A Rightful Reaction

by Carolyn Hope

I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. (John 16:2)

Just before this passage, Jesus told the disciples how the world would hate and persecute them. He forewarned them so that when the hard times came, they would not falter in their faith. His words proved true. The disciples and the early church suffered much persecution for their faith, but they clung to it. They did not give up. They were so utterly sold out to Jesus that they submitted to even the most horrific tortures and deaths. Peter was crucified upside down; John was boiled in oil; Paul was stoned. Early Christians were thrown into lions’ dens and gladiator arenas. Later Christians were burnt at stake as martyrs.

I believe that the reason these strong men, women, and children could endure such trials was not only their determination but, more importantly, their surrender. They could have reacted in anger, defiance, or rebellion. Certainly, they had ample reason to feel justified in revolting against their persecutors; but that’s not what they chose. When tribulation came, the sons and daughters of the King reacted in surrender.

Regardless of your situation, surrender is the right position. That’s not to say that you let people and life’s troubles walk all over you; you are not a doormat. However, your response to everything that comes your way should be radical surrender to Jesus. What does He think? What does He say? What is He wanting to do in and through you? Search for the answers to these questions; you’ll find them in His Word and in His heart. Determine to do what He says is right. Submit yourself to Him, and let your life be one of full and total surrender.

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The Ruler

by Carolyn Hope

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.” Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:39-41)

Finally, in a moment of unquestionable victory, God elevated Joseph from the prison cell to second-in-command. Such a jump to power could have had shaky ramifications. In reality, though, it wasn’t so different a situation. The luxuries and the extent of Joseph’s new position were greater, but how he functioned and who he was didn’t change.

Joseph was a slave in Potiphar’s house, and there he was elevated to second-in-command. He was then a prisoner, who was eventually placed just under the warden in authority. Now we see him before the head of all of Egypt, and once again he is lifted to the second highest place of influence and power.

This was Joseph’s life. Joseph was a ruler. It’s who God made him to be; and as such, everywhere he went, he ruled. Because Joseph was faithful in the little and in the hard times, God knew he could be trusted to be faithful in much and in even harder times. Joseph had to be faithful over a household before he could be faithful over a country. He needed to learn to steward well in the dirty prison that was barren of hope before he could serve an empire facing a ruthless famine. Everything in Joseph’s life prepared him for this time.

God has a calling on your life; it’s real, it’s powerful, and it’s important. In your journey to reach the fullness of your potential, you will go through seasons of testing and trial. These times aren’t usually exciting or pleasant, but they are the training ground to prepare you for an even greater purpose. Will you push through and be patient? Will you determine to learn from where you are now? Will you be faithful in the small and seemingly insignificant? Don’t be discouraged. God has great dreams for you. If you’ll submit to your current season and become cemented in character and identity, you’ll be ready for what comes next.

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