Trust God. He is in Control.

This is a story of a man named Joseph. At a young age, his brother’s sold him (Genesis 37:28) to be a slave in Egypt. But the Lord was with Joseph and everything that he did was successful, so his master Potiphar made him an overseer (Genesis 39:4) of his entire household. Now Joseph was handsome which lead Potiphar’s wife to desire him. She tempted him to come to bed with her numerous times, but Joseph was a man of God and did not want to sin against Him. One day, Potiphar’s wife was out again to tempt him. Joseph refused but she was able to catch him by his garment and left his garment in her hand. Then she reported to her husband that Joseph tried to rape her – this lead to Joseph’s imprisonment despite his innocence.

This was the story that happened before Genesis 40. That’s why in Genesis 40 you would read that Joseph was already in prison. But even in prison the Lord was with Joseph, he was put in charge of all the prisoners.

Joseph with Cupbearer and BakerThis chapter starts with a story about a cupbearer and baker who was put to prison, and Joseph was put in charge of them. Now, was this coincidence? I don’t believe so. God has a plan. He was always in control of Joseph’s life. He was always there, allowing everything to come into place.

When the cupbearer and baker had dream, Joseph notice that they were sad because no one was able to interpret what they saw. And I like what Joseph said in Genesis 40:8, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.”

What can we possibly learn from what Joseph said?

First, Joseph acknowledged God. It’s amazing to see Joseph’s response to his situation. He was sold to slavery. He was accused of rape. He was put to prison. But despite all that has happened to him, he still acknowledged God. He didn’t hold a grudge against God. He responded well, knowing God is, and has always been in control. How about us? When problems come our way, or when things do not go as we expended it to happen, do we grumble? Do we hold a grudge against God? Do we see the trials in our life as God’s blessing? Do we see just like what James 1:2-3 says?

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

Secondly, look at what Joseph said next, “Tell it to me, please.” Why would Joseph ask them to tell them their dream? If he believes that God can only give the meaning of these dreams, then why would he ask them to tell it him? Was he going against his belief that he can interpret it, and not God?

Do want to know what I’ve realized? Joseph said this not because he believes that he can interpret it, but because he knows God is with him. He believes that despite everything that has happened in his life, God is still with him and God will give him the proper interpretations for their dream. Joseph has a faith that we should learn to imitate!

Joseph saw that God hasn’t left him despite the situation of his life. Joseph saw all of these things happening for a certain reason. What could be that reason? Did Joseph foresee everything that the Lord will be doing in his life? That is something that I don’t see clearly in the bible, but one thing is for sure – He knows everything that is happening in his life is God’s hand upon, and he knows that God is good! He said to his brothers (who sold him to slavery) when they encountered them again:

 Genesis 45:5-8

5 Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8 Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Indeed, God was and has always been in control. When the cupbearer and baker shared their dream to Joseph, he was able to interpret them. The cupbearer was reinstated to his position, in pharaoh’s court, just as Joseph said. And when pharaoh had a dream, it was Joseph who also interpreted. It was the cupbearer who told pharaoh that Joseph can interpret. Was it coincidence that all of these things happened? I don’t believe so. Joseph interpreted pharaoh dream and through this pharaoh saw the Lord was with Joseph. So he made him second in command to him. The Lord was indeed good!

You may be going through a tough time in life. You might not understand why things are happening this may. Take heart. If you know God and he is your Lord, take heart that your life is in his hand and he is in control. If you don’t know God and he is not your Lord, I suggest you make him your Lord first and allow him to take control of your life.

The Lord loves us. May we learn to trust him – he is in control. No matter the situation. No matter the circumstance. Let us find joy in our trials and let us always give glory to God despite whatever is happening in our life. If you would read Joseph’s response, he has always acknowledged God in his life. Despite the success that has happened in his life, he has always acknowledged that it is God’s work and not his.

May this message bring you hope. May this message turn you to trust God and hope in Him. There are so many things to learn from Joseph’s life. May we follow his response in his life and trust God that he is under control.

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Don’t Delay. Turn Away.

There’s one song that comes into my mind when I reflected on Judges 17 to 21. It’s a famous song – part of the top 10 list of videoke songs. Do you know Frank Sinatra? Do you know his legendary song? I did it may way.

Frank-Sinatra-My-Way

When we look at Judges 17 to 21 it takes us into two different conclusions for the book. Two stories that show they just wanted to do it their way. One story talks about idolatry, while the other highlights rape and murder. Here the bible gives us a good picture of the effects of sin and how man will try to do what it thinks is right but in the end it is still far from what the Lord expects of His people.

