Do you know that God holds your destiny? No matter what you may be facing now, He can work His will out in your life and direct your path toward its fulfillment.
When Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery, it probably never crossed Joseph's mind that his suffering and hardship were part of God's preparation process. Joseph was learning obedience, and his brothers were skillfully wielded instruments in the hand of God.
Joseph may have regarded his dreams as a confirmation of God's favor upon his life. He had not yet learned that authority is given to serve, not to set an individual apart. Often in such periods of training we focus on the impossibility of our circumstances instead of the greatness of God. As a result, we get discouraged and feel the need to blame someone, so we look for the one we feel is responsible for our despair. When we face the fact that God could have prevented our entire mess—and didn't—we often blame Him.
This perhaps kept ringing through Joseph's mind: "I have lived according to what I know of God. I've not transgressed His statutes or nature. I was only repeating a dream God Himself gave me. And what's the result? My brothers betray me, and I'm sold as a slave!
My Dad thinks I am dead so he will never come to Egypt to find me."
To Joseph the bottom line was his brothers. They had thrown him into this dungeon. How often do we fall into the same trap of assigning blame? For example:
- "If it weren't for my wife, I would be in the ministry. She has hindered me and ruined so many of my dreams."
- "If it weren't for my parents, I would have had a normal life. They are to blame for where I am today. Why do others have normal parents and I don't?"
- "If my mom and dad hadn't gotten divorced, I would have been much better off in my own marriage."
- "If it weren't for my former husband, my kids and I wouldn't have had all this financial trouble."
- "If it weren't for that woman in the church, I would still be in favor with the leaders. With her gossip, she has destroyed me and any hope I had of being respected."
The list is endless. It is easy to blame everyone else for your problems. I want to emphasize the following point: absolutely no man, woman, child or devil can ever remove you from God's plan for your life! If you lay hold of this truth, it will set you free. Only one person can get you out of the will of God—and that is you!
God holds your destiny. Joseph's brothers tried hard to destroy the vision that God gave him. They thought they had ended it for Joseph and wanted no chance that he would ever succeed. But in God's plan, Joseph ruled Egypt. And the brothers?
Ironically Joseph's brothers became the patriarchs of Israel! God had promised Abraham that they would bring forth a nation. Through one of them the Lord Jesus would eventually come!
Joseph kept his heart free from offense, and the plans of God were established in his life and in the lives of his brothers as well. As we experience life and move along the pathway to His presence, we can rest in the assurance that God's plans for us are too numerous to mention. With this assurance, we can face the future and leave the past behind us.
Do you assign blame to others—or even God—for your present difficulties? How are you responsible for your own failures or actions in the past? How are you responsible for your future?
Make it a point of prayer to the Lord, who stands outside of time where there is no past, present or future, to take your experiences and use them in your life. Ask Him to help you take those experiences and mold and shape your life so you can become more like Him.
If you have been blaming your present circumstances on someone or some place or some situation, recognize this as a hindrance, and ask the Lord to reveal His plans for your life and give you the courage to follow His leading. Then thank Him for His guidance.
Adapted from Pathway to His Presence by John and Lisa Bevere, copyright 2000, 2016, published by Charisma House. With refreshing honesty, and keen biblical insight the authors examine eight common barriers that can separate you from God's presence, and show you how to break through these barriers and enjoy greater spiritual intimacy with your heavenly Father. To order your copy, click here.
Prayer Power for the Week of July 24, 2016
This week ask the Lord to take your past experiences and use them to make you more like Him. Ask Him to give you His perspective on things, help you trust Him as He leads you step-by-step, and thank Him for His guidance. Remember those affected by horrendous circumstances, either natural or man-made, and seek God for ways in which you can be a blessing to those suffering loss. Pray for the church to increase prayer and intercession for worldwide revival, the nation and the upcoming elections (Ps. 40:5).
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