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Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28)

The Spirit will help us when we’re weak, and for everyone who loves God, everything works together for good. Now if that’s not encouraging, I don’t know what is… But, now, what about when a loved one dies? Does God work out even that for good? And what about when we actually do give in to temptation, where’s the Spirit that will help us in our weakness then?

I believe Joseph is more qualified to answer the first question:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20)

Even in the death of a loved one, or some other seeming catastrophe, God is able to work it for good. You can’t get more catastrophic than what happened to Joseph: sold by his brothers as a slave, not to mention being put into prison. Yet, what happens to him? He rises to a place of significant power; only second to the Pharaoh himself. Things may seem very bad at times, but in everything, no matter what it is, God is sovereign, and He’ll work whatever it is out for good for those who love Him.

But that still leaves the second question: where is the Spirit, when we fall to temptation? He’s always with us, giving us strength in our times of weakness, and pulling us up when we fall to temptation. That’s where ‘the Spirit’ is.

God will always work everything out for good for those who love Him, yes. And the Holy Spirit will always help us in our times of weakness. But we are still to do everything in our power to cut off access to whatever it is that’s causing us to sin, whatever that may be.

So, the point is this: God is sovereign over every situation, no matter how bad, and the Holy Spirit will always help us, no matter how bad we’ve messed up. – Which, by the way, isn’t an excuse to sin. As Paul put it, “How can we who’ve died to the sinful nature, now live in it?”, roughly speaking, in Romans 6. – So, rather than finding out how exactly God works out every bad situation for our good and His glory, let’s just try to give Him glory from the start.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Transquotation: Genesis 47:23-25

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Verses:

Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. And at the harvests you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.” And they said, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh.” (Genesis 47:23-25)

Transquotation:

Behold, we have been bought by Christ for God, and have been given the seed of the Gospel with which to sow. Let us therefore be glad and willing servants of God!

Explanation of the transquote:

Joseph bought Egypt for Pharaoh, Jesus bought the world for God. Joseph fed all of Egypt. Jesus promises to feed with Spiritual food all those who accept Him into their lives. Joseph gave the people seed to feed themselves with. Jesus gives us Himself, with which we can feed ourselves and others. Because Joseph had saved their lives, the Egyptians became willing servants; giving one fifth of their crop to Pharaoh. Jesus saved our lives, therefore our lives are not our own, but His. We don’t give just one fifth of our crop to God either, seeing as our crop is real people, we give them all to God.

We see a near perfect picture of Jesus in Joseph, here… Alright, granted, Joseph took all the Egyptians money, all their cattle, their land, and they themselves because they had no choice but to give those things to him, and Jesus doesn’t do anything of the sort (in fact, to the contrary, He gave Himself, His possessions, everything up, to save us). Even so, aside from that, we see a near perfect picture of Jesus here in Joseph… Except, for everything Joseph did, Jesus did a hundred times better (and then some).

New Testament confirmation:

5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

Context confirmation:

Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh. And give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.” (Genesis 47:19)

And likewise, when we ask for God to keep us from Spiritually dying, He does so: He gives us the seed of the Gospel so that we may live through His son, Jesus’ death. — This supports the transquote by strengthening the connection, in this passage, between us and the Egyptians.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Transquotation: Genesis 41:1; 8; 56-57

Hello again!

A quick forewarning here, the verses will probably seem extremely disjointed, that’s because I didn’t want to copy and paste the entire chapter into this one blog post. So instead, I copied and pasted the verses that tell the same story… Only, without the context of the other verses. Now that I’ve said that:

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Verses:

After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, (Genesis 41:1)

So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh. (Genesis 41:8)

So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth. (Genesis 41:56-57)

Transquotation:

And when, after living a life full of disobedience to God, we realized we did need to be made right with God, we called upon on all our efforts and will power, and tried to work our way to Heaven. But none of our works could save us, and we were greatly troubled by our sin and our own inability to conquer it. Yet then came Jesus, and though there was a great famine in our souls, he fed us with Himself; His own body, and we were saved.

