (captain of the bodyguard, a high official in Pharaoh’s court), he had risen to a position of great trust, managing Potiphar’s household properties and affairs. However, after Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him, Joseph was imprisoned for two years (41:1). When he was set free and assigned the post of vice-chancellor of Egypt, he was thirty years old (41:46). But there were seven years of plenty followed by two years of famine (45:6) before he came face-to-face with his brothers. That means that from the time he was sold into slavery to the time of family reconciliation, twenty-two years had transpired!
How does the story of Joseph help you to realize there is no circumstance beyond God’s control?
For further reading see Joseph: Overcoming Life’s Challenges.
1 Samuel 17:12-51
The Philistine army was ready to fight. Merely a boy, David traveled from his home to the battlefront in order to check on his brothers and supply them with food. There, on hearing the notorious Goliath threaten Israel, the young Israelite was outraged. Who was this giant to challenge the Lord’s army?
David sensed God’s direction and obeyed. A battle ensued between a giant and a boy, but the almighty God stood with David. Goliath, along with the entire Philistine army, was defeated.
This is truly an amazing story—we rarely hear of anything this miraculous in our world today. But we, like David, can live triumphantly, even in the midst of terrifying and seemingly impossible circumstances. First, we need to understand success from the Lord’s perspective: Goals should align with Scripture; then our Father directs us, and we follow with confidence.
Second, we—like David—ought to have a clear picture of what needs to be accomplished. Goals should be clear enough to write in a sentence or two. For example, David’s aim was to free God’s people from their enemies. Our goals may be huge and lifelong, like modeling dependence on Jesus for our children. Or others may be simpler to achieve, like creating a weekly family night.
Whether facing a daunting challenge like David’s or an easier undertaking, you should live intentionally. Ask the Lord for direction and purpose as you contemplate your goals, both big and small. The same God who led David in victory desires to lead you today.
“He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.” (John 1:39)
This is the first of the gracious invitations of the Lord Jesus to “come” to Him. On this occasion, right after His baptism by John, He invited two potential disciples to come with Him to His dwelling place. Very likely, this was an outdoor mat somewhere, for He soon afterwards acknowledged that “the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). Nevertheless, one night of abiding with Jesus changed their lives. Soon afterwards, He issued another invitation to them. “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17), and they never went home again. First He invites us to come to see and know Him, then to come with Him to win others.
There is also the wonderful invitation to come to Him for relief from our burdens and cares. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). And note His promise to those who do accept His invitation: “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
There were also personal invitations. To Zacchaeus, the seeking sinner glimpsing Jesus from a sycamore tree, He said, “come down; for to day I must abide at thy house” (Luke 19:5). To His friend Lazarus, dead and bound in a tomb, He cried, “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43), and not even the grave could prevent his accepting such a call.
There are other invitations from the Lord with gracious promises to those who come, but note especially the final invitation of the Bible: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). HMM
1 Kings 5:1
Fast friends are rare. It was a happy thing for Solomon that his father bequeathed him, the love of so useful an ally.
1 Kings 5:3
Like a good son who honoured his father, he does not say that David could not build the temple because he had shed blood, but because he was busy with wars. We ought always to speak the best things of parents.
1 Kings 5:6
The tabernacle, which was temporary, could be erected by Jews only; but the temple, which was to be permanent, is not built without the aid of Gentiles. Jews and Gentiles together make up the church which is the temple of God.
1 Kings 5:7, 8
We ought to weigh well what we promise, and then we shall be the more likely to be true to our word. It is well when our second thoughts are full of liberality towards the cause of God.
1 Kings 5:9
Palestine was a fruitful agricultural country, and thus Solomon would do Hiram a service by paying him in provisions.
1 Kings 5:10
When God’s house is to be built, he will surely find all that is needful for it.
1 Kings 5:11, 13-17
Even the foundation stones were not rugged and rough, but hewn and costly. God would have everything which is done for him done well. He careth not so much for that which meets the eye of man, he delights himself with the beauty of those living stones of his spiritual temple which are hidden away from observation.
1 Kings 5:18
So the stones and timbers came to their places prepared, and no sound of axe or hammer was heard. Here below the fitting us for heaven is a work of toil and noise, but in heaven all will be rest and quietness. May the Lord prepare us to be built into his temple above.
I cannot begin to count the times people have told me, “Rick, no one has ever been able to do what you’re attempting to do in your part of the world. We know several who tried to do it in the past, but they failed and ended up in a mess. So be careful, because it is highly unlikely that you’ll be able to achieve what you are attempting to do!”
This kind of “doom-and-gloom” prediction has been made to us over the years more times than we can number. People have told us that nearly everything we have ever done is impossible.
For instance, people said it was impossible to broadcast God’s Word on television in our part of the world, but we did it anyway. We were told it was impossible for a foreigner to have a great impact on national pastors and churches, but we’re having an amazing impact that is affecting thousands of pastors and churches. When we started churches in several key cities, we were warned, “No one has ever been able to establish a big church in those cities, and you won’t be able to do it either.” But with God’s help, we did it, and today those cities have large, powerful churches that are flourishing!
