Talk 9:

BO SANCHEZ: Last talk on our series on Genesis today, Talk 9.

We have been super-duper blessed. Just working through, navigating through, Genesis.

Can you actually say that you know more about God’s Word and you know more about Genesis and you heard the Lord in our series on Genesis?

We were blessed by that series. Amen. Today, I want to preach the message: God Turns Curse into Blessing.

I want to share a bit about my story.

When I was a kid, growing up, I didn’t like to read. Do I have classmates here? I would rather watch the whole day cartoons than read 10 minutes of a book.

That was me. And so, all my academic life, I just had bad grades —even until my college days. I probably had mild dyslexia—that was undiagnosed. Because when I would read the words, the letters would just invert themselves.

My Childhood Story

The only thing I remember, when I was a kid, I took up a spelling quiz and there were 20 words to be spelled.

And I was able to spell correctly only two words. It was horrible—18 words I could not spell correctly. I could not understand why receive was spelled with an ei, and believe was spelled with an ie. I mean, who makes these rules?

So, there I was. What made it even worse was, you know, I lost all confidence in school.

Because not only where my grades bad—I share this always—I was not good in sports. Some of my classmates, they were not good with their grades, but at least they were terrific in sports. I wasn’t.

You know, in PE (Physical Education),

we were required to play basketball. And I did not know how to play. I remember, I would be dribbling the ball, walking, and then I would trip on the ball,

I would fall flat on my face. I would look around me and everybody is laughing.

But guess who was laughing the loudest? My PE teacher. So, that was life.

To make it worse, I was an incurable introvert. I liked being alone.

I didn’t like being with a lot of people—which made me a perfect target for bullies. And so, when I was growing up, I was bullied.

I remember watching the movie Spiderman, and I saw Peter Parker being bullied by his

classmates. It was so surreal. Because, oh, my gosh, that was me. But, of course, in the movie, Peter Parker becomes Spiderman and he beats them up, right?

Well, I became a Jesus- follower– at the age of 12— which gave more reasons for the bullies to bully me.

That was my story.

Curse to Blessing

I also already shared my story that when I was eight years old, I was molested, and that traumatized me.

And so, you could say that a huge chunk of my childhood was miserable. And there was a part of me that felt that my childhood was cursed.

Fast forward. Who would have thought that the kid who did not like to read had written 60+ best-selling books? And the logic, in hindsight, is very simple: I hated complicated books. So, I wanted to write a book for people like me who did not like to read books. And so, my goal was not to impress people with my knowledge but to pass on a message that would change people’s lives.

Who would have thought an incurable introvert would one day lead many organizations and would be a preacher speaking to crowds?

Somebody who does not like crowds would be in front of crowds almost every day of his life, speaking in 20+ countries.

Who would have thought that somebody who did not like basketball— today still does not like basketball?

Some things don’t change, right? Well, at least I bike every day, and believe me, at 56 it’s the most athletic I’ve ever felt in my life.

A Woman’s Story

I share with you my story to tell you that I thank God that when I look back at my miserable childhood,

when I look back at my life, and feel it was cursed,

I see the Presence of God. I see that God was there all along. And do you know what He was doing? He was turning the curse into a blessing. The reason this introvert onstage became somebody who reaches out to massive crowds almost every day – the logic in hindsight is clear: I feel people’s pain. I feel the brokenness of people because I was broken for many, many years. I know what it feels like to be bullied by Life.

And so, I speak to people, I tell them, “I’m just like you. I know your pain, and I’m telling you, God is in your life. He was in my life. He turned curse into blessing. He’s going to do the same thing for you.”

I believe in that.

I need to tell you this story—crazy story.

Woman—taking care of her sick husband for three months in the hospital. Caring, caring, loving her husband.

Then, one day, the husband wakes up in the morning, motions for his wife to come nearer, sit beside him.

And the husband tells the wife, “Sweetheart, I realized that all my life, during all my tragedies, you’re always there. I remember when I lost my job –I was retrenched—you were there beside me. The house got burned— remember that?”

The wife says, “Yes, yes.”

“You were there beside me. And remember that time when I got sick three months ago—you thought I was gone—and I was such a difficult patient, but every day, you were there for me.”

He went on about this, and about that—how the wife was there. And the wife was getting teary-eyed at the beautiful words of her husband.

