This past Sunday, Pastor continued his series on “The Learning Curve” with Joseph’s experiences in the palace. Joseph entered the palace as a servant, but because of the presence of God on his life, he moved from servant to steward. His key to prospering was the presence of God.
In addition to God’s presence on his life, Joseph also experienced God’s grace. Grace is defined as “the free and unmerited favor of God, the bestowing of blessings”. It’s love and mercy bestowed on us by God, even though we’ve done nothing to deserve or earn it. It is totally unexpected and undeserved.
When you stop to think about it, you can see that God’s presence and His grace are intertwined. Where His presence is, His grace resides. Joseph’s life was filled with favor because of his walk with God, and those around him were quick to see that there was definitely something different about him.
Can the same be said about us? Because God gives us grace, He expects us to show it to the world we live in. And Joseph showed his brothers nothing but grace and mercy when they deserved much less.
The great thing about God’s grace and mercy? They meet us new every morning.
Lamentations 3: 22-23 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Think about it. No matter how much we’ve messed up the day before, God gives us a clean slate each and every day. While the enemy would like to write our failings indelible ink, God provides us with heavenly “white out” to erase those failings. . We’re human…we fail Him daily…He knows that…
One of the first things I do in the morning, as I am getting into my car and pulling out of the driveway is to pray before I start my work day. So, if you ever drive past my house, and I look like I am taking to myself, God and I are just starting the day together. I’m thanking Him for His mercy and His grace, and I am usually telling Him that I will try to do better today than I did the day before. I am also praying for His grace and blessing on the day ahead.
Another thing I do daily is to thank Him, not just for His favor on my life, but on the lives of my children. I pray unusual favor over them with their bosses. God answered that prayer for me one morning in no uncertain terms. Driving to work, I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me not to be surprised that my daughter (who had just started a new job not long before) would be getting a raise that day. A phone call came a little later in the day from an excited daughter who told me that her boss was so pleased with the work that she’d been doing that she was receiving a small raise. Yep, unusual favor!
Same for when my son was up for a promotion at work. The first thing he did was text me to please pray for him. Although I was on the road and headed out of town for a work meeting, I bombarded heaven with prayers for him. The answer came via a phone call about 4 p.m. that day. Unusual favor strikes again!
It’s a true statement that we need to pray for God’s favor over all aspects of our daily life. I thank Him daily for His provision. Time and time again, God has provided for me, exceedingly, abundantly, more than I could ask or think. An example comes to mind of last summer’s floods. When my basement flooded twice during the heavy rains, I realized that, short of installing a diving board at the top of the steps and saying I had an indoor pool, I needed to have sump pumps ready to go, should those monsoon rains ever happen again. I called and was able to purchase pumps, got them piped and installed. It was some time before I received the bill for them. Then came the dilemma of what was going to have to wait to be paid so that the bill could be taken care of. It was only a day or two later that I received a letter from my bank, informing me that they had taken out too much money in property taxes and were only allowed to keep a certain amount in escrow. Underneath that letter was a check for this overage that not only paid for the pumps, but left me with extra money….extra money!. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I fell to my knees right there on the kitchen floor and cried like a baby. Three words came to mind: favor, provision, and most of all, thanks.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Notice that the Bible does not say to give thanks “for everything”, although we certainly should thank God for things. The word “in” denotes being enclosed, surrounded, in the middle of. Isn’t that like our circumstances of life?
And are those circumstances always good? Not always. And, in the midst of those circumstances, it’s very easy to keep our eyes on the circumstances and not look a little higher to the Creator who rises above those circumstances. Were Joseph’s circumstances always good? Not always. The pit and the prison were not the best places to be, but Joseph had the presence, the grace, and the favor of God on his life and he prospered because of them.