‘Dear God, are you there?’ A response

Craige McMillan pens note addressing philosopher’s question

Dear George Yancy,

In response to your question, “Dear God, are you there?” Yes, I’m still here. I have always been here. I am everywhere present. I will always be here. How about you?

Since your entreaty addressed me publicly, I will respond in kind. Here I will address the points I have been able to decipher. I wonder, though, are you by chance a direct descendant of one of those people at the Tower of Babel, where I confused humanity’s language?

From my perspective, George, there are only three people groups on the earth: Jews, Gentiles and Christians. Any other qualifier is an artificial construct designed to turn people against one another. Therefore, I agree with your statement, “We are failing ourselves. We are not asking the right questions; we are failing to use truthful and courageous discourse to describe the suffering from human violence. …”

I wonder, could it be that you are failing yourselves because you do not properly understand that I created men and women as triune beings, with a body, soul and spirit? You must address all three aspects of human beings in your discourse and in their existence. All attempts to treat man as a machine or a computer will fail, and ultimately they will fail catastrophically, which seems to be what you are describing.

You also write, “I’m tempted to say that for Trump and his vast evangelical following enough is never enough. And if this is so, something has gone theologically awry. We have not become more loving as a nation.” Hmm … I guess it escaped me that the killers you are referring to are evangelicals, Catholics, or any of the other Christian brands with which I am familiar. None of the killers were people I knew, or who knew me. Perhaps that was the problem.

The way for America and all nations to become more loving is for the people who dwell in those nations to know me personally. I am patient, kind and loving. I stand ready to remove anger, hatred and despair from the mind and heart of anyone who acknowledges his or her desperate situation and calls upon me for help. I alone can remove those poisonous qualities from his or her life. Human philosophy can never rise above the human condition. I alone transcend the human condition.

Interesting that you should arrive at the same question Ralph Waldo Emerson asked some time back. “Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchers of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticisms. The foregoing generations beheld God face to face; we through their eyes. Why should not we also have an original relation to the universe?”

Why not, indeed? You and every other person on earth can have an original relation to Me. The door into that relationship is the life, death and resurrection of my Son, Jesus Christ, which occurred at the Cross. Please don’t ever imagine that We did not suffer to open that door from your hopeless condition to my glorious heaven and earth. We both paid the price for you in our suffering. All you need do to renew your mind and heart is to come. My arms are always open to welcome my children back home, however battered and bruised they may be from this evil world system, which is still run by Satan, your defeated enemy. I should think the world’s values, which give rise to its conditions, would be sufficient evidence of this claim.

Religions are a subtle trap that enslaves the human spirit. Christianity is not immune from this. A personal relationship with the God of the universe is unthinkable to many. And yet, that is exactly what is on offer, George. If it all seems impossible to you, read through the Gospel of John, found in the New Testament. Don’t neglect the supernatural elements of our relationship that John describes. They are the key to a changed life here, a heart to help others and eternity with me. Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Don’t forget, George. You have a date with destiny. There is something in this world that only you can do for Me. Maybe yours is the voice that’s missing, the one that calms the storms of life for so many. You’ll never know unless you ask.

I am the “something more” that you seek, George.

– with love, God

For more of God direct, read samples at: ReconnaissanceBehind Enemy Lines and Absolution: The Singularity.

Original here

Why Chick-fil-A is so loved — and hated

Michael Brown: New report shows company is America’s favorite fast-food restaurant

To the consternation of the haters and anti-Christian bigots, Fox reports that, “Chick-fil-A is officially America’s favorite fast food restaurant.”

Yes, “The fast-food chain beat out reigning champion In-N-Out, and took home the top spot on Market Force’s Fast Food Market Research Report.” In addition, “The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) also named Chick-fil-A as America’s favorite restaurant for the fourth year in a row.”

And Chick-fil-A did this despite of an unrelenting campaign of hate from its critics, including: attempts to ban Chick-fil-A from college campuses; attempts to ban Chick-fil-A from cities; attempts to ban Chick-fil-A from airports; and regular calls for boycotts.

Why all the animus toward this one fast food restaurant?

It’s simply because: 1) Chick-fil-A is Christian owned and operated, to the point of not doing business on Sundays; 2) Chick-fil-A executives had the audacity to state their disagreement with same-sex “marriage”; 3) Chick-fil-A donates money to Christian ministries that uphold biblical morality, like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; and 4) worse still, some of the ministries Chick-fil-A have supported believe homosexuals can change. Oh, the crime!

That’s why, we are told, the public should stay far away from this bigoted, evil franchise. Surely, anyone who eats at Chick-fil-A is also a bigoted monster. Say goodbye to Chick-fil-A!

Unfortunately for the critics and haters, and quite thankfully for Chick-fil-A, the company continues to thrive and grow.

Why do people continue to flock to this chicken-serving, fast food chain?

A first reason would have to be the food and the price. People enjoy the menu; otherwise they wouldn’t be there.

As the market research report indicates, Chick-fil-A scored No. 1 in the categories of Food Quality and Value for Money Spent. That will bring customers back seven (or, in this case, six) days a week. (Note also that Chick-fil-A came in No. 1 in Healthy Options.)

In the words of Ruth Graham, writing on Slate.com, although progressives still feel guilty eating there, “the product is irresistible.”

A second reason is Chick-fil-A’s legendary customer service. That’s why, in the category of Staff Friendliness, they crushed the competition, beating their nearest competitor by 11 percentage points and their next nearest competitor by a staggering 30 percentage points. Those are huge margins in a survey like this.

They also took No. 1 in Overall Cleanliness and Curb Appeal, important factors for customers as well.

Because of my particular diet, I virtually never eat at fast food restaurants. But a few months back, while delayed between flights in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, I found a Chick-Fil-A and looked for one of their healthy options.