Explanation of the transquote:

We, like Pharaoh, tried to summon all our resources (magicians) and overcome sin… Or in Pharaoh’s case, find out the meaning of a dream. Yet then came Jesus, or in the case of Pharaoh, Joseph; and He saved us/told him his dream.

New Testament confirmation:

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying,“Take and eat; this is my body.”

 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the[b] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)

Context confirmation:

And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.” (Genesis 41:35-36)

Joseph had the solution for Pharaoh: store up food. Jesus has the solution for us: Himself. They both had a solution for two sinners… Though the solutions were very different, the concept is the same. — This supports the transquote by supporting the connection between Joseph and Jesus.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Transquotation: Genesis 40: 9-13; 15; 20

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Verses:

So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph and said to him, “In my dream there was a vine before me, and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand, and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.” Then Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days. In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office, and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his cupbearer. (Genesis 40:9-13)

On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. (Genesis 40:20)

For I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews, and here also I have done nothing that they should put me into the pit.” (Genesis 40:15)

Transquotation:

On the third day, Jesus arose from the grave, bringing those who were formerly captives out from the pit.

Explanation of the transquote:

Let’s look at this in another way:

On the third day after a prisoner was told he would be “lifted up,” a king has “birthday,” and look at that, the prisoner was also suddenly set free and lifted up…

This isn’t exactly a perfect transquote by any means, there are several differences. Such as, for example, the cup-bearer was lifted up from physical-prison to stand by a physical-king, while we’re lifted up from a Spiritual prison and, after we die, will stand/sit by a Heavenly king… And there’s the small matter of their being a difference between being born and being raised from the dead. But, aside from that, I think the general idea is still fairly clear:

We were prisoners in the pit; prisoners of Satan. But then, a king was “born out of the ground,” and led us captives in His wake.

New Testament confirmation:

 

7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it[a] says:

 

   “When he ascended on high, 
   he took many captives 
   and gave gifts to his people.”[b(Ephesians 4:7-8)

Context confirmation:

He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. (Genesis 40:21)

And likewise we’ll stand by the king when we die. Only, our king is the king of kings and Lord of Lords.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Transquotation: Genesis 39:1

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Verses:

Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. (Genesis 39:1)

Transquotation:

Now, though Jesus was greatly loved by His father, He descended to Earth, becoming trapped in a body. Indeed, more than that, one of his own disciples betrayed Him for the price of a gored slave!

Explanation of the transquote:

In this particular transquote, we need to look back a couple of chapters to get the whole picture, but the general idea can still be seen in the couple of verses we’re using now: Joseph becomes a slave… Now, though Jesus never became a slave, He was sold for the price of a (gored) one.  — And if you were wondering, yes, the price of a gored slave was thirty pieces of silver, which is exactly the amount Judas betrayed Jesus for.

We were all slaves to sin; willingly sinning. Perhaps here and there our conscience was pricked, but our shackles were too heavy for us to do anything about it. Yet then came Jesus, and by His death, He broke our chains and set us free. Something which in turn should lead us to tell any and everyone who’ll listen of the Gospel.

New Testament confirmation:

14 (S)Then one of the twelve, whose name was (T)Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they (U)paid him(V)thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity (W)to betray him. (Matthew 26:14-16)

Context confirmation:

The LORD was with Joseph, and he became a successful man, and he was in the house of his Egyptian master. (Genesis 39:2)

Christ accomplished exactly what He set out to do: save us. He was a “successful man.” — This supports the transquote by strengthening the connection between Joseph and Jesus.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Delusions

Hello again!

Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-13)

IllusionHe sends them a powerful delusion, because they didn’t believe in his son? That hardly seems fair. After all, it seems he specifically sends this delusion to make them believe a lie. A thought that God couldn’t lie? And doesn’t he want everyone to be saved? If he really did, why would he send a delusion?

