Pastor Jeff Knott of Grace Church in Port Hope, Ontario continues the sermon series on The Joseph Stories: God’s Purposes in a Dysfunctional World with “Chastening”:

Meanwhile, God is redirecting. He’s fashioning something beautiful out of the mess and He’s forging a new path.

Chastening can mean to prune of excess, pretense and falsity. The vine dresser prunes unapologetically for maximum fruitfulness. Joseph’s life is a case study in how God uses the stuff of life to prune us, to shape us and to redirect us.

Everything that does not look like His dear Son is being removed. Why? So that there will be no excess, no pretense and no falsity in our lives because that’s what you can say about Jesus.

One of the most challenging things about God’s work in our lives, the chastening, is the timing of it.

When we say yes to Jesus, we’re saying yes to all the work in our life. We’re not just saying yes to heaven or yes to eternal life. We’re saying yes to all the good work that He wants to do in our life. We’re actually saying yes to a life of transformation – you’re signing up to be changed.

Elizabeth Elliot, “When we pray ‘Thy will be done’ it most likely means our will being undone.”

Just because we don’t understand His timing doesn’t mean that it’s not still perfect timing for God to be working in our life.

God never wants us to confuse the gift and the Giver.

Joseph has taken his God-given gift and placed it ahead of God who gave him the gift and there ‘s no place for that.

Whatever gifts God gives us we must steward them with humility or we’re not going to steward them for very long.

When God is chastening us, He’s getting us to look to Him and Him alone.

It’s the people in our lives that don’t meet our expectations and therefore we are disappointed and we are hurt by it. People will fail you.

We cannot look to people for our ultimate happiness. Only God was meant to meet your deepest need. It’s better to take refuge in the Lord than in people.

The best of people are people at best.

It’s only as we put our hope in His unfailing love alone that we are truly free to love others as they are.

The place of despair is often our best opportunity for transformation because once we have bottomed out it’s the only place that we start to look up.

Despair, as hard as it is, is a gift. Often God will take us to this place of despair so we begin to look at Him alone. When we come to the end of ourselves, God will meet us there.

We’re called to wait with hope in the midst of despair. You are not lost in despair. You’re at that place where God is making you more moldable than ever before.

We trust in the darkness what God has shown us in the light.

What God is ultimately doing in this chastening process is taking us from not ready to ready, willing and able.