The airport was packed; many travelers were grumpy (what else is new?); and the lines at the restaurant were long. So, I decided to watch and see just how efficient and friendly the staff would be.

In the end, I was so impressed that I actually went looking for the manager, wanting to tell him what an amazing job he was doing. The employees seemed genuinely happy to wait on the customers. (Whether they mean it or not, they sure know how to say, “My pleasure!”)

Chick-fil-A restaurants have even been known to go the extra mile for their communities, like giving away free food to motorists stuck in a snowstorm and even opening up on a Sunday to help feed hurricane victims.

People don’t easily forget these acts of kindness.

But there’s another reason I believe Chick-fil-A has done so well. The company has been blessed by God.

The founders and owners sought to honor the Lord, which, in their minds, meant not opening on Sunday, which they understood to be the Christian Sabbath. For them, this day was to be holy to the Lord, not a day for buying and selling, and not a day for their employees to be working.

And so, despite pundits saying they are losing billions of dollars by closing on Sunday, it might just be they have made billions more by following their convictions.

The bottom line is that these are good people trying to do good business, and the public appreciates that.

The haters can hate and the critics can criticize. The customers will keep on coming and boycotts will turn into “buycotts.”

Let the lesson be learned.


Original here

VIDEO Joseph, a Type of Christ, the Robe of Sonship and 12 Tribes

When we collect the details of Joseph’s life we see a glorious reflection that closely mirrors another life we are so intimately familiar with. This is not because Joseph was Jesus’s favorite Bible hero he wanted to emulate. It is because God is sovereign and he has been laying the tracks for the glory of Christ throughout redemptive history.


Also [Jacob] made [Joseph] a tunic of many colors. Genesis 37:3


Along with Noah’s ark, the tower of Babel, the parting of the Red Sea, and other famous stories, Joseph’s “coat of many colors” has attained iconic status. In fact, in the late 1960s, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat—the story of Joseph—was produced and remains one of the most performed musicals on stage.

But the word technicolor betrays what may be an erroneous understanding of Joseph’s famous coat. “Coat of many colours” comes from the King James Version which is based on a hard-to-decipher Hebrew text (Genesis 37:3). In short, no one is quite sure what Joseph’s coat looked like. Rather than “many colours” it may have been an “ornate robe” like that worn by one of David’s daughters (2 Samuel 13:18, NIV). Regardless of its appearance, this much is clear: Joseph’s garment was a sign of generosity and blessing from a father to his son. In the same way, we have been blessed “with every spiritual blessing … in Christ” by God our Father (Ephesians 1:3).

All of God’s children are “heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17), destined to be clothed with His righteousness for eternity. No earthly garment can compare with the heavenly one.

A true Christian is both a beggar and an heir. Anonymous

The Life of Joseph 01 Genesis 37:1-11 Family Problems


Comparison List of Joseph and Jesus
Joseph Jesus
Joseph was Loved by His Father – Genesis 37:3 God said about Jesus “this is my beloved son” – Matthew 3:17
Joseph’s brothers did not believe him and hated him – Genesis 37:4-5 The Jews Did Not Believe in Christ – John 7:5 and they hated him – John 15:24
Joseph’s brothers rejected his right to rule – Genesis 37:8 The Jewish leaders said “we will not have this man to rule over us” Luke 19:14
Joseph’s brothers conspired against him – Genesis 37:23 They took counsel against Jesus Matthew 27:1
They stripped Joseph of his garments –  Genesis 37:23 They stripped Jesus –  Matthew 27:28
Joseph was sold for silver – Genesis 37:28 Jesus was sold for silver –  Matthew 26:15
Everything Joseph put his hand to prospered –  Genesis 39:3 “… And the pleasure of the Lord prospered in his hand” – Isaiah 53:10
All things were laid into Joseph’s trust –  Genesis 39:4-8 God hath given all things into his hand – John 3:35
Joseph’s own brothers did not recognize him. The Jews did not recognize their Messiah
Joseph was tempted and did not sin –  Genesis 39:9 Jesus was tempted in all things yet was without sin – Hebrews 4:15
Joseph was bound – Genesis 39:30 Jesus was bound – Matthew 27:2
Joseph was condemned with two criminals – Genesis 40:2, 3 Jesus was crucified with two criminals – Luke 23:32
One criminal was given life and the other was condemned – Genesis 40:21-22) Jesus told one of the criminals “Today you shall be with me in paradise” – Luke 23:43
Joseph was trustworthy and wise –  Genesis 41:39 God said about Jesus “this is my beloved son in whom I well pleased” – Mark 1:11
Joseph’s brothers bowed their knee to him – Genesis 41:43 “At the name of Jesus every knee will bow” – Philippians 2:10
Joseph was 30 years old – Genesis 41:46 Jesus was “about 30 years old” – Luke 3:25
God planned the suffering of Joseph in advance to save many – Genesis 50:21 Jesus said “God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall be saved” – John 3:16
Joseph was made ruler over all of Egypt – Genesis 41:42-44 Jesus said “all power has been given unto me” – 8:18
Joseph married a foreign bride who shared his glory – Genesis 41:45 Believers in Christ are “joint heirs” with him in his glory – Romans 8:17
Joseph was cast into a pit and then later delivered out of it – Genesis 37:24, 28 When Jesus died he descended into the lower parts of the earth, and later ascended into heaven – Ephesians 4:9
Joseph was imprisoned based on false charges – Genesis 39:19, 20 During the trial of Jesus false witnesses were brought in testifying against him – Mark 14:56
Joseph’s brothers later repented for what they did to him – Genesis 42:7 “and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn” – Zechariah 12:10

John 18:14 – Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.


