H  O  M  E          
Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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The Buzz

Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Thursday, July 29, 2010
1005: Do not be distressed.
There is a scene in Genesis (c.f. Chapter 45), where Joseph's brothers are reacquainted with him. Recall that as a youth, his brothers despised him first because their father favored him, and again because he had dreamt two dreams that, when interpreted, suggested his brothers would all bow down to him one day. On a day when the brothers were together, and far away from their father, Joseph came to them, and having seen him approaching from a long way off, they determined to kill him.

That's some serious hatred.

Now to be sure, not all the brothers were okay with murdering Joseph. Reuben sought to preserve Joseph by suggesting they kill him by tossing him into a deep and dry pit (where presumably Joseph would die of thirst). That way, I suppose, they can tell themselves they (personally) didn't kill him, they just put him in a pit. Thirst killed him - or something like that. I am speculating of course. What is certain however is that putting him in the pit was intended either to end his life, or perhaps to just hold him while they thought of how they were going to kill him.

It happened of course, and you know the story, that they saw an opportunity in the form of a passing caravan, and rather than simply let Joseph die in a pit (or alternately, kill him themselves), they should sell him, thereby ridding themselves of Joseph, and making a profit at the same time.

That was the last time they saw Joseph, and now he was standing before them endowed with power over them by virtue of both his exalted status, and again by their pronounced and obvious poverty. Here was a man that had it in his power to enslave them all, or worse, have them executed.

Can you imagine? Here was the man they had abused so long ago, and it was he who now had supreme power over them. The roles were reversed big time, and they were cut to the core with this knowledge - stunned by it; suddenly aware that a "biblical proportion" come-uppence had just opened their barred door, and waltzed into the center of their lives, and that they were powerless to do anything. What little squeaks might have come out of them had someone squeezed them in that moment I can only guess, but here is what Joseph said to them, "And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life".

The thing is, even though Joseph clearly forgave them, they didn't really believe it.

Oh sure, they lived as though they were reconciled to Joseph, but deep down they said to themselves, Joseph is only forgiving us for our father's sake. I say this because when Jacob passed away, the brothers resumed their old terror once again, even putting a post mortem command into Jacob's mouth concerning their well being. We see this in the last chapter of Genesis:
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him." So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father gave this command before he died, 'Say to Joseph, Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.' And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father."
This is the not a picture of people who believed Joseph the first time - they doubted his sincerity even as they lived years in the proof of it. How did Joseph respond to their fear and doubt? Read and see:
But Joseph said to them, "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones." Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Okay, so what does that picture.

I mean, seriously.

There are believers today who ought rightly to be called doubters. They doubt God loves them, they doubt God *really* has forgiven them. They live their lives in the fear that God will suddenly realize that they still commit sin, and in His wrath He will disown them. They refuse to believe, just as Joseph's brothers refused to believe, that there could truly be forgiveness for them.

Their problem is the same problem as Joseph's brothers were experiencing - just as they didn't trust that Joseph had really forgiven them, so these, though they claim saving faith, do not trust that God will forgive them in the end.

Don't be like that. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Do you doubt God's love or His forgiveness? Maybe you doubt His steadfastness or immutability? These do not persist in you because God's character is lacking, they persist because your knowledge and certainty of God's character is lacking.

If this is you, then I say read the bible ... moron1.

1Of course I mean "moron" in jest, but the admonition to read scripture is dead serious.

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posted by Daniel @ 7:15 AM  
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