Monday, March 26, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/26 /2012
WINNING YOUR BATTLE WITH TEMPTATION, Lesson 44b
V. 7-19 THE TEMPTATION JOSEPH ENDURED,
The Character Of The Temptation - Despite Joseph’s walk with the Lord and holy lifestyle, temptation still stalked him. These verses have much to teach us about how temptation can come to us as well.
V. 7 It Was Subtle - Potiphar’s wife began her temptation of Joseph by first “casting her eyes” upon him. He was a handsome young man, v. 6. This proved to be his Achilles Heal. When temptation comes into your life or mine, it will seldom appear as a full blown invitation to sin. Most of us would quickly see through that and would avoid it altogether. The Tempter is far more subtle than that! He will attack us is small ways that, on the surface, might not appear evil. I mean a teenage boy might have been flattered to know that he had caught the eye of a sophisticated, beautiful Egyptian woman.
Temptation is almost always subtle in the beginning, but if it is not stopped at that point, it will quickly escalate into outright sin! (for example: The temptation of Jesus, (Matt. 4:4-11). At first, Satan tempted Jesus to do things that, on the surface, didn’t appear to be evil. Beware of the subtlety of temptation and sin. If evil is tolerated, to any degree, it won’t belong before you are in over your head! A woman was bathing in the Gulf of Mexico. She was enjoying the comfort of relaxing on an inflated cushion that kept her afloat. When she realized that she had been swept about a half mile out from the beach, she began to scream, but no one heard her. A coast guard craft found her five miles from the place where she first entered the water. She did not see her danger until she was beyond her own strength and ability. That is what the flesh and the devil want to do to you!
V. 7 It Was Shocking - Potiphar’s wife came right out and propositioned Joseph! This was a blatant offer of sexual sin! Joseph wasn’t the only one being tempted, but he was the only one fighting temptation. It is interesting to see how temptation worked in the heart of this woman. First, she looked at Joseph in a way that was inappropriate for a married woman, then she fed the fantasies in her mind until they became realities! That is why sin must not be tolerated, even within the thoughts of the mind! They may begin there, but they will grow until they become reality! The very thoughts of the mind must be brought under the control of the Lord, (2 Cor. 10:5). Satan knows that outward sin begins within man’s heart, (Matt. 15:19, James 1:14-15). He knows that if he can get our minds to dwell on evil, it is but a short step to get us to live out that evil! The whole point here is that if the devil can get our minds to accept the subtle temptation, we will cave in when he comes against us with the full frontal assault!
V. 10 It Was Sustained - She offered herself to Joseph every single day! She is a woman completely consumed by her lust for this young man. His refusals did nothing more than make him more desirable to her. Joseph was a typical teenage boy. He had the same desires that inhabit all teenage boys. It must have been a difficult time in his life as this beautiful, older woman repeatedly offered herself to him! Yet, he remained firm in his resolve to be faithful to his Lord. What we need to learn here is that temptation is not going to go away! Neither age nor time will make temptations vanish.
As long as we are in these bodies, we are going to be tempted to sin against our Lord. Satan knows our weaknesses and he exploits them. He will repeatedly attack us in an area time after time. We can resist, yet he still attacks us. When the temptation subsides, we tend to let our guard down, and here it will come again! Temptation is a relentless force that we will battle for the duration of our lives! That is why we must never let our guard down and we can never think we have our sins conquered! Sin and temptation are always waiting to attack us and to overcome us, (Gen. 4:7).
V. 11-16 It Was Strategic - Whether this woman set this up or not we do not know, but there came a day when no one was in the house but Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. She saw the opportunity to fulfill the fantasy in her mind and she made her move. This is how temptation works! It will entrench itself within our minds so deeply that it becomes the center of our thoughts. It relentlessly pressures the mind to act on the desire. Then, when it sees an opportunity, it pushes us to bring our thoughts to life! You can see this progression in the temptation and fall of King David ( 2 Sam. 11:1-4). He saw her. She filled his thoughts. He took her into his heart and then into his arms! The pages of the Bible are filled with many examples of temptation: Eve, Adam, Cain, Abraham, Lot, Esau, Israel, Peter, etc. We should never think that we are going to be immune to it! Temptation hounds us all and it will master you if it isn’t handled properly. In this area, Joseph sets a great example!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Yield Not To Temptation” By H. R, Palmer (1868)
Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin; Each vict’ry will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue; Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.
Ask the Savior to help you, Comfort, strengthen, and keep you; He is willing to aid you, He will carry you through.