And then the husband says, “Now, I realize, in every tragedy, you were there. Sweetheart, ikaw ang malas ng buhay ko–You are the bad luck of my life.

Now, that’s a horrible husband, right? The analogy is not perfect.

But there are times when we go through our trials, we blame God. But the reality is that God was there in every single tragedy. And do you know what He was doing? He was turning the curse into a blessing.

Joseph’s Story, Part 2

AUDEE VILLARAZA: Everybody, say one more time, “God turns curse into blessing.”

I cannot think of a message that is more fitting to end this series, Blessing and Curse.

We started the story of Joseph last Sunday, talking about his life. This is Part 2. The story is so long that we got to divide it into parts.

You learned last Sunday how Joseph was thrown into slavery because his brothers hated him, he was rejected.

And then, you saw how Joseph was promoted by his master, Potiphar.

Why? The Bible says that because the Lord was with him.

That was our message last Sunday: “The Lord is with me.”

But soon, after, we also saw that Joseph was being thrown back into prison.

Why? Because he was accused of rape by the master’s wife.

So, you can see if there’s any message we can extrapolate from this, it’s this: That just because the Lord is with you, it doesn’t mean that you won’t go through problems. A blessed life doesn’t mean you’ve got absence of problems. A blessed life is the Presence of God in the middle of those problems.

God walks with you in your problems. That’s why don’t worry if sometimes, you know, God doesn’t remove the mountains in front of you.

You want to know why He doesn’t do that? It’s because He wants to climb the mountain with you. He wants to go through that mountain with you. That’s what God does.

So, now, Joseph is in prison. And then he meets in prison two of the Pharoah’s servants—the cupbearer and the baker, both of whom have dreams. And then because Joseph is such a master of interpreting dreams, he interprets the dreams of the servants.

And one of them says, “I’m going to talk about you to the Pharoah.” But then he forgets all about it.

Then, two years after, later, the Pharoah has his own dreams. And the cupbearer remembers Joseph in prison. So, the Pharoah pulls Joseph out of prison, and the Pharoah is wowed by the wisdom of this man.

From Prisoner to Prime Minister

From Genesis 41:40 NLT, we learn what the Pharoah does.

Amazing. From becoming a prisoner, now Joseph is somewhat becoming like a prime minister, having power. That’s amazing.

The story shifts back now to the family of Joseph– back to Jacob. And God is speaking something like this to me:

Because at the end of our life, wherever you find yourself in this world, however successful you may be, however good you might have been, it always leads back home. It always leads back to family. That’s why you know, sometimes, when your family is messy, there’s a problem.

Genesis 42: 1-2 NLT says now, there’s a problem in the family of Jacob. There’s a famine in the land. So, Jacob’s family is also struggling along with everybody else.

You know, sometimes, it helps, whenever you read the Bible, you put yourself in the storyline, so you can imagine seeing yourself in that picture.

Jacob says, “Why are you standing around looking at one another? There’s a solution to our problem.”

Here’s my reflection: Although not implied, when they heard the word Egypt, the brothers might have remembered that once upon a time, they sold their brother into slavery in Egypt.

Now, what is my point? My point is simple: Sometimes, you run away from your sin for so long, that you try to cover that sin. But sin will catch up with you eventually. You’re never too far away from your sin. It’s there. One memory, one moment, one reminder, one photo, and there it’s back.

Messed Up

Sometimes, people struggle because they try to cover up the sin so long, it becomes a part of them. Like their morality is messed up already, they don’t see the difference between right and wrong. When sin gets lodged into your life, your morality is just messed up.

Here’s a demonstration, with the help of volunteers from our Music Ministry: Tin, Kayel, and Jed.

I brought something with me here, today: It’s called Bean Boozled. They are special jelly-bean candies. The box contains both the tastiest and the strangest, nastiest flavors imaginable. For instance, one jelly bean—colored brown— comes in two flavors. You can have either the flavor cappuccino or the nasty liver and onions.

We’re going to make each of our volunteers taste one jelly bean and we’ll see their reaction.

Tin: Green Juicy Pear    Booger!

Kayel: Juicy Pear Booger! (dried nasal mucus)

Just by looking at them, you know what they got. Thank you, guys.

Jed: Peach         Vomit!

God Speaks

What is the point of that demonstration?

Last Tuesday, my son Ethan bought Bean Boozled. He bought it in the morning and in the evening, I saw him doing something. He was watching a movie, and he was eating the jelly beans—one after the other.