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  List of 75 Joseph/Christ Shadows and Antitypes
Gen 30-50; Acts 7:9-19; Heb 11:21-22
# “Shadow of what was to come, but the substance belongs to Christ” Col 2:17 Joseph Christ
1. Miraculous birth Jacob was 90 years old, Rachel was barren, Mary was a virgin Gen 30:22-24; 37:3 Mt 1:18; Lk 1:31-33
2. Spoke truth in exposing sinful behavior of others knowing he would be hated and ostracized. Gen 37:2 Mt 15:12; 23:1f; Lk 20:19; Mt 14:4
3. Both were shepherds Gen 37:2 John 10:11
4. Beloved sons of wealthy fathers Gen 37:3 Mt 3:17
5. Hated by his brothers without a cause Gen 37:4,8 Jn 7:5; 15:25; Mk 3:21
6. Hated for telling the truth and prophesying Gen 37:5 John 8:40; 7:7; 3:32
7. Foretold of future exalted position as king Gen 37:5-8 Mt 24:30-31; 26:64
8. Destined to become kings from birth Gen 37:8 John 18:37
9. Both parents “treasured in their hearts” the news that their children would be a future king. Gen 37:11 Lk 2:20, 2:19
10. Persecuted out of jealousy Gen 37:11; Acts 7:9 Mt 27:18; Mk 15:10
11. Willingly went at father’s request and authority Gen 37:13 Jn 8:42
12. Lived with father before sent on divine mission Gen 37:14 Jn 17:5
13. Ridiculed for being a king Gen 37:19 Lk 22:63-65
14. Plotted against by his own brethren Gen 37:20 Mt 26:4,15; John 11:53
15. Said to Joseph: “Then let us see what will become of his dreams”. Said of Jesus: “HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUEHim now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God” Gen 37:20 Mt 27:43
16. Suffered bitterly at hands of brethren Psalm 105:17-18 Heb 12:2
17. Stripped of his robe Gen 37:23 Jn 19:23-24
18. Judah offered to sell Joseph for 20 pieces of silver. Judah in Greek is Judas who sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Gen 37:26-28 Mt 1:2-3
19. Sold for slave price in pieces of silver (20p in 1900 BC, 30p in 33 AD, inflation) Through archeology, we know the price of one slave increased through inflation. Gen 37:28

Zech 11:13

Mt 26:14-16
20. Leaders attempted to rescue him from hands of brethren: Reuben was eldest; Pilate Gen 37:21 Mt 27:24; John 19:12
21. Two lesser punishments suggested than death: pit/sold + prisoner swap/scourge Gen 37:22,27 John 18:39; 19:1; Mt 12:40
22. Joseph pleaded for his life but Jesus was silent Gen 42:21 Is 53:7; Acts 8:32; Mt 26:39-42; Lk 22:41-44
23. Two leaders acted as judges: Reuben/Judah + Pilate/Herod Antipas Gen 37:21,26 Luke 23:1,8
24. Leaders finally gave in to peer pressure and went along with plot Gen 37:31 Mark 15:15
25. Goat blood was sprinkled on Joseph’s coat. Jesus, our scapegoat/Passover goat/lamb, had his own blood sprinkled on his own coat. Passover animal could be goat: Ex 12:5. Scapegoat: Leviticus 16:8 Gen 37:31 Scourging caused bleeding. 1 Cor 5:7;
26. False story of his death told and deceived many for a long time, animal/blood on coat. Disciples stole body Gen 37:31-33 Mt 28:13-15
27. Taken to Egypt as youth after escaping death (Herod the great) Gen 37:28 Matthew 2:14
28. Became a servant Gen. 39:1-2 Mt 20:28; Phil 2:7
29. Tempted without sin Gen 39:6-20 Mt 4:1-11
30. Falsely Accused Gen 39:14 Mt 26:59-62
31. Unlike many other Bible characters, no sin of Joseph is recorded. Jesus was truly sinless. silent Isa 53:9; 1 Pet 2:22; 2 Cor 5:21
32. Suffered for another’s sin (false accusation) Gen 39:20 1 Pe 1:21-24
33. Confined in jail/custody, thrown into a pit literally a well, pit; Gen 37:24 Gen 40:15 Mt 27:2; John 18:12
34. Inspired by the Holy Spirit Gen 40:8; 41:38 Lk 4:18
35. Sentenced with 2 criminals, one saved, one lost Gen 40:1-3 Lk 23:32-33
36. Cup bearer release from prison after 3 days: jail/grave Gen 40:13 1 Cor 15:3-4
37. The baker was lifted up on a tree: crucifixion

