Diligent Resolve

by Carolyn Hope

Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. (Genesis 39:6-12)

Most of us are familiar with the life of Joseph. He was a dreamer, gifted and called to more than he knew. He was a leader, a good manager, and greatly blessed by God’s hand on his life. He was also handsome. The wife of Joseph’s master took notice of him and soon pressured him to do things with her that he should not do.

Joseph not only refused her advances, but he also avoided her completely. He was resolved to keep his purity, and he guarded his heart well. When Potiphar’s wife confronted him with sexual temptation, he ran away. He was diligent in staying pure and honoring God with not only his life but with his body as well. On the surface, it seems that his resolve backfired. He was unjustly sent to prison, punished for a crime he did not commit. This downhill turn, however, was actually part of the path God used to elevate him to the highest position he could possibly attain. Man may not have honored Joseph for his resolve to purity, but God did.

Resolve requires diligence. Every day you must be faithful to guard your heart. Be alert; pay attention. Sometimes being resolved means getting out of a place you shouldn’t be in. Others may not appreciate the stands you take or the commitments you keep. Know that your Father will honor your choice to remain true to who you are and who He made you to be. People may not see the sacrifices you make to maintain your resolve, but He sees, and He is pleased when you choose diligent resolve.

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Supporting Actor: Joseph

by Carolyn Hope

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. … When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-19, 24-25)

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. (Matthew 2:13-14)

Joseph came up with the best plan he could think of, to divorce Mary quietly. He didn’t want to make a scene. He may have feared the public scandal and shame that would fall on them, and on the child Mary was carrying. He may have feared that by marrying her, he was owning to being intimate with her before they were married; certainly, that’s what many would assume. God had different plans. As kind and careful as Joseph’s plan was, God wanted more. He wanted Joseph to be Mary’s wife, and He wanted him to be Jesus’ father on earth. The Lord planned for him to be part of this holy family. This plan wasn’t clean, or quiet, or pretty. It was risky and scandalous. In following God, Joseph and Mary found themselves in a messy situation. They were willing to be accused of wrongs they did not commit for the sake of the Lord’s plan.

Joseph was obedient. Simply yet scarily obedient. He obeyed faithfully, trusting in whatever the angel told him and heeding the warnings in his dreams. He didn’t question or object, but simply submitted in full and quick obedience. He followed instructions word for word and step by step. Though there was much danger involved, Joseph and Mary had no need to fear being killed or cast out. God was with them, and He blessed their obedience.

Going after your King and trusting His plans may put you in scary situations, but you are never unsafe when you are in your Father’s will. It may feel that way. It may appear so. However, the Lord will always protect you on the path He leads you through. Are you willing to risk it all in order to obey Jesus? Will you trust Him unshakably? Will you let Him direct your life and follow Him no matter what it looks like?

You can be a Joseph. You can be a Mary. All you have to do is believe God’s promises and trust His leading. When you surrender all for the sake of His Kingdom, you’ll see Him do mighty works through your life. You have the capability to make an incredible impact on the world. Are you willing to embrace the life Jesus has for you?

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Faithful to Empower

by Carolyn Hope

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Throughout the Old Testament, we see many instances where God empowered specific people. Before Israel had a king, God appointed Samson as a judge, and many times He gave him the strength to defeat hundreds of enemies at once. Later in Israel’s history, the Holy Spirit came upon Elijah, and he was able to run and overtake the chariot of the king. There are many others who received the power of God for a particular purpose at some point. These experiences, however, didn’t last. Holy Spirit came and went, but didn’t stay.

Then came Pentecost, where the believers who had been praying together were filled with Holy Spirit, and the words of Jesus in Acts 1 and the prophecy of Joel 2 were fulfilled. Now we live in a new era, under a new covenant; we can be empowered by Holy Spirit not just for short bursts of time, but for all of our lives. We can live empowered.

God doesn’t want you to be weak or helpless. He created you to be a powerful, mighty warrior. And He is faithful to give you the power you need. If you don’t feel like your life is a life of power, ask the Lord to empower you. He will do it because He loves you and believes in you.

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Faithful to Restore

by Carolyn Hope

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. (Colossians 1:21-23)

When Jesus first created man and woman, He made them with the ability to have an intimate relationship with Him. Then in their temptation, they chose to sin, and that personal relationship was hindered by their iniquity. From then on, mankind struggled to maintain a relationship with God.