And I was like, “Ethan, what are you doing? Not all of them are good.”

He said, “No, Dad, they’re yummy.”

You know, sometimes, God will speak to you in moments…

And He spoke to me like this: Sometimes, when we get exposed to sin and we think that it’s good, and when we try to cover it up, and we try to convince ourselves that it’s good—you can no longer tell the difference between what’s good and what’s bad. They get mixed up in your mouth and you’re unable to discern what’s good and what’s bad.

So, I’m wondering if that’s what the brothers of Joseph felt. And they heard the word Egypt and then it comes flooding back to them.

Let’s continue the story. Jacob knew what the solution was: Go to Egypt, buy grain. But then the Bible author says something specific in Genesis 42:4: But Jacob would not let Joseph’s younger brother Benjamin go with them, for fear that some harm might come to him.

Remember last Sunday, I said Joseph was the youngest son of Jacob? That’s true—during that time when the author wrote it. But now, there is another son who comes, another boy: Benjamin. Who is Benjamin?

Benjamin is the second son of Rachel. So, he is the only full-blooded brother of Joseph. The other brothers—they were 12 in the family, now 13— they were brothers from other mothers because Jacob had four wives. Now, the favorite wife of Jacob was Rachel. Remember, how Jacob worked for 14 years to have Rachel? How crazy must that have been! Some can’t even stay in a relationship for a year. This guy worked for 14 years for this woman.

Yes, Jacob had four wives. I don’t want some of you thinking here, “Ahh, the Bible said it’s all right to have four wives. So, it must be okay.”

Actually, the reason the author even brings it up is he wants to talk about the struggles that come with having multiple wives.

But why did Jacob did not want Benjamin to go to Joseph in Egypt? Because he was the new favorite. Joseph was gone. So, you can see from this point that there’s still favoritism.

That’s what we talked about last Sunday.

Joseph’s Dream Already Happening

And so, now, they’re on their way to the journey towards Egypt.

Genesis 42:6 (above).

Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of selling grain to all the people, it was to him that his brothers came. Remember that 20 years ago, there was a dream.

And he shared that dream with his brothers: “One day, all of you will bow to me.”

But you see at this point, the dream was already happening. The intention of the brothers when they started out was not good. They wanted to get rid of Joseph. Why? They were envious. They were jealous. But here’s what I believe:

It was because they wanted to kill that dream. When they heard that dream, they plotted against Joseph.

But now, you see that this evil intention is being used by God to actually fulfill the dream.

If there’s anything that you need to learn today, it’s this: That God can use every wrong thing in your life for good. God can use it for the greater good – because He’s the God of the Turn-around.

Grabbing vs. Giving

Now, this is a chance encounter with Joseph. Above, Verse 7 says Joseph recognized his brothers instantly.

Once upon a time, Jacob, their dad, was the master of disguise. He pretended to be Esau in front of their dad Isaac. Remember that? So that –what? —he could grab the blessing. Now, we see Joseph is doing the same thing. It’s a family tradition. Except there’s a difference. The difference is the posture of the heart– the intention. Remember that when Jacob pretended to be somebody else, it was because he wanted to grab the blessing. But Joseph was a bit different. He pretended to be somebody that he was not because he wanted to give a blessing.

There’s a big difference between grabbing and giving. And I hope that you will understand this today because Joseph continues with his act of pretending. So, he keeps on this drama—until it shifts to this weird event where Joseph now accuses his brothers of being spies.

He’s like, “You’re scouting the land and you’re spies.” And, of course, they were like, “No, we’re not.”

But then he continues—until he comes up with a solution.

He says, “Okay, I believe you that you’re sincere, if you go back home, go back to your father in Canaan, and then I want you to bring your youngest brother with you when you come back here.”

Of course, they knew that was going to be difficult. Of course, they knew, their father Jacob would not allow it. But he still proceeded with it.

But then you see the picture changing a bit.

Sometimes You’re Up, Sometimes You’re Down

Once upon a time, the authority was with the brothers, right? They had every authority over Joseph. But now, you see that it’s Joseph who has authority over them. What is happening?

Here’s a reminder for everybody: Don’t ever get too cocky when you’re at the top position. Because you’ll never you when it’s your turn to be at the bottom. Amen.

