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Are you going though many sufferings?Then whatever it is that you are going through is nothing compared to the glory to come. I thought of the crown we will receive,and all those faithful servants of
the Lord, it is so beautiful and we have to learn our way through in perseverance.
If we can't wear our painful crown of thorns today, we won't be able to wear the pleasant crown of victory tomorrow. Thank God, Jesus our Savior endured the first crown to receive the latter. (Mark 15:17) He showed the way. Today, we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor, not with humiliation. (Heb 2:9)
Look what happened to Joseph, being chosen by God as a prophet outside the camp meant his own brothers rejected him, just as you have been rejected by many people. He was pushed out of the family, he was sold as a slave, he was accused unfairly, he was placed in prison, seemingly forgotten and abandoned. Yet, even in distress he was able to see by the Spirit and still had accurate prophetic dreams. His vision never died, He kept it burning through all that he went through.
Through it all Joseph kept his integrity and kept his faith in God. He faithfully served ungodly captors and pagan leaders with the grace God had given him. He aimed to be a blessing despite his personal difficulties. He never grew bitter. Like his counterpart Daniel who also served pagan kings, nothing negative is recorded in the Bible about either man. Both were marketplace prophets walking out divine purpose. By God's gifts, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dreams and averted a disaster for Egypt and saved his own family. The dreams he interpreted for others caused his own dreams to be fulfilled!
Today the Lord is distributing great grace to many members of the Body of Christ, not to preachers in the pulpit. In fact, he is investing the greater riches of his grace in chosen anonymous vessels! Sadly, many leaders promote a kind of church life that keeps grace, truth, and God's power locked away behind closed religious doors.
We need to take God's grace outside the safety of the sanctuary. Grace isn't meant to be celebrated in a sanitary environment, it is meant to explode on sinners! Like an electrical current, power has to run to ground. God uses ordinary people, not religious professionals, to do this work. He equips them to be channels for his miracles and mercy. If the vessel is truly chosen, it has to go through a purifying fire, just as you might going through those fierce fires now.
Grace is always a gift of love. (Rom 12:3) It was sealed with the sacrifice on the cross, is received by faith, and is imparted by the Holy Spirit. Grace is free. For it to increase among us, it has to be broken, shared, and distributed to others who need it. You can't be stingy and have grace. Grace hoarded diminishes. Grace given out, increases.
Grace is evidenced by graciousness, not arrogance or legalism. Grace teaches us to live righteously, but it produces mercy in us toward others. (Titus 2:11) Kindness and generosity accompany real grace. It gives with no strings attached, no preconditions, no debt, just love in action. When people with power behave humbly, true grace is shown.
Joseph was mistreated but he didn't repay evil with evil as someone bearing a grudge. He forgave his brothers and gave forth of his treasure to save his family. Could this be the secret to his success? Maybe your setbacks are a setup! Maybe God is watching to see what you will do. Will you curse or bless? Will you respond with a Christ-like attitude?
I know some of you have suffered rejection. You might have been dismissed, displaced, despised, passed over, or treated unfairly but look many who were once on the run having kept their faith and self-respect are now in the seat of power. In America, God's blessings are resting richly upon Blacks who've moved away from resentment toward reconciliation. Anyone who suffers injustice but forgives is a candidate for God's favor.
Your path to promotion might come through terrible ordeals. You may find yourself locked in the prison of resentment. You may feel like you are wearing a crown of painful thorns. How do you transform your crown of hurt into a crown of honor?
Follow the path of Jesus and be obedient to God no matter what the cost. (Phil 2) Follow Christ's example and forgive your accusers. (Luke 23:34) Pray until you are able to be at peace with your brothers. Go to the throne of grace where a Man sits who has suffered more than you ever could. He can help you! (Heb 4:16)
Jesus experienced the pain of rejection. "He came to his own and those who were his own did not receive him." John 1:12.In the end, God honored him and exalted him making the one who was rejected the Chief Cornerstone! (Matt 20:17)
Many modern Josephs have been stationed by the Lord in odd arenas of life. Many are growing a business; others are training young leaders at home; some are employed in government, or media, or education. Why are they there? Because the Lord chose them, placed them, and endowed them with divine gifts. Their appointed hour is near. The time when their talents will be needed is at hand. The reason for their promotion is about to be revealed. (1 Pet 1:13-19) God doesn't waste resources or people!
Don't discard your crown of thorns just because it wounds your head. Wear it patiently. Instead, bow your head down before the real Head the King of Glory and let Him replace those bloody thorns with a crown He fashions of jewels and gold for you in the life to come.
God bless you and keep you through all the hard times you go may encounter.
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Absolutely one of the best testaments of faith I have ever read! This is a piece I will be reading several times. Really hit the spot with me today, for forms of persecution were sent my way today..
God bless and enrich you for such beautiful words!
Toni Star, freelance writer/editor and graduate student
"Never give up, for there is always an answer for everyone who seeks, knocks or asks."
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