***3 days +Tree/ Tree + 3 days***

Gen 40:19 Gal 3:13; Acts 5:30 lit. wood
38. “Green years” followed by “Dry years” Gen 41:29–30 Luke 23:31
39. Put “over the house” Joseph, Moses, Solomon, Christ Gen 41:40 Acts 7:47; Heb 3:2-6
40. Both exalted after suffering Gen 41:41 Luke 24:26; Phil 2:9-11
41. All will pay homage and every knee will bow Gen 41:40-43 Phil 2:10; Heb 1:6
42. Both given all power and authority, save one: Pharaoh/God Gen 41:42-44 Mt 28:18
43. Both wore royal robes and dressed as a king, Jacob wore pharaoh’s royal robe with necklace. Jesus wore purple robe while being mocked with crown of thorns. Gen 41:42 Mark 15:17–18
44. Joseph given seal ring for 7 abundance years before 7 years of famine and death. Jesus broke 7 seals that caused famine and death. Gen 41:42 Rev 6:1
45. Both had priestly connections: Joseph married Asenath whose father was a priest of On.  Christ = Melchizedek Gen 41:45,50 Heb 5:10
46. Began “ministry” at 30 years old Gen 41:46 Lk 3:23
47. Brothers stared at each other and went to get food Gen 42:1–3 John 21:2–3
48. All must go to him for bread Gen 41:55-57; 42:6 Jn 6:35
49. Unrecognized by his own Gen 42:8 Jn 1:11; 31-33; Luke 24:16; 20:14; 21:4
50. Tested his brethren for worthiness Gen 42:15 1 Peter 1:7
51. 10 brothers condemned to prison and released after 3 days. Jesus condemned and rose from dead after three days. Gen 42:17–18 Acts 10:40-41
52. Betrayers felt remorse. Joseph’s 10 brothers/Judas Gen 42:21 Mt 27:3
53. Accusers, betrayers held responsible for shed blood Gen 42:22 Mt 27:25
54. Both wept for the wicked Gen 45:2 Luke 19:41
55. Identified the primary betrayer: Simeon/Judas Gen 49:5-7
Ancient Jewish Targum identified Simeon as primary ringleader to kill Joseph. “And Simeon and Levi, who were brothers in counsel, said each man to his brother, Behold, this master of dreams cometh. And now come let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits and say that an evil beast bath devoured him; arid we shall see what will be the interpretation of his dreams.” (Jewish Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan Ben Uzziel On the Pentateuch, J. W. Etheridge, Gen 37:19, 1892 AD). Jesus gave bread to Judas to identify him as the betrayer.
Gen 42:24 John 13:25-26
56. Righteous judgement: Joseph spared innocent (Reuben-oldest) for the guilty Simeon (next oldest) who spent several years in jail until the brothers returned. Jesus is our perfect judge who can separate the sheep from the goats. Simeon got the worst land in the Negev and was absorbed into Judah and Levi got no land at all. Gen 42:24 Mt 25:31–32; John 5:22-23, 27
57. Amazing grace given to wicked: Joseph returned his brother’s food money, Jesus’ Grace to us. Gen 42:27-28 Romans 5:6–11
58. Breaking bread and foot washing together Gen 43:24-25, 34 John 13:5
59. Astonishment at Joseph/Jesus Gen 43:33 Mark 11:18
60. Innocent suffers outside city: Benjamin was arrested outside the city/Jesus crucified outside Jerusalem. Gen 44:4 Hebrews 13:12
61. Substitutionary atonement: innocent Benjamin for wicked brothers. Jesus for sinners. Gen 44:16-17 Isa 53:5-6; 1 Cor 5:21
62. Innocent torn in pieces: Joseph-animal/Christ-scourging Gen 44:28 Mark 15:15
63. Both forgave those who wronged them Gen 45:4, 14-15 Luke 23:34
64. Became saviour of the people Gen 45:5; 47:25 Mt 1:21; 1 Jn 4:14
65. Joseph/Christ suffered according to predetermined plan of God Gen 45:5–7 Acts 2:23; 3:18; Eph 3:11
66. Self-anger and sorrow at hurting Joseph/Jesus Gen 45:5 Acts 2:36–38
67. First news that Joseph/Jesus were alive was not believed. Jacob  would not believe Joseph was alive. The male disciples would not believe Mary when she reported Jesus alive. Gen 45:26 Lk 24:10–11; Mk 16:9-12
68. Fearful hearts brought to peace: Joseph/Jesus Gen 50:2; 43:23 John 20:19
69. Substitutionary atonement: Innocent Joseph/Christ suffered for guilty brethren. Gen 50:17-18 Isa 53
70. Evil turned into blessing Gen 50:20 1 Pe 2:24
71. Turned intentional harm into good Gen 50:20-21
72. Comforted those who betrayed him and felt guilt. Disciples were comforted of guilt of abandoning Jesus at the cross Except John, who was the only one who was at the trials and the foot of the cross. Gen 50:21 Jn 20:19
73. After Joseph/Christ became king both began summing up of all things, making pharaoh/God all in all. Gen 47:13-20 Eph 1:10; Col 1:17-20
74. Hebrews under Joseph and Christians under Christ were exempt from losing their blessings, but enjoyed “all physical/spiritual blessings” while the rest suffered. Gen 47:27 Eph 1:3; Rev 12:5-6

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The Old Testament contains various “types” of Christ – people who reflected what the Messiah would be like, but I think the one person who foreshadowed Jesus the most was Joseph, the son of Jacob. Here is a list of similarities I’ve found:

