The way that leads to purpose
Though we are faced with testing times, God is our ever-reliable compass to guide us through these stages in life. He has been faithful to those who have come before us, and He will help us realise the purpose that He has called us to fulfil.
The writer of Hebrews, at the beginning of chapter 12, encourages us not to lose heart or to lose our way, but rather to fix our eyes on Christ.
God invites us to have confidence in the assurance that he will be with us wherever we go. David G. Firth writes with directness,
“We need to hear the challenge that comes to us to choose this day: will we renew our commitment to Christ… and confess anew that we need to give our undivided loyalty and service, recognising that this is what defines the people of God? Or will we take the path of least resistance that is in the end no path at all?”
Bible verse: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV
Thought: Sometimes, we may face circumstances in life that lead us to cry out to God, “Why me?”. It may well be that in asking this question we are looking for something deeper and far more important than an answer that would satisfy our intellect alone.
I wonder if that’s what Joseph thought, when he was thrown down the well and then sold into slavery by his brothers in Exodus 37. His circumstances seemed dire: he was taken far away from his home, far away from everything he knew.
Joseph didn’t know it yet, but God had a plan for his life, and for all His people through these events. God has a plan for you too, even in those moments when you just want to ask, “Why me?”
Prayer: God, sometimes life may seem challenging and too overwhelming to bear. During this time please help me to persevere, and trust that you are in control and working in all things together for my good. Amen.
You are not alone
Bible verse: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NIV
Thought: Despite all the adversity Joseph faced, the Bible says that God was with Joseph all the time (Acts 7:9-10). Joseph was blessed immensely by God, when Joseph was a slave, God gave him favour with his master (Genesis 39:2-4). When he was a prisoner, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners (Genesis 39:21-23).
Though our Christian walk may be tough, don’t be discouraged, keep the faith. We can all be assured that we are in God’s loving care.
Prayer: Thank you, God, for your promise to strengthen and help me. Thank you for letting me know that I can depend on you to go through all circumstances with me. Amen.
Bible verse: And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 NIV
Thought: Throughout his difficult ordeal, Joseph chose to trust God with everything that was happening to him. Even when the choice he made to honour his master and not to sin against God (Genesis 39:9) led him to be unfairly imprisoned.
God was with Joseph, even whilst he was in prison, granting him favour in the eyes of the warden (Genesis 39:20-21). This led to Joseph being put in charge of everyone held in the prison.
During times of testing, God continues to grow our abilities and talents. It’s a great lesson for all of us to stay focused and firm to fulfil God’s purpose for you.
Prayer: God, when I face temptation and unfair circumstances, help me to remember that your purpose for me is greater. Help me to stand firm and follow your will. Amen.
Waiting on God
Bible verse: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Thought: Genesis 37-41 tells us that Joseph endured at least 12 difficult years before he finally sees God’s purpose for his life fulfilled.
What do you think was going through Joseph’s mind during all this time? Do you wonder if he ever lost hope or felt forgotten by God? His dreams probably felt like a distant memory at this point.
Patience is what we need, especially in difficulties. There is often a delay before seeing God work through us. Delays are often a necessary time of spiritual preparation. Joseph’s life teaches us that disappointments can lead to spiritual growth because they demand faith and require us to put our hope in God.
Prayer: Lord, sometimes I struggle with waiting for your plan to be revealed. Help me to be patient and wait on you faithfully. Amen.
Bible verse: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NIV
Thought: After successfully interpreting the dreams of Pharaoh, Joseph is freed from prison, and put in charge of Egypt (Genesis 41:41). It’s an amazing rise through the ranks that puts Joseph at the top of society. He is wealthy, well-connected and powerful.
But Joseph never forgot to honour God throughout his journey, telling Pharaoh that he could not interpret his dream, but that God would (Genesis 41:16). He is thankful for God’s blessings after he became successful, naming his second son Ephraim, which means ‘God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering’ (Genesis 41:52).
When we are successful, we must not forget, firstly, to honour God. Even though Joseph was sold into slavery by his family he was willing to forgive and bless them in time of desperate need (Genesis 45), demonstrating forgiveness and further showing that his life was lived in response to God’s faithfulness.
Prayer: God, help me to remember that all I have in this life is a gift from you. Please give me a humble heart, so that I remember to honour you in every circumstance and show me ways that I can be a blessing to others. Amen.
Rev Keith V Garner AM shares the story of the road to Emmaus and how Jesus comes along side us in obstacles we face throughout our journey of life.
The incredible Samoan Choir sing ‘O oe o la’u viiga (You are exacted)’ at the ‘The way that leads to purpose’ service on Sunday 5 May at 6 pm.
The talented Samoan Choir sing ‘Lilly of the valley’ at ‘The way that leads to purpose’ service.
Rev Keith V Garner AM sits down for an In Conversation with Ian Ferguson.