Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It Started with a Prayer

Last spring I was studying Genesis in my Bible Study, and I fell in love with Joseph's heart. Joseph not only loved God, but he trusted Him fully, he walked with God daily, and saw his life through God's eyes. Simply beautiful. So, I prayed. I asked God to give me a heart like Joseph.

Now remember, Joseph was sold into slavery by his BROTHERS, and after being a slave he was then sent to prison for a crime he did not commit. Not the easiest life ever, and yet Joseph says "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good..."{Gen. 50:20--talking to his brothers}. Joseph's circumstances did not effect his joy and happiness. Joseph trusted God, and therefore could see the spectacular sin that his brothers had committed served as apart of God's plan to bring glory to God's name. {Thank you John Piper for revealing that}

I can't share all of the details about what has been going on in our lives at this time, but I've shared small parts of it with you already: from my struggles after Caleb's birth to the stresses of work. Why is it that I'm surprised that life isn't easy? I prayed for a heart like Joseph, and yet I'm surprised with my current circumstances.

I was spending some time with God in Numbers, when I realized that I'm just like the Israelites. While the Israelites were in the desert they complained about not having meat to eat {even though God brought them bread every day--every day they witnessed a miracle}. The Israelites weren't happy with just bread. God punished them for rejecting Him, "because you have rejected the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we come out of Egypt?" {Num. 11:20}

I've been doing some a lot of complaining these days, and I feel like God is convicting me of that, and for rejecting Him {and His plan}. When I was journaling what God was revealing to me through my study in Numbers {I use Matt Chandler's How to Study the Bible method} I accidentally turned to a page from my notes on James 4:

I turned to James 4, and this is what God had to say to me:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions[a] are at war within you?[b] You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people!

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Busted again by God. What I love about this passage is that it gives you the treatment plan for the problem. God doesn't leave me hanging with the conviction of being like an Israelite, He also tells me how to fix that: Submit myself to God, resist the Devil, draw near to God, cleanse myself, mourn, be gloomy, and humble myself to the Lord {James 4:7-10}.

I'm also studying Ezra with my hubby, and during my time with God there He hits me again with this message: "Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods." {Ezra 8:21}

I get it. I need to confess, repent, humble myself, and submit to God. Life hasn't been easy-peasy for me lately, but I don't want my joy and happiness to come from my circumstances {and now I've realized that has been my demand}, I want my joy to be from God alone. 

Thankful for God answering my prayer and refining my heart to be more like Joseph {even if it's not easy}!

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.--C.S. Lewis

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