And they told [Jacob] saying, “Joseph is still alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt.” Genesis 45:26
Imagine meeting someone you thought was dead! That happened twice in the Bible. In the Old Testament, it happened to the brothers of Joseph who had betrayed him years before. They had told their father, Jacob, he was dead. But decades later, those brothers stood before an Egyptian leader who told them, “I am Joseph.” Their shock and surprise reverberated throughout history.
In the New Testament, something even more dramatic happened on Easter Sunday, when One greater than Joseph rose from the dead. After suffering a gruesome death and hurried burial, Jesus Christ was quickened by the Holy Spirit on the third day, passed through the walls of the sepulcher, and began appearing to His astonished disciples.
One day the entire world will be startled when they see Him, whom they pierced, coming down from the clouds of glory. But until then, we serve a risen Savior and our lives are completely different because of the reality of His vitality and life-giving power. So “who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).
The Savior is risen for one and for all, the Savior is risen for great and for small.
Adam Geibel, “The Savior Is Risen for You and for Me” hymn
The Wagons Are Coming – Genesis 45:26-28 – Jon Courson
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3
In Surprised by Joy, C. S. Lewis confessed he came to Christianity at the age of thirty-three, “kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape.” Despite Lewis’s own personal resistance, his shortcomings, and the obstacles he faced, the Lord transformed him into a courageous and creative defender of the faith. Lewis proclaimed God’s truth and love through writing powerful essays and novels that are still being read, studied, and shared more than fifty-five years after his death. His life reflected his belief that a person is “never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”
As we make plans and follow dreams, God can purify our motives and empower us to devote whatever we do to Him (Proverbs 16:1–3). From the most ordinary tasks to the greatest challenges, we can live for the glory of our almighty Maker, who “works out everything to its proper end” (v. 4). Every action, every word, and every thought can become an expression of heartfelt worship, a sacrificial gift to honor our Lord, as He watches over us (v. 7).
God can’t be limited by our limitations, our reservations, or our tendencies to settle or dream small. As we choose to live for Him—dedicated to and dependent on Him—He will bring about His plans for us. Whatever we do can be done with Him, for Him, and only because of Him.
Reflect & Pray
How can Proverbs 16:3 help you be more confident in the use of your gifts? What steps can you take to honor God as you follow a dream He’s placed on your heart?
God, thank You for reminding us that no jobs are too small and no dreams are too big in Your great kingdom.
The Scriptures speak clearly of existence after death—people will spend eternity in either heaven or hell. Yet many individuals consider this truth inconsistent with other facts about the Lord. While their objections are understandable, the Bible provides the answers:
How can the Lord be good if He lets some people spend eternity in hell? God is love (1 John 4:8), and He doesn’t want anyone to live without Him (1 Timothy 2:4). According to His plan, every person can turn from sin and receive the Savior, enjoying His presence both now and throughout eternity. Some, however, reject Jesus Christ and live apart from Him all their days. Unless they change that tragic decision, their separation from divine love will continue eternally.
Why would God create certain individuals, knowing they’d never turn to Him? To some, this seems unloving. Yet God so values our free will that He won’t force anyone to go to heaven against his or her will. Doing so would amount to creating robots who are unable to truly respond, love, and worship.
An endless penalty seems unfair, especially if a non-Christian never heard the gospel. As long as unbelievers are alive, the heavenly Father goes to great lengths to keep them from eternal punishment—except He won’t violate their free will. He gives enough time and evidence so that nobody has a valid excuse for rejecting the one path to salvation (Rom. 1:20).
Jesus wants you to spend eternity with Him. So do you know Him as your Lord and Savior?
“Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” (Hosea 4:17)
Our God is longsuffering and full of mercy, but there is a line that must not be crossed. It is dangerous to presume that God will always continue to forgive; He can become a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).