Similarities Joseph Jesus
Both are first-born. Genesis 30:22-24(of Rachel) Matthew 1:25 (of Mary)
Both are shepherds. Genesis 37:2 Matthew 2:2626:31
John 10:11
Both are the most loved of their fathers. Genesis 37:3 Matthew 3:1712:18
Both were prophecied to be rulers. Genesis 37:5-11 Daniel 7:13-14
Micah 4:7,5:2
Psalm 2
Both Joseph’s and Jesus’ brothers were jealous of them, and did not believe them. Genesis 37:4-511 John 7:3-515:18-19
The prophecies that Joseph would rule his brothers (the tribes of Israel), and Jesus would rule the whole world, including Israel. Genesis 37:6-11 Daniel 7:13-14
Psalm 2:1-12
Joseph was sent by his father to his brothers. Jesus was sent by His Father to Israel. Genesis 37:13,18-20 Matthew 21:37-38Mark 12:6-7Luke 20:13-15John 5:23
Both were stripped of their coat. Genesis 37:23 John 19:23
The coat was dipped in blood. Genesis 37:31 Revelation 19:13
Both were sold by one of the 12 named Judah (Greek ‘Judas’). Genesis 37:26-27 Matthew 26:1527:9
Joseph was apparently put to death, and Jesus truly, by their own people to get them out of the way. Genesis 37:18-28 Acts 2:22-23
Reuben wanted to rescue Joseph. Pilate wanted to rescue Jesus. Genesis 37:21-22 Matthew 27:24
Joseph was sold as a slave to Egypt. Jesus was betrayed for the price of a slave. Genesis 37:26-28 Matthew 26:15Exodus 21:32Zechariah 11:12-13
Both went to Egypt. Genesis 37:28 Matthew 2:13-15
Both were made slaves. Genesis 39:1 Philippians 2:7
Both were falsely accused… Genesis 39:11-20 Matthew 26:59-61
…and punished. Genesis 39:20 Matthew 27:35
Yahweh was with them both. Genesis 39:3,21,23
Acts 7:9
Acts 10:38
Luke 2:52
John 1:1-23:2
Both were with two others condemned to die, one of which was pardoned and given life. Genesis 40:1-3,20-22 Luke 23:32,39-43
God’s Spirit indwelt them both. Genesis 41:38 Luke 4:1
Acts 10:38
The king of Egypt exalted Joseph out of slavery to be ruler over all to bring all under the king’s rule. Jesus is exalted out of slavery to bring all under God’s rule. Genesis 41:40-44 Acts 2:32-33
1 Corinthians 15:27-28
Philippians 2:5-11
All knees bowed to Joseph. All knees will bow to Jesus. Genesis 41:43 Philippians 2:10
Both were given a name meaning Savior. Genesis 41:45(“Savior of the World” or “Sustainer of Life”) Matthew 1:21(“Yahweh is Salvation”)
Both were given a gentile bride by the King. Genesis 41:45 2 Corinthians 11:2
Troubled times come during their rule. 7 years of “tribulation”. Genesis 41:54-55 Mark 13:8
Jeremiah 30:7
The king of Egypt appointed Joseph to be the sole source of life for all. God appointed Jesus to be our sole source of eternal life. Genesis 41:55-57 Acts 4:12
1 John 5:11-12
Joseph was 30 years old when he started working for Pharoah. Jesus was about 30 years old when He began His ministry. Genesis 41:46 Luke 3:23
Joseph’s brothers did not recognize him. Jesus’ own people didn’t either. Genesis 42:7-8 John 1:10
Trouble for Joseph’s brothers. Trouble for Israel (“Jacob’s trouble”). Genesis 42:21-22,36 Isaiah 40:1-2
Jeremiah 30:7
Joseph was revealed to his brothers at their second coming. Jesus to be revealed to Israel at His second coming. Genesis 45:1-5 Zechariah 12:10
Matthew 24:30-31
Revelation 1:7
Both offer forgiveness to those who sought to destroy them. Genesis 45:550:17-21 Luke 23:34Acts 5:31
The evil Joseph’s brothers intended God meant for good to save them. The same is true of the evil Jesus’ own people intended to him… Genesis 45:5-8
Genesis 50:20
Acts 3:12-18
…therefore they are forgiven. Genesis 45:5,10-15 Luke 23:34
Joseph’s brothers shared Pharaoh’s favor because of Joseph, not themselves. We share God’s favor because of Jesus, not because we are worthy. Genesis 45:16-20 Ephesians 2:4-8
Philippians 4:19
Both are to bring all under rule of the King. Genesis 47:19-20 Ephesians 1:10-12
Both are Savior Genesis 47:25 Acts 13:23
Joseph’s sons (Manasseh and Ephriam) come through his gentile wife and are given full tribe status. Gentiles who believe are considered full members of God’s people. Genesis 48:5,9 Hebrews 2:13(Isaiah 8:18)
Acts 28:28
While only Jesus was truly sinless, Joseph is one of the few people significantly written about in the Bible of which no sins are mentioned.


The 12 Tribes of Israel

Genesis 49:1-2 – And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

List of the 12 Tribes of Israel in the Old Testament
12 Tribes Mother Jacob’s Blessing and Notes
Rueben Leah Although Rueben was Jacob’s firstborn son, he lost his privileges and the tribe was given over to obscurity. Rueben was rash and was guilty of committing adultery with Bilhah, his father’s concubine and his brother’s mother.
Simeon Leah Simeon was to be scattered in Israel, and later became one of the weakest of the tribes. They were mainly absorbed by Judah and lost their identity there.
Levi Leah Levi would be divided from the tribes of Israel. Simeon and Levi were guilty of murdering the men of Shechem, and were therefore reprimanded by Jacob. The Levites were destined to be the priestly tribe who would not receive a tribal inheritance.
Judah Leah Judah was to increase in strength until Shiloh (the Messiah of peace). The right to rule (septre) would not depart from Judah. David descended from Judah. Jesus would descend from the line of David and he was called “the lion of tribe of Judah”. Judah’s name means praise.
Dan Bilhah Although Dan was given a small inheritance they would become a leading tribe, shrewd and clever, though they would be predators.
Naphtali Bilhah They would be free and prosperous, and later they were privileged that the Messiah would begin his ministry in their region and the light would dawn.
Gad Zilpah Gad was to be a victim of invaders but they would ultimately triumph. Their inheritance was east of the Jordan and subject to plunderers.
Asher Zilpah The tribe of Asher would enjoy prosperity and the blessings of God.
Issachar Leah Patient and capable as a worker of agriculture doing peaceful things.
Zebulun Leah They would settle in the coastal regions and trade. They were also privileged that the Messiah would minister in their region when He came.
Joseph Rachel Joseph would be numerous and blessed above the others and receive spiritual prosperity. God work it out that Joseph two sons Ephraim and Manasseh would partake of his inheritance and represent him among the tribes.
Benjamin Rachel Benjamin would be adventurous and warlike gaining the spoils of war. The first king of Israel, Saul, and also Saul of Tarsus (Paul the Apostle) were among those who descended from this tribe.