Shun evil companions, bad language disdain, God’s name hold in rev’rence, nor take it in vain; Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true; Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.
To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown, Through faith we will conquer, though often cast down; He who is our Savior, our strength will renew; Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.
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Sunday, March 25, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/25 /2012
WINNING YOUR BATTLE WITH TEMPTATION, Lesson 44a
One day a father said to his son, "Now, son, don't swim in that canal." "OK, Dad," he answered. But he came home carrying a wet bathing suit that evening. "Where have you been?" demanded the father. "Swimming in the canal," answered the boy. "Didn't I tell you not to swim there?" asked the father. "Yes, Sir," answered the boy. "Why did you?" he asked. "Well, Dad," he explained, "I had my bathing suit with me and I couldn't resist the temptation." "Why did you take your bathing suit with you?" he questioned. "So I'd be prepared to swim, in case I was tempted," he replied.
Many people Iive their lives just like that. They expect to sin and so they live their lives in such a manner that they actually excite sin and make it easier for them to fall. Whenever we play with temptation, it is easy to drift into great danger. A woman was bathing in the Gulf of Mexico. She was enjoying the comfort of relaxing on an inflated cushion that kept her afloat. When she realized that she had been swept about a half mile out from the beach, she began to scream, but no one heard her. A coast guard craft found her five miles from the place where she first entered the water. She did not see her danger until she was beyond her own strength and ability.
The remedy for this is found in Romans 13:14, "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." Our text today speaks about a young man who faced a fearful time of temptation. Instead of falling, like so many do, Joseph weathered the storm of temptation and won a great victory in his spiritual life. He stayed clean in a situation where many others would have fallen.
Now, the fact is, every person faces temptation in one form or another. And, the fact is, most of us want to live clean lives. We want to please the Lord. We want to win over sin! To do this, we need to know how to win the war over temptation. This passage gives us some insights into just how to do this. Today, I would like for us to look into the experiences of young Joseph on this thought: “Winning Your Battle With Temptation“
V. 1-6 THE TESTIMONY JOSEPH EXHIBITED
V. 2a He Had A Personal Testimony - The Bible is very clear that Joseph had a personal relationship with God. He knew the Lord and was walking with God by faith. This is the starting point for true spirituality and personal holiness. When an individual has a personal, faith relationship with God, they have the potential to live for Him and to live like Him. That is why it is so important for each of us to search our hearts to be sure we are in a personal, faith relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, (2 Pet. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:5).
V. 3 He Had A Powerful Testimony - Joseph’s faith was not just lived out in his heart, but it was lived out before everyone around him. Everyone could see that something was different about the life of Joseph.
1. Men Saw God In His Walk - The way Joseph lived among the Egyptians marked him as different. Those around him saw the difference. Can men see the difference in us? They should be able to, (Matt. 5:13)!
2. Men Saw God In His Work - Joseph had the Midas touch! The Lord blessed Joseph and all he did. When our walk with the Lord is as it should be, men will see the hand of the Lord and His activity on our lives, (Pro. 16:7).
V. 4-6 He Had A Prosperous Testimony - As Joseph walked with his Lord and worked for Potiphar, the Lord continued to bless him and use him for His glory. The Lord made it clear to all who were looking that He was blessing and using Joseph in a great way.
Here was a young man who had his priorities in the right order. He loved his God and he walked with Him faithfully. While this is the right way for everyone to live, we also need to understand that this makes you a prime target for attack. The devil likes nothing better than to defeat, destroy and devastate real men and women of God, (1 Pet. 5:8)! He isn’t too concerned about those who are merely nominal Christians, and who don’t live the life. He isn’t concerned about those who talk about Jesus but who don’t live like Him! He is after those who run hard after God. He wants those who want to live holy lives. He wants those who are in the fight! He wants you! A life lived for Jesus is a life that will be attacked, (2 Tim. 3:12).
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Living For Jesus” By T. O. Chisholm (1917)
Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.
O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me.
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne.
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.
Living for Jesus Who died in my place,
Bearing on Calvary my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
Follow His leading and give Him my all.
Living for Jesus through earth’s little while,
My dearest treasure, the light of His smile;
Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem,
Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.
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Saturday, March 24, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/24 /2012
I MUST BE DREAMING, Lesson 43
As a Christian, I'm often amazed at just how good to me God is. When I consider all that He has done for me, is doing and has promised to do, I am sometimes overwhelmed! In fact, when I consider how low I was when God saved me, when I look at the changes He has made in my life, and when I consider what the end of it all will be, well, I feel that I must be dreaming! I want to look at the life of a dreamer today. A man named Joseph who had a reputation for dreaming. Joseph's life is one of the most blessed studies in the Bible.
