Friday, November 03, 2006
Today's devotion is taken from my sermon titled:
“The Joseph Process to Your Greater Purpose for God” - Genesis 41:1-46 - Recommended reading
Joseph spent another 2 years in prison forgotten [after giving Cupbearer his dream interpretation], a total of 13 years of ups and downs for the process to be completed in God’s plan for Joseph’s life.
This process will break down that deadly sin of human PRIDE – Prov. 16:18, I Cor. 10:12 A difference in PRIDE and CONFIDENCE IN CHRIST.
A.W. Tozer stated, "It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He [God] has hurt [or broken] him deeply".
A broken and contrite heart God will not despise – Psa. 51:17
This is a person who has come to the total awareness of their spiritual bankruptcy apart from Christ.
Looking at Joseph, I’m sure there were some Eygptians who questioned how this JEW got to the TOP so quickly in Eygpt. But they didn’t have the SLIGHTEST idea what had gone on in Joseph’s life in the 13 previous years leading up to God promoting him.
Today I want to relate Joseph’s life to what I’ve gone through over the years as they are so similar, and I believe will help you understand why I am so PASSIONATE with my vision to reaching the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. I’ve been told at times to calm down. For the record, I am at peace in my heart. But the hour is short, the harvest is ripe, we need to get busy gathering in the Last of the last days’ harvest.
My background: I was saved in 1975 at age of 15, and then I had a vision/dream in my heart of my calling to ministry at age 16 (after reading “the Cross and the Swithblade”). I then went to Bible School [after finishing High School] and finished it by age of 21, then I took my first pastorate from the age of 22-27.
Then comes THE REST OF THE STORY.
I pastored in the 80’s, and loved the LORD, but I had some spiritual struggles. I also had not yet experienced the level of the breaking of the self-life that the LORD was going to require of me. I thought I was a good solid Christian, in the Word daily, almost daily running off alone to be with God. I pretty much felt I had my Christian life under control, I was in charge of my DESTINY, then it all collapsed in one day (24 hour period)! I literally lost everything in one day – Church, ministry, transportation (my car totaled), and also due to all that I needed to move out of my rental. I ended up having nothing! That was on August 8, 1987.
BOY, DOES THE TOP OF A MOUNTAIN LOOK FAR FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE VALLEY.
Then I went through what I call those QUIET YEARS. I still remembered the vision of God’s call on my life at age 16 and here I am (in 1987) almost 12 years (1975) after God’s vision/dream and it’s ALL GONE!
I could hardly see the vision God gave me at 16. I felt like absolutely nothing was happening in my life, when in reality, God was establishing me, perfecting me, and refining me. NOT THE MOST FUN PROCESS!
Read: Job 23:10 – “…When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Refining process = As Gold purified/tried by fire – Read 1 Peter 1:7 and 1 Peter 4:12
I believe trials serve to:
1. Remind us of our need of Christ.
2. Strengthen our faith.
3. Remove impurities.
Then in 1994 or 1995 the first sign of something as to my calling revived – God has me start a monthly men’s Bible Study with approx. 10-20 guys.
Also during that same time period (1994-1995) I go through the book “Experiencing God,” and then end up faciliting to approximately 10-12 people (I shepherded them with all my heart for those few months).
Then, in 1998 I was impressed of the LORD to start an online Bible Study called BIBLEFOOD/Go Proclaim Ministries (Weekly Devotional) started with, I think, 3 members and growing. That year we grew into the 100’s. I was so excited!!!
Then by 2000 growing into the 1000’s and today we have over 6,000 members of BibleFood. My heart as a pastor grew during this time as many wrote me for prayer and guidance.
Then in the winter of 2004/2005 the LORD said it’s time to sell the house and move into ministry where I can personally be involved in peoples’ lives, not just by the internet.
The door opened in the Spring of 2005 for a home missions/pastor position in Kane, PA. Where’s Kane??? Pennsylvania Isn’t it COLD in PA? Though I don’t like the cold weather, I believed (and still believe) God sent me to the little town of Kane, PA (known as the Icebox of Pennsylvania).
Now, as we move into 2006, the vision to reach the world, not only by internet but in person, swings open. I am invited to AFRICA (a dream of decades – It will happen in 2007), then Pakistan, then INDIA (going to India NEXT week).
What has happened? What is going on?
God is bring me through THE JOSEPH PROCESS!
Just as Joseph had his testing period before God’s VISION was given to Joseph at age 17 was to come to pass some 13 years later (when he was 30 yrs. old). So the vision God gave me at 16 started to manifest in 1998 (23 years later) and further fulfillment in 2005 at age 46 (last year, some 30 years later), and now my first trip to a third world country this year, and prayerfully more to come.
Are all the valleys done, NOPE! But the valley times seem shorter.
NOW SO IMPORTANT – DON’T MISS THIS!
No matter what you have thought of yourself, REMEMBER THE WORDS OF I Cor. 1:26-29.
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: THAT NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE.”
God has NOT chosen many WISE, MIGHTY, or NOBLE…but God has chosen the foolish, weak, base [insignificant], the despised.
WHY? So that NO person shall take pride in himself, but give God all the glory.
Then in I Cor. 4:7 – “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”ALL that we have we received is from the LORD. Since we received it from the LORD, there is no reason to boast about what you have as if you achieved it yourself. It was all given to you by God.
2 Cor 3:5 – says, “…our sufficiency is of God.”
Why such a process?
Because God does not want POWERFUL PERFECTLY POLISHED vessels of the flesh (self-made men), but yielded vessels which HE CAN PERFECT.
I remember my days in the Joseph pits, and would rather stay broken and obedient to my LORD than end up in the pit again.
I KNOW I am what I am BY THE GRACE OF GOD.
I DO what I do BY THE GRACE OF GOD.
My prayer is:
LORD, may Jim never rise to ANY throne, may Jim NEVER forget the working of God in his life, may Jim ALWAYS seek to please his LORD and SAVIOR and not man.
This is what 17 years did for Joseph, it BROKE him and PREPARED him.
This is what 30+ years did for Jim – it has broken him and prepared him (I’m a slower learner than Joseph).
What about you?
Did God give you a vision in your heart of what HE wants to do with your life FOR HIM? YES! He has a purpose in your life for each of us to GLORIFY HIM in some way(s).
Have you lost that vision?
Let God make you into that YIELDED vessel He can use!
It may take you 5 years of preparation, or like Joseph 17 years of preparation, or like me 30+ years of preparation, or maybe more (though I hope not).
PLEASE don’t resist His hand in your life, yield to the LORD in your heart.
Cry out from your heart, “I only want YOUR will LORD for my life and nothing else”.
Then keep crying out from your heart until you actually mean it and are 100% yielded to the LORD.
LORD, thank you for NEVER giving up on us, in the past, or in the PRESENT or in the future, and LORD help us to be YIELDED vessels that will give GLORY TO YOU WITH OUR LIVES! In Jesus Precious Name, Amen!
In His Service,