Hello and welcome to season 3 episode 18 of The Berean Manifesto, 10 minutes or so a week of Faith, Hope, and Love for the modern Christian.  This is Pastor Bill of The Ekklesian House and in this installment, due to circumstances out of my control, we are going to be re-visiting a great episode, season 2 episode 75.  Enjoy.

Romans 8:28 CSB says, “[28] We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”  I guess first off we need to acknowledge that God’s idea of good for you and your idea of good for you are most likely not the same. We also have to acknowledge that God deals with big picture and the long game. In the end, a season of physical suffering and lack may be the best thing for your growth and ultimate prosperity.

I’m going to tell you two stories to emphasize the point here. Well, I’m going to tell you a story and then I’m going to play you a clip with a second story.

The first is from Genesis. The story of Joseph, the son of Jacob of whom God renamed Israel. Joseph was the youngest of his brothers and favored by his father. In his brother's jealousy, they sold him to traders who then sold him to a government official in Egypt, a man named Potiphar. Within three years, Joseph worked his way to the top of Potiphar’s servants and is put in charge of all household affairs. Potiphar’s wife makes a pass at Joseph and when he refuses her advances, she frames him for rape, and Joseph spends the next ten to twelve years in prison. A decade in which he gains favor with the warden, gets put in charge of the prison, and interprets the dreams of two men very close to the pharaoh. One who turns out well, the other one gets beheaded. When Pharaoh himself needs some dream interpretation that his “trusted” advisors are too afraid to explain to him, Joseph is called in. Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of preparing the kingdom for a coming famine and puts all of Egypt under Joseph's power. Later, when it is revealed to Josephs brothers that he not only survived their treachery but went on to thrive he says to them in Genesis 50:20 CSB, “[20] You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result-the survival of many people.” Indeed, all that Joseph went through placed him in the instrumental position to prevent all the people of Egypt, and the surrounding lands, from starving to death.

Now for a more modern story, I’ll relinquish the next few minutes to Pastor Craig Groeschel of Life.Church. “I'm gonna tell you a battle I've had in my mind that's not gonna seem like a big deal to you, and it's really not, but it's been a big deal to me. Almost five weeks ago, my latest book, Hope in the Dark, came out, and it's my 15th book. It's the number-one book that's closest to my heart. It tells the journey of the pain that my family's been through. It was available for two days. It's been sold out since. Three full weeks, it's not available on Amazon. Four weeks, it's not available in stores. Some of you, like Pollyanna people are like, oh, praise God. No, I'm upset, okay? The printers can't keep up with the demand. There's people that want it that can't get it. It loses momentum. It's a message that I want in people's hands, and they can't find it. I'm upset. This week, I heard about a couple, and it changed my perspective. Rance and Heather, a couple in their 30s. Heather has been sick and dealing with significant physical issues. She almost died, spent three months in the hospital, recovered, and looked like she was on a good track. They have one child named Boston, and things looked up for Heather and Rance. Now, Rance went outside, came back in, and Heather was not conscious. And at the age of 38, she never recovered. She died. That's a really bad day. But God is still good. Heather liked to shop, and evidently, a couple of weeks ago, she made a purchase. What she ordered was not available. She died, and between her death and her funeral, her last purchase was delivered in the mail. And between her death and her funeral, her husband went to the mailbox and got her last purchase. Her last purchase was a book that came at the exact right time called Hope in the Dark: Believing that God is Good When Life Is Not. And Rance, who just lost his 38-year-old wife, said, I can really see how much God is still with me, because he cared that much, to bring it at the perfect time. So, here's ol' Pastor Craig, full of faith. It's the worst thing ever. No, no, no, no, no. God's timing, His goodness, His timing is perfect. Rance, when he gave me permission to tell this story, said, yeah, it's a really dark time, but Heather's life has inspired so many people. Her faith in God has touched so many people. So what kind of day is it? It's the worst day ever, or, as Rance said, if her story touches one person, then I'm gonna give God praise for that. Here's the problem. So many people see the bad because you're looking for the bad. If you look for God, you will find Him. Where do we make the mistake in our minds? It's we often try to interpret God through our circumstances. This is bad; therefore, God is bad. There's another way to look at the world, and that is to interpret your circumstances through the goodness of God. Then you can recognize, even on what is a bad day, our God is still good. He's still involved. He still cares. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. Even in the dark times, even when we're waiting, we can still praise him, because no matter what our circumstances are like, our God is always good. You cannot control what happens to you. But you can control how you frame it.”

“[28] We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” That’s what Romans 8:28 CSB says, right? To me that sounds like a day to day involvement for those of us submitted to God’s will. I surrender my life, my will, my thoughts, and most importantly my plans to The Lord and His will.

So, when I oversleep, lose my car keys, have a flat tire, get stuck in traffic, hit every red light, or get stuck behind that train, maybe it’s just a fluke, but I choose to believe that God has moved in my life either for my good or the good of another. I like how Pastor Craig put it of controlling how you frame it. You can choose to sweat the details, or you can choose to believe that The Lord is at work. If you’re wrong, then all you’ve lost is stress. Stress that would have shortened your life anyway.

This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”

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