He is a picture of Jesus and a portrait of the amazing grace of God. But, today, I want to look at the parallels between Joseph's life and that of the average Christian. When we look at what he endured, it is almost impossible not to see yourself in the life of Joseph. There is hope for the hurting, help for the struggling and a hand for the falling in these verses about the life of this man Joseph. I want to speak to you today on the subject, “I must be dreaming“!
Gen. 37:3, JOSEPH IN THE PLACE OF HONOR
Jacob's love for Joseph as seen in the coat of many colors is an example of God's love for His children ( Jer. 31:3; Rom. 8:35-39).
We stand in the place of honor and blessing today (1 John 3:2; John 1:12; Luke 12:32) When I consider where I came from and where I are - I must be dreaming!
Gen. 37:8-28, JOSEPH IN THE PIT
Joseph was cast into the pit because he was in the will of the Father, (v.13-14). Sometimes God's people get into the pit also! (For example: 3 Hebrews, and Daniel)! Don't allow it to steal your dreams! (2 Tim. 3:12; Rom. 8:28) Even when in the pit, Joseph still had the promises of God! (Verse 20). Dreams don't change just because circumstances do!
Gen. 39:1-20, JOSEPH IN POTIPHER'S HOUSE
Blessings in v.1-6; Temptations in v.7-13; and Trials in v.14-20 are all part of life. Life contains all three of these circumstances, but they can all be precious when you are in the will of God!
In every area of life, Joseph was an over-comer! ( Rom. 8:37; 1 Cor.
15:57; 1 John 5:4-5), I must be dreaming! Jesus has made me a victor regardless of my situation!
Gen. 39:21-41:13, JOSEPH IN PRISON
Joseph was surrounded by hatred, sin and in bondage; yet Joseph never lost his dreams! Best of all, God never left him (Gen 39:21)!
Regardless of how bad life becomes, remember:
1. God will always love you - ( How you know - Rom. 5:8)
2. He is always seeking your best interests - (Rom. 8:28)
3. He will always be with you - (Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20)
4. He will still use you - ( Gen40:8; 1 Cor. 1:27-28)
5. He will ultimately deliver you - (Gen 41:14, In His time)!
You may feel that your are in prison today. If so, just keep dreaming!
God hasn't forgotten you (2 Cor. 1:10).
Gen. 41:14-43. JOSEPH IN THE PALACE
A slave becomes a ruler!! Where we come from, what we are and where we are headed depends on God‘s plan for you!(1 Cor. 2:9)!
Sometimes I still think, "I must be dreaming!" Mine has been a journey from the pit to a palace! What a joy when it all ends up at my Father's throne!!
Conc: Regardless of where you are today, child of God, the Father knows, cares and is working on your behalf! Just don't lose the dream, we're not home yet! What some of you need is salvation! Others need to obey and follow Jesus. The Father has that too! All He asks is that you come to Him and receive His Son as your Savior. He loves you! Won't you love Him too?
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSINGS!
“Ivory Palaces” By Henry Barrowclough (1915)
My Lord has garments so wondrous fine, And myrrh their texture fills;
Its fragrance reached to this heart of mine With joy my being thrills.
Out of the ivory palaces, Into a world of woe, Only His great eternal love
Made my Savior go.
His life had also its sorrows sore, For aloes had a part; And when I think of the cross He bore, My eyes with teardrops start.
In garments glorious He will come, To open wide the door; And I shall enter my heav’nly home, To dwell forevermore.
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Friday, March 23, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/ 23 /2012
Genesis 37:36; 39:1-6
THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH’ Lesson 42c
Gen. 39:4-6 GOD PROMOTED HIM,
Potiphar saw that the hand of God was upon the life of Joseph, (v. 3). He knew there was something special about this Hebrew slave. As he watched Joseph work, and as he saw the results of his work, Potiphar saw that everything Joseph touched turned to gold.
Potiphar promoted Joseph and made him the overseer of his entire household. Joseph was in control of everything that happened in Potiphar’s home and in his business interests. Potiphar learned that he could trust Joseph to do the right thing. He discovered that Joseph was a man of industry and integrity. He was a worker who did the best job that he could for his master. Joseph served Potiphar like he was serving the Lord!
There is a word here for every person today. We all answer to someone! Whoever that person or group of people is, we should give them our best at all times. That means giving eight hours of work for eight hours of pay. That means doing what they tell you to without complaint and without an attitude. That means serving your employer like you were serving the Lord, (Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:22-4:1). It means working with industry and integrity for the glory of God.