Jacob’s blessings on the 12 tribes reflects a remarkable history of the tribes. Genesis 49

Genesis 49:10 – The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.


Why Niceness Weakens Our Witness

I can’t follow Christ and also succeed at being nice.

Why Niceness Weakens Our Witness

God did not call you to be nice. This statement has been rattling around in my head for well over a year now, and I haven’t been able to shake it. It has reemerged at crucial moments, not as an excuse to be snarky, angry, or rude, but because I have noticed something going on in my heart, and in the church, for a while now: A competing allegiance. A warm and inviting idolatry that has managed to wedge itself between us and true obedience to Christ.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to be nice—not just loved but needed—and it is an identity I have struggled to leave behind. I want to be accepted, and I want to be embraced. As a lifelong nice girl, I have not only felt this pressure but I have also caved in to it often. The need to be nice has influenced my ministry as well as my relationships. I have backed away from hard conversations or softened my convictions, opting instead for the wide gate of niceness.

“Niceness” is a form of superficial kindness that’s used as a means to a selfish end. I identify it as an idol in my life because I have served it tirelessly, and it has served me well in return. My devotion to it has won me a lot of acceptance and praise, but it has also inhibited my courage, fed my self-righteousness, encouraged my inauthenticity, and produced in me a flimsy sweetness that easily gives way to disdain.

As I look beyond my own heart, I see this same phenomenon everywhere. Niceness has become a social currency in our culture, one that we value highly without ever really realizing it. I once discussed this topic with Christina Edmondson, dean of intercultural student development at Calvin College and cohost of the podcast Truth’s Table, and she remarked that “we are wooed by superficial niceness. Satiated by it.” We will forgive all manner of ills in a person we deem to be nice. We use niceness to grease the wheels of our social interactions. We employ it like a ladder, helping us to scale the heights of our career. And for many Christians, following Jesus means we are just really, really nice.

The friend who says a hard thing that we need to hear, the pastor who holds us accountable, the leader who disrupts the status quo—these not-nice behaviors are frequently met with swift rejection and even rage. Friendships end. Church members leave. Social media burns with outrage. These kinds of reactions tell us something about the role of niceness in our culture. It isn’t just a social expectation—it’s a sacred cow.

When we turn to it for promotions in our workplace, preference in our community, and power in our ministry, niceness is no longer a harmless social default but an alternative god whose promises compete with Christ. In sum, it stands between us and obedience.

So, how did we get here? And what does niceness mean for our Christian witness?

Going back to ancient times, virtue has traditionally referred to a particular moral good. In Plato’s Republic, the philosopher names four classical virtues: wisdom, temperance, courage, and justice. These virtues are not merely about doing the right thing—they’re about doing it for the right reason. Plato describes virtue as “the desire of things honorable,” which means we are motivated by a greater good outside ourselves.

Niceness, on the other hand, aims small. In her book American Niceness, author Carrie Tirado Bramen describes niceness as a virtue of “surfaces rather than depths,” while Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College, calls it “a trivial virtue that is easy to fake.” Niceness is concerned with the appearance of goodness and not the reality of it. It gives the facade of serving others but exists primarily to serve ourselves. In the end, niceness only makes us into “whitewashed tombs” (Matt. 23:27)—pristine on the outside but empty within.

In addition to being a false virtue, niceness radically diminishes our Christian witness. Author Randy Alcorn describes it this way: “We’ve been schooled that it’s inappropriate to say anything negative. Being a good witness once meant faithfully representing Christ, even when it meant being unpopular. Now it means ‘making people like us.’ We’ve redefined Christlike to mean ‘nice.’”

Not surprisingly, this false idol has shaped the reputation of Christians throughout the world. Alcorn goes on to say, “Many non-believers know only two kinds of Christians: those who speak truth without grace and those who are very nice but never share the truth.” In other words, niceness is one of the reasons our gospel message is uncompelling and our witness limp. Niceness is a false form of spiritual formation that has crept into the church, seduced Jesus’ followers, and taken much of the power out of our lives. It is one of our generation’s favorite idols, and it is high past time to name it.

After observing the fruit of this false idol in my own life, here’s what I have concluded: I cannot follow Jesus and be nice. Not equally. Because following Jesus means following someone who spoke hard and confusing truths, who was honest with his disciples—even when it hurt—who condemned the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and turned over tables in the temple. Jesus was a man who went face-to-face with the devil himself and died on a cross rather than succumb to the status quo.

We exist in a world that swings between sweetness and outrage, two behaviors that seem to be at odds with one another. In reality, they are two sides of the same coin: a lack of spiritual formation. When our civility isn’t rooted in something sturdy and deep, when our good behavior isn’t springing from the core of who we are but is instead merely a mask we put on, it is only a matter of time before the façade crumbles away and our true state is revealed: an entire generation of people who are really good at looking good.

The solution, however, is not to trade in our appearance of niceness for an appearance of boldness. We have to go deeper into Christ.

Jesus was loving. He was gracious. He was forgiving. He was kind. But he was not nice. He was a man who would leave the 99 sheep to rescue the one, but he was also totally unafraid of offending people. Jesus understood the difference between graciousness and personal compromise, between speaking truth and needlessly alienating people. Rather than wear a shiny veneer, he became the embodiment of rugged love. This, not niceness, is what we are called to.

Sharon Hodde Miller, PhD, is a writer, pastor’s wife, and mother of two. She is the author of Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not About You and Nice: Why We Love to Be Liked and How God Calls Us to More, from which this essay was adapted.


Acknowledgment and Appreciation


By jccast


This isn’t the post I had planned for today. However, the topic has come up in a recent lesson I taught, in recent conversations, and in the kindly act of a small but emotionally charged card of appreciation sent to me.