The leaders of Ephraim (a collective term for the 10 northern tribes of Israel) had passed this point of no return. They had become completely infatuated with the pantheistic polytheism of the nations, being “joined” to their symbolic models of natural forces and all the immoral practices that accompanied such nature worship. The word for “joined” means “fascinated by.” They had been brought so deeply under the occult powers behind these nature-god idols as to be irrevocably committed to them, so that it would be a waste of time and tears to try to reclaim them now.
The Scriptures contain many similar warnings. “My spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3). “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15:14). “There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it” (1 John 5:16). “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6). Pharaoh repeatedly “hardened his heart” against God, and finally God Himself hardened Pharaoh’s heart (e.g., Exodus 8:15; 10:27). “God gave them up” (Romans 1:24, 26, 28).
These should be sobering words to anyone who is becoming enchanted with evolutionism, or occultism, or any form of pantheistic humanism. As long as such a person has any qualm of conscience, or even any doubts about the pseudo-scientific philosophy to which he is becoming addicted, there is hope that he might yet turn to the true God of creation. To continue in his present course, however, is presumptuous and deadly. The time will come, perhaps sooner than he thinks, when God will say: “Let him alone.” HMM
Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
—Psalm 86:3-4. And here’s a little prayer that was made by Lady Julian:
O God, of Thy goodness give me Thyself, for Thou art enough for me, and I may ask nothing that is less and find any full honors to Thee. God give me Thyself!
We make out that a revival is everybody running around falling on everybody else’s neck and saying, “Forgive me for thinking a bad thought about you. Forgive me for that nickel that I forgot to pay back.” Or we say a revival consists of people getting very loud and noisy. Well, that might happen in a revival, but the only kind of revival that would be here when the worlds are on fire is the revival that begins by saying, “Oh God, give me Thyself! For nothing less than Thee will do.”
“Anything less than God,” Julian said, “ever me wanteth.” I like that little expression. Translated into modern English it means, “It won’t be enough.” AOG032
Oh, God, “of Thy goodness give me Thyself.” Amen.
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:7.
I Take Thee for my Peace, O Lord,
My heart to keep and fill;
Thine own great calm, amid earth’s storms,
Shall keep me always still,
And as Thy Kingdom doth increase,
So shall Thine ever-deepening peace.
Annie W. Marston.
Remember this, busy and burdened disciple; man or woman tried by uncertain health; immersed in secular duties; forced to a life of almost ceaseless publicity. Here is written an assurance, a guarantee, that not at holy times and welcome intervals only, not only in the dust of death, but in the dust of life, there is prepared for you the peace of God, able to keep your hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus. It is no dead calm, no apathy. It is the peace of God; and God is life, and light, and love. It is found in Him, it is cultivated by intercourse with Him. It is “the secret of His presence.” Amidst the circumstances of your life, which are the expression of His will, He can maintain it; He can keep you in it. Nay, it is not passive; it “shall keep” you, alive, and loving and practical, and-ready at His call.
Hanley C. G. Moule.
“His heavens shall drop down dew.” Deut. 33:28
What the dew in the East is to the world of nature, that is the influence of the Spirit in the realm of grace. How greatly do I need it! Without the Spirit of God I am a dry and withered thing. I droop, I fade, I die. How sweetly does this dew refresh me! When once favored with it I feel happy, lively, vigorous, elevated. I want nothing more. The Holy Spirit brings me life, and all that life requires. All else without the dew of the Spirit is less than nothing to me: I hear, I read, I pray, I sing, I go to the table of communion, and I find no blessing there until the Holy Ghost visits me. But when He bedews me, every means of grace is sweet and profitable.
What a promise is this for me! “His heavens shall drop down dew.” I shall be visited with grace. I shall not be left to my natural drought, or to the world’s burning heat, or to the sirocco of Satanic temptation. Oh, that I may at this very hour feel the gentle, silent, saturating dew of the Lord! Why should I not? He who has made me to live as the grass lives in the meadow, will treat me as He treats the grass; He will refresh me from above. Grass cannot call for dew as I do. Surely, the Lord who visits the unpraying plant will answer to His pleading child.