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15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father charged before he died, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, “Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.” ’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. 21 So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones. So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Genesis 50:15-21 NASB

Pain is neither a comfortable nor an enjoyable feeling. Even more burdensome than the pain itself are all the various avenues through which we can experience pain, whether those avenues consist of unfavorable circumstances, such as sickness, or ones that lead to self-betterment, such as exercise. Some of the most excruciating pain we can experience comes in the form of betrayal, especially from family members, friends, any person whom we have genuinely loved and considered an integral individual in our lives. Whether the betrayal was premeditated and calculated or unintentional and inadvertent, the pain we experience in either context hurts equally as much as the other. No over-the-counter prescription or three-step formula can eliminate the pain of betrayal or provide a one-time, universal solution to the pain caused. An extremely powerful and underrated tool, however, in the journey to healing from betrayal is a renewed perspective. Often times, we view personal experiences involving betrayal through the lens of “I’m hurt”, and understandably so. What requires tremendous resolve and commitment on our part as believers is the shifting of our view from the lens of “I’m hurt” to “God, use my hurt to accomplish Your will".

Genesis 50 represents not only the culmination of the book of Genesis, but also the culmination of the individual accounts of Jacob, also known as Israel, and his favorite son, Joseph. At the beginning of this chapter, it is revealed that Jacob, the patriarch of this prominent family, has died, and now his ten oldest sons, the ones who originally sold Joseph into slavery due to their intense jealousy of him, are worried that Joseph will seek revenge against them (“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘What if Joseph bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him!’”). As a result, they send a message to Joseph on behalf of their now-deceased father pleading with him to forgive them for their malicious acts (“So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, ‘Your father charged before he died, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph, ‘Please forgive, I beg you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.’”).

As his brothers spoke, Joseph wept, undoubtedly with emotion over the death of his father, but also in the recollection of the events that landed him in Egypt, specifically his brothers stripping him of his multi-colored coat, throwing him into a pit, and selling him into slavery. Joseph’s brothers bowed down before him and pledged their service to him in the hope that their submission would appease any underlying desire for vengeance. In response to his brothers’ submission, Joseph demonstrates a complete, renewed perspective regarding the events that led to his arrival in Egypt and the significant role his brothers played in those events. First, Joseph instructs his brothers saying, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place?”. He observed that they were fearful of him possibly seeking revenge against them. Joseph reminds his brothers that although he is the governor of Egypt, he is not God; he is not in the position to punish or condemn them for their actions against him. Although he had every reason to resent his brothers and seek vengeance, Joseph recognized that God alone possessed the right and authority to discipline his brothers as He saw fit!

Moreover, Joseph explains to his brothers that God used their plans of evil intent to ultimately produce a greater result of goodwill (“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive”). Joseph's brothers wanted him to suffer; they wanted him to experience the pain they suppressed as a result of being overlooked by their father. Selling their second-youngest brother into slavery was a malevolent act that emerged from a deep-seated place of intense jealousy. While turning against Joseph was a premeditated and calculated move on the part of his brothers, so was God's move in ordaining Joseph’s seemingly unfortunate journey into slavery to accomplish His plan of preserving a nation! In His sovereignty, God already knew the plans of Joseph’s brothers, and yet He did not stop them because even their plans of evil ultimately served to fulfill His purposes!

From serving as a slave in Potiphar’s house to being falsely imprisoned to interpreting the dreams of two significant prisoners, God ultimately orchestrated all these events according to His perfect timing so that Joseph, the one whom He had gifted to interpret dreams through His inspiration, would be recruited to interpret a dream that was integral to the survival of the land of Egypt and beyond. Had Joseph’s brothers never sold him into slavery, the Egyptians may have never survived the seven years of famine. In the midst of the pain he suffered at the hands of his own family, Joseph discerned not only God’s greater plan but also his specific role in fulfilling that plan. Because he was able to discern the sovereign way in which God used his journey to ultimately preserve a people, Joseph liberated his own self from any bitterness and anger he may have had towards his brothers. In this newfound freedom, Joseph promised to serve and provide for his brothers and their families in the aftermath of their father's death ("So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones." So, he comforted them and spoke kindly to them'").

The ability to view these types of situations from the proper perspective will not only facilitate healing but also free us up to show love and compassion to those who have hurt us! We can take this step when we acknowledge that we are not in God’s place, that we do not have the authority to determine the exact way in which a person will reap from their actions. We can also take this step more readily when we acknowledge the abundance of grace and mercy God has freely poured out on our lives in spite of all the things we have done to grieve His heart and Spirit! Surely, we deserved to be condemned and eternally punished, and even though God had the absolute right to do so, He chose not to out of the abundance of His mercy towards us! Romans 8:28 fervently reminds us that God causes all things, even the not-so-good things such as the pain of betrayal, to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose! We must continue to remember two of the most significant qualities that distinguish the God of our faith from all other gods: His sovereignty and His ability to produce beauty from pain.