Like cream, Joseph continues to rise to the top. Regardless of the situation in which he finds himself, he walks with integrity, seeking to glorify his God, and it showed in his life. Even Potiphar, the pagan Egyptian, saw something different in the life of Joseph. Joseph didn’t have to blow his trumpet and tell Potiphar what a great believer he was. The life he lived proclaimed the glory of his God and Potiphar saw for himself the influence of God in the life of Joseph! The touch of God on his life opened the door for Joseph to share his faith with Potiphar. The same thing ought to be true of each of us! The lives we life should be so different from the world around us that the mark of God’s favor will be clear to see, (Matt. 5:16).
Joseph lived a godly life. He glorified God and God promoted him and used him in a powerful way. The Lord will do the same in your life and mine. If He can trust us with the tasks He assigns to us, He will entrust us with greater things down the road. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much,” (Luke 16:10) When we bloom where we are planted and when we serve the Lord with industry and integrity, He will open up new avenues of service for us. He will use us when we get in a place of usability!
Conc: God used the sorrows of Joseph’s life to shape him into the man He desired him to become. The trials Joseph faced, and the trials you and I face, are never easy. They do, however, teach us to depend on God. Our trials help us to maintain a tender and compassionate heart. Our trials teach us the value of tears. Our trials make us useful to the Lord. We should never seek to shun the trials of life. In shunning our trials, we are also shunning the best of God’s blessings in this life.
Some poet penned the following words.
They fit well right here:
I walked a mile with pleasure,
And she chattered all the way;
But left me none the wiser,
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But oh the things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.
We want to be used, but we do not want the heartaches that come first. I am afraid that we cannot have the one without the other. They seem to go hand in hand.
Here is a final word of encouragement. No matter how hard the way of life becomes, if you are saved, the same thing that was said about Joseph is true about you: “And the Lord was with him.” You do not face your trials alone. You do not walk through your valleys alone. Every step you take you are in the path of divine providence and God is in the business of protecting you, prospering you and promoting you for His glory!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Beyond This Land OF PARTING” By Mary B.C. Slade (1876)
1. Beyond this land of parting, losing, and leaving
Far beyond the losses, darkening this
And far beyond the taking and the bereaving
Lies a summer land of bliss!
Land beyond (land beyond), so fair and bright!
Land beyond (land beyond), where is no night!
Summer land (summer land), God is it's light
Oh, happy summer land of bliss!
2. Beyond this land of toiling, sowing and reaping
Far beyond the shadows darkening this
And far beyond the sighing, moaning, and weeping
Lies a summerland of bliss!
3. Beyond this land of waiting, seeking, and sighing
Far beyond the sorrows darkening this
And far beyond the pain, and sickness and dying
Lies a summer land of bliss!
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Thursday, March 22, 2012
JOSEPH, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 3/ 22 /2012
Genesis 37:36; 39:1-6
THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH’ Lesson 42b
Gen. 39:2-3 GOD PROSPERED HIM,
When Joseph arrived in Egypt, he no longer had his coat of many colors. He may have lost his coat, but his character was very much intact! The coat Jacob gave Joseph was a symbol of his position in the family. It marked him as the overseer. It marked him as the head of the family. It marked him as the one in charge of all things. It marked him as a man with authority. Joseph’s authority did not come from a robe. His authority did not come from some piece of cloth. Joseph’s authority came from his character! He was a godly young man who walked before his father in absolute integrity.
When Joseph lost his coat, he lost nothing that made him a great man. Joseph’s greatness did not come from the clothes on his body, but from the character of his heart. He may have worn the humble garments of a slave, but he was still a man of character and integrity!
We ought to have the same testimony! We need to be people of character and integrity. Some people are different depending on when you meet them. You meet them at church and they are one person; meet them in town and they are someone totally different. I would suggest to you that we need to be the same people regardless of where we go. We should strive to do the right thing at all times. We should determine in our hearts that we will have a good attitude and demonstrate Christ-likeness all the time!
When Joseph arrived in Egypt, he could have taken several paths. He could have adopted the ways and customs of his new land. He could have abandoned his God and embraced the polytheistic religion of Egypt. But, Joseph just stayed the course! You see, he may have been purchased by Potiphar, but Joseph belonged to God! He had already made up his mind how things would be in his life.