God wasn’t satisfied with our sinful state, and so He sent Jesus to make things right for us. Now, we can be brought back into intimacy with our Father and Maker. We have been restored. Not only are our sins forgiven, but we have been made new. Once we were dirty and at fault; now we are holy in His sight and without blemish!

Your restoration didn’t end with your salvation. God is still restoring – He’s restoring your health, your relationships, your business, your finances, your hopes and dreams, and more. What has been broken or destroyed, Jesus can and will make new. Call on Him today to make every wrong thing right again. He is faithful to restore every part of your life.

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Faithful to Provide

by Carolyn Hope

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. (1 Kings 17:2-6)

Because of the wickedness of Israel, God sent a three-year drought to the land through His prophet Elijah. In a time of drought and desperation, the Lord took care of Elijah, leading Him to a place of provision. He told Elijah where he could find water, and He sent ravens to feed him morning and evening. Elijah didn’t even have to look for his food! God brought it right to him.

God will always be faithful to provide for your every need. All you have to do is believe Him and obey His word. You can trust Him to take good care of you. Provision isn’t just what God does; it’s part of who He is. As the ultimate Provider, your Father will not leave you empty or lacking. Whether through miracles, through nature, or through the labor of your hands, He WILL come through for you, every time. Just listen to what the Spirit is saying to you. The Lord is your shepherd, and you will want for nothing. Let your Dad do his job and provide for you. You don’t have to strive to make ends meet. You do your part, and He’ll do His, without exception.

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Faithful to Set Free

by Carolyn Hope

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:7-8)

Yesterday, we touched on God’s faithful forgiveness based on Jesus’ blood. The blood of Christ bought more than our forgiveness; it also bought us our freedom.

God is a God of freedom, and His heart is to see every person set free. Wherever Holy Spirit is, there is freedom (2 Cor. 3:17). Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” God did not create you to be a slave, but He calls you a son or a daughter. As a child of the King, you are free indeed (John 8:36).

There is nothing so sinful or wretched that God cannot or will not free you from. There is no depravity too deep for His reach. The freedom Jesus brings is stronger than every chain or lie. You can walk in freedom. What is it that has been holding you back from total freedom? Bring it to Jesus, and let His blood speak the better word. The moment you gave your life to Christ is the moment that you were born into freedom. Satan seeks to keep you bound in lies, claiming that you’ll never be free. Dear one, your freedom has already been purchased. The receipt is in your hands. Go and claim your freedom. You don’t have to live as a slave anymore; you are a free child of God.

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Faithful to Forgive

by Carolyn Hope

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22) 

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12)

We serve a God who forgives and is simultaneously just. The depravity of humankind’s sin needed forgiveness, but justice demanded that a price must be paid for the wrongs of the world. Under the old covenant, God provided a way for the Israelites to be forgiven through the sacrifice of innocent animals. While this forgiveness was real and partially effective, it was also temporary. Sacrifices had to be made often, and much blood was shed. Then God instituted a better covenant through His Son Jesus. The perfect sacrifice shed His holy blood once and for all to pay the full price of sin! And now, every person can be forgiven with a forgiveness that lasts forever.

God has never once turned away a repentant heart. He is faithful to forgive, and as His child, you can rest secure in His unshakeable, complete and fully-paid-for forgiveness. There is no question about whether your sins are forgiven. He forgives every single one of them. Jesus paid a price that went above and beyond your sin, which means that nothing you ever do is too wretched to be forgiven.

You don’t have to (and you can’t) earn your forgiveness. The blood Christ shed for you is more than enough. Your forgiveness has been bought and activated. You are forgiven – it’s a fact, so you can trust Him and be sure that He is faithful to forgive you, no matter the sin involved. Receive your forgiveness today. Let the fullness of God’s faithful love lead you to forgive as freely as He does.

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A Faithful Father

by Carolyn Hope

One of the greatest ways God has shown Himself to me is through His faithfulness. He has never once failed or faltered in His steadfast love. To say that God is faithful means He keeps His word. You can depend on Him to come through for you.

There are many demonstrations of God’s faithful character. I’d like to share some of these with you this week. God is faithful to forgive, set free, and provide. He takes good care of His children, without exception.

Whatever you need right now, God is the answer. Let Him be the One that you seek. He will give you everything that you need. Trust in the Lord; He won’t fail you.

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