There is much to learn from these passages. If only we would really take the time to read and be sensitive to what the Lord wants us to learn. This is passage (like any passage in the Bible) is important to read and internalize that we learn not to take sin lightly and know what God said in His word that we may not go our own way. Sin has life threatening effects. Some may feel that they are getting away with their sin, but that’s not really true. There are consequences. There are effects. And if we’re not careful how we live, the consequence might involve another person’s life.

Micahs-IdolsIf you would read Judges 17-18, here you would read Micah and his mother building her own idol and even a shrine. Honestly, I can’t understand why his mother would do this since she mentioned in verse 3 “the Lord.” The Hebrew for the Lord there is not any of those menial gods but it is referring to Yehovah, which is the proper name of the God of Israel.

How could this be though? If she knows who the Lord is, that the Lord commanded in Exodus 20 (the Ten Commandments) not to create any idol, why would she even do this? What I realized is this; man will try to still do what they want to do. Knowing who God is does not guarantee that we will act in accordance with what we know. We will still try to do things our own way. This sin led others to sin as well. Here we would see initial this idols were used in Micah’s household but eventually it resulted in having a whole tribe worship these idols as well. Sin has consequences. The sad part about this is, it also resulted in other committing the same sin. How about you? Is there is a sin in your life that you think you can get away with? Is your sin causing others to sin as well? Ask God for forgiveness now and correct it. Do not delay. God said in his word that if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our trespasses.

Then another story can be seen in Judges 19-21. If you read these chapters, you would immediately we able to recall what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. It looks exactly the same. Here we would see a traveller who stopped in a city to rest. No one took him in, but one man was kind enough to be hospitable to him. During that night, men from the city came and this man’s house and demanded that he brings them his guest so they can have sex with him. The man did not want to do this so, he offered his virgin daughter instead plus the man’s concubine. Doesn’t this sound like the same story in Sodom and Gomorrah?

So what happened? The men insisted and the guest brought her concubine out to them without any hesitation and they raped her and abused her until dawn. I cannot even imagine what they did to take. It’s just so immoral and so inhumane. What happened to the woman? We would see in verse 26, she came back to the man’s house and fell down at the doorway – dead at arrival. The guest got his concubine, went to his home and cut the dead body into twelve pieces. Then he sent a pieces all throughout the territory of Israel.

You may ask, what was the consequence of this?

sodom-gomorrahThe same as Sodom and Gomorrah, a total wipe out of a city. This caused such a stir in Israel that the whole land roused up to purge wickedness from this city (Gibeah). Leading to the destruction of a whole tribe. Again, sin has its consequence. Sodom and Gomorrah were totally destroyed. And Gibeah and the sons of Benjamin were also totally destroyed. The entire city and all their cattle were killed. All the cities under the Benjamites were set on fire.

Again, how about you? Is there is a sin in your life that you think you can get away with? Are you taking your sin lightly? You should take sin seriously. Sin can have tremendous effects on your life and the life of those around you.

We should learn how to purge the sin in our life immediately. The Lord is gracious. If we will learn how to be humble and daily walk in forgiveness, I know he will restore us. Don’t delay. Ask forgiveness. Turn away from sin.

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Wow, it’s been one year already?

I guess it’s true that you will never feel time passing by so quickly when you are doing the things that you love. A couple of days ago a friend of mine reminded me about something. I totally forgot about it. I wasn’t even counting the days. He just simply reminded me that it’s already a year since I began working full-time.

 

One Year as a Full Time Church Staff

My first day as a full-time worker in the church was September 1, 2014. I remember during that time that it didn’t feel different from what I was doing before. This time though, I was no longer a volunteer and I will have more time to really focus on working for the Lord. But there was tremendous pressure on my shoulders. The pressure did not really come from external factors. It was just mainly because of my own expectation and what I really want to see and happen.

God is good. He is always good. Little did I know that all the pressure that I was experiencing was just his way of making me depend on him more and just rely on Him. Deep within my heart, I just really want to reach out to more people and share Jesus to them. I just want to listen to stories of singles being transformed all because of the grace and power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So many things happened that I couldn’t even try to write them all down. If you’ve been following my posts, I haven’t even been able to write a blog entry for the past couple of months due to so many things. Last August was one tiring, but fulfilling week for me. Every week I was preaching. Last August 23, 2015 was my first time to speak in our Sunday morning services. It was a great experience and I learn a lot. Heard from people as well that they were blessed with the message and I give the glory all to the Lord.

What I’m just really trying to say is that I enjoy what I am doing right now. I needed to sacrifice my career and even take a lower salary. It was all part of losing my life and saving it for something greater in return. It’s been a year since I went full-time. I thank God for calling me into his service. I am excited for another year to become part of His work. I’m really looking forward to planning for 2016, and what the Lord will be doing in and through us. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

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