Those of you that have followed this blog for a while might recall that my mother left when I was fairly young. So, my brother and I were raised by our father.

He was a great guy, but like many fathers he taught us some of the traditional lessons, like boys don’t cry, be strong at all times, be the provider, be a fighter but only in self-defense and the defense of others, constantly give of yourself and help others but don’t expect anything in return. And I learned those lessons well. In fact, I learned them so well that when people tried to thank me for some act of kindness, or for doing a good job, it would make me extremely uncomfortable.

It made for a lot of conflicting moments, because I’ve always enjoyed helping others, and I was always taught to do my best at whatever I did, especially if it was work. And yet, whenever I was thanked or acknowledged for the help or good work, I’d feel awkward and uncomfortable.

I realized the conflict was internal. Because of how I was taught, I believed a “man” shouldn’t care for rewards and acknowledgments. But there was still part of me that really liked the acknowledgment…which made me somehow feel that I was betraying my belief about being a “man”.

Just when I was coming to the realization that it was okay to accept rewards and acknowledgment for doing good things—as long as it doesn’t go to the head, and you’re only doing the good deeds to get the praise—life threw me a huge curve and changed everything.

My life, which had been extremely active in many ways, hit a downward spiral because of injuries and disease that has continued to present day. Injuries and disease that literally changed my appearance. And I came face-to-face with a truth about humanity that most people don’t like to acknowledge or admit to. If you don’t fit the “normal” look, people are going to be uncomfortable around you. People that are obese, scarred, missing limbs, or whatever the case may be, know exactly what I’m talking about.

Sure, there are some mature people that have learned to get beyond it and treat everyone with respect and kindness. But, for the most part, even among church-goers, they treat the “normal” people better than they do others. They’re just not comfortable being around people that are physically (or mentally) different.

Needless to say, I didn’t have to worry about acknowledgments anymore, because they stopped coming. Like the proverbial “Grey Man,” I could walk through a crowd and not be noticed. And, surprisingly, it was little different in churches than in the secular world. People that had known me for years and used to greet me lovingly would no longer shake my hand, much less hug me anymore. In other words, I wasn’t even acknowledged for being there, much less for the work or effort I would put into any position. And if there is anyone who thinks they can go from one extreme to the other and not be bothered by it is simply in self-denial.

As most of you that follow this blog know, this is the blog for a small rural church in Central Oregon. I’ve been a member here for nearly twenty years, and have done a lot of spiritual growing during that time. However, there was a time when I seriously considered leaving this church, because I felt like they abandoned me when I needed them most. When my wife was going through the last stages of a seven-year battle with a terminal illness, and when she passed. Sure, the funeral and memorial service was held at the church, but that was it. All the time leading up to her death and after I felt like I was abandoned, and it hurt.

I really wanted to leave the church and move on, but that was not what God wanted when I went to Him in prayer. And, since that time, there have been two different pastors that have led the church in a new direction, along with new members that fit well with the direction we’re now going. And that includes a lot more love shown to everyone that comes through our doors, whether they be a business owner or a homeless person. People are acknowledged and accepted for who they are.

My spiritual gift is exhortation, which works with both positive and negative. Praise the positive and encourage those doing negative to turn it around and do what I know they’re capable of doing. And for a couple years I used to buy gifts and present it to people in church that I felt needed to be acknowledged for the outstanding efforts they continued to put forth. Like the old saying, “eighty-percent of the work in church is done by twenty-percent of the people.” Unfortunately, I’m a disabled Vet, and don’t have the funds to continue that kind of activity.

However, with the new direction the church has taken, and the new members helping to spur a truly family-like atmosphere, people acknowledging and appreciating each other has become second-nature within the congregation. It’s a beautiful thing to see…and feel.

For instance, I used to play guitar for the worship team and sing a lot of my original songs for special music, and the church body would constantly show their appreciation. However, I’ve developed arthritis in my hands and fingers, to the point I can no longer play the guitar, which really bummed me out. Luckily, however, I can still play the drums, and one of the best compliments I’ve ever received came when our Pastor Emeritus, Allen Elston, told me he feels my drumming is like “the heart-beat of the church.” And yes, that’s the same Allen Elston, whose rural wisdom I keep publishing on this blog.

I’ve been blessed and felt privileged to hold a variety of positions within this church over the years, and to get to know so many wonderful people that truly try to live godly lives. Yes, we’re all human and we still make mistakes. But this group has continued to grow while overcoming the obstacles and becoming a real family in every sense of the word. And, even though we acknowledge and appreciate each other on a regular basis, when a small card comes in the mail and lets me know that my absence (for medical reasons) is truly felt, while they praise a character trait or two, it can still bring a tear to the eye. And, while I only have one blood relative left, in a different state, in this small rural town, in a little country church, I’ve found a family…I’ve found a home.



Remember…everyone should be acknowledged and appreciated for who they are and the positive things they do!






5 Reasons to Consider Adopting A Foster Child

By: Caroline Bailey June 23, 2018

Adopting a foster child might seem daunting. There are more reasons and rewards to adopting from the foster care system in Arizona than there are reasons to fear it.

When people begin to express their consideration of adoption, they might hear things like, “Whatever you do, don’t go through foster care,” or “I hear that kids in foster care have big problems,” etc. Sure, there are many factors to take to heart when choosing the path of adoption. One of those, in particular, is whether to include foster care as an option. However, instead of listening to the reasons why one should not adopt from foster care, here are a few reasons why adopting a foster child matters.

1. Children are in the foster care system due to no fault of their own.

They have no control over their situation. If the goal changes to adoption, there needs to be families who will step up and commit to providing a lifetime of stability and love for these children.

2. If parental rights are terminated and an adoptive home is not established, foster children and youth are at risk for aging out of care.

