by Pastor Tim Burt
If you are anything like me, you have relatives that do not know Jesus personally as their Lord and Savior. They do not know if they'd go to Heaven if they died today. And hopefully, you are praying for their salvation. I talk to people all the time who are praying for their loved ones to come to know Jesus and accept Him personally as their Savior. If you are fervently praying for yours, that's good! You know why? Because God uses those prayers to access the lives of those you are praying for, to work in the background of their lives. Because of your prayers, touches of His influence and love show up in their lives. They may or may not notice immediately, but eventually they get a clue that Jesus is trying to reach them.
That day eventually came. The world was experiencing famine. Joseph's brothers heard there was food in Egypt. They went there and eventually met the man in charge–the man who would save their life–Joseph! Most people in Joseph's shoes would have sought revenge. Not Joseph! He cried with thanksgiving to God for making this all work out. His heart was amazing! Joseph told his brothers he held no ill will toward them for mistreating him. He had always believed that what the devil meant for evil God would turn for good. In Gen 45:7 Joseph said, “But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” Joseph is declaring how God was working in the background of his life and the lives of his brothers to bring them to a point where they would be able to see God's mighty hand working in their life. That day had come and now they could love God like Joseph did. The one they hated was used to save their lives and help them know God. And he could because he prayed all those years for them and never let bitterness take root in his heart knowing that God would work it out. This is one of the greatest lessons in the Bible.
If you've ever been rejected by your family because of your faith in the Lord, then you know it's not an easy thing. Jesus said in Matthew 5:11 "Blessed are you when people shall revile you, and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." We care about what our loved ones think of us. When they think we are fanatical because of our love for the Lord, that hurts and feels like rejection. We can't change that but we can turn that rejection into an opportunity to pray for them with the consistency, trust, and determination that Joseph did. We can have great faith that God will work mightily in the background of their lives. We can pray that they will come to a place where they hunger to know God and where their spiritual eyes are opened to know God personally and intimately through Jesus.
The Apostle Paul taught us to pray this in Ephesians 1:18 & 3:18 (NLT) "I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand... And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is..."
It was a long hard 14 year journey before Joseph's brothers finally understood God as Joseph did. That's a long time to feel rejected. Your loved ones may treat you unfairly. They may not want you around. They may mock you behind your back. They may all talk about you in ways that hurt. But if they do, don't get offended. Don't let rejection cause you to quit on them. Joseph kept his heart right and you can too!
Not a day goes by without me praying for the salvation of all my family. I have great faith that because I know God is working through my prayers. I can only say so much. Sometimes they need to hear from others. It blesses me greatly to know God sends others to share the love of Jesus with them. I have heard many stories from my family and relatives that affirm this truth! I always smile because I know that God is always reaching out to them. One day they'll see it and take the lifeline. They won't just know about Jesus. They will know and personally receive Jesus as their Savior. They will know that they have eternal life as His promise of grace–not by their efforts of trying to be good enough to earn their way. So, have tenacity for a lifetime. Have great faith that God is working through your prayers. He is!
James 5:16 (NLT) "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results"
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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