"Let's Grow Together"
by Deacon Ronald Stanley, II.
December 20, 2020
Now more than ever we must know where our citizenship is; and I am not talking about what country whereby you are a citizen. The bible tells us we are different from those who reject and oppose Jesus' way of salvation because our citizenship is in heaven.
Phillipians 3:18-21;18 reads, "For there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation], 19 whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things. 20 But [we are different, because] our citizenship is in heaven. And from there we eagerly await [the coming of] the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;). The b clause lets us know that's a citizenship we are waiting for; so I'm not even talking about your heavenly citizenship. The question I want to know is, "Where is your spiritual citizenship?"
Pastor Johnson often mentions that he/we are citizens of Goshen. If you don't know what Goshen is, Goshen was the place where Pharaoh told Joseph to let his family stay when they came from Cannan.(Genesis 45:10,Genesis 45:18,Genesis 47:27) Even though in the bible Goshen was a specific location where the children of Israel lived; this spiritual Goshen is not predicated on a specific location, church or area. You are eligible for this citizenship by simply being a child of God.
Living in Goshen for The Children of Israel was amazing because whatever was happening all around them didn’t happen in Goshen. Understand that Goshen was a country inside of Egypt. While the plagues were affecting Pharoah and the Egyptians all was well in Goshen.
Think about all those devastating plagues God did in the land of Egypt and not one time did the Children of Israel get affected by them. For example, at one time there was total darkness in the land, but Goshen had light. Another time all the livestock in Egypt was diseased, but not the livestock in Goshen.
The 1st Plague: Water Becomes Blood - Exodus 7:20
The 2nd Plague: Frogs- Exodus 8:2-4
The 3rd Plague: Lice Exodus 8:16-18
The 4th Plague: Flies- Exodus 8:21-23
The 5th Plague: Livestock Disease-Exodus 9:4-7
The 6th Plague: Boils- Exodus 9:11
The 7th Plague: Hail- Exodus 9:23-26
The 8th Plague: Locusts - Exodus 10:4-6
The 9th Plague:Darkness- Exodus 10:22-27
The 10th Plague: Death of Firstborns - Exodus 11:6-7
Being a spiritual Citizen of Goshen we are awarded the same amazing blessing. What may be happening all around us is not happening to Citizens of Goshen. What seems to affect others is not affecting Citizens of Goshen. What seems to bother others don't bother Citizens of Goshen. Honestly, when it seems like people should not be thriving, Citizens of Goshen are thriving like never before.
Finances have been thriving, Faith has been thriving, Joy has been thriving, Peace has been thriving, Favor has been thriving, and Love has been thriving just to name a few.
To often we can let what's going on in our physical citizenship influence our spiritual citizenship. It's hard for me to not believe that the children of Israel did not see what was happening all around them. They didn’t let that influence them. There was no need to be influenced by darkness when Goshen had light. There was no need to be influenced by bloody water when Goshen had fresh water. There was no need to be influenced by flies when there were no flies swarming in Goshen. Even though we can see what may be happening and things may be happening in our physical citizenship, we can't let that negatively influence our spiritual citizenship.
The Israelites had that problem in the wilderness. They allowed the mixed multitude influence them that manna from God was no longer good enough (Numbers 11:4-6). If we let our physical citizenship negatively influence our spiritual citizenship, i twill start to influence the way we treat and show love to others. It will start to negatively influence the way we serve and worship God. As citizens of Goshen, we can't let anything start influencing our faith in God negatively.
Studying the Israelites in Goshen, I noticed that nothing was required of them to be protected from plagues 1-9. However something was required of them when God sent the 10th plague (Death of Firstborns). Exodus 11:2-3(NKJV)Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold.” And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.Exodus 12:3-7(NKJV) Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, amale of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.
There will be times when God requires something of us and we must do it. The bible says that obedience is better than sacrifice(1 Samuel 15:22). Think about the ramification that could have taken place if the Israelites would have not obeyed God at that time. They would have left Egypt empty handed (Exodus 11:2) and their first born would have died (Exodus 12:12-13).
We as citizens of Goshen should not hesitate to go, say, or do what the Lord tells us. We never know what blessing could be attached to our obedience. In some cases, the blessing may not even be for us; it could be for someone else. We have to remember that whatever blessings happens for us in Spiritual Goshen is for the glory of God, just like it was in the Israelites Goshen. (Exodus 8:22 NKJV And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the land). The blessings in Spiritual Goshen are not for us to become prideful or boastful. The bible has a couple scriptures on what being prideful brings (Proverbs 11:2;Proverbs 16:18-19;James 4:6).
The bible also lets us know that our boasting should not be in ourselves, but in the Lord. (Psalms 34:2; Psalms 44:8; Jeremiah 9:23-24). What happens for us in Goshen should ultimately lead and direct someone to Christ.
Some people may be confused, wondering or just don't understand how you can have peace and joy in the midst of what may be happening all around you. In Spiritual Goshen there is protection and covering. Maybe they are wondering how it seems that nothing gets to you (protection). Or they are confused that if something does, you are able to make it through it (covering).
The simple answer you can give them is “I’m A Citizen of Goshen."