In essence, they become legal orphans. Once they exit the system, they are at a higher risk for homelessness, impoverishment, substance abuse, victimization, pregnancy, and criminal activity. All of these things can be greatly reduced if families would adopt older youth before they exit the system.

3. Sibling groups are at risk of being separated once they enter the system and even in adoptive homes.

While the goal is always to keep sibling groups together, it is difficult due to the lack of families willing and able to consider fostering and adopting a larger sibling group. Sibling groups deserve the opportunity of finding permanency together, through adoption.

4. Once an adoption out of foster care is complete, all legal authority is given to the adoptive parents.

The myth that “birth parents can change their minds” is just that—a myth. Even though the case is closed, most states offer after-adoption services and support, including financial support until the child is 18 years of age. This assistance helps families tremendously and is a great incentive for families to consider adopting out of care.

5. Through efforts made towards the primary goal of reunification with biological family members, many children and youth are able to return to their families of origin.

Despite many successes with reunification, far too many children and youth become eligible for adoption and linger in the system without an identified adoptive family. These kids are just like other children, except for their history of abuse and neglect. They are unique, have their own set of talents, and aspirations, and desire to belong somewhere. In order for foster children to begin on a path that leads to personal success, they must have a solid foundation of being in a family. Adopting a child from foster care lays this foundation down.

The hope of ending the scourge of child abuse and neglect is never-ending. Reunification and working with biological parents make great strides towards this. Adoption does this as well. When considering adopting a child out of foster care, remember, it is not just the one child whose life will be changed, it potentially could be a generation of children whose lives are untouched by abuse and neglect.

Original here

Narrow Path Ministries is in the process of opening an orphanage. An Endowment fund has been established  to fund the orphanage.


Joy In The Trials

August 2, 2019 by NATHAN MCBRIDE, Discerning Dad

There are few guarantees we can count being there to greet us every day. Few things we can wake up every morning and know without a doubt we will encounter them. God and His love for us is one. The second guarantee is trials. One removes anxiety, fear, and stress. The other adds anxiety, fear, and stress. What if in Gods infinite wisdom He gave us the tools to eliminate the anxiety, fear, and stress from trials? When Jesus faced the last hours and His greatest trial, he did it with grace, humility, joy and an understanding of Gods will.

How we as Christians encounter and endure trials is one of the center pieces that set us apart from the world. When we face the things that would break the world, and we move through them with Christ we are strengthened. We are drawn closer to our Lord and drawn closer in the relationships that Glorify Him. Fortunately, through His infinite wisdom he gave us the perfect road map to endure and grow through every trial.

James 1: 2-4 (NASB) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Romans 8: 28 (NASB) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Those two verses give us everything we need to encounter and endure trials the same way Jesus faced His. I have spent the past year focused heavily on those verses and facing trials with joy knowing that with an omniscient Father He is always building things to His glory and our benefit.

Trials have many forms. From the hard trials of losing a loved one, losing a job, depression or whatever you personally view as a hard trial, to trials of minor inconvenience, being late, cleanliness of a home, or an unexpected bill. Regardless of what the trial is we are taught to approach them the same. With Joy. Understanding that there is a purpose behind the trial for good is the key component to finding that joy amid the trial.

We have a few things to do to achieve this.

First, we need to make sure we are doing everything every day to a level that glorifies God. We need to submit to His sovereignty to work and move in our lives. By doing this we are allowing God to open and close doors as he sees fit. Basically, if you are giving a 100% to your job. You have given that to the Lord. You have submitted to His will and authority it. After that if you then lose your job you can know one thing in certainty. God has it and He is closing a door to move you where He needs you next. However, you can’t oversleep, not perform, blame it on the enemy and then say it’s God closing the door. Wrong you closed that door. That’s the first part, staying focused on doing all things to His Glory.

Secondly, we need to open our eyes. When we come into a trial, we need to see that there is a purpose for it. God is doing a work in us to bring out the good in it. How we see the trial changes the light we see it in. Trials can be for any purpose. They can be to show us something we need to give up and hand over to God such as an addiction. They can be to help us grow closer in those relationships that glorify Him. Psychologists have even proven that working through a hardship with someone is a key component to building a lasting bond in that relationship. So, trials with your spouse and children are a very good thing if you view it from that angle. They can be as simple as the enemy trying to deter, de-rail, or force you to question God. If that is it, you should see more joy in the trial as it’s a clear indicator to you moving down the right path.

Trials can protect us. Ever have those days where you just feel like you are perpetually running late. No matter what you do you can’t make up those 10 minutes you lost? You keep getting rerouted out of your plan for the day? Then at the end of the you drive by a fresh accident that if you would have been on schedule would be part of. Or you run into someone during the day that you get to help because you were 10 minutes behind. We don’t know Gods plan, but we do know He moves in our lives and while we play checkers, He’s playing chess.

Trials build testimony. As we go through trials and walk with Christ through them, we are building testimony to help others through similar trials. As we come along side one another in fellowship and life our testimony was perfectly built to help those we encounter. If you battled depression and gained control of it that testimony could be the very thing that saves another life. The difficulties and trials in your marriage will one day be something that could help save another marriage. Your financial trials and how you came out of that could be the very testimony of hope and grace that carries another through their trial.

So, the next time you encounter a trial remember, it’s for a perfect purpose, God is moving in it, and look forward to the beauty that will come as a result of the trial. There is either a reason for everything or a reason for nothing.

Father I pray that you help us see the joy and beauty in the trials we encounter each day. That we take them on with a new perspective and through that it removes the anxiety, fear, and stress we normally feel and replace them with joy and anticipation of good work you are doing through the trial. Amen.

Nathan McBride
Guest Discerning Dad

Guest- Nathan McBride- Joy in the Trials