It made no difference to Joseph whether he was in his father’s house; in a pit; in the possession of slave traders; or in the house of his master. Joseph had purposed in his heart that he was always going to do the right thing. And, that is just what he did! Joseph was a man of integrity regardless of the situation in which he found himself.
Like Joseph you and I need to establish some boundaries for our lives. We need to make up our minds that there are some things we just are not going to do. (i.e. drinking, drugs, bad language, premarital sex, adultery, pornography, gossip, etc.) Then, when a situation arises, we do not have to debate it, we just know what we will and will not do. We have already made up our minds and the issue is settled!
We are told in verse 2 that Joseph was “a prosperous man”. Verse 3 tells us that “the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” Some might have looked at Joseph’s advancement in the home of Potiphar as “good luck”. They see a young man like Joseph and he has some bad breaks, then things turn around for him. Things start heading the other way. People look at that and they say, “Man. He sure is lucky.” I want you to know that “luck” had nothing to do with Joseph’s success. In fact, there is no such thing as “luck”. Luck is for fairies, gnomes, sprites and other mythical creatures; not for the children of the living God!
Joseph prospered because God blessed him! Joseph prospered because God saw in Joseph a man He could trust to do His will. What some would call “luck” in a person’s life may be nothing more than the manifestation of a good, godly character. Maybe God blesses some people more than He does others because they have the right kind of character. Maybe they enjoy His blessings because they have integrity. Maybe they are blessed because He can trust them to do right!
What I want you to see here is this: Joseph was in a bad situation, but he still lived a life that was blessed by the Lord. I am sure that his life was a life of endless drudgery and service, but he was faithful to his tasks. His character caused him to be faithful to his God and to his human master. As a result, God blessed his life and his work.
Here are two thoughts I do not want you to miss.
Just because you are going through trials and problems does not mean that God is not blessing you. You might not see Him moving in your life, but just trust Him and in His time, He will manifest His presence, His glory and His power.
Joseph made the best of a terrible situation. He demonstrated a proper attitude in the midst of his trials. So should we! The secret to happiness in the hard times is how you respond to what is happening to you. Ninety percent of living a joyful life is simply responding well to your trials. Life is what you make it!
You may have heard of the two grasshoppers that fell into a bucket of fresh milk. One was so upset that he quickly lost all hope. He sank and drowned. The other tried hard to get out. He kicked and he kicked, eventually he churched that milk into butter and walked out. It’s all about how you handle life! Either you will handle it or it will handle you!
The great Baptist preacher John Bunyan was thrown into prison in 17th Century England for preaching the Gospel without a license. He spent twelve years in jail because he would not promise the court that he would not preach if he were released. He could have become discouraged by so long an imprisonment, but John Bunyan was a man of character and integrity.
While he was in jail he had a stool that had three legs. He removed one of the legs and carved it into a flute. He would use that flute to play Gospel songs. While in jail, Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, which is an allegory of the Christian life. It is the second largest selling book in history, only the Bible has sold more copies. John Bunyan could have given up. Instead, he used his trials as a place to glorify his God. In turn, God blessed him! By the way, the Lord is still looking for men and women of faith, character and integrity. He is still looking for people that He can use in these days to get glory and honor to His name!
In the Ravensbruck death camp operated by the Nazis a young woman named Corrie Ten Boom was forced to endure the more appalling atrocities that you can imagine and many more that you cannot. She was starved, beaten and threatened. She was forced to live with lice, fleas and rats. She witnessed the death of her weaker younger sister. She saw thousands of Jews and Jewish sympathizers leave that place through the smokestacks of the crematoriums. Surely she could not understand why she, along with thousands of others, was forced to endure such hardship and agony. But, Corrie Ten Boom, inmate number 66730, determined in her heart that while she was there, she would be the best Christian she could be. In barracks number 28 she started a clandestine Bible study and helped many others make it through those difficult years. Eventually she won her freedom. Many might have become embittered by that kind of an experience. Corrie Ten Boom, however, was used by the Lord in a mighty fashion after World War II. She carried the message of Christ around the world and tens of thousands learned of the power of grace and of the forgiveness of God. She took her impossible situation and used it to glorify God!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Til The Storm Passes By” By M. Lester (1958)
In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face, While the storm howls above me, and there's no hiding place. 'Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry, Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
Chorus Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more, Till the clouds roll forever from the sky; Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand, Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
Many times Satan whispered, "There is no need to try, For there's no end of sorrow, there's no hope by and by" But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I'll rise Where the storms never darken the skies.
When the long night has ended and the storms come no more, Let me stand in Thy presence on the bright peaceful shore; In that land where the tempest, never comes, Lord, may I Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.
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