Bilog ang mundo—the world is round. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. You’ll never know when God will make you experience burnout and downfall. So, there—Don’t ever get too proud. What do you do? You humble yourself: To know that

God is your Source. Sometimes God gives, sometimes God also takes away.

So, that’s what’s happening here. The authority is now on Joseph. He is second in command—governor of Egypt.

But then Joseph does something. Joseph, being in charge, says to his soldiers, “I want you to go and fill up the sacks with grains for these people to take home.”

And then, he says, “I want you to put back the money that they used to buy the grain. Not only that. I want you to put in extra money.”

At this moment, my friends, we’re seeing the very heart of God. That before Joseph could experience the forgiveness, the repentance, the penance of his brothers, I wonder how many of you would do this. He already chose to love them. He already chose to care for them.

Sometimes, when we get hurt, you know what we do? We hurt the person who hurt us.

But Joseph is not doing that. He is actually giving them more than what they deserve. Isn’t God like that? While you were still a sinner, God loved you.

God forgave you. Even before you deserved it, God gave you Jesus. How amazing is our God! God blesses you more than what you deserve. Aren’t you happy that God does that? He blesses us more than we deserve.

What God Has Done

God blesses us more than we deserve. So, Joseph does that for his brothers. But then this will stir something inside of his brothers. Because that night, as it says in Verse 27 (above) they found money in their sack.

By the way, another reflection. It wasn’t easy for Joseph to do this. Because he loved his brothers. And though it was not easy for Joseph to see his brothers suffering, it was necessary.

Let me just say this: It doesn’t make God happy to see you in misery. But God knows it’s necessary. It’s necessary for your growth. It’s necessary for your wisdom. It’s necessary for your resilience. It doesn’t make God happy. But it’s necessary.

So, here’s what’s happening, in Verse 27.

You know, one of the biggest blessings that you can have is that you wear your jeans, and then you wear it for another week. And then when you wear your jeans again, you put your hand in the pocket—and then there’s a P100 bill. That’s nice, right?

Women, wouldn’t it be a blessing when you use your handbag and then the second time you use it, you dig around and you look for stuff, you try to clean it out, and then you see a P500 bill? Isn’t that exciting?

But here, it’s not. The brothers saw extra money. Trembling, they say: “What has God done to us?”

Your Blessing Is Going to Happen

What is the author trying to tell us?

When you live life with a guilty conscience, you will never be able to appreciate the gifts of God. When you have a guilty conscience, a bad heart, no matter how good the blessing is, you’ll never be able to use that blessing. Why?

Can you imagine, thanking the Lord: “Lord thank You for this blessing that I stole!”

You can’t. Because the blessing of God, when you steal it, when you grab it, it will not give you serenity. It will give you anxiety.

Instead of being grateful, you become fearful.

Just like the brothers. That’s what’s happening here. They are not able to appreciate God’s gift.

So, reconcile yourself with Jesus. Here’s some advice: Confess. Confess your sins. Because until you reveal it to the light, the darkness will always prevail. The darkness will always have power over you.

Now, the image is the brothers are back in Canaan. And they tell Jacob all about it. And, of course, Jacob is not happy.

He is like, “What are you doing? You’re killing me. They already took Joseph. Now, you want to take my son Benjamin?”

But of course, you know, Jacob does not have a choice. To live, they got to go back to Egypt.

By the way, before Joseph sent the brothers back, there was one brother left behind in prison—Simeon. And he was imprisoned just to make sure that they come back to Egypt.

And so, Jacob now is struggling. You see, early on, Jacob was a picture of somebody who kept on grabbing blessings, after blessings, after blessings.

And you witnessed that even in his old life, even until such an old age, he was still grabbing blessing after blessing.

You know, one thing we need to learn today is we need to learn how to trust God more. Because the reason we grab the blessing is we are afraid that God’s not going to follow through—God’s not going to fulfill His promise.

But when you completely trust God, you know that your blessing is going to happen. Because God said so. When you learn how to trust God, you learn how to surrender to Him.

Let Go of What’s in Your Hand

At this moment, Jacob is about to learn for the first time in his life what it means to surrender everything. Even with a heavy heart, he allows Benjamin to go to Egypt.

But there’s a purpose God wants you to let go of that thing. I don’t know what kind of things you’re holding on to right now.

You’re struggling because you think that there’s scarcity. But you will never experience abundance like no other if you don’t let go of what’s in your hand.

