but God…

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

Genesis 50:20 NASB

This is Joseph in Egypt talking to his brothers after their father died.  His brothers were afraid Joseph would try to get revenge on them for selling him into slavery many years before. You can read the story of Joseph beginning in Genesis 37 and continuing in chapter 39 to the end in chapter 50.

This is one of my favorite Bible stories because it has given me hope that God can take difficult circumstances and turn them around and use them for good!

Lift up your eyes

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:

Who created all these?

He who brings out the starry host one by one

and calls forth each of them by name.

Because of his great power and mighty strength,

not one of them is missing.

Isaiah 40:26 NIV

Drawing of night sky

I came across this Bible verse recently, and it made me think of the song Your Love Oh Lord by Third Day.  Something about hearing that song gives me peace.  You can listen to the song here:

Some of the lyrics, from Psalm 36:

And I will lift my voice to worship you my king

And I will find my strength in the shadow of your wings

Your Love Oh Lord reaches to the heavens

Your faithfulness stretches to the skies

May you find strength in the shadow of His wings today, and above all the peace that only He can give.

He is…

"I am the Light of the World"

All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end.  But while I am still here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

John 9:4-5 (NLT)

“He remains faithful”

It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

2 Timothy 2:11-13 (NASB)

Freedom in Jesus

Photo of Clouds in Blue Sky

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Isaiah 61:1 (ESV)

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.  And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Luke 4:16-19 (ESV)

I love this verse because I find it very comforting.  Jesus proclaims that he has come to free the captives and the oppressed.  So, who are the captives and the oppressed?  First, we were all captives, to the power of sin, before becoming followers of Christ and allowing his spirit to change us.  Sin and darkness had power over us, but now we belong to God, and through him we have power over sin.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV)

Second, my interpretation is that the oppressed can mean the marginalized, the stigmatized, those who are considered less by society for whatever reason.  God is close to them.  As the body of Christ, we are to be Jesus’ hands and feet to help those who are oppressed and held captive, to give them hope, to be used by God to help them be set free.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV)

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18 NASB

O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear

Psalm 10:17 (ESV)

The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.

Psalm 103:6 (ESV)

Listening to the Book of Job

Today I was listening to the Bible online.  I haven’t listened to this version for a while, and wanted to share it with you and also to encourage you to listen today (August 21st) if you are going through a time of testing of your faith.

This is The One Year Audio Bible (New Living Translation) read by Tom Dooley.  To listen, you can click here:

http://www.oneyearaudiobible.org/

or click on the MP3 player widget over in the left hand column of the blog.

Listening today reminded me about the narrator, Tom Dooley.  The day after I became a Christian, I also started a brand new job.   As I was driving to work that day I first heard ‘The Journey,’ Tom Dooley’s radio program.  It was a wonderful way to be introduced to Christian music and get guidance as a new follower of Jesus.   Tom passed away almost two years ago, so hearing his voice is a reminder of 1) how short this life is, 2) how the work we do for God lives on even after we’re gone, and 3) how we have the hope of eternal life in heaven.

You can read a little about his ministry here.

http://www.mastermedia.org/mm/about.php

So, back to the Book of Job!   In the intro he mentions some helpful things to remember in times when our faith is tested.

  • Jesus is our ‘defending advocate in heaven’
  • Satan ‘cannot foresee the future as God can’
  • our faith in God and personal integrity provide hope and encouragement in suffering

I hope this provides encouragement to you today.

Convinced

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)