God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19)

3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

God does want everyone to be saved, yes. And he also can’t, but can, lie; he can do anything, however, he’s not human. Thus he wont lie. As for the passage in Hebrews (Hebrews 6:18) that talks about two things God can’t lie about; that is also true. He isn’t human, he’s God, thus he can’t lie while at the same time being able to do so… My ways are higher than your ways, and all that (see Isaiah 55:9). – But now then. We haven’t addressed why God would send a delusion to delude those he wanted to save.

 It’s possible to classify the whole world into two categories: objects of mercy, and objects of wrath. As an example, the Pharaoh who kept the Israelites captive was an object of wrath. Almost everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah was an object of wrath.

22What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience(A) vessels of wrath(B) prepared for destruction, 23in order to make known(C)the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he(D) has prepared beforehand for glory— (Romans 9:22-23)

God wants everyone to be saved. This doesn’t mean he forces salvation upon people. In fact, some people are objects of his wrath and have been destined for destruction. Everyone chooses their own fate in a manner of speaking: God controls everyone “free will”, but everyone still has that “free will”:

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

The point being this: all people can be saved; but not all people will be saved (at least, while they’re on Earth. Nobody really knows if we can be saved in Hell or not.).

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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The Potter and the Clay

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” (Romans 9:18-19)

Why is it God would, even though apparently made me to do something wrong, (like Pharaoh, who talks about in verse 17), how come he still counts it as sin? I was only doing what he made me to do. Surely the blood isn’t on my hands, it must be on God’s! He after all made me to do it, and I can’t change.

First, if God has made me the way I am, then why is it my sin is still counted to be on my head? … What have I done wrong? Nothing… After all, God literally made me to do it.

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory– (Romans 9:20-23)

Is this how Paul answers the question? By simply saying to bad so sad, I’m a vessel for good use and you’re one for dishonorable use. If that’s it, I don’t see how there’s any hope for anyone. After all, we can’t change. We’re only here to show God’s mercy to the vessels for honorable use, through our own destruction.

even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9:24)

What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 9:30-33)

I can’t do enough good to reach the standard the law puts up, I know that, it’s the very reason I’m an object of dishonorable use. I can’t change, therefore I can’t meet the standards the law puts up, and hence, the object of wrath status. But it seems this passage is suggesting another way, it seems to be saying that if I believe in a rock, I will be able to change. How does that make sense? – And looking at it that way, it probably never will make sense. The “rock” that smashes our old self to little clay bits, and then rebuilds us in his image, is called, Jesus.

Second, we need to know how change from object of dishonorable use, to object of honorable use… As I’m sure neither of us wants to stay the same way we are.

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)

First we have to stumble and be humbled, before we can be brought up. That’s why Paul notes that Jesus is a stumbling (humbling) block. But, after we realize that we can’t save our self, and that we will remain an object of wrath forever unless something changes, what then? How can we change? We can change by being changed by Jesus, aka, the potter, who has the ability to change what he has created.

That’s it. We’re called, we confess, we believed, we’re saved. Being transformed, is far easier than trying to transform yourself. However, some people, such as Pharaoh choose not to accept the call… This is where things can get a little confusing, but I’ll try to explain it simply… God made Pharaoh to refuse Moses, despite the many plagues, but Pharaoh chose to do so. We have free will, but that free will is being controlled by the person who made free will (as well as the person who he gives the free will to). He did that, in order to show the Israelites his mercy, in that they weren’t affected by the plagues. My point in saying all this being, everyone is called to Jesus, but some people “refuse to accept it”. To quote myself:

You choose to follow God, yet all along it’s actually God choosing you to follow him. – God isn’t a cruel God, in fact, instead he’s an extremely unjust God, in that instead of destroying us, he gives us a means of salvation. Yet people who turn down that salvation, can’t really say God is cruel God. (The Wrath of God Is Coming?!)

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

 

 

 

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