Jacob is about to do that now. So, the brothers go back to Egypt, And there’s this beautiful reunion between Joseph and his brothers for the first time. They found out who the Governor was.

And they sent word to Jacob, “Your son is alive! Come!”

So, Jacob is now having a reunion with his family.

What an amazing story, right?

You know, we can end the story right now and be blessed — or we can continue a little further. I want to take this full circle now.

Genesis is an amazing book in the Bible. But let me take you home.

We started with the message of Genesis: God made you good.

He did! That’s the truth. God made you good. You were created in the image and likeness of God. You are good.

The Problem

The problem is, over time, we’re not always good. We forget that we are good. We invent ourselves. Sometimes, we create things that are not even meant for that purpose.

For instance, in the 1940s, there was this graduate student by the name of Arthur Galston, who studied at the University of Illinois. And he was trying to look for ways to speed up the ways of growth of soybeans. So, he did research and he found one chemical and it’s called 2,3,5 Triiodobenzoic Acid.

And he discovered that this chemical agent could speed up the. growth of plants— of soybeans, in particular. But he also noticed that when you put excess amounts, it did not speed up the growth, it sped up the death of the plant.

And to him, that’s fine– because who in his right mind would want to kill plants?

Wrong. Because in the 1960s, some military researchers got a hold of his research. And you know what they did? They turned it into a weapon. They were at war with Vietnam during that time. Vietnam is a beautiful land— a tropical country of fields, of green, and trees, marine life, and animals. They dropped this chemical agent all over the fields of Vietnam.

They called it Agent Orange and it killed every plant, marine, and living thing in the area.

So, bad! When Arthur heard about it, he said, “That’s ecocide.”

It’s like genocide, the killing of a mass of people. But ecocide was killing

God created you to be good. But sometimes we distort the purpose by which God created us, to begin with.

Check this out: In the beginning, Genesis 1:31 says God looked over all He had made, and He saw that it was good. You saw this. There was murder, there was evil, there was famine, there was deception, there was cheating. It was good, yes, but not entirely good. So, what happened?

Genesis 1: God saw that it was good—49 verses later, not everything was good. Would you like to know how Genesis 50 ends? In Genesis 50:20,

Joseph was talking to his brothers:

The start of Genesis is the ending of Genesis. What is Joseph trying to remind us today?

Whatever is happening in your life is not all good.

There’s brokenness, there’s heartache, there’s cancer, there’s diabetes, there’s divorce, there’s abortion, there’s corruption, there’s evil– there are a lot going on in our life. But the promise of God in the book of Genesis is that no matter what happens, in the end, it will be good.

When you go through the next book, the book of Exodus, the Israelites enjoyed abundance through the leadership of Joseph. Joseph was amazing.

But then, they became slaves again. And 430 years, they were slaves until Moses came. When they were freed by Moses, it was a celebration – after 430 years of bondage. But then, what happened? They wandered in the desert for 44 more years.

God Wins

What am I trying to say to you today? We said this last week: Life is not a straight line. There are zigs, there are zags, there are defeats, there are losses, there are gains, there are victories. Life is not a straight line.

When something comes against you—a problem, a struggle, a storm, a trial—here’s what I want you to do this week. It’s just a simple piece of advice. I want you to start with the end in mind. Let me say that again:

Start with the end in mind.

If you know that the end will be good, no matter what comes against you –how evil it may be– you know in your heart that God will win. And you will win. Because if you go back all the way to the ending—the start of this beautiful book is the end of this beautiful book: that God wins.So, what do you do?

What He wanted for us all. He won the ultimate good. Where? On that Cross.

You don’t need to do it for yourself anymore. You just have to have a life with Jesus. He’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

So, have a life with Jesus.

Let’s Declare the Goodness of God Today:

Lord, look at your children. Look at us as we bask in your Presence, as we lift our hands in faith. We’ve gone through so many experiences in our life—not all good. Some were just nasty, some were just difficult, some were just too stressful for us to even think about them.

But now we know, Lord, we don’t have to run away from them, we don’t have to hide away from them. We don’t even need to steal a blessing to feel good. All we have to do is declare that You are good, and that Your goodness and mercy chase after us.

So, we lean our heart toward Your Son Jesus right now. We lean our life to the Savior—to the One who won it all, the One who loves us so much

Thank You, Lord. Thank You, Jesus. May every person in this room today be filled with Your love—to be reminded that You are good. Amen.



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