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It's quite funny sometimes how we can treat spending time with God as a chore, and yet we are the ones who need it, not Him! We are nothing and would not even be in existence without God! In contrast, God is everything and remains completely self-sufficient without us! There is so much to be cherished and obtained from spending intimate time with the Lord! As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we must regularly take inventory of our individual hearts to determine if there is anything in there that is standing in the way of us seeking God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength (cf. Mark 12:30). He desires our full attention, and those of us who profess to be His children must be willing to remove any distractions that shift our focus off of Him!

What are some of those things that God offers us through intimate fellowship that no other god or deity can?

Purpose. God created every single individual in this world with a special purpose within the unsearchable depths of His mind! Even more so, God has endowed every believer with a unique assignment here on the Earth! It is specific and unique to that individual alone, distinct from all others. God desperately longs for His children to discover their identity and purpose in Him so that they can experience the fulfillment and satisfaction that results from a life that is fully surrendered to Him and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Since God is our Creator and the One who established His plans for us before we were even born, He is the One whom we should seek to discover our purpose!

We do not have to settle for self-help books and other resources that claim to help people discover their intended purpose in life when we can ask God Himself! In Ephesians 2:10, the apostle Paul declares "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." As we seek to know God more intimately and deepen our understanding of who He is, He will begin to gradually uncover His unique purpose for our lives through His Word, other believers, our natural talents and skills, strategic circumstances, and the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit above all!

Peace. In Philippians 4:6-7, the apostle Paul admonishes the saints in Philippi, saying "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." One of the most important aspects of seeking intimate fellowship with the Lord is having an active prayer life! Prayer is our primary form of communication with God, and Jesus, His Son, serves as the mediator between us and God (cf. I Timothy 2:5). Jesus is the only One who is qualified to be our mediator because He is the only one who reconciled us back to the Father through His atoning death on the cross, which paid the penalty of our sins! Because of Jesus' active role as mediator, we as believers have the privilege to go before God and lay all our cares, concerns, needs, and other requests before Him. In turn, the apostle Paul assures us that the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!

God's peace is inexplicable; it has the power to shield our hearts and minds from the paralyzing power of fear in the midst of storms. The traumatic events of this year alone have crippled so many people across the world with fear and anxiety! While we are not exempt from tribulation or the very real emotions that result from it, these moments should not disable us! In Isaiah 26:3, God promises to keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Him because of our trust in Him! When we find ourselves paralyzed with fear and anxiety, we must ask ourselves whether we have been intimately communing with God in prayer and devotion. Are we going to continue to wait to pray until after the next tragic event occurs, or are we going to develop a consistent, intimate prayer life that is irrespective of our circumstances? We cannot allow fear and anxiety to usurp the throne that rightfully belongs the Lord!

Power. In Philippians 2:12-13, the apostle Paul writes to the saints in Philippi saying, "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and work for His good pleasure." When we trusted and accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we received the free gift of salvation, a gift that can never be lost or taken away from us! The Holy Spirit then entered into our hearts and sealed us for eternity through His permanent indwelling (cf. Ephesians 1:13-14). Therefore, it is indeed God by His Holy Spirit who is at work in us, who empowers us to desire and work for His good pleasure. Dr. Charles Stanley expounds upon this principle further saying, "It is God's Spirit working and through you that empowers you to live out your salvation. The degree to which [we] yield to Him impacts the work He'll achieve through [us] and the changes He will effect in [our] life."

When we fully yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, He influences us to not only desire, but also conform to God's will for our lives, which is ultimately our sanctification, being conformed to the image of His Son (cf. Romans 8:29). The Holy Spirit empowers us to resist our sinful desires, die to our flesh daily, and walk in ongoing repentance before God! Ultimately, we as believers must decide whether we are going to fully yield to the Holy Spirit or resist Him. It is our responsibility to show evidence of the transforming work He has already begun in us, which cannot be done without any genuine effort and discipline on our end! God will, however, aid us in doing so through the power of the Holy Spirit! This sentiment is the very truth that compels us as believers to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, for we know that we do not have settle in accomplishing this ongoing task in our own strength, but in the strength and power of God's might (cf. Ephesians 6:10).

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17 You have moved my soul far from peace; I have forgotten prosperity. 18 And I said, “My strength and my hope have perished from the LORD.19 Remember my affliction and roaming, the wormwood and the gall. 20 My soul still remembers and sinks within me. 21 This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. 22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 24The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”

Lamentations 3:17-24 NKJV

The brain is arguably the most complex organ in the central nervous system! Its ability to accumulate and store large volumes of information is an incredible testament to the creativity and ingenious of its Creator! Often times, it can feel as if all the thoughts floating in our minds are competing against each other in order to occupy the front seat! Despite how overwhelming this feeling may seem, we do have the ability to choose which thought(s) occupy that front seat! We can choose to dwell on that which is saddening and depressing just as equally as we can choose to dwell on that which encourages and lifts our spirits! While this does not mean that certain memories will not creep up and try to ascend to the forefront at times, we can exercise control over which thoughts will remain at the forefront of our minds!