When God called us to start our church in the heart of Moscow, people came crawling out of the woodwork to tell us, “Moscow is the seat of demonic principalities and powers. This heavily concentrated demonic influence is so strong that no one has been able to break through and establish a powerful church in the heart of Moscow. We want to prepare you so you won’t be too disappointed, because you probably won’t be able to do it either!”
When I heard that, I laughed out loud! Jesus said, “… If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). Jesus made it plain—if we will believe, all things will be possible to us!
The word “possible” is the Greek word dunata, which comes from the word dunatos. It expresses the idea of ability; power; one who is able and capable; or one who is competent. The word dunatos shares the same root with the word dunamis, which is the Greek word for power. This emphatically tells us that there is a power that causes one to become able, capable, or competent for any task. When this explosive power comes on the scene and begins to operate in an individual’s life, it doesn’t matter how unfit or unqualified he was before; this power energizes him and makes him capable for the task before him.
But who is this person who can accomplish impossible feats? Jesus said that all things are possible to him “that believeth.” The word “believeth” is the Greek word pisteuonti, from the word pistis, the Greek word for faith. However, when pistis becomes pisteuonti, as in this verse, it pictures a person who is believing. This is not someone who once had an experience of faith in the past; rather, this is a person who is presently believing right now. He didn’t just believe in the past; he is a believer. His faith is actively reaching forward right now to grab hold of what God has promised. His faith is habitually, constantly, consistently, unwaveringly straining forward to take hold of that desired goal he sees before him!
You see, faith is the spark that ignites the impossible and causes it to become possible. When a person’s faith is activated, it sets in motion supernatural power that enables that person to do what he normally would never be able to do! This is why Jesus said, “… If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Once faith has been activated and remains activated, a person becomes enabled and empowered so that he is capable and competent to do whatever it is God has told him to do. That person can even do the impossible!
When I receive a new mandate from God to push forward into new and uncharted territory, I don’t let fear and doubt flood my mind. Instead, I immediately begin renewing my mind to believe that I can do anything God has asked me to do. If He has told me to do something—regardless of how big or how impossible it seems to the natural mind—then I tell myself that I can do it. After all, if it couldn’t be done, why would He tell me and our team to do it?
The fact is, in God all things are possible, so it’s up to me and the others on my team to get our thinking in line with God’s Word. And as I build up my faith to the level it needs to be for the new challenge, I experience an explosion of supernatural power in me that literally carries me over into the realm where impossible things becomes possible!
Jesus made it very clear that we receive exactly what we believe. If I believe I can do the impossible, I will do it. But if I believe I cannot do the impossible, I will not do it. When I look at those who have warned me about all the things they thought couldn’t be done, most of those people have done nothing. In other words, they have gotten exactly what they have believed for! But because we dared to believe, today we are standing in the middle of many accomplished “impossible” assignments that others said could never happen. They were wrong!
Never underestimate the power of faith! Make sure you are thinking and believing correctly—because what you believe is exactly what you will receive!
Lord, since Your Word says all things are possible to the one who believes, I am asking You to help me renew my mind to believe I can do anything You ever ask me to do with my life. Help me to truly understand that there is absolutely nothing impossible to me when I believe. I so regret the times I’ve listened to voices of doubt and unbelief who talked me out of the great victories You had in store for me. With the assistance of the Holy Spirit, I will shut my ears to the voices of unbelief from this moment forward. I release my faith today to believe that ANYTHING is possible for me to do, as long as You are the One asking me to do it!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I confess that I can do anything God puts in my heart to do. Nothing is impossible to me, because everything is possible to him who believes! I believe God’s Word. I believe I can do what He tells me to do. I believe the vision He put in my heart is achievable. Because I believe, I will receive the impossible!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
As an old man, Solomon agonized over the futility of his investments:
“When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun… So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me… A chasing after the wind… ” (Ecclesiastes 2:11, 17)
Do your investments parallel Solomon’s? Or are you making the kind of investments that will outlive you, lasting for eternity? If you want:
A one year return on your investment, plant grain.
A ten year return on your investment, plant a tree.
An eternal return on your investment, plant people.
It is God’s intention to destroy everything physical, including your earthly investments:
“The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away… and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10)
Can we therefore grasp the fact that only God, His Word, and people are eternal?
God: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (2 Peter 3:8) (See Psalm 102:12; Ephesians 3:21)
His Word: “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89) (See Psalm 119:152, 160; Matthew 5:18; 24:34; 1 Peter 1:25)
People: “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2) (See Matthew 25:46; Romans 2:7, 8; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9)
Consequently, the only investments that will withstand the coming holocaust will be those made in the lives of people. Thus, God regularly places individuals in our path with whom He desires our investment: The person at the club. That neighbor across the street. A business associate. A relative. Someone in distress.
QUESTIONS: As you encounter these people, are you blithely brushing past them to fulfill your agenda? Or are you viewing each one as a divine appointment? Are you responding to the prompting of the Spirit by graciously and determinedly investing in their lives for the purpose of bringing Christ to them? Or building Christ in them? Even when it means altering your predetermined schedule?
I suppose the answers to these questions are determined by whether we are living for the temporal, or investing in the eternal.