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-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Rodney Hogue <rodhogue@aol.com> http://www.icgrace.org
Editors: Teresa Seputis, Earlene Bown
Transcribers: Sharon Farris, Rita Joyce, Erma Kummerer, Fred Pekkonen

Prayer-School Course #32

Grace and Christian Values

By Rodney Hogue

Lesson 7
The Restoration Process

In our last lesson, we talked about how many believers are not walking in their full potentials. They are not moving in the fullness of their destinies because they have some areas of dysfunction in their lives that keeps them from doing so. Many believers have been hurt or wounded or treated unfairly in their pasts; and those past things can affect their ability to respond to God and enter into the fullness of all He has for them.

Most believers do their best to cover these things up, to push them below the surface so people won't know about them, so they won't look bad and so they won't have to feel embarrassed. They are like little land mines buried in the ground, seemingly harmless until someone or something steps on them. Then they explode. They cause the person to react in inappropriate ways or to strongly feel inappropriate emotions. They bring torment. God does not want to cover these things up and hide them. Instead, He wants to diffuse them. He wants to bring total healing and restoration to past hurts and to current issues. He wants to bring us to a place of maturity where we can live in his peace and joy.

Some of us hide these past issues pretty well and look like we have it all together even when we don't. Others are so strongly affected by them that they have problems functioning in certain areas of their lives. But most of us have some issues in our lives that God is still dealing with, so we need to create an atmosphere in our churches that allows people to cooperate with God in the process of addressing and resolving these issues. We need to make our churches a safe place to be in process, a safe place to learn to grow and mature in the Lord.

One of the ways the church fosters recovery is to create an atmosphere where it is safe to be yourself, where it is safe to struggle with some issues that you are in the process of overcoming. Some people have these types of thoughts about themselves: "If you really knew me, you wouldn't like me. If you really knew me, you'd reject me. If you really knew all about me, you would not have anything to do with me. If you knew who I was, if you knew my history, if you knew my past, if you knew those things, if you knew what was going on in my mind, if you knew all those things, you would have nothing to do with me!"

That is usually the enemy bombarding our minds. So what the church needs to do is to create an environment that says that even if though we know all about you, we love you and we will accept you. Our job is to help you to work through the process of restoration and healing. Let me tell you, you will never fulfill your destiny without that. I mean, all of your ups and downs are all a part of God shaping you to fulfill your destiny.

Do you think anyone can fulfill their destiny without going through some ups and downs? No, because the ups and downs are where we grow. We grow when we ride through these things. I am reminded of Joseph.

If we look at the peaks and valleys Joseph experienced in his life, we see that he started out pretty good. He had some incredible dreams from God, and probably felt pretty good about himself. He told his dad and then his brothers, "I had this dream and you guys were bowing down in front of me. Isn't that great?" They were not quite so happy. His dad gave him a good rebuke. The brothers basically said, "We're going to take this guy out." And they did! They took him out where he ended up in a very low time, thrown into a pit and sold into slavery and taken into Egypt.

He was sold and went through hardship and trials thinking, "I've got these dreams. I have these visions of what has to happen. This doesn't seem to be fitting the course here." He eventually got to Potiphar's house and, all of a sudden, he gained favor in the house. Potiphar put him in charge of this and in charge of that. At that point, he probably felt good about himself.

But he ended up with too much favor in the house, so much that Potiphar's wife noticed him. That only got him into some pretty serious trouble where he was falsely accused of attempted rape and thrown into prison. So he went into a high point in Egypt, then he went into a low point and got tossed into prison. I can imagine him sitting there in the prison wondering, "What am I going to do now? It doesn't seem to fit the dreams. It doesn't seem to fit everything that God gave me. I've lost my track. I've gotten off track here. I will never be used by God."

All of a sudden he started to feel good about himself again, because he got raised to a position of authority in the prison, orchestrating prisoners. You know the story where the cupbearer and the baker got tossed into prison. He interpreted their dreams and he did so accurately. He told the cupbearer, "When you get out, tell everyone about me, and get me out of this place." The cupbearer said, "Sure, I'll do it." Of course, he forgot -- he had divine amnesia. He did not say anything for a couple of years until it was time, after Pharaoh had his dream.

And all this time, Joseph was going up and down, up and down, up and down. But where did he grow? Where was his character being built? It wasn't at the high spots, but when he was working through the process; that's when he grew. That is when he developed. That is when character was built in. That's when he was able to stand the test.

So when you look back at those hard times and you look at those hardships when all you wanted to do was escape the problems, you realize that that is what made you what you are. That is where character was put into you. That is where the stability and growth and maturity came from!

I didn't say this was fun. I said this is where character is developed. You think, "God, could we do this any other way?" The answer is "No." We don't just grow naturally on our own; we need a little bit of pressure to do so. God knows that about us, so He is very able to help supply the pressure that we need to grow us and to mature us.

Getting rid of our baggage is the part of the maturing process. That's why God sometimes takes His time in getting us through things. In fact, the more time He takes for you to spend in the dungeon, probably the greater place of elevation He's going to bring you. He had to keep Joseph around to a place where He could use him. What if Joseph had gotten out when the cupbearer left? I mean, what would have happened? Would he have fulfilled his destiny? What would have he done? He would have gone back to his family, which would have caused all kinds of problems in God's plan for him to keep the family alive in the time of famine. It would have also caused some problems in his family. First of all, Jacob would be saying, "I thought you were dead!" And it would have been a mess reuniting with his brothers when he still had all those unresolved issues with them because of what they did to him. He came from a dysfunctional family and would be going back home to one. Things would have gotten worse when the famine hit. They would have starved to death, this dysfunctional family. They never would have fulfilled their purpose and their destiny. That's why God had to keep Joseph there.

Do you know what it is like when God keeps you at that "growth place" where you don't want to be?. Am I speaking to you here? Okay God! Oh! But it's part of the process that God takes us through to mature us and to prepare us for our destiny. That part -- preparation for our destiny -- is really important. You see, we were not just created to walk on this earth and take up space and maybe do something that would be meaningful to someone. We were created by God for a specific purpose, to participate with Him in His kingdom plans.

Resoration is important, but it is not the end goal. The purpose of restoration is not just to get your head above water, to keep you from drowning and to make you feel a bit more comfortable. For a lot of people it's, "I just want to survive tomorrow. I just want to get past next week." And so, a lot of our recovery, healing, inner healing, and all the stuff that we do is simply to give people enough to survive so that they can get to square one.

But, there's life beyond recovery. There is a destiny. God just doesn't get you to square one, get your head above water, so you can now just wade. He wants you to swim. He wants you to fly. God wants to bring you to new heights.

We will talk about that more in our next lesson.

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-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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