Although the author of Lamentations does not identify himself throughout the five chapters of the book, the prophet Jeremiah is overwhelmingly regarded as the author, and with good reason! Jeremiah is prominently remembered as the young man whom God called to be a prophet to the nations at a young age (cf. Jeremiah 1:4-6). He is also widely regarded as the “weeping prophet”. One of Jeremiah’s primary assignments was to preach repentance to the nation of Judah; he called them to turn away from their wicked and idolatrous ways and return to the Lord their God! However, the citizens of Judah did not receive Jeremiah’s messages very well, and consequently, he endured much opposition and persecution throughout his ministry, which further resulted in much lament, or sorrow from Jeremiah!

Due to Judah’s failure to repent as a nation, God sovereignly ordained the nation of Babylon to destroy Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, and its surrounding cities as the execution of His divine judgment against them, just as Jeremiah previously warned them (cf. Jeremiah 18:11). The book of Lamentations, which immediately follows the book of Jeremiah, begins in the immediate aftermath of Judah’s fall to the Babylonians. Jeremiah, the regarded author, begins to describe the effects of Babylon’s devastating conquest of Judah in very eloquent detail. In the first two chapters, Jeremiah expresses the grief and sorrow of the nation of Judah as a whole. In Chapter 3, he laments from his own perspective and experience!

Jeremiah acknowledges that the affliction Judah is suffering from is the result of God’s disciplinal wrath (cf. Lamentations 3:1). From Jeremiah’s viewpoint, it appears as if God has deserted, derailed, and even positioned Himself to attack him: “Even when I cry and shout, He shuts out my prayer” (v. 8), "He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked" (v. 9), “He has been to me a bear lying in wait, like a lion in ambush” (v. 10), respectively. This myriad of emotions leads us to the first two verses of today’s abbreviated passage in which Jeremiah says, “You have moved my soul far from peace; I have forgotten prosperity. And I said, 'My strength and my hope have perished from the LORD.' " Amidst the suffering that he is currently enduring, Jeremiah feels as if God has abandoned him, even though He truly has not! Admittedly, there is indeed something about experiencing suffering that can make you feel, and even falsely believe that God has abandoned you.

Following twenty verses filled with deep, heart-wrenching lament, a shift in Jeremiah’s mind and perspective occurs in the twenty-first verse, which he begins by saying, “This I recall to my mind, therefore, I have hope”. What does Jeremiah recall to his mind, or bring back to the forefront of his mind? Essential truths regarding the Lord’s character and nature:

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed

The Lord’s (His) compassions fail not

His mercies (They) are new every morning

Great is the Lord’s (Your) faithfulness"

It is because of these essential truths that Jeremiah has hope in the midst of his despair! This word recall is in the active voice, not passive! Jeremiah actively brought these truths regarding the Lord’s nature and character to the forefront of his mind! Surely, this weeping prophet knew from firsthand experience that it was because of the Lord’s mercies that he was not consumed, neither by the rebellious people of Judah who rejected his message of repentance nor by the Lord’s divine judgment of Judah which devastated their nation. Surely, Jeremiah knew that the Lord’s compassions towards him did not fail because the Lord continued to comfort and encourage him throughout his ministry despite his anguish and frustration over his assignment.

Surely, he could testify that the Lord’s mercies were new every morning as he experienced the Lord’s lovingkindnesses in new ways day after day! Most of all, Jeremiah knew without a doubt that the Lord’s faithfulness was great and beyond measure, as the Amplified Version reads! The Lord strengthened, preserved, and sustained Jeremiah for more than forty years of prophetic ministry, even more so his entire life! The Lord also remained faithful to Judah, whom He did not forsake even though they consistently forsook Him! Therefore, Jeremiah declares from his soul that “The Lord is my portiontherefore I hope in Him!”

One of our greatest weapons as believers and followers of Jesus Christ is our history with God! As we continue to move through various seasons of life, such as the one we are currently living in as a nation and world, our ability and determination to recall to our minds the truth of who God is, has always been, and always will be will not only encourage, but also motivate us to endure! Our history with God involves so many demonstrations of triumph: salvation, deliverance, healing, restoration, redemption, the opening of new doors and opportunities, answered and even non-answered prayers; all these things cement our hope in the changeless God!

While our grief and sorrows can feel too heavy to bear at times, we must recall to mind Isaiah 53:4, which states that He, referring to Jesus who is described as the Messianic Servant, has already borne our griefs and carried our sorrows and pains through His atoning sacrifice on the cross. Despite our feelings of brokenness and loneliness, we must recall to mind Psalm 34:18, which states that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and that He saves those who are crushed in spirit! When our struggle with sin seems to weaken us, we must recall to mind II Corinthians 12:9, which states that the Lord’s power is made perfect, or complete, in our weakness! In order to recall to our minds the truth of who God is, we must study and hide His Word in our hearts! We must actively recall His Word to the forefront of our minds, not to neglect the severity or reality of our current situations, but to remind ourselves that the God of our salvation rules and reigns above ALL! Therefore, we have hope, and in the words of the apostle Paul, this hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given and who dwells within us! (cf. Romans 5:5)

Transformation Chistian Fellowship Logo church located in Clarksville/Columbia, MD DC area.





NUMBER 443-741-1185




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