hotrodhell

What makes Christianity so unique

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Trinity, Uncategorized on May 25, 2009 at 10:19 pm

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What makes Christianity so unique is that our good works are supposed to be in response to God’s grace, not to earn it. We become givers when God gives us His Holy Spirit. God shows us that you cannot love without giving. Yet through Joseph’s story we learn that this giving nature is not only a response to the giving of others. We are to give even when we are mistreated or neglected. Joseph’s God-inspired blessings toward his brothers are what opened the door to reconciliation. We tend to operate according to hierarchies in our churches. It seems logical that the older should teach the younger, that the less experienced should learn from the wise. There is a danger, however, in the more spiritually mature isolating themselves from the simple faith of the young in Christ. Believers who intentionally form discipling relationships with new Christians never lose sight of how the Holy Spirit does His first works of beginning faith in His children.

We see in Joseph his unwavering faith in God’s dominance and plan for his life. When we consider his being attacked by his brothers, being sold into slavery, working to overcome his lowly position, and God blessing him only to falsely accused thrown into jail. Then again God blesses him after a time of testing, he interprets Pharaoh’s dream and becomes second in command only to Pharaoh in Egypt. But the real beauty in the story is his reunion with his family, his forgiveness, and blessing he provided for them. And probably one of the more often quoted sayings in the Bible.

(Gen 50:18)  Then his brothers also came to him, bowed down before him, and said, “We are your slaves!”

(Gen 50:19)  But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?

(Gen 50:20)  You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result–the survival of many people.

(Gen 50:21)  Therefore don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

1. How do we react to people who have done us wrong?

Some basic lies from a worldly point of view: do unto them before they do unto you,

don’t mad get even, forgive but never forget, …anymore?

We want grace when we mess up but retribution when others mess with us. What does the Bible teach us about not only our actions but our reactions?

(Mat 5:48)  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

(Mat 6:14)  “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well.

(BBE)  For if you let men have forgiveness for their sins, you will have forgiveness from your Father in heaven.

(CEV)  If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you.

(DRB)  For if you will forgive men their offences, your heavenly Father will forgive you also your offences.

(ESV)  For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,

When God provides opportunities for us to forgive others he is helping conform us to his image. Being angry is not sin acting on that anger is. The language of the Lord’s Prayer concerning forgiveness, would be stated “Father forgive us in and how we forgive others”

One of the major stumbling blocks to reconciliation, forgiveness and peace is pride.

No one is going to treat me that!

How dare them!

Don’t you know who I am?

It’s their fault and when they realize it and apologize this will be settled.

Jesus’ response:

Luke 23:34  [Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”] And they divided His clothes and cast lots.

How many times are we to forgive? The scriptures give us guidance.

(Mat 18:21)  Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”

(Mat 18:22)  “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.

Part of the life of Christian, is living out our beliefs in our everyday lives. In our attitudes, how we do our jobs, how we conduct our business, how we present ourselves to others and how we behave in every situation. Not because we are better than anyone else but because we have the opportunity to show what forgiveness looks like in the flesh.

“Denial is not a river in Egypt!” an old cliché but never the less a poignant one that hits home. Denial has a way of finally hitting flood stage until we nearly drown in the very past we tried to ignore.

IN -(Gen 41:51 HCSB)  Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, meaning, “God has made me forget all my hardship in my father’s house.”

We see Joseph possibly coping with his past by naming his firstborn son Manassaeh-(“causing to forget”.) Joseph’s firstborn by Asenath, whose birth “made him forget all his toil and all (the sorrow he endured through) his father’s house”  But did he really or did Joseph react in the way a loving giving father grows into and he named his second son Ephraim meaning double fruit!

Ephraim -(“doubly fruitful”.) Joseph’s second son by Asenath, named so, “for,” said Joseph, “God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Born during the seven plenteous years; the “doubly fruitful” may refer to both the fruitfulness vouchsafed to Joseph and the plenty of the season. As regards Ephraim himself, he was doubly blessed:

From this we see Israel bless Joseph with a double blessing and adopting them as his on sons in Chapter 49 and issues 2 tribal separations to Joseph for a double portion.

Now that all is well and Joseph is one of the most powerful in Egypt second only to Pharaoh doing his job preparing for the predicted famine: here comes the very person who sold him into slavery and originally intended to kill him! How does he react 1st he keeps his identity secret, second he puts into motion a scheme to test his brothers, 3rd he  has to account for his past and depend on God for his current behavior.

How would you react in a similar situation? You have been painfully and terribly treated, possibly injured by someone and now they are powerless and you have all the power.

Forgiveness is not forgetness that is stuffing your emotions inside and not dealing with them. Real forgiveness is recognizing the harm and justifiably wanting restitution for wrongs done against you and giving God ownership of the justice. It has been suggested to write down your grievances and give them to God! i.e. like a God box or something if that nature and put a physical action with a spiritual decision.

Don’t we all occasionally hope that time has changed the rules? That God would let this one slide so we could seek our own retribution.

Haven’t we hoped for someone’s forgiveness and reconciliation only to be ignored?

Do we feel as if we have really reaped to the degree we have sown?

Last the closing of the Patriarchal writings and the opening of the Exodus are several centuries. What one characteristic do we see even 400 years later? The children of Israel were still a peculiar people and had become vilified by the Egyptians. Somehow we think a friendly society that accepts Godly people is good for us, but truly it invites integration and usually compromise. Had Egypt remained friendly to the Israelites, the tribes could have been absorbed into Egypt’s pagan culture.

Has that happened I our country today, we have had a society that integrated with the church to the point the church gave up its responsibility?

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  1. Thoughtful and insightful post. Thanks for sharing.
    Blessings,
    Mary

    • Thanks I put this up to use for our connect group at church and to let those with doubts share their thoughts

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