Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25, 2013 … Fruitfulness in Suffering

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 56

Passage of the Day: Genesis 41: 52 - [NLT] …
52 Joseph named his second son Ephraim, [which means “doubly fruitful”] for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my suffering.”  
Contextual Study of today’s passage: Genesis, Chapter 41 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #1: 2nd Corinthians 12: 7-10 : [NLT] … [Paul’s character was tested and extended by his time of suffering.] ...
7 … even though I have received wonderful revelations from God. But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud. … 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time He [Jesus] said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. 10 Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

My Journal for Today: If you’re reading along with me, fellow Christian, I’d almost bet that if I asked you to recall a time when you grew closer to and more like Christ than any other time you can recall, you would relate some testimony about a time of trial in your life. And that’s the point of Os Hillman’s devotional today from the story of Joseph in Genesis, who recognized God after 13 years of famine, where Egypt had been delivered and God had been glorified. And in today’s highlight passage, we see Joseph praising God after this time of trial by naming his second son, Ephraim, which in Hebrew means “doubly fruitful.”

I like what Os Hillman wrote about this in his devotional, which I’m using here this AM. He wrote, … ” Joseph was fruitful in two instances. He was fruitful during his time of adversity and in his prosperity. When God brings us into a time of suffering, it can be a fruitful time. It's rare for us to see the fruit during the suffering period. But know that the roots are going deep into the spiritual soil of our soul because of our pressing in to God during our time of suffering. This is producing a work in our character that cannot be seen until it finishes the process. Such was the case for Joseph.”

 And the truth of Hillman’s example and words above was also illustrated in one of my favorite testimonial accounts in the life of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament, … the story of God showing His grace to Paul in the form a very painful “thorn,” which was apparently given to Paul after he had had a spiritual mountain-top experience so that Paul would remain humble [see the copy of 2nd Cor. 12: 7-10 above]. And we also know from God’s word (see James 4: 6-7, and 1st Peter 5: 5-6, both passages quoting Prov. 3: 34) that God cannot pour His grace into pride; so, quite often His chosen ones are put through the fires of privation so that they, like the Apostle Paul, can be humble enough to recognize and receive God’s enabling/empowering grace.

So, if you’ve gone through – or are going through – some burning or painful trial … perhaps God is getting you ready for the most spiritually fruitful time of your life. Endure the struggle and praise Him for His building and transforming grace. … But if you feel like you’ve drifted far away from God and His grace seems so, so far away, perhaps this song (linked here) can help you see that God will do whatever it takes to bring you, through His grace, back to Himself. 

My Prayer for Today … Praise You, Lord, for any trial which reshapes me into Your image. … Amen

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